Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How much longer do I have to listen to this?

Sarah Palin is a simple-minded nincompoop who speaks only in shallow cliches, displaying no ability to recognize complexity or nuance. I just heard her tell Greta Van Susteran (who really needs to get over her girl crush on Sarah already) that the reason we love Israel is they provide freedom to their people. Umm, sure. That's it. The fact that Israel is a stable democracy in an unstable region is certainly a factor in our relationship with that country, but it's not the only factor. And couldn't she try to phrase it in a more sophisticated way?

But nuance, complexity, and sophistication of expression are all negatives to Sarah Palin and her ilk. So now instead of hearing substantive debate, I'm stuck listening to her blathery sound and fury, all of which signifies nothing. I get the sense that she truly can't grasp anything any deeper than her shallow, empty, meaningless soundbites. It scares the crap out of me that people think she's saying anything worth hearing just because she uses the words freedom, constitution, and America enough in that folksy, g-droppin' way of hers.

I dislike John McCain for a lot of reasons, but #1 on that list will always be that he inflicted this woman on the nation.

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Things that have died on me in the last week

1) My car. The electrical system started to go out on the highway. It managed to limp along until I got to the major street right by the dealership service lot. Somehow, the car was able to coast from the main street several hundred feet until it pulled into the lot. If it had happened in a movie, the audience would have thought, "Oh, please." But that's exactly how it went.

2) My computer. Complete hard drive crash last night.

3) An attorney-client relationship.

Not my best week.

The car has been brought back to life and it only cost me $654.

The computer might not be as hopeless as it appeared last night. It may just be a spam thing designed to make me think I have total hard drive failure so I'll buy something. I'm taking the computer to a friend's house tonight so he can clean it up. Here's hoping that winds up costing me only a couple of beers.

And I'm not stewing about that other thing.

You'd think my mood might have died along with my car and computer, but I can't say I'm in such a crabby place. I could afford the car repairs. I have my iPad to see me through the computer's illness. And I'm really not stewing.

But all the same, I kinda hope nothing else will die on me this week. Do you hear me, TV and air conditioner?

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Friday, May 27, 2011

There is a perfectly nice man who would like to spend this evening with me. I could probably get breakfast out of the deal if I wanted. And yet, I don't. Even though he's nice and smart and shares interests and isn't unattractive, he's just not Him.

And this is why I will probably be alone for the rest of my life. Because at the end of this lazy Friday, when I'm in my pajamas by 7:30 while watching the Royals game, there's really only one person I want sitting on this couch with me. And he won't even talk to me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another arm update

My incision is almost entirely healed. I'm now allowed to lift up to 5 pounds with my left arm. I can type and knit quite comfortably. And my black wrist guard that I am still required to wear whenever I'm out and about or sleeping is at least black, not hideous-looking, and doesn't smell or have stains.

But my range of motion is still generally sucky, though apparently not abnormally so. More importantly, though, my bone shows more signs of osteoporosis than the doctor would hope to see at this point. Obviously, some weakening of the bone is to be expected as a side effect of disuse, but he seemed concerned that mine was weakening more than it should. (And here I was worried I'd been using the arm too much.) So he has put me on a strict dairy diet and lots and lots of vitamin supplements.

So far, I'm really objecting to being ordered to drink whole milk lattes. ;-) [end sarcasm] I have been asking for skim milk in my lattes for years, simply because I try not to drink my calories. But in just two days, I'm reminded just how much better they taste when made with whole milk. (Sorry, 2%, but you don't even factor into the discussion.) I'm already sad about the prospect of going back to skim milk in a few weeks.

I'm pretty sure this diet might also require me to eat cheesecake, fettucine alfredo, and all sorts of other, lovely food items loaded with whole milk, cream, and cheese. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorite calcium-loaded foods.

Republicans support deregulation until they really, really don't

I thought Republicans were supposed to be big believers in the free market. They want to deregulate industry and let the market take care of itself. Right?

Unless we're talking about abortion, of course. The Republican goal when it comes to abortion is to regulate the hell out of it. Really, they're trying to regulate abortion right out of existence. This is why we have laws now regulating how much time must pass between an initial consultation and the actual procedure, that doctors must at least offer ultrasounds, that doctors must read specific scripts that have no medical or scientific basis, that patients must go to "pregnancy crisis centers" that are nothing more than pro-life centers with no actual medical training.

And now in Kansas, we have this: a law that prohibits insurance companies from covering elective abortions in their basic plans. Individuals and employers who want insurance to cover elective abortions must buy separate riders. This is said to make sure that individuals and employers who object to abortion won't have any of their money paying for abortion. When people understandably questioned the requirement that women should have to buy separate insurance policies, one state representative responded that people should plan ahead. We keep spare tires in our cars in case of flat tires, don't we? Which then set lots of folks off because that seemed to compare a flat tire to being raped. Women should just plan ahead in case they're raped, eh?

Here's my thing, though. It doesn't seem very consistent with the Republican ideal of deregulation and market reliance to pass laws prohibiting health insurance from covering legal procedures. If lots and lots of consumers object to having their health plans cover elective abortion, well shouldn't the free market take care of that? Those consumers could band together and demand such plans from their prospective insurers. Whereas consumers who do want health plans to cover abortions could likewise band together and find insurers who will supply that demand. Apparently Republicans don't trust the market to work itself out this way.  It would be nice, then, if Republicans could understand why folks on my side of the aisle don't really trust the market to work itself out in other areas.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the end of the world...

I wonder how Harold Camping, his devoted followers (some of whom blew their savings buying fancy cars and expensive vacations they never expected to have to pay for), and the millions of schmucks who sent him money are going to feel tomorrow around 6:10? (Most things don't actually start right on the dot.)

Back in college, one of our local radio stations changed formats. For two straight days, they played only one song: "It's the end of the world as we know it" by REM. I feel like that might be a good thing to do tomorrow, just listen to that song all day.  I can't hear that song and not dance, so it would provide some good exercise for me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All tried out

Over the past year, I feel like I have put a lot of effort into things. I've tried and tried and tried. But it seems at best I get nowhere. At worst, I get a broken bone and surgery.

I tried being open to new people and new experiences, which is what led me to meet the people who led me to the roller skating rink. And it was because I tried going to roller derby that I started thinking, "I could do that." And of course we know it was thinking "I could do that" that led me to skate like a jackass at the skating rink which led to my glorious injury.

As I publicly declared here, I was determined to move somewhere, so I tried a job search, but that led nowhere. I've tried online dating (which I don't think is sad and pathetic, but rather quite obvious in the Facebook age), but that has led nowhere. I've dated guys I in real life, but those have led nowhere.

I've tried journaling. I've tried communicating my thoughts and feelings. I've tried ignoring them. I've tried trips and I've tried retail therapy and I've tried actual therapy.

And for all that trying, I have gotten nowhere. I'm in pretty much the same place I was a year ago.  Which might actually make it feel worse because shouldn't I be better by now? But I've expended an awful lot of energy and I'm tired. I'm plum tired of trying. So I'm not going to. I am officially done. I'm just going to exist for a while. I can't possibly do any worse by just letting life happen around me than I've done by trying to make it happen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shame on you, Arnold.

Cheating on your wife is bad. Cheating on her with a trusted employee (and maybe member of the household, I'm not clear on that point) is really bad. Impregnating your mistress while your wife is pregnant with your 4th child is super bad. Arnold has a lot of strikes against him, clearly.

But the absolute worst part? It is starting to sound like this poor kid had to grow up without a dad. The housekeeper's husband left the marriage within 2-3 weeks of the child's birth. And Arnold has been paying child support all along. So I would guess it's not terribly likely the ex-husband played much of a role in the kid's life, if any at all.

I was prepared to let Arnold off the hook for not acknowledging his son if the kid was being raised by the husband who everyone presumed was the dad. But now, I'm inclined to think he's a giant schmuck. Really, screw around all you want and I'll just think you're skeezy and not nearly good enough for a classy woman like Maria. But allow your own child to grow up without a father to protect your own image and political chances and I will think you are about the lowest form of scum. This kid didn't do anything wrong and deserved to have a dad. It makes me absolutely sick to think of anyone treating his own child like that.

I really hope I'm wrong and that this kid did have a dad growing up, if not one to attend ball games, at least one to talk to once in a while. Not because I want to think better of Arnold but because I just can't stand the thought of a kid being left to his own devices (along with a single mom) because it would have been inconvenient and awkward for his dad to admit being his dad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rest in peace R.I.P.

This may seem like an odd, random rant, but it's my blog and as the URL suggests, it is my rants, so here goes.

I really, really hate the expression R.I.P. I don't hate the phrase those initials stand for. I think that's a perfectly acceptable desire, that the deceased person's soul, spirit, whatever rest in peace. I would certainly want that for myself or any of my loved ones. That they not be tortured in some middle ground between life and death or in some hellish afterlife.

But those initials just rub me the wrong way. No, to be honest, they piss me off. R.I.P. It seems so crude. So dismissive. So insensitive. I know it's usually meant well, but I just cringe every time I read those three initials. My visceral reaction is so negative. Those letters just seem so ugly to me. Maybe it's because they spell out a word that is so at odds with peaceful resting.

So if you're ever in the position to offer me condolences on a loss (which I hope you won't be, but my parents aren't spring chickens), please don't say R.I.P. State that you wish my loved one rest in peace all you want, but please, please don't use those letters.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Today is just one of those days. I've been inexplicably crabby and oddly lonely all day. Everything's a little off. I got up before 8 to take the dog out, then went back to bed for an hour or two. Next thing I knew, it was noon. Some days I don't mind sleeping until noon, but today it threw me off. Then the Royals game was rained out, so my plan to watch the game today was foiled. So I went to Target, which is usually my happy place. But even Target was a disappointment today. Pushing a grocery cart with a broken arm is not as easy as it sounds. At least I got a pair of cute shoes for under $8. But that didn't fix the crabby

I did go to Office Depot and buy DragonDictate (product shot). I'm experimenting with it now and I hope this will make writing, both personal and professional, easier in the coming weeks. Though I'm out of the splint, I still can't quite turn my arm to the right angle to type. Plus, my range of motion is ridiculous and I still feel like I can't do anything with that hand. I did knit a whole row the other day, but it was slow-going and I was really sore afterwards. (On a side note, speaking a blog post is an odd experience. I'm not sure how this is going to work out for me.)

I think ultimately this weekend has been off for me because I'm in a period of waiting. Over the past year I feel like I haven't been living so much as waiting for things to happen. But I've actually taken some steps to make things happen of late, but whether those will work out for me is out of my hands at this point. There's really nothing more I can do. And I really suck at waiting. I do hope I hear back soon on at least one of these prospects, because Sunday is usually my favorite day of the week, my day to relax and be by myself (without feeling lonely), and I don't want to see another one ruined the way this one was.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yes, I'm that competitive

I'll admit it. I want to see the pictures of Osama Bin Laden. Not because I don't believe he's dead. Not because I disagree with the President's reasoning for not publishing them. Not because I just hate the sob and will take pleasure in seeing his brain matter coming out of an eye socket.

No, I want to see them because I'm competitive. People who have seen the photos keep talking about how gruesome they are. Well, I've seen plenty of gruesome photos. More than my fair share. I've seen gunshot wounds and stab wounds. I've seen bodies that were dumped in rivers and I've seen bodies that were buried in shallow graves. I've seen near decapitations and full decapitations. And I've seen fire victims.

So the competitor in me wants to a) prove to Sen. Inhofe and others that I can handle seeing anything without blinking and b) prove that my gruesome photos are way more gruesome.

I don't think this is a normal way of thinking. I probably need therapy.
Yes, I do now set off the metal detectors at courthouses. It is a good thing I don't go to court very often because that being wanded thing could get really annoying. I'm not sure how I feel about actually seeing that wand light up at my wrist. I know I've been saying it's cool that I'm bionic now, but the human body really isn't supposed to set off metal detectors. And I don't want to be more machine than human. Though some might say I might as well because I'm already pretty twisted and evil.

Side note: why are the security guards at the courthouse asking me what I'm there for? Isn't it a public building? If I didn't have proper business there, would they not let me in? Plus, I can't help but think it's fairly obvious what a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying adult is doing in a courthouse.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arm update

Since I know you all have been dying to know, my arm is doing quite well. I'm now out of the splint and in a sleek black wrist guard. A removable wrist guard! Which means real showers with no plastic bags or Saran wrap. And no wardrobe limitations. These are very exciting things.

My doctor's staff doesn't think I'll have much of a noticeable scar, which is a bummer. And many of my friends are bummed that there is no cast for them to sign. But those bummers aside, I can't complain.

Well, yes, I can because reading anything but magazines or hard back books is a hassle. And knitting is slow and painful, so I just don't do it. And driving isn't much fun. (Unfortunately, I have to drive 2 hours one way for work tomorrow all by myself. I'd better pick a good radio station because one-armed driving makes channel surfing rather treacherous.) Oh, and the adhesive glue they put on my incision stinks.

But I'm managing. I can free my arm from the wrist guarded times (though it's still more comfortable to keep it on). I have much greater range of finger motion (though typing with my left hand is still not really happening). My office found me a dictation device that will turn my audio files into text, which should make finishing my outstanding briefs much easier. And I can hold up to a pound in my left hand. Woot! That may not sound like much, but being able to grab a paper towel or hold a key ring with the free hand makes life a lot easier.

I have my eye on an obstacle run at the beginning of August. That may be overly-optimistic (it involves a monkey bar obstacle), but I'm gonna shoot for it anyway.

And next time I go roller skating, I will wear my wrist guards! Maybe.

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No arts for you!

I've never been a fan of Sam Brownback. Never voted for him for Senate. Didn't vote for him for Governor. I disagree with him on just about every issue. Rumor has it he's personally not opposed to the DREAM Act, but that sure didn't show up in his senate vote. He's also allegedly opposed to the death penalty, but I'm really not optimistic he would do the right thing if give the opportunity to spare a condemned man. He's certainly not pushing for repeal of the death penalty, even though he's supposed to be all about cost-saving and cutting the d.p. would save money.

I fundamentally disagree with his view of the role of government and his focus on evangelism. I find his connection to The Family to be disturbing. I find his interest in pushing as many government services to private contracts as possible to be horrifying. (Private prisons are a nightmare to me; prison health services have already been privatized and it's bad.) And he seems hell-bent on destroying public education, aligning himself with people who feel that college is really only for the upper classes anyway. (And yet liberals are supposed to be the elitists?!)

But even I didn't think he'd do something this arrogant, dictatorial, obnoxious. As governor, Brownback used his executive privilege to cut the Kansas Arts Commission, an agency with all of about 5 employees and a budget of under $1 million. But the commission qualifies the state for federal funds that we would lose out on otherwise. And it brings in money. So the legislature invoked its prerogative to reject the cut and kept the commission. While the House and Senate are still wrangling over details, both sides include funding for the commission in next year's budget.

But Brownback was determined to get his way. So this evening, he simply laid off all the employees of the commission. Well, that's sure one way to get his way. Who cares about following proper procedure. And who cares that we'll be the only state without an arts commission. This is what the Governor wants, so this is just how it's gonna be. The arts are for sissies, anyway.

Eliminating the arts commission saves the state about $700k, but probably costs the state more in federal matching funds and tourism income. And then there's increased difficulty in enticing people and companies to move to the state. People looking to move look for quality schools and access to things like the arts, dining, etc. It's ridiculously short-sighted of the Governor not to see how having an arts commission can benefit a state.

The above factors convince me that this isn't about saving money at all. This is about getting government out of things he doesn't want government to be involved in, like the arts. (Who knows what he'll think to do to limit public education...) Of course, he does want government to be deeply involved in other things, like the ins and outs of a woman's consultation with her doctor when she's considering an abortion. (He just signed into law something that micro-manages that patient-doctor consultation.) Brownback has his view of government's proper role and he will impose it on all the rest of us whether we like it or not.

It's gonna be a long 4 years. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surgery on Friday went well. I am now bionic with 2 plates and 5 screws. My wrists are so unnaturally small, I'm having a hard time understanding where exactly all that titanium fits.

Though I was sleepy the rest of Friday, I was never foggy. I remember everything from the first moment I woke up only about an hour and a half after being put under. I also remember the conversation in the o.r. Before I was knocked out. It was about the death penalty, of course. I spent my last few moments before surgery trying to convince one of my scrub techs to oppose the death penalty. I did have help in the form of another scrub tech who noted that their job was quite similar to mine: we are to keep the person in front of us alive, regardless of what they've done before getting to us.

While I was in surgery, my sweet friend mowed my yard. She returned to the surgical center in time to greet me when I woke up. She got my prescriptions, washed my dishes, took care of my dog while I slept, etc. Another set of friends took over for the evening shift before sweet friend returned to spend the night. In the morning, she washed my hair and helped me get dressed for the noon wedding I was attending.

I had a lovely time at the wedding, especially since everyone was so solicitous of my needs. After a brief nap at home, I moved on to a slumber party where once again sweet friend would be in charge of my care. I ate a lot, drank just a little, and popped many, many pain pills.

But today, I am finally feeling like someone recovering from surgery. I did change this morning, from one set of pajamas to another. And I did watch most of the Royals game. (sweep of the Twins! Woot!) But for most of the day, I have been asleep on the couch. Perhaps I should have done a little more of that yesterday as well.

Or perhaps I just don't need that much rest. I am bionic now, after all.

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