Thursday, February 28, 2013

Melvin, Banksy, and Government Shutdowns

Well, today was Mourning Locket day.  I spent a couple of hours cruising various antique/vintage sites, hoping.  Of course, the real fear here is that I WILL find it, and won't be able to afford it.  Mourning lockets have become quite popular, and pieces that used to go for a hundred or two are now going for a grand or more.  I don't know what I'll do if I find it and can't swing it, cash-wise.

I think that might be worse than never finding it.

I was reminded yesterday of Melvin Dummar and the bad ol' days of Margaret and her repeated ditching of her son on me and Lynda.  Of the terrifying time when Taylor, Meg's then two year-old son, escaped the apartment and went on walkabout at six in the morning.  Pulled his Tonka truck up to the door, worried that deadbolt open, and off he went, Lynda's keys in hand.

What's that got to do with Melvin Dummar?

Well, his parents, Arnold and Chloe, were our landlord and landlady.  And Chloe was sitting on the front porch, watching Taylor make his way down the walk, out to the car, and eventually off down the street to who-knows-where.  When we burst out the basement door, screaming Taylor's name, Chloe looked the other way, as if we weren't even there.  When asked point-blank if she'd seen a two year old wandering off alone, she said, "I saw him--he tried to get into the car but couldn't work the keys, then he walked off down the street."  She pointed off vaguely to the west, then went back to whatever it was she was doing.  I asked, "Wait--and you didn't stop him?"

She looked back at me, rather smugly, and said, "You didn't tell us you had a baby staying with you.  So I had no way of knowing I was supposed to stop him."

Why yes, it was difficult to refrain from smacking her.  How'd you guess?

And THAT is why hearing someone talk about Melvin Dummar (of Melvin and Howard fame, if you're unaware) reminded me of losing Taylor that morning.  

In case you're wondering, we found him.  We ran like I hadn't ran in years--the kind of running where your arms pump and you seem to be nearly flying.  Around the corner, just in time to see the cop car pulling up to a house.  We arrived, winded and panicked.  The woman who'd found him tried very hard to convince the cop to take him from us ("his diaper's loaded!  He's barely dressed!") but, thankfully, the cop recognized that a baby who's escaped his crib at six in the morning is likely to have a loaded diaper and few clothes on.

Now Arnold and Chloe weren't all bad.  Arnold was . . . eccentric and had some really grand ideas and wishes.  Had he lived just 20 years later, he'd have been a millionaire, but without computers, fancy printers, graphics, and an internet to work with, he was limited to bad copy-shop cuts and pastes and huge ideas.  He believed himself grander than he was, but at his heart he seemed very kind.  Chloe?  Harder to peg.  Tired.  Sad.  Resolute.  Not much joy there.  Both of them sickly, their house cluttered and full of towering, teetering stacks of old newspapers and magazines, antique sewing machines and paths carved into the mountains of hoarded things.  It wasn't dirty, there were no roaches or anything awful.  It was just full--more stuff than room, two old folks not wanting to let go of anything.  They've both long passed on, but I count myself lucky having the stories that go with living in their basement.  They were, above all else, colorful.

And Melvin?  Yes, he came by now and then.  Best I leave it at that.

But maybe someday I'll tell you about Arnold's handyman electrical work in our apartment.  And how we went all winter with no heat because we feared his handiwork would kill us.

Oh, and just in case you don't know, this is Howard Hughes.

A fascinating story came across my feed today.  About Banksy and his graffiti.  About people who feel it's a "gift to the community" and get very upset when it's removed and sold.  About the battle between what is "art" and what is "vandalism" and who gets to make that call.  And, ultimately, about who owns something someone spray paints on the side of someone else's property.

An example of a "Banksy."  This one's gone, was painted
on private property and painted over pretty quickly

To me?  Depends--is it graffiti, done without the building owner's consent?  That makes it vandalism, so I see no problem allowing the building owner to make money off the defacing of his building.  That it's pretty vandalism doesn't make a difference.  If Banksy (or the towns where he paints) doesn't want his graffiti sold, Banksy needs to stop spraying it on buildings without permission from the owners.  Apparently, there are plenty of Brits who would be thrilled to have Banksy spray paint their buildings.  Let them offer up their properties, and then we have no more problems. 

That's my spin.  I know there are those who'll cry, "But look how ugly that building was!"  Yeah--you know, I had a friend who bought an old house in a struggling, formerly glorious area.  A lot of beautiful but terribly run-down architecture.  She and her husband painstakingly restored that house, then painted it in a garish array of neon colors--purples and oranges and greens and pinks.  They thought it was beautiful.  Most folks thought it was an eyesore.  But bottom line, it was their house.  Had they done that to a neighbor's house without permission?  That's vandalism.  And had someone painted over their house to hide the gaudy colors and make it more  pleasing to their own eye?  That's vandalism, too.  Just because you think something's pretty (or ugly) doesn't mean you get to impose that idea with a can of spray paint on someone else's property.

Was reading the Standard this morning, the story of my friend's son and the achievement of his black belt. Loved reading about him, but, sadly, the piece was very poorly written.  Made me wish I could go in and rewrite it the same way I went in and recreated a Facebook meme for Politics with Jarred and Dave yesterday. 

Speaking of which, is it just no longer a "thing" to thank people for their help?  The meme, about Antonin Scalia, came across my wall, and the misspellings and typos were breathtaking.  Embarrassing.  So I pasted the thing into Photoshop, cloned out the type, and rewrote it, sans the mistakes.  I then sent it to them with a, "that's better" sort of note (I had already told them I planned to do it).  The response?  A terse, "I don't understand what your point is." 

Wow!  Okay. Didn't stop them from pulling down the horrid mess they had up (actually misspelled Scalia's name, along with a few other words) and putting mine up.  Without a word of thanks.  I don't require public recognition, but a private thanks is always nice.  Wendy/Rebecca didn't get that, either.  Took public credit for my legwork, gave no acknowledgement to me, privately or otherwise, and then called ME an egomaniac when I said, "You're welcome."  As far as I'm concerned, the egomania comes with taking credit for someone else's work, telling people you did the research when, in fact, someone else did it for you, and then freaking out and hurling insults when called on it. In private, of course--can't have your 12 adoring fans thinking you're a shrew, can you?

I often bemoan my son's "finely developed sense of justice," but I know where he gets it from.  It really does drive me batty when people are unfair or project their own shortcomings on others.

What can I say?  People amaze me.  And not in a good way, most times.

Anyway, I'll let it slide--it's not that important, and I did choose to undertake the task.  And, thanked or no, I feel better that the version with such gems as "Scallia," "furture," and "entitelment"  isn't still out there. 

Reading about sequestration, and, worse, the impending government shut-down.  Those bastards have one month to decide whether or not they're going to destroy my family by putting my husband out of work for days or weeks.  I don't see how we can recover from something like that. They've already decided that they want the sequestration because they believe it will harm our President.  But the shut down?  Here's the rub--if they DON'T get the sequestration, I fully expect them, out of spite for losing that one, to gleefully push us into a shutdown.  Just to get even. 

Never mind that shutdowns are devastatingly expensive in the long run (because all that work piles up, and when the shut down ends, it needs to be done, and the getting done requires huge amounts of overtime).  Never mind the services that, quite literally, SHUT DOWN.  Need a passport?  Need MEAT at the grocery store?  Need a Social Security card?  Tough, nobody's home.  Never mind the millions a day mass-transit providers lose, never mind the small businesses that depend upon federal workers to keep them going day in and day out (think about it--everything from print shops to coffee shops to restaurants to cabbies).  They don't care--shut down doesn't hurt their big oil buddies and the like, and that's all that matters to them. Making a crappy point on the backs of working folks?

Well, that's just tradition, son.  Who cares if it makes us a laughingstock? 

And here's how it will go--the democrats will cave because they DO care.  They DO care if millions are put out of work, if people are stranded and devastated.  They care.  The right doesn't.  And so, by necessity, the Democrats will blink first because they'd rather have a crappy deal where SOME folks don't suffer than no deal where ALL folks suffer. 

Well, all but the really rich ones.  Which is what this is all about anyway.

Same as it's ever was.

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fine China and Murderous Star Fruit

So, I was reading about how to eat a Star Fruit the other day (I got one for my boy, and we'd forgotten how he divided and ate it last time) when I came across a rather important tidbit--I probably shouldn't eat Star Fruit.

It turns out, you see, that Star Fruit can be very dangerous to folks with disorders that might compromise kidney function.

Like diabetes?

Taking a look at the Star Fruit, you can see it has a sinister air:

And what's the risk to folks with messed up kidneys?  Well, death.  For a start.  Isn't that enough?

Here are a couple of articles:

I don't think my kidneys are in trouble, but I am diabetic, so I'll just skip the Star Fruit, thank you very much.  I did let our boy eat it--he's had it before and suffered no ill effects.  But, truth be told, I'm not likely to grab this for him again.  There are other fruits he likes just as well that don't carry with them a neurotoxin warning.

I was thinking today about home decor.  About my dream home and the lovely countertops and bedstands I would love to have.  I looked around at where we live--it's just in-between, you know? It's in that place between poverty-stricken college student whose bed is on the floor and whose books rest in makeshift shelves crafted out of milk cartons and cinderblocks and lovely, warm, welcoming pulled-togetherness that my inner grown-up really craves.  And then I got to thinking how odd it is for such things to become important.  How funny it is to care about the form when all that really should matter is the function.  I mean, with a fridge, it matters whether or not it pumps ice and water out the front, because that's a functional thing.  But does it matter if it's stainless steel, fake stainless "satin" look, or just plain white?  


I dunno.  But what I do know is that I want a nice dining room table to match our lovely chairs so I can put my fancy Mikasa china on it and have it look pretty.  Which is incredibly stupid, because what matters is how the food tastes.

So, the joy of making palm wax candles is on shaky ground.  Turns out palm wax, like palm oil, is an environmental nightmare--deforestation, habitat destruction, etc.  Problem is, soy's no better--massively genetically modified, being grown on clear-cut land in South America, etc.  Paraffin is a petroleum product that makes, in my opinion, ugly candles.  And beeswax?  Expensive, not as good for throwing scent, and not really practical in large amounts.  Looking into Malaysian palm wax, which is reputed to be sustainable and closely controlled for environmental practices.  Will probably cost a lot more than we want to spend, too.  

Beautiful crystal look on a homemade palm oil candle

Woke up screaming last night.  I suffer from night paralysis, and while it's normally just scary (can't breathe), and occasionally a lot of fun (I can sometimes decide what to dream in that state), sometimes it's nightmarish.  Like last night.  My eyes were just open enough to see the mirror across the room and the flower vase in front of it.  But in the dream, it was the doorway, not the mirror, and the flowers were someone's crazy hair.  So there was some big, crazy, huge-haired monster standing in the door way.  It was very threatening.  I managed to wake up enough to reorient and put the mirror where it belongs in my head.  But then the mirror itself became sinister--yes, that was a flower vase in front, but the REFLECTION of the flowers was actually some malevolent someone INSIDE the mirror.  I went from the "trying to scream but only groaning" to full-out SCREAMING.  I swear, sometimes.

The evil mirror of my nightmares

No word from the guy who ditched me on Facebook, either he's an epic jerk or this is a tragic misunderstanding.  Either way, it's time to move on.  

Just watched the video of that hot air balloon that crashed in Egypt.  I never wanted to hot air balloon, and now I really don't want to.  Very sad--even sadder, hearing the folks in the filming balloon praying for the folks in the burning one.  No, I don't "believe," but that doesn't mean I don't feel for people who are doing the only thing they can think of to try to help.  In fact, it breaks my heart to hear people put their heart out like that.

And on that cheery note, I'm going to call it a night.  Just watched Justified, and hey, being on the east coast has its perks--THEY KILLED THE WHOLE CAST, REPLACED THEM ALL WITH ROBOTS!  IT WAS THE BIGGEST SECRET IN TELEVISION HISTORY!

Go on, be a jerk.  Ditch  me for putting out a spoiler. 

I double-dawg dare you.

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Monday, February 25, 2013

Well THAT Was Sad

So, I'm on the iPad late last night, watching a friend perform at the Hobbit Oscar Party in Hollywood ("The One-Expected Party," I believe it was called).  It was streamed live through  She plays the viola da gamba and the bodhran (Irish drum), and her band didn't hit the stage until around 2:50 am my time (and was followed by Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan).  Truth be told, though I do like both Billy and Dominic, I liked my friend's performance better.  It was lovely, and was definitely worth staying up for!

Between checking the live feed and playing solitaire, I was checking Facebook.  A message came up from a friend I've known since Mrs. Wixom's drama class at Highland Junior High in Ogden, Utah.

He posted something to the effect of, "Bug off!  I'm watching Walking Dead!"  As a fellow fan of Walking Dead, I "get" it.  I jokingly (OBVIOUSLY jokingly!) said something like, "Being on the east coast has its advantages--turns out everybody dies, they replaced the whole cast!  It's the biggest secret in TV history"  Obviously a joke, right?  Right?  I mean, nobody takes that seriously.

Except this guy, apparently.  He posted (verbatim here--this is a copy and paste), "I think, spoiling The Walking Dead, even as a joke, is funny. It's not. Unfriended. Bye."

First off, the atrocious grammar and punctuation? Utterly unlike this guy.  As is the freaky lack of humor and the over-the-top reaction to a harmless, funny joke.  I immediately assumed he was playing, that this was also a joke.  I was, in fact, SO certain of this that I responded with something like, "Nah, you need me--I'm slow and old, I'm just who you want with you in a zombie invasion--they'll be so busy eating on me you'll have time to escape!"  I clicked to post, but then the whole page disappeared.  I tried to click back to it, but no joy.  Finally typed his name into the search field, and no returns.

In other words, he dropped me AND blocked me.

What's sad is that, while he's deleted my original "killed everyone and replaced the entire cast" joke, my LIKING his "unfriended" post still shows.

So there I am, STILL thinking he's joking!  Still thinking that, in a few minutes, he'll unblock me and send me a "ha ha, wasn't that funny?" note with a friend request.

Except he didn't.  It appears he actually meant it.  He actually ditched me because I cracked a fake spoiler joke about Walking Dead.  And now he's got sycophantic "walkers" posting about, gosh, yes, wasn't that just terrible of her?  What an awful person!

Wow.  Dumbfounded and sad don't begin to cover it.  It has the feel of, to borrow from a friend, a guy with "bigger fish to fry."  The feel of a guy who was looking for an excuse to be a jerk to me.  Or, hey, maybe someone hijacked his account.  Because no way he ditches me over a pretend spoiler for Walking Dead.  No way--that was too obviously NOT a spoiler for him to have dumped me for that.  He's a smarter guy than that, he's got a better sense of humor.

Or so I thought.  Considering how sure I was this was all a joke, I guess you could argue that I have no idea what sort of guy he is.  Maybe he really is the kind of obsessed fanboy who would ditch someone over an obvious joke.  Maybe he is the kind of guy who makes grand "unfriending" announcements in order to look cool to the masses.  Maybe he really is that . . . SMALL.

And how does all of this make me feel?

Well, pretty much exactly like THIS:

I've had mutual friends step in, say it seems really off-color for him, offering to speak to him, play go-between, but no.  No, because it's a fine line between making overtures and harassment, and I don't want to come even close to that line.  Lesson learned, I guess.  We live in a country where people you've known for 34 years will ditch you (and block you to prevent you from asking why) because you cracked a joke about an AMC Zombie series.

Well, alrighty then.

The general consensus is "you're better off without him."  And I guess I'll have to try to find some comfort in that, though, truth be told, I'm not comforted.  I'm just bummed.  Sucks when someone you've known for this long, someone you thought was cool, turns out to be a jerk who doesn't care at all about you.  Sucks a lot.

Trying to line up my gynecology and dermatology appointments for the same day.  The docs are in the same building, so it would be super-convenient if I can get the appointments to line up.  Like the stars, you know?  But with scalpels and specula (speculae?).  Sadly, the first appointment I made was for a Wednesday with the gynecologist--doesn't it figure that the dermatologist doesn't work Wednesdays?  Gah.  Also need for the gynecologist to order a mammogram for me (time for my annual).  Hoping to inspire her to call in a script for my metoprolol, too.  I don't want to hassle with the "primary care physician" unless I absolutely have to.  She missed the mass.  She blows off research in favor of what she wants.  I don't want to see her again unless I absolutely have to.  I'm sure she's a nice person, but the moment you stick fingers in and insist there's no mass when I KNOW there is, when I've told you EXACTLY where it is, and then you don't even bother saying, "Whoopsie!" when I wind up requiring surgery for the removal of that mass?  I don't need you.

 Only gained 2 pounds over the weekend instead of the FIVE I gained two weekends before and the FOUR I gained last weeked.  Net, in two weeks, I'm down five pounds, i.e., I weigh five pounds less today than I did two Mondays ago.  And I seem to be doing better reining in my weekends while still splurging, so that's good.

The fact that this next paycheck is going to be astoundingly tight should help with that, huh?

Anyway, I'm outta here--time to let the dog out, mop the floor, grind some history and science into that boy, and maybe get in a nap--I only slept three hours last night, and I am super-tired.

No bad paneling.  I'm sad.

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How Much is Too Much?

So I screwed up and read the letters to the editor in my old local rag this morning.  Someone compared the Boy Scouts' discrimination against homosexuals with the old laws that kept blacks from staying in white hotels or eating in white restaurants.  Someone else came in and said (this is verbatim) "Gays are nowhere close to being discriminated against to the same level that blacks were . . . ."

Okay, awkward sentence structure aside, WHAT THE HELL?  Seriously?  That's like saying, "Sure, apartheid sucks, but it's not nearly as bad as what the Ottomans did to the Armenians, so let's not even bother worrying about it" or, at its heart, "cutting off four fingers is a human rights violation, but cutting off one isn't (or surgically altering a girl's genitals is wrong but doing it to a boy is A-okay)."  Can't we just agree that telling someone they can't partake in something because of their sexual orientation (or their religious affiliation, hello again, Boy Scouts) is crap and we shouldn't condone it?  Regardless of how it might compare to some other bit of nastiness?

John Cole
Scranton Times/Tribune
Feb 10, 2013

Just ate up the last of the Farmer's Market jam.  Shared it with the boy.  Amazingly tasty, and incredibly not diabetic-friendly.  To my credit, we've had that little 8 oz jar for four months, so it's not like I've gone completely crazy on it.  It was superbly good, and I look forward to another jar lasting us four or more months.

Also in my old local newspaper, I found an advert for a "women's health center."  We used to live right next door to it, drove by it every day.  But I never realized who owned the place until today.

Warning--this is about to get a bit gory and "woman-y."

When I had my boy, almost 15 years ago, it was a mess.  My labor didn't progress, even though I started with water broken (and meconium in the water) and contractions strong and two minutes apart.  I labored unmedicated for over 30 hours, though, at 25 hours, my  labor began to falter.  Then came the pitocin for a few hours.  Still no joy-I never got beyond five centimeters, even though the boy was fully engaged and ready to go.   So I wound up in the OR.  Turned out our boy's head was in the 99th percentile, circumference-wise.  He was over 9 lbs and had a head like a pumpkin, whereas I have a very narrow set of hips. I could have labored 'til the cows came home, but he wouldn't have made it out.  Anyway, when they finally wheeled me down to the OR (with my half-assed epidural in place--NEVER again!), there were TWO doctors there.  My usual OB, a great guy whom I like a lot, and some other guy I'd never seen before.  We were introduced (won't say his name, since it's too late to sue for malpractice), and I was told he was a doctor from the Clinic, and he would be assisting.

"Assisting."  Is that what they call that now?  Guy did a number on me and how.  Four days postpartum, I noticed some bleeding from the incision--only the left side.  I called my doc, but he was out of town.  I was sent to this guy, since he had "assisted" in my c-section.  He looked, he gently tucked a little gauze into it, and he proclaimed it "fine until Dr. S gets back on Monday."

Except he was either stupid or lying.  It was actually NOT fine at ALL.  It was, in fact, ruptured all the way down to the suture line at the uterus, and a GIGANTIC hematoma had formed.  Let's be real--he couldn't possibly have NOT known that, but he sent me home for THREE DAYS with this because he didn't want to hassle with it.  Imagine my HORROR when I hobbled into my doc's office on Monday to have him sink his entire hand into that incision and drag out gobbets of blood like liver.

Sorry, too much information?

A week (?) or so later, when my doctor's nurse was removing the staples, she said, "Oh, my GOD, what a mess--who closed this?  I thought Doctor S. did your section?"  I told her, and she clammed right up.  Her face went still and careful and she said, "Yes.  Well, I could tell Dr. S. hadn't done this--his staples are always neat and pretty."

That's right, the "assisting" doc had done the closing.  And left me with crappy staples and a huge bleeder.  And then let it ride over the weekend because he didn't want to have to clean up his own mess.  I suppose I should be thankful--considering the quality of his care, imagine what he might have done to me, had he really put some effort into it.

I thought a friend was going to this clinic now (I'd heard her mention it before I knew the doc in question was there), but she just let me know she's not anymore.  Nor is her mom.  They don't like the guy.  Good.  No, I don't dare make it my life's work to warn the world, but I'm definitely going to warn my friends off.  I had no idea he was still active and in the area.  If I'd known, I'd have warned my friends sooner.

Since it's a lost food weekend, we're experimenting--I've been wanting Sambusa for weeks.  A friend who posted pictures a few days ago (she calls them "Samosas," which isn't uncommon, but it's odd to my ears because they've always been Sambusa to me) didn't help ease that craving.

Not quite our recipe, but certainly representative

We don't have it often, maybe once or twice a year, but when we do, we usually have it stuffed with hamburger, green onions, parsley, turmeric, cardamom, cumin (I learned it from the Arabic, so it's "kammun" not "kooomin" or "kyoomin"), and garlic.  It's a recipe I learned from an old friend of a friend named Aziz Al Howifi back in the very old days.  My ex, who was Palestinian, made a good Sambusa, too.   Anyway, I've gotten distracted.  My point was that we don't HAVE any regular hamburger, all we have is a batch of taco meat we cooked up and froze a few weeks ago.  So, we're having . . .


Yeah, green onions, taco-spiced hamburger, with Mexican blend cheese and maybe sliced tomatoes (or just salsa).  A search online tells me that this would be called "Indo-Mexican Fusion-style."

Please.  I don't have that much fartsy in me.  It's just Sambusa made with Mexican spices.  Get real.

Going to have it with black beans and Spanish rice.  My mouth is actually watering!

After much debate, we've decided to nurse the back door along until after September--we're afraid the landlord might peg us pains-in-the-behind and decide not to renew the lease if we hit him with that before.  It's not that he doesn't know about it--I've emailed him about it (and he's responded that he would "try to get something done") and spoken to his handyman about it.  But he's already replaced the disposal and the dishwasher.  I'm afraid tossing the door in the mix would make him want less bothersome tenants.  So I want the new lease signed before we get serious about it.

We've got a plan for getting the debt paid down.  If nothing disastrous crops up (like THAT would ever happen), we can have all the credit cards paid off in a year-and-a-half, and ALL the debt, including car and student aid, paid off in two years.  We've already got two cards zeroed, with another (plus a store account) being paid off next month.  As each card gets paid off, we roll its payment into the next card's, increasing how much we're paying.

Of course, if the government puts my husband out of work for weeks because they're busy posturing and trying to poke at my President, all bets are off.  In fact, should that happen, we're sunk.

And that's about it.  I've spent the day cleaning (with help, thank you Hubby!), am feeling better about my world.  Last bathroom tomorrow, and then I can breathe.  Well, except I have to call the dermatologist and the gynecologist and the radiologist to make appointments for various things I don't want done.  Which sucks a lot of the air out of my world.

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Everything Must Go!

Once again, I was faced with the Utah "sell" for "sale" thing.  You know, "Target's having a big SELL on electronics!"  Except this time it wasn't the usual, expected-type source.  This was a well-spoken (or well-written, actually) person with a lovely way of expression and terrific spelling.  Broad vocabulary.  And somehow managed to use the word "sell" in the place of "sale" repeatedly. But this person isn't from Utah, but rather the south.  I guess it's a widespread problem.

We were talking today about Charlie, our Cairn, and how he loves each of us for different reasons. Me?  I'm the boss, flat out.  When he's too wound up to obey anyone else, my voice almost always cuts through the excitement and gets a response.  Oh, and I'm the one he comes to when he's scared or worried about things.  Hubby?  He's the face licking and and tug-o-war playing guy, the go-to for ice cubes and the guy whose feet he most wants to rest on during the day.  And our boy?

He's the fetch-playing king.  Charlie will grab a toy and begin trotting through the house, looking for his boy.  If he can't find him, he becomes increasingly upset, crying and searching.  While he will tolerate one of the adults taking the toy and throwing it for him, he'll only go after it once, then go off in search of his boy again.

All three of us are good for sleeping on.

Here's a video of one of Charlie's favorite things.  You may find it a bit disgusting.  Sorry.

I think I've decided to have the basal cell (why do I keep trying to capitalize that, like it's deserving of some honor?) excised instead of using the Aldara.  Yes, it would be cool to use the Aldara and keep a running photographic commentary on my blog, but you know what?  Stuff's gonna be four times as expensive to use (provided there are no problems), and it's not as effective as excision.  Yes, I'll have a scar.  Oh, look, another scar!  Another!  Let's see--gallbladder and appendix (before the days of laparoscopic surgery), C-section, car accident face, and various horse and hiking related scars (plus stretch marks!), and I'm going to worry about a little scar on my arm?  Yeah, I think I'm going to go for the more effective, cheaper treatment.  Maybe I'll take "stages of healing" wound pics, instead.

Found out today that Charles Trentelman of the Ogden Standard Examiner is retiring.  No, I had no inside scoop, though I've been Facebook friends (and a little more than that, I'd like to think) with him for years.  He gave my boy a beautiful Desert Storm coffee mug (black with gold) and a terrific, BIG framed pic from the RAF.  I like Charles, even though our first experience with each other was a rather heated discussion of the relative qualities of Northern Utah vs Upstate New York.  Needless to say, we disagreed.  And that's okay--fact is, I like the heck out of Mr. Trentelman, and I'll miss his writing.  He often gave voice to the thoughts in my head.

Speaking of the end of an era, I've stepped up  my attempts to find some information about Sister Mary Jane and Sister Elizabeth from St. Benedict's in Ogden, Utah.  It's been 35-40 years since I've seen them, and I'm sure Sister Elizabeth has likely died.  But Mary Jane was much younger, and could conceivably still be around.  I'd love to know how she is, see how her life turned out.  She may have originally been from Minnesota, and may have gone back there after she left Ogden. If anyone knows/knew her, please let me know (or let her know she's remembered).  If you think someone might know her, please pass this along.

This came across my wall again.  Well, it's the first time for this meme, but we've covered the point before.  It bears repeating.

No politics today.  I read a bunch of slime that dribbled out of Lance Kinzer and find I can't even go there today.

Really quick, check this out--figured it out in just a couple of minutes, and it only took me AND hubby!  Which means that, between us, we're smart!  

So here--have some really crappy paneling to round out the day!

Did we ever think this was okay?

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Friday, February 22, 2013

I could just scream. A lot.

I stumbled across an article today about a mom whose foul mouth had her toddler whipping off with some pretty intense language.  She didn't think it was funny, understood it was a problem.  Sadly, like me, she's not sure what to do about it.

I have a foul mouth.  I'll get that out of the way here--I can make sailors cry with the utter vulgarity that leaps from my lips.  No kidding, some of my favorite words would make even the most seasoned folks blink.  Now, I'm not like that in public, of course--I've never sprayed a waiter or a police officer or a professor with "obscenities" (in quotation marks because I think pretty much all words, including those, have their place).  I'm not going to go off and level your grandma with my dirty mouth.  But at home?

Oh, at home I am a mess.  It's almost compulsive, really.  And interspersed are things like, "Oh, for goodness' sake" and "Holy cow, REALLY?"

We knew early on we would have to work with our boy in order to keep him from mimicking mommy and daddy.  And we've done a fine job--in fact, until just today, he'd never thrown out any of the big ones (not since toddlerhood, anyway).  Today was a bad, sad, and special day.  I hope we don't repeat it.

Anyway, when our boy was, oh, maybe four years old, he and his Daddy were driving in Ogden, Utah.  Cruising down Harrison Boulevard toward 12th Street/Canyon Road.  As they approached the intersection, at speed limit, it became obvious that a truck full of teenagers was going to try to make a left turn into their path.  Hubby romped on the brake and screamed, "Oh, don't you do it, you stupid f***ing sh*t!"  (yes, I hate having to mask that like a child, but them's the rules).  Our boy piped up from his seat in the back, "Stupid F***king SHOOT, Daddy!"

See, we'd had the feces talk with him.  We hadn't had the "F-word" talk.  Hubby almost died.  Laughing, that is--he managed to keep the car and my beautiful family out of the path of the teens in the truck.

Cried myself so stupid today that now, three hours later, my head, eyes, and face still hurt.  I sure do hate fighting with that boy.  What I really hate is losing my temper to match HIS loss of temper.  I needed to use the screw driver to open his bedroom door (he wouldn't let me in), and when we were done, I walked out and THREW the screwdriver, which embedded in the bathroom door.  Seriously, it flew about six feet and embedded like a carnival dagger.  No WAY I could have done that intentionally.  If I hadn't been crying, I'd have laughed.

So, I was on a news site yesterday when I came across an interview with Jimmy Carter.  I've always liked Mr. Carter, always felt he was an intelligent, caring, fair-minded man.  My sister used to think the same (worshiped the guy, actually)  until he spoke out against the apartheid actions of the Israeli Government.  She then pegged him a racist, an anti-Semite, a fool, a crazy old man, and a sell-out.  This is her reaction whenever anyone speaks out either against the Israeli Government or in favor of the Palestinians.  It's immediate, she dismisses them as bigots, implies that any opinion they may have is borne of a hatred of Jews and/or Judaism, and refuses to entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe it's possible to disagree with the actions of a GOVERNMENT without hating the PEOPLE.

It's exhausting, it's so far beneath her.  You can't even say you dislike an actor's performance without her jumping in with, "Well, you would--he's Jewish."  Gah.

Anyway, I came across this story on CNN, commented that I like Mr. Carter, and was met with the battiest flurry of absolute crazy I think I've ever seen.  After the guy got done whining about the failed hostage mission (give it up--if it had succeeded, you'd say it wasn't Carter, it was the military, if he'd refrained from the attempt, you'd have vilified him for inaction, and by attempting and failing, you condemn him for that),   he started talking about how Jimmy Carter is a Nazi, an anti-Semite who so worships Hitler that he's had both Hitler and Eva Braun exhumed in order to have them re-interred in a place of honor at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.

I know, right?  Just how much scary-crazy CAN you fit in one skull?  Just when I think I've seen the limit, here comes this guy.

I broke my own heart today.  See, my first guitar was a lovely, barely worn 1960 Fender Stratocaster.  My mom bought it for me when I was 13.  She got it from a pawn shop, and it was SO not the guitar I wanted.  Amazing rectangular tweed hard case and little twin reverb Fender amp, and I was so unimpressed.  I, of course, wanted a Les Paul with a Marshall amp.  How else was I going to grow up to be Steve Perry (whose politics I can't stomach, but boy, I loved his playing back in the day)? Sadly, while she got me the guitar, she refused to get me lessons.  I struggled, I tried, but there was no YouTube or other source of instruction, just me and some chord charts.

I tried for a while, was taught, rote, a few songs, but I never actually learned to play.  I could mimic if given enough instruction.  I wound up selling the guitar to a meter reader who spotted it down in the basement.  For $125.  Yes, I realize now the guy totally ripped me off.

How much is it worth now?  Oh, gosh.

Maybe $30,000.  No, that's not a typo.  Thirty grand.  I've found one for $58,000.

Here's what it looked like, exactly:

We won't even talk about what the amp and case would be worth.  Not as much as the guitar, but together as much as we owe on the new car.

I may cry myself to death.  Stupid f***ing shoot, indeed.

Not really a lot more to say.  I've started on Pinterest, trying to bring in hits for my reviews over on Epinions.  Hope that works.

Oh, the Girl Scout cookies came home with hubby today.  I couldn't keep my grubby fingers off them.  Thought I had eaten more than I had, panicked over what I thought was going to be a disastrous blood sugar spike, so I dashed downstairs and spent 40 minutes on the recumbent bike.  Hey, that's something, right?

Oh, one last quick note--hubby just found a black widow in the toaster.  Guess we don't have toast often enough, huh?

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A quick note about "Cough CPR"

Okay, here's the Facebook Meme that keeps making the rounds every year or so:

And here's the text that accompanies it:


Let's say it's 6:15pm and you're going home (alone of course),...after an unusually hard day on the job. You're really tired, upset and frustrated. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles (8kms) from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.

Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.

A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.

Rather than sharing jokes, please contribute by sharing this which can save a person's life!

Okay, please don't do this.  Don't spread this around.  Yes, there is such a thing, it's rarely used, rarely effective, and requires strict medical supervision, because whether or not this works depends up on the type of cardiac issues you're suffering.  You could actually damage yourself with this.  You could kill yourself.  Seriously.  If you fear you are suffering a heart attack, CALL 911 AND EAT 325 mg OF NON-ENTERIC-COATED ASPIRIN!  And CHEW that aspirin, don't just swallow it--chewing it gets it into your blood stream faster.

Here, read THIS


If you want to survive a heart attack, don't do what some misguided Facebook meme tells you.  Please.  Call 911, chew up 325 mg of Aspirin, and make sure you're in that ER as soon as humanly possible.  THAT'S what's going to save you.

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

A Prayer for Obama STILL?

The man was reelected by a solid margin, his popularity is skyrocketing, and there are still people whining this awful crap?  New (and already former) friend on Facebook posted it this morning like it was something all brand new and shiny!  I had him pegged for a durf, but he's the friend of a friend, and he sent me the friend request about two weeks ago.  I ditched him this morning, the moment that puke slid across my feed.

I really do have a "zero tolerance" policy on that one.  Especially when it slides out of the keyboard of some snickering git.  Maybe Ted Nugent can hook him up, huh?  Nards of a feather and all that.

Here's a little more of Psalm 109.  Because either they're stupid and don't know what it means (you know, the pick-and-choose but don't comprehend "convenience Christians") or else they DO know what it means in context, but they think they're sly and sneaky, preserving deniability if anyone says, "Whoa, that sucks!"  With the right so often crying that their awful statements have been "taken out of context," let's look at their "Prayer for Obama" in context.

Here you go:

 Set thou a wicked man over him:
and let Satan stand at his right hand.
 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned:
and let his prayer become sin.

 Let his days be few;
and let another take his office.

 Let his children be fatherless,
and his wife a widow.
  Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg:
let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;
and let the strangers spoil his labor.

Let there be none to extend mercy unto him:
neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.

Let his posterity be cut off;
and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Oh, gosh, that's maybe not so cute, is it?  That is, in fact, maybe wishing death upon our President and horrors upon his children and wife.  More than anything, it's a scumbag use of what they claim is "divinely inspired truth" as a cheap stick with which to poke a politician because they're mad their guy didn't get elected.  Oh, yeah, nothing speaks true faith and sincere love of God like that.


I did post about this over three years ago. That there are STILL morons spraying this garbage is astounding.

Completely unhappy about being awake this morning.  But I've already cleaned one bathroom, including scrubbing the toilet, sink, and tub, and have the dishwasher going.  When I finish this, I'll move on to another bathroom.

Danged Cardinals are driving me nutty--they're out there singing and cavorting like it's spring.  It looks like spring because it never really looks like winter here--the grass stays green, my dianthus and pansies are still alive (not blooming, but alive), my parsley and spinach are still alive, so standing at the window, watching and listening to the birdies?  Fools you.  And then you open the door and that blast of cold air comes in and dashes your hopes.

Speaking of dashing hopes, Epinions paid out yesterday--markedly lower than the month before.  That's because, apparently, Google and Ebay (Epinions' parent company) are on the outs, and so Google isn't including our reviews in their top search results like they used to.  And it's true--I went out and searched for my reviews, which used to come in top of the Google heap (or at least on the first page of search results), but no more--they're just not there.  Which makes me invisible to folks looking for information about products.  My Logitech K800 review is bottom of the SECOND search return page.  Bottom of the second page, and that's if I include the word "Epinions" in the search term!  Without it?  I'm not even on the first four pages, and I quit looking after that!  It's no wonder I'm not taking any hits!

Just had this Oklahoma house bill of horror skid through my world (it PASSED on February 19th).  Hey, folks?  I'm just gonna say it because, mortifyingly, it seems to require saying:


It's 2013, and we still have people trying to spew their religion in public schools?  We still have people pushing creationism to our public school students?  And don't call it "creation science"--science MEANS something, it's not just a word you can tack on in hopes of lending your faith some sort of credence.

Humans and Dinosaurs co-existing.  Screw science, there's the picture!
Speaking of schools and what's being taught, we're ditching the crappy world history book we've been using with our boy and bucking him up to my college "beginnings to 1500" book.  I was working up a test for him yesterday and found some glaring errors--like 3,000 year errors.  The kind of errors that could totally screw up his idea of when things happened.  Hey, you get what you pay for, and that was a cheap book.  My college text isn't.  So that's how we'll go.

Eating up a blood orange, then it's time to clean bathroom and get on school work for the day.

In case you'v never seen one, here's a blood orange peeled.  Not as tasty as the Sumo--more navel-ish, less mandarin-y.  But good, especially if you like your oranges more acidic and less sugary.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Is Speak English Good

Just came across a blog by a Brit who had some interesting things to say about "an helicopter."  Of course, at first, I was terribly offended.  But then I really thought about it, and it makes perfect sense.

You see, to the average Brit, that "h" at the beginning of "helicopter" isn't really there at all.  It's not the big, forceful "HUUUUH" that we Americans give it.  In fact, it's not really there in any meaningful way.  As a result, it's perfectly reasonable for someone to say "an 'elicopter."  Right?

After all, I don't say "a Herb," but rather, "An 'erb."  I do, that's how I grew up saying it.

But here's where it (and I) get weird.  I say, "an historical event."  There's an "h" sound in there, but not a very strong one.  However, I would NEVER say, "an history book."  And speaking of "hists," I would say, "an hysterical woman," but "a histrionic man."

Moving on, I don't say, "I wish it were."  No, I say, "I wish it was."  If you see me write it any other way, it's because I'm giving into spousal pressure.  It drives (English/Philosophy major) hubby nuts when I do that.

I wish that wasn't the case ;-)

I take my verbs very seriously, and it makes me just a little crazy when I read books where that's not the case.  Leap, leaped, have leapt, get, got, have gotten, give, gave, have given--this is RIGHT to me, and I know some Brits would disagree.  Reading the Harry Potter novels aloud for my son leaves me correcting their grammar, usually automatically, without ever saying a word about it.  Because, you see, Mr. Weasley hasn't gone to the Ministry and GOT a folder, he's gone and GOTTEN it.  Apparently, that's a very American thing.  Nice to see we got one thing right, huh?

Insert big winky face here so no one is offended:

Not sure where I get my English peccadillos from--I had immigrant grandparents.  Maybe that's the source?

Hey, before I go, just a note--if you're feeding an expensive pet food because the name and price have led you to believe they're high-quality?

Please read the label.  If it begins with things like corn meal, corn, wheat, gluten, meat by-product, etc.?  Find another food.  The first couple of ingredients really should be named meat products, and "meat by-product meal" isn't something you ever want to see in your pet's food.  There are foods pushed by veterinarians that are as low in quality as Old Roy.  Seriously.  Just because a vet suggests it doesn't mean it's good.  Especially if the vet makes money off the sale.  Do some research, look around, and you can find a high-quality food that will do the job of a weight loss/diabetic food with better quality ingredients.  Do it better without the possible stomach, skin, eye, and coat problems.

If you're like we were for years and can't afford the really good foods?  Don't beat yourself up--buy Purina and love your dog.  But if you're buying something fancy and pricey because the name is famous or your vet says so?  Read the label.

This site?  Rocks.  Dog Food Advisor

Here's what we feed Charlie:

 The first food is Castor and Pollux Organix.  The second food is a Kirkland product.  That's Costco.  The Kirkland is markedly cheaper than most grain-free products, and it's a high-quality food.  So the bulk of Charlie's diet is the Nature's Domain, with a smaller amount of the Castor and Pollux mixed in. He really likes it, we feel good about feeding it to him, and it doesn't break the bank.  The Organix is good stuff--extremely good, in fact, so we'll keep mixing it in. Charlie likes the mix.  I'm not sure how this formatting is going to work out--it's looking a bit disastrous to me, and when I try to return-return-return to start a new paragraph, the cursor skips all the way down the page and there's no way for me to type between.  So, yeah, I'm just typing here to take up space.  I am SO close to being a techie, I'm just inches away from having some sort of clue what I'm doing!  Can you imagine if I really understood all this stuff?  How incredible my blog would be?  LOL, I slay me.

Oh, hey, I fixed it (I think--won't really know until I click "publish," huh?)!  Just needed to adjust the alignment!  Or whatever it is you're doing when you decide to set it to left instead of center.

Because, if you've read my blog at all, you'll know I'm all about left of center!

Epic chicken" for dinner tonight!  "Epic" is what our boy calls it.  Hubby  makes homemade chicken tenders/fillets.  Oven baked instead of fried, with spices and Corn Flake crumb breading.  Boneless, skinless organic/cage-free chicken.  We'll have it with broccoli, butternut squash, and salad.  Then super-smoothies for dessert!

Hey, is it possible to have a food hangover?  I'm asking because after a wild, lost-diet weekend, the first day after I feel sort of dragged out and oogy.  Wondering if it's the shift in diet?

Paneling!  Bad, bad paneling!

Oh, and because the universe behaves this way, THIS blog entry will be the most grammatically flawed, typo-laden disaster ever in the history of blogdom.  So don't bother to tell me I've screwed up.  That's a given :-)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sequestration and Furloughs and Fajitas, Oh, MY!

As I've mentioned before, my husband is a Federal employee.  One of the millions of people held hostage by small, mean, stupid politicians looking to score points off our President, regardless of how badly it hurts individual families, no matter how big a ding it puts in our economic recovery.

In fact, I think these "people" WANT our economy to suffer, they want people to hurt, because then they can blink innocently and point the finger at our President.

I hate them.  Know that.  They string America along, never giving us anything long-term enough to really dare breathe, and leave us constantly trying to figure out how we'll survive.

Thankfully, hubby's department has been scrimping and saving, so they've got the money to keep everyone on, should sequestration hit.  But if there's no budget?

We're looking at a government shut down.

Let me tell you something about government shut downs--they don't SAVE money.  They COST money, because when the government starts up again, all that work is STILL there, piled up over the days or weeks.  And guess what?  All those federal employees left sitting at home, furloughed?  Now come back and pack in the overtime trying to get the work done.  And if they didn't?

Americans would scream.  They would shout and shake their fists.  They would squeal at having to wait weeks or months for something that would have only taken days.

Shutting down the government is far more expensive than keeping it running.

But, again, it's not about saving money any more than it was EVER about "jobs, jobs, jobs."  It's about poking our President and playing the game.

And I hate that, too.

Enough of that.

I cleaned the computer desk today.  Now everything, monitor included, sits a good six inches back. Yes, I had that much paper and the like stuffed back there.  We made some nice bergamot blend candles today, plus hubby MOPPED THE KITCHEN FLOOR!  Oh, joy!

Believe it or not, that's cleaner.  Much cleaner!

Dinner is Fajitas.  Boneless, skinless organic chicken, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, spices, sliced onions, and a little fat-free sour cream on Kontos Lavash.  I like the lavash more, and it's got fewer calories and carbs than most tortillas.  Having it with low sodium black beans (with a little corn, peppers, and spices mixed in) and one serving of Uncle Ben's Spanish rice.

Dinner cooking

Wonder-smoothies for dessert.  No pics, though.  Maybe later!

Time for "The Following."  Maybe more later tonight!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lawsuits, Professors, and Anal Glands

A friend posted a story the other day about a young woman suing her university because, she claims, she was graded unfairly in a concerted attempt to thwart her graduate degree aspirations.  In other words, she felt the professors in her graduate program didn't want her to have the degree, and so they downgraded her work and performance in order to prevent her from achieving that degree. And, in fact, they succeeded--she did not receive that degree, but another, different graduate degree which translates to lower pay and doesn't allow her to pursue the career she had desired.

My friend posted that this is why she left teaching--because students these days are whiny and entitled and don't want to do the work required for the better grades.  And I absolutely admit that does seem to be a problem in many undergraduate programs these days.  The kids are just unprepared for college, unprepared for the work required.

However, there's no way for us, the readers of a news blurb, to know if that's the case here.  The fact that the woman had completed her undergraduate work with sufficiently respectable grades to be accepted into a graduate program tells me she's not likely a whiny slacker.

When I was going to college, I had a professor who solidly disliked me.  In fact, I'd go so far as to call him disrespectful, disdainful, and almost aggressively unpleasant.  He had been only dismissive until things went south in the classroom in a big way.  You see, he came into the full classroom and declared that, because we were thieves, we could no longer be trusted to work in the lab alone, so we would now have to make appointments for lab use so he could arrange to have us "babysat" in order to prevent us from stealing anymore.  Thirty students, and he's just painted every last one of us thieves.  When asked what was missing, he said that two Skinner boxes had gone missing and, since we were the only class using the Skinner boxes, it had to be us.  No, he wasn't a very logical guy, considering that the lab was never locked and anyone could have walked in.

He was also wrong.  There were no Skinner boxes missing, and I knew it.  Because my roommate and I had been the ones to move the boxes.  See, they'd been on a table with a non-functioning electrical outlet, so we'd moved them to a table with a usable outlet so we could actually USE the boxes.

Roommate and I looked at each other and KNEW what was going on.  I asked if I could speak to him in private, but he shut me down, told me there was no way I could defend this thievery, and, unless someone came forward with the name of the culprit, he would see to it that ALL our grades suffered, with notations on ALL our records that we were thieves.  No kidding.  Yes, college.  I'd had enough.  I stood up, said, "Pardon me, Dr. M?  Mind if we just go over to the lab and take a look?"

We did.  As a class.  I walked around the room, counting the Skinner boxes.  When I got to TWELVE, I whirled around and said, "Gee, I count 12.  Are you using that fancy NEW MATH?"

He spluttered.  He stammered.  He actually suggested that someone had run in (between the time class started and that moment), returning the boxes.  I spoke over him, explained that the boxes had been moved because of the non-functioning outlet at their table.  And then I blew any shot at forgiveness.

I demanded an apology.  An apology for the whole class.

Dr. M never, ever forgave me.  Like I said, he didn't like me to start with, but now?  Now it was personal.

Margaret was in that class.  She scored lower than I did on every exam, every quiz, every assignment, and even the huge, astoundingly rough final project.  She earned a C-, based upon her individual scores.  I pulled all A grades except for an A- on the big final project.  My grade?


Now Meg called Dr. M, cried about her grade, which she feared would affect her Student Aid awards (she wasn't the only student to do that).  So he bucked her up to a B.


In other words, I outscored her on every test, every assignment, but her ultimate grade was higher than mine.

When I tried to discuss the grade with Dr. M, he told me that he "graded on a curve, and sometimes things just turn out that way."  I pointed out two cases where he'd bucked up grades based upon students pleading with him, then asked how THAT affected his curve.  His answer?

"A B- is a perfectly respectable grade.  It's not as if you're grad school material."

Except grad school was exactly what I was shooting for, and he knew that.  And so he'd just smeared me with a crap grade in the most important research course in my major.

So maybe the woman with the lawsuit isn't being spoiled, petty, or trying to blame others for her laziness.  Maybe she just had a Dr. M for a professor.

Regardless, I don't think she's got a snowball's chance with this lawsuit.  See, it turns out her father is a faculty member, so her education has been free.  It's very hard to push a thing like this when the service you're suing over has been provided gratis.  I don't think that's fair, but I think that's how things usually go.

I'm reminded of a woman I know.  She had a umbilical hernia (so do I, dang it), and no insurance. The local low-income clinic referred her to a local surgeon, who, along with a local hospital, agreed to perform the surgery for free.  In addition, the doc offered to do a "tummy tuck," since he was going to be in there anyway AND because he said it would help keep the hernia from recurring.  Free tummy tuck, right?

Too bad about the free malpractice, too.  Guy tore her up inside, she wound up having to go back into surgery twice (and requiring transfusions) because she was hemorrhaging dangerously.  And then?

Then came the vicious MRSA.  She was open (with a "wound cage" and drains) for ages.  Just running pus.  This was a huge, open, weeping infection.  She had to go in for wound care, her son had to learn how to care for the wound and change out dressings.  This went on for months.  She nearly died, was left with a huge, twisted, disfiguring scar.  And when she contacted an attorney?

He told her flat out that, because she hadn't paid for the services, there was no way anyone would take her case.

Insult to injury?  The doctor and hospital then slammed her with bills--for the follow-up/MRSA care.  They argued that, while the initial surgery was free, they hadn't agreed to cover any followup care resulting from the return trips to the OR, the MRSA-related readmission to the hospital, or the months-long wound care.

So, right or wrong, I don't think the woman with the lawsuit against her alma mater has much of a chance.  Because people lose sympathy for victims when they're damaged by something they got for free.

Back to Anal glands now (I initially typoed that as "anal glads," which, I'm pretty sure, is something a little different).  See, in all the years I'd had dogs, I'd NEVER had their anal glands expressed.  And they never had a problem.  Charlie didn't have a problem.

Until the groomers expressed his anal glands.

Now?  Now every week or two, Charlie goes nutty, chewing his butt for a minute or two, and then he stinks.  Bad.  For a few minutes.  And then it's over again for a week or two.  It's like, by allowing them to do his glands (they said that, with small dogs, it's a necessity), we opened up a door to anal gland stink.  Had we just told them to leave it alone, I think we would have been fine.  So take some advice from me.  If your dog's never had an anal gland problem, don't let anyone touch those things.  Because they might just GIVE him a problem.  We're going to try adding some pumpkin (canned, not pie filling) to his diet, try to bulk up his already nicely solid stools.  That's supposed to help.

Oh, and putting "Anal Glands" in the title?  Turns out it doesn't do a thing for hits.  Not sure why that one blog entry takes so many hits.  Many of them from Russia.  It's a mystery.

Here's a picture of Charlie.  Even if he does stink sometimes now, he's adorable.