Monday, December 30, 2013

Tried to make a gif today - let's see if this works?

Second attempt at Pho

I love the Vietnamese soup called Pho. It's hearty and filling and is a healthy indulgence. I think I'll be making it much more in future. 
This is my second attempt, and I used a soup base from an Asian market instead of making entirely from scratch. The first batch I made was better, so I'll stick with that method. I LOVE peeling and cooking with fresh ginger- it's a glorious fragrance. 

Working like a fiend to try and organize my house before school starts in an attempt to hold on to any shreds of sanity I can muster. Rearranging furniture tonight with the gallant help of Himself. 

Hoping to have things orderly enough to make my cranapeno jam tomorrow. 

I owe you all a huge post on the excess of irons I have in the fire at the mo. Big difference now between a few weeks ago is that I'm crazed with too much to do but I'm gleeful rather than stressed. It's been a very productive weekend for organization. I plan to have my place much more settled within 36 hours. No pressure, right?

Today, I'm going to put a new sill in my kitchen window over the sink. This may turn out to be the ultimate in ethnic engineering. We shall see!

Bonus pup: Chuy's favorite sweater is this one:

Nice crop of pecans

If only they would fall!  I've gotten a few pounds off the ground, but there appear to be many hundreds still clinging to their husks. They are delicious this year, too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nuit de Noel

The gorgeous song of love Zliey Dukhi translated from the original Russian, composed by Alexander Vertinsky, reminisces of the haunting nature of love lost so intrinsically tied to perfume. I adore Marc Almond, and this is perhaps my favorite recording of his achingly beautiful voice. This so embodies the ethereal yet riveting nature of perfume, yes?

Well, it does for me, anyway.

Nuit de Noel is an Oriental Floral fragrance launched by Parfums Caron in 1922.  Top notes include rose, ylang ylang and jasmine, heart is sandalwood and oak moss, and bass notes are musk (synthetic, almost always, these days) and amber.

NdN has about it the air of an antiquated fragrance at first.  The descriptor "old lady perfume" is one hotly debated amongst fragrophiles, and many a topic thread has been deleted from perfumista boards because the discussion became so contentious.  We are creatures of habit and we follow trends in the herd-- it is known.  "Old lady" is a poor descriptor, because today's 20 something co-eds will smell like little old ladies to coeds in 40 years when they wear their Juicy Couture or Fruitbomb trendies. It's a cycle.  What you find new and fresh now will one day be a reminder of yesteryear.  Very fine and compelling formulations may fall to the wayside, but some among their ranks endure, and only for the very good reason that enough of a market remains passionate about that perfume through the years.

That said, there is an air of Grand Dame about Nuit de Noel.  The person who demands instant gratification will not likely be satisfied with this scent, and I have to say I very nearly gave up on it before it revealed its full magic, and this would have been my loss.  The opening is rather harsh and loud.  Jasmine can be a tough sell for me, and ylang ylang can be overpowering, so coupled with the rose the opening is a bit cloying and borders on too much bang with not enough ooh-la-la!  I urge anyone trying this to wait out the opening.  For me, the dry-down takes at least an hour, and then there is the hot, racing heart of oakmoss and sandalwood to ground the high-flying florals and rein them in superbly.  Finally, the base of amber is always wonderful for me, and though musks can be overly powdery to my nose, in this one it really works. 

Perfumes very much evoke moods for me, and none moreso than antique formulations such as this one.  I can't put on a perfume from 1922 without thinking of the tenor and tone of that glorious jazz age.  Girls with too-short skirts, rouged knees, brazenly bobbed hair and too too too much lipstick!  Scandalous! This was the sparkling moment of Gerswhin, Stravinsky, Jolson. The world was in a big hurry to have too much fun, too soon, the dark perils of The Great War now shrinking in the rearview mirror.  Now was a moment to marvel at the flickering image of moving pictures, to marvel at radio and be entranced as the sinuous lines of art nouveau morphed into the sleek form of art deco. It's all so jazzy, baby! So modern.  So new.

The link I've provided above is to the impeccable fragrance shop Lucky Scent. I can't recommend them enough for their wonderful service and superb selection. The site includes an expensive parfum but I use the eau de toilette and don't find it lacking in any way. I would like to have the parfum, one day, though.  The great thing about Lucky Scent is that a sample may be purchased for just a few dollars, so you don't have to commit to a full bottle to try it out. 

Here is the original in Russian:

This doesn't remotely resemble my Christmas family gatherings, but I love the song!

To begin with, Mom and Dad don't even drink, so they won't be getting drunk.  Still, I love this song and think of it often, year-round. I'm sure in about any part of Texas you could throw a rock and hit a gathering like the one presented herein:

Feliz Navidad, y'all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My two cents on censorship, religion and the like:

American civilization and our media greet most things out-of-the-norm with a wide-eyed fawning veracity these days.  They fall all over themselves to find common ground for mainstream America with people flogging their Islamic/Buddhist/whatever beliefs. They give unblinking respect to the yoga-plex for all the meditative mantras etc that would have been labeled utter kookville a handful of years ago. At the very least, these things would have been presented with a raised eyebrow, but now they are well-enough regarded to the point that they are brought under the big tent of political correctness.  Even the new religion of Environmentalism is cited in newscasts with awe and reverence. I don't agree with all these things, but I do agree with respecting people who want a peaceful life that does not encroach upon the freedoms of others.  They get to believe what they want, as do I.

Given the above statements, why is it then a problem if a man publicly states his religious, political and social views?  Why would a production company filming his daily life for a television show edit out "Jesus Christ" and "God" from the recording when these things come up in the course of this person's normal day, whether or not the cameras are rolling? Why would that production company presume to predicate their continued work with this man on him keeping his mouth shut about what he believes?

Of course, any production company can (and usually does) engineer cuts of what goes on in these "reality" shows to portray the subjects in a particular light, but the folks on Duck Dynasty have been completely transparent about their views and beliefs, and for one of the people in that show to be thrown out of the production for expressing his views is patently wrong.  Why should he cork his views for the sake of the opinions/lifestyles of people wholly unrelated to him or his family? THEY were guests in his home, at his sufferance, and not vice-versa.

As far as homosexuality, this discussion will not lead to anyone changing their minds about which side of that fence they plant their flag. What this should lead us to is a resolution that we all do have to get along, and free Americans have the right to say and believe as they choose.  We are none of us guaranteed a right to not be offended.  Maybe Duck Dynasty guy was offended by decades of media and culture that fly in the face of his most sacred and profound beliefs?  Maybe he got fed up and decided to exercise his God-given right (or his right as an American, if you don't believe in God) to say whatever he wants. 

Let me be clear: I'm not speaking about any particular thing he said, but simply about his right to say it. I'm not saying he didn't say outrageous things, but again: free speech.

Freedom of speech is something we should treasure and fiercely protect. If this man can be shut up, so can you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Night in Tunisia

The classic Dizzy Gillespie composition featuring the man himself along with Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Bud Powell from a performance in 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto.  Imagine a smoky room shot through with the electric energy of such brilliant, exacting musicians conjuring such felicity of sound from inanimate objects.  Warlocks, they were. 

This is magic. This may not be to everyone's taste, but the brilliance is undeniable.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: sidesaddle puppy

It must be a wiener dog thing, but Mochi tends to sit side-saddle with such short legs and such a long body. Here we see her mid-munch on a pecan. I think she's eaten more pecans than I've been able to pick up this year. 

It's not quite 2PM, and I've line- dried 2 loads of laundry and a third load is on the clothesline, and now I'm on my way to see The Hobbit for some well-earned recreation. It's about 60 degrees here and is forecast for 60s/70s for the next several days. Good time to get things cleaned out. 

I've been working on some creative projects and organizing. Today, I finally organized a schoolbook cubby, so now they have their own designated spot when not in use. I seem unable to let horizontal surfaces remain free of clutter, and things descend into chaos quite quickly-- the book cubby will keep these high-priority materials organized and readily accessible(once in November I nearly bought a second copy of a book for a course when I couldn't find the original. Stress!). The only hope for my sanity is to get my house more organized before the new semester starts in 4 weeks. 

It feels so good not to be freaking out about looming deadlines for tests and assignments for a change!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fun with Four Chords

Most pop music is incredibly unchallenging and tonically similar to other pop music.  It's basically a bunch of re-treads.  Most pop songs are built on a chord progression of the I, V, vi and IV chords.  We're sort of trained from infancy to find this progression pleasing, and by golly! it IS pleasing, but it does mean that pop music rarely really stretches its legs and gives us something dazzlingly different. 

The brilliant troupe Four Chords has put together a collage of a whole bunch of music you know and possibly love, but that are so incredibly similar as to be interchangeable. Some of the segues are dazzling, so watch closely. Oh, and a bit of potty language near the end, so may not be safe for kids, though in my own very mature way, I'm going to be singing the phrase with the f*bomb for days. Just inside my head, though, and not publicly.

This is really cute!

Friday, December 13, 2013

One year ago yesterday

I had my maxillary osteotomy.  It's amazing how quickly this year has flown, but I was in a fog for months after the surgery.  You can't have any idea of how much it takes to recover from a 7+ hour session of general anaesthesia until you actually go through it. I figured I'd bounce back much more lightly than I did, but I'm glad I did that and that it's behind me. Total quality of life is improved for having a proper bite, having the deviated septum repaired and also not having the constant earache from the jaw misalignment.  Any one of these issues would have been justification enough to go through the procedure and recovery, but to have them all done is such an improvement. I've said so before, but I'll say again if you have a deviated septum and breathing issues because of it, you really should have the surgery to correct it-- it's amazing what a huge difference it makes being able to breathe clearly through your nose as you were meant to do.

I'm feeling better, and still dealing with the cough that comes with post-nasal drip. Occasionally I'll have extraordinary coughing fits.  I remember last year being rather bummed because my surgery and its aftermath would make me unable to see the Hobbit at or around the time of its premiere, and now the cough is something that will keep me out of the theatre, unless it clears up dramatically and quite soon. I'm trying gradually to collect more pecans in the yard, but I'm taking it in baby steps. I call that redneck yoga, much like picking up brass at the range.  I get tired quickly, though. 

I have a lot of projects going on and I'll try to post some soon.  Hope you're having a wonderful December, and I'm SO so so glad not to be in school for a month. *whew!*

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Old music is the sweetest.

When I was a girl, we mostly lived in the mid-South (Memphis) area and on many weekends and always at holidays we'd make the trek up to the Ozarks to visit the folks.  Mom and Dad often played old-timey radio for the drive, and this being the 60s/70s, that meant golden age of radio music like Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby and the like.  In that gloriously analog world, you'd sometimes hear the crackle as the needle lovingly slid down the spiraling groove of the record. For this reason, great classics from the 1930s-50s radio seem so right for cold weather.  THAT feels like a holiday to me.  It doesn't have to be Bing singing White Christmas-- pretty much any Duke Ellington or Doris Day will work to evoke that warmth for me, and it's all just toe-tapping, good-feeling music.

This is one I remember from those drives with the bayou along one side of the road as the terrain morphed from flat farmland to the gently rolling hills, and finally into the proper mountains. Sometimes there would be snow, but it was always cold, and at the time I was bemused by my old-timey folks and their predilection for the old music- that was just Mom and Dad.  Still is, thank goodness-- I wouldn't trade it!

This year's fancies are passing fancies, but the old-fashioned way is here to stay in my heart and always will be. I'm thankful for the early exposure to off-the-trending path in music so I'd have a greater appreciation for life. Nice to know some things are unchangingly wonderful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One down, 4 to go

So relieved this semester is over, and I appear to have passed everything, so *whew* 4 more semesters to go, so two years from now, I'll nearly be a Nursie! Yay!

Lingering brutal cough is keeping me up nights. Went to the dr today and my BP is ossum - 118/72 - and it's a great indicator of how stressful school has been, because I've had it taken many times in class, and it's mostly been higher than that. This is about normal for me for all my adult life, so I'm relieved to see it go down, but I'm concerned that it's been so affected by the stress of school. I need to get my mud in a ball so I can cope a little better.

Dr gave me a prescription for a medicine that will hopefully help with this fiendish cough so I can get some rest and get on with my goals for down-time. I'm working on some creative pursuits, but mostly staying indoors while its still so cold. 

I have a CPR class on Monday, and then I'm good for the rest of the year. Yay!

Hope you're all warm, well and enjoying the holidays. I'm hopeful I'll feel up to making some jalapeño jelly this weekend, and I'm overdue to make a batch of cranapeno jam-- I'm plumb out of the stuff, so the timing is good!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Nervous stomach, suddenly. *in which your humble narratrix ruins a room

True story. My Fam health assessment final is in about 20 min. Big pressure. 


Stood in line at the coffee bar and at the last second felt queasy and took a bottled water instead. Say with classmates doing a quick chat-survey of test elements, when suddenly I knew I needed a bathroom for a rather rude event. 

Went to a less populous area of bldg for a private moment. Get into stall, place cover on toilet seat--
-- and in walks someone. I was so close to relief. I very nearly said
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you came for. But what have is a certain set of skills."

Apparently she was just checking her look in the mirror and cleared out quickly so I could, uh, let go. 

I suppose part of being a nurse means that you sometimes have to do your business on the fly and with or without an audience. Still, one prefers privacy for those *ahem* contemplative moments.

My thought is that between the baby and geriatric years wherein one needs assistance to varying degrees, at no time is one more alone than when doing potty business. Incidentally, it becomes the time most likely to contemplate one's mortality. 

I can understand why dudes allegedly spend that time fiddling with themselves-- more pleasant than thinking of going into That Dark Night, whether gently or otherwise. 

This place stinks. I've gotta get out of here. 

File under: overshare

...aaaaaand I passed. Pulled a squeaker for this semester. Don't ever want to cut it this close again, but I'm relieved I won't have to repeat this class, because that's seemed a genuine possibility. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bonus pups: sweater puppies!!!

Praline only grudgingly wears a sweater when it gets very cold. Chuy loves his sweaters as he is a dapper fellow, and would look right with a tobacco pipe and a snifter of brandy and bowtie. In the past few days Mochi has discovered she can stand the warmth-giving comfort of a sweater after all. Caught them snuggled up this afternoon, to my delight. 

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: pitty sing edition

Pretty pretty Praline as photographed by the lovely Jennifer a few months ago. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Pajama weekend writ wrong

My ideal goof-off weekend is a long weekend with a well stocked kitchen and no need to leave the house.  Id have time for cleaning and working on creative projects and my presence would be required nowhere else.  In that way, this frozen over weekend has been perfect. Except that I'm achy and miserable. I just got into bed and I'm wondering if sleep on the recliner would be wiser, because I suddenly can't breathe through my nose. Yuck. At least I have cleaned a little and worked on some projects. 

I'd like to feel slightly less miserable, though. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Cold light of winter

Everything is frozen here. I'm sick-- seems to be the flu this time. In bed all day, aching and dozing with puppies. Yet again I am grateful to Mom and Dad for the electric blanket which is making me much less miserable. Hopefully I'll feel more human tomorrow, but until then, I'm staying in bed where it's warm. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

puppy luvvin' sees me through


Passed my Practicum yesterday. Not by a long shot, but by a comfortable enough margin NOT to call it a squeaker.

I had my Intro To Nursing test scheduled for today, but a winter storm came barreling through the area and university classes were scheduled as of 30 minutes before my class was to begin. I suppose they'll have to reschedule for next week. 

I have my HESI on Monday, which I dread.  At the end of the Practicum, the nurse gave me some tips for prepping for that, so I will spend some hours in preparation, as challenging as that may be.

Meanwhile, my house is a wreck and I'm trying to get my feathers smoothed from the extraordinary stress I've been under.  I was almost to campus today when I received an auto text notifying me of cancellation of classes.  Stopped by the market and bought a small turkey, some wine and ice cream-- all the essentials.  I hope to tackle some of the chaos in my house and get things a little better sorted on the home front.  We shall see.  It's very tempting to just snuggle up with the pups.  I've got the materials to make them each a little quilted jacket, so I'll probably have all three of them snugged up to my but while I embroider for hours at a time.  I may stop for naps.  I'll definitely be drinking a lot of coffee and tea. I'll probably run through the whole of my True Blood and Game Of Thrones DVDs. There will probably be at least one playing of Tombstone.

When I'm not listening/watching favorite DVDs, I'll be listening to my Pandora channel which I call "If It Ain't Baroque" which features lots of Telemann and oodles other wonderful instrumentals of the Baroque era. I'm thinking of dipping back a little earlier with some Purcell and Anonymous 4.  We shall see.

Ready for a snug long winter weekend all house-bound, and no end of projects to kill the time.  I sort of need this-- I'm wrung out from a grueling semester.  I'm scared of the possibility of having any more stressful time in school - I'm hoping this is the worst of it, because this is wearing me out! Above all, there shall be much cuddling of the puppies.  They need it, and I need it.  Glad to be home, safe and snug, and I'm glad that for the next glorious 4 days, there is nowhere but here that I have to be. Sweet peace.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Consider for a moment the majestic splendour of a 16# weenie dog running through the house and sliding for about 8 feet.

Breathtaking to consider, innit?

Sorry, it happens too fast for me to get a camera on the action.  Mochi is hilarious as she chases her siblings, miles of ear-leather real estate flapping gaily as she otter-lopes through the house.  She is the embodiment of joy, I think. 

Speaking of, the pups have given me a great deal of joy and comfort in general, and in particular in the past several months.  Himself aptly stated that the volume of information presented in Nursing school would best be likened to drinking water from a fire hydrant.  Indeed.   The sheer volume of material is daunting, to say the least.

I'm trying to get the house in order, and last night I started an arty sort of project. I have about 5 major projects back-burnered, so it was good to get my hands dirty with something purely creative last night.  I also need to sew some little doggie jackets for the pups, for Winter is coming.

Tonight is my Pathophysiology final.  I feel somewhat ready for that, but not too concerned.  More of a worry is my Practicum which is tomorrow afternoon. My lab partner has flaked out on all previous attempts to meet and rehearse our practicum, so I'll be meeting with someone else today. I also made an appointment with lab partner, but I expect her not to show up.  Flake.  I want this thing over with, but I want to do as well as possible, too.  She's been very difficult, so it's been frustrating to say the least.

In the mean time, I have the majesty of a fleet little dachshund and a Jack Russell and a chiweenie to give joy and smiles to my day.  Life is good, if a little stressful.  I'll take it. :)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Data Analysis is complete.

I had nearly 100% average, so my middling showing on the final dragged my average down to 89%, and I'm fine with that. 

Now for the ritual killing of the text book. 

There shall be confetti. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

December 1 update, much to tell.

To say the past 14 weeks of school have been grueling would be to understate.

This week I have three final exams and my practicum, and next week is the HESI exam.  The Pathophysiology Tuesday is in the bag-- I only have to make a 10 of 100 on the final to earn the minimum score required for the RN program for the course, so pressure is off on that one. Tomorrow morning the Data Analysis final opens and I'll do a review of materials and then take the test early to get that behind me quickly.  Intro to Nursing exam is Thursday, and my Practicum is Wednesday afternoon. I plan to exhaust all study time between now and Wednesday with preparing for the practicum. It's amazing how important rehearsal seems in this case.  I feel cautiously optimistic. Still much woodshedding to be done, but this is eminently doable. I'm meeting with my lab partner today to review practicum details, and I want to get some metrics memorized (her number of teeth and fillings, among other things-- she doesn't have a full set) so things will move more quickly at time of practicum.  I have to score 112 in order to pass, and I've already earned 9, so I have to hit 103 of 141 remaining points.  Piece of cake, right?

I quit the job at the salt mine at the end of October. The work itself was easy, but there were huge stressors that came with, plus the hour or so of the day that involved driving/gas money, it was producing too much drag on an already overburdened system.  Leaving was the sensible way forward, and I don't know how I would have endured the madness of the past 5 weeks at school if I'd been still dealing with the stress from that job - so glad I moved along.

Back in March, when recovering from my surgery, I began a job search in earnest.  Changes were happening quickly with my workplace and I knew that I'd want to move along, but only in a sensible and deliberate fashion. I could have taken a job at a nearby large hospital, but the managers expressed concern that I would find that job too challenging to do part time when I was in the throes of stress with RN school.  I acquiesced to their wisdom, as I may work with them in future as an RN and don't want to burn my bridges early. 

One job I applied for early in the year was dispatcher at the local small PD a few blocks from my house.  They went with another candidate, but called me out of the blue several weeks ago and asked if I'm still interested in part time work.  I vexed over this - I'd already made the choice to try and make ends meet, and I think it would have worked, but I'll admit the lack of a trickle income has been a bit of a challenge. (witness my shock at having recently found Top Ramen noodles at my local market for 2/.79!)  This town is small and they get very few genuine 9-1-1 calls, so it is quiet a goodly portion of the day.  I will be able to study at work.  Let me repeat: I can study at work.  That sort of tipped the scales for me.  Study at home can be challenging, depending how needy Chuy is being at any particular moment.  I'm thinking this may be the best possible move for me at this point. I'll have a minimum of 8 hours per week, but most weeks that will be all I do. Sometimes I'll fill in for others who are out, but they've committed to not having me work on Monday or Tuesday, which are my heavy school days.  The department is low-key and I already have a friend who works there, so I think this is an all-around good fit for me.  I'll be 3 blocks from the pups all day, and Himself will be doing puppy-daddy routine, so all my baby ducks will be in a row.

I can't believe how this year has flown.  In truth, the most devastating thing about the surgery in December(besides being pitiful and helpless for a few weeks afterward) was the general fog I was in for at least 6 or 7 months afterward, perhaps more.  This has been a difficult year in a great many ways, but it's been immensely rewarding.  I am so pleased I had the surgery, in spite of the after-effects, and I'm glad I didn't wait a minute longer - that's the kind of thing that's easier for a young person to recover from, I'm convinced.  Just like college - it's for the young, too. 

I'm grateful for all the good things going on, and again I'll say I'm cautiously optimistic about things.  If all goes well, two years from today I'll be composing a post saying that I'm a couple of weeks from finishing RN school, and that is dazzling to consider.  Two years seems like a long time and yet, just 11 months ago I wrote that I felt I was about to swim across an ocean.  Well, I'm a third of a way across, so, yippee.  It's going to keep getting better.

My babies

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: puppy hugs!

My little nephew with puppy Dog!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Here's a bonus pup pic. I just wrote a paper on my laptop on the coffee table, and the pups congregated behind me on the sofa, so they kept me warm, sweet things!

Bit by bit I'm getting all the final hoops jumped through. It's nerve-wracking, but each project/deadline met is one more domino fallen, and a step forward. 

Still trying to shake off a head cold. More puppy snuggles needed, clearly!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: brrrrrrr!

Praline is usually the last to slow down, but she is cold, poor lamb!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ode on a cough suppressant

I would like to personally thank the pharmaceutical company who created the cough syrup that just afforded me a much-needed handful of cough-free hours in which to sleep, but this will have to do. This is the best I've felt all week. Now I'm going back to sleep. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Feeling slightly better,

But still semi-crap. At least I got better sleep last night. I have to go to a class in a couple if hours and I dread getting out of the house. Ugh. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Did I say never stopping? Sick. Stopping.

I awoke in the middle of the night on Monday and my throat felt kind of funny.  Managed to get back to sleep, but woke up before my lab on Tuesday morning feeling like absolute dung. I dragged myself in to the lab at school and did the first portion of my practicum for the semester. Got to the lab and one of the admin people asked if I'd like to re-schedule and no, thank you, I was already miserable and out of bed, I was going to stick it out.  I made 9 of 9 points, so that's a start.  I hate to risk exposure to anyone else, I wash my hands frequently, etc, but it's a most unforgiving system and I'm not giving a whit of indication that I'm slacking.

Lucky for me my noon class was not meeting, so I came home and made some garlicky soup and piddled around the house until time to go back to school for a test at 6pm. I think I most likely made an A on the test, to my amazement.  I'm the kind of person who doesn't really benefit from last-minute study -- my anxiety level at that point is generally so high that absorption will be next to nil.  I have to study regularly and try to cement that information by repeated exposure wherein I have a better overview grasp of things. Even so, I like to read through the high spots the day of the test to refresh my mind on certain details, but I felt too badly to do that yesterday, and thought I'd be phoning it in on the test.  Turns out I actually remembered quite a bit, through the fog.  So, yeah. I expect an A.

Today I don't have classes, don't have to be anywhere. Slept a little late and on/off. I've reached that point where my sinuses are running like faucets, but if I lay on one side, the sinuses on that side fill up and if I roll over, all the fluid shifts. Bizarre. I'm waiting for that moment when you know the sickness is passing.  Waiting.  This is boring and maddening, because I feel like I should be doing something. I think I'll pop in a movie and doze with peaceful music and doze while it plays. Since my nearly fatal bout with pneumonia, I know better than to mess around when I'm sick.

Also, cold weather is coming, and for the first time, I knew before I heard the news because of weird feelings in the knitted bones in my face. That's one thing I didn't consider with the surgery last December, but I still would have done it. I have to go to one class tomorrow afternoon, but other than that, I don't have to be anywhere in the next handful of days, so I hope to get well-rested and past this terrible cold.  I've got stuff on hand to make beans and soup, the kibble bin is full and the puppies have a more than adequate supply of treats for a month or so, so I'm well fortified for the present.  I just hope I don't run out of nose tissue, which I will do, at this rate.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Busy busy busy never stopping

I'm getting out of bed in ten minutes, but I'm enjoying the moment of snuggling with soft, wArm and loving puppies, my good little darlings. I've got so much stuff to prepare for next semester, and so much to do to wrap this one up. I have a side project that absorbed my whole weekend, other than a few hours devoted to study. I can't believe how quickly the time is passing and how much is crammed in to my days. The beginning of the semester 12 weeks ago seems like another planet. Or at least another continent. It's great and the time is filled with promise, but it's incredibly stressful. 

It's too late to start with your heart in a headlock
You know you're better than that

Off to start my day. Onwards and upwards, and all that stuff. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: slutbun!

Chuy is a colossal tart, an absolute love-sponge. He is sweet, cuddly and adorable, so it works out. I dote on my girls, but Himself says Chuy is the most spoiled. That's okay. I love my little beefcake baby boy!

Ugh. It's so hot.

Saturday was in the 80s here, and now at 1:40 AM it's 70. Had to turn on the AC because the house was so stuffy. Remind me to move to a place with seasons, someday. Meh. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I was just wondering:

Is "Heavens to Betsy" like "Ground Control to Major Tom?"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On the verge of something wonderful!

Nothing external, but I had a major epiphany yesterday, and I think I'm about to finally get my mud in a ball, car issues notwithstanding.  I'll tell you more about it later, but I'm feeling happy and optimistic. I'm still going to study though, just in case.

For now, the exquisite Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor, singing the Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem, doing it As It Should Be Done.  He is the best Countertenor in the world, in my opinion. Exquisite!

I hope your day includes something you find beautiful which gives you enthusiasm!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Almost 8am and 23 degrees...

Hard to motivate oneself to get out of bed, and that studying won't do itself. I have three toasty little furballs glued to me, and it's SO hard to make myself get up!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Veteran's Day, we say thanks.

Thank you to all who serve and have served. You are our brightest and best. We are proud of you, and we are in your debt. 

Early to rise...

Early for me on a Monday, at least. I'm up reviewing my chapters for Family Health Assessment. I don't know what to think of how ill do on this test. I fared poorly on the last one. Onwards and upwards, anyway. I dread my lab this week.

I have three major tests this week and a project due for another class. Not overwhelmed, or anything!!!  Still, I'm feeling oddly optimistic. 

The pups have completed their morning ablutions and are asleep again, lucky little squirts!  

I managed to pull some weeds this weekend, and I've vowed to get after them in earnest and rout out a burgeoning bunch of sticky goathead burrs with the prongs that poke out in every direction. There's something therapeutic about weeding...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Just had a lovely lunch at Simply Deli in Stephenville

Monte Cristo crepe sandwich with a Nutella crepe for dessert.  Wonderful!!!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while I manage to get my mud in a ball.

I wasn't working much, but it's amazing how just leaving off that little bit of a job has cleared the decks for a greater volume of study.  I feel less tired and distracted by unnecessary stressors, and I feel poised to finish the semester strong. 

Today I've already studied for 3 hours and I've taken 5 quizzes (made a 100 on all except the 80.95 on the Patho quiz, and I'll take that), and with those quizzes no longer hanging over my head, I'm ready to study through the weekend.

Tomorrow I have a bit of a drive to a locale with a mock trial on a nursing malpractice suit.  This will be educational, and I'll get extra credit in two of my classes for my pains.  I'm also going to use that time to listen to some patho audio lectures, so the 4 or so hours of driving will be put to good use. It's great to have the technology to make this all easier.

I have tests in 3 of my 4 classes next week.  I will allocate 4 hours each for Saturday and Sunday study, and then I can study Monday morning, and I should be in good shape. 

I have a few more minor hoops through which I must jump for by December 2, but at this rate, I look well on-target for everything. I'm really excited.  I'm going to do a mock exam on Himself this weekend in preparation for my practicum. I'm nervous about Family Health Assessment, but I think that is normal, and I hope that I've laid a pretty good foundation for everything.  Now if I can manage to continue to focus while surrounded by bounding pups who believe that if a lap is formed, it must be populated by a furball.

It's cold at nights but very nice during the day times now.  I haven't turned on the heat in the house yet, but I busted out the electric blanket last night (THANKS, Mom and Dad!), and Chuy for one remembers his only winter with an electric blanket.  No sooner was it out warming up about an hour before I got into bed, and he was ON it.  Chuy is all about his comfort.  Also, he's a beefy little rascal who doesn't have an abundance of fat, so he chills more easily than the girls.  Praline has her own little nuclear power plant, and Mochi is slightly padded but maximizes body contact with preferably a person, but another canine will do.

I splurged about $12 on a few pots of perennials for my flower bed, and when I get home from class today, I plan on poking about there and getting those planted and established.  I'm really pleased with the salvias and rock rose I have in my yard-- they've thrived with little or no watering through a very dry year. It's good, therefore, to get more established during the mild winters here so that they have a goodly root system to stead them through the dry times.  The salvia I bought are a gorgeous dark blue.
I also noticed that I have a beautiful little shock of volunteer lantana by a tree.  Volunteers are welcome.  Far be it from me to drive away something with the audacity to bloom in my yard (with the exception of briars and dandelions, and even then, sometimes...), and I know the bees need the sustenance. 

Feeling positive. :)  Feeling much less stressed.  We'll see how I feel on Monday!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Proof positive!

Life continues incredibly busy.  This is my second week not to be working on Wednesday, but extra study time coupled with lowered stress level has already borne fruit: I made a 90 on my test yesterday, which was only the second A I've made on a test in any class.  Honestly, sort of aiming for the middle of the pack here - I'll be content to end up in the big middle of stuff. 

People speak of the bell curve, but there's sense in the analogy of the profile of a python wot swallowed a goat.  Middle of the road is fine by me.


I LOVE I can has cheezurger!

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: still in bed

Wednesday edit - I tried posting this from my bed late on Sunday morning (RILLY late, since we'd also had an extra hour of night), but for some reason, it didn't finalize.  Anyway, Praline is rarely in a DEEP sleep, and she bounds out of bed at the slightest suggestion of ANY activity.  She is so lively and fun-loving.   My sweet pup!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

An Illustrated Guide to Gun Control

Here is a link to the Illustrated Guide To Gun Control

Whoever wrote this must be a genius.  :P

Friday, November 01, 2013

I registered for Spring semester yesterday

Clinical day is scheduled for 6:45 am to 6:00 pm. Ugh. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The internet is forever(ish), and that's a mighty long time.

My ears are itchy, and I was poking about the internet like you do, looking for tips, recommendation. 

From my so-far meager schoolin', I know that what is making my ears itchy is most likely behind the eardrum and not reachable, but I was curious what people recommend when I happened upon a video of what looks like several college-age young men irrigating the ear of one fellow with use of a water-pick type tooth cleaner and an obliging pot from the kitchen.  Much profanity was bandied about and at one point, the person wielding the dental device said he was going to return that device to the store. 

We all have our silly, youthful indiscretions-- some of us moreso than others.  What people of my generation don't have is video documentation of same.  I would, no doubt, cringe if I saw my 18 year old self, heard myself, etc, and I'm thankful that YouTube and video mobile phones were not an option. The young men in that video don't look like the usual mouth-breathers who prank. They'll probably be going into law or medicine or somesuch, and they may find things like that video will haunt them, cast a pall over their future in a way.  It may not be a huge one, but I have to believe there will be an effect. 

Our culture is apparently quite twisted, with the whole reality show bent.  People lack the subtletly of mind, apparently, to enjoy something that is not visually outrageous and obnoxious.  Where does it go from there?  What is beyond?  I shudder to think.

I just wish people would be more discerning and have a bit more self-respect when they choose what they will share with the world via the internet.  I celebrate everyone's right to go to private parties and crochet scrotal cozies for the guys getting their junk waxed in the next room. I just think that stuff is not necessarily for public consumption.

Monday, October 28, 2013

a little more than halfway done this semester...

Monday was a rough day. Made a low mark on a test, but it was higher than I expected to make.  Not including this week, I've got 6 weeks left of school.  Sort of holding my breath.  Doing rather well in 3 classes and cutting it too close for comfort in Family Health Assessment, which is the big one.  I'm nervous that I should have quit the day job a few weeks earlier.  No point crying over spilled apples, but at least I have more than a month to pull that one out of the dive.  I'm doing well on all metrics there except the tests, but I'm certain I can get my mud into a ball. 

I need to smooth my feathers.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Mochi over matter

Mochi raids grocery bags so I prioritize which things have to be put up first. I naively thought she would be unable to do a harm to this spaghetti squash. Silly me. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mochi the Nomnivorous

Here Mochi plumbs the depths of the sofa for hidden, heretofore inedible delightments.  

She has, of late, taken to bringing wounded wasps into the house, flinging these unfortunate insects with the abject joy that calls to mind an Orca flipping a baby seal. Playing with her food, as it were. I can only guess that the wasps were unmolested before she got hold of them, so I wonder how she manages to extract wasps from stings in flight. 

Such a curious and fetching little girl. We should count ourselves lucky that she doesn't have thumbs, for she would no doubt rule us all. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

About the proposed new hats for the Marines....

Um, doesn't Our Dear Leader have more pressing matters to attend than messing about with the perfectly fine uniform of the Marines?  


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nearly levitating

I made a 99 on my Pathophysiology test. 

Last day at work was bittersweet.  A few people got rather choked up. I asked the lady who originally interviewed me if I am more, less or exactly as strange as she expected me to be. She said I was far stranger than she expected and that she was worried Several times in early days.  I said you mean like the monkey story and she said yes, among other things. 

Several of my lovely coworkers were bummed I'm leaving, and choked up, and so I introduced a bit of levity by telling the story of the time in a previous job when a monkey masturbated on my desk. This broke the tension considerably. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Not too sick...

Friday I felt better later in the day and managed to get a fair bit accomplished on studies.  I was a little poorly throughout the weekend, but not stay-in-bed poorly, thankfully.

I have a major test tomorrow and I'm ever-so-slightly stressed about the prospect.  This one is for Pathophysiology and includes the chapters on the cardiac and pulmonary systems. Ugh. I'm hoping for middle of the pack. I'd love to be the brilliant star pupil, but with my overcrowded schedule, that's just not been a possibility.  As it is, I'm having trouble getting to sleep and/or staying asleep.

Hopefully things are about to take a positive turn on that score, as this week is my final week at my current (now part-time) job. It's going to be a challenge, but I believe with careful management I can make it. I am so grateful that job came along when it did, and there were many times when it was the perfect job for the moment and I was tremendously content.  It's not a long-term satisfaction job, though, so going on to something else was inevitable.  I will most likely seek to work for them during the heavy summer season for at least a couple of months for the next two years. I leave on very good terms and with tremendous fondness for (and hopefully from) nearly everyone I work with there.  The work itself is not difficult or stress-inducing, but shifting gears and completely pulling focus from my studies for entire 10 hours blocks of a day breaks my continuity and therefore causes a different kind of stress.  I'm happy to move on and thankful I have that option and that I like Ramen noodles. 

YAY, Ramen!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013


Busier than a one-armed paper hanger here, but today is sort of given over to convalescence. The weather is cold and dreary-- my favorite-- and I'm in the recliner with puppies under my quilt and on top of me. A Terry Pratchett book is within reach. I'm hoping this is just a little sniffle and not the flu, because I can't afford to slack for Saturday and Sunday after today. I have a major exam on Tuesday and another the following Monday. No rest for the weary. 

I gave my two week notice at my job last week and Wednesday will be my last day. That was bittersweet, but that small job was bringing a lot of stress that I didn't need on top of my school load. School is generally going well, but it's a cavalcade of huge deadlines, so that brings no small amount of stress. 

Here's a photo of the pups helping me feel better. I think I'll doze some more. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: lazy Sunday morning

In the last 3 days, I've driven to Dallas and back, got my hair cut, saw my folks ( too briefly, alas!), had lunch with my dear sister, sat for hours in Dallas traffic, saw my orthodontist, studied for a test tomorrow, completed several quizzes, and took a defensive driving course online. I think i was entitled to a lie-in Sunday morning. 

Praline and Chuy seemed content to do so.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Craig Ferguson has it all figured out


Orthodontist told me today that I can leave off wearing my retainers except for bedtime. Yay!!!  This is actually a month early. :)

I'm almost depressed about how much crap I have to do this weekend, so I'm going to take a bath and read a book. 

So there!!!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

All is (reasonably) well...


I just had a day so very productive that I can scarce believe it.
I have two to-do lists running lately, and I managed to reduce one of them by about half tonight.  It's amazing how much you can get done if you just tuck in and tackle the mess in little chunks.  The very thought of these lists had a stultifying effect on me last weekend.  Tonight I managed to shake that off and clear out quite a few cobwebs.

I also was able to complete all my quiz/school assignments that are due by next Monday night, so my weekend studies can be comfortably devoted to preparation for the pathophysiology test on Tuesday night.  Tomorrow after class I have to trot down to Dallas for a brief but much-needed visit to my folks, and then Friday it's a visit to my orthodontist and home again, with a possible quick stop by Lush to indulge in one of those patchouli bath bombs they have for Halloween this year. Yum.  Probably have a nice fizzy bath, a glass of champers and a soak in the tub with Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, a personal favorite I've been turning to lately for odd moments of chuckles to recharge my batteries.   This will be the first proper bath of the semester-- long overdue.

There are new things afoot for me in a professional sense. I'm still working at the salt mine a small amount of time per week, but I've got a couple of other irons in the fire that wll help to sustain me. 

The school work itself is not that daunting, but the sheer volume of it can be overwhelming.  I've got some great backup in the form of my very supportive family and Himself and teh puppehs, and then on the nursing end of the spectrum, dear friend and august nurse herself, Mrs. Sci-Fi has been a very supportive party, along with the lovely Christina who is in an RN program her ownself out in Massachusetts.  It's funny to think about, but I go from one deadline to another, like mileposts or telephone poles when you're running a marathon. "If I can just make it past that next one, past that tree, past that bump in the road..." and then you scrape up enough gumption to pick a next target.  In baby steps, you get there, and those people who stand along the roadside, cheering at the enervated marathon runners-- those are my friends and family and pups, and you folks, too: all of you help me see I can do this, and I'm grateful for the encouragin' words. 

The brown pups are in bed, but Praline just came in to check on me-- she is never comfortable when I'm gone.  Poor little lass was fraught with worry when I was gone for my surgery for several weeks, and when I came home, she'd only leave me very briefly to do the necessary outside, and stayed otherwise glued to me.  I'd better help her rest easy (and myself) and get to bed.  I hope to have peaceful, pleasant sleep, and I hope you will, too.  :)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

48th birthday selfie

I vowed to post a birthday selfie no matter what. I snapped one in what turns out to be some very kind lighting. :)

Birthday is going well!

I have crossed oceans of time to find me.

Every day is a good day to mangle a great Gary Oldman character quote, particularly if it's your 48th birthday, as mine is. 

I'm not soiling my smalls just because I'm gosh-darn nearly a half a century old (and STILL so cute!), but I'm casting ahead to my 50th, when I'll have 2 months left of nursing school and will be on the verge of my big new swinging career. WOO HOO!

Meanwhile, I've much work to do. I've been nose-to-the-grindstone all semester. I have a test today and a major test every week from now until, well, end of semester, but I can do this.  :)

I've been behaving and haven't bought shoes or perfume in months, or clothes or anything other than sustenance items.  Until today, that is. I did indulge a modest (for me) selection of three samples from a fragrance house about which I've long been curious, Soivohle.  Carpathian Oud was nigh irresistible, so I didn't.  Sample on its way.  WOO HOO!

So, for your viewing pleasure.  Even with all the freaky-deaky, Our Darling Gary™ just can't hide the sexy! 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Check out my big, swinging nut:

Of course, they'll be smaller with the husks off, but I think this crop will be huge. Neat!

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Mummy's little spelunker

There is a little square notch out of the concrete at the base of the house where Praline and Mochi have been much occupied of late. Apparently something furry has been holing up under the house. There's been no end of mewling, squealing and barking there. Pulled up a loose board in between rooms and Praline was ready to dive in. 

Chuy knows which side his bread is buttered on, loves his comfort, and likes his prey not to know he is on to them. Praline and Mochi don't care who knows, and they swagger around, lobbing Haka like some other dogs chase bubbles. 

Shortly after this photo was taken, Praline managed to squeeze through the square hole. Meh. She emerged with blood on her face that apparently didn't come from her. Since she was not carrying a carcass, I assume the little blighter got away. Better not come back. 

Thursday, October 03, 2013


A prof I have in two classes just told me after class "you're going to make a great nurse!"


Melodious Murder Ballad from Jesca Hoop

...referring to the age when the tulip was a form of currency, and a man buys his bride with a rare, precious bulb.   The music and harmonies are lovely.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Birth Month

This is the beginning of my regular Birth Month celebration. Let us boogie down, forthwith!

You're gonna help me celebrate my party wit me. Come on, now. 

Goobermint has even shut down for the occasion, because they are impotent, and now they LOOK impotent!!!


Olfactory pleasures lost in the smoke of time

They say that no sense is more evocative or emotionally tied than olfactory, and I believe this.  I talk perhaps more than people prefer about perfumes, but a beautiful fragrance can be a talisman against all the nasty crap the world would serve you up in your day to day.

When Wet Ones came out in the 1970s, I remember they had a nice-but-not-overpowering lemony scent-- I'd love to smell that one more time-- it was one of the best fragrances of a cleaning product I've ever smelled. 

Like any other trend-based commodity, industrial scents imbued into household products like cleansers tend to follow some continuum of what is popular in taste for fragrances/perfumes.  We are in a rather insipid fruity/floral ring of the Inferno at present.  All that stuff meant to have marine accords evocative of fresh ocean spray just smell bad to me, so I can avoid that entire range of the candle aisle, too.  I like resins like amber and myrrh, and musk and sandalwood and patchouli is more glorious and varied than you may perhaps realize.  But, again, florals and fruits are everywhere.  Today, the chypree and fougere fragrances of yore smell like "old lady" and "old man" to a lot of young people.  I hope I get to hear today's crop of young adults recoil with horror when future youngsters refer to their fruity/florals as smelling "old."  Yup: it's all a cycle.  Anyway, the marine stuff is unpleasant to me, and it's in a lot of laundry detergent now.

But that is just me-- sea water accords in perfume may smell like heaven to you, in which case, good on you!  It SHOULD be deeply personal.

I feel a twinge of nostalgia for some things I know I'll never smell again.  When I was a kid, one of my vaccinations was something (foul to me at that moment) that was put on a sugar cube, but the smell was strange and unlike anything before or since, and the scent was not unpleasant to me. I feel just on the verge of remembering it, like strands of smoke you can see but never grasp.  It's not sad, just odd.

If you think about it, isn't there something so pleasing and comforting about the sheer un-changing nature of the smell of alcohol swabs on your skin before getting a shot?  No, the shot isn't pleasant, but we feel like we know what we're getting, and that we can rely on this product that's cleaning the area, because we can tell it's the same thing it's always been-- it has that smell.

For me, the undisputed KING of gone-forever smells is leaded gasoline.  Yes, I know it was bad for you to breathe, but when I started driving in the early 80s, it was not entirely a chore to pump my own gas into my car.  I wasn't hunkered down over the pump handle and trying to suck up as much fumes as possible, but the smell was rather delicious to me.

To complement the king, the Queen of toxic odors was the (methyl alcohol?) ditto fluid used in those lovely mimeograph machines.  I loved the feel of the cool, wet paper in stacks fresh from printing and I'd always volunteer to help hand them out.  That purple ink was lovely, too. Probably killed a few brain cells, there.  I never sniffed glue or paint or anything, and these were just mere passing whiffs, but they are cemented for a moment for me, and I'd love to have a little smell-file where I could just call them up and remember. Maybe a scratch n sniff?

Odd experience-- I went to grade school in Marion, Arkansas, and the cafeteria made a rather nice roll for our meals at lunch.  Many years later, I was in Belgium and walking next to a primary school, I smelled bread baking that smelled identical.  It was mesmerizing and a little treat to remember, even if I wasn't destined to taste it again.

What smells do you remember and miss, or abhor and are glad they are gone?

Monday, September 30, 2013

If Medusa had a moustache...

If Medusa had a moustache, would it be made of teeny snakelets?

I would study, but...

I'm worried it would not be productive. It's 3AM. I had extremely productive studies this weekend. I made 100 on 4 quizzes online in various subjects and I think I'm off to a great start for a good grade on my next pathophysiology test. 

My strategy has been to shoot for the middle of the pack, and I seem to be on target. I made 84 on my first three exams-- what are the odds of that??? Anyway, I'm very pleased. Next weekend, though, I'm going to take at least one day for total goof-off.

One big challenge was to figure out how and where to study at home, and I've learned not to try to do reading on the recliner or supine on the sofa, because the dogs pile on and put me to sleep. I've also started printing the teacher's study guides and jotting on my own notes and noting the corresponding pages on the notes in case I need a refresher later. Being very thorough the first time means that my review can be just a read-through of the guide with notes and I'm good to go. It's very noble to plan to read through all the material twice, but it's just not possible-- too voluminous.

Um, it feels really odd that I need to correct the text on this, but in the Patho text where they are talking about drugs, they give the street names for stuff like PCP et al, and they list "blow" as a street name for heroin. Uh, I've always heard cocaine referred to as "blow."  Heroin is "smack" and other illustrious terms, no doubt. This seems significant, because if someone is in the ER with a cocaine overdose, you'd be doing the wrong things for them if you think they're overdosing on heroin. But maybe I'm wrong about this??? I've had exactly zero experience around people on heroin. I hope. Yuck. 
Completely unrelated note: on Facebook about an hour ago, an acquaintance from a past job posted photos of herself and a bunch of friends in a bar doing shots of liquor. Whoopsie! She's just posted that she is in the ER with a stomach problem. I'll bet. Reminding myself to un-friend her. 

Probably a good idea for ER admitting people to do quick searches of FB to see what the patient was up to prior to coming in. Maybe there's a "hey, Bubba, watch this" photo that will aid in diagnosis.

People. What're you going to do?
I gather that folks in the armed forces are shown photos of diseased wedding tackle as an incentive to be careful where they put their own wedding tackle. I have to say my Patho textbook has the most sobering photos of pudendae EVAR.  Srsly.   Remember the driver's ed films with all the crash/corpse photos from the 50s?  Well, this is a sort of equivalent. Definite deterrent material. Yay, penicillin!

I also am more and more convinced I want to work in wound care. With the MRSAs running rampant and diabetes on the increase, there will be more and more call for folks who can help with that. There's a huge psychological aspect, as well, and I think I could do some good there. I have very steady hands and excellent manual dexterity, so I think I'm a prime candidate for that area. I'm generally excited about the prospect of working in a field to help people on the most profound level. I hope I'll find a level of job satisfaction that has heretofore eluded me. 

I'll try to post more frequently, but no promises. Ridiculously busy here, but happy. Going to try to catch some more sleep. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Okay. No more coffee after noon.

I need to get into a better sleep habit. This insomnia stuff is for the birds. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Instead of watching the new Madonna art film, I recommend a nice cuppa Sadie!

Here's a performance from earlier in the year by the always luscious, ever-gorgeous Sadie:


I adore how blissful she looks. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Color theory

Miz Minka has a link to a super-neat color site wherein you can rearrange colored tiles in a spectrum to test your color acuity.  Nifty, innit?   I was very happy with the 15 I scored (my age category has a range of 0 to 1530), but she scored a very impressive 3. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Eye-rolling 101

Article:  The Secret American Subculture of Putin-Worshippers


As opposed to the Public International Culture of Obama-Worshippers???

Did  a chill just run down my leg, or what?

Annoying. How could anyone admire someone canny, capable, active and no-bullshit who actually doesn't want to help the people who killed so many Americans on 9/11???  That's just nutty, right???

Dreaded locks.

I can't believe I'm composing this post. Composting?  Um. If it's funny, enjoy it while you can, because I might pull it back down at any moment. 

If you have dogs, then I'm sure like me, you've noticed that a dog hair occasionally gets in your mouth, right?  Well, it stands to reason that they would occasionally ingest some of our hairs, right?  What is problematic for my dogs is that my hair is fairly long.  I don't know that Chuy has ever swallowed my hair, but in the past with dear, departed Valentine and definitely with Praline, there has been an occasional uncomfortable *aherm* outcome related to having ingested my hair. 

Ever-so-long ago, I noticed Valentine had been in the yard for a great long while and when I called her to come in, she seemed embarrassed, still hunched over in mid-poo stance.   I went to see what was the matter, worried I'd find distended bits of innards only to find that one of my hairs was embedded in a dangler and the end of the hair was still in cheekero.  I looked around and found a leaf from a tree, grasped the pewp with the leaf and pulled the rest of the hair from her bum and bob's yer uncle.  Had to do that from time to time.  No idea if she intentionally ingested my hair or not, but it was something to watch for.  To my knowledge, no deleterious health effects resulted from these hair events, other than the embarrassment of a rather tidy little dog.

Flash forward to Praline, who is bizarrely fastidious(she'd rather die than have an accident indoors), and when she has a dangler (rarely), she is very embarrassed about it.  She would probably spraddle-walk the yard for an hour if I didn't come to her rescue, poor darling, but even then, she'll get embarrassed about her sorry state and will try to hide her shame.  It's comical (and heart-rending) to chase her in that state, because she is mortified.

Mochi, as I've mentioned, is nomnivorous and is ever trawling the universe for something in appropriate to ingest.  Seriously.  She LOVES chewing up pens.  Unraveling a chenille bedspread is a great joy to her, and I once had to pull a chenille strand of about 18" from her mouth and it was quickly apparent the strand had traveled a goodly distance into my long little doggie.  Goober.  She's a walking hazard and there's no telling what she's eaten. *sigh*

This morning, it is particularly fine and beautiful, so I stood on the back step when I let them out.  Mochi was having a poop event, and the, um, ejecta seemed unwilling to disengage.  I watched her for a wee bit, but quickly realized it was in some way attached.  Like a good mommy, I scanned the area for an amply-sized leaf with which to liberate the reluctant turd.  Mochi was most amenable to having assistance, to my relief, because I didn't want to run all over the place bare-foot.  Come to find it wasn't just one hair, but a fairly dense mass of the things that had formed a little dreadlocky turd thing with hair extending up into her bottom.  Seriously, it was a fairly impressive tangle of hairs, and it actually took a little tug to get it the rest of the way out. Wow.

Made me think of what my mom says about dread locks-- she said they remind her of those monkeys (or apes) that roll dung in their fur?  Anyway.  I hope this does not become a regular thing around here-- Mochi seems precisely the sort who would get bored trying to lose it and would just flounce her dreadlock back into the house.  Ew.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Praline the vigilant

Late in the day, Praline is watching through the uncovered windows, lest anything need its arse kicked or neck wrung. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm a busy bee.

Had two massive tests and a group project this week. Freakishly, I made an 84 on both, to my delight. On one, though, I worried that I got a 48 and they accidentally transposed the numbers and they'd tell me later. This perhaps conveys the level of anxiety, to some degree. 

It's good, though. I'm finding a great deal of satisfaction in the process.  Also, finding my way a bit with Excel, with the help of some good friends. I was lead on a project for statistics class and that has been something of an ordeal, to say the least. I hope I should do as well as an 84 on that, but we shall see. 

Busy weekend. Lots of quizzes to take. Major test on Tuesday. At least the weather is finally cooling off, thank goodness!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Just a hunch, but

I'm guessing Miss Mochi harvested the sharpie from the pen cup on the desk. 

Crap. She's a monkey-dog. Everything not bolted down will need to be under lock and key. And she's nomnivorous-- she'll nom anything she can get her paws on. 


Fortunately, she doesn't have thumbs (yet) and may never achieve her plan for world domination. Still, she'd be a wonderful little dictator. Come to that, I'd prefer her to other "leadership."  Next time, write in Mochi on the ballot. Chew-pens for every pot!

Big birds.

About a mile from my house on Saturday I saw a bird so enormous that I doubted my senses. The wingspan had to be at least 6 feet- it definitely seemed wider than my car-- breathtaking!  Then I saw its mate sitting on top of a telephone pole.  A pair of Golden Eagles.   I've seen Golden Eagles here before, but only a couple of times and farther out in the country. I saw a Bald Eagle about an hour away from here in winter about 4 years ago(I 'bout dropped my transmission- I was so excited), so it's not the first time to see a massive raptor in the region.  It was the first time to see one so close to home. 

I realize their primary diet is little morsels like prairie dogs and the like, but it did not comfort me that when I googled images of Golden Eagles, I found one of a pair feasting on the carcass of a fox in a treetop.  Um.  That fox probably weighed about the same as any of my furballs, or more.  Made me nervous, so I voiced my anxiety to Himself, who said that in light of their huge wingspan, the canopy of my huge pecan trees would make them unlikely to come to my yard for easy puppy pickins.

I hope so. Still, I'm going to be a lot less casual about leaving them free-ballin' in the back yard for long periods of time.

Is it wrong that I hope the incessant yappers one block over would pull focus?

Um, scratch that. I don't want any raptors feasting on any dogs in my neighborhood, because sooner or later, they'd set their sights on mine.  Bird sanctuary be damned.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thoughts and prayers going out to all the folks in the Washington Navy Yard

Such horrid news. :(

We are going to be friends.

Fall and school always make me think of this wonderful song by the White Stripes, beautifully rendered here by Jack Johnson.

Stop motion animation charmingly rendered by Alison Work.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Chuy has a proper lie-in

The pup-deck has been shuffled!

Awoke to find Praline under my arm/on my pillow, Chuy against my stomach and la Mochi at my calves. Very odd shifting has gone on here!

Sweet, cuddly puppy dogs. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Calamity J by Juliette Has A Gun

When it comes to perfumes, I'm something of a tart: I fall in love easily with a beautiful fragrance, and I voraciously desire to have not one but many of the little darlings at my beck and call.  One which has captivated me since the Spring is Calamity J by Italian niche perfume house Juliette Has A Gun.

Starting in February as I was recovering from surgery, I began spending a little time researching perfumes and I started reading perfume blogs and discussion boards, and I confess the name of this perfumer caught my attention.  Their styling is in every way edgy and distinctive, and their fragrances are fine quality juice for reasonable rates, so I tracked down some samples.*  I tried Citizen Queen(gorgeous, but not my style) and Midnight Oud which I ADORE but I would not wear frequently enough to justify more than keeping sample size on hand. 

Calamity J has captivated me. The prominent notes for me on this are patchouli/amber/musk, as I don't like my 'fumes too florid or sweet, but spice does make me happy in my pants.  The array of my frequent fliers all contain patchouli and/or amber and would be classified pong-monsters, so I just spray once and only very briefly-- I wear my perfume for myself, and not for the folks in the next county.   Calamity J has a synthetic civet thrown in the mix for my preferred present-but-not-screeching degree of skank.  The amber and patchouli dance divinely and to beautiful effect - at the end of the day yesterday, I pulled the fabric of my bohemian blouse to my nose and drank deeply of the lingering fragrance therein-- absolutely beautiful.  Other accords here include cinnamon, Tonka bean, Labdanum and iris.

I TOTALLY want a Bullet Spray from Juliette Has A Gun, too.  This little deadly is a portable atomizer you can fill with any fragrance at all.  Nice.

Check out this and other JHAG fragrances-- you won't smell like everyone else, unless you end up smelling like me.

For more (and much finer) analysis of perfumes, I encourage you to check out the marvelous Katie Puckrik's blog and video reviews.  If you want to explore perfume, your taste will evolve on your own trajectory and at your own pace, but Katie's love of perfume is evident and delightful, and her knowledge is encyclopedic and may help you find your way. It's great to have resources that help you deconstruct the elements of what makes a particular perfume work for you, and that really helps you to choose your path forward, if you want to broaden your fragrance horizons.  Plus she is beautiful and stylish, and we really like that. :)

*On the subject of pricing for perfume-- everything is relative, right?  A 100mL bottle of Calamity J is $135 from LuckyScent**.  You could have the 50mL bottle for $105, but the pricing is far more cost-effective to buy double that amount for only $30 more.  Simple math, there, folks.  As for spending one or multiple hundreds on a bottle of perfume, the lovely perfume site Now Smell This has a fantastic post on how much use you can get from a bottle of perfume.  Scroll down far enough, and you can see that if you have 100 mL and spray 3 times per wearing, this bottle will last 491 days. (mind, this is on an average sprayer-- some spray more and some spray less.)  I rotate my fragrances, and though I often reach for Calamity J, I expect this $135 investment to last me for years, as I rarely spray more than 2 sprays at a time, and it probably costs me less than .25 per wearing to smell like I just tripped through a high-toned bordello with a side excusion to the Garden of Eden - a mere pittance. Also, your fragrance says something distinctive about you that is utterly of the moment, and that extra sensory fingerprint merits the expense.***

** I recommend you buy your niche fragrances from Lucky Scent when possible.  The perfumes they offer are not cheap, but they are of excellent quality, if you care what you smell like to other people(see *).  Also, for less than $10 in almost all cases, you can order a sample of most of the fragrances listed so you can explore without breaking the bank. 

***ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep your fragrances in a cool, dark dry place to protect your investment.  I reach for my Coromandel more than any, and because of this, I invested in a 250mL bottle(thank you, BONUS!!!), but I keep it in the original box on a shelf in the coolest, most central part of the house.  Oxygen, heat and light all degrade the essences in your perfumes.****

****The greater the concentration of essential oils in your fragrance, the more stable the fragrance will be.  Essential oil will be most long-lasting, kept in appropriate conditions.  Parfum is perfume with about a third of the juice being essential oils.  Eau de parfum will be somewhere around 10%, while Eau de Toilette will be around 5% concentration.  Of course, the greater the concentration, the less is needed to convey the scent, thus the less will you use.  Eau de Toilette will be the cheapest of these, but will the first to go bad sitting on your vanity tray.

My velvet furboy and the inherent rightness of doggie philosophy

Dogs really know how to live. 

I woke up about 4 am to find Chuy asleep with his head on my arm. I petted his ear leathers, scratched under his collar and his suede little chest. He is so soft and cuddly. It's different with each one, but I feel a profound connection with all my dogs, and Chuy on a soulful level. 

Given the opportunity with secure environments, I think all dogs can be lovey doveys. Chuy loves to love and be loved.  He is not perfect and any defect in his behavior is my fault, but he is so very dear to me. 

Did you ever notice that dogs never hold their breath?  They wag, eyes sparkling and tail going ninety-to-nothing, never indulging in the folly of trying to hide their enthusiasm. Good on them!

Praline has laser-like focus. She is a loving little girl who is so eager to please that I am very careful not to rebuke her rare transgressions because she feels naughty far too easily.  Mochi larks about with a glee you'd never expect to find in one so neglected/abused in early life: her exuberance is defiant of what would tell her to be sad in life. Excellent!!!  Then of course, there is my little Chuybaby, who will stand by the bed to be lifted up, because it's a bit of ritualized sweetness. 

All these lovely little instants make me remember to savor life and not hold my breath but to take in deep draughts of air and appreciate the moment. 

Thanks to my doggies, I'm daily reminded of the sweetness of life. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

On hauling coals to Newcastle:

I've seen this in pop-up ad several times online recently and I just had to share it here.

I saw this image and thought WOW! What a holster! You've got room for knives, your tactical spork, all kinds of crap!

Is ossum.

So I clicked on the link and it turns out it's called a Beauty Bottom Lift. 

What is wrong with people? What's wrong with that bottom just going though its life, doing bottom things, being a bottom, and appearing in the shape of the bottom it was genetically coded to be? People need to stop messing with things.  That bottom did not require lifting.

Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking: we don't want to see that thing on a bottom that has taken an earth-ward trajectory, and I quite agree.  How about one just cover their saggy bottom entirely? 

Of course, this is not meant to be outerwear (I hope), but it does look positively Lara Croftian, dunnit?  And you could sure strap a lot of gadgets on it.  Still, I'm not looking to pay $200 for a neoprene holsterish carry-all.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Please be kind if I'm a mess.

Cigarettes and chocolate milk
These are just a couple of my cravings
Rufus Wainwright

Okay, I'm craving neither cigarettes nor chocolate milk, but the chocolate in Homemade In The Shade by BlueBell is a frequent flier, and I have thought wistfully of nicotine patches of late.  Love love love this superb composition by Rufus Wainwright about things for which we long that are maybe a little less than entirely healthful. 

About 8 or 9 years (or 10???) ago I quit coffee cold turkey.  I was addicted.  I would drink a whole pot and clean like a domestic fiend.  Yes.  Cold turkey.  My house has turned for the decidedly messy these intervening years.  Went to an Italian eatery with Himself a couple of years ago and the lovely North Italian waiter brought us a complimentary café Italian with our dessert.   This turns out to have been a gateway coffee, as I've been off the wagon and consorting with the demon bean ever since to varying degrees.

Yes, I'm drinking so much coffee lately that I'm referring to it as the demon bean.

Um. I sort of have to.  I have metric butt-tonnes to read and do for school, and still working one day a week at the salt mine.  It's sort of not a question of whether or not to drink coffee.  I do try to stop at noon.  The first couple of weeks with school, insomnia was a problem, but I seem to be settling into a bit of a routine and sleeping more soundly and for more of the night.  When I feel I have my mud in more of a ball (after the 3 tests I have next Monday and Tuesday), I'll return to yoga and that will surely help.

For now, though, I'll keep fires on the shrine of the demon bean burning.

The song above is one of my all-time favorites.  You can see the absolute mastery of Rufus' playing.  Rufus is obviously a classically trained musician, and both his parents are famous singer/songwriters in their own right, as is his sister, Martha.  One startling thing about Rufus is the exquisiteness of his voice production, an absolute rarity in the non-classical realm.  You can hear that his voice is very even, and you can always tell it's the same voice from the top to the bottom of the range, and this is a hallmark of good quality singing. In fact, I expect that if he lives to be geriatric, he'll be able to sing in this sublime manner well into old age.  This is why you have many opera singers performing well into their 60s and 70s - the instrument is well cared-for and properly used.

On the songwriting, this number is structurally superb.  The minor modulation and oom-pahpah underpinning is almost like a carnival calliope, giving the song a sort of melancholy sweetness. Nostalgic.  Each new passage of the melody climbs a beautiful arpeggio to leap to a top interval that astounds and is tonically delightful, wonderfully unexpected.  This is, in my opinion, one of the finest songs composed in my lifetime.

So... I'm getting through my days, trying to concentrate on what I have to learn, but I am sustained by coffee, ice cream, the attendant talisman of beautiful perfume and the thought of music which delights me. 

Here's to coping mechanisms. Long may they keep us waving.