Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Coughing, sneezing, sniffling. Ugh. Worst cold of the century. I brought it home from work and passed it around.

“Thanks for sharing,” my girl choked out yesterday in the middle of another coughing fit. I smiled in spite of my misery. I know how to share – I took Sharing Class.

I love all animals. I used to volunteer at the Jacksonville Zoo, was working to get my exotic pet license, and wanted at least one of every kind of animal on the planet. I eventually got over the need-to-own-them-all thing, but barely.

A couple of years ago we lived in a condo and had no pets. My then-eight-year-old-daughter REALLY wanted a kitten. And a puppy. My girl’s ex had kept her dog (named Coon) for her when she moved out, and was willing to give up custody, and we were all excited to be getting him “back”. Thrown into the deal was a little grey kitten named Max. I had met them both, and was in love. I jokingly insisted they were going to be MINE. My daughter took exception to this display of greed and sentenced me to Sharing Class. My laughing girl backed her up 100%. “Yeah, you need Sharing Class.” They laughed and laughed and laughed. Brats.

So Sharing Class commenced that evening on our patio, with my daughter as Teacher, my girl as Best Student and me as Bad Girl. As Bad Girl, I was required to sit quietly in Time Out and listen to the (rambling) lecture given by the Teacher, while Best Student was awarded Recess. That Time Out happened to be in my favorite chair and Recess happened to be in the tight corner between the upright freezer and the brick wall escaped neither student, although the teacher seemed unaware of the irony. Suffice it to say, I smiled a lot (gloating but hiding it…from Teacher, anyway) and passed the class with flying colors.

“Thanks for sharing” always makes my stingy self smile.

*GRIN* You’re welcome.

(Original photo by ghindo, some rights reserved.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Please, Officer, I Can Explain...

I mentioned that we have a dog. He's a Boston Terrier mix (looks like a Boston, just a little bigger) and his name is Bubba. Not a "Bubba's one bad dude" but a "Bubba Gump". During these cool months, we've taken to leaving the sliding glass door in our bedroom open for him during the day. It's convenient. Until you find your new shoes (read that: MY new shoes), dirty clothes, or the contents of the bathroom trashcan chewed and strewn all over the back lawn.

Thursday, my step-son was walking with a friend to a local auto parts store. He is seventeen and a fair mechanic; this won't be the first fix-er-up he's fixed. I was at work, and my girl was at home. We were using IM to keep each other up-to-date on my grandma's condition (see previous post), when the topic of conversation changed.

       My Girl: Um...the cops are bringing [son] home.

       Me: What?


       Me: It's not like I couldn't hear you.

       My Girl: A cop called me from [son]'s cell. He and [friend] were walking to [local auto parts store], and apparently jumped a private fence.

       Me: [no response]

       My Girl: He is in so much trouble.

Later, during my lunch break, we were on the phone discussing the fact that my grandma hadn't been allowed to eat and still hadn't been taken down for her MRI, and worrying that the cop still hadn't brought [son] home, when my girl said, "Here's the cop!" I thought she'd hang up and call me after her ordeal was over, but she just said "hold on"...so I got to hear the whole thing.

       Officer: Hello, ma'am. I have [son], are you [my girl]?

       My Girl: Yes, Sir, I am.

       Officer: I'll need to see I.D. to release him to you.

       My Girl: Let me grab my driver's license. [sounds of door opening, cursing, yelling dog's name, door closing]

       My Girl: Officer, I'm sorry, my dog ate my wallet.

For those of you curious enough to wonder:
  1. The wallet, driver's license, debit and credit cards were all found (not together, and luckily not destroyed) in the back yard in time to prove to the policeman her identity.
  2. The length of time between receiving the phone call from the cop and their arrival - [friend] was escorted home first.
  3. [Son] and [friend] did not "jump a private fence"; the officer observed them walking along the top of a three-foot-tall brick wall that runs along the sidewalk...the wall being privately owned, this act of derring-do was still considered trespassing. The nice officer (perhaps with boys of his own?) recognized a lack of malice (and good judgement) and simply escorted the boys to their respective homes with warnings to keep their feet on the ground.

NOTE: Names have been omitted to protect the innocent, the minors, and the embarrassed.

(Original photo by Anirudh Koul, some rights reserved.)

How to Kill an Old Lady

I haven't blogged in a few days, because the world fell apart.

Tuesday, Day 1:
My 93-year-old grandma woke us all up frantically searching for "the kids" - three kids she used to babysit forty years ago. I assured her they were sleeping, just to talk her into sitting down so I could take her blood pressure. While she'd never shown signs of dementia before, so she was making up for lost time now. 197 over 99. Off to the ER. Immediate diagnosis: stroke. One EKG, EEG, and CT scan later, no stroke. In fact, her EKG and EEG are both good, and her CT scan is clean. They admit her overnight for observation. She's in good spirits, and laughing about her "episode", reminding me to "keep an eye on those imaginary kids."

Wednesday, Day 2:
They can't keep her blood pressure down, she has a UTI, and her labwork indicates something's off kilter. Abdominal MRI scheduled for tomorrow morning, and another on her brain right after, just to be safe about the stroke/not stroke thing. Abdominal MRI scheduled for 8 a.m.; no food or water after midnight (because it's her abdomen).

Thursday, Day 3:
8 a.m. comes and goes, and no call to go downstairs. (Remember, they're not feeding or watering her.) In fact, transport doesn't show up until 6 p.m. and they didn't call ahead as ordered so her nurse could administer Ativan for the hour-long procedure. They just stole her away. She's forced to lay flat on her back (something she's been unable to do for five minutes since a fall down a flight of stairs years ago) without being medicated. Results: Cranial MRI postponed to day three, a blurry but worrisome abdominal MRI, and one starving old lady in such unbearable pain she's unable to move or feed herself.

Friday, Day 4:
Cranial MRI conducted in the morning (with Ativan this time, but only because my mother was there to stop Transport from stealing her away again - again, they had neglected to call ahead), renal angiogram scheduled for afternoon. No pain meds because they'll have to sedate her for the angiogram. Transport arrives to take her to the Cath Lab for the angioplasty just as Transport arrives to take her for a CT scan someone has ordered STAT. Who ordered another CT scan, and why? Nobody knows where she should go first, or what's going on. 30 minutes later, orders for the CT scan are confirmed - this morning's cranial MRI shows signs of intracranial bleeding. ("We want to assure you: a neurosurgeon has been called in." Assure us?) She'll go to the CAT scan first and then straight to the Cath Lab for the angiogram. Think it worked out like that? Haven't you been paying attention?

First there's the agonizing transfer from bed to gurney, then from gurney to CT "machine". Then back to gurney. THEN transport insists her angiogram has been cancelled (in spite of our having been assured it has NOT) and they insist on taking her back up to her room. When they exited the elevator back on her ward, my mother hailed the nurse on her way past, and stepped between transport and the gurney. "You are NOT taking my mother back off this $%&*#@% stretcher! She has to be downstairs in less than 45 minutes." To the nurse just arriving in the room, "You get on the phone and get this $#!% straightened out NOW!" Twenty minutes later (and do we care how pissed Transport is?) they're headed down to the Cath Lab for an angiogram that had NOT been cancelled. Results: 70% blockages in both main renal arteries, and two stents to open them back up. Surgery is successful, and once sedation wears off, she is allowed Darvocet for pain.

When we get back to her room, her neurologist is there. He advises us that this CT scan isn't clean, but it isn't conclusive either - her brain could've been bleeding earlier and maybe now it isn't...or maybe it is. It could be something that just looks like blood. Some kind of protein, or possibly a tumor. We have to do a lumbar puncture, scheduled for tomorrow between 8 and 9 a.m. If her CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) contains blood, we'll have our answer right away. If it doesn't, it will be tested for other abnormalities. If the tests are inconclusive, we will have to perform another angiogram, this time on her brain. (He assures me, they will not actually enter the brain, just the arteries at the base of the brain. How reassuring.) Her age and condition mean that not just "any doctor" can perform her lumbar puncture. It will have to be done by the radiologist, and under flouroscopy (x-ray) to prevent mishap. Now THAT'S reassuring.

Saturday, Day 5:
Sometime after lunch (maybe 12:30, definitely not between 8 and 9) Transport arrives to take her for an MRA. OK, what the hell is an MRA, she's supposed to be going for a lumbar puncture. Transport doesn't know anything, and the nurses are just about as pissed as we are. They actually call (without prompting from her now paranoid family) to confirm that this is not another mistake. Nope, it's the real deal. An MRA is an MRI on the blood vessels of the head. Turns out the results of the MRI and CT scan together indicate further intracranial bleeding, in a different part of her brain. So she's off for the lumbar puncture, with Xanax administered first (right this instant, except the procedure is in less than ten minutes and it won't go into effect until they're done), and then straight to Imaging for the MRA, with Ativan administered enroute.

LP goes off without a hitch...except for the screaming we can hear through the walls. Then Ativan and an hour wait outside Imaging...only to find out her surgeon didn't note in her chart the details of the stents he implanted yesterday. "She should've been given a card with this information. Did she get a card?" Um, let me think about it...NO SHE DIDN'T GET A DAMNED CARD OR I WOULD GIVE IT TO YOU. Well, Imaging has to know what brand, what kind, medicated or unmedicated, steel or another material. They can't do the MRA without knowing. But today is Saturday; guess who isn't on call this weekend. Yeah, her surgeon. Imaging contacts the Cath Lab, her nurses upstairs, even the supplier (whose business hours are Monday through Friday). Nobody knows. Nobody can find out. Procedure postponed. Grandma is laying on a stretcher in the hallway, stoned out of her gourd, and still crying with the pain. They don't expect to have the required information until Monday. And she may or may not have a brain bleed that could kill her before then.

I have avoided mentioning the name of the hospital or any of her doctors. Don't get me wrong, her neurologist has a wonderful bedside manner; he took the time to listen to and answer completely every one of our many questions. Even the surgeon who performed the angiogram-turned-angioplasty was great - until nobody could obtain any details of the stents.

I've never encountered anything like it. I don't know who to blame for this Three Stooges approach to medicine. I hope that tomorrow brings a change in procedure. I don't want to feel like we should be considering litigation.

(Original photo by otisarchives2, some rights reserved.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Introduction

This is Willis. He is the smartest, most beautiful, and best-behaved hamster in the whole world. It's not that great a picture, because he doesn't stay still unless he's asleep.

I know some of you are thinking, "That does not look like a hamster. What's with the hair?" His hair is really long (we have to trim it to keep it from tangling in the exercise wheel) and really soft. Also unlike your average hamster, he doesn't bite.

He loves me. Probably not as much as he loves his ball. Man, he really digs that ball.

OK, I know he doesn't look like a hamster. He never looked like a hamster. But he was in the hamster habitat at the pet store, he loves his hamster food and hamster treats and hamster houses (he's got two, a big one and a small one, with multiple levels in each - he has the coolest digs!). He really is a hamster. And no matter what my daughter thinks, he is mine.

Granny's Girls

This is my granddaughter Zoey, at four days old. Her forearm is about as long as my thumb, and about as big around. Surely she'll put on some weight, right?

In the background is my oldest granddaughter Elizabeth, taking a break from eating eating her flavored lip balm. I'll have to find a picture of her with her head included to share.

My other granddaughter Leibe (the German word for love, but they're pronouncing it Libby) hasn't made her arrival yet, thank goodness.

There is a distinct shortage of boys in our family, and nobody feels it more than my step-son and my sons-in-law. You'd think we are suffocating them with estrogen. Poor fellas. Boo-hoo.

So, I'm thirty-something (almost forty-something), and I'm not one of those I'm-too-young-to-be-called-Grandma chickies. OK, I'm too young to be a grandma, but there's no use crying over fertilized eggs.

All of my grandmothers (including the greats) were called Grandma. *BORING* My grand babies are gonna call me Granny. That just makes me giggle. This granny drives a truck, works 40+ hours a week, wears big stomping lace-up platform shoes, listens to classic hard rock, and loves her girls more than they'll ever know.

(Original photo by JPendleton, some rights reserved.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Long Time Coming

So a few months ago (a year?...whatever) I woke up after a night short on sleep, groggy and fumbling for snooze, desperately thinking, “How much longer do I have to do this?”

I assure you, Dear Reader, the thought was alien. I have a retirement fund (recently dwindled to near non-existence), so I have consciously considered that far-off mythical date. But in that half-asleep shut-that-damn-alarm-off state, the word retire would sound like gibberish if someone uttered it. Pffft. The word shoes wouldn’t make any sense to me in that state.

That morning, though, I could feel it…it was as real as rain and just down the road a piece. It was like I had longed for it with every breath.

Just the act of thinking that phrase, “How much longer…?” woke me up, and I laughed like a loon. “What am I thinking? Retirement is an old people’s word. I’ve got a quarter of a century before I can retire. Where did that come from?”


Never mind, I know where it came from. I guess I should ask why it took so long to get here.
(Original photo by twob, some rights reserved.)

Oh, My Aching...

Is it the memory or the knees that go first? It’s moot – both of mine are shot.

Were you kind to your knees? How about your back? Who, me? Ha. Ha ha. Um, no, I wasn’t.

A couple of years ago, I bent over to pick up a piece of paper and wound up at my doctor’s office, unable to move. Or stand. Or sit. Or breathe. WTF? I wasn’t lifting an anvil; it was paper.

X-rays confirmed there was a real you-can-see-it-on-an-X-ray-problem, and it baffled me completely. What did I do?! It was PAPER!!

The answer was obvious as soon as I heard it. “…a lifetime of bad habits.” Oh. Well, yeah, that’s me, all the way back to girlhood. I’ve never been able to sit in a chair the proper way. I was always sideways with a leg hanging over one arm and my head on the other. Or (my favorite) I was in my dad’s recliner sitting the EXACT opposite of the way you’re supposed to – my feet on the headrest, my back in the seat, and my head hanging where my feet should’ve been. The Dukes of Hazzard was funnier upside down.

Years later (don’t ask; you know I don’t know how many), the bill comes due – and the Piper will be paid, Guv’nah. I was forced to take pain killers (which I hate) for a short while. A chiropractor, proper stretching and exercise, and caution in every movement meant no more pain meds; at that point muscle relaxers were enough. Now I don’t take anything for it. I’m just very, very careful.

Now what to do about the knees? And what was the other thing?

Editor’s note: People scoff at the mention of a chiropractor. I was a skeptic; I am a believer. I would be dead now if I hadn’t given it a chance.

I was terrified; if he made it worse, I wouldn’t live through it. The first time my back popped (a machine-gun sound, loud and running the length of my back) I screamed. Then I was laughing and crying. It hadn’t hurt, and more important – MOST important – I could breathe; I could get off the table by myself, I could walk. The change was immediate. I was going to live. That was eight years ago (or so), and I only went maybe seven or eight times.

If your doctor recommends a chiropractor – please, do yourself a favor. Go.

(Original photo by {christy_b}, some rights reserved.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

...With a Wooden Leg Named Smith...

Obviously, with a moniker like Laurelei, my name is Laura. I didn't choose the nickname; it chose me.

Back in the day (I've never said that - always wanted to), before I knew what the World Wide Web was, I was asked to work on a project at home, and was sent home with a laptop. In order to send her the files when I was done, my boss helped me set up my very first email account. She habitually called me Laurelei, so that became my email address and moniker. The name stuck. Ten years later, the boss and that job are long gone - and still the name lingers on.

I see some pretty inventive names online, and I wonder what part of their lives people are carrying with them.

I guess I'm just glad she didn't call me Scooter.
(Original photo by Gene Hunt, some rights reserved.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturdays are for Sleeping

Man, I love weekends. All week long I'm a clock winding down. By the time Friday comes slugging in, I'm ticking slower by the minute. I don't always get to recover on those two blessed days (see last weekend!!), but it happens often enough to keep me going. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if I would go to bed at a reasonable time, I know. Whatever.

Anyway, today I got to sleep. Didn't get there until almost two in the wee hours, but I crashed until almost noon - doesn't that sound shameless?? Meh, like I care. It was heavenly, and I'm forever in debt to the people who make it possible. Thanks to my girl for running interference, thanks to my nine-year-old for loving Cheerios®, and thanks to everyone else for understanding that Laurelei is AWOL for the first half of the day and for not knocking on the door.

I hope there's no plans for tomorrow.

(Original photo by mahfrot, some rights reserved.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mad Ca$h Disease

I love words. Reading words, writing words...talking (and I apologize to the people in my life forced to listen to my incessant prattling).

I have favorites, of course. Iridescent, ectoplasm, fettuccine, hematite, incidental, precipice. The list is endless.

Certain words are just fun to say.

My nine-year-old daughter asked me what my favorite word was, and I just picked one of the fun ones - no clue now which one - and she nodded with a look wise beyond her years and replied, "My favorite word is money."

(Original photo by booleansplit, some rights reserved.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's a Girl!

OK, we already knew it was going to be a girl, but last check her birthdate was supposed to be closer to February 12th. I know there's no way to force a baby to adhere to any kind of schedule, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

While I was somewhere west of here (Louisiana, I think), I got a call from my daughter. At the hospital. They were trying to stop her labor because she was about five weeks early.

That didn't work, and when I was about 25 miles away, I became a grandma. Again. (Did I mention I have a 2-year old granddaughter? She is the noobie baby's older sister.) I'm expecting another granddaughter any day now, but the doctors and her grandmothers would be pleased if she waits a few weeks to make her entrance.

Anyway, I am the proud grandmother of a tiny, beautiful, tiny baby girl. Did I mention she is tiny? And beautiful?? I guess it's time to finish knitting the two baby blankets. OK, it's obviously past time, but I work well under pressure.

(Original photo by brokinhrt2, some rights reserved.)

Oklahoma - More Than OK!

So we drove to Oklahoma this weekend to bring home our wandering children. My step-daughter (mentioned in this post) and her husband had moved there to be closer to his family, and decided to come back to sunny Florida.

I have to assume this was my first trip to Oklahoma. I don't remember having been there before - but in less than a day I knew I was home. Driving back to Florida was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I've mentioned my aversion to cold, and it was 22 degrees when we got into town Sunday morning. The temperature had no effect on the connection I felt. Mark my words, someday I'll be talking to you from my house in Nowhere, OK.

I thought "prairie" meant "flat". Not so. Coyotes, more sky than you knew existed, more stars than you ever dreamed. No people. Not many, anyway. Somebody said "town" and I laughed. There's no town, there's just 20 houses huddled together against the great wide open. I'm going to find a spot in that endless expanse where I can't see another soul in any direction, and I'm going to plant myself right in the middle of it. You'll hear from me, but you'll never see me. As soon as I work out the details, I'm going home.

(Original photo by Wade from Oklahoma, some rights reserved.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Do You Have That In Cherry?

One of the first jobs I ever had was as a clerk in a pharmacy. I worked the third shift because the hours suit a night owl and there was a twenty-five cent shift differential. The things you'd do for a quarter when you were young.

One morning just before shift change, a 20-something guy in obvious discomfort purchased a Fleet® enema. As I rang him up, he asked, "Do you have this in another flavor?"


His demeanor indicated this was no joke. He was either in pain or REALLY embarrassed.

Humiliated enough for both of us, and fighting laughter, I stammered, "Um...no, Sir, that doesn't come in...in...flavors. You do know this...is not for use orally, right?"

He muttered, "OK, fine, whatever," grabbed his change and left. He barely made it out the door before I fell apart. The shift change showed up while I was still giggling, and midway through my story, the same unfortunate fellow raced back in the door, down an aisle and up to the register, red in the face and clutching a bottle of the Pink Stuff in his hand. "I got the WRONG THING!!"

I had to pull over, hysterical, halfway home. NO WAY would I have gone back for the Pepto®.

(Original photo by Kenneth Lu, some rights reserved.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Black & White & Read All Over

I am a reader. Have I told you that? When I dive into a book, I really dive in. All sense of time disappears...not that I have a firm grasp on time anyway.

Earlier this week I finished the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Took me about four days, and I don't think I ate or slept until I was done. I really enjoyed it...until it was over. Always happens. If it's good I can't put it down, and when it's over I miss the people I met between the covers.

R.A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Number of the Beast...

Stephen King's The Dark Tower series...

David and Leigh Eddings' The Mallorean and The Belgariad...

David Feintuch's The Seafort Saga...

Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.

These are the nearest and dearest to my heart, the ones I read again and again. These are comfort food.

If you haven't been introduced, I'd love for you to meet some good friends of mine...

(Original photo by austinevan, some rights reserved .)

Sunny Side Up

Well, it's January 6th (I think), and it's a balmy 82 here in Jacksonville. Beautiful. I love this city. My folks are scattered all over the US, and wherever they are, it's colder than it is here.

I hate the cold. My youngest daughter wonders if she'll ever see snow. I tell her I hope so, but I also hope I don't have to see it with her. Brrrrr. I had enough of snow when I was a kid in Ohio.

Growing up, my sister and I had matching snowsuits, mine red and hers blue. We'd layer on every article of clothing we owned, plus gloves and mittens, ski mask, toboggan hat, boots two sizes bigger than our regular shoe size (because of the ten pairs of socks), and then fight our way into our snowsuits. Clomp outside for ten minutes to make another part of the snowman, then sh-sh-sh-shiver our way to the back door, where we'd enter the kitchen at the laundry-room door, strip it all off so mom could throw it in the dryer, and shiver our way to the bathroom where she'd have a lukewarm bath (that felt like boiling water to our frozen skins) to warm up in...and then to the kitchen for hot cocoa and toast. By then, the stuff in the dryer was done, and we'd do it all again. That was really nice of her, but we must've been crazy. By the time I was a teenager, I never wanted to see snow again. You can only slip on the ice and fall on your ass in front of the cutest guy in school thirty or so times before you get a real complex about it. Now I'm over the don't-let-me-embarrass-myself-in-front-of-so-and-so thing, but I still don't want to fall and break something...and since I'm a born klutz, I'm at risk every day, rain or shine.

No snow, no thanks.

82. In January. I love this city.
(Original photo by DeusXFlorida, some rights reserved.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Don't Eat Cat Poop, Either

I got an email today that gave me the warm fuzzies...

  • If you can start the day without caffeine (not a chance)
  • If you can get going without pep pills (ok, yeah, no pep pills here)
  • If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains (I like to think so, but I'm frequently reminded that I'm not)
  • If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles (um...that's kind of the point of this blog...to resist complaining to the people who are stuck listening to it)
  • If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it (assuming it's mexican; otherwise fuggedaboutit)
  • If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time (hmmmm...this is sounding less and less like me)
  • If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, no fault of yours, things go wrong (overlook it? no pity party crying in the corner??)
  • If you can take criticism and blame without resentment (hah!)
  • If you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him (I've gotten much better about this, but...no)
  • If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend (this one's easy...I don't have any rich friends)
  • If you can face the world without lies and deceit (even when it's myself I'm deceiving?)
  • If you can conquer tension without medical help (uh...you're kidding, right?)
  • If you can relax without liquor (another easy one...I rarely imbibe)
  • If you can sleep without the aid of drugs (we don't need no stinking sleep!!)
  • If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, or politics (I was good until they said politics...but I'm trying, I am!)

Then, my Friend, you are as good as your dog.
– Author unknown

Well, hell. I'm NOT as good as my dog. *sniff* He's a great dog. OK, he's not a great dog, but I love him like he was. He chews my shoes (think we're up to five or six pairs, one worn twice and one brand-spanking-new never even worn 'em yet), he hogs the bed, he's mean to the cats, and somebody tell me WHY I have to guard the litter box!!!!

(Original photo by Trebz, some rights reserved.)


Do you have a night owl in your life? Is it a bone of contention, or have you found ways to live with it peacefully? Any tips you can offer would be appreciated - by my family members.

I am a night owl. Not an insomniac; believe me, I can sleep...just not at night. I live on coffee and a couple of hours sleep every night. There's always something I don't want to stop doing: reading, watching my DVR'd episodes of House, messing around on the computer, knitting (my newest obsession). I just finished the Twilight books, and without pause I picked up the Heinlein book I was half-done with when I started Twilight. I almost finished it last night, but my girl gave me an antihistimine, waited 30 minutes, then stole my book and put a pillow over my head. By 9:30 I was out. I feel GREAT today!

And you know, I'd consider going this route once or twice a month...but I bet my girl is considering stock in Benadryl®.

(Original photo by Gerry Rosser, some rights reserved.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Case In Point

I'm obviously crazy. I'll be 38 this year.

Time and Time Again

I'll be 39 this year. Sometime in August, I think. If we hang together often, you'll notice that I have a problem with time...dates...remembering things chronologically. If something happened last week, I couldn't say if it was a week or a month ago. I can never remember how old I am. When asked, if I don't figure out the current year and subtract 1971, I always say 19. It's not Freudian; I honestly don't remember what was happening in my life at 19. Not that I don't remember it, I just don't remember if I was 19 when it was happening. Is this making any sense?

Anyway, a few days ago (I'm assuming) a co-worker was remarking on the rules for Leap Year - they're weirder than you'd think, and I'd link if I knew what site she was reading - and it reminded me of the only justification I've found for my problem. Have you ever heard of Universal Time? I hadn't.

I stumbled across this site (I don't remember when or how) and after reading, I was stunned.

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is "determined using highly precise atomic clocks", "defined in terms of an atomic transition of the element cesium under specific conditions, and is not directly related to any astronomical phenomena" and as such is "...the basis for the worldwide system of civil time".

UT1, on the other hand, is "...a measure of the rotation angle of the Earth as observed astronomically. It is affected by small variations in the rotation of the Earth..."

So UTC is precise, exact, reliable, while UT1 is based on a wobbling, spinning, changing phenomena. Hrmph. That might help us determine how long something takes, but it's never gonna change what time it is.

"One can think of UT1 as being a time determined by the rotation of the Earth, over which we have no control, whereas UTC is a human invention. It is relatively easy to manufacture highly precise clocks that keep UTC, while the only "clock" keeping UT1 precisely is the Earth itself. Nevertheless, it is desirable that our civil time scale not be very different from the Earth's time, so, by international agreement, UTC is not permitted to differ from UT1 by more than 0.9 second. When it appears that the difference between the two kinds of time may approach this limit, a one-second change called a "leap second" is introduced into UTC. This occurs on average about once every year to a year and a half."

Leap Seconds??

(link updated 11/17/2010)

(Original photo by Ross Berteig, some rights reserved.)

Reasonings & Seasonings

Pssst. First post. I'm guilty of subjecting my captive audience to my progressively-more-frequent ravings (no, Dear Reader, I'm not really holding anyone captive - although my kids might disagree). Maybe I'll be content to dish my mental meanderings here, and they'll get some peace. Who am I kidding? This will end up being one more thing I stress over. Welcome to my world.

My daughter and step-daughter are both expecting...both due in February. When they each shared their happy news, their ETAs were February 12th. Both of them. (Did they go to the same party??) Their husbands weren't worried, but I was beyond relieved every time the dates changed. ETAs are now the 12th and 17th. *whew* Maybe I'll have time to shower and change between deliveries.
(Original photo by Ross Berteig, some rights reserved.)