Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Archive for January, 2011

Sporadic posting

Posted by Lissa on January 26, 2011

Guests! Classes! Exams! Water heaters! Interviews! AIIIEEEEEE!!!! 🙂

Life sure ain’t dull!

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SumCat was here!!

Posted by Lissa on January 24, 2011


I’m sitting peacefully at my sewing/study table pegging away at my Nutrition textbook.  (Side note: I’ve got to do a post about the weirder, more interesting tidbits I’ve encountered in my return to schooling.)  Sure, I’m a little tired since I woke up at 3:45 AM, but I’ve had a granola bar and a cup of coffee, I’m two-thirds done, and I have a cat cozily perched next to me for company.  My iPhone is playing Indian Classical Music*, the birds are singing, and I can now describe the difference between a gastroduodenostomy and a gastrojejunostomy.  All is well.

And then my concentration is broken as a drop of water falls onto my syllabus.

Wha? I thought muzzily.  Did I drool?

A musical chime of liquid whispers to my left.

SumCat strikes again!!

P.S. I thought I actually caught his paw dipping down, but my iPhone camera deceived me — boo!

P.P.S. Mike laughs at me, but it actually makes a lot of sense to keep my water in that door pocket — it’s within easy reach, but if I accidentally knock it over it won’t impact the sewing machine (water + electronics = bad!!) nor the expensive textbooks.)

P.P.P.S. Rajah is feeling much better, thank you everyone!  He had his last Clavamox dose yesterday morning, and none too soon — it was starting to irritate his stomach and his resistance had changed from mild distaste to strong claw-stabby stiff-legged get-that-shite-away-from-me aversion.  His appetite had dropped just enough that, combined with occasional vomiting, I was getting seriously worried; however, everything’s back to normal now.  Including the lack of compulsive licking and discontinued impotent-frequent litter box trips.  Yay hooray!!

*I took a Music of Asia class my freshman year in college — China, India, Japan and Korea.  I’ve found that classical Indian music makes great study/writing background noise.

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Rajah has a drinking problem

Posted by Lissa on January 20, 2011

Don’t miss the credits at the end!

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Speed Demon!

Posted by Lissa on January 19, 2011

Dear Volvo Owner,

It is true that the speed limit in our community is 25 mph.  It is true that the speed limit is reinforced by regular stop signs.  Still, the customary speed in our area is usually 30 mph or slightly above.  I will not yell at you, nor tailgate, nor honk my horn should you insist on driving 25 mph, but I reserve the right to grumble aloud.

On the other hand?  If the tow truck hauling a station wagon has gained so much ground in front of that its blinking lights can no longer be seen, that is a pretty good sign that YOU ARE GOING TOO F***ING SLOW.


Best regards,


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Pres. Obama’s WSJ op-ed

Posted by Lissa on January 18, 2011

Hat-tip to my husband, who emailed me the link as I was drinking my morning coffee.  The subtitle seemed promising:

“If the FDA deems saccharin safe enough for coffee, then the EPA should not treat it as hazardous waste.”

Here are some of my thoughts, re-created from our conversation.  (Many of these are not continuous; please assume [snip]’s between bullet points.)

  • I like the purported message — “For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known.” — but I just don’t accept some of the things he states as fact.
  • For example: “From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.” Ummmm . . . I’m not going to argue on the child labor laws, and there are parts of the Clean Air Act I would probably find reasonable, but ya lost me with that third one, cowboy.
  • “Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. At other times, we have failed to meet our basic responsibility to protect the public interest, leading to disastrous consequences. [snip] Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the right balance.”
    ME: “Oh, THAT’S been your goal for the past two years? Yeah right! No, I do not stipulate!”
    MIKE: “Well, it’s a claim. Remember, his idea of the “right balance” is certainly way different than mine, so in his head, maybe he is.”
  • “Where necessary, we won’t shy away from addressing obvious gaps: new safety rules for infant formula; procedures to stop preventable infections in hospitals; efforts to target chronic violators of workplace safety laws. But we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.” I’m surprised — but not displeased — that he would use the phrase “just plain dumb.”  Mike pegs it as his attempt to channel his inner Dubya and connect with us commonfolks.
  • “For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.” Yay hooray!!  I’m totally on board with this sort of thing!!!
  • “But creating a 21st-century regulatory system is about more than which rules to add and which rules to subtract. As the executive order I am signing makes clear, we are seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends—giving careful consideration to benefits and costs.” This sounds great . . . except I’d like to see how it actually plays out. Perhaps I’m just inherently suspicious, but I’m guessing that “benefits to society” are going to outweigh “costs to companies and opportunity costs.”
  • “Despite a lot of heated rhetoric . . . “
    MIKE: “If it makes you feel better, it’s not like he wrote it himself. He probably has no idea what’s in it.”
    ME: “And the readers of the NY Times will probably eat it up.” *doubletake* “Hey, why wasn’t this in the Times? It’s in the Journal? Eeeenteresting . . .”
    MIKE: “Yeah, he’s writing for a different audience, isn’t he?”

Bottom line . . . I like the idea of lowering regulatory burdens, easing the headaches of small business owners and scrapping stupid laws.  But then again, I also like the idea of “sustainable development” . . . because who, after all, is in favor of unsustainable development?  It’s when we look at the nuts and bolts of the regulations — how things play out in the Real World, which include the glorious mayhem of Unintended Consequences — that things get a bit sticky.

Bottom-er line: I’d like this message a lot more if I thought that the messenger believed it himself.

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Quick post of randomness!

Posted by Lissa on January 17, 2011

I had to take a break from cleaning the bathrooms to stick the pork half-loin in the oven to roast (do you guys have a habit of unscrewing the faucets to clean the flow screens with bleach? I didn’t used to and then the first time I did in this house it was absolutely disgusting so now I do it at least once a month) and my hands stink of bleach and I’m afraid it rubbed off on the pork but I scrubbed my hands across the stainless steel of the sink and it helped and oh the medications are helping Rajah in that he’s not licking as compulsively and litter-visiting with less frequency — thank goodness! — and thank you all for the good wishes and here, have the song that’s stuck in my head, while I go scrub a toilet and a shower!

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Poor Rajah’s had a rough morning

Posted by Lissa on January 14, 2011

I noticed yesterday morning that Rajah was grooming his man-bits more compulsively than normal.  He seemed okay during the afternoon — his usual six-hour nap was uninterrupted — but then during the evening I observed him going to his litter box MUCH more frequently than normal.  Impotently, too — he wasn’t producing anything.

“Oh joy,” said I to myself.  “Urinary tract infection!  Hooray!”

He only had three of the six most-common symptoms; he wasn’t crying in the litter box, having accidents, or bleeding, so that was good.  But still, it was awfully hard last night to watch him going to the box over and over.  I tried to distract him with toys and petting and treats.

It was harder this morning when I popped awake at 4:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep.  The vet didn’t open for another three hours.  So, three hours of watching my poor kitty compulsively scratch in the litter box and lick his much-abused private parts.

The vet finally opened and I made the earliest possible appointment.  Unfortunately, that was 9:30.  So, another two hours of watching Rajah suffer — fun fun!  Actually, happily, it wasn’t that bad.  He slept for almost an hour on my lap, and then getting breakfast and getting dressed and getting him into the carrier took up a good chunk of the remainder.

Like most cats, Rajah hates the vet.  He cowered and looked miserable and tried to make it all disappear by hiding his face in the crook of my elbow.  When that didn’t work, he moved on to more drastic methods: having his first small accident on the vet counter.  So add the pungent reek of cat pee to the morning’s festivities.

The doc agreed that it was probably a UTI and gave me two bottles of oral antibiotics. I thanked him, paid, and brought Rajah home.

Only to pull him out of the carrier and squirt 1 ML of Clavamox into his mouth.  Yum yum!

And it turned out that his underside was sodden with urine.  So then he got sink-scrubbed.

And it’s not even eleven AM yet!

I know y’all wanted kitty pix, but probably not this one:

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Thank you Calvin’s Mom

Posted by Lissa on January 13, 2011

This post is devoted to the author of The Transmogrifier Files.  Thank you!

Without you, I’d have been grossly offended during my first classes yesterday and last night. I would have thought a question like this one —

Q. What is the best way to contact the professor?

A. Email

B. Email

C. Email

D. Email

E. All of the above

—  was insulting my ability to read.  I would have thought repeated, emphasized disclosure on how there are no make-ups on the weekly quizzes was insinuating that I was too stupid to understand it the first two times.

But thanks to the glory of the Transmogrifier Files, I realize that this crap isn’t aimed at me.  I show up on time, don’t miss class, complete assignments before the deadline and never cheat, so 90% of the warning disclosure is aimed at other people.

Like, say, the girl who has a drunken threesome and then skips class as a result.

Thank you, Calvin’s Mom.  The window into your life as a professor has kept this student on an even keel.

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Posted by Lissa on January 11, 2011

Or, “Why Lack Of Choice Breeds Insane Lines and Massive Rage.”

Lissa got to visit the university bookstore yesterday!!

Of my three classes queued up for the semester, I purchased one’s textbook online. The Anatomy and Physiology class had a packet of materials, so I had to buy that at the bookstore; the Developmental Psych had a book for rent, so that had to be done at the bookstore as well.

First thing as I walk through the door: “Ma’am, you can’t bring a bag in.”

ME (blankly): “What?”

LITTLE PREPPY TWERP: “You can’t bring your purse in.  You’ll have to leave it with the others.”  And he gestures toward a pile of backpacks sitting by the door.

ME (incredulously): “There’s no way I’m leaving my purse like that.  Can you get me my books?”

LITTLE PREPPY TWERP: “Did you order them online to pick up?”

ME (irritated): “No, I *tried*, but the server was down all weekend.”

LPT: “Then I can’t help you.  You’ll have to leave your bag.”

ME (firmy): “There is no way in hell I am leaving my bag on the floor in plain sight.”

LPT: “Then you can leave them in the lockers.  They’re down the hall.”

ME (absolutely pissed that he didn’t tell me that to begin with, and trying to turn him to stone with my eyes): “FINE.”


After 45 minutes in line I couldn’t take it any longer.  I pulled out my iPhone and tried the online ordering site again.  It went through this time — yay hooray!!  I immediately left the line and went to visit the Little Preppy Twerp again.

Uh-oh. Preppy twerp is gone, replaced by two students who are frantically ringing up people returning books in a nearby window.  After a few minutes I politely, but loudly, ask: “EXCUSE me, are you servicing book pickups as well?”

“Yes I’ll be with you in just a moment,” the harried young woman promised.

Five minutes later I was clasping my hands to keep from drumming my fingers on the counter.  It took conscious effort to keep my lips from pursing and my eyes from glaring.  It’s not their fault, they’re just really busy today, I chanted to myself.  You’re a lucky woman. You’re much better able to afford books now than the last time you went to school.  And you have a working car!  Count your blessings; this will all be over soon.

Another five minutes of building fury and internal meditation.

Finally, FINALLY, she turns back to me.  “Can I have your order number?”

ME: “Sure, but it might not be in the system yet.  But I have it here on my iPhone and I have all the books in the basket, so I can just show you the receipt and–”

HER (instantly): “It says all over the website that it takes 48 hours to fulfill.  You can’t get them before 48 hours.  It says that on the website.”

ME (goggling): “I have the receipt RIGHT HERE.  I have the books RIGHT HERE.  It will save us both time and trouble to check me out now.  You’re really going to make me leave and come back in two days?”

HER (triumphantly): “It takes 48 hours.”

ME (once again trying the Medusa trick. Damn, why can’t I turn people to stone?): “FINE.”

And I left those damn books right there on her counter and stormed out.


Folks, if a retail place had ever treated me like that I’d *never* give them business again.  I’d spread the word to all my friends and family not to patronize them. I’d write letters to customer service directors and tell them how unhappy they’d made me.

As it is . . .

I’ll try and buy more of my books from Amazon.com.  Cheaper price when new than the Bookstore, and free delivery to my door.

Grrrrrrrr . . . .

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Back to school for me!

Posted by Lissa on January 10, 2011

Good moring all!  Thanks for leaving me your input in the last poll — I really did have constipation of the brain.  So, um, my dear readers are the figurative equivalent of Ex-lax.

Crap.  You know what?  I’m not liking the direction this post has taken.  I’m starting over.

Good morrow, dear friends! Per your stated wishes in the last post, I shall at once describe the change in vocation that I hope to bring about.  Tally-ho!


As y’all know, I went to Ye Olde Liberal Arts School.  It was a very nice school, with very lovely professors and very accomplished students.  I learned a lot about myself during those years, started to grow into my skin ( a process I continue to this day), and made some friendships that I do think will last me the rest of my life.

Aaaaaaand . . . that’s kind of all.  Sure, I graduated cum laude. Sure, YOLAS is considered an elite school.  But it’s not that well known outside of its regional area.

I graduated in 2002 and jobs were nonexistent.  After what I like to call my Lost Year, I started working for Ye Olde Financial Company in 2003. I stayed there until we left MA this October.  The company was a good place for me; I moved around some, got promoted some, and generally had a successful career.

I thought, when we moved down here, that it could not possibly be as hard to find employment down here as it was in 2002/2003, and I was right — I’ve got high hopes for a couple leads I’m following.  But the fact remains: It’s damn hard to quantify being a good worker in that industry.

Let’s compare my resume to Made Up Person, who was in my group back in Boston.  Now, the folks there hated MUP.  He didn’t do his work on time, wasn’t attentive to the bosses, was careless in his editing, and generally belligerent.  Every time he was assigned to a project, the other participating folks would groan internally and plan on doing more than their fair share of work — they knew they’d need to.

Me?  (Sorry, but I’m gonna toot my own horn here — bear with me for one paragraph.)  They loved working with me.  Higher-ups would request me specifically on projects, or approach me independently with small projects that I’d have to clear with my boss. I was always careful in my review, massively hard on myself when I made mistakes (I **HATE** making mistakes!!!!), and diligent to such small things as whether the higher-ups preferred their copies double-sided or single-sided, paper-clipped or stapled.

And yet on paper? His resume and mine will list roughly the same thing in that position.  The average recruiter will see no difference between his resume and mine.  This despite the fact that I was told explicitly (well, I would have been told, if I wasn’t making up the MUP character) that they cut MUP’s bonus to increase mine.

I’m so TIRED of this.  I’m so tired of looking for work with nebulous credentials.  And now tack on the fact that there’s a decent chance we’ll have to move again within the next seven years, so I’ll get to do it all over again.  Yay! . . . umm, not.

Soooooo . . . I’m going back to school!

Mind you, I never missed school.  Well, not school per-say.  I missed having tons of friends within walking distance, along with my two choirs, but that’s all.  I have enough younger siblings and friends to remember exactly how much I hated doing 20 page papers and cramming for tests and having the fear of unemployment hang over me.  I never wanted to go back.

But I’m hungry for an actual skill set.  I’m eager for a license or qualification that frees me from depending on the intuition of an HR person who will believe that I’m a good worker.  And I need something that will transfer easily if we end up moving.  Oh, and since I’m tired of being frightened of unemployment — a fear I’ve had my whole life, btw — I want a job in an industry that I know is growing.

Can anyone guess?  I bet people have guessed!

Yes, I’m going to nursing school!  Hooray!

Well, actually, I’m starting at a community college this week to get the prerequisites so I can apply to a university Advanced to BSN program.  I’ve got my BA, so it should take about two years total — one year to knock out the prereqs (who wants to butcher a pig?) and one year for the actual program.

I think I’m suited to being a nurse. Whether it’s caring for the camp kiddee who scraped his knee or holding back some girl’s hair in the graduation party bathroom, I somehow end up caretaking for the folks around me.  I’m fairly sure my stomach is strong enough — I don’t have a problem with blood and guts.  I volunteered at a hawk shelter for months and got to play with rats and dull scissors; that didn’t bother me.  (“Let’s see, 18 red-tailed hawks . . . each one requires one-third of a giant rat . . . wish they didn’t have rat shit all over the hindquarters . . . ”  **)  I don’t have a lot of trouble switching my biological clock — I could do the midnight-to-8-AM shift without difficulty. I know the job can get gross, and I know the job can get absolutely heartbreaking, and I think I’m prepared for that.

Of course, whether it’s nursing or parenting or whatever, everyone *thinks* they’re prepared, right?  Perhaps the first time I get puked on by a complete stranger I’ll hang up my Crocs.  😉

But I’m determined.  And, assuming that I get my license, I’m guaranteed a growing industry.  I mean, does anyone think that the medical profession is going to become less important?  And with ObamaCare rolling down the Pike and doctors quitting willy-nilly, does anyone think nurses are going to become less valuable?

So that’s my story, folks.  Wish me luck!

P.S. I know Christina‘s doing sort of the same thing.  Thanks, Christina, I’m braced for Microbiology!


**The rats didn’t bother me.  Nor did the chicks.  However, the osprey food? VILE.  It would take HOURS for me to stop smelling that nasty slimy fish on my fingers.  Even if I was imagining it.

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