little_tristan: (BBT Sheldon WTF)
Since the Linus Pauling lecture series ends in May, I decided to look for something to do during the summer. The interweb is not helpful. Both papers, The Oregonian and The Statesman Journal, are fully online now, except for the comics, I think. Neither has a science section, and the Events calendars only list book, art, theater, etc. events.

A search of The Oregonian site for "Linus Pauling" didn't return an notice of this week's lecture. Or even the existence of the series. There were some nice articles on his collected papers at Oregon State University, but it can only be seen on weekdays.

OSU also has an amazing lecture series on archeology. On Friday afternoons. The scheduling conflicts with the paleoanthropology series at Willamette, but that's obviously a moot point.

There are environment sections in both papers, where they tell us to recycle and do articles about kids planting trees. That probably used to be in science.

The Mommy Blogs, seven divisions of Pets (including 2 forums and 3 blogs), and three different places to argue interactively about religion are most likely new.

Obviously I can read bigger papers, I have an online subscription to The New York Times for the arch-nemesis, but that won't tell me what events might be happening over here. Which is possibly the only thing the NYT has in common with The Oregonian (whose top headline today is a piece on a pack of feral cats at a community college campus).

We don't have great museums, either. I didn't really notice until I started searching today, but all we have are local cultural stuff, and children's hands-on science. (Play with bubbles! Mold clay!) There are a lot of small town historical museums, which are awesome, don't get me wrong, and the requisite tractor/heritage clothing/covered wagon museums.

What we're missing is at least one place in the state where you can go to see a dinosaur bone. There might be an egg in one of the mineral and gem museums. I like those. It's just not exactly the natural history museum of my dreams. Even Albuquerque has what I hear is a really good one.

I didn't mean even Albq. Except I do.

We really need to take that trip to DC.
little_tristan: (Puppy Upside Down Willow)
I'm watching a lot of documentaries lately. America the Beautiful, which looks at American standards of female beauty, is very good. Preschool University, on the difficulties of getting into elite Manhattan preschools, is probably more interesting if it's relevant to you. Like, if you live in Manhattan, have a two year old, and can afford fifty grand a year in tuition.

The Billionaire's Tea Party, made by a Brit trying to figure out what the loving fuck is going on over here, makes me sad. No, Tea Parties, you're not a grassroots organization. Poor dude in Walmart clothes who built the website for free? You got hosed. The guys backing your barbecue are worth over $20 billion and that shit just ain't trickling down. Know what else? It's never going to.

Also, if you want to call the president a communist/socialist/Marxist/whatever, please learn what those words mean. 'Cause someone might ask you to defend the accusation and that shocked, stupid look, followed by orders to "look it up" is not helpful to your cause. Because I know what the words mean. I just don't know what you mean.

Tammy was just here dusting and fighting off the dogs because I forgot and scheduled the lawn guys for the same day. But she appreciated the seahorses I stamped on my thumbnails this morning. Probably no one else will notice, so that makes me feel better.

I'm supposed to be paying bills and doing financial stuff, but it's Mom's birthday and I'm taking the day off. It's also Willow's birthday. Dog's never give you a day off, but at least I don't have to bake her a cake. She's perfectly happy just chasing her rope.

The catbox experiment is working well enough that the cats are behaving. Kenny not so much, but I still think that's mostly obesity. That's not exactly news. It's more of a progress report.

Work is still up in the air and the insurance company is still a pain in the ass. They had a meeting yesterday with an agent to answer questions. I gave Russell a list. Most of the questions revolved around prescription copays and my curiosity as to how I'm saving money by paying more. Our last insurance had a three tier system, $15/$30/$45. The new one is two tiered, $15/$30. Yet when Mark picked up my last prescription, which used to be $45, he had to pay $60.

I realize this is a significant savings over the $233 and change that the drug company wants (is Cymbalta shit by California condors or something?), but there's still a lie in there somewhere. I'm so sick and tired of these guys lying to us. And the whole defense of the massive premium increase is that we'll save so much everywhere else. Yet everything costs more. The only thing we haven't tested is hospitalization. I shudder to think what the radical markup and ensuing justification on that would be.

Of course Russ went off on the guy in the meeting, showed him the receipts, pointed out the numbers in the handbook, called them liars and thieves, the whole bit. Dude had no explanation whatsoever and said someone would call me to clear it up.

Ask me if that's happened. Go ahead. I dare you.

They're just lucky I got my Cymbalta or shit'd be a lot crazier right now.



Here's Murphy Sloane in his exoskeleton, looking a little bit crazy, too.

That platform he's on? Is a piece of plywood laid over the bathtub. It doesn't work as a tub, but it's good for storage. And Murphy. Also, true fact: the bar of Irish Spring in the soap dish behind him? Came with the house.

There's a new sea urchin in the house. This one's a cute little spiny critter from Africa, dating back about 50 million years. I haven't gotten a new urchin in a long time, but I was on ebay looking at chondrites and it popped up.



This is the new urchin, along with a thumb for perspective and seahorse showing off.

The chondrites are coming from Germany. I don't know when they'll be here. It's very exciting. For some reason we don't have any. I've never even held one before. But I read about them in Scientific American and it said the slices are gorgeous under a microscope. I love microscopes.

I also love The Hunger Games. I'm going to go read now.
little_tristan: (Kitten Halloween)
Heather and the kids got here early. The kids were a huge pain, as usual. How do two year olds even survive? I'm frankly amazed there are so many people on the planet if we all had to go through that phase. Which, as I'm given to understand, we did. Just amazing.

But. Tammy was over to dust and I couldn't be happier! Having tackled the really tough areas on her previous visits, she went over those rooms again and then finished the living room. It's sincerely cleaner than it's ever been. I don't even know for sure how she does it, just that it's not coming back nearly as fast, either. More amazement.

If the events of the day don't seem like enough to fill the time, the rest of it was spent just kind of looking around at how sparkly it all was. I get lost in sparkle.

Heather has a friend who's moving so she unpacked all the stuff that's been delivered since last Wednesday and took the boxes. That was handy. There have been virtually no men in my house the last couple weeks, in spite of the fact that they comprise 75% of the population. That's not amazing, just weird. But now all the stuff is put away and the room is clean! At least to my standards!

The wheelchair guy came in the afternoon to put the new tilt actuator in my broken chair. Which is nice and all. It still worked, but Willow had done so much damage to the wiring that the whole thing was pretty iffy. (Note: When Border Collie puppies appear to be sleeping innocently under your feet, check every ten seconds.) They're still not making any progress on the motor situation--you know, the whole reason I called this circus in--but I think I've finally gotten the truth as to why.

Yer gonna love this. The insurance company is too cheap to take a flier on me actually knowing what's wrong and signing off on the repairs. They want it computer analyzed with the little Quickie programmer that will chat with the chair and give a code for the problem. Otherwise I could just be one of those wacky cripples who demands new motors every time theirs gets, I don't know, dusty or something. Literally, I don't what the thinking is here. Can't even make something up. It's like trying to be funny in a foreign language.

The upshot is that this repair company I'm dealing with sees so few Quickie power chairs that they don't technically own a computer programmer, per se. Were there a way to research these shops, I could have found out months ago that their market consists of Quickie manual chairs and Invacare Prontos*. But I still find it odd that I've spoken to them many times, they've been to the house three times, and this is the first I'm hearing that they aren't actually equipped to diagnose or repair the problem. I mean, even if it got through reception, wouldn't someone in the shop look at the form and mention that they don't do that?

Oh, wait. That must be why I also just heard something about no one having written anything down about... Shit.

So I'll probably be calling the inherent liars that I got the chair from and brace myself for the flood of half-truths and broken promises to follow.

Moving on. It's cold and rainy in Oregon now so I've broken out the fuzzy sweaters and heavy skirts. It's nice, except for the whole arch-nemesis in threadbare shirt and flip flops shouting at me to turn up the heat. It's ninety degrees in his part of the house and he's not happy unless mine is, too. So he's perfectly comfortable for the collective thirty minutes
a day he spends walking through.

I sort of hate my fuzzy sweaters by noon. But they're so soft and pretty! I'm determined not to spend this winter like I did last, wearing the same clothes five days in a row, regardless of dog prints and food stains. It was ugly and sad and did not make me happy. Not like my grey skirt with black roses does. Except I just got it this summer and it's already too big. But that's a good thing, too. Heather has a friend who can alter the stuff I still want to wear next year.

This morning got off to a rocky start when I pulled a Kleenex out of the box, wiped my nose, and then saw the dime sized black and grey bug of horror clinging to it. Creepiness-wise, that's right up there with the time I washed my face with a washcloth that was discovered to have an earwig in it. This house is full of surprises.

I won't spoil the one about the spiders. You have to see that for yourself.;)




*If you or someone you love has an Invacare Pronto and wonders why it seems so damn cheap and crappy, it's because it is. $4000 at Walmart.com. Anybody can have one. Insurance approves them when they don't think you need a power chair but they want to get you off their backs. Respect for you? They haz none.
little_tristan: (Bunny)
Right now it feels like the weight of the world is off my shoulders. I could worry about a lot of stuff...but I don't. The important stuff is done. Mom is all taken care of, the finances are coming together, the old man seems to have settled on dying at home (because it's cheaper; I shit you not), Steve is still gone with a bonus of Russ finally discovering a theft and a lie that he cares about so Steve isn't allowed in the house again AT ALL (they're going to move his stuff to the shop down the street and he can pick it up there), and I've relieved myself of the obligation of publishing The Dancer this year. The pressure of having to write something I really didn't want, or even know how, to write just ruined the whole typing-untrue-but-pretty-words-and-showing-them-to-people thing completely. But that's over now.

Part of the result of all this relief is the three totally new fics I wrote and posted in two days. But I want to do MORE. RAWR! I'm a writing animal with no plots to dominate and devour. Except for one Breaking Bad, but I have to watch the series again to find the right canonical moment to--uh--insert it. Thank dog for Netflix streaming and the DVR.

So--somebody give me a prompt! Any fandom that I write in, even one of the ones with only one or two fics, and a plausible pairing. Or gen. I don't care. Just come and help me celebrate my return to the world of words!
little_tristan: (Drunk Octopus)
Okay, it was brutally unfair to make you all wait a day and a half, but Heather was over with the baby and he totally brought to life the terrible twos concept. It was the worst behaved I've ever seen him, just running and screaming and pushing every limit until it collapsed in despair and died of its own weight. The only nap he took was when she finally had to strap him into his stroller in the living room and let him cry himself out while we smoked on the porch and congratulated each other for getting out of there without actually hurting him. Because sometimes you just have to walk away.

But that's not what y'all were waiting for, is it? No, you want to hear about what happened when Steve came over last night. Well, the short answer is, nothing. He was a little late, of course, but not terribly, and knocked at the front door like a proper guest. Russ stood in the middle of the room, while I stayed in the corner at my tv watching station, and Mark let him in. He was exactly the same as always with them, and they were the same as always with him. It was all "Hey, how you doing? What's going on?" standard guy stuff. Steve never actually looked at me, or even at my end of the room, nor did he speak to me.

He made a bunch of trips upstairs and hauled his stuff out the side door while the gf and her kids waited in the car. Even with car top carrier I bought him for his vacation, he didn't get a whole lot in. Then he came back, said goodbye to the boys and told them he'd be back with his brother and his brother's truck to get the rest when he could. Again, he didn't look at or speak to me while they exchanged "Good to see yous" and "Take it easys". Then he went out to the car, got the gf and kids, and spent the rest of the evening with the drunken losers across the street. I know this because her car was still in front of our house when we went to bed at eight.

Apparently he did generously decided to split the plants with Russ, because Russ was always his favorite. He's the one Steve went whining to when I fired him, like Russ hadn't been telling me to for months. And how much do I wish I'd told Steve that when I had the chance? I had at least two months to tell him I was the only friend he had here, and the only reason he still had a job.

But whatever. He went away content that they're on his side and he'd still be happily leaching off us and constantly whining at me about my unreasonable demands if only I wasn't such a mean controlling bitch. And yes, I'm still pissed about that. But when I mentioned it this morning, that my feelings are still a bit hurt that he screwed us all over and, you know, treated me like a disposable cash card and I'm the only one who has a problem with it, Russ said that was true. I am the only one with a problem and it's time to shut up about it. So I will. After mentioning one last time that while the three people I trust most in the world are technically on my side, they're going to continue to let him think they're on his and it's just a matter of bitches be crazy, what're you gonna do? Also, I hope his basement hole floods this winter. And then grows mold. That is all.

That said, I'll leave you with this happy thought. During Cory's relatively obedient half hour when we walked up to the Dollar Tree, I rather impulsively bought a half-size purple tote bag that's going to be my new purse for a while. And this morning I paid off our credit card debt, after finally getting through to Mark that we were paying over three grand a year in interest, and that the amount of money he's seeing in the final column of the software isn't what we have, it's what we would have after the debt was subtracted. Now the numbers are still the same, we just won't have to keep handing over half his monthly pay to keep the credit jackals at bay. I've explained it three times a week for the last month, it just took this long for him to stop interrupting with yes, yes, I understand and actually LISTEN. God love him, he just doesn't have the storage capacity to truly process everything I say. Much like the large number of people who probably stopped reading a paragraph ago. ;) To those who got this far, God loves you, too, and so do I.

*HUGS EVERYONE*
little_tristan: (Hamster Spaghetti)
Mostly an excuse to break out my new userpic. But I did say I would say something about the book club meeting last weekend. I still don't quite know what to say, except that it was weird. Like, hamster at a horse show weird. The women were lovely but intimidating. We met at Judy's house out in the country, but not like the country where I grew up, with farms and grain fields. This was Tasteful Country, with winding paved driveways, fishponds and fountains in the front yard, casual weekend outfits that cost more than everything I own (combined), and extremely polite horses looking picturesque along the roads. When we weren't talking about my book, they were talking about the various countries they'd visited so far this year and the places they'll be going before they return to teaching and antique store managing and whatever else tasteful, educated people do. It was hardcore.

These people read my book. They talked about it among themselves. Then they served deli food from an adorable cafe in town while I talked about it. Not being educated, I've never had to present a paper or defend a thesis, but I did get to analyze the exterior symbols of my heart and soul with people who had opinions about it. I sort of wish I'd become an engineer or a physicist. You know, something easy.

Hopefully one day I'll have recovered enough to remember what was actually said. Or maybe it's better if I don't.

The rest of the week was up and down. The weather's been great so I've gone out as much as possible. Steve's been a good sport about it and I've been letting him get away as much as possible. Thursday the boys hired him away to work on their machine and Friday he left early in the morning to go camping. The boys have been home since Wednesday so they can get lots of work done. I haven't really seen them much, but Mark let me pick the colors for his touch screen controller last night. It's terribly difficult programming and I'm very proud of him.

This coming week Steve's supposed to be finishing up at the shop. I'm supposed to go with him where I can be properly supervised, but I feel bad about it. It'd be a good chance for him to not be near me, but I think he's scared of Mark or something. It drives me crazy when people don't talk. All I can do is guess and I never guess positively.

Friday morning I got a call from the bank letting me know that they'd been alerted, either by a merchant or law enforcement (she didn't know or wouldn't say which) that my debit card number had been compromised. I assume an ATM camera caught Steve using it and reading the PIN off his hand or something but without more information I couldn't risk it. So they're sending me a new card and I just won't have one until it gets here. Whine. Except I still have Russell's from the grocery store.

The wheelchair repairman came over and explained why I have to use a crap-ass controller forever, but maybe not with an external view screen. Those are for people who can't move or raise their heads to look at the box and the salesman was just being a dick when he made me take it. And why not? He was a dick about everything else. I'm using my old chair now and it's kind of nice. Like a proper exoskeleton should be.

Last night I decided to look for my step-grandma whom I haven't seen or heard from in about ten years. She moved to CA to be near her kids and grandkids, and probably great great grandkids by now. I found her, but it turns out she died nine months ago. That was kind of a bummer. I mean, she was only technically my grandma from 1980 to 1994 (my dad stopped counting when his dad died in '87; I give her until she remarried and moved away), but still.

I don't know if I'm getting depressed again or if it's just PMS. Either way, there's a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer that should help.

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