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Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Collection of Symptoms

WARNING: This post contains not-too-graphic references to Girl Stuff. If that's TMI, then don't read it. I'm not completely over the Crankypants discussed below.

The problem with syndromes is that they tend to be just that - a collection of seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Until several pile on at once, and then you shout at your husband for perfectly normal things.

I am, in general, a fairly equable person. I have a quick temper, but I snap once and then it's over. I'm a shouter as a parent, but that has more to do with laziness on my part - who wants to get up to go to the next room? - than any actual shoutiness.

So today, with Laston looking a bit wounded that I bit his head off and then stomped off to take a shower, I did some regrouping in there.

Symptoms: irritability (obviously), headache, fatigue. Slight dizziness. All of these can be explained by the fact that I am, well, still a functional girl. It all still works; it just can't make babies anymore, as I painstakingly explained to Lizzy a few months ago. As I'm 46, this is a Good Thing.

Okay, so PMS. Check.

But even with PMS, I'm not usually that much of a bitch.

It's been a weird week. Although things were super cool and all, what with joining the ranks of the Formally Educated, it was very, very stressful.

Okay, so PMS and stress. Check.

Still not enough, generally speaking, I'm certainly under less stress than I was when I was actually in school, and I finished that last December. Money's always an issue, even with graduation gifts from assorted people, but certainly no more so than usual. The day-to-day is no different; I feel that I do too much around the house and the rest of my family does too little (or rather does too little unasked), and that they don't listen, but that's par for the course.

I've had some really nice comments on my work and my writing and the kids are basically healthy and happy.

So what gives?

I found out when I put on my sandals to take out the trash.

Holy Google, it's 89F out there. In June. In Seattle. And the heat index is about the same. And it's only going to be worse next week.

I got back in, used my asthma inhaler, and took off my sandals. I already have marks in my feet and they've been on for a grand total of nine minutes. And my ring is too tight, rather suddenly.

A clue, a clue!

Not heatstroke, per WebMD; I don't have a fever or any of the vomiting, etc that are common symptoms (thank Google). Heat exhaustion, heat exhaustion... ah, there it is. Risk factors: obesity (check), pulmonary disorders (check), high blood pressure (check), pregnancy or other hormonal factors (like PMS. Check.). High blood pressure and thyroid medications (check).

Well then, elevate the tootsies, strip to the bare minimum for decency, and drink lots of water.

And I already feel better.

I KNEW I bought all those clear fluids for a reason. And I should not have had coffee this morning.

Sorry, honey.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Commencement and Other Milestones

Trying to remain serious
Audience members of mine
I walked today.

With 550 or so of my Washington brethren and... sistern? Hmm... fellow alumni.

It was a seriously big deal, and I actually enjoyed the process, although there were a number of somewhat uncomfortable elements, like good old-fashioned acetate caps and gowns, and one bathroom stall for every hundred or so women.

So hot backstage!

That's me!
And although my new haircut is cool and cute and kind of breezy, it also does not take bobby pins well. So the cap kept slipping.

But oh, wow, I love how the University acknowledged the families of the graduates as well. Google knows mine were indispensable. I believe strongly that something like this - especially for those of us who were not fresh out of high school - requires major support from family, friends, roommates, whomever is your normal support structure, taken Up to Eleven. And I now feel more... I don't know, official, I guess... because I have actually done the walk.

And I almost had to do another one this evening, late, because the your-car-won't-start that we thought was super simple the night before (and therefore deliberately ignored because it was safely in my mom's driveway) was rather more complicated than we thought.

Battery old and corroded. Fine. Let's get a new one. I have a graduation gift of some cash and that's a good thing, and a new battery is only a hundred bucks or so. So  the good folks of ATT Roadside Assist send me out a tow truck, he gives me a jump and sends me down to the local auto parts store for a new battery. So far so good.

The battery guy - nice kid - takes out the old one (so corroded it's scary) and pops in a new one. He tightens the bolts and sends me on my way, with the instruction to drive for about 20 minutes to charge the battery.

Which worked great until said battery died again, this time in the middle of the road. With Abby (and we agreed while waiting for the tow truck that it was a good thing Lizzy wasn't with us or she'd run into traffic out of sheer boredom) and we can't get hold of Laston because his phone is charging and still off from the day's events.

So we get a friend who is also a neighbor to figuratively smack Laston upside the head and tell him to turn his phone on, Laston calls and comes down to where we are (Lizzy at Grandma's), to wait until the tow truck gets there and take us home.

Except he doesn't have to wait for the tow truck, because although Laston can't remember to turn his phone on, and he's not really a "car guy" he IS somewhat of a polymath, and that includes internal combustion engines.

He figures out that the problem is not the battery, or the alternator (thank Google). It's that the battery cables are not making the connection, even though they look okay at first glance. The kid at the auto parts store tightened them pretty well, but there's something wrong inside the cable attached to the positive thingy (contact?). Like maybe the battery acid corrosion ate through the cable somewhere and it's got a short circuit? So the battery didn't charge.

We got the car home without the help of the tow truck driver, and tomorrow I'm taking the van to work while Laston works on the car. And does the dishes, I hope. Happy Fathers' Day, honey!

In any case, it was a great day for power of one sort, and a really bad one for power of the battery sort, both phones and cars.

But then there's this, the sleepover at Grandma's. And that's enough for me.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Know too Much

At least, too much about show tunes / classical music / musical theater.

I blame my father.

Tunes get conflated in my head until I can't separate them; as an example, a mix tape I made off the radio (yes, I said, "mix tape;" I was in my teens when I made it) means that Jack and Diane always comes after Down Under, and it feels wrong if it doesn't.

I know annoying bits of musical trivia, like the fact that Twinkle Twinkle, the Alphabet Song, and Baa Baa Black Sheep are all the same tune.

Only instrumental music - and only that I have not played on my cello - can be listened to while I am writing. If the music is vocal, I tend to write what I hear, and if it's an instrumental piece I have played, my fingers twist up into the cello fingerings instead of what I meant to type.

Abby played a song on her recorder today, and I can't for the life of me place it. I know it, I can hum it, but I cannot remember what the hell it is from.

The Firebird Suite? Fanfare for the Common Man? Appalachian Spring?

I can't remember.

Maybe there's an app that will let me sing into the microphone on my phone and search for it?

Of course, there probably is an app for that, but it's almost certainly not available for Windows Phone, which is what I have.

I love my phone, but it gets very little love from the world - read: app developers - at large.

Lizzy can identify it as, "from Little Einsteins," which is not precisely useful, as the whole point of that show is to familiarize children with classical music. Abby thinks it's not from Firebird, "because it's not in the Nature Spirit After the Volcano Thingy from Fantasia 2000." I think it probably is. seems to think it's Japanese.

It's definitely not. American or European, for certain.

Doo da doo, doo da doo. Doo da doo da doooo.

ETA: Oh, for heaven's sake, it's one of my absolute favorite symphonies: Dvorak's New World. No wonder I couldn't decide whether it was (Eastern) European or American!

(start around 9 minutes, 30-ish seconds)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

And She...

...gets it!

Abby got a part in the play she auditioned for.

We found out yesterday, but we were asked not to say anything on social media until tonight, I suppose so they can notify everyone.

In any case, Abby will be playing Lady Lucinda, one of the Queen's Ladies in Waiting. These are somewhere between the chorus and the more major parts; most playbills call them (and the Knights opposite them) as "featured players."

Rehearsals start in late June. The play performances are August 7-9.

The hearing in my left ear may be permanently impaired from Abby's squee of delight.

Even Little Miz Liz is proud of her big sister.

As are we all... this is - as she points out - her "first audition that's not for school or camp."

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Remember when Miss Abby went to drama camp for Midwinter Break? It was at this place, and they had asked her to audition for a play, which she did tonight. She's auditioning for Once Upon a Mattress, which is the musical version of the Princess and the Pea. Except that there's no Pea. Or something.

I was not allowed in the audition room with her, but I could hear some of it through the door, and as far as I can tell, she did great (albeit a bit quietly at the beginning of her song, because she was out of breath from her monologue).

Her monologue was this scene from Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens. She did not attempt the accent. And that's a good thing; natural mimic she may be, but not for an entire speech full of shouting at the assorted baddies in this scene. But I think the fact that she knows the scene very well, and the fact that she's a Whovian who knows her audience (the choreographer for the play in question is a Whovian as well) probably helped. She wore a hat and carried her sonic screwdriver as well.

And then she changed her hat to a wolf-head-shaped hood she has from Great Wolf Lodge, and she performed the last verse of "I Know Things Now" from Into the Woods. This is the song that Little Red Riding Hood sings after her encounter with the Big Bad Wolf... and it's his pelt she's wearing in the play and the movie.

In any case, I think she did pretty well, and between her practicing the Pandorica Speech and me rereading some of +Diane Duane's best known works, I have a few ideas for crossover fanfic. So please excuse me while I go get writing.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Like a Simile of a Racist Metaphor

Lizzy and I are reading the Encyclopedia Brown books, because I dug out my old one and she loved it. They're great books that help her learn problem solving and critical thinking, and lead to lots of good discussions about things that don't really apply anymore (they were mostly written in the 1960's), except for one thing.

I'm okay with explaining that 25 cents is a reasonable price for a day's work (for a brainy ten-year-old) in 1965. I can even deal with explaining (ad nauseum) that yes, we call the people who were here before us Native Americans now, but that they didn't back then and that's okay as long as we look at it in the historical sense.

But the constant stream of phrases like, "Encyclopedia leapt to his feet faster than Sitting Bull on a branding iron," and, "More feathers than a powwow," make me want to shake the author of the book, even back in the 1960s.

Lizzy accepts them with equanimity, except for the, "Native Americans, right, mom?" She says it almost every time.

She's a good kid, and I'm proud of her.

I'm also proud of the company I work for; I work as a tech support rep at AT&T Mobility. And right now they're canceling the charges for all calls and texts to Nepal.

That's a very cool thing to do.

And I'm glad I work there.