Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pseudowords

Tonight I came across something fun: a fake word generator. I'm always curious about word etymology, and even fake words like these can be sussed out in semi-logical fashion and given reasonable meanings based on their structure, since they're made up of real prefixes and suffixes.

Felsither! A type of handheld musical instrument using both keys and plucked strings!
Here's a few of my favorites, in no particular order:
  • Novanoid
  • Luezoid
  • Feandra
  • Claster
  • Frorealm
  • Moderock
  • Felsither
  • Yodacloud (hmm, tut tut, rain it looks like, yes!)
  • Pentwist
So if you had to assign meanings to these words, what meanings would you choose? Which word would you want to catch on the most? (I like "Claster," a portmanteau word of "clash" and "plastered" and meaning "one who frequently engages in drunken brawls," especially if it later becomes a surname.)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Roxy

This is Roxy.
She's a domestic shorthair with tortoiseshell markings, six months old, and on Saturday she joined the household.

Roxy was adopted from a local cat rescue shelter. She is very curious, playful, but also quiet, shy and skittish, and likes to explore the house to find new places to hide. (We're going to have to get used to looking into closets and so forth before we close doors.) Oddly enough, she also loves to snuggle and will lie in the crook of V's arm for hours, relaxing and purring. Her drug of choice is the laser pointer. I'm not kidding; it's like kitty cocaine.

We expect it to take some time for her to adjust to us (and vice versa), but in the meantime she is bonding with Miss V, who has made taking care of Roxy her primary responsibility.

And yes, she knows she's pretty.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Doom That Came To Sally Beauty

So Miss V and I were having an Epic Afternoon Beauty Product Run, pretty much just picking out mascara and minding our own business, when a woman came into the store... bearing a snarling, writhing, vicious basket of death!

As Miss V approached the basket...
...this menacing month-old monster lunged at her. But Miss V is made of stern stuff.

Insensate to fear, she grappled boldly with the furry menace.

Even when it threatened to lick her to death, she stayed strong.

The terror! The terror that is a Maltichon puppy! Aaaaiieeee!

...nah, I can't. Everybody do it with me: d'AWWwww.

This puppy is still too young to be away from his mother, but in about a month he'll be ready for a new home. Miss V is pressing hard for that home to be HERE, but we're not really set up with the space for a dog. Or, for that matter, the $ this guy is going to cost.

Still, super adorable little puffball. Uh, I mean horror! HORROR!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

On being "girly"

While I was growing up, I had few close female friends. Most of my buddies were boys. Not that I was a tomboy; I liked to play with dolls, wear dresses, and so forth. But boys just seemed easier, friendlier, more straightforward, more trustworthy as friends. And other girls usually seemed so, well, catty to each other and to me -- and as I got into junior high they wanted to do things I thought of as tedious or stupid, like shopping for clothes, gossiping about boys, going to the bathroom in packs or discussing who would get her period first. (I was frankly befuddled over all this useless mystique surrounding a biological function; to me it seemed akin to obsessing over the need to urinate.) By high school I had puzzled out the vaguely proto-feminist idea that being "girly" meant being vapid and useless, and it held little charm for me.

I'm still not particularly girly by nature. (Big revelation, coming from a chick whose alternate nickname is "The Pirate King," ne?) Shopping for clothing is still a chore, and I can't see the point of owning more than four pairs of shoes. Most TV is banal; I'd rather spend time online or reading a book. Captain Midnight and I can pack a week's worth of clothes into a single shared suitcase. I've determined that aerobics are really a huge, ongoing sociological experiment based on the thesis that people will do practically anything if they think it will help them lose weight. I don't have a Pinterest account, I don't have a thousand pairs of earrings, I don't obsess over what to wear, and I don't have any concerns about my bust size. And I prefer to go to the bathroom all by myself, thank you.

Despite my lack of interest in being girly, there was a time when these traits used to worry me. I was afraid that my dearth of girly qualities would drive people away, even after I met CM and got married. But then I started to meet and make friends with women who were undeniably feminine, but who didn't fit into neat little pigeonholes of girliness. Yes, they did some traditionally feminine things, but they were just as comfortable geeking out in front of a computer, or getting into anime other than Sailor Moon, or discussing the kind of literature that will never make bestseller lists, or passing around good science fiction and fantasy. Watching my friends, I began -- finally -- to relax into the set of interests and behaviors that make me feel happy, excited, contented, creative -- in other words, fully myself. I've found that, happily, I don't have to be some kind of √úberchick or squeeze myself into an ill-fitting stereotype to be considered "girly enough."

I guess it just took me a little while to figure out that I'm not a girl. I'm a woman.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Life is change. Some of it is good.

S
o, if you didn't get the memo, Captain Midnight and Cap'n Bill's Wide World o' Nerds parted ways last Thursday. This means he is now a gentleman of leisure, at least temporarily. However, since we can't afford this lifestyle on a permanent basis, we'd be most grateful if you would point any job leads our way. (CM is an experienced SDET and wise in the ways of Computer-Fu. And he's boyishly cute, too!) We also gratefully accept any prayers and general good thoughts made on our behalf.

I'm just hoping we won't have to move.

ETA: SDET = Software Development Engineer in Test, just so's ya knows.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blood Simple

(First published around 2001. Just as true now, especially this morning.)

I dread my annual physical exam at the OB/GYN's office. And no, it's not for the reasons you're probably thinking. I have a great doctor -- in addition to her capability as a physician, she's friendly, intelligent, compassionate and has a great sense of humor -- so one part of the physical goes just fine. No, I hate having my annual because, since I'm overweight, my doctor is fastidious about checking my cholesterol and blood glucose levels. That means that each time I have an annual, I go through the jolly rigamarole of a blood draw. (Cue ominous music.)

Let's put this simply: when it comes to drawing blood, I am a turnip. I've seen enough failed attempts now to know that there are no accessible veins in the crook of my arm, and no matter how optimistic a treasure hunter you are or how much you're willing to persist in looking, YOU WILL NOT FIND THEM. In point of fact I have developed a minor phobia regarding blood draws, because they usually take a while and there's always at least one unsuccessful attempt.

Much good THIS thing's ever done me.
You'd think that since I take the time to point out this fact to each new doctor or physician's assistant, it would no longer be a problem. You would be wrong. Just once I would like to have a physician or PA who LISTENS when I say it's hard to get blood out of my veins, instead of taking it as a personal challenge. A few years ago I had a doctor who, confident of her own mastery in bloodletting, poked me four separate times before finally admitting defeat and sending me across town to a clinic. I looked like an incompetent junkie, and had prize-winning bruises for weeks.

This morning I dealt with a perky blonde PA, whom we shall call Sally in order to protect the guilty party. Sally was cheery at far too early an hour, which was one strike against her as far as I was concerned. (As an unrepentant night person, I'm usually barely cogent before 9 a.m.; any alertness I may have exhibited at my 8:30 appointment was fueled by sheer adrenalin.) She also had a loud, forced laugh. Oh, the joy.

Sally ushered me into an exam room, where all the usual paraphernalia was prepped and ready. I gave her the usual spiel about how I have a difficult time giving blood, and her eyes lit up. Bad sign #1.

"Oh, hon, I worked in a clinic for years," she said eagerly. "We took people right off the street, and we could get blood out of anybody." Bad sign #2.

I sighed inwardly and prepared to become a pincushion.

We tried all the standard little tricks: tourniquet, drop arm below heart level, pump fist, palpate for vein. Lather, rinse, repeat. Nothing worked. Oh, she could feel the vein just fine; it was somewhere in there, under the skin. But when she dug the needle in and began merrily probing into my left arm, "ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!"

Undaunted and determined, Sally strapped up my right arm and repeated the process. Probe, wiggle, slide. Nothing. At this point, the combination of 12-hour fast, mobile needle in my arm, and sudden lack of oxygen all began to get to me, and I warned Sally that I was about to faint. She tartly reminded me to breathe. It was then that I suggested (if I hadn't been close to passing out, I would have demanded) going downstairs to the blood draw lab, where they have a phlebotomist on call.

Happily for me, Sally accepted defeat at this point, and I stumbled downstairs. The phlebotomist took one look at my punctured arms, picked up a butterfly needle kit and hit a vein on the first try. Her secret: she picked a clearly visible vein on the back of my hand. It did hurt a bit, but at least it was over quickly.

At the moment, I'm still nursing my wounds. However, on Monday I think I'll call my doctor and have a note put in my file: "For blood draw, send to phlebotomist." Maybe that'll do the trick, but I won't hold my breath.

For one thing, I might pass out.

(It's even worse now that I'm a diabetic, because I have to get blood draws on a regular basis. After this morning's merry adventure, I've got punctures on both my hands to no avail -- close, but no cigar, nurse! They're sending me over to LabCorp, but I'll go when I'm good and ready. And healed up.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Family Home Evening activity: pumpkin lanterns!

(Mom is here visiting! Fun!)

Halloween approaches apace. And our very own cut-rate Martha Stewart, aka Miss V, has been preparing for her favorite holiday since mid-July or so. She was at the dollar store with me the other day when she saw these little orange glass lanterns -- the kind that hold tealights -- with fluted sides. Instantly V saw them as crafting gems in the rough, and she knew what we were going to do on Monday night.

So today, after a quick trip to Dollar Tree to pick them up and another quick trip to Ben Franklin to score some sticky-backed black vinyl, we had a Family Home Evening crafting activity.

Here are the results:

Pumpkin lanterns!

We already had a big bag of IKEA tealights in the pantry, so we added a light to each one and then lit them with a long noodle (it's easier and less finger-burning to set fire to lengthy pasta than to try to reach down into one of these things with a short kitchen match).

L to R: Mom's lantern, Captain Midnight's lantern

L to R: my lantern, Miss V's lantern

Don't you like the way they shed sunburst rays in every direction? I'm thinking about stringing them on thin wires and hanging them outside for Halloween, assuming it isn't too windy on Halloween night.