Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Being me

There was a time when I thought that everyone had this kind of pain, and that I was just being ridiculous for acknowledging it. After all, if they can put up with the agony of being on their feet for 6, 8, or 10 hours a day, what the hell was my problem? I feel less ridiculous now, knowing that most people don't feel like they have nails embedded in the middle of their feet (thank you, plantar fasciitis) and a knife stabbing into their ankles after standing or walking for more than 3 hours, like I do.

I'm having a hard time finding something to compare it to, but I think I have an idea. Imagine that you get a job pulling the rope in a bell tower. You're not given any extra rope, but the end of the rope is a few inches out of your reach. The only thing they have for you to stand on to reach it is a desk chair that rolls.

So you stand on the chair, and it swivels around, and it rolls a bit (because the floor's a bit uneven and slopes to one side). You almost get the end of the rope, and feel your fingertips brush the end as you lose your balance and fall to the floor. You very carefully and slowly find a way to balance the chair, shakily stand on it, and pull the rope. After a week on the job, you're covered in bruises, you've sprained at least two limbs, and you're miserable and frustrated because there's no way to make the situation better. You're stuck with the tools you have to work with.

At the end of the week, you go down to collect your paycheck, and you tell the man who hired you that this is the most godawful, miserable job you've ever had, and you hate it more than anything you've ever done. He looks at you, baffled, and tells you that he was your predecessor, and that he found the work to be easy, enjoyable, and that it gave him lots of free time. He then stands up to hand you the check, and you realize that he is over a foot taller than you are. You go outside, and you find that you are actually a foot shorter than most people in the whole world.

It is then that you realize that it's not that the job was bad, it's that you didn't have the abilities that most people in the world already have available to them. Before, you might have felt that, if you quit that horrible job, some poor sap would go through what you did, but you know better now. You now understand that most people can do the jobs that are beyond your abilities, and that you can find something that is a better match for you.

About my wonderful spouse

People kept asking me if I was nervous at my wedding. I really just wasn't. I knew I had a crack team of decorators, organizers, and sous chefs. I knew that the musicians were capable. I knew that everyone would behave themselves (I had a family wedding once where there was a fistfight!).

And I knew that marrying Brian was, without ANY doubt, exactly the right thing to do. Before my previous marriage, I was very nervous about binding myself to someone. I was very unsure of myself before and during the ceremony. We didn't have a perfect relationship at that time, but it wasn't awful, like it eventually became. Even so, I had doubts, and I even almost cried during the ceremony because I was afraid.

Loving Brian is a very easy and natural thing to do. I trust him to care for me, to be good to me. I know that he will put me first, always, and I don't EVER have to be afraid of him. He gives me the freedom to explore my interests, and encourages me to pursue the things that matter. He is a true helpmate. I know that I will never be screamed at for not having dinner ready, for not having folded his clothes for him, for asking for sex, or for being ill. I know that does not resent me in any way. He is happy and thankful to be with me. He enjoys spending time with me. He enjoys being physically affectionate with me. He will NEVER complain or say no if I want him to kiss me, touch me, or otherwise be affectionate.

I think I had to know how bad things could be in order to appreciate the things most people take for granted. I would have expected that marriage should contain affection, love, sex, and mutual respect. Having experienced one that did not have those things, I now know how very lucky I am to have found this wonderful, beautiful man.

We very rarely fight. Sometimes I get crabby or get some anxiety, but those are the result of my being tired and/or in pain, and he is very patient with me in those times. We occasionally get frustrated with each other, but it's mostly over silly little things, like me being self-deprecating, or not wanting to inconvenience him with something (that he is willing to do), or I've adopted another snake. We do NOT insult one another. We do not threaten each other. We haven't set rules saying so; it is simply not something that we are really capable of doing to one another. For one of us to purposely hurt the other would cause pain to the self. It is unthinkable.

He is my Brian. He is the center of my universe, my hero, my beautiful man. No matter how crappy things get outside of that, having him makes it all worth it. He really is like an angel; he is very kind, and gentle, and loving. I don't know what I did to deserve someone like him, but I'm 100% devoted to him.

The love of two males

"Merrrow?" Dom asked, the little trill in his voice drawn out in the middle. I looked into his bright eyes, the color of peridot, and he did the "cat smile", where they squint their eyes a little and perk up their whiskers. He was in Sphinx position, and he stretched out one paw toward me. How could I resist? I gave him some ear scritches, then looked over to see Aakhu frowning at us. Aakhu jumped down from Brian's desk and gave me The Butt, refusing to acknowledge me as I called his name.

Aakhu has been so jealous of the attention I give Dom, and I wish he were more secure, but I'm not going to neglect Dom for the sake of Aakhu's jealousy. I got up and followed Aakhu, scooped him up, and carried him off to the bed. He at first refused to even look at me; you know how cats do when they are upset with you, where they pretend that you don't exist. If you're holding them, they are a dead weight, and they act like it's an invisible force holding them up in the air. Nobody does the cold shoulder better than cats, and Aakhu is particularly talented.

I wrapped him up in my arms and nuzzled his temples while scritching his shoulders and neck. Before long, I coalesced into existence (in his eyes), and I had achieved Purr. I hung out with him like that for a good fifteen minutes before he decided he was done. When he's done, he doesn't get pissy or anything, he just drops hints. He's a great cat in so many ways; he also lets me do pretty much anything I want to him (belly rubs, nail clipping, embarrassing poses) without a fuss. Often, the more embarrassing it is, the harder he purrs. He's a real mushball, but he does get jealous and pissy. Kind of like his mom, I suppose!

I'm a Flour Girl

So, my current (temp, with the option to become permanent) job involves lots of flour. Flour can be seen suspended in the air, and a white dusting coats everything--the walls, the floors, the equipment, the people, absolutely everything. It's a constant battle to keep the place clean. Most of the cleaning is done with brushes and dust mops. The equipment, however, gets flour in the crevices and controls. When flour gets wet, it turns into glue; the hotter the water, the more gluey it is (because it becomes glutenized). This sticky mixture then dries into a cement-like hardness, so you cannot use water for major cleaning.

At the end of the day, the guys get out compressed air hoses and blow all of the flour out of the equipment and against the wall. The dust pile is then swept up, followed up by a dust mop, and finally a wet mop (with Simple Green). We never wet mop before the bulk of the flour is removed, though, because that would be a sticky, gluey, pointless task.

In my lab, I use paintbrushes to remove dust from surfaces and equipment, then wipe everything down with a damp cloth before I use any kind of cleaner. When I am washing my labware, I do a cold water rinse on everything before using hot water and soap to scrub. If I forget and use hot water to clean my salt test vials, I say a lot of foul words, then get out the bottle brushes to painstakingly remove the pasty mess from the corners.

I had never thought about how flour would be moved around a factory, but now that I know, I think it's pretty neat. They actually use pipes! I'm not kidding--there are pipes taking the flour from the silos, through the sifter, and into the mixing machines. I was really confused--flour is a SOLID, so it can't really be pumped like water through pipes. What I hadn't known at first was that there are augers inside the pipes. In addition to the augers, there are blowers that keep an air current going through the pipes in the direction of flow to prevent clogs. It's pretty neat.

Flour arrives two ways: Tractor-trailer and rail car. They look like the tanker trucks/rail cars that one normally associates with fuel transport. We get a truck about twice a week with one type of flour, and a fresh rail car about every two weeks. The trucks carry about 50,000 pounds of flour, while the rail cars hold about three times that much.

They come from the Port of Albany via Horizon Milling. When we get a shipment, I have to take a sample of the flour, and whoever was on the loading dock also gives me the seal and paperwork. The seal is a metal or plastic item similar to a zip tie. It can't be undone except for being cut. If the seal is broken, we cannot accept the shipment, so the supplier and driver are very interested in making sure that the seal is intact upon arrival. Each seal has a serial number, which I write down before discarding the seal. I put my sample through an NIR (near infra-red) machine to make sure the protein, moisture, and ash content are within specifications, and I keep whatever's left in a "library" of samples. The library is cleaned out of old items periodically, but they are kept for a pretty long time in case we have a problem.

A cool thing about Horizon Milling is their webcam. They have falcons nesting on one of their mills, and they set up a great page to show off their fleet-flighted residents.

I hope that you found at least some of this interesting. My current work has taught me a few new things, but I'm not sure how useful a lot of them will be to my future!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tough Days

I had a very unfortunate recent experience with someone that very nearly sent me spiraling back into hell. I was refusing food, weighing myself, and even bought some of that African herb to curb appetite. Thanks to my wonderful spouse, and going back to read the entries in many of my favorite blogs, I'm okay now.

I am still very angry, though, that people feel that it is a good idea to tell others to diet and lose weight. Angrier, still, that they would say that to someone who has struggled with an eating disorder.

The person had misconstrued my writings on fat discrimination--she believed that I was complaining about how I look. This resulted in some very catty, snide remarks that included misinformation about fat being a choice, not at all genetic, and that I should "do something" about my fat instead of complaining.

If you are fat, you aren't allowed to defend yourself. You aren't allowed to speak out when you face discrimination. We're told to change the situation by changing our bodies instead of trying to promote new thinking. I hope, however, that by speaking out regardless of people like her, I will help change a few minds. We can turn the tide, I think, because people are starting to wake up. They're tired of torturing themselves for unattainable goals. They're tired of being poked and prodded by doctors, teachers, and complete strangers.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kevorkian's legacy

Dr. Kevorkian is going to be released soon. I am not going to talk about the ethics of euthanasia, but there is another matter that I think his actions brought some much-needed attention. His opponents somehow figured out that, if people are in such bad shape that they want to die, then let's not focus on simply keeping them alive at all costs--instead, look at WHY they are in discomfort and try to alleviate that.

"The solution here is not to kill people who are getting inadequate pain management, but to remove barriers to adequate pain management," said Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, which opposes assisted suicide. "We need to come up with better solutions to human suffering and human need," Balch said.

Finally, they're getting it. Life at all costs, without regard to quality of life, is not enough. If organizations like the NRLC would put more effort into making life better, instead of being simply satisfied with its existence, they would present a much more acceptable and sane message. You want to prevent assisted suicide? Then make life better for people who are suffering. You want to prevent abortion? Then prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place by promoting birth control and safer sex, and make life better for mothers and children who are living in poverty or otherwise unhappy.

Waving signs around and screaming at people in front of a clinic don't make the situation better. I doubt they reduce abortions by a significant amount, if at all. Telling people to not have sex does not work either. Accepting human nature and human need, and working with them instead of against them will get you much further.

I do understand that palliative care sometimes ceases to be effective in end-stage terminal illnesses. I believe that a patient should have the right to choose to discontinue a painful life. However, I do think that we need to give them every opportunity to manage their pain before they come to that choice . I've heard of doctors refusing to give more pain medication to a dying person because "they might become addicted." Such doctors need to be asked to step aside and let a pain management specialist deal with the situation. That, and we need more pain management specialists.

I know that some people believe that allowing the terminally ill to choose euthanasia will lead to depressed people choosing it as well. What that tells me is that we do not adequately care for depression and related illnesses. Depression is not taken seriously enough, in my opinion. Take a pill, get over it, and for god's sake, don't talk about it, we don't want to hear your bitching. Nice.

Anyway, that's my opnion.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


This news article has a very cute picture of a gecko.


Now I've heard it all...

"Secondhand Obesity"

Yes, my being FAT is affecting the people in the room and making THEM fat, according to this crazy lady:

Meet MeMe Roth, a rabid anti-fat crusader who uses junk science and irrational fatphobia to justify her cause. She's a lot like a fat-hating Ann Coulter, saying some pretty crazed and hateful things and engaging in some pretty wacky behavior.

She was once arrested at a YMCA for going up to a table with some food (they were celebrating some event, and they had ice cream and toppings to offer their members as part of the celebration) and trying to dump it all in the garbage. She encourages others to do the same in similar situations, but warns that "their misguided devotion to overeaters may result in a struggle and even a call to the police."

She's boycotting Redbook for their size positive March cover story. She's boycotting Girl Scout Cookies because they have calories. She has these nutty "Wedding Dress Challenges" where she gets thin women together, has them put on their old wedding dresses, and parades them through Central Park. She's of the opinion that a person should never gain weight as they age. It's too bad she doesn't know about the protective function of fat in older people. Then again, maybe it's not too bad...

Be glad for your rape! Fat girls should be grateful for any sex they get!

In defending a client accused of being part of a gang rape of young teenage girls, a barrister actually argued that one of the young victims may have been glad for the attention since she was fat.

The barrister said in her closing speech: “She was 12st 6lb - not quite the swan she may turn into. She may well have been glad of the attention."

P.S. That's 174lbs for us Americans. 1 stone = 14 pounds.

It's bad enough that we "ask for it" by wearing skirts, being polite to men, having an alcoholic drink, or possessing a vagina.

I don't know if the evidence (the real evidence, not the "omg they had on sexy clothes") is indicating that they did it or not, but I am hoping that they aren't let off just because the girls were dressed "provocatively" and were fat.


As a fat girl who's never had problems finding people who offer me nookie, I would like to create a pornographic movie of myself and my spouse and show it to people like this barrister. "Look, my husband does not have a disgusted or pained look on his face--he is enjoying what he is doing! He isn't doing this just for my pleasure, he's doing it for his own, too!"

Here we are; doesn't he just look disgusted and grossed out by my fatness?
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(click the thumb for a larger picture)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Attachment to dieting

I very recently had someone become upset and offended that I am against fat discrimination. My size-positive essays (posted in my livejournal) and discussions of overcoming an eating disorder were taken to mean that I was just unhappy with my size and too lazy to do anything about it!

At least, that's what she said on the surface. Now that I have had time to think about the situation, I realize that she may have been upset about having been fooled by the thindustry into starving herself to an unnatural size. I was told that her family members are all fat, so she had to battle her genetics. For what, though? To look a certain way? Because that's the only conceivable reason to take on that fight.

My acceptance of my body, and the realization that my body's workings would make it hard for me to "do something about it" anyway, probably frighten her--what if her body betrays her later on with insulin resistance or hypothyroidism? What if all the "work" she puts into being thin no longer keeps her that way? After all, it happened to me.

You starve yourself for a while, and your body may repay you by storing up EVERY possible bit of energy once you recover from your ED. You may get fat. If you get fat, you stand to lose everything that you have used your "thin privilege" to gain--a job, a significant other, popularity, a swanky wardrobe, the list could go on.

I guess I can't blame her for being angry and upset, because she is afraid of being fat. I've lived with being fat for many years, so everything I have in my life is here because of who I am, not what I look like. I know that my husband's presence in my life is not dependent upon my weight. She may get lip service of the same from hers, but I suppose there'd be only one way to find out.

I just wish her fear had taken a different form other than telling me that being fat is a choice, and that I should lose weight, you know?

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(Me doing some field work for a science job I had)

Picture Post

My husband and I took a friend to the Landis arboretum this past weekend. I managed to photograph a kingbird and a northern water snake! They are taken from pretty far away, so forgive the blurriness.

Click the thumbnails to see the larger images:
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Amusing in the context of Spoon Theory :)

“. . . the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. . .”
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), "Worship," Conduct of Life, 1860

How often have I listened to some blowhard going on and ON about how great he is, wondering why I am wasting a precious spoon on enduring his presence?

Edit: If you came here looking for the Spoon Theory, it's here:

I can't fit into your genes, and that's OKAY.

A study shows that fat people who diet themselves thin and stay that way exist in a permanent state of physical and psychological starvation. Would YOU want to live like that? Well, neither do I. If you are genetically predisposed to be thin, it doesn't make you a better person than I am.

Do you think the day will come when we decide that being dark-skinned is morally superior, so everyone goes out and scorches themselves to a leathery crisp in the sunlight? And that those who are genetically predisposed to have dark skin will call pale-skinned people "weak-willed" for not wanting to fry themselves? After all, melanin has some protective qualities, so we all need to become as dark as possible, right? Yeah, right.

Never Thin Enough for the Obesity Warriors

So, they've terrorized the population into becoming practically anorexic, demonizing anyone who resists their scare tactics as weak-willed, slothful, and disgusting. They've duped the public into thinking that we're in the midst of a deadly epidemic of fat people, and that even a gram of adipose tissue will cause an untimely demise. I would have thought that they'd be satisfied with that, wouldn't you?

Since the tactic worked so well, and many people are starving and exercising themselves into a shape that is considered acceptable so that they don't have to feel like moral failures, it wasn't enough anymore. We can't have people NOT living in fear, right? Were they counting on the American people to shrug their shoulders and continue on with their "overweight" lives? Because now that eating disordered behavior is trumpted as healthy (without giving the behavior that label), inflicting an epidemic of insidious mental illness on the public, they've declared that thin people are "fat inside".

Yes, that's right, even if you are thin, you are still fat on the inside. And they aren't speaking figuratively.

Thin People May Be Fat Inside

"If it really is what's on the inside that counts, then a lot of thin people might be in trouble. Some doctors now think that the internal fat surrounding vital organs like the heart, liver or pancreas — invisible to the naked eye — could be as dangerous as the more obvious external fat that bulges underneath the skin.

'Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat,' said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London."

A professor of molecular imaging. Not a medical doctor, but someone who takes pictures of people's guts. No, he wouldn't have any vested interest in convincing people to get their innards unnecessarily scanned, not at all!

Look, fat is not cancerous growth. It is not abnormal. Your body produces it for a REASON. It's not just storage for times of famine. It secretes hormones, cushions and insulates the body, and generates heat to help you fight infection or keep you from hypothermia.

It's not going to be enough until they have each and every one of us on a treadmill 18 hours a day, with nothing but nasty protein bars to eat and barely-flavored, aspartame-sweetened vitamin water to drink. Fifty lashes for anyone whose body produces a fat cell! We must be a nation of neurotic skeletons, or we're all going to DIE!

Fat is the new sex. Christianity has been replaced by the Cult of Health, with similarly misguided and unreasonable dogma that forbids just about anything that generates joy and contentment. Contented and happy people are much harder to scare into submission than fearful, anxious ones. Just as condemning people for homosexuality or being liberal in the name of God has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ, condemning them for being fat has nothing to do with the promotion of true health.

Enough is enough.

For those taking Levoxyl (a thyroid medication)

If you are taking the thyroid medication Levoxyl (as I am), you can get a coupon from their website for free pills:

If you sign up, they'll let you print the coupon out, and you can use it to get 30 pills of any strength for free. You can use it twice more, at 90-day intervals, so that you essentially get 90 pills for free.

Every little bit helps, right?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You can have my calories when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

I've been reading Junk Food Science quite regularly, and on the author's recommendation, I picked up "Never Too Thin: Why women are at war with their bodies". I've learned what I suspected: Much of the "conventional wisdom" about diet and weight loss is pretty much bunk, and being fat does not mean you are going to die earlier than a thin person.

I was recently thinking about the constant back-and-forth information we are receiving about food and diet at almost every minute of every day. Imagine my surprise when, probably years ago by now, "they" declared fruit juice practically poisonous because it has sugar in it. Never mind that it has vitamins and tastes good; every calorie must be squashed out of existence. Not long after, we had foul-tasting "diet" juices with aspartame. Yuck.

Soon, fruit itself was declared obscene and indulgent, because, again, it has sugar. Never mind that fruit is one of the most basic food sources for thousands upon thousands of animal species. Never mind that our bodies are well-equipped to consume and digest fruits; they contain horrible, evil calories, and they MUST BE BANNED. You'd think "they" would have been satisfied, but the most ludicrous was yet to come.

I was actually told by a nutritionist (my lame doctor from a while back made me go, for no other reason besides my vegetarianism) that I should also avoid CARROTS, because they have sugar in them! I was stunned by this idea, because it seemed that the only basis for classifying foods as good or bad seemed to be whether or not they contained calories at all! It feels like this isn't going to stop until "they" have snatched every last calorie from our mouths, leaving us to eat or drink nothing but wood chips and water (bottled, of course, as we must provide the bottled water manufacturers with income).

Can we just stop the nonsense? Animals need calories to survive. Hunger is a natural, normal thing, and I am sick to death of the foodphobia that we currently have going on in our culture. IT IS OKAY TO EAT FOOD! It is okay to enjoy food! Hunger is an unpleasant feeling; I consider it to be a type of pain. If someone told you that, to be healthy and socially acceptable, especially the socially acceptable part, you had to put rocks in your shoes and then walk a mile every day, would you do it? Or would you tell them to stop being stupid and get a life? So why do we accept advice that tells us that we must live in hunger in order to be healthy and socially acceptable? Why do we punish ourselves with unsatisfying or bad-tasting foods when we are really craving life-giving calories?

Creating polarized food groups (bad/good foods), we create an endless cycle of self-denial and self-punishment. When you eat a celery stick, but you're really craving a fresh-baked dinner roll, you aren't going to be happy with the celery. You are still going to crave the roll, and many people will go ahead and get the roll, only to be angry with themselves for their "weakness". Why have so many people allowed themselves to be programmed in this way? Why do people honestly believe that eating even basic foods like bread and fruit are moral failings?

Look, you're not in this world for very long as it is. Life should be lived and enjoyed without guilt and misery over the simplest things that harm no one. Is your eating a blueberry muffin harming anyone? No, it isn't, unless you enslaved some poor little European grandmother to bake it for you at gunpoint. Use guilt for appropriate things, like when you really did hurt someone else. Guilt is there to teach you to behave better toward other people, and it sickens me that it's been co-opted for stupid shit like having sexual thoughts (thanks, religions of the world) or enjoying even the smallest bite of food.

Eat, live, be happy. And have some guilt-free sex, too, okay? Do it for me. I command you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Job

I recently quit my job at the aquarium store because the boss/owner was, to put it delicately, in need of something along the lines of Seroquel. I was offered a job at a factory doing quality assurance on their product (a flour/yeast based dry product, I won't say more than that). It's fairly easy, as lab tech jobs go, and the environment is friendly and clean. I'm replacing someone who, for unfathomable reasons, simply stopped doing her job entirely about a month ago, and had been doing almost the bare minimum for over a year. I walked into a situation that needed a serious cleanup and reorganization before I could actually get any real work done, so I have been interspersing the quality assurance work with major cleaning and organizing. I stunned the guys at the factory by catching up on lab samples so much that I am waiting on them to make product for me to test every day.

I worked pretty hard on Monday and Tuesday (today). I cleaned the lab from top to bottom and reorganized all the cabinets. I threw away a LOT of junk. The previous tech had never washed the plastic beakers after doing the proof tests (letting dough rise to test the yeast activity). So there were layers and layers of tape, petrified dough, and Pam spray (it becomes tacky and nasty if not washed away). I scrubbed the ones that were not too bad, but I had to throw out a LOT of them because they were just unsalvageable. I found a drawer full of sauce packets (old, disgusting ones), menus, and unwashed flatware. She had squirreled away a lot of personal mail in the lab as well--two years' worth of pay stubs, time warner bills, nastygrams from her kid's school ("he's a brat, so we're suspending him"), and some kind of "I'm poor, give me money" government form. Also, I found a pair of shoes, bottles of lotion, a dirty toothbrush and toothpaste, some weight loss pills, and some feminine hygiene products. The items that were not spoiled food were put into a box with her name on it. I really hope she has the sense to be embarrassed that someone else had to put her tampons in a box for her.

Other items I threw out: Empty cans of Pam (hi, TOSS IT IN THE TRASH instead of sticking it in a cabinet, it's EASIER!), chains of paperclips that were used as decorative garland (and tacky/sticky with flour and Pam), plastic containers that were warped beyond recognition from being microwaved, a toddler's sippy cup, Vogue magazines, a paper with various non-work-related websites (myspace, classmates, etc) with usernames and passwords, and test mixes dated 2005 (this means she hadn't been doing that test since 2005). I bagged up a bunch of stuff that had been in cardboard boxes that were falling apart and filthy, and I wiped every surface in the room, because there was a layer of flour on everything, including the chair, computer keyboard and mouse, and the paperwork binders. The floor was scrubbed, and I was surprised to discover that I did NOT, in fact, have the only non-field laboratory with a dirt floor; there was tile under the layer of blackened, greasy filth. I also found out that the oil sampling dipstick (a pole about 7 ft long that has a bottle at the end for sampling out of soy oil delivery trucks) was actually a white object, not grey and black camouflage as it had appeared. Apparently, if you scrub oily, dirty things with this magic stuff called soap, it can become clean. What's more disturbing is that the grimy, blackened pole was going into the oil that was to be used for food products. I don't know WHY the hell nobody said anything about that, but, yuck! Also, it now hangs up on the wall instead of being put on the floor. I have this compulsion about stuff that is going into food products being on the floor and not washed. I'm just weird like that.

Anyway, I inventoried and labeled the cabinets and drawers, filed paperwork that was long overdue to be filed, and managed to get all the other work done too. If they choose to hire someone else instead of making me permanent, they will be missing out. Right now, I'm a temp working for a lab support agency. The company needed to get someone in there pronto to rectify the situation after a major quality assurance issue, and they've invested a lot of money in the crash-course training I got. It wouldn't be cost effective to hire someone else and have to train them, if I'm already doing a good job. I never, however, rely on anyone to use common sense, so I'm keeping my options open.

Always wear sunscreen!

Last week, I wound up with a killer cluster headache. If you don't know about cluster headaches, they are horrible things that are worse than migraines (I get both). It feels like a white hot drill is drilling into your eyeball. If you have one, you tend to try to hit your head on things, push so hard on your eyeball that you nearly gouge it out, and you want to be alone and away from light. While lying down tends to help migraines, it makes clusters worse. The nostril on the afflicted side stuffs up, and the eye becomes teary. You get almost no warning when they are about to strike; they come on very suddenly, with maybe a hint of an aura (like with migraines), just enough to let you say, "Oh no, not THIS again." When they're over, they go just as suddenly, but not after making you seriously consider shooting yourself in the head or finding a heroin dealer. Sometimes Brian can massage them away, but this one wasn't going ANYWHERE.

This time, however, I had a secret weapon--a secret stash of a single, very expensive Maxalt pill, the quick-dissolving kind. These are prescription only, and they can be pretty dangerous for people with heart problems, and I hadn't yet taken one before. I figured I'd just store it in my cupboard until the expiration ran out. Once that cluster hit, though, I tried everything before deciding to risk the Maxalt ( Yes, I do have a prescription for Vicoprofen, but that didn't touch it). I let Brian know what the risks were, and asked him to keep an eye on me (I don't have heart problems or high blood pressure, but you never know what might happen), and let that sucker dissolve under my tongue.

Within a few minutes, the cluster slowed down to a dull throb, and I was verrry sleepy. I dropped off into a deep sleep, and I awoke a few hours later, headache-free, very mellow, but utterly exhausted. When the cluster is over, you feel like you have run a marathon in your brain. You don't feel the pain, but you're just completely spent.

Now, I've relayed this whole cluster headache story to set up for what I did this weekend. Karen and I went to the Waterford Canalfest on Saturday. It was very sunny out, and I got scorched. The thing is, we weren't there long enough for me to get as horribly burned as I did. It's now Tuesday afternoon, and it's not getting better--and it hurts like fricken hell. I'd forgotten that Maxalt makes you REALLY sensitive to sunlight. Worse than antibiotics sensitive. I'd pretty much forgotten that I had taken it, so I didn't even think about sunscreen. I'm just glad I managed to pick up some sunglasses, because I would have been half-blind for a couple days in addition to being broiled.

I guess I deserved the rather nasty lesson in ALWAYS WEARING SUNSCREEN!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I saw a wonderful quote from someone on today, with the username FarFarAway.

"As someone who has just recently won an 8 year long war with their doctors over whether or not I had hypothyroidism, I say fark all of the idiots out there who think that just because they don't have a problem, no one else is entitled to have one. You want to discount my health because you think you know what I do or don't do to maintain it? Screw you."

Yes! Thank you! I could not say it better or more succinctly.