Monday, May 29, 2006

I thought I was done for the night. I just read about two deaths that I have to pass on if people missed them.

Desmond Dekker - my favorite Reggae artist, died Friday of a heart attack.
Paul Gleason - the vice-principal from The Breakfast Club, died Saturday of cancer.

Since this is Memorial Day (observed), here's the latest tally of deaths in Iraq.

Memorial Day Weekend

Okay, we missed the Irish Festival at Jack Frost. Everyone else in the family was too busy to watch Grandma on the one weekend Mom and I plan away every single frickin' year. So we missed the two bands we've been begging and lobbying the ICS and Jack Frost to get up there: Seven Nations and Blackthorn. Seven Nations has two more appearances in Pennsylvania this year. Maybe we can get to one of them. I spent much of Saturday doing something I don't remember. It must not have been too exciting. Oh, wait, I was working on my blackwork stuff. That's fun, at least.

On Sunday I updated poor, neglected History's Shadow. I did some today too, but haven't finished the posts, so they're hiding out as drafts. Sorry. Then I went to see X-Men with a few friends. I liked it, even though they surprised me by killing off *** (Hah! You thought I'd spill the beans about poor, um, never mind.). Yes, they did manage to set it up for another. After the movie and nibbles we went to one of the group's house and played a game I rather like: Settlers of Catan. I have a feeling I'm going to buy this game. Let's just see if I can convince some family members to play this instead of Trivial Pursuit (at which I rock!) on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Finally, today. Mom, Grandma and I went for a day trip to Corning, New York and this time we hit the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. As usual I was most impressed by the landscapes and the sculptures. I really liked the Inuit sculptures and some field studies by an artist whose name I'll have to get back to you on. They're going to be having an Ansel Adams exhibit starting June 8th and running through the beginning of September, so Mom and I are going to stop there on our way back from Canada. We had intended to go to the Corning Museum anyway to do some more glasswork, but miss Ansel? Never!

The trip was actually nice. Grandma was nice and joking. She even paid for lunch! My only beef is the fact that it's just too darned hot. At the moment I'm typing this my room is 86 degrees with the fan sucking in any cool air that might actually exist outside. We passed a thermometer on the way home and it said 96 degrees at 5pm. Ugh! Summer is definitely here.

Once we download (upload?) the photos from the camera I'll be able to share them here.

So, all in all, even with missing the festival, the weekend wasn't too bad. Some moments were very fun, in fact. Although, if we miss the next festival, some heads are just going to have to roll. Especially since I just noticed that we missed the Glengarry Bhoys, too. Argh! My aunt better have won a hell of a lot of money in Atlantic City this weekend. *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Since I missed my yearly Irish music fix, I'll have to settle for this:
One of Marc Gunn's many wonderful Irish music blogs.
Another one of his.
Source of free British/Celtic free mp3 downloads (along with all other genres, too. Great indie sounds here.)
A version of one of my favorite songs, The Sick Note.
Here's my absolute favorite Irish song, The Minstrel Boy and the Wikipedia entry on it. A sharp-eyed reader might see where I was first introduced to it. ;p I'm such an Army Brat.
Just for giggles, a funny blog entry about The Minstrel Boy.

Have fun, all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Courtesy of Kim:

Which Character Are You? Find out Here!

I seem to have some Sage-thing going on lately. I guess it's a good thing they are my favorite types of Gods, eh? Although, on further investigation of this guy - I really don't turn into a monster. Honestly, I don't, excepting of course, one full week of each month...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Doctors and compliments (A Grandma Update)

Mom and I took Grandma to the doctor yesterday. Mom spoke to him about her behavior. He agrees with us that the dementia is really grabbing hold of her.

When Mom asked him about the fact that Grandma treats us so differently than the other relatives, he told us it's actually a compliment. Supposedly, since she feels comfortable enough with us to tell us the truth (or what she perceives as the truth) and not hide anything or put up a front, this is a good thing. She apparently doesn't trust the others as much.

I just feel so privileged.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Super Mario Bros. Live

No, we're not talking the cheezy Bob Hoskins movie. This is even better. Students from Gordon College put on a live skit of the entire first level.

Enjoy, all you Nintendo nuts out there.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Grandma and the load of laundry...

Well, if you ever forget to hang a load of laundry out to dry for a few days and have to rinse it again - muzzle your grandmother first.

She has this habit of washing an outfit, yes, I said outfit - one shirt, one pair of pants, sometimes socks and underwear - as an extra-large load. When I do laundry, I wash an entire extra-large load of my clothing. I tend to do about three loads per two weeks. Reds and darks, my khakis and lights, and a mixed-up load somewhere in between the main loads. Well, yours truly did a load of reds and darks last Sunday and left it in the basket until Mom put it back in the washer to be rinsed again sometime between last night and this morning. I had enough red shirts for the week and didn't miss them. (One of which has to go since I can now put my entire hand through the hole at the bottom - but if I tuck it into my pants you never see the hole. Hmm.)

Grandma is actually the one that told me about the load being in the washer. She told me this about three hours ago. I put them through the wash again and they were finally done about an hour and a half ago. She started on me about washing a load twice and I admitted that I screwed up. I admitted this to her. Well, she kept at it about her water bill so I, being fed up with her snarkiness of the last few days, told her off about her extra-large loads of one outfit and the fact that we pay for the water too. I ended up telling her that unless she actually washed full loads she can't say a thing about laundry to me. I got the last word! Until...

Well, it's too late to hang them according to what Grandma usually says, but she's nagging at me to hang them out anyway. (Besides, it's been raining off an on all day!) I didn't. I brought them upstairs to hang on the drying rack. I only hung a few things up since the rack is on it's last leg and fading fast. I figured to dry things out gradually on it. Ninja Grandma decided she was going to take a walk upstairs and see what I'd done so she could find something wrong with it. She did. "So, you're going to leave them in the basket until you have to wash them again!" "No, I'm drying some of them now and will hang the others out later." I made the mistake of saying "out" instead of "up" and she immediately pounced on my poor phrasing and got on me about the fact that it was too late to hang them out.

Oy! I'm really trying to be patient and kind and understanding. Really, I am. My tongue is riddled with holes. LOL. Mom just bought a nice, big bucket of margarita mix and some tequila. I get the cool-looking bottle. Personally, I've been making inroads into my Easter candy stash. The Dove chocolate bunny got it last night.

I can't believe it. I found the perfect picture at the U of NC Greensboro gallery page. This is how I actually feel. I was looking for a picture of a person hung up on a clothesline but found one better.

Mom, look! It's Bearie! (Turning thirty and I still have a teddy bear that I won't let my niece run away with even though she's tried.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Government Stupidity

Someone remind me why I actually watch the news. The Shrub was just on ABC about illegal immigration and made sure he mentioned the USA as "One Nation Under God."

Oh, jeez, and as I watch the Senate Committee just passed that effing amendment that would make same-sex marriage illegal. Granted, people say the amendment would never get the two-thirds vote necessary, but you know what, I wouldn't put it past our Senate to do just that, even the Demmies. Just to stay in office.

Sometimes I hate my government.

Final thought: Neveah. How heavenly. Not! I wonder how many women are going to be changing their names when they hit the age when they enter the professional workforce?


Okay, I had to try this one after seeing it on Scott's blog. It won't let me paste the results, but I do like them!

Which Sci-Fi Character Are You?

I am Yoda! Yes! Yes!

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Oh, and I love the website's name: I think he/she might be just a tad obsessed with Star Wars, don't you? the Force be with you!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Grandma (nice), food and flowers

We took Grandma out to dinner last night. It was actually nice. She was Grandma for the night. *crossing fingers* Let's hope it lasts.

We went to Applebee's where Mom and I had mostly GF food (at least until desert - order the Apple Chimicheesecake!). We had the waitress request shrimp with not a blamed thing on it for Grandma. She demolished it and the apple pie ala mode. Mom and I had the Asiago chicken. Yummy! I also tried Mom's margarita. Ugh! I, of course, lasted about ten minutes before the alcohol had worked its way through me. Well, at least Mom and Grandma were amused.

We got our flowers from the Corning Museum. I really like them. Mom's not too happy with hers, but I think it's beautiful. I think they both are, if I may be immodest. Our first glass creations! Yay! Since we joined Corning as members they will definitely not be our last.

Mom's flower is the purple-tipped, clear-petaled, lavender-stemmed one. Mine is green-stemmed with red glass inside clear petals. LOL. The stem of Mom's flower has a hole tubing down its length that you can blow through. Mine is sealed. Darn!


Four absurd articles...

Apparently, the king of Saudi Arabia feels that showing pictures of women (all dressed appropriately, of course) could lead young men astray. He has "requested" that editors of the state-run/guided media refrain from publishing such pictures.

And on the homefront, a homeowner in Florida who shot an alligator that had been in her house, attacking her dog, was given a citation for hunting without a license.

Just to make the world a little creepier, two more articles:

A couple in Missouri were denied an occupancy permit (you need one in the first place?) because they are unmarried and have three children. The town's ordinance says no more than three people may live together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." One question about this: does this mean that the kids each have different blood (Does one have purple? Another green and yet another blue?) than their genetic parents and don't qualify as the connector between the two adults?

When we get a little extra money, we pay our bills down right? Well, not unless you want Homeland Security tapping your phoneline.

You just can't make this stuff up...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Soapbox - Advanced Reading Copies

Okay, all of you know I'm something of an obsessed reader. Hell, my dream job is a librarian. So, lately the talk on some of my authors' blogs has been about Advanced Reading Copies (unedited proofs sent to reviewers and interested parties prior to a book's release). A lot of these have been turning up on sale sites like eBay and Amazon. This is illegal! These books have not been purchased. The authors have not received credit for sales.

Sometimes authors will give an ARC away as a contest prize. I'm craving one from Julia Quinn at the moment, actually. This is fine. The problem only occurs when the book is sold.

Please, if you see an ARC for sale somewhere, let the author or their publishing company know. It's like buying books without covers (which I did before I knew better, I will admit).

Now, before anyone refers me back to my publishing rant a few weeks ago, I consider buying books at used bookstores totally different than this. That was a case of buying a RE-sold book. Feehan and Coulter at least received credit for one sale from them. This is a case of buying a book that has NEVER been sold - basically, the book is stolen merchandise.

There are at least two eBay sellers that have special sections for ARCs in their stores. They are citing them as collectors' items. There is currently an ARC of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on eBay with an asked-for opening bid of $800.

To be honest, I would probably be a little more lenient if the ARC is of a book older than, say, four years. These probably could be considered collecters' editions. Theoretically, the person buying it is a huge fan trying to collect everything the author ever published and would have already been buying the books normally as they come out. There's still the issue that it was never paid for in the first place, though. So, someone is getting paid for something they had no right to sell. (hot! hot! hot!)

Okay, I guess I've made my point - time to pack up the soapbox.

Um, anyone know how to fold these things? I can never figure them out. They're like maps.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Trip to Corning tidbits

On the way home from Corning my brother called to tell us that he's being redeployed to Iraq in September. He'll be gone for four months again. I think he'll have two more tours like this in the next two years. He wanted us to take care of his dog for him, though. Ugh! She's nice, but she's a huge black dog. We politely avoid each other when I'm visiting. I don't think we can take her, though. Grandma would have not just one bird, but an entire nest! I mean, really, I can't even have fish!

Anyway, something funny happened. In June I'll be going up to Big Flats to help set up a store there. We passed it! Mom looked at me and I looked at her and we smiled, then she pulled off to go find it. LOL. It's going to be huge. At least I can tell everyone how to get there when we go.

That's it, really. We had fun. Tomorrow we're going to see Poseidon. Ebert didn't like it, so Mom and I will love it. Any movies he likes, we think they suck. Any movies he hates, we love. So much for the critics, eh?

Oh, and Mom should be bringing home some Kinder-eggs tonight from a place near her new store. Mwa-ha-ha! Toys toys toys!

Corning Glass Museum (long)

Okay, Mom came into my room around 11:30 on Wednesday night. I was nearly asleep and pretty much out of it. She asked me if the Corning Glass Museum sounded cool. Sure, sure, whatever, go away and let me sleep, it's not pouring cement...

Anyway, I managed to get up early enough to write my Deep Blue entry for the history blog. We left around 9 AM and got gas. Then came back because yours truly had forgotten her silly asthma medicine. Then we left (again) around 9:30. I stitched the whole way up.

We got to the parking place and saw a beautiful glass building. Um, but it was kind of small. Phew! It was only the Visitors' Center. The museum is a short shuttle ride away. There were some neat purple flowers going up its driveway, but I didn't get a chance to look at them. There's a highwater mark from some flood in 1972 about 4 1/2 to 5 feet up the windows in the main entrance. The museum is set up on a small hill, so I can't even imagine what the true depth was. (I love the internet: here's a link about the 1972 flood.) We paid for a membership so we can go back again and bought our tickets to make our glass flowers.

We did that first. It was cool. I chose green, clear and red glass, while Mom chose purple, lavender and clear. Of course, the teacher helped me and did a lot of the work, although I wish I could have been the one doing it all! If it goes as planned (we have to wait a week or ten days to have them mailed to us) mine will have a green stem, clear petals and red stamen-like dots on the interior of the flower. I will, of course, post a picture of our first attempts at glassmaking.

After a visit to the Carder Gallery and lunch we started the actual tour. It's self-guided and they have a carpet/arrow motif keeping you going in the general direction you're supposed to go. It's easy to get confused, but fun. We saw two sculptures in particular that I want. I truly truly want them. The first was Susan Plum's Woven Heavens, Tangled Earth: a sphere of flameworked glass woven together, layer by layer. The second I don't recall the name of the artist or work, but it was so relaxing. The artist (female, I think) suspended three glass plates in front of three pieces of fabric with brushes and motors behind the fabric. The motors and brushes keep the fabric in constant motion, creating patterns behind the glass. It was great.

We also saw glassworks from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Israel all the way up to modern times. I really loved the trick glasses and goblets. The Germans seemed quite fond of making them. There were mini-mosaics - moaics so small the details were only clear through the aid of a magnifying glass. Can you imagine piecing them together?

Waiting for the hot-glass show I played around with an interactive display on how to make different colors of glass. Did you know that the addition of gold to the glass formula actually turns it ruby-red? And Pyrex was a happy accident? Some glass was left in an oven overnight and had crystalized differently with the higher heat. Mom and I also tried out some weird egg-shaped glass room suspended from the ceiling. You can whisper on one end and the person sitting directly across from you can hear you clearly.

The hot glass show was neat. I've seen glass being blown before at Ren Faires, but what made this one especially cool is a camera that shows the glass being heated up in the glory hole (the heating oven that does not have the molten glas in it). The oven has a small window of the glass used on space shuttles in the back, with a camera aimed through it. You can actually see what the glassblower is doing in the oven.

The whole experience was great. We're planning our next trip already.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The 36-Hour Day (A Grandma Update)

Grandma was gone when I came home from work today. I walked into a silent house with no television blaring obnoxious soap operas. Except for the lamp I forgot to turn off this morning, no lights were on. The suitcase of clothing that was the cause of the blow-up on Saturday was gone.

(Until this very moment no phone calls - I hate the phone...)

I called out her name, just making sure she actually was gone. I called it a couple of times, actually. Then I walked over to the chair in the living room and just sat down with a whump! It was like all the air just let out of me. I'm able to be downstairs and not have to watch her shows or feel her staring at me. Or, staring in my direction, as other people say she is doing. Funny, it feels like she's staring at me.

I'm reading The 36-Hour Day. It's a book for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's or Dementia. Grandma's strokes have caused brain damage that qualify her as having a "Dementing Illness". Apparently, her little habit of forgetting an argument after an hour is normal and not maliciously intended. According to the book. Also, when Mom and I argue instead of just deflecting her Mrs. Hyde moments we're making the situation worse because the person with a dementing illness knows something is wrong but can't quite understand what's wrong with them. We're supposed to be supportive and understanding about her situation and what she's having the specific problem with. Logical reasoning apparently doesn't work. (I'm screwed, then. I try to use logic constantly.)

I was talking to one of my venting people about it and her advice was the same as the book's. Basically it boils down to what we were doing for the longest time - when Grandma gets nasty, hold your tongue and pretend you're somewhere faaaaaaaar away. But it got worse while we were doing that. That's why we actually defend ourselves now. Maybe it's just that the more strokes she has the worse she gets. The only problem is that sitting quiet while she spews vitriol is damaging our admittedly low self-esteem levels. She can say everything she likes but we can't defend ourselves? There's just something fundamentally wrong with that. It goes against a human being's very nature. However, everyone and every book says the same thing. It's not her. It's the disease and she can't control it.

Even the good/bad kid thing is explained by the disease. It's her perceptions that are thrown off. Child A may be the caretaker/giver and treated like dirt, but Child B who comes in once a year is treated like gold, while Child C is just not even thought about either way. Apparently, this is part of the disease process and caused by brain damage to certain parts of the brain.

So, how to get Mom to believe this? Do I even believe it all? I understand the brain damage and that brain damage can have profound effects on behavior. It would be nicer to think it's her brain damage rather than me being less important or good than my cousins that make me the bad one in my generation. I am going to need major counseling when this is over. Mom needs it right now.

Oh, Grandma doesn't come home until Sunday and I took tomorrow off so Mom and I can go do something fun for once. Wish me luck in convincing her that pouring a sidewalk is not fun. Better yet, wish for the downpours predicted to come, because that would make sure we can't do it tomorrow!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Totally oblivious to the world...

Learned something new today: George Takei "came out" last year. Apparently, it was an open secret with Star Trek fans. Does this mean I have to give back my Trekkie pin?


Saturday, May 06, 2006

I spoke too effing soon (A Grandma Update)

Well, Mrs. Hyde is back with a vengeance. I guess being nice for a few days was too much for her to bear.

Grandma is going to TAFH's house this week. She needs to find a certain pair of shorts that my other aunt gave her. Well, she broke for the stairs and made it up without anyone hearing her. We had boxed up the junk on the floor and moved the computer in there. It's organized and neat. Her clothes that were on the floor or hanging about went itno boxes, too. This wasn't just our doing, but on consensus from all of the family. TAFH even put up the first box/suitcase. That was okay, but now with her selective memory it was all Mom who did it.

When she realized Grandma was upstairs Mm went up there and asked her why she didn't tell one of us she was going up. She never does and still thinks she's going to move back up there. She got huffy and made a remark about that. Mom just told her to talk to her other kids. Well, in the space of about fifteen minutes, Grandma managed to pick at Mom so badly she reduced her to tears.

Grandma actually said we want her dead. I got in her face and tld her VERY strongly that the reason we are here and everything we do is to keep her alive. She didn't say much to that, just harped on her usual: "The clothes should be upstairs. The dresser should never have been brought downstairs. You move my stuff all the time. Yadda Yadda. We're always wrong."

Oh, shit. They're downstairs right now and Mom is asking her if she even loves her.

I'm crying. I don't know what to say. Mom just stormed out in tears, sure her mother hates her. Grandma and I had it out, sort of. She and I both said things. She's insisting she doesn't hate Mom, but that when Mom asked her, she just didn't want to answer her. She's that spiteful. She thinks I want her dead so I could have the big room. She said that everything I do says that. I guess making sure she doesn't fall, making sure she eats right and making sure she gets her pills is evil. I asked her if she realized that Mom cries every night? SHe doesn't care as long as we don't move her stuff. There was so much more said, including me cursing at her and her telling me to get out, I told her no. She said I took care of her only when I wanted to. I told her if I did that then I'd be gone right now, but I'm not. I made the mistake of mentioning that I'd be out with my friends more often and her reply was "What friends?" I told her I have more than one and she scoffed. And I do. People at work have invited me out, but how can I go with noone to watch her?

I'm shaking. Aunt L is coming over so I can go out for a while. I want to get some shopping done. I wish I could get stinking drunk. I hope Mom's okay. Driving and crying don't mix well.

I asked Grandma at the end of our confrontation (with me in tears) if she would just tell Mom she loved her. I told her I don't care if she doesn't love me. I already have that from Dad, but Mom shouldn't have to feel that. She had a tear in her eye, maybe it did some good. I hope.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Grandma's Home!

She's joking! She's being nice. I'm having a heart attack.

I bought a new t-shirt today. I never wear tees with slogans on them, but I had to buy it when I saw it. It's blue and says this: If you choke a Smurf...What color does it turn?

Mom saw it and just groaned. Grandma stopped with her hot dogs and stared at me. I was wondering what the heck she wanted. Then I heard her reading it out loud. She laughed!

And in the last two days, she's demolished hot dogs. Three last night and four tonight. She's eating and being nice to me. Yeah, she picked at me about something stupid last night, but she's been really nice to us, basically. Obviously, I'm going to take advantage of the situation while it lasts.

BTW, I'm buying the Yoda tee next. It has a picture of Yoda pointing and says "My finger, pull."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cool or Weird Webcams

Okay, so I was bored but here are some really cool webcams:

My lady: The Statue of Liberty
This is of the nest of a Peregrine Falcon with a chick/nestling.
Deformed Frog Cam - Northern Leopard frogs cared for by the Minnesota Polluton Control Agency.
Killer MutAnt Space Ants - an ant farm *shudder*
Of course, we must have this one: NessieCam

Sites to find more webcams:

Grandma and my multipersonality disorder...

Grandma's cast is off. The doctor and nurse were surprised at how well she'd healed up, given her diabetes and by the range of motion in her arm. She'll be starting therapy soon, so we'll see what happens.

She's going to visit TAFH next week (who is still being surprisingly nice). My aunt and uncle got tickets for a Phillies game next Wednesday. Granda is going down Tuesday night and staying until Friday at least. I hope she has fun and the Phillies win. I intend to make the most of it and find some way to get out those days, even if I have to call off work one of them. We'll be slow next week anyway...

Argh! The pain of having that stupid work ethic drilled into my head.

Conscience speaking: "Now, now. You know you can't call off work unless you're ill."
Id speaking: "Yeah, Yeah. Whatever, C. So, where do you wanna go on our "day off?"
Paycheck speaking: "You want me to be nice to you, get your butt in here!"

I think Paycheck might win, forget Conscience and definitely forget Id (he just gets me in trouble, anyway). Practicality and not eating ramen beats just about anything on any given day.

Cheers from the Psych Ward