Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back...

This year has been...different.  There've been some major changes, and there's been a lot of issues. 

January: pneumonia.  I missed the first week of classes because of this monster.  Didn't have office hours the second week, either. 

February: stomach flu for a week, acquired food allergy to wheat, discovered chest colds are a lot nastier when you've had pneumonia.  By the end of February, I'd lost something like thirty or thirty-five pounds, and drastically curtailed my diet. 

There are, honestly, a lot of foods I miss: real biscuits (the gluten-free kind are NOT biscuits), crispy thin crust pizza, Club crackers, pie, and Christmas cookies.  That said, I don't miss them that much, since I've always been a meat and potatoes type person.

March: UTI.  Weight started to come back.

May: UTI.  Fifteen pounds regained (WTF???  I don't eat a whole lot, and have usually been good at maintaining weight lost).

June: yet another UTI. 

July: Odysseus finished his second degree and got a job, all in the same week.  He's loving that job, by the way--I haven't seen him so happy with work since he sold a computer shop he owned and ran in '03. 

Also, by this point, I'd regained twenty-five pounds.  I've managed to pry off five, but it takes eating less than a thousand calories per day, and I literally cannot eat that little and do housework on a regular basis.

August: School started for the kids, then for me.  I've had to start driving on a daily basis.  I don't like it, but I am competent at it. 

October: the pixie caused me a panic attack, and routine changed.  For her.  Because she now has to wait in the car with her seatbelt fastened while I get the imp from his teacher at the pickup point.

November: the onset of new and nasty viruses thoughtfully brought home and shared by the kids. 

Yeah, 2015 has kind of sucked.  Yeah, there were good points, but they've been offset by multiple health issues.  I am glad that, for the most part, the year is over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We're okay.

Christmas passed.  It went about as well as it could, with my family and my mom and sister being sick. 

After Christmas, things got a little hairy.  It started to rain.  And rain.  And rain.  And flood.  I think I read that we got something like between eight and ten inches in 72 hrs. 

Roads started closing.  I-44 is closed in areas it wasn't during the last big flood.  Out east of Carthage, 96 hwy (Old Rte 66) runs next to a spillover pond, a medium sized park, and over Spring River.  Sunday, there was no park, and no separation between the river and Kellogg "Lake." 

There have been water rescues galore, including a crew of a freight train that was washed off the tracks. 

And there have been water rescues of people who moved the barricade so that they could drive through.  Into water.  And then they get washed away.

That last group...I have issues with prioritizing those rescues.  The people disregarding "road closed" signs and barricades are making a choice.*  I think they need to either be left to the consequences, or be charged out the nose for the rescue.  I don't like leaving the idiocy to continue on its way without any repercussions. 

We didn't have to do anything special to avoid flooding.  We didn't have to evacuate, didn't have to make any changes to our routine, didn't have to worry about utilities going out (some areas lost electricity, others lost water), or being wonky (the south end of Joplin had issues with the sewer and water treatment plant being overwhelmed, and people were asked to not wash dishes or clothes...or flush). 

When we bought, we were careful to stay OUT of the flood plains. 

One of my aunts had to evacuate with all of her critters (chickens and dogs and cats) and her husband, and lost one or two of her chickens.  And maybe her beehive.  She didn't take up any state resources--she called one of my other aunts to come help her get out. 

From what I've read, we crested at nearly twenty feet above flood stage throughout most of the area sometime yesterday, when the rain finally switched over to snow, thankfully without more than a few minutes of freezing rain/sleet added into the mix.

*People who build in flood plains are also making a choice...however, for the most part, most people who were flooded out this time were not in areas that were flooded out the last time that it did this, in October of '93.  This time, the water was just a bit higher in places.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief. Dead Hooker Magazine

Saw something absolutely despicable posted on FB by Tam's roomie (I think).  I've quoted it in full below: 
Dan Zimmerman, widely held to be a longtime intellectual property thief and, I am given to understand, founder of _Dead Hooker Magazine_, has stolen Tamara Keel's "Fun Show Song" and posted the lovely video made as a Christmas present for Tam by Ambulance Driver and Squeaky and posted it over at TTAG, the other sink of iniquity and inequity with which he is associated, utterly without attribution to anyone but himself.

Other than polite reminders (already issued) and the distant possibility of lawyering up -- Tam's a writer and her stock in trade is the unique groupings of words she creates -- there's not a whole lot that can be done.

But there is one thing. Cato famously ended every speech he made in the Roman Senate with "Carthage must be destroyed," even if all he was talking about was proclaiming Junior Vestal Day. The phrase I'd like you to remember and to post all over the Internet is "Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief. Dead Hooker Magazine." And good morning, search engines!
I cannot fully imagine the disgust and outrage Tam's dealing with right now.  Yes, I'm a writer, too, and a teacher of writing, but I've never been plagiarized.  It's bad enough when I find it in my students' writing; it has to be far worse when it's your own words and ideas stolen.  I'd imagine it's a worse violation than theft, but not as bad as being raped.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Little bit of a new spin on things...

Like a friend asked on FB when they linked this story: Why in the hell is this not reported in the mainstream media?

And why do they expect us to believe that the multiple bulk cell phone purchases were legitimate?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Difficult conversations

So, my kids are getting old enough to start really listening to song lyrics, and thinking about them.  Thinking about them in surprisingly complex ways for as young as they are.

One of the albums I have on a jump drive in the Subaru is Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies.  The title track, in particular, recently sparked a conversation.

The line "Has the shepherd led his lambs astray/to the bigot and the gun?" really distressed both kids.

"Mama...why did...why could a preacher tell the people in the church to do bad things?"

And thus, I found myself giving an abbreviated, age-appropriate lecture over the Troubles in Northern Ireland to my seven year old son and five year old daughter last Friday, on the way home from school.

My kids have no chance of being normal.  And that's a good thing.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Dozens of cell phones--pre-paid, all of them--bought by a few individuals in Lebanon, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Macon, Missouri. 

There's no telling where shit's gonna go down, but five dozen phones bought in Columbia can set off how many IEDs?  Four dozen in Lebanon?  No, the part of Missouri where I live doesn't really have a whole lot of target value, but there's Ft. Wood, Jefferson City itself, St. Louis, KC, Whiteman AF Base, Columbia...

Watch for new construction on Missouri roads (especially in KC and St. Louis, where it never stops), and bits of junk on the side of the road, and maybe in the middles of intersections.  This is not looking good. 

On the bright side, should the likely perps set bombs in the wrong neighborhoods, we could very well see those most prone to violence wreaking bloody revenge, and all the rest of us would have to do was make sure we'd laid in enough popcorn.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Yeah, I know, I disappeared.

It's been a rough semester, getting into the swing of things.  With Odysseus's new job,* I've had to pick up a whole lot more that I didn't used to have to do.

So, this past semester, I've been running the kids in to school, and either heading in myself on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, or heading back home to clean without small monsters underfoot (Tuesday) or to run errands without small monsters in tow...though I still refuse to go to Walmart--even when it's not busy, the people in the parking lot have a fine disregard for their cars and others, as well as their own safety. 

Everything put together ate up not only my blogging time, but my writing time, too.  I haven't done more than scribble in my draft books for a couple of months.** 

(Why, yes, I'm hearing voices.  No worries--it's just the characters in the book/stories I'm working on, agitating for me to get to writing again ASAP.)

Add in with that the cats' stupid-crazy behavior--Shadow's funny jumping bug was only one incident; remind me later, and I'll tell y'all about Cricket eating a chili pepper that I'd left out to dehydrate naturally--and family obligations, and grading obligations, and other tripping hazards that life left out like my kids leave toys laying around...

(One of my cousins' wife needs prayers--she had a double bypass, and surgery took twice as long and was more complicated than it should have been, because she has MD, and two of the initial attempts at grafting tissue didn't take)

...and you have a five month period where I've been lucky to tread water. 

Thank God for auto-draft billing on the utilities.

There's also the factor that I've been outright avoiding the news, especially politics.  I'm...not apathetic, but definitely believing less and less that I actually have a voice that counts and is heard.  Not that that keeps me from voting, just from writing about the stupidity that we witness every day.  There really is only so much of that I can take.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving, and that I can get my feet under me after the crazy part of break is over.

*He was hired before the end of finals week of the summer semester, about three days before official graduation.

**I have more time--and stamina--to read others' work than I do to write my own.  I think I may be developing arthritis in the joint where my index finger meets my palm, and it's worse in my dominant hand...and acts up worse when the weather is typical SW MO weather (i.e., schizophrenic and bipolar) than when it's just cold and damp.  And no, I don't need to be paid to read stuff and offer feedback when I don't have to turn in a grade for it.