Brief Update and Review of Witch Way to Murder

I’ve been doing so much read­ing because I’ve been sick and unable to do much else. We did get the girl to her doc­tor, so we know there’s no strep around here. The doc­tor would­n’t rule out mono, but would­n’t test for it either. (I don’t real­ly like this woman, and we usu­al­ly try to go when the nicer physi­cian is there.) She said that since they don’t do any­thing but treat the symp­toms if it is mono, and the con­ta­gion peri­od would have been 60–90 days ago, she does­n’t see any rea­son to run a test.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Brief Update and Review of Witch Way to Mur­der”

Boo Sickness! Recipe, Word Geeking, Reviews

This not-flu or what­ev­er is exceed­ing­ly tire­some. I should think it would be enough to live with the day to day stuff, let alone put up with this. Then again, nobody has ever claimed in my hear­ing that the world is fair.

MélusineI haven’t suc­ceed­ed in hold­ing any thoughts in my head long, so you’re in for ran­dom­ness again this entry.

I have no idea why the main arti­cle was linked from ZDNet, but does­n’t this ched­dar and apple sand­wich seem yum­my? I won­der how it would be with ham? I used to have a real­ly good recipe for a sausage and apples dish, but I know I haven’t cooked it in the last decade. Maybe I could dig it out of my ancient recipe box? There are few ways to go wrong with cooked apples, as far as I can tell.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Boo Sick­ness! Recipe, Word Geek­ing, Reviews”

Happy Car Day!

Well, that’s what it felt like. Poor Sam had to take time off from work, because it was Pain Doc Day. The pain doc­tor is off in the wilds of Cobb Coun­ty, because that’s where we lived when I start­ed see­ing a pain doc­tor, and it’s darn near impos­si­ble to get a ref­er­ence to a new one (much less trust that a new one will, in fact, keep writ­ing pre­scrip­tions for the meds that actu­al­ly work). Then we head­ed to Big Ware­house Store to get the RXs filled, and also hit the bank and the post office because they’re just so much fun! And then it was time to go see the friend­ly ther­a­pist lady.

Hap­pi­ly, we were able to game off and on dur­ing the day, which made the whole busi­ness far more pleas­ant than it would have been oth­er­wise. And we picked up a great big bag of fat-lady clothes from a nice freecy­cler! Some of them are so cool the girl is eying them cov­etous­ly, so I need to be sure they go to my room and don’t wan­der off to hers.

While we were gone, though, a sweet fairy girl washed our quilt and com­forter! Sam put fresh sheets on the bed, so I’ll be crawl­ing into a nice, clean bed next to a fresh­ly-show­ered, cud­dly man soon. That part of the day, I’m look­ing for­ward to!
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Hap­py Car Day!”

Thing-a-Day 2

My cre­ative time today was spent web­mistress­ing. I tweaked some Word­Press tem­plates to work bet­ter, and moved more stuff over from my old site for­mat to Word­Press. It may not seem like much, but I always rewrite and update as I do that, so I fig­ure it counts.

Sam and I had lots of fun in our game tonight. It’s a lit­tle weird to real­ize that some­one is an avatar of a deity and that not only does he not know it, he’s nowhere near ready to real­ize it. Then there’s the whole issue of not let­ting that lit­tle fact slip at all, because an entire race of peo­ple is wait­ing for his return (and they real­ly, real­ly need him now, of course).

I real­ly should go to the library tomor­row, but I don’t know if Sam will have time to dri­ve me there. I have books to return and books on hold to pick up. I’d best go to bed now, to improve my chances of wak­ing ear­ly enough to ask him.

I need to give Kioshi some extra scritchies, though, and I’m think­ing about Jen and her fam­i­ly, who had to let go of their newest feline fam­i­ly mem­ber today—he had feline leukemia. I always think of our Andre and Tom-Tom when­ev­er feleuk comes up. I’m glad Kioshi did­n’t catch it from his par­ents, as our babies and theirs prob­a­bly did. Please, vac­ci­nate all of your pets! Even if you don’t ever plan for them to go out­side!

Happy Friday!

The girl is gone this week­end. I’m start­ing to feel like the house is just a place where she keeps her stuff and does her laun­dry! I sup­pose that’s nor­mal for any par­ent of an old­er teen, and good prac­tice for when she goes off to col­lege. It does­n’t mean that i have to like it, though!

Sam has been Mr. Pod­casty tonight, record­ing a round­table dis­cus­sion for some­one else’s show, then record­ing a new Square One episode with Bill Wal­ton. I’m tempt­ed to do a Fibrant Liv­ing again. It’s cer­tain­ly been long enough!

I have hopes of rear­rang­ing the liv­ing room to some extent tomor­row, to make the house more invit­ing for guests and make it eas­i­er to play the piano. I’m real­ly tempt­ed to reclaim the back bed­room as “office space,” but Sam will kill me if I ask him to move the big sofa again. I just have this feel­ing that as long as our com­put­ers are out here in the pub­lic area, we aren’t going to be very suc­cess­ful at keep­ing the pub­lic areas unclut­tered. I’d need a desk to move my com­put­er in there, though, or we’d need anoth­er table.

We real­ly, real­ly need to improve the light­ing in the liv­ing room. One of the torchiere lamps has a bro­ken switch, and we don’t real­ly have any task light­ing at all. I’d much pre­fer the sort of lamps that have those adjustable heads, so some point up and anoth­er points down at what­ev­er you’re read­ing or stitch­ing.

Yep, I’m total­ly ran­dom tonight. This is Cyn on break­through meds. Whee!

Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 was­n’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer house­mate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

Review: Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

Cover of Carpe DemonI’m way behind on book reviews, so I’ll try to do one each day for a bit. Empha­sis on the try. I’ve read some great stuff late­ly that deserves the atten­tion!

I’ll start with the most recent book, Carpe Demon by Julie Ken­ner. It’s the first book of the Demon-Hunt­ing Soc­cer Mom series. I don’t actu­al­ly remem­ber any soc­cer games, but yep, Kate Con­nor is def­i­nite­ly a soc­cer mom in the sense that Clin­ton used the phrase.

I can’t remem­ber if it was Michelle Sagara West or Tanya Huff who said it, but either way, I agree with her that the best way to sum up this series is to imag­ine that Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er grew up, got mar­ried, and had kids, but did­n’t tell her fam­i­ly any­thing about her past. Kate works for the Vat­i­can instead of the Watcher’s Coun­cil, has an Ali­men­ta­tore rather than a Watch­er, and isn’t the Cho­sen One—there are sup­posed to be many demon hunters. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the youth of today aren’t as easy to recruit, accord­ing to the Church, and an old demon hunter is usu­al­ly a dead demon hunter.

Kate and her part­ner, Eric, had retired and moved to a place they iden­ti­fied as hav­ing very lit­tle demon activ­i­ty. They had a child, and after Eric died (we don’t learn how in this vol­ume), Kate remar­ried. Stu­art Con­nor is an attor­ney with polit­i­cal ambi­tion. Remem­ber how Sab­ri­na had so much trou­ble pre­tend­ing to be a nor­mal exec­u­tive’s wife in Bewitched? Take it up sev­er­al notch­es, and you know where some of the book’s humor comes from. The nov­el is def­i­nite­ly a nice depar­ture from the para­nor­mal romances that have a lot more romance than action, although I have yet to fig­ure out why Kate would ever have set­tled for Stu­art. And yes, I’d have to say she set­tled.1

I’ve put the next two books, Cal­i­for­nia Demon and Demons are For­ev­er, on my wish list. I’m look­ing for­ward to find­ing out how Ken­ner devel­ops the char­ac­ters, and whether Kate starts fill­ing her kids’ water bot­tles with holy water (I would). I’m not a big enough fan to put the rest of her books on the pile, but I haven’t ruled it out yet.


1 Of course, so did Sab­ri­na.

Is There A NaNoReMo?

I think I want a Nation­al Nov­el Read­ing Month. I could do a nov­el a day (as long as I chose the right nov­els, of course). I’m behind on writ­ing reviews, but I’m wal­low­ing unabashed­ly in the num­ber of good reads avail­able to me right now. I’ve tweaked the Now Read­ing wid­get to show up to ten cur­rent books instead of just five.

I total­ly flubbed NaNoW­riMo. No, I don’t wan­na talk word count. Ugh. I have, how­ev­er, man­aged to keep up with NaBloPo­Mo. so far, and there’s only one day to go! Data­base prob­lems have giv­en me some trou­ble with get­ting the posts to the pub­lic at some points, but I’ve writ­ten an entry every sin­gle day, and I think all of them are even show­ing up now. (The auto­post­ed Tweets for the day don’t count, of course.)

TodayOn Thurs­day, Katie and I drove all over the place, as she had an orth­don­tic appoint­ment and I fool­ish­ly chose to com­bine that with oth­er errands. Dri­ving = can’t take usu­al pain meds. I came home and col­lapsed with a fever. Now it’s the nor­mal time to sleep, and I’m in too much pain to go lay down. (Actu­al­ly, I was so fog­gy that I for­got to hit the “Pub­lish” but­ton last night!)

But, thanks to a freecy­cler, we now own a Korg 88-key elec­tric piano. The catch: It’s tak­en apart. Com­plete­ly. I’ve nev­er seen the innards of such a thing before!

Why did the pre­vi­ous own­ers take it apart, then give it away? Their tod­dler spilled paint on the keys. The donor could­n’t remem­ber if it was fab­ric paint or acrylic paint, but it isn’t water-sol­u­ble, in any case. For­tu­nate­ly, the paint did not get into the elec­tron­ics! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it did stick a few keys togeth­er. So the man of the house took it apart, intend­ing to clean it up—then stuck it in the garage, where it has lan­guished for two years. In a clean­ing fit this week, he decid­ed to toss it out and just get a new one. Hap­pi­ly for me, his wife per­suad­ed him to give her a week to offer it on freecy­cle instead, and now it’s ours!

I’m encour­aged by the fact that every­thing worked before it was tak­en apart (oth­er than the stuck keys). I’m excit­ed about hav­ing a piano. Now I have to fig­ure out what to use to gen­tly clean said keys, then fig­ure out how to reassem­ble the whole thing. I con­sid­ered just tak­ing it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter, but I want to see if we can do it first, as their quot­ed labor rate of $70/hour would add up very quick­ly. This is a $1,000 instru­ment, so it’s worth putting some mon­ey into mak­ing it work. Hav­ing the mon­ey, as usu­al, is the prob­lem.

It came with its nice stand, which is inte­gral to the piano, as it has the ped­als on it. I’ll still need a bench, but I’ll deal with that after I have it work­ing.

A repair man­u­al would be very use­ful. The instru­ment man­u­al can be down­loaded from the Korg web site, but since these things aren’t con­sid­ered user ser­vice­able, it does­n’t show how to take the piano apart and put it back togeth­er. If I can get it cleaned up, though, I can prob­a­bly ask Dad­dy for assem­bly help. My Dad­dy can fix any­thing.1 He’s much bet­ter with things than with peo­ple.

I’m total­ly open to sug­ges­tions for gen­tle sol­vents.2 I’m fig­ur­ing non-ace­tone nail pol­ish remover might do it, but will it dam­age the keys?

Of course, if any of you fine folks hap­pen to have expe­ri­ence with tak­ing elec­tric pianos apart and reassem­bling them, by all means, please speak up! (Hey, a girl can hope, can’t she?)


1 Yes, I am 41 years old, and he’ll always be Dad­dy, and I’ll always believe in his mirac­u­lous fix-it-abil­i­ty

2 Yes, that’s some­thing of an oxy­moron.

Reading

So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors—especially an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Necessity—is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14–18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too—although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that was­n’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art—you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Date Night, Reading, School Stuff

I was a naughty girl today, too caught up in read­ing A Few Demons More to do my home­work. Bad girl.

To be fair, I was also tak­ing care of my Katie baby, who had a fever and was near­ly deliri­ous. She real­ly fits the chron­ic fatigue syndrome/ME diag­nos­tic cri­te­ria more than those for fibromyal­gia, but what­ev­er it is, she’s miss­ing way too much school.

Wednes­day is one of my reg­u­lar date nights with Sam, and I cer­tain­ly was­n’t going to put that off for school stuff, so I fig­ured I’d just hop online and make my required four posts after he went to bed, then join him quick­ly.1

Whoops! Not so fast!

My crit­i­cal think­ing class, which I fig­ured to be a “gimme” (required for every DeVry stu­dent regard­less of major, obvi­ous­ly designed to be one of the first class­es every­body takes) sur­prised me this time. Both thread­ed dis­cus­sions required research and thought.

The first was about con­sumer finance, which isn’t exact­ly con­tro­ver­sial. We had to use the school’s library site to access a peri­od­i­cals data­base, though, and choose at least two arti­cles relat­ed to some par­tic­u­lar aspect of con­sumer finance. Then we had to “share” one of them in the dis­cus­sion, explain­ing why we chose it and how it was rel­e­vant. That’s a big field to nar­row down, and the data­base had annoy­ing­ly NOT-fresh infor­ma­tion on my cho­sen angle.

The sec­ond, though, had us ana­lyze a Hitler Muse­um site 2 that claimed to be total­ly free of bias. Yep, pull the oth­er one, it’s got bells on! We had to eval­u­ate the site based on 5 or 6 dif­fer­ent mea­sures of cred­i­bil­i­ty. Even thought the site was obvi­ous­ly very pro-Hitler, find­ing cred­i­ble sources (mean­ing not Wikipedia) to dis­prove var­i­ous claims took some time.

I was high­ly dis­turbed by the num­ber of my class­mates that declared the site free of bias. Obvi­ous­ly, there are peo­ple who are in seri­ous need of this course! I knew that many peo­ple take in media fair­ly unques­tion­ing­ly, but a pro-Hitler web site put up by some anony­mous twit? In 2007?

The man­age­ment class stuff was very easy, just ques­tions about diver­si­ty and entre­pre­neur­ship. Yay for easy!

I’m final­ly done and can go cud­dle up with mah sweet­ie. I wan­na get the Holo­caust revi­sion­ism out of my head, though, to avoid bad dreams, so I might end up read­ing for a bit first.


1 I have got to go back to start­ing the week’s class stuff on Mon­days. Real­ly.

2 No, I’m not going to link to that!