Monday, July 30, 2007

Another insanely busy day

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I wake up and think about what I have to do that day. Mom stuff, day job stuff, cardio, strength training, household stuff, write a thousand words in my two projects, try and get some rewriting done, call about some medical bills that were never paid, etc.

Monday I'd like to start my column. If I write 200 words a day it will be done by Thursday night. But today was crazy busy again so I'm only now sitting down to write my projects. Poor Clive has an eye injury that could leave him blind and Tesla accidentally brought a crazed creature back from the dreamworld with him. So much stress these poor characters have...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy birthday to Mr. Cullen B. Lee

18 today. My goodness, seems like just a couple of years ago. My water broke at 2 or so in the morning and I waited at home for the contractions to get strong. When they finally did, I guess about eight hours later, we hopped in the car and headed for the Anne Arundel Medical Center, the old one that was in downtown Annapolis.

Well we got caught in traffic because they were doing some construction on little two lane road that runs from Crofton to Annapolis and there we sat, in the heat, with me having contractions every two minutes.

I was wearing this sort of a pinafore and we were driving my old Toyota shortbed truck which had some stuff in the back for the horses and I started thinking worse case I was going to have this baby in the back of the truck, where at least there would be some room and maybe one of the road crew would notice and maybe get us an ambulance but finally we got through.

I was in hard labor with him all day and finally right around four he popped out, eight pounds six and a half ounces and the moment I looked into his eyes I thought, he's here, Cullen's finally here and that's how we named him.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hooray! Cam is home!

His connecting flight from Detroit was cancelled but he managed to get here, albeit four hours late and after having been traveling for 13 hours and arriving around noon. He took a nap and now he's watching the Pulse. It's always scary movie time when Cam is home. :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Today, for the first time in 15 years

I beat a Nintendo golf tournament. I used to play it all the time when I was on bedrest while pregnant with Cam and at one point had one about two million dollars.

I started playing it again a couple of weeks ago when the Wii offered it as a download. On my first game I was 40 something over par. The next one was not much better.

Then I realized I was holding the controller upside down and magically improved my game.

Today I won the Japanese tournament by hitting exactly par. Good times.

And now I must figure out what this crazy spider lady is doing in my Destiny script...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cullen safely in Alaska

We somehow managed to get Cullen onto his six am flight to Detroit. From there he caught two more planes and now he's safe in Anchorage.

He was at con from Friday to Sunday evening then stayed up all night and flew until six pm. I sure hope he gets some sleep tonight.

Next up, Cam comes home.

But first I have to write 500 words for The Destiny Experiment.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A worrying article about airline travel

Personally worrying for me because I've got two sons flying Northwest this week and both of them are going through Detroit. Cullen actually has three flights to get to Alaska, Cam has two coming back.

The article ran in WaPo and is quite disheartening.

Thousands of children fly unaccompanied each day on U.S. airlines -- an estimated 650,000 fly alone on United, American and Southwest airlines annually, with the heaviest loads occurring in the summer and over the holidays, the carriers say. This summer travel season, the youths are being thrown into the very adult mix of delays, cancellations and fewer airline employees help them. Already, delays are at high levels, with more than 30 percent of flights arriving late or being canceled in June, up from 25 percent last year, according to the flight-tracking service

Last month, Blake Gammell was waiting at the gate at the Pensacola, Fla., airport to pick up his 11-year-old nephew after a Northwest Airlines flight. A gate worker had him sign the paperwork to take custody of the boy after the flight arrived. But when Gammell looked down at the child in front of him, he was puzzled. Instead of his nephew, he was staring at a 9-year-old girl. The airline had mixed up the children and put them on the wrong flights.


Friday, July 20, 2007

International cardio

I've been doing some of my cardio to Micheal Jackson's Thriller video because it's actually easier for me than your classic aerobic videos. I can't watch a workout video and translate what they're doing into my brain and then into my own movements. That part of my brain seems to be broken. But for some reason I can do quite a lot of the moves in the Thriller video, maybe because I danced to it years ago, maybe because zombies all have brain damage, IDK.

So today BoingBoing links to a bunch of prisoners in the Philippines who are also doing the Thriller video. I feel vindicated for some reason.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Haunted hospital

So in this book I'm writing about this girl called Barbara and a guy called Clive, they had to go to the hospital. He got knifed while fighting off this demon thing that was insisting on collecting DNA from Barbara.

The hospital visit was supposed to be nice and quick but they've already met a cabdriver that reads blood splatters instead of tea leaves, a guard who says every other patient is a sex vampire and a nurse who says there are things going on she's afraid to talk about.

Who let all this happen?

Monday Cullen leaves for Alaska for three weeks. He's at Otakon (sp?) over the weekend then flies out ridiculously early on Monday. I have to have him at the airport at four am or something. Grah.

Then Cam comes home a couple of days later, also coming in early, like eight or something. I was going to take a vacation day but now I'm wondering if he's just going to want to sleep all day...

Monday, July 16, 2007

We're All In This Together

I'm almost finished reading Owen King's We're All in This Together, a collection of short stories. The first one isn't really short, clocking in at more than 130 pages.

They're beautifully written with some really lovely prose but not what you'd call happy stories. The first one, the title story, is especially good, catching the angst of a teenage boy with a difficult family perfectly. The story is deeply political but also a story about trust and betrayal. It's excellent.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wii sports

So I've been sick for the last two days with a really bad headache. I took some tramadol last night but kept waking up with serious pain. This morning I felt awful and woke up well before I should have. Pulsatile tinnitus is horrible, sounding like a helicopter part of the day.

I managed to get my writing done but nothing else I had planned for the day.

Finally I sort of fell asleep, drifting in and out at all day. My head felt a little better so I thought I'd just do a Wii fitness test and take a bath and read for awhile.

Well I scored the best I've ever scored, 41, which was pretty sweet. Then the enkaphlins started to kick in and I felt a little better. Did two rounds of bowling, felt even better. Then I started feeling sick but wanted to go for a full 20 minutes so I did some baseball and then I crazily tried boxing for the first time. Then everything went black and I had to lay down for awhile.

But end result, I managed to clean the bathroom AND did Wii sports for 50 minutes. 50!! I love my Wii.

I probably won't be able to move tomorrow....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weight loss surgery

At the request of my family doctor, someone I respect, I went to a certain hospital for their bariatric surgery seminar. I'm not going to name any names because I don't just think the entire process is crazy, I think the doctor who gave the talk was pretty crazy too.

At point she was quite sharp with me and seemed astonished when I stood my ground. After I asked for the death rate for their hospital she said the other concern they have is that their patients will get pulmonary embolisms because of course if you're fat and have surgery you're at risk for a PE but if you're thin you're not. (Of course in the real world this isn't true, anyone who has surgery is at a higher risk.)

The doctor stated she gives the patient medicine to prevent blood clots the morning of the surgery. When I made some sort of horrified gasp she turned to me and asked, "Do you have a problem with that?" in this tone of voice that I suspect she uses to shut people up.

"I most certainly do," I said. She wanted to know why and I said I was assuming she meant she gave them a shot of low molecular weight heparin and she said yes, what is the problem? And I said the problem is that giving the patient a blood thinner right before surgery was going to cause bleeding problems. She said she can stop the bleeding but she can't stop a PE.

This was on Tuesday and I'm still boggled.

Now she did say two interesting things, one was that you need to eat between 80 and 90 grams of protein a day to lose weight properly and that new studies are showing that fat people have fewer dopamine receptors than thin patients. See, that's why they call it comfort food.


Friday, July 13, 2007

When you just want to run away

Sometimes you get a little stressed out and have too much to do and not enough money to do it. So I was thinking about running away and joining the Peace Corp and building a dam. But not just any dam, a malaria dam to keep the malaria out...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cullen and his friend Tom at Chemathon

Apparently Tom weighs just a few pounds.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This week is totally crazy

I had to go up to Hopkins today for an appt. Working now trying to get tomorrow's newsletter ready to go.

Tomorrow back to Baltimore for Cullen's orientation at UMBC.

Thursday I'll have two newsletters to build from scratch, a day of missed email and a column to write.

It's only Tuesday but the week is already over and horribly busy.

Trying to squeeze in any writing on the two projects is going to be very, very difficult. Do they mind if you bring your laptop to orientation and write stories and columns instead of listening to the definition of a liberal education?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

Today I wrote a thousand words between my two projects, the weird little love story and the script that is now at about 25,000 words.

I finished a book called Tyrannosaur Canyon (was that even the name?) it failed to engage me, failed to suspend my disbelief and annoyed me because "the world's biggest expert on the t-rex" was a thoroughly nasty man. I happen to know of a fellow that is quite the expert on dinosaurs and says the T-Rex is the coolest critter that ever lived and he's a thouroughly likeable man with endless patience for questions. His name is Thomas Holtz and he's got a book coming out this October. He does my very favorite panels at local cons.

I watched a movie called Ladies in Lavender that was very good. It had Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and was about a couple of old birds whose lives are thrown into turmoil when a half drowned foreigner washes up on their beach. Emotional but not sentimental it, was a lovely film.

Then I watched Ten Things I Hate About You and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Very funny and charming with the Shakespeare skeleton shining through brightly.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Preparing for an emergency

I've been meaning to post about how to prepare for an emergency for some time. We're right in the middle of hurricane season, some of us live in earthquake zones, others live in the land of tornadoes and no matter where you live you're always at some risk for fire or any of the other of life's inconveniences that can make you wish you had planned a little better.

First you should make sure that you've got your data backed up somewhere offsite. Don't just take care of your electrical data, make sure that important documents are stored somewhere safe.

Ideally once you and yours have escaped from your situation you'll be able to pick up what you need to get your life and business back on track.

You should have a jump bag or kit by your front door that you can grab on your way out. For your home version make sure you have medication, cash (in even something so simple as a blackout there won't be any electricity to allow you to get money from cash machines), water, snacks, hard copies of the backups you make each night, etc.

TNH has an excellent post about emergency preparedness here where she also links to Uncle Jim's fabulous page of jump kits, along with good advice he's picked up from his years in the navy and as a wilderness EMT.

The Flylady has a page with 11 steps to being prepared.

If you have a fire do not run around trying to gather things up. My first responder teacher, who was a Battalion chief in the AA county fire dept says you have less than a minute to get out. Get the kids and grab the jump kit if you have time. (You should have it right by the front door but don't go out the front door if the way is not safe.) Do not think anything you've ever seen about fires on TV or in the movies is at all realistic. Unless you've seen Backdraft, which he forced all of us to watch.

And don't forget your fire drills!

When I was a girl my father used to do great fire drills, I still remember opening my door one morning to see fire he'd made out of red and orange tissue paper. It was a very good visual and I had to turn back and find another way out of the house.

And one last thing have you got carbon monoxide alarms? They also go by another name, lifesavers. (Not the candy.)


Friday, July 06, 2007

Go Uncle Google!!

I'm extremely excited about this post up at the Google blog about Google's hard work making their book search accesible to the visually impaired.

When I was a little girl I was told I'd be blind by Christmas (yay! what a gift!) and immediately embarked on some experimental program where I had to dilate my eyes all the time and wear dark glasses when I went outside. No doctor I've spoken with since has any idea what that meant or why this happened but either it worked or the whole thing was a scam.

I do have pretty crappy vision anyway, 20/800 and astigmatism. Throw in the damage to my eyes from having swollen optic nerves and all that hemorrhaging and I do occasionally stay awake all night wondering if I'm going to end up totally blind. Statistically five percent of those with PTC end up blind in at least one eye. And those are the ones who are treated.

Anyway, just more reason to love Uncle Google.

Here is a link right to the Google accessible web search for the visually impaired.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

This is interesting

Dr. Michael Dansinger of the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, weight loss specialist for the TV show the Biggest Loser, announced that all diets work about the same, poorly. According to a release that has been picked up widely on the interwebs:

A typical diet helps people lose an average of 6 percent of their weight, typically 10 to 15 pounds, and most people put it all back on after five years. Weight-loss drugs are similarly ineffective in the long run, said Michael Dansinger of the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

He says this after examining 46 trials that covered nearly 12,000 people. I'm telling you, if you haven't read Paul Campos' wonderful book The Obesity Myth, you really should.


Monday, July 02, 2007

If you were locked up for 350 years...

I'm about to release a character that's been locked up since 1667. The guy that did this to her is going to be right there, conveniently handcuffed to a sofa when she gets loose. So what does she do? Is she crazy? Vindictive? Was she sleeping and now she's all relaxed so she'll just turn him over to God to deal with? I just don't know. I should decide by tomorrow. It's hard out there for a writer...