Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pic Heavy Bragging Post

Hi ho, neighbors.  It's Pollen Season, which means I am miserable.  MIZZ.  ERR.  AH.  BULL.  Filthy filthy plants and their filthy filthy plant sex!  I'm looking at you, cypress tree.  Night-blooming jasmine, you're also on my shit list.  I'm developing asthma from all this crap in the air.  BAH.

In other news, I'm smaller than I used to be.  I know this, because these pants don't really fit anymore, unless they're fresh out of the dryer.  I was able to wear the Skinny Pants to an event on Saturday, and the Spanx weren't for gutsucking, they were for warmth (I needed another layer between my ass and the night air, as the Skinny Pants are very very thin).  Aqui esta los Skinny Pantalones (no hablo Espanol).
Taking a picture of your own ass is not easy.  It's less round than it looks in this pic.  I have Pancake Ass syndrome.  I don't care, though.  Also, I am fond of this scarf.  Stars.

The event Saturday required a bit more than my usual heinous stylings, so I opted to don the medium anime hair (aka my usual 'do, only with bigger buns).  Giant Turbo Anime Hair is twice the size, and purple.  Purple stains the bath towels.  It's reserved for the most special of occasions (like never).

My student's don't recognize me without a version of this hairdo.
I believe in fake hair.  I believe in it utterly, totally, completely.  This 'do is anemic without it.  Majestic panda head.

Okay, on to the bragging.  I'm not bad at bragging, generally.  I'm terrible at taking compliments (just say thank you, just say thank you, just say thank you), but I will toot my own horn.  Of course, I'll also cut myself down pretty quickly, but it's always very honest.  I like to think that I just state facts.  I'm a good cook, but a terrible gardener, and such and so forth.

I'm a really good teacher.  I can figure out a way to explain damn near anything that I understand myself.  Today, I explained pH as a molecule party.  Some molecules, like water, are mellow.  They just wanna hang out.  If you pour them in your eye, they're cool, man.  Some molecules, like hydrogen, like to start fights.  If there are only a few of them at the party, no big deal, because they can't cause too much trouble.  But if there's a lot of them, they'll just start swinging on anything they come into contact with.  We call those things "acids, " and the more angry hydrogens there are, the stronger it is.  If you pour lemon juice in your eye, those hydrogens will beat the crap out of your eye.  Hydroxides are also angry, but in a slightly different way, and we call them "bases."  If hydrogen likes to punch, hydroxides like to kick.   Both are not things that you usually want invited into your eye party.  Sometimes, if you mix them together, they'll beat each other up and run out of energy.  Yeah, it's simplistic, but they're fourth graders.  Tell me that's not an entertaining visual.
Leg bone's connected to the hip bone...
Speaking of entertaining visuals, here's me teaching the Comparative Anatomy Show.

I am a very good animal caregiver.  I can handle some gruesome pet health business.  My cat has chronic kidney problems, diabetes, and food allergies.  My dog has an autoimmune disease, lingering corneal damage from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and occasional bouts of pancreatitis.  Damned if they're gonna waste away and suffer on my watch!  
Screw you, kidney infection.
Yes, the dog is wearing an amulet pouch.

Cone of shame, and bandage of shame.  Nope, nobody dies from fixable ailments.  Not in my house.  For the record, they're both hale and hearty at the moment, but the cat has a lump that feels suspiciously like a kidney enlarging.  We're going to the vet on Thursday morning.

I am very good at calming people down.  I don't get upset very often, and I can usually use my unemotional, neutral personality to drag people out of hysteria and spiraling thought patterns.  Come, let's be calm together.  Caaaaaaalm.  Caaaaaaaalm.  I don't have an illustration for this particular skill, so here's a picture of a cocktail.
Delicious delicious booze. 
I'm good at making things.  I suppose you could call me an artist, but I think that sometimes implies a certain temperament or method of creating things.  I don't think I have an artistic temperament.  You know how some artists can give you a highfalutin sort of description of what they're doing and why they're doing it?  I just stand there looking confused, point at the object, and say "I'm entertaining myself.  You want one?  I'll make you one."
Sometimes I sew.  Here's a bat bunting for an infant.  Sometimes an idea pops into my head whole.  This is one of those times.
I'm not breeding.  My friends are.
Sometimes I paint.  It's usually in acrylics, and is rarely very large.
A tiny girl with a tiny pearl earring.
Sometimes I'll do a series of something.  These were little plastic toys with a terrible paint job, about five inches tall.  The first one was the original, the rest are my paint jobs.  Each of the owls and butterflies is a different, possibly identifiable species.  I have a whole box of these little girls, waiting for pretty dresses.  A few of them are self portraits.

The Original
Witchypoo #1:  Vespertilia
Witchypoo #2:  Crayola
Witchypoo #4:  Nocturnia
Witchypoo #5:  Jardin
Witchypoo#6:  Kuwanyamtiwa
Sometimes, I just decorate.  This was a seat for a swing shaped like a horse. 
The S is for Swing.  Not really.
I have been known to sculpt.  Here's me and a goblin named Derp.  He's also a self portrait.
Family resemblance.
I also do beadwork.  This was a hair thingamajiggy for a bride.

Even when I try to do something different, they all end up looking like this.

I'm not very good at photographing my work, and I often forget to do it altogether.  I have many creations out in the world, completely undocumented.  You'd think I'd learn, right?

Anyhoo.  I could go on, but this is already too long. My laundry is almost done, and that means it's almost time to wash this awful pollen off my body, and go to bed.  This is, of course, provided that the dog calms down and gets it through her skull that we're not going on a second walk this evening.  Sorry dog, still can't breathe.  Bedtime is coming early for Girl and Dog.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unfamiliar emotions

Today, while trying to wrangle my camp children at work, I noticed a group of visitors whose children were busily dragging rotting logs and large branches and building something.

This is a fun pastime, I agree.  However, this is a nature center, and you can't drag the landscape around.

I asked them, in the nicest way possible, to please stop, because the logs were in that place for a reason, and apologized for ruining the fun.

One of the adults indicated that they would not comply with my request, without a good reason.

I was so shocked by being challenged that I couldn't come up with a valid reason beyond "The grounds coordinator put them there, and he doesn't usually do things for no reason."

The adult continued to push me for a valid reason.  Her tone was, in my mind, condescending.

Through my dizzying confusion, I heard my voice say "I can call the grounds coordinator, and ask him."

"Why don't you do that, then."


I called the grounds coordinator, and explained the situation (out of earshot) and he came out and explained that it was habitat for animals and black widows like to nest in woodpiles.  I retreated before they spoke, as I was shaking with anger, and rounded up my kids.  He returned to the office, and indicated that they complied once given a reason, and then left with the rest of their group.

I can't decide what I'm more angry at- the fact that I was basically told to go to hell for doing my job (and that was indeed the tone behind the words, which were all polite), or my own inability to control my emotions enough to come up with a simple valid reason not to drag the logs around.

I am incredibly even-keeled most of the time, and when I can't stay poised and comfortable, it scares me.  My blood pressure is still up, and I am still having to take deep breaths.  This interaction happened over an hour ago.

I do not think people challenge me very often.  I am just shy of six feet tall, about a buck eighty, and I tend to knit my brows together when I'm in the sun, which makes me look severe.  I generally speak with a firm, loud tone.  Kids challenge me, and I can usually shut it down with a look.  I can handle the challenges of children, because they're not real people yet and they're still learning how to interact with adults and each other.  When another adult challenges me, I can usually stay calm, because adults can have different viewpoints, and not everyone will agree with me.

When I am challenged by another adult at WORK, I am overcome.  It makes me feel disrespected as a professional, and insignificant as an individual.  I may not be rich, I may not be terribly influential, but gorram it, I have schlepped my ass around this nature center for close to six years, and dealt with all manner of indignities.  I shovel animal shit for 20% of my workday.  I am screeched at by children aged two to twenty.  I work in an unheated building and type with frozen fingers.  I have a farmer's tan that will never go away.  There are always twigs somewhere on my person.  Later, I have to defrost fucking frozen mice to feed to a snake who will probably bite me.  I am shat on by wildlife at least once a week.


Today was not good.  The guest probably does not know how viciously pissed I am, but I will still stew on this interaction for several days.

I should work on being able to let things go.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The side effects, and fear

I think the appetite suppression side effect of my medications has worn off.  Either that, or I have fallen back into the habit of eating at regular times.  In any case, I must now pay attention to what I am putting in my mouth.

I'm trying to find places where I can replace something heavily processed with something less-so.  I started having plain oatmeal in the mornings, with cinnamon.  It helps that I don't like packet oatmeal- I find it slimy- and it seems to be holding me until at least 11.  I also throw in a spoonful of peanut butter, for some fat and protein.  Maybe I should throw on a spoonful of flaxseed.  I still don't know what the hell else I want to eat, but I'm going with apples when I really can't make a decision.

I have come to the realization that I have binge triggers.  I discovered this when I went to visit my parents, and grazed like crazy.  I do not, apparently, keep these triggers in my own house.  Perhaps I am more aware of my body than I think I am.  Incidentally, trail mix will set off a pretty intense eating session.  It's just too easy.

I have worked a six-day week this week.  The animals are starting to punish me for it.  The dog has been terribly needy, and won't let me sit down without crawling all over me.  When she's not trying to get inside my skin like a tick, she's barking at nonexistent things.  She is getting walked, but she wants people around the house more often.

The cat has been excessively perky since clearing up his health issues, and has taken to clawing gently at the leather couch when he feels he needs something.  Mostly, he wants more food.  No, man, you're diabetic, you had your food, you can't just eat canned food all day.  His demands were not met again today, as I was trying to take a tiny nap on the couch after work (HOW DARE I?) so he waltzed into the corner of the living room and assumed the position.  I managed to stop him and swat him on his head before he started doing something unpleasant, and he hustled out the door.  I am exasperated, but also afraid.  Peeing in inappropriate places is often the first cloud in a thunderstorm of illness.

Camp is this week.  I have absolutely no backup, and I cannot call in sick.  I am chained to work, teaching, from 8-2 every day, at the absolute least.  I am also the animal care person this month, so I have 4 snakes, 4 frogs, 2 cockroaches, a tarantula, 2 rabbits, and 2 rats to take care of, beyond my regular teaching duties.  I cannot fob them off on anyone else.

One of the rats is going in on Monday morning to have a massive mammary tumor removed from her belly.  I have to take care of her, and keep her from chewing her staples out, because rats cannot wear a Cone of Shame.  They have no necks.

My mother cannot swoop in and help me with a possibly sick cat, because she is babysitting my nephew all week while my SiL is out of town and my brother is at work.  She is chained to her house for 9-11 hours every day.

Gypsy, you cannot be sick.  You cannot be angry with me.  Not this week.  I can't do it this week.  Please, don't start down this road.  You have gained weight, your dandruff is going away, and we are going to give you a bath tomorrow.  You are doing so well.  We cannot start this again.

I go back to work in approximately 30 hours, and I will be "done" on Thursday at 3.  We all need to get to Thursday at 3.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Well, hey there.

Welllllll, hey there.  It's been a bit, hasn't it?  I've been in a weird robotic mood these last few weeks, and haven't really had much to blather on about.

El Gato, since having switched his food, has put on a pound or two and is now perky enough to misbehave, which is refreshing and irritating all at the same time.  He is currently on his chair, snoring and purring at the same time.  In 45 minutes, he will awake and demand Second Dinner.  He's such a prince.

Her Dogness has become excessively itchy for some reason, and is keeping us both awake nights scratching herself silly.  Benadryl is the only thing allowing either of us to get any rest whatsoever.  I am reasonably sure that she is allergic to the shampoo at the groomers.  I re-washed her, which ruined her blowout but gave her a bit of relief.  I can't decide how much of it is really itching, and how much is just a nervous habit.

The Roommate, who is Syrian, is a tornado of artistic activity, painting madly to try to sell as much as she can to donate to the UN's relief fund.  She is a wreck, and is going to make herself sick if she doesn't take a moment to, yanno, eat.  I suppose it's hard, with a war brewing at home.  Poor kid.

I am back on the meds for my ADD.  The meds are, essentially, speed.  They kill my appetite utterly, and give me cottonmouth.  I am using this opportunity to rejigger my eating habits.  I have zero interest in eating, but I realize that it's sorta necessary or my ears start ringing at about 3 in the afternoon.  I'm very mechanically eating boring little balanced meals at prescribed times.  Perhaps this will become a mindless sort of habit.  I use an app to track what I eat, and I have my little plan set to "lose 1 pound per week."  My daily calorie limit for this plan is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800.  Easy enough when you don't feel like eating anything, but there have been days when I went to bed and realized that I was about 700 calories UNDER that.  Whoops, no, that's not good.  That's a recipe for panic-starvation-metabolism, which is a bad idea.  The worst part?  I don't think the dose is high enough to get my neurons firing properly.  Yeesh.  Going to the grocery store is already a nightmare.  Here's hoping I get my dose sorted out and the side effects wear off.  Food is becoming a chore.

I'm beginning to book my social calendar for the year.  There are a large number of Interesting Events I'd like to attend, but they all seem to overlap.  Bat's Day at Disneyland, closing weekend of the Ren Faire, and Maker Faire SF?  All the same weekend.  Crap.  Labyrinth of Jareth and dress rehearsal for Pageant of the Masters?  Same weekend.  Crap.  The only events not overlapping are the AEOE conference in April and the First Fridays Lecture Series at the LA Natural History Museum (aka "Drinking With Dinosaurs").  What IS a girl to do?

All right.  I should feed El Gato and shuffle into my little cave, as I have children to teach tomorrow and hummingbird nests to find.