Wednesday, February 28, 2007


It was a long day. Started early (6:15) with a call from the school, could I come in? And by the way, it's field trip day... yes, sure, I'll be there.

School was fine, the field trip was fine, everything OK. This particular class I have subbed for before, so I knew the kids' names, which is very helpful on a field trip.

The last time that I subbed for this class, there was the usual "oh, there's a sub, let's see what we can get away with" behavior, which I worked hard to squelch with only moderate success. Part of the squelching efforts included telling one kid not to abuse classroom privileges by making distracting noises.

That reprimand started what has become for me a situation, because the kid's parent also works at the school. The next time the parent saw me, I heard about it: You yelled at my kid. I wasn't sure whether or not it was a joke, and I didn't realize that this person was the kid's parent. I didn't even remember having issued the reprimand until the details were laid out. Apparently -- again, I'm still not sure whether or not the parent was just kidding with me -- I made the kid cry. I certainly didn't see any tears at the time, that's for sure; they would have been a disproportionate response.

Anyway, since then, which is 5 weeks ago to the day, whenever I see this parent I inevitably hear things like, So, did you make any kids cry today?, or comments to other staff members like, She's really mean, you know. She yelled at my kid and made him cry.

To which I can only shrug my shoulders and respond, I didn't yell at the kid.

Up till today, this has irritated me but not to the point where it followed me home, so to speak. Today's encounter was different, because I was once again subbing the kid's class. Today I got something like this: You better be nice to my kid or I'll beat you up. That's not an exact quote, but it gives the gist.

Understand this: I'm not a small woman, even just wearing tennis shoes I'm fully 5'8", but on the thin side. This parent is at least 3 inches taller than me and could definitely beat me up. My response to the comment was(resorting to humor because really, what choice did I have?): Yeah, you probably could. I have to put on heels to even look you in the eye.

That happened mid-afternoon, and then I was busy, and took DD to try out for the swim team (she endured the entire practice!), came home, had a quick supper, and headed up to Scottsdale for the thyca support group meeting, which was actually a "stuff folders in preparation for Saturday's workshop meeting." And then home again.

And during those long drives to and from Scottsdale, I realized that I was being bullied. Even if it's unintentional, I still have to put a stop to it.

I talked this over with DH and he agrees. So my strategy is to say nothing unless I hear another comment, and then my reply will be: You know, that's getting old. I wish you'd drop it. And then if it's not dropped, I can talk to someone in the administration about it.

I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble here, but I'm tired of being bad-mouthed this way, even if "it's just a joke!" (Which is what I'm sure the parent would say.) I am an inexperienced teacher and I do make mistakes, but I don't need this kind of second-guessing. Worst of all, I can't tell whether or not the parent really is upset with me; when the subject was first broached, I answered the questions about what happened sincerely and apologized if the kid got overly upset by being told to hush. But seriously, am I suppose to let a kid do whatever for fear of a parent's nasty reprisals?

Being a substitute is hard enough, and for the most part I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I'm happy to listen to criticism if it is paired with advice on how I could've handled that particular situation better. I'm not happy, and never will be happy, with being threatened with a beat-down and being tagged as mean, even if those are supposedly some kind of joke.

Am I overly sensitive? Do I even have a sense of humor about my own faults? No to the first, yes -- hell, yes -- to the second. But this stopped being "just a joke" at least a week ago. Now it's just old, and it's got to stop.

Monday, February 26, 2007

press coverage!

Super Cancer Volunteer Lady, Gail (right) and her sidekick (me, left)
photo credit: Tim Hacker, Tribune

In today's East Valley Tribune: Seminar focuses on thyroid cancer

It's a great article, with the minor quibbles that it was Gail who came up with the "cut-throats" moniker, which I had never heard before, and it gives me too much credit. This workshop is Gail's baby, I'm just her sidekick.

I want to say I hate the photo, because I never like the way I look in them... but this one is at least accurate in that Gail & I were completely cracking up the entire time the poor photographer was trying to shoot us.


I had a dream about the upcoming workshop.

In retrospect, I suppose it was a nightmare, but the more I think about it, the more amused I am by it.

It's the day of the workshop and everything is going very well. There are many attendees, the speakers are all doing fine, and I even managed to find a suitable outfit. So what it is that makes this a "nightmare"? I realize that I've left the freebies for the attendees at home! Horrors!

In the dream, I stressed because the round trip drive is at least 90 minutes (without traffic), blah blah blah.

It's funny because if this happened in reality, I would just call DH and tell him to bring me the stuff. Or we'd just let it go. Not that big a deal, you know?

Funny how the subconscious latches on to certain things and blows their significance all out of proportion. I love, love, love that my subconscious believes we're going to have great attendance and I'll even figure out what to wear. That's confidence that you can't fake.

Friday, February 23, 2007


DH and I took DS1 to a developmental pediatrician for a second opinion on his Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis which was delivered a couple of weeks ago.

The bad: The doctor's office is way north, up off Cave Creek Rd, and it took us about an hour to get there.

The good: everything else.

I loved the doctor's demeanor and the way he spoke to us and to DS1. I liked the way he managed the appointment. I appreciated the way his simple assessment tests revealed DS1's strengths and weaknesses.

The bottom line is that DS1 has some delays in his expressive language, which is not something I was willing to admit before, but with the tests the doctor administered, became obvious. The school-administered tests showed the same deficiencies, but I frankly didn't believe it, because I didn't see the test itself and DS1's answers, I just saw the assessments. The kid has a tremendous fluency with language in almost all situations. But now I see that there are some areas where he just isn't where he should be, especially considering how well he does in the other areas.

We reviewed a lot of material, and it was profoundly relieving to hear the doctor say that we were already doing 99% of what should be done to help our boy. We were also happy to hear that he would get better as he gets older, even though we have already been seeing that for ourselves all along. The school's psychologist had said that DS1 wouldn't really grow out of this, and I can see her point: he's always going to have these traits. But that doesn't mean he won't be able to learn coping techniques and ways to compensate for the things he just doesn't have a natural ability for. He's not doomed, not at all, especially given how well he's doing now.

99%, I think, that's pretty good. This doctor feels that the labels -- Asperger's Syndrome vs Asperger's tendencies -- are meaningless because the treatment is the same. I agree, but at the same time I can see that if the label had been there earlier, maybe DH wouldn't have been so resistant to some of the things I was trying to get him to read! It's water under the bridge now, and we've always wanted the same thing, anyway -- the best life for DS1.

At the end of our time, the doctor appointed himself our consultant, and gave us some resources to look into. He only wants to see DS1 a few times a year to monitor his progress, but doesn't feel as if he needs to implement some big complicated plan: he agrees with what we're doing now, with only a few additions.

It's such a relief, on so many levels. I'm feeling so positive about this that part of me is countering with skepticism: Am I reacting this way, agreeing with everything, because this doctor is telling me what I want to hear? But I know that's not it at all, because the doctor most assuredly told us that DS1 does have some delays (not to the extent of needing formal therapy, and most likely not to the extent that insurance would cover anything we decide to do for them), and that he would need a lot of help and protection navigating through middle school and junior high. That's not easy to hear, over and over: you've got to protect him, but I can see that it's true. But I'm still very relieved and optimistic about the future: we know better now where the troubles are, or where they could be, and we are working on a plan to address them.

smart ... discomfited

My co-facilitator G and I were interviewed -- and photographed -- yesterday by the East Valley Tribune, for a story about our upcoming Arizona Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Workshop.

I'm thrilled that we're getting such great newspaper coverage -- really, I can't express how important it is for us to get the word out, and to encourage thyroid cancer survivors and caregivers to come to the workshop. This kind of newspaper story, with photos and everything, is simply tremendous for increasing our visibility. (When the reporter emailed us, asking to set up the interview, I literally did the Happy Dance.)

And I am happy, but I'm also discomfited -- self-conscious and a little bit embarrassed -- because this is not about me, and I don't want it to seem that way for even a second.

When I first contacted the paper asking if they would do a story, the reporter told me that they get tons of requests like this, and that we would need to "put a face on it". In other words, we had to come up with a story to wrap around the workshop announcement, because the fact that we're having the workshop isn't enough of a story on its own. (Personally, the fact that thyroid cancer has the fastest increasing number of cancer diagnoses for women would seem to be something of a hook, but I can see that it's not much to hang an entire story on.)

So we talked over how we should approach this, since G had already done an interview with another thyca survivor for the other paper, and she thought it would be better if we took a different approach. So the "face" that we decided to put on the hook was mine. I wrote an email outlining my story: from sick mom to support group participant to facilitator, and hey look, now we've got this workshop going on...

It's all true, of course, and I'm glad I sent it, because that email, and my follow-up calls, in which I tried to convey our dedication to this cause without being a nag, were enough to get us the interview. (Yay!)

I was very relieved when the reporter asked to interview both of us -- it wouldn't be about me! (whew) But then G totally threw me when she said, right off the bat, I asked Joan to facilitate with me because she's smart. (paraphrasing there, but that's the gist.)

Yikes! Here's the thing: I am smart, but I'm also dumb about a lot of things, naive almost. I've been at home with the kids so long and I'm so out of practice navigating in professional situations that I sometimes say things that I really shouldn't, simply because I don't consider what all the unintended consequences might be. It's bizarre, really, because I constantly filter and tailor information so that it's appropriate for the kids, but for some reason when I'm with adults I figure that I don't have to do that kind of thing at all, which is ridiculous on its face.

Oh, well. G meant that I have a good handle on the ins and outs of thyca, and that I can definitely agree with. Of course I can't imagine ever matching her knowledge and experience, because she is quite simply amazing. She knows everyone and everything.

I don't exactly know why I winced when G said I was smart. I am smart, it shouldn't bother me to have other people say so, right? But it goes back to that same idea: this is not about me! Don't make it about me!

I realize I have absolutely no control over how the reporter puts this story together, and that's fine. Realistically, whatever she writes will be at least a little about me, otherwise why do the interview? That's OK. I'm smart enough to recognize that significant newspaper coverage of the workshop is much more important than any insecurities plaguing me.

February's column

Unforeseen circumstances led to a delay in the publishing of this month's Low Carb Luxury online magazine, but it's out there now, including my recipe for an indulgent brie snack.

From the column: Sometimes, you want something really delicious, that's neither chocolate nor difficult to assemble. This snack fits the bill exactly.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Arizona Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Workshop

If you live in or near Arizona, and have thyroid cancer, or have questions about caring for thyroid cancer patients, please come to the first Arizona Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Workshop on Saturday, March 3, presented by ThyCa Phoenix, in cooperation with the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale HealthCare in Scottsdale, AZ.

With less than 2 weeks to go until the workshop, we're in the final stages of assembling all our workshop materials, which includes trying to round up our presenters' PowerPoint presentations. There's an astonishing number of ducks which need to be lined up for this event, which dwarfs any other that I have helped organize.

I have this feeling that I'm just holding my breath until it's over. I know, no one can hold her breath for two weeks but I think that gives the sense of it: deep breath, dive in, keep going until it's over.

We have a tremendous program. It will be a really splendid day.

here, have a cookie

I'm sure it's just coincidence, but I'm happy anyway: Blogger's cookies are finally working, so I don't have to log in every single time I launch a browser session.

And only mere days after I filled out a Blogger questionnaire complaining at some length about how annoying it was! Maybe I should've complained sooner, but "cookies not working" oughtn't be high on anoyone's critical bug fix list.

Life goes on, some interesting things that I find myself unwilling to write about here. That is interesting, and different. But I'm employed now, and I'm also involved in a public volunteer effort, and so that means certain topics are automatically off-limits. For some topics it's a matter of common sense, and for others, simple respect. It's difficult trying to balance the personal with the public/professional, and I expect it will take a while for me to figure it out to my satisfaction. For now, I'd rather err on the too-taciturn side than say something I will later regret.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

no use in crying

DS2 turned six today, and his day was pretty much stellar, except for a couple of melt-downs in school when things didn't go exactly, perfectly the way he wanted them to. He recovered, loved his presents and his brownie cake and ice cream, and is looking forward to his friends-party on Friday.

The birthday made today complicated, because tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and we just were not ready. For some reason all the teachers waited for the last minute to say what the deal was with V-Day this year, and I was irrationally hoping I wouldn't have to deal with it. It's ridiculous, but I do it because it's expected.

DS1 can't get past the ridiculous aspect, and this is where his differences manifest. He has never been into crafts of any kind -- decorating a V-Day box is sheer torture to him. He hates to write and simply writing his name on twenty-odd Valentine cards amounts to even worse torture. Combine the prospect of having to do both with an incomprehensible (to him) math homework assignment and a very late dinner, and you get a major meltdown, the worst we've had in years. I can't remember the last time he got so upset -- and remained so unconsolable -- and perhaps that's why it didn't occur to me that a big part of the problem is that he was hungry.

So of course now I feel like an idiot for forgetting one of the most basic rules of DS1-management, which is to make sure the kid has eaten if he starts losing it.

In the end, he did stay up late to finish his other homework, but by then it was OK because he ate a good dinner and felt much better. He even enjoyed having some of DS2's brownie cake and ice cream, and watching the peewee open his presents.

Eventually I approached him, and in my best neutral voice, asked him if it would be OK with him, would he like it if I made a Valentine box for him, and if I did up the Valentine cards for his class. I couldn't suggest this earlier because he went on and on about how much he hates V-Day, it's all crap and really stupid, etc etc etc. The kid has a point, I thought, and I told him: I agree with you, and I told him that he didn't have to do Valentines this year. Then I told him that it's rude to refuse gifts, so that when the other kids gave him Valentines, he needed to be gracious about that, anyway.

It was a very difficult conversation. The hardest thing as a parent is seeing your children suffer and not being able to do anything about it. Even though he's huge I had him sitting in my lap. It's good that he's so tall because he couldn't see that few seconds of crying I did, holding him and feeling totally useless because he just doesn't like what most kids like, and there's nothing I can do about it. (Maybe there will be someday, but today, no.)

We did finally recover, with dinner and with time. I found a box I covered with plain white paper, and wrote his name in red on the lid. And I put together his Valentine cards and signed his name for him. In previous years I would never have done such a thing -- he needs to do it himself! I would've said. This year, with the big uproar and everything, it just wasn't going to happen. I really do want him to participate, it's important for him not to isolate himself from the class culture. And so I did it, and his relief at not having to do it himself was palpable.

Trying to do a post-mortem on this day I can see so many mistakes I made. I'm trying not to be negative so I'm balancing those with the good things I did, but I think overall it was horrid. Maybe that's just my own exhaustion talking, and my feeling of being pulled in sixteen different directions for all my waking hours today.

One thing's for sure: if I'm going to sub I have to get more sleep. The lack of sleep lately is killing me... or maybe it's my having gone off my night-time pain meds, and what sleep I'm getting isn't very good. I can't even justify going off them, I just decided to stop, and I don't think that was a good decision. Everything's killing me and my hands are non-functional, so it's back on them tonight, with the hope that tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

talk talk talk

Spent the day on the phone, or felt like it. Setting up appointments, figuring out how certain things are going to work, whatever.

It was a productive day, I suppose: had my blood drawn (only 3 sticks! w00t!) post office, grocery store, set up a birthday party, RSVP'd to another, was interviewed, read and wrote chatty emails...

Some days, I think there have been too many words.

TV was underwhelming this evening: Lost, meh. Lots of stuff happened, but I notice, once again, that it's simultaneously too much talk and too little actual content. Makes me crazy, or would, if I let it.

I'm suspended somewhere between disbelief and irritation over Friday Night Lights, because, frankly, in the second round of the playoffs, in a town as football-crazy as Dillon, TX, there is no way that all those black players are going to walk out of practice no matter what dumber than dumb comments the assistant coach makes. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Aside from that, the storyline with the powderpuff football game was adorable. My heart completed melted watching the Coach actually getting to coach his daughter. And poor Tami, thinking that a "dialog" would be productive! She's so sweet and naive... and so, so stupid. How could she not know it would degenerate into a huge mess? That, however was a misstep that I could buy, unlike the racial-tension-crap they're foisting on us in the main plotline.

These boys, most of them, have worked for and with this coach for years, they know him -- and this is how they react? What kind of statement are they making here? What possible good is going to come of this? If the black kids won't play, then the white ones will -- and then what? The black kids look like spoiled brats to a lot of people, except the few who appreciate that they're standing on some supposed principal. Well, how about some honest conversation before taking such an extreme stance, huh Smash? When Mac shut Smash down, Smash could've gone to Taylor with his grievances, but chose not to -- why is that, again?

It's completely bogus that Smash leads the black members of the team in a walk-out just so he can get into Waverly's pants. Smash was right to call her racist, in insisting on different behavior from blacks and whites in the same situation. Shut up, Waverly! Too much talk, too much indignation, not enough thinking-through of the consequences.

Also: yes, it sucked that Mama Smash's loan approval was pulled, but she herself admitted that they would only be able to afford that new house if she never got sick or no one ever had an accident. That's exactly the kind of loan a bank doesn't want to give to anyone. With a Mama so smart I have to wonder whether the various traumas that football has visited upon Smash's head have rendered him completely stupid (the steroid use seems to be evidence of this), or whether he's just an unfortunate loser in the brains category of the genetic lottery. I know, I'm being very harsh, but the kid has just about destroyed the one thing that he had previously held most dear: his team. It's just ugly.

On the upside, the preview for next week's episode was brilliant, promising lots of Coach-n-Tami. Yay!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Departed, part 2: the nagging questions

Why wasn't 344 Wash locked up? Open and abandoned as it was, it should've been a) stripped clean and b) a haven for the homeless and the drug dealers and users. Right?

And why was there still electricity in an otherwise abandoned building? Yes, I get how the elevator was used to heighten the tension, but the thing shouldn't have been working at all.

(If Asperger's Syndrome is inheritable, I'm probably more responsible for my son's condition than my husband is. He's normal, always has been, God bless him. I sometimes wonder what that's like.)

long, tough day

I should note that it started out as well as could be expected: I was tired and icky-feeling, the after-effects of my indulging the attack of the munchies that hit around 12:30AM. It's like I have some inflexible rule that insists that all junk food must be disposed of (as in: eaten) as soon as possible. How else to explain the amount of Doritos I ate last night, when I shouldn't have been eating anything at all. I had a food hangover this morning!

Got the kids off to school without incident, then did some errands with Mom, finding a nice bobble yarn on sale at Michael's for Mom's next knitting project, a little shrug for DD. Got home, put away the groceries, had a quick lunch and then it was off to school.

DH met me there -- I'm so glad he was able to come -- to hear the results of the testing recently done on DS1. Review, review, review: above average in many areas, noted certain areas of social difficulties. Recommendations? Mostly things we are doing anyway, have been doing for years. The shocker was the school's psychologist's declaration: He has Asperger's. Not, as we had known for years, Asperger's tendencies, no. She feels he's got the full-blown syndrome.

Of course this was something of a blow, even though all the staff assured us that DS1 is a great kid and doing very well. That's the thing, he really is doing well, and this year especially seems to have cleared some major hurdle in socialization on top of being able to handle all of his other responsibilities. I wasn't worried before I went in there. I was feeling confident. Now I'm wondering if had any business feeling confident, but I'm not going to second-guess myself here. I'm looking at my son and what he is capable of, and what his mood is, and how much he achieves, and I know that he does not meet many of the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.

On the other hand, I know that he does meet some of them. Reading through various articles, so many times the "yes, that's him" recognition bell rang -- but at the same time, the realization that his symptoms are very mild, and that the problems most AS kids have, he does not have...

Still, our plan is to have him thoroughly tested by an independent doctor to get a diagnosis we can trust, and then figure out where to go from there. DH and I had been talking about physical therapy for his gait problems. (He walks with a pronounced limp these days, but always insists "It's just the way I walk!") It turns out that an odd gait is a hallmark of AS. Who knew? An official, on-the-record diagnosis will have both good and bad effects (I don't want my kid labeled!), but it's important to have it done, regardless.

After leaving the school, I went to see my new endo, who was fine but a bit hurried and harried. She did a great exam and has me going for fasting bloodwork asap, then I'm back to her office for an ultrasound at the end of February. I'm nervous about getting back into the cancer routine again. I don't want to be, but I don't seem to be able to help it. I should console myself with my slight pudginess; whenever I've had cancer, I've been quite skinny. Is that a reliable indicator?

On the way home, I got stuck in traffic on the 101, what a nightmare -- and also in a difficult cell call to DH, who expressed regret that we hadn't a diagnosis for DS1 sooner. That bothered me because I feel as if from the time he was about a year and a half old I have been trying to figure this kid out and find ways to help him navigate our world -- he is in our world, but not of it, it seems -- and many is the time when I've tried to get DH to read an article or consider a new technique for dealing with certain situations only to get rebuffed with a dismissive comment about "pop psychology bs" or something like that. In a word, the conversation re-opened a lot of old wounds.

But, and this was pretty major, instead of both of us getting all pissy and hanging up, I said something on the order of, "This is not the conversation I wanted to have," and he replied, "Neither did I," and we both stepped away from the past and looked to the future and all of sudden, it was OK.

Then I got home and found out that DD had accidentally locked Cooper in her bedroom this morning, and he'd used various parts of her room as a litter box. Poor kitty! Also, poor me, having to scrub cat poop off stuffed animals before washing them in hot water with triple-strength solutions of OxyClean. Not forgetting, either, the bedding, including the comforter and mattress pad... and of course I'd just put clean sheets on last Friday. Ah, well.

After handling all that, I decided to clean up DD's room so it's not a kitten-hazard, so she can leave her door open when she's not home. This is the second time a kitten has been trapped in there, leaving me with nasty-smelling laundry. Who needs it? The effort was 95% me and 5% DD, but the room looks great now and I don't believe there's anything out that a kitten could strangle itself on. I hope.

I'm exhausted. At least House was decent this week. Not great, but not the mess that last week's episode was. Tomorrow will be better.

big day tomorrow

Two appointments.

The first is the "multidisciplinary team evaluation results" (or somesuch gobbledygook) discussion of DS1's recent psych/developmental tests at school. If they say anything other than "He's a boy, he'll grow out of it," I'll be 1) amazed and 2) annoyed. Most likely. I keep brushing that chip off my shoulder but somehow it keeps resurfacing there. We'll see how that goes.

Directly after that, I motor on up to Scottsdale to meet my new endocrinologist. She will be following my thyroid cancer for me locally, so I don't have to fly to Houston to get an ultrasound and some bloodwork done. This meeting, I'm nervous about. What tests will she order, and when? What will the results be? Things have been feeling more "lumpy" than usual, and I have been having problems swallowing, but I did just have strep throat and I do still have the remnants of a cold. Nothing to worry about, right?

Over the next few weeks, I have DS2's birthday and the Arizona Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Worskhop; in all honesty I'm still not recovered yet from DS1's birthday/sleepover (a couple of weeks ago) and his Confirmation (this past Saturday). I have a sense of lurching from one event to the next, scrambling each time to put everything together properly. So far, so good... the problem is in keeping it up.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Departed

Went with DH to see The Departed, and mostly thoroughly enjoyed it.

(spoiler warning!)

Everybody dies! Nearly always with a bullet through the brain, too. Very grim.

No, wait. Not everyone dies...there are two guys left. One who knows everything, and one who thought he knew everything and didn't know anything at all. The two guys are played by Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, but I'm not going to say which is which.

What didn't I like? Everybody dies, mostly; I'm enough of a romantic that I wanted the good guy to bring down the bad guys and get the girl. Of course the movie is fine the way it is, it's just that I'm a softy that way.

Also, the final shot was totally cheesy.

Other than that, brilliant, and for me nostalgic, since I grew up in similar neighborhoods, although they weren't that bad when I lived there, more than 30 years ago. Between all the swearing and the thick Boston accents in this movie, I'm going to need to pay close attention to how I talk the next few days.

DiCaprio, Damon, Sheen, Baldwin -- all fabulous, as was Vera Farmiga. Jack Nicholson chewed up a lot of scenery, some of it in a good way, but mostly, as they say, OTT. That's Jack for ya. Why just act when you can, you know, over-act? DiCaprio, on the other hand, was note-perfect, and I admit to admiring his more recent choice of roles along with his performances.

The movie is a vivid reminder of just how God-awful Boston's City Hall Plaza is, how grungy the trains are, and how casual racism persists in many neighborhoods. Of course it's all amped up for the film, but I still had occasional flashes of "I know guys like that."

It's up for several Academy Awards. It should net Scorsese his coveted Best Director (he's due) and William Monahan the Best Adapted Screenplay. I'll just have to wait and see (or perhaps follow someone else's live blogging of the event), because there's no way I could stand to watch Ellen Degeneres for 3+ hours hosting the show.

well, that explains it

I took my last dose of Biaxin XL (clarithromycin) for the strep throat; the Z-pack I started off with was completely ineffective in alleviating my symptoms.

I would say I'm feeling better -- I am, strep symptoms-wise -- but I'm really not. I've been feeling very hyper (as in, hyperthyroid), even though I've actually lowered my meds by a smidge to see if I can get rid of an annoying twitch (check out the comment thread!) in my lower right eyelid. It is apparently not visible to anyone else, but it happens frequently so it's hard to ignore, and I would like it to stop. So far no change with the eyelid, and if anything I'd expect to be feeling hypo, but I'm not.

In addition to feeling hyper, I've been obsessing about stupid things, like the recent Top Chef finale. There was really no reason to stay up past 2AM reading the entire discussion forum over on TWoP, especially since I don't post at all on TWoP anymore since they suspended my account for being too political in a discussion of Lost.

So that was one really stupid late night, and right now is another. I broke a serving platter today, part of a chip-and-dip set that DH and I had received as a wedding gift from our best man and maid of honor. It seems silly to call it a chip-and-dip set; it was a large carved Bill Campbell piece, and truly beautiful. We've been married for twelve years now, so it seems unlikely that I'll be able to replace it. I did see another platter that should do the trick, though.

When I sat down at the computer this evening, I didn't even know the name of the artist who created the piece and began by searching for "art deco chip and dip". That brought me somehow eventually to Majolica pottery which led me finally to Bill Campbell. Once I found a photo of the mark on the bottom, I compared it to the one on the still-intact bowl; they matched. Now I've checked every single Google and Yahoo link, plus nearly all the links listed in the state-by-state gallery guide on the Campbell website. Tomorrow I'll call around to a few local galleries to see if they carry any Campbell, and then maybe I'll go shopping...

You see what I mean? I can't seem to let go of anything. You should have heard the conversation that DH and I had this evening, over the correct way to pronounce "caramel." He says "car-a-mel", I say -- like everyone else in Boston -- "carmel", or, more precisely, "cahml". It is, apparently, a regional thing, but the conversation went on way too long. (Much like this blog post)

So, after satisfying myself that an exact replacement platter is not available, I remembered the other thing that I wanted to look up, which was the side effects of this drug. Here's the paragraph that leaped out at me, emphasis added:
Transient CNS events including anxiety, behavioral changes, confusional states, convulsions, depersonalization, disorientation, hallucinations, insomnia, manic behavior, nightmares, psychosis, tinnitus, tremor, and vertigo have been reported during post-marketing surveillance. Events usually resolve with discontinuation of the drug.
Great, huh?

The best part is that usually usage up there, talking about the reversibility of the side effects. Please, let me be one of the ones whose side effects dissipate... quickly!