Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FMB: Holding Pattern

1. Hi, it's me.  Well!  Those four months of stabbing pain were very unpleasant! I'd like to never do that again!  Allergy shots, a little humanized antibody, about nine prescriptions, and a lot of misery later... I feel like I've been ill for months.

2. My Very Mild Job Discontent continues.  It's boring.  They pay me.  It's convenient.  The end.

3.  Boredom is exacerbated by being too ill to do much.  (I did read through all of Shadow Unit!  Warning: this is a very disturbing paranormal horror series; it was preferable to the amount of pain I was in, which was an actual nightmare, but... it's very disturbing.)

4.  Tatoe is five this week.

5.  My youngest sister came to the US for a week. I didn't see her.  This is the one who came by to say BYEEE the day before she moved out of the country, then nothing for the last 15 months. In the meanwhile, she summoned up the energy to find a dude to screw and move in with.  Of course, I didn't bother to do a lot of reaching out either; my three months of that before she left (met with crickets), I think, reached my capacity.  I don't know if I'm just in a permanent sulk about the whole thing, or acknowledging the reality that this relationship is broken beyond my capacity to want it to be better.  Or... both.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Summer of My Discontent, State of the Self, Etc.

WORK:  Hey, my job is... boring.  Easy, but also boring.  By the third time around with the same lab, I am really a little tired of it.

I continue to look for Another Job.  There continue to not be Other Jobs here.

The downsides of adjuncting - the unpredictability has been much improved by New Chair - are that it never changes, and there's nowhere to go, professionally speaking.  How many years in a row do I want to do Intro Chem Lab?

(Although the biology department wants me too and there is room for something different, eventually. Still.)

SELF: I have had a headache for 106 of the last 110 days.  It's maybe getting better.  I think.  Maybe not.  Here, let me make you a chronic pain scale:

0: Feel like a normal human being.  Stabbing chronic pain?  What's that?  Also puppies, kittens, unicorns.
1: It hurts like I whanged my elbow on something, or stubbed all my toes.  But not quite all the time.
2: It hurts all the time.  I can ignore it for multiple hours at a time!  Possibly I can sleep!  (With drugs.)
3: I can ignore the pain for an hour at a time.  The laundry mountain is growing and the kids are eating Cheese on Bread two meals a day.
4: I cannot ignore the pain at all, and the spiders are taking over the basement.  Getting the mail is a challenge.  It hurts to move.
5: At least 2 hours/day of laying in bed, considering sticking myself in the head with a small knife. I cry when the children touch me.
6: Considering a larger knife.  I scream when the children touch me.
7: Seriously considering throwing self under the next passing large truck.
8: Would throw self under truck, but it hurts too much to get out of bed.
9: Would like to die imminently.
10: Can only lay in bed weeping.  Can barely get up to go to the bathroom.  No quality of life, would prefer to be dead RIGHT NOW.

It's at least a 4 or 5 every day.

(I am not actively suicidal.  But also, is my pain adequately controlled?  AH HA HA HA NO.  My otherwise-excellent PCP suggested that I might be at risk of opioid addition*.  I take 2.5 mg of opioid per DAY.  No.  Though partly I take that little because I fear that doctors will not prescribe me enough adequate pain relief NO REASON.)

I've run out of ETC.  Happy Friday!

 "Rates of opioid abuse or dependence diagnosis ranged from 0.7% with lower-dose (≤36 MME) chronic therapy to 6.1% with higher-dose (≥120 MME) chronic therapy..."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (GF, Dairy-free)

Adapted from Oct 2016 Cook's Illustrated

4 T Spectrum palm shortening
5 t blackstrap molasses
1 1/4 c raw sugar
3/4 t salt
2 T coconut milk
1 T water

1/2 c raisins

1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 c oil
2 medium eggs
1-1.5 t butter-vanilla emulsion
3 c old fashioned oats
3/4 c rice flour
1/4 c potato flour

Put the shortening, molasses, sugar, salt, coconut milk and water in a saucepan.  Boil for a few minutes, until most of the sugar is dissolved.  Add the raisins, stir, turn off heat.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together, then stir in the hot oil/sugar mixture.

Divide into 20 balls. Flatten onto parchment paper.  Bake at 350 or 375 F for 8-10 minutes.

(CI version has 4 T browned butter, no coconut milk or water, and regular wheat flour. Also, 1 lg egg + 1 yolk.)

NOTE: Almost all of these ingredients can also be found at Walmart.  Yes, butter-vanilla emulsion is tastier than just vanilla; no, it does not have any actual dairy ingredients in it.  Yes, you can substitute ingredients, but it probably will turn out different.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oh the Irony

I currently have three departments discussing my teaching availability for next semester. You know, teaching: the thing I decided was never going to happen and so I went off and worked for industry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Job Qualities

There aren't a lot of job openings around here.  But even so, whenever I see something, I ask myself: is this better than nothing?  I don't need to work, so will this job improve my net quality of life?

Two hour daily commute: Worse than nothing.

Primarily customer service: Way worse than nothing.

Pays less than $25/hour: Probably worse than nothing.

Local: Odds increasing of being better than nothing.

Local, but in [department redacted]: Definitely worse than nothing; they interviewed 20 people in person for a low-level retail job.  No, really.

Local, but [job I applied for two years ago]: Working with these people is -100 points worse than nothing.

Local, but part-time and always last-minute: Who can say?  Oh wait, this IS my current job.  It is fine once they sort out the contracts (note this happened 15 days before classes started, this year).  The inevitable scrambling for childcare is extremely frustrating, but the job itself is not terrible; it has 1) zero room for change and 2) zero room for advancement, but it's better than being stuck at home with my children all day..

(This is all theoretical. I am still stuck concurrently in Knife In Ear Headache Land, and Dead End Adjuncting.)

Friday, September 02, 2016

Friendship, Part 6: From the Other Side

When I first moved here three years ago, I was very bored and lonely and also floundering in a sea of doubt, uncertainty, and everyone's-job-related woe.

My job-related-whatever continues, but meanwhile, I do have part of a job.  (It pays well enough to be worth the boredom and uncertainty - at least for now.)

It is the season of Floundering New People arriving.  There is an annual Faculty Picnic, to which we are mandatorily invited.  There are new people all over town.

There were two people at Local Music Thing who introduced themselves and their cruising-about cute smiley baby.  (I asked the dude if he was visiting or permanent - there are 40 visiting faculty and 4 TT faculty hired per year - and he replied "I'm a professor."  I nobly resisted the urge to roll my eyes and say "Me too, honey".  He seems a bit of a tool.  His wife is very nice and asked for my phone number.)

Some of this herd of New People are doubtless lovely,* and I might really enjoy knowing them.  But I am so worn out and exhausted from being ill, I have to juggle the schedules of five people and go be On Stage three times a week** and I have no energy for new people.

I'm torn between a desire to be pleasant and friendly, and a feeling that all docking slots are occupied.  I'm sorry, new people.  I don't have time for more friends right now.  Ring back in six months, please.

* Patchouli-scented white lady with dreads, at the library: probably NOT

**If I weren't doing this, I'd be unhappy and bored about my lack of a job, so a net positive, but still takes energy.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Return of the Book Review

Daughter of Mystery (Jones): Fantastic.  Fantasy in a quasi-historical setting, but the women are firmly their own people.  A+, would buy again (I paid ACTUAL MONEY for this one, dear readers).

Emperor's Agent (Graham): Pretty good.  A compelling alternate-Napoleonic setting.  Fewer women, but they have an interesting story line.

Death of the Necromancer (Wells): Set in Ile-Rien, story about a group of thieves.  I cannot bear the Raksura series, but this was ace.  (I've read the rest of the Ile-Rien ones, in the distant past.)

Trafalgar& Boone (Cannon, a dude): Steampunk-ish story of women archaeologists in a magical world.  Okay, but nothing to write home about.  Think I got bored and never finished it.

Orffyreus Wheel (Wilson, also a dude): Was in the bundle.  Fanboy conspiracy theory Da Vinci Code wanking.  Boring, did not finish.

Cold Magic & sequels (Elliott): Young women in a vastly different alternate-history.  The very best I have ever seen at doing a believable quasi-historical world that has richness of ethnicity and custom, while not oppressing women, and while giving the female characters agency and power.  (Though they do seem to escape from places with tedious regularity, which continues through all three books.)  Delightful ending. Recommend.

Black as He's Painted (Marsh): Re-read.  Mystery, minimally gory; certain colonialist attitudes of the 1940s are on full display and are partly examined, but also ingrained in the author, which makes it strange.

Assorted Georgette Heyer mysteries: they're okay.  Recommend rereading Grand Sophy instead.

Just City (Walton): Interesting premise: people praying to Athena are kidnapped back though time to a utopian city.  Probably ends badly, but I got bored after the first 50 pages and couldn't tell you.

Thirteenth House (Shinn): re-read.  A mainly gentle and somewhat fluffy fantasy novel with light romance.  Soothing to read. I recommend the whole series if this sort of thing is your cup of tea.  Many interesting, dimensional female characters doing cool stuff.

Unseen Academicals (Pratchett): re-read.  Academia most thoroughly satirized.  Entertaining.

Hat Full of Sky (Pratchett): re-read. I'd forgotten how amazingly dark and depressing this one is.  Oops.

Anything you'd like to recommend to me, dear readers?