The nosebleed that messed up my morning

Most mornings, we get up early, go to the gym, work all morning, and then I go for a walk mid-day.  Once it gets and stays hot, I’ll probably switch the order so I can walk when it’s comparatively cooler and hit the air-conditioned gym in the mid-day heat, but for the last couple of months, this schedule has been working.

Today should have been no different, but my nose had other thoughts.  I wasn’t moving all that quickly, and John was planning to stop working early to fly, so he headed off to the gym without me.  I figured I’d catch up and meet him there, but then I blew my nose and now I have to clean up a crime scene.  Okay, fine, that’s not true.  No crime scene.  But plenty of bloody kleenex.  And it took FOREVER to stop.  Like, more than half an hour.  I had to google what to do because I couldn’t remember if I should tilt my head back or forward.  I eventually just sat in front of my laptop, doing work with one hand (I figured I’d start early so I can take off late morning to make up the missed workout) with my head tilted forward (thank you, Google) while using the other hand to pinch my nose shut, periodically switching out kleenex.  Uncomfortable, annoying, and kind of gross.

I don’t think I was ever prone to nosebleeds.  I can only remember two.  The more recent was on my first deployment, sometime in the second half of 2002.  Not exactly recent.  We were in the Persian Gulf, so I assume it was the inevitable result of months of hot, dry air.  The issue wasn’t that it happened, but that it happened right as the general quarters alarm sounded, and I was trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding and still get to my post quickly (in aft steering, which is the very very very back of the ship, several decks down and right at or maybe below the waterline).  (It was a drill, not the real thing, but still.)

The other one I can remember was in Louisville, maybe around age 10?  11?  Before we moved off the base, for sure.  I was out with Mrs. Campbell – no idea what our plans were or why it was just the two of us – and my nose started bleeding in the car.  My shirt got destroyed, so we went to the mall and she bought me a new one.  Maybe we were going to the mall anyway, but why would Mrs. Campbell have been taking me shopping?  Whatever.  I had to walk through the mall in a blood-soaked t-shirt, so there’s no chance I would forget that incident.

Something? Anything?

Book news: I put another book down today.  It’s supposed to be classic fantasy about a minstrel who can teleport and travels his world, but I got halfway through and couldn’t deal with the casual women-as-objects issue (late 70s, author is a woman – I can’t even blame it on male chauvinism) or the lack of character development.  On the plus side, I’m finally going to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  I loved the Temeraire books SO MUCH, and I only even noticed them because Uprooted (which is not related to those) had just been published and was getting attention.  I’ve been saving Uprooted because I know I’ll love it, and sometimes I just do that.  There’s still a Robin McKinley novel I haven’t read because I’m saving it.  I started Uprooted over lunch today, and I loved it from the first sentence, so I’ll be a happy reader for a few days.

Weird sad news: one of our neighbors died the other day.  We saw police cars and police officers milling around next door, but no sirens.  It seems her roommates found her in her bed that morning, an apparent overdose, but no idea if it was accidental or on purpose.

Just weird news: I was sitting at my desk, on a conference call with a customer in Wisconsin, when all of a sudden a giant silver ladder came to rest outside the window directly in front of me and this dude climbed up until he completely filled the frame and scraped old paint off the windowsill outside.  He had headphones on, and I think he was trying as hard not to look at me as I was not to look at him.  Super awkward, and it was a huge distraction.  It’s hard to have a work conversation when there’s a person outside your window less than 6 feet away.  Thankfully, he didn’t take long and then he was gone.

Pregnancy-related news: See tomorrow’s post.

Used books are treasure chests

I bought a used book at a convention in Boston the other weekend, and it is a perfect example of why I love used books.  It came with STUFF!

I got it home and I started reading it, and a few pages in, a bunch of Mickey Mouse stickers fell out from between the pages.  Early birthday present, I guess.  The next day, further into the book, I turned a page and found two business cards for a lady in Massachusetts.  Someone had written what looks like flight information on the back of one of them, plus “Poo Monday 9:00”.  I have no idea what that means or what it has to do with flight times, and I don’t plan to speculate.

Next up, maybe halfway through the book, was a flattened piece of red cellophane, maybe a candy wrapper.  Pretty.  And last, an actual bookmark.

On top of that, I liked the book.  It was the gift that kept giving!

Cause and effect

I slept in this morning.  That’s why I had terrible dreams about cartoon villains murdering my pets.

I haven’t walked down to the river since mid-December.  That’s why it’s frozen now.

I spent a little time today sorta kinda doing stretches that resemble yoga.  That’s why the mailman didn’t pick up the package we left out for him.

I’m getting a haircut tomorrow.  That’s why it’s going to rain.

I don’t like the cinnamon bun creamer I bought earlier this week.  That’s why my eyelashes are stabbing me in the eye.

Makes as much sense as anything in the news.

Out of left field

You know Nielsen?  The company that’s been doing TV ratings since the invention of TV?  They sent us money.  In the mail.  I opened the envelope out of curiosity.  I would normally have just thrown it away, but we don’t even have cable – why on earth would Nielsen be contacting us?  Of course, it turns out they aren’t.  It’s addressed to “Providence Area Household”, which is technically us, but I feel like they don’t care about MY opinion.  And unexpectedly, two crisp dollar bills were looking at me from inside that envelope.  It’s an advance for the survey they’d like us to take.  Return the survey and they’ll send us an additional $5 in cash!  !!  !!!   There’s something weird about that.  Who mails cash?

Oooh, maybe I should fill out the survey and get the $5 just to have cash.  I hate going to the ATM.  So much so that I’m not sure I’ve been to one since we moved to Providence.  I don’t know where the nearest one is.  I don’t have anything against carrying cash (except that it makes my wallet bulky), but getting it is a pain.  Solution: put an ATM in my backyard.  Then I’ll have cash, and I won’t need Nielsen and their dollar bills.

Portland is weirder than Providence

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Unipiper.  I mean, we hadn’t until we moved to Oregon, so I don’t know why you would have.  In case this is your first introduction, he’s a guy in Portland who plays bagpipes while riding his unicycle.  The Unipiper.  He has a website.

He also made this video.  Cracks me up every time I watch it.  Thank you, Will, for sending it to John!

Trees and forgery

The most perfect tree is at the end of our block.  It’s like a role model for trees.  See little seedlings?  You could grow up to be this lovely.  But if you don’t, I’ll love you anyway.  (I like trees.)

It’s a nice tree.  After yesterday’s wind and today’s rain, it might also be a naked tree.  Poor naked tree.

From Rhode Island Comic Con this weekend:

There’s a creepy kid behind me, isn’t there?

NO, I AM NOT YOUR MUMMY!

We had a really good time.  Bought a lot of geeky stuff, saw some cool celebrities (I managed not to lose it while walking past Wallace Shawn several times), chatted with some artists – it was fun.  And then I got my credit card back from the bar where I’d left it the night before because I had a tab open when the fire alarm went off and they evacuated the building and when we came back for it they had just locked the doors so we had to come back the next day.  No hassle at that point, thank goodness, but I was half-expecting an issue with proving I’m me since I haven’t gotten my real RI license yet and I’m walking (and driving) around with an 8.5″x 11″ piece of paper as my temporary driver’s license.  I keep expecting someone to look at it and be like, “Nice forgery, idiot, I’m calling the cops.”  I could never be a criminal.

I need to exercise some self-control

I have all the dinner regrets.  That’s not true – I have some dinner regrets.  We ordered takeout pasta, and it was really good, and I ate too much of it, but it was so good, and have I mentioned that it was really good?  But I’m so full I’m sneezing.  Like, a lot.  Can’t stop sneezing.  I mentioned that to Corey a few years ago (that I sneeze when I’ve eaten too much), and he said he sneezes when he’s hungry.  So maybe Mel sneezes while she’s eating?

Whew

Big sigh of relief: Beauchamp Besieged was pretty good!  I don’t think I’ve ever read a Harlequin romance before, but I’m happy to say this one exceeded my expectations.  And there I go, outing myself as a snob.  I guess everyone’s snobby about something, right?  I’m just happy I can honestly tell my friend I enjoyed her book.

White lies are fine, but it’s so much easier to be honest.

Huh.  I don’t know if I actually believe that.  Sometimes honesty is harder, and often it’s unkind.  It depends.  Everything depends.  We live in a morally gray world.  I do, anyway.

From romance to philosophy: it’s a roller coaster around here!

Where else in the country would you find this?

I was just going through my pictures, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared this one with you yet.

In case you don’t believe your eyes, yes, that is a bus with a boat on top of it, parked at the corner of 7th and Oak (I think) in downtown Eugene, not far from where we live.  Maybe the boat is just sitting on top of the bus, but I like to think it’s been incorporated into the structure of the bus, that from inside the bus, you can climb up into the boat, and hang out as you trundle along the road.  Like the top deck of a double-decker tour bus.

I might not lack the imagination to come up with the idea of mounting a boat on top of a bus (given the right circumstances), but I sure as hell lack the…guts? chutzpah? weird-ass ambition?…to actually do it.

The date on the picture is April 1st – could this have been an elaborate April Fool’s joke?  I  haven’t seen the bus since then, but who goes to that much trouble?

People are strange, but I salute you, person whose dream it was to attach a boat to the roof of a bus!  Sail on!

Giggles

I heard Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” on the radio today.  I’ve always liked the song (video at the end, if you need it), but since that one Friends episode, I can’t help but laugh when he does his signature vocal move.

I like the way she laughs at him.

Also, I’m totally jealous of his eyebrow raise. I can’t do that.

Here’s the song.  If you’re familiar with it, you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re not, he does it on the chorus, first time at 0:52 in the video.

Keeping score

  • I found out that a coworker I already like reads fantasy novels.  Plus.
  • I called out sick last night so I could sleep in a little today.  I slept until nine and then worked 5 hours.  That is my perfect work day.  Plus.
  • I went for a 4.8-mile walk with John today.  Plus.
  • It was chilly and it rained on us the whole time.  Minus.
  • Going for a walk despite the rain and chill is another step in becoming a Real Oregonian.  Plus.

Today: four pluses, one minus.  Overwhelmingly positive.  It was a good day.

 

Piece of cake

I was a literal child, and I am a literal adult.*  When my Dove Promise wrapper tells me to build a bridge with chocolate, I immediately wonder what would happen on a hot day when the chocolate starts to melt.  That’s the image that comes to mind even as my brain interprets the message correctly.  And then my brain smacks me on the nose and says, “IT’S A METAPHORICAL BRIDGE.”  It’s a sickness, and it happens to me several times a week.

  1. Read something.
  2. See literal image of the thing.
  3. Correctly interpret the metaphor.
  4. Smack for being idiotic.

It’s quick and all internal (usually), which saves me a lot of embarrassment, but it makes the widespread misuse of the word “literally” a real problem for me.  I don’t have to argue the case against using “literally” when you mean “figuratively” here.  I know you all agree with me.  I don’t know if you always imagine whatever the figurative thing is as a literal thing when someone says something like, “My brain literally exploded.”

You probably do, right?  I’m not alone in this?  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  I’ll admit to other oddball tendencies, but this is a universal thing among the grammatically correct.  Yes?  Yes.

*In keeping with the theme, I can’t help but point out that yes, I literally was a child, and now I’m literally an adult.  I’m itching to change that sentence.

Utter nonsense

Dove Promises: cute little bites of chocolate with messages hidden for you inside the wrappers. Usually, I like the messages. “Why not?” “Build a bridge…with chocolate.” “Ignore the clock.” At worst, they’re dumb. (At best, they’re dumb, but I take amusement where I can get it.)

Today, though, I read one that went too far.

“Read the last page first.”

What? Why? What kind of monster would do that? Do you watch the end of movies first? Watch the series finale of a show with no context? Listen to the last 10 seconds of a song and then go back to the beginning?  You’re probably the type of person who finds all of your hidden birthday presents before they’re wrapped, steals candy from babies, and reads spoilers for movies and shows and SHARES THEM WITH OTHERS.

Not cool, bro.

Jamming

I don’t like the word “jamming”.  I think it’s dumb when it refers to music.  I like the concept just fine, but the word itself makes me uncomfortable.  More when I use it than when others do, though. I feel like an imposter.  Plus, it makes me think of making jam, and since that has NOTHING to do with music, the juxtaposition bothers me.  I guess.  Or something that makes more (or less) sense.  Whatever.

That’s how I take a stand on something.

I’m thinking about it (and being made uncomfortable by the word) because the action is what’s happening in my basement right now.  It’s just Will and John, and they sound good, and I like the stuff they’re coming up with.  I’m happy to have it going on, but I would appreciate it someone would come up with a better word for it.  Get on that, someone, would you?

Oh, weirdly, I’m totally okay with the jamming when it refers to blocking electronics.

The more you know.

Fun facts from the Hard Rock Hotel

The mirror in our room at the Hard Rock Hotel marks how tall various rock stars are.  I’m happy to know that I am taller than Madonna (she’s 5’4″) and surprised that Beyonce and I are the same height.  Twins, right?  Adele is taller than me – had no idea she was 5’9″.  John was relieved to see he’s taller than Justin Timberlake and a bit annoyed to find out he’s the same height as James Taylor.

Wherein I speak Latin

CNN is not the greatest news source out there, and despite where you might think this sentence is going, I’m not providing an exception here.  The article I’m linking to isn’t news.  It’s helpful, and it’s health-related and general happiness- and stop-hating-the-world-related, but still not news.

How to stop being annoyed by life

My tolerance for petty bullshit is, as you can probably tell by my phrasing, LOW.  So is my tolerance for incompetence, willful stupidity, and intolerance.  I can still be patient with people.  I’m still patient with LOTS of people.  I don’t seem to have as much patience, though…and then I get irritated…and then I get frustrated…and if I’m lucky, I remember to stop and wonder just what I’m so irritated about.  Is it important?  Does it matter?  Can I do something about it?  I’m rarely that lucky (to remember to stop and think), but I think I’m getting better about it.  Things like that article help.  Sitting in a chair in the backyard for a few minutes during the workday helps.  Reading helps.

Why am I not reading?  I’m pretty much always asking that question.

So I was thinking about all that on my bike ride this afternoon, pedaling along the path by the river, enjoying the sunny day and the stiff breeze that made me work a little harder, when BAM!  Something small and sharp and OW PAINFUL IT HURTS hit me in the upper arm.  I never saw it, it was gone immediately, like it bounced right off, but it felt like I’d been stung.  Can you get stung at that speed?  Can a bee or a wasp or some other flying (I assume flying) insect hit you at just the right angle at approximately 15 mph to sting you and then get away?  I shouted a few things, maybe startling a duck, and pulled over to look.  It did kind of look like a bee sting (although the last time I was stung was on my knee in Chesapeake Beach in 1985 or ’86, so how would I know what it looks like?), and there was a tiny dot of red in the middle, and it hurt like crazy.  I considered going home, but I was mostly done (6 miles left!), so I figured I’d keep going unless it started to hurt more or I started to go into anaphylactic shock.  (WordPress doesn’t think “anaphylactic” is a word.  Screw you, WordPress, I spelled it right on my own!)  Would I recognize anaphylactic shock?  If it started, would it be too late at that point to get home?  Why was I worrying about this?  I didn’t die when I got stung when I was 6, so I’m probably not allergic to bee stings now.  Shut up and bike.

So, yeah, I think I got stung.  It stopped hurting as much, the swelling started to go down and spread out, like more of a welt, and now (an hour later), there’s hardly anything to see.  I think I’ll live.

Moral of the story: I didn’t get angry or irritated or frustrated by it.  No, that’s a TERRIBLE moral and has nothing to do with anything.  Getting stung by a mystery insect on a bike ride is not in the same category as the things that annoy me.  What’s to get annoyed about?  Nope, this story only barely escapes being a non sequitur, and it’s only a sequitur because the bee sting literally followed my thoughts on that article.  It’s a LITERAL SEQUITUR.

Bugs. Also, puppy.

Did you know that when you fly through a cloud of gnats at 15 miles per hour, they feel like tiny pebbles hitting your face?  Now you do.  Good thing my mouth was closed.  And I was wearing sunglasses.  I always wear sunglasses when I ride my bike, sunny or not, getting dark or not.  If I don’t, all that wind rushing into my face makes my contacts get all dry.  Plus, bugs.  I was riding my bike back from yoga one night several years ago, no sunglasses because it was getting dark, and a bug flew right into my eye.  It was gross.  And distracting.  And gross.

What’s not gross?  I just watched a video of a guy proposing to his girlfriend by handing her a puppy with the ring tied to its collar.  SO CUTE.  The puppy, not so much the proposal.  I don’t care about that.  Although, ACTUALLY…that’s kind of gross, too.  Not gross in the same way as bugs in your eye, but it’s like cheating.  “She CAN’T say no to me after I’ve given her the cutest puppy in the world!”  Cue evil laugh.

I hope you said yes because you want to marry him and weren’t swayed at all by the cute puppy in your arms, lady in the video I watched with the sound off so I don’t know what really happened!

My fictional White House

Man, I miss The West Wing, but if I can’t have that (in real life or on TV anymore), at least I can occasionally have things like this: West Wing Fans: ‘C.J. Cregg’ Returns To The White House Briefing Room.  I love Allison Janney, too.  I’ll watch her in anything.

For TV, I recently heard that Madam Secretary might be better than The West Wing.  We haven’t tried it yet, so I’m just passing on someone else’s (possibly crackpot) opinion.

News of the mildly strange

As I was walking back from the park today, I noticed a woman walking a dog in front of me.  The dog was in a harness, on a leash.  Nothing remotely unusual.  They were, I don’t know, 50 feet in front of me, and the woman was carrying something in her arms.  I was far enough away not to see any details, but it was about the size of a small child or a baby.

I assumed it was a small child or a baby.

After she crossed the street, she stooped to put down whatever was in her arms, and I could see it was a big gray cat.  It wasn’t wearing a collar, it wasn’t on a leash, and it didn’t follow her down the sidewalk, even though she kept looking back at it.

Was it her cat?  Was she taking it for a walk?  Did she expect it to follow her home?  Maybe she knew it would find its way eventually.  If it wasn’t her cat, did she pick it up thinking it was a stray?  If so, why put it back down and leave it?  Was she just helping it across the street, like you might help a senior citizen?

TANGENT: I have never seen anyone help a senior citizen across the street in real life.  Do people really do that?  In the movies, it’s just boy scouts or characters proving they’re nice people.

If the lady was helping a stray cat across the street, how did she know it needed help?  And if it needed help across the street, it seems cold to just leave it behind after that.  Of course, it looked pretty healthy and whole to me.

I didn’t stick around to see what happened, so maybe it WAS hers and maybe it DID follow her down the sidewalk after a suitable waiting period to show it was capable of doing things on its own, damn it, and it doesn’t need anyone’s help.

Still.  Who carries a cat around at the park?  Unless she thought it was the zombie apocalypse…it all makes sense now.

Corey presented this video as proof that he could have caused his little sisters more harm.  Congrats, Cor.  You’re not the world’s worst older brother.