Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Rare at-work post:

Tooth. Pulled.

Woot!

Yup. I may be moaning later, but for now, I am happy as a pig in shit that the only dentist willing to work me in was also able to squeeze in a quick wisdom tooth extraction. It wasn't terribly easy, as the poor thing was practically falling apart, but once he got a good grip on it, it popped right out. I think I may have found myself a new dentist.

Plus, he and the assistant veritably cooed over me being "the model patient" and following instructions to the letter and not so much as twitching while he did his thing, and they welcomed me back anytime. *hands over checkbook* Heh.

The anesthetic is still on in full force, so I'm feelin no pain and my cheek feels like a block of wood. And my tongue feels...indescribably weird. Heh, we all know that numb-tongue feeling, ne? Again, I may be not so sanguine later, but for now? All is well.

No more kicked in the teeth feeling! Yay!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so I think I'mma have to call the dentist and get my other (last) wisdom tooth removed. I don't know if its steady erosion is what's the problem or not, but it can't hurt any worse than last night did. Yeesh.

I've kept busy all day so I didn't just sit and dwell on it, but I still had to hit the Tylenol twice. It doesn't hurt as bad, of course -- not like that sudden, sharp, kicked-in-the-teeth pain -- but it aches. So, yeah, I think I'll have to take a trip to the ol' dentist. The one I visit even LESS frequently than my doctor.

Heh.

I did another truckload of work today. It's weird. This time, I'd bought some groceries, and suddenly couldn't stand all the old crap in my fridge, so I...cleaned it out. I threw a bunch of stuff away, washed a bunch more dishes -- no, you don't want to know -- and finally put everything away...and my fridge now looks empty.

And then I made some cookies. And washed those dishes. And made steak-n-chicken kabobs with mushrooms and roasted potatoes for dinner. And washed those dishes.

Who am I and what have I done with GutterBall???

Oh, yeah...and the poison ivy still itches.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bizarro Sidebar:

Okay, what does sudden, shooting pain in your teeth and jaw mean?

One minute, I'm talking to Dad on the phone, having a little iced tea (the same glass I've been drinking for two hours), and gnoshing on some balogna. Yeah, I know. It's really late to be eating anything, let alone balogna, but hey. It's prednisone. It's weird.

And I mowed the other half of the lawn today, so I earned a little crap food.

Anyway, one minute, everything's fine. The next, it's like someone has kicked me in the jaw. It's like my teeth are trying to move themselves. It's like someone's taking a set of pliers to one of my teeth (no specific one; they pretty much all hurt on that one side) and twisting and pulling and doing it over and over again.

My whole frickin JAW aches now. My whole FACE. My eye won't stop watering. I seriously feel like I got kicked in the teeth. By a very angry horse. A very BIG, very angry horse.

What. Does. That. Mean??

I didn't break a tooth or anything, I swear! My teeth just...started hurting! It wasn't bad at first -- in fact, my first thought was to go brush them, because sometimes that just...I dunno...makes you feel better. Kinda like a mini massage for your teeth and gums, ne? So I did that, but it just cycled up from there until I just about can't bear it.

Now I'm sitting here, wincing and with one eye watering, trying to hold my jaw in a position that doesn't hurt as bad...and failing miserably. What the hell is going on??

I took some Tylenol, but something tells me that won't touch this. Do I need to call a dentist or a doctor? What the HELL??

Pleasepleaseplease, be gone by morning.....

What's with my frickin HEALTH lately??

*debates ibuprofen on top of the Tylenol*

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Wow. Another note to self: prednisone makes GutterBall a crazy, manic workaholic.

Yeah. Last night, I mowed half of my lawn for no good reason in nasty, thick humidity. Tonight, I cleaned my bathroom and washed all...repeat, ALL...of the dishes on my counter. 'S the first time I've seen that friggin' countertop for a month, at least! Some of those dishes had been sitting there long enough that I forgot what was originally in them, though I'm usually pretty good about rinsing stuff out before stacking it on the counter. Usually.

O.o

And then I dried them and put them away. And then I cleaned the stove. And the other counter. And threw some clothes in the laundry. And thought about mopping the floor, since it was now all wet and slightly sudsy near the sink.

And then I realized that I'm tired and sweaty and an idiot who's tweaked on steroids! Gah!

I think I'm gonna sit down and write for a while. No, prednisone doesn't "help" with inspiration or discipline in writing -- in fact, it makes me restless and severely disturbs my concentration and focus -- but dammit, I gotta get off my feet for a while. I was on them all day at work, and for another three hours at home. They're tired, too!

They simply don't make shoes comfortable enough to wear that long without a sit-down break.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Note to self: prednisone makes GutterBall a frickin' basketcase!

Moving on....

So, in response to many...many...inquiries, the poison ivy is both better and worse. Around the eye, it's starting to dry out. Thus, it's not swollen, but it itches like bloody hell. My jaw, the side of my neck, and my chin are on fire and look like it. Very, very red/swollen. They don't seem to be healing up much. The back of my neck is fine so long as I cut the tags out of my shirts.

O.o

My arm...is a mess. 'Nuff said.

The rest of me? Well, there are little splatters here and there from where I was uncautious in my smug knowledge that I had outgrown my childhood allergy to the vicious and pernicious poison ivy, but the main concentration is the above.

Good news? Of course there's good news! It wouldn't be my blog if there weren't, ne?

Thanks to a suggestion from the Doc -- I had a three-week check-up from that sore neck thing (as yet unresolved), so I asked him about the poison ivy, too -- I found some Aveeno calamine-cream stuff that actually seems to have provided some relief from the incessant, agonizing, almost nauseating itch. Thus, I'm sitting here without twitching as I type, and that is a HUGE plus.

Unfortunately, I still have to keep taking the prednisone because of the ridiculous nature of my reaction. Dammit.

Also, since friggin' prednisone makes me hungry as a horse -- and that every three hours or so! -- I gained like three pounds in like five days, which is absolutely RIDICULOUS. And since, as previously mentioned, this particular steroid also makes me a basketcase, I decided that nothing would do but mowing half of the lawn tonight in penance/retribution for having to eat so damn much.

Keep in mind that any heat makes the itch monumentally worse. And that at 8:47 p.m., it was still 89 degrees outside. And that I live in Missouri, which is Native American for "friggin' sauna". Or "misery". It's all one and the same.

But again, the good news is that the Aveeno stuff works, even if only temporarily -- I'm already starting to itch again and will reapply before heading off to bed -- and after a looooong, cooooool bath, I actually felt damn near human again for the first time all week. There are worse things in life, folks!

And hey. Half of the lawn is mowed. Heh.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dear Charlie:

A word about the Song of the Moment over there in the sidebar:

I'm diggin on some Blue October. They sound kinda funny at first, but even halfway through the first verse, you'll forget the sound and just listen for more of the lyrics. They're...powerful.

This is an excellent song. Simply put. I could listen to it over and over. I suggest everyone do so.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sidebar:

You know, this is my "writing" blog, and I so rarely talk about my writing. I write all the time, even if it's just images in my head that I want to put down to get them out. Most of the stuff I write will never end up in a book, but it's all good practice and it all makes me think about elements of my writing that I wouldn't normally.

So, when I saw this post in my beloved sister's blog, I knew I had to give it a whirl. It's a listing of ten elements that are always in my writing, no matter what genre.

And those of you who know me well? That's right. Romance and love ain't gonna be on THIS list! Bwahah!

1. Action
2. Honor
3. Sacrifice
4. Friendship
5. Self-discovery
6. Blood/Gore
7. Family/Home (not necessarily blood family)
8. Adventure
9. Humor
10. Sense of time

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Yup. Poison ivy.

I went to Urgent Care -- anyone who reads this blog knows that something's very serious indeed when I not only go to a doctor but go to one URGENTLY -- and the anonymous doctor walked in, put on a kind of smirking sympathetic face, and said, "Awwww...that can't be comfortable!"

Yeah. That bad.

I ended up getting two shots -- one in each butt cheek -- and a prescription for some steriods to kill the allergic reaction. The shots themselves didn't hurt at all...but barely two minutes later, the muscle started to cramp. Heh, by the time I got home, I felt weird and stepped wrong somehow on my walkway and had to take a knee or go over completely. I just dropped.

I wasn't dizzy, per se. Just...weird. Blurry. I just stepped wrong.

I tried to nap a while earlier because the shots also made me sleepy, but I didn't do much more than close my eyes and think about story plots. Heh. It was, however, easier to keep my swollen eye shut than trying to keep it open. I put a cold compress on it, which killed a lot of the swelling. Now I can actually see the poison ivy dots on my eyelids. They were too swollen to see earlier.

O.o

Or more likely:

O.-

Heheh.

Anyway, I got to have a good, long phone conversation with my beloved sister. I haven't gotten around much because my butt's still all crampy, but I did stretch my legs a bit. No sleep, but some rest. In a couple of hours, I'll pop another prednisone and hopefully kill the rest of the itch and maybe some of the burn around my lips.

Yeah. Poison ivy on my lips. They're all swollen and bumpy and blistered. They don't itch at all. They burn.

Yeesh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bizarro Sidebar:

I just don't get it. I'm having some kind of relatively minor allergic reaction...and I think it's from spaghetti sauce.

O.o

I seriously don't get it. Not only have I eaten bottled spaghetti sauce for years, but I've even eaten from this particular bottle before! What the heck??

My right eye is swollen and itchy. I have a scatter of itchy red bumps over my upper lip (though not so itchy or red after I took some benadryl), and my lower lip is swollen a bit on the right side. My cheek right under my right eye also boasts a little clump of red bumps.

For a while, there, the back of my neck was also itchy, red, and bumpy. And now my right ear lobe itches.

In other words, just about any area you'd normally touch with your dominant hand. It's driving me nuts. And the only thing I can imagine it being is the spaghetti sauce. I mean, I took two tylenol at like 6:00 for my neck, but it's not a new bottle, and this just set in about an hour and a half ago -- about 9:30, in other words. Yes, late for dinner, but hey. I was busy.

And while the spaghetti sauce wasn't really new, either, I spilled some on the carpet and had to scrub it up real quick...and I wonder if it wasn't something on the carpet that came up with the sauce? Hell, I dunno.

I just know that I've only had one allergic reaction before, and that one could have killed me. Sulfa drugs. Nasty reaction, that. Your red blood cells start self-destructing. Bad.

This...not so bad. Irritating, annoying, itchy, and pissing me off? Absolutely.

I took out my contacts, just in case my eye does swell shut. I'm not used to wearing my glasses (haven't worn them regularly since like the eight grade, and that was MANY moons ago), and I can't tell if my seeing weird is because of them or because one of my eyes is half swollen shut. Dammit.

I wonder if I scrubbed up some of the spider-murderer stuff I sprayed on a few days ago? If getting it wet and adding it to spaghetti sauce made some unforseen and toxic (to me, anyway) substance?

Hmmm.....

[EDIT: Okay...so it looks this morning like a very serious poison ivy reaction. Dammit. I thought I'd outgrown that stupid allergy! *cusses and throws things* My right eye is damn near swollen shut, my face looks like I went one too many rounds with The Champ, the back of my neck is on fire, and I have little itchy, red bumps all over the back of my left hand and on the inner side of my forearm.

So, I'm gonna call in sick to work in an hour or so -- no way I can drive with one eye shut AND my glasses -- and I think Dad's gonna come up and take me to Urgent Care for a shot. Sheesh. I haven't had poison ivy since my eeeeeeearly teens! This is ridiculous!]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dear Charlie:

So, Big Ben has taken to kissing windshields, the President has taken to laughing at anyone wearing sunglasses...*hides own omnipresent pair behind back*...and I've funkied up my neck again -- this time from mowing down a meadow with a push mower.

Yeah. Mowed the back forty Tuesday evening -- the BIG half, not the HARD half. It was three steps forward, two steps back for the whole last hour. Thank God that Dad came up and mowed the HARD half for me, or I'd have really been messed up.

As it is...I have to tell the Doc on my check-up visit next week that I...frigged up my neck again. Oi.

He'll probably caper. Okay, he WON'T, but he'll give me that LOOK.

Not much else is going on with me lately. I still haven't heard from the anthology on the dark satire. *eyes calendar* I really don't want to get rejected on the last possible date. If I'm gonna be rejected, sooner is ALWAYS better than later!

*prays for June 30 to hurry the hell up and get here*

Other than that...um...not so much. Oi.

[EDIT: And before any weisenheimers out there try to say I'm making fun of the President for not magically knowing that someone had a legitimate medical condition, I'm saying that the fact that THIS is news is funny. Just FYI.]

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sidebar:

Okay, so after having a little talk with The Man and getting that "God helps those who help themselves" feeling in response, I bought some monster-killer. And just now got around to using it.

My hand is very tired. I'm perspire-y, when I'd rather actually be sweaty. I also laid down a good swath of destruction around the outside of the house, too, so I'm MUGGY.

But I shouldn't have too many problems with spiders in the near future. Little bastards.

Hate. Them.

Now, I'm tired and I should probably be elsewhere while it dries, though it doesn't smell particularly harmful. Yeesh. But I need to get something to eat anyway, and I don't feel like cooking anything. Heh.

What?? My hand is really really tired! It was one of those spray-trigger thingies, and I must have cranked it a bazillion times!

Oh, and I went to the first half of my local semi-pro football team's play-off game last night. I didn't stick around to see who won because it was sticky out -- and because those bleachers are HARD -- but it was a great game! We were one point behind when I left, and I really wanted to stay, but....

Friday, June 09, 2006

Dear Charlie:

A post I made to a political thread on a message board about how frequently the term "traitor" is bantered about:


I have long mourned the loss of honor and loyalty. I think part of our misunderstanding of what counts as traitorous is that we've had such a long run of relative peace and we, as a society, have come to think that we DESERVE that peace. That we're entitled to it.

History is not replete with peace.

Humans squabble. It's in our natures. We squabble over land, over rights, over women, over money, over TV channels, for heaven's sake! We are contentious creatures. If we fuss over little things, we will for certain fuss over the biggies.

Enter: war. Various parts of the globe have managed a short stint of peace (usually under either a monarch or a dictator, interestingly enough; ours is one of the first to manage a lasting peace through representative democracy) throughout history, but always as a result of violent upheaval and devastating war. It's a vicious circle.

Unfortunately, today, the vast majority of people think that we can sweet-talk our way out of war and into peace. It's a noble goal, don't get me wrong, but there are still those who can't let go of the hostility, of the need to defend/attack, of the basic human urge to both protect what is ours and to take what belongs to others.

I admire those who think that the States, as a forerunner in the global community, can use fully diplomatic solutions to bring about lasting peace in the world, but...as a realist, I simply cannot see it happening without bloodshed. Or without the oppression that runs counter to our ideals.

And back to the point: since we have come to think of war as an unusual, avoidable event, we have (perhaps intentionally) watered down the honor of fighting in one. Since there's no personal take in "winning" a war other than a certain selfish pride because war is no longer honorable, there is less need to be careful with the words we attribute to it, including the term "traitor", which is the flip side of "loyalty".

Thus comes the somewhat petty labeling of folks as traitors. Your comments, [guy I was responding to], are reasonably true, but they stem from far more than immaturity or spite. They stem from a (newly-bred?) sense of entitlement, as if we are entitled to peace just because "we peace-lovers are better than those war-mongers".

To me, the watering down of the very serious charge of treason is frightening.



That's a pretty lengthy post, but I bold-faced the part I wanted to draw attention to. And to prove my point, I bring you this afternoon's entertainment at work: a two hour, multi-media, multi-building debate on whether or not chicken strips count as fried chicken.

I shit you not.

Admittedly, I was Devil's advocating -- one of my more ignoble character flaws -- but it was still hilarious (and a little disturbing) to see how quickly so many people jumped into the debate!

Lemme break it down for you. On one side of the debate -- my side -- the point was that, by definition, any chicken that is fried is "fried chicken". The other side insisted that "fried chicken" is a specific meal option with a specific intent, namely a cut up, bone-in chicken that's batter-dipped and fried.

This is seriously what we did for most of the afternoon.

It started as a joking "argument" between me and Adrienne -- a way to pass some time in an admittedly slow-moving afternoon. I couldn't resist involving a mutual friend, Jody, in another building of our organization by adding it to an e-mail. She jumped in with a will and took Adrienne's position that "fried chicken" is exclusively what you picture when you order two-piece and a biscuit at KFC.

Now, that should probably have been enough, because I really was just playing Devil's advocate, but...when another lady in another building of our organization called me up with a billing question (no, I don't work in billing, but if I don't have an answer, I can usually think of the right person to ask, so people ask me anyway) that dealt with Jody's building. I told her to call Jody, to which she responded that she didn't think Jody wanted to hear from her until Monday (because no one wants to talk about billing at 4:00 on a Friday), to which I responded that we weren't doing anything but arguing about chicken anyway, so call her up.

She, of course, had to know what the hell I was talking about.

After a good deal of laughter, she decided to send a phony e-mail about a company Chicken Fest, claiming she needed advice on why the "higher-ups" didn't want to serve chicken strips because "they didn't think they counted as fried chicken". Ha! So Jody called me and accused me of bringing in a ringer...which I sort of had...and asked the next three people who walked by her office what THEY thought. She received various responses, as you can imagine.

I was laughing so hard at this point that a random, passing-by caseworker asked what was so darn funny. I told her the story, and she said that she couldn't figure out how anyone could think that any chicken that's fried doesn't count as fried chicken. Bwahah!

And this is how we spent the afternoon. Arguing about fried chicken.

Humans are contentious creatures, I tell you! CONTENTIOUS!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Very. Interesting. Evening.

See, I didn't like the lady I used to work with at this new place. She was...a little abrasive. In fact, I wrote a short story -- that has since been submitted to an anthology, and I hope to hear back by the end of the month -- about her dying painfully by way of office supplies.

Yeah. Didn't like her much. Could work with her, but...could not WAIT to leave at the end of the day.

The new girl, though? Adrienne? Yeah, she's lots of fun. I don't think we could be more opposite in terms of personality, but somehow, it works. It works well enough that we've started hanging out after work, too -- something I never even CONSIDERED with the other chick.

So, I took her to Champs. Yup, that bar I've gone back to because all my friends are working there again. She's fun, and I figured she'd fit right in. She totally does.

Anyway, we go there directly after work tonight, and the guys have...I don't think I can type this with a straight face...a Can o' Cheese. That's right. They actually paid money for a 10 lb. can of processed aged cheddar cheese sauce. Five of them pooled their resources for...a can of cheese. A CAN of cheese.

I can't stress that enough.

And they're EXCITED about it! Right away, they run it back to the kitchen, throw in some jalapenos, open a bag of tortilla chips, and dig in. To the can o' cheese. And they're LOVING it.

After that, they put it on hot dogs. They add salsa. They put it on everything they can find, trying to eat this 10 lb. can o' cheese.

Heh, but it was a great opportunity to make cheese jokes. I can't remember most of them offhand, but we laughed our asses off. Good times, those.

And all because of the Can o' Cheese.

And, since my friends are always plaguing me for cookies, Adrienne helpfully volunteered to make them some the first time I took her there. Each time we've shown up since without cookies, the guys at the bar have given us the puppy-dog eyes. They did so this time, too...until Adrienne suggests that we go to her house and throw together some of her special Death By Chocolate cookies.

I can tell you right now that they absolutely rule. I'd had them before. Fabulous, and I don't even like chocolate so much.

That. Good.

So, we pay our tabs and go to her place, she whips them up, we do some good conversation while they bake and cool, and then we pack 'em up and head back to Champs. Where we are met with wide smiles. The guys dig in, and Phil even manages a little moment to himself. He's standing behind the bar, eyes closed, chewing thoughtfully with a soft smile on his face. Priceless stuff.

And then we started making jokes about FuckAss and Brokeback and how they're basically the same thing, and the moment was gone. Heheheh. I love my people.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sidebar:

Okay, I take it back. I like Sephiroth's Japanese voice better. That man is absolutely bad-ass in Japanese.

*nods* Yeah. Final Fantasy: Advent Children.

Sephiroth RULES.

[Edit: Holy crap, I'd forgotten how frickin' SWEET Vincent sounded/looked with that low, smooth Japanese coming out! Damn if he don't give Sephiroth a run for his "absolutely bad-ass" money! This flick RULES!!]