Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When The Bottom Falls Out

Because, let's face it, it often does.

No, this is not an essay on life...though it could be...and may still be...we'll see...but more an essay on what generally happens to me when I am moving swiftly through an already cram-packed day and suddenly get ambushed what? Fate, I guess?

I have a little Thanksgiving "thing" to go to tomorrow evening and was out looking for a little something to spice up the little black dress. So, I was in Wal-Mart. Yes. I go to Wal-Mart to spice up the little black dress. Get over it. Think what you will. Mostly just think how much better it is that I'm doing my shopping at Wal-Mart instead of, say, Ann Taylor where I could definitely do some damage. Lasting, permanent damage. Or Chico's. Aiieesh!! There were days long ago when I darkened those doors but I cannot now think why I ever did that other than perhaps because I could.

I digress.

The flipside benefit to shopping at Wal-Mart for wardrobe items is that you can also get your unhealthy Dr.Pepper fix there, too. So...

I got my little wardrobe agenda item crossed off and proceeded to the Dr.Pepper aisle where I picked up a 24-pack (there are quite a few D.P. drinkers at my house) by the handle and began to walk back to my cart when, promptly and quite spectacularly, the bottom fell out of the cardboard container like a reverse Jack-in-the-box.

Cans and cans and cans and endless cans of Dr.Pepper were liberated and went bouncing and erupting hither and yon about the soft drink aisle. I stood there stunned and mute holding what remained of the cardboard case while my mouth hung a bit askew.

There were not one, but three employees on the aisle already and all three leapt into action exclaiming all sorts of things at once--things one ought not to exclaim at work, perhaps--and pushing me around as they gathered cans and tried to aim the still-spurting ones away from the remaining customers and other items on the racks.

Spectacular. I. Mean. Awesome.

One of them probably realized that I was useless and, so, stuffed a new, healthy 24-pack into my arms and said, "Just go."

So I just went...

What a rush!!!! I should have done that YEARS AGO!!!! And maybe dropped them from a building!

It was even better than that tube of Desitin I stepped on that one time. A lot messier, though. My black shoes are going to need some work. They're leather and can't exactly be tossed in the washing machine...or can they?

And I'm not sure that there won't be a picture of me up in the soft drink aisle at Wal-Mart for the next ten years. So be it. I take my thrills where I can get them these days.

No, I am not taking this as a universal message to slow down. Pfft. I am, perhaps, suggesting that some things might fare better if they were NOT made from post-consumer products. Stone me, green people, go ahead...just sayin'. Recycled cardboard is all fine and good if the physics works out, but so far...hmmmm....

In real life, though, the bottom does fall out. Doesn't it? I would be lying if I said that the bottom hasn't fallen out in several areas over the last couple months. And when it fell out, it wasn't nearly so therapeutic as watching the explosion of 24 cans of Dr.Pepper. Nevertheless, the end result was the same. Pick up a new pack (to the extent that's possible) and "Just go." Go anywhere. Just don't sit here wallowing in it. Go. And go now.

Buddy, my dad, always has trouble executing plans. He finds formulating them to be easy. For me, it's just the opposite. I have trouble figuring out what the plan(s) should be, but once I have plans in place, I am the executioner--so-to-speak. I've been floundering for the last three plus weeks over what my plans should be. I had one over-arching plan and things seemed to be clicking with regard to that plan. Then the plan floundered and I knew I should continue with it, but it didn't seem sufficient on its own given a deadline further off in the distant future and I knew I needed something to do in the mean time to fill in the gaps. Then, slowly, other things started to fall apart and meaningful chunks of life were chipped away. That sucked. The bottom fell out. With a tad bit of fizzy eruptions here and there on my part.

Finally, someone came along and stuffed a 24-pack in my arms and said, "Just go." Once again, that person was Attrition. Sometimes I can't equate the encouragement and support he offers me with the wardrobe, friendship, and general professionalism consults I offer him. I guess rides to and from the airport may one day pay some of my debt of gratitude to him. I hope so. Something. Anything. Anything to demonstrate to him that there are little moments of time when he's the air in my lungs after weeks in outer space with no gear. I don't always understand him or the way he chooses to react to me, but in little bits I get to see the man he's become and the brother he's always been. He doesn't always have my back. He has his reasons. But he's always there with an idea about how to go on from here.

No matter where here may be.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Paths Diverged In A Wood...

...and I definitely took the geekier one.

Once again, I have not disappeared. Nor am I dead, ill, resigned from blogging, extinct, wiped out, or dispossessed of my mind. Well, possibly the latter at times, but not at the moment.

I was in a funk. Trying to find my way. Things were cloudy. I needed a plan. And now I have one. Well, two. No, I am not going to go into the two-plan theory of Scatness right at this very second. It would take way too long and there are still details to work out. Suffice it to say that Scat has once again regained, center? Whatever. Scat without a plan is not a Scat you want to behold or even be near. Scat totally derailed is even worse. But, the train is now back on the tracks and there are not one, but two plans in effect for the future of said Scat and she is greatly pleased. Rather than have plan A and plan B, I am proceeding with two plan A's. Yes. I am. Generally, whichever succeeds first wins. They are both equally pleasing and, in the long run, profitable. Yay. Great amounts of work will be involved (as usual), and there will be more school (big surprise), but it will be concurrent with work (yay).

In general, there is quite a bit of turnover happening family-wide, so I am not the only one with a new plan and new things, places, and ideas to get used to. There is a considerable amount of bumping into one another going on and quite a bit of who's going to ferry who to the airport when sorts of conversations happening, but such is our slice of life at the moment. No one who has known us for very long is surprised in the least. Most notably, Attrition and myself are doing a total turn-around in our day-to-day lives and this is, yes, causing some angst, but also causing! Out with the old, so-to-speak. And there was definitely some old to be had out with. And we are laying

But for today, a total and complete display of geekiness.

There used to be a day when you had to buy an expensive contraption to adapt your camera (a special one at that) to fit to your microscope in order to get pictures of what you could see when you look through the eyepiece, but no more! Viola! Smartphones! Well smartphones, an understanding of focal lengths and a certain amount of steadying oneself and breatholding reveals things like this:

Transitional epithelial lining of the bladder! (Yes, inspiring subject matter, but we are, after all, studying the urinary system, so bear with me. Had I discovered my new-found talent during the chapter on blood or lymphatics this might have been more stimulating and less...weird).

Endothelial cells centrifuged from a sample of urine...yes MY URINE...are you grossed out NOW??

A bacterial crypt found in the sediment centrifuged from my urine...evidence of an attempted past infection.
Calcium oxalate crystals (more sediment from someone else's urine..even grosser, I suppose).
That really, really dark, black thing in the center is a tyrosine crystal (again, my urine sediment).
A mucosal thread (my sediment).
A section of kidney (not mine LOL) showing glomerular capsules (the white circles). The white circles are the Bowman's capsules and the red mass in the center is the glomerulus. This is where your kidney does it's filtration, well, in the capsules and the tubules surrounding them.

And all this done with my handy dandy iPhone.

Thus endeth the geek tour for the day.

Sleep well!


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Twice a week I sit through three hours of anatomy and physiology. Anymore, it's pretty rare to take a college course with a professor who's first language is English. So you get used to hearing word like "remumber" (remember) and "yunnery" (pronounced like nunnery...but it really should be "urinary"). My first language is English and I sign American Sign Language and Signed Exact English. There are several versions of the English language that I've acquired simply by virtue of the fact that I've been in more college classes than are healthy for the normal individual that are taught with heavy accents.

Today I finally got in trouble. Over geishas.

To be fair, I was tired. Very tired. Not long ago, our topics for term papers were assigned. And, rather irrationally, our rough drafts were due just today. The real deal isn't due for another month, but the rough draft (which, too me, is pretty much the final minus the remaining edits and a bit of tweaking) was due today. Subtract out the weekends when I was with the boys and the time working and trying to pass the two classes I'm taking and I basically didn't sleep in order to write the silly paper.

So I was a little punchy. Perhaps slap-happy, even. When this little Indian woman turns from her PowerPoint presentation and says...

"Now dere are laws that govern behayour when tings are geishas."

Into my mind popped an image of a geisha girl.

Out of my mind popped all possible rational thought. And I'm certain there was a big smile on my face because she stopped the entire class to ask me if something was funny...oops. Did I chuckle? Out loud?

"Is there something funny?" She pointed at me. "Perhaps something you two were discussing?"

She pointed at the girl in front of me who I've never so much as spoken a single word to. Ever. I've never even seen the other side of her ponytail from here. We looked at each other then, but still had nothing to say. Frankly, I was still stuck on the geishas...

Gaseous...!! Geishas = gaseous!

I'm not always this slow, but yes, every class is this entertaining...