I haven't been sick in a long time - maybe two years. Until Tuesday, that is - whereupon I was hit by a Mack truck of a head cold and have been pretty much bedridden ever since. My sinuses feel as if I've sucked up a bucket of water through a straw and I have no strength to do much of anything besides lay around and watch TV. Seriously. TV. Me.
Finals for my community college class were over Monday, so that was already out of the way. I did go in and test patient #2 in my tiny shiny new office Thursday morning (pictures soon), and I did let The Girl host movie night at our house again Friday night, but one was for the money and the other was to know where The Girl and her friends were and what they were doing with their time now that the neverending football season is finally over after the Fundietonfieldvilleview Weirdmascosts lost the 4th playoff game - they're usually only good for one or two.
Now, I know the only cure for a cold is seven days - essentially just letting it run its course. I'm not sure what's the wort part about having a cold, though: the sickness itself (for which there is still no cure because people never catch the same variant twice) or the medications available to "alleviate" the symptoms. None of the medicines really seem to "do" anything. The "__-Quil" meds just make me sleep - even the daytime variety. Warm bourbon, honey and lemon makes a great cough syrup if you can stomach bourbon and don't plan to drive anywhere. I also like a good homemade chicken or potato soup when I'm sick or the Lipton noodle soup in the packet - just toss out half of the yellow salt powder before trying to cook it or it's too salty. Ginger ale and Sprite or 7Up are good, too because my mom always gave me those when I was a little kid. So what do you reach for when you're suffering from a cold?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
H.M., a very famous neuropsychology patient, who had most of his temporal lobe and hippocampus (the purple bit in the picture) removed from both sides of his brain to control intractable seizures, passed away Tuesday at a nursing home in in Connecticut at the age of 82. He had been the subject of study for over 50 years and brought much new knowledge of the brain and memory to the field. His obituary can be found at the New York Times here.
In the interest of protecting his privacy, Mr. Henry Gustav Molaison was known to the world only as HM. I learned of him in my very first undergraduate introduction to psychology course (yes, the same course I teach at the local juco) back in 1986. I bet if you still have your intro psych text lying around somewhere, you can look up the chapter on memory and find him there. If he doesn't show up in the index under H.M. (which he usually doesn't), look under amnesia, hippocampus or memory, then flip to that section of the text. Go look - I'll wait. Then leave me a comment with the title, author and text where you found him.
A few books from my library that reference HM include:
Darby & Walsh (2005) Walsh's Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach 5th ed. Elsevier; New York.
Kolb & Whishaw (2003) Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. Worth Publishers; New York.
Rosensweig, Leiman & Breedlove (1996) Biological Psychology. Sinauer; Sunderland, MA.
Wood, Wood & Boyd (2008) Mastering the World of Psychology 3rd ed. Allyn & Bacon; Boston. (this is the current intro psych text I use at the juco)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Okay, so yesterday I received an email from Giant Corporate University Online that I've finally passed muster and have been accepted into the loving arms of the faculty body. The process, beginning with the request for my resume May 16, has been ridiculously long. I have participated in nearly six months of "training," including several ever-smaller classes and finally teaching my first undergraduate class with someone watching over my shoulder. The last part was a good thing because I had an experienced faculty member to mentor me through the process.
Don't get me wrong. In this economy I'm happy to have another dribble of income. Every little bit helps and I'd really like to keep my car and keep The Girl's tuition current. The Man still isn't working, hay season is over, and we're living off of savings and 401K. We're not starving but that pool of money isn't unlimited. I'm working the community college gig again - 2 Psych 101 classes early MWF, leaving me the rest of the day to see patients or whatever. It's a fun job and I've done it enough now that the class basically runs itself. I have full autonomy to run my classes and my policies as I see fit and can be as hard ass as I please. Interestingly enough, the students meet every challenge I set for them and all of them say I'm their favorite instructor. The GCUO job pays a little more and I can do it in my jammies, but I have to do things in such a politically correct manner and have to worry about the faculty development team snooping around looking for things to hold against me. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you...
The thing is, I'm just not excited about GCUO. The students didn't seem to have a clue about academic rigor, the importance of using APA format when writing papers (in pursuit of a psychology degree!? -SERIOUSLY??), or even what constitutes a scholarly reference. A couple of the students were adequate but most of them needed to go back to junior high to learn how to write - and use spell check - and follow instructions. They got mad when I insisted that they learn to use the library system, maintain a high level of academic integrity, and do their own work without the expectation that I hold their hands or do the work for them. Then they whined about what a big fat meany I was when they were surveyed. --Yes, GCUO sends out customer satisfaction surveys to the students - and oddly enough their survey responses held a very strong positive correlation to their grades - go figure. The experience reminded me of a phrase I heard once, "Never try to teach a pig to dance. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."
The next few months are going to find me launching my private practice and I may be scraping for patients at first. So I think what I may do is just teach a GCUO class here and there when I need extra cash and wean myself off the corporate teat as my business picks up. At least I'll know up front the challenges that I'll face in dealing with students in a university with an open enrollment policy and no placement tests to sort them by academic level. Send positive energy my way. I'll need it.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Well kids, it's the end of an era. After several months with zero sales in my eBay store and eBay arbitrarily dropping most of my listings with no warning or explanation, I've closed it. I'm undecided whether I want to open an Etsy shop or some other online store, but I'm definitely not going back to eBay. If you're one of my regulars, don't panic. I'll still make your favorites and will still make custom bath & body lovelies to your specifications. Just contact me backchannel and we'll work something out.
Friday, November 28, 2008
So here's the deal. The Girl is an absolutely amazing young woman. She's strong, smart and has very clear and firm boundaries. Having the last six years free of the constant trauma, drama and chaos you brought to our lives has been refreshing. Given the years of hell you put us through, I remain skeptical, but she's nearly a grown woman and she's always had a mind of her own. It's up to her to decide the nature of her relationships. If you're less than genuine, she'll see right through the facade and shut you out again. You have no clue how fortunate you are that she's decided to allow you back into her life. Don't fuck it up this time.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Okay guys, I'm really not dead, just infinitely busy digging out from under 3 cubic fuckloads of work. I promise a nice juicy post soon. In the interim, please entertain yourself with the following. It moved me deeply.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday night the Fundietonfieldvilleview Weirdmascots slaughtered yet another team. You'd think that a team all the way from Dallas would fare better against our little farm kids - especially when they're outsized the way our boys were. Nevertheless, take a look at their fans and remember that Dallas isn't that far away - an hour or so at the most. This picture was taken well into the game not long before halftime...
Now take a look at our fans. The stands were packed and there were people standing all around in the concession stand, along the fences et cetera. Clearly the good folks in Fundietonfieldvilleview Texas have nothing better to do on a Friday night, but at least we show up to support our kids.
With the kind of support folks around here give our kids, it's no wonder they kick ass at everything they do.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
More and more often as I go about my day I hear words like "taxation without representation," "mutiny," "Boston Tea Party," and similar language that is usually associated with the general populace growing increasingly weary of getting screwed over by big government. Isn't a break from a bloated and greedy ruling class the impetus for the beginning of what used to be the greatest country in the world - the country formerly known as the United States of America?
Graph shamelessly hijacked from GraphJam.com
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I'm so proud of my Girl. See, this boyfriend that she met earlier this summer was getting clingy and whining about not her not having any time for him. Well she's drum major and has a job, so when she's not doing band stuff, she's at work. We barely see her either and she lives here. So she was tired of the whininess and in the process of trying to break up with him at his house. He was trying to argue with her about it, then he got mad. He grabbed her arm, pushed her into the wall and drew back his fist to hit her. He didn't even get his hand all the way back when he found her knee planted firmly and with great gusto in his testicles, then himself on the floor puking his guts out. She kicked him again, yelled "Fuck You!" and stormed out. It's nice to know she's listening to me, even when she pretends not to. Nobody has to put up with that kind of shit and if she had put up with it this time, she might be doomed to a life of abuse forever.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
I can hardly believe it - after weeks with temperatures in the 100's and no rain, just as I'm finally able to get my schedule cleared enough to use the pool that's finally almost back to normal after the pump being down for 10 days, it's raining. I'd rather have the rain than the pool at this point, especially when all you can smell when you go outside is the grass cooking and all you can see is more burned up fields and the trees giving up early and starting to shed their leaves. A couple more days of this would be nice, but I'll take what I can get at this point.
Radar screen shot shamelessly hijacked from my favorite local weather source, KXAS TV's Weather Plus website nbc5i.com (Rest in Peace, Harold Taft).
Although there are some exciting and significant developments in the works for my real job, this has been a shitty week at Giant Corporate University. One of my colleagues has no command of the English language and tries to use words that she clearly doesn't understand in her communications, making her writing unintelligible. I can't even respond to most of her posts because I don't know what she's saying, and am not sure she does either. This was the self-appointed leader of our team. Sigh. As the type who will usually go along to get along, I just let her do her thing, even after she used her caps lock key on me and another guy when we weren't going by her schedule (a schedule that we didn't agree to in the contracting process, I might add) but what I really want to do is hunt her down and kill her with my bare hands for butchering my native tongue. I have plenty of IQ points to spare, but I fear giving them to her would be a waste because she already thinks she's intelligent and knows everything. Tragic she's unaware of her deficit.
The facilitator is barely present, and leaves very short, almost cryptic messages when she is in forum. After several days of wondering whether my posts met criteria and no responses to communications for clarification from at least one of my colleagues, out of the blue my indicators of success mysteriously appeared. This reinforces some of my recently learned professional lessons that sometimes learning what "not" to do is just as important as learning what to do.
Even though technically we're supposed to have 2 days off per week, I'm finding myself working every stinking day. Since the first day of the course is a wash because there's no way to earn the necessary participation credits because there's nothing to respond to but introductions, which don't count, and there was something due every other day of the week, that means that GCU is turning into a 7-day-a-week job for which I'm still not getting paid and I'm starting to build more than a little resentment about the situation. I worked too hard for too long to get where I am today to be anyone's slave, especially when there's no guarantee of employment at the end of all this prattling on about nothing of real substance. I keep trying to remind myself that it's not the end of the world if I don't get the job and it may be a blessing in disguise if I don't since the pay isn't much more than minimum wage because Giant Corporation keeps most of the money. If I don't get voted off the island, I'll get about what one student out of the 20 pays to take each class I teach. There are 80-zillion programs out there and the more I get to know this one, the less I'm liking it.
Speaking of work, I'm finding most of the assignments to be asinine busy work. Every night I troll through what everyone else has said looking for some nugget upon which to expound my personal and professional wisdom (providing I have any, of course). There doesn't seem to be a clear criterion about what is considered acceptable so some folks prattle on and on and don't say anything. I've probably been guilty of that, too just because sometimes there's just nothing to say.
Also unrelated and twice removed but not really, I thought this component was supposed to be specialist training. I don't understand why I'm the only psychologist in a class full of nurses, IT guys and teachers. I'm not stupid - it's clear that this is still more generalist training. Any posts relating to my specialty area have come from me. Or maybe they're thinking of the other kind of specialist training.
Only one more week. Let's consider it an exercise in frustration management. Thanks for the vent.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Okay, so I had a meeting with a referring agency in another region that's about an hours' drive away from here today because they liked the eval I did for them 3 weeks ago. It was the first time I'd done work for them because they're in another region but they needed someone and I was it. The meeting went well. Very well. Matter of fact, they even bought my lunch and visited with me for nearly 3 hours. It went so well that they're going to urge their clients to drive to where I am for their evals and stop using the people there (partly because the one guy left there who does what I do shares office space with his wife - also a psychologist - and they have verbally abusive screaming matches with each other - in front of the patients, who are already anxious about having to go in for psychological testing O.o). Not only that but they're trying to score me an unused room somewhere with a table and 2 chairs to do work in a couple of the field offices because I'm willing to go there to do the work. Then, when I make my escape from Questionable Ethics R Us, my neuropsych supervisor with whom I've worked since 2001 will sign off on any of those reports until I can do my own thing after the first of the year when I no longer have to give half my money to the company. There's a light, indeed.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The good news though is that four months from today, my postdoc year (read: indentured servitude) will be over and I can start my independent professional life on my own terms. Sure I'll be slogging through the Medicare and insurance provider paperwork and trying to get established in my own practice with all the headaches and bills that entails, but at least I will be working under my own reputation and license, not someone else's. The better news is that I am already beginning to establish my own reputation and relationships with the major referrers in the region. They like my work, they like me personally and they have made it very clear that they want to know when and where I hang my shingle. It just can't be done until after the licensing paperwork is completed. I'll mail it December 4. Last year when I filed my provisional paperwork on the same date, it was approved December 31. Of course I didn't get the confirmation for a couple more weeks, but at least I got it.
The training for the giant corporate online university feels oddly like American Idol. There ended up being 378 trainees in my entry level class, then I was assigned to a group of 1o. Within the first week 4 of them dropped. Of the remaining 6 only 3 of us were in the same entry class so there was at least one other huge ass entry class somewhere. The training itself seems like a lot of busy work, but they have selected me to continue on to the next stage so that's good, I guess, except so far I'm not seeing a lot of attention being paid to academic rigor. After the next 2 weeks in developing syllabi et cetera (mind you I've already been through the first 2 weeks so in total this will be a full month of "training" i.e. working for free), the next stage will see me actually teaching a class with an instructor's instructor who can give me feedback on how I'm doing. I appreciate that. I will get paid the full rate for a doctoral level instructor for teaching that class, but that won't happen until the end of September. At least it's something to look forward to, but there's no guarantee that I'll even be offered a position until after the class wraps up in mid-to-late October.
Still no word on whether or not I'll be teaching at the community college again, and class starts in 3 weeks. The Psyc/Soci instructor/coordinator guy left in May, which is why the division chair asked me to apply for that job, which I did immediately - in May. Now the division chair is leaving so the two top leadership positions in that area are vacant, and nobody's saying a word. I'm debating whether to shoot a friendly email to the human resources coordinator to check on the status of my application.
The good news of the whole thing is that at least I'm 2/3 of the way through the postdoctoral purgatory year and that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take one look around and you can see that nobody's starving around here. We still have a roof over our heads, the lights are still on, and I still have stuff I can sell on eBay. I can do anything for 4 months. However, if you know the money fairy, could you send it my way? Kthxbai.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
So I won a prize over at Brunhilda's. How cool is that? Although she wants to envision us Texas wimmin as all having big ol' bleached blonde bouffant hair and bright red dragon claws, I just don't fit that pattern. My makeup is pretty minimal. Hair and nails are both cropped short and the closest thing to bleached blonde as I get are the highlights The Girl talked me into awhile back that I am allowing to grow back out and the -ahem- "natural platinum" that's growing in as I get older. I own a tanning bed but plan to sell it because I haven't used it in a couple of years.
I promised a juicy, newsy post, so first things first: I survived the oral exam but won't know until around Labor Day whether I passed. The problem with the oral exam is that examinees are given ten minutes to formulate a case and talk about it for an hour with two examiners who have no knowledge of the examinee's clinical skills. They know whether or not examinees have passed when they allow us to check out, but we have to wait six weeks for the "official" letter from the state. There are only one or two other states that still do the oral exam because of the lack of reliability and validity, partly because examiners only receive 3 hours' training and the outcome is highly subjective, but Texas still hangs in there because that's the way it's always been done.
I have some misgivings about my outcome because my anxiety level was through the roof. Ordinarily, I can talk about neuropsych all day long, but Saturday I didn't feel like I could construct a coherent thought to save my life. First of all, I like to think deeply when I'm formulating a case and take into consideration as many of the potential variables as possible. That just can't be done in ten minutes. Second, the people I've trained with over the years were genuinely down-to-earth people that you wouldn't know were psychologists if they didn't tell you. My two examiners acted the psychologist stereotype. It was creeeeeppyyyy (*shudder*). We were seated in a very tiny stark white room with a table, tape recorder, a black file with my name on it, and a 2-way mirror. The examiner seated closest to said mirror kept trying to look into it to see if anyone was on the other side - either that or he was checking his hair, or to see if there was something in his teeth, I don't know. Then, he kept checking his fucking BLACKBERRY throughout my exam!! Goddammit, if I had to leave my cell phone turned off and in the waiting area, he should have been held to the same standard.
The worst part though was the questioning. I had only ten minutes to review the case, which by design, contains only limited information. I could take notes for that ten minutes but that was all. Bet your ass I filled a page in that time. Then, instead of asking one question at a time, the questions were embedded - like 2 to 4 questions all in one shot. By the time I'd get finished with the first part of the question, I'd forgotten the rest and had to ask the guy to repeat the next part - of course, he repeated the whole fucking thing. Then, they started reading the questions e - x - c - r - u - c - i - a - t - i - n - g - l - y s - l - o - w - l - y, as if they were thinking , "Wow - this one is really stupid. How the fuck she got through doctoral study is beyond us..." Either that or my mind was racing so far ahead that there was a warp in the spacetime continuum and it just seemed that way. Then, they asked me what I'd done to enhance my professional skills in the last few years. Um, duh? I just cranked out four degrees in ten years? Finished 231 credits toward a 135 credit PhD in clinical psychology with a neuropsychology concentration as the cherry on top? Did ground-breaking research in the relationship between geriatric cognitive functioning and affect? All those CE's I've taken in the last 4 years? Teaching a doctoral level hands-on Halstead-Reitan lab? Did I mention that I did all of this while juggling work AND a family AND community activism? Does any of that count? Because really, I'm not so sure because my cogitator is really fucked up right now. At any rate, we'll know by Labor Day. Meh. I'm just glad to have it over with - at least until January if I failed the goddamn thing. Fuckers.
I learned yesterday that I'll be presenting my research in geriatric cognition and affect at my state psychological association's annual convention in November. Tragic that they misspelled the title of the research on the website. Gotta remember to call them Monday to correct it. It's Dysphoria, not Sysphoria, fools.
In other news, my intro psych class is over. They were awesome and everybody got an A. I doubt I'll ever get a class that good again. The developmental psych class I was scheduled to teach for Summer II didn't make (even though I worked my butt off getting the course ready to go - upside is that at least it's ready to go next time), so my finances are looking beyond bleak right now, but I'll make it. I always do. I applied for a full time position at the community college but they wait until the last damn minute to make a decision over there, then expect you to be ready to go - like - yesterday, so I probably won't hear anything from them until mid-late August (classes start August 25).
In the interim, I've been selected to take the faculty training for a big, giant corporate university and will start this Tuesday. The recruiter wants me to teach undergraduate and graduate level courses online. We'll see how it goes. In my research though, I've noticed that they advertise for faculty pretty regularly and that there are over 20,000 - yes, kids - twenty thousand - online instructors for this school worldwide. My entry level faculty trainee class is about 250. Jeez, Louise. I can't imagine the management structure they must have in place to keep track of that many people - and that doesn't include the on-ground people or administrative staff. The picture at the top is one The Girl took the other day for my faculty profile. She said that of the dozen or so pictures she snapped that day (actually sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet in, but I cropped all that out), this one captured my personality the best. See? I told you I don't have big hair.
The Girl worked at Sonic for about 2 weeks after drum major camp and never got a chance to work more than 2 hours at one time, even though she got a "promotion" to carhop the second day. By the time we factored in a gallon of gas there & back and taxes, it wasn't worth it for her to work there. Sooo, I talked to The Man and pointed out that sad little fact and that she would never be able to save for another car if she couldn't get any hours. We agreed that she would be better off at her old job, where she could at least work a full shift and get tips from being the best little tableside guacamole girl ever. Of all the guac I've eaten there (which would be approximately a shitload), hers stands out as the best, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom. People she doesn't even know request her specifically to make their guacamole. She's started doing this thing she calls "Guacamole Theater," where she acts out bastardized scenes from movies with the knife and the avocado as the main characters and the other ingredients and tools (salt, lime, tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, molcajete, pestle & spoons) play the bit parts. (Knife: "I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Avocado: "Ayudame! Ayudame!" After a mighty duel, Knife slices into avocado with a great squishing noise as the other ingredients shriek in terror...et cetera). That Girl is a scream, I tell ya. She's happier there, having loads more fun and making a lot more money, so everybody's happy. She even has a new car, 2 years newer, 4-door & white which we found for exactly the amount the insurance company settled back in April. All's right with her world.
The Man has a job interview Monday for a job which he is totally overqualified but it's close to home and since, despite my efforts, I'm not making shit for money, and the weather's been too dry for his hay business to get any work, somebody's gotta work around here.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Okay, just so you don't think I've fallen off the face of the earth, I haven't abandoned the blog, nor have I abandoned y'all (actually I stop by all my faves at least once a day, I just haven't been commenting much, if at all). You see, I sit for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychology's oral exam for full licensure tomorrow down in Austin. I'll be sitting for the neuropsychology specialization. It's pretty much the last hoop I have to jump through to practice on my own once my postdoc is over in December and I have been studying and reviewing like all hell to make sure I pass it the first time - even though there's really no way to study for it. Anxious doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. The panic attacks aren't as bad as when I sat for the national exam, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) four years ago, because I have better coping skills now to handle them, but my anxiety is palpable and I'm really not feeling like very much fun or very good company. I have a lot to talk about, I'm just too nervous to do it right now, so just know that all's well and I'll have a really juicy and newsy post once I get tomorrow out of the way.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Put blue and pink tips in her hair, that is. It's just for summer and she has to cut it off before summer band starts, but what the hell? She's a seriously awesome all-around good kid. If the worst thing I have to worry about is her hair, I got nothin' to complain about. At. All.
Of course, it does kind of look like maybe I might have gotten drunk and fucked a parrot once up on a time...
Monday, June 9, 2008
The last couple of weeks have been inordinately busy. Between the end of school year stuff, 3 graduations, 3 funerals and a trip to KC with Mom and The Girl to visit Grandma, one could rightly assume that we were experiencing an overabundance of activity. Add getting ready to teach a section or two at the local community college to the mix and getting The Girl ready to go off to drum major camp, and it's just a whole new level of crazy.
One interesting thing that happened Saturday was that I returned to my graduate program to teach a hands-on workshop on the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery (HRNTB). It was nice to be asked to come back and teach, but I can't tell you how gratifying it was on any number of levels to be able to mail them an invoice this morning instead of being on the receiving end of the invoicing. It was nowhere near what I paid them over the years, but the evil little kid in me enjoyed the experience immensely.
I'm hoping that once this week is over we'll settle into a nice summer groove with no major hassles or disruptions. It would be nice for a change, but somehow that just doesn't seem likely. Sad. I could go for a frothy cold golden beverage poolside.
Monday, May 26, 2008
To ice that cake, she received a phone call from a potential employer 5 minutes later asking that she come in for a job interview tomorrow. All's right with the world.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Okay so (Queso? I love queso!) for the next two years, if you ever come to our little town of Fundietonfieldvilleview, Texas or any of a number of other tiny Texas towns on a Friday night during football season, the girl on the podium - you know - the cute blonde one wearing the cape and directing the band? That will be my very own Girl. That's right. The Girl got drum major and when the announcement was made, she received a standing ovation from the band she'll be leading for the next 2 years. She's worked very hard to earn it, but while she was learning the music she was to conduct for tryouts, she was also helping the other kids who would be competing against her with their conducting skills. She's so amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We had the joy of watching Greg Pattillo and PROJECT at the Texas Flute Society's annual festival today. What a talented group of musicians! They were just as much fun to watch as they were fun to listen to. We liked them so much that we bought their new CD online at CDBaby.com. I recommend it highly.
Speaking of the flute festival, The Girl performed her solo for a clinician in preparation for next week's All State Solo & Ensemble competition. The clinician was impressed with The Girl's style and playing ability - especially for her age. I tell ya' the kid's a rock star!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I got this in an email today and just wanted to share it with you in honor of Mother's Day.
This is for the mothers who have sat up
all night with sick toddlers in their arms,
wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer
wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying,
'It's okay honey, Mommy's here.'
Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.
This is for all the mothers who show up at
work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains
on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
For all the mothers who run carpools and
make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.
And all the mothers who don't.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to
babies they'll never see. And the mothers
who took those babies and gave them homes.
This is for the mothers whose priceless art
collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.
And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars.
And that when their kids asked, 'Did you see me, Mom?' they could say, 'Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world,' and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but understand how child abuse happens.
This is for all the mothers who sat down with
their children and explained all about making
babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who
wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.
This is for all the mothers who go
hungry, so their children can eat.
For all the mothers who read 'Goodnight,
Moon' twice a night for a year. And then
read it again, 'Just one more time.'
This is for all the mothers who taught
their children to tie their shoelaces before
they started school. And for all the mothers
who opted for Velcro instead.
This is for all the mothers who teach their sons
to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls 'Mom?' in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away
at college -- or have their own families.
This is for all the mothers who sent their kids
to school with stomach aches, assuring them
they'd be just FINE once they got there, only
to get calls from the school nurse an hour later
asking them to please pick them up. Right away.
This is for mothers whose children have gone
astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they
bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.
For all the mothers of the victims of school shootings, and the mothers
of those who did the shooting.
For the mothers of the survivors,
and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror,
hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.
This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to be peaceful, and now pray
they come home safely from a war.
What makes a good mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, balance the checkbook and
sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?
Or is it in her heart?
Is it the ache she feels when she
watches her son or daughter disappear
down the street, walking to school alone
for the very first time?
The jolt that takes her from sleep to
dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put
her hand on the back of a sleeping baby?
The panic, years later, that comes again
at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear
their key in the door and know they
are safe again in her home?
Or the need to flee from wherever she is
and hug her child when she hears news
of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
The emotions of motherhood are
universal and so our thoughts are for
young mothers stumbling through diaper
changes and sleep deprivation...
And for mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all. For all of us...
Hang in there. In the end we can
only do the best we can. Tell them
every day that we love them. And pray
and never stop being a mother...
Friday, May 9, 2008
The fact that you only make $6 an hour is no excuse for your glaring lack of professionalism. The office in which we work is staffed with no less than three people who hold doctoral degrees, not just the one whose name is on the door. When you speak to one of us directly, please feel free to call us by our first names - we all have to work together and we prefer to keep things collegial. However, when speaking to patients or agencies about us, please refer to us by our correct professional title: DOCTOR Insertlastnamehere. We all worked very hard to earn those degrees while you were off smoking hashish in the woods somewhere frying your brain cells to the point where they no longer function adequately. To refer to us by our first names undermines our professional credibility with both the patients and the agencies that refer business to us. Between the paper thin walls, shabby worn-out 1980's furniture and the appearance that it is a public health clinic rather than a private psychology practice, this office has enough professional credibility problems as it is without you adding to them.
When I make a request in a polite fashion (speaking slowly because your brain is fried like your overbleached hair that's far too long for a woman of your years), don't take it as a personal affront and go whining to the boss, "Do we really have to do that?" Yes, you do because that is what a professional office worker does. If it's necessary to tell you again, I can't promise to be so nice. Then again, you probably won't understand a word I have to say because of your limited vocabulary and insistence upon behaving like some cutesy little 7-year-old girl - even though you're 52.
Oh yeah, and it's a PSYCHOLOGIST'S office. Why the hell do you and the office manager wear nurse's scrubs? It's not like you ever even touch the patients.
Every day I come up with a new rule about what my practice is going to be like. It's shaping up to be the opposite of whatever you are.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I was lunching solo in a restaurant the other day and overheard a conversation between two fine, upstanding Texas Ladies that went something like this:
"Natter natter natter bitch McCain. Natter natter natter. Bush natter but Obama bitch natter natter and that Hillary? Well just prattle natter bitch, bless her heart."
"Really? Well, bitch prattle natter rattle Obama, but then again bitch bitch prattle Hillary natter rattle prattle. But then again, I don't vote."
Sorry dumbass. If you don't vote, you effectively forfeit your right to natter, prattle or rattle - much less bitch about the political process. It's people like you who have done your level best to fuck up the country. Why don't you help unfuck it up for a change? Get your ass to the polls and vote.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
We've all heard horror stories about insurance companies jerking people around when it comes time to pay on a claim, despite thousands paid in premiums. I am proud to say that didn't happen. My Texas Farm Bureau Insurance agent, Marc Lancaster out of the Hood/Somervell County office returned my phone call from Sunday at around 8:30 yesterday morning. I called in the claim a little after 9am when the main office opened and the claim was COMPLETED before 1pm. I had to go to the wrecking yard to sign the release of the vehicle to the insurance company and retrieve The Girl's remaining possessions and will have to sign a power of attorney & send it back with the title, but as soon as those make it back to the home office in Waco, they'll cut me a check for nearly what we paid for the car back in July. Granted, I'm not telling The Girl how much it is. All she knows is that she has to get another job - closer to home - and I'll be taking her to & from until she can save an as-yet-to-be-determined amount of her own money to get another car.
Marc told me today that our premiums will barely even go up because he's keeping us on the premium line & just adding a point. I hate to sound like a commercial, but Farm Bureau Insurance has branches in all 50 states. You should call them. Their coverage is more extensive and for lower premiums than any company I've seen. On top of that, they have the most amazing customer service - bar none. If you call Marc for a quote, tell him Doc sent you.
If you're interested, here are the pictures we took yesterday at the wrecking yard - with the car right-side-up. We never did find her paycheck. Then again, $140 is a small price to pay...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
It was the call every parent dreads. The Girl called in sick to work and she, her godsister and two other friends went driving around yesterday afternoon - in TWO cars, no less. With the price of gas, "cruising" is on my list of pretty-much banned activities, but we were at Suz's helping her move into her new house - where apparently the teenagers don't have to lift a finger - and I didn't want to make waves. This has always been a bone of contention between the two of us. She thinks the kids should never be "bored," so she pretty much lets them do whatever they want (her two have always been brats, too - big surprise). I think that if you keep them busy, they don't have time to get bored or in trouble. But what could I possibly know about anything? Nevertheless, the girls got "bored" sitting around. Nevermind there was plenty of work available that they would have been perfectly capable of doing.
45 minutes after they left, Suz's cell phone rings and my daughter is screaming something about a wreck and wanting her mom. She didn't call me because she couldn't find her cell phone so she used her godsister's & Suz's number is programmed in at #1. The Girl was crying and screaming, "I"m sorry I'm sorry I'm so sorry!" As I calmed her down so I could find out where they were so we could get to them, all I could think was, "I'm so thankful she's able to make this call."
So we all loaded up in The Man's pickup and headed that way - down a windy, VERY bumpy country road. Apparently The Girl stopped so that the other 2 girls could catch up. When they did, she gunned it, lost control, hit a tree, flipped her Explorer and skidded many yards down the road, totaling her car.
Imagine driving up on this scene, knowing your child was driving that vehicle - yeah, the red one that's upside-down:
Interestingly, in a reflexive, protective move, The Girl threw her arm across Suz's daughter's chest on impact. Once the vehicle came to a stop, they both crawled out of the open windows. Had the windows not been rolled down, they both would be picking glass out of their skin today. Instead, they have only a few abrasions from the airbags deploying and on their necks from the seatbelts holding them in place. Oh, and the emotional toll on The Girl from losing both her beloved car and her equally beloved job in the same instant.
The police, fire & EMT guys said that they were lucky. If they'd been in a convertible, then most likely they both would have been killed or seriously injured. A convertible like the red convertible Mustang my goddaughter HAD to have, so Suz naturally bought for her. The car they almost drove but didn't because Suz's daughter isn't licensed yet and The Girl isn't on their insurance policy.
So in the postgame analysis, even though The Girl thinks I'm mad because she wrecked her car, I'm not. I am thankful to be able to call the insurance guy tomorrow about handling the totaling of her car instead of cashing her life insurance policy and finding myself in the surreal and unenviable place of having to plan a funeral for a child. I'm happy she's home watching TV and sending text messages to her friends instead of on life support or in the morgue. I don't mind being inconvenienced by taking her to & from school until she can afford to buy another car. I don't mind helping her find another job closer to home or even taking her to and from the new job so she can save money to get another car. I'm endlessly grateful that my only child, my precious Girl, is home, safe and mostly that she is still alive to be able to try out for drum major in a couple of weeks, go on her band trip, compete at All-State solo & ensemble and most of all spend another summer floating in the pool and solving all the world's problems with me.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Imagine for a moment that you're a neuroscientist. Now imagine that you've had a stroke. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam . Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands. HEMA also has stores in Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany . In June of this year, HEMA was sold to British investment company Lion Capital.
Take a look at HEMA's product page. You can't order anything and it's in
Dutch but just wait a couple of seconds and watch what happens.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
In the history of mankind, more lives have been lost and destruction and suffering caused in the name of Imaginary Friends than by any other concept. Most adults who talk to imaginary friends that tell them what to do are called "mentally ill" or "delusional," except certain special types, because evidently that kind of delusional is okay. This is because all of their real friends have the same Imaginary Friend because they're not allowed to hang out with people who have a different Imaginary Friend (per the Imaginary Friend, of course). So, because "everybody does it," and they're afraid not to because the Imaginary Friend has told them that "Bad Things" will happen if they don't, the people all share the in the special Imaginary Friend delusion and call it "religion." The even people build big special buildings that cost lots of money for their Imaginary Friend to live in, most of the time a whole bunch of them in the same town. Then they give It a percentage of their income, even if they don't have enough for themselves, because apparently Imaginary Friend needs money too.
Since the special Imaginary Friend kind of delusion is protected -and even encouraged- by their leaders, it's even more okay. Because, come on, if the people don't have to think for themselves because their Imaginary Friend does it for them and tells them what to do, that can only be good for the government, right? Think about it. If the government can convince the poor gullible people that Imaginary Friend wants them to support the government's policies even when they're foolish and that if they don't, "Bad Things" will happen, that can only be good for the government.
When the people meet somebody with a different Imaginary Friend, they argue about which Imaginary Friend is better. Then, because it's an argument that can't be won because it's about Imaginary Friends, everybody gets mad and calls all the real friends they know who have the same Imaginary Friend so they can have a real war with the people with the different Imaginary Friend, to prove whose Imaginary Friend is the bigger badass - with real weapons, injuries, loss of life, rape, pillaging and destruction to back it up.
That's just silly. I don't want to play.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Man, oh man, our band kids here in Fundietonfieldvilleview, Texas are an amazing bunch. They competed in the UIL concert & sightreading contest Wednesday and earned straight first divisions in both. That, coupled with their straight ones in marching back in the fall, earned our little ragtag bunch of band nerds the much-coveted Sweepstakes Band award for the first time since the 2002-2003 school year. As "the mom that goes to stuff," I had the privilege of witnessing both events. From my seat at the back of the auditorium during the concert event, I watched 2 of the 3 judges bobbing their heads and appearing to really be enjoying themselves. During the sightreading event (where the kids have to perform a piece of music they've never seen before after their band director talks about it for 4 minutes), they didn't sound like they were sightreading at all. It was flippin' awesome.
Soooo, the party will ensue at my house next Saturday. It's going to be a blast they've worked hard to earn. This coming week is Spring Break for The Girl. Hopefully, we'll have the pool ready to go by then.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
I've been busy re-organizing my files and files and files of testing protocol blanks. Really, I didn't realize just how much I'd accumulated and how horribly disorganized they were. Now everything neurocognitive rehabilitation-related is in one file, everything assessment-related is in 3 files and all of the important articles and lectures are in another file. 'Tis all good. Over the course of the reorganization, I ran across this and thought y'all would appreciate it.
Duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made passing grades in flying but was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. Nevertheless, average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that but Duck.
Rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.
Squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class, where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He also developed charlie horses from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and a D in running.
Eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.
At the end of the year, an abnormal eel had the highest average and was Valedictorian.
I have not clue one from whence this came. If you know the author, please let me know so that I can give them due credit.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Romulus Crowe, tagged me for the book meme. I've seen it around and have actively avoided it because even after selling over $1500 worth on Amazon.com and giving a bunch more away, there are still books in every room of my house. Naturally, the bulk of them are psychology and neuropsychology related, but I have a couple of shelves' worth of cookbooks and another shelf of just sheet music. Romulus would be pleased to know that I also have a couple of tomes on ghosts, although none on UFOs, even though I'm quite fascinated by them.
So without further ado, here are the rules:
1. Grab the nearest book (that is at least 123 pages long).
2. Open to p. 123.
3. Go down to the 5th sentence.
4. Type in the following 3 sentences.
5. Tag five people.
Since so many of my books hold tightly guarded trade secrets about psychological and neuropsychological assessment, I'll skip those in the name of ethical considerations.
I thought I sold the book that caught my eye, Madness in America: Cultural and Medical Perceptions of Mental Illness before 1914. It was penned by Lynn Gamwell and Nancy Tomes. Page 123 is in Part III: American Nervousness. The paragraph is about a journalist, Nelly Bly, who was sent by a New York newspaper, the World, to infiltrate Blackwell's Island asylum in 1887.
"After Bly was confined for ten days, the attorney for the World, Peter A. Hendricks, went to Blackwell's Island, accompanied by cartoonist Walt McDougall, to arrange for her release. The following Sunday, the editors of the World featured Bly's expose, along with gleeful reprints of the articles written by their hoodwinked colleagues on newspaper row."
Since there are only about 3 people who comment regularly and all 3 of them have done it already, if you're lurking, consider yourself tagged. Have fun.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The Girl racked up yet another musical accomplishment yesterday. She earned a first division on her flute solo, the 3rd movement from Stamitz's Flute Concerto in G, played from memory. If you get a minute look the piece up. It's fun to listen to & The Girl says it's way fun to play. Earning that first division means that she gets to advance and compete at the All-State solo & ensemble competition in May. This is amazing considering that it's like pulling teeth to get her to practice - ever. Woohoo! Go Girl!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
My copies of the final, bound dissertation arrived Valentine's Day (I got one for Mom, too and of course she teared up when I gave it to her - then she had me sign it, haha). The bindery made the cover in blue hardbound with gold lettering. It's weird to see my name on a book as the author, but for some reason I wasn't expecting it to say my full name, followed by MA on the cover. I guess it stands to reason that since the dissertation was the last (seemingly neverending) project before the doctorate was conferred, that it should read MA instead of PhD. Still, I'll have to explain why it doesn't say PhD at least 40 times since we tend to have a lot of company and it's the current coffee table book.
Mom had her first book signing at a Borders book store on Saturday. I went along to help out and handle the money. Since the book store didn't order any of her books because the publisher won't allow them to be returned, they allowed Mom to sell from what she has. It was cold and raining like all hell so even though it was a Saturday in a normally pretty busy store, there just weren't many people there. Mom was a little discouraged but was happy nonetheless because she was actually getting to have a real book signing. As we were leaving, the manager asked how many we sold. When Mom told her she sold about 6, the manager looked puzzled and said, "You've had a successful signing. I've had big name writers come for signings that didn't sell any." That made her feel a lot better. Her next signing is February 29 at the library in the town where she lives, but I have other plans that day so I can't go help out.
In other news, The Girl is going for orientation for a job that she got at a Mexican food restaurant. Since she's under 18 she can't wait tables because they serve alcohol, but she can do other jobs like make the tableside guacamole (which is the best part about that restaurant), bus tables or hostess. She said that she'd rather bus tables or run the fryer before hostessing. When I asked her why, she flipped her hair, rolled her eyes and in her best everso blonde Valley Girl voice said, "Because they're just, like, so hostess-y." She's so funny.
The Man and some of his buddies are starting a sideline business of catching feral hogs to sell at a rather high price to high-end restaurants, who will then put them on the menu as "wild boar," even though they're just feral hogs. Whathefuckever. The little ones still taste amazing. They made and set out half a dozen traps last week. There are 4 in the traps today so the guys are on the way to retrieve them. Somehow I don't envision these now-wild animals quietly loading on the trailer. This evening's post-game analysis should be interesting. Gotta scoot - I think I want to do a little yoga now that the house is finally empty.