Friday, October 31, 2008

Hamster + hamster ball + cat of nervous disposition = hilarity

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grammar. I haz it.

I just got a fax addressed to "All Employee's and there family's". This has caused me to doubt the legitimacy of the cruise I just won.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reading is fun

A few weeks ago there was a call for volunteers to read to classes as part of Read-In Week. I dig reading even if I'm not big on kids, so I signed up. I read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I really should have saved Green Eggs and Ham for last, because it's really hard to go from reading aloud Dr Seuss's rhyme and meter to reading aloud anything that isn't Seussian. It was a fun experience.

I was early, so I stopped by the school library to ask about volunteering. It's a really nice library, with an open floor plan in a large common area of the school, and a collection that includes French and Ukrainian books. The library tech lit up when I said I was interested in volunteering, and she practically hugged me when I said I was a trained library tech. She's already making plans to get me cataloguing once I get used to their collection a bit by shelving and working circ. The library thing is even more flexible than my day job, and I won't be starting until November when my day job begins to slow to a crawl.

It's not entirely altruistic. Sure, I believe in education, reading, and the power of volunteers since public schools don't always have a lot of money. Blah blah touchy feely warm fuzzy whatevs and all that. But it will also look really good on my resume. Employers look favorably on volunteerism. More importantly, it's a way to keep my hand in the library world should I ever want to rekindle that as a career. I like my job and I have no plans to leave, but when working for an arts non-profit it's always prudent to keep an eye on future employability. Just in case.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We've been trying with limited success to socialize Hammy (her names are now Honey, Flower, Smoochy, Hamtard, and Hammy). Last night we let her run around a large rubbermaid bin, but when David picked her up she jumped out of his hands and we had to catch her from under the television. She got really stressed out and even snarled at David (I didn't know hamsters could snarl). We put her back in her cage, gave her some fruit she likes, and wired the cage shut for the night.

I got up this morning and could tell by the cat's manner that there was either a mouse in the bedroom or that Hammy got out somehow. Sure enough, there was Hammy sitting behind the television. Thalia was all "I tink yuz iz fud." Hammy was all "Maybs, but probs not." The cat was kicked out and the hamster was caught again. The cage door was wide open. She'd tried chewing the wire, we could tell, but she managed to actually untwist it to get the door open. We wired it back up with the promise to get a little luggage padlock. When I got out of the shower she was looking all innocent, but I could tell she'd been trying to get out again. The cage is now turned so the door is up against the wall.

Troublesome little bugger.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I woke up Sunday night with a bit of a sore throat, and my Monday morning I was well and truly sick. By Tuesday my left tonsil and lymph node were more painfully swollen than I've ever had before (the act of swallowing was bringing me to tears, and I have a fairly high pain threshold), so off I went to the doctor. I don't have a regular doctor since a lot aren't taking new patients anymore and I avoid them anyhow whenever possible, so I had to resort to seeing a pill-pushing quack at a conveniently located walk-in clinic in the ghetto. I waited an hour and the doctor took one look at my throat and wrote a prescription; no questions about medical history other than drug allergies, no checking pulse or blood pressure, just handing out the scrips. Even though a little more of an examination would have been reassuring, it is kind of nice to have a doctor not hem and haw about giving me antibiotics. I've had tonsil issues my entire life, and if I'm going to the doctor at all it's because I know from experience that it's time for antibiotics.

The doctor asked if I've ever had mono and I said no. He then asked if I wanted to have the bloodwork to test for it and I said not really. I don't like needles and if there's no reason to suspect mono I don't want to be tested for it. I don't have a drug plan so he checked for samples of what he wanted to give me, but he was all out. I thanked him for checking and told him that I'm gainfully employed and it wouldn't be a hardship to pay for the more expensive drug if that's what would be best (although, I was in so much pain that he could have come at my tonsils with a scalpel right then and there and I would have welcomed it. I would've paid anything at that point). He ignored me and gave me amoxicillin because it's the least expensive, and warned that if I do have mono I would have a reaction to the amoxil and break out into a rash. Mono and amoxil don't get along, which was news to me.

$21 later I started on the amoxil and my throat was already improving by the next morning, so it was all good. Wednesday night I had hives breaking out on my neck and a rash all over my arms and torso. Well, dammit, that must mean I have mono, right? I don't know where I would have picked up mono or why I wouldn't have ever had any signs of it it before now if I had. I left work early and went to the same clinic but saw a nicer doctor. He said not to worry about mono because I show no signs of it at all and the amoxil wouldn't taken care of the swollen lymph node so effectively if it had been mono.

He determined that I've developed an allergy to penicillin products. This was concerning since I have a mitral valve prolapse and need antibiotics prior to dental procedures and certain surgical procedures. He assured me that these days it's not really a very big deal medically since there are lots of non-penicillin antibiotics, but they're unfortunately more expensive. The pharmacy couldn't refund me for the unused amoxil and I had to pay $55 for the new stuff. Bah! Yeah, I'm gainfully employed, but I'd much rather spend that money on a new outfit. The pharmacist was really nice and advised taking some sort of allergy drug and waiting a couple hours for the rash to fade before starting the new antibiotics, just in case I'm allergic to those too so it would be easier to tell. So far so good, the rash is gone and my throat is nearly back to normal after only a couple doses.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hamsters and cats and escapes, oh my!

We recently acquired a hamster. Thalia was, for a short time, enamored with it. She still sleeps next to the cage and will spend time watching the hamster, but hasn't been overly predatory.

Then this morning, the hamster nearly ended up in Thalia's fat kitteh belleh. I'm home sick but wanted to get up for a few minutes after taking ibuprofen. I noticed the cat keeping an eye on something in the corner by the closet and dresser. I assumed it was an insect of some kind. I turned the light on, and there was the stupid little hamster. Insert profanity here. I hauled the cat upstairs to shut in the office and got David to help catch the little bugger. On my way up I glanced at the cage and noted that the cage door was open.

Between the two of us (but mostly David) we got the thing cornered and caught, but not without having to move some furniture. The cage door is wired shut now. We're really not sure if it was the kids, the hamster, or the cat who did it. Perhaps a combination of all three, but the kids were asleep and the hamster couldn't have been out for more than a few minutes. The cat or the hamster might have gotten lucky and opened it by accident, but I'm pretty sure the two of them put together aren't smart enough to open the cage intentionally.

Interestingly, Thalia wasn't hunting the hamster like she hunts mice. She was keeping a careful watch on it, but wasn't really aggressive or overly playful. Perhaps being exposed to the hamster in the cage for a few weeks has dimmed her instinct to eat it a little, or at least confused her. The hamster also didn't seem at all fearful of the cat. It was all "Yo, what up, kitteh?" and Thalia was all "Yuz fud or no fud? In mah belleh?"

I really glad I got up when I did.