Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday morning stuff

* My train is currently 35 minutes late. Sigh. This is only likely to get worse given how it is between San Antonio and my stop. Oh well. Maybe I can stop at Stitchin' Heaven for a while. (I will probably leave at the same time I always do, just in case of heavy traffic or construction)

* I didn't finish "Operation Mincemeat" last night so I decided - even though it's a large heavy hardback - to bring it and finish it on the train. One thing that strikes me though - by and large, if you have a plan that depends on human cupidity/selfishness/desire to toady/general venality to succeed, you have a very good chance of success.

That's cynical, but it seems to be true. Mincemeat was in some ways SO unbelievable - the corpse they use CLEARLY had been dead longer than he was "supposed" to have been - and yet, all the Spanish authorities who dealt with it either ignored or elided that detail. People hear what they want to hear. And several individuals, either Germans placed in Spain or Spaniards in the pay of the Nazis, scrambled all over themselves to get the (totally fake) letters and get them to the German headquarters.

(Then again - one reason why Mincemeat succeeded so well may have been someone in the Nazi hierarchy - Baron Alexis von Roenne - who was a devout Christian who hated Nazism partly because he considered it inconsistent with Christian belief (yet somehow was trusted and rose in the ranks). There's some evidence he fed false information to his higher ups, as if he were trying to make them fail. We'll never know for sure as he was found out, tortured, and killed fairly horribly, but he may have been partly responsible for the beginning of the end for the Axis powers. So perhaps that's an example of someone NOT being venal who helped the plan to succeed)

* Had been having some top-tooth trouble (pain, "feeling as if one would crack easily," feeling like my top teeth are "loose"**) probably related to sinus issues. Ironically, since the impact of the accident, the pain has largely been gone. I wonder if being rear-ended knocked some crud loose in my sinuses (I know I've been blowing my nose more these past couple days). Dare I hope that this is the end of it? I'd get to worrying: what if I have an abscessed tooth and don't realize it? What if I have some kind of massive infection in my sinuses? What if there's a tumor there? But I think in all those cases it would get progressively worse, not blip back and forth between "minor discomfort," "nagging pain" and "can't really feel anything out of the ordinary."

(**I asked the dentist about that last year and his response was that it was actually a pretty common thing when people had sinus trouble - the teeth weren't actually loose but the inflammation in the sinuses did a very good job of fooling you into thinking that, because it was affecting the roots of the teeth. Nothing to be worried about.)

This all started last fall with the weird respiratory-viral thing I had. I never went to the dentist over it out of a combination of "it comes and goes, so probably isn't actually a tooth that's gone bad," "I'm really busy right now" and "I hate going to the dentist and I'm afraid of what he might tell me." I do have an appointment for a check up in a couple weeks but right now...well, if I feel then like I feel now there should be nothing wrong with my teeth. (It's also possible that coincidentally the elm trees are done flowering; elm pollen is one of my worst allergens)

I still have a sore neck; I think I pulled a muscle or that old, long-ago damaged muscle is flaring up again. And I have a raw spot on my neck where the edge of the belt hit. But since that's the only damage to me, I was lucky.

Edited to add, heh: She falls down a well, her eyes go cross. She gets kicked by a mule. They go back. I don't know.

* Finished packing this morning - books, meds and makeup, and (confession time) my stuffed Fluttershy. Yeah, I still travel with a "critter." Part of it is just that little-piece-of-home feeling. It's strange and it embarrasses me a little to say it, but it amazes me how comforting it is to me to tuck one of the ponies I've made up under my arm. (Embarrassed, because really, a 46-year-old shouldn't need a "transitional object" any more, but there you are. And anyway, I don't NEED IT need it - if for some reason I couldn't bring one with me, I'd be mostly okay, it's just, I'm happier having one with me.And since I can easily stow my Fluttershy in my carry-on bag, I do)

(I probably wouldn't be so okay if I couldn't have a "critter" OR a book OR my knitting with me. One of the reasons I don't camp is because of the lack of home-comforts out in the woods.)

* Got slightly freaked out yesterday - e-mail from Amtrak changing my return ticket (it is now 2 hours later). It's for real, I later got a call from Amtrak and the e-mail had none of the hallmarks of a phish. Now, hunting around a bit online, it sounds like there's some trackwork going on next week that they're rescheduling things to avoid. (Yipes....maybe I better ask someone who knows, just so I know I'm on a TRAIN and not a BUS come next Friday.)

*News story: there's some legislator in Texas who is pushing to take them off of DST. This is one of those, "Can't tell if in earnest or trolling" situations. As much as I dislike DST - especially the early start of it - it would sssstttttiiiiiinnnnkkkk for Texas to be on standard time and us on DST in the summers. That means....let me think here.....when it's 2 pm here, it's 1 pm in Texas (I think I got that right) and when it's 5 pm there, it's 6 pm here. It would mess things up A LOT for people who lived here and worked there (and oh, would it mess things up for our commuter students). And also, to go shopping in Sherman, return at 4 pm their time and have it "magically" become 5 pm as soon as I crossed the Red River - ugh, no.

What I'd like? Go back to the old schedule where DST started some time in mid to late April and ended in early October. Six months on, six months off. This "let's start it early and run it later" is for the birds because it's so dark in the mornings now, and the daylight gain at the end of the day isn't that wonderful.

(Honestly, in a more just world? People would be able to set their own schedules so people like me could get up early, go to work as it's getting light, go home when we're tired (like around 4 or 5 pm) and not have to deal with the artificiality of time changes. But I get that that can't work any more, not with civilization and all)

* Yesterday afternoon was stressful. I got done with lab at a decent time but then, as I was gearing up to get all the AAUW materials in order for the evening meeting, a colleague writing a grant proposal (in which I am an "unfunded participant," which kind of means what I get out of it for my work is thanks, a hearty handshake, and perhaps, less chance of them being able to fire me if tenure were to be abolished) reminded me that he needed my "biographical sketch" and "letter of commitment." Shoot, I had thought they weren't needed so soon....I managed to throw the last few things into the sketch but had NO IDEA about the letter. I've never done one. And I was way too embarrassed to ask him, because I felt like since he didn't give me any directions, he assumed I already knew. And a bit MO of my life is "Don't let people see you're stupid when you actually are" I did manage to find a sample one online and tweaked it for my own purposes, and it seemed to be okay (at least, he said, "I just made a few changes to it"), so.

But I wonder, if this is part of my motivation in my self-sufficiency. I know many times I have railed here about working with people who couldn't follow directions or who seemed to need me to hang over them and tell them every last thing to do, rather than their figuring it out on their own.....whereas with me, I really NEED to figure stuff out on my own.

Part of it is that simply I learn better by struggling with something myself than with having someone show me,** but maybe part of it is also my fear of appearing "stupid" to others. Or like I don't know something I "should." Most of the time some quick research finds me the information I was lacking, but....

(**though there are a few times, as I've noticed with stuff on the piano, where I just hit a wall and maybe it does take someone who knows how to do it showing me for me to figure it out)

I will say I'm not one of those "never read the directions" people, however. It's just, I don't like to cop to looking less-accomplished or less-knowledgeable than I am. I don't know if that's because I spent too much of my youth feeling like my Big Brain was the only thing I had going for me, or what.

Anyway, THEN I had to go home and grade all the exams (I already had a student asking me "When will we know our grade?" Sigh. One of the drawbacks to being diligent is that people come to expect miracles from you. I TOLD the student, "I may not have them done until after spring break BECAUSE I HAVE AN EVENING MEETING ON THURSDAY" but that didn't seem to cut ice). I did get them graded. Even had enough time to slap a little leftover tomato sauce and cheese on a piece of bread for dinner. (Not sure what I will eat for lunch - am pretty much out of fresh food now. Can't go out for lunch, sodium....)

Went to AAUW. Looooong meeting. (I need to type up the minutes this morning so I don't forget some details). I will say one woman - a fairly new member - came up to me and asked if I'd knit the sweater I had on (it was my oldest SitCom Chic, knit of a variegated tan cotton yarn). She said, "I couldn't tell because the stitches were SO EVEN for handknitting, but the style and detail looked too special for something you could buy." So I guess that's a win. I never thought of my stitches as being unusually even, but I guess they are. (Then again - I think I've washed that sweater a couple times, and washing and lying-flat-to-dry often evens out unevenness; that's part of the reason why you block).

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

You gotta a lot of STUFF going on. I so relate, as you know.