luciab: (Default)
I didn't get the mail from my mailbox yesterday so today I got a birthday card from my parents. My mother picked it out (pink!!11eleventy!! boy, is it pink! With sweet poetry!!) and wrote it, of course; she always has. Her handwriting hasn't changed in a definable way, but suddenly it looks like an old person wrote it. She's called two or three times this week. I think it may be partly because of my birthday but it's also because she needs reassurance. Despite her earlier assertions that Daddy's doing better, she said yesterday that he's gotten noticeably worse since I saw him last. She said she found him the other day sitting in the chair in the bedroom wearing his boxers, socks, a t-shirt, and two heavy outerwear jackets. During the conversation I mentioned that I thought he was more confused when he is really quiet; it's like he is afraid if he says anything someone will notice how confused he is. Mother's response is that he's like that most of the time now. She said a friend suggested that she talk to their doctor; he might decide they need to take away Daddy's driver's license. Mother said "It would be awful if they did that; it'd just kill him." She did say that she exercises control and has decided not to let him drive on days he's particularly confused. I was relieved to hear that, and mentioned that while she's concerned for his mental well being if they take away his driver's license, she also has to consider her safety and that of others on the roads. The thought that he's worse off now than when I was there but is driving now scares the crap out of me.

On Saturday I had an appointment with a psychiatrist about my disability claim. I think it's about the Social Security one, but I'm not totally sure about that. This was triggered because of one of the meds I take. One of the first questions he asked was my age; when I told him he said "That will really help your claim!" I burst out laughing. "I'm glad it's going to help something!" He actually acted like he thought I might be approved. I remain unconvinced, but boy, that'd be something. People who have seizures and are legally blind have to fight to be approved, but I'm going to get it? I suppose it's remotely possible that different areas have different analyses, but on the whole, I think not.

I'm working on an assignment for the Humanities class. While poking around the other day I found a photo and brief bio of the teacher and damn, it has helped me a lot. Very strange how I need a picture in my head of who I'm writing for, but it's definitely true. Even writing this journal I have a sort of mental composite of readers. Anyway, the homework is to create a subject guide. We need to specify our target audience so she can gauge how well we have tailored our recommendations. I chose "quilting" as my topic and public library patrons as my audience, and damn, I am going to have trouble limiting my selections. In addition to "getting started" and patterns kind of sources, I also want sections on different styles (including art quilts), history, collaborative quilts and regional variations. Damn, these things are beautiful. I hadn't counted on the research having quite such a strong effect of making me want to quilt. Just what I need-- another art to pursue. I haven't quilted for years-- not since I made a panel for the AIDS quilt for my architecture school friend, Scott Hallam. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to zoom that image and I don't have those photos on my computer. My favoriet square on his panel shows a beach scene at night with lace for the froth at the edge of the waves and a satin moon and seed bead stars on a black silk sky. The text around the block is a quote from Scott: "The only problem with sex on the beach is that sand gets EVERYWHERE." Heh.

And so this gets more cheerful towards the end, I had a great time yesterday shopping at the art store with the J-half of [ profile] zihuatenejo. I am pulling her to the dark side.... er, make that, "teaching her to be even more finicky about her drafting techniques." We had also hoped to get some egg tempera paint, but the store doesn't carry it; we'll have to order online. Le sigh. No instant gratification on that score. After shopping we had breakfast (midafternoon-- yay!) and were both gloriously unhealthy. Yum, I say, even if corned beef hash does look like dog food, and we both agree it does. Still, yum.

So. Back to quilting books.
luciab: (comma sutra)
Not an exciting day. I suppose I should be grateful for that. Not a particularly good day, either. I woke up at 5 with a migraine, AFTER taking an Imitrex last night before I went to bed, because I could feel it starting even then. I only slept 4 or 5 hours, and that includes feeling the migraine every time I woke up. I wanted to take a nap this morning after the second Imitrex kicked in but the caffeinated coffee I took for medicinal purposes foiled that scheme, except for dozing off for a couple of minutes while I was reading whatever bad book I had in my hand. At least I know that author isn't worth checking out again.

Before I forget it, I wantI have an appointment to thank [ profile] wakeupmagy for her recommendation awhile back for a treatment for cold sores-- I got some l-lysine at Whole Foods, and damn! That stuff worked, literally overnight. I forgot to take it with me when I went out the next day and the swelling came back a little, but it was pretty much over with. Yay for that!

I was an impetuous woman yesterday. My iPod, upon which I have come to rely, wouldn't turn on one time too many. If modern gadgets can have loose connections, I swear this one did. It worked, it didn't work, totally at random. It was fine yesterday morning, but in the afternoon, no dice. Having recently received a check for three months of disability from the state, I said tohellwithitall and stopped at the Apple store, which just happens to be conveniently located between the Book Repair lab and my house. Convenient, eh? I was originally lusting after the cute little Nano, but when I realized that the regular size iPod provided three times as much storage space for the same price, I abandoned "cute" in a heartbeat. Screw cute, give me more music. And just like the nice man at the store promised, it "recognized" almost all the music on my computer as being mine, or assumed since it was on there, and it was bonding for the first time, it must be okay, or something, and loaded everything. Except one Lyle Lovett song, for some bizarre reason. Just the one song. So I've been playing with my new toy, which of course led me to play with my iTunes and set up some more playlists and such. Fun.

I have an appointment on Saturday with a doctor to see if I'm disabled enough for Social Security, which as we've already discussed, I know I'm not. Still, I'll play their silly games and go. As I said to someone this morning, I have no idea whether this guy will give me a cursory once over before telling me "Nope" or whether he'll examine me in excruciating detail before saying "No."

A mental health professional recommended yesterday that I only work halftime instead of full time, in the interest of not provoking the migraines to greater heights. Since the disability guarantees me a certain amount of income whether I work or not, (as long as it isn't the job that made me sick in the first place-- not bloody likely!!) that makes a great deal of sense. I think getting out and working some will help keep me sane(r) but I hadn't really considered all the ramifications of this whole disability thing. I have been blithely assuming that I'll be able to do a less stressful job as long as I keep taking my Imitrex, but there's no real guarantee of that, or that this will be less stressful, for that matter. Maybe it'll be the same amount of stress but in a different way. Joy! It's given me a lot to think about. In between thinking about the papers I have to write, and the random other assignments, and of course, most important of all, squeezing in time for a scroll blank or two for Coronation. I mean, let's keep our priorities straight here.

Now that the Imitrex has kicked in, I've had lunch and a couple of winks of nap, I think I feel alert enough to work on one of the random assignments, so I'll start writing now.


Feb. 27th, 2007 08:48 pm
luciab: (Default)
Damn, I'm tired. I worked at the book repair lab today for six hours and then spent three hours doing research. Don't feel too sorry for me, though (as if you were going to, anyway); I stopped at Akashi on the way home and treated myself to sushi. I got my back pay check today for three months worth of disability payments so I could afford it. Yay!

I was a busy little bee at the lab today. I wasn't too happy with some of the results, but the woman who was working with me today was reassuring; she was very impressed with how much I got done, says everything is fine and nothing needs to be redone. It's just not perfect, is all, and as you all know, if I do it, it's supposed to be perfect. (Unrealistic, much?)

I got smarter about doing the research, too. I looked up source books ahead of time to find the call numbers, which made life much simpler. I have this set of questions all done except one; if all else fails I'll look up Marie Leveau in a plain old encyclopedia or online on Google or something. Geez. Wouldn't you think she'd be in the Biographical Dictionary of American Cult and Sect leaders? Or, failing that, you'd think that Swami Sivanandra would be in some sort of reference, like maybe the Historical Dictionary of Hinduism? Something, somewhere?

I will admit that I'm learning stuff I didn't know from doing these assignments. I've never been a big student of religion, so didn't even know that Yoga was part of Hinduism, nor did I know about Demeter and Persephone; I'm picking up all sorts of new stuff. I will say, though, that I was bemused to find that if a Muslim doesn't face Mecca when praying it doesn't count. And by "face Mecca" I don't mean just generally east somewhere, it's gotta be exact. Only if a man is completely out in the wilderness alone can he use his best judgement and certain guidelines to determine which is the correct direction. The book didn't say what a woman should do in such a case. I hereby affirm that I now have even less interest in becoming Muslim than I did before I read that. I mean, that is one persnickety almighty, who won't even listen if you are facing the wrong direction. Damn.

I'm starting to fear that despite my preference to NOT do reference work, I might wind up doing it anyway; for one thing it probably doubles my chances of finding a job. If we assume (and I have NO idea about real proportions here) that there are reference librarians, children's librarians, and "readers services" librarians (I think that's what they're calling the people who work in circulation, popular fiction, etc, nowadays.... I should know this, right? Sigh.) in approxmiately equal proportions. That would mean two of the three instead of just one of the three are possibilities. Wonder what proportion tech services is? Very small, I'm sure. Anyway, there are six jobs open in Durham County right now, and three are reference, and three are children's. I'm gonna have to think about this.

Not tonight though. I'm too tired to think about anything tonight.
luciab: (Default)
On the cat pill delivery front: Last night I had a stroke of brilliance, cut open one of my fish oil tablets and doused Molly's pills in the oil. She still isn't chasing me down begging me to give her a pill, but she takes it, and spends the next five minutes bathing herself complacently. Miranda, on the other hand, hissed at me and chomped on my finger. You can believe I let her go in a hurry. She sat in the window and watched with horrified fascination as I gave Molly her pills. I fear she is totally traumatized now; she won't let me get within five feet of her. She didn't sleep on the bed with us last night, and she won't even come into the kitchen if I'm in there, even if I put down fresh food for them. I also picked up a pill gun at the vet's office today, but even that won't work at a distance of five feet or more. (And no, despite the name, it does not shoot pills at great velocity. It just has a place to hold the pill on the business end, and a plunger to press to release it on the other end. It should help get the pill far enough down the back of the throat that they'll swallow without tasting. No, don't go there.)

I got the lost homework redone and submitted it a day early. Other homework is coming due, alas. I'm also puttering along on the notebook I'm making of what I'm doing in the book repair practicum. I talked to Josh a bit today about doing this sort of work as a real job. I don't think I could support myself on the salarya repair tech makes at any state university, sad to say. Well, I could if I HAD to, I know from experience I manage to survive. It sure wouldn't be pretty, though. I am still working on getting myself together to find out about the private place in Greensboro.

Nia has found out that the way the lease is written for the apartments where we live, if we leave before our lease is up, we not only are responsible for the 60 days notice, we have to either sublet or pay for the entire rest of the lease. They won't show your place, even though it's vacant, until they have leased everything else. Why should they? You have to pay for it, so they'll rent another one first and then get the money for both places. I had this silly notion that if you move out of town there was some escape clause.

This is of particular interest because my lease is up on Feb 15. I can sign up for one year at the best rate per month, which is what I'm paying now, lease for six months at $10 more per month, or go month to month for $65 more per month than I'm paying now. Since I have no idea where I will get a job, I have no idea what to do. I've always thought I'd be here in good old Wake County, or maybe Durham County. Even Durham is commuting distance, especially if I have to pay for the damn lease here anyway. But if I try for Greensboro, that is just not commuting distance. My thinking right now is to go for six months. Hopefully, by then I'll know where I'm going to be.

So, as if graduating and having to get a real job isn't enough, I have to deal with this crap, too. No wonder I"m having anxiety attacks. Oh, and on an amusing tangent, I got a call yesterday from the nice lady at the Social Security office, asking about medical stuff, like why am I taking one of my meds? Well, that's for depression. Oh, in that case, they want their own psychiatrist to talk to me. Am I willing to do that? Sure, what the hell. Oh, and since that means I'm a psych patient, I have to give them the name of someone who will be responsible for making sure I get to the appointment. Wha... huh? She was very apologetic, but of course firm. I gave her [ profile] bzzzyb's phone number, and then had to call and tell B to expect a call. She is loving it. She is to be responsible for me! so she is now going to nag me about taking my vitamins, getting enough sleep, and doing my laundry.

And in closing, a note to the man I passed at Davis Library this afternoon: Dude. If you have orangey red carrot colored hair and a florid purplish complexion, you should NEVER wear a red striped shirt and a red tie. I need first aid for my eyes. Just sayin'.
luciab: (Default)
I think I may have this whole retail therapy thing wrong in my head.

Let me back up a minute-- I had my interview this AM with Social Security for my disability application. To clarify a murky situation, I have been approved for long-term disability from the state, which was my employer when I first had to leave work because of migraines. However, before the state will actually release any benefits to me, I have to send them a form saying I've applied for Social Security disability. Now as anyone who has ever read any of TranceJen's stories about her disability and application for SS benefits can tell you, there is no way in holy hell I will ever see one red cent from SS for my puny little migraines. I can still walk, talk, and function, after all. Still, it's a hoop that must be leapt through before I'll get the disability that IS reasonable.

I had an appointment at 10:45, and got there about 5 minutes early. After some initial misdirection, I got in to see the woman almost exactly on time. Once she stopped telling me I had made some mistake but it was okay, things perked along very smoothly. I'm still not sure why she had to go on about the mistake since she kept saying it was okay (and besides, it was the computer's mistake, not mine.)

I think my early experiences with Unemployment office people have set up my expectations of how government employees are going to act-- rude, suspicious, unhelpful and downright adversarial. (That was true in Iowa, Kentucky and NC, BTW.) Happy to say, the woman today wasn't like that, nor was the woman who I've talked with a few times on the phone. They were both very helpful and pleasant. What a relief. I was expecting to have to justify my very existence. Instead, she asked me a very few questions, apologized for some of them, explained everything, and was generally friendly. I was done in about 15 minutes. Woo hoo!

This excited me so much I decided to go shopping. See, from what I read about "retail therapy" it sounds like most people use shopping to cheer themselves up, but I'm the opposite. When I'm not happy, nothing looks or feels right, and I'm never satisfied; if I buy something anyway, it's always disastrously wrong. But since I was happy instead of depressed, I decided to go on and get a couple of pairs of shoes I've been meaning to get, but I'm never in the part of town where the store is. Today I was there, so now I have one new pair of Earth shoes, and one new pair of Dansko clogs. I wanted another pair of Earth shoes because I wore the ones I already have yesterday, and wasn't nearly as tired when I got home as I have been on other days. And I like the Danskos I have, and I've seen everybody and their brother wearing the clogs, and I had to at least try them on. Score!

I remembered to take my camera to the book repair shop this week, and took lots of photos. I'm still learning the camera, so I have some seriously fuzzy shots, and some where the camera was too close and the flash just washed everything out, but I got a lot I can use, too. I'll also try to replace the ones that are too fuzzy to use.

I volunteered at the local library again on Monday; I'm planning to be there for three hours on Mondays regularly. When I volunteered there before, it was like they were afraid to give me anything different to do, but after working there as a page they are more willing to trust me with a variety of work. I got sent to do all sorts of little things. It seemed to me like the place was hopping, but one of the librarians said it was about normal. Hell, I may have to go into tech services just to have a chance to sit down. They were running the entire time I was there.

And on the "I'm too old to be starting this!" line of thought, I had two people offer me their seats on the bus last week. Damn! I'm used to people telling me I look younger than I am, and suddenly I look so old people think I can't stand up for a few blocks? I must have looked really tired. Bad news is, one time it was in the morning. Yikes. I couldn't decide whether to be amused or horrified.

Okay, on that note, maybe I should take my walker and hobble off to do my homework. Which is just wrong; "walker" and "homework" never belong in the same sentence.

slow day

Jan. 11th, 2007 05:46 pm
luciab: (Default)
Oh, and it was nice to do nothing at all. But no, that isn't true, I just didn't have to stand up for six hours to do it, is all. I got a call from the Social Security office-- the woman who is handing my case is pretty sharp. She noticed that I hadn't finished my application online, and wanted to check. Well, sez I, when I was working on it last time, it gave me an error message, saying to call the office, so I did, and the woman said I'd have to come in to the office to finish it up. I made an appointment for Jan 25th. Turns out the woman on the phone was wrong-- I suppose I should have expected that; she has a job with the government, answering questions for a living, and those people are wrong SO much of the time. I think they just get so burned out they don't care, and just say the first thing that will get the caller off the phone. Anyway, my caseworker suggested that I try again, and lo, it worked. So now she'll be able to do the prep work before I go in. Yay, us. Again, I plan to be perfectly clear on the point that I do not expect to recieve SS disability, and in fact know that I am not qualified; this is merely a required step for the disability that I AM qualified for. Anyway, that step is done.

Last night I finally saw The Sopranos. I am way too cheap to pay for HBO or whatever it's on; I never watch TV. It wasn't exactly what I expected but I did like it. I didn't expect the humor, mainly. The main thing that suprised me, though, is that it gave me nightmares. WTF?? I had trouble going to sleep because of all the caffeine I had yesterday, and when I did get to sleep, I dreamed all night-- several different dreams-- that one of the crew was pointing a gun at me and was going to kill me. I have never had that happen, not even with all the shoot-em-up-bang-bang action flicks I watch. Too weird.

I started looking over the Humanities Resources material online today, and it looks like it's actually going to be enjoyable. What a concept! The first group of questions is "Literature" and I feared it would be all classics. Nope. Well, I take that back-- it's NEW classics-- two of the ten questions were about Neil Gaiman and William Gibson. Heh. Margaret Atwood was in there, too, but I'm not as familiar with her work.

Tomorrow [ profile] zihuatanejo and I are going to a workshop on Book Repair at Wake Forest University. I'm looking forward to it, even though I'll have to leave the house at 6:15. Ick. It'll be an early night for me, which should be no problem since I got so little sleep last night. In fact, I'm sinking fast. Pitiful.
luciab: (Default)
I mentioned that I've been approved for long-term disability from the UNC job. One of the things I have to do to get that is apply for Social Security benefits, and this is making me more anxious than I dreamed possible. The irony is that I used to love filling out forms.... all those neat little boxes, just check here and here and there and voila! Done! Except I no longer fit neatly into anybody's boxes. And the questions, lord the questions. Who knew I would ever again need to know my ex-husbands' social security numbers? Or birthdays? (I'm doing well to remember my daughter's, and I like her!) Never mind what day we got married... I haven't got the faintest idea in the world. Hell, I'm not even sure of the month, and I had to count on my fingers to get the year. And who knows what day we got divorced? Geez. At least I know where I got married and divorced. At the end of the form there was a box for remarks and I wrote "Dates of birth, marriage, divorce and death of previous spouses are estimates." Because I really don't want to wind up in federal prison for lying on an application for benefits. Yikes. I'll bet I couldn't even paint all the time, and how awful is that?

Then I got to the REAL questions, and some of these have me totally stumped. Okay, the one about "Do your illnesses cause you pain or other symptoms?" is easy enough, but "When did your illness, injuries, or conditions first bother you?" Good lord, I've had migraines for as long as I can remember, I just didn't know what they were for years. I had planned to fill out this form online, but you only have 25 minutes to do each page. After the first questions that stumped me, I printed out the form so at least I can get the answers ahead of time. Like the one that says "Have you ever had any medical tests for illnesses, injuries, or conditions?" Say what? ANY medical tests? Oh, this is going to be fun.

And the questions about "are you going to work within the next year?" Well, I don't really know. I hope so.... I have to apply for this, and I know nobody is ever approved the first time, even if blind, deaf and halt, and I don't even want to apply for it because it's for if you completely can't work at all, and nobody has ever said I coudn't work at all, including me, so I don't want to be misleading because that is federal, baby, and as noted above, I don't want to do federal time.... oh, this is SO not my idea of a good time. I'm having an anxiety attack just trying to figure all this out. And of course I'm hitting the road to KY tomorrow, and will be gone for 10 days, so I hate to keep putting this off. Except I don't really have any other choice.

And on that cheery note, maybe I'll go pack or something.
luciab: (Default)
I just opened a letter saying the state's approved the extension of my short-term disability till Dec 13. Yay!!! Because earlier today I got email from BCBS saying that they've reviewed my application and yes, they'll sell me health insurance for only $620/month. I spent all day trying to figure out (in the back of my head between taking notes in class and carrying on conversations and stuff) which meds I could drop if I can't afford insurance. So, YAY with the extension. Which includes insurance.

In other, less exciting news, the class I started today seems like it will be much less labor intensive than the Wednesday class. Whew, since the other one has 9 articles and 2 chapters to read for next week, plus a 3-page paper to write. Yowsa.


Mar. 1st, 2006 09:59 am
luciab: (Default)
OMG! It's going to be 70 today (well, okay, it's been 70 here several days this "winter." But that's still pretty damn fine, and it's going to be 77 tomorrow. Wow. Love them NC winters. Heh.

Took my Cataloging midterm last night and I don't feel like I did particularly well on it. And I don't mean in the way my lovely and talented daughter does-- when she says that it's only to worry about whether it's a 90 or a 95. Not that I think I flunked or anything but I'm afraid a C is a possibility. Insert angst here. What do I know? Maybe it's only a very remote possiblity. I'm just glad it's over. On to the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems.

I'm looking at summer courses; I'd like to take 2. One of the 3 I'm considering is "Conceptual Knowledge Processing" with the same teacher I have in the Cataloging class. Man, do I dread that. The only good thing would be getting it over with in 5 weeks. What the hell is conceptual knowledge processing anyway, and how do they teach it? It makes me think of the first couple of weeks of cataloging when she was talking about "knowledge as thing" and the difference between knowledge and information. Some of it seemed so obvious I kept looking for what she REALLY meant. She'd spend an hour on something that should have taken about 10 minutes. And I have 5 weeks of that to look forward to! Another woman who works at the library is taking it, too, so we'll be able to commiserate.

Oh, and I got a check last night from the state: back pay for 3 months worth of disability payments. I'd really like to take it and pay off bills like the credit card, but then I realize that's half of all I might be getting from them, and maybe I need to save it for things like, oh, say, RENT. But then, if I had those bills paid off, the rent would be a lot easier.... I hate budget stuff. I definitely need to win the lottery. Yeah, now THERE's a good solid practical thing to plan on.

Okay, back to the to-do list. Like going to the bank. Heh.
luciab: (Default)
I finally managed to talk to my rep at HR, on the fourth call today, and got wonderful news. The date my disability kicked in was December 13 of last year, so I have checks coming till January of next year! (Processing delays, you know.) Whee! Big relief.

Ah, yes...

Aug. 26th, 2005 10:01 am
luciab: (Default)
The joys of bureaucracy. I just place my third call in two days to the HR dept where I used to work to try to find out the exact status of my disability.... as in, when it ends, when the last check arrives, etc. So many questions, so few people willing to answer them. The woman who was my contact has now left (probably drummed out for being too helpful.) I'm trying to avoid the one who told me that if I couldn't handle the multi-tasking of getting permits for several multi-million dollar building projects at once, I couldn't handle the multi-tasking of secretarial work, either. (I never missed a deadline, BTW, despite their trash talk.) I don't think I can handle an attitude that helpful right now.

Livia invited me over for dinner last night and I took my GRE study guides. She helped me study math. She's really good at that stuff-- seems to be almost intuitive. The best news of all, though, is that after a bit of prompting and review, I remembered a lot more than the exact stuff she'd reviewed with me. In other words, it's starting to come back. Whew!

I've been reading the language review stuff in short-term bits and when I'm tired-- sort of around the edges of bigger blocks of time. I'm not nearly as stressed about that.

I wrote a note to my downstairs neighbor last night about the loud noises she believes are coming from my apartment. I tried several times to contact her in person with no success. I used a card made from the painting I did for this icon for my stationery, with my name on the back as the artist. Just a little subtle reference to the quiet lady who just paints all day. Heh.


luciab: (Default)
Susan Arthur

February 2011



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