29 February 2008

LEAPING into the night

happy leap year.

my guy is here and we are going to spend some time out tonight.

how i feel this morning

compliments of icanhascheezburger.com

28 February 2008

what fools visa takes us for

ya know all those merry fairy joyous snappy timely commercials that shows everyone just flowing right along, swiping their visas then moving on with carefree style?

what moron is swayed by these?

what idiot thinks, "ya know, i was planning to pay with cash, and receive change; but! now that i see these happy shining people swiping their visas, that's what i will do!  i will take more time, and be charged fees, to swipe the card, wait for the transaction to be electronically approved, wait for the clerk to rip of the printed receipt, i will take time to sign and return the receipt.  yes, yes!  i will do all this instead of paying with cash."

cuz we all know how inconvenient and time consuming paying with cash is.

how unfashionable.
how gauche.

how stupid are we?

regarding the issue of supply & demand

some of you may have read recent entries and puzzled over how those 800+ applicants would find a required internship with only 200 positions available.  it is a blivit, like squishing 25 pounds of shit into a five pound sugar bag (compliments of my mom, oft quoted to me when i was a child and complained of the unfairness of life).  it cannot happen.  below is a note from a Clinical Director who is involved with the APPIC process, to those who did not match.  He addresses the grumbling rumblings:

I recently read a history of D-Day (cleverly titled "D-Day") by Stephen
Ambrose. In the book, a veteran of Omaha Beach recalled the speech his platoon
was given prior to landing on the beach in one of the bloodiest days in American
history. His platoon was told that by a commander that they expected 80% casualties
that day. The veteran recalled looking around at his buddies and thinking, "You
poor bastards."

Several people have mentioned their surprise that they were not matched, or that
others who appear to have fine credentials were not matched. I am saddened and
distressed by this state of affairs, but I am not surprised. Data about match rates
is readily available, and match rates are a frequent topic of discussion on this
list. Psychologists in the field not only recognize this problem, they have highlighted
it. I am confident that almost everybody who participated in the match looked at
last year's data, and that nearly all of next year's applicants will look
at this year's data.

The issue of supply and demand has made this regrettable scenario unavoidable.
Like most unfortunate events in life, nobody expects it to happen to them. Like
the veteran above, it is human nature to look at the data, but to fail to truly
apprehend that ANY applicant can end up unmatched. In the past, I have been surprised
to see extremely qualified applicants go unmatched on Match Day. I remember thinking,
"But not THIS applicant!" Today, I am no longer surprised.

It is important for the field to acknowledge this troubling state of affairs. And
they are. An entire recent issue of the journal Training and Education in Professional
Psychology was devoted to the supply-and-demand issue. I did not contribute, but
I know that several psychologists who participate on this list did. While I do
not expect unmatched applicants to find much solace in my words, perhaps it will
provide a small degree of comfort to know that psychologists at many level are examining
this problem.

Obviously, efforts to solve the problem in the future will do little for unmatched
applicants today. I just urge people to recognize that this is a problem with many
facets. Although there are no easy solutions, solutions are being sought.

I applaud the people who have shared their positive experiences regarding this process,
and I hope that people who are not yet matched can find some comfort in the hope
offered by their colleagues' experiences.

27 February 2008

bread results

i should have split the dough into six loaves instead of three, cuz these loaves were h.u.g.e. and didn't get done thru and thru.  i did give a loaf to millie and paul scott, and a loaf to my landlords (lisa and perry).  i didn't realize that they weren't done, so i hope that their loaves were more done then the one i kept.  i tried to call to tell them they might want to slice them and toast them to finish baking them, but couldn't get thru.  well, they'll figure it out.

or not.

sharing the chucks

The George W. Bush Presidential Library

check it, dudes!

bread baking

this afternoon's baking is a new experiment.  i'm using white flour, instead of wheat bran or graham; so the texture will be smoother.  i've used honey and that is a major difference for me.  i've not used honey before and didn't really measure things, so it may be a very sweet bread.  i also added some vanilla {and a tad of chocolate (wink)~~shh, our secret}.

the dough has a pleasant light brown tint.  it is in its second rise.  it has a very good warm and yeasty scent.  it feels very nice, firm and elastic.  the second rise is a bit shorter than the first.  after the second rise is thru, i will divide and knead individual loaves.  then i will let it rise one last time before popping it into the oven.

so, that's what i'm doing this afternoon.  i'll let ya know how it tastes!

appalachian americans

The Appalachian Regional Healthcare system's internship program is:


for those of you who haven't gotten tired of my bragging, that is.

Hazard, Duchess of

cheryl, a childhood friend who currently lives in ohio, had written me with some questions about what exactly the match met and that led to other questions about his program, the phd process, and such.  cheryl is an engineer, and now, a lawyer as well.  so the references to briefs and bars are in that context.  below is the letter:

i'm sorry, sometimes i get so involved in my own stuff that i forget that others might know what i am talking about.  the match process is very lengthy and intricate.  it started last fall.  appic is the governing body over the match process. you do your internship after your classes, after you comprehensive and qualifying exams, after you defend your diss proposal; then you apply for internships.  appic controls the entire process.  you must complete  a predoctoral internship at an apa approved site that is listed with appic.  all the USA, puerto rico, canada (and i am sure i am forgetting someone) candidates must go thru this process.

the appic application is 30 pages, with 10 essays.  attached to that should be your 3 or 4 letters of references, your official transcripts, your vita, your cover letter, and anything else they ask for (some sites ask that you send a case report, i think that might be comparable to a brief).  it is an expensive process, and my guy felt it was more intense than applying to grad programs to start with!

he applied to 15 sites that were listed with appic.  you can visit the appic.org site for an idea what the actual site listings are like, it might give you a better idea than my description.  you must apply before the deadline (there were three waves, mid-oct (which my guy couldn't make because he was still defending his proposal and your profs must sign off in order to start the application process), mid-november, and beginning of december).  by the middle of december, all sites review the apps and then decide who they want to interiew.  then they notify you.  all sites you applied to must respond to you to let you know whether or not they want to interview or if they decline your application.  he had applied to 15.

eight places called for interviews, and he flew to maine.  he drove to all the other interviews.  they were at:  little rock, atlanta, knoxville, memphis, augusta (ga), biloxi, whitfield (ms).  by the beginning of feb, you must rank all your interviewed sites in order of preference.  by the middle of feb, the sites must rank all their interviewees.  you may not contact the sites after you interview (so you have no feedback from them) and they may not contact you (so they have no idea how you rank them).  then appic takes all the rankings and using whatever algarithm or matrix or whatever magical device they use, they match folks to sites.  it is a binding process, there is no other choice, either you match or you don't.  you must accept your match.

so my guy ranked his eight places.  then friday 22 feb, all applicants can look online at the appic site and see whether they matched.  then mon 25 feb, they (appic) posts where you matched and when you start (provided that on fri 22 feb you did indeed match).  if you discover on friday 22 feb, that you did NOT match (that is that you didn't match ANY of the sites you interviewed with, any of the sites you ranked~~which most people rank all the interviewed sites, so my guy ranked all 8 that he interviewed with); if you did not match, then you have the weekend to get prepped for clearinghouse, which opens online on monday morning.

clearinghouse consists of all the positions at the sites that were not matched/filled.  monday morning, on the clearinghouse site, there were over 800 applicants who had not matched and about 200 positions (at 120 sites) that were not filled.  so the competition is fierce.  you may only ONLY send a cover letter and a vita, combined into one document, which may be no more than ten pages (you may not include letters of reference or the original 30 pg appic application, or your transcripts, or your psych eval rport, or anything else:  only the cover  letter and vita).  monday morning it is like the stock market, when it opens there is a flurry of activity.  it is the first time you may see the list of positions and sites.  you must sort and send you email document (coverletter is combined with vita into one document) to which ever sites you want (my guy emailed over 20 of the 40 apa accredited sites).  some sites receive hundreds of applicants within the first hour.  then sites are free to call applicants and ask fro more info.  at that time you can send the other stuff that you couldn't to start with.  there is intense negotiation and then sites sometimes fill with someone else, decide not to fill at all, or whatever.

there was a site in san antonio that was very interested then decided on someone else.  there was a site in wyoming that asked for more and more info and then decided not to fill at all.  there was a site in southern mississippi that by the time my guy applied (2 hours after clearing house opened), they posted to say they had filled their positions.  monday evening ended with the folks from hazard, ky telling my guy they would let him know in a few hours.  then they called back to say that they couldn't get in touch with one of their supervisors so they would call my guy in the morning (tue) with a decision.

the thing is, if you accept one offer and then someone contacts you to say that they want you and that is the one you'd prefer, you cannot break the first offer's acceptance (it is a binding verbal contract).  so, do you take a chance that the one you think you might wnat and who has been very encouraging and acting like that want you (and so take the chance that the first offer might go to someone else and you won't be matched to the other, as well)?  fortunately, that didn't come down to that for my guy because he didn't have preferences and attachments, he just wanted to place.  period.

so tuesday morning, hazard, ky called and offered the position.  my guy accepted.  now within a few days, they must send the written contract and he must sign.

if you do not match, and then do not place within the clearinghouse; you are thru for that year and must try the next year.  most people who do not match, make use of their time in constructive ways (finish dissertation and defend it; take the licensure exams; do anotehr practicum, etc.).  however, you cannot receive your phd until you've successfully interned within the appic process.

in order for my guy to be eligible for his phd, he must also complete his dissertation (and defend it successfully); he defended the proposal last fall and has received irb approval (this is the internal review board which scrutinizes the proposal for what you wish to do and ascertains that there is no harm to the subjects/participants and it is very tricky to perform experiments and still get irb approval, esp for your dissertation).  he has set up the rest of the study and gotten approval from the institution which he will be using for the site of his experiments.  he is set to begin the actual collection of data in march and it runs thru june.

in order for my guy to be eligible for his licensure, he must have completed all phases of his phd, have had supervision post-doc, and passed the eppp (exam that is national, but state specific; much like the bar i would imagine).  because he is on education leave, he must return to work the same amount of time he has taken for ed leave.  he chose the minimum three year option.  that was a different process of approval, but you cannot arbitrarily change the terms of that contract.  so if he didn't place this year for the internship, he would have had to go thru the process of asking for anotehr year for ed leave and that might not have been granted because it is a decision that must pass at several levels, including the state department.  it was very important for him to get the internship NOW for several reasons.

my guy started the phd program in the fall 2004.  for the first two years (til fall 2006), he continued to work (at NMRC) while he went to school.  then, he was to start his first practicum, and it would have been impossible to work, do his practicum, and go to school.  so he took educational leave (ed leave).  summer 2006 to summer 2007, he did his first practicum (with communicare, a community-based outpatient counseling facility several counties away).  he also finished his course work, published a chapter, worked as a consultant for head start, evaluated cases, conducted assessments, and counseled clients on campus that year.  the following year, summer 2007 to summer 2008, he has been during his second practicum (two are required), assistant clinical director of the psychological service center on campus.  he also passed all his comprehensive and qualifying exams, continued to do presentations at various conferences (including one in san diego, and one in texas dallas, i think) and all that other stuff, including defending his proposal, applying to internships, etc.  for the rest of that time (til summer 2008), he will finish the data collection for his diss, finish his second practicum, and finish another chapter, as well as the other stuff that i can't remember right off the top of my head.  then the third year of his ed leave, summer 2008 to summwe 2009, he will be doing his internship, writing his diss, and defending his diss, and maybe studying and taking his eppp.

once he has received his phd, and he has returned to nmrc (he is under contract to return in fall 2009 and serve his three years that he had taken ed leave), he has already been tapped for the linkage position between nmrc and ole miss.  there is tremendous pressure every step of the way because things happen and you have to stay the course becasue to not do so is not an option.  you end up in violation of this contract or that, if you need to take another year and cannot fulfill the ed leave terms, then you forfeit and are penalized a large monetary amount as well as ruining your career and your rep.

so, no pressure huh?

so we are very very glad that we've gotten thru this gauntlet this time.  and that we live to face another challenge.  my guy's dissertation is now one of the primary focuses and we are hoping for as smooth a sailing as possible.  dissertations are seldom without their own pitfalls, unforeseen problems with data collection are bound to happen and i know of no instances where there has not been a problem with a dissertation, there is almost always some delay of sorts.  so we are planning for the data collection to be march to june, with july serving as a bit of a cushion.  the actual dissertation must be completed and approved by the committee and defended successfully sometime in the early spring next year, with the rest of spring and summer as a cushion.  he must receive his phd by fall 09, in order to fulfill the ed leave contract.

well, that was lots and i hope it wasn't terribly confusing

Debra, Duke-Ass of Hazard

what a weekend!  emotional roller coaster does not adequately describe the whole match process!  he fell apart.  i fell apart.  we got it together.  then this morning, they called and he accepted the position in hazard, ky.  it is a severely impoverished area, so i think he will find that he can do lots there that will be very meaningful.  he is going to start his internship on august 18th at Hazard, KY

as it is now, we'd only planned that i would stay here and go visit for an extended visit a few times.  to tell the truth, we really hadn't made any plans at all, because we weren't sure where he would end up.  and if he went to jackson or memphis, i was gonna stay put.

i really don't wanna do anything til this whole thing with my student loans gets squared away.  and i'm all scrambled right now.  i'm so not in a stable place.  i've been having some heart palpitations for the last six or eight weeks.  and my meds aren't working anymore.  i've been way too unstable.

i thought it was normal to have these sorta reactions.  but they are scaring the crap outta me cuz i can't get it under wraps.  anyway, i'm home now and looked up all sorts of stuff about hazard so that i could have some ideas of what was what.

something like this weekend is especially draining.  i'm glad that it turned out the way it did, esp when so much was riding on it.  we literally could not make plans til we knew.  and we couldn't even admit the terrible fear because to do so would have been overwhelming.  i cannot explain it adequately.

anyway, i am home now, and i am tired, and am baking bread to thank my land lord for watching my furrbees whilst i was gone.

26 February 2008

oh! and

did i say thank you?  i didn't, did i?

THANK YOU, Kathy, thank you very much!

Thank you to the folks who kept us in their thoughts, sending warm wishes and lighting the candles.

My guy got the call this morning.  He was offered and accepted the position at Hazard, Kentucky.  More on that later.  Promise, just got home and am t-a-r-d.


 Kathy over there on Flamigo Row sent me a package with two starter kits (ages 5+, just my speed!) perler beads (bug buddies and spring butterfly) with my very own favorite from her bunch (thanks so very much!) and a card.

  The card and my fave are pictured above.  The perler beads in tans and browns reminds me of a meditation path, very very soothing.  And very much appreciated.

The card is hilarious, and oh so appropriate!  The kitteh is saying, "I meditate, I do yoga, I chant...and I still want to smack someone!"

25 February 2008

jumbled thoughts

k, this may not make much sense, but the main thing is that we're ok.  it's been a helluva weekend and tomorrow is gonna be intense in a way that is gonna make these last few days look tame.  i'll post more when i'm home and things are more settled.

i'll just say this about that, it's hard to keep your game face when your head and heart are slamming.

my guy didn't match.  clearinghouse opens bright and early monday morning and we are madly prepping.  the future is wide open and it is not looking too pretty at the moment.

more details forthcoming.

pray for us.

19 February 2008

here's the plan, man, the plan

my guy usually comes here to visit me on the weekends, but this weekend i am going there instead.  radical, huh?  haven't been there since labor day.

but this weekend is the department's interview weekend.  so out of the 135 applicants to the phd program, the department's selected about 30 of them.  those 30 will come into town for interviews on friday and then a dinner/party friday evening to be hosted by which ever lab they want to join.  they will then go spend the night at whichever grad student and/or faculty member's house/apartment.  then saturday there are more fun! interviews scheduled and other fun! activities.  and saturday night there is a fun! party planned.  big fun!  then most of the 30 will be taken to the airport to fly back from whence they came.

so my guy's presence is required this weekend.

but i want to be with him on friday, when appic posts a listing of whom has been matched.  then there is the interview weekend.  and monday morning, there is another posting by appic, which will list who has been placed with whom and where.  i wanna be with my guy cuz this is a crucial kinda thing that affects as both for like over a year, dudes.

i mean, he could be placed as local as three, five, seven, or nine hours
he could be placed as far away as maine (which is far if you are figuring from mississippi; altho it only looks this far {~~~~~~~~~~} on the map).

and i wanna be there.
with him.

Pussy Patrol

Caution:  Adult themes to follow

Remember Saffron?  The kitty I'd had last summer?  And to whom I had so many breathing difficulties?  And over whom I cried when I gave her to my landlords' daughter (Victoria) in the fall?

Would you like me to stop writing in questions?

Well, ok, then.  So Saffron has been loving ev.ree.thing.  She loves the horses!  She loves the people!  She loves the dogs!  She loves Boots!

Boots is a male cat that has been ruling the Farm, at least down near the landlords' Big House.  He's been getting freaky with Saffron.

She's not even a year old, which means uhm, a teen mother in human years, I think.  If she is pregnant, that is.  Which we all think she is.  There is the possibility that she is not.

So when my neighbor, Millie (who is Perry's Mother, Perry is my landlord), informed me yesterday that there is a grant (for spaying/neutering) that a local vet received, to be used by the end of the month; well, I thought, who the hell can I fix?  I thought of lots of folks, but then I discover that people don't qualify for the services.  Damn.

  Oreo (Millie and Victoria call the Stray, Beider, "Oreo") needs fixing, but I didn't think that was my worry, or my place to worry about.  He ought to be neutered, but damn if I'm gonna put his pissy self in my car when he, well, pisses on ev.ree.thing.  And that'd be cool for Boots and Saffron.  Makes for worry free freakiness.

  So, Millie tells me about the grant, gives me an application (actually, she gave me TWO, cuz she really wanted me not to forget about this).  So I went ahead and did my duty (actually, I did others' duties), talked with my landlords and the vets' office peoples and all.  The short end of it is that Oreo (Stray Beider), Saffron (possibly), and Boots (maybe) are going to the vets' next Thursday for a snip or two.  Thanks to it being a leap year, the vet has an extra day to clip and stitch as many furrbees as he can.

And that is my Valentine's gift to you, getcher freak on, you animals you.


my counselor is working with me, advocating for me.  the relief is wonderful, i feel exhausted, like i could nap for months.  i'm so worn out, it is nice to have some help.


18 February 2008

my head, my mind, my nerves

Muscadines, scuppernongs, and other fresh from the vine grapes (not supermarket grown) pulp pops outta the skin whole.  I feel like I could do that.  That my skin is too tight, that I'm ripe to pop outta my skin, is how I've felt for about a week now.  Sometimes I got it under control, and can endure.  Then there are those times when it is unbearable.  Yet I do bear up, cuz the alternative is not even an option.

Not at this time.

Tomorrow, I will take my counselor all my documents pertaining to this ongoing battle with the Dept of Edu regarding the discharge of my student loans.  I qualify, under their own stated policy.  But we have been fussing over the same stage for about a year now (actually, closer to two).  There is one step past this, and that is not a problem.

The standard delaying tactics are wearing my nerves thin and my skin thinner.  My mind is more muddled.  The noise in my head is ratcheted up, amped to a continuous roar with mind-splitting shards driving deep.

It is killing me.

17 February 2008

If you want to see how civil a society really is, watch how they treat their prisoners.

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.
~~John Steinbeck

15 February 2008


I can't speak.
I can't not speak.

Too many trains, not enough stops.

Externally, I'm slow and sluggish.
Internally, I've donned my red shoes.

what if this is as good as it gets?
what if i never get any better than this?
what then?

14 February 2008


FEMA just doesn't seem to be able to get anything right.  They've taken several blows of late and cannot get their feet under them.  Nor should they.

FEMA trailers, housing many Hurricane Katrina families in the coastal regions of Mississippi and Louisiana, have been found to have toxic levels of formaldehyde.  Most trailers, indeed most new construction, have minuscule amounts, as formaldehyde is often used in industrial strength glue, carpet backing, and chipboard.  That's why some folks have a sensitivity to new construction.

Formaldehyde, no longer used in the preservation and preparation of cadavers and other dissectables,  is a dangerous carcinogen.  The current level of the formaldehyde fumes in the FEMA trailers?  Five times the upper limit of what is acceptable by industry standards.

So what does that mean for the 35,000 to 38,000 families still living in FEMA trailers?  Well, either put up with being sick (WTF?!?) or make other arrangements for housing (uhm...?!?).  What with our economy and our current housing market being in such shambles, these folks truly are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

13 February 2008

baby, it's cold outside (20eek)

To My Sweet, My Guy


My sweetheart, My guy;

Sometimes when I think of you, I feel at a loss how to express the deep love that I feel.  It seems so inadequate to merely say that I love you, that you make me tender, that you are my guy and my companion, that you are my comfort, my rock, my peace and security, my very best.  I hope you know what I don't express, is just as heartfelt as what I do.  I love you, Debra


  Happy Valentine's Day to All!

Thanks for reading and for sharing yourselves, your thoughts, your opinions, and your feelings!  Thanks most of all for being yourselves.  Thanks so very much, my friends.

12 February 2008

Had we but world enough, and time

from To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell.

My guy and I, well, we've never really made Valentine's Day into a big ole deal.  Mostly because we don't make any day or event into a big ole deal.  We enjoy what time we do have, and what togetherness is granted in those moments we can steal to spend in our quiet ways.  But it doesn't take any special day for us to love each other any more than any other.

That is sweetness itself.


i like this, i have no idea what page it might be from since it a shot from photoforum.  it is not my own, found on the web.

What Book Got YOU Hooked?

  First Book is an awesome non-profit organization that provides low-income children with books to read and own.  Last year, when I had first heard of First Book, it was my counselor who brought it to my attention.  First Book had asked folks to tell them about the Book That Got Them Hooked.  Then you got to vote for which state's children should benefit from that particular endeavor.  The idea was that by doing this, generating awareness (you could revote every 24 hours or so), more money was being matched and raised, and the grand prize would be that the winning state would receive books, books would encourage kids to read, to want to read.  The best part of that was that at the end of the contest?  It wasn't one state's kids that benefited, nope.  It was all fifty of them!  yea!!

Let them read books!  About fifty million new books for tons of kids in hundreds of communities across the nation.  And that, that is better than eating cake any ole time!

First Book is again doing another contest.  Take a look-see at their Blog!  go, go, go check it!

wha? what was that?

So, I'm driving home thru the rain from seeing my counselor and refilling my 'scripts.  And ya know, I've got the radio on, sorta zoned.  Ya know, on auto-pilot and cruise control.  When all of a sudden, I do the attentional double-take.  What was that I heard on the radio, I think as I turn the volume up and clue in to the announcer saying that 'the police are turning their heads for now.'

Bet they won't for long.  Particularly now that it has been spotlighted on the local radio station.  Especially cuz there will be folks like me going, 'wha, what?' and trying to search it when I get home (and perhaps even writing about it online, in a public journal where more attention will be given to the matter, cuz that's how rumors start, and I'm just feeding the mill).  Cuz search is just what I did and I couldn't find it, but lemme share the snippet I do remember.

A bit of back story perhaps:  Here in Mississippi we have been slowly phasing out public smoking acceptability and making it more mandatory that public facilities are smoke-free.  So your restaurant has no smoking section.  For some towns, like Starkville, this has been the case for several years and there is not too much grumbling still (Starkville was the first smoke-free town in Mississippi).  But for most places are NOT happy about it, and there is some fuss that comes up in some of the more staunch locales where they don need no steenkin college kids (or whatever harbingers of new fangled idears have come to change things, dammit).

So the snippet I heard on the radio was pertaining to the no smoking in eating establishments ongoing change.  It seems that there is a restaurant that has gotten around the mandate in an interesting innovative way.  I think smoking is disgusting, but I like the way these folks think!

The owners/managers have decided that dining there is now an interactive dinner theatre experience.  One in which the diners have become actors and those burning smoking things they are huffing and puffing on, waving about theatrically?  Why those are mere props, of course.

Kudos for the nimble maneuvers thru the loop holes, dudes!

Relaxation Response

I think we all are familiar with the fight-or-flight response that we have when we are stressed by what we perceive as danger.  When we are stressed, cortisol is released into our bodies; along with rapid heart beat, raised blood pressure, slowed digestive functioning, and shortened breath, heightening our senses.  The counterpart to that is the relaxation response.

After the adrenaline dumps into our system, and the danger.will.robin.son.danger fades away; we return to a state of physiological relaxation.  Our blood pressure and heart rate and digestive functioning and hormonal levels restore their normal pace and states.  This is the relaxation response.

When we cry emotional tears (those are different in composition and in physiological prompters than other tears), we experience stress.  When we are thru, our tears have drained us.  The fight-or-flight response has jacked it up, and now we have the ability to experience a calming.  The relaxation response can be very cathartic.

It is the relaxation response is what we actually are feeling when we are soothed, emptied, but peaceful and drowsy.  It is that after effect, it is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response; it is the relief of that unbearable pressure.  It is the return to ourselves.

Chronic stress does all sorts of awful things to us, like high blood pressure, like cortisol deposits which precipitates the probability of obesity.  Guided meditation is one method we have to actually elicit the relaxation response.  We also use yoga, self-talk, and other stress management exercises to calm ourselves; these are techniques that also call forth relaxation responses.

So those cathartic crying jags can bring the relaxation response to cancel our fight-or-flight reactions to life.  But only if we allow it to flow, and do not tense against the tide.  Relaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.


11 February 2008


  i was trying to find the actual physiological reactions which occur when you cry.  actually, i was trying to figure out what happens after you cry.  that cathartic feeling, swollen and fuzzy brain feeling, slow and sluggish.  and i came across this pic and thought, wow.

or maybe

another thought did come to mind as i was attempting to scrub away all my fears to the mccain/barber match....

perhaps it will frighten others, and perhaps that will help to ensure certain victory for the dems.

hey, i can dream can't i?


i heard it on Fox's news (stop snickering, oxymoron, i know i know), please let it be a rumor...but maybe it's better the devil you know.  shudder.  please let it be moot anyway.  please.

McCain's tapped Mississippi's Governor Haley Barber to be his vice-presidential running mate.  Oh, gulp, gawd, no.

It was Haley Barber and his Merry Band Of Legislators who thought that no one could possibly need medicare and medicaid both.  So he was attempting to pass a bill that would mean that anyone receiving medicare couldn't receive medicaid.  Oh, my god how did that even get to be considered what the hell sorta idiot even managed to put it on paper, let alone to convince others that this was a good idea, how oh how in the hell did it get as far as it got?!?  And anyone who even takes a glance at Mississippi's standing on anything, anything, education, housing, income/salary, health, any friggen thing, they would see, Mississippi is constantly ranked at the bottom of the scummy swampy barrel.  Like 50, 48 at best.

the only thing we rank number one in?  obesity

i mean i was pulling for the dems anyway, but now?  now it is a necessity more than ever.  oh lord.  and trent lott appointed his successor a few months ago, instead of allowing things to go til the end of his term.  could it be some sorta master plan?  oh please oh please oh please no.

i promise you, if mccain and barber take the country, you will think bush was a cuddly teddy bear in comparison; a downright mother theresa combined with einstein.

stop this insanity.  please.  do your part.  stop this.  please.

(in several months, i predict this entry will be deleted under the mandate of treachery)

compliments of Zen Habits

I love this picture.  It brings to mind warm soft rain, that kind that smells nice and clean and relieves the heat of the day, not too cold like needles and icicles, but only slightly cooler than your own body temperature, just cool enough to cool your blood some from the heat of the day.  It reminds me of youth, being fun, having fun, making fun.  I think this picture actually is snow and sleet, but my own mind skims over that, to make it into what I want to see.  Two wonderful friends sharing a deep loving moment, great joy.

It makes me smile.  Glad to be here.  Alive.

it's always greener

does your dog want to know what's on the other side of the fence?

compliments of "cool inventions"

Catch Them Doing Good

Last night, I was speaking with my guy about his dissertation, the research model, the measurement instruments, the agenda, etc.  One thing led to another, and I was trying to think of the One Minute Series (One Minute Manager, One Minute Teacher, One Minute Whatever) and my own entry about "Tell Me Something Good" (Sat 11 Sept 04).  The basic idea is that people who feel good about themselves, and know that others feel good about them, tend to continue doing good things.

Good produces good.

This conversation and train of thought reminded me to catch myself being good.  To give myself credit where credit is due.  To being kinder, gentler, more loving toward my own self.

I thought that I'd just share that.

09 February 2008

4 Syllables, sounds like...

I flicked the tv on for a few minutes; just to see what was on Fox (the only~cringe~channel i get, sorry~cringe~shudder).  The Daytona 500 is on, the 50th year.  So there is some deviation from the regular races.  I happened to catch Sister Hazel performing "All for You".

I think I always thought that song was by Blues Traveler.  Well, I think the vocal style of Sister Hazel's Ken Block has that resonance of Blues Traveler's John Popper.  At least in "All for You".  It just seems like a song that fits Popper.

But I often think that a song is sung by someone other than who is singing it.  Like Edwyn Collins when he sings "A Girl Like You"; he has the sound of David Bowie crooning (ala Golden Years).  The song fits Bowie, and I can see him so clearly performing it.

and did ya notice that David Bowie, Edwyn Collins, Blues Traveler, and Sister Hazel all have four syllables?  That's how significantly important the ramblings in this entry have been.

Not very.

08 February 2008

Chinese New Year

Yesterday was the start of the Chinese New Year.  The celebration will be about two weeks; but for many, it won't be a celebration at all.  There have been some horrible weather, storms, and consequences like not having power for the past three weeks (due to snow storms).

We are not accustomed to doing without electricity, so much so that we become paralyzed and unable to function.  Indeed, we become horrified.  In a way, I can totally understand this, especially as I've lived both without and with.  These last few years, I've become so used to having the convenience that I have made so few preparations for the possibility of continuing to go about my own tasks without electricity.

It has not always been so.  For many years, I didn't have easily accessible electricity.  And heat was not plentiful.  I didn't have hot running water, either.  Mostly this was during my teen years, in Pennsylvania.  I was used to not having power, heat, hot water; so when blizzards would render the folks powerless, it was just another ordinary day for me, to be taken in stride.  I was much better able to cope because it was the normal state of affairs for me.  Now, I am not able to cope, effectively.  I don't even have reserves of water in case I experience a situation like I did a couple weeks back.  I'm not nearly as resilient as I had been.  It's exhausting.

06 February 2008

oh! for the love of logic

Hi, I'm happy to see you!

Cuz now I can bitch about earlier, and I'm sure you all can commiserate.  And maybe I'll tell it in a way that will make you snicker.  Cuz sharing snickers, that would so rock!

Earlier, I stopped at WalMartZ to buy a few things, like soup and a can opener so I can get to the soup.  My electric can opener died last year in May's Mystery Meat Fiasco.  It was late, I was manic, and hungry, and had gotten down to the dusty can with no label tucked into the corner of my wonky cupboard.  I washed the top of the can off, noted that the expiration date was in the last century (why that would be, I'm sure I don't know, I can guess, but this entry is already going around East Bumblefuk on a tangent), and popped it under the teeth/gears of the can opener.  I pressed the lil lever on top to activate the miracle of separation of top from can and the release of pressure splatted a very strong offal gravy with chucks of brown matter onto me, the cupboards, the floor, the stove top, and the counter.  I jerked, which is what I do when viscous fluid splashes into my face (yeah, I'm that fun.), and accidentally pulled the cord from the outlet just far enough to allow the gravy to ooze down the outlet face plate and onto the live connection between the prongs and the outlet.  Fried and frizzled the can opener, rendering it inoperable, and did some damage to the outlet.  I think the mystery meat in gravy may have been dog food.

So then I had only my manual clunky can opener whose gear teeth no longer mesh, making gaining admission to any can a hit or miss adventure.  I feel like I've gone camping, with pork n beans, and have only the tent peg and hammer to get my food.  But I never remember to actually buy a can opener.  Haven't for months and months.

This evening, I picked up a few cans of soup, held them in my hands and frowned at them.  I'm pretty sure the stockboy was a tad worried when I began muttering while hefting them, trying to remember why this particular brand of soup is still in my cupboard why the others are gone.  Then I completely scared him off when I exclaimed, "AHA!" and chucked the cans into the cart, racing off to the other side of the store to get a can opener because this soup doesn't have the nifty neato pop and peel top like so many soups these days do.

After hunting and gathering a can opener, soup, tortilla chips, cheese, and nested plastic measuring cups and spoons (cuz you can never have too many nested plastic measuring cups and spoons, don't you agree?), I checked out.  Rather, I attempted to check out.  There was only one (1) register open.  Ya know the register that you must go thru if you want cigarettes and other tobacco products?  The one that is for ten items or less?  That is the only register that was open.  So you can well imagine the very long line which was sluggishly creeping ahead.

I stopped a manager whose smocked vest was wadded into a ball, tucked under his arm.  He was scurrying past, head down, refusing to make eye contact, grim lipped as tho in the front line at Normandy Beach.  When he did stop and look up at me, his face fell and a plea for pity was in his eyes.

"Excuse me,"  I said, "but is this the only line open?"  He nods miserably.  "Will another be opening sometime soon?  Cuz I know rules are rules and I have way over ten items here," I say, gesturing toward my jumbled cart, "unless you count all the cans of soup as one item."  He stares into my cart, then clears his throat, "well, uhm, we'll let you slide.  This time."  And he tries to scurry off.  "But," I say, "is this really the only line open?  For all these people?"  He eyes the meandering line that is now down past the clothing and into the grocery side.  The sweat on his brow begins to drip down his nose, dangling there off his nostril like a cliffhanging snot.  He whispers, "seven cashiers called in sick.  I have no one to work the 10 to 6 shift."  His eyes welled up and I felt downright sad for the man.

Then he sneezed his mucus germs all over me, like the llama did ("oh, that means he likes you!" the keeper exclaimed).  Splattering all over my face, like the gravy in the Mystery Meat Fiasco did.

Wal-MartZ, where every trip is an adventure.

mardi gras

i knew it was coming.  i had made a special festive scarf with a very cool cap for Yet Another in golds, purples, and greens.  for her mardi gras celebrations down in jackson.  i gave them to her over the weekend, knowing that mardi gras was soon.  yesterday, i forgot all about it tho.  i was NOT in a festive mood, but i am now!

now that it's ash wed.

so not appropriate.  i'm running so behind and can't catch up.   but that's ok.  cuz, well, it just is.  sigh.  tsk.

05 February 2008

SSssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuperrrrrrrr TUesDay!

I read the reports, I read wiki, I read what I could read.  I counted, recounted, and figured.  Now I am no further along then I was before I consumed all that verbiage.

I'm hoping that Mary Jo can clear up my confusion.

When she can.

No pressure.

...Mary Jo?


Touchdown! in Oxford

And the Caterpillar plant is demolished.  My guy was safely ensconced in his office at the University, just a few miles away.  When I called his cell, after I'd woken up from my last head explosion (much better, thanks); he'd been oblivious to the sirens (both the emergency crews' responses and the tornado siren).  I'm glad he was in the office, which was much more sturdy than his duplex.  What with all the rebar and brick and stately Ole Miss respectability which no tornado would dare to breech.

There have been several injuries, not from the plant destruction, but from the nearby trailers.  A pregnant woman with two small children was rushed to the hospital with a broken leg.  Fortunately, that was the extent of her injuries.  And there were no deaths, as of yet, reported.

There was damage to the Memphis airport and also to the Fed Ex center.  I'm not sure what all may have been the consequences there.  The Southaven high-school was also damaged.  Southaven is just south of Memphis and Oxford is about an hour or so south and to the east of that area.  All told, there was over ten tornadoes that touched down this evening on the stretch between Jackson and Memphis along the interstate 55 north/south corridor.

So tonight, around 10p, it was about 70 degrees here.  Tomorrow night?  The forecasted temp?

30 degrees.

Warm weather is very nice, usually.  But in the winter months, warm temps...well they are like tempest in a tea pot.

Debra's Dynamic Weather Report is now concluded.

imma gramma!

Remember the kitty I had last year?  The one that I love so much that I kept her even though I could barely breathe?  The one that eventually I asked my landlord to take?  I visit with Sassifron often and cuddle her and pet her and call her 'george'.  Actually, I don't.

Sassifron has been the hit of the Farm.  The horses love her.  The people love her.  The dogs love her.  And Boots, the Farm Stud, loves her.  Lots.

Sassifron is expecting.  Imma gramma!

lemme blow yer mind

The weather (cuz how can I go a week without posting about it?) has been very tumultuous this week, very warm (like so warm it is embarrassing to admit how warm.  but I will, 80 degrees plus) and very stormy; tornado sightings, touchdowns (uhm tornado as well as football, sorry, cheezy yes, but oh so true), and hail the size of my fist!  The barometric pressure has been intense.  My head popped off seven times today, alone.

You know that guy in the pawn shop in the Men In Black movies whose head explodes and then grows back?  I could be his understudy.  Right down to the wonky eyes and high pitched squeal.  But my head pops spontaneous and grows back with excruciating pain only to pop! again.  Tis an endless cycle.

So I do things in bursts, timing my errands and tasks between these brain blowing spells.  It's kinda like dodging rain drops; rarely successful, but ya still do it.  This afternoon when I stopped down to pay the rent, my landlord told me that both her sons (who missed zero days from school for the past five years) had to come home early yesterday with monstrous headaches and that today, her daughter began getting one on the drive home.

I feel for them, I really do.

04 February 2008

Larry Boy! & the Bad (ass) Apple

My Friend is an artist and teaches several classes of children various forms of art, in a variety of formats.  She has taught small classes out of her home, holds a several day camp focused on art every summer, teaches homeschoolers at the local family first resource center, and now teaches at a few church-schools in a neighboring town.

Friend, herself, specializes in pencil drawings that she sometimes will do from photos that she has taken.  She does a fair amount of commissioned pieces and is in demand for portraits around Christmas, Valentine's, and graduations.  She also conducts several art showings at the public library and around town.  She stays busy.

Her daughter, Eight, has always drawn.  I admire her abilities and her creativity.  She is an amazing kid in many ways, and is an artist in her own right.  Years ago, when she was Five, I was sitting with her in a pew at church (while her father preached and her mother was in the restroom, nursing Three who was NewBorn at that time).  I was watching her draw Jesus on the Cross.  Now, there was such a figure hanging behind the pulpit, but! but she was drawing it from the left side perspective, then drew it from the right side perspective in another corner, and then drew it as though she were viewing it from behind.  I was blown away, because children's brains (at that age) are usually not developed so that they can view things from other perspectives than what they are physically seeing.  Kids are so cool!

So last week, Three and Eight were down with the flu.  And they watched Veggie Tales ad nauseum.  One of the movies was the subject of this drawing, Larry Boy and the Bad Apple.  Eight had seen the movie, and drew this entirely from her own imagination.  She didn't trace it from the box, and there was not a still shot (or any section of the movie to create the still shot) of this setting.  I thought it was pretty good when she first showed it to me, but when my Friend (her mom) said that she doesn't even have that ability, that she must go from a photo...well, then I realized exactly how awesome that is!

Following Russ's (thanks, Russ!!) sharing, posting, and featuring youngsters' work, I want to feature Eight's stuff.  So I asked Friend tonight if I could post it online, she agreed.  So here is the awesomeness:

03 February 2008

Ssuuuuuperrrrr Bowl

Manning versus Brady

Manning, he's got it.

I can hear the Mississippi Manning's from here.

They're all happy in their pants.

I know my guy is, wink.

super bowl half time review

k, i'm not a professional.  and i know next to nothing about football.  in fact, i didn't even recognize manning, which in mississippi is a hanging offense.  in fact, i was thinking, that kid out there must be like seventeen, judging by the scant fuzz on his upper lip (isn't that nice that they let him play?), before i realized that was the dude.

but i do like that the game is close.  it is interesting to me because they seem to be well-matched.  one team is not creaming the other, and that makes for some good game.

and i get to see each play covered from twelve different angles.  so that even a complete novice like myself can easily see what's what.  and by the time the eight showing is featured, i can mimic the commentator ("OH, that hadda hurt!").

i kept my interruptions and questions to a minimum.  my guy only once seemed a touch impatient, and really, kenya blame him?!?  i think not.  after all, i was badgering him about something that apparently i'd only thought i'd seen (the score was NOT six, but three); why, huh, why?  how come?  why fer?

tom petty and the heartbreakers started sorta slow, giving a lackluster performance of "american girl".  but then they stepped it up and the next three songs were rockin along quite nicely.  a vintage performance, all in all.

some ads are good.  some are not.  there were a few that i hope i see again, esp the sobe knock off of 'thriller'.  there were some that i hope never air again.

now, for the second half.  uhm, a leap means one too many men on field?

waa-waa WAA waa waah...?

Last night, my guy and I drove thru Taco Bell.  I've not been there for years, so I was not familiar with the menu.  We decided to get the Grande Meal, figuring that would be enough for us both.

We couldn't tell what the hell the woman was squawking about thru the speaker, so my guy asked her to repeat herself.  She squawked again, with more impatience.  I still didn't understand what she was saying, but my guy speaks squawkese, so he responded in kind; sounding to me suspiciously like Charlie Brown's teacher.

Amazingly, our order was just what we wanted; four soft tacos, three hard tacos, and three bean buritos.