Follllowww meeeee...

Ah, sweet winter. Sweet freezing cold, oppressive ice, and wet, wet snow...and dark days. It's not good for the soul, I think, to be this cold and to live in the dark for more than 10 or so hours.

So I've added about a third of the blogs I read to the "Blogs I Follow" tool on Google. I've got two sections to go but also a short attention span. Doing even more to open up these lines of communication and expression help deflect winter's harsh effects, though.

And right now, I've got one follower. Want to lighten and warm my world even more? Become one of my Stalkers and Lurkers. (That's a "follower" by the way. See lower right-hand corner of my blog.) If you follow me, I promise not to lead lemming style and never to offer you any special Kool-Aid.

Thank you for your support.

Facebook's 25 Things About Me

Since I'm still in transition mode (from working full-time-plus to graduate school and more household stuff), my head is still spinning a little and I've had no inspiration for writing.

This little "tag your friends" thing that's going around Facebook right now at least made me think a little about the type of subjects you'd write in a blog. It's similar to some of the things that were passed around on MySpace back during its peak popularity (before ultra cool people like me transitioned to Facebook).

So it's a good jumping off point to (hopefully) get back into communicating. Without further is my "25 Random Things About Me" entry on Facebook...complete with annotations:


1. I eat any single peanut M&M by biting off half the chocolate, eating the peanut, then eating the rest of the chocolate. (You should see how I eat a sandwich.)

2. I'm trying to find time in my schedule to study yoga, Scrabble, poker and Spanish. (OH YEAH...and graduate school stuff!)

3. I love to cook but always cook way too much. I don't want food for guests to run out!

4. I still haven't figured out anything I'm really, really great at. (Okay...don't ever challenge me to a game of Simon...but that's the only thing.)

5. I was born in eastern Kentucky but have shed any Kentucky accent by living in other places. (That's Pikeville, people. The home of Hillbilly Days. Yikes.)

6. My neck turns obviously bright red and blotchy if I have to speak in public.

7. Small, repetitive actions (like the "I'm crushing your head" thing) are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

8. I'm completely addicted to Altoids Smalls mints. I eat maybe 20 or more a day. (If I really like you, I'll still give you a box of them even though I really want them all for myself.)

9. In my younger life, I seriously considered careers in medicine and photography.

10. I still physically cringe when I think about mistakes I may have made years ago...not that they were so bad, just that I can't let those things go. (What's really great is the older I get, the more of these jewels I collect. Is NIYYCE!!)

11. I've been told by strangers or near strangers that I had a calming effect on them. It's one of the most flattering things I've ever heard. (And that makes me more confident in my new career goal of counselor.)

12. I never smiled without feeling self-conscious while growing up. I got braces when I was 19 and that's made a huge difference in my life. (I had a significant fang on one side.)

13. I love the TV shows Intervention, Dr. G. Medical Examiner, and Mythbusters.

14. I've watched the movie Braveheart at least 100 times. (Probably closer to 200 but I couldn't say "at least 200 times" with confidence. What can I say? It was a boring year and I'm somewhat obsessive. Obsessive. Obsessive.)

15. I can't function with any physical discomfort...which is why I'm addicted to those breath mints and to lip conditioner and why I wear loose clothes. (And why I carry dental floss, Band-Aids, eye drops, and nasal spray. If I ever get stuck on an island like Tom Hanks in Castaway, fuhgeddaboutit.)

16. I'm a night owl stuck in a daytime life. My ideal awake time would be from about 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

17. I'd love to write a novel. (Like all first novels, it'd be a loosely-based autobiography with enough fiction included so I could also deny the facts if necessary.)

18. Given the right partner in conversation, I could converse in mostly movie quotes. (And I still believe the best, most classic to be, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?")

19. I love giant fireworks displays and have to be sitting directly under them or I'm totally bummed. I'll travel for hours and wait in the park all day to see good fireworks.

20. I also love giant roller coasters and will travel quite far for them, too. My number one favorite so far...the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. (It's the only time in my life I felt like I was flying.)

21. I tend to procrasti





The Good News From The Good Doctor

I have a great family doctor. She's just friendly and thorough and very caring. I'm not the only one who knows evidenced by the two-month wait to become an established patient. (Once you're established, though, sick visits are almost always same-day.)

About ten days before Christmas, a mole I'd had on my back for years suddenly went kind of crazy. Without going into too much detail, I'll say that it went through a lot of changes very fast and, in the end, just looked bad.

Then the last day of my job approached, and my health insurance coverage was, for a time, not guaranteed. In a bit of a last-minute panic, I called my doctor's office on the morning of New Year's Eve and talked to them about the mole. A few hours later, the good doctor was conducting a small, in-office surgery removing a nice-sized chunk of my back, making sure the mole was completely removed along with a decent margin around it. About 20 minutes (and 8 stitches) after that, I was on my way.

Wednesday of this week, I went back in to have my stitches removed and found out that, instead of a potentially-nasty skin cancer, I had had a small, irritated hemangioma. Lucky me!! (Seriously...I'm not being sarcastic.) Moreover, although hemangiomas can be quite aggressive (and difficult to remove because of their high blood flow), the margins of my excision were "clean" meaning that crazy clump of blood vessels is likely done with forever.

Is niice!

New Year, New Scrabble Rating

A long time ago, I learned that one of the best things about going to Scrabble tournaments was traveling with friends. Most of the time, if I'm not traveling alone, I'm going to tournaments with my friends from the local club (Martha, Brad, Lisa, and Chris). Late last year, I had the idea to start venturing out a little further, riding to the Cleveland area and then carpooling to tournaments in Michigan or Canada with my friends who live there.

So these trips are basically the most fun things ever. Them smart people are funny...and right in line with my own twisted, sometimes perverse, sense of humor. Toward the end of the ride to Canada, it broke down to energy drinks and the "that's what she said" game.

And this last weekend marked my first Scrabble tournament trip of the 2009 (non-2008 Whirlwind Scrabble Tour) season. I had an easy drive to Cleveland where I met up with George and Pete...then on to Fenton, Michigan for a weekend of Scrabble that was, technically, separate tournaments on Saturday and Sunday.

Although I didn't win very many games either way, I won just enough to get a very decent rating increase (from 895 to 931). Sunday was a little hard emotionally, though. That tournament was what's called an "open" so players aren't divided into divisions based on their ranking. Even though I was being beaten by players much better than me, eventually just losing over and over becomes somewhat disheartening. The day ended with a win, though, which always helps.

Of course, Saturday night had the usual poker tournament, backgammon games, and drinks. Not to brag or anything, but after I was eliminated from the poker tournament I put together this quick sketch of the after-hours games:

NEXT...the Eastern Championship in Charlotte, NC. Until's study time, baby.