I've been joking for a long time that this year's birthday was going to be my last. I remember hearing a lot of jokes growing up about women who just stopped counting their ages after 29 and started counting years of experience instead. It feels a bit weird, to be staring thirty in the face. I realized much to my horror that a third of my life was now officially behind me, and that thought scares me like few ideas can. The Moody Blues once lamented in a song, "It's not a lot / It's all you've got / Twenty-two Thousand Days." Have I really seen that many sunrises?

I think the fact that this is the first thought that comes to mind on having a birthday last Saturday shows just how afraid of death I really am. This is still a source of surreal amusement to me, even as I lay awake at night shivering and wishing for the dawn. In my past, when I professed to atheism and hated my life, death held no fear for me. Now that I'm not so sure what I believe, I find myself plagued with thoughts of what Death is, and what being dead is like, if anything. Now that I love my life, I'm afraid of its end.

Birthdays, however, should be a source of celebration, not of mourning. They should be a mark of rememberence and recognition for a person, honoring zim and reminding zim of the importance of that person in one's life. If Thanksgiving is my holiday of choice on a grand scale, then birthdays are the individual complement thereto.
They're a chance to give that kind of recognition to the individuals that are important in one's life.

Pity I couldn't stop panicking about mine.

Now, to be utterly fair, it's my own fault. I totally forgot Jessie's birthday this year. I even forgot the day I normally think is Jessie's birthday but isn't. It wasn't until two or three days after that that Jessie reminded me it had gone past, and I felt utterly horrible for days afterwards. It's still embarrassing to me, to not celebrate a day so important to me.

This, however, set me up to thinking that Jessie would forget mine. Zir memory is notoriously bad for things like dates and times, which is why zie has the Visor in the first place. I don't normally go out of my way to make a big deal of my own birthday 'cause I'm not good at making a fuss over myself, despite my ego. So, I had done nothing to really advertize that it was impending, and Jessie had also said nothing in the days before, so I really didn't know if zie knew or not.

The day before, when Bennie dropped me off at his place so I could pick up my car after work, I noticed a number of cars in his yard and asked if he had something going on over the weekend. He mentioned that a number of people were visiting, and so in my little mental ledger I struck his and Sue's names off of the list of available people, and since I knew Kelly was working and everyone else has headed out of state again, I got it into my head that anything birthday-related would be Jessie and I doing something special together.

Jessie gave absolutely no indication whatsoever of having remembered.

Saturday morning, I get up and say "I need to go to the bank" and there's some discussion as to whether or not Jessie wants to come with or stay home and do laundry. The only catch is that we have no quarters to do laundry, and Jessie says zie wants to go to the laundromat. I say we can go to the bank and get quarters there, and Jessie half-heartedly agrees and then plots down on the couch in typical cat-fashion and lazes about online while I spod in front of .hack for a few hours. Jessie makes no suggestion of later plans.

At 15h00, I make Jessie get dressed and come with me to the bank. I bank with Navy Federal Credit Union, so
my branch is on a naval base, and the new CO has decided to confiscate all the standing base passes and require everyone who doesn't live on base to get day passes every time. This eats up an extra fifteen minutes while I rummage in the glove box for my registration and fill out the added paperwork to get
onto the base so I can deposit my paycheck. The base pass has, in bright green numbers and letters, the date, which is of course my
birthday. Jessie says nothing about this, but I don't ask because I'm not going to push the matter.

We get the quarters, but on the way home I realize we have nothing in the house to cook and so I say we need to divert to Sam's Club on the way to get supplies for the week, and Jessie looks a bit irritated and says we really need to get home to do laundry 'cause zie's got no clothes for work tomorrow, but I persevere and get what I need, then start heading home. Jessie says in the car that zie should call Mom when we get in, but that's
about it.

On the way home, I ask if we have any plans for dinner. Jessie shrugs non-committally and suggests we wait a while adn asks me if I'm hungry. I say that I'm starting to get there and suggest that if Jessie can't think of anything to do I'm going to cook alfredo. Jessie asks me to hold off for a while 'cause it's not dinnertime yet.

Finally, I can't stand it and I say, "You know, today was my birthday." All day I've been growing antsier by the moment 'cause the only people that remembered were my parents who sent me an e-mail (Thanks, Dad!). I was afraid if I waited until the day after to say anything I would be too upset to say it reasonably, but I also felt miserable at bringing it up in the first place 'cause it didn't seem like my place to remind other people of that kind of thing. If they remembered and wanted to do something for it, great. If they didn't, it wasn't my place to ask
or demand it.

Jessie's reponse was, "You broke a lot faster than I thought you would."

As it turned out, Jessie had in fact been setting something up for the last two weeks and had been trying to out-laze me and get me to go off on these errands by myself so that zie could pick up my birthday present, but I had been supremely uncooperative and refused to go alone. Further, I had not given Jessie the time to call Bennie and Sue and let them know when we would be going to dinner, 'cause Jessie had invited them to join us and they had accepted. So, Jessie let the whole charade drop, making me feel like a total doofus for all of about thirty seconds until I could laugh at the whole affair.

Dinner was wonderful. It's always good to go to the Outback, but this time was special: Bennie told the waitress it was my birthday, and they served me a twelve-ounce prime rib with a candle in it. I got really embarrassed and flustered, but I really did enjoy it. Then we went to Borders and Jessie got me my gift, a copy of Alice in Wonderland to read to me at night so zie can practice zir voice at home and not feel silly talking to zirself like I
do. *grin*

Thank you all again.


Today, I spent the day refactoring FormBot. I actually started analyzing what I would need to do yesterday, but I didn't touch any of the code yesterday. I started this morning shortly after I got to work, and I finished some time around 15h00. In the middle, I finished up a project at work and got a second out the door that evening (after 21h00, three hours after I wanted to leave), so I don't feel so bad about working on it while in the office.

It's strange just how jazzed I am about this. Normally, code is a living for me, but rarely is it a hobby. This, though, really has me psyched. I've been able to take what I've learned in the last few months working at HMS and I've successfully applied them to my own code base. I refactored out huge swatches of code into two modules, moved a third, shrunk the main program down to a driver, added some spiffies to shrink out some wasted code, and generally rearched over half the program. In a day. And it works.

That's the part that really gets to me about this whole affair. It works. I half feared that I would change around something at one point and break the whole mess, so I didn't even edit the code in place. I made backup copies
of everything, then edited those instead. As it turned out, I had no need of them. As soon as I got all of the syntax errors out of the way, the code ran without a hitch. I'm actually getting better at what I do.

I've even helped Bennie at work modify and improve one of the modules he's planning to check into CPAN. It doesn't sound like much, but it's the sort of little step that really has me excited. I've contributed to source that may well be used by more people than just me. I've made improvements to code bases at work that have become part of the generally accepted toolset and part of the development cycle.

I guess I always felt at my previous jobs that whatever code I contributed lasted the length of whatever project I had, and never seemed to go anywhere. Now I'm actually improving my skills, adding new features to useful things that people are actively using. I've gotten to the point that a massive rearchitecture and reeingineering takes me six hours, and the whole time I'm enjoying the rewrite and ultimately coming away with better, more elegant
code that functions just as well as, if not better than, before. 

Competency is a good feeling.

I feel about a thousand percent better now from three weeks or a month ago. I think my hormones were off. In fact, I'm absolutely sure that my hormones were off, but it had been over a year, maybe even eighteen months, since I'd gone to an endocrinologist.

That itself was a game and a half. Down in Texas, as long as one called one's endocrinologist and reported nothing new or no reason to change things, getting a new set of refills was simple. In Pennsylvania, however, one has to see one's prescribing physician at least once every twelve months to keep one's prescription current. This means more than a phone call.

Nobody informed me of this when I got here.

I used to see one endocrinologist, and he did a good job, don't get me wrong. However, after the first time I saw him, I ended up getting my surgery, and then I was off of my prescriptions for a while, and I had a huge backstock along with more refills, so I just didn't go back to see him regularly. Not knowing I needed to do so regularly, I just figured that when I needed more drugs, I could call him and he'd give me a new prescription.

Imagine my horror to discover that not only could he not refill my scrip but that because it had been over a year since I had last been in his office, he had to see me as a new patient all over again.

Now, I don't know what being a new patient is like in most fields, but in endocrinology being a new patient is jusy shy of going through the Spanish Inquisition. A special office visit taking upwards of an hour is not unusual, and endocrinologists are the type that can pick and choose their patients and set their own hours, and so they often do. When I called to get an appointment, I found out that I couldn't get one until the end of June.

This was in March.

I took the appointment, of course; to turn it down would have been foolish. I had plenty of pills left, so I wasn't too concerned. However, it was not to be. The endo called me back about a week prior to the appointment and
said he wouldn't be able to be in the office that day and he asked me if I could reschedule. I said yes, because saying no would have gotten me nothing. I was shy about a week on my prescription to get me to the rescheduled date, but I called my general practitioner and he gave me an emergency cover dose for ninety days which would neatly hold me through to my date.

I missed that one because of work.

I called the doctor the next morning, frantic and begging for a reschedule. The first date he had was December. That was far past the end of my drugs. I nearly flipped. However, Jessie was seeing a different endocrinologist, so I went out on a limb and called him. Lo and behold, he had an opening! In September! I took it, eagerly, and scheduled the day off of work.

My prescription ran out a week short of the day I could get in to see the new endo.

I wasn't about to ask my GP for another extension, so instead I hatched a clever plan to cut back my dosage by a quarter every day, so that I could over the time save enough enough extra pills for a three-quarter dose all the way to the date of the appointment, at which point I could go back on my full strength. This was a great idea, except for one tiny factor: I was going crazy.

There's this thing that happens to post-ops, that I inadvertantly discovered the hard way: after surgery, the body doesn't have to fight against all of the testosterone and so it takes a smaller dosage of estrogen to keep things on an even keel. Consequently, the extra dosage above and beyond can cause unexpected side effects, like crazy-bitch syndrome.

Jessie, I'm sure, would be willing to attest to my slow mental demise over that time period. It was nothing clear-cut, to be sure, and I had plenty of lucid days, but the frequency, intensity and duration of my freakings-out were all on the rise, slowly but surely, and at one point Jessie did indeed suggest that I go back into therapy 'cause I was wigging out like mad. 

Two days after cutting back my dosage to seventy-five percent, I felt human again. No more—or at least no more crippling—breakdowns. No more screaming. No more tears. I've been sane. Mostly. Almost. Some approximation thereof.

My new endocrinologist has officially dropped my dosage to the new level and suggested I keep it there. He's also suggested some other tweaks to my dosages to perhaps help me with breast growth, since I didn't wind up with as much there as I'd like. That, though, will have to wait until my November check-up.

Now I just have to remember to go get my pills from the pharmacy tomorrow. I'm out.


What memes around, memes around, they always say. All of them. Always. Tell your friends. More interviews with the Martian, this time from Joanne.

The rules of the game, as conveyed to me:

  1. Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I'll reply and give you five questions to answer.
  3. You'll update your diary with the five questions answered.
  4. You'll include this explanation.
  5. You ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

I know (or can reasonably guess) where your chosen first name and middle name came from, but where did your (recently replaced) surname come from?

Here, actually. This and the character of Theresa Davis from my old Hayden Heath stories. Mostly the latter, but I don't have a convenient link to post. Theresa actually came into sharp focus when Jessie and I were working on Larkin '06, and while we have extensive notes for the setting and characters, we have very little actually done. However, we do have enough for me to say that Theresa turned out to basically be where I was when I was eighteen, a fact I only aceepted in far hindsight, so when it came time to pick a new name for myself, I took the one I had already basically been given.

What influences would you primarily blame for your having gotten into (for lack of a better descriptor) fringe things like RHPS and jello wrestling?

Saying I "blame" some outside influence for these things implies that I wouldn't have picked them on my own. For the former, that's not true, though the person who introduced me to the movie (and took my RHPS cherry) would actually be the same person that asked me at one point to remove all mention of him from my webpage, so even though I want to say who he is, I really can't in good conscience. I wish I could.

The latter... is harder to explain. There was a day and age when I flaunted my morbid obesity against the world as a defense mechanism against my own self-loathing. I fueled my emotional shields on the repulsion of others and laughed at their discomfort to hide from my own. The Ex and I got invited to an end-of-the-school-year party for some college friends, and they had decided the theme of the night would be jello wrestling, and so we joined in the fray. Wearing only an electric blue speedo and rolling around in a hundred litres of flavored jello didn't seem that strange at the time. In all honesty, everyone else was doing it too.

Has this special ability of yours to attract weirdos and freaks come about "recently" (like, when getting on the net), or have you had it all your life?

Rather than ask when I developed this ability, why not ask instead what is it about the people with whom I associate that makes them weirdos and freaks? I don't really see them in that light. The term "freak" is almost always a positive one from me, indicating a train of thought that had eluded me or that would not have come naturally to me but whose beauty I can appreciate even if I disagree with it. In this way, everyone is a freak in some fashion; the secret is in figuring out that one card on the bottom of the stack that makes the whole house come crashing to the ground, and then tapping on it with a tuning fork to make the house of cards vibrate.  

What is it that keeps you putting your paws into burning? (of any kind - it just seems a little more foward/aggressive than I would expect of a bunny)

For this, I must dip into the Pink.

I have often spoken in the past of totems, and I have been known to say that Bear is my totem while Hare is my companion. Bear is that to which I aspire while Hare is that which I am. As I have explained many times in the past, Bear is the teacher, the healer, the guardian and the protector. I have no need to re-explain Bear. Hare, on the other hand, I don't think I have ever really explained.

To the Greeks, Hare is the spirit of sensuality and hedonism. To the Japanese, Hare is the face of the Moon. To some Amerind traditions, Hare is the spirit of fear and of safety. To others, Hare is Coyote's little sister. She is the trickster that is caught in her own traps. Hare gets caught by the Tar Baby. Hare throws rocks at hornets' nests, and often as not gets stung because of it.

Of course, to say that this is why I enjoy sticking my paws into burning would be to put the cart before the horse. I don't believe in playing ex post facto with my logic, so instead I'll divert into a different religion all-together: SubGenius. The SubGenius must dip into the Pink to come out Slack. This is a very trite saying, but in essense, or at least to my understanding of it, the SubGenius must constantly retest and reevaluate damaged ideas to ensure that they are indeed broken. It's not enough to say "I know the sun will rise" the SubGenius must get out there and see it happen.

This doesn't really explain it any better either, though, but it's about as close as the first. So, perhaps with these two ideas as background, I can at least wend my way around to an actual answer. The truth is that I stick my paws into burning because I believe in challenging mistaken ideas in the hope that those who hold them will see that they are mistaken and correct them. I challenge my own ideas or at least I try to do so because the only way I fix problems is by constantly testing them to ensure that I'm not mistaken in my understanding. I also have an intense dislike of what I believe is internal inconsistency, in myself and in others. When I see things that look like they're misaligned in that fashion, I find myself poking at them kind of like picking at a mental scab. Either they heal, or they fester into something gangrenous that requires the whole mess be lanced and regrown from bank tissue. Either way, the offending scab is gone. =n.n=

You keep talking about redesigning your website, but I've yet to see it happen - why is that? And what are you considering doing as a theme? ( or did I just hit on the reason why it's not happening? :) )

Pretty much, yeah. The theme I have in mind is one that I would like some help from Jessie in designing the visuals (shock horror; I'm thinking about graphics on a webpage), but there just hasn't been the time to sit down and do any sort of real design work on it. I know what I want, but I have yet to see how practical it will be in an actual implementation.

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