Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meet Frankenstein

My surgery was easy and uneventful and about 90-minutes long. The people at the hospital were so incredibly nice and friendly and thoughtful. And the last memory I have is of a nurse who got me ready to leave. It felt like I was being rushed out the door at the end there, but I was just groggy enough that the effect was lost on me until after the fact. She handed me my bag of clothes and helped me dress. She even hooked my bra, which cracks me up now. 

The doctor told my husband that she's 97% sure that there isn't going to be anything in my lymph nodes. Of course, if you know me at all, you know that I'm going to worry about that 3% possibility. That and that the guy from nuclear medicine marked a lymph node and she didn't cut there. I don't know why. So, I'll worry about that, too. 

The most depressing thing happened yesterday when I removed the bandages. The incision is two-and-a-half inches long and has blue ink all over it. And black stitches tied off at each entry so that it looks like a caterpillar. I feel like Frankenstein! The site is not smooth, but dips in the middle and puckers at the ends. Pure hideousness!

What cracks me up about this whole experience is how much vanity plays a part. If I'm cancer free, why should I care if I can't wear short sleeves? I can't even deny that vanity is what brought me in to the doctor's office in the first place. The site looked ugly and I really wanted to get rid of those skin tabs.

Right now I'm sore under my arm and my the top of my arm gets tingly if I don't lay down every now and then. This suits me because I like to nap. I have a prescription for Vicodin, but I don't have a lot of pain so I haven't been taking much. Another unfortunate side-effect is that I've gained back a couple/few of those hard lost pounds I've been working so hard on. AND, I can't work out hard for a while. I can't complain, this was serious and I'll be lucky to find out that this is all behind me - if that is, in fact, what I find out. 

I think I need something to distract me and ease me back into normal like a project of some sort. And working on living a good life with no regrets. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm Fine

I'm recovering nicely. I'll have the results next week and I'll share then. Meanwhile, I'm off to sleep. Again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Eve Of

Tomorrow I will have surgery to cut out the melanoma. They will also be removing one to three lymph nodes to test to see if the cancer has spread, while I'm under general anesthesia. To listen to everyone I know, they will not find anything and there is nothing to worry about. I don't know how they know. They must have some psychic powers and I feel confident that they are right, as they must know what they're talking about.

Actually, my worries don't need to be alleviated. It's okay. I'm okay. I see this surgery as a necessary part of what I'm going through. As natural as me kicking my feet up on my coffee table to brace my laptop and seeing the dime-sized black spider crawling around. (No, I did not leave my feet there!)

This melanoma is a freak consequence of my exposure to the sun. I just happen to live in the best state in the country (sorry to all of you who do not live here, but thankfully your own state has brainwashed you to not even believe me) and we get a lot of sunshine here. The sunshine needs to be felt, adored, worshipped. It's like a god with a cult following. Unfortunately, my vanity only extended to my face and my religious daily application of sunscreen stopped at the chin. That's all it is.

I've lost sight of the spider and I hope it lost my scent. My laptop is hard to balance, but I'll continue. Okay, blah blah blah.

I'm a bit freaked out by getting sliced open. I'm just as afraid of contracting a staph infection as I am they'll find something in my lymph node. I'm nervous about being in the hospital because of all the germs. That's where the sick people go!

Actually, I'm sure I'm not fooling anyone. I'm worried they'll find the cancer has spread. I'm worried that I'll die before my girls graduate from high school. I'm worried that I'll spend my time fighting it and lose the battle. What else is there to really be afraid of? And how can I help but feel foolish for feeling afraid of these Big Issues when everyone around me diminishes the seriousness of the situation? I feel like I can't let anyone know how afraid I am of the possibilities when they're probably going to find nothing and I'll be free of all the cancer tomorrow? I'll be afraid of the mountain when it's just a little ol' mo hill.

Thankfully, the waiting will be over tomorrow. I might not know the results of my lymph node biopsy tomorrow, but I'll be done with this step and ready to move on to the next one. They say that dogs can sense fear because my dog just let out a startling bark and made me jump. I've got to finish this and get to bed soon because I'm not allowed to eat or drink past midnight and I have less than 20-minutes to stuff my face for the rest of the day.

And on that note, I'll leave you with this. Toilet paper is supposed to roll OVER the bar. I only work with three other women. We share our bathroom with our customers, but we're in there more than they are, I'm sure. If the TP runs out, we refill it. I feel like it is always me, but that's the story of my life. Quite often, I find that a roll that I've replaced has been switched to roll UNDER. It happens enough that I suspect one of my co-workers is doing it. I'd hate to venture a guess as to which one, but if I have to I will. I just wish they'd trust me that I know what I'm doing and go with the OVER flow.

There are some interesting bird sounds - must be owls - this time of night. I never knew! Ten minutes and into the kitchen I go...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tailored Shirts

After creating that skirt that didn't go so well, I haven't done any sewing - just mending. Which, I'd like to brag, that I'm pretty darned good at doing. I needed to repair the rear vent on a skirt and I sewed it so that you would never know it was repaired. Of course, I made an effort to do that - unlike the third repair I made on my favorite sweater. 

I have a black cashmere cardigan (crew neck) that I wear all the time. I shouldn't wear it all the time, though, because it's just got too far gone. It had a small hole in the elbow and I did a great job repairing that, but it has worn out so much that it's beyond repair at this point. I grabbed it once this winter, forgetting that I really have no business wearing it in public and when I got to work, remembered there was a hole. I ended up stapling it and then taping (with clear tape) the staples so they wouldn't rub. You can't see the hole, or the staples for that matter, but when I feel all the hub-bub in the elbow, I have to chuckle. I have got to stop wearing it. 

My sewing creativity has been stymied and I've been a bit distracted until I had my Eureka! moment. What I would like to sew  are tailored shirts. I have a hard time finding button-downs that fit me properly and I think after my surgery I'm going to be wearing longer sleeves. I'd really love to make something that I can wear that will fit the way it's supposed to, without having to drudge my way through stores looking for the impossible or falling back on knits. 

Now that I have the idea spark, I'm on my way to a new project. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Itchies

When I was in fourth grade, I think, I got lice. I'm not sure from whom I got them and I know that they didn't suddenly appear on my own head, they had to have been shared. It was traumatic, to say the least, because my grandmother cut my hair off so that I looked like a pixie - her words - or a boy - mine. I have pictures from that age that make me totally cringe. I got kicked out of school until I was cured.

Flash forward to when I was 19-years-old and just about to go into the Army. I was a couple of days away from getting on a bus and living temporarily with my friend and her family. I had just come back from visiting my mom and step-dad. They had just had a visit from his kids. I got a call from my mom telling me that my step-sisters had lice and I needed to check my own head. Sure enough, I had them.

My hair was in a cute little bob at the time, so no traumatic haircut for me. Unfortunately, that time my friend, with whom I was staying had just gotten a perm. I had to treat her head before she even got those two or three days for the chemicals to set. She was not happy. And I was mortified that I had left such a parting gift to such a hospitable family.

I had treated the lice, but felt the "itchies" for a very long time after that while in-processing into the Army without a hope of a friend to check me again and certainly not wanting to share this awful information, though now, as a more grown-up adult, I really should have because I was in such close quarters with so many people!

Flash forward to the present time. Our schools have had several lice-scares and I've been diligent to check my kids. I figure that if they get them, I will and if they don't, then I probably don't have them either. Unfortunately, because of my two previous experiences, any head itching on my part freaks me out. My scalp is very sensitive to soaps and stuff, which can create an itching that mimics the crawling feeling of critters.

But lately I have felt the horrible crawling feeling again. It's miserable and it means that I need to check my kids because I can't really check myself. So here goes...

Nope. Nothing. And my girls even checked my head. Phew. I'd better change shampoos again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Stand in Maui at Twilight

My family has been gone all week and I've had the place to myself. When I tell anyone that everyone is in Maui, they think that I must be completely bummed out not to be there with them. But the other mothers understand that this is almost better.

I have had one hell of a week, what with the extra melanoma diagnosis, that I didn't even write about, I don't think, and finding the rat in my kitchen in the middle of the night, didn't write about that, either, did I? But  with a combination of empty days to fill as I please and working long-ass shifts, I've filled in the cracks with things that only I could love without a care for what anyone else needs.

I have stayed up pretty late all week, too. A couple of nights I watched movies, but mostly it was reading. Last night I stayed up until 3:00 am reading that book. That book that everyone has read but me that they've turned into a series of movies. I indulged myself with Twilight. It's been interesting. Interesting because while not what you think of as good writing - it's very simplistic - it's masterful at pulling you in and flying you through the story. How does she do that? It's not just me, either. Everyone that I know that has read it says that you just get pulled in, and you do.

As a writer or artist or creator of any kind, which would you rather be - if you couldn't be both - critically acclaimed or popular?

I know that we would all say both, so I've removed that option. I used to want my work to be studied in school as being so good that they teach it. But this was the fantasy of a kid studying other writers in class and aspiring to be great. Critically acclaimed.

Somewhere in my life I read the book The Stand by Stephen King. No one took him seriously as a Serious Writer and in any literary discussion, his name would be thrown out as too prolific to be any good. But The Stand stuck with me. It's still one of my favorites and while it has odd parts to it, it's a classic theme of good versus evil and it is not possible to get a super runny nose without this book coming to mind. How can people think that it's not great to be able to entertain the many when the many are so stinking varied? Popular.

In any case, the idea came up that if you only had five years to live, would you live them differently than you are now? And while my answer, for the most part, is that my life is going the way I want it to and the way that I like it, my writing has been neglected as a hobby or an afterthought.

Well, screw those two choices and if I only had five more years left to live, I'd want my writing to be published.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I finished my skirt! Yay!

I don't like it. If I were in a store, I would have tried it on and passed. First of all, I made an A-line skirt. I'm not particularly fond of them in the first place and I don't know why I thought this would be any different. That's an easy one to fix, (I'm sure), but it's also too short. I suppose I could add a band along the bottom - if I were taller and thinner - maybe. Ick.

I love, love, love the material and perhaps it would be better suited to a dress. Or rather, I would like me in it as a dress more than what I just made. I'll keep an open mind about that. I have plenty of material left. I think. Somehow I followed the directions on how much to buy, but I must have done something wrong because I could make the Von Holder Family play clothes out of it for when we sing in the Alps.

All in all, I think it was a fabulous learning experience and I'm ready to make the next thing. On the plus side of this failure, I don't have to do the hand-finishing, nor do I have to take out all the extra thread and stray thread that are still in the garment. I won't embarrass myself with a photo. Probably.

(I'm just not easily set up to get the photos onto the computer right now.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sew What! Learning Curve

Okay, vent-a-thon is over.

Let me tell you about my sewing obsession! I am sewing a skirt from the book Sew What! Skirts. I thought it would be a simple way to wrap my head around sewing with a machine. Patterns intimidate me a bit, though I'm not sure why, because I've sewn them before and they have directions.

This book makes sewing skirts pretty much patternless (you make your own) seem so easy. And well, they are easy, it's not rocket science. Or so you'd think...

My first one has been a really learning experience in so many ways. I've learned how to un-jam my sewing machine from many angles! I've learned how to put in a zipper and that measurements are deceiving. Also, that I probably don't have any business in short skirts. Oh! And that stitch length is very important, especially when you need to rip them out. If you sew with teeny-tiny stitches (even if not on purpose) they are very hard to remove.

I've also learned that when you practice what you need to know with test strips of fabric, everything will go the way it's supposed to, but when you go to do it on a real piece of fabric, something may go wrong.

The zipper was fun. It seems to me that I've read in a couple places that you can put the zipper in from the inside-out or by top-stitching it from the outside-in. This makes total sense, but it is definitely easier to stitch right onto the zipper than to guess where the zipper is just from lame-o markings on the other side. These particular machine jams were the most fun to fix, let me tell you.

Also, I added "ease" to my measurements, which didn't really work out. Since my waist and hips are nearly the same measurement, I removed the ease on the waist, but it was a big mistake to remove it from the hips. This is where I discovered my seam length error!

All in all, I think it's going pretty well. I still have to add the facing and hem it up, but I count it as nearly done. It's only taken me a good two days whereas someone who was a little more skilled - or up to speed - would have been done in probably an hour. Maybe two. (The extra time was split between un-jamming the machine and walking away in frustration.)

I'm inspired and impressed with how it's turning out. Taking the basting stitches out to reveal the zipper to actually use it was the most rewarding part so far. I'll post a picture of it when I'm done. Probably.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Critters, Kinks, and Chunks

I saw Jesus today. He, in his full beard, long hair and Dude Dress with his girlfriend were walking in downtown Fairfax today. She almost got bitten by a dog when she went to pet it. She was in her robe. Both barefoot.

I was on my way to yoga when I saw this. Thinking that a good session would relax me and bring me back to my center, I woke up early to go - even after not sleeping enough and getting woken up by a loud rumbling. I thought there was an earthquake by the sound, but we weren't moving. In my sleeping stupor I heard the squeal/cry and knew that there was another critter being stalked in the shoe-end of my closet. When I finally got the light on, my cat, Pearl Killer, was lounging on the dog bed with a very self-satisfied air about her. The critter was hiding in a toe.

After picking up a shoes one-by-one and throwing them out on the deck, I stumbled across the one with eyes in it. They were those same big cute/droopy eyes from that rat mentioned here. Whatever it was, it filled the toe of one of my husbands bigger shoes. I don't think I really want to know. (Note to self: organize the shoes so critters can't crawl into them.) And I really wish I knew if the critters were already in the house or if Pearl was bringing them in to play with and kill. 

Somehow, I slept funny after that, waking up with a giant pain in my neck. Advil has been forbidden before I have my arm sliced open, so I'm just going to have to deal with it. I thought yoga would help, but it didn't help as much as I needed it to. 

So...I wake up with a stiff neck, see Jesus, park my car and find the yoga studio is packed like a can of sardines. I managed to squeeze myself in near the front - because no one wants to be in front - ever - right? - and then I realize that the instructor is playing a harp. I wanted to just crack up. It sounded pretty and all, but how in the world does that come about? Where does the I Play Harp and the I Teach Yoga join together to become I Play Harp to My Yoga Students While They Meditate. My neck hurt the whole time and I felt like I was spending the entire class trying to calm a muscle that wanted to buck like a bronco. 

We closed the session with more harp playing and I realized that when I "ohm" my vibrations are entirely in the left side of my head because of my hearing loss on the right side. Weird. When I went to pay, which I didn't do ahead of time because I was late, as is my MO, I waited patiently at the front desk. When the instructor walked in, she conversed a bit with the next class's instructor and then, instead of helping me, some other woman just jumped right in to talk to her. Ignoring me, they acknowledged that they knew I was waiting but didn't care. I wrote that I paid cash in the sign-in book and plopped my money down on the table. I was SO annoyed.

Then it occurred to me. I've been getting really annoyed lately! My patience and tolerance for rudeness is at an all-time low. I've been so uptight and it's really showing!


It's a sign. You see, the size of my melanoma is borderline where the action is to just remove it and watch and see, or do what is called a sentinel lymph node test to see if it has started to spread into my lymph nodes. They inject me with some sort of dye and see which lymph node it goes to and remove and biopsy that one. If melanoma is present, they remove all the lymph nodes but if it is not, the melanoma has most likely been strictly local. Now, the thought of them making a giant incision into my armpit and removing a big chunk of me really gives me the creeps. Not anymore so than the thought of them taking a chunk of my arm, but about the same. I don't like having to fight for everything - it comes back to feeling dumb for being over-cautious, but I'm much better off being active than waiting and seeing. Perhaps all my active responses to being annoyed are telling me to actively respond to my situation. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

Teetering and Tottering

I'm a winner! I just won a give-away on The Sewing Dork! I'm very excited. My day has kind of teetered and tottered and winning this give-away brought everything that was out of kilter back in-line.

My cat is sitting on my chest and I'm having a hard time balancing my laptop and she's about to throw my universe out of whack again with her fish breath. But I will drive on with my story...

I won't bore you with the minutiae of said teetering and said tottering, but will jump to the final teeter. My whole clan stopped at the local Best Buy today to pick up an accessory to a birthday gift for my youngest daughter's birthday. We cannot get through the door without stopping at the rows of candy/toy machines that cost either a quarter or two quarters. You know the ones where the prizes come in little plastic bubbles that take a power tool to open. They must have scoped out their choices for a good five minutes when they finally settled on some cute little dogs. My oldest puts her two quarters in and out pops a bubble with a dog inside. My youngest puts her two quarters in and nothing comes out. I don't have anymore quarters so I can't even offer up a consolation prize.

On a matter of principal - and the fact that one kid with a toy and one without has incredible potential for trouble - I went to the Customer Service Desk. I waited. And waited. And waited. I waited so long that my husband was able to secretly get through the line at the register before me.

But at the Stupid Customer Service Desk, they told me it wasn't their problem and tough luck lady we hate kids anyway. Not really, but they might as well have. They did say it wasn't their problem and don't I understand that they can't take $.50 out of their coffers for something like this?

I was furious! I can't tell you how furious I was! Sure it was only half a dollar, but those machines are INSIDE their store. They are ENDORSING those machines while on their property. They are MAKING MONEY off those machines - even if the customer service agent doesn't know it. There is no way that Best Buy would let someone else make money out of the goodness of their hearts. Clearly they don't have any goodness in their hearts.

And wouldn't you just know it - my oldest daughter gave my youngest her little dog! That's the sort of thing that makes me so glad to be a mother. And a human being. My daughter who has not a cent to her name has the heart to give it up for the littler girl when the Big Bad Best Buy couldn't cough it up.

As if that's not enough for the teeter, I went to feed the dog when I got home and there was a spider in the cabinet with the dog food. I brushed the web while reaching in. Eeewwwww! I hate the webs almost more than the spiders themselves.

So winning the Dude Dress was just the totter that I needed. :)

(I wonder if a Best Buy ad will show up on my blog.) (I wonder if they'll slam me with some sort of libel suit for spewing my anger at them here.) (I wonder if I'll show any restraint when I write them a letter to get back my money!) (I know, I know, let it go. Think about being a winner, right?) (Phew! That was a close one. I almost tottered my way back.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Universe Answers

So a woman, who worries about everything - even things she doesn't have to worry about - goes to the doctor to ask about a few things that are worrying her. She's vain, too. She doesn't like the way skin tabs appeared under her arms when she had her babies, nor does she like the bump on her leg that's red and raised.

She shows all of these to the doctor who systematically takes care of all of them. The skin tabs were frozen and have become painful and black before falling off. Quite yuck. The new mole on her chest (new from a few years ago) isn't anything to worry about. The bump on her leg is a scar and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Almost as an afterthought, she remembers to ask about the vaccination scar on her upper arm. It used to be pink and now has a little pigment inside. It's just ugly, but is it normal? To her surprise, the doctor doesn't like it. He takes a biopsy to have a better look. The hole that was left behind is even uglier than the pigment portion, but only barely.

After the first few days, the Vain Worrier can't decide to keep it wet with a bandage for faster healing or to let it scab up. She goes back and forth, but keeps it covered everywhere except home anyway.

After what feels like a long time, she wonders what the results are to the biopsy. It's been a week and three days and then the phone call comes. It's melanoma.

So, it's not that bad, it's still thin. Caught early due to diligent worrying probably. But she can't reconcile the need for it to be no-big-deal with the worry that melanoma is not no-big-deal, but a Big Deal, no matter how thin it is. And when they cut it out, how ugly is it going to be? Not that it matters, but anything to change the subject.

Wear sunscreen.

I'm going to go back to worrying. And I'm never going to feel dumb for going to the doctor to check things that are probably nothing again.

Q & A or rather, A & Q

Here are some things that I've learned recently:
  1. That weird piece of metal in my sewing machine compartment is for making button holes. 
  2. How to wind a bobbin.
  3. How to thread my machine. (Actually, I can't really say learn, if I had to do it again, I would need to cheat with the manual.) 
  4. My sewing machine has an automatic needle threader. (How cool is that?)
  5. My cat is a really good mouser.
  6. Mice like to hide inside the toes of shoes when a cat is after them. 
  7. We're out of milk.
  8. Some people are still decorating their lawns with flamingos.
  9. Carrots that have been left in your fridge for a week (tops on) feel like human fingers.
Here are some questions I have for the Universe:
  1. Is the mouse from the shoe still on my deck after I tried dumping it out over the railing and the liner of the shoe started to come out so I pulled the shoe back and then the mouse jumped onto my deck and ran under my treadmill? Or did it run off?
  2. Does burying honey somewhere in the yard really get the ants to leave the house?
  3. Where is my diamond necklace that I lost quite a while back? Is it in the vacuum cleaner?
  4. Are there any spiders still alive in my vacuum cleaner?
  5. Why don't I feel like doing anything I need to do today?
  6. What are the results of my skin biopsy? 
  7. Is it true that no news is good news?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Clean Scene

As crazy as it may sound, I was very excited to clean today. I cleaned my office to make room for my sewing machine. I cleaned the whole thing except for a giant pile. But no mind, the other giant piles are gone. They wouldn't exist at all if I didn't clean the upstairs by bringing the piles to the place that no one sees. I may post photos of my space - that's how proud I am.

And no less than 20 spiders died in the process. I got to 10 in short order. Mostly babies. Don't feel badly for them, they grow fast and they're not nearly as cute then. I would take breaks to surf the Internet and read all my new favorite blogs. And I left the house today to deliver three bags of toys and four bags of clothes (and a lamp and two broken printers) to St. Vincent DePaul and Goodwill. And pick up my girls from camp after running up to Costco to pick up some cat food and honey. When I returned to my office, new spiders had set up shop in the vacancies left by the old ones. I'm quite certain this could go on and on.

So, besides the giant pile Yet To Be Cleaned, I had a nice space to set up. I got out my machine and plugged it in. I had forgotten about that sinking feeling I would, of course, get when I remembered that they didn't thread themselves and the bobbins come empty.

And the little cubby compartment that slides off is full of stuff that I don't even know what it does!

I don't know where my instruction manual is, but I have confidence that I can do anything I set my mind to and I can master this piece of machinery. And yet...sewing machines have always been my kryptonite. I should post a picture of a cute dress I sewed for my daughter by hand because I couldn't bring myself to use the machine for it. And my mom would tell you the story about how I sewed my own bathing suit by hand when I was in high school. We'll see.

We'll see...

Friends at Home: Saving Books from Extermination

Yesterday I found myself at my mom's house looking in her bookcases for something. I started scanning and just stopped. Time slowed down for me as my eyes spied all the familiar spines that I knew as a child. The colors of the covers, the lettering of the titles, the authors all seemed to hold me in a grip.

I was home.

I was magically transported to that special place in my heart that holds all the warmth of All Things Favorite. It's no wonder that I refer to books as my "friends." I want to be surrounded by them and if I had my way, I'd have bookshelves on every wall.

My husband doesn't share this belief with me. When we moved into this house he said he didn't want bookcases. Something about them looking cluttered and he made the proclamation a finality. I have one bookcase in my dining room, and he's absolutely right about the cluttered-ness of it. Since it's really the only bookcase upstairs (dedicated to books and not DVDs) any spare books that are laying around get shoved into this thing. Sometimes they make their way downstairs instead.

Downstairs, all the books are hidden. I have two rolling flat boxes under my bed where I keep some books. I have a huge pile right next to my bed underneath my nightstand. In our crawl space we have boxes upon boxes that I cataloged last summer (complete waste of time, most likely) and the ones that get read get tucked into all sorts of nooks and crannies in the storage area with not a hope of rediscovery. And then there is my office. My office, (also in the crawlspace) - and soon to be sewing room! - has bookshelves lining the back of it. These are organized by type. I have writing reference materials, parenting books, books on motherhood and feminism, and one case devoted to books I'd like to read. Probably. Or books that I don't want to lose in the shuffle.

In a sick sort of way, due to my husband's ban on bookcases, I get a secret pleasure out of his not being able to find books to lend to people (mostly travel books) because he can't find them. As much as he would like to just get rid of them all, I am holding on. Perhaps I'm a hoarder, but I like to think it has more to do with that feeling of being home when I meet an old "friend" again after not seeing it for a long time. Just touching the cover or reading the title retrieves the story and I relive the memory. I am transported.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

More Than Eight Eyes On You

I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on how when you visit websites they put little bits of code onto your computer and they track your viewing habits in an effort to see which ads to target you with. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I would rather see ads that are relevant than just random ads that fill up space with another form of noise. On the other hand, it's creepy. I have a hard time with people making money on me or from me, without my having any say in the matter or benefiting from it in any way.

In response, I thought it might be fun to visit a whole bunch of random sites just to change my own profile and have those sneaks target me with ads - that someone is paying for - that I have absolutely no interest in. Carburetors anyone? Nascar? Arm Wrestling?

Because you see, my posts are generating ads too. I suppose I could take the ads off, I mean, who is actually clicking on them anyway? They are kind of fun, though just for the colors and pictures. And then there is the giant Terminix ad that I've seen on my blog. I'm sure it has to do with all of my posting on spiders, ants and rats.

And when I walked into my kitchen and discovered that I had nearly walked into a spider who had built a web across my doorway, I thought that Big Brother would have (another) field day. The reality is that I don't even use poison. That would clearly explain why I can't get rid of the ants - the bait stations are as far as I'll go. I would never use Terminix myself for the purpose of ridding myself of pests.

So what is Big Brother and his prying-eyed friends learning from me? I hope that they're learning I have a sense of humor. And a phone book with the following words: Antiques, Hearing Aids, Locks, Instant Printing, Sawmill Equipment, Self Storage, Tree Shaping and Welding.