Hold My Calls, Pleez

I know, I’ve not been around much lately, and I’m afraid that’s going to continue for just a bit. I got sucked in to some rather intriguing sporkings, which also led to some new books, and I’ve pretty much been a 24/7 layabout. There will be payoff for you, I promise. I meant to have that for you this week, but then awesome personal life developments intervened, and well… I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’ll return next week, when we’ll restart our… well, interesting, if not exactly fun… Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education. I’ve got many posts written, just need to type them up. I’ll be introducing you to an awesome new earth science comic to ease your pain. It’s because I love you, and also because I got sent an advanced copy and fell in love with it.

This came up while I was searching for a suitable picture for this post, and I love it, and want you to have it:

Image is split in half. On the left, a woman is chucking her golden retriever under the chin, while a gray cat looks on in the foreground. On the right, the woman is smiling at her dog, and the cat is now looking into the camera with a disgusted expression. Caption says, "My cat disapproves of human/dog love... I didn't even know she could do that face..."

I covet that cat. What gorgeous green eyes! Misha’s got them, too, but of course she’s not all silvery-gray. The last Russian Blue (which I think is that cat above) we had got stolen by the neighbor’s visiting in-laws. Funny ol’ world, innit?

Summer’s almost over. Get your adventuring in while ye may, for those of you who still have some lovely days ahead. For those in the southern hemisphere, get out and enjoy the waning winter! Indulge in the things that make you happy, my darlings, and I’ll see you soon!

Image shows a winking white owl. Caption says, "Owl see you later."

If you have any special requests for the winter’s postings, please do let me know in comments.

Ha Ha Ha Whoops. Also: Help Me Keep an Eye on Creationists

I’ve had myself so buried in Christianist textbooks, frantically trying to get this talk pulled together, when I wasn’t compulsively reading about the awful things police in Ferguson are up to now, I haven’t thought to keep an eye on my email… and it turns out that due to unforeseen circumstances, FtBCon’s postponed anyway. We’ll be trying again in a few months. So what does this mean? It means you’ll still get a talk on Why Geology Matters – To Creationists, only it will be a much better talk, because I’ll actually have gotten through these books. Well, at least through all the geology bits of the books. Ye gods, it takes ages to fact-check and debunk this stuff now that we’re in to the portions of Earth science Christianists love to hate.

Image shows an orange kitten sitting in a terra cotta pot, with one paw over an eye. Caption says, "Whew! Close Call!"

Thank you, all of you who helped me calculate mammoth populations! You’re amazing. You’ll also love the resulting post, although it’ll take a while before it comes up in the queue – trying to do this stuff in order.

Now I’m going to ask you all now to do me another favor: over the next few months, would you keep an eye out for any news about creationists and geology? It can be things like creationists infiltrating the American Geophysical Union or Geological Society of America meetings (again), creationists trying to sneak “Flood geology” in or fighting earth science standards, creationists trying to pull the wool over journal editors’ eyes and attempting to slip religion in to science publications, anything like that. You can send tips to dhunterauthor at gmail.

Some of you who are interested may want to join me for a private dry-run of said talk when it’s finished – if you’d like to help me not suck in public, and be one of the elite, exclusive ETEVers who gets to hear it first, let me know. We’ll set up a Google Hangout and do the thing when I’ve got it all written. And, if there’s room on the schedule and you’d be interested in joining me for a panel on Women in the Geosciences, also let me know that.

But wait! There’s More!

For the next few days, I’m preparing the Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education series relaunch, and also hating my uterus, and going to go photograph All The Sea Mammals for your squees and enjoyment. I’ll also have a social justice post up on our fucked-up police state and ways you can help soon. And there’ll be a little something over at Rosetta Stones eventually this week. I have a super-awesome geology comic book I was sent that I’m going to review for you, probably early next week. People, you have no idea how excited I am about it! But you will know. I’ll also be reviewing a book I read the other morning that will give you a whole other look at the Christianist homeschool life. It’s called Homeschool Sex Machine: Babes, Bible Quiz, and the Clinton Years. And yes, it’s as whacked as it sounds.

Also, YES I AM WRITING A BOOK ON MOUNT ST. HELENS I PROMISE. I know you won’t stop asking, and it makes me happy you don’t, but I figured I’d better reassure you. I’ll be jumping back into that series shortly as well. And yes, finishing the Seattle Seahawks rings. SO MANY THINGS TO DO.

There will also be a post coming soon on that awesome bird at Mount Rainier, and muchmuch more. Good times ahead! Now if you’ll excuse me for just a bit, I need to lose the last of my hair to the geology chapters in ES4 and continue arguing with my uterus over paying attention to the pain relievers I’m feeding it…

Your Wish List?

I’m relatively certain The Powers that Be™ are getting vigorous feedback from a variety of sources, but I figured we’d do up a list of wants and needs here just to be thorough. Now that we’ve got the new theme up, it’s time to make it moar awesomer! Dream big, I’ll compile, and then compare our list with what Ed’s given to our tech guru for fixin’.

I can tell you that Recent Posts in the sidebar for all FtB is definitely on the list already. (And no, you don’t have to repeat yourself: if you already said what you’d like in the previous thread about the theme, you don’t have to do it here.)

While you’re at it, let me know if you want threaded comments to forever vanish from the face of ETEV. Because I can make that happen if you want, yo.

And do tell me what you particularly like about the new theme, so we don’t inadvertently destroy it.

Also, a bit o’ a challenge! I’ve added a background. All the kudos to the first person who a) notices and b) figures out what it is.

Image is a black and white cat lying in front of a blank pad and a pen, looking up expectantly. Caption says, "You maek list. I pass it on."

I’m Not Dead! Just Sleeping Like It…

I think I figured out where my new medications put my anxiety: it transferred it to all of you! I didn’t mean to worry you, my darlings! Should’ve checked my email weeks ago… dear, oh, dear. All the hugs and apologies for scaring you!

Rest assured, I am alive, in reasonably good health, and much better spirits. Of course, the first week on the new meds was pretty rocky. The anxiety and depression vanished almost instantly, but I was loopy and slightly nauseous and couldn’t really think. Then they flipped the sleep mode switch, and so my routine has been basically see bed > lie down > sleep until dragged to day job > repeat endlessly. I’m not even kidding. Opening the computer became a Sisyphean task. I’d sit up, pry open the lid, then it snapped closed and the bed swallowed me again before I could open a page.

Image shows a cat face-planted on a bed. Caption says, "I will nap... HERE."

This has gone on for over a month, but is now getting better. I can even be awake almost hours at a time! And tonight, I can skim email and focus on a blog post. Woo-hoo progress!

Ye olde day jobe, which I am sadly stuck with until I get my medical stuff straightened out, has been utter chaos. After gods know how many years of the most obnoxious yellow walls and dingy swirly-patterned industrial carpet filled with more stains than design (and duct-taped down in places, not even kidding), they decided to remodel. While having us take overflow calls for about every type of phone we’ve ever offered. Even the ones we have no training for. While telling us to use their nifty new technical troubleshooting gadget. Which is horrifically broken. Which Starspider, myself, and others have desperately been attempting to fix for over a month now. Our master design guru had gotten part of it into excellent shape, with features that made all the reps on the floor drool. Only to be told a few days before launch that our nifty ideas had been scuttled, and our guru had to redesign the entire thing in less than a week. Stress? You betcha! I swear I thought that poor kiddo was gonna jump off the roof a time or two. But we got ‘er done, and our guru lives.

Needless to say, I didn’t have time to read email at work, or blog. But the new medication did the trick. I should’ve been ripping hanks of hair out and having a complete breakdown. Instead, I laughed a lot at the utterly predictable disastrousness of it all. Then I’d go home to my kitty and – you guessed it –

Image shows a cat sleeping with its tongue hanging out. Caption says "Drool"

Yeah, I have been incredibly exciting – if you like watching marathon snoozing. Add to that Starspider moving, and B needing help battling a doctor who doesn’t believe anxiety is really a thing, and having to change supervisors suddenly, and having people in meatspace need me for things every time I had a conscious few hours… yeah, I’ve been neglecting my online life big time.

And neglected you. And worried you. Which is bad. And so I’ve made arrangements with Starspider and B to let you all know if anything actually happens to me, so that you won’t ever have to worry again! They’ll keep you informed as to what’s going on if I suddenly go silent again.

The side effects from ye new drugs are fading, and I might have a combo that allows me to stay awake for more than minutes at a time after work, so I should be returning to blogging seriously here very soon. And the dreams – cinematic, incredibly detailed dreams that have the Muse rubbing her hands with glee and saying, “Hey, we can work with this!” Those dreams have provided me a story line or two which I’m pursuing, so it won’t be just geology and social commentary you get from me, I hope!

For now, though, it’s time for me to

Image is a gif of a tiny kitten yawning and falling asleep.

Adventures in Mental Health Care

You may have noticed from the fact I’ve flaked recently, but Wellbutrin stopped working in a big way. It did a great job removing depression at first – which unmasked an underlying anxiety that increased and increased and increased. Then it stopped working on the depression. Sigh.

My day job has spent the past several months jabbing the rage, depression, and anxiety buttons nearly constantly. It’s got to the point where I have nightmares about it, which added insomnia to the list. Double sigh.

And my doctor is on sabbatical so she can spend time with her kids. Triple sigh.

Image is a cat collapsed face-down on the back of a sofa. Caption says, "I love you, couch. You understand me."

It’s really hard to cope with change when you’re super-depressed and anxious, so it took me a while to work up the courage to go through the process of getting a new doctor. Luckily, a friend at work went from all storm clouds all the time to near-blissful happiness, and her doctor was accepting new patients. I saw her Tuesday. I bloody love both her and the new clinic. She was a lot more prompt and thorough than my previous doctor. She found me something that will, with any luck, destroy both the anxiety and the depression in one go. We’re phasing out Wellbutrin. I’ve got some Xanax to fill in the gaps while the new stuff gears up to full effect. She listened to me when I told her my tiny little body burns through ordinary doses of drugs in a flash, and dosed accordingly. And she also sent me down the hall to the lab to get my thyroid tested, which I’d meant to ask for and completely forgotten. I love docs who actually look for other underlying causes rather than just assuming you’re mental.

She assessed me for bipolar, what with my mother’s history, and assures me it doesn’t sound like that’s me. A bit SAD, depressed and anxious, yes, but the Dread Disease is not mine. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I was terrified I’d end up in my mother’s shoes someday. Sounds like that bullet’s been dodged.

So that’s one doctor I hope sticks around for absolute ages, because I already love her. And I love the lab tech, who shoved a needle in my arm without even a pinprick of pain. I have no idea how she did it. Maybe voodoo. And then, I was able to skip a few steps down the hall and fill my Xanax prescription right there in their own pharmacy, in five minutes. Gorgeous.

While the Venlafaxine works its way up to therapeutic doses, I’m self-medicating with Buffy and sewing. Side effects have me sleeping more than usual and feeling wonky, but they’re not bad and getting better as my body adjusts. Communication comes in bursts, so my apologies to those who’ve been waiting to hear from me – I’ll be contacting you soon! My brain will begin functioning adequately to do more than one thing at a time with a big rest between, so blogging will ramp up to full capacity soon.

And, biggest news: I’ll be leaving my dread day job soonish, no later than the end of summer at the outside and likely much earlier, so you’ll have much more of me. Yes, my darlings: I’m gonna make a go of writing at last. Also, sewing. And swag. And prints. I figure with all that and a lot of shameless self-promotion, plus having some of you spread the word to folks who might enjoy my stuff, I should be able to mostly make it. I’ll probably pick up a part-time job to pay some of the bills and get me out of the damn house, but it won’t be the constant stress marathon my day job has been, and not nearly the drain on my time.

Thank you, Obamacare, for making it possible for me to make that move. And thank you, my darlings, for being there while I struggled my way to a point where this can even be considered. Without you, I wouldn’t risk it. With you cheering me on, I’m willing to leap that cliff and see if I can sprout wings.

If not, people will always need a friendly voice on the phone to walk them through technical stuff, so I’ve got a fallback. I’d say no worries, but I’m a native worrier, so I’ll just say, few worries.

Thank you for being patient with my vanishing acts. I shall return with much substance soon. For now, you’ll get more pretty pictures, and I’m off to have another dose of Buffy. Laters!

Spring Break

Lessee… Behind in research, writing, communication, housecleaning, and catching B up on Doctor Who. I’m afraid that means it’s time for

Image shows an alligator  leaping from a river. Caption says, "Spring break!"

I hate to do it, but I’ve gotta take the week off to catch up. I may pop in with a bit here and there, because I’ll miss you. But expect light fare, until I return bearing the meatiest posts I can muster.

See you soon, my darlings!


My Imminent Return

Halloween is over, costume deadlines no longer loom, and it’s about time for me to get back to you lot. Only I got hit by a virus. It’s sort of like getting hit by a bus, only slightly less gory. I can’t dictate posts because talking hurts, and I can’t type much because all of my joints ache. It’s a bad sign when your skin rejects clothing, right? But it doesn’t appear to be super-serious, so I should be back in writing trim within the week.

In the meantime, with the government no longer shut down and the USGS photo library back online, we should be able to resume our Mount St. Helens series. I’ve also got lots of stuff to show you that I learned while making costumes: public domain audio books are a thing, so I got lots of reading done. I was on an abolition kick. It amazes me how much gets glossed over in school. My adult life has been one long series of illusions being shattered.

There are also some book reviews, and of course plenty of photos from the debut of B’s wonderful wizard costume, and some lovely fall scenery. There are huge, meaty posts full of savory rocks. And I’m sure I can manage a rant or two.

For now, though, it’s back under the covers for me. Should hair hurt? Argh.

These Posts Are So Last Year. I Mean, They’re Classics!

Hey, look, Rosetta Stones is now just over a year old! Outstanding! I think that means I can start filching from it now, and reposting stuff here for those who missed it, or would like to relive the adventure again. Don’t worry, I’ll be subjecting Rosetta Stones to the same treatment, so if you have a few favorite posts from ETEV’s past, you’ll probably see those come round again.

Right, then. Onward, ho. Our first selection will be a reprise of my very first written piece for Scientific American, which appeared on the guest blog over a year ago. From there, the stars! No, wait, those aren’t particularly outcrop-rich and a little too hot for field work. Right. From there, the planets! And the moons! Geronimo!*


*+10 Geek Points to those who know where “Geronimo!” comes from.

Various Updates, Helpfully Illustrated with Possibly Artistic Photos

So, things. Things have happened, and are happening, and sometimes some of you ask after them, which means other of you have thought of asking but haven’t because you don’t want to ask. So I’ll give you a few updates.

Firstly, this isn’t me anymore.

Moi at Paulina Peak.

Moi at Paulina Peak.

I haven’t had one of those things in my right hand since early August. Many of you have wondered about that, because I haven’t said. Despite various stressors, and being off Chantix for ages, I haven’t had a one since the first day of our Mount St. Helens trip. Haven’t even stood downwind of the smokers, sniffing longingly – the stuff smells awful. Do I miss it? Certain of its aspects, certainly. I miss the mellowing of my mood, and I miss the irresistible urge to head outside for a few minutes every hour or so. But that’s about it. I get the occasional urge out of nowhere, from habit I suppose, but it’s gone in a flash and I’m back to being a non-smoker. I figure if my mother’s hospitalization didn’t push me over the edge, I’m probably safe enough for the moment.

Speaking of mother, she’s now settled in to a group home. They think this will be temporary, until she clears from the ECT, and then she’ll be off on her own again. Possibly. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I know she’d like it, but I’d rather her be in a place where she’s got expert caregivers watching her. We’ll see how it goes, but at least she’s getting better for now.

This seems to be a routine, now, in the winter. Mom goes a bit wonky. A relative dies – this time, it was my uncle, the one who aspired to become a pirate and got himself committed to a secure facility for his trouble. I didn’t know him well, and for the last several years he’d been lost in his disease, but he was a classic.



Of course, this means I’ll be watching the phone with a suspicious eye next winter, waiting to see who it is this time. I suppose it wouldn’t do any good to put a moratorium on le mort for a few years. Gah.

This is the second January in a row during which I’ve been struck with an overwhelming urge to flee from the world and bury myself in turn-of-the-century detective literature. Last year, I read about five million novels, including an inordinate amount of Agatha Christie; this year, I watched the entire runs of both Poirot and Miss Marple on the telly. That turns out to be a good way to sate that desire, as I can fiddle with photos. Nearly everything has been picked through and organized. Quite nice. I’ve branched off into other British detective shows, and shall probably have a thing or two to say about them soon.

However, fun as this can be, I’m beginning to think it’s a symptom of SAD. It’s been difficult to muster the motivation for much of anything, everything I write feels like it’s fallen with a dull thud, social activities are far more taxing than I can manage… all of which seem to be symptoms of something.

Black clawing at gray, Seattle winter.

Black clawing at gray,
Seattle winter.

Then February comes, and I come bouncing back. Crusades at work (if you see one mobile carrier sprint past the others rather suddenly in customer and employee satisfaction, well, that’s us and it means the uprising was wildly successful). Blogging’s not a chore, but a pleasure again. And I would have been up and doing this weekend instead of lying abed alternately reading Sundays with the Christianists and dozing off, but I was suffering from acute feline paralysis. Yes, pretty much all weekend. I’ve barely been able to escape to pee and fetch food. I’m not sure why, but le chat noir sans merci has decided to be a snuggle bunny, and it’s disturbing.

Weathervane, Timberline, Mount Hood.

Weathervane, Timberline, Mount Hood.

So, it’s been a stroll in the dark for a while, but not that dark, and there’s light, and the possibility of the good drugs if such become necessary, and there’s always been enough light to prevent unfortunate incidents on reefs and sundry coastlines. So that’s all to the good.

Lighthouse, Oregon Coast.

Lighthouse on Yaquina Head, Oregon Coast.

And hey, I’ll even be able to address my inbox soon. Thank you, those of you who have been so very patient.

I’ve completed quite a bit of research and have more underway. Soon, there should be some wonderfully meaty geology posts. Mostly volcanic. And that’s hawt. Ah-ha-ha-ha.

Thank you, my darlings, for always being lights in dark places. Hopefully, you’ll be enjoying some bright and beautiful things yourselves. I shall do my utmost to provide.

If Things Go Rather Silent…

…it’s because it’s another winter when my mother declines just that much more. She’s back in the hospital, and they’re talking about electroconvulsive therapy this time. Severe mental illness is a merry go round you can never quite step off of.

Please don’t worry about me. It’s sad and chaotic, yes, but not unexpected, and also something of a relief, as when I saw a call from my aunt on my cell phone, I had a horrid moment when I believed the message I’d hear was that my mother was dead, so to hear she’s safely tucked up in a hospital bed is quite an enormous relief, actually. And she asked for a flu shot, they say. Sign of forward-thinking, that. She’s planning for a future without the flu. This is good news. Or so I choose to look at it, anyway.

I’ll keep you posted, my darlings. Thanks for your understanding.