July 26, 2011

Star picks

Last week's top picks from my Google reader feeds included:
Aaaand I want to go here (via The Centred Librarian)
Entrance to Children’s Section, Cerritos Millenium Library, Cerritos, California

* I have experienced moments of zhaghzhagh in the past few days, as well as indulging in a bit of boketto. Thankfully, I do not suffer from slampadato! My personal fave (missing from Mental Floss's list) is musu, a Samoan expression for when someone suddenly becomes moody and sullen, for no apparent reason.

July 21, 2011

Star picks: abbreviated edition

In an attempt to carve back a little more time for knitting (which I'm able to do again after long six months, with minimal shoulder pain - huzzah!) and background reading for the WIP and hanging out with Mr Fantapants and the big (and increasingly arthritic) orange cat, I've been skimming posts in my Google Reader for the past couple of weeks, largely based on whether their headline appeals to me at that precise moment. I fear I'm missing a lot of good stuff, but then I fear I'm missing a lot of good stuff by being online so much, too...

Anyway, from my limited reading, I present these three gems:
* Mr F nominated Fozzy Bear who is sadly missing from this indepth and informative guide. He remains an enigma!

July 12, 2011

Heaven knows, I was miserable then

I'm chuffed to have a guest on Dear Teen Me today.

 I'd thought that writing a letter to my 15-year-old self would be a doddle, but it was a lot harder than I imagined. It made me revisit all those hours spent holed up in my bedroom with the blinds closed, listening to The Smiths and wishing I could go to sleep and wake up when I was twenty, and brought back a lot of angsty feelings that I thought I'd gotten over a long time ago.

It also forced me to admit that I could do with taking a bit more of my own advice on a daily basis: after I sent my submission in I went to our local off-leash dog park and watched a couple of Staffies chase balls. It made me feel much, much better.

And then I came home and listened to some Smiths, because 80s-era Morrissey* still understands my pain...

* i.e. before he moved to the States and took up golf

July 5, 2011

Star picks

Posts that caught my beady eye via Google reader last week:
 Colette, taking crazy cat lady to extremes.

July 1, 2011

Flattery will get you everywhere

It probably says more about my character than I’d like to admit that I didn’t become a blood donor until I started working at an organisation that encouraged staff to donate during work time.* You see, even though I’d met some very enthusiastic donors along the way, there was something about the idea of a) giving away a part of myself – literally, and b) volunteering to be stuck with a largish needle that made me hold back on doing this good deed. But it turned out that being paid to not attend another boring meeting was all the motivation I needed. (Well, that and the promise of a free milkshake afterwards.)

I’ve been making regular (you can donate whole blood quarterly) donations for four years now, so obv. the process is not as harrowing as I’d feared, but there is still one bit that makes me think ‘this is the last time I put myself through this’ every time, and that is when they put the needle in. It’s not that the needle itself is particularly painful; the problem is that I have what the blood bank nurses call ‘small veins’,** which apparently require a great deal of skill and accuracy to tap into. This means that every time I visit the blood bank, I have a conversation that goes something like yesterday’s:

Nurse 1: Which arm will we be using today, love?***
Aimee: The right arm, thanks. The left one’s no good at all.
Nurse 1: [looking at vein in right elbow-area] Hmmm…it’s a wee one, isn’t it? Perhaps— [moves towards left arm]
Aimee: No! Really, that’s the good arm. The left one’s impossible to even find. This one doesn’t look like much, but it always gets there in the end.
Nurse 1: [doubtfully] I’ll have to get Nurse 2.
Nurse 2: Ooh, that is tiny, isn’t it, darl? [cranks up pressure on arm-cuff thingo] And you say you’ve used this vein before? You’re sure it wasn’t the other one?
Aimee: Oh no, the other one’s bung. There’s always just a lot of digging around in there with the needle and then they give up and use the right one. [trying to muster encouraging cheerfulness] It always gets there in the end.
Nurse 2: [taps more at vein] Well, I’ll do my best, sweetie.
Aimee: [thinks: This is the last time I do this.]
Nurse 2: There we go.
Aimee: [thinks: Ow.]
Nurse 1: You got it then?
Nurse 2: Yes, it’s flowing nicely.
Aimee: [triumphantly] It always gets there in the end.

Even though Nurse 2 seemed to have no trouble at all, I was still thinking I might make this my last donation because perhaps we small-veined folk are not the best candidates for this sort of thing after all. Until Nurse 2 announced to Nurse 1 that my little vein was pumping out blood at a rate of knots. The bag was filling faster than she’d seen one do in months! Even big, athletic men with big, athletic veins couldn’t do better! Nurse 1 looked suitably impressed.

Less than seven minutes later it was all over. I was thanked profusely for taking the time to donate, complimented once again on my small-but-mighty vein and sent to the recovery area for a chocolate milkshake. I – positively bursting with pride – made a mental note of the date I’ll be eligible to donate again.

* In defense of my otherwise not-too-reprehensible character, I feel compelled to mention here that I have also done my share of volunteering and helping the elderly cross the road and other good deeds.
** which is surprising because the rest of me is at the larger end of average (except for my slightly-too-small feet, which I blame for much of my clumsiness)
*** ‘love’ is one of many endearments used by the blood bank nurses. I suspect it’s largely because they can’t remember everyone’s name, but it does give me a dose of the warm fuzzies to be called ‘love’, ‘dear’, sweetie’ and ‘darl’ all within the space of a forty-minute visit.