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Marilee J. Layman

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November 30th, 2007

06:16 pm: Spirit Hates Me (and everybody else loves me)
The only way to let the dryer vent guy get to the back of the dryer was to move the litterbox into the guest bathroom and everything else in the utility room other than the washer/dryer, water heater, and furnace into the hallway. I did this gradually last night (because if I did it this morning, I'd be bent over all day) while Spirit was sleeping in the bed and when she came out and bonked her head into a box of litter, she had a fit. And another. And another. I left the guest bathroom light on last night so she managed to find the litterbox and she eventually came and slept with me.

I tried them with just the warmed turkey this morning and the boys were fine, but Spirit wasn't having that. So I guess I'll be adding food rather than replacing it for them.

This morning, the dryer vent guy got hung up on a job that was more than described so since I'd gotten up early, I read all of 11/13's paper and started on the 14th and then took a nap with only Giorgio sleeping with me in the recliner. Spirit was down in the bed. This is where I really screwed up. I should have shut the bedroom door then, so Spirit would stay down there, but I didn't and when I answered the door (or sometime around there) she dashed behind the water heater. Which put her right next to the really loud vacuum and blower (which was a very cool machine, not that I need one). :::sigh::: When the dryer vent guy left, she wouldn't come near me and when I stepped toward her, she ran back behind the water heater.

The aluminuminuminuminum hose had fallen because it was full of water, which reinforced my belief that the vent was really clogged. He blew out the vent and the dryer parts, plus cleaned the screen over the outside port. He poured the water out of the hose, but it had dried lint on the inside and a tear, so I just bought a new one and had him put it in. He was also very nice and put the battery back in the smoke detector. While he was doing the paperwork, we ended up talking about half an hour about cultures and languages and intolerance. He happened to mention gout and I told him I had gout and he told me more about his diagnosis. He was having flares every couple of months which almost always means it's something he's eating or drinking. I told him to search for the gout exclusion diet online, but when I looked later, they seem to be called "gout diet" now. He offered to come back for the next year and clean out the outside screen, which was very nice.

Then I went to Kaiser to pick up the simvastatin and the clerk was telling me that it was to replace the Lipitor and I told her it was my idea and why and she congratulated me on looking things up and taking care of myself.

Then I went to Olive Garden because I haven't had their pumpkin cheesecake this year and I knew I might have missed it. They had three pieces left, so I ordered the lasagna and had the pumpkin cheesecake. It was amazingly busy, even for Friday, and lots of crying babies were louder than the tacky Xmas music. When it quieted before I finished, my waiter sat down and talked to me about this job and his other job and so forth. I noticed he hadn't put the cheesecake on the tab and pointed it out, and he said "it's close to Christmas, don't worry about it." I thanked him and left a big tip.

I think the Celexa is working and I'm back to looking like the kind of person people want to talk to.

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06:26 pm: "The Myth of the Iron Lady"
I read Monday the 12th's WashPost last night and the Monday Department of Human Behavior was more interesting than usual. Apparently studies show that:

...women vying for leadership roles are automatically assigned two labels. The first is to be seen as nice and warm, but incompetent; the second is to be seen as competent but unpleasant.

I think I was seen as competent but unpleasant. In any case, the article discusses why people feel this way and how their ideas can be changed. I thought it was fascinating.

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06:28 pm: We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman
This book is the story of the Army and Navy nurses who were trapped on Bataan and imprisoned on Corrigedor and in the Manila area by the Japanese during the beginning of WWII in the Pacific. The author is a nursing professor and she talks a bit at the end about why she calls them "angels" rather than "heroes." What bothers me the most is how she calls them "soldiers." It's true that these days we have field medics and lots of support staff all called soldiers because they're trained that way, but in those days there was a big difference between soldiers and nurses and while these nurses worked in really awful jungle conditions and were imprisoned with 350 calories daily, they still didn't use guns or plan raids or work out strategies.

There are really sad and horrible stories in this book and we learn a lot about a few of the nurses, but I found a lot of contradictions within the book. First, she used "(sic)" when there were errors in the written pieces from the nurses (and once when there wasn't), but there were several misspellings* and misuse of words in her part (formerly instead of formally, epicenter instead of center, diurnal instead of daily, wove instead of knit, etc.) as well as a lack of the serial comma which added confusion. She also misused "less" for "fewer."

Secondly, she constantly bounces back and forth between saying men were wrong for treating the nurses special or as the "fairer sex" and saying the nurses didn't get enough attention. She also talked about how bad it was the nurses were used as a propaganda machine after they were freed but were forgotten when the war ended. She talks about how wonderful the nurses were because they were nurses, but then makes some sound worse than others.

Thirdly, she clearly dislikes the military, in just about every possible way (it is not possible to predict exactly how another country will attack and you prepare the best way you can), and she hates the Navy more than the Army. But the nurses were all right because they were, you know, nurses.

And at the end, she writes "[the women] prized their affiliation, their sorority, their womanhood because, as women, they were more naturally comrades than men." I think that's crap.

A bit about the organization of the book: the chapters are in narrative mode with endnotes marked all through. There are inadequate maps at the front of the book and there's 45 pages of resources at the end of the book: a timeline, a list of the nurses and other women who were imprisoned, a bibliography, the endnotes, and an index. She's clearly researched this quite well, but put her own spin on it. There are two sections of glossy page photos where it is striking to see how the women change over the years. She interviewed several of the women who were still living and would talk to her, and admits at the end of the book that she came to have a personal link to one, which was so obvious through the book that I'd been taking notes about it.

As much as I wanted to feel more for the story, I kept being pulled out by the errors, contradictions, dislike of the military, and favoritism. Here's rivka's review which is what pushed me to get it out of the library. rivka loved it and maybe you will, too.

*(sic) for "Waikii" but the book soon says "Siapan"



(Thank Ghu I read SF tonight.)

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