Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pay Attention!!!

Image courtesy of Sixninepixels at

Is there an adult in America today who doesn’t wonder, if they haven’t already been diagnosed, that they might have attention-deficit disorder? (And if there is, can they tell me their secret?)

That’s all?

That sounds about right.

As I’ve sat here, my daughter, away at college, texted me. So did several other people, including a spammer. Even if I don’t respond, I look: Who is it? Is it an emergency?

Then, the stupid thing beeps a second time several seconds later.

I supposed I could figure out how to reset that.

But meanwhile, since I looked, I see my mom responded to my email.

Oh, and I have some notifications from Facebook.

Facebook is its own particular distraction vortex. Oh, awful: A childhood classmate died. Oh, sweet: Another is getting married. Oh, a sponsored ad is looking for women who suffer from ovarian cancer who used talcum powder. Is that something to worry about? Oh, I feel sick: A video automatically plays of an abused dog so skinny, he can’t stand. Oh, but there are some sweet horses or goats or kittens or babies who are obviously doted on … My brain struggles to process all of this.

Where was I? Oh, yes, distraction.

But who am I kidding? I can remember the pre-Internet days. And I distinctly remember veering away from tasks I didn’t want to do.

Attention, at least for me, is this fleeting, fluttering, easily damaged thing.

It’s like herding butterflies.

And I still don’t have the hang of it.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Life is Shit

These two produce an inordinate amount of poop.
When we decided to get our second dog, Tony, I did not think of how I was going to have double the dog shit in our tiny yard, nor did I think house-training him would be a big deal.

Where we are with the house training: I am inordinately proud of myself for teaching Tony to ring the bells I hung on the doors when he wants to go out.

Honestly, though, that was easy, took about a day for him to get it.

The hard part: convincing Tony that, yes, it is important to never pee or poop in the house.

Also, he abuses those bells, sometimes ringing them every few minutes, and for a wide variety of reasons, such as he’d like to lay out in the sun.

Which is fine, except we have discovered that it is impossible to make our driveway gate “Tony-proof.” He can get under it when it’s closed. However, we can’t make that gap any smaller or it won’t open.

(Contemplating an “invisible fence,” if you’ve got any advice about that.)

So, for weeks, I have been at the other end of the leash, poop bag in hand, every time Tony (and Lola, who always comes along) has pooped or peed.

There are times in life when biology is much more front and center than usual. 

I told this to my husband, a gastroenterologist. “Yeah, tell me about it,” he said.

I am reminded of bringing home new babies with all that entails, from spitting up (etc.) for the baby to let-down (etc.) for the mom.

Working on getting Tony's and Lola's biology back to humming along without quite so much of my involvement.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Be Glad You’re Not A Honey Bee

Image courtesy of anankkml

Even being the queen bee is no prize. The queen bee doesn’t issue orders; she doesn’t control
anything in the hive. Her one role is to lay eggs, which she does all day long, in 30-second intervals. She’ll lay up to 2,000 per day, which is more than her body weight. She only leaves the hive once or twice in her life. Oh, and she gets to be queen by assassinating all the other baby queen bees.

Drone bees famously exist just to have sex. Sounds like that might be OK, right? Except the “lucky” drone bees who get to get it on with the queen die because they explode during sex, which happens in the air, with their genitals tearing off to remain lodged in the queen while the rest of their body falls to the ground.

And the ones who don’t have sex with her get driven out of the hive to starve to death.

If you’re a bee, keeping a low profile and just being a worker doesn’t make things much better. Worker bees make honey by transferring the nectar from the tongue of the bee who collected it to another bee who holds it on her tongue until the liquid evaporates, turning the substance into honey. (Changes how you think of honey, doesn’t it?)

And the wax they make? It oozes through pores on their bodies and they chew it off, to make it soft enough to use.

And you know what keeps honey-bee hives warm – 93 degrees Fahrenheit in the center – in cold weather?

The worker bees’ shivering.

Yeah, be glad you’re not a honey bee.

Why Are DMV People So Rude?

My son got his driver’s license this week. (Watch out, world!)

I was once again struck by how rude the people at our DPS (Texan for DMV) are. I am not the only one to wonder why: look here and here and here, for starters.

It’s almost comical. The first woman we encountered, who just had to hand my son a form, was absolutely stone-faced and clearly was trying to speak without moving her mouth, like that would be too much effort. The second, to whom my son handed a certificate from his driving school, barked, “It’s not signed!” And indeed, there was a blank line, marked “Instructor Signature.” “Oh, no, did they forget to sign it?” I asked. “How do I know?!” she said. “Did he have 10 hours of nighttime instruction?!”

My son and I looked at each other. Of course, he hadn’t been at the driving school at night. It isn’t even open at night.

Yes, we both answered.

Turns out I, the parent, was supposed to sign that he had driven at night with me (which he had), something she could have just said, the jerk.

After we caught on and she had had her little thrill, I signed it.

I have been around long enough to realize if everybody in a certain group acts a certain way, they probably have some sort of reason. Like when we arrived in Houston and wondered why everybody drove those big, piggy, gas-guzzling SUVs. (The streets flood.)

And I found this about a fascinating study. Turns out the “petty tyrant” theory we all have is correct. When someone is in a “high power” but “low status” position – like DMV clerk, they have a tendency to use that power to behave like jerks.

Explains a lot, about a lot of people.