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Blood, blood, and biters

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The hospital vampires took their two vials. I'm quite fond of the main technician there. She's both extremely pleasant and speedy proficient with the sticker. fosteronfilm and I had a discussion about needle technology. He thinks they've improved since he was a wee bairn, smaller needles with larger openings or something like that, because overall the blood letting procedure is much less painful and arduous than it used to be. I'm not so convinced that it's the technology and not just a run of good techs. However, we are agreed that the little plastic collection thingy that allows them to switch vials without having to withdraw the needle is a lovely invention.

In other blood-related news, the vet called with Hobkin's blood test results. He got a clean bill of health. Hurray! In fact, the vet said that Hobkin's numbers were VERY good, not just "acceptable" but excellent. The only exception was his calcium levels which, while in the normal range, could stand to be higher. So, more cottage cheese and instant milk for our skunk. I'm just so delighted and relieved that his blood panel came out so well. More proof positive that omnivores thrive on a vegetarian diet.

In less good news, fosteronfilm went out to mow the lawn yesterday, and while he was doing some preliminary weeding, he disturbed a nest of fire ants. They nailed him four times on his hands before he could shake them off. Man, those buggers are vicious. So my hubby spent the next hour icing his bites and the evening in a Benadryl haze. Poor Matthew! And, of course, the lawn went another day without mowing. That's something we didn't have in Illinois, fire ants. Scary enough to make burly contract workers scream like little girls and go running pell mell away. In our first year here, we were ye verily puzzled at the behavior of these hairy, macho, grunting men we'd hired when they were constructing our sun room and encountered a fire ant hill. We thought, "It's just some ants, sheesh" and mocked the big, burly contractors (behind their backs, of course, because we are neither insane nor foolhardy). Since then, we have come to understand the peril and menace which are fire ants. Fortunately, I haven't been bitten, but considering how much more sensitive I am to insect venom, and how brutal fire ant bites are, I'm hoping to continue that trend. I've never been stung by wasp or bee either, so I have no idea whether I'm allergic.


Writing Stuff

Ooo! I received my contrib. copies, the contract, and invoice form for "All in My Mind" that was reprinted in Polish in Nowa Fantastyka. Yay! It's strange receiving a contract after a story has been published, but it's not like I'm about to make a fuss. I'm just pleased that I'm going to get paid. Not to mention that I now have copies of this story in a language I can't read. How cool is that?

And another "ooo!" The Sword Review just published my reprint "Second Daughter." This must be my week for reprint stuff.
I'm feeling:
satisfied satisfied
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On August 9th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC), remipunx commented:
The little tube thingy, so you don't have to take the needle out is a vacutainer system. And I think that you are just having really great luck with phlebotomist. I am one, well, an unemployed one, and my daughter is having string of bad luck with. Woman with the loving nature of a Troll should not stick children. Or anyone really.

Next time you see you tech tell them they rock. When we know someone likes us we try to be there for them.
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On August 9th, 2005 01:36 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"Next time you see you tech tell them they rock. "

I tell her every time! I've been on the wrong end of a troll-with-needle before and I really appreciate good blood-letting skills when I feels' em. She's there every time I go in (every six weeks), and she makes an effort to be the one to stick me, which I am eternally grateful for.
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On August 9th, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC), remipunx replied:
Techs so rarely get told they are doing a good job. When someone does, it makes your whole day. Where I worked, we had to stick people over and over all day. It was a drug study. Some guys hated me with the big H, others would only want me to stick them. So whenever anyone would smile, say that I did great, my little heart would skip.
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On August 9th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
"I don't know how you feel about using chemicals, or if you let Hobkin outside, but Amdro is particularly effective against fire ants. "

Thanks for the info. I'm normally against chemicals, but I'm willing to make exceptions in the case of fire ants and Asian tiger mosquitos. And Hobkin is never allowed outside.

"Just curious -- how do you get so much stuff published in foreign-language 'zines? Do you submit to them, or do they find your work in English 'zines and ask to reprint it?"

Hah, I wish. No, I submit to them. My agent doesn't handle any of my short fiction. It wouldn't be cost or time effective for either of us.
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On August 9th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC), aimeempayne commented:
That's something we didn't have in Illinois, fire ants.

The Midwest is no longer safe from fire ants. Earlier this summer, a friend of mine was worried about some bites she had on her feet and legs. I took a look and said they looked like fire ant bites. There was much scoffing until she went to the doctor and my diagnosis was confirmed. Next thing you know, we'll have scorpions and rattlesnakes.
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On August 9th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
On the state of fire ants
They've invaded the Midwest now? Well, it was only a matter of time before they adapted to the cold. Yikes.
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On August 9th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC), aimeempayne replied:
Re: On the state of fire ants
There is no escape. *cue ominous music*
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On August 9th, 2005 11:56 pm (UTC), dude_the replied:
Too late! Aaaaaah!
Timber rattlesnakes can already be found in Illinois and Wisconsin. So, the scorpions can't be far behind. Aaaaah! ;)

PJI
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On August 10th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC), aimeempayne replied:
Re: Too late! Aaaaaah!
Dear god, there's nowhere to run.
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On August 9th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC), terracinque commented:
Ouch! Poor Matthew indeed!
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On August 9th, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
At least we've learned the proper way to care for fire ant bites now. The first time Matthew ran afoul of them, we just went "Eek! What evil insects!" and didn't do anything aside from wash them and dab peroxide on. The bites turned into ugly, red blisters that took months to fully heal. Now with ice and Benadryl, there's hardly any swelling, and he's good as new in a few days. Amazing what a little ice can do.
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On August 9th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC), terracinque replied:
Benadryl's a silver bullet. I got a shot after my last very bad bout with poison ivy and it cleared it up within days.
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On August 9th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC), wistling commented:
I had my first wasp sting last month when I was talking to a student in my office hours. It stung my wrist and I jumped up, probably scaring the student! It swelled up and didn't fade for a day. Not a pleasant experience...
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On August 9th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
We have these ginormous wasps that live somewhere in the vicinity of our mailbox, but they're pretty docile. They haven't nailed either of us . . . yet. But they are awfully scary looking.
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On August 9th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Ugh, fire ants. I don't think we have them here, but we have variety of large black ant that is about as viscious. The little Rat Dog ran afoul of them a few weeks ago. Cried piteously for a couple of hours until the Benadryl kicked in. Afterwards, I unleash a chemical jihad on their hill. (The only time I use poison.)

I can't take Benadryl. A tiny dab of ammonia on the bite helps neutralize the poison. My vet book--grin, might not apply to hooomans---suggests a baking soda paste.

Hope bloodwork for Ms. Eugie comes back spiffy as well.

Pat Kirby
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On August 9th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Poor Rat Dog! I do wonder how animals deal with fire ants, especially the ones that don't have humans to ply them with baking soda pastes and Benadryl.

You can't take Benadryl? Yikes. What do you do if you run afoul of non-contact allergens?
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On August 9th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC), puskunk commented:
It's not that fire ant bites are bad, they're not, it's that THEY ALL BITE AT ONCE. They cover you and as soon as one bites, they send out a chemical signal so they all bite. I put my helmet down on the front steps one time, got the bike started and went riding. 3 minutes up the road, some fire ants fell out of the gap between the helmet back and the actual padding and into my shirt. I almost wrecked. Ginny was slapping me on the back as hard as she could to kill them.
On August 9th, 2005 09:07 pm (UTC), ex_angeldove677 replied:
Are fire ants bigger than regular ants? (do you have any pictures?)

So FIRE ANTS bite all at once? YIKES!!!!! I will definitely kill those suckers if I ever see them on my backyards. But then I dunno how they look like. I don't see many ants in my backyard anyway.
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On August 9th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC), puskunk replied:
Actually, no they're a little smaller than regular ants, and red. They live in pretty big mounds, the trick to getting rid of them is to kill the queen. The biting all at once is what makes them dangerous, you can put a kid down on a mound unknowing, they cover the victim, then all bite at once.
On August 10th, 2005 04:22 am (UTC), ex_angeldove677 replied:
YIKES!!! that gives me the shiver.
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On August 9th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC), ex_angeldove677 commented:
Glad to hear that Hobkin's health is excellent. He will live many, many moons. *grin*

Gosh, I hate fire ants!!!! I'm allergic to the little devils.

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On August 9th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC), puskunk replied:
Hobkin will be lucky if he lives to 8 yrs old, unfortunately.
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On August 9th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
WAH!
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On August 10th, 2005 12:06 am (UTC), dude_the commented:
New Design
Eugie, did you just change the design of your journal to use a serif font or has my browser been displaying your journal incorrectly all these many months?

PJI
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On August 10th, 2005 12:09 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Re: New Design
Hee! I'm playing with my blog layout right now, trying out the new "A Novel Conundrum" settings. I suspect I'll go back to "Component" as I can't get it looking right from my website, but I'm still experimenting.
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On August 10th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC), eugie replied:
Re: New Design
I take that back. Matthew helped me fiddle with my borders and now I'm thinking I'm going to stick with the new layout. Whee!
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On August 10th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC), tomaqmar commented:
Hurtful insects
Fire ants, wasps, and bees all hurt. I can say that with some authority. Why was I created if only to suffer?

Eugie, congrats on the Polish publication. My first published story was reprinted in an Italian anthology of stories about alien invasion, and I'm still a little giddy over that.
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