Employment Related Reactive Affective and Temper Insufficiently Controlled Syndrome (ERRATIC syndrome)

I used to think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but my depressive mood hasn’t improved recently in spite of the fact that I am seeing significant amounts of sunlight most days of the week.  It is light late enough that am able to run outside at 6pm or even later some days and although warm days are still rare, we have had as many sunny days as overcast days recently so I had really hoped my mood would have improved by now.  Another reason my mood disorder may not be entirely seasonal is that my mood improves quite dramatically to essentially normal if not euphoric when I go on a vacation.  This has led me to a new self-diagnosis which is an affective disorder best characterized as employment related.  I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out given that it is a clearly inherited disorder.  My mom suffered from this condition throughout most of her adult life without ever being formally diagnosed.  In retrospect what she described as Sunday night anxiety was clearly a symptom of the disease and I have this same symptom although probably in a more severe form.  My dad retired at age 58 which in my mind is a clear sign of advanced disease progression.  Luckily both my mom and dad were able to retire at a relatively young age and both are now in complete remission.  My sister is less fortunate, although she clearly had ERRATIC syndrome for the entire 20 years (nearly) of her employment, she can not afford the only real cure for the disease which is early retirement.  She now suffers from a similar syndrome associated with unemployment (UnERRATIC syndrome) which seems to be equally unpleasant and debilitating.  I’m not sure if my brother suffers from ERRATIC syndrome, but I suspect he also has at least a mild case.

OK, the acronym is a stretch, I probably could have come up with a better one if I had devoted a little more time and energy.


Tarred and Ode

I woke up tired and old this morning.  I am now 45.  That’s almost 50.  Sorry I’ve been remiss with the postings.  Please feel free to send me an e-mail with a story or other posting.  Haus Frau could send recipes or Kitty could send tips for saving money now that we are almost certainly headed for a great depression.

Dysfunctional Toilet-Seat-Cover-Movers in Chicago Airport Restrooms


I spent a lot of time in the Chicago airport this past weekend. The restrooms have those toilet seat covers that supposedly move around so that the used plastic is permanently destroyed and a new/clean seat cover is ‘automatically’ put in place. The first time I used the restroom, I noticed that the seat cover didn’t move, but I assumed it had been replaced before I sat down. Kitty noticed the same thing and pointed out that the seat cover movers were not functional. I, being the trusting soul that I am, concluded that to actually move the seat cover requires that the person push a button or trigger a sensor. The next time I used the restroom, I tried to wave my hand over the sensor (both before and after flushing) to make it move. Of course, it didn’t. Still, being the naïve soul that I am, I thought to myself, “maybe that particular sensor/toilet-seat-cover-mover is broken”. The next time I used the restroom (we were there for hours), I tried the same thing to no avail.


Here’s the thing. How disgusting is that!? It’s bad enough using a regular toilet (without the automatic seat cover), but at least you can SEE the drops of ‘whatever’ on the seat and wipe it with toilet paper before sitting in it. With this ‘seat-cover-that-doesn’t-move’ system, you can’t see what you’re sitting in. Not only that, but how exactly are they cleaning the toilet seat—EVER? Is the restroom attendant wiping the multiply-used seat cover? I doubt it! If they don’t have the resources to change the seat covers often enough, they need to just take the seat cover machine off the toilets! Just give me an honest toilet please!

So what can we do?

I thought I had published this a few days ago, but I found it in my unpublished ‘drafts’.  I guess it’s irrelevant now since Bubbler already published his list of what we can do (check it out, it’s interesting) and Getting Better already pointed out that we are mostly agreeing, but looking at the situation from different angles.  But I hate to have an unpublished draft sitting around so here it is….

Wow! Great comments. I may actually agree as much as I disagree with Bubbler after all. I know it is probably un-American and blasphemy to say that gas prices should be higher, but I tend to think that is the only way we will look for better options. The problem with a gas tax to motivate us to conserve and to motivate big business to find better alternatives is that it will also disproportionately affect the poor. I guess the bottom line is that although I agree with most of what Bubbler is saying, I don’t see how this ‘intelligent design’ is going to happen. I sometimes feel like we are on a runaway train destined for the decline of our civilization (ok maybe that’s a tad melodramatic, but there are historians who would predict a decline based on what has happened to previous societies).

I thought the whole Earth Day (or whatever they called that Al Gore promoted event) was an interesting example of the idealism vs. practicality issue that I believe Bubbler and I are arguing. I think many of us paid attention to the idea of being more environmentally conscious and I didn’t see the movie –so maybe there are practical ideas floating about that I have missed. But, the only thing that I can think of that I can do for the environment is to use my hemp grocery bag more often and get better windows to better insulate my house. The hemp bag just seems like such a pathetic attempt that I rarely use it and I plan to get better windows asap for my own (selfish) sake anyway.

So here is my question. Lets assume for a moment that I buy Bubbler’s premise and that we can do things as individuals that will change our society as a whole. What specifically can I do as an individual that would really make a difference? And PLEASE don’t tell me that politics is the answer–If you do…. I will definitely believe you are a naive idealist.

A cereal review


Since I haven’t posted in a while, I thought my next post should be something earth-shattering, important and personal. But instead…

I bought a box of Special K with chocolate chips yesterday. For some reason it made me think of the chocolate cereals (that made the milk into chocolate milk) that I loved as a kid. Aldo sometimes uses the phrase “kind-of gimicky, kind-of good” for items that catch your attention for a gimicky reason, but that are just good enough that you’d buy it again. Special K cereal on the other hand, is kind-of gimicky, not-so-good. First of all, the gimmick is a little misleading. When I think of Special K, I think to myself….’it’s not supposed to taste good, it’s good for me and it will make me skinny.’ This is what the marketing folks have brainwashed me to think. So when I see Special K with chocolate chips, I think to myself ‘ok, I can eat chocolate for breakfast and lose weight’. Of course my logical brain knows that this is not realistic, but I bought it anyway. The biggest problem is that Special K gets soggy too fast. Secondly, the chocolate chips have a weird tendency to leave an oily coating in your mouth. Of course this is expected with a chocolate chip which contains fat. But when it’s in a cold cereal, the texture is disturbing. Sort of like eating cold french fries. If you want chocolate with your cereal, I would recommend instead, a homemade cereal bar.



Most Loiterers are Criminals


The E-block in downtown Minneapolis has been getting a bit of publicity recently because the police department is trying to clean it up. There has been at least one murder in this part of town. I’ve heard that, at times, the cops have patrolled up and down Hennepin Avenue, 5 abreast, on either side of the road, stopping to talk with dozens of ‘the public’ along the way. I’ll start with my subjective description of the area. We’ve only been there a few times. We didn’t notice anything in particular after it first opened a few years ago, but the second time we were there we started to notice small groups of young 20-something ‘kids’ loitering on the sidewalks. We don’t see this as much in the better parts of downtown, such as, for example the Nicollet Mall area. Most of the young folks that I describe as loiterers were black men and the vast majority were wearing jeans with the crotch down to mid-calf or –believe it or not—lower, with much underwear exposed.

On a related note, I was fascinated to learn recently that some of these jeans are actually designed with the inseam extending the entire length of the leg and just 3-4 inches of (separate) legs at the bottom. I saw a young white man wearing a pair of these on the light rail one day. I was dying to tell him that if he just cut across the crotch area he could create a skirt which would look pretty much the same but give him a whole lot more flexibility with regard to his movements.

Anyway, back to the E-block loiterers. These young men either hold the crotch of their pants or walk like penguins to prevent the jeans from falling down completely. I find this manner of dress extremely distasteful on a youth of any race (or sex for that matter—but I’ve never seen a woman dress like this). I suspect that these kids are aware of the fact that most people find this manner of dress distasteful (at the very least); just as the young folks who dress in black, wear extensive black make-up, have abundant facial piercings and tattoos realize that many folks are offended by their manner of dress. I really don’t understand this need to dress in a manner that is completely outside of the ‘norm’ for our society and I consider it anti-social.

But I digress. The last time we went to E-block, one of these young men jumped out and ducked down in front of us, pretending to use us as human shields while feigning shooting his friend (without a gun) who was behind us. Not far from this, another small group was loudly harassing a young woman. They were using profanity and telling her how ugly she was.

The press regarding the clean-up attempt has been interesting. One interview described two episodes of harassment similar to those I witnessed. An interview with a cop suggested that the majority of the youths that they had stopped to ‘talk with/question’ have had either extensive records or arrest warrants. The police officer described being extremely lenient. He gave one young man who was carrying just enough marijuana ‘for personal use’ a warning and he described many of the people he stopped as cooperative. In general, the most he did was ask them not to return to this part of town (unless they had an arrest warrant). There was an interview of one young man who had been questioned and he complained that he was ‘profiled’ but when pressed (by the reporter) he wouldn’t go so far as to say he was ‘racially’ profiled. I think he is correct that he was profiled, but most likely for the loitering and his manner of dress, both of which are entirely under his control. Sure, he has the right to dress like a ‘gangsta’ and loiter like a gangsta, but if he chooses to do so, I believe he should accept the fact that he is likely to be profiled as a gangsta. My guess is that he was part of the majority who are criminals with lengthy records.

Another kid (who had been questioned) made a comment that I found somewhat strange. He said something about how certain stores (he specifically mentioned 3 by name) had been closed in order to get rid of his people (something to this effect). Footlocker is the only store of the three that I remember. I’m not sure what he was implying, but it seems to me that if ‘his type’ was spending money at these particular stores (rather than loitering in front of them and preventing people from spending money) the stores would not have closed.

The comment that really made me angry was made by what sounded like a ditzy young white girl. She said that the police presence was overkill and ‘who do they think they’re protecting anyway, people who live in the suburbs who have no idea what urban life is like’. What an idiot! Of course they are protecting those of us who prefer a quiet safe neighborhood. I’m not going downtown to learn about the dangers of living an urban environment. I’m going downtown to have a nice quiet dinner and maybe catch a movie with my husband and I would prefer not to be harassed. If I want to experience the dangers of urban life, I’ll go to a North Minneapolis where I can buy drugs and get shot.

I have already decided that I will never go back to the E-block and many of my ‘older’ friends (who live in relatively safe neighborhoods) have made the same decision. If the police department were to do nothing about the situation, my prediction is that the E-block would be bankrupt within a few years.

So…. in this part of town, most of the loiterers are young black men (with a particular manner of dress) and in my experience, many of these loiterers harass and intimidate people. I also believe (what I hear from the press and indirectly from the cops) that many of these folks have criminal records. Does this make me a racist?

Type B personality

I took this personality quiz, just to prove what I have always suspected. I have a type B personality. (my score was 20/100) . I usually feel like I am surrounded by type A personalities. I wonder what the ratio of type A’s to type B’s is in the US or in the world for that matter.