I love Lowell (So there. I said it.) but sometimes dealing with the infrastructure of a town this simultaneously large, diverse and cranky is like being sucked into a time warp.

Take for example the local bus company, the Lowell Regional Transit Authority.

On the one hand, the company does a great job - it will get you from an array of locations around Lowell to the center of town and to the commuter rail every hour for a buck, or it will get you from an array of locations around Lowell to any of the other locations around Lowell for a buck fifty if you're willing to wait for a transfer, and there are discounts for daily use. Nifty. It doesn't run outside of some fairly normal hours that include, apparently, Sundays, but let's leave that for the moment. It does what it can.

What the bus company apparently CAN'T do is tell you where to catch your bus or what route it might be taking because their maps aren't labeled with street names - unless you know where you are, how that location connects with every other important location in the region and how to get where you're going by, I'm guessing, echolocation, you'll never figure it out without asking somebody who already knows. It's like the LRTA assumed that people would get to their destination eventually so decided not to worry about telling anybody that they actually existed. The maddening thing is, that's exactly what happens so nobody bothers to tell them that their entire system is fundamentally flawed because (and I love how typical of New England this is) everybody manages to get where they're going so why bother to complain?

Their website hasn't been redesigned since it was built; it's so ninties-tastic it makes the eyeballs bleed. It took me two hours to figure out how to get to a job interview.

What a mess. I was going to write them a note, but I figured out how to get there by poring over four or five maps and didn't have it in me afterwords. Maybe they're onto something.

I am a medical nightmare. I don't really want to expand on that any further.

I hosted Thanksgiving in spite of my health. My mother was up visiting from Mexico, and my brother, his fiance, my uncle aunt & cousin, my grandma, we were all together. I just wanted to pretend things were normal for a while, you know? We were delivered a bombshell: My brother and his fiancee are having a baby in the spring. I am going to be an Aunt finally, and I am so happy about this but I'm too tired to show it.

Not many of you may have noticed my absence, but those of you who did - I'm okay, I am just living a small personal hell, and I don't have much energy for much of anything. You are thought about and loved - for now I hope that is enough.

I'm back from a scary time at the hospital.

Five whole days and they determined that surgery is not indicated at this time. Medication is, however. Lots of it. Some of it makes me sick to my stomach.

Now let's look at the silver lining:

  • Hospital food (at least at this place) has come a long way from the boiled crap I've endured in the past.
  • I got a much needed rest; unconcerned about the shit-storm going on at work.
  • I was re-assured that I was indeed going to be okay!

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