Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

For those who celebrate it, and even for those who don't, Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah. For everyone else, happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Interesting Article

Now that Devi's asleep for the night (I hope), here's an article I hope people will find helpful.

It's about the service Freecycle where people are encouraged to give things away instead of throwing them in the dumpster. I've been a member of the local chapter here for several years and I've given away my old entertainment center and a bed frame that were in great condition. It's a way to help others (and get help yourself) when you have something someone needs (or when they have what you need) and I think it's a great concept. And for those who are concerned with strangers coming to your home, you can always arrange to meet the person somewhere public to make the exchange so that nutjobs won't come to your house. If it's available in your area, I recommend joining it.

100 Things (I'll Give it a Shot)

I got this from Joy's "Babble On" Blog awhile ago, but I'm just getting around to posting it on my blog (yes, I suck at this whole regularly-posting thing). All the things I've done are in bold because it's easier to do when a 3 1/2 month old is sitting in your lap refusing to sleep, but quietly observing things. Here we go.

1. Started my own blog (This is, technically, my third blog)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (still not as neat as seeing the Milky Way in Northern Wisconsin)
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (and hated it)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (but haven't since my girlfriend's wedding a couple of years ago, unless you count online karaoke)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (...someday)
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (knitting, guitar, piano, and I suck at them all)
15. Adopted a child (this one almost happened, and may still happen in the future; closest to this is that my husband and his brother are both adopted)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (Hope to someday)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar and lunar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (both, but the sunsets were coolest when watching the sun sink into the Lake Erie horizon)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (Since the only location I have found is of my Irish roots [really!], I plan to visit someday)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (Japanese)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (Some of my girlfriends do so competitively, but the closest I've come to is once at Chaamps and online several times)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (Someone did this for my husband once, so I hope we can do this someday; the closest I've come to this is having a stranger give me $20 in cab fare to get home from a grocery store in a bad neighborhood)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (6th graders + mace + public bus = disaster. Stupid kids).
47. Had my portrait painted (Just had a caricature done because my grandmother gave someone a photo of me to draw from)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (I'd be happy if I even got to Paris)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie (I might have been in the background in a film, but I don't remember)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
(Tai Chi)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen (Had to for graduation, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life)
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp (Visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C., but not exactly the same thing)
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (In my family, that was really hard to do)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (It was being restored at the time, but I wrote a song there...I just didn't know I was singing it when I got back on the bus)
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt (badly)
73. Stood in Times Square (Nope, just walked passed it)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (Saw it from a plane on the way to California)
80. Published a book (Just a poem, several articles in high school, and an op-ed response in the college paper)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (It was practically new at 8,000 miles)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (As a Singing Angel, several times)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (Well, we didn't go inside, but we visited it twice on the same trip)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox (At 18!)
89. Saved someone’s life (I did for someone what hadn't been done for me at the time [high school]; talk them out of suicide. My turn came in college)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Performed with Peabo Bryson and several other famous people once as a Singing Angel, performed with Marie Osmond at another Singing Angel concert, met Voltaire (Goth singer) and Peter S. Beagle at Dragon*con 2007)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (still not coping with the last one)
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (It was a fraudulent one against my grandmother, but was dropped based on my witness testimony)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Friday, December 19, 2008

...Oh yeah, I'm done!

Sorry about the lack of posts! Now that I'm done with classes, Devi takes up a lot of my I need to do a quick update and then try to get her back to sleep.

Anyway, here's how the assignments went down. The first assignment was turned in 5 hours late (as I reported two posts ago) but the professor gave me the grade bonus credit anyway. The second assignment was turned in roughly eight hours late, but there's a good chance it was just turned in really early because the official due date was December 9th at midnight, and I didn't know if that meant it had to be in by the end of Monday or the end of Tuesday, so it was done by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. My last assignments (the big project, the annotated bibliography and the rest of the weekly summaries) was due by 4 p.m. on the 10th but had the unique problem of everything had to be printed out and put in the professor's mailbox (the other two classes wanted the final projects e-mailed). Since my printer was on the fritz, I had to use my printing credits in the graduate lab (something that I would've used sooner if I had realized that I had 250 printing credits per quarter) to print everything out. I also asked my husband to read over the syllabus assignment to see if it sounded like a class he would be interested in [I had to create a class syllabus for a class I would like to teach in the future, so I designed an undergraduate course that would look at graphic novels...a lot of graphic novels.] and he did. Unfortunately, I had to transfer my work to a flash drive, run to campus like a madwoman to print everything out, and then run up one more floor to drop everything off. And, to top it all off, I was an hour late from the deadline! Everything was deposited at 4:58 p.m. and the professor had already picked up everyone else's envelopes. Fortunately, the head of the department was there when I came in (having to use the passcode to get to love being a graduate student) so that there was proof that I didn't just drop everything off the next day and lie about it.

Anyway, let's get to the good part: my grades. For my first quarter in graduate school, I earned two As and a B+. These would've been grades I would be ecstatic to receive if I hadn't heard from the other graduate students at a get-together that "everyone gets As in Graduate school", making my B+ feel a little inadequate. But you know what? I worked damned hard for my grades, and I had a feeling that the class I got the B+ in was going to turn out that way, but I learned so much that I'm not upset. Hell, I thought I was going to get a B, so this was higher than expected. I do need to find out if the B+ was a result of the final project being poor or a result of my low participation in the class. Either way, this class was taught by a woman who had just finished her post-doc at Columbia after getting her PhD at Harvard (and I'm taking another of her classes next quarter) so I thought she may have something to prove, if nothing else.

Now that I've been though my first quarter, I know what to expect and what is expected of me. And I think I can do this. Now I just need to work on my participation in class, my presentation skills, and try to get invited to at least one conference. I won't say that this will be easy, but at least I'm not going to be 100% completely freaked out next quarter. Maybe it will be down to 80%.

Soon, I will need to post pictures. I've taken a ton and want to post them, but I need to find the time to upload them before I can create the next slideshow. I can't believe she's fifteen weeks old already!

Until then, I'll try to get better at posting. She's simmering down so hopefully she'll crash out for the rest of the night. Later, gators ;-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Class Down, Two to Go

I just finished my first assignment for finals, but I finished it 5 hours too late to get the grade bonus I so desperately needed. But, as it is, I barely know my own name and just want to pass out. I've got a 15-pager, a syllabus and annotated bibliography and one last weekly assignment to do before I'm done with it all.

I then made the mistake of seeing the syllabus for one of my classes for next quarter and have concluded I'm too stupid for grad school.

I'm going to go to bed before I completely lose the ability to...complete a thought.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Won't Be Around Much...

The quarter officially ended for me on Wednesday, so now I am spending the rest of my time getting my assignments done for finals. My first paper is due on the 6th at 11pm if I want the letter grade bonus (and I do want it), my second paper is due on the 9th at midnight, and all of the assignments for my third class are due on the 10th at 4pm (and is the only class where I have to print out everything instead of e-mailing it in). I'm hyper stressed about all of my assignments, so I have to try to maintain a level of focus that has been rather difficult of late. I seem to get easily distracted by practically nothing, but this work has to get done.

I should not be posting between now and the 10th, but to make up for it I made the instructions for seeing the photos from our family photo shoot available in the comments of my last post, so you can check those out there.

I hope to remember to post about the "fun" that was had in the last days of my classes because some interesting things did occur. But if I forget, I forget.

See you around!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long Days, Sleepless Nights

I've got an ass-ton of work to do between now and the end of the quarter (I believe everything has to be turned in by December 8th. Fun.), but I wanted to take a little time out to mention something that happened to a friend this weekend.

A friend of mine was mugged off-campus this weekend. The assailant broke a bottle over his head and stole his wallet and cell phone. He got stitches and spent some time in the emergency room, but he's okay now (at least that's what the woman who called to tell me about it said). The credit cards were all canceled, so all this jerk got was $1, but I worry about my friend because I was his mentor when he was in high school [I essentially made it okay for him to be himself, and he broke out of his shell] so I hope he'll be okay emotionally after this.

I've got an article to read before I go to bed. I finally got Devi to sleep, so I lost about two hours of productive study time. I've got to finish my article for my second class and put in some work on my projects before Thanksgiving. I still haven't spoken to my mom or uncle in awhile and we wanted to bring them down for the weekend for Devi's dedication [Baptists don't baptize their babies; they dedicate them]. I did speak to my dad yesterday and he thinks that I can be the "voice of reason" and talk some sense into the two of them (again, whatever that means). It was kind of nice talking to him, but he did pull a Daddy Douchebag maneuver by being genuinely surprised when I said that I had a ton of homework to do because he must have thought I wasn't going to go through with going back to school after all. He paused, said "You did say you were going to go back to school. Hmph. You're more resilient than I thought."

Trust me, dad, I'm more resilient than you could ever imagine.

Anyway, another brief note: The three of us (Devi, Matt and I) had photos done last weekend and my daughter was so cute in her photos! I won't get what we purchased until December 8th (or when I actually am free to do non-academic things), but if you're curious to see what the photos look like, let me know and I can tell you the code so that you can look at them.

I've got to go. That article isn't going to read itself. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I've Got To Admit, It's Getting Better

I didn't expect things to be going so well, but they are.

First, I was not the last person to submit my paper. The last paper was submitted at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, roughly 6 1/2 hours before the presentations were to begin. Secondly, my presentation went well (but more on that later), and lastly, I'm starting to get it in my head that maybe, just maybe I'm not quite as dumb as I thought.

Okay, we all know that I got no sleep between Friday and Saturday because of the paper for my CS 716 class [Comparative Studies 716: Theorizing Culture], but what I didn't know was that I was going to end up not getting any sleep before the big presentation of said paper to the class on Wednesday. That, and I didn't anticipate being pegged to do a focus group on facial cleansers right before the presentation, but $150 was too good to pass up.

This story's interesting, so I'll elaborate.

I got to the focus group at around 8:46. The early-bird drawing is for people who get to the session 15 minutes or sooner, and I had just missed it by one minute (they're strict about this) after rushing around to make sure I didn't forget anything at home since I was going straight to school afterwards. I was already stressed out and bummed that I didn't get the $25 bonus, but then they called in people by table color and I wasn't called to go in! Normally, that would've been okay by me because I would've gotten paid and gone home, but I was upset because I could've just as easily stayed home, polished my presentation, and gotten some damn sleep! Well, the check-in guy noticed that one of the people called in for my table wasn't even there, so the woman in charge apologized, offered me a chance to go in, and I went to participate in the focus group. I won't bore you with the details about the other people at my table, but I was surprised by the last announcement of the day: I had won an additional $75 for the best essay drawing (yes, they made us do homework and were paying us for it) which will come in the mail. Yay!

P.S. If you ever go to the Hyatt on Capital Square and you use their valet parking, be aware that their valet drivers will smoke in your car. Damn douchebag. I don't need that smell in my car.

Anyway, I got to school and I was very, very nervous about doing my presentation. When my turn came, all I had was my rough notes and my six manga images to facilitate people in knowing what the hell I was talking about when I said manga [and if you, dear reader, do not know what manga is, check out my Library Thing list on this page and you'll find many examples]. I was not only able to spit the words out without getting flustered (I'm good at setting myself up for failure by psyching myself out), I got people interested in my topic.

My topic? Looking at the manga series Basara, how does it compare/contrast to the struggles of Japanese women in modern Japanese society? I hypothesize that the post-apocalyptic, 27 volume series shows that women in Japan can free themselves from the good wife, wise mother role, but there will be a cost for deviating from the norm.

Anyway, my professor said that I had a good argument (finally!), so now I just need to polish the paper for the final draft which I am trying to get turned in my December 6, 11 p.m., so wish me luck.

I also went to my second class and spoke three times (which is a big deal for me because there have been several sessions where I never said anything). The person who did a critique on my paper (or would have, if we hadn't ran out of time) thinks my dissertation will be phenomenal when it's done. Yay, again!

As proof that I did well on my presentation, I ran into one of my classmates today and she told me that she found my topic interesting and wanted to know more after I had finished presenting. Getting someone interested in what I'm doing means I did my job well. Cool.

In other academic news, I'm improving in my work for CS 651A (Framing the "Other": China and the West) and managed to get an A on my second assignment even after getting a B+ on my re-write on the first assignment. I have a topic for the final paper for her class [Looking at the manga series Adolphe and analyzing it for signs of cruelty], so I need to buckle down and hammer out my points. I also met with my professor from my third class, and she told me that she can tell that I am getting the theories we're talking about in class and that I need not let other people silence my voice. She's also approved my project concept (To create a syllabus for an undergraduate class on "reading" graphic novels), so I need to break butt to get that done as well.

And, to top it all off, I got a letter in the mail saying I earned a $400 scholarship for an OSU alum who is doing well academically in grad school. And I can do whatever I want with the money. Even more yay! My husband saw the scholarship as a sign that someone really wants me to be in grad school.

So, to sum up: I'm doing better in my classes than I thought, I've gotten a windfall, and I've got a stupidly high amount of work to do, but it's do-able. I even got recommendations of people to talk to who can make my projects even better, and I just have to believe that what I say is just as important than what anyone else says.

Oh, and I have to face the professor who told me not to apply to grad school, because she is doing much of the same work that I'm covering (but in Women's Studies). At first I was dreading it, but now I see it as an opportunity to show this woman that I do belong here.

But I'm tired and have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and the three of us are going to try and get a family photo done on Saturday. Trust me, that will be scanned and uploaded as soon as it arrives in my hot little hands.

I go sleep now before baby wakes up [We learned another lesson this week: Switching formulas by accident = very gassy, unhappy baby. He will never make that mistake again.] I'd relax, but I'm not done yet.

G'nite folks!

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Sleep 'til December!

It's an exaggeration, but not by much. I have to create a 10-minute presentation on my paper, a five minute presentation on someone else's paper, and I have to get started on a 15-page paper and syllabus (with 20 books & articles) for two other classes which are due by the end of the quarter.

The quarter that ends in early December.


Anyway, I've still got a ton of reading to do & I'm freaking out over this damn presentation (and other things...the same old, same old) so postings may get even more spartan than they are now.

Hopefully, I'll be able to put up more picture of Devi during quarter break.

In the meantime, I'll keep tabs on everyone else's blogs in the spare time I don't have but make anyway.

Man, am I tired.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...any more stress and my head will explode

This will be quick, because I'm supposed to be working on a very important paper but have gotten slogged down in the research. I have to upload a 9-18 page paper by tomorrow evening for my class to read. It's supposed to be 1.5 spacing (greeeaaat), 12 point font, and sound logical (meaning, not like crap). At the same time, I have to take care of my daughter and try to get through 25 issues of Basara so that I can spend the entire day trying to write a cohesive argument. And since this is supposed to be a work-in-progress, so the final product is going to have to be between 18 and 28 pages.

The sound you hear is my soul weeping.

Since I've lost most of today having to go to a doctor's appointment, having a meeting with another professor about another 18-page project due in less than three weeks, and just not getting focused enough to work faster, I've got to try to get through the research portion tonight.

All this with a little girl staring confusedly at my arm as I type this with her on my lap. Yay.

I've got to get offline so that I can get back on track with this project. Pray, wish me luck, or whatever you do for people who need a morale boost.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can't you feel the brand new day?

Yes, I know it's a late post. Obama won the election and I'm elated. I'm also a student way behind on projects with an incredibly fussy 2-month-old who isn't happy with anyone or (just about) anything at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to post about the election.

Until now.

Here's a video of what popped into my mind when I found out the results. Unlike the rest of the world, I didn't watch the results. I didn't jump up and down (although I was a bit relieved), but it made going to class a lot easier because there was no hostility on campus [I was an undergrad back during the 2000 elections and almost got into it with a butthole in my French class the day after the election....A campus of 60,000 spoke in hushed tones all day that day.].

I wish this had been the actual footage from the scene, but this was as close as I could get.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Unexpected reaction

I was watching the 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All Time that I had recorded while waiting for my daughter to fall asleep (yay, growth spurts) when the song Tennessee by Arrested Development came on. I had no idea that the song was a prayer written by the lead singer after his grandmother and brother passed in the same week. The chorus is something that I never put much stock into, until now:

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan

Hearing that song made me think about my grandmother, and how her death has resulted in so many things going wrong for my family. It's what happens when a linchpin is pulled out of a system: the system fails.

That, and reading Beth's blog about her mother's death made me think. I am glad that she got to be there for her mother's end; my grandmother went so quickly that there wasn't time for anyone to be with her in her last moments. I have been thinking about her more and more over the past month, and it's almost like I'm being haunted by memories. I can remember her laugh, and her favorite purfume (Liz Claiborne), and the two gold rings she used to wear that had to be put on her pinky finger because she was too swollen from the medicine that they gave her in the hospital.

I think about her and I get angry. My mom and uncle have been without electricity and a telephone since August and it's getting cold. My uncle had an infection in his right hand that kept him in the hospital from Monday through to Thursday and I was worried that he wouldn't be able to afford his prescription medicine. The will has some vague wording that could allow Aunt Krayzee to force a sale of the house from right under them leaving them in the street and while my father-in-law wants to help them with the utilities, my uncle's pride is getting in the way and he won't talk to him. I dread getting phone calls from home because it's never good news. My uncle is feeling demoralized because he can't find a job and he still goes out walking everywhere in the hopes of getting something. My mom has unrealistic expectations of how much help we can give her [When she told me that it was going to cost ~$600 to turn everything back on, I mentioned that I sent a check and she asked me if it would be enough to cover the cost of turning their stuff back on, but I don't have $600 to give away.] I never realized that the excess stress was making me sick, but there's not much I can do about it.

I try not to think about my grandmother, but since my uncle's birthday is tomorrow, of course she's going to come to mind.

I think about her and I get very sad.

And to think, today started off so well. I even got a positive response from my professor today because I said something that showed that I'm finally getting this graduate-level stuff. She said "excellent point". It was like winning a prize. I've got to get back to my homework. She's finally asleep, so I'd better take advantage of the down time.

Life's not fair and the world's not fair. I understand that, but it doesn't make the pain less real.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What I've Learned This Week

Since I have an ass-ton of work to do, I'll try to keep this brief. What have I learned this week?

- Do not mention Journalism to Anthropology grad students. For some reason, it really pisses them off, even if you are not saying that they do the same type of work.
- That I can take 5 credit hours of "independent study" if I feel too overwhelmed.
- That there is an e-mail group on campus for students and faculty into comics, which may be helpful towards my degree.
- Someone finally understands me when it comes to the odd way I learn things [I tend to focus on details that are not important to anyone else, but because I do that, people assume I don't understand the big picture (but I do) and treat me as if I'm stupid as a result.]
- I'm a sucker for cute guys who sell magazines.
- Apparently, I am so stressed out about everything that I've developed vertigo and have had an upset stomach for about two weeks (I just didn't put two-and-two together).

Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into the details right now, but I'm hoping to get some work in on my projects as well as finish all of my reading for two of my classes today. Lofty ambitions, yes, but it has to get done today since my mom has a tendency to call on Mondays before class, which throws off my ability to get my studying done.

On the plus side, I got to buy some new jeans in a smaller size today. I'm pretty sure my husband got more out of my fashion show than I did (he always does). Peace, I'm out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm Not Alone

I spent some time on campus today meeting with people in my department to get a morale boost (and a gift of a crocheted hat for Devi from another student), and I actually walked away from the experience feeling a lot better about what I'm doing. I don't really understand the theories that we're supposed to learn, but at least now I'm comfortable with knowing that I'm not going to get it right away. Now if I could just get a handle on the homework/readings/writings/projects I'm supposed to accomplish, we'll be in business.

One thing I've not had a chance to mention (I don't think) is that I've actually lost weight and have been losing since the birth. This doesn't sound that extraordinary except that I weigh 18 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant, so I'm really happy about it. What I need to do now is incorporate more exercise than just my treks across campus, because I'd like to lose even more weight. I just have to remember to buy a belt so that I can keep wearing my pants until I can afford to buy new clothes.

Just think - I'll be able and motivated to use my new Mommy and Baby pilates DVD soon, so I'll get to exercise and bond with Devi. Neat!

But first, homework!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pictures, at last!

This is the moment you've all been waiting for. I finally have pictures from Devi's first five weeks for your viewing pleasure. The other people in the pictures are as follows: Matt, his father, my mother, his mother, and his brother. I don't think anyone else appears in the pictures, but if they do, I'll amend this entry.

So to Uncle David and the rest of my readers, I hope you enjoy the slideshow!

EDIT: In case anyone is worried, the plastic bag in the background was nowhere near her and is no longer on the floor.

Apparently, Crazy is How Things Are Supposed to Be

I didn't expect to go this long without posting, but in trying to keep up with everything, some things just didn't get done.

Matt got better at being supportive. He's still struggles with the little things from time to time, but he's really stepped up and takes Devi out of the house every once in a while to give me time to study. He did apologize for the whole beerfest thing, so I didn't have to whip him. Yet.

Grad school is kicking my ass. I don't feel like I'm falling behind; I just feel outclassed since so many people in my classes know a lot more theory behind Comparative Studies than I can ever hope to know. What unfortunately happens is that I fall apart every time I'm left alone to take care of her at night, because all studying ceases because she wants all my attention...and that wouldn't be so bad if I could just get things done ahead of time, but today was one of those days where things just didn't get going like they needed. At least I have time before class tomorrow to finish up what I didn't get done today.

I have to get a ton of reading done each week and each class has a major project that I have to accomplish at the same time. My confidence was just not there for the first couple of weeks, but after deciding to change my attitude and not accept defeat before I even began, I've gotten a little better at being a student. I had to cart my child to campus last week because I had to meet with a professor before our doctor's appointment, and that went better than expected.

Since I have a crying child to tend to, I'm going to have to wrap this up. My feeding issues got a little better (we only have to supplement half of her feedings with formula), and I had to experience the joys of manual pumping in the bathrooms on campus (I now have a travel machine pump that I am going to have to experiment with on campus, but if it means I can feed her with my own supply, I am willing to put up with it).

I am hoping to get up to writing once a week, so we'll see how it goes.

On the plus side, I finally uploaded my pictures, so the next post will be a slideshow. Goodnight, everyone.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Mama Blues

Tonight is the first night I am on my own with my little girl. That means that I am responsible for dealing with waking up to feed her on top of hooking up to a machine so that I can feed her without using formula, and I am not handling this well. I haven't had to change many of her diapers, and I'm terrible at swaddling her, so let's just say I'm not confident in my abilities at this point.

However, the biggest issue is how I'm handling things emotionally: badly.

I thought that the two weeks that my husband spent off of work would be spent at home. He did that, for the most part, but he also went out with his friends to the movies yesterday (our last night before life resumed), went to a beerfest last weekend, and got to role-play with his friends on several occasions. It's only an issue because I don't have any friends in town to turn to, and I don't want to call my co-worker unless it becomes absolutely necessary, and he was convinced that bringing my mom down here wouldn't be helpful because she wouldn't do anything. But I feel as if she could've been of some support to me, because I feel very alone trying to do something that feels about as natural as fire-breathing.

On the upside of everything, I've gotten a new laptop, so I can finally get online without having to be in the baby's room. I am hoping that this will allow me to feel a little more connected to the world and less isolated.

The only thing that keeps me from worrying myself to death about my family's ongoing issues is my daughter, which I guess means I have some sort of bond to her, even if it doesn't feel like it's really there.

As I'm writing this, I have her right next to me and she's just looking at me. She seems pretty content with me (and I really don't get why), but I am going to finish this up so I can turn the computer off and interact with her.

I have orientation tomorrow, so I am hoping to get some rest before I have to be up in the morning. We'll see how I get through the first night and go from there.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

All's Quiet On The Home Front

I was given orders by my husband to make time to blog today, so while he is out enjoying Beerfest, I am sitting in front of the computer keeping an eye on my little girl as she sleeps. I found my charger buired on my desk, because there was apparently a place that even my uncle feared to tread, and while I have been taking more pictures, I still haven't had time to upload them yet. I am going to wait for my husband to get back so that he can watch her while I get that ordeal over with [It takes awhile to get the program to do exactly what I want, and I have to decide what service to use for uploading the pictures so that my in-laws can download them]. I also have a cute photo from my f-i-l that I want to scan, but I have to clear the scanner off first before I can even pretend to get that done.

I have no idea how the rest of my family is doing these days. I can't reach my mom or my uncle, I'd rather not speak to my aunt (who proved that she has a listening problem when she called the night of the inducement to say that she didn't know if I had had the child or not), and my brother is trying to do his own thing so I'm not going to bother him for now. I am not as stressed out about them as I was before Devi came along and that's because she is now priority. And while I do feel as if I've let everyone else down [How, I don't know], I don't want to let her down. It's been a struggle to breastfeed her, so I have to spend my days hooked up to a machine every two hours...but because it's for her, I'm willing to make the sacrifice.

And one of my former co-workers came over to see us today. I called her last night and was out-of-sorts because Matt decided that he had to go to one of his games with his friends and left me with a crying baby for several hours, so she offered to come over and gave us some helpful advice and is willing to babysit and take her on an occasional weekend because she loves babies. I am going to ask her to come over next weekend to help us with her first non-sponge bath; I'll feel more at ease and she'll get a kick out of it, so it's a win-win. It was extremely helpful to have a mother figure helping out, and I don't know if I'll be able to thank her enough (you know, besides paying for the babysitting).

I know I should be trying to sleep now because she's currently out like a light, but I wanted to drop a quick line while I had the chance. And now I will be on the lookout for a portable washing machine because we could really use one, and the one that we have that works is too much hassle to use (it's an egg-shaped washer that has to be hooked up to the sink and can only be hooked up to the sink upstairs). The first one I owned was great because it was a simple bucket-style washer with an agitator, but the agitator broke and I couldn't fix it. If I can find another one, I'll be in 7th heaven.

If I can get my hands on a good, used laptop, I'll be able to get online more often without having to come into the baby's room. Hopefully, we'll know what financial aid I'll be getting very soon. So I promise Uncle David Dust and everyone else that pictures will be up soon, but I've just got to start getting my balancing act down first.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're home!

Thank you, again, for all of your comments and well-wishes! We were released from the hospital on Saturday and the three of us have been trying to get to know each other better ever since. Other than the nightmares of breastfeeding (it is really, really hard), the drugs I have to take to get better due to a sudden onset of high blood pressure after the birth (and the need to take ibuprofen at regular intervals), and my two-week ban on driving, it's been...interesting. I'm trying not to worry about how bad I am at this, but she's cute (which surprised the daylights out of me) and seems to like us, so I think we're off to a good start.

Here's the thing on pictures: since I can't find my charger for my camera (one of the many "casualties of misplacement" due to the cleaning that transpired earlier), the only pictures that are available are from the hospital's website. If you go looking for babies born on September 4th, you'll find her. There are seven images for your viewing pleasure, so there are at least some pictures available. My f-i-l sent us the pictures he took and I may upload the scans if it comes down to it.

I don't know how often I will blog from now on, but I'll try to keep up with it as best as I can.

Matt and I are sleeping in shifts at night, so I'm typing this while she sleeps nearby, and I will get him up around 4 after yet another feeding.

I really hope I can find my charger because I have some great pictures I'd like to share. But since Devi's trying to wake up, I've got to go. Later, gators.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Live from Dublin Methodist Hospital

It's a girl! 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

Devi Cassandra arrived at 3:10 this afternoon after being induced @ 9 last night. Pictures will follow once we get home.

I'm really tired and don't have much to say that wouldn't either gross someone out or make me look like a mini-superwoman (I didn't scream [epidural], but I told them to hurry up and get my doctor because I knew I was going to get done early).

Unfortunately, I only have a dozen channels, not one of them being Bravo, but since I was given a sleeping pill, I would've missed it anyway.

Since this is the slowest internet connection I've ever used, I've got to go. Thanks for your well wishes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Last Pre-Baby Post!

I saw my doctor this morning and I am still slated to be induced tonight(!) at 8 p.m., and I'm finally getting a little excited about it.

Yes, I'm a terrible human being who is the last to get on the happy train...but with all of my apprehensions on being a parent, just see this as a breakthrough.

I even called my dad and Krayzee last night to let them know what was going on. Dad was going to try and get here tonight [NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!] and Krayzee's voice mail picked up, but I let them know what was going on and that's all that matters.

We decided to have a last-night-as-a-couple dinner at Fado's, an Irish restaurant, and Matt asked them to set up something special for us. They decorated a little area with pink and blue balloons and streamers...and I was surprised when I saw them because I was sure this was for someone else. We had a nice dinner and then went to Target to load up on last-minute items for the baby as well as food for us (thank God for gift cards, 'cause we're broke!).

I almost didn't make it in for my last day of work because my blood pressure was too high. I told my doctor it was because I had gotten angry with my husband for pulling all of the baby clothes out of the room without letting me take pictures of everything so that I would know who gave us what (and we were late to the appointment; it was a whole comedy of errors). She checked it again and said that since it was lower, I will just come in tonight.

I had to write a letter of resignation yesterday and today I met with the VP and my supervisor, who both had very nice things to say and wanted to wish me well. I know that I want to keep up with people from this company in case I'm on the market for work, because I can get some recommendations as well as (possibly) a position with this company again. It is a great place to work, and I'm going to miss being here. Maybe someday I'll be in our databases as an author, and I think that would be really cool. :-)

The last things I need to do are to pack up my belongings to take home, and to photograph the office/desk for things to remember once I'm on my way out the door. I'd say something a little more poetic, but I'm rather tired and can't really think of anything.

Since this will most likely be my last post until I get home, wish me luck. I will get online as soon as I am able to give an update once this is done. Take care, everyone!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Crazy News Day

I am supposed to do my exit procedure tomorrow (whatever that entails), so I want to put these up quickly so I can actually get something accomplished today.

- A note to those wanting to commit insurance fraud: You don't go on living your life while you're supposed to be dead. Dead men don't visit doctors.

- When celebrating your birthday, drink in moderation so that you don't get busted for nude swimming, spitting on the rescuing officer, and then claiming to be Jesus.

- I've had some bad experiences at Denny's, but nothing to cut my arm off over.

- When visiting Shanghai, try not to jaywalk because they intend to humiliate you on T.V. and in the newspaper. It'll be like when the school paper publishes the names of places that get busted for serving minors alcohol, except that it won't have the bonus of telling you who sells alcohol that you weren't aware of before.

- I have just learned that a bowl of spaghetti is considered a "deadly missile" if thrown at a car. Good to know.

- There is a book called "These Aren't My Pants," about stupid criminals who have bad excuses (it's also in my LibraryThing feed), and apparently this teen tried to take a page out of this book when busted with a stolen debit card in his pants. The semi-plausible excuse would've worked...if it weren't for the fact that the debit card was lost at his place of work on a day he happened to be there.

- Oh, how cute! There's a beagle shoe bandit running around stealing shoes and dropping them off at the fire department. Cat burglars have nothing on this little guy who eludes capture (and strangely will run around with women's underpants on his head). Just adorable!

- Oh, how...creepy. A couple married in a funeral home. It's the husband's place of employment, and they didn't see it as any different from marrying in a church (but I could think of some differences). For some reason, I would've been less creeped out if they had done it in a cemetery, but I can't really argue with anyone's aesthetic these days.

- And just for the hell of it, here are people who should never hyphenate their names.

I'll finish it off with some random Overheard in New York quotes. Why? Because I closed all of my Not Always Right ones and wanted to end on a funny note.

Besides, having to write a letter of resignation to my boss kind of bummed me out and I would like to smile again.

California's Almost Far Enough

Hippie woman: Ma'am, what did you just feed my dog?
Elderly woman: A treat.
Hippie woman: What was it? Was it meat?
Elderly woman: Well, not really, it was a sausage.
Hippie woman: What is wrong with you?! My dog is a vegetarian! What if he had a food allergy?!
Elderly woman: Right. Go away.

--Thompson Square Park Dog Run

Overheard by: Klayton

via Overheard in New York, Sep 2, 2008
Who Says College Doesn't Prepare You for the Real World?
Frat boy: If you press your thumb hard in the middle of your forehead it stops your gag reflex for a minute.
Girl: Uhhh how do you know that?
Frat boy: I learned it at my frat, you can swallow a whole banana!

--Bryant Park

Overheard by: JC
via Overheard in New York, Sep 1, 2008
She Who Dealt It, Felt It
Girl looking at abstract wall installation: Oh god. This is pure art. It really speaks to me.
Boy: What does it say?
Girl: (makes loud farting sound and walks away)

--Art Exhibit, Time Warner Building
via Overheard in New York, Sep 1, 2008
Interestingly, Not All Were Bad Motherfuckers
Guido father to daughter and her gay friend: He was a real cocksucker... (realizes gay friend might be offended) But you know...not in the, uh, bad way.
Gay friend: Oh, believe me, I've met plenty of bad cocksuckers.


Overheard by: bill
via Overheard in New York, Sep 2, 2008

In a World Where Cool Voices Sell Films...

...we've lost Don LaFontaine, the movie voice-over guy. While his voice-over work is what he's known for, I will always remember his sense of humor when he appeared in a Geico commercial and was able to laugh at himself. This guy was truly cool, and films will never be the same again.

Things are nuts all over

How do I start this one? Well, for starters, I took my mom and uncle back home on Sunday...but didn't anticipate that sending them back home would be such a big deal to one of them. So now I carry a huge amount of (unjustified) guilt because my mom got the idea in her head that they would be here until after the baby was born when all we wanted was for the two of us to have our final days alone before the baby gets here (and to not end up in the poorhouse trying to feed 4 adults). My inducement is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday (tomorrow), but I still intend to come to work that day just to finish things out. That, and the VP who is also in charge of my department wants to meet with me briefly. I'm always paranoid that it's about slacking off or something, so I don't know what that will be about until after it's over. We got the crib assembled near 3 a.m. today, so I didn't help myself any by forgetting to check when my alarm was supposed to go off. So instead of getting up at 9, I woke up at 11. Whoops.

Anyway, to make this make more sense, I'll flesh things out. The original plan was to have my uncle come down for a week to help us set up the house before the baby gets here, but when their utilities got cut off, we brought both him and my mother down for the week. When I mentioned on Friday that we were thinking of taking them up this weekend, she got upset and said "I at least want to see the baby", to which I responded "Of course you're going to see the baby. You'll be coming down with one of his parents to see it." She then proceeded to cry and cause me a great deal of grief and anxiety because I felt bad that she was upset but, at the same time, they needed to go home. My uncle did a spectacular job of cleaning the house, but sometimes I feel as if I'm playing a losing game of hide-and-seek when things get moved around because I can't find anything, and my family has a tendency to throw things away arbitrarily or re-arrange things on what seems like a whim to me. That, and one of my glass unicorns got broken (and we suspect that another one was thrown away...these things aren't exactly cheap). I have an unusual attachment to objects mostly stemming from being around people who throw away everything, and because my things are the only thing in my control (change and instability unhinge me because it has never been a good thing in the past). My unicorns all have a special meaning because I buy one every year at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, so I noticed right away when my shelf was rearranged and one of the 'corns was down...only to discover that it had a broken leg and was fixed with a big wad of tape. The only thing that kept me from losing it is that I know that the people who made the unicorns can fix them, so I just have to bring it with me. It may not seem like anything to anyone else, but when someone decides that things that you have on display are not important (like a plastic picture frame being tossed like it was trash), but that things that you don't care that much about deserve prominence, it's maddening.

That, and my mother eats everything. I love my family, and I would've been able to handle all of my uncle's changes better if it was just him down here, but when you're spending $40/day trying to feed everyone and one of those people eats everything that is in the house, including my husband's leftovers that he was going to have for lunch, it gets to be much.

She wants to come down and "help" with the baby, but my husband doesn't really want her down here because he feels she won't actually do anything. I keep reminding him that it's a symbolic gesture, and that we can put it off until I go back to school where she will be forced to at least watch the kid. But having her get upset like that unnerved me. I was so spooked by her reaction that I was afraid to bring it up with my uncle. When I did mention it to him the next day, he told me that he always assumed that they would be leaving by Sunday and that he was already packed! I enlisted his help in getting mom ready to go back, but I think this week was good for him. After the blow up with my irritating aunt Krayzee, he took this time to really revitalize himself and get in a place where he may be able to successfully find work (and, hopefully, take the aid offered by my f-i-l to get the utilities back on). He always seems to be rejuvenated after visiting us, so I try to weigh that with my mom's reaction to keep myself from feeling like a terrible daughter.

That, and keeping in mind that I have someone else that I have to worry about.

So, the baby is still very active and I'm looking forward to getting this whole thing over with. The kicking is starting to get nauseating, and I would like to be able to use the bathroom like a normal person again. My only concern right now is (somewhat) minimal; we sent laundry out to get done by a service, and I worry that it won't be ready until Thursday...and we're going to be a little busy that day. We sent over 120 pounds of laundry out (a combination of procrastination, and wanting to get as many sheets and things done as possible) so I hope we can get it back today [They offer same-day service, but I can forgive them not getting it all done today, considering the sheer volume]. The problem is that we sent so much that we're kind of out of clothing. If it weren't for the coupon that we had, this would cost over $100, but it's not going to be cheap. Fortunately, we will only have to do this once and then we can get back on track and do our own laundry for much less.

We still need to buy a few more items for the baby, and then launder the baby's stuff. And while most of the house is clean, the baby's room still needs to be finished, and our room needs some work. So, I'm tired, a little frazzled, and trying to actually get some work done before I leave for good after tomorrow.

Oh what fun.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Carrying What?

Things have gotten a little interesting in soon-to-be-a-mother-land as I'm currently carrying a 9 pound, 5 ounce baby (weight as of yesterday afternoon). At first this was something that was just interesting, but now it's gotten a little stressful when my doctor told me that the baby is almost too big for a natural birth and I might have to have a cesarean, but because I'm a tall, large woman, I might be able to pull this off. Unfortunately, this was the appointment in which I could've used my husband's support (he opted to stay home), so when I was asked what I wanted to do, I almost lost it. How do I make a decision on whether to go for natural or surgery [and I use "natural" in the sense of pathway of delivery and not in the no-epidural context]? I told my doctor that I wanted to wait a week to try to have the baby, so I'm going to be scheduled to be induced next Wednesday night.

My doctor is hopeful that I will come in for my morning appointment dilated 3 centimeters so that they won't have to induce, but seeing as I'm almost 2 centimeters and not effaced, I'm worried that I will have to go the surgery route. I've never been in the hospital for more than a few hours at a time in the emergency room for asthma attacks, so this baby will be the first time I've had a major procedure, and now I'm starting to get scared. What if I can't have the baby naturally? What if we start that way but it gets stuck at the shoulders (which my doctor says is the fear when the baby is too big)? I know that a cesarean is not a mark of failure (considering how many people in my family have had them), but I still feel bad if I have to do that. And surgery will take longer for me to recover from, making going back to school even more difficult. And for all I know, the ultrasound could be wrong and the baby is smaller than it says (or it could be larger), but I won't know until delivery day.

Now the problem is, if I have the baby early [The original due date was today, but was changed to September 6] I will stop working sooner than I wanted and that will put us in a bad financial fix. If I manage to get all the way to Wednesday, the baby may be too big and I would have to have the surgery. Or I could go into labor over the weekend and end up with someone other than my primary doctor doing the delivery. Anyway out, I don't win.

I'm trying to stay calm about this, but it's hard to not feel bad that this isn't going in a way that makes sense to me. I had no plans for how I wanted this to go, I had just hoped I'd be the first in my family since my great-grandmother to have a natural birth and that may not happen. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm carrying a baby that's approaching 10 pounds. We'll have to see how this goes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Small Victory Against Protestors

The Cincinnati courts just upheld a state law which says that protesters at funerals need to stay at least 300 feet away. This means that the nuts from the Westboro Baptist Church can't be as obnoxious as they want to be during funerals.

I'm glad the ruling was upheld, but I'm bothered that there would be anyone out there who thinks that protesting the deaths of soldiers as God's way of punishing the U.S. for being tolerant of gays is a good idea. It's tacky, tasteless, and fails to get their agenda (which I do not support) across. I think God has better things to do than kill people to make a completely unrelated point. Besides, I don't think killing those in an intolerant system such as our military (Don't ask, don't tell, anyone?) for the country being tolerant makes any sense. Then again, I think too much. I should just be glad that protesters are forced to show some respect for the dead by court order.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Guaranteed to Never Be Bored

Oh, how I wish I were boring right now.

Okay, this is what has happened with my family situation. My mom and uncle are currently at my place and have been since Friday night. They finally figured out the problem with the cell phone (f-i-l has a bad habit of not keeping instruction manuals to anything, so they didn't know about the voicemail thing) and called us on Friday afternoon to find out when we were coming. That call was a good sign because my husband was worried that we wouldn't be able to get my uncle to agree to come to Columbus. Let's just say that it took us less than a minute to load them up and be on the way.

Unfortunately, Krayzee has managed to make things much, much worse by contacting their church and telling the gossip-hounds that mom and uncle needed financial assistance. This was discovered when my mom called their ride to church to let her know that she didn't need to pick them up. All I know is, I'm glad that they were out of town because I would've been horrified if they had found this out once they got to church, and my uncle would probably be in jail for killing his sister. She never checked on them in the two weeks that they were without service, and after all the thousands of dollars she has "borrowed" from them over the years, she loves to tell everyone that she has been supporting them. She also tells people that she raised my brother and I (which is a damned lie) and had no intentions of helping my uncle get a job. When the first thing out of your mouth when your mother just died is "How are are you going to maintain the house?", you have serious problems. She also called to say that she has the crib and wanted us to drive up yesterday to get it. My husband wants to call her bluff just to screw with her, but after my uncle called her up Saturday night (after 8 months of not saying anything to her) to call her everything but her name, I'm just going to leave her alone.

That, and she's probably not going to have a job very soon. One of the requirements for her current employment is that she has to live in town (it's immediate dismissal if she isn't filling that requirement), so she's been using their address to fill that requirement. That's going to end.

My uncle has been a great help already. He's gotten the kitchen tamed and the stairs have all the library books on one side (which, honestly, makes more sense and is safer), and he will be tackling the rest of the house in due time. My husband came through on finding a good family doctor that will take all of us (baby included), but had to be sent home from work yesterday when the arm with the tetanus shot [which he took like a champ, btw] was in too much pain for him to continue. As he put it, he lost a lot of machismo points for crying in front of his coworkers (aww!), but he was told not to work because the arm could get much worse if he kept working [HR's orders]...and he also learned the lesson to get the shot in the arm you don't favor. We got to go out walking last night (which, sadly, fried my hair that I had just gotten done on Friday) and we ran into our neighbors who had a bit of their own drama to deal with involving the wife's sister needing to be rescued from a black-belt, gun-wielding philanderer husband who has an addiction to internet and cellphone-text porn. Apparently, I live in Drama Heights, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone could turn this into great television someday.

Even my mom's presence has been beneficial. She's not exactly the best houseguest a person can have (she uses up all of my shower gel and she ate my husband's sandwich without asking if she could have it), but my husband now understands why I get so anal about things being a certain way. He likes to be a smartass on occasion and refused to see why it would be a problem to not open a door all the way, but he gets why it bothers me now and is a bit more understanding about it.

I am half tempted to do a YouTube video to let the world know what kind of person Krayzee is, but that requires a lot of work, and I doubt the people who need to see it will look, and blah, blah, blah. She's not really worth the effort. My f-i-l wants to help them out by paying to get their utilities turned back on, so I have to try to get the information on the account and how much is owed so that he can do that. Considering that Krayzee doesn't know how much is owed, it's utterly ridiculous that she could get the church to pay for anything. And if anyone out there thinks she did this out of the kindness of her heart, let me ask you this: If she was really looking to help, why didn't she go to her own church? Why did she not ask her friend's family (who live up the street from them) to check on them if she was unwilling to drive up to the house? The devil is in this woman, and I can't waste any more time on her. I'm due in two weeks (eek!) and I don't have time for this.

She's tried to destroy the family and ruin our reputations to make herself look good. She only has herself to blame for the fall that is coming. I'm having as little to do with her as possible because she's not worth the aggravation. She can turn to her friends if she needs help from now on. And if they end up having to sell the house, I'm going over to her place with Matt and a camera so that he can remove her daughter from the area before I beat that woman's sorry ass and blast it all over the internet.

Now that I'm no longer carrying the weight of her idiocy, I can get back on track and be proactive in getting everyone back on their feet. This feels good. And itchy. Apparently, the side effect of no longer being incredibly stressed out is to be (once again) horribly itchy. Yay.

Anyway, I'm hoping to do some news reports this week, but I have to do all of my computer stuff exclusively at work until I can get into the guest room again. I haven't even read any of the recaps yet (which is killing me), but I've got to get more work done. I'm so far behind, it's not even funny.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Loss of a Congresswoman

I just discovered that Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Congresswoman from Ohio has passed away from a brain aneurysm. She was a representative who came from Cleveland and was a very outspoken person who earned the respect of both her fellow Democrats as well as Republicans. I'm very surprised because it's just one of those things that you can't anticipate. I got to do a performance once that she attended (which is the closest I ever got to meeting her) and she was very charismatic. She represented her constituents well, and I don't see how she will ever be replaced.

God Speed, Ms. Tubbs Jones.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Update

...a.k.a. how the family fared, why I want to kill Krayzee, and that I have the best co-workers ever!

Let's start with the most pressing item: My mom and uncle. We were going to drive up to Cleveland on Sunday to check up on them when my husband offered to ask his dad to go over and check on them. My f-i-l couldn't get over there until today because he lives on the other side of town (roughly 45 minutes away), but the offer was welcomed because I wasn't sure I could make the trip without stopping at every rest stop along the way. Well, he made it over there after work today and I finally got to talk to my mom! F-i-l has a cell phone and I found out that they are doing alright but haven't been eating well (lack of refrigeration tends to lead to non-perishable items that aren't always the best), and that my uncle went downtown on the bus to take his job application to Aunt Krayzee and when he asked her if she had heard from us all she said was "yes." What she failed to tell him is that we called her Wednesday night when we couldn't contact them and that she only spoke to Matt briefly the next day and wouldn't return our calls (and she ignored his pleas to go check on them even though she lives closer than my f-i-l). I let my mom know that I'm bringing both her and my uncle down this weekend, and I don't think I'm going to get any objections at this point. My f-i-l then called Matt back to tell him that he's going to try and help them out because they are in dire straits and nobody knew how bad off they were. They also haven't finished the probate stuff and, being the lawyer he is, he's worried that the house will be taken if they can't pay the taxes. It will be my job to try to help them sort things out [read: be willing to take help] while they are down here with us. F-i-l is also going to get them a charged up cell phone so that we can reach them and they can reach the outside world. We are relieved that they are alright, but I am so angry with that woman for not even trying to see them once, even though she knew that things were bad for them. All she could do was bellyache about her own problems, as if she's struggling. If it weren't for her daughter, I'd beat her ass in the middle of the street like one of my childhood friends did her mother [btw, that woman did deserve it]. If I see her anytime soon, she's getting punched in the face. And if they end up losing the house either by selling it or by it being taken, may God have mercy on her soul.

With that out of the way, I wanted to touch on my awesome co-workers. They all put in money to buy us a crib and mattress [so Krayzee can suck it!] as well as a few other items. One of my team members even offered to babysit and come over to show us how to give the first bath! What is so awesome is that my department is mostly male, but since just about everyone over 40 has had children, they can all relate and remember new parenthood. When I tried to thank everyone, I was at a loss for words (and nobody could believe it). One of the guys even followed me home to drop the crib off, since he had a truck and claimed he lived close by [he probably didn't, but was trying to be nice and make it not seem like it was out of his way]. I feel so blessed that I would know people who would do this for me...and I feel a little guilty that I haven't been working as hard as I could (but I got more done today than I have in months). I now have three thank you cards to write for work [The woman at the front desk that I chat with just about every day bought us a gift that I picked up on Saturday, and some of the ladies got me the extra items over and above the crib], so I'm hoping to get that done by Wednesday.

I feel better that I know that everyone is alive and fine, but I don't even want to think about Krayzee's dumb ass anymore. How anyone can treat family like that I'll never know. Besides, I've got more pressing things to worry about and since we don't need the crib that she allegedly was going to give to us, I have nothing else to say to her.

Baby Shower Images

Well, I finally got around to uploading the images from my baby shower. I decided to use Photobucket and a slideshow feature to put the images online because I wasn't feeling up to doing something more interesting/difficult. That, and I don't think I'll exceed my bandwidth because my blog visit counts are usually pretty low. That being said, if I do by some bizarre happenstance exceed my bandwidth, I'll find another way to post these images online.

For some reason, the last line of the mosaic is a repeat of the first line of images, so you can ignore those [Edit: The pictures on the far right are being cropped by the layout of the webpage, but 98% of the image appears when you move you mouse over it, so sorry about that]. My mother is the pretty lady in the sleeveless outfit, and she is seated next to my mother in law. My two girlfriends who came (who I can never thank enough!) are seated next to the young lady in blue who stepped in to make sure that the shower wasn't completely controlled by the older women. One of the girls will be having a baby in January, and the other (who was mistaken for my sister) kept cracking jokes and went on a rant about the teddy bear with no front of the woman who made it!

I think the best line came from my mom during the baby food eating contest: "I feel sorry for babies. No wonder they spit this stuff out."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rough Night

I am doing my very best not to freak out after what happened last night. Between MIA family members and just getting sick, I'm surprised that I'm as calm as I am right now.

I usually call home three times a week and Wednesday is one of those times. Unfortunately, my mysterious stomach ailment hit me around 6:00 yesterday which caused me to end up in the bathroom instead of on the phone at my appointed time of 8 [I've been getting these intermittent stomach pains off and on for years and nobody knows what they are; I attribute it to eating too much of the wrong things that give me gas that gets trapped (a lifetime of gas problems will give one that impression)]. So when I finally do try to call home, their number is disconnected. Both house numbers. And my uncle's cell phone. They've been without power for a week now but they still had phone service, so I'm starting to get worried and call my husband home from his friends' place (fortunately, that's a 45 second walk). I try to call my brother and accidentally call my dad (and promptly hung up on him) and when I finally get a number for my brother, it's off as well. Even Crayzee isn't answering her phone, and that leaves me feeling like I'm adrift with no family contact. My husband offered me three options: To a) ask Daddy Douchebag if he'll check on them, b) ask his father to check on them, or c) to drive up there and get them. I refuse to give my father anything that he can spread around in the streets about them and I don't want to trouble his father so those two options were out. And I was too sick to make the trip last night (besides, I don't know where they are...they could be with friends or who-knows-where). I ended up drifting in and out of sleep all night until the pains subsided for good around 6 a.m.

Apparently, Crayzee got our message and said she hasn't heard from them either. However, she'll be available to talk around 9, so I'm making Matt talk to her then (I'm still not ready to play nice with her yet). We were going to bring both of them down for next week since the baby is going to be here soon and we are in serious need to getting the house together, but I have to find them first. Honestly, this is the most scared I've been in a long time. I'm incapable of helping them financially (because they won't let me; they know I'd do whatever it took to get their utilities back on), I don't really have any connections in the area that I can use to help them get work; I can just use the same temp agency that helped me out and try to put in a good word once they've applied, and I have to stay calm so that I don't go into labor early.

One of the adages that I used to put alot of faith into was "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." I'm not sure I believe that anymore. I've had my issues with Him since January, but I don't even know what to think or feel, other than frustration and anger. I can't just sit by and watch my family disintegrate, but it seems that is exactly what I'm being forced to do. I hope that they can get to a phone and call me. I just want to know that they're alright.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

News, glorious news.

Not much to report today. I've got some strange criminals, so I won't disappoint, but it's not a wealth of news (but still entertaining).

A quick note before I begin, I had my doctor's appointment today and while I'm not quite ready to drop it like it's hot, things are progressing faster than I thought. I'll spare you the details (1 centimeter dilated and some other technical stuff), but I've really got to get our house together before we're "surprised."

Well, here's the news, for what it's worth.

- A man claimed he was a porn inspector and demanded free porn to inspect that the girls were "of age" in the films. The police were called after the third time this guy tried this, so they're on the lookout for someone who thought being a bikini inspector just wasn't enough.

- Now how does this work? A man was arrested for being too close to his wife. A Batavian man was marrying his ex-wife when the police remembered that the ex had a restraining order filed against him. He's currently up on felony charges, and probably surprised that he's in jail when he just re-married the woman.

- Getting back into my comfort zone of stupid criminals, a man robbed a video store but left his driver's license and other "identifying materials" behind. Ha, ha! What a dumbass.

- Can you believe this happened in Japan? (yes). A man in a Winnie the Pooh costume beat up and robbed two people who dared to stare at him. Winnie and his friends (dressed as a mouse and panther, respectively) were wearing the costumes because they were out of clean laundry, but that still doesn't explain why they robbed the poor people.

- In a minor Olympic scandal, it has come to light that the little girl who sang at the Opening ceremonies was pulling a Milli Vanilli as she was lip-syncing for another little girl who was "too ugly" to put on TV. And there are people defending the decision because the Chinese feel that their worldly image is more important than anything else.

- If you hadn't already heard, there was a dumb-bum in Xenia, Ohio who decided to take a bubble bath in a Burger King sink, film it, and post it to his MySpace page. Well, needless to say, king moron was fired. He feels bad for others getting fired for their involvement (or lack of intervention), but he should feel bad for being dumb enough to tape it.

- And what about the crazy lady who had her dog Booger cloned overseas? There's evidence out there that suggests she's the same bat-poop crazy lady who kidnapped and raped a Mormon missionary back in the day. What's scary is that I actually recognized her for her past crimes, but I couldn't place where I had seen her until today. Stay away from that one, fellas, she's crazy!

That's it for today. It's time for another dash-to-the-finish bathroom break and time to bounce out of here.

I leave with a quote from Not Always Right ("Fighting Fire With Fire") about bad-assed kids (with a dumb father to match), and a quote from Overheard in New York that I liked just for being strange.

How Do You Get a Flyer Guy to Shut Up? Discuss
Flyer guy: Rainbow room! Discount admission! Observatory! Rainbow room!
(goth chick unbuttons her shirt)
Flyer guy: Rainbow room... Uh...
(goth chick reveals a Batman t-shirt)
Flyer guy, recovering: Discount admission! Observatory!
Goth chick (in menacing voice): I'm Batman.
Flyer guy: Rainbow room! Discount admission! Batman! We got batman in Gotham! Observatory! Rainbow room! Batman! Discount admission!

--Rockefeller Plaza

Overheard by: Rose Fox
via Overheard in New York, Aug 12, 2008

...So Where Did I Go?

I've been busy watching the Olympics, not getting enough sleep, dealing with my inability to do anything for my family, and the sheer panic of impending motherhood. I've also been trying to get some work accomplished so that it won't seem like I wasted the last six months doing nothing (even though that's pretty accurate) when I leave this job. Let's start with this weekend and recap our way from there.

Matt and I attended our childbirth class and while I got a lot out of it, it wasn't worth no damn $95 dollars. They provided snacks but no meals, so I was a little pissed about that, and we did the hospital tour again (fun). The most interesting thing from the class was that a woman almost went into labor during the class. It was a 9-4 class on a Saturday, so we were both grumpy to be up in the morning and hated all of the group activities. I just want to take notes and be left alone, but noooo. I have to talk to people. So we spent the rest of the class writing notes to each other about what was getting on our nerves (i.e. how stupid some of the people were, the teacher's inability to say "personally" because she would just say "personal", and a list of all the phrases that get on my nerves).

My mom and uncle are still without electricity, and that has me very concerned. He won't tell me how much it would cost to get it turned back on (because he knows I would just try to pay it), so I've enlisted the help of my husband to play the heavy and talk my aunt into helping them out (or, at the very least, pay back what she owes). He called her on Monday about the crib and she said that the crib was at one person's house and the changing table (which I don't even want) is at another. We don't buy for a second that she can get these items so he's supposed to call her back today. I also told him to bring up the money issue with her, but to be "nice" if she mentioned the whereabouts of the crib. He leaned on her, but not enough, so we have to fine-tune this process. Crayzee tries to come off as if she's a responsible person because she has a job and her siblings do not, but if she were so damn responsible she wouldn't have borrowed money from these very same unemployed people. And if she were a decent human being, she would've helped them to get jobs and gotten their applications on file back in January. But since I found out that she's supposed to live in the city for her job and she does not, I have amunition for when I get really nasty. When her own friend is making sure that she takes care of a sibling who her father had with another woman, there's something wrong with Crayzee's moral compass.

I recommended the temp agency that I used here, and I'll even put in a call if that will help them to get employed. As it is, I'd be happy if they went back to school so they would at least have financial aid to use (my uncle would be finishing his PhD and my mom would be finishing her bachelor's degree), but that will take months. Matt has decided he wants them both to come down next week to help us set up for the baby and to get out of the darkness (but they're worried about leaving the house for a long period) so I've got to sell them on it today.

Unfortunately, the thing that could bring me down the fastest happened to re-enter my life this weekend. Crayzee's Ex husband ran into my brother on the bus. Ex recognized him and siad "I haven't seen you since you were 18 years old!" (he's 31 now) and then proceeded to ask a ton of questions about me. Why me? Why not his ex-wife or his ex siblings-in-law. No, he had to ask about me and my brother (who feels guilty for not protecting me back then) thought to himself "I'm going to protect my sister, because this is inappropriate" told him repeatedly that I love Columbus and that I'm going to stay down here, just to get him off the subject. Finding out about this made me so upset that I asked my husband to come home early from work on Sunday. That man ruined my life for a number of years, and I felt a little bit like a scared little kid all over again. My husband's reaction? He wants to kill him (he tried to once, but I begged him not to because this man is not worth jail time). Way to damage my self-image again, Ex.

The baby shower pictures were moved from my camera to the computer in record time. Unfortunately, that was last week and I still haven't had time to post them. It'll get done this weekend (I hope) so that the rare photos of a pregnant me will be on the Internet.

I have a headache and I need to put up a news post soon before I clock out for the night. I discovered yet another website that qualifies as eye-crack, and this one is called Not Always Right which has a wealth of quotes from dumb customers who remind me of why I should never work retail. Unfortunately, they won't let me put up quotes like Overheard in New York, but when I find some good ones to post, I recommend checking them out.

One last thing; I want to give a shout out to the US Men's and Women's Gymnastics teams for great performances this week for the team metals. The men weren't expected to do well but they were even in the lead for awhile, and the women were close to gold but should hold their heads up high that they gave it their all (even with the errors). I haven't had this much fun watching gymnastics since "the Magnificent 7" from the '96 Olympics (with my favorite American gymnast of all time, Dominique Dawes who gets a little screen time in the "I Got Soul But I'm Not A Soldier" commercial), so they should be very proud. I've watched a lot of Olympics this year (makes up for only watching 2 minutes of it in '04) and I'm glad we're doing so well. Not really a Michael Phelps fan, but I can't deny him all the accolades he's been getting (I'm not a complete curmudgeon).

This is too long, so I'm stopping now. Have a good day everyone.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Overheard" Gems

I found quite a few OiNY quotes today that cracked me up. I wish I had known the second one when everyone was trying to "save" me as a college freshman, but I wasn't ready to be quite that nasty at the time. Remember, the language can get dicey at times...and I even got in some "water sports" quotes, so this is going to be interesting. Have fun.

When I'm Still Too Hungover to Care About the Customers

Foreign guy: And listen, this coffee, it's for my friend. And he doesn't want it black, but he doesn't want too much milk in it. Can you handle that, my friend?
Cashier: We don't put milk in your coffee, sir.
Foreign guy: What? My friend needs milk!
Cashier: You put the milk in yourself, sir. It's right over there.
Foreign guy: He also wants Equal. No sugar. My friend, my friend, do you think you can handle that?
Cashier: The sugar is right over there.
Foreign guy: I need a cup for this milk and sugar because I don't know how much my friend wants.
Cashier: I have to start working the morning shift.

--Starbucks, 40th & Lexington

Overheard by: clp

via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008
None of My Relationships Are Any of Your Business

Man reciting gospel on a train: And you, sir, have you accepted Jesus into your life?
Passenger: A long time ago, baby. Now fuck off.

--1 Train

via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008
I Participated in the Cosmetics Counter Sit-Ins at Greensboro
Old woman: Did you happen to notice if the dancers were wearing nail polish?
Teen girl: No. I'm sorry, I didn't.
Old woman: I imagine an art form such as this stifles the dancers' individual expression. I know some days I feel watermelon pink... and no one can stop me!

--Front Row, NYC Ballet, Lincoln Center

Overheard by: Gina Sophia
via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008
Wait!....Can I Have Your Broken Shoe?
Crazy bag lady in Burger King crown: Oh look, you broke your shoe, and you're pregnant.
Hugely pregnant woman: Yes.
Crazy bag lady in Burger King crown: Well bitch, just go to the ATM, get $20, and get a new pair of shoes. White folks got all the money.
Hugely pregnant woman: (silence)
Crazy bag lady in Burger King crown: You know what? God broke your shoe. He broke it cause you hate black people.
Hugely pregnant woman: Umm, this is my stop.

--2 Train

Overheard by: courtney
via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008
I Could Fetch Better Than That Any Day of the Week
Hipster girl (after playing with a stranger's dog and its tennis ball): Bye, dog! Awww.
Hipster dude in fedora: Pfft. Dog thinks it's so fucking smart.

--Atlantic & Smith, Brooklyn
via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008
Wednesday One-Liners Want You to Know About the Size of Their Bank Accounts
Yuppie on cell (trying to be discreet): Hey mom. Are you busy? Could you Google Maps me? I'm on Houston and West Broadway. Yeah, I didn't want to ask anyone for directions and make a fool of myself. Although I'm pretty sure I just did, because half of this coffee shop is looking at me now.

--W Houston

Overheard by: Let's face it, we were all new at one point.

40-something yuppie woman: And then I realized that my biggest problem in life is that most of the time I'm incredibly happy, but I'm not aware of how happy I am.

--81st & Madison

Yuppie dad to seven-year-old daughter: Now when you start buying iPods, that's when you're going to want to have a Visa card.

--Stanton & Christie

Overheard by: Ross

Three-year-old yuppie spawn: Noooooooooooo! I don't want Pad Thai! I want sushi!

--Dice Thai, Prospect Park

Overheard by: I'll take sushi too but you're payin', kid

via Overheard in New York, Aug 6, 2008
Mellow Yellow Wednesday One-Liners
Latina: I don't care what a guy says, I'm not gonna let him piss on me.

--Vesey Street & Broadway

Overheard by: Sam

Giggling four-year-old boy: Yeah, and there was a sign and it said, "Caution: someone peed here!"

--Waverly & W 11th

Bimbo: And he was like, "Sarah, you pissed the bed" and I was like, "Whaaaaat?" and he was like, "Sarah, get up, you pissed the fucking bed!"

--Theater District

Overheard by: Paul

Girl on cell: Alright, fine, but if you pee on me again, we're done!

--C Train

Overheard by: Laura

Guy, in disbelief: You mean you've never been pissed on before?!

--14th & Broadway

Overheard by: Josh

Girl: Would it be considered indecent exposure if I peed in the sink?

--Lyceum Theatre

Girl to friend: Her?! She totally splashes her urine.

--34th & 8th

Overheard by: Ellen

via Overheard in New York, Aug 6, 2008

Slow News Day

It took awhile just to find something worth posting today. The criminals have been behaving and people hadn't been too stupid...but patience paid off and here's what I've got.

- A man with a dumbassed tattoo of a cinema strip on his face was arrested for kidnapping and perpetrating a hoax by using a Play-Doh bomb in Priscilla's, a lingerie store known for being very brightly lit (which makes it all the more creepy). What? So I know about all the sex shops in town. What's your point? Anyway...

- A guy got busted with a strange bulge in his pants outside of a Wal-Mart, only to discover that the "bulge" was some stolen chicken. The bulge was outside the wrong store!

- This is why it doesn't pay to drink and drive: A woman got lost (and was drunk) and stopped at a home to ask for directions. Unfortunately, she stopped at the home of a sherrif's deputy who realized she was intoxicated and wouldn't let her leave. She added to her drunk driving charge a charge of attacking an officer but, in her defense, she was drunk and didn't know he was an officer, so I can't really blame her for resisting some strange guy who wanted to not let her drive home.

And a couple of "stupid teenagers" stories caught my attention.

- An 11-year-old wanted to wake up his girlfriend in the wee hours of the morning and learned that using a slingshot was a very bad idea. He's paying his mother back the $160 she paid to fix the window by going around and doing chores, but at least he has to tell everyone why he's asking to do odd-jobs.

At least his crime was one of passion.

- The 26 high school cheerleaders who got stuck in an elevator were all just too lazy to take the stairs and/or were too impatient to just wait for another elevator. Considering that a student died in an elevator incident at OSU over a year ago and I happened to miss an over-filled elevator when I was a Singing Angel that plunged six stories and stopped just inches from the basement floor, I am on the side of the University of Texas on this one.

And to round this out, here are two wild animal stories.

- The first is a Mexican woman who fought off a lion attack with a machete until it left her and her niece alone. This is what I call an impressive woman because I'm not sure I could've done this.

- The second should be called "The Trouble with Badgers" (sorry, Star Trek). Apparently, male mating badgers sound like women screaming, and one in particular resulted in a lot of calls to the police. Hopefully, they won't make the neighbors pay for the helicopter usage that resulted in finding the "randy badgers."

To finish this edition out, I'm including a couple of comic strips and an "Overheard..." quote. The Agnes comic shows my need for an optimistic friend to think that "screaming is fun", and the Pearls Before Swine entry is just too pathetic to pass up. One of Pig's most endearing lines was from a comic where Rat asked Pig if he knew why bad things happened to him. Pig's response was "Yes, I'm stupid" and I've loved him ever since.

This "Overheard" quote is in honor of the "homosexual" phraseology I used the other day. Enjoy.

Foot Corns Are So Heteronormative

(at the gay pride festival)
Girl handing out stickers: Do you want a sticker?
Lady with a lot of stickers on: Fo' sho I'll take a sticker... and a cheeseburger, and some ice for the corn on my right foot.
Girl (looking discouraged): Ew.

--Hudson & Jane St

Overheard by: Jessica

via Overheard in New York, Aug 7, 2008