Sunday, December 27, 2009

Unexpected Lessons

Hi everyone.

It's been awhile, and I wish I had something more happy to post, but my mother passed away on Tuesday, and I've been dealing with the loss. I've also learned a great deal during this time, and I think I'm going to write about that for awhile.

For anyone who remembers the saga with Aunt Crayzee, you'll recall that she turned her back on my mom and uncle and managed to poison the waters so that almost nobody wanted to help them. Well, that contributed greatly to my mother's death. She died while my uncle was away, and he says the last thing she said to him was "Nobody ever stops by". She felt so abandoned and alone and was severely depressed towards the end, and when people would come by, they would be nasty, hurtful, and not willing to offer the least bit of help. She apparently wrote a letter to someone right before Thanksgiving asking for food because they were starving, and in it she wrote that she wanted them to be able to have a little bit of fun. She never asked for much in life, and towards the end she couldn't even get that. I came to see them as often as I could, and I would buy groceries and give them money. It wasn't enough. Now we get all these people coming out of the woodwork who claim to have loved her, but they wouldn't visit with her, or give her a kind word. The church that refused to help them pay a single bill (and refused to give them food!) has offered their space for the service, and I only agreed to it because I was trying to cut down on the funeral costs.

My uncle is hurting, and my aunt can't seem to give a shit. She has been a saboteur from the beginning, wanting them to fail and wanting us to fail in this funeral. The joke's on her; my church raised funds and will be helping to pay for the funeral, and my high school's headmaster called me up to say he's raised $3,000 and that I can call if we're still short. One of my girlfriends that I haven't spoken to since my baby shower even offered $300. My church is not a church of great means, whereas the church that they belong to is a historical African American church that is full of gossipers who are soulless, despicable people who would rather listen to someone who is no longer a member (who I am convinced is filled with venom; she's pure evil) than help those who need it. She is going to find a way to take credit for this when she did nothing. She deliberately waited until after church service was over to bring over the guest book, so that the people who visited were not recorded in the book because she didn't bring it. She also lied and said she would contact people she never called (like the hairdresser; she did the hair herself, which is why we're closing the casket for the wake and service). The "flowers" she promised her church would pay for are fake...and since her best friend's family makes those things for a living, so she probably paid nothing for them. It was just one stinking thing of flowers that she had placed on the casket. I hate her.

I hate everything she has done. She had the audacity to tell my husband (when he was telling her to keep trying to help find funds) that I should have just cremated her! I PAID for the bulk of her own mother's funeral, and it was my support system that is paying for my mother's funeral, and she has gotten away with ruining lives and not paying a dime. When I hear that people feel bad that they didn't visit, I always think "Good! You need to feel guilty." All my mother wanted was for God to come through for her, and for her to be loved. I want her to know that she is loved very much.

This is so hard to write.

I have invited my uncle to stay with us for awhile. I want him to be able to rebuild his life and heal away from a house where two of his loved ones have died. I am not sure when he will come, or if, but I don't want to go through this again. I want to know he's going to be alright because it's true what he said: It's not fair that people treat them like shit, treat them like they're worthless, as if they were the worst people in the world when all they were trying to do was survive. They were trying to live. And now she's dead, and I don't want him to be next.

What do I want for my aunt? For her to suffer. For her to feel humiliated, feel pain, to struggle. To not know where the next meal is going to come from. I want the worst for her, save only one thing: I don't want her to die. I want her to live with the consequences of what she has done. I want her to PAY.

I'm also angry with my father-in-law because he decided, on the day my mother's obituary was running in the Plain Dealer, to call her and my uncle "fucking irresponsible" for not doing what he thinks they were supposed to do with probate. Here are a few fun facts that he's completely forgotten about. 1) My husband and I hired him to help them, so if any money is owed, it would be from us and not them. 2) He told them that he was doing this for them because "we're family", and then treated them like they were idiotic pieces of shit because he was making side deals with my aunt, lapping up everything she served him. 3) He made my mother sign papers that he didn't explain. 4) He came over, while on the phone with my husband, pretending that he was giving them food when instead he dropped off a nasty letter saying that, essentially, my uncle had virtually no claim to the home. 5) He treats people like shit and has the nerve to be upset because they don't turn around and thank him for his service. I'm never asking him to do a damn thing for me again.

Since the title of my blog suggests that I learned something, let's review what I've learned in all of this.

- I want to be cremated. Fuck all of this shit with the funeral home (they demand payment upfront before services can be rendered; however, the newspaper, the printer of the service bulletins, and the people at the cemetery were more than willing to accommodate our situation of not having the money yet but that it was coming, or of lowering prices or not charging extra fees). If my loved ones want a service for me, fine, but I'd rather spare them the expense. My husband is willing to give me a service that observes Japanese rituals, but that's about all I want. He wants to donate his body to science.

- My mother was a wonderful woman who never deserved to die alone. I hope beyond everything that she is happy now.

- I apparently have a hell of a lot more friends than I could have possibly imagined.

- Know who to trust, and who to leave in the...bin (I wanted to say dust, but I do not want to offend my friend for the sake of a rhyme scheme).

- I apparently had more faith than I thought. When my grandmother died, I lost my faith. I think with my mother's death, I found it. I still told God off, but whatever.

- I will do right by the people who did right by me. And the others need to watch out. I'm full of anger and will release it on the first person to say the wrong thing tomorrow.

- There are some nasty people out there in the world, and they get away with a lot. If there's any justice in the world, they won't get away with it forever.

- I have the will to pull through this, and I want my mother to be remembered for who she was. And I want all of those people who said they care but didn't give a damn to know that her death rests on all of their shoulders. Live with that forever.

I signed all the paperwork, but the funeral home violated their own policies by allowing my aunt to take my place for the first viewing. She also dropped off the flowers and the book and never came back. My uncle and I stayed with her until they closed the home at 5. A few visitors came by and my little girl got to see her Gram-Gram one last time.

I've also learned that I have a mean streak that runs deeper than even I imagined, but I think these people have earned it. And if the money my aunt got the home church to donate is not given to the funeral home, my husband is going to call the church in a week to let them know that she had no expenses and that she should have to give the money back.

I never said I was a good girl.

The funeral is tomorrow afternoon, and I hope that her siblings from California come, but something tells me they won't.

There's only one crypt left of the six my grandmother bought. It's going to be for my uncle, because I'm cremating my aunt when she goes, so she'd better not go soon.

I may change my mind on a lot of things in time. But I won't change my opinions on those who hurt my family. I may just ease up on them in time (maybe). I've got to get some sleep to get through tomorrow. If things go poorly...well, let's just say you'll be hearing about me on the news.

I love you, mom. Never doubt that.

Her obituary is here.

EDIT: Okay, so now I'm feeling guilty about the things I said about my aunt (1.5 hours later). A little. I'm still angry, but she's still family. However, she needs to redeem herself to make this right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Short Update

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a long time since I've posted, but things have been very busy lately. Now that I'm on winter break, I'm taking the time to get caught up on my Master's Thesis work as well as creating a syllabus for my class next quarter (like I know what the hell I'm doing).

Anyway, here's what's been going on (in case you haven't been following me on Twitter):

- I managed to get through teaching my first classes without too much trouble. I had some problems with students not working well together in their groups (and a couple of extra credit assignments that drove me crazy [one person wrote "colored" at least 14 times in his paper about his family's views on race, and the other insulted the poor and people of color while railing for people to eat better so that they don't need organ donors...not exactly the best way to sell people on being organ donors]) but everything worked out in the end. Only one student had to take the final (out of 45 total students) and everyone got an A.

- My husband's job situation went from bad to worse. HR refused to pay him and when they laid off the majority of the design department, he was the only person not to get paid. After smashing the HR person's family photo against a wall (bad idea, I know), we filed the case with OSHA. I'm going to have him call to do a follow-up with the federal branch tomorrow, and that branch is supposed to force the regional branch to get to work, so we'll see how this goes. At least now he qualifies for unemployment, so we'll finally have some $ coming in for the first time in months. My pay is not enough for just one person to live on, let alone three, so this is help we needed.

- I got sick during finals week last week, and I'm still on the mend. Since I won't gross anyone out with details, let's just say this was serious when the people at the Student Health center booked the appointment for 30 minutes from when I made the call, instead of for the next day.

- We've gotten Christmas photos done & I will be scanning and posting them soon. What pissed me off, however, was the fact that the girl who was helping our photographer (who was doing her first day of sales) kept trying to do a hard-sell with us that almost resulted in us not getting any photos. The girl who normally does our photos had a death in the family, so they had two people in as replacements. One who had been a photographer for years but had never worked on sales for the company until that day, and the other was a hard-assed bitch who kept trying to sell us $200 and $300 packages. We barely had enough gas to get to the damn session, and we weren't trying to spend more than $50, so when she kept coming back into the room to change what we were ordering from 5 sheets to 9 so we qualified for some stupid package or another, I was about to lose it. I had to fight for a montage photo I wanted, because it was the only way we were going to get some of the shots, but when the girl came in and said a montage photo was extra (which wasn't the way they did packages in the past), that was when I finally got upset. We got the photos we wanted, but to add insult to injury, a bulk of the images were thrown away. Usually, they make all of the images from the shoot available online, and there were some that I could have gotten my m-i-l to order, but Bitch-Ass probably only kept the ones we ordered photos from. If our regular girl doesn't come back, I'm taking my business elsewhere.

Anyway, I have a syllabus to write, a house to clean, and a headache to get rid of. I wish I felt better about writing a syllabus, but all the help I've gotten so far is to look at what others have done in the past. Unfortunately, people don't say what they taught in their syllabus; just what books they covered. I'll figure out something.

Happy Trails, Happy Holidays, and all that good stuff.
~ Kay

Friday, October 2, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I've been saying I was going to do this for awhile, but I finally got it done.

Devi's first birthday party photos are finally online!

We had a wonderful party on September 4th with a lot of friends and family (including my mom, my uncle, and her godfather), and a lot of the photos are of her adventures in cake-eating. I got to make a cake for the first time in years and was happy to see that I had no leftovers that day.

Anyway, Devi ended up eating the icing off the cake because she was more interested in eating the cake than smashing it. However, my uncle comes in to help her finish it off when she almost sat on the piece!

I can't believe I've been doing this parenting thing for 12+ months, and while my uncle (and others) seems to think I'm doing a good job, I think I'm doing okay.

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

That Went Better Than I Thought

Hi everyone!

I had my actual first day of teaching today, and despite the fact that I was late for my 9:30 section due to parking issues (OSU is a little too greedy for money and sells too many parking passes and park-n-pays, but I digress), I think it went well. Or as well as can be expected. I didn't get the problem students, nor did I get the special needs student (who is a very nice person, but people were laughing at his idiosyncrasies on Friday, which had me worried...but I think he's going to be okay), but I also got through my agenda rather quickly. I didn't anticipate being done before the end of the session (classes are 48 minutes long), but they're good kids. I worry that they may have thought I was being a bit strict when I asked them to set the "respect" guidelines for the class, but I feel that it's important to have these guidelines in place because we will be covering controversial topics and I'd rather head these issues off at the pass.

I'm still not sure I'm cut out for this teaching thing, but I hope to be able to do a good job for my students, and that the evaluations won't be too damning.

I'm not posting a picture of Devi (who has a cold right now; poor thing), because I have a special post coming up.

Have a good one, folks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomorrow, I Teach!

Yeah, I'm not kidding. Nor am I excited.

I am a Graduate Teaching Associate and I am teaching two recitation sections (these classes are made up of students who are taking a lecture course; the recitation TAs go over materials with the smaller groups), and I'm doing it because I'm in a department where they use all of us grad students as labor. I also will be teaching my own class in three, yay?

It's not that I hate teachers; I think teachers are some of the most wonderful people in the world, and I come from a family of teachers, but I don't have the patience to deal with people anymore. The idea of trying to talk to a group of students about controversial topics that I don't even talk about amongst friends is giving me fits. I have my first TA meeting tomorrow, and I'm hoping to come up with some good ideas for what I will do with my two sections.

It also doesn't help that I'm not a morning person, and I am teaching at 9:30 and 10:30 in the morning. Try to seem excited that early in the morning.

I had wanted to post pictures on Devi's birthday, but I didn't get a chance to put new ones on my computer yet, so my next post will include pictures of Devi's first birthday party (yay!). So, here's a reprisal of what she looked like last year. Take care, everyone!

I can't believe she used to be this small! People are right; they do grow up fast.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Guess What Today Is!

It's Devi's first birthday (yay!!!)! She's turning one and I'm still trying to run around and get everything together for the party that will be starting soon. I hope it goes well.

Since I'm in a hurry (and suffering from a bad sinus infection), I will have to add photos to this post later this evening. I'll also have to fill you in on the ordeal of the whole thing.

Love you all!
~ Kay

P.S. I wanted to send a special thank you to Uncle David Dust who hooked me up with a "Peace, Bitch!" button. I only got it yesterday because I haven't been on campus since July, but I am looking forward to wearing it when I teach and waiting for my students to ask what it means. :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clearing out the Tumbleweeds

This is getting ridiculous, but it's been a busy summer since my last post. My husband quit his job at Target and got a 1 month unpaid internship at an ironworks company that he is hoping will turn into a real job (he's always wanted to walk into the place and ask for a job, and a few weeks ago he did just that). However, he ended up in a car accident while on a work assignment on the 14th and we may have to go to court to get the damages on our car paid for (the other driver drove over the double yellow lines to try to pass him on the left as he sat there waiting to make a left-hand turn; but the only evidence we may have is the video footage from that day that we'll have to subpoena for small-claims court).

Also, I've been working on my reading list, but since my department takes the whole freakin' summer off, I haven't had any guidance in getting this completed outside of my uncle's suggestions. I'm going to send out some e-mails in the hope of getting projects set up for the fall so that I'm doing 10 hours of independent research instead of 10 hours of coursework when I have to teach. But at least I started correspondence with someone working in the field of Japanese manga if I would just write back to him, that would be good (I'm such a coward).

Anyway, the big news is my little girl will be turning one on September 4th and we're (read: I) trying to plan a party (or three, however this is going to work) for her. It's multiple because my mother-in-law is too ill to travel (she had had a minor heart attack in the spring) and so we're going to do something with her and my father-in-law this weekend, and a party down here with my family and friends (maybe) on her actual birthday. However, that seems to be falling apart. I tried to contact two of my friends to invite them for the party, but I haven't heard back, and with my mom and uncle they didn't respond to the text I sent them, so I'm going to have to write them an actual letter and arrange for them to be driven down and put up in a hotel (because we no longer have the space to host guests) for a few days. I want Devi's first birthday to be special, and I worry that it will just be a mess. But as I told a woman selling her Christian motivational book (that I bought for my mom), I know I'll get through this but I just worry about everyone else.

I need to go through my pictures so that I can find some good ones of Devi, who currently has 4 teeth, is getting pretty good at eating solids, and actually likes having her teeth brushed. Until I have more time (or finally set up that stupid new computer that I said I was going to do months ago), these photos will have to do.


P.S. I almost, almost, signed up for a Twitter account, but decided that I didn't need my 48th Internet entity that I would eventually abandon.
P.P.S. Can you believe this child beat my baby in the beautiful babies contest? See, this is what happens when a lazy person never forwards the link after registering for the contest.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From the Depths Of Hell (the school kind)

Hey everyone! I'm in week 3 of a five-week intensive course this summer, and I have a few minutes to type before I need to let Devi go down for her nap.

I had to lead the discussion in class yesterday, and for the first time in grad school, I actually did a full-session (which was only a few minutes of me trying to get the discussion going on the first English version of the story Madame Butterfly (1898)). I didn't get any sleep the night before, because I spent the whole night trying to type up my handwritten notes (because I forgot that he wanted to see them) and coming up with questions that showed that I at least understood part of the texts [there were two articles we had to read as well, one critiquing the narrative and the other discussing hypersexuality in the musical Miss Saigon], but I've got a ways to go if I'm going to come up with questions for students because I just don't know how to pull myself out of a text far enough to be able to ask general questions. I get to those points within the text, but I tend not to see ways to ask questions that are obvious to everyone else. But it was a great teaching exercise (which is why he says he makes grad students do that in his courses) and he said the questions were good (but is that good?) so I'm pleased with the results.

We've entered Devi in the Beautiful Babies contest hosted by WGN, and I'll add the link to the blog in a day or two. I'm sure we're not going to win because I wasn't happy with the picture we ultimately chose, but her best shots were with other people in them, and we couldn't use those. My husband thinks this picture captured her personality best, and I poured over all the photos I'd taken over the last three months and just wasn't happy with what I found. That, and we avoided any shots that involved eating (because he thought that would be too common), so I'll post the link because people have to vote (great) for the best shots.

Anyway, I'm trying to keep the post light because I'm really trying not to worry about all the things that are stressing me out. That, and I do have a question for the parents and adept babysitters out there: How do you get a 10-month-old to stop hitting people? Seriously, she slaps people and scratched my eyelid this morning, so I'm looking for ways to get her to stop. So far, telling her "no hitting" and holding the arm she's hitting with to get her to stop has had some success, but not completely. Any helpful advice is appreciated.

And, Devi now has teeth! But every time I try to photograph them, she tries to eat the camera. Like this...

Well, I've got to read David Henry Hwong's [Correction: Hwang, not Hwong] "M. Butterfly" and a book chapter critiquing the play today for tomorrow's class, so I've got to go. Here are more pictures of Devi to help pass the time, including one where she and her Pepe got very close to a deer (thanks, honey, for taking that great shot!).

Until I can next post, have a good day everyone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So Many Deaths

I've been haunted by death lately, but I didn't expect Hollywood to just give up so many ghosts like that.

Let's keep this list going at a brisk pace. Ed McMahon died the other day and had been having some financial troubles, so I felt bad that he was struggling, but at least he was an older man (so it wasn't a big surprise, but still unexpected).

Farrah Fawcett had been fighting cancer for a couple of years and it was just announced Monday that she and Ryan O'Neil would be getting married. He said that it would be just as soon as she could say "yes", but it was never meant to be. I was just surprised and saddened for her, especially since I've been reading a book, Rolling the R's, which invokes Farrah as the 70s icon that she was (it's about a group of 5th graders in Hawaii; it's ultimately about Asian American identity and gay identity), so I felt bad about reading about her (like we were invoking her presence and bringing her back into the spotlight just to die).

And, finally, Michael Jackson. I was watching, of all things 16 and Pregnant (yeah, I don't know why I was watching, either) when the news ran on the bottom of the screen. So now I'm watching the program that MTV threw together about his life and career. They're planning on doing a Michael Jackson marathon on VH1 Classic all weekend. I'm so at a loss for words that I can't even articulate how I'm feeling about this. I am actually upset about this, because it was so sudden. My mom isn't that much older than MJ, so it's just rather...sad. And they just got through playing the The Jacksons: An American Dream just this week. I feel for his family; his children, his siblings (It's got to be hard for Jermaine & co. when you lose a sibling that was younger than most of them), and even his parents.

I ask you all to forgive me as I will not post pictures of Devi tonight. I just can't do it, not after this.


Friday, May 29, 2009

I feel so bad...but what can I do?


This is getting to be a very bad habit. Unfortunately, the demands of graduate school and motherhood have kept me away (that, and since my photos of Devi are on my PC and not my laptop, I refuse to post entries unless I can post something of her). Here's a brief 411 of what has been going on, so that I can close this entry out and get to bed.

- My husband lost his health insurance with his job because his average hours last year were too low. He needed to average 32 hours and he only averaged 31.5. This means the only person with any kind of health coverage left I had to carry insurance in school and I'm relying on it for me, and we hope to get her on the government aid soon.

- School is kicking my ass. I'm freaking out that my work isn't good enough, and I'm trying to stave off burn-out as I gear up for the end of the quarter, the beginning of summer classes (eep) and the start of my research for my master's thesis. Oh, and did I mention that I will be teaching undergraduates in the fall? Yep. Anxiety overload.

- I got to perform with The Singing Angels for Mother's Day as part of the alumni chorus, which was fun. However, my father-in-law decided to tell me on that day that he no longer wants to represent my mom and uncle in court (which I can understand) but seemed to think my aunt was some sort of victim in all of this (which pissed me off). After visiting my mom and uncle and bringing them groceries, since my uncle is all skin and bones, my husband is finally in agreement with me on sending them support. I also have some library friends looking into possible tax help to help them keep the house, so fingers crossed on that one.

- We went to Marcon this year and we all had a good time. Devi hung out with the gamers and I got some studying done. I even got to see one of my cohorts who was party crashing the room parties. Unfortunately for Devi, she has been suffering from a cold, and she ended up waking up at 2am in the hotel room where the only comfort that put her back to sleep It seems that my 40% in our 60/40 workload means that I can still be a comfort to my child.

- Last, and certainly not least, my mother-in-law had a minor heart attack on Tuesday. It was 1 a.m. when Life Alert called my husband and let him know that his mother had been transported to the hospital [It may be corny, but "Thank goodness for Life Alert" indeed]. She seems to be doing well, and a camera used to examine her heart showed that it was clear, but we still don't know what brought it on. We hope she'll be home soon.

I am going to try and put myself on a weekly schedule for posting, because I'm already feeling isolated in the live-world (I refuse to say the "real" world because a) online communities are just as real as interactions in the flesh and b) I've been reading too much Lacan and any mention of the real troubles the water) and I hate not posting and getting visitors.

Since I have to hurry up and finish before Devi wakes up, here are some of the Easter photos, as promised (but long overdue). I only had time to crop three of them, so I may end up posting more as time goes on. I love you all and I have missed you, but I won't promise that I have returned since I never know when my next post will come in. Peace out!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Hi everyone!

It's been a month since my last confess... wait, post. I don't even do confession. Anyway...

The conference went well, I had a good spring break of doing nothing but entertain my family, and then I ran into problems with my courses for Spring quarter. The problem? Not enough classes that apply to my studies.

Since I don't have a lot of time to post right now (someone needs to go to bed very soon), I will say a couple of things and hope to post again later in the week.

Thank you, Uncle David, for the pin that you sent me! I want to get a picture of Devi wearing it up on the site, but we're in the middle of changing computers (we bought a new one two weeks ago but I'm so paranoid of losing my pictures and academic files that I've been trying to back everything up while under an ass-ton of schoolwork) so that picture will come eventually. Also, we did Easter photos and, once again, Devi was phenomenal. We did the photos with his parents (which was...interesting since they wouldn't do a photo together) and so, for the next time, we're going to bring down my family. I haven't spoken to any of my Cleveland connections (except my brother) in months, but I put money on my uncle's phone and he thanked me via text message yesterday, so I at least know they're doing alright.

I wish I could write more, but Devi is ready for bed. An update on Devi Darling; she can sit unsupported! She's not crawling yet, and she still has no teeth, but I can sit her on the floor with some toys (her favorite being a small shipping box) and not worry about her for a little while as I study nearby.

I'll end this with Devi photos that I did not take; these were taken at one of my husband's friend's homes was while I was in Florida (their daughter is in the 2nd photo). Later, gators!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

To the Author of The American Otaku Master's Thesis


You do not know me, but I found a copy of your thesis, The American Otaku: An Ethnographic Study of Anime Fans in the U.S. online, and I wanted to let you know that there is no name attached to this work. If there was a coverpage, it is no longer there, and there is no name even in the margins. The website that I retrieved it from gave no indication as to the origins of this document, and I wanted to warn you that your copyrighted work is floating around on the internet, nameless, and it would be easy for anyone to steal your hard work. I am also hoping to locate you because I would like to cite this piece, but without a name it is impossible. If you are the proper owner of this thesis, please let me know and I can track down the web address and give it to you. I just wanted you to be aware of your work being available without proper credit.

~ SailorAlphaCentauri

And for the rest of my readers:

This is finals week for me, and I am trying to put together a project, a class paper, and my conference presentation between now and Friday, so I'm of course very busy. I've hit a snag with the airline ticket situation because my credit card's limit was reduced unexpectedly, making it almost impossible to pay for my flight to Florida, but I figured that we could finagle some things and make it work. Since I only got 3 hours of sleep due to staying up all night working on my Japanese Philosophy exam, I'm very tired. But before bed, a Devi moment:

...oh, okay. Two Devi moments (these will have to get you all through until I get back from my conference):

Photo one was when I was failing to get her to go to sleep (she was more intent on grabbing the camera), and photo two was the end of her first day of eating squash.

Later, gators.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Two Weeks to Go

I'm feeling the pressure now.

I have two weeks before the quarter ends, and I still have a paper due on Wednesday, two projects due at the end of the quarter, and a paper due for my conference in Florida. How is my progress going? Not too well. I want to e-mail the professors I have the projects for to let them know what it is I am going to do. I was supposed to do it this past week, but life got in the way (Devi decided to try this new 3a.m. wake-up call) so I have to do it today. To say I'm feeling a bit stressed just doesn't quite cut it. I don't know how I'm going to get it all done, and do a good job of it to boot, but I have to try.

Anyway, since I have so much to do, I'm sticking to the spartan posting schedule, at least until I get back on March 23rd. I'll be back in town by then and on Spring Break. This is going to be the first time I'm going to be apart from Devi for this length of time (the longest to date: 12 hours), so that's going to hurt. But now that I'm pressed for time, hopefully my focus will return because it's been shot lately. At least I don't have choir rehearsal this week, so that's more time for my projects as well.

Well, until next time...

Oh, did you think I forgot something?


Hammer's got nothing on her!

Stop! Devi time!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

...Better late than never

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day, everyone. I hope it was spent well.

Oooh, who's that!?!

She's not this small anymore :-( but it's okay :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm already a superhero...but this second identity works, too

I stumbled upon this little gem at Uncle David's blog, got really, really giddy, and gave it a shot. Other than being a Sailor Scout, here is my new, North American, superhero identity:

You know, I think this could work. Yes, I objectified myself, but if I had a body like that, I would dress like that every day. *Giggle* This was exactly what I needed to get me in the mood for my Comic Arts Conference in Florida. Now if only I would write that paper...

Stop! Devi time!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Sorry, everyone. I didn't realize a month had gone by since my last post. But since I have a crapload of homework to do, I'll give you the highlights.

- An esteemed member of my church passed away on January 21st. He was a social worker who was highly involved in a number of church councils and interfaith fellowship organizations. His obituary was almost an entire newspaper column long and there were some things left off of it. I was glad to know that he lived long enough to see Obama inaugurated as our first African American president. The man was the closest thing to a grandfather I had, so I was sad to see him go & I was glad to have the chance to sing with my choir for his service [out of respect for his family, I'm not using his name]. A.H. will be missed.

- A woman in my church gave birth to a baby girl that Saturday before A.H.'s death, and while I can't remember the child's name, I know that it means "moon" and it's an African name, but I'm unsure of the country of origin. I'm really bad at these things, but it's because I've been busy...

-...getting accepted to present at my first academic conference! I got the e-mail telling me the good news a couple of weeks ago, so now I have to write the paper that went with my (apparently) good abstract; except for the fact that I'm freaking out because I can't even remember what I wrote in that thing (see the New Year's eve post for details), I'm very happy to have my first chance at interacting with colleagues. Now how I'm going to get to Florida is another story.

- My new friend is a keeper. She's a really nice girl who is studying Japanese as a graduate student and we have a lot in common. We're interested in Japanese culture and just have so many things that we talk about after school that I'm glad that the fortuitous circumstance under which we met happened (we were sitting next to each other in class and she took notice of me when we did our introductions on our particular areas of interest). She's currently at New York Comiccon and I hope she was able to find a lot of good stuff (I'd be more jealous of her if I weren't so slogged in work).

Other than that, I've been very busy trying not to let school get the best of me. Sometimes I feel like I'm never going to get this stuff, but I just have to keep plugging away and hope for the best. This week is going to be murder because not only do I have two papers and an exam due this week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, respectively), but I also have a ton of reading, two projects that I have to get started on as well as the paper for the conference (and what I'm trying to do is find ways to incorporate the conference paper into both projects) and pick out classes for spring quarter. To top this whole fantabulous mountain off, my husband is going to be working from Sunday through Thursday because he's being trained for a position which should enable him to get the promotion he's been seeking but hasn't gotten because his attention to detail needs a lot of work. And while I'm happy for this opportunity for him, it came at a piss-poor time for me because now I have to get my work done in a time crunch since he won't be home to help with her at night and he'll be too tired during the day to take care of her in the morning. Greeeeaaaaaat.

Oh well. I've just got to do it and not lose what's left of my mind in the process.

And we just started feeding Devi rice cereal two days ago and while she spat out a great deal of it, we think she actually swallowed half of what she was given. I'll have to post those pictures once they're available. But until then, this one will have to do. My hope is that I'll get to post again next Sunday. A beintot, everyone.

P.S. I forgot to mention that my church finally has a new pastor after nearly two years of searching. He seems like a great guy who is non-judgmental, open-minded, and willing to work with the University instead of bellowing about how much we suck as a church (true story: one of the pastors that the committee looked at blamed the church's problems on the fact that our last two pastors had been women(!) and felt that we were bringing sin into the church because we wanted to work with the students instead of telling them (especially the gay ones) that they were all going to hell. I only know this because my husband was on the search committee and was the only one who disliked Mr. Usuck until he opened his mouth for the phone interview). He was voted in unanimously(!) and he's having to leave his wife behind in Indiana until their youngest child finishes college (2-3 years) to start his career with us. And he's going to be Pastor Tommy, which I think is rather cute for someone with kids in their 20s. Let's hope he'll work out ;-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

So Far, So Good

Winter quarter started Monday and, so far, I've made a new friend who has studied Japanese and is a really cool girl, I don't feel overwhelmed by the school-workload (yet), and I feel a little better about trying to participate in my classes. The only thing that isn't so great is that I'm back to getting very little sleep because I have to study when Devi's asleep (and she doesn't go to bed until really late), but I'm sure I'll get used to that again in a couple of weeks. I didn't get to upload my new photos yet (they're on the computer, but not on the web), so I'm adding a photo of Devi from Christmas as penance. What I'm glad about is that I won't be complaining for awhile, because I was getting tired of the Debbie Downer routine. I'll post when I can, but since the bulk of my studying has to be done over the weekend and the front-end of the week, I'm not sure when I'll be posting again. Have fun, all you people in Internet Land. Here's Devi!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

New Year Myspace Comments

It's 2009. Boy am I glad 2008 is over. I hope everyone will have a blessed new year full of love, success, and hapiness.

For me, 2009 marks a turning point for how I'm going to handle the way I deal with loss. I had to make my peace with '08, and I found a way: Every year, I say goodbye to all those who passed away. I see the closing of the year as marking when a person is left in the past; they are no longer here to experience things and see the future, so while I can try to imagine what they would think of things, it helps me to accept that they are only in my heart. For my issue with my grandmother's death, I found a (somewhat macabre) connection that makes me feel just a tiny bit better. My grandmother and my daughter are connected by 2008. Grandma managed to make it six days into the new year, and I didn't even know that my first child was [finally] on the way. They were both here at the same time, but didn't know of each other. The important thing (to me) is that there was a time when they were part of my life, and it's the only connection I have. I can't focus anymore on how much it hurts, or how difficult it is to see the aftermath of my family's collapse, but this has given me something that will help me to start moving forward. I will do my best to help them, but I won't sacrifice my husband and daughter's welfare. And Devi loves her family (she really likes people), so I'm building that bridge up so that they know that I'm always going to be there for them.

2008 brought me some good things as well: My daughter, acceptance into graduate school, a fellowship & a scholarship, self-esteem, and a reconnection with old friends. My baby was dedicated, I survived my first quarter of grad school, and I worked on an abstract for my first academic conference as a possible participant [Long-freaking-shot]. I spent so much time in anguish and sorrow in '08 that I almost missed all the good parts. I met awesome friends on my blog (but I keep on not putting up photos; sorry!) and I got to air out all my grievances and share my joy. I even have a follower. I got to see the first black president get elected...I can't think of much else.

Anyway, I was supposed to be drugged up by now (long story, was supposed to be posted in '08 but my computer hated me, so it'll get posted later but have the time it was started and not when finished), but I want to say, again, Happy New Year.

Okay, I'm done with this happy crap. I've got to get back to being me. Where are some videos of people falling down...

"If you're going to fall down, you've got to get up"

Enjoy '09! I'm out!

This is NOT how I wanted to spend New Year's Eve

This was supposed to be a New Year's Eve post, but my computer and the internet conspired to stymie my efforts. Whatever.

Anyway, instead of spending New Year's Eve enjoying my family, working feverishly on an abstract for a conference that was due Dec. 31, and getting cleaning done for a new bed that will arrive on Saturday, I got waylaid in the ER for an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. I was taking it for a sinus infection that I was diagnosed with two days ago, but I didn't take it until 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. I didn't have any ill effects until noon; I had just changed Devi and decided to look something up on the computer when I noticed that my tongue and my lips were starting to swell and the bottoms of my hands and feet were really itchy. I immediately took her into our room and gave her to my husband, saying "Take her. Take her now!" I made him call our insurance company's nurse to find out what I should do [I knew what I should do, but I wanted it on record that we were told to go by the nurse so that the insurance company couldn't say "We won't cover it because it wasn't an emergency"]. We threw on clothes and dressed Devi and my husband was calling all of his friends that he trusted to see if any of them could watch our daughter while I went to the ER. Despite my worsening symptoms, I remembered that one of his friends said that she would be off work that day and I told him to call her. He did eventually reach her and she agreed to watch Devi. We rushed to the ER downtown and I got seen relatively quickly [I was the second person in line, and I was even able to help a woman zip up a coat on a mentally handicapped man despite my jumpiness] and told them my symptoms. They checked my vitals, decided that I needed to be treated with IV injections (but can someone explain why I needed the saline first? I'm no nurse, and I'd really like to know) and I was given benedryl, the steroid predinisone, and pepsid for my stomach pains. Matt came in after the injections were done, and what I didn't expect was the sudden drowsiness that hit me ~ 1 minute later. The nurse asked me if I could walk from the treatment area to the room I would be in and I said, spacily, "NooOooOooOo". He got a wheelchair and we got to the back room where I was glad that my husband could speak for me and sign my paperwork. I could barely hold the pen; there was no way I could sign anything. I was checked periodically for a few hours and got 45 min. worth of sleep. My symptoms did improve and by the time I was released, there was just a rash on my right arm (not itchy, but ugly), my lower lip and my tongue were still slightly swollen, and I'm supposed to be on pepsid and benedryl for the next three days (at least the stuff is OTC).

Now here is where a little of what I learned last quarter comes into play. I had to read Anthony Giddens' The Consequences of Modernity where I learned about what creates a modernist civilization vs. a pre-modernist civilization. One of those things is the kinship factor. Pre-modernist societies had relationships that were built around kinship, because you knew everyone in your small town and they were your "family" as it were (the blood-related ones and not blood-related). However, in modernist societies, you don't have that built-in kinship, so you have to create relationships with friends and lovers to replace the familial relationship. My consequence of modernity was that we had to scramble to find someone to take care of Devi because we don't have family members close by that we could have left her with, and since he didn't want her exposed to an ER (neither did I) he called everyone he knew and could trust. If it weren't for us going over to a friend's place the day before where I found out they would be off on New Year's Eve, I'm not sure what we would have done.

The one good thing about discovering my allergy this way was that it would've been disastrous if I had found this out when going to a dentist appointment. You see, I have to take an anti-biotic when I go to the dentist because I have a prolapsed heart valve (it's to keep from getting an infection in my blood when they do my teeth, since the prolapse doesn't pose any other dangers to me), but I discovered that the amoxicillin I had been taking for the dentist was in 500 mg form, and I had to take four of those at a time! I had some pretty moderate swelling of my lips and tongue with a 250 mg pill, just imagine if I had taken 8x as much for a dentist appointment. It could've been fatal.

And that abstract I was working on? I was trying to submit an abstract for an academic comic conference and it was due December 31st. However, my computer decided it wanted to party, so I ended up mailing it in around 1 a.m. today (1/1/09). What I didn't realize was that I sent it to the wrong address. He has two addresses for the University of Florida, and I didn't send it to his departmental address, so I had to forward it around 5 p.m. when I realized my error. He just sent me a response saying that my abstract will still be considered for acceptance [Again, long-freaking-shot]. Even if it is rejected, I am going to use this abstract as the basis for a project in a class I'm taking this coming quarter, which starts Monday [I thought I had a couple more days...oh well].

Anyway, I'm fine (so far) and I just have to make a follow-up appointment with my doctor to make sure I'm okay and to get my record updated so that it will be known that I am, indeed, allergic to something. Hope everyone else is having a relaxing New Year's. Later ;-)

NOTE: This was officially finished on 1/1/2009 at 8 p.m., even though it appears as a New Year's Eve post.