For Her

Friday, February 29, 2008

Tomorrow, March 1st, will mark the 6th anniversary of my grandmother's death (and I should add, the 6th anniversary of the day my step-father was "cured" of cancer- he was literally in surgery two hours away when she died). Generally speaking, I'm not an overly sentimental person and I remember as a kid finding it bizarre when people are too attached to their grandparents. I mean, they weren't their parents and they were...you know...old, but my grandmother was one of those people that sticks with you, one of those people who for better or for worse, impacts your life.

When I was young she was always the fun grandma because she was always doing something goofy. If we were playing hide-and-go-seek, she was always the one hiding in the cupboard all bent up like a pretzel. There's a picture, which I want to find desperately now (found it, and it's at the bottom, apparently our faces weren't painted, I imagined that part), where all my cousins and I have our faces painted and we're making ridiculous faces at the camera, and at first glance, you probably wouldn't even realize that a grown woman is crouched down in the middle, making a face, too. We, her grandchildren, were the lights of her life.

She was also one of the most relentless worriers, which, I believe is where I get my anxiety from. She worried about any and everything, and sometimes shut herself out of life with her worries. She never let us eat ice because she believed it caused anemia (um, and she was a nurse), and she wouldn't let my sister have an egg toss at the birthday party she had to supervise when I was whisked off to the hospital with a broken arm, because surely with all those eggs, someone would get salmonella.

She was probably the worst cook to ever walk the earth. Her signature dish that we came over for Friday nights to eat was called "Hot Dish." The ingredients are ground beef, tomato paste and penne pasta. You boil the pasta, cook the meat, stir it all together and bake it in the oven for a few minutes. She'd set out the big green can of parmesan cheese on the table for anyone who wanted more flavor. On Fridays during Lent she made the most revolting casserole, which consisted of several kinds of "cream of" soups, tuna, and crushed up potato chips. It somehow was edible when Grandma made it.

My grandmother admittedly favored me over my cousins, which was an odd position to be in, but I kept the goofy childhood act a lot longer than my siblings and cousins, so we related well. And then my parents divorced and my mom couldn't afford our house and my sister's college tuition, so we moved in with my grandparents to save money before getting a new house. I can honestly say that it was probably the most difficult 8 months of my life living there. My grandmother had some personal space issues and she and I butted heads constantly, and looking back, it's because we were so much the same person that we just couldn't deal with each other. There's almost never a day that goes by that I wish I didn't apologize for being such a brat, and I tell my students about it because maybe they won't say those things to their grandmothers at 14.

My grandma died on a Friday afternoon. She had had surgery earlier in the week to have part of her lung removed due to lung cancer from smoking for 50 years. She was to be released from the hospital later that day and start chemo the next week, but at some point late Thursday night there was confusion among the nurses and she did not receive a very needed bloodthinner. Her anxiety about the pain and the incision literally paralyzed her and those blood thinners were the only thing keeping her blood from turning into gelatin. So that morning when she got up to go to the bathroom, she threw a clot and died. With no warning, with only her youngest daughter there (who was 30 at the time and with her newborn son), and without saying goodbye.

When I heard the news from my aunt, I screamed and cried, because surely, that could not be true. Not MY grandmother. No, that couldn't happen to her. But it did. And as of tomorrow, I will have lived a quarter of my life without her. I can't even wrap my head around that fact. A quarter of my life, has been with her gone. I still half expect her to be in her house when I go over there, I still half expect her to show up at Christmas and I still, 6 years later, cry for my grandmother. Because she has a grandchild she never got to meet, who was named after her and I cannot begin to imagine how proud that would've made her. She has 2 great grandchildren she never got to meet either, as well a new daughter-in-law and a new son-in-law and nothing was more important to her than her family. And I cry for all of us who knew her, because she was what held us all together.

At her funeral, the church was more full than it had ever been, literally ever. The priest cried when he spoke, because my grandmother had changed his life. Women and children were everywhere, she had been an amazing labor and delivery nurse and had literally saved, and helped bring into the world, hundreds of lives. Homeless people showed up because when my grandmother retired, she couldn't sit still, so she went to work delivering food to homeless shelters. We drove from the church 30 minutes outside of town for the burial and over 300 people came back to the church after for a lunch in her honor. People sent 10 hams, TEN hams, to my grandfather after her death as well as at least 15 pies, fruit and cheese trays and just more food than anyone could ever eat in a lifetime.

I hope that she knows that I live each day with the hope of making her proud and that I feel so incredibly blessed when people tell me how much I remind them of her. I cannot imagine a higher compliment than that.

So tomorrow, The Fiance and I will go to the place that she loved the most, a casino (she was never happier than when her whole family came to a casino) and we will play slots for Grandma, because I think she'd appreciate that kind of thing. And I will continue to live my life, and learn from her, knowing that her life, her presence in mine, has shaped me and helped me to grow up the independent young woman that I am.

Rest in peace grandma, you are more missed than you could ever possibly know.

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Inquiry

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You know that saying, "there's no such thing as a stupid question?" As it turns out, there is.

The following conversation took place this afternoon in one of my classes in the middle of a debate over whether or not it was fair to ban peanut butter in grammar schools because of other students with peanut allergies (clearly we were on topic in my class...which is not social studies, or english or any course you should be having debates).

Student: "But it's not fair. What if I was allergic to ham or turkey?"

Me: "I don't think that those kind of allergies are as common or as severe, but since you're not, then it doesn't really matter, does it?"

Student: "Whatever. What is turkey even made out of anyway?"

Me: ...

Student: "I mean, you know, ham is from pigs and steak is from cows, where does turkey meat come from?"


That, my friends, is the future of America.

The Answers

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Without further ado...

1. I can speak English, Spanish, Greek and some Italian, all at least at 3rd grade fluency. I understand more than I speak and my accent is ridiculously terrible in all (except English).

This is FALSE! I can speak English, Spanish (to probably like a 5th grade fluency), some Greek (like preschool level fluency) because I studied abroad there, but frankly, I don't know a single word of Italian. The part about the crappy accent is, however, 100% correct.


2. My father says that of the spankings doled out onto my sister and I (and by the way, this is so not a forum for pro or anti-spanking parents, it happened, and you can do whatever the hell you want with your own kids), about 75% were given to little ole me.

This is true. I had a small self-control problem as a child. I knew exactly what earned a spanking, it was not some randomly given punishment, but I would get myself so worked up that suddenly I would lose all control. I'd be sent to my room to await the spanking, but no, I could not leave it there. Even though I knew that the punishment doubled with slamming the door, I did it anyway. But not before shouting "I HATE YOU" at the top of my lungs, which, tripled the punishment. I was not the brightest crayon in the box. (I should, however, mention that it was my sister when she was around 12 who called my mom a bitch to her face, and when my mom told her to apologize said, "I'm sorry for calling you what you are." It was possibly the first time ever that I was the least in trouble child.)


3. In college I made straight As (and A-s) and never skipped a class until my senior year when I stopped going to one of my education classes because the professor thought I was someone else and subsequently, never marked me absent.

This is False which means you can kinda stop reading, but whatever. I did not make straight As and A minuses, despite a strong work ethic. My college was super competitive and to stop grade inflation, some departments capped the number of As that could be given in any class. My sophomore year I had a 96% in spanish and it was a B+ for the semester. The part about not skipping class until my senior year is true, but I stopped going to that education class because it was a waste of my life and the professor made me want to gouge my eyeballs out with a rusty fork.


4. I have broken over 7 bones in my body (not including fingers and toes) in my life, but aside from the internal ones during surgery, I have never had stitches.

This is true. Mostly. It occurred to me after I typed this up that I did once have a stitch put in after having a tooth pulled, but I think that the idea of never hurting myself in any way that needed stitches is still true. I've never cut myself to the point that I had to be stitched back together.


5. I love to bake and have won not one, not two, but three county pie baking contests (the first year I took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the all-around contest). I also won in the cheesecake contest my last year baking for it.

This is 100% true. And a little embarrassing. I love to bake. I have 2 kitchen aid mixers (neither of which I paid for) and I make a mean apple pie. Or chocolate pecan. Or pumpkin. Or toffee cheesecake. In fact, that cheesecake may have produced the only nice thing the MIL has ever said to me. She said it was the best cheesecake she'd ever eaten. See, I'm not good for nothing


6. I did not lose my first tooth until the summer after 1st grade. I was 7 and of course, there was a tooth fairy chart in the 1st grade class where everyone got to put a sticker up when they lost a tooth and I never. lost. one.

This is true and I'm still a little bitter about it. I didn't get my first tooth until I was over a year old, didn't lose my first one until age 7, had the last 6 baby teeth pulled when I was 13 and didn't get my 12 year molars until 15. I also didn't get braces until 17, which didn't come off until I was 20. Yea, it was sexy. Like you even had to ask.


So, the only person who got both answers was Scarlett, though Monk (the uber-smart ass), was almost there.

Congratulations Scarlett, you win nothing, except this wonderful moment and memories to last a lifetime. If you're ever in New Orleans I'll buy you some beignets. But only because I get them for free because I'm crazy connected like that.

If wishes were horses

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm going to give you the rest of the day to try to figure out which of my statements from yesterday are true and which are false (interesting choices by the way), while I post this Meme that I actually typed up, um, 10 days ago, but apparently hit "save" instead of publish. Because I'm special like that.

Ness tagged me to do this Meme about wishes, and I can't resist a good tag. I'm supposed to list 5 material wishes and 5 spiritual wishes and then I get to tag 5 people, so here goes...

5 Material Wishes (I'm not sure these are really "material" as much as they are just not spiritual)

1. To fit into my wedding dress perfectly. This includes bigger boobs and at least 5 inch longer legs.

2. To be able to pay off all our loans. And the ones yet to be accrued, because there are many. Like, really, MANY.

3. That my kids all get The Fiance's gorgeous blue eyes and non-defective immune system.

4. That my hair will eventually grow back and that I can drop the punk look before my wedding. I'm guessing that since it's been 3 months and I have about 1 1/2 inches of hair on the bottom that in the next 3 months, it's not going to catch up to the rest of my hair.

5. That I could go buy new clothes. And new shoes. I'm feeling in need of retail therapy.


5 Spiritual Wishes

1. Peace. I wish we could have it, I wish we wouldn't disrupt it and I wish that it would be everlasting.

2. Equality. We are all human. Color, gender, orientation, and our past should not change our future and I wish that someday everyone would share that belief with me.

3. Love. Parents who abuse children, spouses who abuse their spouse, children bullying, I wish it could all stop. Because I've been on the receiving end of some of this and to me, one of the greatest gifts I hope to give my children is freedom from these abuses and of course, insane quantities of love.

4. Awareness. Living with an "invisible disease" and being connected with so many others makes me keenly aware of how much more awareness there needs to be about diseases and life circumstances. So many people carry a burden we're unaware of, and so many problems go unresearched and untreated because of ignorance.

5. Freedom. From oppression, disease, poverty and everything else that tramples on the human spirit.


Now, before you go hug a tree somewhere, I get to tag 5 of you. I do not know what about tagging makes me feel guilty, but it does, everytime. So don't feel compelled to do the Meme, but I am tagging the following 5 people:


NOLA (my new bff)
Lanny
Monkling
The Queen
Tammy

Truth and Lies

Monday, February 25, 2008

I feel like we need some more interaction today. I saw this on someone else's blog, and usually I try to give credit when I steal, but I cannot for the life of me remember where I got it from, so know that I didn't make this Meme up, but I liked the idea.

I'm going to list 6 things- 4 of them will be true, 2 will be false (remember this from like summer camp?). You, the reader, will comment and tell me which ones you think are true and which ones you think are false. Mkay? As usual, anonymous comments are fine, as long as you're playing nicely and no cheating just in case I've posted something about this before. It's about your impression of me and what you think is true or false.

1. I can speak English, Spanish, Greek and some Italian, all at least at 3rd grade fluency. I understand more than I speak and my accent is ridiculously terrible in all (except English).

2. My father says that of the spankings doled out onto my sister and I (and by the way, this is so not a forum for pro or anti-spanking parents, it happened, and you can do whatever the hell you want with your own kids), about 75% were given to little ole me.

3. In college I made straight As (and A-s) and never skipped a class until my senior year when I stopped going to one of my education classes because the professor thought I was someone else and subsequently, never marked me absent.

4. I have broken over 7 bones in my body (not including fingers and toes) in my life, but aside from the internal ones during surgery, I have never had stitches.

5. I love to bake and have won not one, not two, but three county pie baking contests (the first year I took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the all-around contest). I also won in the cheesecake contest my last year baking for it.

6. I did not lose my first tooth until the summer after 1st grade. I was 7 and of course, there was a tooth fairy chart in the 1st grade class where everyone got to put a sticker up when they lost a tooth and I never. lost. one.


Okay, now figure out which ones are true and which ones are false. I'm a pretty bad liar, so hopefully it's not too obvious.

Coffee

Sunday, February 24, 2008

(before I start, yes, I realize that there's a post before with only the letter t in it. I'm still having some issues with Safari crashing everytime I go to the edit page, so there's nothing I can do about it, but so help me if that post generates more comments than this one, I'm going to give up on y'all.)

Today I had coffee with NOLA, her husband and her absolutely adorable daughter. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. I'm not always the best first impression person and venturing out of the blogosphere and into real life is new to me. Shh, don't tell her, but I actually ironed my jeans before I left. Who even does that? Apparently, me.

I also didn't drop anything while I was there, which was a monumental task considering I dropped a full carton of eggs at Winn Dixie last week and a jar of mayo at the grocery yesterday and I was carrying iced tea today. It was nothing short of a miracle to be perfectly honest.

Despite my being an anxious moron, it ended up being easy conversation and a nice break from lying around in my pajamas watching tv, which is what I'm doing now, again. Not that I dislike lying around in pajamas, but I watched the entire dvr'ed season of Crowned: The Mother of all Pageants yesterday, and I'm feeling the effects (affects? I don't teach english for a reason) of the brain atrophy.

We chatted about movies (she liked No Country for Old Men, which made for an awkward moment where I had to consider if I really wanted to associate myself with those kind of people, but since her husband didn't, it balanced out and I think the friendship will survive...), television, local New Orleans things, hospitals, family and a whole bunch of other things. It was like...adult interaction. Which around here is rare. Especially since my Fiance is really a teenager, oh, and a eunuch.

Apparently the last time wasn't enough, he once again was able to correctly identify a 90210 character that I couldn't (Brian Austin Green is in a show he watches and I incorrectly identified him as Dylan, he was David). It occurred to me that it's going to be really difficult for us to reproduce with him not having the necessary genitalia.

t

The Monologues

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Last night, the Fiance and I went to see the Med School's production of the Vagina Monologues (and yes, I realize that my typing that word just increased my freaky keyword search finds by like 2 trillion).

First, I should probably preface all of this with the fact that we don't see the show because we really enjoy hearing about other women's crotches, but our good friend is heavily involved in it and we thought, how can we ask her to fly to our California wedding if we can't even go to listen to her talk about her hoo-ha? And the money goes to a good cause, so we just bit the bullet and did it.

Next, you should know that I don't like the word vagina. I don't, I'm a prude and I'm totally at peace with it. I was raised calling it a "crotch" and it works for me. Last year when we saw the production, I almost had to leave because for the first ten minutes, I couldn't stop laughing. Everytime someone said the word vagina I died inside and I could. not. stop. laughing. I was more composed this year. I only laughed when the girl told the story about impaling herself on a bed post, because, you know, the mental image of that is kinda hilarious.

But by far the highlight of last night was after the show, when we were chatting with our friend. One of the other girls who was in the show, came up and started talking to us. Our friend's boyfriend inquired about her purple-ish pink highlights and she went on to tell him that they were for Mardi Gras and had just faded a lot, when my totally sober Fiance piped up and said,

"Really? I thought your hair looked really vagina-y."

And then there was a really awkward silence in the room because he just told her that her hair looked like a crotch.

Spellcheck

Thursday, February 21, 2008

NOLA commented yesterday about how I was able to type a lot with such stupid hands, and I thought, she's right, I should show these people what the blog looks like straight out of the fingers, because maybe they'll appreciate me more that way. Maybe. So here goes nothing, and the topic, lest it is completely unreadable, is google keyword searches that have led people here.


First, have I ever mentioned how much I love Google Analystic? Because I do. Like a lot. It's absolutely aweoms for those uf us with a mild stalkering proble. On days when the comment count is low-sih I'll check and see how many peoplle have visited. soemtimes it's comforting to know that I've hade only 27 visitors and 3 of them comented. Others, like yesterday, when 130 of you vistied and only 3 commented, comforint g if was not.

One of my favorite featurs, besies the fact that I know where all of you life, which is a lot of places, thankfully none in my hometown, is that you can see the seraches that lead to hits on the blog. Now, those easrches led to a LOT of bounces (which seeems to be google talk for when people com across the site but don't stop and read), but hey, there are a lot of ways to find this sit, eand thankfulyly, my mother has not come up iwht any of them yet.

Sice november 1st, 666 peple have found the blog through google keyword searches. Soe ofmy favorites include (I did spell the keywords as spelled on Google Analytics, my comments are unaltered):



"firy dress up games that you dress up people at the same time" [sic] Owwza.

"drain zipper" (um, idenote- yikes.)

"about make hair marry for myself" Hooked on phonx worked for them.

"asshole number" 24, thanksyuverymuch

"chubby adult canal" ...

"eminem's embarrassing moments" why wouldn't htye be here?

"how to make a mardi gras bra" I'm pretty sure that the main coponent of a ardi gras bar is not weraing one at all.

"I'm feeling lucy" Really, I'm feeling Katie, nice ot meet you.

"Most embarrassing black metal moments" I've had many of these.

"what is the difference of a rum a coke and a rum and diet coke" Do I evern need to comment here? Aslo, oes anyone know what thed ifference betwen vodka tonic and gin and tonic is?


So there you have it. Aso it took like 35 minutes to type all of that, wihtout any editing. Because my hands are really slow thse days and when I try to speed up, pretty much zero a's and s'sshow up due to the atrophy of my pinkei and ring finger. Also, this is nota nywhere near my worse spelling day either. In fact, this is pretty damn ed oog for me. You're wlcome.

Go, unscramble thy brain.

Things I've Learned This Week

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Considering that the last week has been the most craptacular one in recent history, I figured I could try to find some positive in the mess and carnage of those 7 days. So here goes- things I've learned this week...

-The emergency room can be entertaining if you're up for people watching. It can also just assault the crap out of your senses. Never before have I smelled such smells (like the man who seriously smelled like a gigantic foot) or heard such sounds (the very obese man with a cold whose snoring sounded like a tractor) in the same place. It was somewhat amazing.

-Spending half a day in the hospital and then taking an exam is always a wise idea. Everyone should do it twice in a week. Can't wait to get those grades.

-Having your symptoms increase in a short period of time also seems to correlate to appointments spontaneously opening right up. Take today for example, when I lost sensation all the way up to my elbow on the left side, suddenly that MRI that couldn't be scheduled for next week was rescheduled for today and the neurosurgeon had an opening at clinic too. Weird, right? (**I should also probably have included here that the MRI was normal, which ruled out, as my neurosurgeon put it, "a lot of really bad things" which is great news. It did not rule anything in, but we'll take good news just about any way we can get it)

-Being "squeezed in" to a busy appointment schedule does not help you make friends. I'm pretty sure that since I've had 2 MRIs in the past week, neither of which were scheduled, that the women at the radiology desk have a picture of me with the words SCHEDULE RUINER beneath it.

-Eating chicken strips in the radiology waiting room does not make you many friends either. Especially since about half the people in said waiting area are fasting. I'm pretty sure one of the women next to me actually called me a bitch.

-Using the elbow pit vein to inject contrast rather than the teeny tiny one in your hand takes like 1/8th of the time. It also, incidentally, hurts less.

-There's nothing like having the options of find a neurologist now and schedule a quick appointment or be admitted to inpatient for neuro-testing today to knock the procrastination right out of me. That was by far the fastest I've ever scheduled anything in my life.

-Having your neurosurgeon walk with you to a doctor's office to demand a quick appointment scheduling is quite effective (that may or may not have aided in the quick scheduling). Even when the doctor you're trying to schedule an appointment with isn't in and your neurosurgeon has to have the nurse page said neurologist at home to talk to them.

-Neurologist's offices are lying when they say they can't get you in until March and/or May. I saw one today and got an appointment with another for Tuesday. It helps to know the Head of Neurosurgery at a major hospital. It also helps to pester him repeatedly.


There, see, I made lemonade out of my lemons. And then I rubbed it in my eyes. Or I would've, if either of my hands worked.

Filler Meme

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So the good news is that I might get into see the new neurologist (and get the subsequent needle stabbing test) sooner. The bad news is that it's because more shit is hitting more fans with greater velocity.


I don't feel like talking about it right now, so I'm going to do the Meme that Tammy tagged me for *cough*a month ago*cough*. I always planned to get around to it, I just didn't have anything besides a text book near me whenever I thought to do it.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people. I'm not tagging anyone because I'm a rebel. And also too lazy to deal with links. And also have a test tomorrow I should be studying for.

I just grabbed the book that's next on my list to read, admittedly these 3 sentences are the only ones I've read, and I have to say, I'm intrigued.

The book is: "Size 12 is Not Fat" by Meg Cabot

"Because I can't stop worrying about them. Not that there can be that many more virgins left in the building--which I happen to be in a position to know. Ever since I swapped the Hershey's Kisses in the candy jar on my desk for individually wrapped Trojans, I've had kids stumbling down to my office at nine in the morning in their PJs (and if you don't think nine in the morning is early by college standards, you've never been in college) unapologetically plucking them from the jar."



Heh. When I was in college* our R.A.s came by and knocked on our door each night with a bucket of candy (wrapped) and condoms (also wrapped) and you could take either, neither or both. Every night. Seriously. And also there was a tree for everyone to hug, just in case.

*Actually not a public university! A small, very non-religious, very hippie school. Make love, not war.

An ear opening experience

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tonight at starbucks (where all the best things happen) a woman had the loudest and possibly funniest phone conversation I've ever heard/seen.


"Hey, where you at now?"

"What? I can't hear you."

"I still can't hear you, talk louder."

"Whatchou say?"

"Naw, I got 4 bars, it's your phone."

"It's your phone. My phone's fine. Talk Louder"

"Yes, the volume is all the way up. You gotta talk into the microphone."

"The microphone. Those little holes at the bottom of the phone. That's what you supposed to talk into."

"What? Talk louder! I still can't hear nothing."

At this point she was really losing her patience with the person on the other end of the line. Then all of a sudden she stopped, pulled the phone away from her, plucks out the EARPLUG from her ear and says, "Nevermind. I fixed it."

An Open Letter to my Body

Sunday, February 17, 2008

BlogHer is doing a cool project where women write letters to their bodies, and frankly, I have a few choice words for mine, so I thought this might be cathartic. Let's see, shall we?

Dear Body,

I don't often say nice things to you because frankly, you don't often do nice things to me. You have made my life incredibly difficult and every time it seems like you've exhausted all the ways you could make me more miserable, you come up with a new one. (Ha- you recovered from brain surgery, now I will make your hand completely non-functional. What's that? You can turn your head again? then I shall make it such that you can't feel your toe and have to be monitored for a stroke.) It's like a routine we have, you and I.

Back in college when I decided you were too big and subsequently decided to stop feeding you, you fought back, and you bounced back, and not everyone is as lucky as I was. You were really good to me. I gave up on you, I beat you down, I overworked you, I underfed you and I hated you deep in my core, but you refused to give up on me. You overcame all the obstacles I threw at you, and you ended up stronger than ever.

As much as I often want to declare my hatred for you, it isn't true. Not really. As much of a bitch as you've been in my life, you've also made me into a person that I otherwise would never have grown to be. Because of you, I can glide into any small space without concern. Hours and hours in MRI tubes have conquered all possible claustrophobias. Millions of needle pricks and blood draws have made me completely indifferent to hearing that I have to have another blood test done. Because of the trials you've put me through I know what my true calling in life is and I'm fighting to do it someday. Because of the times you've failed me physically, you've also prepared me mentally for whatever life dishes out to both of us.

When things got really challenging and you began to fall apart, you helped me understand what true friends were. Because those "friends" you scared away? They weren't the kind of people I needed in my life. And the tests and treatments have cost me an arm and a leg (well not literally, though there would certainly be some irony in that, wouldn't there?), but it's also helped me realize that money is definitely not everything and that I am blessed to be employed and insured even if I hate my job with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

We have a troubled past, but we also have a glimmering, hope filled future. Someday, you will allow me to be a parent. You will let me bring new life into this world and help create a better future. We may not be the healthiest or sturdiest duo, but we have big things in line for us.

Our days together are far from over, and it seems that the obstacles are far from behind us. But I guess what I'm trying to say is, even though you have tested me to the nth degree and that you surely won't be backing down anytime soon, I know that the lessons you have taught me and the tenacity you have given to me, has provided me the strength to make it through whatever trick you have up your futuristic sleeve.

So thank you body. I can honestly say that I couldn't have done any of this without you.

With all my very functional heart,
Katie

Results

So I know that the only thing you like to read about more than my brain woes is my hair woes, so don't worry, I'm going to share some more. I know you're excited to see how exceptionally "punk" I am.

Here is the hair blown dry and straightened. It's already grown longer than the scar! (Also, note the Valentine's day tulips!)

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Here is the back of my head with my hair in a ponytail. With a nicely placed ponytail, you can't see the scar at all, just the ridiculously short bottom half of my hair and the nice part that separates the normal side from the punk side.

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Here's the back with my hair in a bun. I can comb it just so you can only see the bottom of the scar if you look closely. The punk however, is oh so much more abundant with the bun.

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What's that? You want to see the scar close up and personal. Well, okay, if you twist my arm. This is a few days shy of 12 weeks post-op. You can't see the top (it's covered by a lot of hair that's growing down over it) and the bottom below my hairline is visible, but it's super light (yay!)

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In totally unrelated news, I have two winners for the joke contest.

First, Ness with her very funny lawyer/judge/old woman joke. (Skip down a few posts to read it, it's in the comments). Her charity of choice is The Thyroid Cancer Survivor's Association and I'll be making that donation later today.

The other winner was "Anonymous." There were several anonymous comments, so let me be more specific. This person posted 3 jokes, the winning one being the "silent treatment wakeup" one. You don't have to reveal your identity, but if you're reading, leave me a comment and let me know which charity you'd like a donation made to.

Congrats to the winners and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated and took my mind off reality.

Brains, I has them.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I am going to do just one more health update and then hopefully things around here will get back to normal. Really. I was tagged for a Meme by Tammy like two weeks ago, I have a great story to tell and all kinds of things, but just in case anyone is curious how the whole debacle of this last week ended up, I'm going to fill you in. Also, I kind of want to have it written down so I can reflect back and see if anything actually gets done the way I was told it would.

Yesterday, after getting the MRI and waiting all day Thursday to hear from the doctor (who was in surgery on a 2 year old with a tumor, man did that give me a healthy dose of perspective), I was given an appointment at my neurosurgeon's children's clinic, where they informed me that he had never ever seen an adult (well, they had seen one, just not as a patient). Yes, I am that special.

He said that the MRI looked good, the only thing that wasn't exactly as it should be was that there was a small fluid accumulation outside my duraplasty (which is a patch made of cow heart that they put on my brain lining to make it bigger). It's not an active leak because the fluid didn't light up with the MRI contrast, which is great news, but it might account for the headaches I had several weeks ago that were so freaking unpleasant.

So that's the super-duper awesome news. Everything related to Chiari looks fantastic. No bone slipping, no vertebral anything, no brain falling down farther, none of the things that I think we were all collectively holding our breath about.

The bad news is that something is wrong. The neurosurgeon did a bunch of the tests and said that he'd really love to call this Carpal Tunnel, but it's clearly not. And even more, he called himself a "clumper" in that he likes to clump things together in a diagnosis, but he cannot see how he can clump this with Chiari.

So basically, we closed one can of worms and another open one came flying down from the sky into our laps. Fan-freaking-tasticly messily, I might add. So here's the new plan. Not this Wednesday, but the one after that, I'll be getting another MRI, this one of my whole brain since the one they did this week was only of the cranio-cervical junction down through the c-spine. They want to make sure that my brain hasn't settled down any and that no fluid has accumulated at the top of my head, and oh yea, that it's not Multiple Sclerosis.

I have an appointment for an hour after my MRI appointment such that I can get the films from the MRI guy and walk them directly to the neurosurgeon who will look at them right there with me. Assuming that nothing shows up there, I'm being referred to a neurologist (incidentally, the one that The Fiance worked with for his neuro rotation and who is apparently brilliant, though strings have to be pulled because his first new-patient appointment is May 14th) who's going to do a myriad of tests beginning with an EMG, which is doctor abbreviation for sticking needles into my muscles, shooting electricity into them and seeing how much my muscles like that sort of thing (so maybe that's an exaggeration, read about it for yourself and then let me know if you'd like me to sign you up too...)

I don't know what comes after that, but at least while I'm freaking out about all the good things that could cause hand a foot paresthesias, I know that there's a plan in place and that my doctor is taking it quite seriously.

So now you're filled in, I'm going to go judge both the joke contest and the contest that I was supposed to judge for Lanny like a week ago. Thanks for listening and if you'll still keep reading, I promise to try to bring back the whimsy.

Ode to the man in my life

Friday, February 15, 2008

So yesterday was Valentine's day, which sort of sucked, both for all the time spent at the hospital, and just because I got to spend so little time with my Valentine. He had a project due today as well as two tests and it just so happens that today is his 26th birthday. I was having a hard time deciding what to write about him because I know I've done lists and I've done Memes and I've blathered on and on about him, and then I read his Valentine's day card to me, and I knew it needed to be shared. For you to understand the man that I love, you must read this.
------------------------------------------------

Katie

All my life I lived like a lone AA battery. Sure, I could make the small things in life work, like handheld video poker games, but my life lacked the partner needed to truly power my life. You are my long lost battery, completing me, charging my life and powering my love. When I no longer have the strength to power the simplest of functions, you always find a way to recharge me and bring out my highest potentials, errr, voltage.

May we travel side by side through the battery holder thingy of life, and though we may eventually begin to fade, my love for you never will.

So much love,

The Fiance

____________________________________________________

I'm sorry, how could I not love this man?

He is the man who has made all my wildest and lamest dreams come true. He's my future, my past and most importantly, my present. He's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, the man I want to have by my side as we drive this bumpy journey of life. He's the only man I will ever trust with my children and he is going to be the best husband, father, doctor, literally anything he sets his mind to.

My love for him grows each day and I'm so proud of all he's accomplished, in school and in life. He didn't have the happiest childhood and he hasn't always had the greatest life circumstances, but he has forged forward, never given up and he will achieve any goal ahead of him.

I am so proud to be a part of his life and I cannot wait, in just 3 1/2 months, to be able to call myself his wife.

Happy Birthday Babe. I hope 26 is the best year yet.

The Valentine's Day Dramedy (update below)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So that was fun. I have much to share about the ER experience, but I'm going to save those stories, smells and images a little while longer and just cut to the chase, because I'm exhausted, and I don't feel like stringing y'all along today.

I fired off an email to the neurosurgeon at around 9 last night, waited until 9:30 and we went to the ER (this was on the recommendation of my physical therapists, The Fiance's preceptor doctor and my sister). We arrived just before 10, saw the triage nurse and did vitals at around 11:30 and were taken back at around 2am. Despite the 4 hour wait, it was so not as bad as it could've been or as bad as it has been. Having neurological symptoms gets you seen A LOT faster than having the flu does. When we left at 4 in the morning most of the same people were in the waiting room who had been there at 11pm.

A med student did the initial exam (she's a classmate of The Fiance, she offered to let me skip straight to the doctor, but I figured at that point, what was an extra 20 minutes?) and then the doctor came in and spoke with us. He said that a CT scan would be not good enough and they can't do MRIs in the middle of the night, which left us in a pickle. He called the neurosurgical attending on call who happened to be the attending who assisted my neurosurgeon on the surgery, so he was able to help us out. We left at 4 with a prescription for an MRI today (2/14) to be dealt with immediately.

I got home and went to bed, had to get up at 8 to get back to the hospital to get squeezed into the MRI schedule. It took a lot of work on everyone's part (including my neurosurgeon who is taking this really seriously and is incredibly on top of it right now and apparently quite upset with his office staff for being dillweeds), but I got in for an MRI at 10:30, got out at 11:40 and am home now awaiting the call from the doctor (he was in surgery, so I'm not sure exactly when he's going to call, but he said definitely by the end of the day).

So there you go. We don't actually know a shred more information than we did yesterday, but it seems like we've hopped on the right track to getting there. It seems really appropriate that on this, the second anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with the Overflowing Brain, that I'm spending the whole day making sure it's not getting more jacked up.

More details later as I get them, but probably not before a long-winded love post to my Valentine, who went with me to the hospital even though he has a project and a test tomorrow, which also happens to be his birthday.

**10pm update

I have an appointment to see the neurosurgeon tomorrow, though he did call this evening. He said that the MRI was almost completely clean except for some fluid accumulation around the site of the duraplasty, but that shouldn't be causing the problems I'm having. He also said we're outside of the boundaries where it would make sense for this to be a problem of post-operative inflammation and that in his mind, we've now encountered a problem not tied to the Chiari. He's going to talk with me more about it tomorrow and then refer me to a new neurologist who will be running a different series of tests to see if there's a reason for this. It's good news because everything looks good, it's just frustrating because we my friends, are back at my old stomping ground, square one.

ER-ittating

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I don't have the results of the joke contest, but feel free to keep them coming as I'm getting ready to go leave to the emergency room since I can't get ahold of my doctor and there doesn't seem to be any alternative options.

Oh, and did I mention that I can't feel my fingertips anymore? Because that part super rocks too.

This. freaking. sucks.

Procrastination-Nation

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I had a surge in visitors today from a cool project on Kristie's blog, which is interesting because you may or may not realize that I'm a total comment slut and you're killing me here people. I've already, at 9:45, had more visitors today than ever before by a full 40 people.

I've had visitors representing 34 of the 50 states, Canada, Australia, The UK, France, Austria, Sweden, The Philippines and South Korea.

And 2 people signed the comments.

TWO. PEOPLE.

You're killing me Smalls.

How on earth am I supposed to procrastinate effectively when I have nothing to read besides the stuff I'm supposed to be reading? That my friends is the opposite of procrastination, that's productivity and it's discouraged in this house.

And I need you today, see, the hand continues to suck more than usual and as an added bonus my foot started tingling so I got to spend an extra 30 minutes being monitored at physical therapy to make sure I wasn't having a stroke, which is a funny exaggeration to make until you think you're having one, and then it's as serious as a heart attack. I mean, um, as serious as...um...a stroke?

And for extra fun, my physical therapist revealed a bigfatlie she'd been keeping from me, which is that my right hand, the slightly non-deficient hand, has actually been steadily declining the last two weeks too. So color me surprised and super jacked up. She had just kept referring to its measurements as in the "staying in twenties" for the past three weeks, but apparently it actually was 29 three weeks ago, 27 two weeks ago, 25 last week, and 19 today. Frickity frick frick. Frick.

So see, it's time that you use your God-given talent and distract me from my woes and from studying for my anatomy exam tomorrow. Here's your challenge: whoever leaves the funniest joke in the comment section (as judged by me (hi, it's my blog and therefore my rules)), wins something yet-to-be-determined, but most likely my favorite reward, which is charity donations.

So go ahead, make my day. No really, make it.

The Road Re-travelled

Monday, February 11, 2008

As much as I'd like to pretend like the FBI investigation in my backyard is the only thing going on around these parts, alas, we've hit another bump.

For those new to the group, (by the way, I'm usually much funnier than this, and rainbows and daisies typically fly out of my ass with phenominal velocity and frequency) at the beginning of January, both my hands took a nose dive in grip strength and general dexterity. Since then, physical therapy has been devoting hours each week to torturing me to recover the lost function and truly, in my left hand, which was more severely affected, it has been working. These methods include literally hooking me up to four electrodes and shocking the crap out of my hand until it contracts without my consent.

Via this torture, I have gone from non-registerably weak grip to registering a monster squeeze of 12 (units of the grip thingamabob). My right hand has been hanging tough at around 20. My pint size physical therapist can squeeze a 60, so that should give you some reference of what normal (I know, I'm not using that reference anymore, really) would be.

About 10 last night I stopped being able to feel my left hand. And while I can feel it somewhat today, it's not good. It's like it's on some crazy drugs (all prescribed I'm sure). It's getting the signals I'm sending it, it's just getting them really slowly and somewhat mentally deficiently. Oh and it drops things. Though I've learned not to carry my computer anymore, so that's good, right?

If you wouldn't mind sending a happy thought to your higher power of choice that my hand perks back up before we have to call in the neurosurgeon tomorrow, I would be most appreciative. I'm going to drown my sorrows in my 39 page anatomy study guide. I know, please try and refrain from being jealous. Having the FBI swarm around your neighborhood for international spies while you go through 300 notecards with one functioning hand is a pleasure reserved for the lucky few.

Toilet Paper Revolution

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It has come to my attention that there is a certain male-specific deficit as related to a very specific household tasks (note that my male specimen is actually quite adept at other household chores and is very very appreciated. Very appreciated). I'm going to go ahead and assume it's the genes contained in that extra arm of the X chromosome that breaks off to become a Y in the male species, but either way, I've come up with an easy, 9 step program to help.

Step 1: Recognize the problem. Note that this is not even a full roll on top because the female did not put the new roll on right away in secret hope that the male might do it himself. Secret, and now dashed, hope.

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Step 2: Remove new roll from top of rack, place somewhere clean, which in my house means, um, outside.

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Step 3: Pinch end of holder and push towards the middle. There's a spring-like gadget inside that will allow it to sneak out of the rack. This can be done from either side, don't feel tied down to the left side first.

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Step 4: Now that one side is free, just ease the other side out of its nesting place.

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Step 5: Discard empty roll. You know, in the garbage can (which I considered taking a picture of just to help in the guidance of the throwing away, but I'm pretty sure no one really wants to see a picture of my bathroom trashcan. You're welcome.)

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Step 6: Slide new roll onto core. Note that per male's request, the paper is rolling over the top, not under the bottom.

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Step 7: Put one side (again, either side) into it's nesting hole while holding onto the other end.

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Step 8: Applying gentle pressure as in step 3 above, push the end towards the middle to decrease the length of the rod so that it will fit back into it's spot. (Also, note that this can be done while wearing a beautiful engagement ring. The jewelry picking-out area of genetics is not at all deficient)

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Step 9: Viola!

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You too can take part in the toilet paper revolution. Just share these simple 9 steps with a man in your life. Read them aloud with large gestures if need be.

I have a dream that someday I will live in a world where men and women are both capable of changing the God-forsaken roll of toilet paper.

Double Entendre

Saturday, February 9, 2008

So at my anatomy lecture last week, my very under-educated and always under-prepared professor (who finds a need to remind us on a daily basis that he has a PhD, and I always want to raise my hand and ask him if he wants a cookie) was talking about factors that alter the norms for blood pressure. Among these include, age, obesity, and sex.

So he addresses the first two and then begins with the third. He's trying to navigate it, he stutters and seems almost embarrased and finally comes clean in his confusion. "I just don't really understand why your book thinks that sex would change the norm for blood pressure. It should go back to a regular level within a small amount of time afterwards. Sex doesn't have long term effects on blood pressure to my knowledge."

(awkward silence)

(crickets laughing, I mean chirping)

Finally a student raises his hand and says, "do you think maybe they mean gender?"

Heh

I find it a wee bit humorous that I had a whiny breakdown December 8th

And another one on January 9th

And then another one, yesterday, February 8th

Anyone want to take a stab at when my period's due?

Today

Friday, February 8, 2008

I realize that I promised that after the MIL left I would return to the funny normal stuff, but you'll have to bear with me a little, I'm just not feeling funny at the moment.

Nothing is especially wrong. Each semester I hit this point, it seems to be the apex of stress where everything compounds in on itself and I lose my ability to see perspective and reason. I know that after this coming week things will calm down drastically, it's just that I'm coming off a week of vacation and I feel like I've run a triathalon rather than sat down and relaxed. I'm tired, I'm stressed and I feel like I'm searching for the very happiness I held in my hands less than two weeks ago.

I just feel as though I'm failing at my life.

My job is like a joke to me now. I don't really care and it's not fair to my students. Don't misunderstand me, it's not that I'm not teaching or not working, I'm just doing the bare minimum. I want to give them all I can, but I've divided myself among so many things that if I can get by with not doing over-the-top activities, I will. They deserve better and I wish I could (or could want to) give them that.

My night classes are moving at speeds that I can't keep up with and I feel like perhaps I should've taken a semester off after the surgery. I have two exams this week and I am overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information I'm expected to know and I'm searching, fruitlessly, for the time in which I'm going to prepare for these exams. I spent all of today preparing for my Anatomy exam and while I now have 39 pages of typed information, I'm not sure I could tell you a single fact about the circulatory system, which is a problem. I also have a physics test on Thursday and to be perfectly honest, aside from "physics" I'm not sure what the test is on.

I feel this pressure knowing that these classes, especially Anatomy and Physiology, are essential for getting into the programs I want to get into. I need to do well and if my lab quizzes are any indications, I'm failing.

I've alienated the one person on my team right now, which makes all of it more difficult. I'm not crabby which is what he thinks, though I can understand his misunderstanding because I'm not Suzy Sunshine either. I really don't know what I am besides overwhelmed. I really believed that his mother leaving would signal a rush of thanksgiving and happiness and all it did was remind me how little time I have left to do a trillion different things.

I've also realized that our wedding is in 4 months and it's not planned and I can't seem to find a spare nanosecond to do the simple tasks I need to be doing, like addressing the last batch of Save the Date cards, or picking our clergy. It just seems to be an ever-growing task (one that I enjoy, don't get me wrong), and time seems to be ever-shrinking. I feel like I'm letting everyone down on this one because when things don't go the way they're supposed to, or when I forget to do x, y and z, it's going to be on me and that reality is going to suck.

I feel like I've crossed some great chasm into adulthood and suddenly these obligations are falling onto my lap with new velocity and the stakes are higher than ever. If I don't succeed my whole future morphs into something completely different. If I don't do well in these classes, I won't get into any PT program, it's a fact. If I don't do my job properly, I'm harming the futures of one hundred and ten kids who I'm supposed to be helping. If I fuck up my own wedding that's always going to be a memory I can't erase. If I push my Fiance away I'll be lost.

There are just all these things, all at once, bearing down on me and I can't seem to juggle even one of them at a time, I can't imagine how to deal with all of them. I feel like quitting everything and spending the rest of my life lying in bed. Today I don't know who I am, and all I seem to know is who I don't want to be, and that's an awfully difficult way to live a life.

I know that things will work out the way they're supposed to, though that's a relative idea. And I know that I'm exaggerating, because my life isn't that bad, but today feels bad, it just feels wrong from top to bottom. Today feels out of control. Today feels like the end of a fraying rope. Today feels like I'm coming undone.

And I want so very badly to be put back together.

All The Things I Didn't Say

**Lanny is hosting a contest I will be judging and it's pretty awesome. Y'all need to get your behinds over there and participate because it's a cool prize and she's a cool woman!**

Since the MIL is leaving today, I feel like I need to purge myself of all the things I wanted to say to her, but didn't. This is not a complete list, and it's not really chronological, but here goes.

-Good morning (ha, I'm so funny)

-What's taking so long is that I ripped my finger open and it's difficult to put change in the machine with one functional hand. Also, just because you ask me 1400 times, doesn't mean I'm going to be more capable of stopping crying long enough to answer you.

-shut up

-If every restaurant we go to is an "institution," doesn't that term lose a little of its meaning? Additionally, you may not criticize your son's eating habits because you eat SO much worse than he does and frankly, you're no skinny minnie either.

-Go home.

-If you're so out of money, why did we go to four different 300 dollar dinners?

-If that martini was SO strong, why did you then follow it with two glasses of wine and an after dinner drink?

-If you put the God damned trash can on the counter one more time, I'm going to scatter its contents on your bed. Trash does not belong on the counter.

-This is not and will never be YOUR house.

-Go home.

-I will not declaw my cat because I don't want to and because I don't have the money. I'm terribly sorry that you had to replace 5 of your sofas from cat scratching, perhaps I'm just not as materialistic as you?

-Yes, a fever of 103* would indicate that I'm sick.

-If you love this city so much, why do you constantly complain about the roads, the sidewalk, the busy restaurants, the smoke, the humidity, the bugs and the way people eat?

-Shut up, and then go home.

-You are an alcoholic. Normal people do not drink 3 glasses of wine at home before dinner, a Martini while waiting for dinner, a glass of wine with dinner and an Irish Coffee after. Well, maybe they do, but most of them are then incapable of being ambulatory.

-Rinsing your coffee cup and putting it in the dishdrainer does not make it clean enough for other people to drink out of.

-When you go to someone's house and you open brand new box of coffee pods, it's not really appropriate to drink almost all 30 of them and then tell us that we really are going to need to go out and buy more coffee. No shit sherlock. You drank it all, perhaps it would be kind if YOU replaced it?

-If your favorite place to be in New Orleans is the upstairs lobby of a hotel, why don't you just stay in Los Angeles. They have lots of hotels there. Or better yet, just stay in that hotel from the start!

-When you reminded me that you're going to be back here in 3 months, I threw up a little in my mouth.

-Yes, I went to CVS two days in a row. Why exactly do you care?

-No, Jazz Fest likely won't be fun, because when you spend your whole day yelling, bickering and complaining, almost no one has a good time. Ask my parents, they only managed to go to one day of it with you.

-You cannot claim that the iPhone is SO intuitive and then not know how to answer the regular phone at the hotel.

-If I wanted your opinion, I probably still wouldn't have asked.

-Go home.

-Did you not see the 800 thousand signs at the airport that say you have to have the liquids in a ziplock bag? Was it really a huge surprise?

-The shirt is fine. It looks like every other shirt you wear. No one will ever notice that it's not exactly the one you meant to pack. Also, if it's the same style and color as the one you meant to pack: a) why did you buy another one exactly like it; and b) why the hell does it matter?

-I didn't ask how your dog was doing because frankly I think it's the stupidest, most worthless creature I've ever encountered. And you telling us that he follows orders is not impressive because whenever I'm around this dog he eats food he shouldn't be eating, tries to lick the babies head and sneezes snot all over my face. He's. not. cute. (this is not an all dog thing by the way, just this particular one).

-It's considered rude to not want to catch any beads, and yet still stand up and yell for them.

-Why does it matter what we do with our beads?

-I would rather claw my eyeballs out than have this conversation with you right now.

-If I told you that I did not want to eat sweetbreads at two other restaurants because I don't eat veal, is there some reason why you'd still think at the third restaurant that I'd like to try them? Is there a mental deficit there?

-Don't go on and on about how you want to try a dessert and then try to make everyone at the table feel like pigs when they actually order the dessert that you've been clamoring over (and then ate). You can't have it both ways.

-GO HOME.

-If you forget that your son's birthday is in a week, so help me, I'm going to make a lot of things even more unpleasant for you. And I realize that given how much you dislike me you probably don't find that likely or possible, but I will.

-I'm so freaking glad you checked into a hotel. If I'd have known that was an option sooner I definitely would have cut back the niceness a lot sooner.

-Good riddance.

Oh the Irony

Thursday, February 7, 2008

(I promise this will be one of the two last MIL posts for a long time, then I have a Meme all lined up, and a couple of funny stories. This is just a good outlet for all of this right now, so bear with me a few more days and you will be rewarded with humor again. Unless you're into the crazy, in which case, the run is almost over...)

So the FIL spoke to the MIL about the dinner debacle. The MIL then spoke to the Fiance about it at the dinner they had last night (which I did not attend, I had class, though I'd sooner have dissected my own thigh than voluntarily gone to that dinner). In her version of the dinner story, not only did she eat the food I prepared, she had two servings of it. Now, she did have a few shrimp (that was only after she discovered that her left over meat was mostly fat and thus not enough for dinner), but she had no black beans and no rice and she is claiming two servings.

I may be a bitch, but at least I'm not a liar.

Additionally, I am now back in the time-out corner because yesterday morning when I left I didn't tell her "good morning." No, I'm serious, she's really upset about this. My reasons for not uttering those two words were many. a) I was running extremely late and literally running out the door and didn't have time for a conversation; b) it wasn't a good morning, what with her deciding to move out of our house because it wasn't nice enough for her; c) I was afraid I wouldn't be able to say it without the word fucking the middle.

And it wouldn't have mattered, she had already decided to move out before that, so it's not like I pushed her out, but in her universe what I did, the whole not saying good morning was "extremely rude," in fact more rude than not eating someone's cooking in their own home (by the way, I'm testing this theory next time I stay with them).

I can't wait to go to dinner with her tonight, that certainly won't be awkward.

A Point of Clarification

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I just want to quickly address this so that there are no lingering questions about it. The Fiance was infuriated with what happened last night and in general does not almost ever agree with anything his mother does. It's not me vs. them, it's us vs. her. He was dumbfounded and as upset as I was about her behavior last night and her rudeness in leaving today. He comforted me and he used the only real communication route he has to deal with it- his father (whom I adore, by the way) and we'll see what happens.

I know it seems very black and white, but I promise you, with the MIL, everything is in the land of the gray. The Fiance could tell her every single rule, edict and law that she is to follow in our home, he could (and almost always does) come to my defense and explain to her the concepts of respect and kindness, but she does not hear anything and she does not do anything unless it is her idea. I could probably literally list every single example of every unkind thing she'd ever done, to her face, and I'd expect her response to be something along the lines of, "why are you picking on me?" She just lacks social skills altogether and everyone knows it. It's not as if this is a secret that she shares only with me, it's like the gigantic polka dotted elephant in the room at every family gathering.

At this time last year we told her she could not stay with us for Mardi Gras and we became involved in one of the worst family skirmishes ever to occur, ever and we just didn't want to deal with it again, which is why we both decided that she could stay here. It wasn't as if I wasn't on the committee for this, I was, and we knew it would be tough, I think I just expected it to be a little more passive.

She cannot be controlled, which is why our interactions with her are very very limited. We see her usually 3 times a year: Christmas/Hanukkah, Jazz Fest, and the summer, The Fiance speaks with her very rarely (you should hear her ringtone, it's like if death was to call your cell phone what you'd expect his ringtone to sound like). I have already made it crystal clear that if she treats my children the way she treats me (or him for that matter) that she will be non-existent in their lives because I will not subject my kids to that, The Fiance understands and agrees. He doesn't want our kids to have that kind of childhood, he lived it and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't wish it on anyone. I will spend the rest of my life mending the pieces that she has ripped him into because I love him, and we will do better for our children because we know better.

Please don't mistake the tone of this post as rudeness, it's not. I so appreciate all of you being concerned about this, I would be too if our roles were reversed, I just don't want everyone to jump on a bandwagon against The Fiance, because truly, he's doing everything exactly right, and I know that if he could fix this, he would. My sentiment earlier is just regret that he can't have a mother in his life who loves and supports him and his decisions, because that's really what a mother should be, and it's something that we are meant to have.

It just means I have to love him more, and I'm really thankful that I get that job.

She's gone

She checked into a hotel today. Her excuse was needing to be "pampered for a few days" but I'm pretty sure we can all agree that that excuse is a big pile of bull shit. She wanted, so very much, for us to grovel and apologize and ask her to stay here, and frankly, I didn't and still don't give a crap. I did not grovel, in fact, I did not say a single syllable to her regarding this decision. The only words I've spoken to her since the dinner debacle last night were, "the shower's free" and I'm perfectly content with leaving it that way.

I do, however, feel horrible for The Fiance. He's caught in a no-win situation where he has to mediate, go back and forth, drive her and listen to what I'm sure will be several pleasant conversations about how awful of a host I've been. It's really not fair to him and if I could fix it, I would. Hell, if I knew what I'd done wrong, I'd even possibly apologize, but I don't know, and I'm pretty sure that there's no point in asking at this point.

It just makes me sad. In 4 months this woman is going to be my mother-in-law and it's just really sad that she can't be happy that her son is happy and that she can't try for a few days to be compassionate towards anyone else. I want so very much to be able to make this go away so that The Fiance isn't burdened with it, and yet I can't, and if anything, my presence and actions make it worse. It's just not right, and there's really not any way to rectify it.

And I gave up sweets for lent, and all I want right now is a freaking piece of chocolate.

OMFG

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If you ever happen to be a guest in my home and request that I cook dinner one of the nights you're there and even help me decide what I'm going to cook, let me just give you a heads up that it is spectacularly rude to decline eating said meal so that you can eat your 3 day old leftovers. SPECTACULARLY rude.

Other things considered rude would be walking in the kitchen and saying things like:

"You're making ALL of that? Wow, you'll definitely have a lot leftover. When exactly are you going to eat it?"

"It's messy isn't it?"

"I think that's where the bugs are coming from."

There is a reason that Mardi Gras ends today (besides the fact that tomorrow's Ash Wednesday), because if this lasted any longer, I think everyone would drop dead from the pure exhaustion of it all. Last year on Mardi Gras afternoon I commented that I had fun, but that I was glad it was over, and my feelings today are literal echoes of that. I had a good time, some days a great time, but I am so glad it's over. I could not do it again tomorrow if I had to.

Today, we got up at 6:30 to leave for 7 to be at the Zulu parade route (1.5-2 miles away) by 7:30ish. We stopped and got food so we were a little late, but we were still able to get the exact same spot on the route that we had last year which is a barricaded area (less crazies) and in the front. For the first hour we were there we had two groups of super-obnoxious and super-drunk (hi, it's 8 in the morning, are you kidding me with that?) college students around. One group lingered much longer than the other making everyone's lives a little less pleasant in begging for the golden coconuts. These golden coconuts (literally painted gold and other colors) are the prized catches in Zulu. It's not that they're rare, no, almost every rider has a big bag of them, but you have to work for them. And these girls decided that whining was the way to go. They were unsuccessful and decided eventually to move down to the non-barricaded part of the route so they could accost the float riders with actions and words. We stayed put and worked it out a little differently.

Using only 4 beers to barter we managed to procure 5 coconuts, one which we gave to a guy next to us, one which we gave to a family next to us and one which we will be obligated to give to the MIL, even though she wasn't there. A girl a few people down from us got probably 15 coconuts by wearing a bikini top and it took everything within me not to yell, "put a freaking shirt on" each time. Okay, that's a lie. I did yell it just about every time, but not loud enough for her to hear. There were only a few other remarkable catches at this parade, though it was really fun to watch. Everyone riding and most of the spectators are there to have a good time and we did.

After that we walked over to watch Rex, which, with Proteus is probably my least favorite parade. They all throw the same 2 beads and it's not that cool to watch. Yes, it's awesome I just caught a bag of beads, however, since I've already gotten 3000 of the same ones, it's um, well, not cool. We skipped most of it and went to McDonalds because they had port-o-lets we could use and I was dying.

After that began the "truck" parades. The parades we've been going to have been "floats" in that they are constructed with walls that are decorated with elaborate fronts and all kinds of craziness and are pulled by tractors (which often break down and delay the hell out of the parades). These truck floats are basically just 18 wheeler trucks with open top/sides (like long windows). There were 80 something trucks in the first parade and 40 something in the second (the average float parade is about 25 floats, though Zulu had into the 40s). These are the ones The Fiance likes because people tend to throw good beads indiscriminately, so we stayed out and watched and had a good time, though, the exhaustion set in much before they even turned their engines on.

In other news, it appears that the Fiance has the death because he's too stubborn to not share food and drinks with me when I'm sick. I'm pretty sure mine has settled into a sinus infection because I feel like someone is boring holes into my face and bending over or lying down is equivalent to what I imagine the Apocalypse will feel like. But, probably due to the very little time spent so far with The MIL, I'm in fairly good spirits. It helps that I don't have to be at work all week, that takes a little of the sting out of feeling like ass, though I'm pretty sure that work would actually feel like a vacation right now.

3 days, 22 minutes left.

Validated and Infuriated

Monday, February 4, 2008

So on Saturday, during our day downtown, we set ourselves up just behind a blockade on the parade route for the two morning parades. We only brought one chair (and apparently the MIL scoffed at that idea, only to later monopolize the chair), but we used it to block off our space. I was feeling uber-unwell, so I sat in it for a while until the parades began.

Throughout the course of this parade were some MIL highlights. Her favorite thing to do is, like a 4 year old at someone else's birthday party, to see your cool bead catch and say, "oh, I really wanted that one!" until you give in and give it to her. Which is how I lost my super cool Fleur de Lis beads. And then we both got our hands on the same set of Saints beads and even though she already had her Fleur de Lis beads, she just had to have them. No it's fine, it's not like I live here or support the Saints. Or like you didn't even know who Sean Payton was when he floated by tonight.

She also orders everyone around. She wanted to take a picture at one point and it was then that I learned that the phrase "excuse me" does not make whatever's happening polite. You can continue to say excuse me, but putting your elbow in my spine will never be a nice thing to do. Oh, and there's about 2 square feet of room, where exactly would you like me to go? She grew tired of the parades and left before Tucks began, which was fine because I think Tucks is a riot and I don't need Debbie Downer next to me complaining about how long it's taking and how she's not catching anything special.

So after she left and just before Tucks began, The Fiance went to the bathroom. The lady next to me, whom I'd been friendly with earlier (in the true Mardi Gras spirit- you know, sharing catches that you both get, giving a duplicate of beads, etc) turned to me and we had the following conversation, which in retrospect, I wish I'd recorded somehow.

Her: "So they're all gone." (meaning the MIL and the Fiance)
Me: "Yea, he's in the bathroom, she went to roam."
Her: "Is that your mother?"
Me: "No. She belongs to him."
Her: "Oh. (pause) She's kind of bossy isn't she?"
Me: "Yes. She is."
Her: "I was kind of worried that she was going to start telling me what to do too."

At this point The Fiance walked up and was thoroughly amused by the conversation also. Sometimes it's nice to have strangers validate the fact that you're not the one who's crazy (for a change).

Oh, and, news flash, the MIL called her daughter (who then talked to The Fiance) and told her that I was refusing to speak to her and giving her "death glares" all the time. Which is interesting because I got admonished (kindly by the Fiance) for interrupting her stories to share mine the other night. Like you know, when we were conversing. Or how instead of spending my 2 free hours Friday sleeping or relaxing, I brought my book downstairs and read with her so it wouldn't look like I was being a bad host. Or like how I've put on the happiest face despite feeling like absolute crap and made nice with her and shared beads and complimented everything she's done or thought about doing. Or how I carried all the crap for her to the parade on Friday because she "pulled a muscle" in her back carrying her carry-on luggage at the airport (nevermind the brain surgery). Or how I poured her drink for that very same parade. Or how I've laughed at every un-funny story she's told and have not once yelled I DON'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK! despite my endless desire to do so. If I've been giving death glares it's been completely unintentional, I cannot be held accountable for my subconscious. But from now until she leaves I'm just going to be sugary sweet to the point that even I'll be nauseated with the taste.

Which is okay because it's just 3 days, 18 hours and 43 minutes.

Mardi Gras Madness: Weekend Update

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sorry for the delay. No, I've neither killed myself, nor the MIL, though there have been a few close calls on both sides. There is a lot to share, to I'm going to do my best to compress it down into a manageable length.

Friday
Work as usual (kind of, it was a super short weird day), then PT, then a Tetanus shot. Out of curiosity, why on earth does my doctor need to know when my last period was to give me a shot? And then, because I was running a little late to the doctor and I had to quickly put money in the meter, I put in a quarter and a nickel instead of two quarters and consequently, when I got back to my car, the parking attendant was standing there, printing out my God-forsaken ticket. TWO MINUTES LATE. Seriously.

The parades that night were okay, the people were big gigantic assholes. Asshole number one told me that I couldn't set up my chair next to his ladder because if I fell down (what, does he know me?) that then I'd hit his ladder or his wagon that was three feet away. We suggested that he move his wagon over so that other people could enjoy the space too and we got the ever popular lecture about how they had been there since 3pm and yadda yadda yadda, so would I, but I was too busy getting a shot and a parking ticket. He also suggested that I set up the chair in front of his kids' ladders, but I declined because I'm not that kind of asshole.

Asshole number 2 was a very large man who got upset when we moved (not by my choice) and we were encroaching on his chair. Not near his chair, by the way, but getting close to where we might be near it eventually. His method of dealing with this was to push me into the moving floats so that I almost got run over several times. It was awesome. Especially when we found out that he was a woman. A woman that so was going to kick my ass.


Saturday
The MIL wanted to go to the French Quarter and because it is her "stomping ground" and her "home base" and she wanted to be there. So we agreed to go see the morning parades there after a lunch at The Palace Cafe. After the parades The Fiance and I were going to go to the Medical School campus and get some work done before snagging a spot for Endymion. Oh were we naive. The first flaw was that the morning parades take a good two hours to get to downtown, so the second one (Tucks, where we got a crap-load of stuff) ended and we had like maybe an hour to kill.

In that time I saw not one, but two people urinating in a parking lot, one of which was a woman, and yet I somehow managed to get myself to a public restroom at Harrah's without any ordeal. Drunk people are especially stupid. Anyway, we decided to meet up with the MIL and go get a spot for Endymion. Turns out so did everyone else. We ended up in a spot bordering a police barricade, which was good and bad, as there was not really anyone in front of us, but also, every drunk moron seemed magnetically forced to go into that area and then be thrown out of it, right in our laps. On the upside, we did get to see several people arrested, and one guy climb up a palm tree to see better and just as he got maybe 20 feet up and the cops came to get him down he lost his footing and slid, stomach to the tree trunk, all the way down. That, and a story I'll tell you tomorrow, will got down in history of great moments.

We ended up staying through float number 9 because it was well after 8 before the parade even got to us (it began at 4 something) and I was dying. Dying because I woke up with The Death Saturday morning and after being on my feet for 8 hours, I was just done done done. It was a really cool parade, but I felt like ass. The MIL left hours before (but not without telling us 800 times that it "had better be worth it.") and we met her for the longest dinner in the history of mankind, where I almost fell asleep in my own food 12 different times.


Sunday
I woke up feeling even worse today, the Death has firmly settled in my sinuses and chest. Oh and throat, wouldn't want to leave that out. Had a mild fever in the morning, but we carried on anyway. We walked over a mile to where The Fiance's school was set up and hung out there. I made it through about 2 of the 4 parades before I had to go home. When I got home I found my fever to be 103 degrees and well, needless to say, it wasn't pretty or fun. But it's down to about 99.7 now, which is a blessing, and is a side effect of taking a boat-load of Aleve. I stayed in bed and did my physics homework and blew my nose 1400 times. It was awesome.

The Fiance and the MIL got back at like 4:30, unpleasantries ensued and eventually The Fiance and I headed back out for Bacchus. It ended up being a lot of fun, especially it being just the two of us. I still feel like a big ole pile of crap and as it stands I can't go to bed anytime soon because we're now watching the dvr'ed superbowl, even though I know the winner. And while I fear the reaction my so lovely, but terrible winner of a Fiance will have when he finds out his team wins the game, I'm still happy for the Giants. I was really ambivalent about the game, but I have to say, I'm quite happy to see that the Patriots didn't get the perfect season. Nothing personal, I just hate the Patriots.

So that's mostly it. I was supposed to go hang out with NOLA tomorrow during the parades, but considering that I'm pretty sure I'm contagious and she has a small child, I really can't imagine how that would be okay at all. I'm so disastrously sad about it, but there's really not much I can do. If I wake up feeling perfect and go all day sans-fever maybe I'll reconsider, but I'd hate to spread this around more than it needs to be. So tomorrow is rest, two parades at night and then more rest. And maybe some work, with a side of rest.


Countdown until she's gone: 4 days, 20 hours, 52 minutes.

What sucks the most

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I went to work every day for the past two weeks. Well, every weekday. Not including MLK day. But still. And in that time, though I had the few days of feverishness and not feeling great, I managed not to get the cold that has been passed around like a bowl of onion dip. So imagine how excited I was when I woke up with a harsher version of death this morning. My throat, it feels as though there could be a gaping hole burned through the back of it, my sinuses are endlessly dripping. This is not good.

So instead of boring you with the details, I'm just going to post a few pictures to fill the sickness filled void.

Hello lover(s)

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Is a tetanus shot supposed to bleed this much? (I didn't say I was posting pretty pictures)

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The shining lights of Mardi Gras

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