Things that are currently annoying the bejeezus out of me:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

1) My housemates.

2) My students. Because every day it becomes more completely clear that I am a horrible teacher. One asked me today if Jesus came before or after DINOSAURS. That, my friends, is a teaching fail.

3) My exams. My last exam this week didn't go splendidly. The professor pointed out what I did wrong and told me to fix it, I told her I didn't know how and left. I truly had no idea and I didn't want to bash my head into the wall of frustration anymore. And that's the exam that I needed to do the best on.

4) That I can't see my final grades yet or in the near future. Because my 2 parking tickets somehow found their way onto my student account and until the payment goes through (whenever that might be at this wonderful place of higher education and logic), I can't see my final grades nor get a transcript.

5) That I had to give the school 40 more dollars in parking ticket fees.

6) My husband, calling me a "nagopotamus."

7) The fact that I have finally, after 2 months of dieting, reached my goal weight, only to discover that I've lost too much weight and I'm no longer have periods, meaning that I have to gain some back if I should ever want to have normal hormones, bone density and possibly children some day. Mother trucker.

8) The cough that never ends.

9) The sinus pain and congestion that NEVER ends.

10) That after almost 3 full years of paying nearly 400 dollars per month for health insurance, my work announced yesterday that starting next year, they will cover the cost of half of the health insurance plans. And it's half of the PPO, not the crappy HMO I have. Which means that I could've saved 7200 dollars in the past 3 years. SEVEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS. My credit card debt weeps over this.

11) The headache that NEVER EVER EVER ends.

Warned

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The next person who hears me cough and asks if I have the swine flu is getting a good old fashioned ass kicking.

Go ahead, ask me, I dare you.

Turbulent Tuesday: The Oh My Ears Edition

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today was one of the longer Tuesdays in the history of time. I left for work at 6:55 and got home after 8pm. And have I mentioned yet that I feel like hell? Because I do. I'm pretty sure it's a sinus infection and bronchitis and will be calling the doctor tomorrow to find out.

On the upside, I finished writing the final exam for one of the classes I teach and I finished up lab 2 of 5 by taking test 1 of 4 this week. I'm not even close to being done, but I've got one test down and 3 left to go. This week.

Today was, for some odd reason, a constant auditory assault. Everywhere I turned, people were saying things that I couldn't escape from.

Like one of my students, who, during a discussion about the Swine Flu and a student asked me why they called it the Swine Flu. I explained that it was named that because it came from pigs. And she replied that she knew that, but why then, wouldn't they call it the Sine Flu? Because apparently that's what pigs are called. You know, since they're all so kickass at math.

Then, my chemistry teacher had a little bit of trouble with one of our vocabulary words this week. We were studying the light spectrum, however, she couldn't seem to say spectrum, but instead, speculum. And I almost died from laughter. Because seriously, we had to look at all the entire visible speculum and dude, that's just not okay. Or ultraviolet speculums. (Or, like I texted my husband, ultraviolent speculums, which is a whole different kind of torture...). And she must've spent 30 minutes talking about it. Seriously.

Then, I was waiting out in the hallway for my test to begin when one of the other students in the class, one that I find wildly obnoxious, started talking about her home life. Apparently she lives with her Grandmother and from what I could glean, they share a bed. That's not even the bad part. She proceeded to tell us about how her grandmother needs to go to bed with the television on and constantly wants to watch soap operas because, and I'm quoting here, "the lady hasn't gotten laid in 30 years."

I think I need to jam a fork in my ear to wiggle that mental image out. Dude. That's your grandma. That's not okay.

And now I'm sitting down to study for my two Thursday tests because my Wednesday test should be pretty straightforward. Should, being the obviously key word there. I'm SO ready for school to be over. And also? to stop coughing. And to stop feeling like my face is going to explode everytime I bend over. You know, the small things in life.

So, your turn (and dude, I got 20 VERY helpful sinus suggestions, so you have no excuse not to comment, I know you're reading). How was your Tuesday?

Wanted: Good thoughts and prayers

Monday, April 27, 2009

Slappy's family is having a bad really day.

I'm not at liberty to go into details on any of it, but there are several things that they're dealing with right now and it's all very distressing. It seems like each generation of Slappy's family is hit by something new and none of it seems under control or even things that can easily be brought there.

I know this is short and dull, but if you're so inclined, they could use good thoughts and prayers about today. Especially thoughts/prayers for strength and wisdom to survive these challenges and hopefully move past them.

Soliciting Help

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So, if you follow me on twitter, or have had to interact with me at all in the last 24 hours, you'd know that I am having a horrifically rough time with allergies and subsequently, my sinuses.

The big problem is that when my sinuses get congested, the pressure in my head increases, which causes a special kind of double headache, where my face hurts (yes, I know, it's killing you too) and the back of my head feels like it's going to explode. Or maybe like if it exploded, it would feel SO much better. Either way, sinus congestion = whole new kinds of pain and unpleasantries.

So I'm soliciting advice right now.

I have taken a 24 hour Claritin D, 2 tylenol and will be doing the shower/steam thing soon and am still in sinus hell. What else do I do for myself besides wallow in self-pity? Not that wallowing in self-pity is something I'm going to stop when I find a better treatment, but more like a supplement to wallowing in self-pity. Yea, what can I do WITH wallowing in self-pity, that will fix this?

Help me, or hear me whine. I promise the former is easier.

Test Crunch

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The 4 tests awaiting me next week have already started to take a toll on my stress levels. It doesn't help that this headache hasn't gotten a single iota better, or that I'm not sleeping nearly enough right now, but even without those extraneous factors, knowing that I need an A or a B in each of my classes is stressing me the hell out.

But after last night, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'm not the most stressed.

You see, the girl I have been working with in one of my physics lab (it's possibly the most ridiculously easy course of all time, by the way) was losing her shit last night about the final exam, next Wednesday. This was after the lab prof told us we didn't need to memorize any formulas because the test would be that easy. Seriously.

So, in completely ignorance of the prof's reassurances of the simplicity of the test, my lab partner began trying to copy down every single formula and bit of information from the semester into her notebook while we were doing the world's most tedious experiment.

In the middle of the experiment, another person we were working with went up and spoke with the prof because he didn't have a copy of the lab because when he tried to print it off, instead, he got a copy of the Adobe Acrobat user agreement. The prof made some joke about how that probably wouldn't help him out much and told him not to worry about it.

She saw the papers and got the most crazy-eyed look and squealed, "what's that?!?"

"The Adobe Acrobat user agreement," I said.

She looked at me, in all seriousness and said, "Well, do I need to know it? Will it be on the test?" After she snatched it out of the guy's hands, she read for a minute and then exclaimed, "what the hell does this have to do with physics?"

What the hell indeed.

Memory

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Until last weekend, I had never met Slappy's grandmother. I have heard numerous stories, both good and bad, but had never seen a picture nor met her in person. Part of this is because she's lived in Florida the entire time I've known Slappy and part of it is because she has rather advanced Alzheimer's Disease.

Earlier this year, Slappy's parents moved her to California to a facility that could provide her better care and the transition has been rough. So when Slappy's mother suggested that we go visit her this past weekend, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect, both of her in general (um, have you met her daughter? Right, you haven't, but you've read about her...) and of her state of mental clarity.

Even with these worries, Slappy and I embarked on the 2 mile journey before leaving town on Monday. We found the facility, signed in and rode the elevator up the 3 flights of stairs to the Alzheimer's floor and then found someone who worked there, because we didn't know where she'd be.

Slappy's grandma was asleep on the couch so Slappy woke her up and she was pretty startled. She immediately asked Slappy if she was dead, and when he told her she wasn't, she looked at him and said, "No, I really think I'm dead." And no, technically the words weren't funny, but the way she said it was a little humorous.

I was taken aback at how much my MIL looks like her mother. Slappy looks like like his father, so I knew those genetics were strong, but after seeing Slappy's grandma, I'm pretty sure my children stand no chance of looking a thing like me.

After we convinced her that she was alive, we suggested that we move out of the (really loud) tv room into her room to chat. We got to the hallway and she didn't know where her room was. She decided she was pretty sure it was down the right hallway and after looking we found her room and entered.

Aside from not knowing where her room was, she seemed really lucid to me. She did say that she thought she was dead several times, but, you know, that's not even on the scale of the strangest things to come out of a grandparent's mouth.

We had a short conversation where Slappy reminded her of who he was and introduced me. We talked about why we were in Los Angeles and that Slappy and I would be living there soon. She was polite, attentive and really just lovely. She said I was a pretty girl and she complimented my name.

And then there was a small pause, she blinked her eyes briefly and then she asked us where we were staying. A conversation we had just finished. Slappy very patiently repeated where we were staying, what we were doing, etc. She seemed completely okay with who he was, but my presence was confusing and she asked us if we were married or not.

And then she paused, blinked and asked us where we were staying again. And then if we were married.

Pause, blink, repeat.

And on about the 4th or 5th pass at the questions, when we told her we were married, she said, "if you're married, why didn't I go to your wedding?"

And in that moment, my heart shattered into a million pieces. Because, you know what? She should've been there. She's his grandmother, and it's profoundly tragic that she isn't capable of attending things like her grandson's wedding.

And then 2 minutes later, she asked us again. And honestly, it didn't feel any better the second time. And while she most certainly won't remember that we visited or that we got married, I will always remember that moment and the way it felt to explain to her that she couldn't go.

After several more cycles we told her we had to leave and she thanked us so graciously for coming to visit her. She said she was so glad to see us, gave us a hug, paused for a second, and then asked if we were leaving. We told her goodbye again, hugged and left before she'd have a chance to get confused and start over again.

The experience was heart wrenching, truly, yet I'm glad I went. I'm glad I got to meet his grandmother, even if without her short term memory. I'm glad I got to hear her spout off Yiddish in her New York accent and see her warm smile when she thanked us for coming.

Someday when I'm old and my grandchildren are grown, I hope they'll come visit me, even if I think I'm dead and even if they're scared of what they'll find. Because beneath the disease and beneath the haze, there was a really genuine woman in there and I'm so very glad I got to meet her.

Turbulent Tuesday: Health Edition

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So, in case my absence wasn't noticed, things have been a little insanely busy lately.

And will continue to be for the next 3 weeks. Next week, I have 4 tests, the week after that I have 2. All while trying to finish lesson plans for the end of the school year and oh, right, my final exam is due to my department chair next week too. Because that's totally written and ready to go. Pshaw.

I could probably whine on about my classes winding down a little too quickly, simultaneously, and test filled-ly, or I could tell you tales of dissecting a rat today and the fact that every time I touched it's finger or toenails a little bit of me died, but instead, I'm going to whine about health stuff, because, well, it's my blog and I'll effing whine if I want to.

Several of you have inquired about the headaches, because I haven't written anything about them. I wish I could say that my silence has indicated a positive change, but that's just not even close to the case. As I type these very words, my head pounds with a new level of ferocity and the flights to and from Los Angeles were absolutely miserable. My brain does not tolerate the pressure changes well and I'm just trying to make it through the next couple of days in hopes that things will settle down on their own soon.

I am off all headache medications and halfway through the never-ending taper of Xanax and while I'm glad to not be on drugs, I'd take just about any amount of drugs if it would do something, anything, about this pain. Yesterday I took 4 8 hour tylenols in an hour because something had to work. And truth be told, I felt better. But that was only because my throat, which has been terribly sore, felt better. My sinuses hurt significantly less. And my tense neck muscles seemed less achy. I suppose a double dose of tylenol should help some things.

But my head. Oh my head. It did not bend, it did not waver, it just kept right the hell on hurting as if the tylenol were just candy bits and not analgesics.

I wish I had a new answer, or a new idea or a new theory to try. But I'm completely tapped out. I know I should probably call the neurologist, but I just don't even really see the point anymore. We're going to do the same dance of, well, what drugs are left? What are the side effects? And in the end I'll suffer through some side effects, likely with no positive benefit, and we'll discontinue that one too.

I so badly just want to know what the hell is going on. I still have not had a single satisfying answer of why I had 8 months without headaches and now 9 months with them. What happened? What changed? What went wrong? Or even, what went right initially? I yearn for answers and as usual, I find myself falling short. Frustrated. Tired. In pain.

I long for the day I can jump on here and tell you that the pain is gone, but I'm losing hope that the day will come. It just seems unattainable now.


So, how was your turbulent Tuesday? (Leave it in the comments. Unless you're going to tell me not to whine, in which case, don't because my mood is not stellar today and I'm liable to track you down and throttle you.)

Here and now...finally

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So, Friday morning, I awoke at 4:30 in the morning (I set 5 alarms, woke up after the first and then spent 15 minutes trying to turn off the rest of them), showered and drove myself to the airport. I arrived a scant 45 minutes before my flight, breezed through security and waited for boarding.

I got in line, got up to the front, and my ticket would not scan. Like, everyone else's ticket made this cute little "boo doop" sound, and mine made the beeping equivalent of a scowl. Not. happy.

So I went to the customer service desk and guess what? I had actually bought a ticket for THURSDAY morning. And of course, missing your flight is FREE. Oh wait, no, not it's not. It's freaking expensive.

After I bought myself onto the plane, we took off. We arrived in Dallas, deplaned and waited to board. Unbeknownst to me, my next flight had a stop in San Antonio, so the flight would only be an hour long. We boarded (a completely fully flight by the way...) and then sat on the tarmack for 30 minutes. Apparently the front bathroom was broken. The back two were fully functional, however, the front one was not. So someone from SWA (the man next to me made so many terrible SWAT jokes while this was going on, I nearly tried to paper cut myself to death) came and stared at it kind of aimlessly for about 20 minutes, and then we took off. I have no idea if that bathroom ever worked, but we left Dallas at least a solid 30 minutes late.

Normally, you can make up some of this time in the air, however, if there's a big storm front coming through and you're 30 minutes later than you're supposed to be, you might arrive in the middle of the storm, and instead, fly around in circles in turbulence for an hour. Then, when it's finally clear to land, it might be so turbulent that people start vomiting all over (DUDE, what is with people vomiting all near me on flights?).

Those of us connecting, stayed on the (vomit) plane, other passengers got off and new ones got on. Another completely full flight. And we pulled out to the runway and waited. And waited and waited. The storm was ugly. And the captain came on a few times to let us know that we'd leave as soon as we could. And the flight attendants all sat in the back and completely ignored the full plane of people. Did we get peanuts? No. Did we get beverages? No. We got bored.

And then, there was a glorious break in the storm and the pilot announced that we were going to try and make a break for it. We cheered. And then he came on 2 minutes later and said we'd missed it. And then this same drill happened about 5 more times over the span of the next HOUR. It was great. Finally we took off and had an uneventful flight. Only, you know, THREE HOURS LATE.

Which meant Slappy and I totally missed an appointment we had, we sat in traffic for over 3 hours to get to where we needed to go and by the time we got there, everything was closed. It was legendary. It was like Murphy's Law of flying. One of my coworkers suggested that I get back on the plane and head right home. But I just kind of felt like there were only so many things that could go wrong on an airplane before the next thing was a big crater in the earth.

So now I'm Los Angeles. And I'll tell you all about it.

Later.

Exciting News

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Before I begin, let me begin with a small apology.

I stand behind what I said yesterday and I'm not going to delete it. However, I recognize that name-calling was pretty immature and I'm sorry for that. I wrote the post after seeing a picture of a sign from a tea party that said "libtard" and after reading an article where Joe The Plumber suggested that we waterboard Obama, and well, I was pissed off. Still am, in fact. I apologize if I offended you and I promise to lay off politics for a while. And when I return to them, I will try harder to stick to the issues and not the people. Fair enough?

Moving right along...

So, I got some really great news on Tuesday. After a month of nagging pestering staying in constant contact with someone at BlogHer, I was able to get a ticket to the BlogHer Conference from someone who had an extra. A TICKET TO BLOGHER.

You see, I had planned to go from the moment I heard it was in Chicago and just put off buying my ticket, and then one day, they were sold out. I have been SO pissed at myself for that, so I'm absolutely thrilled to have my ticket. I cannot wait because every year I read about it and every year I kick myself for not going. So, I'm going.

Even better, I will very hopefully get to see Daisy, Melissa and some of the other Chicago bloggers, and maybe even a few of you.

And now panic has set in. Because I need to make some friends fast so I don't sit alone in every single seminar.

So, anyone else out there going? Will you be my friend? Want to meet up?

Tax Day Stupidity Thoughts

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Okay, I'm sure that I could leave well enough alone and NOT go onto the rant I'm about to go on, but that's just never as much fun. And I'm all about the fun.

In case you live in a cave without access to news, or are simply too lazy to go look at CNN, today was Tax Day, and it was the day that Republicans all over the country chose to show what sore losers they are that they disagree with the bailout by hosting "Tea Parties" where TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already.

Clever? You betcha. Rational, reasonable or mature? Um, no.

Here's the thing, this bailout? It was voted on by Democrats AND Republicans. Remember how Democrats didn't win the number of seats they needed to rule the world pass laws without the Republicans? This means that at least a few of your comrades actually voted FOR what you're protesting.

So this "no taxation without deliberation" slogan? It's wrong. There was deliberation, but if you'd like us to take more time trying to come up with a way to dig the country out of this economic depression while things get worse, we can try that. Would you rather have greater tax increases later because we twiddled our thumbs coming up with a plan? We apologize for being proactive. We'll try to resist the urge in the future.

Speaking of higher taxes, you all realize that your taxes did not increase this year, right? Because I'm starting to think that maybe you don't get that. Your taxes won't even change next year. The tax reforms won't begin until 2011, so you're protesting BUSH'S tax policies. This is, um, stupid. Er, crazy. Er, stupid crazy. Obama has had no impact on your 2009 taxes, which is why I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people were protesting today.

Now, I do have to give the leaders of the Tea Parties some mad props for likening themselves to Revolutionaries. That is GENIUS. Seriously. Totally wrong, but brilliant. You did not have any great injustice done to you in this bailout, as the Revolutionaries did in the tea tax. A bill you're not fond of was passed by a bipartisan congress. It was passed fairly and without any illegal measures. You were represented in the United States government. I'm sorry if you weren't happy with your representation, but you were represented. To pretend that this is the same as the British government's oppression of the Revolutionaries is offensive to anyone who has ever studied American history. It's not even in the same universe of injustice and to pretend that it is is ridiculous.

And finally, here's perhaps my biggest issue with it. In 2000 and 2004, every time a Democrat said they were going to move to Canada or some other escape mechanism to convey our disappointment over the elections, we were hushed by Republicans and told that we should join together under our president and try to improve the country together (I would know, because this was said to me A LOT.)

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Not only are you not working with the president in any way, shape or form, but now the governor of Texas is suggesting that they secede from the union?

Dear Governor Perry,

Stop being a sore loser.

Smooches,
Katie

I mean really. All today was was a show of unsportsmanlike conduct. You're pissed that Obama is president, and I get that because hello? I just lived through 8 years of that misery. You don't want higher taxes, and I get that too. Honestly, who wants to pay higher taxes? But what was accomplished today? You lowered public morale in a time when people need to believe in their government. You showed how generally uneducated you were about this bailout and you just looked like sore losers.

I respect your freedom of speech, but I think what went on today was not an example of bipartisan effort. Today was a showing of sore losers and greedy people, unwilling to give more money to help others who need it. I think it's embarrassing.

If you really want things to be accomplished in this country, work with us, don't protest us. If and when you're ready to act like adults, we'll be waiting.

In the meantime, let me know how you feel. Did you participate? Support? Enjoy? Throw up? What do you think was accomplished today (as long as no direct name calling is involved (well, I suppose if you want to call me names that's fine, I did ask for it), I'll leave comments open.

Be nice.

Turbulent Tuesday: Emotions Edition

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today was turbulent, but one of the things I realized about turbulence is that it isn't always bad. It's just...turbulent. And that's a part of life like everything else. We don't get to only have the good. The good wouldn't be good without the bad. Turbulence is necessary, even if uncomfortable. (I promise all the "deep" posts will end soon. Like, probably tomorrow.)

Today was a lot of things.

It was tragically sad for a family and thousands of others mourning with them.

It was exhausting.

It was thrilling (for reasons I'll explain tomorrow).

It was exhausting, again.

It was satisfying.

It was challenging.

Today, I lived the turbulence. Because I can. Because for whatever reason, today, I'm alive and I feel like I owe it to the world to rejoice and feel blessed in that. Even if it means working, thinking, learning and living through endless head and emotional pain, as I did today.

I don't know what the precise words for today are. I don't think I have that vocabulary. But I know it was worth it.

How was your turbulent Tuesday?

Finding God

Monday, April 13, 2009

Today on twitter I heard that another blogger's baby died this week. That's 2 children in one week. And while I did not personally know either of these sweet children, their deaths echo in my mind and heart.

My husband asked me today what I thought about this. If I thought it was part of God's plan, or if it reaffirmed my faith in any way. And I said no.

I know that shows so little faith on my part, but I'm having such trouble finding God in this. I know He's there, I know there's a plan, but two young children in one week? Two tiny bodies, gone from this earth in within 6 days of each other? I just don't see God there.

I just don't.

I see God in the $25,100 donated to the March of Dimes in Maddie's name by those who miss her. But I also see $25,100 worth of anguish and sadness.

I see Him in the contests and organizations to help these families. But I also see how much we all wish that we didn't have a reason to donate to the Spohrs and Myers.

I see Him in the way that people are moved to hold their children tighter today and remember how precious life is. But I also see how hurt we all are.

It's just not enough. I know that all that money will help save lives of other premature babies, and for that I am grateful, but the cost was too great. $25,100 is a lot of money, but it is no match for the value of a child, for Maddie. It's not enough. There isn't enough money to be enough.

I do have faith, but I do not have understanding and maybe it's because it's not mine to have. I don't control the heavens and the earth, I don't get to make the decisions. But I long to understand why He has chosen this path. Why two families and thousands of people are deeply troubled, worried, and most of all, sad beyond measure. I pound my fists in anger, sadness and frustration because I just don't get it. How could this possibly be worth it? How can there be any reason that these families needed to lose their children.

Tomorrow Madeline will be buried in California. I don't know if I see God there.

Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

Home

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Aside from my birthday and Mother's Day, today is the last holiday I will spend 2000 miles from my family.

It is the last time I will feel a little sad and melancholy that I'm not there, with my parents, siblings, and 20 first cousins (not an exaggeration), because I don't have the time or 350 dollars it costs to get there.

Last night we celebrated pesach without Slappy's family, today we celebrate Easter without mine.

I cannot even begin to tell you the happiness I find from seeing that in exactly 50 days, we'll be on our way home. No, we're not moving to the exact location where either of our family resides, which honestly, is likely to be better for both of us. We'll be a solid 45 minutes from his parents, 30 from his sister, 30 from my sister and about 2.5 hours from my family.

2.5 hours. I will spend less time in the car on a trip to see my family than I would in a plane today. I can bake my (now 3 month old!) cousin's first birthday cake, just like I did for his brother and sister before him. I won't have to miss my mom's birthday (this Tuesday), mother's day and other days I should be with them. I can simply get in my car and go.

Slappy can see his nearly 18 month old niece more often than twice a year. We won't have to rely on skype not to be completely forgotten by her. His mother can cook Chanukah dinner during the actual days on Chanukah instead of whatever weekend in that month we happen to be around.

In 50 days we get to start over. We get to move, to a place of our own, to our new lives, to our future.

We get to move home.

A Tragic Dose of Perspective

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I don't know how many of you follow this blog, but Madeline Spohr passed away, very suddenly, last night, just a few days before she reached 17 months of life.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering that the Spohr family must be going through right now. Today they begin a whole new life, one that will never be the same again. Let us all in this online community come together and offer our thoughts (and prayers if you say them) to the Spohr family. There are no words to help them get over this loss, but maybe the collective support of people across the country or world will.

Maddie's passing has plagued my day. I just can't seem to get her face out of my mind, I keep waiting for someone to tell me that this is a nightmare, or a belated April Fool's joke and this child whose face I've seen in hundreds of pictures and heard numerous stories about is safe in her bed. But she's not, and it shatters my heart to realize that.

I've never met this child, yet I'm moved to tears over the loss of her precious life. It isn't fair and it is devastating to even consider what the Spohrs must be dealing with. It's the most unnatural thing in the world to bury a child and it is, I think, everyone's worst fear.

I know that other bloggers have expressed similar sentiment, but I can't help but almost feel guilty for enjoying my day today. Knowing that 2000 miles away, there is a palpable hole in someone's life. Knowing that Heather and Mike, two people I've never met, are grieving the loss of their daughter, who, in her short 17 months of life has spread so much joy to so many people. The fact that over $10,000 has been raised for the March of Dimes today speaks volumes about the impact that Madeline had on all of us. I'm sure that number will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully her passing will help shine light on this cause and save the lives of others who came after her.

My heart flies out to California, to the Spohrs and to all of us, who feel like today, the world got a little less bright. And that heavens gain was earth's tragic loss.

Rest in peace Madeline.

(If you're moved to do so, the family is raising money for the March of Dimes in Madeline's name and asking for donations in lieu of flowers.)

Turbulent Tuesday: The not really turbulent edition

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So, it's that time again.

I almost didn't write anything today, because frankly, things weren't really turbulent, which pretty much rocks, however, I can't go without saying anything. That's no fun. Besides, I wouldn't want to stop the whining. What would I do if my blog was INTERESTING?

So I had my chemistry lab. I handed my professor my doctor's note, to which she asked, "is it valid?"

And guess what? I didn't punch her in the face.

I also didn't retort with, "No, you caught me. How ever did you see through my lie and know that by asking I'd give it up?"

Instead, I said, "yes, and please feel free to call my doctor if you feel that's necessary." I didn't mention that they won't tell her jack crap because of a wonderful set of rules call HIPAA, I just didn't think that was necessary.

I seriously cannot believe she asked me if it was valid. Bucking fitch.

I also had my second exam in the class today and it went relatively well. I think I might have screwed up one part of it, but it was a fairly small part and I think I did the rest of it correct, so I'm not overly concerned. I am kicking myself a little bit, because in retrospect, the mistake was pretty stupid, but you can't win them all I suppose.

Or can you? Because I got back my last exam and got an 89/84. Which is because she had to curve it and I already had a perfect score. Can we file that under SUCK IT? Because, um, yea. I'm not usually a gloater about my grade, but for the first time in my life I want to make copies of it and paper her car and office with them. Because that's about as classy and responsible as one could possibly be. (I hope it's not your first time reading here. I'm usually not like this. This lady is crazy. Like infectious kinds of crazy.)

And now I'm going out to dinner at Jacques-Imo's (one of my very favorite NOLA restaurants), where, because I bragged about having a good day I'll probably contract food poisoning to even it all out, but at least it'll taste good going down.

So, your turn. How was your Tuesday? Turbulent? Tremendous? Trepidacious?

Tell me, I'm inTrigued. (okay, that was a stretch. Shut up.)

Edited to add: Aaaaand now I seem to have a urinary tract infection. Thanks universe, that was totally necessary.

The Chemistry Saga, continued

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh. My. God.

Okay, so I perhaps have written a thing here or there about my chemistry class. This intro chem lab is going to be the absolute death of me. But hell if I'm not going to go down fighting.

So last Tuesday I did not go to lab because I had a fever and felt like heaping pile of crap. I rarely miss school, but I really just didn't think I'd make it through the day and in retrospect, I'm pretty sure it was a good decision. Health wise. Pain in my ass wise, it was a horrible call.

In an attempt to be responsible (let's keep that in mind) I drove myself out to school and dropped off the chemistry lab report that was due Tuesday afternoon so that it wouldn't be counted late. I read through my syllabus and because it said that points would be deducted for each weekday that a lab was late, I didn't want to chance it. I drove out, my idiotic professor wasn't in yet (I was like 5 minutes early), so I left it with my lab partner to turn in.

When I got home, I sent the lab professor an email, letting her know that I was sick and asking if I could use someone else's data to do this week's lab so I wouldn't get behind.

The next morning I got an email letting me know that, first, I'd need a doctor's note for my absence. Because apparently even in college, you can't just be sick. I called my doctor's office, told them my symptoms and they didn't want to see me. They said it sounded like the flu and for the protection of other patients, unless things escalated, they'd prefer if I stayed home (this is not terribly abnormal, nor unreasonable in my opinion). So I emailed her and told her this and casually mentioned that it seemed a little mother freaking ridiculous that I needed a doctor's note. Which, in retrospect was probably not necessary, but I didn't feel good and I was annoyed.

Next I called my neurologist's office who said they'd be happy to write me a note to excuse my absence. In fact, the nurse told me to call them whenever I needed one. It's almost like I have an excusable health condition that isn't to be toyed around with. Weird, right?

So I got my note. And when I got home from getting my note I had another email from the lab professor (to the whole class, not just me) letting me know that our test was being pushed up a week and telling us which labs to study. Silly me, I thought that I had not received my graded papers to study with, so I emailed her and asked if I could pick them up to help with my studying. You know, the quizzes and lab reports with all the pertinent information on them, that sort of thing.

When I got a response 2 days later, I discovered that no, she hadn't actually returned any of them. So we are being tested on material we haven't gone over and material we don't have at our disposal to study. Which is stellar, as always.

And this time she informed me that the lab I dropped off the day I was gone would not be counted because "someone else obviously turned it in." Um, no shit sherlock. I dropped it off at school. Does she think someone else did it for me? Hello, you have 4 weeks of labs of mine there, why don't you compare the handwriting? Or, I don't know, look through it and see that I obviously did it myself. Who the hell cares who turned it in?

The answer is of course, her. Because apparently, you can't turn in work if you're absent.

So, according to her, the right action would've been to hold on to the lab report and turn it in tomorrow, a week late, with a doctor's note. And because I didn't do that, she's not counting it. NOT COUNTING IT. That sound? Was my head exploding. I turned in an assignment ON TIME. I did the responsible thing and drove out to school when I felt like shit and she won't grade it. She also accused me of lying about my doctor's office not wanting to see me while sick, even though I had already told her that I had a doctor's note. So basically, even if I had been lying, which I WASN'T it was totally a moot point.

In true adult fashion, I sent her back an email that was perhaps a little lot snarkier than I should've, but you know what? This is fucking ridiculous. It just is. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do in this course. I'm doing the homework, I'm studying for the tests (okay, right now I'm blogging instead of studying, but let's set that factoid aside for now), I'm even tutoring other students. And I'm getting screwed.

I'm angry on levels beyond my own ability to express them. I'm feeling cheated when I've done exactly what's been asked of me and more. I don't know how I could be more responsible (okay, not sending snarky emails, yes, we can check that off in the more responsible list, I know) or studious. What am I missing here?

I sense an epic battle of wills on the horizon. I also sense that there won't be any winners in this war.

Worlds Colliding

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A few weeks back, I was flipping through the Facebook stream and noticed a blurb my former (and soon to be again) summer boss had put up. I recognized it immediately as something that a number of bloggers were participating in, and was suddenly intrigued. I mean, was it possible that my boss, the one who predicted my marriage to Slappy from day 2 of dating had a blog? Really?

It took Slappy about 30 seconds to track down her blog(Google: the end of anonymity). My boss has a blog. And instead of playing it cool and stalking her secretly, I immediately left a comment stammering about how, dude, I have a blog. And she has a blog. And holy crap, we're both bloggers.

It was every bit as cheesy as it seems.

And now I read her blog and I know she reads here. And in a few months we will be working together, most likely pretending as if the other doesn't lead a double life online. I don't know why the whole situation confuses me as much as it does, but I've never accidentally found someone I know online. And I've almost never had to pretend that my blog doesn't exist. Except, I mean, around all my coworkers, and family and real life friends. But other than that, you know, like never.

It makes me ponder giving up the anonymity. Telling you where I'm going to school next year, telling you what degree I'm going for (though if you're very mission impossible-esque, all you'd have to do is read some old comments and you'd know where I'm going because, um, some of my commenters are not the most discreet (*cough*Daisy and Melissa*cough*)). Why not?

I guess the fear of people intruding on my life. The fear of getting thrown out of school for saying something I shouldn't (what? Me, criticize a school? Never. More on that tomorrow, by the way...)

Eh, it's something to consider. But probably not act on right away. You can file this blog entry under stream-of-consciousness-to-fill-the-void-of-silence because I think I just wrote about 6 paragraphs that you'll never get back. Sorry 'bout that. But hey, I didn't say anything about my heinously endless headache.

Oh. Oops.

The R Word

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I recently came across a website whose cause is near and dear to my heart. Their tagline, which I've now heard on tv and on the radio, is "Spread the word to end the word." And of course, the word we're talking about is retarded.

I will be the first to admit that I was an r-word abuser for a long time. In high school and even college it was one of the more satisfying insults I could sling at someone (don't get me wrong, I swear like a sailor, but that one is just, I don't know, harsher). But as as I've aged, I've realized that maybe the reason that insult felt so affective is because, well, it's horribly offensive.

I don't have a bigger agenda here. I'm blessed to have a family of healthy individuals free from physical and mental handicap. But this word has become such a permanent part of our vernacular that we don't even realize it anymore. And it's time to do something because the abuse of the r-word is out of control.

Calling someone retarded is to say that they're not smart enough, good enough or whatever adjective enough of something for you. Whether you intend it to or not, the r-word is promoting a stereotype that those with mental or physical handicaps aren't enough.

Disability does not equal inability and disability certainly doesn't mean ignorable, which is what we're doing. We don't use horrible words like the n-word because it is offensive to a specific set of people. We don't use most vulgar words because they're offensive to a group. And the r-word is no different. It promotes a stereotype and it takes a medical diagnosis and makes it into an insult.

Into something derogatory.

This isn't about walking on egg shells, it's about respect. It's about respecting those who may not be able to stand up for themselves to tell you that this isn't cool. It's about understanding that your words have an impact, even if you're just talking to your friends or family. It's about not passing on this really tragic habit to the next generation.

Even before I read about the r-word campaign that's been launched, I've been enforcing this as a rule in my classroom. The use of the word retarded is an automatic demerit for disrespect. And you know what? I've given out probably nearly 20 of them. And do you know what else? Parents are mad. But they're not mad at their children, they're mad at me.

Something has happened to us. We don't value this group of people enough to recognize when we're being jerks. We don't even think that our language is wrong or that it is disrespectful. Well, newsflash kids, it is.

There's absolutely no reason why we can't irradicate this word. Why we shouldn't. I know it's become ingrained in your vocabulary, so here's my suggestion. The next time you're tempted to say the r-word, try ridiculous instead. Same sound, same general concept, and yet, not offensive. You can even say re-donk-ulous if that's more fun.

I know some of you will click away from this post and never think about it again, but try and consider for a moment the damage we're doing and how easy it would be to un-do. Imagine a generation of kids who respect those who are disabled or are differently-abled. Imagine a place where our favorite insult isn't insulting to a group of people who are working to be respected just like you and me.

Sure, maybe it's silly. Maybe it's not high on your priority list. But maybe it should be.

Spread the word to change the word. Pass it on.

Newsflash

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This morning, I woke up and did not have a headache.

The world, it spins again.