Thursday, January 28, 2010

Of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

The weather is remarkably bad today.  It's been raining all morning, accompanied by a raging cacophony of thunder and tapping on the glass, and just when Matt went out to get lunch did it start pouring down in sheets and hailing.   It figures, right?  The earth is now conspiring to make me worry!   Anakin is sitting on my lap, shaking like a leaf, out of fear because storms scare the living wit out of him -- typos are, therefore, not my fault.  If Matt were here, Ani would be cuddled up with him, but since he isn't, I apparently make an adequate stand-in to his preferred crisis situation appropriate parent.  When Matt came back in, a few minutes ago, he said the water was up to the doors and that Stephenville is flooded out, conjecturing on the likelihood that class would be canceled tonight.  I told him that if it wasn't, I had to go, no exceptions.

In light of the horrible weather (or perhaps in addition to it), I've had the pleasure of cuddling up on the sofa, under an blanket because it's freezing in here, to read The Complete Poems of Sappho translated by Willis Barnstone.  Let me first say, I absolutely loved this collection!  If you're interested in classical lyrical verse, or in the work of the first women poet known to western literature, you should get this book.  I read the entire thing in a few hours, the poems are mostly fragments, but they're also remarkably beautiful.

I did take one small exception to the book: to me, to say "The Complete Poems of Sappho" seems like a misnomer.  I feel like it should perhaps be called "The Collected Poems of Sappho" as Sappho's poems will never be complete.  Her work is largely lost, only fragments found in refuse heaps and used in the papier-mâché procedure in mummification in Egypt remain.  So, "complete" seems wrong, but it's a minor distinction, at best.  Otherwise, the book is very comprehensive, well organized, and includes an amazing introduction by Willis Barnstone that just drew me in and held me.  I simply couldn't stop reading it!

The introduction discusses Sappho, who's name is Psapfo in her native language of Aiolic, and what is and is not known about her.  There're so many bits of wrong information about Sappho and so many apologists covering up what is known, she's easily one of the most notoriously inaccurate personalities from antiquity.  All that being true, she's a remarkable poetess whose words are powerful and beautiful.  The fragments are filled with everything from complete poems, nearly complete works, one liners, and smart advice.  One of my favorite bits of that smart advice goes like this:

When anger is flooding through your chest/ best to quiet your reckless barking tongue [~Fury (158)]

Advice to live by, if you ask me.  So, needless to say, I'm looking very forward to tonight's class and so hope it's not canceled.  At a rate of one grad class a week, and one book a week for one of them, we really need every session.  I have a feeling that this will be one of my favorites and so want to hear what Dr. Chappell has to say about the work.  Fingers crossed that Tarleton doesn't float away before I can get to class tonight and that the turn out is good.

To that, I'd like to add that so far, being a graduate student is going just swimmingly (yes, I feel that's the appropriate word in celebration of the lake forming in my front yard!).  I've read Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Sappho this last week, which have both been amazing!  I had American Lit last night, where we talked at length about Gatsby.  Tonight, Comparative lit and the Sappho book!   I have a response paper for Gatsby due next Wednesday and had an annotation for Sappho due tonight, which I've already done.  Every week we have an annotation due (though we only have to do 10 of the possible 14), which I did this morning, and just got confirmation for.  I must have done it correctly, otherwise I'm sure Dr. Chappell would have told me.  I've never done an annotation before, which seems almost surreal to me now, so I did some snooping around the net about how it's done.  Up next week, more Gatsby and Euripides' Helen, which I'm also really looking forward to!

Sadly, I've not gotten much reading done on the first book on my Busy Bookworm Challenge List, Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey.  I've gotten about 200 of the 700 or so pages read, so far.  It's the type of book that deserves to be savored.  It's a great story and is beautifully written.  I loved the first two books in the series.  I just wish I had time to savor, rather than devour, right now.  So, it'll probably have to settle for devouring with my apologies for not giving it the attention it rightly deserves.  I think part of the problem, however, isn't my inability to offer it the time it deserves, but rather the fact that the next book, Kushiel's Scion, is told by a different narrator.  The first three books are told by Phadré (a female narrator), the second are three by Imriel (a male narrator) and I'm feeling very uncertain about it.  When I get attached to a narrator, I want to keep them, but I'm also willing to give Imriel a chance.  We'll see how that goes.

On one final note, I got all the books I ordered from Amazon earlier in the week!  I signed up for the free Amazon Prime 3-month trial, which gave me free 2-day shipping!  My books came in fits and spurts, but they've all come now.  I've got all the books for my class and the ones for my challenge list except for Wuthering Heights and The Lightening Theif, which I'll get when I need them.  Of all the books I've gotten over the last few days, the one I was looking most forward to is Bathory: Memoir of a Countess, which is about Elizabeth Bathory, of whom I have something of a fascinated obsession.  I'll probably make it second on my book list, since I never actually planned to read them in the order they're listed anyway.

So, I'm off to try and get some reading in before I have to get ready to hop in the canoe and float off to class.  Just one thing to think about before I go, last night, Dr. Shipman was groping for a word when he said that he'd heard once that if you can't think of a word, it's a sign that you have an excellent vocabulary!  I'm going with it, especially since I have an abundance of those moments, where I can't summon up a word I'm looking for!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Quick Update

I should probably be reading right now, rather than blogging, but here I am anyhow.  To be perfectly truthful, I'm just blogging really quick while I wait for my other form of procrastination to finish setting up.  Matt bought me a game, Dragon Age: Origins, and I'm waiting for the free downloadable content to install.  It comes in PC, PS2, and XBOX360, so I decided upon the PC version.  Unlike most computer games, the install was quick and smooth, so I'm sure I'll like it.  Of course, I don't technically have the time to play another video game and I do already have WoW, but this one looks really good and doesn't require much from me in the way of dedication.  I can play it idly, in my own time, and when I want.

I had that job interview yesterday for the Writing Center position, which I think went remarkably well.  I was laying in bed last night, thinking about it before I went to sleep, and things I could/should have said kept popping into my head.  She asked me about my strengths in English, I told her my greatest strength is as a writer.  This is the absolute truth, but that isn't my only strength.  I am a very good writer, which hasn't always been the case, but is something I've grown into with maturity and education.  I feel very strongly that, as an academic writer, I'm excellent.  I'm also very strong with literary analysis.  I can read a poem or story and pull from it.  I really, really feel like I should have told her that, but right then, on the spot, it didn't even occur to me.

Still, overall I think it went well.  I don't want to talk about it too much because, well, I don't want to jinx it.  I don't know whether I got the job or not, I'm still waiting to hear.  My fingers are crossed, I hope I will, but either way I'll let you know.

Matt is still sick.  I took him to the Quack Shack today and they gave him a shot of something (he doesn't know what, but probably steroids) and a prescription for Augmentin.  When the Nurse Practitioner looked into his ears she literally said, "Jesus Christ."  Apparently, his ears a really, really infected, which means the infection is spreading.  Aside from the shot and Augmentin, they gave him a generic Mucinex (dextromethorphan & guafenesin) but told him not to take it until he's taken the Augmentin for at least 2 days because it'd just clog up his head.  The nurse also said for him to stop taking the Zicam because it can make you lose your sense of smell, which is something I didn't know, but thought I should pass along.  I've always liked Zicam, but if it screws up your nose, it's not worth taking.  Hopefully he'll get better, because we're both really bummed by his being down and out.

Nothing else to say for the time being, but I do have reading to do and I want to play my new game some.  Adieu.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 2 1/2 hour haircut

Since I mentioned in the previous post that I was going for a much needed haircut, I thought I'd share some of the pics of my new cut with you.   There's actually something of a story to go along with them, but pictures first...


Okay, so there you have it.  Please disregard the rather stupid faces I'm making in most of these pictures, I can't help it, I'm not all that photogenic these days.  Besides, the pics are about the hair!

So, the wind was blowing like crazy yesterday and my hair appointment got moved up from 5pm to 1pm because the gal that was to cut my hair had some cancellations.  I jumped at the earlier appointment, but asked Matt to drive me because it was crazy windy.  Reluctantly, he agreed, but told me that he was going to go to Hastings to wait.  Since neither of us have a cell phone, I told him not to do that, just to wait.  He told me if I wanted a ride, he was going to Hastings to wait, to which I could not but nod.  When he dropped me off, I told him to be back in about a half an hour.  That's what I expect a haircut to take, 30 minutes.  He agreed, but when I went inside, I found that the lady wasn't back from lunch.  That's my fault, not hers, since I was about 10 minutes or so early.

I waited for her for about 20 minutes and when she got back we talked about what sort of cut I wanted for another, oh, 10 minutes or so.  After that, it was off to the wash, which I think probably took about 15 minutes.  My hair is very thick, and honestly, I love the feel of someone else washing my hair. I could go to sleep like that and let them wash my hair forever!  She cut and dryed and flat ironed my hair and I left the salon looking like I'd just left a salon!  When I got outside and into the car, Matt looked at me like he might kill me and said, "You were in there two and a half hours!"

Now, he swears up and down that he wasn't mad at me, but I think he probably was.  Of course, if he reads this and finds out I'm telling you he's mad at me, he'll be mad at me, so it's really 6 of one, half dozen of the other.  Anyway, he liked my haircut, but it didn't get the reaction I was really hoping for.  I told him that I was going to make him an appointment with the gal who cut my hair, to which he replied that he was NOT going there, citing the lengthy time it took for her to cut mine.  I hardly think it'll take so long to run a clipper through his hair and scissor the top.

So, now I look fabulous for my job interview!  I can wear my hair down with much more ease and since she textured it, it feel much lighter.  Whether it is or not, I don't know.  All in all, it was worth the two and a half hours it took to get it cut!  I am definitely going back to her... definitely!

Friday, January 22, 2010

One week down... 15 to go!!

Well, I made it through my first week of graduate classes!  It's been a good week, so far, and my classes were both really short but nice.  I expected them to go short, being the first week, since we hadn't read anything yet.  On Wednesday night, I had American Literature.  I've taken the professor before and enjoy his classes, and this session the class will focus on Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner.  The first book is The Great Gatsby, a book I read in the 10th grade, but am reading again because it's short (only 182 pages) and because it's been like 16 years since I was in the 10th grade.  Last night, I had Comparative Literature.  Like Wednesday's class, I've had the professor before and I really like her.  The first reading for that class, due next Thursday, is Sappho's Lyrics, which is rather large and which I have yet to purchase.  I think I'll go to the bookstore today and get a few things, so I have enough time to actually get it read.  The comparative lit class is the one I'm most interested in both because the classes theme is "Bad Girls of Western Literature" and because my thesis will be comparative literature.

Otherwise, I have another bit of good news!  I have an interview on Monday at 2:30 for the tutor position at the Writing Center.  I am so excited and nervous.  I haven't had a job interview in like 12 years, but I'm really happy to have the opportunity now.  Unfortunately, I came off a bit dumb yesterday in the letter I sent the director of the Writing Center.  She sent me an email asking if I'd be available.  The confirmation email I sent her was short and said:

I am available and am looking forward to meeting with you and Mr. Sword. I'll see you Monday afternoon, many thank you for the opportunity!

What it should say is:

I am available and am looking forward to meeting with you and Mr. Sword. I'll see you Monday afternoon, thank you for the opportunity!

See the problem?  The job is for a writing tutor and yet the email I sent her had a pretty ridiculous typo.  Since last night, when I discovered my error, I've been obsessing about what to do about it.  I actually woke up thinking about it this morning.  I thought that maybe I should send her another email with the correction, but that didn't seem right.  I asked Matt what to do, he said I should just leave it alone.  The only thing that's making me able to do what he suggests is that this is not the first email I've sent her and the others have always been fine (I think).  Also, I don't know how I would fix it if I wanted to, which is keeping me from doing anything at all.  I just keep thinking that anything I could do to fix it could just make it worse, or make me look nuts, neither of which is conductive to getting the job.  I think my nervousness about it is making me worry over things I might otherwise have just chalked up to an opps and moved on from.  What do you think?

Truthfully, I'm at least a little bit comforted by the fact that I am qualified for the job.  I have a BA in English and am an English graduate student.  That helps.  Still, I'm worried that the typo in that email is going to make me look like I don't proof-read adequately or like I can't form a coherent sentence, either thing would make me an inadequate person for the tutor job, and I'm not the only candidate for the position.  Also, neither thing is true.  The more I look at it, the more apparent it is to me that the word "many" is extraneous and should have been deleted.  I only hope I'm not seeing that because I know it's the case, but rather because it's obviously so.  I keep checking my email and worrying that she's going to change her mind about interviewing me because of it.  I'm so paranoid!  Anyway, wish me luck as I prepare for the interview which, again, is Monday afternoon.

Speaking of which, I'm going this afternoon to get a haircut!!  I desperately need one, so I made a 5pm appointment at the Bijou.  My hair is getting out of control and with an interview on Monday, I want to look my best.  I'm going to get it cut in a V-shape in the back, to keep my length without keeping my length, if that makes any sense at all.  I'm getting my layers touched up, and maybe a few layers added, and am getting my bangs cut in such a way so that they sweep to the side, rather than hang straight down.  I've never cut may hair this way before, I but I need something new in a serious way.  If if comes out good, and I have no reason to believe it won't since when I got my hair cut there before it was fantastic, there'll be pictures.  I took a few pictures of myself with my new camera yesterday and promptly deleted them all.  With my hair the way it is, I looked horrible in the shots, not to mention that the camera takes really crisp pictures which made me feel/look old.  Ugh.  So yeah, new haircut, new pictures!

Since it's only 8:15am, I'm off to try to get some things done while Matt's in class.  It's nice to have a bit of time to myself, even if I have to get up at 7:30am to get it, and I may use it to get some writing done... or maybe I'll just turn the TV off and read.  Choices, choices!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


In honor of how I'm feeling today, I give you this...

Not only do I love this song, I love the video!!  And so, on that note, I'm off to shower and get ready to go to class -- wish me luck!!  Hope you're having a fantastic Wednesday!  :D

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Here are the promised pictures!!  They're not as good as they could be, but then I just got a new camera (Casio Exilim) and am just getting use to it.  So, they're slightly angled because when I took them with my flash on, there was glare, but with the flash off, they're underexposed.  So, the angle took care of the flash glare.

Click the image to see it larger.  The frame is brown with off-white/brown matting, not sure that comes through, and looks really good hanging above my desk!  I'm just so pleased to finally have it and have it hanging up there where I can look at it.  That frame is not the one I originally got for it, but I like it a lot!

I know this pic is screwy, it's all crooked because I was standing up when I took it and it was cropped off the top of the one above.  They had a larger one, but I like the brown one up there better.  So, I got the brown one, but kept the smaller one for my Long Ridge Writers Group certificate.

Of course, I had posters hanging where my diplomas are hanging now and so I had to get new poster tape to hang one of them back up.  I'll probably do that tomorrow, not sure.  Anyway, I'm off because it's late.  Good night.

One Productive Morning...

It's only about noon thirty, but so far today has been absolutely crazy.  It's been a long time since Matt and I have had such a productive day!  I was up at 6:30am this morning after getting to bed at 1:30am, which is rare for me because I love to sleep.  I just couldn't stay asleep, there was too much noise in my head.  When it's outside racket, like snoring, or alarm clocks, or barking dogs, it annoys me but I can likely as not shut it up.  When the racket is inside my brain, there's no such luck.  So, rather than resisting and getting more annoyed, I gave in to my chatter-box subconscious and got up and got around.  Matt, surprisingly, wasn't too far behind me, though he didn't get to bed until hours after I did.

When 8am came I called the business office at Tarleton and got them to remove a hold for the unpaid balance on Matt's account, as we paid it over the weekend.  When that was done, and I went to register him, I found that he had another damn hold for overdue library materials, so I called and it turns out that he turned in the book, but we owed them $6.50.  Annoying, but manageable.  The man is absolutely not allowed to check books out of the library, he can't remember to take them back.  Though, I suppose I shouldn't talk, I'm really no better.  I once checked out 7 books on Anne Bradstreet and forgot to take them back for so long that the fines were about $45!  I know I suck at remembering to take them back, so I don't check them out.

After making all the business phone calls I needed to make, we headed out to Tarleton so I could pick up my diploma.  I was informed last week, rather rudely, by the school's graduation coordinator that my degree was conferred December 12th, but that diplomas would be available for pick-up on January 19th.  Okay, I get that there's a distinction, but did she really need to be so mean about it?  If she doesn't like working with students, she should find a new job!  I'm trying (and failing, mostly) to remember that I would be just as annoyed if I got 50 phone calls a day asking when degree's would be available.

When I got there, they had moved them to the front.  I headed around to pick it up, gave them my name, my ID number and the lady looked at me blankly and said, "It says on the paperwork that Matthew Hammond will be picking it up."  Then, they told me my diploma wasn't in the hanging file with the others.  I just about freaked out.  My name was on the list of graduates to receive a diploma, but they couldn't find it.  The lady behind the counter kept asking me, "Are you sure it's undergraduate and not graduate?"  Well, duh!  I should have told her that if she had a Master's Degree in that folder with my name on it, I'd gladly take it.  Instead, I told her that Matt was on there as an alternate person who could pick it up, and that he was in the car if they needed him.  It seemed a bit silly to me, but she said no that it wasn't necessary.  I find it a little funny now, but at that moment, I was not amused.  They did eventually find it, which is awesome but it wasn't in any sort of envelop, they just handed it to me and told me congratulations. I walked away smiling, and then when I got outside, half-way to the car, it nearly blew out of my grasp, which again made me nearly freak out!

So, from there, I went to the library to pay his $6.50 fine and then we were off from there to Wal-Mart where I got a frame for my diploma.  I was really worried it was going to get messed up in the car without a folder, either from my oily fingers, or from the dirty car.  I had gotten a really nice frame for it the other day, when I was at Wal-Mart with Melanie, but the diploma is way too big for the frame I had gotten.  The first frame, which is now being used for my Long Ridge Writer's Group certificate, is only 8 1/2" x 11" and my degree, it turns out, is actually 10" x 14".  The thing is freaking huge... not that I'm complaining, mind you!

After that, we went to Matt's doctor's appointment, which took about and hour, and afterward we went to Hastings where I got Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Matt got "They Live" which is a movie with Rowdy Roddy Piper (or all freaking people!).  We also got two gaming books for Mage: The Awakening, which is the system we're playing right now.  Then, on the way home, Matt got a migraine.  He took one of the pills his doctor gave him, which should have worked, but didn't.  So, again, I'm concerned, especially because the prescription for that particular medication is like $200 for 5 which is just not manageable, especially without prescription coverage, considering he gets migraines a few times a day right now.  Hopefully he'll start feeling better, then we can go do the rest of the stuff we had planned, like having 1/2 price appetizers at Montana and getting our hair cuts, we both really need it!

Anyway, I'm off to see if he's feeling better.  There were going to be pictures but my camera doesn't seem to want to take good pictures of the damn things.  I think I may try again tonight, when there's less glare from the windows and it's darker in here.  Maybe then, with the flash off, it'll catch a good pic for me to post here... fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wherein I characteristically ramble...

Today was so beautiful!!  If I didn't know better, I'd never be convinced that it's January!  Leave it to Texas to be 70 degrees and breezy one day and 20 degrees and foggy the next.  We went out late this afternoon to have lunch with friends and the weather was remarkable.  I passed on the jacket in favor of a light weight cardigan and was comfortable.  The instant I was outside I regretted having to get into the car, and days like that are so rare for me.  I am not an outside person, yet I'm given to wondering if there's any place where it's like this all the time?  Sadly, I doubt it.

Matt's still, unfortunately, not feeling well, which takes some of the joy out of beautiful days like today.  His sinus headaches have all but disappeared, having been discouragingly replaced with migraine headaches.  He hasn't had a migraine in years (since 2004?), so we think it's a side effect of the Azithromycin.  His head started hurting last night and didn't stop until this afternoon when I dug a Zomig out of the drawer and gave it to him.  Zomig is a prescription migraine medicine and it works wonders!  Of course, the Zomig I gave him was also expired in 2004, so it took more like 30 minutes.  It took the edge off, which is only about half of what it would have done if it hadn't been expired.   I know, it's bad to take expired prescriptions, but it didn't hurt him and it took the edge off.  In my defense, I did warn him that it was expired and he chose to take it anyway.

So, now that it's late and it's cooled off, I'm just getting around to doing the laundry.  I hate doing the wash, but with school starting back on Tuesday, I need to start getting things in order.  We got our notebooks and pens tonight when I went to Wal-Mart to get Tylenol and dog food.  My house is still a disaster, but I'll probably spend tomorrow night cleaning it up.  I hate to start a new semester with things in disarray, it sets a bad tone for the months to come, when I'll be too busy to clean it up.   Well, technically, I don't start back until Wednesday, so I could clean it up on Tuesday, but I have a lot to do on Tuesday.  I need to get a hair cut, go to Tarleton and pick up my diploma, register Matt for classes, and go to the bookstore.  So, Tuesday might be a bad day to try cleaning up, but I kinda sorta promised to spend tomorrow with Matt.  It's the last day of the holiday break, so when he asked me to spend time with him I couldn't exactly say no.

Oh, and speaking of books, check this out...  I went to the off-campus bookstores website and put all of the books Matt and I will need for the semester into the shopping cart to see how much they'd be.  Brace yourself: $850!!  I almost choked, and when I was over the shock, I laughed.  There is absolutely no way I am paying $850 for one semester's books.  Matt has two math classes, which was the largest part of the cost, but still, that's just silly.  I'm going to go to the bookstore and see what editions my books are and then I'm going to buy them on Amazon or at Hastings.  $850, Pfft!!  Then, when we were standing in the dining room the other night, I noticed that we actually have the Statistics book he needs and we had the following conversation:

Me: "Oh my gosh.. $165!!"
Him: "What?"
Me: *pulls the Statistics book off the shelf*
Him: "Awesome!! Can we sell it?!"
Me: *facepalm*
Him: *snicker*

The fact that we have that book is going to make things so much easier, but the rest of the books aren't going to be cheap.  Sadly, I might have to buy some of them at the bookstore because of what they are, which makes me pretty unhappy.  I hope like hell we can get away with paying less than $850 for books because that could make me cry like a little girl!  I swear to you, I die a little inside every time I buy textbooks and now they have rental textbooks, wherein one pays about 50% the cost, but has to give them back at the end of the semester.  It's a good idea, on the surface, but what're you really paying for?  I checked into it and I don't like it, it feel like yet another way to rip off students.

Anyway, I'm sure by now you've also noticed the no-so-slight change in appearance around here!  I love the other theme, and will probably go back to it at some point, but I just feel in love with this one and had to use it!  It's certainly not uncharacteristic for me to change my blog theme, but I hope you like it.  It was done by the same person/company who did the other one.  They do really nice work!  I only made one very tiny change from the one on their site, and that's the header and footer font.  I love the curly, curvy, scripty fonts and they were using something a bit more bendy.  I know, that makes zero sense, but that's the only way I can describe it.

So now that I've written more than I intended to, about more topics than I intended to, I'm off.  Wherever you are, I hope you had a good weekend and that the week to come is amazing!  Time to go tend to the laundry!  Good night. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Waiting for rain...

I have to tell you, I am not in a good place right now.  I know what you're thinking: surprise, surprise.  Hell, that's what I'm thinking.  I really need for school to start back, I need the distraction, and I need the money.  I know that sounds horrible, school should be about learning, and while it is, when you live on financial aid money, school starting back is so much more than that. This semester, it means just that much more because I can pick up my diploma on the 19th.  I worked for it, I want it, and somewhere in the back of my mind this tiny voice is screaming that when I go to pick it up they're going to point and laugh and admit that it was all a joke.  Stupid, yes; irrational, yes.  I very clearly have issues.

Then, this morning, while sitting around doing nothing, I came to the realization that I don't enjoy being pointlessly idle.  I only enjoy doing nothing when there's something I'm supposed to be doing.  How's that for procrastination?  I could be cleaning my house, lord knows it needs to be cleaned.  I could be doing the laundry, it needs doing, too.  Instead, I was reading a book.  It's a good book, one I'm enjoying immensely.  I still feel a bit guilty about foregoing the stuff I need to do for something I want to do.  So, then, I don't like doing nothing, unless I should be doing something, but then I feel guilty about it.

Oh, and my husband is feeling bad again today.  We got his meds, he's been taking them for the last few days, along with a whole bunch of other stuff, but he's not really feeling much better.  He had a terrible headache last night, and right this second, at 3:45 in the afternoon, he's laying in the bed with the blankets over his head because he says the sinus pressure is unbearable.  I'm worried it's not going to get better, but we both really need it to because it's affecting our life, and our marriage, in a bad way.  This is a horrible way to start the new year.  I hope it doesn't pre-sage something worse, like a chronic problem, he can't even function like this and he's in a position right now where he has to go to class and do well if he wants to continue doing the same.  I have no idea how that's going to happen with him like this.  I'm trying to be hopeful that the meds just haven't had the time to work yet, but he's taken 5 of the 6 pill cycle of meds, you'd think he'd be feeling a little bit better by now.

And, to top it all off, my teeth are really bothering me again.  I have a broken wisdom tooth, or what's left of a broken wisdom tooth, in the back of my mouth that really needs to be cut out.  Unfortunately, without insurance, getting it done is just not workable.  It hurts, or at least bothers me, all the time right now.  I hope it starts to be something I can ignore again soon, because pain that I can do nothing about seems like a cruel fate, and one that I really don't feel like I deserve right now.

Anyway, it's back to the book because I need a distraction.  I really hope it rains, it's in the forecast and I could use a bit of cheering up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hoarders, Heartbreaking

Matt put Hoarders on the TV a few minutes ago.  I've been in a downright ugly mood today, which is bringing us down, and I'm afraid I totally freaked earlier and snapped at him.  When he knows I'm unhappy or upset, he always tries to placate me by putting on something he knows I like, which almost always means Snapped or Hoarders.  He's a good husband, there aren't many people who can put up with my moodiness.

I really only recently started watching Hoarders after I heard about it at school.  One of the English profs required her remedial students to do a paper on reality TV and they were watching Hoarders in class.  I can say, unequivocally, is that more than any other emotion, Hoarders makes me angry.  The people featured on this show have a serious mental illness.  I get that, I feel for them so much because I feel like I could become them any day now.  I'm a serious pack rat, my house is a cluttered disaster, and I hate to throw anything away.  I fear losing things.  It also bothers me because my aunt is a Hoarder.  Her house rivals the worst seen on the program, and is worse than most of them.  It affects her health, but she won't do anything about it.  She's also single and has no one else in her life to help her keep the place cleaned up from day to day.  I'm married, but my husband is no help at all.  Things pile up and if I don't break down and clean them up, who will?

It's not the hoarders who upset me, it's their families.  Have you seen this show?  Right now, "Linda; Todd" is on.  The woman, Linda, feel like no one wants to be around her, like her family doesn't want anything to do with her.  Her daughter keeps saying that she's not going to have anything to do with her anymore, because of the hoarding, and because all her mom does is whine about no one loving her.  Wait a minute, she doesn't want anything to do with her mom because her mom complains no one wants anything to do with her?  It sounds to me like Linda's (the mom/hoarder) feelings are justified.  Her family is so horrible.  They've not said a single nice thing about her, just about how she has to be told what to do and how they've wanted nothing more than to get away from her since they were 12 years old, or whatever.  How fucking horrible is that!  Oh, and to make matters worse, her husband is saying he's going to divorce her if she doesn't clean up the mess.  He keeps saying, "I don't want to, we get along well."  He's not saying, "I don't want to because I love her."  I really feel so, so bad for this woman.

For me, this show always begs the question, what the hell are the other people living in the house doing?!  I mean, most of the hoarders on the show have unsupportive families who don't understand them, but it isn't the case with all of them.  Often times the kids or animals are going to be taken away because of the mess.  Some of the people have upwards of 50 animals (some dead) in their houses, and the state is having to take them away.  Most of them are also married, but some are divorced, often because their spouses got tired of the mess and just left.  So, what're their spouses doing?  Why aren't they helping to keep it cleaned up?  What're the kids doing?  When I was a kid, I had chores.  I grew up in a clean house, and keeping it so was everyone's responsibility.  I cleaned all the bathrooms in the house every Saturday, I did the dishes, and helped with the laundry.  We worked as a family to see that our environment was safe and clean and livable.  Why aren't these people's families helping them?

I love this show, but I think I might have to stop watching it.  My heart goes out to people with this problem, it's an issue personal to me, and to see people who should be caring about the hoarder rejecting them, it makes me mad.  These people need support and help and that's what families and friends are for, right?  I can't imagine how they must feel when they see this show and see what their friends and families are saying about them behind their back, to a wide audience of strangers.  It just breaks my heart.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

At wits end...

So, my husband has been sick for a month and I have no idea what to do to help him.  I'm absolutely at the end of my rope with this whole thing.  It would seem that he has a really bad sinus infection and his sinuses are swelling shut causing him horrible crippling headaches.  He can't function like this, all he does is lay on the sofa with a hot pack on his face for hours a day, moaning in pain.  He spends more time suffering than he does not suffering lately and I don't know how much more I can take of his pain.  It breaks my heart that he's hurting, but more so because I can't do a damn thing.

We've tried everything I can think of: allergy meds, vicks, saline spray, hot packs, nasal rinse, hot steam, hot showers... nothing is working.  Nothing.  I have no more ideas and he's not getting any better.  Frankly, I dread the next headache because I know that I can't do anything.  The problem is, he always seems to be sick.  If it's not one thing it's another.  For a month in October/November he had H1N1, he was better for 3 weeks, and this sinus thing came on.  I'm frustrated, and worried, and angry all the fucking time.  In my frustration, not ten minutes ago, I actually yelled at him when he asked me to do something.  I have to be the worst wife in the world.

Here's the thing, went to the doctor on New Years eve and they gave him a steroid shot, a prescription for Azithromycin, and told him to go home and use this thing called the NeilMed nasal rinse.  His doctor told him not to fill the perscription for at least a week, to see if the nasal rinse and Claratin-D would clear up the infection, with the help of the shot.  It worked for a few days, his headaches were sporadic to non-existent.  Then, they came back.  He stubbornly refused to let me get the perscription filled, he continued to smoke even though his doctor told him it would exacerbate the problem, and now, now when he wants to fill the stupid thing, we can't.  School doesn't start back for another almost 10 days and until them, we have no money.  No, we have less than no money.  So, he's going to have to just deal with it, which means I am going to have to just deal with it.

To make matters worse, I was looking at the Claratin he came home with last night and realized that it's not working as well as it should be because he didn't get Claratin-D, he got regular Claratin.  So, now we have a med that isn't doing anything, and a prescription we can't afford to fill, pain, and finally frustration.  I swear, sometimes I wish I could crawl under the blankets and make my life go the fuck away.  Oh, and he's just now starting to feel better and he just apologized to me, when I'm the one who screamed at him.  It's official, I am the worst wife in the world.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Never too busy for a book...

I signed up for the 2010 Busy Bookworm Challenge and I think you should too!!

You may have noticed the button on my sidebar, it's been there for a few days now.  I came across this challenge last year, about October, and though I felt at that point that I couldn't manage to make it work for the lateness of the year, I made sure to bookmark the page so I could find it again at the beginning of this year.  I'm busy, we all are, but I really feel like this is a good way to keep reading for pleasure in the mix when things get tough.  So, if you're an avid reader with a busy schedule, it might be for you, too.

I'm adding this to my new year's resolutions... It's just too much fun not too!!   Of course, a whole week in the new year is gone, so I'd better get reading if I hope to make it work.  Here's my list for 2010:

  1. Kushiel's Avatar (Kushiel's Legacy, Book 3) by Jacqueline Carey [Review]

  2. Kushiel's Scion (Kushiel's Legacy, Book 4) by Jacqueline Carey

  3. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

  4. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll

  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

  6. Bound by Honor by Colette Gale [Review]

  7. Master by Colette Gale

  8. Taboo by Jess Michaels

  9. Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

  10. Bathory: Memoir of a Countess by A. Mordeaux [Review]

  11. The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

  12. Poison Study (The Study Series, Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder

For now, I'm just going to start out with 12 books, but am certain I'll add more later as I inevitably come upon books that I just have to read.  The list will likely not go over 24 books in all and though one book a month seems like a very conservative estimate, with everything else I have going on this year, it might also be more realistic than two or three a month that I would like to read.  The books on the list represent a wide variety of genres, which should keep me entertained.  They're also in no particular order, though I will start with Kushiel's Avatar because I've recently begun reading it.

Finally, the challenge is not just to read the book, but to write a review about it once I've finished.  So, throughout the year, I'll be writing reviews for the books currently on the list, and those I add to the list.  I'm looking forward to getting started and will be posting a link to this entry on the sidebar with the badge so that it's easy to find, since I'll be making additions to, and striking books from, the list throughout the year!

If you're interested in participating, I encourage you to click the link at the top of this post, or the badge on the sidebar, and sign up for the challenge yourself.  More information is available at the Busy Bookworm Challenge page, complete with rules and web-badges.  Please let me know if you decide to sign up.  Also, I'm always on the lookout for more great books, so if you have any recommendations, please don't hesitate to suggest them to me!!

Happy reading!

When caring isn't sharing

I come to you, on the 7th day of the new year, with the admission that since I made the resolutions found in the previous post, I haven't done a single thing.  I haven't cleaned my house, written an article, gotten more organized, attempted to lose a pound, or worked on either of my novels in progress.  I haven't done anything, except stress.  It's funny how stress can just simply take a person over, devour their will to live, and spit them out less whole.  That's where I'm at right now and it seems like if 2010 keeps up this way it's going to be worse than 2009 was... but I'm trying like hell to remain hopeful and optimistic. I'm psychologically putting on my happiest damn face and hoping the facade will influence what's behind it.  I'm rallying, I'm hoping, I'm damn near praying; failure is not a god damned option 2010.

So today, in the wake of the storm, some sunshine broke the clouds.  It's 25 degrees, so that's not it, but rather one of the major stressors in our life has been alleviated.  My husband is in an interesting (and I use the word interesting very loosely) situation with school.  I won't go into it, because he'd be angry with me, but he's only got about 38 hours left (about 12 classes).  We're hopeful he'll be done by May 2011.  Unfortunately, there are some obstacles standing in his way.  Some relatively major obstacles.  Today, after a meeting with his advisor, and some of his advisor's colleges, one of those obstacles has been lifted and he's able to move forward in a more meaningful way.  This means a lot to both of us. I wish I could be more specific, but I find that one of the quirks of southern men is their desperate, unyielding, almost pathological need for privacy.

Matt being southern means he's likewise very private.  He doesn't fit into most southern stereotypes, but this one he embodies.  There're matters he simply will not consent to share.  So, if I were to post them here, he would almost certainly be upset.  While I, on the other hand, was bred by a culture that dictates that when down, you lean on friends.  That's what friends are for, right?  A long time ago, I ignored that lesson.  Since then, it has become one of the more frustrating parts of my life.  I feel he's too private.  He won't talk to anyone but me about his problems.  Likewise, he expects me to adhere to a code of privacy that often prohibits me from being open with others.  It makes life a bit frustrating, and makes it hard to make friends.   So much so, I've all but given up on making new friends.  I mean, who goes into a friendship with the knowledge that disclosure is impossible?  Not me, at least not anymore.  Friendship is about the sharing of one's self with others, it's putting yourself out there that makes the rewards of friendship meaningful.  If there's no risk, no chance of hurt, then there's no benefit in finding a warm, kindred spirit who'll care about you for who you are.

I digress, and please don't misunderstand, he's not a tyrant about it.  He has expectations, like anyone else, this one just happens to be harder for me than most of them.  He and I go back and forth, but he has some very good reasons for his incessant drive to privacy, which I try to respect it even though I disagree.  So, now that I've gotten a bit off track, I'll simply chalk today's happiness up to a ray of sunshine from an otherwise gloomy sky and you'll have to take my word for it.  It's the best I can do, I'm afraid.

I'll beg your pardon if this post is ranty or doesn't make logical sense.  I've had about 2 1/2 hours of sleep.  I went to bed at 6:30am, but I couldn't stay asleep.  I woke up at 8:15am when the alarm went off, and again at 9:15 when Matt was moving around getting ready to go.  At 9:30am, when he was leaving, I finally decided to get up.  I was wide awake and nervous about the outcome of his appointment.  When he came in around 11am this morning, with good news, I was both elated, but groggy.  Now, he's sleeping, because before about an hour ago, he hadn't slept in nearly two days.  Insomnia is not the most awesome thing in the world, I promise you, especially when it's coupled with nerves.  I'm so glad he's sleeping, but it's freezing in my house, so I think I might go curl up in the bed with a warm body and try to catch a few winks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcoming 2010...

Happy New Year!!

It's a beautiful day here in central Texas, about 50 degrees right now.  Matt's sleeping soundly for the first time in almost a month, and has been for the past 10 or so hours.  I've been thinking all morning about what I want to say today, and this entry will be a work in progress because I have plans to go grocery shopping in about 15 minutes.   After that, I've promised what's left of the day after that to Matt.  So, this may not see the light of day until tomorrow.  We'll see.

I'm not very good at New Years resolutions.  Every time I've made them, I've failed to keep them, which makes me leery to make them.  Last year, I resolved not to make a resolution, and so succeeded instantly at the task.  Of course, I also failed instantly, but who's counting?!  This year, I want to make some because I feel like this year could be awesome if I give all I have to making it so.  This is remarkably optimistic for me.  I think the worst until I'm proven otherwise, and every year I welcome the following  365 days with pessimism, sure that they'll suck.  In turn, they normally do suck.  So, this year, I'm trying to think positive.  It's a new decade, 2010, and with it comes new chances.

In 2010 I start a new educational adventure, a new chance.  Matt and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, a turning point.  I'll finish my novel, an opportunity.  I'm looking forward to 2010 in a way I've never looked forward before and if that makes me an optimist, even for today, I'll take it.  So, what are those resolutions I'm resolved to make this year?

  1. Commit to freelancing -  This is really important to me.  Now that I have my bachelor's degree, if I feel like I should start doing something with it, even though I'll also be a graduate student and might have a (part-time) day job.

  2. Finish my novel - I'm about 25,500 words in, so this isn't a fresh start, but rather a project I really want/need to finish.  I know it's a good idea, I just need to commit to it again, so here it is!

  3. Devote myself meaningfully to a planned, joint creative project - Matt and I, as it says, have decided to undertake a joint creative venture.  I'm really excited about this, I know he is too, so we'll start putting things down on paper soon.  It should be fun, if we can agree, which will be the biggest problem.

  4. Get in better shape - Yes, this is a resolution everyone has made at some point.  It's the most overly sought after achievement in the history of New Year's resolutions, but that doesn't make me want it any less.  I must do something about my weight.  I would point out this does not say "lose [insert #] pounds."  I'm not that brave, I'm not devoting myself to a specific number.  Right now, anything would be an improvement, so that's what I'm aiming for, anything.

  5. Get organized - Okay, I know, another overly used one.  I don't much care that it's common, what I care about is that I really need it.  My house is a huge cluttered mess!  I need to sort through what I have and get rid of some stuff.  I'm such a pack-rat.  A few more years and I swear 'Hoarders' is going to be showing up at my door with cameras and a psychologist.  When we get the office floor laid down and I can put my desk back in there, that will help, we'll have one whole room to use that's not getting any use right now.  Maybe a virtual (read: eBay) garage sale is in order!

Okay, so there you have it!  Rather than making one resolution, I'm taking the opportunity to make five of them.  I feel like 2010 will be a better year, it just simply has to be, and I want to make the most of it!  I think it helps to put there here, too, a little bit of accountability never killed anyone... I hope.

I hope everyone had a very Happy, and safe, New Year.  May 2010 be better than 2009 proved to be!!