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30 November 2007

Happy Christmastime!

I decorated the house today. It's all lightie and snowmanie and blue and sliver and white. The Boy and I will decorate the tree tomorrow or Sunday. Not sure yet.

I got home from work and turned on the Sirius, blasting the festive holiday tunes. I haven't decorate in years due to spending two weeks in the northeast at Christmastime. I think the last time I decorated was when I lived on Groton Ave. in NY. We had a big Christmas tree all covered in lights and ribbons and ornaments. I had a mini little table top tree at the old apartment, but that was the extent of my decorating. Today I pulled out all of the big Rubbermaid tubs of decorations that I have accumulated since the ole marriage days. I sorted through them and strung five strings of lights as put out my music box, candle holders, snowmen, and angels. It looks rather festive in here. All set for tomorrow night's get-together. Maybe we'll even get the tree done before then. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

I'm feeling rather holiday-esque now that the medicine has kicked in and my stomach doesn't ache all the time. My ear even feels better too!

As I always say, better living through pharmaceuticals!!

29 November 2007

Hello, I'm Heather the Intern

I went to the doctor today. My appointment was for 8:20am. They called me back for blood pressure and temperature-taking at 8:05am. Then I got to sit in the room until the nurse came in at 8:20 to tell me that Heather was running late. At 8:33, she came back again to tell me that Heather was still on her way. Finally, at 8:45, Heather arrived. She came into the room and announced, "Hi. I'm Heather the Intern." I laughed on the inside, but I was soon relieved to see her Wake Forest Medical Center badge. Finally! A person with reputable medical training! Granted, she is still in school, but at least she isn't a dumb ass!

After she took my symptoms (which seemed to mystify her because they didn't follow normal symptoms), she had me lie down and she did an abdominal exam. As soon as she pressed on the upper right part of my stomach, right along the ribcage, I was like, "Yeah. That hurts." She listed to my tum-tum with a cold ass stethoscope and was like, "There's a lot of movement going on down here." I nodded. At that point, She determined that I either have an ulcer (hence the pain in the upper right quadrant) or a "motility" problem. In other words, my stomach and my intestines are working at different speeds and this creates discomfort. Either way, she gave me some anti-nausea pills to ease the problem. If it persists, she wants me to come back on Monday. On the bright side, the pills are supposed to make me sleepy.

At this point in the exam, I explain my insurance woes and my ear troubles. I ask for a referral and she says, "No problem. I'll go get the paperwork." Of course, as soon as she leaves the office, I hear some ole bitch tell her that "We need to diagnose and attempt to solve the problem before writing a referral." At this point, I'm steamed. I knew it was coming. When Heather the Intern returns, I can tell that she doesn't want to deliver the bad news and tells me that I am going to be annoyed. Now, despite biting my lip until I bleed, I start to tear up and tell her how frustrated I am and how the health center misdiagnosed the problem to start with and create the whole mess. She looked at me kindly and asked, "Would you like me to take a look? It's a different set of eyes." Obviously I complied (fuck you and your two separate appointments!).

She looked in my ears and noted that they are completely filled with fluid and are infected. When I told her about the new pain, she looked concerned and checked it out. She determined that I probably have a secondary infection in the mast regions of my skull (little air pockets behind your ears in the skull). She said it is common for people with chronic ear infections to get this, but it needs to be treated because it can lead to brain illnesses like meningitis. No thanks! So, I got some antibiotics for that shit. Hopefully, I'll be better soon!

All in all, other than waiting for FOREVER, the appointment was good. Plus, she told me to come back and see the REAL doctor on Monday, and they would give me my referral. Yeah!

Campus health still blows, but at least I have some medicine to help me start feeling better.

28 November 2007

How effed up is this?

So, I resign myself to getting my ailments taken care of. Sadly, I must visit our lack-luster Gove Health Center on campus. (I do this only after I speak to the billing department and the repeatedly reassure me that my crappy student health insurance covers all on-campus medical expenses, and I will pay nothing out of pocket.) I find solace in knowing that I only need to go to campus health for a referral, and my well-being is not in their care.

So I call them up.

"Hello. Student Health Services."

"Hi. I need to make an appointment."

"What is the problem?"

"I think I have an ulcer, and my ear has hurt for a few weeks now."

"So, you would like to make two appointments?"

"No. I would like to make one."

"Oh, I'm sorry. You can only be seen by the doctor (we all know that the person who sees me will be a glorified nursing student) for one issue at a time."

"Well, I'm a full-time student, and I have a full-time job. I don't have the time for two separate appointments."

"I understand, but it is our policy (this means that they can scam my crappy insurance for more money. i.e. more office visits=more fees for reimbursement). Now, what would you like to schedule first?"

"Whatever. My stomach."

"How does tomorrow look?"

"I'm on campus at 8."

"How does 8:20 work?"

Well,obviously. I said I was on campus at 8. "Good."

She asks for all of my information and then says, "And when would you like to schedule your other appointment?"

"I wouldn't. Goodbye."

Part of me (a large part at that) wants to totally bail on tomorrow's appointment. Without calling, of course. We'll see how the ole' tum-tum feels in the AM.

God - I pray that I find reasonable employment with decent insurance. I've been in college for ten years now. I should be qualified for something with benefits. Amen.

I think I have an ulcer

and it may be bleeding.

I've had an ugly upset stomach for the past few weeks, on and off. Especially the last three days or so. No matter what I eat (or don't), I have this tight, nauseous feeling in my gut. It kinda blows. Not kinda. Really blows. Of course, all of the medicine I take for my aching joints and aching ear (see below) only aggravates it further. So, my choices are to either have pain in my joints and ear or pain in my stomach. What is a girl to do?

My left ear has been killing me for a few weeks now. When I wake up in the morning, it aches and even hurts to the touch. If I touch my face and neck anywhere near my earlobes or fragus (the little flap of skin and cartilage on the side of your face above your earlobe), it hurts terribly. Thankfully, my knee and wrists medicines take care of it.

I should probably get both checked out, but the thought of dealing with the insurance only makes my stomach hurt more. I'll wait it out until I get that county job in December or July to take care of. Then I will have some kick ass insurance. How lame is it that I get excited aver insurance? I am officially old.

In other news, we have a few new members of the family. Burke the Beta joined the household yesterday. He is a beautiful sapphire blue with a black face and chest. (Do betas have chests? Who knows. You get my drift.). He lives on top of the entertainment center in a big bowl. CeCe the Conifer (named after St. Cecelia since we got her on that day) is our potted Norfolk Island Fir. The damn thing is supposed to grow to ceiling height. She currently resides in the guest bathroom for Bailey-protection. I'm getting a grow light so she'll keep growing despite the darkness (she is native to Australia so our lack of sun and cold temperatures may stunt her growth). I may need a bigger apartment. Maybe after I get me new job.

And that's all for updates in the 'boro.

25 November 2007

Robert Redford, despite his semi-leathery face, makes my heart melt...

... and not in the sexual, "he is so hot" way, but, rather in the "your mind makes me hot" way.

The Boy and I saw "Lions for Lambs" on Friday night. He took me after I got off work at AT. Of course, I ended up in tears, once again. It was fantastic. The critics called it "talky" and claimed that it was too difficult to "get into" the characters and their lives. I completely disagree. Robert Redford's character narrates much of the story, but you do get to see snippets of the characters he is speaking of. It is obviously reflective of the current state of politics and military-power (that was Redford's goal), but it also had some great commentary on teaching and the reasons we teach. I enjoyed both aspects of the film. As did The Boy. It makes me sad about the condition of our nation, but it also made me rethink some of my opinions of the press and the government and the reasons why we are still fighting a "war" that has no end. I like movies that make you think and reflect. I would like to talk more about it, but I would hate to ruin the ending for everyone. Let me just say that as soon as you all see it, we can talk about it! I'd like to see it again, if anyone is interested.

In other news, Thanksgiving was nice. It was just The Boy and me and The Beast. We had duck, some Ah-MAZING stuffing (fresh bread, apricots, cranberries, almonds, port wine, and chicken broth ... mmmmm ....), some fantastic sweet potatoes, and sugar snap peas. Plus we made a kick-ass cake (white cake with coconut frosting!). We had some great wine with dinner, some champagne with dessert, and some more wine afterwards while we watched "The Bells of Saint Mary's." Needless to say, the end of the evening was a little blurry. But very fun!!

School starts back up tomorrow. Not too psyched about that. But, the good news is that there is only a few weeks left. Like two. I just need to finish this bullshit annotated bib for my CUI class, and I am done! Te final projects for my UNS class should take all of an hour to grade, and that's it. I'm throwing a little get-together this weekend for my peeps that I never see, so that should be fun.

I'm rather happy that this semester is almost over. Granted, there is one more semester left for me, but at least this one is almost over. Wooo Hoooo!

16 November 2007

An update on my pyschosis; or, Just call me Suzie

As in Homemaker. Yep, you heard it here first. I actually donned the apron yesterday (it was red!) and made crabcakes and Bailey's Irish Cream Bread. This afternoon, I made some cupcakes. Look at me go! The crabcakes and cupcakes (kind of a cake theme, huh?) are for Kedren's birthday dinner tonight. The bread is for The Boy.

Today I met with the GSD regarding my future in the program. She informed me that I can remain a full-time student in the Spring and not take any real classes (I'll take 6 hours of Independent Study), or I can withdraw my full-time status and take one hour of the same course. That would leave me open to work full time as an assistant manager at AT or as a magistrate. I need to see what works out best. I would feel terrible leaving my assistantship in the middle of the year, but I need to do what is best for my finances and my education. I'll know more after I talk to My Favorite Lawyers and AT. Hopefully, things will work out for the best. And, by best I mean, what makes me happy.

I'm hoping that this means things are falling into place. I've had a few minor meltdowns in the past few weeks (thanks to MealyMel and Mrs. DH for their loving support!), and I hate that feeling. You know, the control freak in me hates a loss of control. I have to be the one with it all together. Duh! Anyway, it seems that things do have a way of working out. (Don't tell The Boy I said that. He'll go into one of his speeches on how God works in his own way and has a plan.)

That being said, the weekend seems to have a pretty positive outlook! Maybe I'll even get some work done.

14 November 2007

The sweet smell of decay

Just when the world was starting to blister and tear my shoulders, a simple fragrance lifted it up and cleared all of my worries away ... even if only for a little while.

Today, driving down the road in the bright sunshine with the windows down, the wind blowing in the sweet smell of autumn leaves decomposing on the leaf-littered ground made me happy and content with everything that has been weighing on me. It made me think of home. Of crisp, happy New York autumns of days gone passed. Of jumping in piles of leaves and having leaf fights. Of watching the hillsides come ablaze in supernatural colors. Of younger days when it was perfectly acceptable (and expected) to be carefree.

It's a smell that means "home."

12 November 2007

Things that piss me off in general ...

Hmmm ... It seems that I've had time to contemplate the world around me, and I've come to some conclusions about the people around.

1. I have absolutely no time nor patience for people who claim to be "Christian" yet act in the most un-Christian fashion. This is not me on a soapbox because I do not claim to be Christian. Granted, I am exploring it, but it is not a label that I currently apply to myself. Anyway, the hypocrisy that pervades the Christians (mainly born-again protestants, but not excluding mainstream protestants as well) is sickening. These people preach a good game, but when it comes to actually living in Jesus' image, they fail miserably. It's rather sad and disheartening.

2. I also have no time and patience for adults who behave in a middle-school-esque fashion. As a grown adult, the silent treatment (i.e ignoring people) is lame-o and immature. When grown people are angry or disappointed or upset, they address those issues and discuss them with the person that "caused" the discontent. Come on, people. Get it together. You have outgrown middle school by nearly a decade (or more!). It is time to behave accordingly.

3. The bureaucracy of academia is unreal. 'Nuf said.

4. The constant stream of bullshit from the world of insurance is out of control. 'Nuf said.

5. Finally, I am completely exhausted by people who require so much time and effort in friendships. They cannot be bothered to call or write, but they get upset and annoyed when you stop doing the same. I'm sorry people. I refuse to any longer be the one who always puts everything together, the one who always makes first contact, the one who always plans. Don't get me wrong. I love doing all those things, but it just gets boring after a while when it becomes the expectation of me. I do it because I enjoy it, not because it is my job. Sadly, when I quit the job, people either get pist or fade into the woodwork. This only reveals to me the kinds of people I have surrounded myself with. (Of course, this mini-tirade does not apply to all of the people in my life! Just those that fit into this particular category. I love the rest of you terribly!)

So, that being said, life is fairly good on my end. I made some pretty kick-ass macaroons for RCIA tomorrow night (including an adulterated batch spiked with Malibu rum), and now I am watching The Great Gatsby. Oh, if I could have only lived in the Roaring 20s and have had my clothes designed by Ralph Lauren. I just adore the beaded dresses and hats and everything. But, if I were alive in the 20s, I would probably have been a scullery maid in NYC, living in the Bowery. Just call me Maggie. For those of you that get that reference, you officially rock!

That's all for now, folks. Take care.

08 November 2007

And to counteract the previous socially aware post ...

Upon rewatching The Departed, I realized how amazingly hot Matt Damon is. However, it is totally the accent. The urban, lower class Bostonian accent is hot beyond words. It conveys a rugged, earthly, urban rebel-rouser with dark hair and secretive eyes. (This is very sexy in theory, but we all know that we don't want to actually get tied down to this kind of man! Still, the illusion is great!) The accent doesn't work on women. On women, it often makes them seem unintelligent (much like the Southern accent on both men and women). But, on men, a totally different story! Without the accent, Matt Damon is simply average.

I absolutely love it when we go home and The Boy starts talking with the family. It is like complete immersion in another country. Love it!

Last year when we were in town for Opening Day, The Boy's family was in town for dinner. His dad came to the States when he was 18. His older sisters and brothers came over as well. His dad speaks decent English, but his older sister barely speaks English at all. In fact, she only converses in Italian. Of course, this was only a problem for me. They were all talking a mile a minute in Italian and a heavily Boston-accented dialect of Italian. I was clueless. Everyone had to keep translating for me. I felt completely clueless. But it was great fun!

07 November 2007

I may be a bit behind the curve ball, but I catch on quickly!

Inspired by my current battle with my graduate student insurance (a.k.a. "One step above no insurance"), I watched Sicko. It made me angry, sympathetic, frustrated, and sad.

But first, let me catch you up to speed on my insurance saga.

I have had the same crappy insurance for the past three years that I have lived here. For the first two years, nothing changed in each renewal cycle. My deductible remained the same ($100) and my referral process (i.e. not needing one) never changed. Suddenly, this year, they changed it and never notified me. Unfortunately,before I discovered the change in the policy, I had racked up a visit to the emergency room and a visit to a specialist's office without a referral. Now I am in a full-on war with the insurance company to get them to pay for this. They are hoping that I will just give up and pay up. However, they failed to realize that I am an obnoxious and aggressive New Yorker. In the meantime, they have also told me that the orthopaedist that I have been seeing for over a year and a half will need a referral for my next visit. Are you frickin' kidding me?

Anyway, back to Sicko. Let me give my disclaimed first. I fully recognize that Michael Moore has an agenda. He presents his material in a clearly biased and slanted view. However, he never claims otherwise. He fully acknowledges that he films with the intention of making a political and/or social point. While this discourages some (mainly people who disagree with his positions), it encourages me. Of course, I'm smart enough to balance his information with my own knowledge and my own thoughts. Despite this, Sicko pist me off.

One of the last things that Michael Moore said in the film was that until our nation stops focusing on "me" and starts focusing on "we," nothing will get better. He is completely right. As Americans, we are so consumed with personal gain and personal achievement. We have completely lost sight of the concept of community and democracy. The whole basis of democracy of being rule by the people for the people is completely contradicted by the way Americans now live. While we try to run the government "by the people," we completely lack the element of "for the people." We no longer care about those less fortunate (they are "lazy" and there are "too many" programs to help them already) or the children of those people (because it is obvious that the children should suffer for the "sins" of the father, right?). I cannot say how many times my stomach has turned when someone has said, "I don't want my tax dollars going to support all those other people." My question is, "What about the WIC that pays for your kids' foods? What about the Social Security benefits you receive? What about the Medicaid/Medicare your parents receive in their old age? Who do you think pays for that? Everyone around you!!!!" Why is it all about me, me, me?

Many years ago (you know, when the puritans came over), the Church and church provided social welfare for those who were less fortunate. Even those who were fortunate but fell upon hard times were cared for by religious institutions. that has obviously faded away into the distant past. Now that the religious institutions do far less than they used to (and I am by no means saying that they do nothing! They do ... just not as much as they used to), there are few people to help others.

Maybe I am crazy. Maybe grad school has taken it's toll on me. But I just don't see what is so wrong with helping others out. Why should a person go without cancer treatment because they cannot afford it? They deserve to die? To suffer? Why should a child suffer from rotting teeth all through their youth? What have they done to deserve that? They deserve to suffer simply because their parents have no insurance or have no decent job? Definitely. Of course. That's logical. Because living a healthy life is a privilege, not a right!, that can easily stripped away for simply sins like the lack of a decent job or unfortunate genetics. That makes complete sense.

It also amazes me that Americans will rush off to a fundraiser to shell out their cash to specific people when they become ill or fall upon hard times, but those very same people aren't willing to pay a bit more in taxes to prevent those illness in the beginning. Ugh! It makes no sense to me. I would love for someone to help me understand this.

Please don't take me as a unpatriotic or un-American. I love being in this country and all of the many privileges that come with it. Especially as a woman. I recognize that I am extremely blessed in the accident that was the place of my birth. However, that will not stop me from moving abroad. As soon as The Boy graduates his law program, we are *hopefully* moving to England or Italy or another major metropolitan area in Europe. I would like to see how the other half of the world lives. I'll come back to visit, though. All my peeps are here!

It saddens me the state we are in. For a country that claims to be so damn Christian, we ceretainly have failed to live in Jesus' image.

Free from the enslavement

I deleted my myspace today.

It felt good. No more stalking and lack of privacy. Of course, that means no more random LL comments and no more Kiki pics, but I'll survive.

What didn't feel so good was deleting all of my former blog posts. During that process, I realized that I used to "blog" all the time. About everything. The mundane. The exciting. The random. Some of it was total shit. Some of it was pretty decent.

I miss my prolific writing. I am too busy and too stressed out to write anymore. When I do write, it isn't anything all that important. Like this one. It has no real relevance to the world. It isn't profound. It isn't life changing.

I want to get back to writing important stuff again. I gotta make time to do that.

Starting now.

Or maybe next week ...

05 November 2007

A Brief Summary of the Last Few Days

10/31 - Family arrives.

11/1 - Family still here. Had lunch with more family from Raleigh.

11/2 - Family still here. Lunch at Natty Greene's and the Natural Science Center.

11/3 - Family still here. Luke's Momma arrives as well. The North Carolina Zoo with all the kiddies. Party at Chea Grabow with all the chickies and their respective children.

11/4 - Family left at 4am, thinking it was 5. (They forgot to set back the clocks!). Slept in until 10 or so. Missed Mass. The Boy went without me. Grocery shopping with The Boy, and then off to Durham to visit My Favorite Jews. Enjoyed watching the Colts get beat by the Pats. Good fun indeed. Especially when coupled with a few Bacardi and Cokes.

11/5 - Took a much needed mental health day. Slept in until 9:30 or so. The Beast slept as well. It was fabulous. Didn't shower until 1 or so. It was great. I haven't had a day off like this in a while. Very much needed.


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