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17 December 2007

A bit of sad news

Tweedle Dee (or was it Tweedle Dum?) didn't make it a week. I woke up on Sunday to see a dead frog at the bottom of his bowl. It made me sad. Now Tweedle Dum (or is it Tweedle Dee?) is all alone.

How much does it cost to hire a personal decision maker?

Don't you just hate it when you have to make big decisions? I'm pretty used to the small, everyday decision. You know, ice cream or yogurt?Havarti or mozzarella? Be a bitch or let the student athletes get away with shit? Just when everything gets to an even keel, life throws a wicked curve ball and I actually have to make a real decision that impacts more than just my mood and checkbook.

So, through the miracle of the Internet, I am going to hash out the decision right here on my blog and I fully expect all of my three readers to weigh in and help me make a decision!

As you all most likely know, the graduate student life is one of poverty and insane student loans. You may also know that I have decided to leave the full-time student and finish this shit up part-time. Of course, this is no big deal since all of my coursework is DONE! I've had my feelers out for potential jobs, and I have a few good leads on things.

On Saturday, AT offered me a full-time assistant manager position. It is a 37-43 hours/week position that pays only 30k a year. But, it has AMAZING benefits (including dental!!). They really want me to take it, and I need to make my decision by tomorrow evening. However, if I take this position, I will no longer be able to work with The Joe in the afternoons and his parents would need to hire a replacement. No big deal, right?

Wrong. The World's Best Employers are amazing to me. Mrs. ADA is even letting The Boy follow her around the prosecutor's office all week this week so he can see how things work and get some experience. They gave me $50 to spend at Friendly Center as my holiday bonus. They absolutely love me, and they tell me this every day. Aside from all that, Mrs. ADA is trying to get me that criminal magistrate position that starts in July (a state job that starts around 35k with full benefits and a seven-day-on, seven-day-off schedule!). Unfortunately, she cannot guarantee that I will get the position because someone with more clout may take it. If they don't, it's mine! If they do, I'm out of luck.

I'm totally okay with leaving my campus assistantship (although I know that some of my students would be disappointed), but I don't know how I feel about abandoning people who have done so much for me in the past two years. No, I lied. I do know how I would feel. I would feel like a traitor, an ungrateful twit, miserable and unethical. I also cannot, in good conscience, take the AT position only to quit in July when the magistrate position is open.

So, now for the questions. Get ready ...

1. Do I take the AT position and abandon The World's Best Employers and their autistic son and their other two children who adore me?

2. Do I wait for July to see if the magistrate position comes through and keep working part-time at my three other jobs?

3. Is a bird in the hand really worth two in the bush?

Let's have it, folks. Bring it on.

12 December 2007

Cheap tickets to Florida!

My parents are going to Florida for two weeks in April, and I get to visit for four days!! I am flying down on the SkyBus (my new favorite thing ever!), and it only cost me $91.80!!! I'm pretty stoked. I'll be with them at the beach from the 17th through the 20th. After considering flight times, I'll be spending about three and a half solid days with the 'rents. It should be fun. I'm pretty stoked. I haven't been to Florida since my honeymoon in 2001. That's pretty funny.


I gave the Best Employers Ever their Christmas gift. It was a calendar made up of photos I took of their children. I wanted to give it to them when they were together and all the kids were there (being lawyers it is often rare to see them together in the evening when I leave), and tonight I hung around for a little bit to wait for the Defense Attorney to get home. When they opened it, they were completely thrilled. I know that they are often way too busy to worry about taking pictures of their kids, and I know that they are completely focused on their kids. I knew that this calendar would be a great gift for them. They were completely surprised and were very happy. They gave me big hugs and were super appreciative. It felt nice to make them so happy. I sent Mrs. ADA the link for the rest of the photos so she can order any other prints that she wants.


I'm currently watching ScarJo in The Nanny Diaries. Laura Linney plays a wonderful bitch. I kinda feel bad for her. Trapped in a loveless marriage with the mothering-instinct of a praying mantis. I feel bad for people like her. More money that she knows what to do with but completely unhappy and alone. A husband that philanders around the city and the aire of being happy and content in that marriage.

Man, you couldn't pay me enough to be a nanny. No way in hell.

11 December 2007

Reflections on faith

I've been doing the RCIA (Rites of Catholic Initiation for Adults) for about two months now, and I can honestly say that this is something that I am passionate about and am looking forward to continuing. That should be obvious at this point given that I participate in the Rite of Acceptance a few weeks ago, but my feelings about the process have only deepened and strengthened. I've found solace and comfort in the Church, something that I have lacked for a very long time.

For those of you who don't know, my interest in religion ended abruptly in the 11th grade. Two friends of mine were taken from their home and brutally murdered. No one could answer my questions on faith and how God would allow such horrible things to happen to such young and innocent girls. The ministers and people of faith that I spoke to at the time provided cookie-cutter answers like, "God has a greater plan for them," and "God doesn't make evil happen. But they are with Him now." This provided me with no solace and only added to my frustration. Subconsciously, I gave up. In the 11 (almost twelve) years since that happened, I had attended church perhaps a dozen times and most of those times were out of common courtesy to others. My heart was never in it. I found it too difficult to let down this wall that I had built around my soul to protect me from such violences against my spirit. I wasn't a bad person during this time. I was the same old me. I wasn't kicking puppies or beating children or robbing banks. I just chose to believe in myself and not some higher power. I doubted that God existed and, if he did exist, that He even cared about what happened here on Earth. My thoughts centered on the fact that we are all here on our own with no intervention. People can chose to be moral, or they can chose to be amoral. I fully believed that an individual gets where they want in life through their own hard work and determination, with no help from any divine being. Granted, this has made me a bit more selfish and proud, but I was by no means a "bad" person in the traditional sense of the word.

Turns out, the Catholics have a term for this. Many saints have also gone through the "Dark Night of the Soul." Both Mother Teresa and her namesake Saint Therese of Lisieux went through similar experiences when they questioned God's presence in their lives. According to the Catholics, the Dark Night of the Soul is actually a blessing and a test of one's faith. I guess that this would be true since it has brought me to the Church and renewed my spiritual life. Since beginning to explore Catholicism and its tenets, I find that I have become more centered and calm. I've established a nightly routine; Each night right when I get into bed, I first write in a journal that is dedicated "soul"ly to commentary and exploration of my faith experiences each day. I also record my individual prayers for each day so I can look back and see areas over which I pray often or not enough. After my journal, I pray the Rosary and say my individual prayers. After my prayers, I read a bit from the book on Mother Teresa's life (focusing mainly on her experiences in Calcutta). It may be pure coincidence or pure exhaustion, but, on nights when I perform this ritual, I sleep better that I ever have before. I wake up feeling focused and relaxed and ready for the day. The ritual provides me with a time to center myself (and I know I've used that term already, but I cannot think of how else to describe it) and focus on introspection.

I spoke with The Fox recently about the need to carve out time in each day to allow for meditation and tranquility. I never before realized how important that time is until I forced myself to do it every day. At first, it was a bit of a hassle to make sure I reserved an hour each day to devote to nothing but religious and spiritual pursuits. I mean, as a grad student and an adult, I have a million things to do each day. I work two to three jobs on any given day, I study for exams (or, at least, I should), I have housework and The Beast to take care of, and so many other things that cross my plate. But, once I forced myself to crawl into bed, turn on the classical music, and perform my nightly ritual, it became the part of my day I look forward to the most. It is the one hour in my day that is peaceful and calm. No distractions. No noises. No thinking about grades and papers and exams and money and physical ailments and general worries. These last minutes I spend every day really prepare me to face the next day and provide me with moments to just be quiet and alone. Before now, I never really thought about how much one needs a time like this, but now I cannot see how I got this far in life without my nightly meditations.

It's funny though because I can see a distinct difference in my every-day activities as a result of this faith. As some of you may know, I am a rather impulsive and "spirited" young lady. Hey, I come from the North, and we are an aggressive and assertive people. For example, I readily admit that I have road rage. Bad. In fact, even The Boy has commented on my lack of patience when driving. I'm not one of those crazy drivers who weaves in out of traffic and endangers others, but I normally have no patience for stupidity (like the lack of directionals, going too slow in the fast lane ... you know). Well, last night, as I was driving home from Job #2 at around 6:00pm, there was traffic mayhem on Battleground. People all around me were honking their horns and yelling out the window. I stopped and thought, "Hey, that's what I normally do. That is how I normally respond." And, without foresight or intention, I said aloud, "People, relax. It's just traffic." Yes, those words actually left my mouth. MY mouth. Shocking, I know. But that is what I am talking about. My normal rash and impulsive responses to life's little curve balls have totally changed. I find myself being more patient and understanding of the people I formerly thought "stupid" and "obnoxious." Of course, I am not completely reformed because that Northern blood runs deep, but I do see a identifiable change in myself.

I also find it funny that much of academia lacks religion. So many professors that I have encountered (not all, mind you, but many) have no spiritual or religious beliefs. They consider themselves atheist or agnostic. In our field, so much of the literature incorporates elements of faith. It seem counterintuitive that those people teaching the literature lack faith. I'm not passing judgment, but it does seem peculiar. It is almost like a belief in a higher power is a sign of weakness and ignorance in the world of academia. After all, there is no "proof" for such beings, and the world of intellectuals strongly discourages blind faith. I'm not sure where I am going with this, but it is something that I have been ruminating over the past few weeks. Why is there such a lack of religiosity in higher education? I'm not saying that those in higher ed should be forcing their faith upon their students, but it seems interesting that it is rarely or never present or discussed. Hmmm ...

This is where I am right now. I like the path that I am on, and I plan to continue along it for some time to come. I feel more content and more at peace with myself and the world around me. And, surprisingly, life seems to suck a little less.

And, thanks, MealyMel. It means a lot to me to know that you are proud of me. You are definitely invited to my Easter service and the party to commence afterwards. I love you!

10 December 2007

A medical update for the folks that care

My tummy is no longer rumbly. Apparently, I produce too much acid (who knew I was so bitter and acrid? Oh, that's right! Everyone!) After my two week course of Prilosec, my tummy feels as good as new! I have two more two-week doses, so if this bad boy comes back, I am prepared.

My ear still sucks. I'm going to get my referral so I can get tubes in my ears. Yeah. Welcome to being a three year old. I think I will wait until after the holidays to get it done. Maybe right before school starts back up. We'll see. Either way, I am pretty sure that it is gonna get done.

On the legal front, I haven't heard from the insurance bitches since my lawyer (A.K.A. Best Boss in AMERICA!) sent them the threatening letter (and cc'd it to the insurance commission for North Carolina). I should probably call at some point and see when they are going to pay the bill, but I'll wait for them to contact me and my lawyer. They would be stupid to raise a fuss now. But, they've proven themselves to be rather stupid thus far, so I wouldn't put it past them.

My arthritis hasn't been hurting too much, but I am sure the trip north will aggravate it. Nothing makes arthritic joints angry like cold weather and cold moisture in the air. I'll just be sure to bring my fistful of painkillers and anti-inflammatories! They should go well with the wine I plan to consume!!

So, there you have it, folks.

And froggies make five

We have new additions to the family. Again. Burke the Betta joined the clan a few weeks ago. Today, on an well-founded impulse, I added an aquatic snail and a set of aquatic frogs. :D

The snail is gold and rooms with Burke. I think I will call her (because I decided she was a her - aren't snails asexual and change sex based on mate availability?) something ingenious like "Slider" or "Slippery" or "Slimey." Probably not "Slimey," but I can't think of anything alliterative that goes with "snail" and doesn't sound dorky.

She is the yellowy-gold spot in the top of Burke's bowl. She was trying to escape. Isn't Burke pretty? I thought her yellow would compliment Burke well! I think Burke likes her. He keeps swimming over to check her out, and I have caught him with his nose up against her shell. Imagine what their babies would look like!? :PCan you see the lights that he fights with? It is hysterical!
And, yes, you heard (or read) right. Two little underwater froggies have also joined the clan. This pictures are a little hard to make out, but you can see them at the bottom by the gravel.

They are spazzy little things! Any time I touch the glass or they sense movement, they start swimming up and down in the bowl in complete and total panic. I hope they chill out. Appropriately, I believe I will call them "Tweedle-dee" and "Tweedle-dum." I was trying hard to think of some clever anti-French nicknames (Get it? They are frogs. Frogs.) but cleverness escapes me at this moment. They are kinda fun to watch though! You should see them chase their food (fish-food flakes). They run it down as it sinks to the bottom of the bowl. HYSTERICAL! Right now, they are about the size of a nickel. When and if they grow, they will reach the size of a fifty-cent piece. Not too sure how I feel about that. We'll see if they make it that long.

I keep this pet-shit up, and I'll end up with a house full. As if The Beast wasn't a house full on her own!

You should all come over and meet my new family. They are rather friendly!

Yeah for pets that don't need walking or bathing or training or vet visits.

But, I guess The Beast isn't all that bad. She did almost eat a praying mantis today. (I'll tell you more about my pathological fear of them later.)

09 December 2007

Merry Christmas to The Boy

After FOUR HOURS of waiting online, I finally got some BoSox tickets today!! September 22nd, last week of the regular season, Cleveland, night game. Totally stoked. While The Boy and I agreed not to give each other gifts, I got the tix anyway. They were rather affordable, and they are a gift we share. It's like a Christmas gift to US! Yeah!! As an added bonus, we can take the new SkyBus shuttle from GSO to Portsmouth, NH, for like $80 round trip! We'll stay at his parents' house and have a great late-autumn weekend in Beantown! We'll board The Beast and have a weekend of baseball. Something to look forward to. Happy times!

The weekend has been rather nice. The Boy had an exam on Saturday (he thinks he did rather well - let's all hope so!), and I worked at AT. I was supposed to get off at 1, but they were short-staffed and they asked me to stay. Of course, being the good sport that I am, I did. After work, The Boy and I went to mass and then off to the saucy red-head's for a little get together. I was totally exhausted, so we called it an early night. I went home and passed out.

Today involved morning mass and housework. The Boy returned to his abode around noon (two more exams this week, and then he is done! Yeah!), and I waited patiently for the BoSox tix. Whoever said patience was a virtue certainly knew what they were saying! This evening was an end-of-semester meeting with my staff (my holiday gift to them=two pitchers of margaritas) and then home to chill.

Tomorrow begins the last week of the semester. Yeah!!! Friday cannot come soon enough.

04 December 2007

Burke is crazy

My new beta is insane. Perhaps I made him that way, but no matter.

I have some blue and white teardrop Christmas lights laced around the top of the entertainment center. It just so happens that the lights wrap around Burke's bowl. One of the blue lights is right up against the glass. When I first turn on the lights at night, he comes over to where the blue light is and he flares his gills and gets all aggressive. He "paces" back and forth (as much as a fish can pace) and challenges the bulb to a fight. He does this for about five minutes until he calms down. Each and every night he does this. Hysterical! Cheap entertainment for the poor grad student.

Hey MealyMel - I said my first rosary tonight at RCIA. Now I actually understand your comment on novenas!

03 December 2007

Like clockwork

I just want you all to know that it is currently 3:57 and The Beast has been lying on the floor in front of the door for the last twenty minutes, staring at me.

02 December 2007

Bailey's Biological Clock

The Beast gets breakfast between 6-8am every day. She used to get dinner at 4pm every day until I started grad school. Now she gets fed anywhere between 4 and 8pm.

Every single day when it gets to be 3:45pm, she goes over the the front entryway (her food is kept in the closet there). She stands there and looks at me until I feed her. I am firm in my convictions and never feed her before 4pm. I always assumed that she knew it was dinner time because enough time had elapsed from her breakfast. We all know that her moments are measured in food.

So, today, The Boy and I go to mass. We don't feed her until we get home, which was around noon. She was cool with that. I assumed she wouldn't want to eat her dinner until at least 8pm.

Yeah. Fat chance. 3:45 rolled around and there she was, standing in front of the door, waiting for her dinner.

My questions is How the hell does this dog know what time it is? How is she so damn precise at nailing 3:45/4:00 each and every day? It doesn't matter if we are on daylight savings time or not, the matter of outside light or dark is irrelevant. I know the dumb dog can't tell time, so I am clueless on this.

Well, I need to go because The Beast is currently standing at the door, waiting for her dinner. It is 5:15 and I've made her wait FOR-EVER!

Later, skater.


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