31 March 2008
I've had the realization (which wasn't really a realization since the situation has been haunting me for some time now. I guess the "one month left in school" thing has made the realization come to fruition) that I am in desperate need of serious employment. I have my feelers out in a million different places, but nothing is for sure yet and may not be until May or June. Ugh. Yuck. Bleh.
I need a job with insurance that pays a living wage (i.e. no more full-time grad student status). I applied for one today that I probably won't get, but it would be really nice if I did. It is for a distance learning initiative through UNC and pay a VERY living wage. It's only a one year position, but that would give me some time to get a firmer grip on everything and move further through the program. But the job requires that the applicants have experience teaching online course, and I lack this. I meet all of the other requirements, but I have only used the internet to augment my instruction. We'll see how it turns out. I'm not getting my hopes up. Ugh. Yuck. Bleh.
I really hope that these last three years of stress and anxiety pay off someday. They freakin' better, or I may have to resort to drastic measures. Can one go "graduate" like one goes "postal?" I may be the first.
30 March 2008
Well, The Beast is back to normal. She's doing the pacey thing and the standing-by-the-door-at-3:30pm-thing again. It was nice when she was too sick to really think about food. Oh well. At least she is healthy. She hasn't been too bad.
My aparment complex raised my rent for the new lease. $720 a month for a place where windows don't work and/or don't shut and dingy carpets and general disrepair! So that was the impetus I needed to go apartment hunting. LL and I hopped in the car on Saturday to head to High Point where apartments are about $200 cheaper per month. The first place we hit (after lunch at Chili's, of course!) was a total dive. Really gross and sketchy. But the second place we saw is VERY promising. In fact, if a unit comes available, I'll take it. It's only about 20 minutes out of Greensboro, and I am TOTALLY comfortable making that move. The apartment is a one-bedroom but it is over 750 square feet. The carpets are new, and it is a ground floor place with a patio (i.e. The Beast -- and I -- doesn't have to go up and down stairs fourteen times per day!). The rooms are HUGE -- the living room is the same size as the one I have now and the bedroom is bigger than my room! -- and the kitchen has more cabinet space. However, what really sold me is that certain ground floor units come with an attached storage space. And, by storage space, I mean an additional 700 square feet to use however I like! It is not heated or air conditioned, but it is waterproof and only accessible through my apartment. The woman who showed me the place (who has lived in her apartment for 15 years!) told me that she actually finished her "storage" area and piped in heat (no need to air condition because it is "underground" and has cement walls) and put carpeting down and paneling on the walls. She even built walls in! Now, I have no desire to do that, but I certainly could use all of that space for all of my crap! That's why I need as place similar to the one I have now. I have a ton of stuff that I don't need IN the apartment but that I need to have readily available (Christmas decorations, spare blankets and sheets, old files, old books... you know how it is!). I'm pretty stoked about this place. The complex also has two pools and a SAUNA and is right across the residential street from a 7-mile nature trail. It will be so nice to be able to take The Beast for a walk without traffic whizzing by at 50 m.p.h.!! Wish me luck!!
Comps are meh. I'm a little behind, and I have absolutely no ambition to get to work on them. Ugh. Maybe some inspiration will hit me this week ... hopefully.
28 March 2008
Here is what I looked like a year and some ago ...
Short and spiky hair ... not a hint of curl anywhere (which was normal because my hair has always been bone straight. Just ask my mom!).
Here I am today ...
I now have massive amounts of curly hair! It's long enough to cover the tattoo on my back. I never thought that would happen! Who knew?
26 March 2008
The Beast is doing well. She's back to her rambunctious and energetic self. Late last night she began playing with lambie and chewing on her bone. Today she was back to her old self. Running around and being all insane-o. It's a HUGE relief to see her doing so much better. I was so worried about her. It was so wonderful to know that so many people in my life were genuinely worried about her. Most people are so often like, "She's just a dog. What's the big deal?" But, as most dog owners/lovers will attest to, B is a child to me. Just thinking about being without her is enough to make me cry. Ugh. I hate that feeling. Anyways, my friends all rock and I love you all to death. Both B and I completely appreciate your well wishes and concern. If she could, she would give you a big lick in the face. Well, actually, she's not much of a licker, but she would happily get fresh with you and bury her face in your crotch!! She's doing so much better and should continue to do well. Yeah for B!! Isn't she precious, sleeping in her micro-ball? I love her!!
I got to see Aaron for a bit today. We only chatted for an hour, but we hadn't seen each other or talked to each for most of the semester. We made plans for dinner and a movie next week and will hopefully be able to do some serious catching up. He's buried in work (as I should be). B misses her Uncle Aaron as do I!
Some of my students from Newfield are coming to visit in a couple of weeks ... Mia and Heather. They are coming to visit Heather's dad in Raleigh and are staying over at my place for one night. I look forward to taking them to the university to go to some classes (Bio for Mia ... she wants to go pre-med at Rochester) and talk to some student athletes and see what college life is really like. Mia will most likely be running track in college and I want her to be prepared for what is to come. I'm looking forward to their visit. They are really great kids. Especially Mia. Probably my favorite student ever and the one with the most potential!
After they leave, LL and I head on down to Florida to hang out with Mom and Dad for the weekend. We've been looking Forward to this forEVER. We both need the break and sunny Florida seems perfect. Plus, $95 round trip was too good to say "no" to. While LL and Mom bake on the beach, Dad and I will find something to keep us occupied. I'm not so much all about the sunbathing. It makes me too hot and uncomfortable. Plus I burn. And, in the Victorian tradition, only field hands have a tan! You know me, too good for that! :P
Last night was my last "Catholic" class. It was good fun and completely serendipitous. Let me explain. While I've talked with a lot of my classmates casually, I haven't made any real friendships. Last night, I was talking to Megan and we discovered that we grew up in the same town--Ithaca--and she graduated with my cousin! How amazing!!! We spent a good portion of the evening swapping Ithaca stories and talking about people and places and Upstate in general. She supports Obama and knows about the Grassroots Festival. And, to top it all off, she roots for the Sox. We're going to try to get together to watch some games this year. My BoSox/Yankee friends from last year seem to have dissipated (Memphis back to Jersey, Liz and Mike to NYC, Kia to DC, David off to oblivion ... Marty and Rae are still around and that is wonderful ... at least Aaron is still around and perhaps he can hang out some.) It should be fun! Yeah for making "old" connections!!
(Speaking of the Sox ... things are looking good!! I'm super-excited about this season ... especially with tickets to attend a couple of games at Fenway!! Yeah!!! Hopefully I'll even get to take my nephew to a game in June.)
Speaking of old connections, I seem to be going through a "nesting" phase in an odd way. I've been trying to make contact with people that I used to work with and teach with. It feels good to touch base and see what they are up to. How their kids have grown, where they are teaching/working now, what has changed in the schools, genera updates ... you know. It's nice to hear from them and let them know that I think of them more than occasionally. I wish I could get in touch with Sarah and Neil, though. They seem impossible to track down. :(
My dad is waiting for his test results to come back. Please keep him in your prayers. In case you're curious, St. Peregrine is the patron saint for protection against cancer. I've been asking for his watchful eye over my dad for some weeks now.
Well, there you have it, folks!
24 March 2008
Saturday was my confirmation. The mass lasted about three hours (two hours longer than a normal mass!), and Brandy and MealyMel and the Fox were all in attendance. It was really wonderful. I was very honored and proud that they took the time to attend. I love them!
Upon arrival home after mass, The Boy and I exchanged Easter gifts and I was able to open the gift that my mother had sent to me. She actually had a rosary made for me by one of her customers. It is clear and yellow Swarovski (spelling?) crystals with a gold cross. It's really nice and totally shocking that she chose that to give me! I would have never guessed that she would have thought to do that. But I love it. I need to take it to mass some week and get it blessed, but it is very beautiful.
The Boy gave me the entire collection of Chronicles of Narnia. He was very excited because the edition that he got me is in textual chronological order, not in the order that they were actually written. (Yes, he focused on such things). I excited to read them but I have to get through The Subtle Knife, if not all of the His Dark Materials, first. I am very excited.
After we opened presents, we watched a movie, drank champagne, and ate copious amounts of chocolate and ice cream. I never realized how much I missed the stuff! Yummy.
Sunday morning we awoke and went to Easter Brunch at Revival Grill. It was a wonderful meal. Unfortunately, upon our return home at noon, things took a turn for the worst. As soon as we unlocked the door, we saw that The Beast had gotten into the pantry closet and made a pretty good mess of things. (I must not have closed the door tightly and she knocked it open.) Rice was strewn about, cookies were gobbled up, apples were punctured ... you know how dogs are. Then we discovered that she had also consumed about a half of a pound of extra dark chocolate. I was concerned but not overwhelmed. She has gotten into chocolate in the past and was fine. However, at around 3pm, we noticed that she was acting really clumsy and weird. She was bumping into walls and chairs (more so than her normal awkwardness). Her heart was pounding, and she couldn't stop pacing. We induced vomiting (yuck!) and she threw up massive amounts of chocolate and miscellaneous garbage that she had ingested. It didn't get much better from there. We ended up taking her to the emergency vet and they placed her in the ICU overnight. They put her on IV fluids and pumped charcoal into her to cleanse her blood. Needless to say, sleep last night did not come easily for me. She continued to throw up into the morning, and I had to take her to my regular vet (across the street from the emergency clinic) for observation all day. I spoke to them a while ago and they told me that, as long as she doesn't throw up again, she can come home at 4pm. I cannot wait for that hour to pass! She should be okay because the blood work showed no kidney or liver damage, thankfully.
A funny side story ... When I went to pick her up this morning, the receptionist told me that the total bill was $1600.00. I was like, "Quoi?" I told her that I was quoted about $400 and that no one had contacted me for authorization. She printed out an itemized bill and it had something listed as 200 doses of a medication that totaled $1500. I was like, "I think there is a big mistake here. Someone clearly pushed too many zeros." Turns out, I was right. Of course, I had already had the heart attack.
Not-so-funny side story ... When I went to take her to the emergency vet last night, the stupid LVT who admitted her expressed concern over how thin B is. I reassured her that B had been vomiting and was about 5 lbs. underweight and her vet was not concerned. She looked at me and said, "No. You are not hearing me. This is going to be a major issue with the vet." At this point, I am ready to choke her. I am almost a sobbing wreck because me dog could potentially die and she feels it appropriate to chastise me in front of other clients about my dogs weight? I was steamed. I couldn't believe it. I brushed her off at that point because I knew that B had to get medial attention immediately and my arguing with the LVT would only delay treatment. I was still ready to blow. When the vet called us back to discuss B's condition and prognosis, she made absolutely no comment about B's weight. Of course, I'm not one to let it go, so I said something to her. I explained how unprofessional and inappropriate the tech's comments were and of course I started balling. The vet was totally understanding and talked about how weims and greyhounds are naturally superthin and her condition was a little underweight but nothing to be concerned about. She also said that she would address the issue with the staff. I felt better. This morning when we went to pick her up, her ribs were barely visible. Last night she was so full of crap and nastiness that her ribcage was bulging. As soon as she got rid of it all, she looked normal again. I really wanted to smack that tech.
That's enough for now.
The view from our balcony. The entire island of Hilton Head has an ordinance that you cannot build taller than the tree line (unless, of course, you are on the beach where there are no trees!). This made it look like the trees were a massive ocean. Very cool.
This is the view from the front of the hotel. It was absolutely beautiful!
Here is the Dizzie Gillespie Memorial in Cheraw, South Carolina. You would have never known it was there. We just happened upon it.
20 March 2008
I just finished watching Gone Baby Gone. Oh my gosh. I have never finished watching a movie and felt so damn conflicted. Wow. As I write this I am still between tears and relief. Ugh. I highly recommend this movie. Who knew that Casey Affleck was so talented and amazing. Oh shit. Here come the tears. New topic, new topic!!!!! I'll write more about it some other time.
Today was Maundy Thursday, and mass was at 8pm. It was a really beautiful mass. We same some beautiful songs. I think I will share. Perhaps they will serve to inspire.
We remember how you loved us to your death,
and still we celebrate, for you are with us here;
And we believe that we will see you when you come,
in your glory, Lord, we remember, we celebrate,
Vs. 1: Here, a million wounded souls are
yearning just to touch you and be healed;
Gather all your people, and hold them to your heart.
Vs. 2: Now we recreate your love we
bring the bread and wine to share a meal;
Sign of grace and mercy, the presence of the Lord.
Vs. 3: Christ, the Father's great "Amen" to
all the hopes and dreams of every heart;
Peace beyond all telling, and freedom from all fear.
Vs. 4: See the face of Christ revealed in
every person standing by your side;
Gift to one another, and temples of your love.
And my new-favorite song-
Tomorrow's Good Friday mass is going to be celebrated by the bishop, and I am really stoked about being able to attend. Bishop Curlin is the man who inspired me to pursue Catholicism, and I look forward to reconnecting with him. I'll give an update later.
18 March 2008
Since my faith journey is ending (or, rather, just beginning), I figured that now was an appropriate time for a bit of reflection. I look at where I am now, and I am really surprised. Never in a million years would I have pictured myself here now. I'm happy and content with the changes I have made and truly feel that I am moving in the right direction. As I've said before, I feel more at peace and centered than I have before. I've enjoyed learning about the Church and its history and all the saints. It really is fascinating. I sometimes wonder though. Now that I see things through a more religious lens, I wonder if I could actually ever martyr myself for my faith. It seems so scary and terrifying. I doubt that I will ever have to face that situation (and I hope I never have to), but I really wonder what I would do. It is one thing to openly express your faith to others, but it is another to lie down and die. I'd like to think if it came down to it, I could do it. But I'm not sure. Is that bad? Well, if anything, it is something to work on. Right?
I also see more and more what I don't want to be in the religious world. I don't want to be a hypocrite or a liar like so many Christians. I work hard to not pass judgement on others and encourage others to refrain from judgement as well. I try to understand the position of others and view them with compassion. But I see so many others who profess themselves as Christians and act as bigots. If I ever behave that way, I expect all of you to call me on it.
The funny thing is that, now that I am becoming Catholic, peoples' stereotypes are emerging in an obvious way. For example, my brothers were here last weekend and we were all hangning out and having a good time. I behaved as I always do and swore. I didn't curse or blaspheme, but I said "Fuck" a few times. They were all like, "Woa! That's not very Catholic!" I'm like, "Um, that has nothing to do with it." If I had taken the Lord's name in vain or something, I would understand. But there is nothing un-Christian about swearing. Of course, if I had used the swear words to refer to a person in a slanderous or defamatory way, that would be un-Christian. But simply swearing has nothing to do with it. Later, we were all talking about Lent and what I gave up for it. My dad heard that I quite eating chocolate and ice cream and candy. He got concerned that I was never going to eat it again for the Church. I was like, "No, Dad. It's only till Easter." He felt better afterwards. It was funny.
Well, that's enough for now. More later.
11 March 2008
Vacation was fun and relaxing. More relaxing than fun. But it was good! When we got to the hotel, after a slight mix-up, they upgraded us to a king suite on the top floor!! Of course, we weren't oceanside, but we could see the ENTIRE island from our TWO balconies. We were the tallest building on the ENTIRE island. It was cool. We had two bathrooms, a living room, and a HUGE bed with amazing sheets and pillows. Very pleased was I!! To compensate us for the mix-up, our agent sent us $50 worth of gift certificates for shopping and dining on the island. Yeah!
DAY ONE - Saturday Night
The night we got there, after we checked in and got settled, we headed over to Harbourmaster's Ocean Grille for our 7pm reservation. I had amazing she-crab soup (which was more like a bisque and I desperately need to find a recipe for this!) and a nice bottle of wine. We stopped by the Hilton Head Brewing Company to taste some of their beers which were lackluster. Afterwards we went back to the hotel for an "early" night.
DAY TWO - Sunday
We attended St. Francis for morning mass and then headed to the Old Fort Pub (which in no way resembles its name!!!! Far more swanky than we expected!!) for brunch. I had an awesome chicken crepe (would have never thought!) and a tasty mimosa to wash it down. The Boy had some kind of steaky breakfast thing and a bloody mary. We both had some tea and than this fantastic fruit concoction for dessert. It was poached pineapple in riesling with candied ginger. Who would have thought!?!?
When we got home from brunch, we got the phone call about our $50 gift certificates. We had to go pick them up at the sister resort. We figured that we would walk the beach to get there. It was a beautiful sunny day with absolutely no clouds to be seen anywhere. It was breezy, so we needed a sweater, but it was about 67 degrees. We walked about 4 miles to the "heel" of the island. All the while we were observing all kinds of sea creatures getting trapped on the beach with the receding tide. I found this cool horseshoe crab shell (which I took home for Mom) and a ton of sand dollars. All of the sand dollars were still alive, so we left them alone. But there was this obnoxious woman (probably from Jersey!!) who was picking up the sand dollars even though they were still alive. It made me so angry!! We also saw jellyfish and sea sponges and a crab scuttling along. Every time we encountered something new, I had The Boy poke it to see if it was alive and to discover what it was. It became a big joke. We had plenty of laughs.
For dinner, we headed to Red Fish, a Caribbean/Cuban restaurant with an amazing wine list. I had this spicy pork dish that burned up my stomach!! It was super tasty though!
DAY THREE - Monday
We awoke and headed to the Hilton Head Diner for breakfast. It was the most expensive diner meal I have ever had! It was fr more restaurant than diner. It was yummy though.
Afterwards, we headed to "THE Must-See Spots on the Island" -- South Beach and Harbor Town. Turns out, not so much "must see." Everyone there was old and retired. The Boy and I were the youngest people around. All there was to do was go to t-shirt shops. Not so much our scene. We grew bored and went to Island Winery, which had "eh" wines. They did have a few nice ones but nothing special. I picked up a bottle for my mom and dad and a bottle for myself. A sweet apricot wine.
For lunch, we went to Reilly's Irish Pub. It was great pub fare with an uncomfortably intolerant atmosphere. A lot of Jew jokes. The Boy and I were totally astonished. It is Hilton Head though. Rich WASPs all over the place. In fact, the only people of color that we saw the whole weekend were service personnel. Not a single vacationer that we saw was from a minority group. Kind of shocking.
For dinner, we went to Juleps. We were one of two couples dining (it was a Monday night, after all) so it was quiet and nice. I had more she-crab soup (not as great as the first night. More of a soup and less of a bisque.) and crab-stuffed chicken breast. Tasty!!!
When we got back to the hotel, we went for a late-night stroll on the beach and smoked a cigar. The stars were amazing and the surf was pounding. We even saw two shooting stars!!
DAY FOUR - Tuesday
We went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and then went to our individual time-share sales pitch. After we successfully dogged the purchase, we got on the road at 1:15pm and made it back to the 'boro by 6:15. Very nice. We were pleased!!
We had a wonderful vacation, but we very quickly realized that we are too young for Hilton Head. We like to go to cultural events (museums, concerts, things of the sort...) and HH lacks that. We like to go places and do things and walk around, but HH requires everyone to have a car (because everything is so oddly designed!) and really only offers lounging and leisure. We enjoy taking it easy, but we cannot sit on the beach doing nothing for four days (or more!). And we were surrounded by old people!! There was no one young around!! Only old people in Mercedes and Lexuses and pedaling around on bikes. Not really what we look for in a vacation spot. We like to remain active, not sedentary. There is plenty of time for that later when we are actually old!! So, we probably won't be returning to HH. It was a fantastic vacation, but once was enough.
Now it's back to real life. The family arrive on Thursday and I have a TON of things to do between now and then. Cookies to bake and decorate, laundry to wash, banking to take care of, house and bathrooms to clean ... Ugh. Yeah.
07 March 2008
Needless to say, don't call me. I won't answer the phone. Don't email me. I'm not checking my email again until Friday next. Don't expect a blog posting for a good week or so. I' won't be posting.
I hope you all have a joyous spring holiday. It is very much needed!
05 March 2008
It all started out well. I slept in and didn't go to the gym. I woke up to the sun shining and birds singing. I took a slow hot shower and began my day.
I got another friggin' letter from the hospital yesterday. I figured it was about the bill I just paid and there was a mix-up, so I called this morning. The oh-so-friendly beyotch on the other end informed me that the bill I had paid was for the physician. The bill I received yesterday was for the hospital. Quoi? I'm confused. What exactly is the difference? After some extremely convoluted answer, it was revealed that the insurance company (yes, the very same shitty company that I am stuck with) paid a whopping $75 for my emergency room visit, sticking me with the remaining $300. So kind of them. Needless to say, now the hospital wants their money. I told them flat out that I could only afford $20 a month. No discussion. Take it or leave it. I'm a friggin' college student living on financial aid!I'm already paying the other doctor $100 a month until that bill is paid. Ugh! So, that started my day off with a bang. Woo hoo.
I got to the office, already pist, and received complaints from teachers regarding a certain asshole student athlete that couldn't keep his mouth shut and behave appropriately. This very same student is always in my office, maneuvering and trying to be suave. I did my best to put the smack down. I emailed all the coaches and pertinent staff regarding the situation. Come to find out, my second-level supervisor is pist that I sent the email to everyone and thinks I did it because the kid said negative things about me. No. I did it because it is my J-O-B! Ugh.
So, in my anger and frustration about unhappy employment and serious lack of funds, I did some job searchy stuff. While I have been looking forward to Spring Break since, oh, September, I don't even want to go now. I have money now but I know that come June, unless lucrative employment comes through, I'll be broke. What a great shadow to cast over my much-needed holiday. Thank God that the hotel is free! Now, if only I could figure out a way to eat and drink for free ...
When I went to work with The Joe, I was frustrated and annoyed. He was misbehaving and non-compliant. He got everything wrong and just frustrated the bejeepers out of me. Then I felt angry and disappointed in myself that I was angry and frustrated. That made me just more miserable. I left their house feeling pissy.
I tried getting a pedicure. It didn't make me feel better, but my toes are pretty now.
And, to top it all off, I have been worrying about Dad all day. I don't know why. His test isn't until the end of the month, but all of the worst-case scenarios have been running through the front of my brain all day long. I have been on the verge of tears all day, especially when I've prayed.
I've prayed a lot today. I feel solace while in prayer, but, as soon as I am done praying, all of the worry refills my mind. I'm not sure what to do with that. I guess I am still on the learning curve as far as Catholicism goes.
Well, as Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day ..."