First Day of School- What I Ate

Because I knew it was going to be a longish day, and I’m trying to not spend money on food (at least, if I’m not working) I got up super early to make my lunch and breakfast. I’d been mentally preparing for a while, since it’s been about.. oh… never since I did that. I mean, I’ve packed some lunches for work. But that was mostly leftovers. Or something. Anyway. 

Class started at 9 15, so I got up at 7 20. Eesh. What I Made for the Eating- 

-Egg sandwich. Mustard, two hard boiled eggs, spinach, basil, and cheddar. Hooray. It stayed together remarkably well. I want a box that is more sandwich shaped, but it worked out. 

-Bell pepper. About half a red one, sliced up. I ate this earlyish, during what would have been lab. Fist day and all, lab was much shorter. More on this later.

-Celery sticks and peanut butter. Separately, clearly. My friend made goat cheese a while ago and sent me some in a little glass jar which turns out to be a rather ideal peanut butter size holder. Win. This was also a really really good idea, I ate it halfway through the lecture and it was excellent. 

-Nuts. I didn’t eat these, and that’s okay. I figure the container can just float in my bag and I’ll eat them as I need and refill whenever. 

-Breakfast! I have this growing army of egg themed things- to date, one-egg flying pan, whisk, spatula, pancake spatula, timer, tiny measuring cup, silicone poachers, soft boiled egg cup, egg slicer. I think that’s it. I want the masher. Then my army will be complete. Anyway. The frying pan is the perfect size for one scrambled egg, and just also so happens to be the same size as the little round deli flatbread type things. Hooray! The cheese that I have the deli slice (I know. But those 5 seconds I save slicing it myself! And they don’t sell that kind in the block form.) are the same size as well. Although, square. 

So yes. All in all, success. And I left long enough to do it, and I didn’t have to rush. Always good. I did wait to eat the egg sandwich on the train platform, but that’s more on my theory that if I wait to eat, I won’t be hungry again till later. It’s almost sort of true. 

And then class! Day of Chemistry. It was good. I like the teacher. I think instead of a lab apron (which is most likely unnecessary anyway) I’m going to get a bunch of old flannel shirts and be “that girl” (whatever that means. You know. The girl who wears the old flannel shirts to do chemistry in. Her.) I don’t know that it’s going to be easy, but I don’t think it’ll be too hard. Today was a short lab with the syllabus and safety video, and then the lecture was all conversions and stuff. Things I had gotten a little familiar on from looking through the book. 

All in all, off to a good start. Although now I’m a little exhausted and glad that I have two days until the next round. 

Oh the pressure!

My Biology book showed up today. It’s big. Like, twice as big as the Chemistry one. Eesh. But, this makes it official and committed. I’m beginning to realize how hard it will be and how much work I’ll need to put in. I’m also realizing how insane I am. An email went out today about the the Exotic Animal Care class didn’t have enough people and they needed more to enroll or it would be cancelled. And I considered it. I would need an approval form since I’m still pre-clinical, but to keep the class they were willing to do it. Fortunately for my sanity, it’s at the same time as my alg/trig class. And I’m looking forward to that one.

I also need to go start drumming up work again. I’ve been looking at and applying for other things, but no words so far. I kind of hate freelancing. You’re either working or looking for work. Being in school makes it even more fun. So perhaps a ‘real’ job is in order. The problem with what i’m doing now is that despite the crappy hours, hard dirty sweaty work, it pays. It pays good. You know, when I can get it. And so it’s easy to get sucked back in with that promise, even though it sucks and you’re tired of it. (Oh, the luxury of being tired of what I do!) Anything else I can do pays about half. Though I am looking at doing some tutoring, in math and reading. That could be good. 

Rarg. To sum up. 

I hear birds.

No, really. When I wake up, usually, for a few hours. And then sometimes other times too. It sounds like there’s a whole tree full about, say, a half block away, all waking up and twittering their little heads off. It’s not unpleasant, it’s mostly just disconcerting when I realize/remember that they’re not actually there. Whoops. Weirdest tinnitus ever. But, not unpleasant. And actually, it sounded very convincing. I wasn’t even totally sure that it wasn’t real until I asked John this morning if he could hear them. He thinks this could mean some kind of nerve damage or something. I think he likes to hypochondriac-by-proxy. But, now that I have health insurance (eeeeeeeee! I found out today it doesn’t kick in until the 5th, but eeeeeeeee) I figure it’s worth checking out. I should get another hearing test and look into the idea of a hearing aid again anyway. In addition to the myriad of other things I want to do. 

I need to work on the Raccoon Project. The last thing I have to do for the kickstarter is make a video, and I need to sit down and write out what that should be. I know nothing about editing, so I think I may have to just get it right the first time. And edit with the camera. Or something. I need to find someone who knows what’s up. I should do that now, since I borrowed a raccoon hat from someone who I bet will want it back soon.

I KNOW

I know. It’s been a while. It happens. I’ve been lazy/busy/distracted. Perhaps I’m back? School is starting again soon, so maybe I’ll be at my computer trying to procrastinate more. We can always hope.

Reasons for me not writing!

– Fashion week! It’s really a couple of weeks. Plus recovery time. It went well this time, I assisted on some stuff, which I really enjoyed. I like organizing things and telling people what to do. Without being fully in charge so it’s not totally my fault. Win!

– I’ve started the Raccoon Project! Sort of. I’m working on a kickstarter to buy camera traps so I can put together enough data to convince people with grant money and the like that they should fund the real thing. So that’s coming together slowly.

– I was doing a really stupid 6 week class! At first I thought my schools schedule of having two sessions in a semester was a great idea. But no. Six weeks is way too short. But, it’s a lot easier when halfway through your teacher just gives up on teaching and tells you all of the questions from the final, and what pages the material for those questions are. So. My 4.0 is intact.

– I’ve been preparing for next semester! I am possibly insane and also definitely nuts because I’m taking Algebra/Trig, Math of Dosages, Eng 102, Foundations of Chemistry, and Intro to Biology. FIVE. Five classes including two with labs. I’m in school from 8am to 8pm tuesday and thursday (to be fair, there is a 3 and 5 hour gap respectively) and 9 am to 4:30pm saturday. I’m counting on math being easy and not taking too much time like last semester. Dosages is math as well, I just need to learn conversions and junk. English will mean some writing, but I’m decent at that, and the text for the class is Coraline. I need to take Chemistry for my program, and I thought, well hey, Chem is the only thing I’ll really have to work on here, so why not throw on another! Sure! We’ll see how this goes.

– I’ve been planning for the future! Considering different schools and programs. At this point, I’m a little depressed by the idea of having to repeat college and all of the gen ed classes. I want to do the science ones, but OHMYGOD I have enough literature in my life already and I am so tired of creative classes. I’m not done with reading and creativity, I’m just burned out on being graded on them. So now I’m toying with the idea of taking classes I want, and then going for a masters. If I can get in. With a BFA and and AAS. Things that will help- the Raccoon Project! And a stellar GRE score.

– I haven’t been going to rope, but the rope act is percolating in the back of my head. That sort of counts. I want to work on it more.

– And then I’ve just been lazy. I know that between school, homework, and attempting to work enough to support myself in the next few months, I won’t have much time for lying on the couch watching terrible tv. So I’ve been taking advantage of that while I can. 5 more days.

Although, being lazy is only fun for so long. So now I’ve been condensing all of my notes from last semesters algebra class so I have all the equations and short cuts handy, and also reading my chemistry book. John is all excited about helping me with this. I’m a little more apprehensive about that. It is his subject, he knows it well, but I’m starting at the beginning, and I am sometimes hard to teach. He is also sometimes not the best teacher because he knows it so well and thinks that things are obvious. I’ve watched him tutor Lauren, and while she is more whiny than I will be, I think we’ll be butting heads in the same way. We’ll see. We had a trial run of that the other day when I didn’t understand something about scientific notation. I understood the rule, I just didn’t get WHY it was the rule. I really want to understand all of this. I’m starting late and at a disadvantage, I feel, so I want to get it all right now. Anyway, after insisting for a while that it was that way because “it says it right there in the text”, he left to make a sandwich and came back saying it was actually that way because of scientific notation. Which totally makes sense. So maybe the whole process will be like that, butt heads, and then he’ll figure out a way to explain it, or I’ll find a way in myself. In any case. It should be a busy, informative semester.

Long post! Makes up for weeks of silence? Hopefully to be followed up soon with more.

This six week school session is nuts. We *just* started, and I had part of my midterm yesterday. The rest is tomorrow. It’s an okay class. The book is decent, and has enough worthwhile things to make up for the self-help feel. My teacher is sort of earnest and enthusiastic, but a terrible listener and a bad critical thinker. I wasn’t sure about that second part until last week when somehow we got off on a Remote Viewing tangent. Suffice to say, she has the first part of critical thinking (the part where you listen to and are open to new ideas) down pretty well, it’s the second part (where you take these new ideas and scrutinize them and make them prove themselves) that she fails on.

And then the midterm thing. The class is supposed to be 3 hours long, twice a week. She started out talking about how rushed it would be, and how we had so much to cover and blah blah. All true. So, it mystifies me then why she took a test that she estimated would take 2.5 hours and broke it into two parts. Waste of two classes. The first part she gave us over an hour to do, after which we could leave. It took me about 20 minutes. It was 10 multiple choice questions and then defining about 15 terms. The second part is going to be using this specific set of steps to work through a hypothetical problem. I estimate this may take me about 45 minutes. Maybe. I don’t much mind it being this easy and wasting the time, except that it’s frustrating.

I have a few writing things to do this week, to get out of the way before Fashion hits like a train. It is going to be a very busy, rough, lucrative season. Which is good since I need to pay for next semester and all. Next semester! Very much looking forward to actually being in school again. With age, I’ve gotten much better at jumping through the routine hoops, but it’s so much better when I’m actually learning something. I’m still scared of the chemistry course, but at least I will be learning it! I’m hoping my teacher is good and likable and puts things in a language I get.

Wheeee.

Getting better at pretending to be an adult.

This has been a good week. School is back, though it’s the weird second session, so it’s only 6 weeks long and I only have one class. Critical Thinking, which is going all right. It’s a big rush since we’re packing everything into half the time, but I’m coming around to it. I’m going back and forth on the teacher. At first I didn’t like her, but it’s only 6 weeks, and last class was pretty good. Critical Thinking is just thinking about thinking. Philosophy meets psychology. So that’s interesting enough. And the teacher is mostly good, but she’s a rather terrible listener, cuts people off all the time, I think misunderstands them a lot, and is often kind of unclear. Especially about the homework, which she tells us in bits and pieces throughout the class, and you just kind of hope that you got all of it. And yet, she’s a fairly decent teacher, and it’ll be easy to get through. Already I’m one of the most talkative (and [un]fortunately argumentative) people in the class. Ack.

And then yesterday was good. John and I have been wanting to go see a movie, so we picked out a time, and then in the interim cleaned the apartment. Well. The bathroom, living room, and most of the kitchen. The hallway, stairway and both our rooms leave something to be desired. But anyway. We got just about done, and then I decided that instead of the movies, I really wanted to go to ikea to get chairs. We have this foldout table in the living room, and John got chairs to use with it, but one ended up at his desk upstairs, and the other went into the kitchen. He also wanted a reading chair for his room, so off we went.

I kind of love stores of Stuff. Somehow, those are good. Grocery stores that are too big sometimes give me minor panic attacks (yeah, I know. Weird. I don’t know why either) but stores full of Stuff are fantastic. We managed to pace it right, wandering around and looking at everything but leaving before John ran out of patience. List o’ things! We got two chairs (but, in ikea fashion, one of them had the wrong hardware, so only one is set up. Sad trombone.), John’s reading chair and food stool, a wall pot rack thing, a bedside lamp for me (aaand didn’t realize that it takes a B base lamp not a standard A lamp. Fine, but need to go get one now) and a bar of chocolate. We came home, put together the chair, made dinner (pork chops, spaghetti squash, broccoli), and ATE AT THE TABLE. It’s like we’re real grownups who really live here or something.

So yes, satisfying day all around.

New Years!

I got back from California on friday. It was good/bad. I hung out with Fred, my old cat, a lot, I saw some friends, the funeral was fine. Maybe I’ll write about that more later. But for now!

New Years! Madeline broke up with Rob a few days ago, and so asked if I wanted to be her plus one to a party she was performing at NYE, and it sounded good to me. It was awesome. I was underdressed. I hadn’t realized how much of a party it was, and that the theme was glitter disco. I have never seen so many sequins. Madeline did a parter acro act, a rope act, and the a really funny bit. I between she and her acro partner (a fantastic classical ballet-trained drag queen) came to hang out with me and watch stuff. There were some other acts, and a couple amazing bands. Everyone was bouncy and dancing and happy. At almost midnight, the acro partner stole champagne from the vip area and brought it down to us, and we poured it during the countdown and shot off the giant poppers they’d been handing out. I’ve never been to a ‘real’ New Years party before, it was an experience. I had fun.

We left late, her last act was at 1, and when we got back to her house, there was a salsa/merengue band nearby. A very, very loud band. Eventually we put in earplugs and finally went to sleep.

New Years day was great. And tired. We went to sleep at about 4 30, and got up at 10 30. Because! we had to go to Coney Island to jump in the ocean with the polar bear clubs! It was amazing. I thought it would be about 50 people, mostly russians and college students or something. There were thousands of people. Some to watch, but most to do. People were dressed up, I saw a penguin and some bagpipers and lots of vikings hats for some reason. Madeline’s friend Carolyn met us as arranged by her group with the Colorado flag, and slowly we all got ready. I’m glad it was a warmish day, it actually wasn’t that bad standing there in just a bathing suit. Our group leader of sorts rounded us up and made a quick speech about “We go as one!” and we charged off down the beach. The charge lasted about 30 feet because the crowd was so thick, but we wound our way down and when it cleared up a few feet from the water charged in. At first, not so bad. The ocean in California is freezing, so I’m a little used to it. But then after a bit of splashing it got very cold. Madeline and I grabbed hands and dunked and then ran out. Other people we were with went back in again, and said it was way colder the second time. Once was plenty exhilarating for me, though.

It was great, though. This crazy thing that all these people showed up to with such enthusiasm. I need more of that.

We went back to her house to shower and recover, and then picked up her rope from the party place, and then went to her roommates parent’s house for a loose hangout dinner thing. Very relaxed and informal, and very good food. Three main things happened- 1. It turned out someone there went to my high school, though long before me. 2. Carolyn also came, and apparently after I left the polar bears, people that I ran in with said that they recognized me, and apparently I went to college with them (weird. They didn’t look familiar to me. But I did have tunnel vision in college, and people change over the years. I look mostly the same though).

And 3. We did a White Elephant Resolution game. Same rules as with the presents, you can draw a new one or steal a previous, but instead of presents you put in two of your New Years Resolutions. That turned out to be hilarious, and wonderful. I wrote down “Cook something new every week” (which, were it for me, would be just cook something every week, but I figure most people actually do that already, so I cheated that a little) and the “Figure out the feasibility of, and begin, the raccoon project”. (This is a crazy idea of mine that I’m working on, perhaps I’ll write about it when the feasibility has been worked out) That one made for some fun. The first person who drew it was super confused, and people offered lots of suggestions about “inner raccoons” and various interpretations. Then a girl who makes art stole it from him, so I’m interested to see what she come up with.

I drew some silly ones, making funny faces in the mirror and such, but then got two good ones- To not kill my houseplants, and to do something world changing before it’s too late. I’m not sure I can accomplish the second in this year, but it already was a sort of ongoing goal, in a way. I want to do big cat research that will contribute to some kind of conservation which means protecting areas, reversing habitat destruction and the like. So, I consider that one more long term. But the houseplant thing, yes. I can do that.

There were other good ones. “Find a piece of furniture I’ll treasure the rest of my life”, “Control the creative fires”, one that I can’t remember the wording of, but it was about finding a way to satisfy an interest equal to your career. I’m having a hard time remembering them all now, but there were some really nice ones, and people stole some back and forth, and we laughed a lot coming up with ways to interpret them. One person had written something about putting in underfloor heating in their freezing house, so that led to some funny ideas.

My phone died some time in the middle of this and I lost track of time, and was so surprised when I got home and it was 10 30. I’m exhausted, but it was such a nice day with such good people that I wouldn’t have guessed it to be so late. All in all, a lovely couple of days to ring in the new year. 2011 was great in a lot of ways, and rough in a lot of ways. I’m ready for it to be over and for 2012 to be even better.

Adrienne

My aunt Adrienne died tonight. The 25th. It was awful. To put it mildly. But, as life does, there were also beautiful bits.

In june I found out that she had been feeling pretty bad for months (which I had’t realized at Passover), progressing to the point where she was having trouble remembering things, and occasional balance issues. I found out because the doctors finally realized she had a large mass on her adrenal gland, and she was going in for surgery. I went and visited her in the hospital and then at home after. The mass was the biggest one the doctors had seen, but she was feeling better and was cheerful and positive and I fixed an outlet for her. But then they found out that the mass was indeed cancerous. She was still super upbeat and gung-ho about kicking its ass and getting on with life.

I’m pretty terrible at keeping in touch with people, even ones I like a lot, and so I didn’t really hear anything until October? when my parents said she was out in California for chemo, and they had dinner with her. I called her a couple of times, but again, bad at keeping in touch and at that point totally absorbed by school. Then I had that stupid family history report, and wanted to talk to her about that side of the family. That’s how I found out she was in the hospital again. Thank god for that stupid, stupid report, because that’s the last time I had a conversation with her. She wasn’t super clear, but she was focused and interested and we talked. She was having problems with her legs and was headed to the physical rehab section the next day. She was worried about my cousin, Sarah, but generally, she still seemed determined, and like this had just been a little thing, she was bouncing back.

And then on the 23rd my mother called and said she’d taken a turn for the worse and was on a respirator. I was out doing last minute christmas shopping with John, and stuck with him for a little bit until I called my cousin and found out where to go and heard what Sarah sounded like. I’m so so so glad that I went. It was horrible and terrible and Adrienne was on a respirator and couldn’t talk and looked awful, a bruised shell of herself, but I talked to her, and she squeezed my hand both to answer questions and in response to my squeezes. I told her about school, and plans, and I got to stay with her for about half an hour holding her hand. It was terrible, but also very sweet. There were also a ton of other people out in the waiting area, a lot of Sarah’s friends who also knew and loved Adrienne. I stayed for a while. Her partner, Marilyn, was there and was fantastically helpful to me. Sarah was a little fragile, bouncing between laughing and crying, and Marilyn was a good solid ballast for steadying me, and answering questions.

I was supposed to go again on the 24th, but the christmas eve stuff at John’s house wiped me out, and also I convinced myself that she was fine. And then today, I was tired and didn’t feel like going anywhere, until my mom called again (somehow, she ended up being the chain of communication, even though Adrienne is my dad’s sister) and told me she was doing worse.

I got there and again, so many people. This time more of Adrienne’s friends, her ex husband, people I’d met at Passovers. Most of them knew who I was, I of course had no clue about most of them. But they were all there. I waited my turn (still, like a idiot, not quite realizing that “go in and say goodbye” meant that she was going to die tonight. I figured it was at least a little precautionary, and we had a few days. Like how on the 23rd I thought we had a few weeks.)

When I went in, it was worse. The first time I visited, my initial thought at seeing her was “oh, no. She’s dying and she knows it.” This time I knew it. I held her hand but she was asleep or unconscious. I told her everything I had to say, about how grateful I was for her constant kindness and acceptance and generosity and humor, how much I love her. I told her what bullshit it was and how sorry I was that her body betrayed her and how much I was going to miss her. I squeezed her hand and she didn’t squeeze back. It was useless, standing there, but somehow letting go of her hand felt like a betrayal. That was the hardest part, to just let go of her hand and walk away. Again, I was so grateful that Marilyn was there. She told me how proud Adrienne was of me, and that I was really special to her, and held me for a bit. But that letting go of her hand. It was such a simple action, and still so big and difficult.

I went back and sat with everyone, and at some point people decided to sing. It was low and quiet hum/singing, and had this been a movie montage that is what would have been playing over it. And that’s what we were doing when she died. At some point Marilyn, my cousin, a good friend Michael, and Tommy, Adrienne’s aunt-in-law who lived downstairs (and is 90something and will outlive us all. May I be half as sharp as her when I’m half her age) went in, and I guess Adrienne knew. Her heart and respiration rate slowed down, and stopped.

We out in the waiting area, singing (in my case, crying and listening), didn’t realize until those four came back out, Marilyn breaking composure for the first time sobbing and screaming Fuck. People ran to her and Sarah, but I think it didn’t sink in for most of us until the doctor came out and said My condolences. You can go in now.

The rest of the night was long, awfulish. Figuring out things with the funeral homes and travel and all (the funeral home we called was amazingly expedient. They were there about an hour an a half after she died).

There is nothing fair about this. I know, it’s death, it’s not fair or unfair. But really. Aside from being sad, I think all of us are angry. She was 65. She had an amazing, beautiful life for the most part. The main downside was she never got to retire. She was 65. Her decline was swift, unexpected, and devastating. I get it that death isn’t fair and this is never easy, but this. This is beyond. This is bullshit.

But Tommy was sitting there quietly and Marilyn asked her what was up and she started listing all of the people she’s known who had died, and none of them had had that many people gathered, and singing. And that part, that part was beautiful.

Winter. It has arrived

The last few months been very odd weather-wise. We had that freak storm before Halloween, and since then it’s been in the 40’s-60’s. Mostly towards the 60’s. We’re all so well trained that we all got out our wool and down coats and wore them anyway. Yesterday it finally went into the 30’s, and then today was about 24 all day. As much as I thought it was weird and unnatural before, I do not like the cold.

Also, I’m the one paying the gas bill, and so I’ve been determined not to turn on the heat until I really have to. We hit that today, and even with it at 60 (I’m trying really hard to do bare minimum) my feet hurt, they’re so cold. I don’t think it’s actually 60 degrees in here. The cats are huddling constantly, and actually I feel like turning up the heat more for them than me. But they have fur.

Also, it’s almost Christmas. I’m really not into this. I’m starting to realize I like the traditions surrounding it, but not the day. I like the lights. I like the wreaths. I’m not that big on the tree, but I do appreciate other people making nice ones. I like the cookies. I miss the Christmas Revels that we used to go see (and I worked for a few years). I miss my parents cheese and apple breakfast spread. But presents? I dunno. I struggle with them more every year, and I need stuff less and less every year (or I need/want big things, like comforters and fancy boots and stuff, things I feel glutinous and wrong asking for, and would be embarrassed to receive [although I did get pillows for my birthday one year and that was amazing]). I feel like it’s a lot of pressure all around. John and I aren’t giving each other anything, although I did find a tshirt that he’ll like and got that. But we do stuff like that in an ongoing fashion. Perhaps I need to get better at that and just save all those up for christmas? But I’m really bad at keeping surprises like that. I get too excited.

Anyway. Tomorrow I’ll figure all of that out and hopefully get it squared away. Along with cleaning my room. Eesh.

Sickies

Over the weekend I started to kind of feel it, and then yesterday the cold emerged full bloom. Like a butterfly. A really sneezy butterfly. It’s a good thing work involved not doing anything, because I am a useless whineypants when I get sick. Well. Not always, but I really feel like being a useless whineypants, and get irritated when anything interferes with that goal. Yesterday did not interfere.

A low point of yesterday (aside from constantly sneezing, feeling like I was about to sneeze, or blowing my nose) was when I went to get a second cup of tea, and they had replaced the hot water urn with the decaf urn but I didn’t realize until there was already coffee in my cup and all over my teabag. Who does that? Apparently they hadn’t actually taken away the water and were probably just refilling it because it was back when I went to check later.

Another low point was when I went to school to upload my algebra project thing, and then it turned out I didn’t need to upload it, I could have just emailed it to him. Dang. I could have been home an hour earlier (maybe) if I’d known that. Oh well.

And then this morning I was supposed to go to rope class and then realized that in addition to not being able to go upside down, my teacher probably wouldn’t appreciate me sneezing on the rope. I called her and she told me I was right. The sucky part about that is that this is the third class I’ve missed. The first I slept through because I was coming off a huge bout of work and probably shouldn’t have scheduled an 11am class after a late night. The second time, my super reliable bus turned on me and didn’t show up. And now this. I guess I’m not supposed to go to rope this month? Or something? Frustrating. But, nice to be at home with the cats, and hopefully this means I’ll be a little bit better before I go breathe in my dentists face tomorrow morning.