Monday, March 30, 2009

Things I'm thankful for today

I love that there is a room in my house that consistently smells like Johnson's baby lotion. At this point, it's The Smell of Zo.

When she's not home, all I have to do is walk in there (to return hair barrettes, pig-tail holders, clothes, toys, books, etc.) and her presence is overwhelming. My heart crumples. It's like when I spot bits and pieces of her things - Zozer flotsam and jetsam, so to speak - lying about the house. A little toy tucked here or there (usually a wooden piece of food...thanks Grammy) is enough to make me smile.

She made us mushroom pudding again this weekend. I really need to keep the camera ready to capture the look on M's face when she proudly presents his fresh mug of mushroom pudding. It's priceless.
M is out of town this week...left this morning for Vegas. Thanks to D-Fresh for showing him a good time tonight, and to Tiff for giving up her hubby so M could have dinner with a buddy.
A shout-out, too, to all the friends and family who supported IAS with their presence at our Trivia Night fundraiser Saturday. You guys rock! (And, for the record, Table 18, Annie Leibovitz actually has shot very, very little for Vogue. It WAS Rolling Stone in the 70s, which the question specifically stated, and Vanity Fair in the 90s-present. What little work she's done for Vogue was probably mid-late 90s, which was not covered in the question. So, deducting that one point from your score, we stand even. Although I still say that Table 17 deserves extra credit for having a lesbian Republican.) I hope you all had as much fun as I.

Back to the econ homework...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happiness is not needing a bear locker

I've been working on our vacation plans since sometime last October. That's when, fed up with work, school, and damn near everything else, I announced to M, "I'm going on vacation in the spring. I don't care if you go with me, but I'm going." After kicking around a few options, we settled on taking the train out to Cali and visiting Yosemite. Well, he wouldn't commit to any of the options, really, so I chose that. Then I extended it a bit and added a few days around Carmel, including the one night at Bodie House. Yay me. (That's what he gets for letting the photographer plan the entire trip.)

At the time, I scheduled us three nights in Yosemite, the first being at the Wawona Hotel in the southern part of the park, and the next two in the Yosemite Valley, in a Curry Village cabin. It didn't have a bath, but that seemed minor compared to the alternative lodging available at the time in the valley: a tent cabin. For those of you not familiar with lodging at Yosemite National Park, I'll educate you on exactly what comprises a tent cabin. It's a wooden floor and canvas stretched over a wooden frame. That's it. Oh, and what the web site describes as "cots" but which the reservations staff testily corrected to "cot-beds." Neither sound particularly comfortable. Some of the tent cabins have heaters, but park staff turn them off in April (our trip, naturally, being scheduled for May). None of them have bathrooms, and all of them require you to place your belongings in what's called a bear locker.

A bear locker is not a place to hold your cute little teddy bears, nor is it a particular brand of locker. A bear locker is just that...a metal locker with a padlock designed to keep actual giant dangerous (and, apparently, nosy) bears from eating your things. I like nature, but I'm not so much into it noshing on my chapstick. So I took the cabin no-bath with pleasure because it at least has wooden walls and a roof along with the wooden floor.

Then my MIL read a tiny article in the paper about Yosemite having to close a bunch of their cabins because of rock slides or some other minor nonsensical incident. Knowing our luck, I immediately called reservations. Sure enough, our cabin was one of the now closed ones. And our only other two in-park lodging options were the $480/night Ahwahnee Hotel and the $99/night unheated tent cabin.

Knowing M would have a coronary before shelling out 500 smackers for one night in a hotel (nevermind that it's the freakin' Ahwahnee which is way cool), I grudgingly took the tent cabin.

And so began my months-long daily visit to the Yosemite on-line reservations site, hoping to find something else...anything else. Because they update the reservations site only once a day or so, I had a couple of glimmers of hope that were quickly dashed once I tried to book the room it claimed was available. Then, one day, I struck gold. A room, double bed, opened up in Yosemite Lodge our second and final night in the valley. I took it. One night down, one to go. That was over a month ago.

Tonight, the planets aligned once more, and I managed to get us a room, double bed, in Yosemite Lodge. Which means that not only are we no longer in a freakin' tent cabin, but we're in the same place two nights in a row, which M much prefers to having to move on a nightly basis. (Before getting this lucky I told him to suck it up because if moving two nights in a row got us four walls, a roof, a toilet and our own shower for both nights, we were doing it.)

I cannot describe the relief I feel over this one, small accomplishment. My worries about charging the D300 battery, the cell phones, the laptops...all gone. The bears can eat someone else's belongings, and I get my very own shower every single night in Yosemite.

As M would say, life is good.

Don't quote me on this...

I "hate" it when "people" use quotes "way" too much when they are "writing."

I mean, I've got nothing against quotation marks...they are a necessary and vital form of written communication. Punctuation as a whole is a good thing. It's incredibly important in that it helps readers better decipher meaning, and helps with legibility and all that. It can even convey emotion. For example, look at these sentences:

Today I'm having a chicken samich for lunch.
Today I'm having a chicken samich for lunch!
Today I'm having a chicken samich for lunch?

Three different meanings. With the period, it's just a statement of fact. With the exclamation point, it's a declaration of excitement and how much I love chicken samiches. With the question mark it''s a question. Like, "I'm having what for lunch?" Which might give the impression that I, in fact, do not care for chicken samiches. Which would be erroneous because I do adore a good chicken samich.

So, this is just to prove that punctuation is necessary and, when used properly, greatly aids in communication. The key there, people, is "when used properly."

My good "friend" in one of our classes this term thinks that quotation marks are like butter - adds yumminess to everything. (Think about really can't go wrong in cooking if you just add butter.) The guy uses quotes about four times per sentence. Which makes reading his posts extremely difficult. And, of course, he likes to post. A lot. To everyone. Even if it's just to say, "Good post." Or "Good" post. Or Good "post."

So, in the spirit of punctuation love, I share this with you:

Perhaps you won't find it as "fun" as I do, but I think it's downright freakin' "hilarious." And I may "send" it to the "classmate" who "loves" quotation "marks."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What if this is it?

For the last week, in bits and pieces, when I have a few minutes here and there, I've been putting all my work up on my favorite photography site, of which I'm now a member. Members are allowed to basically have unlimited images posted to their account, so instead of having three measly images I now have a "gallery." And within my gallery I've even got folders that catalog my work and allow visitors to view it as a slideshow and such.

And at first I was pretty pleased to post it all and muck around with how I wanted it to be ordered, etc. Thought I was near done and then remembered another cache of images I hadn't plumbed. Those went up tonight.

I looked over my gallery and was satisfied, until that sucky self-doubt snuck into my brain.

"What if this is it? And what if, horror of horrors, it sucks?" I mean, I like my work. I've had family and friends tell me they like it (but they have to because of that whole love thing, so really they don't count). What if people (photographers, no less) who don't know me look at my gallery and say, "Wow. Gee whiz. I didn't know that anyone could sink to such lows in the cess pool of suckitude." Three people have visted my workspace there, back when I had only three images posted, and they were all very kind. But those were only three images. A fraction of what I've created. And they were probably only being kind because I had left lovely, complimentary comments on their images (because they, unlike me, are truly talented).

What if empirically, intrinsically, undeniably, I simply suck at photography?

That would really blow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Illicit Collusion

I'm pleased to report that, so far anyway, the term is going swimmingly. Tons of work, but not so much that we can't keep up easily. In fact, it looks like we're getting ourselves a bit ahead, which is good because M's out of town next week for a business trip and won't have as much time to devote to studying.

In reviewing some of the requirements for the courses last night, M came across this phrase from our economics prof in regards to our homework assignments: "I will view the hint of an academic dialog taking place outside the forum between students as indicating illicit collusion."


So, of course, you know, "illicit collusion" has become the catchphrase around our house. You can imagine how it's been used...I don't think I need to go there.

Needless to say, we do take this very seriously and are diligently working independently on our respective assignments. It's just very odd, since we've always bounced ideas off each other and worked on things together (always with the instructor's blessing, I might add). Last night we each pulled a, "Can I ask you a general question that doesn't involve actually discussing the answer of the question but more just confirms the point of the question?" Is that illicit collusion? I think not, but who knows. I just hope there's no hint of it, or we're automatically considered guilty.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I feel like I've been sent to the principal's office

This morning as I was dropping Zozer off at school, I had a very interesting conversation with one of her teachers, Ms. Marya.

Here's the gist:

Teacher: We were wondering, have you noticed a change in Zoe's personality lately?
Amy: Uhhhh...(wondering, "clarify change...good? bad?") well, she spent much of the weekend misbehaving and some time in the corner, if that's what you mean.
Teacher: Yeah, she's been misbehaving here at school, too.
Amy: Oh, shit.

Needless to say, our little Zozer is testing her boundaries and trying out some new tactics. Turns out that she's refused to help pick up toys, and has gotten quite demanding on the playground, commanding the teachers to "Push me! PUSH ME! Push me noooooow!" while on the swings.

I met with Ms. Marya more after school to try to get a better handle on what exactly is going on and how we're to help. Basically, we need to keep doing what we're doing: not responding to demands and telling her that she needs make her requests appropriately. Hold her accountable, encourage her to become more independent, that sort of thing.

Now, if we can only get her grandparents - all six of them - to play by the rules...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No cheating!

Another instructor felt the need to point out to use the academic integrity rules of our university...although this time he was pretty cool about it. He waited until the first week's posts and included his observations that our contributions are completely different both in nature and in context.

Yeah, no shit.

So we wrote him back (separately, of course) and pointed out the following reasons why we don't cheat.

  1. We're way too competitive to cheat. I want to kick his behind legitimately and vice versa. You have to earn bragging rights.
  2. We actually want to learn this stuff. Otherwise why bother to do it?
  3. We need this information to advance in our careers.
  4. We're too cheap to drop this kind of money and not get every possible thing out of the experience.

And, you know, that whole "we're honest people" thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

........ is the electronic equivalent of "uhhhhh"

We're less than a full week into our new term, and I've already identified The Most Annoying Classmate Ever. At least for the next nine weeks.

First of all, this was his introduction to the class (all names removed to protect the moronic):

Hello Professor Xxxxx & Class....I finally landed....... My Name is Xxxx Xxxxx.....just call me "Nate"......please..... I'm a resident of Northern Virginia (Fairfax County/Alexandria) in the Washington DC Metro area....... I'm a natural born resident of New Orleans, Louisiana which will always be home....... I'm African American, conservative Republican, but with very moderate views, and not aligned with crazy conservative views.... I have been employed with the US Federal Government for nearly 34 years which includes 10 years of active duty (Veteran) military service....... I am a Program Manager and Analyst working in Force Development and Force Management for the US Army (in the Pentagon).......but my principal background experience is in Logistics management........ I've been a Student of Webster University since Early 2008......My Graduate (MBA) studies is in Procurement & Acquisition Management......since I am a member of the US Army Acquisition Corps and Acquisition level III certified in Life Cycle Logistics Management...... In my 34 years federal service I have travel over most of the world living and working in Europe, Central/South American, the Pacific Regions, South West Asia.... I enjoy travel, reading, physical fitness, marathons, hunting, fishing, sport-shooting, political discussions, dancing, music of all types (in good tastes of course), bookstores, cafes, Theater-Productions, Horror-Movies (Especially-Vampire-Flicks)...... I hope to bring added value to the class and help others while I also hope to learn from all of you as well....... If I missed anything.....let me know (LOL)....

So, from what I can tell, ol' Nate has an aversion to ending sentences with the most common of punctuation marks, the lowly period. Instead, he chooses to create one helluva run-on sentence using not only ellipses, but ellipses on steriods. This in and of itself is most annoying, but Nate goes on to bother everyone outside of his introductory post.

The man has felt the need to respond to each and every other students' introductory post with nothing more than, "Sally........welcome to the class........Nate" Sometimes he mixes it up and throws in a ".......good luck........"

While you might think, "Oh, that's nice. He's just being friendly." keep in mind that a.) usually the professor welcomes people to the class, not a fellow student, and b.) by doing this, he's creating a whole shitpot of work for all the other students, who must go through and click on every single one of his stupid, unnecessary and inane posts just to get through them (or they'll linger forever in the "unread messages" folder and will not enable you to see at a glance if you really do have new, unread messages).

He has already done this no less than 14 times, and we're less than five full days into the term.

Which makes me want to hurl my wireless mouse at his head.

I hope he chokes on an ellipses.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Okay, one more

I was going to be selfish and keep this one to myself, but I love it so much I had to share it. It's my favorite image from the weekend.

Annie Leibovitz wrote, "There are not many smiling people in my pictures. I've never asked anyone to smile. Almost never. Maybe a few times I felt I had to, when people looked really depressed, but I apologized for asking. You can almost hear the sigh of relief when you tell someone they don't have to smile.

Where did "Smile for the camera" come from? It's a tic. A way of directing attention to the camera. "Look at the birdie." The smile is a component of family pictures. Mothers don't want to see their children looking unhappy...It took me years to understand that I equated asking someone to smile with asking them to do something false

There are people who smile naturally. It's their temperament. And you can catch a smile that is spontaneous, of the moment. My daughter Sarah has the most beautiful smile. When you see it occuring so naturally in children you hate to see it lost. I crumbled inside one day when I saw Sarah fake a smile."

I understand that completely. My best images of Zozer are, without a doubt, those that aren't posed with a faked smile.

I used to feel guilty that I didn't take her to Olan Mills or Picture People to have studio portraits made. People I work with bring in their proofs and I'd have a twinge of guilt that I wasn't having regular formal portraits made of my little girl. But then one day I took a good, hard look at my favorite images I have framed at my desk. They, much like the photograph I made above, told me I wouldn't trade my images for the finest studio shots in all the world. There's not a single photographer out there who could capture what I do, simply because of the trust and love Zoe and I have for each other. How cool is that?!

Happiness is...Zoe

Last weekend was a good weekend for photography. We went to the art museum and saw a small exhibit on street photography (and by small I mean like 10 images, but worth visiting nonetheless). We went to the cemetary and visited my friend and photography inspiration Kevin (gone 17 years now). And we went to the park where I got to actually use my camera and make some great images of my beautiful daughter.

The name Zoe means full of life, vibrant. Pretty appropriate to title this image simply with her name then. Her happiness makes me happy. Instant joy. Just like that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Crayons

It's the first day of school! M and I start our new term today, and even though I'm still tired from the last one and want grad school to be over already dammit, I get a little thrill on the first day of class. Everything is clean and fresh and I haven't gotten pissed at the instructor or moronic classmates yet. (I'm ready to throw the Org Behavior prof from last term under the bus at this point...we're a week out from the close of last term and he still hasn't graded any of the work from the second half of the term, which of course means we don't have our course grade yet either.)

I remember my mom taking me shopping for school supplies at the start of every school year. Packs of lined notebook paper (it was way cool the year I got to get college-ruled paper), spiral notebooks, new pencils, crayons, erasers, etc. Anyone out there remember the awesomely cool Trapper Keepers? Okay, so this just proves that I'm a nerd of the highest order, but I loved shopping for new school supplies. Since Zozer isn't old enough to shop for yet, I've taken to expressing my glee for Elmer's glue and rulers by purchasing a bookbag full of stuff for an underprivileged child through a program our church runs. M just shakes his head and laughs as I push my cart happily through Target, exclaiming, "Smell these new crayons! Isn't that heaven?!"

So, even though I haven't purchased a single "official" school supply for our graduate courses (we don't get to use crayons for homework, unfortunately) (and overpriced textbooks don't count as school supplies), I still get a thrill just reviewing our syllabi and cracking open our new textbooks.

Here's what's in store for the next nine weeks:

Economics (or, officially, BUSN 5620: Current Economic Analysis): Implications of current economic events are examined through the applications of economic theory. Emphasis is placed on acquainting the student with the methods of economic analysis in the context of current economic issues.

Current economic issues? We have issues with the economy right now? This might be interesting.

Ops and PM (or, officially, BUSN 6110: Operations and Project Management): This is a course that focuses on the major managerial issues in manufacturing management and the tools that can be used to manage them.

I'm a little worried that the word "manage" or some iteration of it was used thrice in one sentence, but it was written by an engineer, perhaps in the Redundant Department of Redundancy.

This second class will be to M what marketing was to me, as it's all about manufacturing and he spent like a gajillion hours doing that when he was with The Company That Almost Moved Us To OK. Plus, it's taught by an engineer so he'll have that whole "we engineers have to stick together" thing that I had in the marketing class, where M swears that our prof liked my writing better just because I'm in marketing. I think this class will be a snoozefest for me, as I've never been in manufacturing and don't really plan on ever going in to manufacturing. But, after this class, I'll certainly be prepared for it.

Anyway, deep breath...we're submerging for another nine weeks...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Proud to be a "poor" Gen Xer

Read an article yesterday about Generation X (my generation) taking a double whammy by being hit hard first during the dot com bubble burst and now the recession. Gen X is seeing the highest rate of unemployment right now when compared to the Boomers, Gen Y and the Millennials, and it's hitting us worse than the others because we're too old to move back in with mom and dad but not anywhere close to retirement. The article went on, however, to talk about the resiliency of Gen X, and the author interviewed some economists and social commentary pundits, one of whom said this:

In contrast to the younger Generation Y group with their overprotective parents and baby boomers still pining the loss of the gold watch days, Gen Xers never “trusted that the world or anyone was going to take care of them," he says.

No freakin' kidding. M and I have never, ever counted on anyone else taking care of us. We've been fortunate in so many ways and received countless gifts, but we've never once felt entitled to them or thought that we deserved them or were owed anything. We graduated from college secure in the certainty that Social Security wouldn't be around by the time we were ready to retire, and if it were, it'd just be gravy ("film money" I used to call it, before going to the Dark Side and converting to digital). We both began saving for our retirement immediately with our first jobs, investing in IRAs and Roth IRAs and 401(k) plans. Of course, we've watched the value of all that tank recently (well, we're not really watching, per say, as I quit opening the monthly statements sometime last year and now just have a bin full of still-sealed envelopes that would cause me to vomit should I ever actually open and read them), but still, we've at least attempted to create a base to provide for ourselves in our old age. We created a budget years ago and, to this day, check our expenses every single month.

Someone recently, in response to learning how much we're shelling out for graduate school, said, "Wow. You're rich." It got me to thinking about what M and I do and how we operate, because we are most definitely not rich (financially), at all. We're not even close. We are planners. We're budgeters. We're sacrificers. I drive a 10 year old car (happily, I might add) and haven't purchased clothes or shoes in years. My husband compares the price of toilet paper by calculating the cost per sheet (I kid you not). Sometimes that drives me crazy, like when I'm antsy and want to just get some freakin' toilet paper and go already, but I'm glad he does it because really, who wants to spend more on toilet paper than you absolutely have to? It's toilet paper, for Pete's sake.

I've been reading about the photographer Berenice Abbott the last couple nights, and her life story is remarkable. The woman was incredibly talented, but essentially unrecognized until she was in her 70s. She lived from one project to the next, sometimes barely scraping by, and many times forced to sell off her most prized possessions. However, through it all, she never, ever compromised on her ideals or what she thought was right. While it's a shame that it took her almost until the end of her life to receive the rewards she so richly deserved, she serves as an inspiration to just keep plugging away. She, like we Gen Xers, never thought that someone would swoop in and rescue her. She just did what she had to do, and she managed to survive and produce some of the most memorable work of her time.

What ol' Berenice did was set some priorities for her life, and then live by them. I admire that, and like to think that it's what M and I do. We know what is important to us - a secure retirement, a cushion in the bank account, a tuition savings plan for Zozer, a new camera now and then and more Christmas lights than the entire state of Nevada - and that's where we choose to spend our money. I don't buy clothes and shoes and jewelry and decorations for the house with every passing season, and he doesn't buy whatever silly stuff it is that guys buy. (What do they buy, anyway? Being married to an atypical guy, I wouldn't know. Power tools, maybe? Okay, he does have a thing for those, but he inherited so much from his grandfather that he's pretty well set, and he uses his Home Depot gift cards received for birthdays and Christmas for the rest.)

So, while we are rich in the aspect that we have a great family and lots of love and emotional support, we are just really good budgeters when it comes to money. Someone may look at my expensive camera or his million Christmas lights or our tuition bills and think that we have all the money in the world, but they're not seeing the whole picture. They're only seeing our priorities.

I'm not sure if our proclivities are indicative of our being members of Generation X or just a certain mindset (shared by Berenice Abbott and Edward Weston, which is way cool to me), but it's interesting to think about.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Two Photographers

You know it was bound to happen eventually,
what with two photographers in the house now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring I 2009 Term: By the Numbers

Just because I'm curious and like odd factoids (and because I want hard-core proof of the massive amount of work M and I just completed this term), I went through and added up the words I wrote for the two classes just finished: Marketing and Organizational Behavior.

Now, don't think that I sat there and counted each word manually (I'm not that curious)...Word has a nifty feature that counts them for you, and the "new" Word that I'm using puts that number right at the bottom of the screen so you don't even have to go searching for it like in the past. You just open the document and bam, there it is.

These numbers don't include all the postings I made in response to classmates' threads on the discussion boards. There's no tool to automatically count that, and I'm sure not going to do it. Besides, the data is impressive as it stands, without adding the board responses.

Marketing Posts Contributed to the Discussion Boards: 87
Organizational Behavior Posts Contributed to the Discussion Boards: 39
Total Posts: 126

Words written for Marketing Papers and Exams: 30,910
Words written for Organizational Behavior Papers and Exams: 16,772
Total words written: 47,682

Total pages written: roughly 70

And this, my friends, is why I have been remiss in posting to the blog. A girl can write only so much.

We've gotten our grades in Marketing (both A's)(although my A is higher than M's A.)(Just sayin'.) but are waiting to hear about Org Behavior. I'm confident we both earned A's for that, too, but there's always that little bit of doubt until the grade is posted all official-like by the university.

Anyway, if you talk to M, give him a giant congratulations on his marketing A. That A was hard-fought and hard-earned, and he didn't give up throughout the term even though his analytical engineering mind fought the artful bullshit that is marketing every step of the way. I'm just glad the term is over, as I was getting tired of hearing his nightly tirades against all things marketing: "This is such BS! It's ridiculous!" The kicker was when he railed, "Do you know what marketing is? Marketing is like writing for kindergartners." To which I replied, "Uh, thanks." He back-pedaled, of course, but the deed was done. I think he was just jealous of the ease with which I pulled in my 97%. Yeah, let's go with that.

"I could SO live in an IHOP."

The International House of Pancakes, or IHOP (or "Pancake House" as Zozer calls it) near us is closed, which is highly upsetting to the three of us who love love love us some Pancake House. Last week they finally turned the signage around, which does nothing, really, because what other building looks like a traditional IHOP? Seeing "POHI" doesn't make me think it's not an IHOP any more. It's still a squat building with a giant bright blue roof.

Anyway, we pass the IHOP most days on our way to work or to run errands or whathaveyou. And Zoe likes to point out the Pancake House whenever she sees it, and asked if it's still locked, and why. It's become a regular part of our routine at this point.

Speaking of routine...M and I, ever since learning our house is broken, have been dreaming (sometimes out loud) about building a new house and the various features we'd like to have. For instance, I want a laundry room that's located right between our bedroom and Zoe's. That's where our closets are, where we get dressed, and where we get undressed...I've never been able to figure out why house designers always put the laundry room as far away from the bedrooms as possible, especially now when washers and dryers are so quiet. I just love schlepping giant laundry baskets full of clothes all over the place.

So it was inevitable that we'd eventually find ourselves talking about our dream house while passing the IHOP, and that the two conversations would eventually merge. That happened this weekend, when M gazed upon the locked IHOP and, with dreamy, glazed eyes, said wistfully, "I could so live in an IHOP."

WTF? Really?

Yup, he could. "Look at that peak! There is so much decorating potential there...I'd have willies about getting up on that steep-pitched roof, though."

And that's when I realized that it doesn't really matter what I pick out for the inside of our dream home, as long as the exterior has holiday decorating potential.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"We don't see adults get this..."

When the sore throat started Sunday, I thought, "Uh oh, this isn't good." But, you know, it's a stupid sore throat and easy enough to power through. No time to be sick. Sunday night wasn't pleasant and Monday morning was awful. I was slated to work at our Chesterfield location that day, though, and the staff was depending on me so off I went.

On my lunch break I phoned the doc. The nurse took my symptoms and called back later to say, "Get over-the-counter chlortrimeton and take that for 2 or 3 nights. If you don't feel better in three days, call back." When I got to the drug store and read the label on the medicine, I realized that either the nurse is an idiot or the doctor is a hack, because chlortrimeton treats all kinds of symptoms, none of which I had. I purchased throat spray instead and headed home.

That night we took the first of the three finals we have this week. I had to wear knee socks, sweat pants, a t-shirt and two sweatshirts, and two wool blankets, plus sit a foot away from a space heater for an hour to get warm, but I finally did and feel that I did reasonably well on the final, considering.

Tuesday was worse, but I gamely headed into the office and put in a full day. Came home and took the second final, then fell in to bed. Zozer is nursing a cold so she was up all night, but it was okay because I was up all night, too. M got the most sleep of any of us, and I think he pulled in around 2.5 hours, maybe, if he was lucky.

So, yesterday morning, in so much pain that swallowing water made me cry, I finally admitted that I might be kind of a little sick, and called an ear, nose and throat guy my MIL recommended. Being pretty pissed about the allergy medicine recommendation from the other doc, I thought it best to go right to a specialist. He got me in right away (good man) and as soon as he saw me, and the swollen glands on my neck, he said, "Whoa! That looks really bad." He proceeded to gag me with a tongue depressor while this stream of speech poured from his mouth:

"Holy cow! Your throat is ripped up. Ulcers on both sides. Yep, bet it's in your ears too. Left side is worse, though. When did this start? Sunday? Yeah, it's bad now. Pretty painful, huh? Well, you've got a full-blown case of tonsillitis. Interesting. Normally we don't see adults get this. Are you allergic to penicillin? No? Okay, you're going to be on mega-doses of penicillin for the next two days, then regular doses after that. A regular dose is one pill three times a day. I need you to take six pills the first day and six the second. Oh, and do you have a child? Yes? Well, you're going to need to stay away from her because you're highly contagious, and she really won't be happy if she gets this."

Great. Tonsillitis. I haven't had it since I was in high school, when I got that and strep throat three times in six or eight months and the doctor threatened, "If you get it once more, I'm taking them out." Didn't get it again until, oh, the age of 35. Ridiculous.

So, yesterday was spent stumbling between the couch and the bed, taking my megadoses of antibiotics, and today is much the same. Only I had to go in to the office for a bit this morning to take care of some pressing issues (it's a royal pain in the ass to be a department of one). My office mates were gone for the day at our other locations, and I ran in and ran out in about an hour and a half, so I'm pretty positive I didn't infect anyone there.

Since the throat is much better (still hurts, but to a lesser degree than the past few days), we're tackling our last final this evening (our final final, I guess you could say). After that it's a bit of tweaking on one of the two final papers due Friday and then we're done with this term. And, hopefully, done with tonsillitis. Good riddance to both.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Typos? Or Freudian slips?

I like to use this space to document things that happen to me...little funny everyday things and big giant impactful's a way for me to get it down so I can look at it later and laugh or sigh or remember or think, "You moron, why the hell did you write that?"

And it's with this intent that I'm posting today's funny story. Well, I think it's hilarious.

M and I work every single day of our lives on school. Every day. Every night during the week, and the last four Saturdays (all dang day) and Sunday while Zozer is napping. We work so much on school that he doesn't get to work on Christmas and my new camera is still, well, really new. No Christmas planning for him and no photography for me is pretty much hell on earth, but we're finding ways of coping somehow. And December 18 is the light at the end of the tunnel!

Anyway, this term has involved a lot of writing. A lot. A shitload, a boatload, a crapload, an oh-my-gawd-I'm-so-sick-of-my-laptop-load. We typically review each other's work before submitting, checking for content, spelling, grammatical errors, etc. A couple weeks ago I was reviewing M's article analysis, where we have to find a recent article on the Web pertaining to this week's topic, summarize it, and relate it to our class. I read the whole article, made my few very-minor tweaks, and then noticed a typo in the line that credits the article's author. I started laughing and asked, "This article was written by Boob Johnson? Really?" Uh, no, that would be Bob Johnson.

Then, Saturday, I was reviewing his final project, the giganto Marketing Plan. We each got to use our own businesses to do this work, which I think in some ways is easier and in others infinitely harder (for instance, you can't just make up numbers when you're basing it all on real stuff...feels like cheating). One of the segments deals with distribution and he had written something like, "The company recent cancelled a contract with a pubic warehouse in Philadelphia..."

Man, that is one warehouse I don't ever want to see.

I placed the "l" appropriately within the word and all was corrected, but not before we split our guts laughing about it.

And who says grad students don't have fun?!

Gawd, this is really sad if these two typos are the humorous high points of our lives currently.
Congratulations go out to little Zozer this week, as it's her first full week of school! Yes, that's right, our Bug now attends school five days a week.
I was reading one of Annie Liebovitz's books the other night (well, not so much reading as studying the images since she's a photographer and not a writer and therefore her books are light on text and heavy on pictures). This particular book is a mix of her personal photographs and her public (for-hire) images. It was fascinating to see that a well-known, celebrated photographer takes the same kind of family snapshots as the rest of us. It was also a relief to realize that not every one of my images of my child has to be absolutely perfect. I think when I finally get to start photographing again, I won't put so much pressure on myself to wait for the perfect moment or the perfect light, and just try to capture what's really there. It's a whole new way of thinking about photography for me.