Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dear God, It's Me, Dumbass

Dear God,

Please, please do something about this last class. I really am not enjoying crying about it every single f***ing night. If I have to cry every night for nine weeks straight, I'm pretty sure my eyeballs will fall out. And that's not going to benefit anyone.

How is it that I can get almost all the way through graduate school, with all A's mind you, and wind up feeling like a worthless idiot dumbass in the last class that's supposed to tie everything I've learned all together?

Is this some sort of twisted academic joke, God? Are you up there having a big belly laugh over my insanity? Is the crap you've piled on my plate not enough, you just have to add that last giant ladle of stress gravy that seeps over everything else? Because, really, I'd be happy with a simple bowl of Cheerios right now.

I'm not sure if you can make someone smart overnight, but I'd sure appreciate your giving it a shot. Tonight would be great. I have another assignment due Thursday night and if you don't at least throw me a bone I just might not make it.

Thanks in advance,
P.S. If you could see fit to clean the litterbox, too, that would be awesome. I just can't seem to get to everything these days.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bits and pieces

Don't you love it when, a mere four days after you buy an ungodly expensive computer, the company releases an even better model with a bigger screen and a wireless mouse and keyboard standard AND prices it two hundred bucks less than what you just paid? Yeah, I love that, too. As I'm sure do the fine folks at the Apple store who received a phone call from me today. "Ummm, can you help me out here?" Thankfully, we're within the 2-week return policy, so my new iMac will be packed up, taken back, and exchanged for an even newer iMac that costs less. Go figure.
We're in the first week of our last class now, which is called the Capstone class. Capstone apparently being Latin for "more work than human beings should have to do for one class." We are logging into an on-line business simulator with our teams (yep, another f***ing group project) and running a business, in competition against the other teams in our class. The simulation goes in rounds, and each round represents a year of business. We have to develop a line of products, determine future planning, schedule R&D, figure out marketing (price, promotion, sales projections, etc.), schedule production (based on forecasts and, at this point, some gut reaction), add capacity if needed, and then hammer out financing (we can do short-term debt, long-term debt, issue stocks and bonds, etc.). It's supposed to pull everything we've learned over the past two years together with a nice tidy bow.

What I'm quickly learning is that running an imaginary business takes almost as much time as running a real one. Yay. I'm also realizing that I apparently don't remember much of what I learned last year.

Oh yeah, and while we're doing that whole running-a-company thing, we have textbook readings, assignments, discussion board posts...it's death by academia.

This week we got ourselves signed up and logged in, completed a situation analysis (which took me 2+ hours tonight alone), a rehearsal round (that was all of last night: 4+ hours), review of the 36-page student guide for the program, used a cattle-prod to get the other people in our groups off their butts and actually working (I've been marginally more successful at this in my group than M, whose group quickly appointed him Captain and then went AWOL), and are working on our first practice round.

None of this counts towards our grade, mind you. It's all just the basic stuff to get us going.
Tomorrow I'm going with Zozer on a school field trip. We're going to a pumpkin patch. She's very excited, so I'm hoping that the predicted storms hold off or miss us entirely. The storms are predicted at a 90% liklihood, though, so we have Plan B, which is taking her Saturday to the annual BBQ hosted by M's company at a different pumpkin patch. Either way, and hopefully both ways, we're getting the girl a pumpkin. Now if we can just find time to carve it.
Sometime in college (undergrad...waaaaay back in the day) I began experiencing insomnia. I'd lay awake for hours, and then fall asleep only to wake up here and there in fits and starts. It's miserable. I've struggled with that on and off ever since, using over the counter sleep aids to get me back on track. These days, though, I have absolutely no problems falling asleep, or staying that way. M claims I'm snoring like a sailor, and I don't doubt it. I guess maybe before I simply wasn't exhausted enough.

Speaking of...good night!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Well, I've just done my part to stimulate the economy.

I blog this morning from my shiny new iMac, a juggernaut of processing power with a 1 terabyte harddrive (that's right, people, I got me a friggin' TERABYTE to play with), a giant 24" screen and a totally kick-ass video card. The screen is so large that I'm finding it hard to get it far enough back from my eyes. I feel like I'm sitting in the damn thing. This is a good problem to have.

Why a new computer? Well, it's quite simple, really. I filled up the old one. Turns out that the D300 with its whomping files was too much for my little G5 PowerMac to take. I have about 600 files to transfer and there's no room. Even after two weeks of frantically editing and deleting. "Aw, crap, I have to tell M that I need a new computer."

We debated. There are extra drive slots on the G5 and we could purchase another harddrive and he could install it, giving me more room. Oh, the optical drive is busted, too, though. (This has meant that to get any new music on the G5, and therefore on our iPod, I had to go through this process: take CDs to work, load them on iTunes on my work laptop, find the folder containing the music files buried somewhere in the system, load them onto a jump drive, come home and transfer files from the jump drive to the appropriate directory on the Mac - a royal pain in the ass - and reverse that process to burn anything to CD.) Well, let's go check out how much it'll cost and what it'll take to add another harddrive and replace the optical drive.

So off we went last weekend to the Apple store, post-it note in hand with the private health details of my Mac scribbled on it. Talked to a couple of Mac guys who reassured M that yes, he could indeed install a new drive on his own. "But realize that doing that will only give you more space. Your processor is still old and slow." Yeah, yeah, I got that. I apply one small level change in Photoshop and can brew up a pot of coffee, pour a cup, sweeten it and enjoy half before the change takes place.

One of the guys asked when we bought the G5. I dunno...don't remember...a long, long time ago. If I give you the serial number can you look it up? Sure. Consult post-it. Type in serial number.

The Mac guy made a whistling sound and shook his head. "Wow, man. That's what we call vintage."

M groaned and clutched his wallet, while I grinned like an idiot and began eyeing up iMacs.

We took a week to mull it over and consult the budget. Okay, M took a week to come to grips with buying another computer he knows he'll hate. I was there already.

We went last night and picked it up. Visited Great Grandma in the hospital, ate dinner, came home. Homework, studying. (We are nothing if not disciplined.) After all our obligations of the day were done, I busted into the box. Oh, man, this thing even looks sweet.

After powering up, the iMac asked, "Hey, would you like to transfer your files and settings from your old Mac, you cool Apple person?" (Okay, so maybe I added that last part.) I hit yes. It took about 8 hours, but when I woke up this morning there it was. My new iMac, perfectly set up with all my files, all my music, all my programs, right there. Everything I had spent the last six years tweaking and refining and setting up on my old G5, ready to go. On a giganto screen.

I have a flood of photographs to work on. I am in heaven. I am full of bliss and happiness. I celebrated by loading the new U2 album I bought for M in and cranking it. "October," the Dublin boys' sophomore album (awesome).

O happy, happy day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Well, THAT'S a new one

Zoe finds all kinds of excuses to get out of bed after we've put her down. Drinks of water, potty runs, I can't find Hootie, I'm hot, etc. All the usual reasons kids have used through the ages.

Tonight, though, she reached a new level of creativity.

I exited my bathroom after washing my face to find a little girl standing in my bedroom, holding a small, plush owl.

"What are you doing?"
"Mommy, Hootie has to throw up, really, really badly."
"Oh. Okay. Well, let's get him a little bucket then."

So we found a small trashcan and I instructed her to let Hootie go to town.

She held him upside down over the trashcan and made retching sounds. Took everything I had to not laugh. Then she pulled him back, smoothed his "feathers," gave him a few pats and peered into the trashcan.

"I think he had bacon today. It looks like bacon chunks in his throw-up."

Oh, my.

Well, the child has an imagination, that's for sure.

Last week, while visiting GreatGrandma in the hospital, Zoe brought her little pink plastic cell phone to make a call. She calls a variety of people. Hoot. Grandma and Grammy are popular. Grandpa Ray. Great Aunt Margaret and Great Aunt Shelley are regulars. Anyway, she was "talking" to one of the aforementioned when GreatGrandma asked her a question. Zoe, with a stern look on her face and the phone still up to her ear, turned to her and said, in all seriousness, "GreatGrandma, I am on the phone. You have to be quiet, please."

On a serious note, I'd like to make a call myself.

"Hello, world? Yes, please stop. I'd like to get off now. Thanks."

My prayer list is so long, I'd need a whole other blog to write it. Suffice to say that a whole shitload of people in my life need prayers right now, so please send some around. People with far bigger issues than I. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It turns out that if you cry and vacuum at the same time, two things happen:

1. Your house gets clean
2. You eventually run out of tears

I'm all for multi-tasking.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Long day, yesterday

When can I go? I'm ready to go. I'm ready for this.

Then, when the aide came to wheel her to the surgery center, she burst into tears.

And I remembered that feeling.

When I was so, so ready to meet Zoe and then it was time, c-section time, and I burst into tears. What if?

When I was so ready to have the f***ing cyst cut from my wrist and then ten minutes before it was time the anesthesiologist said, "Oh, I've decided to do a general instead of a local block" and I panicked and burst into tears and asked for something to help and he said okay and threw me into the general right then. What if?

Fear of the unknown. The terrifying thought of, "What's going to happen to me?"

The "Oh, my God, this thing is really, really going to happen. Now." realization.

I grabbed her hand and, with tears of empathy in my own eyes, offered some humor to ease the way. Told her I could do it myself, as I was pretty darn handy with a steak knife. She smiled. And the tears abated and we started rolling down the maze of hallways from the fourth floor of one wing to the second floor of another wing, the aide calling out all the soft bumps along the way like the soothing voice in the elevator that says, "First...floor." When I had to go, I held her hand again, leaned over, and said, "I'll see you tomorrow, and we'll bring Zoe back to see you, and, well...give 'em hell in there!" And she laughed.

There were emergencies throughout the day so they took her late. I had to leave to get Zoe from school, and they took her in shortly after we got back to the hospital. Children under 14 aren't allowed in pre-op, so we stayed in the waiting area and read "The Happy Hedgehog." M stayed by her side until they were ready. He's a good man, M. We ate in the cafeteria again, where Zo is making fast friends with the jolly cashier, and then we went home for bath and bed while M waited some more.

After I got her down, I collapsed on the couch. No homework. No photography. No blogging. No TV. Nothing. Completely tapped. M came home, dazed with exhaustion. He woke me up and pushed me into bed and then fell asleep on the couch watching his beloved Cardinals lose.

The surgery went well. Coupla screws in the hip. She'll go to rehab in a few days.

We never know what's going to happen to us, do we? From one day to the next. Things change so quickly and sometimes it feels like you have complete control over your destiny, and others it feels like you're just swirling along on the current of life, hoping not to get stuck in an eddy.

It's how you manage the transition, I think. How you get yourself through the rapids and the state you're in when you come out on the other side, in the clear, still, deep water. It's holding on tightly to what's important and letting all the garbage, the crap, the junk, float away.

I'm ready for this.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I eat when I am stressed.
I eat everything. And a lot of it.
I snack and nosh and a little of this and a lot of that.
And then my pants get tight.
Which means, okay, I've put on a little weight.
"I'll get to it after graduation," I tell myself.
"I have too much going on to worry about that now."
But then there's the realization that I can't even take comfort in buying some new Fat Pants.
Because I don't have time to go shopping for new Fat Pants.
So now I have Fat Pants stress.
And I eat when I am stressed.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Second Wind

Nope, I'm not giving up. I can not, should not, and will not give up. Turns out I got some fight left in me after all. So life has some bumps...isn't that what makes us appreciate the good times more than ever? Why on earth should I give up something I love (blogging) just because I'm busy? No sense in moping about it...just do it already. Shut up, and do it.

So, here I am.

And I'm deciding that despite the hard things, there is still a way to see life with humor. It's all about perspective, yes? It's about realizing that no matter what I'm struggling with right now, there are people out there with far worse problems than I. Blessed be to God that I have the issues I have, and the people in my life who help me get through them.

Ernest Hemingway wrote, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places." I want to be one of those. One of the many who are strong in the broken places despite what hand the world deals me.

(I could write a whole post about how Hemingway is the shit, but I'll save that for another time.)

So, my humor for today is found in a crotchety old lady who is full of piss and vinegar and who doesn't take crap from anyone. She's in the hospital right now (prayers, please) and raisin' holy hell, 'cause that's what she does best. I can look at her in one of two ways: someone who gets under my skin and makes me upset, or a character to shrug off and laugh about her idiosyncrasies.

We all have idiosyncrasies...it's how we present them that shows our level of creativity.

The mean ol' bag in the hospital is pretty damn creative. Yesterday she threatened that if her doctor came in her hospital room again, she would "bite all his fingers off." That, my friends, is original and hilarious as hell. I mean, I've talked about running people over and whacking them in the head and shooting them with a phaser, but biting off fingers? That's creative brilliance right there.

My grandma, when she got really, really old, had this sort of spunk. Drove me crazy at the time, but now that she's been gone for a decade, I realize how I miss that. It took some age to make me appreciate her spirit. She sure gave me a suitcase full of funny stories and hilarious memories, and my aunts and I still use some of her sayings. Most people she didn't like were "creeps" and "on drugs." How many people still use the word "creep" to describe someone? A few years before she died, she started calling men "bitches" and women "bastards." I tried correcting her, but she said she didn't care, that's what she wanted to call them.

So, today, I pull myself up by my bootstraps and dust myself off, climb out of the pity pool I've been wallowing in and dry off with towel of fortitude, and soldier on. And appreciate originality and diversity for the gifts they are.

Don't mess with me, though. I just might bite your fingers off.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Maxed out

After a couple weeks of feeling guilty about not blogging regularly, I've decided that I simply cannot handle anything "for fun" in my life right now. Besides, there's really not much silliness or fun or humor these days, except for when Zozer says things like "hippopotamatus," and that's not really enough to carry a blog.

So I have to take a break. I wish I could keep writing for fun because I really enjoy it and it's a nice release for me, but something has to give. At this point, that something could very well be my sanity, but at least it won't be quite so public.

I hope to be back soon. In the meantime, please send good thoughts our way. I swear, if one more thing gets added to our plates, we're going to run away. And we're taking our daughter and her funny words with us.

Wouldn't it be cool to blog from a beach somewhere?