Friday, January 30, 2009

I Dream of Spring



Just before I wake up, I've been dreaming that it's spring. I notice it's spring because everyone's wearing light pretty dresses and the sun is warm on my arms and shoulders and forehead and we're outside in the grass eating strawberries or something lovely like that. It's that perfect, cool, breezy warm. And I'm happy.

For some reason our house has been toastier in the morning, and I feel so cozy under our faux-down comforter that I believe it's spring. I think about what to wear to work, and I have to remind myself that it's chin-freezing cold outside, that there's a three-inch layer of ice on our driveway and sidewalk, that I must incorporate tights into my outfit or die.

And still, I don't believe it. I think, but it was just sunny and springy, wasn't it? Self, I say, that was a DREAM. Give it up already.

And still, at the end of the day, when I'm trying to steer the cold wheel with the tips of my fingers and avoid crashing into the massive banks of snow and ice that line every road, I think: Maybe it will be warmer tomorrow. It's almost spring, right? We've been doing this winter thing for quite awhile.

Self, I say, we're not even close. We haven't even officially reached the other side of January. Keep dreaming.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let Me Take You to the ER! La la la la la la la la lalala!

Sam loves this Frank Zappa song that goes, "Let me take you to the Beach! La la la la la la la la lalala!" It's kind of silly, with high-pitched voices like the Beach Boys, but the actual music is complicated and rich--sort of what Zappa does. Sam used to sing it to me when we were dating. We had my brother put it in our wedding video, which caused him to ask, "You do know this is your WEDDING video, right?"
Anyway, I'm thinking of that song, substituting ER with beach.

Again with the emergency room for us.

Here's what Sam said about his tummy ache last night: "the intestines felt a bit like one of Santa's little helpers was in there, trying to scrape his way out with a razor blade." Fun, no? We called primary care, they told us to go in. So in we went. Poor man. I wonder if we'll just get used to taking him in on a quarterly basis, for one reason or another.

This quarterly visit was a breeze ... sort of. (Now that I said that I'm remembering Sam threw up in the waiting area men's room, and all the other unpleasant stuff he had to do, so maybe I just mean I wasn't as panicked as I'm wont to be.) They gave him anti-nausea stuff, painkillers that got rid of the tummy ache AND the migraine he's had for two weeks running. I sat nearby (except for when they did unpleasant things to him.), reading Richard Bausch stories, saying nice wifey stuff to him.

The truth is, I sort of like going to the ER with Sam. Whatever thing we're worried about, it doesn't matter. I'm just doing this thing for him, driving him to a place where they help. The only option for my attitude is compassion, and he's funny as a flamingo when he's at the hospital. We sit in a room with nothing interesting in it besides each other and we talk, make eye contact. Sometimes he sees double, and then he makes eye contact with both of us.

We went the ER around 11pm, and around 3:30 they made him drink "contrast"--this stuff they mix in fruit punch. He said it was like drinking fruit punch mixed with vinegar. Mmmmm. I went home and slept while this substance snaked through his system, then they gave him a CT scan, said they saw nothing wrong, and sent him home. This is how it goes: they do their best but find nothing really wrong. I'm afraid for the day that's not how it goes, when there is something wrong, when they keep him.

Anyway, on a non-morbid note, we ate breakfast at this lovely little place in Watertown. We got home at 9 in the morning, neither of us having slept more than a few hours. I emailed my students to tell them no class, called the department to tell them uh-uh, then crashed. I woke up at 3 in the afternoon. Looking in the mirror, I understand what people mean when they say their eyes are "puffy." It's like the egdes of my eyes are poking outwards. I am so cute.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Happier News

I got word this morning that my essay on my polygamist ancestors got accepted for the CEA conference in Baltimore. So we'll head down there beginning of March. Any thoughts on Baltimore?

More beautifully, Sam and I bought tickets for Europe. We got a deal. And in the end, throwing around dates, we decided if we're gonna go, we ought to just stay and stay. So we'll be gone for almost the entire month of June. Sweet bliss.

We fly in and out of Paris, but we're planning on bopping around all over the country. Any suggestions? We're planning on some time in Paris, a few days in London, a week or so in Norway. And we're thinking one other place. Any thoughts, Folks?

Also, if you've had lovely experiences in any of the places I mentioned, tell me everything, please.

Only downside: leaving our kitties. Cue another picture of Meatsock, as a babe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Going to Be Delicate Here.

It's clear as of today that it's not me that's sucking at this job, it's the job that's sucking. I mean, it's a bad situation. Talked to an dear mentor from days past who knows what these jobs should be like and he said, wow, that's not good.

So what does one do when they find out their "dream job" is not so dreamy? What now?

Here are jobs I think I'd like, not that I trust myself to pick anymore:

*studying elephant family dynamics in Africa
*studying the connections between bird songs and whale songs
*writing for radiolab, thisamericanlife, or speakingoffaith
*writing documentaries about cool smart people who are dead
*designing energy-efficient and lovely and low-cost housing for poor folks
*chef
*librarian for a big pretty library
*forest ranger
*photographer
*bookmaker
*studier of brains
*person who makes up names for ice cream flavors
*cat
*yes, cat, like the animal. their job is to take naps and be cute. i want that job.

(i swear the little meatsock posed for this picture. i took it just now with my computer's webcam. sorry for blur.)



See, trouble is, I'd have to, like, be a baby again to do one of these things with my life. Start over. Be reincarnated.

Is reincarnation necessary for career change? Or maybe I just need this job at a different place?

Sigh.

I've been crying on and off all day. And now I'm tired.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sleep Tight

This is the second Sunday in a row that church has been cancelled. That's right, cancelled. It has DUMPED snow the last two weekends, and it's just too risky for the whole ward to try and get there. You think this might be kind of cool: a bishop-sanctioned day off. But really I just go sort of loopy. Today I stayed in bed until two, napping and reading and petting my cats. Then I got really really depressed. Which is what usually happens when I stay in bed until two.

So, I offer three things of interest:

1. Sam and I were convinced we had bedbugs last night. Utterly convinced. Our bed and mattress are brand new from Ikea, but still. We were so itchy that neither of us could sleep. After blissfully considering flaying myself, I decided we should change the sheets (which we had just changed the night before). Sam lifted up the mattress pad to discover a frightening collection of small black things. They were about twice the size of poppyseeds, looking like eggs or dead bugs or something terrifying. Has anyone seen the movie Bug? I haven't, but Sam told me about it awhile ago, and apparently it's about this couple who becomes totally convinced that bugs are living in their bed and in their skin and teeth and curtains and such. They're totally paranoid and crazy (at least we assume they are), and I felt like that couple. We were crouched by our lamp, holding these little bug carcasses, saying, "Did you see that one move? I think one moved." We looked them up on the internet, and they look like this:

And this:


Ewww, no? So we were ready to make up the futon, ready to call pest control and condemn the place, ready to run screaming out into the snow, when I thought, wait a minute. Sam used to put catnip underneath the mattresspad to woo his kitty into sleeping there by his feet. These little black things didn't look like catnip, and they were more in the middle of the bed, but I thought, hey, maybe the seeds. I looked it up online, and bingo. Look:



That was what we had in our bed, hundreds of catnip seeds. A little water, sunlight, dirt and we would have had a garden. Our kitties would LOVE that.

(Still don't know why we were so itchy. Changing the sheets helped. We're thinking maybe our skin was dry from the heater running at full blast? Hmmm.)

2. In other news, our newest neice finally arrived. Isadora Lynn, the first grandkid on Sam's side. Sweet, no? Infinitely cuter than a bedbug.


3. Speaking of sweet, my newest, most favoritest, most easiest dessert object. This seriously takes 30 seconds to put together, and with some nice light vanilla ice cream, it's really been hitting the spot, for not many calories. The warmness is especially nice when it's like 4 degrees outside. It also doesn't have splenda, which I lived on for a sugarfree year and half, and now deeply loathe. Real sugar, real flour, a fairly generous portion, and you won't die.

Any Fruit Cobbler


Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups of your favorite fruit, for cobbler (I didn't use a full two cups, I don't think. I just dumped some frozen berries on there and popped it in the oven.)

Directions
1Combine all of the ingredients except the fruit in a bowl.
2Pour it into an 8x8 pan coated with cooking spray.
3Add the fruit right on top.
4The crust will come up over the fruit and cover it.
5Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can I Teach With My Eyes Closed?

What is with these students giving me weird looks? I've got this one class that seems a total dud, at least so far. We've met three days, and I've managed to squeeze a total of five comments from the whole lot of them. Instead they look at me like I'm nuts, like I'm wearing a monkey on my head, dancing the jitterbug, and eating a raw potato.

I wish I WERE wearing a monkey on my head, dancing the jitterbug, and eating a raw potato--with my eyes closed. That might be more interesting. Students are so boring when they're quiet. Boring and scary.

It doesn't help that the first two days of class I didn't have a PEN or a PENCIL, so I had to borrow one to take roll. How did I end up with everything but a writing utensil? How? And then today I left the house late and got stuck in horrible traffic on top of it. So I was twenty minutes away when class started. Real smooth. I called and had someone run over there to tell them to wait for me, but by the time I got there one person had already left, and two more were literally on their way out the door. Were they happy to see me? No, no they weren't. One kid said, too loudly, "Shoot (but not shoot)," as I was walking in. Warms the heart, that does. And then on and on with the silent treatment and the dirty looks.

I'm a really nice girl. Will someone please tell my comp class that?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bleeding Papercuts

Started back at school yesterday. Before my first class, making copies: the English faculty member who reminds me of my kindergarten teacher and always corrects me came in, said hi. I was literally trembling, I was so nervous and scared about being back there, having to see these people who have become big scary meanies in my head. I was trembling so badly that I gave myself TWO papercuts. And they bled profusely for some reason. So there I was, trying to have a pleasant chat about Kindergarten Teacher's holiday break, bleeding my heart out. Good grief.

But anyway, it's been okay so far. Incredible what even one semester of experience will do to make me more comfortable. I'm teaching the same classes, too. So I can directly apply what went terribly wrong, I hope.

Not to mention, hurrah for thyroid medication. For those of you who don't know, the symptoms are as follows: weight gain (hello 30+ pounds in the last few months), lack of energy (yes yes), low immunity (raging colds last semester), hair loss, itching, depression, etc etc etc. You see? Was this not my life, faithful Internet? And now, can't say all is perfect. And they say it takes two weeks to really kick in. But I can say that since the day I started it last week, I have felt worlds better. I actually feel like waking up in the morning. I managed to finish all my syllabi. I invested in an elliptical machine (because I kept trying to go to the gym and finding ice on my car, inches thick.) and have been on it every day. And just, I don't know, it's not this daunting task to brush my teeth, like it was. It's a miracle, seriously. You have no idea.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Finally.

The doctors of this town have FINALLY deemed me worthy of thyroid medication.

After getting tested over and over again with various docs, after detailing my symptoms for them (which are ALL symptoms of low thyroid), after drawing them pictures of my immediate-ish family tree (which has a half-dozen thyroid problems perched in it), and after giving up hope they'd ever believe me. Now. Now they fork it over.

I know it seems weird to be sort of, like, happy about having a disease. But trust me. If this stuff works, it's wonderful news in Dejaland.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More on Christmas

Tonight, to break my fast, I made avocado/apple/turkey enchiladas. I know that sounds weird, but boy oh boy they were yummy. As were the Black Bean Brownies I made this week, off a recipe on 101 Cookbooks. (Note on brownies: You can't taste the black beans. Really, honest, you can't. Also, I substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce for 1/2 the butter, as a cup seemed like a lot. And I mixed agave nectar with honey and maple syrup 'cause agave nectar costs 4 million dollars and didn't want to use it all.)

My kitty, Meatsock, is curled up beside me. Occasionally I can hear him make a small kitty squeak. Sam is asleep on the couch, snoring much louder than a kitty squeak, and listening to Bach on Pandora Radio. (Note on Pandora Radio: If you haven't discovered the joy that is Pandora, get yerself over to that website. Such a happy place/thing. Sam and I are obsessed.)

Anyway, I'm thinking about Christmas. We had such an exquisite one. Maybe my favorite yet. Here's a list of my favorite things about Christmas, in no particular order:

1. Our three one-year-old nieces. Sam fell hard for them. Aren't they astonishing? Such a joy to watch them waddle and play. The two are twins, Alana and Alexa, belonging to my brother Garret and his wife Girlie. And the blondie is the fair Maggie, belonging to my brother Gavin and his wife Erin.

2. Our new Cat Nativity set, from Sam's parents. Baby Jesus is a tiny kitten. We love it.

3. Sam's Christmas card to me, which read (and this will really only make sense if you've seen Twilight, which I made Sam see with me on Christmas eve-eve.): "I only knew three things with any certainty: 1. Deja was a Mormon. 2. Some part of her--and I didn't know how dominant that part--wanted to convert me. And 3. I was hopelessly, irrevocably in love with her." He's a clever man. He got me freshwater pearl earrings and a bracelet, so he's also my favorite.
4. My freshwater pearl earrings and bracelet from Sam.

5. The food. Fancy restaurants and delectable pot roast dinner in Tucson, Christmas Eve sandwich fiesta and Christmas day turkey dinner and Cafe Rio in Sandy.

6. Hanging out with my sisters and my mom. After five months out here, where Sam is my best but only friend, I was happy to remember how it feels to be surrounded by people that I love and trust, a whole gaggle of them.
7. Not thinking about school.

8. Reading whatever I felt like reading.

9. Sleeping as much as I felt like sleeping.

10. A sweet, peaceful, happy conversation with Sam over lunch at the Cleveland airport on our layover coming home, in which we discussed our future, our love, our astonishment at how lucky and happy we are to be together. Poor other people in the airport Outback: we were leaning over our salads to kiss, holding hands next to our water cups, and I for one had tears in my eyes, spilling. Vacations are good for love.

11. Playing Rockband with my nephews. Have you guys played this game? In what other venue am I allowed to scream the lyrics to Radiohead or Weezer with such pure abandon?
12. Seeing the beautiful quilt that Sam's great-grandmother made, his childhood (and ongoing) collection of Christmas ornaments, etc. The man basically has a trousseau. Which is good, because I certainly don't. From what I understand, the trousseau is enroute at this moment. His mom is wonderful for keeping it safe and shipping it so carefully for us.

13. When we ran out of kids willing to dress up for the nativity, my mom had to play Joseph. Isn't she so cool? (I dearly love Maggie's skeptical look here.)




All in all, a lovely season with delightful, generous family. We're grateful we got to go.