Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Ten Years Ago: I had just started my junior year of high school. I lived with my mom and dad, sister, family stray Flip, and, occasionally my brother. That was his senior year and, as I recall, he was in and out a bit. I didn’t quite have a car yet but was soon to acquire the best car I ever had: a 1986 Mazda 626 that was rhinoceros gray and had a dent in every panel. It also smelled funny because my cousin, its previous owner, had spilled airplane fuel in the back seat. It came with a wide array of accoutrements including blue plastic sunglasses whose frames lit up, several dollars in change, a Mozart cassette tape and a UB40 cassette tape.
Five Years Ago: In September of 2000, I was a newlywed living in Lansing, Michigan. I had left school temporarily and had just gotten my first “real” job as the sales department assistant at Nissui Corporation, an American offshoot of a Japanese manufacturer of recycling machinery for large-scale plastic injection-molding machinery lines. Mostly, I just came home and cried at night since I was one of very few native English speakers and could never understand what, exactly, they wanted me to do. Also, I couldn’t understand what the machinery did or how it worked and I was THE person you called to order replacement parts. I can’t believe I did as well as I did. They loved me.
One Year Ago: I was just settling into my current job and still believed I was unbelievably lucky to have found it. I lived in a manufactured house on a very nice lot in P-town. I drove an 0’something (can’t remember anymore) red Subaru Outback which I LOVED. We had been trying to start a family for a little while and had just finally begun the cycles of fertility drugs that nearly drove me insane.
Yesterday: I dragged myself out of bed after an extra “snooze” session and went to work. I had meetings all morning. I came home from work at 4, had a snack and went to sleep. It was my intention to sleep until around 5 or 5:15 and then get up and have dinner before going to class. But I couldn’t. So I slept until 5:30 and went to class without dinner. Actually, I had two apples and half a bag of pumpkin seeds. I had a rotten night at class, came home and yelled at Owen for going golfing instead of cleaning up the house and then went to bed. It was an exhausting day.
Five Songs I Know All the Words To:
Anything from Wicked
Power of Two
Closer to Fine
Double Stuff Oreos
Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked
Five Things I'd Do With $100 Million:
Pay off all my loans and build a gorgeous house
Retire my parents and Owen’s parents (and I don’t mean in a Mafia kind of way)
Take my whole family on a huge trip all over the world
Quit “work” and work for charity – maybe start my own kids program
Give bunches to great charities who support my beliefs
Five Places I'd Run Away To:
NYC (even though I’ve never been)
Five Things I'd Never Wear:
Anything forest green
Anything from Abercrombie and Fitch (even if it DID fit…)
A scrunchie (unless I had desperate need and couldn’t find anything – even a twist tie)
Anything proclaiming any sort of conservative message
Five Favorite TV Shows:
Sex and the City
Law and Order
Law and Order: SVU
Five Greatest Joys:
Great discussions (especially with Owen…about social issues)
Getting ready for the baby
Hanging around with my mom and my sister
Shopping when I actually have money to spend
Five Favorite Toys:
The digital camera
Books? Do they count?
1. What is your favorite word? “Discount”2. What is your least favorite word? “Outsource.” Also “terrorist”3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Lively discussion
4. What turns you off? People who are rude.
5. What is your favorite curse word? I love to drop the F-bomb…but only when necessary
6. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of a an old manual typewriter clacking
7. What sound or noise do you hate? Sounds associated with people eating. ESPECIALLY chewing hard candy.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Attorney
9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything in sales
10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Yes, they’re all here…they’ve been waiting for you.”
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
This was my first “external” ultrasound. That’s nice. I don’t think I’ll miss the other ones too much. I certainly won’t miss the probe. I have to say, though, that it was easier to see things during the “internal” ultrasounds. The pictures aren’t as clear this time. It was funny, though, because the doctor put the little thingy (what is that thingy called? Anybody know?) on me and started to look for the baby and then said in a kind of a blasé voice, “Well, it looks like it’s standing on its head today.” This caused me to laugh and made the ultra sound go wonky until I stopped. I have read this is normal – the baby becomes very active during the 2nd trimester to strengthen its muscles. Still, I thought it was kind of funny.
Owen asked her when we could tell the sex and she said that we could at around 16 or 18 weeks. We’ve read that it could be done as early as 14 weeks. In any case, my next appointment isn’t until the day of Halloween, and then I’ll be just 16 weeks. BUT….they told me that they didn’t think they’d be doing an ultrasound next time – they’ll be listening to the heartbeat instead. So, they may make us wait a whole extra month to see if it’s a boy or a girl but I have a feeling if Owen’s there he may be wheedling an ultrasound out of them. Then again, I might too. We’re dying to know!
The pictures are attached this time as usual. The one labeled “9-26-05 2” actually has the little measuring marks on it. Because the baby was a little curled at the time, the measurement isn’t exactly accurate but STILL, measuring WITHOUT taking into account it being curled, the baby is the exact right size for 11 weeks, 0 days. So actually, the little stinker is probably quite a little bit bigger than that. Owen guesses between 45 and 48 mm (or bigger – yeesh!) instead of 42, calculating by the hypotenuse and all. It’s very scientific and you might have to take a math class to understand it better. While you’re there, you might want to ask them why, if you count backwards, the babies are actually conceived during the second week of pregnancy. That’s an odd one on me.
I noticed this morning, as I was looking at the calendar, that it looks as though the baby is doe on Easter Sunday. I’m not quite sure….does this mean we have to get him/her an Easter basket AND a birthday present? And more importantly…do I still have to go to church?
Owen: Are there any tall people in your family or are they all on the short side?
Me: Well, my grandma was tall.
Owen: Not when I knew her.
Me: Well no, but back in the day she was like 5’10”, which was really tall for women. And Uncle Bill was like 6’4” which was freaking huge.
Owen: Well, because I just hope we don’t have short kids is all.
Me: (Incredulous) Why would you say that? What’s wrong with being short?
Owen: Well, I mean, look at you. You can’t ever reach anything. You always need the step stool in the closet…and the kitchen…and the bathroom. It’s like a disability. I feel bad for you.
Me: (Even more incredulous): Are you serious? I manage just fine. It’s not like I can’t do what I need to. It’s not a disability…it’s not like I’m blind or deaf or something. I don’t get a special parking place at the mall or anything.
Owen: Yeah but deaf and blind people have to manage and cope too. Face it. You have a disability.
Me: Yeah but it’s not like I’m medicated for it or anything. It’s not like I have ADD or something (that was me getting my dig in).
Owen: Ha! But you would if you could, wouldn’t you? If there was a pill you could take that would make you 6 feet tall, you’d take it, wouldn’t you?
Me: (Grasping at straws) Well yeah but if there was one that could make me drop 75 pounds I’d take that too, so I don’t really think that counts…
Owen: Face it, you have a disability.
Me: (too busy thinking about how this can work to my advantage parking at the mall this Christmas season…)
Monday, September 19, 2005
I'm thinking there must have been a solar flair or a shift in Earth's axis because I noticed many other interesting (and sometimes scary) phenomina today:
- My other boss (the sub-boss) was listening to CHRISTMAS music in her office today. Even stranger: she was listening to Kathy Lee Gifford. Apparently on purpose.
- The cat shit on the floor. This may not appear to be any big deal to most of you, but it FREAKS me out.
- Owen almost got in a car accident. Oh wait...that's not so unusual. Nevermind.
- Even though we have 300-some channels, there was NOTHING to watch on TV or in the TiVo and so I got stuck watching an EDITED version of Clueless, starring Alecia Silverstone. The scarriest part: I watched the whole thing
- In a stunning pro-life turn of events (I mean cat life - not fetus life), Velma actually didn't lay down in front of the car as I drove down the driveway today. (The cat, not the grandma). Maybe she wants to grow up after all. I'm even hoping that someday she can run in a straight line.
So you see...today was a day full of odd coincidences. Kind of freaks me out, actually. I think I may have to sleep with the lights on tonight.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Seven things I plan to do before I die:
1. Return to Prague…in winter
2. Visit Moscow and St. Petersburg
3. Earn a terminal degree…in something
4. Be published as a freelance writer in a publication people have actually heard of
5. See a show ON Broadway
6. Read all the books on my bookshelf
7. Own a nice home with nice furniture
Seven things I cannot do:
1. Apply eyeliner
2. Eat just one (or two) Double-Stuffed Oreo Cookies
3. Draw or paint
4. Wear a swimsuit without feeling insecure
5. Live without my iPod (seriously – I’ll go insane)
6. Walk into an Abercrombie & Fitch store without gagging
7. Sleep past 9:00 a.m.
Seven things that attract me to the same or opposite sex:
2. A sense of humor
3. A willingness not to take yourself too seriously
6. Political awareness
7. A nice, friendly smile
Seven things I say most often:
1. “What’s the matter with you?” (Have you met my husband?)
2. “In what manifestation of reality is that acceptable?”
3. “You need to slow down” (See #1 above)
4. “Bad kitty! No! NO! Don’t make me get the no-no-bottle!” (Have I told you about Velma?)
5. “You need to fix that. NOW.” (See # 1 & 2 above)
6. “Are you on crack?”
7. “Wow…that’s stupid…” (could refer to myself or others)
Seven celebrity crushes:
1. Ewan MacGregor
2. Matt Damon (especially in The Bourne Identity)
3. Hugh Jackman (He can kick ass AND he’s a song and dance man)
4. John Cusak
5. Rupert Everett (I know…gay…but still…)
6. Bradley Cooper (Will Tippin from Alias)
7. Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss on Alias)
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The prosecution’s case: According to her doctors, Emily was in the process of being diagnosed as epileptic and the trauma from her repeated grand mal seizures caused her epilepsy to have psychotic manifestations. Her priest’s recommendations that she go off the Gambutrol in order to deal with the malady in terms of her faith was negligent and eventually lead to her death. The coroner reports that her death was the result of multiple organ failure due to repeated trauma and lack of nutrition to promote bodily healing.
The defense’s claims: Emily was a very sick girl – spiritually sick. Having grown up in an extremely devout family, Emily was “beloved by God” and believed she was, according to a letter written by Emily before her death, chosen by God to suffer in order to bring people back to the church. According to expert witnesses, the exorcism could not work because of the intoxicating state of mind the Gambutrol put her in.
What’s so interesting about this movie is that, from the facts presented, the viewer really can see this story from either side. The truth of the case inevitably falls on the faith of the viewer. Are you willing to believe in demonic possession and selection for martyrdom by God? Or does your sense of logic require you to believe that she had psychotic epilepsy?
Either way, the movie showcases very well-constructed moments of suspense and events that startled me out of my seat (literally) not once, but three times. Owen and I talked about the issues the film raises all the way home though, interestingly, we never debated the validity of Emily’s possession. I guess it didn’t really matter. What we discussed was whether or not the priest should be held responsible for her death. It opens interesting arguments about the arena where faith and law become intermingled.
Despite all that, the movie left me feeling a little creeped out. I don’t suppose it helps that I’ve been reading all week about a similar case wherein a 9-year-old child is believed to be either deeply and profoundly psychotic or the victim of ritual satanic abuse. That and the fact that (no kidding) I woke up in the middle of the night one day early this week because I thought I could smell something burning (watch the movie, it will make sense). I woke Owen up too, and made him check around the house to make sure everything was okay. At the movie we looked at each other and chuckled about it but when I woke up again last night, at 3 a.m. (yikes! – watch the movie) because I could smell charred wood, it took me half an hour to fall back to sleep. Honest to God, I can be such a weenie sometimes.
My rating: B+. It’s not the greatest movie ever made but not bad at all. It was well done, well acted, very suspenseful and thought provoking.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
She is extremely affectionate – much more than she was before her accident. She now purrs almost constantly and loves to be held and petted. I’m not really one to humanize animals but it’s almost like she knows we had the choice to put her down or keep her and chose to fork out the big bucks. And, hey, if you look at her from her left side, you can’t even tell anything’s changed!
Monday, September 12, 2005
On a not so silly note, I have just heard from a friend here at work who has also been having fertility problems. She and her husband just underwent their second cycle of I.V.F. She found out this morning that it didn't work...again. They've already refinanced their house to pay for the first round - $30,000. I'm not sure how they paid for the second round. They have one more frozen embryo, their "last shot." My heart breaks for them. She is beginning to look into adoption, but her husband isn't really interested. It's so hard to deal with these issues in our line of work...all you see all day long is people who don't have any idea how lucky they are...people who, by all rights, should have their children removed by the courts. It tends to really hit home just how unfair life can be...
Friday, September 09, 2005
Me: Hello, this is Sarah; may I help you?
Crazy Lady: Hi. This is [Crazy Lady]. I just got the receipt you sent me and it’s missing a lot of stuff!
Me: (Dread seeping into my stomach. I know this voice. Oh boy do I know this voice. It haunts my dreams.) I’m so sorry. I do remember the pickup (because all the stuff was so shitty that we couldn’t keep any of it and had to throw it ALL away. And because you called me a lot. Like ten times. And you don’t shut up. And you’re INSANE.). Can you tell me what you think is missing?
Crazy Lady: Like everything! The sofa and the chairs and a stool and a microwave. None of it’s on the receipt!
Me: I remember our conversations (how could I forget – you’re freaking nuts!) I remember in our conversations that all we spoke of only baby furniture. We weren’t supposed to pick up any regular furniture.
Crazy Lady: Yes you were! I called you back! I swear I did! I called you and asked if I should make a list and you told me not to bother (which I would NEVER do. EVER.). I need my receipt for tax purposes!
Me: (Wondering what other purposes there might be. Wallpaper? Target practice? Kindling?) Well, I would be happy to send you a receipt covering the rest of the items if you’ll just list them for me (because, at this point, I have talked to more in the last month than I have my own mother and I will do just about anything to get rid of you!).
Crazy Lady: But you were supposed to (muffled yelling away from the phone to somebody else)…I’m sorry, you caught me at a really bad time! (CLICK…the receiver hangs up)
ME: (Thinking to myself that SHE called ME and wondering what the hell just happened.)
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
When I got them both outside, I put them down and noticed that Roxie was not putting any weight on her left hind leg. I watched her take a few steps and then Owen picked her up so we could look at it. Though it did not seem to cause her any discomfort as we poked and prodded to check for damage, it also appeared that she could not control it – it kind of flopped around.
Strangely enough, Ms. Aloof was completely calm and collected. No howling, hissing or scratching. This is odd especially since, on her best of days she will tease you as though she is a people-loving cat until you bend over to pick her up. Then she will gracefully and carelessly leap about 3 feet out of your reach and look back at you with a slightly smug, slightly bemused smile on her face. You take a step and bend over again and again she leaps away. She loves this game and could play it for days. Sometimes the only way to outsmart her is to drag her favorite toy towards you. She still falls for that one regularly and, thus, Owen and I maintain our tenuous grasp of being masters of our domain instead of cat servants.
We knew she had to go in to the vet so as he cradled her, I dug through the shed for the cat carrier. Once I’d found it and laid some towels in the bottom I moved away to let Owen begin the fight to get her inside. Every cat owner who has ever tried this knows what a pain it can be. Arms legs and tails all work independently and yet as a team to keep you from accomplishing your goal of loading the cat in the carrier. Though they are generally really fond of closed in spaces, it is a genetic imperative to hate cat carriers. But I don’t think Velma got the memo. Either that or she’s a genetic freak, which seems the more likely scenario. The minute I stepped away from the carrier so Owen could put Roxie in it, Velma crawled on in. So, after I’d pulled her out, Owen got Rox situated with just one little growl of discontent.
She was a little alarmed the first few minutes in the carrier, and she tossed and turned trying to find a way out of it. Velma, who is never far away, immediately got in on the game and began attacking the carrier from the outside as it shook and rattled. Sometimes I think she might have been attacking Roxie, since she liked to go after whatever part of her happened to be sticking out through the bars at any given time. I also detected a marked difference in the lack of urgency demonstrated by Velma as opposed to Roxie. Roxie wanted OUT. Velma…wanted IN. I told Owen that sometimes when I was a kid it helped to cover the carrier with a towel. It seemed to make the cats relax a little. He went in to get one and came back to find Velma sitting triumphantly on top of the carrier, as though it was she who had calmed Roxie and as a reward she expected to be let in.
In the end, Owen ended up taking her to the animal hospital where they have determined that he must have gotten hit by a car. Her femur is broken in two places but, luckily, it just happened yesterday (we locked them in the shop over the long weekend) and the skin wasn’t ever broken so there’s no infection whatsoever. They’ve told us that a leg-ectomy will be her best option.
Actually, she had 3 options. 1.) Pay $700 - $800 and have her leg reconstructed with pins and likely suffer severe arthritis in a year or two; 2.) Pay about $400-$500 and amputate it but retain almost 100% mobility and live pain free or 3.) Put her to sleep. For us, #3 wasn’t an option. She’s our baby. And we eventually decided to go with option #2, their recommendation, because it will give her the best recovery. Plus, we’ve both known several happy and successful tri-legged animals. It’s kind of sad, really, because she is a beautiful cat. The hospital said they can’t get over how docile she’s been with them. No howling or hissing or scratching whatsoever.
So, she will spend the next month recovering in the guest room because Owen can’t stand the idea of putting her out in the shop. I think she is about to become queen of the house. But that’s okay – I feel terrible for her. Poor baby kitty.
Friday, September 02, 2005
But I try not to react that way. At least, not in public. It still makes me really, really angry, though. So angry, in fact, that I began to wonder what it is about this debate that makes me so insanely pissed? And this morning, I figured it out.
People who support intelligent design say that it ought to be taught to our nation’s children because it is a widely recognized theory. However, it is a theory recognized only by people of certain religious sects and is has no scientific basis. It exists solely on the strength of its believers’ faith.
Supporters say that teaching “Intelligent Design” is simply teaching another theory. It is not part of any agenda to indoctrinate our nation’s children into a set of religious beliefs. (Here’s the part where I get pissed.) It just so happens that this theory comes from religion and is solely supported by religious faith. Face it, people who are atheist, for example, don’t believe it. People who are Shinto don’t believe it. People who belong to any of hundreds of other religions don’t believe it. Other faiths have their own ideas about creation and, though many of them are similar, they are by no means all the same. And unfortunately for them, they have not declared their “beliefs” to be “theories.” If they had, perhaps their beliefs could be taught in school as well. (Because apparently all you have to do to transition between “belief” and “theory” is say it. “I now declare my beliefs to be a theory. Therefore, I no longer believe Elvis was abducted by aliens. I theorize it. Therefore, it ought to be taught in schools.”)
But that’s the thing…they're not. No one’s interested in pushing the Native American creation story into mainstream American school curricula. Nobody has suggested it. Why? My guess is that it’s because they (and by “they” I mean the creationists) don’t believe it. So here we are…creationists can push their beliefs (that not everybody else believes), I mean theories, into the mainstream curriculum but nobody else can. And why? Simply because there are more of them. More Christians. Pardon my Freedom-eeze (get it? "Pardon my French?") but what a crock of shit.
Coming soon: Jesus walks on water in Physics class.
P.S. Don’t they already teach classes that cover “Intelligent Design?” I thought they called them "Anthropology" classes. Oh yeah….and they’re electives.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I was late for work this morning. Only 15 minutes, though. I woke up on time but I decided my bedroom needed straightening and also that I could not go back to work until I had a new work playlist on my iPod. I knew I’d be late but, well, I didn’t really give a crap.
I decided not to bring in a lunch with me today. I do almost every day. But not today. I couldn’t muster up the will-power to put it together. What will I have for lunch? I don’t know…but I don’t give a crap.
Then I got to work and, because today is “Bike Day” at the day care, the parking lot was closed. That left only the small, side parking lot. This is the same lot in which I was reamed out for incorrect, hateful parking practices. I could tell when I drove up that there was no way for me to park and still allow another car to park. There just wasn’t enough room. And my boss (the one who “hates” my parking skills) wasn’t there yet. This virtually guaranteed that, if I parked in the lot, she would come up and yell at me for doing so incorrectly. But I did it anyway. Why? Because I don’t give a crap.
And, in a way, I guess I kind of wanted her to come yell at me. Because I think it would be really cathartic to yell back. Yesterday I yelled at the reservations manager at the Radisson motel. Why? Because she would not listen to me. So I had to MAKE her listen. The result? I am the only person in the state to secure reservations at the government rate for the meeting next week. Damn I’m good. And a little moody, I think. It’s the baby’s fault.
People always used to say that you can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. This is undeniably true. However, you KILL significantly many more if you use a fly swatter. And after all….we’re not catching them to keep them as pets, are we?