Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Proof that gravity and I are in a never-ending battle

So, there was that one time I fell off a curb and destroyed my ankle. There was that other time I stepped in a pothole and fell down. And that other time when I slipped on some ice or something and fell down in a cross walk. All of those times I had at least one (if not a few or so) drinks in my system, but I had explained to everyone that the booze was not the cause of the falling down. I just fall down. My feet and body betray me and down I go! All those years of ballet training, and I am defeated by the least coordination-requiring tasks.

The newest entry into the log of gravity getting the best of me happened last night. I had spent the day on campus studying. My brain was getting tired and some delightfully terrible television was about to start so it was that time to head home. Upon exiting the building, I had to face three, yes, THREE, whole stairs. Stairs One and Two went just fine. But Three. Oh man. That last step. It was in cahoots with my left ankle, and together they proclaimed, "Down you go!"

And I did. Right there in front of no one (because it was like eight o'clock so there wasn't anyone sitting outside), I fell in an elegant display descending-stairs failure. The only thing I have to show for it is the stylish scrape on my knee.

It will not keep me from wearing shorts when I inevitably head outside in the warmth and sunshine to study. It does make it slightly painful to bend my knee. But there are worse things in the world, so let's just laugh at this one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"It certainly does suck."

So, whenever my brief "career" in broadcast meteorology comes up, I find myself explaining it in the same way just about every time. Basically, I did the weather. On television. Broadcast in five counties. For about two and a half years. But this wasn't affiliated with a station. It wasn't a proper job or internship or anything. It was recorded in the basement of the meteorology building on campus. And to get it out to the people? We were on a local channel that was associated with the university.

"It's like cable access. You know, like Wayne's World."

If a blank stare follows, I start to question why that conversation started in the first place (because, seriously, you haven't seen Wayne's World?!) and usually start looking for the easiest, least awkward exit out of the situation. Well, unless it's an interview. Then I stick it out and just move on and pretend I didn't just reference an early 90s SNL-spin-off movie. But! If there is at least some understanding of the existence of Wayne's World, I'll continue the comparison. Our show was also shot in a basement. And it was a small room. And it was a handful of people that produced it. And some that were on camera. We didn't have special guests like Tom Hanks as Aerosmith's roadie, but sometimes friends would hang out and watch the show. Oh, and we had a giant green wall. So I guess that's different too.

Tragically, I don't have any photos of the studio, of me in the studio, or anything like that. I do have clips of me from the show, which is awesome and weird at the same time.

Okay. I'm going to get back to watching Wayne's World (because I happened to catch it just as it was starting on TV). I'll leave you with one last thought.

Wait! Spoiler Alert! If you haven't seen Seven (again, what is wrong with you?!), try not to read below this, though I don't think it spoils too much.

Has anyone on the internet made a mashup of Brad Pitt screaming, "What's in the box?!" with Wayne saying, "If it's a severed head, I'm going to be very upset."? Because that should exist.

Just did a quick check. Does not exist. But Wayne's World does have a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. And so does Seven!

Update: Oh. Right. When they get to the big-boy studio, they have a Chroma key wall. But theirs is blue.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

And back!

After some encouragement to photoblog an event that just transpired in my kitchen, I realized that it might be time to get back to the blog. It's been almost nine months. Quickest explanation: my last post was about my cat dying. And that shit was depressing. And really hard to deal with. And it's still sad. So I abandoned this for a while.

BUT LET'S NOT DWELL ON SUCH THINGS! Not now. Maybe not ever.

The moral of the story is that I made popcorn.

Quick rundown of things: my current apartment offers very little in the way of space in the kitchen so I don't have a microwave. I've never made popcorn in the not-microwave variety. So I guess you could say that I popped my pan-cooked popcorn cherry. Oh yes, bad puns. You're welcome.

Following directions (because that's what the uninformed, like myself, do when attempting new things, especially when excessive smoke in my kitchen is something that occasionally happens and I'm really tired of setting off my smoke detector), I added the oil and the test kernel. And once Colonel Test starts playing around in the oil, little steam bubbles started emerging!

Things move very quickly once that thing explodes, and since I am but one person, I couldn't capture the frantic magic that was adding a layer of popcorn and shaking it and letting the steam escape and just generally trying not to have either myself or the popcorn get burned. But! Success!

Pro tip: melt some butter in the pan you popped the corn in.

I have no sense of measurement so I probably couldn't recreate the amount of popcorn I made, but it was enough to satisfy the craving for the night with plenty of leftovers tomorrow. And it's helping me study!

Law books used for reference. Placement of the bowl used to prove that I'm more about doing this right now than typing up my notes like I should be. I'll get to it eventually. After I start this next episode...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chinatown: check!

With the move to Vermont a mere three months away, New York and I have some serious hanging out to do. To make sure I go out with a bang, a bucket list has been created and routinely updated. One item on the list was to eat Chinese food in Chinatown. How does one go almost three years in New York and never having done this? I'm not really sure.

Susan is in town and as we've previously seen, she and I love adventures. We had discussed meeting up for a meal, the bucket list item was mentioned, and thus a plan was made without much thinking (and for those of you who don't know, I hate trying to make a legitimate plan). That, and she already had a place in mind. Our afternoon planned itself. So considerate of it. Thanks, afternoon!

After hitting up a Starbucks (because, let's be real, when do I ever not need massive amounts of caffeine?), we wandered through Chinatown using our smartphones and my bare-bones knowledge of the area to find our way to Mott Street and our final destination of Hop Lee. We were pleasantly greeted and promptly sat at a booth on the side. After much consideration, we decided on an assortment of items that could feed at least four people.

How amazing does all of that look?! If you must know, it was incredible. It was all so good that we sat there for well over an hour, eating and chatting. Numerous times we thought we had reached our limit and uttered a phrase or two emphasizing our fullness, usually while scooping some more rice and sauce and egg and broccoli and bok choy and chicken. When we finally threw in the towel, the table looked something like this.

In all actuality, we probably ate a little more after I took this photo. Then we had some orange slices and our fortune cookies. Then we went to get ice cream. Then we continued wandering in a quest to find hilarious plushy items. Susan and I got matching turtles!

Missions accomplished!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Piling it on

As if things weren't going as oppositely of swell as possible, I woke up the other morning to find some bloody mess in the cat box. Oh. Warning the previous sentence, and probably the content of some subsequent ones, is gross. Now, with multiple cats, it isn't always obvious of the culprit. Suspect one was Cancer-Cat for obvious reasons. Suspect two was little man cat since I couldn't find him. I spent the morning going about my business of the usual routine (make tea and read the internet and think about the things that need to be done) but repeatedly checking each time a cat took care of theirs. Eventually, I solved the mystery. My little Socks kitty-man was spewing a bloody slime from his rear end. Delightful.

I considered canceling my massage, but I didn't. I reminded myself that I deserved to take care of me and not just my cats (sound more like a crazy cat lady, why don't you?!) and the constant pain in my back added its sentiments about the necessity of a massage. I swallowed my stress and panic and money woes long enough to put on some sweat pants and a hoodie to jump on the train and trek down to get the knots in my back worked out. Feeling a little better, I stopped to get some wine and headed home for an afternoon/evening of wallowing in "why me" wailings and wine. By the time I got home, I somehow had a change of heart. I cracked a beer and settled in to my couch.

Stress remained. I felt like a penny that had been left on the train tracks. I knew I could just lay there and think about things. I had to do something. Phone call happened. Vet appointment was made. The next day couldn't come quickly enough.

That evening, I was restless. I had to get out of my house. Two beers deep I headed to the bar to meet a friend. I vented. We chatted. Beers and eventually laughs were had. I returned home with an attitude like no other. I was going to take on whatever else came my way. I wouldn't be broken. Not by this. Not by this plus this plus this. Step one was to remove the dry erase board from the wall and wipe it clean. Step two was to fill it with all of the things that I could control. Once that was done, I headed to bed to face the next day.

Socks went to the vet, howling part of the way. Dear people on the subway, it's payback for your babies crying. Stop staring.

The checkup was quick, and he was diagnosed with inflammation that was probably the result of stress, which is probably the stress of Mandy being sick and out of the house and such. Some meds were prescribed and the bill was less than I expected and far less than Mandy's visit the week before.

He seems to be feeling better already. I feel better in the sense that I don't want to be weak. I hate being weak and appearing weak so I'm standing up to the Universe and all of the shit that has been thrown my way. Taking into my own hands what I can and letting the rest just be there. In the past forty-eight hours, I have accomplished many things. You would think the To Do List would shrink, but as I cross things off, I find more things to add. This is my life and I will win.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This is about my super sick kitty

This is kind of a sad post but it needs to be written out and archived. Also, it's a good way for me to talk about it without having to actually talk about it because I sometimes turn into a complete wreck and sometimes I just want to pretend to be normal. So I'll put everything here, and you're welcome to offer condolences and hugs. Unless it looks like I've been freshly crying. Then don't. Just talk to me (about anything but my cat). If I talk back, the conversation will continue. If not, I don't feel like talking. If I want to talk about it, I'll bring it up and probably drive the conversation until I'm ready to pull that car over.

A few months ago, I made a post about my cat Mandy going to the vet. She had been throwing up and lost some weight so I took her in. The results came back fine, and the vet suggested a change of food due to a sensitive stomach. It worked for a bit and she seemed happier without the dry food. Then a couple months later, I noticed she was losing more weight and very fast. I took her back in for an ultrasound. The abnormalities suggested cancer in her stomach and a followup test of some tissue samples confirmed (and if you want to know, it is intermediate-to-high grade, large-cell lymphoma). Devastated was the feeling I felt first. Helpless was the one that prevailed over all others.

I looked at her increasingly shrinking body and knew that I had to at least see if she would respond to the chemo treatment, so I opted to move forward. The few days leading up to the first treatment were incredibly stressful. She wasn't really eating and had started to hide in corners, but not her typical "I'm trying to sleep so I'm going where it's hard for you to reach me so you will leave me alone" corners. I was pleading with her and begging her to just survive long enough to make it to the first round. And she did.

The first round was great. She automatically felt better and was eating again and sleeping out in the open. Her tolerance for me throwing pills down her throat every afternoon was quite admirable. But the first round was only a protein to break up the cancer. A week went by and then the real chemo began.

I dropped her off and ran errands to pass the time. I picked her up and brought her home. She was sleepy and a little floppy, so I set her up on my bed. Because her pee and shit would be all toxic, she had to be separated from the other cats, but since she'd just gone from being Cancer-Cat to Chemo-Cat, she got the bedroom with me and the other two had to deal with the rest of the apartment. The following few days were rough. There was poop falling out of her butt constantly and she had little to no appetite. And she just wanted to lay around and do nothing. Worst of all, she looked sad and miserable. Maybe that was just the first round and others would be easier on her? Maybe the first couple of days are like this and then they're Super-Cat again? Many questions that had to wait until the next appointment with the vet, one week after the first.

Before they can proceed with chemo, they have to do bloodwork to make sure everything is okay. Drop cat off. They steal blood. They run tests. If all is good, cat gets next chemo in a pill. Eventually, I got tired of waiting and called the vet. They were still waiting for results, but I could head in around the usual pickup time because they'd be ready by then.

At every step of this process, the days that I spend waiting to hear back from the vet about picking her up are agonizing. I start to panic that something has gone wrong. I fear the worst case scenarios. This time when I showed up they brought me back into a room to chat. The chemo most likely had eroded a good amount of the tumor, but so much so that it caused an ulcer in her stomach. As a result, she was experiencing internal bleeding and needed a blood transfusion to survive. I authorized it without asking any questions about the outlook without it or the cost. Those didn't even cross my mind. I asked questions like "when can I take her home?" and "seriously, when can I take her home?". There was also a discussion about furthering the chemo. At this point, we cannot continue for at least a couple weeks, and if we do, there is a risk of this happening again. I have yet to make a decision, but I don't see myself continuing the chemo treatment (and totally reserve the right to change my mind). So far it has just been so hard on her and beyond stressful on me.

Anyway, she stayed over night and got some other cat's blood to help fix her. They constantly ran tests to monitor everything. It went well and I got to bring her (and her bag full of meds) home. To snuggle her. And pet her whenever she wants me to pet her. And to stop when she's had enough. And to let the tub drip so she can get fresh running water whenever she wants (yes, terrible environmentalist move, but this is my cat we're talking about here). And take a million and one pictures of her. And let her sleep wherever she likes in the bed, even if this means I sleep in the shape of a seven or an X or a square root symbol. And make sure her favorite toys are always within reach. The point is making her as happy and comfortable as absolutely possible, which sounds so fucking cliche it hurts, but is totally true.

And the results are in...

I thought and stressed for many hours to make my decision, but last week I made it official. I signed the forms and mailed the check to secure my seat at Vermont Law School!

It's in the teeny, tiny town of South Royalton, Vermont, or as I have described to many people as being a rural suburb of Middle-Of-Nowhere. A fun fact that I just learned from Wikipedia, which is about as good of a source as any when it comes to these things, is that VLS is twenty-seven miles from a traffic light. A question that I would then pose to Wikipedia (or anyone who will listen and/or might have some insight into the subject) is whether or not that twenty-seven miles is driving or as the crow flies. Possibly two very different things in the rural landscape that is my future state of residence.

It took a lot of thinking to make this decision. It also took some key rejections, a couple waitlists, and other lovely offers from other wonderful schools. In the end, I know that Vermont is for me. When I went for a visit, I adored the small town charm and loved the enthusiasm from the school. They shared with me all of the little facts and details about the school, including where the buildings got their names (all of the buildings on the campus are named after the families from which they were purchased). I can't express just how excited I am for law school in general, and especially for Camp Law School.

Go Fighting Swans!