Friday, April 29, 2005

Federal money

Let's hear it for the Feds!!!!! Even with all these tax cuts, they still have enough money to give me $6500 for a Russian language program this summer, and now, they're offering to pay for my flight too (up to $1000). Now, I'm sure this will piss some people off, I mean really, why should the government care if anyone in the USA knows anything at all about any other language, culture, country, government, religion, ect. than "our" own. (Just for those of you who don't know me, that was a highly sarcastic remark) Of course, I'm sure that somewhere in the fine print it states that I have to listen to a recruitment lecture for the State department, CIA and FBI. But I think it would be worth it. My dad actually wants me to work for the government, but he doesn't want me to do field word (or kill anybody), and if I can't kill anybody, I don't think working for the government would be worth it! (That actually isn't a sarcastic remark: if I'm going to sell my soul, I want to be able to get away with murder).

So, today, I'm actually in a good mood, even though I'm tired, my apartment is a disaster area (I'm hoping the mayor will officially declare it so I can get some more fed money to clean it up), I have two papers to write this weekend, and laundry to do. But in two weeks, it will all be over. At least for this semester.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Some students are morons!

Now, not all of them, mind you. Just the one who copied full paragraphs from the internet for his paper and didn't footnote. And worse yet, left in the footnote numbers in the paragraph, which led to . . . nothing, because he didn't footnote. And he wants to know how we caught that? Yeah, after 10 years of college I'm not intelligent enough to figure that one out. I may be 31, but I know how to google. I tried doing a drag net and told the entire class that more than one person had cheated and they should contact the professor asap to avoid expulsion, but no one else bit. Oh well, I guess one is good enough.

My paper update: I e-mailed everyone 11 pages of paper and 2 pages of bibliography for my presentation on Thurs. It's a 15-20 page paper, so technically, I'm already done with half of it. That actually makes me feel really, really good. For the other paper, I'll be through reading for that this weekend, and then have 2 weeks to write that 20 page paper. I actually feel like everything is under control. For once. We'll see how long that lasts.

I finally managed to get my HIV test done yesterday. I'm picking up my results tomorrow and then fed-exing everything to DC. They have to have it by the 2nd. I still haven't found anyone to sublet my place yet. Any takers?

have a great day, and if you're in the upper midwest like I am, stay warm!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!!!!

I dreamt about my ex-husband last night. Which is weird, because I normally only dream about him when I'm in a relationship that I shouldn't be. The situation is almost always the same: we're back together, even though I don't really want to be, and then I realize I just can't do it and I leave. This dream was very different. First, he was wearing a hideous black toupee (yes, my ex was bald). Then, in the dream, he wanted to be with me, but failed to mention the fact to his mom and his girlfriend. So, at least in this dream, I didn't feeling guilty about ending the relationship. Is it a warning against Wes? What does it mean?

I finally finished grading those crappy papers. I ended up with such a bad allergy headache last night that it kind of went like this: this is a B paper but I really don't have the energy to explain why to the student: AB. So, it kind of worked out for the students. I still only have 7 unorganized pages for my presentation this week. I guess I know what I'll be doing tonight. Also, I have got to clean my apartment. It's disgusting and I'm sure it's adding to my allergies. Therefore, I will clean a room everyday this week until I don't feel dirty being here.

hope everyone has a great week,

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Take them away!

My allergies are killing me. I can't breathe and my head feels like it weighs 20lbs, and it hurts. It makes it very hard to focus my eyes, and thus, to read. That would be fine, except it's the end of the semester and I have to write two papers and grade 40 papers. (ok, I already graded 30 of them). Still, all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep until I feel better.

And I want banana pudding. If you take a regular yellow cake mix, and replace one of the eggs with a banana, and increase the water by 1/4 c. It tastes so good. Crumble half the cake on the bottom of the cake pan. Cover with cut up bananas, and then spread banana pudding over that (2 boxes worth), then crumble the rest of the cake over the pudding. . . . I'm now drooling like Homer Simpson. I'm going to have to go to the store.

I figured out what I want with Wes. Ok, maybe not Wes specifically, but what I want in a relationship. I want intimacy. Now don't laugh. Yes, I'm 31 years old, but closeness was never something I wanted with a guy before. I guess it was that whole, I'm self-sufficient and I don't really need anyone type of thing. And I'm still self-sufficient, I've just realized you can be self-sufficient and still be intimate with someone. Who knew? So with Wes. I want hand-holding and cuddling and maybe some kissing, but no sex. I want to actually enjoy all the in between stages, and get to know him and let us happen slowly. I don't know exactly what he wants. I'm just going to wait and see. He is a gentleman though, so I do know he's not coming to visit me because he expects us to have sex. Which is good, because then he would be sleeping outside!

anyway, I'm going to go take some allergy medicine, go to the store, and then work on my papers. I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Modern something or other

Blah. . . . It's just been one of those weeks. Frustrating, long, short, confusing. You name it, I think I felt it this week. Except a huge amount of rage. I don't have enough energy for that.

Three more weeks of school. Two papers to write. And 30 more papers to grade this weekend. They're short papers, but boy are they bad. Now I know why an essay section was added to the SAT. Should you really have to tell college students that the United States is always capitalized? Should you have to tell them that thesis sentences are an essential part of the paper? Should you have to tell them that if it's a 4 page paper, they should only write about 1 point, not 4? Should you have to tell them that a book report is not an analytical essay? Should you have to tell them that lead (pronounced led) is a noun, not a verb? What fun and joy.

and then I have two papers I need to write. I have to present a very rough draft/outline of my one paper next week, so that's what I've been working on this weekend. The total paper needs to be between 15 and 25 pages. I typed up 3 pages yesterday and hope for another 3 today. Hopefully by Tuesday, when I have to e-mail it to everyone, I'll have 10 pretty good pages. Then I'll have 2 weeks to finish the paper, which includes translating about 600 pages of Russian history, written in the Russian language. Who wants to join me?

And finally, Wes. I'm excited and nervous and can't wait to see him and don't want to see him. I'm afraid that this is a turning point and that some hard decisions will have to be made. And I'm just not good at relationship decisions, especially hard ones. I'm just going to try to focus on how much fun it will be to see an old friend and hang out with him and show him this beautiful town. I'll let everything else happen naturally.

back to the papers,

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Voodoo doll

That's what I feel like. I went to get my HIV test and immunization shots done today. Unfortunately, they had me scheduled for two TB tests and not one TB test and a HIV test (who didn't catch that?). So, I got the TB test (shot one), a Tetanus vaccination (shot two), a hepatitis A vaccination (shot three) and a hepatitis B vaccination (shot four) and then because my immunization records weren't up to date, they weren't sure if I needed a measles shot. Instead of just giving it to me, they took two vials of blood to test it. A total of five stabs with a needle and no beautiful jewelry to make up for it! And I still have to get my HIV test. It was a stressful way to start the day.

However, because I was a little upset about the HIV thing (if I don't get the results to DC before May 2nd it may delay my trip), I e-mailed Wes and he called me as soon as he got off from work to cheer me up. And he's coming to see me. I'm excited and nervous and excited and scared and terrified. This visit will tell us if we are right together or if we should stay just friends. That makes me nervous. If it's a good visit, it will make it that much harder because it is a long distance thing and will be for a long time. If it sucks (which I don't think it will), then at least I know we'll still be friends.

It was a beautiful day today. I took a little break and walked around campus taking pictures of all the beautiful flowers. I also got a few pictures of ducks, because apparently, my nephew loves ducks. I hope the pictures hold me over until the end of the semester. I have to write two papers (15-20 pages each) and grade about 40 papers (4 pages each). I should start freaking out at any time, but maybe I'll just have another beer.

ok, I'm going to relax tonight and curl up on the couch and have a beer and eat cookies.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunday stroll

It is a beautiful day. The type of day that is wasted indoors, working on homework. However, I don't really have a choice, so instead of goofing off the whole day, or wasting the whole day indoors, I took a walk. It is spring here in Madison and everything is sprouting green and colorful flowers and the birds are back in full force. The kind of day you wish you had a hand to hold and laugh with, but even if you don't, it's so beautiful that you're just happy to be here. And now, I suppose, back to the homework.

I've been trying to get all my stuff ready for my trip to Russia. It's a little frustrating. I have to have black and white, matte passport photos. Nobody does these. Even if I could get black and white, no photographer does matte. So I'm waiting for a reply from the program to see if my friend can take a picture of me with his digital camera and crop it in photoshop. I don't know why not, but hey, those Russians can be weird. Then I have to figure out this funding thing. And just getting applications in where they need to be when they need to be there. I'm getting my vaccinations on Tuesday, along with my AIDS/HIV test (yes, Russia requires that). Since I haven't had sex for a year and a half and have had a HIV test since then, I'm not too worried about that. It's just the vaccinations. I'm not afraid of needles (15 total piercings), but I'm afraid of the hepatitis B vaccination (no, I've never gotten it). It's a really big needle and its a series of three. Who thought of that?

Well, Wes is coming to see me in May. I'm excited and terrified. Much of the same emotions I had about spending the summer in Russia. He'll be here almost a week. I know we'll find plenty of stuff to do (and I don't mean that!). I'm just kind of scared to see where this leads the "relationship." Although, it could be very good for me.

alright, back to that pesky homework,
too bad I can't translate Russian stuff on the back porch,
I guess that's why I'm going to Russia this summer,

Monday, April 11, 2005

Happiness is a house sparrow

I love birds. And I have three giant bushes outside my livingroom window. Right now there's a house sparrow that comes and sings to me every morning. They aren't really all that pretty, as far as birds go, but they sure sing pretty. And loud. I always get excited when I hear him, and I tend to leave my homework just to watch this small, non-descript bird sing. It makes me happy. Last year, a cardinal nested in the bushes and laid two eggs. She would let me get really close, as long as I didn't try to touch. I went on vacation before the eggs hatched, and when I came back, they were gone. All of them, the eggs and bird. And the nest had been damaged. That really upset me. But I hope they come back this year, fix the next and try again. Of course, I won't be here for most of the summer, but still, it would be nice. For the birds. The crows look different in Russia. They have light colored chests. I don't recall seeing any other birds, except pigeons: those things are everywhere. I'll have to look this summer to see what the other Russian birds look like.

I got my funding. And I'm hoping I can actually stay with my friend in Moscow. I'm getting very excited about this trip, which makes it very hard to concentrate on the two papers I have to write this semester. The ones I should be working on now. I'll get to them sometime. Probably this weekend.

I saw my advisor today and gave her a very brief outline of my dissertation proposal and what I wanted to study/prove. She thought it was great! That made me very happy. And it's an area that hasn't really been studied much. That makes it good (original) but also more difficult to study, because I literally have to start from scratch. She wants me to try to make it to the library in Moscow a couple times a week to do some preliminary research. And maybe even swing by a couple of state archives and introduce myself to the archivists and stuff. All that crap helps when I apply for research funding, which I will start to do the second I get back from Moscow. But now I have to take my 1 page outline and figure out how to expand it to a 15 page proposal. That's a lot of fluff.

Well, I suppose I should work on my papers a bit before bed.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Peter Pan, Neverland, and Charlie

I just saw Finding Neverland. It was incredible. And it had Johnny Depp, so really, even if it wasn't good (and let me reiterate, it was a great movie) who would complain. So, since the movie was about Peter Pan, it made me think of someone who tried his best not to grow up.

Charlie: probably the most emotional, passionate, incredible and ultimately disappointing, love of my life. Amazing how things look the older one gets. I haven't dated in 5 years because I've had such a hard time getting over him. And what does it take to get over him: time, him, popping up every now and then, and proving he hasn't changed, and, his former best friend. Real life is the best revenge. So, in highschool, I was massively in love with this guy, Wes. All the girls were. But we never dated, we were just really good friends. And then he enlisted. So, I spent as much time as possible with him. At the beginning, I kind of hoped we'd hook up. Then I met his best friend Charlie, and totally forgot about Wes. Charlie and I dated for a while, and he was always insecure about Wes. We eventually broke up and lost track of one another. But not Wes and I. We remained friends.

Fast forward a few years. I'm recently divorced and I look Charlie up. I have good reason. Wes is coming for a visit and we need a place for the party. Charlie and I hook up immediately. Beyond chemistry. And he's still insecure about Wes, even though Wes is now married with two kids. After about a year, things fall apart with Charlie. Apparently he is upset because I didn't give him a huge shout out at my MA graduation, and that really hurt his feelings. So he dumped me. Wes and I are still friends, but now Charlie refuses to talk to Wes because Wes reminds him of me. Oh, Charlie keeps trying to get me back, but after he dumped me, I realized I could do so much better.

Fast forward a few more years. Wes is now single, and he has decided we should be together. But, as I've mentioned before, he's a player and that concerns me. And since he was Charlie's best friend, I was concerned about their similarities. But every time I talk to Wes, he reminds me that he's not Peter Pan and he never wanted to be Peter Pan. And after I talk to him, I get that goofy grin on my face, and it stays there for hours. Last night, he kept telling me how he can't wait to call me Doctor Trapeznikova, and how impressed he is that I'm getting my PhD. When I was with Charlie, he kept talking about me being Doctor Jordan (his last name), because it made him look so good. I told Wes this, and he wanted to know what Charlie ever did to help me earn my degrees. Honestly, he sat on the couch, made love to Mary Jane, and wanted to know when dinner was going to be ready. Oh, and could he borrow some money to pay the bills. So, Charlie, put this in your pipe and smoke it: your worst fears are coming true. Wes appreciates me, and he realizes how hard I'VE worked to get where I am and how much harder I'M going to work to get even further. And he doesn't just say he's supportive, he really is. And he doesn't have to take credit for my achievements because he has his own.

I never, in a million years expected it to be Wes. After highschool, even when we were friends all those years, it never dawned on me that it might be him. And it will be at least 3 years before we will even be able to try to live in the same place and maybe have a real relationship, but that doesn't really worry me. I know Wes will be there: he's always been there. I just didn't realize it. It doesn't scare me to feel this way anymore. It feels real.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ochen kracivyi den'

Most beautiful day. Yesterday, the weather was beyond beautiful. It was sunny and warm, a little windy, but gorgeous. I sat on a warm bench and ate a green apple and just people watched. For almost five minutes. It was amazing! No homework, no reading, no thinking: just the sun.

Then, I came home and had a huge envelope in my mailbox. I'm going to Russia this summer! Ok, I still haven't found out if I got funding, but I'm pretty sure I did. I'm so excited and scared and excited! I had a hard time sleeping last night. All I can think of is going over there, seeing my friends, making new friends, seeing new places, having new experiences, doing new things, trying new food, learning new things, traveling in trains and the metro (love them both), shopping, eating, laughing. It's going to be wonderful. I can't wait!

So, does anyone want to summer in Madison, in a nice, furnished one bedroom apartment?


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Baseball bat to the head

I had a great aunt who was in a very sever car wreck. It was during a blizzard and the paramedic were on the scene for two hours before they even realized she was in the backseat. The two people in the front seat died. But my aunt lived. She had extensive brain damage. Due to the fact that they lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere, she didn't really get the treatment she should have. She was placed in a nursing home in the nearest town (the town they lived in was too small to have a nursing home), and my uncle visited her everyday for 8 years, until she died of pneumonia. Some days she recognized people and had clear, coherent conversations with them, asking them questions and responding to theirs. Other days, she was in a vegetative state. (Leads all of us to believe if they'd moved her to a much larger area with better treatment she would have largely recovered: she was not hooked up to anything). The day my grandma and I visited, she was vegetative. When we left, my grandma asked me to promise her that if she ended up in a vegetative state I would take a baseball bat to her head and put her out of her misery.

I love my grandma more than my own life. I don't care that she's 76 years old (she's had several relatives live to be older than 100 and they were completely physically and mentally healthy), if I had to, I would give my life so that she could live. If I had to choose between my mom and my grandma, I don't even know if I could do that. But, what I'm trying to say, is that I could never hit my grandma in the head with a baseball bat. My grandma's mom died of Alzheimer's and she's said repeatedly that she wouldn't want to live like that. My grandma won't get Alzheimer's: for some reason in our family it skips every other generation: which means my mom might get it. But, if my grandma ever ended up vegetative, hooked up to stuff somewhere, would the rest of the family listen to me? Steve would have to know her opinion: he lives in the same town and sees them all the time. Janice visits a lot, so I'm sure she's heard it too. I told my mom what grandma said. But when it's your loved one. . . . I had a friend whose dad died of cancer. She said that the last couple of months, the family fought over treatment and what would happen. They decided to give him medication to make him live longer, even though he was in pain, largely unconscious, and going to die anyway. She said looking back on it, she wishes they had just let him go.

If I end up brain dead I don't want to be hooked up to some machine to keep me alive. Disclose to the doctors that I once had ITP and let them decide if I can still be an organ donor and then let me go. I'm a Christian and I believe I will end up in a better place, so why hold me here. No matter what, I've had a good life and in the grand scheme of things, these couple of years on earth don't mean much anyway. Pull the plug, and then read to me: read me Psalms 100, 150 and 24. Read me John 14 (the verses mom want me to read at her funeral). Read me Daniel 3. And sing Christmas carols. And tell stories. Tell the story about how I embarrassed you in AZ and called myself a bozo head. Tell the story of teaching me to ride bike, when I ran into you. Tell the story about when Craig was sleepwalking and screaming: Stacia, quit hitting me! Elise, remind me of all the museums we've been to. And laugh. Lot's of laughter. It's a celebration of what was once real and alive: not a mourning of what has occurred. And remember, you'll see me again. Wrap me in the quilt grandma made for my birth, put me in a simple pine box, and bury in Lake Benton, next to grandma and grandpa. And let me rest in peace.