Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gather 'round!

I love reading "modern" novels, but let's face it, they don't always make one think. Although I love Dostoyevsky (yes, there are about a dozen ways to spell that), and I have read all his major work, I haven't really delved into his minor work. This week, I took on some of the minor work, and once again, Dostoyevsky proves to be brilliant (and better than Tolstoy).

I started with The Gambler. The title should be self-explanatory. However, the novella is more than half over before you are completely confidant that you know exactly to whom the title refers. Every character is this story is a gambler, some, in the casino, all in life. The story itself leaves many questions: who are these people, what is their problem and why do they think money will solve it, and do people really act like that? Yes, yes, desparate people act like that. One of the best scenes in the book occurs when the invalid 75 year old aunt becomes addicted to the roulette wheel, betting her fortune on winning everything back. If you want to know how a gambler feels, this book is for you. Time slows down, senses are heightened and you feel completely high and in control and yet you know you aren't in control. It is an amazing and quick read.

Next up was the very short story Bobok. A journalist, who fears he is going crazy, keeps repeating the nonsense word, bobok. The surprising thing is not what this means, how he found out what it means, but rather, the fact that the meaning does not disturb him. A very short, but interesting story.

Finally, I read A Nasty Story. This story is very reminiscant of Gogol. A Russian general (not in the army, but in rank of the civil service: it's a long story) gets drunk, wanders through the streets of St. Petersburg and ends up inviting himself to the wedding of an insubordinate. He does this to prove how much he loves 'humanity'. At this time, Russia was very divided into classes, and those 'forward thinking' wanting to prove that they accepted everybody as equal, but only if shown the correct amount of respect. The general gets disgustingly drunk (he's not normally a drinker) and disgraces himself and ruins the wedding. This story, while amusing, is also an excellent social commentary that still applies today. I'm thinking of those rich people who very loudly voice their support of equality and then get mad when the poverty stricken don't praise them for their generosity (you know who I'm talking about). This story clearly reveals what asses these people really are.

Thus, Dostoyevsky is still my hero and I love him. Read anything by him today.

Tonight my husband returns home, for six whole hours, before he leaves again and returns on Saturday morning. What? you ask, I though he was supposed to be home all this week. Why yes, yes he was, but after seeing him for 9 whole days over the last month, I was so sick of him, that I sent him away again. Ok, really. The ship is here, but there was some stupid conference in Florida that my husband wasn't even supposed to go to, but they needed a competant and responsible guy to go. They chose my husband. Stupid competant and responsible husband. So I haven't seen him since Sunday (when he was really sick, he's better now, thank God). I will pick him up at the airport tonight at 11:00pm. He will go to work at 6:00am. I won't see him again until Saturday. The ship leaves again on Monday morning. If I end up having a baby, it will be a miracle.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Raise an IQ

Saturday I took IQ to Target so she could finish registering for her baby boy. That was one of the hardest thing I've ever done, as I really, really want a baby now. Have you seen all the cute stuff they have? Anyway, I had to remind IQ several times that a newborn is usually only newborn size for a couple of weeks (at the most) and that she should probably register for the 0 to 3 month stuff too. When I asked her if she had registered for sheets yet, she responded that she already had a set. Yes, one set. That would be enough for a baby. A baby that throws up and pees and poops and is just generally a baby. One set of sheets. Dream on. When I told her she would need more than that, she honestly didn't understand why. But she registered for one more set, so score one for me! Since her husband is in the navy, she wants to do a nautical theme and we found some really cute stuff with sail boats and pirates.

While shopping, I asked IQ, again, when she is getting her driver's license. She said she thought she would wait until the baby was 2 or 3 years old!!! I asked her how she is going to get to all the doctor appointments. She responded that her husband will be home soon, so she doesn't have to worry about it. Hmmmm. Yes, because he will be able to get off all that time from work. And if there is an emergency? Well, she has a friend that is a taxi driver. I put my foot down then. I told her, in no uncertain terms, that she needed her driver's license asap. I think she understood because she said she will talk to her husband about it. How can you have a kid and no license?

I do have to compliment IQ though. She told me she had been really cleaning her house and I was, naturally, skeptical. Her place was the cleanest I have ever seen it and I mean, it was clean. She took initiative too, and asked at the leasing office if they knew anyone who would help with her litter box (they did) and to help her clean (maybe). I'm proud that she actually did that on her own and hope she keeps it up. Maybe this baby will actually help her feel like she's competent. We can only hope.

Any speaking of babies, my friend Beth called me last night and she finally (10 days late) had her baby boy. He is very beautiful and I am so excited for her and Ryo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I could kick myself!

I finished the baby afghan for my friends and mailed it off today. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. My first baby afghan and I have no proof! At least the baby is a week late, so the blanket isn't going to be that late.

Yesterday, I finally exchanged my WI driver's license for a VA one. I took along proof of residency (a gas bill), and two forms of ID, just like the web page said I needed. Well, tell me if this is the stupidest thing you've ever heard. They would accept my military spouse's ID in place of my social security card, but they wouldn't accept it as a second form of ID, even though it has my picture on it. I had to go home and get my passport, with a 9 year old picture on it (I don't even slightly look like that anymore). At least there was no line, and I also registered to vote. I plan on writing myself in, even though I'm not old enough.

My husband comes home today. I am very happy about that. That's pretty much the excitement that is my life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy test results

I requested that my mail be held while I traveled to Texas. Apparently, they only held half of it, as I found the other half shoved into my tiny little mail box today. While going through said mail, I came across my colposcopy test results (colposcopy, otherwise known as, when they scrape off large bits of your girly parts. Not a fun time). The test results: completely normal! Not even any HPV cells to worry about! Woohoo!!!! I don't have cancer!!!! I can't tell you how relieved I am. I was so afraid that even though the doctor said we should still try to get pregnant that the tests would come back positive and I still wouldn't be pregnant ('cus you know my husband has been here so much it would just be weird if I didn't get pregnant). I feel great. Just wish my husband was here so I could tell him (and no, I can't e-mail him because the e-mail is down on the state of the art ship he is on). Hope everyone else's day is going this well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pretty picture

My brother and Phoenix
(isn't he cute? I mean my brother; he's single)

Phoenix, making funny faces.

Camille and I

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Party like you have nipples!

The party was last night and who says you have to drink to have fun!?! During a game of guestures (which is like charades) I ended up with the word nipple. Everyone at the party was either a relative or from my parent's church. What is a girl to do? Why, rub your brother's nipples! He felt violated, but I got a lot of laughs and my mom didn't have a heart attack, which would have been awkward since she was the hostess. The food was great, the games were fun and the party was a success!

I am home now and Wes will be here tomorrow. I'm trying to clean up the house but I am exhausted. I have to get lots of sleep because tomorrow will be a long day of (hopefully) baby-making.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Not enough time

My trip is flying by. Thursday I got to hang out with Camille. It was wonderful, but we are getting old. Instead of talking about clothes, guys, and sex, we talked about our children, home repairs, our fat asses, our husbands, the economy, and politics. You know, the interesting stuff. Her kids are adorable and we had a great time. I just wish she lived closer to me!

Yesterday morning was spent getting stuff for the party. Yesterday afternoon I went to my sister's to hang out with her and her wild puppy. She's cute, but wild (the dog, not my sister, although my sister is cute too!). Last night, pizza and cards with the family. My brother finally ended his relationship with his bitch, I mean, girlfriend. Of all the girls my brother has dated, this one was by far the worst. She was rude, mean and rude. My brother is very happy it is over. I hope next time he does better. He certainly deserves better.

My mom and I went walking yesterday and I saw two new birds! One was a bufflehead, which is beautiful. Go look it up! Today, she's going to take me to the duck pond. Hopefully I'll see new birds there too. We've already cut up the veggies, and we're getting the house clean. This is going to be a great party!

My grandma had her quadruple bypass yesterday. Everything went very well and there was no damage to her heart. My mom is going to go up next week to help her out. I wish I could go, but with my husband's schedule, I just don't know when he'll be here and when he won't. Since he's leaving in April for 6 months, I don't want to miss spending time with him.

That's about it for now. Now I have to go do something for the party that my mom forgot about until now. Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Old Man!

Even though I love my nephew Phoenix, the real reason I am in Texas is because it's my dad's 50th birthday (yes, he is 50, I am 33. It's a long story). Anyway, here's my family, celebrating my dad's birthday. Starting from the left: my brother-in-law, my sister, my nephew, my mom, my dad, me, and my brother (Phoenix's dad). Aren't we beautiful?

Today, we went shopping for my dad and Phoenix was so funny. When we went to Party City for stuff (for the party Saturday), Phoenix said, "Spread out, everyone." I guess he thought we were hunting. Then he demanded that we get grandpa a birthday present. At first he said he wanted to get grandpa a new toy, but then he decided we had to get him Sponge Bob Squarepants underpants, just like the ones he got for Christmas. Well, we couldn't find any boxers, but we did find pajama pants! Then, he insisted that we get a cake. He decided we should get the carrot cake. We wanted the chocolate cake. Me: I don't know if grandpa likes carrot cake. Him: Yes he does! He eats carrots all the time (how do you argue with logic like that?). Then, after a few minutes of arguing, he stated, "We get the carrot cake, or we get no cake!" We got the carrot cake. It was a great dinner.

I guess since it's my dad's birthday, I should say something about him. He's a great guy and I hope he lives another 50 years. Now I have to go watch the last 20 years of home videos that my sister burned onto CDs for my dad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How I love to travel to Phoenix.

I'm in Dallas now. I'm surprised I managed to get here. My plane left at 6:15 in the morning, so I had to get up at 4:00am. My husband may be used to getting up at that time, but not me. I had a scare yesterday. I had two different jobs set up and stopped home in between the two. When I went to leave for the second one, my car wouldn't start. I had to cancel the job and get a new battery. Just think how horrible it would have been if it hadn't started this morning, when I was trying to get to the airport!
My favorite reason to visit Dallas.
As you see, Phoenix is still amazingly cute. He's still really short too. I asked if I could eat his ear, and he said no, because it's glued on. Oh, and he needs it to hear, but mostly because it's glued on.
On a sad note, my grandma is having quadruple bypass surgery within the next couple of days. She didn't do so well on her stress test, and when they did further tests, they discovered she has 95% blockage. My grandpa died just a year ago. I know she really misses him and thinks she's not worth anything anymore, but we all love her so much! And she has become quite the social butterfly since she was no longer a caretaker. Please pray that the surgery goes well. Just thinking about life without her makes me ill.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

While visiting my family over Christmas, I noticed my aunt was reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. The book looked familiar, but I couldn't place it. She said the book was good. When I returned home, I needed to pick out a new book to read. Imagine my surprise when I found The Memory Keeper's Daughter on one of my bookshelves. No wonder it looked familiar. I considered it a sign, and read the book.

The book was amazing, the story original, and heartbreaking. In 1964, a doctor is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own baby. Only, it was two babies. The first baby was a perfect baby boy. The second, a girl, with Downs syndrome. Due to factors in his past, the doctor, David, believes it is in his wife's best interest to immediately take the girl, Phoebe, to an institution. He asks the only other person there, the nurse, Caroline, to do this for him. Only, when she gets to the institution, she realizes she can't leave the girl there. Upon her return to town, she discovers that David has told his wife, Norah, that Phoebe was stillborn. Caroline leaves the area and raises Phoebe on her own, eventually marrying. David's decision haunts all their lives, and his son's, Paul.

The book is written from the perspective of the main characters, David, Norah and Caroline, and once he is older, Paul. This is what makes the book so wonderful. From the description of the book, as a woman, all I could think is, "how could he?" but after hearing his story, in his words, you understand why David did what he did, and you hurt for him. He wants to do the right thing. He thought he was doing the right thing. But this, this he did wrong, and he spends the rest of his life trying to find a way to fix it. Norah quickly falls into a depression after the birth. While you feel for her, I think Norah is probably the weakest character in the book. I never understood where she was coming from, in regards to her personality before the babies, and when she finally reaches for "independence" it felt forced. Caroline grew the most as a person. Her life moves in unexpected directions because of Phoebe, and I liked her more than Norah. Paul was drawn so well that I just wanted to hug him.

The book is wonderful and readable and sad and happy and hopeful and hopeless. My main complaint is a rather strange one. Every single main character's parents died while they were all young. Now, I know people lose their parents at a young age: my husband was 24 when his mom died. However, what are the chances that three people, who meet by chance, would all have lost their parents at a young age. I know this was important to the plot, to a certain extent, since they were all formed by these early deaths, but still, there are other plot devices that could have achieved the same end without all the drama.

I would highly recommend this book. Believe it or not, but it actually had a happy ending. Well, at least the happiest ending possible. Go get it today, or just check your bookshelves.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Baby making until your penis falls off!

My husband is home! All weekend too! Guess what we've been doing? Go on, guess? The good news is, that since he's been gone for a week, a whole weekend of sex is wonderful! The bad news is, that since he's been gone for a week, a whole weekend of sex is also painful, after a while. And I'm probably not even ovulating. It's been less than two weeks since I went off the pill. Or, I could be releasing an egg every 20 minutes. Who knows? But when he leaves again on Monday, I won't see him for 2 weeks, so we need to make the most of this weekend.

I went to the doctor's with IQ yesterday. She is having a boy. It yawned at us. Very cute. So far, things look normal. And she's really wanting to get stuff in order before the baby gets here. Hopefully that will all go well. I'll write more about why I'm her friend later. Right now, I have to go make a baby.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sing with me!

Today, I looked at the blog I wrote last night and thought, "I'm not going back there again." So today, I was productive. I went to the gym, where I died. The end. No, really, I didn't die, I just started seeing things. I ran errands. I listened to NIN, Ground Zero while organizing the office (more on NIN in a minute). I put together a bookcase. I put books on the bookcase. I organized my yarn. I crocheted. I'm reading an extraordinary book that I can't put down. I e-mailed the new performing arts center and offered to volunteer as an usher, because heaven knows that's the only way I'll see any of those performances. I e-mailed my church and volunteered for the shut-in/homeless/AIDS ministry. I was productive. And in an a couple of hours, I pick IQ up from the airport. Today, I feel good about myself. I like days like today.

Now, more about the NIN CD. It was a gift from my husband for Christmas. My husband originally introduced me to NIN in high school, with Pretty Hate Machine. I've been a somewhat faithful follower since then. And as much as I love NIN, I have to say that Pretty Hate Machine always remained the best. Until now. Ground Zero is amazing. Trent is back to a more industrial sound. He's still angry, but it sounds like a more productive anger. If you even slightly liked Pretty Hate Machine you have to get Ground Zero. It will be the best thing you ever do for your sex life. Whether you have a partner or not!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Where are the directions?

Do you feel like you're waiting for your "real" life to begin? I know a lot of people feel like this. There are countless books, songs, poems, and blogs about this. I know I feel like this. As a graduate student for, well, for forever, I always thought my life would start after I graduated. Only, I never graduated with my Ph.D. I got married. Some probably think their life starts when they get married. Only, this was my second marriage. And my husband is in the navy. Which means he's gone all the time. So now, I'm waiting for my life and my marriage to really start. I realized I'm going to turn 34 years old this year. That used to be mid-life. Now, I plan on living to 120, but still, the fact that still have no idea what is going on this late in the game, it is sobering. I want to do something, but I honestly have no idea what. I can't even manage to get a decent job (stupid, healthy teachers). When I was very young, I wanted to be a writer. But this blog has proven, pretty clearly, that this was just a mis-guided dream. So what now? Thoughts? Suggestions? Maps? Anyone?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What do I do?

I'm not sure what to do about my friend (I think I'll refer to her as IQ from now on). A month ago I looked up all the different programs offered by the navy. I found several that applied to IQ. I called them, explained the situation and found out what was available. One of the men I talked to burst out, "what the hell? Why would a naval officer marry someone who can't drive, can't take care of themselves, and then get her pregnant?" My reply, "you're preaching to the choir." But I can't actually do anything for her though. I gave her the numbers and when I pick her up from the airport this week, I'm going to remind her to call them. Wes told me that I would need to clean her place up before she called, because they do home visits. I told him that it would be better if I didn't clean up the place first, because maybe she would listen to someone professional who could take her baby away. But either way, I'm not cleaning her place for her. I'm not going to clean the litter box once she's home. I'll try to help her get organized, but I can't do it if she doesn't want to bother. It really bothers me, but I'm going to try not to get stressed out about the situation. Any suggestions?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sadly, it's true

I know some of you may think that I made up the last post. I did not. And, sadly, it does get worse. Her house is filthy. She doesn't work and when she complains that she is bored, and I suggest she cleans house, she laughs, and says she already loaded the dishwasher. She has two cats and they moved into their new place at the beginning of June. She vacuumed for the first time in August. Did I mention she has two cats? Her husband doesn't help. She is currently in another state visiting family. He was here for a week after she left, before he left for his ship. I don't know what your man would do, but my husband would have the house spotless for me if I were pregnant (even if I weren't). Him, he left the house disgustingly filthy. Dirty dishes. Trash bags. Didn't vacuum (did I mention they have TWO cats?). And, I was dealing with all of this while finding out I may not have the opportunity to have kids. I just kept thinking, "dear God, this must be a cruel, ironic joke."

But, she is the nicest, most well-meaning person ever. Here is an example, that occurred before I was really friends with her. While the ship was away for six months, her husband left the car keys with her, even though she doesn't know how to drive. One day, while walking in the area she lived, she ran into a man who had been a waiter at a place where she occasionally ate. She asked him why she hadn't seen him in awhile. He said he lost his job and was having a hard time looking for a new one without a car. So she gave him her husband's car. With only his first name and his mother's phone number. After about a month of not hearing anything she called his mom, only to hear that the mom didn't know where he was. Finally, my friend called the captain's wife, who called the mom and threatened grand theft auto. The man called back within 20 minutes and told them where the car had been towed. It cost $1500 to get it back and there was damage from the tow truck. This time, my friend's husband took the car keys with him.

And these people are adding to the genetic cesspool.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Serious, funny, serious

Wes talked to his x. According to him, it was a very good conversation. She adamantly denied that she told the kids that she left because Wes didn't love Victor. I'm very proud of Wes, because he didn't just go, "oh, it must be an understanding" but rather pointed out that both kids thought this and she better do something to correct it. Apparently there are some issues with the other two kids in the house. My husband pointed out that he doesn't give a crap about those kids when their behavior is negatively effecting his kids. He also let her know we would be happy to take Victor in the future to get him away from those bad influences. Since Allison is the only girl over there, she is not having the same problems as Victor, but we'd be happy to take her too. He said it was a great conversation and he feels much better about the situation. There is still a problem though: if Victor thinks it's his fault that they divorced (and apparently he does), denial, without telling the truth really won't change his mind. And she's not going to tell the truth because then her children would lose all respect for her. It really makes me wonder, what was she thinking? Did she really think they would never ask why she left Wes? Did she really think they would be the brady bunch? Did she really think the kids wouldn't want them to get back together again? I just don't understand it. I hope everything does get better, because the kids are great and they don't deserve to live like this.

Now something funny, because we can't have too much serious. I have a pregnant friend, and, to put it nicely, she has a border-line IQ. Here are a few examples:

When she called to tell me she was pregnant, I asked her if she had any idea how long she had been pregnant. This was her response, "I'm pretty sure I was pregnant before the day I took the test."

She and her husband were both shocked that she was pregnant, even though they were not using any form of birth control. Me: Well, you haven't been on birth control for 6 months, you can't be that shocked. Her: But we weren't expecting it. I mean, we didn't want a kid right now, so how did it happen?

After the sonogram, the doctor moved her due date up. Me: So, you've been pregnant longer than they originally thought? Her: No, they just got the due date wrong.

The doctor gave her a coupon for the drink Expecta. Her: I need to ask the doctor if I can drink this while I'm pregnant.

Discussing the possible sex of the baby. Her: It just doesn't seem right that I'm the mother and I don't know what sex the baby is. I guess it's just because this is the first one and I'll know next time.

Last phone conversation. Me: You sound sick? Are you ok? Her: I don't understand how I could have gotten sick. I mean, I'm supposed to be immune. Me: Um, actually, you can still get sick. Her: I guess the immunity just doesn't work at my parents house.

These are indeed actual conversations and I have not made any of them up. The sad part is that she grew up in foster care because her parents could not take care of her and she's terrified that she will not be able to take care of the baby and it will be taken away. The sadder part is, I'm afraid she may be right. She doesn't work and yet, her house is disgusting. I want to help her, but I can't do all this by myself. And her husband, he's in denial about the entire situation. And he's gone to sea. Her solution is to just hire someone to do it all. I think she needs to do it herself. I'm not sure how to go about the entire thing, but I'll figure it out.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 04, 2008

To prove I'm alive

Heroscape is a waaaaaay cool game. And I always win. That makes it fun.

Allison wet her bed yesterday. She sleeps on the top bunk. Do you have any idea how long it took to clean up? (and on a brand new mattress.)

If you have someone scrape pieces out of your girly bits, and then you go off your birth control pills, you will cramp for about five days. It is miserable.

According to medicine, I need a man to conceive. My husband leaves on Jan. 7th and returns on Feb. 1st. Bring in the pool boys!!!

I can write a pretty kick-ass letter of recommendation for a student I don't even remember.

I need a nap.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

new year, old crap

I was going to blog about Christmas and such, but now, since it was ages ago, I can't really remember it. What I do remember is that Wes and I went to visit some of my family. We had 12 adults and it took us 7 hours to open the presents. You read that right: SEVEN FREAKING HOURS TO OPEN PRESENTS. That is not fun. Not even remotely. With the kids, it only took us two hours to open presents. And it was a lot more fun. You can tell we're a gaming family, because between the 4 of us, we got 10 board games. We still haven't opened them all yet.

My favorite part of Christmas was my present to Camille. When I learned to crochet, the first afghan I made was for her. But that was waaaaaay back in March. Ever since I learned to crochet, every time I talked to her, she would be all, "so who are you making an afghan for now?" I could tell she really wanted one, and was maybe a little hurt I hadn't made her one yet. It was so hard not to tell her I had already made her one. So when I mailed her present, I put a note in there; "did you really think I had forgotten you? yours was the first one." She loved it, which makes me sooooo happy. I knew she would like it, but it's nice to know how much she liked it.

I had my doctor's appointment yesterday. We won't know the test results for a month, but she told me to go ahead with our trying to get pregnant plans. She said that the probability of my having cancer was slim, and even if I did, they would take care of it after the fact. Today I did not take my birth control pill.

Finally, I hate blogging about this, but I need a record. Yesterday, the kids broke down. They told Wes (both of them did, not just one) that their mom had told them that she left Wes because he didn't love Victor. Victor said he didn't believe her, and we know kids don't always correctly understand what they're being told, but both kids believed this is what their mom said (she left because she was having an affair with the man she is now married to). And, they are miserable at their mom's. They say it is chaotic and loud and unorganized and their step-brothers (they have two who live there) bully them. My husband was devastated and angry. He rarely talks to his x about things because he's afraid of rocking the boat but I told him that if he doesn't say something, then he is not protecting his kids. It is not possible for us to have custody right now, and she wouldn't give it anyway, but I'm willing to bet money that in a couple of years, when we could have custody, she would let us have Victor. I feel so bad for the kids and I really want to punch his x in the face. That probably wouldn't help the future custody battle though.

Well, I suppose I should do New Year's resolutions.
1. Pray more. Learn to accept things. Don't get stressed out as much. Let go.
2. Exercise, because it makes me feel better.
3. Make more time for fun and relaxation.
4. Figure out a way to become a multi-millionaire without doing anything.
5. Get more organized. This one is funny because many people think I'm the most organized person they know, but I constantly feel like I'm on the brink of chaos.
6. Quit making unrealistic lists of things to do that only make me feel bad when I don't do them.

Happy New Year!