Monthly Archives: September 2009

Wednesday the 30th

[today I’m timing myself for Ape Man. Start time was 6:18]

Today I sat in a food lobby eating my lunch and thinking all sorts of prejudiced thoughts. You know, judge-a-book-by-its-cover kind of thoughts. You aren’t supposed, but you sit there eating your lunch, and you catch yourself categorizing. That looks like a weak chin. . .is she indecisive or easily cowed? Let’s look at the eyes. . .they don’t look like scared-type eyes, more just like I-couldn’t-care-less eyes. There’s a stubborn chin. . . are they paired with thoughtful, intelligent eyes, or just arrogant eyes, or just stubborn eyes?

So basically, Physiognomy. Or maybe Phrenology. I think it’s rather fascinating, and, as usual, I wonder what people think when the see my face. I can make my own nonsense up, but it’s not the same as seeing what other people see. I would say I look rather practical and no-nonsense–both in the manner I dress (hair, clothes, personal effects–or rather, the general lack of personal effects) and the manner of movement (I’m always shocked when I see videos of myself how curt and deliberate my actions look). I think I have a rather stubborn or determined look about my eyes. They look like they have some thinking about them, I think. Of course, my eyes are quite faithful in their prescribed role as “windows of the soul”, and I think even if I could master most of my facial muscles, my eyes would rat me out every single time.

The thing that confuses me the most is how to read my mouth–and that’s a thing that’s always moving, and thus hard to self-reflect on, because you have to go on an “average”, and I don’t have an “average” impression of what my mouth looks like. Some people think my smile is noteworthy, but I suspect I don’t wear it half as often as they think I do.

[end time 6:36; elapsed time 18 minutes, including wikipedia look-ups. ~300 words.]

Tuesday, the 29th

Today I ran errands. It is a sign of how hectic the last few weeks have been for me that running errands felt like a relief in comparison. For the first time in my life, I understood why some people like to travel. You are in your own zone when you travel, and nothing can touch you there. (I use “nothing” very symbolically.) You can’t do anything, you just can’t. Staying home, you can do nothing, but while doing so, you think to yourself all of the things you should be doing, or you obsessively check to see if your online professor has gotten back to you on your request to take the exam you missed. There is no mental rest or setting aside, because while you are home, you could, even if you aren’t.

But today, I had to return things and get things and be on the road. I had to. I couldn’t make it go away. And so I couldn’t do anything else. It was the most peculiar sort of relief I have ever felt, because I don’t like errands and I don’t like driving. But it gave my mind a chance to be a blank slate and not think about what I should be doing, what I will have to do in 37 minutes and 35 seconds (and counting) from now. I had to drive to this store; then I had to drive to that store. There was nothing else to be done about it.

So I kind of didn’t want to quit running errands, because then out would be out of the ‘traveling zone’, and back to obsessing.

I stopped at work and made an OT cry. It’s my new super-power, making people cry. She had lost her father almost exactly a year ago; but again, in some sick, twisted way, I felt better to make her cry. At least then I’m not the only one doing it.

[Bragging from the most humble person in the world—Monday’s dreaded Bio exam? 98 people took it. 80 points for the quiz. Two people got 82 (102.5%). I was one of them. And I didn’t even guess on any of these ones, like I did on the Bio quiz. I guess making 80 index cards and writing up your own exam, as scary as you can make it, works.]

Re-Cap; tomorrow back to regularly scheduled program

Briefly, to re-cap:

Wednesday I ran into my cousin at school. We talked and maybe cried (me more than her), which neither of us really wanted to do but both of us recognize is probably what we need to be doing in order to process things the way we need to. Like I told her, I don’t want to, but recognizing that there is nothing morally wrong with it, I suspect its something I’m just going to have to not like doing but do anyway.

Wednesday I also took a Physics Exam and a PTA muscle class exam. Bragging rights: I scored the highest in the Physics at 98. I did not score the highest in the PTA class, with someone else topping my 97 with a 100.

On Thursday I talked with my English professor. I had to go have a one-on-one with her, as per her instructions to the class, for a logical fallacies presentation. While there, I broached the fact that the class wasn’t quite working out for me.

Me: There’s this other thing, too. You give me an assignment, I go home and get started on it, and then the next time I’m in class you want us to all do that part in class, and I’ve already done that part!

Her: Yes, why are you here?

Me: Because I have to!

Her: You obviously know how to do all this stuff already. What can I do to make this class better for you?

Non, there is no sarcasm on her behalf. She tried to make things better, but I’m still trying to find my groove. She gave me permission to sign the attendance sheet and then go work some where else, stating that I did not have to be part of class activities. However, she still wanted me to be a part of the fallacy project (which feels like it will take forever to get over with), and she wanted me to hand in written thoughts on the assigned readings (in place of talking about them in class). So today I went to class–and she was a real piece of work today, in top form for sure–attempting to be part of the fallacy happenings (that never happened) and to ascertain if my written hand in was the sort of thing she was looking for. Unfortunately, she was unable to do so during class, which means I spent time in and out of the English classroom today, AND I forgot my knitting. A true tragedy.

I am hopeful that if this thing gets straightened out, I can avoid major amounts of class time. . .but it won’t really free up any time, because (even though it is infinitely more enjoyable than attending class) write-ups on the reading do take time. That, and I am hopeful it does all get straightened out. Previous to today, I was pretty sure it would; today my confidence was shaken. Today she handed back to me a paper, the rough draft of which she said needed no modification whatsoever, with an A-, with comments written on it (same paper!!). She also handed back what I thought was my rough-draft/outline of my Op-Ed with an A, saying “excellent news report”. This required discussion, as my “news” report was handed in a month ago, and was or was not what she was looking for in an Op-Ed? “Yes, but in that case it needs more work.” Duh.

Anyhow; I skipped over Friday, which is when we got our Physics grades back. I didn’t advertise my 98, since other people were sitting around me bemoaning 70s and 60s. But a few people who had talked to me after the test guessed—“Did you get that 98?” Yes, I got the 98. There is now tentative talk about starting a study group with me on Thursday afternoons. I do like to help, but sometimes I wonder if I have the energy left to do it. I almost rather hide my grades.

Sunday was Grandpa’s memorial. I didn’t want such a thing to even exist, at the very least not now, not so soon after. Maybe in a year, after it had faded a little. A family gathering where we talked about Grandpa, sure, but nothing–nothing to highlight his death. I almost didn’t go; in the end, I went because I was afraid I would regret not going.

I did not get a single thing out of the highlight. I discovered that I had a physical reaction to hearing family members sing/play instruments, namely to break into tears. I cannot say that I had any thought whatsoever running through my head; it was just as much as a physical reaction as gagging in response to truly awful smells. Anytime they started the music, I started crying, and that was that. Shortly after the highlight, the majority of the family members up and went. I had a nice time messing around on my keyboard and singing a little with one of my cousins (the same one I had talked to earlier that week), but it was bitter-sweet, because it only highlighted my inability to do either of those things properly. After supper, more talented family members decided to really put my keyboard to use, but I couldn’t stay and enjoy because I had a headache and needed to go to school the next day.

Today I had my Bio exam, which was the one I was most worried about. I haven’t got my grade back yet, but it went better in the doing than I had thought it would.

I came home today congratulating myself that the worst was was over in terms of this concentrated spike in school work, and that I had done well on all the exams and I hadn’t forgotten to do anything.

Then I got an email asking me if I could work certain weekends, so I started going through my course schedules trying to make sure I didn’t over-schedule myself, and that was when I discovered I had completely forgotten about my online Psychology course exam, which was due—the day of Grandpa’s memorial, yesterday. I could have done it sooner, but I’m not allowed to do it later. I sent the Professor an email, but “cut me some slack, my grandparent died” sounds like the oldest, lamest excuse of a lie there ever was, even when it’s the truth.

Now I am sitting here with two loads of laundry to put away, and all the bits and scraps of course-work and minor obligations I’ve yet to pull together into a cohesive whole. If I am not careful, I’m going to forget something. More something than even a Psychology exam, I mean, and I would have thought literally forgetting an exam was a big enough thing to forget.

Monday the 21st

Today I am not sticking to the word limit. In case that matters to you.

People have been telling me of late things like “Formalized school is hard to get used to at first, but you will!” and “I felt like that when I started school” and other such well meaning things. I know they are well meaning, but I still think they are misguided. I didn’t feel like this when I first started school. I felt a lot, yes, but not exactly like this. In fact, I didn’t start feeling like this until my grandpa took his turn for the worse. School is icing on the cake; it is not the root of this problem.

When he first got so much worse and I was too busy with school to think about it, my evaluation was “good”.

“Good, I don’t really want to think it anyway.”

“Good, I couldn’t bear it if I spent the whole day thinking about it.”

“Good, this will remind me to keep things in perspective and that life goes on anyway.”

I had no complaints about being too busy to think. I kinda sorta got away with that the week he was dying. But that was week 3 of school, not two or one. By week four, while school was not exactly old hat, it was pretty much expected routine. I was also still so busy I didn’t really have time to think during normal waking hours.

Note the “normal waking hours” part.

I would go to bed exhausted, and my mind would churn and churn and churn. The next day I would feel even more exhausted, and every little facet of life seemed even more overwhelming. Yes, school too, but as an incidental. And again, I would go to bed exhausted, now with a backdrop of an aching head. . .and lie awake with a churning mind. And as soon as I had gotten anywhere remotely near a survivable amount of sleep, I would snap awake to that same unsettled mind. We aren’t even talking about getting caught up with sleep on the weekends—and even if I could sleep in, weekends were so busy there still wasn’t any time to think. During normal waking hours.

On Saturday, it kind of came to a head. I got up at 6:40 so I could be in to work at 8, and I worked until noon. I was so tired that afternoon, I couldn’t think a coherent thought or do even the easiest of homework, or participate in the simplest of decisions. I went to bed for a nap, and slipped to sleep very quickly—only to wake with a snap an hour later, even though no one had called me and no noise had disturbed me.

I didn’t get to bed as early as I would have liked that night–I still felt so tired. But I was in bed by 10 o’clock, even though everyone else was still up playing a board game with the birthday boy. At 1 a.m., I was still awake.

I need time. I need to sit in some quiet still place, and think thoughts while I’m awake—thoughts I don’t really feel like sharing with anyone but me and God. I need to process this the way I process things, slowly and emotionally.

The fact that Grandpa has died is an uncompromising fact. The fact that I need to process that is also an uncompromising fact. By insisting that I could not compromise on what I was spending my hours on during the day, a compromise had to be found somewhere else, and sleep took the hit. This is unpleasant, and inefficient. The only other choice is to find some other area to compromise in.

Naturally, this is the week I have several exams, assignments due, things I must do in order to stay employed, social obligations I got myself into, and the emotional volcano of Grandpa’s memorial (which, just for the record, I would rather have in, say, 6 months or a year or something else. Right now it just feels like salt in the wound and not the slightest bit helpful. I might actually enjoy it a year from now).

So. I don’t want to compromise in sleeping. Or eating. Or my employment. Or my school work. And by ‘social obligations’, I mean, things I gave my word I would do, and I don’t want to compromise and go back on my word. Something, somewhere must give.

Most people by now have probably figured out that I’m talking about this posting deal. I don’t mean quitting, I mean temporary hiatus. I mean, give me a week to collect myself. I will be back next Tuesday, God willing, but I need time, and I have to get it from somewhere. It’s only very tangentially because “school is too much” or “I’m too busy”. Mostly it is, quite bluntly, “for the first time, someone close to me has died and for the most part I haven’t been coping or coming to terms with it as much as I have been trying very hard to ignore it, and I am paying hand over fist for that.” And I’m not going to quit paying for it until I quit ignoring it. But in order to stop ignoring it, I need time; and I’m getting that time from here. (I have no delusions this will only take a week, but next week I have less responsibilities, and hopefully will not need to continue sacrificing this blog upon that altar; time will tell.)

If you have time, please pray for me. I will take whatever I can get—for sleep, for ability to do school work, for clarity in thought, for patience and love when I feel like I’m at the end of my rope, for perspective, for deliverance from self-pity, for making it through this difficult week alive and relatively sane—but most of all, that I would come to better know Him, understand Him, and draw closer to Him.

See y’all next week.

Friday the 18th

Today I tried my hand at some wood burning. I told everyone I was trying to burn the house down, but really I borrowed my brother’s wood burning tool, and set to work on “engraving” a plaque for the PTA club. As much as it’s a time sap, I’m not sorry I agreed to do this one. I sat down and remembered all over again how much I like working with my hands.

Okay, so yeah, wood burning is not normally high on my list of things to try, and yes, I was driven a little silly by the imperfectness of it all. But still, it was three-dimensional creating. Even if it was a little mindless—I was more than a little mindless, so it was all good. (I just traced my computer printed template on to the wood, and then it’s just a process of staying within the lines, so it wasn’t exactly rocket science.) I wish I had more time to work on my hands on projects right about now; it’s very satisfying and settling in a way I can’t quite describe.

~~~

I realize that I am kind of avoiding talking to the people in my Physics class because I’m getting strong vibes that they are all (well, most of them) struggling (and I am not). So if I hear how miserable they are, I’ll want to help them all (every single last one!) and I don’t have time for that. Some people learn their limits and learn how to say no; I learn my limits and stick my fingers in my ears and hum. That’s a graceful and elegant solution, don’t you think?

Thursday the 17th

Today was rough. I don’t know if it’s just because Wednesdays take so much out of me I don’t have much left for Thursdays, or what. (Wednesday is basically 10 hours straight of school work, minus my half-hour lunch break.) Nothing really happened today (my only class was my physics lab) but I feel accomplished to have survived.

Well, if I can’t think of anything to say about today, I’ll have to think of something about yesterday or tomorrow. . .actually, I can’t stop thinking about tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. It’s like from Wednesday morning on I have had this continual “To-Do” list churning over and over in my head. These next few weeks look packed. I know I need to take it moment by moment; I know He gives grace sufficient for the day at hand. But at the same time, you feel like if you don’t keep running that list over and over, you’re going to forget to do something you need to do or said you would do.

I did go and sign up for the Alzheimer’s walk (it’s this Sunday). I’m not 100% sure why, but I was too tired to think about it anymore and decided as much as I thought it was ineffective, it wasn’t immoral. And that was as far as I felt like figuring. But why did I sign up for something where you are supposed to ask people for money when I don’t like asking for money? I don’t like it when people call me up and ask for money “for a good cause”. Going back to that whole tired-and-following-the-path-of-least-resistance thing, I’m not exactly welling over with money. It might have something to do with not asking. Go figure.

Mom suggested I post the link. Here is the link. http://mwst.kintera.org/purdyt I’m pretty sure I’m just telling me, you and the wall over there, but can I still say I tried to raise some money?

Wednesday the 16th

Today I escaped having a one-one-consultation with my English teacher. Everyone was supposed to write a rough draft, go to a mandatory consultation with her, and then revise. My rough draft was sufficient; she saw no need to change anything. Except the title.

It is just so ludicrous. She attempts to tell the class that they all need to hear her tell them about prepositions and prepositional phrases, and then wonders why her class acts like a bunch of 6th graders. They are simply meeting her expectations; 6th grade work breeds 6th graders. She insists that we discuss things amongst ourselves, and then wonders why no one will cooperatively stop talking and listen to her talk. She says we must all listen to her to learn how to be clear and concise and communicate well, and no one can understand what she wants them to do or what they can take from the class.

We are supposed to have college level discussions and thoughts, but we can’t bring God into it, because that ‘unnecessarily divisive’ and ‘leaves people out’. We’re not supposed to judge people, and we’re supposed to examine our own biases. . .but she asks exceptionally leading questions about the nature of U.S. wars, a certain past president, etc., etc. Everything is contrived and shallow, and yet she repeatedly admonishes us that we should be “college level’. She treats us like children and wonders why they don’t act like adults.

Luckily enough I have impressed her enough with my brilliance of replies and written word that she has yet to get on my case for knitting through class. I like to spend my time on something productive.

Tuesday the 15t

Today I felt like puking, except not really. I don’t feel the slightest bit sick, despite the, erm, digestive-tract bug that other people in the family are dealing with. Just the pent up emotions that make you say “Ugh, I feel like puking” whether you do or not.

Bleh. I’m at my grandparents right now, and the couch is too empty. And it’s too quiet.

I went to work today. It looked like the PTs had plenty of help (two volunteers in the afternoon, when there is no “normal” help). I couldn’t help but find it funny that the people who were most excited to see me were the OT’s, and I rarely worked with them. Somehow I made a big impression on all the OTs. But other than that, it looked like the PT department was not really having a good time—including the supervisors. I dunno what’s going on, but it didn’t seem quite right to ask.

I found out, to my annoyance, that I’m going to have to have blood work done to see if my Hep. B shot “took”. They check to see if your body has actually made the antibodies or not. Also, I couldn’t get my now-mandatory-in-this-state-for-health-care-workers flu shot. So I’ll have to go back yet again, which I don’t feel like I have time for.

Whine, whine, whine. Let’s see if I can end on a cheerful note.

I like my new back pack. It’s very comfortable, and I can cram a lot into it. Including my knitting, despite all my books.

Monday the 14th

Today I honestly couldn’t remember what day it was. I feel like I’m loosing all mooring in time. A day seems like a week, a week a month, a month like half a year. I’m just now starting my fourth week of school, and I feel like I can hardly remember what it was like before school, and not really in a good way. I’m ready for the semester to be over, or at least half over or some sign of progress. Instead, I have entered some zone where time does not move, yet moves constantly and quickly.

Mentally and physically, I feel like I’m doing fine. Emotionally, I feel frayed and worn out and have my sights set on burnt out. Granted, this is not all to do with school (duh, see previous posts), but school is exacerbating it. I have to do school work, so I don’t have time to do what I would normally do to cope. Sometimes I just do it anyway, and that means staying up to 11 pm, just hanging out and talking and unwinding and whatever. But that means I more tired the next day, which makes it even harder to cope. It all seems like a vicious cycle.

So people say, how is school? And I don’t know how to answer. Academically, I’m pretty near the head of the class (haven’t researched it thoroughly, so I don’t know where exactly I’m at. But when I am one of only 3 out of 107 who score 31 on a 30-point biology test, and I’m one of the top two in my medical terminology test—I can’t be doing too bad). Physically, I don’t feel a panic of not having enough time to do what needs to be done. Emotionally? It seems like some really weird dream where you’re in some alternate dimension, watching yourself live over your own shoulder. It’s not exactly a nightmare, and not exactly a good dream either. It’s strange, it’s unsettling, it’s a little uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s interesting. But when it comes right down to it, you’d rather wake up and get back to real life.

Saturday the 12th

Today I’ve been pondering why I didn’t want to post yesterday. I guess it was because I wanted to acknowledge his death, but I didn’t want to talk about it.

I am not consumed; it’s not like can think of nothing else, it is not as though it weighs on me like a suffocating load. If Alzhiemer’s does anything, it gives you plenty of time to grieve in advance. That doesn’t mean that everything is okay; it just means I can conduct myself with some amount of dignity and composure. . .unless I talk about it. There is a time and place for a lack of composure, but I don’t enjoy or appreicate it or have any use for it when I’m trying to talk.

There is a time and place for talking, too. Heck, I wrote a multi-paged eulogy when my cat died. I have plenty I could say, but this is not my time to speak.

If there is anything to throw out there right now, it is an apology to my cousin. I made an attempt to speak with her on Friday morning, and hence she got to witness my only tears of the day. I think she had plenty on her plate already, especially since she had been there. Sorry, cuz. I promise I won’t be a basket case everytime you see me, as long as we can talk about cabbages and kings and cookies and everything except anything that happened in the last week.