Monday, May 24, 2010

Nine Types

I highly, highly recommend this episode of PBS' Nature: Why We Love Cats and Dogs (you can watch the whole episode online). I found it extremely entertaining, interesting, informative, and hilariously sweet. You will certainly recognize personality types of the various pet owners and will probably also figure out which one you are.

She Be Illin'




LAST Sunday (Apr. 30), Stella woke up with a low grade fever and congestion. I did the normal mom thing to do (Ibuprofen for fever, made soup, told her to rest, pushed lots of fluids) but Monday she stayed home. Then Tuesday she still felt terrible and STILL had a fever. So Wednesday morning I decide to take her to the doctor. Well...long story, but we ended up in the ER for five hours in order to find out that she's got Mono. A bad case of it. Her tonsils are the size of quarters and covered in a gross white film. She's the sickest she's ever been.

Now, after eight days, she's finally showing signs of improvement (now that she's on steroids to reduce the tonsil swelling and antibiotics in hope they'll treat the tonsil part of her illness....but there's no medication to treat the Mono virus so it's mostly been a lot of couch time, feeling terrible, for Stella.

My sister Jessy and I had planned to go to Chicago for the weekend. We were going to take Stella as a girls' weekend away. We were going to attend a Green Festival, and take Stella to the Art Institute. And spend time together in a way in which we've never had a chance in the past.

And then the Mono came. Disappointment piled on top of worry, mixed with exhaustion, sprinkled with sadness.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Morning in Female Political Anger

Scene: Two devastatingly attractive, witty, and intelligent women start with discussing birth control:

me: it's completely ridiculous that after how ever many years the best anyone can come up w/ for men is a fucking condom
Ai: i know
me: It's certainly a feminist issue
Ai: i know
me: where we're submitted to all sorts of crazy experiments
I honestly believe that each "new" form of hormonal bc is some scientific experiment.
Ai: oh, totally.
i am so over it
me: (male) scientists are just like "well...let's see what this does"
Ai: i mean, i don't think that is far fetched!
me: I'm ready for the guys to be treated like lab rats
let's just SEE what it does....hmmm, makes you lose your sex drive, your hair falls out, you want to kill yourself and cry for no reason?
Ai: as long as we push sexism farther back on the back burner, hell, it's been off the stove FOREVER, we can never fix the other biggies
like racism
which we fail at, too
me: the WORST PART is the lie we're told...."we're over those issues"
we're post-racial
Ai: and here i am, femi-nazi crazy pants, bein crazy!
me: what "wave" of feminism are we being told we're on now? Third? Fourth? Give me a fucking break
Ai: oh ho1
i learned how stupid (redacted) were earlier this week
me: oh I hate those moments
when you realize how vast the divide is bw people you thought you were on the same page w/
Ai: right?
and i may be over sensitive about it
me: what happened?
Ai: so, throw that in the mix
but, they didn't vote
me: huh?
Ai: and when they saw me, they must've instantly felt guilty because all at the same time, they started giving me their excuses
me: esp. w/ early's so. freaking. easy
yes it's somewhat of a "chore"...but no more painful than going to the grocery store during the evening rush
me: and if you shift your perception, it's not a chore at all....but a wonderful reward for being born in the richest country in the West
Ai: i mean, they can't make it any easier!
anyway, i guess i hold (redacted) to a higher standard
and that is just disappointing
oh, and (redacted) doesn't recycle either
me: I guess they could allow you to vote via text message...that would make it easier, you American Idol lazy idiots
Ai: it took all my energy to not go thru the trashcan and take it home
i am so stupid and naive
but, yes, i agree with you.
me: yeah, that's even worse than not voting in a primary
Ai: i'm not surprised
it hurts my heart
i went to work v sad
and (redacted) was like, "you look flustered and like you are about to cry''
me: if you can't trust your friends to do the right thing then who CAN you trust?
Ai: so i told him
and he was like, "fuck them! they don't deserve to vote!"
i thought about blogging about it
but that's so passive agressive
me: It's like Dave says when Stella complains about how "awful" we are - SHIP HER OFF TO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY
Ai: there's no good way to deal w this w/o looking like a jerk with poop on my lip
me: why can't we arrange an exchange program?
Ai: ok?
(redacted) was like, "i didn't know who to vote for"
me: I'd love to bring a young woman from India/Afghanistan/Guatemala and have them switch w/ (redacted) for a while
Ai: now, i don't expect people to vote exactly like me, but i supplied my people with information on candidates
me: Seriously...ask someone for a crib sheet. That's what I did
Ai: right
it's heartbreaking
me: It's got to be really hard to realize that you're going to have to distance yourself, at least emotionally, from your friends to save your own sanity
me: or otherwise lose your shit from biting your tongue/holding back!
Ai: i wanted to be like, "oh, so you're just a presidential election voter? pft."
i wish i was cool enough to tell people how i feel w/o people hating me
me: and it's the local elections, arguably, that affect our lives more on a daily basis
they are the foundation
for the up tops
Ai: to make matters worse, i took out my anger on (redacted)
who, the next day, sent me a stupid "i didn't vote" email
me: ugh
Ai: am i a lightning rod for this?
he was like, "i know booze-man is a tool, but don't know anything"
me: but (redacted) is younger and you prob. have more sway over
Ai: i told him he wouldn't get any sympathy from me and that boozman wouldn't even be on his ballot unless he was voting repub, etc etc.
me: boozeman is more than a tool. he's downright dangerous
Ai: right
peeps need to take this more seriously
me: he is so seriously rightwing that it's terrifying
Ai: this is war time
me: he's one of the "moral majority" right wingers
Ai: be serious for 20 mins. for one day
me: I get the fiscal no beef w/ them at all
but I believe it's my humanitarian duty to take down the ones who want to force their narrow & hate-based philosophy on my community
Ai: agreed
alannah, you are making me feel loads better.
me: I really wish some people could interact w/ people from countries that don't have the kind of democracy we have
Ai: i have been so down this week
so down
hurt heart
me: Dave and I semi argued about Rand Paul last night
me: I got SO PISSED about his npr comments about ADA
I mean, speechless over here
me: "put that person in a 1st floor office instead of putting in a $100,000 elevator"
Um, dude...please do not ever use such an inane example ever again
Ai: does he know that BP is an international corp.
really a FOREIGN one?
he is so ... disgusting
me: I watched the whole Rachel Maddow exchange
she was more than respectful
and, like a complete dick, he turned around and blamed her for the exchange
Ai: i love that he thought he could take her on
it must've occured to him
me: here's Dave's example of why the ADA might be too stringent (bless my goddamn boyfriend's heart) - five handicapped spaces at a golf course
me: he doesn't think handicapped people could play golf anyway
Ai: or climb mt. everest?
me: I was too tired to take apart every piece of how stupid that argument is
Ai: i think that's a failure to understand a person with a disability
me: people who complain about HC spaces are beyond ridiculous
Ai: we already fail them as it is
me: YES
Ai: mentally ill
me: PLUS...big you walk a little further
Ai: veterans
Ai: you need it, lard ass!
me: exactly!
Ai: (an aside)
me: my work w/ students who've been in wheelchairs has REALLY helped me empathize w/ the disabled
which is why Rand Paul's statement infuriated me
Ai: if the gov't didn't allot some things for them, you know, force us to be human, they would probs live on the street and in institutions
me: and TRULY be a burden on our state
Ai: right
we would treat them like vermin and a nuisance
me: it's shocking how quickly and easily people can become heartless
it really makes me wonder....are we fundamentally good inside (the Anne Frank view) or fundamentally assholes (the Orwell view)?
I wish I could cut and paste this conversation and lazily use it as a blog post
I guess I COULD. But would I?
Ai: you can
neaten it up a bit
fix my grammar
make me look good, alannah!


Okay, dear readers with differing views. I know you're dying to take us down. Go for it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thirty One Through Forty

Remember my list of 100 Things I Hope To Accomplish Before I Die (reFUSE to use the term "b****et list"...I just think it's gross)?

Well it's high time I added some things to it. HIGH TIME.

Without further ado:

31. Plan a vacation around wineries that I can visit with wine experts, such as my amazingly knowledgeable and awesome sister, Angela. I had an opportunity to take such a vacation in two weeks but can't take it. Other priorities took hold (car repairs, parenting, schedules, etc) and I'm so sad I can hardly type these words. I can't imagine a more fun vacation then to visit Napa Valley with three smart, gorgeous, wine expert I can only hope the opportunity arises again.

32. Teach adults to read.

33. Paint. On canvases. And resolve not to be embarrassed by the results.

34. Own horses.

35. Read the Bible, Qu'ran, and Torah. Then write the mother of all compare/contrast essays. Just kidding.

36. Make a cookbook of all my favorite recipes that I can pass down to Stella for when she leaves home.

37. Become reasonably proficient in Photoshop.

38. Solve a mystery.

39. Become ordained through the Universal Life Church and officiate a marriage ceremony for good friends.

40. Make perfect crème brûlée at home. I want that torch!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Artist As Art

I am fascinated by this exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York right now - The Artist is Present. The Serbian artist Marina Abramović sits in a chair and the public is invited to sit across from her for as long as anyone would like. There is a live webcam of the exhibit as well as a photographer who takes photos of every participant. In the photo slideshow, if you click "show info" you can see how long each participant sat with Ms. Abramović

I'm sure the participants come to her for various reasons and get all sorts of results from it. Some may come out of curiosity. Some may be seeking connection. Some may want to "get" something from the artist. As for Abramović - can you imagine how exhausting that would be? To sit and look into the eyes of countless people...the energy involved, the stamina. But also the reward of sharing something powerful, of inspiring something within the participant. Just, wow. I love this.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hopefully Worth Millions of Words

It's been a really rough past few weeks for me. It's mostly personal stuff, but also professional...and mostly relating to where those edges blur together. Basically, I'm tired of being tired all the time. I'm tired of being too busy to do the things that replenish my soul, so to speak. I'm tired of not being able to see my friends and family who keep me sane. I try to see them when I can, but not for those good weekend-long visits. I feel like I'm failing on all fronts because of it. So I'm rethinking a lot of things. There are aspects of my job that I love so much and am deeply passionate about. But the time it takes, and the energy it sucks out of me that I can't give to my daughter, boyfriend, friends, and family is really taking its toll. Something's gotta give and I don't want it to be my sanity. I need time to think about it before I even write about it. Nothing is more important to me than my friends and family. NO THING. NOTHING. And I need to keep that in mind when making major life decisions. If the purpose of life is to make, sustain, and nurture love then I have some serious making up to do.

Stay tuned.

In other life stuff, last weekend a bunch of my girlfriends got together at a cabin on the Buffalo River. I was working, taking a group of students to Little Rock, so I couldn't go, but I did get to meet up with my friend Natalie who came up for the weekend from Austin. I hadn't seen her in several years and we did our best to cram all our catching up in a few hours over breakfast at War Eagle Mill.

This is the view driving to War Eagle from Hwy 303:

Stella & Natalie under the bridge:
Natalie & me on the bridge:
Natalie, warrior goddess, midwife, mother, creative genius, force to be reckoned with:
Relic of the past:
Stella on the bridge:
The old house at the mill. The descendant of the founders of the mill still lives here:

Built in 1907. And yes, kind of scary to drive over:

Most delicious salad ever. Mixed baby greens, cucumber, carrot, tomato, green onions, a few capers, avocado, and shrimp marinated in garlic and parsley, cooked just long enough to plump up. Dressing of really good olive oil (Thanks AMD!), dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar. Simple, fresh, and SO GOOD:
This is a picture hanging over the back booth at Flying Fish seafood restaurant in Little Rock. I wish I could figure out how to smuggle it out. In the meantime I'll just stare at this captivating photo of Swamp Jesus:
Freaking adorable SOLO cat, watching her mama navigate a new phone:
The betrothed:
Solo with the dreamy eyes:
Melancholy Hot Dog:

Has it been this emotional and unsettling and crazy and weird and bad for everyone else? Hang in there, y'all....and turn off the news. It only makes it all worse.