Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Daily Update

Weight: 227

Currently Reading (fiction): River God, Wilbur Smith. This is such a good book. I think I’m probably enjoying it even more the second time around. The first time I read it was just after college, and it was also my first taste of Wilbur Smith. Now, as a “seasoned” Wilbur Smith fan, it reads even better. I plan on reading the sequel to this book, The Seventh Scroll, later on in the year.

Currently Reading (non-fiction): Nothing at the moment. With school and my new schedule, I just don’t have time right now to devote to two books like I have in the past. So for now, I’m just going to be reading one at a time. Most likely, I will alternate...read a fiction, then a non-fiction, then a fiction, etc. It kind of pisses me off, because this is going to kill my yearly reading list. I doubt I’ll be able to make 52 books this year. But oh well.

Currently Listening To: Nothing. I’m in the middle of transcribing a letter from dictation.

Rush Lyric of the Day: When the moment dies, the spark still flies, reflected in another pair of eyes.

Food Update: I’m trying to get back onto a good diet, although it’s hard with my schedule. But I’ve had oatmeal with flaxseed and green tea so far today.

School Update: I’m behind this week on studying, but I think I’ll be okay. I got my worst test grade yet last week...a 98. And the only reason I got a 98 is because there were two terms on the test that we had not gone over in class. In this class (Medical Terminology), she goes over all the words we have to know for the test, and writes the definition on the board. Last week, however, there were about 4 words on the test that she had not gone over in class. She tells us flat out that we do not need to know any words that she doesn’t write on the board. And then she turns around and puts 4 words on the test that she hadn’t gone over. When everyone missed them, and complained, she tried to claim that she had put them on the board. It was quite sad, really. But either way, I still go two of the words right, and I knew the other two, but she didn’t give me credit for defining “Embol(o)” as “clot,” even thought that’s technically what it is, and then the other word I missed was “Olig(o)” which obviously means “few” since an “Oligarchy” is a form of government by a few. But because I was pissed about all the words on the test that we hadn’t gone over in class, I put down, “I have never seen this word before,” for my answer.

Anyway, the only other notable news from school is that I did my disease presentation on Thursday in my Anatomy & Physiology class. It went really well, I thought. I think I was more nervous getting prepared for the speech than I actually was when I was giving it. Now I have to get prepared for my presentation next week in my Medical Law & Ethics class.

Halloween Update: I have class and a test tonight, so I won’t be able to do Halloween with Hailey. Melanie is taking her and Sydney to her friend Terena’s house to go trick-or-treating. Hailey is dressing up as a duck. We have no idea where she came up with that idea. We had assumed she would be a princess, since she has a princess outfit that Nana got her earlier this year. But about three weeks ago, Melanie asked her what she wanted to be, and out of nowhere she said, “A duck!” So, we bought her a duck outfit.

Today in History, October 31:

475 – Romulus Augustus, who was no more than 12 or 13 at the time, is proclaimed emperor of the Western Roman Empire. He would rule only 10 months before being deposed by a Germanic chieftain. He would be the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1517 – Martin Luther King Sr. nails his 95 feces to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, beginning the Prostate Revolution.

1892 – Arthur Conan Doyle publishes “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” the first collection of Holmes short stories.

1917 – The Battle of Beersheba takes place near Palestine, during World War I. During the battle, the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade made a successful charge against the Turkish trenches, overtaking them and capturing Beersheba. This would become the last successful cavalry charge in history.

1923 – Marble Bar, Australia records a temperature of over 100 degrees. This would be the start of a record 160 consecutive days with temperatures at 100 or greater.

1926 – Death of Harry Houdini, from complications from a ruptured appendix.

1940 – The Battle of Britain ends, with the UK successfully repelling a German attempt to invade England.

1966 – Birth of Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. Adrock, of the Beastie Boys. “October 31st, that is my date of birth...”

1984 – Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two of her body guards as she walks through a garden at her primary residence.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I could...

Sometimes you want to write something really profound or interesting, but there just isn’t anything to say. I’m in the mood right now to write a really good essay, or make a commentary on some important social or religious topic, but I’m just all worded out. I don’t have the energy to come up with anything emotionally engaging.

I could sit here and feel sorry for myself, but I’ve already done plenty of that.

I could lament over my struggles with drinking, but that’s a tired old subject.

I could talk about dirty, dirty sex and female anatomy, but then one of my in-laws might read it.

I could do one of my daily updates, but let’s face it, does anyone really want another one of those right now? There’s only so many times you can give your weight, a Rush lyric quote, and an update on your daughter’s bowel habits.

I could talk about this dark spot on the inside of my cheek that I think might be a blood blister of some type, but could possibly be an aggressive oral cancer that will soon spread to my brain, but I don’t feel like getting all worked up.

I could give random descriptions of my surroundings, but that would just be stupid.

I could do a Today in History but this ain’t The History Channel and I ain’t in the mood.

I could....

Aw shit. I’m not even in the mood to do anymore “I coulds.” I’m tired of thinking about what I could do.

I just wrote the phrase “I need to fart” at the end of that last sentence, but I took it out because I decided it was gross and embarrassing.

Okay, I’ll stop writing now and let you off the hook. I think I’ll go into the bathroom and look at this oral cancer in my mouth again and contemplate how many months I’ve got.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Daily Update

Weight: 229. I weighed myself this weekend and discovered that I am fatter than I’ve ever been in my life. Back when I was still working at Tempur-Pedic and working out every day, I used to worry if I got over 215.

Currently Reading (fiction): River God, Wilbur Smith. This is my second time through River God...the first time I’ve reread a Wilbur Smith novel. I love Wilbur.

Currently Listening To: Ride Across the River, Dire Straits.

Rush Lyric of the Day: I am the working man.

Weekend Update: Melanie and the kids went to Cincinnati on Saturday evening and I stayed home to study. Then I drove up on Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day with her family. We had lunch and I spent some time in the spa, although the water wasn’t as warm as I would have wanted it. We got home yesterday evening. During the day on Saturday, before Melanie went to Cincinnati, we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and ran some errands around town. It was a really pretty weekend here. I’d say this week, up through this coming weekend, we will be hitting our peak in terms of fall color.

School Update: I have a test every night this week. This will be the first time I’ve had a test every night. I spent most of the weekend preparing for Monday and Tuesday’s tests, so I haven’t really studied for Wednesday or Thursday’s tests at all. Tuesday’s test is going to be tough because it’s covering four chapters’ worth of material.

In Cincinnati’s Sunday paper, there was a big full page add for jobs at area hospitals, and there were a number of openings for radiography, including several that were offering a $6,000 hiring bonus. One was at Bethesda North, where Mom used to work.

Food Update: As is obvious by my weight, I’ve been doing remarkably poorly on my dietary habits over the last few weeks, particularly since starting school. Eating out way too much, too much fast food, eating at odd times, eating enormous portions. Melanie and I are going to try to get back on track this week. So far today I’ve had green tea, and oatmeal with flaxseed.

Work Update: I was daydreaming this morning on my way to work about the 6 months last year when I was unemployed. God, that was such a nice time in my life.

Funniest Thing Seen on a Medical Record: Erythema of the labia major, caused by vaginal abscess.

Today in History, October 16:

1781 – Using a backdrop of painted soldiers, painted by the Skinny Kid with the Pipe, George Washington captures Yorktown, Virginia. Lord Cornwallis complains bitterly, stating: “It’s not cricket! You’re not playing the game!”

1793 – Marie Antoinette loses her head.

1854 – Birth of Oscar Wilde.

1859 – John Brown leads a slave revolt on an arsenal in Harper’s Ferry.

1923 – Walt Disney and his brother Roy found The Walt Disney Company. Their cousin, Roy Wally, founds Wally World a few years later.

1946 – 10 top German officials are hanged following their death sentences during the Nuremberg Trials. Hermann Goring avoids the noose by taking his own life just hours before he was due to hang.

1969 – The Miracle Mets win the World Series.

1978 – Pope John Paul II ascends to the throne of Christendom.

1991 – In a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, George Hennard opens fire and kills 24 people. He then kills himself. The kill spree would help birth Texas’s legalization of concealed handguns 5 years later (a patron in the store had a gun in her car, but felt that if she’d been permitted to carry it with her, she could have stopped the massacre...she later successfully lobbied for the legalization to carry concealed handguns).

1999 – Death of Jean Shepherd, who wrote the screenplay for, and played the role of the narrator in A Christmas Story.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Knights Templar and Friday the 13th

Well, I'm sure there must be about 50 million blog posts out there today with "Friday the 13th" as the title. This blog really has nothing to do with Friday the 13th, I just didn't know what else to title it.

This is the 699th anniversary of the mass round-up of Knights Templar by Phillip IV. On Friday, October 13, 1307, Phillip, who wanted the Templar's wealth, began rounding up Templars by the thousands, accusing them of heresey and eventually executing them. This was the beginning of the end for the Knights Templar.

I feel a lot better and more positive today than I did on Wednesday. Sheesh, what a terrible blog post that was. I hate it when I get into those black moods.

I have a test every night next week. So I've got a lot of studying to do this weekend.

Shalom.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Daily Update

Weight: 225

Currently Reading (fiction): The Templar Legacy, Steve Berry. It’s taking me forever to get through this book because I have such little reading time now. I’m going to try to finish it this weekend. Probably won’t start another one right away, simply because there’s not much time to read. I hate taking 3 weeks to read a book...it’s harder to stay with the plot when you do that.

Currently Reading (non-fiction): Walking the Bible, Bruce Feiler. This really is a good travelogue of the various sites in the first 5 books of the Old Testament. Very interesting and entertaining.

Currently Listening To: Stories We Could Tell, Jimmy Buffett. Buffett’s new album is due out on Tuesday. It’s called Take the Weather With You. Apparently he decided on a new name, because in September, the album was to be called Paddlin’ Out.

Rush Lyric of the Day: Green and grey washes in a wispy white veil. Mist in the streets of Westminster.

Food Update: Someone brought in fresh, warm Krispy Kreame glazed this morning. Warm Krispy Kreames are the best sweet food on earth. And so utterly terrible for you. I ate two, and I’m thinking about having another. Heart attack be damned!

School Update: I had three tests this week. I think I made a perfect score on my test last night, unless I made a stupid mistake. I missed one or two on Wednesday’s test, but there were five bonus questions that I know I got right. I made a 99% on Monday’s test. All three tests were very easy. Next week, I have tests on Wednesday and Thursday, but none on Monday or Tuesday. I finally got my student ID and my scrubs vouchers, so I’ll be getting my purple scrubs this weekend and wearing them to class starting on Monday.

Last night, we were learning the basics of biology in our Anatomy and Physiology class. Cell structures and that sort of thing. One of the types of tissue we learned about is called “pseudostratified.” There is a girl in the class who is the type that is constantly asking questions and interrupting the lecture to get clarification on some totally obscure, non-test-worthy issue.

Anyway, last night, during one of her clarification interruptions, she was asking about this psuedostratified type of tissue, and she called it “puh-swade-o-stratified.” I literally almost laughed out loud. I sat there giggling under my breath for five minutes.

Hailey Update: Hailey has been doing better this week. She hasn’t shit her pants at all, and has been going on the potty when she feels it. We’re really hoping that maybe these bowel issues are behind us. Also, she whispered to her teacher twice yesterday, and also did her work at school. So that was a big step. I am going over there at lunch today to have lunch with her.

Sydney Update: I saw Sydney awake this morning, for about 30 seconds. First time I’ve seen her awake since Monday night...when I saw her for about 2 minutes.

Today in History, October 6:

891 – Formosus is elected pope. He is best remembered for being the central figure of the Cadaver Synod in 897. He had died in 896, and his successor brought charges against him that he had been unfit to sit as pope. His corpse was dug up, dressed in the papal vestments, and set up before a courtroom to be tried. He was convicted of the crimes, all his rulings and measures were reversed, his papal vestments were torn from his corpse, the three fingers he used to give blessings were ripped off his hand, and his corpse was thrown into the Tiber. Gotta love those Catholics.

1888 – Birth of Roland Garros. Garros was an early French aviation pioneer, and was one of the first fighter pilots in World War I. In the early years of the war, before Anthony Fokker’s invention of the interrupter gear, allowing machine guns to be fired through the propeller, Garros came up with a scheme of his own to fire through the propeller. He put steel plates on the propeller, thus allowing the bullets to deflect away from the propeller, and inevitably allowing some bullets to get through. He managed to shoot three aircraft down in this fashion. However, in early 1915, the steel plates failed, and he shot off his own propeller. He crashed landed in enemy territory and was taken prisoner. He escaped in 1918 and rejoined the French army. He was subsequently shot down and killed one day before his 30th birthday, on October 5, 1918, only a month before the war’s end. France’s most famous tennis court, the home of the French Open, is named in his honor.

1889 – Thomas Edison premiers his first motion picture.

1892 – Death of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who took his own advice and “did and died.”

1898 – The honorary music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Symphonia is founded in Boston. I am a member of this fraternity. Betcha didn’t know that, did you?

1927 – The Jazz Singer premiers, the first major talking picture.

1945 – A Greek immigrant named Bill Sianis attends Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field. He brings his pet goat with him, and is permitted to keep the goat at the game, even getting to parade the animal around on the field before the start of the game. However, later in the game, the Cubs owner forced Sianis and his goat to leave, citing the “stink” from the animal. Sianis was outraged, and (so the story goes) put a curse on the Cubs, swearing they would never win another pennant or play in another World Series at Wrigley Field. Since then, the curse has stuck.

1973 – The Yom Kippur war begins as 80,000 Egyptian troops cross the Suez Canal and attack Israeli-held positions.

1981 – On the 8th anniversary of the day his troops invaded the Sinai, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat is assassinated by Muslim extremists.

1992 – Death of British actor Denholm Elliot, from AIDS. Although he was married twice and fathered two children, he was a bisexual. He garnered an Academy Award nomination for his role in A Room With a View. His most widely-known role was as the bumbling academic companion of Indiana Jones, Marcus Brody, in the first and third Indiana Jones movies.

1995 – A planet is discovered orbiting Pegasi 51, a star in the Pegasus galaxy, 49 light years from earth. It is the first extra-solar planet ever discovered.

1997 – Death of Johnny Vander Meer, the former Cincinnati Red who is the only pitcher in major league history to throw two consecutive no-hitters.

2003 – Timothy Treadwell, a bear enthusiast who chose to live among bears, is killed, along with his girlfriend, and partially eaten by....you guessed it...a large brown bear.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My New Routine

I feel stressed out.

I get up at 6:50 or so in the morning. I take a shower, get dressed, take my vitamin and anti-depressant, and get breakfast ready for myself (I take oatmeal to work with me and eat it at work) and then I make my daughter’s breakfast (which consists of Cookie Crisp). I then fight with my daughter to get her up and get her dressed.

Even on a good day, this is not easy.

She insists on having the lights out because they are too bright and hurt her eyes, she insists on staying under the covers while I am dressing her because she gets cold, and she doesn’t like to have her hair combed. So I have to take her pajamas off while she’s lying in bed, put her clothes on while simultaneously making sure she remains under the covers, and then manhandle her into position so I can brush her hair. While brushing her hair, I have to place one hand on her head to hold it in place, and I have to be careful not to cause any pulling.

On a bad day, this process entails a lot of screaming, fighting, struggling, kicking, flailing, crying, gasping, and usually two or three outfits before she settles on one that she is willing to wear. Many mornings I also have to take her to the bathroom first, carefully remove her shit-streaked underwear, wash those out and put them in the sink, and then wipe her ass.

Once all this is done, I have to take the dog out, and then we leave to go to daycare. That used to entail a 20-minute drive across town, but since we changed a few weeks ago, it is now just around the corner from where we live. So that is one thing that has gotten easier. However, once at the daycare, I have to stay with her for several minutes, getting her prepared for me to leave. When I finally do leave, I have to carry her over to the teacher, and the teacher has to take her arm or hand; otherwise she clings to my leg and won’t let me go.

I get to work at 8:30 (assuming Hailey hasn’t caused me to be late due to a meltdown – that happens at least once a week). I get an hour for lunch. I usually go home during lunch and try to have a little down time, eating and watching television. Other times (such as today), I have to use my lunch break to study.

My workday ends at 5:30 and I leave work and go straight to school. I have a class each night, Monday through Thursday. The class starts at 6:00 and if you are tardy, it counts has half an absence. If you have to leave early, you also get half an absence. If you get more than two full absences, you are automatically withdrawn from the class, and must go through an appeals process in order to get reinstated. There are no excused absences, no matter the reason. Sick? Death in the family? Hospitalized for Mad Cow Disease? Doesn’t matter. No excused absences.

Classes end at 9:40, although we occasionally get out early – but never before 9:00 at the earliest. So far, it seems that 9:30 is the average for getting out.

I get home at about 10:00.

Monday through Thursday, I endure 15-hour days, if I count from the time I get up in the mornings. Even just counting from the time I leave in the mornings to the time I get home at night, it’s about 14 hours. I typically have two or three tests each week, and I have oral presentations to prepare for in three of my four classes this quarter. Since I have no free time Monday through Thursday, I have to spend a good portion of my weekend studying and preparing for classes.

My daughter is a constant source of stress, as touched on above. In addition to her behavior at home, she is exceptionally shy at school and refuses to speak or eat while she’s there. We have recently been doing some research and have come to believe she may suffer from an anxiety-disorder known as Selective Mutism, which explains a lot of why she acts the way she acts at school (hyper-shy and withdrawn), as well as why she acts the way she acts at home (stubborn, inflexible, overly-sensitive, bowel problems, refusing to sleep, picky eater, etc.). My wife is having a list of providers sent to her in the mail, and we are going to start her in some therapy/counseling to try to help her.

I feel stressed out.

And you may be asking yourself, “Is he going to keep on posting these ‘woe is me’ diatribes the entire time he is in school? Didn’t he choose to go to school of his own free will? If so, why is he complaining?” My answers are as follows:

1) If I feel like it, assface.
2) Yes.
3) Shut up.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Apathy

You ever have one of those days where you just don’t want to do anything?

I have things piling up on my desk, tasks to accomplish that simply aren’t going to go away, no matter how long I stare at them. And yet I can’t seem to get started on anything. And when I do devote a little bit of time to something, I’m ready for a break after ten minutes. I just feel...apathetic.

I have three tests this week, including one tonight, and while none of them will be challenging, I think I’m uptight a little bit just about the prospect of having to actually take tests again.

And I still can’t get that nagging little voice out of the back of my head – that inner critic – who keeps reminding me that a year ago I was applying for Master’s and Ph.D. programs, and now I’m sitting in classes at a technical college working toward an Associate’s degree. And, in fact, I’m not even in the Associate’s degree program yet. I’m just in the LMR program, which is basically a series of classes to train you to take X-rays. It’s like being in vocational school.

I had expected, by September of this year, to be in graduate school somewhere. Maybe Houston, or Arizona, or Memphis. Surrounded by peers who shared my interest in writing, people who were intellectual and intelligent, people with whom I would have in common a love of writing, reading, and learning. I would be going to class every day on a beautiful university campus, seeing the pretty co-eds and enjoying that distinct “collegiate” atmosphere. Feeling good about myself because I was part of it, I was good enough, I had been accepted, given that nod approval by the powers that be. No longer would I be the only one of my college friends without graduate education. No longer would I be the only one of my college friends stuck in a dead-end office job. No sir. No more office jobs for me. Ever. I would be high on academia, proud of myself, feeling that I was somebody, immersing myself every day in my passion for writing.

Instead, it’s September, I’m stuck in a dead-end office job (again) that sucks the life right out of me, and I’m taking night classes at a technical college, surrounded, certainly, by some people who are intelligent, thoughtful, and hardworking, but mostly by post-high school nitwits hoping to find an easy path to avoiding minimum-wage jobs for the rest of their lives.

Oh, it may not be fair to say that characterizes most of the people I’m in class with, but it certainly characterizes some. I was sitting in a class last week, for instance, next to a girl who told me she had failed the class once already and was retaking it, and who kept complaining under her breath about wanting to leave, and who doodled the entire time on her notebook writing things like Ceclia loves Greg and Greg + Ceclia = 4-ever.

I’m not kidding.

I realize I’m just being down in the mouth with all my Sad Sam rambling, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m second guessing my choice to enter this program, because I’m not at all. More than anything, I’m just lamenting about not having been accepted to graduate school.

And of course, there is part of me that wishes I had done this already – this Radiologic Technology program – and gotten it out of the way so that I could be working in this field now, instead of just starting out.

I hate that I have to put my writing on the backburner. Even though I haven’t been writing over the past few years like I wish I had been, at least I’ve been making some progress. Now I don’t have time to write at all, and barely even have time to do much reading. It’s just a total lifestyle change for me right now...fourteen hour days, studying, working on papers and projects, no time to do anything I enjoy doing except on the weekends, and then I have to spend at least some of my weekend time studying and working on school-related things. Money is a stress, Hailey is a stress, working forty hours a week at a job that drains me of life is a stress. Melanie and I have some friction in our relationship too, not because of any problems between us, but simply because any time you both have a lot of work-, money-, and child-related stress, you are inevitably going to have some of that stress creep into your relationship. I still want to go out and drink like I used to, but I know I can’t for a variety of reasons: health, drunk driving, money, hangovers, no time.

I just feel totally off kilter.

It’s little wonder, then, that I have no motivation to work today. It’s pretty outside and I just wish I could go home and sit in the sun. I haven’t meditated or done yoga in what seems like weeks. I haven’t been walking or doing much exercise.

It’s like the life has just been drained out of me.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

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