Category Archives: school

Oh Hey

Starting, starting, starting again!

To avoid the overwhelming sense of writing a post about everything, I’m going to pretend like I just posted the other day.

School continues to be intense, and I continue to engage in procrastination and self-sabotage by staying up too late and not being productive on my non-class days. But that’s alright.

I feel totally engaged in life, and I love it. For so long, I felt as though life was just happening to me. Now I feel like I’m determining my course, and it’s quite exhilarating.

Sometimes I stay up too late, sometimes I drink too much, sometimes I smoke too much, sometimes I want too much, sometimes I fuck up. And I love it all.

Sometimes I cook tasty things.

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Sometimes I go rock climbing.

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Porkchop introduced me to the climbing.

ImageBuddies again!

(Is it just me, or does WordPress totally suck now? Apologies for wonky formatting.)

Starting this Again

If anyone still reads this, hello! I’ve decided to reopen this joint because I want to write again, but starting a new blog didn’t feel like the thing to do.

So here we are again.

I have many new changes to report in my life, starting with…

Antidepressants

The Celexa generic was messing with my body big time, so I tapered off it beginning mid-April. It helped me through some rough spots, but the side effects became too overwhelming for me. These included:

  • Night sweats. Horrible night sweats. The worst occurred during dosage changes, and I often had to change pajamas six times during the night because I was soaked through. Ew.
  • Feeling cranked up all the time. I was a machine on citalopram. Sleep? Who needs it? Tired? What’s tired? Some people might see this as a good thing, but I’m so happy to become tired and sleep.
  • Inability to orgasm. Yeah, that sucked and was unacceptable.
  • Menstrual cycle wackiness. One month I was a week late, and the next month I was two weeks early. The early period freaked me out, and I was ready to go to an urgent care clinic for some sort of weird internal bleeding. Then I realized it was my period. Two weeks early.

I’ve been off the pills for a while and feel great. The tapering down week was the weirdest ever. Night sweats meant little sleep, and my head felt all zappy. Little lightning strikes would move through my brain. Such an odd feeling.

School

I was accepted into the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at Washington University! Hurrah!

Orientation starts August 23, with classes beginning shortly thereafter on August 28. I’m excited and anxious and looking forward to quitting my  job on August 10. Just four more weeks, which I hope are long and short all at the same time.

House Stuff

Taking care of the house and yard by myself is tough work, so the yard is dying, the garden barely exists, and weeds run amok. Those things kind of suck, but I’m too distracted by other things to get in the backyard and weed. Some things have moved down in my priority list, and that’s totally fine.

As of yesterday, I have a roommate! This setup could have the makings for a roommate comedy, but we shall see. The new roomie is young at 24, and she’s from a little town just 10 miles from where I grew up. If I’m not careful, my Bootheel accent could return. She also has a little Jack Russell terrier, which I think will be fun. A pet without the work! (Keetah now lives with Porkchop due to her inappropriate urination issue.)

Trips

For my birthday, I went up to visit friends in Minneapolis. The lakes and the greenness there were a welcome break from St. Louis. If I do end up moving to Minneapolis after my OT program, I’ll have a great group of built-in friends:

Minneapolis birthday dinner!

My friend Katie has a motorcycle, and we went on some rides around her neighborhood. The motorcycle helmet totally dwarfed my head:

Helmet heads

Knitting

I still try to get in regular knitting sessions. Over the weekend, I started Leftie. I can see myself making a few of these using different color combinations. This is my first:

Fun new shawlette in the making.

Relationship Stuff

In April, I started to try out online dating, and it’s been rather successful. Also complicated.

I started out wanting to try for another long-term relationship right off the bat. It’s what I was used to, and I thought it was what I wanted. Then I actually went on a couple of dates, and I realized the idea of an LTR felt suffocating and claustrophobic. Also, monogamy…I realized that I’m not feeling it. And I might not ever feel it again, and that’s totally okay.

Together, these two realizations were a rather big shift. But then I let myself come to another realization: that it’s okay for me to explore my attraction to men.

Men! Crazy, right?! It took a lot for me to give myself permission to do this, and it helped that a new good friend of mine was going through a similar process at the same time.

Right now I have a couple of new relationships forming, both with men. I had been seeing a woman for six weeks or so, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Part of not feeling it was specific to the person, and part of it was due to the fact that she was a woman. I’m still queer – no need to worry about that! – but I’m just feeling kind of meh about women at the moment.

Summary

In short: feeling good, going to school soon, quitting my job soon, dating men. It’s a crazy new world out there.

Poetry

Last night I dreamt I was in an anatomy class, and our assignment was to write a poem using anatomical features that we were studying.

Free verse spoke to me, and mine began something like:

Because it’s so large,
you might think the
foramen magnum is on the
pelvis.
But you would be wrong.
It’s on the skull,
along with the foramen organa.

(Note: there is no such thing as the foramen organa.)

I do wish I could remember the rest of my poem, as it really picked up after this part.

I miss my anatomy and physiology classes.

More Celebration

I’m unable to post to Facebook at the moment, so I’m announcing this here…

I earned an A- in physics!!!!! Smart again!

In all seriousness, I can’t believe it.

Celebration

On Tuesday, I took off of work to do last-minute studying for physics. The test wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and I feel like I earned a solid B or B- (which is good in this twisted world of physics).

Last night was my abnormal psychology final, which was annoying as expected with its 100 multiple choice questions regarding minute details buried within the >800 PowerPoint slides from the last half of the semester.

To celebrate the end of such annoyances, Porkchop and I visited Fountain on Locust for ice cream delights. Porkchop stuck with a scoop of butternut pecan in a waffle cone while I ordered something that I’ve always wanted: the Three Coins Sundae.

With scoops of Zanzibar chocolate, After Dinner Mint, and Coconut Almond Joy (I subbed this for vanilla) topped with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and three chocolate coins, this sundae was the best way to mark the end of the semester.

Distinguished portrait with sundae.

The Zanzibar chocolate is always good, but the mint and coconut flavors really knocked my socks off. After Dinner Mint with hot fudge sauce is my new favorite.

Determined to power through the ice cream.

You might recall that I stopped eating refined sugar over the summer. I still don’t have much of it, and the sugar I had last night was probably more than I’ve had in total since the summer. While trying to go to sleep last night, my heartbeat was ba-BOOM ba-BOOM ba-SUGARSUGARSUGAR.

Flagging, but close to finishing.

In any case, I’d rather have a bunch of sugar-y ice cream than do a physics problem!

Doing Things

Yesterday, I nailed down my academic reference for my OT application. Yep, I’ve decided to apply to the OT program here at Washington University. While I know it’s best to apply to more than one program, I’m not prepared to up and move in the fall. So we’ll see what happens.

Since my initial email request went unanswered, I ambushed my anatomy professor before class yesterday. Being back in the lab room made me feel so happy, and the professor and TA talked to me as though we had just seen each other yesterday. Anatomy lab was such a great class; I miss it all the time, but especially when I’m in physics.

Securing this final reference boosted my mood so much, I was a whirlwind of activity last night. I did things like block a scarf, cook dinner and prepare lunch/dinner for today, run two loads of laundry, mop the kitchen floor and dining area, run/walk 2 miles at the gym, and knit. And that doesn’t include the usual stuff of scooping litter boxes and doing my PT exercises. It was a very productive evening!

Now I just have to get serious about writing my statement of purpose and tying up some other application-related loose ends.

Knitterly Things

The knitting front has seen lots of activity recently! Most notably, I finished my Daybreak!

Off the needles at La Dolce Via

More Daybreak

I’ve since blocked and worn the shawl, and I really need to take another picture of it.

This yarn became a simple ribbed cowl, which I also need to photograph and post.

Smooshiness

Finally, I’m blocking my Interlocking Balloons scarf right now. Some alert readers might recall that I finished knitting it in January 2009. In the post documenting its completion, I noted that I started the scarf on “November 7, 200-freaking-7.” Quite tellingly, I elaborated, “For quite some time, I was convinced that this would be my perpetually unfinished object….Now I just have to block it, and that, my friends, will require blocking pins (which I don’t have).”

While I received blocking pins with my blocking wires last year, I just now blocked the darned thing. FOUR YEARS AFTER STARTING IT. That’s simply ridiculous. I will wear it this year!

Running Things

Readers might also recall that I started the C25K program at the end of the summer. I loved it, I really did. I worked my way up to running 15 minutes straight through, and I felt great.

Except for my left hip. Running for a 15 minute block crushed it. I was in pain for 3 weeks.

I laid off the running until I could go for most of a day without my hip reminding me of that run, and now I’ve started back from the beginning. While I won’t be able to progress as quickly as the program recommends, I will reach that 5K mark someday! Right now I’m back to running blocks of 1.5 min, and giving my hip time to strengthen and catch up with the rest of me.

Food Things

Porkchop and I hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, and it was probably the best dinner we’ve ever hosted. All of the food was spot-on and delicious!

Porkchop and I have a series of Thanksgiving photos just like this one:

I could do without this part of dinner preparation.

These are the items Porkchop and I made:

Alien vegetables

I hope we can do it again next year!

Anyway, that’s a wrap. Have a great week!

Confusion in the Food Court

While I was leaving one of the dining rooms at our university center, a young student approached me, looking slightly distressed. This was our exchange.

Student (rather frantic): Do you hear music??!!

Me (concerned): Well, I did hear a little music earlier, but not now.

Student (still distressed): Oh. Hmmm. I was just wondering if you could hear music. There should be music.

Me (even more concerned): I mean, there was music. I could hear it a little over there (motioning into the dining room). I don’t think you’re hearing things!

Student (now confused): Oh, there should be music.

Me: Ohhh….?

Student: I mean, it’s part of my job. I’m supposed to check if there’s music playing in here!

Rubble Rouser

Yesterday, I “worked” from home and I skipped out on stats class. While I felt a bit guilty lying to my stats professor, I enjoyed being at home during the evening tremendously.

Instead of sitting through two long hours of stats lecture and lab, I cooked dinner and watched Porkchop work on a landscaping project. In other words, I felt normal again. But don’t think I goofed off the entire day! I still put in a good 3 hours of stats work.

But more about this landscaping project. We have (or had, rather) a pile of rubble by our garage that made us ashamed. So much shame! Especially when one of our neighbors put in some bushes and tulips and landscaping rock by his parking pad.

In an effort to de-junkify our garage area, Porkchop decided to clear out the rubble and put in a couple of terraced levels. After some consultation with neighbors, she set to work:

Anyone need some rocks?

I primarily watched and said things like, good God, will the soda pull tabs never end??

Whoever lived in our house before us had a thing for soda pull tabs. A thing as in, they are all over the yard. Front, back, by the garage, we’ve found hundreds. Were they collecting them for a reason? Did they make a game of pulling off the tabs and throwing them in the yard?

We’ll never know.

I do know that the rubble pile already looks much better without so much rubble.

The rubble never ends.

Switching topics, we ate at La Vallesana Wednesday night, and I was incredibly pleased with my dinner. Since kicking the gluten out of my diet, I’ve become an annoying diner. For example, I asked the La Vallesana server if I could possibly get the spicy shrimp burrito (my favorite!) on corn tortillas. She came back and said something to the affirmative, but when I realized she said that they could do it on wheat tortillas (which is the norm), I was like, no! not wheat! So there was a bit of miscommunication in the beginning. But, the kitchen redeemed itself by preparing a spicy shrimp platter with corn tortillas on the side.

It was the best:

Careful: these shrimp are ridiculously hot.

Whereas many restaurants give you stupid vegetables on the side, La Vallesana goes all out with asparagus and potatoes! Asparagus! I was more than happy to pay $9.95 for this spread. Delicious.

Have a great weekend!

Being Still

I am recently returned from work and school, and while I should be studying the urinary system for Monday’s physiology test, I’m not.

I’m taking a little sit-down, no-school, no-work break.

March has been a steamroller, and I’ve been flattened. Work holds conferences and big events coming soon, classes are jam-packed with things to learn, and home life has been equally busy. While I can’t complain of good things happening, I would appreciate a few still moments of quiet reflection.

Good Things

Our friend Darcie took the train down from Milwaukee a couple of weekends ago. It was her first real visit to St. Louis, and as our neighbor observed, perhaps it was odd to take her to Bellefontaine Cemetery instead of the Arch, Forest Park, or the Botanical Gardens. Darcie rolled with it though, and she even saw the grave of a distant relative, an Ohio explorer!

Pretty, yet slightly creepy

Classy

When you're a Beer King, this is the kind of mausoleum you build.

If you’re in St. Louis and haven’t been to Bellefontaine Cemetery, what are you waiting for? You can stop by the office for a free self-guided tour booklet full of all sorts of historical tidbits. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your visit!

The week following Darcie’s visit saw the SGC International Conference come to St. Louis. Washington University did a terrific job of hosting events and shuttling people from the Chase to various parts of the city.

Before the conference, Porkchop made a print for the exchange portfolio.

The Happy Printmaker

This edition of twelve consisted of handcolored prints. I’ll have to get a picture of the final edition from Porkchop because it was amazingly ridiculous. She put in around 20 hours of handcoloring.

It is unfortunate that we do not have one. Sadness.

During SGC, Porkchop held an artists’ reception for the show she curated. Turnout was great…thanks to friends near and far who dropped by!

Last Friday night, all the SGC events were held on Cherokee Street. Seeing the galleries and shops and the street filled with people made me so happy. And so did this parade:

That’s all I have. Good night!

Bitten

Last night I had two tests, a veritable one-two Anatomy & Physiology punch.

The first one – my lab practical – went as expected. That is to say, there were things that we never covered in class on it. Besides having to make up a word for something I didn’t know, it went pretty well.

The second test was a walk-in-the-park, multiple choice exam. The lecture tests are usually so easy, I feel insulted. Of course, many people actually miss questions on the lecture exams, and I realize it might be about technique. Multiple choice test-taking strategies and skills: I’ve honed them well. I feel like I’ve really gotten into the lecture professor’s head, and I’m able to take the test from his perspective.

The lab professor’s head, however, is a much tougher nut to crack.

Anyway, this long intro is leading up to what happened before the tests.

I spent all weekend sequestered away, studying studying studying. I took Monday off of work so I could sleep in a bit, and review review review before the evening tests.

All the while, I was battling a yeast overgrowth due to a recent round of antibiotics (I’m scheduled to get a blood vessel in my nose cauterized this week! Hopefully this will mean goodbye to scary nosebleeds!), which made things a tad uncomfortable. So I kept thinking…what if something really bad happens before my tests? What if I get a stomach bug or something and I’m too sick to take the tests?! Will I be able to reschedule??

My imagination ran amuck, but my health stayed strong (besides the yeasties).

But then Monday morning rolled around, and I noticed while showering that my tailbone area felt a little sore. Actually, it felt a lot sore. I started to have visions of some horrible disease overcoming me, and preventing me from taking my tests!

When I finished in the shower, I asked Porkchop, do you see anything here, pointing to my tailbone area (ie, my ass).

I expected to hear: nope, not a thing. And then I would have thought I was just imagining the soreness, or maybe it was from exercising and nothing to worry about.

Instead I heard: oh wow, huh.

This is not what you want to hear about your ass at any time, tests or no tests.

I had a huge red welt on my ass. A bite of some variety, apparently. The application of bug bite gel burned like all hell. Crap.

Despite visions of my skin rotting away and me having to drop trousers to prove to my professors that I really should be excused from my tests, none of that happened.

I managed to work with the pain-in-the-ass bite, and it appears to be getting better. However, the bite remains a mystery. How did I get it? When was a spider or other bug on my ass? These are questions I’d rather not think about, yet I’m reminded of them each time I sit down.