Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Can See the Light!

Yes, it's true. I can finally see the light. No, not that light. Not the light you see right before you die. Although I swear I've seen that light many times this semester too and I answered it by saying, please. Be my guest. Take me. No, I'm kidding. I'm talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. As far as educational tunnels go, this has definitely been the longest one I've ever been through. It's a funny thing about this post because I actually started to write it a week ago when I thought I could see the light. Seems I was mistaken because I got very overwhelmed again and just like that the light was gone. So I waited until I could really say, I do see the light. And finally, I can say I do. And boy does it look nice! Don't get me wrong. My work isn't done. I'm finishing up the last few pages of my 25 page paper, I have 2 exams next week, still need to grade my students' last speech and will have to grade their final exams next week and turn in their final grades. That being said, I don't feel overwhelmed anymore and I finally feel confident that I'm going to make it out alive. What a great feeling! My grades are going to be far from stellar. But you know what? I made it. And that's enough for me to be proud of myself.

Next order of business...I would like to wish my Mom and Mark a very happy 52nd birthday. Opps...did I just tell everyone how old you are? Sorry, I won't say anything else about how extremely old 52 is. Shoot. I did it again. No, but really. I am extremely happy to have you both in my life. You mean the world to me and I don't know what I would do without you. I wanted to let you both know how much I appreciate you so I made you this cake. I got a little crazy with the silly string and the letters aren't edible but other than that, and the fact it's not real, it's a great cake.

I babysat Max today, as I do every Thursday, and already that kid does not listen to a word I say. I've been telling him since day one we do not poop on Thursdays. Save all of your poop for your mom and dad. But what does he do? Like clockwork today, I go to change his diaper and there was poop in it. So I asked him. What part of not pooping on Thursdays don't you understand? He just ignored me and started laughing. How rude. What is wrong with kids these days? 3 months old and we're still pooping our pants? Come on Max. You've been playing the "baby card" a little too long now. Next week I'm going to try the old kitty potty training method and rub his nose in it. Let's see if that works.I think it goes without saying but just in case, I want you to know I'm totally kidding. You can put the phone down and stop looking for children's services phone number. I'm actually quite good at changing the poopy diapers now. I don't even gag anymore. But let me tell you this. If he's still pulling this crap (no pun intended) at 5 months old, we're really going to have a problem.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Living Scan to Scan

Mark got another MRI today and the doctor reported "no brain activity." Normally, one would think this is a bad thing. Shouldn't a brain be doing SOMETHING?!?! However, in the world of cancer and brain tumors, no brain activity is a very good thing. It means there are no new brain tumors since his last MRI. As far as the activity in Mark's brain... of course he's having activity up there. He's looking at the kitchen counter wondering what clutter he can get rid of and who's full can of pop he can throw away. :) But that's the kind of brain activity we have come to accept from Mark and maybe, maybe even find humorous at times. When Mark tried to get answers about the "big picture" of this "clean" MRI, the doctor simply explained to him this scan isn't any indication as to what the next scans might reveal. Mark, and the rest of us, will have to continue living scan to scan. Good news one day, maybe bad news the next. For right now however, I'm focusing on this good news and taking it day by day, scan by scan. Mark turns 52 on Thursday. On Mark's 50th birthday, we weren't sure if he would ever be celebrating his 52nd birthday. Mom and Mark are having their 3rd annual birthday bash this Saturday. They started it the year they turned 50, and a few months after Mark had been diagnosed. We have so much to celebrate! In the words of Dave Matthews, "Celebrate we will because life is short but sweet for certain."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Between Hope and Denial...Where's the Line?

Uh oh, you're thinking. The title of this blog sounds pretty deep and philosophical. Some of you may be enticed by the thought of me writing about such deep matters rather than my usual trivial nonsense. Others may have stopped reading immediately after seeing the title. That's okay. I don't blame you. Emily and philosophy is a scary combination, like Britney Spears and hair clippers. But yes, I am feeling deep and philosophical so be warned. It's a rare occasion, but this time I'm writing for me. No jokes, no sarcasm. Just me and my raw thoughts. They're thoughts I need to get off my chest or else they will just keep lingering in my brain and my brain can't handle many lingering thoughts these days.

Being the pessimist that I am, hope is never something I've struggled with because it's never really existed to me. The very reason I struggle with religion is my inability to be hopeful and believe in things that I don't have hardcore evidence to believe in. That all changed when Mark was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly, being hopeful was the only option I could bear. The alternative meant not being hopeful. It meant believing all of the statistics and evidence supporting the fact that he probably wouldn't be around for much longer. That was much more difficult to bear than believing in something the odds were against. It's been two years since the doctors gave Mark 6 months to live. For 2 years now, Mark has proven that hope does exist and being hopeful is worth the risk. He has defeated all of the odds and all of the statistics. His determination and will to live has made being hopeful so easy, even for those of us whom the emotion is so foreign. In my mind, there were no alternatives to being hopeful. Mark will beat this disease. Mark is not going to die anytime soon. Mark will be at my wedding. Mark will be a grandfather to my children. The list goes on and on. It wasn't until this past Saturday that it hit me: am I being hopeful, or am I in denial? It hit me when Mark made an offhand comment about my mom and his birthday party this month possibly being his last. I kind of laughed it off and said, yeah right. He then got a little more serious and told me that we really don't know what might happen in the next year. These words pierced my heart. A lump filled my throat, just as it's doing now. My eyes filled with tears, just as they're doing now. I started to wonder if my two years of being hopeful have sent me in a whirlwind of denial.

Denial is another emotion I'm not too familiar with. I've never really had the opportunity to deny the circumstances in my life. The most pain-staking events that I've ever incurred have happened with absolutely no warning and no time for denial. Cancer is a whole other animal. There are those people who are hopeful, "we can beat this." And there are those people who are realists, "the odds are not good." So where does denial come into play? Are those people who are hopeful actually just in denial? Or are those people who are realists too afraid to be hopeful in case the odds actually come true? We are people who like to prepare. We are people that stock our basements with water, flashlights, and canned foods before New Year's eve in 1999 just in case Y2K really did exist (Yes, Mark really did that - we called it his Y2K kit.. shoot...I said no humor). Planners must be realists. They must plan for all outcomes. I'm a planner myself, and I too like to be prepared for all possible outcomes. So why have I not faced the fact that I don't know what is going to happen within the next year? I don't know how much longer Mark has on this Earth and I don't know that he will be around for my wedding (this is hypothetical here... no wedding is actually planned at this point - just FYI) and I don't know that he will be around to see my kids grow up (again...just hypothetical - no kids on the way - shoot.... another joke). I don't want to be in denial. I don't want to ignore the fact that the statistics aren't good. And I don't want to ignore the fact that Mark might not be around forever. But I don't want to lose hope either. I believe that Mark has defied all odds so far and that he can continue to do the same. The thought of losing Mark any time soon is too much to bear. I can't imagine my life without him, so I don't. Where should the line be drawn? Can I be both a realists and an optimist? I know there are no real answers to these questions, but still I must ask them anyway. I know that there is no script to follow in these situations, but still I'm longing to hear someone say..."this is how you should act..." and "this is how you should feel." If only life were that simple. Instead we have to throw things like hearts and emotions into the mix to screw up any chance of logic and structure. I don't know what the future will bring. I do know that the only emotion my body can handle at this point is hope. Whether that makes me in denial or not doesn't really matter, because for once in my life I am hopeful about something and it would be such a shame to destroy that.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Misery Loves Company

This picture was taken of me tonight after I took my huge exam (that I'm pretty sure I bombed - not literally - I don't do bombs, just guns and yellow high heels). Now that I've calmed down a bit, I feel kind of bad for shooting the computer because I know that it wasn't the real source of my frustration. I displaced my anger. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. I've heard the saying "misery loves company" many times throughout my life and I've met many people who have demonstrated this concept quite clearly. It wasn't until recently, however, that I actually became one of those people who, intentionally or not, bring other people down just because they are down. And since I'm down now, and "misery loves company," I figured why not try to bring you down too? :)

I wanted to start this evening by talking about right and left hand turns. Now before I go any further, I want to give you a moment to go back in time to driver's ed. For some of us that was about 7 or so years ago. For others, it's been much longer (yeah I'm talking about you, Mom). If I learned anything from my exam tonight, I know that memory recall is something that respondents struggle with, so take as long as you need. Okay, so we're back in drivers education class. True or false: when turning onto a 4 lane road, drivers should turn into the lane immediately closest to them. If you answered true, then you have confirmed my belief. If you have answered false, please leave a comment citing your source of the contrary belief and please use APA formatting. You know us grad students, all about the APA. I am sick and tired of turning into the lane closest to me, turning my blinker on to get into the other lane that I really wanted, only to look in my review mirror and see that I can't get over because the car behind me skipped the whole blinker/switching lanes deal and just went right to the lane they wanted. Now believe me, I'm all about taking short cuts here, so I'm not faulting the other drivers if it is indeed legal. However, I'm pretty convinced that it's not. As a result of my recent evil personality, I constructed a plan to turn this pet peeve of mine into something constructive (for me anyway). My new plan is to get rear-ended by this person while innocently switching lanes using my turning signal and the whole nine yards and then get all of the parts of my car fixed that need fixed now, at their expense. Smart plan, aye? (or an evil plan, depending on how you look at it - the glass is always half empty on this side of the computer screen). It's imperative to this plan and to my insurance policy, that I first confirm that the other car is in fact in the wrong. Until I find out for sure, I won't take any further action.

There are so many more miserable things I wanted to talk about but it seems that I must go to bed. Isn't it funny that as I get more and more stressed, the more and more I want to vent on my blog, yet more stress = less time = no time for blogging. Next time, I would really like to talk about my frustration with tests as a means of measuring ones aptitude. If we're speaking social scientifically here, it seems like we have a problem with validity and measurement error. Are we accurately measuring what we intend to measure by issuing tests? More to come on this at a later date. The wounds of today's test are still fresh and I don't want to be too harsh. Yeah right. Like I've ever had a problem being harsh. The truth is, I'm tired and don't have the time or energy to get into it right now. In the meantime, please feel free to share with me any times that you too have been miserable and wanted the other people around you to be miserable as well (if you are completely altruistic and have never experienced this feeling - lying is definitely okay in this situation to make the author of this entry feel better about his or herself).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Procrastination Survey

1. Where were you 1 hour ago?
Sitting in this exact same spot on my bed, writing note cards

2. Who will get your next kiss?
Probably my nephew Max when I babysit on Thursday

3. When is the last time you went to the mall?
Just so happens I spent two days at the Mall of America in Minnesota last Thursday and Friday

4. Are you wearing socks right now?
Yes, but they will definitely come off before bed

5. When was the last time you went out of the state?
Last week (Minnesota) and two weeks before that (Paris) but it usually is a rare occasion

6. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?

7. What was the last thing you had to drink?
I'm drinking Diet Dr. Pepper right now to keep me up all night

8. What are you wearing right now?
Big T-shirt that says "I hear voices and they don't like you" - classy I know - and fleece pajama pants.

9. What was your last purchase?
Clothes as the Mall of America

10. Last food you ate?
Just had a brownie and dried banana chips

11. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

12. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
Too many, please refer to questions 3 & 9

13. Do you have a pet?
At home, my dog Jackson and cats Allie and Ezra (there are many more but I only claim ownership of these three).

14. What's the last sporting event you watched?
Basketball - national championship in which Ohio State lost to Florida yet again. :(

15. What is/was your favorite class?
Any of my SOC and IPC classes. Actually, any class that wasn't a grad class.

16. where would u like to be right now?
Anywhere but here - in a place where grad school doesn't exist

17. What is the last thing you purchased online?
some songs from iTunes

18. One thing you hate about your appearance?
Only one, huh? My out of shape body

19. What's your favorite soup?
Vegetable beef (ask my roommates how often I eat it)

20. Do you miss anyone?
Haven't seen my family in a while, always miss Patrick no matter how often I see him, and always miss my brother

22. What are your plans for the day?
Staying up most of the night to study, waking up to study, then teaching tomorrow, followed by more studying. Jealous?

23. Who is the last person you messaged on myspace?
Pat's sister Traci

24. Ever go to camp?
Yes, church camp and cheerleading camp

25. were u on the honor roll?
Most of the time

27. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
About 14 hours ago I sprayed Clinique Happy on myself but I can assure you the smell no longer lingers

28. Where are your best friends located?
All over the state (and one in Boston)

29. Do you have a tan?
Absolutely not, unless by tan you mean glow-in-the-dark white

30. What do you want to name your first kid?
Hmmm... I'm still trying to figure out if I want kids. But I've always liked Kaleb & Kamden for boys... not sure about girls

31. Last person who made you cry?
Not really sure. Probably myself by getting so stressed and worked up over school

32. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
My ears are pierced and I have a tattoo on my lower back

32. Have you ever drank your soda through a straw?
Sure! Just did yesterday at Subway. But we call it pop here in the North, just FYI.

34. Do you like hot sauce?
As a matter of fact, I've become obsessed with medium hot sauce lately. Jed's fireballs anyone?

35. What would you do with $10 right now?
Buy Jed's fireballs. :)

37. What is your mood?
Overwhelmed and anxious (what's new).

38. What is your relationship status?
In a very happy relationship for a year and a half :)

39. What do you want for your Birthday?
A diploma and a job, I'm greedy I know.

40. What are you doing right now?
Procrastinating my studies by filling out this survey.