Wednesday, June 27, 2007
But still, it sucks major ass.
I have looked on every damn apartment/studio/rental website that there possibly could be and have found really nothing that I like. Unless I would want to move into some cozy Section 8 housing, or into roach-infested areas. And even those I am not even guaranteed to be able to afford.
My friend C told me that the summer is not the best time to do your apartment search because there are a crapload of college students doing the exact same thing. She said that my best bet in finding something would probably be in the off-season - such as fall or winter.
Maybe someone is trying to tell me something. Telling me to slow down, and although the situation at my place is pretty unbearable at this point - it's not utterly and completely unlivable.
So maybe I need to just focus on getting my vehicle and stuff straightened out and let the house situation take care of itself. Just to see how it goes. I just can't stand the feeling I get when I am in that house and she is there.
On another note, I am going to be sad that I won't be able to post on my blog over the weekend like I would like while I am at the beach. Would be nice to be able to upload some serene and peaceful photos of the beach and the water...but more on that later. Hopefully it won't be too too too crowded this weekend and I will be able to play in the water, and relax.
In the mornings, in order to help me get up, I turn on the news to watch for what happened the day before, and the weather report, and even the traffic report (God, that's when you know you've gotten really old. When the news excites you, or is something that you pay a keen attention span to.) One of the clips was particularly interesting. They started talking about a new "brain remote" that has been developed in Japan. (Those crafty Japanese are at it again!)
For right now, the only thing that this "brain remote" can help control are toy trains - but the Japanese are working on a TV remote that will be controlled strictly by the thoughts in your brain. Scary, and yet pretty cool stuff.
I can't help but think of that scene in "Children of Men" where the dude's kid is sitting there at the dinner table with wires hooked up to his brain, and his fingertips hooked up to these mini wires and his fingers flying across some holographic board. It was kind of creepy. So at 4:30AM when the newscaster says "brain remote" this image is what pops into my sleep deprived mind.
You can read more about it here: http://http://www.livescience.com/technology/070622_ap_brain_remote.html
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
It's so difficult whenever I meet someone new and they ask me what I do. I literally sit there with a blank expression on my face for a few minutes. I want to say "nothing" but I know that's not a truly accurate answer.
I can just imagine the look on my boss' face as she sits at a bar for happy hour (she frequents a lot of bars in this area, mostly because there are a lot of bars in this area and also because she tends to fit the typical happy hour mold.) and some handsome guy comes up to her. They start a friendly conversation, smiles all around and then he leans in and asks her what she does for a living.
With complete and utter enthusiasm she perks up, her head lifts and her eyes widen and she grins wide and says, "I work in Commercial Lending!"
That's how excited she gets about this job. That's how nauseating it is for me to watch her get so excited about this job.
I know I am ready for something else. I am on the verge of jumping on the next employment train that comes into the station. It's just a matter of when and which train.
my kryptonite would be overanalyzing everything.
Thus why I probably wouldn't last very long as a superhero. As soon as there was trouble, I'd spend more time trying to analyze the situation than saving anyone.
I worry constantly about things I really shouldn't worry about. I don't know how to stop this. There are moments where I can see myself getting "bitchy" - meaning that I care just a little bit less than usual about issues that I would usually worry my ass over. But even then, honestly, I secretly continue to worry.
I should be so excited about going on vacation the next few days. And I am, to a point. I get to go away, and that's always fun - but I am still finding myself sitting here, analyzing and worrying. Don't try to ask me about what - because I couldn't even begin to give you specifics. That's how pointless my worrying and overanalyzing can get.
Okay, it's like this - I am sitting here, and in the distance, I see several beautiful, snow-covered mountains that I know I have to eventually climb. This excites me. Why? Because I love adventure, I welcome change, and I love a good challenge. But this journey also worries me because I know adventure doesn't always mean non-stop fun and although I know I am equipped with the strength to get through my past adventures - am I ready for what's in store ahead? And yes, I welcome change, but let's face it, I am a chicken and a hypocrite because I can only deal with the change if I was the one that instigated it. And this challenge is terrific but I certainly know the last adventure I went on I had a great group of friends - but things change (as stated just previously) so will I this time? Everyone, like me, seems to be at different points in their life...and although the prospect of me facing those mountains alone is not an entirely new concept to me, I'm going to admit honestly that I am scared sh-tless.
I know roughly where I want to be in the next five years. I have this dotted line on my map of life that I know is roughly about where I want to go. But nothing's definite. I'd never write out my schedule in a Sharpie because life is never as simple as bold, permanent color.
BTW - this is how much I rock:
Thursday, June 21, 2007
My service coordinator for the county was late in picking me up and I started thinking maybe I had thought it was the wrong day or something. But I ran upstairs into my room and checked my calendar, and sure enough, the 20th was the day.
I wasn't sure how I was supposed to dress. I knew that I had to go to work right afterwards, but if I looked too professional, they might second guess trying to help me. Sure enough, I decide on an outfit on black pants, one of my favorite tops from Benetton that I got six years ago, and a nice pair of black heels.
As my S.C. pulls up to my house and I get into her car, I feel my stomach drop. She is dressed in a turquoise colored t-shirt with seahorses and seashells all over it, and a matching bottom with the same busy, queasy-looking print and then matching bright turquoise flip flops to complete the ensemble. I suddenly feel way over dressed.
I convince myself that it doesn't matter. I should just present myself the way that I am, regardless of how that is - whether it would be in jeans and a tank top or in the outfit that I had on.
We parked into the lot of the business park and the S.C. leaned over to pull up her emergency brake and then stopped.
"We aren't parked too far away for you to walk, are we?"
The steps to the top floor (where we were headed) were only about a couple feet away from where we had parked.
There was a part of me that sort of cringed when she asked that. I know that it was out of good form - she wanted to make sure I didn't have to walk far...because of my limp. But I am used to people parking wherever we can park. I am used to J parking four blocks away from the club and us making the trek there to and from. I am used to making the mile journey from the Ft. Armstead parking lot to Starscape every year. I am just used to people not noticing or caring about whether I limp or not.
"No, this is perfectly fine. Thanks," I said, smiling as best as I could.
We got out of the car and headed towards the building.
"You know the elevator is right there...it might be easier for you to use," she said, watching out of the corner of her eye as I headed towards the steps.
"Oh, I'm fine. Really. It's only about fifteen steps anyway," I said, that tense feeling creeping up into the back of my neck. The feeling I used to get when people used to patronize me when I was a little kid growing up. But I just quickly shook the feeling away and assumed the S.C. was probably only suggesting the elevator because she didn't want to walk the steps herself.
When we finally met with Mr. Noppinger for our appointment, I was just anxious. The ponytailed man who came to greet us seemed the nervous type, his hands clammy, and shaking, and his voice a bit shaky.
"Hello E, name is Ray...please follow me to my office."
We walked into a 2x2 room with two chairs stuffed in a corner, a desk, laptop and two filing cabinets that had more paper on top of them than in them I supposed.
He sat down at his desk while I and the S.C. attempted to awkwardly adjust the chairs so that they fit comfortably next to each other, and yet at the same time, faced Mr. Noppinger.
I ended up having to sit sideways in my chair which I was totally okay with.
"So...let's start at the beginning with this, shall we?" he announced after pulling a legal pad from a drawer underneath his desk and grasping a hold of the nearest functioning pen.
So I recited. I told him the whole story from the beginning, and allowed my exasperation to seep through my words - I couldn't help it. I wondered if Mr. Noppinger knew how much I was trying to resist viewing him as my only salvation.
Once I had finished, and Mr. Noppinger was tipping the pen down after his last few bouts of notetaking, he leaned back into his chair and gave a long sigh.
"I am sorry that you have been given such a run around. But hopefully we can help you here. That is, after all, our purpose here at DORS, to provide for those who can't fully provide for themselves."
There were loads of paperwork to fill out and we got through it rather quickly. When we got to the employment section, he looked over at me.
"And you work?"
"Yes, full time."
"Where do you work?" he said, turning back to his laptop to get ready to type.
"The local bank, in commercial lending," I replied.
He stopped with his hands held mid air above the keyboard and turned to me.
"Really?" he said with the same incredulous tone as the $150 Connect-The-Dots lady.
"Yes..." I said, trying to keep myself calm.
"You wouldn't have a paystub on you, would you? I forgot to mention that if you have a job, we would need to see a paystub."
Fortunately, I am disorganized, and hadn't taken out my paystub from three weeks ago out of my bag.
"Oh wow, so you have a job," he said with the same tone again. I guess he meant that a plain old job (one without the emphasis on the word with that tone) was just a cashier's job at the local McDonald's. But seeing as I worked at a bank (proving that despite his assumptions of me having cerebral palsy and possibly being slightly mentally retarded were wrong) that constituted as a job.
It went on, the next 30 minutes, his shaky hands tapping with elementary speed on the keyboard as he asked me the basic Q & A. 'What's your mother's name? What's your father's name? What is their occupations?'
Finally, we were done, and Mr. Noppinger sat there for a minute at his desk, turning away from his laptop and folding his hands in front of him. He seemed to have found something very interesting to stare at on his desk for a good two minutes before speaking.
He unfolded his hands suddenly and pressed his fingers nervously into the nose piece of his glasses, pushing them closer to his face.
"You make a lot of money at your job," he said quietly, picking up my paystub that he had unfolded.
My S.C. spoke up before I could, beginning with a heavy sigh. I think I was too busy listening to my heart pounding and my heavy breathing, anticipating some sort of bad news.
"You don't mean to tell me that her eligibility is somehow deferred due to the amount of money her salary is, do you?" she asked out of exasperation. I think she could just feel how tense and upset I was ready to be.
"Well, yes...but not everything. She is actually eligible for free driving instruction with the left foot accelerator through the state, however..." he paused, and I knew it would have a catch. It always has a catch, "there is a 6-8 week waiting list for the free training. And it's a draw straws kind of thing. I am just guessing as to how long it could take. Could take months for all I know. But I know some of the people who work at that facility and I will give them a call right after you leave to put her on the waiting list if you're interested."
"Of course I am," I spoke up, "I'd rather wait for free lessons than have to deal with this ridiculously demeaning woman who is charging me $75 an hour to sit and criticize driving skills and NOT do what I am paying her to do which is write the letter and train me using the equipment."
"Yes, yes, of course. I totally agree," said Mr. Noppinger as he pulled out the number of this facility and placed it in front of him on top of all my other paperwork, "Well let me just go print all of these forms off of the computer and bring them out to you."
As he walked out of the office for a moment, it came to me that I remembered grabbing my mail from the dining room table that morning (I hadn't been home in about two days) and stuffed in my purse, glancing and recognizing an envelope from the MVA.
I quickly pulled this from my purse and opened it up as my S.C. looked on.
"Did you just get that letter this morning?" she asked, noticing the MVA label on the envelope.
"Yes, well probably two days ago but I just got home this morning so this is my first time looking at it," I said.
I skimmed over the letter, expecting to hear more about how there was yet another bump in the road. The first thing I read were the bullets in the middle of the letter, skipping over the main paragraphs.
They read like this:
- C, Left Foot Accelerator
- J, Must Be Accompanied by Rehab/Driving Instructor
I knew about both but I guess I should have read the rest of the letter first.
It said that they had "received my Good Samaritan Physician's Report and evaluation packet (You know, the $150 Connect-The-Dots game?) and that the information indicated that I will need to drive a vehicle with a left foot accelerator." (yes, I knew this. We all know this.)
"It is necessary for you to submit documentation indicating that you have successfully conpleted behind-the-wheel training in using the adaptive equipment." (Also, another thing that I knew. Thus, the $75 an hour demeaning training lady.)
But here came the best part:
"Please take this letter along with the appropriate identification and the required fee to any full-service MVA office of your choice and apply for your learner's permit reflecting the following restrictions:
- C, Left Foot Accelerator
- J, Must Be Accompanied by Rehab/Driving Instructor
(So that's where those bullets came in!)
"Once you complete the behind-the-wheel training and submit the required documentation (that stupid letter that is being so difficult to obtain) to your Case Manager, the "J, Must be Accompanied by Rehab/Driving Instructor" restriction may be removed. At that time, you will be scheduled for a driving re-examination and you will be further advised."
YESSSS!!! I have permission to get my learner's permit!! I know it sounds lame, because technically what the letter says is that I can only get the card but cannot use it until I get the letter which won't be for another 6-8 weeks but I actually will get the physical, tangible CARD!! To hold, stick in my wallet, and have my smiling, goober face on it!
The only thing I was concerned about was the whole point of a driving re-examination. I wasn't sure whether my Case Manager was referring to the driving re-examination that happens when a learner's permit person goes to get their provisional license (like everyone else does after they get in their 40 hours of driving practice) or whether that was something totally different for me since I have to have adaptive equipment in my car. But as time will go on - I will figure that out. I have to take the letter to the MVA anyway to get my license, so I am sure I can ask them what I should interpret from that last sentence and figure it out.
What is even more spectacular is that now I can buy my car!!! Now that I have my learner's permit, I qualify to get car insurance quotes and then will be able to take the quotes to the dealership and buy my very first car. YESSSSSSSSS
I was so proud of myself because up until this point with the driving instructor lady, I had had no problems doing everything by myself without help from the state. I tried to wait it out as long as I could and use every avenue and string I could pull by myself before asking help from them because I knew I had a chance of not qualifying since everyone kept telling me that I wasn't "involved enough" or because I made too much money.
Even my S.C. admitted, after I handed her and she read the letter herself, that I had done a wonderful job by facilitating this much from myself. Most people get letters from the MVA and freak out and don't know what to do and where to turn, she said.
So sum up:
1. I get free lessons from the state, and a guaranteed letter. They will even have someone come with me to the MVA to get the restriction taken off so that the MVA can have solid proof that I did complete the training.
2. I got the GREEN light to get my learner's permit. To see my face on my card, and say that I am able to drive...FINALLY!!!! God, I can't believe it's all actually happening. It's really, really happening.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It's a free download people. I say, go on and give into temptation. Download and download happy. :-)
Off to run to Target to see if I can find some cheap CDs. Oh, and buy some toilet paper. :-P
I went last night after work with a huge Ziploc travel bag of clothes and blankets that needed to be washed. Immediately, I was greeted by a little sister taller than me (and who is only 12 years old) and an 8-year old who was just as tall as her. (Jeeeesus, what are we feeding these kids today? And why didn't I get any of that when I was younger?)
Along with what all of my friends have been encouraging over the weekend, I have tried to bite my tongue, tried to be the better (wo)man and not waste my breath on this preposterous girl. (On a nice side note: One of the most relaxing, best sleeps I have ever had in a very longgg time happened over the weekend at TL's house. Just goes to show you that when you feel welcome and relaxed in your surroundings that you sleep better. Love you guys! Still planning on stealing your adorable kid.) However, every single time I unfortunately run into this girl, she pushes me over the edge. I know it's her plan. I know what she wants. And for the first time in my Korean-stubborn-for-life attitude, I am going to let her win.
I plan to get the heck outta there as fast as next month.
Literally, as soon as I got dropped off on Sunday, I walk in to see "The Family That Goes to the Walmart Together Stays Together" family portrait of this girl's entire family in the living room and kitchen. Her brother is lying on the couch and out of common courtesy he just sat up, I assume in an attempt to create room for me to sit down.
She comes in from the kitchen, her parents (Again, I assume) sitting in the kitchen and dining room behind her, and grabs the dog from attacking me. Her head turns to the side towards her brother on the couch and then she snaps, "You don't need to get up for her."
::Big Large Sigh:: I am not one to make fun of anyone, or to judge anyone based on superficial concepts or stereotypes but this girl has gotten to my last nerve with her dirty stares, her comments about how hard it must be for me to find shoes (targeting my right leg discrepency), lack of respect for me as a human being, rudeness, etc. etc. that I have grown to only see her for what she portrays herself as: white trash. It's not about where she comes from (Guess? ...I know, I know, hard to believe it's Dundalk.) but how she holds herself. Her ignorance, her lack of respect for other people and her attitude.
Okay, okay, enough of my rant. I am so disturbed that this issue has been disturbing me so much. If that makes any sense.
In other news, tomorrow I go to the Department of Rehabilitation Services for my consultation. Basically, they will do some tests in order to certify that I indeed have cerebral palsy. And that I indeed need transportation. I am slightly nervous, only because I don't know what to expect, and I sincerely do not want to be rejected again by yet another source of hope. Thus, why I have been trying to keep my hopes down, and be quite cynical about the whole thing - but it's so difficult to do when hanging on the very edge of finally obtaining some fricken' transportation.
I also got sick last night thanks to my coworker. She had been complaining of stomach aches all week this week and the last, and called in sick twice. She was vomiting and having diarrhea and I just prayed I wouldn't pick it up. Uhh...guess no one was listening. Last night sucked. That leftover orange chicken box that I scarfed down a few hours before probably didn't help either. (Hehe)
One more half week before VACATION TIME!!!
*does a little dance and starts singing: "PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME, PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!"*
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I keep trying to keep my head up - try with every ounce within me not to break down to tears every time I have to restate my entire story to another service coordinator or assistant to the assistant of some sort of physical therapy service of the division of something or other representing the State of Maryland. You would think it would get easier each time that I had to repeat the same story, but it actually has gotten harder. Just for the simple fact that every time I start the phone conversation with "Well, it started a year ago when the MVA put the restriction on my license once they found out I had cerebral palsy..." it just means that I am now 20 minutes farther from getting my license. 20 minutes spent telling someone on the other line a story that I know they could care less about.
Today my service coordinator (who was assigned to me through the county a long time ago) told me to call DORS (Division of Rehabilitation Services) to confirm the appointment that I had received by letter a week or so ago.
"Hello. Division of Rehabilitation Services, good day, how can I help you?" came an elderly lady's voice on the other end.
"Oh, um, hello. Good morning. My name is EJ and I received a letter about a week ago stating that I should come in for my DORS orientation this Monday at 9 AM."
"Yes, and well, I had a few questions about the paperwork that I need to bring. It says right here: 'It will be very helpful if you being any available medical documentation about your disability to the orientation hearing' and I was wondering - what kind of medical documentation are you looking for?" I asked, staring at the letter in front of me. I was hoping that she would give me some kind of specifics. Primarily because I didn't want to have to go and dig up the paperwork from when I was originally diagnosed 21 years ago. I wouldn't even know where to begin to look for that stuff. It's probably stuffed in a dilapidated box in the attic of my parents' house for all I know.
"Anything to prove you're disabled and you need our services. What is your disability?"
"Um, cerebral palsy."
"Well I am assuming you would need something from your doctor stating that that is your exact medical condition. Now what kind of job are you trying to obtain?"
"Job? Excuse me? I already have a job... I was referred to DORS for help in obtaining my driver's license," I said a bit confused.
"Well we don't help you unless you don't have a job. If you already have a job, then you should go speak with the United Cerebral Palsy...they can help you better there," the lady said.
"Are you sure?" I asked, still puzzled. I was told that DORS would be able to help me with my dilemma. I am a little confused."
"I'm sorry ma'am, but there is nothing we can do for you here."
I hate feeling like I am straddling an invisible line. I am not involved or desperate enough to get help from the State or from UCP (because I have already tried to call them) but apparently, I am involved and physically challenged enough for the MVA to put a restriction on my license and make me run around in circles for a license.
I don't know what else to do. I am stuck in the middle, and it feels like this neverending tug of war going on. I just wish that someone would press stop on this hellish merry-go-round.
I freeze in my tracks and sit up in my bed.
"Hold on, Young-Won," I whisper into my cell, "I think someone is downstairs. I don't know who it is."
"Ookay," he replies apprehensively on the other line.
I tip toe to my bedroom door and twist the doorknob slowly, pulling it so that there is a little crack to let the hallway light spill in.
I see the light from the kitchen reflecting off the white walls that lead up the stairs so I know someone is in the kitchen. But who? I hadn't heard the door open at all.
I then hear my roommate's dog's collar jingle softly around the living room and breathe a sigh of relief. It must be my roommate's girlfriend (or whatever she is).
Now, I am sure I have posted about this girl before. From the very beginning that I met her, I know that despite her fake smiles, her phony laughter, and her attempts to try to be cordial, that she never truly liked me. One: because my other roommate informed me that the first night that she met me she argued with J.B. (the homeowner and "the love of her life") and told him that she was "jealous" of me because I lived with J.B. and she didn't.
Two: because of the looks she always gives me. And the tone of her voice when she talks to me. Have you ever just got the feeling that someone thought you were this minuscule little ant and talked to you as such? That's how I feel whenever she talks to me. As if she is envisioning herself on a pedestal and me as a peasant toiling in the fields.
But I could look beyond that. I even tried sympathizing with her. I told J one night when he was over that I kind of see where J.B. was in the wrong, kind of leading her on. I tried to think of her whenever she came over to make him dinner, helping her with the dishes.
But last night, all that went out the window.
After hearing the loud bangs, and at first thinking that it was a burglar and then realizing that it was just her, I went down the steps with Y.W. on the phone with me and asked her if everything was okay. The next thing that had come to my mind was that she had fallen.
"I'm fine," she said with a bit of attitude. Okay - now what's up, I'm thinking.
She comes storming up the basement stairs.
"You know, E, the next time that you have to take the top off the trash can in order to stuff your trash into the trash bag, it just means that you need to take it out," she said slamming the trash can around the kitchen like a crazy person.
Whoa, wait...it's my fault now?
"I saw there was still room left in the trash bag. I didn't think it'd be such a big deal," I said, cupping my hand over my phone.
By this time she had two of the trash cans (the one in the kitchen and the one from downstairs) sprawled over the kitchen floor and then a bunch of trash bags just lying next to each other. She was in front of the refrigerator with a trashbag throwing out a bunch of stuff.
I was so perturbed that I didn't feel I needed to say anything else, lest I get in her face and tell her a thing or two. I went downstairs to quickly throw my clothes into the dryer (which by the way, I am never able to really finish my laundry at any one time because she is always in the basement because that's J.B.'s room, and so once she's down there I always feel rude going down and walking through the bedroom to get to the laundry room) and then walked back upstairs.
She was still throwing stuff away from the fridge and I quickly walked past her, glancing over her shoulder to make sure she didn't throw any of my food away (because they both, J.B. and her, would do that in the past without asking. Food that was still good.)
First off, who is she to talk to me like she is my mother? I moved out to get away from all that. Not to have someone stand in the kitchen, first scare me half to death thinking we were getting robbed, to then scold me for something trivial like a trash bag.
Second off, she isn't even my landlord, and she isn't even supposed to be living there, so why is she there? Because J.B. is in Iraq and has no control over her and what she's been doing to his house (as if he had that much control while he was living here, but that's besides the point.)
Third...I come from a big family where it was normal to use the last bit of space in the trash bag because there were so many of us and if we kept wrapping up trashbags at the sight of it getting the least bit full, at the end of the week we'd have a monsoon of trashbags on our front lawn for the trashman. So we were taught as kids that you wait until you fill the entire trash bag before taking it out. And that trash bag was certainly not full.
I can't even believe that this is a topic of discussion and it has become even more of an issue that she is there when it wasn't intended for her to be.
Where is my license? When can I get out of this hell hole that I live in?
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
J and I went to go see Ocean's Thirteen. I have come to the distinct conclusion that they must stop making third movies of anything unless it's part of a trilogy (Star Wars, LOTR, etc.) or part of a book series (Harry Potter) where the writer set out with the intention of making the plots span across a huge timeline of cinema.
Otherwise, it just ends up feeling like you're watching the first movie all over again.
Don't get me wrong - I won't pass up a chance to see Clooney and Pitt (hell and even Damon) share the big screen together. Especially while they are looking suave, debonair and oh-so-charimatic in their high-fashion suits and smirk-wearing facades. Who doesn't love a fast yet smooth talking high stakes thief?
<- One of the funnier scenes of the movie.
But it doesn't leave much to the imagination. You take eleven thieves (each one crafted in their own skill, known for their own specialty or whathaveyou) and then add one, and yet another to the pot - what do you get? Just more intelligent thieves. Stealing more money. Oh, and perhaps a painting, or some diamonds or jewels while they are at it.
Overall, it wasn't a terribly sucky movie. It was quite entertaining. And of course, full of its little humorous parts. It just tended to be predictable, I guess you might say.
It'd be cool if they ended their winning streak here. I am sure they will. I don't foresee Hollywood making yet a fourth edition to the Ocean Trilogy.
Besides, nobody does it better than Sinatra anyway. ;-)
"I feel like a murderer," he sighed, gripping the steering wheel a little bit harder.
I didn't know what to say. There was a part of me that wanted to console him, because he really loved that dog as much as I did. But then the other part of me saw the entire act as murder, too.
He obviously could tell my awkwardness and averted the subject.
"Your sister was brave. You know she went with me? I was surprised how willing she was. Your sister was a brave little girl today. More like a young lady after what she witnessed today."
"Is she okay?" I asked, and then suddenly envisioned my little sister's face soaked with tears. Even worse, my little baby brother's face.
"She cried, if that's what you mean. She was severely upset over it all. And with good reason, obviously."
"Obviously," I mimicked softly, thinking that I wouldn't have been able to be in the same room like she was if I had been there. I don't think I would have even gone so willingly.
This has really got me thinking about fear and death. What exactly is it that I fear the most from death? Is it the concept of complete darkness (which is what I always imagined darkness to be as a little kid. Nothing but endless darkness. Probably why I still sleep with some sort of light on at night.) or is it the loneliness that is caused by it?
Although I feel beget with tremendous sadness right now, I know that nothing is going to be as painful as walking into my parents' house the next time and realizing for nearly the first time that he won't be there. That empty, lonely feeling that is going to settle into the pit of my stomach.
That is what I fear the most. The lonely realization that sets in. Even now I can feel that same emptiness creeping into my stomach.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We have two dogs at my parents' house: a mini-Schnauzer and a mini-half Scottie/half Terrier. The Scottie/Terrier gets on my nerves ever since she came to the house. She basically has the same personality as my mother (thus, why my mother insisted that we have her) but she whines constantly, yips all through the night, has a terrible case of puppy B.O. and does so many things out of spite.
Meanwhile, Scruffy was my favorite. He has a beautiful coat of gray, and very loyal. He just didn't like anyone that he didn't know - but that wasn't his fault. My mother let Hannah (my 12-year old sister) train him, and Hannah really didn't know the first thing about training a dog. She hardly let Scruffy out to play with other people, didn't help him get acclamated with other people and strangers. And on top of that, Schnauzers are very protective and uppity, he really needed to go to training sessions or something.
Regardless, we've had Scruffy for two years or so now. I love him. I used to go over and sleep on the couch and he'd immediately come up to me and snuggle real close, give me soft kisses.
Today, apparently, when my older brother came over to say hello and pick up a few things from my parents' place, Scruffy came attacking at him and bit at his kneecap. And so my Mom made the executive decision to put Scruffy down.
I can't believe it. I feel horrible inside. I never knew I'd ever be as attached as I am to him - and I don't know what I am going to do the next time I go home and won't see my baby boy coming at me and snuggling me.
Wow, it's this horrible emptiness inside. My Dad said he is going to be in the room when they give Scruffy the injection...just thinking about it creates knots in my stomach.
Friday, June 8, 2007
But when the time comes for me to speak out - will I have every line ready at my command as perfect as they have sounded in my head over and over again or will I end up being speechless?
Only time will tell...
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Check out the website to see the full collection of covers. (Props to Racialicious.)
A lot of buzz is going around on what the underline meanings are of these photos, and if you see them individually (especially the Madonna & Maya Angelou one) I could see some people's points. You see Madonna, leaning into Maya Angelou, whispering something in her ear, and gripping Ms. Angelou's arm rather strongly as it seems. It gives off this, as someone else put it, "white man is the only hope" sorta feel.
But once I went to the actual website and saw the photos that Leibowitz put together, in their original chronological order, it all made sense to me.
Not one person in these photos is above the rest. Each and every single one of the celebrities/activists/politicians are spreading the word. The word about AIDS, about Africa, about humanity in general.
This goes way beyond the conflict of black vs. white - there is immense suffering, and hunger over in Africa, which is not that far away from the US by any means. Not to say that there is any superior thing that I have done to save Africa, but I definitely agree with Bono when he says: "Do you think an African mother cares if the drugs keeping her child alive are thanks to an iPod or a church plate? Or a Democrat or a Republican? I don't think that mother gives a damn about where that 20-cent pill comes from, so why should we. It can lead to some uncomfortable bedfellows, but sometimes less sleep means you are more awake."
So follow Bono's word. One, because U2 is the shiet. Two, because it's Bono, c'mon...who doesn't listen to Bono?
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Kudos to the mojito-making ninja skills of The Scott in his swanky new pad. I felt bad that it had taken me so long to visit his "new" (not so new by the time I had seen it) house but it was well worth the anticipated wait. (His bedroom looks like the bastard child of an IKEA showfloor. No, I mean, seriously.) I have yet to meet another single man growing not only a rose garden but a kick-ass overflowing garden and array of herbs, and sprigs of every type of mint you could think of.
And the mojitos! Yes! Even though it was ten o' clock at night, and we were inside, just sipping those damn things made you think you were outside, on a lawn chair, enjoying the warm summer sun. Good, good - no, damn good times.
The soundtrack to set off this evening? "Silence-Remix" - Sarah MacLachlan. Okay, so I never said I'd ever give up my trancehead days. :-)
Monday, June 4, 2007
A+! Hoo-Rah! I never thought I'd ever see the day when I got an A+ in History. No lie. In high school, I despised it, even though my writing abilities landed me high scores to place in Honors, GT and AP courses in the subject, I just couldn't for the life of me wrap my mind around the importance of scrutinizing every miniscule detail about the past - sociologically, politically or economically. I guess, to be simple, I just couldn't have cared less.
But this grade is a true testiment to how my atittude has changed over the years. One, because I actually paid cold, hard cash for this class and the textbooks (which in itself is motivation enough to pass) and two, I really really want to graduate from a university. I really really want to see my dreams come true. To see everything that I have gone through manifest into a great career and a content, fulfilling life.
I'm ready big, cruel, unusually beautiful, and majestic world! I have a lot of years to go...but I am ready and willing for the fight now. I am armed with a new motivation that I never have had before - maybe it's because this time around, I actually know what I want to do. I actually have a better understanding of who I am, and what I want from life.
And...may I point out that it is JUNE?! I can't believe that the year has gone by so fast. 2007 has definitely not been my best year, but it most definitely has not been my worst. Like I have said in past posts, I believe that this year will be whatever I make of it - and that the more effort that I put into making it a fantastic year, the more fantastic a year it will be.
(ps. There's a lot of crappy emotions floating around in my self's stratosphere but today, I figured I'd start the week out on a positive note. Hopefully, it will set the mood for all the utter crappiness that is surrounding me at the moment.)
Monday down, four more days to go!
Friday, June 1, 2007
But I just haven't been able to think straight all this week. It has been terribly difficult to get any sort of answers about my brother's condition from my parents: 1. Because one parent is absolutely clueless to what is going on with anything involving the kids. 2. The other parent that should know what's going on in detail has decided that it was much better to just...forget.
When I physically left my parents' house eight or nine months ago, it wasn't the first time I had left it. Mentally, I had already left my concerns at the doorstep a year or two prior. Or at least tried to.
I remember that day I went to go pick up my belongings that had been crudely shoved into trashbags with my friend, Trish. I remember watching her as she pulled my baby brother's arms that were trying to reach out for me. I can even more clearly remember the look of despair and sadness in my baby brother's eyes as he was crying for me, watching as my mother threw bag after bag at me as I walked through the front door.
When I got into the car, and Trish began to speed off, I just started sobbing uncontrollably. I knew that memory would stick in my brother's mind forever, and I immediately began to worry immensely over my siblings, and their safety while living in that house.
Things have gotten better over time. (Therapy for my mother, medication for my father.) But all of a sudden, this past Sunday, that same worry and fear for a sibling's care and safety rushed back in.
When I first found out about my brother's white blood cell count, I was freaked out. I sat at work with a blank expression and constant tearing in my eyes.
So quite obviously, on Sunday, when I went to visit my parents and siblings, I had dozens upon dozens of questions that were roaming through my mind. What was this disease? Why did they think it was transfused through the blood? Wasn't the last time he had a blood transfusion months ago? Wouldn't this issue have shown itself sooner if it was passed through a blood transfusion? What did all of this mean for Adam's health? When were they going to get more tests done?
"I don't know," my mother replied, simply - with hardly any expression.
"I don't understand. You talked to the doctor, didn't you? The one who read his first blood test results? How can you say 'you don't know'?"
"Yes, of course I talked to the doctor. And yes, he did say his white blood count is lower than it should be. Much lower. Said it was very serious."
"Well then, what does Adam have? Is it treatable?"
"I don't know. You're asking me too many questions," my mother paused a second and then looked at me, "Okay, so I forgot. The doctor told me what it was, and I forgot. But it's not like it's that huge of a deal, they are going to be doing more tests on him in the upcoming weeks because they think he also might need surgery again soon. He's been having pains in his head and his back again."
[Wait, back up. Did she just say she forgot?]
I dropped the discussion. More out of being horrified and stunned than anything else. How can you forget your son's diagnosis? How can you act so nonchalant? Okay, okay, EJ, calm down. Don't over think. Don't overstress. I can't help but be pissed thinking about this situation.
It's been a week now - they tested Ads for Epstein Bar, Mono, and a bunch of other things. Last thing I heard from my Dad was that Ads tested positive for a very slight and mild case of Mono. They aren't sure whether that's why his white blood cell count is low or not. He tested positive for one other test, the one that they used to diagnose him with, but my mother can't seem to remember.
Whatever it is, I am sure it doesn't help that all these surgeries (the opening and exposure of his spinal cord and nerves) keep exposing his body to possible infections and such.