Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's Just Hair

Today is the day I cut my hair. I've had this appointment set for well over a month so I've had plenty of time to think about it. I want to cut my hair, certainly I'm ready for a new style. And last night, as I brushed it out after a shower, I definitely wanted it gone! But I'm sentimental and as I've been growing my hair for 3 years, it's hard not to think about all that my hair has been through with me.

2 different schools, 2 different majors, thousands of school and work days, trips to NYC, Chicago, Florida, California and Virginia Beach. Beyond that, the ends of my hair have been with me even longer, I'll bet that I've had those ends since I graduated high school and was at my first college. Hair is just...there with you during everything. It's not like a favorite shirt that might tag along a few days of the month or your backpack that you have during school hours. My hair has been there, day and night through absolutely everything. It really is kind of like cutting off a body part.

I've been "that short girl with long blond hair" for a lot of my life. I'm in a constant state of growing and cutting my hair and since it grows so fast, it's usually long. I like having long hair because in some ways it is easier. Not to brush but to throw up in a nice tidy bun or a long braid. It looks good when I don't even do anything with it because the sheer weight wards off frizz and puffiness. The last few times I've had short hair, I've worn it mainly up because I can't wear it  natural down and I've been too lazy to straighten it. This time around, I'm really going to put some effort into styling it and making it look nice. I'm also getting some long bangs that will make my overall appearance look better when I do put my hair into a ponytail or bun.

I guess you could say I'm excited but I know I'll be sad too. I'll probably cry tonight. Having my hair through everything and then just--not, is hard! I don't like saying goodbye to anything but I've gotten better at it lately. I suppose another difficult aspect of the haircut is that I've basically figured I'll never have my hair this long again, ever. I mean it's really long, down to my waist and I just don't see myself ever taking three more years to grow it out like this again. I want to maintain a style. Plus, long hair isn't very adult and I'm trying to be more of an adult and get taken more seriously. Growing up doesn't mean growing out I guess.

So goodbye to my hair. It is currently 32 inches long (well over half my height!) and I'll be chopping off about 12-14 inches of it. I'm donating it too, for the sixth time. Time for new beginnings.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How Ambition Became My Boyfriend

I'm not (naturally) ambitious. I've written about that a lot on here, contrasting how my best friend Claire has so many big plans and dreams and all I want is to have a litter of kids and wear an apron while making dinner. Yeah that's still true.

But see, I don't have a boyfriend or an prospects so what am I supposed to do until my prayers are answered? Sit around and twiddle my thumbs? No ma'am. I realized that I feel lame and kind of like a loser among my friends who have significant others, even among some of my family. But, if I'm actively working toward a higher goal, I feel like I'm being productive and building my own life, even if it is independent of anyone else for now.

I decided somewhere during this past school year that I'm going to pursue grad school and I'm really excited. It's going to be a lot of work to just get in as I have to prepare an updated resume, write a letter of purpose and have a scholarly paper ready to submit, not to mention taking the GRE! It's a lot BUT, I'm working toward a goal and just having that makes me feel better about being single. For once in my 23 years, I really do feel ambitious and ready to take on hard things.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer and So Much To Do

It's taken a long time for it to actually feel like summer here and though today and tomorrow have been a nice glimpse, it doesn't look like the warmth will be here to stay until next weekend.

It was great getting to be out in the sun today though, my mood improves so much when I don't have to worry about being cold! My mom and M and I went to an outdoor art festival and it was just perfect weather for it. I'm excited to work on my tan and get my hair a bit lightened up from the sun before I chop it off in three weeks (!), post to come about that later.

Every day I pray that I'm being productive but I never feel as if I'm doing enough. This summer I have so much to do and it does stress me out. I have books to read and lines to learn for VBS, I'm trying to finish the series I've been writing and learn ASL and work two jobs! It's a lot and for once in my life I often feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. I also still want to relax a little bit because this past semester really tried me and I needed this break.

But there are things that I'm really excited about for my future that I promise to write about soon. For now I think I'm going to hit the couch and reward myself for finishing Jane Eyre by wasting time on my ipad :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Party of FIve, Round Two

Let's talk about TV...

For the past two years I've been watching new (to me) TV series on Netflix. I watched the following in this order starting from Spring 2015 to Spring 2017:

House (I did watch this while it was airing but not in order and I missed huge chunks)
Malcolm In the Middle
Gilmore Girls
Friday Night Lights
How I Met Your Mother
The Office

When I finished The Office, which by the way was great, I was unsure of what to do next. A few days later I was sitting with M and she saw that Netflix had added Party of Five! This is a very big deal. Allow me to explain.

My mom had watch POF when it was originally airing in the 90's. About seven (!!!) years ago we finally decided to all watch it together but the only place it was available was YouTube, in parts and sometimes the endings would be missing. It was frustrating but we watched all 6 seasons on our desktop computer in the living room over the course of 6 months. In fact, when I started this blog we had only just finished it the previous winter.

Since then, in the 7 years since we finished, M and I have talked endlessly of how we wanted to rewatch POF because that show is GREAT. But again, it was nowhere to be found and we didn't want to deal with YouTube again. Then, Amazon put it on prime which was great because we could buy an episode here and there around Thanksgiving or Christmas. M and I were actually about to just bite the bullet and split the cost and buy the entire series on prime. And then...Netflix came through.

So since the middle of April I've been working my way through POF again and it has been glorious. Not only is the show just as good (if not even better) than the first time I watched it, it is bringing back so many great memories. The hours that my mom and sister and I spent watching together that first time are so special to me. And the bulk of which was done in the summer so I feel like things have come full circle as I sit on the same leather couch as the first time, only now watching on my ipad. I look forward to the episode or two I watch every night all day. If you haven't watched Party of Five, do it!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer Goals! (Again)

Summer Goals 2017
(Accomplish at Least Half)

  1. Cut my hair
  2. Read 5 books in preparation for the GRE/subject test
  3. Take the GRE/subject test
  4. Finish writing my book series, start editing
  5. Spend a lot of time outside
  6. Save more, spend less
  7. Submit stories for publication
  8. Cook/bake often
  9. Be productive with my time
  10. Continue to foster friendships
  11. Continue learning ASL
  12. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3/4 Isn't Too Shabby

Many moons ago, when I was 17 to be exact, the dentist told me that all four of my wisdom teeth were impacted and had no chance of coming up. She showed me the x-ray for further proof and yes, they were laying sideways beneath my gums.

Of course, the dentist then referred me to an oral surgeon and said I needed to get them (the wisdom teeth) removed in a timely manner or risk other complications. Well, me being me, I read up on wisdom teeth extractions and found that they are often unnecessary and can cause other problems. So I never went to see that oral surgeon.

Later that year, when I was 18 and moving into my dorm room, I noticed that my bottom left wisdom tooth was starting to poke through. It took a looong time to come all the way in but when it did, it was a completely normal tooth. I brought this up to my dentist and she still maintained that the other three were impacted and needed to be removed. Once again, I didn't heed her advice.

Two years later, when I was 20 and on vacation in NYC, my top left wisdom tooth all of a sudden came down, rather quickly! It was all the way in by the time I returned home. Another completely normal tooth. Again, I noted this to the dentist but over the next two years she was insistent that the other two needed to come out.

Yeah ok.

But as time went on, my bottom right tooth poked up just a tiny bit and stayed there and the top right one never did anything. Until...

Just before my 23rd birthday, my TOP right tooth came through my gums and is now in the process of coming up. It seems to be going slowly like the first one but definitely right side up.

Now, I do actually think that the bottom right is impacted for good but I'll give it a little time.  Moral of the story, do not get your wisdom teeth out in high school unless they are actually causing you issues right then. I have talked to a lot of people whose teeth came in when they were in their mid-twenties, just give them time! Dentists just want to pull and cut and make commission off of referrals to surgeons, at least mine does. Just wait it out. If I'd listened at 17 and gotten the extraction it would have been for nothing and I would have missed out on 3 extra teeth! I'm glad I did my research and didn't listen.

I'm wiser for it. ;)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I'm Back!

Recap of the last 4 months...

January
  • Stomach flu on new years day followed by the actual flu directly after D:
  • Go see a BUNCH of movies
  • Attend my friends bridal shower
  • Start my last spring semester as an undergrad
  • Celebrate Mom's birthday
  • Start watching The Office
February
  • Attend my friends wedding
  • Spend Valentines day with all of my favorite babies at work
  • Get another A on a paper!
  • Crazy unseasonably warm weather prompts outdoor walks
  • Hang with friends
March
  • Have the best spring break full of cleaning and relaxation and renewal
  • Join Easter choir again
  • Go to the Lumineers concert!
  • Claire comes home for a visit
  • My month of sinus sickness begins
  • Celebrate E's birthday
April
  • E and I prank the whole family for April Fools
  • Drop my insanely hard Logic class
  • Finish The Office
  • Find out Party of Five has FIALLY been added to Netflix and start immediately
  • Have a lovely Easter
  • My third wisdom tooth starts coming in and I'm ecstatic
  • Develop mysterious cough
  • Celebrate my 23rd (!!!) birthday
May
  • Start practice for my 3rd year in the VBS skit
  • Win an award for my short story
  • Exam week and mystery cough worsens
Mostly good times! Truly :) and it is good to be back. This is very tentative but I am *hoping* tp post every other day this summer.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Finally Writing About It Right, 11 Years Later






















Crooked



By Grace DeLauro








60 Degrees



Not like the sort of mild spring day when

my light blue jacket will do.



But like my rogue vertebrae that twist

and crush bronchial tubes and normalcy.



Not like the sort of weather I can expect on

my upcoming twelfth birthday.



But like the reason my torso abruptly

shifts to the left without warning.



Not like days spent jumping off the swing set

or flipping around on the front lawn.



But like a curve too severe to brace

or watch, or simply let be.



They will not let me be.






Appointments



I walk out of doctor’s offices

silently, without permission. I plod across short gray carpeting

and squeaky linoleum.



Past reception, to waiting rooms where my sisters look at me

questionably. Then Mom appears, stern and put-out,

grabs the hood of the sweatshirt I’ve been wearing for days

and pulls me back to where I am supposed to be.



And it is easy to ignore questions

and look in the other direction.

To be rude.

To not be me.




­Pre-op



He is next to me

           a pale infant

           beneath a cloud patterned blanket.

And Nemo swims into the open sea

          on the television against the wall

          in pre-op.



His family just dropped him off

         the nurses talk

         not quietly enough.

And I listen to them instead

         of the rated PG movie

         I’ve seen too many times.

And I listen to them instead

         of thinking about the needle in my arm

         or my immediate future.



And the machines are beeping

          and Dory gets stung by jellyfish

          as the overused DVD spins on.

Mom and Dad’s voices are seeping

          into my thoughts on how

          I did not pity the baby.

Snuggled beneath his blanket

          with no one to worry about him

          with no one to witness vulnerability








Anesthesia



The plunger pushes into the syringe

clear liquid, magic water

zips through the tubing

dutifully.

Gravity pulls it in

my veins. Where O positive blood

and anesthesia mingle

like old friends.

No count down

no goodbye

and then



nothing.



What do I think when I’m not thinking?

About x-rays

and silence in examining rooms

about things that happened.

Or apathy

and sedentary weeks

with hours of morning talk shows

and high caloric milkshakes

that will come.



My only dreamless sleep,

drug induced

blackness

a quick movement

through time.

I am myself when eyes close.



Eyes open and

my bracelet is painfully tight and

my lungs are filled and spongey and

there are tubes everywhere and

I am different in ways I cannot see.

In ways I do not yet understand.




PICU



There is a TV in the right hand corner

glowing blue and hazy

in my half-awake state.



There are tubes that twist

and intertwine with artistic

finesse.



There is Dad

and Mom

and words that are just

sound.



When I move rooms,

I call behind the caravan

of poles and people



to make sure Mom is coming too.

The Phlebotomist



Every day appearing

bright and cheery.



Taker, spiller of blood

onto my new purple blanket

that Mom bought me

for my twelfth birthday

that seemed like years ago.



The phlebotomist apologizes

In her strong accent that I cannot place.

Peroxide,

she tells me,

will take that right out.



I tell her not to worry

even though

my stained blanket

bugs me more than

the needle sticks.



Even though red

does not show up on purple.






Stephanie, the Nurse



Everyone is nice to me

but she, especially so.



She is clad in brightly patterned scrubs,

a neat French braid

and a smile that reaches her eyes.



“She’s pretty.”

I tell mom after

Stephanie has left.



Next time she pops in

Mom tells her what I said.

Stephanie the nurse smiles, laughs

thanks me.



But I am mortified,

angry at Mom for exposing

another thing I intended

to keep private.



Angrier still at myself

for not just keeping my thoughts

tucked safely in my head.

A skill I will soon perfect.




Walking



I will fall.



I will fall apart.

I’m sure.



Spine and

screws and

cadaver bone and

titanium

not yet settled.

And pain of any sort may be welcome

compared to this feeling of

being the puppeteer of my own

confused body.

The mix of ingredients sway

inside me and I’m so

certain with each footfall

I will fold.



I will fold in half.




Gift Shop



I note

The number of Amish people



The glass wind chimes that

ding softly

when brushed up

against.



I watch

the space ebb and flow with

nurses getting off shift.

With cheerful visitors.

With a few in wheelchairs like me



Mom buys two glass rings.

And I get,

a scar that I can’t even see,

a month off of school

and candy

that I don’t feel like

eating.






Breathing



The canula in my nose

blows tiny

puffs

of oxygen.

Though my passages,

to my hazy lungs.



It scares my sister, who is older

than me.

But I saw a character on a soap opera

wearing one once, while watching

TV with my grandma.



I am not afraid.



Because the little gifts

of air fill and soothe

my poor lungs

that are another casualty

of the bigger war.



I don’t realize how much

I need it until it comes

askew. And the air feels

warm and stagnant.



The respiratory therapists visit

six times a day.

I sit for half an hour with

the nebulizer that pumps air

that tastes like cake frosting



Mom talks to them,

Willy the night guy,

Bethany the one with freckles

and others I don’t bother

to know.



When I speak

I am told to keep my lips

firmly around the mouthpiece.



So I smile a lot

and try so hard

to show everyone that I am

a nice, good girl.




Dr. Armstrong



He lives up to his name

tall as I am tiny.

Calm and gentle,

making it hard for me to hate

him as I had so many others.



And I am lying

in the same spot as yesterday.

In my flannel pajamas

with the cartoon frogs skiing.

Even though it is May.



And he comes in,

talks to Mom. Then

puts his gigantic hand

on my forehead and I realize,



I am an origami.

Weak as paper

strong as the surgeons hands.




Going Home



On a Sunday Dad pulls our new van around to the hospital exit.

I like how the door opens on its own

I like that my sisters have allowed me a coveted seat by the window.



Home means,

my own bed

and regular food

and normal life.

But I am not sure I’m ready to live it again.



But I learn about blood oranges from Martha Stewart

and the war on terror from Good Morning America.

I watch people win dream vacations on Regis and Kelly

and roll my eyes at all of the petty arguments on The View.



And while my spine does the work of fusing and hardening

I reorient myself to the larger world first.

 

What I Had to Say Again and Again



Mom,



Please don’t

tell them.



About hours, my hours

on the operating table.



Please don’t,

show them.



The scar, my scar

and how well it is healing.



Please don’t talk about it

like it was some sort of

great bonding experience.



Like we spent a week at

a fun sleep away camp.

Like Rainbow Babies and Children

Is akin to Camp Walden

from Parent Trap

my favorite movie

that I’ve watched over

and

over since being home.



Yes we bonded

over things I want to keep

in my own mind.



Yes we bonded

in a way I never wanted.



So please,

just keep it to yourself

and I will do the same.




Laughing



One day in June I am laying on my bed with my older sister.



On top of the purple and blue and green striped blanket

with similarly colored curtains hanging around us.

I do something funny, something “So Grace

as my sister puts it.



And I laugh and

we laugh and

Mom, who is also in the room, cleaning up after the resident 7 year old,

laughs too.



And in days that follow I take walks and

sit on the back deck in the sunshine.

Drink banana milkshakes my grandma makes for me.

Write the kid’s book I’ve been working on for years.

Accompany my sister to the mall.



And like a switch that flipped, things are good again.

The smell of chlorine makes

a home in my hair.

I don’t cringe at every bump

during bike rides.

I swap my sweatshirt for a new beaded tank top,

and high sandals.



Summer is here.

Life goes on.




Scar



White etching

down

my spine.



Numb as if it

does not belong to me.

And the feeling comes back

at the top

and the bottom

but not the middle.



Because some time before

I was not numb

and some time after

I was not numb again.

But in the middle I was

numb

and some nerves

are cut too deep

to ever fully

heal.




Monday, January 2, 2017