Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Little Patient Zero

I love having a little kid running around the house. Unfortunately, she isn't the only thing that is running.

I'm talking about her nose.

We all had a round of what I thought was a respectably nasty head-cold the second week of December. We all got it, and we all felt just terrible. We were all just starting to get over it when "A" brought home the super-bug from daycare.

Tony got sick on Saturday . "A" got sick on
Christmas Eve. With both of them coughing and hacking and nose running, I knew I was a goner.

I got the full force of it yesterday. To say I would have welcomed the Grim Reaper with open arms would not be an exaggeration. I felt like I had been hit by a cartoon steamroller. Actually, I felt like my airway was closing off and I was being choked by my own throat.

So, with "A" in tow, I went to the doctor. I got antibiotics just like Tony. Then I took "A" to the doctor, just in case. Her pediatrician remarked that she has had a growth spurt, but was otherwise just fine, and to call if she starts spiking fevers.

My little Typhoid Mary. She's weathering it better than most of us, and she can't even properly blow her own nose.

She has been so sweet the last few days. Except for the runny nose you would never know she was sick. I adore her funny little ways.

But our house is a general plague area at the moment. I'll be putting up the yellow hazard tape to keep people out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adventures in Academia

Having survived my finals in the most lopsided fashion possible (Aced Political Science and Tanked Math), I managed to pass both of my mundane but mandatory classes this semester. As predicted, I knocked the cover off of the Political Science class with a very high "A", and struggled with even the most basic aspects of my Math class, passing the class with a lamentable "C". I usually get straight-A's, but not this time, alas.

I think I may be in one of the last generations of women who were told that boys are good at math and girls are good at "softer" subjects. I bought that one hook, line, and sinker. I loathe math and anything that looks like it. I have female friends, like the uber-brilliant Kari, who are whizzes at math. Not me. I'm some kind of liberal-arts throwback. *slaps forehead*

I called about the letter I got rejecting me from the Nursing program. It turns out it was only one of the two programs I applied to, leaving me to wait until perhaps March to find out if I am accepted to the program that commences in September. Feh. I had to turn in my application in December, and they need three months to figure out if I fit in? Grrr.

Still, I was treacle-sweet to the Admissions and Records woman when she called me back, even though I despise her. AND she called me at like 7:30 in the morning! That's a tad early, dontcha think? I thanked her for her time and seethed in private. This one woman has so much control over so many goings-on at that school that it actually scares me. She's like Santa Claus, deciding who gets the academic lumps of coal and who gets the plums. Only not jolly, or fair for that matter.

I am taking the next semester off, and while I wait (until MARCH!!?!??) for my nursing program acceptance (or not), I will contemplate my academic options. I'm going to go up to UNR after the winter break is over and see about their Anthropology program.

It seems scary and more than a little pathetic to consider changing majors at my age. I love Anthropology and research and all those musty old bones and things. I could see myself being very happy doing that. But the job market is a bit thinner for medically focused anthropologists, I would bet. At least if I get my RN, I will always have work, although my feelings when I envision being a nurse are not as rosy and romantic.

Should I change again? Is there some mental way I can do both, and get scholarships to pay for it? I feel all doldrummy (that can be a word if I make it up, right?) about my strange, fragmented career. I feel like I should have my shit together by now. I'm a late in life parent, so maybe I'm a late bloomer in other ways, too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stacie the Blasphemer

Just in time for the glut of Holiday Cheer (tm), I am feeling contrary. Not that I don't like Christmas; in fact I have found myself increasingly sentimental as my first Christmas with my little girl approaches. But the usual rounds of Christmas-time focus on "family values" really gets my "shan't" motor running.

I especially don't like the groups that come out with hand-wringing pronouncements (at any time of year) about what children need to be shielded from. Pretty much any time someone says to me "Think of the children!", my knee-jerk reaction is to check out whatever taboo thing I am being advised to avoid. Right now all the fuss over the movie "The Golden Compass", based on the book by Phillip Pullman, is causing such a reaction.

Catholic and other Christian groups are crying foul because of some of the books themes, notably an anti-authoritarian attitude in that fictional universe that is being decried as an Anti-Church stand in this one. Critics are saying that exposing children to such ideas are "dangerous". BIG red flag.

Mind you, these books/films are not saying literally, "God is bad and you should disobey him as soon as possible". They criticize the human power structure surrounding and controlling man's access to the divine. Why exactly is it wrong to look critically at that?

Personally, I find that assertions that the innocence of children must be protected at all costs just tend to infantalize the adults. And anyway, I wouldn't be a very good parent if one book could unhinge all of my teaching about right and wrong, regardless of whether the framework for that right and wrong is rooted in religion or not.

It is getting all to common and casual to treat athiests/agnostics/pagans/whatever as some kind of communicable disease. Honestly, if that were true, I would be thumping a bible right now, due to all the well-meaning souls who have tried to instill a sense of piety in me by any means necessary. I have been subjected to some frontier-justice prostheletyzing in my time. It just won't stick. I refuse to humbly submit to my husband/the church/anybody else's idea of what I should do with my inner life.

And as for the children, I would like a little tiny bit of credit for being a grownup who can make choices for my own family. So, will I let "A" read "The Golden Compass"? I'm going to read it myself first and decide based on my own judgment, not what some hysterical bunch of church ladies think. I don't agree with them on anything else, so I doubt I will withhold any books based on their say so.

In any case, "A" is still learning her ABC's, so I'm off the hook for a bit.

And will I see the movie? I might rent it. I heard it was only "just okay" compared to the book. So I will read the book first to prevent ruining it for myself. This approach worked well for the Narnia series. If I had seen that movie first, I doubt I would have read the books. And that would have been a dirty shame.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stacie of the Lost Ark?

I was mentioning to someone the other day that, even after all these years, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is still my favorite movie of all time. If it is on, I will watch it. I am sorta interested in the fact that they are doing a 4th movie, but the original will always be the best one.

The Reasons:
1. Dr. Jones is one of the most amazing characters ever brought to life. He has that rugged and yet brainy thing that is totally sexy. I was so young when I first saw this movie, but I knew there was something special about him. I felt my first pangs of real sexual longing over this movie. I don't think I knew what I would do to him, but I wanted to do something.
2. Harrison Ford.
3. Non-lame female Lead: Marion could drink you under the table and then punch you in the gob. Not very good at hiding from monkeys, though.
4. Totally gross, face melting ending. Cool!
5. "Asps. Very Dangerous. You go first"

I wonder how many people my age watched that movie and then promptly decided to become archaelologists when they grew up? I wonder how many actually did it? How many grew to have an interest in artifacts and digging in the dirt with a tiny spoon and a soft bristle brush? In other words, rather than dragging from a whip from behind a truck full of Nazis, did the real life of an archaeologist actually stick?

I wonder this as I stare in amazement at the rejection letter from the nursing school I applied to. Me, with my respectably high GPA and work ethic that is fueled by a likely case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Some bullshit about not meeting program requirements? I think one of those requirements is kissing the ass of the incompetent head of Admissions and Records who has at several critical junctures given me bad advice and then denied it later. I may, very possibly, be blackballed and not even know it. Given the national nursing shortage, the fact that nursing schools are turning away students is totally lame.

Assuming of course that I pass my Math 120 final tonight, I will graduate with another AA degree from that ramshackle community college where I wanted to continue on in the nursing program. I might find myself an academic free agent. It might be time to reevaluate my academic plan.

Not that I won't keep trying to get into a nursing program. After all, I do have a scholarship already lined up for it. But if I keep hitting roadblocks like I have been, it may be more trouble than it is worth. I was only doing it because RN money is pretty good. But other things about nursing make that job look like a real pain in the ass.

Not that I am considering archaeology per se, or even swashbuckling adventure in the antiquities market. But I do love Anthroplogy, archaeology's culture-focused cousin. Medical Anthropology in particular fascinates me. So while I am taking next semester off to ponder my choices, I am also going to consider a distance-learning program at a University in Wales. I'm also going to UNR to ask them what majors I might be able to complete in the most expedient amount of time.

All I know is that I am through with the rinky-dink educational settings. I want to do something that really sets my soul on fire. Life is too short to do anything less. As for the money, I am sure I would be able to secure funding if I really need it.

Who knows, maybe someday my spunky, underage driver sidekick might tell me, "No time for love, Doctor Ferrante!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Awake, yet dreaming

Have your fun with me, but in my dream life I am having an occasional and torrid affair with Daniel Radcliffe. Yes, that one. Not in his early Harry Potter days but much more recently. I had a dream about him last night, one of those strange dreams I have where I am friends with celebrities. Previously, I have dreamed I was friends with Sting, David Bowie, and once I dreamed I was eating a hasty dinner over the sink with Bill Clinton. We were eating tuna tacos, make of that what you will. *snicker*

I thought I didn't get a wink of sleep last night because I had one ear trained on A's room because she has a cold. I guess I drifted off a little, because I was dreaming.

I dreamed that I was walking along a boardwalk that wound through a series of high, sea-grassy sand dunes. They closely resembled the sand dunes I remember capering about on as a child during the summers in Cape Cod. But these dunes were bigger, and I was strolling hand in hand with Daniel Radcliffe.

God, does that ever sound lame when I say it out loud. But it was a really compelling and romantic dream. It wasn't expressly sexual, but the aura of familiarity between us implied intimacy. The whole thing had this hazy, soft focus, Lifetime B-movie feel to it. There was afternoon sunlight and soft ocean breeze. We were holding hands and talking and, if memory serves where modesty might demur, kissing.

How escapist for me, since it was like 28 degrees when I left the house this morning. I have had a number of similar dreams in the last year. I wonder what it means? That I miss Cape Cod? That I miss being young and lithe, or dare I say it, casually sexual? That I am behind on picking up my copy of the "Order of the Phoenix" DVD?

We may never know, since everyone knows I avoid actual couch time at almost all costs. It is a nice diversion for my overly-stressed brain, though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dude, I feel funky...

Ok, first off to all of you dang lurkers who mentioned to me that you read my blog, where are your comments? Does the phrase "attention whore" mean nothing to you? I can't stand the echo chamber.

I have one more final to go for this semester and then I am taking a semester off school. I NEED it. Trying to get used to being a parent is hard enough without stupid math and political science crap clogging my overtaxed brain. Honestly, overwhelmed does not even cover it.

I feel corked up, though, emotionally. I spend a little of my time hiding my feelings of fear of loss from the little girl in my life. But even when I am alone I can't let it out. I have a lot going on right now and feel I would benefit from a huge crying jag, but zippo. I can't cry. Even when I give myself permission. That can't be good.

I guess this is what they mean by "adjustment disorder". But it isn't good that I am not getting any catharsis at all. I know I will be okay in the end, but I don't want it to all come out at the wrong time.

I know, I'm a control freak, scheduling my panic attacks like everything else.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

I have to say that this birthday snuck up on me. The last month has been one of the most amazing and agonizing I have ever had. And in my lunatic life, that is saying something. The fact that I am turning another year older seems insignificant by comparison.

By far, the wonderful gift of my new daughter has been the most transforming thing I have ever experienced. Because she is not yet legally free, becoming her parent has been bittersweet.

I feel like trying to write about the things that have been on my mind is a fool's errand. I can't comprehend it yet. I have a vague feeling that I somehow SHOULD be able to chronicle this journey a bit better, but for some reason my creativity is a bit stoppered at the moment.

Yesterday I took A to the county office for a scheduled visit with her bio-dad, only to find that he had checked in, and then inexplicably left. My heart just crushed for A. She's so little and vulnerable. And she knew we were there to see him, and he wasn't there. She cried when I put her back in the car. Thank god there are lots of Christmas lights on the houses on the drive home; it was a nice distraction for her.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is it too soon to start the experiments?

Ok, is 2 1/2 too early to start the programming? Disturbed by A's obsession with all things pink and princessy, I would prefer it if she were more geeky.

So today we watched "Return of the Jedi". I know it is PG, but I was, you know, providing parental guidance.

She was nonplussed, but she didn't ask me to turn it off, like she does when I watch the History channel.

Is it too soon to start these psychological experiments? I think not. She is already starting to pick up little vocal mannerisms from us, why not give her some real pop culture chops to go with it?

I mean, she is too young for the Boy Wizard, but whiny Luke Skywalker must have something going on that she can relate to!