Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Letter # 1

February 18, 2006

Dear Ms. _____________,

This is not an easy letter to write. The Committee on Admissions, after careful review of your application and its supporting documents, has asked me to inform you that your application to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program n American Studies and Ethnicity for the Fall 2006 semester has not been approved.

Please realize that each year the university receives applications from far more students than it can possibly accommodate. As a result, we have had to establish and adhere to admission guidelines and standards that are relatively high, and to deny admission to some students of significant ability and potential.

Though you have not met the current admission standards to this degree program, we want to encourage you to continue working towards the goals you have set, both educationally and professionally.

If you have further questions concerning this decision, please feel free to call the department to which you applied. We wish you every success in your academic pursuits.

L. K. H.
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid.

Yes, it is official, I have received my first letter of denial to a PhD program. And while I would have loved to go to USC, I am not really upset. I have four more applications out- including one to another program at USC- and am just waiting for the letters to arrive.

I knew what the letter said before I opened it last night. I mean, come on, the letter was really thin, there could be only one sheet of paper folded inside. Anyone who has ever applied to a university knows that a thin envelope received at admission time is not good news. You want to get a big fat, oversized letter from the university with a welcome packet and lots of details inside.

I decided to wait until after I ate dinner in case I did get upset and I didn’t want to ruin my appetite. I opened it with the majority of the family with me at the table and I read it out loud. Dad brought up right away that the program had lost its Irvine Grant/Funding this year and therefore can’t take a lot of students. And he mentioned how unenthusiastic everyone from the department we met was when we went for a visit. I love my family, they are so supportive. But I am an unpublished student who has already left one graduate program and do not have a background in any of the recommended fields for the degree. I guess I am not upset because unlike the first time I applied to a Master’s program, I have more applications in the other schools and what can you do? I kind of thought my application was a long shot but all you can do is try right? I’ll let you all know as further letters come in.

Is it kinda sick that I want to frame my rejection letters though?

Monday, February 27, 2006

People are weird

There was an online poll conducted by Mitsubishi Motors recently. The poll had two parts to it. The first part of the poll involved the submission of weird street names online by consumers. The second part of the poll involved a narrowed list of ten that was then presented online for consumers to vote on what order these ten names fell on the weirdness scale.

Here are the results, and oh yes, they made sure to state that they verified that these are indeed, actually street names.

* 10. Tater Peeler Road in Lebanon, Tenn.
* 9. The intersection of Count and Basie in Richmond, Va.
* 8. Shades of Death Road in Warren County, N.J.
* 7. Unexpected Road in Buena, N.J.
* 6. Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Ariz.
* 5. The intersection of Clinton and Fidelity in Houston
* 4. The intersection of Lonesome and Hardup in Albany, Ga.
* 3. Farfrompoopen Road in Tennessee (the only road up to Constipation Ridge)
* 2. Divorce Court in Heather Highlands, Pa.
* 1. Psycho Path in Traverse City, Mich.

I did not make this up. I found this article online at MSN.com under news of the weird.

People are weird

Friday, February 24, 2006

Colors of my week

I thought that I had posted this way back on Feb 24th, I didn't realize it only made it to the draft phase. Oh well, Enjoy!

Yellow Stickers

(No, not blue sticker Sam) So a couple weeks ago, I was having a conversation and someone mentioned that hybrid vehicles can go in the carpool lane but they have to have these yellow stickers around the edge of their car. I had no idea what they were talking about but on Monday, I noticed a car in the parking lot at work that has those yellow stickers applied. I now have a clue.

The color of the striped tie of the speaker I saw on Tuesday night. I had read his book last month and he was coming to the local university to speak. So dad and I attended his lecture. And then we went to dinner at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants for Red Chile Tofu Noodle soup. Dinner was very yummy.

Blue Bear, Blue Bear, what do you see?
Mi familia had dinner with our cousins’ on Wednesday night. I arrived later than everyone else did since I was coming straight from work. The first thing I see when I walk through the door is my mom, carrying a little fuzzy blue bear – my nephew Thomas in a body suit. It was so cute, it was a furry footed outfit, complete with hood and the ears to go with it. He is now about a month old and he is finally taking a break between fits of fussing. I got to hold him for an hour later that night. It was wonderful.

Did my taxes on Thursday night. And I am getting some money back this year. Who hoo! Although I found out how dismal my overall money earned was last year. Let me put it to you this way, I found out I earned $10,000 less than I had the previous year. Ouch!

Coral is the magical color of Friday. (Don’t blame me, I didn’t make this up. I got it from the Llewellyn 2006 Witches Datebook)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

a thought to ponder

“One of the saddest things is that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours.” – William Faulkner

Oh but I would love to try...

It’s been a rough week. I’ll write more later when I have more energy.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Well, I have to say, overall it was a pretty nice week. Work is work but my social life has been great. I can’t remember what I did Monday night but I know it was all right. Tuesday night was a nice meal, glass of wine and tipsy run to Borders with friends in the evening. Wednesday was staying home and trying to get caught up on everything I didn’t do all week long, laundry, moving back into my room and paperwork. Last night was sushi with a friend in the valley. And tonight I have movie night with the big bro (Wessawing!).

We were meeting around 6:45, so I had some time to kill after work. At first, I was going to do a little shopping at the local drugstore, but apparently, there was a special on school supplies and there were too many people in the store and I didn’t want to wait in line. So I left without buying anything.

I ended up in a Barnes and Noble bookstore for the rest of the time. I browsed through all their bargain books and that kept me busy for some time. Sam and M, I wish that you would have been there with me, there were so many books that I would have loved to discuss with you two specifically.

Among the bargain books was this little fat book with a gold foil cover. The title is “1,000 Reasons to be Happy.” I picked it up but then put it back on the shelf and kept wandering. But I eventually came back to it again. Now I’ll be honest, I originally went to the bookstore looking to get gifts for others. And I decided that , yes this was a little bit more of a coffee table fun book than a gift with meaning but hey, it’s a gift. It doesn’t have to be for a special occasion, it can just be a “thinking of you” bit of nonsense. I didn’t have any one particular in mind when I picked up this book but I kept coming back to it. So I bought it. As I was leaving, I was thinking about who I would give it to and then, I don’t know… Isn’t it kind of insulting to give a book about being happy? Doesn’t that say, I know you’re a miserable person so I got you a book to help you be happier?

And I figured out that the unhappiest person I know right now is me. If you have been reading this blog then you know that obviously, I am not enjoying my job and home life has been a bit stressful over the past few weeks. So I decided to keep it for myself. I brought it to work today.

It’s along the lines of the “Life’s Little Instruction Book” genre. It is filled with little sayings that are suppose to help you realize how happy you are and where you can find joy in your life. I’m not expecting to get a life altering experience out of this book but it is amusing.

There are different chapters, I guess you would call them. Or rather different categories of quotes and sayings. I have been flipping through the book and picking quotes at random. The quote I will share with you today is from the Work and Creativity section.

“One source of happiness is knowing we are in the right place at the right time to facilitate our own growth.”

Now, this pretty much is a version of, 'everything happens for a reason.' So I am left to ponder what I will gain from this job that I didn’t have before I worked here. As stressful as it can be, if I am meant to be here, what am I getting from this experience?

Well, I have made at least two amazing friends, the one I met last night for sushi and I have a couple other people here that I am getting to know better and better and a couple of them have potential to become friends outside of work.

I have time a couple days a week to write, both blogging, which is the closest think I will have to a journal. I have tried and tired but I am just not one for keeping a written journal on a regular basis. We’ll see how long I keep this up. I just thought that crating a blog would be a handy way for me to keep my friends and family current if I end up moving away for Grad school. It’s cheaper than a phone call and since I may not be able to see people with regularity… Theoretically, I also have time to write for my applications and other scholarly pursuits but I have to be honest folks, that really doesn’t happen.

And I think I am also gaining a better sense of financial knowledge. I have used my time to learn about creating my first budget, maintaining it and balancing my checkbook. Baby steps folks, baby steps. My next step will have to be figuring out this 401K stuff and other financial items I have been neglecting. There is a lot of information out there if you know where to look. I have been using MSN money as a resource. Some of the items I read, I take with a grain of salt but most of it seems logical and straightforward. There is a group called the ladies in red, whom regularly get together and discuss finances. They talk about financial myths that women hold, and how they are tackling financial challenges in their own life. Mostly the group discusses debt (Hence the group name) but they occasionally talk about understanding things like insurance and saving for your first home. I feel like this use of my down time in addition to learning about accounting (okay, it’s more like bookkeeping) for a business has really helped me understand my money better. Because like other topics, finances is one of the things that is rarely if ever discussed in my family. When was I expected to learn this stuff? Was I just supposed to pick it up along the way? I think finances is something you actually have to study and get assistance with understanding as you mature and become more aware of the world around you. The next step after obtaining knowledge then, is to become more active with managing my money.

Last night, I actually went up to my friend’s apartment before we headed out to the sushi place. We stepped into her office for a moment so I could help her with an Excel problem (I hope it worked). While I was there, I noticed she had a sign taped to her computer screen. It was along the lines of “What item am I least wanting to do today?” We have talked about taking control and responsibility for your life on many different occasions (Hey, that’s what life is about when you hang out with a life coach). I know that her theory is that what ever you resist doing the most is the thing you need to tackle the most. So I am going to sign of and start working on the essays for the last grad school application that I need to turn in my March 17th. My plan is to send it before then.

Adios for now.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Happy to be Alive

There are some mornings that I wake up and everything looks amazing in the world. Today was one of those days.

I took the canyon to work today. There is nothing quite like driving through a wooded canyon while listening to some good tunes (Thanks Sam). The sun was shining, the air was cool and crisp and the sky was clear.

My favorite part of the canyon is about half way through. It’s as you begin driving back down the mountains and there is this part where the trees grow up and together over the road. It is like everything gets quieter and the light gets softer as it is filtered through the leaves. It’s especially nice when you hit the repaved parts of the road and the road noise drops away. So peaceful...

Another good spot comes just as you pass out of one county into the other. Right after the sign is a curve in the road and it looks out over a small cliff into the San Fernando Valley. You can see tall buildings in the distance and the city laid out before you. And there is not too much smog.

I wish I had a better understanding of photography at moments like these so I could capture what I see. It’s mornings like these that make me happy to be alive.

Plus, I doubled my dose of 5 HTP last night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I am evil, hear me roar…

I was in a gooood mood today at work. Many of you know that this is normally not the case. What could possibly have brought this change about? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I have next Tuesday off in order to attend a lecture at Cal State Northridge. One of the authors I have been studying, Charles Rameriz Berg, is speaking in a Chicana/o studies class. I asked for and was approved to take this day off about a month ago today. As I was asked to, I coordinated this day off with my onsite supervisor before it was submitted to the accounting manager for approval. Both my managers have known about this day off for a month right? So, who will do my work while I am gone?

Because, while Mondays and Fridays are generally slow for me, Tuesdays are full of exactly one day’s worth of work with time to take my lunch and 2 state mandated coffee breaks. Wednesday and Thursdays I have an insane amount of work to complete in two days. So there is no way that I can do both Tuesdays and Wednesdays work when I return after my day off.

Enter my malicious sense of joy. I got a new manager about four months ago. It used to be that the accounting manager in my office oversaw Inside Sales (me) and that was about it. Since she left, they restructured accounting and changes her position to a manager for Inside and Outside Sales in this office and promoted the Outside Sales manager to the manager for all Outside And Inside Sales. Following me so far? I have two managers, one onsite and one that both my manager and I report to who is not in the office. They had promoted the Outside Sales accountant to the manager position here in this office and hired another accountant to perform his Outside Sales duties.

Needless to say, this was not a smooth transition. The old manager, whom I loved, left the week after I returned from my two week vacation in Italy. The new manager had never worked in Inside Sales. But he’ll learn, right?

Yeah... It’s been four months and I have been shouldering the majority, if not all of the Inside Sales work. Well, except payroll but I have never worked on payroll. Not even with the old manager. I could, if a bus hit both current managers at the same time, complete the payroll but it’s not really one of my duties.

Well, it was finally pointed out, by yours truly, that if I suddenly got deathly ill, there is no one who knows my job. At least not currently employed by the company. So my boss who is off-site said that today I would have to train my onsite manager to take care of my duties while I was gone.

Heh, heh, heh.

It was a fascinating experience this morning. My frustration all along is that I tell my on-site boss something and he either reverses what I just said or forgets. What do I mean by reverse what I said? Well, I run a report every morning and it has all sales on it. Not all the sales are for our department and I have to subtract the sales that were recorded from the other department to reconcile our revenue. My boss was taking copious notes and as he was reading his notes back to me, he said that he needed to add the revenue from the other department rather than subtract as I had just told him. And it was like this all morning. Half the time it was like I hadn’t spoken and the other half of the time, we had to go over it three or four times. This included the items that I trained him on months ago, before I went on vacation in October. Half of this stuff is NOT NEW. He has seen this before, he’s done this before. There was just no retention.

Perhaps I should take such glee in getting to order my on-site manager around for the morning. But I have been left on my own and gotten more and more work for the past four months with no assistance from either manager. At least my off site manager has admitted that she does not know anything about Inside Sales and our communication has gotten much better over the past few weeks. I think that she has learned that the best way to manage me is not to accuse me of not doing my job correctly, like the onsite manager tends to do, but to instead ask me what happened-what I think happened. Oh yeah, that happens all the time around this office. All the time. He asks me if I updated a file that links to the one that he is using. When I tell him I have updated the file. He asks me, “Are you sure?” Hold on, wait… didn’t I just answer that question? I tell him again that yes, I’m sure I updated the file correctly. He insists that it is not correct since the document he is using still isn’t correct. I take a look at the file he is in, and he hasn’t relinked the document to the current week’s file. I point this out to him and he still asks me to check to make sure I updated the file. I bite my tongue (no mean feat, considering how outspoken and opinionated I am) and go check the file. I call him from my desk and let him know the file has been updated and flip him off through the wall separating our offices. He thanks me, we both hang up and I take a deep breath and start counting the reasons I should not quit right here on the spot.

Multiple this scenario to at least once a week since October.

Yeah…I’m not cut out for corporate America.


I receive the first grad school notification at the beginning of next month.

Un beso grande para ti!*

*A big kiss for you!

In honor of Sam and her day of mourning (Yes, I am wearing all black today in solidarity with you), I have decided to share my thoughts on V-day. ‘Cuz I know you all are just dying to know what I think. Well, wait no longer.

Considering that I date about every third blue moon, it comes as no surprise that I have not ever been dating a boy when Valentine’s Day rolled around. And I’m okay with that. Despite my reading habits and choice of movies, I don’t really see myself as a romantic. Look at the traditional Valentine’s day gifts.

Chocolates – I am not a chocolate fan and wouldn’t want to consume the calories. I’m not a freak about my weight but my weight loss of 30 pounds is still fresh in my mind. Plus, I have that whole Weight Watchers lifetime member at goal thing going on. As long as I stay within range of my goal weight, I don’t have to pay for the meetings. That is probably the only thing that keeps me accountable for my weight. Hey, what ever works to keep me at a healthy weight so I don’t get diabetes or heart disease since both run in the family.

Roses – I am not a fan of receiving flowers. Don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful and I love the scent but theoretically, you are receiving a dying plant. Once the stem is cut, the poor plant has limited time left on this earth. Maybe this view is a little weird on my part but who wants to receive a dying plant as a gift. Uh, thanks?

Lingerie – The boy who tries to give me sexy, uncomfortable and skimpy clothes better be prepared to receive a diatribe about the objectification of the female body by dominant Western civilization. News flash, thong underwear is NOT comfortable by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that panty line is a greater fashion sin.

Perfume – I’m all for a lovely scent that reminds you of your loved one when you are apart. It’s unfortunate that I get migraines from most colognes and perfumes on the market (In particular, I recently found out that By, created by Armani, is not a good scent for me to be around). Plus, I have been subjected to too many people, both men and women, who like to marinate in the stuff.

Jewelry – Umm, yeah. I don’t think any man is going to buy me diamonds. I prefer the semi-precious gems any way. Garnets, sapphires, peridot (my birthstone), and costume jewelry is what I like. I tend to loose my stuff so I don’t want anyone to spend a lot of money on the bling. Colored rhinestones satisfy me.

Stuffed Animals – ‘Cuz I need more crap to cover my bed and to take with me when I move away for Graduate school? No thank you. I have my talking Stitch and my Hula Dancing Stitch and that is all I need to make me smile after a long day.

So if you are thinking, “Geez, Marz, get a grip. It’s just one day a year.” I’ll share what I do like about this day.

Romantic love is a wonderful thing. We are mammals and mammals are social creatures that need to be touched in order to thrive. I think it is wonderful that we have a holiday that is all about cherishing the people in your life who give and receive love from you. I do not feel that this holiday is just for lovers. I think of my immediate and extended family and my friends on this day. Because love is what the holiday is truly about. And it is not a case that I am simply railing against the commercialization of this holiday. We live in a capitalist society, comrade. Going into debt for this holiday is too much but I don’t see anything wrong with a token of your affection.

So what do I think a good gift is?

How about giving a book that touched your life and your heart? I am not talking about one of those, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” churned out crap, but how about a book that changes the way you reflect on life? Share with your loved one and perhaps take a moment to inscribe a thoughtful dedication on the inside cover. Isn’t part of the whole idea of being in a romantic relationship is that you want to share your life with someone? So get sharing! Now that’s a gift.

Instead of killing a flower for a bouquet, how about a trip to a Local Park or display garden? You give the gift of your time and you also are seeing the flowers in their natural habitat. And if you live in California, chances are, the flowers will be blooming this time of year. You know, Thousand Oaks does have the Gardens of the World across from the performing arts center and the Huntington Library is not that far a drive either.

How about instead of buying lingerie or jewelry, make a donation to the American Heart Association or your loved one’s favorite charity? It’s a good way to spend your money and you get a tax write off. Hey, it’s February, love isn’t the only thing people are thinking about this month. Taxes are due sooner than you think. Why not get started on a write off for next year now? The recipient doesn’t need to know that they are helping you get a tax break. Make them think you are supporting a worthwhile cause in their honor.

These are just my thoughts on the day. If you dream of receiving a big bouquet of red roses, more power to you. I’m just not a romantic. Course I say this now, in 2006 as I am single and working on the whole intimacy thing. Who knows how I would feel if I was in a romantic relationship?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cold Case

Okay, so the G-ma drama wound down Saturday morning. Yes, she is back in her No Ho apartment. Oh, and she fired her current helper. I wasn’t kidding about that. T3 got the chance to hear all about the aftermath as she stuck around for the dirt-fest after a successful Pampered Chef Party. For the rest of you, let me rewind.

G-ma had been getting more and more ornery as the week was progressing. She was making more phone calls, and since she is legally blind, someone had to dial for her and she was more and more determined to prove she is independent and can go back to her apartment. She even had my bro track down a previous case worker of hers who moved to a different center. Of course, all she could remember was the cross street and a store near the center. And she wanted my bro to track down the lady that way. And then the social worker wasn’t in but G-ma wanted to know what she said.
It is extremely difficult to communicate with G-ma. She is mostly deaf but she also has the tendency to have selective hearing when she wants to. Sometimes she just kind of fades out in the middle of a conversation and you are not sure if she is still following you. So you’re trying to hold a conversation and she stops answering and you don’t know if it is because she hasn’t heard you, doesn’t want to answer or if she stopped listening, either because her attention wandered or because she wanted to stop listening. As I said, it is difficult to converse with G-ma.

Any way, She is getting more and more difficult and she is complaining more and more, a sure sign she is feeling better. Example, our house stays pretty cold. So G-ma is sitting in the living room and she is shivering a little. So my brother asks her, “Grandma, are you cold?” And she responds by saying that it’s okay, that my mother doesn’t like to turn on the heater and my father will sweat too much while he is fixing dinner. Mind you, Dad will be home in a couple hours but won’t start fixing dinner until hours later, like five hours later. My brother offers to get her a blanket but she says no, she’s okay. So my brother tries to figure out how to turn on the heater but he can’t get it to do anything but blow cold air. My bro called my dad and asks him how to turn the heat on. My dad is on his way home so he tells my brother that he’ll be home shortly and he will take care of it when he gets there.

Dad gets home and he puts his stuff down on the dining room table and he starts to head down the hallway to turn on the heater. Except my grandmother calls him over. My dad tries to tell her that he will be right back as soon as he turns on the heater but G-ma insist that he come over to her. So he does. And you know what she wanted? She tells him, “Feel my hands.” Dad tells her that he knows she is cold and he will go turn on the heater right now but she continues to insist he feel her hands. My dad told me later that he thought he was missing something since he couldn’t figure out why she was so insistent he feel her hands but she was just being childish for lack of a better word.

How’s the view from atop that cross, you poor martyred soul?

Long story short, mom decided that G-ma is going back to her apartment. She is too stubborn to listen to reason and if she really can’t be on her own, she needs to find that out for herself.

She’s going to die in that apartment, alone.

This may sound cruel but let me tell you what happened. G-ma started saying things that should never be spoken out loud. When mom and dad took her home, G-ma told my mom, that men are kinder than women; that her two brothers are nicer to her than my mom is. Never mind that Grandma’s oldest son doesn’t call her and doesn’t pick up the phone when she does call, lives in Downey but never visits her and flat out told my dad that they have no room to take G-ma and no money to help out with her care. Never mind that her other son lives across the nation with his second wife and while he is willing to help out with his mom, had no plans to come out this past weekend to take her. Now, he is at least sending G-ma money every month and he does call her on a regular basis. But he is far away. If G-ma needs anything, it falls on my mom.

Oh, and my G-ma is a manipulative B!tch. If my mom doesn’t jump right away to do something for her (because, duh, my mom is still working full time and can’t jump to do her mother’s bidding), my G-ma will call her sister Rose. Rose then tells her daughter Sally, whom she lives with, what my G-ma said. Sally, in turn, will call my mom and tell her off for, “Not taking your mother out more, or not getting her what she needs.”

Verbal and mental abuse that my mother survived as a child aside, that last comment G–ma made as Mom and dad dropped her off at her apartment was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. She has no kindness in her. She is 86 years old, I guess it’s the mean ones that live the longest. She walked out on her marriage, leaving her three young children with their father during the early 1950’s. She use to tell my mom that she couldn’t go to school as a punishment since my mom loved school so much. She would get mad at my mom and stop talking to her for days and my mom wouldn’t know why. She would go out drinking with her sisters and then pick my mom up from her sister’s house and drive home drunk with my mother in the car. About the only thing she never did was beat my mother with wire hangers. It’s amazing to me that my mother turned out as normal as she did.

You know, I use to think of myself as a decent person. Then this week happened and I have no compassion in my heart for this woman I am related to. She made her choices in life and now she is alone. And the two people who are there for her (mom and dad) she treats like crap. She is going to die alone in her precious apartment and the only person I feel sorry for is my mom. Because no matter how awful she is, this is her mother and once Grandma passes, my mother’s parents are gone.


Yes! It’s 9:16 and I am done with my work for the day! Now, the tragedy is, I arrived at 9:00. Why is this a tragedy you ask? Well, I have to remain here until 5:30. Now, I could see staying here until 3, kind of being on-call since things do occasionally pop up, but 5:30? Come on.

This is why I cannot stand being a part of corporate America. This is not logical. They are paying me for sitting here and metaphorically picking my nose. I blog, I balance my checkbook, I make personal phone calls, I walk around the company, I have even taken naps in my cubicle. One time, my previous manager walked into my cubicle and caught me taking a nap and she didn’t say anything. Now, she was cool. She didn’t care when I came through the door or when I left as long as my work was always done and I didn’t abuse her leniency. I didn't even have to clock in or send her an e-mail letting her know I was here.

More to come.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Day 4 of G-ma watch

So the G-ma moved in on Monday night. And I guess it is time for an update.

Since we don’t want her to be alone as much as possible but we are all working - or at least earnestly looking for work - adults, we have taken to a rotating schedule.

Dad leaves really early in the morning, so mom gets G-ma up and prepares breakfast for her. Mom leaves for work around 7:15 and I take over, having finished my morning absolutions. I help G-ma finish breakfast and help her get up from the table and over to the place she wants to sit all day, either the couch or my dad’s armchair. From there, I answer her questions, get things for her, dial the phone for her, whathaveyou. Around 9, I get my bro to come downstairs and I take off for work. The big bro takes care of G-ma for a of couple hours until my dad gets home and he takes over until around 5:30 (oh yeah, and sometime in there he makes dinner and cleans up around the house). Mom gets home and she takes care of G-ma for the rest of the night.

Pretty much the same thing every morning. She’s a stubborn lady and it is hard to convince her that she can no longer live alone in a second story one bedroom apartment in No Ho. On Tuesday morning, mom laid it on the line, either move to Carolina (I can’t remember which one - too tired) with her son (my uncle) or we start shopping for an old folks home. One or the other, that’s it.

For a while, after mom leaves for work, G-ma says that moving in with my uncle is a good idea. After all, he has a big bedroom for her and his second wife’s mother is there and she has her own room with a big screen TV (not really a big screen but when you are almost blind, I guess anything bigger that a 15 inch screen looks big) and they let her eat what ever she wants. Then in the very next breath, she is talking about how the state gives her 22 hours a week in assistance. She asks me how many hours a day that is and because of previous conversations I have had, I don’t do the math but just tell her that it is 2 ½ hours a day (close enough). She mumbles, she doesn’t know why they won’t give her more hours. Fool that I am, I answer her.

“They probably don’t have enough people to give you more hours Grandma.”

Quick to answer, “Sure they do, they have a whole list of people that I can pick from.”

Let me back up a second here. My grandmother has had a helper coming in a couple times a week for the last couple of years. And if this tells you anything about what we are dealing with here, she starts disliking the helpers for no apparent reason and fires them. Regularly. So her case worker will present her with a list and she can pick a new helper. Think I am making this up? Let me give you an example. Two helpers ago, the woman would speak to my grandmother in Spanish (which she is fluent in) and my grandmother didn’t like it so she would ignore her and then fired her. G-ma can be…difficult. And we have the additional problem that, A. All these women know each other and B. a couple of them have tried to con my G-ma out of money. And her only income is her social security, which barely pays the rent and what ever my parents give her. But I stray from the topic on hand. Back to the conversation

“Grandma, you probably aren’t the only person that the caretaker helps out. They probably have more than one person they help out with and that is why they can’t give you more hours.”


I’m kind of glad that G-ma can’t see, it at least means I can roll my eyes after these conversations.

I’m going to hell. I’m just not a good person.

10 Blessings

I’d like to take a moment out of my exhaustion and general bad mood and give thanks for ten things in my life. In no particular order.

10) I live in California. Where else is it sunny and currently 75 degrees on February 10th?

9) I have ten fingers and ten toes. ‘Nuff said.

8) Pink Heart jewelry. They have great stuff for when you want to get your bling on.

7) The Happy Bunny. He says all the snarky and sarcastic things I have to hold inside. Currently I have a Happy Bunny sticker taped to my computer that says “It’s cute how you think I’m listening.”

6) I have a job. Granted, some days I feel like showing up with an Uzi to make the people I work with see things my way but generally it is not a bad job. It gives me plenty of time to surf the net and pays decent.

5) A corollary to this blessing is that I have full medical, dental and vision coverage. This is coverage that I will need when the stress puts me in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure

4) My iPod mini. Ah the sweet bliss of putting on my ear buds and drowning out the call center that inhabits the other half of the room I work in. Also handy for calming me down after going two rounds with my “boss” who doesn’t know jack about what I do but pretends he is here to support me.

3) Baby James. (He's almost 3, BTW) His bright smile, warm almost hugs (he tends to just lean into you rather than putting his arms around you) and non-stop chatter were the highlight of my week. I only got to see him for half an hour before he went to bed last night but he made the day so much brighter.

2) My father. I could not ask for a more loving and steady presence in my life. We share books, intellectual musings, trips to the grocery store and some genetic markers for obesity and diabetes. I also think that I will inherit his salt and pepper hair.

1) I have great friends. No, truly I do. They know when to put me back together with emotional duct tape or hand me a margarita or take me out for some shopping therapy. They also indulge my carnivorous vegetarianism and my hankerings for Velveeta cheese and Rotel dip. Mmm…

Thursday, February 09, 2006

And now for something new...

I must say, living in a multi-generational household, I am having new experiences every day. Take today for example. Today I learned that an enema is only $2.13 at Vons. And that's without your club card.


By the way, Happy 30th B-day, T3. (a completly unrelated thought)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Flashback for February 6, 2006.

Whenever the phone rings in the middle of the night, you know it is not good news. The wind kept waking me up all night - love those Santa Ana winds. I did the usual tossing and turning and going back to sleep before being woken again.

So I was awake when the phone rang at 3:32 A.M.

I don’t have a phone in my room but my parents are just down the hall and I could hear their phone. I got up and stood in the hallway to listen. I got there in time to hear my dad say, “Yes, she’s right here.”

I knew at that point that the call was about my Grandmother Irene. See, my dad’s folks have been gone for a while now, my Grandma Jennie since 1980 (I was three) and my Grandpa Joe since 2001 (this one still hurts). And mom’s dad had died last year on Martin Luther King’s day (This year, my nephew Thomas Robert was born a year to the day, hence the first name). I do have, for lack of a better title, two step-grandmothers, one on both side of the family.

But I digress.

I found out what happened that night after coming home from work. Last night, as far as I can piece together, G-ma woke up with vertigo and when she got up to go to the bathroom, G-ma fell and stayed down (suddenly those, I've fallen and I can't get up commercials are not so funny any more). She woke up the downstairs neighbor by pounding on the floor and Bertha was the one who called emergency services and us.

So my parents got ready and were out the door by 4:00 A.M. to Sherman Oaks Hospital. She wasn't admitted and my parents spent the day in her No Ho apartment trying to figure out what to do. She can't function on her own and there really was no alternative so my parents brought her home.

I now live in a three generational household. G-ma, the ‘rents, and my brother and I.

I came home from work a half an hour late because I was called into a useless meeting – why they couldn’t call me into an earlier meeting since they repeated the meeting all day long is beyond me – and oh yeah, I’m not getting overtime for staying the extra half an hour (1. yes, I know this is illegal, I’ll get to this another time and 2. yes, I am bitter about this) - and moved half the furniture out of my room since I have a bedroom downstairs. I moved into what use to be my sister’s room upstairs. For how long remains to be seen.

Initially, the plan was that my uncle Richard and his wife Carol were going to fly out from North Carolina this coming weekend and take my G-ma home with them since they are both retired and Carol use to be a nurse. Handy huh? Except that my G-ma is turning stubborn and saying she doesn't want to go, that if she goes out there, she is never coming back and she wants to die in her own apartment.

So it is all up in the air. Last night, G-ma was barely there. She kept nodding off to sleep while she was trying to eat dinner and she can barely move herself any more. After talking to my mom, Carol says it is possible she has had a series of mini strokes. Either way, I have the feeling I will be attending a funeral before the summer. Course, she could surprise us all. She's an amazingly stubborn woman.

I was hoping that I could taking mornings off from work to take care of G-ma until my dad gets home from work for a little while but my boss has other plans. Now, to her credit, she is cool with me coming in late so I can take care of things at home but instead of letting me use sick time, I have to stay late to make up the time. She is a part of a state assistance program and if we register with our county, we can get someone to be with her during the mornings.

It's a lot of stress and unknown right now. Although there are some moments of levity. Such as my sleeping arrangements right now.

See, my sister’s room is being use as mostly storage. Computer boxes, my sewing machines (yes, plural) fabric and sewing tool box, my filing cabinet, mom’s spare clothes, old clothes of my sister’s, a friends wedding dress which should have been taken to her place over a year and a half ago… surfboards, you get the picture. And extra beds.

The bed in her room is four mattresses high. It’s the full set of my parents old bed while they use my sister’s mattress from her old apartment and my brother’s mattresses from when he moved home. (I traded my bed for a fancy sewing machine when I moved home and trust me, it was a fair trade monetarily). We joke that it is the princess and the pea bed. You kinda have to take a bit of a jump to get into it. It works and I have slept in it before.

In the middle of the night, (Damn Santa Ana winds), I turned over in bed and almost took a header onto the floor. Fortunately I caught myself. I probably would have been all right even if I had fallen, since there were extra pillows on that side of the bed. Well, as long as I would have managed not to hit the built in cabinets. But believe me, it was pretty funny in the middle of the night, especially since I didn’t fall.

So I think that is enough for now. Believe me, the saga will continue.