Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Refreshed and Rejuvenated

Well I had an excellent Memorial three day weekend. I hope you all did as well. There is so much I want to share that I don’t know where to begin.

I had plans lined up for all three days, a jam-packed weekend full of adventures and hanging out with both family and friends. While my plans did not go as I expected, I did enjoy myself.

Saturday, I took a trip out to Pasadena, by way of NoHo with Meesh and Ms. S. We headed over to the LUSH store. I actually did not purchase anything. Hard to believe, I know. We ate dinner there and also went and saw the movie, “Thank you for Smoking.” I liked it. When Ms. S and I had done our Academy nominated movie watching sprint, we saw the trailer several times. I was not disappointed. I really liked the cast. If you get the chance, check this little gem out.

Oh and that morning, I passed my weight watcher’s monthly weigh in for the first time in three months. Go me!

After dropping off Meesh, Ms. S and I hit Borders back in town before going our separate ways. I ended up missing the big family BBQ that day since I had scheduled this trip first and they switched the BBQ from Sunday to Saturday at the last moment. Hey, sometimes these things happen. I actually beat my parents home from Pasadena. The family BBQ’s tend to go on for hours.

Sunday is when my plans went majorly astray. Ms. S and I were originally going to get together, do some experimental cooking for our cocktail party in June and then head over to the Cajun-Creole Festival which was down the street from Ms. S’s place so we could walk to it. Well, these plans fell through.

I woke up not feeling well. I had a lot of pain in my right eye that kept coming and going. So when Ms. S called me and said we could cancel our plans since I was feeling under the weather and she was not in the best of moods, I took her up on it. With the exception of one short run to the market in the evening, I pretty much did not leave the couch that day. Sometimes, I just need a day of doing nothing. I didn’t call the doctor about my eye since I am seeing him today (Tuesday) and I figured I would call on Sunday of I was still in pain. Good news, I am fine. I occasionally get some pain today and I plan on asking the doc about it today. I figure that all is okay. I mean, my eye is still healing. I have stitches in my eye still and while there is less of it, part of my eye is still red.

I do regret canceling my Sunday plans a little. I actually enjoy cooking but since I get home after 6 everyday, I don’t have a lot of time to cook any more. Plus, even though I don’t listen to Cajun-Creole music on a regular basis, I enjoyed my first visit to the festival last year. It is interesting to see what food is served at these festivals. And I feel bad on flaking on Ms. S, as it turns out it was a little miscommunication between us as well. We should have hung out that night at least. Sorry chica.

Last night, Sunday, I went over to my cousin Sandra’s house for dinner. She has twin girls who just turned 7. The girls are sweethearts, with a little bit of attitude. I love them, the funniest things come out of their mouths. One of the girls asked me how boast float when we were on vacation in Venice, Italy. Let me ask you this, how do you explain physics to a seven year old when they don’t know what molecules are. I think I did a decent job explaining it but who knows. Here is a picture from the train ride to Venice.

That's Sophia on the left, Sarah in the middle and James with his pacifer. Thomas wasn't born yet.

I digress. It was a mini BBQ, with the Best family and the Staubs and me. (the twins, Sandra and her husband Malcolm are the Bests). Malcolm cooked while I played Twister with the girls. There is nothing like a game of Twister with kids who don’t know their left from their right. And as many of you know, I have a block with that as well so it was crazy. Plus, I couldn’t tell the girls apart last night most of the time. Calling the girls “Sweetie” will only get you so far.

I used the spinner and called out to the girls the next move. The girls don’t understand the rules about not lifting your hand or foot from a place and having only one appendage on a circle at a time… Every time I looked over, they were both on different sets of circles, not matching. It is really hard to have a winner when neither one is following the rules. After a while, I stopped using the spinner and would call out any combination I wanted. The girls couldn’t tell I wasn’t using the spinner and it amused me to see how the girls would twist and move around. Fantastic.

I fed my nephew Thomas so mom could actually eat with the rest of the family last night. James, who we all know I just adore to pieces, was being a PILL. He had been napping when I got there and he was whiny and cranky for the rest of the night. Ah well, All kids have off days. He still came over and gave me a hug when they left.

Earlier that day, Ms. S and I went to see “The DaVinci Code.” I hadn’t read the book and wanted to see if I could follow the story without having read the book.
I had a good time, Ms. S is always good company and we got Icees at the theatre. I liked the movie. Ms. S lent me the book after we left the theatre since she just happened to have it in her trunk, so I am interested to see how the two differ. I was glad to see Alfred Molina working. I like him as an actor. There is a French actor who played the main police inspector who I recognized but can’t remember his name. I liked him too.

So that is the shortened version of my weekend. I had a good time and also rested up. I hope you all had fun adventures and restful weekends as well. Ciao!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Weird Dream

I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt that it was Tuesday and I suddenly realized that I was getting married that weekend and still needed a dress! I wanted to have a friend come with me so I could have a second opinion but it was such short notice that no one could go. I knew the exact dress I wanted, it was a strapless either princess seam or empire waisted Ivory gown made in raw silk with a full skirt that was gathered in random spots, no train. (Okay-okay, the degree in costume design kicked in, even in my dreams) I didn’t know how I was going to get the dress on such short notice as you have to order most dresses at least 8 months in advance and would have to find a place that would sell it to me off the rack.

Now there are several things that were weird about having this dream. First, the fact that I remembered this dream was a surprise since I rarely remember my dreams. Ms. S. told me that she read that vegetarians don’t dream as vividly as meat eaters. Who knows why but it came from a reputable source.

Second, I’m not even dating anyone, why am I dreaming about getting married? I was not one of those little girls who dreamed about and planned their future wedding or walked down a play aisle with a napkin pinned to my head to marry my teddy bear. I didn’t even own a wedding dress for my Barbie. Now a scarlet and black Bob Mackie designed dress for my Barbie, sure, but no wedding dress.

The thought of having to plan a wedding gives me nightmares. Most of my friends have heard me express this idea before. I mean, the guest list alone.... My mom is one of 9 siblings and my dad is one of 5. Then I have first cousins, their children, my friends - the list goes on and on and that would just be my part of the guest list, we would still have to include his! And the cost of most weddings is phenomenal. I would rather spend the money on a down payment for a new house.

I don't think my mom would ever forgive me if I eloped, since both my sibs are gay. And I have to be honest, even though I would cringe at the cost, I really would like to buy an expensive and beautiful wedding dress. That would be the only part of the experience I would enjoy, shopping for a dress and getting to try on so many gowns. The only decision that I have made about "my wedding" , is no bridesmaids. It would be too tough to select which of my friends I would ask to stand up with me and I would worry that someone would be offended if I didn't ask them...at the most, I might ask my sibs to stand up for me.

Third, I cannot believe that I was that specific about what wedding dress I needed. Partly because the afore mentioned reason, I’ve never thought about a wedding for myself and second because what a dork that my sewing training kicks in during a dream! Yeah, I’m a nerd.

And how in the world would I, of all people, forget to order a wedding dress?

Part of me thinks that I was that dress specific because one of the last things I saw before I fell asleep was my copy of Quince Girl magazine. Here is the cover

This is a new magazine created to show off trends, styles and planning tips for girls planning their Quinceaneras. It’s like a bridal magazine. I didn’t have a Quinceanera and I don’t feel like I missed anything. My dad brought the magazine home for me since I am studying the image of Chicanas in the media. It’s fascinating in a “My Super Sweet 16” train wreck sort of way. Here is the dress in the magazine that most closely resembles the dress in my dream.

Except my dream dress was not as fluffy, or pink.

I don’t think the dream necessarily means anything, although if you all want to guess, I would be trey amused. It was just so bizarre I had to share.

Have a good memorial weekend! Be safe and smart.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

In other good news..

I found out this weekend that I have received a federal grant for the 2006-2007 school year. It pays my tuition in full for both semesters. I was in shock when I saw the financial aid award I had received. It had also already been accepted, which I knew I hadn’t done so I called the financial aid office.

The woman who helped me was very nice. I hadn’t recalled applying for any grants but apparently, when I filled out and submitted the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online, it automatically entered me in the grant program. The lady told me that I barely qualified due to my income, this was the only grant I was eligible for as a Grad student and that the school automatically accepted the award for me since they figured I would want the free money.

Moral of the story, if you are in school, even if you don’t think you qualify, file your FAFSA online every year. Its free and you may get a pleasant surprise. After filling out the form the first time, they have a very cool, reapply feature for the next year which auto populates the fields for you but still allows you to update any information that has changed. Take a couple hours, and fill it out.

Here is the link if you need it.


Monday, May 22, 2006

I’m back!

Here is what I look like after my surgery.

Just kidding! Obviously. My hair isn’t that big...

Any way, so I am finally ready to write about my surgery. Now, I have gotten a couple shudders when talking about the procedure, so if medical procedures, stuff to do with eyes or blood make you queasy, don’t read this entry. And let me apologize in advance, this is going to be a long wordy entry. Sorry, no pictures beyond the first one in this entry.

You’re not allowed to drive after this surgery, so my dad picked me up from work around 1 and drove us down to Wilshire and Gayley. We got down there with plenty of time to spare. My appointment was scheduled for 4:30 but they wanted me there at 2, “to fill out forms.”

Yeah, as to that, after being ignored for about an hour, it probably took me about 20 minutes to fill out these forms. And this was after the receptionist/office personnel person misspelled my first name and had to reprint the forms. I refused to sign two forms initially because, A) I was not given the opportunity to ask questions of the anesthesiologist as stated and B) The office person forgot to give me the form outlining my aftercare that the form was asking me to acknowledge receipt of.

Perhaps you might ask why I am so caught up on these small details. When this is my first experience with the surgery center, which is two floor above the doctor’s offices where I had my initial appointments, it does not inspire confidence in the place. This is my health and these are all legally binding documents. And I am not going to sign anything that is untrue because of the possible side affects that were listed for this procedure.

In truth, the doctor’s have to list every single possible side affect, even if there is no reported case and they have never seen the side affect themselves. For this procedure, I could have lost my vision completely and/or required corneal replacement surgery if anything had gone wrong. That is of course, the worst case scenario. But this was the first operation besides having permanent teeth removed that I have ever had done. I have my tonsils, my appendix and all other various body parts that can be removed without dying. The last hospital stay of any kind that I had was for my birth and I don’t remember that.. Needless to say, I was a little anxious.

So moving right along. After a couple hours of hanging out in the reception room, watching other people go in and watching other’s coming in to pick up their loved ones, the nurse finally called me in. Her name was Marlowe and I could not have asked for a sweeter or nicer nurse to look after me. But I get ahead of myself.

She took me into a changing room and asked me to remove any jewelry that might get in the doctor’s way – my necklace and three earrings. She also had me place my sweater and purse in one of those patient personal belongs bags and gave me a medical robe to put on over my clothes and a huge shower cap/medical hair cover thingy to put on over my hair. After that, she took me back to a recovery/prep area with about four gurneys. She had me lay down on one and then got me a blanket since it was chilly in the room. She even gave me an extra blanket since my feet were cold – as usual.

The doctor came back to check on me and they marked my forehead with a asterisk in marker above my right eye so they would know which one to work on. Marlowe then put the IV connecting tube into the back of my right hand. She tape me up and was beginning to walk away, when I suddenly felt something wet and cold run on my hand. I had blood from the IV connection tube running across the back of my hand and down my wrist. Lots of blood.

“Umm, excuse me, I’m having a problem, I’m bleeding.”

Marlowe was startled and came back immediately. She came back so quickly, she didn’t even put gloves back on or bring anything with her to stop the bleeding. At this point, I’ve gotten blood on the sheets I’m lying on. But it was okay, since Marlowe grabbed the blanket I was lying under and used it to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. She told me not to look so I don’t pass out. To which I replied that it was okay, I donate blood regularly so this was nothing. We kept chatting as she worked on my hand. Marlowe use to work in the emergency room and she said that most people, especially guys, faint at the sight of their own blood or start thrashing around. She was impressed on how calm I stayed. I told her that I knew that they (meaning the nurses on duty) would take care of me and that my panicking and thrashing around would only make her job harder.

It wasn’t that much blood but it was not a pretty sight. Marlowe switched out the tube to attach the IV to, she told me that in the 7 years she has been doing IV’s, this is the first time she has seen anything like this. She guessed that the little tube thing was defective, which is why it allowed the blood to come out the end. She cleaned up my skin and re-taped the tube. She checked it before she walked away to throw all the sterile wrappings away, then came back and attached my IV and then switched the sheets and blankets out for me.

Everything else was calm after that, the nurse who would actually be in surgery with me, Kathy, came out and introduced herself and Marlowe came over and put a couple different drops in my right eye. Thinking back on it, I think one was a numbing drop and the other was to dilate my pupil since my vision was a little wanky after that. The Doc wrote up my prescriptions and Marlowe took them out to my dad so he could call them in or go downstairs to the pharmacy in the building to get them filled while they were working on me. Before I knew it, Kathy came to walk me to the operating room.

“It’s just down the hall here, first door to your left,” as she trailed behind me carrying my IV.
Uh, did I forget to mention that I don’t tell my left from my right very well?

I think I cracked a job about not realizing I would be expected to tell my right from my left before the surgery, not a very good joke to be truthful. But I think they could tell I was a little anxious.

They had me lay down with a pillow under my knees and my head in this molded head rest. Kathy came and took my glasses and I hung out while they got everything set up in the room. I think the introduced me to the anesthesiologist but I was kind of not taking much in at that point, being mostly blind. I was okay, until they put the restraint strap over my legs. That is when I started crying.

They asked me how I was and I told them I was anxious and Kathy rubbed my shoulder and told me that was pretty common. Dr. Maloney was very nice about it too. I am sure they see a lot of that. They had the anesthesiologist drug me up through the IV and they began.

Now, from here on in, things are a little foggy, I know that they inserted a frame to keep my eye open and at one point, I could feel the doctor working on my eye and they had to give me more anesthetic. That really sucked but at least I know to speak up sooner and what to say for next time.

From looking at my eye later, they made a small incision at the top of my Iris, inserted the lens, attached it to my cornea somehow and then stitched the incision up. Yeah, I could feel him pulling the stitches closed – in my eye. I don’t know if I could have gone through it if I had know all that it entailed. Sometimes, I think it is better to just go into things blindly, at least for me. I feel the same way about childbirth – Don’t show me those miracle of birth videos or I will never be able to go through it. Just let me get pregnant, gestate the baby and not have an option when it comes time to pop the kid out. There are not a lot of options once you start giving birth, you can’t return the kid at that point.

But I digress. They taped a clear eye shield over my eye and wheeled me out to the recovery area. I think I was the last patient for the day. They talked to me and asked me to respond to them and keep telling me to take deep breathes. I have never felt so out of it in my life. Or so relieved to be done with anything. I just wanted to go home and rest but I couldn’t imagine getting up. It took me a while to come around, I remember closing my eyes because it was easier than keeping the right one open and I couldn’t see out of the left one. I don’t think I had the coordination to put my contact in at that point. I don’t think I slept but anything is possible. My eye felt funny and not too good, so when Marlowe offered me painkillers, I said yes. My stomach didn’t feel great so Marlowe gave me Tylenol instead of Vicoden. She also gave me apple juice and peanut butter crackers! Yay – treats!

Skipping ahead, on Tuesday, I had a follow up appointment. My vision was 20/50 at that point, they liked the placement of the lens and there was no change in the pressure in my eye and there was no inflammation for them to worry about. My eye was bright red from all the blood trapped in it, but that is suppose to go away after a while. I still have some of the red in my eye this week but it does look better, according to mi familia. Of course, the red part that is left is the part in view, the rest of the eye is clearing up nicely.

There were a couple of cool things about the surgery. When I looked really closely at my eye, I could see where they made the incision and stitched up the cut. There was a small line/ indentation on my Iris. Cool. And one day at work, I was looking out the reflective windows and with the sun shining in, I could actually see the lens in my eye in my reflected image.

So currently, I have one contact in and one “Bionic” eye, as my brother calls. It’s nice to wake up in the middle of the night and be able to see my clock and not walk into my furniture as I stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The last couple days, my eye has been feeling itchy and dry in the evenings, but I guess that is normal and can continue for a while as I heal.

So tomorrow, I have a second check up appointment. I am very excited to find out how my vision checks out now and to find out when we are going to do the next eye.

And I promise not to write as long an entry for a while. For all three of my regular readers. Well, make that four.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

If you give a Mouse a Cookie

Okay, I DO NOT feel like writing about my surgery yesterday, let it suffice to say right now that I will live and came through alright. So I wanted to write something a little light hearted instead of my usual ranting and raving.

For some reason, this book was running through my head. If you are not around children much, you may have missed it. The book is called, “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laurie Joffe Numeroff. Basically, the story follows the series of request that a mouse might make if you give him a cookie. For example, the next thing he asks for is a glass of milk, followed by a special mug and so on and so forth.

It is such a cute picture book and one that kids love. If you are around any new moms, this is a great book to give as a gift for baby showers, christening, Christmas or Birthdays. I think that the company who publishes this book might even make a stuft animal version of the main mouse character. I know my baby cousin James use to love this story. Of course, he is crazy about animals to begin with but it really is a great book.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Out of here!

I’m off! Today is surgery number 1 – the Right eye. I have no idea how I will be feeling after this procedure, so I may not post for a while, even though I plan on returning to work tomorrow. I am sure that everything will go smoothly. I’ll let you all know.

Related Posts

Scary Larry
Say "Eye"


I know that nobody can live forever but it was a bit of a shock to open the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, be flipping through the California section and run smack dab into an obituary for someone you know.

I cannot claim that Laura Marchant and I were friends or even particularly close, but we worked an numerous shows together at Long Beach States. She graduated the year before me. I can still recall the sound of her voice and remember the classes we had together. It’s so sad, she is only two years older than I am now. She was nice and vivacious and as you can read in her obituary, she had a social conscious. What a shame.

I do not plan on going to her memorial service at the University but a part of me will always wonder what the world lost out of from her death at 30.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Get a Map

So I read an article a while ago but have finally gotten around to sharing it with you all. A poll conducted for the National Geographic revealed that 18 to 24 year olds have learned little about Geography and are not aware of themselves as part of a global community. Well, maybe they are aware that they are a part of a global community but like living in LA, they don't’ care to learn anything about their neighbors.

A randomly selected group of 18 to 24 year olds were asked to do or answer the following:

Locate Louisiana and Mississippi on a map.
Do you think that it is important to know the location of countries in the news and is speaking another language a necessary skill?
Where was the earthquake in October 2005 that killed 70,000 people located?
Locate the Indian subcontinent on a map.
Locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
Locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.
What is the most widely spoken native language?
What is the most heavily fortified border in the world?

How many would you have fared well in the poll? I’ll be the first to admit that I would not have gotten 100%. I would have been able to answer 5 of the 6 geography questions correctly. I didn’t know that language question and my answers were the opposite to the majority of the people polled for the second question.

If you want to read the statistics on how the high school students did, read the article here. It is interesting reading. The results for the first challenge – Locate Louisiana and Mississippi on a map? One-third of the respondents couldn’t locate Louisiana and 48% percent couldn’t locate Mississippi.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Letter # 5

Dear M_____,

Congratulations! On behalf of California State University, Northridge, I am pleased to offer you admission to the University for the Fall 2006 Semester.

If you have questions about your admissions, you can contact the Office of Admissions and Records at XXX-XXX-XXX. Admissions and Records will be contacting you by e-mail with news about registration and other important information.

CSU Northridge is an exciting, dynamic campus that will provide you with an array of rich and diverse academic and cultural experiences, as well as important opportunities for research and community service. Enclosed with this admissions letter is the “Getting Started” booklet which will help you become familiar with the full range of curricular and extracurricular opportunities the campus community has prepared for you.

We are pleased that you have chosen to attend California State University, Northridge, and trust that your enrollment here will be both rewarding and enjoyable. Once again, congratulations on your admissions and the start of your collegiate career.

Jolene Koester

For my two readers who I do not see on a regular basis and haven’t told face to face about my admissions. Ah yes, sweet success at last! A collective sigh of relief was exhaled by my family when I received this letter in the mail on May 5th. Ehem, so its taken me a little while to post the good news, I was celebrating.

So casual, this letter of acceptance, in contrast to the rejection letters. I guess schools think that if they are telling you no, they should be as formal and polite as possible, but when saying you made it in, they address you as a personal friend or family member.

Its a conditional acceptance, since I am switching majors from Theater Arts to Communications. I am required to take two undergraduate classes on campus – Rhetorical Theory and Communication Theory. I don’t mind too much, except these courses are not being offered in Summer Session as far as I can tell. So my two year program will probably turn into a two and a half year program. Unless I want to carry a really heavy class load for a couple semesters. It would mean less of a social life, which would be really hard for me. As an undergrad, I had no life besides working in and for my major. That was no fun. I don’t actually remember much of my early twenties. There was a period of time there when I didn’t go to a movie, for a couple years actually.

Its all about balancing the various aspects of your life, school, work, family and friends. Speaking of work-ha ha, did you like that segue?- I don’t know what I am going to do about my job. I could quit and look for something on campus that is part time. Or I could approach my boss about converting my position to a part time position and renegotiate my hours each semester to accommodate my classes.

There are benefits to both options. I’ve been a full time graduate student and worked 40+ hours at the same time. That was my last graduate program, the one I dropped out of after one year. Working that much was not a contributing factor to my leaving the program. I was pretty crazy by the time I left my job and barely managed to salvage my grades. I want to keep as high a GPA as possible in Graduate school, it will look better for any PhD program I apply to.

However, if my boss will let me convert to part time, there are the benefits of the pay rate I am currently at and I can extend and keep my benefits. Which if you have read previous posts are quite good. At least in my experience. Keeping some kind of healthy coverage is very important to me. Paying out of pocket for the Dentist is a nightmare.

Okay, this is a long enough post for today. And not even a picture to break all the writing up. How about a picture of the party I threw to celebrate my good news?

Related Posts

Letter 1
Letter 2 - sort of
Letters 3 and 4

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Job hazards

I have been working on a “special” project this past week and let me tell you, it really is special. This process led me to think about hazards in the workplace, specifically those for working in publication.

Paper cuts. When you handle as much paper as I do, files and such, you are bound to get a couple paper cuts

Eye strain. Try searching through a couple hundred pages a day, squinting to read the fine print on newspaper. Oh yeah, and the information I was looking for in the paper was commonly printed on the side margin and sometime printed upside down – on purpose.

Fingerprints. I have gotten little print fingerprints all over my desk, my printer – you don’t even want to know where I found them by the time I got home. And this is WITH washing my hands numerous times a day and using those fabulous Clorex wipes on everything within reach.

Dirty black fingerprints, every where. I use to look at the copier at work and shudder at the accumulated black marks on the nice new copier and go wash my hands after I used it. But after this project, I saw how easier it was to mark up the equipment as a black smudge built up on the side of my printer from grabbing the papers from the tray. Eww! I am not OCD about keeping things clean but for some reason, these black smudges from the newsprint grossed me out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I weep

If you have not been following this story in the news, former Deputy President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was standing trial accused of raping an AIDS positive activist. In addition to the accusation of rape, Zuma did not use any type of protection during the encounter, which he claimed was consensual. You might recall the president of South Africa previously said that he did not believe there was a link between HIV and AIDS and said that all you needed to do to not get HIV or AIDS was eat garlic and the South African potato. I am paraphrasing but you get the picture.

He was found not guilty. And the victim has been placed under protective custody – witness protection if you will – as her mother’s home has been attacked and her picture was being burned in the streets. She will probably have to be placed in a new city to avoid retribution. And yet the part of this trial that strike me most is the statistics posted towards the end of the article.

“Women's groups said the case has increased awareness of rape in South Africa, where reported rape is 114 cases per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 32 per 100,000 in the United States.”

Even in this highly publicized court case when the accused rapist was found not guilty, South Africa has a higher incident of reported rapes than the United States. I ask you, which is the ‘civilized’ nation?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Say what?!?!

This woman just got married to her 21st husband.

Yes, you read that right, number 21.

How in the world does she has the stamina? Dating is exhausting enough, I couldn’t imagine getting married that many times. She must either be killing them off or else have really, really bad luck. And she must be very optimistic.

All I have to say is, "You go girl!"

Wonder where they registered?