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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Heading to Atlanta

Alex and I are just about to head to Atlanta to visit Grant for the weekend. I'm telling you all this so you know exactly who has us if we disappear. One never knows with Grant ;)

My back is killing me. Alex's back is also killing him. We're just about to drive three hours in the car anyway. What I tell myself in my head is: don't bitch about it. You could have two herniated disks like Angie (JPD). Now THAT would hurt. Shut up weenie. You can drive on this sucker. So, I shall. Plus there is copious alcohol at the end of the journey, and that always helps.

Anyway, I plan on gaining at least five pounds. I think we'll also get to see the other Angie too (Atlanta Angie--"Can of Worms"). Grant is making me (yes, I'm so unwilling!) do a three sushi tour of Atlanta to compare. Mmmm. I think I've mentioned I could eat sushi every night of my life! We're also getting mexican food one day and cajun food another. It should be fun! See y'all later!

(well, unless Grant kidnaps us and throws us in his basement, but then you'll at least be able to tell the police where the bodies most likely are...)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

No, Really, I am Typing! I Swear!

Well, after reading Laura's last post--even though she singled me out as somebody who is not worrying her because I DO post on other people's blogs to show I'm alive--I felt like I needed to just blog a bit before I head to bed.

I've been managing at least a post a week, but this week disappeared on me. I only had two files for the grant to do this week, so that wasn't it. Alex arrived on Wed night (a friend dropped him off on her way to Clemson) because he had fall break on Thur and Fri. I just have enjoyed having him around for an extended period of time. But now he's in Columbia, and I'm here. Sigh. I love being married to that man, but this not being able to sleep with him every night is killing me. I'm all about the snuggling at night, you know?


So, my son supposedly can't read. My daughter couldn't read at this age either (5) supposedly as well, but the librarian told me that she caught her reading full sentences to another child. For some reason, it was important to Ariana to not reveal her reading capacity for another year. My son seems to have the same issues going off too.

Tonight, while Alex and I were chatting, Jared pulled out his Bionicle book. "D-O-O-M! That spells doom...oh, and V-I-P-E-R! That spells viper. This one's a doom viper...cool!"

The boy probably can't read the word "house," but damnit he can read "doom viper." Yes, he is the child of geeks.


So, after hearing a story about a mom and her son who couldn't get along for years, even though the other son tried to mediate between them for some sort of resolution, I was reminded of my sister and my mom. My mom made mistakes all the time with parenting. Hell, so do I. But I've been a foster care worker, and I know what a truly bad parent is. It's not mom. If I really want to have a point of reference about a psycho bitch mom, I'll ask Grant for more stories about his mom. That being said, my mom certainly has her flaws, and I can understand why my sister has issues with her.

However, considering how my sister has always treated my mom, I can understand why my mom has issues with my sister, too.

I've always been tossed in as the mediator. I don't know why. I seem to have this unpleasant knack throughout all my life of being placed in between two people who don't like each other, and there I am wondering if I'm doing or saying the right thing. My mom and my sister don't lie about what they perceive has happened in a given argument. They really think X or Y has happened. Yet if anybody were there as a witness, he or she would wonder wtf the whole argument was about. It's one person taking one part wrong, the other taking great offense at the reaction, and a fight following. I love my mom; I love my sister. With a few exceptions over the years--the kind that any people who are close for decades will have--my mom and sister are really good to me. My sister has hurt my feelings this summer, but to be fair over the course of our relationship she's probably done something to hurt me maybe one or two other times ever. My mom only upsets me--truly upsets me--once every couple of years too. And any time they hurt me, it's not intentional. That's something I seem to keep in mind but they can't.

I guess that's why I feel they'll never be close no matter how much I mediate their arguments. They always believe the other person has malicious intent to the other, when in fact it's often just two different personality types with two different needs on how to approach an issue. Or it's just one person using language that seems very hurtful on the surface, but was not intended to be so. Do I think that a person can be mean on purpose? Hell yeah! But knowing my sister and my mom as I do, I doubt they are doing so deliberately. You have no idea what a shock it is when I find out that somebody has done something malicious to another. It's not my style at all. I will grumble about a person if I have issues, but if that person asks me to my face I will repeat everything I remember saying. I don't like assassinations. I don't like sneak attacks. If either my mom or my sister did something deliberate to the other, I'd know it...they don't.

Let me give you an example of my mom's stellar lack of tact.

I was raped when I was 19. No, no, let's not go into the details...that part is not the point. It's not something I choose to blog about, and I've dealt with it in the long haul. However, when I told my mom, the first words out of her mouth were--and I shit you not, she had this serious, intent look on her face and this was not to be mean nor was it a joke--"well, at least you weren't a virgin!" Sigh. When I calmed down later on and tried to explain to her how hurtful that comment was, she still didn't get it. One hour later, I succeeded, and she apologized. And people wonder why women don't let others know when these incidents happen...anyway! My mom eventually got it and apologized. It took a lot out of me to show her why that was not the best thing to say. My sister doesn't have that sort of patience with my mom, nor does she have the trust that my mom loves her and wouldn't WANT to hurt her.

Man, I could keep rambling about this one forever. All I can say is that the story I heard about today had a happy moment in it: the son called up his mom and said he realized that his mom loved him, and he loved his mom, and he was sorry if he ever made her feel that she was not loved despite all his complaints about things that had happened over the years. I was happy for that family, but sad for my mom and my sister. They tolerate each other fine. They even visit each other (mostly for the sake of my sister's kids). But love each other? Understand each other? Make peace with each other? Nope, not happening. I just have to hang that one up. I can mediate. I can try to stay out of it. I can complain. Who the hell cares? It's not budging. At least I can feel relief that I see them both as wonderful people, and that my family, on the whole, is terrific beyond belief. I have my whole family, and they have me. I'm just sad that mom and my sister can't really say the same.


Speaking of parents, mom and dad got me an early Christmas present! I have a laser printer, and Alex installed it. It's wonderful! And Alex determined that my computer is in great shape except for the memory issue, so we bought a memory card and he installed it, more than doubling the capacity of the computer overnight. Sims 2 runs faster now. Isn't that all that matters?


I think I'm going to go broke this year with feeding students. Freshmen stuck in dorms eating crap food make me sad. I already have brought in crab dip, cupcakes, and brownie/cheesecake thingys for them.


And lastly, for those of you in the know, Radiocat has returned home after his expensive irradiation therapy. I now have a glow in the dark cat. I can't let him sleep with me for two weeks, and I can only pet him for short periods of time per day. But he's likely cured (98% cure rate), so all is well. My cat's superior to yours because he's radioactive. Beat that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Anybody who has small children now or has had them in the past knows that feeling of sleeplessness that one gets from no more than three hours of sleep in a row, perhaps no more than that in a given night, for days/weeks/months. Well, that's what I'm feeling, but there's no baby as a bonus for the effort. It's been a rough time lately trying to get these midterm grades in, and the last few nights I've received three hours of sleep per night. Today I realized I was finally fully affected. I had to drink constant caffeine, and also shovel in my mouth the chocolate that a wonderful human being had sent me, in order to not just collapse. I managed to drive to and from school for the kids and also to Clemson without dying or crashing the car. I'm so damned proud.

I kept repeating the same words today and stammering and losing concentration. Luckily, the classes had largely independent activities to take care of today, so I wasn't required to give a stellar lecture. Sadly, I have one more evening of this nightmare. THEN, tomorrow, I can sleep. At least I know when I'll get sleep. With a five year old and an eight year old, unless Ari has a migraine or asthma, or Jared gets sick (very rare on that one), I get to sleep through the night uninterrupted. I remember when they were infants and toddlers. One could wish for sleep, but the magic dice roll often was the determination of whether or not that dream would come true.

So, Thursday night, I'm aiming for a glorious eight hours of sleep. I finished up the grant files that Angie gave me, and I doubt she'll give me more by Thur night. Thur night...mmm...sleeeeeeepppp....

The midterm grades are frustratingly high for this unusual method of doing the English 103 class at Clemson. I say "frustratingly" because these kids are typically getting one letter grade higher than they deserve thanks to the lab component of the class. It's 20% of their Eng grade, and it's impossible to fail. In fact, you have to try NOT to get an A. So, under most circumstances, the lab grade bumps up the whole course grade by a letter. It's not that I like to see folks fail or get D's, but a little Fear of God for some of my slackasses would be nice at the midterm to ensure good work for the rest of the semester, you know? Oh well. It'll be difficult to have bad evaluations from students who are all doing well at least. I'm trying to look on the bright side.

I think one of the most pleasant surprises of this term is finding out that I have a talent that I never thought I had. Basically, I felt before this term that I could read, write, and analyze literature exceptionally well...plus cook well. I was working on superior wine knowledge, and that's about it. What can I say? My talents are rather focused. I can't sing, dance, play a musical instrument, draw, or do/enjoy math. However, what I do, I do well. I felt that at thirty-six years of age, I had already figured out just about everything I could do.

However, this term we have to spend considerable time on visual arguments. I've never, ever had to cover that in any class. It's all a new approach to me. It reminds me of what I always assumed an art class would use as an approach to art analysis. I think I had all of one class session on anything art related--a medieval art session in a medieval culture history class. Anyway, what I discovered is that visual analysis and noting visual rhetoric uses the SAME skills as analysis of literature and its rhetoric. To translate: man, can I ever bullshit on any picture I'm shown. Haha! I'm thrilled. I didn't even KNOW I could do this! I've gone to art museums, but my general reaction was oh I like that, oh I don't. Now, today, when I was with the class at the Lee Gallery, students would ask me what I thought of this piece or that and I'd completely dissect it, much to their delight. Maybe I'd take an art class now that I know I can get so much more out of it!

I'm sure many hilarious things have happened this week. Unfortunately, I can't remember one of them. I can't wait to get some sleep....

EDIT: no, actually, I remember something that entertained me recently now. I was talking to my ex. It went like this:

Ex: I still think you're FUCKING INSANE to get married again this soon

(note: this soon is four and a half years after I told him that's it, we're getting a divorce)

Kira's Reply: Look, I still think it's FUCKING INSANE I got married to you the first time.

He had to laugh. I got him good ;)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Messages to My Neighbors

Ahh the joys of apartment life! Sometimes, I just have something to say to the wonderful people that live in my building. I'll try to gather all my thoughts in one go for the lot of them!

Neighbor #1:

Please understand that if you smoke so much ganja that Cheech and Chong would even pass out, the rest of us are bound to smell it too. I don't care that you smoke weed as long as my asthmatic daughter is not in your house while you light up your doobies. However, the policeman who lives a couple of buildings over? I'm thinking he'd mind, and unless he's got a deviated septum and can't smell, if he wanders this way, we'll have an apartment vacancy soon.

Neighbor #2:

Don't you ever get embarrassed by the frequency in which eviction notices, disconnected notices, and late payment notices are tacked to your door? Hey, if they're posted for all of us to see, I'm going to look and find out what it is!

Neighbor #3:

It's 930p. Put your damned 2 yr old daughter to bed instead of screaming at her for crying when she's just tired. Your parenting skills frighten me. At least when another neighbor left a note on your door telling you that she'd call DSS the next time she saw your 2 yr old and 4 yr old wandering free around the apartment complex, climbing into strange people's cars just to say hi, you listened and stopped endangering them....well, that way at least. Sigh.

Neighbor #4:

If you burn one more pizza at 3a and hence set off the fire alarm AGAIN, I shall kill you. It'll be legal and everything.

Neighbor #5:

Your hermit-like existence is glorious. I never see you except when you scurry into your apartment, and you never make noise. I love you.

Neighbor #6:

Thanks for never putting up a firewall on your wireless. When my cable goes down, I can always rely on you to have net access through the laptop!

You know, one day I'll have a house instead of an apartment, and I'll miss all these guys!