Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pittsburgh!

So, I haven't posted in two weeks because last week was me feeling miserable after putting my body through an allergic reaction (conclusion: ragweed and/or shellfish) and this week has been conferencing in Pittsburgh. I did my paper yesterday, and it wasn't the greatest presentation I've ever had. I was first, and Shari and Diana came late because Shari was at the doctors, so they missed it, so that was sad for them and me, and then absolutely nobody asked me any questions. And, an hour beforehand, I had a panic attack incited by a tornado trigger (a building that had fallen apart and looked just like it had been hit by a tornado. No. fun.) BUT, I still personally felt like I was brilliant, and I'm glad that if I had to have a less-than-perfectly-awesome conference experience, it was at Sigma Tau Delta and not at one of my really important professional conferences.

Shari and I have had a good time together. We made a lamb dinner to celebrate our birthday (we try to celebrate as near to the day exactly in between our two birthdays as possible :-D), and other than that, we've done a lot of resting. Shari's still having a really hard time recovering from the accident and not back to work after over a month ("poor, poor, Shari"--said in a Ducky from Land Before Time voice), and I've been having a hard time going through withdrawal from quitting my sleep medication and dealing with CFS. But, we're hanging in there, and I'm trying to do as much for Shari as I can. Though last night, I ended up crying on the couch for almost an hour about pretty much everything that's been bothering me the last month--hehe--so Shari's doing her share of things for me, too :-) And we're watching lots of Buffy and Friends, and last night we watched Nothing to Lose, one of our favorites and perhaps the all time funniest movie ever.

I'm suppose to be grading papers right now. I should go do that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ER Adventure

So, last night, I broke my record 5-year streak of no ER visits (for myself). And, actually, it had been almost 4 years since I had stepped foot into an ER. I think I had an allergic reaction to some pills my chiropractor gave me. My throat started swelling and my lips got all tingly. Of course, it took about 2 hours of considering and hoping that benadryl would work for me to finally decide that I should play it safe and go to the ER.

I had never gone to the ER by myself before, so that was a new experience. I think I handled it pretty well. But now I know why it's better when you have other people there. First of all, between the allergic reaction and my fatigue, I couldn't remember stuff to tell the doctors, so I felt kind of stupid saying, "Ummm . . . I'm pretty sure there's a medical condition I'm not remembering." Thankfully, I don't think it matters that you have Hashimotos when they're treating you for an allergic reaction. Also, it's nice to have company. It wasn't a big deal since I had a TV and could text my parents and Shari and feel all supported-y (or in The Guild terms, "Supportive'd!"), but it was different.

I was really impressed with the UIHC Emergency Room. I don't remember how well the ER ran when I was a kid, mainly because I was feeling miserable and it was a long time ago. But this one was definitely better than the one in Jackson or the one we took Shari to in Chicago. (Northwestern University's downtown ER--worst ER experience ever.) Within five minutes of checking in, I was in triage, and five minutes later, I was in a room with three doctors, and ten minutes later, I was hooked up to an IV. I know that allergic reactions generally get priority, but this was impressively fast, especially considering that my breathing issues had plateau-ed at that point.

After a couple of hours of observation and watching couples buy second homes in Italy on House Hunters International, I got to go home. I slept from 1 AM to 11. So . . . now I'm going to go start my day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Defense of Music

So I think I'm going on a "pop culture" kick. Yesterday, I gushed about House and Buffy, and now today I couldn't decide between a post titled, "Why I'm 'Boycotting' Glee (Except for when awesome people like Gweneth Paltrow are on)" or "Why I love Emmy the Great." I've been planning on watching the episodes of Glee I haven't seen when Season 2 comes out on DVD, though, so I think I'll save my Glee rant until then. Instead, I'm going to talk about Emmy.

I've tried so hard to get my friends to like Emmy. I play it for people in my car, I send youtube videos through facebook . . . I'd say 4 out of 5 people respond with something between indifference and hostility. And that, my friends, makes me sad. Therefore, I've decided that what is needed is . . .

An Authoritative Defense of Emmy the Great! (Or, 4 Reasons why I listen to Emmy and others should too)

1. "I remember you like a verse that I didn't want to learn . . ." (First Love)

Emmy's lyrics have some of the best imagery I've heard in song. It reminds me of my favorite kind of poetry. First Love, my favorite of her songs, does this the best. I love the simile, "I remember you like a verse that I didn't want to learn," and the image of the cross in, "I know we all have our crosses to bear, and I'd like to show it to you." Both of those lines are so original, yet capture the heaviness of begrudging sexuality. Absentee had some great images too: "Room full of children all sad in the ear." What a great way to describe feeling sad about something you hear!

2. "Can't tell if this is love/ Or a stomach disorder . . ." (The Hypnotist's Son)

I adore the way that Emmy talks about love. Granted, the majority of her songs are bitter against it, but when the song is about being in love, it captures the way that love isn't all happiness and joy--it's confusing and challenging and occasionally painful. Like she says, "I thought romance was pretty/ Then you went and spoiled it./ Every time that I think of you,/ Have to go to the toilet." She admits that she's in love, just that it's also sometimes hard.

3. "I would marry you for money or for luck . . . but I don't suppose you'll ever have enough." (24)

Emmy is such a realist. At times, maybe, cynic, but she simply states the truth of a situation. Like in City Song, when the narrator admits that her lifelong dream of living in the city turned out to be pretty boring. Or when she talks about her "First Love" with cold, critical bitterness.

4. "I would have liked to/ To have something above you./ To have something to hold,/ And know I could choose to let it grow." (We Almost had a Baby)

Female empowerment in personal relationships! When I teach gender, we watch an episode of Glee (from the first half season when I thought it was really awesomely cutting-edge academically good.) We talk about how women take advantage of their positions as minorities, at times, to disempower men. The example we use in the show are how the men can't make any decisions about their children. I don't think that's what Emmy's doing when she talks about pregnancy, though. I think she's talking about a relationship that has been harmful to her and thinking that a baby could have been the one good thing she got out of it. It reflects on how, even still, women put up with bad relationships and allow themselves to be treated inferiorly, and it sees motherhood as something which reflects the value and uniqueness of womanhood.

These are the reasons I love Emmy. She's pretty hard on religion at times--I can't listen to "Easter Parade"--but she deals with other issues so well. Plus, I think that there's a lot of partial truths reflected in non-Christian mediums, sometimes even truths that Christians are afraid to deal with in their art. So, thus is my defense of Emmy the Great. I kinda love her. I think you should too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Season 6 Buffy and House

I mentioned this a little in the TV meme I did a little while ago, but I really love it when TV shows deal with addictions well. I had started watching and enjoying House, but I really got hooked into it (um, awkward phrase choice) when the show started dealing with his vicodin addiction. I loved how the show showed how an addiction and sociopathy which had previously seemed anecdotal and even humorous was, in fact, ruining House's life and keeping him away from the things he loved and desired. I loved the "tough love" moments with Wilson. (I have to admit, one of the reasons I love addiction story lines is that the addicts friends prove how awesome they are by sticking with the person and loving them the hard and unwanted ways.) I also really liked the way that it documented the slow path to recovery throughout last season.

(This paragraph talks about the latest episode--spoiler alert if you haven't seen it yet! Skip to the last paragraph on Buffy.) This season, I enjoyed House and Cuddy being together, but it just seemed too easy. Sure, a year is a long time to go after an addiction, but the addiction isn't going to magically disappear at that point. Yes, the relationship probably helped distract House from the issue, but I'm surprised that it took so long for the vicodin thing to resurface. So, I was actually happy when it did. Of course, I wasn't jumping up and down celebrating the fact that House messed up, but I liked the trueness of the episode--when an addict faces something that big for the first time since quitting, yes, it's not unlikely that they'll relapse. What did frustrate me, though, was the fact that Cuddy seemed so surprised. Like she hadn't thought about it during the 5 months. Granted, she says, "How could I not have known?" but for someone who knows House that well . . . she should have seen it coming. Also, as a doctor and as House's friend, she shouldn't have reacted like relapse meant that his entire recovery had gone down the drain. Maybe breaking up was the right thing, but telling him that he couldn't do any better? That made me angry.

Tonight, I rewatched Wrecked, my favorite Buffy episode. For the first few years, I loved it because of the "tough love" moments between Buffy and Willow. I still do. But, this time, it really set in that Willow wasn't entirely wrong and Buffy wasn't entirely right. It wasn't right for Buffy to hide her relationship with Spike from Willow, especially when Willow was going through something so similar. It wasn't good that she was willing to overlook Willow's addiction problems up until that point just so she could feel less guilty about her own. Yes, I still love how Buffy is the strong, supportive, and confront-y friend throughout Willow's struggle. But I also realize that just because Willow was doing so much wrong doesn't mean that Buffy was doing everything right. I feel a little sorry for Willow. However, I think that in Willow's situation, most people do feel like they're entirely wrong and messed up and the other person is perfect and entirely right. So, even as these thoughts complicate the episode more, they make me respect it and love it more, too :-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend

This weekend was a pretty good weekend. I graded 26 papers (about 7 hours of reading freshmen level papers!), so I feel a little bit like a grading superstar. I also am dreading tomorrow, though, when my students--despite having been told this on the first day of class--are shocked to realize that you only get a C for simply fulfilling the assignment and that I give Bs for especially good jobs, not as punitive grades. Oh well. I still feel good about myself for reading all of them :-D

Today, I went to church! It was so exciting to finally feel well enough to leave the house on the weekend. The service was good. Eric started off the sermon with references to Lady Gaga and John Lennon, which was pretty great. Then the sermon was all about unity in diversity only being possible through Christ. It was a really good sermon. And we sang "In Christ Alone," which I haven't sung in awhile and really love.

It was also great to get to talk to people. I'm so happy that I'm at the place with my church home that I feel comfortable telling people when I'm sick and don't feel like I need to hide it or put on a peppy front. I mean, I don't try to be sad and depressing about it, but I don't feel like I need to pretend to be healthy when I'm not.

This afternoon, in the midst of much grading, I took a couple hour break and talked to Shari. She was in a bad car accident a couple of weeks ago, had surgery just over a week ago, and is still not feeling great and hasn't been back to work yet. (So, if you're reading this, please pray she gets better quickly!) It was good to get to talk to her, get caught up on how she's doing, and try to be an encouraging and loving friend. It was also good to be on the receiving end of the encouragement and love--it's been awhile since we last talked, and I needed me some good best-friend encouragement/listening/advice/etc., etc. :-)

I'm on an energy high from just finishing grading lots of papers, but it's almost 10 and I should be doing that "getting sleepy" thing right now. Ug. I've worked hard this weekend--do I really have to do the whole "week" thing too???

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

California Now, Please?

It's the time of year when I really start wanting to go to California. I went for the first time in August of 2009 on Shari and my crazy roadtrip through the Southwest. (12 states in 10 days. In the words of Barney Stinson, Legendary.) Then, I went to LA last March to do research with the Oscar Wilde manuscripts. I was originally going to go to a wedding in Santa Barbara with Andrew, but since we broke up the week before (worse timing ever, I know . . . but better than going and pretending like nothing was wrong--right?) I planned that I'd just hang out in LA by myself for a few days. BUT, my mom was super awesome and decided to come with me.

I love California. It's beautiful, warm, and sunny
. It has this awesome culture that combines an appreciation of arts and humanities, a wide variety of racial and national cultures, and the natural beau
ty of the outdoors. And the three
cities I've been to--San Francisco, LA, and San Diego--each somehow connects to these elements in unique ways. Plus, Oscar Wilde's manuscripts live there! So obviously it's awesome, right? I also love California by association, though. The southwest roadtrip was one of those times in my life when God did really big things in my heart in relatively few days. Also, it was the first time Shari and I had been together for more than 4 or 5 days at a time since she graduated. Between those two factors, plus my love of travel and the natural awesomeness of CA, it was an amazing 10 days. I still have vivid pictures in my mind of sitting in Ghirardelli Square, eating chocolate and drinking coffee and watching the clouds slowly fade away and the bridge in the background slowly appear. And sometimes, out of the blue, I'll feel like I really am on Coronado Island again at sunset.






The second time I went to California, I was a mess. My apartment flooded in January, I got extremely ill in February, and I broke up with my boyfriend a week before the trip in March. And there was some other hard personal stuff going on. But LA was an awesome break away from all of that. Even though my mom and I were both sick, we had super awesome mother-daughter time. Plus, I felt so independent traveling around LA all by myself on the public transportation system the day before she arrived. And I hung out with Oscar Wilde's manuscripts for the second time, but this time for an entire day! And it was warm. All weekend! (I love warmth.)
I want to go to California again. I thought I'd get to go this summer, and now I feel like something is missing because I won't. I could even use the extra time with the manuscripts! Too bad it's so far away and so expensive. Maybe after comps, though, I can get a fellowship to the library and do research for my dissertation. And live in LA. That would be legend- (wait for it) -dary.