Wednesday, April 20, 2011


That's the number of times I've broken down into tears since my husband has been away. I finally hit five sheer breakdowns today.

Today's was a whopper and it lasted for hours off and on. I think I might have regained my composure, but I'm not sure. I might continue to cry off and on.

An asshole stole my wallet today.

As in where I keep my driver's license which I have to spend all morning/afternoon/night replacing tomorrow at the DMV because their earliest appointment is 2 May.

As in where I keep my student ID which also serves as library card which I will also have to replace tomorrow.

As in where I keep my credit card.

As in where I keep my ATM card.

As in where I keep my Disneyland passes for both me and Collin.

As in where I keep my military ID that has my husband's social security number printed right on the front, in plain sight. You know, the thing that CAN'T be replaced without the physical presence of my husband, who DOESN'T live here. The thing that we are going to have to go through hoops to replace now.

As in where I keep my grocery club savings card. Yeah, that's not a big deal, but it adds insult to injury.

I hate this person. A lot.

I also hate that this person did this now. I hate that this person did it at the last few weeks of the semester when I really, really don't have time to deal with the nonsense associated with replacing a lost wallet. I can't tell you the number of manners in which I've imagined her suffering. Why do I know it's a her? Because the only time my bag was unattended was when I was in the female bathroom. I hate her and I hope she's suffering intensely or will be soon.

I hope she gets the stomach flu on the morning of every important event of her life, including but not limited to her wedding, and all major holidays. I hope that she has gastro-intestinal distress during every school presentation. I hope that she has uncontrollable flatulence on every date that she goes on. I hope that she, one day, gets pregnant and has morning sickness so bad that she has to carry baggies in her pockets and finds no suitable garbage can in which to stow the used ones. I hope that get the picture. I hope nothing but bad things for her until one day, she thinks to herself, gee I remember that day that I took that green wallet that belonged to Rachel someone, during the weeks approaching finals and gee, I'm a bitch. I should do something nice to the world to repent the err of my ways.

To make things feel a little better, I remembered that I had my Reserve ID card, so I can at least get on and off base until we can replace my other ID card. Phew. You know what though? It means that using it, I still carry my rank. So guess who's getting saluted? Yeah, me. It gave me just the little boost I needed on this shit-storm of an afternoon.

Let's keep that breakdown number at five, shall we?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Greatest Man that Ever Lived is....

One of Collin's favorite Weezer songs is "The Greatest Man that Ever Lived."

Don't ask me why the most popular video version has always been a mashup with skiing. I don't think skiing is the greatest thing that ever was. It's kid of a cult-ish song of theirs though. Don't get me started on "El Scorcho," which he also loves.


He is captive to Mommy's music taste. My car, my music, right? I'm not listening to kid crap. Anyway, he requests certain songs and has started singing along, which I heart.

Today, I asked him who he thinks the greatest man that ever lived was and I was hoping for a cute answer like, gee, I don't know, Daddy.

He said, "me, of course, Mommy. You tell me enough!"

I guess that's cute enough.

My concern: that his raging self-confidence will lead to the conversation I overhead the other day at school.

Stoner loser talking to his friend: Dude, it's not like he should have been all up in my business. I mean, my GPA is not even below 2.5! It's like he thinks I'm a bad student.

Stoner loser's friend: Yeah, it's like he thinks you don't study or something!

My friends, that is a pair of individuals who's mothers have imbued them with too much self-confidence. They are, in fact, not the greatest men who have ever lived.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Turning Point

See this dude:

You may recognize him, even though you don't realize it. Does this look familiar? I'm not sure why he's dressed as a Roman in this picture. Or, why the horse even looks scared. You are with St George, lil buddy, it'll all be okay!

It's part of the English Seal. How are they connected, you might ask?

Well, that bad ass on the top? It's his shield. He's St. George. That's his dragon. Well, not his dragon; but the dragon he's famous for slaying and saving a town that it was ravaging by eating everyone in it. It's a great story. He's my favorite knight.

To the lady that was being sacrificed the particular day that he rode up to save the town, he says:

"And have no dred, thou swete thynge, for I sall note lefe thee" (no typos there---you too can read Middle English!!)

But in case you can't, he  calls her sweet thing and tells her that he won't leave her. At which point, he subdues the dragon and has her tie her belt around it's neck and lead it into the town like a dog, and tells them that they'd better convert to Christianity so he can dispatch of this foul thing once and for all. Nothing like making someone believe in God under threat of devourement, no?

Alas, this diversion of tale was all to tell you that I can't find any good scholarly information about my favorite guy. I want to include him in my thesis and in my seminar paper, because I mean, who wouldn't? He's also got a great martyrdom story where he gets boiled, scratched and all kinds of great and terrible stuff. But no one seems to write about the guy.

This brings me to a realization. I've reached a turning point in my education. I am writing about things that no one has written about, and not because it isn't valid but because I've thought of something in a new way. It is scary. I don't trust my thoughts to be as smart as the thoughts of the forty page articles I'm reading with long and complicated words. I don't trust myself to be able to synthesize and apply what someone said about St Margaret (who also fought a dragon by being eaten and then bursting out of its belly--and you thought what I was studying was boring!) to St George. It's too confusing. While I think that the violence in St George is a perfect compliment to my thesis, I'm afraid to go out on a ledge and use it because no one else has talked about it. Still, no one else has talked directly about my topic. It's all so overwhelming. St George, wouldn't be freaked, would he? Maybe I should just go watch Yo Gabba Gabba.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Collin's Birthday Party!!

Collin had his birthday party at Color Me Mine, a paint your own pottery place in Torrance. It could not have gone more smoothly.

I was skeptical about it at first because I simply called, told them the date and Collin's name, the package we selected and that was it. They e-mailed me the forms and I sent them back and we were done. I did NOTHING else and I mean nothing.

All we had to do was show up. The did EVERYTHING. I can't stress how clear that is. Everything. They did the decorations, the pizza, the cake the clean-up, everything. That was precisely what I needed right now. The kids all got top pick out a $25 item to paint and they had a great time.

All told, if we had done even small party at home, it would've cost us the same amount when you think of goodie bags, food, decorations, all the incidentals. I was really happy with how it turned out. And, it was nice and short and all the kids had a great time and were in and out before anyone got fussy or bored or frustrated. It was perfect.

I had to go pick up the pieces the next week and deliver them, but that was pretty quick and easy and Collin and I got to try the new vegetarian restaurant next door and it was delicious. The "chicken" either really, really tasted like chicken, or it's been so long that I forgot what chicken tasted like. It was fantastic. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.

Anyway, I highly recommend that place for a birthday party!

Lest You Think He's Neglected

We have a pretty good schedule around here on the weekends for homework.

Collin knows that he has to play by himself for a set amount of time (quietly). I set a timer, usually for about an hour or so, and then I come down and we do an activity together.

Usually, first thing in the morning, we make a list of what the activities he wants to do together on my breaks are. I make sure he picks activities that will take about an hour to an hour and a half, so he gets plenty of Mommy time and he doesn't feel neglected and I still get plenty of time to work on the weekend too.

It's pretty easy to work all week when he's at school, but logically, professors figure, eh, the weekend means you have "extra" time. Not so much when you are alone with a kid, right?

But, we make do. He has gotten pretty good at being patient.

Oh, and Slave 1?

In the end, when my Master's is all finished, I'll let you know if I'm more proud of completing that or building Slave 1. It was flipping hard. It took about 7 hours in total. Bryon made fun of me. His exact words, "well good, now you are as talented a Lego builder as a nine year-old."

I am often reluctant to let Collin play with it. It's just too special and every time he touches it, a piece falls off and a little piece of my soul dies.

Some Numbers

Weeks left in what is supposed to be the hardest semester of my life: 5

Number of major assignments left: lets just break that down shall we?

*Large Presentation in which I have to lead the entire class in critical discussion of a Renaissance play

*Small Contextual Presentation (which I did on Thursday) about Meteorology in the Renaissance

*5 Page Paper comparing The Changeling to any other Renaissance play we've already read (or, to any Shakespeare play we already knew--because apparently, some of us are smart enough to pull them out of our hats--Good ol' Will is not my forte).

*TEACHING (YES!--OH my FREAKING GOD!) an undergraduate Chaucer class. My advisor wants me to teach the day they are reading the Prioress's Tale and go over the complicated presentations of Jews in Middle English manuscripts. There could be an entire graduate level course in this. I'm freaked. It is literally going to be an entire chapter of my thesis. I'm panicked. I know why he's asking me to do it, but boiling it down to a little handout is scaring me. And, standing up in front of a classroom and talking about anything, let alone something I'm expected to know about is scaring the shit out of me.

*20 Page Paper on the function of medieval monstrosity
 (let's not forget the 10 source annotated bib that goes with that--due before it of course)

*20 Page Paper on an open topic for Renaissance which I've wisely chosen to be be wildly difficult: Concepts of how the Renaissance audience transitioned viewpoints of Fortune and Contemptus Mundi

*5 Page Paper: Summating Critical Sources for said 20 Page Paper

*10 Page Paper on what I'm calling Sexy Beowulf (basically, why filmmakers take tiny bits of the Anglo-Saxon and glorify it for the movie versions)

*20 line supporting translation of the original Anglo-Saxon Old English Beowulf

*10-20 Page Thesis Prospectus: Have I mentioned I need this to graduate??

All told, that's what: approx 95 pages of written work and about two hours of presentations to prep for? No sweat, right?

So, this is what my kitchen table looks like on Saturday.

Note the 3" binder that has the start of my thesis sources. Those are the ones listed in my prospectus so far. My thesis advisor and I are hoping that will be enough sources to satisfy the panel we've selected. Seriously. And yes, I've read every, single. one. of. them. The big honking book on top too.

There are also, crazily enough, three copies of Beowulf there. I got into a ten minute "discussion" with Bryon last night about why they are distinctly different and why a person might need three copies of Beowulf. He remained unconvinced. I shall not rehash it here for you and just state that I'm right. Since my only class, other than my thesis next semester is a seminar in simply: Beowulf, I will stand on my point.

The other books are all research materials for the various papers and projects.

Last semester, Jen will attest to my "handling" of stress when she saw me at Thanksgiving. My jaw was so locked that I couldn't chew my mashed potatoes. This semester, my jaw is tight, yes. But, with let's say infinitely more stress, I'm doing better. I'm coping. Why? I don't know. Maybe because there's no choice? Maybe because I have to. Maybe because at some point I looked at myself and had a talk and said, why are you doing this?

I came up with an answer and realized that this was my future. When they tried to tell me I couldn't, something snapped inside me. I saw myself sitting in Ilan's (my thesis advisor--oh and this is him, by the way--watched it again this week and I couldn't look at him the next day)

position one day and I realized, that is what I want. It is a passion that I can work at forever. I feel lucky to have found it and I can see myself with a big old Ph.D after my name one day. This is just a step.

So, while I might be tired for five more weeks, or five more months, it doesn't matter. And while my kid seems to keep getting sick every single weekend and making it harder and harder to do this and while the dog throws up on the carpet and while the dishes are always dirty and while I wonder if I forgot to change my underwear, I keep cranking out A's and proving that bitch who tried to tell me "no," wrong.

My only question: how is it humanly possible to get that much work done in only five weeks? Do you think I will survive? Oh and if there are any weird mistakes or grammatical errors in this post, I don't give a flying frick. I'm updating a bunch right now for the sake of speed and requests of birthday and other pics and as you might see, I'm pressed for time.