Got a call from my aunt today. She's on the list to get shipped overseas--genius went and joined the military reserves a few years ago.

Her oldest daughter graduates in May; her younger daughter has another three years of high school. Their father is a dick, and she doesn't want to go live with him. My mother has waaaaaay too much going on in her life; my grandmother ... uh ... just no. My uncle is living with my grandmother. That leaves two aunts--one across the country, one out in the boonies in this state. And, of course, me.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure if it's up to the kiddo, she'll be living with me. That part is fine, I love her and love spending time with her. The problem becomes where she'll be living with me. Five years ago, I left school and moved eighty miles away to where they live. Two years ago, I left there and came back to school. I have a year left.

Do I put my life on hold, again, and halfway across the state again? Or do I make her leave her friends and her school, and possibly her dog unless I can find a realllllly big house here, uprooting her after her sister leaves for college and her mother leaves the country? I feel selfish even considering it--but god damn, I've only got three freaking semesters left, I'm almost thirty, and I don't think I can take another interruption. I've only just found my groove, how can I ditch it now because ... and this is the root of it ... my aunt keeps making stupid decisions?

My cousin shouldn't suffer for her mother's stupidity; she didn't ask for any of this. But I shouldn't either. Goddammit.

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This is going to be a rough semester. Three upper-level history classes; I'll be reading 13 books, plus supplemental readings. It's a little daunting, even for an avid reader like me. The good news is they're for classes I like. I got in to the medieval England class I wasn't able to get in to last semester, which is great. I also got in to the medieval Christianity class, which I think will be real interesting. Those two are both with the same professor, who I really like--she's what I think I'd be like as a professor, actually.

I'm also in an American history class, which is generally less than thrilling for me; I spent the first twelve years of my schooling being forced into American history classes, so it doesn't interest me much now. But this class should be fun--it's with a professor I had last semester, who I originally didn't like much but who's actually a riot. So even if it's my least favorite kind of history, it should be amusing.

My least favorite course this semester is looking like it's going to be French--which was my favorite last semester. But my teacher this semester is incredibly annoying. I can't understand half of what she says because her accent is very strange, and more than that she has a really loud, rough, skull-piercing voice. It's hard to focus on what she's actually saying because she's so goddamn loud. I really hope I can adjust to it; I don't want to hate French.

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I've been thinking a lot lately about how much money I make in tips, how it varies, and how it compares to my coworkers. It seems to me like the women of equal skill and equal experience, but who are conventionally slender and/or pretty, make a lot more money than me in general. It also seems like I tend to make more money in general when I had the section of high tables, where people are eye-to-eye with me, rather than their faces being at the same level as my stomach and fat ass. So I think they're perceiving me as less fat, and all the things associated with "fat".

It's similar to how I make more tips when I wear makeup or a push-up bra, and when my skin in clear. Tips ought to be based on service rendered, not appearance, but it seems like the closer you adhere to traditional beauty standards the more you make in tips. It really frustrates me.

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I'm officially a student! My appeal was approved, I got enough to cover everything, and the gave me an over-ride to register. Whoohoo!!! No second job, no falling behind by another six months!

I'll have to go through the appeal process again for next year--since it would take 90 credits to raise my percentage of classes completed back to 75%, stupid math--but that shouldn't be a problem. I have three semesters to go, and then I'm done! ... for now. I'll probably end up going back at some point for a teaching certificate or another degree. The real world sucks, after all, school is fun.

I've registered for classes, but hopefully I'll be able to get overrides in to some different ones that are full right now--I've been wanting to take that damn medieval Europe class since I started my first semester, I'd like to finally get in to it!

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Through a series of random events, I ended up looking through a box of photos as my dad's house. I found a picture of me at about seventeen or eighteen, and I stared at it for a long time. Then I held it up and said, "I can't believe how skinny I was."

"And you should be again," he answered right away, without even a pause.

"That's not the point," I told him. "I thought I was the ugliest most disgusting thing on two legs. I thought I was a whale."

Again, without a pause: "Then what do you think now?"

Ouch. Lucky for him I've developed some perspective, or he'd have had a very upset daughter on his hands. I stared at him and then rolled my eyes.

"Well, you've let yourself go to the point th--"

I cut him off. "That's not the point. The point is that my body image was so screwed up that I thought I was enormous when I wasn't."

He made a comment about that kind of thing can cause anorexia or bulimia, and I just looked at him and said "Yes, it can." He asked what that meant, so I told him I came near that. He just kept saying sort of sarcastically, "I must have missed that" until I told him it's about behaviors, not appearance, and told him about a couple of the more disturbing thoughts I had in the past. At that point he got uncomfortable and decided it was time to cook dinner.

Later, when we were having dinner, he kept trying to shove more steak on to my plate. I finally got exasperated and said, "How did you go from calling me fat to forcing food on me?"

"I never said that!" he said. So I reminded him of the whale comment, and he sort of looked down at his plate and mumbled, "I shouldn't have said that."

Damn right he shouldn't have.

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It's now been a week since I turned in my financial aid appeal, and still no decision. I check my student account twice a day, once when I get up and once after their office closes, and each time my heart starts pounding and I feel nauseous. So far, all it says is "pending review". I'm trying to think this is positive. After all, my last appeal was returned after three business days and was denied. So I'm hoping this is good news.

But I'm also trying not to get too hopeful, because then if it's denied I'm going to be crushed. The more I wait, to more I really want to go to school again this semester. Working two jobs sounds more miserable by the hour. There's still more than a good chance I'll have to do it, though--so I'm trying to resign myself.

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That damn dog I took off my cousin's hands chewed the heel off my favorite pair of boots--the only ones I had that would actually zip up all the way. I discovered this when my foot slipped on the way to bed, and the side of my foot skidded over the pointy, jagged, exposed plastic and screw in the heel.

So now I have ruined boots and a half-centimeter deep pit in my foot. Fucking fabulous.

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I have about five pillows for my bed, some I use and some I don't. The last time I washed them, I had one that was the odd one out. So for a while, it's been sitting on the floor between my washer and dryer, which the cats quite liked. Well, yesterday the big dog peed on it. Why? I have no idea. But I know it was her because she was doing that belly crawling, ears back thing.

To clean it (and one other), I used the "medium high" water setting and hot/hot cycle on the washer. I did a soak, with about a cup of white vinegar, for about half as hour, then a pre-wash to rinse that out. Then I soaked them in plain detergent water for half an hour and ran the wash cycle. One more wash cycle with detergent for good measure, and I popped them in the dryer.

I just took them out, and there's not even a stain! They're pristine and white again. And there's no smell--I stuck my face in both sides of both pillows and took a deep whiff. They're the same brand of pillow, and I can't even tell which one was pissed on.

Like I said, vinegar=magic.

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I slept until ridiculously late today, and then didn't actually start doing anything until about midnight. Since then I've washed all my dishes, run two loads of laundry and have another of pillows soaking, put said laundry away, run my new comforter through the dryer to pull the cat hair off of it, baked a cake from a mix somebody gave me a while ago, organized and cleared out my fridge, finished a book I'd been reading off and on for a while, made a few blog posts, and read all of Girl and Guitar's blog.

Now, at 5:20 in the morning, I feel like I've done enough and can sleep.

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I assumed I was screwed and couldn't go to school this coming semester, because you can't register for classes if you owe them five grand in tuition money. I knew there was the possibility of getting financial aid--but you can't get financial aid until you register for classes. A catch-22.

Once the holidays were over and the financial aid office was open again, I figured I might as well call and see if there's a way around that situation. Turns out there is! If I'm approved for financial aid this semester, I'll be able to use the loans that I couldn't use in fall. I can also do a "past due account" appeal, where they'll look at the money they're giving me and say "yeah, okay, go register."

So last Wednesday I met with an adviser to do the paperwork that needed their help; over the weekend I wrote what I hope was a decent letter; and on Monday I took the whole thing in. Now I just have to wait. The semester starts in 16 days; hopefully I'll know before then!

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I was looking over some stats for my review blog, and one of my visitors caught my eye. The ISP has a very distinctive name, and when I looked at the rough location my suspicion was confirmed. It's really rather interesting to think than author, or at least somebody in the author's household, read my review of their work. Glad I wasn't trashing it!

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"Don't drink out of plastic bottles, that's why Christina Applegate got breast cancer!"

Right, because it's possible to pinpoint the exact cause--and the fact that her mother had it is just a coincidence. Of course, originally this circulated saying that was why Sheryl Crow had breast cancer.

"Light colored eyes let in more light, so people with pale eyes get more headaches."

Ummm ... light goes in through the pupil, not the iris. The iris is a muscle. Light doesn't filter through it. Critical thinking, people, and basic optical anatomy. Now, it's entirely reasonable to say that people with light eyes/hair/skin are more sensitive to light, but that's a different statement altogether. I think it's hilarious that a doctor told somebody this.

"OMG, don't use tampons! They make your period longer because they hold the blood in!"

I think some dude made this up. Any woman who's used a tampon knows they absorb the discharge, it's not like you're sticking a cork up your snatch to hold it all in!

"Eating meat is hard on your body."

*facepalm* Yeah, it's not like we've got enzymes to break down the proteins or anything, right? Humans certainly didn't develop eating a variety of foods, largely protein sources. I hate it when people say things like this. It might take longer to digest beef than, say, an apple--but that doesn't mean it's taxing for your system! This sort of thing, to me, smacks of rabid vegan/vegetarian attempts to convince people that eating meat is some strange modern adaptation, as if we never ate meat until the industrial revolution and so it's an unnatural state of being. But driving a smug-inducing hybrid car is totally natural!

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