Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy Update, Batman!

So (surprise, surprise) I lied about the whole "I'll update soon" thing.  Not intentionally, but things just got crazy.  Since it's been something like eight months since my last update I'll stick with the quick version in bullet points.

First the good news:

  • I, being the brilliantly determined and stubborn woman that I am, got a 4.0 GPA in my first two semesters back in school!
  • I also won an incredible scholarship that will, if nothing else, completely cover my remaining three semesters of undergraduate study!  It's a huge honor and I'm very proud of the award.  Hopefully I'll be able to use that money to move closer to school so I don't have to continue driving two hours every day.
  • In personal news, I finally got myself back into the dating world and found a very nice guy, we dated for six months, and only recently broke up (yesterday and amicably).  There is the possibility of something more significant in the future, but nothing is decided yet.
  • We've had family visiting in the past couple weeks; the reason for which is listed below, but the opportunity to visit with my aunts Givhan and Kathryn and with Granddad are worth listing here.
  • My cousin (the one whose medieval wedding we attended last summer) gave birth to the first of the next generation:  a beautiful little girl, Menolly Lucile, who arrived three weeks before her due date!  A little jaundice aside, mother and daughter are both healthy and well and home from the hospital.  Yay!
  • Today (!!) is my grandfather's 88th birthday!  Happy birthday, Granddad!
  • I've recently begun working retail again -- no, the fact that I'm back in retail is not why it's listed under good news but the paycheck is.

Now the less good news:

  • My mom had a stroke a month ago which has caused us to make a lot of changes.  She's doing very well considering it's been only a month; she still has slightly delayed responses and coordination, but the biggest problem is her impaired vision.  She's not able to read well and clearly not able to drive.  She has trouble doing what used to be simple and gets frustrated and tired easily.  Still, her improvement is reason for optimism and it has only been a month.

So, clearly a lot has been going on -- especially lately.  Summer has just started -- whew!  At the end of June, we (Mom and I) are planning to caravan with my aunt and cousin to Michigan (once again) to see the baby, visit with everyone, and see Granddad play his piano recital to celebrate his birthday.  It promises to be an eventful trip but hopefully a less eventful summer than last summer!

I'll be trying to make some changes around here to make it more update-able for me and more interesting for anyone who may choose to visit.  So stay tuned...!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Ago...

Eleven years ago, the world as we knew it was shattered.  The fanatical hatred of a few took the lives of many and altered reality for all.  This is my generation's event akin to President Kennedy's assassination or Pearl Harbor.  Those of us who were old enough to be conscious of what was happening will never forget where we were, what we were doing, who we were with, or what we thought.

For some reason, though, this anniversary brought it back stronger than even last year's 10th anniversary hullabaloo.  Maybe it's because we'd passed a significant number and I felt more complacent.  Maybe it's because it was another Tuesday morning, just like it was in 2001.  Whatever the reason, I had a terribly nervous feeling this morning as I was driving to class.  I am so glad that it was all for naught and that there was no huge re-enactment of the atrocities, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this year was different somehow.  I don't think I'm the only one because I seem to be reading more Facebook posts and news stories this year about where people were and what ceremonies are taking place.  Maybe I just couldn't handle it last year and tuned it out.

My story isn't anything special or riveting or poignant.  I was 19 and working as a bank teller in 2001, and I was blissfully unaware that morning as I watched Disney cartoons before work and listened to -- and sang passionately along with -- a Disney CD in my car. I got to work around 7:15 a.m. (I was usually a few minutes late) and waited for my coworker to arrive so we could open the bank vault and open the drive-up. I saw my coworker outside talking to the ATM maintenance lady and wondered, a little irritated, why she didn't just come inside already -- it wasn't like her to be late or to slack off. When she came inside she told me what little she knew about what was happening in New York City. The entire day we were all watching the news online between customers and the bosses dug up a tiny black-and-white TV to set up behind the teller line. When my shift ended at 12:15 I headed home and watched the news for the rest of the day, surely crying (though I don't really remember) and masochistically thirsting for information -- searching for some sign that it was all some cruel hoax or a nightmare. My sister was in high school and I went to pick her up around 3. We were both dumbstruck.  I think I was supposed to work at the Disney Store in the mall that evening -- or maybe I just talked to my boss on the phone -- but they closed the mall, I remember that much.  There was nothing to do but watch and listen and cry.

I don't personally know anybody who was killed in the attacks, but with such a long list of names representing people who remain unaccounted for I still find this postcard chilling and a bit reassuring.  Maybe that's just me, but this secret has had a strong effect on everyone who's seen it.  I feel compelled to share it here.  I hope it comforts those who may need it and does not upset anyone unduly.

Originally from, found archived here.

Okay, that's all I can handle.  I need to go do some homework, cry a little bit, and go to bed.  For those of you waiting for an update on how classes are going, I promise I'll update again soon.  This week.  Promise.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One Small Step...

It's funny...I seem to be thinking about the moon a lot lately.  For no good reason, last night while driving home I had this quote spring to mind:  "O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable."  (I'm not withholding juicy information here, I really don't know why I thought of this quote.)  Perhaps I was having some sort of psychic episode, because...

Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall...

Yes, this is me standing in front of piles of
stuff in my living room.  It's a work in
progress...Forgive the mess.
For the past month or so, I've been cleaning the house -- and, because I can't help it, rearranging furniture and artwork as well.

We had a small pile of artwork that didn't have a place on the walls and in my cleaning process found homes for a couple of these pieces, including an old mirror.  There was a bare patch of wall above the stairwell and I thought it would be as good a place as any for this nice mirror -- however it felt a little rattly in the frame so I made my dad help me with it as I cleaned it before hanging it up.

This is a family mirror that my mom got through her mother's family.  Mom was out of town when we hung it up and when she walked in she said, "oh, you hung up the Babbitt mirror!"  That's more or less my knowledge of this piece -- I don't know how old the mirror is, or the frame.  They both appear to be somewhat handmade.  The metal pieces that hold the mirror glass in place are not this nice, squared or rounded pieces you find on modern, store-bought frames, and the glass itself is hand cut.

When we took the backing paper off we found a piece of poster behind the mirror glass.  It had apparently been there so long that there's a sort of watermark from the poster on the back side of the mirror.  As you can see, it's some sort of advertisement.  As one who possesses an academic mind and was raised to be curious, I was intrigued -- hence the picture, so I could look it up later.  Well, later happened today.

First of all, I deduced that the lecture advertised was to happen in 1944 -- based on the fact that lecture was an apparent benefit for the American Legion Christmas Basket Fund -- since that's the only year during war time that December 5th fell on a Tuesday.  Then I went to my good friend Google.  May I just say how much I love Google?  It's awesome (and sometimes a little bit scary) how much you can find there!  However, this time it didn't turn up what I'd hoped for:  a complete poster or reference to this specific event.  I'd first thought it was a concert benefit -- she just looks like a singer, doesn't she? -- and once I figured out that the partial line below said "lecture here" I was curious what she was lecturing about.  Oh well...what I did find was possibly more fascinating.

Apparently Edith Rogers Dahl was a singer and violin player who, during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, made a personal appeal for the release of her mercenary airman husband's release when he was captured by the Nationalists and sentenced to death by firing squad.  Whitey Dahl's release was credited to his wife's efforts.  Later, scandal erupted around the pair.  Their apparent marriage was either a hoax or a legal flub, which was later revealed when he married another woman in a Catholic church without having to bother with a divorce or annulment.  This came to light in 1941, however, so either I have the year wrong or she made her rounds on the lecture circuit still using his name.  [Actually, going to back to check on other possible dates, it appears that a more likely date would have been 1939, when December 5th was also a Tuesday, but would have been less than a year before Whitey's release.]  Whitey Dahl was followed by controversial accusations that resulted in courts-marshal years later.

I won't go into the entire story here, but it's an interesting link to something you randomly find behind a mirror.  Just goes to show you what interesting stories your home and possessions can tell you if you're willing to pay attention (and do a little research), so stay curious!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How I've Spent My Summer Vacation...So far

My very white feet and Lake Michigan.
Holy wow, it's almost the end of July and I've missed almost two months of posting!  I'm assuming that someone has noticed this...

So where have I been?  Well, this summer has been...shall we say "eventful?"  I guess it's not over yet, but I'm going to go ahead and log my 3rd-grade-ish back-to-school essay early.  So, read on if you've wondered where I disappeared to -- or if you just want to hear about my crazy summer.