Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In a...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In a...: No one knows I'm awake now. If they did, my computer would be confiscated. The twelve-year-old girl in the next bed, is a) a heavy sleeper a...

Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In and Around Ski Resorts

No one knows I'm awake now. If they did, my computer would be confiscated. The twelve-year-old girl in the next bed, is a) a heavy sleeper and b) not a snitch, so unless someone randomly decides to look in on us, I'm safe for at least the next few moments.

Today I went snowboarding in Utah. Snowboarding is a strenuous activity that demands greater muscular or cardiovascular strength than I now possess, thanks to mononucleosis and the resulting removal of my spleen.  Both the doctor who removed my spleen and the one who was treating my mononucleosis finally gave me clearance to get onto an airplane and to snowboard. I actually had clearance to snowboard one day earlier than I had clearance to get onto a plane full of people. Planes are overcrowded and germ-infested capsules in which the too many people in them are breathing the same air. I wore a mask, which  offered only partial protection, though arguably  better than no protection at all. It was the rough equivalent of having protected sex with a person known to be HIV-positive. If you're going to do anything so stupid, you would be even stupider not to avail yourself of what limited protection was available, knowing still that you weren't exactly placing yourself in a danger-free zone. While I have nothing to gain at this point from having sex, protected or otherwise, with someone who is HIV-positive, I do have something to gain from getting on a germ-infested aircraft.

Visualize. The Pacific Coast - the central Pacific California coastline, to be more specific, is where I was.  Mountains are there, but not mountains with snow on them. If I were to snowboard, I would need to travel to mountains covered with snow. While there were mountains closer to where I was  than the Rocky Mountains, no one closely acquainted with me, or at least no one willing to take me along, was planning a trip there. On the other hand, acquaintances willing to tolerate the inconvenience of toting me along with their luggage were planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains. They didn't plan a car trip. Were I to travel with them,  my only option was to climb aboard a germ-infested aircraft. I placed a mask over my mouth and nose, said a couple of quick prayers, and boarded, looking at as few people as possible in the process. i did make eye contact with the flight crew as I boarded, hoping that it would reduce the chances they might think I was a terrorist. It helped just a bit that I was not the only person on the flight wearing a mask. PseudoAunt, too, had a mask on her face. Whenver Pseudoaunt wears a mask, her husband, PseudoUncle, wears one as well just as a display of solidarity. Anyhow, on that flight there were three of us instead of just I loooking like either freaks or terrorists.

Today I snowboarded. I was probably physically capable of succesfully completing one-and-one-half snowboarding runs. The quandary is that snowboarding runs don't come in halves. You either do a complete run or you don't. My policy in snowboarding as well as in life is to always round up to the next highest number. I went on the second run, capable or not. I made it down the run successfully. 

There ended the extent of my success. I was virtually immobilized. My legs could not move. My hands could not unclasp my snowboard from my boots. I was standing in a major foot trafic thoroughfare. Other snowboarders and skiers were not pleased at having to walk around me. One guy didn't bother; he just sort of ploughed right over me as though we were playing football, he on the defesive line and I on the offensive line, as though it was his job to disable me in order to get to the quarterback before the ball was released. Had it been a game of football, he would have been given credit for the sack. Since it wasn't a game of football, he gets credit merely for being a complete @$$hole. Depite knowing that he had knocked down another human - one who weighed approximately one-third what he weighed, he did not stop to help me up. He turned and glared at me briefly, but that was the extent of his acknowledgement of the situation.

Perhaps he actually did me a favor, though. Before, people who weren't cursing me  walked past as though they didn't notice me. Once I was on the ground, it was more difficult not to notice me, although some still pulled off the feat successfully. Perhaps it's insensitive of me to make such an analogy, but it all reminded me slightly of the little girl who was run over in China, while peope stepped over and around her and walked past her, seemingly oblivious. Was this it? Really, God? Would I die either from hypothermia or from being trampled between the lodge and the bottom of a downhill run at a ski resort in Utah? It seemed incredulous, yet at the same time was seeming eerily likely.

Finally, to my defense came a man with two boys several years younger than I but close in size to me. He saw me on the ground and paused. "Are you hurt?" he asked as he knellt beside me.

"I don't think so," I answered with my near-frozen lips through my ski mask the best I was able to manage.

"I don't want to move you or get you up until we're sure," he stated.

He whistled loudly. Soon an amployee of the resort appeared, followed by another employee who was some sort of first reponder or paramedic. The paramedic guy asked what happened. The guy with the two boys explained about the other guy's defensive lineman maneuver flattening me. The paramedic guy unclasped my boot from the snowboard and asked me if I could move my ankle.  I moved it the best I could in its frozen state, apparently satisfying him. "Did you hit your head?' he asked.

"Not very hard if I did," I answered him.

He started asking me all the questions anyone is asked when a head injury is suspected. The answers came to me with ease but were still difficult to articulate through my frozen lips. The paramedic man asked if he could remove my ski mask. I gave my OK, and he carefully removed it from my head.  At that point, the man with the two boys recognized me. "I know you," he announced, pulling off his own ski mask.

"You're Will," I answered him.

"You're that little gitl who stays with Scott and Jillian. Alexis, isn't it?'

"Yes," I answered. He was, if my understanding of extended family non-relationships was correct, my PseudoFirstCousin, Once Removed.

The paramedic and another who joined him were confirming before helping me to my feel that I was merely cold and weak, not injured. They checked my neck, back, hips, and legs before concluding that a stretcher would not be needed.  When they helped me to my feet, my knees collapsed as they caught me. While they debated the merits of a stretcher, Will lifted me over his shoulder, grabbed my snowboard with one hand, and told the boys with him to bring my poles. He carried me into the lodge, where he spotted my PseudoAunt.  "I think I found something that belongs to you.," he called out to her.

PseudoAunt and Mother of the Boy who is a Friend jumped up. "What happened?' they demanded in unison.

Will explained about the defensive lineman who had run directly over me in his attempt to get to the imaginary quarterback. 

"Were you OK before then?' PseudoAunt asked.

"Not exactly," I explained. "I couldn't walk and I couldn't unlatch my snowboard.  I was standing in traffic and people were getting impatient."

""So the idiot just knocked you down  instead of walking around you," concluded the Mother of the Boy who is my Friend.

"Basically," agreed Will.

"So ARE you OK?" PseudoAunt asked.

"I don't think I'm injured," I told her. "I'm just cold and stiff and tired."

An employee moved a leather-covered lounge chair next to the area where Pseudoaunt, Mother of the Friend who is a Boy, and now Will were seated. Will had given the boys with him, his sons, money to get food. They were at the concession counter. The employee motioned for me to sit on the lounge chair.

"May I touch her?" he asked all the adults at the table.

"You're her mother on this trip," PsuedoAunt said to Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.

"Touch her where?" asked Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.

"Arms and legs. Head. Maybe neck and back just a bit," he answered as PseudoAunt  explained to Boy's Mother that the man is a physical therapist who moonlights as a massage therpist at the resort.

"Go ahead," she answered him.

The physical therapist moved my arms and legs at their joints, moved my head a bit, and moved my neck.

He commented on my lack of muscle tone. PseudoAunt told him of my recent instance of mono and my splenectomy. He asked if my doctor cleared me for strenuous physical activity. "There's the doctor who operated on her right there," PseudoAunt non-answered, pointing as Dr. Kent, who had removed my spleen,  walked toward us. Another employee approached with a blanket, which physical therapist put atop and around me. PseudoAunt and Will explained what happened.

Dr. Kent lifted my shirt and lightly probed the scar area  and the spot where my spleen had been while I pretended it was all happening to someone else. "No problems here," he announced. "It's probably about time to gather everyone and head back home." I assumed he meant to the condos. Surely he didn't think we should all go back to California just because a jerk had pretended to be a steamroller, and I had the misfortune to be in his  path.

"I just ordered food,"  W ill told him.

"We could probably eat first, then head back to the condos," Dr. Kent announced. "No sense in wasting perfectly good food." He looked down at me. "You OK with that?"

"Sure," I answered him.

The physical therapist continued to manipulate  my arms and legs, allowing me to experience what it is like to be a marionette,  as everyone else with me ate the food that PseudoFirstCousinOnceRemoved Will had ordered.

As the food was finished, Will picked me up and lifted me onto PseudoUncle's back for a ride to the car. The snowboards, poles, and snow clothing made it back to the cars. I fell asleep probably before we made it out of the parking lot. I woke up when Mother of the Boy who is my Friend was easing me into a warm jacuzzi tub in the condo. She helped me to shampoo my hair, helped me out of the tub, helped me to dry off, and helped me to get into my pajamas. I slept for about five hours.

Thus ended my resoundingly successful  first day of snowboarding for this season. I've been banned from making an appearance tomorrow, but I should be back on the slopes by Monday.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail...: I'm watching C-Span right now because I'm bored. They're showing Mitt Romney in Iowa. It is seriously less exciting than watching the blank ...

Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail

I'm watching C-Span right now because I'm bored. They're showing Mitt Romney in Iowa. It is seriously less exciting than watching the blank screen on the local cable's community access channel. Gosh, I hope he doesn't get elected. I don't think I could stand four years of this.

I've left the somewhat sunny clime of California's central coast for a temporary vacation in Utah County. I would not have come except that one cannot ski or snowboard without cold weather and snow. One thing my hometown lacks is snow. I'll enjoy the snow while I'm here, although there is no snow on the ground. The resorts have man-made snow, so we can enjoy winter sports despite mother nature's lack of cooperation. We may get to see snow fall in a few days. Regardless, it's a very short vacation for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Announcing the Birth of John Vincent Luis

John Vincent Luis (two middle names; I'm not supposed to use last names here unless I go to the trouble of manufacturing fake ones) was born today, December 21, 2011, at 1:04 p.m. PST, to Vincent and Rachelle in front of an audience of I don't know how many, but it was definitely in double figures. Should there be any question as to whom this boy was born to, many witnesses are available to clear the matter up. John Vincent Luis, who will be called John, weighed in at  7 lbs, 1 oz., and  measured 21 inches in length. John has a respectable amount of dark hair and is dark-eyed. He's still a bit pink but appears to be slightly fairer-skinned than his older sister, Leah, who is now three-and-one-half.

The baby's father, Vincent, actually delivered the baby, then handed John to his father while he cut the umbilical cord. The baby was then handed to his mother, and then to his grandmother, who didn't choose to witness the birth but made it into the room just in time to see the first Apgar scoring take place. For the record, John's  Apgar scores were 8-10. Auntie Jillian also entered shortly after John's birth.

Mother, father, and baby have been left alone to savor the moment. The other participants have moved on to the Party House in Vnice Beach and are in full celebretory mode.

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Th...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Th...: My parents are gone for at least the day. My Pseudo-Aunt's sister-in-law, Rachelle, is in labor. In earlier times, French queens used to ha...

The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Thousands; Why Not Just Broadcast the Blessed Event on Youtube? Polygamy Implications of Being Left Behind

My parents are gone for at least the day. My Pseudo-Aunt's sister-in-law, Rachelle,  is in labor. In earlier times, French queens used to have to give birth in front of entire audiences to certify the succession. You'd think this kid is 16th Century French royalty in the making from the number of people attending the birth, Other than the mother-to-be and whatever non MD personnel the hospital happens to provide, everyone in there will be an MD either from the family or from the extendd family or, like my dad, almost part of the family. My dad is the baby's father's Godfather; that's the rationale for his invitation to the big event.

You know the saying that too many cooks spoil the broth? I'm concerned that too many doctors could get in the way of delivering this baby. I'll give you the head count to the best of my knowledge. There could be others who have received last-minute invitations since I was most recently updated. Here it goes: 1. Vincent, the baby's father, who probably should be there; some would say he wasn't holding up his end of the bargain were he not present, since he had no issues with being present for the conception; 2. the baby's father's father; OK, I'd find this one just a tad awkward, but if Rachelle is good with it, it's fine with me; he is, after all, an OBGYN, and who knows when a second opinion will be required. 3. the baby's dad's brother, Gerard; whatever floats Rachelle's boat, I'd say; this is jumping way ahead on things, but were I to marry my current friend who is a boy (I'm not allowed to have a boyfriend yet), he can forget about dragging his little brother Bryson into the delivery room for my big event even if Bryson (currently a 2-year-old who still sleeps in Pull-Ups, so it's difficult to fathom at this time) is a world-renowned OBGYN specializing in whatever form of high-risk pregnancy I happen to have; you're staying the hell out of my birthing room, Bryson! Get it through your thick skull now so you're accustomed to the idea if and when the time ever comes; 4. the baby's dad's younger brother Timothy, who is a freaking medical school student; he's barely qualified to insert an IV, but maybe it would be  considered discrimination to keep him out; 5. Scott, my Pseudo-Uncle, the baby's father's brother-in-law; he's at least an MD;  his current count is seventeen births at which he has been present; for some reason unknown he obviously wants to pad his numbers; professionally it's not doing him that much good, as he's an internist with pulmonology emphasis- in-training; 6. John, my dad, the baby's father's godfather; he's an MD  and primarily a research physician; OB isn't a particular specialty of his, though, in his mind, no sub-specialty of medicine is beyond his scope of specialization; (he says he likes to assist in the birth  of a baby at least once every year around Christmas to remind him of the miracle of Jesus' birth; I say he knows the beer will be flowing freely once this baby is out, and my dad has never been known to walk away from a good party; 7. Kent, Scott's brother, is an MD with a specialization in, I think, general surgery; let's see, if his closest link is that he's Scott's brother, that makes him the baby's dad's sister's husband's brother; pretty close connection, huh? (by the way Dr. Kent, father of Jared, boy who is my friend: what I said about Bryson applies to you as well, times two; 8. Brett, Scott's brother, same relation to baby's father and baby as Kent, same right to be there, which would be just about zero in my book; 9. Cousin Peter, a neuro-ophthalmologist, baby's father's cousin; at least he's a blood relative, however remote, and he has bona fide privileges at the hospital where the blessed event is currently taking place; besides, you never know when a neonate will be in need of a board-certified neuro-ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon ( I certainly hope not anytime soon); 10; Dr. Quo, the OBGYN of record.

Notably absent from the birthing room is the baby's paternal grandmother, a pediatric registered nurse practicioner. She elected not to be present because watching someone else close to her suffer would bother her too much. She said after she witnessed one contraction, she would grab the  OBGYN of record by the collar of her lab coat or scrubs and scream, "What's the problem, bitch? Didn't they teach you how to do a C-section in med school?!?!?" Yep. I think she made the right choice in keeping out, although I may want her in the room when I have my first child.  Besides, someone has to watch the  new baby's already existing sibling. The new baby's sibling has a couple of cousins on the scene who are very young and in need of supervision as well, so my mom is there at the baby's parents' house helping the baby's grandmother. Additionally, that will allow the baby's grandmother to go to the hospital to see the baby  immediately once it has made its appearance. Jillian is there, too, along with the other children's mother. Jillian is still in a weakened state and probably creates more work than she actually does, but the children love her.

The baby has been reported in advance to be a boy. With the precision of today's ultrasound technology, I'd place my bet in favor of the accuracy of the gender prediction. My ultrasound from before I was born made me look like an extra-terretrial creature. (My rude cousins from Utah say I  still look like an extraterrrestrial creature, but that's another topic for another day's blog.) In this baby's ultrasound, you could see that he has Cuban coloring  and looks somewhat like his paternal grandmother. He could do worse in the looks department. She's very pretty.

This place where I am now reminds me of what the polygamous cults must have been like after the Short Creek raids in the 1950's, when they rounded up all the menfolk and took 'em off to jail,  and left just the women in charge of a million children. Jared and my brother Matthew are the only males present who are ten or older. They're like the polygamous equivalent to The Lost Boys. If I were slightly more able-bodied, I'd be expected to chop the firewood and plough the back forty, but being a recovering surgery patient has to be good for something. I lie on the sofa  and play peek-a-boo with babies who crawl or toddle over to me. That's the extent of my contributio to the labor pool. That, and reminding The  Lost Boys to put the toilet seat down.

Timmy is keeping us updated by texting. Rachelle is fully dilated and is now  just beginning to push.  Unless this baby is a freaking behemoth, it should be out  any second. Rachelle only pushed for five minutes with her first baby, and that baby was almost a nine-pounder. This baby should be at least a pound smaller because it's just a bit early.

I'll let you know when I hear more, but word is that Grandma has already arrived at the hospital to scrub up and be handed the baby after its Mommy and Daddy have first held it. Him, that is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informerci...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informerci...: My infomercial was not the resounding success I had hoped it might be. It appears as though I may have to find my bliss in the form of a cal...

I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informercial Sucked; I Had Another PTSD Flashback Last Night

My infomercial was not the resounding success I had hoped it might be. It appears as though I may have to find my bliss in the form of a calling in life elsewhere. I think the informercial was viewed by a grand total of  six readers. My talent in writing informercials is obviously not as great as I had hoped it would be, even allowing for my neophyte status. Some people have what it takes to sell things, whether in person or over the Internet, while others do not. I should have remembered my prior experience with selling things before I jumped headfirst into the blog version of the informercial business.

In the two years I attended Catholic school, I was forced to take up sales as a hobby. Catholic schools run on shoestring budgets and rely on various fundrainsing campaigns to provide even some of the necessities for running their school. My parents refused to make it their problem by  taking our over-priced loot to work and guilting their co-workers into buying the stuff, so Matthew and I had to sell the merchandise ourselves. Even in my day it wasn't safe to send kindergartners and second graders out to go door-to-door through neighborhoods, so my parents took turns walking with us, but they wouldn't approach the doors with us. They stood back as we walked up, either individually or together, depending upon what approach we were trying at the time. People would routinely buy things from my brother but had no trouble whatsoever turning me down. Sometimes he would ring a doorbell of a home where I had just walked away empty-handed,, and the lady of the house would buy three or four items from him. He was sometimes in contention for the top prizes. Maybe it was my scruffy little ragamuffin look that did me in. I looked so undernourished, and had curly hair that went in all directions. They probably felt like they'd already donated to the Salvation Army or to the poor in some other capacity, where my brother had the solid middle class look about him. The people probably felt they were contributing to a solid middle-class organization when they made purchases from him.

There were incentives attached to these sales campaigns. Limousine trips to pizza parlors with game rooms often went to the top sellers. I remember my brother being a participant in the pizza parlour/ limo thing more  than once. There were miscellanous items from which one could choose if he or she sold a certain number of items. Matthew earned various sporting equipment and a CD by the group that recorded the song "Who Let the Dogs Out?". The very minimal prize, the one to those who sold just enough to pacify the parent-teacher organization moguls, was usually a movie in the cafeteria with popcorn and soda. Almost every  time I was the only child in my class who did not sell enough items and therefore  get to watch the movie and partake of the popcorn and soda. More than once I was the only child in the entire school. After the final fundraiser of the year, the minimum prize was always a pool party at the attached  high school's Olympic-sized pool. I missed that part in kindergarten. When I was in second grade, after my Uncle Ralph heard abiut my being the only child in school to miss the previous moive/popcorn/soda party, he bought enough of my greeting card packages that I was allowed to attend the pool party that year.  It made my Uncle Ralph angry because I was the rehearsal pianist for all the school choirs my kindergarten year and was the actual accompanist for the choirs my second grade years, for which the school compensated me in no way, yet they routinely denied me the basic fundraising incentive parties because of my handicap when it came to selling things.

That handicap is still very much a part of me. If I continue through college and get through law school, I will not be one of those attorneys who advertises his or her 1-800 numbers between segments of TV judge show programs and Jerry Springer portions. Those lawyers whose commercials claim, "If you've been denied your Social Security benefits, , , '  or,  "If you've been injured in an accident and an insurance company want syou to settle, don't sign anything without first calling us," have something in the way of sales skills that I do not nor will I ever possess. I could not successfully sell Jello in  Utah  or eyedrops to troops stationed in Kuwait even on pay day. My law practice will be an utter failure if I have to sell my services to anyone. I'm not sure why I though my calling could be in making informercials. I'lll find something else. God alone knows what it might be.

I had another PTSD flashback - night terror last night. It makes me scared to go to sleep tonight.  Maybe I'll stay up all night trying to think of something I might be good at.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being P...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being P...: If I were allowed, I would have done a video version of this infomercial, except that I don't yet have the product in hand, which would've s...

My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being Paid

If I were allowed, I would have done a video version of this infomercial, except that I don't yet have the product in hand, which would've somewhat diminished the infomercial video's effectivity.

Is your marriage or domestic partnership as strong as you believe it to be? Can your love withstand anythingARE YOU SURE? 

Many divorces and other broken relationships, while officially written off to the ubiquitous "irreconcilable differences," are truly irrevocably bifurcated (nice word, huh?) by the seldom discussed problem of  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nighttime flatulence. Yes, that's right, faithful audience of five.  You may think the terms  of      ". . .  For better or worse, for richer  or poorer, in sickness and in health"  include "non-flatulent or flatulent," but many nocturnal gas-passers have learned otherwise  --  the hard way.

Many over-the-counter pharmaceuticals offer solutions to this problem, but how much Beano or Gas-X can one person consume, and do those products really work? A recent survey of those exiting family courts across the nation clearly indicates the limitations of over-the-counter and even prescription medical remedies for this problem.

DO NOT LET YOUR RELATIONSHIP GO DOWN THE TUBES BECAUSE OF WHAT IS COMING OUR OF YOUR (OR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER'S) TUBE AT NIGHT!!!! A simple, affordable solution is available. For just 79.99 (single-bed size, though why do you really need this product if you're sleeping in a single bed?) or 89.99 (Queen/Deluxe-size), you can own the Better Marriage Blanket. 

The Better Marriage Blanket has the feel of a soft down comforter, but instead of goose feathers, this blanket uses NASA-quality technology (forget about the two exploded space shuttles or the astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove all the way from Houston to Orlando in astronaut diapers armed with duct tape, pepper spray, a BB gun, and an apparent plan to kidnap and harm another astronaut who was a romantic rival; none of that is relevant) to embed the blanket with carbon and other materials capable of absorbing the odor of   flatulence produced by a ten-ton elephant.  You or your spouse may have grave issues with flatulence, but surely the gas produced by one party or the other in your relationship isn't any more odoriforous than that produced by the proverbial ponderous pachyderm?  If this prodcut can preserve an elephant's relationship, it CAN do the same for yours.

Think about it. $89.00 versus attorney's fees alone, never mind that for which your soon-to-be-vicious-ex-spouse (if it's a domestic living arrangement of which you are a part, there won't necessarily be legal fees, but the humiliation  of  airing one's [literally] dirty laundry  in front of a nationwide  audience on Judge Alex , The People's Court, Judge Judy, or Divorce Court  is probably worse than forking over actual cash) will take you to the cleaners.  $89.99 plus $14.99 in shipping and handling costs (there's an added ten bucks for international orders; my condolences to the cheese-cutting Aussies and their lovers out there) is a clear bargain in this conundrum. Save your relationship or your marriage. Stay off national TV or out of divorce court. Fork over the $89.99 plus postage and handling.  It may very well be the best investment you'll ever make.

I credit Becca for the inspiration provided for this infomercial.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: "As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby"

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: "As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby": Because of my recent bout with mono and subsequent related splenectomy, my trips to the mall have been effectively cutailled. As a result, m...

"As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby"

Because of my recent bout with mono and subsequent related splenectomy, my trips to the mall have been effectively cutailled. As a result, my loved ones will receive some truly choice gifts for Christmas this year.  Last year I had  very little shopping mall or department store time, but I had reasonable computer access. Since I only get to use my computer for an hour a day still (my doctor is a Nazi and my dad is a fascist, or vice versa), I have elected not to waste my precious computer hours in search iof the elusive perfect gift.
Doing so is not necessary, anyway -- not when there's the Home Shopping Network and all its competition. Did you know that dfor a love offering of something like $100, you can get a vial of water from the river Jordan signed personally by Paul Crouch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know how much love one must offer to receive an autographed picture of the pink-haired Jan Crouch, Paul's supposedly beloved wife. (To the best of my knowledge gleaned through research before the Nazis and fascists struck, Paul and Jan are NOT divorced even though some Internet know-it-alls claimed otherwise.

For just a fraction of the cost of the water from the River Jordan, although actually how much I cannot remember, one can purchase a calendar from the Sisters of the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery  from the Eteernal World Television Network. Mother Angelica, Mother Superior of the group unless she died and I happened to miss it, is pictured on the cover. The monthly featured photos could be nude shots of the nuns for all I know. It might be worth your time to investigate.

Several jewelry channels feature quality  products, but if you don't act now, your chance to purchase them will be gone forever. For a brief time, one even had the chance to porchase he ring that originally belonged to princess Diana, that prince william gave to kate Middleton as an engagement ring. How they got Kate to give it up for such a reasonable price is a mystery, but I've learned never to look either  a gift horse or a gift ring  in the mouth.

One of the more curious features I came across on a shopping network was something called "The Bra Baby."  "The Bra Baby" is basically two semi-large wiffle balls, one fitting inside another, that will allow one to machine wash any bra from size 28AA  (NO LONGER MY SIZE!!!!!! I  wouldn't be so brazen as to state what my actual bra size is, and my current size is not exactly going to get me a job at Hooters anytime soon, anyway, but at least I've finally outgrown my 28AAs!!!!!!) to 44DD, although it offers the disclaimer that if the 44DD bra is padded, results cannot be guaranteed. Maybe this is a very stupid question to which everyone in the world but I already knows the answer, but why in hell would someone who wears a size 44DD bra chooose a padded bra to wear? Can't one have too much of a basically good thing?  Regardless, my mom says she's been machine washing bras sans "The Bra Baby" for many years without incident, so she encouraged me not to order that for her gift. Unfortunately, one does not always get to choose one's Christmas gifts, and one should be a gracious recipient of whatever gift one receives. So did I buy my mom "The Bra Baby" for Christmas? Time will tell, although if I did not get it for her, it's not because I'm concerned that it will damage her 44DDs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finals, Boys Who Are Friends, and Chastity Belts

I'm out of bed about half the time, but I'm taking my six finals this week, ready or not. I'm taking them in a dean's office so that I can take a break and rest on a sofa if necessary. I didn't take a break today, by the way. Tomorrow I have two finals, then one on Wednesday , then two on Thursday. Then I'm finished until January, at which time I will return to school full-time with no health restrictions. I'll only take eighteen units for the winter quarter. That's still not a pittance of a load, but it's lighter than what I've done this quarter.

My dad thinks I'm too young to have a boyfriend even though I'm seventeen. I'm trying to determine when he'll think I'm officially old enough for a boyfriend. I assume the age will be somewhere around the onset of menopause. He can think what he wants, though, because I turn eighteen in about fifty-one weeks, and could technically become not just someone's girlfriend but a bona fide slut at that time if I so desired. I won't, but from a legal standpoint, there would be little to nothing standing in my way.

Anyway, to keep an already-too-long-account from turning into even more of a saga, I'll attempt to cut to the chase. Because I'm not allowed to have a boyfriend, my friend who happens to be a boy is visiting later this week from Utah with his humongous family.  To make dwelling in a hotel slightly more comfortable for the remaining members (I've lost count; there are more than six of them but fewere than forty-eight) of his immediate family, or at least to deter the hotel staff from alerting the health department in regard to the number of humans inhabiting one or two rooms,  he will dwell with my family instead of in the hotel for the five days or so that they are here. My father has things arranged so that he, otherwise known as Jared, will sleep in the bedroom on the far side of my parents' room, while my room is on the nearer side. The alarm system in my parents' home is so sophisticated that if Jared were to pass a certain point in the hall just before reaching my parents' room, the klaxon wail of an alarm would sound, waking everyone within a quarter-mile radius,. I tried to tell my dad that Jared is a nice Mormon boy and that he and my mom need not worry about any impropriety between the two of us, but my dad's answer is that he, too, [my dad] was once a nice Mormon boy, and that nice Mormon boys have just has many hormones running amok in their systems as do any other boys. My parents aren't taking into account that I scarcely have the energy to talk to Jared, much less to engage in any sort of physical activity. Furthermore, the Epstein-Barr virus may still be present in my system. I wouldn't kiss my worst enemy. None of this ironclad evidence convinces my father in any way that he must be less vigilant than was Rapunzel's father. I gave my dad a link to a kinky web site that sells chastity belts. I did so jokingly, but facetiousness notwithstanding,  it was probably a mistake to have given him the link. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that a chastity belt  is already on a UPS truck headed in the direction of my house.

Bihar Arte!
    [Basque translation for "until tomorrow"]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Belated Birthday Party

i  had a short belated (one day late) birthday party yesterday. Even with it being short in duration, I still failed to remain awake for its entire duration. (no one complained, as though they inderstood.)Real college students attended. Most were from either the a capella group with which I'm affilliated or with related msical groups, although a few people from dorm rooms neighboring mine came as well. My parents fed the guests good food and sent them home with doggy bags. It was probably sort of like my parents were paying people to be my friends, but it was still nice, both of my parnts to host it and of someone to talk the attendees into showing up. After all, considering the location, at that very same time, there was probably at least one other party to which my guests could have gone which would have provided them not only with free food, but free booze as well. Yet they were kind enough to celebrate my birthday with me. I recognize a kind gesture when I see one. Thanks, everyone, even though you don't know my fake identity and can't read this blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and ...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and ...: Yesterday was the first birthday I can recall spending away from my twin. Despite the fact that he's now seventeen as I am and not twenty-...

Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and Other Weighty Matters

Yesterday was the first birthday I can  recall spending away from my twin. Despite the fact that he's now seventeen as I am and not  twenty-one, and therefore has no legal access to alcohol, his friends do. I suspect he celebrated his half of our birthday in style. The closest we've come previously to being apart on our birthdays, other than attending separate classes on school days, was on the day we were born, when I was in the NICU and he was in one of those plexiglass bassinets in my mom's hospital room. Over the years we've had ideas for separate birthday parties, but my parents opted for very simple parties instead, where we each invited a couple of friends, but it was a single party. I think their idea was that friends would come and go in our lives, but we'd be permanent fixtures in the lives of one another and would always have one another on which to depend. The verdict is still out on whether their experiment in forced bonding worked, but we have evolved from being fairly serious enemies to being allies again.

When we were tiny, we were soulmates. We went to preschool in my mom's attempt to get us to socialize with other children, but we mostly avoided other children and just played with each other. I can remember the preschool staff trying hard to get me to go off with the girls while Matthew did boy things during free play, but in the end, it was a choice for them: they could have Matthew involved in the girls' free play, or I could play with Matthew and the other boys. It made very little difference, anyway, as we didn't interact with the other children anymore than we absolutely had to.

My mom was seriously ill a lot when we were little. She had Graves' Disease early on in our lives, but it was at first misdiagnosed, and the doctors thought she had a host of other problems. A symptom of  Graves' is emotional lability. It sometimes took very little to set my mom off in those days. She didn't beat me, but her screaming was enough to frighten me to the extent that I generally wanted her to know as little as possible of what I was doing so she would have no cause to be angry with me. Once in awhile I wanted  a cuddle with her in the rocking chair, but I didn't usually get it. If I sat on anyone's lap in the rocking chair during the day when my dad was at work, it would have been on my twin brother Matthew's lap. When my mom was home, which was most of the time except when she had doctor's appointments, she had neither time nor interest in most of what I was doing..  What time and energy she had she devoted to Matthew. If I needed parenting during the daytime in those years, it had to come from Matthew. It was a sad state of affairs when one two- or three-year-old had to be responsible for the well-being of another. Fortunately for Matthew, I was mostly somewhat self-sufficient, but there were times when I needed help.

On a day shortly after we had turned three (I believe it was the day immediately following our birthday, which would have made it December 3. I can remember wearing my brand-new pink corduroy overalls that had arrived in the mail from my aunt for my birthday on the previous day. Happy blood bath anniversary, Matthew!) I dropped and broke a glass in the kitchen of our home. Fearful of our mother's wrath, I tried to hurriedly pick up the pieces of the glass and to dispose of them where they would not be detected. While shoving one piece of glass deeply into the kitchen wastebasket, my wrist slid against another especially sharp piece of glass that I had already  buried in the day's waste. Blood immediately began spurting from the wound in my wrist. I wasn't sure whether I was more afraid of the actual wound, of my mother's anger if she learned of the broken glass, or of what might have been her even greater anger if I were unsuccessful at keeping her kitchen from becoming a bloody scene straight out of Helter Skelter. I even remember that my mom and I had disagreed about whether I should wear my new pink overalls that day. My mom had wanted me to save them so that they would be new for an event we were to attend the following day. I didn't wish to bring on additional trouble for myself by getting blood onto a dish towel, so I grabbed the paper napkins from the holder on the breakfast table and attempted to absorb the spurting blood from my wrist as I continued to pick up pieces of glass and to bury them in the wastebasket as fast as I  could, although more carefully than before.

After a few moments, Matthew wandered into the room. I don't know if he, too, possessed genuine fear of our mother's reaction, or if he simply empathized with me and feared I would be in trouble for the broken glass and the ensuing mess. All I know is that he didn't summon our mother. He handed me a roll of paper towels and told me to hold those on my arm while he finished cleaning the broken glass the best that a barely-three-year-old could. Once the glass he could see was removed and the blood that could be wiped away was (the blood on the floor rug wouldn't be eradicated by anything a three-year-old could do) he took me into the family room with a fresh roll of paper towels and a trash bag. He held me on his lap in the rocking chair while I soaked one paper towel after another with my blood, then tossed it in the general direction of the trash bag. By that time, Matthew was covered in blood as well.

At this moment my mother walked in. All she saw was two bloody three-year-olds. To her credit, she didn't freak out at either of us for the heap of bloody paper towels on her family room floor or for our bloody clothing on her now bloody rocking chair. The blood itself freaked her out more than a bit, though, especially since she initially didn't even know the source of it. She didn't know how much blood was lost, or from which of her two three-year-olds it came, so she dialed 9-1-1. In the meantime she assessed the situation and found that a gash in my wrist had produced the blood she found all over us. She hadn't even seen her kitchen yet. She waited for the paramedics while she applied pressure to my lacerated wrist.

My mother would not have gone ballistic over a broken drinking glass. A bloody dish towel would have been the least of her concerns. Because the undiagnosed Graves' Disease caused her to have a heightened state of anger and/or hysteria over things that shouldn't have been terribly upsetting to a more stable person, I feared the worst from her when any little thing went awry. As it was, following one ambulance ride, a transfusion of blood from my dad and my Uncle Steve (who lived with us and had been at medical school when the accident happened but appeared in the ER shortly after being paged),  several internal and external stitches, and a night in the hospital,  everthing was fine. The blood probably would have  come out of the overalls, but my mother tossed them into the trash because she said that seeing me in them again would have brought back horrible memories of her tiny twins drenched in blood. She said that in a weird sort of way, it reminded her of pictures of Jackie Kennedy's pink suit covered with JFK's blood. (I believe she threw out the clothes Matthew had been wearing as well.) We made it through that particular crisis and many others, often just my twin brother and me, with parents somtimes never being any the wiser.

My mom's Graves' Disease was eventually diagnosed, and she calmed down. She went on to bigger and not necessarily better illnesses. After I donated bone marrow to her when she had leukemia, we bonded, and her favoritism of Matthew was no longer an issue. He didn't have to be my parent each day until my father returned from work anymore.

Along with the lack of need for Matthew to function as my caretaker came a slightly sad but inevitable side effect: we became the proverbial spar-like-cats-and-dogs brother and sister. It was a relatively even match, and therefore a somewhat fair ten-year-long battle. He was roughly twice my size, but my intellect, savvy, and level of meanness exceeded his roughly as much as his size exceeded mine. Our disagreements almost never became physical both because that was where our parents drew the line as well as because I was smart enough to know that I didn't stand a chance in a physical fight against my brother, but our parents went through ten years of  listening to and mediating disagreements about everything from what TV program to watch to what our dog should be named, to which of us got the bigger portion of ice cream. (It was Matthew. Matthew always managed to get more than his share of ice cream.) Syndicated newspaper parenting columnist John Rosemond, whose columns my mother reads primarily for the purpose of disagreeing with him, would have sent us both to our rooms for our formative years of the ages of six through sixteen, but my parents said they didn't go to the trouble of bringing children into the world so that we could function as decorations in the house's extra  bedrooms until we were old enough to leave home. Consequently, the disagreements continued and were experienced by the entire family.

My parents knew something that John Rosemond apparently doesn't, which is that if parents give as little attention as possible to sibling disputes, children eventually become bored with them, and move on to other things, with relationships intact. This is essentially what happened with my brother and me. The process was perhaps accelerated by trauma that I experienced. Matthew had to choose be on he side either of my attackers or on my side, and he concluded that blood is, indeed, thicker than water. After our experience with the broken glass, he knew this to be literally true. It's not that we'll never have another disagreement again for as long as we both live, but, generally speaking, we have a bond forged by shared experiences that began with our time together in utero. We're close enough, anyway, that it bothered me to spend my birthday for the first time away from my twin brother.

As we're growing up and our lives are taking us down different paths, it's unlikely that yesterday was the last birthday we'll ever spend apart. Still, I don't have to like it. Happy belated birthday, Matthew.

Surprise Post

My Dear Sweet Alexis,

You probably forgot that we have your info for this account and can post on it. Today seemed an especially appropriate day to do so.

Happy seventeenth to our little Lexus, who is, to us, much more like a Bentley.

You're growing up, even physically to some degree, which many of us, least of all you, ever thought would come. Many exciting things will happen to you in the upcoming years. Most will be good, and maybe a few will not, but all will combine to take you on a fantastic roller coaster ride.

Keep in mind that the worst is very likely over. If you exercise normal caution, nothing as bad as the things that have already happened to you in the past is likely to happen again. It can't be all good  (as much as I would love for it to be for you, it just can't; that's not how real life operates), but it can be mostly good, and you can take what you can learn from the times that aren't so great.

As you're growing physically and chronologically, the other university students will be more like you, and real friendships will come. Be patient.

In the meantime, you have Uncle Scott and me, who love you as parents do except that we're a hell of a lot more fun than parents.

I wish I could see you today, but we both have compromised immune systems and you're carrying around a virus from which I really need to stay away, so we'll have to settle for skyping. Uncle Scott will be there to wish you a happy birthday in person for both of us.

Have a happy seventeenth. A few years from now, you'll wonder into what black hole this birthday and the several that are soon to follow disappeared. As much as it feels like it now to you, you will not be young forever. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I love you so much.

Auntie J.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

As my family sat at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day shoveling food into their mouths at a rate so alarming that I considered dialing 9-1-1 and alerting the paramedics in advance that someone at my address would soon choke and be in need of emergency medical assistance. After all, doing so would be at least as warranted as calling the local 9-1-1 service because Burger King put mustard on a customer's burger after the customer had specifcally requested a mustard-free burger, which I believe actually happened. Eventually, I thought better of my preemptive strike and decided simply to allow the gluttons to face Karma; if the Heimlich maneuver worked or the paramedics made it to our home on time with equipment, great, If not, it probably wasn't meant to be.

Anyway, as I was pondering the situation concerning the lack of safety surrounding me at the dining room table, not to mention the lack of observation of conventional table manners, my dad noticed what must have been an unpleasant expression on my face. Though I wasn't looking at myself in a mirror and wasn't, therefore, necessarily the most qualified descriptor of my own facial expression at that  precise moment, because I know what I was feeling at the moment, I would have to say my expression could best be described as one of combined concern and disgust. My father, on the other hand, categorized my look in the way he most frequently categorizes  my facial expressions: he said the look was purely one of self-pity. (It's pointless to argue with my father about anything. Were the late Vince Lombardi to return to life and show up in our livingroom for the purpose of discussing with my father the weather conditions during the legendary 1967  NFL Championship game commonly known as The Ice Bowl, my dad would find cause to take exception with Lombardi's determination of the wind-chill factor at kick-off time. If  Dad were engaged in a conversation with Neil Armstrong, he would probably disagree with the famed astronaut about the feel of walking on a surface with one-seventh of the force of gravity that the Earth possesses. My dad argues when the person with whom he is arguing actually agrees with him. Arguing with my father is utterly futile.) Even though I could eat only a few bites of finely-cut food, Dad told me that, since the purpose of the holiday was to give thanks for one's blessings, I would not be allowed to leave the table until I could come up with ten specific things for which I am thankful. Mind you, I'm only allowed out of bed and into a recliner for a total of four hours a day, in addition to my ten required daily torture sessions otherwise known as walks.  Yet this man, who at least in theory spawned me, and who is a medical doctor to boot, which would indicate that at some point in time he must have taken that Hippocratic Oath thing that they all supposedly take at some point promising to do no harm (I call it the Hypocritical Oath where my dad is concerned), was more than willing to risk my well-being by forcing me to sit in an uncomfortable dining room chair while my narcotic-addled brain attempted to unearth ten things for which I was thankful. Keep in mind that this demand was not forced  upon anyone else present at our dining room table. Nonetheless, there was no way of avoiding this unfair treatment.  I requested a piece of paper and a pen. Since I coudn't eat, I might just as well have used my time writing.

                                            Ten Things for Which I Am Thankful  
                                                     by Alexis Anne Rosseau

1. I am thankful that my father did not perform my splenectomy. He surely would've botched the job and killed me in the process.

2. I am thankful that I'm no longer in the hospital. Even if the nurses didn't kill me, either deliberately or through their incompetence, the food eventually would have finshed me off, either because it was so disgusting that my inabiity to eat it would have cause me to starve to death or because dangerous pathogens were present either in the food at the outset or were transferred to the food by the unwashed hands of the cafeteria workers.

3. My mom spent two nights as my roommate in the hospital because she had just undergone kidney stone removal surgery. Not only was she good company; the doctors and nurses could not mistreat me in her presence.

4. My PseudoAunt's Cousin's Ex-wife brought to me one dozen Baskin Robbins clown cones to me, and I still have eight remaining, which my brother has been forbidden by those with authority to enforce the directive, to touch without my express consent, and only when I am in a sufficiently lucid state to give consent. He can't wake me up at 3:00 a.m. after I've taken a Vicodin to ask for one.

5. My PseudoAunt Jillian just received the news that she passed the California Bar Exam on her first attempt.

6. My piano is being tuned next week.

8. My father doesn't hav any hernias or back problems that I know about, so he can carry me upstairs if I don't feel up to making the trip on my own.

9. Jesse Spencer is back on "House" after an entirely too long hiatus.

10. The thread count on my Egyptian cotton sheets at home is 2,000, This is because my aunt and uncle are generous, not because my dad tells my mom that money is just money and that it's senseless for us to live as paupers so that their money can all go to some charity when my parents finally pass on to the next world. The sheets in the hospital practically gave me bedsores, and I was only in there for a week. Thank God for Egyptian cotton sheets with a thread count higher than two digits.

Postscript: My dad was less than pleased with my effort, but he did agree to let me relocate from the dining room chair that is, I would imagine, approximately as uncomfortable as an electric chair would be, to the family room sofa. My dad periodically shows trace evidence of a conscience.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Countdown

The worst is over. I've been sprung from the Big House and am comfotably in my own bed.  I did have a TV in my hospital room, but the number of stations was limited, to express it midlly. My parents don't subscribe to premium stations, but we at least have expanded cable. Anytime, day or night, I can find something that will hold my attention until I fall asleep.  The wonders of modern television are seldom celebrated to the degree that they deserve to be. My mom likes to talk about the good old days when she lived in a town that only got five stations, and one of the five was in Spanish. This one-way conversation usually comes up just before the discourse of how my mom walked four miles to school through two feet of snow to school for much of the year. She lived in Nebraska during part of her childhood, so there was snow during that particular era of her life, but one of my aunts told me that the family lived one short city block -- not even the length of a foorball field -- from the school my mom attended at the time.  The only time she lived four miles from a school she attended was when she lived in Central California. Two months after moving there, at the age of thirteen, she bought her own late-model Trans-Am with winnings from her sports betting operation, and drove herself to school every day. The minimum age for legal drivers' licensure was sixteen, but in that neck of the woods,  certain laws were routinely ignored. Nine-year-olds who could not sucessfully maneuver manual transmission vehicles at least as far as the groery store and back were considered candidates for special education.  Anyway, while I grow weary of hearing my mom's stories of growing up in the dark ages, I do feel her pain where the dearth of television stations was concerned.

In terms of  The Countdown, my spleen was removed by laparotomy on the eighteenth of November. Had the procedure employed for removal been laparoscopy, whereby a couple of small incisions would have been made for the insertion of scopes for purposes of viewing what was going on inside one's midsection, and for removing the offending organ, my recovery would have been much quicker. Instead, depending upon which story one chooses to believe, either because it was medically necessary due to the sheer mass of the spleen and thinness of parts of the walls of the organ, or because doctors, even though they bring in substantial salaries, as often as not have financial obligations in excess of their salaries, the surgeon entrusted with performing my surgery opted for the more invasive  laparotomy procedure, involving an incision wide enough to have allowed for the removal of a seventeen-pound baby,  greater recovery times and, not incidentally, a heftier payment for the surgeon.

The arbitrary length of the moratorium on strenous physical ctivity or any activity that could potentially produce direct physical trauma to the area of my incision has been determined to be six weeks if nothing changes. I've been told the time could be lengthened if anything goes wrong, but that it's not getting any shorter even if Dr. Oz,  Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Jesus (the surgeon is Episcopalian, by the way; obviously if he were atheistic, Jewish or Sikh, Jesus wouldn't have much influence)  simultaneously appear to my surgeon pleading on my behalf.

I'm scheduled to fly to Utah on December 27.  This is three days before my parole officially ends. This is if I'm even allowed by my surgeon to board the plane. The plane could, God forbid,  crash, killing all of the occupants, myself included. When all is said and done and all autopsy results are in, it could be that the trauma of the place crash, in addition to causing a massive and inevitably fatal brain injury in addition to the massive injuries to at least fifteen of my vital organs, which would have caused me to bleed to death within thirty seconds of impact, a very tiny percentage of the cause of death might be attributed to the recency of my splenectomy prior to the trauma of the accident. My parents might then choose to sue the surgeon for medical malpractice.

So even being allowed to get on the stupid aircraft is far from a given. Then comes the purpose, or purposes, for my visit. My current long-distance romantic interest lives in Utah. We haven't had more than skype visits since June. While skyping is a great invention (which did not, incidentally, exist in the days of my mother's youth, but I'll spare you the tedious details) actually visiting with my date of choice is something I'm eagerly anticipating. Additionally, I LOVE snowboarding. Snowboarding can be done in California, although I don't cirrently live close to any skiing/snowboarding facilities. Still, had my schedule offered a bit more flexibility, I could have managed it, but I've carried a truckload of university credits this quarter. The upcoming winter break and trip to Utah, which has a lovely resort less than thirty minutes by car from the place where I'll be staying, will offer multiple opportunities to snowboard. Because it's a school break, the mountains will be crawling with inept snowboarders, but I'll patiently brave their incompetence for the thrill of  a few minutes of unadulterated downhill speed. 

Then we get to the technicalities. Is  December 30 my first day of release from restrictions, or is it my final day of parole? Is snowboarding one of those activities deemed so perilous by my surgeon that it must exceed even the six-week limit of inactivity? Perhaps, since my spleen was removed, I should just give up snowboarding for the rest of my life. Perhaps climbing stairs and crossing streets are activities too perilous for me to engage in as well.

I say what my surgeon doesn't know will never cause him any loss of sleep. For example, our kitchen counter is at the precise height of the incision from my splenectomy.  People bump into their kitchen counters all the time. What should we as a family do about this? Should we move, even though we only recently moved into our present home? Should we remodel our kitchen so that the counters are not at such a precarious height for me? Should I remain the hell out of the kitchen permanently? My parents could purchase and place a small refrigerator in my bedroom. My Uncle Ralph wanted to do that in the first place when he remodeled my room, but my parents rejected the idea as being too indulgent. The kitchen counter height is one of many potential dangers my parents have never even considered discussing with my surgeon. We have stairs in our home. People, even relatively coordinated ones such as myself, fall down stairs all the time. Do we need to install an elevator in our home?  The seatbelts in my mom's car press upon my splenectomy incision site in a most uncomfortable manner just wearing them.  were an accident to occur, I hate to even consider the damage that would be done by the device intended to preserve my life.. I've been told that to replace the seatbelts in my mom's car would be a ridiculous expense. Do my parents need to arrange their schedules so that my dad is available to transport me when the need arises? Or should my mother buy a new car? If she can't afford it, perhaps she could start another sports betting operation like the one she had when she was in high school.

This situation has resulted a positive outcome. I cannot sleep well at night unless I've had at least one argument with one of my parents in a given twenty-four-hour period. The topic and everthing surrounding it have produced sufficient fodder for at least one argument every hour. I'm sleeping well most of the time, and even when I can't sleep, there's always something decent on TV for me to watch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Parole Hearing Tomorrow

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Parole Hearing Tomorrow: Tomorrow during grand rounds the head honcho and his lackeys will decide my fate. Originally I was to be sprung from the pokey for certain e...

Parole Hearing Tomorrow

Tomorrow during grand rounds the head honcho and his lackeys will decide my fate. Originally I was to be sprung from the pokey for certain either today or tomorrow. Then the pesky matter of platelets, or lack thereof, arose. One or another of the lackeys has nothing better to do than to dream of scenarios in which I could conceivably bleed to death. I could assist him. her, or them if  his, her, or their imaginations are running dry. Perhaps I could suffer a gunshot wound directly to my aorta, possibly even in the interception of a bullet in a political assassination attempt. My jugular vein could be slit by a crazy person. I could suffer an abdominal aortic aneurism.  I could even be attacked by an escaped barrel of leeches.  The possibilities are endless. It's just sad that the lackeys are keeping me here longer than I need to be under false pretenses so that my aunts, Godparents, and other miscellaneous relatives and family friends will deliver food to the staff.

Platelets, schmlatelets. Get me out of this $(@#^%*  prison!!!!!!

Gung Hay Fat Choy, and think twice before kissing someone with whose health history you are not thoroughly familiar

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still Making the Nurses Crazy

My Uncle Scott, who has privileges at this hospital, says if I'm driving the nurses here crazy, it's the shortest trip any of them have ever taken in their lives.

I tweeted dear sweet Judge aklex to tell him that my aunt had passed the CA bar exam on her first attempt. I mentioned that my dad was typing for me because I had just undergone a splenectomy. He did reply, wonder of wonders. His reply was, :"Concgratulations (to her, not you)." I supposed he thinks undegoing a splenectomy is not worth of congratulations. Actually, I thought it was pretty funny.

My  mom goes home tomorrow. It will be lonely without here.  I'll stick around a few more days to torment the hospital staff, but should be home by Wednesday at the very latest.

Ciao, and be careful about whom you kiss.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still Incarcerated

My mom will be sprung from this joint at some time tomorrow, but I still have until at least Tuesday. I usually have my own room in the hospital, but this time I shared with my mom for a couple of days. I must admit that it's been nice having my mom as a roomie. It's been much more convenient for my dad as well. He can make both of our lives miserable from one recliner. He actually made us waltch a PBS replay of Lawrence Welk for the sake of nostalgia this evening. Can you even imagine such a thing? I'm stil detoxing, as is my mom.

I have an idea which may prove my point that Judge alex is interested in increasing his ratings and in hearing just how hot women think he is. I plan to establish a couple of fake Twitter accounts with buxom blondes, brunettes, or whatever, all of whom are of age.  All will essentially proposition him. My guess is that my fake tweeters will receive some sort of response from him, even if it's only thanks, but no thanks; I'm married; but do please keep watching my show.

The judge didn't respond when I told him I had mono. He didn't reply when my Aunt Heather tweeted that I had my spleen removed, and he gave no response when I told him my PseudoAunt passed the CA bar exam on her first try. If my fake bimbos tell him he's hotter than the earth's core, that they frequently think about what he's wearing under his robe, or that they would love to be sentenced by him, his response rate will be between twenty-five and fifty per cent. I cannot yet do this because the equipment I need to scan profile photos is at home, but once I'm allowed to use a computer at home, I'll try it  in the interest of science. My guess is that he is every bit as big an opportunistic cad as I predict he is, but time will tell.

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I appreciate them very much.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm dictating. My dad is typing for me. I'm a bit loopy from the narcotics I've been given, but I do have something to say. My PseudoAunt Jillian has passed the California Bar Exam on her first try. This was a major feat. She basically walked into the testing room and took the test cold with no preparation other than what she received from her law school courses. Most bar applicants study hours a day for months. Her plan was to take it with no preparation so that she would have a bettter idea how to focus her studies for her first "real" attempt at passage. She was further hindered by having attended law school in a state other than California. Some aspects of the law are common to all states, and some states bear more commonality in state laws than do others, but it was still impressive that she passed without a rigorous course of study after having attended an out-of-state law school. I'm still stuck in this hospital bed, but I'm celebrating with her and with her family and friends in spirit.

Congratulations, Auntie.



Uncle Steve Reporting

This is Alexis' Uncle Steve - not Uncle Scott, her "PseudoUncle" who is probably her favorite person in the world -  but rather her paternal biological uncle who is also her pediatrician. Alexis and I have had our moments in the past as she's not the world's most compliant patient, but we generally remain close in spite of it.

It was noticed that her spleen enlargement was getting worse and not better, and that the front wall was growing precariously thin. The decision was made to remove the spleen under optimal conditions before she rolled over onto it in the middle of the night and ruptured it, which would have necessitated much more perilous and less-controlled surgery. She made it through with flying colors. She's not complaining much due to the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals. She'll be fine, and her recovery time will not be much if any longer than it would have been without the surgery because she would have needed major downtime with the enlarged spleen anyway

Alexis' mom had a kidney stone removed, and her dad is with her mom, so I'm on night watch with Alexis over the graveyard shift tonight. If she were able to say anything coherent, she'd wish you all well  and tell you to be careful whom you kiss. Tomorrow she'll at least be able to dictate her own message instead of being at the mercy of whatever her crazy old uncle wants to share.

Matt, I believe you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that Alexis' former Twitter friend Judge Alex doesn't care a great deal about anything but ratings.

I hope you all sleep more comfortably than I'm likely to sleep in the hospital recliner next to Alexis' bed. In our family, we're protective. Most screw-ups in terms of misunderstood doctors' instructions and inaccurately dispensed dosages of medications occur in the wee hours of the morning.  We don't take chances with our kids even if it means spending nights in uncomfortable hospitals recliners.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Relativity of Luck/ Hospitals

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Relativity of Luck/ Hospitals: i'm lucky in some ways. I'm not luky because my leg was mangked in a track and field accident. I'm not lucky because I was assaulted. I'm no...

Relativity of Luck/ Hospitals

I'm lucky in some ways. I'm not lucky because my leg was mangled in a track and field accident. I'm not lucky because I was assaulted. I'm not lucky because my appendix ruptured when a half-wit could've diagnosed appendicitis before it ruptured. I'm not even lucky because I have mono. Mono sucks.

I'm lucky because I'm not in a hospital. People with mono aren't typically admitted to hospitals, although I'm closer to hospital incarceration than most of my fellow mono sufferers because of an enlarged spleen, still, I'm not yet locked up in a hospital bed. Instead, I'm in my own comfortable room. It has a pink, white, and black color scheme. It has room for my baby grand piano. It has a flatscreen TV. It has a bed at least one hundred times more comfortable than the most comfortable hospital bed. It has awesome vertical blinds that can allow the room to be filled with sunlight or can be a virtual cave. I have multiple matching sheets, comforters, and rugs. The bathroom matches the color scheme of the room, and has towels actually thick enough to dry me after a shower, as opposed to my parents' cast-off towels to which I used to be relegated to using, which wouldn't have adequately dried someone standing outside during a drought.

My point here is not to boast of the generosity of my Godparents in creating my room. My point is that people with illnesses would recuperate faster and more cheaply if they checked into four-star hotels and hired registered nurses to care for them while there. Hospitals don't really make people well. Patients recover in spite of hospitals, not because of them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Announcing the birth of Chamomile Aphrodite, but n...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Announcing the birth of Chamomile Aphrodite, but n...: My Aunt Christelle and Uncle Mendel are the proud parents of a new eight-pound-three-ounce baby. When they told us Christelle hadn't been to...

Announcing the birth of Chamomile Aphrodite, but not exactly . . .

My Aunt Cristelle and Uncle Mendel are the proud parents of a new eight-pound-three-ounce baby. When they told us Cristelle hadn't been to a doctor, then told us the baby was to be a girl, I don't know how we didn't put two and two together and end up with seventeen, as Cristelle and Mendel obviously had done. We thought they must have visited an ultrasound clinic or something of the sort, but no; one of their Wiccan friends had presided over some sort of ceremony where she determined the sex of the baby to be female in utero by dropping a white feather precisely six feet above cristelle's navel and observing where the feather landed; the results of the Wiccan ceremony were supported by Cristelle's and Mendel's strong premonitions, which turned out to be about as accurate ass the reults of the Wiccan ceremony.. Everyone had a fifty-fifty shot at predicting correctly, but the Wiccans were consistently aligned with the losing fifty.

So I now have a new cousin. His name is Blitzen Manx. The Manx part comes from his having been born in the Isle of Man. The Blitzen part comes from God knows where. Perhaps either Cristelle or Mendel has a particular affinity for Santa's eighth reindeer. They  claim not to practice Christianity, but maybe the Santa part of the Christian-related holiday is exempt from the Wiccan system of non-belief.

Blitzen was born in a hospital, as I think I announced earlier would happen. My dad had persuaded Mendel and Cristelle that such was an absolute necessity.The poor child faced more than  enough obstacles working against his favor simply by virtue of being the result of the union of Mendel's sperm and Cristelle's egg, never mind compounding the odds against him that would be endured by any baby being delivered anywhere other than in a competent medical care facility. Labor was proceeding very slowly, as in Christelle thought she was at death's door when only the most sensitive of monitors could detect even that a contraction was occurring. I metioned i all seriousness in an earlier blog that Cristelle cannot suffer through a paper cut without an extra-strength Vicodin tablet..

Cristelle was two days overdue. Labor was clearly in progress, slow though it might have been. The doctor decided that the baby was clearly on its way and that Cristelle wasn't going to be anymore rested for the big event if  nature were to be allowed to crawl along at its own snail's pace, so the doctor ruptured Christelle's membranes.  Rupturing membranes, otherwise known as breaking the water, often spontaneously accelerates and intensifies labor. At that point all Hell broke loose. My dad and I really should have (and would have if we weren't related to a bunch of total buzz-kill Mormons on that side of the family) created a betting pool related to the number of full-scale contractions Christelle would tolerate before throwing plans of a natural childbirth to the wind and demanding painkillers, be they demerol, stadol, whatever is given in an epidural, or  rock cocaine in its purest form.  Dad and I would've made a killing on the gambling venture. Christelle was threatening medical personnel with bodily harm if they didn't produce an anaesthesiologist and get an epidural going pronto. One of the hospital personnel who incurred her wrath and threats was the janitor who came in to mop up the mess after Uncle Mendel tossed his cookies on the floor following the breaking of the water. (Perhaps it's a Wiccan tradition.) Imagine the nerve of a hospital custodian janitor  not to immediately cough up the goods required to propel Cristelle into epidural-induced all-time high!

An epidural didn't happen when it was demanded, but the doctor did give Cristelle demerol through her IV. This caused her to be incredibly loopy. She would grab at the arms of anyone who was foolish enough to walk within her reach during a contraction and beg them for more drugs because she seemed to seriously believe she was dying. At the immediate conclusion of each contraction, she would fall into an almost coma-like sleep, or in as coma-like  state of sleep into which one could fall into in just three minutes. After about twelve hours of this almost comedic repetition, (I say "almost comedic" because I could never consider the pain experienced by a laboring mother-to-be, as exaggerated as it may have appeared to observers,  to be a source of genuine humor. From most accounts, giving birth is painful, and I will not laugh about anyone's discomfort incurred in  the process.) Cristelle was dilated to a whopping four centimeters, which might have been sufficient to allow her to give birth to a gerbil if forceps were used.  Pitocin was administered. The only thing this accomplished was that Cristelle transitioned from begging for more drugs to demanding them while hollering out the most graphic expletives imaginable.

When Pitocin yielded no measurable results after two hours, the doctor decided that the baby wasn't coming out in the traditional way. Forty-five minutes later, Blitzen Manx was born via Caesarean section. One aspect of Cristelle's dream childbirth experience was realized. My mother had purchased a sheet that was a rose petal-covered print. She had it hospital-sterilized and sealed and sent it over to the Isle of Man. It was placed upon the O. R. table before Cristelle was lifted on. In a convoluted sort of way, Cristelle was able to give birth on a bed of roses.

I won't get to see the baby anytime soon because I won't be healthy enough to travel in the near future, plus there's the pesky matter of school. I ordered an outfit for Blitzen and had it sent to him on the  Isle of Man. Mendel's parents are no longer on the planet, and Cristelle's parents (my paternal grandparents) have  had so many grandchildren already that they cease to be excited about any new ones, which makes me a bit sad for Cristelle and for the baby. Every baby deserves to have grandparents excited about his or her arrival. My Uncle Steve and his wife, my Aunt Heather, are going to visit the new little family next week, and will stay for ten days or so to help with housekeeping tasks and to take care of the baby and Cristelle while Mendel works a few hours each day. Uncle Steve is a pediatrician, and Aunt Heather  is a nurse practitioner, and they have two children of their own, so they should be of much practical assistance. My parents plan to visit right after Christmas. I wish I could go, but it's not in the plans right now. Maybe either their family will visit the U. S. or I can go there during the summer. I'm excited to see and  touch and hold little Blitzen Manx even if his parents did burden him with a rather strange name.

I would like to go on record as saying I have never experienced labor or childbirth, and I cannot guarantee that my performance during such won't be every bit as dramatic as Cristelle's if not more so. My dad said if it is, he will disown me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still Battling the Kissing Disease

The Mono hasn't gone anywhere yet, not that anyone ever guaranteed  it would be gone by now, Someone suggested that resting now would probably ultimately reduce the time I'll need for recuperation later. if such is the case, I'm going to be the fasted damned recuperator in history. My parents will barely allow me to lift my hed off my pillow except when I need to visit the bathroom. I'm allowed to use my computer for fifteen minutes a day, which sounds Draconian, but's it's all I can manage anyway.

My mom was attending classes and taking notes for me, which, while very sweet of her, was mortifying to me. In my music theory class, someone didn't understand something, so my  mom explained it to him, which resulted in the professor asking about my mother's academic background. She has doctorates in music, as well as educational and clinical and psychology. To make a long story short, my professor handed his dry erase marker over to my mom, who finished his lecture for him. The only thing that might have made it worse was if I had been there. I am much relieved that all of my professors told my mom I was doing fine in class, but that they would email their lecture notes to me so that I could be prepared for final exams without the mortification of her sitting through anymore of my classes

I'm mostly too disoriented to even watch TV. My mom turns on music for me to hear, but since I'm too weak to get up and turn it on myself, I'm totally at her mercy. I'm not fond of Tchaikovsky. I'm fairly certain that listening to it has made me substantially sicker.

My dad came in with his guitar. If I had to listen to one artist for the rest of my life, it probably wouldn't be my dad, but I'd rather hear him than Tchaikovsky any day. He at least plays what I ask him to play, and he doesn't perform "Waltz of the Flowers" or anything else from "The Nutcracker Suite."

Tomorrow if my mom trries to turn on music, I'll ask her to play my parlour grand piano that now fits in my new room. She doesn't play that mush Tchaikovsky, so that aspect will be good. Perhaps she'll even take requests like my dad does. my mom was a dul voice-piano enphasis i her doctoratre, so she sings well inadditin to playing piano beyond proficiently. If I askhe to sing something by Andrew Lllod Webber, or even sometihing from "Fiddler on the Roof,"  "Brigadoon,"  or "Wicked," she'll forget all about Tchaikovsky. My favirite thing that she sings is actually "pie jesu" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Requiem." It's perhaps a bit morbid as it's from a funeral mass, but I can never hear it too many times.

Even though I did not contract this illness through oral contact, I'd advise anyone who happens to read this not to kiss anyone just to be safe.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Kissing Disease

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Kissing Disease: Yes, I have it. Mononucleosis. The dreaded kissing disease. I haven't kissed anyone since early June, and the incubation period is far short...

The Kissing Disease

Yes, I have it. Mononucleosis. The dreaded kissing disease. I haven't kissed anyone since early June, and the incubation period is far shorter than four months. I have no clue as to how I could have contracted this ailment. I don't even drink from drinking fountains.

I came down with a fever on Tuesday. I went to school anyway because that's what I do. On Wednesday I was able to get out the door and on my way  school without anyone noticing. By Thursday, the symptoms were so obvious  that even my parents couldn't miss them. One exam and a blood test later, and I've been branded practically a slut.

I had to take Thursday and Friday off. This week I probab;ly won't be allowed out of the house, either. Fortunately I'm way ahead in my classes. Nevertheless, my mom will attend my classes and take notes for me. Even though it somewhat embarrasses me, I don't want to seem ungrateful. It's a very nice thing she's doing, and few mothers would go to such lengths for their kids. (Can you hear the propeller or the purr of the helicopter motor from where you are?)  I'm desperately needed to babysit two little kids whose mom just had surgery, but I'm not allowed anywhere near them just in case I might drool on them or something like that.

After a week of virtual quarantine, which at least will happen in  room that's the one-bedroom equivalent to a five-star hotel, my dad and my doctor will re-evaluate. I have a dorm room on campus. I can probably go to class, then go to my dorm to rest between classes. My dad may even ask the enablement office or whatever office it is that caters to those with disabilities to transport me to and from class by wheelchair. Won't that be cute? I'm not already enough of a freak because I look like I'm in middle school; I can now be a freaky looking middle school student in a wheelchair at my university. Send in the clowns.

This, I've been assured, is temporary. The plan is for me to meet up with my love interest over Christma break. i probably can't kiss him now. Maybe he'll just think I'm playing hard to get.

In the meantime, my throat hurts, my neck is sore,  my head hurts, my midsection hurts, and I feel like sh--.

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween in Isla Vista

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween in Isla Vista: Isla Vaista, a small unincoporated community located just across a bridge from UC-Santa Barbara and consisting almost entirely of university...

Halloween on Bourbon Street

"Bourbon Street", a small unincoporated community located just across a bridge from my university and consisting almost entirely of university students, is surely the Halloween Capital of the World. I had the privilege of being present on "Bourbon Street" for a very short interval. "Bourbon Street" Drive, the Isla Vista street closest to the ocean, was the hub of activity. "Bourbon Street" is the hub of most social activity in the greater UCSB community, Halloween or not.

I'll try to decsribe what I saw using an analogy of a TV program I once saw. Once when I was injured and couldn't reach the remote control for the tV, an episode of  "Cops" aired that was filmed on Bourbon Street in New Orleans on the night of Mardi Gras. The law enforcement officers being filmed only took ten steps maximum before coming upon another person committing some obviously law-breaking act for which he or she had to be arrested. It was one arrest after another. The officers had to request additional handcuffs several times.

"Bourbon Street"  Drive  on Halloween wasn't quite then seen of drunken debauchery as Bourbon Street on fat Tuesday, but it was damned close. I didn't see as much as I might have, because my PseudoAunt Jillian's brother timmy, his cousin Peter, or his cousin peter's firend Peter kept putting their hands over my eyres everytime the saw a male exposing parts of his anatomy that should not have been displayed. Once when they weren't properly vigilant, howeverm I did see a male approximately twenty years of age attempting to take a leak into a beer bottle from ten feet away. His aim wasn't as good as he thought it was; he ended up dousing a jacket or sweatshirt that was left lying next to the beer bottle.

I spent much of the thirty-minute sojourn down two streets hidden under Timmy's jacket. Anytime a law enforcement officer was near, the guys with me hid me because even though none of us was doing anything illegal, the guys didn't want to explain what they were doing there with an obviously underage female. Cousin Peter, in particular, was concerned that someone might be charged with some sort of conspiracy to commit statuatory rape. cousin Peter is a doctor and can't afford to have such a charge on his record.

It was all pretty funny. Intoxicated people are entertaining to watch. If you were there, I hope you had a good time. I certainly had fun watching you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween at My University

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Halloween at My University: Hallooween is celbrated with intensity here. It's not merely a one-evening or even a twenty-four-hour celebration. The drunken revelry has ...

Halloween at My University

Hallooween is celbrated with intensity here. It's not merely a  one-evening or even a twenty-four-hour celebration. The drunken revelry has been going on for the better part of a week. Monday night it will supposedly escalate to the level of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

My pseudoAunt's brother Timmy said he will take me so that I can at least see the celebration. He said we won't stay for long because the drunken revelry is somewhat dangerous, but that he will at least let me get a look at the parties. The closer one gets to the ocean, the more exciting the parties become. The very last street before the ocean is the rough equivalent to Bourbon Street. It's already in full celebration mode.

Timmy said no one sober enough to notice would be comfortable with me in attendance at his or her party because my youthful appearance would likely attract the attention of law enforcement personnel. still, he thinks we can pole our heads into a couple of exciting events during a thirty-minute-walk down Bourbon Street.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Held Against My Will (sort of)

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Held Against My Will (sort of): My Pseudoaunt and Pseudouncle showed up at my house unexpectedly today. I wasn't expecting them, anyway. My mom apparently was. As soon as t...

Held Against My Will (sort of)

My Pseudoaunt and Pseudouncle showed up at my house unexpectedly today. I wasn't expecting them, anyway. My mom apparently was. As soon as they walked in the door and told me of their plans to kidnap me and keep me overnight, forcing me to miss four of my university classes tomorrow,  my mom handed to my Pseudoaunt a bag packed with what she thought I would need for an overnight trip. I attempted to politely decline the invitation, but my Pseudouncle used his size and strength to force me into their car.

Now we're at a hotel located close to an amusement park. Tomorrow morning, when I should be on campus attending class, I will be forced to visit an amusement park and ride roller coasters. Whoever heard of such a thing? If a kid screws up and gets a lousy grade in a course, which I've never exactly done, everyone in the world is angry with the kid. Once I did get a mid-quarter progress report that had a minus after the A. I lost computer privileges for three weeks until the teacher got around to letting my parents know that my average in the class was, with the extra credit that I did, back  up to 104.8%.  Now the people in charge of me are forcing me to miss an entire day's worth of classes.

The supposed reason for my adult-enforced instance of playing hooky is that I am now taking my studies too seriously and am stressing out over my courseload.  I'm taking 21 quarter units. What sane person wouldn't be stressed out?  The answer to my being stressed about classes and grades, they think, is to take me away from the courses and everything associated with them for a day. Won't my anxiety be even greater on Tuesday night, just before I have to return to the classes that I skip tomorrow? The logic, or lack thereof, displayed by certain people close to me is mind-boggling.

So tomorrow, while most of the world is toiling away, I will be engaged in the forced merriment of riding roller coasters in the name of mental health. Happy Monday, everyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fairly Odd Professor

I've finished five of six mid-terms. My last one is on Friday. I continue to tell myself, "This, too, shall pass."

One of my professors, whose couse shall not be identified because one never knows for certain that she's not an insomniac googler, is weirder than hell. She rides her bicycle to class for each session, lugging her cat along in her cat carrier each time.  She then lets the cat out in the classroom; each time the door opens and another student enters, she shrieks, "Don't let the cat out!" The cat, clearly unhappy with the arrangement, paces the room meowing loudly and occasionally jumping onto a desk. Sometimes the cat hisses at the person on whose desk she jumped. One girl in the class is really freaked out by cats. She has to take Ativan, prescribed by some practitioner at the student health center, before each class. A guy in the class is quite allergic to cats. The doctor he saw at the health center wanted information regarding what professor was repeatedly bringing her cat to class when at least one of the students  has obvious issues with the presence of a cat. The guy would not tell the doctor because he feared retaliation; grading is generally subjective.

If bringing a cat to class were the only odd thing about this professor I could more or less ignore it, as I'm not personally affected either by cat anxiety or by allergies; however, this professor is a Tea Party proponent and a birther. How she ever got hired here is a mystery to me. My university is probably the number two bastion of liberality on the west coast, second only to U. C. Berkeley. A person who finds a way to work into her lecture each session a topic related to the foreign birth and, hence, illegal presidency of our nation's current president has some inherent gifts in creativity.  I cannot disclose the course name or description, but, believe me, it's not in any way related to U. S. government. The professor's briefcase bears a photo of Michelle Bachman crudely taped on with duct tape. If I were going to carry a briefcase with a picture of Michelle Bachman, which I wouldn't -- ever -- even if I were paid to do so, I would find a way to attach it that didn't involve silver metallic tape.

As strange as this professor herself is the product she peddles. None of my other professors uses class time to attempt to profit finacially from his or her students. Doing so would seem to pose a potential conflict of interest, or possibly even the hint of impropriety.This lady sells  essential oils.. I can't disclose the brand name here, but it's highly unlikely that you've ever heard of it; the FDA hasn't, either. The professor's cousin allegedly manufactures the supplements in her garage lab. I'm certainly not going to jeopardize my health, much less part with my hard-earned cash, for some dubiously produced and unapproved greasy substance, even though she guaranteed that I would grow two inches and gain twenty-six pounds if I used the crud. After the guy had his first allergic reaction to her cat, the professor tried to sell him a bottle of compound vitamins that she said would take care of his allergy in no time.  One would think she could have given him the stuff when her cat caused his allergic reaction, but the price she quoted to him ($29.95   for a single vial)  didn't seem to be even a discounted price. The allergic guy appears not to be a total idiot; he didn't buy the product.

We've only turned in one assignment for this course, which has not yet been returned to us even though it was four weeks ago that the assignment was due, and will take our first exam on Friday. If the professor's judgment in grading is as compromised as is the rest of her teaching style, I will be seriously upset. If not, I'll chalk this one up to experience and simply be glad when the experience is over.