In other news, my mom is getting a divorce

So, now that I have moved to the Bay area and things were looking like they were going to be calm for the next month or so, a new emotional crisis has arisen: my mom is getting a divorce.

My parents got divorced when I was 15 and all I can say about that is thank God because they were absolutely miserable together. Sure, it sucked. Sure, our family was thrown into turmoil and I blamed myself (my parents got married in the first place because my mom was pregnant with me). But, overall, the thing made sense because, for various reasons, my parent’s marriage was a disaster.

Flash forward a few years and my mother got remarried just before my senior year in college. I was happy for her, even if she was treating her older children like they didn’t exist for awhile (Sis was something like 8 or 9 at the time and therefore was still very much a part of Mom’s life whereas I was in school far away in Boston at the time and it was out of sight, out of mind, it seemed). For awhile it was, “2ndhusband this,” and, “2ndhusband that,” and “2ndhusband wants to do this instead of visiting you because 2ndhusband hates the city that you live in,” and that got old fast. But, by and large it looked like 2ndhusband was good for Mom and they were happy together. After a few years, it seemed like Mom was learning how to balance her new husband and her older children and that was great. 2ndhusband still didn’t want to visit my city so Mom came without him. Things were hunky-dory.

Flash forward a few more years and now you have my sister living with her fiance and pregnant. Her fiance can’t keep a job to save his life. Sis and her fiance are really struggling and Mom helps them out every now and again. 2ndhusband doesn’t like that fiance doesn’t work steadily but how can we fix that?

Flash forward more time to present day. Sis and fiance have 2 kids and they are still struggling and Mom is still helping them a little bit. Sis and family are living right around the poverty line. Fiance is now a stay at home dad because he can’t find a job that will pay him enough to have the kids in day care. 2ndhusband is getting more and more upset with this situation. He doesn’t like Fiance. He doesn’t like Mom helping Sis and Fiance. He thinks they should stop helping them entirely because it is wrong to support Fiance when he can’t get a job. They bicker about it.

Then, last week, 2ndhusband announces he wants a divorce. Helping Sis and Fiance is “eating him up inside” and he can’t stand it anymore and since Mom insists on helping them, that’s it, they’re through. He actually tells Mom one of the reasons for the divorce is that he can’t stand she puts her kids before him. What kind of an asshole says something like that?! Other reasons cited: he can’t make her happy anymore (Mom didn’t realize she was unhappy), something about sex (please Mom, don’t need to know anything more about that one), and well, that’s it.

Granted, this is all from Mom’s perspective so we could be missing stuff. But, my mom is baffled. There was no warning, no, “We need to resolve this issue because it is making me unhappy with our marriage,” no, “If things don’t get better, we should consider a divorce,” no nothing. It’s left us all shaking our heads wondering, WTF? WTF is he thinking? Where is this coming from? Is there someone else? Because that might make some sense. Right now, nothing makes sense.

There’s more, so much more, but I think I’ve spilled enough family drama for the day. Now, I need to call my mother.

Blog Block

I’ve been suffering a little writer’s block lately when it comes to the blog.  As you might imagine, not being in lab eliminates most of the previous blog fodder.  So, I need to find other things to talk about, I suppose.  The thing is, this blog mostly has an identity as a “disgruntled grad student” blog.  Now that I’m not so much disgruntled (does that make me gruntled?) I’m not sure where this blog fits in my life and the blogging community at large.

This is almost certainly related to the fact that I don’t know where I fit in society anymore.  I don’t have a job.  I’m still technically a grad student but I’m not in classes or in lab or even on campus.  I’m writing my thesis, but slowly so as not to overwhelm myself and what does that really mean anyway?  I mean, I have a really bad feeling that if I got all gung ho and tried to work on my thesis more for than an hour on any one day, I might collapse into a depression.  Am I just paranoid or is this really a valid concern?  I don’t know.

So, posting may be light while I try to get a handle on things.  Maybe I should try something simple like twitter.  Surely, I could manage 140 characters or less on a semi-regular basis?

Back to the writing

Having found an apartment we could live with (or, rather, in) Husband and I headed back to the LA-area yesterday.  So, today I got back to the business of writing.  Right now I’m writing twice a day for half an hour.  So far, I’ve written a total of 6 hours since I started keeping track and have earned myself a sundae from Cold Stone Creamery.  Next reward comes at 10 hours when I get a new hardcover or two trade paperbacks or four mass-market paperbacks.

Having a couple of problems with registration and insurance at Grad School has reinforced my desire to get this damn thing done.  I don’t want to have to deal with the stupid university any more!  Who knows how many ways they can find to make my life complicated?  Best to graduate and be done with Grad School forever (except of course, from the annoying phone calls I’m sure to get from the alumni association).  It’s not the best reason in the world for getting my degree but I’ll take whatever gets me to sit down in front of the computer.

Turns out, I like my current apt. and city just fine

Husband and I are here in the Bay Area looking for apartments.  I’m already homesick for the LA area and our current apt.  We’re having some difficulty finding a two-bedroom apartment with all of the amenities we currently have in a price range we can afford.  So, now we have to decide what our priorities are.  Plus, we may have to get a second car, depending on whether it will be reasonable for Husband to bike to work or not.  *sigh*

Thesis-writing is on hold while I’m out of town, but I did manage to get two hours in earlier in the weekwhich brought me up to five hours and when I get back I’m having my first reward:  a sundae at Cold Stone Creamery!  I wrote in half hour blocks twice a day and that worked pretty well.  I sent a paper draft to Advisor but he is going on vacation and writing a review with a post-doc and so can’t give me comments for a week or two.  😦  I still need to write the discussion section, though, so I can work on tht in the meantime.  And there’s always the lit. review chapter of the thesis.

I found further motivation to write when I had a kerfluffle with the university that is still getting straightened out.  And, I may be forced to take the student insurance even though I don’t live in Grad School City.  All of this makes me want to be DONE so I don’t have to deal with that kind of crap any more.

Nephews: Officially saved

Well, the baptisms are over.  Two baptisms in two days–it was a very holy weekend.  The first one was pretty casual–we did the baptism after Mass on Sat. night.  Nephew the 2nd (hereafter known as N2nd; his older brother is N1st) came through the ordeal all smiles–literally.  He just smiled and smiled and smiled through the entire thing.  The priest had a hard time keeping a straight face with all of that smiling; he looked like he was about to start laughing.  N3rd is a much more serious baby and he didn’t much care for the water being poured on his head.  He got through the water for the Father and the Son, but by the time the priest got to Holy Spirit, N3rd had had enough and started crying.  This is much more typical of the baptisms I’ve been to!  N3rd was wearing a baptismal gown that had originally been his great-grandfather’s.  It was over 90 years old and in pristine condition–really beautiful.

After N3rd’s baptism, there was a lunch at my brother’s in-laws’ house which was fun and it was great talking with family, but after a couple of hours of this, I was ready to go be by myself in the quiet for awhile.  Fortunately, I was able to keep it together until we left and then I took a nap back at Mom’s and felt much better.  I love visiting with my family, but what with the babies and my little cousins and aunts and uncles plus all of sister-in-law’s (sister’s-in-law?) family, it was a little too much for me.  I can stand being around that many people for a few hours and then I need to go somewhere quiet.

Today through Wed. there is more family stuff since the stars have aligned and me and my three siblings are all in Iowa at the same time.  Wed., we are going up to see my grandmother and then I am staying there until I go back to CA Friday afternoon.  That’ll give me a chance to wind down before I go back.

Housewife, domestic goddess–whatever you call it, I like it

First off, thanks for all of the welcome back messages.  It really means a lot to me to know that I was missed!

One thing that has been a pretty big surprise for me is that I like staying home.  I really thought that, after a couple of weeks, I would go stir crazy and need to get some kind of job, but that hasn’t happened.  Instead, I find myself cooking dinner, doing the laundry, cleaning, sewing clothes, and knitting and I like it.  I really do (okay, maybe not the cleaning part so much, and thank God for the dishwasher, but mostly I like it).  Some of this may be thesis avoidance, but mostly, I think I just like staying home.

I do get out a bit.  I’ve got two knitting groups I go to and I do the grocery shopping and stuff.  I go to church.  I go for walks (though not as much right now because it is beastly hot out here).  I have lunch with Husband.

I barely miss lab at all.  I miss the people, but working at the bench not so much.  I don’t even miss science at this point.  Which goes to show that I was really, really burned out.  I’m sure I’ll start to miss science sometime in the future and I’ll get involved in science outreach or something, but guys, I’m telling you, I am happy as a clam to not be in lab.

This is not to say that all is well in the mental health department.  In addition to freaking out about having my husband around (now nicely managed with an atypical antipsychotic), I started having weird paranoid thoughts about somebody being in the apartment while my husband was away on an observing run.*  Then, I started thinking I could hear someone in the apt.  Not good.  More atypical antipsychotic, please!

All of the weirdness may be related to some PTSD stuff I’ve had in the past brought up by the trauma of the move which is good to know, but…OY!  It is not fun at all.  Thank God my psychiatrist does phone appointments, is all I’ve got to say.

So, now, I just need to start working on my thesis.  I was doing pretty good for awhile, working on it every day and then that stopped.  My motivation factor for writing the thing is about nil, but it needs to be done.  Maybe I’ll put a little Thesis Progress widget in the sidebar with the number of hours I worked on it each week as a way to give myself some accountability.  Though, I’m leaving for Iowa tomorrow for a week so I doubt I’ll be getting much done on the thesis once I’m there.  I’ll be too busy visiting family and holding babies.

*Supposedly, the telescope is in Hawaii.  I’m not sure I buy that though.  I think it may be a hoax perpetrated by the astronomy community so that they can go to Hawaii for a week on a regular basis.  😉

Sweeping out the cobwebs

Hi, remember me?  I used to blog around here pretty regularly once upon a time!

The unintended blog hiatus was caused by me getting used to living in California with my husband (incidentally, if there’s anyone out there who lives in the LA area and would like to get together for tea/coffee sometime, shoot me an email).  It’s been, well, interesting.

First, California:

  1. Seafood is cheaper than meat here, which is the opposite of the midwest.
  2. The Farmer’s Market has fresh seafood and locally grown citrus and avacados which is WAY different from the midwest.
  3. The sun is really intense here.  My husband tells me this is not my imagination.
  4. It’s really hot these days but at night it cools off to 70 degrees or so which is awesome.
  5. The yarn stores have very small sections for sock yarn.  Funny how nobody wants to make wool socks around here.

Now, living with Husband.  It’s been, well, weird.  In the beginning, it really felt like we were starting our relationship all over again which was not a very good feeling at all.  I had a really hard time getting used to having someone in my space.  I’m the kind of person who likes to have her own space and we live in a rather small one-bedroom apt.  At first, I couldn’t decide if the problem was that I specifically didn’t want Husband around (an upsetting idea) or if I didn’t want anyone around in general (a much more manageable idea, but still a problem in this apt.).  I had a few torturous days dealing with that!

Then, there was the fact that I really felt like I was moving into Husband’s place, not our place.  For awhile, I really felt homeless, even after all of my stuff arrived, particularly because there was no place to put my stuff.  Our bed is now four feet high because I had to buy risers to put under the legs so we could store stuff there and there are two huge rubbermaid containers full of winter clothes and coats and blankets and stuffed animals because there’s no place to put them.  At first, there was no place to put my clothes at all, we had to buy a dresser from IKEA (putting that together was a joy, let me tell you).  The funny thing is, just about everything in the apt. is stuff we bought together or that I collected at one point or another.  But, having been away from it for 2.5 years, it didn’t feel like it was mine anymore.  Husband found this particularly upsetting because he says he always thought of this as our apt., but even so, both of us were saying things like, “Do you have a [ ]?” (instead of, “Do we have a [ ]?”).

Things are getting better, though.  I’ve been decorating and rearranging things and putting up pictures, all of which make this place feel more like home.  Husband and I are getting used to each other and I no longer freak out about someone being around all of the time (that one required a medication change; thankfully my psychiatrist does phone appointments).  I found two knitting groups and a church I like and yarn stores and have been to tea twice.  So, I’m definitely on an upswing.  We’ll see how it goes.

This may not end well

I’ve been in Pasadena for a few days, now, and I have lots to blog about but the thing that is consuming all of my energy right now is this:

I know beyond a reasonable doubt that I left three pairs of sandals here.*  Two of them are among my favorite pairs.  I cannot find them.  I have looked in the bedroom closet, under the bed, in the dresser, under the dresser, in the hall closet, in suitcases that are stored in the closet, in the trunk where the spare blankets are supposed to be kept (but instead houses my stuffed animals for some reason), in the linen close, under the couch and, in desperation, the filing cabinet.

The only thing left to do is to ask Husband where they are and pray he doesn’t say something infinitely stupid like, “I got rid of them.”

*Even if I didn’t remember that I had left them here, I just spent a week packing up and shipping everything from Grad School City, so I know they were not there.

[Update:  They were in the top drawer of the dresser.  I had only searched the bottom drawers thinking that, of course, the clothes would be in the top drawers because you’d want them to be where you could reach them easily.]

Something I’ve been thinking about

While writing about my yearly Lady Doctor visits, I thought of something I might like to share with all of you.  After this last weekend’s tragic events, I think it even more important that I share it now.

When I was 18, I went on The Pill.  Like most teenage girls of my acquaintance, I did this by visiting Planned Parenthood.  All throughout college, I went to Planned Parenthood for my yearly exams and to buy birth control.  During that time, depending on where I was, I happened to go to three different clinics in three different cities.  The experience was always as pleasant as such things could be, but in particular I really liked the clinic I went to in Boston.

The Planned Parenthood in Boston was very close to my school–within a few blocks.  It was housed on the first floor of a brownstone with apartments above it.  It was a truly wonderful environment.  The waiting room was cozy–more like a living room–the staff were warm and kind.  Like most apartment buildings in the city, it had a buzzer in the lobby and when you pressed it, the receptionist let you in.

I never had anything but good experiences there.  The staff really cared about what they were doing and their treatment was first-rate.  It was there that I was asked if I wanted to see my cervix during an exam.

It happened that, while I was in Iowa during my Christmas break one year, I messed up my pill prescription somehow.  I don’t exactly recall what I did but I must’ve forgotten to take my pill for three or four days in a row.  In any case, the mess up was such that I needed to call Planned Parenthood in Boston to find out what I should do.  I did this in the morning and talked to a very sweet woman on the phone who assured me that a nurse would call me as soon as one was available.

I went on with my day, I’m not sure what I did, probably read a book or something.  I know I did not turn out a TV.  Sometime in the afternoon, I made plans to meet up with a friend but I was still waiting for the phone call from Planned Parenthood.  This was in the dark ages before everyone and their dog had a cell phone, so if I left the house, I would miss the call.  So, I called the clinic.

Now, typically, when I called the clinic, my call was handled in a prompt and efficient manner.  This phone call was a little unusual in that I got randomly transferred a couple of times and had to repeat my problem a couple of times.  Things seemed to be a little bit confused, but the women I talked to were caring and professional just as they always were and I finally got my question answered and I hung up the phone.

A little while later, I turned on the TV for the first time that day.  And then, I sat in stunned amazement as I listened to the news reports centered on Boston.  That morning, sometime after I made my first phone call, a man had gone into two separate clinics in Boston and shot people.  This included the Planned Parenthood I went to.  And the receptionist, the one who was so nice to me on the phone, had been shot and killed an hour or two after I talked to her.

The most amazing thing about this story is that later that very same day, only hours after their colleague had been gunned down in that very clinic, there were people there answering the phones, people who very kindly helped me with my oh-so-trivial problem.

The next time I went to that Planned Parenthood, things were a little bit different than they had been.  In the lobby was a Boston City Policeman and a metal detector.  The policeman was friendly and jovial even while he searched my backpack, then looked for my name on the appointment sheet, then buzzed the receptionist, then allowed me into the building.  Inside, the receptionist sat behind bullet-proof glass.  The staff were just as friendly, just as competent, but the atmosphere had changed.  It was no longer warm and comforting there.  You couldn’t help but think about what had happened there.  How terrible it was that the receptionist had in all likelihood buzzed her killer through the door.  How scared and frightened everyone must’ve been.  How scared they must still be, bulletproof glass or no.

My friends asked me why I continued to go there after the shooting.  I could have gone to the student health center in all likelihood.  But, I didn’t want to do that.  It seemed to me that if I truly supported the mission of Planned Parenthood then I should continue to go there and give them my business.  People like to say as a joke these days that if you [do whatever] then the terrorists win.  Well, that’s exactly how I felt.  The extremists wanted women to be afraid.  They wanted to shut down the clinics that give good quality health care to women who might not be able to afford it otherwise.  Well, the hell with that.  I would continue to go and I persuade all of my friends to go as well.  If I didn’t then the whackjobs had won.

On the Drugmonkey blog, I saw a reference to a post here which suggests that a good response to this last weekend’s events would be to donate to Planned Parenthood, perhaps in memory of George Tiller.  You can do so here.

It’s not often that you’re given a chance to truly stand up for your convictions, even if it’s not the easy thing to do.  Many women say that they are pro-choice, that they firmly believe in a woman’s right to choose, in a woman’s right to obtain good healthcare, in a woman’s right to obtain affordable birth control, in a woman’s right to have an abortion.  But, how much do they believe in that?  Do they believe in it enough to continue going to a clinic where a woman was murdered?  Do they believe in it enough to support it not just with words, but with money, too?  Do you?

Too much to say

Lately, I’ve been thinking about posting to the blog a lot and I’ve even started a few posts but I don’t even get them finished before a new blog post topic comes along and then I don’t feel like writing about the previous post anymore.  So, I’m just going to do the random bullet points thing:

  • My brother’s baby was born May 9.  I would have blogged about it then but Nephew the 3rd had some problems at first and was in the neonatal ICU and it was just too hard to write about it.  He’s fine now and at home and everything is okay.
  • Just found out my Husband’s brother’s baby is going to be a boy.  That’s four nephews for those of you keeping track.
  • My 9th wedding anniversary was in early May.  It was sad that Husband wasn’t here so we could celebrate together.
  • My birthday was in late May.  I am now 35.  I have been thinking a lot about my life, the past and the present and what I want for the future.
  • My last day in lab is supposed to be this Friday.  I’ve been pretty apathetic about getting stuff done so now I’m going to cram it all in this week.
  • My last appt. with my psychiatrist is tomorrow morning.  This makes me sad.  I wish I could take her with me to CA.
  • There was no nonfiction book for May.  Thank goodness I read three in April so I’m not behind in my goal of reading 12 this year.
  • I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries lately.  Not sure why.  Though I do like how everything gets tidied up at the end.
  • I went to the bookstore yesterday and I saw books advertising recipes and knitting patterns and cleaning tips.  The surprising thing about this was that I saw them in the mystery section.  I do not need recipes or knitting patterns or cleaning tips in my mystery books.  If I want any of that, I’ll go to the non-fiction section.

I suppose that’s it for now.  I’ve got to get to lab and get cracking on finishing freezing everything down!