Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Arizona Vacation

First of all, let me say it was my pleasure to go visit my grandparents, Keith and Carm in Arizona. I only saw them for a day in July and it's been years since we got to spend much time together. It looks like we may miss each other in Iowa this spring, too. Anyway, I'm glad I got to go spend time with them.

On vacation, I was stuffed to the gills! During my stay, we ate Subway sandwiches, Dominos pizza and bread sticks, Wild Flower sandwiches, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, IHoP Cinnastacks breakfast, hamburger soup, grilled cheese sandwhiches, a scrumptious carmel apple and a lemon meringue pie. All that in about four days! I think there was more restaurant food than usual because Grandma wanted to spend less time cooking and more time with me, which is sweet. It was delicious, but my tummy was left a bit dazed.

Grandma (who prefers to give her visitors vacations so exhausting they need another vacation when they get home) kept apologizing for the lack of excitement, even though she and grandpa took me on a perfectly nice trip to Jerome and Sedona. You know how nice it was. You've seen the pictures.

As for me, I was happy just to spend time with them. Grandpa and I made nightlights, which he sells as an American Legion fundraiser. We explored the Internet together. I interviewed both of them about their grandparents, parents, childhoods, courtship and the early years of their marriage. I really enjoyed that. In the past when I tried, grandpa wasn't in the mood, and as he put it, "You about have to strap your grandmother down to get her to sit still long enough." But this time it went brilliantly. I may (with their permission) post some things from the interviews once I get them typed up, organized and nicely written.

Friday my aunt Sandy was supposed to drive me to the airport, but could not due to illness, a flight delay and an offered bump. (She had coincidentally been visiting Iowa while I was visiting Arizona.) We all encouraged her to take the bump (plus vouchers to come visit me in NYC) and get a good night's sleep. The next morning, we were up by 4:15 to get me ready and at a grocery store parking lot in time to catch the 5:15 shuttle from Prescott (pronounced Preskitt) Valley, or "PV", to Phoenix. Just as we got to Sky Harbor airport, the sun was begining to rise behind the distant mountains and closer palm trees. Then I flew away home, thinking about Grandma's promises of all the things we'll do on my next visit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Road Trip: Jerome and Sedona

My grandparents and I took a road trip!
Check out the photos.

A view along the road to Jerome. It was a very twisty road, by the way.

A street in Jerome, which was a boom town, then a ghost town, and is now an artist/tourism town.

After Jerome, we went to Sedona. Our first stop was a sandwich shop with a terrace where we snapped this photo. Then we went to the fabulous Cold Stone Creamery.

My grandparents aren't much for Sedona's psychics-and-crystals scene, but we did stop at Tlaquepaque. It's a shopping center that is built to look like a Mexican village...which, in turn, I think was originally a Spanish mission.

The place had lots of art like these twirly wind sculpture things. Note the red rocks in the distance.

More art!

If you squint, you can see Grandma driving us home.

Grandpa doesn't like this picture. He thinks he looks like a grumpy old man, but I think he looks dapper.

This was our last view of the red rocks while heading home to Prescott Valley.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy V-day!

When I last posted on this blog, I was just returning to school after extreme illness. I managed to finish the weekend alright. Friday I went out with my girlfriends, as usual, at Blue Angel. Saturday during the day I spent time with Tom, although I went home to bed early and he went to a heavy metal show to hear the band Mastadon. Sunday I did some errand-running and grading in preparation for parent teacher conferences this week. Monday I did some marathon laundering (expensive and time-consuming!) at the laundromat. Tuesday was a half-day of teaching with a half-day of parent-teacher conferencing. Then I went to the doctor and he put me on new meds for a lingering infection. I've had so many ear, sinus, respiratory infections, etc., this year. It's ridiculous!

Wednesday, though, was really nice. It was Valentine's day, and despite the major snow storm that started the week, I had a great time. I raced out the door when work was over, then went straight home where I picked out an outfit that would be romantic-yet-warm. I smacked on some makeup, fussed with my hair a tiny bit, then grabbed the card I made for Tom and rushed to meet him in the Village.

We met at La Paella for Spanish food. The restaurant is beautiful, with candlelit tables and thousands of dried roses hanging in bunches from the ceiling. Our paella was scrumptious. We exchanged presents. Tom regularly drinks four cups of coffee-type-beverages a day, so I got him a little espresso machine so he can have coffee when we're hanging out at my apartment. He got me a box of Godiva chocolates. His students teased him that it was a cliche gift. "Well," I replied, "I don't think they understand how much I love chocolate." Then we went to a little cafe called Sistine. It's walls were stained-glass windows, lit from behind. There Tom had an esspresso and I had some apple cider.

Today was a long day of teaching followed by parent teacher conferences. Now I'm home. I'm going to call my mom and wish her a belated Happy Valentine's Day, and then I'm going to sleep!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

So sick!

I was so sick Sunday that I finally followed my doctor's advice and went to the hospital. They gave me an IV and everything. Ew. I HATE NEEDLES! My nurse was this tiny, sweet Asian woman:

"Don't worry. I have angel hands. Angel hands." I covered my face with my left arm while she worked on the right arm. "I'm not even doing anything yet. For the IV, they don't even leave in the needle anymore. They leave in a plastic straw." (PLASTIC STRAW? PLASTIC STRAW is not more comforting than NEEDLE!) "Now it's going to be cold. It's an alcohol swab. Now I'm going to use the needle. Hold very still. Okay, all done." I pulled my left arm away from my eyes, and she saw the tears that had been falling the whole time. "Ooh, I make you cry? I don' like to make people cry!" I ended up comforting her...which may have been a brilliant strategy on her part. Although I then saw some of my blood in the "straw" and I almost lost it.

After they diagnosed me, pumped me full of fluids and gave me a prescription and a note to get me out of work Monday, I booked it over to Tom's for his Super Bowl party. It was fun watching the game with him and his friends, but I was so tired I went to bed halfway through the game.

The next day, he stayed home from work to help take care of me. We cuddled on the couch, watched a movie, napped and took a bath. His tub comforably fits both of us, which is nice. Then he drove me to my place, where we spent last night. Today I had to go back to work.

That was pretty terrible. The kids went nuts when I was gone. They ripped a poster off my wall, scribbled on another, threw books on the floor, graffitied a desk, stole my chalkboard eraser and ripped the classroom phone off the wall. You know, they were naughty for me today (including the most ironic moment EVER when I had to stop a boy from using a book about Martin Luther King as a weapon), but for that poor substitute teacher yesterday? That must have been hellish. I only have to get through five months (from now to the end of June) and there will be two week-long vacations (one in February, one in April). I can make it. I can!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Still sick...ugh!

I was supposed to spend this weekend with my boyfriend, and instead I spent it moaning in bed, and not in a good way. I fell asleep Friday night at 9 p.m. and woke up at 1 a.m. feeling all dizzy and nauseated. I thought it was because I'd taken vitamins on an empty stomach, so I ate some cookies and went back to bed.

When I woke up at 6:30 in the morning, I felt weak and was still nauseated. I made some Cream of Wheat in the dark (Rick was sleeping. He sleeps in the living room, and the apartment has a kitchenette that's in that same room). It didn't help. I found I couldn't stand up straight. Every time I tried, my stomach muscles would tighten up and I would double over. At lunchtime, I made some chicken soup. It kind of made me want to puke, but I knew I needed nutrients.

Then I called my doctor to make sure it wasn't a reaction to the amoxicillin. He said it probably wasn't, but I should go to the hospital to get tests to make sure my abdominal problem wasn't something serious (it was too late for me to make it to his office before it closed, not to mention the can't-straighten-up problem). Some of my symptoms were consistent with hepititus, too. After he hung up, I was so tired I fell back asleep. I went online and it looked like hepatitis wasn't a real emergency, so I went to sleep again. I couldn't imagine walking to a hospital, and it wasn't serious enough for an ambulance. Besides, my online research showed that a lot of my symptoms were also consistent with the plain old flu.

By eight p.m. I was out for the night. I slept the whole night through. My fever has gone down some, and my stomach isn't perfect, but it's better. I have got a new icky symptom, though. It's like one sickness after another this year: infection, infection, infection. I'm sick of being sick. Yesterday, I was too tired to read! I know. I didn't think it was possible, either.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


The grad school applications have all been sent, hooray! I applied to Hunter College, Brooklyn College and Sarah Lawrence College (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronxville, NY), Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) and University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN). I'm so excited and scared. If it doesn't work out, I'll be very disappointed, but at least I tried. I always chickened out or just ran out of time in the past. Now it's in the admissions officers' hands.

To celebrate, Tom took me to a very fancy restaurant, TriBeCa Grill. The food was delicious, and because of a Restaurant Week special it didn't break the bank. On a normal day, we could never have afforded it. I was just so happy and proud for getting the applications done, and it was nice to have someone recognize how hard I worked.

I really want an MFA. If I don't get accepted anyplace that works for me, I'll figure out a plan B to leave my job (because I sure can't stay). The thing is, anything else be be just that: the fall-back. I don't want to live a fall-back life. Well, wish me luck.