Beginnings

August 31, 2009 at 4:58 pm (Life, School) (, , , , , )

The first day of the new semester has come and gone. I’m not sure I feel any better or wiser; I just feel like I’ve progressed further down the line of education. I suppose that’s part of the deal, eh? My schedule’s going to be pretty full with all the practicing and registering with the DMV for my learner’s permit and God knows what else I can come up with.

I’ve been going to bed at nine. I think I might try and push that up to ten, just so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night because my bladder is so ridiculously full. That’s one nightly ritual I can live without. However, ten is the latest simply because I’ll probably be getting up between 7.00 and 7.30 for the rest of the semester. This allows me to hitch a ride to school with C. Yeah, it gets me there an hour earlier than I have to be, but I figure I can take a book along, listen to music or actually socialize with people for a change. I managed to avoid that for much of the last semester. I’m making an active effort to no longer do that.

So I arrived in the music building a full hour earlier than I had to and immediately proceeded to fall back into old habits, which includes sitting quietly and not interacting with whoever may be in the hall with me. At some point, one guy looked at me as I dropped my iPod back into my bag and said, “Did you dye your hair?”

“Yeah, I did. And cut it, too.”

“OH MAN! I’m sorry! You’ve been chilling there the whole time and I didn’t even recognize you. It looks great. How was your summer?”

I was a little stunned because I end up considering myself fairly mousy for most part. I know I’m not, but I can fade into the background pretty well if I want to. I didn’t feel super confident my first semester. As I’ve stated here before, I’m getting over that phase. I need to be more outgoing, talk to people and just be myself. I’m just surprised this guy had noticed my existence the semester before at all. I got up and chatted with him for a bit, then more people drifted in, all of whom also recognized me. I talked to them until they had to go to class, at which point I sat back down and watched some more of Pushing Daisies on my iPod.

Someone sat next to me and I tried not to listen in on their conversation on the phone. I’d thought the voice sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure. Turned out it was T, one of the girls who’d been in my class during the first summer session. She signed off the phone and we talked for about half an hour; turns out we have some classes together. I should be okay.

My music theory class is small, which is fantastic. Same prof as last semester, as I’d requested. Thank God it went through. Not that I have anything against the other guy who teaches it, but Prof. S has a different understanding of teaching that meshes well with my personality and way of learning. Once I find something I work well with, I try not to change it. My lab class also runs at the same time it did last year. I felt a little uncertain during the half-hour break between Chorus and Lab, but some new girl broke the ice by telling me she thought I was really pretty and it went from there.

All in all, I’d say it’s been a pretty good day. I finished a book I’d been postponing reading for quite some time due to the fact it was my dad who handed it to me. My father and I don’t usually agree on what either of us consider a great read. This book, Eine exklusive Liebe is not something I’d consider a FANTASTIC read, but it was a good book. It was written by a woman a little older than my sister in an attempt to reconcile and explore her grandparents’ double suicide and how that tied into her understanding of herself and her family, and to rediscover some of the history lost in the concept of “We don’t talk about that.” I’d say pick it up if you understand German; it’s not a must read, but I wouldn’t consider it a waste of paper and time, either.

It was just a little ironic how the book closed with naming the locksmith’s fee. My dog’s life had basically been reduced to a hospital bill and an euthanasia fee. I wonder if it is part of human nature to grasp at numbers in an attempt to understand something, even as it constitutes a cruel twist because there is simply no way of attaching monetary value to a life.

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Hats!

August 19, 2009 at 8:27 am (Fun) (, )

I love hats. A lot. I’ve found that vintage styles seem to work a lot better for me than even attempting to don those shitty things that are known as baseball caps. When my kid sister and I explored San Francisco, we stumbled across the Goorin Brothers’ hat shop.

105-0401_BRO

100-0646_BLK

If you love me, you’ll buy them for me. (Or drool with me.)

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Dentist 1, Dani 0

August 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm (Life) (, , , )

Since a bunch of my readers have friended me on Facebook or are following me on Twitter, you probably will have heard about my dental woes already. About three weeks ago I had a dental appointment where my cavity-infested molar was to be fixed. Easy-peasy, right? Right. So we thought. Looking back, there were a few warning signs of worse things to come.

Exhibit A: It took four shots of regular pain killers followed by some hardcore Novocaine to numb my gums enough for the dentist to drill. At first, we thought it was a small cavity. It was. HOWEVER, it went deep and I think the dentist must have laid open the nerve because of this.

Exhibit B: I was hurting like hell afterwards, to the point where I had to skip going to the gym because my whole jaw was throbbing. Excedrin and Motrin became my new best friends. I chalked the pain down as my body coping with the trauma of drilling and the subsequent adjustment that goes along with having foreign substances inserted into it.

The pain did not wear off. It got bad enough that half a week later, I dropped by for dental sick call. The dentist shrugged my concerns off because my tooth was not reacting to blowing cold air on it or him banging on it repeatedly. My tooth was doing whatever the hell it felt like doing. I was prescribed higher doses of Motrin for the pain; because Motrin is an anti-inflammatory drug, we were also hoping this would help.

The next two weeks we went on vacation and let me tell you, it is not pleasant to have to swallow 800 mg of Motrin three times a day in order to keep the level of pain bearable. The pain killers often wore off in the middle of the night or when I was eating or doing whatever I was doing, resulting in severe aching and extreme crankiness. I become really mean when I hurt. I would not have liked to be around me, frankly. We ran out of the prescription Motrin at the beginning of our stay in San Francisco. I raided my mother’s supply. That ran out too. I took my dad’s Aspirin and some hardcore meds. Those were short-term pain killers more than anything. We bought more Motrin at the local Walgreen’s. We ran out of that too. Back to the Aspirin and Phenergen. Cranky hurting flight back to Heathrow. We walked in the door of our house; I ingested two extra strength Exedrin and four Advil within two minutes of arriving back at home.

The dentist was called. I was squeezed in on sick call again.

We made the run to Croughton. My body’s still messed up on time zone changes (as evidenced by the fact I am writing this at four AM) so of course I was awake at godawful hours in the morning, which meant more pain killers. My body was still processing 800 mg of Advil and two Exedrins when we arrived at the dental clinic, which meant it wasn’t too bad to have the dentist bang on my tooth and whatnot. He decided to take out the filling and replace it, though he thought a root canal would be necessary; he took the filling out.

LO AND BEHOLD! The nerve under the plastic filling was bleeding! Not only that, but the blood had accumulated under the filling. We assume there must have also been an inflammatory chemical reaction from the blood with the plastic filling. The nerve was still viable because it was bleeding, meaning it was alive, but it was going to die sooner or later. We decided to go ahead with the root canal. Two numbing shots – I am still able to feel the drilling. The third one does the trick and leaves everything in my mouth swollen and numb for hours, but at least I can’t feel them scraping pulp out of my tooth, not to mention cutting and pulling out the giant-ass nerve. I made them show me the nerve. It looked like a dead worm, in terms of size and coloring. (For all of you who didn’t take a lot of biology back in high school or even college, that means it is HUGE by cordata standards. We have fatty tissue around our nerves to make the electric transmission of signals faster and more efficient; critters without spines don’t have those, so the nerve of an octopus, for example, can be almost as huge as a medium-sized carrot.)

What I did not know about root canals is that they irritate the shit out of the inside of your tooth in order to kill off everything inside. They use bleach. YES, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. BLEACH. Did I mention dental dams sometimes leak? Let me tell you, bleach tastes fucking nasty. The tooth, ironically, hurts a lot less now than it did before and there certainly isn’t that dreadful dull ache anymore. However, it is not happy when I bite down on things, even when I chew on the other side of my mouth. Even soggy cereal makes it angry. Motrin again.

So now I basically have a dead tooth in my mouth; the follow-up appointment to fix it up the rest of the way is next Tuesday, or maybe Monday, depending on whether the inspection of the dental clinic is on Monday or Tuesday. The dentist was also pretty nice once I got over my crankiness with his ignoring of my pain two weeks beforehand.

That, my friends, is my dental saga. Let us keep our fingers crossed that this is my first and last root canal for a LONG time.

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Chugging On

August 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm (Fun, Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been saved from spending my whole life brooding only because my mother took us to Montreal and then San Francisco. WorldCon was pretty fabulous – I got to see a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in AGES and that makes me happy. I did not get to talk to Neil Gaiman but I walked within a few feet of him. That will have to suffice. I don’t want to be that dick fangirl who ruins it for everyone else.

Right around that time, I had a pretty enlightening conversation with my friend Alex who has moved to D.C. She’s a year younger than myself and we’d lost touch a bit in between when we met each other and WorldCon, but we were both pleasantly surprised to discover we still got along famously. My mother had talked to someone and mentioned she had a daughter (yours truly) running around con, and the response of said stranger was, “OH! The hot chick!” Alex mentioned that the second she had started acknowledging that she was, in fact, not ugly but actually attractive, people started looking at her differently. There was a lot of negative feedback.

I’ve decided to do the same. After that conversation, I have decided that yes, I am attractive. Yes, I have my share of talents. No, it’s not going to be easy convincing my subconscious that I am deserving of love, respect and, yes, maybe even admiration for being pretty, but that’s not the main point. The fact is that I can’t spend my whole life hiding and being ashamed of who I am, what I look like. I had a friend who loved me unconditionally and the best thing I can do to honor her is to try and transfer her unconditional adoration into something productive, empowering. (Or maybe just a little silly.)

san fran

In San Francisco, I spent some “quality” time with my kid sister and looked at houses with my parents, who are 99% sure they want to retire to San Francisco. There is a house on Euclid in Berkeley that looked extremely promising. It was built in 1992 on an “earthquake proof” foundation, is a mile away from the UC Berkeley campus (where I had an interview, hence the formalish dress), is sound-proof and wonderfully located. The feel is similar to our current house in Heidelberg; my parents love it. It had only been on the market for three days when we went to view it. We’re hoping the offer will go through.

I got my hair cut in San Francisco because I decided it was time for a change. I decided this an hour before we went off in search for a stylist with free time on their hands. And then, the same night, I colored it and purchased a supervillain t-shirt the next day while exploring San Francisco and its crappy Museum of Modern Art with my long-time friend Jerri.

Photo 98

I met Meg and her friend Summer, who took me down to San Francisco’s Pier 39 to see sea lions. I love sea lions. I love anything that is basically the nautical equivalent of the retriever brand of dog. They are total hams, very vocal and pretty damn smelly, but extremely adorable. We tried on a bunch of silly hats while I pretended to look serious and classy in mine. I garnered a bunch of compliments for said hat and am sad that I did not purchase that $25 Kentucky Derby style hat that looked absolutely smashing on me. I am making due with my cloche, though.

Photo 103

We arrived back in England around noon today and I finally, FINALLY have a dental appointment for tomorrow morning. With the guy who dismissed my complaints about my tooth, which resulted in me living off painkillers for about two weeks. My tooth, by the way, is still not better. I am going to murder him if he gives me the holier-than-thou shit again. Oh, and my mom will be in the room with me. I think she can hurt him a great deal more than I ever could.

I might try and come up with a more comprehensive summary of my last two weeks, but my mind is blurry with lack of sleep. I decided you guys looking at pictures would be a lot more interesting.

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