September 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , )

grumpy This was my expression throughout the majority of the Torah services, Yizkor and Musaf and the beginning of the Avodah (at which point, we left).

I have realized I am not cut out to be the member of a congregation as large as this. There were well over a thousand people present. This means it is loud, people are always talking, it is hard for me to concentrate on the actual prayers and it is super crowded. There was absolutely no room for me to move during the Amidah. Someone behind me was constantly basically shoving their book into the back of my head.

Again, the rabbi felt it was appropriate to ask for money. During Yizkor. OF ALL TIMES, DURING YIZKOR. Did it ever occur to him how incredibly rude that is? People have passed away and we’re trying to say prayers for them, and you’re asking us to reach into our pockets? The man moved further up my list of Obnoxious Things And People I Dislike. This is a rather affluent community, I’m sure he could have asked for donations for Israel Bonds or their synagogue at some other point. His stories and interjections were absolutely moot, pointless.

If there is a God, S/He will not make me go back to this place. Ever. Please, please, please let me have transferred to a different school and a different community by then. I can’t deal with this again.

I made sure to email all my professors about my absence, so everything was alright on that front. I finally managed to weave my way through the automated phone system operated by TriCare in order to inquire about getting new contact lenses through someone here in the area. It seems they are willing to cover it, but I apparently still need to talk to someone back in Europe as to how exactly we want to proceed. Simple, people – I need to see an experienced ophthalmologist who can deal with eyes that have been operated on, have a high astigmatism and off-the-charts diopters. Ugh. I hate life.


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September 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm (Life) (, , , , , )

This state just makes me feel intensely lonely. The cat is not really the best companion you could imagine. C. doesn’t know anyone who has a friendly dog I could take for walks. One family has a dog, but she’s just as ill-tempered and unfriendly with everyone as Odin. I am terrified of applying to the local chapter of the Humane Society to be a dog handler for their shelter for fear of being rejected on the basis of everyone wanting that position.

I hate this and clearly need a job that won’t take me traveling afar, to be done with college and to live somewhere else. And all this whinging of mine makes me fear the years to come in which I probably won’t be able to own a dog.

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A Job Well Done

September 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm (School) (, , , )

Or not, which is more accurately the case. I had my first voice lesson for this semester. I walked into Dr. D’s office at nine o’clock sharp. She’s a dog lover. She has pictures of her now deceased lab and her current dog all over the place. When she asked me how my summer was, I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “It sucked, to be honest.”

It’s not exactly common to be that blunt here in the US. Mostly, we are taught to say “It was fine” and leave it be. I don’t believe in lying. I was being honest. The summer, for most part, did suck.

“Why was your summer so bad?” she asked.

I’d intended to just mention my root canal. But out popped “I had to put my dog down.” I immediately started welling up when Dr. D said she was so sorry, that she knew how much it hurts to lose a pet. I felt like an idiot. I didn’t want to say it, I don’t want to make my voice teacher aware of how emotionally unstable I was. I also don’t think I have ever been this lucky with an instructor. She didn’t try and coddle me, but she told me how sorry she was while I grabbed a tissue and wiped furiously at my eyes. I think performance and the ability to perform are intrinsically linked to your emotional well-being. This whole summer, I’ve felt like the music in me died, because I was sick in the heart and body. I’m getting better again, but it’s still difficult to do it.

I came out the lesson with no less than three songs to work on until next week.

“Ombra Cara” by Handel

“Heavenly Grass” by Paul Bowles (Part 1 of the Blue Mountain Ballads; apparently I am to learn the other three at some point soon, too.)

And I cannot, for the life of me, find a good rendition of Bononcini’s “Non posso disperar.” This is going to be interesting.

During chorus, Dr. D moved some new girl next to me after she admitted that she was completely lost. Why Dr. D did this is beyond me. She must think I read music and follow along better than I actually do. What happened to the girl the music teachers used to roll their eyes at because she couldn’t do anything worth jack?

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September 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm (Life, School) (, , , , , )

Another successful day. I was at the college at an exceptionally early hour, but that turned out to be okay. One of the guys came over to talk to me because he was just as early as I was. Polishing up my social skills: success! I picked up both the recordings of the pieces we will be singing in chorus this year and the soprano part, so I should be alright. I also signed up for a practice room. I only filled out one time slot, on Tuesday, but I might check back for a second because I just don’t know how much I will have to practice just yet.

After my last class, I headed over to the student services building where I picked up the form I’ll need to fill out in order to get a confirmation letter from the college that I am enrolled in the fall semester. For what I need it, I do not know, but my father requested it and so I hopped to it. It’ll cost me five bucks. I can deal with that, even though it’s like, uh, I’ll be picking it up, so it’s not like you guys are paying postage. Seriously?

I am still a little jet-lagged, but what else will you expect? I made it until 09.30pm yesterday and then collapsed into bed. I felt a little ill, so I couldn’t sleep at first. Downed a phenergan. Sleep was imminent. I have found that packing my stuff the night before allows me to sleep a little longer if I want to. I might even start laying out my clothes like an elementary schooler again if it saves me time and stress in the morning. Getting to school early saves me a lot of money because I only have to pay for the bus fare in one direction. I am also still waiting for the books I ordered to arrive. I need my schoolbooks, Amazon. I can only deal with irritated professors for so long. On the other hand, I don’t feel as though they have any right to be snappy – schoolbooks cost a fortune. Even with the discounts and the books being used, it still made me cringe; it’s no wonder everyone is heavily in debt. Jesus.

I have also started keeping a hand-written journal again. I figure it is a quaint, if slightly anachronistic, thing and that such written forms keep for a while. Who knows? Maybe my future self may need it or find it good for a laugh. If nothing else, if anything happens to me, there will be something in paper for people to hold on to. I would know that feels; Lena’s box has been in my bed ever since I picked it up from the vet because it helps me sleep better. It makes her memory feel a little more tangible, even as I hurt inside.

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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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June 2, 2009 at 10:53 pm (Life) (, )

And the living’s horrid!

Summer brings in my inner Oscar. I spent fifteen minutes – in total – in the sun today. Of course I felt violently ill afterwards. Ten minutes between the bus stop and home, a minute between the Music Building and South Campus Instruction Building. Maybe five minutes waiting for the bus, slathered in SPF 70. I am not sunburned, I just do not take well to the heat and exposure.

I am clearly not cut out for life in warm climates. Now, why the hell am I in Maryland? I’ve been feeling cranky ever since the temperatures climbed over 70° Fahrenheit. Get off my lawn!

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May 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm (Life) (, , , )

I must be getting old. It has never taken me this long to adjust to a new time zone. My head aches and I actually feel physically ill by the time I go to bed, which I try to postpone until ten. Yesterday, I stayed up until eleven and was about ready to throw up by the time I went to bed.

This is ridiculous. It’s like I’m some delicate flower, something I am decidedly not. I should be feeling dizzy and tired and cranky all the time.

Dear body, stop this madness immediately.

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Travel Sickness

May 25, 2009 at 11:18 am (Life) (, , )

Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing new places and meeting new people and new experiences. What I do hate, however, is the actual traveling part.

I hate sitting in a flying tin can for hours with screaming babies and energetic toddlers. I hate people who cannot sit still, who seem to need something from the overhead compartment every ten minutes or so. I despise it when people have to climb over me to reach the bathroom. I hate it when flight attendants basically have to climb over me because some idiot is blocking the aisle; or when they slam into me with carts. I hate standing in line at passport control and having to explain why I have multiple passports*. I hate how travel screws with my inner clock and I end up with a headache and remain cranky for quite some time until I adjust.

I have been traveling entirely too much for my liking lately, and it won’t calm down until the end of August. I am flying back to England on the evening of July 3rd, will spend about a month in England, then fly to Montreal. I will be in Montreal for a few days, then I fly to San Francisco! From San Francisco, I am flying to England, where I will stay a week, then fly back to Washington, D.C. for school. I realize this is the whining of someone who has the privilege and parents who have enough money to travel this frequently, but sometimes I need to complain.

That said, I wouldn’t trade the traveling for anything. It allows me to meet people I haven’t met before or haven’t seen in a long time. I will be fine once my jetlag headache subsides.

(*The reason being: One of them is expired, but contains my not-expired visa for Germany. One is a military issued passport that will expire in a few years that contains my visa for England. The third is my regular tourist passport. I usually only brandish the expired one and the current tourist passport when I fly into Germany to avoid a hassle. The military-issued one is the one I use when I fly to England because English border control is full of idiots. THEY STAMPED OVER MY PERFECTLY VALID VISA ONCE. WTF?)

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Bah! Humbug!

May 20, 2009 at 7:20 am (Life) (, , )

As most of you may have gathered from my frequent bitchy Facebook status updates, I have been having some major difficulties with my asthma over the past few days. After being under control for well over four years, I’ve basically been sitting on the edge of an asthma attack for the past few days now. I made a stop at the emergency room yesterday because it got so bad.

There’s really not much to say; the doc pretty much said that he couldn’t hear the typical rattling and wheezing in my lungs when he listened to me, but that’s not terribly comforting. I know what it feels like to have constricted breathing. My neck and chest were pulling in painfully with every breath I was taking, my coughing is dry and almost pertussis-like in its sound. They also gave me the side-eye when I told them I was not on steroid medication because it gave me laryngitis. I hate it when that happens. I am part of a small, small percentage of people who react badly to inhaled corticosteroids. Deal with it. Stop looking at me like I’m an idiot.

Last night was oodles of fun, obviously. The nebulizer treatment in the hospital only lasted for about two hours or so. Once I left the hospital again, my breathing went straight back to shit. I can’t find my peak flow meter and I would fucking HATE to have to go to family practice and have them prescribe me a new peak flow meter. My medication dose has drastically increased and an oral steroid will probably have to be added for a few days so this can pass. Normally, I am on one puff of cromolyn inhaler, four times a day, along with a montelukast tablet in the evening along with certirizine. Now I am on two puffs of albuterol along with one puff of cromolyn, four times a day; one montelukast tablet and the certirizine.

On the upside, if I have to add an oral steroid, that usually clears up any and all infections in my body. And my voice gets an ear-splitting clear edge when I sing. I WILL BE SUPERWOMAN!

We assume the attack was triggered by the combination of pollen, stress, air travel and dust that accumulates in our house like crazy. My plans for July have also been changed; it appears I will be going to England rather than Germany, which is fine by me.

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The Final Countdown

May 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm (School) (, , , )

Photo 76

I have jury tomorrow. That just about sums up how I feel about this.

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