Ah, Thanksgiving.

I have acquired a vehicle. He’s beautiful. He’s a 1983 Ford Fairmont in ridiculously good condition, with a brand new air conditioner and paint job, and only about 26 000 miles on it. The interior is beautiful (minus some dashboard damage from the sun), with no damage to the seats or anything, and that radio should qualify as an antique–it’s completely mechanical; if you press a preset button, the stick that indicates the radio frequency jumps to the frequency of the preset. It’s beautiful. And insurance is el-cheapo, so I can foot it. Which means I can drive it up to Terre Haute after Christmas break (my father needs a three-day weekend, and he insists on going with). Ample incentive to come back (along with my mother’s 40-mumblesomething birthday). Now I just have to get a license…

I’ve been spending my days sleeping in until about 09:00 or so, surfing the Internet a bit, shopping, working out, watching moobies, and (on one occasion) having a late night with mes amis. I haven’t spent any money on my shopping sprees, although I’ve acquired some new running shoes (I snagged a pair of Saucony Grid Auras that are making my year compared to my old cross-trainers), and some St. John’s Bay “Stay at Home Socks”–very fuzzy-wuzzy and comfy. Tuesday night I got to hang out with Jenny, Michael, and Cameron. Hanging out consisted of driving all over Charlotte and Concord (a nearby town) and pushing Jenny around in a shopping cart in a 24-hour Wal-Mart. We probably stayed in that store for something close to an hour with Jenny in the cart, and it was only as we were leaving that an elderly lady standing where you get shopping carts at the entrance said to us “That’s for children. Only children are supposed to ride in those. It’s not for adults.” So Jenny climbed out of the cart and we left. The whole thing was just sort of like, “…Oh…kay…”

I’ve managed to get down to our little “gym” everyday while on vacation, and I’m trying a new running program, so I’m all energetic and pumped and will probably get shin splints again from overenthusiasm and overtraining (although this time I’m being more careful about stretching the ol’ calves). One nice thing is that I get to take back an entire “new” wardrobe of pants, because of the weight loss. “New”, of course, because they are pants I owned before and can fit into again.

Thanksgiving is never a big deal in our house, but we just fixed up a big salad (I’m in love with a Ranch with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta dressing, although I’m usually an Italian-only girl) with lots of veggies and chomped on it. There wasn’t any vocal “I’m thankful for” stuff, but I’ve sort of been composing a list in my head. Some of the things I’m thankful for are:

  • The chance I’m being given to become educated (scholarships, loans, acceptance into my school, etc.);
  • My youth, and my physical… durability, I suppose. I’ve put my body through shit, and it still seems to be willing to recover for me;
  • My friends–they’ve given my life (and my vacation) spice and meaning and reminded me that 800 miles isn’t enough to really separate us, even if I’ve been shy (or just flat-out a lazy bum) about keeping in contact;
  • My family–they’ve given me what I’ve got (in a genetic and environmental sense). Can’t ask for much more;
  • The availability of information–most notably, the Internet in all it’s… glory. If that’s the word;
  • The fact that I have a steady job that pays well enough to support my lifestyle;
  • My professors–they helped me pull that 3.75 GPA this term. Particularly my Logic Design prof, who helped me understand what in the world the class was supposed to be about, although, quite frankly, I never want to see that woman ever again;
  • Music–Right now, Seal’s latest is rocking my world, as are Les Nubians, Randy Crawford, and Alien Ant Farm. Music has kept me sane and moving when I wanted to do nothing other than just crack like a fucking egg. My life’s not so stressful right now, but I do recall those times vividly, and remain grateful.

And now I’m off for a fun-filled evening with another couple of friends.

[Listening to “My Vision” [Seal / Seal IV]]

A bitchy rant, plain and simple.

One of the first things I realized this (Saturday) morning, other than the fact that 05:00 is entirely too early to be getting up when on a leisurely vacation, is that I’ve lost weight. That’s a weird thing to suddenly notice, I know, but I was getting dressed after my shower, and I suddenly remembered the trouble I’d had recently keeping my pants up. Again, I’m not the most observant, and even what I do observe doesn’t always immediately register. So I took a look-see in the mirror (something I usually don’t do), and was a bit astonished. The weight-loss isn’t majorly apparent (despite my father’s claims), as I don’t wear tight shirts or anything (and to me, the loss is most is apparently in my torso), but, you know, should anyone see me nekkid (and those bums who forget to knock on my dorm door before swinging it open may very well get that pleasure), they might notice the change. So I’m all about the renewed vigor in working out, although I think I’m going to hold off on weight-lifting, as I’m just not feeling the crowd-workout feeling. I like privacy. Solitude. Not a crowd of teenaged boys staring at me like I’m an eccentric. “Oooh, it’s a girrrl. And she’s lifting more than 10 pounds…” Outta my bidness. Leemee ‘lone.

I know I should just ignore them. Shouldn’t let ’em bother me and all that.

It turns out that none of mes amis have a week-long vacation for Thanksgiving. So apparently I was just kidding about having a fun time with them this weekend. That’s okay. I think we can squeeze in some time after Thanksgiving and before my flight out on Saturday. I hope.

Being in Charlotte has been… interesting. Mom’s the same. Ali hasn’t changed (and she still managed to annoy me before we’d even left the damn airport). The Old Man looks worse. They completely fucked up my room, though, messing up all of my books (I was so pissed to find all of my books just… mixed: on the wrong shelves, out of order, just thrown on the bookshelves without a goddamn care). Then there was my stereo. The Old Man told me that he’d de-wired my entire stereo (already enough to piss me off) because it was “a mess”. What the hell did he need to do back there anyway? I left it set up so Mom could use it, and he just dismantles the whole thing. Then he lies and tells he was careful about it, and didn’t harshly bend any of the wires. So when I go to do a quick hook-up of my DVD player direct to my TV, what do I find sticking out of the back of player in a small scrunched up ball wrapped a million times with tight rubber band? An optical cable I’d shelled out about $50 some-odd bucks for during a burst of stereo upgrades. All of my wires were done in such a manner, without regard for type. Nice of him not to discriminate. I informed him that, by summer, if not Christmas, I would be very much pleased if he replaced the optical wires he damaged. He said he would, and that was that. He acts like I’m fucking rolling in the dough, or, funnier still, like he is. He still treats Ali like shit, still doesn’t listen to anyone.

But, of course, I’m not here to see him.

My room’s all… yellow… because they put up these ugly-ass curtains so the Old Man can feel more comfortable working on his computer in my room while not dressed. (I don’t keep curtains up–I like the natural white light, as it seems to not strain my eyes so much. And besides, I have blinds, so nudity isn’t a problem.) My room’s yellow.

It’s only for a week, then I get to go home back to Rose. I’m seriously considering staying at Rose for Christmas. Save my parents the trouble of buying a ticket, save me the stress of seeing the people I don’t want to see, and gives me two whole weeks of peace and quiet–no neighbors, no roommate (although I love her to death), no interruptions to my reading and studying and working out. I just have to make sure to stock up on food and pay the bill to stay on campus. Easily and cheaply done, with my affinity for veggie soup and baby carrots. I think I’m going to toss the idea at my mother tomorrow.

[Listening to “Beautiful” [Creed / Human Clay]]

It’s Peanut-Butta Jelly Time!

Actually, it’s not, but I couldn’t think of a title.

Okay. I just got home from work, it’s Finals Week, and there were about… ten people taking calls. That’s friggin’ scary. We normally have a staff of something approaching thirty, and Mondays (along with Wednesdays) are the busiest nights of the week. You couldn’t even hang up before the next call buzzed, and calls were cut off at the half-hour mark.

In other news, the swelling in my toe hasn’t gone down a bit, so I’m still wearing one tennis shoe and one slipper when venturing outside of my residence hall. How is it that bruises can make your hairs hurt? (Not that my toes are particularly hairy or anything, but… you know…) I also managed to hit my shin today on my desk leg, and cried like a baby for 20 minutes. Bridget suggested that the weirdness on my legs may be hematoma, or blood pooled under my skin (like a bruise, but it doesn’t show), but I haven’t been able to find a lot of information about it aside from that relating to head injuries and smashed fingernails (ew, ew, ew those pictures are nasty!). I just want them fucking gone, even if they have have to make incisions to drain the fluid, whatever it is.

I’ve got my Physics I final tomorrow afternoon, and I am so not ready. The grades I’ve seen for this things are friggin’ hideous. Like, the average of the grades I’ve seen is about 60%, which is just passing. And Just Passing ain’t a “B”, folks. Someone joked to us freshmen, “You’ll know exactly what they are asking for, but you won’t be able to do it.” He found this humorous. Tee hee, motherfucker.

Wednesday afternoon is my Calculus final, then I’m done. I’m going to be staying with a friend in Indianapolis until my flight to Charlotte on Saturday morning. I should be in Charlotte around midday. Then I’m going to call everyone and proceed to have mad getting reacquainted chats and parties. In addition, an old source of music and giggles in my high school programming classes (not to mention bus rides home) ran into my mother and passed along good wishes and a desire to see me.

I’m actually kinda anxious to be home now. Now if only I can wear a shoe by Saturday morning comfortably… (Running around the Chicago-Midway airport in shoes that press and rub my red, black, and blue toe does not appeal to me).

On Physical Things, Part Deux

I decided I wanted to restart lifting weights. I haven’t done it since being here, just because the SRC is a daunting place for me–people look at you and watch you, and I like to work out in peace.

At any rate, I head down to the SRC and get my palm-print recognized and coded so I can get in and I head into the weight room. Oh. My. Damn. Lemme explain something first: at my place in Charlotte, there are simple weight machines; you put the peg in the hole for the weight you want, then use the machine. Simple. And there’s one machine that can do the exercise you want, so there’s not much variety. That’s okay, ‘cuz I just do basic exercises to work the big groups of muscles and get gone. Shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for a thorough workout that leaves you shaky for the rest of the day.

So anyway, I walk into the weight room here, and just stop. Shit. There are about three rows of machines, and they all fucking look the same. I wander in, with all the macho guys just staring at me with my little notebook (hey, I’m a stickler for records) looking completely clueless. Luckily for me, an acquaintance was there, and I shamelessly appealed to her for help in identifying the four machines I needed. Leg press, bench press, lat pulldown, and tricep pulldown, and the last two were probably on the same machine. She said, “Do free weights. They’re better for you anyway.” Yeah, okay, I know that, but then I need a spotter, then I need to depend on someone else to complete a workout. But I decide to try the bench press using free weights, with Vic (the acquaintance) spotting. Uh-uh. Wobbly as hell, and, to me, rotated 90 degrees, messing up my grip and the like. So I go ahead and hunt down a machine for the bench press. Except the machines use free weights. Or, rather, the machines require loading the weights on various knobs. No little pegs here. So I manage to do the bench press, getting in a good set to failure, my usual modus operandi.

Then I set about finding the leg press machine, although that’s a bit backward for me (largest muscle groups should be worked first, and the leg press works more than the bench press in those terms). After figuring out which knobs hold the weights that will actually be lifted, I see there are a total of 90 pounds on there, and I figured that would be cool for a “first workout”. So I jump on, breathe, and push. One leg moves a little. Nothing hurts, it just doesn’t move. So I check the weights, and Vic comes around to see if I’m alive, and it turns out that what I thought were backboards for the weights are, in fact, 100 pound weights. Two hundred ninety, I cannot do. So Vic and I start taking off the weights, and when I roll off the 100 pounds, it manages to crunch down on my foot. My immediate thought (after moving my foot and breathing deeply to avoid screaming)? “Ignoring air resistance, of which there probably wouldn’t be much, how would you compute the different masses and heights (within the weight itself) to create a potential energy to kinetic energy conversion problem? ‘Cuz it swung down in a smooth arc onto my toes, but, of course, the mass is not centered at the top of the weight, and the actual center of mass didn’t hit my toes. Is that some kind of integral, since it’s a summation of potential energies? Or… I dunno.” Um, yeah. I just took a Physics exam on (rudimentary) Work-Energy Theorem stuff this morning. Which I got a solid B on, methinks. I hate physics.

Although my toes are not broken, they are big and swollen and hurt like mofos.

In other news, remember when I ate the asphalt a couple of weeks ago? A fascinating side effect: I think I have another sac of fluid in my leg. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I have two sacs of fluid, one on the tops of each kneecap. It’s just generally squishy, and serves to make sensation in that area really weird. It’s easily hurt (and hurts for days, I shit you not, when bumped), but just to rub it, there’s not as much sensation. So those are from five years ago, when the Old Man decided he didn’t like my tone of voice. When I fell, however, I acquired what I think is a third one in a weird spot: it runs down my leg from just under my knee to about midway down my shin, on the left side, on my left leg. It squishes, it hurts, and there’s a… distance… in the sensation, just like the other two. As long as I keep all low-lying funiture out of my walking path, I only have to worry about cruching the bubbles on my knees under desks. I’m now even more über-sensitive about my knees, though–I hate to have people brush past to get into a seat further down the aisle, and I’m extremely careful when pulling up to a table. Sigh.

[Listening to “Spiral” [Godsmack / Awake]]

!!!

A quick note before Calculus: I worked really, really hard on this essay for Richard Powers’ Galatea 2.2 that I just got back from my prof today, right? (I’ll be posting the submitted draft soon.) What’s cool, however, is that my prof suggested that I submit this essay for the Humanities and Social Sciences Essay Contest later this year. My response: (!!!). (This means lots of squeaky happiness and jumping around and waving the essay around.) I’m so on a cloud right now. All the drama of my roommate and her friends, all the difficulty of working with Hitler incarnate on a Logic Design project, and all my worries over grades take a brief backseat to my happiness. This is my last week of classes before finals, and I’m floating. With a little bit of work on my exams, I will even be able to pull a 3.75 or 4.00 GPA this term.

[Listening to “The Sweetest Taboo” [Sade / The Best of Sade]]