Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Talking to Myself with a Pencil in My Mouth

My poor neighbors. God bless them.

Since starting Russian in earnest last Wednesday, I've become consumed by it. Russian vocabulary circles my mind as I translate to myself. I've taken to carrying the textbook with me, because I like to be able to look up the words I don't know. Today, I was writing in English cursive, and caught myself writing the Russian "m" instead of the English "t."

Also apparently, my mouth has decided to take on a life of its own.

Note this conversation that occurred earlier tonight.

Me: (unconsciously) lyu-blu, lyu-blu, lyu...lyu...blu... lyu-blu..bloo...lyu-bloo...
Una: What are you talking about, blue?
Me: Huh...oh... sorry. I'm making soft L sounds.

There were several variations of this, because my mouth insists upon practicing even when I'm not doing anything remotely related to to Russian.

It's probably...who am I kidding... it's a lot OCD, too. I start repeating things over and over again and I have a real hard time stopping. It is, without a doubt, a compulsion. But it's a useful compulsion, and one that I can pass off as true dedication to the perfection of my Russian accent.

(My Russian accent is currently pretty terrible. It needs all the perfection it can get.)

Car rides are pretty hysterical with me these days. They've become dedicated to the practice of R rolling - something I've never been able to do well. When I was learning Spanish, I made an attempt at learning to roll them. I read all the Google information. I stood in front of a mirror and butter/ladder-ed myself to death. Then I gave up and started cheating the R roll. 

When I decided to take Russian, however, I knew that wouldn't suffice. So, since December, many of my car rides have been filled with variations of the following:

ti-di-va, ti-di-va, ti-di-va .... butter/ladder, butter/ladder, butter/ladder.... vision/dream, vision/dream, vizzzhhhhhhhhondream, vizzzzzzzhondrrrream

Followed by, if I was lucky:

errrrrre, errrray, errrrrrie, errrrrrro, perrrrro, parrrro, arrrro, arrrra, Tehrrrran, Tehrrrrran.

And aside from the fact that I sounded (and probably looked) like a complete idiot, it worked.

Sort of.

I could roll the R after my Spanish E sound, and after the A sound. But Us, Os, and Is? No such luck. And forget about STARTING a word with the R.  That produced a sound that was a bit like a gurgle. 

It wasn't pretty. The ducks were NOT amused.

So tonight, I was lamenting to Una and Jenny for the hundredth time that I didn't think I'd ever get it right. They'd both tried to teach me how to do it before, with mixed results, i.e., my R rolling didn't improve, but they thought it was hilarious.

However, Jenny's friend Ana was also visiting tonight. Ana is a lovely, Spanish-speaking, R-rolling kind of gal, and she suggested that I take my pencil and shove it in my mouth. Come to think of it, maybe she was trying to get me to shut up... that non-rolling gurgle is pretty hideous.

"Put it under your tongue, hold it down, and then blow. Your tongue will vibrate."

I was skeptical. See, my tongue? It doesn't vibrate. It just doesn't. Doesn't know how. I can't even blow acceptable raspberries.

But I put the pencil under my tongue, I held it down, and I blew.

And my tongue vibrated.


Okay... maybe not a big success. In fact, Dylan was highly concerned by this sound. But it's still a success, as far as I'm concerned. The more I do it, the more my tongue should get used to using the rolling muscles. I even managed to get it to roll tonight after I, U, and O. Not well - not reliably - but at least once.

It's the little victories that matter, really.

And in the spirit of encouraging them, tomorrow's commute to school will likely include a pencil shoved in my mouth.

I wonder if they make them flavored?


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Course Round-Up and Gushing Praise for Garza and E-RG

I have successfully completed three days of this new semester. 5 new courses at a total of 18 credit hours, an undergraduate leadership program meeting, and three hundred dollars worth of books later, I have to say that I think I'm set up to have the best semester EVER.

Really. I think it could be that good.

Let me lay it out for you here. I have:

Research Methods (With the professor who has Hugh Laurie eyes.)
Child Psych (With the super nice hippie professor)
Fundamentals of Acting (does it even MATTER who the professor is?)
Intensive Russian (With Dr. Garza of Vampire Class fame)
World Literature (With Dr. Richmond-Garza, who is delightfully British and happens to be married to Dr. Garza)

Also, I've been accepted into a leadership program that has signed me up to take improv classes and promises to be a great help in the formation of my organization for students with OCD.

First off, that line up of classes is AWESOME. It took a little waitlist scrambling to get into Child Psych, and I was admittedly disappointed when I had to drop Linguistics to take it, but I've heard great things about the prof, and she seems absolutely lovely. Now that I'm taking a psych class in residence, I'll be able to officially add the major as my second. In theory. There's a slight chance that UT overadmitted psych majors and that they won't be accepting transfers/additions in the Spring.

But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Either way, Child Psych looks good, as does Research Methods. And no, it isn't only because my professor is a grad student with the bluest eyes. That helps, of course. They are very blue. And he is very cute. But I do love research for its own sake, and in this class, I'm going to have the opportunity to put together a research paper about a topic that interests me. Meaning, of course, that I'll get to conduct some secondary research on OCD. I just love it when my classes come together with my personal projects.

Theatre promises to be a lot of fun. But well... I love theatre. 

And then... then...

I am way too excited about my other two classes. I love that they're both with professors I've had before. I love that they're taught by two of the most amazing instructors I've ever come into contact with. I love that on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get to walk out of one, down the stairs in Jester, and straight into the next one.

It's like three hours of academic orgasm.

And to think, I ended up in them because of a mistake.

Last fall, I accidentally registered for an upper division class. Being a freshman, of course, I wasn't actually allowed to take the class I registered for, and was subsequently dropped from it the night before classes started. I sent my advisor a panicked e-mail (Kristen gets a lot of these from me. She really is a doll.) and the next morning, she responded with a list of classes I could take that would both fit into my newly opened time-slot, and fulfill one of my degree requirements.

My choices were Czechoslovakian Culture or a course called "The Vampire in Slavic Culture." As it so happened, I'd heard about this vampire course from a friend just a few days earlier.

"I'm told it's great!" Cat told me. "My friend took it, and she said you watch a lot of movies."

Now, contrary to what you might think, this recommendation did NOT make me more excited about the idea of taking the course. See, I don't really watch a lot of movies. And I don't really care much about vampires. And I REALLY hate Twilight.

Real vampires don't sparkle. Just saying.

But faced with the choice of Czech Culture (the course was subtitled "Robots and Beer Pubs") or Vampires, the decision was made easy.

I walked into the class not knowing what to expect, and within two minutes of Dr. Garza opening his mouth, I knew not only that I was glad I was taking "The Vampire in Slavic Culture," but that I wanted to take EVERYTHING this man taught. Three hours a week couldn't possibly be enough time to spend in his classroom.

The man... lights up. He sparkles (in a completely non-Twilightish way). He is so obviously passionate and excited about what he teaches, and that enthusiasm just spreads through his classroom. When he lectures, he captivates, because he is brilliant and he just has this way of making you look at things in a way you might not have looked at them before. And even with all of this brilliance, he's funny, candid, honest, and completely interactive. At the end of our Vampire class, Dr. Garza got a standing ovation.

He respects his students in a way that not a lot of professors do. He even dedicates an entire class period to giving his students a chance to get to know him as a person, not just as a professor. By the time this period rolled around in Vampire class, I was already completely hooked on him and had decided that whatever he was teaching in the Spring, I wanted to take.

Then he said he wasn't teaching in the Spring.

My heart fell. I couldn't possibly have a whole semester at UT without this kind of instruction. (You have to understand something about me. Knowledge is my drug. I can't get enough of it  - and when it's being transmitted by someone whom I respect and admire, it's nearly impossible to resist.) 

Luckily, I had heard a rumor that Dr. Garza was married to a fellow professor, and that she was just as amazing. So I asked him what he thought about her course, and was told that I simply must take it.

I did. 

And, in fact, Dr. Richmond-Garza (known to her students as E-RG, because well, Richmond-Garza is a mouthful) is every bit the professor that Dr. Garza is. 

Furthermore, she let me into a class that I was not technically qualified to be in, because I was only a freshman and it was a junior/senior level class.

The sheer amount of knowledge that this woman possesses amazes me. She speaks something like eight languages. Her lectures, which were technically in Comp. Lit. encompassed cultures, histories, and current events. She expects a lot from her students, but she gives a lot to them in return, and rather than forcing her opinions, she asks us to express ours. I think she is genuinely interested in our interpretations.

And she's British. With the most delicious accent, and so wonderfully proper. Not that that contributes to her ability as a professor. But it's cool.

When I found out that she also taught the required E316K Literature course, I knew I'd have to take it. I could take it with anyone, of course - but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Richmond-Garza, and that will make the class so much more enjoyable.

The decision to take Russian was a little more complicated, and actually started out as a joke.

I remember calling my Dad on the first day of the semester and telling him about Dr. Garza. "He's so good," I said. "I might just take Russian from him."

I was kidding. I didn't have any reason in the world to learn Russian. RUSSIAN? Why would I take that, when I already had about three years of Spanish under my belt? Russian would require me to learn a whole new alphabet. And what good would it do me? This is Texas, after all. Not Alaska. If I were to go to our border and shout out "Zdrasvuitye!" (Hello!), I might get back a "Que?"

As the semester wore on, and I became more and more entranced by his teaching, I started going to office hours. Okay, so I did have papers to discuss, but the prospect of getting to have a conversation with this man was just too good to pass up. While in office hours one day, I asked him about his Russian classes. "If you'll teach Russian," I told him, "I'll take it."

I was only half kidding. 

When he announced, several weeks later, that he intended to run an Intensive First Year Russian class the following fall, my enthusiastic response was, "I'm in!"

And I wasn't kidding at all.

It's still not likely to be as much use to me here as, say, Spanish. But I've fallen in love with the language. Even if he weren't teaching it, I'd want to take it, because it's beautiful. I want to read Pushkin in the original text. I want to listen to Russian rock music, and understand it. I want to go to Moscow.

The fact that I'm being taught by Dr. Garza? And that he's also teaching the follow-up advanced course in the Spring? And the one in the Summer? And then leading a trip to Moscow?

Yeah. Gravy. It's like winning a new car and then being told you don't have to pay taxes on it.

We're three days into our class, and already starting to speak, write, and read in Russian. No false advertising here - the course is intensive. But Dr. Garza makes it fun, and even though it's hard, I look forward to going to class every day. I want to do well - because I always want to do well, and because I want to become truly fluent, of course. But also because I want to show my professor that I can.

The best compliment that I can give to an amazing professor is to be an equally determined student. I truly believe this. I work hard for me, because I accept nothing less than my absolute best. But I also work hard for my instructors. I owe that to them.

Now that I've written this love letter to my professors, someone will probably show them and I'll get kicked out of class for being a freaky stalker. Admittedly, some strange things have come out of my mouth regarding them, and indeed, I just want to... absorb them.

It's very vampiric of me.

I'm sure they'd approve. If they didn't run to get a restraining order, that is.

But really, it's not like that. I simply appreciate them. They make my education more enjoyable, and they challenge me in ways that I am seldom challenged. I respect and admire them both so very much, and even though my career path will likely not lead me to either Comparative Literature or Russian, they have inspired me. I want to teach in Social Work and Psychology some day. I want to lead groups in my field. And I can only hope to do as good of a job as they do. It is a privilege and an honor to be taught by them.

This semester is going to be a great deal of work, but I'm looking forward to it - all of it. The chance to do research, and to use my classes and my new leadership program to further my interests in advocating for students with OCD, is really exciting. I never, ever expected that I'd go from just another girl with hard-core OCD to someone who was working to improve the lives of others who live with it. Never really saw it coming. But I love the work, and I can't wait to see what this semester brings in terms of it. I'm looking forward also, to being on stage, and to pushing myself in Russian and Lit.

I'm looking forward, essentially, to being incredibly busy.

Just the way I like it.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Riding in Cars with Shrinks

Remember a few weeks ago when I uttered these fateful words: “I just want to get in my car and GO somewhere. I don’t care where. I just want to GO.”

Remember that?

God was listening. And laughing. And scheming.

The result? On Monday, I spent seven hours in a car with a shrink – not even MY shrink – so that I could attend a meeting in Bedford, Texas. It wasn't quite what I had in mind when I said I wanted to go somewhere. Really, I was thinking somewhere tropical. Somewhere with water. Somewhere... that wasn't a meeting room in a hospital cafeteria. That'll teach me to be vague.

I facilitate the local OCD support group here in Austin, and a few weeks ago, one of the psychologists at Austin's OCD clinic stopped by our meeting to tell us that some people in Dallas were interested in starting a Texas wide group that would be affiliated with the International OCD Foundation. Of course, I was thrilled about that. I'd talked to our group about a possible IOCDF affiliate several months ago, but the consensus was that we just didn't have enough people here to pull of something so complicated. IOCDF requires board members, bylaws, and 5013c status. So hearing that Dallas was interested excited me. Furthermore, we'd have the clinic on board.

The psychologist mentioned that there might be a meeting in September up near Dallas.

Two weeks later, I got an e-mail saying that the meeting would be on the 23rd, in Bedford, and by the way, was I interested in carpooling?

It was an interesting journey. It rained a bit. We talked a LOT about psychology. Seriously, I have never psychoanalyzed quite so much during one day. Or been psychoanalyzed. We joked about it, but really, I feel sure that Dr. Tobis has me all figured out.

The meeting itself was unproductive. The man who called it more or less said, "well, I don't think that you should do much of anything. And whatever you do, you ought to do very slowly." It felt a bit like we had been called together to be told not to bother.

Made me a little angry, really. He could have told us not to bother over the internet. Didn't need to see us in person to do that.

Still, the facilitators of the meeting were lovely, as were the people involved, most of whom said they would be interested in coming to Austin in November for the next quarterly meeting.

On the way back, we psychoanalyzed them all.

Just kidding. 

Psychoanalyzing is Freud's bag, and you all know that I'm a Rogerian.

There is a lot of work to be done, but I do feel that we made some progress and got to meet some great people. And all jokes aside, I didn't mind the seven hour car trip at all.

Just next time, I'll be a bit more specific when I say that ANYWHERE would be acceptable. Perhaps "anywhere with a resort, pool, spa, and masseuse at my beck and call" would be more apt?

School starts tomorrow. Will fill you in on all the exciting details of Russian and Research Methods.

I know you just can't wait.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's Hot

I live in Texas, so goes without saying that it's hot here.

Or rather, it should go without saying. And honestly, I'd be happy not to say it - but I just can't help myself. I go outside and I can't even get through a full thought. Two steps out my door, I'm thinking, "I really should... GOOD GRIEF, IT'S HOT!" So goes the weather here in Austin.

We're supposed to have a cold front come through this weekend, though.

They say it's going to get down to 90.

In the mean time, the only ones who seem to have figured out how to deal with this heat are the dogs. Observe:

It's all fun and games until we have to take them back inside, sopping wet. Still, who can blame them? I'd have joined them if I thought they would have let me into the huddle.

I'm not really cool enough to be a part of their gang. They just keep me around as the paparazzi.

Luckily, I have rights to all of their images. Maybe if we all concentrate really hard on the pictures of water, we'll start to imagine that it's cooler. Or, you know, we'll stare at them long enough for it to ACTUALLY get cooler. Or something.

*Sigh* Only two more months of summer, right? RIGHT?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Gang

These are my neighbors, Una and Jenny. The guy on the end is Jenny's friend Robert.

I love these folks. They've helped keep me sane for the past couple of months, particularly through The Great Flea Wars of 2010 and testing hell.

They've also helped keep The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy sane, which, in turn, helps keep me from killing him.

At least a couple of times a week, we get together in the grassy field out behind our building, unleash the dogs, and let them go crazy. And the dogs are good for each other. Casper, Copper, and Dylan have taught Cooper many things... such as "The Frisbee is your friend," and "The water spigot isn't scary." 

I'm starting to think that I should be worried about him caving in to the peer pressure. First water spigots, then frisbees...what's next? Drinking? Smoking? Staying out past curfew? What if he knocks up the poodle down the street?

Just take a look at the hooligans he's running around with.

This one is Casper, a.k.a. Napoleon. Behind that innocent face is a force to be reckoned with. He's a terrier mix with short-man syndrome. He thinks he's in charge, and isn't afraid to let everyone know it. He's the alert dog; excellent for spotting deer, other dogs, people, bugs, or invisible beings, and letting us all know that they're there.

But we like to keep him around. If we ever send the other dogs to do a bank robbery job, he'll make a great door-watcher.

This one here is Copper. We're always messing up and calling him by the wrong name. Cooper...Copper..Cooper...Copper...HEY DOG! It's not my fault... Cooper was named first. The poor puppy always looks so worried too... of course, he was a street dog before Jenny found him and took him in. To this day, he still has a habit of wandering off, and he is the least playful of the three dogs. Still, he's a love bug. Maybe it has something to do with him being the baby of the bunch. He certainly fits the stereotype though: He's nothin' but an independent rogue youngster with a heart of gold.

Then there's Dylan. When he was a puppy, he was terrified of Cooper. I can't blame him. At the time, Cooper was twice his size, a year old, and insane. Of course, Cooper is still insane, but now, Dylan is bigger. We'll call him "the muscle." He gives Coop a run for his money when it comes to retrieving, which is interesting because he's a bit of a toy hoarder. It isn't unusual for him to be seen carrying all of the toys in his mouth at one time. 

When we do the bank job, he's the one we'll be sending into the vault.

Last but not least, we have... hey, wait! What's HE doing in here? This one's mine. He isn't a hooliga...

Oh, who am I kidding. He's the most hooligan-ish of them all. He's the oldest, so he really ought to know better. And all things considered, he's pretty good most of the time. He'll come when he's called. He'll retrieve. Most of the time, he doesn't even bark too much.

There's just... he has a little issue with... I don't want to say it...

He likes to hump Dylan. Only Dylan. Maybe I don't need to worry about the poodle down the street after all, come to think about it. Yes - he's a pervert, but he's my little pervert.

The boys really do love playing together, even if they are a little crazy.

Most importantly, they wear each other out, which means that they're all less likely to wreak havoc and destruction upon our apartments. When they have each other, they're less likely to chew, scratch, bark, and generally destroy everything they come into contact with.

Except for shoes. And popcorn. Cooper still eats shoes and popcorn. The little monster.

Here, Cooper and Casper fight over the frisbee, as Copper stares at them from a distance. He might look as if he is uninvolved, but really, he's masterminding his sneak attack. At least, that's what we like to believe.

My goodness, I love the look on Cooper's face here. It's a little joy, mixed with a little enthusiasm, mixed with a dash of pure evil.

This is the game that Cooper and Copper like to play - Stalk, Stalk, Pounce. It's the doggie version of Duck, Duck, Goose.

True story - Cooper was TERRIFIED of this frisbee. Completely, totally, 100% terrified. Every time I brought it out, he shook and cowered. And then I took it with me when we went out to play. Casper, Copper, and Dylan did not share Cooper's frisbee fears, and Cooper, not to be outplayed, decided that if they were going to chase it, he would chase it too.

I think he's still a little afraid of it. You can see it in his eyes. They say, "I'm going to carry you, so that the others can't have you, but don't think I trust you for a minute, Frisbee. I'm still onto your evil ways."

When it gets dark, it's really hard to tell these two apart. Until Cooper starts molesting Dylan, anyway. Then it becomes obvious which is which.

I didn't take any pictures of that, though. I couldn't do that to Dylan. The poor boy might develop a complex.


Monday, August 16, 2010

A Nice, Warm Recap

In the words of Riff, from Sluggy Freelance: “You know, nothing helps me more when I’m succumbing to mental trauma than a nice warm recap…”

The past two weeks have certainly been filled with mental trauma. I can't think of a better way to describe the horror of 8 tests, 4 chapter quizzes, 19 chapters of reading, and a 4100 word paper  in 12 days. That's not only mental trauma - it's mental ritual abuse. Naturally, I haven't had quite as much time as I would have liked to do things like blog, eat, and sleep.

Sleep? What is sleep?

did have a chance to rediscover my very favorite webcomic EVER - Sluggy Freelance. If you don't know about it, it's nifty! If you like sarcasm, parodies, and mini lop-eared bunnies that carry switchblades - I would certainly recommend jumping in head first. Start at the beginning though... some of the story arcs span years. I didn't mean to get sucked back in to Sluggy, but somehow, reading about demon possession while doing Government seemed appropriate. It helped me to understand what my Government professor must have been experiencing when she wrote out the assignments.

So, in honor of Riff, I think it's time for a nice, warm recap.

Thursday (The 5th)

Remember that whole "I can't take my sociology exams because my professor hasn't sent them to OSD yet" thing? As of Thursday morning, the exams still weren't there, and I was starting to panic slightly, as the due date for the exams was Monday. Rejuvenated by my night off playing with my dogs and my neighbors, I awoke on Thursday morning refreshed and ready to take on Austin Community College.

I was pissed, and by God, SOMEBODY was going to help me straighten out this mess if I had to talk to every single person at ACC.

First I went to OSD, where I wasted no time in telling them exactly how I felt about being stuck taking four tests in half as many days because the professor couldn't get his stuff together. OSD sent me to the Department Director for Sociology and Psychology. He was, of course, at the downtown branch. I had to wait until 2 to see him (I used the opportunity to visit UT campus, take some pictures, and long for the beginning of the semester there), and when I finally tracked him down, he was less than thrilled with my suggestion that they take me out of the bleeping class and give me back my bleeping money because it was bleeping ridiculous, what they were expecting me to do. 

Okay, so I wasn't quite that mean. But I felt like I should have been. He took me to see the professor himself. My professor was certainly nice enough, but his explanation to me? "I'm sorry, you fell through the cracks." I don't even like to step on cracks, let alone fall through them. He gave me an extension. I watched him send the tests and went on my merry way - but the whole situation still ended up being a bit unfair. Everyone else in the class got the chance to retest any grades they weren't happy with - I didn't.

If only I had already written my 4100 word paper on the ADA at the time...

Friday (The 6th)

Took a sociology exam. Read sociology.

Saturday (The 7th)

Took a sociology exam. Read government.

Sunday (The 8th)

Read psychology. Commandeered Kelly's deck to read, because I read best when I'm outside and her deck has shade. Found myself utterly annoyed with the Psychology book's description of anxiety disorders. Wrote my professor a page-long e-mail telling her why I was so annoyed.

Got Picante chicken. Kelly's husband Dave is the BEST grill-man in the Greater Austin Area. Possibly the World. And the picante chicken? It's like crack. It's that good.

Went home Sunday night. Read Government. Didn't sleep - not at all. Not even a little bit.

Monday (The 9th)

It still felt like Sunday because, well, I hadn't slept. I had also developed a cold of the worst kind, sometime between sitting on the deck and leaving for my exams. My nose ran. But it was stopped up. My eyes watered. My face hurt (because the slightest cold is enough to trigger a sinus infection in my world). 

So, with no sleep and sick, I grabbed my box of tissues, my can of Mountain Dew, and set off for testing.

I took a Government exam. I blew my nose approximately 13287 times.

I went outside to read for the two hours I had between my tests... and something odd happened.

First, a guy walked up to me and handed me a note. It said, more or less, "Hi, I'm really shy. I go to Baylor and it's helping me come out of my comfort zone. I think you're a really beautiful lady and I would like to be your friend. Here is my phone number, can I have yours? I have to go meet with my professor now, but I'll be back to talk to you."

At first I was a little flattered. Then a little shocked. And then a little confused. I was sleep deprived. And SICK. And still wearing sweat pants. There was nothing about my appearance that said, "I want to get to know you." In fact, I might have been shooting lasers from my eyes at that point. I really wasn't in the mood to DO people.

But he was nice enough, and because he asked, I wrote my phone number down for him and went back to reading.

I KNOW. I KNOW.  Note to self: Give out FAKE phone number. 

Ten minutes later, another guy came up, sat down, and started talking to me. By the time he left, I was really starting to expect a researcher to pop out from behind the bushes at any moment and say something like, "You were randomly selected to participate in our experiment regarding ways males can get female attention."

I went to take my psych test, then I dragged myself back home to get to work on my Government assignment, sneezing and coughing all the way. 

It SUCKS being sick on exam week.

So, I had to write this paper on the Americans with Disabilities Act. I'd started it, but I hadn't really done much work on it. And it was due in 9 hours and 45 minutes.

With the help of my dear friend Dan, as fact checker and proof-reader, as well as morale booster, I finished the paper in 9 hours and 42 minutes. Okay... so closer to 9 hours even. I'm not sure how I'd have survived Government this semester without Dan. Gotta have someone to make fun of all the hypocrisy with.

Then the phone calls started. Rather, they started around 9. And they came two at a time... at 9... at 10... at 11.

I fell into a deep sleep around midnight.

Tuesday (The 10th)

I was awoken around 8 AM by phone calls. Then he called at 9. Then he sent some texts. THEN, I started getting calls from DIFFERENT (512) phone numbers. Annoyed (though amused), I pulled myself out of bed to go take my Economics exam.

My economics exam wasn't there.

By the time, the people in OSD were threatening to name a chair after me, I'd be there so much. And when lovely Cathy walked out of her office, I said, "Take three guesses."

She called and got my test, but not until 4. By that time, I had gone home and collapsed in sickness on my couch. I did not feel well. I did not feel well at all.

Wednesday (The 11th)

Went in, took my Econ exam. I only needed to get a 59 to make an A in the class, so I wasn't too worried. Note-boy and friends were still calling. I still felt like death warmed over.

Went home, crashed on couch. You'd think that might have been the end of it - but I was scheduled to watch the Chaos kids so that Kel and Dave could go play volleyball. I'd TOLD Kelly on Monday that I was sick. I TOLD her on Tuesday that I was sick. When we spoke on Wednesday afternoon, I told her that I wanted to die. 

I don't think she believed me. I yelled a bit, and grumbled, and then showed up with my box of tissues at which point she told me I looked like death warmed over.

Well DUH, I thought. 

There was more yelling. It wasn't pretty. After sorting the whole thing out with Dave, I ended up watching the kids... but Kelly brought me a sandwich to appease me, and then we watched the finale of So You Think You Can Dance.

Thursday (The 12th)

After the week long testing-torture extravaganza, you'd have thought that Thursday might come with the promise of peace and relaxation.

Not true.

See, I had to go to the orthodontist.

I had braces when I was a teenager, and even though I've had them off for five years, the orthodontists told me I'd always need to wear retainers. Fine, I thought. I liked my retainer. It was comfortable. It helped me eat crunchy cereal because it covered the roof of my mouth. I wore it RELIGIOUSLY.

Until last fall, when Cooper ate it.

Since I didn't have the money at the time to replace it, I put it off... but my fears of moving teeth turned into nightmares about my teeth falling out (literally, nightmares) and I was starting to really obsess over not having one. 

With the promise of financial aid, I found an orthodontist and made an appointment for Thursday. Only... I HATE orthodontists. And dentists. And anyone that does things in my mouth. They scare the heck out of me, for a multitude of reasons - the main one being that they tend to do things that HURT.

I took a xanax to keep myself from massively panicking. Try explaining to your orthodontist that the idea of him putting his hands in your mouth terrifies you because 1) he might be germy, and 2) he might hurt you. It doesn't go over well. Best to take the medication and be done with it. I went in. The initial visit wasn't bad. He made a mold of my teeth to give me a clear retainer - something I'd never seen before. It's like the invisalign of retainers.  Four hours later, I went back and picked it up. 

Then I put it in. It was fine for about twenty minutes. Very tight. And completely invisible - I was SHOCKED at how invisible it was. By the time I got home and unloaded the car, it had started. Having been without a retainer for almost a year meant that my teeth had shifted, if only slightly. This new retainer was TIGHT. And pushing on my shifted teeth.

On top of that, the sinus infection was already making my cheeks and forehead ache. Combined with the retainer, it was like someone moved a brass band into my face. THUMP...ow... THUMP...Ow... THUMP... OW OW OW DAMMIT THIS HURTS!

And so my evening went.

Went to Kelly's to watch the second part of the So You Think You Can Dance Finale. I was very pleasantly surprised at the results. Always a silver lining, eh?

Friday (The 13th)

I woke up with my face and teeth still thudding.

Went in, took a Government test - the final government test - and rejoiced for Government was DONE!

Note-Boy seemed to have given up calling me. 

Went home... started the cleaning extravaganza.

My house had gone explody over the past week. And I do NOT deal well with an explody house.

Saturday (The 14th)

Cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Found out that my Psycho Crazy Cat Lady neighbor would be moving out. Rejoiced.

Sunday (The 15th)

Cleaned. Read Sociology. Had a playdate with Jenny, Una, Casper, Copper, and Dylan. Took LOTS of pictures. Will post tomorrow.

Monday (Hey... today...)

Sociology exam. Babysitting. Screaming Chaos girl... but love her anyway. Silly old teeth. I hate teething...

Tomorrow will be my 8th and final exam. Sociology, AGAIN.

This semester at ACC couldn't end fast enough for me. UT starts up again in 9 days. And already, I have a nearly booked schedule for the coming week. Hopefully though, with the onslaught of tests over, I'll actually be able to post.

Or at least devote hours of my time to reading Sluggy Freelance.

Recap over, Bobbi out.