Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Things are a wee bit crazy on this end. I'm still adjusting to school (which is an inside joke with myself, because tonight we are going to talk about adjusting financial statements in accounting. Isn't accounting hilarious?)

(I kind of suck at accounting.)

(I'm not just saying that.)

In life, I believe that there is no problem I can't study my way out of... And so that is what I do now. I study. I wake up at 5 or 5:30, and I study. Baby napping? I study. Getting a pedicure? You know I've got that management book sprawled across my lap.

And still. I worry it's not enough.

Last week I bombed my first accounting quiz. I knew the material too; but the prof threw in revenues and expenses, and like, we totally hadn't covered them yet, and so I was completely thrown off OH LORD WHY DON'T I KNOW THIS ALL I DO IS STUDY and then I got nervous and failed miserably. (The entire class seemed to have been thrown; I did manage to get us an extra 2 points for the uncovered material.)

WITH that extra 2 points? I got a 5 out of 10. Failure, thy name is HomeValley.

We have our second quiz tonight. Hoping I can get the old confidence back. Mrs. Crane told me I would be president of a major corporation way back in the 7th grade, you guys, and I don't want to let her down. (Though, in fairness, she probably didn't know about my accounting ineptitude. Had she, she may have just shrugged and proclaimed me destined for middle-management.)

(Sidenote: I made a friend in last week's class. He introduced himself and thanked me for speaking up about the quiz. We chatted for a few minutes during break. As we were about to walk back into class, he said, "You know what has really been bothering me though? It stinks in there." Word, brother. Beware the SBDs.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Terror, Explained.

Absolutely worth a read, from Shoshana Hebshi at Stories from the Heartland blog. I also had to repost what commenter Ian said, because I couldn't agree more.

See, the purpose of terrorism is to cause exactly this. “Terrorism” isn’t about killing people — it’s about terrorizing. That’s why it’s called “terrorism” and not “killing-people-ism.”

Killing people is a means to an end. The end is to destroy a society, by breaking down the rule of law and social contract. And we do this better than any other nation on Earth. We’ve gone from a light unto the nations, a place which may not have always done the right thing, but was always on the right path, to a place that is an example of a police state, a cautionary tale to other nations. And why? Because we have reacted in exactly the way that al Qaeda was hoping.

In doing so, we’ve proven that we are a PERFECT target for terrorism. A terrorist who attacks the United States gets EXACTLY the goal they want: a repressive, over-zealous, fascist security force which destroys the freedom and liberty that this country once had.

Once upon a time, people thought that “freedom” was a thing that you were willing to risk your life to fight for. This country was founded on the notion that you had to risk your security to guarantee your freedom — and that that is a bargain well worth making.

Now? We trade in all our freedom for a tiny bit of security, the act of a craven coward. And we harm other people in the process.

I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country where three people could be detained like that, because someone was afraid. Terrorism requires people to be terrified.

And the people who are terrified are craven. And willing to harm their fellow citizens because of their own terror.

It was never more visceral for me than a train ride to DC shortly after the attacks. An Arab-looking gentleman was clutching a paper bag tightly in the row across from me. He went to the bathroom once, then again. The second time, he brought his carry-on bag, and was gone for far too long. I sat paralyzed - utterly terrified - because I was sure that he was going to emerge with a bomb strapped to his chest. I was sure it was the end.

I did nothing. I just waited there: unmoving, heart pounding.

He came out wearing more casual clothes. Then he pulled a slice of pizza from the brown paper bag.

So yes, indeed, Ian. In that respect, the terrorists have won.

Back to School

I am not sure what my favorite moment from class was last night. Here are a few:

  • The BO? She is intense. Last night I had to dab perfume on my wrists, hold them conspicuously in front of my face all night, and simultaneous concentrate on retaining the information and breathing through my mouth. Also, guy who has mastered the Silent-But-Deadly fart in the row ahead of me? Kudos, brother; but you're killin' me.

  • Perhaps the moment when the professor was giving an example of coercive power, and yelled at the class to stand up? And she spotted a guy in the back row not standing, and she pointed at him and bellowed, "You! Get up! Why aren't you standing?!" And another student quietly informed her that he was physically unable to stand, what with that pesky wheelchair and all.

  • Or, when, with fifteen minutes left in class, a woman in the front row (who had the distinction of talking more than me this round) shouted out: "Hey! Weren't we supposed to have a quiz tonight?" I am surprised texts didn't fly at her head; the collective groan was deafening.

At one point, our instructor asked for an example of empathy. A man in the corner raised his hand and began," When my mother died in the earthquake in Haiti..." You could have heard a pin drop. I spent the rest of the class sending him psychic hugs.

Three weeks in, and nary a dull moment. I'll take it, business school. I just wish it smelled more like roses.

Meanwhile, do you remember this dude?

He's like, 15 now or something.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New Season

Recovering from my (fake) brush with death yesterday. My left temple is a lovely green shade and my shoulder and wrist are aching. Nothing a little light exercise and Management reading can't fix. And perhaps I should consider one of those benches in the shower, made specifically for seniors?

So what's new? I've started my grad school courses, though due to Hurricane Irene and Labor Day, I still haven't actually attended my Management class yet. I'm also taking Accounting, which I quite enjoy. All in all, a good semester thus far, a mere three weeks in.

Today marks Day 1 of half-marathon training. I intend to run the Dallas White Rock in early December; and thank Jesus, because I am quite jiggly these days. I managed to gain nearly FIVE pounds on our three-week sojourn through the Northeast (cheese fries, cheese nuggets, ice cream, Italian hoagies, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru will do that to a gal), and I am currently trying to rid myself of the extra girth so I can button my pants again one day soon.

Oh! I found an old journal, one I've been missing for quite some time now. And this one is GOOD, y'all. It is juicy and sordid and paints a picture of a very self-centered lass from 1997 through 99, during which time I move to New York and mercifully gain some perspective and stop obsessing about boys a tiny fraction. As I was skimming, I came across an entry in which I divulge my weight - 10 full pounds less than I am now - and write, "I need to lose at least 10 - 12 pounds; starting to feel like a heifer!" And now I'd like to personally thank anyone who hung out with me in high school, because damn: I was annoying.

Finally, yesterday I hobbled along with my boys to a new friends' place to watch the Eagles game. (Fellow Birds fans: huzzah!) At one point I got down on the floor to color with Hendrik and their two young daughters. Later, back home, J and I were sitting on the couch when he started giggling and burst out, "How 'bout your plumber's crack today?" When I asked him why he didn't nudge me to pull up my jeans, he just laughed and replied: "I'm sure I'm the only one who noticed." Right, J: because no one ever picks up on a person's butt checks billowing out of the top of their pants.

Informal poll this Monday morning: Divorce?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

Today, I fell in the shower.

Let me explain. I got a pedicure yesterday, and because they are now somewhat few and far between, I decided that I would work tirelessly to sustain soft, lady-like heels. I slathered on Bliss Tough Love callous remover before bed, and again this morning. Hours later, I walked into the shower.

I completely lost my footing. My soles were practically oiled, causing me to slip backwards on the cultured marble floor. I landed on my left shoulder, and my head then made contact with the edge of the shower door. My arm tingling, head ringing, I yelled for J.

As he came into the bathroom, I lay hunched over the door frame. "I fell," I explained. "My arm tingles."

"Are you okay?" He asked, and as he reached me he did a sharp intake of breath.

"What?" I yelped. "Am I bleeding?"

"No, you just have a huge bump," he explained, gingerly touching my left temple.

I began to panic as my hand flew to my head. The bump was large, had appeared instaneously. "Let's get you to lie down," J said, wrapping me in a towel and guiding me to the bedroom. He quickly fetched an ice pack and put it to my temple.

"I'm going to die," I say with absolute certainty. "The date, J! I am going to die on the tenth anniversary of September 11th. I was supposed to die then, but I'll die today; just like Natasha Richardson did. The IRONY!" (Proof that nothing good comes from watching Final Destination. And also? Post-traumatic stress victim, party of one?)

I believed it too. I assumed that it was my fate: to die from a desire for soft heels and callous-free toes.

Fuck, you know? Just when you thought you were healed? You ain't healed. The wound becomes less pronounced, it ebbs and dulls. It becomes a scar; it fades, but it reserves the right to be ripped open at a moment's notice.

It also takes many forms, an insidious foe that you often don't recognize initially. Lately? It is a visceral fear of leaving my son. Not getting to see him grow; missing it all. It is a nervous, gnawing, vague anxiety, until I slip and land on my skull and see my life flash before my eyes.

Can I confess something? I've let myself delve more into 9/11 nostalgia this year than ever before. I read Lisa Beamer's memoir; I watched TLC's Heroes of the 88th Floor. I even picked up United 93 at my local library. Before I did, I searched You Tube for clips from the film. I came across a 911 call made from the 105th floor of the North Tower.

I listened to it.

This man had no idea what had just happened. He couldn't see through the thick black smoke. He begged the 911 dispatcher to send help. He was there with another man. They couldn't see. It was becoming difficult to breathe. A fireman came on the line and tried to calm him. "We're working our way up," he assured him. The dispatcher came on the line again. "I'm going to stay with you," she assured him. He replied weakly, seemingly realizing his fate: "You can say that: you're in an air-conditioned building."

I think perhaps this is the most devastating thing I have ever heard.

I don't have any words of wisdom on the tenth anniversary of the "day the world changed forever", or whatever sweeping, heart-string-tugging platitude the news channels can deliver. (On our way home this evening, a local radion station played this spot: "Where were you on 9/11? The day the world changed! 9.33 FM!")

I just ache for those who lost their lives; who missed out. I mourn with those who lost the people dear to them. And I pray that the survivors - all of us, really - find a lasting peace.

Perhaps someday, a bump on the head can be just that - a blip, an accident - and not a fatality; an epic catastrophe waiting to unfold.

I hope.