Medical Drama

My grandpa is in the hospital.  He’s been there for 4 weeks.  Right now he’s a unit one level below the ICU.  They took his gall bladder out earlier in the week because it was gangrenous.  They also discovered late last week that he has VRE, a bacteria that’s resistant to the usual antibiotic used to treat it.  The first 2 1/2 weeks, they couldn’t figure out why he was sick, so knowing some of what’s causing all this is good.  His wife, my step-grandma, had surgery to remove a mass in her colon on Thursday afternoon.  She’s in the hospital for at least 4 days, more if they think she needs it.

I’ve been pretty level-headed about this whole enterprise.  Grandpa’s 87.  He’s not going to live forever.  Marlene is 72, but she’s the most active, fit, and healthy person I’ve ever met.  She bikes and runs and hikes and eats whole grains and fresh produce all the time.  The doctors are very positive that she’ll bounce back from this and don’t think that the cancer has yet spread to her lymph nodes.

This morning, I checked my inbox, and it was flooded with e-mails from family.  They are a little crazy, but they’re trying to keep everyone in the loop about everything, so there are dozens of e-mails back and forth.  It’s a little much.  This morning, though, I found an e-mail with a picture attached.  It’s the first time I’ve ever thought that my grandpa may not survive this.  It was a picture of him in a hospital bed, and his wife (in full hospital gown, IV cart at her side) is standing over him, talking to him to see how he feels.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of those things that I just reacted to.  For the first time since this entire ordeal began, I’m feeling a little sad about it.

I hope that my step-grandma recuperates as well as they are expecting, and I hope that my grandpa is able to get home at some point.  I know that’s all he wants – to be home.

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Good Times Never End

My summer classes start on Monday.  I am pretty excited to get back to school.  All-in-all, I like school.  I don’t like the drama associated with some of it, but I’ve been told that the food industry attracts gossipy drama-whores.  I’m not one of them, so I tend to get frustrated with the people who are.  I just don’t understand the lack of adultness.  It’s so absurd!

So, this last week or so, I’ve been pretty busy.  My nephew Sam was baptized on Sunday, so my parents and I left almost immediately after I got home from the farmer’s market on Saturday to go up there.  In my haste, I forgot a couple key items, like pajamas and clean underwear.  It was only for a night, so I was going to wing it, but my mom decided I should probably at least have some shorts to sleep in, so when we stopped at Meijer, she bought me a pair.  The christening itself was pretty nice.  Catholics do a lot of annointing, and one of the oils they use during a baptism is this stuff called chrism.  It’s a blend of olive oil and balsam.  I’m apparently allergic to balsam, which meant that I couldn’t really hold Sam for very long without getting an itchy nose.  It was a funny thing to discover that I was suddenly allergic to the baby!

I’ve been working for my uncle at his investment office this week.  It’s been good to have something to do during the day instead of what I’d planned on doing – lying out in the sun and trying new and exciting jello shot recipes.  Ha!  Who am I kidding?  My original plan sounds so much better than sitting in an office all day answering phones and feeling less-than-helpful!  I know that he basically just needs someone in the seat, and I haven’t screwed anything up, so at least I’m not doing poorly.  I am realizing just how much his normal assistant never showed me, though.  She tried to train me on some things, but even though she said I was going to do everything the days I was there last week for that very purpose, she has a really hard time letting go of control.  I can’t really blame her.  I’m sort of the same way, but it hurts me and the clients for her to be so controlling with things. It is going well, overall, though.

Monday, I got a phone call from my cousin’s boyfriend’s mom who asked me if I could do some desserts for her son’s graduation party this weekend.  I’m stoked because it means more business!  I am doing cake pops and my salted chocolate chip cookies.  Tuesday, I got a call from my cousin Bob who asked me to make 2 batches of my famous fudge brownies for the camping trip this weekend.  Of course, I was happy to oblige!  Friday, I’m working for one of my chefs in the evening serving.  I’ll be working all day, running home to change into my outfit for the party, then going to the party with two of my fellow students.  I’m stoked!  I’m going to be very very busy this weekend.  In addition the stuff on Friday, I’ve got the farmer’s market Saturday morning, then Saturday afternoon I’ll be doing cake pops.  Sunday morning, I’ll be baking cookies and dipping the cake pops in the chocolate.  I promised the mom I’d be in Logan at 1 to set up, so I have a firm deadline for getting my butt out of the house of 12:30.  Sunday afternoon, I’m going to a party to see a friend whom I haven’t seen in probably 15 years.  I really wanted to go to Comfest up in Columbus this weekend, too, but it doesn’t look like I’ll have the time.  It’s all so manic!

I am glad to be busy, though.  I can really use the money and the distraction.  I was sort of assuming that my summer wouldn’t be as busy as the last two quarters, but I’m thinking that if this weekend is any indication of busy-ness, I’m in for another brutal 11 weeks!  And, my parents bought me a gift certificate to pick black raspberries, so I have to find time to do that in the next 2 weeks because the berries are only ripe that long.  I have a couple friends who want to go picking with me then come back to my parents’ house to make jam, so I have to coordinate with them.  I do love making jam, so it won’t be bad once we get started.

–Casey, jammin’ on the one

Burst Bubbles

My grades have been posted, and I have all A’s again this quarter!  I honestly don’t know how that happened.  I feel that I slacked off like crazy the entire last half of the quarter.  I had a major project (the only thing that was really graded) in one class, and I left it until the morning it was due to do any real work on it.  I had filled out all the forms and things but hadn’t written up my business plan or done any kind of floor plan or really any research at all.  How I still got an A is a mystery, but I’ll take it!  Half of the time I spend in class, I can be found wandering around the halls and generally not doing anything.  I’m sure it’s frustrating for my group members, and I do feel a little bad about it, but I get bored and antsy.  I can’t stand still.  And, when there’s only so much to actually do, it’s hard for me to focus my attention on the task at hand.  Still, I got all A’s, so I’ve made the Dean’s list for the 3rd quarter in a row.  I joke with my mom that it’s probably worse NOT to make the Dean’s list at Hocker College than it is to make the Dean’s list.

I’ve got one more week of utter freedom from academic cares until my summer classes start.  I’m taking Hospitality Supervision (online – yikes!); Salads, Sandwiches, and Eggs; Beginning Swimming (fun!); and Baking Lab III.  It’s a lighter load than in past quarters, so maybe it will be a little easier.  I somehow doubt it, but we’ll see how things pan out.  I would love it to be a lighter quarter!  That would really help me achieve the summer of fun!

I’ve also decided that this summer is going to be the summer of jello shots.  I found a web site that has tons of recipes for jello shot versions of all sorts of cocktails.  I’d like to try a new one each week.  We’ll see how that works out for me!  The first one I want to try is a watermelon basil concoction.  It sounds so delightful and refreshing.

I’ve noticed lately that my attitude has become a little pessimistic.  I try very hard to be positive and up-beat, but I also tend to be a realist in that I never allow my expectations to get out of control.  I fear that this is seen as pessimism and negativity.  I also fear that it’s creeping into my psyche as pessimism and negativity.  I have a bad habit of letting my expectations run wild, and when I’m inevitably disappointed, it’s crushing.  I hate to be sad, and I hate that things that should give me joy are instead a source of pain for me because I have let myself get my hopes up far too high.  I allow the image I have of what a perfect X, Y, or Z should be ruin my experience of the actual X, Y, or Z.  I haven’t fully learned how to live in the moment.  I can pull it off occasionally, but I cannot sustain it with any regularity or consistency.  Perhaps my best bet is to go into all situations with no expectations of how things will resolve or end.  Maybe then, I’ll be able to enjoy myself more fully.

–Casey, spaced-out and disappointed

Break it Down

I’ve been out of school for less than a week.  But, this break is exactly what I’ve been needing.  It is going to be a short one, though.  I have this week and next off before my summer quarter classes start.  This week, I’m working 16 hours for my uncle and generally fooling around, staying up till all hours, and sleeping in.  I’m also finishing up my garden.  I just got everything but the cantaloupe planted yesterday.  I’m doing beans, red and yellow beets, tomatoes, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, basil, cilantro, and pickling cucumbers.  I’m going to try to grow some carrots in a couple of pots because my grandpa said our soil has too much clay to allow the carrots to grow the way they should.  Next week, my uncle’s normal assistant is on vacation so I’m going to be working 40 hours for him.  The money is going to be really nice!  I’ve been just scraping by (or not – I have a $0 balance at any given point in time right now), and this is going to make things so much easier for a little while.

On June 27, the summer quarter starts.  I’m doing a few required classes, but I’m also taking Beginning Swimming.  I sort of know how to swim now, but I don’t know proper technique or anything of that kind.  In the fall, I’m hoping I can take Swim for Fitness.  It will give me an additional way to exercise, which I like.  I haven’t been running, mostly because I’ve been lazy but also because I hurt my knee a couple weeks ago.  Basically, I was doing something dumb, and I hurt myself.  It’s getting better every day, but now I’ve got some really sore hamstrings from gardening, so no running for me for a little while longer.

The Farmer’s Market is still going well.  I like the people I’m doing it with, and we have a good time while we’re there.  We don’t make a whole lot of money, but it’s still pretty early in the season.  There isn’t much fresh produce out yet, but I expect that it will pick up once there’s more produce available.

I’m going to make this the most fun summer I’ve ever had.  I thought about it recently, and this summer will be the first summer since the one between junior and senior years in high school that I wasn’t romantically attached.  I plan on hanging out at friends’ pools, going bowling, partying as much as my funds will allow, and generally having as much fun as humanly possible!

The divorce is on the brink of being finalized.  I’m frustrated that a decision in which I wasn’t involved is having the most impact on me, emotionally, financially, socially.  I haven’t seen my therapist in over a month because I have been too busy with school stuff, but I have an appointment with her the Tuesday that summer classes start.  I have a lot to talk to her about, and I have missed having someone outside my immediate circle of family and close friends to talk to about how crappy some things feel right now.  Kathleen is always sensible and helps me get outside myself.  Being busy has helped, but it’s no substitute for a good therapist!

So, here’s to a summer of healing and fun!  I miss you all and wish I could share more time with you than by just posting to this silly little blog.

–Casey, break-dancing since 1992

All Funned Out

Apparently, last quarter was NOT the busiest quarter ever.  That honor falls to this quarter.  However, it’s almost over!  I have one week to go, and it’s going to breeze by because it’s finals week.  Classes will (mostly) be shorter, which means I’ll have more free time.  At least that’s what will happen in theory.  My guess is that while my classes will be shorter, there will be other things to occupy my time and make me feel like 24 hours in a day are simply not enough.

I feel like such a slouch because I haven’t been able to post much this quarter!  The quarter started off okay.  I was depressed about life stuff, but I still managed the occasional post.  Things devolved quickly, though, as they are wont to do.  I had a goal of at least posting weekly, like I did the first quarter.  You see how that turned out.

Going back over old posts, I noticed that I never mentioned one of my biggest time-sucks!  Two school friends and I bought a space at the Lancaster Farmer’s Market.  We’re there every Saturday (those of you on Facebook have probably seen me mention this), and when the quarter is over, we may be there on Wednesdays too.  It’s kind of slow right now, but as the summer progresses, I’m sure it will pick up.  We’re called Two Chicks and a Dude Pastries.  We just did a graduation party for one of my cousins.  It was a ton of work, but once the table was all set up and looking pretty, I was very pleased with how it all turned out.  Best of all, my aunt was extremely happy with everything, and that’s really all that matters.

The Chicago trip was eventful, though not always in a good way.  There was some drama, mostly surrounding the guy I had been hanging out with from a few posts ago.  I felt like I was making every effort to be inclusive and nice and friendly with everyone.  Apparently, though, my sarcasm was not fully understood by some, and I was seen as thinking I’m better than everyone else.  My reaction was to sob for 2 hours and feel like these people have never actually met me if they think I really believe I’m better than ANYONE.  If anything, I’m overly down on myself and can’t understand why anyone would even want to be around me because I’m only okay.  It was baffling.  We got past that, and things were fun again, but it really ruined that day.  I made some new friends there, as well, which was great.  They are people from school that I’d never really talked to but who were so incredibly sweet to me on that awful day.  All-in-all, I had fun.

The one thing I’ll really be glad to have a break from when this quarter is over is the gossip.  I am very out-going and talk to everyone (you guys know that!).  My friends in the Baking program joke that I’m the prom queen because everyone knows me and wants to talk to me.  It’s the way it was at UMUC, too.  I prefer to say that it’s like I’m the most popular girl at the prom, but my friend E decided prom queen was shorter and funnier.  Lately, my friendliness has been a source of gossip for people at school.  It’s frustrating because I am not doing anything that hurts anyone or that is really anyone’s problem.  The latest rumor is that I’m sleeping with a guy (D) in one of my classes.  D and I talk at school, and we hang out with the same group of people on Tuesday nights after class.  I have had very little interaction with him beyond that, and on Tuesday nights, we don’t really even talk to each other.  (As a side note, this rumor is a false one, but I think D would like it if we could make it a true one.  Eesh.)  It frustrates me.  Apparently, I can’t talk to people without some assumption being made.  It’s just all so junior high.  I’m tired of people feeling like they have some right to know all my business and gossip about things that aren’t true.  But, as one of my chefs said the other day when I was expressing this frustration to him “Fuck ’em.  It’s not their business.”

Today, I’m going shopping with my mom at Easton.  I have some left-over gift card money at Sur la Table from Christmas, and I want to get a bathing suit.  And, maybe she’ll even buy us lunch.  It should be a fun day!  I also have some school work that I need to finish up, but I’m not really worried about it.  Mostly because I’ve reached the point in the quarter where I couldn’t give less of a crap about much of anything and just want this shit to be over.  Though I know I’ll probably not be able to, I’m going to try to post more over the summer.  I am taking classes, and I’m doing the farmer’s market.  I want to fit in some visits around the state of Ohio, and I’m really hoping I can make it to Maryland at some point in the next couple months.  I’m also going to be working for my uncle still, so it probably will be no less busy than the last two quarters.  But, busy is good, especially when I’m trying hard not to think about my divorce and the other life crap that could really bring a girl down if I let it.

–Casey, prom queen of Hocker College