30 December 2008

Today, in Tech News at 8

new MacBook is here
VMware Fusion is here
Windows XP is here
Office 2007 for Windows is here

and finally

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 is here, with a terribly ill-fitting headset I'm wearing around my neck

oh, and a new printer, wireless.

more non-tech news later.

20 December 2008

Oh Friends

Friends, if you be true friends, do not let me ever, ever publish something with a title (or a chapter title or even an a-head) with those witty parentheticals inside a word, e.g., Trans(per)forming.

Also, I do not want to take the GRE Subject Test in Literature. And so I am not.

Also, where is my MacBook? Our new printer got here first. None of this would be possible without an incredibly generous friend, and I thank him ... and the printer was $35. And is wireless. And prints photos and has five ink tanks. Wowzer. Our current printer goes to the curb or the craiglist.

When did I decide to apply to grad school? A month ago? Maybe that is why I am behind and buying books with expedited shipping rather than wait for the interlibrary loan folks to do their thing, via Noah's library card. Today I found a receipt for a lot of money that I gave to UIUC after I graduated, which makes me think I do NOT owe them several hundred dollars, though perhaps speaking with them will clarify that further.

How many schools to apply to? Why? One in NYC, one in Atlanta, one in Nashville, one in Seattle, one in Pullman, WA, and the list stops there so far. The NYC might not keep my interest; they have some weird no-MA-offered thing but let you get it through another college nearby, and I'm sure it's less complicated in person, but it seems crazy from far away. Looked into U of Oregon and Oregon State, and one requires the Lit test and one sounds really, really lame and only offers an MA.

Do I really have to take coursework? I guess I do. I can maybe transfer two classes. Could have been three if I had stayed in Cary's Modern American Poetry, but honestly, auditing that was so much better than really taking it.

I just keep thinking ... is this it? Professor? Comp studies, creative writing pedagogy, trauma studies, et al et al? It has seemed like it could turn out this way since I was in high school; I just thought then that it would go faster. I don't remember why I decided to go for an MFA anymore; does that scare anyone else? I remember ... having written a lot of stuff and being really encouraged by faculty ... and thinking it sounded more job-ready than an art degree. I guess I'd stopped thinking about lit in the same way. But oh, how all the rivers flow into each other.

I keep looking at satellite images of Seattle and thinking about floods. But apparently, bays and sounds don't flood like deltas do. And Seattle doesn't seem to be a major watershed. All this makes me feel very Midwestern but specifically of Saint Louis and its flood plains.

Friends, again, if you be true, don't let me use air quotes.

16 December 2008

Renaming this blog to ... Sick = Sick = Sick

My last occupational therapy appointment was Dec. 4. I have another EMG/nerve conduction test scheduled in Springfield, 90 miles away, on January 19. They hurt, no matter what the literature says about 'mild discomfort,' and I do not enjoy being told to relax when I can't ... the test shoots electricity through your nerves to see how well they conduct, and it buzzes if there's muscle tension. Yet doesn't the prospect of electric shock encourage muscle tension? Yes.

Anyway, EMG on 1/19, give the doctor two weeks to finish his report, give the worker's comp claims worker two weeks to get back to me with a more final say on the claim, so maybe in late February I'll be treated again.

I am so angry.

And keep in mind that occ therapy = pain relief for me, things like ultrasound which is magical, massage which is magical, the world's best moist heat wrap things ... I'm taking way more ibuprofen now than I was pre-Dec. 4. And ibuprofen scares me; I think I was taking way too much in middle school and high school and that it freaked out my kidneys. The kidneys seem okay now, though. I worry anyway. I like my kidneys to function.

So I am not being a maker so much these days. I'm beading a necklace for someone, I'm weaving in ends of knitted socks for someone, but mostly I'm wishing I was knitting. I really miss knitting. It hurts to hold books up for too long. And to hold heavy drinks.

So maybe I am better than I was, but not really better. More in a super funk. And maybe deciding to make risotto tonight was a bad idea, as it involved the chopping of onion and kale, the zesting of a lemon, the shredding of Parmesan. And stirring of broth into rice as it released its starch.

And I am ANGRY about the reasons I am injured, ANGRY about the medical expenses still unpaid and my work hours missed due to medical restrictions remaining uncompensated, ANGRY that the only time I've been warm today is now, sitting inside my down mummy bag, with the hood over my head and the zipper closed to my waist, flapped open for arms-out typing.

Angry yes. Angry angry. Sick = sick = sick = angry.

14 December 2008

quick posts again

Christine is ...

*glad to hear Deutsch is en route to San Diego

*wearing splints again, under my own orders

*getting weird pain that wasn't there before, or at least not prominent, and was aggravated today by carrying a plate full of brunch food

*sad that her meat-free brunch food was too heavy for her to carry ...

*probably buying a new MacBook on Tuesday, then VMWare Fusion, then Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, and hoping that the combination works well enough for the kind of writer and editor I am/she is

*hating facebook's grammar quandries

*thinking, focus on the dissertation and screw everything else, or at least, is trying to use the fact that she's thought about grad school a lot to her advantage

*silently crying at the prospect of more grad school, a little bit, and is gearing up retaliation now: bring on the affirmations, preferably in post-it note form

*going to stop typing now

09 December 2008

NYT and me

The New York Times is me:
* watching TV online, though I don't mind the threat of "getting busted" and use surfthechannel.com
* writers with hurting hands who can't leave their Macs

* people who like sorbet, but Bittman's sounds kind of lame and I'd rather use my ice cream maker
* people who should think about buying a house, but hopefully in a place where homes are a) affordable and b) not projected to plummet in value by 2012

What else is up? Work is lame but today I learned something and reminisced with a former boss about how hard my first year has been there, in terms of projects; I will come out better financially next year in regards to health insurance if I spend a lot of money on my health quickly, in a meet-the-deductible-and-get-partially-reimbursed scheme that isn't so scheme-y; I am cold and slowly convincing Noah we should own a down comforter, as he has stolen! my! down sleeping bag!

And I called it a good, healthy dinner night yesterday when we had a garlic shrimp pasta frozen skillet meal and a spinach/apple/gorgonzola/balsamic vinaigrette salad.

04 December 2008

What's with all this llama drama?

Ongoing drama: In August I start feeling a deep ache in both thumbs, then intense burning pain in my palms and soreness, burning, tingling, and aching from the elbows down, though the pain in my palms distracts me from everything else and interrupts my sleep. I see my doctor, she says "it's carpal tunnel; here are splints," and before I quite know what I'm doing, I file a worker's compensation claim. (I type a lot at work. And otherwise literally do the same thing over and over.) The first claims worker from the worker's comp insurance company never speaks to me, doesn't return calls, and my company's HR folks ask that he go away and someone else take over. Someone else does; she calls me and is helpful, if a bit brisk and odd--a strange interaction not entirely unexpected, given the situation. There are literally thousands of dollars at stake. Meanwhile I wear one set of splints, I see another doctor, and I undergo a nerve conduction test and have no nerve damage or compression to be found, nixing the carpal tunnel diagnosis and leaving me with "lots of tendinitis." I take a prescription pain reliever twice, react to it with chest tightness and throat tightness, go to the ER and OccMed and the ER again, only for it all to pass with the six hours I spend waiting at the hospital, no epi pens at all. I see a new doctor, I start going to occupational therapy, I get new splints, and these kind folks say, oh my, your elbows are awful too, and your shoulders and neck, and did you know you're hypermobile? (I'm hypermobile. It's like double-jointedness but not; for me, it's more like my ligaments don't know how to hold my joints in place, and it makes stretching difficult because I can stretch forever and then I hurt myself.) Now I do lots of stretches and they are all awesome. I am showing my joints and soft tissue what is what. I am wearing splits for wrists and elbows every night, I am on lots of ibuprofen all the time, and the worker's compensation claim is still not finalized. They send me off for a second opinion, an IME. That doctor says, it's work-related, but I don't know what it is; have another nerve conduction test. The claims worker says, I'm not approving any more occupational therapy until we're sure of what it is. I say, folks, it's been three months, I'm getting better, and of course my symptoms are weirder now--half of them are gone. But if this is what it takes, I will do it. Meanwhile I am still working, at first still full days and full computer use, now six-hour days and one hour of computer use a day, now "advancing as tolerated" though I am bad at anticipating what I can't tolerate.

And grad school apps, and freelance clients, and work, and now probably a new computer and voice recognition software at home, and a couple really great flax-filled heating packs. The llama drama is from someone else's child, I don't remember whose, who was apparently involved with drama and llamas. The high today was 27.

Why trauma theory? It's incredibly complex, and I like complex things. "To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric" (Adorno, Cultural Criticism and Society). "Perennial suffering has as much right to expression as a tortured man has to scream; hence it may have been wrong to say that after Auschwitz you could no longer write poems. But it is not wrong to raise the less cultural question whether after Auschwitz you can go on living ..." (Adorno, Meditations on Metaphysics). "Learn to think with pain. ... Where is there the least power? In speech, or in writing? When I live, or when I die? Or again, when dying doesn't let me die?" (Blanchot).

I feel like I read someone saying "death is no longer sacred," but maybe it was just something Cary repeated in Holocaust Poetry often.

And I like things to be as complex as possible, or else there are no stakes, and why do anything with no stakes.