Quarterly update (part 1) – talking about Jessi’s graduation

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. There has been a lot going on and large chunks are things that I’m not especially pleased about. I figured “if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” But it’s been long enough that maybe I can chat about things without sounding too whiny.

In mostly random order, but probably mostly from most recent to further back in time:

  • Tomorrow Justin’s grandma flies back to California. She’s been here since the 20th (two weeks) visiting for Jessi’s graduation from her grad program at SCAD. It’s been absolutely wonderful having her in town, even though we didn’t do much that was terribly interesting. I think she appreciated not having any responsibilities and just sitting around and reading and enjoying the moisture in the air compared to the desert. And we appreciated chatting and hanging out.
  • Wendy flies back to Vermont on Wednesday after her two weeks being here, but she’s been staying with Jessi downtown. I haven’t actually seen her much since she’s been spending time helping Jessi pack up and get through all the “You’re done with school! Now face reality!” things. She brought her Bichon, but I’ve hardly seen him at all.
  • Jessi flies out on Thursday to New York City to an internship at MSNBC for three months or so. It’s exciting and terrifying and we’re all very proud of her and hopeful that this excellent opportunity for her is a jumping off to a lot of great adventures.
  • After the three of them are out of town, we’re just left with Kay still here, but we’re counting down the days until she’s leaving and heading off on her own adventure. (57 days.) And then we’ll finally have the house back to ourselves again and I think that’s the way it’s going to stay for a VERY LONG TIME because I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time, most strongly of all that I NEED MY OWN SPACE. And I have very little patience for people who resent responsibilities. And who have very little concern for other people. And make excuses for absolutely everything. And I could rant on this vein for a while. 57 days, people. Fifty. Seven.
  • Jessi’s graduation was on Saturday in downtown Savannah at the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena. I tried to take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very clearly. But let me show you a few so you can get an idea of what this was like.
View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015
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View from my seat at SCAD commencement 2015

This was the view from where we sat at commencement. The people on the floor there? Those are all the graduates. By my count, there are 20 people on each side of the aisle down there and there are 25 rows of seats. That’s 1000 students graduating, give or take. They had two separate ceremonies after lunch for the actual walking across the stage part so that the parents of graduates only had to sit through half of that group. (The person talking on the screen is SCAD president, Paula Wallace.)

Can you identify this man?
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Can you identify this man?

This was the commencement speaker. Can you name that face? What about if I give him a prop to help?

Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter
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Ladies and gentlemen: John Lasseter

That’s right. The speaker at the commencement was none other than John Lasseter, creator of Pixar. Animating genius behind Toy Story, Cars, Wall-E, Big Hero 6 and many others. He almost made me cry.

At the end, just to show how SCAD likes to end things with style, this is how they closed the event and marched out of the arena.

Going out with a bang!
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Going out with a bang!

That’s confetti that’s been blown out of cannons at ceiling height. And a drum line at the front of the room. And in the middle of all that, there are AERIALISTS.

AEIRALISTS
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AERIALISTS

Yeah. Seriously. Aerialists. And dozens of white beach balls. Art school, ya’ll. Go figure.

I don’t have any pictures from the other half of the ceremony because my camera just couldn’t handle the level of light and how far away we were sitting to get anything remotely good. But Jessi made it across the stage with excellent poise and as soon as they get around to mailing it to her, she’ll hold her masters degree in Motion Media or something like that.

Now any of you who know me kinda well are looking at those pictures and noticing that there’s a HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT SPACE. Yeah. Let me tell you, I started freaking out about going into that arena about a week before we got there. It wasn’t fun. We had to rush in with the crowd to try to get a good seat, which meant getting right into the press of things and I do not handle that well. Justin got in front of me to lead the way. When we got up the first set of stairs and into the actual building, we then had to make it through the smaller set of doors into the actual arena. And that was when I really started having trouble because I went from being outside to being in a dark, enclosed space with lots of people all around me, all talking loud, with loud music playing over it, and everybody’s pushing forward. I tried really hard to hold it together, looking up at the ceiling and breathing deeply and trying to visualize a happy place while also visualizing me successfully making it up the steps and to my seat, but I just couldn’t quite do it and the tears did start to fall. I probably got some weird looks from people, this blonde white chick staring at the ceiling and crying, but Justin got me through the crowd and to my seat, which was right next to the rail by a stairway (I love that railing with a love that I’ve never had for railings before) and I was able to sit there with my headphones on for a while, listening to podcasts on my phone until the commencement started.

The second event wasn’t quite as crowded and because I’d already gone through it once, it was easier to go in the second time. It still wasn’t great, but I managed it without completely melting down. When we got home much later in the evening, after going out for celebratory dinner with Jessi, I shut myself into the bedroom and listened to classical piano music and read for TWO HOURS before I could handle being around people again. Any people.

It was a rough day. But exciting.

I’ve hit about 1100 words so I think I’ll break this up into parts. I still haven’t talked about my mammogram or the table behind the sofa we made with Mom and Dad. I’m sure there’s other stuff, too. So I’ll break here and put up another one soon.

Stuff & Things

“Stuff & things” is a pretty general answer to the “What have you been up to?” question. In this case, it covers quite a lot.

  • I worked 57 hours this week to try to get a project put together for Monday that I didn’t know was due Monday until Wednesday. And I’m not entirely finished, mostly because I need input from one of my coworkers who said he saved a file but I couldn’t find it and he was out of the office.
  • I got my permanent crown put on my back tooth and it went just fine. While I was there, I asked them to check on my filling, which they’d replaced a week before that, because I couldn’t floss between a couple teeth and it was hurting a lot and rubbing oddly. The rubbing was apparently what was causing the pain and the flossing problem was a bit of the sealant stuck in between my teeth. Now that the filling has been smoothed down a bit, everything feels just fine. And I can floss normally. Interestingly, to me, my new filling is the same color as my teeth, so even though I had all this work done to my teeth, they don’t look any different. In fact, they look better, because the silver filling is gone. It’s also textured like my teeth, instead of mostly flat like it was before. My teeth feel different to my tongue, but they look normal. It’s a little odd.
  • Justin and I are working on running again. I can run 20 minutes solid, but most days, I’m following the Couch to 5k program on my phone. I can run a mile in that 20 minutes, thankfully, but I’m not entirely sure how much further. And the scale is not showing much progress for me losing weight, but I haven’t been tracking my food much, so I’m not entirely surprised. Mostly, it feels good to be able to run at least a little bit again.
  • Spring has officially blossomed all over everything. There are boxes of tissues all over the house, and the trash cans are overflowing with crumpled up discards. I’ve given up on trying to wear my contacts for a while. I’ve gave upon makeup the last couple days, too, since I just rubbed it all off by the end of the day Thursday. We finally broke down and picked up a box of generic Claritin yesterday. Justin is feeling better today, but he hasn’t stepped outside of the house yet today, either. He refuses, on the basis that “there’s pollen out there.” Our street and the apartment complex are completely surrounded by pine trees. I hate pine trees.
  • On Fridays, we’ve been taking our running clothes when we head up to Bluffton for our chiropractic appointments and heading out to the beach to go running before we head home. It makes for a nice change of pace than running around the pond behind our building (0.2 mile each loop) and it’s a nice surface for running on. The added wonderful bonus is that there’s pretty much guaranteed to be wind blowing in off the water, meaning it’s blowing in fresh, clear air from the ocean and there’s not any pollen from all the dreadful trees. It’s quickly becoming a highlight of my week. Once it gets more busy at the beach, and the pollen settles back down, we’ll probably swap to running on a trail in the woods that we used to go running on when we lived in town.
  • This past Friday, it started raining heavily when we were running on the beach. It had been going really well up until then, but I don’t like running in the rain because I don’t like getting water in my eyes (I’d have been better if I’d brought my hat) and I don’t like getting chilled, and it was a chilly rain. And, weirdly, as soon as the rain started, Justin’s allergies kicked up. So we headed back home, and got stuck in traffic when a crash on the only bridge off the island reduced progress to a single lane during the home-going rush. It took us an hour to go what should have taken us 15 minutes.
  • I have not made any progress on the craft I want to make for the kids, for a variety of reasons, none of which are terribly good. I hope to have them done before Mom & Dad get here, though, so they can deliver them when they drive around. Of course, we’ll have to mail the ones to the TN Fritz kids.
  • I’m excited for Mom & Dad to visit! I have to figure out if there’s anything exciting happening in town that day.
  • Tomorrow is our seven year anniversary. We have no idea what we’d like to do to celebrate.
  • We finally bought the part that’s been missing from the bread maker for about 2 years. The little paddle attachment at the bottom got tossed out with a bad loaf of bread. Turns out, they’re only about $10 on Amazon. We’ve had a lot of bread in the last couple weeks. Deliciousness! And since our grocery budget is having to stretch pretty thin, it’s been a cheap way to do some meals.
  • I’ve donated platelets three times now and I’m scheduled to back again on April 18th. It turns out my platelets count is very high and they love having me come in. This last time, I asked to do whole blood at the end, since I’m O neg, and they actually said no. That they’d rather I just do platelets, since my count is so high and I can come in more frequently if I don’t do whole blood. They said they have enough people coming in to donate blood, but not enough for platelets.
  • I actually got an email from the Red Cross regarding my donation on the 27th of February saying that after finding out that there was enough supply locally, my donation was sent up to hospitals in Atlanta. I thought it was cool that they let me know that it had been sent out.
  • After my last donation, last Saturday (21 March), I ended up sleeping most of the day after getting home. It’s not the same type of tired after donating whole blood, but apparently I needed some sleep afterward. I felt fine the next day. As long as that’s the only side effect I get, and my platelets count doesn’t go down below 300k/mcL or something, I’ll keep doing platelets every three weeks or so.
  • There’s a Tractor Supply Co. on our way into Bluffon that opened a few months ago, I think. It’s like a smaller Farm ‘n’ Fleet, if I remember correctly — it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Farm ‘n’ Fleet. I’d heard that they had inexpensive rain boots and I wanted to check if I could find some that were either ankle-high or wide enough to fit over my calves. (Did I ever tell the story about getting stuck in a garden boot at Lowe’s?) They didn’t end up having any that fit great and were in our price range, but they did have a lot of fun other things that reminded us, once again, that we really wish we were country-living folk instead of apartment dwellers. They had a lot of tools and some cute shirts and things. And then they also had chicks. And baby ducks. And Justin just stood there by the ducks while I wandered around the store. It was like when he took me to the San Diego Safari Park and left me at the elephants for a while. Happiest I’ve seen him in ages.

I should go get dinner started. I’ve babbled on enough to make you all bored, I’m sure. :) Justin and Kay are both on their computers, playing games online with people, but not each other. I’m the only true introvert in the house and I’m waiting for my Nook to charge up enough that I can keep on reading everything ever written by Robert Asprin — I’m on book 12 of the M.Y.T.H. Inc. series. But they’re only about 100 – 150 pages each, so that isn’t much of an accomplishment, really.

And I’m babbling again instead of making rice. And dinner’s getting later and later. Time to go! Have a great day!

Our new roommate

I’ve been quiet for almost 2 1/2 weeks because there was a LOT going on and I didn’t have the energy to write about it. But tonight I’ve got some time so I’m going to try to catch up on some of that.

The primary news is that we are continuing the long tradition in our family of helping out people in need. A friend of ours was in a bad situation in Indiana and needed a way out. So Justin drove up there a few days before the 14th and collected her. We’ve worked it out with the apartment complex and she’s living in the other bedroom in our apartment for a little while, until she can get back up on her feet. I’m not going to go into what Kay’s story is because it’s her story and she’s very private about it. She’s also not fond of having her picture taken, so you might not ever see a photo of her. But she’s moved in here now, with the few things she brought with her from Indiana, and feeling so much relieved that for a few days there, she’d just start laughing or crying, just because she was so relieved to be out from where she had been living.

So we’re all getting used to having each other as roommates. Learning just how much water that water heater can hold. Taking turns making dinner because she also really loves to cook. Learning how we handle different emotions spilling over.

We shuffled all the furniture around in the house so she’d have a bedroom for herself. Our bed went into what had been the office. The office moved to the dining room and the living room, the dining room table actually went into Kay’s room for a while because one of the things she did manage to bring was an enormous computer and 2 monitors, but since we didn’t have an extra desk or, really, space to set up the dining room table, that’s currently living as her desk. We’ve been eating dinner around the coffee table in the living room.

So it’s taking some adjusting, for all of us. But she desperately needed somewhere to go, and we had space. She has the freedom to consider even having a future again, and we’re happy to help her get there.

And that’s the biggest thing that’s been happening! I’ll write more again soon.