I got a birthday present today! I’m gleeful. Third World sent me a present for my birthday, but it got turned back at the border the first time. So, instead of saying “Hard Times, girlie.” (as most people will do when an international parcel gets sent back), she sent it again! So now I have two new DVDs (X-men and Sahara) and a stuffed puppydog with an adorable, no other word for it, pleading expression.
Several things of note have happened since I last posted. My brother PT was home for the weekend, which was lovely. We watched Stranger than Fiction, which I would watch again, and Nacho Libre, which I wouldn’t. 😀 No, it wasn’t that bad, just, not my cuppa tea. The American version of “humiliate the main character” humour is not something I find funny most of the time. I say American, because I find Fawlty Towers hilarious, and Chef (the first episodes), and that humour is not the gentle kind, I’m afraid. Anyhow, I also loved the special effect at the beginning of STF, where Harold’s life is being narrated, and white explanatory symbols keep popping up while he does things. Hmmm, that was a stunningly bad description. If you’ve seen it, hopefully you’ll know what I’m talking about.
So that was the weekend. Then on Sunday Mommy and Daddy and Gideon went to St. John’s for Gideon’s assessment. If the drug was working, they would continue treatment, and be back on Saturday. However, they came back on Monday evening. The drug wasn’t working. It was the last treatment option. So as soon as they came through the front door, I knew what had happened. It’s funny. This doesn’t come as a surprise, but it still hits very hard. The world feels curiously unreal, so that I’m not quite sure how people and things will react this time. I suppose that is from the fact that some people do react differently to me, and also since death is such an incomprehensible thing. What was that quote? “Death is an insult to life. We rage against the cessation of existence.” So when it is obviously inevitable, and previously known, the foundations which direct your actions are shaken ever so slightly.
My mind has been working constantly since Monday evening. It’s as though I have about four levels of thought going on at any one time, and as soon as one is resolved I fall through into another one. Yes, if there was any doubt about how I react to emotion, it’s rapidly disappearing. I analyze. Given that I’m also rather tired from work, I don’t necessarily analyze very efficiently, but still I pull apart my reactions and look at them from new angles all day.
Its interesting. From my past experiences, some things which would really freak out other people I can view completely sanguine. For example, I can look at the spectre of living without hot water, or lights, or an oven, without undue distress. I mean, I would grumble, but still, I know it’s perfectly doable. If my dad was to say tomorrow that we were moving across the country, or out of the county, next week, I would be excited and looking forward to the new place. This is probably due to the fact that I had my first cross-continental move at 6 weeks of age, and my first intercontinental move when I was two. By my family always came along. Even when I moved out on my own I knew what was happening at home to an extant.
But the death of a family member is something completely outside of my experience, and it’s weird. You have to keep living, without them. WEIRD. The doctors say that we won’t have him for Christmas. He won’t see his fifth birthday. Not learn to read. Not have kids. Not be taller than me. Not… Oh my. But the Doctors have also said that they will give him the finest drugs out there, and it won’t be painful for him. Not everyone is so lucky, I suppose. I do believe that God has this ordained. Gideon’s cancer did not take place because God looked away for a moment, or Satan won the coin toss. It was planned, and Gideon has lived and will live the exact life that was laid out for him. And he has a happy life, despite the needles and procedures. He’s a lovely cheerful boy, though I won’t get to introduce him to my classmates, I guess. I’m rambling. 😀 no good to hover in that line of thought. Okay.
Anyhow, one of the things that has changed in the plans is that Gideon’s Wish is taking place at the end of this month. He wants to ride Snot Rod, from cars, so we’ll probably go to Disney World. The details are being finalised today, actually. I was voting for Disneyland, in the hope that I could meet up with Third World somewhere, (It’s only a 13 hour drive. NOTHING! :D) but it appears that my devious plots will not come to fruition. I guess, since it’s supposed to be family thing, I shouldn’t go gallivanting off to meet my friends, but come on! It’s THIRD WORLD! 😀
Oh, one more thing before I go. As we’ll be going out of country for the wish, we all have to have current passports. So we’ve been filling out forms madly, and on Tuesday we went into Gander to have out pictures taken. On the way out of town, my carload received a phone call from Daddy. The photographer at Wal-mart had just called, and we weren’t allowed to wear white, black, or sleeveless shirts for our picture. (No one knows why…) This is where things started going pear shaped, since I was wearing a white shirt.
Once we get to Wal-mart, the photographer lady informs us that my shirt is indeed white, not cream, as I was hoping, and I would have to find another shirt. Cue me descending on the markdown racks. I grab five shirts whose colours I like, and dash off to the changing rooms. Of the five summer shirts, four were cut low enough, that, let’s just say that they were showing skin that never sees the light of day. Just basic summer tops, too. Odd. But the fifth was decent, and it had some kind of strange ribbing on the shoulder and neck. I looked at it and thought it looks kind of deviantart-ish. Sea nymph webbing style. I’ll take it! And yes, most of the clothing I own that I really like was chosen for its character inspiration qualities. For example, I am currently wearing my assassin shirt. 😀 But Fraulein said that it looks medieval, and nice, so fear not!
I buy the shirt, and arrive at the photographer, after quick-changing in the bathroom. I sit down on the stool, and the photographer starts to have a hard time getting the camera to work. She, with a grin, says that the camera just doesn’t like me. I grin in response, and the picture is finally taken. On the way back in the car, Mommy and I realise that she spoke truth in more ways than one. That was a BAD picture. Incredibly bad. I mean, I never need fear that I will look worse that my passport photo. I could be totally hungover and I’ll still look fresh and alert next to that picture. It takes bad to a whole new level. The nice new shirt is hardly visible, and every trick of the light works against me to open up a new realm of awful.
Oh, you say, it can’t be that bad.
I look like a sleazy drug addict. Greasy stringy hair; check. Unsteady posture; check. Glazed eyes that don’t quite line up; check. (I had to take off my glasses, and couldn’t really see the camera.) Nasty molestache; check. Unnatural pallor; check. Bad skin; check. Shadows under the eyes; check.
This is not a good photo.
And I live with it for five years…
Wow, the days are really just whirring by. What has happened since I last posted? Hmm…
First order of priority, which colours all the other news, is the fact that I successfully pulled off a 67 hour work-week. *pats self on back* Only.. seven more of those to go… 😛 It was good though. My nearing total lack of a “life” makes it relatively easy to spend most of my waking hours at work, since I’m not taking away from anything to do so. 😀
I got to call Third World on Friday night/Saturday morning, which was super jolly. 😀 Given that it was after midnight when I called, and I had already worked an 8 hour McDay, I don’t think it was the most intelligent conversation on my part, but it was lovely to hear her voice again. *grins*
Then Saturday night Fraulein and I watched How She Move after I got home in the evening. It was a very fun movie, and I think rather better than the other heartwarming-tale-of-a-dancer-who-struggles-to-escape-the-ghetto movies I’ve come across. The people reacted more realistically, the set-up was not really far-fetched, and the characters said believable things. Yeah, on the topic of “saying,” there were definitely language issues. But in traditional fashion, I didn’t really notice until I was repeating the dialogue in my head. “Hmmm, I shan’t be repeating that one- or that line- or that line- nor that one either. Hmmmm…” Yes, it was fun.
Then on Sunday, we all watched Nancy Drew. The movie had been the catalyst for the movie watching of Fraulein and I the previous night, since, if they were going to have a special movie, we needed one too! *cough* And, since we weren’t doing anything special, we watched it as well! I know, we’re bad. 😀 It was a fun movie, though I personally wouldn’t watch it again. The characters were somewhat- how shall we say- shallow. Best part? Nancy performs an emergency tracheotomy on an anaphylactic party-goer. (Am I serious? You’ll have to see the movie to verify.) This was the first almost-grown-up movie for the small ones, due to the tense music and made-you-jump cuts, and they were very seriously excited about it. I overheard them talking about it the day after, debating whether Nancy was smarter, or the bad guys were. One was arguing that Nancy was smarter, since she escaped in the end, while her debating and dish washing partner was arguing that the bad guys were smarter, since she didn’t know what was going on until they caught her.
My, but I have cute siblings.
Mommy and Gid came through McDonalds for ice cream on Monday, almost simultaneously as Fraulein and the Small Ones came through the Drive through for Ice Cream, (it was a hot day), and I was struck by that fact again. Gid’s eyes are so huge, and he was dancing around a little in anticipation of his ice cream cone. Not CUTE!
Oh, and on Sunday I was feeling rather tired, so I decided to curl up with a cup of coffee and some cozy books. And what cozy books did I choose? The Wild Children, about displaced children in Russia during Stalin’s ascent to power, and Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
Wild Children was good, and I’ll probably read it again. Animal Farm, however, was whole nother kettle of fish. “It was nasty. I loved it.” I really surprised myself with how much I loved it. It was just so balanced! And yes, I know that made no sense to anyone… Anyhow, I started to read 1984 last year, and I had to stop. I found it too hopeless and nasty. This time, however, I loved Mr. Orwell’s work. *shrugs* What’re ya gonna do?
Mommy and Daddy and Gid returned from St. John’s, and a course of Gid’s new chemo drug, on Sunday evening. They’re going to be back for a week, Lord willing, which is extremely reassuring.
That’s most of what has actually been happening lately, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, since both my jobs are not exactly highly intellectual. You engage anywhere from 50% to 5% of your brain, and the remainder goes into hiding. Anyhow, the main tidbit which the remainder of my brain has been chewing on has been- a wedding announcement. In fact, the wedding announcement of an OLD friend. How old? We played with caterpillars together when we were both three, in Germany. Our families hung out, and since we were only 6 months different in age, in the logic of our age group, it was decided that we were going to be married when we were really old, like 13 or something. Then, as we grew older, (try age 8) we both realized that more is required for marriage than close ages. Anyhow, I’d barely heard of him for years, though our parents remained in contact. Then our family receives a wedding invitation to this guy’s upcoming wedding.
(Remember, he was only six months older than me.) So, my first thought, when we received the little slip of embossed plastic, ribbon and paper, was “it has begun.” At college, several of the other students, at age 22, had talked about how most of their contemporaries are marrying off and/or having children (both with and without marriage as a prerequisite), so I heralded this guy as a front runner. An early front runner, I suppose, since he was only six months older than me.Wait a second; that really does seem awfully young, you know… Especially since the average age for marriage around here is, um, 26. There seems to be a discrepancy here. I’m sure that the others said that their cohorts were pairing off in the eyes of God and Man at age 22 and 24. 24 being late. But around here, 24 is positively early to get married. I mean, you’re not even done with you Masters, and if it took you a while to decide on your major you might not even be done with your Bachelors.
Slowly, light dawns. Oh, this is a cultural thing. Hmm, so marriage age is cultural, even within Western civilization. What are some other things that are cultural? I muse over the fry vats. Well, alcohol, to drink or not to drink, is certainly cultural within Christendom. Around here, if you’re a Christian, you just don’t drink, while to some of my classmates from the mainland, staunch Christians all, underage drinking is “no big deal,” so long as you don’t overindulge. And whether you download music with payment or no is cultural, and whether your church has evening services, and whether you date or court, and whether you sit in close physical proximity to guys- or any other people- or not, and whether you hug your family often or not, and whether you read fantasy or not, and whether you call your parents by their first names… etc, etc, ad nausem.
So, this is where I tear out my hair, and cry, “Everything’s cultural! There is no “one true way!” There is no truth!” Right? That’s what one is supposed to do at this point in one’s ruminations? Right?
Um, no. (Thank you, Professor Tingley and Alistair MacIntyre.) Repeat after me, class, “The jump to point three of post-modernism is insufficiently supported. Cultural differences are all different ways of striving for the same goals. Peace, harmony, fidelity… Because different cultures define modesty different ways does not mean that there is no such thing as modesty.”
But, it does mean that you have to think about, um, EVERYTHING. You can’t take anything for granted, since, after all, it’s a cultural norm, not necessarily absolute truth. It may in all actuality be absolute truth, (thou shall not kill? Yep, that one doesn’t need much thought), but you can’t assume that the way things are done is the right way to do them, simply since that’s the way they are done. You have to weigh them against the way things are done in other places, and most of all against the bible. (I’m not sure if that made any sense to anyone, or if I seem to be advocating heresy, but I’ll try to explain it if needed.) Nice, a very interesting thing to think on. But it does make for a lot of thinking!
And the other thing the wedding announcement made me thing on- (oh yes, there is more. 😀 This is what happens when I don’t get on the computer for almost three days. And don’t try and follow my jump from the invitation to the following thoughts. You’ll strain your brain.)- was one of the founding and motivating principles of our present society. I am referring to the truism;
You can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.
This is, of course, a lie.
Strong words! What do I have to support this accusation? Well; what is necessary to accomplish something?
- Money (everything needs some)
- Time (again, every accomplishment needs some, even if it’s just 30 seconds)
- Opportunity (as in, I am not banned from said activity by law or ironclad custom.)
- Inclination (I need to want it)
- Ability (I need to be able to do it, by virtue of my God-given gifts and talents)
That seems to cover it. The problem is that all of these things are finite and limited. For example;
- I do not have either the time, money, inclination or ability to be a quantum physicist. I have the opportunity, but it is still something that I am not going to accomplish, so far as I can see.
- I may have the time, money, opportunity and ability to pierce my ears in the bathroom with a needle, or shave my head in the kitchen with a knife, but I do not have the inclination. That is something that I am most likely not going to accomplish.
- I may have the inclination, opportunity, money, and ability to write a novel this summer, but I do not have the time. Not a probable accomplishment.
Why is this important? Because, for most of us, the accomplishments our inclinations and even our abilities lure us towards outweigh the time and money we can invest in them. It’s the eternal quandary; when we have money, we don’t have time, and when we have time, we don’t have money. It’s one of the less fun things of becoming an adult; realizing that we can’t do it all. It is fairly easy, in retrospect, to accept that those things that lie outside our abilities are most likely not going to be accomplished. Planing to win an Oscar for my acting abilities is not the best idea, given my stunning lack of acting abilities. 😀 Once you learn to look realistically at what you can and not do, you can line off a whole host of accomplishments with a minimum of suffering. (It is hard to learn to look, but that’s just growing-up 101.)
However, it’s harder when you look at your short list, and realize that there is still not enough time in life to fit it all in. Much less money. I want to travel, learn languages, learn, have a family, write, and manage to eat while I’m doing so. Eating, as we all know, requires money, which requires time, which cuts down on time for “fun” things. So, some things have to fall by the wayside, as certain accomplishments take precedent overs.
I think I’ve seen this in the lives of adults I admire. For heaven’s sake, I’ve seen my own parents give up an awful lot for the sake of their family. They put that “accomplishment” over top of things like “a thriving career,” “money,” “travel and vacation time,” even “social standing.” I know for a fact that they were offered opportunities that a lot of people would have taken without a second glance, and they put them on the side for the sake of a passel of unruly children, and their own relationship with each other.
So, as I try and weigh the things I have opportunity to do, as I acquire the necessary money and time, and whether I actually have the inclination and ability to accomplish said things, I have some very good examples close to hand!
Another Alumnus, a certain Matt, came by for Breakfast today. Alison, who’s from the same year that he attended, came as well, and much hilarity ensued. I decided that I needed to work on improving my memory, and so I took note of the following quotes in honour of Moon Unit and Third World. *weeps*
Alison: (talking about Emily’s egg puffs) They’re cool cause they’re just the kind of thing you can bring in the car in the morning. Kinda hot and greasy though.
Matt: (in a high pitched voice) Like me!
Alison: Were you talking for me or you there?
Matt: Draw your own conclusions
Alison: Have you seen “Sweet Home Alabama?”
Matt: Do I look like a girl? No-
Me: You’re wearing pink.
Emily: (Talking about a boy’s really flowery prose style) It’s like his writing’s in drag!
Emily: Man, that Chaucer looks bubonic!
Matt: You’re making it your objective to destroy every ounce of propriety I have, aren’t you.
Emily: No, we know you don’t actually have any. We’re just tearing down the artifice.
Matt: (after Alison made a face at him) Excellent rebuttal.
Then after they left I went for a walk in the rain. Just in case that sounds really morbid, I hasten to say that I like rain, honestly! I think I’m getting my walking skills back, because I was able to go quite a distance. I headed up to Parliament, as per my brother PT’s advice, but unfortunately you had to pay for a tour, and I was really not in the mood to wander around alone. So I took the long way home, stopping in at Zellers to buy a wicked hat. It was half price, and actually fits me! (it’s a black pinstriped fedora, and now I will say no more about it. )
As I think I mentioned before, it’s raining. I have also heard that it is supposed to snow tomorrow. At this point, I actually find that hilarious. However, I really think that, given my druthers, I would prefer to be stuck in actually in transit, not just stalled before even getting on the plane, as happened over Christmas. Hopefully I at least get off the ground tomorrow.
I was running through the pictures on my camera before I went out, deleting the bad ones, and I found a bunch of shots I had taken on Saturday. I made a total nuisance of myself that morning in my constant firing away of pictures, but I got some good shots. Really, it’s just cause they are of my lovely former house mates that I love them. I had somehow forgotten that those pics were in the memory card, and I came a hair’s breadth away from bawling over my camera.
I’ve only actually cried the once since people started leaving- I don’t cry easily- but there is a pain in my chest, and I find it hard to breath when thinking of several of my classmates. Lamd, Swinger (also know as the Pun master :), Moon Unit, and Third World, I miss you. Enjoy yourself, you hear? And maybe I’ll get shunted out your way while traveling. You never know! I’m packing my passport, just in case. 😀
The graduation! Third World’s parents came over and drove her, Moon Unit, and Myself over to the church at 3. Unfortunately, no one had sent out any kind of information email, so none of the students really knew quite what was going on. We were directed to put on our awesome robes, so we did, and then we went outside, and progressed up the aisle of the church, all in typical Augustine “act like you know what you’re doing and maybe no one will notice that your shoes don’t match” style. Then, as is traditional for graduation ceremonies, I hear, there were speeches, by Dr. Tingley and Texas in our case, and the presentation of certificates. It was my first graduation ceremony I’ve been in or attended, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I think it was good. Moon Unit said we looked like a murder of crows, which was jolly.
Then we had an excellent dinner, and chatted away. None of my family was able to make it, so I sat with Third World’s family, which was also jolly. Come to think of it, my family would have taken up two tables all to ourselves, and there was NO room for more tables in that hall. Everything works out for some good! So, we chatted for, well, three hours. There were people, (mainly professors,) making the rounds of the hall and talking to each of the tables. The professors especially were saying really nice things about all the students.
All through the evening, there were good-byes going on. It tended to give the evening a rather surreal quality, at least for me. I tend to not really process the fact that I won’t see certain people again. Instead, I just enter an artificial state where I smile a lot, and am emotionally neutral. This was helped by the fact that a lot of people looked different, all dressed up. Moon Unit had her hair up, and Third World had her hair down and straight. I kept not recognizing them in my peripheral vision, and then belatedly realizing that it was my friends who were sitting and standing there.
Anyhow, after the meal was over, we went out and sang Karaoke. This had been decided upon by the elders of the class, and they were able to say, “everyone is coming, and it’s the last night!” Everyone came, and everyone, pretty much, sang. Though, some people, (us), had faulty directions and were looking on the wrong side of the street for a while. But we all go there in the end! Moon Unit sang Janis Joplin, and Third World sang Nickleback, and I, fool that I am, sang Train. Yes, I sang. *cringes at the memory* I have been told that I was on beat and on pitch, though, which retains for me the last vestiges of my dignity. And before you ask, I had drunk only root beer. 😀
It was just the last night, and only my classmates were paying attention… I have decided that I am not a fan of bars. It was noisy, and there were people drinking alcohol, (fancy that), and people I didn’t know getting awfully cuddly. *shudders* My personal dislike of bars aside, it was a fun event. And, it was so noisy and impersonal that we couldn’t get too maudlin about parting, which was a plus.
Third World’s parents, who are lovely, were still driving us around, and they dropped Moon Unit and I off at the College, before returning with Third World to the hotel. They were flying back to Oregon at 8 the next morning, and so had to leave for the airport at 5 in the morning. So Moon Unit and I said good bye to Third World in the front yard, at 11:30 at night. I’m missing her a lot. Anyhow, I waved her out of sight down the street, as is my tradition for farewells; you wave until what you are bidding farewell is utterly out of sight. Moon Unit, who was Third World’s room mate (I have to use the past tense now, bah), didn’t want to sleep in the empty room, so she used Rach’s bed, as Rach had left earlier in the day.
Then Moon Unit packed up all her things the next morning, and she left in the afternoon. I waved her out of sight too. RM will be here till Wednesday, which is nice. Em is leaving today.
I’ve kept myself busy on the computer all day, but know I’m missing people already. Mainly because I know that we most likely won’t see each other again at the same time this side of heaven, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to see even a few of my lovely classmates. The missing will get worse, and then it will get better, I know this. We have the internet, and mail, and phone! yeah!
þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg. as that passed over, so will this
Also, I get to see my family the day after tomorrow, which is tremendously exciting! *cheers*
So today was the graduation, which I will talk about later. Now, however, Third World just left, and I am not in a good mood.
I am not crying, which is stupid of me, I just feel numb.
I said goodbye to a bunch of people today, and just cause I’m heartless, I don’t feel that bad about leaving then. I mean, I’m gonna miss them, but I’ve moved too many times to feel sad about leaving acquaintances behind, or even minor friends. But there were certain people this year which I will miss a lot. Third World is RIGHT up there at the top of the list.
I had some advice given me at the beginning of the year, on making new acquaintances. As far as I can figure our, this was to stop me getting too close to any one or two or three people. I didn’t take the advice, I didn’t go out much, and now I have two really close friends. And yeah, Third World is the closest friend of my college mates.
But I don’t regret not going out. I wouldn’t have gotten as close to my college people if I had been all over the city all the time. And that would make this time easier, but without the awesome fact that I actually have real friends for the first time since I was 6. Despite the fact that one of those friends is going to be on the West coast and the other is going to be in Upper Canada.
Why do all the cool people have to live so fiendishly far away?
I am going to go take a hot shower, and go to bed, and see if I can cry there.
I got my boxes mailed off today! And I had enough money! *collapses from relief* That was a really nervous point, but I got all THREE boxes off without incident. I am $104.50 poorer and a lot of stress lighter. 😛
The graduation is tomorrow, and people’s families have been arriving all day. It’s starting to be quite exciting, what with reunions, and gowns arriving in the mail, and food preparation, and so on and so forth.
Third World’s parents arrived here yesterday, and they are really nice. *smiles at Third World’s parents* They kept including me, even to the point of inviting me and Moon Unit to breakfast at their hotel with Third World. Unfortunately Moon Unit was still at her sister’s house where she had been spending the night, but I got to go along. And then they drove me down to the Post Office! Really nice people.
It’s funny, how when I meet the parents of Moon Unit and Third World, they really remind me of my own parents. Just in how they are totally awesome, and happy, and have great relationships with each other. I’m seeing my own family on Tuesday! w00t!
I am now going to get off the computer, as I have spent the last two hours on here reading the news. Yeah! Hurrah for the time to read the news!