Saturday, November 29, 2008

We need a little Christmas...

So, aside from tree decorations, I put everything up that we have. It's totally dwarfed in this house- you don't notice it at all!! Must buy more stuff!! I found a tree farm about a half hour away, so we are going to chop down our own tree this year for the first time.

SIL update: The family has been taking turns going down and helping them out. SIL came home a week ago Friday. She's not on any antibiotics, although she's still wiped out and naps extensively throughout the day. The, eh, problem? Yeah, it hasn't totally resolved. It should any day now, though.

According to my mother, brother does not want SIL to ever be pregnant again, he's so emotionally scarred by all this; SIL, however, after a year or more, wants to have another baby. Brother wants to adopt, instead.

They are closing on a house on December 12th and moving in the 13th, a fact I shall believe when I see, as I believe this is the fourth closing date on the fourth house they've had.

Abby is growing and thriving; she is now over a pound above her birthweight. I have not seen her since that time; their lives as well as mine have been crazy, and I will not be going to help them any time soon because I have a full-blown cold. Good thing I had my IVIG today! This means that my tentative date with Co-worker to see "Twilight" this Tuesday is very likely out, as I do not go to see movies in a theater because I'm not sitting there coughing my brains out and ruining other people's enjoyment.

We hosted Thanksgiving; Darrel's sister, her husband, their two girls, and MIL all came:

Frank and Niece #2, who is seven weeks younger than he is. I like this picture because Frank is playing with N#2's toy and N#2 is playing with Frank's.

Aside from the Satanic red eyes, I like this picture of Niece #1, who is five and in kindergarten.

And, from when we went pumpkin- picking with his daycare in October:

Sunday, November 16, 2008


My poor SIL...without too much gory detail, she has an infection, and is in hospital again for a few days to get IV antibiotics...something I know entirely too much about. (The IV antibiotics, not the particular type of infection.) Little Brother hasn't answered my test asking if he needs any help. I hate taking days off from school if I'm not completely dying, but for this, I'd use up my remaining two personal days.

Got some Christmas shopping done today. I'm not going to say here what all I got, except, Big, I immediately knew that your gift was so you! :)

I'm beginning to feel Christmas-y. I went through our decorations today, and some of them are pretty old and crappy. Now that we have a nice house to decorate, I want to really do it up nice. I want to buy this: I'll put it on the mantle over the fireplace, so Frank can't get at it. It's a bit pricey, but for something I'll use for the next thirty years or so, it's not terrible. I've been looking for a really nice Nativity set for several years now, and am happy I found one I like. I want to get an Advent calendar, too. Darrel and I also decided that we're putting the tree in the bookshelf room. I want to get the tree earlier than usual, too, like maybe Thanksgiving weekend, and I want to cut it ourselves. There's a tree farm about a half hour from here that we can go to.

I'm still not letting Darrel play Christmas music around me yet, though. My rule is, we watch the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving, and after Santa rolls in, at the end of the parade, that is the true start of the Christmas season. :)

My coworker and I have both read Twilight and are planning on going to see the movie together. She can get us free tickets, because she has the Optimum triple play. Squee!

Friday, November 14, 2008

NJRID Convention...and I meet Niece #3

I forgot to write about Convention last weekend! I loved it and had a wonderful time.

The Convention was held in Jamesburg, at a hotel. Several of my coworkers and I went. A couple commuted back and forth, but I wanted to stay at the hotel, and asked around. Male Coworker was the only one without a roommate at that point, so I asked him if he wanted to be roomies, and he said yes. No, Darrel did not have an issue with this. Why? Male Coworker is gay. I told Darrel that Male Coworker and I were rooming together and he just shrugged and said okay. Male coworker actually asked me a few days before the Convention if Darrel had a problem with it, and I told him no, there are some things in life that Darrel is actually pretty laid back about. He seemed relieved- I think he was worried Darrel would have a problem.

It all worked out very well. We're both very neat people who share the same taste in music and generally are not party animals...although he did hang out chatting with I have no idea who (in another room) until 3am Saturday night/Sunday morning! For the record, I was in bed with the light out by around 11:30pm both nights.

I went to some pretty good workshops. One that I found utterly fascinating (even if I'm not sure how much it will affect my interpreting) was on profanity, its history, and how different cultures use it. For example, virtually every culture ever has had profanity- the types of words that are profane, though, differ. In modern American culture, the f-bomb is one of the most profane words; to the Puritans, anything religiously-based was the worst thing you could say. Certain linguistic things simply fascinate me, so I was totally into this workshop.

There were a couple of others that focused on interpreting in the schools, and ethical decision-making that were also quite good. I still have to go over my notes for those and type up a report for my coworkers. We pretty evenly divided which workshops we were all going to, so I think we covered almost all of them between us.

I left Sunday morning, right after breakfast. There was still one more workshop session, but I was driving down to Exit 4 off the Turnpike to meet my new niece! (I apologize in advance for the pinkish cast to the pictures- my camera is dying! That's a rant for another day, though.)

This is me, holding Abby for the first time.

This is Little Brother. I can't believe my Baby Brother has a baby of his own!

This is Sister-In-Law.

And here is Abby, giving me Stink-eye.

She's such a tiny little thing! She looks completely lost in the carseat that we used for Frank when he was first born! She really is beautiful, though. As I told Little Brother, "She's the most beautiful girl baby I've ever seen. I've seen only one baby overall who I thought was cuter at birth, but I may be a tiny bit biased." ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proposition 8

In the euphoria of Obama being elected, some things fell into the background for a while. Proposition 8, for those who don't know, was a ballot initiative in the state of California. Gays and lesbians have had the legal right to really get married in California for many months now, and Proppostion 8 proposed taking that right away, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The proposition passed, by a pretty narrow margin, and it didn't take until sometime the next morning for word of that to officially get out. This, to the best of my knowledge, puts gay couples in CA who had already gotten married in some sort of legal limbo. In my mind, though, that's not the worst of it.

People who voted for Propostion 8, for the most part, will probably tell you it had something to do with religion, specifically, the Bible. In the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus (aka, "the rules"), it prohibits a man being with another man. Okay, yes, even I will admit, both versions of the Bible I own do say that. However, they also say that I am prohibited from wearing clothing of mixed fibers (oopsie, guess I have to get rid of several of my favorite shirts), I cannot eat shellfish (DAMN!), and I can in fact sell my two-year-old into slavery. It also says several other things I can't recall off the top of my head that are quite common nowadays.

Most of the people who will tell you it had something to do with religion are of some variation of Christianity. I am a lifelong Episcopalian. I haven't been a regular churchgoer for a while, although I do still interpret a couple of times a month for a deaf person who goes to church. I went to many years of Sunday School, and have sat through many sermons, and, to the best of my knowledge, Jesus was all about love. Loving God, loving each other, just loving everyone and being nice to people. Jesus hung out with people many at the time considered to be the dregs of society, much to the horror of some who would or did follow Him. He did not believe in discrimination at all, so my mind boggles: Why do His followers think discrimination is the right thing to do??

The campaign for Proposition 8 was an ugly one. There were ads saying all the horrible things that would happen to the state if this didn't pass. Who paid for these ads? Well, there are a lot of regular citizens, many from outside the state of California. (Why?? What do they care about what happens in a state they don't even live in??) The Mormon church, and many private members of the church, gave a lot of money to support Proposition 8 as well. Again, where is the love for all that Jesus taught??

I am not gay. I am as straight as they come, really. But this whole thing has hurt a longtime friend of mine, someone I have known for 30 years, very deeply. He's a resident of California, and is hurt by the fact that his fellow citizens have delegated him to less-than-a-full-citizen status. My heart hurts for him, and I wish there was something I could do for him to heal his hurt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system...

Seriously, I have always said, when the subject came up, that I was sure this country would elect a black man before it elected a white woman for President. Still, though, I did not expect it to be this soon. I wasn't even sure either event would happen within my lifetime.

I fell asleep on the couch early Tuesday night. By the time I fell asleep, though, it was looking good for Obama. I watched McCain's concession speech and Obama's big speech online Wednesday morning, at work. I thought McCain was very classy during his speech. His audience, however, was not. Yes, I understand that in those circumstances, any audience of that nature is going to boo the idea of a concession, of the other guy winning. This audience, however, booed Obama each time he was mentioned by name, and I found that to be unclassy.

As we watched Obama's speech, I felt myself getting teary-eyed a bit. Not because I am a die-hard Democrat- I'm really not. (I'm registered to vote, but I am Undeclared. I'm too Liberal to be a Republican and too Conservative to be a Democrat. The beauty of being Undeclared in NJ is that you can vote for either party in the Primaries. ;) ) I was watching the people in the aidience while listening to his speech. I saw several people laughing and weeping together, black, white, and everyone in between. What a freaking awesome moment for this country. My parents grew up in a time when segregation was still perfectly legal in the South; my father told me a story once about when he went to Norfolk, VA for Naval training, and, having grown up in the North, he had to ask someone what "Colored" meant on the bathroom doors and above water fountains. My parents grew up in a time when black people in the South had a hard time even being able to vote, and now my two-year-old son will never remember a time in which it was crazy talk for a black man to aspire to be President of the United States.

I'm proud that this country was able to overcome its prejudices and have this moment in history. It's nice to have a positive historical moment my son will ask me about years from now, as opposed to something like 9/11, and know that I was here to witness it.

Now, President-Elect Obama, please prove that our faith in you was not misplaced. I certainly don't expect miracles from you or anyone else, but please help to set our country on a good path.


Tomorrow morning I leave at 8am for my interpreting conference. Yay! Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Car! And, life and death.

So, Car Man totally came through for me! I drove up to Middletown, Connecticut Saturday, a two hour and forty five minute drive, in the Sentra, turned it over to Car Man, and got my new car. The drive was long but uneventful- I kept looking at my GPS and praying the car would make to under 100 miles, because with AAA +, we get up to 100 miles of free towing. Then, I prayed I wouldn't break down on the Tappan Zee Bridge, because it is a very long and very narrow bridge, with no breakdown lanes; if anything ever happens on that thing, it's tied up for hours upon hours, and I didn't want to end up as part of a traffic report! Then, I prayed I'd at least get into Connecticut, because I would feel less of a douche telling the tow truck driver to tow me to just south of Hartford.

I made it, twenty minutes early for my appointment with Car Man. I allowed myself three hours to get there, especially since I didn't drive above 65 MPH the whole way. Car Man was out on a test drive with another client, so I hung out in the showroom until he got there, and my cousin Nina showed up soon after. By just after 2pm, I drove out of there with my shiny new navy blue 2009 Altima! They handled all of the registration stuff for me, and transferred the Sentra plates onto the Altima. The only weirdness is I have no inspection sticker on the car; that apparently comes with the permanent registration card, in the mail, but it's a bit nerve-wracking driving around without one!

I love my new car. It's not a terrific time for us to be taking on a car payment, honestly, but hey, the car is shiny and has lots of cool gadgets. It is easily the coolest car I have ever owned. Pictures will be forthcoming once the weather clears and I can take nice ones to appropriately show off its shinyness.

Little Brother called Darrel today- Niece #3 is coming home tomorrow!! Yay!! of course, he never calls me, or emails me, or whatever, nor does SIL, so I am guessing this means her body temperature and digestive issues have been resolved. I am hopefully going to see her Sunday, after my Convention gets out.

I went to a wake this evening. The father of a coworker died. He'd been really sick for four years or so, with various types of cancer, but what killed him in the end was pneumonia. He was 60 years old. It got me thinking, as I drove home, about pneumonia in general. I was very ill in March 2007 with double pneumonia, in addition to a type of infection called empyema. My doctor told me that if I had walked around like that another couple of days, I could have died.

I actually told the whole story to my cousin Saturday. She'd known I was sick, obviously. She'd known I was very sick, but I don't think she'd known just how very very sick I truly was. I'm not sure too many people really do know that. (Well, aside from my coworkers, who had to cover my classes for seven weeks while I stayed home recuperating, on IV antibiotics.) I think a big reason is that people just don't think that much about pneumonia anymore. They don't give it the respect it deserves. Far more people die of it each year than you'd think, and antibiotics don't always cure it.