Sunday, February 14, 2010

Things I've Learned

I know.
I know.
It's been a while.
A real long while.

So much has happened.
I've made life decisions.
People have died.
I've some things:
  • I've learned my insurance sucks.
  • I've learned I truly want to go back to school.
  • I've learned my love for pretty boys has only intensified.
  • I've learned that maybe atheism (or agnosticism) isn't, maybe, that bad of an option for me.
  • I've learned that death & dying is not how it is in the movies.
  • I've learned that nothing is appropriate when it come to death/dying/funerals.
  • I've learned that funerals are not planned with the dead person in mind, but with whoever is planning the funeral in mind.
  • I've learned that I'm pretty awesome according to my nephew.
  • I've learned that budgets get some getting used to, but aren't the worst thing in the world.
  • I've learned that my parents, although almost divorced, are totes awesome.
  • I've learned that no matter how old I am, I hate that I have friends who move away.
  • I've learned that reading can still surprise me.
  • I've learned that I still love having dates with myself.
  • I've learned that I'm no longer 25, nor can I party like a 25 year old.
  • I've learned that Pearl Jam is still amazing for all intensive purposes.

I think that pretty much brings us up to speed.
And now for the elaborations.
(You didn't think I was just going to leave you with that did you? Silly rabbit.)

I've learned my insurance sucks.
As some of you may know, I get my insurance through E. And as I'm sure most of you know, E works for Starbucks. Well thanks to this awesome recession, Starbucks felt the need to save more money, and in the process dick over their employees, with quite possibly the worlds worst insurance.

I have narrow, crooked ear canals. This means wax cannot come out of my ears like it does with other people. So it gets stuck in there and it makes me deaf. Not totes deaf, but it basically becomes impossible for me to eavesdrop on anyone's conversation, which is a great, great joy of mine. So when I was finally able to get onto E's insurance the first thing I did was schedule an appointment to get my ears cleaned out. I've done this numerous time before with the old insurance and this wasn't a problem, I would pay the $30 co-pay and call it a day. So imagine my surprise when I learned that there was no co-pay for this visit. The co-pay is figured out after the visit. Having no idea how insurance works I shrugged my shoulders and waited.

The JD/MD looked at my ears, confirmed that they were, indeed clogged, and brought in the MA to do the dirty work. I apologized profusely as it's a disgusting job, it has to be worse than looking at cooters.

Things are going great. I can hear! I can eavesdrop! I can turn down the volume on everything in the house! It's a miracle I say, A MIRACLE!

And then.
The bill comes.
And it's $140.
That's right, WITH INSURANCE.
I can hardly believe it and decide to wait to see if this is truly a bill or just a statement of benefits.
Well then the bill comes and it's still $140.
An irate Jj calls up the old insurance company to ask them WTF is going on.
A half an hour later I learn our insurance is great if I want to have a baby because the $4000 I have to spend for a co-pay to take place would be gone in an instant. But since I'm relatively healthy, and plan on going to the JD/MD once or twice a year (or never again as the case may be), having this insurance is an incredibly bad deal. E's paying about $260 a month for me to be on the insurance, which is only "good" if I get cancer, become pregnant or get raped/murdered.

I've learned I truly want to go back to school.
This is a true story.
It all began with my friends going back to school. There is nothing I love more than notebooks and pens and buying books for ridiculously academic classes.
So I did a little digging in regards to the UWM Modern Studies program. Which, yes, is a ridiculously academic route and basically if I get accepted it would mean I would become a college professor. But it would be studying everything I love and can only talk to select people about: theory! movies! culture!
Oh swoon swoon swoon.
But here is the tricky part:
Since I kind of haphazardly made my way through school the first time, doing fairly well in classes I enjoyed, writing the bare minimum for essays (but still getting good grades, mind you). I have almost nothing to get me into grad school.
Missing most notably:
  • The academic paper that is at least 10 pages long: The graduate assistant told me I could submit the six page paper that I have, but I don't even like that paper, so I would just be submitting it because of it's length. E told me I should just write a brand new 10 page paper, which seemed incredibly daunting at first, but considering my hatred for the Twilight series and love of feminism I thought I could easily get it done.
  • Three academic recommendation letters: Apparently everyone knows you don't need three "academic" academic rec. letters. Most people use an employer that can talk about your work ethic, your ability to learn, etc. But you do need at least two professors. And for someone who's been out of the college scene for five years, I thought, and so did my email contact, this could prove difficult.
But then, hark! She recommended something that seemed like a perfect fit:
Non-degree Specialty Student.
The application is $15, they are always accepting applications, I can basically take any class I want, and although she didn't say it in so many words, I do well in the classes get the profs to write me letters and maybe get a 10 page paper out of the process?
eh? Eh? EH?
The caveat is that most often there is 0% financial aid, so I would be paying out of pocket, so that is a little daunting, but also so exciting. Because if there is one thing I think I would be good at, it's being a professional student.

I've learned my love for pretty boys has only intensified.
I know this will seem like I'm forsaking all of my previous hatred-filled sentiments for the Twilight series, but here it is:
I think Robert Pattinson is Totes McGotes dreamsicle pie.
Sears Tower.
I've now taken to watching Twilight on HBO and fast forwarding to the parts that he is in.
Is he a total pretty boy?
Of course.
Plus, I thought the movie did a fairly good job of adapting the book to the screen. And let us not forget that I didn't start hating-hating the books until 2-ish, but mostly 3 and 4. This is also apparent in the second film, which I just saw. Not nearly as good as the first, and a little too cheeseball for me. Directed like a horror film, and Carter Burwell didn't do the music.
And here's some trivia for you, Carter Burwell also did the music for perhaps the prettiest pretty boy movie ever made: Velvet Goldmine.
It still doesn't make me like the books any better, although I do kind of like Alice's hair.

I've learned that maybe atheism (or agnosticism) isn't, maybe, that bad of an option for me.
Shit's gonna get deep here.
As you may have guessed from the list of things I've learned posted above, my grandma died.
My grandma, and her four daughters are all extremely religious. My dad used to be extremely religious, but has fallen away from that. I'm not here to judge other people's beliefs, but watching her hang on, hang on, hang on, even though the doctors expected her to go within hours of all of us being there, two days later she was still "alive" and I'm using that term to indicate that she was breathing. And I'm looking at her, and listening to my aunts' pray and I'm thinking, this isn't about god. This is about science. This is her body doing everything it can to keep her alive, because that is what your body does. If god wanted her to come "home" (and let me just say I'm completely sick of that terminology) he would have taken her. Presumably faster than he did. What happened/didn't happen that he needed her to stay here?I'm not here to sit and argue the ins and outs of belief systems, and I do like the thought of an afterlife, but at the end there was no beauty or grace. It just happened in a hospital bed while her kids were sleeping  most of her kids were sleeping, her eldest was awake.

I've learned that death & dying is not how it is in the movies.
Oh but how I wish it were.
So as it is, the matriarch is dying and that brings EVERYONE here to Milwaukee. Which is ridick, because you would think something happier could do that like a holiday but instead it's to say goodbye, and we hope/are told that she can hear us because hearing is the last sense to go. Which I also got so sick of hearing.
I was glad that my brother came down, however, as we always have a good time and feel like we are the outcasts because we come the boy-child, and we lived "up north." And he and I are never afraid to be inappropriate.
Plus he brought my nephew, who is hilarious, so I was glad to have some light-heartedness there. We both decided that if this WERE a movie. E would proprose and that would wake Grandma up OR Grandma would die but our parents would get back together.
We laugh through the pain in this family.
All I wanted to do for this whole affair was have a video camera and record everything. Record the inappropriate jokes my brother and I were making, record the hysterics of my cousin, EW, record everyone going to town on their subs in the waiting room, because while we were waiting for grandma to die for 8 hours most of us forgot to eat. I wish someone would have recorded the stories that were told or not told as they weren't deemed "appropriate" to the situation. I felt it would have made a really good documentary, if not for dysfunctional families everywhere, at least for ours. Maybe the next time someone dies. Meh?
(Too soon?)

I've learned that nothing is appropriate when it come to death/dying/funerals.
My grandma was a completely ridiculous person. When she was with it, she loved hosting Christmas, loved having visitors, was fieircely independent and told inappropriate stories to anyone who would listen:
  • The one where she didn't know gay people were real.
  • The one where she had lesbians and a collie living across the street.
  • The one where about her wedding night.
  • The one about anal.
  • The one about oral.
  • The one about when she thought she was pregnant even though she never took off her underpants (I presume someone was dry-effing here).
  • The one where she smoked pot.
  • The one where she would drink a case of beer, and then cook all night.
  • The one where she shot holes in the ceiling.

None of these were deemed appropriate to even discuss while reminiscing about her in private company. Sorry, I didn't want to continuously think about her just watching game shows while she lived by herself. I preferred thinking about when she was able to drive and be ridiculous. So I did that, I just did it in my head, or with my dad, rather than with anyone else.

I've learned that funerals are not planned with the dead person in mind, but with whoever is planning the funeral in mind.
My grandma, being the frank lady that she was, talked about how she wanted her funeral to go. She wanted specific music played, she wanted people to laugh and to sing.
Needless to say, this was not how her funeral went. Before the actual service, some music was on, but I can't remember what. I do remember I heard "Bridge Over Troubled Water" which she liked, but that was it. There was no Jim Loving, no Statler Brothers (they were on her list she had specifically written, "Even Jim Loving!!!" because she knew how we all felt about him). I did hear some Statler Brothers after the service by my mom and I thought that was kind not enough. Which is why I'm determined to put the F-U-N back in funeral. Mark my words. You will have a good time. Of course I guess it all depends who plans it because if my wishes are not followed, I will haunt you. And it will not be a cute haunting, it will be a horror movie haunting. My favorite directive that came was that if you wanted to say something at the funeral you had to have it pre-approved and it had to be christ-centered. I wasn't planning on saying anything anyway, becasue I don't go for grand shows of emotion, and I don't need to wax poetic and what an awesome lady she was. Not that there is anything wrong in wanting to do that, my cousin KJC did write and read something that was quite lovely, however. But I definitely didn't want to say anything that had to be "approved." Homey don't play that.

And in case you're keeping score at home, I wasn't a huge fan of the "Try Jesus" booklets that were laying out next to the cheese and crackers. Nor was I a fan of them being brought to Famous Dave's after the internment (it was her favorite restaurant) and being placed on the table. Seriously? Come on.

I've learned that I'm pretty awesome according to my nephew.

Somehow I've become besties with my newphew S. I don't know what I did to earn this award, but at the big dinner we had the night she didn't die but thought she would, S stole my dad's chair and announced to his mom and dad that he was going to sit next to uncle jj, after taking forever to pick out what he wanted for dinner, he signed Z's cast, announced to us that he wanted an x-ray machine so he can look at his bones (one with wheels), and that he wanted a popsicle, becuase he loves popsicles.
"Who doesn't love popsicles?" I asked him. He then proceeded to ask the table if they loved popsicles. Which was hysterical. He was my buddy at the hospital too, playing go fish with me and wondering where my whereabouts were whenever I was not in sight. Heartzoes.

I've learned that budgets get some getting used to, but aren't the worst thing in the world.
It's true. We actually have, nay, use our savings account now. We actually can see some stuff getting done in our house in the next couple of months (might the foyer be complete one day?). We might actually be able to afford me going to school with no financial aid, provided we stick to the budget. Both E and I are horrible at having cash on us. We've grown accustomed to not being able to use the debit card unless we are 1000% sure that we do not have the money reserved for anything else (which it usually is). So when E has money he wants to spend it immediately. I only want to spend it after I've had it about a week, like if it's been in my wallet a week, it's time to go spend it, usually on booze with PO while watching a business deal go down with the hipster Jonas brothers.

I've learned that my parents, although almost divorced, are totes awesome.
Okay so this is because there was a death, and I'm full of sentimental tacky crap--"I Just Called To Say I Love You." But it's true, even though my parents are currently going through the longest divorce known to mankind, I think they are awesome. M. laughed at my fake mourning outfit, and D forgave me for not answering the phone at 6:30 in the morning (it was turned off in my defense). They are both hilarious and I feel like although I'm a disappointment to myself on a consistent basis, I'm not a disppointment to them.
If I am a disppointment to them, they hide it extremely well.

I've learned that no matter how old I am, I hate that I have friends who move away.
It's true. I've lived through this most of my adult life, and I still can't seem to get over it.
First J&P, leaving a gaping whole in our hearts and livers, then E&M whose parties provided years of storytelling and ridick-ness, and now M&Z--better known as my CSPBFFs. I realize that this is all very selfish of me, and that this is for their greater good (or so they say. jk jk jk) and I'm acting like a five year old, but I don't like it. I prefer sedentary people and cannot begin to tell you the excitement I felt when I learned that PO wanted to go to grad school here in MKE. Because it means, if I get into grad school, I will have a college buddy.
I wish you the most of luck in selling your fabulous homes and I'm sure we will run into each other someday on the flip side.
(I tried to make that as cool as possible. I'm pretty sure I failed miserably.)

I've learned that reading can still surprise me.
As some of you know, I've taken on reading all the books in the Washington Park libes. Okay maybe not ALL the books. I'm not reading the instruction manuals to C+++ or the Idiot's guide to Java but I'm going in order alphabetically for ficitons and I'm currently in the zeroes for non-ficitons. While I expected to find some interesting reads, I have to say I've read books I never would have read (Arab-American Women's fiction! historical fiction! gay-esque fiction! okay so I probably would have read that one) and learned a thing or two in the process. I'm currently in what I have to call "the unexplained" section of the dewey decimal system as the last couple of non-fiction books I have read have been about the unknown. Currently I'm reading about the Japanese equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, which I actually did a presentation on as a 4th grader. Full circle, kiddos. I can't sing the praises of the library enough, and that is the one thing I miss about being unemployed (okay maybe it's not THE one thing I miss, but it's A thing I miss), is going to the library and hanging.
I've really taken to reading rather than watching drivel on the telly, which I rather enjoy, because while I do enjoy drivel, especially that which features pretty men, it can feel like your brain is turning into gelatin.
And as a strict vegetarian, that doesn't sit well with me.

I've learned that I still love having dates with myself.
Back in college, when I was single, I would date myself all the time. I loved it. I would take myself out to dinner, or maybe rent a movie or make something really good to eat. Or maybe just read. Anyway, it was great and I loved it and I hadn't had one in a long time, or at least something that I designated as a date with myself. But then...
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in the precarious position of needing a ride after a night with the girls. Luckily someone was going by way of Mayfair and I had a luncheon date at one there, and while I thought I would get there at 11 in the morning, I ended up getting there at 9-ish. Never to fear. I had a bagel and some coffee and as a "reader" I had a book with me. Making my Sunday morning quite enjoyable. I read for about an hour and then I remembered they show movies for $5 before noon on the weekends. So I mosied up the stairs to see if there was anything I could fathom paying $5 for.
And there it was. Two choices: Sherlock Holmes or It's Complicated.
I couldn't for the life of me remember what It's Complicated was about so I went with Sherlock Holmes, which I might say, was pure delight. Robert Downey Jr. is awesome, it had a great occult twist which I loved, and I'm starting to like Rachel McAdams, who is Canadian, if you were wondering.
I recommend to anyone who likes British things, action and a decent story.
By the time the movie ended it was time to go to, what now was the last luncheon with my grandma, but it was a good time none the less. I probably will never have timing that perfect ever again, but it made me realize how movies and dates by yourself are great.

I've learned that I'm no longer 25, nor can I party like a 25 year old.
What a drag it is getting old.
Cue sitar music.
So the reason I found myself in the position of needing a ride, which ultimately led to a great Sunday was because I got so smashed on Saturday night that I couldn't walk.
I passed out while sitting up, had difficulties crawling and could not for the life of me muster the wherewithal to walk outside with a friend who was offering to drive me home. PO, bestie that she is let me stay over where I woke up feeling fine and ready to take on the world.
The saddest part was that I didn't even think I drank that much. But there I was the almost 30 year-old passed out like the olds that I am.
I've tempered myself quite well since and am preparing for the liver destruction that is WFVIII--The Ocho.

I've learned that Pearl Jam is still amazing for all intensive purposes.
I cannot get enough of their album "Backspacer." Do you like rock and roll? Then you will like this album. My hope is that they will tour and I will get to see them yet again, because they have yet to play a lackluster show. Does this make me a huge nerd? Most likely, but I'm not going to deny it. It's good rock music. And I like, nay, love good rock music.


  1. * I've learned my insurance sucks-everyone has sucky insurance!
    * I've learned I truly want to go back to school-You should. Let me know if I can help. I could be a CSP reference. I will tell then you are the best ever!
    * I've learned that maybe atheism (or agnosticism) isn't, maybe, that bad of an option for me-death is a hard one and I think you are upset more about your relatives interpretation of god rather than God.
    * I've learned that death & dying is not how it is in the movies-nothing is the way it is in the movies.
    * I've learned that I'm pretty awesome according to my nephew-Kids love you! You do a great job because you treat them like real people, which they are. I think S is lucky to have you as a super awseome aunt!
    * I've learned that budgets get some getting used to, but aren't the worst thing in the world-good for you and E!
    * I've learned that my parents, although almost divorced, are totes awesome-they made you so they must be
    * I've learned that no matter how old I am, I hate that I have friends who move away-we have not moved yet. We have months to go and even when we do have to leave we will stay in ouch forever. You are a great friend and we don't ant to lose you as a friend even if we do move.
    * I've learned that I still love having dates with myself-Best!
    * I've learned that I'm no longer 25, nor can I party like a 25 year old-you are telling me..I get hung over for like 3 days now.
    * I've learned that Pearl Jam is still amazing for all intensive purposes-dislike

  2. U need to get a life!!!!


    This is by far one of the best things I've read on the internet in a while...not gonna count the video I saw of Bill Goldberg's first match in the WcW either, because that made my day.
    ~I recently had to switch insurances at work, and don't even get me started on HSA accounts...ugh!
    ~Atheism? Not gonna argue, but weak, totally weak. The Bible is truly the book for me (and
    ~Pretty boys, seriously? I'm more team Jacob, so I've lost some respect for you. I suppose you'd like Malfoy in the Harry Potter Series also.
    ~I'll go back to school someday, when the U.S. realizes that if there aren't good teachers, then there won't be good students/citizens. Flippin Idiots!
    ~Death, Dying, Funerals, etc...Been there my friend. I often find myself wishing I could go back to the time when all of my grandparents were alive and just enjoy it for what it was, but alas, no more. My favorite response to my twisted sense of humor is You're so bad, or that's so wrong. This response is usually preceeded by by a comment such as Hey, do you think (insert dead relatives name) would want to come to our house for the holidays this year? Whoops, too soon?, or my favorite "Well...we already bought the tickets."
    ~I too hate friends who have moved, or moving away from friends. That blows. Thank The Maker for books and movies.
    ~Never partied, so I'm pretty certain that I can still party like I could back in the day.
    ~Pearl Jam, She lies and she says she's in love with him, can't find a better man. Nice! They're no J. Tull, but it's pretty hard to top Aqualung, even if you are Pearl Jam.

  4. Just to clarify, I'm not the anonymous that wrote you need to get a life either (at noonish) I'm the one who wrote at 11ish. two different people.

  5. Well Ive read some of this and I had to stop and think, Hey Im really trying to see things from your point of view BUT I cant get my head that far up my ass! You need to grow up and act like an adult. You obviously dont respect anyone, including yourself! You really have some issues to deal with.

  6. Wow Anonymous poster(s)! Way to refresh an EIGHT MONTH old blog! You guys are totes hardcore.

    Anonymous #1: Thanks for reading! While I may need to get a life, you may need to learn to type as if you weren't texting, if you would like to be taken seriously. But thanks for the poorly written tip anyway!

    Anyonymous #2 & 3: Thanks for reading and your clarification that you weren't the previous anon. poster. I enjoyed your comments and your many references to pop culture. It's almost as if your one of my own!

    Anonymous #4: Hey, thanks for reading AND commenting on my blog, albeit anonymously. Sorry you feel that I'm acting childishly, especially about a situation that is very close to me--maybe you don't realize that this blog is over eight months old, and that I wrote this shortly after a very close relative had died. Maybe you don't realize that a blog is kind of like a diary, where the blogger gets to express any type of feeling s/he is experiencing. I guess I don't understand why you feel I "don't respect anyone, including yourself" and that I "have issues to deal with." You're the one posting anonymously on a (presumably) stranger's blog. It looks as if we may be projecting here.
    And I mean the Royal We.

  7. Jj i see your blog is quite the discussion amongst the fam lately. I did like your blog and not because your my fav cousin but because what u said about grandma was true. Grandma was hysterical and unique. She had the best stories and could make anyone smile just being around her. She wasnt perfect but she was to me. She was real and told life as she saw it. I thought the funeral was beautiful and i think mom did a wonderful job with it. I remember how beautiful the flowers were. I think we all grieve in different ways and i dont think grandma would like all this arguing over a blog. Freedom of speech is exactly that and i dont find this disrespectful to grandma in fact i think she would laugh at it. She sure did love your writings and she was so proud of u jess. I love u and keep writing jess!! Love u, ew