Tuesday, May 19, 2015

tired of teaching...

I've been seriously thinking about not teaching any more.  It's scary to think and even scarier to say it out loud.  When I first told my boyfriend this he was more freaked out than I was.  I love teaching, but it's beaten me down.  I'm tired of repeating myself.  I'm tired of giving students my all and I get not much in return.  I'm tired of the entitlement.  Tired of the apathy.  Tired of the insults and just plain tired.

What would I do instead?  Well, there's plenty of things to do, but would I want to do them?  I could go back to bartending full time. It would be much more money than I make teaching -- which is PATHETIC and a very sad realization -- but I'm not sure I could do that again.  Hopefully this summer I will be starting a library science internship.  I'm optimistic that this will open some doors for me without having to go back to school again.

All I know is that I need to stay open minded and willing to receive any option available to me.  I'm burnt out.

Monday, May 18, 2015

so much grading...so much anxiety...

When it's the end of the semester, I usually get a bit stressed out -- there's a lot to grade in a short period of time.  This time around I'm feeling anxious, and that usually doesn't happen.  Opening up paper after paper to find that the students blatantly ignored instructions DOES make my blood pressure go up a few points, for sure, but anxious..?  Not really.  I want each and every one of these students to do well, and it bothers me when they don't put any effort into their learning experience.  I can't force them to study, to read, to ask questions if they are confused, or even to come to class for that matter. I try very hard to be energetic and enthusiastic in class, but there's a fine line between educator and performing monkey.  Even though I care about my students, I need to care for me as well.  I've learned over the years that when I get stressed out, I will get physically ill.  I need some type of stress relievers or else.  So today, when I got to the point where I was very distracted and feeling anxious, I stopped grading -- even though I only had eight more papers to grade before I was done with this particular class -- I stopped.  I ate ice cream.  I did laundry. I spritzed myself with lavender essential oil spray. I watched some TV.  I'm writing this.  I feel a bit better.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's been awhile...

It's been just about two years since I've been on my blog.  I thought about it a lot.  Lots of things have happened.  When I thought about writing on the blog I didn't feel inspired or motivated.  I've written about that before.  The blogging world is strange -- oddly competitive.  If a writer doesn't keep up on it, they get passed by for features, etc. I've always said I was a "sometimes blogger," and if being away for two years doesn't show that, I'm not sure what will.

I'm happy to see the blogs that I liked to follow are still around.  It's funny to feel emotion to see that a blogger I like to read is going through a divorce, or another's mom died.  I've never met these people, but they allow all of us a glimpse into their lives by putting their lives out there on their personal pages.

John and I are still happily together.  Bill just had his other eye removed about a month and a half ago.  Yep!  I have a cat without any eyeballs!  I'm impressed with how well he's doing.  We tried for a few years to save his eye after he got glaucoma in the remaining one.  He was on four medications getting eye drops 3x a day.  He's actually much better off now -- he can't see, but he's not in pain and he is much happier. He's acting like his old self before he had any eye issues. 

I'm glad I came back to sneak a peek at my page.  I'm going to try to keep up on it again.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

"I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still...

...da doo ron ron ron da doo ron ron...somebody told me that his name was Bill..."

It's true. I did meet him on a Monday.  His name was Bill and I fell immediately in love with him.  I call him "my handsome man."  'Who's the most handsome man ever?!?  Ohhh.. Bill is!"  He loves it.  His purrs get louder when I say that to him.  Oh, yeah.  I'm talking about my cat Bill.

Bill is a very cool cat.  I've posted about him before -- most notably in this post when the vet thought Bill might need Prozac.  He's always been very healthy, but my poor, sweet, snuggle-bunny Bill got glaucoma in his left eye. The vet gave him three different eye drops and I had to give him drops six times a day.  He was not happy.  His eye looked better, and the level of  pressure in his eye reduced, so the vet was happy about that, but she warned me that the chances of having his eye removed was pretty high.

Eventually the drops stopped working for him.  His eye again became cloudy and bulging.  I called the vet to make the appointment.  I think the waiting for the day of surgery was worse than anything else.  Last Monday, March 18th, John and I rolled out of bed super early to bring Bill to the vet to have his eye removed (the correct medical term is enucleation -- I learn something new every day).  After I made sure that they had the correct eye to be removed, I gave him a scratch and left him in the care of Alameda East Veterinary Hospital.  I tried not to think too much about the poor pussers throughout the day, but it was hard to do.  I got some work done, did some stuff around the house, but I kept thinking about him.  I finally talked to the vet, Dr. Scott, after surgery. She said Bill did fine and that we could pick him up the next day.

John picked me up after my last class and we headed to get Bill.  After some wrangling about payment of the bill, quoted prices, etc., Bill was brought out in his carrier.  They got him in the carrier head-first, so we couldn't really see him too well -- we could only see that he was wearing an e-collar (aka the cone of shame).

We got him home ASAP and brought him upstairs to the bedroom.  He needed to be separated from our other cat Sunny for about two weeks.  We got him out of the carrier and he was in bad shape.  He was covered in dandruff, he was shedding (I'm sure both of those things were stress related...), we realized he had peed himself while he was still at the vet -- so he was stinky, he was wearing the cone, and of course, his eye was gone.  In place of where his once beautiful yellow eye once was was sewn up.  All the fur around his eye was shaved.  I noticed they cut his whiskers off. The sutures were functional, but crude black X's.   Awwww...poor Bill!  I wiped him down with a wet washcloth and brushed him.  He didn't want much to do with me, so I left him alone.  He eventually came around and curled up in my lap.  All was better when he started to purr.  He lifted his head up and looked at me and I told him he was handsome.  He fell asleep.

                                                      After we got him out of the carrier

                                              ,              Spacin' out on pain meds

It's been a week and The Admiral Sir William Billingly is doing much better.  His fur and whiskers are growing back and his eye (or, where his eye WAS, rather..) is looking great -- it's not red or swollen.  He's being a pretty good sport about the cone -- even though there's nothing he can do about it..!  I wipe him down and brush him every day since he can't groom himself.  He's on some pretty powerful pain killers and it makes him loopy, but I can tell he's feeling better.  He still wants to be held and to snuggle at bedtime.  Have you ever tried to snuggle in bed with a cat that's wearing a cone??  It's a bit difficult, but we make it work.  He has one more day of medicine, then he's off the dope.  I'm thinking that he will start to care that he's locked in the bedroom once the drugs wear off, but he hasn't really cared.  He'll get his sutures out next Monday and then the cone comes off as well.  Then, well, I suppose we'll be back to normal.  He'll chase Sunny around and she'll jump on him and they'll snuggle up and nap together.  He'll be without pain and that's all that matters.

Monday, March 11, 2013

do you believe in ghosts? [part three]

John and I had just moved into the house we're in now (we've been here for just over seven years...).  We were there for a month or so and still getting settled in when a friend asked if we could cat-sit.  He wasn't sure for how long, but we didn't have any other pets at the time and we like cats, so we said sure.  Little black cat Buddy came to stay with us and he was super friendly and very cute. 

One night we were in bed and I was struggling to sleep.  I still hadn't figured out the best bed/furniture arrangement in the bedroom, and it was weighing on me (and my quality of sleep).  John was sleeping soundly and it was taking me a bit to get comfortable and relaxed.  I was in that "in-between" space where I wasn't quite asleep, and not quite awake either.  A man walked into the room and sat down on the corner of the bed.  He smiled and said it was his house, but he like that we were there.  He specifically said, "I like the two of you.  I can tell you really love each other -- and you're nice to animals.  I don't mind you living here in my house."  He used the term "my house" a few times when he was talking to me.  I don't remember feeling frightened -- more like really interested and curious about what he had to say.  He was tall and thin, dressed in a dark suit and wore a hat.  He smiled at me, patted me on my leg, and walked out.  I drifted off into a very deep sleep but remembered this when I woke up.  I don't know why, but I didn't tell John about this right away.

Some time had passed (a month, maybe two..?) and we were talking, eating dinner, and hanging out in the house and John mentioned that he seemed to think that we "weren't alone" in our house.  I stopped chewing and looked intently at him and asked him what he meant.  He vaguely, roundabout-ly stated that he thought we might have a ghost in the house.  I excitedly told him about my in-between sleep and consciousness experience and he nodded.  I also mentioned that I thought I "felt his presence" on the stairs and in the upstairs hallway.  He agreed.  We told each other that we didn't feel frightened, just aware of someone else here. We both agreed that we had seen a tall, thin man dressed in a dark suit wearing a hat. We started calling him "our friend."

Buddy left us (I was sad) and then we got Bill (who is AWESOME) and now we have a new addition to our house: Sunny (more on her coming soon...) and we've been happy in this house for a little over seven years.  Over the years John and I have had conversations about "our friend" and one night he showed himself to me when I was fully awake.

It was summertime and it was HOT.  We don't have air conditioning and I've developed a system for keeping the house as cool as it can be.  Our bedroom is on the 2nd floor with south-facing windows (oof!).  I keep the shades and curtains drawn during the day then open them and turn on a multitude of fans placed in strategic areas to cool the room down.  John was playing a gig and I was home alone.  I decided to take a cool shower before getting into bed.  I left the bathroom door open to get some air moving.  Even though the shower was on the cooler side and the door was open, the large, almost-the-width-of-the-wall mirror did get a bit fogged up.  As I grabbed a towel and wiped the mirror, I saw him.  He was standing behind and a bit to the right of me.  He was dressed exactly the same as I remembered.  Talk about cooling down!  A chill passed over my wet skin and I jumped!  I turned around and he wasn't there.  I stood there, grasping the towel around me trying to comprehend what had just happened.  I still didn't feel frightened, necessarily, but I was definitely freaked out!  I told John about this when he came home and was concerned, interested, and freaked out as well. 

John says he can sense him in the basement, and even though I've tried, I can't.  I know the cats can see him, and sometimes I think I see a shadow on the stairs -- even if the light is on or it's in the middle of the day.  When we have a group of people over the house sometimes I get the sensation that there is someone upstairs and I'm waiting for them to come back down.  I'll think, wow, someone's been in the bathroom for awhile..!  Then I'll look around and realize that everyone is accounted for and no one is upstairs (uh huh, SURE!).  There's been a few times when I'm sitting on the couch with the cats and we all turn our heads at the same time and look up the stairs.  Bill will sit on a step and follow something that I can't see with his eyes.  Even now, typing this, I turn and look up the stairs and wonder if he knows that I'm writing about him.

A few months ago some strange things happened in the house that I can't explain.  John was in the kitchen prepping for dinner.  He was on the other side of the room when a box cheese grater fell onto the floor.  He said it wasn't near the edge of the counter -- he had placed it back towards the wall.  He couldn't figure it out.  That same night, we were all upstairs (cats included) and I heard a loud, fuzzy, buzzing sound coming from downstairs.  I went down to the living room and the TV turned on, but not the satellite receiver box, so what I heard was TV white noise.  I can't explain how the TV turned on by itself.  John and I looked at each other and said, "it must be our friend..."

One day I went to the Denver Public Library to do some research on my house.  The house is 100 years old and there have been many owners.  It has been rented out over the years and I found documents that list the owners, if they lived there or rented, and who the renters were.  I sat in the library and copied down the names.  Some people lived here for years, others just for a few months.  I stared at the names and wondered what they were like.  What did they do?  What kind of people were they?  They library was closing so I had to leave, and I never picked up my research, but it's on my to-do list.  I wondered if I came across his name and didn't realize it.  I want to get the rest of the names of the people who lived here and then try to do some research on them.  Maybe I can find a photograph..?  Let's hope.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

do you believe in ghosts? [part two]

A good friend of mine once told me that when you sleep in a new place (over a friend's house, hotel room, new apartment, etc.), you dream the dreams of others that were there before you until you make your own psychic imprint on the location.  I thought about it.  It makes sense.  It usually takes a good three or four nights of sleeping in a new place before I get a good night's sleep and stop having weird dreams.

Shortly after graduating from graduate school, I needed/wanted/had to get out of Boulder, CO.  I wasn't sure what to do until a friend offered me a place to stay.  I would have the top floor of the place to myself but share the bathroom and kitchen.  Sounded good to me!  I was commuting from Boulder to Denver for work, and I would pack my car full of boxes, move them in to the new place and head to work.  This went on for a bit until I had to be out of my apartment.  I moved in and started getting settled and arranging my things.  My friend had bought this house years before and I had spent some time in it: parties, dinners, get-togethers, Thanksgiving, and afternoons of shootin' the shit -- you get the idea.  Her office was once on the top floor (where I would be) and she said many times how she felt like she wasn't alone up there. He husband said the same thing -- and even their very young son (2-3 years old) pointed out people he saw up there.  I wasn't concerned, but it was good to know the history...

The first three nights I slept terribly -- which is usually the case in a new place.  On the fourth night, I had a dream.  Well, it was like a dream -- meaning I felt like I was in that in-between place between waking and sleeping -- but it wasn't real.  Was it?

I dreamt I was in my bed, sleeping, and was woken by the sounds of a party.  I sat up in bed and realized there were dozens of people in my pad!  They were all drinking, smoking, listening to music, talking, socializing.  I was confused and tried to figure out what was going on.  I noticed they weren't dressed in 21st century clothing -- they were several decades earlier.  A couple walked over to me and asked my name.  I told them.  They looked at each other, whispered in each others ears, looked at me, whispered some more and then turned to me with a smile. "We've been watching you," they said.  I raised my eyebrows in confusion.  "Yes, we've been watching. We think you'll fit in nicely here.  We like the young boy as well."

I woke up the next morning remembering my "dream."  I went downstairs and told my friends.  He threw his head back and laughed while she stared at me with wide eyes.  "Holy shit, Katie!" she said.  I laughed and said I guess it was a good decision for me to move in.  I'm not quite sure what she thought of "them" liking her son, but there wasn't anything threatening about it.  I never felt scared or threatened while living there, but sometimes when I was upstairs alone, I knew I wasn't really alone, ifyouknowwhatImean...


stay tuned for: Do you believe in ghosts? [part three]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

do you believe in ghosts? [part one]

I do.  Call them ghosts, spirits, those who haven't passed on, energy, entities or any other moniker.  I've had a few interesting experiences in the past -- the most memorable was my apartment when I lived in Muncie, Indiana while attending graduate school at Ball State University.

I was living alone, most of my classes were at night and I was waiting tables at Dill Street Bar and Grill (a typical college bar complete with penny and nickel beer nights and live music) for a job.  I was coming and going at all hours - living on coffee, Lucky Charms and whatever I could scrounge from Dill Street. I was always closing down the campus library and getting home late.  There were plenty of all-nighters in the apartment - studying and writing papers.  So when the weird stuff started to happen, I chalked it up to lack of sleep and a bad memory for anything that didn't consist of the ENTIRE history of opera. Oof.

I came home one night and a few of my kitchen cabinets were open.  When I was growing up, my grandmother used to admonish us if we ever left a cabinet door or drawer open.  "You'll die with your mouth open!" she would proclaim.  Creepy, huh?  But to this day, I never leave a cabinet door or drawer of any sort open.  When I came home that night and noticed the doors, I thought it was strange that I would do that, but I figured it was school stress and left it at that.  One night I woke up out of a deep sleep and had a horrible feeling come over me that someone was in my room.  Watching me.  I forced myself to get up, turn on all the lights, look around, look in the all the closets, and under the bed.  When I was done, I of course felt ridiculously silly but I couldn't shake the feeling.  A few nights later as I was trudging up the stairs to my 2nd floor pad, my neighbor who lived beneath me flung open his door.
 I looked over at him with an exhausted look.  "What."
"Have you been gone all night?"
"Yeah.  I worked this morning, went to the library, went to class, went back to the library, and now I'm here."
He looked at me with a strange look on his face and told me that he'd been hearing someone walking around up there all night.

[The walls in the apartment building were ridiculously thin.   During homecoming week, I was doing homework and John (neighbor) took a broomstick and jabbed it against his ceiling.  "Katie!" He yelled, "I'm not going to let you study on a Friday night, alone by yourself.  Come down, meet my friends and let's go to some homecoming parties!!"  I could hear him clear as day.  I could also hear the woman upstairs when she brought guys home and then cried after they left.  Oh yeah. THIN.]

John went upstairs with me and nothing was out of place.  He kept insisting that he heard someone up there, being loud.  He said he went up and knocked on the door to see if I was home, and the noises stopped for a bit, then picked back up.  I wasn't sure whether to believe him or not, but he went back downstairs and I went to sleep without incident.  A week or two later I came home and the shower was running.  I ran downstairs and John's door opened as I was about to knock. "There's been some weird shit goin' on up there tonight," he said very seriously.  I was sufficiently, totally and utterly freaked out.  He went upstairs with me, looked around, and turned off the shower.  We drank beer until I couldn't keep my eyes open, then I went to bed...with him promising to break the door down if he heard anything strange from downstairs.  That was the peak of the strangeness -- aside from finding a cabinet door open or suddenly feeling like I was being watched.  I figured I had a prankster hanging about and wasn't going to worry about it or let it frighten me.  

John was the sports writer for the local newspaper and had access to local historical information. Fast forward to when I was moving out of the apartment.  He knocks on my door and hands me a few sheets up paper.  
"I decided to look up the history of our apartment building," he said.
"Uh huh...?"
"Your apartment in particular."
"Oh, OK."  I looked down at the grainy copies of old newsprint.  He stood there while I looked it over.  Seems as though a married couple lived in my apartment several decades back.  He killed her in the shower.


Stay tuned for: Do you believe in ghosts? [part two]


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