Friday, November 30, 2007

Forgot to say Thanks.

I was away for Thanksgiving and forgot to post the things I am most thankful for.

1. I have a wonderful husband. He treats me with respect and cares about me more than any other person ever has. I am so grateful that we have so much in common. It's scary, even our childhoods were similar -- and we grew up 250 miles away from each other. I'm also grateful that we do the same work. It's nice to have someone who understands what you do for a living and can truly respect it.

2. I have a fantastic family. And not just the family I was born into - the family I married into also. Everyone is fun to be around and easy to talk to.

3. I have a job. Even though it is part time. Even though it is time consuming. Even though I complain a lot at this time in the semester. I have a job. I am not working in the food service industry anymore. And I am on my way up.

4. I have a wonderful cat who I love like a child. I am thankful that I picked him out of all the kitties I could have chosen.

5. I am thankful for my sight. I have to be. Bad eyesight runs in my family. My mom is legally blind, so is my brother, so are my aunt and two cousins, so was my grandpa... etc. It is a genetic condition - I am lucky to see at all.

6. I am healthy... most of the time. Things could be worse, and since they aren't... I'm thankful.

Monday, November 26, 2007


-I am feeling sick.
-I let my anger get the best of me.
-I feel detached.
-I want to be in bed.
-I want to quit me for a while.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who is your hero?

This month holds my birthday, my brother's birthday and my sister's birthday, so I am, of course, reminiscent lately.

I've often been asked, "Who is your hero?" and my answer has not changed since I was three years old. -- My brother. Period.

My brother is, without a doubt, my hero, my role-model, my heart, the type of man that I hope my child will grow up to be. He has exhibited more strength in his 23 years than most men do in 75.

When Joey was born, his vision was nonexistant. He was completely blind. I was three when he was born, and I was suddenly caught up in a tornado of events that will stick with me forever. My family travelled daily to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, approximately two and a half hours away, for iffy doctor visits and little hope. We were very lucky because a pediatric eye doctor, Dr. Hiles, came out of retirement to work on Joey. My parents were willing to try anything - and when they found out about a highly experimental surgery that could give their son limited vision, they decided to try it out.

My brother was the first infant to receive an epikeratophakia, in other words - he received donor corneas. Joey was lucky, he received three different corneas because one operation failed. Corneas are hard to get from donors and the odds of him receiving one were slim, let alone three.

By the time Joey was three years old he endured 21 operations on his eyes and could see! He had another surgery when he was seven to cut a muscle to stop his eyes from crossing. The surgeries resulted in a lazy eye - but he can see.

My parents often talk about the first time they realized the surgeries were successful. Joey was sitting in his baby seat in the living room and my father was walking into the kitchen with a balloon in his hand. My brother looked at the balloon and followed it as my father moved. Needless to say, my dad walked back and forth for hours, crying and laughing while Joey watched the balloon in amazement.


As I mentioned, Joey's birthday is this month. He will be 23. He is still legally blind. I can't remember the numbers exactly, but his vision is something like 20/400 in one eye and worse 20/600 in the other - what this means is that what the average person can see at 400 or 600 feet, Joey must be at 20 feet to see. It's poor - but he can see. And he never complains.

Joey does everything on his own. He plays his video games, he has a good job, he walks all over town. Obviously, he cannot drive, but he doesn't let that stop him. He gets around like anyone - even better than most. And other than cracking a joke now and then, I've never heard him complain.

He's been teased and tormented by children when he was younger and still he never buckled. He never felt sorry for himself, never cried, never said "why me?" or "I hate this." He is so strong.

And you would think his trouble would stop at his eyes - NO! He also has a condition that causes tumors to occur occassionally. A few years ago, he complained of chest pains. My parents took him to the ER and he was XRayed. The doctors sent him on his way and said he was suffering from pleurisy.

A day or two later, the phone rang. A doctor who had never even met Joey stumbled across his xrays and found a spot. They called him in for more testing. It was a tumor.

The tumor was very close to his spinal column, so a neurosurgeon was called in to handle the operation. The doctor had to remove a portion of his rib to take the tumor out - but out it came. The surgery was a major one - it was scary and risky. But again, Joey dealt with it. No tears, no complaints. The tumor was malignant in the center. No tears, no complaints. Luckily, the cancer had not spread and was contained in the tumor. Joey had to go back for monthly visits, then bi-monthly, and now yearly. Still, no complaints.

A while later, he had a tumor removed from his lip. It was nothing serious, but still a nuissance.

And Joey could sit on his butt and do nothing. He could whine, he could say he was incapable of working, and he would have a right. No one would care if he did those things. We would feel like he had a reason to do nothing and to be sad. But he doesn't sit on his butt. He works seven days a week. He just had a nice date the other night. He has fun with his family. He plays games, he's goofy, he's funny, he's super smart. He never ever bemoans his situation.

I don't believe I have that strength. I don't know many people that do. I whine about everything. I complain about my job. I complain about my food. I complain about my finances. I complain because I had to have one surgery. I complain because I can't have children. I've let my problems beat me down - I cry, I feel sorry for myself, I wish I was someone else sometimes. And then I think about Joey. I think about my hero.

He is the true definition of a man. He deserves everything good. He deserves a life filled with good things.


And so I ask, Who is your hero? And why?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A dose of HaHa

I love LOLcats.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I was dreading my birthday this year... I could feel it sneaking up on me. This is unusual. I am usually very excited about my birthday and regardless of what happens, I feel excited and refreshed. But somehow, I just felt different this year. I say that I feel old... but it wasn't even that so much. I just wasn't excited about it this year - and that alone made me sad, because I really wanted to enjoy it.

The day before my birthday one of my chinchillas passed away. He was my first and favorite -- so I was very upset to find out he was gone. I cried for a long time. Thankfully, Nicholas spent a good amount of that time beside me, just there. Sometimes that is the best remedy. I didn't need him to say anything, I just needed his physical presence to help me feel better.

I was, needless to say, convinced that my birthday was going to be worse than ever at this point.


Thankfully, my actual birthday was very nice. I spent the day with my family - no party, no craziness, just a mellow day. It turned out to be very relaxing.

Nicholas and I planned to go out for a nice dinner on my birthday, but on our way there we realized it was not going to work. There was a big football game that night and the traffic was horrible, so we got off the interstate and headed home. We decided to go out to dinner the next night.

On Friday, we went to Solera Cafe in Morgantown. It was AMAZING! I've never really had such a fine dining experience. The plating was beautiful and the food tasted superb - not to mention, the serving sizes were very generous. It was expensive, but it was worth it for the experience. I hope to go back soon to try the trout.


Unfortunately, I woke up Saturday very sick. I could barely function. I took some medicine and was out for the weekend.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I need to stay awake.

I'm very interested in these photos "taken at just the right time." The diver is another one of my favorites... and don't even get me started on the hilarity factor of that last picture.


Are you unsure of which political candidate you should side with? Glass Booth is pretty interesting. My results were exactly what I expected them to be.


I am procrastinating. There is a stack of papers waiting to have my scribbles all over them and I just can't talk my wrist into the work.


Today was my sister's birthday. She is eighteen now. She is the youngest of the children in my family. There is such a wide age difference between the two of us, and now I feel very old.

Another thing that makes me feel old. I was walking along the sidewalk the other day and a random person stopped me and asked "Excuse me, are you a professor here? I really need to ask someone who teaches here a question." I was mortified that she could tell I was a teacher - I wasn't doing anything unusual... just walking in the direction of one of the buildings... like the 20,000 other people around me. I used to be mistaken for just another student, but alas, no more.

My birthday is on Thursday... that is yet another reason I feel old.


I think I'm going to just go to bed. I will grade tomorrow.