Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day Update

Well folks, I figured that it was about time for an update on my old people in the frozen north. Brace yourselves because the news is…good. It turns out that my grandfather actually had things far more organized and planned out than even he thought. They have agreed to hire some in home care and when the time comes for them to go into an assisted living facility there is a very nice on located only two blocks from the church they have attended for more than fifty years. This means that they can actually stay in what is virtually the same neighborhood. And less of a move means less trauma.

To make things even better my mother and aunt will be home today, which means that I can go back to just worrying about me (at least for a while).

Leap Day Randomness

"We shall not, we shall not be moved."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Random Recommendation

"Very well." Tuppence helped herself liberally to buttered toast. "Abridged biography of Miss Prudence Cowley, fifth daughter of Archdeacon Cowley of Little Missendell, Suffolk. Miss Cowley left the delights (and drudgeries) of her home life early in the war and came up to London, where she entered an officers' hospital. First month: Washed up six hundred and forty-eight plates every day. Second month: Promoted to drying aforesaid plates. Third month: Promoted to peeling potatoes. Fourth month: Promoted to cutting bread and butter. Fifth month: Promoted one floor up to duties of wardmaid with mop and pail. Sixth month: Promoted to waiting at table. Seventh month: Pleasing appearance and nice manners so striking that am promoted to waiting on the Sisters! Eighth month: Slight check in career. Sister Bond ate Sister Westhaven's egg! Grand row! Wardmaid clearly to blame! Inattention in such important matters cannot be too highly censured. Mop and pail again! How are the mighty fallen! Ninth month: Promoted to sweeping out wards, where I found a friend of my childhood in Lieutenant Thomas Beresford (bow, Tommy!), whom I had not seen for five long years. The meeting was affecting! Tenth month: Reproved by matron for visiting the pictures in company with one of the patients, namely: the aforementioned Lieutenant Thomas Beresford. Eleventh and twelfth months: Parlourmaid duties resumed with entire success. At the end of the year left hospital in a blaze of glory. After that, the talented Miss Cowley drove successively a trade delivery van, a motor-lorry and a general!" The last was the pleasantest. He was quite a young general!"

Ah, the delightful Agatha Christie. Do enjoy!

Random Picture Thursday

Wow...just wow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Few More Bits and Pieces

Some more random information about the HistoryDiva to keep you entertained on a cold, windy Wednesday.

1. The most rebellious thing I’ve ever done was getting my ears pierced for a second time without my parent’s consent. Of course I was already eighteen at the time so…it really wasn’t so much a ‘rebellion’ it was ‘young adult decision making’ but hey, they were against it at the time. (Ah…the wild and crazy days of youth.)

2. I got glasses and braces within a week of each other at the end of fifth grade. Yep, in one fell swoop my mother took me from ‘reasonably cute girl’ to ‘nerd.’ Thanks for that, ma.

3. As I child I was much more comfortable in a room full of adults than around a group of my peers. And I have never liked teenagers…even when I was one.

4. I don’t make my bed on a daily basis. I just don’t see the point. The bed gets ‘made’ once a week when I change the sheets.

5. In my opinion a spoiled child is the sign of bad parenting. And yes, I have enough childcare experience to make that statement with certainty.

6. I can cook…I just choose not to.

7. The only part of doing laundry I don’t like is pairing up the socks.

8. I think Legos are the greatest toy ever invented.

9. In college I was known for using oversized bright pink Post-Its and carrying a pink umbrella, the handle of which looked like a duck.

So there you go, dear reader, just a little more of what makes the HistoryDiva such a fabulous person

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What with One Thing and Another

Last week was not a good one for me. The days were long and full of worry and stress and the nights were short and sleepless. It seemed however, that things were looking up as we approached the weekend…but alas, it was not to be. Now, this in no way means that I didn’t enjoy my weekend for indeed it was the highlight of an otherwise craptasticly bad patch. There were super-fantastic supportive friends and hanging out and good food and laughs and jokes and funny stories. However, in the middle of all these good times a horrifically evil head cold caught hold of me. I coughed, I wheezed, I shivered through several rounds of fever and chugged orange juice. Then my guinea pig, Neville, died.

(Being the very lazy pet owner I am I don’t actually have a picture of him so this will just have to do. Isn't he cute? *sigh* Too bad I have an allergic reaction to their fur...yeah...kinda forgot about that until AFTER I had purchased one...but that is water long since under the bridge.)

So what with one thing and another I haven’t actually sat down to write out a blog post for a few days, a fact that my friend Robert was quick to point out. (I believe his exact words were: “What’s with all the pictures?”) Sorry to disappoint, dear reader. I promise I’ll be back to rambling away about nothing again soon.

The Gods Look Down and Laugh

My friend Carl had a very bad weekend.

I won’t go into detail about it here because my friend Robert did such a spectacular job of describing the situation.

Poor Carl, you really just have to wonder which deity he ticked off to get this kind of cosmic bitch-slap.

Friday, February 22, 2008

For Robert

History majors really are dark and twisty inside.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thoughts on a Wednesday Afternoon

Well, dear reader, it is Wednesday once more. Now that we have safely reached the middle of another week I feel that a rambling, pointless, wordy blog post is in order. Or…maybe not…I don’t know. So far this week I’ve dropped things, spilled things, broken things, and gotten yelled at by four different people. I’ve answered the phone about four hundred times and ripped one nosy telemarketer a new one. I’ve helped rearrange furniture, checked my father’s email for him, collected money, been to the bank and the post office and consumed a large chocolate milkshake in less than fifteen minutes (in retrospect that was probably a bad idea…). In short I’ve had a very normal and busy two and a half days…all while feeling like the world is collapsing down on top of me.

But at least I haven’t found a frog in my coffee.

*sigh* Spoke too soon.

Some Advice

I'm just saying...

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Little Random Silly

I'm not all gloom and doom, I promise. Although death does await us with nasty, sharp, pointy teeth...

"A census taker once tried to test me."

"I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

Things Fall Apart

Today, dear internet reader, I’m feeling a bit like a wrung sponge. This entire situation is just making me tired. (If you do not know which situation I am referring to you can click here, and here, and here to catch up.) Things just aren’t going well with our old people at the moment, and to add stress on top of stress things aren’t going well at home right now either.

Several weeks ago my uncle fell off a ladder and broke his ankle, which means that while he isn’t completely helpless he does need a little looking after. Well…his wife is in Pittsburgh and his adult daughter lives on the other side of town which means that this duty falls largely on his not-really-responsible-yet son. Then there is my father, whom I love very much, but who gets a little lost when my mom isn’t around. There are things that he just can’t seem to handle on his own and I really worry about him at times.

My mother called me last night to give me an update on the situation (which I’ll discuss in a minute) but mostly just to talk. She said that she misses me, she misses dad, and that she would really just rather be at home. My mom can be a strong person, but when it comes to medical situations she just can’t handle it. For example: when my father had his rotator cuff repaired it only took about forty five minutes for him to go from asleep under the anesthetic to ready to go home but my mom just couldn’t handle seeing him in that state. She turned green and almost fainted. So I hauled her out of the recovery room and had the nurse explain everything to me instead. (Turns out I’m great in an emergency.) My mom wears her worry very visibly and it takes a huge toll on her physically. My aunt, mom’s younger sister, attempts to hide her worry behind a tough exterior. She comes off as snippy, cold and uncaring. But she is good with medical emergencies, having been a volunteer EMT, and can hold together in a hospital setting much better than my mom can. But I worry about both of them because they have to help their parents make huge decisions.

My grandfather is going to require surgery to correct the problem that he went to the ER about last Wednesday. It isn’t going to happen immediately because he is still recovering from his last hospital stay…but it is going to happen. At this point he feels that the best course of action would be for my grandmother and he to move into an assisted living facility where they could have a little assistance with some day to day activities that are quickly becoming more than they can handle. (These are things like cooking, cleaning, and driving to doctor’s appointments.)

My grandmother is very resistant to this idea, wanting to stay in their home for as long as she physically can. (She want’s to see the flowers in their garden bloom one last time. I’ve known this woman my entire life and she is a seriously feisty, stubborn, and sometimes downright mean person…but that statement really shows a much more vulnerable side of her. It’s heartbreaking.) There are a few logistical problems with this, the main one being the construction of their home. My grandparents live in a very typical northern post war planned neighborhood. All the houses on their street come from the same set of three basic blueprints and all were built at the same time (late 1940s). The house is three stories; a finished basement, a main floor with a living room, dining room, and kitchen, and a ‘second floor’ with three bedrooms and the only bathroom. This means that getting to the bathroom or getting to bed at night requires a difficult climb up the stairs. Doing laundry requires several trips up and down two flights of stairs. And while this might not be a big deal for you and I this is serious work for two eighty-nine year olds. Oh, and did I mention that my grandfather has circulation problems and that there are days when he can’t actually feel his feet or legs?

The other option that has been suggested is contacting one of the several ‘in home care’ agencies recommended by the hospital and having a nice nurse come over every day to check up on them and make them meals, etc. But my grandmother really isn’t too happy with the idea of having ‘some stranger’ in her house every day.

The real dilemma is that my grandparent’s are both very independent people, and the idea of loosing that independence scares them in a way they can’t really understand. No one else in the family would dare to make this decision for them but many of the things said in conversations with my mother and my grandparents…how do I say this…there are times when they seem like lost children who just need a parent to pick them up and give them a hug. Do you understand what I’m trying to say? These are choices that are terrifying them and no one can make these closet monsters go away by simply turning on the bed-side light.

…things are falling apart.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Ex

I want this.

And So It Goes

Wednesday night my grandfather had to go to the emergency room. Complications had arisen from his recent round of ‘Medical Russian Roulette’ and he needed to have an emergency procedure performed. For the sake of modesty I will go no further into detail on that issue, but he is home again and is feeling much better.

The real downside to the situation is that my grandparents have finally reached an agreement that they are no longer able to stay in their home and will need to be moved into an assisted living facility where they can have quick access to help when it is needed. This means massive amounts of stress and upheaval for the entire family as this was an eventuality long discussed but alas, not planned for. With no preexisting arrangements there are huge and very difficult choices looming on the horizon. My mother and her sister are driving north to begin the process of relocating elderly relatives as I write this post. At some point I will be traveling that way myself to offer my assistance and support (cause that is what the favorite grandchild does at times like this…right?), and I’ll be sure to bring along my laptop so that I can blog from my hotel room.

However, not wanting this post to be a downer (or rather, more of a downer that it already is) I want to tell you about something that happened last night that is just…well…you’ll see. I want to tell you a story about a suitcase (just bear with me, okay?).

When I was about eleven years old I got a suitcase and matching duffel bag from my grandparents for Christmas. Up until that time my mother and I had always shared a suitcase when we made the yearly family trip to visit our relatives in the frozen north (and by frozen north I mean Pittsburgh) or my clothing was packed into a very small, old and battered suitcase that my mother had used in college. In my young and as yet un-jaded eyes a suitcase was a very ‘grown up’ thing to own…after all, only the adults in my world actually ‘owned’ things like that. My new luggage was a soft sided teal green rolling case with pink and black accents and black leather identification tags and the duffel had a two sided strap (one side pink, the other black). These two pieces of luggage were used and abused for the next seven years. They were over stuffed and wedged into the trunk of several cars, hauled in and out of hotel rooms and relative’s homes, kicked around the concrete floor of a half dozen cabins at the camp I went to as a teenager, and helped me move into the dorm my freshman year of college. Then they were put in the attic alongside my parent’s suitcases and all but forgotten about.

Last night my mother was packing to head to Pittsburgh in the middle of February…this means sweaters and sweat shirts and lots of layers. Her petite silver-blue hard sided suitcase just wasn’t going to hold everything she would need. So we climbed back up into the attic in search of another suitcase for her to use. She needed something larger but not heavy. Sitting in the corner was my trusty teal roller. We hauled it down the ladder and dusted it off. This morning it and its matching duffle, back in service after ten years, were wedged into the trunk of my mother’s car.

Its funny how many memories can be attached to an inanimate object isn’t it? Just seeing it sitting by the front door last night as I left my parent’s house brought back a weird wave of nostalgia for my own past, a subject I usually avoid if at all possible. Suddenly I could remember how clean the air smelled at camp in the early morning, how the sunrise looked from the small bedroom window in my grandparent’s house, and just how tiny that dorm room really was. Somehow I feel better about things just knowing that my mom is using my trusty old suitcase…and somehow it feels right that it should be with her as she goes to take care of the very people who purchased it for me all those years ago.

The Ugly Truth

I have suspected as much all along.

Oops Count: 0

Yesterday’s Oops Count: 8

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Boycotting VD since 1990

Ah, Cupid...the other white meat.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And This Too!

Just a little more randomness from Boring3D to round things out for the day. Enjoy!

Bits and Pieces

Some random information about the HistoryDiva to keep you entertained on a very dull Wednesday.

1. My greatest academic achievement EVER was my presentation on the history of New Zealand. Apparently, people at my alma mater are still talking about it.

2. My dream is to move to New Zealand, marry a handsome man with a wonderful accent and have lots of adorable little children with equally wonderful accents, and be the world’s greatest mom.

3. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.

4. I am not now, and will never be, a morning person.

5. I have read The Lord of the Rings cover to cover seven times.

6. I have read the entire Harry Potter series more times than I am willing to admit. I also own both the American print editions and the British print editions of the entire series…and I own the German print edition of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ …which I have read twice.

7. I love bookstores. If I could live inside of a Barnes & Nobel I would move today.

8. I do not like public libraries and I do not like ‘used’ books. It’s a germ thing…too many hands…GAH!!! I love my friends but seldom borrow books from them for this very reason. Sorry guys!! I love you but…GAH!!!

9. My favorite pass time is reading and my favorite hobby is cross stitch. If I could find some way to parlay those two things into a lucrative living…I would.

Oops Count: 5

My Wednesday behaving in a very random way.

So here is a little bit of randomness from Boring3D for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I spent my entire weekend at home. I was in my bed the entire time, popping cold medicine, drinking ice water, shivering under my electric blanket and trying not to die.

I’m feeling much better now, thanks.

And after my perfectly calm, oops free long weekend (had to take Monday off to recover)…it has only taken six hours at work for me to have completely blown it. Take a deep breath, HistoryDiva, the day is almost over.

Oops Count: 20 (yeah, twenty…and I haven’t even been to the dentist yet!)

Weekend Oops Count: 0

Friday, February 8, 2008

Because It's Not Every Day

… that you get to see such a nice looking pair of boobies.
Oops Count: 0
Yesterday's Oops Count: 0

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Quick and Dirty Follow-up

As I promised you, dear reader, in yesterday’s post here are a few updates.

The ‘Political Breakdown’ in my home state:
Illinois Senator Barack Obama has won the Democratic primary with 64 percent of the vote to New York Senator Hillary Clinton's 31 percent. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the state among the Republicans with 34 percent of the vote. Senator John McCain came in second place with 32 percent. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came in closely behind McCain in third place with 30 percent.

A little about Ash Wednesday:
In the western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and falls forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays). At Masses and services of worship on this day ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful. The officiating clergy marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross, which the worshiper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown. This act echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one’s head to signify repentance before the Lord.

A little bit about ‘Girl’s Night Out’:
We met at the restaurant, ate way too much, talked until they threw us out and all had a really good time.

That’s all folks!

Oops Count: 0

Yesterday’s amended Oops Count: 1 ...and I blame it totally on the poll results.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Fat Tuesday

Welcome to the ‘Super Fat Tuesday’ edition of Blissfully Unaware. As political pundents pontificate propaganda to a purportedly prolific portion of pollsters prodigious partygoers prepare to partake in partially pagan practices! (Check out my alliteration skill…even I’m impressed with me.)

As I’m sure you know, today is ‘Super Tuesday,’ the day on which the largest number of simultaneous U.S. presidential primary elections in the history of the Unites States primaries will be held. Yes! Voters in twenty four states will be heading to their polling places to cast a ballot for their candidate of choice. I’ll be voting after work.

As you are also aware, being the intelligent reader that you are, today is also ‘Fat Tuesday.’ Mardi Gras (French for ‘Fat Tuesday’) is the last day of Carnival, a celebration which begins twelve days after Christmas and ends exactly forty-seven days before Easter. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the Christian observation of Lent, the forty day liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. These forty days represent the time that Jesus spent in the desert where, according to the Bible, he endured temptation by Satan. Somehow it seems only right that we should start such a depressing ‘season’ off with a night of blatant hedonism. Karen (the hamster owning Patrick Stewart fan – to be sighted as HOPSF from now on, by the way) has invited me to her yearly ‘Girl’s Night Out’ in honor of the event.

Hey, would you look at that? You got a lesson in both history and politics and it didn’t even hurt! Tomorrow we will discuss poll results, Ash Wednesday, and we will reveal just how much of a party “Girl’s Night Out” really was.

Oops Count: 0 (go HistoryDiva, go!)

Yesterday’s amended Oops Count: 4 (hey…I’m trying!)

Monday, February 4, 2008

He Just Wants His Xbox!

...Cause how would it look if the Fuhrer had to play with a Wii?

/for Robert and Carl

//History majors really are dark and twisty inside

Oops! I said it again…

Well, the time of Lent is drawing near once more. While this little holiday isn’t as important to me and my religious preference as it is to my catholic friends (like Karen the hamster owning Patrick Stewart fan) I thought that in the spirit of the season I would choose something to ‘give up’ for the duration.

After much thought I have come to the conclusion that while I pride myself on having utilized my extended stay in the world of academia to establish an extensive and varied vocabulary I am forced to admit that my vast knowledge of our fair language includes a rather astonishing amount of profanity. Recognizing this as a short coming in one so educated, I have chosen to eliminate the profane from my everyday conversations in an attempt to conduct myself in a more ladylike and genteel manner. This will be no easy task as my favorite of the ‘four lettered naughty words’ happens to be usable as EVERY part of speech and fits neatly into most sentences (no, I won’t provide you with an example…just figure it out on your own).

So in an effort to keep you, the loyal reader, entertained there will be an ‘Oops’ count at the bottom of every post from now until Easter tallying up the number of times I ‘slip up’ on a day to day basis. But the fun (???) doesn’t end there, oh no! I’m asking for your assistance in coming up with some alternative phrases that can be employed when frustration sets in and an expletive is needed. So help a girl out!

Oops Count: 0 (so far so good…)

Friday, February 1, 2008

For Robert

...because life can really suck, and I'm sorry about that.