kill: (follow the day)
2009-07-24 04:23 pm

(no subject)

Since many people have helped me in my time of need, and I have been so touched and surprised by the power of the Internet and its users to help people, I am posting this in the hopes that someone may be able to help one of the worthiest people I have ever known. Betsy ([livejournal.com profile] bizetsy) and I met on LJ and used to work in the same building downtown, many years ago when I was at Internap. (Some long-time readers may remember our coffee-break adventures at Tully's that involved sugar-y frozen drinks and made-up songs.) She and her husband, another old friend of mine, met at my 24th birthday party. We haven't been in close touch in a long while, though I always read what's up with her with great and fond interest. Betsy is truly an incredible woman - a funny, charming, grade-school teacher with a killer wardrobe and beautiful tattoos, whose smile would light up a whole city block.

Anyway, she has been struggling for a while and needs help now and I can't think of anyone more deserving of it. Here is what she posted today:


Dear everyone,

I apologize earnestly for my mass message; my energy is in such short supply that I have been unable to speak to most of you for quite a while. I hope that you are well and happy. I have very important news to share, and a request for help.

* I have been diagnosed with several serious, and at this time, incurable, diseases.
* I have 2 neurological diseases: POTS and orthostatic intolerance. Both are types of dysautonomia: the breakdown of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls ALL major functioning body systems: respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, reproductive, etc. My cases are severe.
* I also have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury/brain damage from my April 07 car accident (when you are hit by a semi going 80, it doesn't work out in a small car's favor).
* I have multiple severe sleeping disorders. I am told I get about 3% of the rest of an average person. This means that if I sleep 8 hours, it's like you sleeping for 20 minutes. This makes it very hard for me to heal when I get other maladies.
* Along with this, I have a severe case of fibromyalgia.
* I have been rated 100% completely disabled by multiple doctors


I have a team of doctors searching for further understanding as to my poor health, as well, as I might have more illnesses. On a very good day, I can run a small errand or attend one activity. On a bad day, I am confined to my bed and must crawl to use the bathroom. I have had many more bad days than good lately, and have been almost totally confined to my apartment for the past months, going from dehydration to two kidney infections as well as dealing with effects of trying new, risky medications to attempt to decrease my dangerous symptoms. My infections got so severe that one of my drugs was a chemo drug; I have lost weight, lots of hair, and lots of lunches. (Bad humor attempt)

The good news is that these diseases are chronic rather than deadly; I am alive. I went from Fulbright scholar, teacher, and full-time graduate student to someone who can't walk sometimes. BUT, like I said, I am alive. I see grace and goodness in many small things that I ignored before. I am seeing a world-renowned rheumatologist on Bryan's insurance, and he has diagnosed more in the last 2 months than I had learned from many other doctors in 2 years.

The bad news is that so far, I have received not a penny in disability, social security, unemployment, or any other type of compensation in almost 11 months. I am told the wait on this is between 1-3 more years, and that for some cases, it takes 7 or more. Short term disability rejected my initial claim and I have to appeal (I am told this is pretty standard diversion.) I am being as proactive as my disability allows, but there is only so quickly that the government moves. I spend NO excess money: I do not go out to eat, buy clothing or get hair cuts or anything that is not mandatory. I only buy essential healthy groceries (at very low cost based on researching sales, coupons, rebates, etc.). Other than that, my money goes to doctors and medications. I had a savings account, emergency fund, everything you're supposed to do. Bryan has done everything he can to help me, but the medical bills--my medications alone are over $1,000 a month. Add testing, doctor visits, treatments, , on top of our very frugal living costs, are just too much for one salary to bear.

My money is gone. My credit card debt has reached a place I can not pay. I have $75 in my life, and I owe over $25,000 in medical bills (mostly on my credit cards) at this time. I promise you that I have watched every penny. However, my savings is gone. It is hard for me to ask, as I believe my place on this planet is to help others. I realized I needed to ask you this when I have had to cut down my medication doses and avoid new appointments because I can not afford them. That is dangerous. So, I now humbly ask for your assistance.

If you can make a donation of any size, I would be very grateful. If you wish, I will give you an itemized note of exactly where your money is going. I stretch every penny and promise I would not waste anything. If you can donate, please click here:









If you have no money to send but can send good wishes, thoughts, prayers--whatever your belief system is--I would very much appreciate that, too.

In return, I am setting up a website called thegrocerygirl.com to show people how I routinely get savings of 75% and more on groceries and home essentials (the only money I have spent for months), to try to help you and others. I will post as I am able.

Please feel free to re-post this in your journal.

Thank you so much for your time. My love to you all.
Betsy


Thanks for reading, y'all.
kill: (Default)
2009-05-07 02:08 pm

(no subject)

I'm ill today, really ill, but I wanted to get some thoughts down about things I'm working on for school this quarter. The trouble is that I had a little tantrum a few days ago about how burned out I am over school. One thread runs through it, as I read it back, and it's that I still LOVE art history, I'm still incredibly passionate about it. It's the deadline schedule that's getting to me.

I'm curious to see if that will change if I ever go to grad school and am on the semester schedule rather than the quarter one. A few grad school acquaintances of mine confirm the difference; I ran into the TA from my Western Religions survey course from last year and he told me he did his undergrad on the semester system and felt that he'd certainly had more time to delve into the subject.

Anyway, what I'm working on:

Sephardic Art in Medieval Spain: Before the quarter started I'd written to the prof, mainly to ask about the books we'd be using but also to let her know I was very interested in the subject because of my comparative religion studies (I'm currently a minor; depending on what kind of financial aid I'm awarded this year, I may declare a second major in it because it wouldn't be one extra quarter's work). Interestingly there isn't as much stress on the Jewish experience in the so-called convivencia - the idea that three religions/cultures all coexisted in the same fertile, vast realm - in the course thus far, except in relation to the two dominant religions that had been vying for control of Spain from the 8th to 13th centuries. I want to take a look at the way Jewish visual culture adapted throughout this period - and how it stayed the same. I need to figure out what my argument will be; because I'm sick this week it's hard to get and stay focused.

Dosso Dossi & the early 16th century Ferraran court: I've been working on this strange painting all quarter; I wrote a visual analysis of it a few weeks ago that was very well-received. I haven't had much time to do research in this direction, so I'm not sure what my thesis is, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with how weird the thing looks. I won't be solving any mysteries, as that's already been done, but I think I can provide various connections between courtly life and this particular painter's position in it. Mainly, I'm curious as to whether it looked as strange to his contemporary audience as it does to me; I'm constantly interested in the way the temporal surroundings of a work affect its reception, and what that says about the way that culture and knowledge develop.

So, those are my two projects right now. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not feeling very well, pretty terrible in fact, so while I'm intrigued by the research I'm finding it hard to focus. I've already been granted one extension on the Sephardic paper (I'm to turn the rough draft in on Monday). It's just been a very tough quarter for some reason. More work than I expected.
kill: (Default)
2009-05-06 01:55 pm

Administrativa

As I think more and more about what I want to do with this space, I realize that I do want to have a space for the things I love - art history stuff, academic stuff. I've never known how that was going to take shape, but I feel so familiar with the bones of Dreamwidth, built (and improved/innovated) as it seems to be on LJ's open source code, so maybe now's the time.

Things posted here may start out as placeholders and then get fleshed out a little more. I'm really, really burned out on academia right now, as much as I still love it. I'm in the middle of a spring quarter and took the hardest midterm of my life last Friday. It kind of broke me, but in thinking about it I realize that it kind of remade me as well. Still, I feel wrung out and unable to focus - though that might have more to do with the fact that I'm sick, too.

I'm not even sure I'll keep this name. I've been Kill for so long, but maybe it's time to start writing as ME, at least about the things that I love. Still, there's a certain freedom to partial anonymity. I'm not the sort that really likes a lot of responsibility (another reason I'm sort of burned out on academia) - I just want to love things and...well, not leave them, but be able to move on to other things if I want to.

We'll see.

In the meantime, here's a look at Titus Kaphar, who is the inaugural Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence fellow at the Seattle Art Museum. I have not yet been to see his work, but I want to place these video here because I am fascinated by his process.



kill: (Default)
2009-05-04 11:02 pm

(no subject)

Hi.

So, I have a permanent account on LJ, but who knows what's going to happen with that? I'll admit this is a bit of a name-grab, but it's for the one I've had since 1999 on LJ and since 1996 on the Internet in general.

I may have use for this yet. I'm trying to decide on a scholarly journal, or a private journal, or what. But I won't let it go to waste.
kill: (sin)
2009-04-09 03:04 pm

(no subject)

Once again, a painting made me cry today.

Franz von Stuck's Der Abendstern (The Evening Star)

Franz von Stuck, Der Abendstern (The Evening Star), 1912


The JPEG doesn't do it justice, at all. It looks so simple, here, but in person, the pink of the sunset glows, the tenderness of the kiss is so simple, and then - the star, singular in twilight and reinforced by the strength of the impasto used to paint it, virtually cuts into the sense you get of the painting.

I have long been a fan of the Frye's most recognized painting (Stuck's Sin, painted in 1893) -- heck, they use her face as an icon on Twitter. (It's also the icon I'm using, but in the interest of readability I cropped it from its insane gold-painted frame, which must be seen to be believed.) I visit it every once in a while, along with Gabriel Cornelius von Max's Botaniker (The Botanists). But truth be told I haven't been to the Frye as much as I ought. I need to change that.

The Munich Secession exhibition at the Frye ends Sunday, so I decided I'd better go see it. I almost didn't go, mainly because I have a lot of work to do, but I figured it couldn't hurt (this will be funny in a second) to take an hour to go see it. I'm glad I did. And if you're in Seattle, you should too before it goes away.

The funny part I mentioned above is not funny ha-ha, but funny "damn, this sucks" -- after I sat watching the painting for a while, I stood up to go see Nathalie Djurberg's eerie stop-motion animation in the Black Box and realized that my back was out. So much for it not hurting to go to the Frye. I do notice that my back tends to be a little more sensitive right around that certain time of the month, so I need to watch that in the future. I am home now and making some notes about the exhibition, having taken pain pills and muscle relaxants, and am going to try to get some reading done. I just hope I don't get too loopy.

Sigh.
kill: (in just spring)
2009-04-06 12:36 pm

(no subject)

I swear to god, Attention Deficit Disorder. Or SOMETHING. Last night I couldn't settle down to work on anything, kept doing other little useless things, alt-tabbing all over the place. Got much less accomplished than I'd planned after being derailed by the inconsideration of my boss. Bleh. Ten-week quarters aren't very forgiving about this sort of behavior. I'm not even really watching television this quarter, and surprisingly, I don't miss it. There's just too much to read on what I've got going. But I need to program my router to only work during certain times, or something.

In other news, it is a gorgeous day and the campus is bustling. I took a picture of the quad because it is just packed with people sprawled all over the grass. Love it.

Today someone was snoring so loudly in my High Renaissance Painters class that the professor heard her and said, "Is somebody snoring?" Only he was too nice to yell. I felt myself blush on behalf of both the woman and the professor. If it's any consolidation, Prof Who Won't Read This, I don't think your lectures are boring.

Dinner with Max & Rhyd tonight. I haven't seen them in months.
kill: (Default)
2009-04-02 01:35 pm

(no subject)

Sometimes a musician just exists in your life, and you know them for a long time, and they become part of the background of noise that you exist with, maybe since you were a little kid. And the songs start becoming manipulated and co-opted for advertisements for various things from minivans to television shows. And then one day, you're driving home from work, and the sun is breaking through the pink and orange clouds, and the musician's song starts playingn on the radio, and you're inspired to turn the volume way up, and you realize you are A Fan of The Musician?

I am a fan of Joe Cocker.
kill: (Default)
2009-03-26 09:11 am

(no subject)

Finally.

ART H 206 SURV NATIVE N AM ART 5.0 4.0 20.00
ART H 373 SOUTHERN BAROQUE 5.0 3.9 19.50
RELIG 202 RELIGIONS,EASTERN 5.0 3.5 17.50

Grade Point Average 3.80

Cumulative Grade Point Average 3.67
kill: (Default)
2009-03-20 12:48 pm

(no subject)

If you have an hour, DO check this out: An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. It was made by Dr. Michael Wesch, who teaches at Kansas State University and has made several other videos regarding technology and learning and how they interact.



I think a lot of what he's saying about the internet and Web 2.0 and community and connectivity applies to Livejournal, too. I remember the difference between having an online journal, which I made with HTML and had at my own website, and what happened to my world after I got a Livejournal. People could respond with the journal I used to have at onesandzeroes.net, but only by email. Everything changed with LJ: my friends, the way I communicated with them, the tone and breadth of my posts, all of it.

This video made me cry, but I'm emotional lately. It made me cry about the Numa Numa guy, for chrissakes.
kill: (Default)
2009-03-20 11:18 am

(no subject)

Had an MRI this morning and then met with my neurosurgeon.

The good news: I don't have further disc herniation.

The bad news: That disc (L4-5) is pretty much fucked up due to the surgeries and ongoing degeneration disease, and I won't get any long-lasting relief from it until I take off a significant amount of weight.

The short-term plan includes a cortisone epidural injection (which I'll have Tuesday); I will also apply for a temporary disability placard to keep on hand for bad pain days. The long-term plan includes some physical therapy (if I can afford it) and more exercise, probably utilizing the pool at school. I am nervous about that, mainly because it's a bunch of college kids and then there will be me with my big white body and my big black swimsuit. But I just have to get over it, because I can't live like this anymore.
kill: (Default)
2009-03-15 02:16 pm

(no subject)

I am very emotional today. There is no reason, other than that I am extremely tired and that I am PMS-ing, and it makes me act like a petulant child, and everything threatens to spill over. I did finish a final exam essay that I was worried about, but not until about 2 am. This morning I went to the Seattle Art Museum to look at a collection George de Forest Brush's "Indian paintings" that he did in the 1880s. The exhibition presents him as one of the only White artists that worked to portray Native Americans in a sympathetic manner at that time.

I walked into a room, drawn by the small bust portraits of several men, and I turned around and saw the painting that I've put behind the cut. It is a moving picture, no doubt, but my eyes welled up and my throat tightened so fast that I thought I was going to have to run for cover of the restroom, for fear of becoming a messy blob of tears right there in the middle of the gallery.

George de Forest Brush's -Mourning Her Brave-, 1883 )

I stayed for the gallery talk and now I am at work. I still have quite a bit of studying left to do, but by this time tomorrow I will be done with the quarter, and though I am always sad to stop studying certain things, it will be a relief. And I will immerse myself in library books. And internet teevee.

'Til then.
kill: (Default)
2009-03-03 07:22 pm

(no subject)

Various and sundry:

Aw, the Rock and Ray Lamontagne will be on SNL on my birthday (this Saturday). It's like a little birthday present! Of course, I'll be out of town, staying with a friend who refuses to watch television. Matt and I are going up to Mjark's for an overnight. It will be Matt's first visit so it should be interesting.

I found out today that my spine surgeon is covered under the insurance I get through UW. Once the quarter is over I will start jumping through all the hoops of getting a further diagnosis. If she suggests further surgery, I am going to ask for a disabled placard and help being placed with Disability Services at school and put surgery off until August. If I want to graduate on time I cannot miss any more quarters of school, including summer quarter. If I can get the parking thing situated that will make things much easier. All of my classes next quarter are in the same building, and in the summer, I'm planning on taking an intensive first-year Italian course, so that'll all be in one place as well. It will suck and it will hurt, but I have to stay on track.

I feel like I have more to say, but I don't, really. Things are . . . things. I've got a little under two weeks left of school and a lot to do in that time. Then I am gonna read the hell out of some library books.
kill: (Default)
2009-03-02 09:58 am

Writer's Block: Desert Island Time

[Error: unknown template qotd]
This is the first time that I've ever answered one of these questions, but [livejournal.com profile] antipodes did it and I was inspired.

DVDs I would bring with me:

  1. Love Actually. I know, I know, it's a cheesy rom-com, but I love it.
  2. Harold & Maude. If anything could cheer me up on a desert island (besides a hatch to play with and maybe some Dharma mac & cheese), this would be it.
  3. The Cockettes. This is a documentary that Mjark showed me and I absolutely love it. It would inspire me to do things with fronds the likes of which you've never SEEN.
  4. I'm gonna go ahead and say that Special Edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That probably counts as more than one, but if it comes in one package, it's probably okay, right?
  5. Ditto the two new Batman/Dark Knight movies. Why so serious?
kill: (admiral jerk)
2009-02-25 03:26 pm

(no subject)

Seriously, if Republicans honestly don't have any idea that White House watermelon gardens or cartoons about shot-dead chimps related to stimulus plans are connected to historical racial stereotypes, if they really don't know and claim to be clueless --

HOW CAN THEY EXPECT US TO BELIEVE THEY HAVE A GODDAMNED CLUE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE?

God, I'm sick of this bald-faced lying.
kill: (don't.  fuck.  with the babysitter.)
2009-02-03 02:29 am

(no subject)

I want to go dancing. I'm not meant for it, anymore -- I've nothing to wear, and I'm too fat for the stamina it requires, but I miss the sweat and the smoke and the lights and the floor of it.

That is all.
kill: (everything was beautiful)
2008-12-28 08:04 am

(no subject)

Sometime during the holiday my back went out pretty bad. I was very stir-crazy yesterday and felt vaguely okay, so Matt and I went out to go to the grocery store and the library. I was driving and I turned down a bad street and we got stuck in the snow. An awesome Good Samaritan neighbor heard our tires spinning and drove over with his Jeep and towed us out. But in the meantime I slipped on the ice a little while trying to figure out what to do. I even made to push the car but Matt yelled at me not to, so don't blame him, heh. He's really good about watching out for me when I try to take on too much. I just felt so useless and I wanted to help. But by the time we got out of there I was in a great deal of pain.

I have six pain pills left and no muscle relaxants so I've been taking it verrrry easy. Refilling my meds might prove rather difficult as I have to go through the campus pharmacy and it's going to take a phone call to my surgeon. Hopefully it won't be a hassle. If I can get out from under the pain I might be able to stretch my way out of this one.

I'm really concerned though because the pain is shooting down my leg again, like it did before my last surgery. That is never a good sign. All the times I've had pain since surgery have been minimal and seemingly muscle spasm-related and did not involve my extremities and did not feel disc-related. This, on the other hand, feels disc-related. And this terrifies me.

There is no more laminectomy/discectomy, as I only have about 15% of my disc left. There is only fusion. Last night I got so depressed and frustrated that I felt like I wanted to give up on my life. Not suicide, but figuring out a way to be on disability and find a way to get better somehow. Because I just don't know if I can deal with this again. I feel like I've used up all my strength. I know that it could be much worse; that I can even limp to the bathroom is a fortunate thing compared to things that other people are going through. I hate the self-centeredness that comes with this pain. I hate that makes me dwell on my own shit while people are getting annihilated in Gaza.

I'm at work right now because there is no one else to do the work and I've only worked one day since the 17th, not because of my back but because our office has been closed due to the weather. I'm just going to slowly get through it the best I can. If you pray, please pray for me that this will be okay by the 5th, when I need to return to school.

I don't know what else to do. How else to be.
kill: (Default)
2008-12-26 02:11 pm

(no subject)

The Master and Margarita The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
The last time that I read any Russian literature was in high school, and it was the better-knowns like Crime and Punishment or The Metamorphosis. My boyfriend studies Russian and came home with a recommendation for this, and I finally got around to reading it. Bulgakov is funny as hell (ha!) and I really enjoyed this story, which offered another side to the traditional feuding between the dark and light. I'm afraid I probably didn't understand its more nuanced parts, thanks to such little background in Russian history and a failure to know Faust, a strong influence on this work, but even in a solely entertainment-oriented way it was a dreamy, scary trip. A few times, I seriously found myself in that state of mind you get into when you read horror on a dark-and-stormy night, like, "Maybe this isn't such a good idea, given the likely impending nightmares."


View all my reviews.
kill: (aurora green)
2008-12-12 05:28 pm

(no subject)

A rare public post -

A local woman is trying to gather some money and supplies for a holiday dinner for homeless youth in Seattle. I can't contribute much this year, as money is so tight, but we're in a better place than others, and for that I am thankful.

If you'd like to contribute somehow, take a look. If you're a crafty person or getting rid of things, she's also gathering warm stuff like mittens, hats, clothes, and other supplies for the kids.
kill: (admiral jerk)
2008-12-10 05:20 pm

(no subject)

Scene this morning in the elevator, as I am arriving at school to take a final.

Old lady: We're all going to the Plaza! [sees me hit G for the ground floor, which is where the cafe and the supplies stand are located, sneers.] Oh. You're going to get food.
Me: Nope, just need coffee and a blue book for my exam...
Old lady: Oh, well that's much better. [Looks me up and down.] Good luck with your test.

The fuck? So what if I am going for food? At 7:30 in the morning on the day of a final, what, am I not allowed to eat fucking breakfast?

Newsflash to the world: Yeah, I'm fat, but that still means I have to eat every day. It's not like I store sandwiches on my hips and fruit in my boobs and wrap spaghetti around my arms under my skin. Body doesn't work that way, idiots.

Some people's grandmas. Sheesh.

Of course, I don't even know why I felt the need to explain myself. I always think of things to say too late.
kill: (follow the day)
2008-11-12 11:02 pm

(no subject)

I really like the person I am becoming.