Springtime!

I’m not reliable when it comes to updating my blog. I received a comment last night on one of my posts, which made me come back and notice that I had a blog in the first place. Aren’t blogs soooo 2008? Anyhoo, here’s an update of what’s been going on:

1) I’m still in school. Wanna fight about it?
2) Summer is almost here, and I am thrilled. I’m not going anywhere this year – I’m doing a very in-depth chem course on campus. In-state tuition is something I’d like to take advantage of.
3) No, I’m still not a resident of Oregon, despite living here since 2004, not going to school for 1 1/2 years, and doing everything a resident does: pay income tax, property tax, own a car, vote, participate in outside of school type things… grrr.
4) I still haven’t had a relapse. Whoooo for that! I have maintenance drugs and check-ups every six months now, and that makes me feel good.
5) My hair is almost to my shoulders. For someone who was bald for 2+ years, I’m happy to have long hair again. It’s getting there!
6) My brother graduated from the French Culinary Institute and is now a badass fancy cook at a place called Lyfe, in Palo Alto, CA. They work him to the bone, but he’s getting good experience.
7) I fell down a volcano at field camp last summer. Yeah, only I could fall down a cinder cone. It was slippery and I was trying to get downhill like all the other people. Unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned.
8) I’ve been doing well with the violin and now play with Pro Musica, a string orchestra in Corvallis, OR. I also play Violin II for the Willamette Valley Symphony (where I played oboe before I switched due to inter-section BS politics). My new teacher challenges me at a higher level than I though I could achieve, and I’ve improved dramatically over the last year or so.
— Recently, I hurt my elbow from over-use, so I’m taking a week to two week break to let it heal. I was an idiot to rush back into playing sousaphone after my shoulder surgery, so I’ve learned my lesson. It just took…11 years. I never said I learned quickly. (Actually, I typically learn very quickly, but I like to ignore past experiences as flukes, and just wing it.)
9) I’ve started to edit other peoples’ stories again (for experience!) on FictionPress.com and FanFiction.net. I recommend Fiction Press if you want to read unique stories by regular people. FanFiction.net is the powerhouse of fan fiction archives. They have everything! Want some smutty Dumbledore-on-Hagrid action? They have it. Twincest? Yep. Weird Naruto / Pride and Prejudice cross fiction? Uh huh. It’s a bad habit. (note: not all stories on FF are sexual and weird – many are VERY long tales of love, action, horror, misunderstandings, and mystery using pre-established characters and worlds. FanFiction is a fun way to dip your toe into writing without having to invent your own settings and characters.)
10) I just wanted a round number for my list. Oh! I got a new cat! His name is Stupid, and he’s a Siamese-mix. We used to take care of him when he was a kitten, then my neighbor moved to Washington and couldn’t take him with her. So we acquired him, and I love him to death.

That’s about it. Back to work! :D

Yep, Summer.

 

What’s that smell, you ask? It’s the sweet smell of summer. And no, it’s not me, I checked. Actually, it’s not been warmer than 73 degrees all year, so I can hardly call this summertime. It’s a nice balmy spring. But, honestly, I like the weather like this. I’m a fan of rain and snow, so summer and I don’t get along so well. Also, my pale skin and the sun don’t get along so well either. Thankfully, I’ll be in places for the majority of the summer where I do not have to be in the sun. Where, you ask? Why, let me tell you!

  1. I’ll be in Seattle with my little sister, Ashley, in July for a Christian music festival. I can’t wait!
  2. My mum and dad are taking me on an Alaskan cruise in August for two weeks. We’ll be visiting many places I saw when I was in 7th grade for a Girl Scout trip (Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, etc), but I’ll see some new places too (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Anatuvuk, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Denali National Park… so many awesome places!).
    1. I’m hoping to get permission from the National Parks Service to do a soil survey when I’m in Anatuvuk. My soils professor, Jay Nollar, and all around soil badass may or may not write me a letter of permission to go digging through a national park to see some gelisols.
  3. Baby Field Camp is this summer, which is bad. I love geology, kind of, but the idea of being in Bishop, California (read: shitty, hot weather, middle of nowhere, but oddly beautiful) for two weeks with a professor I’d rather drown in a bucket of my own pee doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. This will not round out the end of my summer vacation very well. AND, camp gets back the night before school starts. I may or may not attend my first day of classes. Lets be honest: I’m not going to attend the first day.

So, that’s what my summer is rounding out to look like. In the meantime, I’m getting ready for a friend’s wedding in which I will be playing the piano. I think I’ve annoyed her, though. I was so busy with the end of the quarter that I ignored her too much, and now she’s freaking out about the music. I kind of am, too. To be honest, both of us just haven’t been hitting the nail on the head.

The last bit of info involves Facebook. Mainly, I won’t be using it this summer. I don’t look at it very much unless it’s during school, and even then (unless I’m playing some sort of addicting Facebook game) I have a tendency to ignore it. I’ll still be using Twitter (@kristindexter) which is your best bet of getting ahold of me. I’ll be updating more frequently now that I’m out of school than I did last year. Two or three posts all year? C’mon.

Last-lastly (yes, it’s a word!), I recommend you visit my brother’s “A Beer A Day” Blog. He’s working his way through BevMo (a Californian beverage store much like Costco, but for booze) one beer at a time. You can follow him on Twitter @beerdailyblog, or check out his blog here.

Can you believe it’s May?

The last time I updated my blog, it was 2010. Now, the school year is almost over, and I’ve had a few “life-changing” moments. No, I don’t have cancer again (thank goodness). I’m still in remission. I have lost nearly 20 lbs on a new diet (the hCG diet), and I’ve gotten rid of my physics major. I do want to graduate in the next nine years, you know ;-) So, for now, I have geology, and soil science. Yes, soil science! It’s fun, interesting, and it’s the first time I’ve ever really enjoyed myself in school.

What is soils, you ask? Well, let me tell you! Soil science is the study of the soil as a habitat. Yes, I study how the soil is formed, the minerals it’s formed from, the fungi and bacteria that live in the soil, the plants that change the soil pH to keep competition low, and even how to improve soil for crops (add organic matter!). I literally have this joy when I hold a clod of soil in my hand. Texturing it releases this smell that I adore – you should know the smell. It’s that smell after the rain falls, the smell when you till your garden for the first time in the growing season. I like to pull out my Munsell color book and color the soil (my favorite color? 7.5YR 2/2.). Most people hate keying soil out using the Soil Taxonomy book from the USDA, but I enjoy it. It’s like I’m the soil science Sherlock Holmes, and using what I know about the soil, I can determine it’s true identity.

How is soil science useful? Well, you do like to eat food, right? Do you like beer? Wine? Wherever a crop is grown, I can guarantee a soil scientist touched that soil at some point. The best part of soils, though, is playing in the soil pit itself. Soil pits are like giant holes in the ground (and have been compared to open graves or empty hot tubs). We go play in a soil pit every Tuesday for my Soil Taxonomy class, and that’s how we learn how to do our future jobs. With this class, I have a renewed vigor for school.

Unfortunately, that vigor doesn’t carry over to geology. Structural Geology should be my favorite class, but it isn’t. I absolutely hate it. In fact, I’ve been ditching lab, which spells failure and disaster for me. I will most likely fail the class, and be put on probation, unless the teacher (who highly dislikes me) will give me an incomplete so I can finish it over the summer or next year. I hate this so much. HATE. Grrrrr.

That’s about it for me. Now, for one last thing: my brother, Steven, has started a blog called “Beer Daily”. He’s determined to taste every beer Bevmo has to offer. Bevmo is like the Costco or Sam’s Club of booze. So, he has quite a daunting task set for himself. You can read his blog here. I hope you enjoy it! He’s an excellent writer.

Have a good Memorial Day, and a good Summer Vacation!

Another year

School’s started once again, and I’m proud to say I’m finally back full time, and busy as ever. Apparently life doesn’t stop for cancer, which isn’t really fair. Most of my friends… all of my friends… have graduated. I made a few new friends in Geology, and it’s nice to hang out with them between classes. Unfortunately, I’m at school on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 am to 9 pm, with a few hours break in the middle of that mess. I’ve actually got to be at school by 7:45 this morning, and it’s 2 am now. I just can’t sleep (which is weird). I was hoping to get 8 hours of sleep tonight, but that’s not going to happen, obviously. I guess teaching at 8 am is going to force me to go to mineralogy every morning.

I also joined the kendo club on campus. There are 7 other new members, which is great! A girl named Devynn is usually paired with me, since we’re the same height. It’s easiest to spar with someone your own size. The work outs exhaust me, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion! I’m really enjoying myself so far.

On the cancer front, I still have maintenance chemo, and there’s no cancer so far. I’ve gained most of my weight back, which I hate the most. Of course, I was supposed to. I just didn’t want to. It’s not fair :(

I’ll try to keep this updated more as the quarter goes on!

Livestrong: Stigma and Silence

So, this isn’t the documentary I was supposed to be in. While in my face to face interview with Mat, I spoke about the stigma associated with cancer for a college student still struggling to go to classes. I talked about not having any hair, and being pointed at (and called a lesbian…). I also spoke about the difficulty of being a cancer patient when people don’t really know what to expect. A guy I had gone out with a few times refused to see me again because he was afraid he could catch it, even though we were just friends and no longer considering each other as potential dateable people. (I wanted to punch him in the face.)

Enjoy the documentary!

Remission… And what that means for me

I couldn’t sleep tonight (it’s all those damn hot flashes… Goes with the territory of having your womanhood destroyed by chemotherapy, I suppose). So, I’ve begun to think of what my recent remission means to me.

1) I’m still on drugs, to a point. Just because I’m in remission doesn’t mean I can just forget the fact that I’ve had cancer three times now. I have maintenance chemo, as well as drugs to take at home.
2) I wonder how long it’ll take me to regain my strength. I’m dying to go back to school full time, to go hiking and camping again, and to ride my bike! The littlest thing makes me tired right now. Maybe I should stick to yoga for a bit.
3) Will people understand that being in remission doesn’t mean i’m instantly well? That it could take me over a year to fully recover? (I wasn’t recovered when I got cancer this last time.)

Lots of things to think about. Also, I’m not thinking as quickly as I was before. And I get tired easily. And I still feel absolutely awful sometimes. What does that mean? My onc dangled the carrot of remission in front of my face for so long that I think I forced my body into it. My labs were looking better before, but there wasn’t the massive increase like there was this time. What if it doesn’t last? I don’t think I could handle all of this a fourth time.

I already feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of life’s opportunities. My friends are all graduating this year. I’ll still be at OSU, and I’ll probably get my PhD before my bachelors (at the rate i’m going). Also, I’ve missed almost 2 years of sorority functions. And now I’m Alumnae. Just like that. Poof – gone. That makes me sad. I wanted alumnae status in a way because I’m too old to be in a sorority, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.

Stupid cancer ruined my college experience. F u, cancer. Life could be much worse, but I’m glad it isn’t.

Oh, Peter DeFazio. Shame on you.

There was an article on Catholic.org about the ‘Catholic Hall of Shame‘, and it was a very interesting read. I knew that Oregon had a few Catholics that probably voted for abortion, and this has been going on for years. But, something in me just snapped this morning. Reading Peter DeFazio’s name on that list (no, I did NOT vote for him, even if he ‘represents’ me) incited disappointment in me, and prompted me to write him this letter:

Dear Representative DeFazio,

I’m a member of the St. Mary Parish in Corvallis, and was recently reading this (http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=34849) article on catholic.org about our Catholic Representatives in the Senate. After looking at your voting history, I was very, very surprised to find out you are Catholic as well.

This concerns me. You, and other Catholics in the government, are giving the rest of us bad names. If you still go to Mass and receive Communion, then shame on you. Voting for the intentional killing of babies with our tax dollars is not only unethical, but against your faith. I’m glad you’ve taken a side and decided that your social standing and someone’s right to choose to murder children is more important than Christ.

Canon Law states that you can excommunicate yourself if you don’t come to terms with the obvious schism you have created. Be sure that your Catholic constituents will be praying for you to come back to the Church. But, if that doesn’t happen, please leave the Church by name. Your voting record is an embarrassment.

Abortion is not health care, and abortion is not a choice. It is very cleverly-concealed genocide.

I recommend that any Catholic Oregonians out there write to Peter DeFazio and express your disappointment. You don’t have to be as strongly worded as I was, and I know suggesting someone leave the Church is probably a sin. But, I honestly think it’s better people like that leave because they obviously don’t believe what they say they do.

*sigh* That was my morning, how was yours?