Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flux of reality...

For me, coming into adulthood has two stages. The first part was regret - realization that things are not like they used to be, and ignorant longing to make them that way again. The lack of responsibility and ability to do bad things without the consequences - I wanted that back. I was somewhat sad. But I think I am mostly over that part. Now I am finding myself in the second stage: feeling comfortable in my own skin. I am not so much afraid anymore for backlashes of being truly Kristen, because I think the world needs more people like me, regardless of whether or not they want it. I had realized that life was always going to be hard in stage 1, but now I'm okay with it. Life would be pretty bland if it were never challenging. Like the holiday break - I pray all semester for it, then when it gets here, I find myself dreaming in a few days about the classes I am taking next semester. I see that love doesn't make marriage come easily, and I will have to work at it. But I am happy because I think I have the best person in the world to work at it with. Strangely, I look forward to all the hard, depressing, mundane things we will have to go through together. Because it will only make the short breaks of awesome better. And I am realizing that I always, always, always have to pursue the true, changing Kristen. Because you can't be awesome by just doing, it's the being that matters more.

I took Travis back to the shelter yesterday. I'm gonna miss the lil bugger...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's finals time...

which means that it's time for Kristen to torture herself for weeks, causing her to realize all of the bad habits and methods of procrastination she has ingrained into her daily life are destroying her ability to efficiently assimilate knowledge.

Kristen notices how she is talking in 3rd person and thinks about how often she updates her facebook status, and how hard it is to avoid starting to Twitter. What happened to our private lives? Why am I not bothered by this loss of privacy? I demonize Prez Bush for taking away my privacy, then turn around and display every move I make on the internet. And I love to do it.

Another mistake I made this week was saying I could work one day at EmanciPet, the day before my most important final. I don't think it's all that bad though, because if I just had myself to myself for a week straight studying the likelihood of insanity would be of immense proportions. It was an interesting day to say the least. This woman threatened to euthanize her dog at the end of the day because we didn't spay her, because her gums were practically white, she had a wheezing cough, and was creepily lethargic for an 8 month old puppy. So one of our vet techs convinced Psycho Cold-hearted Satan Woman to relinquish the dog to us. My co-workers never cease to impress me. We of course have our differences, but everyone I work with has an automatic disposition to saving the life of an animal. Without any thought or discourse. And they follow through. It's a beautiful thing, and sometimes makes me teary-eyed. Which is a pretty big deal when you're on Prozac.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

be yourself

so easy to mutter the words
for me it's like
answering a question in class or
giving a public speech
absolutely terrifying.
although chemicals make it easier.
or do they?
have I just changed coincidentally on the chemicals?
I seem to have become more comfortable
in my own translucent skin
in past year.
I enjoy knowing myself better
I enjoy putting myself out there and caring less about the reaction
of the masses
being motivated by entertaining the small group of people
who can see the same strange shades of colors that I do.
I enjoy skydiving. at least for the first 30 seconds
after that it gets kinda boring
but since physical danger is so hard to come by
I've started replacing that adrenaline rush with a social one
say what comes to mind
one of two things will happen
nothing or
I'll make the world a little bit more interesting.
it's win/win.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gender Inequality

I am taking a class called "Global Gender Inequality," and we are currently reading a book about immigrant domestic and sex workers in the global eye. Before this class, I still thought that the inequality in the United States was appalling, but it is much much worse in other places. And there are good steps we have made in the US. For instance, I consider my career as important as my future husband. But the price of female equality (at least in terms of occupation) is rarely discussed. For if both the man and the woman are working full-time, who is going to take care of the kids? Who is going to cook and clean?

One solution to this is to do as much as you can yourself. Once the kids are in school, you can find them a few hours of after school care, and then pick them up on your way home. But then when you get home, you might not be able to spend much time with your child as you and your spouse are maintaining the home, cooking dinner, and taking care of whatever else your busy workday makes you put off. The result is equality and independence for the wife and husband, but what's the cost? To the child and to your own sanity? You spend less quality time with your child and leisure time is a rarity. Besides this, what are you going to do until the child is old enough to go to school? If you continue working, you're missing out on being there for a critical time of the child's life, while that time is instead spent at daycare or with a nanny. The benefit of this is that you get to have your own career, pursue your own personal dreams.

For those parents that turn the child over to a nanny, most of the time this nanny is a woman. And more often than not, this nanny is an immigrant worker who left her home country in search of better opportunities. She might have children at home that she never sees, that she left with her mother or sister or nanny. This situation reveals equal opportunity for the American woman, while the basic gender inequality exists, it is just being imported from another country.

I consider myself to be a feminist. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to be an veterinarian, and astronaut some day, and still have children. So what can I do to make things equal for everyone? It seems that regardless of how I do it, someone must suffer for my opportunities. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Change we can believe in (mostly)

Tuesday November 8th was a historic moment. But while Americans voted for Barack Obama, they also voted for Proposition 8 in California. That is two steps forward, one step backwards. With inspiration from this blog, this is what I have to say to Prop 8:

Unfortunately this is something I expect in Texas, where the roots of bigotry run deeper than the branches of tolerance and respect for the unbeaten path. But I am disappointed that Californians made a decision that makes the recognition of love by two people no longer valid. It's more frustrating in this case because it's not resistance to change, it's not lack of progression. It's regression. It's not a refusal to validate love, it's invalidating love. What a bunch of Indian givers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

RIP Yoda

This post is not for the faint of heart.

Yoda. Before he was freed.
We've fostered 8 kittens so far. Today I witnessed the second death. It was different; we had spent so much more time together than when it happened to the first kitten. Two weeks ago Yoda coughed up two long tapeworm segments. It was pretty nasty, so naturally I was fascinated. So I gave all of our animals deworming medicine. Yoda actually seemed to be doing better than the other two after that. But then after weighing them a week later I realized that they all weighed the same as when I got them three weeks ago. I took them to see the vet. They got more drugs. Padme and Jabba got better. Yoda stayed the same. I was really hopeful for him and he was sort of my favorite out of the three - he seemed to have a more loving disposition than the other two. But a few days ago he looked markedly worse. Henri noticed - I think he is better than me at noticing these things - perhaps he should be the doctor. So I started to give Yoda fluids. But he seemed to be giving up already. My coworker says that they can be fighters sometimes, and sometimes they just give up. I think Yoda gave up last night. I painfully watched him struggle to get up from the heating pad. I wrapped in him in a towel and made him comfortable. Perhaps the hardest part was watching him try to meow for - something, for help, for the end - and not hearing a sound, not being able to do anything. I now know what I think must be the worst feeling to have as a mother - helplessness. He toyed with my heart at 4am with optimistic movement. But when I woke at 8, I could see he was taking his last breaths. At least now I know he's in kitteh hvn.

Yoda is survived by:
His brother Jabba
His sister Padme (as long as she survives the vampire kitteh)
and of course, the usual crew, Kraken and Lucky.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Full Throttle

There is something about cold weather. Especially the first few days of it in fall. I get motivated whenever I step outside and everything looks more beautiful than usual, even if outside is monochromatic and I am taking out the trash. I guess Texas does that to you. Up north people get excited for the first snow. In Texas, you're so used to simulated hell that when it drops below 65 degrees you just want to smack the weather god square on the lips.

Right now I'm trying to convince Lucky to lay upside down. I am chuckling because there is this blog that shows pictures of dogs upside down, right side up. It's hard to convince a Lucky to lay upside down. You could just use brute force but then the resulting fire-breathing snarling upside-down dog is no more cute right side up, if ya know what I'm saying.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Midterm Week

My motivation is cyclical and the bottom of the cycle tends to correlate with exam times. I did manage, I think, to fly by the seat of my pants in my history exam because I %^&*ing rock at essays. My brain just works that way. Multiple choice questions, however, capitalize on my tendency to overanalyze and be obsessive-compulsive.

I used to make really terrible grades and so I cower in fear that I am reverting to my old self. I think fear appears every semester. What I want to be true is that my success is binary and my zeros magically turned to 4.0s in 2006. Unfortunately I do not think this is the case.

It all comes back to the question, the rabbit hole I wander in, of how much I am and how much I think I am.
Water kitteh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Padme, Yoda, and Jabba

We have new foster kittens. This is Padme. I knew she would be naughty the second we got in the car, when she started practicing plastic-and-metal reconstruction art with the cat carrier.
Yoda is the Yoda-looking one in the back. The front one we call Jabba cuz he's a fatty and he growls when other animals try to eat food within 3.14 meters of him. He's like a Geiger counter for omnivores.

Kittens are like crack for Kraken. When they're gone, she goes into withdrawal mode and tries to extract kittens from my neck at 4 am using creative combinations of tongue, teeth, and claws. When they're here she is asleep with a dopey smile on her face. That is, when she's not establishing her dominance by beating them up through the wire cage while they're using the litter box.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Ten Percent

feeding breathing eating
where brilliant minds are cast in silhouettes
feeding off each other but creating nothing.
divulging in the music but singing nothing.
hoping for proprietary compensation
access to another failed network
of brilliant minds expanding themselves in monotony.
content with being average with
reveling in the comfort of
resting in the shadows of
other brilliant minds.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I love listening to Henri and Dax talk about homework and other aerospace things. Henri solves homework problems by intuition. Right now I can hear him explaining to Dax, "So I think we can put this on the right side of the equation because it seems right..." and "well we should just plug this equation into that one and see if it does anything." Of course my favorite Dax-Henri exchange is:

Henri, with delusions of grandeur: "I have an inuition about orbits."
Dax, flatly: "Yeah, they go in circles."

I like being comparing the UT aerospace engineering with the UT biology department. Aerospace needs a lot of money and gets even more money. Biology needs a lot of money and gets none. Aerospace: Need to fly to Houston to fly a satellite on a hot air balloon? "Let me write you a check." Biology: Need to keep the one decent field laboratory, built in the early 1900s and since unchanged, from being demolished and replaced by condos? *cricket cricket*

The aerospace building is nicely furnished with a computer lab where aerospace engineers can print to their heart's content. The biology building is... well... in pieces in a landfill somewhere, because its dilapidated self was filled with asbestos. But hey, I like being the underdog.

Life is hard. Ever heard that before? For the first 21 years of my life I was always searching for the perfect answer, the change to make that would make the rest of my life a piece of cake. That answer doesn't exist. But even if it actually did, I would be unhappy with it. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to study, or fill out vet school applications, or even do some fun things that require effort. But when I make myself overcome laziness, that is when I am truly happy. The problem is I have to do it every day, or I just end up eating lots of chocolate covered expresso beans.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hate Ike, love bikes

I needed a new outlet for procrastination that was more productive than facebook. And a new way to compete with Henri since I am now beating him going up hills on the bicycle. Thus Illuminati Pants was born. I'm not sure if this will be productive, but facebook's stalker feed has been letting me down lately, and it's definitely better than memorizing amino acids.

Right now my life is being taken over by animals - mostly in the form of foster kittens. Fostering kittens is the optimal choice for maximal cuteness and minimal commitment. Or so it seems at first. They are constantly getting themselves into trouble, and needing things like food and water (psh). Really they are cute enough to warrant whatever they put me through. But the worst part is saving the kittens from Henri - he is like a 6 year old that's never had a cat and wants to eat it for breakfast. We have to give our current pair of kittens back on Friday. Which is good, because I am falling in love with one of them, named Stitch because I think she is an alien.After they get adopted at Town Lake Animal Center, total number of kitties saved from euthanasia by Illuminati Pants = 4.

Have you ever had to find a wedding photographer? It is like watching the movie "Envy." I remember during the ten-minute monologue involving "Vapoorizer," I was slouching ever more into my chair, wanting to melt into a puddle on the floor, detesting myself for being part of a society that would pay money to watch something so terrible. But perhaps we are all masochists. Wedding photography, for the most part, is soft focus filters and black and white pictures where only the roses are colored red. I have a strong stomach - Lucky puking up her breakfast and capturing fresh kitten stool samples don't make me think twice- but looking at those wedding pictures made me nauseas. Trying to find a wedding photographer was painful. But I found an oasis in the desert, and his name is Jake Holt. He will save me from Wedding Industrial Complex-induced self mutilation.

I am getting a mountain bike on Saturday. Zing!