seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy great wide open)
So my younger sister and her husband had their social wedding last weekend (they actually got legally married last summer), and I will talk about this more later, when I have pictures, but it's been awhile since I posted (anything at all, dude) something hilarious(1) | heartbreakingly sweet(2) | adorable(3) | full of the need for adventure(4) about my parents, so I thought I would do so quickly.

In case you don't know, my mom is very sick, and has been since the early 2000s (well, her symptoms really started manifesting then). When she first started seeing a doctor, they gave her basically no time at all, and yet she's still here. It's been this horrible roller coaster combination of will she live/will she die and slowly watching her die and her wanting to die and her not wanting to die and her being hospitalized and watching her broken body and her going into the hospital right before graduation and right before the bar exam and my siblings and me breaking down at different times and making plans for after her death for over a decade now, and it is hard.

Back in 2005, Mom and Dad had their 50th wedding anniversary, and my siblings and I gave them a second wedding, because they really didn't have one when they actually got married. Mom was strong enough then to walk down the aisle and dance a little, but not a lot. She's gone very far downhill since, and when she leaves the house, has to go in a wheelchair. (She doesn't walk much around the house, either.)

That may be the last time I've seen them dance; they used to dance a lot. They were good. They used to dance around the kitchen together, and put on music and dance in the living room, and Dad used to play the guitar and sing to her, to us all. (He's lost the dexterity and feeling in his fingers to do that now. Mom has, too; she used to play bass, and was learning violin. No more, though.)

I didn't cry during the ceremony, but I got a little bright eyed during the first dance, because you guys, my brother in law just makes her so happy, and she's my beloved baby sister, the Sam to my Dean, and it took us so long to be friends, and I just want such wonderful things for her. So a little bright eyed, but no actual tears, and I'm beaming at them while they dance, even though I normally find the first dance incredibly boring.

Then they invite everyone to join them. My dad starts to push Mom's wheelchair onto the dance floor, and okay, it's getting a little hard to see now, something's in my eye, maybe I should own waterproof mascara after all (but I never need it). Then Mom stops him, and slowly, so achingly slowly, stands up, holding his hands once she gets herself upright, and they walk out onto the dance floor together, and I am done. I started crying so hard I was pretty sure I was going to lose a contact, even though I couldn't stop grinning too. And they didn't dance they way they used to, all slick fun dance steps, but they held each other and they turned, and I was crying even when I got asked to dance (Me: Make-up? Jake: Little smeared. Me: Oh god, and it took forever).

My parents got up and danced together at my sister's wedding, nearly fifty-seven years after they got married, and I got to see it.



(1) See, also, this conversation:

Dad: You should write a story about warewolfes (which is basically how he pronounces it) bears. Bears like warewolfes. And moose! Vampire moose.
Jake: Vampire moose? Do they gore you instead of bite you and then lick the blood from the wounds?
Dad: Yes. Write this story for kids. A bedtime story.
Jake: That kid will never sleep again.
Carla: And mom wonders why I love horror.

(2) See, also, excerpts from things Mom and Dad wrote about me for law school graduation:

Mom and Dad put together one of those family ads for graduates. I thought I'd share the pictures with you guys. And an excerpt from their blurbs.

Dad: Carla is constantly seeking. Even as a 2 year old it was always “Tell me more, Daddy, tell me more.” . . . She has made any dreams I might have had come true. I didn’t get much formal education. But Carla has done it for me. She is my adventure child.

(Dude, could my user name be any more appropriate? My heart just grew ten sizes today.)

Mom: I taught her that books were adventurous and fun even before she could walk (as soon as she could pull them off the shelf.) I read to her every night even after she could read them herself. Being able to read is the foundation for all other learning.

(3) See, also, this picture of my dad in a St. Pat's parade: Link to a picture where my dad has the best grin.

(4) See, also, that time Dad made me want to clutch my laptop to my chest, I needed to hear what he had to say so badly: "[W]e will take off in some direction and ride til sundown . . . just a ride with nowhere in particular in mind as a destination. Just a ride to burn up gas, see things and accomplish nothing but have fun."

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seeksadventure: (Sons of Anarchy space not just air)
Happy anniversary to my parents, married fifty-six years.

Happy anniversary to me, practicing law for one whole year.

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seeksadventure: (Default)
Last night, I had a horrid dream in which I had to return to Michigan and move my stuff again. That was unpleasant.

Today, after changing the dressing on Mom's wound(1), I was teasing her about me being Dr. Lee, just like Dad does(2), and then it suddenly dawned on me, dude, I actually have a degree with the word doctor in it. Despite August being almost over, this summer has been so full of stress and things that it still hasn't really set in that I graduated with a J.D.

Still doesn't feel real.



(1) Let me tell you how good it is that I went to law school instead of med school, oh my god. I actually enjoy the process for Mom, because it is very precise and interesting, but I would not do this for just anyone, no.

(2) I am so my father's daughter. This summer has just driven that home even more.

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seeksadventure: (Default)
So my awesome Dad is looking for a black quilted welding cap in size 7 1/4. (Here it is.) That's an odd size and so far we've only found them available online to order a dozen at a time. Apparently they don't sell the quilted ones this far south. If anyone up north can hit a farm supply store or something and find me one, I can send you the money and we'd really appreciate it. Let me know.

(Yeah, I wish he'd mentioned this before I left Michigan. His plan was to check all the stores on our way to Alaska, but obviously that got cut short.)

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seeksadventure: (Halloween werewolf apocalypse)
Jake, Dad, and I watched Mythbusters and they tested vodka myths, including that it removes the smell of smoke from clothes.

Jake: That's a waste of vodka!
Dad: Yeah, if you drink it, you don't care how you smell.

After dinner, when we were driving Dad home, we had this exchange:

Dad: You should write a story about warewolfes(1) bears. Bears like warewolfes. And moose! Vampire moose.
Jake: Vampire moose? Do they gore you instead of bite you and then lick the blood from the wounds?
Dad: Yes. Write this story for kids. A bedtime story.
Jake: That kid will never sleep again.
Carla: And mom wonders why I love horror.(2)

Haha, and then I just had this exchange on IM:

[livejournal.com profile] bewize and I were talking about running and I said I didn't think I'd ever love it. She agreed but talked about other reasons to run (like knowing you can do it, not necessarily enjoying it).

Carla: Probably a good idea to be able to run away from the vampire moose.

My life makes me laugh. It also makes me happy.

(1) This is basically how he says it. It makes me laugh every time.

(2) We didn't watch horror movies in the house when I was growing up because Mom is so scared of them even the music bothers her. I saw my first horror movie -- The Howling -- while on the road with Dad. Dad swears he would never have let me watch it so young, but he totally did and I have been enthralled by werewolves ever since.
seeksadventure: (battering ram)
Dad remains incredibly excited about the Alaska ride. He sent me the link to these excerpts from a book about a motorcyclist's trip from Dallas, Texas to Fairbanks, Alaska back in 2004. Sometimes the author's tone grates at me, but there's some awesome pictures and details.

Excerpts from Live is a Road, Ride it Hard.

If I can just get through bar prep, this ride to Alaska is going to be unbelievable.
seeksadventure: (AtRH Anna need this now)
This morning Dad and I went to pick up the motorcycle so I'd have it for tonight's ride. (This weekend is Summerfest and tonight there is a big classic car, motorcycle, and trike ride from one nearby town to here.)

On the way, he told me he'd been talking to someone in the neighborhood, Neighbor. I went to school with one of Neighbor's children, Daughter. When I was here right before graduation, I ran into Neighbor, who went on and on about how she was so very proud of me for what I've done with my life.

Dad said he was talking to her the other day, and Neighbor told him that she spread the news of my graduation to Daughter, and Daughter had all sorts of good things to say. Starting with how she was super proud of me and how she knew I'd do great things, that back in high school when I got up to talk in front of the classroom, everyone stopped and listened, even the people who normally didn't pay attention to class, and that I was always so smart and such a good leader and everyone knew I'd do great things.

To really appreciate this, I have to ignore the thoughts that kept me up half the night last night, about how I totally failed at law school and am going to be the worst lawyer ever, if I'm even allowed to become a lawyer, and how I'm a total fraud, etc. I am ignoring those thoughts because today is a new day and, to be honest, I really want to appreciate these words, because it was very kind of Daughter to say them and Neighbor to pass them on to Dad. (It is very kind of Dad to tell me them, too, but Dad is very open about how proud he is and always tells me the good things other people say, so I take that a little bit for granted. I did thank him for telling me these things, though.)

Daughter and I weren't really friends in high school and we're certainly not friends now. I know she got married and had some babies, but that's only from Neighbor via Dad, so the details are kind of vague. For her to say that just blows my mind. I don't feel like I did anything special in high school and I certainly don't feel like I did anything special in law school. (God, law school has decimated my sense of self worth, at least when it comes to my own intelligence and ability to be a good lawyer. I expected it to be rough, but I didn't expect it to so deeply destroy pieces of me.)

So this is a long story to say that I want to pay this good feeling forward and will do a meme this weekend. If you leave a comment here, I will tell you something I really like and admire about you. There are a lot of new people around here these days, but don't let that stop you! I like and admire something about each and every person on my flist, from the people who I have know for over a decade to the people I added the other day.

I'll go ahead and screen comments for those who want their comments screened, so if you don't mind me unscreening them, let me know. If you want to do this meme elsewhere, that would be awesome too. And if at the same time you want to tell me something you like and admire about me, well, I would love that. This part is absolutely not required to get a comment from me about what I like and admire about you, though. And that is the important part of this meme.

---

I'm going to leave this public right now, but my first instinct was to flock it in part because I am talking about something someone else said but in part because it makes me feel very vulnerable to admit how much law school hurt me. But I think this is something important to say and to admit and also I don't want to be the person who hides. Law school has made me more likely to not say something publicly that I would have before, especially things that I truly, deeply believe should be said publicly, because I fear ruining my career. And I don't want to let that fear rule my world.
seeksadventure: (AtRH Adam what have I become)
So I was prepping a story for submission to an anthology, due a few days ago, but with Mom and the bar, I didn't get it done. It's a publisher I'd worked with before, and the editor knew I planned to submit (and had my synopsis already), so I sent a quick email just to give her the heads up that I wouldn't be submitting. She not only offered me an extension, but when I let her know when I thought I could have it done, said I could have more time than that if I needed, just to keep her updated.

I didn't expect that. I have a mental block against asking for extensions. Frequently, I just don't think about it; if the deadline is Day A, I'll get whatever it is done by Day A. I have a hard time asking for help, too. If things need to be done, I find some way to do it.

It was really hard for me to ask for an extension on my finals this semester, when I needed to get to Mom's side to say good-bye just in case. I am trying to be better about asking for help when I need it -- I did ask for the extension, after all -- but my first thought is not to reach out. I think I get this from my father, because I am watching him learn to reach out to the family for help, too.

I'm on my lunch break, so I'd better get some writing done and then get back to bar prep.
seeksadventure: (AtRH Adam tattoos and looming)
During dinner tonight, Mom said she told her nurse about the schedule I worked out with Dad and two of my sisters, so Mom is never alone during mealtime. The nurse thought this was just the sweetest, most clever thing ever. I was surprised that she was so touched and amazed by it.

A) Mom needs help. Dad can't do it all, nor should he do it all. Therefore my siblings and I pitch in. This is what our family does, and it doesn't feel like anything special.

B) Organizing the schedule of meals was the easiest thing I've done this week. It's simple and logical and the best way to keep track of who needs to be where when. (I plugged everything into my calendar, too, of course, and get an email update each morning reminding me what I need to do and who is with Mom when, even though I also have the schedule memorized.) I don't understand why it's such a clever thing to do.

In other news, we're having gorgeous lightning, thunderstorms, potential flooding, and tornadoes. I am actually mostly thrilled by this. I've been saying for three years that I missed good old Midwest storms and I really have.

Stress level: HIGH. I almost bit off Jake's head when he asked how my bar studying went today. Perhaps I should figure out a way to bring that stress level down a bit.
seeksadventure: (horizon to chase)
On the bus after my (first) final (of my last semester), I was talking to my dad on the phone and this happened:

Dad: *talks about important things like motorcycle registration and insurance*
Carla: OMG! *flails* It's Obama's security detail! They must be checking things out for Saturday! Look at all the military helicopters! They shut down the main street my bus uses! Fun!
Dad: You are not my daughter.(1)

(1) This is a lie, he didn't actually say it, but his silence implied it. Hee.

I am even more excited about Obama's graduation speech Saturday than I was about meeting and talking to Clinton when I worked that booksigning. On the one hand, meeting and talking to a former president (and flirting with the secret service guys before the signing, they were so hot!). On the other hand, being one of 100k+ people listening to the current president's speech at an impersonal graduation. (No, I don't know how many people will be there, but they are holding it at the Big House.)

Of course, I was too young to vote during the Clinton administration. (ETA: I meant, of course I didn't have the same sort of personal attachment to Clinton's administration because I wasn't able to vote him into office -- I was able to vote during the last half of his second term -- and when I started being involved with presidential campaigns, I had two heartbreaking losses [I won't debate right now whether they were actual losses or not] to Bush and eight years of really hating and fearing the Bush administration, so when I worked to support Obama's campaign and then he won, it left me with a special warmth, not that of course I was too young during Clinton's era. However, I am highly amused by the responses I'm getting. I'll be nice and avoid telling y'all the things my law school peers believe make me old. And now I really am studying.)

I wasn't nearly as involved with politics and the law when I met Clinton as I am now. I was invested in Obama's campaign and his win really felt like a victory. Plus it's graduation (though not my main graduation -- in fact, I still have two finals after Saturday -- when I went to get my tickets yesterday, the woman watching the line asked why I was still studying, and I laughed and said I hadn't even started finals yet!).

BTW, I have one ticket left, so if you want to hear him speak and can be in Ann Arbor by early Saturday morning, let me know. You'll be sitting with really amazing people, I can vouch for that. ([livejournal.com profile] chr0me_kitten and her brother took the other tickets.)

Okay, just finished one final. I have another one in the morning. (A short one.) Sunday or Monday I do a take-home. Wednesday afternoon I have my last final and then I'm done. (Providing I pass everything, which we'll just assume happens. It's not guaranteed though.) My family shows up Friday and then Saturday I graduate. This semester -- this whole endeavor -- is almost, almost over.
seeksadventure: (battering ram)
Dad: Denali(1) looks interesting. Except it has too many bears for me. And wolves. They could be werewolves and I'm not trained for werewolves.
Carla: Werewolves! *heart eyes*
Dad: Wrong argument with you, huh.

Dad: So my new walking stick converts to having a spike on the end. So I can use it as a spear.
Carla: To protect you from the werewolves?
Dad: Yes, but I'm more worried about the grizzlies.

Dad is so adorable in his excitement about the trip. The other day, he told me he pulled up Google Maps and tried to look at as much of the route as he could. So. Adorable.

That reminds me. I know some of you have driven to Alaska. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations or thoughts? I would really appreciate your input (or the input of anyone you know who's done it, if you want to send them my way).




(1) So after my siblings and I tried to explain Twilight to Dad, he started telling stories about sparklers (vampires who sparkle, obviously). Wait until I tell him about the Denali vampires. For something I dislike so much, Twilight has brought me so much laughter.
seeksadventure: (Lilo & Stitch ohana)
I talked to my dad for about an hour tonight. One of the things we discussed was Monsters & Music, my current novel writing project. (I also have review writing projects and short story writing projects, not to mention law school projects.) I've sent the first twenty or so chapters to my first readers, which includes Mom and Dad, and though Mom gave me her thoughts on the first ten chapters awhile ago, I hadn't heard from Dad about it.

(Dad is actually one of my subject-matter experts for all my writing, even the stuff that goes under the professional pseudonym; I run all the car details by him starting early in the writing process -- sometimes as early as the outlining stage -- and then have him double check the details. Sometimes this is only a line or two in a short story, though a novel like Werewolves in Love which has a mechanic main character is a lot more work for him. He's also one of my musician consultants, because he's a guitarist.)

The amusing part of all this is that neither of my parents actually likes what I write. I mean, not my work, but the genres and styles. They are both readers, but neither are fans of horror or monsters or paranormal romance or whatever. They don't really read teen fiction, either. Basically, the only reason they read my work is because it's mine, which is really sweet and supportive. I mean, Monsters & Music is teen fiction about a girl who can see the ghosts of murdered people and who ends up in the middle of some werewolf politics, and Dad has pretty much zero interest in any of those things, but was super supportive anyway.

I love that, even though they aren't interested in the genre, they are always eager to read more. My parents are awesome.

This reminds me of a story I shared with [livejournal.com profile] bewize the other day, but meant to share here, too. I was outlining the end of the chapter I'm currently writing for Monsters & Music and realized there was going to be some serious making out and fooling around. For a moment, I was all, oh, Mom and Dad are going to read that, they're aren't really for sexually active teens, kinda awkward. Then I remembered it was ridiculous to be nervous, because a) I believe in my characters and their actions and support that but also b) they've already read the masturbation scene anyway, so how in the world was kissing awkward?

I'm entertained by us.

I'm sometimes amazed by how close Dad and I are, considering how different our beliefs. I was telling him about Obama speaking at graduation, and made sure to reassure him that it wasn't the same ceremony Dad's attending, because he's not interested in hearing Obama speak, while I'm thrilled about it. For some reason, we started talking about politics, too, and health care reform, and tax reform, which gets us both riled up, but in the end, even though I so deeply disagree with a lot of things, he still supports me completely.

I think the point I'm getting at here is how incredibly lucky I am to have such amazing parents.

Actually, this is sort of an aside to a rant I'm drafting about adoption stories and how frustrated I've been with them in the media these days. I should finish that up and post it, maybe Thursday. (Wednesdays are busy days for me at school.)

Dad actually wanted to talk to me today because he got his passport for our bar trip and was giddy with excitement about it. I'm giddy, too. While we were talking about it, he said he no longer thinks our original schedule is enough, he wants to more than double the time we'll be out together. I told him I was free from August 1 to November 1, so however long he wants to make this roadtrip, I'm game.

Basically, this entry can be summed up as this: My family, totally awesome.
seeksadventure: (AtRH Anna flawed)
I was just talking to [livejournal.com profile] sunfire1216 about how I found her posts about cleaning and organizing a little every day very inspirational and I wanted to be back in my apartment cleaning and organizing. Then the conversation veered into positive versus negative thoughts and being the change you want to see and I decided that I think I'd like this year to be the year of me attempting to be more positive and the year of me saying yes to things I'd normally immediately say no to doing. I am very antisocial and prefer being alone, but I think I'd like to try to be slightly more social and say yes to more invitations, especially with the big move in the future. We'll see how this goes.

This comes at the end of a fairly frustrating and disheartening day. I've been editing a complaint to Delta Airlines and American Airlines and I've had to take breaks from it because it was so frustrating and terrifying, the way they treated the passenger and her dogs. I can't imagine having lived through it, especially towards the end of the experience.

I also wasn't able to get into the free clinic. They only had one doctor tonight and were only seeing eight patients. Also, even though I can never get through on the phone and they used to only take people on a first-come, first-served basis, they are apparently taking phone reservations now. I will be glad when I have health insurance again, because that's obviously going to happen before this country gets its head out of its ass when it comes to public health care.

Finally, Mom is not doing well, which is always a downer.

On the positive side, Mom and Dad's new dog is this tiny, adorable ball of brown fur. Her name is CoCo and she's so teeny and cute. Dad and I had a nice visit. I've managed to figure out how to end chapter twenty-three of M&M, my current novel-length project, am likely to finish it tonight, and know how chapter twenty-four will begin, at least. (Sure, I haven't figure out the transition scene in the middle of chapter twenty-three, but that's what draft two is for.) I may be working the rest of this week at the glass shop again. I have a giant stein of ice water and a large glass of diet Dr. Pepper to drink. I have the most awesome fingerless gloves ever. Pandora has given me five hours of excellent music in which I have not had to dislike a single song. On the whole, life is good.

Best thing about winter in Missouri is that I can walk outside at night and my eyes automatically find Canis Major. It's too cloudy in Michigan to see it mostly, but I love being able to look up and it being right there. (For those who don't know, I have it tattooed on my right leg. It has meaning for me.)

---

Have some links! (I have approximately 500 tabs open, NO JOKE, so I need to stop hanging on to these and post them already.)

Justine Larbalestier talks about cover art.

Maggie Stiefvater talks about her top songs of 2009.

Isabel the Spy talks about how Lady GaGa isn't all that subversive when it comes to ideals of beauty.

Quote: i feel like there are limits, maybe, to how “hideous” an extremely skinny blonde white girl can be considered. and this isn’t a critique of gaga herself because it’s true that she for the most part can’t help these things and shouldn’t (though: she did recently say in an interview that she doesn’t eat, make of that what you will). but i see this argument thrown around a lot and i don’t buy it, because she’s still in that safety zone.

or to put it another way: picture a fat woman, or a black woman, or a Latina woman, or a fat black Latina woman, doing ANYTHING that lady gaga has ever done, and tell me people would still be talking about her as some kind of subversive artiste.

Justine Larbalestier talks about the music she listened to while writing Liar.

Drowning in the Shallow End: Third Wave Feminism.

(NB: I am not yet done reading this article, but I thought some of you might be interested.)

Karen Healey wrote a sweet, funny holiday story filled with warmth and light and family and love: Queen of the Kitchen.

(NB: Keep an eye on Karen, she is a fantastic writer and is going far. OMG You guys my friends are AWESOME.)

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mattie, I can never unsee Awkward Family Photos.

Catherynne Valente talks about the all-women authors upcoming Realms of Fantasy issue.

Based on this post by Sigrid Ellis about Vin Diesel, I've realized that I basically play a Vin Diesel-esque character in all my tabletop RPGs, except female. And also that I love the do him/be him dichotomy to my love for Vin Diesel.

V Magazine apparently has a plus-size issue this year? I do not know what V Magazine is or anything about this, but some of the pictures are pretty.

Justine Larbalestier asks for recommendations of books which are like her book Liar. So if you've read Liar and have recs, head over there.

For all my Glee hate, I like this fanvid: They Don't Care About Us, Brittany, Mike, Santana, and Matt. (Though the talking head bits drive me crazy.) I also like this Brittany/Santana vid. Maybe the thing to do is give up watching Glee (which probably I have already done) and instead watch transformative fanvids that address the issues I have with it?

Okay, so I got it down under 300 tabs. Jake's still not home from work (two v. v. long days for him in a row), but I think I am headed to bed soon. Especially if I'm working tomorrow.

---

Man, I love my cheesy, angry rock SO MUCH.
seeksadventure: (twilight jasper & the bat are still hot)
I am really busy right now, as all my trips home end up being despite my best plans, but I wanted to share this tidbit of how awesome my family continues to be. Today Mike and I explained Twilight to Mom and Dad (briefly, mostly focusing on the sparkling) and then Dad created an oral Twilight fanfic.

My family? Totally, totally awesome.

More later.
seeksadventure: (battering ram)
Reasons my father is awesome #1098723410987:

I got an email from him today that, among other things, basically said, After you pass the bar in July [note that he is so sure I will pass he doesn't even bother saying I will take the bar, obviously I will just pass it], let's ride up toward Alaska for the month of August, when hopefully it will be warm and dry.

I haven't had the best day, but that cheered me right up. It's not like we haven't talked about this before, but it's starting to feel real. <3

In less than a week, I will be home for Thanksgiving. It can't happen soon enough.
seeksadventure: (Default)
Fifty years ago today, right around this time, Dad proposed to Mom. He called her, because he'd just gone into the army, and was about to be sent to Korea (even though he didn't know it right this second then), and proposed. Fifty years ago tomorrow, he spent his one night at Fort Leonard Wood, despite the fact that he tried to get stationed in the Midwest for the entire time he was in the army.

November 1, 2005 will be their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

And my Dad says he sees me as a superhero. Whatever confidence I have comes from him.

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