June 28, 2004

Update: Momma Cheetah

Mom (aka Momma Cheetah) is ensconced away in the halls of Pittsburgh's UPMC Montefiore Hospital. I hate the number on her door; I want to rip it off.

She has lived through the local hospital, but now we have to drive to Pittsburgh to see her. Not that I don't like to take a small roadtrip.

I miss her around the house. Her room is still clean. Odd.

The doctors still don't know exactly what is wrong. She goes in for two zillion more tests this morning.

She is awake and talkative, but very sore. In the past weeks she has fainted twice, injuring her chin and shoulder. I couldn't help thinking that she should visit The Blackburn Center, her bruises turning a pretty shades of green and yellow.

I just feel like I can't say the right thing to anyone when I answer the phone.

Me: Hello.
Family Friend or Relative: How's your mom?
Me: I don't really know. I have been working all weekend, and I have been told that they still don't know what is wrong.
FF or R: Did they say anything?
Me: I don't know.
FF or R: Oh, can I talk to your sister?

Yep, that's right. Amanda is the failure of a daughter, the reclusive writer that should just move away and get the big job that she wants and let the family business to the family.

Insecurities? Hell yeah.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 1:29 PM | Comments (4)

June 26, 2004

"Babydoll, What's with that t-shirt?"

Shopping with your best pal is bliss, especially when you have money, time, and that friend is a fashion goddess. (Thanks Kiz--everyone liked the Orient-inspired dress at work).

Karissa came over to stay for a couple of days and we shopped on Friday. While I will not fill this space with the intracacies of reunited friends, as important as they are, I will mention one very disturbing element of our shopping experience.

Babydoll T-shirts.

Everywhere tees, small enough to fit preschoolers, proclaimed sexual innuendos. "Young, willing and eager" was especially offensive. Do young women actually view themselves this way?

I know they want to look cute in these smaller versions of their Hanes and Fruit of the Loom cousins, but the lettering on their new pink tee has a message--one they may not understand.

Pre-teen girls, in that odd stage when one is between sizes, will buy from both the ladies' and girls' sections. If shopping alone, a ten year-old, hypothetically speaking, could pick a pretty rainbow-colored tee that fits perfectly; but what they don't know is that the number portrayed, quite beautifully in ROYGBIV, has significance beyond mathematical equations.

While I do think that clothing is a great way of expressing yourself, I also feel that the women wearing these clothes don't know the effect of wearing these messages, strewn, I might add, across the chest.

I really didn't want his entry to become a rant about the degredation of America's female youth, but that is what this has turned into. I do think that women are getting smarter about what they wear. I just fear for the girls that don't buy clothes with their mom's supervision. Gosh, that is sad.

FYI: I am going to get a blogger tee, and I want all of my blogging buddies to sign it.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:07 PM | Comments (8)

June 22, 2004

Set the scene: Hospital

Mom is in the hospital again. I don't know what we are going to do with her.

While I am not going to focus on her symptoms or the extent of her condition, I will note some things that are extremely crappy about hospitals.

1. The smell. I can't stand the latex/jello/unmentionable fluid odor that pervades the hallways. I think, if bottled, the smell would fit nicely as a Harry Potter jelly bean.

2. Bad diagnosis. My mom's initial visit to the hospital was on Saturday, and they sent her home because they thought it was some kind of "other" thing--much less severe. The problems persisted over the week, and now she has to miss even more of her life because of the ER doctor's incompetence.

3. Cold. My poor mother is lying in bed, shivering. Can someone say "meat cooler"? I guess they are trying to keep the germs at bay; but really, shouldn't they try something like disinfectant? I went home to get another quilt for her. At least I know the flowers in her room will stay pretty.

However, hospitals are good for getting people better. I must realize that.

Just a little update on her condition (I know I said I wouldn't give particulars): she is going to be okay with some time. Let's hope the hospital doesn't kill her.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:40 PM | Comments (7)

June 21, 2004

What's that smell?

My room is clean.

I have no dust, dirt, lint, or...mold.

Mold? you ask.

Yes, mold. Lying in bed, I could barely stand the smell.

I washed my dirty clothes. Since I have been swimming a lot lately, I thought I may have a problem with the wet clothes in the hamper. Nope. Still smelly.

Then came the next attack: off-brand air freshener. Big mistake. Now I had the combination of an old bouqet and the unmistakable illusive odor.

Walking over to the windows, I noticed my decorative pitcher was not decorative anymore, the entire bottom was full of darkened water.

I emptied it, and it finally struck; when I was away at orientation on Thursday night, it had rained into my bedroom--onto my carpet. The mold was right there beneath my feet.

Unfortunately, the mold/mildew had also spread to my linens in the cedar chest that sits beneath my windows. I thought I had opened some kind of bog as I was cleaning.

And before I get chastised for not closing my windows, I would just like to intimate the matter further. I left a note on my dry-erase board, stating, quite clearly, to close my windows if it would rain. Why not do it myself? It was hot, and closing them would mean stagnant air and suffocation for the upper floor of my house. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but I thought I was doing a good deed.

The mold has been vanquished, however. I foamed the carpet and sent the linens to the big monster downstairs.

I guess I have learned a very valuable lesson, one that will not mold with age--sorry that was really cheesy. HAHA. I can't stop myself.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:06 PM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2004

Girl Meets World Refresher

I guess being a bad blogger is running in the bloginator family. Other things--rather mundane things--are taking up my time.

I would like to offer a nice top ten of the things that I have been doing/thinking about lately.

10. I am letting my fingernails grow for the first time in my life. I was a terrible nailbiter, especially this school year, but with willpower, I am conquering this vice. I am getting used to the feeling of longer nails. I catch myself looking down at them a lot. Vanity!

9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond: Never read it. I know, I am a terribly depraved English major because I didn't read it when I was twelve. Sorry. I am really enjoying it. The themes are very similar to The Scarlet Letter, well, minus the whole sexual thing. I am not very far, so things could change. She is getting kind of chummy with Nat Eaton right now. I guess there really is something about sailors. :-)

8. More sun. I am beginning to peel. My white complexion has vanished with red.

7. I am also reading Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America by Myrna Blyth. A compelling, yet biased read. Though she does cite her statistical sources, I have been noticing many instances of heresay. The author was an editor for Ladies' Home Journal and she probably knows her business, but I am trying to think objectively. I am growing to love poking holes in arguments; however, it is something to write a book, and I must give her that.

6. On the subject of liberalism, I have been closely following Ben Shapiro, UCLA graduate, that has published his book, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth. I really don't know how I stand on his argument, but I would like to read it. According to the article, the book has been selling well on the internet. Maybe I could surreptitiously suggest it to the librarian as a potential new purchase.

5. Working like mad. Last week I did 57 hours. I only get tired at County Market, though.

4. I have been thinking about the fall semester. I will be quitting County Market until the next summer. As a Setonian editor, I will probably be living/commuting. Special thanks go out to Lori and Karissa for offering their room (a.k.a. exhaustion haven) for sleepovers.

3. Orientation is on Thursday. I can't wait to see everyone again. While the girls I watch are great companions, I miss people my age, and because I barely had time to keep myself going over the school year, my high school pals and I have drifted apart. I can't wait to mingle with people my own age again. Griping together is priceless.

2. To all those that read this, I have missed you. It is strange to think how you can hop from one life to another in a couple of months. You remain a remnant of that past life, that person, but you are changed by those days. While I can't say how I will be changed by these days, I know I am still learning--just a different education. Responsibility. Strength. Faith. Love. I know they are on my curricula this short semester. Let's hope I get As.

1. My sister's birthday is today. Happy 17th Birthday Katie! You don't know how great it is that you have grown up. I am so happy we can actually talk now. I know it sounds incredibly corny and cliched, but you have grown up so fast. I am proud to have you as a sister and best friend. Enjoy these days, girl. You are going to be a senior next year. Just promise me that you won't start ordering off the old people menu at Eat 'N Park?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:03 AM | Comments (4)

June 10, 2004

Summer Euphoria

I am in heaven, though sunburned. I even put on sunblock and I still come home looking like a splotched lobster. One happy lobster.

My job during the week is to watch two very neat, well-mannered girls at their beautiful home. My job is to take them to the pool--swim, lounge, and talk.

I don't even have to cook for them. They love sandwiches.

Though I am still at the crappy grocery store on weekends, I feel so lucky to actually have a summer. Working since I was fifteen in a library, I haven't experienced the outdoors in quite a while. No tan. Well, no burns. :-) I get to fall in love with my favorite season all over again--first-hand. I am starting to sound crazy, don't I?

I also got my super-long hair wacked off. Thinned and layered, I feel bald, but pleasantly so. Don't worry, Karissa, I don't have a pixie (the longest strands are a little below my shoulders).

Something is happening to me this summer; I don't know what it is. Happiness. Freedom. I am at the point where I say the quite cliched phrase, "I cannot put it into words."

In January, while I scraped layers of ice, hail, and snow off of my windshield, I daydreamed of this, and now I find myself waiting to wake, my electric blanket infusing warmth into my clammy limbs. But no, the fan hums in the corner, sun dresses hang first in the closet, and all I see is tomorrow. The SHU planner is dusty. What more could I ask for?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:09 AM | Comments (5)

June 8, 2004

On sale

Yellow bulbs light what's "on sale". I can't see them now.

Standing on a small tile diamond, each one waits for one more customer. Smile, make conversation. We stand in a line like hookers on a street corner. On sale--take your pick.

Humming snippets from songs I don't know, waiting for my turn, I scan aisles seen countless times before. A familiar sight: a young mother spanks her child, looking from side to side, like a burgular, before she meets her hand with the naughty's blue bottom.

Another person. Another minute. I am too fast. Or too slow? They sigh when I pick up too many pennies. They smell. The outdoors, dust, black mold. We have to take it. Deodorant is on sale...

Discount meat. It leaks red on the counter. My fingers leave imprints in their dinner roast. I wonder if they notice? Probably not.

After work, another face, on the way to a party; just one more person. Do they know that when they leave, I stay?

I smell. Dirty green from money. Rotting meat and dark lettuce. Soap is on sale. Deodorant is on sale. Meat is on sale. Oranges are on sale. Turkey gizzards are on sale...Time is on sale. People are on sale: only $5.15 an hour. And more if you can pick up pennies.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:15 AM | Comments (3)

June 3, 2004

Girls gone wonderful (librarians included)

As an advocate of the T-length dress, the turtle neck, and pretty, modest clothing, I am happy to hear that someone feels the same way.

Ella Gunderson, god bless her fabric-loving heart, wants a more modest wardrobe; however, she did not find anything to suit her tastes at Nordstrom, so she wrote a letter to the store.

However, I didn't know how to take this statement:

"It's kind of like a sexy take on a librarian," she said. "I think people are tired of seeing so much skin and want to leave a little more to the imagination."

I was, as an aide at the wonderful Mt. Pleasant Library, disgruntled. Why do people always stereotype the librarian? Can't librarians be sexy too? I mean, we don't all wear long black skirts, tightly pinned buns, and horn-rimmed glasses. After all, if we did we wouldn't be able to crawl after children at story hour, climb behind the shelves for hiding paperbacks, or carry chairs from presentations. This Gigi Solif Schanen, fashion editor at Seventeen magazine, quoted in the article does not know anything about the nextgen librarian.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 7:03 PM | Comments (3)

June 2, 2004

Amanda meets domesticity

I can't cook. I can't bake. I can't clean the house properly. I didn't think I had one domestic bone in my body until yesterday.

My mom was outside looking at the back porch. We recently had some work done on it (that she doesn't like) and we started talking about flowers and such. The "such" was tomato plants that she wanted to put on the nasty side of our house. (Nasty because my neighbor likes mowing grass into our flower bed.)

We did have a garden a few years ago, but my mom took it out when she poured cement for the dog kennel (isn't she amazing?). Now we just have flower beds to plant things. I mean, you could plant in the yard, but my dad would most likely mow them over. I think he feels like some kind of collossus with that mower. Above the roar of the blue demon, sometimes I swear I hear from the window, "Kill the greenery!!! I love running things over!"

Anyway, I mentioned that it would be easy to clean up the entire bed, and the the next day: today, I was volunteered myself to weed out the space. I found three rosebushes. Also, a plethora of worms, wood, and beetles. Gross. But it feels kind of nice when everything is out and you just run your fingers over the top layer of dirt.

Then the storm rolled in. I thought I could finish, but no--I heard thunder. Eventually I did disengage my fingers from the muddy soil and go inside, streaking the front door with a healthy swipe of dirt. Whoops.

Scrubbing my palms and picking thorns out of my fingers, I realized that I should try my mom's gardening gloves. While thus employed, I also discovered that there is something I can and like to do around the house. Literally around it. Indoors is quite a different tale.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 5:26 PM | Comments (4)