Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Library Therapy

School has been in session for over a month now. While four weeks doesn't sound like a long time, I assure you, it feels like an eternity. The fact that snow has been blanketing the city of Menomonie for a number of days makes the semester feel as if it should already be drawing to a close. Already I am running around campus-bundled in my warmest jacket and thickest mittens-with cheetah like speed in an effort to spend as little time in the brisk weather as possible. Oh how I long for sunny summer days spent soaking up the sunshine.

It's no secret that I have been struggling with my semester. For the past week, each day has produced new frustrations that have slowly been bubbling to the surface. I'm living in a constant state of "I'm going to burst into tears at any moment so don't say anything that might make me cry." Perhaps I need to boil over to return to my simmering state, but I'm trying to avoid that stage all together. In my attempt to feel better about life, I have returned to the one place that always makes things better: the library.

I entered the doors at 4 pm today and was immediately struck by that library smell. A mix of paper and hospital cleaning supplies, it has a distinct aroma that should be bottled and sold as aroma therapy for students. I made my way to the fifth floor where I was happy to see that I would not have to reclaim my territory of my favorite cubby. Sitting in the hard wooden chair, I feel as though the simulation has been paused and my fingers are once again able to keep up with my mind.

I know in an hour the simulation with unpause and I will be sitting through a three hour night class. For now, I will enjoy my peaceful time and continue to work on the never ending piles of writing homework.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It was a lovely fall day. The sun was shining, the trees were looking stunning dressed in their fall colors, and I was sleeping on my couch. What's wrong with this picture?

I'd like to blame Brutus for my lazy day. A few days ago he managed to cover himself in burs. Frustrated, he began pulling them off himself and EATING them. While he gets an A for effort, his attempt at cleaning himself up ended with him hacking and coughing and finally throwing up the burs. His breathing has been a little odd and scratchy sounding and he's been silent. A very different dog than the one that woke the entire house up bellowing at 3:45 a few mornings ago when a large deer entered the yard. Feeling sorry for him, we doctored him up with some doggy Tylenol which has made him rather drowsy. How could I leave my poor dog all alone inside feeling yucky while I walk the hillside? I couldn't. So I slept on the couch with him snuggled near me on the floor. And yes, I'm blaming the dog because it sounds much better than simply saying I'm tired and got nothing done because of it.

In reality, the last few weeks have been non stop. Weddings, school, work, school, house, school... you get the picture. Rarely do I have a full day off to do nothing, and today was a quiet day with only one 55 minute class on the schedule. While I had planned to clean the kitchen, sweep the floors, wipe down the bathroom, etc... I ultimately decided that these chores would still be here tomorrow, and so would my headache if I didn't take some me time.

I'm pleased to say my headache is gone and my pile of homework sits, untouched and ready for tomorrow. Ahh.. the life of a student.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My life has turned into countdowns.

One month until my birthday.
3 days until the dreaded word "snow" enters the forecast.
12ish hours until a reworked paper PLUS reading responses are due.
9ish hours until a written memo (semi-done) and uber professional e-mail (not started) are due.
37 minutes to my math test.
3 minutes until I need to leave my house.

Thank God for coffee.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Life after Walter Reed was not fun or easy. Returning home to the quiet of our two bedroom apartment after living in the Fisher House was not only lonely, but stressful. There was no Sandy one door over to be a fill in Mom, no Faith across the hall to provide the daily dose of chocolate ice cream cake, and no Mary downstairs to provide a swift kick in the ass for motivation to keep breathing. There was just me, my thoughts, and J.R.

It was easy to dive into school. The library provided me with quiet to ease my mind, and busy work in endless mounds gave me plenty of places to hide. It's no wonder I have been able to keep my grades up and pull through two years of school with a cumulative 3.9 GPA. But this semester something has changed. I no longer have the desire to hide in my school books and knock out straight A's. My heart just isn't in it. Procrastination has become my worst enemy and I'm unable to complete any project until moments before the deadline. Even today as I sat at my computer, determined to make a dent in this weeks workload, I have ended my day with nothing but a long list of things to accomplish tomorrow.

Frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm for the semester and desperate to figure out what has changed, I have put a lot of thought into what life has been like for the past few months.

This summer was filled with time in the garden, fun filled nights on the town with friends, and novels about Wisconsin living. I spent days bent over our tiny plants, muscles aching, while my hands pulled the menacing weeds. I watched the garden that J.R. planted and I tended grow into mature plants that produced ample amounts of delicious food. I became obsessive with storing away our home grown food and dived into the world of food preservation. To an outsider looking at my food pantry, I'm just one bomb shelter away from the crazy lady preparing for nuclear war. But as I look at my collection of goods I can't help but to feel a lasting since of accomplishment that no "A" will ever outlive.

For the first time since J.R.'s injury there is an ease of life. A routine has fallen into place and our days are no longer filled with unexpected frustrations and problems that need immediate solving. We hit a few bumps now and then, but for the most part things are pretty smooth.

The first day of class I fought back tears. I didn't want to be buried in homework spending hours at the library reading until my eyes could take no more. I was already longing for days digging in the dirt, sweating in the hot sun, and whining about sore muscles. Four weeks into classes and I'm still cringing at the thought of opening a book. While I may not have Mary downstairs to kick me in the ass, at least I have her on facebook to provide the much needed "you can do eet!" that I so desperately need.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hunting the Elusive Turkey

Winter has faded and spring is here, but in the Salzman house there has been yet another change of seasons--the hunting season. For the last week the focus has not been fish, or deer, or pigeons in the barn, but turkeys.

I have yet to decide what is appealing about turkey hunting. It is my understanding that in order to be a successful turkey hunter, you sit in the woods in complete camo, scrapping two pieces of wood together that produce the most obnoxious sound known to man kind. The hope is that eventually some turkey will think you're a hot piece of ass, come walking towards you, and then *BAM* lights out Mr. Gobble.

Why anyone has the desire to do this is beyond me, but J.R. seems to be very excited about it.

Every morning for the last few days, the alarm has gone off at 5:30. Unlike J.R., when an alarm goes off I'm awake for the day. There is no falling back asleep. Much to my annoyance this has meant waking an hour early everyday. J.R. then gets dressed in all of his camo and heads off to the woods with a big plastic turkey. After a few hours he emerges from the middle of no where and with great excitement tells me how he sat in the woods and scrapped two pieces of wood together every few minutes. He either then returns to the woods, or waits until dusk to go find where the turkeys are roosting.

Now everyday I've heard stories about finding turkey feathers, seeing scratch marks on the ground, and hearing the tom gobble, but no turkey has been killed. My point: J.R. makes a very ugly turkey for no Tom will come near him to get his head blasted off.

The one thing J.R. has been successful at is bringing loads of ticks home with him. We have pulled many, many ticks off his clothes, body, and boots. Last night while I was making dinner I even found one crawling on the kitchen cupboards. I screamed bloody murder and frantically threw the tick onto the hot stove where is died a horrible, painful death much to my enjoyment.

My conclusion: Turkey hunting is the devil.

Now for a total change in subject...

Today was my registration date for fall classes. I once again was lucky enough to register with most of the freshman. My late date ensured that every class I needed was already full, and half the classes I wanted were missing in action. I did manage to come up with 15 credit hours, but it ain't a pretty picture. Math 121, Principles of Marketing, Discussion, Technical Writing, and Critical Writing. I have to admit, the only class I'm somewhat thrilled about taking is discussion, which counts towards my speech communications minor. I'm slowly realizing the business classes are horrible boring and technical, and lets be honest... how exciting can technical and critical writing truly be? It shall be an interesting fall semester.

...and in other news...

Many of you have heard about the issues concerning J.R. and his prosthetic arm. For the moment, all I will say is that J.R. will soon be receiving a brand spanking new arm and his old arm will be rejuvenated with new life as well. More to come on this story at a later date.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


You know it's been a while since you last blogged when it takes you SIX tries to remember the password and access your account.

Spring has arrived and bringing with it all sorts of beautiful sunshine that is long overdue here in Wisconsin. I wish I could say I've been spending loads of time outside, soaking up the rays and getting lots of yard work done. Sadly, not the case. School has me so busy I'm barely finding time to sleep, let alone eat one meal sitting down. Finals week is fast approaching and soon I will be able to enjoy the sun, but no sooner than May 15th.

I have been writing. Small bits here and there that I manage to cram in between annotated bibliographies and research papers on W. B. Yeats. None of it has been displayed anywhere other than my own personal computer screen, and for the time being it shall stay that way. There are so many new dramas in our life that need to be shared, but right now I must focus on finishing my brutal semester of Math and Science before I can even begin to give these dramas the passion they need to in order to be told.

I am planning to revive the blog this summer when I have many more hours available to sit at my computer and let my fingers roam the keyboard. I'm working on a list of people from Walter Reed that deserve recognition for their actions that made our time at Reed enjoyable. Someday I'll tell their stories. Until then, put your big girl panties on and just deal with it. There will be time for drama at a later date.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For Turtledove:

Dear Alanzo Elfanzo

There once was a man named Elfanzo,
Who stole north from the town of Patzcuano.
He couldn't pay rent,
It was time to collect,
So you said, “Hit the road Dear Alanzo!!”

But Alas! There’s no use, he left his abuse,
In the form of a scar on your heart.
He left you the mark,
For he hated to part,
And now you must find a fresh start.

You thought he was gone, you thought he was dead,
But that was just not meant to be.
He found a new place,
Just south of your face,
And you screamed “you are such a nut case!”

You said, “This won’t do, you make me so blue,
I must kill you now once and for all!”
You took a deep breath,
Scraped him off of your chest,
And moved on from that once fowl pest.

It’s time to move on, and time to rebuild
Now Elfanzo is swimming towards Hades.
The scar on your chest is no longer a mess
And you now have two fabulous ladies!
-Josie Salzman

Monday, February 16, 2009


I'm not dead. I am just very busy trying to maintain a 4.0 gpa and all of my spare moments go to updating my status on Facebook. What can I say? I've been a member from the very beginning, so I've had 5 years to build my addiction.

Maybe someday I'll have time to write worthwhile posts about dealing with the VA, or life post-injury, but for now I'm going to sit through Biology and try to look interested.