Saturday, July 30, 2005

Connecticut: A Catalog of Thrills

If you are ever wondering what to do for fun in CT, stop. There's no point. I have confirmation of my observations from an independent source, Roadside America (a wonderful website btw).
The first paragraph on the site for Connecticut starts "Connecticut is an overdeveloped, overtaxed state crawling with rich people who've forgotten how to have fun."

My sister would add they have also forgotten how to mark a detour, leading you off the main road and then abandoning you in some network of winding country lanes and paths that confound any reasonable sense of direction. Think you're headed north? Think again. East? Probably not. You can practically hear the banjos strumming and picking as you travel deeper and deeper into rural decay. Look, there's a farm...growing, um...used cars and trailer parts. And over here - a pond? Perhaps a long time ago. Now it' s just a stand of bare bleached tree trunks sprouting out of a spongey ground. You might pass a group of shiftless cows every so often, then just crumbling rock walls and single lane roads where the only cars you see are zig zagging down the middle at top speed.

Ah Connecticut. How I look forward to your memory.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Almost done

That is the title of the e-mail I just got from T. He said he wanted to meet to talk either Sunday night or Monday for lunch. I can't imagine eating during this discussion, but I chose Monday anyhow. I told him that would maximize the chances of his being done. That is the main reason, but I also just couldn't find myself wanting to schedule it sooner. As if putting it off will help.

Needless to say (?), I am extremely apprehensive about this talk.

8:00 a.m. Christmas Eve, Connecticut
December 2004

Tour de Pants

My sister is down again today. She is collecting her cat. We were talking when she first got down. The topic of Larry Summers came up, leading into a discussion of school mascots and how silly it is to have any kind of person as a mascot. Harvard, Larry's stomping grounds, apparently has a pilgrim. He even has a name. "John Harvard". I guess he did more than found a chain of shitty pubs. A's university has the "minute men".

She says "Some guy in fucking woolen underwear....Hey, speaking of which. What do you think about those bicyclists in the tour de france?"
I say "what about them?" and she says "Do you think they just shit their pants?"
I say "Or do they stop and take a dump?"
"Right. Or do they shit themselves?"
We may never know.

Speaking of shitting yourself, if you're interested in reading a transcript of the notorious Summers' remarks, go here.

but for what end?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Steamy hot grads

It's hot and humid here and I still have my unfever.

"What's an 'unfever'?" you ask. That's when your temperature is 100 but it's not a fever. According to the doctor at the infirmary, although your normal body temperature might well be only 97.5, and although the normal body temperature of 98.6 is derived from out dated data, the universal criteria for a fever is a temperature of at least 101. If you would like to helpfully educate those around you on the difference between a real fever and an unfever, you have to stress the "at least" part when you say "at least 101". It helps to say this with a sneer and to have a nurse sitting in the corner who can chime in with affirmations as if she were at a revival meeting ("say it again Doctor!" "Praise the AMA!")

Funny, it feels just like a fever...

Amusing: Proposal for a new reality TV series called "The Scholar". If you or someone you know is in grad school, read it. It's exactly right. For a while now, some friends and I have joked that the university should not only save but make money on graduate housing by hosting a "real world - grad school" house. The non-stop drama of socially inept poverty stricken 20 and 30 somethings are sure to offer at least a season of mindless entertainment to the great viewing masses.

And now a word from our sponsors...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Ganesh is here because although I don't claim to know jack about hinduism, I have always sort of liked what I've picked up about Ganesh. And I'd like a positive symbol at the moment.

The friend I was arguing with last night (AS) got me flowers and a book (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris).
The flowers were to make me smile and the book is to make me laugh.

My life has been getting somewhat negative these days, and while I am (understandably) apprehensive about intimacy at the moment, I am willing to accept the comfort that comes from a nice act such as this one.

I am a social person. I always have been. I feel very deeply for people I care about, and when I feel betrayed or massively disappointed by one of them, I get pretty down on people in general...myself included. Hence the argument. This small but kind act from my friend (who I argued with and who then turned around and brought me flowers and this book) helps to restore my faith in people. Sounds a little hokey, right? It is hokey if it is insincere.

Now I have to go brush my teeth and go to bed. Long day tomorrow. Doctor's office. I think I'll bring the book.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgment

By W.B. Yeats

'Love is all
That cannot take the whole
Body and soul';
And that is what Jane said.

'Take the sour
If you take me
I can scoff and lour
And scold for an hour.'
"That's certainly the case,' said he.

'Naked I lay,
The grass my bed;
Naked and hidden away,
That black day';
And that is what Jane said.

'What can be shown?
What true love be?
All could be known or shown
If Time were but gone.'
'That's certainly the case,' said he.


A friend and I had an argument tonight. It's been horrible. I started off in a pretty foul mood and mostly I've stayed that way. meanwhile, he is trying to convince me that I am still capable of love and tenderness. We have entered into some kind of philosophical debate I think.
My friend writes:

> Life is pain, pain is growth, and growth is joy.
> Joy is the reason for
> living.
My reply
Speaking from loads of experince, pain is not always growth.
Pain sometimes (I'd say often in my experience) is just pain.
Pain is often a signal of something bad, of some corrosion
or disease. In the worst of cases, pain
is just mindless
meaningless unpredictablepain that will teach nothing
that will help nothing and that will stunt you if it
hits you when you are down, that can frighten you into
acting atrociously, that can eliminate your ability to care
about anything other than escaping it.

Growth is not joy. Growth is almost always painful
and traumatic. As an abstract concept of something that
happens to someone else or to ourselves when we are
not experiencing it, growth may be cause for rejoicing,
but it is in and of itself
not joy.

Joy may well be a reason for living, but it can't be
the only one. If it were, when people like me are in
bleak moments like this one, then there would be
no reason for living. At times like this, I continue
even if only because I will
and I therefore must brush my teeth.
So my existence today, tomorrow
and for the forseeable future
is a complete contradiction to your statement.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Ok, I'm genuinely sick. I've been denying the reality of it for a few days, assuming it's just this or that transient thing, nothing to make a huge deal about. It's hard to recognize when I've gone and caught something in my post lyme life since I sometimes just don't feel good for no apparent or treatable reason. I've learned to assume feeling swimmy headed or fatigued from time to time is part of my life. That doesn't mean I don't complain about it when it gets bad (as my blog even thus far can more than attest to), but it does mean I don't see it as a departure from normal. But I think the time has come for me to acknowledge that this is more than the routine post lyme blahs. I do believe I am plain ol' fashioned sick.

I made it most of the weekend, but the fever's going up up What to do.

Aha. I remembered a few moments ago that I have a 3 day script for Cipro on the fridge.

So here are my options:
- Get the Cipro filled and take it til Monday when I can talk to my doc, who might bitch me out for doing that.
- Go to the E.R. as my doctor told me to do on Thursday if my head aches got worse (it was worse Friday, but now the head's about as it was on Thursday). The time for that has passed then.
- Page the person on call for my doctor and let him weigh in on the decision. I don't know him, he doesn't know me, and I have no patience for asshole doctors. Which he probably is given the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of any randomly selected doctor being an asshole.

I'm leaning towards the Cipro route as it minimizes contact with the medical professionals but will help knock this down if it's an infection. How utterly irresponsible of me to take antibiotics like that. I just want you all to know that the CDC probably would say you should never ever try this at home.

Jeez, I'm feeling so indecisive. Probably part of the not well thing. Makes you less mentally um, accurate. Sharp. Whatever.

Oh hell. Just looked in my e-mail. T wrote to me. And I've got cramps (a week early). Wow. I did mention that when things go bad for me lately they go absurdly bad, didn't I? Relevant to that - yesterday, although I barely got out and did anything, I managed to drop a plant (a large window box planter of catnip) onto my head, hurting myself and spilling dirt and catnip all over my friend's carpet, window sill, and speaker, as well as into the baseboard electric heater. That'll be a nice little present for winter. I think I need a helmet, at least until this period in my life has passed. The plant makes three (?) things that have fallen on or just past my head in the last couple of weeks.

Off to get the Cipro and some more Tylenol. Evil stuff but it helps with the fever.

Friday, July 22, 2005


The topic of Gidget came up the other day. I happened to casually refer to a driver who was annoying me by that name while I was in the company of a friend who was born in the 80s. My friend said "what?" I tried to explain. It defies words. It requires images. So here she is folks. Sally Field as Gidget. You know, she almost HAD to do Sybil after that.

I look at this as affirmation that one's life and the works that one will be known for needn't be defined by what one did in the dawn of adulthood.

I also find passing amusement in the fact that Sally Field has the same birthday as a dear old friend of mine, who is entirely UN-gidget like, even as a 19 year old.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I started writing this yesterday, and today I woke up with a migraine. I guess I shouldn't be surprised about this. Stress + heat/sunshine + PMS + not enough sleep = migraine. Was this what the vertigo was about? I've never had one come on two days in advance before. Should I feel special? Hm.

Headaches are nothing new for me. I had the first migraine when I was in my early twenties. I was at work and there was no pain, just a complete and sudden loss of my peripheral vision. I worked as a clerk on an inpatient surgical unit at the time and I mentioned it to the nurses. They shuffled me off to a conference room where they played nurse on me. My boss (whom I had a somewhat uncomfortable relationship with) came in, shooed them all away, and tended to me herself. Everything else was normal but not suprisingly, my blood pressure was "a little high". I suspected that might have had more to do with who was taking my bp than anything else. I was migraine free for a few years, then when I was about 27 I had another after working in the garden at my house in MI. Since then, I get about two or three migraines a year.

Between the migraines and the crashing headaches of my neuro-Lyme infection, I suppose I'm pretty experienced in the headache area. I thought I'd share some of what these experiences have taught me. Primarily, I learned to just try like hell to avoid the triggers for my migraines. Unfortunately, life doesn't always allow for that.

Most of what I learned about dealing with my headaches I learned by listening to other people and then using trial and error. I do have a new drug which I got from a sympathetic doctor a year ago. I didn't take it for the last one, but I did take it today. It helped some. None of the drugs I've taken ever help all the way. Hence the home remedies*.

So here's a list of what I do for my wretched migraines/headaches.

Usually, if I have a migraine I don't want to be touched. But sometimes if it's relatively mild, I can stand a massage, of the right sort. Some folks have suggested temple massage, but I find the area is too sensitive when I'm head achey. I prefer light to moderate pressure on the forehead in two places (1) right above and between the eyebrows and (2) just at the inner ends of the eyebrows (light pressure here only, it's very sensitive). This is good because you can do it yourself**.

Migraine Tea***:
2 - 3 bags of black tea (depends on your tastes and how much caffeine you want)
1 - 2 slices of lemon
1/4 of peeled fresh ginger root (chopped or sliced)
that's a couple of inches worth of ginger root
1 Tsp crushed rosemary
1 Tsp dried lavendar flowers
1 Tsp dried chamomille flowers

Poor 4 cups boiling water over the ingredients into a tempered glass pitcher. Stir and cover. Leave at room temperature for a few hours. You can remove the tea bags and strain the tea into a different container, or you can just leave the ingredients in. If you think you'll want to drink this over more than just a couple of days, I recommend straining. Store the tea in the refrigerator. I mix the tea with juice for sweetener or drink it unsweetened and dilluted with water. If I know I'm in a migraine mode but don't have one yet, I make this and drink a few cups a day until I feel clear of the triggers (I'll be drinking this all weekend most likely).

Lavender Wash:
It's just the old "wet cloth" idea really, but with lavender essential oil added. Wet cloth on the forehead and wet cloth on the back of the neck. I usually end up rubbing it all over my face, head, and neck. This one is especially good if you have someone standing around in what would be an otherwise frustratingly useless (for both of you) manner asking "can I do anything?"

Hot and Cold:
My shrink suggested this one. If you can stand it, a warm bath with a cold compress on the back of your neck. If you can't or don't want to risk getting in and out of a tub, then try to get your hands and feet warm while applying the cold compress on the neck.

Read my disclaimer at the end of the post in this link.
** Whenever I enlist the aid of a well intentioned amature masseur, if he decides to "get fancy" and make little circles or something rather than just apply gentle unwaivering pressure, it utterly destroys the theraputic effect. It also tends to piss me off. If you're considering asking your partner to help you with a nice head massage for your migraines, test it out ahead of time when you DON'T have a headache. I've personally found I'm much less likely to get testy if I'm not in pain (go figure!). Anger and upset are detriments to teaching and learning. Snapping at someone you love whose only offenses are being over-eager or under-dextrous, even if you are blinded by pain, will make you feel bad too. (And if it doesn't, you are not someone I'd ever care to know.)
***I read in some herbal remedy book that feverfew tea is good for migraines. Perhaps if you have zero tastebuds and aren't already nauseous, you could choke down a half a cup or so before spraying it across the room. To make matters worse, it's something that is supposed to be taken every single day, migraine or not. I suppose in pill form it might be ingestible, but feverfew tea tastes ungodly bitter. I suspect that if I took the pill, I'd have nasty bitter feverfew burps all day. Yuck. I'll stick with the ginger.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I am so DIZZY!!!! At first, I thought I hadn't woken up correctly. My wake up call from the maintenance guy (fixing toilet tomorrow) was abrupt and early for a person who routinely is most awake between 9 pm and 2 am. Left some of my brain asleep. So I snoozed in bed for another few minutes. Tried it again. This time I thought "maybe I just need to get up". That really hasn't worked out so well for me.

I'm waiting for my sister to come over so I can shower. I figure it's the responsible thing to do since if I fall over when I'm here by myself, it would suck. The collapsing shelves with 50 lbs of perception papers flying over my head last week was an unpleasant but firm reminder of how stupid it is to do dangerous things that you're really just not physically fit enough to do. I am not accustomed to a lower level of ability, and I do sometimes push things too far. But today, well, apparently showering and going up and down stairs will be big fucking events.

I'm trying not to be too pissed off about this. Being pissed doesn't help me and it only makes my head hurt. Better to think better? I'm going to make some ginger tea and go look at the "Dress the supreme court justices" section of the America book.

Note: While I've personally found ginger to serve me well for things like menstrual cramps and nausea (never tried it for dizziness but I'm about to find out), I have read that Ginger may interfer with blood clotting.
Further, relative to this and all posts relating to health on my blog, understand that I'm not a health care professional. Just someone who is sharing her personal experiences with illness, treatments, and recovery charge of her health. Therefore, none of what I write here should be interpretted as a subsitute for professional medical advice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mercury Retrograde

So this is shaping up to be another delightful week. It's revoltingly hot and humid here in southern New England. The carpet in my apartment is sticky and stinks from the cat who belonged to the prior tenant. My toilet is still broken. The maintenance guy came today, looked at it, said "yep, the seal's broken. I'll get another one and some bolts and come's early next week sound?" This even though I said "the seal is broken" when I called. But what do I know, I'm just a girl, right?

I came in to work today, and as I was entering the building, the fire alarm started. So instead of a frosty blast of welcoming a.c. that I had been dearly looking forward to, I sat outside in the heat with too many bodies around me. One of the office staffers told me mercury is going retrograde. Not keeping up on the astrology these days, but hey, with all the broken things around me (technological as well as personal) I could have guessed as much.

Speaking of broken things - T and I are officially broken up. I think he doesn't entirely realize this yet, but that is only because he is busy finishing his dissertation draft and won't wake up and smell the coffee until he has reached something of a stopping point. I could go out of my way to make it abundantly clear to him right now, but his obstinate ignorance and blindness seem to be protective mechanisms that he apparently needs. I don't know what is coming on that front, how the "talk" we will have when he's done with his draft will go, but I do know that our romantic relationship is over. Once he can be engaged enough to face it with understanding or even possibly relief, then I guess it's his turn in the tea room. He has spent most of his time and energy avoiding that place. While it is not always comfortable, it is necessary to be there sometimes. Otherwise, the challenges that life throws at us are simply miserable rough spots that do nothing except bring us down. If we are able to use them to gain insights into our attitudes about and relationships with people and aspects of our lives, then these times are not all and only bad.

I can't imagine opting for the all bad choice myself. Then it's just pointless sorrow, anger, insecurity, hardship, and pain that I am enduring. I've had a bit too much of that starting at a rather young age. (This is not a sympathy kick here, only background.) If I only ever looked at these periods as horrible, I think I'd have given up long ago. I do realize from my own and others' experiences that there are times when we can't reflect on the misery that the hard parts of life create because we're right in the thick of it and must plow on to survive. But those times are the genuinely horrible periods brought on by things like coming to terms with a chronic life-sucking illness, the death of a dearly loved one, disaster, and other truly catastrophic upheavals. Late 20s growing pains - dealing with the parental conflicts an adult identity uncovers, the personal shortcomings that are suddenly and undeniably illuminated, this is not one of those truly horrible events that gets in the way of living life. It's just life.

He had a solid and affectionate relationship with a very competent woman (me) to help him through the late 20s growing pains and other shit life's thrown his way. He had a family that at least has money and who don't all drive him nuts, and most importantly, he had friends. Through his hiding under the covers reactions to the growing up challenges that have come along in the last few years, he has jeopardized some of these things. I am one of them. All I needed was to know that we were in this together, not that I was going to be pushed into some quasi-parental role or pushed aside so he could stay firmy under his blanket.

It is pretty sad. I hope he's ok in the tea room, but I can't grow up for him and I refuse to enable what is essentially continued immaturity at the expense of my personal and professional development, my self respect, and my heart.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Oh my, that was such a bad idea, staying up so late Sunday night. I had to write and think, but now my day is fucked. I guess it would have felt fucked whether or not I stayed up late given the T related circumstances of my evening, the miserable joint stiffening 93% humidity I woke up to, and my advisor being back from her vacation.

My advisor (C____). The thought of her over the last few days has made my stomach do flips. I will soon be in a whole lot of trouble for having nothing to show (paper draft progress wise) for these last few weeks. It is research that is not mine, research that is sloppy and, in my opinion, was a poorly thought out design for the presumed research question. I'd even go so far as to say while it is analyzable, the results are just plain uninterprettable in any but the most trivial of manners. But this all is not a good enough excuse. I tried saying I can't do this, but it didn't work. "But we got significance" said the man whose project it was before he left my advisor holding his fucked up data. And so I am stuck with this evil paper that is killing my academic motivation...which these days would be weak enough anyhow. How do you deal with these little moments in your life? "Hi C____. to show for a draft. Yes, that's right. Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, I would also really like to talk to you about that." My question is how do I deal with this without sounding whiney, and if I think my reasoning might sound whiney, does that mean it probably is and it's just self delusion to think it could be otherwise?

On a different but still entirely not light note, I was reading this today and wondering why convicted women's clinic, gay bar, and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph isn't called a terrorist in the popular press. Does he fit the description? Mostly. Deos he perpetrate anonymous, violent acts of "vengeance" for perceived wrongs done to himself, his "people", or the belief system they share? Yes. Do the attacks involve both small and large group settings? Yes. Are the attacks justified to himself and those sympathetic to his cause by a hyper-mutant cult-like religion which apparently has commandments like "thou shalt kill the infidel/harlot/fag/babykilling women's clinic receptionist". Does he have and utilize access to a network of like-minded folks whom he can turn to for hiding out, bomb making materials, terrorist brain storming sessions, and financial support? Yes.

Hell, he even meets the Bush test, which is "does he claim to hate the federal government?" Indeed, he does.
I've linked the AP story above, but below are excerpts from the text also since I have no idea how long that link will be good for.

(excerpted from)
Rudolph Victims Tell of Pain at Sentencing
Jul 18, 12:15 PM EDT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- A nurse critically injured when Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb outside an abortion clinic described him Monday as "a monster," while the woman who was widowed that day told of the pain of breaking the news to her son.

Rudolph, 38, pleaded guilty in April to setting off a remote-controlled bomb that maimed Lyons and killed police officer Robert "Sande" Sanderson, moonlighting as a security guard outside the New Woman All Women clinic on the morning of Jan. 29, 1998. Rudolph also faces sentencing Aug. 22 in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics bombing that killed one woman and injured more than 100, as well as 1997 bombings at an abortion clinic and gay bar in Atlanta. Under the plea agreement, he will be sentenced to four life terms without parole for the Birmingham and Atlanta bombings.

In a statement distributed after his guilty pleas, Rudolph portrayed himself as a devout Christian and said the bombings were motivated by his hatred of abortion and a federal government that lets it continue. "The fact that I have entered an agreement with the government is purely a tactical choice on my part and in no way legitimates the moral authority of the government to judge this matter or to impute guilt," Rudolph said.

Coming up Roses

Ruth was here, called me just as I was writing the last post. It was so nice seeing her. I ranted probably too much about the wreck we call my love life, but boy did I need it. She's a great friend, listening to all of it. Hanging out made me feel better, plus she brought me some nice smelly stuff. The candle she brought is burning near me making everything smell beautiful and rosey.

We ended up having an impromptu reunion with my sister who came down from her hamlet with her now refugee cat. She and her roommate are having problems that recently escalated to a point where she worries about the roomie doing bad stuff to her belongings. The kitty is the least replacable and most dear part of A's life, so the kitty is staying down here for a little while. It's like summer camp. That's what we told the cat at least. She's been very sweet.

Good lord, look at the time. T and I talked tonight, then e-mailed. I think we are officially breaking up. Tonight ended with me telling him not to call me until he was done with this dissertation draft. Hence the extreme hour. I am upset, but I have to at least try to sleep or I'll come apart completely. At times like this, I try to remind myself that this is all part of the rich tapestry of life. Oh yeah, and my toilet's broken.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Waiting Room

Waiting for Ruth. I could call. I will call soon. Meanwhile, I made a nice picture for T. It's a picture of the Sphincter of Oddi, which to me sounds like something out of StarGate. I wonder if he's going to need another operation. I wonder if his family will actually be better than useless if he does need to have surgery again.

In just the last 3 years, they've had at least three major strikes and that's only if I consider medical fiascos . Then there are the numerous non-medical episodes. I'll list the more obvious ones. There's The Anti-Christmas, Cholestasis Bachelor Party, The Most Uncomfortable Futon in the World, and Daddy Thinks You're Failing Grad School. I'm not even counting the things they've done exclusively to me, like Very Secret Santa.

Regarding their uselessness in medical situations: T's a type 1 diabetic. There have been and will continue to be medical situations in his life. T's mom had cancer and his grandfather was a doctor. You'd think the family's familiarity with a medical setting would lend them some even passing competence when it comes to being "involved" when T is sick. And they must always be involved. They call it helping. I don't. A visit from even just two of them to a ward or ER room bears a striking resemblance to a scene from a Marx brothers movie. It feels like there should be men with unexplained and comically large musical instruments and imposing women in fur weaving around us as we first crowd near the bed then push our ways into it with comments like "Hey, are you going to just lie there and let us do this to you? And if you are, could you at least move over and make some room?" There should be a bit of snappy repartee punctuated by repeatedly dropped and retrieved objects as his mother and grandmother interrogate the various specialists, techs, and therapists who keep piling in. There should definitely be a befuddled nurse trying valiantly to untie someone who's been playing cat's cradle with the IV tubing as she is jostled about by these zany antics.

Not my problem anymore? I really don't know. T and I have had the breakup talk at least half a dozen times since this past December. It seems like we are rehearsing it. It ends when I stop listing all the reasons why I feel so little joy and so little hope of it. When I get to that point where I realize I am making an airtight case for something I am emotionally ambivalent about, I can't speak. Then it's his turn. The silence seeps in. Sometimes he talks about something else, something concrete and present. Sometimes I get angry when he does that. Lately, he doesn't say much. He might put his hand on my arm or some other reasonably chaste area of my body. And the silence goes on. And usually at that point I say "I don't know what else to say T," and he says "Me either" and that is where I end. I could say "It's over, pack up what's left of your stuff in my apartment and don't come back," but the timing seems so wrong.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 isn't for breakfast

I've had no coffee yet. I am up because my kitchen sink is being fixed. The whole thing in fact. And in my inbox there was this, sent to me by MG.

Santorum resolute on Boston rebuke

Insists liberalism set stage for abuse

WASHINGTON -- Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston's ''liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's ''sexual license" and ''sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.

Read the full story.
Then go read this.

I'm going to get some coffee.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

In Moderation

I found this in my move. One of those unfiled pictures. I know I kept it out because I thought it was funny even if I do look like hell in it. It's from when I had a PICC line for the Lyme. This is why I look like Uncle Fester with a wig pretending to be pregnant. I realize now that it looks more like I was pretending to have huge, unrestrained knockers. Why was I pretending to be pregnant? I wanted that nice reserved parking space at CVS pharmacy, but alas, I only had a fucking catheter threaded through a vein from my mid-bicep to my heart and not a baby on board. PICC lines suck, btw. If you ever need one, I strongly recommend a sedative while they insert it. The lie is that no one needs a sedative. It is a lie that the radiology staff at the Backus Hospital severely regretted attempting to perpetuate in my case.

Oh how I hate the whim of the internet. I just finished writing this carefully thought out email on how usage of the term “lesbian” and associated words suggest two distinct social categories for “lesbian” and hit "send" only to find out that my session in Yahoo had timed out while I was writing. Jeezus, that’s frustrating. You know, because then you try to go back on the browser only to find that your text is all gone. Hell. That is pretty much all I did of consequence today on account of my feeling like crap. I’m taking it easy today, I have to or I’ll end up involuntarily taking it easy flat on my back in bed all weekend. Hence, moderation. My fear is that what I consider necessary moderation in my activity level might be considered laziness by my professors. It is extremely difficult to explain that although I do not have an active Lyme infection, the disease seems to have permanently altered my constitution. It is difficult for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my still not wanting to fully accept this. On a related note, my last set of liver function tests were “completely normal”, which is delightful news. Still waiting on the ANA test. I’ve decided that sometime this Fall, I am going to have the big talk with my doctor about autoimmune disorders. Right now though I’ll just keep trying to believe that someday, this will pass.

Two amusing conversations and one perplexing social interaction:
1) “I discovered during one of the talks at the conference, that I could tie a knot in my leg hair”
“On purpose or by accident?”
“By accident. And I couldn’t get it undone, so I had to rip it out”

2)T was over this weekend. At one point when no one was accusing anyone of being upset about obscure stuff or of seeing the valid and clear causes for upset as obscure due to disengagement in the relationship, T turned to me and said "I wonder what the pope's bathroom looks like." He paused and we waited for the lexical shapes of his frequently impenatrable thoughts to manifest. "I mean, not when he's sick," he continued. "You know, just his regular bathroom.” I considered this for a moment and said "So you’re wondering if there is an official papal potty?" He exuberantly replied "YES, exactly!", excited that I was able to understand the delicate nuance of his question. I find his joy at being readily understood endearing but I ask myself if this remnant of the mutual understanding and easy intimacy in our relationship could possibly be enough to make it worth my time and emotional investment under the current circumstances.

Back to the entirely not obscure topic though - the pope's bathroom. From what I saw of the Vatican when I did the whirlwind tour of Italy in 11th grade, I’d guess it probably has solid gold fixtures, massive white marble tiles, is immaculately scrubbed twice a day by penitent nuns, and has lots and lots of hand rails. No crucifixes though. Maybe a jolly naked cherub or two.

3) My sister, AM, called this weekend with a rant, the provocation for which I’d like to post. Any feedback is welcome. AM was recently at her favorite café up the little college hamlet that is her home. She’s a regular, although I’m not sure she’d describe herself as such. This is a very popular place and it is often crowded, even in the summer. Because of this, people sometimes sit at tables together even if they are not out together. (I believe there is some pattern to how the table is filled by unrelated café goers, but that is a side note to be filed under topics for future observation.)

On the day in question, AM, was sharing a table with a man who she had never seen at the coffeeshop. She was writing busily in her notebook and was largely oblivious to this man or what he was doing. She had noticed him as he came in, and stated that he looked around and when he saw her, she felt sure that a brief and smarmy smirk flashed on his face. Presumably she dismissed this and would have entirely forgotten it if the man had behaved himself. He did not.

After being seated at AM’s table for some time, he stood up and said to her “Watch my stuff”. At this point, AM looked up and noticed that his “stuff” consisted of two legal pads and a fanny pack. She explained to me in retelling this story that his tone was odd. I asked if the oddness was that it lacked the proper intonation for a question, and she agreed that this was it. It was not said in an entirely commanding tone, but it was clearly NOT stated with the vocal equivalent of a question mark. AM looked at him, I'm sure with a completely withering look, and told him that she was busy and was watching just one set of stuff, her own. He replied by telling her that she didn’t look busy, and then strapped on his fanny pack and huffed out of the café. He returned a short time later. He sat at the table shuffling his papers, dusting the table repeatedly, and bumping his feet into the chairs and table legs. From AM’s description, his behavior after their exchange was markedly more restless than it had been before. Finally, after about an hour, AM decided it was time for her to leave. As she was packing up her stuff, the man said “Excuse me, can I ask you something?” My sister said yes, and the man responded by asking her “When I asked you to watch my stuff, did you think I was being rude?” AM said “Yes, I did.” The man said “Well I think you are out of line!” to which AM said “And I think you’re being rude right now,” and left. As she was leaving, the man repeated several more times “You’re out of line…You were out of line”.

AM and I debated the possible motives for this man’s behavior. I asked if there was any chance he displayed characteristics that would suggest instability, fannypack aside. She said yes, there may have been some muttering and mumbling to himself even before the “watch my stuff” moment. To me, this man clearly was a mentally imbalanced individual. I suggested that it seemed he had a pathological need to control his environment and AM’s failure to respond as he desired and expected provoked his sense of her being “out of line”. AM stated that she felt the man was sexist, not someone who would be considered pathological but merely on the far end of what is considered appropriate social behavior when placed in the proper sexist context (which is of course the reality of the one we live in).

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thoughts of Lyme and Broken HD

I'm awake and there really is no good reason for that. I'm exhausted. One tiny walk at HorseBarn Hill in the brilliant sunshine today and I'm pooped. So here it is, after three in the morning and I'm still up. Why? Too much on my mind I guess. I manged to get most of my data off my now completely destroyed hard drive, although I have sacrificed all the program files and various things like my links folder. Tonight, the drive was entirely inaccessible, preventing me from starting up with the working drive, so I finally yanked it out. To paraphrase Bruno, the Italian tour guide, "The hard drive, she is broke". Indeed, I think it may be more accurate to say she is dead. That's what I get for naming her Persephone. Maybe in a few months she'll come around. Until then, I think I'll leave her unplugged.

The picture is of T explaining the cat's cradle to Max. It's from when we first moved into the old place...that was the summer of Lyme. Oh what a wretched time to contemplate. But I don't want to forget it because then I forget to be thankful for the small things in my life that make it livable and good now that I seem to have kicked the acute Lyme, like being able to shower or drive. Lyme sucks, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Introduction - To blog or not to blog

This is my first attempt at blogging. I'm sure there will be breaches of etiquette and technical difficulties as I learn, but hey, I managed to set up my DSL connection today. I've never had DSL before. As a grad student in a research program, I am surrounded by lots of geeky men. So there is almost invariably a guy around who is not only available but pretty much chronically willing to offer "help" with various computer related conundrums. Sometimes the help is in fact helpful. I consider it peer learning, and if any of them gets to be too much of a dick, I confront. Hence, it's a win-win situation. I get to remedy my femininely conditioned computer/tech deficiencies (which are minimal compared to the population at large I think) and they get to learn how NOT to be sexist fucks.

Since my (old) hard drive just went down in flames last week, I found myself having to rely overly much on the kind intentions of these menfolk to get my computer back up and running, so I decided that although there were offers to help with the internet I would most certainly NOT entertain them this time. I'm smart and resourceful, regardless of being shamefully somewhat ignorant about my own computer. I was determined to do this on my own. And I did. Now I'm feeling all proud and competent and I decided if I can get the DSL up and going, I can do a blog.

I am self conscious about this choice though. After a good deal of consideration, I decided blogging is no worse than breeding and inflicting your children on people in restaurants, busses, and other confined and necessary public areas. One caveat here: I do not disapprove of all breeding or child rearing. I think some people make just fine parents and I am very happy they are creating people who will be raised in safe and supportive homes, contribute to the overall joy and progress of society, and hopefully grow up to be responsible, considerate, socially aware adults. Then there are the rest of them, and I do believe they make up the at least visible majority. They don't ask themselves if they should perhaps not have those kids. Nope. They just have 'em, and then you and I are stuck with them.

While I am sure that the people who indiscriminantly breed do not ask themselves if the world really wants or needs their offspring before they go making the babies, I do find myself wondering if the world really needs another jaded blogger. I decided that since the legacy drive is an apparently legitimate (although seemingly post hoc) excuse for populating the supermarket isles with stranded verbally challenged 8 year olds, my channeling this drive into a blog is not something I should allow self consciousness to arrest.

But why now? Because I have had a couple of the most unbelievably shitty weeks of my life and I thought I'd report back to the universe about it. It seems like someone should be taking notes: "Subject responded to shelves collapsing on her monitor and barely missing her head by staring blankly at closet doors for about 2 minutes".

It's not been life or death shitty, but a stream of unrelenting and unexpected shit. What is this mythic shit I speak of, you ask. It lately seems that when things go bad, they transcend bad, rotten, shitty, and even just plain fucked. After an ill conceived marriage with inevitable divorce, 7 quite likely wasted years in grad school, a horrid relationship with my former academic advisor, battles with various nasty illnesses (1, 2), finding and now perhaps losing the love of my life, I guess it makes sense that these days when things go bad, they go marvelously bad. They go absurd.

I decided that if I were 22 again, I might want to know where the steps I was just starting to take on this path would lead. Of course I recognize that this journey is not complete. Hell, I'm only 33. But I've reached a place on the road where I am going to stop for a while, look around, take in the view. Really, I have no choice. I am in the tea room.