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Archive for July, 2009

georgia things

I’m moving to the Pacific Northwest in a matter of months.  Right now, because I have so much to accomplish between today and that fuzzy future time in January when we move, it seems surreal and far off.  There are a few things I know I will miss already, besides the obvious (friends and family)… number one on that list?

RainWhat?  Doesn’t it rain all the damn time in Washington? Nope, not where we are going.  There is a mythical land east of the cascades that is actually a desert, believe it or not.  A beautiful desert, with beautiful rivers and so forth, but only 6 – 8 inches of precip per year.  PER YEAR.  We get that in a rough week, here, sometimes.  I love thunderstorms, I love the way the air feels charged right before, and smells green and alive afterwards.  I love how sometimes the rain lets you deal with emotions you might not have otherwise.  I love the forced captivity, and I love when you rebel and run around and get drenched.  Palpable joy, y’all.

Today has been a dreary, lovely, thunderstormy kind of day.  Just what I needed.

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Violent Dreams

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had an over-active imagination.  Every little interaction sets off a ripple of frenetic thoughts, convoluted pathways followed to various ends.  If my parents were running late, I would imagine in great detail some tragic car accident, how I would feel to have lost them, and how my life would unfold subsequently, down to detailed conversations with fabricated acquaintances in an imagined future.  Actually, anytime anyone is running late, I have a variation of that trainwreck of a thought.  Boyfriends hit by cars while riding their bikes to work, best friends abducted from bars by evil predators.  There are less… tragic..?  manifestations; any time I meet someone I imagine the role they might play in my life, flashing from one imagined interaction to the next.  Sometimes it serves a practical, albeit morbid, purpose – when I hear my father cough in the way that only a lifetime smoker can, I immediately picture his impending illness, followed by his death, and then: what will my mother do?  How will we help her?  How will she move on?  I suppose on some level I think that if I can carefully consider all of the terrible things that might befall me and my familiars, I will be more prepared.

Despite any flimsy argument I can make for the pragmatism of my excessive and generally dark daydreaming, I have learned to stifle the impulse, to distract myself, so that I end up with the clif notes, rather than giving myself over to it.  If I didn’t, I would have one hell of an anxiety problem. You could probably argue that I do have an anxiety problem, but I think I’m mostly fine.

***

Fiance and I have a constantly evolving 5 year plan.  Right now, it contains a lot of knowns – get married, move to the Northwest, work hard, get a cat, save money aggressively.  Maybe buy a house.  Maybe stay in WA, maybe come back to the Southeast.  The plan also contains some more fuzzy details – the biggest of which is that we both want to start a family.  I have a range of biological arguments for why I would like to have a child before I am 30 – reduces breast cancer risk, lower probability of complications in momma and child, the terrifying possibility of infertility and the time it would take to wrangle with it.  And, we both want kids, kind of a lot.  So, that’s on the 5 year plan now.  Somewhere in there with making the transition from over-worked post-doc to permament employ, i.e. working my ass off and impressing people until I’m 29, with no time to spare for procreation…  But that’s a different can of worms.

We’ve talked about the kid thing – theoretical divisions of labor, how Fiance (the lightest sleeper in the damn world) will survive, the fact that they will have the softest hair ever, and with any luck won’t inherit my immune system.  We have thought about how to prepare financially, how we are going to name all the boys Stanley and all the girls Wanda (don’t ask).  We talk about having them sooner versus later, pros and cons.  We talk about how I will be a pain in the ass when I’m pregnant – I”ll probably have a host of random medical issues, and the weirdest eating habits ever.  We talk about how he has to love me even if I get fat, and he says he wishes I were chubbier anyways.

***

My proclivity for morbid fantasy caught me fully unaware last night.  I was watching Bridge to Terabithia on TV, and near the end, a child dies.  I wasn’t expecting that plot twist at all, so it was rather like I got punched in the stomach.  Suddenly tears are streaming down my face, and I think about all the children lost lately – children in the blogs I read, children in the newspaper.  And I am afraid.  I am petrified.  My own imagination runs me over, runs me through, faster and more intense than ever.  I am scared I’m not strong enough to endure even the possibility of that reality.

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things that are neat (and are helping me procrastinate):

picclick –  A visual search engine for ebay.  This is a lot more appealing that the basic interface!  (via mightgirl.com)

bingtweets – combines twitter trends and bing searches so you get to look at the relevant tweets and short linked descriptions thereof simultaneously.  I really like the different trend categories of this site…. Nice to leave open and come back to every once in a while just to see what’s hot.  This is what is really cool about Web 2.0 to me – a visual landscape of what people are talking about (and also how the media/marketers can influence it and set agenda!) (also mightygirl.com)

google latitude – incorporates gps info from smart phones with social networking.  I can see where my friends are, and quickly call or text them from the map.  OR I can get all Edward Cullen on them and stalk them like never before.  Granted you can control who can see your location, but I can see this being a little bit creepy in some situations or relationships.  I can also see it being super useful – if I lose my iphone while I’m running errands, I can see approximately where it is (Answer: the post office) (via bingtweets).

suck it sarah palin – VF edited her resignation speech.  Pretty funny, though I don’t agree with all the editorial choices (via bingtweets).

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once upon a time there was an ocean, paul simon

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hit the floor

This morning, Fiance and I ate a gigantic breakfast at Big City, and then headed over to his boss’ house to borrow his truck so Fiance could finish moving out of his old house.  We were hanging out in the backyard playing with Boss’ boxer puppies, when I started feeling sort of lightheaded.  I toughed it out for a bit, hoping it would pass or we would hit the road so as not to make a scene, but eventually it became clear I would not be so lucky.  I asked if I could go inside for a minute to sit down, as it was pretty hot out, and a few minutes later found myself sitting on their kitchen floor wondering exactly how I’d gotten there, and if it was necessary to be quite so sweaty and cold.

I was mostly fine after a few minutes, albeit somewhat confused since I had a) just eaten, b) been out in the heat for the past hour no problem, and c) am out in the heat constantly for frisbee.  But whatever.  So I passed out on their floor.  No big deal, right?  People faint.

Granted, the only other time I’ve been around Boss and his wife, I’d also left abruptly due to a medical problem.  Back in March, at Fiance’s co-worker’s wedding, we were all sitting around at the reception when I decided the vision loss I’d had in my right eye for 24 hours or so was something worth being alarmed about.  I went from flippant to freaked in about 15 minutes, and off we went to the hospital. They must think me either a hypochondriac or a medical trainwreck.

I was diagnosed with idiopathic optic neuritis, and given very little in the way of details (because there is nothing doctors hate more than scientists – we ask all manner of irritating questions).  With an astounding display of poor bedside manner, the medical staff started mumbling about multiple sclerosis, using a delightful array of adverbs such as “likely” and “typically” and “probably” and thank god I was geeking out on all the medical details I could draw out of them, or else I would have Lost. My. Shit.

So, long expensive story short(er), I get pumped full of corticosteroids and sent packing, slightly alarmed and very intrigued.  I get my head scanned (CT, MRI) and my eyes checked and checked and checked.  Ultimately my MRI comes back clean, which means, I am told, that I have “only” about a 50% chance of ending up with MS.  We will assume I don’t have MS until I turn up with another neurological symptom, of which there are a variety pack.  I am also told my vision should improve and return within about 6 weeks (just long enough to totally ruin the frisbee season…).  Well, it’s the end of July and here’s some Susie Goggles (TM):

Susie GogglesSo that’s my central vision in both eyes.  Left is normal with a normal blindspot, right is screwed up – about 30% gone, give or take.  My peripheral in that eye is much worse.  I’d say I lost about 50% total in my right eye.  Interestingly, it doesn’t matter too much for most of my day-to-day activities.  It’s really only a major detraction for frisbee, and it makes driving on the interstate during rush hour sort of… mentally taxing.

So, anyways, I’m glossing over lots of the details (hard to believe, I’m sure), but today I’m wondering if randomly fainting, and also the vertigo I’ve been getting occaisionally, might not be a neurological symptom worth mentioning to a doctor.

The crux is that fainting isn’t necessarily weird, and neither is a little bit of vertigo.  It’s a question of how much constitutes “abnormal,” and my definition of too much might be different than someone else’s.  Additionally, if it were as simple as going to the doctor and getting a satisfactory answer, the way would be clear.  However, after reading some of the primary literature on optic neuritis and MS, I disagree with the choices my doctors made, the details they shared with me, and the explanations offered.  That’s another story though.

Maybe it just was my subconscious satisfying my love of taking naps on the kitchen floor.  Bad subconscious!

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I wish that I were this kind of person:

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on hot air balloons

During our little photo shoot yesterday, we were all talking about hot air balloons, as they used to be launched from the park we were moseying around.  I decided I wanted to know more about them, because they really are sort of weird…  Were they invented as an actual efficient means of transportation?  How do they work?  Can you steer, or do you just float where the wind blows you?  As I was reading the wikipedia article, I learned first that they are filled with hot air.  This was news to me, and despite having typed the query myself, I had to go check whether I had been calling them “Hot air balloons”, or something else…

Y’all, I almost have a PhD, but I am laughably dumb, sometimes…

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Weekend rundown:

  • Tiny dress, 4/5 bottle of wine (way to share, Fiance!), discussion of Honduras with Hondurans, friends I didn’t expect to see, assorted other beverages, home by midnight, why don’t I do this more often…?
  • Get up, get up!  Drive to the burbs, let’s see Harry Potter with my parents!   Why are they so befuddled by the 15+ minutes of previews… and wow, when did Mom become one of Those People, that talks too loudly during movies?  Oh dear.  Aww  yay Harry Potter, good work being delightful and adorable and … disconnected, plot-wise?  But it’s ok, because I know the books by heart.
  • Oh god we’re late late go go go, drive to Atl for the wedding shower!  Play by play of the the play by play the GPS gives on the way…  “Uh oh, arrival time is 4:34…  4:35….  4:37…  freak out panic!”
  • …. and sit around until 6.  And then make sort of awkward conversation with parents’ friends?  And then watch Fiance’s fat ass break the porch swing!  And then get eat hamburgers and hang out with friends and watch sister-in-law toddle around pregnantly.  Time to open presents while people stare at you!  Best presents:  creme brulee BLOW TORCH and haikus from roommates.  Best haiku:

he cooks the pork loin

she eats the pork loin upstairs

he cleans the dishes

  • Home sleeep sleeeeeep.
  • Putz around until 6, get lost on way to Marta station, meet old friends for more awkward engagement pictures.  Walk around, kiss in front of other people for prolonged periods, giggle a lot.
  • Eat cake with fingers while driving home; make enormous mess.  Giggle.

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*That Was Your Mother, Paul Simon

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