Bear*: I need a coat.
me: i had to make Husband get a coat.  it’s like 5 in WA.  he is confused about how to survive.
Bear: yeah, this is really hard on us southerners.  like, ok, it was cold. Ok, now its time for it to get back to being in the 50s, like in Georgia after its cold for a few days
me: exactly, right… sustained cold is weird
Bear: yeah.  like I looked at the 10 day forecast – straight 40s and 30s
me: eww
Bear: I know
me: look at this: or, Antarctica
Bear: Is this real?
me: yes.  and terrible.
Bear: are you sure this isn’t like wikiweather or something and you just changed it?
me: i’m not that technologically proficient
Bear: do cars work in that kind of cold?  is there life?
me: a little bit i think, but slower. like when you put goldfish in ice water in 7th grade science
Bear: um, susiebear*…  if an Animal Farm like event ever occurred, you would probably be on some kind of enemy list
me: wha? why? that was a for-a-grade project. totally legitimate.
Bear: yeah, but you see, the animals may have a congress and the rat/goldfish delegations will move to go after you
me: have i ever told you about the only recurring nightmare i’ve ever had, and how it has colored my conception of hell?
Bear: no.  is it that the hamburgler is eating you?  cause that’s a pretty scary dream
me: no, but that is terrifying in its own right.   my dream is this:
i am bad, and i go to hell (like one does). it turns out that hell, for me, is all of the animals i have ever killed, in the name of science or pest control, killing me exactly as I did them, forever and ever ad infinitum.
Bear: ok, yeah, that is kind of like my animal congress, but a little more hardcore
me: yes.  i think that is on my top five list of things I hope don’t happen to me.
Bear: I think mine is funnier because the animals will stand on their hind legs and give speeches in regal accents
me: i do love animal farm.  and anthropomorphization.
Bear: that is a long word
me: it’s not actually a word, but i think it should be
Bear: I second that.
*My roommates and I have a bizarre and enduring habit of referring to each other as (Name)bear, or sometimes just Bear.  It is weird, and I love it.

Home, Sweet Home (part 2)

This is the second installment of a history of my homes.  The first is here.

After moving out of the residential college, I went to my parents’ home ever so briefly, and then moved into a 2000 Nissan Frontier with my friend, Climber.  We embarked on a three month journey around the country, which is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  Peaked at 20, such a shame.  We spent time in West Virginia (New River Gorge), Philadelphia (this kid we met at the NRG paid us money to move him from his dorm in Philly to….), southern Illinois (there are rocks there.  seriously.), Wyoming (Wild Iris in the Wind Rivers Range), British Columbia (Squamish), California (Yosemite, duh), and Idaho (City of Rocks).  I could spend an eternity talking about this trip, and probably should at some point.  This was the defining experience of my life thus far; it is when I found my confidence, it is when I learned about friendship and adulthood and dumpster diving, it is when I tore the ligaments in my wrist that kept me at UGA for grad school.

I returned to UGA for my senior year (wait! that’s only 3 years!…), and moved into an apartment for the first time, with my good friend Turboslut.  Now, I didn’t yet realize she was a turboslut, and in fact, hadn’t yet coined the term (I maintain that is my neologism, and every time I say it I get a particularly naughty visual likening a woman’s naughty bits to a mariokart driver going over one of those turbo strips…  You’re welcome!).  I spent the first 6 months or so essentially having the apartment to myself, as Turbo was in a serious relationship and spent all her time with her boyfriend.  She would come home occasionally to make a giant mess in the kitchen, and then be gone long enough for the fruit flies to come.  This is, obviously, where I perfect my passive aggressive note leaving abilities.  One gem included a delightful comic strip describing what happens when you leave a stack of cardboard in a thoroughfare, with a stick figure biting it hard on the way to the bathroom.  Once Turbo was single though, the tables turned.  And by that I mean she slept with more men than I currently know.  I frequently came home only to be greeted by a sex scene right out of a porno, her felating some guy on the couch in front of the front door, or sounds resounding from her bedroom that I’ve only ever heard issuing from a Jenna Jameson flick.  It was delightful.  They never even paused to acknowledge how icky they were being as I entered the room.

Shortly after all my close friends had worked out their living situations for the following year, I decided it would be a grand idea to attend grad school at UGA and set about finding a place to call home.  I ended up finding a roommate on Craigslist, and spent a year on the north side of town off Boulevard.  This is a quaint, hipster area with cute ramshackle houses and townies in tight jeans with adorable wild-haired children. I lived in a small shotgun house near the railroad tracks with a girl we’ll call Who Cares.  Which is to say, we never really connected.  We had a couple of heart to hearts about how she was an incorrigible cheater looking for love, and how my boyfriend-at-the-time (let’s call him Fester) may or may not have been good enough for me (the answer, it turns out, was a resounding NOoNononono No).  Highlights of this year included watching my cat, Pumpking, and her dog, Mac, pretend each other did not exist.  Also delightful was the fact that my bed only fit one way in my tiny room, and that was up against a poorly fitted and forever shut door.  Directly on the other side of that door was the living room couch.  This was, in a word, awkward.

From there, I moved into Fester’s house (he and his roommates were vacating the place), with three close friends Caro, Monty, and Clorox.  The house was on one of the seedier, townier sides of our downtown area, in close proximity to bars and shops and food galore.  This was the year of the great depression, as I found myself with a very bad, terrible, no good advisor after my first year of grad school, and a very bad, terrible, no good boyfriend to boot.  I remember the night Monty moved in – she was sleeping on a mattress in the living room that night – and Fester was out with all his friends.  He stumbled home – to the wrong home, as he had moved days before – to our front porch, and yelled for me until I came down.  He then proceeded to puke all over me and our front porch, and raise hell, and make an ass of himself, and scare me half to death, before I could locate his (noisy, boisterous, douchebaggy) friends to take him home.  This was after I found out he’d been cheating on me, among other things.  So, obviously, I waited 6 more months to break up with him.  I can only plead Stockholm syndrome at this point, for both the boyfriend and the advisor.  The latter relationship culminated in me getting a clipboard thrown at my head, after which I got a new advisor.  Anyways, despite all that, I did have some fun that year – I was finally of drinking age, and I spent a good bit of time exercising that right (I never had to worry about getting a ride home! It was so easy!).  When I wasn’t getting soused downtown, we roomies spent much time harassing drunken tailgaters from our porch (candy corn projectiles!), listing to Clorox’s stories of the rampant gay experimentation occurring in the nearby fraternity, and helping Caro sand down her art projects, including this one: Sally the Nekkid Lamp Lady .  This was the year my kitty cat died of cancer, a few days after somehow catching a bird from the porch of our second floor apartment and depositing it by my usual seat.  It was also the year I snapped out of a lot of crap (grad school, bad boyfriend, not exercising) and started playing frisbee.

Rather than stay in that house with my darling Caro, I skedaddled to an apartment in the Boulevard area with my other favorite, Swilson.  I was not in love with our apartment, but I was very glad to live anywhere with her.  I adopted a parking lot kitten, only to find out he was a malnourished three year old later on.  Dragon eventually became Swilson’s, as I was far too busy that year to be a proper cat owner.  I played frisbee like a fiend, and consciously implanted myself into the frisbee community, constantly going to parties and whatnot.  The previous several years had left me without a decent community of people, after I stopped climbing and dated Fester for waaaay too long.  I spent very little time at the apartment, between traveling to tournaments every weekend and sleeping on friends’ couches after having too many drinks (I won’t drive for hours and hours after even one or two).  The first half of the year, I pretended I was an undergrad, phoning it in at work and partying most nights and weekends.  Then, I started dating husband, and it was wonderful.  But – I spent even less time at the apartment, because he was a night owl and had nothing to do there.  I slept at his downtown loft so often that it gets its own paragraph…

Husband’s apartment was located a couple floors above a bar that was known for its loud dance music and underage clientelle.  You could feel the bass all night, but it didn’t bother us too much.  His apartment was a loft – basically a single huge room with a very high ceiling.  Four boys lived there, knew each other through playing poker.  The bedrooms were literally little boxes attached to the walls, the size of a bed and perhaps 4 feet tall.  You got to them using ladders.  They had a poker table like you would see at a casino, two couches, and perhaps 6 televisions.  The televisions were like bizarro nesting dolls – they had at least one each of a 17″, 27″, 37″, 47″, and 57″.  They had every video game thingy known to man.  It was a bachelor pad to the nth degree.  I actually really enjoyed hanging out there – lots of good natured shit giving, restaurant food, Planet Earth in HD, cave dwelling.  It was probably the closest I will ever come to being a fly on the wall in a metaphorical boys’ locker room.  Educational, to say the least – they really aren’t talking about boobs or sex most of the time, whatdya know…

I’m stopping there, because it’s gotten too long again.

Belated gobble gobbling

I was at my parents’ home in suburban Atlanta for Thanksgiving last week.  Actually, I was there since last weekend, as my car broke (again!) and I’ve been sort of stranded by my immobility.  I got dropped off there on the way back from a frisbee tournament last Sunday – me and ten of my friends went to Hunstville in a 15 seater van, for a weekend of frisbee, adult beverages, and turkey (there as a full thanksgiving dinner for the 28 teams there – glad I didn’t have to cook that!).

My in-laws spent the holidays at my parents’ too, as did my aunt, uncle and cousin on my mom’s side.  Oh, and did I mention Husband was there?  Husband came home!  Hooray!  Though, booo to the bit where we finally got to see each other in a house chock full of our relatives.  BOOO.

It was a good week, all together, though I was more than ready to come home yesterday.  A little too much family for me, this time of year.  I bribed one of my besties into rescuing me, and now I’m trying to motivate myself into finishing the relatively minor edits necessary to wash my hands of this dissertation stuff.  Almost done…

So, I know I’ve been nearly non-existant as far as the internet is concerned – sort of an NaAntiBloPoMo, for me – I’m hoping I can get my head back into this soon.  It’s just, I’m in this bizarre holding pattern.  I kind of don’t live anywhere right now – my stuff is still here in my house  for another 2 weeks, at which point it will begin the trek to WA; my husband is not here, my friends are all over the place.  I don’t have that much to do, but I’m busy as all get-out, somehow.  My car certainly isn’t helping matters.

I suppose the real impediment is that the inside of my brain, lately, is a catalog of complaints: my car is broken, my husband is way over there, my friends aren’t conveniently located, I don’t have a cat, I’m not sure how to pack my belongings for the move, I have a giant huge enormous zit on my chin (again).  Writing that stuff down makes me feel like an overly-negative (or perhaps overly-entitled?) little whiner.  I’m hoping it passes, but I fear that it won’t until I’m done with this limbo period.  I’m still managing to have a great time with my friends and family before I skip town, but when I am alone and thinking, it’s not the best.  I’m also hoping that seeing Husband last week re-set the clock on the crazy, since now it’s onlt 3.5 weeks till I see him again – but that’s soooo loooooong waaah!  I’m going to get an advent calendar, since he’s coming home on Christmas.

Shit!  No car, no advent calendar.  Le sigh….


I’ve been laying low for a bit, post-defense (was on Friday, passed, hooray!).  Hopefully my mind will un-smoosh soon, because having jello for brains is pretty worthless.

To bed!

Mmm tasty-ish

After paying more attention to my diet for the past 5 days or so, I’ve realized that I eat a lot more poorly than I realized.  I mean, I know things have gone downhill as my defense has gotten closer, and since Husband left… but damn.  So basically I kept track of what I was eating for 4 days without changing anything or going out of my way, and then this morning I went to the grocery store.  For the first time in quite a while (2 months…. Husband did it before, and since he moved, I’ve been relying on food from Subway or from my roomies).

I have tried looking up good information on this diet on the interwebs, but there is so much quackery and bullshit that it’s actually been pretty hard.  Really the best info I’ve found so far was on Epicurious, actually, which I think is a bit of a travesty.  There was a federally funded study on the effects of following an anti-inflammatory diet, but the details of the diet followed weren’t available, and nor were the results.  I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised – this diet, named as such, only begins appearing primary literature within the last decade or so, and it’s never delineated that well.  The basic idea, so far as I can tell, is to eat very little carbs (no refined grains, maybe some whole grains or maybe none, no white rice, brown rice is ok…), lots of leafy green veggies, fruits (especially avocado, tomatoes, oranges…), nuts (especially walnuts), very little poultry, beef, or pork, lots of oily fish (salmon and trout), and lots of garlic and ginger and certain other seasonings.

So, I’m sort of a picky eater, in that I never really want anything, I just dislike some food less than others.  Except for cake, I almost always like cake.  And, I do genuinely like food, I can just never decide what I want.  But, I often don’t breathe through my nose while I’m eating, and don’t chew properly so I can eat faster (all of that sounds incredibly weird when I write it out).  Anyway, I was walking around the store trying to get things that sounded good – I like avocados, but I like them as guacamole (…with chips), or with tomato and salsa (…on tortillas).  I love pesto, made with spinach, walnuts, parmesan, olive oil, and garlic (…on pasta).  The recurring problem is that the vehicle for the good stuff is “bad” stuff.  I got some gluten free brown rice pasta… and it was disgusting.  Like.. gluey.  Gross – I would rather just eat straight pesto, but that’s sort of hard.  So, I decided that I am making a solid effort, and reducing the amount of refined carbs I’m eating, but not eliminating all together – I had the nasty pasta for lunch, and regular with dinner.  Plus, I’m not sure if corn tortilla chips (for the guac) or corn tortillas (for the little taco things) are “bad” or not.

I think I’m going to go visit the nutritionist through my university to see if she can help me lay out a diet with good meal ideas, and also just help me get a better handle on what is good and what’s not.  I am feeling sort of pessemistic about it for some reason, I guess I’m afraid it might be too much hippy bullshit, or not scientific enough for me – since I am having trouble finding it myself.  But, I’m trying to quelch that thought process, and hopefully I will have something more constructive to follow next week.  Until then, I’m trying this at least better version of a diet, even if it isn’t quite right.

Oh, and with my pesto pasta, I had salmon, baked with some olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and lemon zest.  It was fantastic.  If I could eat that every day, I would, but my wallet wouldn’t like it… and there’s that whole mercury thing…

Ok, so over the past um.. forever, my body has a had a range of problems, generally small, that at this point are putting a serious damper on my wallet and my social life.  I get sick only occaisionally, but when I do, I get SICK.  Like, strep throat for 6 straight months, or sustained fever above 103 for weeks for no apparent reason.  Or, idiopathic optic neuritis (a major risk factor for multiple sclerosis), chronic dry eye, and an allergy to my contact lenses.  Lots of random stuff, none of it especially terrible all by itself, but together…  expensive.  Keeping me from playing frisbee, among other things.

So, today I had a follow up appointment with my optometrist for the dry eyes bit.  The lacrimal plugs didn’t do much, so he prescribed me some eye drops that should stimulate tear production.  To the tune of a couple hundred dollars a month, as there is no generic.  He also asked me a lot of questions about my diet and stress levels.  I’ve always thought my diet, while not stellar, is certainly acceptably healthy.  I don’t eat McDonalds, as a rule (though I was forced to while at the hospital while my nephew was making his debut – and it was NASTY), I don’t eat excessively, I generally eat meals prepared from basic ingredients rather than processed stuff.  But, you know, I had a reese’s peanut butter cup for breakfast this morning.  And yesterday I didn’t eat any fruit.  So, not that great.

So, my optometrist started talking about a “proinflammatory diet”, and I admit I sort of started to tune out.  I mean, I’m healthy!  I’m athletic!  I’m smart – I’m a toxicologist, and I don’t need to hear about this cockamamie hippie bullshit.  But, wait – the little wheels in my little stressed out brain started turning, and the overarching message was this: listen.

And so I listened.  And took notes.  And ran home, and started reading primary literature.  And, and, and: it makes sense.  Just because my diet is better than most Americans’ doesn’t mean it is the best diet I could have.  I eat too much meat and not enough veggies and fruits.  I eat more sweets than I ought to, though I eat less than many people.  I love bread, and pasta, and generally anything made from grains.  And scientifically, I know all about the benefits of high intake of omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6.  I know why, physiologically, the former are great, and the latter suck – omega-6 FAs are used in inflammatory processes.  Being in a constantly inflamed state can lead to all sorts of shit: degenerative diseases, heart disease, cancer.  So why won’t I eat an effing orange instead of that reeses cup?

I think it comes down to accountability.  So, even though this road is fraught with the dangers of mild exercise bulimia if I start doing the calorie thing, I think I’m going to start recording my food intake.   The quality rather than the quantity, because my weight isn’t the issue.  The issue is the constant, basal level of discomfort I am in every day, even the best days.  The issue is that I can’t wear my damn contacts long enough to go to the gym, much less play frisbee or go on a date with my husband.  The issue is the amount of money I spend on medicine and doctors visits.  If I can prevent that through my diet… well, I barely like food anyway, so why not eat things that are good for me instead of whatever seems least unpalatable at any particular moment?  I mean, if I could opt to take a pill every morning that would give me all the perfect nourishment for the day, but couldn’t have a single meal after that, I would.  But, I can’t.  So I will try this instead.


Turned my dissertation in to my committee a week ago today.  Since then I have:

1.  Hung out with my parents

2. Spent a weekend drinking excessively with frisbee friends in a secluded cabin in North GA

3. Became an Aunt!  Woo baby time.  This involved logging many hours in a hospital, and dealing with some forlorn cats at my bro’s house.  Oh, and nibbling on adorable baby fingers.

4.  Taught my advisor’s classes

So, despite being pretty damn busy…  I’m curious to know why I feel like I’ve totally withdrawn from life for the past week.  Maybe I’ve just been on mental vacation, or maybe it’s because I’ve been so absent from my house (and my roommates).  Certainly it’s because Husband is gone, and that has an odd way of making it seem like it’s been one interminably long day since I dropped him off at the airport.  I think that the next month (or two) will be an interesting mix.  I don’t feel inclined to socialize in my town anymore – most of my network is a minimum of an hour away.  And for some reason, SusieTime (i.e. me, alone in my room, generally watching something stupid on ABC family…) is increasingly important.  Maybe I’m gearing myself up for the fact that, come January, it’s going to be mostly SusieTime for at least a while.  But that seems silly – seems like I ought to be maximizing the fun?

Looking at my little list up there, though, I guess it seems like I am.  I guess I’m just not as mentally present for all that as I could be.  Because mentally, I’m all over the place – Atlanta, Washington, Savannah (hi!)…  I haven’t been fully engaged in most of what I’ve done recently, because I’m always thinking of someone else who is somewhere else.

At any rate, the overarching feeling I’m left with after turning in the dissertation isn’t necessarily relief…  it’s actually loss.  That’s not quite right though.  I guess I just feel kind of unmoored, not sure what to do with myself.

You know, since actually starting to work on my defense presentation hasn’t yet seemed necessary.  Great plan, Susie!  Let’s see what happens.