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Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
8:53 am - Writer's Block: Redoing Nature's Color Palette
If you could manipulate the color schemes of nature, what things in nature would you change the color of? What would you change them to?
Oranges! If they were purple it would just be so counterintuitive...

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Saturday, August 9th, 2008
1:50 pm - My Healthcare Awakening
If you know me, you know I'm not terrific at taking care of my health. Sure, I eat vegetables and take vitamins and probiotics and all that rot, but when it comes to annual checkups, I just don't follow through. I don't take medicine, I rarely take sick days and I tend to support the slogans "walk it off" and "Ignore it and it will go away."

That has changed.

Last weekend I stayed home with a cold. I felt funny, but I thought "it's just a cold. I'll use my weekend to rest!" It didn't go away. But I went to work anyway, thinking "I'll snap out of it!" Monday I couldn't eat anything which for some bizarre reason didn't strike me as odd. Tuesday was the same deal, except for applesauce and chicken soup. Tuesday night I was stumbling around and in pain, yet I still went to hospital codes, still helped pin down a 200 pound naked, feces-smearing, HIV+ psychotic woman (who head-butted me, to boot) and tried to ignore the fact that I had a fever and a strange pain in my lower back. By the time I got home, I knew something wasn't right. I went into strange, shaking convulsions, sweat through two sets of sheets and fantasized about cutting my thoracic cavity open to figure out what the hell was hurting so much. The next morning I could barely walk and my temperature, with ibuprofin, was 102.8. And so I got in a cab and went to the ER, where they took my vitals (my resting pulse was 140! That's the "fat-burning zone" aerobics instructors tell you to aim for!) and promptly rushed me into a little room and stuck an IV in my arm. I have a kidney infection, and I had no idea, and if I had ignored it further, they could have failed. That is a very scary thing. Never again am I going to be so cavalier with my health. Three days later I am still flat on my back, unable to leave my house. I can still feel my kidneys jostling around inside when I walk. And my belly is swollen, like the buddha but not happy, no not happy at all. Kidney problems cause water retention, and although my weight has stayed the same I've been wearing my older, larger clothes because everything else feels tight. It sucks. But at least I have insurance, at least I appreciate my primary care physician (and have set up two follow up appointments with her) and at least I live in a time of antibiotics. As broken as our healthcare system is, I avoided a nasty fate for a $75 copay. That's not so bad.

current mood: sick

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Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
10:36 am - The Heat Followed Me from Georgia...
Driving back from Georgia, through Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, the heat followed me. It is oppressive and it cannot be stopped. At least I'm not back in Texas this time of year! I will be going back home in September, though--yay!

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
12:17 am - Atlanta, Boston...Dekalb!
Huzzah!

This has been a busy month and it just keeps getting busier! I just got back from Dekalb, Illinois this morning from a trip we took out to see my friend Dave get married. Flynn loves it out in the country. I, myself, prefer the bustling grit of a hyper-urban metropolis. I'm waiting to get sick of the city (and by then we can actually afford a house).

This weekend is a trip to Boston to see Inna, Uri and Dina, followed by a weekend in Atlanta where I will be seeing TOM WAITS LIVE IN CONCERT AT THE FOX THEATRE. Oh yes, I will. You have no idea how happy I am about both of these trips! *Happy Dance*

The only thing I am nervous about is driving Flynn's car. Wish me luck!

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Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
11:36 am - Writer's Block: Back in Time
1940 Greenwich village, so I could rub elbows with Karen Horney and Anais Nin...or maybe late 17 c Moscow to see what life was like under Peter the Great
If you could travel in time, which era would you visit and why?

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Thursday, March 6th, 2008
2:04 am - One more reason to stop whining...
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! --
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Saturday, February 9th, 2008
7:24 am - Live from New Jersey!
Wow, I have not updated this in forever! In news, I'm still living in Chicago, still with the same guy (almost a year now), I still have two adorable cats and I am still trying to get some school to let me in as a PhD student. I just had an interview at Rutgers and I'm very impressed with the faculty and grad students (and fellow applicants). I'm not sure they'll let me in, but if not I still have a few shots. New Brunswick is....not as bad as I thought it would be! Hooray!

current mood: cheerful

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Monday, October 15th, 2007
10:41 pm - First Day of Work
Today was my first day in my new position at work. So far, so good--more responsibility, no more menial tasks (e.g. cleaning up vomit, fetching linen, etc.). Not that I am above menial tasks, but it's nice to have a change. Anyway, not much else is happening...I am sitting in the office as the shift is winding down and I have nothing else to do for the next forty minutes except update my LJ and read the Onion. The Kittens are fine, the Halloween Party is fast approaching, my GRE is still looming, schools are still deciding, I am still stressed but things are still okay. Things are still. Okay.

current mood: cheerful

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Saturday, September 29th, 2007
7:59 pm - Short. Term. Goals.
I've decided to take my own advice and just think about short term issues rather than the big, universal issue that have had me down and out lately. Today it's very short term stuff: Monday is the deadline I have set for myself to ask professors for letters of recommendation, which means I really need to know exactly which schools I am applying to this year. I have a general idea but I need a firm list. Tonight (after work is over) will be a time for soul searching. On the good new front, I got that promotion (of sorts) and I will be switching to the intake department next week to work as a clinician. That means lots of haggling with insurance companies (ick) but lots of diagnostic interviews (yay). Plus, lots more dough, which is nice. I guess we'll see how it all works out...after all, it's only a short term thing, right?

current mood: thankful

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Friday, September 28th, 2007
9:12 pm - Bring the Crazy
At what point in the relationship do you bring the crazy? That is to say, at what point do you really open up about your fears, dreams, neuroses, insecurities and resentments? I have already sort of lost my shit in front of my current guy...he didn't handle it very well, but I acknowledge that it is hard when your usually strong-and-sober girlfriend bursts into drunken sobs after a really, really bad day.

Today I am feeling really insecure. Insecure and nervous and sad. And I feel like I am going to start shutting people out. I think I should be able to take care of my own insane moments and not lean on other people, but that is the attitude that has kept me isolated and alienated all this time. Sure, he might not be able to completely understand and empathize, but I know he will listen with too much judgment. Maybe I should just let him be there for me. Maybe it's time to bring the crazy.

current mood: sad

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Monday, September 24th, 2007
10:51 am - Kittens!!
Although I consider myself a responsible person, I am also pretty commitment-phobic, mostly because I realize how much commitment involves. Once I pledge myself to something, I rarely quit, so I think long and hard rather than jumping into stuff headlong. This tendency has been notoriously good for my academic record and notoriously bad for my relationship record. I'm so cautious that no steps are taken and I eventually send out the message that I don't think things are sustainable. Well, I went and broke all my rules with one big crushing step: Flynn and I got kittens. Now, I know we don't live together, so technically they are his kittens because they live in his huge, cavernous apartment. I have always wanted a cat but feared that it would need more space (you think "how much space does a cat need?" but you clearly haven't been in my postage stamp apartment). Flynn's place is gigantic with a lot of nooks and crannies and closets and shelves--it's perfect for cats. He has been wanting a pet but doesn't have the dosh. I have the dosh but not the space. A coworker offered us two kittens or one adult cat--we went with the kittens. This sound totally crazy on paper--we need to take them to the vet, get them spayed finish off their vaccines, etc. But it just seemed right. So we got them. We spent Saturday getting the place ready, buying litter boxes and toys and dishes and scratching posts and such. We picked them up on Sunday. Mick is 9 weeks and Poe is 11 weeks. Their original names were "Mickey" and "Luna." I renamed Luna...Flynn said he liked Mick but is now thinking of renaming her because it doesn't quite fit. Poe is reserved and cautious, Mick is totally outgoing. They play together, they love us and, thus far, they haven't peed on anything, chewed anything or gotten stuck behind the fridge. We divided up the tasks...I'm going to keep all their records organized, he's going to drive them to the vet, I'll take care of them when I'm over, he'll take care of them the rest of the week, and I'll pick up the expenses he can't cover. They've already been wormed and had most of their shots, so only a few more trips to the vet are needed in the next few months...from then on it'll just be once a year. Everyone in his family protests that he couldn't possibly take care of a cat, let alone two. My family immediately said "what about if you break up?" because that's what they do. Well, that's what I would normally do, too, but not today. Sometimes when you focus on the worst scenario, you make it happen. Today, I'm pretty damn happy, so I'm just going to worry about today.

current mood: excited

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Saturday, September 8th, 2007
8:59 am - Off to Texas!
I'm heading down to Texas in a couple of hours and I'm bringing that ne'er do well I'm dating with me. We're going for five days, which I find somewhat terrifying. I tried to explain to him that I grew up in a Mayberry town where there is a) no liquor sold, b) no cellular phone reception and c) no malls. All that's a bit of a shift for a city kid who's been drinking and smoking since he was a 'tween. He told me he'll be fine, however, so I guess we'll just have to see. I'll be back by next Thursday and I'll update ya'll on how it went!

current mood: nervous

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Monday, August 20th, 2007
10:58 pm - This exercise is pedantic and, quite frankly, nugatory.
I haven't posted in a long time, so I figure it's time for an update. I've been studying to retake my Graduate Record Exam (shudder). I'm nervous because the first time I took it, I quite frankly rocked the casbah without studying. Now, a year out of grad school and three years out of college, I am finding myself a little bit rusty. I don't read as fast as I used to, and I don't figure out square roots and midpoints as quickly. I take the test Saturday, so wish me luck! Flynn was nice enought to let me use his laptop to practice with the cursed PC-only test material, so that should help me a little.

current mood: amused

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
1:26 pm - It's been EIGHT WEEKS???
Just a quick update before going to work. I am absolutely exhausted and I need a few hours to myself...I can't even imagine going into work right now, but I'm hoping the will take it easy on me. I need more sleep and I need more space...and it's my responsibility to balance everything out so that I feel okay. I have a tendency to ask for so much space sometimes that I end up isolating myself, so I have to be careful.

I had a great, busy weekend at the Pitchfork festival. Of Montreal was fantastic, and The New Pornographers were good, too (even though the sound techs totally sucked). Cat Power was, as always, wonderful but her voice was hard to hear on the shitty speakers.

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Friday, May 18th, 2007
10:53 am - What's A Girl Gotta Do to Win an ebay Auction??
I just can't seem to get the hang of this ebay thing. Bid on two items in the last week: a Captain Beefheart LP that's out of print and hard to find, and a 1903 edition of the Encyclopedia Americana. I either need to spend more money or take some time off work to keep an eye on how my bids are doing. You know, I was thinking that ebay grants us the ability to buy anything...is all that potential for instant gratification really healthy? Transformers lunchbox? Check. Grilled cheese sandwich sporting the profile of the Virgin? Check. Heck, an entire town in CA was sold on ebay a few years ago. Maybe I should put my dignity up for sale. Buy it now!

current mood: bouncy

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Sunday, May 13th, 2007
8:35 am - Live Journal Update for Live Journal Update's Sake
Nothing too exciting has been happening...I'm working this weekend in the evenings, and possibly doing a radio spot late this morning for the NPR new show contest. Otherwise, I'm enjoying the incredibly gorgeous weather, compiling a new list of graduate schools, working on the Gogol I'm reading, worrying that someone is stealing my Sunday New York Times (but too lazy to put my pants on and check). It's May, my life is slipping away, I'm behind on both my blogs, and I'm juggling a job that promises to suck my soul out with a new relationship I'm not sure I'm ready for. I'm still pretty freaking happy, though. Maybe it's because I don't feel trapped.

current mood: chipper

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Friday, March 30th, 2007
2:28 am - Greetings from Israel
I'm updating my LJ...from Israel. Wow, I'm not sure if that makes me incredibly cool or incredibly dorktastic. No no, Dorktacular. Yes, that is definitely what I am. Aparently, 7 hours of time difference is not enough to change my sleep patterns and, just like in the United States, I find myself waking up at dawn and bustling about. I went out, bought supplies, had a cappucino in a shop and started up conversations with a few exasperated strangers. I have to say, I love it here. I am seriously considering living here for 6-12 months on a secular Kibbutz. They teach you Hebrew and feed you in return for farm work (an activity that is not strange to me). The more I think about it, the more I like it--I could just up and leave for a year.

I understand why people who come to Jerusalem have spiritual experiences. This is about as close to magic as I have ever been. It is a combination of light, wind, people, sounds, smells...Jerusalem is life. It is a city that represents rebirth, renewel, survival, perserverence; when I walk around the streets, I understand the concept of faith a little better. What else could have kept people here for thousands of years in the face of hatred and destruction? It was conquered by Babylon, Persia, Rome and the Ottoman Empire. It was laid siege to and burned countless times. The temple of Solomon was torn down, as was the second temple 500 years later. While I do not bring up politics with the locals, I have asked people how they like living here...they admit that they are always aware that they are in the midst of war, yet they would never leave. I mentioned that next time I came here I was thinking of renting a car so that I could see more of the land, and one of the members of Inna's wedding said that it was unwise because I "might end up in the wrong Arab village." I asked what might happen...she said, "People are stoned to death and never heard from again. It happens."

current mood: calm

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Friday, March 9th, 2007
9:54 am - People Are Strange When You're The Stranger...
This week, I've been thinking a lot about being socially isolated, which, naturally, makes me think with fondness of Albert Camus' novel The Stranger. The Stranger is about an isolated and reprehensible man named Meursault who lives in Algeirs. He is a sensation-seeker who does not take responsibility for any of his actions, including a random murder of an Arab he commits on the beach. As he is tried for the killing, the prosecution focuses on his lack of remorse more than they do on the crime itself. The point? Well, the point is that it is not until his life is over that Meursault realizes that he was responsible for his mess of a life. He had no friends, he had no meaningful experiences, he was just a misathropic asshole. The final lines sum it all up:

"As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself — so like a brother, really — I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."

The universe is, indeed a neutral and indifferent place. We tend to lend qualities to every action and call them "good" or "bad" but really that's just our interpretation. Mersault continuously blames everything on other people and refuses to take responsibility for anything. His one strength, in my opinion, was that he was candid and refused to put up a false front. I read that George W. Bush read The Stranger last year and "explored the origins of existentialism," which I find hilarious. Am I the only one who sees the irony of our President reading a book about a westerner who kills an Arab for no reason and then experiences no remorse?

current mood: giddy

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Monday, February 26th, 2007
12:27 pm - I’m not sure Captain Planet was an official maritime officer…
I used to watch Captain Planet with a sort of twisted fascination. The part I loved was the absolutely sick relationship between the children and the titular character. Captain planet was nothing without their powers combined; yet they always ended up calling on him at the end of every episode. These kids couldn’t handle anything on their own, and the Captain was nothing without them. The whole group is what family therapists refer to as “completely enmeshed.” Didn’t their parents ever question their behavior? Didn’t they ever say, “Hey, why are you and those other kids always hanging out with that chartreuse, highly suspect pansy?” I can picture their answer: “Um, we’re all going to go pose for a Benetton ad…he’s our photographer!"

Captain Planet was actually created by Ted Turner in 1990. I guess that's why the Captain's coloring was so bizarre (ha ha...sigh, no one remembers Turnerized movies anymore, do they?). The greatest thing the show had going for it was the villain roster: Sly Sludge, Hoggish Greedly, Doctor Blight, Looten Plunder, Verminous Skumm, and Duke Nukem. How awesome is that? If Charles Dickens were alive today, and if he went off the lithium he would have undoubtedly been prescribed by modern doctors, and if he decided to write a kid's environmental cartoon, these are the names he would have created.

current mood: curious

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Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
11:24 am - Sugar, Aw Honey Honey...
It's day two of no sugar...Yeah, for those who don't know, I gave up sugar for Lent. I know I know, I'm not Catholic, but I appreciate the idea of sacrifice, and I want to support my coworkers who are doing the same thing. Not to mention the fact that I eat too much sugar and it's throwing my life out of balance. So hey, I figure, what's the harm?

Of course, I'm sitting here eating baby carrots, which are loaded with sugar, so...yeah, I gotta go get some spinach or something. The challenge is going to work and ignoring all the food sitting everywhere, but I did it yesterday, so I know I can do it today.

current mood: blank

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