Friday, August 25, 2006

In Which I Lie to Myself

I made an interesting discovery when I went back to read an old journal last night. My motive had been to see if I could find any excerpts of interest to post on here. Alas, I came up short in that regard. The first journal I grabbed was one that I kept sporadically during my junior and senior years of high school. You know the kind, the padded, cloth-covered variety that put all kinds of pressure on you to think of something deep and meaningful to write about.

Needless to say, I didn't find anything deep and meaningful. What I did find though was evidence that I wrote in the journal in a way that I clearly felt like I should be feeling, not how I actually was. Case in point being when my best friend started dating a boy I liked, the only reference I made to being upset about it was "Sigh, I kind of liked Brian, but oh well." I then proceeded in every subsequent entry to fawn all over how cute they were together and how happy I was for them. Bullshit! I was pissed and jealous. Why couldn't I write that in my journal?

I've never been too concerned with the idea of people reading my journals, so I doubt that was the reason. God-knows, my dad would've if he'd had the opportunity (and probably did on many occasions), but once I was out of his house I always trusted my roommates and boyfriends to not cross the bounds I set up with regard to my journals. It seems to have worked out for me so far because I have long since gotten over any need to sugar-coat my entries. I have to imagine there would've been ramifications if things had been read that were not meant to be read.

Whatever the reason was that I couldn't admit my feelings back then, even to myself, I now feel compelled to point out that my "best" friend may have gotten him as a boyfriend for a few measly months, but I've had him as a dear friend ever since. *raspberry*

Note Paper

This morning I realized that I very shortly need to get a notebook or binder or something of the sort for taking notes in my class, which starts in a few days. When contemplating what might be best, I started thinking about what I had used as an undergrad.

It came flooding back to me- the days of being governed by environmental and financial concerns which lead me to adopt the habit of taking my class notes on the back of paper I fished out of recycling bins all over campus. There was a never-ending supply, and sometimes, if I was lucky, I found a few brightly colored sheets, usually from discarded flyers near the bulletin boards. That kept my notebooks looking lively and inspired.

So this morning when I got to work, I set aside a handful of scrap paper that I would've normally tossed in the recycling bin. Now all I need is a 3-ring binder and I'm all set to start class.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On Driving Standard Transmission

I remember telling my date, as he drove us to a high school play, that I could never be with a guy who drove automatic. Even at the tender age of 16 I knew just what to say to a man. Oh, I should mention that he was driving automatic. And it was our first date.

I am driving my third standard transmission currently. My parents always had standards and my sister buys them too. They are cheaper and get better gas mileage. I like being in control of when or if I shift gears. And I like being a girl who drives a stick (this was most effective in my last vehicle- a pickup truck).

It worries me that less people are driving them these days. What if it becomes hard to find them and they actually end up being more expensive?

I also think that everyone should be capable of driving a manual, even if they prefer not to own one. If we take my car, and god-forbid, something happens to me and I can't drive, are you going to be able to get the job done?

An old friend recently asked me if my offer to teach him still stands (it was made years ago). Naturally, I said yes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Meat or no Meat

I was a vegetarian for 5 or 6 years during college and immediately after. I was an "ovo-lacto vegetarian," in that I ate eggs and dairy. I was never a very good vegetarian, more like a pastatarian or starchatarian. I didn't eat enough fruits or vegetables, nor did I worry too much about getting my protein. I got sick a lot, colds and viruses. When I started having wild cravings for tuna fish, I eventually gave in and started eating sea food again. With the addition of tuna into my diet, my health did improve.

I was a vegetarian for environmental reasons, but also because I simply never really cared for meat all that much. I became interested in vegetarianism the summer after 11th grade through a co-worker at the day camp I was working at, but my step-mother refused to indulge my whim. When I came home for Thanksgiving freshman year of college, the dynamics had shifted and I was able to avoid the turkey dinner. Her concerns about whether I would have enough to eat were unfounded, of course. Turkey was always a side dish, in my mind.

When I started eating meat again, it was never in large amounts or all that frequently. Left to my own devices, I would still chose tofu in my Thai food or a marinara sauce on my pasta. My fiance, on the other hand, is as meat and potatoes as they come. He will literally have for dinner steak with a side of chicken. I kid you not. In an attempt to share our meals more thoroughly, I began eating some of the pork or chicken he was having (I drew the line at steak, hamburger, or sloppy joes).

The other evening I realized that I was only eating these dinners because that was our routine. I don't enjoy them and I'm always wishing to not have the meat on my plate. So now, for the first time in many years, I am wondering if it's time to reconsider my current state of vegetarianism. I get tired of explaining that "No, I just don't like steak (or prime rib or hotdogs)." It certainly would be easier just to say, "Yup, I'm a vegetarian."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seeing Old Friends is the Best

The other day I got together with my best friend (who was also one of my roommates) from college. I had not seen her in over 3 years, but the last time hardly counts since it was her wedding day and she had other things on her mind besides me (go figure!).

She is one of the few people that I can be totally and completely "me" with. In other words, she still loves me even if I don't try to sugar-coat my bitchy, crabby, grouchy self. When we get together now or talk on the phone, there's no awkward pauses, we pick right up where we left off. Even if that means just catching up on General Hospital or on which of our friends have gotten married or had babies.

Our lives have changed a lot since college (hers more than mine, admittedly), but it's relaxing to be those girls again. And it's nice to hear her dad say that I haven't changed a bit, that I look like I could be coming from class (maybe it was the t-shirt?). In truth, I look better now than I did then, which isn't bragging, it's just a fact (whoever let me go 22 years without introducing me to eyebrow wax really ought to be shot).

Anyway, the point of this post is that she's the best, and I hope we can make it through the next 10 years as good of friends as we've been these last ones.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

About what a dork I am

So I am starting to get nervous about taking a class. It's been 8 years since I was last in college. And this is a graduate level class.

What if I can't remember how to use my brain?
What if I've forgotten how to study? (Although, quite frankly, I don't recall having studied all that much as an undergrad. The library was somewhere to go to flirt with guys. Perhaps I shouldn't worry about forgetting a skill I may never have possessed in the first place.)
What if I am the oldest person in the room?
What if I am so tired from working all day/week that I fall asleep in class?
What if I take this class, like it, do well, then bomb the GREs, and don't even get in to grad school?

Darn remitted tuition, look what you've reduced me to! (Just kidding, I like free things.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Script Happy Society

As promised, the post on prescription happy doctors...

First of all, I should explain that I am not someone who uses a great deal of OTC medicine to begin with. I will take something for a headache if necessary, or if I have a cold or the flu and need to sleep or work. M, on the other hand, takes OTCs if he feels the slightest twinge of something thinking about coming his way.

He was recently prescribed an anti-depressant for a medical reason unrelated to depression. After taking it for nearly 3 months, he started thinking it was causing him to become depressed and paranoid. In reading through the side-effects, he found both of those symptoms listed. He made an appointment to see the doctor and explained the situation. What does the doctor do when M tells him that he no longer wants to be taking said drug? That's right! Increases the dosage. So now M is actually taking the anti-depressant for a depressive state that was induced by the drug in the first place. Brilliant. A drug that wasn't medically necessary to begin with. Oy.

Don't get me wrong, I know many people that need to take the meds they are prescribed, but I also wish that more time and effort could be focused on the actual cause of the problem. Oh, you have asthma? Have you considered trying to stop smoking?!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The 100 most frequently challenged books

According to the American Library Association (ALA):
I've read the ones in bold. I borrowed this idea from Casey.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The New House

The “new” house progresses, but there will always be more to do. We did some extensive tree and vine removal. Before and After. There are still a handful of trees that I want to take down. The aluminum siding needs to be pressure washed to remove the filth left by the vines. The new roof has been completed, and none of the plywood needed to be replaced. Uncle D and his brother will be assessing the rotting trim and siding of the solar panels this afternoon. Once the exterior is in shape, then we can start considering the interior…

Hopefully, by then we’ll have a closing date.

Working with a limited budget will require some prioritization. The bathroom comes first in my mind. I don’t think the shower is negotiable. I can live with most of the other problems and work on them over time. But I can’t compromise on the shower and make this be the third consecutive house I’ve lived in where the tiles are falling off the walls during your shower.

In my dreams I see the "family room" finished, the half bath put in, and one of the woodstoves hooked up. That would certainly help with the electric bills come wintertime. I could put my desk down there because I like to be roasty-toasty. And bookcases...