Monday, October 30, 2006

Africa fo' LIFE

Sometimes my sad little self is just overcome with notyourrealhomesickness. This is the word I've invented for a place that's not your home, but when you're away from it you miss it with such a passion that it might as well be your home. It's the missing of a place that when you're there, everything feels right even though it should seem strange and foreign - for some reason you just feel this inexplicable belonging to that place.
For me, this place is Kenya. I've visited a lot of lovely places, but I've never loved one like I love Kenya. It's so hard for me to explain why I love it. I could say because it's beautiful, but it's not beautiful in any sort of traditional way. I could say because it's exciting, or interesting, but those words really don't do it the justice it deserves. I can't put my finger on it. It's just right.

Needless to say, I often find myself close to tears with notyourrealhomesickness because Africa is so F*CKING far away! I wouldn't feel so ill if it were a mere 6 or 8 hour plane ride, but the 16 hour plane trip deal is just killer, and makes you feel like you are an eternity away, as if Kenya is almost unattainable. Perhaps that's why I value it all the more.

Anyways, enough of that, my point is that my friend turned me onto a live feed camera based in Africa. True, it's located in South Africa, but a lot of the animals are the same and the landscape isn't much different. When I watch it, I can almost imagine myself back in one of the parks, namely Amboseli, or on the Kimana Group Ranch reserve, sitting atop the landrover waiting for something to happen. It's wonderful and a great cure for my notyourrealhomesickness and doesn't make Africa feel so far away. The only problem is, I now keep this window open at work. No I don't watch it the whole time, but the second I hear a variation in the sounds of the African savanna change to the slightest degree through my headphones, I rush to click on the screen to see what might be visiting the watering hole. This afternoon (africa time +8hrs) there were some impala out and about, and tonight, I saw a spotted hyena take a long drink. sigh. how wonderful. I plan to see sunrise, and the thought of seeing the African sunrise before I go to bed makes me think that I'll have the sweetest dreams all night long.

goes with the territory

Dude! You're 100% from Massachusetts!

Dude! Me and Sully and Fitzie and Sean are gonna hit Landsdowne tonight after the game, hang out at the Beerworks. I'll pick you up at the Coop at 6.

How Massachusetts are you?

I scored a 97% on the "How much of a Masshole are you?" Quizie! What about you?

Yup. That's me all right. These quizzes were actually pretty fun. I got especially excited when the second quiz asked if I knew what "bang a uey" meant. Awesome :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

A little late, but will last all year

So October, amongst other things, is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I wanted to post about it much sooner, but it kind of slip my mind because around here, at the CANCER HOSPITAL, in an office with two breast cancer clinical research coordinators, every month is breast cancer awareness month pretty much.

Breast cancer is a totally serious subject. According to the American Cancer Society's 2005-2006 Breast Cancer Facts and Figures skin cancers aside, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and 1 in 3 women diagnosed with cancer will be diagnosed with breast cancer. While women in the 20-24 age group had the lowest incidence of breast cancer, the median age at diagnosis was 61, with 50% of the group being older, 50% younger, IE if you are old enough to have boobs, you're old enough to be looking out for abnormalities. Yeah, it's not likely you'll be 20 and have a tumor, but the sad truth is, there's always a chance. To really get a grasp on the demographics of breast cancer, I suggest clicking the link, but in general, white women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than African American women after the age of 35, but African American women have a slightly higher incidence before the age of 35 and are more likely to die at any age.

This crap is scary, true, but there is good news - a self awareness of one's own breastacles (be prepared for the use of that word often in this post, as well as a new phrase EE coined when talking about the nipples: "nipulars"), doing a self-breast exam and having mammograms can lead to early detection of even the teeniest lump, bump or irregularity. You could literally save your own life by staying on top of things. I have created a mini-illustrated guide for "staying on top of things." Because things like cancer and mammograms aren't usually funny, I've made this funny, because I'm a funny person and laughter heals the heart and all that happy nonsense. Plus it gave me something to do!

The ACS emphasizes all this "self awareness of one's own breasts" stuff on their website. Besides you, whoever else is feeling you up could also be a big help (I don't have scientfic evidence to back this up, but I do think it's true. You know how men are about the breast, they might even be better acquainted with it than you, and hell, it's on your body!) so if you're ever messing around, why not throw in a little breast palpation? It's fun!

Here are Jam and I in a meadow by a mountain stream. This shows that you can really do a breast once-over anywhere, because you have everything you need - a set of boobies and a pair of hands. Bingo - you're done! And it's free! Here, to spice things up, I've drawn me in a black slip with some nice, frothy black lace at the hem. Sexy. I have on red pumps too, probably the ones that I paid $7 for at a K-Mart in NYC. The heels are miraculously NOT sinking into the grass too! Jam is in silk red boxers. Clearly it's summer in the meadow, otherwise we'd have a chill! It looks like we're having a lot of fun with this. You might want to follow Breast Self Exam guidelines for this.

Oh right. Jam requested that I draw him with the dreads he intends to grow one day. I said "NEIN" because personally, while I have nothing against dreads as a hair style, I don't like the idea of him in dreads. Plus I had so lovingly worked on his fade in the last drawing. Then I remember the threat I made to him: "If you grow dreads, I'm getting a puppy. I'm not fond of dreads, you're not fond of dogs, it's all even." On that note, I drew him with dreads and me with a puppy:

Now if you are of the lesbionic persuasion you are extra lucky because you have two pairs of breastacles and two pairs of hands. What luck! You could do simultaneous breast feels on each other, sweet.

Here are two hot ladies in their Jamaica Plain abode, with a window in the background, overlooking the Arboretum and a well-appointed valance on the window. They were making a pie in their cobalt Williams Sonoma ceramic dish, when sh*t! They remembered about Breast Cancer Awareness Month! They whipped of their shirts (but left their sexy lady aprons (crafted by their ally friend)on and went to it. One of them has to step on a stool so the angle is right, but they are doing a good job. Their pet kitties are watching too! Since they are both girls they are well-versed in the self-breast exam process, but they did review the web before proceeding ;)

Sometimes a friend/partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend is not available to assess your breasts. That's why it's up to you to be aware of their feel and structure and appearance and stuff. While the self-breast exam is (in my opinion) still an important tool, the American Cancer Society has become less focused on that whole "once a month give your boobies a once over" thing. and more focused on always being aware of the baseline status of the boobs. Plus with the changes in recommendations for the BSE procedure and it's limitations it IS probably more useful to be on the lookout constantly. I couldn't resist, however, putting in the solo BSE.

Yes yes yes, she's in the shower, and the new method recommended is lying down, but I still like to give the breastacles a once-over in the shower. Nothings easier than lathering the set up and running your hands over them - so smooth and simple! This lady is doing just that, as she bathes in her mod bathroom with a tile floor, embroidered floral shower curtain and green new hampshire granite countertop. Delicious, who wouldn't want to do a BSE in that bathroom? It's sparkling clean!

On to the mammogram. The mammogram is a great way to see what's going on with the boob. It's a breast x-ray. A lot of people worry about the radiation exposure, but it is insignificant and will in no way increase your risk of cancer (so the ACS and my place of employment tell me, and trust me, they're both well-known organizations who wouldn't lie to you). Yeah it's uncomfortable and stuff, yeah it's a pain in the ass, but it's so easy. It's the best method for early detection and can detect irregularities that are still too small to feel! If you're worried about cost or transportation, click on this link. There are a good number of programs out there that can help you out. My hospital has a whole mammography van that will come to your neighborhood for the day and hook you up! All of the listed resources cover cervical cancer screening as well, also incredibly important and easy, though trust me, I will not be illustrating that, LOL.

Early detection is so important that there's really nothing stopping you- insurance companies and health care providers have made a committment to women by ensuring that there is a way for every woman in America (over 40) to have yearly mammograms. What are you waiting for??

Finally the men. Male breast cancer is a real thing. People, men especially, seem to scoff at it, but it's no laughing matter! The linked article explains a bit about male breast cancer and detection methods. Luckily most men have very little breast tissue. Ladies, it's up to you to feel those breastacles. If you don't who else will? We know men can barely take care of themselves, do you think they'll remember?

I like this one because I really captured the shock on Jam's face. This is how he would look if I catapulted on top of him while he was sleeping and started feeling on his boobies. Of course, he is used to me palpating his lymph nodes regularly so maybe he wouldn't be too too surprised if I did this, LOL.

If you have learned anything from this post besides the incredible amounts of fun you can have playing with MS Paint during work, I hope it's that your are your own best weapon against breast cancer. Feel your breastacles and nipulars often. Know what they're supposed to look and feel like. If you're over 40 get a mammogram. If you're a boy and you have a boob lump, don't ignore it! If anyone feels a boob lump, tell your doctor right away. It's probably nothing, but it's not worth the risk. Take good care of yourself!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Not to hate, BUT

ummmm is it wrong that this post made me giddy?

I'm glad that other cities throughout the US (and Canada!) are constantly defending their cool-ness and individuality against NY (east) and LA (west). I'm so sick of being in New York and having people say these snide things about Boston and then laughing like they're hilarious. There's a reason there's only one NYC, and that's because no one else wants to be them. Seriously. I don't mean to sound like I'm hating on New York, it's a place I've learned to enjoy and respect for what it is. What I do hate though, is the constant comparison. Which is why the comments after the post made me giddy as well, LOL Well that and the fact that Dutch goes buckwild hating on Sienna Miller, who I thought was a grade-a biatch before her "sh*tsburgh" comment. I haven't even been to Pittsburgh and I thought "oh get a grip, honey, what are you staying in a hotel with 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 or are you just bitter that your bf is probably hanging out with the nanny while you're gone" heh.

Anyways, yeah that's what annoys me, the NYC comparison. I mean it's great to have pride in your city and all (I have Boston pride and I just work here!) but seriously, why is it when you meet a New Yorker that they think their city is the be all and end all? I get that it's an awesome city, I GET THAT, but can't you appreciate another city's uniqueness. I find that even some of the more accepting New Yorkers will show their obnoxious side when pressed. A year ago a bunch of my friends, Boston and NYC friends met up in Mystic for a birthday dinner. We went to the aquarium and then out to a restaurant. Mystic is a village, a small seaside village. We get out of dinner and the snide remarks start flying about the size of the place, how it's only 9pm and all the lights are out and everyone must be asleep, blah blah, how it's "sooooo diverse", and I find myself defending Mystic! Frickin' Mystic CONNECTICUT! It's CONNECTICUT and I hate Connecticut and here I was defending it! SO I said "Oh I'm sorry it's not New York!" and everyone was like "awww c'mon now c'mon" but seriously, it bugged me because it was clear Mystic, CT was not trying to be anything except Mystic, CT.

Another time I took a friend from NYC home with me during a college break. I decided to take the Mass Pike straight into Boston because the view of the city is really nice that way. As we were driving through she goes "Oh wow. You have like, buildings and skyscrapers and stuff." I said "I thought you'd been here before...I mean I know it was a while ago but about 99% of these buildings would've been there then" She said "oh yeah, well I have been here, I went to Quincy Market" Quincy Market!! HA! I said "so that was your impression of the entire city of Boston?" She said "well. yeah. I figured that was pretty much it. besides, the older kids were so worried about us wearing our yankees gear that we didn't get to look around much" Wow. That's special. You take a class trip to Boston and you go to Quincy Market. A place where you can buy lots of fudge and imitation Cheers memorabilia. hmmm, on second thought, this is probably the precise reason that people from New York have the opinion that they do. If I based my sole opinion of NYC on my first trip there, I would probably have the "it's not so great" opinion too - I mean, I went to FAO Schwartz and the Planet Hollywood restaurant, which left a lot to be desired. Good thing I went back for a second try, ha ha.

Anyways, this whole email has turned into a rant, which isn't what I was really going for here. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to take everything in stride, all the comments (your subway system SUCKS! -dude it's the oldest in America and it hasn't been updated, yeah WE KNOW, and there's not much to do here! -ok we're 15 times smaller than you, we can't cater to the lazy, LOOK and ye shall find stuff to do!, and Boston's soooo white! -um again, 15 times smaller than you. look at the 2004 census please, the percentages actually aren't too far off, jerks, and It's sooooo cold there in the winter! -Hello, this is Boston, not Bangor. Can you feel a 3 degree difference? Didn't think so. Also, visit NOAA and look at the winter temperature averages, Boston and NYC aren't too far off actually, as cities retain HEAT and are therefore much warmer than Boston's suburbs, which is to what you're probably making your comparison) and just remember that we were here first and we kind of made New York's existence possible (we defeated the British!) and hold in my heart the satisfaction that Washington DC was chosen for our nation's capital, despite what the huddled masses yearning to breathe free might like to think. heh. Plus I do feel like not growing up in New York has given me the distinct advantage to be able to appreciate these smaller US cities for what they are, and I never have the instinct to compare them to Boston, which is a good thing. I can think of Vancouver as Vancover, New York as New York, Portland as Portland and not as anything else or trying to be anything else. Anyways, can you imagine Boston trying to be New York?! We'd be so bad at it - I mean it would work against everything we're used to - our football teams would be crappy and our baseball teams would win. I would love to see the Red Sox win, but I don't know if my faint heart could really take it! I think I'll stick with Boston the way it is, thank you very much.

PS As much as I hate the New York comparison, I do enjoy the city. Yup. I admit it, though I had to force myself to type it out, and am writing it mostly for the benefit of boyfriend, lest he read this post and feel bad about it, though he will probably just read it and say "what is she talking about? I DO INDEED live in the greatest city in the WORLD!" lol

Monday, October 23, 2006


Anorexic coworker says:

ok maybe it's bc i'm in a really cranky/bitchy mood but R really needs to stop singing...for the love of god!

My reply (in my head of course)

it beats your constant tuneless humming!

Stupid kid gets on train last night wearing red ski cap and yellow sunglasses. he thinks he's the bomb and he's giggling in this goofy idiotic way. His friend is on the empty car behind us. After making a series of stupid faces at each other, they begin to moon each other through the doorways, laughing like each other's asses are the funniest thing in the world.

My response (in my head of course)

you are the epitomic example of why I stopped dating white men in my generation. (I don't as a rule date any men out of my generation, that's just creepy).

Guy on NYC train responds to lost group of people

ha ha they all blame the black people, when it's always the f*ckin' white people who are lost. HA! (proceed with rant, insert f*cking every other word)

My response (in my head of course)

Racism makes you sound like a big a$$hole. HUGE, nevermind the fact that everyone of every color shape and size gets lost. ALL THE TIME and probably on this VERY SUBWAY IN NY!!!

I think maybe besides bitchy, I am also being rather intolerant, LOL. I wonder if it's because of the insane week I have ahead? or maybe because I have sick building syndromw, I swear to God! I am going to see if I can get my office vacuumed today because I sneeze round the clock while I'm here, have sore throats and headaches and my eyes get all dried out and I feel like I just want to sleep. And then lo and behold, I am perfectly fine when I go to school. I mean, I am still kinda sleepy, but still, these symptoms tell me somethings up with my office. which I cannot tolerate ;)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Be Happy!

in an attempt to lift my sad spirits and get out of a rut (see below posts of sad dreariness, LOL) I am embarking on my first swap adventure!

Yup, I signed up for the holiday ornament swap I saw posted on
Does this give me a slight heart attack? YES
Why? because the people who do these things are brilliant, FRICKIN' BRILLIANT crafters. They're creative and artistic and make the most delightful things. But, you say, you are crafty too! ha ha, am I crafty enough to come up with original and fabulous Christmas ornaments to swap? I don't know, but I'm going to make myself.

I'm actually totally excited and I'm really REALLY glad I stumbled upon whipup so many months ago so I could take part in something like this. Of course now, instead of working or ranting about things I read in the Metro, I'm scouring my brain for ornament ideas. I need 8-10, so the ornament can't be something that costs me $50 to make or takes me 20 hours a piece to make, but I want it to be fresh and fun and colorful and beautiful. If I can knit, sew, cross stitch, scrapbook and bead I think I should be able to come up with something, right? Also, I've been pondering incorporating some sort of Massachusetts influence. I have so many shells from Nantucket, all stored between layers of tissue paper, begging to be used. Plus there's always the cranberry influence, especially down here on the South Shore. Hmm, I shall ponder. I'm going to be seeing my grandma and some great aunts soon and I think I'll brainstorm with them. Having lived during the depression and WWII and raising two kids on a shoestring has made my grandma one of the most creative people I know, plus she's an incredibly talented artist - she's won the White House Easter Egg competition for the state! Definitely run ideas by her :) Again, so excited, Christmas CRAFTING! YAY!

Jerkstore Friday

Recently, a Bengali economist won the Nobel Prize.
This is a little excerpt from the Washington Post explaining his microcredit scheme:


Yunus, 66, set up a new kind of bank in 1976 in Bangladesh to lend to the impoverished, particularly women, enabling them to start small businesses without collateral.

He argues that if a woman sells eggs from five chickens, a loan that allows her to buy 50 chickens will increase her family's wealth and has minimal risk due to her experience and peer pressure from her village to repay the money.

His Grameen Bank says it has loaned nearly $6 billion to 6.6 million people and has a recovery rate of nearly 99 percent.

Yunus said poverty can lead to "political unrest, economic unrest and desperation, which can be the breeding ground for terrorism."

"Poverty is a very important aspect of peace," he said.

The microcredit movement is not for the faint of heart and it is certainly not for traditional bankers worried about collateral, risks and legal obligations, he said.

"They will be scared to death. How can you lend money like that? They will have sleepless night before they give $50."

Yunus wants to use the Nobel Prize as a springboard to get more people interested in the concept of microcredit, a system copied in 100 countries from the United States to Uganda.

"The door has been opened widely for me," said the man dubbed the "banker to the poor."

He would like to see the poor be given ownership for major infrastructure projects built with overseas aid, instead of having governments take control. The projects will be run by professional managers and the poor will be shareholders who want to see the highest possible returns on their small stakes.

"The importance of microcredit is that it is bite-sized."

Yunus had obtained his masters degree in economics from Dhaka University in 1961. A Fulbright scholar, he later obtained a Ph.D from Vanderbilt University in the United States.

Right. So I read a similar article in the Metro and sat there thinking "this guy Yunus is freakin' brilliant. This is exactly what third-world and developing nations need to build the local economy from within. How wonderful!" And everything was a-okay.


Today in the metro, some a**hole wrote this in response to the metro's article about Yunus' prize:

Farm Loans Ought to Be Sustainable

Regarding "Small loans, big impact": IS this some kind of joke? An economist wins a Nobel Prize for loaning someone a chicken? The ethics of exploiting living sentient beings aside, isn't this in fact the antithesis of progress? Give people technology, help them join the rest of the world in the 21st century. And if your loan must involve farming, make it for the sustainable, non-polluting larger-scale farming of healthful grains and vegetables that is environmentally sound and far more economical as well. Living of the flesh of animals is morally questionable and simply not an efficient means of provinding sustenance.

ha ha I want to write to the metro and say "is that letter some kind of joke?" though I think the fact that the Metro published it is somewhat of a joke. They probably look for the craziest editorial they can find and publish it for a laugh. The editors probably saw it and were like "oh this smart*ss thinks he's got a better idea than a Nobel Prize winner."

Let's break down the issues.

-idiot, the guy is lending money not chickens.
-veganism and vegetarianism is an option for some. but for a lot of people who can't skip down to the local Whole Foods because the nearest supermarket is a Wal-Mart, or the nearest supermarket is a country away, that simply isn't an option. A lot of people in third world countries cannot sustain themselves on grains and vegetables. I'm not an economist or an agriculturalist but I am just sharing what I've seen. When you go to a country where there's been a drought for three years and corn dries up as soon as you plant it and the plants that survive never bear fruit, explain to me how you're suppose to live? Chickens and eggs are an important source of protein, as are milk and beef - while it's more difficult to raise cattle in a drought, chickens and rabbits can survive on very little graze and water. They're essential for survival, and in this case how can you possibly say that "ethics" make the consumption of "sentient beings" "questionable" when it comes to sparing a human life?
-give people technology - oh are you volunteering the time, money and effort of bringing these people technologies, because I can assure you, their corrupt or in-debt governments won't be able to. Also, are you volunteering to train people how to use this technology? In some rural outposts in Kenya, they were just getting their first phone booths in 2003. 2003!!! If a place has no electricity and no phone lines, how the hell are they supposed to put technology to use? A book I've been reading Secrets of the Savanna by Mark and Delia Owens sums up technology in Africa quite well, in a chapter where Delia talks about her visit to a remote Zambian village, where, through microcredit, they planned to make the village sustainable and prevent villagers from turning to poaching for money: More than fifty villagers -- morthers with infants wrapped tightly to their backs with bright chitenje cloths, storng young men toting axes, and bent old men and women in tattered clothes -- waited on straw mats under a large fig tree. As we stepped down from the truck, four elders led by Isaiah greeted us. Isaiah, his blind eye staring straight into the bushes beyond me, shook my hand for a long moment and held on to it gently as he introduced the others. For three hours, with Sugar translating, we talked with the villagers about how they could support themselves in this remote and lovely spot. The farmers, who grew mostly corn and sorghum in small dry patches, said they could grow sunflowers if they had seeds, and if they had a press they could make cooking oil -- a priceless commodity they referred to as saladee-- which they had to travel at least five days by foot to obtain. The village needed a grinding mill, becasue crushing the maize by hand took hours of hard labor. A mill would provide industry for at least one family. Several women wanted to be beekeepers.

Standing under the fig tree, the mud huts behind us, Sugar and I explained that the project would train them and lend them money for equipment. We explained that they would be required to pay back the loans. Free handouts have been a plague in Africa. The continent is littered with failed development projects that were too large in scope, to high tech by design, and required no accountability. The result was broken-down tractors in dusty fields, dried rice paddies in ruined oases, sophisticated hospital equipment no one coudl repair in abandoned, wornout clinics. We assure them that no one had to participate; we were simply offering assistance to those who wanted it.

In this book Delia later talks about building a school for that same village. It took 3 and 1/2 years. Why? That's rural Africa for you - nothing happens fast ever.

Which is why this person's editorial is completely off. Clearly they've never been to a developing nation. Actually it sounds like the only time this person probably leaves their gated Wellesley or Weston community is to go to Whole Foods or Starbucks. So next time you venture outside, my friend, why don't you pick up a book about Africa or Asia and start planning your trip to the third world where you're going to bring technology and show farmers how to grow vegetables and grains without water. Then maybe you too would be fortunate enough to win a Nobel Prize for your good deeds. Until then, shut the f up and don't write into the Metro. My blood pressure really can't handle it.

** in rereading this rather harsh assessment of the editorial in this morning's metro, I would like to point out that I adore Starbucks and Whole Foods and think that they're companies that actually care about the world, and that many of their customers feel the same way. Actually, if I didn't believe in God, I'd probably worship Whole Foods and Starbucks....hmmm....ANYWAYS I used them as an example, mixed in with the gated community in a rich suburb just as an example, a stereotype, which is wrong because I know there are caring people in Weston and Wellesley. But the stereotype does serve a purpose in this individual situation, LOL.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ride the Wave

ugh. I feel these blog posts are a rollercoaster - one second I'm up on high, the next second I'm down. I guess it's kind of an accurate picture of how I've been these days, yet there seem to be so many more rock bottoms than highs.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel so out of it all the time. I'm incredibly tired, that's part of the problem, and I'm unhappy at work and unhappy at school. I guess I'm just kind of a miserable person these days!

I try to give myself a peptalk on the way to work. I get behind the wheel of my car and say to myself "ok. it's early. the whole day is out there. today I'm gonna do xyz at work, then come home and do a, b, c" but deep down I know I'm only gonna get x done at work because the majority of the time I'll spend staring at a computer screen or flipping through a medical record absentmindedly. Why? because my head is pounding and my eyelids are drooping and when it comes down to it I just. don't. care. enough. When I get home I'll bet a and maybe b done. This is better than usual, but at home there are a billion things to distract me. We never eat at a regular time (not my family's fault really, it's just the way things are) so it's impossible to plan on doing something. If I want to go to the gym at 7, guaranteed it's bad timing because dinner is 15 minutes from being done. If I sit down when I get home at 6:30 to do school stuff, it's inevitable that some family member will summon me at 6:40 to ask about/for something. It seems like there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Not getting crap accomplished makes me feel so disorganized. I hate that. I don't feel like I have anything together, and I find myself with a schedule that is busier than it was during the "busy" summer months, so I have no recovery time on the weekend to get sh*t done. That means sh*t is being pushed to weekdays.

I hate living like this, disorganized and disjointed and all down. I do perk up for somethings, it's not like I'm totally depressed or anything. I have a lot of fun hanging out with my sister and doing stupid stuff to make her laugh, and time with boyfriend is always well spent. I don't see my friends as much as I'd like to, but sometimes the thought of staying in Boston (where most of them live) one extra minute longer than I have to seems like torture.

Anyways, I'm banking on the semester's end and the holidays to turn my mood around. Maybe then I'll be able to catch up on some sleep and not feel like I need to go to bed for three days straight to be normal again, I hate the feeling. I hate falling asleep every free moment I have, on the shuttle bus, on the mbta bus, on the subway. It doesn't feel right or normal, I don't feel right or normal. I feel like I'm moving underwater. And I just want it to STOP, but alas, I have no idea how. Boo.

Well this whiny post is officially over. blah.

Am I the sleeping beauty or the witch??
I DON'T KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

10 weeks til Christmas FA LA LA LA BLAH!

Ok, so the other day I see this guy with a big "42" on his T pass. 42, I think, what does that mean? As I got closer to him I saw that the T pass said "week 42" Crap, I thought, does that mean that we are in the 42nd week of the year? A glance at my calendar said "YES IDIOT, WE ARE!" SO wow, 42nd week of the year.

Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year. It's the trick that New England pulls on you to get you excited for winter. The cold weather starts, but then the leaves are turning and it's Halloween and all fall-like, then it starts to get chillier but hey! it's Thanksgiving, and it's supposed to be cold! Then between Thanksgiving and New Year's is that cozy holiday season. I do most of my shopping way ahead of time or online to avoid the stores, so my time is spent wandering the city enjoy the festive decorations (ignoring the baditudes of the people) and cozied up at home with tea and hot cocoa enjoying the tree and the smell of pine needles and making Christmas cookies. ha ha picture-perfect I know. Then the real eff-you part of winter comes, January and February, determined to BREAK YOUR SOUL! But by then (at least to me) it's the new year anyways all full of possibility, so I try not to get too cranky about the winter and all, however long it may be. I also know that the winter will be so long and cold that I'll forget how great spring and summer are, so when those first new leaves of green come out it'll be all magical all over again, just like every year prior.

Anyways, enough with all that magical crap. I have to start getting my craft on. I love the holidays because I love giving gifts, and if I can make them, it's even better because I love crafting. I do have to plan ahead of time so I'm not finishing things at the last minute (like the year I stayed up til 5AM Christmas morning finishing my dad's gift - a grey wool scarf. It was worth it though, he still wears it!) so everything is pretty much planned out at this point, though I need to start gathering my supplies and getting down to it. Here are my projects:

- Parents. I don't think I'm crafting anything for them because the joint gift my sister and I are giving them is so incredibly badass. If I do craft, I know exactly what I'll do, and it's a small item.
-Sister. I have already started her gift. Well one of them. I'm working on getting something badass though.
-Boyfriend. I'm pretty sure what I'm getting him and I think I might craft something for him. I have an idea, just got to price it out.
- My gallies - my three closest girls from college are the only friends I give things to. Two of them are getting a trip-related gift. One is getting something different, and I need to get supplies for that. As far as crafting for them all, I have somethign in mind.
-Coworkers - there are 5 of them. I thought of candy, but we're always eating candy in this office, so that might not be the best plan. I want to craft them something and have two ideas. One is more labor intensive, but cute, and one is cute and less labor intensive, but not as interesting, though it might be more functional for the office. The jury's out on that one.
-Email chain, others - Cards this year. No cookies. That was way too insane!
-Grandparents, great aunt - usually we give family gifts, but my fingers are itching to craft! I'll have to think about this too. I don't think my grandpa wants a lacy angora shawl or anything, LOL.

Now I do have a friend's birthday to get ready for but I think I know exactly what I'm doing there. If I craft I'll post pictures of my work :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Starbucks Cup #144, Beth Israel Deaconess

a venti today. it was necessary, plus I was feeling particularly inhuman this morning.

The Way I See It #144

Human beings often seek to find
pristine, uninhabited locations
where we can relax and enjoy the
natural beauty of our surroundings
However, it seems that every time
people find such a destination they
inevitably try to turn it into the
place they fled. Development and
destruction of the environment are
so often the consequence of
population. It's as if we just can't
help ourselves.

--Susan Boggia
Clinical social worker and
Starbucks customer from
Leonia, New Jersey.

Seriously why is the world like this? I hate going on vacation and being just as stressed as I was at home because I'm surrounded by direct TV, Internet connections and yes, Starbucks on every corner. What ever happened to the quiet wild places people longed to flee to? They're become rarer and rarer, it makes me worry that they will disappear.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a group project where we were trying to come up with an effective ecological model for saving the desert tortoise. I joked that we could have sponsors for each shell section, with the larger ones being more expensive. We laughed about it for a long time, ha ha corporate animal sponsorship, but the more I thought about it, the more it terrified me. Is that the only way our parks and quiet wild places are going to survive? As it is, our national parks are barely surviving. The next time I visit Yellowstone am I gonna see a buffalo with a sign "brought to you by!" or "sponsored by the New York Times"??

Monday, October 09, 2006

sleepless blogger's confessions

Ok. So I can't sleep, which is weird, cause I'm actually tired.
I talked to boyfriend for a while, who eventually got pissed off with me I think and went to bed. Probably because I was feeling incredibly depressed about life and it just came out as kinda cranky. When I hung up with him, I texted my friend EE because she had an adventurous weekend I wanted to hear about. She got my text ("You awake? Too late to talk?") and was not only awake but just leaving the library, so she called back during her walk/ride/walk home. We had a great and hilarious conversation and were talking about life and love and the pursuit of happiness (ohmigod! Just like the cover of a Seventeen magazine!!) and she brought up an old memory of the days of yore, aka our fun and devious times at our beloved beloved (it needs two for emphasis) Smith College. This story involves my first foray into dating during Smith**and is in no way meant to piss off, get back at, or make bf feel bad sad or mad because I think he's pissed at me. actually, knowing me the way that he does (in more ways than one, that is) I hope he laughs when he reads this.

I was pretty celebate in college. This was for too many reasons I can even list here. Way too many. In high school, the boys were sooo lame (except David Kemp - actually I don't know if he was lame. He could have been, it's quite possible, but to me, his hotness cancelled out any possible lameness that could've lived inside of him. I used to go to my locker 2 or 3 times before homeroom just to see him walk by. Of course, he probably didn't notice, 1. because I too was lame and ugly and 2. I was so terrified and nervous when he walked by, or so close to giggling, I used to shove my head in my locker when he got close. Anyways, straying from POINT HERE!) Ok. Yeah, the boys were lame. So lame the boy I asked to the prom didn't say yes. He was like "um I don't want to go." I asked him in a room full of people. And it was a pity invite! All his friends were going but he wasn't, so I was like "yo, wanna go to prom?" He said he didn't want to. Everyone in the class was cool about it though, and gave me props for having the balls to ask. So I went alone, because goddammit I had a dress and it was hot and I was going to go and rock it. The next year, my friends and I voluntarily went alone. Why? The boys were that lame. When it came time to pick schools, it seemed like all my classmates wanted to do was find a place where they could drink and party and have wild orgies with boys. Ugh, I thought, I have been going to co-ed schools for 13 years now and have yet to find a boy that impresses me. I am not afraid of a women's college. Of course the fact that it was Smith and my teachers practically orgasmed on the spot when I talked about going there (probably so they could say they sent one of their students there) helped a lot. Plus Smith was awesome in general. Argh, but this post is about boys and not Smith. So yeah, I happily applied and was accepted to Smith, and I happily accepted them back and made plans for my boy-free college days.

Truthfully for the first two years I didn't think twice about boys really. I mean they were always around to feel you up at parties, so what did I really need them for? Nothing. Sex didn't mean that much to me (yeah I can't believe I actually typed that) and I was driven academically like my peers. Plus I had their straight and lesbian drama to deal with, and I could live vicariously through them. I didn't need my own relationship drama, I could sit in my living room and it would fall in my lap. GLORIOUS! The goods without the effort! Then I went to Kenya.

In Kenya I went to school with boys. Boys that sucked ass, let me tell you. They were the reason (with two exceptions, Marc was great and engaged, Harry was funny, obnoxious and taken, and his gf was with him on the trip) I went to an all-girl's school. They talked down to me, thought I was stupid and flighty. They thought they were all-knowing and brilliant, they were controlling and overbearing. Luckily the professors saw through them and I excelled. And then there were the Kenyan men. Wow. Wow. As one of the lame white boys said to one of the Kenyan staff "you put the white men to shame." Hells yeah baby. Sure the Kenyan staff just wanted a little slice of white lady ass, but I didn't care. I loved being tight enough with them to be flirtatious and silly. The guys on staff were so chill, not like the American boys. Yeah, they were slightly dirty, but after two years of no guy attention whatsoever, I was ok with it, plus they were hot! Nelly video hot! 50 cent rap video hot! And it was so much cooler to be friends with the staff than it was just to hang with the students. I let myself get close to a couple of the guys, and leaving was torture. There was never anything there for real, it's just that over time I had become close to men in ways I hadn't in high school or college, had a meaningful relationship, albeit not romantic. I learned the value of male companionship (I had a twisted view of the opposite sex I think) and leaving those guys was absolute heartbreak.

I returned to Smith for my senior year the following fall and wasn't exactly trolling for booty or anything but had found myself more interested in having a social life. Through certain activities I had a lot more male contact and welcomed it as a change of pace. One weekend, a girlfriend from Kenya invited me up to UNH for a Halloween party and her lumberjack competition. Sweeet I thought, partying with alcohol. Smith was super intense and residential situations at my house were overbearing and stressful. A party was just in order, plus I would get to see my bandamate from Kenya, a girl that I still miss immensely.

I was so late getting up to UNH I missed the competition. Then my bandamate had to leave because her sister needed to go to the ER for an asthma attack. I was alone with my other friend who was totally distracted by her party planning. This sucks, I thought, I am gonna have to spend this whole party mingling, something I'm horrible at. I wanted to go home, but sucked it up and put on my costume, a pregnant white trash beauty queen costume (see pic, and keep in mind I had a blond wig to go with it). I knew that it was a potential conversation starter and hoped it would help me mingle successfully. It pretty much worked, though it was because everyone thought I was really pregnant. Boys let me go ahead of them to use the bathroom saying "oh my God, i'm so sorry I didn't even realize you were waiting go ahead" and when I laughed and said "no it's fake" one boy even rubbed my shoulder and said 'sweetie, you don't even have to be ashamed. In fact it's awesome that you've stayed in school while you go through this." rrrright. The party wasn't so fun though so I started drinking water to sober up and go home. Then I bumped into the boy (who out of respect for his privacy I shall call "bob"). Bob was like "oooh let me feel the baby!" He had a funny friend who called himself "the gasian" because he was gay and asian, and the pair of them made me laugh. We started to talk and had a lot in common. Bob and I were both from the GREAT STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS and just had stuff to talk about. Then we started dancing. I rapped all of Shoop and DMX's "Lose my Mind" (llllloooved it) and he was impressed by that. At one point he goes "you're cute" and I said "um. thanks so are you" and he turned his head in such a way I thought "oh crap, he's gonna kiss me." And did he ever, right in for the kill. After a while we were on the couch, where I removed the pregnant belly and a drunk guy on the next couch screamed "Oh SH*T that sh*t was FAKE!!!" (boys are so dumb sometimes). We made out on the couch all night and he told me his life story, how he had cancer, blah blah blah blah. I returned to Smith with stellar hickies. Stellar. Ask anyone. I felt triumphant.

So then bob was IM-ing me. I was like "hunh. guess he wants what I wouldn't give him at the party" (yup kissing only, I'm not that easy......though right now boyfriend is like "yeah you are b*tch). Long and short of it, I convince him to drive down to Smith on a whim. Score! I think. I ran to the shower and bathed and shaved and cleaned my room and put on a silky lacy bra and panty set. I am SEDUCTIVE! I thought. Woohoo.

Bob shows up and I'm all excited, except he like, jogs through my house trying not to look any girls in the eye, because we are witches and medusas and he might melt or turn to stone. He sits like a statue on my bed, terrified of me in my element. I wonder what he thinks I might do to him. Someone knocks on my door and he looks like he is going to fall on my floor and play possum. He turns on the Cosby show to relax. I lie on my bed and think "lame." So we finally start messing around. Bra and underwear are tossed on the floor, but not before he whispers "are those victoria's secrets?" I wanted to say "would you not touch them if they weren't?" but instead I indulge whatever fantasy is going on in his head and say "yes." We do the deed, which was short and unfortunate. See Bob was not a lightweight. I'm not either, I've got muscular thighs, but the boy felt like he was crushing me and when he tried to roll me over, he failed. Plus he just had no talent in that department. I mean, he was sweet, and he gave it great effort, and in my limited experience it was decent but all in all, I was glad when it was over so the boy would get off of me. So we lie in bed for a while and I say "I'm gonna shower, wanna come with me?" thinking ha ha, I will spice it up. He looks terrified and says "NO!!!" so I say, 'Fine, watch the Cosby's, be back in five." I swing my legs around and plant my right foot right on top satin body by Victoria underwear. I go flying backwards, and as my head hurtles towards the bed, I throw my left leg high in the air in a sad attempt to gain my balance, and put my arms out to my sides. Right before all is lost, I feel Bob's hands in my armpits. Hot I think and wow, didn't think he had that kind of reaction time. When my mind stops turning and I realize that I am being supported by the armpits with one leg sliding on the ground and another in the air with my va-jay-jay open to the world, I say "you know what, I'll take that shower tomorrow." As I get up I realize that probably no one in the world could have just pulled that move off. No one. I am that special. Bob didn't laugh or make a joke out of it, instead he just asked me in a horrified voice if I was ok. And when I tried to laugh it off he just stared at me, as if I had ruined his sexual victory (ha ha yeah RIGHT) I wondered to myself if all future sexual encounters with this boy and any other boy at Smith will be that disastrous. Suffice it to say that he was the only sexual encounter at Smith and he was also that disastrous. We had a two month long and limited booty call and eventually he too succumbed to the similar lameness that so afflicted the high school boys that I could not see him anymore. Ever. And I once again resigned myself to celibacy.

Then true love reared its head. Boyfriend, I know sometimes I am really hard to deal with. I get sad and you don't know why and I get cranky and you don't know why and I can't tell you and I don't know why. Instead I just lash out or get defensive or push you away. But I know you care and I know you love me anyways, which is exactly why I love you. I can't tell you how many times during the typing of this memory I had wished that you had been the one I talked about above, because not only would you have given me great instead of mediocre loving, but you would've laughed at me when you caught me and pulled me back into bed with you and loved me up all over again. Or taken me to the shower, because you are just not the type of man that would turn down a shower with a naked girl!

Well, it's nearing 12:30 and that means that I have to get up in 5 hours, and if I don't sleep now I'll wake up cranky and make everything that's going wrong infinitely worse. I hope everyone who reads this can relate and laugh. EE, thanks for inspiring me to write it, Bob, wherever you are, thanks for being so bad that you could make me realize that boyfriend is that good. And I mean it in so many more ways than one.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

And in one glorious moment

I realized that we are not alone.

*weeps tears of joy, tears of gratitude and understanding*

In others news Amy and I had the privilege of sitting in season ticket holder's seats today at Gillette Stadium. We sat behind the visiting team, the Dolphins, giving us an incredibly clear view of Tom Brady in all his beauty and glory across the field. My 300mm zoom was particularly useful when he....ahem....bent over to talk to the players on the bench.

The great thing about the game was, first and foremost, the fact that the Pats won. Offense wasn't shining brightly, but the defense made some really great plays and one of my favorite guys Asante Samuel (I like that his name is "thank you" in swahili!!) had two interceptions that were clutch, and I was glad to see him playing and playing well today.

Our two other highlights were:

One. The drunken man in front of us that provided a running commentary during the game. No, he didn't really comment on the plays, though he enthusiastically gave the first down hand signal at every Patriots first down. He commented on the cheerleaders. Everytime they moved he'd hold up his binoculars and go "ohhhh yeahhhh baby the CHEERLEADERS, yeaaaahhhhhhhh." This was followed by incredibly lecherous laughter. I admit, being a women's college grad and *slightly* feminist (ha ha) the cheerleaders make me CACKLE, though I will say that I went to high school with a girl who graduated top of the class and went to Brown and supported her pre-med education by cheerleading, so I know some of those girls are smart. Oh, and they are entertaining as hell in their go-go boots, shaking their breastacles all over the field.

Two. During our pilgrimage back to the South Shore, a car from New Hampshire cut us off. My sister and I started our respective road rage diatribe, filled with lots of f*cking's and d*cksmacks. I don't swear a ton, but ask anyone, when I drive, I swear. Kind of a lot. Kind of to the point where I worry about the day when I'll have kids in the car with me and someone cuts me off. So yes, we started swearing and ranking on New Hampshire and talking about how they say people in Massachusetts are horrible and rude drivers but really it's New Hampshire that sucks at driving, etc. Just as we stop swearing and accept the fact that yes, we've been cut off, the right rear passenger door opens. Amy says "what the...." and before she can finish, a head pops out and the guy starts vomiting. Profusely. At one point he actually looks like he's gonna pass out, the guy looks weak and his arm is hanging out of the door. I had visions of his arm catching the pavement and dragging his limp, vomit-covered body out of the car and then me hitting him, leaving vomit-infused tire treads on his white t-shirt. Luckily he came to, probably because he had to vomit again. The other passengers in the car were raising their fist triumphantly out of the car windows, probably because the guy didn't barf on the upholstery. At first my sister and I pretended to be prudish and disgusted and horrified by the man's barfing olympics, but as he continued to open and shut the door to throw up, Amy and I started to laugh. Then Amy says "ok. that looks like hamburger, cooked hamburger." I start to laugh, then I say "yeah I know, did you see how it rolled down the highway onramp as we were driving along." Amy is red and teary-eyed and says "yeah it totally BOUNCED." Soon enough in true Amy and Allison fashion, we were clutching our stomachs and crying with laughter. Another adventure for the girls.

Well it's Sunday and my life is so exciting, I have to go and watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and eat the steak dinner my mom cooked. Hells yeah, I live with my momma, how else could I afford $18,000 grand a year for grad school?

Coming soon: Kenya post, wedding post, lotsa posts, maybe an Allee Effect post. Don't know what that is? Me neither, but I need to know it and graph it by Wednesday. THE END!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Beta, New Blog, a cider

I have migrated to beta, and it's quite lovely!

Also, I've created a new blog. It posts African news bits but it was made in honor of my Kenyan friend Mboya Musau. You can read about him here.

Starbucks Cup #106, a grande hot no-whip caramel apple cider, from the Beth Israel Starbucks

The Way I See It #106

I am often asked the question:
"Where does your inspiration come
from?" While there are many
physical spaces that inspire, like
museums and galleries, for me
inspiration is more a way of seeing
and less about what I'm seeing. An
open, nonjudgemental mind is the
best tool for brewing creativity.

--Todd Oldham
Designer and author of Handmade

I admit it, I do have a tendency to scoff at Starbucks cups. I share them because I think they're interesting, but sometimes after I type them into this blog, I laugh and say "how ridiculously idealistic" "how insane" "how impractical" or "WHO ASKED YOUR OPINION??!?!!!" Today I say "How true, and how wonderful it would be if more people took this to heart."

Secondly, I have a brief rage to type out. Ok it's not a rage, more of a response to the Metro, which there's no point in sending now because by Monday the issue will be dead.

The Metro recently reported that the MBTA is giving out $2 Dunkin' Donuts gift cards to people they see being polite, like giving up their seats to an elderly or pregnant rider.

I didn't think much of it until the next day there was outrage all over the editorial columns. One person said "what are we, a bunch of 5 year olds? how offensive can the MBTA get?" Another woman said "maybe if the T didn't have such deplorable service, we'd all be more polite to each other. gift cards are stupid and offensive and they aren't going to make a difference." Today a woman wrote in saying that she's 8 months pregnant, and as her pregnancy progresses she finds the lack of manners on the mbta more and more appalling. I couldn't agree more and liked this bit the best:

"Pushing and shoving an obviously pregnant woman to enter and exit the train - and men so intent on reading the sports pages or listening to their iPods and "pretending" to be fast asleep in their seats as they see me board the train -- is utterly deplorable behavior.....................I have become so indignant during my commutes that I have actually resorted on accasion to asking the closest man sitting if they would be a gentleman and please let me sit. Having to ask a man to be a gentleman? Pathetic and embarrassing. Who married these men, and who raised them to act like animals.......I can honestly say that on the rare occasion that a seat is offered to me, it is almost always by a woman. Hopefully our generation will raise our sons and daughters with trhe manners and basic human skills that are so lacking today."

She has summed it up in her letter. What I find deplorable is not the T's service, but the fact that manners have sunk to such an all-time low they are compelled to reward people for good behavior. What a sad reflection on our society. What's more juvenile than giving out reward cards for good behavior is the thought that an improvement of the T's "deplorable" service, would improve manners! Who is that lady (who said that in the Metro on Tuesday) kidding? You could send us to work every moring in an Amtrak Acela with in-train hostesses and a free brunch and people would still act like animals! It's sad that what should be thought of as common courtesy is now rewarded because it is such a rare thing. I admit, sometimes I fall asleep on the train so deeply that I'm totally unaware of my surroundings, especially since starting grad school, when I find my self drained. I did this once and woke up to find a pregnant woman right in front of me. I had been SLEEPING, but when I looked at my seatmates, they were awake and staring at her belly. I could not believe it. This poor woman was looking miserably out the window when I reached over and tapped her hand. I said "would you like to sit?'" She looked me up and down and said "Are you sure?" (heh, maybe I looked extra bad that day) I said "Are you kidding? SIT!" She reluctantly nodded, sat down heavily and looked at me and said "thanks" with a sigh of relief. I then glared at everyone else in that row. Of course they didn't respond, but I really hope they felt bad all day.

Seriously, we live in a civilized world - how about we act like it? Would it hurt anyone? Probably not. I look at it this way- Karma is a boomerang, baby, you really want to mess with that? Give up your seat. Stand. Be grateful you have legs that work, that you're not carrying an 8 lb parasitic fetus in your belly (said with love), that you have your vision, that you're still young enough to stand on the train. And for God sakes, TAKE YOUR TRASH!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Queen of Cups

I'm working on a Kenyan memory post but it's lagging due to my genetics exam studying, so here are two cups for you:

Monday's cup, a grande no fat vanilla latte from the Beth Israel Deaconess Starbucks (yes I am their whore)

The way I See It #185
A valuable lesson I've learned from
making music is to never let
anyone intimidate me. Every
student, celebrity, CEO and math
teacher in the world has
experienced love, loneliness, fear
and embarrassment at some point.
To understand this is to level an
often very lopsided playing field.
--Anna Nalick

Wednesday's cup, a grande no-whip caramel apple cider, so good it's like the second coming...

The way I See It #109
What you do to others your really
do to yourself. So when you do
good to others, you're doing good
to yourself. Alternatively, when
you do bad to others, you're doing
bad to yourself. So in thinking of
others, think of yourself, for to love
and do right by others is to love
and do right to your own self.

While Starbucks gives Musician Leela James credit for the above, I do believe this is written in, um, I dunno, THE BIBLE!
Oh well. :P