Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back to FP

It feels like a Friday. I wish it were actually Friday, but I suppose I can hold out for another 12 hours or so.

It's Halloween tomorrow, and I must say, I do look forward to greeting all the neighborhood kids at the door and evaluating costume choices. Amy is pretty sure that there are going to be a lot of Hannah Montana's but she hopes that at least one kid will go with Miley Cyrus. I tend to like the little kids the best though as the whole tween generation kind of baffles me. I mean I was totally there once too, but my costumes for that era were like..uh..."goddess" or "policewoman" or "witch" Never a pop star wearing like, half a costume. Though I totally was an Indian or "native American" in 3rd grade and a bride in 1st. Clearly before my politically correct feminist stage, hahaha, though we did reject gender roles early on as I spent several Halloweens in a row as Oscar the Grouch. I wonder if my parents were trying to send me a subtle message.

This year I'm going to a Halloween party for the first time since Kindergarten. I have decided to be a vampire, which is kind of lame, but there it is. I have all the stuff I need for it now, even the teeth. Even a cape! It should be exciting. My parents are going as well (it's my father's work's party, and should be fun and not lame like it probably sounds right now) and they're going as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Beth aka Mrs. Dog. My poor mother has never seen the show and was sort of like 'ok whatevs' but then googled Beth and Dog and was like 'holy shit.' Amy and I bought wigs for my parents though so at the very least they will have the proper hair. Amy is going as Holly Golightly and has an awesome wig and outfit. We should look rockin. I just realized we'll all be dressed in black too. Ha at least we'll match.

In other news, I have to get my life back in order this weekend. Once again it's been flung into disarray by a combination of overbooking life, getting home late, and getting sick (last weekend). I of course am volunteering this Saturday, which will eat up an entire day since I will be heading down to NEEWS again (which totally makes me happy, but it IS a 2 hour excursion). I am thinking that Sunday will be my day. We'll just have to see.

Yikes. I still wish it was Friday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tired of the Hateration

Oh it is that time of the election year once again, when everyone throws issue and real-life to the wind and engages in a battle of "he said this" "he said that" or "he voted 90% of the time" blah blah blaah blah.

It's driving me crazy.

I read a certain blog - and I really respect the author. She's cool, she's hip, I think she's kind of a rockstar. She was in the Hillary boat for a long time, which is cool, everyone's entitled, and even spoke out against Obama, his record, experience or lack thereof, yada yada. Then she was all aboard the Obama Biden train once he got the nomination. I am even cool with that. Now though, it's become an obsession. Good Lord. You visit her blog and it is filled with anti-McCain rhetoric, what exactly he meant by a certain phrase, and how could we possible ignore and write off his use of the term "that one" when referring to Obama in a debate.

The beauty of this nation and the blogosphere is that you can say/think/believe whatever you want, and you can read or not read whatever you choose - I chose today to leave her blog without comment because it's her space and she's writing very passionately about her own beliefs and I respect that, but this is exactly why I can hardly stand this type of attitude, this let's forget the issues and go full tilt crazy with the trashing and mudslinging of ANY conservative/Republican (or liberal, I assume, but I only seem to visit pro-Obama or "I don't care" blogs!!)

Here's the thing - it's no secret I'm voting for B-rock. I mean I've been planning this vote for months, l0l, before the damn primaries! I will say though, that I've tried to listen to everyone's side of the story. Of course there's stuff I don't like about Obama. Of course he is not the solution to all of our nation's and world's problems. I'm not delusional. To me, he is simply the best choice for our country. There is no perfect candidate, but I believe Obama best fits what our nation needs in terms of economy, diplomacy, security and is a leader that we will be able to trust and look up to for guidance. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to waste my time breaking down piece by piece what McCain or Palin said OR for that matter, suggest anyone vote for Obama because what McCain said was racist or because people voting for McCain are doing so because they are racist and that Obama should get sympathy votes from those who consider themselves not racist. I mean, I don't know, maybe McCain is racist - the point is, I don't really care because I'm not voting for him. I'm going with my beliefs, going with the man who is the best for the job and not wasting my time on words (yet I am blogging about this, LOL).

Like I said earlier, I am a staunch supporter of free speech and thought. Yeah, I didn't have to like the fact that a bride's drunken cousin draped herself all over me (ok she didn't do that, she was just touching my bare leg.....a lot) and said "I'm voting for McCain because I make 350,000 a year and don't want to pay more taxes" Nah, I don't like that for a whole host of reasons, but I fully support and validate her right to an opinion and belief. I'm not going to call her "stupid" for voting for McCain - she's got her reasons! I'd think someone was maybe stupid for voting for a candidate because he wears a flag pin, or because he has a nice smile, though again, we all have a right to vote. You hope a person goes to the polls with some sort of logic beyond superficial qualities, but I'm sure that doesn't always happen.

Finally, I am going to end my rant with the whole stupid/rhetoric/conservative-bashing issue. I belong to a fantastic bookclub in town. I am the youngest person by 25 years, only one who is unmarried, only one without kids, only one who does not own property, so it's been really fantastic to get people's perspectives on the presendential race. Everyone except me and two other ladies voted for Clinton in the primaries. When Obama got the nomination, the bookclub was devastated, as they are all STAUNCH democrats and thought Obama to be ill-equipped. There was talk of casting votes for McCain come election time. How soon their tune changed. The last bookclub was not filled with a discussion of that month's selection "Brother, I'm Dying" (a fantastic book) but rather how any one who liked George Bush was "stupid" and anyone who was voting for McCain was "stupid" and "what was wrong with them" and "the Republicans represent the dark side." WOAH. First of all I have Republican friends. They're smart, they are rational, they are logical. And guess what? We can go out for a beer and have an awesome time and not dwell on the sh*tstorm that is politics in America. Secondly - how is their narrow-minded agenda any better than a conservative one? I am a damn liberal person who choses not to affliate themselves with one party or another (but we all know what that means, you're usually forced into the "Democrat" party even if those representing it are driving you WILD with RAGE at their maddening ineffectiveness!) but I hate, hate, hate narrow-mindedness and the cop-out that is simply calling someone with whom you do not agree "stupid." Aren't we all intelligent enough to come up with a better line of reasoning than just saying "Bush is stupid." Sigh. I want a reason why you think that.

I said that once at bookclub and got no response. Crickets. Finally someone said "I don't like his policies." I said "Me neither." Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I said "What did you think you had a Bush supporter amongst you? Would that have been the end of the world??!" Everyone laughed nervously. "Here's the thing," I said. "I am an optimist, and always have been, and I think that this country's biggest assest is the ability of an entire country to come together for a cause, the ability for a single person to make a world of difference. We're an amazing group of people and we can really change the world, and we absolutely positively CANNOT rely on politicians to help us do this. It's too late for them - they've lost their idealism and have become something unrecognizable to the "little people" that helped elevate them to their status. I'm personally taking the fight to save the world underground. I'm gonna do it little by little, encouraging people to work together, to change the world around them in small ways. Of course we'll always need the government there in the background, and of course it's still important to be involved in the political arena, it's important to vote and let legislators know what you want and what's important to you, but if we REALLY want to see change, we've got to get out there and do it ourselves. Maybe I can say this because I'm young and I'm not too disillusioned yet, but if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself, and I am ready to say "Eff off" to Washington and do stuff my own way. Never underestimate the power of one person's goals and ideals and dreams - they could be the person who literally saves the world - that's why I'm out there, I'm sending a girl to school in Kenya, I'm sending books to Pakistan to help kids learn about the world and not about fundamentalism, I'm sending running shoes to Africa, I'm knitting for kids who are cold in Boston - yeah it's small, it's so small people might laugh at it, but that's only because they can't even imagine the scope of people whose lives I might touch and change so that they may grow up and change exponentially more lives."

Crickets again. No one said anything. I sat back.
Then my pro-Obama friend piped up with this:
"Al, you should really run for president one day."
HA! As if.
I said "No way! If I did I'd no longer be an idealist."

Anyways, my point is, stop the talking, start the doing. Go out there on Tuesday and vote for what you believe, then wake up on Wednesday and, despite any outcome, take a vow to start changing the world for the better, a teeny tiny piece at a time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Public School Geography Lessons/What a Weekend/Sharing a Blogstory

Heard on The Amazing Race

Frat Boy 1: Where the hell is Cambodia?

Frat Boy 2: In Asia - didn't you learn that in school?

Frat Boy 1: No, I didn't go to fancy private school like you.

I mean, this conversation really speaks for itself. Seriously? Your lack of private school education is the explanation for your ignorance and lack of geographical knowledge? I know I am a geography whore - put a map in front of me and I can name probably a majority of the world's countries (I do get fuzzy with the former Soviet republics, I admit - must be because I went to public school til college lol) - but I don't expect other people to necessarily be able to do that. The fact that Frat Boy 1 (and Tony, for that matter) didn't even have an idea of the continent upon which Cambodia is located is disturbing. I wonder if Phil ever watches the show's edits and just shakes his head.

Anyways. It's Monday. Which is a relief in comparison to the weekend, something which I wouldn't normally say, but this weekend had me running around a bit like a chicken with its head cut off.

Friday was good. I went to see my grandparents. I hadn't seen them in about 6 weeks and missed them, so I parked my car on the Red Line, for probably the last time as long as I take the commuter rail because parking is going up to $7 a day, and made plans to see them after work. We had a nice long visit, though Grandma was feeling under the weather, as she has felt for months now. I went home and checked in with the parentals who were heading out and with Ame, and we made plans for dinner. We went out to one of our favorite area restaurants and had some "Pan-Asian Cuisine!" Then came the mistake of the night for me - we hit up Friendly's for dessert. In about a ten minute period I scarfed an entire peanut butter cup "Friend-z" 900+ calories of frosty goodness on the way down......pure torture on the way back up. Yep, I spent most of the night hunched over the toilet, barfing up my dinner....well actually barfing up everything I ate that day, which unfortunately was quite a lot. ew. there was even a reprise an hour and a half later, so violent that it woke my father who was dozing downstairs on his recliner. I ended up passing out on the bathroom floor til 4am and then crawled to bed.

The next day my mom coaxed me out to help her choose a doorknob for our new front door. Honestly I did not want to go anywhere except my bed, but she was all "you're up early, let's go" We found the perfect doorknob/handle combination and headed home - only to see the ambulance pulling out of our street. Great. Since our new front door was being installed that morning by a man who had an incredibly large circular saw, I told my mom to speed up - I could still see the fire truck parked in front of our house. Luckily as we pulled up we saw my neighbor Lou (who just turned 85, and though the picture of health, we worried that maybe he had had an accident) and our contractor Chris, happily sawing bits of moulding. Lou informed us that our across-the-street neighbor was being taken back to the hospital after spending the night there. He and his wife had been in a car accident the night before and while released from the hospital hours later, the next morning he was still in pain. Thankfully, he turned out to be ok. Needless to say the rest of the day was spent laying low and resting up, trying to keep food down, etc. Oh I did visit storage to put away the 120 jam jar led lights I inherited from a friend's wedding. She and her husband are living in the UK, so transporting jam jar lanterns is kind of out of the question.

Sunday was more of a fun day - it started out vomit and hospital free. Amy and I went to the Patriots game and witnessed a hard-earned win. We saw the cheerleaders prancing around in their costumes. Here is a sampling of what they were dressed as: Ho-Pocahontas, Convicted Felon-Ho, Officer Ho, a policewoman, Gladiatrix, Bare-Midriff Kitty, Beer Wench. It was very special, and despite their racy outfits and the sexist and foul comments from the male population in attendance, I do give those ladies mad props for doing their routines in heels, since most days I can barely walk around the block in heels. The rest of the afternoon was filled with beer breath and meat farts, very very eventful. Ok, I shouldn't sound like I didn't enjoy the game because I SO DID - I mean what is more American than football? The crisp fall air, the balding men warbling the National Anthem with their hats fervently covering their hearts, the smell of fried things, paying $7,50 for a beer - I mean if that doesn't scream "Patriotism" in both the country and team sense I don't know what does.

On the way home, my father called to tell us my Grandma was in the hospital. It was a long ride because no one knew what was going on with her. Five hours later my parents came home and told us that it was most likely a kidney stone because one of her kidneys was backed up with urine. Poor woman - she's going to be fine, but she gave us all a scare. Also, my sister has a badly infected toe.

Plus Jamaal's car was broken into this week and quite badly damaged.

I was telling my coworker this and got the distinct feeling that my other coworker, R, who tends to be my buddy, really didn't like that I was telling L about it. She can SUCK IT!!

I am sort of taking all this stuff in stride and while I'm glad the weekend is over, I'm not like, wallowing in the misery or anything. I barfed but recovered, my neighbor and grandma went to the hospital and are ok, Jamaal's car will get fixed. Crap is going to work out fine. Amy and I are taking a vacation together to New Hampshire soon and it will be welcome respite to life drama.

Also, a very big silver lining. I have been obsessed with this blog since the summer, which is kind of funny because the author and her family are so different from me in so many ways, I suppose politics and religion being the two big ways. If you know me at all, you know I'm really liberal in both my politics and religion and that that ideal is pretty important. Whatever our differences, I couldn't stop reading this lovely blog filled with anecdotes about motherhood and staying home with your kids, eating healthy, being all domestic. It was truly wonderful and heartfelt. The author and her husband and a flight instructor were in a plane crash this August. The flight instructor died as a result of his injuries, the author's husband was badly burned, and the author herself was severely burned - over 85% of her body. Needless to say, she's been in a drug-induced coma since. Her sister has been keeping the blog world up to date, and this weekend she reported the latest extraordinary progress made by Nie. Their whole story really puts life into perspective and it's a good way for me to remind myself to suck it up and also to have faith. It is also a show of how different people with different values and beliefs can come together for a common cause and goal. Things have a miraculous way of working out sometimes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recycling Sneakers

Our yard sale didn't go too well a few weekends ago. We didn't advertise in the paper and one of our best placed signs got stolen. B*tches! I did make $25 in the deal (though poor Amy only made $3, and I got crap for it from my father "That's all you could make for your sister?!" Uhhh, sorry?) and thanked my lucky stars that I was $25 richer than when I started. Cool.

Of course the lack of sales meant that I had a lot of junk left over, including a stack of text books. Then there was a pile of stuff that wasn't exactly sellable but "too good" for the dump. This included some clothing and shoes. I put aside the clothing for Interfaith Services, now that we have an in with them (we gave them Catherine's clothes, all cleaned, ironed, and folded, and many of them designer!). The books went on and I've already sold 2! It makes me happy to think that other students out there will be reusing my books and did NOT get cheated by the resellers at their college/university it makes me more money than I ever could have reselling them to Tufts, so everyone is happy in the end, plus it's suuuper easy to sell on Watch, I'm probably missing some critical step, LOL, which is why I think it's easy. So far all I've had to do after listing something is pack it and mail it, so it is seemingly easy!

The shoes presented a special conundrum. I packaged them up intending to send them to the Nike recycling program. I've sent other shoes there and love the idea that they not only get recycled, but they're turned into surfaces for running tracks, and the thought of kids getting an opportunity to experience track and field is very special to me, especially after spending 4 years of high school running track and cross country. I consulted Nike's Let Me Play website for the address and started having second thoughts.....the website features some really crusty old looking shoes. While it's great to have that option for shoes that would otherwise be destined for the trash, my two pairs were still more than usable. The reason I was getting rid of them was not because I had worn through the sole or because they were falling apart - it's because the shoes had been causing me some toe and heel pain (I know waaaah waaaaah) and were no longer comfortable for me to run in. I kept them around for kicks (ha ha) but since buying a new pair of running shoes I noticed I don't wear the old ones - obviously I run in the new ones and for walking around here and there I tend to use my hiking sneaks (though they now have a bloody heel too, I just noticed I was bleeding through my sock ugh).

ANYWAY Long and short of it is - my sneakers were 'too nice' to be ground down into a track surface. I figured someone somewhere might still be able to use them. So I googled "recycling sneakers" and got this gem of a website: Run The Planet It looks like it may be useful to me in many ways, not just for recycling resources. Their page of recycling resources was the highlight though, and I was very happy to see quite an extensive and worldwide list of places that could use my shoes. Of course I gravitated to one located in Kenya, Shoe4Africa. The requirements to donate to Shoe4Africa were "gently used" running shoes with 100+miles left in them (because I am a running slacker I certainly had more than 100 miles left in mine, no problem) and I had to mail them to Eldoret myself. Ha ha like that's an issue. I actually have a stack of customs forms I keep in my car because I'm mailing sh*t to Kenya so often. I was happy to pack them up and send them off. Of course this meant I had to haul ass to the post office (only a half mile away) get caught up in a conversation with the postman about how I really shouldn't be writing < on my customs forms because who KNOWS how this could be interpreted overseas (nevermind that I received mail like this all the time, and send mail like this ALL THE TIME) and blah blah blah did I have anything liquid, hazardous, fragile or perishable and did I want to add insurance to my $24.40 package? Noooope. Just send. Hopefully in a few weeks time they'll be a Kenya running in my shoes :) I know that my size is good for men and women over there as most of my shoes were given to my friend Otieno who was quite excited about wearing them, lol, so I am just hoping these help someone out.

I also took the time to explore the Shoe4Africa website a bit more to learn about their hospital project. It's really extraordinary and they are definitely on my donation list (though this may take a bit as I just sent some cash to Haiti with a friend doing a well (as in the hole in the ground for water) project). This is particularly close to my heart as well. When I was in Oloitokitok in 2003, we visited a hospital, and it is really beyond description. Watch the video on Shoe4Africa and then imagine something worse - if you even can. Imagine broken windows, no sheets on the bed, and many severly burned children. That was Oloitokitok. Eldoret does not seem like a far cry from those conditions, and the peeps at Shoe4Africa are determined to change that by building a state of the art children's hospital. How wonderful is that? Building a hospital in Kenya is right on the top of my "when I make it big" list - you know, the list of stuff I'm gonna do if I hit the lottery, though I have considered writing to Oprah to tell her my sad sad story of visiting the children's ward in Oloitokitok and haven't ruled that option out yet, but should I hit the lottery, the first thing I'm gonna do is email Shoe4Africa and ask them how they organized themselves and to whom they contracted the work because the need for even the most basic healthcare necessities is just massive in Kenya and throughout the whole of Africa I am sure.

Well I never meant for this to be such a rambling post, just a word on this great charity I found out about today. Ah well. Think about donating if you have gently used running shoes or support their hospital project! Watch the video on the website! The cause is most certainly a fantastic one.

Finally, some selfish drama -I'm considering applying for a huge promotion at work.....word got everyone's talking as if I'm going to get hired, saying things like "I'm so happy Al is interested, we just have to convince her to take some public health courses." On the one hand, I'm happy people are talking as if this is going to work when I haven't even formally applied. On the other, I am so effing tired of going to school the thought of taking epidemiology and biostatistics makes me absolutely cringe. Then again, if they insist, I could use my bargaining skills to convince them to let me take intro only courses and audit them. On the other hand, I am tired just thinking about it. Ugh. What to do. I suppose I'll have to wait and see at the interview. I'm talking to another project manager tomorrow and the MD who's the principal investigator on my study now to get osme perspective. The current project manager insisted I'd have to take Biostats and Epi to move into this position, but I wouldn't exactly take her word for it, plus she is epidemiology obsessed to the point of ridiculousness (she always talks about how she saved her samples when a hurricane hit Houston and flooded MD Anderson. Big Whoop) so I'm not sure what she's telling me is totally necessary. Again, guess I'll have to wait and see, but honestly, if they really want me to take those classes and in the meantime I get a call from one of the environmental job openings - I might just bolt. I am so done with school.
The end.

Monday, October 20, 2008


It means second to last.
It does not mean last.
It does not mean "the ultimate" as in the most incredible or the best

Dear Internet World and Other People Everywhere - Please start using penultimate correctly.

For Now

This and This. Consider your lady bits when you go to the polls - and excuse any humor, this is actually really really serious business. This actually reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about a week and a half ago - a point Flotsam brings up - as if choosing abortion would ever be the "easy" way out. Sad.

Also, I went to a fabulous and beautiful heartfelt wedding this weekend. Just lovely, pictures/descriptions forthcoming, but for now:

there was a drunken cousin there (not mine!) who cornered Jamaal and me, told us to vote McCain/Palin because "just because I make $350,000 a year doesn't mean I'm not middle class and Obama's gonna tax the hell out of me" and then made us justify why we were both voting for Obama ( about point #1: you make 9x what I make and Jamaal and I would have to combine and then double our joint income to even come close to a tax increase under the Obama plan). While I must say I respect her blatant honesty as opposed to the people who won't come out with their real reason for voting one way or the other - ie "Sarah Palin is just so lovely" "John McCain is a maverick" "Obama lacks experience" or even the pro-Obama folk who are just like "da dee dum dum dum he's a democrat - he is, therefore I vote" (which is great cause it's a vote for Obama, but couldn't you at least come up with a more interesting line of reason?) Anywho, I wonder if drunk cousin Sxxxxx, as a mother of three, would have kept up her argument had she known this stance. Of course given that she didn't even recognize me the next day, I'm thinking she wouldn't have remembered the conversation anyways.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Could I Not Know This?!

I am attending the last wedding of '08 this weekend. I say it with some relief, I admit, because the wedding frenzy took a lot out of me. I have, however, had a 3 month break since the last wedding and am ready to trip the light fantastic once again. ha ha ha I did just say that. I have a cute little dress for the cocktail party, cute dress for the wedding, shoes, bag, everything - except the gift isn't finished. Uuugh.

Yep, the blanket I pulled an all-nighter for - NOT done. boohoo. I think I can pull it off. I hope. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be contemplating a design for a 12x12 white square. I am to bring it to the ladies tea on Friday where it will be sewn into a quilt for the bride. Don't get me wrong, I adore this idea, it's so fantastic and it gives me the warm fuzzies to think of the bride and groom cuddling (G RATED CUDDLING) under the quilt we so lovingly designed and put together. The timing, however, has been CRAP because I've been slaving to finish my knitted project.

I also just had a mental block. I don't embroider - never really tried. My sister was smart and chose a wedding cross stitch pattern that fit a 12x12 square, and while I am a cross stitch pro, I didn't want to steal her I was lost as to what to do.....a crafter, on a raft, drifting alone in the middle of the creativity sea.

ha ha ha. Finally I decided, after much much googling, to just purchase an embroidery book that may help my crafter's block. I had wanted Doodle Stitching anyways (I asked for that and some other craft books last Christmas, but didn't prioritize them and got one I only kinda wanted. Not that I'm not grateful because I AM, but you know, I had an excuse at least). I busted out my amazon gift certificate and ordered that baby, and rushed the shipping. Excellent. When the book arrived I was even more pleased with my purchase. Patterns abound! Stitch tutorials! Great patterns! I found one and modified it a bit to fit the wedding theme. It's simple but modern and very sweet - originally it was just a wee squirrel and some trees, but I modified to include more trees and flowers and another squirrel facing the first with a heart floating above the pair. I chose colors last night and hauled the project to the office where I hoped I'd fit in some early morning crafting, worried about my time management and the fact that the square needs to be done by noon-ish tomorrow.

Imagine my surprise as I sat at my desk, began stitching, and found the project to be not only easy and enjoyable, but also relaxing. I had traced the design onto fabric with pencil - very low tech, as I originally made an iron-on transfer but abandoned that plan for something a bit simpler. I decided to start with the squirrels and heart since they were the same stitch, most detailed and I expected them to be a challenge. In about 30 minutes, I was done! I plan to resume stitchery on the commuter rail tonight, my fears about not finishing in time now pushed aside. Here's a view of my progress:

Yeah, the squirrels are totally a different size and maybe the heart is just a wee bit wonky, but you know what? I love it. It's cute and fun and kind of funny because the bride is uber skinny - think size 0 skinny, but you have to love her because she's not anorexic skinny and eats tons of food....ok maybe this is why you shouldn't like her? Anyways, it's kind of an appropriate joke because the proportions here are somewhat similar to real life. Hopefully people will make the connection and not be like 'why are the squirrels two different sizes?' LOL not that it would make me feel bad.

Sigh. Best get back to work - enjoy the weekend, it's nearly here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Learned

So sometimes I am paranoid about my platelet count. When it breaks 500 I worry, even though I have been assured and reassured again and again and again that 1. nothing is wrong with me 2. it is not even that high 3. it is good for all the patients at the cancer hospital because I am not only HLA-typed but also give a double dose every time I go in, sometimes a triple. I can't help it though, because if you break 500 you have to have your counts called in to the big hospital across the street. It makes me skiddish.

So today my counts were 530, an all-time day of donation high. I started to sweat a bit. Nevermind that my mother lived for years with a platelet count of 700+ and only after hormonal shifts has it normalized and not a blessed thing was ever wrong with her and today she is perfectly healthy - and that a quite reasonable explanation for my elevated count is my mother's elevated count. Forget the fact that my mother's hematologist said that doctors tend not to get worked up if you have no other symptoms or weird counts and just high platelets as long as they are under a million or so. Oh no, let's not be rational. Let's freak out. Let's think we're predisposed to some blood disorder, leukemia or some yet undiscovered platelet malfunction. LET'S PANIC!!!

Of course there is the wonder of google. I googled query regarding genetics and platelet count. I googled platelet counts and birth control, and then I stumbled upon one comment on a medical forum citing a high platelet count due to low grade anemia! So let's do a roundup here
1. Genetic Predisposition due to a parent's high platelet count
2. Use of oral contraceptives, which can elevate a platelet count
3. A tendency towards low grade anemia
CHECK (my Hgb has been in the 12's and sometimes even the 13's for the most part with regular use of vitamins and spirulina, but occasionally I'll go in after a few weeks of staying up late and eating literally all carbs, fat and sugar and my Hgb will have tanked to 11.8 or something)

So there are three very reasonable and incredibly benign explanations for my high platelets. I am like the poster child for naturally high, nothing to worry about but awesome to donate platelets.

Yet why do I keep freaking out? Sigh.
Anyways, after this day of falling asleep at desks and panicking while attached to a large machine drawing out my blood and sending it back in, I am off to meet my sister at the nail salon. Pedicure it is!

Just Stop Crafting

So I pulled a near all-nighter to make sufficient headway on the wedding afghan I am knitting. I popped one of my favorite, though rather outdated, miniseries in the tv and went to it to 3:30 in the morning, when I finally succumbed to sleep.

I think it was probably the worst possible thing I could have done, WORSE than not finishing the gift (the wedding is on Saturday). Right now I seem to be having pretty significant trouble keeping my head upright...I almost tumbled headfirst right into my keyboard. I'm counting down the hours until I am released (6 hours 5 minutes) from the prison of cancer research. I have platelets to cut up my day, but I am seriously concerned about falling asleep on the gurney!

I think I might legit need to go on a bit of a crafting hiatus, for real this time. Because pulling all-nighters out of college is soooo wrong. Ok, off to nap.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I have long been searching for an in-depth critique of the presidential candidates' view on Africa, from policy to trade to "fixing" problems. Leave it to AllAfrica to provide exactly what I've been looking for. So far I've only read the arguments for each candidate, but plan to do some more in-depth reading tomorrow. I had to switch to Obama after page 1 of the pro-McCain article talked about how great Republicans are and how George W. visited Uganda, Nigeria, blah blah blah. Damn lot of good that did everyone.

Now most of you know I tend to be rather bipartisan when it comes to dealing with Africa, in that if you do something good for Africa/Africans, I will tend to be supportive of that action, but if you are useless, I probably will not like you. I will never ever forgive Bill Clinton for Rwanda, and he is akin to God to some people in this country, but I truly feel that his lack of action, despite whatever his intentions MAY HAVE BEEN will forever overshadow any good he did the world. I know it's harsh, but that's how I feel, and no apology, no humanitarian mission, nothing will ever make me feel differently about the situation. I think after W. leaves office many of us will look back and remember all the crap he did and look at his inaction in the Darfur situation and will be much quicker to lay the blame on W because he's been a lousy president than we ever did on Big Willy because people "loved" him and he was so "great." I guess I judge harshly, and I judge based on what I think is important and know that I am biased in the grand scale of "what is important" but there you have it.

I think that our next president will have to address problems in Africa, from Ethiopia's drought to Congo's war to Zimbabwe's inflation to Kenya's startling post-election instability and of course, the devastating AIDS crisis. Each candidate seems to have a plan, and I can only hope they stand by it. I will say that the Bush administration's AIDS action plan on paper seemed quite brilliant, but other situations presented themselves and that got put on the back burner. I'm not saying that we didn't need to deal with other stuff first by any means, but it would be nice if the president and his staff could stay on task and get some of this stuff done, or at least lay a plan and a beginning to some of the issues. Ultimately I don't think the US could solve these problems single-handedly (obviously, duh) but we have so much power, and it'd be great to see it channeled into a positive means for a change.

Anywho. I will continue to do my bit and still formulate my plan on how I'm going to save the world. Cause I'm totally going to do it. Thought I forgot, eh? No way. I'm saving the world. It might take me til an ancient and decrepit age to do it, but someone's got to, and I've decided that that someone is me. I'll let Obama help though ;)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Good One

The Good One, originally uploaded by crosby_allison.

Ok, so I was editing some pics on flickr and notice that this is a pretty damn good picture. That's all. I'm off to the ICA (for the very first time, I am embarrassed to say)

Le Bored

I have finished my work for the day. Now it IS 2:20, but I did get here at 6:50 this morning, so having essentially 30 minutes to mess around is not so bad - sometimes I am left with hours to fill. Work hours.

Of course the one day I could depart at my usual 3:20pm with the satisfying feeling of having accomplished something real, I'm meeting my friend. I am looking forward to it, but honestly resisted requesting a rain check about 5 times this morning because she doesn't get out of work til 5pm. I will probably leave here at 4:30 to meet her at her office but still...2 damn hours to kill.

I have been reading the NY Times, taking particular care to weed through the Africa section. It's decent, but should probably start reading AllAfrica to really get into meatier issues. I have also been going to sites like Bed Bath and Beyond and Williams Sonoma to try and find cool things to either 1. register for when the time comes (in about 18 months but whatev) and 2. to suggest for Christmas should someone (cough cough grandma) call me on the phone and demand to know what I want. Usually I say "nothing" but this induces fits of rage from Grandma, so I try to have at least something to tell her. Of course in the past I have told her something and she has responded with "that's dumb." Like rainboots, for example - who doesn't need rainboots??! I told her that last year and she sniffed and said "I'm not getting you rainboots" as if I asked her to get me, oh I dunno, a piece of elephant dung. Whatev, Grandma!

I've been trying to plan my holiday giving as well. I am not one to rush the season, I mean we haven't even had Halloween and there's still my favorite of all holidays, Thanksgiving, to get through, but I do like to plan out these things because it helps me budget more effectively. I've got nothing though. No ideas really, not even for Jamaal....I have something in mind for Amy, but it's really only because she suggested it. So yeah. Brainstorming there.

Ugh, I just made myself sleepy with this boring ass post. I think I'm gonna hop over to CVS and buy some ramen (heavvvvvven) or a BLT because I have really wanted one ALL DAY....but I don't know if you can get one at subway...I'll have to find out!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


On a lighter note, I am at work at my now usual early morning hour. It's kind of obscene leaving from work while the stars are still in the sky, but I'm dealing with it, because at this moment it is what makes work bearable. I have a guaranteed window of nearly two hours, sometimes more, before my coworkers get here and being alone in the office is positively glorious.

This is for several reasons: I mess around doing whatever I want for two solid hours, then do serious work for six. I know this makes me sound like a slacker, but I really do only have about six hours of work to complete when I have no patients to abstract (today I have one eligible for entry - hurrah!). I also get time to observe hilarity - this morning a taxi driver, a bus driver and the BWH loading dock coordinator got in a fight right below my office window. The bus was swerving around an 18-wheeler with its flashers on and a taxi came right at it. True, the bus is supposed to yield to the obstruction, but when the two vehicles came head to head, neither one of them would yield, so they came to rest within inches of one another, the drivers got out, started going at it. That was funny, but then the added hilarity came when the traffic guy decided he had had enough, went up to the taxi driver and was like "enough, you're pissing me off, move your car............MOVE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" ooook. That worked.

I'm also finding time to do a lot of personal research - like how to start an etsy shop, or how to throw the best yard sale ever. It's been a worthy investment of my time. I also decided to do a huge zazzle update. I was thinking that it'd be really lovely to make some pretty stamps out of selections from my "portfolio" of nature photography. This was fueled by the forced placement of the fugliest stamp ever on a letter yesterday, a letter that had to go out with said fugly stamp because it was time-sensitive. I usually have my selection of zazzle stamps and some decent 1 cent stamps (because I bought a TON of stamps when they were .41!) but I ran out yesterday and had to use fugly stamp. This led to the postage inspiration. Behold the wonder:
Speaking of online marketplaces, I've been 'troling CafePress for the perfect pair (ok why are they called pairs?) of Barack Obama underwear. Jamaal is horrified by this phenomenon, and I'm not sure if he's horrified because he's afraid he'll whip off my bottoms in a fit of romantic and lustful passion and be stymied by B-rocks jug adorning my nether regions or if he's afraid I'll be showing off my Obama underwear in public....he, and most people, are probably wondering why I don't have a t-shirt. Let me put it this way - since I purchased my Patriots thong, the Pats have won the Superbowl twice and since I purchased my Sox thong, the Sox have won the Series twice, and just won the ALDS. Sure it's not a failproof method, keeping your "team" as close as possible, showing your fandom goes so far as to embrace your lady bits, but I say HEY it's worth a TRY for sure.

So far I have it narrowed down to these 5 selections (technically 6, because I couldn't get the "I vote for That One" thong pic to load):
hmmmm. I love bitchery references. There's a magnet on the inside of my desk, where only I can see it that says "I'm not really a bitch, I just play one in your life." Basically this one is perfect, but maybe not Obama-y enough??

Barack my world. I mean I hope he does in fact "Rock the World." I love the dirty connotation too. Then again, the guy is married and has two kids - will I feel dirty wearing this one? (ok I know I am talking about underwear here, the dirtiness factor has already gone out the window)Green Obama. Very classy. Very understated. Nice but not exciting!

A more retro thong. I like the design. It's nice and girly. Not a cool as the bitches one though.

Ah yes, the classic Barack out with your......I love this, but will Jamaal think I'm trying to send him a message? Well. Knowing him he would be a perv, see the undies and be like "ok." LOL.

Sadly I did not find a thong featuring Obama's face that I found un-creepy, or if his face was not creepy, the thong featured a pic of Joe Biden. I mean he's fine and whatever, but his face needs to stay above the waist. That's that.

Sigh. Well my time of aloneness is quickly coming to an end. I'm gonna go put my now cold Pumpkin Spice Latte in the microwave, fire it up and chug it in an effort to stay conscious til my 6:30 meeting (ugggghhh) I'll keep you posted on the panty front.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why We Are Sending Mumbua to School

"Prostitution Turns Child Exploitation

Sex for payment is so common in Nairobi, on the coast of Kenya, particularly in the vacation towns of Mombasa and Malindi, that the thirst for prostitution has led to the widespread exploitation of children. Kenya is now considered one of the worldwide hubs for child sex tourism.

In 2006, UNICEF released a report on child trafficking in Kenya revealing that up to 30 percent of teenage girls ages as young as 12 living on the coast were involved in casual sex for cash"

From this article.

Friday, October 03, 2008


In the grand old tradition the "most beautiful fall day" had been chosen by Smith College president Carol Christ - aaand it's MOUNTAIN DAY It is pretty much the best holiday EVER and I have many many fond Mountain Day memories: first year, Look Park, sophomore year, day by the pond, junior year ICE CREAM at that place with the water wheel, and senior year, me and my gallies taking the first years apple picking and accidentally picking the "experimental apples." If you know me you know I have kind of a crap memory for events and sh*t but I REMEMBER Mountain Day very clearly.

I still must have a sort of psychic connection with Mother Smith as I took the day off from work to prepare for girl party, but as I have to drive to the boonies to fetch the Subaru, I will be going out and enjoying the weather and such - I even plan to have a girl party jack-o-lantern, so I will be hitting up a farm stand too, very Mountain Day-appropriate. I am even sneaking over to a favorite cross stitch shop, tee hee. It shall be a good day indeed!

Even if you didn't have the foresight to take a day off for Mountain Day today, get out in that fresh air and take a deep breath. AHHHHHHH!!!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Exciting News I Forgot!

AH! Can't believe I forgot the good news in all my bitchery!

My bandamate, basically roommate, from Kenya got married this spring and is now expecting a baby! AHHH! It's funny because I think a lot of other students weren't sure what to make of her, I mean, I wasn't at first, but after a while, we got along really well and I think she's just the most fantastic person. I bet a lot of our group would be shocked to find out she got married and is now having a baby given her personality (very very snarky, BUT hilarious) but I'm not surprised at all. She's great with kids and the professor's kids adored her. When we invited a preschool group over to our camp one of the little ones bonded with her right away and she spent the day carrying her around. I totally see her as being a great mom (she already is, she and her husband have two kids but this is her first biologically/their first together) and I am so excited for her :D It also gave us a reason to IM for the first time in a long time. I told her I needed her address so I could start sending her homemade baby stuff. I think she thought I was messing with her - but you all know me, I'm sooooo not :D
So yay for babies!

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Sometimes I have the distinct feeling that before I leave my place of employment to greener pastures (which may be a while since the pastures out yonder are dry and brittle, desiccated by a cold harsh wind....and roamed by wolves) that my coworker and I will get in a fist fight. Oh not because I'm going to haul off and punch her, though the desire is definitely there sometimes, but because she is just the kind of scrappy little biatch that would throw the first punch. I mean she practically assaulted me on her second day of work for pulling her keyboard out from under her desk - it was jammed up under there with all the keys pressed down making that "beep beep beep" noise, and there she is, kneeling on her desk hanging some sh*t on the wall going "what is that noise" So me, being antisocial and not wanting to encourage her with conversation reached over and pulled out the keyboard. She hops down off the desk and is in my face all "WHY DID YOU TOUCH MY COMPUTER" ugh.

Normally I do not take part in this sort of office drama. I'm indifferent to a majority of my coworkers, even the throat clearer, because she can be drowned out with headphones. I've strangely become pretty tight with another one, one who used to bother me a bit, because Anorexia has departed for her greener pastures (Nursing school!!) and we're the only two "originals" left. But this girl is, in a word, shifty. I can't tell if she's trying to be friendly or if she's backstabbing. She saunters down the hall peering into people's offices, she takes her headphones off when I take a phone call, puts them back on when I hang up. She likes to talk about how she "lived" in South Africa, and told R all about her semester abroad there to the point where SHE got so annoyed she pointed to the picture on my desk of me in Africa and said "Allison spent 4 months in Kenya you're not the ONLY ONE with that EXPERIENCE." Apparently she just turned up her nose. I guess I just don't know what to make of her and seeing her interact with other people in person and on the phone has made me wary. ha. and weary. If she were on the other side of the room, I think it would be a non-issue, but her close proximity is tiring, and I think that's what's going to lead to the confrontation. Her closeness, her propensity to slam sh*t around.

Of course my other coworker just blew her nose in the most foul manner. SO all in all I should be grateful.

And yeah, I do realize this is totally petty sh*t. I think the fact that we haven't seen the sun since Friday September 26th is starting to get to me, LOL.
I will stop bitching.....123 NOW!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Meeting My GOALS

Today I arrived at work before 7AM. It was awesome.
I'm not a morning person, so for me to call getting up at 5:15 to catch the 5:58 train "awesome" is pretty damn special. It is awesome though, awesome in the sense that I will now be home at 5, I will now have a life, I have cut down my morning commute by about 30 minutes - it used to be 1 hour and 40 minutes door to door, and now it is right around 1 hour 1o minute, give or take a few. I'll be able to go home and exercise, do some cardio AND pilates all before 7pm and then have time to get sh*t done....oh I dunno, like PAY BILLS! woohoo!

Also - recognition time...
My friend Rach read my Mboya post and PayPal'd me some school fees. Then EE asked when I was going to send out another mass appeal for funds. Don't worry, I WILL be doing that eventually, once we sort out Mumbua's education situation, something about which I need many more details. For now, I just want to say thank you to Rachel because this semester Mboya, Mumbua, and their entire family are going to get a significantly larger chunk of change than I'm usually able to send them. I can't even tell you how far this will be able to stretch - I sent my friend Salaash a mere $50 during the election crisis and he sent me an email back saying that he will be able to feed his entire family (wife and two kids) without any worry for more than a month. Knowing that Mboya will be able to provide for his family and his sister even while he is away working on the road crew fills me with a joy I can't even express in words. I will be floating on air when I go to Park Street to send the MoneyGram.....
...but only til I actually get to the counter, because I have an irrational fear of getting jumped when wiring money from the subway.....or maybe it's rational. I dunno!
At any rate, thank you so much Rach :) You rock!