June, 2012

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Conspiracy and randomness

There are just some days when I swear the universe is conspiring against dissertation completion.  All I wanted to do today was write. 

In case you haven’t heard, and aren’t living in this vicinity, it is eleventy bazillion degrees here right now.  Trust me, in these parts we know from hot, and it is H. O. T. hot. Really, it is the time of year when I realize I have no business living in this region, because while I can tolerate the heat during the day, without air conditioning I wouldn’t be able to sleep from May until October.  So, it is record breakingly hot here right now, and last night at about 11:30pm when it was still well above sleeping temperatures, our power went out.  After figuring out that it was a general outage, and not just our breakers, I found a place where I could get a cross breeze, grabbed the cushions from the couch and made myself a bed, where I tossed and turned until the power came back on, bringing with it fans and air conditioning.  

Yesterday, a block from the relative safety of the parking deck at work I ran over a screw.  Not just a little nail, but a screw and washer big enough that I could see them in the back tire.  Fortunately, they wedged in their tightly enough to create a seal and keep the tire full all the way home.  But I knew that wouldn’t last long, so I had to spend a good portion of my day hanging out at the dealership waiting for my tire to be fixed. 

After not sleeping and hanging out at a car dealership (where I did get a little writing, and a little knitting done), I had to go grocery shopping, and put together dinner for tonight.  Did I mention it’s hot?  Dinner was some chicken salad that required a lot of chopping, and needed to be done early so it could chill.

Dinner was actually a fairly random collection of crap that proved amazingly filling for the small amount of it that we ate.  Chicken salad, bagel chips, a little brie, some chipotle cheddar cubes, chilled cherries and blueberries, corn on the cob, and watermelon.  Well, I told you it was random. 

Yes, I could be writing, right now this minute, but instead I am going to go read.  I did some good free writing at the dealership (just a sentence or two for nearly every paragraph to help me see the shape of the whole thing).  Now, I have to go figure out what sources are going to help me flesh that out. 

Anyway, I guess there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow.  I will be able to get up early and write my little heart out!

If I had a post …

For every time I have tried to post in the last couple of weeks – you would have a lot to read!

When I am at work, driving home, watching television anywhere I am not in front of the computer I have a million ideas for posts.  By the time I get to sit down to a computer, however, either I have no idea what to write, or every idea feels like it is going to take too much time/effort to write well.

You know, come to think of it, that describes all my writing perfectly. It takes too much time, and too much effort.

For now, I’m keeping a list of everything I want to write when I have the time.  I’m reading (listening to) some interesting stuff, watching some crappy television that will be fun to pick apart later, and doing a bunch of writing that only 5 people in the world will read —- if I am lucky.  The number is actually closer to 3 (the people on my committee).

At coffee with Dr. Phoenix today I realized one of my fears about the dissertation is that someone will actually read it.  I mean, if it ever gets to this point, once I turn it into the graduate school they are going to publish it.  People will actually be able to search for it in library databases.  It will be out there FOREVER!!!!!

{Excuse me while I go breathe slowly into a paper bag and take a xanax.}

Yes, I am well aware that, for a girl with a blog, being afraid that someone will actually read your work is more than a little absurd.  Knowing this fear is absurd doesn’t really make it any less stress inducing.

Besides, in my head at least, blogging doesn’t really count as sharing my writing. First, site stats aside, I generally operate under the assumption that no one anywhere is really reading this.  I might pretend to a broader audience, but really I just write for Ouiser because I assume she is my only reader.  Yes, I know Alisha stops by occasionally, but Ouiser is the voice in my head as I write.

Second, the last time I showed someone a piece of my writing it was 9th or 10th grade.  I’d started a cheesy teen romance over the summer, and I showed it to my friend Nifty-Neato Nina.  It wasn’t traumatic or anything. I think she was encouraging.  I just don’t generally show people my writing, but if I finish the dissertation, people will see my writing. Not just a book review, or training materials, they will also see my thinking, my ideas.  It terrifies me.

It could go either way…

I finally watched the series premiere of Bunheads.

Created by Amy Sherman Palladino of Gilmore Girls fame, there is much about Bunheads that is familiar, and maybe a little too familiar.  At its core Bunheads is a fish-out-of-water story with Palladino’s favorite twist – the quirky town.  I’ll give it at least one season — hell, who am I kidding apparently even if it sucks and I hate it, I will keep watching.  The fact that I cannot seem to stop watching Rizzoli & Isles is more than enough evidence  of that fact.  Seriously, why can’t I stop watching that show?

Although I fear the overly familiar tropes from Gilmore Girls might make me tire of this new show quickly, for now that familiarity is apparently just what I need.  Watching the first episode was pleasantly like coming home and diving into a comfy jam-jams for my brain.

Don’t judge me too harshly, my brain works hard the other seventy billion hours a week.

Recognizing your default

Finally got to looking through everything I missed on Shakesville this week.  Here is a fantastic post at Racialicious about race and fandom

Go. Read.

Vacation Vagaries

The beginning of any vacation is a wonderful thing.  The expanse of days stretch out before you full of endless possibilities.  About half way through the vacation, you might as well go back to work.  The knowledge that the vacation is almost over sinks in, and you begin to realize you haven’t done half of what you expected to do. This would explain why I haven’t been able to sleep for the last two nights.

Although I’m happy that I have done something every day, and gotten some work done, on some level I wanted to do more, and now I am freaking out.  Paradoxically, that is also why I am writing here instead of the the dissertation file.  In a little while the DH and I are taking in our last vacation event – a 3D showing of Prometheus.  You will not, however, be getting a review from me because when we get home I will pop a xanax, open the dissertation document, and stare at it for the next 10 hours.

For the first glorious portion of our vacation the DH and I packed up the car, grabbed the dogs, and headed to the north Georgia mountains where we had rented a cabin.  I loved it!  We didn’t really do half the things we could have because I was writing and stuff, but we were away from home.  Also, I don’t think either of us would mind going back to do some hiking.  Below the fold is the best picture from our trip.

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Share Your Story – Planned Parenthood

This week in The Malarkey Bin I followed a link to this article about Why I Can’t Afford Not to Go to Planned Parenthood. It is a powerful, required reading post that also inspired me to tell my own Planned Parenthood story.

In a way my story is a success story.    There was a clinic in my home town.  It was accessible, and I didn’t have to negotiate protesters or strict security to get to my appointment.  It was the early 90s,  and the thought that there had been a time when women weren’t able to take control of their health care amazed me. Yes, I was more than a little naive … give an 18 year old a break.

According to Wikipedia in 2010 my hometown had a population of 16, 896 people. Sounds about right, I’d be willing to bet there were a few more when I was growing up, maybe around 18,000? The population isn’t as important as knowing that our town was poor.  Built up around an industry that has been dying since before I was born, the town was small, without a lot of diversions for kids. Once you got your license the first thing you did was drive 50 miles east to the State Capital to start hanging out at the mall there, or 20 miles west to the beaches. We may have grown up in the twin shadows of Ted Bundy, he had allegedly tried to pick up a friend’s mom in a bar, and the Green River Killer, still active north and east of us, but I would argue we were the last of a generation of free range kids.  From the moment I moved there when I was 10 I was walking all over town.  Either 6 blocks from our apartment to the public library, or the longer mile to my elementary school every morning.  Before my friends and I got our driver’s licenses, and even after, we would walk all over town.

So, while it wasn’t all terrible, for the purposes of this tale the best image to leave you with is this:  when I first heard of the alleged Pregnancy Pact in Gloucester, Ma., the only thing that surprised me about the story was that it happened somewhere other than my home town.  Even when I graduated, I’m pretty sure no one got out of our high school without knowing at least one person who had gotten pregnant before graduation.   Before I got out of the town for good, the age at which girls were getting pregnant just seemed to be getting lower.  My brother, sister, and I joke that the greatest accomplishment in our family was all three of us getting out of that place without having a kid before we were 18. We don’t make that joke at anyone’s expense, many of the young parents we know are some of the best parents we know, and when you are young in our home town there is not a lot to do outside the backseat of a car.  If it weren’t for the Planned Parenthood clinic in our town, I don’t think I could even estimate the number of teen pregnancies we would have seen in my high school.

Right now, you are probably imagining a much different story than the mundane one I am about to tell.  Although I’d contemplated it for a couple of years before, it wasn’t until I had graduated from high school that I visited our clinic. The funniest part about high school for me was that by the time I graduated I knew that at least twice rumors had spread that I was pregnant, and at least once there was a conflicting rumor that I was a lesbian.  It was all amusing to me because I was pretty sure I was the only person I knew not sexually active.

What lead me to Planned Parenthood? I’d read that when a woman turned 18 she needed to have her first Pap Smear, so I made an appointment.  I also wanted birth control pills to regulate my periods and alleviate my cramps.  My cramps were so bad that I routinely took 3 – 4 Advil at a time just to get through the days that I had them. I was still working part time at a grocery store without health benefits.  Planned Parenthood was the only place I  could afford to go for standard health care. My story isn’t dramatic, but illustrates a point often lost in the current war on reproductive rights.

Planned Parenthood is essential to all aspects of women’s health care.

What is your Planned Parenthood story?




Howdy Stranger!

You know, what?  As of 5:00pm today I was officially on vacation and if vacation isn’t a time for blogging, I don’t know what is.  Of course there is more SERIOUS writing I should be doing just now, but I’ll get back to that in the morning.  Tonight I am on vacation.  

Because I am horribly behind on everything happening in the world it was only yesterday that I finished listening to The Hunger Games Trilogy.  What did I think?  Well, I tell you with the fair warning that there will probably be spoilers involved, because I don’t really believe there is anyone else left who hasn’t read these books.  I’m intensely amused that I’ve seen nearly all the middle aged men on my bus reading these books. This isn’t really going to be a review, just a general discussion of the books.  I’m also going to treat this as one large narrative without breaking it into books. 

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