Friday, October 31, 2008

Endorphins whee!

I actually felt hopeful when I walked back from the gym today. Thirty-five minutes on the elliptical seems to be the perfect workout time to get the happy-chemicals flowing.

And I was thinking, you know? I'm going to be okay. It's going to be tough to get a job, but I'll get one. It might not be all brie and wine and backrubs when Jim and I first move in together, but we'll work on it. I voted and I really, really hope the school levy in my hometown passes. And if I eat a shit ton of Reese's Pieces this weekend, then so be it. I will not be a worse person because of it.

It also helped that today was a fracking gorgeous Indian summer day. It's colder now, but I'm going to brave it in my flapper dress. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Much as I would like to be, I'm not the kind of person who goes with the flow. I can't throw a pair of underwear and a toothbrush in a duffel and hit the road - I mean, what if you need a sweater? I'm not saying that I'm completely at odds with spontaneity - just that it's harder for me that most people.

I like control - you've probably already figured that out. And right now I feel like I don't have any. I'm nibbling all the time - all the damn Halloween candy doesn't help with that. I'm running out of time with all my projects, and I've been neglecting my job - you know, the one I get paid for - horribly. Note to self - setting own hours INVITES procrastination. And then there are the big, scary after-graduation questions: will I get a job? Will Jim and I get along living together? Will we be happy? How will we afford an apartment and food besides ramen? In babies they call it "failure to thrive." That's what I'm afraid of.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Jim, probably more than anyone else, is aware of my floundering when it comes to finding and landing a job. Last night he told me to make a three-circle Venn diagram. One circle was labeled "Passions," one circle was "Talents and Strengths," and the last one was "Economic Engine." Fill them in, and what winds up in the middle is what you should focus on.

For the life of me I can't get it to show up in the blog post, so you'll just have to make one for yourself. It's pretty simple, straightforward. Right?

Not so much. I'm aware of my strengths. I can write - no, really, I can write at a much higher level than what y'all see here on this blog. For instance, I would never use "y'all." I can write for a variety of audiences. I can listen, I can ask questions. I can do research, I can enter data and do some analysis. I'm good with linking abstract concepts to the way they're lived on the ground. And I can decorate a cake like nobody's business.

Passions I'm a bit foggier on. I've thought about it since Jim gave me the idea and they fall under the vague label of "helping people." I want to work with - work for - people
who get lost in the healthcare system or can't get it at all, people who don't know about or don't understand ways to improve their health; people who need clean water, who don't have access to education; people who are in dire straits simply because they lack the same opportunities I've been lucky enough to have. I love doing research, whether it's digging up policy documents, getting data, or talking to people. I want to take that research and use it to foster real change. I love cheese and wine, too, and Jim, but I think we're going a bit more career-oriented here.

It's broad as hell, I know. But look at my scattershot work history: almost three years in a deli-bakery, two years of data-entry-and-analysis research, two awful months at a call center, a summer research internship, and now this interesting but frustrating Healthy Schools project. I've done some big projects along the way, too: sophomore year I assisted with beginning research on a biocultural community; last year I conducted a ponderous content analysis of doctor interviews and set up a roundtable on Kenyan election violence; this year is my lovely thesis on abstinence-only education and my work with a nonprofit (more about that later). All of which leaves me with a variety of skills, but no singular leading drive. Rather, I have a history of stumbling upon a project and throwing myself headfirst into it (and not always wisely). Give me a problem, dammit, and I'll figure out as much about it as I can.

As for the "economic engine," I've been looking mostly in the non-profit sector, though there's a consulting firm in Alexandria where I'd love to work. Thing is, most organizations are already stretched thin, and they usually ask for a higher degree than a B.A. I'm looking into a one-year paralegal program - I don't know if I'd be any good, but the pay is decent. There's a three-month internship program that might help me get myself in gear, make connections.

And the kicker? The venn diagram is called your "hedgehog." There's a parable explaining it, but hey, anything to do with hedgehogs is good with me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The weight I've gained has done jack to help insulate me from the cold. I feel so weak and silly to complain about it - 38 degrees (feels like 30 with wind) isn't all that cold, really. I don't know about anyone else, but it's physically painful for me to be too cold - my face, my hands, my feet, even my bones; it all stings and aches. I know that there have been many benefits to my recent weight gain, but that it hasn't helped in this respect annoys the crap out of me.

Of course this makes me worry about how I'm going to get my workouts done. Lord knows I don't want to borrow a car and drive , but I dread the long walk over there. I guess I will just have to suffer through Denise Austin, even though I much prefer the quiet of an elliptical.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I made it back to Athens by 2, but I just couldn't drag myself up to the second half of my 1 pm class. I needed to unpack, to put something warm in my belly, and go to sleep. As I've accomplished the first two, I'll get working on the third.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Fat Joe just got off a plane and walked by me. I gaped. Go me.


Presentation complete! Besides the other presenters, the discussant, the chair, and OU people, there were THREE WHOLE PEOPLE in the audience. So, not scary. Dr. T said her rival was taking notes while I was talking. The few people who were there liked what I'd done and had some thoughtful suggestions.

Afterward I walked around a little strip mall and got lunch - a Greek salad that was far too expensive and kind of crappy, but was saved by the intensely wonderful chunks of feta on top.

And now I wait. It's 3:30 - my flight doesn't leave until much later, but I didn't know where to hang out until then. I'm stuck in Tampa all night, and I'll finally get to Cincy at 9:45. And then 2.5 hours back to OU. Maybe food and sleep somewhere in there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


1. Three years of Spanish at Ohio University failed to provide me any functional grasp of the language. My conversation with the two Honduran men in the elevator was humiliating.

2. I totally got hit on by a silver fox on my flight this morning. The man next to me was a sharp-dressed executive from Columbia who wanted to practice his English (wink wink). No, really he did. We had a nice conversation about America and Columbia and the war on drugs. And NO, he didn't ask me if I wanted to be a mule, you silly American.

3. My hotel is creaky and old and shabby and I kind of love it.

4. Oh hey, guess what? I'm presenting tomorrow. Wow.

5. If you're ever in Miami, check out Pecorrino's. The good Drs. T, D, and B took me out to dinner there - it's really flavorful, well-made Italian food. Steamed mussels are so much better when you know they were still swimming this morning (Jim - the ones I had at Rustico were in a tastier broth, but the mussels themselves were ENORMOUS and even fresher).

6. Dr. T's rival is also presenting at my session tomorrow. He has funny hair. I hope I hold it together.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Please list your last four employers, beginning with the most recent

Kohl's, JC Penney, Sears, Dillards, Borders, New York & Company, Toys R Us, Busken, Hallmark, Time Warner Cable ... please, someone hire me. All I ask for is roughly half a day off a week so I can schedule some thesis work, if the need should be.

I was sure I'd be able to get work done while I was home - not so much. There's an Are You Afraid of the Dark marathon on. My sisters are too damn interesting. Mom made pizza, which is delicious but leaves me feeling like a slug. Well, more slug-like than food normally does.

I miss my big sister. I miss Jim. I miss my brother. Getting to see my grandparents today was wonderful, but it made me remember all the other people I haven't seen in so long.

All right. Must go pack. Call me a dork, but I love travel-size toiletries.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

These things are true

I just need to make myself believe them:

1. I will make it to Miami.
2. I will not pee my pants while giving my presentation.
3. Skipping workouts two days in a row does not make me a bad, lazy person.
3a. I do not need to lose weight.
4. I will make D.C. happen. I will make it fucking work.
5. I'm not the only one who's made mistakes. I will be okay.
6. I will find a job this winter.
7. I will get my thesis done.
8. I have people who love me and I'm so intensely lucky in that regard.


A woman in Missouri touched off a propane explosion - with her remote control. Aaack.

Sasha Fierce is actually not Tyra Banks.

Miss Teen Louisiana FAIL.

There is so, so much you could do with this headline.

There's a bit of a disconnect going on between the article, its headline, and the photo illustration. By "scientists try to stop hunger with retooled foods," they mean that they're trying to suppress the supposedly boundless Western appetite ... not help that poor little starving girl. Editor FAIL.

Ever seen the word "walloping" in a news article?

I'm heading home to Bethel this afternoon. Friday I'll be gathering job applications for the winter, and Saturday and Sunday I'll be in (hopefully sunny) Miami.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adios, mis pantalones

Dear Size Two Khaki Pants:

You were a mind-fuck when I bought you. I was not a size two - I was a fatty, had always been and always would be. I tried a six, a four - both too big. How could it be that such a tiny number fit my enormous body? And yet you fit, you buttoned; I could sit down and you were comfortable. The fact that you were on sale made you even more comfortable.

Alas, Khaki Kants, I can no longer have you in my wardrobe. I have gained weight since that fateful day at New York & Company, and you are uncomfortably snug. It is possible that you shrank - the Size Two Black Pants I also purchased still fit fine - but the former scenario is equally likely.

Does this bother me? I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But it's really your loss, as you won't be accompanying me to Miami this weekend. My much older, Size-Unknown Khaki Pants will have that privilege.


Reality check

I was all set to write a bitchy email about the work I have to do - three presentations, an annotated bibliography, research for my job, looking for real job opportunities, and that whole Miami thing. Oh, and how all y'all are either too chicken or mature to respond to my last post.

Then someone in my Epidemiology class started talking about her roommate's recent death from surgery complications. She had the operation done at one of the notoriously crappy hospitals in the area. When she went into anaphylactic shock from the anesthesia, she was flown to Columbus. Four days later she died. (Note - I was across the room when she said this, so it's not like I was in Super-Creeper Eavesdropper mode).

Sometimes you need a punch in the gut to put things back in perspective.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


No, it's not about my closet (though it would hold true). I realized that my Denise Austin post contained an alarmingly suggestive opening clause.

So, my lovely readers, I'm asking for your participation yet again! Using the most absurd, lurid, mad depths of your imaginations, finish the following sentence:

"When I finished, surprisingly sweaty, I thought ..."

I know the educational backgrounds of some of my readers (ENGLISH MAJORS), so my expectations are pretty high. Check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for inspiration. It doesn't have to be dirty, necessarily. Just entertain me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is my confession

I have a massive sweet tooth.

Scandalous, right? Sweets are "bad," so admitting that you like them means you like something you shouldn't. I've outright lied about it. When friends would talk about how something was "just too sweet, I can't eat it" or "you know, I can't handle that much chocolate," I would nod along. I was embarrassed at how much I loved my grandmother's buttercreme icing, her pineapple upside-down cake, at how I practically saturated my pancakes with maple syrup.

Some of you probably winced at that last description. I don't doubt people when they say they don't like their food too sweet. It's just that I do, and I don't want to feel ashamed of that anymore. A preference for sweet food is just the same as a preference for swiss cheese or cauliflower - something you like. I know that a lot of sweet foods tend to have fewer nutrients and more simple carbohydrates; like anything else, they're a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Part of a complete breakfast/lunch/dinner.

I love apples, kiwi, melon, tangerines and especially strawberries; I use inordinate amounts of sugar-free maple syrup in my oatmeal. Coffee and tea are just better with the pink stuff, or amaretto and creme de cacao.
If they start selling the chocolate filling in E.L. Fudge cookies in a jar I'll die a happy woman. With chocolate breath.

C'mon now - what are y'all's secret food loves? I told, now it's your turn.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Curse you, Denise Austin

Friday I decided to do an exercise DVD instead of going to the gym - it was a time issue. I dug out the Denise Austin Cardio Blast workout, which has two twenty-minute segments: one for cardio, and one for strength. Okay, I usually do 35 minutes on the elliptical, so I'll just do both of the workouts, I thought. I'm in better shape now than I was a year ago when I bought it, so it should be fine.

Ohhh, how wrong I was, my friends. That perky blond potato-shiller had me wheezing two-thirds into the cardio workout. When I finished, surprisingly sweaty, I thought, the strength one won't be so bad, right? Wrong again. Yesterday getting up from a chair was a painful, multi-step process, one that is only slightly less so today. Fire in the loins? Good (except syphilis). Fire in the groins? Not good. Going to the gym would just hurt.

I still want to work out, of course, but I'm sticking with my gut (hahaha). I overdid it on Friday, and a two-day recovery break is a good idea. I just have to fight the tubby feeling.

Razor burned

I abosolutely love getting my hair cut ... usually, that is. Yesterday I went to the same place as always, but got a stylist I hadn't had before. He gave me a thorough massage, which was fantastic, and lulled me into a sense of complaceny. When he started using a razor for the cut, I remarked that no one had done that before but I didn't say anything else. Things were still going fine when he started SCRAPING THE BACK OF MY NECK. HARD. Now, I'm rather self-conscious about my hairline - as much as I love our non-human primate relatives, I'm not proud that I have hair on my nape that would rival a chimp's. When I wasn't eating, I was half-bald, but my shoulders and upper back were covered in this dark body-fuzz that still hasn't entirely gone away. My stylist spent a long, agonizing time back there ... or maybe it just felt that way. On top of all that, he ruffled me into a guinea-pig-like state and then fogged me with hairspray. Alcohol-based spray + raw neck skin = OUCHIE. And he took length off in the front when I told him that I liked how it was.

And I still tipped him. Because not to do so would be rude, right?
Dammit. I need to be more assertive.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Q: When does Lisa know she needs a haircut?
A: When she wakes up and realizes she looks like this:

No country for this hair, my friend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Well, balls to that

I got on the scale this morning and was magically three pounds lighter than I was yesterday. WTF? BMI is now just a shade to the left of "normal." I mean, I know weight can fluctuate throughout the day, but I weighed myself at the same time, under the same conditions as I always do.

I'm done with weighing myself for a while. It's one more thing I don't need to obsess over.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love Your Body (Already) Day

I found out from Elizabeth that today is Love Your Body Day. I figure that makes it as good a day as any to write about my weight.

Yesterday I hit my highest weight in four years. When I first started treatment, my mother clung to the idea that getting me back to a certain weight would mean recovery. We've both realized it's more complicated than that. Just because I weigh X pounds now doesn't mean I will cease thinking about food, quit dividing to find the calories in a single cracker or pretzel, or venture too far from the soup and salad portion of the menu. Food is complicated, messy thing for me, and that's not going to disappear just because my BMI is finally "normal" (not that that means jack).

But what does it mean, then? It means that I'm not in immediate danger; I haven't been for a long time. It means that I have a more realistic idea of what my body needs to get through the day, and I'm willing to give it that. It means I can resist that urge to prove to everyone that I'm so driven and hardworking that I don't even have to eat. It means physical changes, too. There's "give" where there wasn't before. My legs are bigger, and my stomach, as I've written before, is no longer concave. Other people tell me I look better.

Still, I fall far short of what today is meant to encourage. There are times when I admire my body - when I get up in the morning and actually feel rested, when I crack a sweat at the gym, when I climb one of Athens' many hills. But love? I don't think so. When I'm reminded of my body, there's an initial discomfort. I focus far too much of my perceived flaws to love my body.

I'm not giving up, though. Gaining weight has been a long, arduous process. Since I really don't know what my body's "set point" is, I don't know if I'm finished gaining, even. But I hope that as time goes on and I become accustomed to the new things going on with my belly and thighs, I'll eventually come to like them. Maybe even love them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Next Challenge: Employment

Wanted: November-January position for a hardworking college senior with proficiency in Microsoft Office and SPSS. Opportunity to use research skills a plus, but also talented in the arts of commercial cake-making and lunchmeat slicing. MOTIVATED WORKER.


Feeling better this morning. Managed to chat with Jim last night. He was, as he usually is, a good person to talk to when I need perspective, to get out of my own pessimism.

I was letting myself be cowed by all the big, bad things I'm coming up against. Where did my courage go? I used to like a challenge. I think I still do - I just forgot about that part of me. There's a lot to do, yes, and success is not guaranteed. But that's no reason why I can't make my best damn effort. And that's no reason to be afraid. Diligent, maybe, but not afraid.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The blues

I feel like I'm right on the edge of a very deep sadness, and I'm damned if I can figure out why. Anxiety, sure, that's understandable. With the conference and the test and a million things coming due, worries are a given. But my life is still pretty damn good, so I can't figure out why I feel so sad.

I need to do something to keep myself from falling in and wallowing. I tried calling Jim, but his phone was off. At least I don't have trouble staying busy.


Note to self: despite his uncanny resemblance to David the Gnome, your high-school algebra/geometry teacher is not going to arrive at your door on the back of a fox and magically import basic math back into your head. You are going to have to suck it up and re-learn all the stuff that drove you crazy when you tried learning it the first time. At least the vocab section seems okay. But good lord, when was the last time you even thought about a special triangle?

Sunday, October 12, 2008


In two weeks I am presenting a paper at the Social Science History Association's conference. On the plus side, I get to go to Miami. On the minus side, holy shit there is so much that could go wrong with this. I don't know how I'm going to get from the airport to the hotel. The hotel is two blocks away from where the conference is, so I should be okay there. My panel session is over at noon, but my flight back to Cincinnati doesn't leave until 8 PM. And then it makes a layover somewhere in the Carolinas, meaning I will be back in Ohio on Monday. At which point I need to drive back to OU for a class at 1 PM.

The very next day, I take the GRE. I signed up for the goddamn thing back when I thought I might apply to a couple of programs, just to see if I could get funding. That's not happening.

Okay. Realistically, I know my presentation isn't a big deal. I'll go, I'll stand up there and talk for fifteen minutes, click through some slides, and garble some answers to whatever questions the other discussants have. If I can avoid fainting or peeing myself, I suppose that's good enough. Even if I blow it big time, the chances of it affecting my future are slim. I have nothing to be afraid of. And yet I'm scared pantsless.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I didn't go to the gym, after all, but I did go for a walk. There's a walking/biking path that runs along the Hocking River. Despite the many, many bugs, I enjoyed it. The trees are changing - Mom used to say hillsides look like bowls of Trix - and I saw geese, cute children, and groundhogs.

Walking has always made me feel better. After a few minutes any worries or anxieties I have fade and my mind wanders. Hopefully my immune system appreciates the stress relief and will start getting to work on my cold.


I do not feel good. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and it's gone downhill from there. My nose and head are stuffy and it feels like I swallowed a pinecone. A breakfast of oatmeal and tea helped, but I just feel crappy.

So the question - should I exercise?

Right now the thought of dragging my ass over to Ping is not a fun one. Then again, sometimes it's not a fun thought on days when I feel fine. I go on those days, because I know I'll feel good once I get there and exercise is part of becoming healthy. I read an article - which probably had some title like "Too Sick To Exercise?" - that said as long as your symptoms stayed above the neck, you were fine to work out. So far, mine are. I could go - and in my mind, this translates to should go. If I don't, that means I'm weak, poorly disciplined. My good habits are all going to go down the drain, I'll balloon, and everyone will see that I'm really not as good a person as they've been led to believe.

It's so goddamn easy to fall back into that way of thinking. And who the fuck cares? If I skip the gym for one day (or two, since I might not have time tomorrow), if I take the elevator, if I have as much cake as the next person, or (gasp!) even more - nobody's thinking about me as much as I am. And if they are, well, that's their problem.

Even after saying all this, there's still a voice in my head trying to convince me that it's all crock. Sigh.

**EDIT** For those of you who don't attend Ohio University, Ping is the name of our fitness/recreation center. And I'm not going today.

Friday, October 10, 2008

To Infinity ...

Today I was approached by two students who were conducting a survey on the "spiritual state" of the campus. The first two questions were ridiculously hard to answer: 1) Describe your life in three words and 2) What's most important thing you want to do before you die? I garbled some BS for both of those, and then she asked what I think happens after we die.

I replied, "I don't know." And that's all I could say, because I don't think I can know.

I grew up Catholic. I went to Catholic school until I was 12, got Confirmed at 16 like everyone else did. Through my teens I was never what you'd call a particularly devout Catholic, especially when it came to issues like homosexuality and birth control. Once, during a discussion about gay marriage, a Sunday school instructor turned to me and said, "Lisa, what's your opinion on this?" Thanks. Put the heathen on the spot. Still, I tried to hang on for a long time. You can't change something by running away from it, I reasoned. I even said that to my sister when she started college and started referring to Catholicism as "all that dogma."

Then I went to college myself. I quit going to Mass. While I was doing research for a tutorial paper, I came across an article about "condom bonfires" held by bishops and priests in Africa. You know, where AIDS is dragging life expectancy lower and lower. I was so angry that I literally got hot. I sent a long email to my mother, telling her I wasn't sure I could be Catholic any more.

Over the next few years, I began to identify more and more with agnosticism. I had long conversations with Jim about science and reality and religion, and partly through those I realized there's no way I can prove or disprove the existence of God. All I can truly know is here, now. I thought: I can spend my life hedging my bets and wondering, or I can do the best work - the least harm and most good I can - to other people. Frustrating and inexplicable as we may be, people fascinate me. I want to talk to people, to know about their lives, to listen to their problems and offer what help I can.

I didn't want to give up my religion. For some, faith offers a solace so deep that I envy it. But I came to realize that I believe and do things that the Catholic church doesn't tolerate. I'm not sorry for my opinions or my actions; this means I'm in a state of sin. Out of respect for the faith, I no longer take communion when I go to services with my family. I still go, because it means a lot to my mother. She still hopes I'll find my way back, but I think she understands.

So, my Christian questioners, I don't know what happens when I kick the bucket. I don't make decisions with my immortal soul in mind. And if you're right, there is a God, then I'm SOL. But I'll let you think about that.

Medz revisited

A recent comment and some conversations I've had got me thinking more about mental-health meds.

Medication was first suggested when just starting my treatment for OCD. I didn't want to take that approach. There were still traces of a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality that I now recognize as a form of superiority. I would never have said it in so many words, but I thought drugs would be a crutch - they would take some of the accomplishment out of my eventual recovery. I know, not my noblest line of reasoning. I can blame this on my family's attitudes toward medications in general - the fewer, the better - but it's still how I thought.

Well, fast forward four years. There I was, my sorry, bony ass parked back on Dr. M's couch. It's hard to describe how I felt because I was so blank. I was tired, apathetic. Even the thought of going back to school failed to rouse me. I doubted if there was a creative bone left in my body. I couldn't remember the last time I'd told a joke, or laughed at one. This time I took the drugs when they were offered.

I was glad that they helped, and I recognized that they weren't a "crutch" at all. I didn't depend on them for my happiness, but they enabled me to remember what feeling happy was like, how to sit down with a book and actually enjoy it, how to crack a smile during a funny show. Like the hours I spent with Dr. M, they were a tool I used to make myself better. And they still are.

I don't see that much difference between SSRIs etc and painkillers or antibiotics. Brains may be "weird" (Dr. M's wording), but they're organs - like your kidney or your lungs, they're physical parts of you. When your pancreas goes on strike, you take insulin. When you have a UTI, you get fun pills that turn your pee orange (and allow you to pee without crying). So when your brain starts misfiring for whatever reason, why is it all that different to take something for it? There are those old, itchy fears of "mind control," and for all I know psychopharmaceuticals are being over-prescribed. For myself and others I know, at least, meds aren't about dependence, they're about functioning.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday News

I admit, I feel ig'nant when the Nobel Prizewinner for literature is someone I've never heard of.

So. Much. Debt.

All those volunteers' work may have been for naught.

Iceland feels our pain.

I'll be seeing this next time I visit Jim.

It could be so much worse - Zimbabwe's inflation just hit 231,000,000%.

In happier news, the rain yesterday apparently signaled the leaves to start to turn. The next couple of weeks are going to be gorgeous.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let's get some shoes.

After yesterday's gorgeous sunshine, this morning's downpour seemed especially grim. On the way home from the gym, I nearly stepped on the biggest frog I've ever seen. I was wearing my (not at all water proof) gymshoes, so had I stepped on the thing it would have been ... squishy. So I decided to break out the boots today.

It shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me that my two favorite items of footwear are both boots. The first is a pair of hiking boots that has held up remarkably well since I bought them freshman year. At that point I was always cold, but my feet were the worst. Not only did they keep me warm, they made me feel more substantial at a time when I wasn't. They still instill a feeling of solidity now - I feel like I can climb mountains in them. Or at least get to class without slipping on those picturesque cobblestones.

The second is a pair of tall brown equestrian-style boots. Jim bought them for me last Christmas after listening to me talk about how much I wanted a pair for a year. Shopping with him was so fun. When I finally slipped on the winning pair, they fit like they were made for me. They're much tamer than the phrase "knee-high boots" makes them sound, but I still feel sexy when I tuck in my jeans and zip them up. I climb figurative mountains when I wear those boots.

Not that I want to stomp a frog or anything, but at least now I'm prepared.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You stay classy, Ashlee

To celebrate the 24th anniversary of her birth, Ashlee Simpson threw a "white trash" theme party.

This is so distasteful to me. Fabulously wealthy people mocking poorer people is crass as hell. Here's what the guest of honor wore:
"Ashlee wore Daisy Dukes and platform flip-flops with a bathing suit and a fake tattoo around her belly."
And her dear father:
"Joe wore a cut-off muscle T-shirt and a mullet wig. It was funny," says a guest.
Oh, I beg to differ, Anonymous Guest. While the lady of the hour herself had a shotgun wedding, I don't think she can call this one a case of lighthearted self-deprecation. It's not funny; it's disgustingly insensitive.


I was reluctant to get out of bed today, and I can't figure out why. I decided to go to the gym this afternoon instead of this morning, so I didn't even have to get up as early as I usually do. Still I hit snooze twice. It wasn't sleep I was after, because that wasn't coming. There's a lot that seems stuck right now - maybe I was subconsciously "stuck" too. This quarter's included a lot of wrong turns, backtracking, and hurry-up-and-wait. I'm involved with a nonprofit for my Applied Anthropology class - which I'll post more about in a couple of days - but it's not the most efficient of organizations. I need to go through Institutional Review before I can get much done for my thesis. And good lord in heaven, the public school system is entirely too Byzantine to function. I took surveys all the time when I was in middle and high school - how hard can it be?

I'm sorry to bitch. There are plenty of good things going on, things that are certainly worth getting out of bed for. It's gorgeous - say what you will about Ohio, it has some surprisingly pretty pockets. And all frustrations aside, I'm a senior in college. That alone puts me in the luckiest sector of the population. There are so many possibilities open to me for the next few years - it's almost scary. Scary and exciting all at once. Maybe that's why I couldn't get out of bed? If that's the case, I need to stop analyzing my life so much and just live it. People (with medical degrees) have been telling me to do that for years - about damn time I actually do.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Emmy over at frozen.oranges posted yesterday about a conversation she had with a friend. While talking about her efforts to gain weight, he interjected that he'd noticed she'd put on a few pounds. She took it positively. I admire her for that, because I have trouble doing the same.

Comments like this are tricky. Weight is widely accepted as a topic of conversation: people talk about their weight, celebrities' weights, that friend who's really let herself go, you know. Eating disorders are damn awkward. People don't know what to say, and in those situations it's not unexpected to flub. When someone starts to gain, people want to let her/him know that they see the hard work she/he has done. The intention is to compliment the person and recognize the effort.

However, even the best of intentions can fall flat. As I've said, recovery is a process - there are good days and bad days. A comment at the wrong time can send someone into a tailspin. Are they saying I'm fat? Are they looking at what I'm eating? What do they mean by that? Well, just to be safe, I shouldn't eat that cookie. The commenter, of course, did not mean to elicit that response.

I understand the impulse to tell someone, hey, you're not skeletal anymore, you look better. At the same time, I urge caution. In Emmy's case, weight gain was already the topic of conversation. If the person in question starts talking about his or her weight, let them talk - gauge how they feel about it. If they seem positive, then I think it's okay to comment. If they seem ambivalent or distressed, it might be best to say, "I know you're working hard," or "hang in there, it's tough but so are you." I'd advise against just blurting something out upon seeing someone.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. For example, my mom, my sisters, Jim, and my roommates can talk about my weight without me bringing it up. They know me really well and have been essential to my recovery. And since I usually talk about my weight gain positively, it's okay for other friends to say something if it comes up. But if a comment comes out of the blue - it doesn't always go well, even if I know the person meant well. It has everything to do with my own mental state and nothing to do with their intentions.

How do you all deal with comments?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

High Schooled

Today I was doing math exercises to prep for the GRE. The lined paper, the lists of equations, the word problems all felt uncomfortably like high school.

And then I remembered the High School Survey I saw over at blogoxygen! Who's up for a little nostalgia?

1. Did you date someone from your high school? A whopping two someones. There was A, my first boyfriend. We did Drama Club and Academic Team together – it was a match made in nerd heaven. I think I may really have loved him, but in the funny way that teenagers fall in love. We broke up and there was much pain and angst. My junior year I dated N for about six weeks before A and I realized that we still, uh, had a thing for each other. My mother made me wait two weeks after breaking up with N before I could start dating A again. Did I mention N was in the Drama Club, too? Awkward.

2. What kind of car did you drive? A silver-and-rust 1985 Pontiac GT. No air conditioning, no heat, and the fabric on the ceiling caved in. In the winter it had to be on for at least twenty minutes before it would go into drive. Not surprisingly, I was voted Worst Car my senior year.

3. What is your most embarrassing moment in high school? You want me to pick out just one? Well, you’re getting two. Freshman year I fell off a bus. It was raining, I missed a step, and my backpack was crammed full of textbooks. Thankfully it was so full that I was actually carrying another textbook, which shielded my face from the sidewalk.

Senior year I was Snoopy in our production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I wore a fur suit in front of the entire student body. Snoopy’s big showstopper song is, ironically, “Suppertime,” which I was belting out at a time when food was not my friend.

4. Were you a party animal? Oh hell no. My social position as Nerd Extraordinaire had been fixed since I moved to the district at thirteen. I had quite a few friends, but I wasn’t the one they called to go drinking. Then again, they usually went out to a place called “The Ridge” to drink. I don’t know if high elevations and blind intoxication are good partners.

5. Were you considered a flirt? Nope. Far too nerdy and awkward.

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? I was in an awesome choir. The director was a teeny man with one leg who may have loved us a little too much, but we sang our hearts out for him. And we were good. A was in the choir, too. Did I mention that my school was TINY?

7. Were you a nerd? Duh. Academic Team, Drama Club, Choir, Worst Car, and co-salutatorian. Then, as now, a neon “TOOL” sign often materialized above my head.

8. Were you on any varsity teams? I played a very little varsity volleyball my sophomore year, and then I officially made the team my junior and senior years. We weren’t that great but I loved it. I was an anchor of the Academic Team my junior and senior years, which means that I played every round.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? Haha no. I talked big, though, and if I’d actually done some of the things I thought of doing, or told some of the teachers what I really thought, I’d have been out of there on my ass.

10. Can you still sing the fight song? No, but my mother can. Did I mention we went to the same high school? Did I mention it’s TINY?

11. Who were your favorite teachers? For a tiny school in the butt end of nowhere, we had some standouts. Mr. S, my algebra and geometry teacher, got me to actually like math. That may have been because he looked spot-on David the Gnome. I kid you not.

Dr. B was my crazy-ass honors English teacher. He introduced me to literature and actually listened to me when I bitched about all the “dead white guys” we had to read.

Ms. H was supposed to be my AP History teacher, but she left before I could take it. I had her for Comparative Religions and she was a hoot.

Mrs. S, my Algebra II and Pre-Calc teacher. I wasn’t stellar at math, but she’s probably the best instructor in Southern Ohio.

Mrs. I, my AP English and Creative Writing teacher. She was the one who finally convinced me that my writing wasn’t half bad.

12. Where did you sit during lunch? Table with friends. My brother used to sit at picnic tables set out behind the building. During his senior year, the little shit ordered a pizza during lunch period – only the delivery guy took it to the front of the school. He escaped with a good-natured scolding from the vice-principal.

13. School Mascot? A tiger. Yes, I know most of the words to “Eye of the Tiger.”

14. Did you go to homecoming and with whom? Fall Homecoming was A Big Deal at my school, and so I avoided going for a couple of years. I never had a date to any homecoming dances – a bunch of girls would go out to dinner then to the dance as a group.

15. If you could go back and do it again, would you? FUCK NO. Even though my freshman year at college was rough (what with the not eating), it was miles better than what I’d left behind.

16. What do you remember most about graduation? Don’t hate me, but I was co-salutatorian. I gave a speech – a darn good one, actually. I wish I had a copy. But my most vivid memory is walking up to the podium and willing myself not to pee.

17. Where did you go senior skip day? Funny story. My spot as co-salutatorian was a contentious one – there was a lot of drama, and at that point I cared more about being skinny and fooling my mom than I was about being second. It came down to two grades – a homework assignment and test in pre-calculus. The homework assignment was due on skip day. I seriously contemplated not going, not getting the grade, and not being salutatorian. When I told my mom this, she flipped. “Lisa, there are people rooting for you to be salutatorian. You have to go!” So I went, turned in the assignment, and bumped myself up in the rankings. Woo-hoo.

18. Have you gained weight since then? Define “then.” If you mean freshman-junior year, then no – I weigh less now than I did then. I weigh slightly more now than I did at the end of my senior year.

19. Who was your prom date? I went stag my senior year, but junior year I went with A. At this point at I was pretty madly in love with him. My dress was black, strapless, and had pink trim. Get this – A dyed his hair pink to match. I had a wonderful time, and when A dropped me off, he pulled into my driveway, turned out the headlights, and we made out like banditos for half an hour. I retained my honor, of course, but there was definitely some intentional boob-brushing.

20. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Totally. I’m madly curious to know what everyone’s up to, how much they have or haven’t changed. But then I’m madly curious about most people’s lives.

21. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself? Do not worry so much about your grades – despite what everyone tells you, they are not predictors of your eventual success in life. RELAX, for the love of cheese. Don’t be such a scaredy-cat. And when senior year rolls around, please do not convince yourself that you can live on diet yogurt, grapes, and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Oh, and you’re an OKAY PERSON and PEOPLE LIKE YOU, you don’t have to wait till college to realize that about yourself.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I'm not at all proud of the previous post. But I'm leaving it up to show that even when you've made a shit ton of progress, it's frighteningly easy to slip back into that way of thinking.

Eating the candy doesn't reduce my worth; nor does agonizing over eating the candy. I'm human, and recovery is not a straight line from Sick to Better to Healthy.


I'm in that semi-drunk state, which for me means I'm very honest and open. Tonight I will document my absolute failure to control my eating.

Earlier I went to see Ghosttown with a few friends. It's not a bad flick - probably too awkward for my roommates to handle, but damn if I don't love me some Ricky Gervais. That wasn't the issue, though. Before the movie we stopped at Wal-Mart to buy some illicit candy. I bought a "movie-size" box of Junior Mints, which I hadn't had in years but remembered loving.

I ate the whole box.

The WHOLE FUCKING BOX. Seriously. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME. That was 300+ calories that I DO NOT NEED. On top of that, I had fruity drink at a bar afterward. Jesus H. Christ. Complete lack of self-control.

The above paragraph is clearly the ED talking. I'm trying to convince myself that if I'd gone to a nice restaurant tonight, say with Jim, I could easily have put away 300 calories from the bread/naan basket. That hey - it's NORMAL to have candy at the movies. You don't go to the movies every day - it's allowed to be a treat, both for your eyes and your taste buds. And the Junior Mints were as good as I'd remembered them. Like I told my friend Brian, I'm rediscovering my sweet tooth.

But I'm still just disgusted with myself. I'm already uncomfortable with my midsection, and downing a box of chocolate candies isn't going to help in that department. And why didn't I just get a rum and diet coke? Cheap and low-calorie.

I'm ... I'm angry. My friends can eat a box of Junior Mints or a bag of Raisinets and they don't flip the fuck out. They don't have vindictive metabolisms. They don't need to drink diet pop. So why am I so screwed up?

Friday, October 3, 2008

To whom it may concern

Dear fresh-faced volunteer:

I am registered to vote. No, I am not registered at my current address; yes I will be voting absentee. No, I do not want to hear your "non-partisan" position on global warming or the war in Iraq. My decision to vote, and how, are entirely my own business. Your desire to increase voting turnout among young citizens is admirable. It's just enough to stop me from making a scene when you ask me if I'm registered for the UMPTEENTH EFFING TIME. For now.

Sincerely, Lisa


I first started taking an antidepressant during winter break my freshman year. It was not a happy time in my life - I was downing two Ensure Pluses a day, working at Kroger, and avoiding meaningful contact with other people. Everything seemed to big to even begin - I could barely finish a magazine article, let alone a book. When I told Dr. M, she handed me a questionnaire to fill out et voila! I was moderately depressed. I didn't have any qualms about the citalopram, but I didn't care about much at that point.

They helped. I wasn't bouncing off the walls or embarrassing myself in public, like I do when I'm happy, but the cloudiness, the "buzz" in my head was gone. I could think clearly without the constant intrusion of my eating disorder. It seemed as though that targeting my depression had the added bonus of alleviating my OCD and the obsessive facets of the anorexia.

Fast forward to now. I'd been feeling so much better this spring that I quit the citalopram. When my OCD reared its head a few weeks ago, I was completely blindsided. I confessed to Dr. M and she renewed my prescription. I'm back to my nightly peach-colored pill.

Thing is, I'm having side effects this time around. I don't remember any nausea last time, but it's horrible now - I wake up in the middle of the night, sure I'm going to puke. And the "sleepy pockets" that any college student encounters have become "sleepy canyons" for me. Yesterday I fell asleep on my floor. When I woke up two hours later, the clock said 7:40 - and I was afraid I'd slept all through the night.

I feel like a bit of an ass for complaining. Meds are a hell of a lot worse for some people - I think I'm just a softie. The pills are doing what they're supposed to do, though. I'm functioning, being productive. If I'm sick all night and I conk out during the day, I can toughen up and deal with it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Well shit.

Oh man, you guys. I'm so sorry.

Rupert, the obscenely cute fellow about whom I posted yesterday has ... died.

I could wax poetical about the symbolism inherent in this, but then my pragmatic side reasserts itself and reminds me that bad things happen all the time. Even to, you know, cute people.

Still. Shit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all

Well, I've been a bitch and a half the past couple of days, haven't I?

To redeem myself, I offer you a visual feast of obscene cuteness. Meet Rupert, the Miracle Fawn

Yes. He is real.
And if you understand the reference in the title, you are awesome.

Hump Day Random

1. I've devoted a lot of time this month to bitching about my Epidemiology professor, and I'll start October that way too. Today, he a) laboriously went over mode, mean, and median and b) announced to the class that I aced the quiz. I was the only one to do so. Yet another class in which "tool" appears over my head in neon signage.
2. I've gained weight - so why am I still always cold? It's astounding that the growth of my midsection appears to have no relation to my growth anywhere else.
3. I'm not much liking my body right now, but I fucking love Greek yogurt.
4. I can't believe it's already Wednesday.