Saturday, May 27, 2006


36. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
37. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
38. Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
A big run of Barbara Kingsolver books! I love her writing, and I love all these books. They were re-reads for me. The Poisonwood Bible is my favorite. It is just an amazing book. It is one of those books for which a simple description of what it is about, doesn't really capture what it is 'about', you know? Prodigal Summer is the same way and is my second favorite of Kingsolver's books. Pigs in Heaven is the final book in a a series, and I love the whole series and the characters, but they seem lighter to me in a way, and don't knock me on my ass like the first two books.

Anyway, Barbara Kingsolver is great and you should read all her books all the time.

39. Local Girls by Alice Hoffman
So I'm basically re-reading books I love, and then going through our pile of books to give away and reading some of those. This one is to give away and still is, because I didn't really like it. This is kind of a collection of short stories, all dealing with a girl growing up on Long Island. Her parents get divorced, her mom gets sick, her brother becomes a drug addict. At first I thought it would be ok, but I found the reading of a bunch of disconnected stories that moved chronologically through one character's life kind of disconcerting. The stories were not really connected, in that each could stand alone, but they also changed person which was hard for me to adjust to. Anyway, this was an ok book, but not my favorite.

40. Notes From a Big Country by Bill Bryson
This is a book it may be hard for Americans to get, as it did not pop up from my Librarything search in US Amazon/libraries. I think R bought it in Heathrow years ago. Anyway, it is a collection of columns Bryson wrote for an English paper. He lived in England for twenty years, basically his whole adult life, and then moved back to the US with his family. In these columns he writes humorously about American life, and how it has changed since he was growing up in Des Moines. Parts of it are really amusing but parts of it were kind of stupid, and it is a little dated in some ways with discussions of technology, but it was overall a pretty amusing book. Bryson has much better books, though, so I would stick to those.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"I" meme

I saw this at Marigoldie. While I should be cleaning the dining room, I am instead going to write this, as the meme really spoke to me for some reason.

I AM: happy
I WANT: to finish my dissertation
I WISH: I could always be near all my friends and family
I HATE: waiting
I MISS: snow
I HEAR: embarrassingly, Days of Our Lives, which more embarrassingly, I DVR-ed (now there are no secrets between you and I, blog readers).
I WONDER: how it is all going to work out. How cool will R and I be in 10 years? In 20? How much will I have taken the world by storm?
I REGRET: very little
I AM NOT: boring
I DANCE: at 80's night once in a blue moon, and merengue with R at weddings
I SING: Alone, in the car, to women folk singers
I CRY: more than you would think
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: I recently realized this is really important to me. When I don't do it, I get all out of whack. I make crocheted things, beaded things, decorated t-shirts and pipe cleaner flowers for my mom on Mother's Day.
I WRITE: on the internets. I should write more for school, but I am having some self-doubt issues with that right now.
I CONFUSE: The letters g and j. Sometimes my family.
I NEED: people! and a little money would be nice
I SHOULD: clean the dining room
I START: lots of things
I FINISH: a small proportion of the above

Thursday, May 25, 2006


would you like some pie? This is a slice of the apple pie R and I made a few weekends ago. yum yum.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Just a quick post to say -- I am cured! I saw the doctor today, he ripped off my bandage in one fell swoop revealing the tiniest little incision ever. It should really barely scar, and it was cleverly made in one of my neck wrinkles, so as to be unnoticeable. It is still a little swollen and red, and R says in a way it is more noticeable now, as people can clearly see I had something done to my neck, but that is fine.

The doctor said I should never have to think about my thyroid again, or have any troubles from it. He also said it was normal to be tired as "surgery takes the wind out of your sails". So. I am going to keep resting until Tuesday, and then call the travel agent and get me some new tickets! woot!

Thanks for your comments, calls, and emails when I was feeling down. I have been feeling really good today; I think the doctor visit was a big morale booster.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

one step forward, two steps back

I was getting better so steadily! The first few days after the surgery I was tired and out of it, but everything was improvement. Sunday I became tired of being weak. It is not my normal state. I don't lay around the house all day in pajamas. Ok, sometimes I do, but it is not because that is all I have energy for, it is a choice. I am still tired, and on Sunday developed a rash on my neck, and reached my 4th day of not pooping (Here, I must thank Dooce for giving me the courage to post about pooping for all the internets). Suckage! Yesterday I went to lunch with an old grad student in my lab, and a future one who is fresh from the jungle. It was very fun, but I was sad as I was really not totally myself -- I was tired, and I know I was quieter than usual. After that I took a 2.5 hour nap, and then went to dinner at my advisor's with R and the two aforementioned students. It was very fun, but I only lasted a little over an hour, then came home, managed to watch the Apprentice and then passed out at 10. Today I have been totally exhausted and while I showered, I did not get out of my pjs. I think my two outings of yesterday did me in. And I am pooping again, but medically induced pooping is not fun, not like regular pooping.

Anyway, just wanted to whine. I am not a good patient, I am not very good at waiting to get better. I have to keep reminding myself I had freaking surgery, and shouldn't be ready to run a marathon after a few days. On the bright side, my invalid state is allowing me to site here on the couch and watch a fine Lifetime movie: Moment of Truth: A Child Too Many. Movies about surrogate mothers rule!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


The recovery continues! I am taking the pain meds less, and getting up and about more. Today I put on real clothes and my contacts. R and I also went out to Radio Shack and the grocery store. Excitement! After all that I needed an hour nap to recover, though. I am eating regular food now, so that is good. I think I will be back to my old self in no time.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Still kickin'

So I had my surgery on Wednesday and lost half the thyroid. Now I am home, enjoying the painkillers and certified to have no cancer! It was just a crazy growth. I see the doctor again Wednesday, and he will let me know when I will be ready to go to the field. Yay! So happy.

This post is dedicated to Melinda, who wanted me to post while drugged, but I am afraid I don't feel like my true incoherency is coming through. I have composed a bunch of posts in my head in my half drowsy state though, I had some good ones about marriage, health care and probably others. I am brilliant to myself when drugged!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Thyroid and crochet

Hey! My thyroid surgery is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. yay! I am very excited it is so soon. Also, it is outpatient surgery, I will be home that night, and after my follow up exam a week later, I should be cleared for travel! So this could put my research back only a month. I am so relieved that this is getting done so quickly. Of course, the small chance that the growth will be found to malignant is lurking, but it is only a 10% chance, so I will not worry myself about it for now.

Now you can admire the shawl!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I just got Henrietta microchipped. Now she cannot escape us! It reminded me I need to find the paperwork for Pass's microchip as well, since I do not know how to change our address with that company. Henrietta yowled a lot in the car to the Humane Society, but was good once we got there. I think she enjoyed all the smells. On the way home I opened the window of the car and she sat there in the carrier with her eyes all big and her nose all twitchy.

I have decided to use upcoming doctor waiting time to finish the second crochet sock. I am hoping it will go fast. I finally finished the shawl I was working on, and I was really pleased with it. I'll post pictures soon.

I cleaned my closet yesterday and am about to take 4 garbage bags of clothes and a box of shoes to Goodwill. Wow. I was ruthless. It looks like a different closet in their now.

R let me have his car today so it is errands errands errands. I also might buy some bulky weight yarn because I want to make my mom some quick pillows. I am trying to get rid of stuff before we move, but if I have a lot of down time with the surgery and doctor's and stuff, maybe I can get the pillows done? I'll have to see what Jo Ann's has in the way of big yarn, and then I will decide.

Oh yeah, I also updated the blog links in the side bar, so if you read and I skipped you, or if you are up there and you want to remain unknown, let me know and I will fix it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

oh where oh where has the diss research gone?

This is for the two of my readers who I do not know in real life, or who I do not communicate with through other internet means. You may have noticed that I was talking about heading imminently to the jungle for my doctoral research, and then all of a sudden I was posting book lists and cat pictures. Well, I was on the verge of getting on that plane for South America, when it was found I have a growth on my thyroid. Yes, my thyroid is misbehaving and growing extra parts it does not need. In the week and a half since this was found, I have had an ultrasound, appointments with two different doctors and a biopsy, all of which have now led me to the point of needing surgery to get that sucker out. It is probably not thyroid cancer, but so far no one can tell that for sure so they are going to yank it out and give a look. I have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday, and hopefully can get into the operating room pretty quickly after that.

I am not too worried about my health, as I feel better than ever. I have been eating right and exercising and haven't had a cold in forever. And even if I am unlucky, and it is thyroid cancer, I have been told numerous times that is the cancer to get, if one is going to get a cancer. I am hoping to avoid that, as 97-99% of these growths are not cancer and any cancer, even the best one, would not be fun. However, I am worried about my dissertation. I told my endocrinologist that every day I am here is a day I am not collecting data. He was impressed that I am so "hardcore", but I just want to graduate!

Anyway, that is why I am not regaling you with monkey stories right now. It seems like I will be at least a month late getting to the jungle. I am aiming for early June as my new departure date, but it will all depend on the surgery scheduling and what the little thyroid looks like when they can see it. I was pretty depressed for a few days, but some mac and cheese, Hershey's Special Dark and bocce with my friend Anna have really helped and I am in a much better place about it all now. I am trying to take advantage of this extra time with R and my Florida friends, and deciding if I should finish the second crochet sock, or make pillows for my mom's couch in her new house. Or maybe even finish cleaning up the master's for publication? Lots of people have been telling me to take this like a vacation, so that is what I am going to do until after the doctor on Monday, at least. R and I may even attempt both a watermelon AND a zucchini festival on Saturday...woo! We are party animals.

Monday, May 08, 2006

ABC Meme

ABC Meme, from many before me....

Accent: Maybe midwestern? I actually was once in an argument with someone who was sure I was Canadian because of my accent. They even accused me of lying about it.

Booze: Whiskey! I have a special love of Maker's Mark lately. Mmmmm... mint juleps.

Chore I Hate: There are so many! Mopping. I really hate that. And cleaning the toilet and tub.

Dogs/Cats: Two cats: Pass who is about 6 and Henrietta who is just over one. Both psycho and sometimes evil in their own ways....

Essential electronics: computer

Favorite perfume/cologne: None. No smelliness for me.

Gold/Silver: I like silver more.

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Insomnia: rarely

Job Title: student

Kids: NOOOOO!!!

Living Arrangements: Fantabulous palatial apartment in low-cost-of-living, Florida with the boyfriend and the two cats. We also have a pool, a dishwasher, a garbage disposal and a balcony. I am trying to appreciate these things since soon me, the boyfriend and the cats will be in a 200 sq foot hovel in NYC.

Most Admired Trait: Many admire my self-confidence. Some think it verges on arrogance, but those people clearly suck. :)

Number of Sexual Partners: More than some, less than many.

Overnight Hospital Stays: none so far. Not even when I was born, as I was home when I was like 2 hours old. My parents were apparently hippies back then.

Phobias: Fish, although not sharks, which R thinks is weird. Sharks are misunderstood.

Quote: It's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself.

Religion: none for me, thanks.

Siblings: Two younger brothers. One of whom is married and both of whom own houses!

Time I usually wake up: 8:30 when I have stuff to do, 10 when I let myself sleep with no alarm.

Unusual talent: I have the longest tongue in the world. Also I can say "Shit! It bit me!" in 6 languages.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: okra. It is so sliiiiimy.

Worst habit: Laziness, procrastination, bottling up my feelings inside.

X-rays: Teeth, and chest. The chest xray was to make sure I did not have TB, but found a cracked rib from coughing instead!

Yummy foods I make: Many! R and I are culinary geniuses. My fried rice with seitan is very tasty, and I bake many yummy varieties of cookies, muffins, biscuits and pies.

Zodiac Sign: Aries


I haven't posted any books in a while so here is a catch-up.

32. Best American Short Stories 1994, edited by Tobias Wolf
I love these! R has a bunch and they never disappoint.

33. Best American Short Stories 2002, edited by Sue Miller

34. Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare by Dorothy Roberts
This is a very thoroughly researched and compelling book about the racism underlying the child welfare system in the US. Basically, Roberts discusses how black children are way more likely to be removed from their homes, and have their ties with their parents legally severed, than white children. She convincingly proves that this is because of racism, and not poverty or SES factors. I think this was a really important book to read, although I would have liked to see more from her about how to fix the problem.

35. The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, And Fate by Marjorie Williams
This book is a collection of essays by Marjorie Williams, a Vanity Fair and Washington Post write who covered Washington DC for many years, until her death from liver cancer. Many of the essays in the latter part of the book were totally amazing, and really stuck with me and I want to buy the book to read them again and again.

Friday, May 05, 2006

After dinner

Here was Henrietta after dinner tonight.