Thursday, December 30, 2004

Ordering iPods

Karma strikes again. I accidentally ordered a $399 iPod and $45 worth of books from

Why me?

I received a number of Target gift cards for Christmas and am planning on buying an iPod. But I wanted to check the price at Amzon to see if it was cheaper for me to buy it there. They had a sale where you had to put the item in your cart in order to see the price. So I did. I also had some books in my cart that I was saving, but ended up buying them at the airport.

I saw the Amazon price of the iPod and decided it was cheaper to go with Target and my giftcards and exited out of the site. I never once clicked "buy."

The next morning, I woke up and had two emails waiting in my inbox telling my that $459 had been charged to my Mastercard and my Amazon shipment was on its way. GAH!

Thankfully, I returned the iPod without problem. The shipment of books is already in the system, so I'll have to return them manually. But seriously? How does this happen?

On a sidenote, I took a personality test twice (gotta love the internet) and my results both times:

You are a SRCL--Sober Rational Constructive Leader. This makes you a Ayn Rand ideal. Taggart? Roark? Galt? You are all of these. You were born to lead. You may not be particularly exciting, but you have a strange charisma--born of intellect and personal drive--that people begin to notice when they have been around you a while. You don't like to compromise, but you recognize when you have to.You care absolutely nothing what other people think, and this somehow attracts people to you. Treat them well, use them wisely, and ascend to your rightful rank.

You are a SECF--Sober Emotional Constructive Follower. This makes you a Hippie. You are passionate about your causes and steadfast in your commitments. Once you've made up your mind, no one can convince you otherwise. Your politics are left-leaning, and your lifestyle choices decidedly temperate and chaste. You do tremendous work when focused, but usually you operate somewhat distracted. You blow hot and cold, and while you normally endeavor on the side of goodness and truth, you have a massive mean streak which is not to be taken lightly. You don't get mad, you get even. Please don't get even with this web site.

I think both are a fair assessment.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Instant Karma's Gonna Get Me

So, I think it's been officially decided that I have the WORST luck with paperwork. I have good luck when it comes to important things (friends, travel, car accidents, etc.), but anything involving paperwork ultimately ends up as a major ordeal in my life. Nothing is simple.

For example, registering for classes is never just a simple point and click. Something in the computer system will inevitably not allow my password to work and I'll have to call to register. Or getting my student loans to go through always takes extra legwork because someone always loses my applications. Work is constantly losing my time sheets and reports. Computers crash. Banks lose checks. Bills come late to me.

At least all the paperwork eventually gets sorted out. It just seems like nothing is easy the first time for me.

Case in point: Elisabeth's Luggage. When I arrived in Tucson, I stand idly for 30 minutes at the baggage claim to discover that the suitcase filled with my Christmas gifts went missing somewhere between Dulles and Tucson. I wasn't worried--I knew it'd come back to me. I filled out a missing luggage report and went home after being told the bag would turn up later that night and be returned to me between 8-10 the next morning after a phone call.

That next morning, I wake up at 11:17 to discover my bag still not here nor a phone call. I look on the printed handout the customer service man provided me and realize my phone number is wrong. I call AA to tell them they've been calling the wrong number. They fix the problem, telling me the courrier and my bag should arrive in the hour.

I finally got my suitcase at 5:30 pm, after it had traveled all the way to Sierra Vista (that's in Cochise County, Southeast AZ) to another Williams' residence.

I don't know what I did in my last life to deserve such minor annoyance. At least whatever I did that my soul is now paying for wasn't too serious, since it seems that the bad karma only involves minor stuff and I don't have to worry that I was too horrible and cruel of a person. Perhaps part of my vocational calling is an unconscious desire now to pay for sins of my last life. Hopefully, I'm atoning for it enough so that next time around, life will be a little easier on me.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Righting my Christian World

This Christmas Eve, I went to chuch with my parents. Partly to please them (family togetherness and all that) and partly because I like to catch up on the gossip of the Christian circle I left behind about 6 years ago when I went Catholic. I'm intensely fascinated with the Christian Right. I even listen to Christian Talk Radio sometimes.

Let me state, firstly, that I am happy with my life. I believe I'm living a good life. I have a sense of social justice, I want to do good in this world and see good done. I like peace. I bathe retarded people in order to pay my bills, for goodness sake.

But everytime I go to my parents' church, I always feel somewhat judged because I'm not living my life the way the majority of self-centered American Christians are. I don't think that God is about me, but rather God is about doing good for other people in whatever capacity I am able. I think that American Christians put too much emphasis on their "personal relationship" with God and not as much emphasis on taking God outside of themselves into the world. A personal relationship with God is nothing compared to my personal relationships with other people. Am I being kind? Just? Loving? Compassionate? Of course, one could argue that personal relationships are a manifestation of what's inside someone (and I agree), but rather than focus on a selfish view of God (what can he do for me?), I think the point should be "What can I do for others?"

It also annoys me that people in the Christian Right worry if they're making the "right decision" and ask God to help them. Does God really care? Really? Really?? I'd venture to say in this unstable world that God has alot bigger things than whether or not you should attend College X or Y--poverty, natural distasters, war are a bit higher on the totem pole than if I should switch jobs.

And of course, the fact that I'm living in sin on so many levels adds to my feeling of judgement. Ironically, for the most part, all my friends who are married or engaged are good Christians who are saving themselves for marriage. Myself and my heathen friends who already are getting laid see no reason to speed up the marriage process. I'm all for waiting for marriage if that's what you desire. No skin off my back. I don't really care what you do in your personal life. But don't expect applause for it.

Anyways, I'm actually starting to sound bitter. I'm definitely not. I just get tired of being judged because I vote Democratic, believe in world peace and enjoy sex.

What I'd really like to see is a turn-around in the American Christian Church. A focus on compassion for others--real compassion, not lip-service. Perhaps then, I'd have a little more respect for the Christian Right.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

That's Where I'm a Viking

I've been communicating with the Med Student over break and, through our phone conversations and text messaging, have realized a few things about my family vs other families.

The Med Student has been out doing fun and interesting things with his family since he's been back in L.A. Things like going to aquariums, beaches, the movies, tapings of the Tonight Show, etc. Fun Things. Things which require a little bit of thought and energy from members of his family.

My family likes to sleep.

I realized that both my brother (the little shit) and I routinely take long naps throughout the day whenever we both come home. This has really been going on for years. It seems that every time either of us come home from a break, we end up spending over half our time in Manassas curled up in bed.

I'm not sure why. We live outside of DC which has plenty of exciting cutural activities, many of which are even free. There are dozens of musuems a short skip away. There are plays and concerts a mere jaunt down Highway 66. Yet, repeatedly, I choose to stay home and nap.

I partially blame it on my mother. She keeps the average indoor temperature of my house hovering around a nippy 65 degrees. I get cold easily (sluggish blood) and am in perpetual state of freezing. I always bring nice clothes home, adorable tops adorned with ribbon and lace, only to cover them up with sweatshirts to keep my nipples from freezing off. I think much of my urge to nap revolves around the desire to hunker down inside my faux-down comforter merely to stay warm.

But I think my desire to nap must be genetic. It seems that every day between 2 and 5, my brother and I both drop whatever we're reading, writing, watching and climb the stairs to our respective bedrooms and crawl into bed. Often, my dad and my mother can be found doing the same thing around the same time.

I've decided that the sole reason for my inability to go out and engage in fun VA activities is that I am completely unwilling to give up my nap time. Choosing to nap over going out is an unconscious decision, I'm sure (well, until now). But nonetheless, I'm unwilling compromise my sleep to put myself in a place or position that come 3pm, I am unable to engage in my 2nd favorite activity.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


I just realized, as I sit here watching Simpsons reruns on DVD, that my procrastination extends beyond schoolwork into the everydayness of my life. In a major way.

It's almost midnight, I am leaving on a jet plane tomorrow at 6:30 for the wintery frigidness of Northern VA, and I still have to pack and wash my kitchen floor.

What is wrong with me? Why when I have nothing to do I am unable to complete even the most minor of tasks? When I am overwhelmed and overloaded, I become an efficient machine, cranking out 2o page papers and biostats homework with the greatest of ease. However, I've had since LAST TUESDAY to wash my kitchen floor (that's seven days!) and during that time, I've had absolutely no obligations to anyone or anything (except alcohol), yet I've still managed to put off the distasteful task of cleaning until six hours before I have to leave for the airport.

God forbid I ever become a full-duty housewife. I'd neglect my children and the house still wouldn't be clean since I'd be watching reruns of trashy sitcoms and glugging vodka straight from the bottle with an ashy ciggie hanging between my idle fingers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Southwest Santa?

I drove my friend Jim to the airport this afternoon so he could catch his direct flight to Chicago. As we're flying down Kino Parkway, we pass an enormous statue of some historical figure, who I'm sure figured prominantly in Tucsonian history.

The man honored through the statue is seated upon his monstrous bronze horse, rearing for battle, a swarthy, angry look upon his face.

However, the austereness of the statue was markedly ruined by the two matching Santa Hats someone had placed upon the horse's ears.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Tucson-Style

The neighborhood next to mine is (ironically) named Winterhaven. I never noticed this until a few months ago, but it seems odd that anywhere in AZ there is a place with the word "Winter" in its name, considering this state is about as far away from winter at 70-degrees as one can get. There's even a "Christmas Ave" that runs through the development.

Anyways, it's a nice, quiet neighborhood that turns into a giant spectacle of lights and animatron during the Christmas season. My friend Jim and I walked through the neighborhood (open 6-10pm every night) enjoying the sight of Jesus in the manger, flanked by the three Wiseman, cafe con leche coloured Virgin Marias, Saguro (sa -WAH-row) catcus and prickly pears.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Let the following be a warning to all you would-be medical students.

Last night, my Partner-In-Crime, Meigan, hosted a kegger to celebrate the end of the semester, the Christmas season and just because we can. My friend Tasha was designated as the dry driver since she's been sick (Valley Fever?).

The kegger rocked. I had a blast--ran around kissing boys and sneaking cigarettes behind closed doors with a perpetually full beer in my hand.

We left about 2am, all six of us piled into Tasha's tiny Volkswagon. We were about half-way to Jim's house, when I looked over at the Med Student, crushed between me and Jonah. His face had turned an sickly, ashen gray. I yelled for Tasha to pull over and she swerved off Campbell and on 2nd St. The Med Student stumbled out of the car and lost his last few beers on the curb. He slithered to the ground and sort of moaned; I realized Tasha had pulled over right behind the campus police station and the MS was losing his marbles in their back driveway.

After he moaned for a while and recouped a little, we loaded him back in the car, pulled out onto Campbell, and immediate pulled off on the other side of 2nd for the Med Student to lean his head out the window and lose another beer or two down the side of Tasha's car.

So let that be a lesson to you, oh future medical students. Do not neglect your alcohol consumption and "going out" experiences because you will lose tolerance and at the age of 26 consume alcohol like you're still in high school.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Street Food Is the Best

I was driving through Tucson tonight running errands at Target and Pet Smart. As I cruised through the crowded city streets, I realized that the one thing I love most about Tucson, more than the weather, more than the nice people, more than the cactus and the cheap beer, is the ubiquitous taco shop.

Taco shacks are everywhere in Tucson. On street corners, busy intersections, down dirty alleys. Some are chains and others are independent. There are stands that operate only at lunchtime and some that are more like restaurants, with plastic booths and shiny tables.

I've only eaten at a few, but so far, the food has been so good. Crunchy and salty, with just the right amount of grease. Most of them are open 24-hours, so they make an excellent drunken stop on the way home from a party or 4th Ave. Most of them are staffed by people who speak no English, so ordering always proves to be an adventure. But even when my order's been wrong, the food is still delicious.

I think my new goal is to eat at as many taco shops as possible before I leave Tucson (which more and more, I'm hoping is along the lines of never). I know it's impossible to eat at all the taco shacks in Tucson, but I think that frequenting as many as I can is a goal worthy of the best.

Friday, December 17, 2004


I woke up last night to an unusual sound outside. Naturally, I thought it was rain because when you live in the desert, you assume any odd sound to be possible rain. I laid very still and quiet, trying not to breathe, hoping to figure out what it was. Turns out, it was wind.

It seems that Tucson has turned into the Windy City for a day and a night. When I say "windy," I mean insanity. I've never been in such an environment, for several reasons. One, there are no trees to break the wind. Sounds dumb, I know, but I never realized how integral trees are to catching the brunt of the wind. Two, since it's so dry here and there is no grass holding the dirt to the ground, there have been dust storms across the city in parking lots, streets, sidewalks and everywhere else.

The blinds of my windows have been slapping violently against the glass panes. The palm trees outside my apartment are rustling against each other, making a hollow, rushing noise. My car blows in the wind while I drive and I'm not even attempting the bike. My hair becomes a giant brown rat's nest of knots the second I walk outside.

I feel like Winnie the Poo on a very blustery day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


It's been a few days, but things have been really...crazy. Or something like that. I didn't really do very much studying, but it felt like I did. Mostly because I was thinking about all the studying I should be doing that it almost felt like I was studying.

So, I finished my first semester as a grad student yesterday at 5:57 pm. I'm 1/4 of the way finished with my degree. It's sort of shocking to me that in less than two years, I'll be considered a "Masters" in something. And most of the time, I feel like I have no idea what's going on.

Now, it's on to cleaning. My apartment is a disaster--cat hair on the couch, litter in the carpet, soap scum in the bathtub. I've been neglecting the housekeeping in favor of "studying."

Finally, and perhaps most horribly, my friend (one of my two best girlfriends here in Tucson) got sexually assaulted in her own apartment a few nights ago. A man just busted in and tried to rape her. I won't go into any details because we're all a little traumatized, but it's just another reminder about how vulnerable we women can be....

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Will Power?

I'm horrible at will power. Usually, if I want something, I get it. Impulsively, I buy unnecessary things, eat crappy food, kiss bad boys, go on expensive (but fun) trips. It's a horrible way to be because I'm always getting myself in trouble in some way, shape or form (gaining debt, gaining weight, gaining bad boyfriends, missing school).

But tonight, I've showed some restraint (sort of). On the way home from Phoenix (v. nice time--Med Student has v. nice friends), we stopped by the mall so I could buy a few more gifts. I ended up buying myself some new underwear (it's one of my SERIOUS weaknesses), but they were on sale at Victoria's Secret, so I don't feel too bad.

But what I really want is an iPod. Bad. Like, I'm seriously lusting after those slim, white, credit card sized music holders.

I ran out of shampoo this evening when I was showering. I needed to go to Walmart, which just *happens* to be next to a Best Buy...which sells iPods...on sale....

I wandered into the Best Buy "just to look around." I held the 20 GB iPod in my hand, stroking its smooth white plastic cover, the metallic back, the round buttons just the size of my fingertips. I almost bought it. Almost. I called the Med Student, asking his opinion. His first response was, "Do you want me to talk you out of it or into it?" (Good man.) I asked for just his opinion, which was to wait, it'd still be there in a few days, a few weeks, a few months.

So I listened to his advice and am waiting. I put the iPod back down in its holder, letting my fingers linger just a moment longer. I promised I'd be back and made my way to Walmart where I bought only the things I needed (shampoo and a new bathroom rug since Zola's pissed on the blue one) and a Diet Sprite, which I didn't need but can justify since I was thirsty.

I hope this battle of will power gets better as I age. Even now, I'm sitting in my bedroom CRAVING sweets. I have nothing in my house except old mini-Snickers (and I'm saving those for Anneke), and I am refusing to go to the nearby Circle K on the principle that my waistline does not need sweets and I have an exam to finish. However, I wonder how long I can hold up. If I can't battle against my desire to eat, what will I ever win against?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Furs and Wiskers

I love watching my cats clean themselves. I know it sounds silly, but it's so much fun to watch them furiously lick away at themselves, bending their little bodies and extending their legs, flexing their toes.

I wonder what it would be like to be covered in fur. Soft downy fur. I'd probably cuddle with myself all day. No wonder cats like to nap--they probably love the way they feel all curled up warm against themselves.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Decisions We Make

I've been thinking alot about the decisions we make, mainly because of a conversation with my ex-Beloved. It seems that every time we talk, whether it's online or in person, he needs to justify his decision to end our relationship. He keeps saying, "I know I made the right decision" and "things are for the better now." Which has made me think about right and wrong decisions.

I don't believe the decisions we make are always wrong vs right. They just are. We make them and it's not necessarily always better, just different. It is what it is. And you pull yourself up and keep on going. Decisions don't always put life into perspective or improve our lives , they just frame life a bit differently than before; as always, though, life keeps moving and we do our best to keep up.

My all-time favorite quote (so MS, this deepness cannot be attributed to me!):

--"People have this idea that what they do changes who they are. A married man has an affair and he thinks, 'Now I'm a bad person.' As if something had changed."
--"Meaning he already was a bad person?"
--"Meaning bad isn't the issue. Meaning you do what you do. Not without consequences for other people of course, sometimes very grave ones. But it's not very helpful to regard your decisions as a series of right or wrong moves. They don't define you as much as you define them."

Over the last year, I've realized the truth of this. Was leaving Kenya the "right thing?" No. But neither was staying. It just was. I made my decision. Am I happier now? Perhaps. But life would have moved on had I stayed. Am I happier now that ex-Beloved and I broke up? I'm happy that a decision was finally made (he did what he felt he had to do), but I don't think if we had worked things out I'd be miserable right now. It'd just be different.

That said, I'm going over to MS's to enjoy my newly framed life.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Cafeteria Food

Lately, because I've been too busy to pack lunches but been spending hours in the AHSL, I've been eating at the hospital cafeteria almost daily. For those of you not at the U, the College of Public Health is located in the Arizona Health Sciences Center, which is connected to the University Medical Hospital (along with the Med School, Nursing School and Pharmacy School). Incidentally, I thought I had escaped eating Aramark food after graduating from WM, but guess who the food service is at UMC?? That's right.

It's strange being an academic attached to a hospital. I've never spent so much time in a hospital before. Some of my classes are right next to patient wards--Sociobehavioral is right next to the obstetrics ward and I'm forever seeing pregnant women lumbering down the halls.

Anyways, as odd as it is having classes so up close and real to actual hospital patients, the proximity has been wonderful for people watching. And no place is better than the hospital cafeteria.

Today, as I ate my salad, I watched the people go by. The doctors with their white coats swirling around them, preoccupied expressions, rushing to gulp their food as quickly as possible. The med students, their white coats stuffed with books and notes, wearing dazed looks, dashing through the coffee line, not stopping to eat. The nurses and other scrubs-wearing staff taking their time with food, laughing together and enjoying being off their feet. The patients, wearing hospital gowns pinned behind them, dragging mobile IVs along with them. Expectant fathers, down for a cup of coffee, as their women on the eighth floor are preparing for the world's most powerful experience of birth. Family members who have relatives upstairs dying, but who push on with life because there is nothing left to do.

It's an amazing mix of energy and sadness that pulsates through this hospital. And every day, as I breeze through the hallways on my way to class, the library or the cafeteria, I am thankful for my health.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Starry Nights

Last night, I left the Med Student's house around midnight. As I walked to my car in the biting cold (really need to stop wearing flip flops!), I happened to look up at the dark sky. Unbelievable. It was so dark, the sky was crisp and clear and the stars were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

One thing about Tucson that has always annoyed me is the lack of street lights throughout the city, even on most main roads. Side streets are never lit and the lights on the few main roads are so dim that it's almost not worth spending the money on the electricity (in my humble opinion). Someone told me once that there is a light pollution ordinance within the city of Tucson because of the nearby space observatory in the desert. I suppose this makes sense, but since I'm not on the up and up in the astronomy world, I can't validate this observatory claim.

Regardless of why there are no streetlights in the city limits, it sure makes the night sky beautiful. I'd been away from Kenya long enough that the stark contrast between the glittering stars and the midnight blue sky took my breath away for a short minute.

It's moments alone like last night that make me feel so humble and insignificant. Those innumerable stars extending for infinity, the emptiness above me curving away from Earth, the utter depths of blackness. At times like last midnight, I remember that my life is just another life to be lived, one life of billions that have been lived, are living and will be lived. It's pretty astounding to me that for centuries, for millennia, other people have looked at that same sky and pondered.

What an awesome and breath-taking privilege it is to be human.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Political Correctness

My Partner in Crime (Meigan) and I had a presentation for our Public Health Nutrition class this afternoon. We took a short cut and revamped a presentation we had done earlier in the semester for another class on obesity and the school lunch program in Cochise County.

We worked on the presentation this Saturday after being hung-over from the night before. Thus, neither of us were feeling particularly...reverent...about childhood obesity in Cochise Co. She left earlier than I did to watch a basketball game with her boy and I stayed in the library to put our outline into PowerPoint format. Just joking around, I threw some off-colored "fat-kid" jokes in the presentation, to give her a laugh later.

This afternoon, I loaded the presentation up for the class and the opening slide proclaimed: "Meigan and Elisabeth's School Lunch Program for Fat Kids in Cochise County." I almost died! She hadn't taken out the fat kid jokes! Further into the presentation, as I'm explaining the difficulties of schools initiating extra PE time while trying to still meet the No Child Left Behind Act goals, I see another line she'd left in: "But at least the dumb kids will be skinny." The entire class started laughing.

Let's hope that Doug didn't notice my politically incorrect slips and this should teach me to never be irreverent or crass when doing class presentations.

(Though I sincerely doubt I'll truly ever learn that lesson. Ever.)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Home and Hearth

I've been thinking alot about my move out here and my motivation for attending the U of A. And when I'm honest with myself, I've come to the conclusion that it really was all about the ex-beloved.

I never thought I'd be the kind of girl to make decisions based on a guy. But damn, I was.

Now that I'm here in the shifting sands of Tucson, I find my heart shifting, too. After ex-Beloved and I broke it off, I was kind of bitter about coming out West. The breakup was a long time in coming--the second day I was here, he told me he wasn't sure he wanted a girlfriend through med school. And I couldn't believe I moved out here to watch my relationship disolve so far away from those I love best.

But now that I'm here alone, now that I have a life of my own, I'm realizing how truly amazing this city is. There are so many caring people in this city. Getting away from the self-centered world of Northern VA, where people only look out for themselves, is wonderful. I forget that there are people who want to make a change in this world, who want to see the bigger picture. They inspire me.

I think Tucson has the potential to be the very best thing to ever happen to me. Every day when I wake up with the sun shining through my blinds, I smile. I feel lit up inside living here. Like my smoldering passion that's normally under the surface can't help but bubble out a bit as I meet so many RPCVs, VISTAS and other people that want to do good in this world. People who are doing good in this world. I want to tap into their energy, feed myself on their altruism.

As much as I love ex-Beloved, I think I repressed a side of myself and allowed his passions to overtake mine. He wanted so badly for me to share them that he was selfish and ignored my interests; sometimes I wonder if he ever truly "got me" or just what he wanted me to be. And the saddest thing is, I let him. But now that side I hid for his benefit is coming out. For the first time in a long time I feel so happy; I can't remember ever feeling this excited about being alive. Even when the traffic is slow and the sun beats through the window making my car a mini-sauna, I drive through the streets of this little city with a smile on my heart and laughter on my lips.


Last night, I went to my first office holiday party. Ironically, it wasn't even my office. Oh, but the craziness of office parties is so true.

It was held at this steakhouse on the outskirts (i.e. desert) of Tucson where they flame-grill the meat outside, rain or shine. And damn, it was rainy last night. The parking lot isn't paved and the muddy waters ran in rivlets across my pink ballet flats. The outside is rustic and the interior decor consisted of boar heads hanging on the walls (with poinsetta flowers in their mouths for the Christmas touch).

We had our choice of dinners and I chose medium-rare filet mignon. I've never had filet mignon before (and judging by the expense of it, probably won't again for a very long time) but it was so tender, like proverbial butter melting in my mouth. I've never eaten anything so delicious so slowly. I honestly wanted to cry as the last forkful went into my mouth. I'm not a meat person normally, but I could eat meat like that every day. God, just thinking about it now is making me salivate....right. I'm getting carried away.

Anyways, there was dancing and a little drunkeness, although not on my part (still recovering from the tiara experience the night before). It was fun to watch all these older office folks loosen up and let go. The mayor of Tucson's wife was there and she was getting down with the electric slide at one point. She also stroked my back. Weird.

So my first office party was a success. I'm starting to look forward to adulthood and office parties if I can break it down like some women did last night!

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Archer

So my birthday went excellently. The whole week as a whole sucked, but the hour or so that was actual birthday celebration went well. We went to Martin's, a small restaurant on 4th Ave (more like a glorified taco shack--god bless Tucson!!), for dinner. Then, my friends brought out an ice-cream cake for me! With 24 candles on top! Hooray! And I've eaten the leftovers for breakfast the last few days too, which is excellent. My friends really are wonderful--I am blessed.

So now it's Christmastime in my little oasis apartment. My grandparents sent me a tree which i decorated with lights and little ornaments. I have an advent wreath and calendar. I've been playing some Christmas music when the mood strikes. I do love this time of year.

Impulsively, I decided to get a tattoo as a birthday gift to myself yesterday. I got a small symbol of the Sagittarius bow and arrow in my upper left armpit. It's small and not too visible unless I raise my arm up while wearing short sleeves. Speaking of Sagittarius, according to the Washington Post horoscopes:

IF DECEMBER 1 IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Old problems are now a thing of the past and you can look forward to an exciting year ahead. Any responsibility you have not dealt with fully or honestly may need your attention next summer, so be careful to dot your i's and cross your t's now. In April and August shifting circumstances will put a new light on important matters in your life. But emerging opportunities in May and June will point you towards a fruitful new direction that will enhance both your self-esteem and popularity as well as enrich your pocketbook. The power of love can heal all rifts or conflicts and put things back on track.

Duly noted. Life can only get better from here. So bring it on.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Pink Matchbox Cars

Even though I was an hour late to work this morning, had problems with computers and FedEx, I'm not going to bitch. Today is my goddmamn birthday--the start of Advent and Christmas.

I spoke with my ex-beloved for an hour today. Things are right between us again--as right as they can be for two people struggling through a breakup to find a balance between loving and hating. We both cried and I know he cares. And of course I still care. Although I can no longer speak for us both in absolute certainity, the conversation was theraputic, I think. It made our breakup more real to me. It made moving on more real to me. And most importantly, the conversation made me realize that despite my hurt and anger at him, he did the right thing. We are both happier now as separate entities than as one.

And my birthday. I've gotten emails, IMs and phone calls all day from friends across the country wishing me a wonderful day, telling me they're thinking of me, that they love me.

When I left my house today, I found someone had taped the words, "Happy Birthday Elisabeth" across the windshield and rear window of my car. I couldn't stop smiling. How wonderful to have people love you that much.

When I got to my client's house this afternoon, his mother told me that he'd been excited for a week about my birthday and together they had made brownies for me. And bought me little presents--including a hot pink matchbox car (pink being my favorite color). I was so amazed that they both cared enough to want to make my birthday special since I'm so far from home.

The last few days have been rough. Computer problems, lack of sleep, my ex-beloved, end of semester stress have all compounded to make my life seem rather unmanageable. But today I've been on the verge of tears the entire day--not because I'm stressed but because I'm touched so deeply by the people in my life here in Tucson and from home.

After the hardest year of my life, the year I thought I may never pull out of, the year I almost crashed and burned, I've realized I may have terrible karma with paperwork and minor stresses, but I have luck with friends. I am truly blessed by the gods for the people in my life. And I have to ask the question, how did the most unlucky girl get so lucky?

Thank you all. I love you more than you will ever know.

Monday, November 29, 2004


So this day just got more worser. Here I was, smiling, big grin on my face all day long for all sorts of reasons. I'd been working in the library all day on my MCH Needs Assessment. I'd taken a break on the advice of MS and gone home to feed the cats and make a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

I came back, pulled out my CD with the Needs Assessment, popped in the drive wasn't there. Both the Excel and the Word documents did not exist on the CD. No old version, no saved version. It was like they never existed. Like I didn't work for 8 hours on them earlier today.

Now I'm back to square 1 on an assignment that's due on Thursday. An assignment I've been (sort of) working on for the entire semester. An assignment that is a group project on which other people's grades depends.

Even making a deal with god about going to church didn't help me recover it. It's been 1.5 hours. I've given up.

Right when it seemed my life was looking up, right as things weren't so bad and sad.

Seriously, for the love of god, can this month get any worser?


Thanksgiving break started on Tuesday for me. After I turned in my 20 page paper on my Diabetes Prevention Program (thank holy fuck that's done!), I went out on my first date with a 3rd-year med student (perhaps more on that another time). The week off had begun, even though I had to catch up on my biostats and put together a group project and powerpoint assessing the maternal and child health needs of La Paz County (population 20,715) over the break.

Thanksgiving Day was nice. Dinner at Tasha's with Long-Island Cliff and I. We had the works--stuffing, potatoes, turkey, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie--and tons of leftovers.

Saturday, I turned on my laptop to begin the Needs Assessment. The laptop hummed as it warmed up. And then the screen went black. Sort of. I could vaguely make out the shapes of desktop icons if I help my desklamp up at a certain angle. The hard drive is still working (thank god), but not much good since I can't see clearly enough to do work. I called Compaq (thank god for warranties) and found out that I have to FedEx it to them on Wednesday so they can fix the backlight and I can have my life back. Of course, it won't be done until after finals. Of course.

So I did what every stressed out girl does--I went shopping. I bought three sweaters and a scarf (it's gotten cold here, though I'm still wearing flip-flops). And a Xmas and birthday present for my mom. And went on a date with Med Student again.

But I still haven't done any work yet. I'm sitting in the Health Sciences Library checking my email every three minutes, hoping that inspiration will come, that I can finish (start) my assignments, that time will just pass so this semester will be over. Motivation is hard when I just don't care that much. I am so ready for this semester to end, so ready to just kick back and relax for a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I'm Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving???

Life in Tucson is surreal and I am beginning to love it.

Yesterday it snowed. That's right. Snowed. The craggy, desert mountains behind my apartment are now snowcapped.

We just got rain in the city, since we're at a lower elevation, but I'm thinking it's pretty safe to say that I'm the first out of most of my family and friends to get snow within eyesight.

Where else in America can you have snow and desert sand? Amen for the Southwest!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bantu Thanksgiving

Little did I know that Tucson has one of the largest refugee resettlement areas in the country; there are literally half a dozen resettlement agencies that help out people from all over the world. Yesterday, I was exposed to this subculture within Tucson when Jim, John and I volunteered with the International Refugee Committee and helped out with their annual Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner is held a local church and is a chance for the refugees to get out of their apartments, mingle with each other and experience American cuisine for the first time.

Our job was shuttling people back and forth from their apartments to the church. The IRC rents blocks of apartments so many of the families can live close together at first--makes the transition a lot less scary. When our three car caravan drove up, there were throngs of Somalian Bantus waiting outside, mostly women and excited, skinny children with snotty, dirty faces and ragged clothing.

I felt like I was in Kenya again. These little kids looked up at me with their expectant eyes, slipped their grimy little hands in mine and trusted me. Suddenly, I was right where I was suppose to be.

I also felt like an American matatu. The women had so many children and we didn't have enough car seats and they didn't want to leave their kids behind for the next load, so mamas tucked their small children in the corners of the car. One woman loaded her four children up and then when I turned around as I was backing out, she had pulled another small baby from underneath her voluminous robes and was nursing.

My heart goes out to these families. What they must have seen and dealt with before they escaped to this country. Yet, they aren't bitter, they aren't wallowing in self-pity. They have so little to be thankful for and yet here they are, eating turkey, laughing, dancing, chatting and embracing life. They are truly thankful.

The closer I get to thinking I have answers, the more I realize I have a lot to learn.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Exploding Glass

My old PCV neighbor, Erick, emailed me yesterday. It was just a short line: "Hey Lizzy, I was driving down the road with my mind wandering and I remembered the time when you and I almost lost our eyes burning your trash :)."

I thought the incident he reminded me of could only happen via Peace Corps experience. The first week I moved to my site, Erick came up to stay with me and teach me how to live like a PCV, which involved learning how to burn my trash. There was a fire pit in my side yard where you burn burnable trash...things that are not burnable include glass and metal and things that are wet. Those you dump down the toilet.

Well, unbeknowest to me, there was a glass honey jar in my pit, dumped there by the volunteer prior to me. About halfway through the trash-burning lesson, the honey jar violently exploded sending white-hot glass shards flying through my lawn and hitting both Erick and I in the face. Erick got hit worse than I did and apparently still has a scar under his right eye.

Well, this afternoon, I was burning a candle in a glass jar. Well, sort of burning. The wick had burnt out, but the candle still had lots of scented wax in it, so I was dropping matches in the bottom of the jar and letting them melt the wax so the scent would still permeate the air (covering the cat poo smell). Well...apparently, that's not always a good idea because about 20 minutes into my venture, the glass candle jar got to hot from the concentrated flames and shattered across my desk sending tiny glass shards flying. I cut my hands a little, but definitely learned my lesson. Once more, glass and fire don't mix.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Can I Just Tell You

I am the happiest I have been in a while. Thank god for friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


So last night was the ultimate soccer game against Hillel. As in they were bitter from losing the game last time and we were looking foward to beating them again.

Until they brought out the big guns, in the name of a player called "Big Mac" (that is what was written on his Hillel jersey). I swear he looked like a Jewish Mr. Clean, but on steroids. Big. Muscular. Bald. Apparently, Hillel was a little too bitter....

And who knows what happened to the term "Beginner's League?" Because the game I played against Big Mac and his cronies was NOT beginner. I am beginner. Hillel was not.

So we got our asses whupped hard-core. As in like 6-0. NOT in our favor.

Oh well. It was still fun even though both my thighs and my ego are a little bruised. Lots of cursing. I "accidently" slammed some girl name Naomi in the face with the ball of my hand (whoops). I even got to head the ball a few times. It was a good game, if a little vicious.

Back to my diabetes prevention program paper that's due on Thursday. The fun never ends.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Halfway to Criminal

I'm sitting in the library attempting to write a 20 page paper about a Diabetes Prevention Program that is due on Thursday (I've only just begun). My laptop is on, my headphones are plugged in and I'm hard at work (somewhat).

I'm sitting next to my friend Brian, affectionately known as "Hottie" among some of us in Family and Child Health. My friend Meigan sidles up to me and wants to know how the last week at the APHA conference was. I start bitching about my 48-hour trip home and the evils of TSA and Frontier Airlines.

Suddenly, this frizzy-hair, bottle-redheaded woman with bad fashion sense pops out of nowhere and hands me a slip of paper torn off one of those yellow legal pads.

On it is written: "Would you please chat somewhere else some other time? I'm having a difficult time concentrating on neuroscience."


Damn, I just got told off in the library.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Matters

Firstly, let me say, I apologize for the misleading title of my blog. I'm not sure what the name of it should be, but as far as my recent posts go, "Sunshine" anywhere in the title is not appropriate (although, perhaps "Sunshit" is, eh?).

So enough weeping and gnashing of teeth about my personal life. I'm going to weep and gnash my teeth about the election results.

One word, over and over: How? How? How?

How is it possible that my values and viewpoints are shared by less than half of the American population? I don't believe that I am on the extreme left. I believe that everyone should be given equal opportunity in life, despite birth. I do not believe that just because you happened to be lucky enough to be born wealthy, you are entitled to something. A person born poor had just as much influence on their birth circumstances than another does being born into money.

Thus, I believe we have an obligation to help those unlucky enough to be born to less than good fortune. I believe in social justice. Why not help our fellow neighbors? Isn't that the second commandent: Love your neighbor as yourself?

I believe that it doesn't matter who you want to love--I know who I love and I don't really care who you love. Why should it matter if it's the opposite sex or not? It's not really my business.

I believe that a woman has rights to her own reproductive health and that if she wants an abortion, then why not? It doesn't hurt me. The decision to bring a life into this world should never been taken lightly and if a woman decides not to continue a pregnancy, even if for selfish reasons (especially for selfish reasons), that should be respected and upheld.

I believe that all people within this nation deserve quality health and healthcare, despite socioeconomic status. Why should a child suffer from asthema simply because his mother cannot afford to live anywhere else but in poor low-income housing? What has he done to deserve a chronic illness and no healthcare? And why shouldn't we all be entitled to physicians who take the time to explain our treatment to us, to explore options and alternatives and are willing to listen to us?

I believe that the environment is precious and that we as humans should be living with the environment, respecting it rather than living against it. Controlling the environment solves some problems, but also creates more complicated ones. Look at the levels of toxicity in our lives--we may not have famine anymore because of the strength of the pesticides, but we sure do have cancer, don't we? We may have our plastics and fattened cows, but the average age of menarche is now 10.5 years of age, making little girls into women much too early.

Are my beliefs so unbelievable? Am I so out of touch with humanity? I'd like to think not. I've traveled the world, lived in many places, seen many things, things so amazing they made me want to leap with joy simply because and things so sad that I've actually wondered about the existence of a god so cruel. I've seen the strength of the human spirit prevail in situations so desperate that merely thinking about them now makes me weep. I've held hands with children whose bellies were distended because of malnourishment. I've laughed with women who are dying of AIDS. I've both danced and dueled with cultures not my own. I've learned a respect for life. I believe that life is worth upholding, even if it's different than my own.

I passionately believe in life.
And I have so much more to learn, so much more to believe in. I believe in learning and exploring and intellectual curiosity, because without understanding we are lost.

How is it possible that the majority of my country doesn't believe with me?
Life is calling. How far would you go?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cleats and Toes

My worst nightmare has come true. It is finally too cold to wear flip-flops in the sunny state of AZ. Last night, there was a freeze warning as people frantically covered up their citrus trees and pomegranate bushes to protect them from impending frost.

Last night was our second intramural soccer game and again, we won. The other team had a few good players, but we had distracting cheerleaders. I actually quit the cheerleading squad and played defense this week on my broken toe, but definitely wished I hadn't. Funny how you don't notice the excrutiating pain until later (I really should go to the doctor). It was so cold last night that it actually hurt to breath; my nose ached from the cold and my sinuses felt hollowed out from breathing in the frigid air.

I had a few good moments taking out my one point, I accidentally lept on an opponent's back screaming in a defensive move gone horrible wrong, but I got nailed in the shin later, so turn about is fair play. It's a pretty purple now and shoving my toe into real shoes is a little painful.

It seems this week has left me with a few war wounds.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Going From Here

I saw my beloved for the last time yesterday. It was hard to see him again, but I'm glad I got to say goodbye in a civilized way. Plus, after two years I deserved more than the phone call I got.

So now it's on to pick up the pieces of my life. This has been one hell of a year, and the shitty aspect of this whole breakup is he was the one constant thing in my life. And now, he's gone too.

Where do I go from here? How do I even begin fixing this mess that is my life? I don't even know where to start or where I am headed. I've spent the last years truly believing that one day we would get married, we would eventually have a family.

It's not just loss of the relationship and a best friend, but a loss of what I thought my life was going to be. This is going to take some getting used to. Not the singleness, so much as the fact that I so desperately still want to be with HIM. I know that another man (men) will come my way eventually, but I don't want them. I want him. I love him so deeply--for the first time in my life, I feel like I truly opened up my heart to a man. And when you love someone so deeply, it can't be wrong. And I wish he could see that.

I wish that he didn't believe he was so certain and didn't make it so final. I wish that we could have left it open a little, that maybe in a few months, revisited it. Or perhaps, dropped it down a notch. At times yesterday, I was having such a good time with him that it didn't feel like we were breaking up. Several times, I wanted to ask him, "Are you sure you want to give this up? Look at us, Beloved, we are so wonderfully suited."

We are so good together, for each other. I wish he didn't feel the need to cut it off so fast. He never gave us a chance out here. He didn't give me enough credit.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Heartbreak Hotel

So yeah. It's over. Two years, officially, 100%, completely and totally, absolutely, finito, done. Ouch, you know? Talk about stinging.

We had matching computers, matching cars, matching lives. Or so I thought.

I went out self-medicating last night, and stumbled in last night courtesy of my taxi Kevin sometime after 2.

I always have lucid dreams, always. And I always remember them. This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought was, "That motherfucker." I was seething with anger and hate, it was radiating through my pores (somewhat like the alcohol was). And I was angry because of my dream.

I dreamed that my beloved had found another woman and that was the real reason he was leaving behind like yesterday's newspaper. This woman, she was very short and asian, also kept a blog and I had read it. She purposefully went after him, ruthlessly, knowing that he had a girlfriend. I got so mad I ripped some photos up and stomped around his apartment throwing shit.

So I woke up angry at him and this unknown woman (perhaps a metaphor for med school or Arizona?). I hate waking up angry after hateful dreams.

But maybe anger is better than pure sadness.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Degrees of Lactation

I'm taking a class that centers on maternal and child health; we've started the course with reproductive health and moved through pregnancy, postpartum, neonatal, infant and children's issues.

Yesterday, we had the breastfeeding lecture. Iman always uses power point (can anyone just lecture anymore???) and the first slide was a woman's naked breast, full frontal. It was sort of shocking, even for me who gripes about the breast being oversexualized in American society (did you know the number one reason given for not breastfeeding is "My partner won't like it"? Makes me so angry--grow the fuck up, men!). The next slide was a side view, where someone had drawn on the breast with a sharpie showing where the milk ducts, etc. are inside the breast.

So the lecture proceeded, mostly about the mechanics and social aspects of breastfeeding. We talked about positions, benefits and policy. Many of the women in the room have had children, so there was a lot of...sharing. For example, I know now that if you have cracked nipples, the best thing to do is rub breastmilk into them.

When I left the class, I wanted a baby. Really wanted a baby. Seeing those pictures of tiny babies rooting around for breastmilk stirred something inside me. My breasts suddenly seemed so...useless. They are just sexual objects right now. The thought of holding a soft baby against my skin, doing something as natural as breastfeeding suddenly because very appealing. I know I'm definitely not ready for baby (definitely not), but for the first time, the thought of a baby didn't send panic shivers down my spine...has the ticking begun? Or is the prospect of having a baby just more appealing than finishing graduate school?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bend and Not Break

I'm self-medicating loneliness with shopping. I've never thought of myself as a real shopaholic. I mean, I've always been able to go into a store and not buy things, but it seems that when my beloved walked out on me, so did my ability to deny myself material goods.

Good thing my credit card limit was raised.

My new obsession is music. I realized I'm completely out of touch with the music scene and as part of my new improved lonely self, I'm trying to break out of my usual Top 40 radio stations. Enough Jessica Simpson and Matchbox 20. I'm going for edgy, moody and totally depressed (pass me the black eyeliner).

So I've been spending money like water the last few days, but I promise I'm stopping soon. I gotten five new indie CDs and three books, one blazer, a new bra, three pairs of panties, plus the digital camera of last weekend (I really need to figure out how to work it).

So far, the one CD I've listened to is good (just moody enough). The blazer looks really nice, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it (perhaps too uptight?). The panties are mesh (colorful tush). The bra is padded (Very Sexy from VS). The books are in the mail (like I have time to read?). The digital camera was very useful last night during our first intermural soccer game--we played Hillel (how f---ing appropriate?) and kicked their asses.

Breaking out of a mold is never easy, so right now, I'm just bending a little, hoping I won't snap.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Rings and Things

On Saturday, after a profitable trip to Walmart where I purchased a digital camera (YAY! Now I can have more photos of my cats!), I drove by a tattoo parlor next to Tucson Furniture, where I had purchased my desk, mattress and table with such hope and promise. I pulled in the parking lot and turned the engine off. Waited a beat. Went inside. And pierced my nose.

I don't know what came over me, a moment of temporary craziness or frustration.

But as the needle went through my nostril, the pain was so acute, it took just a little of the heartache away. I'm sure it's a means of coping, or some such pyschobabblebullshit. But feeling physical pain, instead of just internal hurt, made me feel stronger, more in control. It hurts being left behind, being told that the future I had thought so certain may not be so.

I know a nose ring won't solve my problems, won't make my life right again, but as I feel the hole in my nose healing, I feel the hole in my heart starting to close, just a little. Just a little.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Conversations with Bacardi

Last night, I realized that I'm making real friends. Tasha and Anneke have been amazing to me. Calling every few hours to make sure that I'm okay, making me go out with them instead of lying in bed listening to the Bridget Jones's Diary soundtrack on repeat ("Alllllllll by myselllllllllllllf...Don't want to beeeeee.....Alllllllll by mysellllllllllllllf.........Anymoooooooooooooore").

Last night, Anneke called and made me come over to bake cookies and watch movies. She surprised Tasha and me with a bottle of Bacardi and frozen drink mix (mmm). We never got to the movie watching segment of the evening ("Girl Next Door" and "Saved"), but instead ended up talking the whole night. It was wonderful. And I realized, as I watched them busy around the kitchen, that we are becoming real friends, girlfriends. It was a great feeling, watching a common friendship morphing into a deeper one.

And the main topic of coversation was....Halloween costumes!

We've decided that we're all going to go as Wizard of OZ characters. Anneke's going as a munchkin (she's short), Tasha as Glenda (she's cute), and I'm the Wicked Witch of the West (I'm evil?). I'm so excited. I've never gotten truly dressed up for Halloween before. I've done the "ho" stuff--but the most I've ever bought was a fur-lined coat and a red cowboy hat to be a pimp. This is like REAL thing! I've even convinced my friend Andrew to be my evil flying monkey!

And the irony that as a child I was not allowed to watch OZ because of the witch AND not allowed to trick-or-treat (Satan's holiday), and that my first costume for Halloween is the witch from OZ does not escape me. Ahh, yes, Mummy and Daddy. How far we stray....

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sorry, Not A Winner

You know how some days just aren't your day? Or week? Or month? Or f---ing year?

Today, my friend Meigan opened a Snickers bar during class and proceeded to devour it in seconds (so much for public health). She had opened the wrapper all the way and on the inside of the plastic, were printed the words: "Sorry, Not A Winner." She looked at me, pushed the wrapper across the table and mouthed the words, "Sounds like you."

I've gotta get myself some new friends....

Monday, October 18, 2004

Above Perspectives

This morning, while the Phoenix-bound plane roared above the sizzling heatwaves and the kids next to my seat bickered, I started idly out the window to the desert landscape below. One color dominated the ground--brown. Brown craggy hills arched against brown valleys. Even the sky seemed tinged with a gray-brown. After the green of Virginia (did you know that chlorophyll has a smell?? I didn't!--or rather, I took the smell of fertility for granted), the shades of brown welcomed me home.

As we approached Phoenix, everything suddenly got green. And water ponds, lakes, rivers and pools suddenly dotted the brown. It was so weird. These bright blue-green channels of water snaking their way through the desolate wasteland of Arizona. Makes me wonder how many gallons of water are being wasted in the name of lawn grass, while out of guilt, I'm not flushing my toilet until absolutely necessary (When it's yellow, let it mellow; when it's brown, flush it down!)

So yes, the weekend was good. The salty air and spicy pines of the East Coast revived my senses and put me back into a sort of perspective. I have made a real life for myself here in the desert. I have friends who call to see if I want to watch TV tonight. I have cats that wait by the door for me to come home and feed them. I have a mail box that is full and a refrigerator that is empty. Slowly but surely, I am existing farther and farther away from the ocean and the green. The brown is beginning to seem more and more like home, even from a distance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More Moore

Last night, Michael Moore came to U of A at the McKale Stadium. The stadium was completely full, much like a night during basketball season. Approximately 15,000 people from the University and the community came.

Of course there were the die-hard Bush supporters, out protesting as you walked up to McKale. It was actually rather like walking the gauntlet, with people on either side of you screaming "Four More Years" and waving posters in your face; like by shouting at me, I was suddenly going to think, "Oh my god, they're SO right! Bush DOES deserve 4 more years!" Right.

Moore was hysterical. He definitely did some ragging on the few Bush supporters that continually (and rudely) interrupted his speech. (I'm all for free speech, but for crying out loud people, y'alls right to free speech doesn't give you the right to impede my right to hear! Have some fucking manners. Seriously.) Moore also did some imitations of Bush during the first debate, like when he suddenly said in the middle of speaking, "Let me finish" even when no one had interrupted.

But I think, most importantly, he had a lot to say on the state of our nation. He reiterated domestic issues at home (No Child Left Behind funding, lack of healthcare), most of which get shoved aside in the "threat" of terror. He reminded that creating a society where everyone benefits, even the most wealthy benefit, too. A happier society is a safer society. He read a letter from a US soldier in Iraq (during which, the incredibly rude Bush supporters wouldn't stop yelling and had to be escorted away by the police), which was very touching.

But most importantly, he reached out to the younger voters, the ones that campaign officials often forget. He reminded us that our jobs, education loans, healthcare will depend on the outcome of this election, so get off our asses and go vote. And he's right.

So once again, I walked away from a political conversation wondering how anyone could listen to the domestic problems our country has and actually believe that Bush is worth re-electing. My Bush-voting friends (what few I have--if any!), really educate yourselves about the true issues in this election, not just the rhetoric that swirls around "terrorism." If you can look at the state of our military (slashed pay and benefits in the middle of a war), our schools (mandated NCLB, but no $), the 45 million without healthcare, the loss of jobs, the environment, assualt weapons ban and still in good conscience vote for Bush, I'd be surprised.

My argument isn't Republican vs Democrat. There have been bad Democrats in office, just like there is a bad Republican in office. Just because he's in your party doesn't mean the policies that he's creating are good for the country. Maybe for once, we could look beyond the party labels and make decisions based on what's really good for America.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Little (Big) Things

It's so amazing how just the tiniest thing in the form of an email can just turn my day around. Last night, after a very interesting and rather passionate phone call with my beloved (passionate not about sex but about...neonatalogy...such is life when your relationship is comprised of med student and PH student), I went to bed. Around 3:00 am, I awoke to Zola mewing outside my door and when I opened it to see what she wanted, she ran into my bedroom and a cat fight broke out. I never truly went back to sleep, so 5:00 rolled around too quickly.

I got to work late, finding my client already awake and waiting for me to make his eggs for breakfast (which I burned) and make his coffee (which I spilled). During his bath, I managed to get soap in his eyes and almost cried I felt so bad.

I finally got home, fed the beasts, and went back to bed and turned my alarm off and slept until almost noon--way past the 10:00 when I was suppose to wake up. And since then, I've been working on a midterm which, at first glance seems innocently easy, but I've been nattering on and on for pages about low birth weight babies, prenatal care and socioeconomic status, and STILL haven't answered the first question.

So yeah, I'm stressed out. But then, I got this email. It just showed up in my box with no warning, looking deceptively normal. I opened it and reading what it had to say just made my whole day do a Kerry and flip-flop around (Don't forget to vote Kerry!). It was from the secretary of the dean of the College of Public Health, awarding me $500 for national conference expenses! The maximum amount! And I suddenly knew that somehow, if I can get $500 from my tightfisted university to attend a conference on Public Health and the Environment, then I know that everything in my life will equalize somehow and things will be okay.

Now, the warring tribes are both asleep on my bed, my assignment is looking closer to completion and I have a smile on my face.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Mystery of the Missing Poo

I just got a new cat on Monday. Turtle Dog (Cat #1) had been acting out over the last few weeks, dashing around the apartment, opening cabinets, ripping apart sponges and generally causing havoc around the apartment. I deduced that she must be lonely and headed over to the Pima County Animal Shelter to find Turtle Dog a friend.

I was hoping for a kitten, but after walking in and seeing all the adult cats who still didn't have homes, I fell in love with this diluted gray and cream torti. She'd been in the shelter since June 2004 and look so depressed and sad. She looked up at me as I walked past her cage and she gave me a plaintive "mew." I started crying.

So, Monday, New Cat came home in a little cardboard carrier. Turtle was not pleased. The hissing and growling began before New Cat was even released out of the box. Now, I wasn't expecting instant and immediate friendship, but I was not expecting the level of hostility and hatred. The hissing, the chasing, the growling, the narrowed eyes, the laid-back ears.

I had to make a new litter box to keep them separate (one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom). Separate rooms, separate food dishes, separate toys. Things have slowly been getting better over the week, but it's been stressful having to keep an eye on two warring cats when I'm already dealing with so much in my life right now. But thankfully, I think Turtle has accepted that her turf has been invaded and New Cat (now named Zola, short for Gorganzola cheese) is becoming less aggressive and evil.

I even got rid of the second litter box. I've decided that they'll be fine in the same room when I'm gone now, so there is no longer a need for a second litter box; I got rid of the box in my room.

But here's the kicker. It still smells like poo in my bedroom. I can't seem to find the source of the stench. I've gotten on my hands and knees, crawled around looking under books, through papers, along the wall. Nothing. Not a turd to be found. I don't know what to do. There's only so long I can smell shit while trying to complete my homework and midterms. It's starting to affect my brain. Would my professor take inability to concentrate due to poo as an excuse for not finishing my Maternal and Child Health?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Guiding my Diet

So, I finally finished my 20 page paper, after a long agonizing week. I did nothing else. Well, that's not entirely true. I did a lot of procrastinating and messing around, but I refused to allow myself to work on any other homework besides my paper. Wouldn't want to distract myself.

Now, it's on to another assignment. Grad school supplies a never-ending flood of assignment, all longer and more pointless than before. This one deals with the new dietary guidelines that will be put out in 2005. The guidelines say stuff like, "Control calorie intake to manage body weight" and "Choose fats wisely for good health."

However, there's been a bit of an outrage across various food associations (ex: National Dairy Council, etc) because they don't have a good spot on the new food pyramid. The National Soft Drink Industry just released a statement about the "scientific inaccuracies of the new dietary guidelines and added sugars." Basically, the 2005 guidelines says limit your intake of added sugars--sodas, for example. Well, the National Soft Drink Association (or whatever) is arguing that there is no REAL scientific evidence that added sugar is soft drinks is bad for your health OR causes added intake of empty calories. And god forbid people actual limit their intake of Coke! The dairy industry is upset because the guidelines mentions lactose intolerance. The dairy people argue that that teensy medical problem shouldn't stop you from eating dairy! No matter if your stomach hurts! Ah the politics of it.

Uh-oh. I hear my kitchen cabinets banging. My cat has learned how to open all my cabinets and likes to pull things out and make a mess...and get stuck inside. Must go rescue.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I can't believe I'm doing this

I've always questioned the motivation behind people creating blogs. I mean, am I really such a narcissus that I honestly believe people give a crap about my overly self-aware musings? But, when even my younger brother (who is infinitely cooler than me) and former roommate (also infinitely cooler than me) both write blogs, I start to think that maybe I'm missing out on something. Maybe I'll become cooler. Plus, god forbid that I actually do something productive with a free morning and write my yet-unwritten 20-page paper (due in, oh, four days). Writing for fun overrides writing about the social risk factors of diabetes in Navajo women of childbearing age. So yet again, I give into myself and excuse my poor focusing ability. I can see this blog thing blowing up into a constant time-sucker, much like JT's Blocks on Yahoo games or the compulsive checking of the away messages of people I don't know but somehow ended up on my AIM buddy list....