wednesday things ‘n’ things

things that are making me exceedingly happy include, but are not limited to:

  • the salad i just had at kopi – chunky chicken salad, some kind of interesting vinaigrette, toasted french bread, yum
  • suggested poster art for an imaginary snakes on a plane sequel
  • tom jones being knighted
  • being past the halfway point in the term
  • tomorrow morning’s exercise adventure with sonya
  • 24!! how many more people will jack choke?!
  • being in a good relationship. really good. with a bonus fuzzy cat.

things that are making me exceedingly stressed out include, but are not limited to:

  • spain in just over a month! !!!!! !!!!! !!!!! !!!!!
  • being past the halfway point in the term
  • realizing, after i sent out the email, that i neglected to include the EFFING CONSENT FORM in my research survey. it’s out there – i just didn’t link to it – and i hope i haven’t fucked myself.
  • being 20c short when checking out, and having my card declined because of unavailable funds.
  • needing to prepare for a two hour lecture (or something) in two weeks
  • the future.

On an unrelated-to-the-above note, this article came across my Bloglines this evening – it address what should and should not be blogged about, which is something I’m trying to deal with retrospectively. There are a lot of things I talked about 3-4 years ago that simply don’t need to be public. That’s all I’m going to say about that. The most important part of the post, I think, was this advice:

In choosing how much to divulge, consider:

  1. Will this hurt your family and friends?
  2. Will this put your job in jeopardy?
  3. Most importantly: Is such a disclosure really interesting anyway?

I think the last is the most interesting and salient point, and one I’m going to have to think through as well.


City Museum!

The City Museum was a world of wonders! I:

  • pet a shark!
  • got stuck, literally, in a tree
  • was freed from the tree due to the efforts and help of Jason and Ryan
  • climbed around like a monkey in tunnels and caves and passageways
  • tore a hole in my pants
  • had a Fitz root beer
  • saw a two-headed snake
  • took pictures in a photobooth
  • had far more fun than I expected.

It was a fantastic day full of Hot Librarian fun, and I am very sore, very bruised, and very tired. If you’re ever in St Louis and have half a day to kill, GO. It’s magical, especially if you think you’re too old for those sorts of things. 🙂

I found out last night that my ex-husband’s grandmother died over the weekend. She was a wonderful woman who was always very kind to me, even when things were more strained with the rest of his family.

When things ended with my ex, it all moved so quickly that I never had a chance to say goodbye to his family – I wasn’t sure if they even wanted to hear from me, and I was so fucked up that I couldn’t face any more hurt or anger – and I know I never gave them the chance to be anything else, though they were good and kind and loving to me throughout our relationship.

And this is what I hate about relationships that end – I never had a chance to say goodbye, and now I never will, and I had to wait to find out about her death until my parents happened to see the obituary. Major things will happen in the lives of these people who were my family for six years, and I will never know. Maybe that’s a selfish thing to feel. I don’t know. I guess it’s never really over.

toward the camino

My schedule as it stands:

9 May: Depart Chicago, fly to London by way of Montreal.
10 May, early: Arrive in London, 10 hour layover.
10 May, later: Depart London, arrive in Porto. Stay with Couch Surfer Gabriella through 12 May.
11 May: Porto.
12-22 May (approx): Begin Camino. Porto > Villarinho > Barcelos > Ponte de Lima > Rubiaes > Valenca > Tui > Porrino > Redondela > Arcade > Pontevedra > Caldas De Reis > Padron. Lose track of time and body and spirit and language.
22 May (approx): Arrive in Santiago de Compostela. End of Camino.
23 May (approx): Depart for Finisterre.
26 May (approx): Arrive in Finisterre.
29 May (approx): Return to Santiago, return to London.
30 May, early: Depart London, fly to Chicago by way of Toronto.
30 May, late: Arrive in Chicago, returning to Champaign some time after.

doing the math

What a week! In the last six days I have:

  • self diagnosed an ear infection, had my diagnosis confirmed, and been put on antibiotics
  • self diagnosed the beginning of another infection, got medication, and headed it off at the pass by eating a lot of yogurt
  • had some sort of food poisoning and the associated excruciating abdominal cramping
  • PMS (enough said)

All these things have added up to very much wanting my mom here to give me soup and crackers and 7up stirred with a fork so the bubbles are gone. On the other hand, I’ve felt very grown up in that every time I’ve figured out what was wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. Three cheers for being in touch with my body!

On a series of very good notes, the following things have happened:

  • All the professors that I contacted gave me permission to conduct my study.
  • After some back-and-forth, the IRB approved my study.
  • I drank Guinness with a table full of friends on St Patrick’s day.
  • I made carrot cake!
  • I have a kitten-cat staying with me for 10 days.
  • My pilgrim’s passport arrived today.
  • I received a fantastic email regarding a plan that may rescue my financial future.

two years

Happy divorce-aversary to me!

My divorce was finalized two years ago today, meaning that I’ve officially been divorced longer than I was married. It’s hard to look back on that time and remember the choices that were made, the hurts that were inflicted, and the relationships irreparably broken – but all of those things have contributed to where I am now and while I wish I could undo some things that happened between me and people now lost to me, I am happy to be where I am today, sitting at my kitchen table working on a conference paper and nursing an ear infection.

I remember the tremendous amount of relief and sadness I felt walking out of that courtroom two years ago. My lawyer shook my hand and offered his congratulations, saying I was free to get married that very afternoon if I wanted to, though he advised against it. I’ve been feeling lately as if grad school was like a divorce – good god, I just want to be done with it, even though I know I’ve committed to staying on for four more years. It’s such a long and drawn out process, and I’ll be glad to be done with it, whenever that is.

I walked out of that courthouse positively glowing, jaded about a lot of things, but happy to be starting a new chapter of my life. I feel all those things all the time – about relationships, about school, about work, etc.

I promised a long time ago that I wouldn’t write about my ex in any sort of public way, and I want to hold to that promise, but I also want him to know that I wish him nothing but the best in life and in love. There are still lingering financial things that we’re dealing with, and I hope we can resolve them soon so that we can truly go our separate ways. He was a good man – we just weren’t good together.

I just spent ten minutes hunting around on Google for the names of restaurants I used to love in Madison. I used to go there somewhat regularly when I lived in Rockford, and I don’t think I’ve been back since I moved here.

Today is a day I would like to wipe out by saying blah blah blah i’m premenstrual. I would also like my inbox to stop dinging, my conference paper to write itself, and for it to be spring break already, damnit. All signs point to needing to make substantial changes in the near future, but the things I need to do will have to wait until after Spain.

brown eyes

I’m sitting at Paradiso getting ready to spend the afternoon reading, and an Aroma regular is sitting a couple of tables away reading the paper. He’s a slim middle-aged man in glasses – he usually wears jeans and a button-down shirt or sweatshirt and gets a small coffee and (sometimes) a brownie. He reminds me of my dad, and every time I see him I think “I wish my dad could come to Aroma in the evening and have coffee and a brownie and read the paper.”

I have a good relationship with both my parents. I have always been closer to my mom – we talk every couple of days. My dad was somewhat distant when I was younger, and we’ve never been close, but I find myself missing him more than I miss her. Maybe it’s a brown eye thing – my dad, his father, and I are the only brown eyed children in our generations. That’s always been our special bond – the two brown eyes in a family of four green/blue eyes. We’re a lot alike in many ways, and I’ve found this to be increasingly true as I’ve grown up and known him as an adult.

Every time I park on my street (an ongoing frustration), I am grateful for the hours he spent with me driving around our neighborhood, teaching me to parallel park. HOURS. When we were small, he would take us to the grocery store for the once-a-month stock up after he got paid, and he taught us to bag groceries. I think of this and am grateful every time I’m at Meijer and I find myself reorganizing the sacks in my cart. From his example I learned to work hard and to push myself harder than anyone else every could. I listened to NPR in the car with him on the way to high school, and my strange and dry sense of humor is his through and through. When I rode my bike here this afternoon, I wore a raincoat he and Mom made from a kit when he was in med school.

And these are the things I think of when I pour that cup of coffee and cut that brownie, and think, “I wish Pop were here.”

hands down

It is totally, exceptionally beautiful out today, and I’m sitting on the back patio at Aroma in a tank top, skirt, and kneesocks. The high today is 71 – 71 in MARCH. Ridiculous – but I’m not going to complain.

This morning, following a week of great trepidation, I performed my first pelvic exam. I was lucky to have a very particular and detail-obsessed instructor walk me through everything, which was really helpful, and I impressed her by not cross-contaminating at any point in the exam (this sounds horrifying to any woman, I’m sure, but believe me, we’re WAY more careful than most).

We use a technique called ‘wet hand dry hand’ to make sure that at no point in the exam do either the woman or the room become contaminated with things from the other. In practice this is frequently called ‘clean hand dirty hand’, which is interesting to me. In class the other day we talked about how everything is political, even things like birth control, which are nominally empowering to women, but which still require a male-dominated industry to dole them out. The terminology of ‘clean hand dirty hand’ is problematic in the same respect – which do you think is the clean hand? The one that is touching the woman’s body in the most intimate and private places? Or the hand that is touching the equipment, the sheets, or the lights?

The ‘dirty’ hand is the one that touches the body.

As a woman, I don’t want to be told that my body is ‘dirty’. As an instructor (or, thinking as a doctor), I don’t want to be introducing anything ‘dirty’ into a woman’s body. ‘Wet hand dry hand’ is much more straight forward and apolitical – the ‘wet hand’ touches the woman (and NOTHING else), and the ‘dry hand’ touches the equipment. There is no cross-contamination, and no politics or offense.

I expressed earlier that I was intimidated and unsure about this program, but the more I think about it, the more empowering and important I believe it is. This is an opportunity for women to advocate for themselves, for their physical health, and for the appropriate, polite, and caring treatment of other women. This is a way to be an advocate and to celebrate our bodies as women that isn’t just raising a fist to the sky and celebrating our gynecology. I am proud to be a part of it.

not ready for prime time

This week marked the beginning of a new and interesting experience for me.

Along with a friend, I’m in training for a job with a variety of names – gynecological instructor, gyne model, “spreading your legs for science”, etc. I’m learning how to perform breast, pelvic, and rectal exams and will in April (and possibly other times throughout the year), be helping train second year medical students on all of the above.

I first heard about this program last year, when I went to the health center for my annual exam – because of my lack of discomfort with the whole procedure, the doctor mentioned this opportunity – mainly that it pays very very well, and that I should consider it. I’ve had a variety of concerns, misgivings, and nervous moments since then – and I’m sure I’ll have more before actually working with the students – but so far it has been a really interesting experience.

The other women in the program have been instructing for anywhere between 2-25 years, and over that time they’ve determined best practices, ways of making the students (as well as new instructors) feel at ease using humor and compassion, total strictness about non-contamination (the standards are way higher that I’ve observed in any clinic experience) – and at the same time have become this funny, interesting, compassionate, welcoming community of women spanning at least two generations and a whole panoply of life experiences.

I still have lots of butterflies in my stomach and am MORE THAN A LITTLE intimidated by the whole thing – I deffo needed ice cream and curling up on the couch last night after my first exam – but I’m really pretty pleased to be a part of this – and not just because it pays $50 per hour.