30 June 2011

a likely story

"24 year old female with likely I.B.S. and dyspepsia."

Everybody has their cache of things they just live with. Today it is reiterated that this is my stomach, I do what I can and live with the ups and downs of it. At this point I'm not upset or frustrated, only mildly annoyed that I paid an insurance office visit co-pay to be told that. It took less time than it did for me to wait for my prescription refill.

This diagnosis is basically just words, which makes me wonder if medical culture has ever been analyzed under a Structuralist's scope. Truth is, as with much of herdy GERDy stomach and bowel problems (and most medical problems), we have little idea why they happen. This fascinates me. What do we know? How much further are we than we were with herbal medicine and witch doctors? This is a sincere question stemming from innocent curiosity–unlike my constantly simmering frustration towards politics and the darker side of monetary systems–meaning no disrepute on medical professionals. I have a lot to thank them for, a few people I love are still alive thanks to modern medical marvels and life has been legitimately better for a lot of people because of these advancements. I hope we forever continue to research and discover.

But really, what do we depend on clinics and hospitals and doctors for that we could do more naturally?

And as I'm a million percent certain I am not the first to ask this, and the first to think we could do a better job of educating the general populous about these issues which would probably cut the nations medical bills by two-thirds (countless studies show...2/3...I don't know, I made that up. Does it sound good?).

And I am not the first to suggest that we already try to make our citizens aware of the way to life a healthy life but they choose to not live that way, not believing that somewhere along the line there is a cost. UNIVERSAL KARMA, KARMA, KARMA!!! (Might this be my moment to say I am skeptical of the effect the new graphic warning labels on cigarettes will have. In a world where we stylize violence and gore because of our fascination with the construction, deconstruction, and the capabilities of our physical body, I have a hard time believing that a garish picture is going to stop kids trying a cig out in the alley with their friends. Why are we trying to scare people? How about we give people reasons to respect their bodies instead.)

In fact, reread those last two sentences in the parentheses, please. Why are we trying to be the skinniest, sexiest, sleekest models? Let's be humans instead. Let's worry about what we eat because of whether it's healthy for your body and let's not worry about what we eat because of how we will compare to the person (WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BODY-TYPE) next to us.

Oh, how did I end up on my soapbox?

25 June 2011

one of the reasons it takes me at least half an hour to eat a cup of yogurt

It's some kind of weekend celebration of freedom in this town. I discovered this because as I was sitting on my front porch eating yogurt there was an inordinate amount of traffic in front of my house, I kept hearing a fire truck make noises but not sirens wailing like in cases of emergency, and then I heard a band begin to play. I walked around the corner and watched the strangest parade. It was a rag tag collection of parents and children–walking, in strollers, on scooters and bikes with training wheels. No floats and only a couple of clear advertizing/campaign pushes. Mostly just parents and children. I began to wonder if the prerequisite for understanding freedom was being a child or having children.

It's both great and disturbing that this parade happened like this. Great because what a true movement of the proletariat: people banding together because they are part of a community. Disturbing because it seems a limited view of our town. There are many reasons for this, with two big ones. The young family stage is a natural point to begin settling down and becoming involved in your community. The other biggie is because I live in an area that is excited about families and freedom to a fault. Pardon if this insults, I don't mean to. I strongly believe in families and appreciate living in a country where every man and woman is "endowed by their creator to certain rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is at least a respected argument, if it is not always acted upon and supported. The fault is that we don't examine all complexities of family and freedom.

I'm also pointing out that we continue in the rut of banding together in homogenous groups so that the superficial part of abstract ideas are represented rather than humanity.

In other words: the young families stick together, the senior citizens stick, the flirty singles stick, the singles who resent the other group's preening behavior stick, there's the various fractions of people who don't identify with the overarching Mormon vibe of this place. All these groups perpetually in place becoming caricatures instead of individual, whole people.

And sure, I'm guilty too.

It's something I constantly need to remind myself of in order to move past superficial differences that give me an excuse to alienate myself.

All that being said, toddler girls in pioneer dresses and floppy bonnets are pretty adorable and it's always interesting to see how a child will react when their balloon has escaped to fly away in the sky. 

24 June 2011

out of doors

Today was a day for cloud appreciation and good (e)mail, most of which will be recorded in my journal and not here. But note: this lady's recommendation is to spend some time this summer floating on your back in a pond (or other peaceful body of water) staring at the clouds.

21 June 2011

"I don't have to answer that question"

There is an excellent documentary series that you should check out:

Starting in 1964, Michael Apted chose a variety of seven year old British children and has followed up with them every seven years since. 49Up came out most recently, I believe, with 56Up coming in a few years. That is, if we can trust my math.

One of the underlying ideas of these films can be found in this clip:

"Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." 

In other words, so much of our character is formed by the time we are seven, the unchangeable core of us and who we will be as an adult is already there and can already be seen. Upon reviewing my report cards and evaluations from second grade I was forced to agree with this ("has trouble expressing herself clearly"). And there was further proof this afternoon. When I was a kid I would wrap string and elastic bands around my fingers until they turned blue and my parents would have to cut me loose. Today I wrapped my finger up in black electrical tape as always and a few minutes later found I'd turned blue.

link to a PBS P.O.V. interview with Michael Apted
a clip of my favorite participant, Nick, in 49Up

20 June 2011

Just now I was sitting down at my cluttered kitchen table so I could finish listening to this comedian telling a story about early adolescent awkwardness–you can find it on June 12's This American Life–and it reminded me of Christopher, this guy I dated last summer (and who generally keeps up with this blog, I think, so Hi!), not so much because of the content of the story but because of the way this comedian talked and then Ira Glass says, that was Mike Birbiglia and I think, What a coincidence, I swear Christopher told me about that guy, but I can't know for sure because was it by letter or phone? Who knows. Since my first letter box became stuffed to the brim I have yet to start a new universal letter saving system. They end up stuffed in books on my night stand, book shelf, desk. I've got to do better about that.

So I think about what happens when you subtract 365 days of your life–that's what inevitably ends up happening when I remember Christopher. You know those things that are forever linked in your brain, here's one of mine: summer 2010, Paraguay, him. To press on, I've been stuck in this meditative state since I graduated, you know, all philosophical ideas and bittersweet emotions (I'm growing up and accomplishing things! Oh wait I've failed! New chances! Lots of goodbyes!), but I'm not so sure these bittersweet emoticons are so different from a lot of how I felt 365 days ago. The knowledge is different. I've changed. But I'm still the same, I have the same feelings. The impossibilities of life: change and the same.

Thankfully I'm not hyper explosively stressed like that year ago, although I still have the incurable nervous tic of scratching the skin off my right middle finger tip. Last week my roommate hosted a little dinner at which we were asked the [hypothetical] question: would you rather eat a live puppy or one of your fingers while it was still on your body? I would definitely choose to eat off my middle finger. I try to keep from ripping the skin off by taping it up in black electrical tape (three layers) but you can't always fix your life with black electrical tape. You can fix your bike seat though.

How do I turn everything morbid? And my life does not need fixing. Goodness.

The thing is we return to these same emotions, we move through a repeating pattern of heart, specifics change but underlying we're still working through the same internal feelings. Right? Or is that just me? It seems as though we're conducting a science experiment, try out the conditions–people, places, experiences–until you figure out why you feel...or how to change the way you feel...or something...

15 June 2011

my body

I always bend over in pictures. It's this new thing I do. Not to be read into too deeply nor should you get any ideas (I'll scratch your eyes out and I just won a war which proves I'm feisty, watch out).

13 June 2011

body in the clouds

"I marvel at the miracle of the human mind and body. Have you ever contemplated the wonders of yourself, the eyes with which you see, the ears with which you hear, the voice with which you speak?...What a remarkable thing you are. You can think by day and dream by night. You can speak and hear and smell. Look at your finger. The most skillful attempt to reproduce it mechanically has resulted in only a crude approximation. The next time you use your finger, watch it, look at it, and sense the wonder of it."*

*Gordon B. Hinckley, The Body is Sacred

12 June 2011


10 June 2011

daily dose of news

M. Watson/Ardea via Animals Animals and the New York Times

I've found that people think they're pretty clever and loveable when they hate on France and Obama. There's a thin line for me on whether I will support their strong opinions as freedom of speech or stop talking to them because they sound asinine.

Example: Early last year a young man was visiting my roommates when he saw my lifesize cardboard Obama next to my desk and smartly asked if he could use it for target practice. I responded, "Why would you think I would find that funny?" Did you know that boys get really quiet after you ask them that?

In contrast, late last year some friends, including Alicia and her father, were over for dinner which–because of extenuating circumstances–was taking place in our study. A's dad sees my Obama and asks where I got it so he can get his own to use for target practice. While still befuddling to me because the thought of shooting a recognizable human image is horrifying, this is more acceptable: he didn't suggest I would condone the shooting of my own Obama.

This is all a preface to explain that upon immediately reading these two news articles I found a bit amusing I thought I would post them on le facebook but then I realized I know some people who would comment and I'd get annoyed and I don't want to get annoyed.

But imagine, France is enacting a new ban on the words Facebook and Twitter: French TV and radio employees must use generic terms unless you are citing Facebook or Twitter as a source. This includes the phrase Follow us on Twitter/Facebook because these are all forms of "clandestine advertising." However, tweeter, meaning "to tweet," is now a verb in Robert's French dictionary. Click here for full article. 

Also, if France does not clean up its agricultural and urbanization policies it could be fined $24.6 million because the way it is going now it is failing to protect the Great Hamsters of Alsace, the last Western European wild hamster species. Full article.  

P.S. Does anyone know how to stop textwrap around photos on blogger?

08 June 2011

le train de sable and end of the line

Public transportation is always a story in the making. There's the man with b.o. who sits across from you, you start sinking your face into your scarf inwardly berating rampant lack of personal hygiene until B.O. Man starts singing. There's the trax going past all the seedy back lots in town with their graffiti, strip clubs, parking lots over grown with weeds, the man at the chop shop who waves as the train goes past. Trains and buses are no respecter of persons driving through nice neighborhoods and industrial trashy wasteland. It doesn't matter where you've been, what you've been doing, how educated or wealthy you are, pay your fair and enter.

Anything could really happen, like when I happily got on the train at 7:30 a.m., proud to independently navigate trains and buses, it takes a combination to go from Malt Flake Pretty* back to home. I love watching the people inside the train and the world going by outside. The train makes a stop in town and I see boarding my cab the producer from the radio program where I have my fake internship. The last time I saw her I tried to chat but somehow I became really awkward, leaving me to wonder if I have at all grown any social graces. I don't seem to be able to do anything right for these people. The first time I met them at the live recording with Frederick Wiseman, I was strangely so nervous my hands shook and I thought I would throw-up. Normally when it comes to anything film related I'm too excited to be held back. But not that day.

So we're at 7:30 in the morning, on the train, and I don't know if she's noticed me but she's right in front of me and my Mom taught me to always say hello to people I know, so I'm dreading having an awkward recap of our other face to face encounters, nevertheless, "hello" I say.

"What brings you here today?"
"I was visiting a friend but now I'm heading home."
"Isn't this the university train?"
"Um...I guess I'm exploring the city."

I am really cool. 

I was tempted to stay on the train, I've never taken it out to Malt Flake's university, but responsibilities call and my inability to make small talk repels.

*invention of K$ 


06 June 2011

no counting

There was this great family dinner moment yesterday where my grandma (really my aunt's mom who only says a few words in English: thank you and potato) says (in Spanish) to my Uncle, "The meat is really good today, what happened?!" A highlight of our Sunday family dinners.

Last week a friend asked me how many family dinners I had left before I moved. "I don't know, I haven't started a countdown."

And I don't want to know.

I want to pretend this will keep going on for always until the day before I move and then I will say goodbye and hug and kiss you all and maybe cry when I'm all by myself (all by myseee-ee-eelf). It's strange to feel so torn, to feel like I'm missing something by leaving in July instead of late August when most of my friends have already moved, and most of the rest–ok one, one friend is moving the week after. I won't be missing any midnight skinny dipping in Mona, or front porch sitting, face yoga, or discussions about returning to an agrarian lifestyle. They'll happen for others probably, but not for the people I've grown accustomed to. This time is passing. The diaspora has already begun, the time is growing near to jump ship.

The reality of my decision to move to North Dakota is hovering around me like some strange dreamlike fog tinged with feelings of excitement, determination, and horror. I don't think I know yet how it will feel to say goodbye to this place I've lived in for six years (and loved for four). This time is passing extremely quickly.

Theory: diaspora pushes you into adulthood

01 June 2011

can't get enough of you baby

everything is going by so fast

The nearer I got to my 24th birthday the more I felt like curling up and hiding under a rock or becoming Dr. Who's girlfriend traveling through time and space. Which is not something I feel particularly interested in analyzing at the moment and had little to do with a fear of aging and wrinkles. I'm excited for wrinkles, I think they're pretty.

Instead I had a day of dear friends and family showing up to spend the day with me. No curling and no rocks and no who's, just feeling loved, which was what I needed more than I knew.