Friday, 28 August 2009

The short of the long

I am in New Brunswick, not fallen off the face of the Earth, only the face of blog. I will update you all eventually about the fun adventures I've been having if I can ever drag myself away from the excitement and from the boy. New Brunswick's major perk = boyfriend. The view ain't bad either.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Things I learn while listening to CBC

Congratulations to Elgin Street Irregulars and, both of whom made Ottawa Start's top 30 blogs list. This isn't a particularly prestigious list, at least, I've never heard of it before, but it got a chat-up on CBC morning. Lots of great blogs on the list, but of them, ESI and Knitknut are my favourites. I definitely recommend them. Ottawa Start sums it up perfectly:
She's one of those bloggers who every other blogger in Ottawa reads ... you should too.

Elgin Street Irregulars
I can't describe this one, you just have to read it for a few weeks to figure it out. Even then...

If you want more recommendations, I keep my blog list updated and they're all great!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Gyno frusteration

Today I went to the gyno. It wasn’t that kind of a visit, thankfully (women, you can uncross your sympathetic legs). Today I went to the gyno to convince her to give me an IUD.

I am one of the most informed 18 year old girls you (as a gyno) could get. I have sexuality and sexual health education training and I work at an organisation where I learn about women’s health. I know a lot about all this stuff. This is to say, when I express concerns about some of the more traditional forms of contraception, it does not come from ignorance or hearsay. I can speak doctor speak, to an extent. I’m not fluent and sometimes I mix up tenses or whatever, but that comes from a divide between me and them.

That divide I find can be hard for doctors. As I recently said to my mother during an episode of ER “No wonder they get a complex; with internship and residency, doctors only see other doctors for years!”. I hesitate to make an sweeping generalizations, but I can see how the kind of environment of learning that doctors participate in could breed a very tight team mentality. This doesn’t mean they’re not good doctors. It just means sometimes, when you are not a doctor, you have to be firm about what you want.

Here’s what I mean. When I said IUD, my doctor pursed her lips.

“If you want me to put one in, I will do it. But I’m not sure I’d recommend it.”

She then went on a bender detailing the various scary side-effects possibly associated with said form of birth control. That’s ok; it’s her job to tell me about the risks. She went to medical school and I have not. But after a few minutes of listening to “possibility of constant pain” and “There’s concern about the tubes” and feeling the blood drain from my face, I was about to throw myself at her, sobbing “give me the pill! I’m sure I’ll be better at taking it this time and I won’t get any side-effects!” It was enough to make me seriously rethink leaving my mother in the waiting room.

I am an expert on me, and I had to pull myself together to say NO, new memory tools like stickers would not help with the pill, and NO I do NOT want to stick a patch on my ass for weeks at a time and I really don't want the side effects that hormonal method give me. Thanks anyway. Is an IUD really so bad? I know people who have them, and it’s A-OK. Also, what other choice do I have?

She seemed to think that was ok and was done discussing and went a made me up an appointment and a prescription. I was still barely breathing. I was worried about the infertility I would apparently be faced with if I went ahead with this. When she returned I stammered something about how likely it was that my “tubes” would be “compromised”.

She sighed and backed down a bit, once I’d made my choice. The main concerns, she explained to me, are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea climbing up the IUD and to my tubes. If I use condoms, and don’t have too many partners, I should be fine. I breathed a big sigh of relief and walked away on my shaking legs. Minutes later I’ll realize C&G can cause infertility all on their own, it's not all the IUD's fault. And I calmed down more.

I think I have made the right decision for me. I just wish I didn’t feel like I’ve opted to walk a tightrope unassisted when a sturdy bridge is available. Also, sidenote, if IUD is not so medically accepted, why are there not other non-hormonal options available for young women? Why must we pump ourselves full of hormones that may not mess up our tubes but can have other, potentially awful, side effects?

Leaving the doctor, my mother suggested I try celibacy.

Tomorrow will hopefully be better -- I'm heading to see Stella/Andrea at Irene's. A last show before I hit the road back east. I leave one week today.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Today I am tired.

Today felt extra long. I don't have the energy left to blog. However, you can read my most recent post over at Macleans OnCampus, if you're so inclined. I keep a link in the sidebar, if you're interested!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunny Day

It's three o'clock, and I'm still wearing my pyjamas.

I don't feel so bad, only because yesterday contained many more times the fun I initially imagined it would. When I woke up on Saturday, the sun streaming in my window made me smile. Where did that sun come from? I thought it was going to rain all weekend and be gray. Like today, for instance. Instead it was a perfectly gorgeous day, warm with a breeze. It made me sigh happily and smile. And fall asleep for 3 more hours.

Luckily I woke up in time to eat a tiny piece of peanut butter toast-baguette and run off to Raw Sugar for tea with Andrea. I'd only been to Raw Sugar once before, for BOLO, but it seemed like my kind of place. Indeed, it was totally lovely, and I ate delicious banana chocolate chip loaf and had tea and talked about So You Think You Can Dance with the tea lady.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mostly out in the beautiful day with the Andrea's dog who happens to be the sexiest bulldog ever. Milan came and joined us with about a million pounds of camera equipment (plus a titanium spork) on his back. Somehow, we ended up back at Raw Sugar. Funny, that.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Summer 2009: A 3/4 Retrospective

Part of the continuing reflection on summer flying by, I realized that this summer has been pretty fab.

I worked my first real grown-up job. Although it was a little scary at first, it has turned out to be a fabulous experience. In terms of my individual work, I practised my writing, especially writing concisely (a four panel public education brochure is short!) and I got very good at picking out key messages from long documents I’m speed reading. Can you say “term papers”?

In addition to all the practical skills, I learned about working with a team and how to work in an office. This is most definitely something that took time to learn. The ability to sit and work for eight hours a day was hard enough at the beginning. The whole working-in-an-office skill was not one I anticipated going into this job.

I lazed around. Sure, it was slightly less relaxing than I would have liked, what with the coming right after oral surgery and the gargling and spitting and pain, however, I still loved lying quietly in bed, the sun on my face, dozing and reading and listening to Iron and Wine. The Percocet was an added bonus.

I saw friends. After my awful Christmas break (I’m going to blame the mono), I was determined not to repeat a hermit-like existence. I have seen a lot of my girlfriends, even an out-of-town reunion, and we keep in close touch. Davis and I are emails at work buddies (an important part of 9-5 working). I have seen the most of Sarah, mostly because she lives close and enjoys using my for my Tivo recordings of So You Think You Can Dance (finale tonight! Go Janine!).

I traveled. Quite the opposite of my original plan for a quiet, boring summer, I ended up traveling to both coasts of the continent, one of them for the first time, as well as the middle (Minnesota wedding). I fell in love with the mountains.

I found myself a man. Well, I didn’t so much find a man as I fell for my best friend. Luckily, he did the same thing (phew… imagine how awkward that could have been). He was the main reason for my Halifax trip (concurrent reason: to give myself a reason to endure May and June). We’ve been skyping and snail-mailing all summer, which has been perfectly lovely and suitably romantic/adorable.

I blogged. After an abysmal posting record in March and April, caused mostly by my preoccupation with the man mentioned above, I got back to blogging, which is something I really enjoy. I met other bloggers and I Blogged Out Loud. I started writing a new blog for A Real Magazine, which made me feel like A Real Writer.

I got a lot of reading done. This one should not be underestimated. After a year of having zero time to read for fun, I rediscovered the pleasure of a good book. I’ve been like a kid in a candy store at the library. Actually, probably more like me, as a kid, in the library. I’ve read some good books. I recommend especially The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. What a beautiful, thoroughly enjoyable read. I also read a book that’s supposed to be a kid’s book, but kept me glued to the page. It’s called Lyonesse and, full disclosure, it’s written by a family friend. It’s a King Arthur myth-style story about the Isles of Scilly in England. The author is from Scilly, and his author’s note is particularly interesting. In any case, I recommend it, and not just because of the family connection. Probably more because of my King Arthur myth fetish.

I hope all of you have loved your summer so far as much as I have loved mine. And the best part is that there are still three more weeks of it left, which will include a lot of packing, eating my favourite foods before returning to res, and a trip to New Brunswick to visit a certain boy. Yes, a boy who snail mails. I didn’t know they existed outside the 1940s.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Before the dive

It seems every conversation I've had lately has been about how this summer has flown by. It's true; I never thought that four months could seem so short. I have had an action-packed summer so far; it's had everything. Travel (two coasts), work, illness, surgery, relaxation, love... No wonder it's flown past, I've filled the whole thing up. As comfortable as I always am at King's, and even was when I visited in June, I've forgotten about being a student there.

I stumbled across the newly-posted reading lists for the Contemporary Studies Programme. I'm not a CSP student, but I'm taking one CSP course and one HOST (History of Sci and Tech) course that's crosslisted (ugh... Foucault...). I started thinking about the books I would read -- they're all new, I haven't even heard of most of them. I get to study them. I looked up my HOST courses to see if they had reading lists out, and even though they didn't, I re-read the course descriptions for the classes I'm signed up for. This one first.

This is hardcore stuff man. Analysing texts, reading ancient books... oh! The Greeks! What fun. I can't wait. But after reading that description my stomach scrunched up, bracing itself. This is hardcore. Can I even handle it? I've never felt that I'm a scholar or a gifted thinker the way some of my FYP peers were.

And here I am in a rigorous programme.

What have I gotten myself into? Hopefully I can get myself out of it again. Hopefully I'll even do well. But at least I will try. Oh, I will try very hard. I will throw myself into it, throw myself right in. And that should do it, I hope. Once you throw yourself off the ledge, all you can do is dive in.

Monday, 3 August 2009

August Movie Update

This weekend was full of Zooey Deschannel (DAY-chanel, Adrian Harewood, not day-SHAN-elle).

On Sunday afternoon, I went to see (500) Days of Summer. The Smiths shout out in the trailer and the parentheses in the title set off my indie wannabe alarm, but when I noticed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in it, I had to see it. (I have loved him, second only to Heath Ledger, since the eighth grade when I became obsessed with 10 Things I Hate About You and got over my unfortunate Orlando Bloom crush).

(I highly recommend watching 10 Things if you haven't seen it. It's my favourite teen flick ever, and makes my five favourite movies. Calm down, aspiring film critics! Movies can be fun, you know. And yes, that was Allison Janney you saw as the high school guidance counsellor.)

Anyway, I actually really enjoyed (500) Days of Summer. It was fun, the characters were fun, and it had some great lines. My personal favourite was when Tom confronts Summer about their undefined relationship. She explains they're just friends and he (understandably) becomes upset. "You're not the only one who gets a say in this, you know!" he yells. I love a movie that makes my head scream, yeah! in agreement. The scenes with his little sister aka his number one confidante are worth the ten bucks alone.

Later on Sunday night I watched Part 1 of a Sci-Fi channel miniseries called Tin Man. It's (yet another) reimagining of the Wizard of Oz tale; here, "Oz" stands for "Outer Zone". At first I was lukewarm about it, but Alan Cumming as the scarecrow character is so much fun, he kept me watching.

Famous to ME.

I was carrying part of a bookshelf purchased during a trip to IKEA down my basement stairs when I looked up and was confronted with the rear end of my somewhat famous neighbour, who had offered to help transport the thing from our car to our back door.

For most of my childhood he was just the dad of one of my best friends, that guy who was always golfing and once smoked a cigar in my living room and stank up the house. But now that I'm in Journalism school, knowing him is more exciting.

My mother decided to tell him I've started a blog with Macleans. He apparently thought that was great, but seeked to ensure that I'm not planning on a career in print journalism. Thanks, neighbour!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Mattress Mart

At 1:30 I left the house in the car to go buy a mattress. By 2:30 I was lying on my bed, on a new mattress.

The story of my mattress is this: I have a 3/4 sized bed, sort of an odd size, but it has always done me well. When I was young I had a single mattress on it with pillows stuffed down the side because, well because that's the way it was. In retrospect, I see it was because we were poorer then, but I was a kid and didn't know it any different.

Sometime in my childhood a 3/4 size mattress entered my room. It was a hand-me down, I think, from another family member. That mattress stayed on my bed until last summer when my aching back told me enough is enough. I hauled the old mattress out and used the old bunk bed mattress -- actually a fairly new bunk bed mattress. The only catch was that it was a single size. The 3/4 mattress went to the basement.

In March of this year, our water heater exploded.

It was old, it was rusty, it was rented from a company. A company who had to pay for the repairs to our basement, and replace things that were damaged. Including my sorry, old mattress, which was soaked and grew mould. After months of running around with the insurance company, today I replaced that mattress.

After installing it, with my sheets and my pillows, my mom and I lay down on it.

"There's room for two people here!" she said.

"And?" I replied.

As much as I would love to fill that extra space, I will also love having it all to myself.