Monday, September 27, 2010

earning the rambling moniker

I confess...I feel the need to make sure my blog isn't ALL little random bullet-point lists. But I've had a few other posts (posts containing my body eval...count as non-random ramblings) so I feel justified in a ramble:
  • I loved Easy A. It totally made me smile and I think there's a big benefit to actually knowing who John Hughes is when you are watching.
  • I want the Book-It retro alumni tee shirt but they seem to only sell it in Extra Large. I'd want it for the gym so could go a little loose, but not that far.
  • I think I'm abandoning NCIS: LA. I get hopelessly lost in half the plots. Hedy's awesomeness and Chris O'Donnell's eyes only took me so far. On a tangent, I remember O'Donnell's eyes from his brief role in Fried Green Tomatoes...looking at release info, I would likhave just turned 14 and it was one of the first moments I recall of true movie-star lust (vs. just thinking a screen guy was cute).
  • My contribution to mankind may be a rallying cry for all airport bathroom stall doors to open out. It is an easy change and would make it SO much easier when wrestling to get yourself and your luggage inside.
  • My back and hip hurt. I'm stubbornly walking for a good while 6 days a week since I have the time and running has been a no-go for nearly a year now. I know my gait is off and leading to some secondary aches but my head has issues that sometimes win out over what my body says.
  • Grocery shopping is quite dangerous...well, for me. I ran over my toe with the shopping cart this week. Last week, I had a very bad back moment getting a 12-pack of diet soda from the bottom shelf.
  • I'm reading a book I found in the guest room...Songs in Ordinary Time. It is free and long, which make it a good find. But it is a serious downer. I can normally find a niche to put a book in (good plane read, good serious read, good light before bed read) but can't figure out where this might fit.
  • CVS and other robo-calls are not allowed to leave me VMs until this job search is done. That red light on my phone makes my heart twist and my pulse race and me nervous. Finding out it is just a refill notice is annoying.
  • I left several boxes in Boston that I'll have brought to me when I am settled someplace. I'm depressed by the fact that I may need the one labeled "long sleeve shirts" before I get to that place. I'd hoped that I'd have found my new job and new town before needing fall apparel.
  • I went shopping for my first purchased car in the summer of 2001. My mom brought along research on value and safety and such. Before trying the planned new cars, I saw a slightly used one and test drove that. It was Betty and I fell in love...skeptical, uncertain love...but love nonethelss. I tried many more. I even went home b/c it wasn't in the plan. But I went back for Betty in the end. She was...she still is. I picked my college and wedding dress in similar fashion...went back for the one I knew was right at the start.
  • I might have watched The Event if they had a quarter as many ads.
  • My old boss has retired and is living in France. She was a very tough boss, though a very talented attorney and a neat lady (it is easier to say that 4 plus years removed...we didn't mesh too well professionally). I have no doubt this woman will use the time in retirement to do some really cool things. And that it will include good red wine.

I'm often too lazy to proof read posts that aren't book reviews or semi-serious but I do at least hit the little spell check button. It is grumpy so more apologies than normal for the lack of a re-read.

Monday, September 20, 2010

my body: a post in two parts

I confess...I need to whine. And then I will move on. So, for the blog-reading public, I will clearly label the two parts of this post. I know I whine a lot but it's my blog so I get to whine if I need to, and I need to...but you can skip it if you so desire.

Part 1: Whining

I hurt. Bad. I feel like pain is too big a part of my world. I have always had aches and pains and the endometriosis will likely be an issue for another decade or two. Right now though, it is my back that's the problem. I first complained of soreness in my glutes in summer 2009 but I thought that was just typical gym-goer aches. In November 2009, it became clear it was more and I stopped being able to run. I went to doctors starting in December and it took a few months (and two MRIs) to hit the right diagnosis. It got worse and worse in that time. I went through some injections and eventually to PT and it seemed to improve.

But, I've gone backwards. I left PT in June due to my move and haven't restarted since I'm not sure how long I'll be in this location. I've been okay about the strength training my PT recommended, I admit I haven't been good at the stretching. I have been under stress, which doesn't help. Neither does some travel last week. It is now about the worst it's been. Most days are a 7 on the "pain scale" times they push to an 8 (10 is the worst you can imagine). I have some medicine but sometimes (umm, now) it only seems to take the edge off.

I keep walking on the treadmill but watch runners with jealousy. I look forward to being asleep since I get to escape for a bit. I'm TIRED. Not sleepy-tired, just worn down. Pain is beyond draining. I'm mad at my body...even more so since stress leads me to food and my clothes are tight. And my body has a habit of falling apart when one part acts up...hayfever, hives, endo... I'd post an ad on Craigslist looking to trade my body in for a new version but it might be misinterpretted and flagged as inappropriate.

Part 2: Praising

Okay, so I am going to shift my mind a bit. Magazines tell women to stand naked before a mirror and praise each body part, head to toe. I don't like the idea of forcing praise...I don't think it does any good when it isn't genuine (and can actually hurt if it makes you dwell) so I won't pretend to praise every inch. But I'm going to be positive and a cheerleader for my body. I'm going to try hard to make a pretty good-sized list. Here we go:
  • My eyes are expressive and I am a strong observer. I see more than just what's obvious with them. I think they show empathy and understanding too.
  • When I was little, my mom was worried that I needed reading glasses because I always furrowed my brow when I read. The eye doctor said I had strong reading vision, I just really concentrated hard. I still furrow. Those little lines on my forehead are proof of 32 years of deep thought.
  • My neck and collarbone are sexy. They have stayed that way with all my weight changes. I like to touch my collarbone. It makes me feel good about myself. I do it unconsciously...not just in flirting mode (as people might guess) but just to give myself an inner boost.
  • My hair stands out in a crowd. It makes people remember me. And it is TOUGH....I don't dye it but I blow it dry every day and, a few split ends aside, it put up with that.
  • My skin is just a little exotic looking and it intrigues people (who then play "guess her ethnicity"). Someone once commected that I look like a slightly exotic version of a girl-next-door...I think my skin is a part of that. I've moved to a tinted moisturizer but have gotten away with no real makeup thus far.
  • My teeth are straight and nice. I put in my time getting them that way (several removed and then years in braces).
  • My triceps are starting to come back. I like the little arc of sculpted muscle that shows when I carry a bag of groceries. I am proud of them.
  • My shoulders are sexy. I may have lots of mixed thoughts about having gotten married, but they looked pretty darn awesome in my gown. As did the upper back area.
  • My calves are solid and sculpted. You can see the muscle even in flats.
  • My feet look pretty with a pedicure. They do have some callouses but those are cool too because they are from hard work, rather than just from fashion choices. So I embrace them.
  • My brain is inside, but it's pretty damn smart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

east coast girls are hip

I confess...I love when people ask where I'm from b/c I like my witty answer (well, I think it is witty): I'm from the East Coast.

I was born in Philly and I moved six or seven times before fourth grade, hitting CT and NY before winding up back in the Philly burbs. I lived in Bucks County through HS, went to college in another Philly burb, went to grad school in VA, lived in GA for 4 years, and then was up in Boston, Mass for four more. I'm back in PA right now and not certain where I'll end up, but I've gained some knowledge in my travels that I am going to share. I'll skip NY and CT because I was too young to pay much attention but here are some handy tips on my other travels...

  • I go back and forth between two descriptions of the state. One is a simple word, "Pennsyltucky". The other might help explain the first if you don't know PA..."Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle."
  • They try to limit drinking by making the rules confusing. PA has a tightly run system that has two different state run for wine and spirits, the other for beer. The state decides which wines are carried (and, IMHO, doesn't pick much good stuff!). The beer stores only sell cases and kegs. If you want a six-pack, those are bought in some bars (I've never figured out why). The state stores are closed Sundays and holidays.
  • The Turnpike is a very long, boring drive. It is best to avoid liquids since you can go a long haul between rest the Central PA area there are closed rest areas meaning it is 100m or so before you see one.
  • Wawa is like 7-11. They also have no-fee ATMs. You can usually get a good made-to-order hoagie there. A hoagie is a sub sandwich.
  • Soft pretzels make a good breakfast and are often eaten with mustard. Tastycakes are better than Little Debbies (with an exception for Oatmeal Cream Pies). Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes rock.


  • There are many towns, especially in Southeast VA, that seem to get their entire working revenue from speed traps. And I swear they are looking for out-of-towners.
  • Charlottesville has beautiful wineries but be forewarned that they are a windy, hilly drive. I spent a good while in one once eating crackers and homemade olive oils in order to be able to drive back.
  • Wine and beer are in the supermarkets...I believe that includes being able to buy them on Sunday. Liquor is at an ABC store (Alcoholic Beverage Control).
  • Fancy license plates (decorative, not personalized) aren't all that much more. I can't recall exactly, but I think my pretty one was only a one-time $15 surcharge.
  • There are parts of Northern Virginia ("NoVa") that are in essence just D.C. continued. There are parts of the state that are nothing like DC.
  • Lawyers-to-be have to wear suits to the Bar Exam. That just seems beyond cruel.
  • This may very well have changed, but absentee voters in 200 got a punchcard ballot in the mail. I was highly amused by the little puncher (like a straightened paperclip) that was included.


  • 285 is a big loop, which can be confusing since it means you change direction. It is big enough that you will want to get off and turn around if you miss your stop rather than keep going around. There aren't as many Peachtree-named roads as people will have you think...and really only a couple that you really need.
  • Atlanta is its own world. Drive an hour in any direction and then you are really in Georgia.
  • There are liberals in the state, mostly in ATL (see above). In fact, I think I knew more liberals in GA than MA. My house was east of the city and I think it was even bluer than the blue dot that is Atlanta. We elected a crazy cop-slapping US Rep (Cynthia McKinney) b/c she was the Democrat. On a cooler note, I liver a few doors down from an openly gay member of the state house.
  • Beer and wine are sold in grocery stores but not on Sundays. The aisle is darkened and the register scanners won't let you buy alcohol.
  • There are many weeks when pollen will turn your car green if it sits outside for more than 30min or so.
  • MARTA is the best way to get to the airport.


  • Scott Brown showed this to the country, but MA isn't as liberal as people assume. I find New Englanders to be very much a "mind your own business" group...which means they can allow some social freedoms but also don't like big government. There's also still a heavy Catholic influence. I don't think gay marriage could have passed on the ballot initially but it might now.
  • Wine, beer, and liquor are sold in a single store...not state-run. The rules are very odd and allow a few grocery stores to sell alcohol but most do not (a recent ballot initiative to allow all grocery stores to sell alcohol failed). They are usually open on Sundays. There is some move to change an old blue law that doesn't let restaurants serve alcohol until later in the day on Sunday (no brunch mimosa!).
  • The Phantom Gourmet is total food porn and addictive. It is a non-snobby restaurant review show that covers things like burgers, fries, and cupcakes...with an occasional fancy spot thrown in.
  • Sunlight is scarce in winter. Sunrise is very early in summer.
  • They are quite good at plowing but sometimes the snow is just coming down too fast for them to keep up.
  • Everyone was born there. Many live in a parent's former home.
  • The people in the rotary have the right of way...but don't rely on everyone else following that rule.
  • If you REALLY want to go, ignore all traffic laws and go. If there's oncoming traffic, you should still make a left turn. If you don't, people will honk.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

to thine ownself be true

I confess...the subject line of this post is said with an ironic smirk. I've been playing with a few topics in my head late at night (insomnia is fun) and I'm going with this one (in part b/c I need something other than bulletpoints and me-centered rambles).

I recently read a book that took a lot from Hamlet which made me revisit my own thoughts on the play. It was an element of my senior thesis...Restoring Lavina's Tongue: Shakespearean Silence from Nullification to Communication...but that's not what I'm rambling about today. Rather, today's topic is evil and danger.

I have always held that the most dangerous character in Hamlet is not Claudius, the murdering uncle (sorry if I'm spoiling...Shakespeare is about the words and not just the story so still experience it yourself). Yeah, he's bad and all that, but I think the danger is really Polonius, the weaselly little yes-man who lends support to whomever holds the power. Polonius is the unthinking majority and it is that crowd that allows a Claudius to become powerful. To analogize, Hitler was a horrid and evil man, but it was the willing public that gave him strength.

I've argued this point with a few intelligent peers over the years and haven't found many who agree when the Hamlet example is used...but do agree with the thought in other contexts. There's a lot of literary (and historical) support for the dangerous majority. It has been a long time since I read it, but that seems to me the message of 1984. I did recently reread Farenhiet 451 and that's definitely the message there..."Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord."

That's Part One of Cheryl on Polonius. Part Two turns to the subject line of this post. I'd wager that some of the most quoted lines in the English language come from Polonius's speeches to his son. I'm a lover of quotes...I had them on my wall in college when everyone else had posters and photos and I used to have a large notecard box filled with them. But I do think that quoting fiction (versus an essay or speech) presents an extra challenge. I am fairly certain that Shakespeare is presenting Polonius's lines with a bit of a mocking intent. He's spewing out canned advice in place of real parenting. Polonius is again being a conformist and speaking in pure cliche. Not that cliche can't have value...I'll admit it can. I just think it is misplaced to consider the lines to be Shakespearian wisdom.

And I can happily come full circle. Because quoting Polonius is a bit of a conformist act...quoting the line because it is Shakespeare without thinking about what Shakespeare thought. Which makes this post nice and self-contained and makes the OCD side of me quite pleased.