Tuesday, December 22, 2009

anxious, or not, or maybe so

I confess...I'm taking it in stride, and somehow worried about that.

I've been injured for a while. Rest really hasn't helped, but doing much at all is completely out of the question....it hurts just to walk to the ladies room (which I do more since I'm not dehydrated from a morning w/o)...heck, it hurts even sitting or lying down. I have an appointment next week to get things looked at and get more advice. So I'm being "good" and "smart."

I've done surprisingly well with not working out, compared to past experiences where it was pretty anxiety producing. Now here's the frank part with the admission I don't want to really make...I think that's because I also started on an antidepressant (another blogger helped me realize the importance of being frank about these things...more people need to be). I'm not sure if it has made me less anxious or if it is the fact that it has definitely made me more lethargic. I feel a bit bad about the missed treadmill dates but not the way I would have. And I haven't felt the need to cut back on food or anything. I have had MORE "off" days...but that's actually normal for me when I am gym-limited and related to both my birthday, the holidays, and it just being cold out.

But there's a part of me that's really worried by my lack of worry. It is FINE now...it is GOOD now...when I really should NOT being pressing myself and SHOULD be resting. But will my motivation come back? I KNOW I can (and should) cut my normal mileage back a bit...but it would not be healthy to stop entirely either. Especialy if I continue with the extra dining after the holidays end.

Really, only I can get anxious about not being anxious. It's a talent.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I confess...I'm torn.

One of my most strongly held "political" views is the importance of protecting a woman's right to choose. I think this right is fundamental to women's equality, both in terms of economics and social respect. I very much believe the concept "If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child." I believe the vast majority of women hope to never need to resort to an abortion and that they do not make that choice lightly. I believe in "Prevention First" and would love there to never be any unwanted pregnancies. But I believe that the option simply must be there. For all women.

I also believe our health care system is broken. And that fixing it must be a top priority. It is fundamental. I don't have the magic formula, but it can't stay as is...

So, I'm torn. I don't know how to resolve the current debates in Congress. In my ideal, abortions would be covered just as other procedures. Heck, it's a sad way to think of it, but abortion is a LOT cheaper than a baby. But, I don't know what to say if the two values come into conflict. I don't know what to think about supporting a plan that limits a woman's choice, especially because the funding rules would have a broad impact on women across the board (i.e. not just those on public plans).

I know some of my readers are my conservative friends...this question is really more for those on my side of the aisle. If the funding restrictions are crucial to the passage of health care reform, should that be a necessary casualty or a deal-breaker?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I confess....I have lots of thoughts but most aren't developed enough for a full post (or already have been a full post).
  • It hurts my heart to see the results in Maine. When will people realize that it AFFIRMS marriage to allow two adults who love each other to join in its union?? Couples who just met can wed but not long-term partners with deep commitment?? Religion should not be relevant...gov't can approve it and churches can decide on their own.
  • BUT, ultimately, I still don't like voting on basic civil rights.
  • I also don't think judges should be elected. This isn't a perfect summary of my view, but to share: http://www.whataboutclients.com/archives/2009/11/on_voting_for_j_3.html
  • To the BC High boy on my train last night, an apology would have been nice after you whacked me with your backpack when you swung it back on.
  • I finally get my permanent crown today and am hopefully done with the dentist for a while. It was crazy expensive...I wonder what it would have been had I NOT been at a "preferred provider"
  • I had mid-week kabobs (and ice cream etc) last night. I want to be okay with this but still feel guilty. Maybe b/c my tummy was too full and kept me up all night.
  • I am well ahead of pace for my "average miles per day" for the year. I should use this time to cut back. I think I might be healthier (in several senses) at a lower goal and this is the perfect time to put that in action...I can drop the weekly goal a good bit and still end up "on track" for the year. With my head as it is, this is the PERFECT time to enact that change (and then keep the lower goal forward)...I'm not sure I can explain that mentality very well. It is still hard.
  • I need new sneakers but don't want to spend the $$$. Why are the ones I like (and that work better for me) also the more expensive ones???
  • I am working very hard (at work) and seeing very little reward. This is wearing on me.
  • I do appreciate that it is now light on the way to work. Since it is currently morning, I can temporarily ignore what that translates into for the way home.
  • Facebook has let me better appreciate that I have run into some pretty cool people in my 31 years who do and think amazing things....many of whom I'd never still follow if not for the network.
  • I like Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper.
  • I like sugarless chewing gum.
  • I like deep red wines that only REAL red wine drinkers would like.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I confess...I think I'm doing my civic duty, but others may disagree.

Election Day is tomorrow. There is a mayoral election in Quincy, where we live, and I believe it is a decent contest. But I'm not voting. I believe in an informed electorate and I am not informed. I do not think I should just pull the Democrat lever (or draw in the line as the ballots are here) simply out of habit. I think you should know who you are voting for and why.

An obvious solution would be to do some research. I'm decidedly unmotivated to do this. Which makes me feel even more firm in deciding not to vote. I'm not feeling vested in the election. Perhaps I'd feel differently if we owned instead of rented or had children in the school system or something like that...but I don't. It seems wrong to vote just out of lemming-ness...to vote just to vote. I think you should vote because you care and are educated and support someone.

When I do vote (which is pretty regularly), I actually often leave blank the races that where I couldn't even name the candidates.

I will vote when we have the election to replace Kennedy. I'd vote in Maine tomorrow if they let me (go equal marriage!!). But I feel like my civic duty includes knowing when NOT to vote. Criticize away....

Friday, October 30, 2009

politics schmolitics

I confess...I can't come up with a cute little line here.

It has surprised me over the past three years to see the political side of Boston. We are in a state known for being very Blue, but I find that much of the population is more conservative in some senses than the folks in Georgia were (well, in Atlanta...if that is "really" Georgia).

The religious side of the area is definitely very prominent. A big news item this week was changes in Mass services due to the swine flu...and the outrage many expressed at the doing away (temporarily) of communal wine. I think a bit of this may be tempered in the political sphere by a tendency of New Englanders to focus more on their immediate circles than any others. People may not approve of abortion or gay marriage, but they also may not feel compelled to care what others do in that vein. It's the same reason gay marriage passed in Iowa. It is liberal in some senses but not in others. And even gay marriage wouldn't have made it through here by popular vote at first...though now that the sky hasn't fallen, it might be upheld.

Which leads to the next thought...the area is pretty change averse, a conservatism in itself. We'd had the same two senators for a long time...we're only getting a new one because Kennedy passed away (we also like Senators with "K" sounds in their names but I'll skip that silly tangent for now). The mayor has been in office for many years and while some opponents cry out about needing change, I think most people kinda like it that way. If it ain't broke (and maybe if it is), why fix it?

Not sure where I'm going with this. Just something I think about. Maybe the lesson is to really look before you label. My part of GA was quite liberal (my neighbor was an openly gay woman in the state house, we elected a total nut to US House b/c she was the Dem)....I think a Republican has a much better shot at my MA neighborhood than my old haunts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

wherein i join the bandwagon

I confess...I am "talking" about balloon boy.

Maybe it is living with a Comm person, but what strikes me about the whole Balloon Boy fiasco is the comments it elicits about the media.

Barring proof of complicity or such, I really don't see any need to trash the news outlets over this. It was a compelling story. I listened and wanted to know more. And so did countless others. Yes, the media should be keeping us informed about "more important" news. But I see that as an "also" not an "instead of." There's no conflict between following "human interest stories" and "serious news"...both can live side by side. I want both.

On the other side, there's the reality TV angle. I've ranted before about cases in which reality TV exploits children and this seems to add to the list. Not only were the kids on a typical reality show when they couldn't truly consent, they were plot points in a (possibly) staged "reality event." It bothers me to no end that people will use their children to gain their 15 minutes. It seems like a form of abuse...obviously not the same as "traditional" child abuse, but still "mis-use." Is it the money that motivates these people? Is it the "glory" of the spotlight? Is it some unfulfilled need for attention?

Monday, October 12, 2009


I confess....I am going to ramble and whine.

The pain has been bad for a few weeks now. I feel ill-equipped to face it. I just had surgery in May....I should be feeling fine.

I didn't get out of bed for my w/o today. I didn't fall back to sleep either which makes it feel like wasted time. The pain makes it hard to start but I'm usually okay for the duration of the w/o once I get going, though I get some bounce-back pain after. I just couldn't get going though.

Which bothers me more b/c I've put on a few pounds. Not a lot but enough to make my slacks tight and I really don't want to have to go shopping anytime soon. I know the problem is food, not the lack of exercise and that, if anything, I put in too many miles. I KNOW that. Really. But I feel like I can control the exercise much more than I can control the food.

The full-blast arrival of Fall doesn't help. I often say I'd enjoy Fall if I didn't know what came next. "Next" is coming too soon...the weather lady said it was 31 outside the studio (warmer in the city proper) and then said it would be our warmest day all week. I broke out the scarf and hat and gloves. I was pretty much alone in that regard and saw a few glances on the train. But I was glad I had them all. So there.

I took a pill and I'm waiting for it to work. I called the dentist to see if I need to come in since I absent-mindedly flossed the temporary crown tooth on Friday and it popped out. I put it back in like he'd said to do and it has stayed fine but it's several weeks till I go back so I thought I should call.

I'm cold, in pain, tired, and feeling like a slug for the missed gym trip. Happy Monday.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I confess...I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. I think I've just felt really tired lately and haven't had too many deep thoughts to share. So instead I will share smaller ones...
  • I watched a blind woman read on the train this morning and was just amazed at how fast she read. I then felt bad for being amazed...like it was ignorant of me. Really, there's no reason why someone who has done it for a long time couldn't read as well with their fingers as I can with my eyes. But I still felt like I could never do it...
  • I'm having a rough pain spell again and taking way more meds than I'd like.
  • I would like Fall MUCH more if I didn't know what came after it. But I do think we may take advantage and do a leaf-peeping drive tomorrow.
  • I signed up for an alumni happy hour tonight. It was billed as a welcome to the city event for young alums but I'm still surprised that I look like the oldest person by far who has RSVPed. I'm hoping that there are others who used email or the phone instead of the web portal and thus aren't on the website's list. Not that I don't like 21-24 year olds...I just have always related better to people who are older than me as opposed to younger.
  • Bosses Day is next week. When I was little, I'd ask my mom why there was a Mother's Day and Father's Day but no Children's Day. She (as many do) said, "Every day is Children's Day." Isn't the same true for Bosses??
  • I had a root canal a few weeks back and the first of 2 appts for a crown yesterday. I had a different doc for the RC and my regular one for the crown. It really made me appreciate the difference a nice doc can make. The RC guy didn't tell me anything and at one point just disappeared for ten minutes. My regular guy told me every step he was taking, kept checking on me, and was just really attentive. And he offered to make me a certificate saying I have a very small mouth....not sure how that would be useful but I appreciated that he acknowledged it instead of just telling me to open wider.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I confess...this is another food-issues post.

My husband recently said he'd never heard me refer to my food issues as an addiction. This surprised me since I definitely have compared it to alcoholism when talking to people about it, especially others with similar battles. Not to diminish the struggles of an alcoholic, but in a way I think a food-related addiction is harder. I can't go cold-turkey...

We were recently at an event that had a buffet-style brunch. It was not a seated event which meant I wouldn't be noticeable (or as noticeable) for getting up and reloading again and again. And it became a bad food event for me. I thought about it a lot and at first mentally compared it to an alcoholic at a place with an open bar. Then I revised that...I HAD to eat something...so it was like taking an alcoholic to an open bar and saying "Have two drinks, then stop." No one would really expect that to work...but those of us with food battles face that type of thing at every turn.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I confess...I haven't had much to say lately but feel the need to "check in"...

  • I've expressed a desire for a sign that says "It's allergies, not swine flu" to wear on the T so people stop giving me looks as I sniffle away. Yet I still wanted hand sanitizer after sitting next to a guy who was coughing the whole ride.
  • I need a pant suit and a winter coat. These both really do hit the "need" stage and not the "want" sage but I still feel guilty bout the purchases...esp. after getting the estimate for my share of costs for dental work. Seriously, if I didn't get the RC and crown, I'd lose the tooth someday...it isn't some cosmetic procedure and it should be more fully covered.
  • I really would enjoy Fall more if not for the allergies and for the fact that I know what comes after Fall.
  • I was disappointed by the Bones premier. But enjoyed watching last week's Mad Men via On Demand. I especially enjoy seeing Peggy try to figure out how to make the career world work as a woman and seeing how Don is involved in that. He's not at all a feminist and really doesn't see the system as broken but he has still been her champion. He isn't going to help her with the women's rights battles but sees her talent and does want to capture that.
  • We are off to Vegas soon for my BIL's wedding. I've never had much interest in Vegas but it should still be a fun trip. Vegas is where they live which makes it a bit different than the typical idea of a Vegas Wedding.
  • I still wish I had better knowledge of the health care debate. I know that I'd like to see universal access but really can't say how to achieve it realistically. But I also have made pretty shabby efforts to learn.
  • I do not think every negative comment about Obama has a racial element. In a way, assuming that there's a racial issue with every moment is racist itself.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I confess...I just don't know.

I often think about whether or not I'm "high maintenance." I don't require fancy clothes, I don't wear make-up, I don't need the latest shoes. My purse is years old and the zipper is frayed. I'd rather be wearing my PJs than anything fancy. I hate spending money on clothes.

But then again...I'm beyond rigid when it comes to food and my habits aren't cheap...I like the pricier yogurt and "fancy" ramen. I need my routines. I need a lot of reassurances. And I do HATE when my hair gets frizzy. Do those things mean I'm high maintenance, just in my own way?

Now that I'm thinking more about it...Why is it that it is women who tend to be deemed high maintenance? A man may be one to like fancy things, but he doesn't get the same label. And the label difference remains even when the woman is perfectly capable of maintaining herself. Is it a throwback to a time before that...when women were largely dependent financially....and will it pass into oblivion with dowries and the like?

Editing to add....Thinking about it, the closest term we have for a high maintenance man is a metrosexual. Which itself suggests there's something un-manly and female about the state. And I think it's more often used with a bit of a negative connotation...sometimes it can be neutral, but really rarely is the term metrosexual cast in a totally positive light.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

random thoughts

I confess...more ponderings...

  • Why does the Day & Night pack of allergy pills have the same number of pills for both when the typical person is awake twice as many hours as they sleep?
  • What makes something a lie? Is it just the element of untruth or does there need to be an intent? I saw a tv episode where the patient neglected to say he'd been in Fla. when they asked if he'd visited the tropics. The doc called it a lie but the patient clearly didn't think Fla. counted.
  • What does it say about me when a part of me likes it when a trucker honks at me when I'm walking by?
  • Why does everyone walk places in Boston and no one walk anywhere in Atlanta when (for most of the year) the latter has a more walking-friendly climate? Is it because the cities grew up in different eras (i.e. ATL came of age when people had cars, Boston was a big town before that)?
  • Why is the first piece of luggage free on international flights but not domestic, even when some international destinations are a shorter trip than places in the U.S. (i.e. Boston to Bermuda vs. Boston to LA)?

Friday, August 21, 2009

"to be" or not "to be"....

I confess...this may make no sense outside my head. Not sure if I can put my thoughts "on paper" but they are rattling loudly in my head so I'd like to try.

I was watching people on the T platform and got caught in a bit of a linguistic game in my head. Let's consider these statements:
  • Sally is beautiful.
  • Sally is fat.
  • Sally is smart.
  • Sally has brown hair.
  • Sally has cancer.
  • Sally has killer abs.

Okay. Where do we draw the line between traits that where we use a "to be" word versus a possessive-like "to have"? It seems to me that linguistically the "to be" traits are being elevated to a different level. They define us. They ARE us. We can play with structure and turn some of the sentences into their "partners" ("Sally has a weight issue", "Sally is a cancer patient"), but it seems like one or the other is often more "natural" for us to use.

What do these distinctions say about our values? Are these distinctions consistent in other languages? In other cultures that share our language?

If you read this blog, you know I have a multitude of body issues and that's where this rattling thought started. Why is weight such a defining characteristic for us? If you were trying to describe me to someone looking for me in a crowd, my hair (long, dark, thick, frizzy mop that it is) would be the best way to tell them which woman I am...not the size on my jeans. So why not "Cheryl is long dark frizzy hair" (yes, you can say "Cheryl is a long-haired gal" but it isn't the normal construction).

On another note, I once wrote a blurb on myself and said "I am a lawyer." A woman wrote back that being a lawyer was my job, not WHO I was overall. But, in those days, it FELT pretty defining. Then again, one of my examples above is "Sally has cancer"...I bet that feels pretty darn defining too.

I don't have anywhere major I'm trying to go with this. But it is my concept to ponder for the moment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

that darn bandwagon (and falling off it)

I confess....routine is my savior and my downfall.

I live by routine. I like routine. But I struggle a lot when I start to break my routines.

I've talked a bit about eating issues here. I keep things in check by being "good" Sunday through Thursday. But I've started to allow more breaks in there and it has become more of a norm to have an off-day in that span. This involves dinner out or a take-out meal....and dessert etc. (I'm way too embarrassed to detail). The only saving grace is these aren't planned...because if I knew it was an off-day, I'd be "off" during the daytime too and as it stands I at least keep my normal habits until dinner (or until a pre-dinner drink).

Likewise, for over two and a half years I've done morning workouts. These really do work well for me, despite the ungodly hour and the fact that it means I need to go to bed with the toddler-set. I always knew that I only kept doing it because it was a routine and that falling off would be trouble. And I've fallen off. I have made up most missed workouts, but it just isn't as good for me to do it in the PM (and is ROUGH on my hair since I get way too sweaty not to at least rinse and condition and then usually want to dry it before I lie down for bed).

I'm telling myself it is a summer hiatus. And there's some truth there. It is harder for me to just go home when it is so bright and sunny out in the evening. And I can get away with evening workouts and not miss Jeopardy while it is on hiatus (yes, I have odd priorities). I also know it is ALL related to stress and work issues....they make it harder to get out of bed (even if I'm up) and start a day and they make it harder to keep the binge-monster at bay.

No solution here. Or even resolutions. Just some rambling because confession can help the soul.

Friday, August 14, 2009

job search tips

I confess....I keep a list

JOB SEARCH RULES (from an attorney recruiter, a work in progress)
  • Use a work-friendly email address. “Beerdrinker###” is not work-friendly
  • Do not list your FAILING bar exam score on your resume.
  • Be a Big Boy. Having your wife call about a job is not a good move.
  • You are not who you know. You are not qualified for a job in the medical field because you have a large family of doctors
  • It is not impressive to label yourself an “Experiendced” attorney
  • Bar passage is required to practice law. Do not try to convince me that you are “better than a barred attorney” for a job because of your life experiences. Experience is lovely, but you still can’t practice law!
  • I’m fine with a bit of reaching, but be reasonable. Don’t apply for a job requiring 7-10 years of experience when you only have one (that isn’t remotely on-point)>
  • Sell yourself, but be reasonable. Don’t overword: “Experienced administrative professional seeking a full-time position within an office environment wherein application of excellent communication, attention to detail, and organizational skills can be utilized.”
  • If a recruiter takes the time to call and explain why you aren't a match for a specific need, do not apply to the same job TWICE the very next day. It shows a lack of attention to detail.
  • Think about your target audience. If you are applying to a job in a sports-crazed town, it is best not to indicate you are a fan of a rival team with your email address…Boston hiring folks WILL hold an address that includes “yankeefan” against you
  • If you are applying for an attorney job, you MIGHT want to include your JD on your resume. I may not bother to look at your cover note if I don’t think you have the minimum requirements…
  • It’s 2009. Don’t address a blind letter “Dear Sir.”
  • Use terminology correctly. “I have a JD in Law” is redundant and does not look informed.
  • Don’t make controversial, political jokes…levity is fine, but not anything that might offend someone.
  • I do understand we are a nation of immigrants. But do not use a phone number where no one speaks English during the day….or at least have them let the machine get calls.
  • A little common courtesy, please. I run early, but do not show up a full hour early for an interview without calling. And, if you do, offer to wait…do not act annoyed if you are 60 minutes early when you are asked to have a seat for five minutes while someone gets ready to meet with you
  • If you don't know all the major terms in the job description, you are probably not qualified. Do not call and ask what they mean.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


If you see this and are not someone I "know", how did you find me? Not at all asked out of anger but just curiosity since I don't think I know a few people who've commented in the past....

health care

I confess...I don't know nearly enough about the healthcare debate to make an informed post. But I'm rambling anyway.

I get a bit quiet when the debate comes up because I know I'm a bit uninformed. And because my mind just isn't financially focused and there are financial realities that are really important to the debate. I don't have any answer....I don't know which plan is best...but I do know some of my own values.

  • I believe health care is generally a right.
  • I believe there is a better way to deliver health care than having people rely on ERs.
  • I believe we need a stronger focus on preventative care. This will require some sort of incentives. I see why companies wouldn't focus on it b/c there is no guarantee that they will see the benefit...the 30 year old you invest in may not be a member when he's 70 and the results "pay off". I think that may mean there needs to be some sort of mandate...not that I can really formulate what I mean by that.
  • I believe we need a better way to address pre-existing conditions. The tricky area seems to me to be that we can't allow people to game the system (i.e. get a cheap plan and then switch to a better one the day after a diagnosis).

And then I have a few other beliefs that I'm more nervous to share...

  • I think we spend too much on end-of-life care. I certainly want to make people comfortable but I think eventually there is a value analysis that needs to be done and I think that it makes more sense to spend the money on someone who may recover than on extending a terminal case for a month or two. I think I may get struck by lightning now. In all fairness, I do apply this to myself too...it is part of the reason I signed a living will before surgery....
  • I don't know that I really place a ton of value on the right to keep your favorite doctor. I don't mind charging people more to pick a certain MD...assuming, of course, other qualified folks exist. You should have the right to a specialist where appropriate and to a second opinion, but I would sacrifice choice for savings.
  • I don't know how to work it, but I think that there should be price benefits for people who make healthy choices. Don't punish people for what they can't control (cancer in the family, etc). But healthy choices deserve a reward. That said, I think it needs to be done fairly. A program that gave a benefit for losing 20lbs would anger me since I'd be less healthy if I lost weight and would be punished for starting in a healthy range.

I'm sure there's more...but I'll stop. Now, someone important read this and make all the money stuff work :)

Friday, August 7, 2009


I confess...I've probably said some of this before....

  • I feel bad complaining about it but am frustrated in my search for a dress to wear to my brother-in-law's wedding. Aside from the most expensive ones, there are almost none in my size in most stores I try. I am small but I am not THAT small. Plenty of women are my size and need clothes too.
  • A file drawer, big and full, fell on my knee this morning. I am hoping the pain goes away. I'd hate THAT to be the cause of an injury requiring a gym break.
  • One mentally slow man that I sometimes see on the train tries to talk to people. I do get that he can scare people and he can be impossible to understand. But it broke my heart the other day when a woman moved away from him and he said "That's okay. I understand."
  • I am looking forward to my chicken shwarma (sp?) plate tonight. I have switched from the kabob plate, though they really end up quite similar....the shwarma has more crispy outside pieces :)
  • Happy almost birthday, boy.
  • A friend commented on FB that people talk about angry, man-hating feminists btu we don't hear about them going on shooting rampages. Just made me think.
  • I am reading a book about an OCD criminal. Not sure that I like it, but I think Monk should have an episode with the character. I like Monk.
  • Random issue that keeps popping in my head....I would like to add sexual orientation to the list of groups protected from employment discrimination. But should there be an exception for some religious group-related positions? I believe the state should sanction gay marriage (and judicial officers should not be able to refuse to perform them) but that churches shouldn't be forced to perform them if they disagree. Does that carry to discrimination in something like hiring a teacher at a Catholic school?
  • I am worried that Obama will be a one-termer. I think the reality is that it is really tough to evaluate someone in realtime when financial issues are the most pressing.
  • The train has sucked lately, in part b/c it has been more crowded on the way home. It had been much better this year...I suppose as a result of layoffs etc. I would expect it to be even lighter right now since I think it is peak vacation time. But my rides home have been sardine-like.
  • Work has been stressful already. Now it is just plain crazy since one colleague has left and it has added a lot to my plate. I don't see much upside (in either $$ or development) to the additional work.
  • It is Friday.

Friday, July 31, 2009

wherein i brag

I confess....I am going to be positive. I am going to list a bunch of things that are good about me. I have been thinking about this and have decided I am NOT going to include any negatives, "but"s, or moderation/modulation/whatever the word is that I'm looking for (i.e. "I may not be X, but I am Y" or "I have to do X but then I can Y" or "Others may be better but"). I will not let myself type those or will erase them if I do. Only positives.
  • I am smart.
  • I am especially talented in logical thinking and speed of comprehension.
  • I am in good shape
  • I have cool-looking muscle tone, especially in my arms.
  • I am a good runner.
  • I am loyal.
  • I am good at hearing what is behind what people say and trying to understand their "come from" place
  • I write well.
  • I work hard (not just at "work").
  • I am very prompt.
  • I keep a neat, organized desk.
  • I make good chocolate chip cookies (chewy soft ones).
  • I am willing to taste new foods.
  • I compliment strangers and make their days nicer
  • I care.
  • I come up with some witty comments.
  • I pay attention.
  • I say Thank You.
  • I think before I speak.
  • I've fought through a LOT and have kept fighting

Friday, July 24, 2009


I confess...it is time for a rambly list:
  • I continue to try to compliment strangers. One woman said I made her day when I praised her glasses. Another glared at me for saying she had cute sandals.
  • I am torn on the whole Gates thing. Honestly, I think everyone had a hand in it...the caller made assumptions and the police did too....but I also think Gates' reaction was probably a big issue too. His reaction certainly stemmed from cultural history, but it could have been diffused more easily. I think there should be more of a conversation where both sides can learn from each other than an apology. The officer needs to understand Gates's viewpoint and Gates needs to listen a bit too.
  • I think it is good to reward healthy habits. But it is unfair to make a prize for weight loss or an insurance incentive to quit smoking. I don't smoke and am at a relatively healthy size to start...why can't I get any rewards?
  • There is a one man play called "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm in Therapy." I'm not in therapy and my parents are reversed but I still think I merit a free ticket.
  • I frequently have ONE sore glute. The same one.
  • Don't recommend any products you love to me. If I like them, they WILL stop making them or change the formula. In recent months, my yogurt and soup changed formulas. My South Beach lunch wraps are no longer. My hair care line seems to have gone away. They discontinued the snack pack bags of Corn Pops I have with my afternoon snack.
  • I chew way too much gum.
  • I saw a resume on Monster today titled "Work Wanted!!!". Ummm, would you be posting if you weren't looking?
  • I told a tot in the garage that he must have been a good little boy to get the plane he was showing off to the boy and I. I was quickly corrected that he is four and thus a big boy. I have learned my lesson.

Friday, July 17, 2009

a personal post.

I confess...I haven't reread the below but it is something I've wanted to write for a long time. And I hope people read it. And I'm also scared to have people read it.

I am 5’4”. In recent years, my weight has ranged from 115 to 125. My highest weight was 150…not healthy on my frame but I was never truly obese. So no one passing on the street would peg me for what I am. A binge eater. At times, a pretty severe one.

It truly is amazing what people will say when you don’t fit their stereotypes. I’ve checked out of the market with a dozen big bakery cookies (and other stuff too…) and had the clerk joke she couldn’t buy them because she’d eat half the first night. I planned to eat them all. A colleague on the elevator saw me with a large thing of jelly beans and chocolate and made a joke about how I must throw it all up if I eat that stuff and look like I do. I’ve never purged.

There were roots to my binge eating that I can see it retrospect. Times when I’d order way too much delivery in college and try and hide any evidence before my roommate returned. But there is one moment when I really truly knew that something was wrong. I was in graduate school and living in a suite of rooms…my own bedroom and bath but a shared living area and kitchen. I wanted food but my roommates were in the common area and I didn’t want to be seen. I found a packet of hot chocolate in my bag. I ate it “raw” sitting with my back against the bed. And I got this massive head rush.

When it was at its peak, I binged (severely) every three days. We’re not talking an extra piece of pizza. We’re talking a package of cookies, a pint of ice cream, a bagel with extra cream cheese, and half a jar of peanut butter…in thirty minutes. I’d eat until I was almost physically incapable of eating more. I’d try to keep it secret…even stopping at multiple places to avoid buying my full feast at once. I probably would have done it more often if my body hadn’t rebelled with pain.

I don’t tend to binge when I’m hungry. Or at least not physically hungry. It is not about that. And I’ve thought a lot about what it IS about. I think it is about feeling. Consciously or unconsciously, I am feeling something I don’t want. So I eat. And there’s this total rush with all the sugar that pushes away other feelings. Even the bloated and ill aftereffects are part of it…I can’t feel much else when I feel so ill. I hate how I feel after, and it lasts for days sometimes, but that may be part of the addiction. Because I can point to that feeling and because it pushes away everything else.

And it is also about control. I am borderline OCD…never diagnosed but I need order and consistency. On my “good” days, I know exactly how much I eat. I run….a lot. I like my hair to be straight and neat. I like piles on my desk instead of chaos. I like to board the train in the exact same spot every day. But a binge is the total opposite of control. It is out of control to the highest degree. It is a rebellion against myself.

If you passed me on the street, I wouldn’t stand out. If I bought a burger and fries, you wouldn’t give me a “she shouldn’t eat that” look. If you thought anything about my body, it would probably be that I’m in pretty darn good shape (and I’m pretty modest so I can only say that because it is objectively unavoidable). I’m usually a size 2 these days (though vanity sizing helps). And if you heard I had food issues, you’d probably think I battled anorexia in college or something like that. You wouldn’t guess. So you might comment on the package of cookies I’m buying and joke about them.

Please don’t.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I confess...I'm scared.

I was better for two months. Not pain-free but SO much better.

And it is back now. Pretty bad pain, sometimes terribly horrid pain, and a few other issues I won't go into here.

I know the stress and other stuff isn't helping it, but the pain on top of all that just makes things really hard.

I want to curl in a ball and hide.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

mind or matter

I confess...I'm not loving my new book but it has sparked an old line of thought.

The book tells a story of early onset Alzheimer's from the viewpoint of the patient. The protagonist notes she'd rather have cancer than Alzheimer's, noting the dignity lost with a mental decline and just the different way people treat different patients.

I've often wondered whether I'd prefer to have my body go (not in a vanity sense, true and severe functional loss) or my mind. I think it depends on how thorough the loss is and the degree to which I have to prepare to face it. If it were sudden and pretty complete, I might prefer to give up my mind...if I didn't have to KNOW it was gone, it might not be that bad. It would be MUCH harder though if it included moments of lucidity or just an awareness that I'm not functioning. And it might also be an extra challenge to have it be progressive, to know what is coming and to take every little error as a sign.

But, if it were total and sudden....I think I might pick giving up my mind. I face pain with my body now but it generally functions. I think it must be horribly hard to be stuck in a body that you can't control (again, talking more than even just loss of a limb) and to be aware of related indignities. Or to have your mind but lose your communication abilities so you are "stuck" inside yourself. When my step-father's mom was losing mental capacity, she often thought she was decades in the past. Someone noted that it might not have been a bad thing...she was really happy in that time. She didn't seem to know what she'd lost. She felt good....though it was hard for those around her.

Which sparks another thought...I imagine it is harder to care for one who has lost mental capabilities than one whose loss is physical. When the mind goes, they often need help on the body side too. Does that make my "preference" (that's a terrible sounding word to use here but I can't do better) selfish?

Monday, July 6, 2009

the bandwagon

I confess....that I did not leap back on the bandwagon today as planned.

We had a nice mini-vacation in the Finger Lakes. Prior to vacation, I promised that I'd return full throttle. I've really fallen off with both my food and my gym habits. I was sleeping through too many workouts...sometimes making them up in the evening with a workout that was not quite as good which then set up a messy cycle since it made doing a morning workout the next day harder. We also had been eating out during the week sometimes, which we usually don't do. And my "bad days" were simply "very very bad"...I won't go into detail but just trust me on that one.

I promised to come back and jump back to "normal" with both feet. But I felt ill last night and just couldn't pull myself up this morning. it may not have been the wrong decision for the moment since my tummy was really quite unsettled, but it wasn't the best decision for the overall commitment.

I don't know if I'll make it up tonight. But I am at least going to try really hard to stay on track food-wise until my normal Fri/Sat "break".

I will give myself kudos for exercising on the trip. And for often doing a slower treadmill session as I let a bit of a strain heal (not one that requires a total break...).

One day at a time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

to be a star

I confess...I've been thinking a lot about celebrity lately.

For years now, I've taken issue with shows like Jon & Kate. If adults chose to broadcast their lives, I suppose that it their decision. But I don't think it is fair to involve children who can't consent. Yes, we allow children to act and such but that really is quite different. We shudder a bit at the way the Dionne quints were treated as a side-show act. But are we doing anything better today? Might it not be even worse since the format endures more and provides lasting evidence.

Part of me takes issue even when the kids aren't immediately involved and have to face the consequences of their parents' public lives. But there's some level of that sort of thing that we'll never escape. There will always be four little boys whose public-figure dad was caught cheating with an Argentine mistress. But we can clamp down on having the children as directly involved as reality TV has allowed.

And then, there's MJ. In a way, he's Celebrity to the n-th degree. He was in the spotlight from a young age and never escaped it. He both embraced it and thrived in it and was eaten up by it. We created him, both the good and the (alleged) bad. If he was guilty of some of the bad acts tied to his name, it is no doubt related to what we did to him from age 5. Excuse? No. But an explanation and something we need to think about.

I did a project in college once on Spectacle in early America (think circus freaks). Really, it has gotten worse, not better. The dog-faced girl may not be a side-show act in a cage. But is it better to be on a Discovery Channel special and to be tracked online?

What responsibility do we have to the celebrities we create?

There's more on this rattling around in my head....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

power and sex

I confess...I'm interested in the relationship between power and infidelity.

Do those in power "stray" at a higher rate? Or is it just that we all hear about them when they do? And maybe that it is easier to "catch" someone high profile? If they stray more, is it a matter of opportunity (away from home, willing partners....) or some mental/emotional/social side effect of power?

If there is a power/infidelity correlation, does it cross gender lines? We hear about lots of men in politics who are caught in "sex scandals" but not so many women. Is that just because there are fewer women in power positions? Are women more careful because they feel their power is a bit more tenuous and they are being watched more closely? Or does power have a different impact on women than on men?

Honestly, I ask for marital fidelity from my husband, not my President etc. I wouldn't want to be Bill Clinton's wife but I was happy voting for him twice. That said, I do still appreciate leaders who can also be role models. We need more role models in this world.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I confess....that I often wonder what it like inside other people's heads.

I've referred before to the Gentle Giant on the T. I probably see him once a week. He clearly has a significant level of learning disability. He is also a very large black man. Tall and defensive-football player big. He likes to announce the stops with the automated voice. He likes to rock a bit. He sometimes asks if the train came from Braintree...this seems to be important to know. Today, he asked for a specific seat. The man very nicely gave it to him. A few weeks ago, he picked the wrong person to ask if the train came from Braintree and was ignored. He was very confused by this and didn't seem to knwo why the man wouldn't respond. He puts a hand on people (very gently...at least it looks gentle) before he speaks to them. Always a shoulder.

I wonder a lot about what it is like to be him. He looks very happy. What sense does he have of himself in relation to the world? I imagine he can tell he is "different" but how far does that go. And does he have any sense of how physically intimidating he might be to people? Does he know that putting a hand on the wrong person on the wrong day might be a disaster? Who helps care for him (I assume someone does)? Does he understand how being cared for makes him different? Are people mean to him often? What does he think/know when they are?

The Gentle Giant got me started this morning but I frankly often have similar musings about everyone else. They say you can't know a person till you walk a mile in his shoes. But we can never truly do that. How would the world change if we could? What would it be like to TRULY know what it is to be someone else? Would we want to? It seems like it would be amazing and yet overwhelming. Would it be depressing to find out that it is "better" being someone else? Or would it put your problems in perspective?

On the flipside...If you could show someone what it is like in your head, would you? I have my issues. And part of me wishes that others could understand them better...there is only so much you can put in words. Yet, there are parts I wouldn't wish for anyone else to have to face. And there is a part of me that wants to hold on to being me...the only me. If someone else was in my head, would I lose that?

Clearly next train ride I should just try to decide who has the cutest shoes. It would be much easier.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I confess...this is totally ad-like.

When I was a kid, my ears often hurt. My mom, being in the speech field, always took ear complaints seriously and trotted me off to the pediatrician. I remember quite well sitting there while he looked in my ears, said they were fine, and told me they did not hurt. When I was about 14, I switched (due to a whole other story) to my mom's doc. She was doing a routine checkup, looked in my ears, and said (w/o prompting) that they must hurt quite often. I nearly fell off the table. Something about all my allergies and sneezing and such as a kid throwing the natural tubes off.

So, I don't respond right away to ear pain but after a month of discomfort and a "full" feeling, it was time to just make sure. I am a bad patient and do not have a primary care doc (I do have multiple gyns...) and always find it tough to go in anyway. So we tried the CVS MinuteClinic last Saturday. They only arrived in MA fairly recently but I know other states have them. I had zero wait and saw a very nice nurse practitioner. She said that I had a lot of fluid in my ears, no infection yet but one might be forthcoming so she told me to get Sudafed and gave me a prescription nasal spray to clear things out.

Anyway, I highly recommend the MinuteClinic experience. It obviously only works for pretty discrete issue...nothing requiring long term management...but it was fast and easy. I did NOT need to use CVS for the prescriptions themselves. Co-pay was only the standard $10 office visit (w/o insurance, would have been $62ish). Great alternative for busy folks and I bet great for parents too given the type of ailments kids come down with frequently. As Jason noted, it can hopefully become an alternative for people who use the ER as a primary care. The concept is derided by people pushing the value of a true primary care doctor. I appreciate the sentiment (and know I need one myself) but think they are a great resource used properly.

Friday, June 12, 2009

wherein i am politically incorrect

I confess...I feel guilty about some of my less-than-PC observations. But shall share some anyway (many T-commute inspired):
  • Asian women have an odd penchant for perching right on the edge of train seats
  • Men in general will take up more room than they need, often by spreading their legs wide. This is especially true of African-American men. Noticing the racial disparity makes me wonder if there is any sociological reason ("marginalized" group trying to stake a claim, need to "look tough"). Asian men rarely do this...though they also tend to be much smaller in general which may be part of that.
  • There are two different trains that are on my home-bound track. I can tell which of the trains I just missed by the racial make-up of the crowd.
  • White men and women seem the most likely to reek of cigarette smoke.
  • The only people I've seen with chew on the train are young (late teens) white men. Is there a group trend? Who DOES that stuff?
  • I often see Indian families where the woman is dressed traditionally and the man is in jeans. It fits the image of women as the carriers of culture and history. Which is interesting since (across the board, not speaking of a specific group), both are a bit rougher on women.

Now I'm pondering my own pondering. I call these observations politically incorrect because they are group stereotypes with racial and gender-based lines. Is just observing something and noting it a politically in/correct act? I certainly don't assume EVERY African-American male will push his knees over to my side of the seat line nor expect every Indian woman to wear a sari. Am I a bad liberal for noting the trends???

Thursday, June 4, 2009

green-eyed monster (well, brown-eyed)

I confess...that I'm totally jealous.

  • I'm jealous of people who don't have my intense (unhealthy) love/hate relationship with food.
  • I'm jealous of people with a normal internal thermostat. I'm usually cold but then get randomly overheated. Then I get sweaty. Then I'm cold AND wet.
  • I'm jealous of people who have a real passion for something. Other than a sexy movie star.
  • I'm jealous of people who KNOW what they want to be when they grow up. Yes, even dedicated five-year-olds.
  • I'm jealous of people who can't eat when they are stressed/down/emotional. Not that that's healthy either, but it is easier of both the waist and the wallet than my response.
  • I'm jealous of people who truly enjoy the actual workout, not just the results and the feeling of accomplishment.
  • I'm jealous of people who don't constantly transpose letters when they type.
  • I'm jealous of people who fall asleep when their head hits the pillow and stay asleep till morning.
  • I'm jealous of the really well-dressed lady on the T whose clothes are simple but always so put-together. I totally missed that part of the girl gene.
  • I'm jealous of people who know what to do with their hair. Missed that part too.
  • I'm jealous of people who don't have to make 25 outgoing calls every day. Evil phone.
  • I'm jealous of people who aren't jealous.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

short rambles/rants

I confess...I don't know how to spell-out a good *throat clearing noise*

  • It bugs me more than it probably should when applicants write "Dear Sir" on emails that come in to our general office email address. I know "Dear Sir or Madam" is cumbersome, but still... I have NO problems with some use of him/his as a filler for our lack of gender neutral pronouns and think that has become acceptable shorthand in most circles. I haven't heard that "Dear Sir" is an acceptable address when you don't know the recipient's gender.
  • I tried and failed to not get annoyed at the mom and sick kid on my train. I told myself they might be on the way to a doctor and might not have any other transport. I still cringed every time he coughed, especially once he sat down next to me and when he seemed like he actively tried to touch every pole and surface around (even though it so wasn't intentional, he clearly felt awful).
  • It is May 28. I wore my hat and scarf. I was glad I had them...and still cold. New England is mean.
  • I think the kabob place needs to get a Frequent Buyer Punchcard. We should get some reward for how often we go there (lately though a few too many midweek treats...).
  • I am tired of hearing the phrase "The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller". I do think it is funny they had a whole discussion about what to call him at trial and the Judge decided to just call him "the defendant" (though I wouldn't like that as defense counsel).
  • What is it that makes me unable to pass up free stuff? I took an energy drink can from a gal outside the T today. I don't drink those, especially ones with sugar. But I also figured they are pricey and I couldn't NOT take a three dollar handout. I preferred though when they had Quaker Minis a few times...I already buy those so saved money by trying to grab a few (not their goal).
  • Happy three year and one day anniversary, Boy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

by majority vote...

I confess...that I don't believe in democracy.

That is, I don't believe in democracy in its truest form. I don't think the majority should always rule. I think that the basic rights of people simply aren't appropriate subjects for a vote. It will often be in the majority's interest to limit the rights of a minority and we need to safeguard against this.

Honestly, I don't know the full span of the legal debate in California. I can't say the decision was "wrong" on legal grounds since the justices had a pretty narrow issue before them of procedure. If the proposition met the requirements, then their hands were a bit tied. I just don't like the system that allows for such an easy route to wiping away people's basic and fundamental rights.

Interracial marriage would not have passed a majority rule test when it first became law. The majority was wrong. And now we see it. I only hope that there are brave enough law-makers out there to help move gay marriage forward And that in 50 years, it will seem just so obvious (okay, it already does to me...but to the majority) that it was right.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I confess...it is time for another ramble..
  • The woman across from me on the T was indulging in a self-massage. I guess it is good to use the commute to relax, but it was a bit much...she rubbed her earlobes, neck, back of her head, top of her scalp, fingers, and wrists for about 20min or so.
  • I will be in my 45-50 mpw zone this week, not over.
  • I need a break. I've used a couple days off lately but not for anything resembling fun or relaxation.
  • I saw an ad on craigslist looking for an attorney to help in a dispute. It said "Must be willing to work for compensation." I'm guessing they mean contingency...
  • I got a resume for an attorney job this week where the guy didn't include his JD on the resume (but did have one)
  • I have a highly addictive personality. I think it is important that I know that.
  • I don't think TV shows should get summers off when I don't.
  • I really want to introduce myself to a couple of my fellow habit-driven commuters. I get on the train with the same people in the same spot so often and feel like I "know" them.
  • I told Boy I'd see Star Trek. I think I'd enjoy it more if I snuck in a flask and made up a drinking game. Not that I drink anything flask-oriented.
  • I understand that people were pissed when they got stuck on the T yesterday during a power outage but it really doesn't seem to me to be at all akin to the accident a few weeks ago and I don't think it shows incompetence.
  • I think we probably need some sort of tax increase in MA. Really, it isn't the Tax-achusetts people think it is.
  • I do still have some pain but also think the surgery did help a bit...it isn't as bad or as constant. This is good.
  • I feel lazier than usual. Work quotas become counter-productive once you meet them and lack any incentive to go beyond them (which would make it harder to meet next week's)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

willful ignorance

I confess....that I sometimes just don't want to know.

Boston is looking to join the club in posting calorie counts on chain menus. I'm a big fan of the ability to know what you are eating and of steps to improve our nation's health. I think our waistlines are a huge danger, both to our public health and to our economic well-being (health care costs, lost productivity, etc). But I'm not sure I'm a big fan of this specific proposal.

Right now, the info on nutrition for many chains is available online. I'd like it to be even more available, especially on the front-line of the decision process (even if I'm one of three people left without Internet on their cell phones). But I think I'd rather they require a poster by the door and pamphlets at the counters over the menu proposal. I do get that some people may NEED this to be in their face to pay attention to it. But I also think a lot of those same people will still ignore it or won't garner much meaning from it. For me, I am pretty much a calorie-counter 5 of 7 days a week but I really like the option to NOT know sometimes.

I also worry what it will do to people with active eating disorders or even those who are just on the verge. There are people for whom the info may (heck, will) be a trigger for very unhealthy disorders. Obesity is not the only problem out there.

On the legal side, I do wonder about the "forced speech" issue but don't recall nearly enough about it to make an actual analysis. Sounds like a very interesting final exam question though....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I confess....that I've said this before.

I think I would be well-served by cutting a bit off my weekly running routine. I'm feeling VERY burnt out on it and spend way too much time feeling sore or stiff. I'm around my goal weight (well, most days...I am a fluctuater) so just in maintenance mode. I've been getting in over 50 miles most weeks including both treadmill time and "productive walking" (i.e. T to office). Really, that isn't necessary if you aren't training for a race. And I'm not.

It is odd though to cut back. It isn't the same sort of goal as increasing miles is...and in a way I find it harder. I don't want to ever have a "punish" mentality so I don't want to "be in trouble" if I go too high. There's just a logistical oddity to cutting down that I can't verbalize well. I don't want to permanently cut out a full day. But I think maybe a 42-50 miles range is better than my 50+. I did 45 last week (Su-Sa)....while recovering from surgery...the world did not explode.

I also think that the reduction might help with other issues. I usually take Friday and Saturday "off" from my anal food-tracking (though lately I've had some "Saturday-observed" days given a weird calendar). And I've been way overboard on those days lately. A LARGE part of that is mental/emotional driven (read: work-related). But I think some may be about the mileage too.

I can't make any promises. But I'm going to TRY and REALLY TRY, not just lip-service, to cut back a bit and just slow down.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I confess...that I am mad people can't read my mind.

I'm recovering from a minor surgical procedure. I've finally gotten past the worst of the swelling from it (they pump gas into your abdomen resulting in a darn puffy tummy) but I still have soreness at the incisions and suspect that issue will hang around for a bit.

I get nervous every time I have to ride the train that I'll get bumped in the tummy and it feels a bit jarring on the cuts when I've had to stand. When I've stood, I try to look pathetic and make someone want to offer their seat. It hasn't worked (though I've been fairly lucky and gotten not-too-crowded rides). When I had a running injury a couple summers back, I wore a full leg brace for a week. I wasn't offered a seat every time, but was more often than not. But no one can see that I'm hurting now. Similarly, no one can see why I wasn't on my feet right away when an older lady got on the train this AM....they didn't know I needed a seat too.. I felt guilty b/c I knew they couldn't read my mind. I want a sign to hold explaining myself (I also want this for my reduced-capacity workout...really I normally go faster!).

I'm trying to use this to remind myself about assumptions. I have patience with the elderly lady on the staircase who takes her time but not so much with the "healthy young person." But what do I know? I mentally shake my head at the lady using a 3lb dumbbell for bicep curls but maybe she just got a cast off a bad break. Assumptions are dangerous.

But, then again, could we really function without them? We rarely have ALL the information we need. We have to fill in gaps with our best guess or we'd be a bit paralyzed.

Coming back to the T. I debated yesterday asking someone for his seat. Should I have? Should I give him the info that his assumption may be inaccurate? Or would doing so be assuming he doesn't have even more of a need for the seat (and would take a HUGE pride hit if he admitted it to a woman asking for chivalry)?

I think too much.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I confess...that it is time for another random list....

  • I seriously have an addiction to the kabob plate from Falafel King. I want them to give out a "Buy ten, get one free" punchcard. We had it last night ("Friday night observed") and it is always quite yummy (though things run together more than I prefer).
  • There's a lady who is often on my AM train. She uses a cane but prefers to stand. I know this. I've asked twice and seen others offer. Yet I still somehow feel guilty for not offering my seat
  • While I despise the cold, I do admit it makes you appreciate warmer weather more.
  • I want to see the final episodes of Pushing Daisies but feel no rush and might wait for the DVD or for them to pop up online rather than watch them on three Saturday nights starting in late May. No, we don't have TiVo. Yes, we are fine with that.
  • I like cereal.
  • I feel bad that Boy will miss the Phantom Wine fest b/c of me
  • I am tired of the swine flu. Yes, we should be careful. But it feels kinda overdone and I worry about inciting panic. There was a girl on the news who had it and couldn't get Tamiflu b/c too many people are hoarding it. There are dangers to over-reacting. Be careful, but not over-zealous.
  • I am nervous for tomorrow but not the "normal" way one gets nervous for these things. I'm more worried we'll come out knowing nothing more and with no answers than anything else. That's going to be a big mental blow. And it is the more likely scenario.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

a bit of controversy....

I confess that...I'm torn on this one...and feel a bit of liberal guilt about my viewpoint...

There's a recent case that involved the murder of a transgendered individual (this person self-identified as a woman so I will use female pronouns). They successfully prosecuted the murderer, including charges under a hate crimes statute (see http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/04/22/transgender.slaying.trial/index.html).

I find murder atrocious. And I feel for this woman, the struggles her life must have included, and the tragic early end to her time. I absolutely believe her murderer should face punishment. Should she have told him her biological identity? Maybe...I'd almost lean towards yes. Does not telling justify murder? Of course not. He absolutely could have chosen to end the relationship...and even been pretty angry about it. He might have been upset but that gives him no right to kill her. I agree it was (assuming facts as I've seen them) first-degree murder.

But, is this a hate crime? I'm just not sure. The man who killed her was angry at her as an individual, he wasn't seeking out a transgendered person to kill in some sort of statement or act of group hate. It isn't a precise corollary to a KKK member attacking a person on the street for the color of their skin. He was mad at this woman, yes his anger involved her sexual identity but I think it was more about his feeling of deception and of having gotten into a situation he did not expect rather than an act against transgendered individuals. If he'd gone to a rally of transgendered folks to seek out and kill someone as some sort of statement or from some sort of personal vendetta against transgendered individuals THEN I'd totally favor the hate crime label.

There's a little liberal voice in me that WANTS this to be a hate crime. I want to say she was murdered because she was transgendered. And she was. But I just can't make the leap to it being a hate crime as I see that term....hate crimes laws should apply to the RIGHT cases involving sexual identity and sexuality (and I guess wanting to see them applied is why I feel torn), but I'm not sure this is that right case.

I'm waiting on the backlash to this post....

Monday, April 20, 2009


I confess....that I appreciate the little things but sometimes lose sight of them. So an (obviously incomplete) appreciation list:

  • The smart person who made my contact case so the lids are different colors on each side. This is wonderful since us blind folks can't see the little "R" and "L" on the case (unless I pull it in to "reading vision" area)when the lenses are out
  • Blankets. Really, I get an immeasurable amount of joy from warm blankets (and use them even when it isn't cold).
  • Red wine and chocolate (together or apart)....And studies that favor health benefits for both (I'll ignore those that don't)
  • Boy always making sure I have "juice (i.e. Crystal Light) and making more for me when I run out (and for other things too...but I wanted to pick one)
  • People who are nice and don't fight with me when I do them the courtesy of calling to tell them they are not a match for the job...a little advocacy is fine, fighting with me won't win points. But some people just thank me for the courtesy call and I appreciate them
  • OnDemand. We don't have TiVo so I get to see some shows I wouldn't stay up for
  • Women's Health mag...the only one I'd read even if I didn't use them to pass my treadmill time.
  • Old friends who know you well
  • A college with loyal alumni who support each other
  • The "magic" train I sometimes get that starts at my AM station instead of a few stops before so is totally empty when I get on...not only a seat, but often the coveted end seat!
  • Having it be light out so I can sometimes walk home instead of taking the van...a little extra movement is good, especially when it is outdoors
  • Little lessons I've learned in dealing with my crazy hair...like drying it a bit upside-down first which cuts the drying time substantially (then flipping right side so it doesn't end up adding more volume to hair that sometimes has too much)
  • Big sweatshirts for sleeping and lounging
  • Good running socks...the kind really made for running make a HUGE difference
  • The Falafel King shop near us that makes yummy chicken kabob plates that are a ton of food and pretty cheap.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I confess...this time it's my fault.

I broke with pattern and we had a "splurge" night last night. Kabob plates, wine, ice cream, etc. It was yummy. And it isn't that I had too much wine. However, while I'm really sure my pain issues are in the gyn arena thanks to the location, it is always worse when I eat too much. I also end up not sleeping well which = run down which = more pain. Add in a false fire alarm at 2AM (really, this is the freakin' 10th at least sine we've been here...I'm getting burned up if it is ever real b/c I don't even consider going outside) and it was a rough night and I feel crappy today.

Enough so I that I finally called in sick and stuck with it. That is in contrast to two time recently when I called in sick at 4:45AM, slept a bit (vs. headed down for my date with the treadmill), and then un-called in sick.

Really, that's fine. I get a lump sum of 20 days off (sick, vacay, personal etc....less than it sounds given that we get very few holidays) and haven't used any yet. Between surgery, my BIL's wedding, and turkey day and holiday travel, I have 11 others allotted out. Rationally, this 12th day is so fine. It's still oddly hard for me to call in though....even though work is anything but exciting these days. Funny, in HS I took a ton of sick days...and that's in spite of having to be the "good student" and all that.

I'll get over it....When is Golden Girls on???

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

hybrids (not cars)

I confess...that I'm some odd hybrid of total self-doubt and a bit of snobbery.

I doubt I'm good at my current job (or my last job). I doubt I'll find another.

I doubt that people like me and think they merely tolerate me.

I doubt the people who tell my husband I'm pretty and think they are just humoring him.

I doubt the pain will stop and doubt I am strong enough to deal with it. I also doubt whether I'm a good person b/c I complain about it when others have problems that are so much worse.

But I also confess that I get pretty darn high-and-mighty. I get annoyed by dumb people, and I think a lot of people are dumb. I get REALLY annoyed by verbal tics and certain grammatical errors (though I'm not flawless here). I think America needs to move its collective butt more and realize that exercise is more than walking to the fridge for another beer. I feel virtuous for being fit. I am proud of having attended top-notch schools and think my education was superior to most. I think being early (and I'm obsessively so) is a major virtue.

Now I want to put in disclaimers. I have them. But I'll resist that urge.

The Boy says we are all hypocritical. I try not to be when it comes to specifics...I try to follow the golden rule and all that jazz. Maybe I'm more paradoxical than hypocritical. I like that word...paradoxical...sounds mysterious and kinda sexy.

Add that to the pompous side.

Friday, April 10, 2009

friday afternoon...health ramble

I confess...I feel the need to post something before the week ends.

I went to a new doc on Wednesday. His honest opinion seems to be that I'll likely just remain in pain and we'll never really know why. He is going to do another lap (a minor surgery that I've had twice) but sees about a 30% chance it'll make a difference. I felt a bit odd pushing for it, but I need even the hope of 30%....it is a minor enough surgery that those odds are worth it.

So I go back under May 1. Is it wrong to wish for him to find something?

My dad says that he's being honest and that he'd just had that convo himself with a patient the same morning.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I confess...this is just going to be me whining.

I'm in pain. A lot of pain. Crawl into the fetal position and cry pain. It is really bad right now. And it has just been constant...not always this severe, but always there. And I'm so tired.

We went out to eat last night...rare for us midweek (I'm telling myself we'll be good on Friday). We were only there about an hour and I really couldn't make it. Though I did enjoy the cheesy comfort food (and ice cream later), just sitting up and looking "normal" was too much.

I don't know what the new doc on Wed can offer. I've never seen much offered for endo. Which is ridiculous. I'm trying to have hope though b/c I kinda need to in order to even get to next week. I'm close to the "just take it all out" point...but there's no promise that even that will work.

I took a pill. They don't always help. And seem to have less and less of an effective time span. Sometimes I still feel the pain but care less (and get numb fingers and lips...). I'll take that right now...even for half an hour.

I warned you. One whine-filled post. But it is all I have to offer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

sympathy and judgment

I confess....that I have sympathy but also limitations.

My recent Facebook update led to a bit of a debate and made me think quite a bit. I commented on feeling less inclined to give to a homeless person whom I'd seen smoking or on a cell phone. My liberal-side friends were a bit put-off by this.

On the cell phone side, one pointed out that you can't exactly have a landline to look for jobs if you are homeless. I suppose that's a fair point. I will say his phone looked nicer than mine though...you don't need bells & whistles for job calls. And he was very much trying to hide his conversation which made it look pretty suspect. It also wouldn't have been during business hours...but I do admit there could be a rationale for the phone generally.

On the smoking side, there was more debate and I was criticized for judging. In general, I think most homeless people are victims of circumstance. I'd wager most also made some bad choices along the way, but many didn't make any worse choices than I've probably made...they just didn't have the luck I did in some aspects of their lives. I do feel bad for them and hope that their lives turn around. I do not think that most of them deserve their fate (though I can't go so far as to say that none do...blanket statements are rarely the best).

That said, I think I stand by my reluctance to give to the smoker over the non-smoker. If you are asking for my money, I think I do get a bit of a right to judge how you might spend it and smoking makes me question the choice that will be made. I can see that it might be one of the limited pleasures in a hard life, but I still prefer it not be where my money goes. I don't donate to charities if they are going to use my money for what I deem are unworthy causes and I personally find lunch worthier than a smoke. I'm not saying that the smoking homeless man is a bad person. I don't see how I could make that conclusion from my limited set of facts. But if you ask for my money, I get the right to make a judgment on your spending habits.

I pass people asking for money on a daily basis. I wish I could buy them each a turkey sandwich. But that isn't realistic for me either. Just like I can't donate to every charitable organization, or even every worthwhile one. Deciding where to donate is certainly a form of judgment...but it isn't the same thing as judging the person as a whole. And I think it is my right.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Walk This Way

I confess...that I have no patience when walking to and from the T...

We saw an absolutely awful comedy show recently but one guy did make a comment that I've been saying since we moved here and walking became part of my commute...we need a real set of pedestrian rules. Clearly, I should be the arbiter for these rules so here's a start...

  • Divide and conquer -- Lanes are a wonderful traffic tool, allowing grandma on her Sunday jaunt to proceed at her own pace while Young Hipster guns past her in the next lane. Let's use this principle on the sidewalks too...slow traffic keep right. Likewise, on escalators, walk left, stand right.
  • Merging -- Again a driving principle we can use. If you are entering the "stream of traffic" (or crossing it), yield to oncoming "vehicles". Don't just blindly step out of your office building in front of folks already in motion.
  • Keep On Truckin' -- Do not come to a sudden halt in the midst of a flowing stream of foot traffic (or greatly reduce your speed). This goes doubly for exiting escalators. It is a recipe for disaster.
  • Group dynamics -- I'm glad you have friends, but walking as a pack carries extra responsibilities. If you are occupying the full width of the walkway and someone approaches from the opposite way, some members of the group must fall back to allow the passerby room. You should not stare angrily at said passerby or ignore them entirely and hope they will magically fly over your pack or sacrifice themselves and step into motor traffic. Likewise, if you are a slow-moving pack (esp. the kind adorned with cameras and sight-seeing maps), keep aware of folks coming from behind and looking to pass.
  • Smokin' Hot -- I get that you are filling your nicotine jones between the office and the train. But, again, smoking means extra responsibility. Be aware of who ends up in your lovely smoke trail and give them extra leeway to pass to escape. And polluting the air is enough...don't toss your butts and pollute the ground too. I looked it up...while paper and tobacco will degrade fine, the filters will not.

As these have now been published, I expect compliance. I reserve the right to add or amend rules at any time...and expect compliance with those regardless of whether I've added it here or simply in my head.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

and so on...

I confess...it is time for another random bullet points post...

  • I've been in a lot more pain than usual, enough so that I'm looking into a specialist or at least a highly-recommended gyn. My dad got me a referral that came from his practice's malpractice attorney and is a guy they use as an expert witness. I guess a referral from a med-mal attorney is a pretty good recommendation....
  • What did Dr. Phil do before the Octomom? I don't watch his show but see ads during Jeopardy and he's done something like a dozen shows on her. I thought he was an ass before, now I just think he's plain ridiculous.
  • I have a pretty limited wardrobe so wanted to replace the pants lost to my unfortunate yogurt spilling incident. I wanted to do so on the cheap so tried TJ Maxx and Marshalls. There were maybe a total of eight pairs of pants in y size between them, none even close to work-appropriate. There were oodles in other sizes. Yes, I am smaller than average, but I am in no way abnormally small and plenty of women are my size. It's discrimination, I tell ya! I want to "never, never, ever pay full price" too!
  • I realized that most of the shows I watch regularly are crime procedurals...Bones, NCIS, CSI. I'd think this says something about me, but really think it is more about the limited range of tv shows today. There are reality shows, crime procedurals, silly comedies, teen dramas, and a few melodramatic others. Didn't TV vary more "back in the day?"
  • We watch Jeopardy regularly. Most of the tournaments (teen, college, celebrity) become "break weeks" for us because they are semi-unwatchable for fans of the regular show. The Tournament of Champions is an exception and is in progress now. There's one woman I really like....which is unusual since I don't do a whole lot of "rooting" be it in game shows or sports. Online comments are really varied, some love this woman, others are pretty negative. She just seems really smart but really quiet about it...like you could deal with her every day and not know about the mass amount of information in her head. She also has this quiet confidence to her. I think I see myself in the quiet side...and someone I'd like to be in her confidence.
  • The MBTA added some no-seat cars to alleviate crowding on my train line. I'm not sure they really do that given that you are still limited by where you can hold on. Regardless though, why do they run these at times when the train is NEVER full? I've often seen them on a particular train that starts at my stop (instead of having two stops prior, as is the norm) around 7:10 AM. Generally, people have a seat available on this train no matter when they get on. And it is certainly never the crowd-jammed mess some later trains are. Why use the high-capacity train for a low-capacity crowd??

Friday, March 13, 2009

teens and relationships

I'm skipping the "I confess" theme. It isn't appropriate.

This upsets me beyond expression: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/13/many_boston_teens_surveyed_say_rihanna_is_at_fault_for_assault/

I saw a headline on it last night. A part of me "hoped" the blame was b/c she appears willing to go back...still not something I'd like to hear, but less upsetting than thinking this is normal. The story makes it clear how common partner abuse is...it is the norm to these kids....they accept it b/c they don't know they shouldn't.

And, related, shame on Nickelodeon for waiting for Brown to bow out of the Kids Choice awards on his own rather than taking action. Yes, he hasn't been convicted yet. It's still endorsing the wrong type of hero.

hurts so good...or not...

I confess...that I spend a lot of time figuring out how to balance pain and life.

There are a lot of quandaries that come along with a health condition that includes chronic pain. A few that I ponder regularly....

  • Treatment - To pop or not to pop

When you have an infection, you take antibiotics and they help cure it. When you have a cold, you take cold meds which don't help cure it but help with the discomfort. It gets trickier when you have a chronic condition. My pain pills certainly won't cure me. But it isn't like it is a defined short-term thing like a cold. I don't want to be taking these things every day and I'm not going to be all-better next week. It's hard to decide when to "give in" and when to "hold out." Sometimes the pain's just too bad, sometimes it it lower level but too unrelenting. But there's never a magic moment when popping the pill is the obvious right answer.

I worry too that sometimes I just like feeling "better" and "lighter" after a pill. I do not ever want to be taking them for that result. But I've been tempted.

I also worry they'll stop working. Darvocet did. I don't want to go another step-up...and I'm not sure my doc would even give me anything stronger than I take now.

And, as a related aside, there are the weird times where I hope it'll get a little worse. Because then I'll just pass out...not truly, but eventually my body gives in and falls into a very odd sleep state (not restive, but I'm completely out). If I'm headed there, then why bother with a pill?

  • Exercise - To sweat or not to sweat

There are all sorts of experts out there with rules on working out while sick (i.e. the "above the neck" rule). I haven't seen ANY on working out with chronic pain.

When the pain is bad, it is tough to get going. If I can get myself moving, I'll feel a lot of relief during the workout. And then MUCH worse rebound pain after. I can't decide if the relief is worth putting up with the rebound, especially when that often hits during my commute.

But, it isn't like skipping the gym will help my body fight off a virus or something like that. And if I skipped every time I felt ill, I'd rarely go. But, then again sometimes my body is just so tired of fighting that it doesn't have much else to give.

  • Staying home - To work or not to work

It is good to stay home when you are sick. You let your body's healing forces do their work by resting and you avoid sharing the bugs. But, again, this is not so clear when it is chronic. Resting at home won't make it better. No one's gonna catch it. There's no promise of an end in sight when I'll be "better" like there is with a cold. But there are still days when I just don't have much to give the world and need to curl into a little ball and hide.

This is such a self-indulgent, self-pitying ramble. But I think it there is a lot more involved in chronic pain than people who don't live it tend to realize.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

plugged in

I confess...that I've been thinking about connectedness and our need for constant entertainment.

On Friday, I got it into my head that I wanted to put something "good" into the world in a small way. I was going to find someone on my commute home and compliment them. Nothing big, but maybe it would matter to them.

I go home at 6 on Fridays and the ride is my quietest of the week...I think everyone else either leaves early Friday or sticks in town for dinner. I got on the train and glanced around to find a nearby commuter. But, my plan was foiled by technology. EVERYONE within comfortable speaking distance was either on the phone or plugged into an IPOD or the like (more the latter than the former). I didn't have anything vital to say that would justify interrupting them and asking them to pull out an earpiece. So I didn't say anything.

This sorta bothered me. Does being connected end up stopping us from connecting?

It also brought up a long-standing, semi-related issue I've had with all this portable entertainment. I think we lose something when we can't sit quiet and unplugged for even twenty minutes. This is especially an issue for me with kids and vehicle-based DVDs. I can absolutely understand them for a long trip, but does the kid really need to watch Dora on the ten minute ride to Stop & Shop? I think we're really hurting our kids when we don't give them time that they need to self-entertain in a bit of an un-entertaining environment. I do completely admit that it is much easier to say this as a non-parent who isn't dealing with a whining toddler in the back seat.

Anyway, I complemented someone last night on a pretty ring and she beamed.

And today I warned a guy that he still had a tag on his pants (a big "Marshalls" price tag right at the small of his back). He thanked me profusely for saving him much embarrassment. Good thing he wasn't wearing an IPOD.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

rambling on

I confess that...I have nothing much to say but feel like posting something so here are some random thoughts:

  • I had pizza Monday. It was yummy. I didn't feel at all guilty at first, but do now. And I know that's irrational and silly.
  • I am BEYOND tired of winter
  • I am afraid of horses. I was knocked over by one at day camp but I don't really know if that's when it started. I can see why people think they are beautiful but you won't get me near one without a fight. And I don't feel much need to get over the fear
  • I am worried about money right now. Recruiting is not a fun field when no one is hiring.
  • In a similar vein, my job is becoming more mentally challenging. I talk to so many people with strong resumes who have gotten laid off and are so down. And I can't help most of them.
  • I am glad it'll be light when we leave work soon. Some days I get to my train stop at home 25 minutes before my van but I get nervous walking the route home in the dark. I do need some snow melting to happen before I can walk though.
  • It made my day yesterday when the van driver was 15 minutes early and rescued me from the freezing temps. She's usually a "right on time" type but sometimes she feels bad for me since she knows I'm there early.
  • I become a bigger fan of red wine with each passing year. I still never remember what bottles I loved, but I think my palate has gotten more discriminating and think that's kinda cool.
  • I have also grown to appreciate dark chocolate. Which is good....might as well have the type with some extra health benefits.
  • I have gotten a bit bolder as a result of my job and having to call up some pretty high-ranking folks sometimes. That's a good thing.
  • I'd like to write something. But don't know what. Probably not a full book, just some sort of "piece"....I know that is beyond vague. Maybe an essay about either the endo or my food issues.
  • When I am on hold and the music changes from one song to another, I expect the person to pick up.
  • I really have nothing to say. I didn't have anything to say to start with.

Monday, February 23, 2009

and the envelope please

I confess that....I may very well have a different "ranking" when it comes to the major Oscars.

Traditionally, "Best Picture" is considered the top prize overall. In some years, "Best Screenplay" has been viewed as almost a 2nd place. For me, I think it might actually be the reverse. I tend to like strong, plot-driven movies that rely very heavily on substance and much less on style. Flash and color and the like are all fun, but a strong story wins me every time. I think that may be why I've often picked a screenplay winner as my personal best picture. That's what "works" for me.

I wanted Milk to win last night because of the story and the acting. It grabbed me and I was lost in it...almost forgetting it wasn't more of a true documentary. But, I can admit it wasn't too much for the eyes. The visuals fit the story, but they didn't go beyond it. Slumdog was much more visual...and musical too. Maybe that's part of the difference...a "Best Picture" has more of a balance between plot, acting, visuals, and music. It is a package deal. I'm more of an elements girl.

I remember many moons ago my college roommate and I were debating over email with my cousin about Titanic vs. Good Will Hunting. I still prefer Good Will Hunting, by far. But it is definitely a "simpler" movie in terms of style. So maybe my diagreements with the Academy become an "It's not you, it's me" thing.

Or a difference in priorities.

Or, maybe I'm right and they're wrong...just 'cause. :P

Friday, February 20, 2009

guilt by association

I confess that...I've been pondering the issue of attorneys and clients lately.

In a recent state election, one candidate tried to attack the other by bringing up the fact that he'd represented a pretty low-life of a criminal in his attorney days. This pissed me off. And it didn't seem to work too well. I think that attorneys in particular take the "everyone has a right to a defense" view in general criminal proceedings (i.e. non-"white collar crime"). The general public is a bit tougher on the lawyers (they are tougher on ALL lawyers), but I think they can still be pretty okay with it. Maybe it's all the lawyer shows on TV or something.

But, I'm wondering if we treat the issue the same when it comes to either civil or white collar matters. I saw an article about the attorneys for Madoff having to defend themselves a good bit (aside from potential conflict issues) and their choice to accept the representation. Do we judge these attorneys more harshly on the basis of their clientele?

One factor, among many, in my choice of law firm after graduation was that I didn't like that another one of my options was a firm that did a lot of tobacco work. They did say that you'd never be forced to do those cases, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be part of the firm anyway if that was a big part of their business. I'm not sure how much that was about what I felt I wanted for myself versus passing judgment. I didn't want to defend rapists either, but I was/am glad someone does and my feeling about the tobacco work was somehow different than the criminal work....even though the same principle sorta applies and the system needs advocates on both sides.

I did work on a case for a handgun company at one point. That was hard for me, but I think I was okay because it was a specific insurance matter and not a lawsuit by someone injured by the product. I had to work through that one a bit though some days. I'd have been personally uncomfortable with some other types of representation for that client. And I'm not sure how I feel towards the places that take those cases.

I have nothing in the way of a conclusion for this train of thought but wanted to share it anyway. It's weighing on me in a weird way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

what sounds easy

I confess that...I feel like I struggle with the strangest things.

For a while now, I've thought about cutting back on my weekly mileage. I'm tired a lot and sore much of the time. I always do take a rest day, but the my mileage has still been high. To be fully honest, when you add in both my workouts and informal walking (i.e. work to T), I've been over 50 miles pretty consistently. I got it into my head to average out to 7 miles a day and then decided 50 was a nicer number than 49. I've told myself there'd be no shame in going to 6 miles a day...42 per week. Mentally, I know that is PLENTY. I'm not training for anything and I'm well over the recommended cardio for health. But it is indescribably hard for me to actually do.

I took an unplanned rest day Monday. I can't recall my last unplanned rest day. I was in a LOT of pain and really just couldn't push myself through. I think it was the right call (Note to me: I do want to muse on the chronic pain and exercise thing eventually...it is pretty complicated, at least for me). I KNOW it was. But I can't get it out of my mind. I'll still end up with 42 miles, maybe a little more, if Thursday and Saturday are "normal". In fact, I was higher the first two weeks of the month so I'd actually still be over 7/day for February. I KNOW this is plenty. I'd tell anyone else that they are doing MORE than enough.

So why can't I LISTEN to that?

Obviously, there's a ton of complicated stuff in that answer. And I'm not going to type it all out...at least not here. I also know I am far from alone in this particular battle. But, thinking about it is making me more appreciative to how much of a struggle other addictions must be. I can be judgmental on addictions...smoking in particular...but I know firsthand that KNOWING and DOING are worlds apart.