Friday, December 30, 2005

Obey the Gingerbread

Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
Yes, that is a river of chocolate surrounded by mini marshmallows. In the top right corner of the photo there is a bowl of peanut butter flavoured fudge to cancel out any virtue we might feel by eating the bits of fruit and veg.

Despite this photograph, so far the festive season has been pretty "good" as far as pigging out goes. I may make up for that tomorrow night at the New Year's Eve party we're hosting.

Hosting Hogmanay. YAY. I'm excited. New Year's Eve is a big deal in Scotland, and I've garanteed us a bunch of first footers by tempting them into our home with ham and mulled wine.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunset / Moonrise With Cold Fingers

Nov2005 009
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
We drove into the nearby mountains yesterday afternoon, hoping to get lunch at a bakery, and finding they were out of everything but nachos at the snack bar. So we had nachos and danish pastries for lunch, then carried on to a little bit of offroad driving. The trail we were on turned out to connect with one of our favourite longer trails, but there was a gate closed across it, so we didn't get to do a big loop, just got out of the car and wandered along the trail for a bit. It was pretty chilly, but that felt nice as long as we were walking. It felt like real November weather. We got back to the vehicle just in time to avoid being stuck in the dark without flashlights. For the last few minutes of walking back, Matt had his camping knife ready in his hand in case of coyotes or mountain lions.

I must admit I was being cheerfully oblivious to the whole "we're in the wilderness" thing. I'm so used to living in a place with city parks, and even if you do go off into the Scottish wilderness, you're hardly going to be leapt upon by a pissed off rabbit or a rabid sheep and have to defend yourself with a bowie knife. The wild haggis keep themselves to themselves. Sometimes it's a little daunting to realize that people do get jumped by mountian lions here, not often, but a couple of times a year. Maybe I should get myself a camping knife too, all I had yesterday was a pair of tweezers I brought in case of a close encounter with a cactus.

Lions and Cacti and Bears! Oh My!

O.K. No bears here, they're further north, but I know what to do if I encounter one: run, but not up or down hill, AROUND a hill. Seriously, they can't run with one side higher than the other, but they can climb trees. So if you ever encounter a wild bear run along a hillside, don't climb a tree like everyone does in the movies.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Watch what you say

Not that long ago I was commenting that my new post-wedding life contained few significant landmarks and deadlines for me, and that that was a good state of being for me.

Well, evidently the lull was too much for me and I needed a new project, because I've decided to apply for graduate school. Specifically to study epidemiology and add the letters "MPH" (Masters in Public Health) to my name. "M.P.H." The post graduate degree that sounds like a stifled burp. Seriously, try it. Try saying "mph" and making it sound scholarly.

So besides my current biostatistics class (in which I have earned a "A" every week so far, go me) I now must start studying for the GRE, which is a post-graduate study entrance exam type thing. Standardized test a la I.Q. tests. I've already signed up to take it in the middle of December, just to make it real. The application is due March 1st. So there's two new deadlines I'm counting down to: Mid-December GRE exam, and 1st of March application due, including spiffy letter of intent and worshipful reference letters from my boss and her cronies. My boss is very supportive of this, I'm very relieved, I was a little afraid to tell her I'd suddenly moved up the schedule for deserting her.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Wow. The coffee cart coffee must be way stronger than what I'm making at home, I just had one cup from the cart and I'm all zoomy and light headed. My hands are actually shaking! For reference, I usually have 2 or three large mugs of coffee in the morning at home.

I'm going to eat my lunch, drink some water and hope that I slow down soon so that I can do some cell culture. Hopefully my coworkers won't be put off by me flittering about the lab muttering "buzz buzz buzz, zoom zoom, buzzbuzzbuzz", which is how a friend of mine once responded to a double hammerhead.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On Being Damp

Being damp and a little bit cold reminds me of home. I never used to bother with an umbrella because Edinburgh rain so often came with gusty winds that it was too much hassle and you got wet anyway. Besides the fear of thwacking a passerby with your brolly because of an ill-timed puff of wind.

Right now I'm sitting at my desk with damp feet, I stepped in a puddle and my formerly waterproof wondershoes are evidently wondershoes no longer. Just soggy moccasins.

The odd thing about rainy weather is that it makes me homesick. You'd think I'd be extra glad to live in California when it rains, because the rain here is only a small part of the year, but it makes me miss my parents' house and the fireplaces. Damp cold weather NEEDS a roaring fire to toast yourself in front of. My electric fan heater doesn't quite cut it. I have to resist the urge to make this an excuse to live on tomato soup and fried cheese.

Now that I think about it I was cold a lot growing up, which is probably why I'm such a heat seeker now, except for when the weather gets over 90F and I turn into a melted puddle of grumpy goo. Cold bathrooms: trying to keep my entire body under the stream of hot water in the shower because despite the steam, the air stayed resolutely chilly; being thankful for wooden toilet seats, so they were never that cold to sit on. Cold bedroom: getting into bed and spending the first few minutes shivering until my body heat warmed up the pocket of blankets I was in; trying to change into my pajamas under the blankets so I never had to be completely uncovered; giving up on my bedroom and just getting dressed for the morning in the kitchen, in front of the AGA, on which I would pre-warm my shirt.

I wonder if it would drive me crazy now to be so cold. I don't think so, our flat on 30th street was so uninsulated we referred to it as a shack, we'd wake up able to see our breath and shuffle quickly to the livingroom and turn on the heater. Which, by the way, was mounted about 6 feet above the floor level so it very kindly heated all the air next to the ceiling before it started to do us any good. Chilly mornings huddled into a bathrobe and slippers are my favourites, they make it so much more fun to wrap your hands around a mug of hot tea or coffee, rainy weather makes me appreciate my nice dry flat full of warm colours, and it really makes me appreciate the fact that Marble is a well trained foot-warmer. She's quite happy to take a nap on top of my feet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In the name of science

I got up at 5.05am this morning, somehow managed to make myself porridge (and eat it) and stagger out the door to my car just after 6. The coffee pot was empty, and making more was beyond my mental capacity that early.

Leaving the house without coffee was a mistake, I found myself fighting droopy eyelids at stoplights by the time I got to work. Now that I've done the 7am cell treatment that neccesitated my early morning, and I've got 2 1/2 mugs of coffee starting to work their magic on my system I'm finally starting to feel awake. Hooray for the mini coffee machine on my desk. Hooray for pilfering the little pods of milk from the cafeteria.

I still want a nap though.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

No wonder I suck at pushups

I can bench press....



Twenty Five Measly Pounds.

The only way I can go is up, since 25lb is the weight of the unloaded bar I have no choice but to work my way up to...THIRTY MEASLY POUNDS.

Actually I'm really pleased at yesterday evening's workout, my arms, shoulders and back are aching nicely, and nothing went ping.

My legs are even more pathetic than my bench pressing skills though, unloaded squats for yours truly for a while before I attempt to add the 25lb bar across my shoulders.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I don't know what I'll be doing this time next year

I can be fairly sure I'll still be working the same job, continuing to expand my role in the research, living in the same flat with the same husband and the same cats (and the same too-long commute). But there's no big events being counted down to in my life. No wedding, no big trip, NO MOVING. Hooray for no moving.

Matt's got a big exciting countdown going on, he's counting down to leaving his job on December 31st and starting life as a full time student in January. I suppose this is a countdown for me too, but not really, it's going to be a huge change for Matt, and he can't wait to be staying up late studying for himself rather than staying up late cramming Microsoft text books and running labs that don't work in preparation for teaching the next day. Really, that's Matt's landmark, when he transitions from work to university my job will be to keep an eye on the money and make sure we don't go broke, which is my job right now anyway, so it'll be less of a big change for my daily life.

The point is, for the past several years I've been all about the big countdowns. Being a student was a life full of them: the end of this class, the start of the next semester, chopping up the years into bite-sized terms and holidays punctuated with final exams. Counting down to graduating, to moving to the US, to moving apartments, to moving again (to my very own studio), to moving in with Matt, to moving with Matt, to closing escrow on our condo (and moving), to the handfasting, to our trip to the UK, to the wedding. Actually the counting down to the wedding overarched a couple of the moves. See all those moves in there? I didn't even list every one since I graduated...

A woman at work had a baby about a month after Matt and I got married, then a couple of weeks ago a friend told me she's pregnant and I realized that on some level I'm envious of the baby-fest. Probably because now I'm in a stable relationship, and I know who the father would be of my kids, so I can actually realistically picture it happening. I've always known that I want to be a parent, but it was always a very off-in-the-future hypothetical kind of thing. Now we're married there's actually a timeline, albeit a very vague timeline: Matt's going back to university, then I go to grad school, then we seriously look at the whole kids thing, 'cause we'll be in our early 30s by then. That's a loooong timeline, five or more years. That's also about the time we've agreed to consider relocating to the UK for a couple of years. I'm not counting down to it, it's too vague and far away. I'm certainly not thinking "just 5 more years and then I can get knocked up AND move countries!" It will be exciting to be at the point where we decide it's time to throw away the birth control and see what happens, but I don't want it NOW. Yet I definitely have been feeling a twinge of envy for my few acquaintances who are "there" already and have kids.

I've been wondering why I should feel this twinge, I certainly don't think now would be a good time, I want to spend time with my husband "just us" for a while longer, we are about to severely limit our income for the next three years, and there's no room in our place for a kid, so a kid would mean moving to a bigger place, which we can't afford since our income is going down for now...but still...that want is there now more than I've ever felt it. Weird. I started to worry that I was falling into the trap of longing for the next stage and forgetting to enjoy what I have now. I wondered if I was talking myself into wanting something that just plain doesn't make sense right now, just so I could feel deprived. I tried to talk myself out of that little envious twinge. It didn't work.

Then, last week, I was talking action plans with my boss, what we want to happen in the next 6 months, and the next year. She picked up her calendar to illustrate which month a grant application would be due, realized her calendar only covers 2005 and said "oh, guess I need to get a new calendar". Then it hit me. It hit me that next year is a blank slate. It hit me that I don't have anything lined up for 2006 beyond living my life and meeting my goals at work. No landmarks beyond anniversaries and birthday parties. In that moment I felt so free. Free to channel my energy into improving my life every day, to focusing on now in specific and the future in general, rather than one single future event. The experience of being the newlywed wife of a student engineer and mommy to no-one but a pair of relatively well behaved felines.

Suddenly I don't envy the expectant mom and the new mom nearly so much. Having a child has got to be one of the biggest countdowns there is, and after that it's landmark after life changing landmark, all the way through to going from parent to grandparent. No thanks. I think I want to get used to living without making new landmarks for a while.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Stopped Watching, Started Loosing

In the 10 days since I quit Weight Watchers Online, I have lost 1.6lb, breaking a 5 month plateau, granted the plateau also involved my wedding, and all the preceeding planning and running about like a headless chicken, not to mention the celebratory eating and drinking.

I think it's pretty apparant that WW was not doing it for me any more, it worked great when I first started, re-reminding me of portion sizes and mental strategies etc. I also started out on their "core" "no-counting" plan which involves eating lots of veg, fruit and wholegrains, and only using the anal retentive tracking on starchy and/or processed foods. That was perfect because I was also trying to move towards a less processed diet anyway, but it didn't work out long term because I use bread a lot in my diet, wholegrain bread, but bread nonetheless, and that's not a "free" food on the core plan, so I'd run out of points and feel pressured and stressed. So I switched to the count everything plan, which felt good for a couple of weeks because of the flexibility to pick whatever food, but I still didn't loose weight. Even when I was "OP", or on plan to anyone who hasn't been initiated into the cult.

That's another thing that was starting to bug me: all the jargon, the insiderspeak. It made me feel more on a diet that I wanted to, I don't want to be on a system or a plan, because then you can be off plan too.

Last week I realized that I was obsessing far too much over numbers: my points balance for the day, for the week, the fact my weight wasn't budging. I was feeling too strictly limited and that made me want to rebel and eat restricted items like icecream and french fries. I think part of it was that the simplified counting scheme, though easy to use and a great idea, made the points system too abstract and arbitrary for my brain. Calories I get, I have a real life handle on what they mean, fat calories, protein calories, carbohydrate calories, fiber, sodium content...blah blah blah. The points system is easier to pick up because it's simplified, but in the end it's too simplified for me, it wasn't giving me a sense of understanding and control of my diet, just a feeling that these arbitrary numbers were making me feel bad for going "over" this day or that.

So I quit. I bought the $20 FitDay Software for my home computer, pulled some new recipes to try, and recomitted to health over and above weightloss.

Whaddya know, I made salads for my lunches through the week, pigged out on the fruit plate at a lunchtime meeting but completely ignored the cookies (I knew I was allowed one, I just plain didn't fancy one, and they're good cookies too!), went to the bellydancing class on Monday and lost 1.6lb! Just taking the pressure off by removing my daily and weekly limits led me to make better choices anyway. Miraculous!

So I'm still tracking, because it will make me stay accountable, and I honestly want to know how many calories I have to eat (or not eat) in a week to loose weight. This way I still have graphs of my weight progressing and now I get pie charts of my calorie sources for the day and everything. As Dietgirl said: Geekgasm!

Just wait though, in a few months I'll probably feel the need to set limits for a while to kick me off another plateau. It seems to be periodic re-asessing and change of approach that really helps keep things going when you're reinventing yourself bit by bit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Harvard loves me as I am

I'm playing around with a bunch of calculators on the website of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, and am generally pleased by the results: I'm low risk for every form of cancer they've got, except for melanoma because I'm a peelie-wallie pasty white Celt. The wierd thing is that, for the cancers where risk is affected by being overweight...the website is saying "well done, you are not overweight". I put in correct height/weight stats, and every other website I've asked has said "overweight" or even *gulp* "obese". I think I'm right on the borderline between those two categories if you go by the highly flawed BMI chart.

Meh. So Harvard think's I'm not overweight. I'm tempted to play with the weight data to see at what point they would consider me overweight.

HAH! OK, the CANCER risk calculators don't think I'm overweight, but the DIABETES risk calculator does. I guess cancer is linked to more extreme levels of overweight.

Now I'm going to go pull faces at the Diabetes Risk Calculator, cause it called me a fatty.

I'm sorry, I just don't undulate that way

Last night I went to a bellydancing class thinking I was well equipped for the style, being in posession of a fair bit of hip and a not invisible belly. Oh, I know it's not about jiggling the wobbly parts so much as it's about isolations of muscle groups in your abdomen. My abdominal muscles don't like being singled out it seems, or my spine isn't used to my ribcage bending one way while my hips bend the other, or something. I don't remember feeling so out of touch with my parts since I took ballet classes when I was 5 years old! I'm going back, it's precisely the unfamiliarity that makes me want to learn bellydancing, the challenge to try something different. When I took up karate it was new and different, but I took to it right away, it was easy for me, easier than I'd expected. Now I think it will be fun to try something that I don't take to right away, especially if it'll help my abdomen look anything like that of the lovely instructor Sabrina.

The other plus is that two friends of mine are going to the class, in fact Laura and Bonnie told me about it in the first place, and it's not that often that you get a chance to take up an activity with friends, usually nobody's free at the same time, or interested in the same things. As a surprise bonus on the friendly front, another woman I know appeared at the class last night too, it's a small world in San Diego when you start getting into obscure things like bellydancing, period clothing or martial arts. So far a lot of the people I've become friends with have turned out to know a lot of the other people I've become friends with too.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sleep? It's overrated

I would not do well living in the tropics. It's only been hovering between 70-80% humidity here, with temperatures ranging from the 70s at campus to the high 90s where I live, compared to many places just in the US that's NOTHING. But I'm suffering, especially where sleep is concerned. First we have the problem that the A/C unit is in the living room, so we open windows in the bedroom, which results in much excited climbing and leaping about of cats. All night. Venetian blinds going *scrunch scrunch CLACK* is not a restful lullaby. Cats standing on your head/face on their way to the window above your head? Also not restful. Funny. But not restful.

This morning I was woken by a cry of distress from Matt, followed by the statement "Marble just SAT ON MY FACE!" I must admit that I wasn't too sympathetic, I thought of that Monty Python song and started giggling, it serves me right that I still have it playing in my head now. I just hope I stay awake enough not to start humming it under my breath, I don't want to shock my coworkers too much.

I think this weekend we will be taking several naps to compensate for a week of crummy overheated cat-bothered not-sleeping-through-the-night. The only other thing we have planned is to toddle over to the local Home Depot to learn how to install ceramic floor tiles, knowledge we plan to apply by creating a slate-tiled patch by our front door. Real slate is such yummy looking stuff, with all the natural colour variations and the nifty uneven surface, as soon as we saw the slate mixed in with the ceramic floor tile samples on display we both started drooling and figuring how to incorporate them into our place. We're officially grownups now: planning naps and home improvement projects for our weekend, not to mention getting excited over a style of floor tiles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Remainder Brain

Today I get to test my mettle as a cell culturist. I just got handed a tube labelled "Remainder Brain" by a colleague who has taken all the nice juicy white matter parts for himself, and left behind all the other bits, the bits with blood vessels, for me. But since my lab is all about the brain's blood vessels this is a case of waste not want not. We're trying to make use of someone else's waste tissue, which might not be the BEST way to develop a primary cell culture, since the harvest was geared towards HIS goals, not ours, but I'm all in favour of giving it a go.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Repeat Myself Sometimes

This post was originally a comment left on Mo's excellent pop-culture (as it relates to body image) blog, Big Fat Deal. I ended up waxing eloquent and feeling rather pleased with the result, so I decided to make it a post on my own blog. To remind myself that sometimes I can write, and it is funny. I just added this preamble to give due credit and linkage to my inspiration.

This article left a bad taste in my mouth. The information hidden in there is that the "non-dieting" group of women did actually change/improve their eating habits, and become more active, but they did not do it as part of "being on a diet". Also, they recieved counselling specifically geared to make them accepting of and happy with their own bodies, the "dieters" recieved support, but I can only assume that support focused mainly on the diet part, and not on supporting THEM and making them feel good about themselves.

So really I think it comes down to terminology. Arguing about terminology is, ultimately, not particularly useful to making us feel good about ourselves. We already know that thinking of it as "I'm on a diet" leads to also being "off" your diet, "breaking" your diet, and "failing" at your diet. In fact, I'm currently struggling with this very issue: trying not to beat myself up for not being on plan, while simultaneously working towards actually being on plan. All week.

I think that it's true that women who think of themselves as on a diet, or dieting, may tend towards the self-punishing techniques of trying to make themselves adhere to that diet. It's so easy to focus on the self denial and restraint part, because a lot of that is involved in changing your habits.

Healthy positive lifestyle changes and active choices are just much more FUN to do than self denial.

For example: eating a banana and a low fat yogurt because it makes your body feel good and energised instead of the short lived sugar rush of a banana split sundae...that's a positive being-nice-to-your-self behaviour.

Eating a banana and a low fat yogurt as a poor substitute for the banana split that you crave, because you're not allowed the sundae on your diet, and it would be bad for you and you'd feel like a big fat greedy cow for eating what you're not supposed to have...that's self punishing unhappy behaviour.

I think the word diet is a good one, but mostly in the context of phrases like "vegetarian diet", "organic diet", "balanced diet" or "my diet seems to contain an inordinate amount of liquorice and turmeric". We can make it a cage if we like, and lock ourselves inside it and be miserable, or we can think of it as merely a word that describes the combination of foodstuffs we use to fuel our day.

I've certainly found that starting to actively work on loosing weight and getting fitter has made me more self concious and critical about my appearance and fitness capabilities, because I'm paying attention now. It's hard to change your habits without becoming more self aware. It's hard to be self-aware without discovering a few things you're not very happy with, and wishing them gone, or different, or FIRMER.

Oh, and I also think claiming numbers as definitive as 90-95% is an immediate red flag, I want to know their margin of error on that number, not to mention how they define "success" and "failure". If you define failure as gaining back ANY weight whatsoever ever again...the only way to succeed is to go on the chainsaw diet and chop off you head, because you certainly won't gain back any of that pesky weight if you're dead!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Friday, July 01, 2005

Imaginary Friend No More

Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
This lovely lady is an imaginary friend of mine from the internet. We met online in 2000, the first time we met in person was just before Matt and I moved in together, and her visit was something ridiculously short like 18 hours. During which my bathroom drain backed up, so I got to offer the hospitality of Matt's sofa.

The second time we met in person was when she flew cross-country to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, which is this photograph. She spent the whole weekend being greeted by exclamations of "oh, so you DO exist!" from my local friends.

They had collectively dubbed her my imaginary friend. I'm not sure if that makes me a prime example of the 21st century restructuring of interpersonal communication and friendship...or a geeky wierdo.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Most Important Photo

Wedding 023
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
Never mind my dress, hair and makeup, never mind my sweetie's fabulous kilt and plaid (and hair). It's the CAKE I have to show everyone first!

Isn't it beauteous?

Saturday, June 18, 2005


The wedding was wonderful. Exactly what we'd planned, and so much more, we made half the guests cry with our ceremony.

Now I'm going to enjoy my homecoming beer and snuggle with my HUSBAND.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bovine Themed Dairy Product Container

This whole wedding registry thing is pretty interesting. I vary back and forth between obsessively checking the list to see if something else got bought yet, and feeling horribly greedy and trying to pretend that it isn't really me asking for monogrammed beer mugs or a $190-dollar picnic set (since removed).

It's also interesting seeing who buys what, we've already been told we're weird for not picking vastly overpriced china place settings and opting more for cookware and random "grown up" things like table linens and serving bowls. One aunt decided she wanted to get us something much more fancy and made us pick a crystal decanter and glasses to go with. Although I know the gifts aren't really the point, it is sort of nice to get some high-end kitchen stuff to balance out the money we're spending on throwing the wedding. With the credit card balance we're currently chipping away at we certainly can't afford to buy ourselves an anodized nonstick frying pan and a cow creamer! That was one of the combinations that came up actually, one person combined salad bowl with salad servers, one combined healthy cookbook with a fabulous giant stew pot and my bachelor uncle picked a fry pan and a cow-shaped cream jug.

There is family significance to the cow creamer thing. I promise. I had been secretly hoping my Dad would get me a cow creamer, I think I even mentioned it to my parents, but they may have forgotten in the chaos of packing and getting their asses to California without forgetting the borrowed kilt and sporran for my Dad. Leaving behind a collection of over two hundred cow creamers and cow-themed butter/cheese dishes. Bovine Themed Dairy Product Containers. My Dad's quirkiest quirk, it gives him something specific to search for at antiques fairs, only he never realized how many there were out there until he started to look, and buy, and then he discovered e-Bay and it was all down a gently rolling dairy-country hillside from there.

There are a lot of very attractive models, ranging from Delft blue patterns to realistic markings and gilded horns. My Dad repairs the chipped horns and ears with putty and gold leaf. I'm particularly fond of the black and white Frisian ones with the udders carefully painted pink, they remind me of the tiny plastic toy farm animals I had as a kid. One striking model was made by the sculptor husband of one of his students, it looks a little like the brahma bull from India, with a cat perched on it's shoulders to represent one of my parents' two cats. A fairly plain looking brown cow has had aluminium-foil wings added, so that she can grace the Christmas tree every year (though not as the fairy on top, just somewhere on the tree).

Then there's the nightmare cows: Big bulging cartoon eyes with painted eyelashes. Purple polkadots and disembodied heads, oversized udders, pouty red lipsticky lips (to go with their false eyelashes) and some really scary colour combinations. The scariest so far is one of the disembodied heads, a large cheese dish consisting of the head resting on a matching plate. Only the face has been painted up like a crazy tribal drag queen cow and is large enough for a person to use as a face mask. Not that I've chased Matt around holding the dish/mask up to my face and mooing. I wouldn't do anything like that. Twice.

I don't plan to attempt to emulate my father's collection, but I'm really looking forward to having a nice understated plain white cow creamer in my china cabinet to remind me of it's numerous demented cousins in my parents' house in Scotland.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Shocked I even scored 8%

I am:
"You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

Are You A Republican?

Monday, March 28, 2005


We've had another contamination issue at work, and I keep discovering stuff that I was supposed to do...and then didn't. At home, we still don't have the shelves up in the closet, as a result there is still only 4 sq feet of floor in the study. The wedding plans, and the amount of planning still needed to be done, are starting to be scary.

Oh, but I'm seeing U2 tonight. Live and in person on a big stage. Them on the stage, not me.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oh Dear

You know, I get the feeling that my blog might make me come across as a drunkard. Particularly as I just had to try three time to spell "drunkard" correctly. Why do I think this? Because two of this year's posts have involved a hangover, and right now? Well right now I'm a little buzzed on Sangria. But honestly, most of the time I'm sober, it's just that most of the time that I'm sober I'm busy at work, or catching up on chores at home, and I only get the driving overpowering urge to post when I'm fuzzy enough to ignore the full laundry basket in our bedroom. Also, being hungover makes for funny stories, like having a severe problem figuring out you property taxes. I try to post funny stores here, not boring ones.

Right now I'm eavesdropping on my sweetie's conversation with his sister, he's mentioning our recent trip to Scotland, and how much he loved it, how much more beautiful than he'd imagined the country was. For some reason that makes my heart skip a beat. When we booked our plane tickets I told him that I'd have to use a crowbar to get him on a plane back to the dessert region we live in. It means a lot to me that the country held that attraction to him. Even though I suspect I will remain in the USA for the majority of my life, and raise primarily American children, the fact that I grew up in Scotland is a fundamental part of my own identity. I've even considered learning Gailighe for the sake of exposing my putative children to the culture. I don't really talk like a Scot, but I think like one. I think in a Scottish accent, but I speak in a transatlantic blended one. I have to, being little miss colloquial slang got too frustrating. Day-to-day I'd rather be generic and understandable than interesting and culture-specific. But it comes back to haunt me when I have to emphasize to a new acquaintance that I am, in fact, a brit, not a born-and-raised American.

Don't get me wrong, I don't deny my American half (or whatever fraction), but I first identify myself as British, and then Scottish. I certainly don't entertain the deluded notion that I'm a True Scot. When it comes down to it, Brits think of me as American, and Yanks think of me as either another Yank, or as a Brit, and frankly I feel a lot more at home being the "resident Brit" than I do being "the outsider". Considering that I'm often seen as "the outsider" in the City I was born and raised in...I think you could probably see why. It's only after living in the US for over 3 years that I begin to see that I'm becoming assimilated here and losing my obvious britishness. It's only after living here for over three years, and realizing that moving back to the UK would mean being "The American" again, and that moving to the UK is less economically viable than staying in San Diego County long term. Suddenly I have become aware of the fact that my children, Matt's and my children, will be American. Not just in name, but by birth. Aside from the technology gap and the usual cultural gap between parents and children...Our children will be American. They will not have an internal monologue that uses words like "drukit" and "dreich" or "glaekit" and "fushionless". Since my speech patterns are more John Cleese than anything else, the Scottish part of me will remain silent and unspoken to my children unless I make an effort to express it more.

The language of the region is part of me, but it's a part that carries on in silence. Culturing myself to use the obscure Scots words and speech patterns would feel like putting on an act, and would require much more time spent explaining my meaning to those I encounter day-to-day. But making these words and sayings that I find to be so definitive part of my outward personality as well as my inner world is the only way to transmit them to those around me. By the time my children, children I am not even actively planning as of now, are able to read Burns' poems and Sunset Song...By that time they will be as American as apple pie, and possibly not even interested in this obscure sub culture that their mother seems so obsessed with.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Hawkmoon 269

Like a desert needs rain
Like a town needs a name
I need your love.

Like a drifter needs a room
I need your love.
I need your love.

Like a rhythm unbroken
Like drums in the night
Like sweet soul music
Like sunlight
I need your love.

Like coming home
And you don't know where you've been
Like black coffee
Like nicotine
I need your love,
I need your love.

Matt spent over an hour yesterday looking through his collection of U2 to find this song, it turns out it's on the Rattle & Hum album, but not in the movie of the same name. He wanted to play it to me because it's the song that he associates the most with me, and us. Only he doesn't need nicotine any more.

Today is the anniversary of our first meeting with a realtor to look for a condo. Every day is Valentine's day for us, every day we're counting the blessings that come from having found each other, so I'm celebrating a year-to-the-day of starting our homeownership journey.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My Ass Is a Global Threat

No, I'm not having an attack of gas. I'm referring to the message projected by the outfit of a high-schooler I drove past this morning on my way to the freeway.

Again, I'm pretty sure that whatever you're thinking, I didn't see THAT. I am not about to post a rant ridiculing someone's large ass, that would be pretty darn hypocritical. I am about to ridicule what highschoolers wear, which is a much more socially acceptable form of rantage.

My first view of this girl was from behind, as I was creeping up a hill in a line of traffic and she was walking up the same hill. It looked like she was wearing a red plaid bodystocking with a black loin-cloth-style butt flap. That's why she caught my attention. For one thing, I figured a bodystocking would not be very warm in the chilly East County morning, or pass muster for school decency rules, but it was mostly because it was bright red plaid. Bright red plaid framing a large black rectangle hanging from her waist like a flag on a balcony.

As I got closer I realized that it was, in fact, thick leggings tucked into her sneakers, but the butt flap thing was still there, still just as weird. In fact, as I got closer I was able to read the message scrawled accross the rectangle of black canvas. It said GLOBAL THREAT in a scratchy spattered-paint looking font.

What type of fashion statement is being made by wearing a banner on your butt that says "GLOBAL THREAT"? I wonder if she got mocked for this outfit, or if her friends thought it was great, and themselves started to wear butt-banners with snappy slogans on them.

It's official: I'm a fuddy duddy. I'm bewildered by the clothing choices of teenagers. Though I still reckon it's ok to be bewildered by this particular fashion statement, it's only getting really bad if I start freaking out at kids with nose rings and spiky hair, or comment that someone needs a haircut and a nice shirt from the GAP to smarten them up a bit.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Stuffed Cat In Front Of Tree

Christmas 018
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
We took our tree down last week. Since we allowed ourselves to be corrupted into buying a PLASTIC tree there was no natural demise involving frequent showers of dry pine needles to indicate the tree had overstayed it's welcome. Instead we had the realization that Christmas was over two weeks gone.

Taking down a plastic tree is a bit strange: squishing the wired twigs back against the metal branches, turning the segment of tree upside-down to make the branches fold back agains the metal (but wrapped in green spikey plastic) trunk, then shoving the whole lot into a big cardboard box for next year. Sure it's handy, but there's definitely a lack of romance in the set-up and striking phases.

The cats managed not to destroy or knock over the tree. There's some suspiciously chewed-looking lower branches since they seemed to think the whole thing was a giant flossing device with sparkly stuff to biff at.

At some point Tali tried to climb INTO the tree from the arm of the chair. That didn't go so well. He ended up splatted on the floor tangled up in both tree lights and the cord for the venetian blind. It took him a little while to regain his composure after that stunt.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Have Miscarriage, Go to Jail?

I am so disgusted by this Virginia bill that I am having trouble typing a rational enough entry to get word out. The title is no joke, Republican Delegate John Cosgrove is trying to pass a bill which will essentially criminalize women for having a spontaneous miscarriage and failing to report such a traumatic and intensely private experience to the police.

Failing to report a miscarriage to the police is to be classed as a class 1 misdemeanor. The article linked to above states:

"Does the punishment fit the ?crime??
Suffering a miscarriage is no crime, but Delegate Cosgrove wants to make it a crime for a woman to fail to violate her own privacy in the first 12 hours after a miscarriage, so let?s look at his proposed penalty.

Cosgrove's bill says, ?A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.?

Let's see. What other crimes are punishable as Class 1 misdemeanors in Virginia? A cursory Google search reveals just a few...

Please, anyone who reads this... Get the word out, if you know anyone in Virginia, tell them what is trying to be passed and ask them to call their senator. Do not let something like this happen in a country that claims to base itself on principles of freedom of individuals.

Right now I have to go talk to Matt, who was lucky enough to get yelled at for trying to make nice conversation with me when I was busy re-living my own miscarriage of a couple of years ago and filled with inarticulate rage at the state of reproductive rights in this country.

PS - Happy New Year, if the political climate this year keeps going the way it did in 2004...We may just emigrate to Canada.