Thursday, December 15, 2005

This is what the modern 'pastoral' looks like. This is the big Eakins landscape now. This is the branching tree arts majors take deep, black-and-white photos of. Note: This is in fact a color image; it was just a really cloudy, monochromatic sort of day.
Is this person opposed to slavery? War? Two different people opposed to different things? Knowing this town, it was probably painted by rival gangs of radical anarchic syndicalists. Sometimes they get out switchblades and rumble. But then, in mid-dance, they realize that they're pacifists and the real enemy is The Man, man, and then they sit down and smoke some pot and paint signs together. Not a single street sign will be left unaltered! That's letting The Man win--telling us when to stop, and when to go, and when to yield, man, it's like living in a dictatorship.
Randomly sighted around Ithaca, New York. Who doesn't dig jive, man? You've gotta be hip to what's goin' down, cats and kittens. I really love this town. I want to come back next semester.

We'll see. The big meeting with mother and nutritionist and therapist and M.D. didn't go horribly, even considering that every last one of them agreed I should take a semester off and work on my shit. C'est la vie, mon cherie. And I, of course, went in feeling all adversarial and defensive, and ended up talking them down to letting me take a decreased course load and go to some program in a nearby town where I can eat two meals a day, twice a week, and have extra-strength super-duper therapy. Eh. More later. Or not, since I'll be in the hospital for a few weeks.

Catch you on the flip side, as they say. *Tired*

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pot for anorexia?

21. H. Gross, et al. A double-blind trial of delta-9-THC in primary anorexia nervosa, Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 3 (1983): 165-171

Look it up on PubMed if you don't believe me. The bad news? The majority of anorexics are going to be strong-willed enough to hold the munchies at bay even if they do get high. I suppose the point might not be the munchies per se, but rather the seretonergic and dopaminergic activity of marijuana in general...hmmm. It would be hard to moderate the dose of THC, too, especially if you're dealing with subjects who are drastically underweight. The body pulls some neat metabolic tricks out of its hat when in starvation mode, and there's no reason to think drug metabolism wouldn't also be affected...though there is research saying pot is fairly effective in treating patients with AIDS and cancer-related muscle wasting and appetite loss. The difference, I suppose, is where the appetite loss is coming from. In cancer and AIDS, patients aren't hungry but aren't averse to the idea of food. In anorexia nervosa it's just the opposite...someone is absolutely starving, stark raving mad with hunger, but can't stomach (pun happily intended) the idea of eating.

Women with eating disorders sho' won't be lining up for bites of Alice B's "Tokeless" brownies, at least I don't think so--though I could try and smuggle some into the hospital and conduct my own study. (That's a joke, son!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's true, you know. Once upon a time I was absolutely enamored of the idea that one could make public statements through graffiti--not mindless statements, but real political stuff. You could foment a rebellion with nothing but paint! Then I realized do you say?...slightly immature it is to make public property your own through such actions. Private property, with someone's OK, or on your own house? Sure, whatever, fine. But to breed enmity against your message just because you put it somewhere stupid seems ill-considered to say the least.

That said, I agree with this graffito, which I pass frequently on my way downtown. Another picture courtesy of Amy's camera. I'm not sure if this is directed against the war in Iraq, or the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Palestine, or at the world in general. It seems to fit all those situations; that's what's so disheartening. Does every generation feel like theirs is bound to be the last one? Is that why apocalyptic narratives grab our attention over and over again? Sometimes just living makes me feel like crying.

And as I'm PMSing again (or would be, if I were having periods) it's time for another installment of *drumroll* Things (and People) That Piss Me Off.
1. People who actually say things they saw on T-shirts, or that could be on T-shirts (example overheard recently: "There's too much blood in my alcohol system." Loser.)
2. Excessive negativity
3. The incorrect use of the apostrophe. Any mispunctuation, but especially the apostrophe. Nacho's is not the plural of nacho. Nor do the Smith's live anywhere. You don't form plurals with apostrophes, people.
4. Those who mindlessly appropriate from other cultures. "I wear this talisman of Brother Eagle because I want to HONOR, you know, Native American wisdom. And stuff." This especially bothers me now that I'm trying to get my (legitimately deserved) Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood.
5. People who buy organic food but don't recycle. I know people like this.
6. Emoticons. WHY? If you can't convey your emotional state adequately with words, maybe you need to work on your vocabulary.
7. When the people at the bakery don't separate the onion bagels from the rest of the bagels when they make a delivery. The inevitable result is a horror not even Mary Shelley could have anticipated: the blueberry garlic bagel. As effective as Ipecac, I swear. Keep one around in case of accidental poisoning.
8. Instructions that begin: "In case of accidental poisoning..." What, if someone ODs on purpose the instructions are different? Are you supposed to just leave them there to die?
9. Anything written by Dave Eggers. Ever. Also, I am chagrined to say, a good number of Wes Anderson movies. Cultural artifacts that are actually of poor quality but try to foist the responsibility for their inherent shittiness onto you, as in, "You just don't..." *sniff* "Get it."
10. Meat that looks unapologetically like meat (we had steaks for dinner last night *shudder*).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An artsy-fartsy picture I took near my house with Amy's camera (thanks, Amy!)
More to follow.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

So. Haven't written in a while. I've been a bit preoccupied. With what? With this:
Current weight: 107
Current height: 5'5"
BMI: 17.9 ( "severely underweight," the CDC says helpfully.)

("Does this body make me look fat?" she asks. Do you like the shirt, by the way? It's from my elementary school. Boone Elementary, named for Daniel Boone, who owned a cabin just up the road from my house. I used to wear that T shirt as a nightgown; now it's at the satisfying state of hipster-tightness, clingy in places but loose in others, and soft as all hell) I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but there's something strange going on, either with my body or my perception...I don't know how I can weight what I do and still be as fat as I am, teetering at the edge of obesity.
These are the numbers I obsess about, day and night; I dream about them, fantasize about them. How did I get here? I don't quite remember. I know there were periods when I was running seven miles a day, eating 1000 calories a day, eating nothing for days...until my body said "Hey, you. Yeah, you. Cut this shit out." Which it communicated through a stress fracture (and tendonitis--double trouble!) of my right foot. This kept me off the streets (away from running, I mean) for all of a week and a half: now I'm back, running a cool, easy three miles a day. It hurts a little. But as Courtney Love says, "It might as well, it might as well hurt..." Although I'm not certain Ms. Love is the person to look to for advice on major life choices. Ahem.

I'm definitely going into the hospital on Dec. 19th: my doctor here has arranged it with my parents and with the eating disorders unit back home. This means I'll be IN the HOSPITAL over f*cking CHRISTMAS. Deck the halls with boughs of hell-y. I really don't want to go, as any person who's acquainted with my stubborn ass knows. And I know it's juvenile to drag my feet and say "I don't wanna," but I DON'T f*cking WANNA! When I imagined my Christmas, I imagined myself taking baths when I wanted, watching TV when I wanted, cuddling with my beloved beloved cats and dog whenever I desired. I could drink what I wanted, eat (or not) what I wanted, take naps and go shopping and hug my mother and for hell's sake PEE when I wanted (not a given in the hospital...last time, when I was on a 24 hour watch--what they do the first 24 hours you're in the hospital, when I guess you're most likely to try and trick them or revert to old behaviors--the nurses wouldn't let you into the bathrooms for an hour after meals. They actually locked all the bathrooms. After that, if you needed to pee or whatever, you had to sing while you went, loud enough for the nurse standing on the other side of the bathroom door to hear you).
But enough of that. Another post later today, about less depressing topics. If you consider organic chemistry less depressing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

These are the lyrics from Tracy Bonham's mid-90s growler "Mother, Mother," from her CD "The Burdens of Being Upright" (Don't I know them!). I heard this song last week, for the first time in years, and I looked up the lyrics and thought, damn, sometimes the universe is soooo obvious about lining things up for you, putting your insides on the outside so you can look at them and get a little grossed out.
Funny, this was one of my favorite workout songs during middle school, and now I'm listening to it here as I while away the miles.
Infinite regression, they say, is mathematically inadmissible. So even regression is limited somehow. Still, I weigh now what I weighed in middle school.

Mother, mother, How's the family? I'm just calling to say hello
How's the weather? How's my father? Am I lonely? Heavens no/
Mother, mother, Are you listening? Just a phone call to ease your mind/
Life is perfect never better Distance making the heart go blind
When you sent me off to see the world
Were you scared that I might get hurt
Would I try a little tobaccoWould I keep on hiking up my skirt
I'm hungry, I'm dirtyI'm losing my mind, Everything's fine
I'm freezing, I'm starving
I'm bleeding to death, Everything's fine
Yeah I'm working making money, I'm just starting to build a name
I can feel it round the corner, I could make it any day
Mother, mother, can you hear me?
Sure I'm sober sure I'm sane
Life is perfect never better,
Still your daughter still the same
If I tell you what you want to hear
Will it help you to sleep well at night
Are you sure that I'm your perfect dear
Now just cuddle up and sleep tight
I'm hungry, I'm dirty
I'm losing my mind,
Everything's fine
I'm freezing, I'm starving
I'm bleeding to death, Everything's fine
I miss you, I love you

I hope my mother never reads this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"So," the therapist in my head asks, "What do YOU think this eating business is all about?"
Maybe I want to kill myself but I don't have the guts to do it outright.
Maybe it's, as Anne Sexton wrote, "Death on the installment plan."
Maybe it's about certain past events that have convinced me it'd be better not to have a body at all.
"Is it a desire to return to childhood?"
No. My childhood sucked more than my adulthood has, with a few exceptions.
"A fear of sex?"
Only insofar as the people I'm attracted to aren't the people my family and society tells me I should want to have sex with (only after marriage, of course). I'm more afraid of getting queerbashed than I am of having an orgasm. Way more.
"A symbolic rejection of your mother's nourishment in response to unresolved Oedipal desires?"
Freud pisses me off, have I mentioned that? And my mother breastfed me for less than a month, so by rights I should be a compulsive overeater, not an anorexic.
It's a way to have annihialation always within reach.

And since I'm premenstrual this week, it's time for a list of things I hate.
1. People who talk loudly on their cell phones. People who talk on their cell phones in public. People with cell phones who are not emergency room physicians (or me).
2. Vegans. A blanket statement. See also: self-righteousness.
3. People who don't realize that being Caucasian disallows them from growing dreadlocks.
4. My eight-o-clock Organic Chemistry lecture on Friday mornings.
5. The vast, vast majority of performance art.
6. The state of Connecticut.
7. Unwaxed dental floss. Why not just pound upholstery tacks into your gums?
8. Young male authors who write about their neuroses in a way that, should a woman undertake it, would be considered evidence of "crazy bitch syndrome." Witness the difference in critical acclaim for Jonathan Safran Foer or Johnathan Franzen as opposed to Susanna Kaysen or Elizabeth Wurtzel.
9. Elizabeth Wurtzel. You do not need to write a fourth book. Really. Especially if it's going to be exactly like your first three (What's next? Prostitution? or is she actually going to grow the hell up?).
10. People who enjoyed their teenage years.

Monday, September 26, 2005

So the old eating problems have been coming up again of late. Something about late September that does it--I'm not sure if it's the decrease in sunlight or the smell of the leaves or the shitty memories or WHAT, but it's been this way since middle school. Maybe even earlier--in sixth grade we had to write a paragraph about our favorite season to put up in the hall; we were supposed to be practicing our cursive or something. I wrote, I kid you not, "I like fall, because it suits my melancholy sensibilities." I'm not sure if that's funny or sad. Probably both, like life is.
I talked to my mom on the phone last night and she could hear that something was wrong. Since freshman year I've had these awful soul-crushing depressions each fall, and I swear I don't know how my mom does it, but she always knows...I was just so utterly depressed today. Nothing seemed worth doing. I half considered calling to make an appointment with the psychiatrist at health services, but thought better of it. I would prefer not to go on medical leave, and it has been not-so-subtly hinted that's where I'm headed if I don't straighten up--straighten up meaning eat correctly and exercise in moderation and have fulfilling personal relationships and not have these little (read:big) depressive twinges. As individuals, I like the therapist and doctor and even psychiatrist I see there: it's really the institution that bothers me. These people are really trying to be helpful, as people, but they're constrained by liability issues. This means that health services' motto is basically "We'll help you all we can--within the parameters of Cornell's institutional policy."

Cornell's instituional policy is cordially invited to suck my left one.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Here I am, reading...something. Organic chem stuff, probably (that again? Yes, that again. It's going to be 'that' for the rest of the year. And then the premed requirements will be done, and I'll take the MCAT and...wait. I don't actually want to think about the application process. I can feel myself hyperventilating already). Yes, I have a fork in my hair, too. Who made you the fashion police?

The roommate is gone for the weekend, which is a pleasant change. I've been having "naked time"--which I highly recommend--and listening to Garbage and Le Tigre at nine in the morning if I want to, and generally have been enjoying not having to be considerate of any other human beings while I'm in my room. Not that she's in the room that often when she's here--it's the principle of the thing, the fact that I don't have to worry about her coming into the room and seeing me au naturel and *bam*, becoming that skeevy roommate who lounges around nude. Which would be unpleasant for all involved.

Watched a movie called "8 Femmes" last night, with Catherine Deneuve and a host of other French actresses. Only problem with the movie, which otherwise was fantastic: My French isn't so good, so I have to look at the subtitles; thus 'multi-tasking' is precluded. Don't ask my why I always feel the need to be doing two (or preferably three) things at once; I have theories, but they're "beyond the scope of this text," as my chemistry book so kindly describes difficult concepts that the authors think, frankly, I'd be too stupid to understand.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So Hurricane Katrina--no longer a hurricane, thankfully--is headed towards Ithaca. Torrential rains expected, says, and possibly tornadoes.
And. possibly. tornadoes.
I can't really describe the twitchiness that sentence imparted to me. As a person born and raised in the middle of Tornado Alley, the "t-word" is not something I like to see thrown around carelessly. "Showers and tornadoes possible" seems terribly nonchalant to someone accustomed to the sight of F4 tornadoes raging across neighboring counties, sucking up cows and barns and in some cases roads. That's right; a strong tornado can pick up an asphalt road. No Oz jokes, please. Tornado warning were common enough in my youth; I, being a nervous child, would gather my things in a duffel bag and wait at the top of the basement stairs for the sirens or television to recommend descent. My parents, on the other hand, never wanted to go into the basement. They wanted, it seemed, to wait until the tornado came skipping down our very street and knocked on our door. Even when the sirens went off, my parents' motto remained: if we can't see it or hear it, it's not close enough to worry about. To which I responded, though not in these words, that by the time one can see and/or hear a tornado, it's probably too late to be "worried" and it might be more apropos to spend that time "running for the basement" or "wetting oneself."
Apparently East Coast tornadoes are not the mile-wide monsters I know, capable of picking up houses and tearing buildings off their foundations. These tornadoes are milder, even vaguely friendly, as I've heard them described. Like ponies. We'll see. Well, I won't see; I'll be in the basement.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Little time for a long treatise; I promise there will be more later, and of a more philosophical and poetic nature. But.

This is hilarious.

This is what I will feel like at the beginning of November, after I've spent 12 hours locked in my room drinking diet Coke, studying for finals and writing essays in multiple languages.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ever wiped your nose with a kitten? Wanna try?

It's that weird time of morning when, if you don't have a class or an appointment, it feels strange to be in bed but also strange to be doing anything else. It's positively cool outside, and that combined with the advent of classes makes me feel like someone sneaked up behind Summer and knifed it in the back. It's gone. And yet, it's still August.

The end of the summer used to be so exciting; notebooks and crayons had to be purchased, as well as glue and markers and the protractor that you lost by the middle of October but never needed to use anyway. The smell of a fresh sheet of notebook paper or a brand new crayon takes me right back to elementary school. Now, the end of summer (or, in fact, the middle of July) means Back-to-School displays that make you feel that same flutter of excitement for a few moments. Then those butterflies are mercilessly crushed by your conscious brain's reminder that you. are. an. adult. Or at least a college student who has to shell out 300 dollars for books that the college won't be using anymore when you try to sell them back (Did I intend to keep Organic Laboratory Techniques, 3rd Edition for the rest of my life? No, no I did not).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Classes start tomorrow; two German Studies classes for me, ja? Ja. Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be my big fat German days. The MWF, incongrously enough, will be days of Organic Chemistry and Essay Writing. Maybe I'll write an essay about aldehyde synthesis. Or maybe I'll just shoot someone instead of running the risk of boring them to death slowly and painfully, much like this blog is probably doing now (did I tell you about how I thought I would never be the type of person to write in a blog and bore other people with the mundane minutiae of my life, especially considering the fact that more than 50% of the world's population has never even made a PHONE CALL, and I should be using my incredibly large portion of the planet's material and monetary resources much less profligately? Guilt.)

I went for a run this afternoon and thought about how the law of conservation of mass is really shorthand for the law of conservation of energy, and how the universe is a closed system. Everything in you--every carbon atom, every nitrogen, everything--was at one point a component of something else. And when you breathe, or pee, or die, or just stand around (considering the rate at which we're all shedding skin cells), part of you becomes part of the rest of the world--a tree, or a high-rise apartment complex, or ME. So you could look at it as "whatever is gained somewhere is lost somewhere else," which is true; for plants to gain the nitrogen they need, animals and other plants have to perish and decay--OR, you could look at it not as a matter of gaining or losing, but of a Oneness sustaining itself, and lose yourself in the messy but precise order of the Universe.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I thought this might make my mother happy; look, Mom, there's a chance you may have grandchildren from the old-fashioned union of man and woman! Alas, the picture was posed, and so my parents' hopes of further progeny without benefit of artificial insemination and/or adoption are chucked unceremoniously into the dumpster behind Cy and me.
Don't we look like members of the Bolshoi?
Classes start in two weeks. Less, in fact; in thirteen days.

In a week's time I will be somewhere in Indiana (or Ohio, if we're lucky, but let's not get hasty) as my mother and I drive the crapmobile from Large Midwestern City to Small But Charming Eastern College Town. At least we won't be driving with my father, whose primary purpose in life is Making Good Time. If he weren't afraid of getting picked up by the cops, I'm confident he'd drive 90 on the highway in the interest of making good time; as it is, he can only deny bathroom breaks and mutter curses at other drivers who fail to understand that one drives to get from point A to point B, not to enjoy scenery or music or company. If he could teleport he would.

It's interesting; as one drives from the Plains States out to the Eastern Seaboard, the names of the towns become classier in small but definite increments. From Kingdom City and Grain Valley, right outside my hometown (names that clearly state you include snake-handling in your religious ceremonies) to Worchester and Staffordshire (which are I-can-trace-my-heritage-back-to-the-Mayflower names); from red to blue, one might also say.

Anyhow, there are some things I'm looking forward to as I return to school: The late-night comraderie, the beautiful campus, the friends, the local Apple Festival and farmer's market... There are other parts of the experience that I'm approaching with trepidation, namely the fact that within a month's time I will be so busy that I'll have to schedule bathroom breaks, and the possibility that I'll start smoking again (I quit almost three months ago, and while the cravings have died down, I'd be lying if I said the desire for a smooth, refreshing cigarette never comes over me).
As for linkage,
Visit, a recent discovery that's sure to distract me from my organic chemistry periodically this semester(not that aldehyde synthesis isn't fun, but...)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I added some links today; James Lileks' page is utterly hilarious while still possessing substance. The Nation is a good indie-ish news source, which basically means it's not owned by Rupert Murdoch. Mother Jones and Clamor are other great news sources for those who prefer NOT to have the Man's pablum spoonfed to them (sorry, Revolutionary Anne comes out to play sometimes), and Bitch and Bust are independent feminist mags. Bust is slicker, but in my opinion Bitch has more to say and says it better. Go forth unto the local independent bookstores of the land, and purchase unto yourself these publications!
And have a beautiful day.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Today, against all odds, was a good day.
I was up late last night, and woke up inexplicably early this morning, and I don't do well when I'm sleep deprived. Bitch and moan, I know, but it's true. However. Ahem.
I was up late last night because I was having not one but two really good talks. That sense of connectedness is so important, and yet when I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed my first instinct is to curl up into a ball by myself. Behind a locked door. The people here are amazing, though, and slowly they've been working at my locks with the picks of patience and openmindedness and good old-fashioned love. Is that the weirdest metaphor ever? I really feel like I could just, I don't know, ask to be held or something, and have that honored or at least responded to in a positive way. See? Beneath the sarcasm and the ascerbic wit, I am in fact a big softy whose primary ambition is to accumulate as many hugs as possible Sure, winning a Nobel Prize for literature and graduating at the top of my year in medical school are also important; without affection, though, it would all be hollow.
That's enough sermonizing for now; more updates (and semicolons!) as events warrant.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I got lost on the subway yesterday.
Well, not ON the subway per se--while I was sitting on the rock-hard orange plastic seats I was fine--but rather in the contorted concrete warren that constitutes the Philadelphia subway system.
I got out of the subway car and followed the crushing mass of people, you know how you do, and suddenly the other people were gone and I had no idea where I was. I followed the old tagged signs that pointed me toward Suburban Station, but after about ten minutes of solid walking (through a tunnel that neatly approximated the inmate's "last walk" in The Green Mile) I decided that the signs were either too old to be of use or deliberately deceitful. Lies, all lies. Well, that and construction.
To make a long story slightly shorter, I eventually escaped, but I felt like a character in a video game--mapping where I'd been before, finally realizing that I was under where I usually walked. I escaped with enough time to feed the pigeons by the City Hall fountain before catching the train home.
I thought I would have to spend time and energy and breadcrusts to convince the pigeons to come to me, but this has proven not to be the case (what can I say, I'm from Missouri. I'm not sure if we have pigeons; maybe we just call them something else--"dinner," in certain parts of the state). They'll eat right out of your hand.
I have considered, though not seriously, catching a pigeon. I don't know what I'd do with it. Probably just let it go again, as I can't imagine pigeons making very good pets.