Monday, October 25, 2010

Of Backs and Baths

I think it's official: I inherited my dad's predisposition for back injuries.

I've noticed that, a lot of the time when I eat too much, my lower back gets stiff. I don't know if this is from holding myself in an odd posture to alleviate stomach discomfort, or if the excess food does something weird to my bones, but it happens. On Friday, I consumed an entire bag of Doritos in a day, and Sunday I noticed the familiar faint ache in my back. I thought little of it, and went about my day as usual, working and stopping for a gulp of water when I felt thirsty. Well, one of my gulps was poorly timed, and part of it ended up in my lungs. I coughed to clear it out, bent down to grab a box, coughed again, and suddenly there was searing pain in my lumbar region.

Fortunately, it subsided, but not completely. I toughed it out through work, which was probably a bad idea. By the time I left (after 6 more hours of standing at a food prep counter and carrying crates of snacks out to the shopping floor), I was in so much pain I kept getting dizzy, and could only hobble home (unfortunately carrying a rather heavy bag with me) like an old woman, stopping periodically to bend over and stretch my overloaded spinal column.

I pretty much spent today in bed. They say lying around is the worst thing you can do when you have a back injury, but obviously they have no idea what sitting or standing feels like. I figure as long as I change positions frequently and stretch whenever I think about it, I'm doing the best I can do.

And because I felt like a deserved a treat after all that suffering, I topped off the afternoon with a nice hot shower. They say (probably the same "they" that give such terrible back injury advice) that taking a shower uses more water than taking a bath, thus making eco-conscious folks like me feel guilty every single time we shower. Today, I tested the claim, plugging the tub while taking my shower. I took an extra long one, thoroughly washing my face with special exfoliating soap, conditioning my hair, and stopping periodically to enjoy the hot water. When I was done, the water in the tub barely covered my ankles. I don't know about you, but when I take a bath, I definitely fill the tub higher than ankle deep.

So, while my comfort meter is dragging in the dirt, I'm still happy to know that even my most self-indulgent showers are more eco-friendly than I was led to believe. I think the score is even.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here comes the bitter old maid!

I survived another wedding last weekend. I put on a brave face for my friend on her big day, but the truth will out. And guess where it will out....

Hello, ever-listening Internet!

All these weddings are taking a toll on my sanity. I really do want my friends to be happy—it's just that watching them be so happy together while I'm so miserably alone is kind of like taking shrapnel in the vital organs. Every couple of months. All while never dropping the cheerful smile.

I think instead of getting little vials of bubbles and and a bag of snacks as a wedding favor, I should get a purple heart.

And with that said, I would like to lighten the mood with a little joke.

Have you ever noticed how single guys love to get all indignant about how other guys treat women? They "like" Facebook pages such as: "Real men don't hit their girlfriends," and go on and on about how they know how to treat a lady and what a shame it is that not everyone does. OK, maybe not all single guys do this, but one in particular got me thinking about it.

Not that I'm just here to disparage the single guys who think this way--I frequently find myself doing the female version of the same thing. For example, upon hearing about the ridiculous things some guys are forced to do to stay on their girls' good sides, I think, with a self-righteous sniff, "I would never act all jealous and controlling like that. I wouldn't get all huffy if my man forgot our anniversary. I wouldn't need some ostentatious and expensive diamond ring to show off my relationship status." Etc. Etc.

Yes, we low-maintenance ladies and self-anointed super-gentlemen are very confident in our relationship superiority. But ha ha, the joke's on us—we're the ones who are still single, while the wife-beaters and drama queens are happily taken. Maybe we should learn to be a little bit less considerate, and we'd find ourselves swarmed by potential mates!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

do u write like this plz tell me ok?

It's that time again, when I dredge up another blog entry of days gone by, edit it slightly (or heavily) and present it for your uninterested perusal. Today's haul is particularly uninteresting, being a pedantic diatribe about how the world is figuratively going all to hell, in the literal sense. But it is a logical precursor to a topic I want to discuss later.

September 27, 2007

I've been seeing it everywhere: the claim that our society is abandoning written communication in favor of pretty pictures and slick electronic interfaces. The introduction to chapter 7 of Seeing & Writing states, "Already book sales are decreasing, and students are demonstrating only marginal progress in reading and writing proficiency. Meanwhile we channel surf, rapidly scanning dozens of images in seconds, or we click from icon to icon."

Maybe this is just progress (as Scott McCloud implies in "Chapter 6," which is excerpted in Appendix A), our communication system coming full circle and dropping us off at a time "when to tell was to show--and to show was to tell", but still, it scares me.

I like words. I like communicating in complete sentences and spelling things correctly. I am one of that special breed of people who make a point of using our language in the way it was intended. My text messages could just as well be text books (albeit short ones), the syntax and spelling is so precise (although I have abandoned capitalization when texting). It disturbs me to think that we are approaching an age when we (meaning everyone except the die-hard dinosaurs like me) will all communicate like this:
i was at l.a (language arts) and i saw a peice of paper with this on it. well it also had a heart. "having a broken heart is nothing....compared to a cold heart." what do u think of it? is it good? what do u think its about? plz answer. i think its kinda about: if u broke an animals heart, because he believes in u, and u just let him down, at least u havnt abused him.: thats what i think. pllllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzzzz tell me what u think. if enough ppl answer, i may leak u a secret only on this post.
I picked this out of a blog on Quizilla, a site that's rampant with Internet grammar. Is our language going to be reduced to this? Not that the ideas expressed are particularly coherent to begin with, but in that terribly misspelled form, they lose any semblance of credibility. When your boss sends you an email asking "u" to do something, how seriously can you take it? Isn't presentation just as important as content? Don't we trivialize our thoughts when we present them in a form that trivializes our language?

It makes me wonder what the Olde English writers would have to say about the ways we speak and write now (even the grammatically correct ways). It makes me wonder what we can expect of English in the centuries to come.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I moved to a new house last week. And the week before that. And the week before that, and this week. It took a long time. In fact, as you can see in the photo of my living room, it is still going on.

Every day, I discover new and interesting things about this house. Such as, water pools on the front steps when it rains. (Had to buy a squeegee and beg the landlord to do something about it. He says he will, but it hasn't been done yet.) Such as, the bathroom is the only room in the house without blinds on the window! (Had to buy a curtain rod and jury-rig a curtain out of some fabric I had lying around.) Such as, there are no electrical outlets on the outside of the house! (Had to pop out a screen and run my cord through the window in the laundry room.) Such as, none of the inside doors actually shuts all the way. (Can't buy anything to fix that...Will just have to keep yanking on them until the doorknobs fall off).

Despite all its obnoxious little quirks, I am quite fond of this house. See my public album on Facebook to learn just how cute it is. Despite my enthusiasm, however, renting an entire house has been a rather trying experience for me. Unlike when you rent a room in a shared residence, nothing comes ready to use (except the major appliances, thank goodness!). I had to call all the utility companies myself and get the service set up. Fortunately, I have amassed a decent collection of furniture (from being unable to resist discarded items found on the side of the road or abandoned by former housemates) and cookware (from being the only baker in my previous household and from being unable to resist discarded items donated by a moving-away neighbor), but every time I turn around, I realize there is something that I don't have but I need--a toilet plunger (haven't needed it yet, but it's a good thing to not wait around for), towels for the bathroom and kitchen, a towel rack for the kitchen, a broom, dishwasher soap (yes, for the first time in my independent life, I'm going to use a dishwasher instead of doing it by hand), a microwave, and on and on it goes.

This, while causing me to shell out money on an entirely too-regular basis, has also enabled me to exercise my bargain-shopping expertise. From Craigslist, I got a great deal on 2 sets of steel utility shelves for 10 dollars (OK, they're a little rusty), and from Freecycle, I got 2 kitchen chairs for 0 dollars (OK, the back is falling off one of them).

However, just as the merchants love their customers to do, I end up spending more money on things I don't need, simply because I'm out spending money on things I need. While I was at Target buying my first load of household necessities, I purchased a cute T-shirt that says, "I love my [Picture of bicycle]," and while I was at Target buying my third load of household necessities, I purchased an adorable red dress. To my credit, both of the apparel items were marked down (in the case of the dress, 50%) and I had been eying them patiently all summer, hoping the price would drop. While I was at Ikea buying my second load of household necessities, I also splurged on a mini ironing board, because after years of ironing my clothes on a bit of cardboard, I thought 6 dollars was a cheap step up.

Today, since I needed to go to the mega-thrift store anyway, I decided to take my sewing machine in to the sew-vac shop that's in the same complex. At the thrift store, I bought a knife block, a pot lid, towels and wash cloths, and (impulse buy alert!) a super-awesome like-new pair of high-heeled mid-calf brown boots, for a grand total of less than 10 dollars (there was a half-off Columbus day sale going on, and boy, did that make the parking lot crowded!), and then I spent 160 dollars to fix the sewing machine. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a microwave, which was the main reason I went there in the first place.

My shopping adventures will doubtlessly continue, as I still seek a microwave, furniture for the living room, and, well, who knows what I'll think of next? If I have learned anything from this venture, it's that (1) living all alone because your housemates haven't moved in yet starts off terrifying and ends up pretty fun, and (2) moving is synonymous with spending. In vast quantities. I hope I don't have to do this again for a good long time.