Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A window into others' lives

Driving to the local co-op today (I needed fruit), I realized that my love of bumper stickers and other car adornments is likely because they provide a glimpse into the lives of the people driving those cars. Or not, I suppose, if someone bought the car and then didn't bother to remove the stickers, magnets, trailer hitch decorations, etc. I'm a naturally nosy person - just ask my husband! - so I love reading multiple bumper stickers on cars that are plastered with them. Sometimes? I just have to wonder.

Like the guy in front of me today, who had a lovely pair of fake testicles hanging from his trailer hitch. Really? You thought that was a good idea? Are you demonstrating where your brain resides? Or compensating, in some small way, for some of your shortcomings?

Or, my favorite sticker of the day: Eat Beef. The West wasn't won on salads. Hah. You'd never see this sticker back where I grew up - which I think makes me love it more. :)

I've seen several of the Republicans for Voldemort stickers, and I'm confused as to whether they are on cars driven by a) Republicans who have a keenly developed sense of irony, or b) Democrats who want to point out that Republicans haven't done much better than Voldemort in choosing their recent nominees (and, ahem, president/vice president).

And on that political note...because my husband doesn't really want to hear my diatribes against those who publish on the Opinion pages of our local paper...We had a column yesterday written by a self-described "Christian apologist", who proceeded to attempt to debunk the arguments for gay marriage using some...awkward and rather insulting metaphors. I know that these guest columns are open to those with different and opposing viewpoints, but I can't begin to tell you how sick it made me to read this drivel while drinking my smoothie.

I also find it rather...what's the word I'm looking for? Inconsistent? That people who want to be left alone to raise their families the way they see fit (with guns, spanking, and all sorts of things "those liberals" hate) don't want all families accorded this same courtesy. I may not like the way you parent, but I'm also not going to confront you about it unless my child is a guest in your home (see, guns) or you're injuring your child (see, spanking). So why do you care if a child has two moms or two dads?

And now my brief, inarticulate foray into political speak has ended. Back to work.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First 5K of the season

My first 5k of the season was yesterday...a local run for the Festival for July 4th. On June 27th. I guess they don't like to bunch all of their activities together? Anyway, it's been hot as blazes all week - and humid, to boot - so I was desperately hoping for temperatures in the 70s at 8 am. I think I got my wish - it was also a teensy bit less humid - so it was less like running in a washing machine, and more like just running in humid weather. Whew.

I managed to break 10 minute miles - pretty good, considering the foot injury that had me out of running for six.endless.weeks. And it was a hilly course - good practice for the half marathon that my brother and I plan to run in the fall.

We had a productive weekend, including selling an old car, buying a new one (which we will pick up this afternoon), cleaning up around the house, preparing for guests next weekend, and hanging out with friends on our screened porch yesterday. A nice weekend - the only thing missing? Ice cream. *sigh* I'm an addict, I know it.

This week promises to be mildly busy but not crazy, like last week. We are not heading out of town for July 4th, so need to figure out what we want to do on the day itself. We will have houseguests, but they are using us mostly as home base for their visit to the area, so I think we'll be on our own for fireworks, etc. It's so weird to think that tomorrow, a year ago, we were closing on this house. It's even better to think that I don't have to pack again for at least another year. After 4 moves in 5 years together (wait, let me count again...1 (N sold house), 2 (partial move back East), 3 (full move back East), 4 (move to rented townhouse out East), 5 (move to this house)...) shoot - make that FIVE moves in FIVE years, it's a bit strange to have a year off. Huh. More time to do actual work, I suppose!

Onward and upward....without packing boxes in tow, at least for this year!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Good grief, it is HOT here in the middle of the country. According to this morning's paper, our high density of land planted with crops is not helping the humidity. Huh. I didn't know that "crop transpiration" could actually affect the dewpoint and humidity levels. You learn something every day!

We are doing a CSA this year for the first time - a half share, since the dog doesn't really eat vegetables, and the full share is intended for four people. It's been great so far - although I've had to look up what some things are (and, um, use Goog.le Images to determine which is the broccoli rabe and which is the arugula...) and what I can do with them. Garlic scapes? Had no clue. But apparently they taste really good, so we're looking forward to trying them.

Picking up the CSA also means getting to go to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings, which was not part of our routine before. And gosh it's fun. They hold it on the bottom level of a parking ramp - shade! easy parking! - and everyone walks around with their coffee and pastries (or, um, egg rolls...not into that, I can tell you). It reminds me of what vibrant communities University towns can be. Sure, there are all the political and town/gown issues. But it really is a fun place to live, particularly in the Midwest. Small town, but lots of cultural events, and a tuned-in population that pays attention and wants to maintain the quality of life.

Makes me glad we left the world of $750,000 "fixer uppers" and moved back here...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear, revisited


Dear Pep*to-Bism*ol,

You know, when you're not feeling so hot, and you really feel the need to chew on a chalky, pink, sort-of-minty, sort-of-not tablet? The LAST thing you want to do is wrestle with your packaging, which seems to have been designed by a sadistic plastics engineer. Seriously. It's 2009. Could you PLEASE make it so that multiple attempts are not required to access the actual tablets? What's up with the seemingly impenetrable plastic? And really, who wants to go find scissors to get to the Pep*to??

My gut thanks you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Dear gray hairs,

I know I can't stop you from coming in; after all, I'm getting older by the day. But do you really have to be a completely different texture than the rest of my hair? And do you have to stick up and out at weird angles, so I look like I've stuck my finger in a light socket?

I'd appreciate it if you could rethink your position (ahem, literally).


Dear general public,

I know the Midwest can be confusing, but really? The states are not interchangeable. There are actual differences between them. Shocking, I know.

It'd be nice if you could figure out that just because Ohio and Iowa both have four letters, three vowels, and a consonant, they're not the same state.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mostly calm...chance of showers

I made it to and from my international conference with no major glitches...I even managed to get myself around a foreign city and country with no problems. The traveling alone skills returned rather quickly, and I actually enjoyed the time to think and be quiet with myself. Not to say that I wouldn't have love it if N could have come along...but it was a good week. I saw some sights that I never would have seen otherwise, and once I got over my nervousness at talking to people (ahem, "networking"), I had a very good time at the conference.

Having lived in large cities on the East coast, as well as this small town in the Midwest, it's always interesting to me to see how people respond to my answer to "Where are you from?" When I say I'm from here, they seem to assume that I am some kind of...bumpkin, for lack of a better word. But when I said I was from "near D.C." (where we lived before), they seemed to assume that I was a *big city person* and that I would have *attitude*. It's just interesting.

Side note - the dog is wagging his tail in his sleep. Aww....

I also managed to figure out where I think I want to go for my next grant. And, after meeting with various mentors and faculty over the past week, I think they are pleased with my new direction as well. I am very excited - I think it's an area that I could do a lot of very good research in. My post doc advisor (she's in charge of our grant) said that I'm "in the right place, at the right time", to which I wanted to reply "Great! Then I'll have a job when I'm finished with the post doc?" :) There are no guarantees in life...but I am hopeful that good ideas and a willingness to be open to new directions will help me go places on my chosen career path.

While the conference was good, the ideas were flowing, and I've had a busy but good couple of weeks home, I've also had it kind of thrown in my face that hey! We don't have kids! And we likely never will! So, *sigh*. People are clearly well-meaning, and duh, they don't know what we have been through. But still, it hurts when someone asks whether children are "in the picture". What do I say? No? No, but not by choice? I don't want to give a blow-by-blow of our difficulties, but I also feel like I am shortchanging us if I just make it seem like no, we don't have kids, and we didn't really want kids. Today, a college kid came to the door and asked if I was "the mom". I thought the phrasing was kind of weird, but said yes. Turns out he was shilling for some study guide company? I don't know what one? But he clearly was not interested in talking to me, since we don't have small children. I'm also worried about what to say when we get together with N's friends later this summer...we are the only couple without children, and I just know that it will come up in some way, shape, or form over the course of the weekend. We've briefly talked about how we would answer these questions, but...well, again. Do we want to get into the gory details? Do we want to just leave it at "oh, we'd love to have kids some day"? This isn't something you can really Google, although hm, I might try that.

I am also trying to get over myself and my focus on our infertility...I don't want this to be my defining characteristic, much as I didn't want the quest for a child to be my/our defining characteristic. I need to broaden my life, make new friends, and try new activities...make connections that don't rely on the presence of children for them to flourish...and learn more about what I want to do with MY time over the next however-many years. I need to mourn the family we didn't have, but I also need to live the life that we do have. It's a pretty good one.