28 August 2009

Dating Update

I'm not sure how or why, but suddenly there's been an uptick in my dating life.

Here's the recap:

Dorkboy: After cancelling what was to be our first meeting, we had a brief conversation in which I felt blown off. Later, he claimed that he did no such thing. He contacted me a few days ago to let me know that since the school term was starting up again, he'd be in the city much more. I just made small-talk comments about school and didn't mention anything about meeting. He cancelled the last meeting, he's got to reschedule.

Not Dorkboy: After I told him that he was coming off as very pushy and it was off-putting, he went away. But then he came back earlier this week. He apparently is still interested in meeting me, and wasn't put off by my demand that he come to the city to meet me.

As Yet to be Named Boy (AYNB): We've only chatted once online. It was a nice conversation, and I thought it might lead somewhere, but I haven't heard from him since. He's from Kansas, and is currently studying statistics at a nearby university.

Boy #4: We were supposed to go on a date Sunday. But it's been moved to tomorrow. This is a set-up via my friend Margaret. B#4 lives across the street from her and her fiance, and he works with the fiance. We get along well in email, but I'm very nervous about whether that will translate to getting along well irl. In my experience, it generally doesn't. I seem to have made a very favourable impression on him, and I'm terrified that the reality will disappoint him.

Work Guy: Nothing. I think it's just a fun, harmless flirtation. But it's funny because OTHER people at work will stop him to point out to him when I'm coming around and he hasn't yet noticed.

And that's your round-up.

From Jean

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


25% Logical, 18% Spatial, 55% Linguistic, 14% Intrapersonal, 57% Interpersonal, 29% Musical, 18% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 22% Naturalistic!

"This area has to do with interaction with others. People in this category are usually extroverts and are characterized by their sensitivity to others' moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. They communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with others and often enjoy discussion and debate.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include politicians, managers, teachers, social workers and diplomats." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test
at HelloQuizzy

27 August 2009

My 100th Post

Well, I was hoping for something a little more exciting, but here we go...

Several people have been encouraging me to try applying for Fall 2010 admission. The thought process is basically this: If MY idea is that waiting a year helps me save money, in that year, I'll be living like a poor grad student while aggressively saving money to prepare for being a poor grad student. So why not actually just BE a poor grad student.

The schools I'm looking at require the same thing: three letters of recommendation; transcripts from every school I've ever attended, ever walked by, ever thought about, ever Googled, ever talked about, etc,; a personal statement/letter of interest; GRE score from the last five years (thank God I took it in 2006). And now the ASPH (Assoc. of Schools of Public Health) now has SOPHAS (Schools of Public Hlth Application System), which makes things easier. You feed everything to them one time, tell them where you want to apply, and they distribute. Less hassle, less expensive (paying for transcripts ONCE vs a floppity jillion times - golden!) = awesome.

So. Have any of you ever lived in, know anything about living in, know anyone who has ever lived in: Birmingham, Boston, Pittsburgh, or Seattle?

26 August 2009

Good-bye Ted Kennedy

I am saddened (but, unfortunately, not shocked) to hear about Senator Kennedy's death.

I am a staunch, loyal supporter of the Kennendy family and have been since I could properly pronounce their name.

Many a Thanksgiving argument has broken out about whether JFK cheated on Jackie (I'm still in denial), whether Ted did anything wrong at Chapaquiddick (okay, so he shouldn't have left the scene of the crime, but everyone makes mistakes), or whether ... well, whether the name "Kennedy" should be banned at my mom's house in my presence.

I don't think that every law he stood behind was the best ever. But I think that his ideals were good, his heart was in the right place, and he always tried to do right by his constituents.

In the end, think of his politics what you may, he was still a father and a husband. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

25 August 2009

For everything there is a season...

Those of you who have known me for awhile or who have heard my life story know that I've been through several evolutions. I grew up wanting to follow in my mom's footsteps and teach. Then I wanted to be an attorney. Then I thought I wasn't smart enough to put together a case in 60 minutes minus commercial time. So I went back to the idea of teaching. Then I was raped, and I learned first-hand that a D.A. really has (sometimes) nearly two years to put a case together. And I decided I could do it. I worked my ass off, got into a Temple Law School... and nearly failed out because of an undiagnosed learning disability.

I left feeling stupid, my self-esteem was shot, and I felt like I couldn't return home. Despite what my mom told me... I HAD failed. I WAS a disappointment. Even though I know NOW that with my learning disability there was no way I could have passed law school without accommodations, to this day, it STILL stings. So I floundered. For years I was a social worker, an office manager, an administrative assistant, a legal secretary, and a teacher. I worked for non-profits, for corporate offices, for plumbers, and for a court-reporting school.

Then through a rather odd series of events, I decided to get a Master's degree in Public Health. I studied in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. While I was there, several of the professors assumed I was going to concentrate in Health Management and Policy. When I talked to them about it, they said I just had a "policy vibe" about me. When I dug deeper, one of them admitted that it was probably because of the law background. I said that was a large part of why I DIDN'T want to go that route - been there, done that. It felt like a step BACKWARD. I was returning to school at the age of (then) 31 to go FORWARD with my life.

Well, it seems like things kind of go full circle in my life sometimes. My current boss is TECHNICALLY the "interim director" of our department and her ACTUAL job is in regulatory compliance, which means that she works with policies all day - writes them, reviews them, meets about them, etc. All of the other people in my department get to go to meetings about and help write policies, and I'm DYING that I'm not in there, too. And while I really, really like my job, I also DO miss the policy aspect of public health.

I've always been involved in activism and lobbying. Since I've blogged about my rape anniversary and helping change Missouri law, I've been thinking about how lil ol' me put into action a policy intervention that had HUGE implications for incest victims/survivors in Missouri, and I think that MEANS something. I think the fact that I'm working with a boss who happens to wear two hats and one of them happens to be a policy hat MEANS something.

My research areas of interest haven't changed. I still basically have two areas that I'm currently interested in. I know that before I start applying for PhDs, I'll have to narrow them (or I may apply to different programmes based on these two areas and see where they EACH get me). I'm interested in the health disparities of adoptees; research indicates that adoptees (especially in their teens) have higher rates of depression and suicide attempts. I'm also interested in health disparities of prisoners/prison populations. Prisoners tend to have a different set of health issues than that of non-prisoners because of over-crowding and ... well, other issues that I won't get into now because it'll lead to a soapbox moment.

My MAIN career goal also hasn't changed. I still want to teach at the graduate level. I believe that I would make an excellent professor. I believe that I would make a great advisor, and I believe that every once in awhile a student and I would connect on the same level that Dennis (my unoffical advisor/mentor throughout my MPH) and I have connected.

What HAS changed is that I now want to approach the aforementioned issues on a macro level instead of a micro level. So I visited Dennis today for an hour-long chat. He gave me some reading material and some GREAT advice. He said to stop thinking about "health policy," and start thinking in terms of "health services research," which is a sub-category of health policy. He told me to remember to shift my thinking to APPLIED now. Epi and biostats was about "what can I learn from this?" Health services research is about "what can I DO with this?" He said to always keep in mind that the overarching goal is the policy intervention on the applied level.

He gave me a four-point to-do list, and I won't bore you with that. He gave me volume of articles to read through from the Health Services Research journal. And he asked me to keep him informed of my progress. And he implored me to think VERY seriously about applying for PhD admission for Fall 2010. And then he asked me to pick my jaw up from the floor. (No, seriously, that wasn't the to-do list.)

I asked him how difficult it would be to make the jump from epi/biostats to policy, and he said that since it's still public health, since it's still looking at solving health issues, it's not even crossing the street - it's just strolling down the block a little bit. And he assured me that any smart policy department would welcome someone who had an epi/biostats background since most policy-types shy away from the data analysis.

He ended by telling me that he thought I would be GREAT in this field, and he would do anything he could to answer questions, help me along, etc.

I feel very, very, VERY good about this.

22 August 2009

What a fun-filled Friday!

First thing's first. While Cristi's entries were most thorough (she submitted both positive and negative entries), and her negative entry was most gut-busting, Kirsten's entry has won. Congrats, Kirsten! The Boy has been renamed Dorkboy.

Friday was a short workday for me. I'd worked long days throughout the week so I could leave early on Friday.

But let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago, Margaret and I had talked about getting together to catch up. Since she lives out in West Chester, it's not often that we get to spend actual face time together, and there was a neat pocket of time between when she got back from her vacation in California and when school starts back up for me. Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, Brook had talked about me borrowing her spinning wheel from her while she was out of town for her sister's wedding/vacation (she's leaving for a vacation in Colorado straight from the wedding, which is in VA). So I decided to combine the two trips.

So after work yesterday, I got home, met Margaret, picked up the rental car, and we set out for Brook's house. Margaret got to meet the entire family while Brook demonstrated the wheel to me, which I picked up far quicker than I anticipated. NOT, mind you, that I'm any expert at it after just a few minutes of demo, but I definitely understand "wheel theory." Or at least I did last night when I left. In about an hour we'll see what stuck over night. Oh, btw, I always brag about how smart Alex is, but even I was thunderstruck when the child (who will be five in about three weeks) read the word "turquoise" to me last night.

I then introduced Margaret to the wonder that is The Container Store. Then quick stops at Target and PetSmart, before a wonderful, amazing, relaxing supper at Bahama Breeze. Margaret started with a tortilla soup, while I had the tomato flatbread. Then, she had a Jamaician chicken entree, while I had the coconut shrimp entree that Kirsten can tell you I've been craving since the middle of March!!! For dessert, we shared a perfect slice of Key Lime Pie.

To bring things full circle, Dorkboy is most likely a thing of the past. He was online all evening Wednesday and all day Thursday and never contacted me. My original plan was to let him make the first move after he cancelled on Wednesday. But after thinking about it, I decided that if the shoe was on the other foot, I might be hesitant to contact him not sure of what kind of reception I might get. So just to let him know that I wasn't mad at him, no hard feelings, etc., I IMed him and asked him how his sister was doing. He said she was doing well. After a few minutes, he asked me how my day was doing. I said it was okay and asked what he was up to. After a few minutes, he said he was paying bills. I IMed him and said it seemed like he was busy, so I'd talk to him later. No response since then. So I'm done.

In the meantime, this other guy contacted me Thursday evening. He originally got ahold of me MONTHS ago and then disappeared, reappeared a few weeks ago, disappeared, then reappeared again Thursday. We made small talk, during which he asked if I was currently dating anyone. I ignored that question because it's none of his business at this point in our non-relationship. Later, he asked if I'd be willing to meet him next week. I thought, "Sure, why not." We hadn't talked a lot online, but hell. Meet in person sooner, waste less time online with the wrong person. lol But then he wanted me to travel out to Conshohocken to meet him; he lives out in King of Prussia. (For you out-of-towners - King of Prussia is about a 35-minute drive from Philly, but I don't have a car. So taking a train to Conshohocken is a decent compromise.) Well, I wasn't that excited about the prospect about being off my home turf for a first meeting, but I felt like I was being a diva if I "demanded" that he travel to meet me for a first meting. OTOH, taking the train out meant quality knitting/reading time. So we settled on a day, and I asked him to send me an email with where he wanted to meet, what time, etc. Then asked me to email him a pic of me. Um, no. First, there's a pic of me on the online dating site through which he met me. I get that you want to know what I look like; that's why I've posted a pic. And, yes, it's recent. So with the combined asking if I'm dating, wanting me to travel halfway to him, and wanting a second pic of me, he's now history, too.

Two guys by the wayside in two days. Go me.

OTOH, I borrowed a wheel, spent quality time with Margaret, ate coconut shrimp and key lime pie, and Alex still loves me. I win.

19 August 2009

Contest: Name The Boy

As some of you know, I've been chatting with a guy I met online a couple of months ago. I won't go into the details here and now, but we were supposed to meet about a month ago, but things went awry and we didn't. Let's just say there were a misunderstanding, we cleared it up, and we kind of mutually agreed to start things over.

So far, I've been referring to him as "The Boy," which is a reference to the fact that he is much younger than I am. Those who have known me for awhile know that I am all too fond of nicknames, acronyms, and backronyms. Those who have known me for a LONG time will remember the days of the CARG (Cute Asian Religion Guy - who was neither Asian nor religious) and the CNG (Cute Neighbour Guy).

Anyway, last night, I verified with The Boy that we were still on for today. He said we were but warned that he might have to reschedule at the last minute or push the time back due to his younger sister's (she's in her late teens) tonsillectomy, which was scheduled for late morning. I asked him a few times if he was sure he didn't want to reschedule, and he kept saying he wanted to meet in the afternoon as planned. He got my number and the plan was for him to call me to let me know whether we were still meeting, as soon as he knew.

At 3:30 p.m., as I was leaving work, he called to say that he was going to have to reschedule as he needed to go to the store to get Gatorade, ice cream, etc., for his sister. At the time, I was mildly disappointed, but as the afternoon went on and by the time I got home, I had worked myself into righteous indignation (I had to run to the pharmacy first in the city).

I chatted with some friends but that didn't go so well. I'm not sure if I wasn't properly communicating why I was frustrated or what I was frustrated about, but somehow I ended up being more frustrated. Basically, I was frustrated because I felt like I had given The Boy a few outs last night. I had tried to understandingly give him a couple of "outs" that he could have taken and rescheduled the first meeting. But HE was the who insisted that still meet. If he was going to cancel on me, I'd much rather have it happen the night before rather than an HOUR before as I'm on my way to meet him. I also am still unsure why this after-care stuff hadn't been taken care of previous to the surgery. Didn't SOMEONE in the family stop to think that MAYBE it would be a good idea to have this stuff on hand before post-surgery?

Anyway, as luck would have it, my therapist is on vacation this week, so I called the emergency/on-call therapist. I was lucky enough to have her actually answer her phone, which is good since I'm not sure I would have had the nerve to have left a message. This is basically how that conversation went:

Me: I'm Min and I'm one of Nancy's lost children
Mona: Okay, yes. She said you might call this week. (Always a good sign when you're therapist knows you're such a mess she warns the on-call therapist about you.)
Me: I think I've forgotten how to breathe.
Mona: Okay. Well, how can I best help you?
Me: (By this time, I'm sobbing on the phone) I was su-su-su-supposed to meet this guuuuuuy and he ca-ca-can-cancelled and all my friends are taking his siiiiiiide and it's frustrating and it's upsetting I feel like I'm screaming into a wind tunnel and I can't breathe but mostly I don't wanna be THAT GIRL sitting on her couch crying OVER A BOY!!!!!!!

And then Mona explained that sometimes shit happens and sometimes that shit is disappointing and SOMETIMES that shit involves a boy. And that when the disappointing shit involves a boy, it doesn't have to involve a value judgment about self.

I explained to Mona that what was frustrating was that my normally EXTREMELY supportive friends didn't seem to be hearing me. They seemed to taking The Boy's side and defending him. And she helped me take a step back (and BREATHE) and realise that it isn't about sides. I told her that I felt like I was screaming into a wind tunnel. And she helped me feel listened to. And then she said a magic sentence. She said that while she didn't know, it was possible that maybe he didn't reschedule last night because he was really interested in meeting me today.

And then it clicked for me. I think this is what my friends had been trying to say to me, but I wasn't hearing it that way. Kirsten and I talked about it this evening, and we discussed how interesting it is that just changing one or two words in a sentence changes the entire dialogue, the whole complexion of the discussion. Good stuff, that. It's one of the reasons that, as great as my friends are, I'm so reluctant to stop therapy. And I love that I have friends who get THAT, too.

ANYWAY... back to the title of this blog post. Kirsten and I were discussing that The Boy needs a new nickname. My creative juices are running low these days. And we thought this would be a good blog contest. So... GO.

17 August 2009

My 16th Anniversary

Usually I commemorate this anniversary on the day of the event, not the day after. But for the past several years, I've focused more on the survival aspect anyway. So this year (and this may be a one-time thing - we'll see), I thought I'd try something a little different.

Sixteen years ago today, I woke up as one of many survivors of rape/incest. I was raped by the man who, with my mom, raised me in my home. He was the man I called my dad since I was four years old. He was legally my step-father, but I had always called him dad. He started molesting me when I was 14, and it culminated in him raping me when I was 17 - a mere three days before I was set to leave for college.

That night, I went to the ER (where I received my first pelvic exam) and the police station. Mom and I spent that night in a hotel because while we knew Bill had been arrested, we weren't sure how many strings he would pull to get bailed out ASAP. See, he was a retired police officer.

Because of his outstanding service to the community, the judge (nearly two years and three suicide attempts later) decided to give him a suspended sentence. This meant that he essentially got five years of probation. If at anytime he violated that probation, he would serve the full five years in prison. He was also sentenced to register as a sex offender in the state of Missouri.

But because of a loophole in Missouri law, he didn't have to register as a sex offender. Missouri law doesn't recognise incest as a sex offence, but as an offence against as the family. When I discovered this, I contacted my local lawmakers, and we worked together to amend this law. Now, those convicted of incest must also register as sex offenders in the state of Missouri.

My struggle has been difficult. There have been nightmare, sleepless nights, flashbacks, and many a failed romance that I can directly blame on this. But the successes have also been myriad. I have found strength and courage that I never thought myself capable of. My relationship with my mother is complicated and intricate because of all of this, and while our relationship hit some bumps along the way, our relationship has ultimately been enhanced because of everything we've been through together.

But mostly I am proud of myself. Because on this day I know that I am a survivor.

16 August 2009

Cookie A Continued

The morning class with Cookie A was "Creating Your Own Stitch Patterns." She talked about how to create lines (ribbing, garter stitch, etc.). We discussed how you need to take note of how the fabric will behave - when do purls pop? when do purls recede? We discussed paired increases/decreases, and finally cables. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of knitter's graph paper (good for simple designs, but not as good for cables since cables suck fabric).

Without going into much more detail about her class (just take the damned class!), I will say that her seven-page handout is EXCELLENT and very detailed. She has a fun sense of humour; she is very good at explaining detailed, technical concepts; and I got a kick out of how she used her entire body to demonstrate how stitches lean or behave in fabric.

The afternoon class was "Intuitive Chart Reading." I've worked with charts before but what attracted me to this class was that it promised to teach me the connection between the chart the resulting knitting, how to read my knitting to determine where in the chart I am, and how to read cable charts WITHOUT A KEY!!!!

One of the things that always annoys me about charts is that I always have to have some kind of marker or something to show me where in the chart I am. But Cookie showed us how to not have to not have to do that. I will admit that while I conceptually GET the concept, I'm not sure that I'm yet brave enough to do that on an actual project. I might keep practising on the Celtic cable chart she gave us. Crazy Celtic cable chart... three-stitch cables, four-stitch cables, purl-knit cable combinations, some are right cables, some are left cables... COOKIE'S CRAZY CELTIC CABLE CHART, I tell ya!!!!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Cookie started by asking us which ones of us preferred cable charts over lace charts or vice versa. Craig (the owner of Loop) said, "Lace charts are easier than cable charts, but cables are easier to knit than lace." My eyes lit up, I pointed to him emphatically and practically yelled, "Yes! THAT!!!" (I found out SO much about Craig yesterday - he doesn't like lace because he hates yarn overs. Who hates yarn overs??? and he hates charts! I have no idea why, but that totally cracks me up. I guess I just have this vision of an LYSO embracing every type of pattern ever made. And to find out that they have pattern preferences just like every other knitter was somehow mind-blowingly revolutionary.)

Cookie showed us the three types of cable symbols used in patterns. She then drew out three examples of each. Some were right-leaning cables, some were left-leaning, but each were three-stitch cables. She numbered them, and then drilled us. "Stacey, number five - how many stitches would go on the cable needle? And is it a right cable or a left cable? So does the needle go in the front or the back?" So by the time everyone in the class did one, we all had it down pat. It gave me law school flashbacks. Wowza.

She taught us a good mnemonic (which, btw, does NOT work well for those of us who cable without a cable needle): I LEFT you out FRONT; I'll be RIGHT BACK. So if it's a right cable, you put the cable needle to the back.

She gave us her rules of cables, which completely made knit-purl combination cables make sense for me - suddenly, with just the utterance of two simple sentences. Voila. She's a friggin' genius. Seriously. And I think it helps that she uses her hands constantly to represent different stitches so even though she had swatches to show what she was talking about, it's obviously much easier to see her hands.

So... in case you've missed it, the classes were awesome and amazing and absolutely worth the time and money and energy. The way Cookie thinks about knitting meshes well with my methodical mind, and her teaching style complimented my learning style (it was hard to remember that she didn't know about my learning disability and I therefore shouldn't randomly yell "Stop covering your lips!" as I sometimes do with my professors). If she ever teaches again at Loop, I'm definitely taking her class, even if it's a garter stitch scarf class.

15 August 2009

Classes with Cookie A

... or Cookie A with class. Either way.

I'm exhausted.

9:15 a.m. Left house
9:30 a.m. Caught trolley
9:52 a.m. Gave up waiting for connecting bus and got taxi.
9:56 a.m. Walked into LYS
6:03 p.m. Walked out of LYS with head BURSTING with knowledge
6:30 p.m. Met Anju for supper
8:00 p.m. Walked out of restaurant with belly BURSTING with sushi
8:45 p.m. Walk out of Borders vowing never to return to any Borders ever again
9:15 p.m. Stumble home

Lessons learned today:
  • Remember to set TiVo before leaving the house.
  • Remember to not look at anything online before watching race.
  • Remember when race hasn't been recorded that you ALREADY CALLED MOM AND SHE TOLD YOU WHO WON (thyroid brain ftw yet again).
  • Before making reservations for next year's trip to Kansas Speedway, make sure Jared Flood isn't spending the entire effing weeking teaching at favourite LYS.
  • If Cookie A will be teaching anywhere in the time zone, move Heaven and Earth to be there.
Pics were acquired. Will be shared tomorrow.

14 August 2009

Recent goings on

I got a haircut a few weeks ago. I went to my hair stylist Maria and said, "My hair is dark and thick and long and hot. Do something." She said, "What do you have in mind?" I said, "I don't know. Whatever you want. Shave it if you want to." She looked at it and said, "Hmmm. How about I give you a sexy, sassy hair cut and hook you up for the summer?" I said, "Let's do it!" And this was the result:

Today was my last appointment with Mira, the Wonder Doctor. And, as it so happened, I was her last patient in Philadelphia. I've been her patient for seven years. Because of my myriad health issues, I generally see her every two to three months. Of course, sometimes we saw each other between planned appointments and often phone calls flew back and forth. My POINT, is that we had a pretty deep doctor-patient relationship.

This is a doctor who, when I was once unemployed and without heath insurance, took my phone calls about an issue that was troubling me, researched some new treatments online, printed out her research, highlighted the relevant parts, made marginalia explaining the parts she thought I might not understand, and sent me a prescription for what she wanted me to try.

This is a doctor who got to know me, my body, and my health issues well enough that I could call her and say, "Mira... something's just ... not right. I just don't feel good." And she'd help me figure out what was wrong and what we'd do about it.

This is a doctor who I could call and say that I was really sick. And if she asked what my symptoms were, I could say, "Um... I know it would help you if I could tell you what's wrong with me, but I'm at work," and she'd happily just start guessing at various embarrassing symptoms until she hit the right one.

This is a doctor who, when she gave me what I felt was an embarrassing diagnosis, hugged me, held me hand, and let me have the exam room for as long as I wanted it. Later, she happened to run into me on the sidewalk (she had gone to pick up her daughter from daycare and was walking back to the office), introduced me to her daughter, squeezed my hand, and told me I'd be fine.

So, really. How could I not love this woman? How could I not want her to be my doctor forever and ever? So when she announced that she was leaving, maybe now you understand a little more why it was SOOO painful.

She's seen me through my Hashimoto's diagnosis, my GI issues, and two hospitalisations for suicidal ideation. She's seen me evolve from identifying as straight to a lesbian, back to straight, then a lesbian, and then finally figuring out that hey - there's a thing called bisexuality. She saw me wander aimlessly through life as an office manager, an administrative assistant, and a legal secretary before I finally decided to apply for an MPH.. and got in, then graduated. And got a job (with a bit of advice from her). In the meantime, I saw her have a baby girl named Hazel who is Very Serious. And then a second girl named Ruby who tends to be Very Creative. Over the years, we've passed books between each other (I turned her onto Jennifer Weiner; she turned me onto Mira Nair).

ANYWAY... I decided I couldn't just see her off to the wild otherwise known as Boston. I had to give her something. I headed off to my favourite LYS, Loop, on South Street. With Kathy's help, I decided to do a scarf and Fetching. I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Denim. The scarf is the Turkish Stitch Scarf.

When she saw then, she hugged me, and we cried. I told her that I had tried to write her a card, but I couldn't. I was usually pretty good with words, but I couldn't come up with a way to tell her HOW much she'd meant to me and HOW much she'd taught me throughout the years. She told me that she'd learned a lot from me, too, and that she'd miss the intellectual discussions we'd had about medicine philosophy and the intersection of medicine and politics. She said that she would have remembered me anyway, but with these she would definitely never forget me.

There was a funny moment during the actual appointment when she asked how the new medication she'd put me on for my constant headache was working out. I told her it was "a miracle drug." The headache that I've had for as long as I can remember that literally NEVER goes away is still there but is much less painful on average. She said, "Holy shit, and it only took me seven years to come up with this idea." But she did encourage me to remember that just because I've adjusted to living with the pain every day doesn't mean that I HAVE to. But it was hysterically funny to hear her actually say "Holy shit." It was nice when Mira mentioned that the past two weeks were nice because she'd picked and choosen who she saw and she'd basically done a "best of."

Good times.

Another funny moment. When I walked in, the receptionist Sheila said, "I should have KNOWN you weren't going to let this day go by without a visit." I said, "Of course not, Sheila." She said, "Do NOT cry. No crying today." I said, "Sheila, you said that last time, and it didn't work." Then she said, "And no more gifts for her. Any other gifts and she'll need to rent a truck to get home." I said, "Yeah... um... that ship has already sailed, too." Later, I told Mira what Sheila said about renting a truck to get home and she winked and said, "But I can pick and choose what I take home." LOL

Todays Covers of "Philadelphia Daily News"

Say no more. 'Nuff said.

12 August 2009

Up for grabs

I won a $20 Amazon.com gift card.

It's up for grabs for anyone who would like to buy it from me. I have it with me at work, so if you pay me for it via PayPal, I can email you the claim code on the card, and I don't even have to mail it to you!

I've posted this a few other places, so if you're interested in it, act fast!

If you're local, I'll take an IOU for cash.

ETA: No longer available.

05 August 2009

Adventures at the Lab Today

My apologies for those of you who have already seen this on Ravelry. This is an open letter I posted on an "open letters" thread on Rav earlier today after I went to the lab at work to get a blood draw done.

Dear Phlebotomist:

I hope you don’t honestly think you can say what you said to me and think that I won’t be going to someone to make a formal complaint.

Because any time someone comes to a waiting room and calls “Jin?” and waits for me, I won’t respond. Because sometimes some people call first names. So thought perhaps you were calling for Jim or perhaps Jen. Or, you know, maybe someone whose last name was Jin. But when you called again and no one stepped forward, I sighed and thought maybe it was me you were calling for. When I asked, “Jung,” had you replied with, “Yes, I’m sorry,” or even just “Yes,” I would have been happy.

But instead, when your mouth opened what came out was, “Jin, Jung, however y’all say it.”

First. It’s four letters. And it’s pretty phonetic. Korean is pretty nice that way. Second, don’t try to be cute with me in front of an entire waiting room full of people. Third, just don’t.

When I stopped dead in my tracks, looked you in the eye, and said, “Excuse me? However Y’ALL say it?” that was your cue to look contrite and apologise. Instead, you decided to avoid eye contact and mumble some excuse about “I meant ‘y’all’ as a general term, not as a particular group of people.”

What outrages me more than the slap in the face of your general attitude is that fact that I came to you in my white lab coat and with my hospital ID and office keys jangling around my neck. So it should have been MORE than evident to you that I was an employee. And this is how you treated me. How in the fuck do you treat our regular off-the-street patients??????

Also, you should know that I’m not going to your supervisor. I’m going straight to the lab business manager. The guy who follows the money and signs off on the budgets. Perks of working on THIS side of the hospital.

Have a great day!!!!
Later, I spoke to the business manager of the lab.

Here’s how the conversation went (after I described to him the event in question):

Him: Was she wearing her name card?
Me: Yes, but it was turned around. I asked the receptionist her name, though, and she said it was [name deleted].
Him: Let me see if I can describe her. Is she on the shorter side?
Me: Yes.
Him: Does she have shoulder-length hair?
Me: Yes.
Him: Is her hair mostly silver-streaked with a little bit of black?
Me: Yes.
Him: Was she wearing a blue tunic?
Me: Yes.
Him: Okay, I know who she is.
Me: And I can also tell you which station she uses.
Him: It’s okay. I know which person we’re talking about.

I got the distinct feeling he knew all too well which person this was. I got the full speech, “On behalf of the department, I apologise for any embarrassment this caused you. I want to ensure you that this is not the level of professionalism we expect from our employees. We appreciate the diversity of ALL of our patients…” You could definitely tell that the business side of him was coming out.

He told me that the first thing he would be doing tomorrow morning is addressing this issue with both Ms. Phlebotomist AND her supervisor.

Sad thing is… I gave her an out. Had she apologised or showed ANY contrition or remorse at that point, NONE of this would have happened, and I told him that, too.

I also told my mom that from now on when I go to the work lab for blood draws, I'm requesting that I not have that particular phlebotomist do the draw. I don't need the people with the pointy needles who are pissed at me poking me.

This incident still has me rattled (obviously not as much as it did when it happened - I was literally shaking right after it happened), but I'm more concerned about taking action to ensure that she doesn't treat patients that way ever again.

04 August 2009

Euna Lee and Laura Ling Pardoned

I am cautiously optimistic that Lee and Ling have been pardoned from their sentences in North Korea.

I am ecstatic for them that they have been allowed to return to their homes and their countries. I can only imagine and wonder at the immense relief that they and their friends and families must feel.

However, the cynical part of me wonders what this will cost us. What does Kim Jong-Il have up his sleeve?

On the other hand, my theory that Kim Jong-Il has really been dead for awhile and that Kim Jong-Un has really been running the show has pretty much been shot to hell since I don't believe that President Clinton would negotiate for the release of prisoners with a dead man.

02 August 2009

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein

This post has the potential to be controversial. It covers cultural anthropology, world affairs, and human rights.

In case you don't want to read it, aren't in the mood, etc., here's a pretty picture to serve as a buffer:

For those of you who haven't yet heard about this, you can read about it here. The basic gist is that Ms. al-Hussein went to Sudan, where it is illegal for women to wear "indecent clothing." She was caught in public wearing trousers, which has traditionally been defined as "indecent" for a woman. She now faces a punishment of public flogging (40 lashes). She could have avoided it by claiming diplomatic immunity, but she instead chose to resign her position with the U.N., presumably to shed light on these issues.

I've been turning this issue over and over in my mind for a few days now, and no matter which way I come at it, I remain truly ambivalent about it. It's a complex issue, and I'm going to try to explain my thoughts about it in an articulate manner. So, stick with me here. Or at least try to!

In the U.S., women can wear trousers. It isn't considered indecent. However, in Sudan it is. In the U.S. what we can and can not wear isn't codified. However, in Sudan it (apparently) is. While these differences surprise me, I don't find them appalling. I find them to be cultural differences. And I'm OKAY with that. I don't find anything there to be all up in arms about.

I find it extremely difficult for one country (ANY country) to dictate to another what is RIGHT. "We do things THIS way, so it MUST be the RIGHT way. Therefore, YOU must do it this way, too."

My friend Kristi and I had discussions along this line when she was working on her KAA dissertation some years back. I was bemoaning the fact that there were so many Chinese baby girls being adopted and aborted because of the population cap and how that should be changed. And she said that she was uncomfortable with us (meaning Western culture) dictating to another country how they should run their country. They HAVE over-crowding. Who are WE to tell them how to solve the problem? If their culture dictates that men are valued more, then that's THEIR culture. I learned that afternoon that there exists a delicate balance between human rights and cultural rights.

And that's where I find myself again.

Sudan has laws about what women can wear. She broke the laws. Some people may find the laws "archaic" or "old-fashioned," but that IS their law. When people visit our country, we expect them to abide by our laws; they have a right to expect the same by visitors to their country.

Now, the next issue: some people find the punishment "too much" or "humiliating." Talk to me about that one again when the U.S. gets rid of chain gangs and the death penalty.