Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In which our heroine begins a new life, and finds it uneventful.

Well, I'm a country girl now. I'm not quite sure I'm ready for this adventure, but I guess you're never really ready for anything; you just have to start. If the digital camera weren't at my aunt's house in Dallas, I'd post pictures of how quiet and rainy it is here - just my sort of weather. Perfect weather for curling up under a quilt and reading Narnia. I gave my parents lots of tea for Christmas, and brought my own as well, so there is no shortage of hot beverages; unfortunately, though, the well water is tasting sort of funny lately, so the tea definitely needs sugar to mask the well water taste. I usually go sugarless, because otherwise how can you taste the tea?

I would just like to announce that I am a very spoiled person. The entire time the folks have been up here, they've been suffering with dial-up internet. About a week before I came up, the satellite finally came through, so I only have to deal with pages that take 30 seconds to load, instead of 3 minutes like it has been up till now. I don't quite appreciate how spoiled I am, though, since 30 seconds is still inexcusably long with any reasonable internet connection. And my dad works in telecom, so we always have stuff long before anybody else does. All the neighbors except two still use dial-up. Yeah, we're in the country. There is no DSL. There is no spoon.

I was planning to start leash-training the fat white cat today, because he's obese and has no muscle at all, and if I can manage to leash-train him he will at least be able to take walks up our driveway, which might be good for a couple of pounds. (In case anybody thinks this is a paltry sort of exercise regimen, you're quite right, but we do live at the back of a very narrow 10 acres, so the driveway is fairly substantial.) But it's rainy and cold today, and I feel like reading Narnia instead of going outside, so the Cat-Drag will have to be postponed till tomorrow. I hope Mr. Fatso appreciates how lucky he is.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas, Christmas time is here

Quotable moments from the sisterly edition of Christmas this year:

My nephew Joseph: That's funny looking.
My niece Elizabeth: Your face is funny looking.
Joseph: Your mom is funny looking.
My sister Robin: You have the same mom!

Joseph: Because I'm sooooooooooooooo glamorouth.
(the kid is destined to be a drama major.)

Joseph: Man, guys, that was a great party. I'm totally hammered.
Robin: Joseph! Do you know what that means???
Joseph: No, I heard it from Elizabeth ...
Elizabeth: YOU DID NOT!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


And just like, that, four and a half years of college are over. I'm free, but I feel so empty. How could I have spent the last semester not savoring every moment I had here?

Friday, December 14, 2007

The study referenced below

Quoted from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings

"...patients should know that sustained oral contraceptive use prior to pregnancy increases a premenopausal woman's risk of developing breast cancer, saysDr. Kahlenborn. He says physicians should better inform their patients of the risks associated with oral contraceptives and calls it a "clear-cut informed consent issue."

The study noted that 21 out of 23 retrospective studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women who took oral contraceptives prior to pregnancy. It also showed that those women experienced an increased risk of 44 percent.

What's more, in 2005, the World Health Organization officially classified oral contraceptives as a class one carcinogen, the study's authors say.

These are staggering results given that more that more than 45,000 women each year develop breast cancer prior to menopause, Dr. Kahlenborn says. "

Full article here:

And a year after it came out, WHY is there still no news coverage on this story??? Oh, right, because we women are so ignorant that we need big strong men to tell us which studies to believe and not to believe about our own reproductive health. Ideological censorship, much? If it were about Advil, the FDA would be all over this baby. See previous entry for an opinion on this from the Chicago Tribune.

Another reason not to trust people who shove pills at you

Ladies, your ob-gyn isn't going to tell you this, and neither is your pharmacist.

"...this debate has been going on for years, if not decades, and judging by the last studies given wide exposure a few years ago by the media, the issue seems settled: Oral contraception does not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.

There's just one problem. According to an analysis in one of the most credible peer-reviewed journals in the country, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the risk is real. The study employed an often-used medical research technique called "meta-analysis" that allows researchers to combine data from other studies on the risk to get a larger picture. The result: Premenopausal women who used oral contraceptives prior to having their first child have a 44 percent higher chance of getting cancer than women who didn't use the pill. If they used the pill for more than four years prior to their first full-term pregnancy, the risk increased 52 percent. Chris Kahlenborn, an internist at the Altoona (Pa.) Hospital and the study's lead author, suggests one additional woman in 200 could get breast cancer. Extrapolated throughout the population, that could mean thousands more cases every year. I'd say that's an important story.

The reaction? Nearly total silence. Since it was published more than a year ago, I couldn't find a single reference to it in the archives of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or this paper. The Associated Press appears not to have covered it. I couldn't find a single mainstream media article about it in a Google search. But stories about other breast cancer risks were plentiful, including one about how sleeping with a night light on can increase your chances of getting breast cancer. The National Institute of Cancer doesn't mention the study on its Web site, but it did detail a 5-year-old study claiming to find no higher risk to pill use. The American Cancer Society also doesn't mention the study and concedes only that "it is still not clear what part" the pill plays in breast cancer. Such guidance, if not deceptive, is certainly incomplete.

"The last word seems to be that the pill is safe," Kahlenborn told me, as he called me with his frustration with being unable to get this important information out to women. "The word basically in the medical community before the study, and it continues to be, is that the pill is quite safe." But the results of his study are disquieting enough that if the pill were just coming out today, the findings would be enough for the Food and Drug Administration to keep it off the market, he said."

Here's the complete article (which does not have a link to the study - does anybody know where to look for it? Steph?),0,3672465.story

Update: found the link.

Friday, December 07, 2007

why I'm not interested in any more birthdays

Twenty two is too young to be this depressed about getting old, but somehow, I am. Maybe it's because I was supposed to graduate last May and am at this moment supposed to be in the real world, maybe it's because I have all these friends either married or soon to be, but somehow I can't shake the feeling that twenty two means really grown up, and now I have to worry about grown-up things like finance and nutrition and exercise and vitamins and all the things about which I've always thought "I'll think about that when I'm older." Wrinkle cream is tempting, because, you know, at this age the skin around your eyes is losing elasticity, so you have to stop the wrinkles before they start, or all is lost. And let's not even discuss bone growth and density. It's all downhill from here, baby.

And to think, I thought I had another eight years before I would be tempted to claim to be younger than I actually am. Man.

A few weeks ago I thought Elizabeth Bennet was silly for responding to Lady Catherine's question about her age with "With three grown younger sisters, your Ladyship can hardly expect me to admit it." Now at the mature age of twenty two, I think I'm just going to be twenty one for another couple of years.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ohhh, man, the Onion

Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement

The Onion

Man Finally Put In Charge Of Struggling Feminist Movement

WASHINGTON—"All the feminist movement needed to do was hire someone who had the balls to do something about this glass ceiling business," said Peter "Buck" McGowan.

It's Crunch Time

...time to pay for all the times I said "I don't have anything to do this semester." Oh, how easy it is to convince yourself that because something isn't due for a couple of months, you never have to worry about it again. Oops. The curse of the procrastinator.

Of course, on the other hand, in six days I will be thesis-free, for better or for worse. Well, not quite thesis-free, since I'll still have to stand in front of a bunch of people and present it, but it will be all written. Maybe. At least, it will be all turned in. I wonder what the standards for passing are for thesis-level artistic translations. Like, what if all the lines don't scan? Do I pass if most of them scan, as long as they're all decently similar to what the Latin says? How about if they all scan perfectly but there's horrible cacaphony? Can I end a word with an m and begin the next word with an n? (My literary sensibilities revolt. Nevermind, cacaphony is not an option.) How about if I just disagree gigantically with Dr. Maurer's reading of the line about re-dyeing wool? How many commentators do I have to have on my side before I get to disagree with him? Am I brave enough to try?

And let's talk about all the social engagements this young lady has this weekend. My birthday Thursday, singing and then my birthday party Friday, another party Saturday at which I have to make an appearance, recording the Requiem Sunday ... in short, by the time tomorrow is over, it might as well be Monday for all the work I'm going to get done. Annnnnnnnnnd Monday's when the thesis is due. Man, it looks like tonight's an all-nighter for me.

*psychs self up for all-nighter.*

*wonders when during all this she's going to get to the liquor store, or if her party guests are going to have to drink tea*

Monday, November 19, 2007

I know some other snarky ladies of my acquaintance will appreciate this. I found this article from the post on it that The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies just put up - I'm linking to their blog rather than directly to the article because they're cool enough to merit being looked at. So go check them out:

Excerpt from the article:

Our eyes are squinty from reading too much and our tongues have dents from all the times we’ve had to bite them in futile attempts to suppress our true natures.
I’ve no idea where this demand that people who call themselves Christians are only allowed to discuss matters in hushed tones and frequent murmurings of “I understand where you’re coming from” has evolved from. Quite honestly, there’s a long and rather honorable tradition of smart aleck Defenders of the Faith behind us, if we only look.

Countdown to Clear Creek: three days!

Here's what I'm going to do when I get there: greet whichever parent did not drive me there, cuddle my dog, sit in the living room and smell the air. The air in that house is wonderful, because the house is made of cedar wood. Whenever I come back from Clear Creek I can smell the Cedar House on my clothes for days. I'm sure I'm going to do a fair amount of cooking, and lots more cuddling of my dog; I'm going to meet the new cat, Esmerelda, so named because she has green eyes and therefore looks like a gypsy, because everyone, especially my mother, knows that green eyes and gypsyness are inherently linked; and I'm going to go to bed EARLY and sleep as long as I want to, and there's going to be DARKNESS in my room!!! (This is mostly a big deal because in my domicile here there's a light that shines into my bedroom window all night, and it affects my quality of sleep in a rather adverse way.) And there's going to be quiet. And lots and lots of food. And maybe if I'm very lucky it will be cold enough to see my breath in the morning, and I'll get to experience four days of it being almost winter before I get to go back to the preternaturally long summer we're having here.

Maybe I'll climb up on the roof and clean the chimney out, make sure there are no birds nests in there and such, so we can have a fire in the wood-burning stove for me to sit next to while I translate Latin and work on Mrs. Walker's Thank You For Teaching Me To Sing present. There's definitely enough wood piled up to have a fire going the whole time I'm there, though I won't insist on it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

UD has outdone itself. There are always Christmas lights on Braniff; this year they are floating 3 feet above the roof. The effect is not the most aesthetically pleasing one they could possibly achieve.

Anne Taylor Loft is an excellent place to find pretty dresses, if you're willing to wait half your lifetime for them to get down to a reasonable price. I just got one for $15 and I plan to wear it for the family Christmas party, and let them all just THINK I paid full price for it. Haha.

In other news, it's November and I'm glad the weather round here has finally taken notice. I can't. wait. to live somewhere where the weather patterns behave in a rational manner.

The other day I thought about the sound of hummingbird wings when they come up right behind you to get to the feeders. The first time I heard it I thought it was a killer wasp about to attack me, but now I can tell a difference between the sounds of wasp wings and hummingbird wings. Six days until I'm in my favorite place in the world! Though I'm sure it's too late in the year for hummingbirds, so I won't be able to sit outside and listen to them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I am SO glad to know that Jesus was a socialist and stood up to the biggest empire in the world, that Saddam Hussein might have been a bad man but George Bush is a bad man too, and that it's acceptable for a Catholic to have her own Just War theory at odds with the Church's teaching on it. Thank you Cindy Sheehan for enlightening the poor benighted students of the University of Dallas.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happiness is...

...making chicken broth out of the bones from the chicken your parents sent you from their neighbors out in the Middle Of Nowhere, OK (I told my voice teacher I had something really funny and country to tell her, and she said, "did your parents send you a chicken?" and then she didn't believe me when I said that was exactly it. But the chicken was delicious and I'm very proud of my first attempt at broth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Miniature pet pigs!

This is really funny.
Piggy pictures here

Sunday, October 14, 2007

According to the folks, the leaves are changing color in Clear Creek. Here, everything is still green; the only difference between now and the usual Texas summer is about 15 degrees, while they only difference between now and this past summer is ... nothing.

The thunderstorm today gives me hope, though, that maybe when I wake up I'm going to need a heavy sweater to walk to Mass. Bringing in a cold front is the least it can do for me, since it got my music books all wet. Imagine: you're sitting outside the Capp Bar reading Herodotus (in English) and drinking your latte (with skim milk and honey, to make up for all the High Fructose Corn Syrup in the sundae you just had) and you hear a rolling crash of thunder. You think to yourself, "I should put my piano books back in my apartment now, so when the thunderstorm hits I don't have to walk back in the rain later and get them all wet." Reasonable, no? Apparently, I don't yet know Texas. Halfway through the three minute walk back, the rain hits with all its force, and a minute and a half later I'm about as dry as I would have been if I had jumped in the swimming pool outside my apartment. I get in the door, mop myself off a bit, and would you believe it, the rain stops. Just like that. I love you too, Texas.

And now for a list of things I'm not going to miss about Dallas after December:
airplane noise.
car noise.
the greenish light from the pool that shines in my bedroom window and keeps me awake at night.

Also a list of things I miss about Clear Creek right now:
monks with military haircuts
gigantical squashes for sale after Sunday Mass
ditto with the gigantical cheeses
the crunching sound car tires make on dirt roads
the way you can tell how long it's been since it's rained by how much dust is on the leaves on the sides of the roads
the sound of the rain on leaves and dirt (and no asphalt anywhere!)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In which our heroine is excited about fall

Fall might finally be coming to Dallas, by which I mean today was 85 degrees instead of a hundred. The insufficiency of the season here aside, I still think some Keats is in order. (I'm not poetical enough to post my own po'try anymore, I know now, but that ain't going to stop me from posting other people's)

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a seet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou doest keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the riversallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The revival of the weblog

It's a strange experience, finding a blog one apparently made once upon a time, and only ever used (once) to demonstrate the opinion one once had that meter is not necessary to poetry. Please don't scan that poem below, it's not worth it, unless you're a high school teacher trying to demonstrate what iambic pentameter isn't.

I now believe meter is necessary to poetry, but I no longer think it's appropriate to inflict my poetry on others.

So, why am I reviving the long-defunct blogger? Why not just let it die the natural death it so obviously wants to? Here's why: so I can friend Michaela (does blogger let you add friends? Is it cool enough?) and post comments all over her blog. Hi Michaela! I can't bug you in real life yet, but that's not going to stop me from cyber-bugging you!