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*