Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long time no write

So, here we are again. I'm still in Texas. Got a new job where I get to spend my mornings from 5 am to 1:30 pm knitting quietly and playing on the internet. I am actually at work right now with the cast on for a slipper or a sock sitting right next to me. If you're looking for a new job, reception work is probably the way to go. I just wish it was a permanent position instead of a place where the facility is closing in 2 months. Bummer, right?

Anyway, I've been meaning to make this post for awhile so you'll have to forgive the random topic. My mom doesn't really read magazines anymore, but apparently when she first moved she did. During the power outage, I started reading a Woman's Day or Woman's World or Good Housekeeping or one of those magazines. Anyway, they had an article on health concerns your doctor might miss. One of those listed was hypothyroidism. Now, I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I actually have hypothyroidism. Shocking but true. Anyway, apparently it's incredibly common for people with this illness to not be diagnosed. Apparently about half of everyone suffering from it doesn't know they have it. The symptoms are crazy obscure. Things like insomnia, constipation, dry skin, and mood swings.

The thing is, I actually suffered with hypothyroid for about a year or two before I caught it. I am so incredibly lucky. I went for my first OB/gyn appointment and my doctor asked if my neck was always that swollen. I'd never thought about it before and said I just assumed I had a fat neck. Since I'd wanted an STD test anyway (I'd just broken up with my ex and even though we'd both been virgins I believe people should always get STD tests before they get a new partner) she went ahead and ordered a blood test. My gynecologist caught my hypothyroidism. I am so glad she did! My hair was falling out, my skin was getting acne for the first time in my life, I couldn't focus, everything just seemed insurmountably difficult, I was depressed, I was sleeping a solid 16 hours a day, and my weight was fluctuating. My periods had even started becoming so severe I was forced to take days at a time off from school because I couldn't physically walk to class. I couldn't even walk to the cafeteria, I had to rely on whatever groceries I had sitting around in my dorm. All I did was sleep. I got put on Yaz and Synthroid and after taking those for a few weeks, everything got better. I got a job 3 weeks after starting on my pills when before that the very idea of waking up in the morning, going online, and putting in applications was so strenuous that I would become so exhausted I had to go back to sleep. Not actually even putting in the applications, mind you, just thinking about doing it. I could not function. Now I function. I'm healthy and happy and exercising, for God's sake. Hell, I even got a job!

So the thing is, I was really really really really lucky. I got caught early, got medicated early, and now I'm healthy. I'll probably have to take a little pill every day for the rest of my life, although there is a possibility that having children could fix the problem. I'll have to be monitored if I DO get pregnant to make sure my thyroid doesn't hurt the baby. I have to have blood tests every year to make sure my levels stay constant. I can never take diet pills. Otherwise, I am completely and totally normal. I'm one of the lucky ones. I am thankful for that.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Musings During a Blackout

Sunday, September 14
The storm came Friday night.  Hurricane Ike came straight through Texas.  It hit Galveston and the gulf coast hard (NOAA warned residents ignoring evacuation orders faced "certain death".  Ike cut like a knife up through Houston.  I am north of Houston.  Everything south and east of me was pretty much trashed, everything north and west is fine.  We may not have power for a month.  We lost a transformer, apparently that's not the kind of thing they just keep laying around.  It will be 3 weeks to get another one at least.  It's funny, but a few days ago we were looking forward to this.  We thought power would go out for a day or two, but would come right back.  A blown transformer was not in our plans, but it was in the plans for us.  The question is:  What do I learn from this?

It's easy to forget how reliant we are on technology these days!  Even now, I'm spoiling myself by listening to the Smashing Pumpkins on an iPod.  It won't last much longer.  Other than that, I am on the porch writing with a pen on paper by candlelight.  Oddly, I feel this is a good experience.

Your priorities shift slightly when you begin to feel fortunate that you have a tub of  clean water to bathe in, even though it's cold, because it will be your first bath in 3 days and it's so hot you begin to smell.  Since the power is out, we're lucky the water pressure remains so the toilets work, but the water could be contaminated so we can't drink or bathe in it.  I filled the tub on Friday in case we did lose water.  Thankfully, we were able to get bottles to drink.  Many people were not that lucky.

Since we expected to lose power, we froze our bottles and put them in a cooler.  We were able to save lunch meat for 2 days like that.  We also remembered to charge our phones and I have a wind up flashlight and we had some candles as well.  Our only crisis has been that Step-Dad has a coffee addiction.  Today, a neighbor with a gas grill made a pot.  We've been able to get enough of a cell signal to call my dad and let him know I'm alive and find out what's going on.  Almost nobody else has been able to call out.

I've decided this is an excellent test of my new beliefs.  I was beginning to get annoyed that my mother was refusing to acknowledge that we could be without power for 3 or more weeks.  She can't handle that amount of time mentally.  I don't blame her entirely, but we do need to accept that this could be a long term situation and make plans for that.  If the power isn't back tomorrow, I'll try and go find a library on Tuesday.  I'm going to ask myself everyday:  Can I handle this for one more day?  As long as the answer is "yes" I know I'll be okay.  After all, this can only get easier to adjust to.

I've been making a conscious effort to see this as assisting me on my path to lead a more simple life.  What do I truly need?  I'd like to see my boyfriend.  This isn't a daily necessity.  I can email him once I get to a library and my dad emailed to tell him I'm alive.  I do need to do my homework, but I can also do that at the library.  Otherwise, my needs are met.  We have food, water, and I'm able to meditate.  I even have yarn and needles.  I do wish I had more books, but I'll get some soon.  If The Boy were here, I'd be content.

We'll be alright.

Thursday, September 18
The problem with most major religions as practiced today is their self-centered approach to salvation.  It becomes about me and my relationship to G/god; or, at best, we the elect and our relationship to G/god.  There is rarely more than lip service paid to the idea of me and my relationship to the larger community and the world we all share.  I am as guilty of this as anyone.  What have I done for the world community lately?  What have I done to earn my salvation today?  I have been judgemental and self-centered.  I continue to cause suffering through my inaction and implicit approval of exploitative labor practices.  I realize that I am partially to blame for the suffering in the world today, and I must now begin steps to rectify those past wrongs.  I will have to meditate on this and figure out ways I can begin to practice this.  One cannot rashly say, "I will give up all animal products, stop-buying non-fair trade products, start a letter writing campaign and feed the homeless!"  There is no way anyone would do all that after 30 seconds to think about it!  You would become overwhelmed and inertia would take over and you'd do nothing.  What I can do is continue my boycott of Nesquik, stop shopping at Wal-Mart again (once the power comes back and the other stores open), and do some charitable knitting easily.  I can encourage those around me to become more conscientious consumers.  I can go to farmers markets and try to eat locally.  I can patronize small businesses.  I can cut back on meat even if I don't cut it out completely.  I can avoid speaking ill of people.  I can do lots.

I just want people to remember that it takes more to be a good person than going to church once a week and singing "Praise Him!" as loud as you can.  You can go to weekly services yet still ignore a homeless man on your way home in your SUV, buy yourself some slave labor chocolate while wearing your Nikes.  You may be a nice person in general, but you are not a good person if you don't expend some effort to those around you.

What have you done to earn your salvation today?

Friday, September 19
I may start making shawls for cancer patients.  I have the prayer shawl book, bought while trying to find a shawl pattern for my grandma.  I could probably get the shawls blessed, too.  Even if I don't believe necessarily in them, who am I to deny their comfort to others?  I think shawls might be nice, just because I know chemo can make you quite cold.  Blankets for premies would also be fun. 

Saturday, September 20
The nature of deprivation is that as it draws out, your desire for the lacking numbs but also becomes more painful.  As it stands, aside from being able to locate a Stitch n Bitch and some patterns I would be okay not having electricity again (if The Boy lived here anyway).  But at the same time, the buildings across the street have power.  We found out last night which gave us hope we'd get it soon.  Unfortunately, there's a massive tangle of wires preventing that.  The hope is the worst, though.  I am typing this from a hotel.  We know we will have power on Thursday, but this will be my last day online until this weekend at least.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Like Ike!

Just in case anyone was worried since I moved:

1)  Yes I'm in Texas
2)  Yes I probably will get hit by Ike
3)  I'm far enough north that I should be safe
4)  If anyone wants to panic, I'll be updating my Twitter as the storm develops and if the power goes out, I can text updates there
5)  I've got a flashlight that's windable and doesn't run on batteries, a few books of word puzzles, and all my knitting.  Worst case I end up texting Twitter and knitting by flashlight.
6)  We've got a cooler and a lot of bottled water as well as some cold cuts and bread

Good luck to everyone else in the wake!  I'll catch y'all on the other side.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Howdy from Texas!

I am finally in Texas. Woooo! I'm sunburned and got bitten by an ant and by another, unidentified bug. I'm generally settled in, though. I'm getting incredibly bored by not working right now, but my mother wants me to wait to put in applications until she can look at the temp agencies with me.

I've also gotten past the worst of the homesickness. I really just miss being in North Carolina, but Texas is hopefully going to get me financially independent and get The Boy over here.

My mother keeps pressuring me to join her church. She's a Presbyterian. I've not had the guts to tell her I'm a Buddhist yet, primarily because she'd cry and scream and possibly call me a satanist. It just doesn't strike me as being worth the effort as long as we live together. Maybe once I've moved out. I'm okay with going to church, but I'm afraid it would give her too much false hope if I went with her. I wonder what to do about this.

Oh and P.S. I am safe from the hurricane. I may get some rain, but I'll be alright.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Farewell to Customer Service

So the thing about customer service is that it's a universal. I can talk about my job with any person who has ever worked customer service and we will always have something to talk about because we will have all the same customers. Not necessarily the same people, but since we all know that customers aren't people the archetypes will be the same.

Everyone who ever works with customers will have the psycho who can't understand why you won't violate state or federal law to get what they want. They'll have the person who wants you to bend space and time to get them something that you physically have no control over. The people who yell at you over company policies like you have some control over them. The people who expect you to be psychic about their special things (allergies, the fact they don't want the handles of their soda cases punched in). The people who hand you copies of Watchtower magazine and give you Chick Tracts. These are universal truths.

I had a customer today who I have never had before in my years of working a register. This one was a special breed all her own.

I first encounter Dingbat because it's 15 minutes to close and she is standing in the juice aisle bent over in half not moving. I ask her if she maybe needs help because I'm kind of worried she's not entirely okay. She tells me she's fine, she's just reading the juices to see which one is on her WIC. I am a little perturbed but tell her that the Juicey Juice is all okay.
Finally, a couple minutes after I make the finally "we're closed!" announcement, she gets to the register. I look through her vouchers and realize she has a pound of cheese on the voucher she didn't get. Since I am a good person, I ask her if she wanted the cheese. She's starting to freak me out, because she's mumbling to herself a lot but she goes off to get her cheese. She walked down an aisle and bumped in to the meat case and just stopped and started staring at it. The manager went and got her and told her where the cheese was and she finally came up and I got everything rung up and put through. This took 15 minutes. Then she stood there for another 5 minutes asking us why we didn't

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Family Snapshot

I'm moving to Texas. I don't want to say where exactly, but I'll be outside a large city. This is a particularly horrifying realization for me because I've lived in the same 90 mile radius my entire life. Plus, I've never been to Texas and hate hot weather. This could quite possibly be a brand new bit of crazy in my life. We'll see.

To celebrate my running away to hell, I went to visit my father and brother and step-family a few days ago. The following exchange took place.

Me: I got a Debit Card ledger with my new bank account!
Brother: $5 says you'll never use it.
Me: $5 says you're a douche. Ooooh I win!
Dad starts laughing uncontrollably.
Step-Bro: What?
I recount the conversation, Dad starts laughing uncontrollably again.

Suddenly, my sense of humor suddenly explains itself.

I also set up a Twitter account just in case you want to know what I'm doing all the time every day. And you know you do.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sex Blogging and Me

So I am now officially a sex blogger. I am the founder and admin of Stimulating Conversation as well as the Women's Sex editor (a feature I like to call Girly Bits).

This is really cool for me, because it's something I've thought about doing a lot and have been encouraged to do by friends for awhile and now I'm doing it! It's hopefully going to be a daily blog. Girly Parts on Monday, Man to Man on Tuesday, Hump Day Reader Assistance on Wednesday, a yet-unnamed sex diary on Thursday, Fetish Friday, Saturday I'm hoping to have a gay/lesbian column (we've contacted a gay and a lesbian to see if they're interested in writing bimonthly alt lifestyle columns for us), and Cyn's Sins on Sunday which will be random meditations on sex. I'm irrationally excited about that. I'm waiting to hear back from the potential Saturday columnists we've approached and may end up doing a casting call to try and find them. We also may end up having reader submitted fiction on Hump Days. Basically, I just want Hump Day to be something fun and reader-centric.

This blog has a fun little story behind it. I've been giving sex advice on a babyname board and they kept pestering me to become a sex therapist of some variety since I keep giving the advice. Then a few days ago, I started talking in a chat room about how much I really, really hate Cosmo. To the point that when my options are reading a parenting magazine and Cosmo, I'll read the parenting magazine. My main complaint is that Cosmo sexuality is basically how to fuck a guy into liking you. To me, female sexuality needs to be based on more than getting a man and then being SUPER HAPPY. Female sexuality needs to be about experiencing yourself in a pleasurable way and how to do that while staying safe. Cosmo honestly wouldn't bother me AS much except there is no equivalent magazine or source of advice for men. If women's magazines aren't telling us how to enjoy sex, then who will? So we decided to start a place for sex advice that is safe and clean and focused on making sure that everyone in any sexual encounter has the best possible time. Basically, the entire thing is focused on making sure everyone gets the most out of sex. My goal in life is to get the whole world to have better sex. I don't know if that makes me utterly shallow or a sexy sexy Mother Theresa, but feel free to swing by and drop us your questions, fiction, ideas for columns, product reviews, and general mail.