Watery Habits

Coffee and tea are staples of my diet. They are part of my morning and afternoon rituals. There is something peaceful about drinking a cup of hot coffee or tea that I find relaxing. They are good places to start when it’s time to switch gears. So, it boggles my mind that more than once this week I have left my house without having had a cup of coffee and without preparing a cup to bring with me. Who does that? Who forgets to have coffee in the morning? Apparently, me. I do. Kate does.

This hasn’t just happened this week. Since I’ve been back from Mexico I’ve been trying to start and end my day with a glass of water. Sometimes I fancy it up and put a drop or two of an essential oil in it. (I’ve been rocking the lemon mint water both in the morning and at night. It’s crucial that you get the right mix of lemon and peppermint, though. I prefer one drop of peppermint to every three drops of lemon. Otherwise, the peppermint overpowers the lemon.) I do notice the effects of being dehydrated (feeling sluggish, dry mouth, etc) and starting and ending my day with water has helped with that. But, Because I don’t want to have coffee before I finish my water (lest I never finish my water) I often don’t even make it until I’m done with the water. Or, not at all as the case was this morning. I didn’t even notice I hadn’t had any coffee until I started write this post. Now, I’m both proud of myself for beating my caffeine addiction. (I hadn’t even noticed!) But, I’m also annoyed at myself that I didn’t notice until I was already comfortable and at a nice table in the library. So, I might go the whole day without coffee. Or, tea. Which seems a little miraculous to me.

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Over the summer, I started a meditation practice. And, for awhile I thought I was a bomb-ass meditator. But, the more I got into it the more I realized that I’m pretty sucky at meditating. I’d like to be good, though. So, I’m going to keep on trying.

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Dictionary Stories

On the Canadian radio news show As it Happens last night I heard about something that is really cool. A gentleman in California has started a blog where he writes short stories that are made up entirely of example sentences from dictionaries. My favorite dictionary is the OED (and, thankfully, I have online access to it through my university) so I hadn’t noticed how crazy example sentences are. The OED’s jam is to put a word in its historical context so all of the example sentences come from texts in which the word was used. The sentences can be very dramatic but they can also be very funny as a word’s meaning may change over time. But, some dictionaries include sentences that have been made up to illustrate the definition of the word. These are the sentences that Jez Burrows is using to make his stories. The stories Burrows have come up with are clever and short. They make for a fun read. This one made me laugh this morning:

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

A retired teacher. A topiary gardener. An army officer of fairly high rank. A brilliant young mathematician. A highly esteemed scholar. President Kennedy. One of the great stars in the American golfing firmament. Detective Sergeant Fox. The Honorable Richard Morris Esquire, chief justice of the supreme court of our state. When you put these men together, you’re bound to get fireworks. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to interview every applicant.

You can find these short stories here.

This post was first published on Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy

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Yes. That Exactly. Yes.

I had to listen to this broadcast more than once so that I could transcribe the following quote:

Someone in the name of the Hungarian government shouldn’t mention Christianity without talking about solidarity. And, that’s a sad thing because the Hungarian government is in a competition with the Far Right but has really have anything to do with the problems on the ground.

Last night I was to As it Happens which is a Canadian news show that the local NPR station carries. They interviewed a man named Viktor Szigetvári about the camera woman Petra Laszlo who was caught on camera tripping refugees (children and old men carrying children) as they ran through a field from the authorities. I was struck by the quote because it filled in a gap that I hadn’t realized was missing with so many recent discussions about religion. The gap is this:most religions call their members to serve the community and to help. This is most definitely true in Christianity. When we invoke Christianity, when we invoke religion, we should immediately follow it up with statements or practices that are in line with the tenants of the faith. Or, we should find a new argument.

The quote can be heard at the end of the piece, around the 6:00 minute mark.

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Experimental Fall Drinks

It was a little hot over Labor Day weekend to start getting excited about Fall (unless, of course, you went any place where there was air conditioning and then it was too cold to think about anything at all). But, somehow I got excited about Fall anyway. I added a drop of Young Living’s Thieves to my coffee. (I’m a little obsessed with this oil blend. It is so warm and it smells so good.) I then topped off my coffee with cashew milk and a tiny bit of maple syrup for some sweetness. It tasted like Fall. And, it got me excited about Fall. This morning I made it again but without the maple syrup as I had mixed stevia in with my coffee grounds. The maple really does give it an extra kick. I really dig the maple. Next, I will try it with some tea. I will keep you updated on the results.

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The Little Pink Pill

On the way to a meeting this morning I heard a piece on the radio about the FDA’s approval of a drug to increase the libido of women with low libidos. This drug has been up for approval before but was rejected because the FDA said that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that the drug had an impact and it has serious side effects (like a sudden drop in blood pressure that can lead to fainting). After the drug was rejected, a number of people said the FDA was being misogynistic in its rejection because this could help women, it fits a cultural narrative that women have low libidos and they don’t like sex (so why fix the problem), and because there are already a number of treatments for medical problems that cause sexual dysfunction in men. But, I don’t know if we can say the FDA is being misogynistic here. Unless we’re saying they were being unnecessarily paternalistic protecting women who could be benefiting from the terrible side effects (if the ads are to be believed, Viagra also can cause a drop in blood pressure). How medicine is discovered, researched, tested and produced could itself be the problem here. The medical community as a long and storied history of ignoring women altogether. In The First Twenty Minutes Gretchen Reynolds discusses many studies on health and fitness that only looked at male participants. As another example, growing up we were taught signs of how to spot a heart attack or a stroke. It was only when I was out of college that you started to see discussions of how heart attacks present differently in women. I get that women’s sexual problems are often treated as psychological and not medical and having a specific medical intervention could signal a change on how doctors are thinking about women’s sexual health. (I’m not holding my breath on that, though.) Treating women like a lack of sexual desire is all in their head is certainly misogynistic. But, I’m not sure the FDA doing their job and asking for evidence is misogynistic. Society itself doesn’t do right by women and I’m pretty sure that’s not on the FDA to fix. Still, though, this medicine being approved may spur other researchers to consider women’s health (sexual or otherwise) more seriously and that could be the real victory here.

As an unrelated aside: It disgusts me that people are calling this “The Little Pink Pill”. Especially since Viagra is the little blue pill. I can hear you saying, “Isn’t it cute? His and Hers!” No. It is not cute. It is gross.

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The Never Ending Saga of Bureaucracy

I got up this morning with such lofty intentions of sitting down at 9 to transcribe data I have collected for my dissertation. (Recorded linguistic data must go through a little bit of processing before it can be analyzed. The processing often involves transcribing what people say. This is a very tedious process, in particular when you are transcribing a language you don’t speak natively.) But, before I could get started I knew there was an email I wanted to answer. After logging in and responding to that email, I noticed some other emails that were best answered ASAP. I changed my expected graduation date and that entails having to jump through some extra hoops re: deferring loans. So far I’ve talked to two offices (three times. I had to call one office twice). And, now I’ve had to email two different people (possibly from the second office? It’s not actually clear). The issue still isn’t resolved.

And, I still haven’t started transcribing.

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In my last post a mentioned that I’ve been traveling. I brought knitting with me, of course I did. I started Deborah Frank’s Dark Passenger.

I haven’t touched it since I started it.

Normally, when I go a long time without knitting, I miss it. But, I haven’t missed it yet. Maybe that is because textile culture is alive and well here in Chiapas and I have spent my days marveling at all the handiwork around me.

Or, maybe it is that I started another pattern that requires I actually read a pattern. The year is more than half over and I was taking a look at the progress I’d made on some goals. I am behind where I want to be in writing my dissertation. According to goodreads, I’m 4 books behind schedule for this year’s reading challenge. And, while I normally knit about 12 projects a year, I’m on track to knit about 8 this year. (Assuming, of course, I actually get back to knitting.)

I don’t know what I’ve been doing this year, but it certainly hasn’t been what I planned to do. Isn’t life funny like that?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about a few trips I’ve taken over the last decade or so and feeling nostalgic. My sister, Joy Killyjoy, the ’52 Spitfire, and I backpacked through Europe a little more than a decade ago we had a great time. It was the perfect mix of good experiences, kind of crap experiences and fun experiences. I was specifically thinking though, and feeling nostalgic for, some of the crappier parts of that trip. We had a miscommunication with a train conductor and almost got thrown off a train in the South of France. At the time it was terrible. But, since then it has made a great story that we tell other people, that we tell each other when we get together, that we tell. It was an invaluable experience of tripping over language and ourselves and thinking about it always makes me smile. On that same trip, I have a memory of being in an Italian bakery and paying for everyone’s pastries and being completely confused by my compatriots panic that they hadn’t paid! You spend so much time with people on trips like that one that you sometimes forget that there was a time when you all did different things: like college, when you took Italian and your friends took Spanish and Ancient Greek.

I am currently in Chiapas, Mexico collecting data for my dissertation and staying at a hostel. It is a lovely hostel because it is quiet and there is a place for me to work and it is also near where my speakers are. It has also afforded me the opportunity to talk to all different kinds of travelers. Some of them are traveling alone, some of them are traveling in groups. All of them are probably fueling my nostalgia.

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What I’ve been Listening to lately

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