Friday, January 27, 2012

Shabby Apple's Shabby Art Director

Ignoring the weird dress and inappropriate shoes, this model for Shabby Apple is wearing a hunt cap and leading a cow pony with an ugly Western bridle. She's also wearing English gloves and carrying a broken crop, not to mention committing a series of pony-club-don'ts in the other pictures. Surely there are enough horsie people in the fashion industry to fix these glaring mistakes. She just looks like a moron. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bread and Pregnancy

I made a butternut squash gallette the other night. I fried up some onions, threw in some cubed squash and Mark Bittman's chili spice mix (ancho chilis, cumin, coriander, black pepper and oregano), tomato paste and water and put the resulting mixture in a whole wheat crust.

I have some of the filling leftover, so Ryan's getting a special treat for his lunch tomorrow: a squash pasty.

We've been so excellent about not only remembering to put things together for his lunches everyday but also baking the bread for his lunches - so even if there's no leftovers or the leftovers are a bit meager, there is fresh bread to make sandwiches. We do get our weekend loaf from Wide Awake Bakery, but that is for Friday afternoon tea with Ken and Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts. Their bread is better than ours, but they also have a giant brick bread oven instead of a crappy, poorly insulated one.

Last week I made a batch of olive oil dough. That plus rosemary from the CSA (although once I used za'ta) meant we had focaccia for a few meals - it never lasted more than an evening.

My mood has been a little better this week although I did have another meltdown on Saturday. I know I've spent a lifetime feeling like I didn't get some memo that every other girl seem to have gotten, relating to things that are stereotypically associated with women, but pregnancy fucking takes the cake. Sure, I can read in the books that it's perfectly normal not to be radiant and excited and a blithering idiot, but that is no help when you are dealing with the well-meaning advice givers in-person.

"Oh you're cleaning your bathroom/doing laundry/cleaning house? You must be NESTING." (No, from time to time, I clean my house because I am an adult.)

"Oh I've been waiting for you to get excited! How exciting that you are finally excited!" (I just told you I had an ultrasound and that I still feel like shit after eating.)

"Oh you need to eat TONS OF FAT. It will make your baby smart." (Do not counter this argument with, "actually that's not a good idea for a number of reasons".... otherwise you will be called out for your vanity. Never mind the omega-3 supplements you are taking.)

As annoyed as I sound, the tears on Saturday were because I can't figure out how to be as excited as everyone else seems to be. I'm just existing and the baby is existing and soon the baby will be born and that is what happens. I guess I just want to be left the hell alone, but (I imagine) people get awfully touchy when you scream at them "Please for the love of all you hold sacred, talk to me about SOMETHING ELSE." Not to say I'm banning the subject - obviously it's on my mind a lot and I do have questions/potentially interesting things to say on the subject and I really don't actually mind talking about it, but the subject does get tiresome when it is the only thing people can talk to you about.

Maybe it's partially my fault: I don't have a whole lot else going on right now. I keep meaning to get on with certain projects, but I still feel sick or tired or both most days. Things about the second trimester, so far, that are annoying: it is still quite possible to have morning sickness and be too fucking tired to stay up past 8pm. These instances are just less frequent or less severe (I can manage food if I don't think about it afterward and sometimes I'm just too fucking tired to stay up past 10 instead of 8). Sleep is increasingly uncomfortable: I am an "active" sleeper, meaning I sleep on my sides, back and front throughout the course of the night, the front is increasingly not an option and the back is not recommended. So sides it is! If I can remember, while I'm asleep, not to roll onto my back (I usually can't). The books say, get pillows! People who suggest this are not familiar with the members of my family, who are quite happy to roll and roll and roll until they are completely tangled up in the duvet, pillows flung to the far corners of the bed. Pillows will do nothing to stop me. The only thing that works is Ryan occasionally waking up in the night and noticing I am on my back, then gently prodding me, hopefully onto my side. He is so brave.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting Older and Girl Scout Cookies

Today I was trying to describe my friend Jane to my friend Ken. I assumed they had met, but he didn't remember her.

"She was at my birthday party. Very pregnant."

Then I remembered that there were two very pregnant women at my birthday party, so I amended the statement by declaring she was the brown haired very pregnant person as opposed to the blonde haired very pregnant person.

"I do remember pregnant people at your party."

Then I thought about how old I am to have pregnant women at my birthday party without it being totally weird.

There are things that I do differently now that I am older. I just had a conversation with Ryan where my roommate situation in Santa Barbara came up. I described calling someone back who had called to inquire about our loft space. We (roomate Casey and I) had talked over breakfast and decided to put off renting the loft for another month - I think because there was the possibility of our old roommate and good friend moving back in. So I called the person who had left a message inquiring about the space and said, "Yeah, well, my roommate and I decided that we aren't going to rent the space after all." The man immediately launched into a weird rant at me about how I was being "ageist" (I had no idea how old he was) by refusing to rent to him and how uncool that was and how rude and on and on....

Ryan said, "Why did you listen to this man enough to hear the whole thing?"

I said that I didn't know. It was a strange thing to have happen. Maybe that's why.

Then he said, "How old were you?"

I must have been about 20.

"Ah. So not old enough to know you could just hang up and not listen."

It reminded me of my sweet friend Georgi, a 19 year old freshman. She told me about being on a bus, getting in a conversation with a grad student and him asking for her phone number. She said she didn't really want to give it to him, but felt she should to avoid being rude. I said, "Georgi, you do not have to give your phone number to anyone you do not want to. It doesn't matter if they think you are being rude or not."

Which is something that I think a lot of 19 year old girls should hear. You do not have to do that shot and you do not have to go home with that person. Unless, of course (!) you WANT to. In which case, do and have fun.

So, at 20, I didn't know I didn't have to listen to some stranger's abuse on the phone but Georgi will know that she is allowed to not give her phone number out to just anyone who asks for it.

In other news, I'm buying some Girl Scout cookies. I'm buying them from a kid whose parents are homophobic social conservatives. Mainly because I don't know many Girl Scouts (just the one, really) but the irony is not lost on me - but it will probably be lost on them. Which makes it a little funny. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Battles with healthcare

Just tried to watch Bridesmaids. Completely unrelatable. I had to switch it off because everyone in it, so far, including Matt Lucas, was too high-pitched.

I tried to get a counseling appointment this morning. I'll just say this: the last few months have been less than fun for me and it occurred to me, on Friday, that sobbing my way through doing the dishes for no apparent reason was perhaps not normal. I mean, I don't like doing the dishes, but it doesn't normally result in tears. I'm sure it's bad brain chemicals, but all the things I normally do to clear them out are either unavailable to me or nor working or part of what is making me cry so much. I signed up for a counselling appointment through MyGannett, which is an electronic appointment service. The appointment was a phone assessment and made for 11:40 this morning. I dutifully called in on time and was connected to a psychologist whose first question was, 

"What year are you?"

"Um [I clear my throat] I'm actually a spouse of a grad student."

"Oh. I don't think we can assist you, unless you are coming in for couples counselling."

"But, all my health care services are provided by Gannett."

"That's strange. You shouldn't be able to received services through Gannett *, but either way, we aren't part of Gannett. Let me put you on hold and go and check."

"I'm so sorry for leaving you on hold for so long. I'm still confused as to your receiving healthcare from Gannett, but as I said we only provide counselling for students. I can refer you to Family and Children's...."

And there I cut her off, thanked her and hung up.

*Also, she is entirely wrong. Gannett is the only place I can go with my insurance and receive full coverage. 

I can't go to Family and Children's because I know some of their counsellors and staff socially and at least one of the counsellors should never have been granted a license to practice, because NO ONE who is that unfriendly, rude, humourless and insecure should be counselling other people.

"Try being bitchier. It worked for me!"

And here is the crux of the matter and should be noted for anyone considering being a Cornell Graduate Student  Spouse.

Cornell doesn't care about you. You are extraneous. They don't wish you to be happy, they don't even know you exist. Despite a study done AT CORNELL, showing that married grad students are both more likely to finish and finish faster than unmarried grad students, they do nothing for this admittedly small population. They don't even provide counselling or job seekers assistance, despite the fact that moving here is more likely to be hardest on the spouse, which means the spouse will be unhappy which will result in unhappy grad students that take forever to not finish their degrees. No effort at building a community or connecting said spouses is made and no forum is provided for us to even to this on our own effective. 

I had sort of gotten over this sentiment until I discovered that they won't let me see a counsellor - the counselling services is separate from the university health insurance, and paid for by the university (I assume to allow students to go and not be forced to inform their parents, should they still be on their parents insurance) so if I want to see a counsellor, I have to go outside the system pay, instead of it being covered like it would be, were I a student. Nice one, Cornell. Force me to pay for your shitty student health insurance and yet don't allow me the same access that you do the students.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

British crime dramas.

Confession: I watch a lot of British crime dramas. 

They are sordid. 

Lately, I've been re-watching Waking the Dead. I like that the forensics anthropologist is apparently always some kind of crazy auto-didact genius who has managed to build up an expert knowledge base not only of forensic anthropology, but also cryptography, ballistics, radiology, botany, dentistry, serology, toxicology, pathology. Also, Spence is hot. 

I also like Midsomer Murders - not quite a drama as there is often some comic relief. The premise is basically some grisly, sordid murder happens in a quaint tiny village in the fictitious county of Midsomer. Somewhere around the half hour mark, a second murder happens and then, before the third murder happens, our hero, DCI Barnaby figures out who the killer is and rescues the potential victim in the nick of time. It doesn't matter that all the episodes are the same.

Unlike a lot of American shows, British crime dramas are often a lot more graphic.

So you see quite a lot of "murders" and "rapes". And I never think the victim struggles hard enough: If someone attempted to garrotte me, I'd probably reach behind and gouge an eye or grab a throat and squeeze. Maybe attempt to grab testicles. 

At least: I think I would. a former student of mine published a piece about almost getting raped. She felt disappointed that she didn't do anything to help herself. No kicking in the balls, no screaming. I blame so many pathetic TV victims for this attitude. My friend Mark described a study (I do not have a link) that looks at cops and criminals being shot in exactly the same way. Cops fall over and "act shot". Criminals run for miles. 

So, I've been thinking about reversing the patterns put in my brain by these TV shows. I have a plan in my head, as I mentioned above. Eyes are good. So are throats and testicles. And screaming.