Sunday, January 24, 2010

Late breaking update

All three of the aforementioned lost items have come home to roost:
  • The glasses were in the guest bedroom. I haven't been in that room that I can remember for at least a month.
  • The remote control was under my bed. Of course.
  • And the mailbox key had somehow found its way into my garbage disposal.
Because I know y'all were dying to know. I really have lost it, or there's a boggart in my house. One of the two.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Losing it

In the past 24 hours, I've managed to lose a pair of glasses, the remote control for my bedroom TV, and my mailbox key.

The maddening aspect of this is that I know for a fact these items are somewhere in my house. I mean, I don't exactly take the TV remote out to run errands or anything. I haven't worn the pair of glasses I've misplaced outside the house for at least three months. I do take the mail key outside since that's where the box is, but it's a pretty short walk and for nearly nine years now, I've checked the mail and then, once I'm back inside, hung the key on this specific hook. And yet, somehow, it too is not where it should be.

I share all this because it's sort of a metaphor for how I'm feeling these days. Out of sorts. A little lost. Like the pieces of the the puzzle of my life don't quite fit together as cleanly as they used to or as they seem to for other people.

I haven't talked much about this, aside from a few oblique references, because I don't know that my battle against migraines is terribly interesting. It boils down, on some level, to an equation of Head Hurts + Medicine - Brain Power + Discomfort. But a dear brother in Christ urged me yesterday to talk about this part of things, that it's part of my life just as the pets or the job or the YouTube kitten videos are.

The preventative medication I'm taking nowadays is an anticonvulsant -- not as intellectually stunting as the Topamax was, but I'm still pretty much dumber than a bag of hammers (a very sleepy, yawning bag of hammers). It definitely blunts my creativity: finding the right word is a challenge, and my problem solving and capacity to synthesize data or concepts are limited, too -- and, to some measure along with them, my me-ness. Since I can't really engage as quickly or fully in conversation as I once could, I tend to hang back more. Coupling that with how sleepy the drugs make me -- I am drinking a whole lot of coffee and Red Bull in the afternoon these days -- I'm not exactly a social butterfly.

And that's become my real struggle -- at what point is the medication the problem versus the pain? How much of myself am I willing to shut down or drug away as part of the pain management process? My doctor and various Internet message boards assure me that the side effects will abate in time, so for now I'm willing to wait it out. Every day I weigh this, and so far, even with the dopiness and limited intellectual capacity, the medication wins: the pain is less, I think, overall, and I can still more or less function. But I'm definitely nearing the tipping point.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Please give

In the week and a half following the earthquake in Haiti, I have been glued to CNN.

Port-au-Prince lies in ruin -- its people unsheltered, its children parentless, its wounded untreated. An estimated 1 million Haitians have been displaced.

It's staggering to watch the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere struggle to right itself in the wake of a catastrophe the likes of which would gravely test the emergency readiness and response of even the richest of nations. But for a country already impoverished, where even before the quake 80 percent of its citizens lived on less than $2 a day, it's almost unimaginable how this people will rise from the ashes.

Officials there have conservatively estimated some 150,000* Haitians have been laid to rest in the last 10 days alone. How many more have yet to be unearthed? And given the lack of emergent medical care, antibiotics and the ability to conduct even relatively routine surgeries, how many more will survive the initial quake only to die in the days and weeks to come?

Inevitably it's the children's faces that are the last to leave me as I fall asleep at night -- safe and warm in my bed, a seismically-sound roof over my head and uncontaminated food and water at the ready. No want, no need.

With no skills that I can put to use there binding up the injured or sheltering the homeless or feeding the hungry, I'm left to pray. And to open my wallet.

* The original 70,000 figure was updated by Haitian governmental officials on 1/25/10.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On having cut my hair short

Interaction with Anthony, the homeless guy on the corner with whom I chat every workday morning.

Me: Good morning!

Anthony: Good morning. Did you cut your hair short because you were mad at someone?

Me: Er, no. Just ready for a change is all.

Anthony: Oh, good. I've had two women do that. I had to leave.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New favorite thing: stainless steel straws

I love straws. Love, love, love them. I love them so much, in fact, that I typically use two at a time in my drinks (I don't know why. I've always done this. Must be an only-child thing) and even have an old-school, jadeite pull-up straw dispenser on my kitchen counter at home. Love them.

So, when I saw these, I sort of shrieked a little bit. They're simply great -- reusable (so I don't get enviro guilt about using two non-renewable straws at a time and go off and buy a carbon credit someplace), cool looking (I mean, aren't they?), and just plain unique.

A box of 50 plastic straws costs like $1 or something, so it's not like I'm saving money with these, but they're sure a pleasure to use. The only down side? Since they're pre-bent, they don't fit in my cool straw dispenser.