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Lately

It's been awhile, huh? Geez.

Good Things

+ Officially sending off all my Portland State stuff last week. I only had to tweak my Boston College entrance essay just a bit, too, which was nice. The nice admissions lady from the Graduate School of Social Work also said she'd be able to personalize a course of study for me, taking into consideration the transfer credits from BC, which is awesome.

+ Feeling at least a little better on my newest anti-depressant, Effexor.

+ Feeling a lot better when I take two Klonipin with aforementioned Effexor. Then again, I'm sort of reconsidering how often I choose to mix prescription medication. The whole Heath Ledger thing sort of has me paranoid.

+ Finding a lot of fantastic new music to listen to. I'm currently obsessed with Missy Higgins, who sort of reminds me of a cross between Alanis Morrisette and Fiona Apple. She's coming to one of my favorite little venues here next month, which I'm really excited about. Other recent favorites: Yael Naim, Sara Bareilles, Morcheeba, and remembering how much I love Matchbox Twenty's, "Yourself or Someone Like You".

+ Strengthening friendships with people here. In the last month or so, I've really had a chance to evaluate the life I've made for myself here and, with that, the people I'll be leaving behind. I'm really going to miss a lot of them.

+ Having rainy weather instead of snowy weather.

+ Buying a flannel pajama set on sale at Target for $6.24.

+ Burning candles that smell like the holidays.

+ Coming home to Roma buried under my blankets.

+ Making some minimal progress with the guy at work, Justin, who I've liked forever. We hung out two years ago a couple of times. Kissed, watched movies, nothing major. Then he gave me the it's-not-you-it's-me bullshit, so I gave up for awhile. I tried to ask him out again about a year ago, unknowingly doing so when he was dating someone. They broke up last summer. Now it's February, he's single, and I'm leaving in four and a half months. So, seize the day, right? We flirt like crazy at work, which mostly consists of him talking trash about Idaho and trying to beat me up, and me bashing him for grammatical errors in his work e-mails and for the Patriots choking during the Superbowl. Yesterday I casually suggested we hang out again, because I'm leaving and it'd be nice to spend some time together before I go and blah blah blah. I suggested watching Superbad and drinking wine, which he seemed open to. We'll see. I've still got time.

+ Being really happy with both Democratic front-runners. And the fact that Romney bailed out.

+ Hosting a cocktail party in three weeks. Dressy attire, fancy wine and champagne, Scrabble, good lighting, and jazz.

Not So Good Things

- Paying $117 for a one month supply of my Effexor. Apparently it's not one of the medications Blue Cross/Blue Shield covers, which is super convenient seeing as how it's been the most effective for me thus far. Go figure, right?

- Continuing to work my life away. I've been alternating between 50 and 58 hours a week, which, along with my two classes, is just about killing me.

- Hating my Research Methods class and its professor. Picture Mr. Miagi from Karate Kid teaching Statistics, and that pretty much sums it up. Plus the textbook is almost impossible to understand and everyone in the class seems to have a better grasp on the material thus far than I do. Boo.

- Realizing that I'm going to have to pay out of state tuition for at least my first year at PSU (assuming I get in) after having lived in Oregon previously for five consecutive years.

- Forgetting to update my Netflix queue before I send my movies back and ending up getting new DVDs I didn't really want.

- Not being able to think of anything to give up for Lent. Not that I'm really Catholic or anything, but I like to test my self-control once in awhile. I was thinking alcohol, but not being able to drink at my own cocktail party would be uber-depressing. I realize that I'm, like, several days past the start of Lent anyway but I figure I can go a few extra days or something.

- The recent influx of disgustingly long and super fast red centipedes in my bedroom. I usually find them on the ceiling and have decided they're coming up from a hole that leads down to the basement. And I fucking hate them.

- Watching more and more of my friends get engaged. Which makes me happy for them, but even more depressed and anxious about my own single-ness.

- Hearing the same five or six awful songs on the radio every day. Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks, Flo-Rida (which shouldn't even be allowed to be a name), and J. Holiday (same goes for him). WTF.

- Having to file my taxes and reapply for FAFSA, neither of which I've done yet.

- Spending hours on Scrabulous.com and losing most of the time.

- Turning on CNN every day and seeing some election story. Now, don't get me wrong; I can appreciate the importance of the campaigning and all that. And I voted in the primary on Tuesday. And I'm excited about our prospective Democratic nominees. But, uh, isn't there something else they can cover sometimes? Sheesh.
I hate that I get super-obsessed with things. Like, totally randomly. Lately, all I want to do is quote Superbad, listen to '80s music and/or shitty pop (like Rihanna, whose song "Rehab" has been on repeat on my iTunes playlist for easily an hour), and watch old episodes of My So-Called Life on DVD. And that, incidentally, may have led to my recent overuse of the word "like" between normally free-flowing thoughts. My sister bought me the entire series, which was really only one season, and I just finished the entire thing today. I cried a lot, maybe because the first time I watched it I was 14 or 15 and was dealing with what I've now deemed my undiagnosed bout of depression, or maybe because it's just such a fucking fantastic portrayal of high school and awkwardness and young love and all that. I think that's why I loved Superbad so much; the sincerity between crude jokes was hard to ignore. I also saw Juno last night. That made me cry, too, now that I think about it. I thought Juno's character was remarkably wise, maybe unbelievably so for only being 16, but the screenplay was really well-written. I think Michael Cera could have played a bigger role, but the few scenes he did have packed a lot of emotion. When he lied down with her on the hospital bed at the end?! Gah! Cinematic perfection.

Ever since I decided to move to Oregon, I've been in a good mood. Well, relatively. I'm learning how to be tolerable of 15 degree weather; good is probably a stretch. Anyway, I called my parents just as they were going out to dinner tonight and told them I had some big news to share. My Mom seemed worried and refused to get off the phone until I told her. So, I did. And I remember hearing a big sigh. She told my Dad, who I could hear in the background say, "Alright. Ask her when I should fly back." Needless to say, they're more than on board with this decision. And aside from having to reapply for Grad School and deal with all the logistics that come with another cross-country move, I feel good about it still. I feel excited, even. I can't wait to have my own apartment again, to decorate again, to make a place my own.

I also like to have things to look forward to. Last summer I was looking forward to seeing Jeremy. In September I was looking forward to school. This winter I was looking forward to going home for the holidays. And now that I've finally decided what I need to do, I feel happy looking forward to moving back West. It's not even happy as much as, like, relief. It feels like I can finally just take a deep breath and trek on for another six months now, knowing that there's some sort of plan to help me get out of my perpetual Boston-based rut. And I'm sure my problems will follow me to Portland, too, but at least I won't have to deal with insane drivers, $100 parking tickets, and wind chills of -9. So, that's good.

SNOW SUCKS!

Reasons Why My Week Has Sucked: A Winter's Tale

1. We got 11 inches of snow on Thursday. 11 FUCKING INCHES.

2. I received a $100 ticket during aforementioned storm because, apparently in Massachusetts, during snowstorms you can only park on the odd numbered side of the street. WHO FUCKING KNOWS THAT?!

3. Sunday morning, I woke up at 6 AM for work... only to find another SIX INCHES on the ground.

4. It took me TWO HOURS to drive to work after shoveling my car out for 30 minutes.

5. Once I got home from my 14 hour day (plus the two hour drive), I had to DIG MYSELF a parking spot.

Some photos of the terror are here, here, and here. And this was two days after the storm, and one day before the second. Of which came another six inches that have now been iced over completely.

KILL ME.

***

In other news, I have to be up in four hours to get myself to the airport, yahoo! I don't think I'm going to sleep, a decision I may end up regretting at some point during my travels, but it seems like the logical thing to do given that it's 11 PM and I've barely started packing. Hm.

See you in Boise, folks. A wonderful place where snow melts and street parking isn't a commodity. :-D

P.S. Roma thinks she's coming too and has temporarily parked herself on my duffle bag. Aw.

Holiday Ramblings

- I'm going home in six days, and I couldn't be more ready.

- My last final exam was today, and I'm fairly sure I bombed it. I spent several hours studying with friends beforehand, only to find out the Professor's study guide was absolutely no indication of what was to be on the test. I walked out of the room after setting my paper down and clicking my pen, only to find my fellow classmates waiting for me outside the door with a giant and unanimous, "What the fuck kind of test was THAT?!" It's nice to know I wasn't the only one who felt it was completely unfair, but it's still frustrating to know how much I studied. And how ready I thought I was.

- My birthday is one week from today, and I'll be turning 26. I have absolutely no idea how that's even possible.

- I spoke to Justin on the phone this afternoon, and I'm really excited about spending some time with him, albeit brief.

- My sister and I are having professional photos taken while I'm home to give to my parents in January for their 30th wedding anniversary. She and I haven't had professional photos taken since she was 2 and I was 7. It'll be nice.

- I'm really, really, really thinking a lot about getting a tattoo.

- I've become completely addicted to Coke, chai tea lattes from Starbucks, and apple cider. But not all at once.

- My therapist made a really good point about me that I hadn't previously considered; the things that I perceive to be problems in my life reside in terms of extremes. I can't be happy, so I must be miserable. I can't be thin, so I must be obese. I can't be in a relationship, so I must be destined to live alone with 12 cats for the rest of my life. I'm trying to start thinking in terms of those in-between-things. I'm trying to take pride in my accomplishments and know that, in spite of my anxiety about turning 26, I really do have my shit together more than a lot of people do.

- Additionally, I'm in the midst of doing some major med adjustments. After 4+ SSRIs not working, I'm starting on Effexor, which targets more than just serotonin. I feel frustrated to have to constantly deal with the endless what's-going-to-work-for-me process, but it's necessary. And at least I'm trying.

- I'm going to be sending out holiday cards at the end of the week, which makes me happier than I can even begin to describe. If you haven't given me your address as of yet, best get on that.

- My 80s party was a huge success, and I'll be posting some photos as soon as I get the motivation to upload them on Photobucket. For now, check out the Facebook album or the few select photos on MySpace. Leggings and leg warmers are actually really comfortable, and I'm considering wearing them full-time, especially given Boston's frigid winters.

- I'm really sad about leaving Roma for 10 days while I'm in Boise. And I realize she doesn't know it's Christmas time, but that somehow makes me feel even worse.

- Although sledding with crazy children seems like it could be a lot of fun, accidentally being forced to fall into the splits while slipping on ice in an effort to push aforementioned children down the hill is not. I'm fairly certain I pulled lots of muscles last Sunday.

- Additionally, falling on your tailbone while walking down the icy hill isn't fun either. But watching kids fall really is.

- I'm weeks and weeks behind in my Grey's Anatomy watching, and am planning on catching up all day on Friday. It's long overdue.

- We're expected to get 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow, which sucks. Especially when you're driving 25 miles each way to work only to be forced to sled again.

- I fucking hate the new Alicia Keys song. If I hear that "no one, no one, no oonnnnee" chorus again, I may intentionally drive my car off the road and into a ditch.

- Tila Tequila is a trashy whore, but I really like watching that show. Go Dani!

- I'm also really sad that The Hills has ended for awhile. I shall miss Spencer's douchebag antics.

- Last night I blew out the candle that sits right in front of my TV. While doing so, wax accidentally splattered all over my TV screen and I've yet to clean it up. Everytime I see someone on the screen now, it looks like they're infected with some sort of skin rash. I'm really lazy.

- I really need to learn how to write good prose again soon. This whole bulleted list thing is fun and all, but I think I can do better. Must be those 26 years taking their toll on my writing abilities. Sigh.

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to my LJ friends, all of whom I'm very, very thankful for!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I Will Be With You Again

I really hate when I get to this point; the point where it's been so long since I've last written, I don't even know what to say. I had hoped to write a long, humorous post about my crazy Halloween night - complete with details of the Mexican who tried to seduce me with Barry White, the lime-flavored Dixie Cup jello shots, and the dog dressed as a lobster - but, at this point, it all seems sort of pointless.

I went to the doctor on Monday because I thought I was having a heart attack. And trust me, I know how silly that sounds. I'm 25, my health is pretty okay otherwise, heart disease doesn't run in my family. But for the last week or so, I've been feeling a really intense, constant pain in my heart. Initially, I thought it was heartburn. I started taking my Prilosec again, but the pain has pushed through. It's on the left side of my chest and, usually, worse in the morning and evening. My doctor told me I probably have chest wall pain, brought about most frequently by sleeping on my side and having my ribs press on my chest cavity. Now keep in mind this is the doctor who refused for months to give me an ultrasound because, obviously, I didn't have gallstones. Needless to say, I take what she says with a grain of salt. But, in this case, I suppose I should try really hard to believe that nothing major is wrong. Aside from my heart rate being consistently fast - over 100 during my exam on Monday - nothing else is really wrong. She assured me that if I was really dying or something, my blood pressure would probably be high, too. So, I immediately called my therapist and asked her to up my meds, attributing the whole ordeal to anxiety.

"Oh, hi Stephanie. What's going on? Why do you feel like you'd like to increase the Celexa?"

"Well, I went to the doctor on Monday because I thought I was having a stroke or a heart attack. I'm not, apparently, but I still sort of think I am."

"Huh. Okay. Let's go ahead with the increase, then. And when are your coming next? Sounds like we might need to meet."

***

In better news, I've been feeling very passionate about things lately. School has been going really well, and in spite of the fact that I've altogether quit doing the homework, I really enjoy the classes and feel like - for once since my undergrad FHS classes - I'm surrounded by people who really understand the importance of the work. Last Friday I helped facilitate a presentation on GLBTQ resources across a variety of universities in the U.S. Since I'm from the West, I decided to present on the ideology and resources at BYU, a Mormon affiliated university. I knew they had an Honor Code, but had no idea how detailed and how discriminatory it was. Not only do the students have specific guidelines about dress and grooming (including how long men can grow beards!), they also voice extensively in their Code the inappropriateness of cross-dressing, homosexuality and homosexual advocacy, and pre-marital sex. Needless to say, my classmates - complete with someone who identifies himself as a transgendered male - were up in arms. How is this going on in 2007? How can people who grow up in the Mormon church be blind to such discrimination? How is it okay to tell adults what they can and can't wear?!

I've been really into documentaries lately, too. The latest of my Netflix picks, a documentary called "Jesus Camp", follows a group of children in Missouri who annually attend an Evangelical camp every summer in rural North Dakota. It was amazing to me to see how involved and seemingly excited these kids were. Once there, the lead pastor used a baby lion to represent how sin looks initially - cute, fuzzy, small - but how it can grow into a giant, ferocious beast. She yelled during her sermons and children cried, supposedly "overcome" by the Holy Spirit. Kids ages 8, 9, and 10 bawling with emotion! So overcome by the presence of the Lord that they had to flail around on the groud and speak in tongues. To me, it just looked like really, really scary brainwashing. I don't have a problem with religion in general, I suppose, but when children that young are taught to fear and judge, I don't know. It just rubs me the wrong way.

All this religion talk has also really influenced some of the discussion in my Diversity class. What, for example, would a person do if he or she identified as gay and was brought up in the Mormon faith? How oppressed would that person feel? Knowing that, potentially, if he or she came out, they could lose family support and - according to the BYU "Honor" Code, be up for expulsion. It makes no sense! It's legalized discrimination! It makes me crazy!

It's also made me think about my career path. I'm still pretty certain that I'm going to specialize in Children, Youth, and Families, but I also think the Global Concentration is really interesting. I'd be able to visit another country like China or South Africa and see how these issues are affecting people there. I'm also really interested in being a voice for oppressed groups - minorities, the GLBTQ population, persons with disabilities. I just can't believe how blatantly oppressive some of the legislation is. From being able to dismiss a potential juror just because he or she speaks a second language to being able to suspend a student for cross-dressing... it's just ridiculous. And, for me, it's brought about feelings of both hopelessness and hope. Society continues to let these things happen... but maybe I can at least begin to break down some of the walls. Or something.

***

I'm really looking forward to going home next month. I'm secretly a little disappointed that I'm going to be in Boise for my birthday, given that I don't have many friends there anymore and would love to be able to spend it in Boston, but it's going to be nice for my parents. I haven't been home for my birthday in years. I'm not, however, excited about turning 26. Now I understand what my Mom means when she says she has no idea how she's in her 50s.

In the meantime, I still have some things to look forward to. Kristin and I are hosting an 80s Party Extravaganza in the beginning of December, so I've already been diligently searching for songs to add to my already spectacular playlist. I plan on hanging 45s from the ceiling and covering the walls with 80s-inspired art, including my prized "Breakfast Club" poster. I'm also looking to borrow a Twister game if anyone's got one. I can't think of anything more ideal than playing Twister in leg warmers with Eddie Money playing in the background. It's going to be a good time, for sure.

I'm also excited for next week because Emmanuelle, my good friend who moved to Denver in June, is coming to Boston to visit for the holiday. I'm actually working a 14-hour shift on Thanksgiving, which sucks, but I figure that if I can't be in Boise with my family, I'd rather make $21 and get a $200 bonus. Plus, these kids are stuck in a facility on Thanksgiving. They should at least be stuck with someone who cares enough to be there. Plus, I'll probably get free turkey and stuffing, which isn't a bad perk either.

Lastly, I'll leave you all with an awesome website. THIS is how I'm planning to dress for my party. Get excited.

Good Things

1. I saw Tori Amos both Thursday and Friday night with Kristin, and her set lists were amazing! I'd go off about how I cried during Northern Lad and went crazy during Hotel, but I don't think many of you know her stuff. Sigh.

2. I got a 96% on my midterm last week, which just goes to show I can bullshit in Grad School just as well as I bullshitted in Undergrad. Woo!

3. BC finally e-mailed me letting me know that my financial aid has arrived and that, sometime this week, I'll be receiving a check for $3,010. Hooray!

4. I spent $13 on eight small pumpkins for the kids to paint tomorrow, which is going to be so much fun.

5. Last night I wore a spaghetti strapped top, teal eyeliner, and lipstick to the concert, all of which was really liberating. Kristin and I looked super hot!

6. Since my surgery, Roma sleeps next to my head every single night. Sometimes she wakes me up when her tail hits me in the face, but I actually find it really endearing.

7. I've noticed my Dad taking an active interest in my education lately. He's never been the academic type, but it's cool to hear him ask about my classes and know he's really, genuinely proud of me. It's a nice feeling.

8. Living in Boston this time of year is crazy sports-wise. Between Boston College, the Patriots, and the Red Sox, it's hard to hear anything else. But it's also fun to be a part of a city that's so invested in their teams.

9. The fall foliage is gorgeous right now, and it's made my 30-minute commute to work a lot more tolerable.

10. I'm really, really, really seriously considering going to Italy next summer, which as me really excited. As of now I have no one to go with, but I'm looking for takers. Steph? Sara? Edwina?

And, finally, I will leave you all with part of Precious Things. The quality's kind of crappy, but it's awesome to know that I'm the one who filmed it and that I was right there. Enjoy!

A Gallbladder No More

So.

The older I get, the less I feel like I have to say. The last two weeks have been somewhat tiring, both emotionally and physically, but I'm finally feeling almost 100% after my surgery.

The operation itself went quite well. When I arrived at Mt. Auburn Hospital, I felt okay. I was nervous, but managed to stay focused on the positive outcomes that awaited. And then they had me get completely naked, put on hospital socks and a gown, and lie down on the gurney. And that's sort of when I panicked. Luckily, in spite of difficulty finding a good vein for the IV and an uncontrollable and embarrassing amount of crying on my part, things went pretty seamlessly. I remember them putting leg massagers around my calves - which I later found out was to prevent blood clotting - and the tan-colored oxygen mask over my face. Next thing I know I woke up in recovery, nauseated and dizzy. Bending was the worst. But I got to go home that same day, which was great news. As of now, I'm still sore here and there, but overall am feeling much better. I have four little punctures - two on the right side, one in the upper center, and one through my belly button. They're still sore to the touch, but much of the bruising has subsided, and I've been able to leave the house and run errands without being completely exhausted. I'm going back to work on Tuesday and should be on my way to a full recovery, news that has offered me some much-needed relief.

Otherwise... not much has been going on. I had midterms last week in school and spent a good amount of my bed ridden time reading New York Times articles on class and race relations. I've made a few friends and initiated a study group for our midterm last week, so I'm making an effort. And I'm happy about that. As much as I've grown to feel comfortable with my life here in Boston, I still don't know that I've made many close friends. It's nice to be surrounded by people who not only understand my desire to be in the field, but who have experience with it themselves. I don't have to explain to everyone what residential treatment is, I don't have to justify my desire to work with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children, I don't have to worry about any of that, because everyone gets it. And that's a wonderful feeling. Boston College is apparently a pretty uppity and snobby school, which I didn't know before applying, and although I've encountered a few of that type in class, I'm happy to see that most people are down to earth. And in spite of the fact that I won't be done until 2010, at least I'm going. At least I'm on my way.

I've also been making an effort these last few weeks to really focus on bettering myself, in every way I can. In the week following my surgery, I lost six pounds. I've also been eating better (aside from my recent Halloween candy binge) and trying to buy clothes that make me look less like a sloppy undergrad and more like a 25-year-old graduate student. I also got a new haircut, which I've shamelessly posted photos of all over the internet. She took about two inches off, and in spite of the fact that I've been growing it out forever, I really feel like it looks healthier and longer even with a few inches cut off. So, I'm happy with it.

Additionally, here are some other photos/things I'm happy about:

1. Roma and I have bonded a lot these last few weeks while I've been home, and with the temperatures changing, I often find she's wrapped herself up in my flannel sheets and down comforter all by herself!

2. We went out Friday night to watch the Sox play the Indians, and I ended up sitting on a couch next to some guy. We started talking and it turns out he's a 33-year-old Economics Professor at Tufts who got his PhD at age 28! He decided it'd be fun to put his arm around me in a photo, so he did. Kristin keeps saying I should look him up on the Tufts website and send him the picture, which I'm oddly sort of considering.

3. I've kept my hospital bracelet as a momento. I'd post photos of my bruises too, but that might be more than you all want to see.

4. For some reason, our rose bush outside blooms year-round! It's been blooming off and on since March, and last week I snapped a nice photo while it was raining. So pretty.

5. And here are some even prettier Autumn leaves, just because.

To all of you who sent me cards and well-wishes via the internet after my surgery, thank you! It really meant a lot.

Sending out an S.O.S.

Listifying, pleevie-style.

- I had my surgical consult yesterday with Dr. Bartlett, who is absolutely amazing. I lied there in only my bra and underwear, sprawled out on the table with tears running down my face. I told him I was scared. "Well, Stephanie. I'd be scared if you weren't scared! It'll be fine. You'll be fine." He handed me some gauze to wipe my tears away, and assured me that he'd get me scheduled as soon as possible. The only problem? My biggest gallstone is so large that he's not totally sure he'll be able to operate on me laparoscopically. And if he can't, I may have to stay in the hospital several days and be out of work for up to a month. Cross your fingers, folks.

- On that same note, I can't eat anything without being in pain. ANYTHING.

- While waiting for the aforementioned appointment, I wandered over to the internal medicine department to ask them why my UTI is still not better... after two weeks of antibiotics. I made some joke about kidney pain and how all my organs are failing me at age 25. The doctor, to my complete astonishment, shrugged as if I was right! He recommended I stay off the antibiotics for a few days and check back at the beginning of the week. He also did some bloodwork to check kidney functioning. Gallstones and kidney failure? Just my luck.

- My first day of school was yesterday, and it's going to absolutely kick my ass. My first class, Diversity and Cross Cultural Issues, is taught by a super-hot 30-something Hispanic woman from Manhattan. She showed up in four-inch coral stilettos (at 8 AM, mind you), and you can tell she means business. I already have five journal articles to read and a three-page paper to write for next week. Pretty intense, but I think I'll be challenged in a way that'll be really good for me. My second class, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, is taught by a tiny Korean woman whose legally blind and always wears green. The material seems a little more dry, but I'm excited to refresh my knowledge of child development.

- I spent $210 on three textbooks yesterday and almost cried.

- I weighed myself in the nurse's office at work last week and realized I've lost about 20 pounds since the beginning of the summer. I attribute this loss to both the New England humidity for making me sweat, and to my gallstones, which have prevented me from eating or drinking anything remotely satisfying of late. Thanks to all.

- Somehow I've been offering up lots of advice on how to deal with break-ups lately. Which is sort of ironic, since I was such a mess after my own.

- My hair is finally getting really long.

- I'm completely addicted to TLC's "What Not To Wear" and VH1's "Rock of Love." Like, irrationally so.

- I've been playing my viola some, which feels really good. Kristin and I are even going to be doing some duets, just for fun.

- As much as I hate to admit it, Britney's new song is really pretty enjoyable. I can't wait to watch her inevitable disaster of a performance tomorrow night on the VMAs!

- I haven't seen a movie in the theater since The Departed. I really need to get out more.

- A week from Monday I'm going to see a psychiatrist for the first time in more than two years. I came to Boston in July of 2005 with a month's worth of meds, and when they ran out, I just stopped taking them. I feel like I was okay for the first year or so, the novelty of city life filling the void temporarily, but over the last year or so I've found myself to be more and more anxious. Part of this has to do with my health issues, I'm sure, but part of it is that I'm really just imbalanced. And I'm okay with that. But with finances being increasingly tight and the pressures of school mounting again, I feel like now's the time to get back on something. And, if I can afford it, get back into therapy. It's long overdue.

- I really want there to be an "America's Next Top Plus Size Model." And none of this size 8 bullshit, I'm talkin' girls sizes 14 and up. I know I'd watch.

- The Damien Rice concert was awesome. Aside from his not playing "Cold Water", that is. And the absence of Lisa Hannigan who, according to Wikipedia, has ended her creative relationship with Damien. Oh, well. He still put on an amazing show, which included an outstanding acoustic rendition of "9 Crimes", a jazzy, up-tempo "Volcano", and an encore featuring "I Remember" and "The Blower's Daughter." It also gave me a chance to call galaxiepi during the show!

- Getting stoned text messages from my friend Andy cracks me up. Tonight's best: "Dude, what if the world was a giant potato chip?"

- I love that our central air decided to die again on the day it's 95 in Boston. Thank GOD I bought that extra window unit just in case!

- Aside from my Britney exception, I hate every song on the radio right now. Especially anything by Kanye West, T-Pain, Sean Kingston, and Akon.

- I have been eating, on average, two or three bags of Stacy's pita chips every week. I. Am. Obsessed.

- Lastly, would anyone like to volunteer to fly to Boston and be my caretaker post-op? Your responsibilities would include watching movies with me, helping me walk to and from the bathroom, and cooking me soup-like things. Let me know if you're interested.

Binging on Nostalgia

Has a ring to it, doesn't it? Binging on Nostalgia. Maybe that can be the title of my memoir. It actually came about during a conversation last week with Kristin and Jeremy. Kristin was talking about her ice cream withdrawals and how that's really the only thing she binges on. I sat for a moment, pensive and quiet, and came back with, "Yeah, the only thing I really binge on these days is nostalgia." And so a genius book title was born. Or, at least, I think so.

I've been feeling pretty awful lately. Last Friday I went in for my abdominal ultrasound which, as I had predicted, resulted in the doctors finally diagnosing me with gallstones. I doubt the technician had ever seen anyone squeal with delight as she offered up the news, but after months and months of my incompetent doctor telling me I have acid reflux, I'm thrilled to know I'm not crazy. So, that's the good news. The bad news is that I'm probably going to have to have surgery to take out my gallbladder. It's pretty non-invasive, and the whole procedure can be done laparoscopically, using only three small incisions to get the gallbladder out. I'm actually really, really terrified of surgery (mostly of anesthesia), and I have a lot of anxiety around all this happening right as school is about to start, but it's getting to the point where I'd rather do it than not. I'd initially thought I could put it off for awhile longer, as I've been dealing with the attacks and things for several months now, but things have only been getting worse, and I find my eating has suffered considerably. Wednesday night was one of the worst nights in recent memory, competing only with my stint in the ER during my Oregon vacation back in July. I'd eaten two pieces of garlic chicken pizza before bed, which seemed to sit fine, but I woke up around 2 AM in absolute agony. The next several hours proved to be even worse - diarrhea, sweating, vomiting - and I finally found some relief from the pain around 10 AM. An eight-hour attack definitely isn't anything remarkable, but it's obnoxious and miserable nonetheless. And the worst part about it is that there's really nothing I can do.

I've cut pretty much everything out of my diet at this point - alcohol, pop, fruit juices, red sauces, fatty foods, etc. - and am down to a diet consisting of water, grains, vegetables, and lean meats. I suppose it's good for me in the long run, but it's really boring taste-wise and still bothers my stomach pretty regularly. The gallbladder begins squeezing and churning as soon as you begin eating, reading signals from the intestines that it needs to help with bile production and digestion and all that. And with that squeezing and churning, the gallstones (the biggest being nearly an inch in diameter!) are pushed around inside of there. Which makes any sort of eating painful. Just now I had a handful of pita chips, some cottage cheese, a few baby carrots, and some watermelon... and my stomach fucking hurts. Which is awful.

So, I have an appointment on Tuesday to follow up with aforementioned incompetent doctor (I can't wait to give her a backhanded "I told you so, BITCH!" - at least in my mind) and then we'll begin to assess how much longer I can wait to have it out. Taking a month off of work doesn't sound too appealling because I'll be using up most, if not all, of my vacation time for Christmas, but I guess we'll figure something out. You gotta go what you gotta do, I guess.

In better news, Jeremy's visit was a lot of fun. He finally arrived around 3 AM that night that I last posted, left this past Saturday, and we had an amazing time together. It's still really strange to me that, for someone I met online more than six years ago, things are so remarkably normal and not awkward. We hung out a lot with Kristin, sitting on the porch 'til late at night talking, we walked all around downtown Boston, we went up to my grandparents' house, we played Scrabble, we watched movies. In spite of all my medical stress at the moment, I kept myself pretty even-keeled. He's actually moving to Japan for a year in September to do some intensive language stuff, and I've been contemplating going to visit him sometime next Spring. Financially, it's definitely not the best decision, but - I figure - neither is Grad School. Additionally, when else am I going to know someone in Japan with whom I can stay? When else will I have a friend who knows Japanese and can show me around the sacred temples of Tokyo free of charge? When else would I go to Japan?! So, I'm considering it at this point. And wondering how I'd pay for it. But until then I'm looking back on a really nice visit, complete with tearful hello and tearful goodbye. Which is kind of how I like things, actually. Binging on nostalgia and all.

School starts in less than two weeks and I am beyond unprepared. I just received notice that I've yet to turn in proof of my meningococcal vaccination (from way back in 2001), so I'm just going to sign the waiver and decline it instead. That way I won't have to wait several more weeks for U of O to dig up my medical records. I'm hoping that's a viable, only semi-dishonest solution to my procrastination. Orientation is this coming Wednesday, so I'm hoping I'll feel a little more put together after that. My first day of classes is Friday, September 7th, and I've already bought an entire box of medium point black pens to get me going. Staples, here I come!

Other things to look forward to:

- September 5th: Seeing Damien Rice at my favorite venue in Boston with Kristin. I. Can't. Wait.

- September 7th: My first official day of Graduate School.

- September 9th: I will stop working my horrid 14-hour shifts and switch to an 8-hour shift on Sundays. Woo!

- October 4th: Seeing Josh Ritter for the first time ever at the Somerville Theater.

- October 18th: Seeing Tori Amos at the Orpheum Theater with Kristin. My fifth Tori show!

Lastly, I'd like to properly wish stinkerpants a very Happy 25th Birthday tomorrow (seeing as how I was mistakenly a day early - oops!) and I'd also like to tell missquita that she's amazing and strong and will get through everything she's working through. I'm tempted to go on a rant about the emotional turmoil of break-ups, but I'll save that for another night. For everyone's sake.

The End.