Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Virtual Relocation

It's official: I've made the move to WordPress. It's sooooooooooo much better than Blogger.


I'll keep this site and link to it on the new one.


Does anyone know how to transfer archives from Blogger to WordPress? I'm jumping ship but I want to keep my old stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Nez Pierce; The Toothpick Diet

Dear Gail,

The nose piercing did not hurt very much. It was like a hard pinch--nothing more. My piercer, a thorough, chill, and rigorously sanitary young man with well over 20 piercings in his own face, used a very very sharp needle (which he took out of its sealed package and discarded immediately afterwards) followed by the stud, which also hurt a tiny bit. My nose was sore for a day but only about as much as it would have had I scratched it. It hurt far worse to get my ears pierced.

The cleaning regimen and healing time is actually far more bothersome in the decision of whether or not to pierce. Healing takes up to 3 months, during which time it is advisable to wear button-downs and V-necks. You can really hurt yourself if it gets caught. Once a day you clean it carefully with liquid soap, and once a day you do a saltwater soak. It's not that bad. Also, you can't play with it and touch it all the time. It can get infected quite easily during the healing period. If you think you can handle the regimen and be careful not to rip your piercing out, you should so totally do it! Gail, baby, you would look incredible with a nose piercing. The picture I have of you in my head avec piercing is so natural, so YOU.

Be sure, of course, to go to someone CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN who has an autoclave or has all sealed and disposable equipment. The room I was pierced in looked more like a doctor's office than a piercing studio. Never, never, never let someone pierce you with a gun.

Oh, and they might not want you to have the piercing at your school. I'd look into that before going through with it. Of course, if you're doing it for religious purposes it doesn't matter. Even so, you can also get pierced with a flesh-colored stud.


P.S. I'm pretty sure the piercer and his assistant were gently cackling as I walked away in my gray slacks and professional-looking sweater. Contrary to what most people assume, a nose piercing does not in and of itself make one rock 'n roll. Unless it's like your 15th piercing.


The latest in ADD intervention at Chez Boomerific is diet. I love my ADD; it's part and parcel of who I am and how I function, and I love the kind of work I do because of it. However, there are aspects of it I'd like to manage more effectively.

Specifically, I'd like to substantially reduce the peaks and valleys in my daily energy, so that I do not end up with one manic hour followed by two absolutely shitty, lethargic, apathetic ones. I know sugar makes every one have these fluctuations, but for me it's rather pronounced. Since refined sugars and carbs (which convert into sugar very very quickly) contribute to these swings, I'm cutting them out. Gone! Of course, there will be holidays and birthdays, but there's no need for wonderbread and white rice in the meantime. This evening we had our Monday curry with brown rice--yum. I have stocked the shelves with whole-grain pasta and oats, as well as honey and agave nectar (Honey is a sugar, too, but is more nutritious than refined sugar and processed by the body much more slowly, which is the key; agave nectar is also unrefined and has a low glycemic index, which means it's not going to cause those sharp spikes in blood sugar).

Here is a good site for natural refined sugar alternatives:

Of course, this is stuff I should be doing anyway. A diet of whole grains, no refined sugar, and as many veggies as you can get your paws on is key to fighting heart disease (family history here), diabetes, cancer, and a whole host of other nasty diseases and conditions. So I'm not concerned that there's not much research on whole foods and ADD. It's healthy anyway and there IS research on blood sugar hockey and refined foods.

The other day as I was flossing oatmeal out of my teeth I realized that there's an easy way to tell whether or not your diet is healthy: floss. If you come up with something between every tooth, you're probably doing it right. Think about it: everything you're supposed to eat--unrefined whole grains (looooooove my popcorn...dripping with olive oil, of course), veggies, fruit with skin on--is everything that gets stuck in your teeth. The bad stuff just slithers down your throat.

So we're flossing a lot around here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Week in the Life

Sorry for the lack of substantial posting this week.

But, in the meantime, I've been

bathing the dog

hanging out with Attic Man

taking in good live music (dark star orchestra, mr. small's, millvale, p.a.)

and punching holes in my body.

more soon!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Twilight Zone I'm checking my morning bloglines and several of you are missing the last few days of posts...I reload and they don't come back...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Single Parent Adoption

I need your help, oh adoption gurus. I just had a conversation with a WONDERFUL woman who is thinking about adopting in the next few years and is exploring the issues. I'd like to point her to some good adoption blogs. I will of course list all of you lovely people, but I also wanted to find some single-parent adoption blogs as well (specifically in which the person doesn't have a significant other or didn't have one when starting the process). I know they must be out there. Also, she wants to adopt an infant, so while I will be listing blogs of people who went through foster care, I'm really after infant adoption. Also, because I'm already being SO demanding, I'd like a few to be international. Sooooooo...whatcha got for me?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Apparently, I'm 'In'

I have, dear readers, been 'tagged' for the very first time in my year-long blogging career. Many thanks to Cindy for bringing me into the world of memes.

Seven things to do before I die:

1. Go on a roadtrip out West
2. Learn Irish Gaelic for real in the Gaeltacht
3. Remember and send cards for all birthdays and anniversaries for at least one full year
4. Come to peace with every one with whom I have unresolved conflict
5. Live off the grid
6. Get tenured at a small liberal-arts college
7. (since this feels like the least likely, I'm listing it last) ADOPT A CHILD

Seven things I can (or will) not do:

1. Eat any meat other than fish and seafood
2. Complain about my mother-in-law
3. Name my children after pop stars or athletes
4. Stop eating chocolate
5. Live in a house without a basement
6. Stay above ground in a tornado
7. Fight in a war

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:

1. (censored)
2. (censored)
3. (censored)
4. (censored)
5. (censored
6. (censored)
7. (censored)

Seven things I say most often:

1. Off!
2. No!
3. Sit!
4. Drop it!
5. Leave it!
6. Do I look OK?
7. My students are amazing

Seven books (or series) I love:

1. Notes from Underground
2. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
3. The Secret Life of Bees
4. Far from the Madding Crowd
5. Knee-Deep in Thunder
6. Home Comforts: the Art and Science of Keeping Home
7. "Society Must Be Defended:" Lectures at the College de France, 1975-6 (Foucault)

Seven movies I watch over and over again:

1. So I Married an Axe Murderer
2. Romero
3. Christmas Story
4. Glory
5. Lord of the Rings
6. Ferris!
7. Good Will Hunting

Seven people I'm curious about that I'd like to join in:

1. Oween
2. Vindauga
3. Dot
4. Tamara
5. Angela
6. Dawn
7. AfrindieMum

(Shannon, you just did one, so I'll spare you)

Friday, December 09, 2005

ADD 'Brainstyle'

I had a great idea for a subtitle for my blog, which I hope never to use: 'Boomerific...Waiting and Dissertating.' Really, if I have to wait until I'm dissertating for Boomer to come, I will just perish. But I'm feeling hopeful. There's been a lot of non-bloggable adoption madness lately, very stressful, very confusing, which Dawn, Afrindiemum, and Shannon have been coaching me through. Have I mentioned how cool this little adoption blogging community is? It's like just happening to stumble upon a support group, but one that is super cool. And you don't have to wear nametags and drink bad coffee. I spoke to Dawn on the phone yesterday--neat to put a voice to a blog personality--and she is WAY cool.

Speaking of non-bloggable subjects, I am with this post about to cross a line I had previously drawn for myself. Recently there's been a bit of a hubbub at the Chronicle about grad students blogging, something about blogging being public writing and worrying about the same things you would when submitting articles. Someone even mentioned that you should not post pictures of pets. Well, I am still blogging after reading said articles and frankly, I don't give them a lot of weight. First, this is not an academic blog. I talk about social issues from time to time, but the forum is explicitly not a professional one. The other blog, which I never update, is specifically designed for that purpose. This one is about adoption and the daily goings-on of a person who just happens to be in grad school and will someday want a job. I doubt anyone looking to hire me is going to look at this blog as anything more than mildly amusing, if that. What I write here has nothing to do with my professional qualifications, unless an employer is going to use illegal or unfair criteria for hiring.

So. That being said, there are still things I won't write about. I assume that everyone--family, friends, colleagues, and many more unknowns--reads my blog. I assume this because I've removed things in the past after discovering that people I never thought read the blog had stumbled across it (it wasn't mean, just stuff that was kind of private). I know that not everyone deletes cookies in the grad lab so I can assume a fair number of my colleagues read me. And really, I can't say I hold my professors in such high regard that I believe they would never google me just for fun. This age of blogs and technology is kind of new that way--it's hard not to be found, and harder still to control the parts of your life you want to keep separate. I'm rather resigned to that. So there are some subjects that I keep mum about, mostly so that I don't make public something that is private to someone else. I am fairly open about myself, but a person should have the right to determine what their own level of openness is going to be.

Until today one of my only yet-unblogged life issues (though I refer to it off-handedly) is ADD. I have hesitated because in a lot of circles ADD is considered to be a bonafide disability that necessarily means you won't be as productive in work and life. You can see my wariness: what if someone who is thinking of hiring me finds my blog and says, "whoa. we CANNOT hire someone who has trouble with follow-through and detail." But that kind of statement would reveal an attitude about ADD that's at the very least incredibly simplistic and in most cases just plain innaccurate.

And maybe it will play out the way I fear. I would like to credit my colleagues and future employers in higher education with more knowledge and understanding than this. But even if it does cause me a bit of trouble on the employment front, it's worth it. I am a successful grad student, just as I was an outstanding undergrad: My grades are top-knotch, my teaching is solid (God, I love teaching), and from what I understand my reputation is solid as well unless I am missing the announcements for the "I Hate Sster" campaigns held in the conference room each Thursday. I do need to work on publishing and conferences, but that is coming in its own time and I am not by any means in jeopardy of losing my career completely.

But. Lest you think I'm some kind of academic goddess, let me tell you: it is HARD. Freaking, freaking hard. On the one hand, having an ADD brainstyle (I'll talk about that at more length in the future) is incredible well-suited to the academic life. One of the things that allows me to do really good literary analysis is my ability to hyper-focus when I'm really into something, which works for my writing as well (would you believe me if I told you that my academic writing is much better than the stuff I do here? it is). Also, the fact that every semester, nay, every day is different works incredibly well for someone who is absolutely stymied by any kind of rigidity. In other jobs I've noticed I start to lose interest, and then focus, after about 6 months, and at a year it is just unbearable. Teaching and research is new every day and is dynamic enough to keep my attention. I need something that is a good combination of novelty and structure, and the university teaching life is about as good as it gets. (Of course, there's also the fact that I love literature and am into theory, but that stuff is for the other blog I never write on and this post is more about brainstyle and fit). In fact, from what I've read and my own observation, a pretty large number of people who are in the humanities in academics are on one end or the other of the ADD brainstyle spectrum. So I don't think I'm some kind of freak.

What makes ADD hard in academics is the part that is about developing your own projects. Wait: that is what makes it good, but also hard. Let me explain. On the one hand, being in charge of your own ideas is perfect for an ADDer. But being in charge of your own schedule is not. So here I am in a phase of my program in which I am in charge of the majority of my days--long, empty days full of paper--and it's hard to organize myself and get it done. I am doing it--and pretty well--but it's a struggle. And I want to be able to talk about that on the blog. I want people to read this and say, "OK. I'm not alone in this. And I can see someone else who works the same way that I do and IS getting it done." I want to talk about some of the ways I am trying to organize my professional life and struggling through that process.

The biggest piece of it for me was changing my orientation towards ADD. I have been 'diagnosed' in the last couple of years (just to make sure my forgetfulness wasn't some kind of early-onset Alzheimer's) but being 'diagnosed' doesn't help much. All it does is identify you as some kind of impaired person. ADD is NOT a disability in my opinion. It is a way of thinking, a way of approaching life and work that is at odds with a predominently linear-oriented world. And it's NEEDED. People with ADD brainstyles, instead of being methodical and mathematical, see connections between things, and see function where others see category. They are creative, and impulsive, and have an incredible ability to focus when interested. Their penchant for empathy--because of over-identification with others emotionally--makes them the kind of dreamers who start humanitarian organizations. They also make superb literary analysts because of their ability to think in terms of interconnectedness and metaphor. (A big help in orienting my thinking has been Lynn Weiss's excellent book on Adult ADD). I think that funny term 'differently abled' really applies here.

I hope that by writing about it I can continue to help myself get through this new phase in my program (because for an ADDer, DOING is the key, actually physically putting things down) and connect with others who have similar issues.

Line? Crossed.