succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Perfection - Round II

Holy Shit! It came from them! Mom and Dad did this sort of classical parenting technique wherein very early on we were encouraged to make our own decisions. They'd offer their opinion, or advice, if sought, but the decision was ours to make (thus making me feel like this is something I'm good at). The idea is once you make a few 'bad' decisions and deal with the consequences you come around to the notion that maybe Mom and Dad aren't evil and clueless and occasionally do have a good idea or two. Of course, I took this to the extreme, rapidly accepted that Mom and Dad's decisions were almost always better than mine, and instead of trusting my own judgement just got to know them well enough to be able to predict their advice and what they would do in a given situation...ok, but this doesn't completely fit because there are definitely concrete examples of times when I moved away from what they would have done and didn't feel badly about that and in fact felt quite good about it (sliding over from statistics to biostatistics wasn't, strictly speaking, against their advice, but it definitely was against the advice of nearly every single faculty member in my old dept. while that was an incredibly difficult decision to make, I knew what I wanted to do, and once I decided to do it, never doubted myself)...weird. It's the big ones (gymnastics, school, career) about which I seem to trust myself and it's the mundane everyday ones I beat myself up over...


Never in a million years would I have described myself as a perfectionist. Driven? Certainly. Ambitious? Sure. Full of lots of other neuroses? You betcha. But a perfectionist? Nah. I was, after all, mostly a B student, and pretty happy with that, so how could I be a perfectionist? I guess we've been coming around to this for a while in therapy, but the thing with therapy is that, when it's working, it leads you up to the door, but when you finally fling it open it's both obvious and like you never saw it coming. So I missed out on dancing to the 80s tonight (hang in there, this isn't as unrelated as it seems at first) because I came home from work today to discover the cat doing this weird thing with her mouth and I'm a spazz and opted to take her to the emergency vet (she's fine; rather, more specifically, the vet can't find anything wrong with her). And I'm driving home, feeling all out of sorts, and trying to decide who I want to call when I get home to talk this out and make myself feel better. Then I start thinking, well, talk what out? What is it I need to work through? And finally I come around to it - I'm worried about whether or not I made the right decision. WTF? And suddenly I'm remembering all those vague, crappy feelings in the pit of my stomach from who knows how many times in the past and finally connecting the dots that those feelings were me gnawing away at a decision I had already made. Again, WTF? That isn't like me. Or rather, isn't like the version of my personality I hold in my head. In fact, the exact opposite is one of my skills. I may not always be decisive, but once I've landed on something I accept that that's what I've decided and the consequences of that decision, just like the grown-up person that I am. Certainly by now I can handle making independent decisions about a) my social life and b) my cat. So, one more time, WTF? What's up with this idea that I'm not 'allowed' to make a 'wrong' decision and therefore spend time mulling over decisions I've already made and can't change? Where did that come from?

Creepy Phone Calls

So I just got two voicemails from a phone number that popped up on caller ID as 'private.' The messages were badly muffled, but it sounded like a) the called identified me by name (not necessarily implying that he knows me, since my outgoing message says hi, you've reached Megan) b) I think he identified himself as Mike? c) in the first message it sounds like he's offering to meet me 'anytime, any place' and d) in the second message it sounds like he says he knows I listened to his first message and why aren't I picking up the phone? Nothing specifically about either message was threatening, but I still feel creeped out and like my space was violated. I mean, my cell # isn't exactly publicly available (ok, ok, so it's buried at the bottom of my aol screen name profile, but you still have to know me to get to that) and even though I'm safely ensconced in my office at work, and there was absolutely no rational reason for this reaction, I still realized that after the second message I glanced around, like maybe someone was here. Weird. And lame.

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this advertisement...

I can't remember where or how I found out about Music for America, but they've been flooding my inbox for a while now, and I finally got around to reading some of those pesky e-mails, and boy am I glad I did! Because now I will be attending the Guster (and Rogue Wave and The Fruit Bats) show for FREE! In exchange for arriving early and registering people to vote and passing out other progressive propaganda and providing opt-out forms to prevent public schools from providing private student information to the military. Yay!

Baghdad Burning

is another one of those blogs I'd forgotten about, and it's my loss. Written by a young (-ish?) woman in Iraq it's insightful and heartbreaking. From the day Zarqawi was killed:

"A new day for Iraqis" is the current theme of the Iraqi puppet government and the Americans. Like it was "A New Day for Iraqis" on April 9, 2003 . And it was "A New Day for Iraqis" when they killed Oday and Qusay. Another "New Day for Iraqis" when they caught Saddam. More "New Day" when they drafted the constitution… I'm beginning to think it's like one of those questions they give you on IQ tests: If 'New' is equal to 'More' and 'Day' is equal to 'Suffering', what does "New Day for Iraqis" mean?

And from earlier in June:
There’s an ethnic cleansing in progress and it’s impossible to deny. People are being killed according to their ID card. Extremists on both sides are making life impossible. Some of them work for ‘Zarqawi’, and the others work for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. We hear about Shia being killed in the ‘Sunni triangle’ and corpses of Sunnis named ‘Omar’ (a Sunni name) arriving by the dozen at the Baghdad morgue. I never thought I’d actually miss the car bombs. At least a car bomb is indiscriminate. It doesn’t seek you out because you’re Sunni or Shia.
Emily Dickinson wrote, “hope is a thing with feathers”. If what she wrote is true, then hope has flown far- very far- from Iraq…

It's a good antidote to the garbage spewed forth by our MSM.

(FYI - several of her posts have also been collected into a book)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Sweet, wonderful, stress-relieving funding! That's right kids, yours truly is now the very grateful recipient of a NIH training grant. This was the scenario I've been hoping for but was afraid to jinx by talking about it (since I still haven't signed the paperwork, there's still a small paranoid part of me that's worried something may yet go wrong). But, for now, it looks like all systems are go. I'll be funded for two years (maybe more, though I'm hoping not to need that) and it'll cover my health insurance and I'll need to take a few extra classes and do some additional research projects and write-ups and whatnot. Wow. I feel like my shoulders have receded back away from my ears for the first time in months. And, as a special added bonus, I got to see the boy for the first time in over a month for a little celebratory dinner. Hooray!

ps - thank you, of course, to everyone who so patiently listened to me bitch and moan and stress and worry.

pps - it's really kind of amusing just how much pleasure I'm deriving from receiving federal money. Even though I know the reality is quite different, in my head I'm enjoying the idea of controlling a teeny, tiny, miniscule patch of government money. I feel like writing the president a letter everyday to tell him how I'm spending my paycheck, giving away as much as possible to all those things his administration has abandoned, either through apathy or intentional neglect. And sticking my tongue out and saying nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! (like I said, I know the reality is totally different, but when it's so easy to get burned out and overwhelmed, one has to look for rejuvenation where it comes. plus, I'm happy! I'm going to run with it)

Monday, July 03, 2006

An interesting comparison

The NY Times has another piece this morning dissecting the Supreme Court's decision regarding Guantanamo and military commissions and recapping the Republican cries of how dare we apply the Geneva conventions! Then in the op-ed section there's a piece about NYC's history as a military jail during the Revolutionary War. American soldiers and civilians were terribly mistreated there and subject to horrible over-crowding, among other things. As a result, just two years after the British left Manhattan, the US entered its first treaty regarding the humane treatment of prisoners and several aspects of current international law got their starting point. The piece concludes:

Of course, even if such guidelines had been in effect during the Revolutionary War, there's no guarantee that they would have been followed. Britain was the world's superpower in those days, as the United States is now, and if King George didn't want to treat "rebel" prisoners humanely, only principle and conscience stood in his way.

It's shameful that our leader seeks to avoid both international law and 'principle and conscience' from standing in his way.

Thank god for the weather

In totally unrelated news, after two weather-related delays, NASA discovered a crack in the insulation of the shuttle's external fuel tank. I admit, I am far from anything even remotely resembling expertise in this area, but how many more times are we going to send (or nearly send) our astronauts into space with shoddy equipment? We did used to be better at this right? What's happened?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

28 Days

I've always thought that this little-known movie was some of Sandra Bullock's best work, and after treating myself to the dvd today at Target ($5!) I was pleasantly surprised by the work they did to include extras. They've even created several little vignettes of Santa Cruz, the soap opera all the movie characters are obsessed with. One of my pet peeves is when movies are released to dvd without anything else. I know a lot of times the extras are lame (9 times out of 10 those scenes were deleted for a reason) but it's nice whenever a company really takes advantage of the technology.

Also purchased today - one large tan messenger bag, to which I've added my favorite patch, one that I've been carrying around for years, looking for the right place to put it. It's got multi-colored stripes and says "No one wants to fight patriarchy alone. Make friends." (purchased here) Stitched it on myself while watching Ten Things I Hate About You, for the zillionth time ( Heath Ledger...well, not quite as baby as Roar).

Right. So the mood improved and I managed to venture out of the house a bit and still leave plenty of quality couch time.

Bonnaroo Pictures!

This was the youngest person we saw at Bonnaroo. Can you imagine dealing with a stroller and diapers while camping in the middle of a cow pasture? Posted by Picasa

The Streets! Posted by Picasa

I swear this isn't just a picture of people's backs, if you look closely you'll see Rusted Root.Posted by Picasa

This is The Art of Such-N-Such. The guy on the right is a fire dancer, unfortunately you can't quite make out the fire eaters/breathers on the side of the pic.Posted by Picasa

That little fuzzy blur in the middle of the picture is Radiohead. Just take my word for it.Posted by Picasa

Centeroo is like a little village. They even constructed a ferris wheel this year. Travers and I didn't brave the potentially scary temporary construction, but others seemed to enjoy it without injury.Posted by Picasa

That's Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, all small and far away.Posted by Picasa

This sign accompanied the body painting in the next picture. We all agreed that there appeared to be some confusion as to the meaning of the word spectrometer.Posted by Picasa

One of the many activities offered at Centeroo was body paint. Why you would want to do this when the nearest shower was days away, I'll never know.Posted by Picasa

We made friends during the Beck show. (why this guy was dressed as a squirrel, I do not know. None of us took him up on the offer of nuts, nor did any of us bother to tell him that squirrels aren't marsupials)Posted by Picasa

Blah. Ladies night produces drunken pity party. Anyway. So the ladies came over yesterday and there was wine and cheese and chocolate and then The Devil Wears Prada and then Apres Diem for more wine and cheese and chocolate and coffee. The movie was pretty good. I wish Tracie Thoms had had a bigger role. I liked that the Miranda character seemed more redeemable in the movie version than the book. The brief Paris scenes reminded me just how much I need to travel again. Renewing my passport is back near the top of my to do list.

I wish I could get geared up to do anything today. I can afford the day off from work, but I should really putter around the house a bit - clean, run errands, etc. I can't even seem to get jazzed about going shopping...maybe today will just be a pajamas-on-the-couch sort of day. Too bad I've already plowed through most of my netflix movies. Watched Lord of War with Travers on Friday. Better than expected; I think they mis-marketed it.