Monday, March 31, 2008

And another thing...

(I'm actually feeling pretty happy...but there are a couple of things getting under my skin...)

It is appalling to me, what students do with citations. I know I posted, moaning, about this in November when I was grading papers. But I'm back to it because I'm grading research papers again. And I just can't get over this.

I've always directed students, in the syllabus, to the citation style I require. I provide them with a link to its online presence. I also refer them to X Manual of Style in the library, if they prefer. The syllabus says that they will lose marks if they do not correctly use the style. Because really, how hard is it to look it up and follow the directions??!!

This term, with my FOURTH-YEAR class, I required proposals/bibliographies. They came in with almost nobody - about 2 of 10 students, I think - doing the citations correctly. I was so frustrated. But then I decided, okay, I'll spoon-feed them. I photocopied the bloody citation instructions for them!! I just didn't want to deal with this nonsense anymore.

Now I have the final essays. Has one of the four I've read so far done all the citations properly?? NO!!! When I handed them out examples! And they're upper-year students!!!! Most of them are doing positively kooky things that have no relation whatsoever to any style.

You know, this just strikes me as the plainest example of the handbasket-hell equation.

Cycling rant

Warning: VERY angry rant ahead stemming from my experiences as a cyclist/commuter, after nearly being hit this morning on my way to work for the umpteenth time in my life. I have composed this rant, or something like it, in my head many times over the nearly two years I’ve been blogging. (And this is not directed at the average driver, like all of you, but at the fucking ASSHOLE ones.)

You know what, man in the fancy, expensive car who nearly hit me as I made a left turn, having dutifully signalled that turn, when I HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY? Who looked right at me as you pressed the gas very hard, breaking the law to make your turn and causing me to brake suddenly, scared? You are a piece of shit. And I know your kind well. It was one of your brethren who, years ago, opened the door on me and broke my hand as I cycled by. And then acted oh-so-put-upon that I was lying in the street, injured, and he might have to think about someone other than his precious self.

I try not to get righteous about cycling. But I came of age as a cyclist in Home City, where the city estimates that 1000 people every summer die prematurely from smog-related illnesses. This is because your kin – people who feel irrationally angry at cyclists like me, and try to scare them like you did to me this morning – refuse to even think about giving up their cars, even in a city with an extensive public transit network. My being on a bike makes the roads less clogged for you. That’s an issue here, too, where the traffic is a nightmare. You should thank me, you fucker. Everyone who cycles to work like me makes it easier for you to get around. And yet, no, you’re so important that you can’t wait 5 seconds while I turn, and in fact even seem to resent my very existence and need to prove you’re a big man by scaring the shit out of me and even endangering me.

You suck. I hope you and your fancy car move to some big city and you die a premature death from smog-related illnesses.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Random weekend things

I really want to make the awfulness of the last week disappear from here...

- I had an unusually quiet weekend, until today. On Friday, I went to bed at 10 to 9. It was delicious! I think I was completely drained from the rollercoaster of the previous week, and this felt like the best response.

- Yesterday I spent much of the day reading a novel in preparation for evaluating the Honours paper of a student for whom I will be second reader. She is writing on this novel, and I was looking forward to settling in with it. I don't read that much fiction anymore. Well. This book horrified me! Listen, I'm not one to go around loathing novels, usually. But then, I usually stay far, far away from novels like this one. It was sickening. I felt queasy the whole time I read it - truly. I found the character irredeemable, and the brutality appalling. The psychotic killers. Ugh. So much for a pleasant Saturday of reading.

- I was so freaked and grossed out by the time I finished it that when my phone line went dead in the middle of a marathon conversation with M last night, I was very skeert. Of psychotic killers. I turned many lights on. For a few minutes the phone was dead. Then, when I could get a dial tone again, every time I dialed, I would get this very deep male voice - which I was convinced sounded vaguely ghoulish - telling me that all the circuits were busy. A wee bit scary for over-sensitive me, after the day of reading the horror.

- In my conversation with M, we weathered the closest thing to an argument we've ever had. We have some differing opinions on a couple of issues that have implications for M's identity. Fraught issues, as you can thus imagine. Fraught issues for me to be opining on, in some ways. Last night, we got something close to tense about these. We talked it through for an hour or so, though, and strengthened our relationship immeasurably. That felt really great.

- Sometimes I read bloggers' rants about being addressed informally by students, and I feel a little bad. Because, I suppose, I am one of those responsible for perpetuating the culture of informality. One of my students sent me an email addressed "Hey yo" the other day. I just laughed. (Granted, she was a very smart student using this address with a certain amount of irony.) I wonder if those of us who encourage informality actually piss off our colleagues who don't like it so much. Is this something I should worry about?

- There are only two more weeks of classes left! Hurrah! I shall miss my fourth-years/grad students, though. Perhaps I shall organize a dinner.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Poetry Blogging: My First

I have never blogged Friday poetry. This evening, however, I picked off the shelf one of my few books of poetry, and opened to this. How apt it is.

Confession: I adore this man, this poet. I see him rarely, but he is very dear to me. He is one of my father's best friends. I was named after his ex.

by Dave Margoshes

Will spring never
arrive this year?
Already our day
and bloodless snow is spitting
spitefully through air
frigid as a long-distance call,
the sky's lungs
congested with phlegm
as yours were, a long
pneumonia ago.

Across the mountains
though the snow is thick
and pink as tapioca
beneath cherry trees
we would climb,
their hands raised
to the heavens with
surprise and joy. O
kanagan, its heart
is breaking
with the aching wait,
its arms trembling
to be filled with you,
the way mine are,
spring, winter, summer, fall

Talk about a rollercoaster!

Well, I just got a call from the gynecologist, here in my office. He said he consulted with a radiologist, and they both looked at the ultrasound pictures instead of just relying on the ultrasound report, which talks about "complex growth" and "neoplasia." After looking at the pictures together, they think that it is not what was originally thought. That there is a strong likelihood that it is a hemorrhagic cyst that will resolve on its own. I am going to have another ultrasound at the end of April, and then see him again! Jesus!! What a (great) surprise!! Not that it means anything for certain, but it is yet another downgrading of the scariness. Even if it's a hemorragic cyst that doesn't resolve and needs to be treated, that can be done laparascopically.

Imagine happy dancing!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An update for you

I went to the specialist this morning. I loved him - he was incredibly personable, kind, professional, competent, and interested, and NON-CONDESCENDING. He didn't rush me at all. A friend came with me and took notes, and that was incredibly helpful. I could just listen, knowing that she was getting it all down. She even asked some questions that I forgot to ask - she's a gem.

Anyway, he thinks it is likely not cancer, but a complex cyst that needs to be removed. This would require removal of the whole ovary. Just biopsying it laparoscopically would be a bad idea because if there were tumour cells inside, and they were cut into, they could spread. If it turned out that it was cancerous, I'd need to have other things removed while in surgery, possibly. But since it probably isn't, I feel quite relieved today. He is consulting with some oncology colleagues in Nearest Metropolis over the next day or so because it is apparently an unusual case (I am just giving you the barest details.) He will see what they think of of his plan, and I am going back in on Monday to make that plan, which will probably involve surgery in the next few weeks. Recovery would be 4-6 weeks. The only drag about this (because really, I feel quite a bit of relief) is that I probably won't be able to go on my May research trip to Paris. But that can be sorted.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I finally heard back on an article I submitted over six months ago to a Very Good Journal! It was accepted - with very positive feedback. Just some minor revisions.

This is so exciting because this was, I felt, a very audacious piece. It was the one where I made a scandalous juxtaposition - of "haiku" and "chemical engineering." I thought it could be laughed off the table. But no - it is, instead, being called by a referee "a fascinating and important essay!"


In other news, I have a friend coming with me to my appointment tomorrow. This is a good thing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, R has left - though she offered to stay at least until my appointment with the gynecologist on Thursday. I said that she didn't need to. I'll be okay. I did get cold and scared just before she left...what a blessing it was to have her here when I got this unexpected news. It means that, until now, I haven't been alone since I went to the doctor on Thursday afternoon.

We had a very nice two days away. R kept bursting into tears, but I was okay. I mean, my thoughts were on it, but I was able to enjoy myself in a way that surprised me, a little. The only times I've gotten really freaked out were the two times I looked up some information about ovarian cancer on the Internet - learning about death rates, and the extent of the hysterectomies that are usually required, and the fact that if there are any symptoms at all - and I had symptoms - it is not an early case. Then I have felt panicky.

But I know that it might not be cancer. I know this. And mostly I have been able to think about it in those terms - as a perhaps. Even when my mind wanders - as it inevitably does - to the question of what if it is cancer, I am mostly filled with irritation and premature exhaustion, and not mortal fear.

One thing that has bothered me is that I am here, in Scary City. I have only, of course, lived here for 8 months. The doctor asked me if I had good supports - knowing that the week of waiting for any more information would be hard - and I said, automatically, yes. But I was thinking of my "old" life. Here, while I have been very fortunate to have befriended a lot of people in a relatively short space of time, it is another thing to burden new friends with being a support system. But I know I need to do this - I need someone to come to appointments with me, for instance. I need another pair of ears, especially if - as I did on Thursday - I get panicky and can't focus and ask questions properly. I am loath to bring a new friend into this, but I will have to do so. Poor them!!

I have talked to just a very few other people - people from home (in the expanded sense). While I have let them all know that this is preliminary, each one of the few that I've spoken to has offered to come out and help me, if the diagnosis does turn out to be the dire one. Such friends I have - wow, I'm lucky.

That's all for now - thank you for your lovely messages. You are a virtual support system!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I mean, honestly. Just when you think things are feeling better in your life - that you are getting there, after the Most Horrible Winter Ever...

Got called into the doctor's office this afternoon, following the ultrasound I had on Tuesday after that awful episode of pain a couple of weeks ago. I walked out with an appointment with a gynecologist next week, and more specialized blood tests. Because I have a two-inch tumour on my right ovary. And the report, which I looked at with the (very lovely) doctor, says it looks like it might be cancerous.

I left with a prescription for ativan and contemplated the next week. I'm really trying not to think about what the next months might look like. Because right now it's all only a might.

R is here. We leave on our two-day getaway tomorrow, but I am afraid it won't involve much relaxing. Bloody hell.

Anyway. Dramatic news, eh? Will keep you posted, you all. Have a good long weekend!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brief moments of terror

Sometimes I think about the fact that I’m going to write a book, a new book, not a revision of the dissertation, and I think I’m insane. I think about the monumentality of the dissertation, and think, my god...I am supposed to do that again?? Only better/more learned/more mature/smarter this time?? When I’m working full-time? It gives me cold sweats. Sigh – if only I had thought about my dissertation as a book...

Anyway, R is coming tomorrow morning – until Monday night. Woohoo! It will be a mini-vacation. We are even going for two nights to a gorgeous place, where we have rented a cottage. Here is a picture I took of the area when I was there on a day trip in late October:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Procrastinatory recipe blogging

Well, the weekend is winding down. It didn't end up being as boring as I feared it would be - my cancelled plan for Friday night got resurrected (minus one of the three of us), and we had dinner at my friend's house and watched a video and drank a startling amount of wine and were up really late - how did that happen? And last night I talked on the phone with v. close friend M for 2 hours and 45 minutes - after an hour and a half with him on the phone with him on Thursday night. We do go on, the two of us. We won't see each other until our panel at Congress in June - sad! - but he is going to travel to Scary City with me after Congress for a little vacation.

So now, because I am REALLY procrastinating on my grading (I have eight more 8-page essays to go - should really only take me another couple of hours, but I can't bring myself to get through it!), shall I blog my dinner? I was just eating it - a favourite of mine - and thought, some blogfriends might like this recipe.

It is a very homey, comforting, simple recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, which is absolutely my favourite cookbook.


4 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup water
3 cups sliced celery
4 cups sliced mushrooms ( 12-oz. package)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cups undrained canned whole toomatoes, chopped (18-oz. can)
2 tbsp tahini or peanut butter
1 cake tofu, pressed and cut into bite-sized pieces
dash of soy sauce or salt to taste

(Ed's notes: I have never made it with tahini cause I can never resist the peanutty-ness. I also put extra peanut butter - probably closer to 3 tbsp. If you make it with tahini, let me know how it turns out. I never press the tofu because I always have extra-firm. I always add soy sauce; it gives it a richer taste.)

In a covered soup pot on high heat, cook the onions in the water, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the celery and continue to cook, covered, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add more water if the vegetables begin to stick. Add the mushrooms, lower the heat, and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, ginger, and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tahini or peanut butter, add the tofu, and simmer on a heat diffuser or very low heat for a few minutes more. Add salt or soy sauce to taste; discard the bay leaves and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday thoughts

I really don't have anything intelligent to say. Now that The Events of last week are over, I seem to be sort of comatose. When I'm not up at night worrying about my publishing record (she laughs morosely).

- I've noticed a kind of half-contentment about one aspect of my job, much as I loathe most other parts of the institution: I like feeling as if I am forging a network. Last week, in the midst of The Events, a friend of mine looked at me after she saw me bantering with the tech guy who was dealing with all the events. She said, in a kind of wondering tone, "Wow, you're really getting to know people around here, aren't you?" And yes, it's true. I like feeling as if I have settled into a community, fucked up though the community may be. I feel as if I have contacts with people across the university - grad students, faculty, and administrators. I like that feeling. A lot. I think I've remarked before on here about how one of the ways that I knew academia was right for me was the way I feel socially at ease in this setting. When I worked in other settings - as I did almost until the end of my PhD - I felt like a shy mouse. That's not the case in the university - I feel a sense of belonging that I appreciate. I'm watching that deepen. I suppose that is the virtue of not having gone out on the market this year: I get to have at least one more year of these networks. It is true that having those two one-year limited term appointments meant upheaval - more than I recognized, I think.

- That said, I am in the process of admitting a grad student. Doing the paperwork I have to do to get that processed is so ludicrous - and so specific to this institution - that I am reminded of what I hate about this place. I am scandalized by the stupidity of it. Just appalled.

- But it will be cool to have a grad student. She will also be my TA. What fun. I am still at the stage in my career at which all of these things are inordinately thrilling...learning new things, like how to supervise!! seeing how it works!! cool!!

- I will also be a reader of an Honours thesis by an amazing student I greatly, greatly admire. She's in my Theory class right now, and she asked if I would be on this committee. She told me the other day that this was her favourite course, and that now she wished she had majored in My Subject. It's soooooo nice to hear that kind of feedback from really intelligent students. I'll have to read the novel on which she is basing her Honours thesis (I've been brought in for the contextual, theoretical piece, not the literary piece). I just looked it up, and there are all sorts of descriptors like "macabre" and "horror." Also torturing animals. Ugh - I am so not good with this stuff...I will end up sleeping with the lights on, mark my words.

- I am pretty bored of myself. I have a more home-oriented life than I've had in years, here in Scary City. In fact, I've never had such a quiet life. I like home, and I like aloneness, but it's an awful lot of it. I am craving a bit more social time with people. Being in every night this week, and having nary a plan for the weekend (with the exception of a 10:30 coffee on Sunday morning) is a little tedious. Everybody is busy this weekend - I did try to get something going on, and also I had a plan for tomorrow night and it fell through. This is what most of my weeks look like, and it's getting a little old.

- I went to The Other Boleyn Girl last night. Really underwhelming.

- I realized I've never updated about my little cat-for-the-year, Diamond. That all got lost, in the beginning of her year with me, in the midst of the loss of Mr. K. Well, she's a doll. I just love her. She has a hilarious, eccentric personality. We've bonded quite strongly. She makes the endless boring time here quite a bit more bearable.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The review essay

So I've been attending tenure and promotion hysteria-fests lately, and also started filling out my merit forms/activity reports. So I'm all about quantifying my work, right now, in this institution which is obsessed with research. (God, I wish I could explain the particulars of this situation - it would be really cathartic and also really contextualize the picture for you. But oh well, I can't.)

When I can stop feeling sick about the quantification of academic work, I am worrying about my output over the next couple of years. I'm going to write a monograph, and I have this edited collection that I'm working on. Those need to be where my energy goes for about two years...I don't have a lot of leftover time/energy for publishing elsewhere. I've got an article out for review right now (it's been six bloody months since I sent it out - have checked on it once...grrr), but I really need to get down to business with the book. My thing is that I don't want to put too much of the book material out there to be published elsewhere - that will jeopardize the chance of getting the book published (and make it all but impossible with a Canadian press, because of their reliance on the Aid to Scholarly Publishing program).

So I need to find ways to publish a bit while I work on the book(s). And this becomes hard because the book is really the only research I'm doing. I've got book reviews going on, but those don't "count." And it occurred to me today that I could do up a nice little review essay on a couple of recent titles. That wouldn't be too taxing - 3000 words or so - and I would be well-positioned to do it, and it would contribute to my thinking about my project. Here's my question - a review essay isn't considered to be refereed, is it? Probably not. (Update: No, it's not for the journal I'd want to do it for - I'd submit a proposal and then work with an editor if I was accepted.) But how does it get viewed and counted? I can't believe I'm asking you this crass question that really leads me back to quantification, but I am. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Random bits of weekend

I felt strangely liberated this weekend, after the events of last week. Even though the event that took place on Friday night - a band at the campus pub, a band that had traveled to be here - was very poorly attended because the student union and pub management, which were supposed to publicize it, did nothing of the sort. The whole evening was an embarrassing debacle, and my poor colleague who was coordinating this event was horrified. Actually, no, it wasn't an embarrassing debacle in all ways...the band was great, and those of us who were there had a great time.

But the clean-up now involves me going around begging for money to pay the rest of their fee because the take at the door was so low. I feel like forcing the pub people, who totally dropped the ball and didn't do what they said they would do, to pay it. The bastards.

Notwithstanding that, I've felt rather happy this weekend. Rather free. It's amazing how much these events were hanging over my head, for weeks and weeks.

But these are some observations:

- I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why clothing stores don't invest in some better mirror/lighting action in their changerooms. Winners - where I seem to buy many of my clothes these days - is the worst culprit. I feel like a monster every time I see myself in front of their changeroom mirrors. Yesterday was the worst time ever...I left very disturbed by, well, myself. I just don't get it. Isn't it in the interest of the stores to have better bloody situations going on back there? Good grief.

- On that note, I feel like I've aged five years in the seven and a half months since I've been in Scary City. Part of it is the weather/environment here, which is terrible for my skin. Part of it is surely stress. And I suppose the other part is just...getting older. I have had a very annoying crisis about all of this lately - you know, annoying because one wants to be over the body image shit when one can deconstruct it all intellectually. I didn't realize I'd be so bothered by aging.

- I went to a comedy show last night with my non-academic friends, this couple I heart very much. I don't really know how I've so lucky as to fall in with them...One of them owns a store that I adore because it feels incredibly urban - as if it is not in Scary City - and hence feels like HOME. I started going to her store regularly in August, and we just got to chatting a lot, and I've bought things from her and now she and her girlfriend and I are new best friends and they seem to be cultivating me or whatever. Which is lovely. Anyway, so, we went on a little road trip to go to this women's comedy show in another city, featuring a very well known comic from Home City whose performances I've seen many a time. This person was headlining this packed show. She's an out lesbian. Given the dearth of queer culture where I live, I was excited - so were we all.

Well. Three comics opened for the headlining lesbian. The first made a racist joke. The second made a joke about lesbians...which included the following gems [all this offensiveness in one joke - that's efficient], "I went to my first lesbian wedding, and I needed to find a way to show them I was straight" and "I wanted to show them that this wedding ring on my finger actually meant something" [!!!!!!!!!!] and "I decided to wear a short skirt - to show I'm straight - and not shave my legs, to show I'm lesbian-friendly." And no, this most definitely wasn't satire.

How could this be?? A famous lesbian comic is preceded by homophobic jokes?? Only in Scary City, I tell you. Thankfully, the audience seemed put off by this - though they seemed to be enjoying the rest of her pathetic and completely unfunny act. And they did love the lesbian comic and give her a standing ovation. But still. Totally, totally disheartening. It's things like this that estrange me from this place, that make me want to flee. Take my urban-store-owning lesbian friends and make a break back to Home City where I don't have all these moments of feeling like I'm from another frigging planet.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Finally, a post that's not dire.

I am feeling (nearly) triumphant - and expect to feel fully triumphant tomorrow night when this week of events is over.

The event that was the subject of all the media interviews I did was an astonishing success. Best of all was that it was a community event - so it was one that brought all sorts of community members out, and it was not dominated in any way by academic discourse. It wasn't one of these attempts to bridge campus and community that falls awkward and flat - I've seen those before. I couldn't believe it - all 90+ seats were filled. The audience was so grateful for it. People were so appreciative. People hung around after it was over, connecting with each other, not wanting to let the vibe of the evening dissipate. It. was. all. so. great. Better than I ever, ever could have imagined.

And today's event on campus, which I introduced, was also very well-attended and lovely.

This makes me happy. I'm happy to have facilitated goodness - important goodness. As one person remarked of the main event last night, "it's unbelievable that this is happening in Scary City."

And I'm happy that the pressure's off - tomorrow is relatively low-key. This has been a crazy, crazy week...I have forgotten to eat dinner more than once, not had time for breakfast most mornings. I've had very little sleep. I discovered halfway through my class yesterday that I didn't have the readings with me, and had to run back to my office to get them. I locked my keys in the photocopy room today. You know. That kind of a week.

So I'm so glad that it's turning out to be worth it, to have meant something real. Hurrah!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I need to hide under the covers forever. I have done several media interviews over the last couple of days. The two I did on Monday – one of which was a TV interview (not live) – were okay. They redressed this horror. I was starting to feel over-exposed, though – I am not a particularly outgoing person, and in fact used to be paralytically shy. It takes a fair amount of energy for me to be on like this, and I don't take pleasure in it. (and in fact sometimes have crazy moments of thinking I need to take down my blog RIGHT NOW because I feel on display and think, “what the hell am I doing having a blog??”...)

Then I got called about doing a CBC morning show radio interview this morning. I was apprehensive - a bit much for me to handle, a live radio interview - but I thought I should say yes. I tried to prepare last night, and have in my head all the messages I wanted to deliver. I woke up at 4:28 this morning because of nerves.

I did the interview. It was terrible. Most of it was relatively okay, if not at all stellar – any eloquence I had basically went out the window. But I was asked one question that totally threw me. Totally. I was clearly rattled by it and said, “I don’t know how to answer that question” before then semi-recovering with an actual semi-answer.

I am horrified. I have always thought, with CBC interviews, that people being interviewed seem so polished that they must have the questions in advance. (Not so, I was told by the producer when I asked – it is against CBC policy to give out questions in advance.) I have never heard anybody – in years of listening to the CBC – say something as stupid as I said. Actually admit that they didn’t know what to say.

Do you know, their listening audience in the mornings would easily be in the tens of thousands. As if that’s not bad enough, many of my colleagues here listen to the CBC – that’s what university professors do, isn’t it, after all – and so many of these people would have heard it. Oh god. I am so embarrassed.

It is only compounding other embarrassments about this week that I can’t blog about – events that I had no real control over, but which make me look bad. Make me look like a potentially stupid person. A worst fear. That make me look like an idiot to colleagues. I am so done. So done. I need this to be over. I need to not ever speak to media again, and I just need to be able to turn off.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

For crying out loud!

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I can’t wait for 2007-08 to be over!

I’m in the throes of this week of events. It’s a little terrifying – soooo much. Never again will I take on so much at once. I feel like I’m doing two full-time jobs. Professorial, and then a whole other job of events planning, which involves food ordering, publicity, media interviews, squiring about visiting speakers, designing flyers, booking equipment and space, etc., etc. This would be okay if it was for one or two events...but it’s for five events. No thank you.

So that is par for the course, would not be enough to justify a whiny blog post. Except, what pops up in the midst of it? Bizarre and scary health problems. Abdominal ones. Bad enough that on Monday morning I was writhing around in pain on my bed, unable to get up, thinking I’d have to cancel my class and go to Emergency. That insane severity passed – I was able to get up and go to work – but the pain has not passed altogether. I went to a walk-in clinic yesterday afternoon. The doctor did all sorts of poking and prodding and really fun exams, and they were excruciating. So painful. She is both confused and concerned.

She said my options were to take myself to Emergency, which would mean I could get imaging done right away, or to get ultrasounds requisitioned by her, which of course takes a lot longer. I opted for the latter, since it didn’t seem that it’s acute enough to justify going to the hospital. But it continues to come and go – it’s certainly not gone. The ultrasound is not booked until April 14 (so there, Michael Moore, with your weird idea that Canada’s health care system is perfect...all your weird notions about Canada...Note the fact that I can't get a family doctor here.). I may try and see if I can reschedule it for sooner at a place that I’d need a car to get to – I’d either get someone to drive me, or rent a car.

If it doesn’t improve at all, or if I have another severe intensification like yesterday morning, I’ll go to Emergency.

But honestly; what did I do to deserve this bloody year??

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Doctoral regalia

I have a question: Did any of you purchase doctoral regalia after you graduated?

I must confess that when I graduated a couple of years ago, wearing that insane get-up (it was a RIDICULOUS colour at my institution) and that floofy, floppy beefeater hat made me sooooo happy. It was like a magical outfit. I have these hilarious pictures of me with the widest smile ever...just thrilled, for some reason - the gaudy colour, the floofy hatness, I guess. I didn't want to take it off. I just wanted to stand around and drink champagne in that hat. And to swan around with my garishly coloured sleeves flapping.

So I kind of want to buy it now. Just so I can wear it once a year at graduation and maybe feel like that again. (It really was something about the clothes, I think, more than the event.) I know some people just buy the [crazy-coloured] hood...but I don't think that would satisfy me. I want the whole deal. The robe, the enormous hat. It's expensive.

What do you think? Worth it? Not?

(It occurs to me that if I ever end up working someplace like my alma mater, where they have multiple convocations every year, I'd go to EVERY ONE just so I could wear this. I'd be an asset to the school - they're always having to pull teeth to get faculty out to this, it seems to me. There I'd be, every time! Smiling dementedly.)