Abby… Normal?

November 29, 2010

I probably needed glasses long before I finally got them. Like so many nearsighted kids before me, I had perfected the fine art of squinting. I didn’t exactly cheat on those regular eye tests at school, but I certainly did my darndest to pass them. I think it was a math teacher who favored red dry-erase markers that finally did me in–I had to see a real eye doctor.

I didn’t have any particular fear of glasses. I was already solidly unpopular, so the threat of being called four-eyes didn’t have much bite for me. I do remember hoping I would still see light sources in the same way. (I did.) I also didn’t see anything particularly “wrong” with my vision. I was having some trouble seeing algebra equations, sure, but things were supposed to get a little fuzzy in the distance, right?

The first time I looked at a lawn with my new glasses, I was stunned. There were individual blades of grass! Did other people see details like that all the time?

I have corrected-to-normal vision.

I also have corrected-to-normal emotions.
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Quick Hit: Searching for…

October 27, 2010

In creating a bibliography to pull some books for a class that’s coming to the library later this week, I’ve been searching for a lot of contemporary issue-type books. So far I’ve been pretty pleased with our selection on most topics–I’ve been actively developing this area of the collection, but we already had some good (actually contemporary!) titles in many cases–but the most recent topic has me stumped (and adding book titles feverishly to order lists).

Hits returned on the following searches:

Contraception: 0
Contraceptives: 0
Birth control: 1
Condom: 1
Adoption: 0
Adopted: 0
Birth parents: 0

I’d keep going, but it’s just depressing me.

Silent Shame

October 24, 2010

Last week I was eating dinner with a bunch of friends when one of them said something that made me really uncomfortable. I don’t want to give the full context of the comment–mostly because I try to keep my friends and loved ones relatively anonymous when I write about them here–but the important background info is that I’m sure she thought the comment was harmless. She was being self-deprecating, referring to herself and our other friends, many of whom have the usual aches and pains that often come with getting older, many of whom have had minor or major injuries. She referred jokingly to “us cripples.”

Now, I’d like to think that the comment would have bothered me in any set of circumstances, coming from any friend or acquaintance or stranger. And I have reason to believe that’s true–the more I’ve read from amazing writers like the folks at FWD/Forward, and the more I’ve wrestled with the ways that things like mental illness and trauma intersect in my own life, the more I notice problematic language. I’ve been working really hard to erase “lame” and “crazy” from my own vocabulary, for instance.

But I can’t really know if the comment would’ve bothered me in another situation, because it happened in the situation I was in: sitting in a restaurant where, just moments earlier, our waitress had held the door open for someone using forearm crutches–who was seated at the table next to ours.
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Teens and Tattoos

September 30, 2010

I’m fortunate enough to work in a school environment that doesn’t frown upon my visible tattoos. I felt pretty prepared for the opposite to be true–that’s why all my tattoos are in locations easily concealed by professional attire–but I was pleasantly surprised to discover I didn’t have to worry about wearing polo shirts in warmer weather. (And thank goodness, because my library isn’t air conditioned!)

Having my tattoos visible invariably means my students will look at them, ask about them, and want to talk about them. Where did I get them? Did it hurt? How long did they take to heal?

I wasn’t at all surprised to get the questions, and I’m always happy to answer them, but I was a little thrown the first time a kid approached me asking about their own tattoo.

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Why I Love Google Voice

September 21, 2010

Because voicemail transcripts like this show up in my inbox:

Yellow. Yeah. This is an automated voice message from jet blue Airways. Your, Mary go bye. Yes important information on a change to your scheduled flight. Yeah may be helpful to have a piece of paper and pencil to write down your new flight information, your flight number. Gyro, Yeah. 9. Yeah to yeah 3 y’all, November 10th your partying. Yeah, Boston, and arriving in your condo your flight number. Gyro yeah. 9. Yeah too. Yeah 2 yeah. On November 14th. Your partying your condo. Yeah, arriving in Boston. Yeah has been changed. You are now confirmed on flight number. Yeah, 0, yeah. 9. Yeah too. Yeah 3 y’all, November 10th. Yeah, Departing, yeah, Boston, at 7:34 PM, Yeah, arriving in your condo at 9:23 PM, Yelena number. Gyro, Yeah. 9. Yeah 2 yahoo y’all, November 14th. Yeah, Departing, should condo at 7:10 PM, Yeah, arriving in yo often at 10:20, 10 PM, yeah we hope this new flight means with your needs. Yeah, we look forward to serving you, yeah. By.

Both wildly inaccurate, and grammatically incorrect! Now I totally want a gyro.

A Gift from the Chef

July 10, 2010

So, due in no small part to my general wussiness about camping in 100+ degree weather in Alabama, we decided instead to stop in Atlanta. Specifically, I said, “Hey, want to go find Kevin [Gillespie, of Top Chef season 6 finalist fame]’s restaurant in Atlanta?”

I would like full credit for what turned out to be a really good idea. [Warning: food porn ahead!]

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Speed Enforced by Aircraft

July 7, 2010

Day one of the Epic Road Trip 2010, having opened shortly before five this morning, is coming to a close. We’re in our seventh state for the day, which only took us about 13 hours.

Observations from the day:

While Massachusetts (and presumably some other states; I can vaguely remember this being true in Oregon and Idaho) considers wearing your seatbelt to be the law, and Virginia espouses said law as a law (we can live with), Pennsylvania is oddly possessive–it’s our law.

I don’t think the temperature got below 96 until well after dark in North Carolina. Everywhere else temperatures were solidly in the 97-102 range.

Virginia claims to enforce its speed limits via aircraft. I won’t deny that aircraft could monitor speeding violations, but when was the last time you saw a speeder pulled over by a chopper?

Virginia also still has pump locks in gas stations. You can actually buy a soda while pumping your gas. It is lovely.

Tomorrow: more driving, with some planned camping in Alabama. The spot we have in mind doesn’t keep any of its maps online, with the exception of the motor vehicle map–which “is black and white and does not provide much information besides the roads and trails open to motor vehicles. It’s not a very good map for recreation orientation use.” Thanks for the honesty, Alabama!