30 April 2014


I got on the bus today, and a middle-aged/older white guy sat down next to me.

It is worth noting that this was a row of three or four seats facing inward. I was on one end, and the rest were empty. He did not have to sit right next to me.

I had my legs crossed, as women do, and he spread his knees apart, as men do.

Every time the bus moved, he bumped into me. 

This superfluous touching started to really irritate me. I am usually the calmest person on the bus with regard to the fact that yes, people bump into each other on public transportation. Yes, there will be jostling. But this guy was taking up more than his fair share of space, and his unnecessary invasion of my space bothered me.

I had headphones on, and I was leaning away from him, looking out the front window of the bus.

When other people got on, I glanced toward the back of the bus, in the space-encroaching guy's direction, to confirm that there were many other places he could sit. 

He leaned too close to me and said something derogatory about the driver.

I could have let it go. It wasn't that big a deal, right?

But then I thought about the very many ways in which men expect to be able to take over the space around women - spreading their legs wide into women's space, leaning in too close, telling us to smile - and I thought, "If I, with my degree and career in taking-no-bullshit, can't say something when I feel like someone is creeping past my boundaries, who can?"

And so I held up my hand and said, "Just... give me some space," and turned back toward the front.

"Oh, sorry," he said. He didn't change seats, but he stopped leaning in so close.

I had to fight the urge to apologize, to tell him that it was okay, that he could take all the space he wanted, that I might have misjudged him. Women are told, aren't we, that our job is to make life comfortable for men?

I didn't apologize. He made me feel uncomfortable, and I refuse to accept that his comfort is more important than mine. I get to have space on the bus, too. Maybe I helped the next woman, who isn't feeling brave enough to say anything.

27 April 2014

start stop start

I dragged the dog along on another run tonight. 

It goes like this: I run along at a steady pace. The dog bounds ahead, smells something, and stops dead. I keep running at a steady pace until my arm is yanked out of its socket by the leash, because the dog is firmly braced, trying to smell whatever it was he smelled. 

Also, he doesn't really understand the concept of not running directly in front of my moving feet.

I am deliberately keeping the mileage down. I know from experience that I can go out and run three miles. I also know that I will then force myself to run three miles every time I run, and this is 1. time prohibitive at the beginning, 2. demotivating because I'm out of shape and its hard, and 3. terrible for my knees.

I have this blissful hope that my knees will be better this time, if I start with only a mile or a little more per day, three or four days a week, and build up super slowly. Also, I'm walking a lot due to work and life in a bigger city, and just maybe this is making all the other muscles in my legs stronger, so my knees will have more support.

One can always hope, and I do.

26 April 2014

comedy of errors

There is a jacuzzi in this house where I am house sitting, and last night I thought I'd take a little relaxing soak before bed.

I remembered that the owner of the house told me to make sure the jets were covered before I turned them on, so I let the tub fill for a while, and then I turned the jets on.

Water sprayed everywhere.

It turns out that the jets I was looking at - the jets to which she had gestured - were the ones at the front of the tub, and the ones at the back of the tub were higher on the tub wall.

I scrambled to turn off the jets, used my towel to soak up some of the water that was dripping down onto the carpet, and waited.

Finally the water was high enough, so I turned on the jets and got in.

Within a few minutes, water was again spraying everywhere. 

What the what?

I realized that I had knocked the plug with my foot, and water was draining out of the tub faster than it was pouring in.

I turned the jets off again, fixed the plug, and waited.

By this time, I was already feeling a little dizzy, so I turned the hot water down and the cold water up.

When the water was high enough, I turned the jets back on, but let's be honest: I was pretty much over the jacuzzi by then.

I mopped up all the water with the towel, and then I had no towel so I put my pajamas on without drying off. Mmm, dampness. Pleasant.

I felt dizzy and crappy for a while. 

This led me to google "low blood pressure hot tub" whereupon I discovered that hot tubs can cause your blood pressure to drop. Considering that my blood pressure already hovers just above weirdly low, and I get dizzy when I stand up too fast,* this may be the reason why hot tubs are never quite as awesome as I expect them to be.

Hot soaks, you and I are done. 

Until the next time someone suggests hot springs or a hot tub and I forget my aversion.

* Google research also indicates that getting dizzy when you stand up too fast is supposed to happen more to younger people. I'm getting up there in age. I feel like this part of my life should be over.

25 April 2014

doggy jog

I took the dog for a jog tonight.

I haven't run in a year or so, and it was two years ago when last I ran on a regular basis. But I went for a hike on Sunday, and I could feel that my lungs are getting lazy. 

It took until today for me to find my running shoes. They were at my old house. Details.

I collected them and then came back to where I am housesitting, where the idea of going for a walk made the dog lose his shit. He was bounding around like a puppy.

I take him for a walk almost every day. And it appeared from the state of the house that someone else had also taken him for a walk today. (Some neighbors and family members also have keys.) 

A walk is not a new thing. Still, as he gets more comfortable with my presence in his house, he feels more free to let himself go all batty about things like this. He gets wilder, and I have to get stricter about making him "Sit. Sit. SIT. NO REALLY SIT ALL THE WAY DOWN." before and while I put the leash on.

I ran for about 15 of 20 minutes. The dog struggled with the part where I wouldn't let him smell everything in sight, but otherwise his old body managed just fine.

It is sad and pathetic that I can feel the 15 minutes of running in my legs. There needs to be more of this running in my future.

24 April 2014


There is a good chance that I either already have or I am going to eat at least one ant in my salad.

It's my own fault. I neglected to check the cheese grater for ants after I left it next to the sink last night.

Whatever. I was a missionary kid.*

This is the last of my current package of spinach, so I can't make a new salad.

And I was/am too hungry to be bothered with things like inspecting the salad for ants. I have eating to do here.

* See, e.g., this classic story

23 April 2014


* Warning: this post talks about food. And gluten or the lack of it.*

The last two years have been kind of crazy. I can feel them in my body.

First there was breaking up with someone, in the aftermath of which I ate all the gummy candy. All of it. All of it in the world. There is no gummy candy left.

Then there was the moving to Gone West and working more hours than are healthy, with no time to cook or work out.

Then there was the chaos of moving/not-moving back to the Mitten.

Now there is the living in other people's houses.

Somewhere in there, I lost my habit of eating a salad every evening. I used to have a salad (topped with nuts and cheese) as my dinner every night when I lived in Gone West the first time, and I think even after I moved to Universe City. But then I started working out all the time, and I was too hungry to have a salad be my entire dinner, and slowly the salad habit went away and, in the upheaval of the last two years, I started eating many, many carbs.

Going gluten free helped a little with carbs, but it also made it harder to keep my carbs complex. It's virtually impossible to not eat meat and not eat gluten and not eat sugar. The sugar is the one that I've kept.

For a long time, I didn't really notice. I felt fine. Sort of. At least, I couldn't pin my exhaustion specifically on the salad trend, so I called it fine.

A week ago, though, I suddenly had this moment where, like realizing that you are SO HUNGRY YOU COULD GNAW ON WOOD, I needed a salad immediately. I was craving vegetables so hard that I didn't think I would make it long enough to drive the store to get them.

And boom, there is my salad habit again. I haven't gotten as elaborate yet - it's just spinach and carrots and sugar snap peas and dressing, so far - but man, it feels good.

21 April 2014

oh, hey

I think I forgot that I have a blog. For nine years, I have faithfully posted things here, and then I just up and forgot for a couple of weeks straight.

Oh, well.


So, I am usually a very good driver. I frequently border on annoying, in fact. I am that car driving 58 in a 55, with a long line of cars behind me just ITCHING to pass me.

I stop fully at stop signs. Sometimes twice, if I'm coming out of a parking lot (State of Happiness law requires that you stop once before the sidewalk and once before the street. I almost always do).

As I said when I was driving to/from the Mitten, I don't even hit my brakes when I pass a police officer/state trooper/deputy sheriff on the highway. Because I don't need to, yo.

The other night, driving back to the place where I am house/dog sitting, I actually could/should have been pulled over by a Gone West police officer I passed on the highway. This is approximately the 2nd time in my life this has happened. (The first time was in Utah when I was 20 and testing the governor on T.'s Volvo.) Not only was I driving 63 in a 50 mph zone the other night (in the city, the highways here go down to 50 mph speed limits), but I was weaving from one lane to another and back.

In fairness to me, my speedometer reads fast. I might have only been going 60.

In further fairness to me, I only went over a lane because there was a car on the shoulder and in the dark I could not tell if there was anyone in it. After I passed it, I went back to the right lane.

Probably the real reason the officer did not pull me over, though, is that I'm a white woman driving a cheap little car.


07 April 2014


Ten years ago today, I was in the Big Apple, interviewing for a law school scholarship.

I should have been in Rwanda.

There is no should, of course. I got a call from the law school, and I bought a ticket, and I didn't think of the fact that I would miss the 10 year anniversary of the start of the genocide in Rwanda.

I felt like I should have been there, even though being there, the year before, felt like an intrusion into some private grief that I couldn't share.

One April or May morning in Rwanda, up on a mountainside in the mist, I thought about 100 days. 

Because it wasn't just a day of massacres all over the country. It was 100 days - more than three full months - of fear and hiding and panic.

When you go to Rwanda and sit beneath the trees with real people, it's hard to imagine that in those same emerald green hills, in that same perfect sunshine, so very many people died.

I didn't go to genocide memorials until I'd been in Rwanda for over a year and a half. I just couldn't do it. I wanted to see life before I saw what came before. 

When I finally went to a church in the east of the country, and the museum in Kigali, the guides opened mass graves and stepped down into them. One opened a casket for us to see the disintegrating body inside. The damp air smelled of death. 

Out in the garden again, the air was fresh and clean. Flowers grew bold, as they do in the tropics. Kids shouted as they played in the distance.

Rwanda is alive with memory, but it is still so alive.

This church in Kibuye was the site of a massacre. On Sundays, the church is filled with parishioners. The mass grave is outside.

The stadium in Kibuye was another massacre site. Now teams play football next to the cemetery.

05 April 2014

reason 934857 that I love this city

Yesterday in the square, I saw a young woman sitting on the steps dressed as a unicorn.

Not like a horse, you know. Just a little horn in the middle of her forehead.

It was strikingly pretty.

03 April 2014


I parked my car in a downtown garage yesterday, in anticipation of driving to the other county, and when I went back to my car, I had a briefcase and a bag on my shoulder and a cup of coffee in my hand.

The exit of the elevator on the correct floor was on a little bit of a raised platform, which I did not notice in my hurry to get to my car. I stepped forward as if there would be ground beneath my foot. 

There was no ground beneath my foot. Not, at least, at the level I expected. It was about three inches lower, and by the time my foot hit that level, I was already toppling.

The grooved pavement was not kind to my knee, nor to my non-coffee holding hand.  My coffee sloshed all over my other hand (fortunately it was not too hot). 

There on the ground, I looked up as three cars passed without so much as rolling down their windows and asking if I was okay. (I go through life expecting people to be reasonably nice and generous. It doesn't usually bother me when they aren't, but when I am in pain, it does. A kind word would have soothed me greatly.)

I was wearing fleece lined leggings (don't knock this until you've tried it), so I couldn't see the state of my knee, and I was now worrying about being late, so I climbed off the ground, licked at my coffee-covered hand, and stumbled to my car. My non-coffee hand was red but no skin had been broken.

It wasn't until I got home that I peeled the leggings off my knee and saw the sort of knee scrape I used to get when I was a kid - the kind that takes off a whole round chunk of skin several layers deep.

Then this morning I noticed that the missing chunk of skin sits on top of some weird-looking lump that does not normally exist on my knee and is turning funny colors.

I am... probably never going to learn to walk properly, am I? I think it's a little late now.

Also, pro tip: fleece-lined leggings. They will survive when your skin does not, and you will not have to stumble into court with a hole in the knee of your tights.

02 April 2014


As a lawyer who is making a job out of the air, I had to go to court in an unfamiliar county today. It was a beautiful day, and on the way back I went a little bit out of my way to stop at the K.s' to pick up a couple of things.(I am house-sitting at the moment, and I needed a different shirt to wear to an event tomorrow for ridiculous reasons that cannot even really be explained, namely institutional rules.)

I set google maps on avoid highways, and set off. I just couldn't bear the thought of closing my car windows or of driving on the freeway with the roar of the surrounding traffic.

Google maps led me to a winding road along a river. I put on my sunglasses and drove. I soaked in the sunshine.

After a while, my phone told me to turn left, and then turn left again, and then turn left again, and then turn left again. 

It seemed impossible, all these left turns onto roads I'd never heard of and roads I only knew as exits on the highway, but the roads were all curving, so I trusted the map, and suddenly I was on a familiar corner.

When I lived in Gone West the first time, I thought I might move back to Africa. When I lived in Universe City, I wanted to move somewhere, anywhere. When I lived in Gone West the second time, I was planning on leaving nearly the entire time I lived here. I kept trying to drink everything in because I knew it would soon be gone.

This time (Gone West version 2.1), I don't have an end in sight, and I felt, driving on those strange roads, a strange feeling that I could someday know the back roads around Gone West. I could belong. I could be home.