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It’s been a really low key weekend, just me and my poppet.  We’ve been out to dinner, twice.  We went to visit my friend’s new purse store that she opened just two weeks ago.  I spent an hour trying on snowboard boots and after basically deciding that they all kinda suck, but none as much as the men’s size rental boots I have to get, David bought me a pair.  We saw a movie, Morning Glory, which I liked a lot.  In no small part due, probably, to my enormous girl-crush on Rachel McAdamas, but it was cute and cheering and The David liked it, too.  We planned our food for the week and we went grocerty shopping.  And I went for a run this morning.  I was going to go on my own, but then David said he’d come, too.  I appraised him of my plan, to just run for one whole hour and then off we went.  It was actually really helpful to have him along, since he’s such a better runner.  He helped to keep my speed up and just by being there, I had some accountability to stick to it, and there was no walking whatsoever.  Once it was finished, we’d covered about 5.1 miles.  And I feel pretty alright about that.

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I keep being inspired by other bloggers.  First and foremost, that there are people out there who write things up on the interwebs and then other people -strangers, even!- go and read what they have to say.  Holy shitballs!

But more specifically, I’m being inspired by lots of the stuff they’re doing.  I especially love it when they say “Hey!  You do it, too!”  I respond very well to specific instruction, you see.

Today, I’m heeding the challenge presented by Krissie from Questions for Dessert and am starting a photo blog of the things I am grateful for.

How about if I say “Hey!  You do it, too!” now?

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It’s genetic

I’ve got this nephew.  Two of them, really.  But one is a little older and therefore a bit more interesting.

This kid seems to spend most of his waking hours in a state of either suspicion, surliness, or outright grumpiness.
Just about every picture I take of him, he’s basically sending me “fuck you, auntie” telegraphic messages.

And then I realized, that there are bunches of pictures of me looking like that, too.  So I guess I can’t really begrudge the stinker.

And then there’s my brother, who’s trying to fill that oh-so-in-demand niche in the modeling world for Angry Man.
So the scowl runs deep.  I think that’s part of what makes us all so awesome, though.  Because scowling shows everyone else that that you’re angry and probably unpleasant to talk to, so they bug you less.

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The Girl Effect

I love this video.

It made me tear up.

And it made me give them $10.

Beautiful design.  Powerful messaging.

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What kind of horse gives out gifts anyway

I angst about my birthday for so many different reasons.  Of course, I dread the whole aging aspect.  But the really silly thing that I worry about is presents.  I just got home and there’s a box from Amazon for me at the door.  I didn’t order anything recently.  And it’s my birthday in 4 days.  I deduce, therefore, that this is a present.

Yay, right?

Except I have issues.  And I don’t know what’s in that box.  What if I don’t like it?  What if I am nonplussed?  I am a jerk and often I am nonplussed by presents.  Worse, sometimes I find emoting to be tricky and even if I really like the present, I have a hard time saying so.

In a perfect Maggie world, I could tuck presents into my cheeks like an overside hamster and then scurry off to a sly, secret place, open them in solitary, and then never speak of them again.

Perhaps someone needs to give me a running wheel…

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Yeah. Like she said.

I read this woman’s blog entry about learning that she had MS, being terrified, and then continuing on with it, almost like nothing had happened as her symptoms abated.  It made me want to write a bit about how it happened to me, too.  So I did.


The film from an MRI of your brain looks like a brain.  You can see the brainy shape of it, just like a biology text book or a scene from Grey’s Anatomy.  And there was my brain.  With a big white blob in the middle of it.

The neurologist had put the films up on a light board at the beginning of my meeting with him.  And then he started talking about… stuff.  All I wanted to talk about was the big white blob in my brain and I couldn’t really listen to him talking about treatment considerations and symptoms.  He eventually got around to the big white blob and admitted that it was a lesion.  In my brain.  And then he said “I’m not sure why someone else hasn’t given you the diagnosis already.”  Which reminds me that the neurologist in New Jersey had said that she was putting the diagnosis down as Multiple Sclerosis, but only because she “had to put something.”

The back of my neck started to get really hot.  Just like when I find myself in the middle of a break-up conversation.

And that’s how I found out that the previous few months of dizziness, double vision, pins and needles, and exhaustion were not just in my head.  They were real.  And stemming from a chronic debilitating disease called MS.

I went to visit a dear friend in Seattle for Thanksgiving 2006.  While it had been planned as a long weekend of girl times, excessive eating, and booze, all I wanted to do was sleep.  I took naps.  I wanted to sit down or just hide out in the car when everyone else was strolling around town.  It might just be that I was too out of shape.  There had been too much smoking.  Too much drinking.  Maybe I was coming down with something.  But it was weird.

Then, home again, I started having a funniness about my vision.  It seemed oddly fuzzy and not quite right and my eyes just felt tired.  I chalked it up to stress and tiredness and maybe just the end of my reign of better-than-perfect vision.  But it didn’t get better.  In fact, it started to get worse, until it became clear that I was actually seeing double.  I became increasingly nauseous on the bus as the weirdness with my vision started fucking with my general equilibrium.  I started feeling dizzy and unsteady.  I unconsciously reached out for walls and something solid any time I was walking around.

The double vision got so bad that I got into the habit of closing one eye all the time.  Like a perpetual wink.

I had a PPO at the time, allowing me to just go see any doctor without a referral, so I started making appointments.  My family doctor agreed that something was wrong and referred me to neurologist, but I couldn’t get in there until after the new year.  In the mean time, I saw an eye doctor who said that something was definitely fucked up, but that there was nothing wrong with my vision.

Back home in New Jersey for Christmas, I saw an Ear-Nose-and-Throat doctor and a neurologist who gave me a bunch of test that watched my brain while I looked at flashing and moving lights in the dark.  They also gave me a test that involved blowing toots of air in my ears to simulate vertigo, a sensation so unpleasant that I cried in the car on the way home while the effects lingered indefinitely.

That was the doctor who created a report for me to take back to San Francisco with me and who said that she was putting Multiple Sclerosis as the diagnosis because she “had to put something” until it was confirmed.  If those tests weren’t for confirming it, then I have no idea why I had to have them.

So back in the Bay Area again, I got the scheduled MRI, which is long and boring and weird, but not terribly upsetting.  Armed with these pictures of my brain (which I refused to look at) and the report from the New Jersey doctor (another thing that I would not look at) I went for my long awaited appointment with the local neurologist with my friend Jessica.

By this time, it had been two months since the initial symptoms started and they were pretty much all gone already.  I was weirded out and stressed, but the double vision was clearing up.  The pins and needles in my hands and feet were mostly gone.  I didn’t feel like puking on the bus any more.

So while the news from this doctor was incredibly scary and upsetting, I was actually feeling pretty ok.

Two days later, I lost my job.  But that’s another story.

This story continues with the status quo.  No more symptoms.  So far so good.

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thoughts on justice

Yesterday, a jury in LA found the cop who shot Oscar Grant on New Year’s Eve guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which means that he could be sentenced to something like 4 to 14 years in jail.  The cop is white and Oscar was black.  So the black people – all kinds of people – of Oakland are mad.  Indignant.  They cry.  They yell into microphones about justice.

And yesterday, after this verdict was read, they protested in downtown Oakland and then started breaking windows, and well, throwing shoes.

I get a little afraid when I think about this.  Just because I don’t think that cop should go to jail for life, does that mean I’m racist?  Really?  I don’t know what to say about myself if that’s true.

But it’s not as though a white cop saw a black kid and just shot him.  Oscar and his friends were fighting – or maybe just being unruly – on a BART train.  He wasn’t just minding his own business, making the world a better place.  It probably makes me sound like an 80 year lady, but he was being a hooligan.  And then when the police stepped in, he struggled and gave them trouble.

He didn’t deserve to die.  Absolutely not.  It’s tragic that it ended the way it did.

But he wasn’t an innocent.  And the cop wasn’t a monster.  There were a lot of people acting badly.  It was definitely a bad scene, and people were acting in a sense of fear.

Instead of protesting the bad things that happen when people feel fear, I wish that we protested the culture and society that creates that fear in the first place.  That they took guns from several young black men that night.  That the police can’t create order without having to intimidate because they’re not respected.

I feel sick to think of so much anger.  And I feel afraid when I think of myself as a person who doesn’t have compassion, who isn’t liberal.  So I wish that we could function without this anger and fear.  Wishing isn’t enough though, is it?

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In a fit of annoyance about my non-budging scale this morning, I made a psychotic splurge on Anthropologie.  Splurge doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It’s too shameful to even admit to, so I shall just close my eyes and pretend it never happened.

Look for a totally stupid non-budging balance on my credit cards next month.  Sigh.

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E-mails of Yore

I was searching for text to use in a book making project and pulled out a flash drive with my entire body of personal and saved e-mails from The Princeton Review.  And boy, was it bizarre to look through all of those.  Far too much evidence of love’s labor lost…

A selection of e-mail subject lines:

I got caught boogeying in the supermarket

I feel so dirty when they start talking cute

The nicest thing I can say is all her tattoos are spelled correctly

Zigga Zig Ahhh

Petulant is my favorite word

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Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, the bane of the singleton existence. Except that being in love with someone who makes me somebody loved, even on Planet Suck, is pretty nice. And so on a hormonal high of worship, lust and love, I decided to make valentines. I rationalized my plans to make valentines just for him by making many, many valentines for lots of people. And they look so darling when they’re all together, that I was rather sad to separate them and send them off. Much of their appeal seemed to be in their flocking behavior.

In any case, I spent far too much money on ribbons and spent all weekend being crafty with fancy paper, velvet and satin ribbon, lace, glitter, and cut-out hearts.  It made me feel pretty darned good.  I got to do something pretty, with lots of combinations.  And I do enjoy an opportunity to make sure that each little element is used equally and appropriately.  I ended up with three that I wanted to give to the fellow and then the rest went out to friends, who I do love so very much.

I  wrote a list of the reasons I love him on the backs of the card and managed to commandeer his morning coffee run.  I really hadn’t expected to get any nod from him that it was Valentine’s Day at all (although I hoped of course – I am a girl), but lo and behold, he’d made me a card, too.  It was cute with a castle  and calling me his princess valentine, which has become this strange little joke* of ours.  I was just filled to overflowing with glee.  Glee to be with him for a few minutes and to hear him tell me that he loves me and that I am “the prettiest of all girls.”  Which I feel sheepish to write about, that it made me so happy, but it did.  So there.

But I will be on my own tonight and I am planning to go to my yoga class.  A love a little bit of the time is better than never, though.

I did just have the lovely experience of hearing someone ask him if he’d given her her gift already and if it went over well.  Boy, was that super.  It’s so much easier to avoid nausea stemming from her existence if I don’t think of her or have to be reminded of her in any way.  Sigh.

*The joke is that he calls me a magical princess.  And maybe I did spend hours making these Victorian valentines, and I got a mosquito net for my bed just because it is pretty, and I do sometimes babble on about the plots of senseless romance novels, but I am no princess!  Pish!



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