Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Nice Try

"Tomo, I was thinking: when we speak in Japanese, I'm at a disadvantage. When we speak in English, you're at a disadvantage. What we need is some third common language to put us on equal footing. Don't you think that's a good idea?"

"Katie, I'm not learning Arabic."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween, Take Two

You know it's a good Halloween when the pumpkin is too heavy to carry to the car.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Green-Eyed Irrationality

The other day I called my sister to update her on my exciting overseas lifestyle. Turned out she had recently been bitten by a blackwidow, and had decided to just 'ride it out'. She had a week long drama to report about the physiological effects of creeping neurotoxins. This was so much more interesting than anything going on in my life, I really couldn't think of an even halfway equivalent response to the question "So what's up with you?" ("Um, they installed our 10 print scanners this week... That's kinda cool.")

On the email side, a friend of mine wrote to report on her bid list. Her big worry? NOT getting to go to Iraq. This struck a weird pang of envy, since Iraq is one of the places I'm no longer allowed to be stationed... I've been told repeatedly how happy this particular exclusion ought to make me. And yet...

Today I took a step back and considered how ridiculous it is that being bit by a blackwidow while living in a warzone is something I'd apparently cherish. I've got a speech in Nagoya tomorrow; maybe I'll be attacked by a bear or something. That'd be awesome.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Well, I can report that giving yourself a shot is not as bad as it could be. I'm not saying it's a good time, but it's not going to earn me any hardship points. Actually, much worse than the act itself is the stress of fretting and anticipating and dreading the act. It's hard to parse out what part of the physical reaction surrounding the shots is MS, what part is side effects, and what part is unadulterated "'hold it like a pencil and plunge it into my leg like a dart'? are you insane?"-ness. Disassociation is your friend. That and setting out the syringe before you go to work, so that when you get home at 8 or 9, you don't then have to wait 4 hours for the medicine to reach room temperature while you pretend to do a jigsaw puzzle. That's the longest 4 hours of your young adult life, in case you were wondering.

3 times a week for the rest of my life. Flu-like side effects should be temporary, they tell me. A few months at most.

Two things I hate about this:

1. It's so wasteful. 3 syringes a week plus all the packaging is a lot of plastic; seems like there ought to be some way to recycle it.

2. It's a great invitation to self-pity. One which I fairly readily accepted. I don't want to talk about it, but I REALLY want to talk about it, and so I end up just not talking to anyone at all. About anything.

Anyways, I'm working on #2. As for #1... maybe I'll write some letters.