I think that there are entire years where my mom was never in a picture. I’m running around and grinning. Dad is looking at the photographer with love in his eyes, coffee in his stomach and smoke in his lungs. The Sisters are sitting & standing on the same side of a table each with A Look on their faces ranging from What? to WHAT!!!! My mom is there, every time – she has the best camera, the best skills, and even the darkroom for a time.

This weekend was one of those weekends where you gather around the old pictures and talk about who you recognize, and what year it was taken, and what story went with why she had a paper bag decorated as a chicken on her head … again.

I thought a few times about the Mom Stays in The Picture article that came out 18 months ago. About the pictures (assuming anyone could get them off the drives and phone) that are available of me.

A lot of them are taken from the length of my arm. I’m in close quarters with people I love. I have 14 chins all eclipsed by the pores on my nose – but I’m getting kissed by someone. The awesome spot we are at is hinted at over my shoulder. My hair looks great so I took a picture.

I think selfie became the name because it is a less formal version of self-portrait, but it has been used sometimes in a way that implies that it is silly and vain. There is a huge gap between documenting your existence and being vain. It is all all so fleeting and fast, my face is changing and won’t ever go back, people around me are changing and I don’t want to forget how beautiful they are in that light on that day. Sometimes I’m behind the camera, but I love a good selfie. Yours or mine. Snap on.

Years ago a friend of mine casually made a joke about me being overprotective. The easy joke that comes when everybody in the room knows that it is true and, for whatever reason, it is pointed out in the hopes of toning down the behavior some.

The thing was that I didn’t know it. In fact, had you asked the moment before he said it, I would have said that I was being kind, and exceptionally laid back about things given the circumstances.

With some distance I know that we were both right.

I think my husband broke his hand on our third date. It looked like he did it at the time, it was sore in a way (and for a length of time) that implied he had done some real damage, it aches when the weather is changing. His experience of it was absolutely minimal. Never checked it out, rarely complained, barely modified his actions. I still think he broke his hand.

Today I took my son to the doctor to check out the following symptoms:
1. Approximately 15% increase in emotional fragility
2. Two casual mentions of a sore throat
3. His runny nose that was running perfectly in line with blooming trees and my own runny nose, itchy eyes, and generally allergic behavior.

The nurse added:
4. 99.5 temp

With a 5.5 year old son, most people would not be going to the doctor for such a vague and minimal list of symptoms. I had two pieces of secret information in my back pocket: 1, the daughter of a friend recently had nearly silent strep so it was on my radar, and 2, Jeff had strep last year and it looked about like this until it looked like OH MY HOLY G-D!!!!! strep.

He was checked out and it is either strep or a sinus infection, but no doubt at all that he’s got a touch of something.

In health things I absolutely have a touch of over protective, I also am generally pessimistic about the outcomes of big stuff. Still, when the mom of a 5.5 year old brings him in for essentially being A Tool — she’s usually right.

I read a lot of spoilers about Glee, but nobody under the age of 35 seems to have any grip on what really happened with Sam this episode. So welcome, to Nationals.

Most of the spoilers were twitching with anger that the straight, blonde, white guy was going to have to save Blaine from a panic attack at nationals. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I would love for them to reintroduce Blaine to his spine because my G-D has his character jumped the shark. BUT.

Let’s review Sam’s high school career …
1. Last guy the lesbian dated, and then, because she’s generally mean, is taunted by her.
2. Briefly homeless.
3. Works secretly as a stripper to provide for his parents.
4. Is found by his high school friends working as a stripper.
5. Lives, apparently, with friends for the rest of high school.
6. Decides against college to be a model in New York.

Through all of this he is an open, pleasant, wide-open kind of guy. A little dumb maybe, but overall you’d invite him to dinner and maybe introduce him to a friend as a romantic potential kind of guy – when he is 20.

His life is going NOWHERE. He’s good looking but he’s not going be a model for long – or well. So Mr. Shu sets him up. With a prepared & ready group, Shu looks at him as says, “you’re a leader, you’ll get them through this.”

It is the one moment that he’ll look back on for the rest of his life. He’ll recount his glorious speeches, how he stood up to Jean, how he thought to bring the plaque and then got mad and shouty at Throat Explosion. He’ll use the stories to get women into bed until he is 25, he’ll tell it to his kids until he is 40, his grandkids will snicker about his high school glory days even after he dies.

Still. For one glorious moment, Sam Evans will have stepped forward into the spotlight that was never meant for him – because Mr. Shu pointed it at him, just this once.

(I will be talking specifically about Welcome To Night Vale, but I think it applies when you’re the only one around you that loves a Thing – no matter what that thing is).

I love a Thing. A podcast called Welcome To Night Vale, which is absurd and funny and touching. Cecil Baldwin, the primary voice on the show, gives Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his money just on the pure velvet of his voice.**

I am the only local person I know who loves WTNV, and I only tangentially know one other person who does. Hell, I can’t even get the people around me to give it a try.

The fact that I am goofball, geek master, RABID about this show and I don’t know anybody else who listens is – isolating.

The beauty of the internet is that in every town there can be one person that loves a Thing and collectively the Thing can be supported and can thrive. The internet provides all of these individuals a place to talk the Thing and how amazing it is. Kudos to the internet that it also happens where age, gender, expense of one’s shoes can all be glossed over for the love of The Thing.

The beauty of WTNV is that they were smart enough to take that shit on the ROAD.

I went by myself because this isn’t the kind of thing you can bring a virgin to; you’ve got to know what is happening. I dressed cute, but felt lousy and my energy and brainspace weren’t feeling very adventurous.

I had dinner at a diner across from the theatre and was completely surrounded by WTNV shirts, conversations about the finer point, and broad discussions of geek culture. (Where does WTNV fit in? with Whovians, and Cumberbitches, but with more video game knowledge than I have). It, by coincidence was near where Dragon*Con happens and so I already had a bit of geek stride because I sort of knew where I was-ish.

The show was general admission and because I went by myself, when the 5th row single center seat was not being saved I contemplated my bladder and shimmied by a dozen people. The first time there was audience yelling, and it was my turn, it felt like I was the general direction that Cecil chose to do that bit to. Which. Was. Wonderful. Even. If. I. Was Imagining. It.

Then, toward the end, there was the other bit the audience participated in. WTNV was CLEAR that saving the surprise for the show is important to them. It wasn’t spoiled for me and I won’t spoil it for others. WTNV is precious to me, I support it with my money and time, I support it with my relentless kicky-feet in public about it trying to get the right people to JUST LISTEN DAMNIT YOU’LL LOVE IT.

I think that they might know that it is isolating to be the one person you know who love a Thing. They came out on the road so I could sit in a theatre of other folks who know the references. They asked us to do a thing, and because they are My Thing, I did it. It helped a little.

It might be Pentatonix, it might be Pomplamoose, it might be 99% Invisible with Roman Mars, it might be Nerdfighting – but whatever your Thing is – when they come within driving distance, go fight off your isolation and get your geek on with them.

** He is, maybe, starting to vocal fry a little too much right now — but since I listen to him on headphones I also kind of don’t mind.

tl;dr – interesting with a side of I don’t think I’ll do it again.

Things to begin with:
1. The first days are here.
2. The story of boiling frogs is here.
3. Low blood sugar makes me grumpy.

Ok, so days 4-6 are basically using my own juice order, which comes closer to mimicking things like a super protein heavy breakfast and I am feeling pretty good. Dinner is food with varying degrees of healthiness and generally it is working out fine. Except for the slow boil.

Day 4 was a little tougher because I had obligations that made for a lot of interaction and a LOT of walking (about six miles total over the course of the day). At lunch I threw a can of soup in the mix to not be in total caloric depravation.** There were times during day four where my metal chatter did not give those around me the benefit of the doubt as much as usual. I had long rants on the phone about things that were (1) not consequential, and (2) were making me crazy.

Day 5 about noon my mom lovingly suggested that I get some “chewing food” before my husband returned from a business trip. My rants were still making her laugh, but at the same time she knows me well enough to know that low blood sugar dilemmas were close on the horizon.

Day 6 is tomorrow – doing about a half day and then driving into the city to see a show I am very excited about. Then, I will be done with this.

As for boiling a frog – this has been a comfortable, easy, non-violent decent into low blood sugar that took about 30 hours in total. I didn’t feel it drop out, I have not felt bad – just a little impatient (and other things in the world were easy to attribute that to). I am a perfect boiled frog, chilled out and relaxed while my blood sugar got lower and lower.

When I think about my decision making process late on day 4 — it is easy to understand. Oh, day 5s dinner was big and healthy, which is why I can finally write down what I’ve been thinking.

** For the record, I’ve had about a two pound loss in the week that includes the juice fast which is totally in my normal range of fluctuation. Weight loss wasn’t a primary goal, if it was I would have done what they suggest and not had solid foods (*half a pizza*) or coffee.

1. The email comes out.
2. Frantically hit reply because I have SO MUCH STUFF TO SELL.
3. Sign up for the ideal volunteer shift.
4. Six weeks pass without a single thought.
5. Three weeks before consignment wash and hang clothing (TOTALLY GOING TO WORK ON TOYS NEXT)
6. …
7. …
8. Realize that ideal shift only work with outrageous contortions and therefore needs to be changed to the Regular Shift.
9. Um, toys?
10. Maybe some housewares?

Two Days Before Consignment
1. Ok, this will be it, my last one.

Day of consignment
1. Get up early, wear the best possible shoes.
2. Walk and hang up clothing for 4 hours (4.5 miles total)
3. Realize that you DO have things you could totally sell
4. Go home and frantically tag the clothing that has been hanging in the bathroom for a month.
5. Go BACK to consignment and drop off your own stuff.
6. Return home and see 815 things that would have been great to sell.
7. Start a box for fall – you have SO MUCH STUFF TO SELL.

Once a trend hits the 2.5 year mark or so, I start to give thought to joining in. Dress flip flops, capri pants – if it holds great potential to be unattractive, I take it out for a spin eventually.

My next test of the “why won’t this trend DIE already” variety was juice fasting, or juice cleansing. Either way – lots of juice. This is my story so far.

You can rely on any reasonably liberal college town to have a juicery of some sort at this point. Not your average Jamba Juice but, using my town’s as an example, a raw, vegan, organic, cold-pressed, non-pasturized juicery. The juice is interesting and refreshing in the shot glass sized cup, it allows you to have an opinion on kale juice, and in the 16oz bottle is more expensive than hiring Benedict Cumberbatch to wash the yogurt stains out of the back seat of your car.

Still, there are specials all the time, and so I signed up for two days worth of juice.

Day 1 – Picking up the juice.
I got a phone call early in the day asking me if I wanted to substitute some juices for the ones they were out of or if I wanted to pick up the next morning, “because it has been a crazy weekend.” At the juicery. I said I would substitute (annoyed because a pre-order should have some standing, right?) and when I got there they had closed more than an hour early because they were out of juice.

What the fuck?
Oh yeah, spring break abounds in a college town.

Day 2 – Actually getting the juice.
I had a light breakfast and headed back over to the juicery to pick up my supply for the next two days. They gave me a pep talk, some instructions, and sent me on my way with 16 bottles of juice. At the time I got them, the combination of their plan and my day – I was supposed to drink 16oz of juice every 90 minutes PLUS tea to beat back the caffeine headache AND water.

I am really susceptible to the temperature of the fluids I drink – I am a total wuss that way, so drinking cold juice while the outside air temp drops 20 degrees means that I am also drinking a lot of tea and hot water because hypothermia is my other option.

Results -
Light Breakfast
A sensation of being simultaneously VERY overfull and NOT sated at all.
My brain doing those tricks that I recognize from when I smoked that involve head bobbing and, “nobody is going to tell ME what to do”.
6 chicken nuggets
2/3rds of an old school box of mac & cheese
and a half a can of corn.

Day 3 – I’ll show you who is boss of ME!
This was today, with a plan of being out of the house for a large part of the day and some social coffee plans.

Results-
I felt good up through about 4:45 when I was talking to my mom and recognizing my entertaining rants as being about 30 minutes short of hunger induced raging bitch.
Beet juice before yoga (excellent practice today)
protein heavy one before coffee,
coffee,
a ginger / veggie one before before the next coffee,
coffee,
a veggie heavy one,
HALF A PIZZA,
and then an apple veggie one.

There were two flavors in the original set that I just didn’t tolerate well at all. So I threw those out.

I am going to stay juice heavy for the next two days because it is an interesting change, I like some of the flavors, and I know that even with a vegan husband I do not get the variety of vegetables that I should.

Do I feel like a new person, no.
Am I doing it as prescribed – no, I’m a 40 year old woman with a life and a family.
Would I recommend it to you? Eh, don’t expect to be a new person because someone else can squeeze the hell out of a cucumber.

A couple of weeks ago I did some science. That project ended today with me spending 90 minutes head first in an MRI. Ninety minutes is just about my limit.

Overall, the experience was great. I ended up with some cash in hand, learned some stuff, and got two new earrings for my tragus (if you count the plastic retainer) that replace the one I had been wearing for 12.5 years.

The part where I was ready to be done was at about 70 minutes into the MRI. The machine spent 7 minutes making a noise comparable to the first really long tone in a modem dial up. For seven minutes. In my head.

I can tell you for sure, audio torture is the way to get me to tell you anything you want to know. I will tell you the secret recipe for my grandmother’s potato salad at 4 minutes, and if you’re patient I’ll even tell you how to make the Graff Christmas cookies.

I would completely do this again. Now I just hope a decade from now this paper doesn’t show up in Retraction Watch.

Nobody mentioned gluing 60 electrodes to my head.

At least, they didn’t mention it specifically when I replied to one of the many local requests to be a guinea pig for some sort of research work.

With daytime hours available, I replied to one of the ads my husband had seen, and so far it has been kind of interesting. There are three parts, and I will do the final bit on Thursday. I’ve taken 4 different kinds of quizzes and a couple of other baseline sorts of things. I’ve had my eye movements measured and I’ve been timed at how quickly I can accurately juggle numbers and letters in my mind.

So far, the only downside has been 4 students gluing 60 electrodes to my head. Each of them had two of those big q-tips that look like they are going to test me for strep throat. They were just kind of — knitting — on my head — with glue.

When the whole thing was done they offered that I could rinse out my hair (like hospitals, labs seem to always have showers around someplace). I declined because my plan was to go to the gym and run, then shower.

I got to my car (parked on the Carlton St. Deck – right off of Smith St —WHAT???) I found out that my beloved computer – out for repairs for a week – was ready to come home. So I skipped the gym and headed into public with my hair revealing chunk after chunk of white glue.

You know that dental cement that you end up spitting out randomly for a week after you get work done. Like that. With my whole head.

The computer is home, my head has been soaked, it stings like it is covered in road rash but I cannot stop running my fingers around to check and see if I got it all.

I feel pretty. I did science.

On Snowmageddon weeks it is really hard to move our own stuff forward.

Sometimes we can, and sometimes we can’t, and sometimes it is enough to just be present and do the best we can.

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