Recently I've been embracing my inner science geek. Finally there was just no denying the fact that I love PBS and the Discovery Channel. Shows about DNA testing and carbon dating and quantum physics. These are a few of my favorite things. Nova and Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda - woo hoo! Even the books I've been delving into of late are sciencey - genetics, cosmology, the nature of time - all topics I've enjoyed, if not entirely understood.
On a recent day off, I found myself in a bookstore geared towards the students of a particular prestigious, science-oriented, world-renowned university. I wandered up and down the rows of books not finding what I was looking for. Finally in a special section entitled "reference" that actually took up half the store, I saw the sign that said "science". I actually thought to myself "yay, science!" and smiled right there and then for all to see as I made my way over to the science books.
What's interesting about all of this is that I definately wasn't aware of my scientific leanings before. I've always been interested in these things, I just never made the connection. I can remember the last time I proclaimed an interest in science. I was in the fifth grade and I signed up for an after school science program. The first day I walked in and realized I was the only girl there. After all, there definately was an undercurrent about science and math being for boys more than girls. I hadn't acknowledged it, but at that moment I remember thinking that maybe I wasn't supposed to like science because I was a girl. Maybe science was boy-stuff. And remember, in fifth grade, boys were yucky. Some of them still are. And speaking of yucky, one of the things we did in that program was dissect worms. I think I felt even more out of place, repulsed by the smell of formaldehyde and the waxy worm skin, among boys who were excitedly throwing worms at each other and eagerly cutting them up.
And now one of my roommates is an actual scientist. Science is her job and she is the smartest person I know. Keeping in mind that she is from Europe, she was honestly surprised when I told her of my revelation that science was for boys. She had never heard such outrage. She just wasn't taught that way. Now she has inspired me to accept my inner scientist. And I realize that science is for everyone! But I still don't want to cut up worms. In fact, I feel kind of sorry for the worms.
Oh and speaking of dissection, I will never forget the way my seventh grade science teacher looked at the frog I was dissecting and said, "wow, what a remarkably large liver!" as he reached into my little aluminum tray, pulled the organ in question right out of the frog it was still attached to with nothing but his bare hands, and held it up to his face for examination. Really, is it any wonder I was a little put off by science?
¶ 9:20 PM
Saturday, August 20, 2005
During a recent visit to my parents' house, they asked me to clean out a couple drawers in my old bedroom so they could use the space. Sifting through two decades of my life was pretty interesting. There were such prized possessions as plastic jewelry, banana clips (remember those?), notes from high school friends, a teensy pair of glasses that fit my face at five, a whole collection of buttons like the ones we used to pin all over our jean jackets - there was one I had made and decorated with pink hearts that said, "I love Bon Jovi!!", a short story written by me in elementary school and typed on a typewriter (it was actually a really good story and sort of humorous! Maybe I'll post it sometime), hair ribbons, old pictures, and a whole array of other things that were once important enough to keep.
Side note: I found a super cute picture of my cousin when he was a baby. When he was born I was in junior high school. When he was an infant I used to sit on the couch at my aunt's house holding him and pretending he was my baby - like a doll, only real. I actually saw him last week. He is turning 18 at the end of this month.
Anyway, going through those drawers was a fascinating trip down memory lane. Then just tonight I happened to smell something plastic just for an instant that brought me right back to second grade when the most wonderful things in the world were plasticky-smelling prism stickers. Prism stickers had liquid inside them and you could press on them to move the liquid around. For some reason we could buy them at school sometimes along with scratch and sniff stickers and small erasers shaped like hearts and flowers. It's just amazing to think back at how important these things were at the time. Treasured and loved and stored in drawers in my old bedroom just like a time capsule waiting for me to open it. Except instead of just finding erasers and banana clips and notes from old friends, I found a long forgotten piece of myself.
¶ 10:19 PM
Monday, August 15, 2005
I have been doing so much lately and having a great time. Last week I was out three nights in a row! That hasn't happened since I was still living at my parents house and felt desperate to escape nightly.
Wednesday night was dinner with my old roommate. Remember the one I was most recently living with who decided to move in with her boyfriend? Well they broke up and she moved out and I'm just now realizing how much of a crazier partier she is. Dinner wasn't so crazy, but some of her stories were. No wonder she always made me feel like an old lady while she was off drinking until all hours of the morning when her boyfriend wasn't around.
Thursday night I got together with five strangers for an evening of pottery. I had replied to something I saw about a women's only social group when I saw that they were doing one of my favorite things - paint your own pottery. The girls are all in my age range and we had a great time. No one knew anyone else and they all turned out to be really nice. Most of all, I feel proud of myself for doing something like that - getting out there and doing something with people I don't know. The only weird thing is that I was the only one who is originally from Massachusetts. They were from all over. That's something I've been noticing a lot lately. Is it weird that I still live within a couple of miles from where I grew up? I really like Boston. Of course I haven't been many other places but I somehow feel compelled to relocate, like it's a rite of passage.
Friday night was another jewelry making event with wine! Did I tell you that I've been doing lots of jewelry making lately? It's really fun but a rather expensive hobby. For example, I'm wearing a super cool ring at this moment that I made only last night. I would say the cost for the materials was somewhere around $10. At the studio where I've been doing jewelry making they sell rings just like mine for $35 each. I can make the exact same rings so how can I start selling them and raking in the big bucks? My friend and I were thinking of renting a table at a craft fair or something and selling jewelry but really, I don't know much about becoming an entrepreneur. Also, I think it would be really hard parting with the things I make. They are all very special to me even when they don't come out well.
My only complaint about the last week were the guys at the burrito place I stopped at after pottery. The way they were looking at me made me feel sort of dirty and they were saying things in Spanish while looking at me. Finally one said, "I was just saying that you are beautiful". Yikes! Just give me my burrito and hold the creepy compliments please, thanks.
¶ 5:10 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I love my new neighborhood, but I am still getting used to the sights and sounds. For example, it often smells like freshly baked cookies outside. Now this is fortunate because I know there are a lot of worse things it could smell like. The problem is, I have no idea where the smell is coming from. I figure there must be a factory someplace baking cookies in bulk and if I could sniff it out and track it down I sure would.
At the beginning of every month, we are awoken to a loud recording saying that cars on the street will be towed due to street cleaning. This is actually a great idea - to drive around warning people rather than just towing. And speaking of cars, I have seen more than one fall victim to a "boot". I've hardly ever seen one of those until I moved.
Yesterday morning I walked out the front door and almost stepped right into someone's unfinished meal. There was, on our front steps, a plate of half eaten chicken wings. The plate itself was not a paper plate, but someone's actual dinner plate. It was purple in color and I found myself admiring it as I stared down at the chicken wings in disbelief.
My apartment is in a duplex of sorts so technically, within our house, there are four apartments. I know that my roommates weren't snacking on the stoop because we don't have any fancy purple plates. Yet someone for some reason, left their plate on the top step directly outside our door. It was so random that I found myself trying to think of the story behind it. Someone was eating on the steps and had to leave in a big hurry, obviously. But why?
When I got home later the plate was still there but when I went back out still later, it was gone. Thank goodness because I sure didn't want to touch it.
¶ 4:56 PM
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I just want to thank you all for the support and advice you gave me in regard to my last post. Every little comment meant so much to me to read. Sometimes during a difficult experience, it's easy to feel alone and to forget that other people have been there. It helps just to hear similar stories from those who have gone through something and lived to tell the tale. So thank you - I really do appreciate it.
* * * * *
The other night my roommate and I took a really long walk for exercise purposes. We walked down the main street, over by the river, and then cut back up a parallel busy street. As we were walking past the river, we encountered a man on a bike riding straight towards us. He announced "ladies, on your left" so that we would move to one side, only it was confusing because we weren't sure if he truly meant our left since he was veering in that direction, or his left. As we scrambled to clear the way, we saw that he definately wasn't your average evening bike rider. In fact, he seemed drunk and as he passed us, he smelled drunk as well.
One near miss with a drunken biker was enough but several minutes later we heard a familiar voice behind us say "ladies, between the two of you or to one side - your choice." Our choice? How long did we get to make the choice? Not long considering he was practically on top of us. Turns out Mr. Drink and Ride had forgotten his back pack up ahead in the darkness. "I'm so relieved no one took it!" he exclaimed. But in this day and age, really, who is going to pick up and carry off an unattended back pack? There could be anything in there.
And while we're on the subject of creepy things, I'd also like to mention that on the third leg of our walk, on the brightly lit sidewalk of the busy street, something large suddenly ran toward us. So large in fact that I with my myopia could see it distinctly sprinting in our direction. It was a huge cockroach. And by huge I mean that it was the size of a small dog. We screamed and darted out of it's path and then watched it continue hurriedly toward a local eating establishment. It was quite a sight indeed.
¶ 10:48 PM