The one where I paid $30 for an alien probe

So for about two years now I’ve had this cough that comes and goes. It’s not productive, not wheezy–just really annoying. It starts as a tickle in my throat, and then I cough for a few seconds. At times, when my allergies are really bad, I might cough hundreds of times a day for weeks. Sometimes I’ll go for months without being bothered by it.

My mom has had a similar cough for the last several years. Well, she found out in December that she had a tumor on her thyroid that they suspected was cancerous (it turned out it wasn’t), and had it removed. Her cough has almost entirely disappeared.

A few weeks ago, when I was coughing so bad that blood was coming up–and Ian threatened to throw me out of the house–I decided maybe it was time to go see a doctor. Plus, I’d been feeling generally shitty since winter ended, and suspected my allergies were working overtime.

I went to my primary care physician, and he said my thyroid felt normal and not to worry there (I still worry a bit, I can’t help it). He did say that he suspected allergies–bad ones.  I got a cortisone shot and a referral to an ENT.

Oh, let me just tell you about the fun times I had at the ENT Wednesday. I have a pretty bad stomach thanks to all the acid it produces (I was born a worrier and baptized Catholic, what can I say?), and he was concerned that some of the acid was coming back up my throat when I lay down at night. He just wanted to take a look-sie.

WITH A SCOPE THAT HE SHOVED UP MY NOSE AND THEN RIGHT DOWN MY THROAT.

Yes, I thought it was a roundabout way to look down my throat, too. Couldn’t he have just asked me to open my mouth?

Well, he didn’t see any scarring in my throat, which I thought was awesome, but he was still concerned about the cough (which, by the way, has gone back into “minor nuisance” mode the last week) so I have to go on Tuesday morning for a CT scan of my sinuses. I told him as long as it didn’t involve him shoving probes up my nose to get to my throat I didn’t care what the fuck he recommended.

But I can tell you this: Whatever he says is the problem (shitty sinuses is what he is thinking right now), I will NOT have sinus surgery. Never mind the fact that my surgery last summer filled my “surgeries I want to have in a lifetime” quota, I have not heard one damn person say they have been cured by sinus surgery. One of my friends has had it twice and her sinuses are still all fucked up. I’ve heard that if you have allergies, there’s nothing the surgery will do for you, so you might as well get shots. I would consider allergy shots. I would also consider taking cough syrup every day for the rest of my life. There is no fucking way I am having someone poke around in cavities in my head that are so close to my brain. Especially after someone at work told me a story about a doctor poking a hole through to some guy’s brain and his spinal fluid leaking out his nose, and now he has seizures. Fuck that.

On second thought, my cough is NOT that big of a deal. I’m just going to run to the store for some more cough drops.

Living room

I started reading blogs because it was fun. I would come home from work, after a stressful commute, and I wanted to relax with something fun, something light, something real to read. But something unexpected happened. What was once fun became arduous. What was an after-work decompression tactic became a habit. And then a task. And tasks are not fun.

Somewhere along the line, things changed. I became addicted. When I got home from work, I felt like I’d be missing something if I didn’t check my bookmarked blogs every day. If I didn’t log on to MySpace to see how my friends were doing. If I didn’t blog more often.

I went from sitting in front of a computer all day to sitting in front of another all night. My eyes got tired. My fingers got tired. My brain started to hurt.

And now, the unthinkable has happened. I am sick of my newsreader. I am tired of social networking.

But for the last couple of days, I’ve taken a step back. I haven’t logged onto MySpace. I haven’t opened my newsreader. I haven’t gone to news sites or Flickr groups or Pogo Games. And you know what I saw when I put down the Powerbook and looked around? My fluffy kitty sleeping next to me. My boyfriend hugging me. My sister calling me. My friends wanting to hang out. Books I wanted to read. Walks I wanted to take.

And you know what I noticed? Nothing too exciting had happened in the blogosphere. Or in the news. Nothing I couldn’t catch up on later, anyway. When I opened my newsreader, I still found things that were interesting to me, but I didn’t die because I didn’t read them the day they were posted. And I was caught up in less than an hour.

I know, I know: How can I forsake something I am so passionate about? Something that is so much a part of my life? Well, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. And I was so consumed with consuming that I got burned out. And now I need a break, or I’m going to end up hating the Internet. And I don’t want to hate it. It has been good to me.

So before anyone wags a finger at me with disdain, just listen. I’m not quitting the Internet completely because, come on, that’s just not possible. I mean, shit, I write FOR A WEB SITE for a living. Obviously I respect and appreciate its existence and recognize its need. Could I really pretend that once I left the office building the Internet didn’t exist anymore? Pfft. No.

But I don’t feel the need any longer to grab the computer as soon as I get home and stay balls-deep in Web pages until I go to bed. I need to stop looking at everything I do and places I go in the context of things to blog or not blog about. I need to realize that any important news will make its way to me, and I probably won’t die because I didn’t read about it the night it happened.

I’m not jumping ship; I’ll still be around, blogging and reading blogs, twittering and Flickering. But I feel like I’ve retreated a little too far into my own head, and I need to get back out into the real, tangible, not-so-digital world. Free time is so precious to me, and spending it sitting on the couch with my head buried in the interwebs just seems wasteful. And a bit selfish. I have an awesome boyfriend and great friends, and I feel like I’ve been a bit neglectful lately. It’s time to get back to my own life, not just reading every detail of everyone else’s. I’m sorry if that sounds bitchy.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I figure I can fire up my newsreader once a week or so and catch up on the goings-on of the blogosphere. And I’ll still be blogging probably once or twice a week and posting pictures on Flickr. And I do use a newsreader at work, so if someone cures cancer or Paris goes back to jail, I’m sure I’ll get around to reading it eventually.

I don’t want to break up with the Internet, I just need a little space. I hope it’ll understand.


On social networking
I’m keeping my Facebook account because I think we are going to use the accounts for something at work, and I don’t really use it too much anyway. I only have a few friends, I think, and most of them are from work. And I find it to be the least-offensive social-networking site, mainly because I don’t get friend-requests from skanky porn stars or shitty rock bands, and it doesn’t have a messy, slimy film of cheap pop-culture like MySpace does.

Which reminds me: I’ve thought about cancelling my MySpace account entirely, since I don’t really use it anymore. I haven’t looked at anyone’s page in a long time, nor have I sent or received messages lately. The only reason I sign on is to read certain friends’ blogs because I can’t subscribe to them in an RSS reader, and many have privacy settings so I can’t read unless I am signed in to the site. But I am going to stop my notifications of any and all MySpace communication, so I will only see if someone has posted a blog or sent me a message when I log in every week or so. (Note: You might want to start e-mailing me if you want to tell me something. And if you are blogging frequently on MySpace, how about starting a real blog? They’re not just for nerds anymore, I promise. You can set a free one up very easily, and they come with cute (or professional, if you’d prefer) templates to choose from. Let me suggest WordPress, but Blogger is also popular for free blogs.)

But back to MySpace: I have decided to delete most of my “friends.” Unless you fall into one of the following categories, I will probably delete you: Real-life friend, someone whose blog I like to read but you do not have a “real” one, or an old friend with whom I have no other way of keeping in touch. Everyone else, sorry. You know where to find me, and if you have your own blog or Web site, please send me the URL. I will eventually cancel my MySpace account entirely, because, let’s face it: MySpace sucks. But I don’t want to lose touch with everyone, because that is the one great thing about social networking: the getting back in touch with old friends.

Better late than never, right?

Ok, so I know I am sooo unfashionably late with this post, but hey–sometimes actual life gets in the way of blogging about life.

I had loads of fun at the blogger meet-up last Thursday–so much fun that I stayed an hour and a half past the half-hour I had initially planned on spending there. Though, it did take me almost an hour for the waitress to bring me my check. But at least I got to run into fellow Honda- and (I think?) Wii-enthusiast Kerry on my way out!

I thought it would be awkward, since I figured most of the people attending already knew each other, but I was surprised. When I walked in, Jag and Kat–who I’d never met before–waved me over and were immediately friendly. I was glad to finally meet Lesley as well, and found her to be freaking hilarious. (We need to hang out again, for serious). I was overjoyed to meet BadBadIvy, Brittney (of course) and my blog-hero, Aunt B (who happens to actually know the person who made me aware of her blog about four years ago–small world.) Seriously, over half the stuff she writes is things I’ve thought of but could never verbalize as well as she can. She’s brilliant.

I was excited that so many of the people I met there actually read my blog, and even if not everyone recognized me at first, most of them knew what the hell I was talking about when I said the name of my blog. It was neat to just walk around the room, introducing myself to random people and have random people come up to me and introduce themselves to me. There were few people in the room that I hadn’t read their blog before.

It was such a surreal feeling to be in a room with a ton of people I sort-of recognized from their little 1″x1″ online photos. It was that feeling of “I swear I know that person from somewhere!!” feeling multiplied by about 30, and all happening in the same moment.

(Thought: First impressions are a bitch, even if someone’s been reading your blog for a bit. I was probably trying not to make an ass of myself and held back a bit, so I hope I didn’t come off as dull.)

I was amused by the reactions I got from people when I revealed who I work for.* Many conversations that night began with, “What do you do for a living?” When I’d reply that I’m a writer, I’d get that skeptical look, that “Do people actually get paid for that?” look. So occasionally I’d blurt out who I worked for, and immediately the look changed. I received instant street cred. And then I’d get, “Ohhh no way!!!… I bet that is an AWESOME job!” To which I’d reply, “You have no idea. It’s the best job evah.” [And I’m not just sucking up so I’ll get invited to tag along to BarCamp. Ask any of the other bloggers that work there, too.]

So now I’m hoping for more blogger meet ups so I can get another chance to actually converse in person, not comment-bytes, with all the neat people I met. I mean, I’m sure I’ll be nervous and try to chicken out at the last minute, but as long as it’s at a bar, I’ll probably be there.

What day is it again???

Yeah, so, I’ve been really really busy the last few days, and obviously blogging has taken a backseat. Which is unfortunate, because I have a few things I’d like to talk about, especially how much I enjoyed meeting so many of my fellow Nashville bloggers at the shindig last Thursday night!!

So hang on, I’ll be back soon.

Más o menos

So today Ian and I went to Publix to do our shopping because I wanted to boycott Kroger for refusing to continue to carry the GLBT paper, Out and About. They say that they stopped carrying the paper because they “have had a long-standing policy in place that prohibits the third-party from distributing publications that promote political, religious or other specific agendas,” which is obviously a lie. I’ve seen countless churches and Girl Scout troups peddling their wares there, whether it be cookies or eternal salvation. Personally, I prefer the cookies.

Well, we also went there because Murfreesboro recently opened up two—maybe three, I don’t know if one has opened yet—new Publixes (Publi?) and we wanted to check it out.

It was pretty. It was clean. The shelves were impeccably stocked and organized, every can and bottle faced and lined up perfectly to the front of the shelves. It had an amazing cheese selection. An even better bakery section. A wonderful produce department.

But it was expensive.

And they didn’t have the kind of mini pizzas I like. Or my no-hormones ground beef. Or fruit snacks. Or taco seasoning.

So as much as I’d love to boycott Kroger, I have a feeling we’ll be back. Especially since it’s only about a quarter mile from our house versus the five-mile drive to Publix.

But if I ever need some good cheese or bakery goods, Publix here I come!!

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