Monday, September 5, 2011

and the journey continues...

apparently i now need to ask two additional questions when screening potential partners:

1- would you describe yourself as a homophobe?
2- if you yell for your mom in the morning, would she be able to hear you?

i had made the point of asking this fella point-blank if he was a racist or had a serious drug problem, and i received a negative on both of those. however, i am not convinced that that is actually the case, as several not-so-awesome comments were made during the course of our evening together. the following two comments were made within the first ten minutes of our date:

1- whilst driving by the hopkins undergraduate campus, he remarked "wow. there's a lot of asians."
2- when i was describing fells point, he asked "is that where all the mexicans live?"

awesome. that's just freaking awesome. i thought at least i would get the chance to make out with a guy with lots of sweet tattoos and is really tall and i am actually physically attracted to... but no. keep talking.. keep letting that sweet stupid bullshit vomit out of your mouth so you ruin every single chance of getting anywhere near my face or anywhere else. oh... what's that? you want to make comments about "gay-borhoods" and indian doctors you've dealt with and how weird foreign films are ("it was swedish or norwegian or one of those countries where they speak german.") COME ON.

perhaps i should start dates with just laying out the crazy weirdo shit i love.... like people of different colors and backgrounds who think being 100% straight is pretty boring.....crazy books on science and socialism and *gasp* counterculture.... talking about issues of social justice and what we can do to fix things.... giggling about silly films and how outrageous parliamentary procedure is... and folks who are smart and empathetic and awesome.... OUTRAGEOUS.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

simply joys

tonight proton made me cry. a really nice, honest cry. he didn't chew up my favorite shoes or drag garbage all over my apartment or anything like that. it was a happy cry.... i had just gone into my favorite sushi place to pick up my order and came back out to my car to see proton absolutely beaming with joy at my return. it didn't matter that we had just been to the park together for 30 minutes, or that i had only been gone for 5 minutes, or even that he knew i was coming back. he was so happy. and when i put down the window so he could put his head out of it, that big dog smile got even bigger. and again, it's not like he's never done it before.. and not that he won't get the chance to ever do it again. in that moment, he was so excited to be with me and have his head out the window and smelling all sorts of great smells and it was so simple and lovely and the next thing i know i'm crying into my shrimp tempura. his ability to be that joyful about something he's experienced again and again was genuinely inspiring and touching and overwhelming... and if you've ever dealt with anxiety, then you understand what a challenge it can be to appreciate the present for all its wonderful opportunities... and i guess seeing proton so elated, so present, made me that much more aware about the amount of time i spend worrying about what could happen, what might happen, what maybe could perhaps if only for a second happen.

so thank you mr. prof. proton.... you are my joy...

Saturday, August 27, 2011


"i'd never join any club that would have the likes of me as a member." groucho marx + woody allen

and for me, and my particular neurosis, that club would include the dating community. hmm... you're interested in me? then obviously there's something seriously messed up with you so no... now that you've asked me out i'm afraid we can't do that.

so that leaves me in this interesting predicament. what i want to be doing: dating... and dating someone nice. what scares the absolute crap out of me: dating... and dating someone nice. dating assholes? PERFECT. emotionally unavailable? EVEN BETTER. different life goals? WONDERFUL. i'm totally cool and comfortable and experienced with all of that... in fact, i dare say i am a dowser of sorts in that department. put me in a room of men and i will no doubt unintentionally perform one of two, or perhaps two, miracles: find the most emotionally unavailable single man AND/OR get hit on by a married one. that's right... both of those things could happen in the same night. i was at a one-year-old's birthday party last weekend and very quickly became aware that all of the men at the party were married... i, the single unintentional married man pheromone-secreting temptress, had stepped into a dangerous, dangerous den of married men and tiny tots and snow cone machines. not a good situation.

so, do i continue with this on-line dating thing and work to get myself comfortable with dating? or do i completely abandon it because as soon as someone is interested i figure out ways to wriggle my way out of it? there's still that romantic part of me that wishes for the unexpected meeting of someone and making that great fantastic BOOM YOU'RE AWESOME connection... the problem is my non-drinking movie-loving craft-obsessed homebody self who is getting really good at keeping to herself. and skyping with my sis and her friend and their adorable japanese boyfriends who, although speaking minimal english, managed to stutter out "single? why single?" was perhaps another good kick in the pants. they didn't seem convinced by my excuses... which included being a heavy meth user and spending five years of my life as a pirate.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

it's done....

done forever. the big summer nerd camp. the six weeks of pure insanity. the.......:
1- very sneakily walking up to children that do not get scolded (because they're the well-behaved nerdballs of their classes) and putting my face three inches away from their face and quietly saying "get. off. the. chain." (the chain on campus these kids would sit on) with a deadpan face, invoking absolute terror.
2- telling 12-year-old hornballs to stop making out on the grass. cus it's 9 a.m. and you're getting more action than i am.
3- yelling "hey, seriously?! does that seem like a good idea?" to the oddball kid who recorded himself farting on a previous occasion but at the time of the screaming incident was throwing large pieces of concrete as hard as he could onto the brick walkway. he stopped with arms raised, holding another large rock, and said "no." right. stop it.
4- wondering whether i am overreacting regarding the ok-ness of the day where girls dress as boys and boys dress as girls... which really turns more into an opportunity for kids to make fun of those individuals who live their lives as transvestites... or at least incorporate it into their lifestyle. i think i'm going to fight this day of "festivities" next year. plus, 12-year-old boys walking around wearing skimpy tank tops and mini-skirts and STILL trying to play frisbee is unacceptable.
5- screaming "GET OFF THE DNA!" to a kid that was walking on a 20-foot DNA chalk drawing my students made. i then asked him to not pee on the drawing. he craned his neck and looked at the back of his legs.... checking, i assume, to make sure he wasn't peeing. he wasn't.
6- convincing students that the highest levels of our atmosphere are held in place by pixies, that orangutans are the original architects of New Wave, and that holding your breath can cause your height to decrease precipitously over time.
7- being treated to students dressing up as Drosophila for presentations. amazing and wonderful and delightful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


last week the big summer camp nerd dance was themed "dirty laundry." students were encouraged to wear mismatched clothes.... which really has nothing to do with dirty laundry or not having enough clothes to wear and really, if we're going to be honest, 65% of these nerdballs walk around wearing mismatched clothes on a daily basis. SO, although i encouraged my students to show up in the dance wearing the dirtiest clothes they have, they did not. BUT, one of my students did something far far far beyond adorable.

her name: aradhana. i mispronounced her name the first time i tried saying it, but if i exclaimed it like a telenovela character or bollywood heartthrob, it came out just right. so now, she is "a-RAD-HANA!" and i usually say her name while shaking my fist in the air. she also is the student that thought PCR = CPR = she's the best. she's also told me that her family in india (she flew over for this nerd camp) gather every sunday to talk about the week's activities, and apparently all of them know who i am, as aradhana is keeping a running log of the outrageous things i say in class. and she reports these statements/utterances/streams of consciousness to her adorable grandmother and grandfather, who i picture as these noble indian treasure troves of knowledge and grace and yep... they're being entertained by how many times i say the word "penis," or my attempt to explain how cutting a restriction site in half prevents its being used as a site of PCR primer annealing by likening it to cutting someone's leg off at the knee and not connecting two parts before attaching the splint. there was a stick figure drawing. or how the idea that an HIV vaccination prevents you from contracting the virus could lead to lots of more..... "dirty sexy time." did i mention her parents are coming to conferences this friday?

but back to why this girl is amazing... besides the fact she's incredibly brilliant and kind and just a joy... for the "dirty laundry" dance she wore a hamper. A HAMPER ON HER HEAD. she walked around with her adorable self wearing a hamper. that, my friends, is another reason why i love teaching and i love teaching kids.

this week my students are giving presentations on some Drosophila, a.k.a. fruit fly, experiments they did. they were working on their posters today and aradhana maybe said that she and her partner were going to dress up as fruit flies. i will seriously lose my mind if i get to listen to a ten minute presentation on the mode of inheritance of eye color from two ginormous and adorable Drosophila. lose. my. mind.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book It!

most relevant bumper sticker ever.

this week i went to a show. a rather good show featuring nightbeats and the black lips. i brought my book along as i knew that the time between bands would be rather uneventful. so, as the nightbeats wrap up and i'm nose-deep in the text, i notice a younger-ish gentleman to my left looking at me, then looking at me again, then again. i keep reading, and then he shouts "HARD TO READ IN HERE, RIGHT??" i respond "yes, yes it is" and keep reading. he then asks "ARE YOU DOING HOMEWORK?"

speechless. i am speechless.

i look up from my book, struggle with what to say for about five seconds, then turn to look at him and assure him that no, no it is not homework. he reassures me that it's totally cool if i was doing homework, and i counter by giggling rather hard and telling him i'm thirty-three and far too old for homework. he looks sort of confused, then starts in on a spittle-filled tirade on how good the show is going to be and have i seen the bands before and man.. the show is going to be so fucking good. awesome. now let me get back to my homework cus this book report's going to kick my ass and Book It! doesn't let just anyone get their personal pan pizza without appropriate documentation.

and the show was great. Nightbeats concluded with the bassist falling off a speaker and onto his back, and Black Lips wrapped up with one of the guitarists vomiting on himself. success.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

dead rat not ok

this morning i woke up and walked into my back garden to water my plants. it's lovely.... as i'm preparing to descend the steps towards my basement door to turn on the hose i spot it. "it" being a dead, decaying, fat, smelly, fly-coated dead rat. and if you don't know what a baltimore rat is like, it's not like your standard everyday "just scoop it up cus it's dead anyway" type of rat. these rats are rats of nihm-type rats. rats with neighborhood organizations and food co-ops and car pools. rats that weigh as much as your standard cats. rats that i have seen CHASING cats down the street. rats that are afraid of nothing... that saunter down the streets in broad daylight and heave their pulsating bellies onto the porches of unsuspecting home owners to get to the delicious bird food because SHIIIIIIIEEET, who is going to stop them? if i remember right, my response to seeing this rotting carcass/destroyer of my daisy-laden garden of delights was "ARE YOU SERIOUS?!" i think i yelled that for a couple of reasons: 1- i've got a dead fucking rat all up in my face. 2- i awoke last evening and had one of those oh-so-fun nighttime panic attacks. a panic attack that resulted in me hunched on all fours, watching some youvideo of a tibetan monk talking about how meditation helped him through panic attacks, then forcing proton to lay next to me so i could count his little heartbeats to try to calm down. it was a doozy.... and it's gotten to the point that i can feel them coming on... all day something was off... almost like all the frustration/emotional reeling/overwhelmingness of it all accumulates until BOOM. i wake up at 1:30 a.m. and feel like running across the street to wake up my neighbor friends to ask them if i can sleep at the foot of their bed because i'm just having a hard time. but as the monk said, learning how to make friends with these things, and not making them an enemy or something to be afraid of, is the best way to try to deal with them. i wish it was that easy to convince myself that these lovely adrenaline tsunamis are not the end of it all when i'm freaking out in my bed, trying to not think about my heart exploding or my lungs deciding to collapse.

and then there were my students today. i took them to the hopkins medical campus to see all the super fancy stuff.... peabody, the old hospital, the big jesus statue, STEM CELLS. yep. in an super surprise (for me, too) a researcher showed them pluripotent human stem cells derived from fibroblasts. AWESOME. and then on the way back to the hopkins shuttle, one of my quietest students is reading some bmore graffiti out loud. i hear him say "sucking di----wah?" then his face got red and i giggled very very hard with him and some other students. they also REALLY solidified their nerd status when many of them exclaimed "it smells like old books!" as they walked into the peabody library. they were so excited AND so upset that they couldn't get to most of the texts. same kid who saw the "sucking di--" explained how all he wanted to do was find an old copy of Dracula on one of the inaccessible upper levels and sit by a fire.