I’m Feeling 22

So, this past weekend, I turned 22. Taylor Swift released a new single about just that thing. Coincidence? (Yes.)

And the thing is, I like it very much. It’s silly and fun and easy to scream along with while drunk, like Kimya Dawson without the addiction problems or depth. I mean, lyrics like:

We’re happy free confused and lonely in the best way
It’s miserable and magical, oh, yeah

Are painfully dumb, but they’re also really descriptive of the tail end of growing into an adult human being, which as a process is also pretty dumb. I mean, last week, I went out with coworkers and drank fancy bourbon in a cool bar when–not 10 minutes earlier–I had totally failed to parallel park in a non-embarrassing way, which is something that I should really Know How to Do by now. Continue reading

2012 Wrap Up

This was written a few weeks ago in preparation for my trip to Boston, where I am at this very moment ringing in the new year while being terribly, terribly cold. Enjoy!

In the shower today, I was thinking about this past year. There are some years where you can’t really remember what happened in them–they’re a pretty standard accumulation of the component parts that make up most of your life. This was not one of those.

This time last year, I was preparing to go to Dakar. I spent January through May of 2012 in West Africa, with a stopover in Barcelona and Paris. I had never been out of the country for that long, and I had never been to Africa or to Europe.

While in Dakar, I got used to taking cold showers and malaria pills. I sweated a lot. I drank in parks and was mopey and climbed inside a baobab tree and on a termite mound. I learned how to carry money, ID, and my phone tucked away in my bra after I had my phone stolen on my birthday. I was homesick. My dog died.

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Christmas Carols in November

Today we’re going to talk about Christmas music. Specifically, we’re going to talk about why I have had the first CD of Sufjan Steven’s box set on loop in my car for the past week.

So, for those of you who don’t already know this, this will require a bit of backstory. My mother was raised Jewish. My father was raised as nothing in particular, but a nothing stemming from the Methodist and Baptist traditions. This means that I have a Hebrew name and, when I lived in Tulsa, my sister and I were the only two Jews at school. We got to explain Hanukkah to our classmates. This was made weirder by the fact that, in my family, Hanukkah was celebrated at the same time as Thanksgiving.

There is some longwinded family scheduling lore behind this, but the basic facts were this: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah happened at the same time for child-me, and they were followed by Christmas with my dad’s family. This worked pretty well.

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The Best Terrible Thing

IMG 0448

Here’s a fun thought exercise: come up with the worst-possible English-language name for a chocolate-based baked good that you can. Are you thinking? Good.

Now, was what you came up with half as weird as Choco Paste? (Answer: probably, because the image was at the top of the post. Shh.)

Because that is a real thing that exists and can be purchased on every street corner in Senegal for $.30/150 CFA. And guys? It is so good.

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Emory Medical, Je T’Aime

Baby moles in a nest.

These are much cuter than mine. Image courtesy of Flickr user Hillbraith.

Yesterday, I went to the dermatologist. I am, to use the scientific term, “moley,” so I go every year or so to have all my moles checked out and, if I’m lucky, numbed and lopped off. It’s very exciting, and has taught me just how much Novocaine stings when injected into not-your-jaw.

So, yesterday the PA is examining me, and we’re at the rather embarrassing part of the exam where this woman is looking at my ass for moles while asking me what major I am, and she started prodding one. She thought about it, measured it, examined it with something that appeared to be a cousin of those clip-on booklight magnifying glasses that old people buy, and stopped. “Well,” she said, “Either it’s grown bigger–which is bad–or it’s, er…. stretched.”

The woman was very diplomatically trying to tell me that I either had cancer or that my ass had gotten large. (I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Thanks, Lil’s!) She then went on to proscribe me something for acne which I hadn’t actually asked for, which was entertaining. However, body image issues aside, it does seem that I’m cancer-free, so that’s nice.

This is the same PA who, when I first started visiting her at 13, told me I would probably be fine because the moles on my back were “covered with a fine, downy layer of hair.” Which is exactly what every body-conscious middle school girl needs to hear.

After the dermatologist, I went to the dentist. There, the dental hygienist made me watch my gums bleed heavily after she poked them will a metal toothpick in an attempt to, presumably, build character and/or scar me for the next six months.

It’s possible I need to find different doctors.