Monday, February 28, 2005

Anatomy and the four-year-old boy

Ben’s been mildly sick for a couple weeks. He started coughing a bit on vacation, developed a fever about five days later, took five days of Zithromax, and continued to cough and run a modest fever off and on for the next six days. This morning, I couldn’t assess his temperature because both the ear thermometer and the under-the-tongue one purportedly hurt.

We had this dialogue:

Me: How’s your head today?
Ben: It hurts.
Me: Can you show me where it hurts?
[Ben pats the top of his head.]
Me: The whole top of your head, huh?
Ben: [Clarifying] My brain.

It’s wondrous, really, that he’s only been to preschool once in the last week and a half, and neither of us has run away from home. And I don’t think SpongeBob is gay, because I totally want to marry him. He is the only thing maintaining my sanity and Ben’s right now.

UPDATE: The pediatrician practically laughed at me for bringing him in because he was so very perky. But I had the last laugh! He woke up around 10 Monday night complaining of a headache and running a higher fever. So I paged the doctor and woke her up. (He seems less feverish this morning, but is still asleep.)

Tut Tut

Over at dooce (, the comments board is open for posting of embarrassing stories. Some of the stories are doozies—passing gas in the OB’s stirrups? With the doctor in position? Ouch.

One of my peak episodes of embarrassment wasn’t as embarrassing as it should have been since I was barely awake for it. It was college art history class, with a pair of notoriously hardass profs. Either one would have been intimidating, but with both of them present, the pressure was on.

Morning classes were tough enough to stay awake for, what with the staying-up-all-night-talking business, and the drinking-too-much business. Not to mention procrastination-related all-nighters. Art history was notorious for its soporific powers. Gather a bunch of sleepy undergrads and turn off the lights to show slides of the French Impressionists’ finest work, and you’ll find that even a bed of nails (rather than the markedly uncomfortable chairs we had) couldn’t keep everyone alert.

I nodded off...only to be awakened by Professor She-Devil’s long pointer stick (about the length of a cue stick) prodding me in the shoulder. "Wake up!" she hissed.

I never sat closer than the sixth row after that experience.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Why I’m writing this blog

Back in second or third grade, a teacher gave me a spiral-bound notebook, whose cover was an oddly unattractive shade of blue. (Yes, I know grammarians shy away from using “whose” for inanimate objects, but “the cover of which” is just so…stilted.) I remember it all these years later because who the hell gets a gift from a teacher? She said she wanted to encourage my writing.

I struggled with academic writing, oddly enough. I breezed through high school just fine, but then I found myself at a top-notch liberal arts college, and their standards for research and composition were not compatible with extreme procrastination and weekend partying. So I failed the “writing requirement” the first time around. Eventually I caught on well enough.

After college, I worked in publishing. My bosses praised my excellent writing…in memos, reports, and business correspondence. In a few years, I was promoted to a writing position that offered scarcely any more creativity than the memos—writing 250-word abstracts of health-care journal articles.

When I became a freelancer, I avoided writing assignments in favor of copyediting work. Why? Because writing is so much tougher and so much more vulnerable to the procrastinative urge.

I’ve never felt called to write The Great American Novel, and I don’t do poetry. I could sort of envision writing essays, though. And hey! Blogging is like small essays, and without publication deadlines, procrastination is less of a problem!

So all I had to do to finally make use of the ugly blue notebook (figuratively speaking) was wait for blogging to be invented. The first blog I read was Eric Zorn’s Notebook. (I would link to it right in this paragraph if I knew how to do that.) Not a typical blog—it’s edited by the Trib, and there’s no typical comments section. Eric pointed his readers towards flea’s One Good Thing, which is often funny, sometimes moving, and inspirationally well-written (as in “inspiring you to write your own blog”). Flea’s blogroll led me to Bitch Ph.D., who has a lively group of commenters riffing on her wickedly good posts. Together, these clever folks have led me to most of the other denizens of my blogroll.

Snarky bloggers, thank you for showing me the way.

Is this thing on?

Check. Check. Testing, one, two, three.