Things that are probably killing you right now

CORN. It is coming for you. Click for source.

Things that are probably killing you RIGHT NOW, according to Science and The Media:

  • Cell phones.
  • Sugar.
  • Plastic.
  • Pesticides.
  • Corn syrup.
  • Trans-fats.
  • Facebook.
  • Obama.
  • Sitting down.
  • Reality TV.
  • Republicans.
  • Democrats.
  • Microwaves.
  • Texting.
  • Laptops.
  • Lady Gaga.

Happy weekend!

Things that scare me

I can't... even look at this photograph. It's too upsetting. WHY do people get these creatures?

Things that scare me for no good reason:

  • Varicose veins
  • Tea Partiers
  • People on MTV
  • Lightning
  • Going bald
  • Greeting cards that sing when you open them
  • Cockroaches
  • Hoarders
  • Becoming an old lady who collects kitsch
  • Getting gray hair
  • Leprosy
  • Most cats
  • State of English language proficiency on Craigslist

Things that scare me for good reason:

  • Stink bugs taking over the world
  • Never being able to write again
  • Bad posture
  • Sugar
  • Untrained Chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers
  • Untrained children
  • Having to live in a nursing home
  • Being a mother
  • Distressing and backward paradigms that rule the U.S. public school system
  • Childhood obesity epidemic
  • Puppy mills
  • Childbirth
  • Worldwide tea shortage
  • The possibility of becoming schizophrenic
  • Snow
  • Teeth falling out

Litany of fear aside, I’m going to have a great weekend. Tonight, Cate is hosting a Royal Wedding party. Secretly, I’m going for the company and the tea and scones; I’m not deeply invested in the wedding of Wills and Kate, as adorable and royal as they might be. Saturday is a day of cleaning, reading, and running errands while Guion brews and then Win is coming to visit on Sunday. We are going to do our best to persuade him to live here. Any tips? What’s the best thing about living in Charlottesville?

Monday Snax

Angela comes to visit!

Angela came for the weekend and we had a lovely time together, talking, laughing, watching the unbelievably awful trailer for the Will and Kate movie… I wish she could have stayed all week!

Snax with a side of heavily salted fries:

Walk Score. One of the things I love about where we live is that we can walk practically everywhere! Post office, bank, drug store, church, a billion restaurants, you name it; we can walk there in about 10 minutes. This awesome website lets you type in your address and gives you a score on how walkable it is. It also allows you to enter your work address and gives you estimates on how long it would take you to walk or bike to that location. Really excellent resource to keep in mind, particularly as we’re looking for another Charlottesville home in about a year. (Walk Score)

Is Sugar Toxic? Answer: Probably. A terrifying article; it’s a long summary of various studies on the dangerous effects of sugar/glucose/fructose on our bodies. As if I needed yet another reason to keep up this (mostly!) sugar-free Lent challenge… (New York Times)

Ten People We Wished Had Used the Jon Kyl/Kobe Non-Apology. So hilarious. Public figures! They’re idiots and yet they can never be held responsible for what they say because of this new non-apology/”not intended to be a factual statement” clause. Stephen Colbert’s commentary on this was, of course, amazing. (Daily Intel)

You Have to Listen to Donald Trump Talk About Iraq. Are people SERIOUSLY considering this man as a viable candidate for the presidency!? This is just… incredible. (Daily Intel)

Look At It. Seriously. What photographer thought this was a good idea? (Awkward Family Photos)

Five Reasons Keanu Reeves Should Be the Next RoboCop. The. worst. actor. alive. (Best Week Ever)

Taxonomy of Teas. So pretty! So much tea to adore! (Wendy Chan)

Barnes & Noble Classics. Yet another reason why Kindles aren’t that great. (Wolf Eyebrows)

Pierre Trollier and His Tiny Sheepdogs. Even if you don’t like dogs, I dare you to deny that these tiny Pyrenean French sheepdogs are amazing. They’re the size of your average terriers and they OWN these sheep. Just watch that little dog keep a whole flock of sheep stopped at a stop sign. Just do it. (Three Border Collies)

Famous Authors and Their Dogs. Jill Krementz’s collection of photographs of writers and their dogs. (New York Social Diary)

A Girl and Her Room. A stirring and interesting portfolio of teenage girls and their bedrooms. Photographer Rania Matar jumps between Massachusetts and the Middle East and the distinctions–and similarities–are compelling. (Rania Matar)

So Lent begins

Sunrise from our kitchen.

Well, kind of. Guion told me last night that Lent doesn’t officially start until after the Ash Wednesday service, but I’m going to get started early.

Growing up as a non-liturgical non-denom., I never knew anything about the Lenten season, which now strikes me as rather sad and depraved. I’ve loved learning about the traditions and the liturgical calendar from my new family of faith, the Episcopal church. Guion is a born and bred Episcopalian and so I’ve learned a lot from him. I started observing Lent a year before we started dating and have continued since then.

This year, these are my Lenten disciplines:

  • No consumption of synthetic sugar (*with a few exceptions. I’m still eating stuff like bread and fruit, but no more cereal, yogurt, dessert, etc. Honey and agave nectar will also be allowed, but I’m going to try to go as long as I can without using them. I feel like I might go into powerful withdrawal.)
  • Prayer and Bible study each morning. I’ve been slacking lately and I can feel the difference in my mornings when I skip out.
  • Memorize one poem and one psalm with Guion.

As you know, I like challenges, but that’s not the sole reason for me for observing Lent. I think there is something to be said for the discipline of the body that informs the discipline of the soul. (Another reason I like the Episcopal service: the constant movement–kneeling, standing, sitting, kissing, consuming–tracks with the movement of the heart toward God and toward the sacrament of the Eucharist.) All that said, I am looking forward to this season of physical and spiritual taming. Although it bums me out that Lent always falls over my birthday… sugar-free ice cream is probably really gross.

What about you? Have you ever observed Lent before? Are you going to observe it this year?

Friday thoughts

Our street at dusk
Our street at dusk, back when it was warm outside. My Flickr pro account expired. Boo.

Little things I am thinking about today:

  • My side business of calligraphy. I ordered my first set of business cards this afternoon and I feel very grown up about it. Thanks to the encouragement of Natalie, I’m going to drop by the downtown stationer, Rock Paper Scissors, and give them some samples.
  • Why my right hand is always freezing at work.
  • Kemp and Rose coming to visit next weekend and then our long-awaited trip to our old stomping grounds (a la Durham and Chapel Hill) the following weekend.
  • Lent, which is coming soon and which means that my consumption of sugar will have to end. Contemplating the desire to gorge myself on chocolate before it arrives. But I had a bowl of real oatmeal this morning with only raisins in it–no sugar at all!–and I felt very proud of myself. I think I can do it. I feel like my taste buds have been subtly prompted by my brain to reject overly sweet things lately, in preparation for this sugar fast. I thought the yogurt was going to kill me today it was so sweet. And that’s never happened before.
  • Getting a nice* camera. I wish the bank made it easier to create little folders in your savings account so I could start designating small chunks of money toward a camera fund. (*Canon DSLR)
  • Will I be the kind of old woman who hoards kitschy knickknacks? Is that a generational thing? Is it only indicative of women who grew up in the Great Depression? Or does that mean I’ll eventually fall into that category, having grown up in the Greatest Recession?
  • Grace, who is adjusting to her new life in Nepal now. She’s working with a documentary filmmaker for a month and then she’s off to the ashram/orphanage. Such a crazy girl. I miss her.
  • Throwing away even more clothes. I need to stop wearing things that are too small for me.
  • A weekend with Guion! He’s been busy with school stuff all week and I feel like I haven’t seen him much. I miss him. We’re going to go on dates around town and watch “Annie Hall,” maybe even finish “Lost” (at last!).

Happy Friday! Post for you on Sunday about my lifelong, tortured love affair with the Japanese language.