Things That Are Exciting

1. Getting published at Inside Higher Ed with the parentals (this is my mom!) (and this is my dad!) (not sure which online bio to pick for my dad, just picked one at random). Very exciting! Welcome to the University 🙂

2. Being back at my very own welcoming university for ITCOO (In The Company of Others) 2012! It is fantastic to be back, and I think ITCOO is going to be great (all you froshies, get excited). My fellow performers are inspiring/hilarious/great people/owners of awesome eyebrows/well-traveled/wonderful.

3. Best thing I’ve seen so far during Orientation:

while walking to Downey House, I looked up and saw two freshman boys running on a path toward a building on Wyllys. They were holding their orientation packets and going “dude, we’re so late, come on!” “ahhh I hope our advisor isn’t mad!” They then got to the building, and began trying to open the door and looking through the windows. Then one of them said “whoa, I think this is like someone’s house…” and then they both ran away. Yes, it is someone’s house. It is Michael Roth’s* house.

4. Matthew Krakaur will be sleeping on my floor tonight.

 

*Michael Roth is the president of Wesleyan University.

 

Ben is Nine!

Some of you may be aware that I have a tiny brother who looks a lot like me (and my other brother, the lovely Jacob)

 

These are all of our soccer pictures from around age 8, from left to right it’s: Jacob, Ben, me. Based on this picture, I can say that there’s a strong likelihood that I did not know left from right at that age. That’s kind of unfortunate.

Also, wow can you tell that Jacob and I are wimpy 90s kids who would have preferred to be reading a book or something, while Ben is the star athlete (and kid of the 21st century) of the family.

Watching Ben grow up has been crazy, mainly because at some point he stopped just being cute and started also having opinions, which he voices loudly and constantly. He’s also still cute.

We had three kinds of cakes for his birthday: a mint oreo ice cream cake from DQ (the decorative mint frosting had the taste and consistency of toothpaste), a spice cake that Jacob made (this is mysterious), and an assortment of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes that Mom made, left over from the cupcakes that Ben brought to school today. It’s crazy that he’s in fourth grade. I remember having thoughts and feelings in fourth grade.

Anyway, happy birthday little Bean, may you continue to be much tougher, stronger, and faster than the rest of us. I love you!

Parents and the Internet

The following post appeared on the Wesleyan Parents Talk page, with the title “Support Animal” question:

My son is living in a program house this year and was just informed that a new housemate will be bringing a cat as a “support animal”. My son is allergic to cats so this was quite a surprise to him. The Residential Office asked the house members to agree to help control the cat, keeping control of it if work was being done on the house for example, but did not ask house members whether they could comfortably live with this animal. He has told the residential office about his allergies and his worry about the cat being in the common areas of the house.
Does anyone have experience with the University’s “support animal” policy? Apparently students go through an application process to bring an animal for emotional support. We are baffled by this.
Robyn
P ’14,’16
The “new housemate” she is referring to is me. Thus.

Dear Parent of My Future Housemate,

These are my issues with your post:

1. Putting “support animal” in quotes (as I just demonstrated) is an attempt to delegitimize the term, despite the fact that it is the official term used by the university.

2.You said that a “new housemate” would be bringing the animal. I am not a new housemate, in the sense that I lived in the house last year. That makes me a “returning housemate” while your son is the “new housemate.”

3. It is entirely inappropriate for a parent to attack someone else’s child on the internet. Official channels (an email to the director of Residential Life, for example) were provided for you to respond to my request, and instead you chose to attack me in a public forum without having heard my side of the story or reasons for requesting a support animal. Your son, on the other hand, replied in an appropriate way and expressed his concerns.

4. According to a number of studies, having a pet improves the health and happiness of the pet owner. It can improve depression. Wesleyan requires students to live on campus for all four years (I suspect that this is for financial reasons, since room & board cost around $15,000 per year), and by banning animals from campus housing for all four years (other than in the case of the support animal), they remove the possibility of a health-and-welfare-improving animal for four years of our lives.

5. Only students with a documented disability can apply for a support animal, and they must provide a doctor’s note which states that having a pet is the appropriate course of treatment (often combined with other things, such as medication) for the student’s condition.

6. Speaking of which, I have MS. MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin in the body. MS causes depression, often due to structural brain degradation, in at least 50% of patients. It has come to my attention that a number of parents act as though all college students are healthy. In fact, many conditions, including MS, diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, cystic fibrosis, migraines, and depression, strike young people. I think it is naive of you to assume that the request for a support animal is illegitimate. Your son’s cat allergy is not the worst condition that can occur in young people.

7. Which brings me to my final point: All you actually had to say was that your son has a cat allergy. He lives on my floor, approximately two rooms away, we share a bathroom and a hallway, so this information alone would have prompted me to not bring the cat. Now that I know that your son is allergic to cats, I have informed ResLife that I am not bringing the cat after all.

I hope that this has helped you to understand the university’s support animal policy,

Cade

 

Briefly Taking A Break From Not Doing Learning Moments

“Summer has just flown” said a million people this summer. Not sure what it was about summer 2012 that seemed so fast but you know, when everyone agrees on something it might be true is a thing that people like to hear themselves say exists as a possibility. With no more platitudes (please), here’s a brief list of the things I claim to have learned this summer:

1. Rat decapitation is not my game.

2. In any episode of Law & Order SVU ever: find most famous guest star in episode. If that person is male, they did it. If that person is female, they know what happened. Or they’re about to be revealed as the worst mother character you ever heard of.

3. Related: a surprisingly large amount of semi-famous (and actually famous people) have appeared on Law & Order SVU. Zoe Saldana whattttt.

4. My baby brother (age almost 9) likes to wake up at 5AM and play computer games. Which I definitely did not learn while sneaking out of the house at 5AM. It’s not sneaking if you’re 20 anyway.

5. People who end up at my blog via google most often do so from google searches involving Ann Romney.

6. Mentioning Ann Romney in all my blog posts because of my google obsession does not make my regular readers that happy.

7. Similarly, just saying “Wes Mafia” as often as possible when discussing movies can occasionally make non-Wes-bubble folk less than happy.

8. Caring about making other people happy is not that productive.

9. My problems are “Elder Problems” (#elderproblems) because they include: organizing my knitting basket, not being able to pick a satisfactory name for my cat, not being able to drink/stay up late/go out in the heat without getting sick, and having a disease that for some reason people think is an “old person disease.”

10. Now that I am twenty, medical professionals ask me if I’m 14 instead of 12. Scoooore.

11. Our medical system is super fucked (there is no other term really, sorry Mom) and the war on women is super fucked-up (again, I know, that was twice in one blog post, I’m sorry) and Mitt Romney is a fuck-up (3!) and it’s fucking ridiculous (4…) that Mitt Romney gets away with stuff (pretending to be a cop) that Obama could not get away with. And THUS, we need to re-elect the fuck out of Obama (that one was a little unnecessary, it’s true) so that women can, ya know, have rights and everyone can have medical care and we won’t have to tell other countries that our President wears “magic underwear.” But seriously.

12. The best way to talk about trauma is honestly, because sometimes trying to be a likable narrator and trying to teach everyone Something Important does the exact opposite.

It’s 2:48AM and really, I have to stop writing incoherent late-night blog posts. But never fear, readers, the semester looms ahead (going back to campus in 8 days!!) and thus I will be writing my blog posts at normal hours in the library. As procrastination. Like a good girl. Goodnight! 

Four-Letter Words

I just got back from SlutWalk DC which was an awesome event. There were a ton of great speakers, my favorite though was the last. She said that other than “slut,” the audience had four other four-letter words to focus on:

  • vote (for the candidate who we think best serves our cause) (AKA not Romney. AKA Obama) (but she didn’t say that last part)
  • talk (about experiences/harassment/rape culture/the stuff that doesn’t get talked about)
  • jail (where criminals belong)
  • heal (what everyone was there to do)

I thought that was really cool, and she said it better than me so it was cooler than this blog post. I also got my first (hopefully also last/only) sunburn of the summer which is surprisingly awful. As a very pale person, I thought I was pretty used to sunburns (in spite of sunscreen) (and an umbrella) but no, they still hurt. Gross. Skin cancer awaits me, I’m sure. But in my head, once you have one sucky disease, you can’t get another. And, ya know, if you close your eyes, nobody can see you. Ignorance is bliss and stupidity is heavenly.

In other news, I got a new backpack. This is a very big deal for me. It should not be a big deal for you but I’m gonna put it in here anyway. It’s 1:33 AM and Baby Spice is still adorable. Goodnight, blogosphere.

 

No wait, this is stupid!

If you get strep throat (which I just did), you go to a doctor and get antibiotics. Right? This is how you fix strep throat.

If you break a bone, you get a cast.

If you trip and fall, you pick yourself back up and if you cut open your finger, you put a band-aid on it.

We seem to have very standard ways of dealing with a lot of problems that can happen to our bodies. If any of the above things happened to me and I didn’t follow the courses of action that I outlined, you would wonder why, right?

If I got strep throat but told you that I wasn’t really convinced that antibiotics would help it, you might be a little confused.

For some reason, people seem to think that this isn’t how it should be for some diseases. For instance, we’re supposed to be chill with the fact that Ann Romney, along with many other MS patients, has chosen to not take any medication.

What? Apparently the PC thing to do about that is to not say anything. We can’t comment because it’s her choice and we can’t laugh at her stupid horse therapy (“hippotherapy,” whatever) and we can’t make value judgments because apparently she has made her own logical choice.

I’m really tired of this.

She’s being irresponsible. She’s opening herself up to the possibility of being literally struck down with an MS relapse at any time which could put her in a wheelchair or cause full-body paralysis or cause her to become incontinent or cause blurred vision or nausea or vertigo or… the list is pretty damn long.

When I’m relapsing, my vertigo is too strong for me to walk. I can’t eat anything without throwing it back up. I can’t take a shower without collapsing on the bathroom floor. I go to the ER and they give me one drug after another until I’m too exhausted for them to do anything else and then they send me home. My (wonderful) friends and family drop everything to take care of me. When I’m relapsing, what I want is to just sleep through it. Since I’m a responsible person, I’m on a drug (Copaxone) which reduces my relapses by 30%. I have an illness/disease/condition/new-best-friend-for-life/whatever you want to call it, and I treat it. Because that is the logical thing to do.

Aside from all the other crap that Mitt Romney does (see my last post for some details), do we really want a president whose wife is a ticking time bomb? At any moment, she could relapse, and all his attention would have to be on her. As it should be, since they’re married. But all his attention wouldn’t be on her because he loves her or because she has MS, it would be because she’s irresponsible, and she’s put herself in a precarious position. I have no respect for that. And neither should you.

Flip Flops are for the Beach, Romney

(I think the title is funny because I’m at the beach) (nobody has to agree with me) (it’s stupid)

Things that should bother people more about Romney:

*I’m all for religious freedom and all that, but he can’t actually be a non-practicing Mormon. He can’t be the JFK of Mormonism. When you’re a Mormon, you have to go full-out. Mormons have to put their religion first, which means that we could have a President who holds something in higher esteem than our country. (wow that sounded so patriotic, who am I??) Also, they say they don’t drink coffee or tea because they don’t want to pollute their body with toxins (caffeine) but they drink Coke. That’s just cray.

**Obviously this is the thing I care most about, though I get that it’s not a universal issue. But Ann Romney, you have not beat MS. MS is not beatable. Or are the rest of us just still suffering for fun?