Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What happens to me when I don't get enough sleep.

Who blogs at 1 a.m.? Oh, that's right: I do. After a lengthy ER visit last night that kept me up half the night, my sleep schedule is seriously warped. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy this over the weekend and get back on track. But here we are in the wee hours of the morning, and I'm still wide awake. My eyes are like this: OO. Ah, well.

So speaking of that ER visit, boy, was that fun. I guess it's the most interesting thing that's happened to me in the last few days, so I might as well tell you all about it. I'll preface this by saying that if you don't absolutely have to go to Eastern Maine Medical Center, do everything in your power to avoid it. Yes, like the plague (especially because that would definitely require a lengthy stay at EMMC, and you'd still have to spend 15 hours in the waiting room). Don't get me wrong: all of the doctors and nurses are nice and perfectly competent, but it's just that the hospital lobby is not a very pleasant place to spend half of the night. Between the man who was retching into a basin on his lap on our last visit and the oh-so-rebellious and angst-filled (and probably heroin-filled) teenager who was screaming and cursing into the waiting room phone (and who actually ripped the phone off the wall) on this visit, well, let's just say that I can think of plenty of other people who I'd rather spend an evening with. But alas, I didn't really have much of a choice but to go, because apparently, chest pains and crazy heart palpitations are not something you can just ignore. (Believe me, I tried!) Sigh. So two EKGs, four chest X-rays, one needle and many hours of my life that I can never get back later, they sent me home with the thrilling news that a) The blood test to look for clots in my lungs came back high (but hey! I'm young, so I'll be fine, right?) and b) I have to get a heart monitor. Hopefully it'll just be temporary. I'm not sure yet whether it'll be the lovely 24-hour type that means that I'll have wires glued all over my body or if it'll be the even better monthlong type that needs to be lugged around in a heavy plastic box. Sigh.

Ummmm.... don't listen to me. I'm obviously just really dramatic.

...Wait, no, I take that back. Listen to me! (After all, this is my blog. You can't just leave. Um, besides, all of the doors have been locked, and you are now confined to this nutshell. Sorry.)

Well, if I ever wanted proof that I need to get on a better sleep schedule, I guess this is it. I promise I'll write something less weird soon. And not at 1 a.m., either.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What on earth?

I used to blog quite often, in my undergrad years - and somehow, in the messy aftermath of a hectic journalistic "career" and now, grad school, well... I forgot that I even had a blog. This is my not-so-humble ('cause let's face it, blogging isn't exactly humble) attempt to try again. Of course, I'm also hoping that my efforts will be a little more mature this time around (although let's not set our hopes too high, dear, dear reader). This time around, instead of whining about my love life (which is now, thankfully, much more stable than it was when I was 18), I'll be writing about my humdrum little existence in Maine, where life is (as they say) as life should be- well, except for when it's -20 outside or when it's not, but I'm stuck inside writing a paper on Duddy Kravitz. I'm planning to post some of my poetry as well, so... uh... I hope you like poetry.

As for my blog's title, it originated pretty organically. I was perusing through The Mad Farmer Poems, a wonderful book of poetry by Wendell Berry, who is a Kentucky writer and a farmer. I came across this stanza, in the afterword:
"Because the silo is round
each note is round,
each note eternity in a nutshell,
and knowing this the mad farmer
knows also that his song can never be lost,
never exhausted, never indefinitely contained,
that the notes will circle and circle
until the storm relents,
until the door left open permits them

I just love that. But I also love the phrase "in a nutshell," which is delightful both in its strangeness and triteness. It's funny how we use these common phrases without pausing to wonder where they originated or what they even mean. So, dear reader, consider this your education for the day:
According to the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898,
Pliny tells us that Cicero asserts that the whole Iliad was written on a piece of parchment which might be put into a nutshell. Lalanne describes, in his Curiosit├ęs Bibliographiques, an edition of Rochefoucault’s Maxims, published by Didot in 1829, on pages one inch square, each page containing 26 lines, and each line 44 letters. Charles Toppan, of New York, engraved on a plate one-eighth of an inch square 12,000 letters. The Iliad contains 501,930 letters, and would therefore occupy 42 such plates engraved on both sides. Huet has proved by experiment that a parchment 27 by 21 centim├Ętres would contain the entire Iliad, and such a parchment would go into a common-sized nut; but Mr. Toppan’s engraving would get the whole Iliad into half that size. George P. Marsh says, in his Lectures, he has seen the entire Arabic Koran in a parchment roll four inches wide and half an inch in diameter."

Pretty nifty, huh? (And yes, I just used the word "nifty," and I did it without an iota of shame.) And so fitting, seeing as that's really what a blog is all about: capturing the noteworthy moments of our strange little lives in a virtual notebook, and explaining them in brief. A blog is a person's life, in a nutshell.

So here's mine.