Saturday, February 04, 2006


I think one of my arms is shorter than the other. Not by too much, maybe a quarter to a half inch. Seems my sleeves never end at the same point on my wrists. Or I’m just lucky enough to always buy shirts with uneven sleeves… always the left one a little longer than the right… Yeah, not likely.

I noticed a long time ago (during a brief self-portrait phase) that my nostrils are asymmetrical. One of my eyes has worse vision than the other. And I have a weird hip thing. Found that out while shopping for prom dresses one year. Long, slinky dresses really emphasize my weird, uneven hips… and they make me look even shorter than I already am, so, needless to say, I went with a different style.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve heard everyone is asymmetrical in some way, so I guess I don’t quite feel like a freak of nature. I know people with different sized feet, or different sized breasts. But it is weird to think about. Maybe I can have fun with it, guessing what makes different people asymmetrical, take bets or something.

Am I mean?

I have to tell you about one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I quite literally laughed out loud. I was at the cashier at the bookstore and I looked over to the little stand of gum and breath mints. There was a mint tin with a little cartoon bunny on it, holding both of his front paws over his snout.

It read “Your breath made me throw up a little. Please enjoy a mint.”

I bought it immediately.

Now I’ve heard that “… made me throw up a little” has already come and gone from the fashionable slang vernacular, but it was never a big catch phrase in my circle. Consequently, I hadn’t grown tired of it, and found it hilarious. Maybe because I actually know people with breath that bad, it struck a cord with me. And picturing myself handing them that mint tin just tickles me. Would they get it? Would they know it was tongue-in-cheek? Would they see the grain of truth in the joke? Makes me smile just thinking about it.


I decided to teach myself to meditate. I could use a little more calm in my life. A way to handle stresses better. Also, benefits I didn’t know about, it’s supposed to help me remember things AND focus better. Who doesn’t want that?

All of those pros will come in handy, especially now. I’m starting to wind down my graduate student career. Trying to finish up my last scientific article for publication. Starting to read for (then write) my thesis. Starting to look for postdoctoral positions. Starting to prepare for oral presentations of my work (for my defense and interviews). It’s positively nerve wracking.

I have a book that’s guiding me through an 8-week program. Every week is a different technique. With the technique I’m at now, I’m supposed to just listen. Listen to whatever sounds are around me. Don’t judge them (e.g. GOD, that’s an annoying sound) and just let them happen. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do? Especially when, for reasons beyond me, exactly at the time of my meditation period there are very few sounds? And the one’s there are, are horribly boring, like the furnace, or the fridge. You’d be surprised at the random things your mind finds to fill the void.

But I do think that it is starting to help. My take-home message from the book is that it teaches to you brush things off and let things go – not hold things in and stew until you blow your top (or whatever your equivalent is). Seems easy enough, in theory. But it sure is a hard habit to break.

Wish me luck with the rest of my program.