Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Steph tagged me to describe 5 Weird Things About Me. So... here I go:

1. I'm tall. I've been this tall since high school, but I never realized how tall I am compared to other people. I always thought I was on the tall side of things for women, but never realized that I'm actually taller than most men, too. [I'm a bit shy of 5'9". I just looked at a chart of averages. It looks like only 5% of women are as tall or taller than me. 50% of men are shorter than me.] Now when I walk through the streets of San Francisco, I am hugely aware of my size. When I was younger, other women always told me I was lucky to be so tall. People told me I was lucky to have such nice, long legs. Now I just feel like a giant. (which is silly.)

Oh, another weird thing related to my tallness is that I'm tall, but I can fit into petite sized clothing. I have a petite torso on giant legs. I'm a freak.

2. One of my very favorite songs has a chorus that goes, "The humans are dead. The humans are dead. We used poisonous gases to poison their asses..."

3. I have a very unusual last name. It's Norwegian. No one can spell it.

4. I love people who know a lot of things because I love to ask questions.

5. I like grumpy people because I know they are just miserable and don't mean to be grumpy. It makes me happy if I can make a grumpy person feel better.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have to go to the cardiologist tomorrow morning. I was referred by my doctor because I've been having some complications of low blood pressure (my average resting bp is about 92/59, which wouldn't really be worrisome at all if I weren't having any symptoms). The complications are symptoms including orthostatic tachycardia (my heart races when I stand up because my body doesn't adjust properly for the change in position) and also dizziness, blacking out (not fainting, but losing vision when I go from sitting to standing up, especially quickly), lightheadedness, brain fog, fatigue, feeling like I have the flu, but I don't, etc. It's not that big of a deal, I guess. I mean, it's not a life or death situation, but it's annoying. People who have low blood pressure do occasionally have all of these symptoms, especially the blacking out when you stand up too quickly, but you're not supposed to have it quite as often as I do. So, I'm finally going to the cardiologist and now I'm feeling super nervous. Part of the reason I'm nervous is because my blood pressure is always much higher when I'm nervous, which makes it look like my bp is normal. When my bp goes up, I usually don't have any symptoms, although, I admit, I am pretty dizzy right now. So, I'm nervous that the doctor is going to tell me there's nothing wrong with me and send me home and I'm never going to get any help with how to deal with this. On the flip side, I'm nervous that she's going to do some sort of test on my heart and determine that there's something *really* wrong with it that is worse that this minor annoying condition I think I have. You know, like she's going to tell me I could die suddenly at any moment. Ha. So, I'm just nervous. It's silly. I want to go to the cardiologist and have tests done so I have some peace of mind and know what the bigger picture is. But, it's like performance anxiety. I'm worried that I'm not going to get the most out of this short period of time with this expert -- that I'm going to forget to ask a question or tell her something and never have a chance to do it again. The funny thing is, one of the medications they give people with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia are beta blockers, which are also used for performance anxiety. Sounds like that might be a good idea.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can you spare a dime?

This afternoon, as I was walking from my office to our local office supply store, I ran into an organizer for a grassroots environmental non-profit agency who tried to get me to donate money to his organization. He was armed with a 3-ring binder with pictures, facts, and a place to sign my name and address. At first, he looked hesitant to say anything to me at all, but I made eye contact with him and he said, "Do you have sixty seconds for the environment?" or something like that. I started off by telling him that I, too, work for an environmental non-profit, and I asked him if he'd ever heard of us. He said no, and asked me to tell him about what we do. I am still pretty bad at this, as I've had my job for less than 6 months, and unfortunately I think I did a mediocre job at best. Then I asked him to tell me what his group did and he began to explain it to me. I could see at least one point (a legislative matter) on which the two groups disagree in philosophy. But, putting that aside, it was clear that we both agree that the environment needs attention and money. And yet, I have had enough financial problems in my life from impulse spending, that I am just not able to spend money impulsively anymore. I just can't do it. The thing is, he wasn't just looking for me to sign up for his mailing list. He wasn't looking for moral support. He was definitely looking for a donation. It was clear that his paycheck was dependent on my contribution. It was obvious that he was frustrated. And, I felt bad for him. Living in San Francisco, I am asked for money by homeless people who are clearly in serious need multiple times every day. And, not as often, I am stopped on the street by representatives of various non-profit organizations doing important work looking for a donation. Each one of these encounters leaves me feeling terribly guilty, but I haven't found a way to overcome my aversion to spending money impulsively. I often end up feeling angry at the organization for asking me for money in such a way and for subsequently making me feel like a schmuck for not donating anything. The other day as I was walking, some guy asked me, "Would you like to volunteer to help with the AIDS walk?" Why do I find this so unnerving? I might want to help with the AIDS walk. I might want to give money to an environmental non-profit or to save an endangered species, but I'm not prepared to commit my time or money at a moment's notice while walking down the street. I admit, I need to spend more time thinking about where I want to give my money and/or services. Maybe my sense of guilt is related to the fact that I don't feel like I give enough money to organizations that need it. There are so many to choose from. But, it would be easier to respond to someone asking me for money if I could say, "I give money to XYZ shelter on ABC St. Why don't you go there for a meal?" or "I give $XXX dollars a year to the ASPCA and that's about all I can afford to donate." Or, something. Something would be good.