Writer’s Block: Left Behind

Today’s Writer’s Block question on LJ is: What do you want done with your body after you die?

I’ll be donating my body to science! Let me explain my reasoning..

A few years ago I had the unfortunate luck of having to go through many, many funerals in a short span of time, and I remember making some noteworthy observations.

Funerals are expensive. Caskets are expensive. Burying people is *expensive.* The stressful responsibility of paying for and orchestrating these purchases falls on those who are grieving and probably the least deserving of the burden. It seems like an awful system, in a way. During this time, I thought, how could I make my funeral less of a painful ordeal to my family?

From living several years with Scott during the time when he was often working and teaching in the gross anatomy lab at UofL, I learned some things about the cadavers that I hadn’t known. After being dissected and used in class, the bodies are gathered and cremated, and the school holds a nice little memorial service for all of them. The ashes are then returned to the family, if they want them.

What a nice system for the family! When I die, the university will take care of moving my body. My family won’t have to purchase a casket, and look…FREE cremation! So much less stress!

Sure, they won’t get the ashes right away, but that’s partially a good thing. That way, if they DO want to get a fancy urn for me, they’ll be doing it sometime after the initial grieving process, and probably while in a much better state to consider that decision.

And yes, someone will cut off my arms and legs and head with a bone saw so that I can fit in the cremation bag, but the family doesn’t have to deal with those details.

Oh…yeah…and some students learn some stuff blah blah whatever.

In spite of this plan, I STILL have not completed the paperwork necessary to authorize the donation. Part of this is because I’ve been between primary doctors, but I think that the next time I go to see my Pittsburgh doctor, I’ll bring it along. I also have to have a few other people sign it, but I forget exactly who…I’ll have to look at it again.

ANYWAY! Looking for a way to make your death less of a pain in the ass for your family? Consider donating to science! Just sayin.

Results of the Sleepathon

So, my internship at Schell Games has started in full swing and is awesome thus far! However, I thought I’d post about what I learned, or concluded…or just theorized from my 2 week sleep study.

1) I think I caught up on an amazing deficit. The first few days I was sleeping upwards of 14 hours a day, and eventually this tapered off somewhat to around 9 or 10 hours a night. I felt it was good, rejuvenating sleep, though. Kind of like the subconscious version of a 2 week cleanse.

2) I am, at heart, a night creature. I’ve denied this for ages, because for some reason I had some deep resolution that my being a night person was “bad.” The world, after all, does not cater to us very well. But screw that. I harbor tons of nocturnal energy, and this can’t be corrected by a rigid sleep schedule, which I think causes more harm than good. I’ve started working out at midnight, doing my grocery shopping at 1, going to bed around 2 or 3 and that’s okay, because that’s how I roll.

3) I’ve identified my napping needs more closely. I tend to need a small nap in the early afternoon, even if it’s just 45 minutes, to kick me back into gear. Around 3:00pm seems a good time. This is often followed by a longer, evening nap. I used to get so stressed about taking naps at 8:00 at night, worrying that it would “mess up my sleep schedule,” but now that I’ve embraced point number 2, I’m much less worried about it (and being less worried means I get to bed more easily when I do sleep at 2 or 3).

Overall during the test, my sleeping periods tended to be vastly erratic. At first I was concerned about this, but I think what I learned is that spaced out, shorter blocks of sleep just work better for me in general. This is roughly what my most comfortable sleep schedule has ended up being…

2:30am – 8:30am (6 hours, my “main” night time sleep)
3:00pm – 4:00pm (1 hourish, my afternoon nap)
8:00pm – 11:00pm (3 hours, my evening nap)

With this, I still get the 9-10 hours of sleep that I seem to need a day, and I’m not tired during the day or stressed out about the fact that I’m staying up late. I imagine that on the weekends I will let myself sleep more freely, to catch up on any deficit, and I will stop beating myself up over it.

One thing that has helped me IMMENSELY during this experiment was this little device, the Sleeptracker Pro: http://www.sleeptracker.com/

Jesse lent it to me. Basically, it is a watch with an accelerometer in it that you wear at night. It detects “near-awake” periods based on your movement. When you set your alarm to wake up, you give it a window of time instead of an exact time, and the alarm won’t go off until it detects a “near-awake” moment in your sleep cycle during that window. Thus, you’re more likely to get woken up when you are in the light stage of sleep, versus being yanked out of REM or stage 4 sleep, and all groggily.

I’m normally not one for gadgets, but I’m in love with this thing, and am going to get my own as soon as I am able (Jesse kindly is lending me his for the duration of my co-op, and I really think it will help).

So! There are my sleepy conclusions, and it’s midnight now…time to go to the gym! 😀


Well, the tumultuous 48 hour dog saga draws to a close. Attempts to get my landlord to meet the dog and negotiate the pet agreement were unsuccessful. I sent him a lengthy email about it and we had a phone conversation, but no such luck. Resounding no.

In thinking it through, the thought of trying to find a sublet for 4 months and move and juggle my stuff would be too stressful for me to create a conducive environment for the dog, so I’m just going to wait it out.

On the bright side, at least I will still get to work with Minnow at the shelter as often as I like , and maybe I *will* get another chance to adopt him after I graduate.

On the flip side, GODDAMMIT!

Thanks to everyone who’s lent advice and support and whatnot.

I feel like I’ve had 3 months worth of drama packed into 2 days!

Brick Wall #1

Internet, you’re so good at giving advice! I’m just going to keep on thinking out loud.

So I’ve hit my first brick wall in the adoption process. I asked my landlord about the process for doing the pet deposit (he’s known there’d be a chance I would adopt a dog since last spring) and he sent me the paperwork.

The pet agreement has a section on specifically prohibited breeds, one of which is the pit bull. It also prohibits any dogs mixed with any of the listed breeds. Drat!

Now, my first course of action is to see if this is negotiable. We’ve had a really good relationship with our landlord since moving to this house (the last time he came in to fix something he emailed us complimenting us and thanking us for keeping the house so nice). I also know that these sorts of blanket statements over stereotyped breeds are only to protect the landlord; if I had an aggressive dog and it bit someone, the landlord could be held responsible as well as me (the other prohibited breeds listed are pretty classic: doberman, rottie, german shepherd, husky, etc.)

The shelter requires me to bring in all of my roommates to meet the dog and make sure everything is square, so I’d like to ask if the breed restriction is negotiable and propose that the landlord come along as well to meet the dog. I also have a few other things working in my favor…

– I’ve volunteered at this shelter and worked with this dog specifically, so I’m already familiar with the dog
– I only have about 4 more months living at this place. Even if I stay in Pittsburgh after I graduate, I’ll be moving to a different place, so it’s a pretty short term to have the dog in the house.
– I would be crate training and keeping the dog limited to the first floor of the house
– The dog is 4 years old, so less fear of puppy-keeping destructive woes.

Even still, I want to word my email to him in the most positive way I can without sounding accusatory or overbearing, so I may need some help looking over drafts.

If, after this, the answer is still a resounding “no,” I have a few options left. One is to find a pit-friendly place to sublet for the rest of my stay in Pittsburgh, which would be a pretty crazy and stressful ordeal. The other is just to hold out and hope that Minnow doesn’t get adopted out from under me, then get him when I graduate.

I’ll cross those bridges when they come, though. As always, any tips on the matter are always welcome!

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and encouragement regarding the dog decision!

I have placed my application and initiated the whole process, so we shall see! I think the only obstacle would be if someone is in line before me to adopt Minnow, but I haven’t seen any “application pending” signs on his kennel.

I’ll keep everyone posted!

The dog for me?

I may have found my dog.

Most of you know that about a year ago, I resolved that I needed a dog in my life, and started volunteering at the animal shelter. This was both to get experience with dogs, and to hopefully find *my* dog should he or she show up.

This is Minnow…


I’ve been working with Minnow a lot on my shelter visits lately, and he is a dear heart and a fast learner. He still has manners to work on, but for some reason, I find I have fallen in love with him among all the dogs I’ve worked with. I didn’t realize it until I came in one day and he wasn’t in his kennel. Normally when dogs or cats I’m fond of have been adopted, I react with “hooray!” But when I thought Minnow had been adopted, my reaction was sadness, alas!

It turns out he was just offsite for the day.

I never thought I’d ever want a male pit bull mix. I always figured I’d fall in love with a bigger, leaner, softer dog (like Brenna). But I am stricken by this pup!

The biggest obstacle between me and this dog is purely self confidence. My family never owned dogs, and so for some reason I have this mindset that owning a dog is something that I am incapable of doing, something beyond my possible realm of experience. I know this is silly, but it’s a real fear.

If a stray cat wandered in, I would have no hesitation in taking him in, knowing exactly how to care for a cat and make a cat a member of my family. But a dog, that’s different! What if I don’t know how to own a dog??

And then all the questioning factors come in..
Do I have enough money to support adding a dog to my family?
What if I end up having to move to California after school? Is it too soon for relocating the dog too?
Will I have the proper time to devote to the dog?

What if what if what if.

Logic grown up Lisa knows that she can handle all of these things, and emotional Lisa longs for the companionship of a dog. It’s weird self-doubting Lisa who thinks “maybe now is not the right time, maybe you should wait…”

But what if it ISN’T the right time??


A Question of Manners

Answer me this, Internet…

Which is the more polite action when someone is trying to sell you something…

1) Interrupt them early (like, at “we’d like to offer you…”) and say no thank you.

2) Let them finish their 10 minute speech that they are obviously forced to do by their supervisor and then say no thank you.