Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Thinking

I'm reading this great book called Monique and the Mango Rains for my anthro class, and something in it caught my attention today. Monique is a midwife in Malawi, and one of her duties is teaching women in her village how to make baby food. Thing is, the baby food is peanut-based. This struck me as strange, because I've always heard that you NEVER give babies certain foods including honey and PEANUTS because they might have a food allergy. I'm not saying Monique is wrong, since she clearly knows more about babies than I do, I'm just confused. I wonder if there is any data on peanut allergies in African children, because I have a theory. American children are raised in pretty sterile, antibacterial environments, and it's been correlated with higher incidences of allergies. African children, at least children in rural Malawi are in almost the opposite situation. They have all kinds of other problems, but you don't hear about African children having severe allergies, possibly because they are exposed to so much they don't develop allergies. But maybe that's because they have malaria and life-threatening diarrhea, and failure to thrive and all kinds of bad things, so post-nasal drip isn't that big a deal. And babies who are fed baby food do much better than babies that are fed on porridge, because it's high in proteins and other essential nutrients and porridge is pretty much just carbohydrates. So maybe it's worth the occasional allergic reaction if it saves more babies than it kills. I know that not all peanut allergies are life-threatening, but peanut allergies tend to be severe, and I don't know how available antihistamines are in rural African villages. Bottom line-I love all of my classes. I want to bring this up in Nutrition on Monday. I also want to bring up the guy who lives on candy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pet-A-Pet Day

The happiest of all days! I hate that I have to wait like an hour and a half before I can go (stupid class, ruins everything), but it's Pet-A-Pet Day! Even Nutrition midterms can't dampen my spirit. I really want there to be cats.
I might be volunteering at an event at Ben's farm this weekend. He mentioned on the rugby website that he was looking for volunteers, so I emailed him about it. "This doesn't makes sense", you're thinking, "Caroline spends so much time complaining about Ben and how mean he is.". This is true, but it sounds like fun. And he's been sort of better lately. Or maybe I've been better. I was actually grateful and not angry that he put me in for two minutes of A side last week. Plus I like farms, and this event sounds fun, and I hate partying, but I also hate sitting in my room on a Saturday night, not-partying. And costumes are encouraged!
I'm starting to think about this summer. Isn't that sick? It's October! I need to get going on financial aid stuff if I want to go to Africa though, so living in the now isn't so much of a possibility.
Yay Pet-A-Pet Day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can't Go Back Now

Smith is such a great school. I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go here. Still and all, Facebook has lately been flooded with Geneseo women's rugby pictures, and it's making me really homesick. They aren't using 'Daga field anymore. The school finally gave in and let them have a decent pitch. They're going to regionals too. I miss the girls, and I miss Colin. It was so much better than my rugby life now. I used to love going out, but now I always feel miserable the day after partying. I miss having friends that were fun to party with. And a team that included everyone, and did things together. These aren't reasons to regret transferring, and I know I made the right choice, but I also lost some really nice things in the process. You really can't go home again, I know that. Geneseo was never even that homey for me, and going back would only depress me, but I really miss it. I miss the dorms, and Court St., and St. Mary's. I finally went to mass last night, for the first time this semester, and it was nice, but it made me miss going to mass in Geneseo. I miss my big jug of honey. Mostly though, I miss rugby. The S**** team is too dramatic. It's totally cliqued out, and it just makes me want to go back. Girls dated within the team at Geneseo too, but not to this extent. It was a family first and foremost, and now I feel like an orphan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nice Things

I'm trying this new thing where I'm going to have a better attitude by reflecting on all the good things that happened during the day. I won't list them on my blog every day, but today is the first day, so I'm going to share.
1. I had a delicious chai during my anthro class
2. My professor gave everyone 5 extra points on our test for spelling our names right
3. Agnes (my Swahili instructor) praised me to high heaven and made me feel really good
4. I'm back to being an alternate for A side, which makes me think someone has been noticing how hard I've been working.
5. I'm the jumper for lineouts for the B game
6. I got to practice kicking with EE and I think I'm really improving
7. I got multiple warming hugs today
8. I was outside for the first snow of the season.
Fridays are really rough, and tomorrow is going to be inhumanely difficult, but I think these positive thoughts will help me get through it. I don't think I'm going to play in the A game this weekend, but I'm excited for the B game. We're playing Springfield, and they're going to demolish us (they're a women's league team), but it's going to be fun. I do love to jump.


I seem to have a love-hate relationship with life. I love my classes, but they're hard, and I hate that. I hate the work and stress, and I really hate getting tests back, even when I do ok. I don't like playing B side because it's frustrating and embarrassing, and I'm actually getting worse since I'm not being challenged. I love rugby though, and I get a weird little kick out of being the best player on the B side. They go down like bricks when I tackle them- it's great for working out my frustration with having to play for the B side. Swahili stresses me out like crazy, but I love the way my instructor praises me. She's so nice, and she makes me feel really smart even when I know I'm terrible at Swahili. Really the only things that I know I like are my few but likeable friends. It's a nice change actually, since I hated my friends for a long time. Not all of my friends, but enough that it was weird. So it's nice to have some new friends who I like. It kind of makes things come out on the positive side

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rugby Extinction

I think my coach is a secret behavioral psychologist. Earlier this semester he provided me with reinforcement for desired behaviors (going to practice, training on my own, giving 110%, etc.), and so these behaviors increased in strength. I tried really hard, and I got back into shape after a summer of not running. I tried out a whole back line of new positions, and I gave 120%. That's how the experiment works though-I keep pushing the lever, and food keeps dropping into the Skinner Box. It's a good system. Ben is a tricky guy though, and so he wanted to introduce a new element. Suddenly I stopped being reinforced for my good behavior. It's a funny thing, extinction, when a subject stops being reinforced for a behavior they increase in that behavior for a little while, and then they stop. A rat will frantically press the bar, but when they don't get food they move on to other pursuits. They join book clubs, and learn to bake, but they don't press the bar anymore. They also stop really caring about practice. I wasn't even an alternate for A-side this week, and so I went to practice, worked hard, had a good attitude, did what I was told, and played the toughest rugby possible, given I was practicing with the B side, and didn't want to hurt anyone, but I didn't receive any of that sweet, sweet reinforcement, and so I didn't go to the game. Not because I'm sulking or angry, just because I didn't see the point. I didn't really feel like getting up at 5:30 so I could sit in the car for six hours and kill another Saturday not-playing rugby. Instead I'm doing laundry, and going running, and cleaning my room, and maybe doing some homework. It isn't exciting, but it's still a whole day that I have to use productively.
I went out to dinner with some rugby girls last night after practice. It's nice to know that I'm not usually missing anything when I don't go on Fridays. We did a warm-up, and then maybe twenty minutes of ruck and runs, and then we were finished. It was kind of stupid actually. Anyway, Friday dinners are usually pretty bad, so a bunch of girls decided to go to the brewery instead. We got some signals crossed, so my group went straight downtown while everyone else went home and showered, but we eventually met up and had a nice dinner. It was nice to get off campus, and it was really nice talking to some people that I don't usually talk to.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mountain Day!

Clearly Carol Christ is very wise, and knew I had a test today.

Friday, October 2, 2009


The Smith B-side traveled to Mount Holyoke yesterday for a scrimmage, expecting to play their B-side. Instead we were put up against their A players. They kind of killed us, but it was the most fun I've had playing rugby in a long time. I started as inside center, moved to flank, and then finished as full back. It was awesome. I kind of want to be the B-side full back. It'll involve lots of kicking practice, but I just love to hit.
I play rugby because I love it, but it hasn't been that fun lately. Maybe the answer is switching to B-side. I don't like feeling miserable and anxious before every game, and I really don't like having to fight every second for my position. Not to mention the fact that I vastly prefer the B-side coach. At the same time though, I don't want to be on B-side because I can't compete with A-side. So I'm a little conflicted. But I had a great time last night, and hopefully that'll remind me why I play rugby when things are hard.