Sarah's Question #2: To Invisalign or Not to Invisalign?

Little dark this time! Welcome to my gloomy kitchen. Also I realize that I yapped for over three minutes again. SUE ME. Actually, don't. I won't have the money to pay you and that crackerjack lawyer of yours if I lose.

Also, I know that in the video I said that I'd add links to who else was talking about my previous Facebook question, but I did a crappy job of bookmarking them and sort of lost interest after my tenth glass of wine. Kidding! Sort of. Want to help?

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A Lifelong Curse of Mistaken Identity

Ever since I signed myself up for a Gmail account in 2004, I've gotten bizarre, out-of-context emails intended for some other person named Sarah Lane. I realize that both 'Sarah' and 'Lane' are common names, but still. Seems like a lot. And I'm not talking spam or anything. You can tell that these are actual people who just somehow got that other Sarah Lane's addy wrong. For example, I received the following email earlier today (names have been omitted to protect the innocent):

(innocent):

THank you all for your interest in Spanish!

Our Monday class has filled up in the blink of an eye and I have organized a second class to happen on Thursday at the same time 3 till 4pm.
Would that be OK for your little ones? If not, we probaby ask for some of the Monday students to switch.
I have your names confirmed for a start on Thursday NOv 6th and if there is any problem , let me know.
Also if you have not send the form to me yet, please at least let me know which class they are in and if there are going to be picked up or stay at afterschool.

THank you!

(my response):

Hi, you have the wrong email address for Sarah Lane. Please check her address. Thx.

(innocent's response):

Apologies, I used what was on the form. Can you confirm Thursday is OK for Christopher?
Thanks.

This confused correspondence went on a little longer, but you get the gist. And since I'm out of ideas, I'll just go ahead and say YES, Thursday is ok for Christopher. Thursday is ALWAYS ok for Christopher. But I really do prefer that you check with his mother, Sarah Lane. The one who signed up for Gmail too late to get the cooler Sarah Lane-based email address. ZING! (yep, never going to grow up)

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The world is full of good people.

I receive a lot of emails from strangers, the contents of which are sometimes awesome, sometimes mean, sometimes funny, and occasionally batshit crazy.

But every so often a stranger actually makes my day just by reaching out to me in the simplest of ways. It happened today. And now I'm forwarding the kind words of a stranger along to you. Have a good one.

    From:     [kind stranger]
    Subject:     Best cat I ever had -
    Date:     October 22, 2008 11:15:30 AM PDT
    To:     sarah@sarahlane.com

Hi Sarah,

Just thought I'd try to put a smile on your face with a picture of Shadow.  He was a domestic longhair with possibly some Maine Coon in him.  He was 16 years old when he passed away (kidney failure).  Don't be sad because he had a great life with me in Pennsylvania and later in Virginia.  He would come when I called him, played fetch with a rolled up paper ball, and would jump up on the sofa or bed on command.  When I got him he was only 6 or 7 weeks old and weighed only a little over half a pound.  Had to feed him out of a bottle for the first two weeks.  He was so cute.

Anyway, I know you can't respond to all of the e-mails you get but I was a fan of yours when The Screen Savers was on (not "I am your number one fan" like weird people).  You were always very professional, knew your material, and presented yourself very well on a live show (not easy to do).  Just thought it would be nice to hear.

Rob

P.S. Happy (Belated) Birthday

P5080091_4

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Birthday Blues

I don't know what my problem is, but I have a hard time with birthdays. Especially now that I'm over 30. Yesterday my bikini waxer told me I should just start lying and tell everyone I'm 20 years old, forever. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I have a Wikipedia page, so I just smiled and nodded. Then she gave me a new pair of underwear she procured from a mysterious box under the table, winked at me, and the subject was dropped.

Birthdays are a time of great reflection for me, always have been. What did I accomplish this year? What didn't I accomplish? Do I have regrets? What's next? It's a healthy exercise for anyone... but I'm hard on myself, and I think I just let it get to me.

Do you do this?

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"Places I've Lived Before", A Bird's-Eye Challenge by Sarah Lane

I've lived in a lot of different places in my short, short 32 years on this great planet. Here they are in Google satellite view, which isn't always 100% accurate, so I gussied them up using Skitch. All photos come complete with fascinating anecdotes if you click through to the original Flickr set. Oh, and my current apartment is not included in this collection. Sorry, but I just don't have enough chips and salsa for all of you to drop by. You know how it is. Can you beat my 17 former places of residence? You may only include those you lived for at least six months. Go ahead....I CHALLENGE YOU!

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Project Straighten

Earlier this week I tweeted that I had pulled the trigger and signed up for Invisalign. In a nutshell, it's a clear-tray-teeth-straightening system for vain people like myself who don't want traditional braces. Although in my defense I do feel the need to point out that I've already had braces TWICE. Initially they were the basic silver kind and came complete with an ultra-sexy headgear piece, and the next time around, the time I almost strangled my orthodontist right in front of God and everyone, they were those "clear" brackets that turned bright yellow every time I ate mustard, which was every single day at lunch. Some really beautiful photos of me were taken over those four years, as you can imagine. No, you may not view them. I did my time, dammit.

What I didn't do was wear my retainers once the braces came off my then-perfectly straight teeth in 8th grade. My teeth have been gradually crowding in ever since, and worse, screwing up my bite. Everyone I talk to says something to the effect of "You're psycho, your teeth are totally straight. Get a grip, you psychopath." Then I punch them and laugh. The thing is, if I don't straighten my teeth now, I'll be in worse shape down the road and end up having to spend more money in the end. Kinda like debt.

Want to see how they're going to fix me? These are actual 3D models they made of my mouth in its current state - the animation shows how my teeth will move over an estimated 5.5 months. I love technology.

Oh, and if you live in San Francisco and are looking for the most amazing dental experience of your life, go see Dr. Patel. I swear my visits are practically spa-like. But shoppers be warned... her office is right above Tiffany's.

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DSLR Advice, Por Favor!

I recently acquired a roommate, which added a new cat to my household and cut my monthly rent check in half. SCORE ON BOTH! Now I can finally afford a few things I've been lusting after for the past year, like maybe a vacation and some new shoes. But seriously... since my birthday is right around the corner, I think I'm finally going to treat myself to a digital SLR. Since 2004 I've survived on a Nikon Coolpix 5200 (as in 5.2 humiliating megapixels), and even though the little guy's always been good to me, my reputation demands an upgrade... especially since the battery door hinge fell apart in Cambodia and I was forced to wrap half the camera in duct tape. Hot. And sticky.

So I ask all of my informed, photographically inclined readers: What's the best mid-range DSLR out there?

I'm already eyeing the Nikon D90 for a couple of reasons: I've already got a decent lens from a Nikon SLR that I can swap in, and the HD video function is a huge plus. I'm also one of those lifelong Nikon enthusiasts and it would feel good to stay loyal, even though some of my friends SWEAR that Canons are better cameras overall.

All feedback is appreciated. This is obviously going to be an expensive purchase, and I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing before I pull the shutter. HEE HAW! Thanks in advance.

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My Earliest Memory

When I was 2 years old, both of my parents worked full-time and during business hours I went to daycare. It was a place in Santa Cruz called TAM School, where "TAM" stood for Teen Age Mothers, even though my mom was 33 years old. Who knows.

I remember laying on a cot in a dark room with a bunch of other kids, not sleeping. Not upset, just laying there with my eyes open. Some time later, my mom comes to pick me up and as we're getting my things together to go home, the person in charge says to her, "Sarah didn't take a nap today." To which my mom replies with a sigh, "Oh, well, that's ok."

And then under her breath, "Shit."

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SIP SMART!

Alright tea aficionados, tea novices, and tea-curious folk,

You're in luck, because I'm the proud new owner of my VERY OWN signature green tea blend at Adagio Teas called "Sip Smart"! This is absolutely one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. My very own tea! And trust me, it's delicious. Adagio is the real deal and their stuff is top shelf. Two cups of "Sip Smart" in place of your regular cup of joe and you'll be on FIRE, I guarantee you. It's caffeinated, but a lot more hydrating than coffee. Plus, you can enjoy more of it without getting jittery or sour in the tummy.

If you're looking for a healthy way to kick-start your day or combat your afternoon slump, I think you'll really love this tea blend (my custom mixture of green pekoe, hojicha, and mighty rooibos leaves). If you've never prepared loose leaf tea before, all you need is hot water and a strainer. I love Adagio's all-in-one infuser, "IngenuiTea" and recommend it highly. Soak a pinch of leaves for 3-5 minutes, and enjoy. That's it!

The entire popSiren team made their own blends too, so between the five of us, you're totally, 100% covered. Oh, and I'm looking to trounce Corbin in the stats, lest you think that this is all in good, clean fun. You know me better than that, don't you? I want to drink, I want to win, and I want you! Spread the good word, and SIP SMART!

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21 Easter Confessions by Sarah Lane

  1. I used to lie and say that I was 5'2" on my driver's license. Then I thought, "What if my identity is called into question someday because of this falsehood?" So I downgraded to 5'1" at my last renewal.
  2. I don't crave ice cream, ever. I don't know what happened. It just went away.
  3. I sing to my cats when no one's around. A lot.
  4. I might be the worst singer you've ever heard.
  5. I suspect that I have some form of ADD, though I've never been treated for it. I often really struggle to focus on things, and I blame our modern times.
  6. I fantasize about becoming an acupuncturist and maintaining a successful practice in a small town somewhere with a lot of trees.
  7. I spend too much time online checking up on things that aren't important.
  8. I used to get the bands Cheap Trick and Crowded House confused.
  9. I used to get Neil Simon and Neil Diamond confused.
  10. I realize that, at the ripe old age of 31, I'm still totally clueless.
  11. I'm also stubborn and sometimes I can't admit when I'm wrong. I'm working on it.
  12. I hate folding and putting away clean laundry more than any other household chore. I will choose the toilet over folding and putting away clean laundry. I have no idea what my problem is.
  13. I miss my dad and sometimes it overwhelms me.
  14. I'm in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to Africa.
  15. I still watch "Friends" reruns. All the time. And I never laugh at any of the jokes.
  16. I recently stopped following all celebrity gossip. It was a hard habit to break, but I'm proud of myself.
  17. I don't know anything about the state of Nebraska besides obvious associations like corn and flat land, which is totally unfair.
  18. I love the feeling I get on a Saturday morning when the sun's streaming through the window and I have nowhere to be.
  19. I hate being jealous. I think it's the ugliest emotion ever and I try really hard not to let it in.
  20. I try not to be too hard on myself, either. Nobody's perfect.
  21. I'm cooking artichokes for dinner.
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popSiren Launches!

You know your brain is made of Jarlsberg when your mom calls you up to tell you how much she likes your new show, popSiren, and you realize that you were so busy that you neglected to mention anything about it, to anyone, ever. Sorry Mom.

So I'm mentioning it now! I'd love for you to watch my new show, popSiren! New episodes come out every Thursday at 3 pm Eastern, 12 pm Pacific. If you like what you see, you can subscribe here (click the subscription options tab for a bunch of choices) and automatically receive the show each week.

Show ideas, suggestions, criticisms, praise, and light to moderate hate mail should go to popsiren@revision3.com. Just kidding about the hate mail. Don't need no hateration or holleration in this dancery. But feedback is most appreciated.

It's good to be back! Check us out:

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I like to party.

I started tumblelogging a little over a year ago because I liked Tumblr and thought it was the perfect place to post all the small stuff that wasn't lengthy and/or intellectual enough (HA! HA! HA!) to post here.

Problem is, now I find myself constantly having to choose between here and there when posting content, and it's getting confusing. I don't like having two blogs, and my guess is that you 1) don't like it either, 2) didn't even know I had a tumblelog, or 3) are my mom and read both religiously.

Can you advise how best to consolidate the glory that is my brain into one place?

Until then, I remain,
Madame Multiplicity

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Food For Thought

I read tons of blogs every day. Many of my current favorites I've stumbled across accidentally, such as Mihow.com. I don't know the woman who created it, but she's a fellow cat lover, has an insanely cute baby, and writes really well. I feel like reading her stories for the past six months has enabled me to know her intimately enough that she and I could have coffee and enjoy ourselves. That's more than I can say for most of the strangers I cross paths with every day.

Mihow (AKA Michelle) recently linked to a provoking New York Times article about knowing the animals we eat that I think you should read. Even though I'm a pescetarian with vegan aspirations, I try not to judge anyone else's eating choices. After all, I read dlisted.com almost every day, which is arguably more damaging to my body than rBST. I also have a lot of leather shoes. But I do think that if we were all more actively involved in the process of putting meat on the dinner table or on our bodies, we'd be weighing our ethical decisions more often. Just something to think about.

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'Tis the Season To Be Phlegmy

Hi all. Sorry about the silence in 2008, though I kind of have an excuse. I've come down with a chest cold. I know, boo hoo.

But...

Have you ever had eye pain when you looked in any extreme direction? I've got that, and I've had it before. The first time was in high school, and two days later I came down with the chicken pox. IN HIGH SCHOOL. It was not pretty, people. The second time I developed a month-long bout of bronchitis. So you can imagine my hesitation to wake up tomorrow.

Thankfully, it's Friday night and I have nothing to do this weekend, California is experiencing its biggest storm in years so I'm expected to stay indoors, VH1 has decided to abandon all programming that isn't America's Next Top Model marathons (we're on Cycle 8), and the cats are being really cute. It could be worse.

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Definitely not a policewoman, think of those scratchy polyester uniforms

I remember the last time I uttered the phrase "I want to do x when I grow up" (where x=something amazing). I was in my 20s and out of college, working in a job that fit within my broadcasting degree options. By most accounts, I was already successful. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt ridiculous.

Except that I've never really felt like a grownup. Maybe that's because the older we get, the more we feel we have to achieve in order to not be stagnant. In terms of success, the sky's the limit, so I'll always have a long way to go.

I'm also a very different person than I was at 18, when choosing a major had more to do with a creative, engaging course load and less to do with how I might spend the rest of my life. I was on financial aid in college, so money was this exotic thing I didn't have and didn't really obsess over. I also never considered that the rather limiting television market would made it hard for me to just live anywhere, especially since I was graduating into a top market already (at the time, San Francisco ranked #5, behind New York, LA, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Dallas/Ft. Worth has since pushed us to #6). Did I want to move to one of the top 4 markets once I exhausted my options in San Francisco? I had no idea. I was just happy to be out of Sebastopol. Of course, now that the video landscape is changing so rapidly, I have a whole new set of rules to consider.

I think lots of people go through a similar "what does it all mean" period around the time they hit 30, which is right about when you have to stop claiming that you aren't a grownup yet. It's not that I don't like my career or that I feel unfulfilled, it's more of a "wow, I could have been a veterinarian" type of wistfulness. Sure, I could still do that, but I probably won't. Mentally I've missed my window.

But then I think about my dad, who, as a result of never getting a college degreee, suffered through a string of crappy jobs throughout my childhood. Eventually he couldn't take it anymore, so at age 45 he went back to school. And graduated with honors. And then became an elementary school teacher and really really loved his job. I'm sure he wished that he had taken the plunge 20 years earlier, but at least he was finally happy. In that sense, it's never too late.

Personally, I don't fantasize about teaching fractions to fourth graders, but there are a few careers I wouldn't mind pursuing somewhere down the road, such as:

  1. Geographical Linguist
  2. Travel Photographer
  3. Tea Shop Owner
  4. Acupuncturist
  5. Cat Whisperer

What about you? Kind of a fun exercise.

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Adventures in Human Pincushioning

I've been interested in getting acupuncture for years, but was always either too broke, lazy, or... ok, either too broke or lazy to actually follow through and make an appointment. Now that I happen to live a stone's throw away from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and make 4.5 million dollars per month after taxes, I recently decided to take the plunge and offer myself up to the puncture gods.

You may be asking yourself why someone who has professed to be so afraid of needles, blood, and especially the combination of needles and blood would have any desire to experience acupuncture. And I would tell you that you're asking a very good question, because I am indeed afraid of All Things Clinical, especially small metal things with sharp tips. But I'm also very curious and like to try New Things, especially Things That Might Help Me Discover the Meaning of Life. I'm also kind of a sucker.

The following is a play-by-play account of my first ever acupuncture session. Enjoy.

I arrive at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine's public clinic around 6:15 pm. When I made the initial appointment over the phone, I was told to print and fill out several forms from their website and bring them with me. I've got the forms with me now. They took forever to fill out. This place literally knows everything that's ever happened to me, including what I had for lunch today. The receptionist asks me to sit down and wait for a few minutes.

I wait for 40 minutes.

Finally, a woman that looks like a doctor ushers me into a small room, not unlike a regular examination room, but with a massage table on one side. We sit down at a small table in the corner and go over all my previously answered questions. It takes forever. She explains that she's an intern in her last semester at the college, and that she will consult with her supervisor before treatment begins. It seems legit. I hope she's a good student. We talk about the college, which she loves. She tells me most of the students here are in their mid-30s and came into this wanting a new career. My imagination runs wild. I could be an acupuncturist!

She does a lot of note-taking as we talk about my health, habits, likes, dislikes. She has excellent penmanship. She also has a rather pronounced mustache. I wonder if she's never noticed it, or just doesn't care. No, she's definitely noticed it. There's no way you wouldn't see that. I try to focus on her name badge. Focus, Sarah. The more I try to focus, the more I can't. Maybe I have ADD.

Her supervisor comes in, says hello to me, and asks me to stick out my tongue. Teacher and student gaze at it intently for a moment. The student takes notes. Then the teacher takes my pulse. It's kind of odd. She sits on the opposite side of the small table, holds my wrists really tight, and closes her eyes. About a minute later, she nods to the student, thanks me, and leaves the room.

Now it's the student's turn to take my pulse. I figure they'll compare notes later and the teacher will tell her if she's right or wrong. She holds my wrists for what seems like an eternity. Then she writes down some notes in her chart, and I swear she writes the word "slippery".

I want more information. Why is my pulse slippery? Is that good? It doesn't sound good. She's not explaining anything to me. Maybe I'm not supposed to know.

Finally, the student has me undress from the waist up and lie face down on the massage table. She explains that the needles won't hurt once they're in, but that the initial prick might startle me a bit. I start to panic slightly. I casually ask her if anyone has ever freaked out on the table before. She laughs and says that actually yes, last week a woman had an anxiety attack in the middle of treatment and the session had to be aborted. Cold sweats, hyperventilation, the works. I laugh along with her as my stomach threatens to reject my lunch. 

All in all, ten needles go into my skin: two around my inner elbows, two along my shoulders, and six down my back. She's right, it doesn't really hurt, and the symmetry of needle placement offers me slight comfort. I resist the urge to lift my head and take a peek. When the needles are all in place, the student turns on a heating lamp, turns off the light, hands me a buzzer in case of emergency, and says she'll be back in about 30 minutes.

30 minutes? That's a long time, right? I mean, it's not like I can read or listen to music or anything. Oh Jesus. I can do this. I can. I will.

About five minutes into my alone time, the far lower right-hand needle brings on what can only be described as muscle fire. It's as if someone is pressing right into a knot in my back and not letting go, except that there's no physical pressure to the spot. It's very uncomfortable. I mean shit, this is really  uncomfortable. What's going on down there? I don't want to squirm because I'm afraid I'll feel the needles. The fire gets worse. I start to feel sick. Is this normal? Should I press the buzzer? I can't take much more of this.

And then, like an itch you can't scratch, the fire slowly recedes. And then it's as if it was never there. I'm a little shaken, but I'm no longer uncomfortable.

Now I'm just bored. Can't they mount a TV under the table or something? What if there's an earthquake and I have to get up really quickly? What if the heating lamp falls on me and pushes a needle in really far? Will I be maimed for life? How long has it been? Maybe she forgets I'm in here.   

Eventually, the student comes back in and removes my needles. I feign nonchalance. I get dressed while she prepares my herbs. Yes, I'm going home with herbs today. Herbs that I have to boil in a clay pot and drink regularly and stuff. The plastic baggies are filled with what look like roots and dried up animal parts. I ask her what everything is. She kind of laughs, like I'm kidding. I decide not to press the issue.

Herbs_2

Later that night, I'm lying on the couch like a comatose person. Not unlike how I might feel after dining on several Valiums dipped in chocolate. Acupuncture has truly wiped me out. I still feel a little weird, but in a good way. I'm literally too tired to be stressed about anything. Even the herbs, which, once boiled, smell like rotten garbage and have made my kitchen inhabitable. They taste bad too. Real bad. Not that I care.

I'm going back for round two tonight, and I'm bringing a book.

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Highs and Lows

Growing up, I had a tight-knit group of girlfriends. A few joined up or faded away as the years went on, but for the most part, we all stuck together until we scattered off in various directions for college. I'm not sure if that's a small town thing or just the way it was with us.

One of these girls was, by all accounts, particularly beautiful. I knew this because I'd hear my parents or my friends' parents murmuring about her looks when they thought we weren't listening. I'm not sure if she was aware that her presence incited these types of reactions, but she probably was, at least on some level. What saved her from our jealousy was her intelligence, because she was smart to the point that boys often thought she was a little weird, a little off, and we were all secretly relieved about that.

As we got older and moved into high school, I suppose there were warning signs that something was more than a little off. Sophomore year she dropped a bunch of weight and got really skinny, to the point that an eating disorder was assumed by the rest of us, though that problem seemed to correct itself eventually. Later on, her drug use appeared to be going beyond typical high school experimentation and she began hanging out more and more with people outside our little circle. At that age, girls can be cruel when they feel snubbed, and I'm sure there was terrible gossip whispered about her by the rest of us.

Somewhere during our junior year, her mental state started to fall apart completely. She believed she could communicate to people without using words, and often would sit silently for hours in social situations locking eyes with people and staring them down (I actually have evidence of this on a Hi-8 tape somewhere from a party...it's hard to watch). Other stories she believed were that she was pregnant with twins, and that her mom was "not her real mom". Sometimes she would launch into complicated, nonsensical stories. The rest of us would steal looks at each other and nod, pretending to understand her so that we wouldn't hurt her feelings. Then one day, she came to school and had shaved off all her hair. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. It was scary. None of us knew what to do about it, but we were all terrified. Eventually she disappeared altogether and the school counselor explained to a handful of us that her family had put her in a hospital.

She was diagnosed with bipolarity, AKA manic depression, and put on heavy medication. Lithium, I think. A few months later, she returned to school for our senior year, which was probably a mistake. She was no longer the person she used to be, not at all. Her meds made her hands shake violently. She had gained a lot of weight, maybe 50 lbs. Her eyes had gone from bright blue to sort of a dull gray, and her skin was sallow. She spoke slowly, or didn't speak at all. She carried herself not unlike an old woman suffering from osteoporosis. It was like being around a complete stranger with the name of someone I used to know. I knew that kids at school made fun of her for being crazy. It became difficult to carry on a conversation with her, knowing what she must be dealing with, and, being the young, immature friends that we were, many of us distanced ourselves from her and her ongoing issues. In hindsight, I didn't do this because I didn't care about her or that I wanted to end my friendship with her, it's because I was actually afraid of catching what had happened to her.

She was voted "Most Changed" our senior year and had her picture taken in our high school yearbook sitting next to a guy who got the title from dressing like a hippie. I always thought the school should have done something about that. She didn't mean to change so drastically. She couldn't help it. Ultimately she dropped out again and finished up the year being home schooled. I don't even know if she technically graduated.

I've completely lost touch with her now, though I hear through the grapevine that she's still around, has a couple of kids, and occasionally relapses. I couldn't really tell you why I haven't tried to reach out to her, now that I'm older and slightly less stupid. Maybe it's because so much time has passed that I'd feel like a phony. I do think about her all the time, though, and I wonder if she holds a grudge against me for abandoning her, though I suspect she has bigger things to worry about.

I recently stumbled across a 14-part series on manic depression/bipolarity, hosted and narrated by the actor Steven Fry, via Matthew Good's blog. If you have some time, it's well worth watching. I've included Part 1 below, which will link to the rest.

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