H is for hippocampus

neuron

Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

The word of the day is ‘hippocampus,’ I told C as we drove home from Whole Foods on a late October afternoon.

Why do you say that? she asked.

I came across the word three times today, I said. First listening to the radio: I heard a song by Hippo Campus, that band you’re going to see in a few weeks. Then I got an email from Hippocampus, a magazine that only publishes essays. And last I got a call from an old friend who works at a foundation, asking me to write a press release about four neuroscientists who just received awards for their research on memory. They all study the hippocampus.  Continue reading

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Mistaken identity

jjI know you won’t believe me when I tell you I was once mistaken for a movie star. Ridiculous of course, but I tell you, it happened.

I was seated at a diner somewhere near Bemidji, drinking coffee with—was it M? or an old boyfriend?—waiting for eggs and toast, when the waitress came to warm our coffee and said,

“I’m sorry to bother you, but—” and here she looked around shyly, “aren’t you Sandra Bullock?”

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Prepare for takeoff

takeoffI don’t know when it was that I started having morbid thoughts each time I fly. They happened again last Friday morning, when in the moments before takeoff from Minneapolis I’d been having perfectly rational thoughts like which armrest was rightfully mine and whether I ought to claim it now, and whether the baby one row back was likely to cry for the whole ride or just for takeoff. But these thoughts scattered as the plane rounded the last curve and the runway yawned into view, when we straightened out and paused like a gymnast anticipating her mount and the engines roared to life and we started barreling down the runway and the only thought left was, Well, Jill, this is it.

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Vacation time

folded clockI was still seated at my office desk yesterday at 5:05 p.m., the day before my vacation was to start, when my boss stepped into my office for the first time that day. By then I’d already shut down my computer. I was adding some files to an accordion folder before me, so I could throw it in my bike bag to take home. I’d be out of the office for over two weeks. I was pushing the limits of my vacation time and felt a little uncomfortable about it. I saw no choice but to take some work to finish from the road. Continue reading