Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Art Made From Trash

Fall is the season which most fuels my creative energies.
I see potential for strange art-objects in the bits of trash that I find on the sidewalk and at garage sales. I have had a streak of picking things up and taking them home with me. My roommates have borne the brunt of this habit, because all the things I collect 
"for the sake of art" end up in our small, campus apartment. 

I have decided to devote the next few days of blogging to these found objects. They are sometimes nature-y things like pods or flowers. They can be findings at the library book-sale or from the curb-side. My first post (the one you are reading right now!) will be about the strange monument that Sheldon and I made out of trash on Saturday. 

What is a Surrealist Object? Let us consult the Museum of Modern Art's definition. They say this:

"Many Surrealist artists, especially in the 1930s, began arranging objects in combinations that  challenged reason and summoned subconscious and poetic associations. The most easily obtained materials were found objects, or items cheaply purchased at flea markets. The mundane, mostly mass-produced objects found new resonances when arranged in unprecedented and provocative configurations. 
Surrealist leader AndrĂ© Breton believed that this new form of sculpture, called assemblage, had the power to puncture the thin veneer of reality, and tap into the subconscious mind. As Breton proclaimed: “To aid the systematic derangement of all the senses….it is my opinion that we must not hesitate to bewilder sensation…”

I do not know if I agree with the idea of "tapping into the subconscious". In fact,
I think that letting one's mind wander to the extent that Breton would have encouraged can lead into some scary thoughts and feelings. But I do agree with the idea of "bewildering sensation" or startling ourselves out of the normal things that we do every day. Breton means for this excerice of creating surrealist objects can help us find a sense of wonder or curiosity about things that have become so normal that we have ceased to pay attention to them any more. 

I will tell you about our inspiration and the process that went into creating our found-object art. Then over the next few days I will tell you about the other things 
I have collected lately. 

I hope you enjoy the next couple of posts! 

Lucy Rose

How to Create a Surrealist Object in Your Town
The Approved Lucy Rose and Sheldon Method 

1. Chose an area for your hunt. We chose the area near the train tracks and the sidewalk. A lot of cool metal objects get mixed in to the stones right next to the tracks. You can also choose a natural area and make a nature version of this. 

2. Start collecting cool things that you find on site. Sheldon and I milled about on the seven ft. squared area and searched for anything that caught out eye. I found a rock that had been spray-painted green. He found a twisted piece of wire. I found a twig that had been smoothed against the rocks like suburban driftwood. Sheldon found a pale-green plastic straw...You get the idea! 

3. Now it is time to revel in what you have found together. Put 'em in a pile. If you are doing this activity solo then just speak to an imaginary friend or admire the items quietly to yourself. This step is important, because half the fun of doing this project is the pure appreciation of odds and ends. My and Sheldon's inventories of found-objects usually go like this:
Sheldon: Oooh! I like that rock! Can I see it?
Lucy Rose: Sure. Isn't it cool?
Sheldon: Yes. I like this jagged part.

4. Time to start playing with the objects. Arrange them in different configurations. Line them up by size. Categorise them by colour. Experiment with fitting some of them inside of others. 

5. Choose the final site for the object. Sheldon and I chose the corner of a giant transformer for our object to rest. A transformer is one of those giant metal boxes that sit outside buildings and help do something to the electricity in town. You know. Right? Sigh. My knowledge of electrical things is so small. Anyway, the point is to choose a nice surface for the place upon which you shall compose your small monument. 

6. Using as many of your found objects as possible create a composition. When Sheldon and I made ours we felt like it had slightly humanoid features. We also thought it looked like a sentinel holding a spear and standing in a watch tower or turret of some sort. Feel free to enliven your work with similar musings. What do the objects in relation to one another remind you of?

7. Get weird looks form people who walk by and see you playing with trash. Sheldon and I got real comfortable on the side of the road near the library and train-tracks. It was a busy Saturday morning with people wandering around to visit the French market. We got some strange looks from people who must have thought that two grown people fiddling with rocks and sticks and trash was a bit odd.  This is also a must-have component of this freeing exercise. Embrace the weird. Why? Because being an artist requires weirding people out sometimes. How else will you learn to have a distinct voice instead of saying the things that other people already said?

Alright. I got a little preachy toward the end of this odd post. Please forgive me. Basically I wanted to tell you about this experience that we had. I enjoye dit so much becuase for the last few days since our doing it I have been going around and instead of seeing bits of trash I see the pieces of exciting new art projects. I hope that rather than feeling preached at by a kooky artsy person you too leave this place (is the internet a place? Hmmm...Philosophical questions!) feeling inspired and empowered to pick things up off the side of the road and play with them!

Lucy Rose 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Three Things: Comic Books

On my exciting trip to Chicago yesterday I stopped into a comic book store called Graham Cracker Comics. I wanted to browse and write down the names of graphic novelists or comic artists that I had never heard of before. Earlier this week I picked up a vintage Justice League comic. I loved the pulpiness of the paper and the bleary, bright ink. I was also struck by the cheesiness of the dialogue and the bizarreness of the superheroes. I have long been a fan of the original Stan Lee Amazing Spiderman series, but I have rarely stayed into other superhero territory. I was hoping that Grahams would have some more Justice League

I ended up deciding not to buy any of the JL back issues that I found at the store, because I had bought a birthday present for my brother and didn't want to spend any more money. But as I was walking out I said to the guy, "Hey, thanks for letting me look around. You have a great store. I am sorry I didn't buy anything. I am pretty tight for cash right now." I thought the guy would shrug it off, but instead he said, "Did you take your three free back issues? We are giving away three per person today." It was such a fun surprise. I ended up choosing three different comic books based off of different criteria, because I couldn't find any JL. 

1. The Fly
I picked this because The Fly seems very strange to me. His eyes are really weird and the drawings are not over-sexualized like a lot of other superhero comics. I liked that it appeared to have a similar innocence and goofy, cheese-ball quality that reminded me of Spidey in his cheeky Stan Lee days. Also The Fly's eyes weird me out and I am strangely interested in that.

Illustration based on the art of Mark Parobeck

2. The Warlord
I got this one for the exact opposite reason. This one has very sexy bodied people. The interesting thing about this one is that the men are just as scantily-clad as the women. I haven't yet read it, but so far I kind of like a comic that lets the gratuitous skin-exposure go both ways rather than just having the ladies bare it all. The other reason I chose this one was for the weird colour palette. The paper was super-pulpy and the ink bleeds a bit. The colours are purples, greens, oranges and blacks. I think that is odd and I like it.

Illustration based on the art of Mike Grell

3. MPH
I don't know much about this one. I chose it because it is more modern--written in 2014 by the same guy who wrote the original Kick-Ass comic. The main character is a Latino girl who seems intelligent and cool. I like that and want to read about that kind of character. She also seems to exist in a universe which has some superhero elements, but is a little more grounded in reality and grunge.

Illustration based on the art of Duncan Fegredo 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Manage Museum Overload

I became an art curator today on my visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. My British Modernism literature course went on a field trip in the morning to view some of the art movements which we have been discussing in class. We wanted to see the Surrealists, Symbolists, Futurists and the Cubists in particular. I decided to do a kind of sketching or note-taking which I began to perfect while I was in at the British Museum in the Enlightenment exhibit

This is a brief break-down of my method:
  1. I use a plain, black felt-tip pen, a clipboard and some sheets of plain white paper to draw  squares and rectangles in an arbitrary configuration over the whole page. 
  2. As soon as I see a painting that moves me or that falls into the topics we have been studying I choose a cell on the page that roughly fits the shape of the actual canvas. For instance if the painting I like is a square shaped Mondrian then I choose one of the sqaure-ish cells I have already drawn on the page. 
  3. Then I do a very quick sketch of it. The lines are very simple and childish. The goal is an “impression” not a detailed replica. I vary the amount of time I spend doing my sketches. Some will be a thirty-second doodle. Or I may spend up to two or three minutes on it. 
  4. At the bottom of each miniature painting I will scrawl the name of the artist, the painting and the year it was painted. 
  5. When I get home I use my black pen to make adjustments to the sketches. I fill in some lines and flesh out some of the shapes with cross-hatching. 
  6. I decided to colour this set of images with watercolour used over the pen lines. I decided to do this because I was representing paintings and I didn’t feel like I could get a similar enough effect to the original paintings with just black. 
Why do I like this technique? I like it for several reasons. The first is that I come away from the museum experience with something tangible to remind me of the things that moved me while I was there. So often I leave the building of the museum tired, dehydrated and overwhelmed. That leads me to my next reason: It helps me to give myself a very clear time-limit on being in the museum. I don’t leave until all the cells on my page are done. I allow myself more time to linger if I am dying to see something else, but it feels good to be able to allow myself to leave. 

Museums can be so time-consuming and one feels as though one has to see everything. You start to think that you will never have another opportunity like this again! But the reality is that when it comes to art museums (and most other types of museum) quality time is more desirable than quantity of viewed images. If you do the exhausting, full-blown gamut of every painting in the museum, then you will come away having forgotten most of what you have seen. But if you spend your time in a couple special places of interest you will be inspired and refreshed, rather than drained. 

Another reason that I like this method is that it helps me to become an art curator of sorts. I get to create my own mini-museum on a single page. My "museum" consists of the paintings that I personally like. It is a similar concept to Pinterest. The draw of something like Pinterest is that it allows you to make sense of the chaos and waterfall of images and words that is the internet. Pinterest allows is a tool to help you have a handle on that stream and that you can somehow keep make sense of it through categorising and choosing--like an art curator. That is what I like to think I am doing with this exercise  There is so much to see, but I can feel a little less lost if I have the goal of taking visual notes like this. 

The last reason is the ability to share my art museum experience with people who did not get to go with me. This evening around the dinner table in Sheldon’s apartment I passed my drawings around to Sheldon and his roommates so they got a sense of my journey through the museum. It was nice because Sheldon loves that museum and I can’t go there without missing him a lot if he is not with me. He was able to feel a little more involved on account of my sketches. 

But what if you “can’t draw”? What about those people who are too slow? I have a few things to say to you. I can’t solve your problems, but I may have some hints to help a little:

Your drawings will be very imperfect. That is OK. Remember that you are doing a form of note-taking, not forging the great masters to sell on the black market. Wobbly lines and random splotches are fine. 

Simplify a lot. Don’t get every single detail of the painting. I usually focus on one or tow main object in the painting instead of doing every little detail. This saves time. 

Remember that you can go over this stuff later. Do it in pencil if you are that worried. Because you have written down the name of the painting you drew you can always google it and do a neater version when you get home. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Survive PMS: Part Four

I am continuing in my series about PMS. In my last post in the series I shared an interview with my mother, who experiences an extreme form of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Today I want to focus on a more normative experience of PMS by interviewing my close friend Joanna. I sent her the interview questions by email because she is currently studying at a Christian university near Tokyo. 

I wanted to ask her a few questions, because the two of us have shared many an excruciating bout of aches and emotional ups and downs due to our monthly cycles. There have been several times when she has helped me through that hard week by making me endless cups of sweet tea, rubbing my back as I've lain on the floor of her dorm and making heating pads out of towels. I, in turn, have helped her by carefully brushing out her incredibly long, blonde hair. 

Thank you for contributing, Joanna! I miss you!

1. What is your typical experience of PMS? What are your usual symptoms?
I become severely irritable and I have serious back pain, bloating, and tiredness. I tend to withdraw into my mind and away from people, keeping to my room, not always in bed, but definitely by myself. I like to keep my earbuds in and the music loud when I’m out in public during PMS. I tend to be especially introspective.

2. What helps you during that week?
For the back pain, I use a hot pad made from a wet towel heated in the microwave for 3 minutes (it gets way hotter than a hot pad) and I take 3 Advil. Also, spending time alone and sleeping at least an extra hour, if not two, a night helps immensely.

3. Any last thoughts about this issue of women and their periods?
The extreme back pain and tiredness gets to me more than anything else. I work so hard in school and it takes every bits of my energy to keep up with everything, so when PMS hits, everything gets just that much more difficult. Also, I hate how crabby I get. It makes me sad that I get frustrated and snappy so easily.

4. Do you talk to people about it while its happening or do you keep it pretty private?
Oh, I tell people I am PMS-ing. Usually just women, but I know they understand, so I am just like “Sorry, Honey, it’s that time of the month.”

5. Any last thoughts about this issue of women and their periods?
Sometimes I feel women play up their periods and PMS too much, like how they use it as a crutch for being irritable (Editor's Note: the word Jo used was punchier, but I decided to redact it for the sake of the children). Still, sometimes people just don’t get how bad they can be too. So, overall I would say awareness just needs to be raised and people need to be more kind and understanding. They also take responsibility for being rude or unkind about this natural, biological, healthy part of being a woman. Both men and women here.

Glad to help, babe! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend Photos of Wheaton


Dear Friends, 

I took these photos on Friday afternoon. I was done babysitting and done with classes 
for the day so I had that luxurious sense of promise and freedom that accompanies a crisp, Fall afternoon. I wandered around on my bicycle trying to decide how to spend my wealth of free time. I ended up taking these photos. I was inspired by the things I was seeing around me in the town. I was fascinated by the concrete structures of flowers beds which line sidewalks. The colour and material of the concrete as contrasted with the foliage of the bushes appealed to me for some reason. 

I was similarly drawn to the way the toes of my leather shoes matched the brick walkway. I thought the sign in the window of the former Vietnamese restaurant where Sheldon and I have been on two of our 7 restaurant dates was both humorous and bittersweet. Something about fact that they gave any explanation at all for leaving and the way they did it so matter-of-factly touched me. 

You can tell that I have not used a brilliant camera for these shots. I used my Samsung Galaxy 3 phone and the Aviary photo editing app. High tech, eh? I may have been a little overzealous in the editing department. But I enjoyed playing with the colour balance in each photo. I am especially fond of the funny colours of the first photo and the white balloon in the second. Something about that white ballon hits the spot for me colour-wise. 

Have a lovely weekend, 
Lovely Readers.

Lucy Rose

Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Survive PMS: Part Three

This is an interview that I conducted with my mother via email. I particularly wanted to ask her about PMS because she has an extreme form called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. From what I now know about my mom this functioned like a severe mental and physical handicap. I never realised how completely this syndrome permeated my mother's life until the last couple years. Things which were simple and normal for most mothers, like packing a lunch for each child or baking cookies on a regular basis, were made difficult and overwhelming to her on account of PMDD. 
Here is her interview! 

Were you aware that your experience of PMS was different than other young women your age? How long did it take before you began to realise that your experience of PMS was so different?
Dear Lucy Rose and the Bloggees,

Several answers occur to me now:  I was not aware that there existed a medical diagnosis for the more extreme form of PMS that I have until my GP told me. It is or was called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD.

TMI: Too Many Initials. Too Much Information.

I was then in my thirties and had three children.
(By the way, I need to do some googling, but I'm not sure PMDD is still listed as an official medical diagnosis.)

In my teens, when I nearly failed to graduate from high school due to too many absences, I never said to myself: Your problem is worse than most girls. I only said, "You, Sharon, are failing to handle what other girls handle."

But I didn't have any idea of how other girls were managing. Nobody I knew talked about it, especially my friends. They were mostly boys. We talked about Star Trek and Larry Niven's RINGWORLD universe. Only Alien Ovulation Issues--AOI--would have interested them.

How do you think that your life has been different on account of PMS? 

I felt like I got knocked down, but didn't get up again fast enough. It was difficult to be consistent with any obligations, especially work and school. I functioned in my home, as an adult woman, because I married a Saint. I know we are all saints who believe in Christ Jesus, but I mean the old-fashioned Capitalized kind--the kind who qualify for stained glass.

I used my productive week and my normal week to organize my life and to connect with people and then tried to maintain as much normalcy as possible. Your dad the Saint kept track of the days with me, better than I did!  He helped out on bad days and good. He listened to me.

For a long time, we kept up a running Boggle tournament to see if my brain functioned markedly worse during the bad weeks. The results were sometimes striking in the short term, but inconclusive over many years.

What accommodations did you discover to make PMS less crippling?
1. Marry a Saint

2. Let go of guilt. Easier said than done:  Let God love me anyway and realize that the world will not end if I don't show up once or twice.

3. Keep order. Order created in the up-times prevents despair after the down-times. Order makes it possible to say, "Well. That was a doozy," and get on with it.

4. Read comforting, comfortable things. I read and re-read The Moffats, Anthony Trollope, Little House books, Nine Princes in Amber..... And saved my more academic interests and more challenging books for later. Guilt-free!  A good book is a good book.

5. I am thankful for predictability. --How much worse not to know WHEN!

6. I made sure you took naps. I couldn't always lie down or tune out when you were little, but I could read many stories and take naps when you did. The Nap is a sacred time. If I snapped at you, I made sure I said, "I'm sorry. Mama is a crabby Mama today. I love you."

7. I prayed a lot. I asked forgiveness a lot. The most humbling thing was receiving or being open to God's love when I had to miss an event or when I failed at something. My troubles were a constant reminder of my frailty and His grace.

8. A low dose of an SSRI (like Prozac), with permission from my doctor to take it when I needed it. This was  given once I had shown that it didn't cause me big problems. The Pill also helped for a while in college, and I wish I had taken it longer. I had to drop out for a year. The Pill is safer now. 

9. Exercise helps.

Do you have any advice for ladies who have are having a hard time on a regular basis?
The things we fail to live up to when our hormones are raging--courtesy, organization, attendance, happiness, kindness and clear-thinking--are huge values in American culture and in any life of faith. We have to receive the unmerited favor of our Creator during those times when we can receive it neither from our hyper-critical selves nor from the Establishment. This problem is not fixed. This is not wonderful. This is hard. Women are competitive; in need of help and grace from one another.

Any concluding thoughts?
Number One: Menopause happens.
Number Two: Maybe it is AOI.

I love you, too, Lucy Rose Abigail. Sorry for the tricky genes. Nanoo.


Thank you for that beautiful interview, Mom. I am sorry that my readers have now experienced your wonderful writing. Now they don't want to read any more of my writing. They only want you. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three Things: Favourite Foods

This week's Three Things series is based on foods that have been floating my boat this week.

1. Pickles 
Sheldon provided pickles as the snack for our date last night. He drove us to a park which was designed at the end of the twentieth century. It had grecian pillars and a fountain. It was very dark with only a few lights shining on the pillars and stucco walls. Sheldon brought a jar of pickles which he had bought on his way, because he wanted some kind of snack but didn't know what. He said he chose pickles because he knows they are one of my favourite foods. This is true. I could eat pickles by the jar. I do eat pickles by the jar. We couldn't buy kosher dill pickles in the Czech Republic when I was growing up, so I have now developed the need to make up for lost time and eat as many as possible. I also like pickle juice. It made me so happy that Sheldon remembered my love affair with saline-preserved cucumbers and wen tout of his way to help my addiction along.

2. Oatmeal Squares
This is my current favourite breakfast cereal. The flavour reminds me of my favourite Czech cereal. The Czech version is shaped like tiny sticks whereas oatmeal squares are shaped like tiny pillows. Pillows which would actually be very uncomfortable and crunchy. But they both are flavoured cinnamon and not ultra sweet. This cereal has been my comfort because I forgot to buy prunes this week. If you read this post, then you would know my feelings on prunes and why the fact that I forgot to buy them at the store cuts me up inside. My mornings are not the same without Prune Time. But oatmeal squares make things a little more bearable.

3. Omelettes
I use two eggs and Julia Child's method. I add diced sweet peppers. I sprinkle it with cayenne pepper and salt. Omelettes are my comfort food. I eat them at night instead of dinner on days when I am too pooped to walk to the dining hall. They also remind me of home because I would make them after my  traditional dance class in high school at around 10 PM.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How to Survive PMS: Part Two

You feel fat.

You lash out often. 

You can't stop eating. 

Dogs whine and cower.

People move to the other side of the street when they see you coming. 

Children beat pots with sticks in order to warn the rest of the 
village of your approach. 

In short: You are PMS-ing. Great. 
Now what? What can you do to make PMS 
a little less terrible and confusing? Today I will share with you one major 
thing that helps me to survive the two weeks of terror.

Keep Track of your period. You need to know your enemy. If you do not, it will surprise you and cause you extreme embarrassment at school--most likely it will be in front of your male gym teacher. It took me several years to learn this. My mother would write a note in her journal that read "Lucy Rose: Day 1". Then when I started to feel down she would tally up the days and discover that I was about five days away from my period.

Sometimes we would forget to keep track and my period would arrive as a thief in the night. Otherwise known as a complete wardrobe disaster. I now use an app on my phone to keep track. The app alerts me a few days ahead of time. It also predicts the length of my period based on my own average cycle. Now I can predict the times I will be feeling badly by looking at the calendar on my app.

Another benefit to tracking your cycle is that you can plan your life better. I know about myself that the week before my period is when I am most tired. I also know that the week after is when I am most energetic and functional. Because I know this, the waves of emotion don't confuse me as much. Although I don't attribute every emotion to my hormone cycle, I can still anticipate them.

C.S. Lewis wrote about something he termed "The Law of Undulation" in his book The Screwtape Letters. In this book a junior devil is being coached by a senior devil  in the art of luring Christians away from their faith. The Wormwood, the senior devil, describes The Law of Undulation as one trap which humans are particularly prone to falling into. The word "undulation" derives from the Latin word for wave. Having ups and downs (waves!) is part of who we are as humans. It is non-existant for us to remain at a high-point or "mountain-top experience" forever. We always sink down again. It is also impossible for us to stay in one of the pits of sadness. We will never stay at the bottom forever.

Lewis, through the ironic voice of Wormwood, talks about how humans are often blind to this aspect of themselves. Because humans do not realise that they are creatures of undulation they begin to believe that whatever emotional state they are in will last forever. If they are at a high point they begin to believe the high will last forever. Then they come back into a more stable or "mediocre" place and are extremely disappointed. 

Same with the pits. People in the pits begin to believe that the misery is going to last forever. They have no hope of an eventual lessening of the pain.  Most things heal after a while. Even the worst hurts begin to lose their sting somewhat. But a person who is not aware of The Law of Undulation will think that things will never, ever get better.

Wormwood teaches Screwtape to use this law against the humans by hiding the reality of undulation from them. That is why I track my period. Otherwise I am like Wormwood and Screwtape's unwitting victims. By using the Period Calculator app on my phone I am able to look with a little more clarity at the way my emotions circulate.

Does that mean that I discount any feelings or frustrations that I had while on period? Do I attribute all highs to hormonal fluctuations? No. I take them all seriously. But it does mean that the feelings I feel during the peaks and valleys are always viewed through a more fine-grained lens of examination. I have to ask myself: "Would I feel this angry if it was day eight of my cycle as I do on day two of my period?"

Practically speaking this system of keeping track of my cycle helps me to not freak out about gaining five pounds. I let myself indulge in the carbs I crave during this time, but I only let myself load one single plate at the dining hall instead of piling up several plates onto a tray. I also know when I need to start stocking up on tampons at the store, instead of rummaging around like a crazed rabbit foraging for any sort of absorbent material on the day my period strikes.

I am also able to explain in rational terms to my boyfriend and close friends that some of my reactions and attitudes may be influenced by my state of PMS.

This is the schedule of my period during the month:

Week 1: PMS, Low energy
Week 2: Period, Low Energy
Week 3: Post-Period, High Energy
Week 4: Pre-PMS, Normal Energy
Then start all over!

Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Survive PMS: Part One

I am deeply entrenched in an exciting bout of Premenstrual Syndrome. 
This is a time of the month when wacky things happen to my body and emotions. 
I feel a blog series coming on...
For the next three days I will be addressing the topic of PMS. What happens to me?
Are there ways of making it any easier? That sort of thing. Today I will describe
to you the stages of my own personal experience of PMS. For me these stages usually occur
at the same time and last for the whole week before my period.

It is a little over a week before my actual period. I wake up in the morning and discover that I have contracted Gothic Lady Belly (GLB) overnight. What is GLB? Well, have you ever seen a  medieval painting of a lady? You may have noticed how they always painted women with huge round bellies back then--even if they weren't pregnant! Gothic ladies were thin except for their tummies. I think it might have been considered beautiful to be thought of as fertile and capable of producing many children. When I PMS I get GLB big time. It doesn't mater if I haven't eaten for 12 hours. I will have a swollen belly which makes me look like the star in a medieval painting of a female martyr.

I start to lose things and bump into things. I mentioned in a post this last week. For some reason I am more scatterbrained around my period. I often forget my ID card in my dorm or walk away from my babysitting job without my backpack. I always feel a little more frazzled and unable to keep data straight in my brain. I don't know why this happens. I haven't heard of its happening to other people. Does it happen to you?

Yup. The stereotypical PMS dumps. Suddenly I feel rotten and I don't know why. I am discouraged about things that would not have phased me only a few days before. For instance today I said something in class and my professor corrected me. Usually that would have rolled right off my back. But today I felt personally hurt and began to question my ability to go to college (even though I have been in college for over 2 years now). Then I get a notification from my period app telling me to keep my eyes peeled because I should get my period in the next 2-3 days. Forehead slap. My period is coming. That's why I feel so terrible!

This is an odd symptom, but I think a common one. I will be sitting in class or in the dining hall and I will notice a random person. Something about that person will strike me the wrong way. Maybe it is their hairdo. Maybe their laugh. Maybe they made a facial expression. It might not have been something I could identify. But somehow it rubbed me the wrong way and I developed an instantaneous grudge against them. I then proceed to cultivate my unfounded new hatred within my grumpy little self. When my period is over I will see that person again and try to remember why I am angry at them. Usually I cannot remember.

This is another typical symptom of having PMS. I have heard a lot of other ladies talk about this one. I start to notice my face getting more pimply. I am a typically acne-prone person (Why, Oh Lord?!) but around PMS time my face decides to up the ante. I also feel hungry most of the time and justified in eating more than usual. I am usually most attracted to pasta-based food groups.

I get tired. I am usually able to function pretty well on seven hours of sleep. Eight is better, but I can do seven. When I get my period, however, I feel like even eight or nine is insufficient. My body is constantly begging for more sleep. I find that doing normal things, like walking to the bookstore to buy yet another Shakespeare play for my Shakespeare class, exhaust me. So does being awake. I crawl into bed and conk out because my body is so tired.