30 December 2011

please not another panic attack... every night for the past three weeks.

29 December 2011

Post-Christmas blahs are officially not leaving. This morning I bought my cat a proper bed (he uses a box) and visited my psychiatrist, then drank tea on the couch knitting the back of this sweater and listening to PJ Harvey.

27 December 2011

Frustrating... I can read newspaper articles in French, which I haven't studied in almost ten years, but not in German.
Today it was raining but as I did nothing yesterday I headed out into the world. I spent my Christmas money on an embroidered silk blouse and enormous bell bottoms. My face is having problems with the light today, but you can see a picture of my blouse.
My arms are still shaking from a really hard yoga class on the interwebs. Now that I have done all the self-involved stuff I can handle I am going to read a really good book about primitive art in civilized places.

26 December 2011

My little cousin Nicholas makes me like boys more. For Christmas I got to play with diggers who were going to visit their friends in a hotel (he leads a life privileged with lots of travel) and let him open his present the first thing when I walked in the door. The second thing was reading Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss (he grinned saying it was going to be very silly), and the third thing was eating a chocolate St Nick. He advised me that next time he would like me to get him a toy, like everybody else does, rather than books. My mother advised me that I should start writing kids books that don't suck. My mother got him a fireman's coat, hat, and ax, and after that he spent the whole evening running around in reflective gear chopping at people and boxes. "Give me a hug with one arm like I chopped your arm off," he said when he left.
Dating with Asperger's
Am trying to decide on black or cream Agent Provocateur...

23 December 2011

I am alternating some tedious German translation with tedious cookie baking. I got to talk to my four-year-old cousin Nicholas on the phone. He was playing with a "gun car." "Are the cookies for me?" he asked. Of course they are!
It took exactly one week to get my passport renewed and sent to me in the mail. I think I am on the "nice" list.

22 December 2011

I passed my German class! I am an anxious wreck because I worked hard and just couldn't do better. Doesn't usually happen to me.
Was playing catch with my cat. He can jump up on his hind legs and bat a ball bounced his way right back at me. Unfortunately he finds this boring, and would rather ramble freestyle.
Because I complained that the family that makes my organic Tie Kwan Yin in the Wuyi Mountains of China was not rolling the tea leaves tightly enough, leading to a less than usually pungent brew, my supplier offered me free tea to help move that shipment along. Being the exploitative first world consumer that I am, I naturally accepted. They sent 100 grams of Tie Kwan Yin, along with 25 grams of Pumpkin Spice tea, and three little sample packages, including Gyokuro Yamashiro, fig and burdock, and chocolate chili chai. YUM. A Christmas party in a box! I buy fairly traded coffee, but I'm not sure we can say the same of my tea.
About to embark on reading my first academic article in German.

21 December 2011

more glühwein!
I finished up my Christmas shopping yesterday, and brought home paperwhites in an effort to feel festive, but ended up just panicking over the extra five dollars I'd spent. While I was Christmas shopping I read some of my primary sources on the bus. Some of my books finally arrived at the library, but I am to some extent still dependent on other people to make my projects work. Interlibrary loans is looking after the one major source I want for my Anne Carson paper, because it deals with archiving, but warns they might not be able to get it until January, and I am hoping to hear from the Kwakwaka'waka museum in Alert Bay about biographies and stories regarding two men who sold totem poles and house posts for my other project. In the mean time I am reading things on collecting and primitivism in an effort to account for the understanding and motivations my amateur society brought to the items they purchased. I'm also waiting for an article in German, "Progress and the Museum" that underlies some of the theorizing of the "museumization of culture," or movement of more and more people towards collecting and preserving products that have lost their original function and are in danger of disappearing altogether, where modernization implies a constant renewal of our material environment and all of it immaterial infrastructure. Mostly I have been sleeping and drinking tea, though.

19 December 2011

My cat found his Christmas presents early. I had put them in with the family gifts and forgotten to hide them better. He seemed to have a lot of fun, though, playing with his new sponge ball in the bag, and then going back for more and finding his catnip pillow. No doubt a treasure hunt is more fun for a cat than the alternative. I still have a new cardboard scratch box to present to him on the big day.

15 December 2011

Word from a trusted German major is that the test was mostly about comprehension and some of the questions were silly. I got attacked by a kitten today. Needed a big hug from my cat to feel better.

14 December 2011

Now I am going to stop judging and do some internet yoga. Then mulled wine and Christmas tree decorating. Judging makes me feel mental.
I am feeling mostly brain dead. I am waking up in the early hours and trying to read difficult things all day long. I am recovering from overmedicating myself after my brain started to go bananas due to my failure at studying German. No one was around so I told a guy on the internet that he had gotten a long way being a jackass and should own it, even though he has a schizophrenic child to deal with and refuses to see any of his behavior as relational. Why do I expose myself to this? It's like he's applied the sociology of parenting small children to himself.

13 December 2011

Word from an esteemed classmate is that the German test was "horrible and brutal." So we have solidarity in our sorrows. She says not to worry about it too much, but she has a bigger cushion in her grades than I did.

12 December 2011

On the plus side I'm really psyched to write a couple of good papers.
I treated myself to nothing as my performance on the exam was sub-par. Last semester I could do this, this semester I clearly could not. I am feeling a bit crushed. I had all kinds of complex grammar down but the test was mostly comprehension of stuff, and I could not.

10 December 2011

My girls have bailed on lunch after our final exam. I may have to hit the grown-up pub afterwards solo with a book. Or a movie. I have been working away, earning it.

09 December 2011

Woke up very early this morning on account of having fallen asleep at 7:30 last night. I bundled up and took my cat for a walk in the frosty morning. This is no longer a cause for his celebration, but the kind of pampering he has come to expect. He doesn't really like the cold, but he likes to rub his cheeks and scratch his paws in front of the door, presumably to keep away other cats. I was itching to get out to the tea shop, but stayed in and am being rewarded by some German starting to stick. There are only so many days this kind of thing can go on for, badly, and luckily this time I had enough scheduled in. Yesterday my doctor said to me, they wouldn't have given you the book if someone at your level couldn't be expected to do it: take it from someone who was a success with textbooks.

07 December 2011

Oh no! I am learning how to do things with dass- clauses and making zu a replacement for dass that don't make sense when translated literally. Rose tea to fortify.

05 December 2011

Three hours of studying has been done. All in the time it normally would take me to commute, only less exhausting. If this keeps up I will have lots of time for paper writing as well as swimming, going to yoga, and holiday shopping. E-mail remains very stressful.
Today is the first day of my winter study-vacation! I am starting in on some German review with the lovely, snuggly, cat sleeping alongside me. Am tempted to make a flip book of the cat's cute poses.

04 December 2011

I've been hit hard by the end of term come-down. My head feels perpetually fuzzy and any type of work, including making soup, skews in my perspective into an insurmountable challenge. The good response to to keep on keeping on. The bad response is to do nothing. I've been vascillating.
No matter what time I get up, my cat's snuggle me window opens up at 9.

03 December 2011

I don't wanna work today. I'm going to take a little time out to do some fun reading. I phoned my Omi to thank her again and she and Opi were preparing herring to smoke and/or pickle. Herring is my Opi's favourite. He is always funny on the telephone. He was talking about how Omi went overboard buying the herring, internet advertisements for losing belly fat on his recipe and losing all hope for me to come over and clean herring for him. He made it funny.

01 December 2011

Today I bought chocolates to demonstrate St. Nikolaus Day to my German class. I am also going to offer up some Lebkuchen. My Omi helped me practice my pronunciation and fixed many mistakes. My cat snuggled up to the pillow I was lying on last night when I was having trouble sleeping. It's nice to be loved in spite of being wildly screw-uppy this week.

30 November 2011

On a whim I got feathers put in my hair. You probably can't see the very fine burgundy ones that are my favourite.
I met a nice black cat in the driveway and we had a little visit and she was going to follow me up to the door when the damn dog freaked out in the doorway and chased her up a tree. My poor new friend is up a tree. Today disaster was averted when I showed up in class disoriented in time and found out my group presentation was supposed to be today. Rather than wing it and read from the impossible script I had written and planned to have the teacher look over in her office hours and to also have no slides (my first sentence, I realized this morning, was a trainwreck) I explained the situation to my teacher and she will let me do the presentation by myself on Friday... when I will have simple German sentences about Christmas memorized. I may bring traditional German candy. A Glückschwein (a marzipan pig) if possible. Following that I made haste to the office for disabled students to apply for a deferral on my final required university class ever. Paper was pushed; there was a lineup. Talk about going out with a whimper. I had high hopes for impressing my qualification for graduate school on my professor, but I can't seem to organize my thoughts fast enough to keep up. I am disappointed. I am drinking rum on ice.

29 November 2011

I have found the perfect thesis to help me out but its author has restricted its availability to the University of California at Berkeley. I e-mailed her to ask if I could read it, as she has several jobs and a public e-mail address. I wonder if she didn't get my message, or if she will just never respond. If she doesn't I am going to crib her idea and the sources she mentions in her abstract.

28 November 2011

More panic attack, took enough medicine to knock out a horse and seem to be steadying. I want to curl up and go to sleep but it is only 7pm.

26 November 2011

I am having panic attacks because my research is going difficultly and I am supposed to do a presentation.

24 November 2011

Fifteen minutes of a conversation including my sister and her slow talking and my mom and her stories about teaching high school students and I urgently need the theses I have been intimidated by all afternoon.
I'm reading a very cool book about organ donation by an anthropologist, Margaret Lock, who uses mixed media in her books. Organ donation is much less common in Japan than in Canada and the book, called, Twice Dead, explores the idea of brain death in both cultures. I am also playing with my cat because he gets bored when the weather is bad. I think he is a little too smart for a life of catdom, which is part of what stole my heart. It can also be kind of annoying. If the weather were better and I could take him outside he would be happier.

22 November 2011

So I am working on my stubborn project and it is going but slow: I am having to read a lot. I had a panic attack but it is okay. Do your panic attacks go away? Mine stick around making me feel as though I am going crazy.
So Art Spiegelman went off to college and found that not all people grew up with Holocaust-surviving parents who had already lost one son and awoke screaming in the night. Then, as he tells Lawrence Weschler, originally for Rolling Stone, and now collected in A Wanderer in the Perfect City, he had a psychotic breakdown. His recounting of it is hilarious. I wish I'd done psychedelics before going crazy, and that my psychosis went away.

In 1966, Art left home for Harpur College, the experimental sub-campus of the State University of New York at Binghampton, and there things began to come seriously unmoored. The underlying conflicts with his parents roiled to the surface now that he was no longer in their immediate presence. Furthermore, "Binghampton was one of the early capitals of psychedelics," he says, "and the drug culture definitely accelerated my decomposition beyond any containable point." His intensity became increasingly manic. He was living off campus, in a forest cabin. "And I made a strange discovery," he recalls. "I was just kind of holding court, people were coming to visit, and I found that if I just said whatever came into my mind, the atmosphere would get incredibly charged - and if I kept it up, within half an hour, either my guests would run out, screaming, or else we'd approach this druglike high. It was like a primordial sensitivity session. And this was going on for days on end. I wasn't eating, I was laughing a lot, I was beginning to suffer from acute sleep deprivation. I was starting to experience these rampant delusions of grandeur. I was sure I was onto something, and sure enough, I was - a psychotic breakdown."

Eventually they came to take him away (he informed the school shrink that the top of his head looked like a penis); he was dispatched by ambulance to a local mental ward (exaltedly he wailed in tune with the siren); they sedated him (it took three full-bore shots) and threw him into a padded cell. ("Waking up, my first thought was that I was God alone and that what I really needed to do now was invent me some people.. Later I began to scream for a nurse, and when this guy came in, I said no, I wanted a nurse. He said he was anurse - I'd never heard of such a thing as a male nurse - and I said, 'Gee, how do you people reproduce here on this planet?'") Gradually, they reeled him back in - or he reeled himself back in; they didn't seem to be of much help. One attendant, a conscientious objector doing alternative service, befriended him and advised him on how to get out. ("He told me to drink less water - they seemed to think I thought my brain was overheating or something - to play Ping-Pong, lots of Ping-Pong, and to blame it all on LSD, which was a category they could understand; all of which I did, and within a month I was released.")

He was released on two conditions: first, that he start seeing a psychotherapist on the outside, and second, that he go back to living with his parents. "Living at home was exactly the wrong prescription." Spiegelman said, "since it was home that was driving me crazy. I said this quite emphatically to the shrink one day, and he asked me, 'So why don't you move out?' I told him about the condition. And he said, 'You really think they're going to throw you back in if you don't follow their conditions?' I said, 'Gee, thanks.' and immediately left both home and psychotherapy.

"The wonderful thing about the whole episode, though, is that it cut off all expectations. I'd been locked in a life-or-death struggle with my parents. Anything short of the nut house would have left things insoluble. But now I could venture out on my own terms. Over the years, I have developed a terrific confidence in my own subconscious."

Art was out of the house, but the tormented Spiegelman family drama did not subside, and a few months after his release, his mother committed suicide.

21 November 2011

My German teacher said today that I should only take her tests if I am having a good day, and if not I should e-mail her and we can reschedule. She substituted my higher mark from an in-class assignment for my failed midterm and offered to punch it even higher if I did better on the final. I am already studying for the final. It was such a weight off of me. Very kind. I felt like I'd been rescued.

Today the space the German clique sits in was full because a girl who is not shy and doesn't even talk to then insists on sitting right next to them. So I sat across the class and a lovely man showed up to sit next to me. He is a grad student auditing the class and only comes sometimes. He smiled hello and laughed a serious, "that's terrible," when I told him how the illustrations from the back of my library book had been stolen. He had been asking questions about my stubborn term paper.

Two lovely people instead of the clique.

20 November 2011

There is a dead rat on the front walk. I'll bet my cat killed it with his laser eyes.

19 November 2011

I am feeling all out of words. Or like words don't matter. I definitely am not getting any ideas.
Cat, wailing alone in the living room. I move in to check things out. He purrs. Just wants company in his choice of napping location.
Since my cat was such a good snuggly cat I readily obliged his meows for a walk. It was frosty. I grabbed my mittens. The cat took a quick look around and opted for the warm indoors. I am happy common sense prevailed. No more meowing.

18 November 2011

my views are diametrically opposed to those of Susan Sontag, again.
Wee little snow day today. I wore my tall rubber boots with cabled sock liners too keep the chill off slushy puddles at the university. the used book store is having a fire sale to clear out merchandise before a move. not the place to sell.

17 November 2011

My nurse proffered that I had got absolutely nothing by going off my medication. But it's like playing your part in an bad relationship, again. You get something. In my mind, I put an end to an intolerable physical and mental state, got a few days of peace, and regained a familiar discomfort, at which time I restarted my medication and immediately felt the same as I did just after my shock treatment. I knew the trick was going to be when to restart it, but all she said when I was feeling normal was, well good.
sleeping soundly, ecg all clear, must read before the increase in medication turns my evening to a blur. caffinating with gyokuro yamashiro. must decide if I will try to sell my comic books. if I strike now maybe I can beat my classmates to a used book store.

13 November 2011

Celexa brain: the highlight of last night's dinner party was when my cat jumped up on the couch and laid a big ol pda on me. "Oh, that's LW's cat," the room full of dog people laughed. Usually the cat runs away from company. His current snuggly disposition is a treat.

11 November 2011

finally finished the Watchmen today. I find most comic books really boring. their boring qualities were in this case made worse by self-referential boring qualities, a plot the writer admits was only enough for half the published length, and mind-numbing violence. I feel like I've wasted so much time. I need to read something really good to get my brain back, but I'll probably just do german homework.

10 November 2011

10mg of celexa (beginning of titration) and I am back to snuggling kittens and complementing my doctor on her new hair. anxious too. it feels terrible.
got an ecg today to test whether my heart has any abnormal rhythms such that taking more medication would cause me to die. not that I haven't taken extra before. but since I'm already walking around with legs that go numb. you can stick me with needles, but I hate any test that requires removing clothing.

09 November 2011

Drinking peach tea with St John's Wort in an effort to take the edge off the day. At least I'm no longer craving hard liquor.

08 November 2011

My presentation was warmly received by my professor, after I said I feel about writing like Susan Sontag, writing in the New York Review of Books during the 1970s, felt about photography: it's got to be some sort of perverse techno-surveillance enabled violation that steals part of your soul. And I disagree with Sontag on photography. My classmates managed to carry on a discussion, despite several of the most vocal ones admitting in the elevator after class that they had read maybe five pages of the book because they didn't get it, and my professor trying to motivate the idea of doing history through band-aids. I read the whole dense thing, laughing to myself, and a dozen interviews and articles on it, and concurrently memorized German words, even though the thought of it all made me want to kill myself.
I can't function rationally. Even as I was preparing my miniscule claim for an eye exam I did not remember I get 80% coverage on prescription drugs with my student fees. Still. With my dirty hippy attempt at a cure I am no longer itchy.

07 November 2011

My gross spider bite is infected. After having to wait an hour for the pharmacist to mix it up, I decided against the prescription, because it cost 40$ and was going to interfere with my antipsychotic. I don't need antipsychotic woes on top of behind in school woes and constant urge to kill myself so that I don't have to deal with this shit woes. I don't feel anxious, but when it all feels like too much I take some antianxiety medicine and that helps some. Why the housemates can't be wuiet in the morning and let me get some fucking sleep is beyond my comprehension. I will treat with witch hazel and tea tree oil unless is grows and I absolutely have to give in. It grew with antibiotic polysporin.

06 November 2011

I have this thing on my arm, initially I thought it was a spider bite, very itchy... it has stayed itchy for over a week now and has a raised ridge around the outside that is expanding outwards. Currently it is 1.5 cm long but it looks bigger. Gross, yes?
Took my cat for a walk this morning, but it was very short. He decided it was too cold. I am happy that he is happy to avoid cold and rain, which I demonstrated to him last week. Now he is cuddled up under my quilt being cute.
Last night I was crying into my pillow in the dark, when I stopped, turned around and saw my cat. He had not run away. He walked towards me and took up his spot under my arm to purr and have a fitful little nap, with lots of clutching at his face. I couldn't function in my state of despair so I just stayed in bed until I fell asleep some time later.

05 November 2011

My mother is so slow and prone to indirection... I think I've just had to walk away from her four times today. I am like this too, except I at least try to be logical and get dinner on the table, that's why I get so frustrated.
Being beaten into a shivering wreck by the printed word.

03 November 2011

dude! McArthur Fellow, New School professor, and friend of Art Spiegelman, Ben Katchor has responded to my e-mail asking him what he would like for a nice dinner out. He is the author of the funny and odd book, The Cardboard Valise, which I am in charge of presenting to the class as seminar leader. My prof asked the dinner question as a joke on the syllabus. Mr Katchor says, "El Malecon Restaurant, at Amsterdam Ave. and 97th St. in Manhattan. I'd order a rotisserie chicken, white rice with black beans, sweet plantains and red wine." Sounds delicious!

The dog is terrified of fireworks. When one goes off she lies down on the bathroom floor and shakes uncontrollably for hours. I went and sat with her and the cat came too, moving from the sink to the toilet seat and I moved onto the floor. We sat together for a while, and then the cat took up a lookout outside the door. The dog was so touched she begged me to take her for a walk the next morning, barking and hopping up in the air, but by the time she'd put in her request it was too late (plus the cat would have wanted a walk too.) Let it not be said that no one has the dog's back when she is in distress.
I feel like I have other creative and nurturing urges that get in the way of me reaching my potential by reading, and reading critically, all the time.
sencha ashikubo will cure my cold and self pity, yes?

02 November 2011

Theorist Judith Butler lending an articulate voice. you hear the people repeating after her as amplification? Cool in that setting, not cool when theory becomes its own language, complete with an underclass of minions that thinks it is some kind of privileged set.

01 November 2011

I've been reading about trauma and how putting things into words for a caring audience is generally accepted to be a way of taking back control. Today I talked with my nurse and it felt like it just re-traumatized me and created bigger problems to deal with. According to my old psychologist I should be problem solving now, but I feel like I just made a problem when I could have stayed quiet and got told to accept things as they are.
I am refining my knowledge of "fruity" black teas in search of the perfect Christmas gift for my psychologist. This afternoon I picked up a package including lychee flavoured tea and it is so good that, having opened it, I won't even re-gift it ;)

On the bus earlier this week there was a girl talking about how the wind in her sinuses while she was riding on a motorcycle gave her "an infection." While wind as a vector of illness is an ancient trope, all charm was lost on me in an urge to shove her off the bus. Bitch made me sick.

Today it took me most of my 9am seminar to wake up, but I remembered to ask for advice on how to do my presentation next week and received complements on my theoretical slice and dice. Lately I've been reading feminist blogs about how what's important is what you do, and how people become unpleasant and ignoble little dictators over vocabularies when they have no real life. I'm holding out to find a place to indulge my love of theory.

30 October 2011

I have acquired a hutch for my tea and spices.

29 October 2011

28 October 2011

I was actually paranoid earlier this week - I never showed that professor my paper on that topic. The first time that I was psychotic it was around Halloween, too, and there was a small plane crash with survivors on the news, too. Jealousy figured, too. My doctor's response was to accuse me of not eating enough for supper, which is absurd. I am angry at her for not responding, for apparently having no plan to improve my situation and keep me out of hospital. She plays dumb when things start going badly, and instead of saying she doesn't know. How obnoxious. I would never tell someone to abruptly stop their antidepressant, though, and I have no idea why doing that helped me. I have for the last two days taken a little when I had a certain grinding low celexa feeling. We've never had a conversation about risks versus benefits of antidepressants, or about how to let me collaborate rather than be dictated to when things go badly for me.
Bloggers, bloggers, you need to blog more! Here I am on Friday afternoon and I'm going to have to read an actual book.

27 October 2011

Went without my antidepressant this morning and am feeling refreshed. Sometimes a gap is as good as a change. I saw my cat friends this morning. Harley, who is so shy, ventured out after me to sit down on my feet and purr. Her sister Molly turned around in her bed so that she could be closer to the purring, of which there was much. I wish I could bring them home and we'd be one very big family. The danger of working in a cat shelter is that you start to think at least three is requisite for 'cat immersion therapy.' In the mean time my cat has been enjoying only child pampering, which includes a walk a day. He's a bit timid too, so I've been attuning my senses to understand things like heading to the backyard when a garbage truck rumbles within a block and charging inside fearing danger when he hears the dog barking that someone has delivered a newspaper. Makes for a shorter walk.

26 October 2011

mornings are definitely better. last night's homework at 6 am. the trouble begins around noon.

25 October 2011

It's like a switch has been thrown. I am endlessly anxious, endlessly hungry, not motivated, depressed. I am having trouble doing anything.

24 October 2011

A student in my seminar this year is using my term paper topic from last year for her term paper. I was still revising it. I'm shaking. I feel crushed.
I spoke very briefly to some people today who were very nice, and then almost certainly failed my German midterm. There was just too much to memorize and in the midst of having my fit last week I didn't put in the time. I managed to stay calm, and maybe this time that was the main thing. The mark is significant, but I have 80% of the class left that I have or will do better on.

23 October 2011

As a thank you to my cat I followed the psychologist's example and took the cat for a walk in the morning before going out. It was warm enough to be out without a coat, drinking coffee with last night's rainfall clinging to the plants. It was only fifteen minutes but the cat really seemed chilled out all day. I hate taking the dog for walks, so this is a serious act of devotion I've got going on. Sometimes though I find myself contemplating bugs, like enormous spiders or neon green winged things, with wonderment. I wonder why the cat isn't moving and find he is waiting for me.
The civilized way to do insomnia is with my cat snuggling at intervals and new music to listen to before I try going back to sleep. I read in the New York Times today about a woman who likes to check into a luxury hotel when her schizoaffective disorder is giving her troubles. She also has a dog that snuggles her when she gets anxious. I have had that idea! A hotel would be infinitely more relaxing than a psych ward. I like to be pampered too when I'm feeling poorly. Hence the above. I don't have a hotel fund because I spend my money on clothes.
I heard back from my psychologist. No rejection.

22 October 2011

Turns out my anxiety attack was alcohol withdrawal. In any case it could be made totally better by a drink. Shit. Good thing the bottle's empty.
Do people listen to Feist in the back garden of Manschester, down on the path by the creek? I have decided I don't want to go on the exchange to Berlin because the topic is travel literature, and my commitments lie elsewhere. Maybe... if I'm ever a grad student I will make it. I still want to drink wine with the Factory Supervisor, and to go shopping for proper eighteenth century clothes.
I lied to hide my inability to negotiate my state of mind this week and neither of the people involved got mad. I said I overslept. Which has happened to me in the past, though when it happened before I got no sympathy. I am currently having an anxiety attack over this.
I have a kitty crush. Her name is Molly but I like Blue. So: meet Molly Blue.
She is very shy because she hasn't been socialized properly. I have a world of sympathy for her predicament. She comes with a sister, Harley. Name suggestions in the comments. I think Amelia. They purr in tandem. Two cats purring is positively divine. Three would be heaven.
coffee. cat snuggles. in reverse order.

21 October 2011

oh good lord my professor says she has a second mail box in "the lounge" where she left the magic box. of course no one told me such a place exists. a magical thing happened while I was in a state of utter destitution today. a professor, whose class on Hegel I sat in on many years ago, appeared in the stairwell before me. "does the German department have an office?" I asked. "It does," he said, "I will show you." And he did, and it was closed, so he produced a key to the room beside the office with the mailboxes, and I delivered my paper. "You are a superhero" I said. "Thank You. Have a Good Weekend."

20 October 2011

My professor has finally responded to say that she left a magic box for me in her mailbox and will respond further from the airport. Hooray! My psychologist, on the other hand, has not responded. Way to give a girl a complex; rejected by her own psychologist. My friend from German class, however, gave me my first dose of real-life friendly being-there in years, e-mailing me back and forth all evening and morning about time pressures and the things we miss out on because of them. I don't think I've had a friend like that since my ex-boyfriend when I was psychotically breaking for the first time and wanted to kill myself. Naturally he was overwhelmed and asked that we not correspond further. I think I'm in a space now when I can not over-impinge on the generosity of others. Blogging about my life in overtly personal journal form definitely helps. Or...

19 October 2011

I go mental when I e-mail people and they do not respond. I cannot help it. The rejection makes me feel crazy.
My recent round with antipsychotics and sedatives is the fastest I've ever gained five pounds. Three days and whammo. The weight does not readily appear to be going anywhere, nor am I quite sure where it's hanging out. My pants all seem to be fitting fine, and I just tried on new pants in my size at my favourite store and they were a little loose. Objectively, then, things are fine, I just feel less comfortable in my own skin. I probably have a huge ass everyone but me can see.

17 October 2011

I have been reading short stories in German somewhat desperately hoping to expand my language skills. This means relying heavily on Google Translate AND a dictionary to interpret the texts initially. I anticipate re-reading like when I was a wee person, only in this case I am far less adept. The time and concerted effort it takes...
You know how people have little zen gardens with sand you can rake into meditative patterns? I have a jasmine vine and bay leaf tree wintering indoors by the cat litter box.

16 October 2011

woot woot! I got 88% in my class on the History of Chinese Medicine.

15 October 2011

This bout of anxiety has been weeks brewing. I feel like shit and I don't want to take it like I did all summer.
This morning I had a long lie-in, doing my reading with the cat curled up beside me. He isn't usually so generous with his affections, but there he was, purring and curling and uncurling paws over his face, very sweet. I could have picked a cat who was just plain snuggly but I picked a shy, withholding cat. Empathizing with my own love life I guess. The book, on the other hand, is repulsive. It is going faster than expected but is repellant. Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth: don't let it waste your time.

14 October 2011

On a psych ward you can generally tell who is craziest by the degree to which the standard issue pajamas coming at you are customized. Pajamas are open stock, which is convenient when, say, you have been focused on losing your mind and suddenly get your period and are bleeding all over the place because the giant hospital padding you had to ask a South Asian dude for is giant but awkwardly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Multiple layers, sizing, and especially adding one of the uselessly thin housecoats available are suggestive of the most marginalized and potentially dangerous people - the kind that create staffing issues because they have criminal records and nurses don't want to deal with them. These people will pressure you into giving them money and use it to shuffle, Haldol impairing their gait, on out of the place. People being assessed wear pajamas all day; the doctors and nurses are still trying to guesstimate what is going on inside their heads. Today I tried on a shirt in my favourite clothing store with a v-shaped bib and buttons. It read as unremitting, 24/7, psychosis. The salesgirl was enthused. The salesgirls in my favourite store all have infinitely finely tuned design sense and can discuss the stitching and wash on a pair of jeans in the form of a verbal essay (I always grab outrageous bell-bottoms to try with things, even though I don't own a pair) but the thing I cannot get over, which prevents me from breaking out of my "easy" style, is that they layer and mix their clothes like someone who is bat-shit crazy.

13 October 2011

I have been stressed out what with the volume of um, comic book (another 400 pages) on my reading list. There are so many other things I want to read... I've also been memorizing German vokab. These are frustrating times, dull times to relate. I went for a walk this evening to try to keep myself in order, and then my cat interrupted flash card making time to type the following:
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12 October 2011

Today I gathered up a card and small package of tie kwan yin tea to knock on a door and bid a thank you to one of my professors. She scanned documents and loaned books and was all in all an inspiration. She was patient with me when her instinct was not to be patient. So: tie kwan yin: power to the gentle. I was going to get her frosting flavoured tea but it was just too gross to countenance.
I don't think I am a comic books kind of girl. I am a "give me more academic literature to read" kind of girl. I am a bourbon kind of girl. I am a "unfortunately, I do need 40mgs of citalopram per day so that I do not become an alcoholic" kind of girl. I miss my fellow blogger's company. You should know your thoughts are valued on the most human of scales.

10 October 2011

I took turns carrying my four-year-old cousin around for Thanksgiving, because he is afraid of the dog. He's still tiny of his age and elicits great gentleness despite a certain tendency to provoke. I love him lots. I put on The Beatles so that we could dance to "Hello, Goodbye" and found out the boy's favourite music is silly songs. If you know some good silly songs or classical music for kids please make recommendations. He adores making noise with his collection of plastic instruments and says that he would like to play the violin but isn't patient at all.

09 October 2011

I have so many different avenues for research to pursue - narratology and semiotics, the Imago Dei, early modern approaches to too much information, post post-modern historiographic theory, working on my to be improved paper - that I do not know where to start. I am hoping for helpful comments soon. In the mean time I should be a good little monkey and memorize some German words. I have spent a lot of time sleeping off anxiety.

07 October 2011

This week was drastically in need of improvement so I walked through the afternoon sunshine to a lovely pub which let me carry in local cherry crostata from next door to have with my wee angry scottish ale. I read a book about early modern body parts, some of which are unmentionable, and kind of felt like I was invading a male space. I got a bit tipsy for the first time in a long time, probably thanks to having had breakfast at 5 am (I did get back to sleep after that), and walked up the street to see if my favourite thrifter had any new accessories. She did not, but being the leather artist she is had just the thing to take the stain from my overdyed denim out of my sweet sweet elk hide. So my day was improved. yaay!

01 October 2011

Just cleared one big beast of project that was going nowhere fast. I guess I can have my life back now. Yesterday I felt pretty awful and today I am feeling fuzzy from all the antipsychotic.

30 September 2011

a swatch from my rainy-day purple dress.

29 September 2011

Ich bin müde und will nicht meine Hausaufgaben machen. Ich muss einen kleinen Aufsatz über eine Deutsche Person schreiben. Ich wollte über Johannes Gutenberg schreiben weil er ist eine frühe Neuzeite Figur, aber das Buch habe ich in dem Bibliothek gefunden ist zu kompliziert, um die Zuordnung schnell erledgt. So werde ich über Martin Heidegger schreiben, darüber ich in diesem Sommer gelesen hat.

28 September 2011

it is difficult to photograph myself with my computer, you can tell from my face this is a very serious proposition, also that I have just been reading Maus and Art Spiegelman's parents are on their way to Auschwitz. here you have a big cream sweater, 10% angora, with zip up the back, rainy day approved. it is longish but shorter in the back and gets worn with light coloured straight jeans, heavy break above the white converse shoes. to my left is part of my tomato garden.

27 September 2011

I got a comment of "superior" on my Sunday morning writing assignment. I am pleased because I can do even better. I also spoke up in class for a change and found that I think the opposite of what a lot of people think. So of course were I to try to chime in on the basis of what they were saying I would find myself with not much to say.

26 September 2011

Renaissance miniaturists often depicted scholars as isolated figures - immured in libraries, working alone at desks laden with classical codices, and accompanied, if at all, by a sleeping lion. [...] In fact, [...] scholars rarely lived, and never worked, alone. they renewed the traditionally monastic customs and usages of academic life. And they created new forms of intellectual sociability and new academic institutions.
Anthony Grafton, The Past as Revelation. I like this story: I have a pendant with a seal of a lion on it.
I have rainy day outfits, designed to go with my rubber boots; however it's too dark even to post a photo. I am excited about tomorrow's tights made with real wool.
An dem Bus sah ich meinen Opi. Ich ging zu die Universität und er ging ins Krankenhaus für einige Tests. Er beschwerte sich über den regen und dass ich ihn nicht an diesem Wochenende besucht. Ihm wollte ich besuchen, aber meine Mutter war zu gestresst. Es freute mich ihn zu sehen.

25 September 2011

Procrastinated hard today, making room for the pile of clothes on top of my dresser by moving my summer clothes into a little plastic bin in my closet and piling up stacks of books. That took about ten minutes. I'm really good at ruminating emptily.
I finished my reading (after a cat snuggle making the most of a torrential downpour) and handed in my short assignment on time, to a mix of nervousness, caffination, "well, that was obvious," and "damn, I should have used the longer version of that quotation." Now I have the rest of the day to work... sadly not to go see "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"... last night going to sleep I had a brainstorm that will make it possible for me to finish my paper.

24 September 2011

this week I read 395 pages of Palestinians being terrorized by Israelis in graphic novel form. I've gotta say, 400 pages for one class about does my attention span. now I have to read some Marshall-the-medium-is-the-message-McLuhan. online. i am a snob and am feeling very lazy. also, I want to say: you know what makes me feel secure? material possessions.
Lately I've been listening to The Beatles and feeling groovy like. I like the later Beatles, I like the white album. My headphones have gotten damaged hanging out in my purse again, turning the bass on the right side into static.

23 September 2011

Got a big happy dose of attention today. I ran into my mentor/editrix in the elevator and when I said I was busy she know immediately whose class I had chosen. I got a start on German easy readers from my exceptionally helpful German teacher. She's willing to make this an ongoing project and I'm thrilled that this stuff exists, also that she has lots of ideas and is so willing to help. Also talked to my friend in German class. She congratulated me on my endeavors in self-medication. I generally underestimate how much it means to say something out loud and be recognized but it really can be enjoyable. She had no understanding of what being medicated is like but she mentioned a support group that she goes to where they talked about this sort of thing. I told her the last time I did support groups i ran into people who'd been in jail, and I live far away. That she could relate to.

22 September 2011

I was spoiled with attention my first week back at school. Now my existence feels tedious and I miss talking to everyone. I have so much work to do it is ridiculous. I don't know how people manage a full course load. My self-prescribed medication change has freed me from nightly panic attacks for the first time in memory. I feel like this should be cause for celebration, but of course no one else gets it. Taking less antidepressant makes other people seem more annoying, so if it doesn't cause anxiety I think I'll go with more.

20 September 2011

The paper that I absolutely could not connect with by the academic blowhard... I'm glad I didn't put in a whole lots of extra effort. My professor transfigured it into many, many interesting term paper topics with little apparent effort at all in a post-class e-mail. Now I can re-read.
Gestern ging ich mit dem Kater zu einem Spaziergang. Wir patrouillierten in den Vorgarten, wenn wir sahen eine andere Katze. Mein Kater miaute dreimal in einem fremden heulende Stimme. Er ging langsam auf die andere Katze. Die andere Katze weglauft. Mein Kater versuchte, sie zu jagen, aber ich, die Leine hält, war zu langsam. Wir liefen durch die Hecke des Nachbarn und aus den Augen die Katze verloren. Ich sagte mein Großvater diese Geschichte und er sagte, die Katze weggelaufen hat weil sie war eine Mädchen. Kommentaire auf Deutsche bitte, ich brauche die Praxis.

19 September 2011

Without my extra antidepressant I sleep more soundly... usually... but I feel exhausted by dinner time.
Indeed it can't rain all the time. We have here a beautifully mild autumnal day. My cat wants to go for a walk and I will indulge him, just as soon as I finish watching John Berger's Ways of Seeing on YouTube. I am almost organized and up-to-date. The up side of running all over the land doing errands was that I got some concord grapes, still warm from the sun when I got them home to eat.

18 September 2011

most. boring. reading. ever. some people appear to become famous academics by being gigantic blowhards.

at least now I have beer to take the edge off this morning's cup of coffee.
This morning was a passel of annoyances. I woke up at 5 am when I had been planning to sleep until 8. I had an assignment to turn in electronically by noon but my internet wasn't working. So I had to wait until the coffee shop might reasonably be open and walk half an hour in the rain to get there. The coffee shop had internet, because it has a different service provider than I do. Half an hour after I arrived my housemate called saying that not only was the internet out, but so was the phone and tv. Also he thought I was a raccoon who had chewed in to the house through the wall while I was trying to fix the internet at 7 am. What a pile of crap.

16 September 2011

In 1964, having spent some time myself in a psychiatric hospital, I read The Three Christs, and soon after came on Laing’s early books, which confirmed what I had seen in it. It has made me very wary of reading ‘case histories’, written about the disturbed by those who believe themselves to know better. It also seemed to me, aged 16, that The Three Christs of Ypsilanti contained everything there was to know about the world. That’s not the case of course, but if resources were short, I’d still be inclined to salvage this book as a way of explaining the terror of the human condition, and the astonishing fact that people battle for their rights and dignity in the face of that terror, in order to establish their place in the world, whatever they decide it has to be.
-Jenny Diski, in the LRB
Today I got to talk to the cute philosophy grad student in my German class and found out that we share an interest in historiography.
Last night I had no anxiety attack. I have made some changes to my medication that may have helped. I'll spare you the details, but one thing I did was divide my dose of antipsychotic so I take part an hour earlier. I think it might be the big hit of antipsychotic causing the problem. Part of it, anyhow.

15 September 2011

My ambiguous coffee date occurred.
The weather has turned. It probably won't stop raining until next July.

14 September 2011

I think my coffee date may have turned into a date date for coffee. I will report my findings tomorrow.
Now - the comic book, It was the War of the Trenches.
Even though I don't understand some of what is going on my German class this term is non-stressful. I memorize vocabulary on my bus ride to school. My partner in class is Swiss-German and speaks German to me in class. Some of the time I have to answer in English but I hope he sticks with me so that I can hear more German.
Yesterday was overwhelming - I overdid it on the curiosity - but I think the anxiety I felt in the evening would have happened regardless. I have ideas to pursue and a deadline I've set for myself next week and those are good things.

13 September 2011

Today the person I wanted to talk to was not holding office hours so I camped out in the chair beside by her door waiting for her to finish teaching her class. My guru arrived and offered places to begin with hermeneutics and aboriginal humour. I decided to take the class with the comic books and German.

11 September 2011

Whenever I get anxious I feel as though I am going crazy, because that is what crazy felt like. Anxious but certain I was right. The people closest to me make blank faces and act as if I am a foreign and traumatic sighting when I show I'm slipping. In order to cope better I am supposed to come up with more "realistic" assessments of the situation. In reality I don't think I've worried myself crazy, except for the times I did actually let my worry grow into something crazy. Now my anxiety feels contentless, which is a relief to me, because if my worry had contents I would end up alternately curled in a ball on the floor crying and doing embarrassing crazy things, announcing my craziness to the world. I am better, but not as good as I have been. This is not a place to rest because I still just worry I am going to go crazy all of the time, and that I won't be able to do my work like this, because when I was crazy I would try and try and not be able to think coherent thoughts, and so I spend a lot of time doing not much. I have trouble thinking logically and making decisions when I am this anxious. I am supposed to ask myself what a friend would say to this and decide I am being too harsh but I have no idea what to say to myself. I have a friend on the basis of me not saying anything about my crazy and overwhelming her. Even though she wants to be a therapist she wants little to do with abnormal psychology. My doctor would say my medication has mostly protected me and offer more, but none of my friends believe in taking medication. I have long experience of my medication not working well enough and no one helping me, or even pointing out it wasn't working very well, until after I screwed myself over and relapsed by abruptly stopping it. Now how can I be right if the time I felt most sure of it I was completely insane?
I do not think it is possible for me to overstate how much I enjoy long weekend lie-ins with the cat. Yesterday I got to read with the cat beside me and today he snuggled and snuggled as I tried to coax myself awake. I even got bonus evening purring over my heart calming me down as I worried I have become anxious so much I no longer know what I am worried about. People who visit often think my cat is skittish because he runs away from them, but he is the calmest one in the house.
My professor gave interesting comments, stuff that involves more creative writing than anything else. This inspires me.

10 September 2011

I am sick of the 9/11 coverage. It was a moment, we all felt it, and reliving it in the shortest possible clip of a plane crashing into a building and exploding played over and over feels sick. So, for that matter, do the memorials, marking the landscape into perpetuity. Isn't this what fuels the insurgency in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan still, a persistent feeling of being wronged? To say nothing of the infinite cycle of reprisals in the Middle East. That stuff is fucked up, and this whole thing as a justification for war (and if we can't find allies they'll nonetheless lend us credit enough to bankrupt our largest economy in the world!) reveals a stupendous lack of imagination, and of decency.

09 September 2011

Had tea with my psychologist. We talked about walking cats and my research. He spoke Italian. When I was a proper patient he was a mountain of calm. Now he has lost a lot of weight, looks much smaller and is much more animated. At the last minute he suggested I go without an antidepressant as it was making my chin twitch. An antidepressant is an upper so it might be making me more anxious, but might also be helping me to focus. Coffee can do that also, and I haven't been able to drink real coffee. I outlined my psychological problem and he referred me to his self-help writings on the subject.

08 September 2011

yayoi kusama: she lives in a mental hospital in Tokyo and makes art with polka dots. Here is an interview.

07 September 2011

My professor from last year is going to help me revise my "do you want to go to grad school" paper so that I can get consistently better writing results. She says no one is working on the topic, which is great. Other gems: "ooh, you have no confidence, I was like that," and "I know its time to write when I get really bitchy." So that was my first day of school. I went to a whole bunch of classes: French (it's been a long time but I understood), German, rhetoric, and the experimental poetry of Susan Howe. I think Susan Howe is something I could take on in my own time, French is more languages than I need for my present purposes, German will be a challenge and rhetoric is more classes than I need, but could be a blockbuster of theory and midrash. I need to pick one.

06 September 2011

My sanity seems to have returned. I wish I could have made it do so a couple days ago. I don't think I did anything special. I read a comic book about comics for one of my classes and the prologue to Lorraine Daston and Peter Gallison's book Objectivity, because dealing with multiple epistemologies is something that Anthony Grafton's book on the footnote raised but did not deal with to my satisfaction. He held to a Platonic conception of objectivity as it was maintained within Christian thought, whether his subjects were Christian or not. In the afternoon I went to a barbeque at Omi and Opi's house and blew bubbles for my four-year-old cousin to chase, for about five minutes. We had a warm beer under a raft of awnings and sun umbrellas. When I got quiet after supper they shepherded me inside to watch German tv, though I didn't really understand a thing. My cousin gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye, which was special because he usually makes a big deal of not saying goodbye to me. My family was really easy to be around which has not always been the case.

04 September 2011

My sister showed up smelling of incense so awful she smelled like a dog. It's so far out of my aesthetic reach I am afraid to even comment. It is invasive and awful.
All in all my life is going very well and a new opportunity may be presenting itself. Last night I sat on the beach with two girls my own age, a group within which I have spent hardly any time for the past four years. I did it, at least we can say that. I have been finding it difficult to do things, specifically to write this last paper. I have been feeling consistently anxious and ill at ease. My mind is all blank and buzzy. I have been feeling broken and vulnerable. Broken is a sorry state involving very little confidence, but this in itself I find is not uncommon amongst people my age.

03 September 2011

watched "the whistleblower." powerful stuff. 1999!
blessed be... the housemates' house guests are gone. they sat around laughing at how stupid they were. I wanted to bash my head in.

30 August 2011

Today was disasterous. And my nurse bailed on me!
just received an intimidating e-mail urgently portending doom... in three weeks. This time I got lucky.
This waking up at 4:30am just isn't right. Got a serious cat snuggle out of the deal though. It's nice when the little one makes like a baby all, oh, I think I'm happiest with my head on your chest and my little toes poking you in the belly.

29 August 2011

I got myself in a little bit of a situation with the cats today. I let an eight-month-old cat out of her cage. The rule is they have to stay in their cages until they are a year old, but I recall hearing that a cat's immune system is mature at eight months and she had an exact birthdate and looked forlorn so I bent the rule. The cat very nimbly maneuvered herself up the vertical face of her cage and onto the roofs of the cat houses for a stroll. Then she came down and wandered around, only to get hissed at by the adult cats, one of whom, Buddy, was in my lap. Buddy is all black. He had a brother, Tigger, with whom he was abandoned, and Tigger was adopted very quickly due to the fact that he would roll around whenever anyone pet him. Buddy mourned. He sat in his bed for months and barely moved to eat. Now Buddy is just as his name suggests, and loves to sit in laps. Except... someone put the little cat in Buddy's double sized cage for a few weeks. He hissed at her, little hisses, but it seemed mean to keep her there, so because of that and the age thing, she got moved out. But this morning the little cat parked herself in the farthest corner of Buddy's cage, and, when I had to put everyone back in their places at the end of my shift, her tiny body kicked up an almighty fuss, with claws flying everywhere. Buddy sat up and turned his back to the fuss. Folks, we have a dilemma.

*If I had more unlimited assets I would adopt Buddy for he is a loner like I am.
This morning I used Wikipedia to make a medical decision. My doctor and I are monitoring the present titration rather closely as there is some risk of the medication inducing psychosis. Not an ideal case, but I'm holding out for lower levels of anxiety.
Have an appointment with the professor I handed the paper in to about how to get me into graduate school. She studied with Anthony Grafton and credits his course with turning her away from European history.

28 August 2011

After all those days of sweaty-fingered typing I am afraid of my final source.

27 August 2011

For my paper, for the first time in my life, I had to come up with a politics for putting myself in discussion with marginalized and oppressed peoples. It was a big challenge that ultimately came about through the incorporation of three different voices. The rest was almost an afterthought.
The professor my first paper was for said she was frustrated because I clearly had smarts and research ability but it wasn't being realized in my work. I always feel not quite smart enough and that my research is a mess so this was quite a complement. She offered an open door any time to help me improve, which is just fantastic. I am looking forward to all the people I'm going to talk to in September.

24 August 2011

I can't remember the last time I worked this hard and this well. I begged for, and received, a reprieve which will allow me to finish my paper (and sleep! I am exhausted). The paper is about half done, in a state of disarray with points itching to connect. It is going to be about medicine and translation. I feel calm and happy. I am overjoyed.

... moments later I had to take an emergency pill as I felt a wave of psychosis rising like nausea. Staying up late is no good.
I put in a little overtime in my Factory, the 9pm to 1:30am shift. My bedtime is 9, sometimes 8:30. Sleep keeps the crazy at bay. So I worked all day and and night and finally got half my job done. I got part one done. Then I had to find the cat, who was keeping watch on the back of the sofa, and give him a little rub so that he would come to bed with me and put me to sleep. It worked.

21 August 2011

I find losing myself in my work frightening.
My dear Opi had a little stroke. He was out for a walk, sat down on a bench, and didn't think that he could get up. My Omi thought it was just his back, which causes him a lot of pain. The difference is that these relatives waited until my parents were home so I heard from my mom. His doctor referred him for a bunch of tests and didn't find anything. I talked to him yesterday and he was very gentle. He talked about pickling my green tomatoes and sounded tired.

He is very tall. His mother was a seamstress and although none of his clothes are expensive he has an innate good taste with colours and textures that younger people just don't. When he was a boy during the war he never had shoes that were the right size. His mother got a warning to stop writing notes to excuse him from the Hitler Youth or they'd throw her in jail. He didn't like military activities. He liked hang gliding. He thinks all politicians are crooks and expounds on the impossible idiocy of politicians all of the time. Before my four year old cousin Nicholas was born he drank a lot of beer and looked, like my Uncle Robert said, as if he was waiting to die. He and Nicholas have a special relationship. Now his recliner is too low for him to get in and out of easily so he sits on two white plastic lawn chairs stacked up on top of each other to watch tv. I don't visit often enough.
I am writing from beneath an avalanche of papers and great stacks of books. A good portion of my photocopies have no citations, as I seem to have been too cheap to photocopy that data. Here I have half a book which I may never find again, and because of that it will all have to be recycled. Luckily my notes are a little better.

19 August 2011

I danced to "I am the Walrus". Actually I danced to the whole magical mystery tour and other assorted songs and wished for the Factory Supervisor to dance with me. There were strange arm movements. Time-honoured technique for breaking up study sessions.
This evening as I was out sipping JD lemonade (sweetened with maple syrup), picking lettuce for supper, and walking the cat, a hummingbird showed up. He or she hovered as close as I've ever been to a hummingbird, tilting its head and looking askance at the cat on a leash.
I jumped out of bed this morning. Made a run out to the library for books about cannibalism, reading some anthropology on the bus, stood in a long line for incidental figs at the grocery store and made it to the museum where they are downsizing working hours to make up for a lack of funding. Basically it was a day away from thinking, which I hope to remedy this evening.

18 August 2011

Grandma says thank you for asking. She was optimistic after seeing and talking to her sister, but shortly after she and grandpa left they x-rayed her wrist and found it to be broken and now Fran, Eileen's daughter says her mother is seeing things that aren't there, which they're calling dementia. Grandma had mentioned before that Eileen had talked about forgetting her evening medications, which would have potentially caused her stroke if they were the blood pressure ones. I remember her being very lively and seeming more youthful than my grandma, who is her younger sister, but her husband has died and I think losing that companionship makes a big difference. My grandparents are in their eighties. I know they can't hold on forever, but every time I see them together I think of how engaged they are with each other and the world, and how that always seems to give them the win. They are very task-oriented. Grandma does telephone conversations in under five minutes, this one especially so as she was waiting to hear back from Fran.
Feeling good. I went to sleep to the smell of tomato plants. Despite, or perhaps because, of waking up with a crink in my neck I put in a good days work. I will continue this evening.

17 August 2011

My grandma was in bed at night when she decided that she would go see her sister. The right call, I say. I feel like I am out of words...

15 August 2011

My parents are always on vacation when significant family events happen... one goes suicidally missing and his brothers try to find him in the night, a baby is born premature with complications, and now my grandma's sister has had a stroke effecting the communicating parts of her brain. I phone and my parents have no advice. My grandma is visiting tomorrow. She says that she is not planning a visit to the island because there is family there and the sister does not even have a room at the hospital yet, she is stuck sleeping in the emergency ward. It takes so much longer for the elderly to be cared for and my grandparents have always been so patient about this. I meanwhile, would have liked to be there to intervene with the x-ray attendant who re-broke my grandma's broken arm. Grandma has been talking with her sister's daughter, the daughter she never had, my father's schizophrenic cousin who relies on my grandma for comfort, everyday. She says it was a small stroke. Growing old, as they say, isn't for sissies.

14 August 2011

I am flattered the neighbour's cat has left a dead mouse on my lawn, although I know it's not about me. It would have been honourable if the cat had left its masterpiece next to the catnip plant he so enjoys. The cat is at war with the dog, he left the mouse by her favourite peeing spot. The dog is a ratter who won't come inside late at night because she can hear mice, but she cannot catch a thing.
I googled my ex-boyfriend. His Facebook photo shows a strip of photo-booth pictures of him looking happy and slightly self-conscious with a girl who looks radiant. They are wearing dress-up clothes; she has her hair up and a big baubley necklace on. She looks nice. She looks like someone who is possibly not into opiates in her free time. He is proud that she chooses him; that it's working out; he is also an exhibitionist. He would always talk about me with other people when I was shy and things would come out backwards and contorted and sad. I like being able to pass over him in silence.

13 August 2011

I don't feel like doing anything worthwhile.
Talked with my new neighbours over the fence. Marina was the daughter of my dad's first girlfriend, a couple years younger than me (we have photos of us camping together as toddlers) and now lives with her lover who is a woman fifteen years older than her who works at the same school as my mother as a counsellor. That is how they met. Her dad was a gigantic asshole and her kid brother had a catastrophic brain aneurysm. My town is not that small. It is a scandalous tale but we had a very nice conversation.
I took my new medicine and the apocalypse didn't come. The cat came and sat on my chest and purred when I woke up too early, and I made peach puff pancake with cardamon to avoid potential nausea. It was a beautiful morning.

12 August 2011

Eric Clapton now. More dorky, more Layla.
If there is anything worse than data entry it is perhaps correcting decades old data entry for spelling and capitalization errors in a windowless room in a basement on the warmest day of an August that has been so far tepid. Thank goodness I did not get the job and spend my whole summer thus.
frances bean! Her parents have the same jawline. She's beautiful. I've been listening to her parents' records (In Utero, Live Through This) today in her honour. Grunge was so ernest. What with all the nonsense words. Oh my misspent youth.

11 August 2011

I am wondering if The Factory Supervisor has been holed up fending off bandits in Manchester?
Gonna see if venlafaxine makes me less anxious. If I am a nauseated mess for the next few weeks that'll be why.

09 August 2011

I actually did pretty well in my German class - 2% off an A-. That's the best I've ever done in a language class, in an accelerated class, and after years off I had to relearn all the preceding material on my own. After all that I didn't trash my transcript!

07 August 2011

My housemates have taken two weeks vacation leaving me a dog and garden to take care of. While the rest of the team gets up and goes on the dog's schedule, the dog knows that these days she's not going anywhere until I have had a cup of (decaf) coffee. Since when will I take an aversion to music, an oversensitivity to caffeine and no orgasms to go with my medication? Since the other medication will make me fat and lactating, apparently. The cat likes to make the dog jealous by snuggling up to me and purring loudly. I have two writing projects that need to get finished, as well as possibly getting my head around some difficult German philosophy in preparation for a conversation about hermeneutics sometime in September. I have taken the weekend off, but have done as much work as when it was on my mind and therefore I was having anxiety attacks last week. There is a lot of other reading of things I would like to have familiarity with but that is not going to happen this summer. I only need to take two classes in September and I'd be done but I need three recommendations for library school. I might have two, and one would be from a professor I would like to take my major's seminar from in the fall. If instead of finishing in December I get permission to graduate on exchange and am allowed to go on a trip to Berlin, I would like to stay through May and spend my summer reading Faust in German. Library school is a pragmatic choice, but I don't know that they'd let me in. Many people are more pragmatic than I. What I'd really get excited about doing is comparative literature, but I kind of suck at languages (and have anxiety attacks erasing my memory) and am not all that smart, so I doubt with my history they'd let me in. I doubt that I would find it rewarding to do at this point, I still want a professor who talks and talks. When I got a real job I went crazy. That is everything that is on my mind right now.

05 August 2011

Congratulating my professor on her wedding made me cry. I wish she and I could be friends. I care weirdly much.
The girl the museum hired instead of me is totally lame and the other girls had the most animated conversation I've ever heard them have all summer talking about The Bachelor. So out of my element. The men on The Bachelor are hot? Give me a break. Happily all those girls will be gone as of next week and I am working on getting myself involved with a project that is actually interesting working for someone very kind.

03 August 2011

Tonight I was having an anxiety attack, took a lot of medicine, still didn't feel better, went for a walk and felt better. Temporarily. I feel too anxious, by which I mean that I think my basic anxiety level now is higher than it was before I started to get really depressed, which we now can call a precursor to the illness I now have. So either I am not as good at coping now or what I have isn't being adequately treated. Maybe what I have is a shifting of psychological loads. I used to think about killing myself all the time. Once I realized how easy it would be to do so, it became, not a scary thought, but a thought that caused me a great deal of emotional discombobuation when it did come up. My psychologist and I talked because I wanted those thoughts to go away, but what I have instead is this extra large load of anxiety that feels like slow daily torture. Part of this may be that before I would have accepted all kinds of defeats, now maybe I don't, which may be an intrinsically more stressful state for me to be in. Or maybe I am just full of shit, you never know.
There was no skimming.

02 August 2011

I took my cat for a walk. It went very slowly, with lots of lying down along the way. We checked out his snake-catching points and he rolled around in the dirt. He purred while I carried him inside and then went and lay down beside his favourite window. It was a modest success, I think. I am worried about my level of anxiety and whether it might mean I am over or under medicated and whether my eyes have sunburn because my pupils won't un-dilate and I am uncomfortable. I met a man on the bus today, who said, "oh god don't read that book," The Essential Edmund Husserl, that is, as I was returning it to the library, not having worked up the mental stamina to dig into it. It turned out he had a PhD in philosophy of mind, and a wife who cheated on him with the supervisor of his dissertation at the University of London (pretty impressive school), and he can't have been that much older than I am, so we talked all the way downtown on the train and exchanged phone numbers for a potential coffee date, because I like to be open to short friends with kind and funny things to say about my books. Now I am going to do some reading about cannibalism and I may have to skim so wish me luck.

01 August 2011

saddled my kitty up with a harness... he is supposed to wear it around for a few days to get used to it. by "get used to it" we mean stop trying to chew it off. i think he's doing pretty well, enjoying the afternoon air at the front window; I made the harness nice and loose. then we will attach a leash and try to get him used to that before seeing if he would like to go for a walk. if you can think of anything more eccentric than taking a cat for walks, let me know!

31 July 2011

the only way toward more inspiration is more work. for a paper about modern China cannibalizing its people the reading is surprisingly boring.

30 July 2011

I am trying hard to feel that what I have is just rational anxiety, and that as a figment of my own psyche I can shift some mental furniture around for relief. This anxiety warps my sense of space and time; it is really consuming.

29 July 2011

Since when is baling on your responsibilities and drinking yourself to sleep at 1 in the afternoon a viable plan? Since today. I feel approximately 1000 times better.
scientific research shows Douglas Fir trees communicate and share resources. very very cool. I live in an area of deforested rainforest/bog where these trees tower over my neighbourhood. I love them, though I became a reading, sentient thing in another part of the country and they still seem a little foreign.
When I handed in my test my teacher asked me how it went and I said so-so. She was nice enough to say, good job for being out of german for so long, and do take the next course.

28 July 2011

One more night of insomnia and then I will have a foul grade to follow me around.

27 July 2011

My Opi says that I need German tv so that I can get some culture. Today he told me about Gemütlichkeit*. He has offered to pay for this endeavor. He offers to pay for nothing. He showers, I think, once a week to save water. It may be that he was certain my cable company does not carry Deutsche Welt and wants me to come and watch tv with him. But I now feel confident in reporting that learning something hard in school is psychologically made much easier with the support of one's family.

*spending time with other people, strangers in restaurants for example, like they are family, says Opi. Or following Google Translate


  1. coziness
  2. friendliness
  3. snugness
  4. leisure
  5. comfortableness
  6. pleasantness
  7. informality
  8. good-naturedness
  9. approachability
  10. unhurriedness
Black coffee. Insomnia. The Guardian because I have run out of free NYT articles.

25 July 2011

I'm gonna be so glad when this class is over and I can sleep through the night. I am tired. My grandma is very proud of my funny story about my cat, though.

24 July 2011

I am having some success applying tooth-brushing gel to my cat's teeth with my finger. The label assures me it will spread throughout the cat's mouth on its own. I am proud of my cat for putting up with this intrusion so stoically and for not denying me snuggles on its account. The cat is such a happy guy he will purr at me for 5 hours at a time when I have insomnia, and the rest of the time he is not a snuggly guy. I feel it is part of my duty to protect his swollen gums and hence his teeth from extraction. His dandruff has been cured, and he enjoyed the breeze from inside the window this afternoon. Truly a banner day.
Trying to decide whether I will take a class on the graphic novel and history or cultural memory and history...
no good. addicts are sometimes such irresistible people. irresistible and repugnant with equal force. Amy Winehouse is playing on repeat in my nest. Since I've been on medication music had been somewhat annoying, this probably won't last long.
Last night I had an unpleasant train ride home. Some girl was trying to get two guys twice her size to fight after one of them might have said crackhead when she got on the train. She had already extracted an apology, her white-trash, honour-bound, belly jiggling as she shook her finger and raised her voice. The second time she got up to start something the Asian ladies moved their children out of the way. "If you don't stop yelling I will push this button," I said to her, lisping through my retainer. One of the guys she had been calling gay stood up and pushed her off the train. She fake wrestled as the door closed. A young woman said she'd been bothered by the same girl the night before. Two stops down the line I got up to get off and the boys high-fived me and shook my hand. I like having my hand shook for calling law enforcement. I caught my bus. On my walk home I saw a coyote trotting along the dog run looking especially fit. We did a little dance. I want to stay away from you, I mimed, stay away from me.

22 July 2011

Lady Wrenna has made a real live friend! A nice loud person who likes her some therapy. I am going to a movie I don't want to see tomorrow so that we can be better friends :)
Reisen mit meinem Kater

Für einen außergewöhnliche Urlaub, möchte ich mit meinem Kater nach Paris reisen. Mein Kater ist getigert, mit weißen spots an seinen Hals und Bauch. Er hat kleine weiße Füße und keine Schwanz. Wir würden im Frühling abreisen, denn das Wetter ist weder zu heiß noch zu kalt. Der Regnen gefällt mir und mein Kater hat nichts dagegen nasse Füße zu bekommen. Wir würden von Vancouver, mit Flugzeug Erster Klasse, abfahren. Vor dem Start, würde ich den Kater ein bisschen Artznei geben. Nach dem Start kann der Kater aus seiner Träger kommen. Dann würde er sich neben mir setzen um einen Film anzusehen. Nach der Landung würden wir mit dem Limousine in ein elegantes, raffiniertes Hotel. Wir würden ein kleines Nickerchen im großen, flauschigen Bett nehmen. Bevor wir ein Excursion zum Buchladen Shakespeare and Company machen, würden wir eine kleinigkeit Kaviar essen. Der Kater trabt rechts neben mir im Laden. Dann würden wir ein kleines, ruhiges Café, um Leute zu beobachen finden. Wir würden in einem kleinen Lebensmittelladen stoppen. Hier würden wir uns einige pâté für ein Picknick an der Seine leisten. Wir müssen vor dem Feuerwerk ins Hotel züruckfahren. Mein Kater mag laute Geräusche nicht.

20 July 2011

I have numerous projects to work on and deadlines to meet but I feel lost. This happens whenever I get busy for too long; my brain says, "bail." I could not tell you why I do not cope better if the script has remained the same since I was a little kid.

19 July 2011

The Nicholas book has arrived by courier, translated into British English, so I have decided to excerpt chapter one for the pleasure of all artists, wonderers, and potential childrens' story authors:

18 July 2011

My roommates frown upon me drinking bourbon (invalids of old got their daily ration!), but I prefer it to a cocktail of antipsychotics and benzodiazpines that doesn't quite get the job done.

I was a scientific research subject for money


the cat seems blissed out on his spa treatments


I bought Maker's Mark on sale for $30 and stashed it for a special occasion.

17 July 2011

Took my cat to the veterinarian for... a kitty makeover? He now has anti-dandruff treatments, a toothbrush, and shots for in case he makes cat friends. The vet, like the cat madam, recommends I take him outside on walks. What the cat really wants is complete freedom to go in and out as he pleases, and he is in possession of a strong cast of mind. I do not think he will compromise. If I can make tooth brushing happen, we'll see.

16 July 2011

Today was an open house at the cat shelter that provides cats to the pet store where I volunteer. It was a tiny house and there were cats in the living room and cats in the kitchen, cats in the bedroom and cats in the mud room. There were photos of cats in multi-portrait family frames. There was a wall with floor to ceiling cat beds up on the shelving, a chair full of snuggling cats, and doors that opened onto a patio patrolled by cats and little dogs. I sat down beside the cooler filled with juice and was quickly joined by a skinny black and white cat named Kramer and a grey cat whose name I did not learn. We sat there for about an hour, while the cats took a nap and I watched people approach a rehabilitating cockatoo with a scruffy regrowth of feathers who was making horrible na-na noises. The cat madam tried to get him to say "hooray!" She was very animated in her dealings with the bird, who she had rescued from a covered cage between speakers blasting, as the bird would tell you, noise. I tried to console a little girl who got barked at by a tiny dog, burst into tears, and headed for the door. I got up to eat some broccoli and sour gummy bears, and there were cats at almost all the chairs at the table. The cats didn't seem to mind the misting rain, and drank from a little fountain surrounded by pretty potted plants. I headed back to the kitchen to try to catch some stories from the cat madam and hooked up with Kramer again, who sat in my arms and let me carry him around. I love socializing with cats, even as in this case, an old cat with potential kidney failure, cats with cancer, toothless cats, and feral cats who watch from a distance. There is no feeling like the encompassing mellow I get from hanging out with cats. The cat madam was nice and kept wildly overestimating the number of cats that were actually in her care. Tomorrow she gets some chickens. I can see the appeal, but the chair was the only piece of furniture in the house apart from her bed.

15 July 2011

gazing though a shop window waiting for the Supervisor...

14 July 2011

I am a little less beside myself this week, having two test in a row, than I was last week, having two tests in a row, and I am less prepared now than I was then. I suck at this, I should've signed up to take the course for no grade, but this is what I want to be doing. I am writing an in-class essay about an unusual vacation, in this case a luxury vacation to Paris with my cat.

13 July 2011

If you have any small children in your life, you should really check out Phaidon's children's books. I have a soon-to-be four-year-old cousin who liked Beatrice Almaida's Bugs In A Blanket at three and I was delighted to find a whole series translated (with illustrations by Sempé!) from the French called Nicholas. I am only sorry I didn't think to check up on Phaidon on-line until after my disappointing last-few-days visit to the bookstore... maybe he has a back-to-school-present in his future? I have been reading him Curious George for a year, the little dude seriously needs some new troublemakers in his life. **Now I find out he already has Nicholas on Vacation, but his mom loves it, in capital letters. It is always more fun to be the discoverer of something fantastic.
I have a new feline caller... a big black cat who walks right up to the front door to nibble my catnip. This morning he had quite an audience as we tried to suss him out.

12 July 2011

Also, I had been wondering about the purple dresses...

11 July 2011

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge finally provides a quotation: with some kids from LA's Skid Row she painted a red turtle that she named William. This presumably references his earlier statement regarding that post-nuptial spin in the Aston Martin, "fueled by red wine." Royal banter, so polyvalent in its resonance these days; truly a schizo-girl's field day.
literally been watching my plants grow. my elephant ear plant unrolls leaves that are dark purple on the underside. it has one new leaf, a shoot that is still deciding what it is going to do, and a mini shoot in a pale shade of green from a bigger plant that died. this is the comedown from being enormously stressed out, I suppose. I have decided that I don't need to be, the grammar bits are falling into place quickly enough and I can in fact memorize things, plus I have loads of time whilst this is all going on to write my paper, but I'm not sure this will mean anything.

08 July 2011

I am in love with my avant-sciencey new retainers. Nothing could be worse than the old ones, which suctioned saliva to teeth coated in plastic. These ones are smooth, and fill my mouth so much I may refuse to speak until I am freed of them.
I want a lamp with six purple lilies spouting light. Points against include a cost of $120 and the fact that it does not go with my spare, germanic, Himalayan, or Scandinavian design influences. It would, however, go with my little violet lantern lights on a string.
Fridays are slightly useless. I need to recover from my German tests, which means even though I wake up at 6 am and sometimes can't get back to sleep, I want to spend my extra hours drinking lightly caffinated, highly astringent tea and reading art and culture magazines. In the afternoon I volunteer at an endless, thankless, mindless task at the city museum. I have a book about prostitution, trading sex for goods or entertainment and courtship as being on a continuum and I am fascinated (even though it is a simple and obvious premise). Except for when he was once high and whiney I always paid my own way but I figured it was because my boyfriend wanted money to spend on drugs and alcohol, and otherwise wouldn't see me, not that I was taking some sort of feminist position. I didn't want to put out and that is what this book traces the history of.

07 July 2011

whoa... last minute test preparation. the mind boggles. on anxiety help boards they always quote girls as saying, I didn't take the medication because I didn't want the adverse impact on my memory, mental sharpness, etc. (I used to be one of those girls, except no one offered the appropriate sedatives) and I overcame my worries without my whole life collapsing around me. I hate those girls.

06 July 2011

The dentist moved my appointment up by half an hour on a day on which I have a prior engagement. They say they made no change, which makes me furious. I just said fine, because being five minutes late isn't worth waiting two weeks over. Nonetheless, I fear my brain may not be working quite right.

04 July 2011

a walk and plant watering to avoid another panic attack this evening. it is beautiful out there though.

03 July 2011

2.5mg of brain-shrinking, carcinogenic olanzapine once in a while seems to keep panic at bay. a quarter pill of melatonin with a side of purring cat seems to put me back to sleep at 4 am. sometimes it doesn't matter where my feelings are coming from.

01 July 2011

It is July. My space heater has been on all day. It is cold.
It turns out language classes are a good way to meet people, in my case, especially people with atypical academic careers. I met a woman who is one year older than my Chinese medical and sensory history prof and wants to be a therapist. She loves her therapy that comes from a masters student at the Adler Institute at $40 an hour. She is animated, she is fun, I found out ways in which my hospitable German relatives are like hers and therefore, I assume, typically German. She says next summer there may be an exchange trip to the Frei Universität in Berlin and I wanted to transport myself there immediately. I also got to talk to a philosophy student. Because I managed to get done even more homework than I had to do I had lots of time to talk, like I never do, in class. The problem is, after I get home from these late night classes I wake up five hours later, which makes me feel kind of crazy.
My old psychologist can still calm me right down like nothing else. It's an eerie power for someone to have, and how, even at quite a distance now. His process is obscure but readily involves the use of Google.

30 June 2011

For a summer drink I like lemonade with bourbon in it. You can make it simple, with the juice from half a lemon and some simple syrup, and light, with half an ounce of bourbon. Sometimes I like to put other fruit in - halved cherries, or raspberries and mint, muddled - and strong, with one and a half ounces of bourbon. Ice cubes are important. So is fizzy water to top off.
Angelina Jolie ist eine sehr begehrenswert Schauspielerin.

(trying to memorize begehrenswert - desirable)

29 June 2011

My goldfish is such a character. There he was in the pet store, a lone tie-dyed fantail amongst red-cap orandas, doing his own thing; I never would have suspected. He likes to heave his body sideways over the floating plants in his bowl (a cruel enclosure, perhaps, but if you saw the crowding in the pet store...), and he doesn't blow bubble rafts, so I've decided he is a boy after all. He wiggles really fast when I walk into the room, the greeting is fantastic, and he doesn't mind the cat using his bowl as a water feature to drink from and play in, which is also fortunate. What's more relaxing to look at than a goldfish? Someone take me to The Brickyard so I can drink Buffalo Trace on special and look at the entire room of goldfish around the bar.
This morning my mom was telling me what to do. It was a stream of things so constant I can't even remember them all. Then it was all, "What happens if you fail the German class, will you get kicked out of university?" "I am not going to fail the class, and if I did my average would still be high enough to prevent me failing out of university. It is my dream to learn German." Then she asked me to speculate on the weather, which I hate, because how should I know? She's such a little rain cloud. She goes beserk if you tell her that.
Ich bereite mich auf die Wortschatz Prüfung vor und lerne viele neue Wörter.

I e-mail my Omi little sentences and she corrects them.

28 June 2011

I did the Hausaufgaben that absolutely needed to be finished first and felt much better. I am prioritizing and taking concrete steps to get tasks done a little at a time.

27 June 2011

popping clonazapam (a sedative) like House pops vicodin.
lazy lazy lazy.
It felt really good to nap, mit dem Kater, this afternoon.
I rarely want to pull myself up out of bed to go scoop cat poop and scrub out last night's dishes at the cat shelter (least of all when I have woken at four am and already had a couple hours of purring back to sleep), but when I do this thing that I in all rationality do not want to do I feel better. Today I visited with some shy cats shocked to find themselves in such shabby surroundings. If in the morning as I walk I feel as though I can't breathe, when I am paw to paw with a wide-eyed tabby face I feel at peace in the world. I regularly do things that are boring and menial for a little bit of peace.