28 April 2011

I've been out... and about. Applied for two jobs even though I am not really looking. Picked up a birthday present for my grandma and some new knitting needles, Celestial Navigation and a book on nonsense. Prosecco for wee early hours of royal wedding viewing.

26 April 2011

I finished my papers and the sun came out! I did it Prof. X style, she had a little cold all semester and I got a little cold to finish my second paper with.

25 April 2011

I want it to stop raining so that I can go outside and pollinate some flowers. Either part apian or attempting to make studying metaphorically more attractive.

24 April 2011

Easter with the little monkey who ate, I think, four chocolates all morning/afternoon. He is a very skinny kid. He needed help going to the bathroom and then started singing to himself, which I thought was all well and good, until my aunt came by telling me to check on him ("are you doing allright in there?" "yep!" more singing) and then his mother burst in to fish him out.

23 April 2011

My black current bush has lots of blossoms on it this year too. Black currents are my favourite.
The Girl Least Likely and I have matching jasmine plants unraveling long pink tendrils. We are going to sit across the city from each other inhaling sweet breezes all summer long.
It was my sister's birthday. Rather than send a small gift card a month later, as she did for mine, I found her some earrings with long feathers and tiny chains dangling from them, and used the gift card she gave me to get her cute printed napkins. She has a bird and feathers tattooed on her. A bird on her forearm copied from a book of illustrations I gave her and feathers on her thigh to cover some scars from cutting. I don't have pierced ears. She was very happy.

22 April 2011

I feel like I've been up for days, writing and studying, studying and writing. I am trying to hold the line, simply to wake up on time and to finish but I have been drawing a blank.

21 April 2011

I love sleeping; I do it almost 12 hours a day.

20 April 2011

My plum tree finally has blossoms this year, it is covered in white blossoms... some of which have just begun to open. Li Qingzhao eat your heart out.

18 April 2011

happy find: one box containing 100 grams of gunpowder tea for $1.49.

16 April 2011

My dad called my perfume sexy. Which is good I think. It's sandalwood but subtle, you'd have to be very close to smell it.

15 April 2011

books books books: Carlo Ginzburg's History, Rhetoric and Proof (University Press of New England, 1999) and Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance (Columbia University Press, 2001) and more Grafton, Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science (Harvard University Press, 1991).

Ginzburg wanted to be a novelist and then a painter before his teachers told him he would be a great historian.

14 April 2011

I need a prayer to grant me quirkiness.
Once a guy begged two dollars off me and used it to escape from the psych ward. Once I wouldn't figure out the tv for a woman whose eyes were crossed due to her meds because I was scared of her. Did by saying no I think the problem she posed was going to go away? She had a bit of a vicious streak, such as one acquires when life is hard. Today was full of crazy people in the wild and even though they were just crazy amongst themselves it rattled me.

13 April 2011

here's a good word: zhiyin, "one who understands the tone"

12 April 2011

I am reading Judith Zeitlin's beautiful and amazing book, Historian of the Strange: Pu Songling and the Chinese Classical Tale (Stanford University Press, 1993) completely overwhelmed with the creativity of her scholarship, wondering how I will ever work with it.

Such is the dilemma of writing Chinese history: on my desk I have Richard Strassberg's translation of the Shan hai jing, A Chinese Bestiary: strange creatures from the guideways through mountains and seas (University of California Press, 2002), Patricia Buckley Ebrey's book in the Song emperor Huizong's collections of antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, Accumulating Culture (University of Washington Press, 2008) and Jonathan Spence's collation of various texts written by Qing emperor Kangxi into an "autobiography" (Vintage, 1974).

I'm so psyched on Chinese history I'm looking in all directions like a crazy person and I don't know what to say.
Catalogued 1920s bras today. Not as much fun as I would have thought. I think I'm distracted by all of the work I have to do.

11 April 2011

Enlisted a crabby store manager who likes to get her hands dirty to wash a cat's bottom this morning. He was a champ and happy to be clean.
I bought a little gardenia and in the bag on the way home it burst into bloom. I haven't had much luck growing gardenias. They are my favourite flower scent, though I'd be more likely to wear dandelion.

10 April 2011

I have a meeting with my old psychologist planned. It was just supposed to be tea and then he picked a date three weeks hence, three weeks being our usual time between appointments. Dirty trick! Now I am nervous. He is a sensitive boy in the body of a man with very big feet, and I feel slightly sick.

08 April 2011

One of my professors studied with Grafton at Princeton. She says he is probably the teacher who inspired her most. She also says that he was famous for walking around reading, all of the time, and almost getting into accidents because he would not look up. I count myself lucky to have studied with her because she is a constant stream of inspiration.

07 April 2011

Today my doctor asked how long it had been since I'd felt the spark of an idea. "Before medication?" "Yes."

04 April 2011

Am reading Anthony Grafton's Worlds Made By Words. Grafton is a genius and this book, a collection of mostly previously published essays on intellectual community and history, is an absolute revelation. This is stuff I have wanted to know about for ten years.
I am so aware of my anxiety. It marks potential danger all over my lived experience and my sense of self. If I do not intervene pharmaceutically it quickly grows and reproduces little psychotic babies. Come seven o'clock it marks my need for pills, immediately.

02 April 2011

Today my tea faerie made me a cup of proper matcha. My first cup of thick matcha. I was showing off my new plants ("you must meet lily of the valley" - my mom killed the ones in her garden in a fit of mania so I had to get some of my own of this very easily propagated plant) and she said she had to demonstrate the necessity of the tea whisk, and she was right, now I just have to get me some of that. Over the moon on antioxidizing caffeine now.

01 April 2011

I have always proceeded by trying to master my subject matter. If I were buddhist perhaps this would not so get in my way. As it stands, I don't think my methodology does much to nurture creativity. Today in class I had a little meltdown over theory and, as my professor kindly suggested, the lack of creativity in the way people in the humanities are trained. For the uninitiated, historians have an intellectually dishonest way of nodding "anonymously" to powerful ideas, while people in English departments endlessly name-drop and learn to write like a person suffering from serious mental illness. My teacher is always curious in a productive way, and that is why I picked him to be my teacher, to point a way out. I don't know that I'm capable of learning. I excused myself from an optional writing assignment in order to spend time reading about something else.