30 December 2012

My quinces turned from peachy cloudy juice into bright red jelly underneath a cloud of boiling pink. It was pretty fantastic to watch.
I am trying to restrain myself from the boxing day shopping but it is just so hard and so distracting. I am a bad, bad consumer.
I found jars, lids and a recipe so am making quince jelly today. They looked a little oxidized inside but I am hoping it will work out. The big question is whether or not to add star anise.

29 December 2012

I have spent a lot of waking up time during the last few days watching my cat make blissed out faces as I give him a little snuggle.

26 December 2012

I'm reading Keith Richards' autobiography, the first truly fun book I've had in my possession within memory. Do I need to go into why being rock star and doing heroin in 1969 is a way more entertaining ride than reading about the guy who sat beside someone self-medicating depression and stomach pain with heroin in 1992?
I found out that the foul, musty odor emanating from my sister is called Namaste and is her "happy smell." It is composed of essential oils, probably collected from the bodies of decomposing hippies.
The aunt who married my dad's brother has loud, annoying, insecure friends. I went upstairs after dinner and too a nap. I could not do it.
The library fucked up and didn't discharge the recalled book I returned on the twentieth. Now I have to wait for January third for it to open again and receive my distress call, distressed because my 140 books are due on the second and can't be renewed until that book gets returned.

25 December 2012

My aunt did appetizers with prosecco before Christmas Eve dinner. It was elegant to the extreme.
I got a feather bed for Christmas. My cat has rarely been so cosy. It is like a cocoon.

24 December 2012

Fighting through my Mac's quirks, such as a reluctance to recognize blank cd's, make me feel closer to it, almost as though it were a partially sentient being.
This morning I found quinces at the market. I want to make jelly and eat it with cheese. I don't even know if people do that.

23 December 2012

After procrastinating and not studying and writing only half the suggested amount on half the questions thinking I was barely squeaking by I got a 72 on my final exam. Not my proudest moment but it'll do. My grade is not trashed before the papers have been written. By that I mean I can still get an A- in the class if my papers are very good. The last time I had to write an exam was years ago. I had just gone off my medication, couldn't remember much and couldn't answer most of the questions. Usually in this type of situation I would fail.

22 December 2012

My cat used to break into his food bag when he was hungry, leaving the food to get stale, so I moved it into ziplock bags in my drawers. Now when he gets hungry he starts shredding my bank statements.

21 December 2012

The side panel of my mom's car was peeled away back to the passenger's side door, which is jammed. Also hit: the bumper, headlight, hood and wheel. The suspension was probably damaged. It probably won't get fixed.
Took my mom's dog for a run through the frosty, sleety moor.

20 December 2012

Sent my psychiatrist and nurse clinician off with cards and tea today. They were happy. They are tea drinkers. Wish I'd known! There could have been way more tea in their stockings over the years.

I'd never had occasion to "like" my psychiatrist much apart from the fact that she did her job causing relatively little annoyance to me (aside from the time she referred me to a sex offender, and also to a place where the doctor raised the dose on a medication that me made me lactate and then gave me another medication known for side effects so severe I think prescribing it should be counted as assault). However I did have a small occasion to like her as she relaxed a bit and provided this tiny bit of personal information at our last meeting as doctor and patient.
My mom was in a car accident. Police were called. She's not working and her car was old, so she's probably feeling pretty screwed. Probably not a good idea for the first question when she walks in the door: were you at fault?

*My mom is at the hospital. she's getting her shoulder checked out. She had a preexisting pain in her shoulder. My dad is going to get her.

*My dad says my mom said she got hit but it was the front end of the car that was damaged.

*My mom is coming home now.

*My mom got cut off by some 70-year old schmuck. She wants to cry because her car may not make it.

19 December 2012

My borscht is not turning out. I don't want to have to eat it.
The Christian Science Monitor, of all publications, comes through on our "family values" agenda to curb violence brought on by untreated mental disturbance.
Apparently working in search engine optimization is a very well-paying career. Could this be an offshoot of indexing? It sounds fun, in theory.
It feels so nice to figure out how to fix my own computer. All I had to do was put in the hardware test CD and press D. It found no errors but my trackpad issues were fixed. A totally beautiful simple and free solution!

18 December 2012

I have given up on doing well on this exam and am just aiming to be able to write something. Terrible times are being had. It goes this afternoon at 3:30.

17 December 2012

Since my sister came to visit the dog has been going crazy on her chew. GO DOG.
Just zapped my steamed milk with sugar-free hazelnut syrup that expired in 2009. I bet if I had the stuff with sugar it'd have grown me a nice batch of crystals.

16 December 2012

Considering how hard everyone I came into contact with came down on me when I was psychotic, and relatively mildly so, I find it unfathomable that people in the US are allowed to go on as long as they seem to be able to acting bat-shit crazy before they wind up killing people.
My history professor from last year asked me if I would like to participate in a small academic conference "Translating Bodies" that she is hosting in March. I think it sounds like fun. My first academic conference!

15 December 2012

Apparently trackpad problems aren't rare on the aluminum Macbooks that first came out. Which sucks, because I'm probably going to have to pay something to have it fixed. Maybe I can bargain with them and have the iPhoto that was never installed thrown in?

13 December 2012

Helped my mom add destressing hypnosis files to her iPod using the most unintuitive interface I have ever met. After that I felt so technologically adept I dug the corroded batteries out of my stereo remote and set the clock to the correct time.
I am so happy sitting here with my cat. I wish I had a chance to ask C. if she were willing to take her dog for longer walks in order to keep him. She'd be doing to him (tiring him out) what she hated doctors for doing to her though.
My mom is pressuring me not to take classes, or to take only one class, in January. She points to my stress levels, and how unpleasant they are to live with. I think I really want to pick up a minor in philosophy, which is three classes. It's three months. I explained to her my desire to change my medication so that I'm not sleeping 12 hours a day before I get a job, and my desire to get a real job with career potential. Being able to go to graduate school one day is a really high priority for me and I don't think she sees that, or sees that taking a full course load is supportive of that. C's parents are always telling her to take on more and just get things done, whereas mine tell me to do less and give up.

11 December 2012

Found that lost piece of original art and my psychological assessment, showing my thoughts being blocked by anxiety. I was really excited to pick Karl Blossfeld prints to go in Ikea frames but my excitement was dampened by the fact that the frames made my thumbs bleed and I had broken the glass   in two of them by kicking them off the wall. Oops.

09 December 2012

I am ready for the writing; I am ready for the fun.

07 December 2012

My mom really really loves going walking with her dog. She all but begs the dog to go for a walk every morning. However the dog has turned on her and refuses to walk. The dog waits for her to leave the house and then comes whining and barking to my door. I get dressed and take her out and find her manners much improved. The dog runs like the wind and leaps over little dips in the ground. She has fun. I feel bad for my mom because even though dogs don't make my heart grow gentle and full of affection the way that cats do seeing the dog have fun is somewhat contagious. I tell the dog she is a good girl when she manages to walk by the other dogs that she is scared of. I would say this whole thing was because the dog can sense my mom's depression, but when my mom first got the dog I had dropped out of school because I was depressed and I was the one who had to take care of her during the day, and the dog would drag me out for two and three long walks every day. I would fight with her, trying to get her to walk where I wanted to go; it was awful. I don't know if she remembers this or how this fits into her canine conception of the universe. I was not full of devotion and the bearer of treats as my mom is.  

06 December 2012

Quiet days have created an absorbing dreamlife... not that I remember much of it.
My mom says that if Prozac doesn't work she's going off all of her medications altogether.

05 December 2012

Talked to C.. She's been having a tough time but is getting just the help from her doctor I would have hoped for so all is well. I had been worried. You, dear readers, are awesome people and your empathy humbles me but there is just something about someone who feels exactly the same way about writing a late paper that motivates me to keep going.
The problem with cross-boarder shopping is that the Canadian mind is easily blown by the selection of cute clothing available. As a sample case, consider with me which pyjamas are cuter: the one on the left or the one on the right, except in dove grey.

Just bought a clean copy of a $100 textbook for 5 bucks on Amazon. American commerce is the most amazing thing to this Canadian.

04 December 2012

The soup maker shared his borscht recipe! It was absolutely no problem. He even demonstrated the kind of brown rice he uses. Now I just have to downsize it from, like, 20lbs of beets and 4 cabbages and a tub of onions. O happy day.

03 December 2012

I had the most delicious hot pink borscht at Granville Island last week. It had rice instead of potatoes, was chunky and vegetarian and above all was hot pink, not deep burgundy and not mixed up with cream. It had celery in it but not carrots. I long to make it at home but am having trouble finding a recipe to start from.

30 November 2012

Today I did a giant procrastinatory cleaning. Now a whole bunch of academic ephemera is in polka dotted Ikea boxes instead of being in piles in corners. I just need to write the papers so that I can return books to the library. I have books covering all available flat surfaces, and a box for the books for the frozen project. I am drowning in books. I found lots of hair ties and solitary socks and lost an original piece of art. I hope it turns up.

29 November 2012

wanna know a secret? I used peer pressure techniques The New York Times says Barack Obama's campaign team used to get the vote out in order to get my professor to give me an extension on my paper.

28 November 2012

Today in class my philosophy professor outlined the answers to the very difficult exam questions he posted. This saved me days of struggling feebly. I think I might have at bit of a crush on him. Very inappropriate, given that he was mean to me. The map of my attractions is all screwed up. Colleen opened up a bit about her problems with her family, her dog and her ongoing hallucinations. She is a lovely, lovely person. I liked listening.

27 November 2012

This will be the last Tuesday I have to hang out all day long waiting for my evening class. My ritual has been to spend at least two hours of my five and a half hour break drinking a latte in a clean well-lighted place. This is the only day of the week on which I drink caffeinated coffee. Today there is music and it is too loud and I have been more slothful than on all afternoons previous.  I have pulled out my Descartes.

25 November 2012

I used to clip New York Times articles for the colour commentary around the facts... I want to do it again but even more so.
I'm feeling restless...

23 November 2012

Let's not talk about this.
Trying to put all distractions out of mind and just focus on the work that needs to be done. I think I would be feeling better right now if my professor hadn't been such a jerk. I think I need a distraction until I calm down.

21 November 2012

C. offered me her notes and suggested we work on our papers together this weekend. My gratitude is immense. I will bring my library books to get that girl an A+.

19 November 2012

C. didn't get back to my text message about our professor being a dick because she spent the weekend hallucinating. She got bored at a party and smoked some pot. No one else hallucinated. She said our professor was being inappropriate which made me feel better and offered to reply to texts today. I still want to hallucinate but am totally sympathetic about how it would fuck up your weekend. Five years ago I wouldn't have felt the same way. I've grown.

18 November 2012

This morning I had cat duty. There were three adolescent girl cats who purred for me, including a long haired orange and white one who showed me her spaying stitches. One was a tabby like my cat, but with thinner stripes, a tail, and more white on her face, and one was a very dark and striking calico with white feet also. There was also a little black and white boy kitten who snuggled and tussled and kneaded me. Cisco would've liked him as a friend. After my cat snuggles me on Sunday mornings I always think twice about leaving. It is a treat to have a good experience with the shelter cats.

17 November 2012

Made it through the day of intensive essay writing. Kind of a wreck by 5 pm. Now settling in for bed.
My professor hasn't written me back. I take this to be good news. Now I just have to finish my paper for Monday... celebration first.

16 November 2012

I'm not the type of person who can say, "fuck 'em" and believe it. I have an absolutely miserable and wasted afternoon to show for it.
I am sitting on a bit of a stress bomb while I wait to hear back from my professor. It's probably going to take a while as it took me more than a whole day to reply to his last message. Sad face.
Anxiety medication is taboo. Even C. gets judgmental about anxiety meds. To me they make all the difference in the world, first because my antipsychotic leaves me with a core feeling of agitation that makes people ask what's wrong with my face, and second because I literally have no thoughts when I am anxious. For me they have the same function as ADD meds do for her, allowing me to focus. It's not like I take the medication and persist with maladaptive or avoidant behaviors. The medication has made me more successful at coping over time, but the social pressure not to take it gets to me.
My brain is working. I took a day to step back from what my professor had said and the situation may not be as bad as all that. Can't really ask for anything more.

15 November 2012

Today a friend didn't know what to do about an essay topic. I made a suggestion of how she could get help, bringing what she did know to the table. She said, "I could do that." It felt good.

14 November 2012

My philosophy professor is mad at me and says he's taking a substantial cut of my grade. It's not like I wasn't trying. I'm consulting with my consultants. He really doesn't get it.

12 November 2012

Today was not so good for working but I guess some of it is still left. I am disappointed in myself. I am confused and not enjoying the fact that my library books have been recalled.
I want this sickness to leave me. I poured bleach in a glass of water with my retainer because it kept reinfecting me with a sore throat.

11 November 2012

I am stuck and confused but I am genuinely enjoying it.
I am trying to decide whether it is worth it to pay to subscribe to the New York Times online or whether it is all gossip.
Taking more medication should have made my thinking fuzzier but it is clearer. I am more able to take a step back, switch quickly between different approaches, and make decisions about what is useful. The nature of my anxiety is to block conscious thoughts. In the year and a half I spent with the psychologist, although he had written a manual on CBT, he just tried to calm me down by forming a connection. I have more connections now than I did before and they help me through life but do not stop the underlying anxiety. For me medication just works.

10 November 2012

Put in some good, active outline emendation. Off to see Skyfall late this afternoon!
I think I may be overmedicating myself... but I am sleeping very well. Being as tense as I was always feels traumatic when it's over. I was getting ready to give up everything when my doctor suggested not to. The way would be clearer if I knew what I was thinking that made me panic.

09 November 2012

I have gotten back to work (gulp) but not gotten back in my groove (yet). I feel happy not to be anxious.

07 November 2012

Something doesn't feel quite right.

06 November 2012

Had lunch with C.. She had hand-washed her clothes and they were drying on the radiator and all around her place. She had not slept because she was trying to finish a paper she had spent all weekend planning. Her dog remembered me and brought out his new toy to play fetch with. It was awkward even though or maybe because we were both in a place of feeling defeated but weren't prepared to dwell on it.

05 November 2012

Today there was a bit of sun and I returned books to the library in it, waited in it, drank coffee in it and walked in it.

03 November 2012

C. and I are going to hang out and read on Tuesday. We may try to talk philosophy. She sounds sweet when she talks about her manic episodes. It's totally different than the way my sister gets upset. She did almost all of the talking the last time I saw her, which could be a low-level manic reaction to having her antidepressant increased because she was depressed. Or she just talks a lot.
Just got a pass on helping my sister move due to her unpredictable bipolar mood swings.
I know it's poor form to mention that it's been raining for weeks when people have lost their lives and homes to the hurricane, but I'm saying it.
Since I was having panic attacks on 1 mg (a fair bit) of my anti-anxiety medication clonazapam I decided not to take it anymore. This could easily have been silly. One can become addicted to this stuff but that seems not to have happened to me as I quit pretty much cold turkey. I just became habituated to it so that it didn't work anymore. Luckily there is an antipsychotic that works in small doses when I have panic symptoms, so if I need it I still have something. It is better not to need it.
My goldfish is zooming around his bowl. The cat is sitting on my textbook. The dog is wagging her tail. I can't find the light bulbs so am sitting in the dark.

02 November 2012

lonely... but recovering. my mom told me to get a job and I had a panic attack. halloween candy.

01 November 2012

My cat is a very diligent little nurse. He's been sleeping beside me all day, paying me extra attention.
This morning as the sun came up everything looked blue under the clouds.

31 October 2012

Loaded up on cold medicine and sencha. On the plus side my class was cancelled. On the minus side I have the cold.

30 October 2012

5:15 pm. I have eaten my dinner, whole wheat pasta and soybeans dressed up a little, cold, and am waiting for my evening class to start. Both my readings ended up taking forever and I finished neither. This morning I learned that German classicism was all about disappointed emotions in the face of political realities. On the phone with a nurse I tried to trace my own emotions into something legible but the words to do so are absent from my consciousness. The leaves on the trees are brightly coloured and contrasting here at school when they are not brown and pulpy underfoot. The views are all blocked by fences.

29 October 2012

Baltimore, are you receiving?
Awake at 5:30. Cat snuggled. Wild black Chinese tea sipped in the dark, with another cup now as the sun comes up. Torrents of rain outside.

28 October 2012

I quit my job at the archives. I feel lighter. I am reading articles about Descartes and Hobbes.

27 October 2012

Charles Darwin got psychologically triggered vomiting and boils while writing that reduced him to working only a couple hours a day for much of his productive life.
On Friday as I was dealing with an endless pile of crap at the archives I made the decision to quit and have an extra day to spend catching up on my writing every week. It felt like an especially sound idea when said pile of crap took half an hour longer than my workday (my dad was waiting for me) to finish labeling with its shelf number along the fold of its folder and checking the ultra slow database to find out whether it had been identified and then finding out at the last minute that two things for which larger folders had been needed were now millimeters to large to fit on the shelf in a flat position. I let the curve ever so unsightly. This all seemed like a good plan until today, which was set aside for writing but largely spent browsing online shops for dresses and lingerie (two things I only really wear for holidays) in the morning, and having panic attacks and feeling crappy in the afternoon.
I had dreams of doing creative things then zombied my way through this morning. Now it's time for Descartes and the second and fourth objections and replies. And a panic attack.

23 October 2012

I made my notes on Descartes and Gassendi without having a panic attack.
I am having anxiety attacks just looking at my primary sources. I really don't know what to do. I want to try to make some notes.

22 October 2012

C. and I are both looking forward very much to having coffee/tea on Wednesday after class. We are going to discuss our mentally aberrant natures with no worries of alienating anyone. It is just a question of hanging on until then...

21 October 2012

did not meet my reading or writing targets for today but did manage to persevere through some hefty stress.

20 October 2012

whoo! met my writing target for today.
There was a break in the rain so I bundled up to take my cat for a little walk but it was too cold and damp even for him to want to stay outside for long.
My cat will drop everything to tuck me in bed and purr me awake in the morning, especially when I'm stressed. He has a very comforting rumbly purr. =^.^=

19 October 2012

I am imploding. Tomorrow morning I start fresh.

17 October 2012

C. has really bad ADD. She switches topics midstream as she is answering a question. She is much more symptomatic than me, but she can focus in class to write twice as many notes as me and pull through things like the Descartes paper where I can't. I feel guilty. I feel very protective of her. She talked about her super supportive mom, her snuggly little dog and her boyfriend who is visiting from Maine. I wish someone would've dropped everything and come to visit me when I got depressed at university in Toronto. My parents always just hound me with "what's wrong" and tell me to come home. We are going to talk next Wednesday, when the workload eases for both of us.

15 October 2012

I picked up the book I had been waiting for and discovered my initial gut reaction was right and the question I had been trying to answer was a trick.
C., the girl with the purple red hair from my seventeenth century philosophy class, asked me about my comment from the beginning of term about people having varying degrees of insight into their psychosis. It turns out she has bipolar disorder and has been psychotic. She would like to talk about our experiences and I would like that too. She listens only to rock music from the 60s and 70s which she was introduced on a wind-up record player when her parents moved with her to a cabin in the woods with no power in Maine. She thinks Descartes' writing is beautiful. She is a magical person.

14 October 2012

My mom made really bad soup. I had to promise to make her some proper chicken soup.

13 October 2012

I am being responsible, doing my German a little at a time. I have been hard at work on Descartes but things are iffy. I found THE BOOK I want to help with my research but the commute to the library is too long for tomorrow, what with the cat-minding in the morning. For fun I downloaded New Books in East Asian Studies podcasts and glanced at the Rolling Stones' back catalogue.

11 October 2012

My psychiatrist got a job treating treatment-resistant psychosis so will not be treating me come January 1. I feel like I saw this coming; months ago I apologized for being such a boring case. She is a big blunt black woman and she has ambitions. I have met some bad psychiatrists in my day, but she lets me come in and be an equal partner. This will make her a great resource to very vulnerable people who are often dictated to. I hope the same people that hired her find someone else who will do that. Otherwise I will be looking for another doctor.

10 October 2012

I feel like my attempt to learn German is coming to a dead end in not learning and giving up. It is so frustrating to have to look up every word in a text. I feel like I am not progressing at all.
I don't like dried cranberries. I feel so alone in this.

08 October 2012

I have been reading for five hours. This feels like a significant investment in work, but I only got out of bed at 11 and then spent an hour foraging about. I gotta say, the Darwin industry suffers from verbosity, a nineteenth century sickness, and a love of minutiae, an affliction that has had an afterlife into the twenty first. I took a break to walk the cat, who comforted me last night when I was sick with worry. He takes great pleasure in rolling around in dusty dry dirt. The freedom of academics to take a spirit of careless generosity towards lateness prevailed.

07 October 2012

It is Canadian Thanksgiving.
Caught up with Cisco's new family this morning at the pet shop. They were full of stories about how he likes to race around the house and get into everything, including, but not limited to, window washing, bed making, turkey trimming, and the bath. They find this joyful, even though mom says her windows were never this dirty when she had babies. One day when the boys went out and he thought he was alone Cisco went around crying. He likes to have his teeth brushed. He needs surgery for a hernia and they are getting him microchipped. I could not have dreamt up a better home for him.

05 October 2012

Friday morning with nowhere to go is the time for switching from coffee to tea.

04 October 2012

I have tomorrow off to write my paper. That makes today like Friday and I am happy. I have a list of reading for this afternoon.
Today I saw an Asian girl with hair down to her knees.

03 October 2012

Today I met a girl in my philosophy class who I had been curious about because she has purplish red hair, is super skinny, and wears colourful clothes. Also she prefaces her intelligent comments with "I am confused." She likes to talk, which I like, and she likes that this philosophy is out there, which I like, and she is thinking about taking an extra year to take classes for interest, which I can sympathize with. She came from science but she is not competitive and was facing a cold and two other midterms this week. I recommended green tea for the antioxidants and she said that sounded delicious.
Can it be beer o'clock? I listened to podcasts during my commute and it took a lot of mental energy. Also I woke up at 4:30 am and further I managed to appear as though I had my shit together in conversation with my philosophy professor.

02 October 2012

This is Steven Heaton's painting, "make us children of quietness and heirs to peace." I was going to buy it and then he told me how much it costs so I have just been staring at the jpeg.

01 October 2012

Swooped in on the library and claimed all of the A-list Descartes books before my classmates could get there. I am writing about Cartesian dualism.

30 September 2012

My sister is difficult to take. Her speech patterns cause me stress. She never gets to the point. Her tone is always ironic. I feel an intense craving for my medication.
Crazy calico cat at the shelter started attacking my head, running her claws through my hair and biting my ear and the back of my neck. That is how cats bring down prey, severing the spine at the base of the neck. Basically she was playing at killing me. She nearly took out my eye.
Just high-fived my sister for dumping her boyfriend. "You need to weigh in sooner," she says. I wouldn't have the gall. This will be her third move in a year.

29 September 2012

oh boy... imagine my pride at being able to download podcasts to my iPod manually after weeks of throwing fits.
I am trying to decide whether I like a rust coloured sweater with a big keyhole in the back. I have mixed feelings about the colour rust and its autumnal associations. Somehow it feels like a dirty colour to me. This sweater looks best with a sheer camisole that my bra shows through. I think I might prefer a blazer of which I have a very specific image the real world may not be able to match.

All of my hard thinking and putting off spending money on black silk dresses has led me to this. I didn't buy the first dress because it looked cheap for $245 and I didn't buy the second one because my hair was too fluffy. I think you would need Asian hair for the dress to look pretty. Plus it would be silly to wear a black silk dress to university. With red lipstick, because I am pale and would look morbid without it. I have a small mouth; it just wouldn't work.

I woke up this morning to big snuggles from my cat who is now sleeping beside my pillow and proceeded to receive an invitation for a walk from the dog as soon as my parents walked out the door. My undecidedness must run very shallow if my animal chi is this good.

28 September 2012

Something seems morally amiss with the abundance of heartwarming film fest fare about marginalized people, no?

27 September 2012

Today a classmate who has PTSD asked me if I could take vitamins rather than antipsychotics. She has PTSD because she was abused as an au pare in Germany, attacked, and had a bad relationship, all of which she thought she could put behind her.

26 September 2012

Sorry, I am just too tired. I have been reading a lot and spending a lot of time on busses.

23 September 2012

I don't get trips across the boarder for the sole purpose of visiting Trader Joe's. Especially when we need actual groceries. My mom brought back vats of proprietary yogurt and cheese laced with hormones. And she's the one who's usually paranoid about what goes into food. She actually lectures other people on this, both as a teacher and as a private citizen, when kids come to our door selling chocolate covered almonds for the youth groups that keep them out of trouble. Luckily the kid had a good come back: "actually, it's Coke Zero, so there are no teaspoons of sugar." I worry one day she'll get shot telling someone what to do in an American parking lot.
My mom is bitchy. I take after my dad, who likes beautiful things.

22 September 2012

Today I worked on the long-term project that is the cause for the book pile-up by reading an on-line book. None of the other books moved. I found some information on social status that intersected with and diverged from my subjects and some more books to look at, but first I made notes and made a document for commonplacing. Then I read about Deleuze and Leibniz and Spinoza, looking to write a paper for my seventeenth century philosophy class. In between I read some Descartes, who is very boring.
I was so tired and hungry and frustrated yesterday I went to bed at 7 pm. Fell asleep right away. Slept just about 12 hours, which is normal for me.

21 September 2012

I gave my dad my last beer and he didn't bring any home tonight. My mom doesn't buy enough vegetables to make dinner every day. She's also a bad cook. And this is the second time this week I'm hungry because there wasn't enough food. My cat doesn't snuggle with me because I am out all day. I did boring work all day at the archives and am frustrated.

19 September 2012

My cat has been waking me up at 5 am to snuggle. Sometimes I drift off again but mostly I remain awake, and somewhat delirious, for hours. Lately I have been getting confused about the date.
I get to hear Steven Shapin speak on sensory history on Monday. He is a famous historian and philosopher of science.

17 September 2012

I have a problem with hoarding books. Library books. Surely a librarian could offer a speculative epidemiology of this condition?

I need to make an outline to end the book hoarding. This will not happen tomorrow. Perhaps if I call it an index I will have more luck with my outlining.
I feel a great sense of accomplishment at having finished my German assignment on time, even though it is probably riddled with mistakes and I am just auditing the class.
New socks are just about one of the best things.

16 September 2012

outside the spiders are getting fat.
I met Cisco's adoptive family this morning. They've re-named him Limo because he is so long. He now has a kitty skyscraper and a little tunnel that he runs through. He plays all of the time, so much so that they are thinking seriously of getting another cat for him to play with. Their other cat is 17 years old and not up for duty. They adore all of his little mannerisms, and both mom, who is British, and dad were very sweetly affectionate with the kittens who were in the store for a big adoption weekend. Their boy (they have two) was harmlessly dull looking. I am glad he has found a loving home.

15 September 2012

... not that it's so far stopped me from stressing.

Supper and my regular medication made all the difference.
Another university in town offers indexing as a continuing ed class online and in the classroom as part of certificate programs in editing and technical communication. You can take the classes at night or on weekends while you work. This sounds perfect.

14 September 2012

I feel totally defeated.
What is "fun"? I need to have more fun.
Checking out education options with the Canadian Society of Indexers. You can do indexing freelance,  and as an on-line course in many different places. Might be more my speed.
Last night I had too much on my mind and was having trouble sleeping. My sweet cat curled up under my chin and purred me to sleep.

13 September 2012

My dad is game. Even though he completely did not get my excitement over the footnote earlier, got C's in high school and never went to university. He says we'll talk about it later.
The library school says let years go by in the workplace to be a stronger, more mature candidate and apply elsewhere. I'm going to be 30 next year. My problems were years ago: I became psychotic after failing a year of school in 2006. I wish I could say I was completely past it.
fascinating, exciting podcasts on new books in science, technology and society.
Trying to get my dad to be a guarantor on an education line of credit to pay for my German class without my mother finding out and kibosching the idea because she thinks I should be taking only two classes. I have my own line of credit but interest rates and payment demands on students are lower.
Today I viewed the footnote, at the end of a newspaper article on whether or not it was allright for marriage to be a civil rather than religious institution, that inspired Immanuel Kant's "What is Enlightenment?" My German lit prof is a fun detective to follow. Hundreds of eighteenth century German newspapers and journals are available online through German universities.

12 September 2012

My German literature class is great. I can understand the professor, unlike last year, and her ideas are interesting. My 17th century philosophy class is also good, in that the prof doesn't get bogged down in things that aren't important. I went to his office hours today and found out his specialty is Kant but that he has done some Heidegger. He was into discussing Deleuze's readings of Leibniz and Spinoza with me, which is super cool. I need these little tricks of enrichment in order to stay interested. My Darwin class is a lot of reading, but I met a graduate student in English there who wants to be study buddies. I am concerned that I have tests to write, which I haven't done in years. My mother wants me to take only two courses. She demands this. I want to take three, auditing the German lit class.

I am in communications with the secretary of graduate admissions at the library studies program I want to apply to and she has said that you need a minimum GPA of 3.3. When I got sick I stayed in school and failed classes. As it stands, she basically said that I wouldn't qualify based on my GPA.

10 September 2012

I have been up since nightmares woke me at 4:30am. I am exhausted.

09 September 2012

I'm reading Leibniz in German. I can't find all the archaic words in my dictionary. There are like 20 pages of this stuff and I have the fear.
I got to cuddle some kittens this morning. I was sad to have to leave my own snuggley cat for this endeavor, but when I came home I took him for his walk. My cat is scared of the neighbours.

08 September 2012

I need to speak with an academic advisor, and Monday being archives day it will have to wait until Tuesday. How sweet it would be to walk away from all of this, graduate in November, and get into library school.
I finished my Darwin. Yaay! That was a graduate sized helping of readings. The course is cross-listed as a graduate class.

07 September 2012

I can see why Darwin was bored with his life. I am bored just reading about his privileged and dissolute university years. I correlate this boredom with why I could never study English. Perhaps I was raised too Catholic (although I rebelled soon after my confirmation, refusing to go to confession, and shortly thereafter attending synchronized swimming practices instead of Sunday morning church services and folding my hands in politeness instead of praying at meals) to identify pleasantly with a Protestant nation? I am only forty pages in.

05 September 2012

The reality of my workload is hitting me. Gone is the promise of a perfect, well-paying, resumé enhancing, experience providing job. My Darwin (Darwin? Would normally bore me) professor is an enthusiastic, organized of thought, philosopher who is grey but wears Vans skateboarding shoes. The downside is the class runs to 9 and my bedtime is normally 8:30, so I don't get to bed until after ten and can't sleep well then, and had to take a nap this afternoon. Sighting academic doldrums I am trying to decide whether I will go for a minor in philosophy to keep the challenge up, although philosophy classes with 75 students may just be academic doldrums. I will have more data after metaphysics tomorrow. So far my notes are organizing well on paper, which means my brain is in pretty good shape.

04 September 2012

I am not feeling good about the job. I guess when it's right I will not get all stressed out.

03 September 2012

After all of yesterday's stress I made this morning the morning of ultimate relaxation. I ate peach pancakes then climbed back in bed so that I could snuggle with my cat. He was already tired so I watched him sleep in my arms. Then reading in the bath, with my special bath salts, in order to warm up. Then half a milligram of clonazapam and a cup of tea. I have a stack of books to read but I think I might declutter my desk and the stacks of books surrounding it. Wanting a job makes me feel as if I am going crazy.

02 September 2012

I went to my cousin Lisa's wedding yesterday. After dinner she had a panic attack, my mom told me this morning. I left early because my medication used to put me to sleep at 8:30, but now my mind plays tricks on me if I stay up late. I had nightmares about an article I'd just read about Cat Power's psychotic depression. I felt woozy after watching the Batman movie that ran late last week. Other people's stories of mental unwellness upset me.

31 August 2012

woot woot! 92% and an A+ for my History major's seminar (the Anne Carson paper). This is also the class for which I got to e-mail a MacArthur Fellow about what he liked for dinner.
It is the Friday before Labour Day and I am experiencing my first taste of vacation freedom. Actually no. I am bundled up because it is cold outside and am experiencing guilt that I have not finished my paper on the Indian Village in the city park. My mom wants to go out as part of her depression treatment plan. The weather forecast shows the possibility of heat for Tuesday.

29 August 2012

Have finished the cover letters... best I could do I guess, just hoping it's not too late!
I'm not sure I had enough to brag about on my resumé... on to the cover letters this evening. I am worried it will be too late by the time I get them there.
I have completed the resume overhaul for job number one. Hip hip hooray!

28 August 2012

My resumé clinic was intimidating. I now have to think of things I accomplished in my former jobs, in which there was not a lot of feedback.

27 August 2012

Cisco has been adopted by a family with two young boys. I think they will have a ball playing together.

26 August 2012

I have collected the vitals on the 11 library and archival type job postings I want to apply for. Exciting times!
Yesterday was the yearly open house at the cat shelter that supplies the Petsmart where I work. There were fewer cats this year than last but that doesn't mean there wasn't a cat behind every potted plant out on the back deck. The house is tiny and smelly and full of one eyed of earless or otherwise unadoptable cats. There is a little isolation room in the back for the sick kittens to heal up. I asked where my former charge, the beautiful Molly liked to hang out and found her in the bedroom, on my second try, hiding under the night stand. I spoke to her and she looked at me sideways and then came out for a little pat. I think it's possible she might have remembered me. She is painfully shy.

25 August 2012

Waiting on Monday when I can get to the university careers centre for guidance on resumes and cover letters. The library jobs for the school year have been posted. There are many of them and I want one, both in order to improve my application for library school and to pay for my cat's dental work. Tips are welcome.

24 August 2012

My parents were very excited that I finished my paper. We opened a bottle of champagne and drank it way past my bedtime. My mom took me out to eat fancy little cakes today. My professor wrote me the nicest e-mail, beginning with congratulations in capital letters and then telling me I am a talented writer and hoping that this will be the beginning of a future filled with many papers. She will have my eternal gratitude, impatient academic overachiever that she is, for having the empathetic imagination to be patient with me while nursing me through two years of writing troubles, from not being able to finish a paper to writing a twenty page paper.

23 August 2012

I had a dream in which Prince Harry was giving me a piggy back while wearing a fancy dress military uniform in a palace. Lighthearted dreams when I have been very not lighthearted.
And I'm done. Hallelujah. I am now going to drink a beer.
Saw Cisco at the cat shelter today. He curled up on my purse and closed his eyes. He doesn't like being there. He has a massive hate on for the tabby cat there.
Now on to the first of two conclusions. I did some 1 am brainstorming and am off to the races on the first one. For completion after I visit the cats this morning.

22 August 2012

I am on to the last section on my paper, starring Socrates in Plato's Phaedrus.

21 August 2012

My mom told my dad I was a good listener and very supportive earlier today. She said I would make a good councillor. I didn't have much but I gave it what I had.
Wearing a big sweater and writing. The weather has turned grey.
My mom came home from her psychiatrist in tears because the doctor told her she shouldn't go back to work. She is more present but too fragile. She has a new antidepressant to try. Her last antidepressant made her not present and gave her a lot of difficulty making decisions. This one is from an older class of drugs. I haven't seen her cry like this since we lived in Ontario and we were away from her family and my dad was working all the time. She's generally good at picking up and going on and at least she isn't sleeping all the time, which she has done when she was depressed but on medication previously.
My mom has taken to calling her dog my dog as she will only walk with me. She is jealous of an honour I do not wish to have.

19 August 2012

Many tears later my mother and I are getting somewhere.
I didn't get too attached but I am still crying. I didn't cry when my first cat died.
Those dining room chairs are ugly but fucking expensive. I offered to replace them but she just referred to general irremediable disaster.
My mother doesn't like me when I'm working. She says I'm like a totally different person when I just sit around and knit. Knitting is fine but it is boring. She likes it when I am her housewife.
My mom is really depressed. She is off her antidepressant and on mood stabilizers, basically an oxymoron. She has been getting worse for years since she began seeing her current psychiatrist, who is well-respected by my doctor, who was her student. My mom has trouble connecting with therapists, including psychologists, which she has tried, so isn't willing to dump her psychiatrist, although the psychiatrist tried to dump her a year or two ago. My doctor has said that I can be another pair of eyes, like a nurse, but my mom isn't about to be totally honest with me. She hides her feelings until she breaks down.
The parents have returned. They are focusing on how good it is to see me and not the mayhem of a morning with the animals all running around. The dog would not go for a walk.

18 August 2012

How's this for an adoption profile for Cisco?

I am composed of 80% purr and 20% speed. I love to play and be part of a family (including other animals). I also like to snuggle, especially at bedtime.
It is so nice to be getting cat snuggles again... from both of my buddies. Play-fighting seems to have lightened the burden of some jealousy things.
My professor responded to my barely rephrased facts from Anne Carson with an "Excelsior!" finish the damn thing up. She loves the facts. We, all three of us, are in love with difference.

17 August 2012

Overcame sweltering heat, a little cat actively scratching the dining room chairs, and jitters from a cup of coffee I should not have drunk to get back on track, paper-wise. The evening is cooling off just enough for the animals to get up from their prone positions.
Why is it that when my best work is getting done I find myself at 3 o'clock sweaty and disgusting?
Just read a paper written by a former friend for the American Political Science Association's annual meeting as an example of a close reading. I really don't agree with her approach to the subject matter, in that I don't find it interesting or useful to the purposes to which it is set. I look to scholarship as a way of finding what is different from myself, not of collapsing distances and writing myself large over my subject. Plus her prose style is repetitious and inconcise. She gets away with this because she has opinions, opinions she lacks the self awareness to see past, and because revisionism is allowed.

16 August 2012

I have had it with the kitten but he is lying on the table where I am working purring in the cool of the fan. He is relaxed with his neck stretched out and his eyes closed.
The kitten is playing enthusiastically with a catnip pillow. I was worried he wouldn't have as much fun without a playmate but he is having a lot of fun. Little body squirming every which way.

15 August 2012

The kitten is cute but the cat is empathetic. I hope it is not because he is in pain because of his mouth.
Being lonely AND limited success writing is definitely depressing :(
The little cat scratched the back of one of the leather dining room chairs, hopping up on the top of it, a space so small no creature has any business being up there. I feel awful.
Yesterday's work was not too terrifying but I still have big blanks and incongruencies floating up. I think I will take the easy road and allow the easiest form of organization to prevail over my revised logic.

14 August 2012

Cisco so wants to be accepted by the big cat. It's heart rending. I consulted my sister, whose first roommate got a kitten when our first cat was in his teens and she said that after a few months they would play together and the little one could sneak up on the big one for sleepy cuddles. Our first cat used to spoon with my sister under the covers in her bed, their heads side by side on the pillow. It always looked very indecent.

13 August 2012

I finished reading the end of my book again so I guess tomorrow I can run with it...
The little cat is crying in his tiny little voice that her wants to go out my window.
The kitten has been pouncing on the big cat's very regal behind in an effort to get him to play. There were meowed protests at 5 am. We all slept in as a result, and then the big cat kindly sniffed the little cat's nose when we finally got up.

12 August 2012

Metta's tea is called xian cau ca. It translates to something like "thearch-ess grass tea." Of course he knows pinyin, he knows everything, including antiquated eastern systems of Chinese notation.

He saw me off with a Haagen Dazs bar (fancy ice cream being the way to my heart); sticky rice, peanuts and mushrooms wrapped up in a banana leaf; a Taiwanese herbal headache remedy; and a little extra money ("so you can buy some sweets"). Just because he is extra generous. I gave him a hug and promised to e-mail.
Being pursued by the dog and the big cat the little cat punched out the screen in my bedroom window and went leaping out into the morning. Luckily slip on shoes were by the doorway and I made good time. He purred when I caught up to him. Once the big cat did the same thing at 1 am and I couldn't find him. He had to spend the whole night outside. The dog and I found him in the morning crouched between the fence and retaining wall at the bottom of the garden, scared but unhurt. He ran straight for the door.

11 August 2012

The little cat likes to file his claws on the palm tree in the living room.
Rubbed chili in my nose. I feel like a dragon.

The little cat and big cat played together on the big chair. Cute times two!
The little cat gave me snuggles this morning when I woke up and then pounced on my toes under the covers. Cute attack!

10 August 2012

I have been cooking vegetarian this week, inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, a columnist at The Guardian and author of the book Plenty. I highly recommend his recipes for fun in the kitchen mixing middle eastern spices and things, as well as using whichever produce looks best at your local market.
The little cat is trying to snuggle up to the big cat again. The big cat meowed from under the covers and moved.

09 August 2012

Now most definitely touching, feet to bum.
Two kitties. Barely touching.
Two cats one couch. Sleeping in cuteness.

08 August 2012

The little cat has a strong interest in watching me cook. I have been trying to teach him to stay off the counter but he is just too curious. I'm going to put "interest in cooking" in his future adoption profile.
The little cat rolls over onto his back to let me rub his chest. So much cuteness, so much purring.
All of the animals are sleeping. I am rereading the end of Eros the Bittersweet trying to envision the final shape of my paper. It will deal with Plato's Phaedrus and living in the moment.
Both cats were on the bed at 5 am this morning. It was idyllic, with a subtle underlying tension. The big cat by my head, and then at his place on the outside corner of the bed, the little cat by my knees. The dog was sleeping peacefully in her kennel.

07 August 2012

Passing thunderstorm. No loss of power and only the dog is scared, but she is shaking. Cisco is lying next to her in the bathroom towel basket, purring loudly.
Cisco reminds me of Luna, a black girl cat of about his size who was my first foster charge. Both of them let me hold them and made my life more fun (though maybe it is a passing phase in catdom?) I cleaned the black stuff off of his nose. His tail still needs a bath.

Both cats are now sleeping. If I stroke my cat whenever I walk by his station on the back of the couch he purrs. The dog is hanging with the little cat and myself. She moves whenever I move.
Two cats in one room with no hissing. The big cat was even thinking about joining the little cat on the bed. Bravo cats!
dog sleeping. little cat sleeping. big cat po'd in the other room.
I am trying to teach Cisco some manners. First up: to stay off the counter. Unlike my cat, who hates being manhandled and is therefore easier to dissuade, Cisco loves the little cuddle he gets every time I pick him up and move him.

06 August 2012

Cisco keeps trying to eat my food. This morning it was Metta's bean curd; this evening it was parmesan cheese.
So I had a really good day. The dog walked, the cat walked, the other cat recoiled in shock. I am happily sitting on the couch with my cat while Cisco does laps around the place. We have discovered that Cisco is indeed chattering and are administering antibiotics. I am really happy even though I am sombred by my cat's dislike of sharing his territory with anyone else. I worked really well today too! More work this evening.
More Chinese words: peach is taozi and cherry is yingtao.
Apparently my cat's food is tastier. Which is good, because our boy Cisco is very skinny.

keeping an ear out for the dog

05 August 2012

Metta brought me yellow bean curd and a sauce. It looks very, very authentic.
Cisco the ginger cat is playing with the dog. I haven't seen the dog this active ever. There is a lot of swatting and dodging going on. Here I thought it was going to be all about me getting cuddles.
I have foster custody of the drooly ginger kitten. He is making his purred introduction to the place. oops... my cat has woken up and is yeowling. Both the cat and dog are staring at him. Wish me luck!

04 August 2012

My parents have left town for two weeks' vacation. I can drink bourbon with impunity.

03 August 2012

I have been spectacularly lazy, watching the Olympics on TV.

02 August 2012

ABC is reporting that Holmes' psychiatrist had him on her radar as a threat to others. A look at ABC's website today reveals a much more speculative account via the Associated Press. In any case, the University of Colorado has hired a federal prosecutor to look in to how it handled the case.

01 August 2012

My sister wants her boyfriend to surprise her with a kitten. One that acts like a ten year old cat. I cannot believe the degree to which she does not care about the feline personality, and the wonderfulness of choosing one's own cat. She just wants grey tabby baby cuteness that she can forget about while she's at work all day.
I think my goldfish is on his last legs. He is spending too much time gasping at the surface and floats up when he is trying to root around in the gravel.

30 July 2012

News report says that Holmes' doctor was disciplined (i.e. temporarily lost her license) for inappropriately dispensing medications and unprofessional conduct.
My professor had very minimal comments to make on my paper. I haven't had the stomach to re-read it and consider whether it was actually good, but my feeling was that I could take it farther. We'll see. I have to write a little something in German right now.

28 July 2012

Metta showed me pictures of a chicken and her 12 chicks, roosters sitting on his scooter, and a monkey holding her baby in her right arm. I was charmed.
My English student taught me another phrase in Chinese: Zhou jian (Hello). This combines with Xiexie (csi csi - thank you) to complete my Chinese vocabulary. Chinese is kind of awesome. However ancient Greek is kind of awesome too.

Also, Sean, if you would like some of the "cooling" Beautiful Lady tea Metta has supplied a package that I can mail to you.

27 July 2012

So James Holmes, the Batman shooter, was seeing a psychiatrist. Epic fail. The New York Times reports that she was director of his school's student health program (the one at my school was terrible) and had an interest in the neurobiology of schizophrenia.

26 July 2012

My cat now watches the news. [snuggle snuggle]
Woot woot! My professor is traveling with family but has received my draft. She will respond by Sunday, superstar that she is.
My nurse case worker figured out why I am waking up at 5am: the light and birds in the summery morning sky. I've got to pull the blinds.
Today I stopped to buy some celery leaves on my way home from my appointment with my psychiatrist. I ran into my former boss's sister Emily in the vegetable section. She asked me if I had time to practice English with her. Her English is severely limited. We spoke very briefly about my work with the cats. I am reading Gloria Anzaldúa's Boarderlands right now, on high alert for the oppressions of immigrant women. You know I'm going to phone her up and make time to drink tea with her next week.

startled looking feline jumper. unfortunately she looked startled in all the photos I took. her beauty is marred by being trapped in this little place, unable to control the conditions on which she gets out.

25 July 2012

My mom cried. Not tears of joy, as might have been hoped, but tears of frustration for "the years [I] have tortured [myself]." She later apologized, having cried some more, and feels like a crappy mother. I'm doing my best folks, and this is about as good as it gets.
Done the conclusion! It has now been sent away for revisions.
Just kidding! It was like I had one self procrastinating on my blog while another self wrote. I'm down to my conclusion.
I am right at the very last part of section 1 that I need to write before I send it off for reviewing. I am not excited. I am reading A Chinese Bestiary.

24 July 2012

My Jungpana estate darjeeling first flush arrived this morning with Iban the postman, sewn up in a muslin bag, sealed with red wax and hand-lettered in black ink. What a treat: the romance of it all. The tea inside was vacuum packed to keep it fresh, and I got samples of other second-flush teas from the Darjeeling region. Now I can taste the mountain air!

23 July 2012

I want someone to drink Shandys with at the Irish Heather.
I took my cat to the vet today for his follow-up appointment. He really didn't want to go and meowed extra loudly in the car. We thought he'd peed his towel, he was so upset. As it turned out, the vet declared his paw 100% healed, checked his sore teeth, and let him go. Bo hid under a chair, and was happy to hop back in his kennel. On the way home he was so relieved that he barely meowed. He is now sitting beside me on the couch. Success for the psychological benefits of vet-revisiting and one very good cat.

22 July 2012

I have been writing for hours on end and it has been going reasonably well, but I need a break to do something reasonably mindless.
I come home from teaching my English student and am so calm. I don't know if it's the mysterious Chinese herbal tea he makes me, the process of reading aloud, or his good humour, but it's working for me. Then I go home and get caffeinated.

21 July 2012

Curious to know whether my friend Tippy the jumping cat has any immanent travel plans.

19 July 2012

Just ordered all the Gilmore Girls I could want for CHEAP on Amazon. Next up is ordering all the Deadwood I could want for CHEAP. The US Postal Service is fast compared to Canada's. The boarder causes a logjam but in this case the items can't be shipped over the boarder, so it's just pickup that's an issue.
I have been scanning the postings for a job at my university library. But. There is a volunteer job scanning materials to do with obstetrics and gynecology that has jumped out at me. I need the money.
An artist's self-portrait while on various drugs.  I am on what he calls Klonopin and Geodon.

18 July 2012

Just figured out I could do a minor in philosophy. Wondering if I could hack it. I have succeeded with flying colours in the past but when my illness intervenes (the last time I tried) it all goes blank. Doing this would give my remedial year an injection of intellectual interest. And history and philosophy of science is where my focus has been. It's a more realistic area to focus a MA in than Chinese history, that's for sure. Although China is more charming than an outsider could ever fathom. I read Chinese history books for fun, and I never read European history books for fun.
I was unable to entertain my mother so she has fled. I have no one to take my cat to his free vet visit, pick up my Gilmore Girls DVD's at my mailbox across the boarder, or go swimming in the ocean with. Heavy writing time on the horizon.
We had to stop the antibiotics because the cat wasn't eating or drinking. Two days later he's back to normal, with no swelling at the site of his sixth toe.

17 July 2012

panic attack.
The lady who runs the cat rescue society I work for and adopted my cat from says that if I get the teeth removed through her it will cost around $150. I am wondering how safe that would be.

16 July 2012

I need to save up $2000 to pay to have most of my cat's teeth extracted because of chronic gingivitis. His body reacts to his own tartar. I feel horrible doing it to him.
Pirate-themed birthday party.

15 July 2012

Blogging the lost: 1 bottle of tea coloured ink last seen at Christmas and a card from a friend, tucked in its envelope yesterday.

After looking in all of the spots I can think of, I am prepared to say, nothing that can't be replaced.
I bought my cousin tiny music boxes that play Beatles songs for his fifth birthday. He calls them "the bugs band." I look at all of his boxes and boxes of toys and have no idea what would be cool in his eyes.
I have a short term job, sort of, helping the Thai man practice his pronunciation. This morning we read Buddhist scriptures, which are actually not bad for practicing on because there is a lot of repetition, and he told me about how everyone can become a Buddha. He kept my cup of tea full (I have no idea what it was but he said it was cooling and good for women) and talked about the meditation retreat he is going on. He is super psyched about meditation from 4:30am to 9:30pm, with breaks for walking and qi gong and helping prepare vegetarian food. He paid up front and sent me off with all kinds of tea and a banana. Teaching English must be some kind of right of passage in this part of the world.

14 July 2012

Today down by the docks by the public market I fed a small brown bird from my fingers. I bought phosphorescent ink by J. Herbin and a card to send to my friend Mary. The glow is magical in a dim hallway, I remember it from the ocean on the Sunshine Coast. Also, since the stove timer is failing and no longer shows up on the digital screen, I bought a perfect tea timer and thermometer. Small things of great pleasure.

13 July 2012

Never been so happy to see a cat with five toes (sorry ragdolls [they have 6 naturally]).
The sixth toe turned out to be a scab over a sore 1 cm in diameter. We have antibiotics. The visit cost a manageable $112. So proud of my cat's good behavior.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry... I just... I woke up at 5 am, made coffee and got back in bed, and my cat (sorry) came and fell asleep in my arms and then I fell asleep too and then it was raining and sunshine at the same time when I woke up and it looked like my cat had a sixth toe.

12 July 2012

Also at the shelter... an orange tabby kitten with one olive green eye and one sky blue one.
Today at the shelter one of the cats tried to escape through the ceiling panels. I have no idea where she would have gotten to, but the pet store is enormous. At the last moment I jumped up from the chair I was standing on to the countertop and grabbed her hind leg. I have large gashes across my left arm to show of the battle. She is a maine coon tortoise shell cat with the most beautiful face. Shows of spunk pull at my heart. I wish I could have her over to my house for a couple weeks.
My cat has a lump on one of his front toes. The fur is missing and it looks a little crusty. I am hoping against hope it is a terrible bug bite, but it doesn't seem to be bothering him which suggests the worst. I am worried about financial calamity.

11 July 2012

Had a mind blowing experience at the library today: you can make a PDF from microfiche.
My silk underthings that don't stretch at all are still the most comfortable underthings I own.
My mother's Visa PIN is my sister's birthday. Should I feel left out?
Lately I've been questioning whether I have taste at all.
Today in the morning heat I met a man at the bus stop wearing a long robe and a toque. With a traveler's enthusiasm he introduced himself as from Thailand and explained that he is studying English and looking for a book on grammar. He also invited me on the meditation retreat he is going to on the Sunshine Coast (traveller's enthusiasm and Thai kindness). I was won over when he said I looked sixteen or seventeen, though. On the way home from the library I met him again. He wanted to practice his pronunciation, so whipped out a book of Buddhist sutras in Chinese with facing English and we went for it. Too bad all of the key concepts were just transliterated. I was trying to explain that we pronounce the letters at the end of words, so he ended up spitting out some very hard D's, as their own syllable. On the bus he reached into his bag and pulled out four Activia yogurts, telling me they are good for eyes. The actual yogurt or the blueberries in it, I wonder. In any case, Activia makes me constipated but for the life of me I could not give them back. Asian medicine and philosophy, however, as intellectual queries, are pretty much right up my ally these days.

10 July 2012

I'm sorry for the shrillness around these parts of late.
German today with the sweet cat lady, who at the moment is caring for a giant bulldog who licks me all over. I have done better this week at studying and compiling a vocabulary list. The lady lives in an area with a park that has big yellow signs warning of "a high level of beaver activity." This is funny, or will be, until I have to outrun a falling tree.

09 July 2012

My mother's articulated self-awareness improves as her medication reduction leaves her feeling various degrees of shitty.

07 July 2012

My mother reminds me of my cat, who has a tiny prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for planning and control), and therefore is prone to getting stuck in mental ruts. Her mental ruts are likely anxiety induced short circuiting.
I've been waking up at 5 am, having gotten a decent night's sleep since I get knocked out by my medicine very early. The extra hours in the day would be nice if I weren't finding consciousness itself somewhat dull and painful. I don't feel like working at all when I wake up at 5 am and gradually the procrastination gets to me. It's only barely afternoon now and I've already put in a solid day's worth of procrastination. I am going to have to put in a day's work now too.

... or not: I took a nap. Know what helps? Blog comments.
Other than that glaring fact the conversation went very well.
oh my god my mom doesn't even know what symptoms of bipolar she has.
Put the skirt on my bed, which is absolutely too large for my bedroom. Don't tell my sister or cousins, who I out-zoomed with my typing fingers to close the deal.

06 July 2012

I ordered my Darjeeling Jungpana First Flush 2012 this morning, along with samples of other muscatel Darjeelings. It tastes like mountain air; it's blissful. Tea pickers carry it down from a unique microclimate in the mountains in wooden boxes, which impart their flavour on the flowery tea. I got a steep discount ($10 off per 100g) by ordering a year's supply (500g). Hopefully my tea will arrive in three or four weeks when my mother has gone on vacation and is not around to give me shit about spending my money on tea.
Thanks to a fortuitous browse at the second hand book shop where I had my credits, I found George W. Stocking's book Victorian Anthropology, on the multiple contexts for the formation of the discipline. I take Stocking to be a pretty good source as my university library has two copies of this book, and fifteen other listings for him. While searching for them I found two others that look useful: Romantic Motives: essays on anthropological sensibility and Learned Societies and the Evolution of the Disciplines. For a project I'm not officially working on this one is going very well.
I set up my bed this morning by myself.
This was no small feat, as there was only room to stand the mattress and box spring on their sides leaned up against my dresser next to the bed, with only vertical room for maneuvering. I managed it moving only my nightstand. I think I might like new bedding now,  because the dog has clawed up my quilt, but blue and purple is so soothing and not over the top feminine. Here is a bedpost and a cat chair:
My bed is enormously high. I think I might need a step up, as well as a bigger bedroom so that it can be fully appreciated from all angles. I expect that it will be good for reading in. High beds seem to be better that way.

04 July 2012

My mom says my new old bed is "the nicest frickin piece of furniture in the house."
I felt very disciplined working at the library today. I made notes from a book that had to be returned, and that may only act as guideposts for further research for the project on Kwakwaka'waka totem poles that I've put on hold. At lunch I headed out to buy lettuces from stands set up by the university farm and encountered a drain on the second floor above ground level splashing water up into the bathroom. Loudly. I left and puzzled over whether or not Roland Barthes' The Pleasure of the Text fits into my reading of Anne Carson's treatise on love. I felt ill from drinking an actual real latte in the morning. Oh the pain I suffer for the deliciouness of a perfectly made cup of coffee. Pleasure requires an edge, Barthes says, and Carson titles several key sections with edges. I think that's all.

03 July 2012

My mother has an awful headache. Her psychiatrist is trying to wean her off of her antidepressant and replace it with mood stabilizers. I think this is a terrible idea - my mom is depressed and anxious as a result, she doesn't need medications that will dampen her intellect when she is already perpetually distracted. She grew up in a very negative house, leading to persistently critical thought patterns about stuff you can do nothing about. I don't think that has anything to do with mood swings. I feel stuck because nothing in the past 15 years has worked, and to me she seems to have gotten more unstable since going on mood stabilizers.
My brain is tired from practicing German.

02 July 2012

My cat remembered that he likes me. We listened to the birds together at 4 am.
received an e-card from my aunt Sally:

Figures I would make my cousin apologize for a game of pretend gone awry.

30 June 2012

My aunt Sally and I had a good chat after my late afternoon play date with Nicholas. She invited me to come over anytime, including after my work at the archives. You don't get much more 'in" with the cool kids and their million dollar ocean view homes than this, kids. We split a bottle of wine and talked about interpersonal boundaries. It fed my soul.

29 June 2012

I have fallen in love with a kitten who hopped up in my lap and attracted all the other adult cats to her lair. She was tiny, black and white, and as I gently stroked her she stretched and curled up and I could feel her belly rumbling with a purr. I wish I was allowed one more cat; a lap cat who gets along well with other cats.

28 June 2012

I am inheriting an four-poster antique mahogany bed from my aunt. Her parents bought it when they got married. As I remember, it is small, and if I can talk her into it, there may be a feather bed involved.
My book came, making a dishonest woman of me.

26 June 2012

The volunteer coordinator for the cat rescue society I work for speaks German. She offered to help me practice at her house. Mostly she spoke simply as I have no confidence in my German, and after a while some words came and I could imitate her a little. Her teenage daughters are like cats, beautiful and very much full of uptight attitude. At the end she got one of them to let me see the kitten she is taking care of. He hissed at the dog (a big bulldog who practically gave me a bath) and then he hissed at me because he was scared, but then he settled down and soon he was looking to make daring escapes from the kitchen table.
I am making $8 on this refund.

25 June 2012

Alibris has declared my order of A Chinese Bestiary lost and refunded me. Which is good, because that book costs almost a hundred dollars, but bad, because I would still like it. It contains creatures that we would now consider imaginary, but were considered real in shamanic cultures of 4th-1st c. BCE somewhere in the area we now refer to as China. I was surprised by the ease with which Alibris refunded me. I don't order a ton of stuff from them but when I do it seems to take a long time to get to me. I wonder if it still might be coming. Has this ever happened to anyone else?
The dog seems to be feeling better today... she went for a second walk with me this morning.

24 June 2012

I officially did not get the job.

22 June 2012

No word, still, from the Museum of Anthropology. I feel better about my own shortcomings because they were unable to behave competently and get a decision by the deadline, which was two days ago. I heard from the archives and they will be taking volunteers in August or September. They asked me if I was still interested and I said yes.

21 June 2012

I dreamed it was Christmas and we were eating cookies around the table. One very old cookie that had been around since my childhood was broken open and I tasted it. It was really good but I didn't want to destroy what was left. My sister had a dog and I ran through the house taking pictures of it with a very expensive camera belonging to my mom. Also my sister was skinny and had a haircut that involved part of one side of her head being cut really short.

It seems like my dream life is pretty benign, and revolves around having more fun than I do in my regular day to day existence. I have Carl Jung's enormous Red Book out of the library (29.8cm x 39.5 cm). It looks positively hallucinatory.

19 June 2012

I kicked my laziness to the curb and took a walk in the bog this afternoon. No panic this evening. I credit the tiny magical blueberries. And velocity. It's tough being a size zero, you never want to walk anywhere.
I dreamed I was babysitting and there was a water slide in the middle of the house beside the staircase. We climbed up the water slide.

Then I got snuggle bombed by the real life cat.

18 June 2012

What did I ever do before I had a cat who can put himself to sleep in the morning pretty much on demand, in order to snuggle with me longer? This morning I was reading Roland Barthes' The Pleasure of the Text for my Anne Carson paper and it was definitely pleasurable.
I have run out of space for books and clothes. Luckily it's all okay because I found Ben Ketchor's The Cardboard Valise and got to throw away some German flash cards.

17 June 2012

My friendships tend to end in clashes over fundamental beliefs. This one hasn't yet.
The dog is not well.
I wanted to shove Foucault down her throat. Violently so. Instead I thanked her for the conversation.
I just told a friend who wants to be a counselor I think her approach to relationships is highly medicalized. I was encouraged to do so by my psychiatrist. The friend said she doesn't think of therapy as medicine. The conversation has hit a long pause.

16 June 2012

Trying to sort out career prospects is stressful. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off. What had been confined to a dark corner of my psyche is suddenly out in the open.
My mom is supportive of me taking more classes to improve my chances of getting in to grad school but emphasized the importance of getting some work experience in the field of libraries before making that call. I am now obsessed with getting to the career center and writing good cover letters.

15 June 2012

Just got a reply from my interviewer. She found my post-interview response "very interesting" and forwarded it to the other interviewer. Wheee! I did manage to interest them! I can do interviews on paper after the fact!

14 June 2012

I was checking out library studies classes and yes, I can get excited about indexing, bibliography, and academic libraries. I also get excited about doing research of my own. I don't get excited about teaching but I see how my favourite prof does it and reap the benefits. If I wasn't so old and hadn't dragged my transcript through getting sick it would be an easy call to do both.

I used to be the first one in to see the shelter cats on Thursday mornings. Now there is an older man with an anxiety disorder who comes in at 8 am, snuggles all the cats and feeds them too much wet food before I get there. On top of this he gets paid. Today they napped through my whole shift. Luckily my favourite one spent the latter part of my morning napping in my lap, otherwise I would have been utterly despondent.

13 June 2012

Brain fuzz from all of the avoidant creative reading I have done today.

12 June 2012

I wrote a thank-you note to my interviewer, including a few paragraphs on how I should have answered her very first question. Um. Fingers crossed.
I think I will be able to reconstruct a Kwakwaka'waka context for storytelling (based in recognition) to match my British-Canadian context for history and fiction receiving (based in sympathy on the part of Ronald Campbell Johnson, who wrote down the stories, and on a sense of vulnerability and the politics of suffrage, on the part of his wife Amy to whom the stories were told).
The dog has begun refusing morning walks. The cat, however, would like to pick up the slack.
My professor and I agree that Anne Carson's work refining her style, as evidenced in her picking out some good sentences and completely reworking her thesis into Eros the Bittersweet is inspiring. In the thesis I have on microfiche she is most definitely a student, albeit one with a taste for history of the senses, which is now thirty years later hitting its stride as a fashionable thing to study. But her style, her inimitable way with words that makes everything she says so fresh is I think an appropriation of Aristotle's thought on metaphor, which, as he theorizes it, demands liveliness. It is an inspiration to take what seems most cool from a source and polish it up to look its best.

11 June 2012

Ugh. Was not able to engage the two retired ladies interviewing me. I doubt I'll get the job. Last hope is that the curator reads my application, is hip to contemporary research and the situation at the museum that formerly employed me, and checks my references. It sounds like a dreamy place to work.

10 June 2012

Nervous to the extreme about my interview tomorrow. Have been thinking about all my faults and am horrified about how it's all going to look. I am apprehensive about the amount of work it would involve if I got it.
I would like the entire library of Zone Books. Then I would like to write a book worthy of the Zone imprint.

09 June 2012

Got out for a walk and picked up my library books. Tomorrow I will read over my writing from my two Chinese history classes (2 and 3 years ago!) to prepare for my interview.

08 June 2012

Thesis microfiche order 2.0 has arrived! Will be off to collect it tomorrow. Today is all about Nuuchahnulth worldview in the context of indigenous epistemologies worldwide, first because the last time I worked at a museum I corresponded with the author and he told me he wanted his rattles back (they were not repatriated and sadly sit on a shelf), second because I figured I needed a primer on indigenous studies in preparation for my interview on Monday, and third because I am trying to understand the context in which Kwakwaka'waka stories were told to my research subject Amy Campbell Johnston for that old project which is on hold. Stories are not my thing, philosophy is my thing, and if I can approximate the tacit content of her experience by making a connection of my own maybe it will help.

07 June 2012

Still don't feel good. It's been a week. I need to get some exercise but I've been lazy. It's all my fault!

06 June 2012

I love it when my cat sleeps on my bed. We took a nap together earlier but he is back again right now.
I have just received a Chinese encyclopedia of dreams from 1562.

04 June 2012

I am applying for a volunteer job researching anthropological artifacts from obscure parts of the world. I had a panic attack about this, but the professor for whom I am writing the paper is supportive. She is very good at applying for things, so I immediately felt better when she agreed to be a reference. My former supervisor at the other museum also agreed to be a reference, which is great, because the last person I volunteered with didn't like me as much. Now I have to beat a whole bunch of people who want to be anthropologists! The process so far has been very stressful. I am not feeling so hot.

02 June 2012

Despite a dance with some historiographical hot spots, Carolyn Steedman is at bottom a social historian, which is boring.

Instead I'm going to read about commonplace books in Georgian England (1714-1830). I have been drawn to eighteenth century history before, who knows, it could be good.

01 June 2012

Anne Carson's book Antigonick arrived in the mail this morning and I read it all. It is a beautiful object, hand lettered on one side of the page only, with interleaved illustrations on translucent paper. I had to resist the urge I have with all comic books, to immediately send it back from whence it came for a full refund. It turns out I am on a bit of a reading binge. I have been doing 'silent reading' in between bouts of work and it has been very enjoyable. I absorbed some more Grafton and am on to Carolyn Steedman's Dust.

31 May 2012

For months now it has felt as though my writing were the key to my whole life, and the one thing holding me back.  My writing is now going easily, and since this has happened I haven't needed my extra medication daily as I had. Yet I am feeling a slight dip in mood, a reluctance to go out, too tired to blow dry a curl into the bottom of my hair or put energy into cooking dinner. I guess this means it is time to wrap it up.

30 May 2012

This story is just too cute. A six-year-old qualified for the National Spelling Bee in the US. She is the youngest contestant ever and she practices spelling words while jumping on a trampoline.

29 May 2012

My cat yeowls at other cats. He sounds like a human infant. Today the cat he was yeowling at let him sniff his nose. It was only after several minutes of continued yeowling that the other cat slowly backed away and continued on his way. What is the meaning of this cry?
A whole nest of tiny spiders just hatched on my strawberry pot. They are bright yellow.

28 May 2012

First five pages of outline sent off for reviewing. Sencha Ashikubo to celebrate!

27 May 2012

oh no... one of those panic attack things.
Here is my citation heavy attempt at an introduction. If you think you can help me along I would be happy to receive a comment. The epigraph refers to the subject of the class, which was "History and the Graphic Novel." I have found the anti-Foucault and her name is Anne Carson.
I think probably my painting notion comes from dealing with classical texts which are, like Sappho, in bits of papyrus with that enchanting white space around them, in which we can imagine all of the experience of antiquity floating but which we can’t quite reach. I like that kind of surface.
Anne Carson is both a creative artist and a scholar of ancient Greek. From the captions on a series of paintings that were expanded to form her first book of poetry, Short Talks (1992), to readings of Nox (2011) performed with her partner Robert Currie and various dancers, form has played a central role in the way that Carson conceptualizes her work. But in a 1997 interview, Carson describes Eros the Bittersweet, a condensed and rewritten version of her dissertation as “possibly the last time I got those two impulses to move in the same stream - the academic and the other.”1 Although her interviewer John D’Agata insists that some would say she has been mixing the two all along,2 Carson explains, in a more formal note on method, “my training and trainers opposed subjectivity strongly, I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact where other people converse logically and exchange judgments,” alas, “I go blind out there.”3 Carson describes writing as a process of maneuvering back and forth between a space of facticity, and one cleared of everything she does not know. She describes her facts as having an activity or movement something like a tempo, rather than coming from a place of having narrative stories to tell.4 The forms fact take for her are revealed in relief against empty space: “Once cleared the room writes itself.”5 What Carson is describing here is a place for beginning; whereas she considers herself capable of capturing a plausible surface of sensuous and emotional fact, adequate to spur others to thinking, she doubts whether she has ever finished the thinking, so as to provide the sense of emotional understanding she so admires in the writers who inspire her.6

Carson has been criticized for her use of the apparatus of fact, “serious scholarly commentaries, introductions, footnotes, appendices, postscripts, and even mini-interviews,” that seem to critic Charles Simic “annoyingly didactic and futile”7 against the backdrop of Carson’s inimitable use of language. His irritation points to the way that Carson’s texts seem to anticipate and engage an imagined reader, and critics have rejoined her on these terms, taking on the critical apparatus of reader-response.8 Yet others question why this method,9 and try to step back to respond to the fracture between what is offered and what is received. Paula Rabinowitz suggests it is “[i]n all of these efforts at retrieval and exposure, of sifting through the detritus of language as the means to bodily expression, Anne Carson finds the core of poetics, the poets’ struggle to make, as she says, ‘the profoundest of poetic experiences: that of NOT seeing what IS there.’”10 It is my argument that in Carson’s work, concealment, absence, or loss creates the subject. In Eros the Bittersweet, Carson defines eros as "‘want,’ ‘lack,’ ‘desire for that which is missing,’”11 “deferred, defied, obstructed, hungry, organized around a radiant absence.”12 The lover she concludes, “wants what he does not have. It is by definition impossible for him to have what he wants if, as soon as it is had, it is no longer wanting."13 I will develop this idea with respect to three major themes: loving with respect to distance, loving and knowing, and metaphor and the poetics of self-disclosure.

1 D’Agata 9.
2 D’Agata 11.
3 Economy of the Unlost vi.
4 D’Agata 13.
5 Economy of the Unlost vii.
6 Aikin 194.
7 “The Spirit of Play,” New York Review of Books, November 3,
8 Kate Middleton, 2. Robert Stanton and Lee Upton.
9 Middleton, Litia Perta
10 Paula Rabinowitz, http://english.umn.edu/engagement/AnneCarsonintro.html.
11 Eros the Bittersweet, 10.
12 Eros, 18.
13 Eros, 10.

23 May 2012

Library of Canada sent the wrong thesis. Fail, fail, fail.

22 May 2012

I have just received microform delivery of Anne Carson's thesis, on which Eros the Bittersweet is based. This is very exciting and thanks to the National Library of Canada's loans program. I will be able to have a better look at her sources and get to see how her inimitable style evolved from when she was just starting out.
I've made a hard edit to my library book collection and begun reading some of the ones I'd kept around for fun. Yesterday was Grafton on Vico and Descartes and people who wanted to know everything there was to know on every subject. It is liberating to just read.

20 May 2012

Finally ordered my own copy of some books I have had out of the library for a year with no real intention of ever returning them. I'm going to miss my university library privileges.

19 May 2012

I had to walk back up the hill on the grass because my new shoes made my feet bleed.
I saw a whole bunch of herons on the beach. Eight or ten of them, maybe? It was low tide and they were standing on a sandbar up to their knees in the water, circling and landing in the same area. A dog came swimming out and bouncing through the waves scared the herons away. Then he swam back the other way and scared away three more. It was a long swim but the birds had great big sets of wings.

17 May 2012

My friend Mary's been seeing and talking to our German literature professor out of class for a while now. He asked her out on their first official date when she moves to Montreal for the summer. He's about thirty years older than us, white hair. She says she thinks he's way out there in his own world (of romantic fantasy, I would add) but she's going for it. She likes fairy tales.

15 May 2012

Made a small bit of progress today. Most exciting was taking the cat on a walk in which he scared off two snakes and another cat, when he jumped up on the trailer on which she was sunning herself. My poor cat longs for feline companionship. Look at his face after he was rejected:

14 May 2012

I am a bit stuck.

At least I got some exercise today in the sun.

13 May 2012

So I guess I'm going to have to do something tonight.
I got fancy silk satin underwear that comes with its own bag. I was delighted.
I got my mom peonies for mother's day. She was delighted.

10 May 2012

My fig tree has little figs growing on it; its first crop early enough to ripen.
Existence as actuality combines two opposing factors, possibility and necessity, and thereby has a paradoxical character. This view is embodied in all his subsequent writings.
"Historical Introduction" to Kierkegaard's The Concept of Irony With Continual Reference to Socrates.

05 May 2012

søren kierkegaard and karl marx share a birthday today.

04 May 2012

kierkegaard! irony! critiquing the aufhebung and German Romanticism!
It's really satisfying to do research using books that I already own.
I have found out more about the sources Anne Carson used to write Eros the Bittersweet. The way she borrows headings from Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse: Fragments is more like stealing than her reading of Aristotle on metaphor, for instance, which she cites as a methodological jumping-off point for her later creative work in Men in the Off Hours. I've been combing her bibliography to Eros the Bittersweet for her sources on metaphor, plus I have a book on Sappho's fragments written after Carson's. Five books open at once kind of event.

03 May 2012

These cats weren't really friends but me and my coat mediated and they helped make my morning. A grumpy orange persian lady cat sat on my lap, but only because I picked her up and she didn't move after that. The grumpy cat reminds me fondly of the woman who taught me literary theory.

02 May 2012

PubCats! Cats in pubs, that is.

01 May 2012

It's become rather lonely around these parts with nobody commenting.

30 April 2012



29 April 2012

My dad is frustrated he can't lose weight. He won't stop eating though! It's painful to watch. He's obsessed with feeding himself, in gigantic portions, always with a protein shake after dinner. He works out every day but his eating is still excessive. It's like he cannot reprogram his brain.

28 April 2012

My only experience of getting to a way of writing when I want to write is to break rules or change categories or go outside where they say the line is, so how am I going to say to somebody else, “Now, here is the line”? It’s dishonest. All I can do is say, “Find the line and go someplace else,” which is not helpful.
Anne Carson, interview with John D’Agata, The Iowa Review, Summer-Fall 1997, 15. On her dislike for grading papers.
Happiness is understanding my German relatives' long-distance birthday conversations. My grandmother was talking with her twin brother, who has fluid buildup pressuring his brain. He sounded unsure, and he wasn't able to speak properly. They said he was confused about who he was talking to at first. Apparently he'd survived a recent tumble down the stairs onto a marble floor. My Opi joked about how he is always hanging on to Omi when they go out, but it's because he has so much pain in his back and legs (and doesn't believe in painkillers). My Omi's brother's daughter's seven year old daughter sang a birthday song in German; it was super cute.