Monday, January 31

taken by supreeze

I have recently been more occupied with people (what with some traveling, some being sick, some having hard work days) than with my studies and so look upon my coming week's work, minus today of course, and it is swamped. I am expected to finish three novels by Thursday. I am half-way through one, twenty pages into another, and not even cracked the cover on the third. It isn't as if we were given more than a week's notice that we were discussing them, but a four-day notice that we should have them FINISHED . . . I probably whine.

It just seems overwhelming to do that, respond to at least two other answers in each of minimum three threads for four classes, and analyse a few smaller pieces, starting a paper into the bargain.

My LOTR jacket came today, and I love it. Dorky, yes, but then I am dorky. I love denim jackets. I have been neglecting my leaf-thought journal of late in favor of a moleskine day journal and a subject-diary (daily) with all this academic writing and only ONE blog presently (I hope to get back to Mindsay soon, maybe in the next week or two). I love writing, but MAN it can be tiring at times. Maybe I am in training for something; a dissertation! On what? Not a clue. I shall write something brilliant one day and surprise you all by getting paid for it, or something. I wish I could write for a living. Wouldn't that be great? Yeah.

Anyway. Enough dreams for tonight. Time to read and then to sleep, and gym tomorrow with lots of classwork to cover. I will read The Blithedale Romance tomorrow; our assignments are due on it Thursday and I haven't cracked it. Wuthering Heights, thankfully, is started, but not discussed yet. I still have to get around my calendar for all of my new classes and their finally posted syllabi.

Slightly overwhelmed. Recognize this, have cup of tea, make a list, have another cup of tea, prioritize, have another cup of tea . . .

making tea

I woke up late with an unexplained and unprecedented sneeze, and so without brushing my hair but attiring myself in bathrobe and slippers, I stumble down the stairs with Elanor and my laptop to make some tea. Hot tea, strong tea, cream tea, sweet tea. Put the kettle on. It boils. Take teabag out of ceramic "Tea" container (it is Yorkshire Gold, yum) and place in mug. Also fill mug with hot water from kettle.

Wait and hum a little bit, writing blog entries and checking different accounts for What I Ought To Be Doing Today and Gathering Information For Later Work. Then put sugar into the mug, and cream (you can mix a little whipping cream and milk if you are in a place that doesn't have half-and-half, like Italy) and stir it around a little, humming, and testing the heat to see if it will scald your tongue.

When it is cool enough, drink it in sips and gulps, but not all at one go. This mixture of plant sap, cow juice, and leaf extract is just what you need to revive you after an Endymion tripping episode . . .

I wanna go back to sleep.

Sunday, January 30

scribbling once more.

Am getting back to people already! Have written three letters! Have one more email account to check and then can read bits of Beauty and Quest for a Maid, both of which I've been wanting to read again for some reason. I love Robin McKinley's heroines. They are just awesome, normal people. They are of age to be doing what they do, have common sense, and like to read! I have two of those things, but very little common sense.

Can somebody explain why it is that I am attracted to stories of beauty and ugliness? The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, even The Frog Prince. I always cry reading the bit about the beggar girl-turned-loved in the Bible. I don't know. Maybe I have an overgrown, unselfconscious sense of irony. Too much Browning might do that to you.

In any case, I am going to get back to my reading and writing and cannot wait to get to sleep already. So sleepy . . .

Saturday, January 29

poor saturday

Scrubscoured two bathrooms, mopswept one large kitchen and washed dishes, talked to People for Lengths of Time (one social, one friend, situational difficulties with family member; broken electronics), got Things around, and am already too tired. No books tonight but my journals, no coffee tonight but tea in my new loose-leafy-brew porcelain mug.

Find myself listening to Moby again, which is weird. Why do people listen to Moby? "The Rain Falls and the Sky Shudders". I am so taking my ipod with me tomorrow, and some textbooks. Gaw. Wuthering Heights? If on a winter's night a traveler? The Blithedale Romance? Or just a copy of "Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau" to mark up AGAIN?

Ok, miss rika. Drink tea, brush teeth and hair and other civilised bedtime rituals, write in journals, and then go to sleep.

Friday, January 28


I have four more posts at least to make for this class, then the next three classes I will stay up tonight to finish the work if I have to! Whatever happens, I am trying NOT to do any work of this sort tomorrow. Only reading tomorrow, if anything. Whew. There, I've told somebody about it and now must hold to it.

I also promise to write more to people; am reserving Sunday night to write to everybody if cleaning is too preemptory tomorrow to merit an evening of leisure. Wow, I am getting stuff done. Am muchly happy at going to the gym, too, except that the lockers are possessed.

Ok, really. Back to work. Maybe by the time February gets settled in I will be able to return to Mindsay.

Wednesday, January 26

it is wednesday

Yes, well, my teeth are sore from an unfortunate orthodontic appointment (did you know I have braces? I do, bottom and top, with extra chains and brackets) and I have a lot of introductions to read for my classes that began on Monday. I have advanced a level of difficulty at the gym and have blisters from my new sneakers. All of the cats are asleep in my room and it has stopped snowing outside my window.

Am feeling good after trip to gym but wish that all of my classwork was on mp3 so that I could check it to my ipod and study there too. Bwah.

I love Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler. I adore it. It is my favorite book so far from this tiresome Modern Novel class. I am going to post about it and then finish it.

Am going to make dinner tonight; simple meal of hammy roasty sort of thing and roast potatoes and maybe carrots with brown sugar on them. I want carrots with brown sugar on them, they are so yummy.

And now it is time for me to go downstairs and hum about books. I need a change of scene.

postscript: I have received several emails in the last few days and I am going to reply to them, really I am, but it might take another few days. Am trying to convince self that it is better to finish schoolwork before personal letters and then can reward self with scribblings. Classwork abounds around me at present and I will get to them if not before the end of the week, definitely on the weekend. *sigh*

Monday, January 24

VFD meets DPM

Am having such odd days to think of. One moment I am happy, feeling great, and loving every minute, looking forward to things and thinks and thoughts. Next minute, I hate it all; all I want to do be on a train out of here or have a good cry or write something fiery or read something I can get my hands on, but I a, paralysed. Of course, I know in my head that I am not really stuck, but it doesn't help.

I tried to write an introduction for one of my classes and I couldn't do it. I wrote a lot of things, several different versions, but all I could see were what horrible things I was doing wrong, why I couldn't do . . . things. I don't know what kind of things.

If Lewis were writing this, he'd say they were eldila, the evil kind. Or at least the Director would. Not Lewis, perhaps.

My favourite song since I was thirteen has been the same, and somehow it seems to lull a little bit of this all away. My valkyries keep gyring, spiring to and fro. The promise of white linens and gentle grasses seem so close I catch glimpses of it all so close and mirage-like. It sounds dumb, I know, but I can't think of any other way to put it. Kind of like a mantra, though, these words.

Hope does not disappoint us.

This song, too, is good, and this one, but they're most of them from a kooky Christian band. The words are good, though, which is better than I can say for a lot of popular music.

I have to go to sleep. What a horrid feeling. Gah. And no, it is not your fault. It is my fault and martyrdom for a nonexistent cause is foolish, so there. Dumb. Lame. And I must go to sleep. After an hour of the gym I should feel better, at least.

hymn to gym

Sing the wondrous praise o' the new gym,
Sing the bicycling machines!
Off the treadmills bright and blessed,
Head over our heels careen!


Saturday, January 22

me at a yarn shop

me at a yarn shop
Originally uploaded by anstruther.

The strands of hair that aren't equal with the rest are pieces of my bangs that I've been growing out--they're pretty much equal now. He he.

comfortable skirts

Am feeling very much a girl today; am wearing long skirt, veritable jewelry (ring and earrings), have left hair down except for four tiny braids (two on each side) tied up in back. Is very nice feeling to be clean and free to let one's imagination wander a little. Of course, I have broken a dish and fallen down the stairs as well, both of which are more normal circumstances. I read in front of the fireplace for an hour or so--assigned reading, but nathless good stuff.

Time for a photo, I think. It is one from this summer, but ah, well,I am not going to try and photgraph myself for you. A back shot, as usual, I suppose. Can't exactly post full pictures of me up here, can I? Silly internet. Ok, let us see if this Flickr thingy works like it did earlier.

Friday, January 21

the sound and the banana

I have one discussion topic and two questions to post on before I can relinquish Faulkner for the night. After which:

I will put a load of laundry in the washer. I will take a hot shower and finally wash my hair. I will turn on the space heater in my room. I will listen to The Return of the King till I croak, or fall asleep.

Oh, how I look forward to Faulkner-free days. Running all this trash through my head makes me feel like I am running trash through my head, or something. Bad, anyway. Gwosh.

Thursday, January 20

I am making dinner tonight, sort of.

Faulkner and I are going to have some major mucho probalos if he continues in the bloated veins of Quentin's obsessive tendencies around his sister's virginity and his own suicidal thoughts. I am sick of reading about suicidal people. I feel depressed after reading about them. Tenebrious eyebrows and pouting, chapped, and Byronic lips accompany sore feet that have walked Many Miserable Miles and a heart as heavy as . . . a RING of POWER! Yes, I can associate even the itchifying Faulkner's despairing moans with Tolkien's enduring hope.

But anyway.

I am makin
g pasta alla puttanesca (not alluding to its unfortunate eponym) and some fennel tonight, and we are having roasty chicken too, with rosemary and lemon and stuff on it only I am not making that bit. I am feeling rather kitchen-savvy, though. Very nice. Except what I really want is an umpteenth helping of scalloped potatoes and ham, that Ifo made what seems like a million years ago. SO YUMMY and comfort-foody.

More Faulkner, then I will let myself listen to LOTR as I drift off to sleepybye tonight. Or maybe I will cheat and listen to it beforehand. But only after Faulkner! Gah!

Oh, and Italo Calvino is hilarious in his If on a winter's night a traveler. I giggled all the way through my grilled chicken caesar wrap and put the Halloways (adventuresome, sleek, fat, stray black cats that haunt the restaurant premises) on their guard. The daydreaming Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan must also read this, and Leibniz might also like it much. I don't know. I haven't finished it. Just the first few chapters. Can't wait to read that instead of Faulkner!

Ok. Now is the time: finish off Faulkner, once and for all! Until I have to read The Marble Faun!


apple seeds

No, they will not grow trees. Your stomach digests them before they get to be any more than saplings. You may have a bit of an itchy throat and an aversion to doctors for a few weeks, though.

Wednesday, January 19

a rose for YOUR MOM!!

Yesh. I am shleepy. I will finish the discussions of The Sound and the Fury tomorrow if it kills me. And then on Friday I will work on my critical articles. Oh drat drat drat. I thought I'd love Faulkner after A Rose for Emily. "What a fool I was, what a mutton-headed fool, to think he would be [better than Woolf]!"

Ok, bank on fruit smoothie tomorrow, and use of ipod in gym, and possible LOTR binge. Also: caffeine. Think happy thoughts.

note to an anonymous poster of comments

regarding apples: DO NOT PEEL THEM! You lose muchly good tastings and some healthy bits. Eat Apple Peel. Besides it makes very pretty specks of color in the smoothie-thickie. Also: I do not use apple peelers and/or corererererers. I use a knife. Just hack it into pieces and cut it up into bits and pieces that will get chopped up in the mixy thing.

Tuesday, January 18

back at the lab, our scientists were working on a top-secret recipe for bananas

I am at the lab today, which feels very strange. I am feeling very much older than I was last year at this time, but I haven't a clue why. Maybe it is because my chair has been put on a higher setting so I feel taller. In any case, my hands still know this keyboard, my mind still knows this plastic headachey feeling, and my lungs still do not appreciate the limp, stale air that smells of mousepads and those forbidden, conspiratorial pringles containers.

Steve is . . . well, Steve as he ever was. The websites are still the same. None of my friends are "around" today; I have managed to escape you all by tripping into the last place you thought you'd find me: the gym. I can't believe it that I didn't listen to Lord of the Rings at all this time. Very strange.

I do intend to rectify the situation, though, with several more cds to import and paginate for my ipod. At home. Where my room is clean but for cluttered shelves and dusty floors. And I could do the dishes if I put my mind to it.

Why am I rambling here? Because I can and I feel like it.

My routine is slowly setting in and I can think in a rhythm, now. Very nice. There are rules for my behaviour that I'm setting up slowly, humming as I go. Nothing major, but it does involve a lot of me thinking less about flashing-eyed Academia and more about the physical world of preventing the common cold. Sort of, not really.

Good grief. Right. Well, I ramble. Again. I am a silly girl, who needs to be able to read The Sound and the Fury without entirely mussing up the whole thing. I know Benjy's eyes are blue! I know Quentin committed suicide! Dorkfaces, all of them. I think. I cordially dislike modernism, in all its forms and manifestations. Only, am I cordial? Not really. I rudely dislike modernism in all its forms and manifestations.

And now I have to go. Bye.

Saturday, January 15

binge-reading and list-making

Alright. So I was at the crying stage. That is hopefully done. Now I have a lot of new ideas and possibly a structure for What Must Be Done. I have to digest all of this before I go on to actually running with it all. That is what I am doing now. I hope the running part is next, but not for another day or two. I don't know what happens next.

But I have to get some work done . . . Classes begin almost next week, so I must get my head around some of this stuff soon; like, this week. I think the next few days will be those of list-making and chronic Lord of the Rings bingeing. Yes, I still must parallel-paginate half of The Two Towers from my Alan Lee illustrated centennial edition to the unabridged Rob Inglis Recorded Books Inc. version on my ipod.

Thankfully, a cheapy gym will be opening here soon so I can sit on cycle machines or walk at ridiculously a slow pace on the treadmill while listening to stories.

There are no apples to make smoothies today. I am distraught. Am turning on Lord of the Rings movie soundtrack now.

Friday, January 14

tasty breakfast

Chop up a green apple and about half that amount of cranberries. Put in fruit-chopper-upper with some honey (I like two tibblesps) and take out all of your frustration about the nasty things you must do that day on the little button that crushes, mashes, maims, and purees the fruit. When it is suitably speechless, mix in a one-serving container of apricot yoghurt.

Then pour the whole mess into a cup and eat it with a spoon while blogging or listening to Tolkien read aloud on cd or otherwise procrastinating The Day's Work.

Wednesday, January 12

follow-up appointment with a realtor

Having announced the the folks at Mindsay that I am feeling down and freaked out simultaneously (a phrase which here means "it isn't really that big of a deal" or "if I had taken care of myself in the first place I wouldn't be in such a humiliating position"), I have received a surprising amount of kindness from them. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess; they are part of a community and caring folks to begin with. One day I will buy all of them coffee.

I guess I just don't think it is such a big deal. I've had these feelings before; I just haven't been able to express them with tears or blowing up at people. It is very odd. Everybody has these times and I am nobody special for being in a hard spot.

I just need more espresso, that is all . . . Seriously, though.

Several eye-openers and bubble baths later, I am still feeling gross and out of place. I can't wait for my routine of classes and housework to begin again and can't seem to get the point across to my family that routine is very important to my sanity. Should it be? Is this a symptom of my oddity? Is it a fault that I should work on ironing out? I don't know. Can't tell. It seems to be very WRONG right now.

What to do to get me out of this stupid funk? Not another bubble bath. Coffee alone is useless. Writing helps but is not solely helpFUL. Reading, the same. Talking is practically useless. Going to the gym and communing with the bicycle machines helped a bit one day, but wasn't sure whether I was doing it correctly and there was only one machine that I could use and not lose toes on.

Roight. I had better go do something for somebody else. That never fails to make me feel better. Except yesterday . . .

Sunday, January 9

in the world, of the world, for the world?

Have you ever had one of those days . . . ? Of course you have. I'm sure everyone has at one time or another. It is hard to recognize it sometimes except in retrospect. You feel everything coming to a head, sharp and hot, and your breath seems short throughout the day. If you are by yourself you can hear your heart beating, beating, beating.

One phrase that you think might be the answer keeps pulsing in your brain, leaping into your throat along with your heart. Are you sure you haven't said it out loud to anybody? Has it been whispered when you were thinking of something else? Will anybody recognize it?

Sometimes, for reasons explainable but not satisfactorily so, I cry . . . It doesn't matter where I am or who I am with. A wrenching ache sounds like twisting metal inside of me and all of a sudden my eyes overflow with tears and I am left in the slightly damp and uncomfortable wake of tears that I could hardly see coming.

Then, of course, there is the moment when I excuse myself quietly and stand looking at the inside of a bathroom stall. Is it over? Are you done? No, there's a silent flood--overwhelming and leaving me helpless--of those silent, mouth-contorting half-sobs that remain silent and leave your human form so pitiable, and ugly.

People don't want to comfort you when you look like that and haven't been through some event that excuses such behavior; the kind seen in movies (even then, they don't cry like that in movies) or soap operas.

The gut-wrenching, retching feeling that leaves your legs weak and your arms shaking and your face splotched and red, your eyes swollen and your nose running. So human, so disgustingly mortal.

One of the hardest things about being a Christian is living in the world and not being of the world. I live here, but I don't belong here. I love people here, but this place and this situation is one that isn't what I was meant for. Life is no vale of tears, but I can't "eat, drink, and be merry" either.

I ramble. I am in a bad space right now. I haven't been able to write something I LIKE for a long time. Things are changing. To clinch it all, I'm getting unfavourable commentaries on my behavior when I am doing my best. Best isn't good enough. Don't you dare let down your guard for a moment; they live in a different world.

"No, I'm trying not to cry so I can eat." I have said that twice in the past two weeks. It is making me sick.

Of course, though--now I have one of those headaches that DOESN'T GO AWAY! I wonder WHY it has to be in celebration of hope that I feel like I have got so little and that it is my fault. I love. I believe. The hard thing is to hope. But hope does not disappoint us. I know that; I know.

Monday, January 3

me and my choices

I need to make up a to-do list of stuff that needs to happen before the new term starts. Oh, how I hate it! It looms over me, not in the sense that it would go away if I actually made up the list, but that I dread the drudgery of the items on that list. Much of it will be rereading bits of unpleasant literature and only a portion of it is replying to all my fan mail. The ones that are helping me decide what I want to do with my life are going to be difficult to answer. Bwah.

"Thank you. Your opinion is valuable to me but I have no idea if it will actually come in handy. You see, it ALL DEPENDS ON ME AND MY CHOICES!!"

Scrawnily scraping for a life of books and languages, I am crawling towards my future, dragging my heels and hoping against hope I will get pneumonia right after graduation so that I can wait and see what will happen.

I hate modern literature. I wish I had a neverending cup of coffee and a reserved table in a Starbucks--or better yet, Coffee Grounds. I love that place. Right. Well, I don't have that but I do have a marvelous house and my private library in my bedroom. Or rather, my bed in my private library. It is very convenient.

And I still have to make up that list. I am so glad fewer people read this blog than the antipodes. *sighs and tears out hair*