Remember when I resolved to post more? Yeah... I'm not so good at the whole remembering-to-post thing. Alas!
Anyway, I'm back in Grinnell. Last night the wind chill was negative thirty. DEGREES. It was really a little scary--I was worried I would fall or something on the way home at night and freeze to death. But I didn't so basically I dodged that bullet.
I'm settling back into school very well. I love my floor and I'm having a great time meeting my new floor-mates.
I'm taking a couple of good classes, but the most interesting one is this poetry-writing class that's interdisciplinary with the music department. Half of the class are poets, half are composers, and by the end of the semester we, as a group, are writing a contemporary non-religious mass (basically a long piece of music-poetry based on the concepts traditionally used in different prayers). Each poet is collaborating with various composers to write pieces of poetry-set-to-music to include in the final product, which will ultimately be recorded by a professional ensemble that's coming to campus. This whole project is terrifying, but really exciting--I'm optimistic, anyway.
Tomorrow is my first no-class Friday. This is the first time (not counting London) I've ever had Fridays free--I'm not really sure what to do with myself! Hm.
This was my last weekend in Tulsa--next Saturday I'm driving to Iowa to start the next semester. Yuck. Although I'll admit I'm kind of excited, and this vacation hasn't been so fantastic, so school will be a nice diversion from real life.
This weekend I went to Austin with my parents and toured various bizarre museums and such--the Texas state capitol is pink! And at the LBJ presidential library there's an audio-animatronic replica of LBJ that's dressed in a cowboy hat and tells jokes.
We also went to IKEA in Austin, and I got two groovy lamps for my room next semester, as well as some really nice curtains with a graphic green leaf print on them. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to dismantle the school-installed Gross Beige Curtains (TM) and replace them with something much more cheerful.
Now I must clean, because Briel is coming to visit tomorrow!
2007 was a weird, stressful, exciting year. It had its ups: I finished my first year at Grinnell, I spent four months living in England, and I discovered a new-found passion for cooking. It also had its downs: I coped with homesickness, the loss of two beloved pets, and my family's and my own medical issues. In a way I'm glad to see 2007 go: even though it was amazing, it was also stressful and miserable at times. 2008 will likely bring with it even more stress and self-doubt, but hopefully more Life Experiences too. In any case, 2007 was pretty good, and here's my more-or-less accurate and exhaustive list of what I read during it:
Books Completed 2007
1. Girl With Glasses: My Optic History - Marissa Walsh
2. Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
3. Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
4. Plum Lovin' - Janet Evanovich
5. Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares
6. Jane and Prudence - Barbara Pym
7. The Geek Queen Social Club - Laura Preble
8. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
9. Crampton Hodnet - Barbara Pym
10. A Coast of Trees - A.R. Ammons
11. If I Were Writing This - Robert Creeley
12. Mr. Darcy's Daughters - Elizabeth Aston
13. Peaches - Jodi Lynn Anderson
14. About a Boy - Nick HOrnby
15. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
16. Looking for Alaska - John Green
17. A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
- Mary Rowlandson
18. The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx
19. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin
20. Slaves in Algiers - Susanna Haswell Rowson
21. The Secrets of Peaches - Jodi Lynn Anderson
22. The Sweet Dove Died - Barbara Pym
23. Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
24. Wieland - Charles Brockden Brown
25. Pants on Fire - Meg Cabot
26. Him Her Him Again the End of Him - Patricia Marx
27. 13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson
28. Dry - Augusten Burroughs
29. Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
30. Girl at Sea - Maureen Johnson
31. Possible Side Effects - Augusten Burroughs
32. Queen of Babble in the Big City - Meg Cabot
33. The Bermudez Triangle - Maureen Johnson
34. Dramarama - E. Lockheart
35. Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone - J.K. Rowling
36. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
37. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
38. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
39. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
40. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
41. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
42. On Beauty - Zadie Smith
43. Murder on Astor Place - Victoria Thomson
44. Austenland - Shannon Hale
45. The Master of Blacktower - Barbara Michaels
46. Jinx - Meg Cabot
47. Fourth Comings - Megan McCafferty
48. The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare
50. A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare
51. The Emperor Jones - Eugene O'Neill
52. Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
- Charles Bukowski
53. Macbeth - William Shakespeare
54. Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare
55. Richard II - William Shakespeare
56. King Lear - William Shakespeare
57. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
58. Look Back in Anger - John Osborne
59. Saved - Edward Bond
60. In No Mood for Love - Rachel Gibson
61. Cathleen Ni Houlihan - W.B. Yeats
62. The Playboy of the Western World - J.M. Synge
63. Juno and the Paycock - Sean O'Casey
64. Ireland: A History - Robert Kee
65. The Last September - Elizabeth Bowen
66. Reading in the Dark - Seamus Deane
67. Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction - Geraldine A. Johnson
68. Big Boned - Meg Cabot
69. Gossip Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
70. On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God - Louise Rennison
71. The Key to the Golden Firebird - Maureen Johnson
72. Princess Mia - Meg Cabot
Good news: My LJ client is working again! This means possibly more-often-than-sporadic updates.
Still in London, still counting down the days until I come home. briel_morrigan and yumlovely arrive to visit me on Wednesday, which is pretty much the most exciting thing to ever happen. If all goes well they'll have a laid-back and fun visit, during which (I promise!) I won't make them do touristy things for their intellectual edification.
Thursday is Thanksgiving, which is a little weird since I'm not in the US and therefore there's none of the commercial lead-up to the holiday. Thankfully Waitrose has an American-Thanksgiving-ingredients shelf, which means I'm making pumpkin pie and my G.G.'s dressing balls. We're having an all-program potluck dinner at our progarm director, Donna's house. This means going to an actual person's house! In the suburbs! Any trip to the suburbs has taken on an air of unnatural excitement for me.
Other exciting things: I bought pie plates to make pie! I had a good dinner tongight: a little broccoli quiche, green beans, and a baked sweet potato. I'm watching Gremlins 2 at the moment.
Okay, you only get one guess: Paris!
So, there's your proof that I'm still alive, and still too unmotivated to post anything interesting. Right now, honestly, I'm just looking forward to going home... only 4.5 weeks! I think I'm at the study-abroad saturation point... I've been here long enough not to find stuff exciting anymore, but I still have too much time left that I'm worried about leaving. I should probably make a list of stuff to do and see before I leave...
1. My cat successfully had surgery and is fine.
2. Our dining room at home is a different color now!
3. The only reason I'm posting is to avoid writing a paper.
Late night paper writing update! My new favorite hobby is trolling food blogs and fantasizing about cooking when I need to take a break from writing. My parents are remodeling our kitchen at home right now, and I can't wait to break it in over winter break. Of course, I cook here constantly (due to the need to feed myself), but it's just not the same as being at home, where I can suggest making things like roasted butternut squash, chickpea, and tahini salad without people giving me looks of skeptical disgust. Okay, my parents sometimes give me looks of skeptical disgust, but I can forgive them since they are required to like everything I make, or at least pretend to. On that note, what are some of your favorite recipes? I'm always looking for new and delicious things. On that note, if any of you ever come to London, you MUST go to the Borough Market. It's a huge open-air market stuffed with stalls selling delicious things and lunches. Last weekend I went and got Raglette: a dish of boiled potatoes and pickles with toasted cheese on top. This may sound gross, but it was actually a nigh-religious experience: the cheese came off an enormous wheel of some mysterious and delicious kind of cheese, which was placed under a flame and toasted before my eyes until it bubbled, brown and delicious. Then, with a huge knife, the top layer of melty/toasty cheese was scraped straight off the wheel onto my potatoes, and then into my stomach. Also, hot pickes and melted cheese are an amazingly good combination.
In contrast, tonight I had crappy pasta and sauteed vegetables. But at least I got to cook them! And last weekend my friend Megan made some incredible Mediterranean lentils, cooked with spices, raisins, and onions in tomato sauce, which we ate over Basmati rice and sprinkled with feta. Delicious. Okay, enough blathering about food... I should really finish my paper, seeing as how 2 a.m. is approaching quickly.
(Did you know all british clocks are 24 hour ones, like military time? It's really weird)
Madeleine L'Engle is dead. Sorry to be maudlin--she was 88, had published 60 books, led a fulfilled life, etc.--but I can't believe how much this news affected me. I started crying over her wikipedia entry, for the love of god. But really--who did more than Madeleine to mold my childhood, my ideals about morality, religion, and love? I mean, maybe my parents, but that's about it.
okay, moving on. Off to Greenwich by riverboat this morning. Last night we had dinner at this scary swanky restaurant in honor of Allison's birthday. There was a bathroom attendant and wine testing. Tonight: possibly a burlesque freak-show circus in Hyde Park? Possibly I'll just give up altogether and come home and sleep for 400 hours and write journal entries about how much I love Madeleine L'Engle.
In London! At flat! With roommates! Alive! All of these are very very good things. Cannot elaborate more at the moment as I have been awake for 26 hours straight. Tomorrow: I will venture further than five blocks from the building, and also post a more elaborate entry, as well as my address.
So I haven't been sleeping a lot the past couple of nights. Friday night I was up until 3 a.m. preparing tea party foods. I slept about six hours and, because of all the cooking and cleaning and whatnot (I suppose), I woke up feeling dreadful... my whole body aching, my head spinning, etc. Then last night I laid on my back on my concrete driveway for two hours watching the Perseid meteor shower with Jessa, Julie & Briel. While we DID get to see several shooting stars (which was appropriate, after seeing Stardust that day... I wonder if the release of that movie was deliberately timed to coincide with the Perseid? 'Cause that would be awesome...), it was only barely worth the pain and stiffness that, it turns out, happens when you lay on hard concrete for hours on end. Anyway, they went home, and then I stayed up until 5 a.m. catching up on a whole summer of Brotherhood 2.0. So. This morning I once more feel an eighty-five year old man.
Stardust: awesome, AWESOME movie. Everybody go see it right now. Captain Shakespeare is the role of a lifetime for Robert DeNiro, let me just say that.
Also.... (a little late because of my dearth of broadband for the whole summer)
July 18: Accio Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)
My family has joined the 21st century. As of today, we have a cable modem and a wireless router in the living room! Good-bye, dial-up. The main point here is that now I can read blogs and fanfiction late into the night, IN BED. As opposed to sitting at my desk. Also, I can download episodes of Battlestar Galactica, and finally finish last season.