Sunday, October 29, 2006

Scared Now

I just took the first of two practice tests for the GRE Literature Subject Test, and figured out my score and percentile ranking. And for the next week, when I'm not working or sleeping, I'll be studying. Because I would actually be embarrassed to apply for PhD candidacy at schools that had seen a score like the one I got tonight. (And if you're thinking this is my tendency toward perfectionism and self-deprecation talking...well, it's not. My score sucked by pretty modest standards.)

Standardized tests: messing with people's heads and futures since 1909.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Odds? Slim, I'm Sure.

I've been doing my semi-biweekly major housecleaning today, and Regina Spektor's new CD, Begin To Hope, is in the changer. So I started wondering whether she had any shows coming up in Minneapolis, and got on the computer to check. And yeah, she does have a show coming up in Minneapolis. In about three hours. And I'm willing to be spontaneous, but the two people who might be willing to see Regina with me, spontaneous or not, are either working or out of town. So I guess I'll just have to turn the CD up really loud and pretend.

At Least Someone's Writing in This House

It's official: Eric is now a contributor to Jonathan and Natasha's website about getting rid of things. What things, you ask? Well, I guess you'll have to go there to find out. If nothing else, you can at least check out Eric's first article.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Blogs present a problem in a world with too little time for everything else. I have to work and clean and shop and cook and study. I want to read and write and watch TV and nap and think and see friends. I'm actually terrible at keeping in touch with friends, and it's a miracle that any of my old friends still like me at all, since I never call when I promise to. Blogs are a way to keep a tenuous grasp on far-away friendships, and I'm feeling my fingers slip. Ugh.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On Feet

Every morning now, when I place my feet on the hardwood floor beside the bed and stand up, the soles of my feet tingle dully as if an electrical current is running through them. Then that gives way to simple soreness and I hobble a few steps toward the bathroom before my feet begin to loosen. They never really stop being sore, though, and even on my days off it feels good to contort them, contracting and stretching the muscles.

I've had full-time jobs before, but never a job that actually involved being on my feet for forty hours a week. And I wear good shoes, good old Docs, but my feet still suffer. But I'll take this side-effect, I think, because the others aren't so bad. Working around books makes me ache to read books. And reading books, I'm discovering, makes me want to write. I'm gradually becoming motivated to get up earlier in the morning than I have to, so I can start my day with something more than just ironing and applying makeup. Even if I don't write, if I study Spanish instead, it hijacks a day of menial tasks and instantly transforms it into a day in which I made knowledge, not just money. And that feels good. Just ignore my protesting feet.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Custom Made

This morning I woke to the sight of small hard flakes of snow swirling outside the kitchen window. White dust covered parts of the lawn, and squirrels huddled with their tails fluffed and pressed high against their back sides while they picked cast-off birdseed out of the grass. Birds--chickadees, juncos, finches, nuthatches, and the occasional cardinal--flitted frenetically around the cold metal feeder while it swayed in the wind. I don't envy them the necessity of eating hurriedly in the discomfort of a frozen-stiff wind, lest they die from a lack of calories to light their tiny internal furnaces. Birds are smart, but not smart enough, I hope, to grudge us our warm house with its sweaters and blankets.

Now, late in the afternoon, the snow has stopped and only the leaves still clinging to the trees shift and swirl in the wind. I have the day off, and I've already done most of the small tasks I assigned myself. I know that now I should settle into the bigger ones--studying Spanish and writing--but days like this were made for blankets and cats and hot liquid in mugs and reading Jane Austen with a view of the window. I'd hate to frustrate the weather's purpose. What if I promise to take a notebook and pen to the couch with me for jotting down inspirations from the unreading side of my brain? Would we have a compromise, conscience?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Today I walked to the pharmacy and the co-op under chilly blue skies, through streets of colorful houses where the wind moved the mosaic of sun spots around on the orange leaves blanketing the sidewalk. I love the smell of freshly fallen leaves, and I love the memories I'm already absorbing from this place: this street is where I walked my One-Day Dog, where she slipped her collar and ran all the way home; that outdoor cafe table is where I had a good lunch with friends. It was a big, scary deal for me to move into the city. How comforting to find out that I was actually just moving home.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Really Weirded Out

Just now, goofing around, waiting for the window guy (who is two hours late), I discovered that someone has been plagiarizing bits and pieces of my blog, including my profile photo. Ummm. What is the appropriate response to this situation?