So as you can tell, I don't really write in my livejournal anymore. I thought this day would never ever come. But it did. BUT I STILL READ YOURS, y'all, so do not remove me from your friends lists or I will be sad.
But I've done this survey every year for five or six at this point, and like Tevye I'm just so attached to tradition.
Is it an inevitability of 21st century life to become instantly obsessed with a macro lens once one realizes its capabilities? I just bought a digital camera (Canon Powershot A590, for the curious) and cannot stop taking pictures of, like, pistils and stamens and all that. I love how the camera stops at 4x zoom and is like "Are you sure you want to do this?" and then you are like "YES. SHOW ME THE STAMEN." and keep on a-zoomin'. The macro lens makes me feel like I have a modicum of artistic talent. And that is a feeling I sorely need.
If you didn't see on Facebook, I'm planning on sending out a semi-regular newsletter when I'm in London (I'm leaving on June 27, for the curious). It will be hopefully well-structured and will probably include a couple pictures of me in various touristy locations, and then some faux-artsy shots of the pavement (taken with my macro, natuerlich). If you're interested, let me know and give me your contact e-mail.
My growing excitement for London is expressing itself in a desire to consume all media even tangentially related to the city. Right now I'm reading a novel about Swinging Sixties London by Doris Lessing, listening to a lot of Morrissey (my dorm is in Camden! Of "Come Back to. . ." fame!), and watching the Billie Piper show "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" (set in London). I am happy.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, there are benefits to being an adult.
(Questionably an adult, anyway, at least out of the teens and into the twenties)
I'm discovering them slowly one by one (and expect to discover more when I turn 21 in December - like happy hour!), and today I found one more. I went to a public pool with friends and it was a totally chilled-out experience! I was not self-conscious about my bathing suit at all! I was not self-conscious about my friends' bathing suits! We got to stay in the pool at adult swim! It was awesome.
". . .in the triumph and the jungle and the strange high singing over some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June." I'm starting a list on my white board of things that I need to do before I go to England: Money belt, Camera, Copy passport, Guidebook, Shorts. I think I'm adding Mrs. Dalloway to that, and because I am a shamefully lazy and impractical human being, it's heading to the top.
You know, if all the events I went to were the kind where you can find a lot of scrawny 20-something men with scruffy beards and plaid shirts, I think I could deal with that.
Especially if those events involve incredible music, like the ones I attended on Saturday night and tonight. Saturday night was a house show at Michigan House, a co-op right next door to where I'll be living next year. The first act was a guy with a guitar who sang awesome, poignant, laid-back songs about being yourself and letting the past go and composting and wonderful things like that, and it was way better than it sounds. The second act was a girl with whom I have fallen very deeply in love. Her name is Charlene, and she has a fashion forward bob. She sings, writes (music and lyrics), and plays the guitar and keyboards. Her song are a blend of rock and pop and jazz and salsa and many other things, and in one she referenced Clement Greenberg and she is amazing. Her encore was a one girl, one guitar version of That Thing You Do. At the ensuing bonfire I handed her a marshmallow. That was as much as I could do.
(These artists both have Myspace pages: Chris Dorman and Charlene Kaye and the Charlenes. I would highly recommend checking either or both out.)
And now, a question: how can one person, much less two, posses the ability to not only sing, play guitar, and foot-pedal a high hat, but also write songs that range from hilarious to heartbreaking? And how could that person grow a ridiculously awesome beard, have adorable dimples, and thrash around on stage for three very energetic hours and three very energetic encores? I don't know, but the Avett Brothers do all of that and more. Their show was seriously one of the best - the best - I have ever been to. I bought the T-shirt. Their band is all strings and they know when to twang and when not to, and a lot of their songs are about them being bad men who can't settle down but who really, really love the women they mistreat, which of course made me want to run to them ("you run to the wolf in me"). And overall it was great, and an unspeakably memorable experience, and if they ever come to your town (especially if you live in Portland and they're playing the Crystal), GO!
And then I also went to Motor City ComicCon and talked to Margot Kidder and Walter Koenig (the original Lois Lane and Pavel Chekhov from the original Star Trek). I bought a couple of comics and goggled at some weird/cool costumes and ate at Panera Bread for the first time and it was generally really fun.
And then! I went to the opening of a robot store and watching small Ann Arbor kids dressed in foil-covered trash cans dance.
And then I made some Boca Burgers that were really darn good, finished Jane Eyre (wondrous book that it is, and a narrator after my own heart), wrote some stuff that might actually be worth something, and dragged myself out of bed early to run.
My ears are ringing and I am exhilarated! Life is good!
ETA: I also read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and now it is quite comfortably wormed into my heart.
Maybe someday soon the pleasure of domesticity will wear off. Or maybe it'll take until next fall when I come home from a long day of class and realize I still have to make dinner, wash dishes, and do homework. But right now I get a thrill every time I unlock the door to my apartment or tell Jessie I'll see her at our apartment or ask a friend to come over and see the apartment. Jessie's been cooking these past few nights and doing a wonderful job, so I should be sharing the load over the next few days. To that end, I've been looking up dairy-free vegetarian recipes (because I'm lactose intolerant now), and food blogs inevitably led me to dessert blogs, and that inevitably led me to making a batch of peanut butter cookies. I tell you, I had no control over this. Anyway, my apartment now smells delicious and there's Greek salad in the fridge for a dinner party tonight and it's raining and I'm listening to Al Green and it's all just really nice. I'm becoming quite alarming domestic. And I'm addicted to knitting dishcloths.
We live quite near to the People's Food Co-Op, which is just as Ann Arbor as it sounds, so we've been making a lot of small trips to buy fresh vegetables and small amounts of herbs and suchlike, which I think is a good way of going about things. Our kitchen is so small that we can't store very much, and anyway why buy more than you need? I feel super healthy and happy, what with all these deliciously fresh homecooked meals and walking everywhere and running again.
The apartment is in a basement. It's nice and cool and has a weird random wall made out of rocks, by which I am sitting at this very moment. It also has a storage room and access to the boiler room of the apartment, which for whatever reason has four locks on it. What are they keeping out, or in?! OooOOOooooOOoooh. I'm sleeping on a borrowed futon that closes up on me every time I lay down on it and gives me some bizarre dreams. Our coffee table is made out of a storage box with planks duct-taped to it. But it's home, and it's definitely big enough for two people, and Jessie and I have succeeded in not killing each other.
This spring is shaping up to be a wonderful idyll with a 28-hour workweek and lots of social time with friends. I love Portland and I know most of the reasons I was unhappy last summer were unrelated, but I'm glad I decided to stay in Ann Arbor this year. But, for all you Portland people, I will be in town for almost the entire month of August, so let's make sure we look each other up then.
So, here I am at the end of the semester, sitting in a dorm room that looks like it has exploded, about to make three to four major moves over the course of the next five months, and I'm tired as hell. I don't like this impermanence! On Saturday I fly to Portland. The Thursday after that I fly back to Ann Arbor, where I will happily work 36 or so hours a week and live in a tiny, unfurnished basement for two months. And then I'll go to London and live in a dorm there and learn about British feminism and then I'll go to Portland for three weeks and then back to Ann Arbor to move into a Real Grownup Apartment. Urgh urgh urgh! It's all good and exciting stuff, but the sheer amount of packing tape involved disgusts and horrifies me. Disgust and horror!
Speaking of, I am completely addicted to that show Gossip Girl. And I am not ashamed.
For the forseeable future, I'm going to try to not take songs like "No One Will Ever Love You" and "Lonely for So Long" too much to heart. Because. . .I should not. But then I think about my relationship history and it's like, man, look at this tangle of thorns! (Which I'm considering as my next tattoo.) Oh vell.
No matter how many times my German professor gently corrects me, I'm going to insist on calling my major "Frauen Studieren". I know it's incorrect in so many ways, but hell is it fun to say.
Expedia Reviews of the Bates Motel: Okay. Got a weird vibe*.
Why think or write linearly when nothing in the universe is linear, man? Right, man? Man?
Next semester I'm taking a class called The Writing of Poetry and I've already started with the anxiety dreams.
I think the worst part of getting it was dealing with the people at the tattoo parlor - who were really nice and everything, don't get me wrong, but heavily tattooed and very cool and nerdy little me had a hard time with the whole thing. The actual tattoo didn't really hurt, surprisingly. I guess I have a higher tolerance than I thought. You know what did hurt, though? Washing it for the first time with antibacterial soap. Hoooooooly God that was a sting.
Hey, virtual friends, long time no see. It's that time again - essay procrastination. In this case, it's the one thing standing between me and my spring break - a four page paper on Thomas Aquinas and Edward Hopper. And I will do it. I will do it. But first I will update my Livejournal.
Most exciting news first: TRAVEL. Now, I'm not a big traveler. I don't have itchy feet. I could probably stay within a ten mile radius for much longer than your average bear (insert witty comment about vagility [yes, this is a word and the correct one to use in this situation, look it up if you don't believe me] of bears here). But I have two very exciting travel opportunities coming up.
One: For reasons I cannot explain, there's some part of me wants to see Graceland. So we're going. Leaving early Saturday morning, driving eleven hours in Jared's grey Camry, staying in a Days Inn in Memphis, seeing the Civil Rights Museum and Stax Records and, of course, the house itself. I am making mix CDs and packing shorts.
Two: LONDON. On a Wednesday in June, Clarissa Dalloway walked through the park and Septimus Warren Smith killed himself. On Wednesdays in July, I will be studying British feminism, seeing plays and shows, and living in a dormitory in central London. I know. It's too good to be true. It really is. I can't believe it. Fuckin' LONDON. Where it all went down! Everything! The Globe! Big Ben! Buckingham Palace! The Battle of Canary Wharf! LONDON! I fully expect to meet a bespectacled time traveler there.
In academic news, German has finally started kicking my ass. But that's okay. I love it, as a language, so I'm willing to take kind of a beating. I'm in a great class about heroines in 20th century literature, in which I've read a whole host of English and American literature about women: House of Mirth, The Awakening, To The Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and it will continue. I'm also in a weirdo interdisciplinary RC class about critical approaches to literature, which has introduced me to the aforementioned Hopper and Aquinas, as well as Mark Rothko, Sylvia Plath, and Clement Greenberg. It's just crazy enough that it works. And then writing. And who ever knows how that's going.
Socially, everything's going smoothly, after a few minor bumps at the beginning of the road. I knit myself a pink pullover, and I've just started a blue cardigan. My dad and my dog sent me a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day. Oh, and Jared visited me over Christmas and my birthday and it was, honestly speaking, the best Christmas I've ever had. As a final note, I am right now in the process of proving that more you want someone to like you, the less likely it is that they will, because the more likely it is that you will act like a socially neurotic weirdo. But eh. The problem with being awkward but not shy is that you know what you want and you know how to get it and you want to get it, but forcing yourself to do it is like walking through a rubber sheet. But I soldier on! Nervously and frizzily!
So you haven't heard from me in weeks! Weeks! And even then it was spotty and kind of smug! I bet I have lost my slavish following (a ha, a ha, a ha, ha ha ha). I did get a trollish comment just the other day, though, telling me that I read too much into things. Do I? Do I really? Again: A ha, a ha, a ha, ha ha ha.
I'm procrastinating on writing an essay, which is actually not all that hard and quite enjoyable as essays go, but you know how it is. I decided that I would do the End of the Year survey, as a time waster and maybe as a five minute catchup on the State of the Amy. A note before I begin, though: I break 2007 into three four-month segments. The first was good. Largely uneventful, but also nothing to complain about in the slightest. The second segment saw me at indubitably the lowest point of my life to date. Oh, heartbreak! You level us all, mice and men. Fortunately, the third part has brought nothing but intense happiness, contentment, new opportunities, and personal fulfillment, proving to me that in many ways the only way out is through and the light at the end of the tunnel is often not a train. So if, in this survey, I seem to spout a strange mix of self-pity and self-congratulation, that is why.