A song for the new year:

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing you said as you were leavin’
Now the days go by so fast

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think that I could be forgiven... I wish you would

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl

And it’s one more day up in the canyons
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
If you think you might come to California... I think you should

Drove up to the Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.
And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,
Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it’s been a long December and there’s no reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better that the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

And it’s one more day up in the canyon
And it’s one more night in Hollywood
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean... I guess I should

[Comments] (2) Happy new quarter?: During a conversation with Leonard I realised it has been some time since I actually wrote something. Well, here is something: I've had a self-revelation, and that is I am not very good at getting ahead during holidays. Here is what I am good at:
Sleeping 10-12 hours a day
reading trashy books
Hanging out with my friends
doing field work (Leonard pointed this one out.

So generally speaking, I am good at being on holiday on holidays. This would be fine, a time and place for everything, if I were not also good at being on holiday when I am NOT on holiday. So now is the time to get organized & ready & do all the things I meant to have done. There is recycling for taking, lemons and grapefruits waiting to be picked and juiced/eaten, the gym to go to, and a thesis proposal just waiting to be written. My hope is that, having percolated in my brain for so long, it has basically written itself and will come pouring out onto the page once I sit down to write it.

I have, however, made progress in the apartment hunt, which is good as it will be nice to be settled in somewhere with all my Serbia books unpacked and sitting on the self looking at the desk, for the time of thesis writing is at hand. Unfortunately, apartments in Bakersfield are much more expensive than they should be, but I have narrowed my options down to basically two promising places. One a cute bunch of cottages on D street off of 23rd, a nice location but so charming I'm afraid they will turn out to be a little on the expensive side. The others are less charming but charming nonetheless, on Oleander near California, hidden back away from the street, and the best price I think I can get without living in a dump. And a pool! Unfortunately I haven't actually talked to anyone involved in the letting of these apartments, only left messages on their machines. By my powers of deduction I found the add for one in the paper. Alternatively, there are other possibilities, and the possibility of a roommate. We shall see.

[Comments] (2) Miraculous: These last few days the heater has been "broken." I have been fretting what to do without actually doing anything. Then last night I awoke because I was suffocating under the three blankets, electric blanket on high, two cats, sweater, and down vest I had piled on in hopes of keeping warm, when the heater miraculously turned back on. If only all of my problems would magically be solved by miracles in the middle of the night.

[Comments] (2) Hazy shade of winter: I spoke to soon and the heater broke again. this time I will really get it fixed. In the meantime I survive by huddled in my room around my $10 space heater I bought from Target for my bathroom so I could take baths in winter without my top half freezing off (this was before I figured out that my bathroom was always freezing because the vent was closed). Unfortunately I think the faithful blue electric blanket is on its last leg. I had both sides on high, which would normally broil a person but was barely enough to keep me from freezing. Luckily I had two furry heat pads cats. I can't really blame the blanket because it is about a jillion years old. Actually I don't know how old it is. I at least have been using it since high school, because I remember coming home from one late night play rehearsal and mom had turned it on for me (it was very sweet but I had to turn it off because I was up till about 4 at kinkos, if I recall correctly... those were the days... hahah).

[Comments] (1) Again?: Heater is fixed. Susie and John have come and gone. Pat & Shannon threw spoiled Susie & Beet a lovely shower, which was so nice and tons of fun. I got to see lots of people I haven't seen in ages and probably enjoyed it as much as Susie did. Now I am huddled in the library preparing for a very hectic week. (at least the beginning will be).

Yesterday was my last night at the bookstore--for good (though I did say I'd step in for emergencies and will probably work HP7 night if I am around... but hopefully I won't be). At some point I decided it was more important to graduate in June and remain a sane and healthy being while writing my thesis than continue to bring home $300 a month. Not to mention I was going batty from the erratic scheduling. Not once this year was I scheduled at a time listed in the "availability" I so carefully wrote out for the manager. Coincidence? If it was a passive-aggressive contest between me & her for control over my schedule, I think I won. Besides, I like to think I've reached a point in my life where my time is worth more than slightly above minimum wage. In that note, I've signed up to take the CBEST in Feb. and plan to start subbing once I get my scores & do all the paperwork. Plus that way I'll have some teaching experience for my resume in case I have to go job hunting. In the meantime I am taking three classes plus writing my thesis which should be enough for anyone's plate. And I am brainstorming about ways to save money since I am now a pauper:

Avoid unnecessary trips across town to save gas (ie stay at school in between my classes on Monday and Wednesday).
Bring tea to make instead of buying drinks at the coffee shop, my own packed healthy lunches and snacks instead of attacking the vending machines (long night classes require material comforts & I have three of them this quarter).
Eat only spaghetti and pb&j. No fancy frozen meals from TJs. No eating out.
Maybe not working in a bookstore will reduce my book-buying temptations. In that vein, perhaps I should take a different route home so I am not driving by Inn-n-out when I am weak with hunger.
No browsing through the Target clothes and accessories section when I am there to buy cat food and toothpaste, even if it is just the clearance.

[Comments] (5) I always take the long way home: Just finished with my lecture for class (one of two I have to do this quarter--the next one will be on women during WWI!). I am super relieved because it went pretty well, even though I am no so well-versed in post-revolutionary American history. Mostly it was discussion, on the Midwife's Tale and The Return of Martin Guerre. Ta-dum! Now I had better hurry home & write a smallish paper. Maybe not straight home; Denise the temptress invited me to meet her & Jenn at In-n-out for din din. Lucky it is cheap. Tomorrow I am going to the dentist like everyone else (not so cheap, but hey, I won't be American if I don't have nice teeth!).

[Comments] (1) Something new everyday: Someone is going back and forth into their library study room. how annoying. I wish I had a study room, I could really use it this quarter, but I applied and I guess they are all given out. This women leaves her door open so I hear clearly her coughs and whispered phone conversations... or conversations to herself. Humph. I just signed onto AIM for the first time in months and now am catching up with my swiss friend I travelled with this summer. We are speculating about travelling through Eastern Europe and I learned about a psuedo-country (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria) I never knew existed. Now I have to go there! Anyway. I've noticed a lot of people do this, so I am going to be a copycat & try this year. We'll see if I can keep up.

1. Encore Provence By Peter Mayle (Dec 28-Jan 1) I love Peter Mayle. Reading his books makes me crave chevre.
2. Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemmon Davis (Jan 1-8) A book I read for class—both of my classes, actually, which is a nice exercise in double-tasking. I found it very interesting and enjoyable, something I would read even if it weren't assigned. The movie was great, too.
3. Literacy and Longing in LA by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack (Jan 15-20) I checked this one out from work—one of three hard-covers I snagged before I left. The cover and the title caught my eye (it was on our Christmas catalogue) and I wanted to read it when I saw it was about a book-obsessed woman who dealt with her inadequacies by going on reading benders. I related to it more than I like to admit, but I liked the beginning better than the end. It was full of great quotes and references, pretty well-written, and I'd recommend to anyone obsessed with books. Didn't hurt that it was set in LA.

Movies: 1. Le Retour de Martin Guerre. (Jan 10). For class—we just had a huge discussion about film and history and blah blah. The whole thing is Natalie Davis was uncomfortable with the deviations from the historical record that the film took, so she wrote the book… I like the book a lot but I liked the combination of the book & film best. It's a really great story.
2. The Americanization of Emily (Jan 16 or 17, I don't remember). This was my Christmas present from Chris. I can see why he bought it for me, another great war/love story. Julie Andrews. Lots of debate about the morality of war. What could be better?

[Comments] (2) NYC here I come!: I just booked a flight to go see Leonard for spring break! Should be fun, I'm very excited.

[Comments] (2) Library culture?: I really, really don't understand why people think its ok to talk in the library. Seriously people are walking around in the stacks talking on their cell phones. Or sitting in the chairs just chatting with each other. Not even bothering to keep their voices down. I have told off about 5 people in the last week. I hate being so anal retentive but I don't see any solution except to spend less time in the library and I am behind on my french homework as it is. Oh well. Maybe I will just go to Dagny's instead. Noise doesn't bother me when its SUPPOSED to be there.

[Comments] (1) But don't turn my hope into a weapon: I am full of hope.

[Comments] (3) Interview me: It looks like I am going to be interviewed over the phone for at least one of the schools to which I applied. I know they will ask me about my dissertation, why I want to go to that school, how on earth I am going to research allied experiences in the Balkans if I can't read Serbian... stuff like that. I suppose the good thing about a phone interview is I can write out answers to questions I think they will ask and have it in front of me during. Does anyone else with experience in these matters have an idea of what else they might ask me?

[Comments] (5) The Big One: So...

Now I have something to plan my summer around. (Being in an English speaking country on July 21)

Is it sad that I am almost as excited about this as I am about phd programs?

British National Lottery: HELLO!!! YOU HAVE WON 250,000POUNDS

Now I don't have to worry about paying for grad school!

Cheap Cheap: One-way flights to London! Wish I could book now!

[Comments] (6) Today is my lucky day: I found two pennies in the parking lots AND I was offered a place at Birkbeck!

Coincidence?: Yesterday I went to the gym. Today I feel like crap.

in other news poor little Dave is on the fritz. I don't know what I've done or how to fix it. So I am in the computer lab. At least they have decent computers on the ground floor. Trying to decide if I should wait around for the history forum at 3:30. Going home & going to bed will accomplish nothing, but if I stay here I can find a CBEST book & review my math for tomorrow. Plus they will have snacks. I can eat a lot of them & not have lunch. I am so cheap (poor).

[Comments] (4) I just did something a little crazy: I booked a flight to London July 30th. One way.

One way!

So here is my plan, set in motion ever since I recieved my offer from Birkbeck earlier this week: travel around eastern europe and take another course in Serbian, then jaunt back to London to start my MPHIL/PhD in October.

I am not certain about where I'll be (London, Edinburgh, elsewhere in England or NYC) , but in all situations this plan is workable, and the price was too great to pass up. so I just went ahead and booked it!

I learned a long time ago that if you want to do something you just have to do it. For me, a lot of this involves booking tickets. But I guess this is a little bit more than that. It involves moving to London for three years, at least. The scariest part is, I might fall in love with someone, I might get a job, or any amount of other possibilities that would mean I might never buy a one way ticket back.

[Comments] (4) Technology hates me: I'm afraid Dave has passed the mountain of the on the fritz and into the valley of the seriously doomed! Whatever did I do to him! Luckily today when I turned him on he started, booted up on the fixing CD that was stuck, went through the whole thing being fixed, then kindly restarted and I was able to transfer all of my documents and most of my pictures onto mom's computer via my thumb drive before he startd getting hungry for power and I started getting hungry for the pizza that was cooking in the oven. I should have just shut him down but I wanted to get the rest of the pictures so I carefully carried him into the kitchen where I could plug him in & keep an eye on him. I turned my back for a minute and when I turned back around he was in "dead" mode. I pressed the off button to turn him all the way off and there was a nasty little shock. *frets*. Actually I wonder if its something wrong with the power connection since everytime I tried to turn him on before (and it didn't work) he was plugged in. Anyway, I am going to see if they can help me at school and if not take him to an apple store or somewhere to see what needs fixing or if I should just buy a new computer *woe*. If I do I might just wait.... Luckily a friend has a firewire drive with OSX installed so supposedly that will help me get the rest of my pictures, music, and emails down if all else fails.

Blah: The internet is not as interesting on someone else's computer. I suppose that is a good thing. Time to go home and cuddle with the kittens & read.

[Comments] (3) Things that go bump : I am convinced there is something living in the walls. I can hear it quite distinctly when I am quietly standing at the vanity. There is nothing in my room to be making those scampering noises so it must be BETWEEN the walls. Rats, I think. Not very reassuring. But then I also keep hearing random noises throughout the house (though not as distinctly) so maybe I am just going crazy. Also, not very reassuring.

[Comments] (1) That time of year again: Only one more month of being 23! What a year... such changes, and even more to come. I don't really know what to think of it. On the surface it seems that the age 23 ought to be the perfect combination of adult experience and youthful optimism and energy. In actuality I don't know; I certainly wasn't (am not) the average 23 year old. I sometimes think I'll always be ambivalent about my age. I like being young, I look young, but sometimes I feel so old, and so tired.

(The real point of this post) In case you are in the mood to buy me something at the approaching celebratory juncture, here are a few things I would like:

French for Reading by Carl Sandberg (on my amazon wishlist)
A copy of HP 7 reserved for me at Russo's
An REI gift certificate

Annoying habits to stop: Ending sentences in "so...." and generally being as inarticulate as some of my classmates. Unfortunately I only seem to think about this when they are talking, not when I am.

I'm going to go home and think about what it means to be a feminist historian, and how it is different from being a women's historian (or is it?).

Missing out: French for Reading came and went on Bookmooch before I had a chance to grab for it. Sad sad. There was something else I thought to put on my wishlist but now I've forgotten.

[Comments] (2) Ack: I feel like I'm not getting anything done. But then where does all my time go?

Poor Dave is still broken. I am slowly transferring stuff from him to mom's old computer because I fear that when I take him in he might come back more dead then ever.

I am busy with my second round of applications--for funding--and sending in endless paper proposals. There must be a secret trick to getting these accepted that I don't know about, because I have seriously submitted to like 5 or 6 conferences and not one has said yes. Lucky I am good at handling rejection. Just keep on trying...

I can't believe it's already 8th week. I still have 3 short papers, 3 books to read, one longer paper, one thesis chapter, and one lecture to do... in the next three weeks. help.

PW (does not stand for psychological warfare): I guess one good thing about using the library computer lab is I finally am memorizing all my passwords to the sites I use, because they aren't saved in the browser. I've gotten to the point where I don't have to spend a few moments guessing before I hit the right one.

In other news I am behind on my book posting and everytime I think about updating I realise the document isn't on my pen drive. Right now I am reading Lying about Hitler by David Irving which is very interesting and very disturbing.

Invading my sleep: I vaguely remember, in my dream last night, screaming at someone, "That's not real history! Go read Phillippa Gregory!!"

My mother is here: We are watching Iron Jawed Angels in class. I kind of wish I was alive 100 years ago so I could have been a suffragette.

Lost in translation: (Maybe instead of keeping a list I'll just keep mentioning things.)

Last night we broke in Chris' new TV by watching "Lost in Translation." I really liked it and found it relatableish (which is almost positively not a real word), but I'm afraid towards the end I might have missed some of the meaningfulness because I was too busy bantering with my friends. But maybe that's the point.

I should have been reading Telling the truth about Aboriginal History (I have to write a comparative paper on that & Lyign about Hitler). Oh well. I just got an very interesting-looking book from ILL, Black Lambs and Greay Falcons: Women Travelling in the Balkans. It's due back on my birthday.

Speaking of my birthday I suceeded in mooching a copy of French for Reading, so if anyone was going to buy that for me for my birthday, don't. =)

[Comments] (1) Some more good news: After a week of stalking the postman and even longer haunting my gmail in box, I finally heard about my application to Edinburgh and they offered me a place! So now I am scurring to get my ORS appplication off before the deadline. Also I've been invited to present my paper on Vera Brittain as part of a panel on war writing at a conference at UCR. Hurrah. Now a flurry of papers.

Another nightmare: This time I didn't tell the bank I was going to Europe and I couldn't get any money! Aieee

[Comments] (2) Who ever said that cats are logical?: It is time I learned this lesson. When it's the middle of the night and Tonks is whining to go outside and I don't want him to because a) it's the middle of the night and b) it's raining, opening the door and showing him that it's raining will not necessarily make him want to stay inside. More likely, he will run outside despite the rain, have me worried for two hours that he's being hit by a car or mauled by a kit fox, wake me up by wailing at the door three hours later when he wants to come back in, and climb into bed next to me covered in rain and mud.

Wishlist update: I need a memory card (compact flash) for my camera that holds more than 16 pictures... before I go to NY.

[Comments] (1) : Not having a computer sucks. The computer lab sucks. Luckily, I think I figured out, a 2 year extended warranty EXTENDS the 1 year warranty that comes with the product to 3 years. which would mean Dave is still covered. Beet or no Beet I am taking him to an Apple store this weekend. I NEED a computer! I cannot write this chapter without one.

Last night I dreamt I was running away from Nazis and I couldn't get away fast enough. Some guy was trying to help me by dragging me along. What does it meeeean??

[Comments] (1) Why in the name of goodness did I burn that twenty pounds?: I have just finished a paper on Ann Veronica (which poor Susie had to read and which, it turns out, is not due until next week, but at least it is done and now I can improve it... still, it means I could have gone to class last night and saved my freebie for next week in case Beet is arriving... anyway).

I'm simply discovering that life is many-sided and complex and puzzling. I thought one had only to take it by the throat.
It hasn't got a throat!

I wish I were still keeping up with my list. These things are so *difficult* without a Dave. I am so disorganized... It's very annoying that someone has got the two decent women and FWW books the library has. And has renewed them. *I* ought to have those books! Well I am getting them next quarter and not letting go... At UCLA the grad students get to keep their books all quarter (I think). Here one gets no privledges, no library office, blah.

[Comments] (1) Wishlist update 2: I also need a light blue (with plenty of purple in the hue so it complements my skin tone) button down oxford shirt to wear with my brown suit with the blue stripies to my conferences!

[Comments] (5) Nothing sacred: Someone just came into the house. Just--walked right in. I was laying in bed reading the appedix to Suite Francaise when Tonks the guard cat alerted me to the sound of someone barging into the house/ Caught red-handed, the realtor (she must have been or she wouldn't have known the code to the lockbox... right?) claimed she'd called the number and they said to go right in. "Buyer" backed up this story, which is complete bunk because why would they say that when a) it's pending so there's no point and b) they know I live there and wouldn't tell someone to go in without chekcing with me first. Plus I called the office and they said they had no record of her calling, and it sometimes happen that a realtor is out showing, sees a house is for sale, looks like no ones hoem (with a car in front? hello?) so they barge in without checking. This explains the feeling I would sometimes get on returning, that things were not exactly how I left them, door open that I always kept shut, etc, when supposedly no one had been by to show the house. How incredibley creepy is that? Unfortunatley I was so disturbed by the whole thing I didn't do what I ought to have done and asked for a business card or at least remembered the name she rattled off to me (I was never good at remembering names). I did take the key from her tho, so at least it can't happen again. I feel so horribley invaded.

Off to class to complain about this to real people. Hmm... at least it wasn't the Nazis come to get me?

[Comments] (1) In better news: Little Dave has been all fixed and is ready for me to pick him up. (I told the guy I was in the middle of my MA thesis and I think they might have rushed the repair.) He has a new motherboard or something. Unlike some people I don't feel the need to rename him just because he has a few new parts. After all people don't get new names when they have kidney transplants. Also my data is apprantly safe, which is a relief. L is generously givning me an old external harddrive when I go to NY so I won't have to worry about losing everything.

My lecture on WWI in the women's history class went really well. Everyone liked it and it was fun to do. Plus I got to talk about my own research and the dynamics of south east europe before and during the war (ever so briefly) and feel like an expert. I am so so tired and I feel like there is something I am forgetting to do other than the papers. LAST week I forgot to enter the csub research competition which is unfortunate as I think there was a cash prize. OH well.

[Comments] (5) Hello to Pisces: I'm an aunt! My little niece was born early this morning. We all got some sleep but I can't wait to go back and see her because she is so so so so cute.

Bad Timing: I want to be lounging around the hospital holding a cute baby, not self-banished to the apartment to work on a paper (and eating all of Susie's pretzels). Oh well.

[Comments] (6) 175 emails: Finally I have my little Dave back and working online. From what I can tell, he has a new motherboard, battery, and key board! And he is all sparkly clean! hurrah. I am very tired.

[Comments] (1) And I get one every year: Please please please let the British system have different dates. I want this to be my last birthday during 10th/finals week. Like 5 of the last 6 birthdays have been. 2 papers to finish and one to write before tomorrow. I ran out the house to get my french final turned in by 5, and now I'm not wearing makeup and I don't have my camera for my birthday dinner at Red Lobster. Oh well.

Ack, I was just deluged with 3 voice calls in like 3 minutes. I won't be one of those people who talks on the phone in the library... though I did pick up once to whisper.

I had two attempted deliveries from Amazon via UPS when I got home (along with 3 very nice birthday cards). So I stalked out by the door all day today, convinced it was some mysterious present because they usually just leave boxes of books on the porch (though I'm glad they didn't after the stolen Christmas present fiasco) but actually it was just my Lonely Planet guide book. All that fuss over a $15 book! They wouldn't even let me sign the paper and leave it, it required signature IN PERSON. And it was only the London one, I ordered it with the Eastern Europe to get free shipping but the publication of Eastern Europe is mysteriously delayed, huramph.

[Comments] (2) I'm rich: I just took some books I'm not going to keep to textbook buyback. I got $13.50! Wahoo. It's always depressing to get $5 back for a book I paid $50 or $60 for. But then I can use $5 more than I can use a book I don't want, and I don't have the patience to try and sell them online or wait till next quarter to see if they'll fetch more because of classes being offered, etc. And there's always the chance another edition will come out and I'll get nothing.

It's really frigging hot in the library. Apparently there is some rule about they can only turn on the air after a certain date. I would have thought whether or not to turn on air should depend on the temperature, but that is typical.

Me (helpfully): If you guys are going to study together they have rooms for that upstairs.
Them: Sorry, we didn't know you were the library police today.
Me: Well, someone has to do it. *puts in earphones*

Of course they are still talking, but at least not as loudly. Thank goodness I can work with music. Actually I think library police would be a job that would suit me quite well. If people are going to chat they should go to those rooms or to starbucks. I know this makes me sound up-tight and bitchy, maybe I am, but I don't care. I blame the lack of a rigorous academic atmosphere. Certainly I am being rigorous. No sleep & I'm exhausted, but I have to make up for a weekend of Maggie-cuddling instead of paper-writing.

Oh crap: This has to have been the fastest week ever. I have SO MUCH TO DO STILL. Please don't bother me unless it is something uplifting. I am feeling very low & discouraged and wonder how I will possibly get it all done, even if I don't sleep.

Thank you "Becks": A wireless signal has been discovered on my bed. Weak but present. Probably the next door neighbor's. I hope I'm not cursing fate by posting this... It's not strong enough to be a distraction, but can be used to send and check important emails! Hurrah. Of course I have received no important emails in the last hour. Oh well.

[Comments] (2) Walk out that door: I have survived the quarter and now I am in New York with Leonard & Sumana, poised to have fun! Only It's very cold here. I suppose I ought not to be such a wimp, and get used to it.

[Comments] (3) But don't we want the mummies to come alive?: --A vindictive nanny, overheard at the Met.

I am having a really great time in NY and seriously considering relocating here if my moving to Britain permenantly scheme fails. Yesterday

Today was just as fun. We were slow moving in the morning, my poor California feet & legs having trouble adjusting to all this walking, especially having spend the last few weeks only walking to & from the library, and a few phd-related things coming up. On the way into manhattan poor Leonard started feeling sick because of the anti-malaria pill, so we got out and walked through Times Square, which we agreed mom would refer to as "a racket." We met Leonard's friend Evan at the farmer's market in union square, got some snacks, then walked to the strand, a really huge bookstore where the customer service is below par. I was unimpressed by the history books in their rare book collection but I got really lucky in the "normal/used" section and scored a reprinted edition of a book called The Serbs, by a Cambridge historian based on a series of lectures he gave while with the British Motor Transports attached to the Serbian Army in Salonika! We stocked up on fresh homemade goat cheese and walked to the Shake Shack, a very popular outdoor burger joint that just reopened. The lines were long despite the fact that it was freezing outside, so I made Evan & Leonard wait in it while I sat my california feet down and read my new book. We frooze while we ate but it was really. Afterwards we took the subway down (up?) to Sumana's work, Fog Creek, where she generously let me use her computer to fill out "one last" funding application. I followed her up to Columbia, touristed around for a bit, then took the bus back. L. is in the process of fixing a fancy meal. All in all I am not having too bad of a break! The cold is not so bad so long as there's no wind and one keeps moving. and I think my feet are starting to toughen up.

[Comments] (2) Woot the wanderer: I had another phone interview this morning and the interviewer basically suggested that I'll never get a job. I started to panic--what if she's right?--and Leonard and I decided that I should start a travel company as a backup/ alternate source of income in case academia doesn't work out: TOP SECRET.

Speaking of travelling things, I managed to do something very clever. I was anxious about using a 20% off coupon on rei.com so after much agonising I bought my silk travel sheet, thanks to the generous giftcards... and I forgot to use the stupid coupon! Which was the whole point of buying the thing. Now I'm trying to decide if I should use it on something else or just buy another and return the first. Very annoying. I'm so clever.

[Comments] (1) I didn't get where I am today by not having holidays: My vacation is almost over. First, however, I am being treated to a reflexology massage. How fun & nice! Of course, I have never had a massage before so I don't really know what that means...

Yesterday we rode the Staten Island Ferry which was really great. There really are a ton of foreigners here, I love it. It makes me feel like I'm in Europe. I seriously haven't seen so many French people outside of France. Tons of Brits, too. We got a Scottish guy to take our picture with the Statue of Liberty... I am working on putting up photos on my yahoo photos page, I will do all of them when I get back. My feet are finally starting to feel more capable of New York (just in time, haha) so we took the subway to Astor Place and got some Chickpea falafel. Actually I had a "shawafel," which was a combination falafel and shawerma. Delicious. Then we walked up to Union Square, got some pretzel croissants from City Bakery and some eggs and bread from the greens market. Leonard popped into a computer store to get my birthday present--a case for an external hard drive! yay--while I admired the New York City Public Library from the steps. Then we explored Grand Central Station a bit before coming home and watching about five hours of a t.v. show, as we are wont to do.

A few years ago we watched almost all of the first Arrested Development in one weekend. This time it is The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, a hilarious old 1970s British sitcom about a guy who fakes his suicide and comes back as someone else to marry his own wife again, and all the adventures that ensue. I know that probably doesn't sound funny, but it truely is, and it employs me with many little catchphrases that I can use to make myself laugh and no one else (unless Leonard happens to be around). Luckily I have all the episodes on my new hard drive!

: Now that I am safely back and the excitement of greeting kitties who missed me and opening up all the packages I received in my absense (I seem to order a lot of books… but they're for school! Some of them…) I realize how much I have to do, and I don't even know where to start. Shower? Clean? Laundry? Finish unpacking? Grocery shopping? Or just dive straight into the quarter? I'm not taking any classes per se this quarter so I have to figure out when I'm going to meet with my professors for independent studies. And I have to figure out how I'm reasonably going to complete my thesis in the next 2 months. Yikes. Well, I'm hungry now so maybe I'll start my scrounging up some lunch with what's in the cupboard.

PS, I wrote that at 11:30, now I am at the library slowing wading through some of the stuff I need to do.

How will I ever survive motherhood if I'm this paranoid?: I'm worried about my Tonks… He's been out and I haven't seen him since I left for school, before 2. He's usually not gone that long. I called and called, then walked around the block calling. He usually comes when I call. I know I am probably being paranoid but in my mind's eye he is dead in a ditch somewhere… only I don't know which ditch, not anyone close. I never thought he went too far but he must… To make matters worse I am worried about Jelly Bean too.. she is getting that fur and bones feeling and look, squeaks worse than even, and smells funny. And her eyes are looking weird like becoming more deep set or her fur around them is becoming bald… I'll take her in for a check up tomorrow, assuming Tonks wakes me up around 2 am wanting in. Which I'm sure he will. Unless he is being mauled by wild dogs. WHERE IS MY BABY????? I'm convinced he's dead or dying.

[Comments] (3) : Tonks didn't come home last night... now I am very worried. He has been almost a whole day without food! Very unlike him. I walked all around the neighborhood calling his name and asking people if they had seen him. Later today I will bust out my bike and go further afield. My little baby! Where could he be! Now I am afraid to take Jelly to the vet for fear of bad news that will break my heart...

[Comments] (2) With reason?: Poor little Jelly Bean. I was right to fear taking her to the vet. She didn't come back. Her little heart was failing and she was having difficulty breathing. The vet said she wasn't enjoying life. Of course I am selfish and I have difficulty believing any moments cuddled weakly next to me are not enjoyed! But I let her go. My little baby. She has been with us for so long it is hard to see her go but she had a good long life.

In better news Tonks is home. He showed up about ten minutes ago at the door saying "Meow. I'm home, please let me in." And he walked in as if he hadn't been gone for two days! Oblivious to my consternation. Typical boy. He must have been eating from someone's porch because he didn't run for the food dish. Now he is asking to go out again! Yeah right! He is in so much trouble. He is grounded AND on a DIET! My little boy, I am so glad he's home.

[Comments] (3) NYC highlights: (in no particular order, after the first one):

Food Highlights: (pretty much every meal was memorable. I wished there was a way to eat without getting full.or fat!.because there were so many delicious things to try)

[Comments] (1) "I thought it was a bird but it was just a paper bag":

Maurice Michaud was not really unhappy. He had a unique way of thinking: he didn't consider himself that important; in his own eyes, he was not that rare and irreplaceable creature most people imagine when they think about themselves. (Némirovsky, Storm in June)
Oh, I wish that were me, too! Then I wouldn't be in for so many disappointments. I didn't get the ORS I was counting on, so I have to cobble together funding for my phd on my own.

But I mustn't feel sorry for myself... there are lots of people who would love to be in my position, loans and all….

Some random thoughts about books: There's a new Sophie Kinsella book—Shopaholic and Baby! No, I haven't read it yet. I refuse to buy it because a) my Sophie Kinsella collection is strictly for British editions b)I'm poor c) the last two Sophie Kinsella books have been somewhat disappointing so I don't want to waste my money in case it sucks. I will, of course, give it a try… Also there's a new Maeve Binchy book, they're both in hardcover so maybe I will go sniffing around the bookstore when people who like me are there and people who don't aren't, and see if I can't get them checked out to me. Of course I should probably turn back in the ones I already have checked out first, but I still haven't read Renfield: Slave of Dracula. And I don't know when I'll have time to read these books anyway.

[Comments] (3) My first conference!: My first academic conference was a success and now I am on my way to becoming well-educated and unemployed! First off, my presentation went really well. I did my paper on Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, which I had originally submitted for a women and war panel but I got put on a British authors and war panel, which was fine. Actually as it turned out, all of the authors people presented on were women. There was a paper on West and Woolf, another on Woolf, and the last one on H.D. After another panel I was talking to a girl who had presented and she said, "It obviously wasn't your first conference because you were actively presenting instead of just reading." I said, "actually this is my first!" On the way home I was thinking about it and I started to wonder if she did say "this was your first" because it seriously seemed that everyone else did just read. Some were better readers than others, more expressive or looked up more often, etc, but… and no one else had a handout. So maybe it is only newbies who put so much effort into it. In fact, I was surprised by the number of people who had pages and pages, went on for twenty minutes or longer, using up extra time that magically appeared because someone didn't show up for the panel, and then still having to say, Ok, I'll stop there. How can you not even time yourself? I know it's difficult to cut out text, but surely its better to do it before hand than in the middle of the presentation? But perhaps I too will soon be blasé about these things.

It was mainly an English conference, a few comp-lit people, and there must have been other history students but I didn't meet them. All the same, it was nice to commiserate with people who are more along the same track as I am than those at my school…. "Do they tell you you won't get a job, too?" Someone asked me. Another voiced our greatest fears: "Which is worst, finding out that someone is doing something quite similar to you or realizing the reason no one's done it is because your topic sucks?" I met tons of people from all over, a lot of international students studying in the states, and people coming from abroad too. A girl from Germany and a guy from Turkey studying in Indiana, a girl from Romania studying in Virginia, a guy from Virginia studying in Scotland, and someone coming from Wales who had done he BA and MA at UCL… Actually aside from the UCR people, I'd day there were more presenters from out of state than from within. It was tons of fun to run around all day with these people and listen to interesting papers and pretend to be smart, or if that didn't work I had an excellent excuse because English isn't my field! But actually I was surprised how much I was able to bring in… after our panel there was a good debate about the authenticity of women war writers, and in others panels I was able to comment on subjectivity of sources, etc. One panel I ended up going to I really enjoyed but I was totally turned off by the title when I saw in the program… "Politicized Ascetics," what the hell does that even mean? (rhetorical question.)

All in all I had a really great time, and I wish I could have stayed for the next day but I decided to come home and work, though I haven't gotten as much done as I had hoped I would, I'm afraid! I was so exhausted from the long day yesterday and not sleeping well the night before because I was worried about my presentation, that I slept for 12 hours! And I got home so late… oh well. I do have a lot of work to do, and another presentation this Friday. It should be interested because it is on my topic (the UCL guy was confused as to why I had applied to SSEES when I was working on Vera Brittian! But I'm not) so hopefully I will get some feedback. The next one is a women's studies' conference so who knows who I will meet! I hope this panel is also well attended (British War authors had 15 or 20, the most of any other one I went to, anyway) because I think I would feel bad if no one wanted to come! But it is an interesting topic, Interpreting women's engagement in politics, so I imagine people will come.

The craziness countinues (sleeping in airports): I have finally decided on a route for my august adventure, partly because I was tired of waking up everyday and thinking something like, "maybe I'll go to turkey," and then spending 5 hours reading about turkey (I won't say wasting time, but travel research seems to be my favorite mode of procrastination, and right now I really need to be spending about 90% of my waking hours working on my thesis), and partly because ryanair was having a sale. So I booked a cheap flight to Venice! The morning after I arrive in London! I figured all I really need to do is drop my bags off somewhere, so I'll do that, hang around for a few hours, then head off to Stansted for a good night's sleep, haha. Actually, the flight for the 1st was $30 cheaper than the flight on the 2nd, so I figure with that money I saved, plus the money from not having to pay for two nights in a London hostel, I can actually afford to visit Venice!

[Comments] (2) We fondly called it "slEasy jet": The thing about budget airlines is that they keep the fares low by ripping you off in every other possible way. I think this has gotten worse in the few years since my happy-go-lucky days as an undergrad study abroader, back when a euro was less than a dollar and it took less than two dollars to get you a pound. *sigh* Anyway, the 4 pound fare was seriously the cheapest part of my ticket except the 1.75 credit card fee (which is charged per leg, per passenger). There was 25 pounds tax (but that's to be expected), and now apparently they don't even let you check luggage without having to pay for it. 5 pounds per piece, I think more at the airport, and if it weighs more than 15 kilos, it's like 8 pounds per kilo or something ridiculous like that. Needless to say there will be no free snacks, drinks, or friendly stewards aboard the flight. But I'm still flying from London to Venice for $75, so it's hard to complain. Thanks to cheap airlines, I experienced the delights of Paris, Madrid, Nice, and other places that would have been out of reach previous to the budget airline revolution in Europe. I'm really looking forward to being back where all of Europe is just a hop, skip, and 20 pounds away, especially now that they have expanded east. I will probably be spending many more nights on a scored armrest-less cushion at Stansted en route to Krakow, Budapest, Riga… The sky is the limit (as they say).

Never the twain shall meet?: In celebration of the completion of the first draft of a thesis chapter (chapter two, as it turns out), I bring this you tidbit of my thesis (lucky you):

"One British officer wrote a "best-selling epic parody of Hiawatha" describing Salonkia:

Tiadatha thought of Kipling,
Wondered if he's ever been there
Thought: At least in Rue Egnatia
East and West are met together.
This is perhaps the best description of the atmosphere of the Balkan front: the meeting of east and west, with all the implicit reluctance, cleavages, and connections that such a meeting created."

[Comments] (1) Cat scan?: 9:30 I woke up this morning to a constant little mewing outside my window. I went out to investigate and there was a little tiny kitten nestled in one of the sprinkler beds. Momma cat soon made herself evident, too… (This explains a lot of prowling and growling that has been going on outside my window these few days.) At first she made to run away but then she changed her mind and engaged in a standoff with me, and tried to run me off! Very brave. I wasn't sure what to do. I couldn't take the kitten away from it's mommy, but then on the other hand, it might be given to the Cat People who would foster it out and then find it a nice cozy home, instead of having to live on the street and getting knocked as a teenager like its momma, thus perpetuating the cycle. All the same I hid & let the momma carry the kitten away. Maybe it will find someone else when it has been weaned to give it a good home. It has been known to happen.

In other news I now have a scanner. Oh happy day! Originally I had ordered a cheap, refurbished one from some online store… Bad move. Not only did it not come with software compatible with macs, not only could I not get it to work with image capture, it didn't work at all! I sent it back and they gave me a full refund, but I had to pay to ship it so I was still out $12, which is like half the price of the scanner! The lesson is not to order from shady online stores. This one is 3Btech.

So I decided not to take any more chances and I ordered a scanner directly from the apple store, guaranteed to a) work with my computer and b) work. It came really fast and I got it yesterday! I spend the evening fooling around with it, scanning things in my "scan & toss" pile. I paid a little more than basic to get one with an adjustable document cover so you can use it with books, and it scans film and has buttons you can use to make pdfs, though I haven't quite worked that out yet. I worked on a little setup with a book in my book holder so I can just glance over and read while I am waiting for things to scan or save. Fantastic! Hmm I think I hear a little mewing again… and a big mewing which means I must let tonks in.

[Comments] (1) The wisdom of ages past: 1916:

To American readers the name Kossovo doubtless calls forth little recognition.
Mr Fortier Jones, you are hil-AR-ious, and you don't even know it.

However, I think his book makes a good point about sticking ones nose where ones nose does not really know all about what is going on. He continues:

But to every Serbian, Kossovo bring up an image of past glory when the present dream of every Serbian heart was a reality.
(Of course the difficulty for an historian in looking at nationalist histories is the discrepancy between historical "truth"—if there is such a thing—and what the general population believes to be their history. Which is one of the reasons professional history is so distrusted in places like, say, Ireland. But I digress…)

And later:

you can be assured the average Serb knows why [he is fighting]. Whether you believe in the Serb's ambitions or not, you instantly see that he believes in them, worships them, dies for them with a gladness that takes little account of self or family… If it meant sure defeat, they would still jump in and fight for their liberty until utterly exhausted. They can not help it; they are built that way. They may or may not be too extreme in this. It is well for Americans, who can sit calmly and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of fighting no matter what is involved, to realize that such peoples do exist.

The point I am trying to make here is less about Serbia specifically and more about a general world view. I think it just shows how easy it is to get accustomed to "our" way of thinking as if it were the only way of thinking, as if people all over the world don't think differently ten times over. Here we are taught, "it's rude to stare." In Turkey, staring is a national pastime. Who is right and who is wrong? No one. But when one goes to Turkey and feels uncomfortable because one is being stared at, one ought to remember that things are not always as they appear to one's self.

[Comments] (1) London calling: I just sent off an email to my potential--no, my real--adviser at Birkbeck saying I have made up my mind to go there... despite all difficulties which shall be overcome... so that is where I'll be this fall. Come hell or high water or student loan debt. Now to send off my "thanks but no thanks, you should have given me a scholarship" letter to Edinburgh, and fend off any other offers of admission that come, haha.

It's late. I've been working on editing a paper for a conference tomorrow--have to wake up early. I think it's under 15 minutes, I've read it aloud 3 times, very quickly but, I think, well-articulated. Now I know why I suffered through drama all those years in high school, yes NOW I know. One day this weekend is dedicated to chapter one of my thesis--the other, to chapter two.

It occurs to me that I am updating a lot which might give some the impression that I am goofing off and have plenty of time on my hands, so why haven't I returned their phone calls? (Sorry Pat!) Actually it's the exact opposite. The weblog is my only outlet. I haven't seen a friendly face since I snuck over to the Burzlaffs to mooch dinner and leftovers on Sunday. Unless you count the guy who works at Dagny's. Or my friends at Trader Joes. Yes, my life is pathetic. I see people who work at coffee shops and grocery stores more than I see my own friends. Whatever. I'll write more about Tonks' cute habits later...

I'm so tired... maybe I'll sleep a bit and show up to the conference later. Less traffic that way and my panel isn't until 3 or so anyway. But at least I timed myself!

: Back from the conference. Completely exhausted. It was very different from last week--for one thing there weren't as many people. I got there late and felt shy so I didn't make any friends. At my panel one of my presenters didn't show up, and the only audience was the other presenter's husband. I felt clumsy but I got some good advice. The other woman was a history prof at Nevada state. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow so I think I might just read something that is not related to serbia at all, though I only have a little bit left of Fortier Jones. I got there with 20 minutes to go on the last panel before lunch so I sat reading it for an hour and a half, eating my pb&j. Thank goodness I had the foresight to bring both!

[Comments] (1) Hm: Is republican--as in French republicanism--capitalized? Republican? republican? "he was also opposed to a popular republican (Republican) general, Maurice Sarrail..."

[Comments] (1) Well: I am now the foster mother of three kittens. Actually, I feel really bad about it, because I peered out the window at the sprinkler bed today & there was momma staring back at me. I invited her to come in but she declined. I honestly thought she'd taken off, else I probably would have left the kittens as is... but each time I went to investigate yesterday I saw neither heads nor tails of her, and it was a cold night so I rescued the little ones and ran off to Petsmart for kitten formula. It rained all night and much of this morning... I hope they will be healthy kittens and have me to thank for it but I still feel as though I interfered in something I shouldn't have. Oh well; too late now. I had thought to hand them over to the cat people who do foster care but they had a recording saying they are unable to accept any more cats or kittens. So then I thought, SPCA... but I am wary of the SPCA, and I looked up some things online and it seemed overwhelming at first, but now it seems doable so now I think I might just raise them myself and find homes for them, therefore not straining any resources that might go to other kitties... I hope I am successful. The only thing is I must take them to vet to make sure they are healthy (they have some sniffles and gunky eyes, I hope just outdoor things that will go away easily), and that will cost $$$, but I suppose I can always eat a little cheaper for a while or something. The little ones are so cute and very sweet, all boys. I will take some pictures, so if anyone wants a kitten... They are about 2 weeks I think, since they have little teeth, so should be ready to go in a little while. I will call the cat people back at business hours and ask advice.

[Comments] (1) Wow: Sometimes my own typos amaze me. Actually, it happens a lot. I should be typo queen or something.

[Comments] (2) Slavery: I am a slave to my little kittens. They demand food day and night. They are growing and very hungry! Dr Reno said to give them a little bit of canned food yesterday. I mixed it with formula and gave it to them on a spoon. One of them, the fat one, has gotten the hang of it and eats from a dish. The others just step in it and make a mess. Perhaps they are just not ready.

Second chapter draft is going out to the other committee members. Still a lot of work to do.

[Comments] (5) Website ideas: What if I made the journals/ boxes I foist upon my friends at Christmas/birthdays to sell on my website? Would people pay enough to make it worth while? Probably not. I would have to charge at the very least $30 for a journal, they take like 10 hours to make, plus materials.

Also, can anyone recommend a good web server and/or website making software... that is cheap and user (idiot) friendly?

[Comments] (2) 12 year old humor: I found this very funny at 1 am:

We are to call each other by our surnames, except Ethel Hore, who we call by her first name.
--Ishobel Ross, Little Grey Partridge

Today is: Anzac day

Actually I think it's tomorrow over there already.

Hurrah for small victories: Chapter 3 is drafted & sent to my advisor, hurrah.

Just one more chapter to go, hurrah.

The kittens have started to eat from a dish & use the litter box on their own, hurrah.

I am SUCH an idiot: I totally forgot about this conference I am presenting at this weekend. Completely forgot about it, until I got an email saying it's hot in Fresno. I even paid to go to this stupid history banquet thingy on Saturday. I wonder if I can get my money back....

This is actually really indicative of the mind frame I am in right now. I leave tea brewing for an hour, the sprinklers on for five. It is just a matter of time before I lose my mind altogether.

I had a nightmare this morning. My thesis sucked, my computer broke, and my niece didn't love me ALL IN THE SAME DREAM.

[Comments] (2) I might starve: I am too lazy to cook. to the extent of opening a can. so I am eating beef jerky and pistachios. which will not hold out...

[Comments] (1) The countdown begins: 5 weeks from today is the university deadline for completed MA theses. The good news is this will all be over in 5 weeks. The bad news is there is a lot of work to be done in the next 5 weeks. I hope I make it.

[Comments] (3) So close, yet so far. : Wah. I don't feel like doing anything. I want go home & climb into bed with a kitten or four & read. I don't want to write this chapter. I don't want to edit the other three. I want to be lazy. A pizza from trader joes sounds like a reallly good idea...

[Comments] (3) And whine some more.: Sorry for all the whiney posts. I am really miserable & I have no one to share it with in person. Whine whine whine. I am supposed to have a draft to all the committee members by Monday. Ahhhhh

[Comments] (1) Whew: I am mysteriously & miraculously feeling better this morning & last night. I came up with a little schedule so I can finish on time. And a reward incentive! If I do all this, then I can treat myself to a massage. I will have earned it.

Today: finish chapter 4, edit chapter 1
Tomorrow: revise chapter 4 & send off, meet with prof, edit chapter 2.
Saturday: Visit Susie, edit chapter 3
Sunday chapter 4 again? Intro & conclusion

Update: I am already a little behind on my schedule but that's ok, I think I front-loaded it a little bit so I will be able to catch up by monday?

These little baby kittens are at least twice as big as when I found them. They are SO cute. They look like miniature cats now, not just little balls of fur, and they are cleaning themselves, using the litter box, eating solids & I'm going to buy them some dry food today. Little babies. The black & white one has a home, I am working on the other ones.

Goal: I don't think I am going to make it. Still, I have gotten a lot done. All I have left is to edit the last (and shortest) chapter, write the other half of my introduction, and conclusion. Probably I will read over it again and send it in the morning. Oh well. I can't really afford a reward anyway.

[Comments] (2) Bright side: One good thing about leaving this house is I will no longer be sleeping 5 feet away from a side yard filled with whine beagles.

[Comments] (1) Wow: The days go by so so fast. I spent most of today struggling to get "employed" by KHSD as a sub... They refused to "hire" me until I showed them my social security card (which is with my library card and jamba juice gift card and other essentials... somewhere) despite having about 10 documents verifying my identity and eligibility to work in the US. I also popped into the bookstore because I thought I had to order a graduation robe to rent. But no, I have to be ripped off and BUY one. $75!!! Graduation is still 4 weeks away but when I asked they went back to get one and I figured I might as well buy it now. Maybe I can sell it to one of the other graduate students who is my size.

Yesterday was my first say as a I sub. I had 7th graders. Actually it wasn't too bad, I didn't take anything too seriously, even when I was asked if I was a student by another teacher (ok, jr high, the kids are 14 at the oldest? Do I really look 10 years younger than I actually am???) but it did go by realllly slow. And I was so tired by the end of it I couldn't think & my brain was fried when I got home. Kinda like it is now. But I really need to get to work on my introduction. Whatever. That one day paid for my graduation gown.... Lucky Susie is making announcements for me so I don't have to spend another $70 on those.

[Comments] (1) Woes again: Someone is house inspecting. It is really disturbing to have someone else stomping and slamming when one is used to being entirely alone except for the little mews. Plus he keeps grunting like he doesn't like the results of the "inspection." I had to escape! At least from a distance I can pretend that people are not currently invading my privacy. So I printed out a resume and cover letter and took it to the library to remind them I applied online. I am not hopeful. It is so depressing to have as many skills & qualifications as I do (I have skills and qualifications, right?) and have so few prospects of employment! Hopefully it will be better in London where history is a real industry. I don't know what I'll do if I don't get a job there, I can't think of anything else that isn't morbidly depressing like going back to minimum wage at some shop somewhere. Anyway. Today I am going to finish my thesis for real.

Oh yeah and I opened my robe. It is so ugly and cheap looking. Why can't we have nice robes and rent them? Oh yeah, because they like to rip us off. Well they could still charge the same amount for rental robes. it's not as though we have a choice. Unless people start selling used robes online like they do books. Hmmm....

Therefore: I hate conclusions. I've already said everything I want to say. why do I have to say it again? It's just repetitive.

[Comments] (3) Done: Can it be true? Probably not. I'll be waking up tomorrow morning to find more to do for the rest of my life.

Coming soon: posts on the wind of change in European politics, and other profound topics.

[Comments] (1) I've just realized...: My babytalk is extremely close to my attempt at a fake Serbian accent.

This either means my subconscious finds a Serbian accent soothing... or I've fallen into the imperialistic trap of men feminizing/women infantilizing. And apparently neither of those is a word. Of I've spelled them horribly wrong. Ok. Time to go back to bed.

[Comments] (4) About thirty years from now: After raising my children on complaints about how I hate mother's day because "my mother died on mother's day," they will find out from my sister that this is not actually true.

Oh well. Happy mother's day to those who still have/are mothers.

[Comments] (1) misc: Only the little orange kitten is left now. I let him run around so he is not so lonely, and there is starting to be less tension between him & Tonks. He kept waking me up by crawling on me all night. I kept kicking him off the bed.

I am sooo tired... But I am not used to this schedule. So even when I am super tired and I try to go to bed early (early is nine) I can't fall asleep because I am used to going to sleep at midnight! Argh. The good news is after the little schools are out I get to be a "grader" and earn $300 for marking papers. What was Austria-Hungary's most contentious ethnic province: Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia or Slovenia?

[Comments] (1) *lines up for quinine parade*: I have bug bites all over my body. Something must be in my room. (other than a scratchy kitten) I hope I don't get malaria.

[Comments] (1) If you wanna make sense, whatcha looking at me for? I'm no good at math: I have worked every day this week. Of course it is very hard on me as I am not used to working! Even if most of what "working" entails is sitting and reading and occasionally yelling "Be quiet!" (Actually, come to think of it, that is not so different from what I have been doing everyday in the library!) So I am not good for much when I get home but still have gotten some more done on my thesis. Maybe I am just exhausted from all the work I have done on it this last month or so. Now there is a lasagna in the oven and I am going to take the night off. Tomorrow: more work on thesis, cleaning, and gym!

Its a good thing I have been working because I will really need the money. The euro is at $1.40! Unbelievable. I was at the bank for a while after school today trying to figure out how to send my deposit to the Novi Sad program. In the end I settled for a bank draft ($15 versus $42 for a swift transfer which is what the school wants. Oh well. I just hope it works.) Then the USPS wanted $20 to send it global priority. Yeah right. The postage is going up ridiculous. Almost a dollar just to send a letter to Europe. At this rate I will be sleeping in haystacks come August. Please please let me find a summer job...

Hi Bye: My parking meter is about to expire. "Becks" has been very unreliable lately. Apparently there is still much work to be done on the thesis. I think I knew this but bah humbug nonetheless.

[Comments] (4) No good very bad day: When I was crossing stockdale hwy my wallet opened and all my money fell out. I stepped on a bee when I was running back to get it.

The kitten attacked my key board and removed my shift key and f9 key.

I feel sick. And I'm worried about my thesis. I'm working on final corrections (?) so I'll take volunteers to read it. But really I think it sucks.

The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing:

My father was gone. I felt I couldn't lose anything else, but just then I realized I already had: I'd lost the hope that I would ever be loved in just that way again.

[Comments] (1) Aha: Job fair for the new Sephora Thursday.

I've all kinds of time if you'll stay: So my thesis is finally done, really this time. Maybe. It is all up to my committee and if they think I have done everything they asked well enough. But I *have* done all they asked. surprisingly, this does not bring the sense of elation that I expected. Maybe because my stolen internet wasn't working so I had to drive downtown to mail it. (And I'm sure it will work fine when I get home). Maybe because, now what? Well, lots, what. Maybe because I walked into a chair in the dark.

[Comments] (4) Slacker: On Tuesday I got two announcements for graduations that are a week after mine. I'm sending mine out today. Oh well. Mine are really cute. I had Susie make some because I am cheap but I really like them a lot better than the impersonal formal ones. And I have a good picture. If you look really closely you can see the title of the book in my lap: With Serbia into Exile (cheerful!). Most of them will get to their addressees before the actual graduation.... I hope.

[Comments] (1) It is out of my hands: hooray!

[Comments] (3) : I just remembered that I haven't posted in a long time. I am all graduated and done with school, but I think I will have to pay my library fines before they give me my diploma...

[Comments] (2) Searching through the stations for an unfamiliar song: I changed my flight so now I am leaving on the 5th instead of the 30th. It only cost $35 to change the ticket (I love STA). So now I have a lot to do getting ready, which is much better than visions of an empty summer. Of course, the down side is I will miss Paul and Christina's wedding and HP at Russos, but I will go to London instead.

opps: visa panic. Birkbeck is being much more helpful than CSUB, but is that really surprising?

And the woot, she wanders: One of my summer projects that isn't going to get done now that I am leaving and, let's face it, probably wouldn't have anyway, was to make a travel website. I am still planning on doing this but, in the meantime, I have made a separate travel blog as a placeholder. Here it is: http://wanderwoot.blogspot.com/ I know it is annoying to have another site to check... just add it to your google reader! =)

"The greatest imaginable blessing" : short hair and images of counter-femininity: Short hair was common on the Balkan front, where the work was more rigorous and the environment harsher. Emslie wrote in her diary, "All [the "Khaki Girls"] have short hair, which is the envy of our unit, all of whom are still unshorn." This was possibly the inspiration for what happened later. While waiting in Salonika Bay, Emslie wrote that she "cut the hair of nearly all the unit." No one seemed to mind, including "Edith Harley, whose beautiful long hair I was loathe to sacrifice," except for one nurse who had "only twopenny-worth of Nature's crowning glory, but as I was half through she called out in her lovely highland voice: 'Oh, my good hair, my good hair, please don't cut it off!'" Although most of Emslie's unit had been doing war work in the south of France for six months or longer, it was when they were sent to Salonika that they felt the need to cut their hair.

: I am up in SF with Leonard and Jeff having a great time. I leave in four days. Tonks is pretty happy up here but I am worried that he will forget who I am. I'm looking through all of Leonard's travel books to supplement my LP Eastern Europe. Going back to Bakersfield soon. Tomorrow I go down to the consulate in LA to (hopefully) get my visa.

so much for the shift key: Down in arcadia to watch a race before i go... and yet i still have things to do before i leave! ho-hum.

[Comments] (1) Reminder: www.wanderwoot.blogspot.com I am now officially a full-time traveller. [Please note the UK spelling]

Magic makes for efficient packing: There was supposed to be another post here. Last night: have book, will read. Now is the other end of the story. Which means I've gotten about 5 or 6 hours sleep combined in the last two days, go me. But I'm going to try plowing through and just going to bed early tonight so my body isn't even more messed up than it already is. The funny thing is, it would not be unusual to have left my hotel the next day twelve hours after getting back the previous night if I had just had a really long sleep and lazy morning. No one might have guessed I had just read an entire HP novel...

Of course I have thoughts but I won't say any of them because I'm sure that no one else has finished reading or at least hardly anyone else. So lalala....

I just figured out that my stupid t-mobile sim won't work in europe (I bought a cheap phone in Ukraine) and for some reason I can't dial internationally with the one I bought here. Fabulous. It's so odd to be back in London, a place that is so familiar to me that it feels like home, but it isn't anymore, or it isn't yet. And a lot has changed. I have spend the last day or so wandering around what will be my neighborhood. It's so funny that I meant an American girl in line who was on a study abroad summer. She said she was going back to her room afterwards to put pictures up on facebook and I said I'd like to do that so I went with her to a building halfway between the bookstore and my hotel, which turned out to be Connaught Hall, the place I had selected on my housing application. Then when i got there and checked my email I had one saying I had been nominated for a place there! So strange.

I'm really, really tired. It doesn't help that my computer clock says 5:50 am.

[Comments] (19) what I think: at least until I read it again, hopefully under more conducive circumstances. spoilers in the comments.

[Comments] (1) Copycat: Interesting first choice but overall I'd say this is pretty accurate.

 Funeral Director
 Music Teacher / Instructor
 Foreign Language Instructor
 ESL Teacher
 Corporate Trainer
 Desktop Publisher
 Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
 Computer Trainer
 Tour Guide
 Elementary School Teacher
 High School Teacher 
 Teacher Assistant

[Comments] (1) Whew: I just got back from picking up Stacy from the airport, checking her into her room near covent garden, having lunch and walking to the strand to find an orange store only for it to be closed. I was just going to settle down for a nap but a French girl I met in Poland who is visiting London called, wanting to hang out, so I am heading out to South Kensington instead. The exchange rate and cost of things in general is really killing me. For instance I spent 20 pounds on things like deodorant and dish soap yesterday. Which is like $40. I've decided i have to stop converting into dollars because it does no good, only depresses me. The only way I will feel better is to get a job and start EARNING pounds, which I am going to do asap. I'm really really worried about how I'm going to survive this city.

[Comments] (3) Da, da (an interesting predicament: I spent most of yesterday surrounded by French people. Every time I tried to say something in French, it came out half in Serbian. Mostly little words: yes, no, prepositions and conjunctions. The ones that come out without you thinking about them. It's as though there are only two language boxes in my head, one for English and one for foreign languages, and if I reach for a foreign language whichever one is on top comes out. I'll have to learn to deal with this better, maybe by studying Serbian and French simultaneously?? I'll find out about this later today at orientation.

In the meantime I'm going to try and find some thrift shops to pick up some necessities. Also I should probably get my shift key replaced at some point, and now that it's no longer the weekend I don't have an excuse for avoiding Oxford Street.

: I am running around taking care of carious administrative tasks... Yesterday after thrift store shopping (I didn't have much luck in the first store, only managed to buy books, but in the next one I got a plate, bowl, set of silverware and four glasses for less than 3 pounds, however I still need to get to a big Tescos to buy a shower caddy, hangers, some tea towels, etc... and I still need to figure out how to make the pound sign on here.) I went to orientation all day, followed by receptions all evening. I met a lot of cool people and hope I will see them again. Today I enrolled but my email still isn't working... Now I have to update all my Quicken accounts a figure out how I am going to survive in this city. I'm trying to decide if I should buy a printer and a mini fridge. Technically the minifridge is forbidden, so obviously I ill wait to see how that is enforced, but it would be handy to have, considering the minifridge provided is all the way down the hall and shared with 40 other people. I guess the printer just depends on whether I can find a cheap good one. Probably better than paying 5p per page for the next 4 years, though I'm not sure how much I'll be printing... Now I'm just rambling.

[Comments] (1) Ugh: My room is slanted. Like, really slanted. It wasn't so noticeable before because of where the bed was. But I'm next to the lift which has a pokey-outy wall into my room, preventing the bed from fitting into the notch between the wall and a built in shelf... thus there was an empty space behind the bed. I like to sit up in bed and read so that wasn't going to work for me. I moved the bed against the wall and discovered the flaw. I wonder if it is worth my effort to complain. I'd like to pay a lesser rate. There is always the possibility that they will change my room. People are still moving in.

update: I just went down to the office to complain to see if I could get another room. The girl said it was a problem with the entire building and every room had slanty floors. Well. Maybe. But even if they were as bad as mine maybe they can cover it with their beds. She said that they didn't do swaps because then whoever else gets the room will have the same complaints. I tried to convince her that maybe someone who didn't mind having a space at the head of their bed wouldn't notice the slants. She said if I could find someone willing to swap it was ok... Now I'm pissed because I'm convinced I got a crappy room through bad luck and I have a superiority complex and feel like I should get preferential treatment because I'm a grad student... apparently nobody cares. That is the sad truth. No one cares if my floor is slanty, no one cares if I can read in bed, no one cares if I have enough money to finish my degree, no one cares but me.

[Comments] (5) Reports from the dining hall #1: I have gotten so many compliments on my little mermaid mug. Seriously, every day.

Some people find peanut butter and jelly as bizarre as I find marmite. Amazing.

[Comments] (2) Bad idea: to look at pictures of hair when it was so short & cute, when you are trying to grow it out again. Now I know how people get caught in this trap.

Will I paint pictures? Will I sing songs?: I'm trying to find a job... I spent all evening searching online and feel like I have done nothing but waste time. So far it looks like my viable options are: nightclub promotion, hostess in a "gentlemens'" club, call centre... everything else requires experience. Here's hoping one of the bookstore or library jobs I've already applied to pans out. Or perhaps tutoring? I could do a qualifying course in teaching english. Is this what my life is always going to be like?

Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth: Just came back from a meeting with my supervisor. She is lovely but I'm starting to feel like I'm not cut out for a PhD. I'm not afraid of the amount of work, I just don't think I am smart enough! Of course you will all say of course I am because you all love me and are biased, but honestly I don't think I am and perhaps in your heart of hearts you agree. Oh well, we shall see how this year goes, if nothing else it will be fun. The good news is it looks like I can probably get Birkbeck to pay for my Serbian course when I thought I would have to pay it myself. The bad news is I went to said course today and understood about 10% of what was said. So I have to decide if I will stuck it out floundering or do the level 1 or some other as yet unthought of solution. Probably I should stick it out or I will never know enough to do research. The grammar I understand, it's the vocab--there is only so much you can learn in a month as opposed to a full year of study plus some that the others in my course have done. So. What to do. Hard decisions about that and my thesis. On top of that I still haven't heard a peep about any job and I feel like I'm spending entirely too much money just breathing London air. I'd love nothing better than to sit and mull and talk it all over with someone who understands and sympathizes and knows what's best. Unfortunately she is not available.

[Comments] (1) Surprise: I just figured that I have been giving out the wrong phone number to everyone for weeks. Including job applications. That might explain the lack of calls. Off to remedy the situation.

Wearing the shoe till it fits: My purse got upturned in the chaos of the morning, and when I picked it up out fell a one dinar coin and a (used) ticket for the Budapest metro.

Ugh: I waited for ever for my stupid tesco card to be registered and now it finally works and the super cheap printer I wanted is out of stock. What a pain. I can't believe I waited for something as stupid as a clubcard. Now I will have to wait forever or find another cheap printer. It was nice and on sale too, who knows if it will still be on sale when it comes back in stock.

[Comments] (1) Reports from the non-dining hall: My V8 was either stolen or thrown away. Hurumph. I may have to invest in that illegal £15 micro fridge (and keep it hidden) after all. On the bright side, I am learning to work the system here in this unnamed hall... You an request a not bad-tasting packed supper if you have academic commitments that will keep you past dinner serving time (which stops at 7 pm). They are available in the afternoon, theoretically so you can take it with you to your academic commitment, I suppose. I am eating mine now. This actually works out really well because I have started attending these seminars at the Institute for Historical Research and it seems everyone goes out for dinner afterwards, which is a great networking opportunity. Plus I will get to eat good food! I'm dying for something home cooked but that will be a bit more difficult to swing, I think. So depressing that I can't even make simple spaghetti. Oh well. That is the price you pay I suppose. I think I'll go now to the ULU student fair to collect free junk.

The long and winding road: I got my ticket today. I am in American from December 19 till Jan 2 (in California from December 22). In-n-out here I come! I hope my baby hasn't forgotten me (he probably has). Because I am doing a weird detour to Salt Lake, it cost more than I hoped it would so everyone is getting the pleasure of my presence instead of physical presents. Deal! Maybe next year I will come in January instead.

[Comments] (1) "Hope they're just moving furniture around": I really don't know how the person above me manages to make so much noise. To be honest, I am feeling really jipped now that I have seen some of the other rooms which are clearly much better than mine. After another unappetizing meal, I am trying to remember to count my blessings for being able to walk to the British Library.

Upoznam grad: Decided to come out of my sulk and do some exploring. Saturday I went to Greenwich to try and find the glorious pie shop of olden days that I remember so well. Either I don't remember where it was so well, or it has closed and become a curry shop. I suspect the latter. Instead I had some decent fish and chips, and to kill it off, a crepe with nutella and fresh strawberries. I love market food! There was also a stall selling spanish food so I will have to go back to get some paella. The Greenwich market is highly gentrified, so I wandered over to the less-so Greenwich Village market to smooze in the old bottle shop, etc. I got some deals, 4 books for £2.50 and a cute skirt that was £5 marked down from £25.

Sunday I stayed in most of the day but I did wander down to Soho to get some famous falafel and explore more bookshops, one used one (for some reason they all have "licensed sex shops downstairs." Soho? and Blackwells. I didn't buy anything except a little map of London to keep in my purse. I didn't want to carry around a whole A-Zed atlas, just a small map. I spent forever deciding which one was best. One had a little bit further east but not as far north (I am in fact, living off the map, and I am not so far north) than the other, but I have had 12p Brick Lane bagels on my mind for the last week and I already know how to get to Camden Market so I got the first. Today I'm going to H&M because I'm desperate for a school bag (the daypack from my travel backpack is soo passé) via a different route, Goodge street (which turns into something else) to Regent Street. I've also worked out a great route to get south of where I am while avoiding Tottenham Court Road/ Oxford Street. Can you tell I'm not 19 anymore? I lived at that intersection when I was here 5 years ago. In fact, I really wish I could transport the 19 year old me into this hall. I would have loved it and thrived. But I am not so much the same person I was back then. Still, there are advantages.

I finally got off my lazy butt and joined the gym. I went this morning for an induction and a good but short workout. It's amazing how quickly you get out of shape. Apparently climbing the stairs here and pacing the stacks don't give enough exercise. I also signed up for a "complete core" class tomorrow. I think I will try out a bunch of classes to see which ones I like. They have three kinds of yoga, plus 2 kinds of pilates, AND yogalates. And a pool. Hurray. It is so close, though I know that won't make it any easier to go. Rather the £25/month will be. Also you have to book because most of the classes run out of space, so that makes it more of a commitment.

After the gym I walked (a whole block!) to my new favorite store, Planet Organic. I bought my personal organic milk and shopped around for some supplies. They have rice cakes for 59p so that is a blessing, some Japanese instant noodles, etc. I also wanted a lot of things I couldn't afford. I did splurge for some pomegranate juice because I figured I could use some detoxing from the hall food. Just looking at all the fresh organic things made me feel dirty for eating the things I have been. I am also thinking more and more about investing in the fridge because I thought how nice it would be to have some nice, real jam but why pay so much for it when anyone can and might help themselves, or it might get thrown out any moment? I am really nervous about my pomegranate juice. So. I really wanted to buy some fresh hummus and goat cheese and a baguette. Maybe I will give up peanut butter for lunch for a few days. Yeah, they had organic peanut butter but it was £2 for a tiny jar so I passed. Wouldn't a trader joes do well here?

[Comments] (2) A summary of events: I went to pilates and attempted to go to Planet Organic to get some milk and a sandwich for lunch, but I guess everyone goes there for lunch because the line was to the back of the store. I gazed at the picked-over sandwiches and wraps and salads for a minute or two before giving up and going next door to a cafe for a pannini. Turns out everyone goes in there to practice their french! Well, everytime I try to speak in either French or Serbian, or even think in my head of something to say, it comes out a hopeless mix of the two languages. How will I learn to compartmentalize? Well, the pannini is really good. They actually know how to make sandwiches here, unlike certain other countries that shall remain nameless (but may start with a "s" and end with "erbia") but then again, didn't the English invent sandwiches? Perhaps that is a myth.

I'm going to have a shower then go to see if I can get a ticket to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth from the ULU drama society. That would be totally awesome! Then I'm going job hunting (again.) Going round to places that look like they might hire me to hand in my cv. If that doesn't work I will start replying to no experience necessary jobs on gumtree. I also thought I might do freelance research, but I don't know how to go about that, and honestly I'd rather have another type of job since I will be spending so much time in the archives on my own account anyway.

My friend, a girl I met in Ljubljana, invited me to come stay with her in Brighton this weekend. For a while I was torn. On the one hand I really wanted to get some serious work done this weekend, but on other hands, most libraries keep short hours on weekends anyway, I have a youth railcard that I've only used to get from the airport to central london, I'd really like to see Brighton again and I have a free place to stay and Bex is really fun, and the hall is depressing on weekends anyway. It will be a nice change to have someone to hang out with. So I'm going to compromise by bring a book I probably won't read and then become a slave to the discipline of history on Monday. Now which bag to pack!

[Comments] (1) : Back from Brighton. Soooo tired. Think I'll go to bed with a book.

[Comments] (2) Semi-productive: I met up with Kate, the girl from the seminar last week, and we walked over to Lambs Conduit Street to have healthy wraps and explore the possibilities of a new HQ, since I am missing my Dagny's. Fortunately manages to avoid going into one of the many charming looking bookstores around. Bloomsbury is like used bookstore central, which is both good and bad. Empty bookshelves seems to say to me I have permission to buy as many books as I want. Luckily I can get some cheap ones here. We chatted about how finishing PhD seems like, getting married and having children--like something that happens to other people. But then again you can't really say "I never met the right thesis." Found a likely looking cafe and stayed on to work on Serbian homework. The others in my class are a great bunch of people. Classes are always really amusing. I often wish I were on the MA course there when they are talking about their course work. It sounds really interesting but much less intimidating then coming up with a thingy and doing it all myself. Tomorrow I am meeting with my supervisor to go over possible chapters. It's all very vague because I don't know whether I will be doing all the allies or just the British and look at the French and Serbs in relation to the British. To be honest, it will probably be the latter because of the sheer amount of time it would take me to do the equivalent amount of research in French and Serbian (a lot of which would probably have to be in archives in Paris or Beograd/Novi Sad). There is always post-doc I suppose! If anything I might just throw out the French, despite the fact that I know French much better. I can understand fairly well when I open up a book in French, but when I see all that Cyrillic my eyes just glaze over and it takes me a minute to work out whether the book might even be of use to me. (As in read the title.)

I am trying to work on my organizational methods. I spent most of tonight after dinner trying out Zotero which will save citations from amazon and library sites and let you add notes, etc. I like that you can tag things but I am not sure if the tiny notes thing will work out for my extensive notes on books, or how it will work on unpublished documents. Still, no better solution has presented itself. I have to do something. The sheer volume of sources is overwhelming. I don't know how I am going to read it all. I will have to learn to read faster.

Blah I feel so disorganized. I am having trouble keeping my head above the water and I shouldn't be allowed to own such modern contraptions as a phone because apparently I don't know how to work them. Also still no shift key. Now I am used to using only the right one. And still now job. Sent in a few tutoring application thingies. Maybe tomorrow night will go through job websites looking for something lame. I really don't know where the day goes. I have to try to start going to bed soon because for some reason I find it really hard to get up in time for breakfast. Everytime I get back on track I ruin it by sleeping in again. Wish I could just go with my natural rhythm, get lots of work done at night anyway, but oh well. I have lots of good new books from the SSEES library because I get a library card there as a PhD student! unfortunately I am only allowed 5 books at a time. This is madness I tell you! I would like to tell them that at American libraries you are allowed like 30 books at one time... and graduate students can check them out for the whole term (actually this is not true at CSUB). Suppose I should feel lucky I am allowed to take the books at all. Blah blah blah ok enough blatherings. I know I am forgetting to do something tonight.

: I finally just changed the time zone for my weblog, so you can see that I am talking about going to bed and it isn't even 8 yet. Of course knowing my luck I won't fall asleep for 6 more hours! My room is a mess and I have to clean it because the housekeeper comes in tomorrow and she won't be able to vacuum if there is stuff all over the floor. I guess I'll do that tomorrow morning. I think there was supposed to be more to this post but I can't remember now. Ciao.

A day in the life of English weather: Ooh a bit of sun! Oh, it's gone. That was fast.

Soon as this wall in my heart comes down: All of a sudden I can't bear living in halls anymore. I am so tired of the crappy food. I am so tired of the 18 year olds and all their drama. I am tired of not having hot water to take a shower. I am tired of having to walk down the hall to pee. I am tired of my things disappearing from the fridge. I am so tired of not being able to fall asleep because of the elephant upstairs and the all-night conversationalists next door. I went to a few parties in cozy flats this weekend and was stuck dumb with jealousy. I am going to the UL housing service to see their advice about breaking my contract and finding a cozy flat of my own.

Victory is mine!: Finally, due to my endless culling of used bookshops and over-zealous use of bookmooch, I have a whole shelf of fiction. My preciousssses bookies look so pretty, filling up a whole shelf and able to support themselves. (I already had more than a full shelf of my sources & some secondary works, these are most of the books I brought with me.) I'd put up a picture but Dave seems to be crashing every time I plug in my ipod or camera so, no.

Ok actually like half of them are travel literature and not fiction at all. Light reading. Whatever.

[Comments] (1) A new disaster every day: Well, I decided to move out of halls but now I am not so sure. None of the places posted on the student website that seemed too good to be true have responded, except one to say the room is taken. Another person I emailed replied the room was gone and I was better off in halls unless I want to pay £120. Which is as much as halls only without food and bills. And transport. Blah. But that is just one opinion and not everyone is a postgrad surrounded by freshers when all they want it a cozy couch and kitchen! Now I am in an afternoon haze of I didn't sleep enough, why am I doing this, what am I doing anyway and where is my soulmate? Never a good place to be. I had better get out. I'll go cull the boards of the student unions as suggested by the housing advisor and if nothing turns up nothing turns up. Just because I've told them I want to leave doesn't mean I have to if I don't find a flat.

Ever wondered what it was like to look for a flat in London?: Exhausted from 10 hour flat hunts yesterday and today. No luck but tomorrow may be our day. I gave up on flatshares and now I'm looking with two other new PhD students. Apparently it is not the time for the flat market... The question will soon become, if I find a flat, will I be able to pay for it? being of a lazy disposition and not having found a job I haven't opened a UK bank account, which requires a great deal of onerous paperwork, and the women who takes care of it at my university is, as all people seem to be just when I need them, on holiday. Add this too the fact that because I don't have a UK guaranteers they are wanting 6 month's rent as a deposit. Yeah, ok, let me just hand over ALL MY MONEY. It is enough to make a girl want to give up and just stay in halls. However (not even mentioning my waistline) another sleepless night might be enough to push me over the edge of sanity. Then, I suppose, nothing will matter.

Cheeky: I'm doing something a bit different for my wishlist this year. Go read this article so I can make more money and try to figure out what I want. Of course I wrote it before I decided to move so maybe I will put up a real wishlist later.

Hm: Have just realised that a shirt I wore all summer is actually not very flattering.

Stupid rakija, always disappearing (gems from Serbian class):

Professor: That means the glass is half-empty.
Student: How do you say the glass is half-full?
Professor: No, we don't say that in Serbian.... *laughter* (sarcastically) Let's create more negative stereotypes!

Professor: It was during the NATO bombing.... the NATO intervention... *awkward laughter*

Professor: It literally means it disappeared to us. There's another example of Serbo-Croat mentality. We have nothing to do with it running out.

I'm such a grinch. : No one ever knocks on my door unless they get the number wrong. And I really, really hate bunnies.

I've decided to be crazy and do Nanowrimo again this year. It will probably last about 5 days, but whatevs. I clearly am not busy enough at the moment.

Yay war: Just back from the theatre and I am IN LOVE with Patrick Stewart. He is AMAZING! And I love Macbeth. It's so gruesome and gory. This was was sent in the 1940s so it was totally awesome. The only thing that sucked is I coudn't see one corner of the stage where I was sitting. BUT. Patrick Stewart! Macbeth!

Now I am chowing down on noodles from china town and thinking about my historiography and my nanowrimo novel at the same time. And the play. Hence the title.

[Comments] (6) Hm: Anyone still out there?

One was alligator, one was crocodile: I have a trial shift at a pub on Monday! If I don't screw things up I should have a job!

You'll be glad to know I am feeling much happier these days. I'm even getting used to the noise. I came out of my anti-social shell and went to the hall halloween party last night (dressed as a tourist with white socks and sandals, I thought it was pretty clever) and even made some new friends. Tonight I'm going to the flat of a girl from the Serbian class for dins and fireworks.

Unfortunately I think I may have to drop out of the Serbian class because it is NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO POUNDS. And Birkbeck will only pay for half of it. Do you know how far that kind of money would go in Serbia?

Have I mentioned how much I hate the dollar right now?

I wrote some more articles: Stocking stuffers for travelers
Gifts for travelers (FYI I based these on my packing list so I already have most of these "gifts")
How to survive nanowrimo

My novel is going really well! And I've met a bunch of cool people through nano already. But I'm going to have to take a break from it this weekend because of that whole WWI historiography thing. It will be an extra fun challenge to catch up and then get ahead for Becca's visit!

Also I have successfully opened a UK banking account. This is a major accomplishment.

Small Rant: I cannot BELIEVE the hours for Senate House Library. 9-9. CLOSED on Sundays. Unbelievable. To think I complained about the CSUB library. 10 book limit. Tiny WWI section. Gah.

In other news I think I may have missed my true calling as a travel writer.

Post-grad 15: I have no will power. I cannot resist the call of chester fries in my closet. I know I should save them for dire straights at the end of the month... then again Becks is coming soon and will bring me a new supply if she knows what's good for her...

Also I have started a ten part article series on how to plan a backpacking trip instead of working on my historiography or the very least my nano novel. Clearly there is something wrong with me.

Also apparently today was a little interviewy thing and I have a real trial run on Friday. He said he will know within an hour whether I have any aptitude or not. How hard can it be to pour? right???? Pay is not awful but not great. Perhaps a little better than what I made at the bookstore for what it will buy for me. Maybe there will be tips.

[Comments] (2) Till the cats come home: I had a dream about tonks. I went to get him. He was talking to me. He had a very sarcastic personality but he got into the cat carrier without any fuss. Actually there were two cat carriers. One was significantly lighter. I carried them down fleet street! Or was it the way to King's Cross? (I think it was both, in my dream) What does it meeeeeeeean?

Also he was very rude about two pairs of green and yellow courdoroy overalls that Susie made for him/Red Doggie. He sent a note back pretending to be me and gave them away, so of course Susie was confused when I said I never got them. Gah.

[Comments] (1) Can you ever just be whelmed?: Part One of aforementioned article series has been published: How to Plan a Backpacking Trip #1: Inspiration and Saving Money

[Comments] (3) Also, I'm still confused as to how I got a Nora Roberts novel that isn't out yet: My room was spotless yesterday. Now it is a disaster. How? Also, I am too lazy to do laundry. Also, I am wasting time. My posters keep falling off the walls, it's really annoying. Also, I got the pub job.

[Comments] (4) It's like there's a party in my room that I'm not invited to: I hate the person above me sooooooooooo much.


A song for today:

You left me thinking what a bore, I'm always stuck inside. 
I've got a feeling there is more and I've been left behind. 
A lot of pain a lot of noise, that these four walls hide. 
Happy faces go to war and dance upon the mines.
Come on come join, come join, come join us. 
You're better young come join us. 
You be a man come join, come join us. 
You're big and strong, come join us. 

You planted me in foreign ground, a pen within a hand. 
At least I am'nt on my own, in hell I have a friend 
and though I fight a sinners shame it isn't my crusade. 
Dirty faces in a war, asleep in open graves. 

Come on come join, come join, come join us. 
You're better young come join us. 
You be a man come join, come join us. 
You're big and strong, come join us. 

Shame on you. Shame on you. 
Shame on you to keep my love from me. 

Close your eyes to see it.
Lock your heart to feel it. 
Change his name to number but he's somebody's child.

When I first heard this song I thought "Wow, how wwi," but I immediately dismissed it as projecting. However, I learned from Wikipedia (always a reliable source) that Andrea Corr wrote this song after reading a novel about WWI. So.

He was only your fool for a while: Today was my last day in the Serbian course. I decided the £1000 would go a lot further paying for two months of courses in Serbia. Also, you know, I don't really have £1,000... I can just be really strict with myself and practice on my own here... right =/ well at least I have people to practice with! And on the bright side I did get two months worth of lessons free! Haha.. oh.

I forgot to put on makeup this morning and it wasn't until I was in the middle of class I realized it. So much for trying to charm the classmate I have a huge crush on with my good looks.

Also I believe the malicious elephant above me is attempting to manufacture a robot that will continually tap on the floor. Thank goodness for the iPod...

In good news Becca is coming to visit me tomorrow. So I will have renewed supply of cheetos and someone to validate JUST HOW loud and awful the halls are.

Also nano. I know people think I am crazy for doing this. Actually, it is one of the smartest things I have done recently. I have met loads of nice and interesting people. And my novel is a pleasure to write. However I am pretty sure it is no good. Why do I think this? I am almost done with my plot but only halfway done with my wordcount. A 30,000 word story is not a novel. It is a soap opera episode. Whatevs. I am double tasking by reading Keegan's face of battle for my historiography OF COURSE and to help which my portrayal of the battle of the somme, which I have yet to write.

Don't mind me, I'm just a first year PhD student: Some people can't admit when they are wrong. I like to think I am not one of them. I have been making disparagingly remarks about "traditional military history" and "john keegan" (always accompanied by a yawn) ever since I read First World War and found it distinctly lacking in what, for me, makes the first world war interesting; instead my brain was paralyzed by epic descriptions of battles down to minute details...

Imagine my surprise when I read an article in one of these historigraphical review books and someone to whom I really should pay attention cited Keegan's Face of Battle as one of the landmark examples of "new military history."

Around the same time I reached a point in my nano novel where I realised that I don't know enough about the technical details of trench warfare to write a battle scene. And I'm still working on my historiography. Enter Keegan.

I stayed up until--I don't know what time--reading the section on the battle of the Somme. to be fair to my previous position, someone else I did well by paying attention to mentioned that Face of Battle was really impressive and FWW pales in comparison. I'm really tempted to read the sections on Agincourt and Waterloo just because they look interesting but you know, maybe in December. Maybe I still would have found parts of the book tedious while wearing my cultural historian brain. But while wearing my novelist brain I wanted to dance in joy if it weren't for the horror, the horror.** Thank you, John Keegan! I wanted to cry out. Everything I could possibly want to know for writing a scene about the battle of the somme contained in 50 pages of densely written, superbly researched text. It's amazing how a different perspective changes things. So maybe I should practice more stepping out of these intellectual boxes to try to understand why people find interesting the things they do, instead of scoffing in superiority.

**Keegan writes,

Accounts of the Somme produce in readers and audiences much the same range of emotions as do descriptions of the running of Auschwitz—guilty fascination, incredulity, horror, disgust, pity and anger—and not only from the pacific and tender-hearted; not only from the military historian, on whom, as he recounts the extinction of this brave effort or that, falls an awful lethargy, his typewriter keys tapping leadenly on the paper to drive the lines of print, like the waves of a Kitchener battalion failing to take its objective, more and more slowly towards the foot of the page…

There's the visual picture of an officer coming across "line after line of dead men lying where they had fallen." It's hard to read the number of casualties—21,000 killed or missing in one DAY—and imagine each of these a person with a life that was suddenly and abruptly cut short. This is the sort of moment that makes me want to shut my books and never open them again, run away and do something more cheerful. But why? Anyway, I don't, and I'm sure that says something about me—but not whether it is good, or bad. Or both.

But on the other hand I can count £1.85 in tips: I've had worse days at work but I can probably count them on one hand. Somehow this makes everything else seem much worse.

If it makes it better, you can call me what you will: There was a minor bloop and Serbia's Great War was accidentally switched in for Shopaholic and Baby. Now I want a t-shirt that says "She's a red-haired bitch and I hate her" but when I googled it all I came up with were essays entitled "Why I hate Ginny Weasley."

[Comments] (4) : Another thing I hate about the hall is the housekeeping staff just walk into your room on a regular basis giving you about two seconds notice to put on your clothes or pretend you're not still sleeping at 10 am or whatever....

I told ya I was trouble: Ok, so I may have gotten a little carried away with the ryanair sale... No problem. I've figured you can do an entire 3 day break for under £100 total... which is like 3 nights at the pub. All I have to do is be a little bit more careful with my money: less eating out which I have been doing a lot of since the food in the hall is so crap. But I can give up Pret for lunch in exchange for a trip to Berlin. No problem.

No time to regret: I blame Amy Winehouse for the fact that I didn't sleep or work at all yesterday, despite trying very hard. Yes that's right, I blame Amy Winehouse.

I did manage to get some touristy things done. I went with Becca to the Tate and we consulted the lady of shallot and reminisced about being in the same William Blake group in Jr year English. We got lunch and took the Thames crawler or whatever it's called down (up?) to the Tate Modern, took the lift to the 7th floor to see the view, which marred by rain and clouds. Welcome to London.

I left her there walk across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's and took the tube to Holborn to meet up with my writing buddies. That unfortunately was not very successfully either. Left them eventually for a seminar that was really interested, but, of course, entirely unrelated to the First World War. After that Becca was seen off to Edinburgh. I am going to the library soon because I am determined to at least get some work done before going to work tonight. Blah blah stupid job. Time to keep looking I guess.

YOW: I didn't know it was the england/croatia game until i walked into work today. the pub manager thought it wouldn't be busy.


it was

hello bed

[Comments] (4) Wait, there's pie?: Tonight I'm going to my own expat Thanksgiving dinner just like Eloise Kelly. Only I don't have a handsome yet abrasively charming aristocratic love interest. Or a Burberry raincoat.

I feel content: not at all: I was sitting the the fifth floor eatery and someone came up to me and asked me to fill out a survey for her psychology project. I said sure figuring it would be a short questionnaire taking about 5 minutes... it was actually really annoying and took about 20 minutes. I actually think the point of the survey was to figure out how long it took to get annoyed with the repetitive tasks, because once I started answering 8 for very negative and "how anxious are you feeling now", the survey ended. I like to try to help people out with these things, I remember answering a tourism survey in Sarajevo and chatting with the girls who were doing them afterwards, that was pretty cool. But that was 20 minutes I could have spent in the library and I would have been in a better mood. So I'll have to be more careful before I jump into these things from now on.

Rules of attraction: Went to a football match with Becca and it was pretty fun. We saw two goals in front of our noses and two from far away. It was really funny to see a couple in front of us who were rooting for opposite teams. Also there were tons of cute boys! So that was nice. Anyway. Back to work.

Crunch time: I have soooo much to do. I want to get my historiography written and off to my supervisor asap, as in within the next few days--it HAS to be done by the end of the week. Also in order to finish my nano I must write 3,000 a day until Friday. Today is Becca's last day and I am taking her up to Camden Town. And I work all day Wednesday and for a few hours on Friday and I have seminars on Tuesday and Thursday which I suppose can always be ditched, BUT. Oh well. I can do it.

[Comments] (1) Yes, that's right, I'm still bitter: Someone stole my leftover piece of pumpkin pie from the hall fridge. Unrelatedly, I've just ordered a micro-fridge from Woolworth's for £12.50. Technically, this is against the rules, but they'll never know because I'm going to pick it up from the store in Camden instead of having it delivered. It's tiny so it will go under my desk and hide, but should be big enough to hold my milk, perhaps some real jam, and leftover pumpkin pie.

[Comments] (3) Is that your final answer?: It's a bit late in the month to be having dramatic self-relations, but there are some things I can no longer ignore. For one… the greatest irony is that my historiography is in direct contrast with my novel. On the one hand I am arguing the need to deconstruct the myth of the first world war that is the public memory—and one the other, I am encapsulating it. How can I really reconcile the two? As though I were two different people with one doing exactly what the other is arguing against. There's a word for that—oh yeah, hypocrisy. Oh well.

Also, my side characters have hijacked my story. I set out to write a typical romance and it turns out my side characters are the ones with room for complexity, for an imperfect relationship. It turns out they are the ones interesting to write about. Why is it that I find it much easier to write from the point of view of a girl who loses her love, goes to France and tries to bury herself in work in order to forget, in order to compensate?


: Just a quick post... historiography is DONE for now... well, mailed to supervisor anyway. I'm running out to go writing again, my little group are frantically wandering around london looking for somewhere to write till midnight (places close early here it isn't America), preferably with internet, must have plugs, but it seems all the pubs are having dj nights AND it's Friday AND it's payday. 5,500 words to go. 7 hours till midnight. wheeeeeee

[Comments] (2) : yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

[Comments] (3) No place like...: When it because December I suddenly realised less than three weeks before my visit home! I am very, very excited and have been describing in immense detail to everyone who will listen the places I am going, the people I am going to see, the food I am going to eat, and the precise measurements of my cat.

How to save a life: well, wow. It seems I am making up for my incredibly lazy weekend with a life of hecticosity. On Monday I did all the things... well most... that I had been putting off for the duration of nanowrimo. Yesterday I got very little sleep, did some work, had a meeting with my supervisor which went really well, went to a seminar, came home and collapsed.

Today I went to lunch with Jenn, one of my nano friends who happens to work for the IRS in London, which means she works at the embassy. Ostensibly the purpose of my visit was to get more passport pages. I had about 10 spaces left so theoretically should have been good through march, but it's never a good idea to push it. You're supposed to apply by mail but I get nervous having my passport in the post and from now until... the end of the foreseeable future there isn't a period of time where I would be comfortable without my passport for a few weeks. Add to that it's my only legal id and I need to to do things like pick up my bank card and, well, I decided to call in my new connections and Jenn took me up to get it done. It took all of 5 minutes and now I have lots of lovely, lovely blank pages that I am sure immigration officials will stamp all over once they get a chance. After that we had very American grilled cheeses in the canteen and I came out. Really, too, I wanted to see the embassy, and guess what? It's HIDEOUS. Inside and out. It's in mayfair so I've walked by it a million times on oxford street but I never had seen it before today and I was shocked, shocked, by how ugly it is. Someone explain to me why what is arguably THE most important US embassy and it's one of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen? (I have seen plenty of ugly buildings. I've been to Eastern Europe.) Add to that there are constructing some sort of wall around so there is all this construction fencing and jack hammering going on... I didn't have to wait in any lines, thank goodness, because she put me on the official visitors list, but wowo what lines, thank goodness I do not have to apply for a US visa!! The UK consulate in LA was comparatively luxurious. There were a bunch of people walking around with machine guns and I held my passport to my chest, almost as it THAT would stop a bullet as much as saying "Don't shoot me... I'm an American citizen." I also forgot that I was bringing Jenn one of my phones (She gave me a much nicer one that she got free from orange somehow so I gave her my guest phone to use when her friend is over for Christmas) so I had it and the charger in a plastic bag with a book she'd lent me. And forgot about it. "There's a phone and charger in your bag, you have to take it out," they said at security. "There's not!" I cried, over and over, until I was starting to wonder if there was a charger secretly hidden in the lining of my bag like that makeup brush that somehow made it into the lining of my coat years and years ago, and then I remembered it. And felt like an idiot.

After that experience I ran home to do some pre packing then walked to King's Cross to return the umbrella (ella ella... argh) of another nanoer who had left it Friday. She works at a publishing company and gave me the second book in a series I discovered via an ARC I got at Russo's. It turns out the whole thing was her idea! It all felt very surreal. Then work. Blah, but at least it wasn't horribly slow and boring, and they let me off early which means I have been sitting here eating couscous when otherwise I might not even have gotten home till an hour from now. My flight is at 8:30 tomorrow which means I have to wake up at 5 at the very latest. In the end it doesn't really take any longer to get to Stanstead than it does to Heathrow, it just costs about 4 times as much (that will probably be the most expensive part of my trip). My goal was to spend £100 total but since we are still on the bloody pound, that might be a little bit too optimistic. I've been really pinching pennies to make up for it though... I can't wait to be in the US and back on dollars! Then again if I start converting dollars back into pounds I might go a little crazy and start buying everything in sight.

[Comments] (1) Be ye never too busy to be stupid?: I'm really pissed at myself because I managed to miss my Giant's causeway tour by about 10 minutes because of a misunderstanding about the departure time, so I don't really feel like updating but I have nine minutes of paid internet time that I don't know what to do with so I might as well. All is not lost; there is supposedly an express tour I can join, but this one was going to stop at all these really cool places on the coast. The guys were really nice about it, they said they were pacing up and down the street looking for me and gave me my money back, no problem, and said I could join the tour for free if I somehow got my flight changed tomorrow. Which somehow makes it all more crap. I know it's not the end of the world but I feel so, so stupid, I could have made it but I lingered over breakfast because I thought I had plenty of time. I'm soooo lame.

Back: whoa, so tired.

[Comments] (1) Yay: I am now the proud owner of an illegal microfridge. It is seriously tiny but it will hold things like my milk, jam, plus some pasta sauce and a thing of cheese. There is definitely not enough cheese in my diet at the moment, I keep waking up in the middle of the night craving it. Though while I was at woolworths I should have gotten a power strip because the cord isn't long enough to have it hidden under my desk as i planned. maybe if I put it in the other side... Nope, not long enough, I guess I will just keep it on my desk for now and stick it behind my bed when the celaners come on Thursday.

Also there is a 50% chance I may have a new job. I hope I'm not jinxing it by saying anything. I won't tell about the job, just that it would be AMAZING and something so fun I would do it for free (theoretically). Except now I am thinking I should have asked for more than £8 an hour. I can live on that, but it is barely scarping by with no room at all for buying things like new iPods or saving for things like trans-Siberian railway trips... or tickets home. Plus with tax subtracted, I would only be able to live on it if I didn't eat outside the halls ever. So. Anyway we'll see!

So that's where the potatoes went: Enough trying to solve the world's problems. (I do this, you know.) A commenter at tonight's seminar reflected that we have to go back to post-war reconstruction for our vicarious thrills, these days. Not in my region, I muttered. Is it too early for bed?

[Comments] (4) Things I gained from nanowrimo:

a somewhat disturbing familairity with tutti's and the BL cafe
a 50,000 word novel which may or may not be any good
new friends/travel companions/potential roommates

a biproduct of the above but still directly related to nanowrimo:
extra passport pages and a trip to the US embassy
a new job!!!!!

It's a little bit hard to describe what my new company does. Basically they come up with story ideas and plot lines, commission freelance writers to write them, edit them and sell them to publishers. My friend Sara, who gave me the hookups introduced me, works in the children's literature branch which is the main one. I'll be working on the somewhat newly established adult branch, idea side, for romance and historical fiction.

Um, yeah.


How did this happen?

[Comments] (1) Just back from work (again): someone forgot to tell me close means 12 on Fridays... I never thought I would be too tired to eat but here I am. However if I had cheetos that would not be the case!!!

I certainly haven't been spreading myself around: I got my hair cut and it looks great! I'm going to try and see how long I can go without washing it...

As usual I am switching between tres excitement about my trip and panic about how much I have to do before I leave. I am working another split shift on Tuesday (Can you believe there is no overtime in this supposedly civilised country?) so that pretty much kills the day, leaving this afternoon and tomorrow morning and evening to get everything else done. Wheee....

a short poem:
tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow
panic panic panic
want to throw everything to the wind and just get on the place
I suck at getting things done

: Hurray, nothing much to do but survive the rest of the night, pack, clean my room, sleep a little bit and go to the airport. yay! US here I come!

[Comments] (1) Thought you ought to know: safe in utah eating cheerios and cheetos for breakfast and watching mags being fed. What appears to be snow is coming down outside.



© 2002-2010 Rachel Richardson.