Sunday, December 21, 2003

Home is bizarre. It's not just that it's colder than Eugene, more boring than Eugene, and infested with people I know (and their parents) -- it's not home anymore. Not that my dorm room is exactly paradise. This is the strangest limbo feeling: The house I lived in for years is foreign and cold, but the dorm is institutional and cramped. Neither one is Home, and I feel displaced.

And I can't effin' type on this blasted keyboard.

On the other hand, I love seeing the people I've missed -- some are yet to return. Corey's "party" was fun, albeit short. Strange to see Areli (afterward) and not have her yak endlessly about her boy troubles, her weight, and her drama. It's pathetic, but I hope we're not drifting as much as I feel we are.

And in case anyone was wondering, I again secured employment at Europa (NOT hard to do -- that place has such a revolving door) and I spend 8 hours a day running errands, making deliveries and decorating sugar cookies. For once, work doesn't suck. Here's hoping that's a trend.

Posting will remain sparse until I'm back on pretty, pretty college broadband.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Thursday, December 11, 2003

My grandfather's cousin Vera died last week, 3 days before her 90th birthday. I never knew her. She was, according to my great uncle Frank (whom I have never met either), vivacious, amiable, and had "no patience for fools." Living through heartbreak, wars, and the ups and downs of being a scholar, Vera Bolgar lived a full life. Did I mention that she was pals with Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I don't know why I feel so sad, hearing about the death of a woman I never met. Frank's positive remarks only furthers my belief that my father's side of the family runs to strong personalities, full schedules, and scholastic success.

I go home tomorrow. I'll be in my bed in 27 hours or so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ahhh, spare time. I've been lolling in it, interestingly since the start of finals week. The thought of a whole week devoted to final exams evoked a eye-widening, knee-shivering fear of sleep deprivation and consequent dementia -- I was way off. Finals, thus far in my college career, are not a huge deal. The only final remaining is my literature final, and seeing as I aced the midterm I'm not all that concerned.

Gah. Already the scholarship scramble begins. I think part of my plane ride home will be devoted to concocting some sincere-sounding pleas for money (read: writing/tinkering with those damn essays). Thing of it is, because of that crazy Alaskan notion of free money, I have a nice little wodge tucked away, that, combined with two working parents and a sibling not yet in college (why couldn't I be the younger one?), causes me the heartache of an unfavorable FAFSA. Thus, need-based scholarships aren't very lenient on me. I'm not complaining, or at least I'm not trying to. Obviously, other people need scholarships more than I do, but that "look out for number one" part of my brain is trying to beat down the guilt-ridden part.

Scratching items off of my to-do list left and right today. Shopping, mail, textbooks -- I feel productive. If I were truly productive, I'd be studying for my lit final, but I'll have time tomorrow to that. Why not procrastinate in the meantime?

Going home in two days. T-minus. More and more, I have this impending sense of caution. I don't expect everything to be the same, but how can I expect things to be different? I don't know what to anticipate. A "you can never go back" sort of thing? A "nothing's changed" sort of thing? A combination platter of the two? The fear isn't really that people will be different; the fear is that I'll be different. And I don't know how. I'm probably over-thinking this. Anyhow. Off to assemble a list of essays to write on the plane.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Please note the new link. This is the physics journal that my grandfather edits. He's more of an advisor now, due to health concerns, but he worked like an applied physics fiend for many years. I don't expect anyone to understand what the hell they're talking about, unless they happen to have a Ph. D. in something complicated. It's intimidatingly complex.

Monday, December 08, 2003

DAMN. I just typed up a fairly lengthy post and lost it because of this laptop's overly sensitive touchpad. Okay. Breathing. Reassembling.

Two down, two to go. Finals, that is. My history final wasn't quite the horrorshow I thought it would be, but it wasn't a trip Disneyland either. I'm hoping for a B, but I'll take what I can get. That class has been a bit of a bipolar experience. The lectures and discussions are rapturous, but the papers and test agony are downright ulcer-inducing. The professor is moving to Australia to teach at the University of Adelaide; this is a mixed blessing. His class is HARD, but it stoked my history flames (that had turned to ash since AP Euro ended) back to a roaring level of healthy curiosity. I could easily slip into a history major if the J-school blew up. Or if Bush banned freedom of the press (cough). Did I mention that the extra credit question was about baseball? That was classy. Anyhow, had he stayed at UO, I'd probably subject myself to the torture again because I learned so damn much.

German oral final = a gutteral success. It still puzzles me how people can make these noises -- rolling my r's without sounding foolish is still a challenge. I pulled an A or A- out of it, and that's a huge relief. As for the rest of my finals, J101 is on deck and literature is warming up in the bullpen. J101 shouldn't be hard, but grammar is so boring. I may fall into a coma during the exam. I'm not too concerned about literature, although it took me a few tries to type it just then. Not a great sign.

In other, less scholastic news, Kyle and I have a fridge! Thanks to our patron saint of RA's, Marc, we now have a refridgerator that we A) didn't pay for, B) don't have to sell at the end of the year and C) DIDN'T PAY FOR! This guy is a truly awesome RA. I hope the karma control center gets this blip on their radar and showers Marc with lovin' accordingly. We can have yogurt and cheese! If we buy cereal, we can buy milk for it and it won't spoil! The boysenberry sauce Roberta gave us doesn't have to hang outside our window in a plastic bag anymore! (Our make-shift fridge was pretty tricksy.) A challenge: Try living on dining hall food and non-perishables alone. It's not easy or fun.

Zara sent me a birthday card with a funny bear. And a well-drawn bear. Thanks, Zarietta! Related, and a little bit hurtful/annoying: Areli forgot my birthday. I'm not great for dates, but...ahh, I'm being ridiculous. Moving on.

Does anyone have a good name for a small aloe vera plant? Keep in mind 'Al' and 'Vera' have already been has 'King Lear.'

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Ha! I have some time to breathe! I haven't done homework for something like 36 hours now, although that is due to end soon, what with my history final being tomorrow and all (EEP). In the meantime, the NZ Herald has a review of the new Lord of the Rings movie. It would seem that New Zealand has fallen in love with the series. For good reason--these movies are like tourism billboards for that pretty, pretty island.

Sophie is in Eugene, but we can't find her! Sophie?

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Lots to do before finals -- posting will be sparse to nil. I had a wonderful birthday, and I wish everyone was here, or I was there or something like that.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

It's my birthday. It's Tuesday of Dead Week. A mixed blessing, to say the least. I'm taking a break from the mounting piles of pre-finals scrambling. I shouldn't be. But, a small update. Kyle, lovely Kyle, organized a little birthday shindig at the Glenwood (AWESOME CAFE) with friends that was way fun. Hooray for friends! And she gave me three books I've been wanting for a long time. She's so wonderful. My folks sent a little package, complete with socks and a mix CD from the Jazzdad.

My German skit...oy. Maybe Meg will post on that. I don't have the energy. Murgh. Paper time.

Monday, December 01, 2003

For those who are interested, the New Zealand Herald (link at left) has been doing consistently well-done features on Lord of the Rings in their entertainment section. Yes, yes, I know I'm an infidel for hating the books and liking the movies (the books were so TEDIOUS), but I'm looking forward to the new one. Escapism, especially escapism with good scenery and the like, is always the antidote to finals week. Amazing timing, that.
Waking up at 7:45 this morning to go take a J101 test was more painful than usual. I attribute that to the awesome time Kyle and I had in Portland (and in deserted Eugene). Janelle drove us to Portland, up I-5 and Route 205, both of which were flowing fairly fluidly, despite accidents (one such accident crashed right in front of us.) She dropped us off at an arbitrary location just off the freeway -- a Mexican restaurant. Roberta, my folks' one-time roommate from 20 years hence, picked us up and took us to her place, and promptly dragged us back out on the road to stock up on foodables. The woman forced us to pick out foodstuffs. ("We are SO coming back for spring break!") Perfunctory Thanksgiving preparations ensued. The next morning, we woke up to tea and Dutch babies (and this time I wrote the recipe down--Katie's Dutch baby lesson has already been covered in dust layers too think to unearth) and a sketchy battle plan for our cooking forays. Long cooking saga short, Kyle and I (between bastings) made mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, salad dressing, and chocolate chip cookies -- and we still had time to read our books, chat with Roberta's neighbor and generally unwind. For the record, the food was spectacular.

Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, heralded an ethical dilemma: to enter Powell's, whose striking workers had walked out, or not to enter Powell's? As I may have mentioned, Powell's is Mecca for us bibliophiles. Union ethics won the day; we walked out of the Hawthorne location after interrogating a manager on the status of the strike (not the big one on Burnside) without a purchase. I'm the daughter of two card-carrying NEA members. It was the least I could do. Instead of a downtown Portland adventure, we wandered the funked-up Hawthorne district, which was walking distance from Roberta's house. My dad's old Portland haunt, Nick's Coney Island Hot Dogs, remains an adventure for another day ("...if you go there, you have to try the Dog of Death!") It started to rain, and we had walked a whole lot by 4-5ish, so we retired to Roberta's house for leftovers and proofing of The Christmas Card. Her cards, every year, are an event. I look forward to them. One year, a package containing a fortune cookie, a letter on rice paper, instructions on how to do a Chinese paper cutting and a good luck ritual were all mishmashed together in a shiny, eclectic package with...something I'm forgetting that was awesome. Anyhow, these cards are little packages, and she makes 100+ every year. So we got to help with the process this year, which was cool beyond belief. Naturally, we've taken a vow of silence as to the nature of these cards. Assuming certain family members are reading, I can't say anything more. But it was WAY cool.

Saturday was a truncated day. We woke up early (ish), wandered downtown, and hit up Powell's (the strike was a one-day thing, but what a day they chose!) I could live in Portland. That would be a-okay. We barely saw any of downtown, but it makes an impression. It's the only big city (defining big city at over a million people) that I've really spent intimate time in, wandering and looking and not being yanked around by parents (cough cough RENO cough). The place has a hold on me; every detail I took in wasn't enough. The place is so vibrant and so layered. I digress, back to saturday. We took the train (eee! I love trains!) back to Eugene, and walked another mile and a half home, having arrived and hour or two later than we thought we would. The things you hear about Amtrak are true, apparently. Still. Beats the Greyhound.

And that's more or less it. We're back just in time for Dead Week. Now I must go to my lit class.

Kyle and I cut her hair, too. Pictures eventually.