Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I am beginning to wonder...

if it's possible for me to go a week without injuring myself or suffering from some kind of illness. Between the face-to-the-door thing and the cold I've caught (darn you grad school germs!) I haven't been able to breathe right in weeks. I'm hoping the cold is on it's way out, thanks to copious amounts of orange juice and generic cold medicine. It's funny, I'm very reluctant to medicate for actual pain (I think I'm stoic, my mom thinks I'm stubborn), but the minute I start sneezing, I break out the troops -- cough drops, daytime medicine, nighttime medicine. Out comes the tea with honey and lemon, the hot soup, and my warmest, fuzziest socks. Sometimes it really sucks to live alone, and being sick is one of those times. The cat is not a very sympathetic nurse.

I want to thank everybody for their well wishes regarding the whole nose/face/glasses thing. I never did get any bruises, but my face was pretty sore for about a week. Every now and then I stop to think how lucky I am that I didn't get hurt worse than I did. The scars are really not that noticeable anymore, and I actually really like the replacement frames I got for my lenses. Don't worry, I'm going to get brand new glasses ordered next week with a brand new prescription. I'm just waiting for one more paycheck before I go. Glasses should not be so expensive.

I'm working on posts with actual knitting, and with details of my whirlwind trip to Arizona, but they may take me a while, as I'm right back in the thick of exam reading again. Luckily, my examiners for the next two topics are adamant about not loading me down with an excessively long reading list. That's the good news. The bad news is the books that are on my list are very, very dense. I'll definitely be putting the new glasses to the test.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

In which I make a spectacle of myself.

In my daydreams, I am fabulous. Glamorous, well-dressed and perfectly groomed, graceful, witty, the center of attention wherever I go. But that's just my daydreams.

In real life, I'm actually fairly content to go about my day unnoticed. I don't really like to draw attention to myself. Which is just one of the things that makes what happened yesterday especially embarrassing (and, as you'll see, kind of painful).

Yesterday after work I thought I'd go shopping. I had a lot of errands to run before I head out of town this weekend, and decided that a certain store whose logo is a red bulls eye would be the best place to go. I rode the subway to the shopping center, stopped at the bank, popped in at a clothing store to peruse the sale, and headed to the big store, list in hand.

I was about four feet from the door when I felt it happen. My feet just went out from under me. I reached out for the door handle to stop my fall and missed. But my face didn't miss. It hit the door just fine. I hit the door, nose first, right on the handle, and then hit the ground. I broke my glasses, got a bloody nose, and, to add insult to injury, got cuts on my face from where my glasses frames hit me. I was stunned, and then I started freaking out because I am blind without my glasses. The employees and some nice customers helped me get up and get out of the way and collected my belongings (and can I just say how grateful I am that all the undergarments I had just purchased did not spill out of their bag? That would have been the icing on the awful cake). By this time I had realized that my glasses were destroyed, and was crying and bleeding everywhere. I finally remembered that I had an old pair of glasses in my book bag, so that calmed me down a little, since at least I could get home that way, and then I started worrying that maybe I had broken my nose, but the paramedics who came (the store insisted) said I was okay. I filled out a bunch of forms, cleaned up as best as I could, got some kleenex for the road, and headed home.

Did you know that if you're covered in blood, nobody will try and sit by you on the bus? It's true.
If you like to people watch, and you take a lot of public transportation, you have seen that person. That crazy-looking scary person on the bus or the train. Yesterday I was that person.

I spent an uncomfortable night trying to sleep, and then spent most of today getting the glasses taken care of. The frames were shot, but the lenses were okay, so I found a place that could pop them into a new frame, so at least I can see again. (The old pair wasn't quite right, and I was not looking forward to having to wear them for long). I also got an eye exam and a new prescription, and am going to go order a new pair when I get back next week. As an aside, I went to two different locations of a place that rhymes with schmenscrafters, and they were so rude (although their doctor was very nice). I got much better service at what the schmenscrafters saleslady nastily referred to as "the lower end" place across the street, where they found me new frames and where I will be ordering my new pair later. Seriously, those ladies were not nice and so they won't be getting my business in the future.

Now that the glasses are taken care of, I've just got the bruises and cuts to deal with. (and a really sore nose. I keep poking it to see if it's still hurting. It is. I should stop doing that).
I have to wear a bandage on my nose because the cuts are right on the bridge of my nose where the glasses sit. I tried to be as inconspicuous with the bandages as possible, but I do look like I've had a nose job or something right now. And of course this would happen at the start of a two-week period in which my social calendar is fully booked for once. Including a date-ish thing.
Just my luck.
On the train, on the streets, at school, I felt like everyone was staring at me and my messed up face today. This is not what I had in mind when I wanted to be noticed.*

*Although, this being New York, I was still not the oddest person on the subway this morning. That honor goes to you, man wearing multiple strings of pearls.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Late as usual

My New Year's resolution post is a week late. That seems typical for me these days. But, as I so often say during situations such as these, at least it's getting done at all.

First note: my dad's socks were finished at approximately 11:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Dad wore them to ring in 2009 and reports that they are very comfortable. I've got pictures, but am not sure where my camera has wandered off to.

Second note: I'm currently reading Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation and loving every page. But Erin, you might be saying to yourself, isn't that a book about American history? Yes, yes it is. Didn't you swear off history in your quest to get the fun in while you could? Yes, yes I did. But I don't care. This is her book about traveling around the country to see sights related to the first three presidential assassinations -- Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Why am I reading this instead of a romance novel right now (and there are a couple of those waiting their turn on the nightstand, too)? Well, it's about the "dirty" side of history, something I always enjoy, and I really like Vowell's deadpan (no pun intended) style (I'm a big fan of her appearances on NPR, too). But mostly, it's because this book is really about more than assassinations -- it's about the way that people remember, the way that we construct history and the way that we tell our story as Americans. It's actually an area that I'm very interested in, academically speaking. But it's not dry and boring like so many of the books I read last year for my exams (and will be reading again soon). I've often wondered if there's some prohibition against being an interesting writer and also being an academic. So often the two things are separate, and that's a shame. But that's also a topic for another time.

Now the real reason I'm here: Resolutions.
Here are mine: I'm not making any.
Well, that's not precisely true. I want to pass my exams. But other than that, no resolutions for me. And that's not really a resolution so much as it is a requirement by my academic program. I don't really have any choice on the matter if I want to keep going.

I acknowledge that there's room for improvement in so many areas of my life, and I do hope to take steps toward making those improvements this year. But my history of resolution-keeping is not that great, and frankly, I don't need the pressure right now. It seems unfair to me that we should be encouraged to upend our lives and reexamine ourselves so thoroughly at the darkest. coldest time of the year, right after all those holiday excesses. It's all party, party, party, then suddenly the lights go on and you're forced to stare blearily at yourself and your life in one of those hideously unflattering department store mirrors. No wonder it's so easy to make long lists of things to condemn and improve. Nothing and nobody looks good in those mirrors.
Over at Shapely Prose, they've got a great post about this that says it more eloquently than I can, encouraging us to remember what we accomplished in 2008 as we look forward to 2009.
Here's my brief list of what I'm proud of:
1. Passed my first field exam and my German language exam.
2. Wrote several catalogue entries for (eventual) publication.
3. Made it through a year of graduate school and a year of life in New York.