22 February, 2009

as promised

Two of my three Valentine's Day gifts from Guion. The other was a book I've been wanting for a while, Essential Haiku, translated by Robert Hass. He lavishes my life with good things.
If I was ever rich (a dream, surely), my house would have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, an abundance of natural light and flowers in every room.
Rachel let me join her and Cider at the dog park today. It was euphoric. Even though it was very windy, it was very good to watch dogs run.

16 February, 2009

beards, not bombs

Since becoming the editor and writer of the UNC math department's newsletter, I have spent an unusual amount of time in Phillips Hall. Right now, I am trying to kill time in the Alfred Brauer library, on the third floor of Phillips, before going to photograph and cover this year's Brauer lectures. It is a strange world, this mathematics orb, and one that I would certainly never know without this job. From my outsider's perspective, I have a hard time communicating with math people; we seem to be speaking on different planes. They speak a language that I have never heard and sometimes look at me for a full minute, trying to figure out what I am asking them.

I have been tremendously busy and all the time I had last semester for reading and writing is gone. I've only read three books this semester. It's taking me forever to get through To Siberia--and certainly not because I don't enjoy it. I enjoy it immensely, but I simply don't have time for it anymore. My days are filled with e-mailing, reporting, interviewing, calling sources, dashing from building to building, wondering if I am living a full life if the most exciting part of my day is sleeping and eating. I will endure. At least I know now that I don't think I have the temperament to be a great reporter. I can be a passable reporter. I just don't have the drive or bitchiness or aggression to be a great one.

We had a bomb scare last night. The Union and the libraries were evacuated when the police received a call from a man who said he was going to detonate a bomb in the Pit. The police did not find a bomb and the university told us today to "resume normal activities." Reassuring, I suppose, but it's still jarring. In the words of Grace's favorite T-shirt, "Beards, Not Bombs."

Emily is sick and hasn't had a voice for the past few days. While I hope that her throat resumes its normal levels of health, I will admit that I am really going to miss her froggy laugh. It cracks me up.

Photos coming soon of the veritable florist's shop that we have in our room. This guy that I'm dating is consistently remarkable. Guion surprised me on Valentine's Day with a huge bouquet of lilies in a glass milk jug (my favorite, and his characteristic floral gift) AND an absolutely stunning pink orchid in a blue-and-white china pot. If I was rich, I would have books and flowers in every room.

Time to go listen to a lecture that I can't understand. Jacobian curves, what?

08 February, 2009

sun coming

(One of my favorite photos I've taken; I can't quite say why. From a trail in Asheville.)

Spring burst onto the scene this weekend and I couldn't have welcomed it with more joy. Even though I have been feeling lately like my mind is splitting at the seams, or my life is tearing into a thousand pieces, somehow having sunshine and warm weather makes everything seem sane. If only for a beautiful afternoon, lying in the grass in the Arboretum, laughing with Emily and Catherine; sun glinting off their hair, three chickadees in the tree above us, a boy climbing a tree, the obliteration of responsibility, homework, classes. It is nice just to breathe a bit.

"Outside the trees dragged their leaves like nets through the depths of the air; the sound of water was in the room and through the waves came the voices of birds singing. Every power poured its treasures on his head, and his hand lay there on the back of the sofa, as he had seen his hand lie when he was bathing, floating, on top of the waves, while far away on the shore he heard dogs barking and barking far away. Fear no more, says the heart in the body; fear no more." -- Mrs. Dalloway

(I could read that book a hundred times and never get tired of it.)

Sarah and Maria kidnapped Grace and brought her here to celebrate her 17th birthday this weekend.

Something I remembered today: God still answers prayer.

And now to bed.

01 February, 2009

and like young lions we ran after Death

Yesterday Guion and I decided to celebrate our one-year anniversary. (It was a decision because he never officially asked me out, so for all I know, we're not even dating. We decided to choose Feb. 2 as the day, when we had our first official date at Tupelo's in Hillsborough. And we also decided to commemorate the year yesterday because neither of us could make time tomorrow night.)

As a surprise, he took me to Durham for the going-out-of-business sale of the Book Exchange, a sprawling, sloppy two-story mess of used books. It was overwhelming. We had big brown paper bags and the deal was that you would pay $10 for all of the books you could fit in your bag. Guion got six or seven books of poetry and I walked away with 26 novels, ranging from Stendhal to Steinbeck to Bowen to Balzac. (I don't know what to do with myself. I have so much to read! So much to read before I die!)

After the literature scavenging, we came back to his house and he made me an unbelievable dinner of filet mignon, potatoes and spinach salad. I can't remember the last time I ate so well. And then we watched "Being John Malkovich," which was hilarious at moments and deeply troubling at others. In summary, it was a great day, a great date with that matchless man of mine.

Song of the day: "Gobbledigook," by Sigur Ros.

Angela gave me a copy of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food (it's kind of like her Bible). I have been wanting to read it for several months now and was excited to be afforded the possibility. But I must say, Pollan terrifies me; he makes me unbearably suspicious of all food that comes in boxes, basically everything Harris Teeter sells. I'm afraid to eat anything but raw spinach and blackberries (which I am still craving like a pregnant woman, by the way).

But fear is obviously not what Pollan wants to inspire. As he insightfully observes:

"Indeed, no people on earth worry more about the health consequences of their food choices than we Americans do--and no people suffer from as many diet-related health problems. We are becoming a nation of orthorexics: people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating."

His mantra: Anything in a grocery store that advertises health benefits is probably just a scientifically engineered, chemically injected alien "foodlike" substance and you SHOULD NOT TRUST IT. All of those "low fat" and "now with more antioxidants!" are coming to get you...

I have so much reading to do. Not really for class; I already did that today. But just for life. For my own personal gratification. I have four books currently in my reading queue and I feel like I am not making much progress. This is frustrating.

I learned two new words today, "torrid" and "atavistic."

(I want to be a more ephemeral, shady, romantic person. I hope my new earrings contribute to this desired aura.)