succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Books Completed:
Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi - not the best written book ever, but enjoyable from both a literature-class-esque perspective as well as an international-studies-sort of point of view. Doesn't provide a very solid overview of the past 25 years in Iran, but offers enough anecdotes to make me want to learn more.
Diary, a Novel, by Chuck Palahniuk - enough quirky plot bits to be interesting (like the disappearing rooms, sheet rock and wall-papered over by one of the main characters, so that people call and ask, um...I'm pretty sure I used to have a laundry room? yes, I'm certain it used to be here in this hallway...) but the last page is too gimmicky to be forgiven. spare yourself and just don't read the last page.

Books started:
Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky - awesome, and particularly well-timed for me personally. Coupled with the conference (which, I swear, I'll get to posting about as soon as I've gathered my thoughts more coherently) sparked a very interesting conversation with Carrie that I will also try to summarize at a later date (teaser - the crux of the discussion was the balance between self-flagellation among liberals/activists for not doing enough and smug self-congratulatoriness for doing anything at all).

Books purchased:
Dangerous Liaisons, by Choderlos De Laclos (Carrie's influence)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I’m back! (in more ways than one)

Trip to NYC was fabulous, precisely what I needed (summary slightly later).

So I was having a rough time of it before leaving town, and actually considered postponing or canceling my trip entirely. I can’t even say how glad I am that I went, and how good I think it was for me. The first few days were still a little challenging, but in a way that I think I needed. It was good to put myself in stressful situations (the plane ride, the subway, etc.) and freak out a little bit and yet still be able to reel myself back in. I think Carrie was right when she described dealing with stress like a muscle – I have to work it out periodically to keep myself in shape. And in an attempt to ‘make myself better’ this summer I’ve been primarily avoiding potentially stressful situations. So it was a tremendous relief to realize that I can deal with these situations, that I don’t have to spend the next indefinite period of time worrying about how I’m going to react to very mundane, everyday sorts of things. By a few days into the trip I was actually sleeping through the night and by the end of the trip I was even going to bed like a normal person (rather than making the lead-up to bedtime all about trying to maximize the probability of sleeping through the night. Instead, it just happened) And my last night in town Carrie and I treated ourselves to this really decadent dinner at a little French bistro and at the end of the meal I was savoring pot de crème and sipping chilled Beaujolais village (who would have predicted how tasty that would be chilled?) and really enjoying the lush texture of the pot and the marvelous chocolate taste and afterwards we had some coffee…and that was it. I realized later that night that for the end of that meal, I was unequivocally, the epitome of me. And it was lovely.

I still have work to do, and as usual, I’m so hesitant even to say this for risk of jinxing myself, but I just feel like I’m in such a better place right now.

Also, for some much better blog posts regarding much more serious mental illness problems, do go check out bitchphd.

So one of the many things that I love about going to see Carrie in NYC is that I actually don’t do very many ‘New York’ sorts of things (I’ve been there 3 times now and haven’t been to the museums or a broadway (or off-broadway) show or any of those other tourist-y things. Perhaps that isn’t something to be proud of). Anyway. So the first few days I just slept and ate a lot and talked to Carrie and lot and wandered around her neighborhood and read and just generally chilled the fuck out. Thursday night I got the meet the boyfriend and his two lovely boys and we all went to the Odd Man Out concert, with Ben Lee, Rufus Wainright, and Ben Folds. Amazing. I always sort of liked Ben Folds (and Ben Folds Five) but never owned any albums or anything. After seeing him live I’m a little in love. And as an added bonus, we got to entertain ourselves with trying to guess what paradigm other people were trying to enforce on our little ‘family.’ Our favorite guess was that Carrie and I were a lesbian couple who had donated our eggs so the boyfriend could have kids.

Anyway. Friday we wandered all over downtown and did some shopping and met some of carrie's friends, Saturday and Sunday were the conference (a separate post in and of itself), Monday I went to class with carrie and watched Donnie Darko for the first time in years, then we went to Grand Central Station, then on to Battery Park and walked back up past Wallstreet (funny picture featuring Carrie and I feeding money to the bull to come once I have my own computer all set up) and over the Brooklyn Bridge and through Brooklyn to the aforementioned French bistro, then back to carrie's place for the American Astronaut, which I will have to purchase and subject others to very soon (who wouldn't like a black-and-white musical comedy about space...and, other things).

I got back last night, took two quick carloads between the old place and the new place, and met Jann and his bass player who are in town for a music festival. I still have a bit of schlepping of stuff to do, but I'm so happy to be in the new place. Cleo seems to be too.