if you really loved me, you'd sever my corpus callosum

semester is over. i sort of didn't think i would make it through this one. i mean...i always say that. but this time i actually meant it, which if you know me well you know might be true because i was actually quieter about school than normal. h observed years ago that when i'm quietest i am often feeling the most intensely, and it's still true.

i gave a conference talk and have another in a few weeks. i gave two talks and a handful of smaller presentations at berkeley. i'm organizing a major conference to be held in february. i wrote my first major grant proposal. 17 pages, with itemized budget and everything.

i'm...tired. i haven't been sleeping that well. mostly i've been waking up sometime between 3.30 and 4 and after an hour of lying there awake i just get up and work until it is time to go to school. oh, and i've been sick.

i'm whinging!

this weekend we are going to whistler to see pretty snow.
i will ski. skiing is the best, silent and fast.
xo, see you soon.


_____ uber alles

dear internet,

i've been to germany and back. i gave a talk at a conference (in case you go look me up on the program, they did not mess up my title as c. bristlingly, charmingly thought; it is as intended). the customs guy in the frankfurt airport, when i answered his question about why i was there, said "ah, the world famous Max Planck Institute," with an inscrutable little smile on his face so i'm still not sure exactly what his meaning was. the talk went fine.

because you are the internet and therefore inanimate and therefore incapable of losing esteem for me, i will admit that i was massively, throat-constrictingly nervous. i could hear it and kept telling myself to breathe, take a sip of water. calm down. but there were some very famous linguists (i won't bother dropping names because linguists are never famous outside of the field of linguistics, not for their linguistic work at any rate) sprinkled around the room and really it's just a very impressive place in general. but it went well enough.

MPI is all steel and glass elevators, walls, and ceilings with interesting angles and a courtyard with a tranquil little pond. the lecture room i spoke in is beautifully, immaculately maintained, with six lighting zones and rows and rows of retro-modern styled auditorium chairs in blond wood and orange upholstery. it is stark and clean, more to c.'s taste than mine, but unarguably beautiful.

leipzig, on the other hand, is all me. it is a city for academics, something about it soothes the hectic soul and makes you want to curl up with a cup of tea and a book about historical syntax (maybe that's just me...). i didn't see the town much, i didn't see any sights at all, so my memories are already pretty impressionistic. cold. dark. quiet. impervious. cobblestone sidewalks, wet streets, cold giving shape to each breath. rigorously efficient public transportation, everything timed to the second. in the town center, shops and warmbright cafes (with quite good coffee and food, by the way), dim lights outside in the style of old fashioned gaslamps. everything orderly, everything disciplined, even the clumps of laughing teenagers feel somehow under control.

from what i was told by some people at the conference, it is a city with its share of social problems of the old-eastern-europe variety. but to me, it was romantic in a quiet, studious way. ascetic, yes, that's it.



still on the mortal coil

gave practice talk for germany conference.
it was fine.

my school anxiety dreams have now been replaced by unpacking anxiety dreams. boxes everywhere, looming over me evilly, and nowhere to put anything. moving is hard! let's go shopping instead.

oh wait. i hate shopping.

c&i will be spending xmas in minnesota. she's the first girlfriend i've brought home...and she is jewish. i absolutely adore the thought of her making latkes in my mom's kitchen on xmas morning. i want to walk with her at night down to where my childhood home was, and stand there and show her where all the rooms were. with snow falling all around, muting everything.


student life

in two weeks i have to give an hour-long talk on a research project that i barely have my brain around. i don't even have a solid first draft of the paper. between now and then i have to turn in another paper, write a short abstract for the january conference, draft my fellowship essays, go on a three-day fieldwork trip, and move house.

please send drugs.
stimulants preferred.

people keep saying i'm ahead of the game but the truth is that i haven't even figured out the rules yet. but i think there's a personality type, maybe a somewhat perfectionistic or obsessive type, that always feels like they have everyone fooled into thinking that they know what they're talking about. it's called impostor syndrome, and it has a wikipedia page so you know it must be real.

there was this really awful talk on it at the institute this summer that devolved into basically a group therapy session that made me want to stick a fork in my eye. one girl: "oh sociolinguists are so inTIMidated by syntactians!" some guy: "no, no, we're intimidated by YOU!" (actually...no, we aren't. syntacticians accept that we are a superior life form.)

anyway, i think i definitely have a touch of the impostor syndrome, but i am trying to just ignore that part of myself 'cause it doesn't seem to get me anywhere and i think it's just a little more self-indulgent than i want to be.

(...she says, wrapping up another introspective blog post.)

ps. it's almost time for NaBloPoMo again. can you handle the truth?



we are moving in twelve days.

had a moment to catch ourselves this morning, she made waffles and we leaned against each other on the couch in a pool of sun, melted butter warm. talking of the new york times. heather said once that love has a common language, and she was right. she was right about a lot of things, she was the only one i (almost) believed when she told me i'd have this again. thawed hands, a working heart. auden: "all you lived through, dancing because you no longer need it for any reason." hmm, i may have misquoted that, but i am too lazy to look it up at present.

she painted the office yellow for me.
melted butter warm.
sunshine warm.



c & i signed a lease

on an apartment

in rockridge!

(let's see what the family has to say about this one.)



it has been so long since i posted that neither blogger nor my blog itself are in my browser history. and i've been chastised for never blogging...by someone who writes in her blog on an average of 3.2 times per year. :)

so i blog.

i have half of a perfect grapefruit in a bowl next to me. cold, juicy, tart. clean, grapefruit is clean food. i was depressed for awhile. clean food helps, going to the gym helps, healthy body encourages healthy mind encourages healthy engagement with the world encourages healthy treatment of self; the circle feeds itself.

this past weekend i went to minnesota for my dad's 60th birthday. it was a surprise party, even the fact that i was there was a surprise. there was this great moment, he came into the house, i was around the corner in the kitchen so he couldn't see me. i heard him grumbling about how it was too much, he didn't want to be the center of attention. after a minute i came around the corner and when he saw me the surprise registered visibly, and he said "woah!" and came toward me and gave me a hug.

my father is not a hugger.
it was a good moment.

i did some talking about c with my family. nothing too deep, just talking about her job, about where she is from, things like that. it was significant in that this is the first time that i have brought a romantic relationship with a woman into the realm of my family. it's tough for my mom, everyone else seems easy with it. she tries though, on the last day she floored me when we were talking about christmas plans and she said "so, i don't know what your plans are...i don't know if you want to bring c home with you."

i need them to meet her because i am at the point of moving forward into a future with her.

last night the magnitude of that hit me when we were talking about the details of moving in together and she made reference to "combining all of our stuff". woah. all of my stuff merged in with someone else's, lives knitting together. awesome. awesome, in the sense of excellent. awesome, in the sense of daunting, inspiring respectful fear. i think a bit of respectful fear is a healthy reaction here. it says that i really mean it. and i do. it says that i have grown up.

in my late teens and early/mid twenties i lived with three men. well, two boys and a man. when you're in your twenties, moving in is a very easy decision. maybe you need cheaper rent and you like regular access to sex and you figure hey, why not. sounds fun. sure. it's a whole different process, now. space issues, we are each fairly set in our needs from home. how do we harmonize our rhythms? how will we split up the financial stuff? and perhaps the most difficult worry: whose bed will we keep?

anyway, i need to wrap this up and get to school.

when i reflect on things, i know that i have it so good. i have a wonderful family, wonderful friends. i make a living (it's barely a living, but a living nevertheless) by thinking about language, working on languages, which i fundamentally love, even when i lose sight of that fact for awhile. my relationship with c keeps getting better and better. and i'm eating a perfect grapefruit.

so you know. overall, things are pretty damn good.