I read (among many others):
Hey everyone (if you're still out there!),
every once in a while, I realize that I should probably post on here sometimes. Really, I should post here on a regular basis and keep up with what other people post. Crazy notion, that.
Uh, so... what's going on in my life? As seems to be typical for me, I get to be really good friends with people shortly before one of us (in this case, me) is graduating. I still have my job and am enjoying it, but I'm not going to working any more shows for the Fort Wayne Civic this year, which makes me sad. At least I'll be able to help with hangs and strikes. I'm currently finishing up my essays for my Brethren Volunteer Services application, and hope to have that in ASAP. Writing about my religious beliefs is way harder than I thought it was going to be. Other than my job and the German Lab I teach, I'm relatively free of commitments on campus, for which I'm grateful. It's relaxing to have that much free time, and I've probably never had any major outside commitments before in my life.
Anyways... I've decided to try and keep a list of the books I finish in 2010. I know I tried this last year and it didn't end well, but I'm also trying to keep my Goodreads updated, so maybe this'll be easier.
So, under the cut! They'll be sorted by month and vaguely in the order in which I finished them. Oh, and I'll put my Goodreads star rankings next to them. I'd be more than happy to answer questions about what I liked/didn't like about particular books.
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I can't think of anything else to write, but maybe I'll come up with something. Ask me questions? That'll give me something to write about.
I'm finishing up my thesis (Jewish identity in 1930s Germany) right now, and there's a story in one of the memoirs I'm using that I keep going back to... seriously, it breaks my heart every time I read it. A little background: Gad Beck, the man who wrote this memoir, was a gay Jew from Berlin, born in 1923. In 1942, his boyfriend (ish) and his family, also Jewish, were taken by the Nazis. He dressed up in his boss' son's HJ uniform and went to the place where they his family was being held in order to get him out.
"They got Manfred. When he saw me, his eyes twitched. I covered up any awkwardness by quickly saying, 'You kept the keys! Now come with me and tell me exactly which key goes to which apartment, so we can get back to work!' My voice was calm, but sharp and clear. One sentence was pounding inside me: Get out of here fast; just get out of here with him fast!
"The SS man had already started turning away. The case was closed for him. 'But you'll bring him right back?' he added. 'What would I want with a Jew?' I answered. In this situation, at that time, a man like that was thinking neither of illegal Jews nor of the 'final solution.' The entire incident was not especially interesting to him. He laughed, and we left.
"I walked out of my old school building [where Manfred and his family were being held] onto the street. The buildings were familiar, the sidewalk, the streetlamps. I was back in my world, with my Manfred next to me. I was filled with a combination of triumph and security as we walked down the street together, past the former Old Age Home, past the entrance to the cemetery, with its couple of trees. Only a few minutes. I beamed at him, held out a twenty mark bill -- quite a bit for those times -- and said quietly, 'Here's some money. Now go to my uncle in Teltow like we discussed and wait for me. I'll come as soon as I can.'
"He stood there, took the twenty marks, and looked at me. 'Gad, I can't go with you. My family needs me. If I abandon them now, I could never be free.' No smile, no sadness. He had made his decision. We didn't even say goodbye. He turned around and went back.
"In those seconds, watching him go, I grew up."
Beck, Gad. An Underground Life: The Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin. trans. Frank Heibert. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999, 70.
I'm still alive... I imagine that's good to know. School has been more or less eating my life -- I have so much to do, yet what feels like no time at all to get it done. Which is odd, because I know for a fact that I waste far too much time online playing flash games (Evony and Cafe World, the latter on Facebook, are the latest addictions)... but on the other hand, that's pretty much the only thing I do to decompress, since whenever I watch movies or TV, I'm usually doing schoolwork on the side.
Today I sorted through all 20+ interlibrary loan books that are currently on my bed for my senior thesis -- some sort of collective biography surrounding gay men in Nazi Germany, and managed to get notes done on the relevant sections of four of them. There's so much to do. I'm just grateful that the professors aren't making me translate anything German that I use. Reading German academic work is hard enough, and my translation skills are mediocre at best. I'm also really grateful that this isn't going to involve any writing in German -- my German academic writing is even worse than my English academic writing, and with German I have the added issue of not always knowing what gender a word is or which case I should be using at any given point. I feel like my whole academic career currently has just spiraled completely out of control and I'm floundering to keep up with anything. I take the GRE on Saturday and I've hardly studied. I know that I'll have enough time to retake it if I do horribly, but that's another $150 that I'd really rather not spend. (Can I just say that I'm a little annoyed that my parents didn't even offer to help me pay for the GRE? I understand that graduate school is going to be my expense a lot more than my undergrad has been, but still.)
Speaking of grad school, I'm not going straight out of my undergrad. I'm planning on spending a year or two volunteering, ideally in Berlin doing administrative work, organizing, and oral history with Aktion Suehnezeichen Friedensdienste, an organization founded after WWII in order to do reconciliation and preservation of the historical memory. But we'll see how that turns out. I really just want to get out of the ruts I've fallen into and do something somewhere new. That said, whenver I go anywhere to "do something somewhere new," I always end up feeling like Ani DiFranco did when she wrote North Main Street: it seems to me I'm not doing anything new; I'm just not doing what I used to. It's like I have this constant feeling of being stagnant and in a rut; I'm eternally restless. I feel like I should probably be blaming that on our society which has pelted me with overactive media my whole life, conditioning me to need huge amounts of stimuli at all time, but I don't really feel like that's the case.
I figured out how to crochet tonight, when my brain couldn't handle any more genocide. I'm currently slowly but surely working on a granny square, and I'm very proud of myself. We'll see if I become capable of doing any more, or if I ever actually get to the point where my crocheting is efficient. I'd eventually like to be able to make amigurumi, since a lot of the crochet patterns are way cuter than the knit ones.
I had what I think was a panic attack tonight, which has given me cause to call the therapist one of the professors here recommended to me when I asked her whether she knew someone... I'm going to call her tomorrow, and once I've worked out whether seeing her is even feasible, I'll start worrying about things like how to tell my mom that I'm in therapy again. (For those of you who haven't been around for years, i.e., almost all of you, I spent around a year in therapy when I was in the 8th grade; school was miserable, I hated life, and was cutting... it was definitely a lot more than your standard teenage angst.) I'm hoping that this therapy will be more effective than what I had back then -- really, I just want to get a formal Asperger's diagnosis and have someone to talk to about my issues with anxiety and depression. And someone who can help me figure out some ways to cope that work for me, because thus far, I don't have anything.
I'm still with Screech. That makes me happy.
Anyways, I should probably try to get to bed now. You should look at my photography, which are posted on my Flickr.
I just un-came out to my professors, i.e., I emailed them asking to go back to being called Ellen. In some ways, this "uncoming out" is a lot more liberating than any other coming out.
The text of my email is below the cut.
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Also, check out my Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/naturalog) to see pretty pictures. Mostly of yarn, though, but there are some of other things. Like flowers. And buildings.
The semester is done... I got my grades -- decent, but far from what I would have liked. I've moved into my room for the summer and have (finally!) gotten around to fixing my bike, so I can bike places to get things and go out for rides. My CD burner is broken, which means I can't make any mix CDs right now. Fortunately, I have a functioning CD drive in my old computer, so I can switch them out whenever I'm home -- I'll be home in a few weeks, since my GA flights are out of Indy.
I cast on for a cardigan yesterday, and am about 1/3 of the way through the body ribbing right now. It's going to be a simple striped raglan v-neck cardigan in a pretty heathery brown and a deep sage green. I'm really hoping that it'll look as good knit up as the skeins do near each other.
I'm in the process of finalizing my plans for my trip to Minnesota this summer -- right now, I'm just waiting on an old friend of mine (a teacher from my junior high school who is one of the two people at that school who made it somewhere vaguely close to bearable. I can legitimately say that she saved my life) to get back to me about when would be a good time for me to stay with her. We've started talking again in the past year or so, and it's really surprising how easy it was for us to switch from teacher-student to friends.
Screech and I are still doing well. We've almost been together for a year, which kind of blows my mind. Maggie and I were together for almost six months, and that seemed like ages at the time.
Also, I have discovered something curious -- if I don't drink milk with every meal, I feel sick afterwards. Also, when I was young, I had an allergy test and didn't respond to the histamine.
That is all.