Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good News!

I have been accepted to deliver a paper at the major Victorian Studies conference next year.

It's going to be at Cambridge, UK in July!!!
It was such a long shot that I wasn't even going to bother to apply.
This is a big deal.
I'm half excitement and half nerves.



Monday, November 24, 2008

On "The Other Side"

What a month... I don't even know where to begin to recap it all. The highlight of my life right now is watching my little niece grow. She's just over six weeks old and still tiny (probably just up to 8 lbs or so), but she is starting to get sweet little rolls on her neck and thighs. I absolutely love her. Starting the first week of December, I will have her all to myself for a few hours once a week, as BigSis is going to try to start seeing some private practice clients. I only need to practice feeding her from a bottle a few times before she is handed over to me.

Halloween was fun, but curious. I dressed up as Medusa, and my makeup and snake wig really rocked. NDN, Tamika, Meema, Cherubino and I went to a party out in Brooklyn. Meema is going through a divorce and Cherubino was reeling from a breakup. Narc called me that night and said that he wanted to stop drinking and even wanted to go to AA with me. It was strange and intense. He later backed away from it, though, and is trying "controlled drinking" by only drinking beer. A little bit of an emotional roller coaster for me, but I have detached myself from his health problems.

I saw a few operas this month-- my favorite of them, Madama Butterfly. And Bezoukhoff and I went to an awesome exhibit at the Neue Galerie, featuring the work of Alfred Kubin. His does creepy German symbolist drawings influenced by Goya and Blake. The exhibit was appropriately ghoulish with a chiming, thudding grandfather clock, Kubin's death mask laid out on a sheath of white velvet, and his cloak, hat and cane suspended in a glass cube. Over the course of the next week, I read his novel, The Other Side, on every subway ride I took. It is one of the most bizarre (and positively freakish) works of literature I have ever come across.

The election was clearly a high point of the month. I had to wait on line for over two hours to vote, but it was obviously worth it. My mom and I stayed on the phone for hours, watching the election returns come in. The fact that I don't have to think about the possibility of Sarah Palin is an enormous relief.

My friend NiS came in from Paris for a few days early in November. I met him and his friends at the Russian Vodka Room to celebrate his girlfriend's 30th birthday. Narc was over at my place that night, but he opted not to come with me. As such, I only stayed for a few hours before heading home.

Just over a week ago, I headed to Yale for the annual NAVSA conference (The North American Victorian Studies Association). It was exciting to see scholars whose names I had only come across in books. Usually, they are nothing like how I pictured them to be. On Friday night of that week, at the end of an insanely long day (I woke up at 5:00 AM to catch the 6:23 to New Haven!) I had dinner with my mom and my sisters and my cousin who was in town from Jerusalem. I haven't seen her in over ten years. It turns out that an evil aunt of mine spread some nasty rumors to turn my cousins against our strand of the family, but I hope that we were able to clean it all up and put it all to rest. It was good to see her, but it also felt awkward. I have changed so much since the last time we were in Israel, and even then, our relationship was founded on playing together as children. She barely recognized me, given all of the weight that I lost, and that only made me feel a little more awkward.

But the biggest event of all for me came this past week. I have had such a crazy, busy week. Last Monday I got observed while teaching my British History class. I was really nervous about it, as I've never taught that material before and feel like half the time I'm covering for the fact that I don't know what I'm doing. It turns out that my worries were unfounded, though, as I got a really awesome review and apparently, it appears that I do know what I'm doing. Then, on Tuesday I got new breasts. Yes-- that's right. I had my breasts done. It's kind of the last thing I'd ever imagine myself to do, and I've had really mixed feelings about the whole thing, but since I lost all of that weight, my chest sort of deflated. Surgery is never fun, and I was sore and twisted up for a few days afterwards, but I have to say-- I am in love with them now. So far, I love having big breasts. I feel kind of stupid about it, but whatever-- they are so perfect and round and sculpted and they came out just the right size. Bottom line-- they feel natural and they look gorgeous, so I've decided to forget the fact that I've always thought of myself as "someone who would never get breast implants." Instead, I'm going to just enjoy them. They're still all bruised up and I still have the steri-strips over my incisions, but I couldn't be happier. Next month I am getting even more plastic surgery-- on my stomach and my thighs, and then I will be all set to be a new, beautiful me with awesome breasts and a flat tummy-- just in time for my 30th birthday.

Anyway, enough going on about that. I had to come back into the city on Thursday night, even though it was just two days post-Surgery, as my advisor had strongly recommended I meet a visiting scholar from UC Davis and he was heading back to California on Friday afternoon. It was a tough night. Narc slept over, although I had to stay elevated on a million pillows, popped a few percocets and woke up several times in the night, yelping in pain. He was sweet and held my hand. The next morning, the UC-Davis professor and I met for coffee up near Columbia, and even though I psyched myself out about the meeting, feeling inadequate for not having a developed and well articulated dissertation topic, the meeting was awesome. He was so helpful to me and pointed me in some really useful directions. And I didn't feel inadequate at all once the conversation started. Even my breasts behaved by not cramping up or sending shooting pains through my entire chest during our conversation. Afterwards, B and I met at The Heights, our old hangout, for Buffalo wings and patatas bravas. By the time I made it back to Long Island that night, I was wiped out. I really hadn't recovered yet and pushed myself pretty hard.

On Saturday I had opera tickets, and I tried to attend with my mom, as I really wanted to see Berlioz's Damnation de Faust. It hasn't been performed at the Met since 1906! Again-- it was too much for me, as I fell asleep a few times during the performance and felt a little feverish by the time my mom dropped me off back at home. I really wanted to make it out to karaoke with Dan who is in town from Japan this week, but it really would have been pushing myself too far. I'm hoping that we can figure out some sort of alternative plan. Narc stayed over with me again on Saturday night and on Sunday morning, he and NDN and I went out for dim sum in Chinatown. It's kind of a strange occurrence, but Narc and I are integrating our lives and our friends much better these days. I saw a few of his friends briefly on Saturday. (They were all fascinated by my new breasts too-- a little awkward, but funny...and flattering.)

After staying home and napping and resting for the rest of the afternoon yesterday, I went to Narc's to sleep and watch the 24 movie. Woohoo! Jack Bauer is back!!! Today is my first full day back at work, and I'm exhausted. I've still been waking up at night intermittently from muscle cramps and spasms (as the implants were placed under the muscle), and I think my body is just suffering general fatigue from the trauma of surgery. It makes me worried about the surgery next month-- that one is going to be much more intense and a much longer recovery. I hate being taken out of the swing of my life. It's so frustrating. But whatever. I won't complain. It is such a miracle to have been able to transform the way I have physically and spiritually, and I will never mind having to make a few sacrifices to maintain it all.

Anyway, I still have to write my lesson plan on Britain and WWI, so I really can't spend much more time blogging right now. I just didn't' want to let more than a month pass without an update. I hope everyone out there has a fabulous Thanksgiving.