Mon Feb 3 25:09:58 EST 2003
Think pink, I'm told. Think pink and finish what I need to
here at Swarthmore, and don't let the plans hanging over my head get
in the way.
But spring is coming. The weather is warming up, from well below
freezing to just barely stiff ground; from a few degrees Celsius to
enough that new shoots are coming out of the melting mud. And I'm
running around without my new winter hat
-- certainly not because I don't love it -- I had been freezing, and
it was brown, orange, and reversible -- and also not because I'm
allergic to it, that when I take it off, I scratch my forehead for a
few minutes (unlike Alyssa, who just keeps hers on, rubbing it into
her head to allay the itch).
It's just this weather. I was running around Philly yesterday --
going to the opera, a quite decent La Traviata -- in orange
striped stockings, a knee-length skirt, shirt, and my leather coat.
My hair down (only slightly longer than my shoulders!) and flying in
the wind. No hat. And I wonder why I've been sniffling the whole
--And while I'm exhorted to think pink, the rest of the campus is
starting to think green: to remember grass; to think about refoliating
the trees. And it's so reminiscent. Springs have always been good
here. Last night the smell of apple
tobacco in Nate's hookah at Paces last night (as I was scarfing
down an andrés for a late dinner) accentuated it more. It's not a
painful spring (it's not even spring yet) -- it will just be a loaded
I have plenty of work to do ... it will keep me busy until the real
Spring comes, and through it. While this pinkness -- this visual
apple smoke -- and this anticipation, continues.
Mon Feb 10 17:25:04 EST 2003
I've been vegan for a week. Which is not why I haven't been writing.
And I haven't even really been vegan.
I just noticed that when I'm coughing incessantly, feel slightly
queasy and nauseous, and want to sleep all the time, my body likes
dairy less. And amazingly, Sharples makes it possible to survive as a
vegan. Cereal with bananas and soy milk. Rice and black beans, hold
the cheese. Always a vegan entree. And I've been eating the tops of
chocolate cupcakes, and the occasional piece of pizza, anyhow. Joel-O
commented that it's something he felt that he learned about me while
living with me, that it was indicative that even when I felt
physically like crap, I ate the tops off chocolate cupcakes. I like
being thought of like that.
For a while I thought it was going to stay, and I'd like this veganism
thing too much, and never really enjoy cheese as much as I used to,
and never make scones again, and be a nuisance to everyone I ate with
... but I think it's passing. (It's hard to keep up when they keep
serving pizza!) Plus, I'm better ... not one hundred percent, but
enough so that I don't notice the difference of dairy as much.
In other news, while I've been cutting dairy out of my diet, I've also
been cutting to the chase about Next Year. And panicking. Not
panicking with my hands to my throat and thrashing on the floor, but
more debilitated by the sickness, unable to deal with many conflicting
thoughts and possibilities, and collapsing under the stress. (Ah,
hello, second semester senior year! I hope you pass quickly!) And
it's really been mostly illness-triggered, I think ... though granted,
writing cover letters to places you know aren't hiring to tell them to
hire you anyhow isn't encouraging.
But I'll keep my head on straight. The thesis progresses in little,
slow bits (I need to start modelling!). Work is manageable and
gratifying. It's just this job stuff.
Chick pea sauté for dinner tonight. Maybe I'll put some yogurt on it
Tue Feb 11 23:00:51 EST 2003
Wow ... while writing cover letters for a diverse range of jobs, I'm
realizing what an awesome education Swarthmore has really given me.
It's really gratifying, kind of a method of proving to yourself what
you're worth -- like the self-evaluations Mr. Jeff used to make us do
in fourth and fifth grade; like the application I wrote for Vienna two
years ago this time -- they make you examine yourself from a critical
eye, sell yourself ... and you realize after a paragraph or so that
you aren't lying. You are cool. These past four years
have taught you something, and not just something -- you have a
major or two, and skills gained from a crazy-intense liberal arts
education. Really, you do. And it's quite cool to believe that
before you start telling it to prospective employers, or to use that
as a way to figure it out.
Now that I believe me, they just have to, too ...
Sun Feb 16 16:30:26 EST 2003
Yesterday was fucking cold, and today colder. So much so that
when I got back from the city, not having worn my ski socks or enough
sweaters, I closed myself in my room and refused to leave, despite
hunger (I later remembered a sandwich and cookie in my fridge) or
inability to work (my computer will no longer boot, hanging at the
LILO prompt) -- so I read The Code Book, relaxed, and drank tea
for an evening. It is way below freezing, and the air is
crystallizing into snowflakes which are blowing in through the robot
lab's air conditioners, and seem to be pervasive into everything.
But the biggest reason for my chilliness yesterday was that I had been
out marching through the streets of Philadelphia with Claire and
Allan, joining around 2500 others in the city and literally millions across the nation and world in
protesting Dubya's planned war. Maybe someone will finally get the
message -- it seems like they have to listen to millions shouting,
Drop Bush, not bombs! Even despite the wide range of idealisms
going on under one protest, the freezing weather, the long speeches
without marching, the circuitous route from Broad &apm; Spring Garden
down to the Liberty Bell, and my hatred of stupid slogans (whose
streets? our streets! -- not the point, needlessly exclusive to
the marchers, and even perhaps detrimental), it felt good to be a body
in a throng of adamant anti-war ralliers.
Sun Feb 23 23:12:27 EST 2003
When I daydream these days, I dream of tea. I found Stash's website, and Claire and I
placed an order of loose Assam, Ceylon Breakfast, and Rooibos, which
should arrive tomorrow. We talk of opening a
tea/coffee/wine/book-store if our respective other plans fall through;
I'm not sure either one's fully joking.
When I dream with my fingers, it's of music. The Beethoven in
orchestra is amazing, and every week I think of Vienna, driving around
the Ring in a yellow convertible with the Seventh majestically
emanating from the speakers, round the Staatsoper; I think of
the counterpoint in the second movement and the strings breathing
together. The Walter that the Quintett is doing is strange: Mahlerian
in harmony but unhaltingly rhythmic; tonal from cute V-I cadences to
clusters of leading tones -- and the music just comes from my fingers,
and the group's cohesion, and it's what I've wanted my viola to be all
these years. Purely pleasurable.
When I nightdream, it's of next year, or what I hope it will be. I
can't help thinking of it, and I can't help hoping and trying my best
to make it what I want. I have four letters sent off, CVs, résumés,
cover letters, and more coming. One response and that's tentative.
And how do I swing this? Sometimes it's too much, the thought of it
all, the constant existential framing of my thoughts and ambitions.
To counteract it all I do my Theory of Computation homework,
diagramming Turing machines; I study for Computer Architecture exams,
remembering algorithms for mapping cache into main memory -- discrete
tasks I can accomplish in the here and now. Whoever thought that my
coursework would be an escape?
Thu Feb 27 00:12:25 EST 2003
Wearing your heart on your sleeve is a pretty metaphor, but
inaccurate. Mine shows on my cheeks and in my eyes, red from the
blood conjured to my face as a result of too much thinking about the
future and feasibility; so red, or at least so visible that Joel
stopped me the other day in Sharples without a greeting, just a
pitiful what's wrong?; that Caitlin asked the same today as she
passed my blotchy cheeks, wearing my heart. Washing the salt stains
off my face, it hurts to touch them. I go dance or code to put it
back in its place; the red subsides, and it stays in my chest where it
belongs. But it comes out so easily these days.
all this ©nori heikkinen, February 2003