february, 2003

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 day!

--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 one.

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

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