As many of you know, one of my fears is choking and dying alone. Last night I choked. It was an honest to God choke, where the Heimlich Maneuver would have actually helped. The food wasn’t just stuck in my throat, but lodged in a way that sealed off all airflow. I swallowed a piece of meat, it sort of suctioned to the back of my throat. The suction was so strong that the Heimlich Maneuver probably would have propelled it through the air to hit someone in the face or plop into someone’s beer like in the movies. My cousin and her husband invited me to a BBQ at her house last night. Being social is always difficult, but I went, wanted to go, only had to talk myself into it for a few minutes. Everything was going along smashingly, with nice, peaceful chatter, when I launched forward, eyes bulging, and made a loud sound, like a dry heaving/barking/burping/vomiting sort of noise. (My body was involuntarily heaving and lurching as well.) It was loud and EMBARRASSING and everyone stopped and stared at me. Afterwards they all said it looked like I was going puke. They didn’t recognize that I was choking. What finally ended up happening, after three or four of these loud, deep, involuntary dry heaving/barking/burping/vomiting noises, the piece of meat dislodged and went down my throat and safely into my stomach. I sat red faced for the rest of the evening, denying the urge to bolt home. I was also scared of food for the rest of the night.
When I got home, I was desperately lonely for Isaiah. I needed someone who really loves me and knows how to comfort me.
I will not weave this story into a metaphor about my fears of “choking” in graduate school.
1. The mountains of Utah.
2. UVSC–this was a great school.
3. SLCC–but mostly just during my last semester there.
4. The library.
5. The farmer’s market.
7. The peace and quiet of living in Zion.
8. The easy grid system layout of the cities.
10. Interesting neighbors.
11. Canton Village take out.
12. The great dollar theaters.
13. The few friends I made.
14. Being close to my grandpa.
15. Temple Square–flowers, tourists, stories, architecture–lovely.
1. I am pretty here.
2. The air quality is excellent.
3. There are ass loads of bike paths/jogging trails.
4. The shower is so big that I get tired walking from one end to the other. (My last shower was so small that if I dropped something, I had to get out of the shower and turn around in order to bend over to pick it up.)
5. The apartment is so big (a one bedroom!) that I get tired walking all the way to the kitchen from the bedroom.
6. The coin op laundry costs half of what the cheapest laundromat in SLC.
7. People smile.
8. Here, I am considered attractive.
9. I found a great lamp that I really needed at a thrift store that j’adore.
10. A solid internet connection when I want it.
11. A paved driveway.
12. Cousin lives nearby.
13. And on that note, Mom and Dad and sheep are much closer too.
14. It is not nearly as hot in the summer. (It is supposed to reach 100 degrees today and it doesn’t even phase me after Utah.)
15. I am above average looking here. (And yes, I will continue to mention it.)
THE FROG WAS LIVING INDOORS IN THE PEACE LILY! I found it this morning and forced it to step on to a pamphlet that I deposited to the tomato plants on the balcony. After about ten minutes, I retrieved the frog (via the pamphlet) and placed it in the herbs because I thought it would have a better chance of finding a cool little hamlet of water and shade there. At the heat of the day, I saw it out in the elements, exposed to the harsh afternoon sun. I haven’t seen it since. I have not heard it croak. It only got hotter this afternoon and my guess is that it committed suicide off my second story balcony. Secretly, I was hoping it would be my new friend, that it would do that thing that frogs can do where it develops male (or female) parts and reproduces on its own, growing a little family of frogs who live in the ample foliage I have created on my balcony. I looked around, poked around the soil, lifted pots–no sign of the frog.
I am considering buying a new computer. I say this with a single, hot tear of sadness trickling down my cheek. I have never bought a brand new computer. This is unexpected and I have not done my research. I’ll probably end up buy what’s cheapest or on sale at Wal-Mart. Seriously, I don’t need much in a computer. I need speed. I need internet. I need a gazillion Word documents. I need a pictures and music, and when it comes to pictures and music, I actually think I need less space than the average computer user. I’m definitely not filling up the old hard drive with porn and gaming. Any advice on this front is welcomed, although please keep my needs in mind. Also, should I buy something used off of Craigslist?
I bought a ten dollar power cord today and tried to fire up the old beast that has been my computer since freshman year and officially since I got it in the divorce from my first college roommate. It started up once, but the mouse and keyboard didn’t work. So, I started it up again, and since then it has not gone past the Dell intro. I plan on taking it to the computer people here at WSU tomorrow. I’ll see what they can do. They will probably tell me to chuck it, but people have been telling me that for years and by golly it’s gotten me through way longer than anyone ever thought it would. (Hot tear slides down other cheek.) At the very least I must take out the hard drive. How does one dispose of a computer?
If I get a new one, there is also the question of laptop vs. desktop. I love my laptop. I use it as a desktop mostly. But, I’m not sure if the keyboard of the laptop is as ergonomical as it could be for writing dissertations. Plus, I get the feeling that the laptop is shooting invisible, cancer-causing rays into my boobs, or uterus, depending on how I position the computer.
I found a mouse turd on my counter today. Prematurely, in my brain (because I have no one to talk to) when I moved in I exclaimed: “This place seems clean! For once this is a kitchen that doesn’t gross me out! I could cook here!” But now–the mouse turd–and everything has changed. First, maybe it wasn’t a mouse turd. Maybe it was from the frog. This is something I can handle, although I have a vague idea that frog turds look more like owl turds than mice turds in that they are sort of a bladder bag filled with the bones and cartilage of whatever the frog last consumed–exoskeletons of bugs, maybe. I have no hard knowledge to back this up.
In my brain (because there is no one to talk to) I have been saying “ass loads” a lot. This makes me miss Isaiah because with him there were always ass loads of things: ass loads of ketchup packets, ass loads of smog, ass loads of chicken garlic pizza, etc. And it occurs to me that all of this posting is the stuff that I would normally unload on him every night. Like, he would come home from work and absently play guitar or cuddle me as I chattered chattered chattered about the details of my day. He would nod and listen and avoid the places where I would try to trick him into an argument. In so many ways, we were playing out very stereotypical gender roles.
But back to the mouse turd, I have searched it out and there appears to be no way that a mouse could get on that counter, unless he has a hand glider. My hope is that it was a tiny burnt piece of rice, or some unfortunate looking particle that fell off some legitimate food source. Or, it is a actual mouse turd that some how made it on to my counter from when my stuff was in storage. Or, it is a real mouse turd from a mouse infestation here in my very own apartment. Lets hope it’s not the latter two. Lets hope that frog dumped a big ol’ Cleveland steamer right on my counter top next to the bowl of fruit.
I don’t want you to think that it is all bad here. It’s just that the negative creates more of an impetus to write.
In case you were wondering, I will be posting hourly. I have no one to talk to here. Just my neuroses and my laptop.
I live in what appears to be a pretty generic apartment complex for college students. Despite the fact that there are no play areas, there are a surprising number of children. Once in awhile I hear a yell from a voice that sounds like who you imagine a 35 year old crack whore, who looks 50, would sound like. After the yell, some older sporty car guns it through the parking lot at 50 mph or so.
Last night there was party of drunken WSU students. They screamed the f-word, fought, seriously talked each other out of sudden waves of depression, and cheered as they all took a round of shots, over and over and over again until I finally fell asleep at 3am. I find the mentally disabled to be unsettling. They are unpredictable, and I never know how to act around them.
You are probably asking yourself, why did she go to college if she so hates living around college students? That is a valid question, one that I will probably ask myself several times throughout the school year. If this lifestyle is intolerable, I will quit. This is a threat that I make often. The truth is that I don’t want to quit, but I also don’t want to be miserable for four years. My hope is that my time here will become pleasant and familiar. Please note that I searched high and low and there is no escaping them in this town. I did my best.
One bonus of living here is that I am exotic and beautiful. This is hard to talk about as I come across as irritatingly…I don’t know…whatever you just thought of me as you read that last line. But there really is something to it. Today at the grocery store, there were several couples of tall, handsome, strapping men with less attractive women. In Utah, the opposite was almost always true. Everyday so far, a stranger has done something to reaffirm to me that I am accepted and desirable. Strangers smile here. Strangers do not smile in Utah. Living in Utah for three years, I had about three serious dates. One per year. That is bad. One guy turned out to be mentally retarded. The other one had Aspergers. The last one worked and was actually quite smart, but was not long term or serious (evidently).
p.s. Tonight’s dinner was some severely raped chicken. Note to self: always pay full price for meat.
Coming soon…a list of things I miss from Utah.
In the meantime, I must say that it feels good to be back in my culture. Ahhhh Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon are culturally very similar. Flipping a blonde ponytail goes a lot farther here than it did in Utah. I think it is true that men are better looking and women are worse-looking here, which obviously works in my favor. Also, when passing in hallway/sidewalk/aisle/whatever people make brief eye contact and give a vague smile. People are SO NICE here! In Utah, people (strangers) avoided of eye contact and never smiled. It was hard to get used to. I always felt rejected.
In other news, living in one of my tomato plants is a frog that seems to have survived the journey from NE Oregon. I’m on the second floor. I hope I don’t find it dead. I hear it croaking.
I only italicized the ones I read part of. I mean, I intend to read most of these.
It is my first evening alone in the new apartment. My parents unloaded my stuff (bless their hearts) and left. Now I’m staring down the barrel of 4 years in a new apartment, loneliness, fear, stress, work. But, I’ve done this before.
Chores like this list help calm me down before and after frenzies of unpacking.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THIS LIST:
* Look at the list and bold those you have read.
* Italicize those you intend to read, and/or books you’ve started but haven’t finished
* Reprint this list in your blog so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them 😉
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (I just read the first one, but I’m counting it)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (complete?!)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma- Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons (I did see the movie)
54 Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (en francais) (One ex-boyfriend said I shouldn’t read this until I could read it in French, so I haven’t.)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo