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well hello

So maybe you’ve noticed that I have not been around much lately. I’ve realized that, without planning it this way, I tend to burrow away, hiding from my computer on my study days. I have an almost physical aversion to it. I don’t even want it in the same room as me. It is too distracting, too demanding. I have too much reading to do. And lately, the reading has been consuming me. The exams are a few months away, and I have not been nearly as productive as I need to be – and it haunts me some. And then I spend so much time and focus on reading and researching that when I do have a chance to blog, I don’t have the energy. It’s all I can do to do anything, let alone come up with something interesting, insightful, or even intelligible to say.
But don’t think I don’t miss you all, or that I don’t miss writing. I miss Flashback Fridays especially – in fact, for weeks now I’ve had the raw materials all cued up for a post that I never have the energy to assemble. But I decided that today I would rather catch up with you all than post a story from long ago, since that’s pretty much all I’ve been posting. Besides, it’s been so long since my last post that my little recap may actually qualify as a flashback in and of itself. See? Everyone wins!
So what have I been doing with myself? Well, as I may have mentioned once or twice, I’ve been reading. Just to give you an idea of what I’m dealing with, this week I’ve finished five books and am more than half done with two others. And I hope to finish at least a couple more before the week is out. What? There’s still time. (Although even if I finish ten books this week, I’ll still be under the weekly quota necessary to finish in time. Yes, really.)
But it hasn’t been all reading. Mostly, but not all. Here are some of the various activities, accomplishments, and et ceteras of the last few weeks:
- I went running for the first time in, um, mumbletypeg. Only three miles, and I still couldn’t move for two days. I’ve been running a few times since then, and have been trying to get in some kind of exercise regularly. I need exercise to stay sane, and also so I don’t get permanently stuck in a reading position at my desk.
- I finished the film reading I assigned to myself for Weeks 1, 2, and 3!! Which were supposed to be finished in January. Oh well, checking something off a list still feels great.
- I’ve finished almost 50 books so far! Out of…oh nevermind, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry today.
- I ate a Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar while waiting in the drive-through at McDonalds. True story. (To be fair to myself, the McDonalds food was not for me. But still, I got a crazy look from the drive-through lady.)
- I brought home roughly two dozen more books from the library, to the despair of my bookshelves.
- I walked into my car, twice. It was parked. I am bruised.
- I may or may not have eaten my weight in miniature orange-cranberry scones, jelly beans, and cheese. (See: the need for the first item, above.) What is this stress eating thing you speak of?
- I played the Easter bunny for our church’s annual Easter party. We worked with the mobile home park across the street from the church, and there were zillions of kids and it was tons of fun. I’ve done the Easter bunny thing for quite a few years now, and every year I forget how much I love it. Highlights from this year include the toddler who kept wanting to fist-bump me and the little girl who shyly compared the size of my giant bunny feet to her own teeny patent leather mary janes. Also, can I just tell you how great it is to be a giant animal for a day? I mean, it stinks, and so do you after not very long. There is just no way to stay cool when you’re wearing the equivalent of a stuffed animal. But all sorts of things that adults are way too cool to do are perfectly acceptable in a bunny outfit. You can dance wildly, hop around, blow kisses, hide candy in silly places, like on top of children’s heads, and basically act like an overgrown child. Plus, most of the kids dote on you, and what could be more fun than that?
- I went to San Antonio and had the pleasure of sitting on a panel in which I presented a paper on Bridget Jones’s Diary, the A&E Pride and Prejudice, and Umberto Eco. I’m pretty sure half the audience showed up just to get googly-eyed over pictures of Colin Firth, but I don’t care. I can’t believe I get to do things like this for my job. How can it be legal to have so much fun? It was a wonderful trip with dear friends, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But by the time I get around to telling those stories, they’ll probably classify as a flashback too. For those of you who remember last year’s Pittsburgh trip, there were no airport brawls with brawny TSA employees this year, to everyone’s great relief (and probably a smidge of disappointment, since that night has provided endless joke fodder in the intervening year. Don’t get me wrong, we were all glad not to face the kind of flattening that lady looked ready to inflict upon me. She was about a quarter-inch from turning me into a post-anvil Wile E. Coyote. No flattening, no Sharone-accordions, no jail=successful traveling.)
I’m sure I’ve done more, thought more, eaten more, but I can’t remember anything else right now. Did I mention my brain is tired? Anyway, all of the above to say, I want to be around more often than I have been over the last few weeks, and I’ll try my very best. The next few months might be a little sparse, but please hang in here with me!
Don’t forget about me, promise?

Come on. Do it for me.

ring, happy bells

So…in most of the world it is already 2010, but here at Zizzivivizz we are still enjoying the primordial sludge that is 2009. I thought it would be fitting to remind you of some highlights of this past year that we’ve shared together – high points, low points, and some personal favorites. I made a lot of new bloggy friends in the second half of the year, so some of this might be new to you. Come on in. Look around. :)
In 2009, I …
- Got, and lost, a very sweet bunny :(

- Pondered my musical disease and possible old lady-ness

I have a deep and abiding love for Neil.
- Had a crazy adventure with the girls in Pittsburgh

Stefani and KB
Me and Jan
Somehow, we did not manage to get one picture of the four of us. Or at least, I didn’t. Oh well, there’s always next year!
- Obsessed about Henry James, Louis Armstrong, and many other people

Lots of wizard outfits, and some lovely ladies
- Held an Oscar and ate my way through Westwood. Oh, and saw movie stars! Including Robert Downey, Jr., one of my favorites – probably because he has always reminded me of my brother. :)
- Started participating in Tuesdays Unwrapped with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and met lots of wonderful ladies :) Click on my magical hidden links to discover some of my favorite posts. :)
- Went to Illinois for dear Heather’s wedding
I love me some cloudscapes :)
- Read for the Classics Challenge
- Was in a bazillion weddings, including for two of my best friends, ever, and baked a jillion cupcakes

Just a little taste of my weddingy summer
- Baked Stefani my favorite cupcakes ever

Penguin cupcakes in their natural habitat – a joke that still cracks me up
- Reflected on the beautiful gift that is outside

- Taught myself French and passed a translation test!
- And finally, finished my PhD coursework, with much rejoicing in all the land.
Also, it wouldn’t be fitting for me to end the year without letting you know that Captain Jean-Luc Picard is about to become Sir Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It was announced today. A rather auspicious start to 2010, don’t you think?

Well, now, rather.

Happy new year, friends! 2009 has been a little bit of a loony year. I guess every year has its peaks and valleys, but I always find, looking back, that on balance I have much more to be grateful for than to be sad about. I am looking forward to the adventures 2010 will hold, and I wish for you all a year full of abiding peace and ever deeper joys. And at least once, may you laugh until you cry. Just for me. :)