sienamystic: (commedia)
So recently I've started studying Italian again. Before I left on my recent trip, I used Duolingo and my old textbook (from mumble-years ago) and a great podcast called Coffee Break Italian. Since Italians are, in general, about a billion times more fluent in English than I am in Italian, I didn't actually get the chance to practice much. I told my sister that we were doing Italy on Twenty Words, but most of the words were the right one. Mostly.

So when I got back home I looked up the website I had marked about three years ago, which was of a local man who taught Italian. (The university axed its program years ago, meaning no free lessons for me as a university employee. Woe.)

I went ahead and scheduled my first lesson, and in between the scheduling and the actual attending, I discovered that the instructor, a Florentine who married an American and is now resident in Lincoln, is actually the uncle of my coworker, which was funny. He runs tours to Italy, does wine tastings, prepares meals for people who want authentic food, and also gives lessons. So I've been showing up once a week to ruthlessly slaughter grammar and pet the family's tiny excitable dog.

There is nothing as excruciating as the moment when a language instructor asks you a question and you go blank because you realize that while you know a word here and there, you didn't follow it entirely, and you have no idea how to respond...but I'm having fun anyway. It activates a different corner of my brain, and even if I never attain a level of conversational Italian, I enjoy slowly developing more facility with the language.

The Jet Age

Oct. 4th, 2015 08:24 pm
sienamystic: (commedia)
I think I'm allowed to check a bag for free on my trip. It's difficult to tell, though - or maybe I just automatically distrust what the airline is telling me (one free bag!) because I'm certain there's a line of small print somewhere that explicitly sets out conditions that will make me pay eleventy gajillion dollars when I check in. On the other hand, they did send me a chirpy email telling me that I have only a few more sleeps until rest and relaxation! How nice of them to think of me and remind me that I should charge up my phone and remember to bring my earbuds.

I'm still quite excited about the trip but as things get closer I've also had a bunch of things to solve that have taken up a big chunk of mental real estate and have made me really, really wrung out. I'm packed, at least, although I'm convinced that I've packed useless things that aren't really outfits and will leave behind something vitally important. At least it all fits in a shoulder-carry bag. I thought about taking a larger wheely suitcase but figure trying to heave it over bridges in Venice and cobblestones everywhere else probably doesn't make sense.

I also had that lowering thought that probably comes to most people excited about a little travel: the imp in your head that says, "why bother, you're just coming back to the same old grind, it's not like anything will be different. You'll just have spent a bunch of money to generate a big circle, net zero." I am doing my best to ignore that voice, because while technically speaking, it's accurate, it's also the farthest thing from the truth. If nothing else, this trip will give me some quality time with my sister and also some quality time alone with my own thoughts. I really need that at the moment.

Maybe being so tired now will mean I'll actually sleep well on the airplane. That would be a first.

In more local news, I went apple picking with Bemo and the members of my book club, and loved it more than I anticipated. The trees were bursting with fruit and it all tasted so good and I made a big apple crisp that was fantastic. There's something satisfying, maybe on a primitive level, about just walking around with a crisp tart apple you've just picked, enjoying the sunshine and watching the monarchs flutter around.

In more fannish news, it's the season for secret santas and holiday fic exchanges. I can't decide if I want to sign up for them - I haven't written anything in a really long time and don't know if I have any story bopping around in my head at the moment. I really should decide before I go because I think signup deadlines are looming.
sienamystic: (Be More Awesome)
Things have been a little rocky on the ol' Mystic gyno front, but the problem (dose of Metformin no longer balancing the wonkyness of insulin, result: my body kinda sorta thinks it's on birth control pills and maybe does a little bit of what it thinks is breakthrough bleeding, solution: bump up the Metformin a bit) seems to have done the trick and the circus is about to leave town. However the related mood swings and anxiety that go hand in hand with it all has been in full effect today, leaving me utterly convinced that very specific Bad Things were in the wind and it was only a matter of time before all my sins would be broadcast to the general public. It's basically that Jenny Holzer statement: Forces are aligning quietly and there will be trouble," except maybe more like FORCES ARE ALIGNING NOW AND THEY ARE SPECIFICALLY COMING FOR YOU NOW.

So, you know, good times.

There are things to keep me busy the next week or so until I leave, so hopefully the crazies will leave too. I am part of my institution's Instagram team and have had to sit in on meeting where we all talk about optimizing our visitors and growing our audience and I know it's important but at the same time whatever remnants of cynical Gen-X slacker that remain lodged in my breast act to keep me doing the occasional internalized eyeroll. Because uh muh guh guys. Or something. Facebook quietly chugs along, and I haven't been able to get anyone to let me start a Tumblr and endlessly reblog SoYouWorkAtAMuseum. Although hilariously all of us are resisting taking on Twitter like it's a snake poised to bite us and so the marketing manager, who is a lady in her late fifties or so, has been stuck with it although she keeps trying to hand it off.

It'll be hard to concentrate what with the trip looming. I am itchy. Currently looking at a suitcase and wondering if I want to do a soft bag or this larger roller one and what carryon looks like on international trips, anyway. Except to get from my small city to the next biggest city will require me being on a tiny jet and no way no how will this thing fit on that overhead, so maybe I just need to keep my ambitions small. Or check the bag, which I'd rather not do.

My friend with the Edith-beagle has to work a particularly long day tomorrow so I get some beagle time. We might walk down to campus to see the festivities for Homecoming, which Edith will believe are all designed to bring people within petting range. Edith fervently believes that all people want is to pet a cute little rolypoly beagle and frequently, she's right.

I'm typing this in the basement because Ratchet has been particularly whiny and so I let him frolic with the dustbunnies while I dug around in our storage closet and found the aforementioned suitcase. He's trying to coax me into letting him out onto the back patio again, but I know I can't trust him and also there are still fleas lurking. Time to pick up the cat in one arm and the suitcase in another and hoof it back up the stairs, I think.
sienamystic: (flowermachine)
Planning for the Italy trip has been fun - there have been a lot of changes since I was last there so things like pre-purchasing some of our museum tickets and train tickets ahead of time has been a new deal. Wonder of wonders, the website for buying train tickets is very easy to navigate. The whole "nicer faster trains which require reserved seats" is not something I needed to do. Of course, the first time I had to buy a train ticket in Italy I ended up buying three of them (unsure that I was buying the right one) and ended up on a super-slow milk run train that was a great introduction to the Umbrian countryside but which was not so good for meeting my contact for the study abroad program in a timely fashion. He ended up picking me up a train station or two ahead of my destination and thus I got my first intro to the Italian driver.

It's also letting me stretch my expenses over multiple months, which is pretty great. By the time we get there the only costs I'll have to incur are food and some incidentals, which can still add up, but at least they're slightly more controllable.

I'm so wound up about this trip that I'm going to have to do some work to avoid mentally crashing after it, I think.

The husband has gotten into Zentangles recently - or rather, he prefers the mandala shapes over the freeform ones that you're supposed to lay down yourself. This has led us both into the world of the adult coloring book, which was something that I always vaguely knew was soothing but had never really thought about until it became a bit of a trendy thing. Relatives in Manila, my sister, a billion people on Pinterest - and after my Amazon order arrives, me too.

In ladyparts TMI news (avert if squeamish, although I won't get graphic), I've just made my first foray into the world of the Diva Cup. So far so good, although there were some interesting shenanigans the first time I tried to fold it up correctly and put it in. As in, boinging across the bathroom and bouncing comically. This is the second day I'm using it and so far so good, although the whole business of eventually being able to do it in a public restroom has me a little dubious.
sienamystic: (Be More Awesome)
This coming week is going to be on the rough side, stress-wise. I'm doing some stuff at work that is Big and New and I am hoping I have organized everything but of course am scared that I haven't remembered to do something important that will screw things up. Plus it's stinky hot out, the kind of heat that just wears you down and makes you want to crawl inside and hug an air conditioner, and it saps the will out of me. Oh! and of course I'm crampy and irritable and hormonal as well.

I hope I will feel much better by Friday, and that everything goes smoothly.

Bemo's birthday was yesterday so we had chocolate cake and ice cream and friends brought over port and good chocolate and we played Cards Against Humanity and were happily raucous.

I'm also trying to nudge myself into writing more,but not fic. Instead I'm trying to work on the original book I've been trying to do for years now, but always find myself stalling out on (I hate plotting.) Maybe I can get something going with it finally.
sienamystic: (tempt me)
Have just frosted a chocolate cake that I stress baked this evening. It's not bad - the cake is a bit undersweet and the frosting is a bit oversweet so they work ok together, I guess? I'm stress baking because I'm trying to get stuff done at work that's been left undone for too long, and when I do that I start tail-spinning into an anxious fret. So, distraction via melting chocolate in a makeshift double-boiler.

The lady problems mentioned in my last post, btw, went away with a short course of pills, so for the moment things are kinda back to normal. I'm still wary, and occasionally stare at my midsection with a suspicious expression. But otherwise, hurrah.

In other news, it's weird to be experiencing 63-degree weather in the Midwest in late January while there are epic snow events elsewhere. Hope everyone in that corner of the US stays warm and safe and snuggly with pets and significant others and lots of mugs of hot chocolate. Over here, my boss is contemplating getting her Vespa out of winter storage for the week, cold mornings notwithstanding.
sienamystic: (commedia)
Just got back from a meeting of the book club I'm a part of. We were discussing Fangirl, and talked about writing fanfic myself (one other girl there has) and some of the other ladies had read it. Amusingly, the person I'm closest with was basically, "I don't get it - not the attraction to reading it or writing it, and same with cosplay and other fannish stuff because it's all just make-believe like when you were five and pretending you were a puppy" so it was an interesting conversation. (I did not tell people where to find my fic or even what my fandoms were - both would be bridges too far! I did say that I was just writing one before I got to the party, which is indeed the case - yay for Be-Compromised.)

Anyway, I think I'm kind of the old lady of the group, although perhaps not by a whole lot. It's not a big deal in that specific sense, because I get along well with these people, but I'm really starting to...worry isn't the right phrase. Hmm. I feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be in life, I suppose. Which for me means that I worry because I don't make a lot of money, feel pretty useless and uncertain about the whole career thing, and wonder where I'll be in five years.

God, I mentioned my salary in a conversation over Thanksgiving with just me, my husband, my father in law, and my stepmother in law and SMIL said, bewildered, "Isn't that the level where you get food stamps?"

Uh, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'm surprised I didn't hide under the table for the rest of the trip.

I need to get back to therapy, but I don't know if it was helping me get anywhere. I feel like I need someone to whip me into shape, not listen to me.

But mostly, there has been a potential medical issue that's cropped up recently that's part of it. I'll go into a little bit of lady TMI here so stop reading if you're squicked by it.

So, I just had my period, like...two weeks ago. And I'm spotting again, right now, a not insignificant amount. And there are a lot of reasons that could be, but none of them are a whole lot of fun. It's possible I might have inherited my mother's endrometriosis - there are possible signs that could back that up. There are also the possibility of polyps. And there's also the possibility that I'm about to go into perimenopause. I'm 39. I am definitely old enough for it. But somehow the idea of it has set off little sirens in my head, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT.

I see my dr. in a week and a bit, so I can ask her about it then. But it's just roiled up all my insecurities about who I am and what I do, and I'm not sure how to process it all.
sienamystic: (surly bonds)
Gone Girl was an interesting movie. I had read the book for a book club, and remember tearing through it but being disappointed at the ending - I think I was expecting a more genre-like ending and one that was less "welp, everybody here sure is fucked." (Others in the book club disliked it as well, not sure if it was for the same reasons.) The movie was interesting and beautiful, but I think Nick was left off the hook towards the end, although there are nods towards the fact that in many ways, he was every bit as invested in the weird sham that the Nick-Amy marriage was and that Amy's (vastly operatic, over-the-top) revenge is in certain senses very understandable. I think the book had more room to do certain things, but on the whole the movie is a great adaptation and while I'm not sure I entirely agree, I understand how some reviewers are regarding it as the better version of the story.

As to life in general, well...things have been a bit rocky, although they've settled down a bit now. My husband just spent some time in the hospital, and we're in the aftermath of figuring out how things proceed from here. I've been continuing to not show up for my martial arts classes, out of a combination of exhaustion and niggling anxiety about life in general. I will try to go back this week.

Have just reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Jennifer Crusie's What A Girl Wants. Work is ok; we continue to adjust to the new director and he, I suppose, to us. Tickets have been purchased for our Christmas trip back to the East Coast; I am hoping my usual catsitter decides not to do hers, otherwise I will need to make new arrangements for the furballs.

I'm mentally rather worn out, but things are getting better.
sienamystic: (Joan)
I am not in a great mental space right now. I have an appointment with a dr. next week, and will perhaps finally start getting a more official handle on my stupid anxiety, which seems to slither in and out of my life whenever it wants, disappearing for a time until I feel like I'm stupid for being out of sorts. Then it pops back up again without warning, or just before I get my period, or just after, or at any time convenient to it. I'm tired of avoiding making decisions out of conviction that they'll be the wrong ones, of feeling worthless, of being the thing that comes in and spoils it for everyone else. I'm not doing anything more difficult than making cookies because they're easy and they sort of feel productive and then I can eat them, because eating very badly is another kind of escape route that I really, really shouldn't be escaping down. No gym, no aikido, bad bad. Gained ten pounds.

Reading, yes - because that's something to do that's not a decision, not something I'm responsible for.

Never been formally diagnosed with anything but I have buckets of relatives with anxiety disorders of some stripe or another, and I suspect that a particularly bad boss the past five years - plus, perhaps, my age - was the cracks starting to weaken the dam.

Bad nights with a chest that feels like it has a brick of lead in it, or that my skin is full of bees. Random crying or anger. Endless epic distractions: there's always something on the internet for me to look at so look and look and look.

And then I feel fine for a while and wonder if it's really all that bad.

So. I'm a little tipsy on half an Ambien right now. I'm pleased I have a dr's appointment to go to so hopefully I can get on top of some of this. I'm not in a bad space right now and so almost canceled the appointment and then remembered that no, wait - that's a bad idea. I got several new books via Kindle and will talk about them later. I'm doing ok. I just can be doing better, so I'm going to see if that's possible.
sienamystic: (flowermachine)
Haven't had much to say, and since I'm a little vergy-on-depression-ish it's always easier to passively surf Tumblr than it is to think of anything to say. It's nothing terrible, just my standard bugbears about worth and work and certain other more personal issues - you know, all that jazz. Other things have been going well - I'm gearing up for my next belt test in aikido, today was a glorious weather day that allowed us to open up all the windows and go outside and site in the sun, and our tickets are purchased for my sister's May wedding.

Anyway. Watching Hannibal, the most grotesque show with the most cheerful fandom going. About to read the new Donna Tartt, I think. Or reread Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I'm apparently in the mood for a big book, which is funny since I've been reading all my John D. Macdonald pre-Travis McGees, which are much pulpier but still quite quick and fun. I've been listening to a lot of good podcasts. I need to buy a good pair of sandals and get a cute pedicure. This nice weather makes my heart lift, even if my brain is still grinding a few more winter gears.
sienamystic: (Default)
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and good wishes to all tonight. It's cold outside, but inside we're nice and warm, and our tiny tinsel tree is glowing invitingly. As is usual for our family, we opened presents on Christmas Eve. This year, since we're far away from family, Facetime was recruited to help bridge the miles, meaning we got to participate in all the raucous laughing and people talking over each other and cheering over gifts that is how Christmas Eve is supposed to go. We have good things for breakfast tomorrow, and will go to brunch with another friend who is in town as well and so pass the day in what I hope will be good cheer. Later, there will be Yuletide reading and freshly baked cookies and contented cats.

It's been a year of ups and downs. Here's to next year being more ups and far fewer downs for all of us.
sienamystic: (tempt me)
Making bibinka (a semi-sweet rice-flour-based Filipino cake that's coconutty and has a sort of spongy, puddingy texture) and buckeyes. The buckeyes are supposed to be rolled in cocoa nibs, but I couldn't get any, so they will not be peanut butter hedgehogs but rather plain old yummy buckeyes.

In other news, my usual winter plague of papercuts due to dry skin continues. Arrgh.
sienamystic: (flowermachine)
24 hours straight driving to New Jersey, two days of aikido weapons seminar, then right back in the car for 24 hours back and work the next day. I feel pretty damn hardcore right now.
sienamystic: (Venice)
I really have fallen away from updating, mostly because of general tiredness and the sensation that I don't really have much to say. Life is busy, and there is sadness currently in the form of an elderly kitty starting to suffer from the sort of health issues that plague senior kitties. Gracie is still up and at 'em, but she's now blind and we're having to medicate her in various ways. This has made my husband, who is already stressed about going back to school in a few weeks, very sad, because Gracie found him outside the KFC and demanded to be taken some place better because she was sick of dumpster diving, thank you very much. She's been in our lives for thirteen years and a lot of changes, and it's hard to contemplate the idea that we're running up against the end of our time with her.

Also, there's the usual OMG no money, OMG job stress, OMG Tumblr just streams pictures past my face effortlessly and I can passively imbibe. Bleah.

Life will be busy for the forseeable future, but I will try to keep things ticking along here.
sienamystic: (Joan)
The first experiment in hair color, a "peekaboo" burgundy color that wound up being almost invisible (too small a portion of hair colored, although the color itself was great) has been in the rear view mirror a while, and I decided I was going to take another stab at putting a funky color in. I went back to the hair college, which has actually been pretty decent for me, and opted to get a stripe of a vivid dark purple put in. My student, a very nice girl who nonetheless worked on me like she was working on disarming a bomb - one wrong wire cut and the whole thing explodes, so better call the manager over to check every three minutes - completed the process and sent me on my way. I had spent three hours in the chair at this point, and was starving, so I opted to let my hair dry naturally. "Come back if the color isn't right!" chirped my stylist.

Uh.

The color isn't right. Instead of a vivid purple, it's a pale, pale, might-as-well-be-grey purple, and even with the top of my hair pulled back to show it off, I suspect it may not even register as a funky hair color. So I'm not sure what to do. Go back and see if they can brighten it? Forget it and never experiment with this sort of thing anymore, since clearly my hair is dark enough to really fight being colored? Get a sharpie and start coloring?

Forty bucks. Blah. Maybe I should go back, but it's always such a pain and things are busy right now.

Family time

Jul. 8th, 2013 09:07 pm
sienamystic: (surly bonds)
My sister and her boyfriend flew out to visit over the holiday weekend, and we did many things. Here, let me bullet point them because I'm slightly drunk on vodka and Italian blood orange soda.

-Went to a little nearby town that puts on a killer fireworks show. There were about two hours of warmup by every nearby citizen who was letting off their own arsenal of fireworks before the main event began

-Went tubing and drifted along and got scraped up by the river bottom and floated and ate tortilla chips. My husband got massively sunburned because he didn't apply sunblock often enough. I kicked a fish.

-Baked a slightly demanding Japanese cheese cake that was supposed to be light and fluffy and involved two double boilers and turned out to be delicious...and almost exactly like ordinary cheesecake.

-Baked three loaves of pretzel bread and they were delicious, especially with good cheese and some mustard butter. (I didn't eat the mustard, but everybody else did.)

-Ate out a LOT. A lot a lot.

-Went to see a miniature horse show and also a western cutting show. I had been used to seeing miniature horses that were kind of small, blobby little pony things, but these guys looked like you put a regular sized horse in a shrink ray. We didn't get to see the driving or jump portion of the show, though. And the cutting was interesting, but there was a lot of concentrated cow pee in the air so we didn't stay long.

-Sat around in one of the several good local coffee shops and watched videos of people making tiny replica food out of candy.

I love hanging out with my sister. I miss her terribly, even though we talk on gchat pretty much every day. I wish we lived closer, and fantasize about some sort of farm/compound where we could keep animals and bees and bake a lot and make crazy dinners, but I don't know how that would happen. Her dude is a pretty nice guy as well. I think of two other sisters I know who fantasize about running a pizza farm - a place where they and their families would both live, and they'd grow all the raw ingredients to go into great pizzas and have people come and watch movies on the side of a barn on Friday nights, and I totally get that impulse. I want to plant a garden and keep goats and chickens and have people over to look at the stars late at night. Maybe some music.

This place is great in so many ways, but I hate being away from many of the people I care about. Although we're all scattered, now, friends and family both. We both grew up in a family that did a lot of lip service regarding the family sticking together, but it was really my grandparents holding it all together. None of us really talk much to our vast numbers of cousins and aunts and uncles. I know I'd feel stifled if they were on top of me. Sometimes I want a house full of happy people eating and laughing, sometimes I want a monastery full of nothing but warm stone and comfortable silences.

I think the vodka is making me mopey. It was a good few days. I have funny tan lines, including racoon eyes from my sunglasses and sandal tan.
sienamystic: (surly bonds)
So the dominoes refused to fall properly so I gathered them up and relaid them in an unorthodox pattern and then had everything fall into place. So my Big Task is done and done well (because I work with an awesome team of people who know how to get things done right), but I'm still plagued with anxiety kitting me in the face at random moments, plus a touch of paranoia now that I'm sitting in the airport. You know, the whole "what are they going to do while I'm gone and can't defend myself?" kind of thing. It's mostly my stupid brain and the sick system in operation at work, and I hope the sound of waves will make it go away because geez. I'm so tired of myself right now and I know everybody else around me is too.

Anyway. Meme.

I currently have 47 works archived at the AO3. Pick a number from 1 (the most recently posted) to 47 (the first thing I posted there), and I’ll tell you three things I currently like about it.

Also I have a Dresden kissing fic to write! Have to ponder that one.
sienamystic: (cactus pot)
I am stressed out like whoa from work. It's the longest stretch of stress where I have not (to this moment) broken down into some sort of ugly crying fit once I got home - I'm not sure if I'm proud that I'm managing, or feeling like I should just have one to release the pressure.

Essentially, I'm going through a really big learning process, and I hate the fact that I'm dragging some people along with me and making their lives difficult. Things are getting done, but not elegantly. And the big boss is in full-tilt ADHD mode, where he is unavailable for long stretches of time in the planning stages and then spins into your own carefully laid plans like a whirlwind and disrupts everything so you don't know if you're coming or going or if you have ever made a right choice in your miserable life.

I have a lot of dominoes lined up for tomorrow morning, and I'm worried that they will not fall properly because of my mistakes. I hope very hard that all goes the way I want it to.
sienamystic: (cactus pot)
I have had no energy for posting. Work has been screamingly busy, but hopefully once we get past the next month or so, things will settle down, at least back down to more normal levels. You know the image of the swan, all grace up top, all frantic paddling below? Well, the swan is starting to look a mite rumpled, let's just say that.

I have seen and loved Iron Man III. It was like...it was just the movie I hoped it would be, somehow. I need to see it again.

I am still watching and being creeped out by Hannibal and wonder why I watch and then watch with a pillow to put over my face just in case but watch the whole thing and aaagh.

The weather has settled into some sort of intermittent rain-sun-rain thing, but it's kind of nice. I like the smell of wet asphalt.

I am so tired, seriously, people. I have a beach vacation in just a couple of weeks and I can't wait. I am seriously needing some time with no brain activity.

I've written most of a certain somebody's Buffy/Esposito fic, but I have to bring it to a good conclusion! Will write the others soon too.
sienamystic: (Venice)
The mailbox has presented me with Hawkeye Vol. 1 My Life As A Weapon, which is glorious. The art and the storytelling, just...mwah. So good. My tolerance for the type of canon you end up with in comics has definitely lessened over the years, but it's nice to have one book to read with a tight focus.

Also, I love Kate, even if I don't know her from anywhere else.

The mailbox has also presented me with a nightgown/robe thingy from my mother-in-law (purchased at the Vermont Country Store, purveyor of my husband's beloved ski pyjamas) that would look really fetching if I were about 86 years old. But, hey. It's warm. The weather this weekend has been snowy but not cold enough to stick, so while it was pretty for a while to see the big, feathery flakes come down it quickly turned into a slushy blah. The weekend has mostly been spent on the sofa under a quilt. At least I got a trip to the gym in.

In non-mailbox news, I'm bored with all my clothing. I feel like I could reinvent my very bland wardrobe if it weren't for my giant feet, which make it hard for me to find shoes to pull an outfit together. It's not a problem that needs to be solved right away or anything, but I think I need to start looking for a cute pair of sandals and then maybe find some flirty little skirts I can wear with t-shirts, to get some sort of a new take on a summer wardrobe.

Also, I am getting travel-sickness like crazy. I want to go somewhere, take a big trip. Not going to happen anytime soon due to money, but perhaps I can start planning.

Oh, also. So, I'm bad at learning languages in a structured environment, but even worse at the few attempts I've made at studying on my own. I have a ton of Italian textbooks and collections of verbs and flashcards, and I'm wondering if now is the time to just have done with it all. It feels like letting go of something important, which is irrational, but true. They just take up space on my bookshelf at the moment. The university doesn't have an Italian department (they axed it years ago) and the only way I could take a class is through a tutor who does small groups and charges quite a lot for it. Bah. At least I'm not buying the textbooks anymore. I kept talking myself into them and using them for a few days before they went onto the bookshelf and started gathering dust.

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