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April 28, 2017, 17:52

5:45pm: Trying sth diff—writing in word doc and then uploading to livejournal. Snippets from a life. My life. Friday after a diff day since I gave my fairytalers a “research” day. Some came to see me to talk about their projects. It’s always interesting speaking to students one on one as opposed to in class—they become individuals, which is good. I also find it exhausting. At least now at the end of the semester. Bill is watching “Agents of the Shield” which is such a silly how I cannot take it seriously….I am drinking a glass of Sauvignon Blanc diluted with sparkling water – I always dilute my wine with sparkling water, except when I drink sparkling wine….Lily is being cute/annoying—wandering around my desk looking forthings too chew (buttons, computer cords). She purrs. I posted a cute picture on Instagram this morning: I will try and load it in here later.

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 12:42

I had written an entry earlier but pressed something and it got deleted. I had just written how I'm a little concerned because live-journal is owned by Russians....so it seemed a tad suspicious that right after I had written that, my entry got deleted... ;-) Is big brother watching me as I write this? Probably not.
I'm sitting at my desk in my study reading Gilead (Marilynne Robinson) on my kindle. I'd prefer to read it in the IKEA chair in the living room, but Bill has the radio on while he is doing some household repairs. (Replacing the light above the sink, for example). So I am here. Which is ok.
It's colder today and so I bought the living room heater into my room.

The previous entry (the one mysteriously deleted) had talked about how tired I was from the previous week of teaching and meetings.

The coming week should be a little less tiring. I even decided to hold a "research day" in the fairy tale class, so they can work on their presentations. (We won't meet as a class). The last week they will all do their presentations. After that we have the finals week and then it's off to Germany.

Thursday, April 20: 6:34

I am sitting in "my" bed in the front room. (The bed to which I escape in the middle of the night due to sleeplessness and/or Bill's snoring). The window to my left is open and the brids are loudly chirping and tweeting...It's much harer to recognize birds only from their song. The squawk of bluejays is easy to pick out. (none of them now, they seem to be later risers). Probably some robins out there. The cats come and go--George just visited but then left. Before that Sophie ws here for a bit. Bill has a new habit of making a Nespresso before we have our "real" coffee and so I made one too--so delicious!
I had another long day yesterday with my three classes and meetings. We talked about an academic article that suggested Snow White was popular because it allowed parents to indulge in fantasizing about killing their children. One student said he thought that part as "baloney" -- which I tend to agree with, but I also tend to agree with the author's more general thesis that the popularity of fairy tales has more to do with adults than children. And there is quite a lot of "adult" content in them.
Today will be a good day because I have no appointments. I do have quite a bit of grading: a quiz for my German class and a reading quiz for the fairy tale class. But the prep for tomorrow shouldn't be too bad. We're discussing the French and German versions of "Little Red Riding Hood". After this week it is only two more weeks before the end of the semester. My sister texted jokingly yesterday "Hope you're not flying United" (to Germany). Well of course I am...since I'm signed up for their points program. It will be fine. I even have a card that will allow me to enter the frequent flyer lounge this time, which I'll do in Newark, which is where I fly first from Cinncy. Lily is here looking out of the window--she puts her paws on the sill. It looks very cute. Should try and take a picture of her.
Now I will read a bit before getting up. I"m reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, which is a lovely book. And also -very slowly-Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, which is breath-taking--one of the big reads for sure. I'm loving it even a bit more than the first volume of Proust, but that might be because I'm reading it in the original and not in a translation. Ah to have French good enough to read Proust. As a teenager I wanted to learn Russian good enough to read Dostoevsky.... made it through one semester. I'd like to learn Japanese and would love to visit Japan one day. Other places on my list: Australia, where I lived from 0-12, some Scandinavian country, Norway or Denmark? maybe New Zealand again where my mother was from and where I've traveled to three times, the last time at the time of my mother's death in 2002.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 9:35

I'm trying hard to calm down. It's is hard for me having Bill around all the time. I am very used to having the whole house (and my time in it) completely to myself. I feel bad about being so weird about this, but I can't help it. *breathe*....
We are in Week Twelve of the Spring semester, which is the final phase. Only two more weeks of teaching. Then finals (=grading for me) and then, on Monday May 15 I fly to Germany. Yay! I'm always excited about that. I fly from Cincinnati to Newark and then later from there to Frankfurt, which I consider almost like a "hometown" because I lived close to there for the 11 years I lived in Germany and I also attended University there for the first three years before getting a scholarship to study at UMass, Amherst starting in 1987.
Today is my non-teaching day. I will meet a friend/colleague for lunch at a Chinese buffet in the next town over from my town. We might go get coffee and work in the coffee shop afterwards. I'm slightly ambivalent because I prefer just being at home. But it will be fun. I need to prepare a secondary text about Snow White for tomorrow's Fairy Tale class-it is about the history of "filicide" - women/mothers killing their own off-spring for various reasons. We usually talk about the ambivalence that some mother's (perhaps all?) feel towards their off-spring at one time or another. Of course in Snow-White this ambivalence is extreme: jealousy to the point of wanting the child (step-child) to be eradicated. The Queen even thinks she has eaten the liver and lungs of Snow White. I'm also keeping an eye on my steps. Yesterday, since I was driven to and from work (instead of walking and taking the bus) I did not get my Monday steps in a long time.

Ways/Ideas about how to maintain my mental equilibrium:
Use headphones strategically!
Close the door to my home-office
Walk and take the bus to school--as opposed to always having Bill drive me.

I've started reading the online verison of an autobiographical piece by the German writer Wolfgang Herrndorf. I think they are reading his novel in our upper level German class. The online piece, is about dealing with a malignant brain tumor. He committed suicide in 2013.

Monday, April 17, 6:03pm

I'm at my desk at home. Got home from the university a short while ago, a colleague drove me. (I don't drive and do not have a license). The day was long and I felt a tiny bit sick in the morning. I feel better now-of course at home and in "comfy pants". For the first time in a while I woke up for a while last night and could not get back to sleep, from about 12:30 till about 2am. I read for a while (Gilead by Marilynne Robinson) but I just felt a little off--not calm.

The "Snow White" classes went well--there was a lot to talk about and the students had interesting things to say. I also taught my German language class: it's an accelerated beginner's class for people between the first and second year. In between classes I talked to colleagues and gathered my thoughts and ate lunch. I also talked to a student after class. For the first time I missed a University senate meeting, since I am the senator for two departments, but I thought it would be ok. (since I had student appointments). One student forgot to come to her appointment but the other one did.

Bill is making dinner and we will probably watch "Last Week with John Oliver" and another episode of "Better Call Saul". I hope I fell more calm and at peace tomorrow. Even in the morning I felt just a little off. Oh I should check my steps!

Sunday, April 16 2017: 5:31pm

Class-prep is done. Trying to keep an eye on my steps. Bill has updated the excel sheets for steps to include more information (you can have the steps amount weighted to get more done by a certain time). It is taking me a bit of getting used to. Soon he will cook dinner: tomatoes with cheese and chicken. The textual history of Snow White is extremely complicated but also interesting.

In the 1980's a group of men from the Spessart area of Germany (upper Franconia-in the state of Bavaria) decided to pretend they had found the actual Snow White and the actual mirror mentioned in the story. They called what they were doing "fabuology" -- but the thing is--many people everywhere believed it was true and not a wine-inspired "fabulology". There was a mirror-factory that had modernized how to make mirrors in the area, and there were some noble-women who "fit" the Snow White schema. But basically they admitted to making it up. Now tourists visit the museum of the city to find out more about "Snow White".

Not sure what we'll watch tonight: we finished "The Americans" yesterday. It was good. We want to watch "The Leftovers" which starts on HBO tonight and also "Better Call Saul" on netflix. We'll probably watch that.


A cute tourist video from the town in Upper Franconia (Unterfranken) that is connected to the Snow White fairy tale.

Sunday, April 16 2017: 9:41am

I'm anxious to get into preparing my fairy tale class for tomorrow. We are discussing "Little Snow White" one of the "big" as in very famous, iconic fairy tales. To my mind it is the most "alchemical" of the fairy tales--there is a lot of number symbolism: 3's and 7's. There is the emphasis on the alchemical colors: red, white,black. I wonder why Disney chose yellow and blue for her dress/costume. The colors yellow and blue are famous in German literature because it is what Werther wore in the best-sellinng novel by Goethe. I have my headphones on but I hear the scritch scritch scritch of a certain bird, because the window is open. I'm wondering if it's a robin. I'm going to try and get my steps today--Bill and I have been wearing Garmin step-trackers for quite a while now. A while back I got into being fit and working out, but I have lost my enthusiasm for the gym. But Bill made an excel sheet that allows us to keep an eye on where we need to be with our steps throughout the day, which is great because by just getting up and walking a bit you can stay on track. I'm also indulging in a second piece of toast this time with jam. I love bread/toast so much, even though I feel bad/guilty about "carbs". A while back I tried a very low-carb diet and I did start losing weight, but it messed my digestive tract in ways I will not go into detail in here....lol. So I'm back to "normal" eating. Anyway let me get started with my prep work. Maybe I will write again later.