I had to go on campus to gather signatures on more infernal paperwork. This sort of thing always reminds me of how Taoist hell is divided into departments such as "Department of Implementing Fifteen Kinds of Violent Death" and "Department of Monsters" but it wasn't that bad, other than I had to collect one signature from a prof *in the middle of his Syriac seminar*. His insistence! But I'm sure the grad students in there were thinking god, what an asshole she is. Of course, I have to go back and do more of it tomorrow. Plus then go to the Dean's office. I'm so incredibly glad that my last few days in the States will be spent chasing paper.

I saw Adored Advisor, who seems pleased with me and that always makes me feel like a little kid who has been given praise and affection. I would like to hook my thumbs behind my suspenders and puff my tummy out and beam with delight when he says I am doing well, or when he laughs at one of my jokes - like one of those Betty Boop era cartoon kids. Or this guy:

I am so very fortunate to have such a great person/scholar/mensch for a doktorvater. I know it. And I do also very much like my conversations with New Advisor, who has replaced Evil Advisor. I think I may have mentioned that I used some really admirably subtle administrative sleight of hand to depose Evil without any sort of ballyhoo or nonsense, and it seems to have taken. What a really smashingly huge relief, is all I can say about that.

Then I ran errands, a lot of them. And I bought a new book to use as my commonplace journal - same model as the old one, which I loved because it had a great elastic fastener, sewed (not glued) fascicles, and a very pretty marble inlay cover. A few things from the crunchy granola coop for my trip. Continued my running battle with myself over whether I'll buy a D40 for my trip or go wit hmy Lumix FZ-28 which is really fine, it is, it is. It's just not as fast up as the D40. Man, I am so bored with arguing with myself about it.

Had a really fun long conversation with my best friend in Boston. We laughed until we screeched. She may be coming to hang out with me over the Easter holiday in Bruges, which would be so awesome. I miss her. Tonight we reminisced about a suit of armor we made for her to wear to this Russian vodka bar next to the Commons (long story) while we watched some dating game show she was obsessed with that involved a giant half-naked Samoan.

I am just now reminded (I think because of thinking about bars near the Commons) of a different night when we went out, danced salsa, met boys, had to run away from the boys because they turned out to be scary losers (out the kitchen door! we ran out the back through the kitchen like we were in a freakin' spy movie, it was awesome), walked to the car, drove up to Chinatown to get sushi at the only place in the entire city that served food after midnight at that time (the other was this grungecore greasy spoon in Kenmore Square - can't remember the name of either place now, and I know they're both long gone. We ate our sushi. Liz was pretty tipsy, and I was driving. She decided she really wanted a cigarette, but there weren't any convenience stores nearby. So she made me pull the car up next to A GROUP OF  HOOKERS ON THE STREET and she stuck her head out of the window and asked for a smoke and THEY GAVE HER ONE. Those things are all in capitals because I was pretty sure "Bitch, please!" were about to be the last words I'd ever hear. They didn't call that neighborhood The Combat Zone for nothing back then. It feels like yesterday, but good god: it was like seven years ago. How did I get here? When did this happen? Seriously.

I told Liz that I was traveling with a carryon and a backpack and she started laughing her ass off. It is probably a true statement that I'm going to end up going to the store on Sunday and buying one that's between a full-size and a carryon, and just braving the wrath of Easyjet's overlimit fees. Whatever.

I should be doing something right now, but I'm kind of basking in the glow of a pretty good day, mostly because I was so braced for it to suck.

The wind is literally howling. You know how bad writers say that? "The wind howled down the ravine." and so on. The wind is *actually* howling here tonight. Steady on 15-20, gusts 35-50, and it rattles the windows and the walls and makes me nervous as a nervous cat.

I had some amazing sushi today. There is a new chef at my favorite Japanese restaurant, which also has a new name, but I think that is more of a tax formality than anything else as they now have two locations. He beamed at me when I came in and ordered carryout, and proceeded to make me the most beautiful, elaborate, over-the-top amazing sakedon I've ever had. And friends, I've had a few sakedon.

Sake is salmon. Don is bowl. Sakedon is literally salmon bowl, and usually it's just a bowl of rice topped with a bunch of slices of raw salmon, just slabbed one next to the other. Maybe a little garnish, piece of tamago. Ginger and wasabi.

I took a picture of what he made me when I got home:

Oh, man. It was just absolute *heaven* - perfect sushi rice, as always (that's why this place is my favorite, plus they have the highest quality and best slice on the fish) topped with sprinkling of furikake (chirazushi style), and salmon prepared three ways: the salmon "rose" was simple sashimi; the salmon/lemon interleafing gave each of those slices the firmness and brightness of ceviche-cooking the fish ever so slightly; and then four thick pieces cut into a steak-shape and edge-seared with a culinary torch. Garnished with slices of tamago, cucumber, and a huge scoop of ikura (itself drizzled with rice vinegar and topped with finely chopped scallion).

Best. Sakedon. Ever. And carryout - prepared with as much care and attention to detail as a dish served in the dining room. It was completely brilliant. If that's how they're doing them now, I think I might have to make the sakedon a twice-weekly instead of a weekly thing.

There is something really Weird going on with my left shoulder - the muscles just under the shoulderblade, or near to it. They feel all wonky, and have for a couple of days. I rolled around on the floor doing stretches, and rolled around on the little balance ball and the big, and nothing. I feel like something in there needs to pop, kind of like when you get that in a knee or an ankle? But I will be thrice-damned if I go to a chiropractor, they're just as likely to paralyze or cripple you as do a damn bit of good. But I do have an appointment for a massage on Saturday. The massage lady was like "OH BTW that's V-DAY but if you don't mind I don't mind!" I have no freaking idea what that's supposed to mean, first off. Second, I completely forgot that Saturday was Valentine's - it's not exactly the single girl's holiday of choice, though usually I celebrate it by giving myself something extravagant. The first year I decided to give myself a Valentine's gift, I had *just* broken up with my boyfriend at the time, and I was grumping to myself that I was going to have to stay home with a bag on my head. And then this other voice in my head said that would be fine, but it was damn well going to be a Coach, so I bought myself a gorgeous, brand new cherry red Hamptons tote, and it came and I set it aside until Valentine's day and then I unwrapped it, and put it over my head and laughed my ass off. Mmmm, self-mockery and that new leather smell. The next year I bought myself diamond earrings. And then a diamond necklace. Nothing huge, just little diamonds. I was raised by this incredibly old-school ladymom who taught me, among other things: ladies don't chew gum, it makes you look like a cow chewing a cud, ladies don't smoke, it makes you look like a tramp, and ladies don't buy their own jewelry. Jewelry is something you're given. Jewelry, further more, involves JEWELS. Anything that doesn't involve gemstones or precious metals - those are accessories. They are NOT automatically jewelry just because you wear them in the same place. Just because you put your boots in the oven don't make 'em biscuits, as someone's grandmother certainly used to say. 

You have to remember that this woman has mastery of most power tools, can build anything from furniture to small dwellings, can bake or cook just about anything from scratch, and diaper a hysterical 18 month old child in a single unbroken move. She is the very salt of the earth, like all the Midwestern women of our frontier-stock tribe. She's not snobby. She's just got very definite ideas about female dignity. And most of them are the result of genetic memory and direct teachings from mother to daughter that go back to the 19th century. My affection for the words "fuck" and "asshat" and "shitbird" are a source of nearly neverending delight to her, I can assure you.

I still don't chew gum, but I will damn well buy myself the occasional jewel.  And I think maybe I'll buy myself that Nikon D40 this year instead of a piece of shiny.



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