I think I passed out and woke up four weeks later. It’s been a full couple of weeks, even though not terribly busy; my brain and body have just been full to capacity with the few things in life I’ve been dealing with. Sometimes a few things feel like a hundred. And since Chris and I cut our gym session short today (a morning walk and just bench press and pullups for me), I didn’t even have time for my favorite In-Between Thoughts. C’est tragique, non? But in the interest of keeping this blog at least a little personal and not wholly theoretical or abstract, here are some life updates.
I got my second Pfizer shot! I feel so, so lucky and safe to be vaccinated. One more week until I can say for sure it’s all taken effect, but it’s all looking good. And oh my word, I got hit HARD by the second shot. I think I also got a cold or something on top of it, though, because I was basically couch-bound for 4 days. Not the normal length for second-shot side effects. And even today, over a week later, I am still struggling with exhaustion. I’m not sure if it’s due to overtraining (my 2-a-days make me in dire need of a rest/de-load week), if it’s lingering vaccine effects, or if it’s emotional drain. I’ve been going through it lately from the emotional side. Other people are exhausting. But regardless, I am going to take this week off from the gym and from my morning steppin’ and just take some leisurely morning walks, to try to give my body a break. I think it’s overdue. I am hoping that helps with the exhaustion and getting me back to feeling settled in my body.
I officially have my Masters degree in philosophy!!! I kind of forgot that that was a thing, since I’ve been so focused on embarking on the next step, the ever-elusive PhD. I won’t get my diploma for a while because the office is backed up (the university is still under some very wise COVID restrictions), but sometime mid-summer I should have that bad boy in my hands. My favorite part? My diploma will be in English AND ‘ōlelo Hawai’i. My heart clenches at that. I have a feeling we’ll leave Hawai’i one day, and knowing I’ll have a permanent marker that shows what an impact the islands had on my life for a time means so much to me. It’s a huge memento that represents something incredibly valuable and hard-won for me, in an incredibly valuable and hard-won place. I’m having a difficult time putting it all into words, but that little diploma with its beautiful language is going to be one of my most treasured possessions. Even IF I finish the PhD.
Speaking of my degree, I was initially pretty bummed about how my Plato paper turned out. I was convinced I had missed the mark, or just not said anything that interesting. It was feeling like a disappointing way to end my Masters degree. Then I got feedback from my professor that it was “excellent” and a “pleasure to read” and my mouth kind of fell open. I know he doesn’t give out that kind of praise to just anyone who puts in effort, so I am really pleased and relieved and have a renewed excitement about my ability to succeed in the PhD. I say this to remind myself that my self-doubt is not a reliable measure of my ability. Now to read his comments and see if I can work some of it into my dissertation! Yes, I already have my topic chosen, even though I’m still a couple months away from starting my PhD coursework and a couple of years away from completing said coursework (it’s a ridiculous system where I have to take 2 more years of coursework, but yet here I am ready to dive into the ridiculousness). Did you really expect me to approach this in any way other than obsessive over-preparation and planning?! Because if so, you obviously just found my blog. Welcome.
I went swimming again! I hadn’t been back to my morning swimming spot in months, partly because it’s been winter (COLD WATER) and partly because we are now a 30 minute drive from my favorite swim beach rather than a quick 10 minutes. But now that the sun is rising earlier, I’m going to start going once or twice a week. The clarity was terrible, the water still chilly, but it was like reconnecting with a self of mine that only comes alive in the water. Heavenly.
Oh, I kind of accidentally went off caffeine, so that’s also probably why I’m exhausted?! Being sick made me reach for tea over coffee, then I realized I should probably finish some decaf coffee grounds before they went rancid, and now that I’ve been off caffeine for over a week I’m feeling like I shouldn’t go back. My poor hormones and body are just like WTF WE ARE EXHAUSTED STOP CHANGING THINGS. Sorry, body. You will thank me when the caffeine-withdrawal ends.
I have been consuming mostly novels since my brain recovered from the intense stress of this past semester. I read The Midnight Library and have thoughts to save for another post. I read Hyperion and was absolutely transported — the poetry of the plot and setting coupled with the tingling horror that permeated the sci-fi world was just amazing. Very reminiscent of Frankenstein. I recently started Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (but how will it end?!?!?!?!?) and have the new Kazuo Ishiguro on my list. I. Can’t. Wait. Ishiguro is easily one of my top 3 favorite authors. I just need to figure out who the other two are.
BUT most importantly for my reading…. I’m working my way slowly and thoughtfully through Bernard Williams’ Shame and Necessity. It was recommended to me twice as “disturbingly good” and so far, an intro and a first chapter in, I couldn’t agree more. I’ll have more of a review later (I have too many thoughts for a quick life update post), but suffice to say Williams blew my mind when he pointed out that Western philosophy has tended to divide the mind into parts on an ethical framework (the brain as a way of being ethical) and that early pre-Plato Greeks did not necessarily think that way. Realizing that we have tended to see the brain or mind as operating with a strictly or predominantly ethical telos, when that’s not the case, kind of blew my mind. It was like getting to peek behind the curtain of interpretative frameworks we rarely see. Disturbing, indeed.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a life update without some FOOD. I’ve been baking up a storm and getting back into my dinner-making groove. I’ve adapted and perfected half flour / half almond meal recipes for banana bread, carrot bread, and zucchini bread. I’ve made coconut biscotti. I’ve made our favorite meatloaf, constructed countless loaded salads, baked eggplant mini pizzas, assembled Mediterranean chick pea salads, and made a miso-honey game hen dish that was to-die-for-dinner-party-worthy. I have big plans to bake a rhubarb pie this coming weekend (I just learned Chris loves rhubarb?!), and need to stop at Whole Foods for some Tipo 00 flour to make hand-made pasta (I have some eggs that could have hatched by now and a still-brand-new pasta attachment to try out – thinking ravioli??). I don’t at all mind eating more Spartanly during the busy semester (honestly, my waistline benefits…), and I also adore indulging in patient cooking and rich eating when the busyness subsides. Now to more rest. This exhaustion is no joke. I miss caffeine.