Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 9

Greetings, Internet! I’m remembering that I’m a graduate student with academic obligations (that I shall continue to fulfill even as academia crashes all around), so this week has been a neat balance of non-dissertation-related readings and a seminar. Also went on a “Phantom of the Opera” kick, as if I was back in senior thesis mode. Daily summaries below!

Day Fifty-Seven (5/8/20)

  • Posted my cover of the Foo Fighters’ “Big Me
  • Finished Book Six of Gregory of Tours’ Histories. Started Book Seven. There’s quite a feud at the end of Book Seven, so I know I’ve got that drama ahead of me.
  • Did the cuts on my index finger heal from yesterday’s barre chords? Nope, not entirely. Did I feel a stinging pain when I applied hand sanitizer this morning? You bet. Worth it, though. Get ready for some guitar videos this week! I was going to record today, but the day got away from me.
  • I don’t want to jinx it, but I might be starting therapy within the next week or two. We shall see! First, checking to see if my insurance will cover any of it. Oh, ‘Murica.
  • Currently feeling: I was playing through a song on the ukulele today that had been rather difficult for me just a couple of weeks ago, and I got through it way more easily. I think the hours of practice may be leading to improvement. It’s so nice to improve on something. Like, it’s such a confidence booster. I think this is why I enjoy learning new skills. I mean, sure, I kind of suck at it when I start, but then once I start to improve, I can play and think to myself, “I used to suck! And now I suck less!” Small victories.
  • Currently looping: Amberian Dawn’s cover of ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love on Me.” You know I’m here for metal covers of ABBA songs.


Day Fifty-Eight (5/9/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Caught up on “Legends of Tomorrow.” So much love.
  • Right, so, this article is everything. One of my many favorites: “Why do you keep saying the Force is strong with her but not with me? Where is your evaluation rubric?”
  • Recorded Monday’s song. Not thrilled with how any barre chords sound, but I guess I should’ve let the cut heal before I played. But, like, how would I get better if I didn’t play through the pain??
  • Did a Wine and FaceTime with my sister. Proceeded to drunkenly wash dishes while listening to Hole’s Celebrity Skin album. Still a banger.
  • Why, yes, I am watching replays of KBO. Don’t judge, it’s the only baseball currently playing on ESPN/ESPN2.
  • Currently feeling: My horoscope told me I was going to be blah for the next few days, and so far, it’s right. But I’m also on my period, so I generally feel blah. So, now I’m thinking that the Costar astrology app can predict my menstrual cycles. That’s some amazing calculating right there, because it’s supposed to be based on my birth chart. Yes, I’m writing this while tipsy.
  • Currently looping: Belle and Sebastian’s “The Book of You.”


Day Fifty-Nine (5/10/20)

  • Called my mother, because it’s Mother’s Day!
  • Recorded Wednesday’s song.
  • Watched the season finale of “Outlander.” Oh gosh. It was, um, rough. Really rough. I may have been in a dazed place shortly following.
  • Guess who got drunk at writing workshop? That’s right! This one here. And then I proceeded to write things for next week’s workshop because there are some things I can only articulate while inebriated.
  • Currently feeling: I am writing this at 2am, as I sober up. I tell myself I’ll be more responsible with my sleep schedule this week, but then I laugh a bit. Oh gosh, though, I’m sleepy. But I got so much writing done, so, trade off?
  • Currently looping: Lzzy Hale and Amy Lee’s “Break In.” It’s originally a Halestorm song, but it’s so beautiful when they collab.


Day Sixty (5/11/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. She informed me that Amazon Prime appears to have only certain songs from Fiona Apple’s new album, but not the whole thing. Why rob listeners of the entirety of a masterpiece? Seriously, that’s rude.
  • Read through an article about women and head coverings in Byzantium for a reading group that I think is going to start meeting on Wednesdays. It’s nice to have some non-dissertation academic reading. Will I have anything to contribute to the reading group? Probably not, because I don’t study Byzantium. But hey, at least I learned something nifty about rites of passage and head coverings for women.
  • That moment when you realize that a C-chord is a C-chord is a C-chord. Seriously, why was I looking up “guitar chords” and “ukulele chords” for specific songs? They’re the same chords, just different strings and finger placements. So, basically, once you know how to play the chords, you can play the same thing on either instrument. That took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out.
  • Got my studio headphones! And I learned how to do iMovie split screens. Will I be ambitious and try to add flute to the mix? We shall see!
  • Currently feeling: I’m actually running low on chocolate. And by “running low,” I mean, like, I have enough to last another three weeks at the rate I consume chocolate (which is, objectively, quite slowly). I also am down to my last two bags of granola (which I go through, objectively, rather quickly), and am probably due for a restock. But I spent so much on recording equipment and my guitar last month that I need to be a responsible consumer this month. The chocolate and granola restocks will have to wait. I’m thankful that this is my main problem at the moment.
  • Currently looping: “Le Festin” by Camille. I’ve got the ukulele chords mostly down. Now I just have to learn how to sing in that range. In French. I think I just like to make things difficult for myself, but in a fun way.


Day Sixty-One (5/12/20)

  • Higher education status report: Still not looking good.
  • Recorded Friday’s song. It’s a 2.5-minute song, yet somehow recording took nearly an hour. Then I looked up covers on YouTube of the same song, only to find that every cover featured someone apologizing for making mistakes. So now I don’t feel as badly as I did before.
  • I used to be sad because my favorite taco place had a delivery radius that ended literally across the street from my apartment. Now, they’ve expanded that radius. Let there be tacos (and also margaritas because they deliver those, too!)!
  • PSA: Hulu has some version of Disney sing-alongs. So, um, that’s where I’m going to be for the remainder of quarantine, probably.
  • Currently feeling: My program is trying to regain some feel of normalcy. I have a reading group scheduled for tomorrow, and a Zoom seminar (a Zoominar? Is that a thing?) scheduled for Thursday. It’s definitely not the same, but it’s nice that I don’t have to go down to campus. I thought I’d be able to wheel myself to Penn Station for campus events, but wheeling to Penn Station is actually more difficult than I thought it would be. Like, it’s fine when the weather’s nice, but I can’t hold an umbrella and wheel at the same time. And I can’t plow snow/hop over the slush puddle that sits right in front of the lone curbcut I need to get the NJ Transit elevator. I doubt any professor would believe that these were obstacles that hindered my ability to get to campus regularly, so in a way this pandemic had given me greater access to academic events than I had before. Disability activists have been saying similar things for years. I’m confident, though, that once restrictions are lifted and there’s a vaccine however many months/years from now, things will go back to the way they were, and I will continue to miss events. Alas.
  • Currently looping: Remember when Lindsey Stirling did a “Phantom of the Opera” medley? Years later, and it’s still amazing.


Day Sixty-Two (5/13/20)

  • Posted my cover of Ingrid Michaelson’s “Everybody.”
  • Did the FES cycle.
  • My mother came to visit! She brought butternut squash bread. Breakfast just got way more awesome.
  • She also brought a four-pack of rosé cider. I’m beginning to think that my parents are concerned that I live alone.
  • Got to FaceTime with my sister and niece. She’s a fearless climber now, and continues to make my heart melt.
  • Did a virtual reading group with one of my professors and eight other students. It felt like some sense of academic normalcy.
  • Currently feeling: I kind of miss academic normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I’m done with coursework and generals and all that. But it’s been a while since I’ve been in an environment where everyone has read the same article and is picking apart the argument. It was a good article, but, hey, we’re academics. We can pick anything apart.
  • Currently looping: Continuing with the “Phantom of the Opera” trend with the MVPs, Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo.


Day Sixty-Three (5/14/20)

  • There’s always a pang of sadness when a university cuts their faculty, and their History department.
  • Ordered some Patisserie Chanson because sometimes a girl’s gotta have a croissant stash in her freezer.
  • Attended a Zoominar on pandemics. Typically, when Princeton hosts seminars, you get maybe 30-40 people in a room. This was 150 people (at most, I’d say there was less than 100 during the Q&A), including professors well outside Princeton (including Dame Averil Cameron, which, ohmygosh, I remember I saw in her person once and awkwardly waved at her and then looked away #nerdyfangirlmoments). I’m totally fine with Zoominars becoming the norm for academic talks. Think of all the saved costs and time in traveling! But then again, I guess there’s no way to do networking in that case. But still! So much saved on travel!
  • The Flute Center of New York is literally in my neighborhood. How the heck did I not know about this until now?! Also, I had no idea there were so many flute options! (Although I don’t remember flutes being that expensive.) I want to go to there!! Side note (completely related), what songs (not by Jethro Tull) would sound fun if a flute made a guest appearance? This is totally a call for requests.
  • Currently feeling: My fingertips are in so much pain right now. Washing dishes hurts. Typing hurts. Ow. But the two straight hours of guitar practice I did tonight are so totally worth it, because I know I’ll get better at it. My channel is currently at about 20 videos, so I think I have enough now that I can go from three videos per week to one or two (so I have more time to practice and all that, because practice makes permanent). And then figure out how to get more than fourteen subscribers.
  • Currently looping: Hole’s “Malibu.” A flute would not work here, but I honestly need lots of guitar work, and this is a good place to start.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe out there!

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