Week of 11/18-11/24

Greetings, Internet! I hope everyone is staying as safe and sane as can be. This week, I participated in a vocal masterclass, got cleared to start driving lessons, and got to spend Thanksgiving with family. Daily summaries below!

November 18, 2022

  • Why yes, I did open my laptop first thing in the morning to get Spiritbox tickets.
  • WHAT?! How are they already sold out?!
  • <mumbles about going to a third-party seller>
  • Wait, why are these the same price as retail? I’m so confused, aren’t these supposed to be more expensive?
  • Well, I’ve got ‘em. Can’t freaking wait.
  • Did some vocal exercises and practice. Dang, singing straws really work.
  • Workout with an SCI trainer! Why are my legs and back perpetually tight? Why?
  • My boyfriend’s here! He brought Tacombi.
  • Wordle: Whoops.
  • Currently feeling: Very full from Tacombi.
  • Currently looping: Spiritbox! And metal, in general.

November 19, 2022

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Tidied up the apartment for the first movie night in months.
  • Did not end up watching a movie, but instead played Cards Against Humanity. We lol’d lots. Maybe next time we’ll watch something.
  • I drank a lot of wine, because it was there. Also witnessed my childhood bestie and my boyfriend each take a spoonful of a horribly spicy hot sauce (666,000 scovilles). Why is this a thing?
  • They both thought it wasn’t spicy and went in for a second spoonful.
  • My boyfriend now needs Tums. And my childhood bestie looks really calm and collected, so she’s going home with the bottle.
  • Wordle: Whoops.
  • Currently feeling: Full of wine and happiness.
  • Currently looping: My “Being Social” playlist on Spotify.

November 20, 2022

  • Okay, I drank too much wine last night, and slept until 10am. Holy cow.
  • Oh snap, I have to sing for a Masterclass today.
  • Can you sing while hungover?
  • Yes, you can sing while hungover, although your throat might be a little dry (then again, it’s hella dry in my room, so maybe it’s both of those things?). In any case, my vocal coach gave me a recommendation for a personal humidifier thing, and she said I’ve improved since she last worked with me.
  • Hungover Val isn’t a bad singer, it turns out. That, or I should sing more showtunes.
  • Hungover Val also enjoys working on her dissertation, apparently? Or at least, she wants to get that word count up.
  • 500 words! And this is not including footnotes, so wahoo!
  • And now I’ve done that thing where I work on my dissertation and forget to do dishes, so I should do those.
  • But first, let me reorganize this chapter so that I have a coherent train of thought that a reader could follow.
  • And I’m going to bed after midnight again, but goshdarnit, this train of thought is so coherent!
  • Wordle: In five!
  • Currently feeling: As this chapter comes together, I wonder if it’ll be too short. Or if I’ll actually get to the point I was trying to make. Well, I’ll write what I’ll write, and my advisor will decide.
  • Currently looping: I performed “Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part)” from “Spamalot!” at the Masterclass today. Maybe someday I can sound as good as Sara Ramirez.

November 21, 2022

  • Overnight drainage not bad, but drainage today was worse than it was yesterday during the day. It’s been two months since my procedure, to the day. I just needed to cry for a bit.
  • A family friend came by to hang up a picture, and a clock. My apartment feels far homier now.
  • Worked out with an SCI trainer. He brought doughnuts. <munches on doughnuts>
  • My uncle sent a box of treats from Taiwan. <munches on pineapple cookie>
  • Wordle: In four!
  • Currently feeling: So grateful for all of the comfort food that has found its way into my orbit.
  • Currently looping: Lots of concert videos. Also wondering if there are a lot of DOJ lawyers who are Taylor Swift fans.

November 22, 2022

  • I’m just going to stop talking about drainage here, because I sound like a broken record.
  • Went to Push to Walk!
  • Got bubble tea afterwards.
  • Found out that my AP European History high school teacher passed away. He was the person who first got me interested in European history, and I remember looking forward to his class everyday. I mean, it’s hard to get someone excited about a 9am class, but he managed to do it every morning.  In a school full of grade-hungry monsters (you know that’s what we were, Stuy alums), he wanted us to learn, and enjoy learning.
  • Wanted to send his family a message on FB through his account, only to find that he had messaged me twelve years ago when I first friended him. And his message was so sweet and encouraging and exactly what I needed to hear right at this moment and I don’t understand how life works that way, but I’m so sorry I didn’t see the message when it first came my way.
  • I cannot overstate how much this man steered me towards the historian’s path. I haven’t been able to stop crying for the past hour.
  • My boyfriend spent a good thirty minutes trying to cheer me up. He’s the sweetest.
  • <still sobbing>
  • Wordle: In four!
  • Currently feeling: My history heart breaks tonight.
  • Currently looping: No music, just, gosh, what a loss for those who love studying history. Dr. John Nikol, you will be missed.

November 23, 2022

  • Went my occupational therapy driving evaluation, and I am cleared to start driving lessons!
  • Question for people who drive, when you were getting your license, did you have to undergo a cognitive test? I mean, like, one where you had to connect shapes of varying sizes to each other, memorize a person’s address and recite it again after counting down from twenty and then reciting the months backwards starting from December, list as many words that start with the letter “m” as you could in under a minute, identify basic objects and animals, complete mazes, and draw a clock. I had to do like, an hour of that, and afterwards I started thinking, “Was that ableist?” Because cognitively, shouldn’t the fact that I’m in an elite PhD program be enough proof that I’ve got my wits about me? <shrugs> Curious to hear your experiences, and if you’ve had to do those tests specifically (especially if you’re also a wheelchair-user).
  • Huzzah for being cleared to learn how to drive, at least!
  • Found out that the family of my late high school AP Euro History teacher is thinking of putting together a scholarship in his honor. That’d be a great way to honor him.
  • Finished watching the most recent season of “The Great British Baking Show” with my mother. This show is so cute.
  • Did a bit of dissertationing. Sometimes you just end up refining a footnote you meant to elaborate on, or changing up a paragraph because the thing you were referencing had more to it than you initially thought, and you had to edit the paragraph a bit.
  • Finally got in some vocal exercises. That’s it, I’m definitely, at a minimum, doing vocal warmups everyday (or at least five out of seven days).
  • Maybe I should get that personal humidifier thingy.
  • Tidied up while having “Enchanted” on in the background. Delightful movie. Very silly.
  • Wordle: In five!
  • Currently feeling: Almost hit 4,000 words on this chapter, and while I am trudging along at a slower pace than I hoped for, I am still trudging. This chapter will get done. And I shall also learn how to drive. Why is my comfort zone somewhere between “do all the things” and “schedule more things”?
  • Currently looping: Songs that will likely appear on my Spotify Wrapped. I’m actually looking forward to seeing the playlist.

November 24, 2022

  • Happy Thanksgiving, all!
  • I have three jobs: peel potatoes and boil them for mashed potatoes, take the candied yams that my mother pre-assembled and put them in the oven, and bake the pre-frozen biscuits (store bought, because store bought is fine).
  • Aaand, a potato leapt from my hand to under the pantry.
  • Hmm, maybe I should throw in an extra potato. Or two.
  • Okay, these are a lot of potatoes.
  • What was I thinking? Ah well, the stove’s already on and the water’s already heating up to boil them.
  • Candied yams are in the oven.
  • To salt the potato water or not to salt before they boil?
  • Salt.
  • People are here!
  • Oh snap, almost forgot to put the biscuits in the oven.
  • Okay, I’m going to enjoy my tea now because I HAVEN’T HAD MY TEA AND I’M SLEEPY RAWR.
  • Thanksgiving dinner with family, my family’s friends, and hella football.
  • And “March of the Wooden Soldiers” (it’s tradition!).
  • I also watched “The Wizard of Oz” later on because I haven’t seen it in years.
  • Yeah, I’m thankful for “Wicked” and its revision of canon.
  • Thought about dissertationing, but I don’t think it’s good vibes to make yourself work on a holiday. So I’m doing vocal exercises and straw singing instead.
  • Wordle: In three! (And very appropriate for Thanksgiving.)
  • Currently feeling: This year, I am thankful for my family, wonderful friends, my healing body (I really need to learn to be patient; it’s doing the best it can), my more-flexible-than-average graduate school program (I mean, sure, I’m writing slowly, but I’m writing, and there’s no fear of losing my funding for not teaching, so many thanks to my program), reliable internet, a research topic that can be delved into with digitized sources, vocal coaches and creative buddies, and the love of a sweet and silly man.
  • Currently looping: IT’S HOLIDAY MUSIC TIME, FOLKS!

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe, get your flu shot if you haven’t yet, and break out those holiday tunes (if you’re the holiday tune type)!

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