That Which I Do Not Know


Saturday we went to Missouri to see Tim Conway (think, 1960’s comedy sketch program The Carol Burnett Show) perform in the Mansion Theatre in Branson.

I had a conversation with Chase today.

Today was my first day of work at Kohl’s.

I woke up in the wee small hours like usual to get ready for anatomy and physiology, (it’s nearly 9:00 at night now – I want to sleeeeeeeeeep! But, sadly, I will lose hold of my sanity in the night if I don’t type up a post). I stepped inside of the cafe and saw Claire Madame behind the counter.

“Goodmorning!” I greeted her.

“Hey girl! What’s happening?”

“Not much, what about with you?” I walked up to the counter and grabbed a pack of my usual Tazo earl grey tea, she knew the routine and had already gotten a cup for the tea.

“Oh, you know, just life. It’s all good.” She smiled contentedly as she rang up the order.

Claire is one of the happiest, most positive, up-beat people I’ve ever met. As she poured steaming hot water into the cup when I remembered something.

“Oh!” I said, unlatching my purse, “I was in the downtown and I got you something.” I pulled out the orb pocketwatch (a smaller version of my own) and handed it to her. Claire Madame’s response consisted of the next ten minutes repeating ‘thank you’s and ‘Oh my gosh!’s. A part of me wishes that I were that way – giddy all of the time, thrilled beyond expectation at things like pocket watches. I’ve always been envious of Claire, she is a truly happy person, she always has been.

I stepped outside to be met with fantastically chilly air, I made my way to the building to see Teacher Madame leaving with Marshall and Toby.

“Look at the board for instructions.” She said as we passed. I hurried to the classroom and met Chase at the doorway, he stood back and I passed, saying a quick ‘thank you’ as I focused on not spilling my tea. After I placed my bookbag, doctor-bag (so it’s a purse… I just don’t like the word purse. Besides, my purse looks more like an old-fashioned doctor’s bag than a purse…) book and tea down and looked at the board:

1. Get laptops from front desk

I looked out the window and saw the entire class walking back over to the study hall by the cafe where I just was.

The next thing I knew, I was sprinting to meet up to them in my high-heel boots. Chase was closest, so I ran up to him as he reached the door.

“So,” I said, panting, “I’m taking a wild gander and saying the board means the front desk in there?”

He shrugged, “I’m just following the group.”

He stepped in and I followed. Toby was handing out the laptops from the office inside the study hall. On the walk back Chase was ahead of the group, I lingered behind them all.

After class I stepped inside the theatre to get my yearbook photo taken. Teacher Madame had let class out ten minutes early so this left twenty minutes instead of ten to talk to Chase. After the yearbook photo I stepped outside of the cozy theatre and back into the wonderful cool air (I’ve loathed Summer so much – I would give anything for 48 hours straight of snow) I saw movement from my peripheral and looked over to my left to see Chase walking towards the cafe. I turned and started walking to the location myself, attempting to (and utterly failing) read an expression from the reflection in the glass windows. I paused for a moment, purposely slowing so he would reach the building at the same time I did – you’ll simply have to take my word for it, I haven’t done something like that since I was 11 and had a crush on the pastor’s kid. I stepped inside and walked over to directly to the left of his usual spot, right next to the cafe where Claire now sat cleaning out the minifridge. He stopped for a moment, and then went to his usual place. I felt oddly amused when I noticed he seemed to be ever so slowly inching away from me, to the point where he was eventually directly behind a bookshelf, his eyes peering over mahogany whenever he glanced up. An animated conversation began to take place at the table in front of me, people were laughing and playfully pointing fingers. I realized how distant I was from something like that, and I felt happy. Content, really. I have found a stable group of human beings that are never so expressive, they are rather serious in class, and show off their minds more than their wit, they challenge me. I looked back over to the bookstore and Chase had suddenly appeared several feet closer, halfway behind a bookshelf. I considered if he was using the shelf as a subconscious barrier – it’s not uncommon for humans to use clipboards, books, pillows, even coffee mugs as ‘barriers’ to create a more comfortable space for themselves by putting up a ‘wall’ of sorts when they feel awkward or in general uncomfortable. I watched from my peripheral as it would appear that he was stepping towards me for a moment, before quickly changing his mind. I counted slowly to ten before deciding to speak myself.

“So,” I said, his eyebrows raised for a moment in surprise, “Did you finish the PowerPoint?”

“Not yet. I was only able to complete half of the slides.” He stepped out from behind the bookshelf finally, and then quickly casually leaned against the shelf. I wondered for a moment what it would be like to not be able to read people. I decided I like knowing these things.

“Oy,” I said, wincing, “I only completed five.”

“What disease did you pick?” He asked.

“Gorham’s Disease. I thought it would look awfully impressive if I picked a rare one but, since it is so rare there isn’t much information.”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

“Well, there is something to the tune of less than two-hundred cases recorded in medical literature, so, it’s a tad bit of a challenge.”

There was a moment of silence, I wondered if I should check to see if my mom had arrived with the car when I suddenly found myself (of all things) speaking again.

“Do you take any other classes here?”

He glanced over quickly, his expression communicating nothing notable. “Yeah, economics, which starts in about ten minutes. What about you?”

“I used to take American government but I dropped it. It just seemed like not even the teacher really wanted to be there.” I lowered my voice suddenly when I realized the owner of The Center stood fifteen feet away at the cash register. I watched her with weary eyes and hoped the crowd was loud enough that she hadn’t heard my comment.

“Which teacher did you have?” He asked. I looked back at him. Brown, deep-set eyes communicated genuine interest.

“Mrs. Lawrence.”

He nodded to himself, “I had a class with her last year, she was a good teacher.”

I thought for a moment. “All teachers here are incredible, really. It was just that class, it seemed a bit…empty? I felt that I wouldn’t learn much.”

He nodded again, “Ah,” he said.

Teacher Madame walked in then, holding a rather large computer monitor.

“Chase,” Said she, “Would you mind moving this to that desk for me?” He took the monitor from her and did her bidding. My phone beeped in my purse with a message from my mom, and I realized my time was up for this week. I glanced over to where he was and he was looking over at me. I put my hand up to wave goodbye when he started walking towards me, “Well,” he said, “I’ll see you next week.” I realized he was leaving the cafe as well and I chuckled before speaking, “We’re headed the same way, then.” I pushed open the door and he stepped out as well. “I’ll see you next week.” I echoed. He said something quietly that I couldn’t understand as he stepped off of the porch and onward, I made my way to the Fit. He didn’t look back, he just walked with purpose. I looked down at my watch and realized he was late to economics.

Alright, then, it’s five minutes to ten and I can’t possibly write about my first day of work, not accurately, anyway.

I hope dearly that one of you will let me know if I start becoming something I shouldn’t. I know it can seem odd of me to worry everyday about turning into a selfish, narcissistic brat. But, come now, I can be incredibly petty and selfish and naive. I suppose I just don’t want to stop trying. Sometimes it feels like people stop. They exist. They breathe in and out, wake up and go to sleep, and repeat until their heart or mind finally gives up. I suppose it’s all anyone ever does, it isn’t right to think of a human being as capable of doing anything more than existing. But in our lives, in our circles and in our reputations we manage to make miniature universes that can be bent and grown, affected by every choice we make that reveals something to ourselves and the world about who we are.

We have our ordinariness, routines, habits, people we anticipate meeting and dread to see. I feel that we are only using so much of our emotions, that, just like riding in the front seat of the car for the first time, we feel thrilled when a new development arises, but soon enough it becomes ordinary, or even downright dull. We begin to think that we know who we are, what we would do in situations entirely out of the ordinary. Only when a moment speeds upon our consciousness like a bullet train
to throw us for a loop and break emotions past the glass (perceived as steel)
barrier of our life’s ordinariness and make a presence of fear, excitement,
grief, rage or love completely known to such a vulnerable state of naiveté, do
we understand our own nature on a broader horizon and a deeper expanse. These are the things that make our foundations known to ourselves and the world. We
may sit and theorize and discuss and talk ourselves silly about how we could be
the grandest war hero, when it very well may be that, truthfully, we are
capable of becoming Hitler*.

And, I had better stop myself before I’m up all hours writing yet another 2-part blog post series. Odds are I’m going to read this tomorrow and think to myself “What on earth was I thinking?!” But I’ll leave it up, because it would bother me an awful lot to take it down, simply because this is yet another documentation of a day in my life. Another timestamp. Another cluster of moments in which I discover my goal is nearly the same as it was four years ago when The Last Classic first began, to reach a place in my life that, honestly, by now I’m not even certain what it is I’m looking for.

I suppose I’m looking for something that I will know when I see it.


*I believe this bit because of findings derived from men such as Phillip Zimbardo, who wrote The Lucifer Effect, as well as the obedience experiments done by Stanley Milgram.


Four Days

I looked up at the mirror and searched for flaws in my makeup, feeling tense as I realized it was probably past 9:00, class would be starting any minute. I pulled my purse up to the bathroom counter and looked at my phone: 9:03AM. When I’m even several minutes late to a class or appointment, I find it very easy to empathize with the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (and not just because I always have a large pocket watch with me that I stare at as I’m sprinting to the location…) When you think about it, that fluffy white rabbit is an inspiration. He has so far managed to (mostly) retain his sanity while making it on time to appointments with a sadistic queen who lives in a world where up is down and left is right so getting directions to the gig would be a rather extremely large pain, and yet he does it (for the most part) willingly. Now, thankfully, Teacher Madame is not prone to decapitating students who are late… I suppose my rather unecessary explanation about my admiration for the rabbit in the classic Disney movie (does the little guy even have a name?) did nothing to reveal any other similarities except for my obsessive need to be on time and my pocket watch…

I latched my bag shut and quickly picked up my bookbag, Monk-blazer (I call it my Monk blazer because it looks rather like the blazer that the character Adrian Monk wears in the USA Network show. It’s too big on me but it’s very comfortable,) scarf and earl-grey tea. I did a panicked shuffle to the building that anatomy and physiology is located in. I must have looked quite comical, but I did not want to be any more late nor did I want to spill my precious earl grey tea. I managed to turn the knob and shove open the door. I heard a female voice down the hall.

No! They’ve started!

Upon entering the room I saw Claire (the barista at the school cafe and a friend of mine, she had vanished from the cafe when I ran inside the bathroom to check my appearance)

“Howdy!” I greeted her

“Hey girl!” She turned to me before turning back to the guys for a moment, “Alright, have a good class you guys.”

She left and I looked at who was present.

Marshall and Toby. Besides them the room was entirely empty. I glanced up at the clock above Teacher Madame’s desk, it was, indeed, past nine. I shuffled over to my usual seat.

“Where is everyone?” I asked Marshall. He shrugged. As I took out my class materials we got into a discussion regarding the perplexity of last week’s homework. Teacher Madame walked in and the usual morning conversation went on. As I settled in my chair Marshall explained the homework scenario. I heard the door open and looked up to see Chase walking in. I smiled at him but he didn’t even look at me, and strode quickly past my chair. Two very, very unusual events. I was surprised at how disappointed I felt. He sat down in his usual spot next to Marshall, right across from me, and busied himself with his books. This is also not routine, he usually watches me while he talks to the guys until I look over, and then gets out his books. I started getting out my homework and tried not to think about it, but it was no use. Within several seconds I had come to the inevitable conclusion.

Well, I thought matter-of-factly, that is that, I suppose. I looked up at him again, slightly hopeful, but even when we got up and walked to Teacher Madame’s desk he didn’t look over once. It’s time to move on. Just let it go. I decided then that I wouldn’t be a child about it. It didn’t stop me from feeling hurt, but logic prevailed and I told myself to not linger.

I got up from my seat walked up to Teacher Madame along with Toby. All of them were talking about several pages regarding synovial joint movements in the handouts that didn’t make sense. Toby had to side-step a chair in order to avoid bumping into Marshall, which made me move to allow him room, making me nearly bump into Chase. I now stood less than in inch from him. I handed Teacher Madame my homework and from my peripheral saw him glance over for a second. I knew not to read into it. I went back to my seat and told myself not to watch him. I thought for a moment of how odd it was. Did I ever fancy him? Or did he just make me curious about why he fancied me? I remember I said in my first Chase-related post that when I looked him in the eye I felt nothing but curiosity. Yes, this was accurate. The first time I saw him in December I was attracted to him because his eyes looked tired and I wanted to know why. I felt the ‘jolt’ and was curious about what caused it. How addictive such inquiries are. Perhaps it has never been about him, but rather my ‘ceaselessly hungry mind’ as Kathryn Madame put it. My need to grab books from the library about the history of blood transfusions or the evolution of the perfume industry out of impulse. I’ve never been genuinely interested in the pursuit of learning about blood transfusions or the latest mix of Coco Chanel perfume, I was just walking along the rows and there they were, and so I grabbed them because I was curious. What do I like about him? I demanded of myself. Well, he’s intelligent. During class I’ll be scribbling notes until I run out of ink or paper (whichever comes first) and still have some difficulty recalling the information on the spot. I’ve never seen Chase write a single note, and yet he knows the answer to every question Teacher Madame calls out. But I’ve always admired intelligent people, I’ve always tried to establish social relationships with them. I have no ability to doubt that it was because of the way he looked at me. It made me curious.

“Look at the board.” Teacher Madame said while gesturing to the whiteboard which read: Get out microscopes.

The usual routine ensued, we moved the tables and walked over to the shelves holding the microscopes and took one each. I looked over and saw Chase’s notebook sitting in front of a chair which sat next to mine, and his backpack by the side of the table. I placed my microscope onto the table and looked over at him by the cabinet to find that he was watching me. I smiled. As I bent down and plugged in my microscope, the sound of heels resounded on the wood floors and I looked to the threshold of the classroom to see Rachel walk in, who had been absent from the Wednesday class for a month now.

“Hi!” I called over cheerfully.

“Hey!” She called back, setting down her white trench coat and Coach purse. Rachel is one of the most fashionable people I’ve ever met, and quite often looks like she has just stepped out of Teen Vogue.

“Long time no see.” I said.

“I know, right?”

I stood and realized Chase had moved his items from the table and now sat by the boys so Rachel could sit next to me. He had forgotten his backpack, which still slumped against the wall. I suddenly wished Rachel had decided to skip out again. Microscopy usually takes up the full 2 hours of class, and whoever you end up sitting next to, you will end up talking to the entire time. Typically because most of us can’t identify every structure on a slide, we depend on our neighbors to fill in the gaps, and they depend on us for the same. And because whatever you do know about the slide makes labeling incredibly easy, it leaves plenty of space for conversation.

Rachel and I, while on good terms, have little in common. Starting with how we dress. 50% of what I typically wear is from Whistle Stop or Memories N’ Treasures (my favorite antique shops in the downtown) and, as previously mentioned, Rachel appears to wear right-off-the-rack items from Nordstrom. We also ask different questions, and enjoy discussing different things. It’s pleasant speaking with her for several minutes, but I can feel her become increasingly annoyed with me as the conversation goes on. I had a feeling that by the time the 2 hours was up, she would be prepared to hire a hitman just to get relief from my presence.

We grabbed the boxes of slides from Teacher Madame’s desk and she announced which slides we would be sketching and labeling: muscle from the stomach, heart and skeleton on all magnifications. After we sat back down I decided to keep the conversation light to make myself more tolerable. And at one point me, Rachel and Teacher Madame had gotten into a discussion regarding Coach purses. Chase had suddenly gone back to his usual self and looked over at me when openings arose. Several explanations went through my mind. One of which was that it might have thrown him for a loop when on Friday I had suddenly started speaking to him. It was the only thing that had changed, the only thing that made sense. And, as Occam’s razor suggests, better to begin with the simplest explanation before moving onward to the complex.

After microscopy Teacher Madame had the guys grab the school laptops and explained the PowerPoint she wanted each of us to make. I realized the internet on mine wasn’t working.

“Is anybody here technologically savvy?” Teacher Madame asked the room when I told her of my troubles. Marshall raised his hand, “I am.” He looked over at me and I said in faux desperation as I turned the laptop to face him, “Help me!”

He grinned and walked over. After a few minutes of clicking he spoke, “I’m going to take this to the office and see if I can get a connection there and figure out what’s wrong.” He took the laptop and started for the exit. “Thank you, Marshall.” I called over. I heard a mumbled, echoing ‘no problem’ as he made his way for the door. Once he returned he reported that the computer had decided to update itself and it cut off internet while it was at it. I told Teacher Madame that I could work on the PowerPoint at home and just put it on a flashdrive, and so I was allowed to leave class several minutes early.

I walked over to the cafe and discovered it was particularly crowded. I stood around for a bit and went into the ladies’ room to check my make-up. When I stepped out Chase was standing with his back to me, by a shelf in the bookstore (the bookstore and cafe are right next to each other) I stood next to him for a moment when I felt a sudden impulse to go outside.  He looked over at me as I started to walk away, but stood still. The air was wonderfully cold. I buttoned up my knit grey cardigan, slipped on my Monk blazer and scarf and took a seat at one of the outside tables. Orby’s (the orb mechanical pocket-watch Heather Madame got me for my birthday) chain quickly felt like ice around my neck. I looked down at the time and realized I had once again forgotten to wind up the watch that morning, leaving the hands frozen at 6:50. I eavesdropped on a conversation between the Center manager and one of the teachers for a few minutes when I suddenly became painfully aware of Chase’s absence. I made the decision to go back inside when my mother pulled up. I winced and willed the Fit to vanish, but it remained in my vision. I considered motioning for her to wait so I could run inside and talk to him for a few minutes, but a part of me had already given up, and so I grabbed my things and made my way to the car. I glanced over to the windows of the cafe, hoping to get a glance of him, but all I saw were the reflections of the sky and campus.

As we drove deeper into Fort Worth to pick up my father from work at a foreclosure rescue company (he currently has several jobs) I couldn’t help suddenly chuckling to myself out of the absurdity of a thought that had made itself conscious.

“You know something?” I said. Mom looked like she wasn’t listening, but I needed to vocalize my thoughts, “I go to class four times a month. Only four times a month.” I shook my head to myself as the world moved past my window, “And yet my life feels consumed with waiting for those four days.”

She was silent for such a long time I was convinced her mind was certainly elsewhere, but then she spoke, “Does it?”

I thought for a moment, “Yes.”

The ride home I looked wistfully out of the window. I had started nodding off, noting vaguely how cold the glass was as my forehead rested against the window. I suddenly sat up, fatigue blurring the memory of how the question appeared in my mind. I winced each time it returned, because I never found an answer.

Why didn’t I stay?

Seven days suddenly felt like a terribly long time.


People Who Read People

William James (1890) proposed a distinction be...

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Alright, this is getting sad.

Typically I write because something is on my mind – at the moment I’m writing because nothing is.

William James believed that there is really no such thing as introspection (viewing one’s own mental processes), there is only immediate retrospection. Because of course, I can’t think of what process I’m reasoning in, or exactly what reason I’m feeling something at the exact moment I’m feeling it. Because once I start breaking down my thoughts and feelings, those thoughts and feelings are contaminated viewing material, botched by my own view of them as they occur. All we can do is talk things over or instantly replay our thoughts and review them in this way. But, William James stated, there is no such thing as introspection in the pure form as it is defined – we can’t be logical about an illogical thought at the precise moment we are having the illogical thought, not without the illogical thought being tainted and becoming logical.

Have I mentioned I’m in love with William James?

My favorite book on the face of the planet – the one whose author I have named my blog URL after (good heavens that’s choppy grammar…) has arrived at my doorstep after all of my impatient waiting for three weeks:

Handwriting Analysis As A Psychodiagnostic Tool by Ulrich Sonnemann, Ph.D (published in 1950)!!

Every word is pure poetry, he was brilliant, fantastic, wonderful. Here’s one of my favorite bits ( parts of which I quote often when discussing handwriting analysis):

…all movements carried out by any organism at any time or place can be said to be expressive for the simple reason that their particular manner of execution, even if the purpose and environmental circumstances of the movement are “constant,” varies not only from individual organism to individual organism but, within the scope of activity of a single organism, varies from one occurence of the movement to any other. As no mathematically exact, automatic repetition of the same movement on the part of any organism is biologically possible, the element of uniqueness in every movement cannot be attributed to either the purpose or environmental circumstances of the movement but only to a structural principle within the organism which expresses itself in this very uniqueness.

In other words: you can tell the difference between your mom’s handwriting and your friend’s handwriting. And if this isn’t due to personality and present emotional state, then what? Handwriting, then, must reveal something defining about each individual.

I think there is an awful good reason why handwriting analysis books are found next door to mythology and superstitious material. Because I’ve read every handwriting analysis book out there, and all of the authors are so biased and picky and inconsistent and every single example interpretation just drips of intuitive analysis (when someone just grabs a magnifying glass and off of the gut feelings they get while looking at certain loops and twists, determine the author’s personality – something Sonnemann speaks out against in the first few pages of his book) that of course no one would (or should) take the books seriously. Sonnemann doesn’t nit-pick every sharp corner or garland of any letter. He starts off by looking at the letter as a structure, how strong it is, how bold the ink, if it leans or breaks. Very basic material. Obviously a legible, well-rounded sample of writing is created by someone in a bit more of a patient mood than bent, broken chicken scrawl.

For the longest time I was obsessed with profiling people in any way I could. Through their behavior (I’m still in love with criminal profiling) through their expressions (with the help of Paul Ekman’s Unmasking the Face, Emotions Revealed, What the Face Reveals and Telling Lies I’ve learned to read facial expressions and microexpressions), through their body language (thank you Barbara and Allen Pease!) and through their appearance overall (thank you, Ian Rowland for writing The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading) I was convinced I was going to be part of the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit. Speed-reading people and showing off like Sherlock Holmes or Lord Henry from The Picture of Dorian Gray. Speaking of people who read people – never read Joe Navarro’s book What Every Body Is Saying, Navarro may be a former FBI agent – but from his book, he knows this fact a tad too well. Also, he is incorrect about 70% of the time in his book. Odds are I’ve mentioned this before. If you mention the name Joe Navarro to Heather Madame she will tell you up-front that I do not like him in the least. I think he’s arrogant, closed-minded and for all that FBI experience he sure shows little for it except for common-sense facts regarding the human brain and body posture. It drives me mad knowing that people are reading that book and being so severely misinformed, when I first read it, I had requested it from the library (a general rule of mine: never buy a book that costs over $10 unless you get a trial-run with it first) it took forever and a day for it to come in because there were so many people ahead of my request in the queue. Now when I recall this I think of the people who have read it (and are reading it), believing that it’s all fact. Bah… I really, really don’t like Joe Navarro. (Especially since he keeps popping up in issues of Psychology Today magazine the past year.)

Alright, I have completed a ramble or two, and ’tis getting late. This would be a rather good place for me to perhaps halt my typing.

Goodnight all,


Take My Word(s) For It, This Is A Dull Post

Intentionally blank pages at the end of a book.

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Hello, again.

Lately I have felt like writing. Obessively writing. I had hoped at first that this would bring on a hypergraphic mania that would lead me to complete my novel manuscripts in record time, but alas, Vikalpa and Remote are still sitting patiently on my desktop. I seem to have a knack for documenting my life and recalling recent dialogue, but I’m no good at fiction. Just dreadful. I love my characters, but I’m truthfully a horrid writer.

This blog is dangerous, really. When I’m a frustrated, emotional mess I feel the need to write and- oh, how convenient! WordPress is waiting! (This would be a reference to my post last night.)

When I write as emotionally as that and read it later, the thought flicks across my mind for a moment – not enough to induce anxiety, but enough to initiate mild apprehension – regarding the fact that my family tree is full of mentally ill folks. If someone isn’t schizophrenic or bipolar, than they’re nearly agoraphobic – locked in their own homes that become a prison of their own fear because of the unpredictability of the outside world, and the anxiety, bother! The anxiety is everywhere.

I’m not always fearful, really. The longer moments between the anxiety (some might argue that I shouldn’t use the terms, fear and anxiety, interchangeably because of notable differences, but I find them more alike than not.) it’s actually pleasant, thinking and discussing in my mind. Though the dissociating is a bit of a pain – who am I kidding? It’s like an unwanted house guest that has not only outlived its welcome, it never had a welcome to begin with –  but thanks to the experiment I am happier.

My mother has agreed to let me see the GI specialist Doctor Madame at the ER suggested. I’m relieved about this, because while they were convinced that I have an ulcer, the doctor insisted that we talk to the specialist to find out if anything else is going on (they couldn’t be %100 certain what is wrong with me, the ulcer was a we’re-pretty-sure diagnosis). Batwoman, on the other hand, wants me to start back on my hypothyroidism supplements and start taking some sort of tree bark oil to treat the ulcer. I trust Batwoman, but I also want to get an opinion from someone with an M.D. in their title.

I didn’t mention much in my last post about driving for the first time – it was surprisingly uneventful (perhaps because I was expecting to crash within the first ten seconds…) I suppose it’s thanks to the fact that the Fit is a newer, compact car and everything was incredibly sensitive to the slightest tap. Also to the fact that my mother is rather easy-going, and let me roam around the lot as much as I wanted, commenting when I was veering where I shouldn’t or the fact that you aren’t supposed to be nearing 50 when going over a speed bump. It was a rare (or rather, the first) occasion where I was grateful that she was busy on her iPhone and not listening to me or paying attention to what I was doing. When I first got behind the wheel I felt so distant that I wasn’t certain for a moment that my mind could still communicate with my limbs, but thankfully after ten minutes or so I was so focused on the task at hand that I felt relatively normal. Mom had me park and she took a photograph from outside of me at the wheel. When she showed me the picture I was shocked, because it was the exact same expression I had on my face when she took a photograph of me in the ER in the Baylor Regional gown, hooked up to an IV and sitting up on the hospital bed. I looked…confident. Like I had everything under control. It seems to be my default expression when a camera is nearby.

I’m contemplating adding a weekly ‘Favorite Blogger Quotes’ post. I don’t do themed posts normally (or, rather, at all) but so many posts have utterly quotable phrases that I believe need recognition.  Also, I’ve created my own blog award,  The Classic Award, but I’m uncertain if I want to hand it out – after all, it isn’t notorious like the Versatile Blogger award (probably because I haven’t even let it loose on the web), so I suppose we shall see.

On a similar strand – I’m stuck as to what my next psychological experiment should be. The Rorschach Experiment in April was a grand success and heaven knows I still need to write that giant paper on it (I don’t feel comfortable with the profiles I’ve completed yet), but by January I want to have another one set into motion. Though hopefully I’ll find an assistant this time. While the Rorschach interviews were an exciting experience since I didn’t answer to anyone (or anyone to me), I still had a severe want for a Watson to help me out. If for no other reason than the hours between interviews were rather dull and I had no one to bounce ideas off of. The Center is filled to the brim with creative human beings who would be excellent for such a position, but availability has always been the largest issue. I suppose we’ll see (and indeed you will, obviously not an inch of progress will go unwritten, this is me we’re talking about…)

Take Care,


A Rambling Madwoman In The Making

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

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Moments that I understand as memories, feel like figments of my imagination.

One of the side effects of a week of nonstop dissociation. I’m only ever present, existing in any moment, never participating, not really. I choose what this vessel says and does, but I’m no longer ‘one’ with it. How can the mind and body feel so distant, yet cooperate so smoothly since the first moments of consciousness in the world?

Heather has had to deal with certain things that post-panic attack anxiety brings. The occasional psychosomatic symptom, the paranoia. It’s mild thank goodness, but still an inconvenience… It just doesn’t feel right. These things happen to me. It just feels incorrect when I remember that she went through a panic attack. Like the fact doesn’t fit.

I drove a car for the first time in my life today – in the parking lot of the church my brother teaches at. The dissociation felt so severe that for a few moments I couldn’t shake the intensity by focusing like I typically can.

Dissociation is created by the mind trying to distant the ‘host’ from the present situation. I’ve been distant for nearly eight days now, so I find the need to channel my inner Freudian in contemplating: what on earth is my own mind trying to protect me from? The anxiety? The sense of impending doom every night? For Pete’s sake, I’m alright! I can handle it, have been handling it for a long time now, I don’t need the inconvenience of my own perception of my involvement in my existence being distorted to pull me away from the present and alter the clarity of my memories!

I am angry at the moment, frustrated. For a week now I can’t stop thinking about the world, about how big it is, about how little and insignificant I am. It isn’t a hurtful fact, it’s just a fact. Trying to change the world with a word is like tossing a piece of miniscule pebble against the heel of an elephant. I realize there is a world outside of me, I see people in their cars and in their gardens and walking around the stores and streets and I realize that they are as focused on their lives as anyone else. We’re all wrapped up in our own tiny worlds and situations that seem so massive and life-altering because we aren’t present in the minds of everyone else around us worrying about the exact same things! Bother, how tiny, tiny, tiny my problems are. But here they are. I think about the world’s hurdles, and how a woman walking along the road is thinking personal thoughts about her personal life because it’s her life. I’ve been so distant from my own self that I’ve been thinking about the self of everyone else. The present feelings and thoughts and moments of everyone else. What it might be like, to believe and wonder and create through their eyes. And it’s incredibly unpleasant when I can’t find my way back to my own mind, when I don’t feel involved with my own existence.

I have found things to be happy about, and I am happier. And honestly most moments it isn’t as dreadful and black as I paint it here – it’s just the accumulation of frustration and wasted effort that builds until I spill out the reality of the entire scenario here.

It’s past midnight now.

Alright, I’m just being a bit of a rambling loon at the moment, so I shall do what I have done only once before – and that is, disable the ability of my readers to comment. For the same reasons as before, I don’t want my blogging family to come across this here post and feel obligated to say something (you’ve all yet to realize that you’re much too extraordinary to worry about my little life troubles.)



Perhaps You Like Knowing These Things – Part Two

Part One Found Here                         


Rewind: December, 2010.

Me and my mom went to the Lowes (Think: As Target is to Wal-Mart, Lowes is to Home-Depot) down the street to look for a plant or two and see how much the Christmas lights cost. I put on my mom’s black trench coat and twisted my hair into a messy bun, my hands stuffed into the pockets for warmth. It had been a month since my first big panic attack, and I was still a bit shaken from it, tense.

We stepped inside the garden center (I suppose the word ‘inside’ is inaccurate, speaking as the only thing separating the area from the elements were some green bars for walls and the occasional blue tarp-like covering above us. As we walked we passed a young man standing at the outdoor cash-register. I looked him in the eye and felt a sudden jolt of energy before quickly looking away. He had very light-brown hair and dark circles under his eyes, as though he hadn’t slept in a while. This appealed to me. Whenever I see someone with signs of fatigue I tend to admire them. He greeted us and my mom asked him something, as he gave her directions to where the plant was his eyes flicked over to me for a moment and I felt another jolt of energy that left as soon as it appeared when he looked away.  As we started walking away I glanced back and he was watching me (you can probably predict by now) I felt the sudden energy again until I looked away. This was bizarre and exciting to me, this had never happened before. And goodness, didn’t he look charming! I looked back again and he was still watching me. I was suddenly giddy. I looked over at my mom and realized I couldn’t talk to him without visions of my brothers’ previous activities running through her mind. She knew I was the straight-and-narrow child, but not enough. When we went inside the store itself I caught glimpses of him several times before it was time to leave. A million schemes ran through my mind, but that’s all they remained, schemes. I watched him as we drove away, and wrote a post about it about a week later, “You never know,” Mandii Madame told me in a comment, “You just might cross paths again.”

                                                           May 2011

“You know something?” I said, staring out of my window and watching as Heather Madame drove us into the downtown for our morning cup of coffee at The Cafe.


“I think I want to date someone for fun. For fun, for perhaps a month, and then forget about them.”

She glanced over at me for a moment, “That…doesn’t sound like you. Why?”

I looked over at her, “Because Mat, Zach, Steven…I never felt the thrill.”

“The thrill?”

“The thrill.” I thought for a moment about MysteryLowesFellow. “The thing everyone on planet earth who has ever dated anyone has felt. The anticipation of seeing them, talking to them. The feeling of missing them when they aren’t there and never wanting them to leave. I never felt the thrill, Heather. I only felt like it was a chore, a duty. Being with someone shouldn’t mean I need to remind myself about how much loyalty means to me every time I think about them.”

She was silent as she turned the corner. “I don’t think you would be happy in a casual relationship. I think if you did feel it you would get attached, and just like the others they would use you until you’re run dry.” We pulled up to The Cafe, “But you are right about it in a way. It shouldn’t be a chore, you deserve to be happy.”

                                                     August 2011

“His name’s Matthew.” I said as Heather Madame drove us to my house


Him. From Lowes in December. I think he’s in my anatomy and physiology class.”

“Oh! Right! You mentioned that on the phone. Are you sure it’s him?”

“He has the same eyes, hair and height. If it isn’t him it’s his twin.”

“Have you talked to him?

“No.” I said, “I have so much emotional baggage right now, I want to fix myself first before I start anything.”

“Maybe you could just stay friends for a while until you feel ready?”

I chuckled without humor, “Madame, we can predict how that would turn out already. My mind would always read too much into everything, I won’t be able to handle it.”

She was silent for a while, then she glanced over at me. “Do what you need to do.” She said, “But just don’t make yourself miss out on a good thing.”

                   FastForward to September 28th – 6:00AM

It’s the day after I typed the post deciding to be happy, and I am awake two and a half hours earlier than I need to be, because I’m going to spend an extra amount of time getting ready to look as good as I can before class.  The blow dryer is probably driving my family crazy. I open the bathroom door to let in cool air (it’s a very small bathroom and, as you might imagine, gets very stuffy very quickly on the occasions I whip out hair styling tools) the cat escapes and I can only pray she doesn’t soil the couch again while she’s downstairs.

Thing to be happy about – I’m going to class. I think as I start working on my make-up. This has become a habit – thinking of something every day to be happy about. It’s part of my unofficial happiness experiment.

As it is now habit on my blog to create code names for people I know so as to lessen the risk of them discovering my blog, I will refer to Matthew as…hm, I suppose I’ll call him Chase. It seems to suit him better than anything I can think of at this hour.

There are several things that have become normal during class.

1. When he passes by my chair he always pauses for a moment before continuing to one of the seats by the other males

2. He always sits directly across from me (typically the tables are in a U pattern) and watches me frequently during class

3. After class, he waits until I’ve stuffed all of my books and notes into my bag and meets me at the door. Then when we go to The Center’s cafe after class, he stands or sits nearby until I leave, at which point he rises to go as well. (This all occurs without a word spoken)

That first Wednesday after the experiment started was one where I was rather frustrated with myself. After the usual routine, as we were walking to the school cafe I tried getting a small-talk question out of my mouth but my vocal chords seemed to not feel like working that day.

Ask him something, you loon! But the words wouldn’t come. I ended up talking to Claire (the barista at the coffee bar and an old acquaintance of mine) while she made me my usual earl grey tea (I always get a cup directly before and directly after class) and I left once my mother pulled up. Next week, there’s always next week. I told myself as I headed for the door. I glanced back at him as I opened it, he looked away as I did so. The door shut silently behind me.

                                             The Following Wednesday

I woke up early again and got ready for class, the usual routine played out. But just as I was getting ready to leave, Teacher Madame decided to have me stay after and complete a portion of the exam that I had missed. I sent Heather a text-message after class.


She replied:

                                                          Any luck?

I replied:

I had to stay after class. Have I mentioned how I so loathe protein synthesis?

                                          This Past Wednesday

My alarm didn’t go off and I woke up four minutes before it was time to leave. Being part of the female species, it takes me a minimum of 45 minutes to feel like I’m ready to face the outside world. I messaged Teacher Madame and let her know I would go to Friday’s class to make up for it. I told Heather Madame and she helped me be angry at my alarm. This means I wouldn’t see Chase for another week.


I arrived at the classroom and, seeing no other seats available, walked to the very back and sat at a table facing the wall.

“Someone move that table so Hannah isn’t facing green paint?” Teacher Madame called out.

“Dude, you’re facing a wall?” Said Tim (one of the funniest, most flirtatious people I’ve ever met – he’s also someone of notable character that I’ve come to respect).

The table was moved and several class handouts were placed on a table to my right.

“Was Wednesday’s class canceled?” Julie said as she scanned the room. I noticed the guys from Wednesday were all there except for Chase.

“Nope, just nobody was able to make it.” Said Marshall

“So Chase was there by himself?” I asked as I stood.

He shrugged, “I guess so.”

Who walked into the room that very moment except for Chase himself. I realized with reasonable happiness that the only seat left was the chair next to mine. He started getting out his text- and notebooks so I grabbed his handouts for him and put them on the table next to his items.

During class he would turn his head to watch me as I scribbled notes in my book, perhaps thinking I couldn’t see him. I would look back up at the teacher and see him do the same until I started writing again. Tim was sitting directly in front of me and, since we’re also in Senior Session together, felt comfortable turning around frequently to talk to me. A note about Friday’s class – it’s a lot more lively and the students are a lot more vocal. Tim made jokes the entire time and at one point when he heard me mumble “I can’t believe cryogenics are still legal…” he turned and started talking about the creative things he would want done after he was dead. Marshall, who sat to the left of him and directly in front of Chase made a contorted expression and said “I’d do it if they let me freeze my face like this.” Tim turned to me and said something absurd like he would want to be shot out of a cannon or flown over Jamaica. I forget what he said, but one line finally had me laughing out loud, along with the rest of the class. I suddenly loved talking to Tim, because I hadn’t felt that carefree in a long time.

Once everyone had been quieted down Teacher Madame went back to the PowerPoint. A few minutes later, someone who I hadn’t laid eyes on in two years walked through the door.


Newer readers of my blog probably don’t know about Rye – I’ll attempt to keep it brief:

The first year me and Heather moved to Texas (our families moved here at the same time about five years ago) we starred in a play at the Center and met Rye. We were like sisters instantly and stayed that way for two years. And then Heather was set up with her current fiance, Carlisle, by Rye. Ryleigh was gleeful at first that she had gotten Heather her first boyfriend, and happier when they got engaged only a month later. Suddenly Rye didn’t want to be friends with Heather, so she broke it off, and told me that I had to choose between the two of them. So I explained that it would be her choice, not mine, so she left my life as well. That was two years ago.

Her hair was back to being bleach-blonde. She wore a black and white pattern on her babydoll-style blouse with darkwash pants. She was smiling when she came into the room, and then she saw me and the smile vanished. She handed some papers to Teacher Madame and then left the room. I had known that my teacher was Rye’s private tutor for some time, but I never expected to see her there. When she left the room I had a small panic attack but let it run its course until it faded. Chase had been mimicking my body language up until that point, and I realized I had become tense, my frame curving inward protectively with my arms crossed and shoulders slouched. I changed my posture and a few minutes later, I had forgotten about Ryleigh.

After class ended I waited until he had everything packed and we got up at the same time. As we left the building I looked over at him and asked how he thought he did on the test. He shrugged and said something ordinary. I replied something ordinary. To which he said something else, to which I replied. His ride pulled up and he started walking away before saying “See you next week.”

I waved and continued the walk to the cafe. I thought of how ordinary the conversation was. Was it supposed to be that comfortable? I ordered my earl grey tea and tried to avoid thinking about it too much. It would be only too classic of me, being a female, to over think simple things. I wondered where an explanation lied of how on earth the brain decides to make emotions jolt and when. He had looked me in the eye at least half a dozen times that day and I felt nothing but curiosity. I’m looking forward to seeing him again, but I hope this simply isn’t due to a wondering of what will happen next. Perhaps because it gives me nothing to think about except what I usually do. An ordinary conversation about something ordinary. I realize now that I might enjoy things this way. Me, sitting around the boys, joking in class and having dull conversations after.

Maybe you’ll have learned something for me in all of this, or maybe nothing at all. Perhaps you’ve just ended a good book and were hoping for some sort of promising nonfiction teenage love story. Maybe I lost you at the 3000th word, or perhaps you like knowing these things.


P.S. Last week I finally got my learner permit! It’s the type of thing that makes me wish I were the sort of person that happy danced.

Perhaps You Like Knowing These Things – Part One

Alright, folks, grab your ice tea (or Monster, if you’re that sort of human) and settle in a comfy chair, because I feel another unfairly long post coming.

I collapsed into the black leather seat and stared off into space, still perplexed, regretful and impressed.

“You won’t believe what just happened.”

She stared up from her iPhone with a look of vague interest.

“You know that woman with the kiosk outside of Claire’s? The one with the bottle of hand cream she always has out?”

She burst out laughing, “Hannah, you didn’t!”

I looked down at the plastic bag in my hand containing my newly purchased manicure kit. “I don’t know what happened, mom! One minute she was pouring creme onto the back of my hand and the next thing I knew I was pulling out my card to buy one of her overpriced kits!”

“You made eye contact, didn’t you?”

“That was my big mistake, wasn’t it?”

She laughed again and tapped her iPhone a few times, “You can’t look them in the eye, Hannah, it’s how these mall people stay in business.”

“I would have felt so guilty just ignoring her, though.”

“Well, now you’ve paid for it. How much?” She pointed to the bag and I pulled out the Premiere Manicure Set and handed it over.

“Thirty-two even. She told me at first that it was ninety dollars! So I tried to get away, but then she said,” I attempted a russian accent, ” ‘ I have special offer for you, I give it to you for fifty.’ But I didn’t want the kit still, so I made something up and said I had to meet you somewhere. But then,” I put my hand to my forehead and shook my head slowly, “She said she would give it to me for twenty-nine. She opened the box and it suddenly seemed like such a good deal! I just handed my money over right then and there.” I remembered it all so clearly, yet it was a blur:

“You’re a very good businesswoman.” I said, watching as she typed in the amount. I had recited the mentalist methods she had used as she performed them before my very eyes, I knew what she was doing, but I was pulled in anyway. She had my utmost respect as she took my hard-earned money and sent me on my way.

“Well, it’s a good product.” She said simply. She had tan skin, and pin-straight hair pulled into a ponytail. She handed me the bag and I put my hand on her shoulder. “You’re a good businesswoman.” I repeated.

Yesterday was job orientation at Khols. I suppose I haven’t written about how I quit The Gallery, perhaps because I feel like a coward. My last day of work I didn’t say anything, because, well, I didn’t know it was my last day of work. Mr. Lewis underpaid me again (in cash) and claimed the amount came from taxes, I tried interrupting him and figuring out the amount myself but customers started coming in and I felt myself give up. Mr. Lewis left and I cleaned the tables, sat around a bit, answered questions from the usual folks walking in to ask about the beanbags, and started wondering how I would be able to stand coming back for two more days before quitting. My stomach always churned on the way to work. I hated the mustard-yellow walls, I hated the smell of cigarettes and sweat wafting from Mr. Lewis as he told me what to do that day, I hated the look he would give me sometimes that always made me grip the pepper spray canister in my jacket pocket, I hated the feeling of betrayal when he would pay me $20 less than he should have when I had been a good employee and treated him with respect.

Ten minutes till close the sun had started to set, sending shadows arching and stretching across the walls in intimidating shapes. I walked over to the plastic bin the middle of a table near Mr. Lewis’ desk and grabbed one of the bubble-gum flavored dum-dum pops. The store had been empty for a couple of hours. I heard the front door open and saw an obese, forty-ish black man walk in. There were several stains on the front of his shirt and he wore a black baseball cap.

“Hello!” I called over the required greeting, “How are you?”

“Good, good.” He said. His voice was deeper than I had expected.

I walked behind the desk, my fight-or-flight instinct kicking in.

“Is there anything I can help you with?” I asked, remembering I hadn’t clipped the pepper spray onto my front belt loop like I usually did. I glanced down to my purse and saw my keychain sticking out of the front pocket.

“Yeah.” He said. He pointed to one of the table sets, “How much is this?”

I walked over to where he was pointing and picked up the price card, “$499 for the set of three.”

“$499? Dang.” (Note – he didn’t say ‘dang’, but I’m too much of a goodie two-shoe-overly-sheltered homeschool kid to use actual profanity in my posts, even when quoting direct dialogue) He looked behind me, “Mike ain’t here?”

I felt myself tense up, but kept my voice relaxed, “Nope, he’s in a class at Gateway tonight.”

He nodded to himself, “Mike told me about the financing,” he said, “and how I would need a payroll stub and some other…stuff, like that. But he said if I brought my checkbook I wouldn’t need that.”

Mr. Lewis mentioned something about a friend of his coming over, “Are you Ralph?” I asked. He looked down at me and laughed. It was a startling sound that made me rather uncomfortable.

“No.” he said, still chuckling.

“Oh, Mr. Lewis mentioned someone coming over to talk about a shipment.”

“Nah. What about the financing?”

“I would need to ask Mr. Lewis about that. As far as I know the listed documents are required for financing.” I walked over to one of the tables and grabbed one of the advertisements that had the list of what he would need.

He stared at me. “Mike said I wouldn’t need any of that.”

“I would need to call Mr. Lewis.” I said, realizing what he was trying to do.

He said he would call Mr. Lewis himself and started looking at the other sofas, I began walking back to the desk to grab the pepper spray when he spoke again.

“Where is the sofa to this?”

I turned and saw him staring at one of the dark leather loveseats. I looked around for its matching couch, “Does the card mention one?” I asked, turning back towards him.


I walked over and picked up the card, it listed a price for the loveseat and a price for a sofa.

“Well,” I began, “If it isn’t on the floor than we’ll have to order it. It’s the same company that sells those two sofas by the wall, so that’s the size of them if you purchased it.”

He walked over to the sofas and I fast-walked to the desk, the quickened clicking of my heels revealing my anxiety. I felt an attack start coming on and tried calming myself as I sat down casually at the desk chair and pulled my keys out of my purse before quickly pulling the pepper spray off of the ring. I put it into my jacket pocket and breathed in deeply, wishing dearly that someone else would walk in. Every bone in my body was telling me to jump out of the back exit and make a run for it. It was darker outside, no visible cars in the parking lot except for NotRalph’s silver civic parked in the front. (If you’ve ever known someone with an anxiety disorder, you’ll have noticed that when we become nervous, we become very paranoid. )I had never pepper-sprayed someone, what if he got the canister away from me? What if no one heard me if something happened? What would I tell people? Who would I call? Would I fight and end up dead? Where would he put me if he killed me? There were storage units out back, he could find an empty one and put me there until who-knows-when. My hands were clammy and shaking. I remembered my psychology teacher talking about her friend who had been beaten to death when she fought off her rapist. I looked around for writing material, maybe I could write his description for the police, just in case.

I wondered if they would catch him.

He leaned back on one of the sofas, one of the last beams of sunlight bursting through the window pane and landing across his face. He was watching me, he said something but my inner dialogue had muffled it.

“I’m sorry?” I asked. My voice was clear and optimistic.

“I said how much is that table set outside?”

I got up from the desk and walked over to the window. Mr. Lewis hadn’t placed a price card on that set, probably from fear of the wind blowing it away. I walked over to a similar set, remembering they were priced the same, give or take a few dollars.

“Four-hundred for the set of three.” I said. I was standing in front of him. He stood and I backed away several feet. He said something and went to the door.

“Thanks for stopping by.” I said weakly.

“Yeah. Bye.” He left. I walked up to the door and locked it, we were closed, anyway.

As usual after a moment of peak-anxiety (what I call a moment when tension, fear or anxiety reach a physical level) I felt relieved and like I wanted to cry. So I did, for a bit, quietly as I waited for him to leave and then pulled the beanbags, signs, flag and table sets into the store. I felt light-headed and shaken. I wanted someone there to comfort me and say something absurd and cliché like how everything would be alright.

I can’t do this anymore I told Heather when I text-messaged her on the way home.

Once I got home I went upstairs and into my brother’s room (he was at church that night – he’s one of the youth pastors) and called Mr. Lewis, my stomach was killing me and I realized I still needed to take my ulcer medication.  It went to voicemail, but I didn’t want to wait until later. I sat on my brother’s bed and looked at all the glittering lights in Downtown Fort Worth in the distance. It looked exactly like the view from Ryleigh’s backyard. I used to love that view, standing on top of the playset and gripping the plastic wheel as me, Rye and Heather pretended we were on a ship. The chilly Winter breeze in our hair, crickets singing and stars shining. Nevermind that we were fourteen and too old for doing baby-stuff. We had fun.

The voicemail beeped. “Mr. Lewis.” I said calmly, “I’m going to get right to the point with this. Today was my last day of work.” I took a breath, “I’m leaving for a lot of reasons, one of which is the issue of my pay, but perhaps you’ve thought of that. I left a note on your desk regarding a friend of yours who came in tonight, he was inquiring about a sofa set. I left the store key on your desk and everything is locked up inside the store like it should be… I won’t pick up if you call back, there isn’t anything to say. Thank you for giving me my first job,” I had to force the last words out, “but I quit.” I ended the call and stared at the phone. I felt numb. I had expected to feel satisfaction or anger or regret, but I felt nothing. I decided it must simply be a delayed reaction.

I went downstairs to my mom, who currently sat in front of the desktop computer in the home office. I sat on the couch against the wall to her left.

“I did it.” I said

“Did what?” She stared at her Facebook wall.

“Quit. I left a message.”

“Good.” She said simply.

Good? Good? I wanted to cry and tell her about the man that came in, about how terrified I was. But what use would that be? I wanted to tell someone. I’ll just mention it in my next blog post. I decided.

Tuesday I spent studying like a madwoman, determined to get 100 on the skeletal system test on Wednesday (me and the skeletal system are not the grandest of friends, as reflected by last weeks’ pop quiz) and to wake up several hours early so I could spend more time on my appearance.