Yes, it’s been almost two years. Yes, yes, I’m a bad person. Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way –

What’s happened to me since last email: Let’s see. I spent a year living with three undergrad boys, one of whom was older than me. When I moved in, they already had a parrot, a ferret, four fish tanks (one of which was 120 gallons) and a gigantic plastic tub containing a snapping turtle. Additionally, one of the boys’ “bedrooms” was actually my closet. Yes, it’s true. The walk-in closet for my room had been converted into a bedroom. So Mike, or “Closet Boy,” as I liked to call him, could only get in and out of his room by walking through mine. It worked out okay, though, as he was basically a good guy and was deeply appreciative when I bought booze for him because he was underage. While living there, I accidentally added to the menagerie: another flatmate (we’ll call him “Asshole”) had a girlfriend who had a sister who asked me to take her pet off her hands. The conversation went something like this:

Asshole’s Girlfriend’s Sister: “Could you take my sugar glider? I’ve become allergic to him and don’t want to give him to a pet store.”

Me: “Sure! . . . is it a bird? Is it a . . . lizard of some kind?”

So I accidentally own an exotic pet: a sugar glider, a marsupial flying squirrel from regions Antipodean, who is my baby cute ball of fluff and who shall some day help me conquer the world by alternately chewing on my opponents’ eyes and cute-ing them to death. Observe:

About the same time, I started dating a wonderful girl named Kate who was also in the Masters year of the English literature program. One of the pictures below is the two of us at a friend’s “Catholic schoolgirl” themed birthday party. The other is not:
At the end of the year, I took the Masters exam (in my program, you do not write a Masters thesis, but instead take a six-hour exam over a reading list that covers the history of English literature, starting with Beowulf). Here is my happy study group about half an hour after the exam ended:

If you look closely, you’ll notice that we’re happy not because we passed (which we wouldn’t find out about for several months) but because some of us are already drunk. And we’re loopy as hell from typing for six hours. We all did pass, though. One of us with honors. (It wasn’t me.)

Late in the summer, for Kate’s birthday, I kidnapped her and drove her to Dr. Evermor’s, which is in my opinion one of the absolute best places Wisconsin has to offer in terms of fun ways to spend your day. “Dr. Evermor” is basically a junkman who just sort of started taking all of this scrap metal he’d collected and welding it into these amazing, odd, beautiful statues. He’s got this big site out in the middle of nowhere that’s a couple of acres of incredible statues and random heaps of rusting metal. There’s one whole field that’s made entirely of birds whose design form musical instruments, so that the birds are their own orchestra. Pictures!:

In the fall, I moved (thank god) out of the zoo and in with another English grad student named Annette. I also started teaching undergrad students in English literature courses. Alas, I have no pictures. I will tell you, however, that I have attempted to kill at least four students so far during my Reign of Terror: kicked one’s desk over, nailed one in the face with a door, attempted to drive one to suicide, and . . . oh, wait, I didn’t actually try to kill that last one. I just flipped him the bird in the middle of class. I knew it was something horribly inappropriate. Teaching is awesome, grading is not. I also slept through my required sensitivity training.

In late fall, my new flatmate’s (awesome!) grandmother died, which was horribly sad, and she and her mother, with the money they inherited from that, bought a house in Madison. And since my flatmate didn’t want to leave me high and dry for a roommate, she asked me to move with her; to help out on the mortgage, she rented the top floor to a friend studying neuroscience who has a nine-year-old son. So I now live in an incredible house for very little rent, and I share it with two other women and one boy who’s there half the week and with his father the other half. It’s a sweet, sweet deal. In January, we had a combination housewarming party/my 25th birthday party. The theme was “retro,” some amazingly entertaining outfits made appearances, and it was agreed that the whole bash was an absolute bash. The new house was completely trashed, and it was totally worth it.

Guest and Annette with Scary Pie of Death. Jess (other housemate), Annette, and me - the morning after the psycho party.
Bonus pic! Me with the back of the nine-year-old's head!
On the family front, my nephew continues to get bigger, and has been joined by another nephew who I, sadly, have not been able to spend very much time with:
The eldest. Awww, look! He's inherited my nose! The youngest. Awww, look! He's inherited my fear of the future!

This spring, I continued to teach, got really disorganized and sort of screwed up one of the classes I was taking, broke up with Kate (W're both awesome, but less awesome together!) and started a blog in order to avoid writing seminar papers. It’s poorly updated, but the address is:

In two days, I’m leaving for Singapore with my family. I have a cousin who (is incredibly rich and) lives there and whom is soon going to move back to the states. My mother decided that this was our last chance to go to Singapore and stay for free next door to the French ambassador. And offered to spring for the plane ticket. So I’m going to be there for about two weeks. I’m very excited – I’ve never been to Asia – and very nervous and convinced that I’m going to miss my plane, forget my passport, not pack underwear, embarrass my family, etc etc etc. But I do that every time I travel. So that’s nothing new.

Okay, this is HUGE, I know. And I’m still working on sending out more personal emails to all the people (all of you, mostly) that I’ve been sadly neglecting while all stressed out. But this is a start, dammit!

Love you,

Miss you,