> jumping into life.


hi. if you aren't voting on tuesday, you might not be my friend anymore.



it snowed today!!

we noticed in during a break in class, and everyone crowded to the window. it had been raining all day, all last night and all yesterday, which somehow made the snow even more exciting. the creek by the school, which was all but dry when i arrived here, was gushing a scant foot beneath the bridge and flooding over a road nearby.

because we're brilliant, my friend travis and i decided to hike thumb butte, which usually doesn't take much effort because there's a lovely paved trail and you don't attempt the actual summit. in fact, this guide specifies that it's "best left to rock climbers." well, rock climbers we were not, but rock scramblers we certainly were, around the pricklypear and over the snow, up to the top where we shivered and surveyed the view. the view was amazing. prescott national forest stretched out in front of us, mist-shrouded and snow-speckled, pines and juniper doing their evergreen thing and the gambol oaks and cottonwoods making patches of bright color. the sky loomed, the clouds rushed past, and we nestled ourselves in some rocks and stayed up there until we couldn't feel our fingers.

tomorrow we're out to the catalinas, where they're predicting a low of only 49 tonight. here, we're supposed to get below freezing (which is, i should mention, colder than it is in philly right now).

i had some awful dreams last night; i hope i sleep better tonight. it's going to be a cold and early morning.


50,000 words in thirty days. i thought about it last year, but this year i'm all signed up and everything. it'll be blogged (of course); i'll put the link up just as soon as i start writing. as for now, i am desperately in need of a plot. any suggestions will be met with extreme gratitute, with the possibility of chocolate if the suggestion is any good. ...please?

in other news, the rain is raining again, and i'm supposed to be going to tuscon with my natural history class for a three-day camping trip on thursday. they say snow should get down to 7000 feet tonight, and that's well within where we're planning to camp. so that should be fun. i also don't know what i'm going to be for halloween, and my refrigerator can't seem to keep a constant temperature. (note: frozen cabbage, carrots, and soymilk are none of them yummy). my parents visited last weekend, which was very nice. i'm happy.


it's pouring pouring pouring rain, so instead of going into the field like we usually do, my homework (my homework!) is to come home and curl up and read all day. and make tea!


today with mittens and scarf, the mile-long walk to school dark with clouds menacing. little do they know that they are my favorite weather, portentous and dramatic, requiring of tea and uggs and snuggles. i wish i had a big windowseat, so that i could curl up with my blanket and my tea and my book and ignore my homework. and my house.

entropy is taking over, and i find myself battling just to keep the dishes done and my bed made. i'm trying to keep myself eating well (macaroni and cheese and ramen do not count as balanced vegetarian meals), moving sometimes (though the walk to school and back is good for that), and not hermiting completely (because regardless of all that about meeting people with like interests, if i never leave the house i won't meet anybody at all). however: i made soup so much beans and veggies that i ended up calling it stew, and i've been doing a little yoga in the mornings, and i went to my knitting group last night and we watched the game and ate apple pie and talked about boys. so if i can only clean up my room, i'll be fine - and i've got enough homework to virtually guarantee that i do. but not until i have some more tea.


oh, the smell of rain and earl grey.


today i woke up in my friend travis's bed, where we crashed last night after a long while of (strictly platonic) talking and drinking tea. in fact, a good part of the conversation was a discussion of all the reasons neither of us wants to become romantically involved with anyone new, which made it a little bit funny but generally more comfortable when we decided that the best arrangement would be for us both to pile into his bed. it reminded me of when silke and i would sleep both in my bed when she spent the night at my house in highschool - not enough room to avoid touching, which is sort of awkward but kind of comforting at the same time. at any rate, when we woke up, the sky outside his window was completely overcast and the trees whipping around. as far as i can remember, i haven't woken up here except to perfectly clear, cloudless, calm weather. we both promptly added "autumn" to the lists of favorite things we'd been compiling the night before. after a while travis remembered he was supposed to be going to the the bioneers conference, and so i went home.

i spent the rest of the day, until now, making a bound book out of a story i wrote in high school, because i have too much homework and couldn't bring myself to start it. and because i've been feeling like the creative bits of my brain are starting to stultify, and because i haven't made a book in a while. i'm quite pleased with it, and i think once i've shown it off to the (three) people here who might be interested, i'm going to mail it back to my studio for their november show. they asked me for a book of my poetry as well, so that'll be my next project. after i prepare my presentation for monday, and clean up my suddenly-a-disaster of a house, find myself an individual study site to monitor over the rest of the quarter, and do my biology reading.

(ps - laurie-lou, espero que tu pie esta bien!)


i am finding a quiet, meloncholy joy in solitude here. people who come over tend to ask me about living alone, whether i am lonely. really, i tell them, not as much as i expected to be. i think i've never been as social as i've acted; often i find myself bored and uncomfortable at parties and the like, yet for some reason i've always forced myself to go to them. so instead now i am spending most my nights here alone, cooking and reading, homework and websurfing, yoga and writing. i call up old friends, think about the future, and home. and some nights i go out to a potluck or with some friends to the bar, some nights i have people over and we cook and sit on my floor. last night i watched the debate with my landpeople and their friends, and ate vietnamese take-out, and it was good. but i find i'm not lonely, on the whole, content in my little house with my books and my music and myself. and this: if i force myself to do things i don't like, the people i meet will like doing things i don't like, and if i become friends with them i will end up spending more time doing things i don't like. if i do the things i do like, i will meet fewer people, but they will be people with interests that coincide more closely with my own. like knitting naked in the creek, and making soup, and bellydancing. which is better.

though i do wish i had a cat.


autumn is coming. the weather cooler, virginia creeper and canyon grape changing color, yellow aspen on the hills. last night the boys came over for dinner, and we made my favorite indian spiced potatos (with zucchini and yellow squash instead of the usual spinach) and a big salad. we sat around on the couch for a while, drinking either tea or soy white russians, talking. they're younger than me, eighteen and nineteen, but you'd never know it without asking; they all carry themselves like people who are interested in the world. that seems to be a theme here - people tend to act older than you'd expect, eighteen year olds with experiences that most people never dream of, everyone driven by something.

aside from getting wright silktassel and california buckthorn mixed up today, it looks like i know my native trees and shrubs. particularly exciting is being able to identify a new plant as a new plant, and have some sort of guess as to what it is, and being able to identify a more familiar plant in an unfamiliar growth-form. because that means i'm learning the ordering system and the underlying qualities of plant groups rather than just memorizing names. we've started adding vertebrates to our study, gotten a few more insect orders, and started talking about desert ecology in terms of energy transfer and adaptation. let me tell you: by the time this course is over, i'm gonna know everything about everything that happens ecologically in the southwest. and its gonna rule.


i have over 150 pages to read for class tomorrow, a study guide to write, ten orders of insect to finish memorizing, and some 40 species of plant to be sure i can idenitfy. plus biology homework.

good thing i woke up early this morning.


we stopped at the flatiron cafe in jerome on our way back. we barrel in laughing, sunburned and chacoed, braless and dirty, half of us unshaven and all sporting fabulous hairdos from spending the day swimming in the river. we order fresh mozzerella sandwiches and iced chais, and the woman taking our orders asks me, "are you guys from prescott college?" we laugh. is it that obvious?

but i love this place, which is at first glance pure hippie but often just free. my knitting group went camping, and we spent the whole day today lounging naked at the creek, knitting and talking (until a family came down to our swimming hole and asked us very politely to put on clothes). i came home and went to my bio lab, and tomorrow i'll be spending all day doing homework and making soup. it's a good life.


beer and pickles. it's been a long day.


the professor is back down the creekbed with somebody or other, talking about some specific question they had that he didn't think worth bringing to the class's attention. we're spread out over a modest distance, going over our notes, looking at new plants. we've spent the past two hours covering about twenty yards; examining, identifying, questioning and explaining just about every single thing we come across. what's this plant? oh, it's a lupine. and what kind of leaves does it have? deciduous compound pinneate. and what kind of seed? legume, which means a single carpel holding multiple ovules and having two sutures. how does it disperse its seed? by dessicating and twisting both sutures open, scattering said ovules over an area of approximately one square foot. what's this plant? what's this bug? what's that bird? what it is eating? is this a willow or a cottonwood? how can you tell? what kind of willow? why?

slowly, we find ourselves all collecting around one tree. we haven't seen it before. it looks like it's in the rose family, alternate simple leaves, no sign of flower or fruit to help us. we spend a while trying to think of trees in the rose family that might be found in riparian areas of the ponderosa belt. botanical refernce books are referenced, much discussion discussed. after ten minutes or so, the professor ambles up to us, grouped and puzzled around the tree.

"oh that?" he says, "that there is a domesticated apple."

so don't throw your apple cores around, folks. it really confuses the hippies.

(ps: snippets of pathetic ecology humor: he was reading the package of his whoppers, and exclaimed "there's artificial ingredients in this?! i thought it was an achene!" and yes, we all laughed.)

(pps: i'm amazed at how quickly my dork-transformation has taken place. i mean, clearly all the pieces were there to begin with, and certainly i've been on some level of dorkitude for probably most of my life, but really, i think it's getting out of hand. please, let me know if you get too bored, and i'll change the subject.)


organic chemistry is so cool.


i'm not good at studying. plain homework i can handle, paperwriting and necessary research and whatnot, fine. but studying, sitting down and going over material covered earlier, rereading notes, the like. i get bored and my mind wanders, i start downloading music or picking my nose or calling my boyfriend, and before i know it the test is tomorrow. in the past, that actually wasn't a problem; i made it through all of high school and two years of college without truly studying probably more than a half dozen times. the only one i can specifically recall is for my psychology exam my freshman year at drexel.

i suspect that i won't be able to get away with that here. the pure volume of information is just too high, and while we are learning it pretty much as experientially as possible, you sort of have to memorize the parts of a flower and then eventually really know them. though the flower parts i'm good on - it's the plant names i need to work on. harder because it isn't just cholla, which i can recognize, it's whipple cholla. not just manzanita but point-leaf manzanita, englemann prickly pear, velvet ash. some of them are intuitive enough - mountain mahogony, arizona rose - but then there's fendler ceanothus, and snowberrry, which is a perfectly descriptive name for the month-and-a-half of the year when the bush actually has berries. the rest of the time, it's deciduous-simple-opposite and the foliage can take at least three different forms on the same bush. on the same branch, actually, which is the only way that the professor was able to convince us that we were looking at one plant. not to mention all the cell parts, biochemical interactions, etc etc etc.

it isn't a complaint, really. i can't believe how good it feels to have my brain working again. i think i'm just going to have to put more effort than i was expecting to into changing my habits, which is okay.

on the up side, until i get good at focusing and studying, i'm going to have a very clean apartment, because cleaning is the distraction i tend to feel least guilty about. today i even mopped.


with fifteen dollars today, i bought: two packages of annie's mac and cheese, a bag of pasta shells, a can of olives, a jar of pickles, a box each of raisins, triscuits, cheez-its, and rice-a-roni, a half-gallon of soymilk, a pound of tofu, two cups of yogurt, and two yellow peppers. my two favorite things in the world right now are the discount bin at the natural foods store, and the discount grocery store, where slightly-crushed boxes of annie's are 85 cents a piece. the other thing i love is having a friend who works at a plant nursury and smuggles me out plants to put in my apartment. and the other thing i love is rainclouds. and one more is my classes, which are incredibly lots of work and information already, but in a good way.

yesterday i learned 25 species of local or common trees and shrubs in the pinion-juniper and ponderosa zones (also known as the upper sonoran and transition zones) that i didn't know on wednesday, as well as how to identify them on the basis of a dichotomous key (based primarily on leaf structure (evergreen/deciduous, simple/complex, opposite/alternate) and secondarily on fruit type and dispersal method). we also covered the evolution and phisiology of angiosperm (sepal, petal, pistil, stamen; calyx, corolla, gynoecium, androecium), population dispersal as related to merriam's life-zone concept as related to island biogeography and demes, the biochemical process of photosynthesis (6CO2 plus 6H20 to create glucose (C6H12O6) and 6O2), energy transduction versus transference (via convection, conduction, or radiation), and the ratio of biomass productivity to precipitation. i'm going to be quizzed on all of this on tuesday, though mostly on plant identification. and then there's biology, in which i'm giving a presentation on nucleic acids (as pertinent to DNA, RNA, and ATP) on monday, and for which I'm writing my first research paper (on the effect of false sugars (saccharides, aspartame, etc) on the body as opposed to actual sugars (sucrose, fructose, etc)) next week. the professor from the fiction class i dropped called to tell me that if i fill out the right forms, i can take an extra class, and that she'd really like me to consider rejoining them. i only laughed because if you'd told me last year that i'd be turning down a fiction writing class to take 30 hours of science a week, i'd have laughed then, too.