fifty miles of elbow room

Can’t Sleep – Reprehensible Politicians Will Eat Me

by taaalia on January 31, 2018, no comments

I think I’ve been successfully replacing social media with books so far this year. My social media usage was really dwindling into a thing of non-existence, but this has basically sealed the deal. It’s great.

I’ve also decided this year that instead of trying to force myself to read books I think would be good for me to read, I’ve been reading books that I genuinely want to read. Turns out that all I want to read are books by cool ladies – especially if those cool ladies are Rebecca Solnit. I adore all subject matter she writes about, feminist and non.

On a vaguely related note, am once again considering some alternative plans in life which may include 1) starting a commune in the Midwest with all my favorite friends 2) becoming a Colorado outdoor/knitting weird person.

Seriously, though. I sleep better when I’m not fully up-to-date on what’s going on in politics.

In Sam Hill

by taaalia on October 7, 2017, no comments

Hey, WordPress!

I now know way more about your inner workings than I ever thought possible. Also, now I get PAID to tinker with you and learn about your weird-ass innards. Whoever thought all those years of dicking around with blogs and code would actually PAY OFF. LITERALLY. I did not.

Also, you are still kind of frustrating sometimes. And I still miss Blogger. And WHERE IN SAM HILL DID MY BLOGGER T-SHIRT GO? It’s only been like 9 years since I saw it last…it must be somewhere!


Also, I can’t sleep. Why? Maybe because my brain is full of so many DUMB TUNES. UGH.

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Why is this Medeski Martin & Wood tune so simultaneously STUPID and GOOD? It’s really stupid and good. I think it’s the note articulations – they are really fucking good at using all sorts of different lengths of notes in a way that is so very pleasing to my ear. Particularly crazy fiend bassist Chris Wood. VERY, VERY SHORT NOTES IN BASS VERY PLEASING WHAT THE HELL.

Yeah, I should go to bed.


by taaalia on July 14, 2017, no comments

I came back to New York. It felt fine, as always. So I don’t even know.

And now I’m LEAVING New York again to hopefully not be eaten by any bears in Wyoming. What the hell.

The Real Aftermath of City Living

by taaalia on June 27, 2017, no comments

I’ve spent the last two weeks by myself at my parents’ house in Normal while they’re in Europe, and it’s difficult for me to express how wonderful and restorative this time has been. I’ve spent every possible moment outdoors, being amazed by trees and planning to murder chipmunks and in general having a delightful if not bittersweet relationship with all this SPACE that I can’t typically enjoy.

And not to mention solitude. Glorious, beautiful solitude. I’ve seen some people, sure, but it’s been mostly sparse and occasional and that has been amazing. I think I’ve surmised that my perfect balance of solitude and social life is…being completely alone, and seeing other people for an hour or two every two days.

So much yes.

Now, then, a follow-up questions for myself: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY?

Ugh! I don’t know! There are good things about it. Certainly I’m busy and active and when I’m in the thick of it I don’t really think much about how I would ideally enjoy something between 22-24 hours of solitude each day! It’s invigorating and does have this tendency to at least make me feel like I’m alive and IN IT, which is kind of nothing like solitude. It’s not really until I leave the city that I start to think about it way too much and then realize that it’s really hard and I…honestly don’t know how much longer I can do it.

This has been such a unique and amazing time that the very idea of returning to the city feels…sad. Upsetting. Traumatic.

There we are.

Hmm Hmm Kinda Day

by taaalia on May 14, 2017, no comments

Today is definitely a “spooning the Ovaltine powder directly into one’s mouth” kind of day. Is that a thing I actually do? Hmm. I guess nobody can ever know the truth except for me. Hmm.

I’ve also had this song in my head continuously for the last…month? I’d say I want it to stop, but I actually wouldn’t mind if it never stopped. NEVER STOP, DAN BITNEY.

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What else is new?

No Weirdo Music Obsessing Happening Over Here

by taaalia on April 24, 2017, no comments

I’ve spent every Monday night of the school-year preparing a music history lecture + listening samples for a small adult class at one of my teaching schools. I’ve really worked my butt off to do well with these lectures, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience because I finally get to do what I only ever wanted to do – FORCE PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO SHIT I LIKE AND TALK ABOUT WHY IT’S SO GREAT.

However, this year has been nuts, and I’m pretty sure that last week when I got to Dvorak something got stuck and we’re just going to do Dvorak from now until eternity. BECAUSE THE SLAVONIC DANCES RULE AND ARE MAYBE THE BEST THINGS HE WROTE FOR REAL (but that’s just, like, my opinion, man).

Seriously. It is like some kind of Czech soul metal and I want to head-bang and lose my mind. It does something to me, maybe because I have some Slavonic blood, and also because I visited those Slavonic lands recently and also HEARD THOSE PIECES PLAYED BY THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC.



AGGHHHHHHGHHHHHHHH I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Everything else needs more 2 against 3. And Sir Simon.


by taaalia on March 24, 2017, no comments

Hi. I’m still here.

Just adjusting to all the new things. What new things? Oh, I don’t know. New students. New professional prospects. New crumbling states of democracy? Ya know. Just those…things, dagnabit!

In other news, books are fun. So is music, though sometimes I feel like maybe my ears don’t deserve to be delighted during such an undelightful period of time and I go for long periods without interesting listens. I noted the other day that I have replaced obsessively-listening-to-WFMU with obsessively-listening-to-Brian-Lehrer. I mean. But I freaking love Brian Lehrer and feel like he is helping me to stay sane-ish. But I miss weird ear-delights.

So, that’s a new habit that needs balancing.

Also, I can’t sleep.

But in general, I sleep more and better since I quit coffee.

I miss coffee.

But do I really? It makes me feel terrible every time I drink it now. Except during a 7-day wilderness backpacking trip where I drank it every morning and still fell peacefully and happily asleep by like 8 or 9 pm. This supports my theory that I could still drink coffee if I lived a totally rural life with lots of manual labor.

Uh. Er. Go to bed.

Self Care

by taaalia on November 18, 2016, no comments

That certainly is a word I’ve seen being used a shit-ton in the last week.

I thought I was doing okay – taking action, even if I know it’s not directly affecting any change, is very empowering and something I am eager to do as much of as I can in the next four years (and next two months, especially).

But it’s not always enough, and reading anything that even relates to news can send me spiraling.

It’s been a while since I really disappeared into a television or book series. While I know escape-ism isn’t the final answer, disengaging for a time will probably be the best thing I can do on a regular basis to not feel a crushing weight in my chest every moment of every day for the next 4-8 years.

Many kick-ass ladies (and one kick-ass man?) had told me Gilmore Girls is actually really good, and that it would be especially really good watching for the first time, right now. And hey – I can go to the goopy drama place. I think?

I watched the first episode and felt some feels (mostly in a good way). Then I began the second episode and one of the characters comes running on-screen shouting “Guys! Guys! New CD! XTC! Apple Venus Volume 2!” and another character screams “Ooh! Ooh! Okay!” and then they both run off-screen.


In Shock

by taaalia on November 9, 2016, no comments

Last night when I was teaching in Tarrytown, I dropped my bow of almost-twenty-years in some kind of freak accident manner, and its tip hit the base of a metal stand, causing said tip to break in two. That’s when I started to have a weird, foreboding feeling that had nothing to do with my bow, which isn’t of super huge value and can hopefully (maybe?) be repaired.

Twenty minutes after I got home, the New York Times stated that the likelihood of a Trump presidency was 80%. I was in disbelief for a full minute. Then I began to bawl.

I tried so hard to sleep. I slept for maybe twenty minutes at a time between 2:30 and 5am, night-sweats the entire time and dreaming of someone trying to have sex with me in a crowded high-rise elevator.

I am in despair for my family, my country (or maybe of my now-past notion of my country?), the world, and the only comfort is that I’m not alone. Spoiler alert: it’s not that comforting.

In past instances of despair, it has been a specific cause that affects mostly only me, or a small few other people. A thing that is difficult to get past but can be done one step at a time. Just keep going and things will naturally improve.

This doesn’t feel like that. This feels like the end of the world, and for all we know it could be the beginning of the end. This feels like what happens prior to the start of one of the many dystopian science-fiction novels I’ve read.

I’m so upset. Ashamed. I feel betrayed as a woman. I feel like I’ve been fooling myself in thinking that, yes, there are some bigots and racists and homophobes and xenophobes out there but it can’t be enough to elect a fascist. I can’t believe how much faith I had in the people in my country. I can’t believe how much faith I had in the system. I’m so sad and alarmed and ashamed.

I’ve never been certain about having kids. It’s always been one of those things that I’ve felt I’d be better equipped to decide after establishing an income and something more like a real career, not to mention having the right partner for that. Last night I decided quite officially that I will not be bringing children into the world. I can’t even imagine how young parents or expecting parents must be feeling about all of this right now.

As it is, I’m worried about my parents. I’m worried about all my people. Maybe it’s time to stop and appreciate my relationships with people before some shit starts hitting some fans.

How do we go forward? What can we do? How can I live through this whole damn day or any day after it without feeling like so shocked and helpless and hopeless?