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ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:

  • i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].
  • i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can handle that.
  • i've been cooking more. i'm always the person who takes care of food preparation in the house, but lately, i've been making a particular effort to cook from scratch and to cook more complicated things from scratch. because isn't it always better to know every ingredient that goes into your face? also, this blog's longest standing tradition means that i'm going to have to start thinking about cooking a lot more in the very near future.
  • i've been moping over the fact that swansea city got relegated. many thanks to those who sent me messages of support. 
  • i got hooked on a word-finding game that gives dom and i hours of amusement, if only as we uncover its puritanical linguistic judgments: it will accept neologisms like "tech" or "alt" but will reject words like "slut" or "cunt". slightly less offensive terms like "tit" or "poo" or "pee" are acceptable, but it will count them as extra words, never seen within the crossword you're given to solve. 
  • i've been reading more. that's right, i've been cheating on y'all with books. i don't get as much time as i'd like to just unwind with a good book, but i've been making a point to take what time i've been able to in the last few weeks because in order to keep smart, interesting stuff coming out of me, i have to make sure that there's an adequate supply of smart, interesting stuff going into me. i'm currently in the final chapters of robert kaplan's balkan ghosts. as a person who's fascinated by cultural crucibles like the balkans, it's a little ridiculous that i'm only getting around to reading this now. but i'm lazy as a general rule and i'm also someone who will waver senselessly over purchasing a specific book now or later. so many thanks to the friend who bought me the book [as well as eastward to tartary, which is next on the reading list] and thus pushing me from "i definitely need to read this at some point" to "read the fucking book already, kate". 

but amidst all of that, i've still been making time for my daily language learning activities. indeed, i'm currently riding a streak of well more than five hundred days on duolingo [which is just the amount that i've wracked up since losing a streak of 275 days a couple of years back. damn me straight to hell.] duo remains my primary hub of linguistic knowledge. my only one, really, since i've not responded well to the systems of other sites. duolingo has implemented an astonishing number of changes lately and it's difficult to say how well they've been received. the most shocking/ interesting component of the changes is that they've abanadoned the spaced repetition learning system that made them both famous and credible. without getting into a lot of detail, i've found that the new system has driven me to do more work each day, but i can't say if it's making me learn more.

but the most important thing that i've noticed, which is what relates to the title of this post even though i've forced you to read through all my blah-blah to get here is this: i've recently started dreaming in multiple languages. i can't swear that this is the first time this kind of thing has happened, but i do know that it's something that's happened a lot more lately. in the last few weeks, i've found myself in dreamland, stuck in situations where i have to speak, or at least understand, different languages. most recently, i dreamt of having to interpret the words of someone speaking russian. numerous times, i've found myself muddling through spanish as a listener and speaker. however the language that appears to me most frequently when i've headed off to dreamland is italian. i have no idea why that is. interestingly, although i initially found some of the grammar complicated compared to french or spanish, i've noticed that i've retained more of italian than i have of other languages. my brain is able to access its italian knowledge farmore easily than it can any of the other languages i've attempted. i'm not exposed to it more than others. i haven't worked harder at it. but my brain has clearly bonded with italian. it is a lovely language after all.

and therefore, my brain has repeatedly chosen to dream short passages in italian. in fact, the dreams that i've had have relied on my ability to understand and speak the language and when i've awoken, i've been able to recall both what was said to me and how i [properly] responded. i've no idea why it's italian that my brain has chosen, but there you are.

as amazing as it is to experience dreaming in these other languages, there is one thing that completely mystifies me: despite more than a dozen years of french instruction in school and despite living in a french-speaking city for more than fifteen years, i have never once had a dream [or even part of a dream] in french. what the hell is my mind even doing?

so that's what's been happening with me.

i'll be communicating more frequently, i swear. 


as long as you're here, why not read more?

a case for homicide?

last week a seven-year-old child died of dehydration and exhaustion at a facility run by the u.s. department of homeland security. the child was in government custody for seven hours before she died but no one seems to have checked on her or offered any assistance to her until she had a seizure and was admitted to hospital with a fever of nearly 106 degrees. it's not clear whether she was given water, food or a medical exam, which is standard for people turning themselves in at the border and throwing themselves on the mercy of the dhs.

death by dehydration [or the toxic shock caused by it] takes about three days for an average adult. for a child, especially one who had been walking in the heat for long periods of time, it can happen much faster. the preliminary report on her death indicates that she had not eaten in about a day. that will be confirmed by the final report [which is not due for a few weeks] but it's important that we understand that the government assertion th…

making faces :: journal of the plague week [with pat mcgrath]

i've been lax about posting before but this time i have a very good excuse: i've had the plague. well, maybe not the plague. close enough to the plague! this started on the 21st of november. i can say that with certainty because the very first symptom was a small cold sore on my chin. since i tend to track what makeup i wear, i can see that the sore appeared on the 21st, whereas before my skin was happy and clear, my body blissfully unaware of what was about to happen to it.

the plague began with a cough and muscle aches that were very nearly crippling. the aching subsided after a couple of days but the cough got worse and worse, keeping me up at night even when medicated and ripping my throat up something fierce. then the pain came back, centred on my head. and there was fatigue that i haven't experienced in years. walking to the bathroom was enough to exhaust me to the point where i needed a nap. which is awkward when you have to summon the energy to walk back...

the sy…

making faces :: written in the stars, in lipstick [part two]

it's the middle of september already? i'm not prepared for that? i mean, i am prepared for it because the heat this summer has been murder on me and i've been begging for a reprieve for months but i'm still bowled over by the speed at which time passes. this year, i've been measuring time through the launches of bite beauty's astrology collection, which arrives like the full moon once a month. [the full moon arrives every four weeks, which is less than any month except february -ed.] earlier this year, i took a look at the first four launches of the collection and already it's time to catch up with four more.

the most important thing for you to know is that after several months of problems, bite and sephora appear to have sorted out their inventory planning. for the last several releases, information has been clear and reliable as to when and where each lipstick will be available [pre-orders taken for a couple of days on bite's own website and a general…