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2005-03-14 - 9:51 a.m. weekend...

An interesting weekend. After a scintillating (and exhausting) Friday, I spent all day Saturday grading exams. I have already conferred with my colleagues regarding the shock of some exams...this one was a major tremor, but apparently the results I've received are normal. My level of cynicism is increasing.

After a day of grading, I got to spend the evening with a former grad school buddy and an old friend of hers. We went out for Japanese food and had a fantastic time. At some points I was laughing side-splitting laughter. It was needed to defocus some of the head-splitting pain of grading...

And then yesterday I fell into a monthly female stupor - I finished grading and then spent the day watching movies and eating chocolate. I can get nasty cramps - yesterday was painful and yet also a relief. I have felt the tension in my nerves escalating for over a week. Friday afternoon I actually inhaled a chocolate milkshake to feed my body craving. And now today, although I am still in pain, I can feel my whole body exhaling tension. I can almost be cheerful again.

After watching two movies (Hudsucker Proxy and Room with a View), I settled in to bed with Mitchener's Poland. I have just reached the Nazi years, and I find myself reading quickly because I want my intimacy with characters and their years of torture to end.

Each time I happen upon such a story, I understand a little bit more about the people I've met. K's father grew up in Loedz, Poland, and his psyche remains scarred in many sad and frustrating ways. He has never spoken to me about this time in his life. In fact, I doubt he has spoken with anyone. But as I read the descriptions of the Governement General, I begin to comprehend some of fears that must form the basis of his modern life. It is very sad, and complicated. Knowing about the Holocaust is so painful, and yet so necessary, especially when I realize that it shaped the lives of people who are still alive and dear to me.

I finally put the book down, and lay flat and still, picturing waves and imagining spring birds chirping in my head as an attempt to take me away to sleep, which it ultimately did.

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