The Spring Clean Challenge

I’m starting a spring clean challenge that I will do for 18 days. Bonus points for those who can figure out why it’s this particular number of days. The challenge points are:

1. Going to the gym every day for the duration.

2. Doing the Korean beauty routine every day.

3. Not buying any new books for myself no matter what happens.

4. Reading 40 pages of an Anthony Trollope novel.

I also have a bunch of other things in the challenge that I’m not ready to make public.

Every year, the end of the academic year has me bug-eyed and a mental wreck. I want to avoid it this year by concentrating my attention on something completely different. The challenge is aimed at distracting me to the point where I’ll forget to get overwhelmed by the end of the academic year.

Consistent and Smooth

What’s fascinating to me is that Obama’s and Trump’s policy on Russia clearly comes from the same source. It’s a crescendo of silent blows that go from a tiny pinprick to harsher and harsher ones. The consistency and the smoothness of the operation makes it clear that the people we see on TV are not the ones who create foreign policy. We all knew it was the case during the Cold War. But it’s fascinating that there is still a consistent policy independent of any particular administration or party. Now the really fascinating question is what it is. What is its organizing principle?

The Perfect Breakfast

The perfect breakfast for me is the kind you get at a typical American diner. Two eggs overeasy, potatoes, sausage, two pieces sourdough toast, one for butter and one for grape jam. And an appointment with a laprascopic surgeon in July.

Obviously, now I can’t look at my perfect breakfast unless I call an ambulance before taking the first bite. I’ve been trying to get into cereals but there are so many that I just get confused. Which ones are not completely unhealthy? I love Fruit Loops but even I’m not so clueless that I don’t understand that they are not really food.

So, folks. What do you eat for breakfast? Even if I can’t mimic you, I can at least read about people enjoying their breakfasts.

Magical Food

Everything hurts my gallbladder. Everything except for steamed fish and steamed vegetables. And I used to love them, but after eating them twice a day every day for months, I can’t look at them any more.

The only thing I can it that somehow magically doesn’t hurt me is food at the Indian buffet. I don’t know how it works because I’m sure it’s really not fat-free at all, to put it mildly. But it has no bad effect on me. It was the same when I had severe gestational diabetes. I couldn’t eat anything without my sugar going through the roof. Except for food from that buffet (obviously,I didn’t touch rice or bread.)

The only other thing that has this effect on me is borscht. But borscht is native to my culture, so that makes sense.

Easter Brunch

Wanted to go to the local Easter brunch. Checked out the menu:

Here’s our menu for the buffet –
** carving, waffle, and omelette stations
**8 types of salad
** Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs
** french toast bake
** bacon, sausage
** smoked trout crepe
** roasted chicken with mushroom risotto
** black and blue beef wellington
** orecchiette pasta with Sicilian lentil sauce
** roasted vegetable medley
** shaved Brussels sprouts with prosciutto and cranberry
** Duchess potatoes
** white truffle mac-n-cheese
** seafood gumbo
** chicken & wild rice soup
** breakfast pastries and assorted desserts

I can have absolutely nothing whatsoever on this menu before my surgery. Which is in July.


When people experience a loss, they have several ways of dealing with it that are available to them. One is depression. People who choose that response are mostly the ones who feel guilty for the loss, so they punish themselves with pain and also use pain to maim themselves. Because if they don’t act, they can’t make another mistake that leads to loss. Obviously, loss is not the only thing that provokes depression. It’s just one of them.

Another response to loss is denying the loss or its significance. It’s not nearly as maladaptive as depression.

Yet another one is substitution of the object that was lost with a new object. By object I obviously mean whatever the ego attached to. When that object disappears (and it can be a person, a job, a feeling, etc), the ego is wounded. And depression, denial of significance and substitution are the available strategies to respond to this pain.

Of course, there’s always medication but I’m not talking about people who go for that method.

Seductive Capitalism

What these articles about the neoliberal economy forget to mention is that it’s exhilarating. This is why I appreciate the scholarship by Jim McGuigan who doesn’t forget about this important aspect.

I walked 5 miles to work on my first day, in formal attire and through a heat wave. And didn’t break a sweat or dishevel my hair, and I’ll never cease to be proud of myself for it.

The planners, the overscheduling, the “it’s only 11 pm, so I can still do a bunch of work” mentality, it’s fun. People wouldn’t do it if it weren’t. Mary from the linked article is super proud of herself. And who’s to say she isn’t entitled to decide what to be proud of.