LOVE: Word Lens: I had seen advertisements for Word Lens all over Tumblr a while back, but I didn’t think it was real. The Internet is full of lies, after all. But it’s real. Using this program, you aim your phone at signs in languages you are unfamiliar with and it translates them in real time by replacing the text in the same font on your screen. Witchcraft, surely, and so I ignored it. How could such a miraculous thing be true, after all? I still haven’t learned my lesson that the future is made of magic. Turns out, it actually works. There was a website with Russian on it that I needed to translate for my continued efforts to discover the truth about Larry Stylinson. I couldn’t copy and paste the text, and I have no idea how to use the Cyrillic alphabet, so I downloaded the app. I installed the Russian dictionary. I pointed it at the website. And then my brain exploded with glee. It actually worked! It actually translated Russian into English with no effort. I am absolutely amazed. It also gave me new evidence for my investigation. I cannot wait to go to a country with a language I don’t speak and try it out in the real world. How convenient it’ll be to go to Berlin and not get terribly confused by German’s tricky and lengthy words. I love the future. Zig Zag Head Bands (Flexi Comb): In my youth, I have the vaguest memory of my sister wearing these plastic headbands that stretched out and had little teeth that stuck in your hair. I never thought about them again until just recently. You see, fashion icon, Zayn Malik, of One Direction fame, has recently been seen sporting one. I’m obsessed. Look: His hair is crazy because it can be styled in so many different ways — I think his stylist must have magical abilities. I wish she worked for me, too. My hair is a mess lately, but you know that from last week’s post. I made it my solemn mission to acquire one of these headbands. I looked at the shops, but I could not find one. I finally saw one for sale on Amazon, but it was ridiculously expensive. I received the thrill of my life when my mother came across a few for sale and bought them for me. With great joy, I slipped it over my head and looked at my glorious reflection. It was perfect. I look resplendent. I wore it all weekend and I have zero regrets. They are truly magical devices and hold my mane of hair in place. I love them. I feel blessed. Remodeled Kitchen: I still have a considerable amount of work to do in my kitchen — the counters and cupboards are the only place that remains untouched — but for the first time in all my life, my kitchen looks beautiful. In the past it had pink walls, wood paneling, stained carpet, bizarre wallpaper, and ugly furniture. I didn’t even mention the nightmare of lace curtains. For the past year or so, I have been slowly modernizing as I can afford. I would say I am 80% done at this point and the room is finally a place I love to be. The walls are painted in the most perfect color, Sharkey Gray. There is beadboard. The floor is now in black and white checkerboard tiles. The ceiling has been scraped smooth and painted a blinding white. There is a professional oven instead of an antique. There are slim cabinets along the wall that stores a multitude of baking tools and cookbooks. Instead of a table is an island that I use as a work surface. There is a nice television to watch The Wendy Williams Show every afternoon. A signed picture of Julia Child hangs on the wall. It’s kind of perfect, like the set of my very own show. I’m so happy. Ladies No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: I have developed a great fondness for mysteries and crime novels. I really don’t know when it all started — probably when I discovered the Amelia Peabody Series, a compilation that profoundly changed me. Now I watch Murder, She Wrote every night and sometimes The Mysteries of Laura and I pour through Agatha Christie and even obscure novellas in French, like the odd Mystere de la Chambre Jaune. I love them all! In need of new inspiration and new mysteries to solve, I remembered reading about a series of books about a detective in Africa and had my sister, a librarian, procure it for me. I’m only about halfway through, but I already love it very much! It’s well written and in a charming voice. The characters are incredibly well-fleshed out, which is something that doesn’t always happen in books like these, and it’s easy to read. It’s nice to not have to read literary fiction all the time. I don’t know why so many modern authors insist on writing with such a heavy style that drones on and on. Light reads are a joy, which is something I’m just beginning to realize in my own writing. It’s much more delightful to write a fun read. I’ll probably finish the book tonight. I’m still not entirely sure what the big mystery is, but I’m having a great time so far. Sleeping For EIGHTEEN Hours: I had the opportunity to sleep for eighteen hours last night. I guess I always have this option, but I never take it. Anyway, I have been EXHAUSTED lately, and I’m sure you are exhausted of hearing about how exhausted I am. I want to go to the hospital for exhaustion like celebrities do. I think it’d be fabulous. What’s not to like? Laying in bed, being hydrated through an IV, watching soap operas, napping, getting food delivered, receiving get-well cards from concerned friends and acquaintances. As I said: FABULOUS. I got home yesterday afternoon, grabbed a book, and woke up at nine o’clock the next morning. I have no memories of what happened betwixt then. I don’t know how I got to my bed, but somehow I found myself there with a cat on my back. When I realized it wasn’t still daylight from the day before, I leapt up and was delighted at how nice I felt. Clearly, I was a bit sore from this amazingly lengthy nap, but that was negated by my clear head, radiantly bag-free eyes, and high energy levels. I need to sleep like this more often! HATE: Lack of Sunshine: Look, I know that I talk about this a lot, especially in the winter. Surely you are fatigued of my constant whinging, but I’m going to carry on for at least one more round of complaints. I am so annoyed, reader. I don’t get any sun exposure anymore. I am at work when the sun rises and it sets exactly a half hour after my return home. This is inhumane! Instead of Daylight Saving Time, we should just reschedule our lives in the winter so that we have a bit of free time with sunshine. Everybody needs it. The sun is the thing that gave us life, after all. Akhenaten, that wonderfully heretical pharaoh of Egypt’s eighteenth dynasty, had it all figured out when he began worshiping the Aten, the sun disc. But, I shan’t diverge into an Egyptological lecture as I am so often wont to do. I have all the symptoms of SAD. No amount of happy light exposure cheers me. I suffer extreme lethargy, but there is one unlikely positive. Usually this depressive state makes me inhale food like a vacuum, but this year, for some odd reason, I just don’t have any appetite at all. I’ve found myself forgetting to eat dinner. It’s odd. I need it to be springtime again, so that I can go outside and soak up some Vitamin D and go on long walks and work in my herb garden. I just need to move to LA, but that’s something that’s not in the cards for at least another two years. Soon I will be with my people, the vain hipsters and failed actors of West Hollywood. Until then, I will bitch about my wintertime sadness to you. Overwhelming Need to Accomplish: I have often told you about the endless to-do lists that I make each night before going to bed. There are usually about 20 to 30 tasks that need to be accomplished when I get home from work. I set myself up for failure every day. I have no energy when I get home because it’s wintertime and wintertime sadness is the card that I have unfortunately been dealt. Beyond that, I put things on my list that take up far too much time. Just last night I felt obligated to: read a chapter of the biography of Flinders Petrie, work a lesson in Gardiner’s Hieroglyphs, read 50 pages of another novel, listen to a podcast about the burning of the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, listen to a lecture on Victorian England, practice piano, do yoga, do pushups, go on a long walk on the treadmill, bake bread, teach myself how to do computer code, clean the house, and make dinner. I did manage to do all that, but I still have a lengthy list of things I didn’t do. And even though I accomplished an inordinate number of tasks, I still feel plagued with guilt that I did not cross out every single thing on that damned list. It’s a curse, reader. I need to go to therapy for this. Do you think there is a rehab for to-do lists? I hope it’s in Malibu. I have tried and tried again to teach myself to relax, but I find it’s something I can only manage to do when I’m not at home. On vacation or at my sister’s home, I find it quite easy to put my obligations aside, but not at my house. It has to be perfect, and I have to be perfect, and I am so tired. Sir Alan Gardiner’s Egyptian Grammar: This is another thing that I don’t really hate, but I just found it to be quite irksome. Last week, a bought a copy of this book on Amazon. I had been eyeing it for a while — years, really, and the Cyber Monday deal was good for 30% off new books, so I splurged. I finally got around to starting the first lesson last night and spent about two hours on it. There were not any surprises in the first chapter, and though it took up quite a lot more time than I had originally anticipated, I did not have any trouble doing the transliteration. Drawing hieroglyphs in a tidy manner is no easy feat, and I have discovered that I will be doing the exercises in pencil from now on. When I finished, I was quite proud of myself and went to check the answers, only to find that no such thing existed. I was beyond annoyed. How was I supposed to check myself? In a state of great agitation, I looked online and found that some people had posted their responses. Immediately I grew ever more annoyed because about half of the answers were different from what I had done. I had the same hieroglyphs, but we put them in quite different orders. I had followed the instruction in the lesson, but Sir Alan had failed to tell me about the syntax of written Egyptian. It appears that you write a sentence starting with the verb, then adding the subject, and then adding the object. This is surely an unnecessarily difficult way of speaking, but I cannot really complain about a language that has been dead for nearly a millennium. Tonight, I will do the lesson again and see if my newfound knowledge will get me the correct responses. Pray for me and my sanity. The Sudden Realization That My Cat Is Old: My favorite cat in all the world is Tiger. I have had him since I was quite young. He’s always been a part of my life. Now he’s eleven and beginning to show signs that he is an elderly gentleman, something that I do not care for in the slightest. He sleeps more than ever and seems to be getting lighter. He doesn’t love to run up the stairs anymore. He looks a bit more ragged. He’s still the light of my life and the joy of my existence, and he still loves nothing more than sleeping on top of the book I’m reading or jumping onto my laptop. Every night, I carry him upstairs and put him on the bed, and he is soon curled up into a happily purring pile. I watch him for awhile and try not to think about his mortality. I don’t know what I will do when I don’t have him anymore. I have two other cats in my house that I love dearly, but they have much different personalities from Tiger. He is sweet and always affable. They are a bit feistier. I’m done writing about this now. I’m getting too emotional.