In Which Ella is Jet-Lagged

And…I’m back from Europe.

Today has been spent trying to stay awake until eight p.m. I have one hour to go, and I don’t know if I’ll make it. It is nice, however, to have regular internet access again, and the chance to get back into daily blogging. I’m looking forward to sharing pictures and stories from the trip. Tomorrow, I tell you, tomorrow I’ll begin.

But for now, I’m make myself take another walk around the block before collapsing into my lovely, lovely, absolutely wonderful bed.


In Which Ella Wants to Kill a Groundhog and Has an Infant for a Cat

I was woken up in my least favorite way at four a.m. by screaming. It was not the most pleasant way to start the day.

Max, our self-appointed alpha cat, does this thing where he transforms from a very cuddly sweet kitty to a puffed-up, screaming fur ball of teeth and claws whenever he sees something that looks vaguely alive on the back deck. And I am nearly always the person sent in to diffuse the situation. My arms bear witness to Max’s momentary lapses in sanity.

But because it was four a.m. and I was feeling rather foggy, I put a sweatshirt (which ended up being backwards because I hadn’t bothered to turn on the light), stumbled down the stairs, wrapped Max in a towel, and started pacing around the hall, begging him to calm down so that I could go back to sleep. He ended up falling asleep on my stomach after around twenty minutes, and I dozed off shortly after, only to wake up two more times to repeat the whole cycle. It was like I have an infant for a cat.

This afternoon, I seriously debated buying a gun and shooting the groundhog that’s taken up residence in our backyard and has been the instigator for all of Max’s screaming fits. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal to shoot animals in your backyard, and I don’t know the first thing about firing guns. Instead, I made my dad promise to take me to a shooting range so that I could learn and found a website that sells humane traps for large vermin. Groundhog, your days are numbered, my friend.

Falling Asleep at Dawn

I fell asleep at dawn today, an alluring habit I try to resist, yet despite all of the health consequences lying in bed, watching the sunrise through the slats in the window-shade, continues to be one of my favorite things to do.

There’s something wonderful about watching a new day break and being one of the only people to witness it. Everyone else is still sleepy, foggy with lethargy still, but me, I’m alert. I’ve been busy, moving about, doing things while everyone else rested.

And of course it’s silly. I’ll be sleeping as they do their morning things, take their dogs for walks, sip coffee, drive to work. But they don’t get to operate in the same sort of secret, they don’t get to surprise people with what they’ve been doing.

“Yeah, I cleaned the kitchen and reorganized the magazines. Pretty cool, huh?” I can say and you’ll look around the house and be impressed by all I did while you were asleep. The wonderful deception of the night sliding by quickly when the only thing you’re doing is staring at the backs of your eyelids makes it look like I did the work in the blink of an eye, rather than doing the dishes with as much spite and anger towards the grime as possible and dragging the task on for over an hour. The nasty process gets to be hidden, jammed into the hall closet, under the bin of hats and gloves, and the final product shines. I am capable of magical perfection.

But it’s not just the pride and anticipation of pleasing others that makes falling asleep at dawn so lovely. It’s the joy of lying, swathed in new, fresh light. It feels gentle and easy, the aggression and uncertainty of darkness is being steadily replaced. I don’t have to doubt what’s hiding in the corner or whether I locked the back door. Things feel innocent and pure, nothing can go wrong, I am totally safe, and all I need to do is close my eyes and focus on my breath until I slip away.

This Momentous Victory Requires Confetti and Fireworks, Preferably Not at the Same Time, Because I Don’t Advocate Starting Fires

We got the internet back. It only required turning off the entire phone connection to the house for exactly a minute, calling Verizon a million times, getting a new router overnighted to the house, and crawling around on the floor plugging it all in.

But it was worth.

My oh my, was it worth it. I now have an incredible amount of knowledge at my fingertips, and I’m mad with the power. My eyes are wide, I’m smiling in a slightly terrifying manner, and I’m going to look up every single thing I was curious about in the past four days, but couldn’t find the answer. It’s going to be awesome.

Okay, not all of that is true. I lack the look of manic joy–I’m wearing glasses and pajamas and am curled up in bed with Max and Pushkin–but I actually am checking topics off a list I wrote down in a notebook and wondering why on Saturday I desperately needed to know about the evolution of horses and the etymology of the word “quite.”

Part of me can’t imagine life without the internet. How on earth am I supposed to get all the answers I crave? Am I seriously expected to travel three miles to the library every time I feel slightly curious about a topic? Don’t people understand that knowing Bill Clinton’s hometown is crucial to my everyday survival?

Humor aside, the internet really is what you make of it. It’s a wonderful resource for knowledge and a tantalizing form of brain-rot. I am addicted, sure, but I am very careful to use the internet responsibly. And I’m not just talking basic safety here. I keep time spent on social networking sites as low as possible.

When I go on Facebook, it’s to work out logistics or send someone a message. I don’t spend time stalking people. To me, that’s boring. Occasionally, I’ll chat with someone if I miss them and we haven’t spoken in a while.

I use the queue on tumblr to minimize my time spent on the site. I don’t allow myself to collect more images that would post more than four days past the current date, and I only use the site in the evenings or after I’ve completed a large task.

The people I love on Twitter get their tweets sent to my phone via SMS, and I only look at my full feed when I need something specific.

But when it comes to being curious, I do not hold back. I make a point of looking up everything I don’t know, whether it be a word, a person, an event, or a concept. I want to be as informed as possible. Besides, how can you resist when the world is so endlessly fascinating and surprising? And in a weird way, looking up “Fonzie” manages to explain a bunch of pop culture references I didn’t understand and is a really interesting reflection of America at the time. And don’t get me started on how useful researching Europe’s royal families has been! (I don’t understand why Disney makes their princesses into thin, white girls who get saved by princes. Real royalty is a million times more amazing and the girls kick butt.)

I use the internet become smarter, and while I may spend a lot of time on it, I assure you that only a very, very small percentage is me goofing off or procrastinating. Scouts’ honor.

Now, I just need to keep myself in line so that I don’t spend all night clicking away. Sleep is good, I’ve heard it said, particularly when it is done during normal hours, and I should probably test that theory.

In other news, Maxwell and I are playing that game where I try to use his body to warm up my feet and he keeps inching away from me. Neither of us are winning, but I’m still refusing to wear socks to bed. To be fair, while was showering he just walked into the bathroom, threw up, and left, so we can consider this “getting even.”

In other, other news, I think a pipe is leaking somewhere in my bathroom. This is one thing I do not like about old homes. The charm, good craftsmanship, and the attention to architectural detail is wonderful, but the plumbing always seems to be another matter entirely. I hope our trusty plumber isn’t busy!

As always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Is Mysteriously Exhausted

This past spring, I was a champion sleeper thanks to some medication I had to take for around four months. I could sleep standing up in the shower, waiting for the bus, at my desk, at lunch, and in the car, not to mention sofas and my bed. I would walk around in a lethargic stupor, just waiting to crash. And the evenings were often a race against the clock to get things done before I passed out as early as eight.

Now, in the nature of illnesses, I got better and the need for the medication passed, but for the past few days, I’ve been acting almost as if I’m on it again. Saturday, I fell asleep at six thirty in the evening; I couldn’t even remain awake until the end of the Super Bowl yesterday; and tonight it’s only nine thirty, and my eyes are already drooping shut. It’s terribly frustrating, and I don’t why I’ve been doing it.

To put it simply, I do not like sleep. If it weren’t a medical necessity, I wouldn’t do it. Just think of those tantalizing nighttime hours when you could get all sorts of work done! I could write for more than ten hours a day, and still have time for a full day of teaching and chores. The possibilities are endless! But my sight is now going fuzzy at the edges and my mind feels sluggish, so I should probably abandon my fantasies of sleeplessness and curl up under the covers.


Ella and the Misery of Normal Sleeping Hours

This week’s project has been to get up early, and I must say that it’s got me confused.

First of all, who put all of this extra time in the morning? Is breakfast really supposed to be eaten five hours before noon? What about lunch? Isn’t that supposed to be eaten at three in the afternoon?

And what’s the deal with needing to go to bed before midnight? I mean, who does that? How am I supposed to spend hours in my room, hunched over my laptop, typing if I have to go to bed at ten? This is insanity!

On a much more serious note, it’s been very difficult to get back to a regular sleeping schedule. For the past six months, I’ve been blessed with a very flexible schedule that allows me to become the nocturnal creature that I love. It’s been completely acceptable to stay up until four or five, sleep until noon, and take a cat nap from five to six in the evening.

Unfortunately, the real world does not operate on this marvelous schedule. They clearly don’t love the quiet and darkness of night the way I do. It’s such a pity that its magic doesn’t call to it, alluring and exciting. They don’t love the feel of being the only one awake in the world. They laugh when I tell them that they can’t go to bed because something exciting is going to happen! “Ella, it’s nighttime,” they’ll say, “Nothing happens at three a.m.” But they don’t know the wonder of the dark, and I’d rather not share it, anyway. After midnight until five a.m. is my time.

So join me on another night of climbing into bed absurdly early and dragging myself back out of bed at an hour that I would normally be just falling asleep. It’ll be fun, and I promise not to hog the pillows. Max can attest to my ability to remain stock still while asleep.

This week’s reader-selected post was “How to Shut Up a Bully in French Class.” If you click on the link, you can vote in the poll at the bottom of the post for the topic you’d like to read about next week.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at I’d love for you to follow me on my trek into the wilds of tumblr.

Mugs Are For Hot Beverages And Glasses Are For Dweebs Who Can’t See

This is Cecelia, covering for a super sleepy Ella tonight. I was going to talk about those scary hours (minutes? seconds?) in between sleep and consciousness where you’re not sure if you’re awake or dreaming. And you just had this outlandish/terrifying/heartbreaking dream that your commonroom was a brothel or that Sylvia Plath is and has always been the Dean of Yale College and your roommate got in a fight with you over it and you’re really anxious just because you’re pretty sure what you just experienced was too absurd to be a reality but sometimes life is absurd so maybe not! Ah well. Enjoy this picture of my cat followed by a poem by Charles Bukowski.


The Aliens

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
they have moments of
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their

In Which Ella Falls Asleep Ridiculously Early

Apparently, it is possible for me to start falling asleep before one a.m. I’ve already woken myself up twice from dozing with my head on the desk, so tonight’s longer post will have to wait for tomorrow. If you want to keep voting on its subject, check out the poll in yesterday’s post.

As someone requested more cats, here is a picture of Maxwell hanging out on the stairs. Isn’t he the sweetest?


In Which Ella Pulls an All-Nighter

As I’ve said before, I love the nighttime. No one is up or moving, and I have the world entirely to myself.

So in an attempt to fix my very unhealthy sleep behavior, I am pulling an all-nighter tonight. I know that it sounds incredibly strange, but if I force myself to stay up for so long, I’ll be able to fall asleep at a normal time tomorrow and start waking up at eight and going to bed at eleven like I should. It works out in its own weird way. I need to foricibly restart my internal clock for it to begin to work properly again.

But for now I’ve got the night stretched out before me, a bottle of seltzer at my side, and an endless amount of forms to fill out, college application essays to write, and Christmas cards to address. It’s going to be wonderful.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Go to Sleep, Ella

My desk and dresser in my bedroom are in what used to be a long closet, and there is this space on the wall above the doorway that I’ve long considered to be the perfect place for posting something. The question has always been what.

I’ve got framed pictures on my bookcases, a “French the Llama” poster (A cartoon llama wearing a baret and smoking on a French Flag) above my dresser, two framed close-up photographs of flowers and a shadow box of pinned butterflies above my bed, and three bulletein boards with collages of photographs, postcards, and hand-drawn or painted cards. The room is pretty dolled up as it is, and yet I still feel the need to fill that empty space.

As of yesterday, I think I may have a winner. I think I should paint “Go to sleep, Ella!” in large letters.

I came up with this idea at four thirty in the morning, an hour I’ve been having a torrid affair with for way too long now. Like I’ve said before, I love being up late at night, just check the publication times of these posts, but it doesn’t do me much good in the long run. Falling asleep in the basement at ten in the morning with my head against the washer isn’t a good habit. Neither is taking one-hour naps at around four o’clock almost every day. And those urges to stop my bike rides to nap on an admittedly sodden piece of grass in the park are really quite terrible.

So this really would be the perfect thing to fill the space. I could use stencils and a nice shade of blue to paint it.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit with my mission to make my room look less like the room of teenager with way too many books and more like an adult who lives in a space that actually adheres to her favorite decorating styles  (check out my tumblr or a CB2 catalog if you want to get a feel for what I like). But until I get my act together and fix this book situation, because, dear Lord, is it a huge problem (Also, Santa, another bookshelf for Christmas would be VERY nice.), it probably wouldn’t hurt to cut the letters out of cardstock and tape them to the wall.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.