The blog bully has lately been otherwise engaged and, as you can see, without the tsking, things go all to hell. But here I am. To be honest, I am still not feeling all that chipper. Meanwhile, I feel that all the world is Getting On With It and being all self-actualized and proactive. I secretly feel sort of small and glowery and envious instead of "Go Team!" about the whole thing. I'm not pleased with myself. There also continues to be a fair amount of tearfulness and hand wringing. All in all, it's not been terribly amusing chez moi of late, and I do my best to spare you the really bleak bits. Still, there are sunny moments.

1. I cleaned the apartment. Now, I know that this doesn't seem very noteworthy, but when you are suffering from a sort of tedious malaise, things can get rather untidy. The revolting dishes have been washed; the bathtub is gleaming; the seven wigs' worth of hair that seems to routinely fall out of my head and strew itself around the house has been vacuumed up; all the shoes have made their way back to the closet. And you know what? It's an awfully pretty apartment when given half the chance. It makes me happy to come home to its clutter-free surfaces in the evenings when, during daylight savings, actual rays of sun come into the living room at about 7pm. Sono fortunata.

2. Italiano! In my new class, I am the dumb one, but at least I'm also the funny one (in English, at any rate). I am ploddingly making my way towards an understanding of when you use avere and when you use essere in the passato prossimo. Soon I will be able to tell you what I did yesterday. Actually, let's give it a whirl now. Ieri sera sono stata in classe. La lezione è cominciata alle 19:30. Or (hold onto your hats now) La professoressa ha cominciato la lezione alle 19:30. That's right ladies and gentlemen, I have no fear of your direct objects and their crazy corresponding verb changes. At least not if we stick with cominciare. I feel pretty good about cominciare.

3. Yesterday I managed to do one of my very favorite things: get a phone service rep to talk to me like a normal person and (bonus points) to laugh. If the person is a native English speaker, I usually succeed, but it never fails to please me. Yesterday, while I was talking to a very pleasant woman at my credit card company, she was explaining the benefits of upgrading my reward-earning card to some other reward-earning card. I told her that I didn't see any difference between them.

"Oh no," she said. "There is a very significant difference. Right now, you're in a tiered redemption structure."

"A tiered redemption structure?" I repeated. "I'm pretty sure you're describing Catholicism. That's what I got out of Dante, anyway."

That got the best laugh I've probably ever gotten from a customer service rep. Fortunately, she was Catholic. I think it works better if you're Catholic. So that was a good day. Plus, I'm no longer in a tiered redemption structure, so I'm pretty sure I can do whatever the hell I want. With my credit card, at least. It's a start.