Friday, September 28, 2007

Catching Up

Sorry I have been so neglectful lately. It has been a whirlwind week. As I already mentioned, my parents were in town so I spent all of last weekend working so that I could hang out with them on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. So I'd go to class and work frantically during the day and then hang out with them all night. It was worth it to be able to hang out with them, but man, I don't think I could handle that sort of schedule on a regular basis. I realized how much I rely on my evenings to wind down a bit and get a lot of work done. However, it was also nice to realize that if absolutely necessary, I CAN actually complete all of my work for my week's classes during the course of a weekend, I just don't have time to do anything else at all. So blogging/reading blogs was the first thing to go. Sorry!

Anyway, I had a great time with my parents. We mostly just ate a lot, and drank of course, although I was drinking very moderately, what with it being the middle of the work week. I did have the most delicious drink ever one night, though. It was pineapple-infused vodka, and it was dangerous because it didn't taste like vodka at all. I was expecting it to taste like the flavored vodkas you get at the liquor store, the ones that have a hint of whatever flavor they're supposed to be but still taste pretty strongly of vodka, but no. This was like drinking pineapple juice straight out of a can. There wasn't even really a hint of vodka flavor, and yet it was all vodka. Yum. The bar also had strawberry-kiwi and citrus flavors, so I think I'll be going back to try the other flavors.
We ate at a couple of very nice restaurants in City A and my favorite Italian restaurant near my apartment, and we took that tour of a building that I mentioned last week, and it was very cool. I'll post pictures on my Photobucket account later today and link them to my AIM profile for anyone who hasn't figured out what I'm talking about yet.
All in all, it was a very fun week, and luckily my workload for this upcoming week isn't incredibly huge so I can catch up on sleep today and tomorrow. Tomorrow my aunt, uncle, and one of their two sons are coming to visit (my other cousin is 18 now and would rather stay home and go to a party this weekend). They're driving to my neck of the woods to watch my cousin's favorite baseball team play City B's team, so they decided to come down on Saturday afternoon and check out my apartment and have me show them around the campus (since this school is one of the ones my eighteen year old cousin is going to apply to this fall and my aunt has never seen it). And now that my other cousin isn't coming down for the weekend, it turns out that they have an extra ticket for the baseball game, so I get to do that on Sunday. Fun times.

As for school, everything is still going okay. I'm in kind of a frustrating spot right now because I have two major projects due in November and I'm not sure what I want to do for them yet and it's always nervewracking to know that a project is hanging over your head but not to have had that inspired, "Oh! I know what I want to write about/study!" moment yet. However, I got up early this morning and started kicking around a couple of ideas and I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing now. The class I'm teaching is going very well. The kids had a lot of fun with Wednesday's assignment, and they did well on their first round of quizzes. I also got my first paper from a student the other day (an extra credit assignment) and it is extremely well-written, which makes me happy. The only bad thing is my Tuesday afternoon class. The class itself is fine. Great, even. It's a class on teaching my subject. I'm learing a lot of useful information, and by the time I finish the course I'll have developed an entire college course of my own and have a teaching portfolio. I'm actually very excited about the course I'm developing, too! The thing is, there's this girl from another department that is auditing the course, and she is CRAZY. There is something wrong with her, literally, and it's to the point that it is making all of us extremely uncomfortable. I've never experienced a situation like this in the classroom before and I'll have to devote an entire entry to the whole situation once it (hopefully) gets resolved. I feel like maybe I have already mentioned this girl here in passing, but yeah, she definitely deserves an entry all to herself so hopefully I'll have time in the future to elaborate.

Other than that, I really have nothing to say. I need to clean my apartment and work out. I haven't had time to work out since Sunday and I feel gross right now, so that has to be remedied immediately. It's crazy to me that even though I don't particularly enjoy working out, my body obviously needs it. Two days without a workout is fine, three days is pushing it, and by the time I have gone four days without exerting my body I start to feel really lethargic and just gross. I don't have to do much to make myself feel better, even a 25 minute brisk walk counts in my book. Still, I have to do SOMETHING. It's a healthy addiction, I suppose.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Date Night

I took myself on a fun date tonight!
Despite the fact that I claim to really like movies, I actually rarely go to the movie theatre, or rent movies, or even watch movies for that matter. But I do like movies. Really! The thing is, I tend to see a preview for something and go, "Oh, that looks really interesting," but then I forget that I wanted to see it or if I do remember it's usually like, "Eh, who else is going to want to see that with me?" (because my tastes can be a bit unusual) and I just never make the time to actually go. I have such a multi-tasking personality that it's hard for me to justify going to a theatre where you just have to sit still and watch something for 2 1/2 hours. That's a long time to do just one thing. [As a side note, I don't feel these same qualms about spending 2 to 3 hours watching a live show. Possibly it's because in some ways I can justify this as "doing something productive", and possibly it's because no matter how often I go to the theatre, it never stops feeling like a special event that involves dressing up and really making a night of it.] Anyway, pretty much the only time I see movies is when I'm in my hometown because my mother likes movies, too, and she likes the same sort of movies I do (and unlike me, she both likes movies and actually goes to them regularly!)
In short, it has been a very, very long time since I went to a movie on a Friday night. And I don't think I've been to a movie on a Friday night by myself ever. By myself, yes, but not on a Friday night. But I realized the other day that Across the Universe finally came out. You may recall that I've been wanting to see this movie since I first saw a preview for it back in May, and I was determined this time that I wasn't going to miss it. I suspect it won't stay in theaters long (Americans on the whole aren't very into movie musicals, even those based on the Beatles songbook) so I was like, "Oh, better go see it before it leaves town! Maybe I'll make it my fun activity for the weekend!" So that's exactly what I did. I thought about calling the other Ph.D. girls to see if any of them wanted to go with me, but ultimately I decided that I really just wanted to go by myself because, well, sometimes I just don't feel like fighting against my antisocial side. It takes some effort for me to socialize, even with people I really like, and I just wanted today to be relaxing altogether. So I drove down to...hmmmm, what shall I call this place? City A Minor. Ahahaha, I amuse myself, at least. So I drove down to City A Minor and made it into my seat exactly at the moment the movie began.
I really liked the movie. Visually, it was a treat. And lets face it, the visuals were the main reason I wanted to see this particular movie because nobody in the world does visual effects quite like Julie Taymor. The singing was also very good. I'm sure there are some Beatles purists out there that are pissed off that the music was changed up a bit, but I thought all of the musical numbers were arranged well and strongly sung. My only complaint is that the movie had the wrong amount of plot. I think it could be argued that there wasn't enough of a plot. The movie was sort of jumpy and episodic, especially at first, so it was hard to really care about the characters because you just don't find out that much about them. I'm going to argue the opposite, though: I think there was too MUCH plot. The best thing about the movie was how trippy and strange and beautiful it was during many of the musical numbers, and since the singing was so strong and the acting was for the most part just mediocre, I wish the movie had just gone from one music number to the next and left the majority (possibly all) of the dialogue out of it. I think the story still would have made sense since most of the songs were used in pretty literal ways, and anything else could just be excused by saying, "It's the 60s, it's supposed to be trippy." Of course, I realize that that would have half the audience leaving the theater in a huff because they just accidentally saw a rock opera. Still, I for one would have liked it even better if it had pushed the envelope a bit more. In summary, though, I definitely think this is a movie worth seeing. I will definitely watch it again, which is pretty much the highest praise I ever give.
The only downside to going to the movies on a Friday night was that I'd forgotten that the vast majority of people who go to movies on Friday nights are fifteen years old. Ah, yes, how could I forget the days of being dropped off at the theater by somebody's mom so that you could watch a movie before being picked up by somebody else's mom and chauffered to someone's house for a sleep over. This was pretty much every other weekend of my life from 1995 to 1998, and as much as I would like to pretend that I knew how to behave in a theater and didn't giggle with my girlfriends at inappropriate moments and whisper stupid comments through half the movie, I'm sure my old journal entries would prove otherwise. Sigh. It's amazing how quickly teenagers (and, to a slightly lesser extent, college undergrads) become annoying once you're not one anymore. I try really hard to be understanding since it's not like that part of my past is really all that far in the past yet. And luckily the various giggling groups of girls finally settle down and shut up ten minutes into the movie. Still, I think I'll try to hit a Sunday matinee the next time I decide to take myself on a movie date.
The movie theater happened to be in this really nifty part of City A Minor, one of those revitalized downtown areas anchored by a Borders and a Whole Foods and full of other stores and restaurants. I'm glad I discovered it and can add it to my list of fun places to go. I wandered around a bit after the movie got out and in my wandering I ended up in Ulta, where I bought two bottles of nail polish and some ginger-scented body butter which I really didn't need but hey, I was on a date with myself and I've made it through four whole weeks of school without even the slightest hint of a meltdown so I deserve a treat. All in all, I think I made a very good date. And even though I can't exactly let myself go crazy with spending or wasting time, I think I should definitely take myself out more often because it makes me happy.

Speaking of things that make me happy, my parents are coming to town on Momday! My dad has a convention in City A, so I'm going to get to hang out with them Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Unfortunately, those are my busiest days of the week, but I'm trying to get most of my homework done this weekend so I can hang out with them next week without feeling guilty about it.
We already have fun things planned. On Monday night, my parents and my cousin Rae and I are going to this restaurant in City A that has been around since 1856 and was apparently a favorite place of many historical figures. It sounds like it's going to be a pretty place, and I've been drooling over the online menu samples.
Then Tuesday should be very interesting. I'm going out with my parents and the other conveneers from my home state and we're having dinner at another nice restaurant and then taking a private tour of an Important Building where Very Important, History-Making Things Happen All the Time. You can take public tours of this building, but I think a private tour will be extra cool (or, you know, extra nerdy-cool. Whatever). I'm hoping it's a true private tour and we get to go places that are normally off-limits. Either way I'm excited, though, because I have seen this place but never been inside of it.
I'm just as excited about the food, though. I had to e-mail my menu choices to Dad today, and here's what I picked:
For the salad course: Field lettuces with Pipe Dream Farm goat cheese emulsion, spiced pecans, and dried fruits.
For the appetizer: Crab cakes: sauteed jumbo lump crab with sweet onion slaw and Creole aioli
And for my entree: Lamb: roasted strip loin with marguez sausage, artichoke ragout, oven-dried tomatoes and black olive jus.
Doesn't that sound delicious? You have no idea how excited I get about eating at restaurants that I can't afford on my own, especially restaurants that involve menus that make me go, "Hmmm, I have no idea what that word means, but it says "goat cheese" so I'm there!!" I am a restauranteur's dream, because I utterly and completely buy into restaurants that hype themselves as being posh and award-winning. This is why I need a sugar daddy. Or at least someone like me who sometimes likes to pretend I come from a world where hundred dollar dinners are the weekend norm. After all, I don't think I could be with someone who wouldn't at least TRY the artichoke ragout. Then again, I'll also eat a hot dog from the truck parked outside the bar so let's just be honest here: if it involves food in any way, shape, or form, I'm excited about it.

Anyway, I need to get some work done so I can enjoy the upcoming food fest.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I woke up this morning and realized that I was completely wrapped up in my comforter, hundred degree hound dog curled up against my stomach, and despite this I was comfortable, not sweaty.
I took the dog outside for a quick morning walk and I was almost too chilly in my t-shirt.
I had my balcony door open all afternoon to let the breeze in, and for a while during the afternoon I could actually hear a marching band practicing somewhere in the distance, and it was not my imagination.
I felt the need to drink two mugs of hot tea as I was reading this evening.
The sunlight is starting to slant at that angle. You know the one. For me, it will always mean homecoming bonfires and Friday night football games, helping my grandmother pick out a pattern for my perfect Halloween costume, buying pumpkins and chili ristras at a farmers market and then racing my family through a maze carved into a field of corn, and turning another year older.

Someone changed the set this morning. Fall is here.


I'm sorry, but I just have to bitch for a second. Everything has been all sunny and happy and chipper around lately, and that's mostly reflecting my real life at the moment. But sometimes I'm just going to need to whine for a minute, and this is one of those times.*

I have just spent the past three hours working on an assignment for my intro to doctoral studies course. I'm only about halfway done with it, which means I can plan on devoting at least three more hours to this assignment. And do you know what the assignment is? It's effin' busy work, that's what it is! It's a list of resources (online databases, archives, a couple of books [that I'm going to have to trek to the damn library for], etc.) and for each one we have to write a long paragraph about its contents, organization, and usefulness. I am glad that I have this list of resources, and I think it has been good for me to go through and look up each one so that I can get a general idea of how it can help me in my future research. I get the point of the assignment. But I also could have gotten the point without having to write a detailed paragraph on every single one of the resources. 90% of the list is online databases. How many different ways can you say "this database lists search results by relevance and can be searched by keywords as well as title and..." Meh. This just feels like something I would have had to do in high school. The more annoying thing, though, is that the professor who assigned this obviously put no thought into the assignment at all whatsoever. It was clearly a cut-and-paste job, as evidenced by references to questions 7 and 8 (which don't exist). And I don't think he cut-and-pasted from an old assignment he wrote, either. I'm pretty certain this assignment was created by the person who taught the course last year, which leads me to believe he really has no idea what he even assigned us in the first place. I highly doubt he's even going to read all of this information, which leads me to wonder why I'm busting my ass to do it. But it will be just my luck that if I treat this like the BS assignment it is, he'll call me out on it and I'll end up with a bad grade on the assignment. Which leads me to the other problem, which is that he hasn't given us a real syllabus yet so I have no idea how much this assignment is even worth. Grrrrr. Oh, and the biggest problem of all, which is that he wants all of us to e-mail our assignments to him and each other by Sunday afternoon, a full 24 hours before class time. And apparently that's how it's going to be every week. Which sucks. And on an assignment like this it makes no sense, because this assignment has nothing to do with opinions. For the first time in years I'm doing an assignment that has actual, black-and-white right or wrong answers. Which, frankly, means that I'll be putting off e-mailing my assignment until the very last minute just because I want to see what the other girls are doing to make sure I'm on the right track before I turn mine in. Of course, they probably all have the same idea. The whole thing is just really, really stupid.

Alright, I'm done ranting. I was warned about the disorganization of this prof before I started the class, so I'm not surprised. I just think there has to be a better way to do this assignment. Like this, for example: if we all have to e-mail our assignments to each other anyway, why doesn't each of us just research a few resources in depth and share our research with each other? Then we'd all get an even more comprehensive overview of each resource, the assignment would take a much more reasonable amount of time to complete (because six hours on busy work is really, really ridiculous) and it wouldn't be completely and utterly pointless to be e-mailing this assignment to each other 24 hours early.

*I know karma is gonna come back and bite me in the butt. Someday, I'm going to have students writing scathing e-mails about the stupid, pointless work I assign. But that doesn't mean I can't whine right now anyway. The other day when I was wading through my 400 page reading assignment I complained about it to Phil, and he said, "No. You're not allowed to complain about school, ever." And I get where he's coming from, sort of. I do want to be here. I chose this lifestyle, and I'm lucky to be doing exactly what I (think) I want to do. But I also think I can realize that, acknowledge it, and still have a right to bitch about my life once in a while. This is going to be really, really hard and I'm going to need to vent sometimes. Besides, I don't think there's a person in the world who doesn't occasionally whine about what they are doing in life. You can love your child with every ounce of your being but still wish s/he'd disappear until the screaming fit is over. You can passionately love your significant other but still look forward to having the house to yourself for once. You can have the most satisfying, meaningful, enjoyable career in the world and still prefer weekends. I don't think that finally getting what you want in life means that you're only allowed to be 100% happy and satisfied every second of every day. We're all human, after all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Somebody Buy Me an Elephant Cake!

I'm watching Ace of Cakes right now (because I'm completely addicted to all things cake decorating, even though I have no actual inclination to bake OR decorate cakes myself, I just love watching other people do it) and Duff and crew just made the cutest elephant cake ever. I love it. I want one, badly, although I don't think I would actually eat it. So maybe what I really want is a large cuddly-looking elephant figurine rather than an elephant cake. Whatever. I realized a couple of weeks ago that in theory I now live close enough to Charm City that I could commission myself a cake. Of course, the fact that at a bare minimum the cakes cost $500 and they need at least ten weeks' notice makes the whole idea sort of prohibitive. Maybe eventually I'll have a special occasion that warrants an awesome cake.

So it's Thursday, which means I made it through another week. Three whole weeks into the school year, this was my first full week (the first week was only Wednesday and Thursday, and then last week there was no Monday since it was Labor Day). It's good to finally have an idea of what my entire schedule is going to feel like for the rest of the semester. So far it's still feeling quite manageable. Sure, I feel like I'm just squeezing everything in, basically. I honestly don't know how people with kids or significant others can do this, because I'm always barely a step ahead of the game and it's just me by myself here with no other responsibilities. I guess you always find time for what you really want to find time for, though, and if that were my situation I would make it work. I guess what I'm trying to say is that my schedule is not so easy that I feel like I could take on a bunch of other tasks, but right now I am getting all of my reading and assignments done, having time for a couple of social events each week, and still getting 6 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep every night AND working out regularly. I feel like that's a really good balance and I'm going to try to maintain it as long as possible. Especially the sleep thing.
The problem is that sleeping the proper amount is always the first thing to go when life gets busy, and I know that. That's how I know that things are manageable right now: I'm still sleeping. There was a period of time in college when I was student teaching and having to get up at 7 a.m. but still wanting to booze with my friends and fool around with my not-a-boyfriend until the wee hours. This meant I was regularly sleeping only about 4 to 5 hours a night. And while I actually can function on that small amount of sleep for quite a long time, it's obviously not healthy. AT ALL. Um, and not just because I was substituting vodka and other bedroom activities for sleep, although that was certainly part of the problem. I remember when I finished school that semester and actually had time to sleep again I had the most amazing, vivid dreams for weeks. I think it's because in some way my brain was a bit screwed up from being sleep deprived for months and all that dreaming was a way of getting back on track.
At any rate, I'm not looking forward to getting back into that sort of pattern, so I keep trying to be grateful for the fact that I'm single because for me single=time to be healthy. I may be happier when I'm in a relationship (maybe) but I'm definitely better at balancing my time and treating myself well when I'm single. So there's that.

Anyway, as for school itself, it's still going well. I got more positive feedback in my Wednesday class this week, all of my other classes seem to be going fine, and I am enjoying teaching my intro kids. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune the first time I have to grade their papers, but for right now they seem fairly willing to participate and engaged with the material. Sure, there are a couple of minor problem kids in both classes, like the guy in the front row who slept all day Wednesday. I didn't call him on it, mostly because I was just sort of impressed by the fact that someone could sleep so deeply that nothing stirred him until class ended, and even then pretty much everyone had left the room before he popped his eyes open and looked around startled to realize everyone else was gone. He was sitting straight up as he slept, too. That's one tired person. I also didn't call him on it because, frankly, from last week's discussion I can tell that he's already miles ahead of the rest of the class conceptually. Since I was lecturing this week instead of leading discussion (the prof is already behind in the syllabus due to an emergency that cut the big lecture class short on Monday so we were trying to play catch up) and since I was lecturing on material that is covered in their text book, I don't blame him for being bored. He's the sort of kid that's smart enough to not need my explanation of the basics. That's still no reason to blatantly sleep through a lecture, but I let it slide this week. If it happens next week when we're back to the discussion format, though, I'm going to be counting him absent and talking to him about it because it's one thing to sleep through my lecture but I can't really give him credit for discussion if he's sleeping.

I'm trying to think of something else to tell you about, but it has been a pretty low key week and I don't have much to say. My plan is to not do much this weekend, either. My parents are coming to town the week after next and I'd like to have time to actually hang out with them without feeling guilty about piles of work waiting for me at home, so I'm going to try to lay low this weekend and get a ton of work done. We'll see how that goes.

This feels kind of disjointed. Sorry. It's the end of the week, my brain is a bit fried. I'll leave you with two more quick thoughts:
a) I have yet to have one of those, "What the-? I really don't understand what you're talking about" moments in class. I have also yet to come across anything that wasn't at least somewhat familiar. So far the work has been exactly what I was expecting: the same basic sort of work I was doing in my MA program, just amplified (very amplified in some cases-you should know that I read 400 pages FOR ONE CLASS this week. No I'm not kidding. Yes, I really did read it all. Yes, I am something of a speed reader. I did have to read literally all day on Saturday to accomplish that task, though so I'm not quite superhuman. No, it's not always quite that bad and this was a particularly heavy reading week in that class). Anyway, the only things that are throwing me for a loop a bit are issues specifically related to systems and routines at this university. Basically, I feel like I am about as prepared for this task as anyone else here. That makes me feel good, like I actually belong here. It also makes me scared, however, because usually I'm worried about my performance and then I end up doing really well. The fact that I'm not that worried worries me. Stupid, I know, but there ya go.
b) I have been doing a month-long workout routine (I already mentioned this, didn't I?). I'm almost done with week two. The workout has specific things that you have to do every day, so I haven't been able to use my usual twenty days a month plan. Instead, this workout has me doing something every day but Sundays. This isn't a routine I'd ever attempt to maintain in the long term but it has taught me something important. There were two days this week where, if I was doing my normal twenty days a month thing, I would have skipped working out that day and just done it on another day when I had more energy. But I am determined to do everything I can to get the promised results from this workout, and skipping a day in the middle of the week would screw it up. So both nights when I got home from class I looked longingly at the couch but then sucked it up, put on my workout clothes, and did my weight or interval training. And you know what? Both nights after my workout I had such a rush of energy that I was able to stay up and work for hours. Had I napped on the couch instead, I probably would have just kept napping and accomplished nothing. Moral of the story? There's no such thing as being too tired to work out, because working out will actually make you feel better than if you had taken a nap. Seriously, it will. I have always read that in motivational articles: "Go for a thirty minute run and you'll feel so much better about yourself AND you'll have energy" but I didn't really buy it. I do now, though. Try it and see if it works for you.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Did anyone else see Britney Spears on the VMAs last night? I didn't, actually, because I was too busy using my FREE ticket to the press night of an awesome production at a theater in City A and then enjoying free food and mango mojitos at the reception afterwards, but anyway.* I watched the video on the internet right now and wow, did that SUCK or what? I mean, not that anyone is actually surprised by this because the girl sucked back in 1999 when we were all supposed to be duped into thinking she actually had the skills, and her complete and utter lack of any substantial talent has finally been revealed. Plus she has just been a hot mess for months now and, frankly, I feel sort of sorry for her.

But I have to admit that it's kind of fun--fun in a very mean way--to watch the video and remember when she had a rockin' body and realize that at this moment my body is better than hers. I think that even right now her body is fine (the only reason we're all going "Whoa, Brit, what happened?" is because she used to be unnaturally thin and fit) but it's kind of satisfying to realize that my abs are currently better than Britney Spears'. So yeah, yeah, I haven't given birth to two children. And I don't have the boobs she is currently sporting, but I wasn't born with the cleavage gene and, um, boobs that big are either fake or body fat. [Yes, boobs, are pretty much just fat. Just in case you didn't know that. Which of course you did, although try telling that to a room full of guys. How guys can love boobs but simultaneously bitch about girls with chubby stomachs/butts/thighs is beyond me because, hello punks, BOOBS ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF FAT, TOO! Be consistent! If you like boobs, then you'd better like thighs, hips, and ass, because 95% of the time you don't get one without all the others. Not in nature, anyway. And big can be very beautiful, so I wish guys would realize that if they like big boobs then they need to accept all that comes along with them. Oy. Can you tell I'll take a leg man over a boob man any day of the week? I just think leg guys are more reasonable in general. That and, um, no boobs here, remember? So it's not like I attract the boob men anyway. Okay, done with my rant.]
Where was I? Oh, yes, Britney at the VMAs. All I'm saying is that if she can dance (or, uh, sway awkwardly) on national TV in her underwear, then maybe I should spend the rest of this warm weather spell strutting around in a bikini. Suddenly I'm feeling like if she can be half-naked on stage, then ALL of us should be embracing our bodies right now and going, "Hmmm, I'm just as hot as she is. At this point, probably hotter! And at least half the country isn't judging me on the internet."

*This is one of the many times that I really hate that I decided to go as anonymous as possible, because I would love to write a whole entry about this play but then readers could google it and find out my location and blah, blah, blah. I don't think anyone actually cares that much about tracking me down and 90% of you are people who know me in real life and know exactly where I am anyway, but still. Better to be safe than sorry.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Need Clothes!

I had a really weird dream last night. A dream that involved being back in college, except that college in this case was combined with Las Vegas, which was interesting to say the least. Oh, and at one point there was also a yacht of some sort, but maybe that was a different dream.
I felt odd in the dream, like I was an outsider and had no clue what was going on with everyone else. My actual college experience was nothing like that. In fact, I felt relatively popular and attractive and in-the-loop throughout most of college. So it was sort of unsettling to have a dream where suddenly I wasn't part of the crowd.
I do know exactly where this dream came from, though. Last night on a break from reading I was clicking around Facebook and I came across a couple of groups made by people from my old college department. And I realized that a) I only knew a couple of people in each of the groups and b) I had no idea what places they were talking about. It's amazing to think how much the department has changed within only two years. The only people that are still students there this year are people that were freshmen the year I graduated, and by the time I was a senior I was off campus student teaching and when I went out it was mostly to bars where the young ones couldn't go, so of course I never knew many of the freshmen. So I'm not really surprised that I don't recognize names and faces anymore. The thing that's stranger to try to grasp is that none of the places are the same, either. The campus itself has changed drastically since I left because they're doing all these crazy construction projects, but that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how there are already dozens of new bars that didn't exist in 2005, and how if I went back now and talked about the two houses we used to party at all the time, nobody would know what I was talking about. There probably isn't a single person there now who remembers who Travis is, much less remember the days when the party was always at Trav's house. I bet all of the traditions that were important to me and my friends (the Scandalous Christmas Party, the winter "formal", Monday night bowling, etc., etc.) don't exist anymore. It's just funny to me that I'm only two years and a few months removed from college and already it feels like there's a completely different generation there. I'm also suddenly realizing where older people get some of their animosity towards the younger generations, because I could feel myself scoffing as I read the Facebook pages last night: "Ha, you think your parties were awesome, you should have been there in MY day." "You think that's funny? Kid, you don't KNOW funny." And I know that's a silly reaction. If they think they're having awesome parties and being witty, they probably are. I think it's dangerous to let yourself fall into a place where you're looking back at the "good old days" and automatically assuming that your time in a particular place was the best it could ever be, so I'm trying not to let myself do that. It's hard not to get carried away by the nostalgia, though. I loved college. Even looking back and going, "Hmmm, in retrospect that wasn't the smartest thing I ever did", I realize that I still fundamentally liked the self I was in college (and even the stupid things, well, they taught me something). I'm in a different phase of my life now and I don't think I would go back to my college lifestyle if given the option. I'm fairly content with where I am right now. But at the same time it's a little bit sad to realize that I really can't go back, not just because I have changed but because the place itself has changed so much as well.

So yeah, the dream was kind of unsettling, but the upside to the dream was that for whatever reason everyone in the dream had really cool clothes, including me. Actually, I regularly wear much better clothes in my dreams than I manage to wear in real life. What's that all about? Is anyone else even aware of their dream outfits? Right at this moment I can still vividly remember three dresses from different dreams that I really wish existed in real life. Anyway, last night's dream had a lot of cool clothes and it got me thinking about all the things I need to update my wardrobe. I really want:
-Running shoes/sneakers of some sort (this is definitely an actual NEED as the last time I bought a pair of tennis shoes was January of 2006 and you all know I work out a lot)
-Brown boots
-On that note, warm boots that can actually be worn in snow because apparently it really is going to snow sometimes.
-A really warm coat. This is also a pretty big need because first of all, I don't currently have any jackets that are appropriate for truly cold weather, and second of all, the last time I got a new coat was five years ago (wow, I just now did the actual math on that, and that's a sad realization. One of the jackets I still wear most often in the winter is a--I'm not even kidding about this--present from my SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY. Obviously, coats weren't a real priority where I lived before). It would be extra nice to have something casual and something a little more dressy, but just one decently warm coat would be good enough for now.
-Tights/leggings of some sort to use under dresses through the fall and then under jeans for extra warmth when it starts getting cold
-A couple of suits. I'm not going to worry about this one quite yet, but eventually this will become a need, too.
-Another pair of black dress pants since the only pair I have is really form fitting and good for going out but not as good for teaching or business casual situations.
-More scarfs and gloves (I only have one scarf and one pair of gloves right now and it would be nice to have some variety)

I think that's it for now. It's kind of amazing to me that I have so many clothes and yet don't have some of the most important basics. Mostly I'm missing winter basics, obviously. I guess I'll just work through the list gradually. And I do have a birthday coming up pretty soon, so that might help me begin to make a dent in the list.

Alright, I have to go, I'm off to City A to treat my dog to an afternoon in the awesome dog park.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Tonight I discovered that the cab drivers in City B have GPSs (hmmm...what's the plural of GPS?) I kind of feel like that's cheating, don't you? I remember when I was living in London I had a conversation with one of my cab drivers and he was telling me how hard it was to train as a cab driver in London because all the streets are so twisty and random and I was really impressed. Not so much with the City B cab drivers, though. Anyone could be a cab driver if they had GPS. Also, is anyone else annoyed with the fact that cabbies are ALWAYS on the cell phone these days? They all have some sort of hands free system and just babble away on it the whole damn time. This is the case in City B and was the case last time I was in New York, too, and I honestly wouldn't care except that I don't feel like they even really pay attention to my requests anymore because they're too busy gabbing on the phone. Tonight both Rae and her husband told the cab driver three different times where we wanted to go (home) and he still ended up dropping us off in front of a random club in their neighborhood because, according to him, we didn't tell him specifically where we wanted to go and he assumed we wanted to go to another club. Um. Okay. Whatever.
Other than the dumb cab driver (and even that wasn't a big deal at all, just something I suddenly feel the need to comment on) tonight was a fun night in City B. Rae, her husband and I went to the trendy and happenin' part of City B and had delicious pizza and hit a dive bar with a cool DJ and a "skanky music club" (Rae's words, not mine, although the description was quite accurate). I enjoyed myself. I hadn't actually been dancing in a while so it was nice to get a chance to do that. Rae is kind of bummed because she and Jon really only know one other couple in City B so far (remember, they just moved here, too) and just this week the couple announced that they're pregnant WITH TWINS so now Rae doesn't have a local drinking buddy anymore. So tonight we toasted the fact that because I'm not even in a relationship I won't be pregnant anytime soon and will therefore probably be a covenient drinking buddy right up until the point that Jon and Rae decide they're gonna create a baby of their own (which probably won't be all that long, honestly, Jon is already talking about it). Of course, now I'm all paranoid because there's no better way to get pregnant than to gleefully toast that you are not pregnant now and will not be pregnant any time in the remotely near future. Then again, being pregnant would require actual real life intercourse so I don't think I have anything to worry about at this point. Ha.
Also, I need to go up to City B more often, I think. Last time I went up there Rae gave me a skillet and a soup pot (apparently they got some duplicate items off their wedding registry) and this time I got a pair of pinstripe pants that she bought but didn't end up liking after all. Sweet!
Oh, and also, we were talking tonight and we came to the realization that of all the girl grandchildren on my dad's side of the family (and there are 11 of us) I'm the only really girly one. All the other girls on my dad's side of the family are kind of tomboyish. We realized that I'm the only one that a) regularly wears makeup and b) never played any sort of organized sport (amongst other extremely girly traits). Luckily I look exactly like my father, so even though my girly girl side obviously comes from my mom's genes, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that I'm his offspring.

I guess I don't really have anything else exciting to say tonight. I spent the day cleaning the apartment and reading, and I think tomorrow will be a reading day as well. I'm determined to not fall behind this early in the semester, because that would be sort of ridiculous. Besides, if I get a lot of work done tomorrow maybe I can hang out in City A on Sunday. Yeah!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I just want to say that I'm having a really good day today. Wednesdays are my really long day, but at least today felt really productive. By 3:00 I had already sat in on the lecture for the class I TA, led my two discussion sections (Which involved actual discussions! I love the beginning of the school year when everyone is enthusiastic and actually prepared), eaten a healthy lunch, and worked out.
Then tonight's class went well. I felt like I made some valid and interesting points in discussion, and Dr. Scary wrote, "This is a good start" on the top of my response paper so yay! A positive first impression!
And then tonight after class I went out with the three other new PhD students for wings and beer, which was a lot of fun. And tomorrow I'm having lunch with Mari and Stacy (one of the new PhDs I was out with tonight) and then possibly going out for drinks with a couple of other people tomorrow night, and then Friday night Rae invited me to come up to City B again, and Sunday my dog and I have another playdate set up in City A...I'm sorry to keep harping on this, but seriously, you have no idea how strange this much of a social life so early in a new phase of my life is for me. [Wow, that's the most awkward sentence ever! I'm gonna leave it.] When I went off to college I met people and started going out right away but I was so sad about leaving my boyfriend that I didn't really enjoy anyone else's company until about November, and for most of the first semester of my freshman year I felt like everyone was doing better at the whole college social scene than I was. When I started my MA program, I seriously don't think I went out with anyone other than my sister until like, January. I mean, I must have done SOMETHING social once in a while, but I honestly don't remember really hanging out outside of class with anyone until I started hanging out with Maddi, and we may have gone out once or twice my first semester but I don't really remember going out until my second semester. And then I rapidly made up for lost time, but still. The point I am trying to make is that I do not make friends easily. I am not the outgoing one, I am pretty much a hermit by nature. So it's absolutely shocking to me that I already have people here that I would consider friends, and that I'm already trying to figure out how to balance school work and my social life.
Maybe all my worrying and negativity before coming up here actually had a positive effect, because now I'm just so amazed any time something is good that I spend every day going, "Wow, this wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be! In fact, it's actually REALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME!"
So yeah. I'm still waiting for the bomb to drop. But in the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy myself, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"For these snakes are not normal snakes, no, they shoot smaller snakes out of their mouths..."

So I had a fabulous weekend. How was yours?

Obviously I survived Friday night's subway ride. In fact, I discovered that it's actually just fine late at night, so that's good to know for future reference.

Kiki and I had a great weekend. It's so exciting to me that we live close enough now to see each other on weekends! I know, I know, in theory there was the whole 2005-2006 school year when we did in fact live about as far from each other as we do now and somehow we still only managed to see each other like, two or three times that whole year. But! That trip involved us actually driving our own cars, whereas now there are cheap buses or trains and somehow spending several hours in transit is much, much more appealing when someone else is doing the driving. Plus now we both live in more exciting places so the incentive to travel is a bit higher. It is for me, anyway. Not that Kiki is not reason in and of itself to visit a place, because I have visited her single intersection hometown multiple times and thoroughly enjoyed myself. However, the option of visiting her in New York is obviously a bit more exciting.

Anyway, the weekend. On Saturday we slept in and then went for a walk around the lake since the weather was nice and for a change it wasn't horribly humid. Then Saturday night we went into City A to meet Rae. We started out by attending that play festival I talked about, which ended up being a bit of a bust. Being in that theatre space was cool, but the two things we saw were nothing to rave about (in fact, the first thing we sat in on was almost too painful to watch). But oh well, that's part of the fun of live theatre. The bad is REALLY painful, but every now and then you get something really amazing and it exceeds anything you could ever experience through a TV or movie screen. After the show we headed over to this trendy nightlife part of town and got all yuppie by eating dinner at a tapas restaurant and then drinking at a sleek wine bar, where we met a man (woman?...I mean, it was definitely a guy but judging by the purse and the patent leather heels the proper pronoun in this case would be "she") who was sporting rhinestone knuckles. You know, like brass knuckles but covered in rhinestones. It was pretty amazing.
I know I keep saying this, but I still can't believe that I actually live here now, that when I go out at night this is where I will drink and laugh and flirt. It's just so much more interesting than any other place I have ever lived. And I have liked everywhere else I lived, too, don't get me wrong, but there's something different about being here. I don't really know how to put my finger on what I like about this place. Maybe right now it's just that it's all new. Maybe it's the different energy here. Because it is different in a way I can't quite explain. There's something kind of...gritty here that for whatever reason is appealing to me right now. Don't ask me to explain it better than that, because I can't (who prefers gritty to pretty and easy, after all?), but Rae and I were talking about it on Saturday night and she obviously gets it, too. Part of it too is this really nice combination of being able to go into substantial, very urban-feeling cities when I feel like it and then being able to come home at night to my very suburban-feeling home. Right now it's feeling like the best of both worlds, and I'm loving it. I wonder how quickly the novelty will wear off...

Anyway, Sunday was a completely different sort of day but equally enjoyable. Kiki and I lounged by the pool for a couple of hours and then went to Target (where I found a cute shirt for $2.48, long live Target!) and then went to see The Nanny Diaries. The book doesn't really translate very well to movie form, which I kind of suspected would be the case before I saw it, but it was still a cute movie. Laura Linney was in it and I like her. Plus I hardly ever go to movies and I forget sometimes how nice it is to just sit in the dark and drink a Coke and not do anything for a few hours. I'm too Type A to just sit and watch movies at home without doing something else at the same time. Maybe I should go to movies more often just to make myself chill out for a while.

Kiki had to go back to the city today, and I was sad to say goodbye to her but hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in a trip up there sometime in the next month or two, or she'll come down here again. The rest of today was still good, though. First of all, the Justin Timberlake concert was on HBO and even though watching it on TV wasn't remotely as fun or exciting or, uh, hot as seeing it in real life back in March, I still watched the whole thing. I don't even bother trying to defend my Justin Timberlake love anymore. I'm a proud fan. The guy puts on a damn good show and if I could pick only a handful of albums to listen to for the rest of my life, FutureSex/LoveSounds would be one of them. It's good for dancing, cleaning the house, working out, sex (of course) and I don't like to listen to music when I read or study, and since reading/studying is pretty much the only other thing I do, what more could I need?*
Anyway, today was also good because I ordered my new computer today. It'll probably get here sometime around the end of the month. It's a very belated graduation present from my parents. My goal is to keep this computer charged and in working order so that I'll have two laptops to get me through the rest of grad school. So yay for a new computer.
Alright, I have to go be serious and read Plato for a while. Good night.

*You may think I'm kidding when I say that the only things I do on a regular basis are dancing, cleaning the house, working out, sex, and reading/studying, but no, that's pretty much true. It's especially true if you count walking the dog as working out and cuddling with the dog and cat as part of reading time. Oh, but I should clarify that dancing isn't exactly an every-single-day-occurrence. And sex, sadly, is not really happening these days so I'm not even sure if I can count it. I mean, I have a pretty active social life (surprisingly active, considering I just moved) and I DO do other things obviously, but if you're wondering what I'm doing at any given moment, one of the things on that list is a pretty sure bet.