Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Oh my god, this post from Dooce EXACTLY describes what it is like when I am hungry. I am exactly like her, when I get hungry and decide the only option is to die. And this is when people so often want to give me choices, no! That is not helpful! I am so happy she could put into words what it is like to be me on low blood sugar.

Anyway, I always carry a granola bar with me.

ze stress

So the getting married is kind of exciting, even though I was somewhat opposed to it in the past. I think it is all about participating in such a huge cultural event. So many societal implications! As I surf the internet, reading things about weddings, I become more and more convinced I want to have a party with people. We are all over the picnic in a park dealie, maybe even potluck? BUT what about the rain? Indeed, the rain is a problem. We need a backup plan. There are apparently few or no parks in New York City that contain picnic shelters. I grew up across the street from a park with about a million, but that is not the way we roll here. R and I suspect it is out of meanness to the homeless people, who would probably sleep in them. We are thinking of renting a tent but it is also spendy. Alas, what to do. I am going away to conference the rest of this week and over the weekend, but I think after that we need to do some footwork and tour some parks.

The second problem is the officiant. Apparently they are often $300! WTF?? It is out of control. For us, the ceremony is not very important and we want it short and too the point, so that seems like a huge waste of money. Also, why does someone 'official' need to be involved? More and more I am for the abolition of 'marriage' as a civil institution to be replaced by civil unions between any two people and marriage as a religious ceremony. So we might go to city hall on a Friday with our fams, and then have a party the next day, if we can come up with a rain plan.

My other stress is that I feel my dissertation is going too slowly. I am just not into it lately. I have been having a hard time balancing it with my part time job. The problem is my part time job often involves me getting up at 5:30, and then when I get off work I am exhausted. I am really going to try harder, because once I graduate I won't have to pay tuition, and I can get a real job and then I can worry about money less.

So, as often happens, I was freaking out about it all yesterday and then today I was contacted by two community colleges with adjuncting positions for fall. I am going to have to scramble for money for the summer, but I think Fall with my loans and 2 classes should be ok.

Monday, March 26, 2007

18. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell
Another mystery involving Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta. The writing is really uneven, but I am so fascinated by the main character I just keep reading.

19. The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
Cloudscome read this book and did not like it (and some commenters agreed), but she mentioned it was about a Catholic school girl and as I am a former Catholic school girl I wanted to read it. Also, it has been a long time since I read a young adult novel. Anyway, I didn't really get into the book at first, but by the end I was absorbed and couldn't put it down. I think I just really related to the journey Francine went through of finding her own voice, and entering adult hood in a turbulent time. My Catholic school was a lot more friendlier than the 1950 one portrayed in the book, but in grade school we still had a lot of the same unquestioning obedience and strive for conformity, so I think that helped me relate. Anyway, I enjoyed this book and by the end was really invested in Francine.

Poetry Monday

by Jorge Tellier
translated from Spanish by Mary Crow

When at last you realize
I can love only those towns
where the trains never stop,
then you will be able to forget me
in order to know who I truly am.

You will know who I a truly am
and rings made from tree bark
will be the token of our wedding vows,
and you will be able to enter the forest
where I found you before I met you.

And the forest where I found you without knowing you
will fill up with the leaves of my words.
Night will be luminous with the eyes of horses
come to drink the waters of memory
so there will always be a love that doesn't die.

Because there is always in me a love that doesn't die
and the towns where the train doesn't stop
will tell you this, while the drunk guitar player
who croons the song I wrote you
will have to stop the whirling of the streets
to show you the road into the forest.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Dear Internets,

The time has come to tell you that R and I have decided to stop our sin livin', and make it all legal and therefore apparently sin-less. Yes indeedy, we are going to get hitched!

It is very strange. We are very laid back people. I have talked a lot about why I didn't feel the need to get married in the past, so it is kind of strange to be doing it now. We finally decided it would be easier to just be married, and I think we also want the acknowledgment of our partnership that making it legal gives us. It has at times been frustrating to say I moved here with my boyfriend, and not have people realize how important that relationship was.

Anyway, getting married is crazy. We told people 3 whole days ago and those three days have been full of insanity over where and when and how much to spend and I feel sometimes like I have been possessed. We had some good talks about it last night, and I think after the first flurry of excitement we can settle down and thinking of something cheap and cool and like us. We are really into it not being a big deal. We've been together for 5 years, lived together for 3 and known each other for nearly 12. Because of this, we don't expect this to change anything, although it is weird how some seem to see this as us finally committing to each other, when in my opinion that happened years ago.

In other news, I have embarked on an exceedingly boring but important part of my dissertation which involves me listening to tapes and timing them with a stopwatch. So boring! And I have 45 of these 45 minute tapes. It is really impeding my motivation. I did get a decent amount of work done today, but I have also had a terrible terrible headache. I don't know what is wrong with me -- I have been getting these awful headaches the last few weeks.

OK, I'm off to do more work. The good news is it is beautiful here today! 65!


I've been reading on the subway a lot lately, causing me to just whip through books like there's no tomorrow.

15. The Gatekeepers by Jacques Steinberg
This book was so good -- it was a complete page turner. The author is a New York Times reporter who watches Wesleyan's admissions process. He has total access to the admissions officers, as well as to several high school students as they apply and try to decide where to go for college. The book is really well written and I was so interested in everyone in it. It reminded me of the documentary "Spellbound" even though this is a book and not a movie.

16. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
This was also an excellent book. As the title says, Bryson rights about the history of the world. He does it really clearly and engagingly.

17. Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl
This is the second of Reichl's memoirs about being a food critic and cook. I liked this one a lot, also, although she didn't always flesh out parts of her story I was most interested in. But perhaps those were also the ones most painful to her or too private. Also a very good book and I recommend it highly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Poetry Monday

Concerning that Prayer I Cannot Make
by Jane Mead

Jesus, I am cruelly lonely
and I do not know what I have done
nor do I suspect that you will answer me.

And, what is more, I have spent
these bare months bargaining
with my soul as if I could make her
promise to love me when now it seems
that what I meant when I said "soul"
was that the river reflects
the railway bridge just as the sky
says it should -- it speaks that language.

I do not know who you are.

I come here every day
to be beneath this bridge,
to sit beside this river,
so I must have seen the way
the clouds just slide
under the rusty arch --
without snagging on the bolts,
how they are borne along on the dark water --
I must have noticed their fluent speed
and also how that tattered blue T-shirt
remains snagged on the crown
of the mostly sunk dead tree
despite the current's constant pulling.
Yes, somewhere in my mind there must
be the image of a sky blue T-shirt, caught,
and the white islands of ice flying by
and the light clouds flying slowly
under the bridge, though today the river's
fully melted. I must have seen.

But I did not see.

I am not equal to my longing.
Somewhere there should be a place
the exact shape of my emptiness --
there should be a place
responsible for taking one back.
The river, of course, has no mercy --
it just lifts the dead fish
toward the sea.

Of course, of course.

What I meant when I said "soul"
was that there should be a place.

On the far bank the warehouse lights
blink red, then green, and all the yellow
machines with their rusted scoops and lifts
sit under a thin layer of sunny frost.

And look--
my own palm --
there, slowly rocking.
It is my pale palm --
palm where a black pebble
is turning and turning.

Listen --
all you bare trees
pile of twigs
red and green lights flashing
muddy bottle shards
shoe half buried -- listen

listen, I am holy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring break

Yesterday R and I took spring break. As grad students, we get a fabulous one day spring break as there is no rest for us! Anyway, we had a super good time. We went to the UN in the morning and got to see where they do all their UN stuff. Then, because it was near 70 degrees we walked to Central Park and walked through it for awhile until our feet started to hurt. Then we came home and hung out before heading to a neighborhood north of us for some tapas. The restaurant was overpriced and not super good, but we're glad we ventured out into the world more. Later we came home and listened to a This American Life podcast before going to sleep. It was an excellent spring break.

Today I have been all hard core getting stuff done. We went to Target to get cat food and some other stuff, and I have been working on data for my dissertation. I HATE arranging data into an analyzable form. I think it is really not my strength, so it is often frustrating. I kept losing monkeys today. I was supposed to have 95 and at first had only 93 so I had to spend a few hours finding those lost two. But they appeared, never fear! If I am serious about ever graduating I need to spend more time on the data analysis. I forgot how slow it goes.


11. The Color of Magic
12. The Light Fantastic
13. Equal Rites all by Terry Pratchett
3 more enjoyable Discworld novels. Pratchett just has a great imagination and sense of humor. I've been really enjoying my break into totally fun reading, but I also have a pile of nonfiction on my shelves so I will be diving back into that soon.

14. All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
These are books I am a little embarrassed about reading, but I got into Patricia Cornwell when I was in Suriname and we had a lot of her books on the shelf. I really like the main character in this series, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. I think she is really interesting. And my association with forensic anthropologists has made me enjoy these medical examiner books more. The writing can be really uneven, but they are pretty enjoyable if you like the crime books.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Poetry Monday (a day late)

May 1968
by Sharon Olds

When the Dean said we could not cross campus
until the students gave up the buildings,
we lay down, in the street,
we said the cops will enter this gate
over us. Lying back on the cobbles,
I saw the buildings of New York City
from dirt level, they soared up
and stopped, chopped off -- above them, the sky,
the night air over the island.
The mounted police moved, near us,
while we sang, and then I began to count,
12, 13, 14, 15,
I counted again, 15, 16 one
month since the day on that deserted beach,
17, 18, my mouth fell open,
my hair on the street,
if my period did not come tonight
I was pregnant. I could see the sole of a cop's
shoe, the gelding's belly, its genitals --
if they took me to Women's Detention and did
the exam on me, the speculum,
the fingers -- I gazed into the horse's tail
like a comet-train. All week, I had
thought about getting arrested, half-longed
to give myself away. On the tar --
on brain in my head, another,
in the making, near the base of my tail --
I looked at the steel arc of the horse's
shoe, the curve of its belly, the cop's
nightstick, the buildings screaming up
away from the earth. I knew I should get up
and leave, but I lay there looking at the space
above us, until it turned deep blue and then
ashy, colorless, Give me this one
, I thought, and I'll give this child
the rest of my life
, the horses' heads,
this time, drooping, dipping, until
they slept in a circle around my body and my daughter.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Just now I managed to read a bunch of articles and take notes on them. wooo! I am proud I could work after 7 hours of working at my other job. I think they way to stave off the exhaustion is too keep going. I have to save my after work naps for after my PhD work as well. Now I think I can have a little nap, then do some dishes, then go hang with some peeps.

A second ago I caught Henrietta chewing my MP3 player which is very very evil of her so I squirted her a lot with the water bottle. Poor Pass got caught in the crossfire and seemed very alarmed. I tried to tell him it was not his fault, but I don't think those are English words he understands. It is sad when he has to suffer for Henrietta's naughty ways.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I skipped the talk. I think it was for the best as I am not sure I would have wowed anyone into throwing jobs and $$ my way in the state I was in. I am sad about it, though, it would have been fun. I need to make sure and see these people at the conference I am going to at the end of the month.

Now it is 9:30 and I am going to get into bed. I am really sad I got no work done today. Sometimes I don't really see how the dissertation is going to be written. Every time I think I am on a roll, something comes up.

Hey! This is apparently my 102nd post.


So I am supposed to go to this talk tonight, which will be a good networking/social opportunity, and I will just enjoy it. However, I have had a raging headache all day and thus have gotten very very little done. Blah. I really feel like I need to go to this talk, but right now I just want to lie on the couch. Any pep talk to get me out of the house, or confirmation that I will be doing the right thing by staying home?

I have a troublesome relationship with sickness. Right now, I feel like part of this is my fault because today is my day off, yet the talk is by where I work and I really don't want to go down there. I have been having a hard time integrating my school work with my work work, so I have not made much PhD progress this last week. I keep telling myself that it is only my second week with the job and I am still adjusting and I will figure it out soon, but maybe I am just fooling myself, you know? Anyway, the point is that I can never just be, "ok, I'm not feeling well, I'll stay home". I always suspect the sickness comes from my inner laziness and is my fault. I also have a deep seated belief that I just need to suck it up and go about my business, although in nearly 30 years of life that has never ever worked out well. Also, I have been getting up at 5:30 all week yet staying up to 12:00 and I am soooo tired. I need to just go to bed early, although that means less time hanging with R. My life is so hard.

I need to decide in the next hour or so, so that I can email and give my space at dinner away if I need to. I think I'll go lay on the couch and try to read some articles and see how it goes.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Poetry Monday

Heather recently posted that she wanted to read more poetry, which reminded me how much I love poetry but I have not spent a lot of time reading it lately. So here is the first of a hopefully ongoing series of Poetry Mondays. For now, they'll all be stuff from books I own.

by Rita Dove

(So there you are at last --
a pip, a button in the grass.
The world's begun
without you.

And no reception but
accumulated time.
Your face hidden but your name
shuddering on air!)

Week Update

Let me update you on the last week with subheadings!


Awhile ago Christopher gave me some sourdough starter who I named Alberto and put in the fridge. Since I finally have a day off I got Alberto out this morning and fed him and now he is getting revved up to be in some sourdough wheat bread. Yum yum. Also, sometime in the recent past I made my first successful loaf of wheat bread! yay! It was very good, with the most beautiful crumb ever. The problem is I don't really know how I did it. When I first put it in the bread machine it was too wet (I over-corrected for the previous too dry bread) so I just threw in bunched of both bread flour and whole wheat flour. I really thought it was going to be terrible, but it was very good. Hopefully I can recreate it sometime, and write down what amounts I use.

Because my job is down in the Village and I live way way uptown, I get to ride the subway all the time now. I bought an unlimited Metro card which is very freeing. I just subway all over the place, because the more I ride the better of a deal it is! One day this week I went down to work, then way up to the Bronx, then back down to Lincoln Center. Good times.

Saturday it was so nice out so R and I went to a near by Farmer's Market. As it is winter in New York, there was not much to buy -- mostly apples and baked goods. We did get some tasty apple cider and I think I will go back for apples and some cage free eggs. We walked home via two huge parks. One of them was so big, you really didn't know you were in Manhattan when you were inside it. We hope to walk more in the spring.

My job is good, although a little crazy. After one week of work I am apparently fully trained and can open and close the store. It is cool, though, it is the kind of job I thrive in, where you are given no direction so you just do stuff. I worked the last 6 days though, including 9.5 hours on Friday and I was tiiiiiired. I stand the whole time and my entire body was sore on Friday night. I finally have a day off today, so I slept in until 10:30 and am going to get all kinds of errands and stuff done.

I did some work on my dissertation -- mostly arranging data. I have a lot more of that to do. This is the pre-analysis stage. I have an organized method, though. I am going chapter by chapter and working on that data only, it really helps to keep me focused. I am supposed to have a really detailed outline in the next few weeks. I don't really work in outlines, but I'll put what I have in that format I guess.

Part of why I was so exhausted this week was that I was out late so many nights! On Sunday I had to go watch the Oscars, of course. I predicted 19 categories correctly! Go me! Monday night R and I went to see This American Life Live, which was super good. They are making a TV show out of the radio show and it will be on Showtime. The clips of the TV show looked good. Too bad I have no fancy cable. And then on Tuesday Maggie and I went to see the Vagina Monologues with Alix Olson. They were very good, although the venue was beset by logistical problems, so the show started an hour late, we were packed in like sardines, and I didn't get home until very late at night.

So that is what was up with me lately. I have some pictures I need to get off the camera and then I will put them on Flickr soon. There are some of bread! So click the Flickr badge in the next few days.


I am returned from my media fast! It did not go super well, to be honest. I did pretty well for about 2 days with the no TV watching and I did really well with the no blog reading, but the not reading books killed me. Killed me, I tell you. Also, I was felled by a near cold in the middle of the week and really just wanted to rest and watch tv, so I let myself do that some.

Did I learn anything from it? I learned I really like reading, but I also learned it is not terrible to sometimes eat lunch alone and without a book. It was good to watch less tv, but I am usually pretty good about turning it off when I don't enjoy what I am watching. The point of the exercise was partially to close out other people's thoughts and ideas, so I could have all of my own. However, I think I always have plenty of my own thoughts and need to shut them off once and awhile. I had a lot of nights during the past week when I couldn't sleep -- because my mind was just running and running.

It is interesting doing The Artist's Way at Work, as one of its points is to convince people they are creative. I am not someone who has ever struggled with that. I know lots of people who say they aren't creative, but that is one thing about myself I am secure in. I am creative and always have been. So the book doesn't always help me on those points, and I may not need media fasts to give me time with my own thoughts.

It was good to stay off the internet though as that is by far my biggest time suck. I'm going to see how it goes with writing the dissertation and working, but I might impose some internet free days each week if I fall into the internet procrastination trap again.