Friday, July 25, 2008

Ta Ta for Now

So our internet is leaving in the morning, and this is the last post you will have from me for a bit. Monday we begin our great journey back to the middle west. Send good vibes that R and I, our stuff, and the cats all make it one piece.

I'll hopefully report back early in August with tales of driving through New Jersey, Ohio, and whatever other states are between here and Chicago.

See you on the flip side.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Crikey! I just had a terrible scare when I thought I have not updated this since people stopped clapping and Tinkerbell died... You would not believe how terribly tardy the Victorian internet can be. Stupid Global Warming!.

I am absolutely consumed with a weight-lifting regime, being distracted by the shiny, just generally being Snow White to anyone unfortunate to cross my path, my day starts with the dawn patrol from the light through yonder window breaks to 11pm at which point I fall asleep on the couch. I am beyond drunk most of the time. it will be fun fun fun till they take my TBird away.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors think of me as I battle mine enemies. Well, I'll try. Unless of course the pool with the cocktail bar is heated!

Courtesy The Lazy Blogger's Post Generator.

(as seen at Kristen's)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grown Up

So I have done various grown up things in life. I am married, I'm 31, I take care of two cats, I buy my own insurance, I have various bank accounts, I teach college students, I almost have a PhD, etc. But today I did something that I felt truly marked my passage into adulthood. I got rid of nearly all my cassette tapes. It was really sad and hard, but in the end I needed the case for my dissertation tapes (how sad is that?) and I faced up to the cold, hard fact I no longer owned any sort of tape player, and that I had not listened to any of the tapes since probably 2000. In fact, the last time I remember listening to any of them was when I lived in DC with Melinda and we popped Into the Woods on and proceeding to sing along with the whole thing. I believe a friend of ours who I was dating was with us at the time, and may have been mildly alarmed.

The tapes were mostly soundtracks from musicals, which I spent a lot of time checking out of the library and dubbing. I also had all of They Might Be Giants' stuff until about 1994 (John Henry was the last album I had on tape). More than anything, these tapes represented high school to me. Me listening over and over to musicals, hearing non top-40 bands like TMBG and realizing there was so much more out there than what I had experienced so far. Anyway, I'm thinking that when I am moved I need to spend some serious time getting musicals from the library again and burning them, to recreate a little of that old vibe in a 21st century kind of way.

I did keep a few tapes. And I know you are dying to know what they are. I kept: Newsies (look at Christian Bale sing and dance!), Oliver and Company (no one remembers this one! Songs by Billy Joel!), a tape of a Collegium Musicum concert from college in which I dressed in medieval garb and played the crumhorn and finally a mix-tape from my high school friend Valerie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Heat Wave

Originally uploaded by mnkgrl

Here is the poor cat, suffering in the heat wave. He wishes we had central air (or a more powerful window unit). I say he should get a job.

Friday, July 18, 2008


56. Hallelujah City by Tom LaMarr
This is a great little book I randomly picked up in the library. It is the story of an end-times cult, and what happens the day after the world fails to end. It is really more about a man and his cult member daughter and their relationship. I really enjoyed the book.

57. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta
I was prepared to not like this book, as I had read a couple bad reviews. I also watched and disliked the movie Little Children, which is based on another book by Perotta. Here's a bonus review of the movie Little Children: blah blah blah we live in suburbia and it sucks and is alienating and our lives are not what we expected blah blah. I just feel it has been done before. Although I love Kate Winslet. She is my girlfriend. Anyway, back to The Abstinence Teacher -- I loved this book! The characters were amazingly well-drawn and fleshed out. They seemed somewhat stereotypical at first, and then as you got to know them you realized they were not what you expected. Also, I really appreciated the born again Christian character who was treated like a real person and not made cartoony, which I think is so rarely done. Read this book if you want a really well-done character driven novel.

58. Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros
I was on an emergency out of books run to the library and grabbed this, even though it look familiar. On page 10, I did realize I had read this book before, but that was ok as it is a great, sweeping story of a Mexican-American family over several generations. I loved the narrator's voice and the lush descriptions of the different worlds she lived between. Good book.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What would McCain do to the Supreme Court?

Here is a well-written and interesting blog post about what a McCain presidency might mean for the Supreme Court. I also think this is an interesting way to look at the difference between Republicans and Democrats:
"I have long argued that the real difference between the two major parties lies primarily in the constituencies that they are forced to appease in order to stay in office. On judicial matters, the constituency that Republicans, including - perhaps especially - McCain, have to please is the religious right. No issue is more important to the conservative Christian base than control of the courts. The James Dobsons of the world are not stupid; they're politically savvy enough to know that they are one vote away from overturning Roe v. Wade and that McCain could appoint the justice who tips the balance."

Monday, July 14, 2008


I've wanted to contribute to Scientiae for a long time, but somehow never got it together. But as I sit here rushing furiously to get through my dissertation, surrounded by boxes, the August theme of Transitions really spoke to me.

I am anticipating a lot of transitions. In 12 days we will be packing up and moving to Chicago. R will be starting a PhD program, I'll be adjuncting at least one new class at a new school (hopefully I will get some more classes as well) and I plan to defend my dissertation sometime this fall.

The move is exciting. Although I am not done with New York, and would love to stay here longer, I am excited to move to a city I have always liked. I love new things and it will be fun to explore our new neighborhood, find new favorite grocery stores, restaurants, bars and coffee shops, and hopefully make new friends. It will be great to start over in a new (bigger and cheaper!) apartment. And most of all, I am happy R and I are moving together. This is the first time we have moved into somewhere at the same time. I moved into our Florida apartment first, and he moved here to New York while I was in the field, so that is nice.

Defending my dissertation is also exciting, although scary. I still don't have a scheduled defense, and am rushing to finish up some excruciatingly boring data collection, but it is all starting to come together. I will be so relieved to have it all over with. I think I will be one of those people who just sobs with relief once it is all done. On the other hand, it is also scary. I have been in grad school for 6 years. I know how to do it. Now I have to go find a job, R and I have to deal with our two-body problem, I need to learn how to be a professional and not a student. It is weird, for as much as I want to finish, I am also scared of finishing. But when it is all said and done I am also looking forward to what I will be like a year from now. Will we have an awesome apartment where our awesome friends come regularly for dinner parties? Will I have a sweet postdoc or tenure track job at an exciting place where I can interact with cool people? Will I be adjuncting 5 classes a semester for basically no money? Will I be living in upstate New York while R stays in Chicago? Really, anything could happen and it is kind of equally exciting and terrifying.

Friday, July 11, 2008


54. A Case of Need by Michael Crichton
So this is apparently Michael Crichton's first book, written back in the late 1960s under a pen name. It wasn't the best written book, I think you could tell it was by a first-time author, but it wasn't too bad. It is basically about some doctors involved in doing abortions before Roe v. Wade, and was mostly interesting to me as a historical piece. It was crazy to see how much scandal and legal problems were caused by these doctors doing abortions in some cases, but also how much the medical community kind of accepted it as well. It was kind of like watching an old movie, in which it is hard to judge a lot of the characters as they live in a world so different from our own (all the doctors had wives who stayed home with the kids, and did whatever their husbands said. LOTS of smoking.) So it was interesting, but I don't say rush out and read it.

55. Three Cups of Tea: One man's mission to support school at a time by Greg Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea is the story of how Greg Mortenson started the Central Asia Institute, which helps communities in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan build schools, especially in places where girls do not have access to education. It is an inspiring story and I am so glad an organization like this exists. The book did its job in that I plan to give money to CAI, but it wasn't good as a book, IMO. I thought there really was no arc of a story, and it is strange that Mortenson was one of the authors, yet it is all in 3rd person. It seemed like the book should have been shortened and been a New Yorker piece. I think if you are going to write an autobiographical book like this, you need to be willing to plunge a little deeper into your own inner life or something, to make it a more interesting read. Anyway, it was also really interesting to juxtapose this book with Infidel. This book makes the argument that Islam is an inherently peaceful religion, that most Muslims (at least in Pakistan and Afghanistan) are not terrorists and also want the best for their daughters, which is kind of the opposite of Infidel. It is good to read this book to learn about CAI, but not for the book's literary merit.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Can you tell I am bored because R has been out of town?
I just found Chicago contains both an Aveda Institute and several Filene's Basements, so I can continue having cheap haircuts and cheap clothes. woo!


So we have come to less than 3 weeks until moving, which means time to clean out the freezer/fridge! I have had two bags of cranberries in the freezer since thanksgiving. I love cranberries and always meant to make a tasty sauce to put on yogurt for my breakfasts, but I am lazy so I never did. Yesterday I made Fresh Cranberry Relish from the Food Network and it is super good. I used Triple Sec instead of Grand Marnier, as that is what I had (also contributed to using up some of our extra liquor). Anyway, I love this recipe -- easy, no cooking, and I have been eating it out of a bowl with a spoon, as well as mixing a bit with my yogurt this morning. It is more on the tart side, so add more sugar if you like your cranberries more sweet. I did add some honey since the cranberries and the yogurt together were extra tart.

Back Home

I am back from teaching the smart kids! woo! It is nice to be back home with my cats and my own bed and my stove that I can cook non-dining hall food with. Yay! It would be nice to be back home with R except he went out of town to work for two nights. But he will be back tonight. yay! I am trying to get myself psyched up to do all kinds of dissertation work and pack and all, but I am just feeling so lazy. I gave myself the last two days to relax, but now I really need to get cracking. I think I will eat lunch and then dissertate, and then get an iced coffee break. Good plan, eh?

I did run/walk this morning. It is way harder to run on the hills in my neighborhood then in the air conditioned gym on a treadmill. It took me 53 minutes to go 5k. :( Oh well, I can probably only improve from there and getting 53 minutes of exercise is still awesome.

I think I will make a fried egg sandwich for lunch.

Monday, July 07, 2008


50. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
The last in this sci-fi series by John Scalzi. This gets us back to the characters from the first book, and I really enjoyed it. I read it a little bit ago, so it is fuzzy in my memory, but it was a good read.

51. Killing Mr. Watson by Peter Matthiessen
This is a fiction book based on a true story and real people in the Everglades in the 1920s. It was a little weird and kind of meandering, without a lot of "plot", but I enjoyed it.

52. Violent Ward by Len Deighton
This is a cheapy paperback about a PI in LA. It was pretty random and there were some major plot holes, but it was an ok airplane read.

53. Beach Music by Pat Conroy
This is a really really bad book. Don't read it. I am pretty upset that I finished it. It is a weird story about a guy from South Carolina whose wife commits suicide, after which he moves to Italy with his daughter. They eventually come back to South Carolina and they are about a million side plots about all the characters in the present, in their childhood and during the Vietman war. None of the characters were realistic and it just was no good.