Sunday, November 30, 2008

InaDWriMo 2008 and moving on

I failed miserably at InaDWriMo. I got to 16% of my goal which is sad sad. I probably should not have chosen to participate in a month which included Thanksgiving and a 4 day conference. Oh well.

Here is my new plan -- small, achievable, weekly goals. I hope I will actually reach these goals, which will build my confidence and make me write more. The conference gave me some great ideas, and I just made a new outline of my whole dissertation which I hope will give it more coherence. Since I love those status bars, there is now one for this week's goal: 1000 more words on Chapter 4.


84. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
A Classic. I found it at the library and decided to read it. It was ok, but not amazing. Basically, it is a book about World War I, and filled with all the crappiness about being in a war. I didn't feel it added anything to my understanding of the badness of war, but it was well-written.

85. Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
Essays about America/American history by Sarah Vowell of This American Life. Also a good book. I really like Vowell's voice and she is great at presenting her nerdiness about certain things in a fun way. The only other Vowell book I've read was Radio On, which was ok, but her voice kind of grated on me after awhile. I liked this book much better.

86. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
I am the last person to read this book -- especially the last anthropologist and am so sad I did not read it earlier. It is the story of a Hmong family in California and their conflicts with the medical system over the care of their daughter who has epilepsy. The author does an excellent job of presenting the cultures of the Hmong family and the doctors, demonstrating how they cam to so many misunderstandings, and not really laying blame anywhere. I wish I would have read this earlier so I could have assigned it to my anthro class -- it really explains and demonstrates cross-cultural misunderstandings so well. Everyone should read this book.

87. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
A Discworld novel about the central bank. The fun is all in the crazy surprises so I will not say more, but this was a fun book with the usual Discworld hijinks.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Missed two days!

Alas, I have missed two days now of this daily blogging. One was post-travel craziness and then yesterday I spent the day with R, our friend Matt from college and our friend Melissa from my GradSchool. So fun! Matt arrived around noon and we braved the small children at the Museum of Science and Industry. It was pretty fun -- we saw the U Boat, some old planes, and some propaganda for both petroleum (plastic is awesome!) and industrialized farming (we keep pigs clean and protect them from predators!). Melissa joined us later and we had dinner at a new to us pizza place (Pizza Capri) which was super good. Then we sat around the house and hung out and played the Game of Life, which R won like always. Melissa did really well for not going to college, though.

It was totally worth it to not blog and hang out with awesome friends, though. Now I think I have prepped my anthro class for the week, so all I have to do is make 2 more syllabi for next semester, make a rubric for my students' presentations, and dissertate a bit.

Oh yeah. PS: we also had the most awesome stuffing on Thanksgiving, thanks to a recipe from Corbett and his mom. It made a ton, but was totally slurped up and I barely had leftovers. I might make a half batch again some day, juts for myself.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Yay! Thanksgiving!

I have always liked Thanksgiving a lot. Maybe because it is about food. And it is still low key, really. No gifts or crazy decorations. Just eating and hanging out with family and friends.

We had a bunch of international students from R's program over and we made a ton of food. R brined a turkey a la Alton Brown, and word on the street is that it was good. I made a very complex pumpkin pie from Cook's Illustrated, which was ok, but in my opinion not worth the extra work. I am still on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin pie. After we ate we played some Atari and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit (R and I won, but it might be because the questions were biased towards Americans). Everyone just left and now we are going to do some dishes and relax.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksigiving! And Conferences!

I had a great time at my conference in San Francisco. I knew more people than I realized and enjoyed seeing a little bit of SF. My poster went well -- I had some people come talk to me and my poster neighbor asked me for tips, as mine was so attractive. I have to say, I loooove conferences so much. Each year I know more and more people so it is a time to catch up with people I don't see regularly. Also, I think I am better at talking about my research than writing about it, so posters and talks are a great vehicle for me. Conferences also always inspire me to get back into my own work, which I am hoping to do soon. I did come away with a whole new way to kind of frame my diss. I think I was lost in the trees and was not seeing the forest.

The other thing going on right now is Thanksgiving! R and I are hosting a bunch of international students. We are in the midst of baking pies, and R is trying to de-frost the turkey in prep for brining. I made the most complicated pumpkin pie recipe ever. Seriously, it took me like 2 hours to just make the filling and the crust. Unless it is the most amazing pie ever, I will not be making it again. We'll see.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with great people to celebrate with!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Alas. I missed a day. Anyway, I have returned from SF -- I had a great time. Now I am writing exams and grading and preparing for Thanksgiving. More later!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Vegetarian's 100

So this went around the blogs long ago as The Omnivore's 100. Basically, a list of foods that everyone should eat at one time. I have a draft post around of the meme, but as a vegetarian there was a lot on it I was not going to eat. So I was excited when I saw the Vegetarian's 100. I can't remember where I saw it on my blogroll, but I got this version from Feeding Maybelle. If you want to know what any of these are (I didn't know a bunch of them) see the original link. Also, there is apparently nothing I wouldn't try once!

Here are the rules:
1. Copy the list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.
and I am adding 5. italicize ones you would especially like to try.

1. Edamame
2. Cha Soba
3. Arame
4. Earth Balance Buttercream
5. "Homemade" sprouts
6. Green Bamboo Rice
7. Absinthe
8. Eat at a raw restaurant
9. Fresh (real) wasabi
10. Deep fried pickle this is so good!
11. Fiddleheads
12. Garlic stuffed olives
13. Smen
14. Goji Berries
15. Shiso or Perilla
16. Amaranth
17. Pomegranate molasses
18. Water convulvulus (Water Spinach)
19. Pea eggplant, Thai eggplant, green eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Indian eggplant, Sicilian eggplant...
20. A Zen Buddhist Vegan Meal
21. Kohya Dofu
22. Wild Asparagus
23. Elderberry
24. Candlenuts (kemiri)
25. Salsify
26. Nutritional Yeast
27. Pandan
28. Roman cauliflower
29. Anything with acorn flour
30. Poi
31. Chaya (tree spinach)
32. Pitahaya (dragon fruit)
33. Asafoetida
34. Fried plantains
35. Basil seeds
36. Cardoon
37. Durian
38. Ground Cherry or cape gooseberry
39. Fresh waterchestnut
40. Cashewnut cheese
41. Nettles
42. Fake duck from a can, tofurky, or any prepared vegetarian product to resemble meat
43. Kimchi
44. Masala Dosa
45. Lotus Seed
46. Matcha
47. Loubie Bzeit
48. Quince
49. Blue Potatoes
50. Injera
51. Nasturtium
52. Turkish Delight or Lokum
53. Spruce tips
54. Breadfruit
55. Mangosteen
56. Swede or Rutabaga
57. Garlic Scapes
58. Lavash
59. Candied Angelica
60. Rambutan
61. Sambal
62. Bhutanes Red Rice
63. Candy-cane or Chioggia beets
64. Mango
65. Ras el Hanout
66. Vegan marshmallow
67. Umeboshi
68. Red Currants
69. Puy or French lentils
70. Millet
71. Fresh Bamboo shoot
72. Jerusalem artichoke
73. Wild strawberry
74. Jambool
75. Po cha or Yak butter Tea
76. Adzuki beans
77. Shirataki
78. Manioc, yuca, cassava
79. Quinoa
80. Ramps
81. Chufa
82. Purslane
83. Curry Leaves (Kadipatta)
84. Sorrel
85. Sumac
86. Vegan cupcake
87. Montreal bagel
88. Peri-peri
89. Syllabub
90. Chartreuse
91. Kamut berries
92. Kalamansi Lime
93. Aloe
94. Morels
95. Raw “bread”
96. Dandelion wine
97. Rosti
98. Loomi
99. Stinky tofu
100. Something grown by you

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Relaxing in the jungle

So we're in the jungle without a lot of the stuff we had to amuse ourselves with here in the US. What did we do for fun? Sometimes we had a lot of boxes and things around we needed to get rid of, and we did this by burning them. We usually saved stuff so we could have a bonfire. Here is one such bonfire for a field assistant's birthday. The darkness seems even more complete, somehow, with a fire lighting it up. It is very dark there. No light around for hundreds of miles, and you can see the stars so well, like you would not believe.

Friday, November 21, 2008


82. A Stab in the Dark by Lawrence Block
Another Matthew Scudder book. It was ok, but I have read to many too closely together now.
83. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
My first library book after the Tragedy of the Fine (tm). A 21st century LA woman wakes up to find herself in the body of someone in Jane Austen's England. She has to figure out how to behave properly AND how to get back home. It was kind of a clever idea, but I thought the book meandered too much, left too many loose ends and just never came together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From the plane

So for awhile I have wanted to do a series of posts that are random images from Suriname with little stories or something for you. I just don't think there is enough fieldwork on this here blog. Here is the view from the plane on the way to our field site. The site is not on roads. You can take a bus for about 5 hours then a boat for three, or you can take a one hour plane ride. The plane is much easier and I have used it most. Often it is a little 5 person Cessna (my mom calls it a car with wings). I've never been scared in the plane -- it is a really awesome experience to feel flying so much, and as you can see the view is awesome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


77. Even the Wicked by Lawrence Block
78.. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block
Two more Matthew Scudder mysteries. I liked both ok, but after you read a lot of these in a row they tend to blend together.

79. Iron Council by China Mieville
I got this book because I love Mieville's "Un Lun Dun". This book is good, but totally different. "Iron Council" takes place in a grim and gritty distopian world and is about various groups fighting against a totalitarian government. It was very well-written. The world it is in is so complete to itself, I found it hard to understand and get into at times. It was a good book, but totally different than Un Lun Dun -- this one is pretty dark and harsh.

80. The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente
81. The Orphan's Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente
I loved both these books and if you read them, recommend you read them close together. They are the story of a mysterious girl who lives in the garden of a palace, and the stories she tells. All the stories are amazingly interwoven with each other. Great books.

Ready to go

My poster came out very well and I am all packed and ready to leave in a bit. I'm going to teach and then I will go straight from school to the airport. woo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My miraculous cure

Some of you may know/remember that I have a coughing problem. I have been coughing for years. Loud hacking coughs that do not stop. Awhile ago some doctor told me t was asthma, gave me some inhalers and away I went. Eventually, the inhalers stopped working so well so I went to another doctor who said no no! This is not asthma! It is allergies! He gave me an allergy shot and I took Claritin, but I still coughed, especially at night. Finally we moved here and I got access to the same health care as University of Chicago students. I went to see a nurse practitioner (I looove nurse practitioners) and she decided it was both asthma and some allergies, but most importantly it was post nasal drip. She hooked me up with some Flonase AND told me to get a neti pot. I have coveted a neti pot for awhile, especially after Maven blogged about it. But for some reason or another I never got around to it. When the NP told me too, though, I ran right to the Natural Foods store. And let me tell you. I love that thing. I seriously did not know a person was supposed to get this much oxygen in one breath. I breathe way better and I do not cough at night. It is miraculous and thanks to a $13 ceramic pot and pouring some salt water through my nose once a day.

If you have allergies/asthma/any breathing problems, get yourself a neti pot STAT. They rule.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Today is my long teaching day and I am tired and have headache. I have nothing else to write and I think I am going to to go bed early.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Plush Kidney

We're studying the urinary system in my anatomy class this week and while looking around for gross pictures to chow my students I came across this stuffed kidney toy. For when "urine love!" ha ha ha! Love it.

Much better

I am better already. Sometimes you just need a day to be sad and take to one's bed, you know? Anyway, today I woke up and my eye was NOT crusted shut. I think there is hope. Also, laying around and being sad yesterday gave me motivation to get all kinds of work done today. Here is a fabulous glimpse into my life and my to-do list for today. Watch as I hopefully cross some of it off!

*re-read poster, incorporate comments
*send poster to Kinko's to print
*prep A&P -- week 1
*prep A&P -- week 2
*Prep anthro -- week 1
*Prep anthro -- week 2

*chapter 4 -- get draft of discussion

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blah day

I am tired today and I have the blahs. I am depressed because I did not do enough work today, but I didn't work very much because I was tired and blah. Anyway. My eye is not very improved. I am stressed out about it because I have a conference to go to on Wednesday AND I teach two classes on Monday. The doctor said to go back if it is not better Monday, but I think I will have to cancel a class to do that and that sucks. One of my schools is very down on canceling classes, and both places will most likely dock my pay. Being an adjunct is not the glamorous life you might imagines. Also, I tried to make a 100% whole wheat bread and it did not rise. I have another loaf in now of my trusty white/wheat mix, as we are trying to not buy bread any more but I am concerned it is also not rising....hmmm....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eye eye

The doctor said my pinkeye is "impressive". Go me. She gave me some eye drops and said to come back if it is not better Monday. I kind of feel like it is better already, though. I also got a flu shot and then bought myself a Gingersnap Latte. The latte was disappointing. It was not very gingersnappy. Alas.

On Wednesday I am leaving for my conference. I have realized this is going to impact my every day blogging so I am cheating and putting some posts in the queue to post while I am gone. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The plague (of the eye)

People! I think I have pinkeye. It is gross. Luckily I already have a doctor appointment tomorrow so I will just have them look at the eye too. I got almost all my to-do list done, even with the pinkeye.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My addiction

People, there is one thing in all the world that I am addicted to. Alas, it is a nerdy addiction. The subject of my addiction is the library. Not just books, or reading, but specifically the library. I learned this in the last week, when I returned two books to the drop box a day late. This resulted in a 40 cent fine. Most libraries of my acquaintance let you still use the library and request books online when you have such a small fine. Not the Chicago Public Library. The Chicago Public Library is serious about getting its books back on time. If you are even a day late and owe just a few cents, the Chicago Public Library freezes your account. You cannot just zip online and request books that look interesting. Nooooo.... you have to haul yourself, through the wind and rain, to the library in person and pay them those 40 cents. Then you can finally have all the access to the library you need. I have been a week with my account frozen and it was really getting to me. I didn't know where my next book was coming from. Was I getting passed over for the Twilight series? WHEN WOULD I GET MORE BOOKS????? Seriously, I was starting to freak out so I braved the wind and rain, browsed the stacks for 2 new books and handed over my 40 cents. Now all is right with the world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The San Francisco Treat

So next week I am off to San Francisco, one of the things white people like, for a conference. This is my second time to this conference and there are very few people there who do what I do. This is good in some ways, as I can talk to those people more and we feel a certain solidarity. Also, I can become a leader in bringing what I do more into what goes on at this conference. It is all part of my master plan. Anyway, I already have some plans with friends in the area, but what else should I do in San Francisco? I have never been there and know nothing about it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

blogging every day

I totally wouldn't post tonight if I weren't trying to post every day. So here it is. I had two good classes but just got 4 emails in a row telling me some sob story about why various students hadn't been in class for weeks. Argh. I don't want to hear it any more.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


73. Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger
This book is a really in depth look at a three game series between the Cardinals and the Cubs. Along the way it is also a lot about Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. I was really impressed with how honest the book was, and how much access LaRussa gave the author. There are things in there that do not necessarily reflect well on the characters involved. It was also really cool to read about all the strategy in baseball, and all the quick decisions the manager makes. If you are at all interested in baseball, you should read this book. Although maybe not if you are a Cubs fan. :)

74. The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart by Lawrence Block
My first Lawrence Block book. R's mom gave us a sack of these, as R enjoys them. I have not been making it too the library as much as usual so I've been picking these up when I need a fun read. I really liked this book. It is about a thief who owns a bookstore. He meets a mysterious woman, attends a Bogart film festival with her, and keeps involved in a mystery. Mom, you might like these! This is the only one of this series in our sack o' books, but I plan to get more from the library.

75. A Long Line of Dead Men by Lawrence Block
This is a different series, about Matt Scudder who was a police man, is a sober alcoholic (at the time of this book) and a private detective. This is not really a standard mystery, as there is no chance for the reader to figure it out. It is more a novel about crime with a really interesting main character. I liked this book as well, although not as much as The Burglar Who...

76. What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain
A very good book about how to be a good college teacher. Bain did a multiyear study of college teachers that had a big impact on students, then dissects what made them special. Sometimes it was frustrating, because while I agreed with his points, it was hard to think how I would ever have the time to implement them. I plan to buy a copy of this book so I can study it more in depth. I recommend this book to anyone who is a teacher or interested in teaching and learning.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

From 52 to 48 with Love

OK, eventually those of us who supported Obama will have to stop celebrating, and all of us will have to figure out how to get along. One thing about politics lately that bothers me, is that so many people prefer to not talk about it, rather than disagree. Disagreement is fine, people! I disagree all over the place with people I love and respect. It is no big thing. Just stay civil and don't degenerate to name-calling. I feel like this idea that disagreement is bad is really harming my students. More and more my students are unwilling to debate, which I think impairs their intellectual development. They don't know how to choose sides of an issue and support arguments. That is no good!

So, in the spirit of coming together, I give you a link to From 52 to 48 With Love.

Friday, November 07, 2008

My election post

This is more serious and long than I usually get here, but the election has really affected me somehow. I saw so many people cheering and jumping around Tuesday night and I just didn't feel that. I do feel the historical moment, and I am hopeful yet cautious. But I also feel that I finally have someone in politics I can relate to a little bit. And I almost cried when I walked to the bus on Wednesday through my 38% black neighborhood and saw a very long line in front of the news stand of people wanting a paper for a souvenir. Somehow, that made it all seem real to me.

I was a Laurie come lately to the cult of Obama. I mean, he seemed cool, but I was leaning a little more towards Hillary during the primaries, I don't like the 2 party system at all, I am not registered in a party, and all mainstream politicians are too conservative for me. But somehow, as the election came closer, I got swept up in the excitement. I more and more did not want McCain, I more and more started to believe that Obama would be different. I started doing a little volunteering and I ended up calling 19 people in Missouri to remind them to vote. I still held back some, though, and I think I largely did not want to be disappointed. I was thinking about it the other day. For the first presidential election I could vote in, I voted for Clinton. In 2000 both Gore and Bush left me cold, and if I hadn't been in the jungle and unable to mail my absentee ballot back, I would have voted for Nader. My vast dislike of Bush lead me to support Kerry, and to knock on doors in Florida to get out the vote, even though Kerry did not inspire me at all. So really, for most of my adult life my options for president had not been exciting. There was no one I could get behind.

What is different about Obama? Maybe if he were running right after Clinton it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I am really happy we are going to have a president who thinks about things. Who understands the world in complex and nuanced. Who sees the US is not perfect, and wants to do something to make it better. The blustery patriotism of the last little while is not to my taste at all. I think it makes us forget how much we have to improve, how many people are left out of the "American Dream" and how stacked the cards are against many realizing that dream.

I have to admit, I never thought it was crazy that Michelle Obama said she hadn't been proud of the US in her life. Why should she, necessarily? Because we are big? Because we are a democracy? Because we are rich? In some ways we do have impressive ideals, but it seems to me we have squandered a lot of opportunities to live up to those ideals. This election, though, has made me proud of the USA. And I want to say thank you to it.

Thank you. Thank you for proving how awesome you can be on Tuesday. Thank you for realizing the badness of the last 8 years, for recognizing we have been going down the wrong path, and that we can be better. Thank you for not being as racist as I had feared. Thank you for letting more people into our political process. Voting rates of people of color and young people were up, voter registrations were up, and voter turnout was historic. Back when I took Latin American Studies I read about how a democracy cannot be successful without participation. How we need to think about who is participating, who is fully invested in their citizenship, and if people are not participating, why? If large parts of the population are not involved in the process, are we truly a democracy? What structures are shutting them out? Is it really their choice?

Before I was into Obama, I thought a lot of his rhetoric about change was too much. Unrealistic. But upon reflection, and from listening to more of what he says, it is not a big change we are looking for. I think the change of who voted, of who was at the rally in Grant Park, of all the diverse people in my neighborhood cheering and high fiving, of, of the Obama-Biden administration's anti-discrimination hiring policy (The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law. ), this change is a good first step. And I am excited to see where it takes us.

And finally, this part of Obama's acceptance speech spoke right to me, and where I was, and explains why I feel like I will finally have a president who understands me a little bit: "It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day." I was cynical. I thought there was little we could do to change, but I hope I have been proven a tiny bit wrong.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

obama cupcakes!

obama cupcakes!
Originally uploaded by mnkgrl

The famous Obama cupcakes I baked on Tuesday. They are devil's food with cream cheese frosting. Good, but I find devil's food just makes me wish for chocolate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

so tired

Anyone who ever reads this blog can probably tell I am pleased with the presidential election results. It was awesome to be here in Chicago, and especially me and Obama's hood. R and I went to a friend's last night and as we walked home there will all kinds of people out just cheering and honking horns. It was super fun.

Obama's house does have a slightly increased security perimeter now, and I need to re-route my 2 mile run. Oh well. I will forgive him. :)

I want to post something more profound, but right now I am very tired. Hopefully I can remember it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Make sure and vote!

I just did. I am outraged, though, there are no "I voted" stickers here! That is half the fun.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Les Misbarack

For my musical loving friends...

Crack smokin'

Did I say I would blog every day this month? Was I out of my mind? Yes to both. Anyway, here is your post. As I expected my days of not working bit me hard last night and this morning as I scrambled to prep my classes. But I did, and they were actually good classes. I feel like something has shifted since I gave midterms. Like we know it is all downhill from here, or they think I am less scary since they didn't all fail. Who knows.

I am excited to go vote tomorrow. I am contemplating making Obama cupcakes, inspired by the Yes We Cake website. We are going to a party at one of R's grad school friend's. It has been really fun living in Chicago for this election. I overhear SOOOOO many conversations about the election on the street and in between classes. R and walked by Obama's house tonight and there is a little extra security. We had a brief moment of excitement when we thought we might share a polling place with the Obamas, but a little research shows they are likely to vote elsewhere. Oh well.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lofty Goal

So, I already missed a day, but I am going to try and post every day in November. I feel bad I neglect the blog so much. I often do not feel my life is exciting, but I think that is a negative way of looking at it, and perhaps through blogging more I will appreciate the unseen awesomeness in my life.

I have been a little sick the last few days -- it has mostly been just a never ending headache and a lot of tiredness. It did make me miss a Halloween Party, which I had been looking forward to and was going to dress like a witch for. BUT it has also made me just take the last two days to sit around, watch Persepolis, watch the old school BBC Chronicles of Narnia and relax. I feel way better today and more energized, so although I have 65 midterms to grade, classes to prep and that pesky dissertation to write, I think it was good I relaxed for awhile.

Now I am off to get some work done, as Monday will come no matter what and I really need to grade and figure out what to teach.