Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Dominic!

Hello All. And a very happy birthday to Dominic "The Legend" Gaskin who turns some age older than me today. Don't think that because I'm telling the internet happy birthday for you that you won't get a call later. Oh, you will and it will be a drunken one.

So I, being the adult that I am, had meetings all morning and ran errands this afternoon. I turned in my application for an adjunct position at Drew for next semester, met with the director of composition to get information on the job/schmooze. (By the way, the program is really great, and I would totally love for this to be my first job.) Then I talked with my first reader about my thesis and here's her scathing criticism: Needs more research and organization. Not nearly as bad as everyone is making it out to be. And though she says she doesn't know if it will be ready in time for October graduation, it will be. She obviously doesn't know how tired I am of this thesis. Then it was off to Kaplan to drop some things off and to Best Buy to return my PalmPilot that died yesterday. I know, I loved it too, but this electronic device and I are destined to have problems. Oh well, better to know early. I happily replaced the PDA with a laser printer because printing my thesis is killing my poor little inkjet that I only bought last year. If, by chance, anyone needs a laser printer, Best Buy has a Samsung on sale now for $79. I'll let you know how the set up goes. Well, if anything is complaint-worthy.

I've just been cleaning up since I got home, doing laundy, and having dinner. A yummy Indian dish of chickpeas, tomatoes and okra over rice. Indian food has somewhat revolutionized my life.

Back to the important stuff....So Laura, Sarah (who we don't see anymore because she apparently feels obligated to do all her schoolwork) and I are going to the bar later. We haven't hung out in a while, so it should be fun. Dominic, perhaps I should amend my previous promise of a drunken phone--you may be getting one from three ladies in Jerz instead of just one.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And Now I Have a Life Again

Ok, here's the final word on my thesis (well, probably not the final, but at least for a little while): I'm graduating in October.

My first reader is really encouraging me to wait, so I should proabably listen to her since she's actually an expert on female Modernist poets. Even though she didn't read my thesis and reply to me that it needed work until it was too late to revise in time for May graduation, I'm ready to take her advice because I'm so resentful of this process and ready to quit the whole thing in general right now. I'm taking myself out of high-gear-paper-writing mode. My heart already thanks me for the caffeine abuse I'm discontinuing.

On the upside, my third reader and former huge crush Dr. Bernard McKenna, will be able to attend the defense in person instead of my conference call. Alas, his wife and new baby (very new, like a week new) will be accompanying him, but it'll be ok 'cause I think I'm kinda over him since he's went and moved away to Deleware last summer.

The thesis will be much better in the long run because of the extension and will be closer to publication-grade in the end. And I can talk/think about more interesting things than this paper. And watch my Netflix movies. Not that I haven't cried about this plenty and talked incoherently to good-hearted, patient people on the phone for hours, but ultimately, I'm ok with this (or maybe that's just an affirmation I'm trying to believe).

Now I can focus on the other things I'm doing this summer like
  • Moving!
  • Learning Spanish
  • Perhaps conducting new student orientation for the graduate school
  • Writing a cookbook
  • Finally making my Europe scrapbook, hey Kate:)
  • Applying for conferences and jobs
  • Getting papers ready for publication
  • Starting a Family Oral History Project
Please feel free to ask me about how all or any of these things are/is going. Thanks everybody, and next time, I promise to be more interesting.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Greetings from the Land of Stimulants

So I had a meeting with one of my thesis readers, and she said that I should try to get my paper ready in time for May graduation. I have a chance if I work pretty much around the clock, hence the two huge cups of coffee I've had this morning. (Oh, my heart is going to be so mad at me.)

There's hope so I'm knee deep in Frances Cornford right now and I won't be coming out for a week.

Tragus update: I think my ear healed last night in my sleep (knock on wood). It's turning very easily this morning and let's hope it doesn't act up again.

Ok, enough fun for me. Back to work!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wah, Wah, Waaaah

Hello, this is old Debbie Downer here. Or at least that's how I feel. I found out this morning that I won't be graduating in May because I need to revise my thesis. No big deal in the long run since I'm already in the PhD program, but it is upsetting and disappointing. My professors are suddenly shocked that I wrote the long paper without a long editing process. Did they think we were doing that via telepathy?

I'm generally not real happy with Drew University right now. I'll let you know how everything goes. For now, I need to just distract myself.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Napping with Kitties

Housesitting is great. No, I'm not at the place with the excessive-neck-fat pug dog but in the house of the family I babysit for. Or, in the house of the family for whom I babysit. And it rocks.

There's all the cable tv I could want; a huge, well-stocked kitchen; three (3!) bathrooms that I don't have to fight anyone for; a king size bed just for me with the fluffiest, warmest comforter of all time; and animals.

  • A black lab named Fallon who is so smart he almost talks
  • A black kitty, Rexie but who the kids call reg-ghy, who terrorizes my favorite cat:
  • Ophelia, my favorite cat, who is a tabby with a very round, cute face (I knew I would like this family when I discovered they had a cat named Ophelia)
  • A siamese, Mocha, who has been dubbed "Granny's Mocha" since she moved here with Yvette's mom a few months ago. She used to be an introverted kitty but has since come out of her shell being that she's in a house full of people all the time. She's so pretty and so sweet. And she likes to hide.
As opposed to the other house with Zeus, the pug dog, I love housesitting here and it doesn't make me depressed at all. When I go to sleep, there are animals everywhere though none are on the bed. But they do nap with me on the couch when we watch tv. Speaking of which, Dale pointed out to me last night that a good series is on the History Channel: 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America. It's good, you should watch it tonight for "Einstein's Letter."

Now that I've run through the animals and my tv recommendations, I have to go spray the yard with deer repellant then immediately take a shower as the instructions specify. There is an overpopulation of deer in NJ (never woulda thunk it) who eat the purdy flowers in the courtyard. Flow-er, pur-dy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thanks for All the Weird Lunch

Last year, when I lived with the lovely Sarah Gardam, I would often come downstairs to find her sitting at the table. When asked what she was doing, she would reply, "Oh, eating a weird lunch" and then laugh at the ridiculousness of her own food. Upon closer inspection I would find that it was usually some sauteed vegetables or beans wrapped in a tortilla. The lovely Sarah Gardam loves her tortillas with vegetarian leftovers in 'em; she thinks it's exotic because (like me) she didn't grow up with too many tortillas in the house. My personal favorite was when she made too much veggie curry an ate curry burittoes for what seemed like weeks.

A few days ago, I noticed some canned tomatoes and corn that had been in my pantry for months, so after a trip to the grocery store, I decided to combine some of the items to make dinner. In Troy, I bought cans of "tomatoes, corn and okra" all together and would use it for soup and stuff, so after getting some frozen okra at Whole Foods (only place to get it here in Madison) I recreated the afore mentioned combination. Now I don't know what it says about me that I'm imitating canned food from home except that I'm a grad student and I miss tomatoes and rice. The combination was quite good and proved to be an effective way to get vegetables in my system, but I seem to be losing the battle of eating all of the stuff. Just a can of this and that takes a long time to eat when it's just you. And I know Laura is wondering what in the world her crazy Southern roommate has been eating, but she has not asked. That's how I know she thinks I'm crazy...she usually asks.

But for all of you who eat Weird Lunch/Dinner sometimes, may I make a side dish suggestion: Cheese Toast. Sounds simple, but wow does it dress up strange canned food conglomerations. I do recommend cheddar cheese on wheat bread, but you can surely find a bread and cheese combination to suit your specific weird lunch ingredients. Sarah and I consider cheese toast to be much more than a side dish; to us, it's a food group, and a vitally important one to us grad students.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ahhh, Snow in April

The weatherperson on Yahoo lied to me today in saying that we were gonna get morning showers. Well, that was with me assuming showers meant rain, but maybe that's Yankee code for April SNOW! On the way to work this morning, I saw flurrying rain drops that I then presumed to be snow, and within 30 minutes, big, fat, wet snowflakes were falling. But surely they wouldn't stick right...with all the moisture in the air and what not. Wrong. Soon everything had an inch or so of snow on it. Just feels weird to have snow after a few nice days, and it's not even that cold here, but whatever. My comment that I should call my mom and tell her about the snow met with giggles and eye rolls because people in New Jersey are used to strange weather (and lots of strange things, come to think of it). Then I thought I should call my granny and tell her what's happening so she could tell me (like she did when I was little) that it's a sign of the end times and Jesus is gonna come back soon. Conservative Baptist childhoods are full of wonder...

Speaking of drastic weather changes that signal the end of the world, I heard a speech on global warming Monday given by our former Vice-President, Al Gore. He did a great job on presenting somewhat complicated scientific data (and boy was there a lot of it) in a very understandable way and was personable and funny. He was only slightly political, which I appreciated, making a few comments on how the Clinton/Gore administration was better than the current Dumber/Dumb one [my phrase, not his]. What I learned: Everyone! BUY A HYBRID CAR FAST BEFORE GREENLAND OR ANTARCTICA MELTS AND RAISES THE SEA LEVEL BY 20 FEET. We'll drown if you don't do it (and I'm totally serious about that).

These days I'm just waiting to hear about my thesis and if I'll be able to graduate which I really wish someone would tell me already. I'm also trying to get several other papers conference-ready and doing my normal housesitting and babysitting gigs. John and Yvette (the primary family for whom I babysit) have offered to give me a graduation party, so that's exciting. Yvette and her mother are great cooks and decorators, so that plus their beautiful house should make for a very nice party. It could be the social event of the season.

Not much else happening except that I've become one of those people whose life is dictated by an intricate system of electronic devices. Currently, my new palm pilot is my fave, but there's always the ipod, cell phone and digital camera to occupy more time and computer memory. I tried making a grocery list on the PalmPilot, and while it was incredibily easy, I was too embarassed to keep the device out in the grocery store -- too pretentious even for Madison, NJ. I am afraid that my crazy notes might become a thing of the past with the electronic organizer, but I'll probably keep them around for aesthetic value. Because who am I if I can't have my "CD's to Buy" list or conference deadlines posted up on my desk? No one, I tell you, no one.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Friend, Karla

I got some bad news this morning from a woman I worked with in the printing department at Troy University. Bonnie called me today to report that Karla Finlay Reed's 11 day old baby boy, Brendan, passed away yesterday of an infection and internal bleeding.

Those of you that know Karla can contact me for information about condolences. Apparently, the baby had a fever in the hospital but was sent home only to go limp on Sunday and be rushed to the hospital again. My heart is broken for Karla and her family; I talked to her about a week ago, and she was so happy and excited about Brendan. It seemed like just what she needed in her life.

I'm sure she would appreciate our thoughts if you'd like to get in touch with her. Saying clever things on the internet and complaining about my life just don't seem important or appropriate right now.