Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey in a Clean House

Shh... don't look now, but my house is clean. Don't blink - it might disappear if you do.

You know you're turning into a grown-up when what excites you about Thanksgiving break is the chance to clean the house. It's really kind of sad, but I spent most of the day doing just that, and reveling in NOT doing work that required my brain to be functional.

But I'm excited about more than that: Christmas music becomes permissible in TWO DAYS!!! Sorry if you missed the memo (the stores definitely have), but playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving is a dreadful holiday faux pas.

In other news, the Christmas tree stands are beginning to pop up around town, and unfortunately, so are the crazy shoppers and tense, frustrated faces in line. It's kind of sad how quickly it starts. You'd think Joy to the World (which I didn't hear because I was good and blocked my ears to avoid breaking that all-important holiday rule about not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving) would override the fear that someone else might get the last box of New Moon Jell-O with the free Jacob's...face temporary tattoo.

Guess that's a bit much to ask. That tattoo will be worth a lot on Ebay. Someday.

But in the meantime, I want to take a minute to list off some of the things I'm thankful for this year...
  • Food, warm houses, friends and family;
  • Turkey. And cranberry sauce;
  • The end of David Lynch movies, for me at least;
  • The mere 53 pages of writing standing between me and the end of the semester;
  • The fact of being alive at the almost-end of the semester; and,
  • Grace to cover my sarcasm, crankiness, and general obsession with me-ness.
Safe travels, happy eating-and-shopping-in-maddeningly-long-lines-at-five-a.m., and see you on the other side!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

First Semester of Grad School... three pictures or less. As expressed by LOLcats...


funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be Like an Unwelcome Guest

Dear Thanksgiving Break,
and Christmas soon after:
please be like an unwelcome guest.

Come early, leave late,
leave your keys on the sink,
and stand talking beside the door.

Bring unhealthy food;
wear garish red sweaters;
monopolize conversation.

Thanksgiving, Christmas:
Just one thing, please promise:
Don't cancel at the last minute.

That's all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Life in 10 seconds

I have officially become a scholarwuss. I can't even carry a hay bale 100 yards without breaking a sweat. Or carry 4 water buckets without spilling. Sheesh.

Happy Saturday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

But Then...

Sometimes, I am just incredibly grateful for the ability to laugh.

Today was one of those days. After two weeks of increasing stress, I hit writer's block this week, with a paper due tomorrow (about torture and the literary) among other monsters. Nothing. I mean nothing. Commence mini-breakdown.

But then...

I'm grateful for a couple friends who pulled me out of my own head, kept me company working, and listened to me grumble. There's something purgative about calling your work what it is, especially when it's just plain bad.

I'm grateful for finally being able to put words on paper that, bad writing as it is, can pass for a paper when the deadline rolls around.

I'm grateful for Jim Brickman sheet music and a piano I could play (after trying for two weeks to find one where no one was studying) without an audience, except a very nice security guard - even if that requires it to be midnight on the worst weather day in a long time.

And I'm grateful I fell on my backside in the mud AFTER the other two events, so that I was significantly lighter-hearted and didn't waste the opportunity for a good laugh at myself.

Sometimes, that's enough.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life in 10 seconds

...because that's about all I have right now.

At least one paper per week between now and mid-December. Currently reading Hardy's Jude the Obscure - like it - Lynch's Catching the Big Fish, Camus's "Myth of Sisyphus," and Kincaid's Autobiography of My Mother.

Seems like a lot of my reading material lately is about meaningless. Camus opens by saying that life is absurd, and if people were consistent, we would all commit suicide. The rest of the essay is his attempt to figure out why he doesn't want to, life's absurdity being a given. Happy stuff, this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Extreme Makeover, Grad Student Edition

I never thought I would go to graduate school to get a fashion makeover. I came here to study, right?


Introducing the newest breakout hit in reality television, Extreme Makeover: Graduate Student Edition. Although lacking in "move that bus" lachrymal drama and Stacy's erstwhile pointy-toed heels, this show will revolutionize the way graduate students throw on a sweater vest.

It certainly has for me.

The semester is more than half over, and the graduate school machine has already worked its magic in my daily wardrobe.

See for yourself.

That watch you're wearing? It is so totally yesterday. Obsolete. I mean it. For shame. When you leave a class, or a job, or an appointment, that means it's time to be at the next one! Life does not fit itself into 24 hours anymore. Get used to it. Embrace it. Ditch the timepiece.

Slender computer shoulder bag? Whoa, stop right there. How many books can you fit in that thing? Two? Three? What are you thinking!!! The first cardinal rule of grad school apparel is that if it fits on your bookshelf, it must fit in your book bag. This season, we're seeing a reemergence of the traditional pack, with significant increases in the swiss army backpack, although some avant-garde grads are already moving toward the frame pack. Slight difficulties with fitting up the stairs in the library have temporarily hindered the progression of this trend.

Cute shoes? Hold it just a second: 13 x 3. I would tell you to do the math except that you're studying the Humanities. Count them: 39 stairs, and that's just to get to your study carrel. If you want to come back down (not that you would), that's another 39 right there. It's time to put your feet first for a change.

Ponytails, buns, and other up-do's? I can't believe we're even having this conversation. When was the last time you slept on a pillow made of tennis balls and needles? So why would you want to inhibit your ability to fall asleep in any chair, anywhere by creating a tennis ball and/or mat of bobby pins on the back of your head? Keep it simple, ladies. Keep it simple.

And finally, the second cardinal rule of gradual school apparel: any clothing that can substitute for pajamas is a no-brainer. Unless, of course, you're still wearing the outfit after you fell asleep in the library last night while trying to write a paper...

There is a limit to everything.

Now go forth and conquer the world of fashion.