Friday, January 28, 2005

Laughing hysterically

See, I knew this would happen, I just thought I would have another week. But, alas, nature has worked against me and thus, I have the flu, which automatically puts me behind in the homework department. Do you know how hard it is to read and take notes and make sense of Russian history/gender theory/Jewish history/collapse of the Soviet Union, when you're sick. I don't understand gender theory when I'm not sick. In addition, I have funding applications due on Feb. 7th that I absolutely have to fill out this weekend. And I still have to attend lecture this afternoon. But I'm driving instead of taking the bus, because I get motion sick. I have, however, e-mailed all my friends to let them know to stay off the streets during the times I'm driving, just for their safety (unless they may be competing with me in the future job market; I forgot to e-mail those people). This is when I wish I had a boyfriend. I need milk, tampons and a DVD to watch this weekend. And there's a package at the post 0ffice, and I have to swing by the bookstore to get those two books I have to read by next Friday (along with the other six books I have to read by then, and that might actually be underestimating it). So a man this weekend could be useful; he could pick up all that crap and bring me a hot cup of tea every 20 minutes. And order me a pizza and better yet, pay for the pizza.

As if the flu weren't enough, I got some extremely bad news. For some stupid, idiotic, unknown, unexplainable reason, even if I take my pre-lims in the fall, I will not be dissertator status until the spring semester. For those of you who are wondering why it even matters, let me explain it. All the applications for research funding are due between Nov. and March. You have to be a dissertator to qualify and apply for funding. Therefore, I will miss half the deadlines for funding, which could possibly put me a year behind in my research. Yes, there are other things I can do for research during that year, but that's not the point. The point is, if I take my pre-lims, then I am a dissertator and want to start working on my dissertation. I told my advisor this last night, and she was very nice about the whole thing and said it wasn't my fault (which it isn't) and that I am exactly where I should be with everything else. I'm meeting with the department advisor on Monday to figure this out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And finally, my friend Andrea, who is getting married, is calling me every week to give me wedding updates. I'm happy for her, I know she's excited, but if I ever get married again, I'm eloping. It's not worth the money, the time, the aggravation. Besides, everyone in my family whose had a successful marriage eloped: my grandparents (57 years), my parents (27 years), my aunt's third marriage (1 year). (ok, maybe that last one wasn't a good example).

ok, I'm going to crawl back to the couch and read about the collapse of the USSR. I'd rather be taking a nap! Hope everyone feels better than me.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Second Week

It's the second week of school, and I'm a little worried, because looking at everything I have to do, I think I can do it. It'll be a lot of hard work, late nights, and little social life (like I have one anyway), but usually, I look at it all, laugh, and then pick and choose. And that's what worries me. I'm sure something will spring up, smack me in the head and then run, leaving me muddled, confused and laughing.

I had my first teaching sections yesterday. They went pretty well. Except they are all right in a row, so by the last one, I'm pretty much hoarse and tired. But all the groups seem good. However, last Friday, in the middle of lecture, the fire alarm went off. Well, I had left my coat in my office, because I wasn't leaving the building, so why drag a 50 lb. coat around. I ended up outside in a sweatshirt for 15 minutes. Yesterday, the fire alarm went off again, and again, I was coatless. I'm just wondering when the pneumonia will kick in. Interesting story (to me, anyway), one of my new students asked me if I ever go see local bands, which I do on occasion because I have a few musician friends. He then stated he was in a band and wanted to know if I would ever come see them. He'll let me know when they play next. Hmmmm. What was that all about?

Alright, I need to eat, and then get to study group. I also need to read an article before study group. I bet by next week I'm laughing hysterically.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

What is it?

Wes called me this week. He was who I called drunk from my cousin's last weekend. He said the message was funny but not embarrassing in any major way. So that's good.

Those of you who know me, or have been reading for a while, know that Wes is an old friend of mine (since highschool) who is in the Navy. Since highschool we have remained in touch with each other, although sometimes a year would go by between times we talked. About 9 years ago Wes got married and proceeded to have two children. About 6 years ago, I lived with Wes's best friend and we almost got married. Five years ago, we broke up. Ever since then, I still hear from him every 6 months to a year as he tries to get me back. And he refuses to speak to Wes, because Wes and I are friends (yes, maturity was an issue in that relationship). And meanwhile, since highschool, my best friend Andrea has been convinced that Wes was madly in love with her, always would be. Not quite as exciting as Y&R, but close enough.

So, about a year and a half ago, Wes's wife picks up with their two kids and leaves Wes. I started hearing from him a lot more often, but we were friends, so why wouldn't he need a friend? I knew he was dating (ok, dating really isn't the right term, maybe dawging is a better term). Then he went out on ship for about 8 months. When he came back, he started calling a lot. And then he dropped a huge, gigantic bombshell. He thinks we should be together. And I don't mean in bed (although, there too) but in a relationship, like forever. Think, the M word. He doesn't mean now, but he realized his feelings for me have changed and deepened and that we are really good friends, so what more do you really want in a relationship. I was stunned. Absolutely stunned. When you've been friends with someone that long, you don't really tend to think of them in that way. And besides, there is all that other stuff (see previous paragraph). And he lives there and I live here. And he's Wes. There was just no way. So, after a month of thinking about it, I told him I would be willing to see where the relationship went. It has been a couple of months since then. And I really have been thinking about it, and this is where I stand right now.

Men have always complained that I'm not romantic. I don't particularly enjoy flowers. Chocolate does nothing for me. I hate sweet talk and crap like that. And why do you think you have to call me twice a day? Why do you think you have to call once a day? If we're through having sex, get the hell out, no you can't spend the night. No cuddling. Sorry, I just don't get all gooey inside when I think about you. Instead, have an intelligent conversation with me about politics, finance, school, my research, music, art, literature, raising kids, cooking, traveling, goals, dreams and just life in general. Don't treat me like a women who needs to be saved from the world, her past, or herself. Treat me like an equal. Laugh with me. Be proud of me, not because of what you think you contributed to who I am, but because you get to be the friend of an incredibly cool woman. Don't be intimidated by my independence: encourage it. You don't have to worship me. But you should acknowledge that you could. And you should be independent and self-confident. Know that I'm not sleeping with the entire population of the world just because I didn't feel a need to talk to you for three days in a row. Know that when I cook for you, go out with you, rub your feet, listen to you complain about your day, or just laugh with you, that that's my way of letting you know how cool I think you are. When I have an intelligent conversation with you about politics, finance, school, my research, music, art, literature, raising kids, cooking, traveling, goals, dreams and just life in general, that's my way of appreciating you and letting you know that you're my equal. Wes does these things for me. This is how he treats me. And I realized that I could be married to Wes for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy. So, just because the thought of Wes doesn't make me all gooey inside, does that mean I don't love him? He provides a stability for me that no one else ever has. He knows who he is, what he wants, and he knows what he has to do to get that. And he is willing to to those things. I really don't know what else I could ask for in a man.

What do you think?


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

First Day

Well, actually yesterday was the first day of the semester, but today was my first day back. This morning, my friend Sarah and I met and went swimming. A full mile, which is 35 laps (not the previously mentioned 33). And, I am now exhausted. I hope I get into better shape quickly, because I can't afford to be this tired all the time.

Since I am TAing for a class, I must go to all the lectures, in addition to the 4 discussion sections I teach. The first lecture was today. Let's just say, that as of this morning, I still had not received a syllabus. I met with a different professor yesterday who referred to the professor I'm TAing for as a dingbat. He also said it's a good thing I've got it together. This makes me very nervous, because it doesn't appear that she's a very good lecturer, and that she also wants to slightly micro-manage MY classes. There might be some problems, but I'll figure something out.

I'm taking two "classes" this semester. One of them meets tomorrow, and the other is an independent reading class, so we meet whenever we both can meet (and I've actually done some work). I'm also working (slowly) on my pre-lim list. Therefore, I will be very busy this semester, but I must admit, I'm much happier in school.

I guess that's about it for now. I'm going to drag my ass to the couch and highlight the syllabus I finally got and organize myself for the next week. Good luck to all of you who also started school this week. May we all be bright, alert and cheerful on little sleep.


Sunday, January 16, 2005


I had a great weekend! I went up to Minneapolis to visit my cousin Suniel and his wife Amanda. Ok, I went to visit my friend Amanda, who happens to be married to my cousin. The weather was great driving up there (and back), except it was a little cold. Friday night we went to a great Thai restaurant and the food was delicious. Saturday we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The place is amazing, huge and amazing. I'm so glad we went and I would recommend it to all of you. Saturday night, we stayed home, ate leftovers, and got really, really drunk. It was so nice. I have not drank like that in a long time and I really needed it before school starts again. If you got any voicemails from me while I was intoxicated, I apologize. I know I made at least one call. Sunday, we went to this great Cuban place for breakfast/lunch. Again, excellent food. Amanda is a wonderful cook and she also knows all the good places to eat. Then I drove home. I'm a little tired, but feel like I'm ready for the semester. I really like Amanda: she is an amazing woman. I feel so thankful that she is part of our family. I love talking to her about everything, because we just seem a lot a like. So, this weekend was exactly what I needed.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Last weekend

Well, this is it. This is the last weekend of freedom before school starts. And, thankfully, it looks like the weather is on my side, because I am driving to Minneapolis this weekend to see family. Family I like! Cousins family! My age. So we'll have fun, and not have to play games (which I do like, but it gets old), we can drink (which I can't do at home at all) and just hang and not have to answer questions about when I'll settle down and get married and have kids and finally get a job so my parents don't have to support me. You know what, if my parents want to help support me, it's none of your damn business! I've already agreed to take care of them in their old age. So I will have fun and I think we're going to at least one art museum, which is, in my opinion, the best date option there is (just in case anyone needed any ideas before asking me out). And then when I get back, let the chaos begin.

I saw my friend Sean yesterday, which just leads me to a few questions. First, I asked him about his thesis, because he is on the verge of being asked to leave school because it's taking him so long to finish. He told me, he's too distracted over breaks to work much. HE DOES NOT OWN A TV. It's not like he's sitting at home watching porn all day, so what the hell is distracting you so much that you can't work on your thesis? Second, he read over my paper, which my professor has already told me is an AB paper and just needs a few minor changes for me to get an A. Sean said he didn't know if I could do it before school started. Which explains why he is still working on his thesis. All I need to do is fix the footnotes (1 and 1/2 hours), change some grammar mistakes (1 hour), add a few sentences (2 hours) to strengthen the argument and then, re-read the entire paper and make sure everything sounds great (3 hours). And it might not take that long. How could I not get that finished in three days? And finally, I was talking to him about Wes, and said that since we've been friends so long I had long ago quit thinking of him in a sexual way. Blank stare. He said as a guy, he had no idea what I was talking about. Does that mean that Sean thinks about nailing me? And I really don't want to know if that's the case, because then I would have to kick his ass.

In conclusion, I leave you with this Chinese proverb I lifted out of Reader's Digest.
There is no economy is going to bed early to save candles if the result be twins.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Getting closer

So, the sucky part about being a graduate student is that even though, technically speaking, I'm on winter break, I actually have papers to write, books to read, applications to fill out and a whole bunch of other school related crap to do. In addition, I'm still utterly exhausted from last semester. I feel like I can catch up on my sleep and not get as much done right now, which means I'll have to do it during the semester along with everything else, eventually robbing me of more sleep, or I can just remain tired, since this is how I'm going to feel all semester anyway. What a win-win situation! But, I am almost finished with my Zionist paper, which I think I've been working on my entire adult life. She tells me if I make just a few more changes, it'll be an A paper. Therefore, I've been making those changes today, will meet with my friend Sean tomorrow, and go over the paper with him (I've e-mailed it to him) and then make the few changes he has suggested and then hopefully, I will get that damn A. And then, she wants me to start working on my dissertation proposal immediately, even though I'm not even taking my pre-lims until the fall. But this way, I can apply for funding right away. I've got to get the funding. Meanwhile, the Russian program I wanted to go on this summer, requires many, many things for their application, including a 500 word essay in RUSSIAN! Yes, you read that right. Even though there are many days when I feel like I couldn't write a 500 word essay in English (ok, I just wrote a 35 page paper, so that really isn't that hard), there's still very little chance I could write a decent, much less a good, essay in Russian. But I'm still going to try. I wonder if I can write it about how tired I am?

Catch-22. Andrea's wedding is July 24th. The Russian program is June 7th-Aug. 7th. Does anyone else see the scheduling conflict? So part of me hopes I don't get accepted into the summer program anyway, because I want to be in Andrea's wedding. She's going to wait as long as possible to ask someone else to be a bridesmaid, but even if I don't go to Russia, I may not be in the wedding. But at least then I would get to go. She called the other night and we had a great conversation about Wes. I guess she's decided that since she's getting married, it's kind of silly of her to voice opposition to the fact that he has expressed interest in me (yes, at this point, that is the extent of the steamy "relationship" between us, other than the 15 year friendship). She thinks we are highly compatible, but did express some very valid concerns, which I appreciated. I could tell the idea bothers her a little, because she did mention it might be awkward, at first, if we did hook up, but that she was absolutely committed to our friendship, for the rest of our lives. And I have to admit, I was greatly relieved because I respect, admire, and love Andrea very much. And, most of the time, I like her too!

Yesterday was a very successful man day, as far as I was concerned. No, no one asked me out, but I did get to talk to two different guys, both whom I would like to go out with. And both remembered my name, and even, dare I say it, seemed somewhat happy to see me. I should also mention, I looked really good. Then I went shopping with a friend, and bought a little, incredibly sexy, red dress (I already own a couple of little black dresses). Now I just need to find a place to wear it.

ok, I suppose I should do more work on that paper. I hope everyone is staying warm and dry,

Friday, January 07, 2005


You ever hear that one song, that for some reason makes you smile and your heart ache, all at the same time? Right now, for me, that song is Mr. Brightside by the Killers. I don't exactly know why, but there's just something about it.

My friend Andrea is getting married. I am extremely happy for her. My friend Jamie just sent me pictures of her brand new baby. I am ecstatic for her. My friend Tiffany is due, after two years of trying to get pregnant, in June. It couldn't happen to a better person. My friend Sarah and her husband just bought a house. I'm so glad they will be able to garden. My friend Tonya and her husband just bought a house. They need the space for their three kids. My friend Camille and Bart are about to have their third child. I told her if she's born on my birthday, I get her as a present. My cousin Niel and his wife Amanda are looking to buy a house. I hope they find one they love. My cousin Creed is marrying the mother of his child this summer. They are perfect together.

Do you see a pattern here? Turns out, I'm the last single, childless woman I know. Now, I am divorced, so I know what a god-awful marriage is like, but I've never been pregnant. The dynamics of friendship changes when one of you gets married or has a child. It's not a bad thing, it's just different. While I'm complaining that I'm spending yet another Friday night alone, they're thinking, god, I would kill for any time alone. And I should add, I am single by choice. I just came to the conclusion that the men who were interested in me didn't place as much belief in me and my future as I did. Once I meet someone who can do that, and I can do that for him, then I know it's the right guy. But I still need to feel sexy and beautiful and that's kind of hard to do when you never leave your apartment. Having Wes show interest helps: I'm shaving more and starting to buy more sexy clothes. Clothes that will sit in my closet and never get worn. But at least I know that part of me is still alive. I know timing is never right for a relationship, but right now is just a terrible time to think about one at all. I'm leaving to live in Russia within the next 12 months (no later than 15). How many guys do you know would be willing to live in Russia for a year or so? And I really want to have sex, but not dirty, one-night stand, or even bed buddy sex. I want to have sex with someone I trust, and know, and love (or think I could love). Someone who's not going to disappear, or be creepy. But someone who understands me. Someone who looks at me like I am the only women on the face of the earth. The only one they ever want to be with forever. The only woman who could make them forget they were ever with anyone else.

Only five more years until I'm finished with school.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Snow and students

Today, I spent 20 minutes digging my car out so I could drive to the gym and swim. I shaved 7 minutes off my swim time, and hope to shave off another 7. That would put me at 30 laps (33= 1 mile) in 35 minutes. I want to swim before my classes this semester, but I have to eat and get ready too. I think I can do it. I also thought that since I was driving towards the downtown of the state capital that the roads would be sufficiently plowed. Apparently, even though I only drove on major roads, the city feels it's only necessary to plow them every 24 hours, even though it snowed for 24 hours straight. And don't get me started on other drivers, including the one who ran a red light and almost broadsided me.

And even though it is winter break, I received an e-mail from a very upset student because the grade I gave him meant that since he was already on academic probation, he was kicked out of school. He didn't understand why, even though he skipped class and the weekly papers (total of 35% of grade) he received such a low (but passing) grade. Now he wants me to write a letter to the board of whatever explaining that his work was good (when he did it), but he was absent a lot. Yeah, don't think that's going to happen. Attending class IS part of the work. And if you're already on academic probation, don't you think you'd make sure you got good grades? I don't know, maybe that's just me.

I got my Christmas pictures back today, and boy, my nephew is cute! Also got a good picture of him with my brother. Mom told me my brother, Craig, finally cut his hair. It was very long, because since both sides of the family are bald, he knew he had to enjoy it while he could. Problem is, he should have shaved his head at least a year ago. It's over Craig. I know you're only 25, but, you are thinning badly, receding quickly, and you do have a bald spot on the back of your head. Unfortunately, mom said he couldn't let it all go, so he shaved it into a skunk. He will completely shave his head before his next trial date for custody though. Thank God!

And finally, even though I'm technically on break, I'm trying to read for my pre-lims. Would somebody please explain this to me? I'm reading a book called Gender Trouble by Judith Butler. Let me quote some for you: "As an antimetaphorical activity, incorporation literalizes the loss on or in the body and so appears as the facticity of the body, the means by which the body comes to bear "sex" as its literal truth. The localization and/or prohibition of pleasure and desires in given "erotogenic" zones is precisely the kind of gender-differentiating melancholy that suffuses the body's surface." (p. 68). The whole book is like this! I understand about 1 sentence out of each chapter. What the hell is she talking about????? I'm a girl because I have a vagina. Why isn't that good enough?

If any of you are male or female for ANY OTHER REASON than the fact that you have a penis or vagina, please let me know. It would help me out greatly. (and yes, I do know several transgender/transexual people, and no, they can't clear this up either).

Stay out of the snow, but go to class,

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Christmas update

or, it's been enough time, I can finally discuss it.

But, before that, I am so excited because I am going to go visit my cousin Amanda in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to see her (oh, yeah, my other family too!). We haven't seen each other in ages, and there's always other people around. Maybe we'll get some girl time to just talk and bitch about relationships.

Ok, back to Christmas. First, the good stuff. My nephew, Phoenix, is amazing. He's 16 months old, and it was absolutely mind-boggling what he learned in just the one week I visited. When I got there, he could walk, but looked a little like I used to on Saturday night (when I used to have a social life). He ALWAYS crawled to a wall to stand up. By the end of the week, he was trying (unsuccessfully) to RUN! And, the last day I was there, the little man tried to stand up in the MIDDLE OF THE ROOM! I don't think he even knew he hadn't crawled to a wall. He fell right away, but just the fact that he tried amazed me. He is starting to look like a little boy, but he's only 28 inches tall. Corinne is very short, and Craig isn't that tall for a guy, so Phoenix might be doomed to shortdom. But he'll be very cute. His hair is a silver-blond, and he has Corinne's grey eyes. I was really hoping he would get Craig's beautiful sea-blue eyes, but doesn't look like it. He can do a number of other baby things, and he has dimples. He's just really cute, but a little fussy (much like my brother at that age). Just wish I saw him more often.

As for gifts, I made out all right. I got a DVD player and hopefully, if mom and dad shipped when they said they did, I'll get it before this weekend. I got four cookbooks, and two other books to boot, so my luggage coming home was very heavy! Camille got me a beautiful photo-album. I'm going to put my Germany (Summer 2003) pictures in it, probably tonight. My aunt made me this denim purse which would be great if 1) I was 10, 2) it was the 80's, or 3) I was white trash. But none of these is true. And by denim, I mean she cut a pair of jeans at the crotch and made the top half a purse, complete with red bandana belt and straps! I told my parents not to bother to ship that. Overall I was very happy with my gifts.

Other delightful Christmas news: My sister's boyfriend got her a ring for Christmas. I guess he got it just because "he loves me." Now, I am of the opinion of my cousin, who stated that promise rings are like putting your girlfriend on layaway. And my sister is barely 18, and they have been dating less than 6 months. So, like my parents, I was not too pleased about this gift. But, I do like her boyfriend, and it was a beautiful ring. I kept my opinion to myself (and for those of you who know me, you know that was hard to do!). Andrea's man finally proposed. Their anniversary is on January 1st, and last year (their third anniversary) she gave him a one year ultimatum about proposing. He may have waited until the last minute, but he bought the ring before she gave him the ultimatum. He said every time he planned to propose, something happened. The ring is beautiful. Andrea is happy. EXCEPT, she is convinced Wes and I are dating. Which we are not. She can believe what she wants. Neither Wes nor I is willing to do the long distance thing.

Finally, when I got home, there were 5 hang up calls on my answering machine from a blocked call. Anyone want to venture any guesses? Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know who it was, and all I can say, I'm glad he hasn't called since I've been home.

that's it, thanks for stopping by, have a great year,

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year Resolutions

Yes, I do resolutions every year. I also do 10 year goals, 5 year goals and 1 year goals. I guess I know where I want to go and what I need to do to get there. Just want to stay focused.

New Year Resolutions:

To pray more consistently for my family and friends: for their physical and emotional safety and well-being and for healing of wounds and relationships.

To practice piano for at least 15 minutes a day.

To read my Russian Bible every day. And to also read a Russian newspaper every day.

To read German for 15 minutes everyday.

To swim three times a week and do my back exercises twice a week.

To cook a new meal at least once a week (I got 4 new cookbooks for Christmas).

To write my Grandparents at least once a month.

To start my Russian baby fund.

To attend a musical event at the university once a month (hey, it's cheap and I'll kick myself later if I don't).

One year goals:

Take (and pass) my preliminaries!
Spend the summer in Russia, and become much more fluent in Russian.
Get my dissertation proposal approved.
Apply for research funding.

Five year goals:

Graduate with my Ph.D. in Modern European History, emphasis on Russia/USSR history, and European Jewry.
Adopt first Russian baby.

These two goals moved this year, from 10 years to 5, and this is the first time they have seemed to be in reach, and not just some far off dream. That's kind of scary.

Visit 5 countries I've never visited before, not in North America (I'm going to be in Russia at least a year, so this shouldn't be that hard to accomplish).
Visit Canada.
Visit at least two states in the USA I've never visited before.

Ten year goals:

Have tenture somewhere I actually want to live and work.
Own a house.
Adopt second baby.
Visit 2 more foreign countries.
Visit 2 more states in the USA.

Just so you all know, I want to visit everywhere before I die (and yes, I do mean everywhere!).

I think that's about it. I should probably resolve to spend more time on myself and less on school, but this is really the final stretch, so I can wait.

hope everyone has a wonderful new year!