Friday, February 26, 2010

A nice moment amidst bureaucratic flurry

So, Filly runs about like a chicken with her head cut off as the co-chair of the grad student union here: Running the conference is one thing...then there's facilitating grad student meetings about changes to policy and teaching, working with the Dean, the Chair, and the Graduate Program Director about funding, language classes and health insurance...the there's the wooing of prospective students...It's a lotta stuff, and me and my fellow co-chair feel the pressure. But when he started barking abrupt orders at me, I could either swallow it, or, ask kindly to be communicated with differently. I wasn't sure what was the most "professional" conduct...I choose the latter, and look what a lovely response I got!


Thanks for your note. And I apologize for my abrasiveness. I am struggling with some personal frustrations and have been unkind and impatient with you. I apologize for that. You're doing a fine job, I appreciate your work, and I certainly want this to be a collaborative process.

And then another,

Also, I'm sorry for taking this conference so seriously. I will work on being more light-hearted and to make this a more enjoyable experience.

What a nice productive moment, and what a mature partner to work with!

I hope I planted a seed that helps him see the light ;)

I just had an exhilarating mental romp with a missionary.
We were both friendly and firmly convinced of our own beliefs.
So it was intellectual play time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweet Stranger

On the subway today, a honey of a lady gave me a big smile and a picture she'd painted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

rhyming reference response

بلدي رجل had requested a reference to an interesting article, which I sent to him, his response?
"thank you so much for this reference.
i downloaded an article by dweck that i will treat with deference
it contains the nugget philly was telling me about
i will forward the article to my pedagogy prof without a doubt...
i am still curious about one piece of information
if i knew the answer i would make an exclamation
does her thesis only apply to childhood education
or does it also apply to those of the adult generation??
if it did that'd be a sensation
i would give that thesis a standing ovation

i will send your regards to the girl with red hair
as well as an eclair
wait... that's a desert
our brains is hurt
our poem is done
it was fun."

truly awesome.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My New Mantra

This is very important and very great.
"...the beliefs that foster the growth of talent and even genius over time [are]: the belief that intellectual potential can be developed; the idea that current performance simply tells you where you are and what you need to do now; and belief that everyone needs sustained effort to realize their potential and make truly noteworthy contributions."

Monday, February 15, 2010


It's my one year anniversary with بلدي رجل today. I have been elated for one year. My happiness with him borders on absurdity:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh Salinger

In all seriousness, of course the loss of J.D. Salinger is a tragedy. But, when I read this, part of me felt like he'd appreciate it...

"Bunch of phonies mourn J.D. Salinger"

"In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddamn thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything"

This just reminds us to be self-reflexive and not take ourselves too seriously, to see how ridiculous we are, which was part of the function of his work, no?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A second anomalous snow storm hit Philly this week. There's a general feeling of joyful abandon in the air at the unexpected vacation (Philly has about two snow plows, and no one owns snow tires...we really don't get much snow fall here normally). Last night, kids were rejoicing in the park, shouting and sledding into the wee hours on what used to be a school night. Today, people are just strolling (and cross-country skiing!) causally down the middle of the streets. What a lovely kind of lawlessness.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spam! Lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam!

My new favorite spam heading is "Be her passionate lion."
It sounds so cute!

Bendy Stretchy

Liebchen and I bought a yoga dvd over the weekend and did it together last night. It was his first time doing yoga ever.

We both managed to keep our giggling to a minimum (except when we realized that technically our living room is a little small for both of us to stretch our arms out and I kept tickling his underarms by accident) and really enjoyed it!

I feel about two inches taller today simply from standing up straighter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Short and Sweet

Lean Jeans and I have been playing a game.
It started out with this tragic short story by Ernest Hemmingway "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
Then an anecdote about a class that was given an assignment to write an as-short-as-possible story that included romance, religion, and mystery. There was only one that received an A+: "Oh God, I'm pregnant. I wonder who the father is?"

Now we send words back and forth and try to write short-as-possible stories. I rather like them.

Something round. Suspense. Sadness:
The man gazed into the perfectly round puddle his tears had made. He thought he saw a movement in it. He looked up and–

Sunlight. A frog. Paperclips:
The research was finally complete: frogs do not enjoy swimming in detergent. "Please clip these findings together and file everything away", the lab technician asked her assistant while pondering another use for the soap.

Strawberries. Memory. Time travel. Wool. Fear:
The taste of strawberries brought the memory welling up. Her mind travelled back to time to the moment he had surged up from the table because of her silly remark that the sweater he was knitting looked like it could fit an octopus. He had been so angry she had been momentarily afraid he was going to throw the dish of strawberries at her. She laughed inwardly about the fights they used to have. They were so impetuous.

Ripple. Space. Tulip. Music:
Without warning, cosmic waves of colour rippled through the walls. The typically tinny sounding FM radio awoke to fill his ears. He was floating through space with one epiphany after another. Unbeknownst to him, the mushrooms that accompanied dinner at his local steakhouse, were magic.

Tractor. Elegance. Insider trading. Platypus:
The detective scratched his head. The damaged tractor outside, the platypus in the bathtub, the twenty pages of indecipherable notes in elegant handwriting beside the two thick volumes on insider trading left on the desk... the clues just weren't adding up.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Congratulations Lindsey and Lee! Happy Birthday Lee (and now Me!)

Kryptonite and I went down to see the winter festival and fire sculptures at City Hall last night. As we were standing watching the flames a couple approached us and said, "Excuse me. Could we ask you a rather strange question?"
I shrugged and smiled, "Sure."
"Do you have about 30 minutes?" They asked.
Kryptonite and I exchanged puzzled looks, "What for?"
"We're going to get married and we need a couple of witnesses. Would you mind? It wouldn't take that long."
"Of course!" I exclaimed, and then looked over at Kryptonite to see if he objected, but he just shrugged.
"Hey," she said, smiling to her fiance, "The first people you asked said yes."
"How could anyone refuse an offer like that?" I wondered.
They were an extremely cute couple. They were both happy and informal and excited. She was eight months pregnant (She said, "It's like a shotgun wedding without the shotgun."). They'd known each other since grade school, and dated for seven years. It was his birthday, and they were going to meet their parents after for a birthday dinner and surprise them all with the news. The photographer they had brought with them had taken pictures at her mother's wedding many years ago.
When we went in side and signed the paperwork, the photographer remarked in surprise, "They don't even need to check your id?"
"It's a fake name," I immediately said.
"I'm running from the law in Mexico," said Kryptonite.
Everyone was laughing and being silly. The bride kept trying to make it more of an occasion. There was a staircase in a corner of the wedding chamber, and she asked if she could walk down it.
"Of course," laughed the officiator, "It's your wedding you can do whatever you want."
"Would you like someone to walk down with you?" asked the photographer.
The bride peeked her head over the railing, "I'm an independent woman," she said. "I can walk down by myself."
She had also made a cd of wedding music.
She walked down the stairs to an instrumental version of Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles, "–but then you'd better turn it down," she whispered, "because then it gets into the rock music." She'd told her husband the rock music was for him when she toggled through the music.
"What's this one?" he had asked when What A Wonderful World sung by Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole began to play.
"It's our new favorite!" she said, "You've never heard it before, but it's our new favorite."
She had the officiator read out part of the velveteen rabbit - the bit about becoming real, and how it doesn't happen to those those who break easily, or to those with sharp edges, and how sometimes your fuzz gets rubbed off - it almost made me cry. The bride did start to cry, and her husband kept interrupting the ceremony to ask if she was okay. She read her vows from rough notes and he said the ones in his head (and then asked her if they were okay). They kissed and they were married.
We signed some more documents, and the photographer got the Bride and Groom to dance to the rock music for their first dance. Then we shook hands all around and Kryptonite and I went back out to the wide world and the festival of fire.

To continue our adventures Kryptonite and I went and ate at very nice restaurant with eternal fire burning outside it, and a beautiful wall of glass-blown lights. I had an exceptionally yummy drink that was made with Rum and Ginger Beer and Pumpkin Cider. It tasted like a cool and refreshing version of Christmas. Kryptonite had a flight of Sake's that were explained to us by the Sake steward. The first was named after a Beatles song, the second was called "Dragon Slayer" and the third had undertones of cheese and mushrooms.
Walking outside we kept spying people skipping down the street.
Then we went back home and watched some of our favorite episodes of Futurama.
It was an excellent night.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

a tempting indulgence

I finished my essay on temptation! My favorite paragraph is this: "Many indulgences are harmless. For example, occasionally I like to take a bath with extra bubbles by candlelight and sip a glass of Baileys on the rocks. It is an extremely indulgent activity, as it serves no real function except for the generation of pleasure." I get happy every time I think about it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I have a snowy white coat...

There was a small child in a very white snowsuit with little white booties and a little white hood. Only her face was visible with extra rosy cheeks. She was kicking her heels in her stroller, and she looked adorable.

Geeky good news

As you know, I was saddled with the "honor" of being the bureaucratic head of our student body this year, and one of my duties is creating our conference. The due date for our conference submissions was yesterday, and we have 50 submissions from the US and Europe! We've got the flagship continental programs represented, but also some lesser known programs that it will be exciting to hear from! How nice of all these lovely people to share their work with us-What a gift for them to say they want to attend our conference! It makes me very happy. I wish we could host them all...


I ate a fresh banana today, cut straight off the banana bunch.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vampire Grill Party

In German class today, we reviewed a fill in the blanks exercise. The first part of the paragraph [translated] was approximately: "Most people like to drink _Beer_ at a Grill Party. However I don't drink alcohol so I will also buy _______." My professor asked, "And for the people who don't drink alcohol...?" and one kid offered: "Blood."

In my second class I made an extremely large lint ball. It bounces.