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17 April 2010 @ 10:43 pm
I... like... never post here anymore. Possibly, this has caused people to stop reading my blog. If you are still out there, hi. I'm still out there, also.

I am really, really homesick. Not sure for which home, though - since I am already here at home with Hannah, and I know that I am going to desperately miss her when she is in Brazil, which gives me worry. Home might also be Midd, which was very homey and familiar and yet not quite homey when we visited over spring break. It filled me with the weird, possibly because it was spring break there too and didn't feel like routine, and Midd is nothing if not routine. Home might also be Denver. I miss my family a whole lot - I have since I went home at Thanksgiving for my grandma's funeral. Also, I haven't called my grandpa since Christmas, and I feel awful about it. I think about my grandma all the time, and I'm afraid that I will call their house and ask for her out of habit. He hates talking on the phone, anyway. My parents are coming to visit in June, and I can't wait.

Things which also add to my Angst:
1. Being behind on lesson planning and aesthetic theory reading because of my all-consuming but now over block seminar.
1.5 Having to write seminar paper without the help of my professor, who is (a) awkward and a little scary and (b) back in Germany as of this weekend.
2. I think I taught my students something wrong in the last chapter. And I think I repeated it enough times and with enough conviction that it stuck, and I'm not sure if I should correct them or if it's minor enough that their 104 teacher will correct them and they will assume they remember it wrong. It kind of giving me a stomachache; I am pretending it doesn't exist for the time being.
3. Jerking around the amount of caffeine I consume on any given day, from multiple cups of coffee to some (or lots of or not much) tea to none at all, cannot be helping stabilize my mood.
4. Fretting about my comps reading list / MA exams / MA thesis. Fretting about my department and PhD programs and hating the idea of making my marriage long distance 'cause I hate that crap. Fretting about whether I will make it in academia. Fretting about jobs. Fretting about not being settled while I'm young enough to have kids. Fretting fretting fretting.

Things that improve my mood greatly:
1. Snuggles.
2. Baking my feelings, as per usual. Baking I have accomplished since the end of last quarter includes: a couple of pizzas, many batches of several varieties of muffins. Eclairs. Chocolate chip banana bread with crystallized ginger. Homemade overnight cinnamon rolls. ...Baking.
3. Hanging out with our couple couple.
4. Having made a friend in my department who I actually have a lot in common with! This is very distracting and means I get less work done around the office. Also, she's working on her dissertation and won't be around next year. But still. A friend!
4.5 Jaclyn (friend) likes musicals also. This is possibly also a good thing for Hannah, who no longer has to be the only outlet for my geekery.
5. Snuggles.
6. Tea, candy (we kind of binge-bought Easter candy), How I Met Your Mother, and crime tv shows on Netflix.
7. Snuggles. My fiancée. Being excited about being married. Snuggles.

Having written this whole thing, I notice that I'm using regular capitalization and punctuation, which I never used to do on here... though at this point it's not worth going through and changing. I blame grad school for beating good habits into me with a stick.
Certain half-deserted streets: home?
Shall I say: indescribablehomesick
Music from a farther room: Stuck in the Middle - Lullaby
09 October 2009 @ 10:35 pm
again, many good intentions of posting have been long postponed (pun most certainly intended, why do you ask?) by excessive business and stress bordering on insanity. which almost caused me to burst out crying in my office. just the once. and i just ended up blushing a lot. so it's ok. this is a grouchy post; i'm actually doing a fair amount better than it's about to sound.

thought number 1: advanced degrees area sick form of academic hazing.
seriously, what i'm doing right now with my teaching is something that i'd need a certain amount more practice and my PhD to do at middlebury. like... i feel like if i did nothing but teach undergrad language courses for the next 3 or 4 years, i'd be plenty qualified to join the forces imparting the german language to the best, brightest, and wealthiest. right? especially in the humanities, this whole Research Contributing to the Knowledge of the Discipline is a bunch of bullshit. blowing hot air at one another at conferences is not what I want to go into academia for; i like writing papers because i like talking about books. academics should teach, and they should talk about books. and the only reason you have to have a PhD to get a professorship in the humanities, and the only reason you have to keep doing research and publishing and shit for fear of not getting tenured, is because the old fogies making the decisions about whether you get or keep a job had to do all these things themselves. overgrown frat boys, the lot of them. (boy, i'm a bad grad student...)

thought number 2: teaching, especially beginning language, is rather like parenting. i gave the first chapter test in my german class today, and graded it (in front of juno, ahem) when i got home, and even though i know my students worked hard and studied for this test, i take an inordinate amount of pride in their ability to produce simple sentences. one of them wrote a complex sentence (i'm from dublin, but i now live in columbus) on one of her homework assignments... i could have hugged her. it's possible that i'll want to kill all 23 of them in their sleep by the end of the quarter, but... at least for now, i almost always come out of teaching my class with such a HIGH of creativity and excitement and brainstorming. lesson planning is a bitch and i don't want to talk about it. and the communicative method, while useful and among the less-flawed language teaching methods to which i have borne witness, can suck my metaphorical dick. but the actual standing in front of a classroom and teaching produces euphoria. and absurd pride.

thought number 3: creepy asshole, a week later. i was going to not preserve this incident for posterity by posting it, but over a week later, it's still bothering me. hannah and i were walking home from classes last week and were holding hands - we were right by the kroger, almost home. and this guy slows down his car as he drives by (going the same direction we were, but we were on the other side of the street) and rolls down the window and starts talking to us. and i slow down and kind of lean in to try and listen to him, because i thought he was asking for directions or something. and he's waving a cell phone and a wad of cash out the window going "if you guys are over 21, i'm looking for a good time..." and i got SO VERY UPSET. rarrgh. i looked away, but he kept repeating himself, so i flipped him off. this was a bad idea. a couple weeks ago, a woman who was aggressive right back at a group of men being aggressive at her not too far from our neighborhood was shot. not killed, but still. i flipped him off, and he shouted at me and drove away. and then i was in a vile mood for the rest of the day.
seriously, that was entirely unnecessary and objectifying and undignified and disrespectful. i bet he's anti-gay marriage, too... guess people like that just don't want us to have an excuse to be monogamous. i guess i should get used to at least some amount of harassment as a young woman, as someone who likes to hold her fiancée's hand in public, whatever. but really, did the bastard think we'd see the stack of money and be like OH OK WE'LL GO HAVE SEX WITH YOU??? with a total stranger? i doubt he thought that - more likely, he knew he could make us uncomfortable by doing what he did. it was a power thing. and it worked, and that makes me even madder. i hate living in a city. i hate not living in vermont. halp.

thought number 4: best yiddish expression experienced so far. it translates as "noah with seven mistakes" - because the hebrew spelling of the name noah has only two letters, this is a way of saying YOUR IDEA IS THE WORST IDEA EVER because it's only two letters long and still it has 7 mistakes in it. my yiddish professor is, as advertised, the least linear human i have ever encountered. and he very much likes having a captive audience who must listen to his stories about drinking beer with the communist police in east Germany, funny t-shirts he's seen in Israel, and 1920s jewish cabaret for two hours wishing he would go back to the damn grammar lesson. but "noah with 7 mistakes"? a real gem.

fact. my xenians are getting here tomorrow. i cannot wait.
fact. my fiancée is still doing homework downstairs and i'm half asleep up here waiting for her to come watch grey's anatomy with me.
fact. i made chili and cornbread for dinner and now my guts are grumbly.
Certain half-deserted streets: c-bus
Shall I say: tiredsreepies
Music from a farther room: Stephen Kellogg - Lonely in Columbus
30 September 2009 @ 08:54 pm
i've officially just lived through my first week of classes as a grad student. and i had a really good productivity mojo today, and i felt like a GERMANIST. that's right, bitches.

my classes:
~german 840 - teaching college german
this one has already been kicked like the proverbial dead horse, because it started out as the two-week seminar boot campy thing on how to teach foreign languages before the start of classes. the good part of it is that so far since the start of classes, we've done fairly practical stuff like practicing grading chapter tests. the bad part is that my professor's computer crashed recently, the upshot of which is that we still don't have a syllabus, so i have no idea what papers or projects or whatever i'll have for the class, though i've been assured that they will exist, whatever they are. the other bad part is that it meets 3 hours at a gap at the end of thursdays, which are my Very Long Days anyway (office hours, teaching, yiddish, methods, then teaching seminar), and i am generally very comatose by that point in time. anyway.
~german 702 - methods for literary analysis
eew. not to be confused with literary theory, which i have to take next quarter, either. it's not a bad class - the professor is really funny, and so far i've felt able to participate fairly intelligently. i'm also still not quite sure exactly what the topic of the class is; i've heard it described as "introduction to The Profession", being some sort of combination of literature survey without the actual literature, research methods and bibliographies, mini-forays into various fields of german studies, grad school to job market... yeah. it's a bit of a hodge-podge, but it's an acceptable hodge-podge.
~yiddish 670 - yiddish for speakers of german
yiddish is pretty great, i must say. being already familiar with the hebrew alphabet has its benefits, as in, i can already read pretty long chunks of text and make more or less sense of them. the vowel system in hebrew, which is what i'm used to, is really different from the notation in yiddish, which has thrown me for a bit of a loop, but i'm sure it'll get easier, the longer i'm exposed to yiddish. the professor is the least linear person i've ever interacted with... saying that he goes off on a lot of tangents doesn't even cover it, because saying that there are 'tangents' implies that there's a primary thread of linear thought, which there most emphatically isn't. the class is at lunchtime, which is fine - i bring food, i occasionally repeat sounds with my mouth full, no harm, no foul. well, not for me, anyway. the only complaint about the class is this over-bese-ish jewish woman in the class who knows hebrew but no german (um hi? yiddish for german speakers?), but reads the alphabet a lot faster than the rest of us, and feels the need to jump in and be a know-it-all every couple of seconds, even though she doesn't know german and misses most of what the professor says. also, she's in her 60's, balding, and wears what hair she has in pigtails. and grosses me out. /rant.
~german 742 - development of german poetry
for a class that i'm officially auditing, this one is the culprit of the greatest volume of homework. like... a good 200+ pages of theoretical reading per week, plus a good chunk of poems to analyze, plus oh-hey-i-know-you're-auditing-but-i-think-you-should-still-do-the-response-papers-too. also, lots of religious baroque poetry that i find not especially stimulating. blah. the professor is *way* intense - so much so that she wants to go by her first name among students, but behind her back, people refer to her as professor mergenthaler. yeah.

so the other thing is, i'm teaching german. which is really exciting and fun, but is a million work - i average 3 hours of planning and preparation for every hour i spend teaching. sometimes - like when i give a short quiz that i announced 3 days in advance, and then more than half the class fails it - i get really frustrated with my class. but most of the time they are my baby deutschies and i love them. and i get really excited when they do something right or ask me smart questions or send me emails with german youtube videos. or call me professor gordon. ego trip, much?
i want to post more about my teaching, but for now, movie and tea and cuddelz call, and i was born to answer that call :p
Music from a farther room: Dashboard Confessional - the End of an Anchor
23 September 2009 @ 09:44 pm
i taught my first class today! so that was exciting.

...i'm in grad school. it's pretty weird, actually. i haven't processed it well enough to post about it properly.

further updates as events warrant.
Certain half-deserted streets: columbus
Shall I say: draineddrained
Music from a farther room: Vanessa Carlton - a Thousand Miles
17 September 2009 @ 01:10 pm
i should clarify from yesterday - the way that our workshop is structured is that we get to teach practice mini-lessons to new TAs from other departments, and then we get feedback on the structure of the lesson, how we practiced certain structures or designed certain activities, etc. so i've been teaching german lessons to speakers of spanish, russian, french, arabic, japanese, etc., and have been on the receiving end of their lessons. the only beginning language i'm doing this quarter is yiddish for speakers of german (yay!) - though japanese, chinese, and arabic have been really interesting, and i wish i had time to take them here (or had taken them at midd).
16 September 2009 @ 10:10 pm
recent lack of posts attributed to wibbly exhausted brainz. fact.

two days left of TA orientation. on the one hand, two weeks feels longer than YOUR MOM with full days on campus and then work that follows you home. on the other hand, i still feel very overwhelmed thinking about all the material i need to cover, the expertise my students may expect of me, and the many strange or bad or unusual or confusing circumstances that may arise. i start teaching, as in my own classroom five days a week with 25 of my very own guinea pigs students to torture teach german, a week from today. this is very exciting and mildly terrifying.

also, the communicative method, which i swear each and every one of these professors would take into his or her conjugal bed, were it concrete and not a pedagogical theory, has aspects i like and aspects i dislike. planning down to the minutiae of communicative lessons is very frustrating. if nothing else, these practice micro-teaching lessons have given me empathy with how overloaded, childish, and paralyzed it can feel to be a student in a beginning language classroom.
on a related note, quality of instruction notwithstanding, the only good thing i can say about russian is that it instills in me a good healthy fear of being called on. seriously, hearing my name called by a russian teacher makes me want to puke in my shoes. i am RETARDED at russian. just in case i felt like getting cocky about being a good language student. i'm none too bad shakes at japanese or arabic, though, so that's good.

no major complaints about department-mates or boss. boss reminds me of my mother in her ubiquitous need to relate her own experience at every turn, rendering any given conversation about three times longer than it necessarily had to be. a berliner-turk, an italian, and two americans are given instructors' editions of deutsch na klar and told to go forth. sounds like a bad bar joke...

my next-door neighbor from home went to the university of michigan and is a huge fan, and by association is a big hater of osu, since the two are major football rivals. i could care less about the actual football, but the floods of red and grey-clad, not-especially-sober pedestrians flooding up and down high street by noon the day of an 8pm football game has been known to stir even my limited school spirit to produce a feeble I-O! while driving. (i got O-H!'ed at in the car on saturday. heeee.) anyway, said neighbor sent me a t-shirt that says GEH BLAU!! on it (go blue! in german - go blue is the michigan cheer, apparently. a color isn't a terribly tough mascot, but then, neither is a nut...)

...man, though. i really sucked at russian.
Certain half-deserted streets: c-bus
Shall I say: exhaustedwibbly
Music from a farther room: Eddie From Ohio - Atlantic
04 September 2009 @ 12:07 pm
1. this being the fifth day of being home while hannah's at orientation, and thus of my spending way more time on the tubes than necessary, i have come to conclusion that that the president of the united states is only the *second* most powerful human being in the whole wide world, after the new york times restaurant critic. seriously, the man has the power to smite a business over an over-cooked steak or a drafty table. think about that. 's all i'm sayin'.

2. julie powell, writer of the julie/julia blog with which i am obsessed and nearly finished, compares the italian vs. french philosophies of cooking as follows: the italians take good ingredients and treat them with respect. raw cleaned anchovies on a plate with lemon juice and olive oil. tomatoes, salt, and fresh basil on good crusty bread. i would argue that most mediterranean cuisines (middle eastern, north african, greek) fall into this school of thought. the french, on the other hand, take generally very humble ingredients - cuts of meat tough with connective tissue, organ meat, root vegetables - and give them lots of cooking time, loving care, and butter, until they become delicious. having attempted cooking of both origins, i find this to be correct. and it makes me analyze other schools of thought with respect to cooking; many other cultures that produce food with which i am obsessed. guesses welcome.
A. take ingredients we've been holding onto for i-know-not-how-long, add chili peppers until you can't tell your meat was spoiled.
B. it is absolutely crucial that your dish contain all food groups, plus lots of salt. it should also, when possible, be cute.
C. everything is better if you fry it. better if it's big.
i think my personal food philosophy is this: there are no foods out there that cannot be improved either by garlic or by chocolate; some can even go either way.

3. my quiche last night was a thing of glory. homemade crust, grated swiss cheese (which is generally not my favorite cheese, but it's the only way to go with quiche), caramelized onions, broccoli, perfect fluffy custard. it was like... pretty. and tasty. and not that hard. and it gave me confidence that i could cook for... like... real people! company! i'm a real person that may, some day, have company! ...ahaha.
Shall I say: goodgood
Music from a farther room: Vienna Teng - Augustine
02 September 2009 @ 08:12 pm
i'd just like to point out that ben and jerry's, in support of gay marriage becoming legal in vermont as of this month, changed the name of their ice cream flavor "chubby hubby" to "hubby hubby". this fills me with glee.

vacuuming happened today. so that was good. vacuuming the stairs is a bitch, because the hose on the vacuum isn't long enough to reach all the way up the stairs, so i have to do the top half of them in constant fear that the thing's going to come plummeting down on top of me. alas. also, i ran out of febreeze, but then i went and got another scent that is much less febreeze-smelling and leaves the sprayed object smelling clean, not sprayed. so that was good, too.

pursuant to our neighborhood being the kroghetto, out of curiosity this afternoon (not as a product of too much law and order: svu... why do you ask?), i looked up the sex offender registry for columbus, and there are two registered sex offenders living on our block - one registered for "improper sexual contact with a minor", and one for "rape charges". i'm not sure how i feel about this... because "improper sexual contact with a minor" could be a 19-year-old who was sleeping with his 17-year-old girlfriend, which is idiotic but not super scary, or it could be a child molester... and the rape charges could be ex-girlfriend revenge sort of charges, or real rape charges. i do not know. i just keep my door locked.

also, lots and lots of sirens over the course of today. more than usual. bleh.

having already purchased most of my books (and oh hey, i'm registered for twice as many credit hours as i'm supposed to be taking... that never happens...), and with hannah in school, it is unbelievable to me - unglaubable, if you will - that school doesn't start for another two and a half weeks. workshop will give me some structure and something to DO, which will be nice even if it's moderately stressful. now i just need to get my hands on my yiddish books, and all will be right with the world.
Certain half-deserted streets: columbus
Shall I say: jealousimpatient at life
Music from a farther room: Coldplay - Til Kingdom Come
01 September 2009 @ 10:18 am
so Favorite Girl has started her orientation, leaving me a bachelor for the better part of any given day this week, and let me tell you, i'm in fine form.

first of all, the dreams of late have been *bizarre*. my high school german teacher, an impossibly realistic video game, pigeons, egyptian gods, hannah forgetting to wear shoes on her first day of school, alison's pet duck, sun-hee choi teaching macro economics at midd, and other such unlikely characters fill my non-waking hours.

and then there's the general lack of restraint. i just caved and went downstairs to fetch three malted milk balls. what i really want is a big bowl of cocoa puffs; the only thing holding me back is that we don't have any in the pantry, and i refuse to go to kroger to buy some, first of all because i find myself doubting that they'd have any, and second of all because yesterday for the first time i heard our neighborhood described as the "kro-ghetto", which is both too painful and too accurate in its depiction to even bear further contemplation.

there's also the extreme and increasing jumpiness and paranoia. despite today's being the last cool-ish day for a spell, according to the interwebs which are always right, i cannot bring myself to keep the front door open and the screen door locked, despite its being one of three screened portals to the outdoors in the whole house - the rest of the doors and windows either lack a screen or have storm windows over them that are stuck closed. because every bump, vroom, scratch, or other noise i hear from the little alley next to the house or from the street outside, day or night but especially when i'm alone in the house, sounds to me like some very burly neighborhood punk come to relieve us of our tv, laptops, and my virtue.

...fine form, as i said.

other than that, i've been very busy watching streaming movies on netflix, crocheting, developing my new-found love for goo gone and comet, getting the bureaucratic run-around from my department and from osu at large, cooking, house-cleaning obsessively, and accomplishing a number of other equally useful tasks. speaking of which, i think i'll watch some law and order svu now...
Certain half-deserted streets: c-bus
Shall I say: boredrather bored
Music from a farther room: Coldplay - Til Kingdom Come