Archive for September, 2006

lagniappe 2.0

September 22, 2006

The flip side of “better than you” is “never good enough.”

Fold that any way you wish…


When “back to work” means “everything rests on my ability to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’."

September 22, 2006

An email in response to a friend’s question about watching Grey’s Anatomy tonight:

—–Original Message—–
From: Jen [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 2:53 PM
To: Friend X; Friend Y; Friend Z
Subject: RE: Grey’s Anatomy

Hey everyone,

I MIGHT be watching this episode, I don’t know. Right now my cable is freaking out. I just went to set the VCR because I might not get to watch the show tonight–never able to plan my schedule around the shows I like, dammit–and we aren’t getting any reception at all. So, we’ll see. I thought it might be just a “rabbit ears” issue, but it’s something else.

That said, I will NOT be watching this season if something bad happens to the Christina or Burke characters. I hope Addison stays, though, and finds a decent man. I’m not a McDreamy fan–for her or Meredith. And yes, M needs to do something with the mop on her head.

Hope you’re all doing well. Back to work.

A slightly later email, wherein said “work” was performed…

—–Original Message—–
From: Jen [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:18 PM
To: Friend X; Friend Y; Friend Z
Subject: cable hookups and ph.d.s

Hi all,

You know how I sometimes make fun of the faculty (as a whole, of course) and its inability to operate simple machinery like, say, an overhead, or a copier. Well, I must be on my way toward professor-hood because I “solved” my cable problem this afternoon in one easy step.

After much hemming, hawing, and hand-wringing, during which time I contemplated several possible solutions to my problem**, I finally pulled on the cable part of the rabbit ears. Yep, it was not attached to the TV anymore. F’ing brilliant. I plugged it back into its place and Voila! Channel Nine is fully operational.

Thought you’d get a kick out of that little lesson in humility. Now, do I tell Russell to make him laugh, or do I keep this shameful experience to myself?


**Solutions to cable problem including but not limited to: calling Russell at work, calling landlord and pressing “1” for “emergency” on the maintenance line, climbing onto the roof to check the antenna myself, calling the cable company (meaning, Channel Nine) to determine if service was out all over Cinti, crying, calling the City of Cincinnati to determine if winds (it’s not even windy today) had taken down a line… No, I’m not
obsessed. Why do you ask?


baby hat sweatshop

September 11, 2006

The announcements began trickling in back in November and December, I’d say, when the holidays brought families and friends together. At first the numbers were moderate: my sister-in-law, two friends from school, my best friend Kate. But then came the deluge, and when it was over thirteen of my friends were going to give birth by mid-September.

Without sounding cheap, I hope, I must say that I freaked out at first at the potential cost. Depending on the parents-to-be, the registries can be prohibitively expensive. The diaper champs, the Baby Bjorns (if you don’t know what that is yet, don’t panic–a pregnant friend will surely fill you in at some point), the myriad bedding and clothing options…for this graduate student, it all seemed like an exercise in savings depletion. The first shower I went to set me back $55.00. At that rate I was looking at $600.00 plus bucks for the entire summer, and I knew I’d spend more that that on my particularly close friends. Couple that with the fact that I don’t get paid during the summer and you can perhaps understand my anxiety.

I certainly don’t mean to sound dour about my situation. I mean, I was ecstatic that so many women I care about were having babies. But that celebration was always tinged with, “How will I pay for it?” And that’s no way to usher in the joyous occasion of new life.

So, I purchased about ten skeins of Artful Yarns “Candy” and went to town. It’s been a baby hat summer. I began with some so-so needles and finally made the investment in some Addi-turbos. (For all you non-knitters out there, the “turbo” is for real–they’re super slick and fast!)

Here’s the first hat I made:
first baby hat

Pretty cute. And relatively simple. A hat plus a book for baby made a fun, affordable (for me) gift. And for a while I was a machine, cranking out a hat per shower in no time at all. But then I started to expand my repetoire. I wanted to make a couple of my friends a sweater to go with the hat. I began with the same “Candy” yarn for two, and those sweaters turned out really well. I mean, they weren’t perfect, but that’s what “homemade” means, right? The Candy yarn has a little elastic in it, so it’s very forgiving.

Then I asked a friend to give me some suggestions for a color and she chose solid blue. Well, there’s no solid blue “Candy,” so I went to regular cotton. So much harder. But here’s the result:
sweater and hat

Check the buttons:
close-up of buttons

When my friend Kate gave birth on Sept. 5, she was the last of the thirteen. I thought my stint as mad-baby-hat-knitter was over. I ordered myself some Cash Iroha to make the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and dreamed of finishing one of my shawls.

On Saturday, I received an invitation to another baby shower. So, back to the sweatshop I go…
can't get a break

other people’s dreams are boring…

September 1, 2006

But that isn’t going to prevent me from sharing a dream I had last night…

I want to remember this dream. And it’s my blog, right? Right.

I think it’s relatively safe to say that anyone who’s ever been in school has had the dream wherein you don’t have your calculator and it’s the final exam in algebra and you’re just screwed. Right? I mean, we’ve all been there. The rest of the class is filing into the room and you suddenly intuit, without even looking, that your calculator is NOT in your backpack where it’s supposed to be. And then you look and OF COURSE it’s not there, but you have to take your seat anyway, and the test comes at you over the back of the person in front of you and all you can do is sit there and wait until you wake up.

I’ve been in school a long time, so I have the test thing pretty well sussed. Seriously. I’m in, like, 25th grade, I think. And since I’ve been teaching, I haven’t had the “no calculator” problem. Instead I have the “Oh my God, I’ve been assigned to teach ‘Algebra I’ and it’s the first day and what am I going to do” dream instead.

There’s part of me, when I have that dream, that says, “Okay, I’ve had Algebra, for Petessake. I can do this. All I have to do is start at the front of the textbook, stay ahead a few chapters and I’ll be fine.”

And then in my dream I get to class and I find out they’re already on Chapter 15 (which is matrices, and I never understood those to begin with) and I’m screwed and I all I can do is sit there in front of my students and wait until I wake up.

I guess because I’m writing my dissertation and am somewhat beholden to my chair I feel childish and student-like. I’m also not teaching this semester, which feels strange. I’m only a student.

Anyway, last night I had the “I’m the student” dream again. This time it was the biology final, and I’m thinking: “Okay, I was a microbiology major in college, I can pass this thing” and then I realize I haven’t read a page of the textbook and I decide that calling in to school with the flu is definitely the right decision.

Sadly, I’m writing my dissertation on the language of heredity and “natural selection” so I’d better have at least a Biology 101 level understanding of it, but call in sick I did.

I suppose this dream is first of many…

I can smile about it now, but in my dream last night I was definitely freaking out. I distinctly recall trying to get Kreb’s cycle straight in my head, and then thinking “Okay, I know what a stomata is, so the botany question is under control.”