February 28, 2008


Mom is coming to visit this weekend! It was an impromptu trip, but I'm super excited she's coming. She e-mailed me on Monday asking what I was doing this weekend, so I cleared my schedule (aka planned to watch movies a different day), she cashed in some frequent flier miles and she's landing Friday at 12:17! The last home Yale hockey game is Saturday, so a bunch of my friends are going and then we're going to hit up my new favorite sailor bar downtown. It's called Anchor Restaurant and it's got the most diverse crowd of people I've ever seen at one bar. They don't have anything on tap (the one drawback), but the half-hearted nautical theme is the best I've seen. Not to mention half the people there look like they just came back from 4 months at sea. Anyway, I'm excited to show my mom around and hang out with her! So much love lately... Kari AND Tessa in the same weekend, now my mom, and then next weekend I leave for Ireland (8 days)!

I applied for an internship at a religious publishing house in Minneapolis and I had a phone interview today. It went well, so hopefully the main person will be calling me back and interviewing me again. It's working with children's curriculum for congregations, so my background in camp counseling (especially church camp, any vacation bible school here or internationally) finally paid off. The press does both liturgical/congregational material and academic publishing, so hopefully I'll get some experience in the academic side as well. The Hebrew Bible professor here at YDS has some books published through Augsburg, so there's another interesting side to it. One of my friends adores John J. Collins (JJC, as I like to think of him), so I've been teasing him that I'll have more to talk about to JJC than he will, even though he's in one of his classes. Anyway, I'm actually very excited about the internship because it's 1. full time, 2. PAID! and 3. actually in a field I'm interested in. It's like the Holy Trinity of internships.

February 24, 2008

February in pictures

Kari and I at the Spice Girls concert

Tessa and I!

My birthday cake and my candle!

I had to bake my own birthday cake... what is that about?

At least I have friends...

The view across my desk, out the living room window... I get a lot of work done obviously. A fine example of New Haven's exemplary plow job.

My birthday present from my grandma - new shoes! I got the exact same kind as a pair already owned. New shoes (left), 4 year old shoes (right).

My birthday present from Kari, an otter floating in the water.

February 23, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

I tried making a new recipe from the cookbook Mom gave me for Christmas - this one is Crunchy Peanut Noodles with Tofo (altered).

It's a homemade peanut sauce, which was the reason I wanted to make it in the first place. I love peanut sauce, but it's really fattening so making my own sauce allowed it to be a lot healthier. I used reduced sodium soy sauce instead of regular and low fat creamy peanut butter as opposed to regular (plus I like crunchy so I had to buy new pb anyway). It's got green onions, red pepper, and cucumber. It's also supposed to have cilantro, but Trader Joe's didn't have any, which I consider a blasphemy. It's pretty good, but I'd have to say that instead of the green onions the recipe suggested, I'd put some other vegetable in. I also didn't put any tofo in, but I'd bet chicken or beef works as a substitute as well. Consider it should also have the delicious cilantro flavor, I'm excited to try it again. I still have left over peanut sauce, so I'm going to play around with that in the upcoming days as well. But I'm definitely leaving out the green onions next time, which also begs the question of what I'm going to do with the large pack of green onions I bought - another disappointing thing about Trader Joe's.

Making the sauce

Cut up vegetables and finished peanut sauce

Assembly of the noodles and vegetables, waiting for sauce.

I was cooking while I listened to music I have to do a presentation about on Wednesday. I'm presenting on Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, so it was pretty fun listening to jazz and the scatting while I cooked. I'd recommend it to anyone.

February 21, 2008


I've been wanting to watch Offside for sometime now, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. It's an Iranian film about the Iran/Bahrain 2006 World Cup qualifying match and some girls who try to sneak into it. The movie shows little of the actual match, but the holding pen for the girls who get caught. It works well because it's about gender and restrictions, but not in a way that's bashing you over the head with the director's "message." In the end, there's no extensive discourse on gender or why Iranian soccer matches are the way they are, it's just massive celebration by the girls, the soldiers who are guarding them, and random people along the way. It's ridiculously effective in moving past blatant symbolism to effortlessly making round characters in a round world.

It's filmed pretty much in real time and Panahi, the director, used a lot of local non-actors, which adds to the authenticity of the film. For not being professional actors, they all did an excellent job. It reminds me a lot of Italian neo-realism, but not nearly as boring.

The gender-bending and quietly powerful subversiveness is enough for me to recommend this movie. While what's actual said in the film is thought-provoking in it's own right, what's left unsaid is just as interesting.

Anyway, it's funny and interesting, and I'm just waiting for the day when I can teach this. Highly, highly recommended.

FAFSA smafsa

Yesterday I was talking to one of my friends who is graduating, and she made the astute point that she never has to fill out a FAFSA (free application for student aid) ever again. I'm super jealous. They're not very much fun, and you don't get any money back at the end of it, like taxes.

I have to say, after 6 years of filling out a FAFSA, I was able to knock mine out in less than 20 minutes. That's pretty good, in my opinion. It helps that I know exactly what they're going to ask for, plus I don't need my parent's information since I'm a graduate student and YDS doesn't take that into account. It also means that the only information YDS considers when making financial aid decisions is mine, aka my awesome income of $6,000 this year. It brings my expected family contribution to a very hefty $0 - good for me, good for my financial aid, good for scholarships. Not to mention that YDS has made it a goal to somewhat relieve the burden of debt for their students - I'm talking in terms of new $1.5 million dollar grants for next year. Let's hope they send some of that my way. I'm quite the qualified, distinguished student.

February 16, 2008

Choke on this, cultural sexism!

I'm not a big coffee drinker - I'll have a latte every now and then, but usually I don't have coffee daily. So, in my efforts to actually get something done today, I thought I'd have some coffee. I made more than I thought I would, drank all of it (to the tune of 3 cups), and now I'm all caffeinated up and can't concentrate on my reading. It figures. I'm not as jittery as I was an hour ago, so hopefully I can sit still long enough to finish reading the 10 pages left in the chapter I started two hours ago.

My friend lent me Six Feet Under last week and I started watching it last night. The show starts off by showing someone's death and then they have the funeral by the end of the episode. One of the episodes is about a woman who chokes to death by herself in her apartment and she lies there for a week before someone finds her. As someone living by themselves, that kind of thing scares the hell out of me. Erich said it's like I've hit my single-woman-midlife crisis early (according to the various depictions on tv shows like 30 Rock and Sex and the City), so he told me to text him every day telling him I was still alive. Somewhat reassuring, but it's not like the daily text is going to pop the chunk of food out of my throat.

Now that I'm thinking about it, tv only tends to show women who choke to death by themselves. A little sexist? Yes. Subtly reaffirming the concept that single women need to find themselves a partner (most often a man) to save them from the day they'll inevitably choke? Yes, I think so. 30 Rock and Sex and the City focused on this theme moreso than Six Feet Under, which circled around the concept of being so alone that no one notices you're dead or comes to your funeral. But 30 Rock and Sex and the City seemed to say that no matter how successful you are career-wise (head writer of a comedy show, partner at a law firm), it's worse to be alone and choke to death. Sure, go ahead and be on the path of becoming a crazy, single cat lady, but one day you're going to pay for it with a chunk of meat lodged in your throat.

I can't decide if I'm going to consciously chew my food a little more thoroughly so I don't die, or throw off the yoke of cultural single woman-fear mongering and chew however I please.

February 10, 2008

FY 2008

I know I just posted today - but I thought I'd pass these on in case any of my 5 readers were interested.

I've been reading a bunch of different blogs about being frugal and fiscal responsibility. They have lots of topics and advice. I'm not sure why I'm more interested now than I used to be, but I think it's a good sign for me. Maybe because I'm making (slightly) more money now than I used to or I actually have something to save for (Ireland) or my student loans are looming like big skyscrapers. Either way, I'm trying to be more deliberate with the things I spend my money on. I went a bit off track over the holidays, mostly due to all the cool stuff I wanted to get for my family, but I've been getting back on track and paying off holiday bills. So now during my free time this week I'm going to track my spending for the past few months, work out a budget for now till Ireland that maximizes saving and paying down my credit card (christmas spending and spring book buying mostly...) and after the trip I'll re-examine again to see where the best place to put my money is, and also take stock of my "stuff" aka the things I've acquired which I really don't need - mostly books and dvds - to see where I can sell some of it.

Anyway, here's a few websites I lost myself in for the past few hours:

Wise Bread
Frugal Fag
The Frugal Law Student

Wise Bread probably has the most resources and most varied topics, so that's probably a good place to start if you're interested.

And in case anyone wanted some cool artwork for their living space, the Library of Congress just released a ton of historical photos, photos that have no copyright restrictions. So you can find a few you like, print them out from Target or Walgreens, frame them, and you have some original, historical, interesting artwork. They have lots of photos of women helping the war effort in the 40's - very, very awesome.

Another option is one I've kind of been doing for awhile but Kari really helped out with at Christmas - old calendars. My mom gives me a Dali calendar every year, so whenever a year is over I take the old calendar, cut it up and use the pictures to decorate around the house, fun notebook covers, whatever. Kari gave me a really cool, big, old calendar of Russian iconography, so I marked a couple of months that are especially neat looking. I'm going to hang those up over my couch and in my bathroom, make it look sweet. I'm trying to decide if I should just tape them up or try to find frames/mats/something. They're somewhat odd shaped so that might be harder to work around, but they'll look awesome in frames or mats. I might be able to find something for cheap at Goodwill - I'd rather tape them up than spend a lot of money on something that looks so-so. I'll post a picture once I figure it out.

Birthday update

Kari has come and gone, Tessa has come and gone; I think it's official to say that my birthday celebrations are over. It was a very excellent couple of days - although I don't think I've ever had a birthday I haven't liked (double negative alert!). Maybe it's just that I like my life most of the time so the only place to go is up.

Wednesday: Mom and I had birthday breakfast over Skype, which was nice. My grandpa used to take my mom out for breakfast on her birthday before school, and so my mom did the same thing with us when we grew up. I'm not sure when she started doing it, but it's lots of fun. She tells about when I was born, which pretty much consists of "my water broke and we barely made it to the hospital in time! I was admitted at 6:02 and you were born at 6:07" or something like that. I was a fast baby.

I did some stuff around school, picked up Kari at the airport and then drove to the arena for the Spice Girls. Had a nice Chipotle burrito (chicken fajita... I usually get steak but the guy gave me the wrong kind but I like chicken so it was ok) and almost immediately got really bad stomach pain, which lasted throughout the concert. Rocked out to the Spice Girls with Kari and the thousands of other late teen-early twenties girls who were 13 when the Spice Girls were popular. The concert started 30 minutes late (lame) and some of the girls who were sitting on the ground floor were nice enough to dance to the loudspeaker music for entertainment. It was super entertaining when they decided to do really explicit, vulgar dance moves so the whole back of the arena could watch. There's nothing better than watching two girls pretend to have sex for thousands of people... Ok, maybe there is. I'd say almost anything. Talk about the need to perform for people to gain a sense of self worth. It was so ridiculous to have these girls slap each other's asses for literally thousands of people, most of who cheered. I can't say I'm surprised, though, considering at one point during the concert Scary Spice locked up one of her backup dancers beneath a ladder and proceeded to give him a ladder dance, pushing her crotch in his face and ended it by pantomiming oral sex. Oh, the people we choose to emulate and make role models of...

After the concert Kari and I drove back to New Haven, my stomach still hurting through the whole concert and drive back. By the time we made it home, my abdomen had hurt for 6+ hours. I decided to go to the emergency room in case it was my appendix. I ended up sitting in the hospital for another 4 hours until 5 or 5:30 AM. It wasn't my appendix, but they think it was gall stones, which does fit with my family history. Apparently it comes on after you eat a fatty meal and can last for several hours. I got some medicine, so that's good in case it happens again. Kari had her laptop with her, so it was funny when the doctors gave their diagnosis because after they left the room, we immediately looked it up on wikipedia. I had to take it easy on food for the past couple of days, but it seems to be ok now. Kari and I can't go to concerts together anymore because I always get sick. I had mono when we saw Queen, I had gallstones when we saw the Spice Girls... I'd hate to see what I get if we go again.

Thursday: We slept in late from the long night before, went grocery shopping and to the liquor store for some wine and beer. I had an afternoon class, and Kari met me downtown after my class was done for a checkup with my doctor - he said everything's peachy. We had dinner at this good vegetarian restaurant downtown and then went home and watched The Prestige (awesome movie). Kari fell asleep so she missed most of it. She's lame that way, though.

Friday: I worked in the morning and had an afternoon meeting for V-Day and the Div school's production of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. It's going to be really cool. Kari and I had lunch with some friends, chilled out at my apartment and then met my friend Becca for dinner and a play at the Yale Rep. We saw The Evildoers, which was good but kinda weird at the end. Weird in a good way, I'd say. I feel like I'd have to watch it again to understand it fully, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Saturday: Low-key morning and afternoon, and then Tessa came into town around 5. She brought delicious cupcakes (not all gone yet - there are 3 1/2 of them I have to get rid of somehow...). We went over to my friend Ryan's house for a shared dinner of deliciousness - good chili! Sarah and Ryan/Duff (Ryan's friend) had a chili cookoff. I can't officially endorse one chili or the other, unfortunately. You have to let the people decide on that. Anyway, I made a cake and there were candles and singing and wine and beer... very good times. Lots of laughing, so I think that's a good sign. After the gathering with friends, Tessa, Kari, Marshall and I went to Archie Moore's, which is now my new favorite neighborhood bar. I might even have to move closer to officially declare it my neighborhood bar. Plus they have Smithwicks on tap, which makes me very excited. When we walked up, there was a Div school student standing outside and he said, "I know you, you're that sexy librarian." I thought it was cute. When he left, he kissed my hand, since I'm the birthday girl. The real question is going to be if he remembers it in the morning, since he was more than a little inebriated. Tessa, Kari, Marshall and I had a couple rounds and lots of fun. They're good people. I never know how people from different parts of my life are going to interact, but since I generally choose top notch, quality people as friends, it's no problem. I made some comment to Tessa that of all my friends here, I think Marshall would fit in best with my friends from home and she agreed. I think it's because he likes drinking a lot. We do too. In a good way. He remembered to bring back my Sports Night (I lent it to him literally months ago... September or October probably) and he lent me Six Feet Under, second season. I can pick up where I left off my freshman year of school, watching with Sarah and Jenna and Amy.

Sunday: Made some delicious cream cheese french toast for Kari and Tessa. It was quite excellent, I must say. They took the train back to NYC and Tessa helped Kari figure out how to get to JFK by train. Kari should get there fine, since she's quite the navigator. If not, she can come back and live with me. I'd be ok with that. This next week is a reading week, so I don't have any div school classes. I have two classes downtown that aren't off for reading week, but the professor for one of them is going out of the country this week - so canceled! I only have one class (and work - gross but good moneywise) so I'll be spending most of the week in my sweatpants watching West Wing and Six Feet Under. And, you know, doing homework and stuff. But mostly sweatpants and tv on dvd. Trust me on this one.

Now... Birthday pictures! The first three are from the concert and the last one is in the hospital waiting room. Lots of fun!

February 6, 2008


Bilbo Baggins: Today is my 111th birthday! Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

Facebook announces your birthday to all of your friends, and considering the amount of well-wishes from friends, semi-friends and acquaintances, I feel the last sentence is somewhat pertinent.

It's my birthday!

Kari's coming in today to visit me, I'm leaving soon to pick her up and we're going to go rock out to the Spice Girls tonight! Lots of fun.

Before she got here, I wanted to make sure I got all of my work done. I have to summarize/lead discussion on a book and article for my class tomorrow, so I just have to finish two more chapters (just a couple of points from each), so it's not too much work. The book is called Authentic Fakes, or the integration of popular culture and religion - like how baseball, Coke and rock and roll have religious aspects to them, or are considered by some to be almost religious like. It's pretty interesting. There's a fascinating chapter on Reagan's use of sacrificial rhetoric in his national and foreign policy in conjuncture with Jim Jones' sacrificial language in getting his followers to commit mass suicide. Very interesting. The article I have to discuss is about the religious/spiritual aspects of Oprah's "empire," how she promotes spiritual/religious use of buying, writing and reading - buying as self-improvement, journaling and her book club as an interpretation of self-improvement. Also very interesting. I can pass along information on either of those, if anyone is interested in a little extra reading.

Anyway, I should get ready to leave to get Kari. Whoo! Exciting.