Sunday, July 25, 2010

Now blogging from the isle of Manhattan!

That's right folks, this sporadically read and updated blog is now coming to you from Manhattan! I'm all moved in, and as soon as I clean up the old place, I'll be out of the Bronx for good. I just got my internet connected yesterday, so although there are still plenty of boxes to unpack, at least it's finally getting civilized around here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Music to pack by

Oh it's miserable hot here right now. It wouldn't be so bad if all I had to do was sit in front of a fan, eating popsicles and drinking iced tea*, but no, I have to pack. And pack and pack and pack. And there's just no way to do that without getting hot, sweaty, and miserable.
I do find that a little music helps, though. This one helped me through the bookshelf that just wouldn't empty.

* I've been indulging in a little iced tea related alchemy, mixing and matching the various flavors. Today's version was iced apple cinnamon, and it was fabulous. Three regular Lipton black tea bags, one Stash Apple Cinnamon, 2 quarts of water, and an afternoon's worth of sunshine. Yum.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Is this thing on?

Hi Blog!

I’ve been avoiding you, and I’m sorry about that. When the end-of-semester craziness finally passed and I was finally able to relax a little, updating here just seemed like so much work. And then the longer I put it off, the less I wanted to deal with it. But now I’ve found other things I want to avoid more, so here I am, posting again (at last).

Things I’ve been up to:

Gave my presentation at the symposium – went really well, was encouraged by several people to try and turn it into a journal article. Felt like a rockstar for a week or so.

Gave a dissertation presentation to the Ph.D. forum – went well, people seem to like my topic (but who doesn’t like George Washington? I mean, aside from those America-hatin' commies). I need to get started for real now on the research, but I’m not quite sure where to begin. Right now I have this weird obsession with finding an appropriate organizational system for my research, but I recognize that this is just a distraction technique. Still, binders, file folders, or haphazardly stacked piles -- what would you recommend?

Administered and graded finals for the class for which I was a t.a. – went mostly well, except for a problem student whom I know I didn’t handle the way I really would have liked to. I’m a little disappointed with myself for not doing better with this person, but hopefully this will be a good cautionary tale for the future. Overall I really liked being a teaching assistant, although it was a crazy amount of work, and I definitely want to try and pursue more teaching opportunities.

Went home to Texas for a long (but not long enough) weekend – came home for my dad’s birthday and had a great time. It was really nice to be home again without the craziness of a Christmas visit.

Went to Philadelphia for a long weekend, just for fun – I love visiting Philadelphia, and this visit didn’t disappoint. Saw the Liberty Bell, had a cheese steak, and stayed in a really nice hotel. There are few things more fun to me than staying in hotels. I splurged a bit to stay somewhere a little nicer than I usually would have, and it was totally worth it.

Got a new apartment – I really hate searching for apartments. Especially on my budget, which is pretty tiny by New York standards. But the rent was rising out here in the Bronx, and I figured if I was going to have to pay more money anyway, I might as well pay it while living in a better neighborhood. (I try very hard not to think about the fact that my brother’s mortgage payment for his 4-bedroom house in Texas is only a hair more than my rent for a studio apartment.). I found a really nice place in upper upper Manhattan, and I’ll be moving on July 12. I’m excited about it, but now I have to deal with decluttering and packing all my belongings. One nice thing is I’ve finally reached the saturation point with many of my things. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live like a minimalist, but I’m having a much easier time getting rid of stuff than I have in the past. Especially all the paper I’ve been lugging around. My shredder and my recycling bin are getting a real workout. I’m still struggling with culling my books, and it doesn’t help that I have so many hobbies which entail having lots of supplies (the knitting, the dolls, the dollhouses), but letting go of things is finally starting to feel more freeing than traumatizing.

And I’ve been knitting. I’ve got a giant pile of items that need ends sewn in, buttons sewn on, etc. Three pairs of socks, two shawls, a baby hat and booties, a beret, and my first me-sized sweater. Not to mention all the unfinished objects lurking by my favorite comfy chair.

And I think that’s about it. At least all typed out like this, it makes me feel like I’ve been busy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Too pooped to post

If I can stay ahead of school and work for one more week, all the craziness will be over. But before then, I have to make it through work, teaching a review section, paying my taxes, editing and then giving a talk at a symposium, attending said symposium, a bridal shower, and a presentation on my dissertation topic to the Ph.D. forum. Yikes. On the plus side, I am getting a lot of desperate procrastination knitting done. I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Belated WT week 2 -- piles and piles and piles

Last week was a toughie. A looming deadline, my own bad news, and some bad news from a friend meant that I didn't really have the energy for much other than just getting through the day. Although, funnily enough, I didn't really mind my own little misery so much. Not getting the job didn't hurt as much as I had thought it might. I was bummed, sure, but after I vented on the blog I felt so much better.

And so, now that my paper's turned in to the editor and I can do something WT-related for a change, here's the result of my week 2 tasks.

1. Piles and piles of tops
First off, I didn't realize how many shirts and light sweaters I had, so to make things go faster, I did this in stages based on kinds of shirts -- blazers/jackets, light sweaters, button-down/fancy shirts, and t-shirts/camisoles.

Superstars: My favorite velvet blazer. I wish I had more occasions to wear it. A pretty silk shell that I used to wear when I had to dress up for work. My new snakeskin-print cardigan.



Stalwart Staples: Lots and lots of t-shirt type tops and fine gauge sweaters. Long sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, short sleeve, scoop- or v-necks. I got rid of the ones that were sliding towards rabbitiness or that I never wore.

Velveteen Rabbits: I finally let go of some t-shirts that had seen better days -- both nice work-quality shirts and casual t-shirts that just looked too tired to keep in the rotation. Also got rid of some items that were in fine shape, but too dated to wear any longer.

Sentimental journeys: I didn't have any among my nicer clothing, but there were lots of t-shirts (especially related to college football). I tossed some and moved the rest to pajama rotation so I could hang on to them a little longer.

Torture devices and mysteries of the lost shopping trip: I'm combining these two because my problem garments all seem to have the same problems. Those problems include, but are not limited to:

1. The Wrong Color -- why do I keep buying brown clothing? I do love my brown jacket, but all the brown sweaters and tops need to go. Also, I may technically be a Summer, color-wise, but pastels look terrible on me. So out went a bunch of pale pink tops. Darker jewel toned colors look a lot better on me.

2. The Wrong Shirt -- button down shirts are really tricky on me. If they weren't a terrible color, they made me look like a waiter (Thanks to Dr. Wende for the comparison). Add to that my natural talent for wrinkling clothing (I can create creases even while staying perfectly still), and these shirts are not my friends. This one, a gift from my mother, was such an egregious offender on the waiter-front that I never even wore it out of the house. The button downs I did keep are 3/4 sleeve, wrinkle resistant, and in the right colors. They're better, although not that great.


3. The Wrong Quality: this sweater was almost but not quite right. There was a lot I liked about it. It had a nice cut and fit, I liked the sleeves and the neck. I even liked the pattern -- it had sort of a crewel-embroidery thing going on. Unfortunately, the material was itchy and the pattern isn't actually embroidered, it's printed on and feels a whole lot like that puff paint stuff I used to embellish my sneakers with in elementary school. It felt kind of cheap, so I always felt kind of bad wearing it. So out it goes.


4. The Wrong Lifestyle: the clothing I bought in the mistaken belief that I am the sort of person who might wear that sort of clothing. I'm almost never right about that kind of thing. The beautiful but doomed little camisole top falls into this category. I almost never wear clothing that shows off my arms like that, and never quite mastered the art of wearing under the right sort of jacket or cardigan, so it still had the tags on. Maybe the right kind of girl will find it at Goodwill.

The purge resulted in a huge garbage bag of clothing for Goodwill and several new dust rags for cleaning. It's nice to be able to open and shut all my dresser drawers again, and there's actually room in my closet again. Plus, there were a few nice staples lurking at the bottom of my drawers, and now they can get back into the rotation again. And I feel like I learned a lot from what I kept and tossed. Like that I really, really, need to stop buying brown clothing.

Next, onward to the pants and skirts!
But before you do, check out my new haircut. I won't tell you how many pictures I took in the mirror before I figured out how to get my whole face in.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When you least expect it

I've been hunkered down these past few days trying desperately to get a paper put to bed. I finished wrestling it into shape tonight and will be sending it off to an editor tomorrow. I hope they're kind.

After I finished saving it in a few different places, I hopped over to check my email and got some news that hit me like a blow to the stomach. See, I applied for this job a few months ago. It was pretty much the perfect job for me in every way. Not only was it just what I wanted to do, just where I wanted to do it, but I was actually perfectly qualified for it -- for every bullet point on their list I could tick off an accomplishment. I sent off my resume and have been twiddling my thumbs and trying not to hope too much ever since.
Turns out I hoped too much.
I never heard anything, but tonight, via an almost completely unrelated email, I learned that someone else got the job. And not just any someone else. A former classmate. A lovely former classmate, who is also super qualified and will do a wonderful job. But still, it was a classmate who wasn't me. And while I'm happy for that person (jobs in my field are a little thin on the ground right now), I'm crushed on my own behalf. I wanted this so badly, and I thought that I'd at least manage to get an interview or something. Maybe this was one of those cases where they had someone in mind and only advertised to give the appearance of a search -- that happens a lot, I know. Maybe I wasn't really as qualified as I thought. Maybe I made a terrible grammatical mistake in my cover letter. Maybe my application got lost under a doormat somewhere. I don't know. I'm just so bummed. And it really sucks to lose out to someone I know. Again.
I'll be fine. This wasn't meant to be, and that's okay. With all the silence from the institution, I'd been trying to prepare myself for rejection, so this isn't completely out of left field. It's just sort of a crappy thing to happen on a night when I was so happy about finishing up a project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WT week one

Having done my questionnaire, I'm moving on to the rest of this week's tasks.
  • Remove one (and only one!) unsuccessful item from your wardrobe. My discard item for this week is a pair of brown jeans. I'm sure this will come up again when we get to the pants-related week, but I've decided that I'm going to stop buying pants that aren't black or grey (not counting jeans). Pants that are other colors just never work for me. And there's something particularly hideous about these. I bought them in what can only be considered a fit of shopping madness. See, most of the time, I'm cheap. I'll see things I like in stores, but I won't buy them, because they seem like too much money. But every now and then, I'll need new clothing in a hurry, or I'll be determined to get some new item of clothing. Of course, when this happens, there's never anything in the stores I like. But I have to buy something, so unwise purchases are made. These jeans were one of those bad ideas. There may be people out there for whom brown jeans are flattering. I am not one of them. They made me feel extra frumpy. Which is quite the accomplishment.
  • Do something that makes you feel good about your body. As I mentioned in the questionnaire, I really hate my hair right now. I've been really remiss about getting haircuts since I moved to New York. I was just really intimidated by the prospect of finding a nice salon that wouldn't charge and arm and a leg, so I didn't get haircuts. The situation would get dire and then I'd go do something crazy like duck into a salon while I was in another state visiting a friend. My hair was getting long and unmanageable again -- about halfway down my back -- and there was a nice looking salon in between school and my favorite deli, so this week I bit the bullet, made an appointment, and got a haircut. It only cost an arm, but it was worth it. I now have a swingy chin-length bob and my head feels a ton lighter. The jury's still out on whether or not I'll be able to replicate the effects of the truly awesome blow-out I got in the salon, but I'm pretty happy with it right now.
  • Find yourself some sources of inspiration on personal style. I'm off to go do this now. I did buy some knitting magazines tonight -- Interweave Knits and Knitscene -- I always love the way the models are styled in these, and I'm sure I'll find some good inspiration in there. (I love this cardigan so much that I think I'm going to have to knit it.) I'll report back soon with more inspiration.