Thursday, December 31, 2009

You could have single-handedly redeemed 2009, Northwestern.

Believe me, I would have loved to have ended this with, Oh, and I got into graduate school. But of course, I still know nothing. More waiting.

That's kind of how I feel about 2009. Waiting. I watched people I loved suffer. I suffered. But it was also the year that I started senior year of college. The first year I really felt like an adult. The year I started to deal with Grandpa dying. The year I started to deal with what happened after Grandpa died. The year I spent entirely too much money on clothes.

(Oh. Are we not being superficial now?)

This is the first decade I remember completely. I remember New Year's Eve of 1999. The last ten years have been...well, it's ridiculous to say I've changed because, um, I was twelve, of course I've changed. But when you remember changing? That's pretty important. So I feel kind of badly that the end of the decade for me was kind of like purgatory. I don't know what's going to happen next, but hopefully I'm being prepared for something much better.

(Although the theology student in me refuses to let that metaphor go. Doctrinally, if you're in purgatory, you're definitely going to heaven. At some point. Whatever. It still kind of works.)

2008 was horrible. So horrible I can't refer to it as anything other than a sucking black hole of evil. It rivaled 2002, and that, my friends, is really hard to do here at Chez Morena. I think the whole house thing ends up associated with 2008 in my mind, even though that's not completely true. Please, you can read tearful posts here and here.

2009 was less dramatic in terms of all . There were fewer meltdowns. I was able to get through holiday dinners without...well. (I think a lot of it was the counter top.) Today, we met with the woman who will be moving in tomorrow. She's great, turns out she's a former friend, we knew her kids, awesome. It's horrible that she's living there for no reason except that she's not me.

But I realized this afternoon (as I was standing in the bedroom crying because hey! I painted this! With my friend! And there's my blood on the walls! Literally. Who the hell do you think you are living here with your monthly check crazy woman?) that it's not the end.

Because the next decade? Will be the decade that I move in.

(In fact, if I find anyone who doesn't have access to yesterday's post, it may even being the decade that there are kids there again.)

As Bill (another rather awesome part of 2009- hi, Bill!) just posted on my Facebook wall, it's a beginning.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I will be the worst pregnant woman. Ever.

I'm only having one child. Not for any personal reasons. Please. I'm Irish Catholic.

(Although to be honest, we kind of failed at the whole have-a-soccer-team-without-leaving-your-house thing. There are only five grandchildren in my mom's family. My dad's Polish relatives thoroughly beat us- there are like thirteen or something. Even the ex-seminarian has six! Probably a good thing he's ex.)

No, it's because I will be the most unpleasant pregnant woman ever, and no man is ever going to want to have sex with me again after nine months of having to exist with me, the most unpleasant pregnant woman ever.

This occurred to me on Monday as I was stress-eating my way through whatever was left from Christmas and obsessively checking for my grades. It's not even just the wait, there's no coffee or NyQuil in pregnancy? What??? And the fact that I know my body and wow, I'm going to be epic. I don't put on weight prettily. I'm not going to be prime-time-sitcom-pretty-little-baby-bump pregnant, I'm going to be TLC-reality-harsh-lighting pregnant. No. Not just that.

I don't do well waiting for results. It's not necessarily that I'm impatient like a child, it's just that impatient like a child. The whole grade thing? I'm pretty sure I have an ulcer. Waiting for acceptance or rejection from grad schools? I'm ready to go to Northwestern and hold the head of admissions' child hostage until he renders a decision.

(Also? My maternal instincts have only thus far been activated by the iPhone.)

Imagine nine months of major waiting. What if I don't like the baby? What if the baby doesn't like me and I love the baby? What if it's a boy? What if it's sick? Are you still in there? It's been like five months. What if his father murders me in my sleep? That happens a lot you know. Oh my God, he's going to kill me. What if the baby is ugly? What if it's a girl? Still in there? WHY? What if the epidural doesn't work? What if my mom doesn't like it? What if she's stupid? Am I going to annoy my own baby with my academic snobbery? What if someone cuts it out of me like that one CSI episode? Are you coming out yet? What if I have an episiotomy? That's really gross. SERIOUSLY BE BORN ALREADY.

Oh. It's not going to be pretty.

Maybe that's why I'm single right now- no one could go through the waiting for acceptance into a graduate program and having a baby with me. It's not human.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Screw you and your little dog, too.

Dear UWM,

It's Monday, December 28th. This is the final date for grades to be posted. Do you know how many grades I have? NONE. Nada. Zip. Zero. THAT'S HOW MANY. So. I highly suggest that you have a discussion with at least the four faculty members who are withholding grades from me. One also still has my final paper that he said he'd e-mail to me two weeks ago, but to be perfectly honest I'm not holding my breath for that one.

The only two who have even made warlike moves towards final grades have fallen seriously short. One messed up my grade and I still have no idea whether or not I have an A or and A- (How is a 93.5% NOT an A? What scale are you using?), and the other one revised my paper grade saying it was awesome and my final grade would be "an A/A-".

Um. Excuse me. You have a doctorate from Yale. PICK ONE, WOMAN. You certainly weren't too busy celebrating Christmas this weekend and Hanukkah's been over for like a week.

So. If you could impose some sort of penalty on them.

Also, I recently checked out the Spring 2010 graduation page. And, um, you have me graduating at 9 a.m.? NINE O'CLOCK ON A SUNDAY MORNING? Are you kidding me? I've paid $35,000 for the degree, another $80 for the double major graduation fee, and God knows how much the gap and gown are going to cost. And you still make me show up at 8:15?

That is really not cool, guys. The business majors get to go to the 1:30 one. I get that they are going to be a far more lucrative alumni group than us lowly Letters and Sciences idiots, but IT'S STILL NOT NICE!


P.S. You all are invited to my graduation breakfast. Because that's what time of day we'll be finished. Please bring donuts.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

One of these things is not like the other.

Went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie today. Loved it. Loved the unabashed sequel set-up. Loved the jokes. Loved everything about it. I even loved it so much that I forgive Jude Law for being a skeez. (Kind of.)

Robert Downey, Jr. is clearly way hotter on the wagon. Obviously.

Also read Rome Sweet Home, and aww! That's adorable, you guys. No, for reals. Aside from the part where Kimberley talks about how she should be under Scott's spiritual guidance (Uh. No.), I totally loved it. And I'm not going to lie, when I finished it I googled them. Because I really wanted to know what they looked like without the late-80s glasses covering most of their faces.

Friday, December 25, 2009

For unto us...

(I don't know, I really could have picked any line from the infancy narratives. Or even gone totally off the wall with John's "In the beginning there was the Word," which I guess would have been okay, because it was one of the gospels for today, but whatever. I'm lazy. And that's the first one that popped into my head.)

Merry Christmas, blog groupies!!! I hope you all have a wonderful day, and a great Friday if you don't technically believe in the Christ part. (Why?)

I, personally, am a little bit tired. I was awoken at some ungodly hour by "Santa". Who apparently felt the need to put the presents under the tree this morning. The past few years, Santa has been a little under the weather, and usually we get home from Christmas Eve and, um, Santa is all, "You don't need to go to bed, but you need to get out of the living room. I am TIRED." Apparently Santa was too tired to do even that last night, and remedied the situation EARLY THIS MORNING. REALLY EARLY. FREAKING EARLY.

I maintain that life could have gone on if she had put them out when we got home from Mass, but whatever- the mystery, it remains.

Anyway- I didn't trip or throw up or anything during Mass, so yay! That's exciting. My mom tok inappropriate pictures- thank God she waited until after Mass was finished. I've gotten a ton of conflict studies books (Northern Ireland and the Middle East- whee!!!) and DVDs, most of which I've licked or made out with (Public Enemies. Next year I want Johnny Depp.)

And this afternoon there will be family and food and lots of booze because I'm the only one who drinks anymore! Whoo? Stupid medication.

So have a wonderful day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I don't really care about decking, but if you could vacuum the hall that would be great.

I'm finished with the semester. I've e-mailed my thesis advisor with this brilliant-yes-please-let-me-into-grad-school note- "I hope you had a wonderful time in Poland. I'm taking finals and Christmas week off. I'll send you a draft sometime after that. Merry Christmas! Love, your loser student." (I'm kidding about that last part. I don't write "love" to my professors. Most of them.) I baked cookies on Monday after my finals disappeared into thin air. I don't even have to make the Happy Birthday Baby Jesus cake.

(Which I still maintain is a three-year-old tradition at best. We NEVER had one when I was little. NEVER. If my mom is so in love with her photo scanner, why can't she find any pictures of this alleged OMG WE HAD IT EVERY YEAR cake? Because it doesn't exist. Hah. That's what I thought.)

I have nothing do do until Christmas except clean the house, wrap gifts, deal with my unruly eyebrows (I'm a frickin' redhead, how is it that my eyebrows are so terrible?), make a single pumpkin pie because honestly? WE DO NOT NEED TWO, oh, and try to get through the reading from Isaiah for Friday morning. At least I think it's Isaiah. Nine o'clock Mass is the day reading, right? Don't you think? I mean, it's hardly dawn. And they're both Isaiah. Whatever. No one pays attention anyway. They're all dealing with their toddlers who have never been inside a church before.

Um. Actually. That's a lot.

But my point was that I don't have any real responsibilities, and yet I'm still procrastinating on ALL OF THIS. Because I have coffee? And Lifetime? Did you know they show crappy programming ALL DAY LONG? I know, right?

Way more fun than cleaning the shower that people will just insist on using again despite my protestations that I don't care if you're dirty, I don't have to scrub you down with Comet just stay out of the damn shower!

Ooh! Two completely random things before I get back to the Falalala Lifetime movie marathon where there's lots of infidelity and redemption and angsty yet wholesome holiday sex between two vaguely-familiar-looking-but-they-certainly-aren't-famous actors.

I logged on to my UWM e-mail account this morning. It's connected to the calendar now, for reasons that elude me. But a notification popped up telling me that I had an event. Winter Break. Yes. The university had taken the time to add Winter Break as an event, even equipped with an alarm. So if I wanted to hit snooze on my vacation, I totally could.

Also, I've stopped obsessively checking my application at Northwestern. Because I'm completely convinced now that they'll reject me on Christmas Eve and the notification will go something like, "We regret to inform you that you are too stupid to attend Northwestern University. Please have a lovely holiday and maybe Jesus still loves you because God knows we don't."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I changed my mind.

You all can come and take my cookies for all I care. Because I am really sick of existing on refined sugar. Between the fact that I haven't had any protein since, oooh, last week, and the fact that finals have COMPLETELY messed me up because my schedule- it is gone and I'm pretty dumb I need to know where I'm supposed to be, dammit, I don't really even know what day it is.

Tuesday? Maybe?

I was kidding about the protein thing, by the way. I'm eating perfectly normally, it's just THE COOKIES I CAN HEAR THEM IN THE FRIDGE BEING ALL TASTY.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I had important thoughts on the psychology of the Edwardian era, I promise. I was going to talk about this amazing miniseries that I just watched, even though it's like eight years old at this point but whatever, it's British, they've pretty much been the same since 1066. (Colleen: London burned. Once.) But then my dad made these amazing chocolate truffles? I don't know, they're little chocolate balls rolled in coconut and I WANT TO HAVE THEIR BABIES.

It's a family recipe. One that he refuses to write down, despite my constant shouting, "You're not going to live forever and once I get through being mad at your for not throwing out all your stuff before you selfishly died I'm going to be mad at you BECAUSE I HAVE NO CHOCOLATE," at him.

He makes them every Christmas. I don't know if it's that I tend to eat healthier or what, but this year I have made a dent in them with embarrassing swiftness. (Like, they're not even fully hardened yet.) I didn't even waste time with a plate- just the Tupperware container they were in was fine. He kind of looked at me and went, um, maybe we could have some left for Christmas? And I replied that he could either make another batch or go to Trader Joe's and buy new candy for all I care because THESE ARE MINE DO YOU HEAR ME?

Or at least I would have. If my mouth hadn't have been full.

Whatever. I'm thin now; it's not that sad.

(Okay. It is. A little.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Retail Hell

Oh, internets. I'm off to the Major Bookstore Chain that No One Ever Thinks About for eight hours. Where people will be mad that I don't stock a large-enough variety of holiday/Hanukkah paper (Look! I know we're in Fox Point, okay? I GET IT. But just because I'm a Jewish Studies major doesn't mean I care. It just means I'm obsessed (in a good way) with 1/4th of the faculty and in a bad way with the other 3/4ths. SO LEAVE ME ALONE WITH MY CRUCIFIX.), can't get things delivered by Christmas (I'm sorry, but if you order on a date that begins with a 2? You're screwed and it's not my fault anymore.), and oh, I don't know, my hair offends them or something (People. Are weird.)

Although, come to think of it, my hair is filthy. That was going to be remedied tonight (Do I know how to have a good time or what?), but turns out I have plans. To go to one of those Little Town of Bethlehem thingies (I don't think the big one at Elmbrook, unless I leave work like six hours early. And that seems irresponsible.) and White Christmas. Huh. I totally forgot about both of those! And my hair is still filthy!

Not totally my fault- it was on my list of things to accomplish this morning when my alarm went off at four. However, there was an alternative list that went something like Ha! Are you fricking kidding me four o'clock? I was up until midnight playing on eBay (Whee! Really cheap perfume! Whee!!!) and going over the Letter to the Hebrews for tomorrow morning and that is a very confusing reading, let me tell you what.

Not theologically. In fact, it kind of makes my little Jewish Studies heart warm with the whole implication of a new covenant thing, but do you know how difficult it is to say "holocausts and sin offerings" slowly and clearly when you tend to mumble? VERY THAT'S HOW SO YOU KNOW WHAT MY HAIR IS A LITTLE LANK, OKAY? DON'T JUDGE.

Yeah. I'm going to work now. Have a good Saturday. Please don't come to Borders. If there's no one there, maybe they'll send me home early.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Whatever, I'll take it.

Hah! So remember when I was whining? Which time, you ask. Well, good point. About finals. Still going to need more, you say. Again, true. About my having to take two finals on Tuesday a mere number of hours before Christmas?

Of course. That time.

Well, I was at on of my myriad of finals with this professor yesteray and when I turned in my blue book he was all, "Oh! Kathleen, yeah, your grade for [Tuesday's final] is going to be an A. You're exempt from taking it." Um. Okay. That makes no sense.

But it does mean that I get to take the online exam in the morning, and then bake cookies and otherwise be irresponsible on Tuesday! Because I don't, like, work or anything. That would be crazy.

It also means that after my 12:30 final today in the class that I REALLY DON'T WANT TO TAKE is my last real you-can't-look-at-the-notes-open-on-your-lap final. Like, ugh, the Holocaust? Bummer. And Zionism- I am SO OVER Zionism. Like, for reals. I want to the multiple choice to be "Who was Theodor Herzl?" and the essay to be, "Talk about the formation of Israel that you learned in a lecture that was ten times as good as any I was able to give you this semester, even when I did that weird little, "Ha! We won." laugh that one time."

Okay. I don't think she's going to phrase it like that.

It would be awesome though.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things that are bugging me today.

1.) My disturbing Pavlovian response to the words "Israel" and "Zion" that is due entirely to my Arab-Israeli Conflict final that I have to take in about three hours.

(I maintain the class is misnamed- it should be the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. The Arab states never really loved the Palestinians anyway and after 1967 they dumped them completely. So it's hardly fair that they end up in the title of the conflict.)

Every time I hear those words, I'm like, "Ooh, I know about that! I know how much aid they received from the US in 1967 as opposed to 1968 ($12 million and $77 million, btw)." And opinions- do I have opinions. But you're not going to hear them. Because I'm too white and Christian to spout off my beliefs without looking like an anti-semite. Which I'm not. But I'm pretty sure it may come off that way in print.

And let me tell you, Advent is a bad time to be obsessed with Israel. Because it's in, like, every song and reading. During the homily last weekend I made myself space out because I was getting tired of reciting details in my head.

So. I'm really hoping that the test goes well. I was driving my brother to school this morning and he asked which exam I had today. I replied, "Arab/Israeli conflict. *pause* But I don't think I'll be able to solve it." He smiled and said, "You'd definitely get an A."

Personally, I think if I'm able to bring about a lasting peace in Gaza and the West Bank, I deserve extra credit.

2.) Northwestern University and Marquette University, and their seriously lazy graduate application departments.

Okay. I'll give Marquette a free pass for this one. Not only do I really want to go there, but the deadline hasn't even arrived yet. So. You guys are okay. For another week or two.

But Northwestern? Your deadline was, like, two whole weeks ago. And you don't even send out letters to the losers you don't admit. WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG? Would it kill you to put a little "Denied" button on my application page so I can go back to banging my head into the wall and drinking heavily? I THINK NOT.

Shut up. I'm not crazy.

3.) I don't really have a three. Except that I think only two items looks lazy. Hmmm. I'm sure there's something. Oh- got it. My professor won't e-mail me back and tell me if he's finished grading my paper yet. Because I worked really, really hard on it and I really, really want it back so I can enjoy all the glowing comments during the winter break, after Northwestern rejects me.

I'm not being conceited. Even if it was a crappy paper, I'd get glowing comments. That's just the nature of our relationship. I sign up for all of his hideously underfunded classes about Jews in 1970s Ohio or other ridiculous bordering-on-hilarious classes, and he spews loveliness that affirms my self-worth all over my work. I love him.

Okay. I think that's all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

They should just call it "get absolutely nothing accomplished day"

But no. "Study Day" looks better on the university calendar.

You know what doesn't look good on the calendar? The fact that "Final Exams" runs through the 22nd. And I have two exams on the 22nd. And I'm not one of those people who can do anything other than exams during exams. So there will be no cleaning, no cookies, and no Christmas joy until the morning of the 23rd. Because during exam week I am so preoccupied with the fact that I am once again thisclose to a 4.0, and there's another end of a semester, and God, I'm crying a lot. Which I think is a little bit cruel, UWM. For the thousands I will be paying off until I die pay you, you'd think you could give me longer that 48 hours to prepare for the birth of the Lord.

So. I figured I'd try this whole updating thing earlier in the day. Because the whole nighttime thing? Not working. I fell asleep at nine o'clock last night. It was pretty embarrassing. Anyway, it's 10 o'clock right now, I've been subsisting on coffee for a few days, and I have nowhere to be. This is a strange feeling for ten o'clock on a Tuesday morning. I should be in class. What class would I be in...oh, Jewish Wisconsin. Aww. I loved that class. I want to be in that class right now.

Which brings us to our real point. That I'm a crazy person.

It may not be in the same flamboyant way that other people are. I don't need medication, and I don't go to therapy (Although I a huge supporter of counseling. Seriously. The more the better. I've seen what happens when you don't go, and I've seen how much it can help somebody when you do.), but I tend to have quiet little nervous breakdowns when I get stressed. Again- quiet. Very self-contained. I don't mean to say that what I go through is anywhere near what people who have major nervous breakdowns or panic attacks do, but it's there.

Like the end of last semester. The post I wrote about it is one of my favorites, possibly because I manage to foreshadow my future Jewish Studies degree (I literally did not have any idea I was going to do that) and get a virgin birth quip in there. And it's true- I didn't handle the end of last semester well. I was very upset- more upset than I should have been. And I know that it's related to stress and exhaustion, because I had similar feelings during the whole Grandpa's house thing last year.

Like when I found out my mom probably had cancer again and I completely lost it in front of an electrician and my cousin's roommate.

I know what you're thinking- um, you just found out your mom had cancer. That's probably a good reason to be upset.

And yeah, it is. Except, and I don't want to seem callous, but I've done this before. I've gotten that phone call, several times, and I've never lost it like I did that day. I was just at the end of my rope.

(Incidentally, that was also finals week. Yeah. Good times.)

So this whole post really had a point, I promise. And it was to serve as an early warning system- watch out for next semester. Because it's not going to be pretty?

I can't really tell you how not-pretty it's going to be. Because I can't think about it. Like, I'm in complete denial. I think about graduation in some kind of abstract quality, but never like it's actually going to happen. That would require acknowledging that in approximately 22 weeks I won't be an undergraduate at UWM anymore. And I can't deal with that. The though crosses my mind, I want to cry, and then I ignore it.

So. Denial and the crazy. Not good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Marital property state.

Background: My parents have a fantastic marriage. So fantastic I'm pretty sure my brother and sister and I will die alone because we'll never have what they have. They do annoying things like want to hang out with each other. All the time.

Today, my dad got a portable digital TV. It gets all those digital stations, and he is enamored with it. So much so that his first reaction was, "We could cancel cable now that I have this!"

My mother, his devoted wife of 26 years who doesn't even have a good engagement story because according to her, "We always knew we wanted to get married!", replies, "You cancel cable, and I'll cancel you."

The woman loves her QVC.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I was going to get all emotional...

...but it turns out being emotionally exhausted is physically exhausting, and I don't totally feel like waxing poetic about my denial of the coming semester and how there may not be any more coming after it and yes, I started to cry this morning so what I'm normal, dammit.


Instead I'm going to write about how Facebook thinks I'm Jewish. And looking for a husband. At Or perhaps (Find your mensch today! I'm not even kidding. I don't know what that means, but I'm guessing he won't come to the Easter Vigil with me.) Jwed in particular has quite the track record- five weddings a week! My goodness.

Anyway, Facebook apparently only picks up on the keywords in my statuses, and not on the "Religion" section. Because mine is very clearly "Roman Catholic." If it could say "Roman Catholic and Like Hell I'm Raising My Kids Anything Else I Respect Your Ancient Religion But You Can Go To Temple All By Yourself Mister", it would. The box wasn't that long.

(Incidentally, that's pretty much how my notes on intermarriage and the impact on the Jewish society in the United States from Jewish WI look. Yeah. It was an interesting class.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not a snow...oh wait! There *is* a snow day!

I literally had started typing this when my Facebook exploded with ZOMG SNOW DAY!!!1!!. So I had to retype it. Whatever. I don't have to drive an hour in the snow!

I hate having afternoon classes. When they come at the end of a day filled with classes, that's fine. I mean, I still crash around 3:30, which is not terribly surprising because I've been awake for about eleven hours at the point. (Except yesterday. Yesterday was the best 3:30-4:45 I think I've EVER HAD. I could get married at 4:00 and I'd still be like, honey, this is awesome, but there was this one Jewish Studies class...) But when they're just alone in the afternoon? Not cool. Because I feel like I should spend all day on campus because I'm really a morning person but then I don't want to and it's just not a good idea. Bad idea. Next semester? That's not happening.

However, there is one very huge benefit to having a 2:00 class. When UWM pussy-foots around for the better part of the morning about closing campus, you will still be at home when they wake up and realize HEY WE'RE A COMMUTER SCHOOL. Which means like 24,000 of our 26,000 students have to DRIVE HERE. From FAR AWAY. And NOTHING WE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ITALIAN RENAISSANCE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE IS WORTH THAT.

(I'm sorry. It's not Dr. Hubbard's fault that there was snow and I live far away.)

So. There's that.

And now I have bunches more hours to accomplish everything I was supposed to do this morning. And didn't. Because Facebook was more interesting.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Have a good Holy Day of Obligation!

While I was sitting in a Jewish archive researching this semester, I was eavesdropping on the office. It was a Friday, and the person in the office (not surprising, considering it was a Jewish archive) was obviously Jewish. She mentioned what was probably a service, and then concluded by saying, "Have a good shabbos!" The girl I was researching with (another Catholic) and I were all, aww, how cute! Catholics don't do that. You don't call you friends on Sunday morning and go, "have a good Mass!" But anyway, I figured that the only place it could work was on a holy day. So I hope everybody had a good Immaculate Conception.

Which is not Christ's conception, but Mary's. It's elitist and annoying but it really bugs me when people mix those up.

So. There.

I'm not in Galena anymore, which is troubling. More so because this means I have to, like, get to school and stuff in the Worstest Blizzard Ever OMG that's apparently! Look at that. By the time I got to my car after Mass there was an inch on the ground. Hmmm. Yeah. So...I think tomorrow is going to be a snow day. Because I only have one class, and it's not terribly important, and you know what? Grafton is frickin' far away from the East Side, y'all.

Now. Maybe UWM will agree with me and life will be much happier.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm in Galena!

Which means I'm not actually here, writing this. Because I'm too lazy to drag my computer along with me. And also our family kind of resembles a circus pulling into town and I prefer to stay as inconspicuous as possible. So. This is a fake entry.

In which I do nothing except tell you that in my Jewish Wisconsin class? There are a lot of old Jewish doctors? And one of them was Father Groppi's personal physician? Even though he was an OB/GYN?

Yeah. I think that should have been kind of telling, but whatever.

Father Groppi is quite the topic around our house, mostly because my dad grew up on the south side and I think he's torn between being disturbed by his liberalness (is that a word?) and finding him fascinating. So these last few lectures have been interested.

Next week we're doing the synagogues. Woot. Which means the entire class will be, "Well, Tim, when we moved to Brown Deer with Emanu-El...*twenty minutes of rambling while I pick at my nails and picture the professor in vestments (it's a thing)*". And I'll have nothing to add because I'm a poor little shiksa. *sigh*

Friday, December 04, 2009

Cleaning the garage.

I'm not sure if it's too early still to say that we're going to Galena (we're leaving in like half an hour). Colleen hasn't wanted to jinx it, so we've been saying "cleaning the garage". Which makes no sense. But whatever.

So yay! It shall be fun. And I'm fairly certain that the hour and a half I spent working out this morning was a ridiculous waste of time, as I tend to consume my weight in food during these weekends in Galena. Oh, well.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Still Catholic.

For my independent study this semester I did research on the Jewish community in Appleton. And then wrote a long paper about it.

And it was fantastic. I mean the experience. Although the paper was quite good, I think, too. I don't know. I don't think I'll ever get it back because even if I turn it in on Tuesday the professor is incapable of getting anything back within a month. But the experience.

First of all, the "research". Was not so much research. I had to go to this "archive" which was, I'm not even kidding, a single guy's office. I spent an hour going through the "Appleton" folder, and most of the information wasn't even really marked well. Like there would be a tremendously important obituary that I needed to use, and it would just be "Max Goldberg died on June 21." Occasionally there would be a year scribbled on the top, but no indication about what paper it was in or what. This makes a bibliography somewhat difficult. Which is why mine has a note at the top saying where I got the material and basically apologizing for the one citation that is literally, "Wisconsin Jewish Communities Archives: Obituaries." And by "obituaries" I mean all the loose obituaries shoved in that folder.

Yeah. That was a good couple of hours.

I mostly wrote about the orthodox synagogue in Appleton, though. And oh! Can I tell you lots of worthless crap about Moses Montefiore Congregation.

One of the most valuable pieces I found was a dedication booklet from the new synagogue building in 1972. And wow, that is an ugly building.

So in my paper there's a sentence about how "the interior typifies American liturgical architecture from the late twentieth century."

Which is a really nice why yes, I am an art history minor way of saying, "Looks just like every ugly '70s-era Catholic church I've been in."

Also in that booklet is a biography of the visiting rabbi. Who came along with his married daughter, seventeen-year-old son, and TWO-YEAR-OLD. And his presumably exhausted and very surprised wife.

Finally, I wrote a lot about the fundraising that they did in order to build the first building in 1923 and then the second one in 1972. And I'm not even going to lie, I had to redo the whole first draft and make it sound less Catholic because I kept writing, "stewardship appeal." Meh. Whatever. The guy grading it is a Gentile. (And thinks I'm an "outstanding women.")

My cultural screens. Let me show you them.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Homeschool your kids.

I've been thinking a lot about academic stuff lately. (Lately? you say. Shut up, I reply. It's my blog and I'll pretend to be normal if I want to.) A lot of it is the graduate school applications and the letters of recommendation. I'm lucky enough that I've gotten to hear (read?) several people say how smart they think I am. That's not what this is about, though. Because any intelligence I may have has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the way I was raised.

Marian apparitions are all well and good, but if you're a bit of a skeptic and need a reason to believe in God, just take a look at my academic career.

I was in a Catholic school until second grade, when I told my parents that I wanted to be homeschooled. For no reason. We didn't know anyone who homeschooled. My parents were an architect and an attorney; they were hardly what one thinks of when one thinks of homeschoolers. Once my mom figured out what that meant, she thought it was a pretty good idea, especially for an eight-year-old who just figured out how to read.

And it worked. It doesn't always work, but if you're willing to put the time in, it will work. Trust me. Of the homeschoolers that I still keep in touch with on Facebook, one just got back from Provence or Madrid or someplace, one is graduating earlier than she should with some fantastic degree like biology, and her little sister is already in college. And my brother and sister and I are doing pretty well too.

(Yes, I had friends. No, I didn't do my homework in my pajamas. Yes, I began shaving my legs at a normal age. No, I never belonged to a religious cult. Those people exist, which is why we all get a bad rap. I've seen people do math lessons by going to the grocery story and breastfeed in public until the child is old enough to have friends. As the bottle-fed daughter of an attorney, I can't decide which disturbed me more.)

After a spectacularly stupid decision to attend public high school for a year, I stood in the hallway and decided, you know what? I can do so much better than this. (FYI, the school at the time was less fantastic than it is now. My sister and her friends got a wonderful education. But it was emphatically not for me.)

A friend of the family suggested that I take a class at Concordia with her daughter. I said, hey! That sounds like fun. I'll just be homeschooled for the rest of my classes. Her daughter ended up staying in high school. I visited Concordia once, and fell in love. So I lied about my age and signed up for classes and didn't leave for three years.

I spent three years there, doing college work and, more importantly, not wasting my time. It was the best decision I have ever made, the happiest three years of my life, and probably the reason I'm able to apply to graduate school now. And it was a complete act of God.

There's also that other little act of God where he made me not dead. Or completely developmentally challenged. Because if you had told my parents in September of 1987 that in twenty-two years that baby would be employed by a university and graduating summa cum laude they probably would have said, "Wait. So she can sit up?" Because that wasn't supposed to happen.

So I guess my point is a.) trust God, and everything really will work out and b.) if there is any way you can swing it, please consider homeschooling your kids. Because it will be the best thing you ever do for them.

Well, after the whole baptism thing. Because I for one would never want to go through the RCIA thing with and immersion. Hell no. Wet hair is not a good look for me.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Real celibates don't wear pink.

Is there a liturgical reason that the color is emphatically "rose" and not "pink"? Or just that guys prefer to not like to dress in pink vestments? Because I've got to be honest, I know a priest who really liked pretty vestments and he always said rose.

So, yeah, I don't know where I was going with that, except that it made me laugh inappropriately during the lecture tonight, which was totally not my fault.

Oh, happy Advent, everybody! Have a kind-of-good-but-still-solemn good time!