The golden cruiser bicycle was stolen. Will may or may not have been implicated.

Rest in Peace, Goldie Hawk.

Let's all take a Quaker moment.

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Just For Fun

This quarter was the first quarter I decided to teach performance poetry. It has been GREAT!! Here are the poems I've taught so far (warning, some of them have profanity and/or are very politically charged):

Click on this link for Zora Howard's "Bi-Racial Hair"

This Hammad poem, "first writing since," is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE poems. I presented a paper on it at a conference entitled Gender and Power in the Muslim World at Sarah Lawrence this past March.

Thursday is our last class meeting, so I'm going to teach a couple of wrap-up poems that touch on some themes we've been discussing through the quarter. I'm not totally sure which poems I'm going to teach yet, but I know I'm going to use this one without a doubt:

Look Who Comes Crawling Back . . .

Well, well, well. Remember that time I said I'd keep this updated so friends/family could follow me along in graduate school? Turns out I lied. Sorry. I'm a bad Quaker!

BUT, I'm back now, if you'll still have more! And I'm going to make a much more concerted effort at writing, I promise! What's getting me to update now, you ask? Well, I must confess, it's a stack of student papers to grade. But motivation is motivation, right? Right.

A lot has changed since last September, obviously. I had a successful round of Ph.D applications. :-) I got accepted to UCLA & OSU. I got called down to Emory for an interview (only 11 candidates got called), though ultimately I did not get a place. It's is for the best because the interview weekend made it pretty clear to me that Emory would not be a good fit for me, so the spot went to someone who really wants to be there. I got called to interview at U. Maryland as well, though I had them withrdraw my app b/c at that point I had been accepted at OSU and knew I would rather be here. Rutgers was the one school that flat-out rejected me, but whatevs. They're in New Jersey. So, I'll be at OSU for my Ph.D., which I'm really excited about. I've developed a some close working relationships with faculty from a number of departments, so I think that will serve me well.

Luke has started undergrad, and is planning to major in painting with a minor in chemistry. Right now he's just at Columbus State Community College, but he plans to transfer to OSU in another year.

I also have some other potentially exciting school news, but it's hush-hush for now, so if you know it, please keep your lips sealed! Oooh, a cliffhanger. What now??

Will is also living with us while he's trying to figure out what his next step is. It's nice to have my younger sibling around. I have a lot of fun with him, and he seems to really be enjoying himself in Columbus.

In other news, I've gotten really into cycling lately. I bike 4 times a week, and I'm logging a total of about 52 miles a week. We have a gorgeous bike path right near our house, and it's a very enjoyable ride. It's also been great for my mental health - it gives me some time away from school, stress, etc. And, I often see deer, rabbits, etc. on the path, which is fun. A deer and I actually had a stand-off yesterday, about a 7 feet from each other. It eyed me warily while I explained that I understand why it would be supsicious, after all, humans do like to run them over and shoot them for no good reason. I let it know that I'm a vegan Quaker, so it really didn't need to worry. It continued to watch me from the corner of its eye as it slowly meandered off the path and I passed by. It was the fifth dear that I saw this week.

I started on this bike:

I know, It's sweet. But once I started riding more, ti became clear that I needed more than a cheap Huffy cruiser w/ no gears and cruising breaks. So, now Will rides "the golden bicycle" around Colubmus, and I've upgraded to this wonderful bike that I got used:

It's a GT and I love it *a lot*.

Ruby (our dog) is doing well. She's matured quite a bit from last year and is in much better health than when we got her. She's calmed down and brings a lot of joy and hilarity to our house. BB  (our cat) is his usual, talkative, funny self. He just likes to narrate his life as he goes along; I think he might be writing a memoir. Will claimed that he has nothing to write a memoir about, but I pointed out that A LOT OF people write memoirs despite not having much to write about. Touche.

Well, that was my random entry for today! I'm going to do better. I promise!

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    busy busy

Germany Cont'd

It's just after 1am here, and I just got back from a wonderful dinner w/ Naaz followed by drinks at a strange bar w/ some people from the conference. But, first thing's first . . . back to the conference log.

Okay, so, after the potato lunch on Day 1, we took naps to catch up on sleep, and then the Syrian group arrived. We also found out that the Sudanese group was delayed departing from Karthoum and were therefore stranded in Cairo and would be about 24 hours late. So, the schedule was rearranged a bit so that they would not miss out. Not much more happened on day one except getting to know one another a bit and passing right out that evening . . . Day 2 update tomorrow!

For now, I must go to bed. I can't believe that tomorrow is my last day in Germany. Everything went by so quickly! And that means more goodbyes tomorrow, which I'm severely bummed about.
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    sad sad

Germany update

Well, I suppose it´s time that I start recording this amazing experience that I´m having! Please excuse any typos - this keyboard is a struggle! I´m going to type as much as I can stand on this keyboard and then I´ll do more later!!

Day One:

We arrive in Berlin around 9am and go through customs. My customs officer had a really thick accent, so I could not understand the first question he asked me, even after I asked him to repeat it. So, I just went with a "yes," and he seems to have been happy enough with that to let me into his country. We met up with some German organizers at the airport as well as another US team member, then headed out to the boarding house where we would be staying/working. Two buses, two trains, and an hour and a half later, we are about 35km East of Berlin and truly in the middle of nowhere. Some US team members weren´t too excited about this, but, being the small-town girl that I am, overall I really liked the retreat-type atmosphere of the boarding house. This is the website of the place: http://www.kurt-loewenstein.de/meldungen/329848.html. It had a hostel-type atmosphere - shared rooms, bathrooms, etc. Though it was a bit drafty, I really liked the feel of the place and there were lots of nice areas to sneak off to drink tea and work-read. But, there were also enough common areas to socialize, get to know people, etc.

One less-than-exciting feature however, was the food. By the time we got to the house, lunch was about to start, so we put our stuff in our rooms and sat our jet-lagged asses down in the dining room. Two of us got there first, and one of the house employees motioned for us to sit down and indicated that the food would be brought to the table. So, we sat, and sure enough a few moments later a heavyset German woman (yes, the image in your head) comes to the table and sets down a large, steaming bowl of . . . boiled potatoes. Not just any boiled potatoes, but the biggest ones you´ve ever seen in your life. Unsure of whether or not this was the main course, we hesitated, until the man came back over and said, "Eat, eat!!" "Oh my. Germany," I thought, "does not know what to do with vegetarians." Exhausted, we laughed more than was warranted, ate our potatoes (with your choice of a sour-cream based fish sauce or a sour-cream based onion sauce) and promptly took naps.

Okay, I'm going to stop here for now. I´m heading out of the hostel in search of some coffee, a nice park, the Berlin wall, and perhaps the GDR museam. More later!!

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    contemplative contemplative

Pretty Excited About This

Yes, I am that cook kid who posts paper excerpts on her livejournal . . . but, seriously, I've been fighting with this paper like you wouldn't believe, but I think that I finally have a thesis!:

Farah describes her experience of living in the Hyphen-Nation as living “between nations, between cultures, between languages, between races." In Farah’s narrative, the hyphen acts not only as a connector between, but also as a marker of liminality; in placing herself and her listeners/interlocutors in a hyphenated space, Farah at once dislocates any firm grasp on identity and location and brings together seemingly discordant identity categories. This liminal, hyphenated space is both a challenge and an opportunity for Farah’s audience. Hyphenating – as in connecting – often oppositional localities and identities (such as Middle East-United States, Arab-American) dislodges eurocentric assumptions and challenges Farah’s US-based audience to align themselves with non-Western identities and spaces. Yet, in the words of anthropologist Victor Turner the liminal space can also be “a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations might arise” (97). Thus, Farah’s hyphen-nation insists that Western listeners de-center themselves, but it also provides them with the opportunity to explore a global, transnational community.

Sweet. At least, I think so! Anyway, I'll do a real update later on today, if I manage to make some serious headway w/ this paper! I have lots of news . . .
  • Current Music
    William Orbit, Pieces in a Modern Style

So Much

Clearly, I've been lax in updating. Recently some life-altering events have taken place and, well, blogging hasn't been the first thing on my mind. First, the worst day. Just over three weeks ago (June 6th) Niko (Luke's dearly, dearly love cat, who was a true member of the family) was found dead. We don't know what happened, and I'm not sure we really want to know. It has been continually heart breaking. We both loved Niko, but there really are no words to describe how important he was to Luke. We paid to get him cremated, and we will be spreading the ashes in Maine this summer when we're there.

Other than that horrible, somewhat over-arching event, however, things have been going pretty well! Luke is incredibly frustrated with his job, but the good thing is that he'll be attending school in the fall so he'll be able to get away! We're both very excited about it, and I'm very proud of him for taking the initiative to get it all together.  Also, we've finally gotten to share Ohio with some of our friends and family from home. First, my family came out for a wonderful and much-needed five days. We got away from the city and went down to Hocking Hills (southern Ohio/northern Appalachia) for hiking and relaxing. Then Ally came to visit and we went to the NWSA (National Women's Studies Association) conference in Cincinnati, which was also fantastic. She also got to meet some folks at OSU and we partied it up in C-bus where she go to to meet my friends (who all loved her, of course!)

Speaking of friends, I have been incredibly blessed with my group of friends here. I feel incredibly embraced and supported by them, and they're also a lot of fun which is certainly a bonus! I feel like I can be absolutely genuine with this group, and that I can also count on them when things aren't going so well (they all have been so wonderful about our loss of Niko). These are people that I want to stay in touch with far beyond graduate school, and whose friendship is absolutely priceless. I can't believe how lucky I've been. They all love Luke too, so it's nice to have a shared group of friends too. In Portland, we had mostly separate friend groups. We have that here as well, bu it's nice to be able to send time with friends and be together!

Well, I'd better get going. This weekend is comfest (community festival) and pride weekend in Columbus. Yesterday, Mel and I saw some great bands perform, and Luke and I spent time together in the evening, which was great. Today a few of us went to the pride parade and we're just taking an intermission before celebrating again tonight. Yay!

In other news: New tattoo coming soon. Family, prepare yourself.
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    Play With Fire, The Rolling Stones

Ruby the Dog, Day 2

Well, we got Ruby yesterday! There are numerous pictures below, but some are blurry b/c they're cell phone pictures and she was moving.

We picked Ruby up yesterday morning, and got her home around 10am. She was wonderful in the car (quiet, laid on Luke's lap), and when we brought her home she actually went in her crate all by herself (picture below)! We were just floored by her perfect behavior. We brought Luke to work and Ruby went in to meet his coworkers, and then she started whining and tugging toward the door, and when i brought her out, she went to the bathroom. So, we were kind of psyched that the house training may not be too big of a deal.

Then, Ruby and I went home and things did not go as smoothly. I tried putting her in her crate for a couple of minutes while I put some laundry in the wash and she was NOT impressed - whining, clawing at the crate, etc. Then, she continually tried to eat the cat food, so we eventually had to move that upstairs. At one point, when making her get away from the cat food, she spilled a bottle of iced tea all over the floor, a power strip, my computer charger, etc. But, then she ended up cuddling with me on the couch for quite some time, so I figured that those problems could have been a lot worse. UNTIL . . .

She peed on the bed! That's right. Peed right on the bed. And I don't think it was a house training issue since she hopped up there and immediately peed. So, I yelled at her, cried, and took her outside. Then I washed the sheets, comforter, and mattress (as much as I could). I hope to god she doesn't do it again.

She improved last night, and actually settled into her crate fairly quickly at night and slept through the night. And today she's been a DREAM. She's relaxed much of the day, had no house training accidents, and is even starting to ring the bells on the door knob when she needs to go out. (Though, she does need to learn that we're not going to let her in and out every five minutes.) She cuddling by me right now, actually. She also didn't bother me when I was preparing/eating lunch, and she's been a great companion. We put her in her crate today while we went to the farmer's market, and our neighbor said she did howl pitifully, but not for too long. She's learning her new name and beginning to listen to us when we tell her basic commands. Hopefully things are looking up!

If anyone has any good house training or training tips in general, I'd love to hear them!

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Guess what! WE HAVE A DOG!!!!


Meet Peeps! We'll be renaming her to Ruby (short for Rhubarb). They think that she's a redbone coonhound (definitely) mixed with a dachshund. She's a much darker red than the pictures show. The pictures are actually where she is currently being fostered. We're waiting until Friday morning to bring her home so that she can adjust over the long weekend.

She has a couple of drawbacks, it's true.
The biggest is that she's not house trained. However, we're going to start crate training her ASAP, and redbones have a reputation for being very smart and easily trainable. We know that it will be a bit of a trial, but we're ready to commit. If you have any tips, bring them on!

Also, she had mange which is still clearing up. She still has a bald spot on her tail and her fur is growing back in, but the mange is gone. Luke and I actually think that that may be why she has not been adopted in the six months that she's been at the foster home, because she is a wonderful dog.

There are many more good things about her which far outweigh the challenges.

She has a WONDERFUL temperament. She is about 11 months old, still young, but very easy-going, not hyper, and friendly. She's easy going and so quiet! She did not bark once when we went out to visit her - not even when we came to the door and the other dogs were barking. She's a perfect size - a bit taller and thinner than Autumn, but still fairly small. However, her ears and paws are way too big for her body which makes her very funny and cute. She gets along with people, dogs, and cats. She also seems very trainable and eager to please. We walked her a bit on a leash, which she seemed to respond well to, and didn't stray too far when we let her off. She's very sweet and cuddly and she REALLY wants to be an indoor dog, but she can't where she's currently living. We can't wait to bring her home on Friday!
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At the ripe age of 25, I went to my first kegger. it was Bradford's (one of Luke's friends from work) birthday, and it was everything you'd expect. Noise, smoking, and a keg in a tub full of ice. Sadly, in the keg was Miller High Life which, frankly, is not worth the calories.

But, I'm glad I did it. it was just OVERLY dorky to have never been to a kegger. And good people were there, so that was nice. There were also delicious vegan baked good. I left shorty after the boob cakes (yes, cakes shaped like boobs with an extra ingredient) starting being called "titty cakes." Pretty soon I probably would have started running my mouth about hegemonic masculinity or the postmodern fragmentation and appropriation of the body (which, after all, is a construct. oh lord.), which I'm not sure is the best way to impress people at a party. I might have even annoyed myself!

However, I think it's good for me to go to events like this sometimes. In academia we live in our heads and our own little world so much that it's very (VERY) easy to lose touch with how people are actually live in and moving about outside of the ivory tower. It was nice to hang out with Luke and his friends and spend time in the "real" world.

Now I'm going to read Harry Potter, go to bed, and then return to the academy tomorrow - 13 papers to grade and theory to read. Oh Grad school, you so crazy!

"Well life is as hard and as easy as they say." - Dar Williams
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    It Happens Everyday, Dar Williams