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Honey Cake on a Whim for Rosh Hashanah

I woke up this morning, and I was like, holy crap, it’s Rosh Hashanah.

Well, not now, but later tonight.

And I haven’t done anything for it.

Then I went to class, and when I got home, it hit me: I should totally bake something. Last year, I baked a honigkuchen (honey cake) so I thought I’d bake it on a whim, and thereby establish it as a traditional honigkuchen (ooh aah). I found my old recipe, and with about two hours to go until class, I decided to give it a try.

That’s So Jacob’s Kitchen Presents

That’s So Nom

Episode 2: Between-Class On-A-Whim Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

Step 1: Gather ingredients.

Step 2: Realize you don’t have all the correct ingredients midway through preparation, so run out to the corner store to buy the remainder for rip-off prices. Be pleasantly surprised when the store actually has normal prices for things – $5 for applesauce, cinnamon, baking soda, and brown sugar? SWEET.

Step 3: Return home and complete the cooking to the sounds of the Ronnie Spector station on Pandora.

Step 4: Put in oven, for twenty-five minutes.

Step 5: Start your reading for class, occasionally checking on the cake.

Step 6: When the timer beeps, check the cake. If it’s still a watery mess in a tin, close oven door and set timer for another 10 minutes.

Step 7: Repeat step six about 5 times because it doesn’t seem to be baking.

Step 8: If on or about the sixth time you check on it it’s still warmed-up ingredient soup in a tin, call mother and freak out at her. Then put on bottom rack in oven for about 10 more minutes, for the last. fucking. time.

Step 9: Remove hot cake from oven, finally cooked, but realize that the batter has overflowed the pan and it looks like somebody pooped in your oven.

Step 10: Laugh uncontrollably at the fake poop in the oven, then take picture of it and send it to your sister in Washington. Consider leaving the poop outside your neighbor’s door as a prank, but eat it instead because it’s actually not poop but delicious honey cake.

Step 11: Put cake in bag and wrestle with the Cling Wrap (the official baking tool of SATAN) to attempt to cover the hot cake in it to stay hot, but ultimately only pull off a few tiny pieces.

Step 12: Realize that you’re going to be late for class unless you leave RIGHT NOW so wrap that burning hot cake in a bag, tuck it under your arm, and run down State Street like it’s the Superbowl.

Step 13: Arrive in class at exactly 4:00 (phew). Plop cake down in bag, on the table but not yet visible. Proceed to torture yourself and your classmates with the delicious smell of honey, and realize that you are now sweaty, have brown stains on your khakis, and smell like a combination of delicious cake and the garlic sauce you made to go on your salmon last night. Hope no one else notices the garlic emanating from you. Practice saying “honigkuchen” in your head several times.

Step 14: At class’s conclusion, reveal the lovingly-baked honigkuchen to a chorus of delight and confusion. Pretend that you just dashed it off casually while reading Chinese and Japanese performance theory texts as if you are Little Suzy Grad Student. Cut off in hunks and serve on napkins. Serves six hungry and curious East Asian studies graduate students and two confused but relieved East Asian studies professors.

Your results, as always, may vary.

Shana tova, y’all.

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Year Two, Week One: Living on the Edge

How have the past few days been for me?

Tiring.

I don’t really know where my time is going, but for some reason I’ve managed to consistently run out of it.

Tuesday, the first day of school, I actually had my act together. I got up 15 minutes before my alarm, made a healthy breakfast, left my apartment for my 1:00 PM class and arrived a half hour early.

Wednesday morning was my first 9:55 of the semester. I managed to beat my alarm clock up, only to blink and realize it was 9:00. So, I bolted out of bed, and something or other distracted me. I intended to take the bus, but by the time I got out the door, it was 9:44, and the Bus app on my phone advised me that the quickest way? Walk. I manage to walk in at precisely 9:56 after a pretty concerted speed-walk/not-quite-run. So at least now I know that should I want to make it to class on time, I need to be out the door no later than 9:43. Probably longer on cold winter days. This is going to be a long semester, isn’t it?

Anyway, I actually got to the gym that day as well, and then to the department’s “welcome back” event, and managed to get a healthy dinner in as well.

Today was my 1:00 day once more, so I proceeded to be lazy until about 12:39 and then see how long it would take me to get to Ed Sci. You could call it lazy, but I prefer to think of it as “living on the edge.” Nevertheless, I made it to the classroom at least five minutes before class started, with a trotting pace. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack a snack, and with 10 minutes to get from Ed Sci to Vilas, I decided to stop at Walgreens to grab something, but by the time I decided what I wanted to buy, it was already 2:26.

Shit.

I drop my stuff, I bolt across East Campus Mall and up to the classroom only to the beat the professor there by about two minutes. Thank goodness. It was a three-hour class, but at least during the break I ran down to CoffeeBytes for a much-needed chocolate croissant and coffee, which kept me sane until 5:30. Of course, I went straight to the library and then relaxed at home for a while, which is why it’s almost midnight now and I’m getting basically my first meal of the day – two slices of pizza – surrounded by extremely loud and incredibly annoying undergrads, mostly girls shrieking about goodness-knows-what.

So now I’ve got about an hour of work ahead of me before sleep, at least, barring any major distractions (which we all know is not going to happen).

Yo ho ho, a grad student’s life for me.

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My Next Two Weeks, By the Numbers

I’m feeling stressed and sad today; I had brunch and dinner with friends, but for some reason I still feel like I’m in a rut.

Maybe if I write down everything – absolutely everything – that’s going on in the next two weeks for me, I’ll feel better. I’ve been trying to avoid doing stuff like this in this blog, but if it exists somewhere, maybe it’ll help me compartmentalize it.

Courses: 4

Class sessions: 6

Political Science classes: 2 with work

Theatre classes: 1 with work, 1 of presentations

History classes: 2 with presentations

English classes: 0

Book reviews: 1

Final papers: 4

APO events: 2, plus CAPS and Formal

Articles to read for tomorrow: 7

Days until Theatre presentation: 9

Days until History presentation: 10

Days until English final is due: 12 (ish)

Days until Political Science final is due: 15

Days until History final is due: 17

Days until Theatre final is due: 18

This is my life.

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Tongue-Tied

One of the things I love most about going to class is participating in discussions. Since I live alone, there are only so many times I can rehash the same conversations over and over in my head, like why I should or should not sweep the floor today, or if I made the right decision about this or that in my life. So, going to class and participating in discussions is one way to hear other currents of information and contribute words of my own, words that may mean something to someone, or not. I’ve never been called out for lack of participation, and I do my best to keep my thoughts limited and on topic.

It’s rare that I have a moment like I did today.

So there I was, just sitting in class, listening in and taking notes on a discussion about societal values, symbolism, and political ideology. Even though I didn’t quite understand every word of every reading we had to do, hearing them spoken aloud helped me get a better perspective on things. This topic was one I had been unsure about, but a thought came to me as we discussed different levels of societies and the socially constructed methodology.

I raise my hand. (Even though since there are only seven students and one professor, most people just start talking, I still raise my hand, because I guess I like rules, or I’m bad at breaking old habits).

The professor calls on me, and all eyes turn toward me.

My brain says: Where did the carefully crafted thought I just had disappear to? I know it’s somewhere…and yes, it had to do with…

“The values of society can sometimes be as cut-and-dry as visual symbols, like…”

Like what?

“Like…Boy Scouts. And Girl Scouts.”

Okay, Jacob, good, keep going.

::silence::

Come on, you can do it.

“Whenever they complete a task that coalesces with a positive attribute of the fundamentals of their organization, they get a badge, and I guess that these badges are a way of exposing the values behind the organization and society of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.”

Keep going, you’re almost there!

“So, my point is, it can be as simple as a merit badge that shows the values of a society that values ethics, and children.”

Okay, wrap it up.

“They promote their own cause by presenting boys and girls with badges, that they wear across their chest, on their, um, clothing, shirt, vest, that thing, wraps around your neck, shoulder, shirt, vest, thing, so that it can be easily seen and understood by outsiders…”

????

“…the core values of their organization, which causes a sense of pride, validating their sense of community-mindedness, to their community, and their importance within their own society, as well as to outsiders, with the badges they wear, across, their shirts, vest, chest, the thing that wraps around…”

…..

::silence::

What? Where am I? Who am I? What am I saying? What is…what? I should just stop talking, this is dumb…

“I should just stop talking, this is dumb…wait…oh my God, I’m sorry…” ::bites lip awkwardly::

At this point, the professor jumped in, and said something like “oh yes, no, yes, that’s a good example, that proves your point, you did a good job with that…” and we moved on, with me still kind of staring into nowhere.

I think I quietly said something to myself like “ugh, that was terrible, that made no sense…”

At which point the girl next to me overheard me, patted me on the shoulder, and said in a small voice, “No, you’re good, that was good, you’re okay.”

Oy vey. That’s all I have to say.