9

Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 2

This isn’t truly a staying-in post, since I actually went to dance class tonight, but I stayed in from pretty much the end of my office hour until the second I had to leave to get there on time. Oh wait, there was a meeting in the middle somewhere, but I was pretty checked out the whole time, which is really bad, since it’s only Tuesday. I probably should be doing work, but hey, I’m not doing it right now, so why start. Well, I’ll eventually have to start, so I can give my students their papers tomorrow.

I’m really not convincing anyone right now, am I?

But, real talk. I’m on the couch, watching The Golden Girls and munching on seeded rye bread. The life of a graduate student.

I wish I had some Nutella or something, but I’m glad I don’t, because I’d finish it all. I went to town on some Cheez-Its earlier and it was totally embarrassing.

In other news, has anyone ever thought how strange elevators are? You get in a metal and wood-paneled box that can fit a bunch of people, and it pulls you up through a cord. Weird, huh? And don’t get me started on airplanes.

6

Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 1

What up everyone, it’s your favorite That’s So Jacob. I know I’ve been a little MIA lately, and skimping on the content, but it’s just been a jam-packed few weeks for me, with Theatre Lab, the Minnesota trip, so many observations, and personal and academic struggles galore. On the bright side, I got placed into a 400-level Hebrew class for next semester, got a 95% amazing teaching evaluation, and just made a rigatoni that was approved by the girls across the hall.

So there’s that.

I just thought that I’d take a moment, without making it too personal or livejournal, which I promised never to do here, and welcome you even further into my living room, to come sit on my couch with me and enjoy some night-in therapy.

So, I’m totally exhausted. Teaching, reading, writing, grading, lesson planning, presentating, trying to maintain a good diet, wishing I exercised more often (I haven’t done anything really physical in a week, unless you count dancing for a few minutes at the APO banquet in Minnesota last week), and trying to keep my head above water in both my own personal life and my social life.

The fact is, I just don’t have many friends. 95% of my time is spent alone in my apartment, in which it is way too messy to film a nifty YouTube or Vimeo or something (that, and the fact that I barely have time to write anymore, much less spend hours editing footage of myself that would probably be annoying to begin with). The few friends I do have, I hold really close; so close, in fact, that I don’t know what I would do if some of them ever disappeared from my life. I mean, I have had plenty of people who I love completely disappear from my life through no fault of my own, but as a mostly transient person, having lived no longer than two years in any one place in my entire adult life, it’s exciting but kind of lonely. I’m 28 years old, and I don’t have a group of friends, or a significant other to share my time with. I have people here and there, but I have to make ten times the effort to keep connections strong. So I spend a lot of my time just hanging out with myself, and on here, lurking on all of your blogs, making the occasional comment and trying to maintain my connection with you.

And as far as the rest of my life goes…I just registered for what I believe to be my final semester of coursework. As in, the last one. As in, goodbye school books, hello…whatever the opposite of that is. Maybe reading said school books or something, I don’t know. Kind of scary. Even though I’ve gotten two degrees along the way and I’m inching closer to my third, and hopefully final degree, I still don’t really know exactly what I want to do with it. I’ve thought of going in a completely different direction, like becoming a drama therapist, or entering the priesthood (wait…I’m not Christian…so that won’t work), or even just moving to a completely new place and seeing what I can make of myself there. Either way, I just want to live a happy life, full of good health, adventure, and iced coffee. Not much of a plan, I know, but any thoughts would be appreciated.

I should probably get back to reading, grading, or cleaning up the kitchen now that you’re nicely ensconced on the couch.

If you’re having a night in, come join me.

I made rigatoni.

4

An Alphabet of Awesomeness Tag

I know everyone’s seen this type of thing before, with awards and challenges, but I just thought I’d start one that’s all my own, challenge a few people, and see what happens…

Sometimes, in life, it’s incredibly hard to find things to be grateful for or things that make you happy when you feel just so so so sad, not like sad panda sad, but Picasso’s-Blue-Period sad, or Wilting-Flowers-of-Virginia-Woolf sad, or even Everything-But-The-Girl-desert-misses-the-rain-except-the-desert-is-glass-and-Morton-Salt-without-the-yellow-umbrella-since-there’s-no-rain-here sad.

But now that I’ve saddled you with metaphors and addled your brain, let me bring you back to the positive feelings that I hope you are having right now (If you are, good for you! If not, that’s okay, I’m here if you need a hug).

Some days, life is just sweet, normal, average, even – dare I say – happy. It could be a tapping-your-toes-to-Pharrell-Williams’s-“Happy” happy, or even raindrops-on-roses-and-whiskers-on-kittens-Julie-Andrews-frolicking-in-the-sunny-countryside happy, or even the happiest feeling that I can imagine, like, right-this-minute-I-can-see-myself-as-the-cool-person-I-dreamed-of-being-when-I-was-young-and-shy-and-awkward-and-to-top-it-off-I-have-sunglasses-and-a-car-and-good-hair happy.

It’s the days that you’re feeling like a Picasso that you wish you could magically channel a day when you were Pharrell Williams. When you wish you had an arsenal of things that make you feel awesome and confident and sophisticated and proud but you just can’t seem to picture any.

My friends, here is the solution for you.

Presenting:

That’s So Jacob’s All-New Alphabet of Awesomeness Tag

The point of this game is to come up with 26 things that just make you feel effervescent, one for each letter of the alphabet, and maybe write a brief sentence or two about each thing, and then tag 26 friends to do the same. Hopefully this will ignite a giant arsenal of awesome and happy things that will break the Internet because everyone’s sharing too many happy thoughts.

Here goes nothing, I guess.

is for Anne Taintor. Classic pinup girls with delightfully irreverent sayings. I buy her calendar every year and have a sticker pack and fun coffee-table coasters. Just plain fun.

is for ballroom dance. What started as a sign on a lamppost has turned into four semesters of fun, friendship, and fancy footwork. I always say that I like Latin better, but then I feel like that’s unfair to Standard, so I constantly switch back and forth because just being on the dance floor is a gift unto itself.

C is for Call the Midwife. One random Sunday, I turned on PBS, and stared at my television screen open-mouthed for two whole hours watching a marathon of this fantastic BBC masterpiece. It is incredibly well-acted, thought-provoking, inspirational, and hasn’t hit the Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones glass ceiling here in the USA yet, so I feel ahead of the curve. And even if it doesn’t make it in America, this show is so awesome and now I kinda want to see if I could deliver a baby using what I’ve learned from the show. 

is for driving, especially on the open road. I don’t get it how so many people despise driving. I love it. I would rather drive than be a passenger. Other than expensive gas (which, living in Wisconsin, is less of a drain on my wallet than in giant Texas) and maybe car trouble/repair, I love long road trips, beautiful scenery, racking up the miles, and when I am with friends, racking up the smiles.

is for Ellen DeGeneres. E-nough said. I really think she should reconsider running for political office. She could do a lot of good (well, even more than she already does).

is for friends who do stuff together… but no, really, it’s for my fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. It’s helped make me into a better person. My parents did not believe it when I said I wanted to pledge, but they have come to peace with it and acknowledged that it has introduced me to a lot of good people and helped me do a lot of good things.

is for

is for

is for iced coffeeWhen I had my first real downward spiral into depression and bad bad thoughts, my dad always told me “if you’re dead, there’s no iced coffee anymore.” So trivial, but for some reason it perked me up a little bit.

is for Jenna Marbles. I eagerly count the days until Wednesday/Thursday so I can fold laundry while watching her new video (now, on my Chromecast). There has rarely been one that I haven’t found something I liked in, except maybe the dog porn one and the “Dropping Beets” one.

is for Keurig. I bought mine in December and haven’t looked back. Sometimes I sit in class, just counting down the minutes until I can go home and use my Keurig to make something delicious.

is for licorice. Twizzlers (though NOT a low-fat snack like they say), gimme. Bites, pull and peel, the rainbow colored ones, all the Twizzlers. YUM.

is for Mental Floss on YouTube. Along with Jenna Marbles, John Green’s List Show makes up my mid-week hump days playlist. I’ve been a fan of MF since high school, and now instead of sitting at Barnes & Noble and reading the new one each month, I get a little mini video-magazine of quirky facts that I can watch while I fold my laundry. If Jenna Marbles did a Mental Floss List Show one Wednesday, I think my brain might actually explode with happiness.

is for New York Times Crossword Puzzles. Part of my daily routine. My favorites are the Sunday ones; when I solve it in under 15 minutes I just feel like the smartest person in the world. Plus, it’s a great way to learn new facts.

is for October, the month of my birth. I have a love/hate relationship, because I love birthdays but hate growing older. Still, it’s usually just brisk enough to enjoy hot and iced drinks, and an unexpected warm day, like this past weekend, can really make your day. Plus, it’s too early for Christmas music and decorations to appear, so there’s that. Also, Jewish holidays.

is for Pandora. This app and I had our issues, once I found out it was killing my cell phone bill, but now that I use it more sparingly, it’s going back to the top of my list of favorite apps. Where else can you rock out to an entire station devoted to A Tribe Called Red or the Barry Sisters?

is for theatre. I have devoted the last ten years of my life to studying it, so it deserves a spot on the list. A close second is travel. And an even closer third is Tim Hortons. I am seriously considering a road trip to the closest one (Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada) just to get a cafe glace and donut. Tims for days, baby.

is for Words with Friends. It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, but it’s just a helpful distraction that’s just temporary enough to calm my mind.

7

Rush-a-shanah

Hey y’all. We’ve been having a lot of fun here lately, but here’s a small dose of Real Talk. I know that’s one of the two topics that I don’t normally like to broach here – the other being politics – but I’m just feeling…a certain way, and maybe being philosophical about it here will help. Pardon me if I come off as whiny (or just comment, “hey Jacob, that’s so whiny, man up,” or something) but here goes.

This year, I didn’t have much of a Rosh Hashanah. In fact, I had about one hour of it, on Monday, between 10:30 and 11:30. Fortunately, I got to hear the shofar and say a few little prayers before jetting off to lecture. I got a few questions about why I didn’t petition off for the holiday, but I shrugged it off. I love Rosh Hashanah; some good prayer, some good food, do it all again the next day. Now, Rosh Hashanah’s come and gone, and I’ve spent most of it in classes and meetings.

Today, I found out a few items of bad news. Well, bad is sort of relative, but there were a few things that I found out that did not make me happy. One made me mad, one made me sad, and one just left me confused. I talked to various friends, and they tried to make me feel better, but ultimately, it was all up to me to help myself. I’m still here, writing this all down, so I guess I’m doing pretty good, but I have this overwhelming sense of guilt, that somehow it’s my fault that these things happened, even though none of them directly involved me or could have been controlled or prevented by me. I can’t say much more about any of the pieces of news because (almost) none of them are public knowledge yet, but suffice it to say: God, I love you with everything I’ve got, but why did that have to happen? And why do people feel the need to send vague, passive-aggressive emails? And why, why do I even try, what could I have done differently, why can’t I get a definitive answer, what is wrong with me, what am I working towards?

Okay, so that’s a lot of questions.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m not unconvinced that karma doesn’t exist. I am so grateful about so many things in my own life, but maybe I need to do some more meditation. And eat more fiber.

10

What Are You Afraid Of?

Today, I realized that there are certain things that I was afraid of when I was younger, that don’t scare me that much anymore, and then some things that used to not bother me, that really get to me now.

Here’s a few of them.

What I’m No Longer Scared Of

  • Showering/changing in public. Yes, I do avoid it when possible, but it’s not such a terrible thing. Growing up, I would always change for gym class in a bathroom stall (as did a few others). I guess I just realized that no one was looking at me. Now, I just sing in the shower at the gym because I can, and who really gives a darn?
  • The dentist. It’s a necessary evil, and dentists can be weird, but it’s temporary and if you’re lucky, you’re good for a year or so.
  • Going to bed late. I don’t know why this used to scare me, but I’d get really uncomfortable if I was awake too late.
  • Toilets that flush automatically. Got used to them.

What Scares Me Now

  • Heights. I was never really a huge fan, but I never had a problem with them. I have noticed lately that I get a little vertigo in high places
  • Riding a bike. Well, that scared me as a kid as well, but when Dan and I went biking on Martha’s Vineyard, I was about to have a heart attack.
  • Being yelled at in public. I used to be able to brush it off, but now it just makes me want to yell back, and make you uncomfortable.
  • Teaching my own classes next week. It’s kind of a mix of nervousness and excitement. I just hope I do well.
25

Malaise-y Susan

So, normally I don’t do this – or at least not here, that is – but I just have to say it. I’ve been super down lately. This blog is about stories and fun and jollity and stuff like that but I haven’t been feeling it, so it’s time for a get-real post. And if you don’t like these kinds of posts, you can come back tomorrow for something different.

It’s just been really weird for me lately. Spring semester is going along pretty smoothly, I have several conference papers to work on, along with an article and thinking about prelims, but I’m just not feeling it. I don’t know if it’s the body image issues I’m going through right now, or general loneliness, or depression, or stress, or just “winter malaise” of single-digit-weather Wisconsin. But something is just not right in Jacob World, and it’s bugging me.

“Ya wanna blog about it, Jacob?”

Well, that’s kind of what I’m doing. I guess. I don’t know.

I’m just grateful that I haven’t been totally alone for too long this week; WeKache was here to visit, and then I had lunch with the Gellers, which is always super nice, and maybe we’ll hang out tomorrow, and then on Purim on Wednesday.

I guess I’m just nervous about the show. This coming weekend I’m committed to be in the theater from 9 AM to 7 PM on Saturday, and then 10 AM to (potentially) 11 PM on Sunday. Then, after next Monday off, I’m in the theater for at least part of the day every day for the next seven. And then there’s everything else…film festival…APO…dance…school…

Wow, what a disappointing 400th post.

Oh, and there are two different dresses. TWO DIFFERENT DRESSES, PEOPLE.

7

On Breaking Glass

Last night, the fire alarm went off, and since it was two in the morning and there was no way I was going out in the SNOW (yes, it’s snowing here), I took that as time to wash the giant pile of dishes that has been piling up in the sink. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had two wine glasses sitting behind the sink, and as I took a clean bowl out of the dishwasher, I knocked one into the sink.

It shattered.

Now I only have nine wine glasses. Wine glasses that came from my grandmother, that survived the moves from Baltimore to Houston to Madison to Madison again, plus countless people (okay, maybe like fifty) who have used them since they have been in my possession.

And just like that, one tipped over and broke, right into the sink, where it was easy to fish out the pieces with a cloth and throw them into the garbage like last week’s beer bottle.

It’s just a glass, and it’s not even that special; my grandmother probably got them at a department store or something. I could probably even find the same pattern online if I tried hard enough. It was just the shattering of the glass that made my heart judder, just a little bit. I’ve been a bit edgy lately, nervous, anxious, ready to go home but not ready for all the work I have to do before then, worried about friends and family, feeling somewhat lonely, and lazy because I’ve only danced twice this week and haven’t been to the gym at all. I’m just living my life.

Oh well, at least I got to do my Florida Evans impression to myself in my apartment.