1

And I Have Emerged

…and I’m in Utah.

What?

Let me backtrack a little…

I haven’t posted much in the past few weeks because my life’s been a mess, and Tuesday night was a rock-bottom moment. I was really proud of myself for 14 straight days of exercise, and then on Wednesday and Thursday I could barely get out of bed. About all I did was teach, look at the news, and answer emails.

And then Thursday came, and I was finally off to Salt Lake City to see Julie and co. for the first time in over a year. I was nervous and excited at the same time; part of me felt like I needed a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery, but another part of me was scared of leaving all my commitments. But I got on the plane anyway, and I don’t regret it. Julie met me at the airport and as she drove me to their new house here in Herriman, I updated her on all my life and stuff, and slept well for the first time in days (except that I woke up with a sore back, probably from the six-hour flight).

This morning, I got to say hey to Julie and Nathan and hug Iris and Ramona before they went off to school, and for the rest of the day…I was pretty much on my own. I answered a ton of emails, talked on the phone, snacked on toast and Nutella, and then decided to take find a late lunch somewhere, only to discover that Herriman, while beautiful, is literally in the middle of nowhere. The closest place to eat is an hour away by foot, so I took an Uber to a Mexican place in nearby Riverton for a veggie taco plate thing and some coffee at the place next door, where I got 32 papers graded, so all of my Monday students. In fact, I was just writing the last word of the last comment on the last paper when Nathan pulled up by the coffee shop door to take me back to the house. We stayed in for dinner, and Julie made a delicious salmon with vegetables, and for dessert, we drove to Draper, another town (I’m seeing all these nice little towns!), and went to Leatherby’s – which is not a gay cowboy bar – for ice cream, I mean, ICE CREAM, and sitting amidst a bunch of nicely-dressed Mormons, tossed back and forth ideas for dirty ice cream shop names. My favorites were Sweet ‘n Creamy, Cherry Poppin’ Sally’s, and Chocolate Mudslide.

And even though I woke up in Utah, AKA Life Elevated, it was the first day since Tuesday I woke up headache-free, and the first day where I didn’t spend the majority of it thinking about the election, which is amazing.

I keep saying I’ll fix posts and put up quality content soon, and maybe I will and maybe I won’t, but for now, I’m hanging in there, getting better quickly, and hoping that I’ll feel refreshed and reborn by the time I get back to Madison on Sunday night.

53

My First Post as a 29-Year-Old

Kind of felt apt to follow up the previous post with this title. So how are you?

Today was a busy day, if anything. I woke up at about 8, stayed in bed until 9. Took a shower, then treated myself to a birthday breakfast of pancakes, eggs, greens, biscuit, and ice coffee at Short Stack, then went to see a panel at the South Asia Conference at the Concourse. Then headed across campus to my office to meet up with Jenna to talk about APO stuff, and after that, to the Semi-Annual Library Book Sale where $16.50 got me a brand new pile for my apartment. Once home, I checked my blog stats, read some blog posts, replied to a bunch of emails, and watched some YouTube videos. Following that, I had planned to run a few errands but ended up only getting to Metcalfe’s for groceries. Had no time for gym, so I went over to Hanna’s for a dinner she was preparing for me.

And let me just say, I was not expecting this.

I get to Hanna’s place, there’s a ton of people there, and even more show up, until we’re roughly 20. 20 people! We ate out back in her sukkah, and then sang and danced around the campfire. Hanna played keyboard, with Edi on sax, Ken on guitar, and Jennifer on the drums. I sang along with Baobei, Esty, Gidon, Bonnie, Bobbie, Jessica, and Andrea, while Haruki watched from the side, and Mohamed, Roger, Judy, David, and Larry watched from the sukkah (I think that’s everyone!). Andrea cooked most of the dinner, which was fabulous: chicken and rice, edamame, lentils, and veggies. And for dessert, Hanna brought out not one but TWO birthday cakes, an orange-and-lemon cake made by Judy, and a tangy, zesty tangerine cake by la Andrea. Judy’s cake was moist and warm, while Andrea’s was juicier, with a little kick to it. After hanging around the remnants of the fire with Baobei, Haruki, Bobbie, Roger, Jennifer, and Raimund (who showed up out of the blue), it was time to go home.

So now I’m sitting on my couch at 11:30 PM on my 29th birthday, Friday, October 21st, 2016.

Jameson invited me out to Plan B, but I might just call it a night, since I have to be up tomorrow around 7 and my bed is covered in books.

Thank you to everyone who made this normally anxiety-inducing day into an amazing one for me.

And for the last time until 2017…

Happy birthday to me. 🙂

17

Five Reasons Why Wisconsin is the Best State Ever

Today, I was on Facebook, and I found out that one of my close friends from when I lived in Israel is moving to America: New Jersey for a little while, and eventually, Philadelphia. While I’m not thrilled about him being so far away, it’ll hopefully be a great change for him and we’ll be in the same country again. Someone commented on his wall that he could come and stay on his couch in New York City, and I responded, “my couch is better.” And as I was redoing the Wisconsin refrigerator magnet puzzle (some of the pieces had gotten out of place) I realized that Wisconsin truly is the best state ever.

So here are Five (of the many) Reasons Why Wisconsin is the Best State Ever.

  1. I can point out where I live on my hand. Sure, so can Michiganders, but we don’t have the lake effect in the winter.
  2. We have some of the best produce and dairy products in the country. Go to any weekend farmer’s market and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Also, if you’re into dairy and not on a diet, Calliope ice cream is kosher and DELISH.
  3. Midwestern nice. Seriously, I feel like I’ve become nicer since I’ve been here. Or at least more social. People here are just so genuine.
  4. The best European cuisine outside Europe. Since my parents have been here, we’ve had Belgian food at Brasserie V, Norwegian food at Norske Nook, and Dutch food at Cafe Hollander. Not to mention the German restaurants and the Catholic-inspired Friday Fish Fry, every Friday, all year long.
  5. Concerts on the Square. Tonight was my parents’ final night here, so we went to Concert on the Square, which is a summer tradition here in Madison. About six Wednesday evenings every summer, when it’s light outside until 9 PM, everyone brings blankets and food and picnics on the lawn of the State Capitol building to hear the Madison Symphony Orchestra play. People have fancy spreads and get dressed up, and it’s just such a fun time. Does your state capitol double as a marketplace, art museum, AND concert venue? I didn’t think so.
23

On Hanging Something Up

Wow, a normal-hours post! Something I wish I did more often, but inspiration doesn’t strike me in the middle of the day usually, and/or I have other things to do that I can’t do in the middle of the night, but since I a) got three full pages of writing done today for prelims (double spaced!), b) don’t have enough time to drag myself, my chair, and my books to the sixth floor to read out in the sunshine before I should head to the gym so I can get there before it closes, and c) have something to write about that’s not too long, here goes.

So, today is the birthday of one of my across-the-hall neighbors. Even though I already wished her a happy birthday on Facebook, I decided to tape a Happy Birthday note to her door, because I like taping nice notes to peoples’ doors. So I wrote the note, and then I couldn’t find any tape to put it up with.

Now, if you know me well, you know that I always have at least three rolls of tape in my apartment at any given time. I use packing tape when mailing stuff, Scotch tape for various things, and duct tape because who doesn’t need duct tape. And of course, one of the few time I actually need one of those items, I can’t find it.

So, I look around my apartment for tape, anything adhesive. I spot a box of Band-Aids on the counter and take one out. Then I realize…how ghetto would it be to hang something up with a band-aid? Probably very, very ghetto. I don’t want my neighbors to wonder exactly why I used a band-aid, and if it’s germy or gross, or whatever. The next thing I find is one of those rolls of stickers. This one has aliens on them. Yeah, that’s not that much less ghetto than a band-aid, even if it is kind of cute – I don’t want my neighbors, again, to be all…that guy, who doesn’t own any tape. BLASPHEMY.

Anyway, after scouring my apartment for way, way, waaaay too long, I see a roll of clear packing tape under the coffee table. I grab it, tear and oblong piece off, and then go and tape it to the door, just as the elevator opens and a girl comes out, and with my luck, it would be the birthday girl…

…I sprint down the hallway…

…but it wasn’t, it was one of her roommates. I poked my head out of the door, and she said, “was that you sprinting away from our door?”. “Yeah, it was me.” The birthday roommate, she told me, is on vacation in Hawaii for a few days. We had a good laugh about it.

And that’s how I tried so hard not to make it weird that I actually made it weird.

14

Letters and Milestones

Letters! Letters!

The 16 Penpals in 2016 is happening! Believe in your dreams, people!

(By the way, I’ve still only sent letters to 15 people, so if you want to be the lucky 16th, just comment below!)

Today’s letters came from Penny aka Barfuss-Evrovizija in Michigan, and then from Dani aka Dani’s Crazy Adventure all the way from the UK. Both letters were fun to read, and my favorite part was the handwriting (Dani, yours is particularly artistic). I will send letters back soon, to Penny first and then to Dani a little later so I can make sure it will get to the right place. Getting those letters really brightened my day, so thank you for lifting the spirits because my new diet is making me realize how many cookie commercials there are on television.

Also, an exciting milestone for That’s So Jacob – 1400 followers! The lucky 1400th is Writing and Alcohol aka Aui, so visit her when you can.

Other than that, I hope you all continue to enjoy my wacky and weird world, and come back soon and bring your friends so we can hang out together. The sangria is almost all gone but we can still have a good time.

Now, back to translating Hebrew and hopefully rocketing through the 3 books and 15 or so articles I have left before I can start writing this first prelim.

35

I Got A Letter…

…what could be better?

No, seriously, getting mail is one of the best things ever. In January, I started my 16 Penpals for 2016 project, and I’ve sent out 14 letters (btw, if you’re reading this and want a letter, let me know in the comments because I still have 2 more to send!), and so far, nothing back 😦 until today, when I got a lovely letter in the mail all the way from faraway Janesville, Wisconsin (about an hour or so down the road), from blogger-friend Michelle. I learned about her very interesting life and family, and it was a great surprise on a super-hot afternoon, so hot I didn’t want to do anything but I did because I had to.

Michelle, thanks for the letter, and another one is going to be on its way to you in the morning. As for the rest of you, I’m still waiting.

1

The Rising of the Mimouna

Today, I went over to the Gellers to celebrate the end of Passover by eating carbs.

I mean, I did the same last night at Short Stack, against my better judgment, with a pile of chocolate chip pancakes, but this morning had carbs mixed with Moroccan outfits and dancing to ululating music.

Mimouna is a traditional end-of-Passover gathering with music, dancing, and pastries. Ora made crepe-like things called mufletas, which are traditionally eaten with butter and honey, along with waffles, pancakes, and milkshakes. There were only a few people there but it was just fun to be around people and eat delicious foods. I only attended my first mimouna in 2011 in Houston, where it was a much bigger deal, with trays of desserts, a DJ, and hookah, and at that point I wondered where the hell this holiday was my whole life. I’m not of Mizrachi descent, sometimes it’s nice to pretend to be.I mean, I am Jewish after all, and this is just a different type of Judaism.

And any Judaism that involves eating mufletas is fine by me.