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Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 6

Another Sunday night, another Golden Girls marathon. It’s the episode where Stan becomes attached to a toy monkey, so mute goes the television. Time for staying in and getting real.

So what’s new with you? I’m stressed, as usual, and there’s noise coming from the hallway which will become a real problem if I feel like going to sleep anytime soon. I had a bad week last week in terms of healthy eating, so I skipped the dance team dinner at Great Dane, yet managed to come home from Whole Foods with not only almond butter, protein, and veggies but also a container of gummy stars to reward myself for…well, nothing.

Which brings me to my next topic, or lack thereof. Dissertation. I have a meeting coming up in 2 days to talk about it, and I still have no idea what “it” is, or will be. I’m pretty much at the same place I was four years ago. I thought I’d have it all figured out by now. I feel like I’m probably going to end up googling “how to pick a dissertation topic” because yeah, I should probably start working on that idea sheet. I mean, I have a few ideas, but nothing really concrete enough to gel into a game plan. Granted, it’s still (closer to) the beginning of the semester, and I guess if all else fails I can change my topic. I do know what I don’t want to do; even though I really enjoyed researching the Romani of Central Europe and their performance practices, I feel like I’ve probably exhausted 95% of the sources available to me. Probably very few new books on the topic have come out in the last few years, if any at all. I was even surprised to find one article of interest, in a Canadian journal. Even though language barriers are tough to overcome, ethnic barriers are nearly impossible, and I honestly think that there’s a certain point that I, as a white American, cannot penetrate, either for ideological reasons or because there’s simply nothing on record.

I really want more gummy stars but at 11 PM I said to myself, no more for the night.

Dinner was a lazy salad – threw together some lettuce, onions, cucumbers, Craisins, and tomatoes in a tupperware, tossed it with oil/vinegar/lemon juice, and called it dinner. Not too satisfying, but I’ve got some sparkling water to hopefully sate myself.

I know these posts are super boring and totally against the original purpose of this blog, but what are you going to do. At least it’s real talk and not just pointless word vomit, a la LiveJournal.

Oh, and in other news, I got some reading done today, outdoors even, and I’m close to finishing two books, and I haven’t even finished a single one since February started, so that’s something.

Okay, time to zen out and meditate in order to dissertate. Ommmm….

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Sweat + Small Stuff = …

It’s almost midnight, once again, and I got back from two hours at the gym about twenty minutes ago.

As I am actually sweating, today was just one of those day where the small stuff really made me sweat, with a few panicky moments.

For starters, today was one of my favorite days of the semester, Mafia Day, where I get to discuss the play Trifles with my sections, and reward them with a game of Mafia to bring out their acting skills. In my first section of the day, it was pretty much dead (no pun intended), but in the second section, it got rowdy, boisterous, and fun, with wild accusations being thrown across the room, friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming friends, and of course, in the last few minutes of class, I screwed up the game.

We were down to 11 students: 4 mafia (1 had been discovered) and 7 townies. The two students up for “the pit” were the Milliner, who was innocent, and the Lounge Singer, who was in the mafia. The vote was cast, and 6 hands went up for Milliner, and 6 for the Lounge Singer. I was confused, but then someone pointed out that the Librarian (who’d been killed in the round prior) had stuck her hand up for the Lounge Singer, so her vote did not count, putting the Milliner in the pit by a vote of 6-5. Unfortunately, stupid me got caught up in the heat of the moment and announced that the Lounge Singer had been killed when it had been the Milliner. That mistake caused the Lounge Singer to reveal that he was in the mafia, significantly changing the outcome of the game: now, 3 mafia and 6 townies were left alive. We only had about one minute remaining, so in the fourth round, obviously the mafia chose to kill the Milliner since I obviously did not do a good job of it, leaving 3 mafia and 5 townies. A quick round of accusations resulted in the Town Mayor and the Welder up for “the pit” (which didn’t matter, since both were innocent), ultimately ending our game with 3 mafia and 4 townies. Had the game been able to continue from that point, the mafia would have one final chance to win, if they were to successfully nominate and vote out one more townie, they would gain control and win the game; but the remaining townies could also have won as well if they managed to guess correctly.

If we press the rewind button, and I’d announced the correct death, we’d have been down to 4 mafia and 5 townies. Again, same scenario as above, only with fewer people dying. Either way, it’s likely that the mafia probably would have won, but the surviving townies were rather outspoken and might have knocked off the remaining mafia, who were all keeping to themselves.

Fail on me, number one.

The next two were even smaller, but still stung: first, as I walked into my office, I heard a crunch – I stepped on an assignment that one of my office-mate’s students had slipped under the door, tearing a hole in it with my boot. I fired off an apologetic email to my office-mate (who was gracious enough to respond, saying that it was not my fault), and went to copy said torn paper. On my way to the copy room, I walked past one of the other offices. Its door was propped open, and it was dark inside, which is quite unusual. Knowing that there were several expensive things in that room (a desktop computer, a coffee maker, personal items), I knocked on the door, causing the light to turn on…startling one of my colleagues, who was taking a quick nap at his desk. I shrank back and apologized for disturbing him, even though he told me that the door was propped open because he was expecting a student anyway.

Ay-yay-yay. I gotta stop saying that.

And I gotta stop sweating the small stuff, once I apologize to my student for accidentally pushing him into the pit.

6

Need A Cure for Kicking the TV Habit? Get Sick

Hey y’all, or as my immune system might say, “hnff heck hack.”

It wasn’t working in a germ factory, or even going out with a wet head that got me congested and sniffly, but I think it might have had to do with some spicy fries I ate on Saturday night after Salsa Saturday and could still taste Sunday afternoon. Ever since then, I’ve been mostly just sniffling, with a few minor coughs and a sneeze here and there. It feels like I have water in my nose, and that my eyes just want to close. I’m not sure that it’s a sore throat, because cough drops only irritated it more. Today, while teaching my first class, I had a fit of hacking, at the end of which I pronounced “brb, dying,” and after one or two more coughs, pronounced myself dead.

But hey, when you’re teaching Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd, it works.

Anyway, all I wanted to do after I got home from school and meetings was to lie down on the couch and watch TV.

Except…

THERE’S. NOTHING. ON.

I flip through channels, and go through the TV guide, and…nothing appealing. When I’m well, there are all sorts of things that I’d like to watch but either don’t have the time to or just forget about. But of course, when I want to relax and watch something good, all that’s on: sports, weather, news, infomercials, crappy Christmas movies (which could be its own generator, future post idea!), televangelists, murder dramas, pointless reality shows, and whatever’s on the Spanish channel.

I could go to bed early, or read or lesson plan or something, but I think I’ll just write a blog post about it and see where it goes.

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Things I’m Sick of Hearing

This might develop into a series, but I’m pretty serious…it’s been a stressful week and I’ve discovered that my patience is already beginning to wear thin, despite being just the second week of school.

On The Phone

“Say that again?” – I don’t mumble, I speak clearly and actually usually a little too loudly into the phone, so either turn your volume up or pay attention because I’m pretty sure they can hear me in Connecticut.

In The Classroom

Can we play Sugar Salt? No. We cannot and we will never play that game, ever, again.

I have four things to say. No. One. Just choose one.

Can I please go to the bathroom? You went twenty minutes ago, and we have a break in another twenty, and you’re eight. You don’t need to.

I don’t want to play. Fine, go off to military school.

At the Jewelry Stand

When are you open again? Never. If you don’t buy it today, you will never see us again.

How much longer are you open for? I don’t know, are you planning on buying anything?

I’ll come back later. THAT’S A LIE. Never once has someone come back later.

How much for the dog? No. No. SHUT UP AND GET OUT. Seriously. He’s our pet. It wasn’t funny the first time I heard it, and it hasn’t been funny ever since.

Here’s what I want to say in response to that inane question, but can’t:

  • We sell jewelry, not animals.
  • I don’t know. How much for your firstborn child?
  • You are so clever! I have never had anybody ask that before! How ever did you come up with that?
  • Bad joke, you owe me twenty dollars.
  • Buy some jewelry now because you’re getting on my nerves.
  • SHUT UP AND GET AWAY FROM THE STAND AND OUT OF MY LIFE FOREVER.
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Shame on You, Archer Farms Bagged Vegetables

So, earlier this week, Archer Farms bagged veggies were on sale at Target, so I bought some and made them. I usually have pretty good luck with store-bought bagged veggies, but these…

Were VILE.

First, I tried the broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix. It smelled rancid after I cooked it, and too foul to eat. I had to toss it in the trash immediately. When I went out and came back later, I wanted to apologize to my entire floor for stinking it up with gross rancid vegetables.

And today, sweet potatoes. They looked okay in the bag, and when I heated them up, they didn’t smell too bad. But when I tasted them…

Sticky. Hard. Gross.

I bought Mann’s organic veggies and made them, and they tasted fantastic. Or at least what bagged vegetables in the microwave should taste like.

Ugh. Healthy eating should be less risky than this.

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Ten More Ways to Soothe Your Summer

It’s all come down to this…tomorrow is the big day.

Prelim Exam A.

I think I’m going to have a headache, stomachache, vertigo, and nausea all at the same time. This morning I went to a pancake breakfast at the elementary school where I’ll be teaching starting next week, and got to meet all the parents and students; already, it seems like a lifetime ago. I spent the rest of my day talking with some friends on Facebook, rereading some of my papers, rereading one of the plays, imagining hypothetical questions, shopping at Kohl’s, and going to the gym. Now I’m just sitting on the couch watching The Golden Girls and waiting for some food to finish cooking.

Since my stress level is higher than the Capital building right now, I thought I’d get back to something I started at the beginning of the month, but since 10 is a good number, here are ten more ways to soothe your summer.

1. Say thank you.

It’s two simple words that are so easy to say. What the hell, add in a “so much” if you so desire. Don’t go overboard, but tell someone that you have appreciated something that they have done recently, and why. Or, just for being themselves. It’s free to do, doesn’t expire, and can spawn even more calm and happiness into the world.

2. Help out at an event, even when you’re not asked.

At this morning’s pancake breakfast, after the parents had left the school and the children were in class, I summoned over one of the teachers who wasn’t working at the moment and we put the rest of the milk in the fridge so it wouldn’t spoil. Granted, it was soy milk, which lasts for way longer than regular milk, but still, it was one less thing for someone else to do.

3. Buy someone else a gift.

Don’t go overboard with this one, but if the occasion merits, spend some extra time and money, get someone a gift, and make a plan to get it to them ASAP. Something little that can brighten someone’s day. It was easy for me to do today; my office mate and his wife had a baby two weeks ago, so I went to Kohl’s and got them a $25 gift card. We have our first staff meeting of the semester the day after tomorrow. I can’t wait to give it to him.

4. Buy yourself a nice outfit.

New year, new school, new duds. While I was at Kohl’s, I saw a few shirts and pants that looked nice, so I spent some time trying them on and texting out selfies to see which outfit I should buy. I found a long sleeved lavender Oxford with black dress pants, and then a short-sleeved green and white striped oxford with khakis. I ended up going with the second one, which got the better reviews anyway. I can’t decide whether I want to wear it to the staff meeting or the first day of school.

5. Light a new candle.

There was a green-apple-and-kale candle on the clearance shelf. It smells great. It’s burning right now. Unlike most scented candles, it’s a rather unobtrusive scent, and I can actually smell it several feet away, without leaning over it.

6. Make a meal, and eat it off of your nicest china with your nicest silverware.

Granted, I only have two sets of china and silverware (one meat and one dairy), but rather than going out for an expensive meal, I just finished eating some homemade herb-crusted tilapia and broccoli. Speaking of food…

7. Eat some vegetables.

I know, shocking coming from me, but I just heated up a broccoli/carrot/cauliflower mix in the microwave and ate it. Even though it’s not my favorite food group, it tasted fine and I probably got a few vitamins out of it as well. And on that note…

8. Rice is nice.

I just finished cooking some basmati rice, and it came out clumpy and firm just like I like it. I guess if you’re gluten-free, this might not be the best option for you, but it’s odd how something so insignificant can make you feel so normal.

9. Find something to look forward to.

While I was out, I saw a banner across the front of Barnes & Noble; Jennifer Chiaverini is doing a talk and a book signing in two weeks. And two weeks after that is the Wisconsin Salsa Festival in Milwaukee, with a pre-party in Madison. Maybe I’ll try out the new float spa this week or next, or go antiquing in Columbus.

10. When all else fails, Golden Girls.

Even when you’re feeling alone, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia will always be there with something to say to make you laugh.

Good night everybody. Sleep tight and keep me in your prayers.

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Racing Against…

I know I’ve been a little scarce, but my prelims are due on Monday, and I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning for ATHE, then back to Baltimore for a few days to visit family.

I’m finished one, about a paragraph away from finishing the second, and a few pages from finishing the third, and I really didn’t want to have to spend my time at the conference writing.

I think this deserves a Raven gif.

But the episode of The Golden Girls where they propose giving the Palestinians Greenland is on.