Good to know.

The last few weeks I’ve been really, really sick in the mornings. Not just, ew, I kind of feel gross. Because that’s pretty much par for the course. I get up at 4:30. There’s no way to feel except kind of gross at 4:30 in the morning. No, this is like, wow, I need to sit down kind of nausea.

It perplexed me. I mean, it definitely wasn’t pregnancy. People rarely mention me in the same sentence as the Blessed Mother unless there’s an “isn’t anything like” in between us. But maybe a phantom pregnancy like on CSI? Can the CSI people come investigate? Please?

Well, I couldn’t let that opportunity go, so I decided to try to figure out what was causing it.

I’m fairly intelligent. I’m 22, I’m graduating with honors and get a whole special ceremony for that, I’m started graduate school in the fall. You’d probably think someone who convinces a university department to pay her would call her doctor.

Pssh. I don’t have a doctor.

My doctor started offering botox injections and charging me a $3,700 stipend (on top of insurance co-pays) for the privilege of yearly gynecological exams.

Oh. And she tried to massage away my mom’s cancer.

I decided that me and my gynecological needs could go somewhere that wasn’t beginning to look like the set from the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Except…I kind of haven’t. It’s been, like, a long time and ugh, just like so much work trying to make an appointment and…you know what? I don’t need to justify myself to you, internets. I have been BUSY. With THINGS. IMPORTANT THINGS. Like Doctor Who episodes. VERY IMPORTANT THINGS.

So. It was the internet or nothing. But not even WebMD.

Nope. I turned to Oh yeah. My parents are so thrilled they poured all that money into tuition now.

And according to Shauna1593 from Poughkeepsie, my unbelievably awful morning sickness is probably not due to anything weird like a phantom pregnancy but a reaction to a multivitamin.

So. I guess CSI isn’t coming.

This is why you need mommies and daddies.*

*I’m not getting political. I swear. By “mommies” I mean “people who pay attention” and not “female.”

My dad is awesome. He’s just great. Nice, kind; a really good man. I mean this in the least creepy way possible, I hope I end up married to someone like him. The only person he loves more than the three of us is our mom, and that’s awesome too.

But. He’s a teensy bit oblivious sometimes.

I’m graduating from college on May 16th. Now, this is kind of a big deal. And by big deal I mean the biggest thing that’s happened to me thus far in life. As though the whole academic milestone thing wouldn’t be big enough because I’m a crazy person, I’ve never had a real graduation before. This is big. I’ve been talking about it for…oh…about a year.

Today it became apparent that my father had no idea when I was graduating. May? He thought? Probably? And oh, were we going to get her something?

I thought my mom was going to die. Or kill him. Or maybe one then the other.

He loves me. He loves me more than most everyone in my life. And yet May 16th? Didn’t ring a bell.

I’m trying to think of someone I know who doesn’t know when I’m graduating. Certainly not my friends. Hell, even kind-of friends know about it and have congratulated me. A guy who’s being ordained the day before, which even I will admit is way bigger and better than getting a bachelor’s in Jewish Studies, even sent me an e-mail that said, “Hey! Less than a month!”

My dad is way more into me than all those people. And still no clue. And he doesn’t have to vow obedience the day before.

Oh well. I still love him.


I’m pretty boring. I study. A lot. I have friends, but they study a lot, too. So when we go out it’s usually to a coffee shop. To study.

Yeah. It’s pretty exciting. Obsess about getting at least a 98% and you too could have this glamorous lifestyle.

But this weekend, I actually had/have things to do. I know, right? For once the fact that I work next to no hours is okay because I have something to fill those hours!

(Well, except for the no money thing. Oh well.)

I’m calling it my “dual covenant” weekend because today was all Christianity, all the time. Confirmation, different Mass because of course confirmation isn’t the Mass for the weekend that would be way too simple, and then dinner. During which we pretty much talked about…Mass. And Stemper’s gift certificates. And how a Roman collar probably would cut down your chances of being carded. Although my money is on yeah, cut down, but not remove entirely because you still look like you have yet to hit puberty.

Of course, most of those things almost got cut because confirmation was like ten times longer than I expected it to be. It was beautiful and moving and I got to distribute Communion which was wicked cool but also kind of scary because the Cathedral? Well, it’s like Mass in the Third Reich. But…really, really long. So I almost ended up having to find another Mass and cancel dinner with an text that said, “Have to reschedule. It’s not my fault, your boss likes to talk.”

But I didn’t. So that was fun.

Tomorrow will be the epic and much-photographed field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum with Katie. And I’m so freaking excited. Like, really excited. So. Stay tuned for that.

Oh! Also! My beautiful Vera Bradley wallet came this morning and I love it quite possibly more than I will ever love my children. I also may have told a seminarian that while it was not named yet, it was definitely a girl or possibly a gender-confused boy.

And I swear, I wasn’t drinking.


At the end of last semester, I had my normal freak-out. You know, a good week of omg I love this place soooo much I cannot live without it for five weeks what does the world even mean if I don’t have to be studying some implication of the British partition of the Middle East is that chocolate?

You know. Normal.

And I was terrified. Because I knew that I only had one semester left. Which meant that the freak out at the end of this semester? Would probably kill me. And I figured it was going to start early.

So I’ve been kind of waiting. Like I force myself to look at the syllabi that say “Week 11” or whatever. And I force myself to think about graduation. And…not a whole lot happens. I mean, I’m not really leaving. It would be pretty stupid to get all teary over leaving Holton Hall when I’m going to have an office there next year. Yeah, I’m sad that I’m not going to be an undergraduate anymore. And I know that the whole entire Center-For-Jewish-Studies part of my life is ending. And okay, it was really bittersweet when the university sent me an email that listed all my degree requirements and they all said “satisfied” next to them.

But things were going okay.

Until I bought vitamins.

There were 100 capsules in the (Target brand- I’m not leaving school, remember? I’m poor.) container. And then I realized that by the time I had to buy vitamins again, I wouldn’t be in college.

Now. I don’t know if you’ve ever ended up having a breakdown in the pharmacy at Target. I don’t really recommend it, but sometimes it’s apparently necessary.

(Don’t get me started on what the Ugly Betty series finale did to me. It’s just embarrassing.)

Teaching 101

I’m in the process of editing the final draft of my thesis. This is a little bit headachy, because it’s long and there are lots of words and my goodness do I have problems using the correct tense!

But never fear! Because I have bunches of drafts full of helpful comments from my advisor.


Because it turns out that he just enjoys writing in the margins.

For instance,

“Not to doubt Cornwell’s honestly, but I have worked in the Vatican archives and no one ever asked me why I was there.” Oh. How nice for you.

“He wasn’t a very good Hitler Youth member.” Yeah. I know. That’s why I spend the next paragraph writing about how he wasn’t a very good member.

“I probably don’t have to tell you this, but his was considered the seminal papacy in Judeo/Chrsitian relations.” No, you don’t have to. Was it the fact that I spent twelve pages writing about his papacy that convinced you? Or when I came to your lecture about him even though it was at the same time as Criminal Minds? But thanks for clarifying!

“Hitler was Catholic the way Matthew was Jewish, if we may say so.” You have a PhD from the Ivy League. You may say anything you like. I, however, am not actually writing about the synoptic gospels.

“For what it’s worth, I discuss this in book I recently published…” Sure. I’ll rush right out and get it. From the library. I like you a lot, but that $26.95 could be spent on something from Vera Bradley. Your book on the Catholic Church in Poland is not pretty and quilted.

Obviously they don’t teach you constructive criticism at Yale.

Next time I’m just going to write my phone number on the title page. If you want to chat, just text me. I have unlimited texting. Printing off 60-page drafts so you can tell me about your scholastic achievements is getting a trifle expensive.

I’m feeling chatty.

I’ve had a glass of wine* and oh my gosh you guys, I just want to, like, blog. But about something really, like, important. Which is a trifle unfortunate because I…kind of don’t have anything like that to discuss.

So can we do kind of a free association thing? Please? They’re all totally appropriate and in no place to I talk about mind-but-unfortunately-nothing-else-numbing cramps or my bra size, like the last few days. Oops. Except for right there, I mean.

First, the Very Serious Historian part of me wants to comment on the plane crash that killed the president of Poland and 94 other people. Unfortunately, she wants to say “ZOMG TEH RUSHENZ R COMIN.” Because while I have every sympathy for the victims of this accident, I’m sorry, your plane goes down over Smolensk and the part of me that is really sorry she missed the drama of the Cold War wants to start hoarding soup and practicing waiting out the nuclear holocaust underneath my desk.

(I KNOW relations have been normalized.)

(I’m just saying maybe they shouldn’t have been.)

Second, my hair. (Keep up, people.) Yesterday I started experimenting with curlers.

(Yes. I know my hair is curly naturally. Yes, I know it makes very little sense to straighten my hair and then curl it again. I have no answer for your logic except that I look like a Muppet the way God made me. And that’s unacceptable.)

I’m kind of trying to convince myself that I’m growing it out. That’s about 50% true- I do want longer hair. But the other 50% is that I’m terrified to have it cut again. See, I’ve only ever had one stylist.

She started out totally awesome. I loved her. I went in every six to eight weeks, she gave me lovely bouncy haircuts, I was this close to inviting her for Christmas. Then…she kind of started cutting my hair really short. And…okay. I looked pretty cute with a bob. And she would always redeem herself by throwing an okay cut into the mix. Until last July. Last July she…I can hardly talk about it. Suffice to say that if you look at pictures of me from October, it’s still barely to my ears.

So I haven’t gone back. Because a.) I haven’t needed to. It’s been nine months and it just hit my shoulders last week sometime, and b.) who knows what the voices inside her head will be telling her that day?

And I really don’t want to go to my graduation with a Britney Spears-esque look. And I don’t even mean when she shaved her head. Pretty much any Britney look.

ANYWAY. The curls are a way to disguise the fact that there are so many split ends they’re contemplating what kind of legislative assembly they’d like to set up.

Finally, my sister posted the video of Mmmbop on her wall. And I watched it. And I almost fell out of my chair.

I was all about Taylor. Huge, secret, did I mention the the huge and secret part? massive crush on him. I was going to marry him and we were going to have lots of babies and their hair would be MAGNIFICENT.

And…after watching that video? Holy Christmas on an ocean liner, that makes me a pedophile lesbian.

I mean, not really. I’m younger than him. At the time, 15-year-old Taylor was a very mysterious older man. But…he was a BABY. And looked like a GIRL BABY at that.

So. That was an exciting and disturbing trip down memory lane.

Still going to hell, probably.

Yesterday my elliptical trainer met a death. I’d like to say it was untimely, but it really wasn’t since it was a.) several years old, b.) about $100 originally- hardly top of the line, and c.) used by me, who has a tendency to not take care of anything other than my skin and hair.

This afternoon I was faced with the task of setting up my new one. (Thank you Prime free trial. No, I will not be renewing at the end of the month, but I really appreciate you sending me large packages in forty-eight hours for free!) My brother was home. Clearly he could help me.

An hour later, he had completely assembled it.

I had picked at my nails. I had emotionally scarred him by talking about how I always thought I was really well endowed but hey! turns out I was just heavy. I had played on my iPhone. And I had attempted to bench press a pitiful 45 lbs without killing myself.

Digression: I work out. I can do real, not-girl push-ups. How is it than I can’t bench press the weight of a small child? I babysat for a three-year-old last summer, and I dragged that kid all over the place. And she was usually kicking and screaming about her penguin Fred. HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT?

(Okay. I never tried to lift Zoe over my head. Never really thought about it.)

(But seriously, 45 lbs? That’s just sad.)

End digression.

So. Thank you, John. You are clearly more responsible and possessing of way more upper body strength than I am.

Although I am a delicate young lady, so that’s not really my fault.

(I think I may have said that right after I finished my spiel about how No! You don’t understand how weird it is to go through the first twenty-one years of your life thinking you have really huge…assets…and then realize that you don’t! I mean, we’re talking major ontological change here! And…then he kind of just stared at me like, “How is the 17-year-old boy the most mature one in the room?”)

(Touche, John. Touche.)

I really don’t need this.

Okay. My holocaust theology class. It’s…well…interesting. I like it. I really do. But…well…interesting. Usually I don’t have any idea what the reading was even about by the time other students have stopped talking nonsense about trees and marriage covenants and those damn Danes and LOOK I GET IT OKAY THE POLISH GENERALLY WEREN’T SO NICE TO THE JEWS BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I’M POLISH YOU CRAZY OLD LADY AND CATHOLIC TOO AND I WOULD HAVE HARBORED SOME POOR JEW SO SHUT THE FRICK UP.


But today? Today really topped them all.

In an effort to make us all more comfortable with each other (Because the Christians some of us are feeling a little bit, oh, unqualified to pass judgement on post-Holocaust theology in the face of some woman who was probably there screeching at me about the damn Polish. Oh, I’m sorry. That got personal.), we did “speed dating” today. We met with four other people for five minutes and, if we were comfortable, had frank discussions about our faith backgrounds and any disagreements we’ve have with either our own churches or others about faith.

My first three went really well. Nice (wicked hot) non-denominational guy, cutest little perky agnostic you ever did see, and a really quiet and less wicked hot but at least not pissy lapsed Catholic. We talked, laughed about the absurdity of arguing about religion, and generally had a good time.

Then I got to number four.

Wait. Number Four needs a preface. I walked into class today and sat down in my usual seat and began talking to my very good friend. This little blond girl on my left starts talking to me. I don’t know this little blond girl. In fact, I don’t really even recognize her from class. But whatever, she’s friendly. Asking about my brother who shadowed me on Tuesday, telling me she’s unhappy as a chem major, inadvertently calling me old and you know what, cookie pie? 22 is not that old.

Anyway. It was a little weird. But maybe she has some social issues and who am I to judge? Whatever, class is starting.

Except wait! Guess who Number Four is?

So we go through the whole introductory thingy. We’re both Catholic. This is going to be pretty easy.

Then we get to the disagreements part. She asks me if I have any. I reply,

“No, not really. I mean, there are things that I wouldn’t be upset if they changed. Like ordaining women. I don’t really have a problem with that except that it weirds me out. But I also don’t have a problem that they don’t now.”

I’ve barely finished my sentence and she jumps in,

“Have you ever read the Bible?”

“Um. Yes. Actually.”

“Because I just read somewhere that it says in the Bible that women can’t teach men. And once I read that, well, it’s in the Bible!”

“Um…okay. Yeah. But…um. That’s not really the justification, it’s the Apostles…you know what? Do you have any disagreements?”

“Well, I think some of the things aren’t really scripturally based. I mean, like Communion. I don’t know how you feel about it.”

“Communion? I don’t really know what you’re asking.”

I’m thinking, okay, she’s clearly pretty conservative. She’s got to be way pre-Vatican II and against receiving under both species or something. No. It’s weirder. She gives this huge sigh and says,

“It was supposed to be symbolic. I mean, Jesus said ‘Do this in remembrance.” But some people actually believe that that’s his body and blood. It’s such a misinterpretation. Do you?”

Is 12:45 too early to start drinking? Because you’re willing to take St. Paul literally but not the gospels? Seriously?

“Um…the Catholic Church actually teaches that it’s not a misinterpretation at all. And that it actually is. And that before he said that he said, ‘this is my body; this is my blood.’ So…um…yes. I do.”

“Oh. *huge compassionate sigh directed at me* Well, it’s such a touchy subject.”

No it’s not. Look, kid, I don’t care what you believe. We just have to get through two and a half more minutes of this and then I can go back to safely staring at the back of Paul Joseph’s head while he spews some nonsense.

“I guess.”

Can’t get much worse, right? WRONG. She literally leans across her desk so her face is really, really close to mine and says,

“Do you know if you’re saved?”

What’s that?


“Do you know if you’re saved?”

“I don’t…I believe that I can’t really know. I do know that I try to lead a good life…”

“Because you know that Jesus died for your sins and all you have to do is believe that and you will be saved.”

There is so not enough upper level credit in the world.

“Well…see…um…I mean, I do believe that…but I also believe, and so does the Catholic Church, by the way, that you need to be a good person and accept grace and…”

The crazy person cuts me off again, this time rather accusingly,

“Do you believe in confessing?”

Now she’s pissing me off.

“I believe in the sacrament of reconciliation, if that’s what you’re asking.”

No, I don’t go often. But that’s just because I refuse to confess to anyone who has access to my Facebook page.

“Do you honestly believe that God is going to send you to hell if you die without confessing?”

Oh, my Lord. Look, sweetie. I am in between tests. I have a twenty-page paper to write and a thesis to finish and I feel like someone is attacking my abdomen with a flaming melon baller and I am so not in the mood to engage in apologetics with SOMEONE THAT IS THE SAME RELIGION AS ME.

“I don’t think God plays games like that. But if you’re asking if I agree with the validity of the sacrament of reconciliation, then yes, I do.”

“Oh. *her fourth sigh in as many minutes* It’s a touchy subject.”

It was. So. Weird.

I was homeschooled, okay? I went to a Lutheran college. I’ve had people try to convert me before. But no one has ever tried to save me from believing the central tenets of the faith that we both profess before.

I kind of don’t want to go back on Tuesday.

Existentialism in the Post-Facebook Era

Note: Is that not a perfect dissertation title? Too bad I’m not a philosophy major.

My Facebook account is down for maintenance. And I’m not sure if I even exist anymore. The feeling I’m having right now is kind of akin to withdrawal. I mean, I’m not really sure. I was an addict at three days old, but since then I’ve pretty much stayed clean.* But I think it is. I mean, my skin is starting to itch. What if I have a pending friend request? They might think I don’t like them. What if I need to like something for heaven’s sake??? *dry heaves*

This did, however, allow me to finish the work I’ve been trying to finish all freaking day and…kind of…haven’t.

So. You can’t get my comments on my mom’s Easter pictures. But if you want to talk about the implications of John Paul II’s 2000 visit to the Holy Land for interfaith dialogue, I’m your girl.

Please, don’t be jealous. Become a Jewish Studies major and your life can be this interesting too!!!

(They should put me on the brochure.)

(*looks down at crucifix*)

(Maybe not.)

*NyQuil? I don’t have a problem with NyQuil. I can stop whenever I like. I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.


Ever wonder what’s going through a Jewish Studies major’s mind during the proclamation of John’s Passion?

A lot of “Oh, thank God for Nostra Aetate.”

Now. I thank God for Nostra Aetate all the time because I’m totally into it. Like, I can quote it. It’s awesome.

But certain days like Good Friday? I’m really glad I’m a baby of the eighties.