Refined sugar is canonically appropriate for the Resurrection, right?

I’ve joked a lot on this blog about how I kind of fail at domesticity, probably should not have children (although, we did conclude that I would be a better mother than the Real Housewives of New Jersey), and am generally better at academics than anything involving sugar or small children.

But it’s really  just joking- well, not about the Wedgewood. That’s all true. Place settings for twelve. And we can borrow my sister’s if you have a lot of friends. I mean,  I want all those things and I promise I won’t be half as bad a mother as my internet shenanigans make it seem. (I PROMISE.)

But…then I realized that my sister will probably always be better at it than me. Because  when she makes cookies she puts fun little sprinkles on them and they’re adorable and cute and really good and I totally did not break eat the one that broke, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

When I make cookies? I turn them into political statements about the situation in Northern Ireland.

Um…my children will be politically opinionated?

You mean…it’s not about school?





Well, okay. It’s kind of about school.

Because part of my point is that I always end up writing major papers about popes or ecumenical councils or something Churchy during Holy Week and it seems oddly prophetic or at least forces me to be slightly contemplative while I’m gnawing at the inside of my mouth because what if it’s not good enought what then God? I’m going to fail and no one will ever love me.

But I just realized that maybe it’s less prophetic than…I just write most of my papers about the history of the Church. And Easter falls during a semester. Ergo, I’m probably writing a paper about the Church during Holy Week. So…not so much foreordained.


Holy Week! I totally love solemnly observe it.

As the Lovely Katie wrote about so eloquently, it’s even better when it’s Passover too. It’s just…I don’t know. I like it when my major religions coincide. It’s like God read my thesis. And liked it.

So while I write some more about John Paul II and his implementation of Vatican II (Thesis: HE TOTALLY DID IMPLEMENT OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY.) and think about how I love Holy Thursday so much I’m not even mad that I have to talk about something I don’t understand all day tomorrow, or, you know, write down something I don’t understand to talk about all day tomorrow, I believe this summarizes perfectly what would happen if I was, in fact, Jewish, and I did, in fact, marry a Jew.

Just throw in a Christian holiday and you’ll get how my marriage will go.

(Again with the queue.) - Sorry your side of the family won't merit my attendance at the first-night Seder

Keep breathing.

I’ve gotten into academic blogging. Well, not me, exactly. My posts still mostly have to do with my hair or whatever Bravo happened to be showing last night or…get excited! only 13 more days!…how Prince William stomped all over my heart by marrying some other commoner.

But I’ve been reading academic blogs.

Again, not for terribly high-minded reasons. I’ve come to realize that graduate school is about 75% freaking out, 15% working, and 10% killing time on the internet. I need something to fill that 10% of my time, and in my exhaustive and novel study of the internets, I’ve concluded that blogs fall into the following categories.

A.) Really famous (well, on the internets) ones, like Which are awesome, but there aren’t that many of them.

B.) Mommy blogs.

I do not currently have children.

I am entering a profession that seems to prevent pregnancy better than an IUD.

(Just think about it. You mean you don’t find my theories about the downfall of the USSR adorable flirting material? Even if this goes anywhere I’m probably going to have to move across the country…oh shit, it’s ten o’clock already? I’ve got to go grade/teach/prep/write/wallow in self-pity and anguish…call me?)

(No babies. Ever.)

C.) Business/marketing blogs that tell me how to optimize my life goals.

Since several members of my family pen blogs just such as these, they’re totally awesome! Seriously guys, keep up the good work! But they really only apply to people who have…um…jobs. Or…you know…want them.

Not academics.


D.) Academic blogs.

Ding ding ding. We have a winner. So I read a ton of them now.

Except…they’re all massively depressing. Like…most of the people writing them don’t want to be doing what they’re doing and really don’t think you should be considering doing it either. One is actually titled “100 Reasons NOT to go to Grad School.”

Uh. Okay.

And when they’re not being down on themselves they’re talking about how HARD they’ve worked to get where they are and HOW MUCH they know and HOW LITTLE YOU WILL EVER KNOW and WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF ANCIENT SANSKRIT??? DROP OUT NOW I HEAR MCDONALD’S IS LOOKING FOR MANAGERS.

(No offense to McDonald’s managers. They’re probably a lot happier than these people.)

Also, you’ll never get funding to go learn ancient Sanskrit. And without funding and 839 new publications in ancient Sanskrit you’ll be drummed out of the department. So you probably should just drop out.

So that’s kind of awful and it generally freaked me out and I had a major crisis of faith for like two weeks until I realized that…I’m okay. No. I don’t know ancient Sanskrit. But I can learn it. No. I probably can’t get funding to research my thesis overseas (because I picked a topic that’s 25 years late and there are approximately 3,902 Soviet-era historians who received their PhDs before I was born all applying for the same stuff.), but I’ll be fine. I’m doing well in classes, and never received one of the scary grades that is apparently  not a grade but rather a pink slip.

And the stuff everyone whines about? The no external deadlines and the politics and the teaching (0h my God, the bitching about teaching!)? I’m okay with. I love teaching. Like, seriously. Honestly, if you let me do that I’ll be fine. And deadlines? Please. I was homeschooled. If I could impose a deadline on myself as an eight-year-old, I’m pretty sure I can still do it at twenty-three.

And we all know from the last post that it may be the end of the semester or something, but I’m having warm fuzzy feelings about my department.

Obviously, it’s hard. And if you’re going to tenure, it’s really really hard. And you need languages and yes, if you want to study ancient Sanskrit, you need to read ancient Sanskrit. And none of this takes away from it. It’s just…doable, guys.

Just keep breathing. It’ll be okay.

Can’t we all just act like adults?

Yesterday morning on the treadmill I was scrolling through the H-Grad digest thing on my e-mail and came across a thread that almost made me a.) fall off the treadmill, b.) get a little nauseous thinking about having to leave in a year, and c.) be very very very thankful for my Unnamed Anonymous Department that is relatively crazy-free or at least has kept its crazy to itself as far as I’m concerned.

(Oh. H-Grad is basically an online graduate student e-mail chain. And yes, I get the digest form. Because I used to log in an see “You have 4827 new e-mails!” and I got all excited until I realized that they were from people I don’t know, who are more accomplished than me, urging me to compose papers for conferences to which I can’t get funding and from which I would probably be denied admission. And frankly that was just killing my buzz.)

ANYWAY. The main message was from some girl who apparently ended up in some department where politics were HUGE and her advisors and committee members ended up messing with her thesis, her classes, and generally screwing with her life. Because they didn’t like each other.

And…then everyone responded with similar stories. Like, horrible stories. Stories that made me want to die a little bit inside and be totally okay with staying around here for my PhD because THANK GOD, I have not had to deal with that.

I’m not saying Unnamed Anonymous Department is perfect and I’m sure that several people in it would beg to differ, (but not on the internet, because we’re all very discreet.) but in general things are pretty drama-free.

(Seriously. Did you guys hear about William Cronon?)

(Why are more people not outraged about this?)

(I’m not at UW, by the way. I’m just outraged on his behalf.)

(Mostly because even though I’ve never written an inappropriate e-mail it skeeves me out to think about people reading them.)


Now, maybe I’m just not observant enough to realize it. Or maybe they’re just keeping the crazy under wraps. But I’ve seen dysfunctional departments before, a long time ago and far far away. I’ve been caught in the middle of faculty disputes, and although the only thing that happened to me was that paperwork wasn’t filed correctly, it wasn’t a whole lot of fun. And I imagine when you add that to the already astronomical level of stress that most graduate students are under, it’s REALLY NOT FUN I CANNOT STRESS HOW NOT FUN IT WOULD BE DO YOU HEAR ME?

So I am really really thankful that it hasn’t happened to me here. And…I’m kind of thinking it may be worth tanking my resume (Look. I want very little out of life. Health insurance. And the ability to talk about stuff no one cares about for fifty minutes at a time.) by staying here in Unnamed Anonymous Department for my PhD.

Because I have an “advocate”…well, I guess so. We’ve never had the “advocate” talk. (Is that like being Facebook official? Because I’m single. But I do have a committee chair!) I respect and like most of the people here. And they’re all (at least the ones I’ve interacted with) generally concerned with students’ well-being.

For instance, in all likelihood I’ll need to bring in an external member for my committee. First of all, when I suggested it, no one blinked.

But perhaps more importantly, when I suggested Fairly Well-Known Person From a Different University, my advisor did not respond with a, “Well. He’s not as smart as me and you’d better not like him more than me,” but rather, “Oh, yes, Fairly Well-Known Person! We were on Random Board together. I can talk to him if you’d like.”

So. Things are good here in Unnamed Anonymous Department. I think I’m sticking around for awhile.

Except the eye contact thing. LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU.

Real Life

In high school and even college I was really into popular culture. Like, really. Like, far more than anything that actually happened to me in my actual life. I went to movies all the time. I handicapped the Oscars like most people thought about their chances to get a job. I knew instinctively which movies were on top that weekend. I don’t recall ever seeking out that information; I just knew.  I knew Johnny Depp’s children’s birthdays.*

(Okay. That’s a little bit strange.)

So imagine my surprise when I clicked on to this evening for the first time in apparently several months and discovered Orlando Bloom has a baby.

That’s my jaw. Over there. On the floor.

Apparently Orlando Bloom has married and procreated and I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT IT. LIKE NOT EVEN OH, YEAH, I HEARD ABOUT THAT RIGHT I FORGOT. NO FRICKIN CLUE.

Do you know how many times I saw Pirates of the Caribbean in theaters? Seventeen. Yup. Seventeen times in theaters. That’s a two and a half hour movie. Seventeen. In theaters. Not on DVD. THEATERS.

(Disclaimer: It was summer. I was fifteen. I had very little else going on.)

And now I am too preoccupied with my own real life that I don’t even know that ORLANDO BLOOM HAS A BABY.

I was flipping out about what this says about my sad shell of a life and my sister responded, “Uh, you didn’t know because you have a job and school and a life and frankly, I think that’s a step up.”

Well. Okay. I guess. When you put it that way.

But I’m still going to Google Johnny Depp to make sure he’s still with that skinny French chick.

Oh, hey. It’s April.



You guys, I just can’t  seem to get back in the swing of things. It’s not that I can’t do any work. I’ve been fairly productive and haven’t let any (major) deadlines go, but…I’m just lazy about it.

Typically I get to campus really early because I work much better in the morning. And by much better I mean I don’t work at all in the afternoon so if ANYTHING needs to get done it had better be finished by two-ish.

Lately…eh, not so much. I have a class at one? I can get there in time. Probably. I guess. They are paying me. I supposed.

(Although who knows how long that will go?)

My normal get up, work out, work, freak out about something, work some more, nap, laundry, etc. schedule just…isn’t happening. Are you kidding me? I think not.

(Turns out to be not such a bad idea. I guess if you get up later you don’t need to nap! Which gives you an extra hour in the afternoon and also a complexion free of pillow wrinkles.)

(Oh yeah. I nap in bed. It’s the only way to go.)

(Don’t judge me. I’m in grad school.)

I’m blaming the virus/food poisoning/whatever the hell it was that made me try to expectorate my internal organs last week. It’s clearly vestigial.

This weekend, though, I got nothing done. Like, nothing. I did my reading for class this afternoon…well, this afternoon. So I think I need to get back on the wagon here because I’ m guessing whatever remote chance I have of  being paid next year probably won’t be helped by a, “Wait. What time is it?” response to an incomplete grade.