26 February 2011

2 snaps up animated gif roundup.

a Church of the Granny Bike homage to the greatest "In Living Color" sketch of all time:

16 February 2011


Last Sunday night I was at the office doing work. Feeling a little bitter, I was like, "Ugh! If I was somebody's Mormon wife, I wouldn't have to be here right now!"

I know, right? Where does this shit come from?

There's not much I would change about my life-- in regards to being someone's Mormon wife, I dodged a couple of bullets, and really, I mean obviously it wasn't the career for me. But it did get me thinking about the paths not taken, and what I might do if I wasn't currently locked into a career path. A sampling:

Jobs I had but didn't keep:
consignment shopgirl
gourmet takeout prep cook
architecture firm receptionist
Special Collections inprocessor

Jobs I applied for but didn't get:
teacher of disadvantaged children
a lot of shitty entry-level jobs
voting registration clerk
somebody's Mormon wife

Jobs I turned down:
TA at another university

Jobs I thought about doing:
high school teacher
special-ed teacher
Air Force
religious studies scholar

Jobs I now think about doing:
graphic designer
interior designer
John Updike scholar (as if I could ever defect to English!!)
public historian in a federal government agency
whatever it is that Annie in Annie Hall does 

What I fantasize about doing:
award-winning tenure-track professor at a smallish private school in the Northwest

What I will probably end up doing:
impoverished roving adjunct professor
unemployed, living in a tent in my brother's backyard

I don't know why I think about these things- I suppose it's because I really love being a grad student but it is by no means a permanent gig (thank god). It hits me hard sometimes, like today when I was chuckling with a couple of guys about Brazilian history (those silly Portuguese!) and it's like, "Yes, lucky me, surrounded by such smart and curious people!" Or when I realize, as I am blathering to undergraduates about poop and the technological wondrousness of modern sewer systems and the governments that built them, that I know a damn lot about things. The present is indeed a gift.  

06 February 2011

sunday routine.

One of my favorite things about Sunday is the articles each week in the NYT series Sunday Routine. They ask an interesting person what they do on Sundays. I think I find this so fascinating because for six or seven years my Mormon Sundays were an miserly and unrestful mix of obligations- meetings, worship, and dropping in on family. I was shocked at how much more "me" time I had when I left Mormonism. I thought I would take a stab at my own Sunday Routine- and I'd love to know yours as well.

Melanie, 26, is a graduate student pursuing a PhD in American history. A resident of South Philly, she has lived in Philadelphia for seventeen months.

COFFEE, INTERNET I like to wake up naturally on the weekends since I don't often have plans- usually around 9:30 or 11. I drink coffee and catch up on my favorite Sunday internet features- Postsecret, Sunday Routine, occasionally the weddings section. I stay up on blogs and the Fashion and Politics sections during the week, so I like to have Sunday treats to look forward too. I like to keep it ultra casual- t-shirts, sweatshirts, and raggedy jeans I would never wear out during the week.

WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST In recent months I've been captivated by pancakes, so sometimes I'll make those for my roommate and I. Otherwise it's cereal or toast. In the summer I go out to brunch more often. Today I was lucky, I went with girlfriends to Local 44 in West Philly. We had their signature beer-mosas and I had a breakfast BLT with the most good quality bacon I've ever seen on a sandwich anywhere, ever.

TAKING IT EASY Some Sundays I like to take care of business- maybe laundry or a trip on the bike to Target. After brunch today, a friend and I hit up Metropolitan Bakery and walked through still snowy Rittenhouse Square, one of my favorite Philly spots.  Like any day, I have to work, but not too soon. I picked up a fruit and oat bar to enjoy while I'm reading later.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Sometime in the mid-afternoon I get down to work. Today I have to go up to school to get some books out of my office. I left them there on purpose because the forecast was calling for sun and I really, really need to get a bike ride in after all this snow. But again- nothing too quick. I'm going to drink some more coffee before I make my way out of the house. I think I might stop by H&M on the way to school-- I am getting an itch for Spring fashion. Like everyone here, winter has worn me out.

ACTUALLY WORKING I'm studying for my comprehensive exams this semester, so I'm trying to put away five books a day. It's insane- I usually get through three books and feel fine, but the extra two is a stretch. Working through the lists is really satisfying, even though I just started really reading last Wednesday. I have class tomorrow as well, so there's reading for that. There are no days off between now and May.

KEEPING IT REAL Sundays are a nice time to relax and prepare for the week. And there's always time for a cocktail in the evening when it's time to wind down. Watching a movie- we've been into Almodovar's tragedies lately- and chipping away at an embroidery project is a nice way to wrap up the day.

03 February 2011

in praise of hibernation.

I was inspired by these thoughts in a recent post by Miss Sarah:
"In these winter months my attitude towards transportation is much more defensive than it is offensive. The application of some perspective on moderation suits me very well, and since I don't particularly prefer driving, I only do it when I must. One can embark on the quest for sustainable transportation practice in a variety of ways. I like consciousness and choice. And sometimes I choose not to go out at all as a way to save a car trip.

Instead, we have fun in our neighbourhood doing hibernation-like things instead of battling the roads. Watching movies. Having brunch. Walking the dog on a sunny afternoon. Spending time building mega blocks towers with Dexter. Ordinary stuff that we should be careful not to take for granted."

The last month has probably been the least bikey of the seventeen I have lived in Philly. Between my trips to Boston and Salt Lake, weather, and illness, I have had a handful of bicycle commutes into school and only a few opportunities for bike errands. Although the lack of exercise (with its attendant mental health benefits) has been rough, I am fortunate on a number of fronts:

-I live in a neighborhood with a number of amenities in walking distance, including great bars, a grocery store, a liquor store, and a number of friends (and not to mention, all of Center City).

-I live several blocks away from a subway line that takes me directly to school and work. While it's not my favorite way to travel, I appreciate being warm and dry. I have biked a lot less this winter because I live on a direct public transportation route, but I have also been a lot happier not showing up on campus completely soaked and miserable.

-I have a roommate. Living with someone does much to temper cabin fever. We've gone on walking excursions in the snow (the hamburgers / Apple Store / liquor cabinet restock adventure was a favorite). We've enjoyed plenty of cocktails at home watching foreign films, RuPaul Drag Race, and 30 Rock. Cooking projects abounded. And perhaps best of all-- he went out for groceries when a cold completely knocked me down. A good roommate is far more useful than a car!

So let me just add an amen to Miss Sarah- hibernation in the winter is the way to go, whether underground or at home. Location is key-- living in an urban neighborhood is a critical component in maintaining a sustainable, car-free lifestyle year round. Bikes are a part of it-- a key part of it during most times of the year- but it's nice that when weather makes biking inconvenient, dangerous, or impossible to have a number of ways of getting around and living a comfortable life.

weeks of hibernation meant a momentous and hoarder-like trip Trader Joe's. Putting those Walds to work!