In less than a month, I’m going to be in Havana, Cuba—definitely not a place to which I imagined I’d be able to travel any time soon. I’m so excited to be spending two weeks of my Christmas break exploring, writing, and getting out of the chilly Midwest.
The writing workshop is a 3 s.h. class, so we are meeting every day and that is going to be intense and at some point, undoubtedly, annoying, but I’m glad that I will have a record of basically every day, whether I feel like making time for it or not.
Then when I get back, maybe I’ll actually use this blog and post some of the stuff here. Internet and phone won’t really be available while I’m there, (glorious! though mildly frightening for Mom and Dad), so I will probably bombard tumblr with all the details over the first few weeks of next semester—my last semester at college (eek!) and hopefully my first that isn’t completely brutal. All of the insanity the past two years means that I can finally take a lighter load and maybe have some time to oh, I dunno… Find a job and a place to live after I get kicked out into the cruel, “real” world? Better get back to thesis editing and paper writing so that that can actually happen though.
280g Chorizo / 4 Cloves Garlic / 2 Tbsns Sherry Vinegar / 2 Tsps Honey / Oil
SLICE chorizo into small discs
PLACE large pan on high heat, add drop of oil
SKIN garlic and slice finely
THROW chorizo into pan
FRY for 2-3 minutes
ADD garlic and cook until browning
REMOVE from heat
ADD sherry vinegar
DRIZZLE over honey
PLACE back on heat and stir for 1 minute
GO COOK YOURSELF
This just happened. Mine looked more like a crumbly sausage pile than like little discs, but it was a delicious crumbly sausage pile.
Still working on digging my way out of a giant pile of take home finals,
but the end is finally in sight!
Then I get a glorious three week break from homework and paper-writing before my summer classes start and I am once again enslaved to my pursuit of higher education. I plan on trying to like it though. I may have two hours of “Intensive Beginning Italian” every single morning for two months (8 credits. = worth it, I hope), and two online classes that will force me to improve my time management skills, but I will also get to hang out in Iowa City for most of the summer. That means lots of live music and sunshine and getting fresh stuff from the farmer’s market and eating it. I can’t wait!
Socially responsible consumer practices!
Tonight, I attended a skype session with two workers from the Alta Gracia apparel factory in the Dominican Republic. Alta Gracia is owned by Knights Apparel, one of the largest manufacturers of collegiate licensed clothing in the United States. What’s special about Alta Gracia, though, in addition to safe work conditions and reasonable hours, is that the factory pays its workers a “living wage,” an hourly amount calculated to actually provide them with enough money to feed their families and send their kids to school.
UI Students Against Sweatshops at the University of Iowa was actually hugely influential in the opening of this factory, which has only been around for a little more than a year. In that time, it has completely changed the lives of the workers as well as reviving an entire community that had been devastated by the loss of jobs that accompanied the closing of the previous factory. In order to keep Alta Gracia open and keep the town of Villa Altagracia from being plunged back into poverty, people need to spread the word about the choice of Sweatshop-free clothing, and march down to the University Book Store and buy some in order to send the message that UI students want to support companies with ethical business practices. The bookstore is even running a promotion April 13-17 offering a 25% discount on all Alta Gracia products.
I’m getting mine tomorrow. You should too!
Starting this fall, I will be spending a lot of time in this very cool place (the oldest residential dwelling still standing in Iowa City, a farmhouse built around 1840!) as the 2011-2012 Editing and Publishing Intern for the University of Iowa Press.
I am super excited to be exposed to so many aspects of the editing and publishing process, and to build that resume that will be so important when I get kicked out into the cruel, cold, real world next spring. I also have a thesis adviser now and a decent idea of what my topic is going to be, so now all I need to do is squeeze in enough semester hours over the summer and hopefully get all of the fall classes I want and then graduating a year early will be a sure thing instead of just a crazy idea that I came up with this semester. Honestly, I am kind of surprised that it seems to be working. But so, so happy.
Now I just need to make these final papers and projects happen. Ready…. GO.
- Spent a weird morning in Menomenee, Wisconsin, drinking bad chai and eating a pretty good scone while waiting to bum a ride back from Minneapolis.
- Read two books.
- Made two milkshakes.
- Written an annotated bibliography that was due yesterday even though the paper isn’t due until May.
- Sat around and moped while wearing a sweatshirt I stole from Justin because I was sad that I had to leave Minneapolis.
- Cut my bangs.
- Baked cookies.
- Applied for two internship/jobs.
- Given my superdark jeans a bath in hopes that they will stop turning my legs blue.
- Almost caught up on homework/life.
But I have not even come close to choosing a thesis topic or ask anyone to by my adviser. I really thought that I would have more time to think about this. I know that a 30 page research project is not a huge deal, but I do kind of want to secretly enjoy doing it a little bit. Being done with school in another year simultaneously seems like the impossibly distant future and the way-too-close-omg-freakout future. And while I absolutely do not want to be here for two more years, sometimes it just seems like I will never have the time to cram in everything that I want to accomplish before leaving, or I feel like I’ve wasted valuable time and passed up awesome opportunities. I kind of wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time and energy (and money. oops.) on chemistry classes. Having those be English credits instead would have made these next few semesters so much less stressful. I know it is dumb to whine about it now, and really, really hope that someday all of my knowledge of molecular structure and interaction benefits me in a more valuable way than helping me answer trivia questions or complete crossword puzzles.
I know I claimed that I planned to write interesting and meaninful things on here, but I am currently too overwhelmed by the above to do that. So instead, I am regressing to my routine, emotional tumblr outpouring. Hopefully interesting and meaningful things are coming.
Betty Crocker chocolate chip muffin mix doubles as chocolate chip pancake mix. Mornings just got more delicious.
Taking Care of His Girls
I think I’ll have another beer and sit here with my granddaughters a while longer,” my Grandpa said for at least the third time.
He, my sister, and I sat around the kitchen table in my grandparents’ house—the same, old kitchen table where innumerable birthday candles had been blown out, where dozens of Thanksgiving feasts had been consumed, and where thousands of laughs had floated over its scratched and scarred surface. The kitchen light was the only one lit in the entire house, just as it often had been when my sister and I were younger and our family would stay there for the night. My mom would leave the kitchen light on for Grandma and Grandpa, who would go out with friends and wouldn’t return until long after Michelle and I had been tucked into bed in my mom’s old room. Now that one light just felt unfamiliar and peculiar—like waiting for someone who wouldn’t be coming back, or like trying to decide how to refer to the house that had always been “Grandma and Grandpa’s.”
I did not intend to use it as a place to semi-regularly dump records of my feelings, observations and experiences, but that is basically what I have been doing with it.
The problem isn’t so much that it is about me—being unable to extricate myself from myself, I am always going to be somewhat present in whatever appears here—but that this sort of record, even if it is just for me, stands alone and out of the context of everything else that is relevant to me right now. Or me later. Or anyone else ever.
So. In the future, I (hopefully) will use this as more of a place where my ideas intersect and overlap with the things that I am learning or am supposed to be learning, and where I relate those brief shining moments where the things that they teach me in class actually fit together beautifully and meaningfully and make me believe that a liberal arts education was, in fact, a good idea.
And as soon as I think of a less stupid title for this blog, that will be changing as well.
I’ve noticed that somewhere along the line, I’ve stopped referring to Peoria as “home.” It just doesn’t feel right anymore. Even though my parents are still here and I lived here the first eighteen years of my life, I haven’t missed it since I’ve been away. I spend the majority of my time in Iowa City and I spend the majority of that time wanting to be in Minneapolis. It’s the only city that has ever made me fall in love with it like that. Now I’m just collecting reasons to relocate.
My apologies to the Land of Lincoln.
I’m definitely getting solar panels this year. Yesssss.