Sunday, July 24, 2011

I had a plan. I was going to start getting up early and going to the gym again. And just in case there's no time stamp on this post, just let me tell you that it is in fact 5:30 in the morning on the dot. I got up at 4:30 on the dot. It also started thunderstorming (again) at about 4:23 on the dot. I know because it was quite loud, and R checked his phone for the time while I curled up into a ball like a frightened puppy, which I tend to do during thunderstorms.

"I'm taking you to work," I informed him after the rain began to pelt the windows with great zeal.

So I got up and made pancakes and scrambled eggs and coffee. I'm just that great.

But back to my plan. I was all dressed down in old frisbee clothes with a water bottle in my tote bag when I took R to work yesterday (more rain). I pulled into the gym's parking lot at 5:48. There wasn't an attendant in the little pay-as-you-leave booth, but I imagined that they probably didn't have to be clocked in until 6. The gym, as it turned out, was not open yet, either. I figured I could drive home and hop on my bike to avoid having to pay for parking, so off I went... only to discover, upon arriving home and checking the hours online for the rec center, that it did not in fact open until 8am. I had to wait for two hours--and in that two hours I finished Nicholson Baker's 2003 novel A Box of Matches, which was a super-quick though only vaguely interesting read.

(I cannot decide if I am a huge fan of Nicholson Baker or if I am going to boycott any reading of his other novels. He focuses minutely on the absolute ordinary--which I love. I am both intellectually and just plain humanly interested in depictions of the ordinary. But there's just something about his writing--I can't put my finger on it, unless it's his demonstrated need to always have a page or three describing in detail the bathroom "rules" of "all men", which I find a little too easy, like he's going for the obvious joke, and also too generalizing for a writer of his possible power. But the 178-paged book is from the point of view of a man who has started getting up between 4-6 in the morning each day before his household awakens and who sits in the dark slowly burning a pile of wood and scrap paper with a new match. The book ends when he finishes the box of matches. What the book is really 'about' are his thoughts during those morning sessions, which has a lot of potential. His family has a pet duck and that was probably my favorite thing in the whole novel. )

But-the gym. I feel sometimes as though I need more of a routine. Class each morning for an hour and twenty minutes, then six hours of work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is just not enough somehow. I know I promise myself this every few months or so and almost nothing ever comes of it, but I want to add the gym back into my life. And blogging. So at some point I'll devise some kind of a plan for those things. At the moment I need to think about my Adrienne Rich paper and put that on some kind of an organized timeline so that it gets done before R and I fly out to Boston.

And, you know, pack. I move in exactly a week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, it's thunderstorming. What does one do on a day like this? I got up at six to drive R into work and tried to make myself breakfast tacos. I use the word "tried" because the hashbrowns (which were frozen solid and I had to hack off with a knife) turned out rather disgusting. What a waste of perfectly decent flour tortillas.

One skips French class.

One does the dishes from the failed breakfast taco bonanza with a towel on her head and be-boppin' to a playlist:

We Used to Wait- Arcade Fire
Putting the Dog to Sleep- Antlers
In the Flowers- Animal Collective
Ada- The National
To Kingdom Come- Passion Pit
Bluish- Animal Collective
Chinatown- Destroyer
No Windows- Antlers
Modern Man- Arcade Fire
Eyes as Candles- Passion Pit

One frenchbraids one's hair.

One hunts for recipes on Broke-Ass Gourmet.

One reads What is Found There by Adrienne Rich for a long overdue seminar paper. One considers reading boring nonfiction from the 1800s in French to make up for missing class. One decides she would rather not just now.

One looks at the new clothes on Ruche. One reminds herself for the millionth time that she's going to Boston in a couple of weeks and has no money to spare for pretty clothes (or, really, anything at all including groceries, toiletries, and beer).

One updates her blog instead of packing boxes.

Okay, fine, I'll go pack some boxes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Predictably, whenever I watch Julie and Julia I feel hella-inspired (yeah, this English PhD student just used "hella" in a non-ironic way)to blog more. And to cook more. But here's the thing about cooking more. I live in a very poorly ventilated apartment, and it is 97 degrees outside with a heat index of up to 112 degrees--for the next not one, not two, not three--but possibly six days. And I'm a poor grad student--who just booked an awesome trip to Boston, but more on that in a moment--and thus cannot afford to blast the air conditioning whenever I feel "inspired" to bake a peach pie, or pear bread, or Boeuf Bourguignon. So, perhaps the cooking inspiration will simply have to wait until the Iowa weather decides to chill out. And I had such ambition for what I was going to do in the kitchen once I had the time! Perhaps I ought to say that I will do these amazing things in the kitchen when I have a kitchen of reasonable size. Which, incidentally, will be in... 14 days. I move in two weeks!

....Oh shit I have a lot of packing to do before then! Robert has been utterly amazing, bringing unwanted boxes home from the pharmacy for me to stuff with, well... all of my stuff. And believe me, there is a lot of it. My mum is in town until Thursday, and we'll probably get a bit of packing done while she's here. She promised to help me fill the holes I put in the wall for all of my posters.

Did I mention that it's really hot in central Iowa these days? I thought I moved, you know, further from the equator. Closer to The North Pole. Ugh.

But in most exciting news, Robert and I are going to Boston! I'm not entirely sure how I am going to afford it. But the plane tickets are purchased, and the bed and breakfast booked! I'm already planning which books I want to a) take on the trip and b) seek at used bookshops. I want to hit up the modern art museum (free admission on Thursdays!), eat fresh seafood, and just... generally exist--just be--in a place that is not Iowa City. Don't get me wrong--I do like it here in Iowa City. It beats the hell out of Conway, Arkansas, right? But when I'm here, I feel this constant obligation to be working. I associate this town with school, with academic work, and thus, in a manner of speaking, with stress. It should be wonderful to escape and to relax.

(On an interesting and related note, I also should probably make some significant progress towards my Adrienne Rich paper. I'm less than halfway through What is Found There, her notebooks on politics and poetry. I need to inhale that and reacquaint myself with Levinas by the end of this upcoming week...)

I'm never taking an Incomplete again.