Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TF = tennis friend

to the small joys in life: this morning, I played tennis with my new tennis partner and we are a very good match. her name is TF, tennis friend. she invited me to an art exhibit and we are going thursday.
after tennis, I went to Matrin's deli. Martin's is a supermarket near my house and campus. They have a deli. They also write their name in the same font a dentist or Count Chocula would use. My friend Jamie made that observation.

There was a 15 minute wait for my lunch (I ordered some chicken to go; the chicken had some time left in the oven.) I ordered a coffee and sat in the cafe. I pulled from my purse an academic article I needed to read by noon anyway. Lady Professors are always needing to read articles and they always carry them in their purses. I sat down and drank my coffee and read and eavesdropped. I enjoy eavesdropping. I overheard a table of really old men talking about Saturday's football game. The loss against Navy. I observed the group when I had entered the deli part of the grocery store. I had also observed a man sitting at the table beside the old men. He looked young and tall and strong and dressed in Notre Dame hat and sweats. I wondered if he were a bodyguard/driver for one of the old men and if Fr. Hessberg was in the group. He left, but I'm not sure if he left with one of the old men.

I finished my reading, my coffee, and purchased my chicken lunch and left.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Farmer's Markets and Local Food

People around me talk a lot about the local farmer's market and supporting it.

I like local food because I like the taste of good food and it tastes better than the alternatives. I don't like to be told that I'm supporting "local farmers." Why? Because I pay them money for what they sell me. I'm supposed to care about local business. It is the nice lefty thing to do. Honestly, I'm not a nice lefty. I just like to eat well. I hate the political analysis of so much of life: what you are doing is either Marxist or not, either appropriate or not... What if I just like to eat well, and would like to not have to make it political? Please, let me enjoy this without any interpretation...

Now, you might say that I should care about them, because without them, my taste buds are sad. I need them. They need me, too, because they need sales.

The asymmetry is that local business / farmers don't seem to care about my career. They never ask, how is that journal article coming along? If I care about their business, it is a one-way street. I would like to ask the people who think it is all about supporting local farmers and Marxist farming politics this: why should they care about my career, as they have a business to run and are occupied with that.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Home sick

These are things I would like to do today while I am home sick today and probably tomorrow, too

1. Write a letter to Aleksandar Hemon.

I have been planning this letter for some time. In this letter, I will tell him that I know exactly what he is talking about when he writes about how his mother curled his hair behind his ear when he was little. I knew the phenomenon bit not the words for it. I also didn't know if other people's mothers did that, too. I also didn't know if that was just a thing that Croatian mothers do. I usually would say to the person I wanted to do that to me (a boyfriend), please do like this, and show him how to curl my hair behind my ear. Now, I can say, "please curl my hair behind my ear."

(I wonder if I say "please curl my hair behind my ear" to an American boyfriend, if he will know what I'm talking about, without a demonstration?)

Also, in this letter, I will tell him that when I read his short stories, I have to cover the last sentences with my hand so that I can enjoy the process of reading it more. There is the excitement as I move towards the end of the chapter, and exhaustion after the last sentence. Yes, this does remind me of some relationships.

I will write that I read passages out loud to the students in my International Marketing class, and that they were transfixed to learn his views of the US (from The Lazarus Project, writing about his wife at baseball games) and his memories of Sarajevo society.

2. Rest and relax. Wear my sweatpants and sweatshirt. Dream of the perfect paint color for my bedroom walls. I've probably got this cold from working too much and from insomnia.

3. Look at my art books. Sit outside if I can. Watch tv, but not a mind-numbing about.

4. There are other things I could do and would like to do while home sick. I can't think of them right now. I wish Hemon would email me a book right now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

pencilnpaper: Sta ima?

pencilnpaper: Sta ima?

Sta ima?

I've been busy. Moving, and starting the new job, vacation, teaching started two weeks ago. I thought about you the whole time. All the things I wanted to tell you. Things happened, and my reaction made me think of you. I like how things seem important when I feel like telling you about them. How would I tell you the story? How would I frame the narrative? You are a good blog.

About those first days living in South Bend, when I would ride my bike around town, from about 8-10pm. The days were so long because I live in the eastern time zone. And a river, water, finally, thankfully, again, water. To live with some sort of barrier there. And it is a barrier that takes us away to more unknowns and brings the same to us. You can sit there on its banks and it could just show up, like the part of the sitcom that will finally get good.

And those were really sweet moments. How I would wear my turtle bag strapped across my chest, and put my garage door opener in it, because that is the easiest way to get on my bike and go, through my attached garage. The South Bend map I bought the month prior, in May, when Mom and I arrived to look for a house. And how meticulous I would be in my thoughts about safety - some identification, garage door opener, cell phone. Just in case. Just in case.

It isn't that hard to get around now. I didn't take the map on the bike ride Monday. I didn't think about carrying identification. I used to do that in Zagreb, carry identification. In case something happened, if they find me, they would know whose I am. I am kind to strangers and I plan ahead.

It was the mover, Tom, who told me about the bike trail on the St. Joe river. "You just go all the way to Eddy, take a left to Jefferson, and then go right, and it's right there." He saw my bike and told me about it. Tom who packed my house and I think about him every time I empty a box. I can still tell the difference between the rooms and boxes Tom packed and Tommy packed. Tommy is Tom's son.

I know those are their names because that's how they introduced themselves to me.

And when they came to unload the truck in the new house, Tom complimented my on the house. He told me how to take care of the floors, how to unpack the boxes that contained mirrors. He told me which hardware store to visit, and what to buy (something to keep the door from hitting the wall when I open the door). Go to ACE hardware by John Adams high school. That's where I went to high school. Don't go to Lowe's. He talked to me about swimming, because he saw my trophy and the article from the newspaper about the time Mom and I swam the Ohio together. He told me that he grew up swimming in the St. Joe River, and that people think it is really dirty, but he doesn't.

I signed the papers after the move-in. I sat at my desk, and we overlooked the back yard. He asked me if I would get a yard. The space of the lawn and the fence makes you want to. I talked about my dream of a boxer just like the one I used to have, when I was little. But that I'll need to wait on that. He said he can't get another dog. He had his Mom's after she died. He can't have another one again. He had to put that dog down after several years, and he can't go through that again.

Tommy wasn't there for the move-in. That's how I know that they were telling me the truth that they are father-son. Not that Tommy is as brilliant a mover as his father. He has years of experience to gain first. The one who worked with Tom for the move-in didn't have the same respect for Tom as Tommy did. He didn't listen to him or wait for him, the way Tommy did.

Those were nice evenings, biking. And letting the prior months of dissertation writing and all the dramas run their course. I didn't write you then because I wanted my quiet, I wanted my peace, I wanted my thoughts for myself. I wanted every feeling, emotion, experience, sensation, for me.

Then the trip to Croatia: Zagreb and Hvar. You saw the photos on facebook. It felt that a door to the PhD research phase, that status, was over. I could feel myself walking and the new doors opening, in Zagreb. I gave a lecture Monday about space and time as factors in cultural dynamics. Inner and outward territorial cultures. Cultures that easily let others in, with few criteria, those that have insurmountable criteria. I think I'm no longer in the insurmountable criteria category. I got there when I got there. I can open the border. New spaces in old relationships.

Teaching. Today, I can celebrate two weeks of teaching. I thought that the hard work was over after the dissertation. No, I didn't think that. I'm surprised about the pace. Even faster than graduate school. Even more. And I wanted something to be easier. Maybe it is the relationships, with my ways of teaching, with the students. Exhausting. I thought the pace of dissertation writing was grueling. Sometimes people are addicted to their ambitions and success.

Your whole life changes when you move from graduate school job market - assistant professor job - dissertation finished - job started. The habits, the work habits, go with you. That part changes less.

I'm reading Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project) now. I am falling in love. And when it happens through reading, that's a great seduction.

I'll fall asleep soon...more later