Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day in Evanston

Memorial Day in Evanston
Memorial Day in Evanston, originally uploaded by Dana Currier.

Whoever says we don't get good weather in Chicago... see above. Today was one of the top ten of the year, with cloudless skies, a slight breeze, and temperatures in the mid-60's. It's almost enough to make up for a 6-month-long winter and a 2-month-long spell of high humidity sometimes referred to as summer.

The best way to enjoy a day like this is to grill in a park. Good thing that was on the agenda anyway! Another one of my weekend getaways to Evanston was well worth the trip. "Hint o' Lime" Tostitos were purchased especially for me and a kick ass fruit salad consisting of purely the best ingredients (pineapple, strawberries, and watermelon only) was prepared for the event. If only every Monday could be like this...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Boys are silly

One of my roommates just called her boyfriend of almost a year, asked him if he wanted to hang out or if he was having a "boys' night." He encouraged her to come over, and they kept talking. All of a sudden, he said, "Uh, oh, it looks like it's a boys' night, yup. So I guess I'll talk to you later. Bye."

She hung up, obviously a little confused. When she called back and asked what was going on, why he had acted so weird, his reply was "What? I'm not acting weird." It took her five minutes to pull out of him anything even close to a straight answer to the question of whether or not he wanted her to come over.

Please. Stop the game-playing. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. It's that simple. Why is it that only half of the world's population (the smarter half, I must say) seems to have figured this out?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tom and Katie

I know I should be above celebrity gossip, but... I'm just totally weirded out by the Tom Cruise - Katie Holmes relationship. First of all, I've never understood the Tom Cruise attraction. Hello, he's 5'7"! Second of all, he's 42 and she's 26. He was 16 when she was born. What could they possibly have in common?

My theory (OK, I'm sure it's not original) about celebrity relationships is that they're all necessarily based on the shared experience of being in the spotlight. Once both parties involved realize that's all there is, the relationship crumbles. Hence, the only real successful celebrity relationships seem to be those in which one person is far less famous than the other or not a celebrity at all.

Meanwhile, I gave this romance a year, a year and a half, tops - purely by virtue of the fact that Tom seems to like to draw these things out as long as he possibly can. Afterward, Katie will go back and look at this picture and realize she should have knelt down, looked little Tommy in the eye, and ended it then and there.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Margaret Bradley Memorial 10k

Last night I tossed and turned. I was anxious about the prospect of running a 10k this morning. I was tired. My knee had been bothering me. I didn’t want to wake up at 6:30. I didn’t want to have to run to the ATM, pay the stupid fee because it wasn’t my bank, and then jog the 2 miles from my apartment to the start of the race.

But I did it anyway. I got up, noticed it didn’t look much like it would rain, and stepped out of my apartment building onto the empty street. I went to the bank, ran down to Jackson Park, and registered. I saw some undergrads I know from the crew team and from one of my lector sessions. I stretched, sipped a little Gatorade, and lined up behind the most of the other runners at the starting line.

We ran through the park to the lakeshore, north along the path I now know like the back of my hand. The sun was beating down, even at a few minutes past 8, and I felt genuinely hot for maybe the second time this spring. My legs felt strong. My knee didn’t hurt. I started to pass other runners. And I remembered why I do these races.

There’s just really nothing that compares. I don’t know how to describe it in words, and if I try, it’s just going to be an overly-cheesy series of ramblings about the joys of running. But even though my legs are sore now, and I know I’ll have trouble making it through an afternoon of reading without dozing off, I am extremely happy. And it’s a singular sort of happiness I only get from running.

But most of all, I feel extremely blessed today. The race I ran was in honor of another runner, a woman who died last summer while running in the Grand Canyon. She was my age, and she was a med student here. She was a much more gifted runner than I am, and she was universally admired. I’m pretty sure she loved running even more than I do, and her passion for it took her life.

It might be tempting to denounce the sport, to rail at the idea that we commemorate this woman by partaking in the activity that killed her, but I think that’s absolutely the wrong way to look at the situation. Because in fact it wasn’t running that killed her. It was dehydration, an unexpected turn of events, and poor planning. Would it have been better if she had never run at all? No, of course not. From what I can tell, she lived an extremely happy and productive 25 years. And to have happiness in life is really all anyone can ask for.

So going out there and running is celebrating her life in the best possible way, if you ask me. I feel so blessed because today I was able to enjoy the strength in my legs, the sun on my face, and the thrill of crossing the finish line. If and when the day comes that I can’t run anymore, I’ll always be grateful that I discovered the sport. And that I was given the time to find happiness doing it.

p.s. I told you I'd get cheesy...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

All Dolled Up

Yesterday I modeled for photographs taken by a group of undergraduates putting together a psych experiment. I walked with two of them (one of which I have in a T.A. session) south of the Midway to the condo where the third one lives (a super nice place in a super sketchy area) and first, sat for a few “unattractive” photos.

To back up a bit, let me explain how this project was pitched to me. The girls are doing a study to see if the looks of an anonymous academician influence people’s decision to attend a lecture given by said person. They claimed that they would make up two posters (featuring me as the anonymous academician): one in which I was my “usual attractive self” (no kidding, that’s a quote from an email I got) and one in which they “messed up my hair a bit” to make me look unattractive.

So needless to say, I realized that the situation was a little backward when I walked in, they saw me, they plunked me down on the couch, told me to put up my hair and pronounced those the “unattractive” shots.

By the time one of them was done taking the first few pictures, another had broken out her full supply of Mary Kay cosmetics and announced that I’d look great “all dolled up.” (She’s a… salesperson? a Mary Kay girl? a dealer?) Before I knew it, my face was caked with “sheer” foundation and layers of eye shadow and rouge. I felt like a clown.

But then again, I always feel like a clown with more than mascara and lip gloss on. And I suppose the “attractive” (i.e. made up) pictures did make my lips and eyes stand out more than they did in the first few shots. They did not, however, make me like look “my usual attractive self.” Maybe I should seriously consider investing in some Mary Kay if it turns out that the lecture given by the dolled-up me is much more popular. It might be a crucial career move.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dorm doody

Lemon squares
"L" is for lemon squares

So Baker has been on duty in the dorm the past 2 nights and last night being Saturday night, he was responsible for a "dorm feed." I decided to break out my little-used baking skills and make two tasty treats for the cute little munchkins: lemon squares and peanut chocolate chip oat cookies. I think the boys enjoyed them, but they're teenagers so they'll eat just about anything. (I think they actually would have preferred an encore of Baker's cheese-and-bean covered French fries with mayo-BBQ dipping sauce, which he served last weekend.)

Peanut butter oat chocolate chip cookie terrain
Giant close-up of cookie terrain

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee!

J'ai décidé d'être heureux parce que c'est bon pour la santé.
I decided to be happy because it's good for the health.--Voltaire

Now for a little birthday morning photo essay...

mallets and feet

Croquet mallets and my toes...


Mmm, coffee...

Dana flash

Aren't I ethereal?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Coach Franke

Coach Franke, originally uploaded by Dana Currier.

Here's a hint about what I got for one of my birthday presents...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What's Up?

My blog seems to have been feeling a little pekid (sp?) these past few days. Let's see if an update lifts its spirits a bit...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Get ready to hear me gloat

Yes, I passed my master’s exam today. Yes, I get to come back next year for more obscure literary discussion, endless readings, and test anxiety. I couldn’t be happier.

So aside from spending several hours this morning watching the seconds tick by until my oral exam and fighting to hold down breakfast, today has been a good day. And my plan for the rest of the week is celebration. Tonight will feature a tour of Chicago’s Mexican restaurants for some margaritas, tomorrow an on-campus event for a student who will have just finished her PhD. orals, and Thursday I fly back to the east side (you know it’s the best side) for some birthday festivities done up Berkshire-style. So don’t even talk to me about work…

Unfortunately, I also have to teach 2 hours tomorrow and read Rousseau’s epic treatise on education for class on Wednesday afternoon. These tasks pale in comparison to the one I just finished, though, so you might say I’m not too worried about them. Right now I’m just ready to resume my pathetic excuse for a social life and celebrate with friends.

p.s. I've found a new favorite channel on AOL radio: Prom Songs.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yes, I was once a bit obsessed...

Phase 1 of my M.A. exam = Complete

New Backstreet Boys song = Incomplete

Is anyone else shocked by the reappearance of the BSB? Is anyone else disturbed by this photo? Is anyone else feeling a little ashamed about their former appreciation of the Boys’ music? Good God, are they not good. And Kevin must be about 45 by now. How sad.

Anyway, I’m one pooped petunia. I guess six hours of test-taking will do that to a person. So I’m going to go rot my brain away watching the Real World marathon. Cheers.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ms. Productivity

Satuday night I made cottage cheese pancakes. Last night I whipped up some chili honey lime chicken and coconut rice. Tonight I'm planning sauteed tofu with peanut sauce. Why is that, now, mere days from my master’s exam, I have spent more time in the kitchen cooking than I have the entire 8 months I have lived here so far?

I have a theory or two. The first is that focusing on a large task (such as this exam) has a way of generating a heightened sense of focus and energy in me. I am able to manage multiple activities more effectively and more efficiently than ever because I am in a constant state of hyper-productivity thanks to my constant studying. The second is that I’m a master procrastinator. I think, as Baker likes to say, it’s a little from column A, a little from column B…

You’ve also probably noticed that this is the third day in a row I’ve updated my blog. Again, a bi-product of my current lifestyle. One week + one half hour from today I will emerge (hopefully triumphantly) from this monomaniacal existence and again enter into the world of the living. I will emerge from my chrysalis a social butterfly.

I will no doubt disappear from Blogland for at least a week and subsist on nothing but canned soup and bagels once again.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Gentle Reminder

Today is May 1st... which means my birthday is just 14 short days away.