Friday, May 31, 2013

Today in my Life o' Reilly

6:45 a.m.: Meditation

7:15: Grab first herbal tea of the day -- four air-pots of herbal brew available all day, as are giant baskets of fruit.

7:30: yoga class

9:00: Breakfast, including homemade bread, pastry, oranges next to the juicer, coffee...

10:30: Excursion, in which we saw the Mediterranean:

… and ate a marvelous lunch in a beautiful place, but no one thought to photograph the place or the food (sorry comrade!) because we were too busy digging in to things like vegetable paté with gorgonzola sauce, and codfish delicately battered (the batter included squid ink) and fried, and spinach linguini with fennel sauce all accompanied by local wine and prosecco for the drinkers, an pugliese bread for everyone… so no, no pictures. Just a great big food happy.  I did, however, take a couple of pictures in the town, featuring geraniums...

...and a basket full of kittens.

(Why they chose the basket with the cactus, I cannot say; perhaps cats from this region simply want you to know how ganster they are.)

4:30: Nap

6:00: Restorative yoga

7:30: Dinner (could we really eat any more? It seems we could), followed by two hours of conversation over more herbal tea.  And now here I am, reporting back to you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What the hell is Notorious doing in Italy, anyway?

For the moment: As little as possible.

Let me back up.

A little less than a year ago, I realized that I could no longer successfully slalom around all the secondary material on my new topic (not on Italy, per se, but topically something that Italian scholars have written a lot about). But the other Romance languages I had weren't cutting it. Or rather, they gave me enough of a basis that, every 18 months or so, I would reenact the following process:

(a) See reference to a book or article in Italian in someone's bibliography and be able to read it well enough to say, "My god, but this is precisely the book/article/essay I need to read! To the Interlibrary Loan gnomes, forthwith!"

(b) Summon interlibrary loan gnomes and send them off on a mission to procure said book/article/essay.

(c) 3-6 business days later, receive notice that my item has arrived; hie my ass to the library to pick it up.

(d) open; skim a random page; say to self "Yup. Still can't read Italian."

(e) Return item.

But, as I noted above, there has come to be just too much on my topic. If I don't learn Italian, I'll have to find a new project. So, the decision was made that I would push on the credit card a bit and sign up for some language lessons in Italy. 3.5 hours of lessons in the mornings; attempt to talk to random individuals in the afternoon.

And then, the owner of my yoga studio announced a 10-day yoga retreat in the south of Italy, beginning just after the semester ended. And it seemed like fate. So I pushed on the credit card a bit more and, well, here I am. Ten days to recover from a difficult semester and prepare for my language study. Meditation and yoga practice in the morning, people cooking delicious food for us (and offering a 3-hour cooking class at one point in the week!), excursions to neighboring towns, amazing people (it's a family-run center), a friendly dog, a pool in the Puglian sun... and this:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First discovery in Italy

I have discovered that the Italian word for ginger is "zenzero." I discovered that because it was the special extra "ingredient of the day" in the dark chocolate sorbet I just ate.

I am officially in Italy.

(And no, there are no pictures. I ate it too fast. Getcher own.)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another year, a new direction

I'm approaching my fifth blogiversary (June 5, I think), and it’s time to admit it: my secret identity is the worst-kept secret in pseudonymous blogland.

On the infrequent occasions that I’ve posted in the past semester, I’ve mentioned that part of the reason is that I’ve been teaching an overload, and so haven’t had time to read others’ blogs (so sorry!), much less write my own posts. That’s true, but that’s only part of the issue. The other part is that my eroding pseudonymity means that so many of the things that I’d like to write about I just can’t. University politics? Nope. A huge fight with a colleague (including me completely losing my cool and getting near-shouty in front of students)? No way. Getting cranky about all my grad students at one point or another? Off-limits. My constant rethinking of my career as I near a promotion bid? Nuh-uh.  I didn’t even feel like I could mention that my book won a major award this past year — it did! — because “it would make it too easy to figure out who I am.”

Well, guess what, Notorious? Half your readers already know.

What does that mean for the future of this blog? After nearly five years, is this the end of Girl Scholar? I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve decided — provisionally — that the answer is no. But the fact that my identity is widely (though not universally) known means that there are many kinds of posts I can’t do. All of the above stuff about my employer, for example: if I wouldn’t say it to their face, I shouldn’t say it on the blog. And you know what? That’s maybe not such a bad thing, because the line between “necessary venting” and “wallowing in negativity” is a bit fine.

On the other hand, not worrying about people finding me out means that I can talk more concretely about my research and teaching. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed making up pseudonyms for people and places, and I may still do so to amuse myself. I’m also going to continue to use the pseudonym, because I just like it.  But I’m not going to be overly concerned about you finding out who I am. I can talk about something I’m researching, something I’m writing, or even about that book award (yay, me!), and it’s cool.

So here’s the first thing: I’m going to Italy today. In, like, just a few hours. I’m going to learn Italian — but only after a good, solid week and a half of utterly self-indulgent vacation. Pictures — and posts! — to follow.

Let’s see how this goes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This one's for Comrade Physioproffe (but you can have it too)

Okay, the mulling-it-over post is coming soon, but I had to post this -- "had to", because I saw it on Facebook, and I know the Comrade doesn't have any truck with that ("Facebooke bullshitte", I believe). Yet I felt that he would find this useful, and so may some of you, as you wrap up the grading, put away your big-girl or big-boy clothes, and settle into a summer of shorts, sandals, and yoga pants that will allow 8 pounds of weight gain to sneak up on you.  Whatever.  This one (via Thug Kitchen -- image credit is theirs, too) is for you.  In fact, I don't drink, so you'd better have mine, too.

You won’t be stressing this summer if you’re sipping on this tasty glass of general badassery. The antioxidant loaded in theses blackberries will make sure free radicals aren’t fucking up your day. And the bourbon? YOU EARNED THAT SHIT.


5 blackberries

5 ice cubes

1 shot of bourbon

¾ cup cold ginger ale (none of that high fructose corn syrup, aspartame nonsense either. Get good shit that has fucking ginger root as an ingredient)

¼ cup cold club soda (optional)

Put the blackberries in the bottom of a tall glass and mash them around with a spoon. Keep some big chunks because it looks cool. Add the ice and then the bourbon, ginger ale, and club soda. I like adding club soda because it keeps it tasting refreshing as fuck but you can save some cash and just add more ginger ale. Garnish with fresh basil if you are trying to impress somebody.

Serves 1 but invite a fucking friend, no need to drink alone.

Oh, and Comrade? You're welcome.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mulling the fate of this blog... I approach my fifth blogiversary.  By that point, it will either: (a) transform into something newish, or (b) cease to exist altogether.

Of course, there's always option (a-prime) in which I announce a format/theme change, then slide into doing what I used to do. Actually, that seems pretty likely.

Whatever happens, a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm only just barely pseudonymous anymore, so this simultaneously constrains and frees me. More on that soon...