Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mikey's Turn

Ahhh…the infamous NJ blog, Somer has been asking when I would get a chance to finally help her post something on our blog, I’ve put it off long enough and finally you all get to see Mikey post. It’s July in NJ and surprisingly we have had some nice weather for the 4th of July weekend. I just recently returned from a trip to California for my grandmother’s 80th B-day, the weather was gorgeous and I had such a nice time hanging with family. I strongly believe I brought the weather back with me but it probably won’t last very long. I included the pictures from the party and in case you were wondering if my family needs a huge intervention from Stacy and Clinton, it was a Hawaiian themed event, don’t ask. We had the music, entertainment and food all to go along with the theme but I suggested that perhaps next time we actually take a trip to HI instead of pretending to be there. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Somer and I took a trip to NYC yesterday in an attempt to watch the Macy’s fireworks show on the Hudson River. Unfortunately, due to the mass amounts of people (2 Million to be exact) and our claustrophobia we didn’t actually get to stay and watch the show. We made it all the way to 12th Ave. sat down in the herd and contemplated amongst ourselves if the benefits outweighed the risks and decided that it would probably be the worst experience ever to try get out of the area at the culmination of the show. As we tried to escape our plans we ran into a police barricade of approximately three thousand people trying to get in. So with my statuesque frame 5’6 in all, I proceeded to follow Somer through the mass crowd of NYC cattle, alas we made it out and wondered what in the world we were thinking in the first place. The day was not a complete waste, we did get to spend the afternoon in Central Park and have a picnic and hone in on our photography skills, which you can enjoy to the right --------->

Somer and I have been spending a lot of time in the city and weather permitting will take a trip to the shore next weekend. I hope those of you that read our little blog enjoy and you will here from me again.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Mikey's Grams 80th B-Day
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's official...

I have completed all of my coursework for the women’s studies program. In true procrastinator fashion, I saved the most difficult course for last – Contemporary Feminist Theory. There were only 12 students in the course, ten of which were PhD students. So, myself and another student, Paulina, were the only MA’s. Paulina is an international student from Poland, who would constantly lean closer to me in class and whisper something about how the thesis she wrote for her second master’s degree in philosophy would have been completely different if she had known then what she knows now about Judith Butler’s theory of performativity. Yep, that’s right she was working on her third master’s degree. Oh god! During our introductions on the first day of class Rachel, a midwife and a second year PhD student, let us know that she had spent last summer delivering babies at a refugee camp in Uganda. And, Sarah, a first year PhD student from Berkley, immediately pointed out that she had already read the first assigned text Parable of the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation and she couldn’t believe how fascinating it was because it addressed many of the ongoing questions she had posed during her twenties about feminist space and transformation during her obsession with pop physics. Pop physics?!?! Really? Hmm. Needless to say, this class quickly became a major source of anxiety for me. Early on in the semester, I could see that the classroom was steadily transforming into a feminist version of Gold’s Gym. Although, instead of the sweaty meatheads in spandex with toothpaste smiles, the round table in the center of the room was lined with tiny feminists wearing skinny jeans, patent leather flats, vintage blouses, and really expensive eyewear. And, rather than bulking up their muscles they were working diligently on inflating their already sizable egos. It wasn’t long before the daydreams started. I would be sitting there in class listening to the talking heads, and all of a sudden their egos would start seeping out of the holes in their faces – noses, ears, and mouths – and would start to form clouds above their heads. Within minutes, all of the egos would be talking loudly at once and flailing their arms about, all the while sucking every last drop of oxygen from the room, and I would be left sitting in my purple plastic chair gasping for air through one of those tiny red straws that normal, non-masochistic people used in the mornings to stir a steady stream of sugar and cinnamon into their fancy lattes. Sounds a bit dramatic? It was. I had to remind myself on a daily basis that if I survived the semester, I would soon be lying on the beach on Anna Maria Island where there would be plenty of oxygen for everyone and I could take comfort in my parent’s presence and the simplicity of casual conversation.

My parents and I had a great time in Florida. Unfortunately, Mikey had to stay home to finish up his finals and babysit the cat. Mom, Dad, and I went to Megan's wedding, went on a boat tour, spent lots of time on the beach and in the pool, went to some museums, did a little shopping, and took lots of naps. It was the perfect vacation and it was so nice to spend time with my parents again.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Trip to AMI
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Since both Mikey and I have the summer off from school, we have been going on a lot of day trips. Below are some pics of our trip to Brooklyn. Our first stop was the Brooklyn Museum where I was finally able to see The Dinner Party, an exhibit by Judy Chicago that has been housed there since 1979. If you aren’t familiar with it, The Dinner Party, is an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, and is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. The exhibit was incredible. It was even more beautiful and grand than I had imagined. I made several trips around the table to read each of the names on the place settings. Every time I pictured all of those women from different points in history actually sitting down together for a dinner party I just smiled and made another lap around the table. Eventually, I took mercy on Mikey and reluctantly exited the exhibit. I’m thinking I may have to sneak back to the museum to see it another time or two before the winter hits.

Brooklyn Museum

The Dinner Party

Virginia Wolf

Georgia O' Keeffe

Sojourner Truth

The next stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. Mikey and I walked over the bridge from the Brooklyn side to Manhattan and then back again. There were amazing views from both sides of the bridge - from one side we could see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and from the other, the Manhattan skyline.

If you are interested, here are the rest of the pics from our trip...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Trip to Brooklyn
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Next week we have a trip planned to NYC to spend the day in Central Park. I love Summer! We plan to get in as many day trips as possible before Mikey starts clinicals again. I will post pics along the way...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another long, restless New Jersey winter drags on...

I have never been a superstitious person but it turns out that certain situations can elicit a sense of extreme desperation that ultimately has the potential to transform self-proclaimed non-believers into eager participants of ridiculous traditions. For instance at 7AM on February 2nd, Groundhog Day, I flew through my morning routine in order to shave off enough time to tune into the ceremonial celebration. There I was sitting cross-legged on my bed flipping through the channels until landing on one that had a slew of old white guys in suits with tall hats standing at a podium in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. It was then that I realized I had never really paid attention to this mumbo jumbo, and I had no idea if I was rooting for the little hog to see her shadow or not…what did she need to do to put an end to this madness called winter? Ok, just pay attention…OMG they speak German?…what??…let’s get this straight…think…think…if the groundhog comes out of her burrow and fails to see her shadow that means she will stay out and winter will soon end! Ok, come on, come on, you little bastard…please…what are they saying??…cue the translator please!!…oh, come on…what??…she saw her shadow?? DAMMIT!! NO! I quickly turned off the TV, slammed down the remote, choked back the tears, put on my scarf and gloves, and stepped out of my apartment and into the blizzard that is New Brunswick.

Over winter break, Mikey and I decided to put down the books, bundle up, and get out of the apartment! We decided that each of us would choose a destination and plan out the day’s events. I chose to go to a Jersey Devils game (that’s hockey for those of you who don’t know) at the Prudential Center in Newark. I’m not necessarily a hockey fan, what I really wanted was to gain access to those yummy nachos with the runny cheese and jalapenos that you can only get at sporting events! We had such a great time. We sat in the nosebleed section, partly because the tickets were cheaper, and partly because I have this haunting fear that if I were to sit any closer I might get hit in the teeth with a hockey puck. At one point the Devils mascot ran into the stands and performed a little, cheery dance number in our row of seats. He was cute, but must have been sweating profusely as his suit reeked of body odor and I believe I could actually see the noxious fumes rising from his shoulders and permeating the air around us. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night so we don’t have any pictures to share.

Mikey chose to go to brunch at one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants and to the Natural History Museum in NYC. I was skeptical of walking around in the city that day, as it was only 10 degrees! In the end, brunch was wonderful and the Natural History Museum was very impressive. The museum was six floors and had over 80 exhibits, one of them being a butterfly conservatory. I was super excited to check it out, however, as soon as we stepped inside I quickly realized that the “butterfly conservatory” was for people who had spent the majority of their lives in cities on the east coast and had probably only seen one or two live butterflies in their lifetime. Every now and then I am reminded of how far from home I am and how different life on the east coast really is. Standing in that 12x12 room full of trees, butterflies, and awe struck tourists was one of those moments.

This semester I am taking my final course, Contemporary Feminist Theory. It is extremely intense, and I am way out of my league. I spend hours each day reading through dense theories, some of which have been written by theorists I have spent my entire academic career trying to avoid. I guess I was foolish to believe I could make it out of a graduate program without analyzing and applying some of the most famous feminist theoretical frameworks…I only wish I had faced them in the beginning of the program when I was so full of excitement and energy! On a positive note, my class is held in the historic mansion I posted a picture of last semester. Below are some pictures of our classroom and the inside of the mansion.

Mikey still works at Francis Parker Nursing Home during the days and attends class and clinical in the evenings. This semester he is taking Nursing II and his clinical takes place on a med-surg floor at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, NJ. Needless to say he doesn’t spend much time at home, and when he is home he lives in the office. Sometimes when I come home from work, the only way I can tell if he’s been there that day is by checking around the house for these little pieces of paper he leaves lying around. The papers always comprise lists of random medical terms. I found one the other day that had the following terms on it with check marks next to each one: colostomy, clamp, paste, gloves, warm H20, scissors, and wash cloth. =)

Mikey and Mary Ricca (one of his fav old peeps at work)

Mikey's Usual Position

Poor Mikey

Better Him than Me

Oh Wait, It Is Me

Abi Keeping Us Company

Mikey and I In Our Pajamas During a Marathon Study Session

I hope everyone is doing well. I miss all of you terribly!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OK, so everyone knows I’m not the most likely candidate for a bridesmaid, but one of my oldest friends, Melinda, asked me if I would play the part in her wedding this past November…and I’m so glad she did. Melinda and I met my freshman year in college, while I was taking this dreadful introduction to financial accounting course at Mesa Community College. My professor, Sally Brooks, was…well…hmmm…I hate to be petty, but I feel like I have to describe her physical appearance in order to provide the full effect. She was approximately 5 foot tall and wore ankle length, floral dresses with folded down socks and Jesus sandals. She wore a long, brown braid with bangs and absolutely no makeup. Now, I can appreciate someone with a non-animated, no-nonsense attitude as much as the next accountant, but this lady was borderline catatonic with an evil streak, and she had it out for Melinda and me. To be fair, I was working full-time and going to school, so it’s possible I may have been a bit cranky and instigative, but she was awful. Melinda and I bonded during our nightly ten minute breaks on a cement bench just outside the classroom. I appreciated her cynicism and her love of cats. We survived the semester one class at a time, and in the end, I walked away with one mediocre letter grade, and one life long friend.
The wedding took place in beautiful downtown Pasadena, CA. Tara and Mom came too. We had a great time, and Tara, of course, made a few fans along the way. I was also able to spend a little bit of time with the babies. I miss them so much!

Tara's Fans

The morning of the wedding, Mom, Tara, the babies, and I had brunch at the Westin. It was wonderful to spend time with them and to remember what life on the west coast is like. The sun was warm, the food was great, there were no cabs honking or angry drivers yelling...very refreshing...and just what I needed.