Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I have too many books...

Is that even a thing? Having too many books? I've tried to rid myself of ones that I know I won't read anymore. College textbooks, things I've had for years and never really gotten into, books I don't think I'll read again...but somehow my apartment is FULL. I've been doomed from the start. My mom comes from a long line of teachers and my dad can spout baseball and American history facts like it's his job. (It's not, in case you were wondering.) While other kids got trips to the toy store, we got trips to Barnes and Noble on teacher discount day and we never left with less than three books. Road trips were a chance for my brother and I to zip through books and then trade with each other. Summer reading charts were laughable in our house. My mom would read us books while we were in the bathtub. Books and the Potatoes clan pretty much go hand-in-hand.With no cable in my apartment and some novel-centric grad school classes, things are getting pretty messy around here. It all started when I filled up my bookshelf upon moving to Madison.

Yes, one of those cubes has DVDs in it...but I had nowhere else to put them! Since moving in, I have cleaned out the shelves considerably in order to make room for new books. Now I can't seem to stop noticing them...

 ....At the kitchen table...

....in a random hodge-podge of books and other papers in the bedroom...
....and, of course, in the bathroom. Don't get me wrong, I have always been a  bathroom reader. (I used to take an anthology of the United States presidents into the bathroom in second grade) When I moved into this apartment and saw that there was a SHELF above the toilet well...it wasn't long before that was put to good use.

So, with my impending move to France upon me and the soon-to-be-combined book collections of myself and Sean I'm wondering if I should invest in a Kindle or just buy some more bookshelves. Sean has been given strict orders (*ahem* requests) of "DO NOT PUT MY BOOKS ANYWHERE WHILE I'M GONE" that he seems to be willing to comply with. I guess the real question is, can I go three months in a foreign country without needing an entire suitcase dedicated to books?

I suppose I can just buy an extra suitcase while I'm there to bring them back...

Monday, February 6, 2012

A very ME kind of breakfast


5 big strawberries
1 banana (peeled and broken into 4 or 5 chunks)
5 ice cubes
1/2 cup milk (I use soy milk but skim should work just as well)
1 glob (about a teaspoon, but really glob at your own discretion) of nutella, sugar, peanut butter, or PB2 chocolate

1. Insert everything but the "glob of delicious flavoring" into your blender.
2. Blend until it turns pink.
3. Insert glob here.
4. Blend until that gets mixed in.
5. Consume.

Because obviously the bananas and strawberries make up for the glob of sugar....right?

First post of the semester!

(I started this post about a week ago and forgot to finish it...)

I'm not sure anyone really reads this anymore, but just in case my mom still checks this blog just in case I have posted an entry, I thought I would throw her for a loop and actually give her one. Last I wrote, I was in the midst of final projects and anxiously awaiting the arrival of winter break. I'm happy to report that the first semester of grad school is not, as I had previously believed, eternal and winter break did indeed happen! Highlights of winter break include:

  • One month with Sean in Madison!
  • I became an aunt on January 13th! (My nephew is cuter than your nephew. Seriously, no contest.)
  • A few days spent in Wheaton with my family/watching the dog while my parents were in Florida. 
  • The shocking absence of snowstorms in Wisconsin (as well as Chicago). Thus, no ski trips this year! Not even a snowball fight! My apartment made up for it by managing to stay at 64 degrees for most of the month of December...
  • Four trips to Barnes and Noble in the span of a week. (Yeah, this is what happens when you give me gift cards...)
  • My first UW sporting event! Sean and I went to the UW Men's hockey game as one of his Chanukah presents. They won 6-3 and I really got into the Badger spirit...as much as I can get into sporting events that aren't the White Sox.
  • Planning and cooking a Chanukah dinner for Sean's family. (Chicken matzo ball soup, butternutsquash soup, sweet potato latkes, regular latkes, challah, strawberry spinach salad...Lots of soup and potatoes...)
So I didn't have any big vacation (Most of my classmates were either out of state or out of the country while I stayed in Madison), but it was still a really great month of relaxing. Although I must say, after Sean left and there were still two weeks left of winter break I was about ready to pull out my hair. 5 weeks is too much time to relax! This semester started not a minute too soon, with my first class last Monday. So far I'm really interested in everything I'm taking. There seems to be a running theme with Quebec, at least for the first few months of this semester. One of the classes that I had been looking forward to since starting this program last semester was a class on intercultural professional communication. I'm having trouble discerning the difference between this, and the class before it (communication orale...something...) because they're both taught by our program director back-to-back and both pertain to understanding other cultures. The first class is more teaching us about how to comport ourselves in the professional situations which we feel most vulnerable or self-conscious and the second focuses on several main francophone cultures. (Quebec, "Europe", and Maghreb (Morocco...etc). So it's been really interesting.

In line with Maghreb, I've started taking Arabic on Tuesday nights! I'm really enjoying it so far, although I've only had one class. The homework is entertaining for me and so far I can write and read probably about 1/4th of the alphabet. This will come in handy if I hope to work for the State Department or a non-profit who has operations in West Africa or Maghreb. My teacher is from Morocco. Since Arabic, like most languages, has a variety of dialects, it's nice that I'm learning a dialect which will be useful for me later on.

Aside from that, not much is going on around here! My parents came to visit on Saturday and it was really nice to see them. I got free lunch, groceries, pumpkin muffins, hummus, and potato soup! Who could ask for anything more?

No news yet on the internship front, I'm sorry to say. I'm trying to be patient, but it's getting a little more frustrating now that some of my fellow students are finding their placements and I haven't heard anything since October. I know she's working on stuff, I would just like a confirmation that I still exist in her mind and that she hasn't totally forgotten me! My program director says we should start hearing things soon...so..there's that.

I'm off to do some reading about the Lottery system in Quebec before class!