I guess I should actually make that update I promised.....before heading out on another adventure tonight! Tonight I head off to my first music festival of the season! (out of probably two). Also my 21st music festival since 2004 when I first started going to music festivals. :) Last year I only made it to one (which was my lowest count/year since 2005) because I had just gotten to the south and was still settling into my life here, but this year I am starting my first foray into southern festivals when I go to Floyd Fest in Virginia in a few weeks. This weekend is a festival in PA that I've been to every year for the past 8 years.
Last week I went to a conference in NYC and since the trip is being paid for by someone else, I decided to come a day early and stay a day late, and crash at my brother's house in NJ. While there I had lots of fun OTD meetups!
Wednesday I flew into Newark and met up with my brother. We spent most of the afternoon hanging around not doing much, and then at night we headed to Montclair, NJ, where I met up with a bunch of friends I grew up with at an excellent (but loud) restaurant called Cuban Pete's. There were about 12 people at this dinner, and all but 3 were people I had grown up with, who grew up orthodox jewish, who are now OTD- my OTD community before the internet existed. Also I think almost every friend who was at my wedding was at this dinner. (I had a really small wedding with 20 guests).
Thursday I went to the conference and went to a half day workshop for junior scholars. While there I actually pitched a book idea to an editor from a big academic press who was leading part of the workshop, and she really liked the idea and gave me a bunch of suggestions! This was an idea for a research project I was already planning to start up this fall- I had been planning to write it as a series of articles like I always do, but when the book editor happened to be at the conference and explained how easy it is to write a book proposal, I last minute decided to pitch her my idea during this time they had for "open networking" and she really liked it! She suggested I publish one or two chapters as journal articles, and then use the published articles to establish my expertise and write a book proposal, and then rewrite those articles so that they aren't in academic jargon, along with writing the other chapters. I think I'm going to do that, but this is a plan that will take many years to implement, so by the time I'm actually writing this book I will probably have tenure. But it's nice to think about what comes after tenure! I'm actually going up for 3rd year review already this fall, and it's only another 3 years after that before I go up for tenure, so I'm now at the point where I'm starting to plan things to do after I get tenure. Lately I've been thinking it might be fun to start a sociology blog under my real name, cause once I have tenure I don't have to worry about not getting tenure cause of things I write on a blog. Something to think about...
Anyway after this half day workshop I took a subway to brooklyn and met up with several women OTDers from a ladies-only OTD message board I post on. I got to hang out with boxed whine for the second time, and there were about 5 or 6 other OTD ladies there who don't have blogs. I planned to only stay for about an hour before going back to NJ, but I had so much fun I stayed for 3 hours instead, and didn't get back to NJ until around 1am. One OTD lady I met there is really awesome and goes to music festivals and phish like I do, so we have plans to meet up at some future theoretical music festivals and camp together.
Friday I went to the conference again and gave my presentation, which my brother came to see (he said "It was aimed at other academics" which it was so I guess I'll take that as a compliment). :) I also had a really long lunch with my old undergrad mentor on Friday which lasted about 4 hours becasue we were chatting away the whole time. Friday night after the conference I headed over to chinatown, where we had a big OTD meetup! Several OTDers that I have been corresponding with for years but never met before were there, along with Rachmuna Litzlon who I first met last year when he was stationed near me when he was in the army and Sarah Bee, frequent commenter on many jewish blogs over the years, who I've met a couple of times before. Also John L. who I'm pretty sure comments here. Anyway we had a lot of great chinese food at a place called XO Kitchen and then wandered around chinatown and little Italy for a while as a group, and it was real nice to meet up with all those people.
After that my BFF J gave me and my brother a ride back to my brother's place in NJ and spent the night crashing on the couch there. We actually were up until around 5am just talking away- this is a friend who I have known since I was 14, who grew up 2 blocks away from me, and who I spent many many years talking to while going OTD together- he's the guy whose house I ran away to when I ran away from home once when I was 17. Since neither of us are phone people we hardly have talked in 2 years, so we had a LOT to catch up on.
After staying up so late Friday night I slept until around 1pm on Saturday, so I blew off the rest of the conference since it ended at 5pm that day and by the time I got ready and into the city it would have been 4 or 5. My brother went to work so J and I headed to the house of another OTD friend of ours from growing up, who was having a beer tasting party. On the way there we stopped at walmart to get some supplies, and ended up helping not one but TWO people jump their car in the parking lot, with the help of an Iraq Vet in a giant SUV with a big old American flag on the antenna- the first car we helped jump was full of Asian women and the second (who came up to ask us for help as we were jumping the first car) was full of arabic men, and we (two OTD jews) and this iraqi vet who looked super italian were helping them out...it was the perfect quintessential American moment - a very ethnically diverse group of people, who ordinarily in NJ may have some ethnic tensions between those groups (and in other countries might never all be in the same place at the same time), all pulling together and helping each other out at a walmart.. I love how little non-dangerous emergencies like that really bring people together.
When we finally got the party I had a lot of fun, although I knew nobody there except J and the host- there were quite a few OTD jews there since my friend is an OTDer and we tend to find each other (especially when we were kids/teens), and even one girl who was still orthodox and had walked over from her house in the neighborhood for the party. Ended up having some great random conversations.
Then saturday night my entire family came over to my brother's house, including my parents and my mysterious religious brother! Re: mysterious religious brother, I had emailed him a few times being like "Hey, remember me? I hear we are related! We should hang out while I'm in NJ!" but I hadn't heard anything back, so I was completely surprised when he showed up at my other brother's place. This was the first time my entire immediate family was in the same room since at least 2008..and then it was only for a couple of minutes. They didn't come over until around 10:30 since shabbas ended so late, but stayed until around 1:30am. I spent most of the time talking to my youngest brother, who is about to start graduate school in the fall, about what to expect in graduate school and how to position himself well when he gets there. I also saw my mom's hair for the first time in many many years- she never uncovers it outside of her house or in front of strangers, or in front of her son in law B apparently, but since only immediate family was there (B didn't come on this trip- he was home watching out dogs) she took her hat off when she got in the apartment- last time I saw her hair it was only grey at the temples (which mine are starting to do, eek!), now it's like salt and pepper. So that was weird.
But all in all a pleasant visit, and nice to be at a point with my parents where I talk to them regularly enough that I didn't feel obligated to talk to them the whole time, and spent more time talking to my brother (who I now hardly ever talk to - he's the only person in my family who hasn't met B yet). And when I got home my religious brother had gone on facebook again and posted a few things in my wall- this was after I hadn't heard from him in almost a year. So that's nice too. :) He also read Unorthodox apparently- he left a comment on my facebook that said something about how it seems that her major problem was the shidduch dating scene, and I asked him if he was shidduch dating and he said that no, he prefers to avoid that crazy system. So that's a big relief, at least he is not being pushed into an arranged marriage by the yeshiva he learns at every night.
Then Sunday morning I flew back. I had to stay up real late sunday night (until around 4am) to finish editing a master's thesis which I then went into work at 8am to give to my student to he could edit it and send the final draft to his full committee by the end of that day, so he can graduate on time. After that I came home and crashed for 2 days to recover from that trip and that almost-all-nighter. I went into work yesterday, but today I'm taking off again since tonight I'm driving up north to go to a music festival.
I'm actually going to be vending at this music festival for a new festival-vending business venture I am starting up with my husband, so I'm very excited about this weekend too- this is our first test market, my friend the artist (The same guy who did a live painting during our wedding) is letting me set up a small table in his booth to sell our wares (which I am being deliberately vague about, but they are awesome and not illegal) and I'm going to see if they sell and for how much, and whether this business idea we've been talking about for a while might actually turn into a profitable small side business for us to run. So that's pretty awesome. :) If this works out it'll solve pretty much every remaining problem in our life- the only thing not ideal about our life right now is that B has been out of work for 2 years since we moved here, cause it's impossible to find jobs in our bumblefuck part of the south (and there is still over a 10% unemployment rate here and my school isn't helping despite pretending they have a spousal hiring program). So that has been extremely frustrating. If this business venture works out it will be a fun way to earn the extra money we need so that we won't be living paycheck to paycheck and can actually afford to have kids, which we want to do soon. Also that'll be something for B to put on his resume, and a profession that he can pursue for as long as he needs to and work around other jobs he eventually will probably get (and is very compatible with being a stay at home dad if he still can't find anything else). Plus it's something born out of our hobbies, so it's all stuff we enjoy doing and would probably do anyway (except now we're going to do it a bit more to make money at it) and is the perfect excuse to go to tons of music festivals for me, cause now I'll actually be earning money instead of wasting it! Anyway I'm really hoping this works out, cause if it does it will be awesome for my family in multiple ways.
Plus in addition to my friend vending with me, his girlfriend will be help running the booth, and she is my BFF who is pregnant right now, so I get to hang out with my pregnant BFF!This is actually the first real close friend I have who is having a child, so I'm excited to get to hang out with her and camp together for a whole weekend while she's pregnant and talk about pregnancy things that arn't the type of things you discuss with less-close fiends. Have I mentioned I've been having the baby fevers lately? :) Probably not to be surprised given that I just turned 30 a few weeks ago. At some point I want to write a big retrospective of my 20s, but for now I need to go my shit together to have some real life adventures so that when I turn 40 I have something to write about happening in my 30s!