Friday, January 29, 2010

The shocking reply- will B finally meet my parents??

From my dad:

I will note DATE on the calendar. We would be very proud to attend. This is a big deal.

Immediate thoughts: He said nothing about B, but B will definitely be there, as I said in my email.

He said "WE": does that mean my mom too? I sent the invitation to him, figuring he would be willing to come and meet B more so than my mother would. Maybe "we" means my dad and my brother? I doubt he has discussed this with my mom yet. It's now been over a year since she sent me that letter saying she couldn't have a relationship with me if I married B, and since then the only time we have spoken was when I ran into her briefly at my cousin's wedding when she was polite to me and talked to me for a whole 2 minutes during the entire wedding.

Trying not to get too excited about a weird coincidence, my graduation date is also my one year wedding anniversary, so that means there is a distinct possibility that on the same day I get my PhD and celebrate my one year anniversary with B, B might meet one or both of my parents. Nice!!!

Attempt #70 billion at getting my dad to meet B

I haven't talked to my dad in a few months, but I emailed him just now to ask him a question (that unfortunately no one else can answer for me). I ended it with this:

My graduation ceremony will be on the morning of DATE and I would love if you would come. It would also be a good opportunity to meet B, especially since there's a significant possibility that we will be moving somewhere halfway across the country over the summer (and once that happens it will be much harder to meet up with us). I'm going to invite D too. No need to make a decision yet, just wanted that to be on your radar.

(D is my non-religious brother).

I'm not holding my breath, but you can't say I didn't try...

Monday, January 25, 2010

My secret jeans

Well, I just finished writing one of my chapters (63 pages! It might get shorter when I edit it though), so I figured I could reward myself by taking a short break to write a blog post, before I start on the next chapter. I'm now about half way done with my dissertation - I've now written 2 empirical chapters, and if all goes well I'm planning on writing 2 more before I hand in my dissertation to my committee in 5 weeks, so that I can defend my dissertation at the end of March.

I have an on-campus job interview coming up next week, my first (and so far only) interview this job season. Yesterday B and I went to the mall, where I bought a nice pants suit for the interview- I spent approximately twice as much on this suit as I spent on my wedding dress, which just shows where my priorities lay I guess :)

There is some discussion among academic women about whether to wear a pants suit or a skirt suit to an interview- the consensus it doesn't really matter unless you're interviewing at a religious school (which I'm not), and that you should go for what you are more comfortable in. Which for me, is pants. But it wasn't always that way.

When I was a child, I wore pants all the time. But around my Bat Mitzvah time, my mom confiscated all my pants, which she also did with tons of other clothing I wore that she even mildly disapproved of for tzniusdik (modesty) reasons- I would send it downstairs for laundry, and it would never return. I was pretty upset when I figured out that all my pants had been 'disappeared' and had some arguments with my mother about it, who stood firm. But after that, from age 12-18, the only time I would wear pants was when skiing, and even that turned into a huge argument with my mother, in which I would argue that wearing a skirt while skiing was dangerous. Really, I just wanted to wear pants and look normal for once- cause who the heck skis in a skirt? If I recall correctly after getting away with wearing just ski pants once or twice, she made me wear ski pants with a knee length skirt over it.

So pants were always this symbol to me of something that religion was preventing me from wearing, but that I really wanted to wear. Apart from being something 'forbidden' and therefore awesome (to me as a teenager), there was a comfort issue. The way my hips are built, my thighs rub together when I walk. I used to think this was a weight thing, but even when I dieted down to approximately 60 pounds less than my current weight when I was in college (weight watchers), and my bones were all sticking out and I was probably an unhealthily skinny weight, my thighs still rubbed together when I walked. My body is just built that way. As a result, whenever it was warm outside and I was walking anywhere in a skirt, my thighs would get sweaty, rub against each other in a sticky and horrible way, and I would get a rash on the inside of my thighs. And it HURT with every step I took. I remember one particularly warm shabbas I spent at a friends house when we walked a particularly long distance, and when I got back to my friends house I had bloody blisters on the inside of my thighs.

So in the summer I would get rashes. In the winter, I would get freezing cold- no matter how thick your tights are, and how long your skirt is, wearing a skirt in the winter is always cold. Basically, I hate skirts. Even the couple of nice hippie skirts I have, I wear over pants. I also only wear them when I'm going to music festivals. Since moving out of my parents house 5 and a half years, I've only worn skirts at music festivals and when visiting my parents.

But how does one transition from wearing all skirts to wearing all pants? It started with a pair of secret jeans.

For my first two years of college my parents wouldn't let me live in the dorms, so I would commute to school every day. I would take a train (actually, 3-4 trains) into the city every day, and come home at night- which took roughly 3-4 hours round trip. The last leg of my trip to school was the subway- I could either take one subway that dropped me off about 6 blocks from school, or I could take 2 subways (and transfer) and get dropped off right where I needed to be.

One day it was nice out, so I decided to walk to the farther away subway station. On the way there I passed a levi's store and I ducked inside. I walked around looking at the pants, utterly mystified over what all the different things meant- what did all these different names of pants mean? What were flare versus boot cut versus straight cut versus skinny cut? I tried on a pair of straight cut jeans, and I looked hideous. See, apart from having thighs that touch each other, I also have a butt which is much larger than my waist. An 'hourglass' figure. Straight cut (and skinny cut) jeans are not cut for that shape- they are cut for little skinny white girls with no ass, and if you have an ass they make you look really fat. Anyway, I saw those jeans looked hideous on me, so I went on my way. My idea of how hideous they looked was also no doubt influenced by the weirdness and self-consciousness I felt in wearing jeans at all.

I don't know why, but a few weeks later I checked out the store again and tried on some more jeans. I really wanted to buy a pair of jeans, and I figured if I could try on a bunch of different types of jeans, I might find one that didn't make me look like a whale. And then I discovered them- boot cut jeans. Boot cut jeans are jeans that have a bit of a flare on the bottom (pictured above), and they look great on ladies with a bit o' junk in the trunk, like myself. These jeans were the first I tried on that I looked at myself in the mirror and said "Ok, I could go out in public in these and not feel like everyone is staring at me."

So I bought them.

But then the problem was, how could I wear them to school? I wanted to wear them to school, but I was still leaving my parents house every morning, and I knew they would flip out if they saw me in pants. At first I would put my jeans in my bag and change at the train station where I transferred trains. But then once I missed my next train and was late to class.

So I started a system- I had one particularly large flowey skirt that wasn't really tight. So I would put my jeans on, put that skirt on over my jeans, and roll up my pants leg so they wouldn't stick out underneath. Then after I got out of sight from my parents house, on the way to the train station, I would quickly take my skirt off and put it in my bag, and roll down my pants legs. I would do this basically in the middle of the sidewalk- it was a suburb, but I'm sure some people saw me at times and were like 'wtf?'. I would put my skirt back on when I was on the train home, and walk home, take the pants off from under my skirt, and go have dinner with my family, who were none the wiser.

When I wasn't wearing the pants, I was very careful about hiding them so that my parents couldn't find them, particularly my mother, who was fond of going through my things when I wasn't home and then being all like "HOW COME YOU HAVE SECRET CONDOMS HIDDEN IN A BOOT I HAVE NO BUSINESS LOOKING IN, AYE?" (That particular incident ended in a pitiful lie about a health fair giving them out at school, which she bought into, due to the incredible power of denial). I would hide them between old pairs of pajamas I hadn't worn in years.

Another problem was how to wash my pants. Jeans don't need to be washed super frequently, but once I wore them to a party and someone spilled beer all over my pants(beerpants!). And I couldn't wear them to school smelling like beer, obviously. So I had to wait until I knew my mother would be out of the house for several hours so that I could use the washing machine without her knowing what I was doing. It took a few weeks until my opportunity arose- when my parents both went to a bat mitzvah I wasn't invited to- and I rushed around washing them, all the time terrified that my parents would come home early and catch me.

All that seems somewhat ridiculous and silly now, but I was very afraid of what they would do.

I don't really remember what happened to that first pair of jeans. I've had so many jeans since then. Most likely they got some holes and I threw them out, or I gained some weight and donated them somewhere. But for two years, they were my only pair of pants, and I secretly wore them almost every day I went to school.

I only once in my life wore pants in front of my parents (after age 12 of course and barring those ski pants of course). A couple of years ago I visited home for a few days. One night I went out to meet with some friends and changed into jeans before heading over there. At that point I had been financially independent and living on my own for around 4 years, and was starting to be more open about my OTDness around my parents. My mom glared at me but didn't say anything, and my dad said something like "oh so you're wearing jeans I see *nervous laughter* have fun tonight"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crock pot weekend!

Currently in the crock:
Enchilada Pie

1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 box of that blue corn muffin/bread mix in the baking aisle (you know the one)
2 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)

brown beef on stove on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, drain, put in crock
add drained and rinsed kidney beans, enchilda sauce, garlic powder, mix
in a seperate bowl mix corn bread mix, butter, milk until just combined (don't mix it more or your cornbread will have a bunch of air bubbles). Mix in cheddar cheese. Spoon over kidney bean/beef/sauce mixture in crockpot

crock on low 5 hours or until corn bread is 'set'

Tomorrow's crock:
Easy beef stew
1 pound stewing beef (i recommend buying from the farmers market or an organic source, the quality of the beef really affects the taste)
2 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
4-5 red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup beef stock
1 cup apple cider/beer/red wine/orange juice

put veggies in crock pot, then meat, then onion soup mix, then pour liquids over everything.

crock on low 6-8 hours. If it's too liquidey at the end you saute 1-2 tbsp each of flour and butter or oil in a sauce pot and then ladle the liquid from the crock pot over the flour/oil mixture and stir it with a whisk until it thickens, and then add the thickened liquid back to the pot.

My favorite part about this recipe is that I can get everything except the soup mix and beef broth (which I keep on hand anyways) at the winter farmer's market. I got a bunch of cool heirloom carrots today- orange, red, and purple.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My very first death threat!

I feel like I've achieved some kind of blogging milestone!

(A thread on a post about what non jews must think about jewish rituals)

abandoning eden January 21, 2010 at 4:04 PM

if you give me a list of different jewish rituals I can go describe what it would look like to my husband, and see what his initial reaction is. :) I bet that would be an interesting blog post…except he already knows about a lot of them

18 pinchos January 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM

I have one, it involves running a spear through jews who fornicate with goyim

19 abandoning eden January 21, 2010 at 4:21 PM

good thing I’m an atheist, not a jew. :)

20 pinchos January 21, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Not to worry, i dont discriminate. after all, that argument wouldnt have saved you from the nazis

21 abandoning eden January 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM

well technically fornication means shtupping someone you’re not married to, so it still doesn’t apply.

22 pinchos January 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Halacha doesnt recognise your marriage and neither does my spear

Once again, the religious prove they are morally superior to the immoral atheists, because religion is the source of all good morals.

His words are a real tribute to his religion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The story of me and B

I've decided to temporarily come out of hiatus, because today is the three year anniversary of me meeting B!

Here is the story of how we met: It was January 2007, and over winter break I had decided to check out some okcupid people. As a grad student I didn't have a lot of time for socializing with people who were not in my grad program (and FSM knows I didn't want to date THEM), and I didn't have a lot of time for socializing in general. As such, I would usually date during breaks in school, because that was the only time I had to spend on dating. And yes, the dates usually (but not always) came from internet dating websites. I am not ashamed! I mostly went on jdate, but had recently decided to check out okcupid, and limited the people who could see my profile to those who were jewish, atheists, or agnostics (B was under the 'atheist' category). Meanwhile, 90% of my dating over the beginning of grad school happened during winter, spring or summer break.

Anyways, over winter break I had started talking to this guy from okcupid, B, who intrigued me with his knowledge of south park and hippies. We chatted online for a week or so, and we had lots to 'talk' about over instant messenger. So maybe a week or so after we started chatting, we decided to meet up.

Now, I will have to admit, when I first saw B's picture on okcupid, I did not think he was very attractive. He had a 3 or 4 year old picture up, which was from when he was a lot younger looking and significantly skinnier, and I am not at all attracted to skinny guys, or guys who look like they are 6 years younger than me (which he did in this picture, which I think was taken when he was like 19 or 20). But I was charmed by his witty chatting style, and I figured- hey, I haven't been on a date in a couple of months, winter break is almost over, so I should meet up with this dude so that I can go on a date over winter break before going back into grad student hibernation for spring semester.

So we met up on January 12th. For about 45 minutes. Since I was not super attracted to his picture, I decided to meet up with him about an hour before I had to leave to go to a potluck dinner so that I would have a reason to leave if he turned out to be creepy or weird. But he completely charmed me. We just talked for 45 minutes. He turned out to be a whole lot more attractive in real life, having gained some weight and some age since that terrible picture. It was like 70 degrees that day, which is pretty weird for January. I remember walking to meet up with him, and not wearing a coat, and wearing short sleeves and sandals.

That night at the potluck dinner I kept saying to my friend- "I went out with this guy today, and I think I kinda like him." I couldn't stop thinking about him.

Maybe a day or two later I IMed him again, and asked him if he wanted to come over to my place the next weekend when I was having some friends visit. (He later told me that he thought he would never hear from me again after our first date, maybe because it was so short). We chatted that whole week as well. He came to visit with my friends the next friday night, whereupon one of my friends decided to spend the whole night sitting between us on the couch. He stayed till like 3 in the morning. The next night he was going to come over after me and my friends went to a show, but I ended up fainting at the show (dehydration probably) and didn't feel up to it. So he was all "How about we hang out on Sunday, without your friends"

Sunday we hung out at his place for several hours, just talking again. I stayed till around 2 in the morning, and lingered at the door to see if maybe he would kiss me, which he didn't. When I left his house to walk back to my place, it had snowed- the first snow of the year- and I called him to tell him about it.

The next weekend we hung out again, and this time there WAS kissing (among other things). In fact, that weekend I stayed at his place the whole weekend, and then on Monday morning I stopped by my place to change for school, went to class, and then came straight home to his place. That Monday night, at around 3am, after spending like 4 straight days in a row together, he adorably was all "so, I was talking to my friend, and she asked if you were my girlfriend, so I was wondering are you my girlfriend?" Awwww.

Since that weekend we have spent pretty much every night together. For the first year and a half we were together, I spent every night at his place (he occasionally stayed over at my place too), would walk back to my place in the morning, change and shower, feed my kitties, go to school, and then go straight back to his place. After about a year and a half of that, he moved into my apartment for reals, and the rest is history.

So happy anniversary of the day we met B! Tonight we will celebrate with fillet minion, baked potatoes, and B's aunt's microwave chocolate coffee-mug cake

B and I, February 2007

In other news, 95 people voted on my last poll (and are remarkably just about evenly split over the pronunciation of 2010), and yet I have only 4 comments on my last post. So what's with all you lurkers, aye?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to work!

Over winter break I realized a few things:

1. If I want to graduate in May, I need to defend my dissertation in early April
2. If I want to defend my dissertation in early April, I need to give it to my committee in early March
3. Holy crap that's in 2 months

So if you don't see me around much in the next couple of months, that's why. I'll be back in full force once I can call myself Dr. Abandoning Eden.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The 2000s: A Decade in Review

2000: Started off the new year sleeping at home, since it was a friday night and I still lived with my parents. Dated A (ex fiance) the entire year. Graduated high school, after retaking hashkafa and navi finals over the summer- they wouldn't give me my 'real' diploma until I had retaken finals for the jewish subject courses that I never showed up to class for, and therefore failed. Started the year working at one rockland county area take out place, quit that job dramatically when the boss started yelling at me for not doing something that was not my job to do, worked at a different rockland area take out place all summer long, made crazy money from doing deliveries, was sexually harassed by the manager who kept trying to feel me up when I passed by him, and kept asking me to have sex with him in the bathroom, and the owner didn't believe me, and the dude didn't stop even when my bf threatened him, so quit that job. Started college, commuted from home.

2001: Spent new years watching the ball drop at times square. Left for birthrite soon after, spent an extra week or two in Israel crashing at my friend's place by Bar Ilan, and watched the inauguration from tel aviv. Discovered sociology, decided I wanted to go to grad school, discovered after I got my grades for the first semester that if I actually try to do well in school I can get straight A's, decided to change my major from music (with a media minor) to media (with a sociology minor) to sociology (with a media minor) to sociology (with a women's studies minor), which is the one I kept. Got a job as a peer adviser at school, and joined the school senate. Dated A most of the year, although we broke up for a few months over the summer and got back together after I dated a few other dudes. Went on a labor day road trip to the beach with A, rented a hotel for a couple of days, and drove to the beach on Saturday morning- first time I drove on shabbas. 9/11 happened- I was at home and was supposed to commute into NYC that day for college, but obviously didn't. Started following political news after that. Dyed my hair hot pink, mom freaked out and made me dye it a more 'natural' dark red color. Spent that fall semester taking cabs and being perpetually late to my first class (With a prof I later coauthored two papers with) because there were constantly fake anthrax attacks on the subway. Started my first blog at the end of the year.

2002: Started my first sociology research assistantship, got accepted to my college's honors program, still dated A all year, worked as a peer adviser, got a raise, joined the sociology club and became president, met a Palestinian girl who worked in the student government office and who challenged many of my ideas about israel (don't think she ever knew I was jewish). Took the GREs and went to my first sociology conference, visited some grad schools. Got promoted from peer adviser to student center receptionist (they paid more, and supervised the advisers). Moved to a college dorm in September after mathematically proving to my parents that it would be cheaper than commuting (also my bf lived right near my parents at that point, so i think they figured I would be safer if I was farther away). Pressure to get married from my parents.

2003: Worked three jobs: receptionist, research assistant, and statistics tutor. Got laid off from the receptionist job for being "too smart for the job" (and also they "ran out of money" in the student center), but right afterward got a student-faculty grant to get paid for my research assistantship job. Got engaged to A on July 4th. Realized as we started planning the wedding that I philosophically disagreed with many jewish wedding traditions. Won a few awards in college for leadership and academic achievement. Presented my research for the first time this year- at two conferences. Started putting together grad school applications, and was dumped by A the night after I sent out the first one. Finished all my applications in a daze. Ate non kosher chicken for the first time a few weeks after A ended our engagement.

2004: Started off the year in a crazy depression- after pushing myself to finish all my applications, suddenly the break up caught up with me in January when I ran out of things to distract myself with. Went on dates with a few dudes. Started going to hippie music shows with a good friend of mine. Went to cognitive therapy for about 10 weeks to deal with break up with A, and ended up breaking off an 8 year toxic friendship. Got into 8/9 grad schools I applied to, went to several visiting days with people trying to recruit me, shocked several of my friends who thought I was stupid because I talked like a valley girl back then, graduated college summa cum laude, and was inducted into phi beta kappa. Ate non-kosher beef for the first time right before graduation, when my friend was making empanadas in the dorm kitchen. Went to my first music festival in May. Moved to my parents house for 2 months over the summer, and then moved to my current city. First time living in my own apartment- my first day there I saw a roach the size of my palm. Didn't date a whole lot that year. Started grad school, worked my ass off for a semester, had a mini nervous breakdown around finals week, but made it through.

2005: Dated like crazy this year, mostly from people met on jdate. Had 6 week relationships with K and B, and a few hookups with people. Got my first cat, Durkheim, on May 1st, and my second cat, Foo the ninja cat, around mid October. Durkheim cured the intense mice problem at my old place. Won a prestigious fellowship that allowed me to move from the mice/roach infested studio apartment to my current comfortable 2 bedroom apartment (that costs approximately twice as much). First journal article was published. Went to my second music festival and joined the hippie message boards that all my friends kept telling me to join. Had an eyebrow ring for about 6 months. Went to conservative services on rosh hashana and yom kippur, but went to a diner with a friend after yom kippur services. Did not visit home for any jewish holidays, and celebrated them by attending grad student meals and not much else. Worked over the summer for my adviser. Started growing dreadlocks in December.

2006: Decided to take a year off from dating, and figure out what makes me happy. Stopped attending jewish grad student events, and took my profile off jdate. Attended over 30 music shows and 3 music festivals. Grew dreadlocks. Went on a couple of dates here or there despite resolution, including my first date with someone not jewish in the fall. Finished my masters thesis and got my masters degree. Took my first comprehensive exam and decided to do the joint sociology/demography phd instead of just sociology. Cut off dreadlocks in the fall, right before TAing for the first time- for stats.

2007: Met B after putting up an okcupid profile (he contacted me there, and we met up about a week later). Dated B all year. Went to around 20 shows and 5 music festivals. Finished taking classes in the spring and took 2 comprehensive exams (demography in the spring and the family in the fall). Grandmother died, started this blog, parents went crazy because I was dating B, tried bacon, shrimp, and lobster for the first time. Taught my first class that Fall, with 70 students and 2 TAs.

2008: Dated B all year. B moved in around tax day with his kitty (skittles), and I proposed to him around June, right after he came to the first music festival we went to together- I decided at the festival that I wanted to marry him (we had been talking about it for months, but that's when I decided for sure), but waited till we got home to propose to him (that Monday- over the phone-while crossing the street- when I was all "hey, lets get married for reals." Yes, those were my exact words). Told the in-laws and facebook and my parents in July, and started planning the wedding 'for reals.' Went to 5 music festivals and around 15 shows. Defended my dissertation proposal in June and became "ABD." Taught a class in both the Spring and the Fall. Got a grad certificate in gender studies, and another one in teaching at the university level. Second journal article published.

2009: Audited 2 classes in the Spring, and TAed in the fall. Got our dog Barkley on January 23rd. Got married on May 17th, and went on our 2 week European honeymoon (to Rome for a few days including a day trip to Pompeii/Naples, and then a cruise that went around Italy/Croatia/Greece/Bunch of Greek Islands/Turkey/Sicily) in July. Spent fall semester applying to jobs and TAing. Worked on my dissertation a lot and gave 6 presentations this year, including 3 at school workshops and 3 at conferences. Saw Phish 3 times, and only went to 1 other show and 3 music festivals. Traveled a lot beyond the honeymoon, including to San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Virginia, DC/Maryland, and Pittsburgh. Third journal article published.

Resolutions for 2010:
1. Finish my dissertation and graduate
2. Get a job for after graduation
3. Be happy with the way I look
4. Do something really fun (tropical vacation? mexico?) to celebrate graduation