Friday, April 23, 2010

That's Dr. Abandoning Eden to you!

I passed my defense!!! (With no revisions!!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Home Purchasing (City + Ok house vs. Sticks + awesome house?)

so...we are looking for a house, and I will probably be going down south in around 2 weeks to see a bunch of them in person. We contacted a realtor and a mortgage guy, and the realtor hooked us up with a listing website, and today we looked through a bunch of listings.

It seems our choices come down to:
1. fantastic large houses in far away 'out in the sticks' areas for low prices. These houses all are in good public school districts but although they are within city limits, they are more suburban/borderline rural areas. These houses feature large backyards, cool amenities (like 2 decks! 4 bedrooms! 2 car attached garages! newly remodeled kitchen!) plus all the basics we've decided on (which is a very long list, including fenced in yard, good school district, big kitchen with lots of storage, garage or carport, hardwood floors, 3+ bedrooms 2+ bathrooms). They are within our price range, and around the low-median end of our range. The commute to my job would be about 20 minutes each way.

2. Mediocre or more expensive smaller houses closer to the job. These are about a 5-10 minute commute, have smaller backyards, smaller houses, less nice houses, carports or detached garages instead of attached garage. They are more suburban/borderline urban and close to nice restaurants. They are at the higher end of our price range. They still have all the basics we want. Some do not come with appliances.

So far we've found 5 listings we like of the first kind of house and 3 of the second kind of house.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Home purchasing (shit just got real)

I decided to take this week (mostly) off from work and take a well-deserved vacation. This entire semester, and especially the last couple of weeks, I've been working crazy long hours to finish my dissertation (like get to work before 10am, don't leave till almost 9pm kinda hours).

What have I done this week? Well, I caught up on a lot of on-demand TV, I visited the dog park a few times with Barkley, I dropped B off and picked him up from his new job, and I also emailed a bunch of people a bunch of things. One of those emails was to my new chair, asking her for recommendations for a 'buyers agent' for which to buy a house.

Yes, we are buying a house! Hopefully, if we can find something in time to move down there in July (If not we are going to rent). I emailed the buyers agent yesterday and plan to go on a trip down to our new area in a few weeks, check out a ton of houses, and pick a few that we like. B will probably not be coming with me due to said new job, but I'm going to take pictures of the places I really like and email them to him. Then we will hopefully put in a bid on our top choice, and do other stuff from afar.

Meanwhile, this guy emailed me back with some info on a mortgage company ahhh!!! Shit TOTALLY just got real. We also have to come up with a list of what we want in our dream house. So, readers, what things would you look for in a dream house? This is the list we have so far:

1. Large fenced in backyard for Barkley
2. Attached garage preferable, if not detached garage or carport (they have a lot of carports in the south apparently)
3. 3-4 bedrooms
4. 2+ bathrooms
5. Decently sized kitchen with lots of cabinet and counter space
6. hardwood floors preferred over carpets
7. NOT a 'fixer upper'
8. In a good public school district
9. Close to my new job but not *too* close so that I am running into my students every time I open the door (and not in a student neighborhood either).
10. Preferably a giant wrap around porch (or front/back porch of some kind)
11. preferably near a park or somewhere where it would be nice to walk with Barkley.
12. Central air conditioning

So readers, what other things should we be thinking about?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Reading List!

Well, it may only be April, but my summer began the minute I handed in my dissertation. This summer is going to be a big transitional one- I still have to defend and deposit at the end of April, I'm graduating next month, moving down south in July, and start my new professorship job on August 1st.

We're also considering going down south for a week or so in May and trying to find a house to buy (We're also going to look at rental places while we are there, but if we find a place we totally love we might put in a bid). In the Fall semester I'm also teaching two entirely new courses that I've never taught before, including grad statistics, which I'm trying not to be too nervous about, but which I'm somewhat intimidated about teaching- you mean I'm smart enough to teach OTHER grad students something? :)

So this summer's main activities will be: Packing up my house up north, looking for a place to live/possibly buying a house down south, prepping two new classes, and of course moving itself. Also a few fun things in the works; a music festival or two, a trip to D.C. with B my brother and his girlfriend, and a trip to NJ for a show and a hippie BBQ.

Meanwhile, now that I've handed in my dissertation, I have about 2 weeks of free time until I have to do any work again. And a couple of days ago I got a big shipment of books. And for the first time in almost a year, I have the TIME to read a book that ISN'T directly related to my dissertation/teaching!! :)

So here's what's on the summer reading list so far:

Unchosen: The hidden lives of Hasidic rebels by Hella Winston. This book has been reviewed by many OTD bloggers, so I figured I should finally check it out. I didn't realize it until I started reading it, but this book was actually originally a sociology dissertation! If you haven't heard about it yet, it's about Hasidic people who don't want to be religious and are either orthoprax to some degree, OTD to some degree, and some which leave the community entirely. I'm a few chapter in and it's a fascinating read so far.

Nolo's essential guide to buying your first home by a bunch of lawyers. Yeah, this one should be pretty self explanatory. I figured I might as well pick up at least one book on this instead of relying purely on the internets/random advice from friends which may or may not be good.

The new joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. I'm not planning on reading this book cover to cover as it's more like a dictionary, except with jokes and stories. This book came recommended by a friend of mine when I randomly made a comment about maybe taking a yiddish class one day. I've looked through it a bit, and there are tons of jewish jokes which I suspect might only be funny to Jews. But I find them freakin hilarious.

A Quaker book of wisdom, by Robert Lawrence Smith. I first got interested in Quakers when I lived in an area chock full of them, and our wedding ceremony last year ended up being a kind of hybrid Quaker ceremony. At Quaker wedding ceremonies the couple exchanges promises to each other (not vows, cause Quakers don't take vows) and sit together in (mostly) silence for an hour along with their guests, and anyone can talk if they feel moved to share something. At the end of the hour, all the guests sign a wedding license. We didn't do a whole hour- more like 10 minutes. But around 5-6 of our guests spoke during that part of our wedding ceremony, which was nice. Anyways I've read a bit about Quaker beliefs on the internet and I've liked what I've seen, and I've met a lot of Quakers, and the area I'm moving to ALSO has a lot of Quakers, so I thought it might be nice to know a little more about them. And this book came highly recommended by

Finally, Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men by Michael Kimmel. Michael Kimmel is an awesome sociologist and I would say probably the foremost expert on masculinities studies. He also occasionally blogs over at the Huffington Post. I was fortunate to see him do an author-meets-critics at a conference a few weeks ago for this book, and it sounds fascinating and also essential for any gender studies person to read. I'm glad I finally will have the time to read it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Daddy issues part 2

Ok so yesterday I handed in my dissertation to my committee (yay!!) and I also sent a copy to my dad and was all "Hey, I submitted my dissertation today!! Yay!! I'm attached a copy in case you want to read it. My defense is in 2 weeks!"

This is the response I got:


By all means celebrate this milestone! You can celebrate again when you've passed the defense, and again when it is submitted. -- J"

Oh wait, no, that wasn't my DAD that was my DISSERTATION ADVISER. Here it the email my actual dad sent me:

"Wow! Good luck. No promises but i will try to read it.

You're playing it close to the deadline since your graduation is May XX. They usually suggest revisions. Let's hope they are minor. Today we live in the world of word procesers."

I don't know, I may be overreacting here. But why does he have to be such a debbie downer? Like, my adviser is confident I will pass obviously (and he is the chair of my dissertation and the guy who actually has to sign off on whether I pass or not) but my dad has to give all these warnings about how I'm playing it too close.

Maybe, dad, I know WTF i'm doing, and I'm actually good at what I do? Ever consider that? Argh!!!!!

Am I overreacting? Should I say something to my dad or just let it go? When I got my professorship job I was also somewhat disappointed with his response and actually, come to think of it, when I first got into grad school he went on this whole rant about how I should be worried about how I will balance having children with a career. Because, like no women in the history of the world has ever had children and a successful career apparently?

Why does he have to give all these freakin warnings and try to stress me out? Why can't he just leave it at "congratulations!"? Why can't my dad be more like my adviser???

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dissertation accomplished!

I submitted my dissertation to my committee today! All four wanted printed copies, for a total of 408 pages printed (204 pages printed double sided X 4).

I'm a little nervous about whether they will like it or not, but at the same time I suspect it might be totally awesome. It's hard to say.

Defense in two weeks. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Entrance into grad school for me was entrance into complete financial independence, and with it a new found freedom to truly be myself. For the first time I was able to be completely open with my parents and family about the extent to which I was not religious/an atheist, and they couldn't do anything about it! Well, except eventually excommunicate me, which they did. But it didn't matter, cause I didn't depend on them anymore for health insurance or tuition! Over the past few years I've gladly friended my family members on facebook even though my religious status said "Flaming atheist"

Now that I am finishing up grad school and starting a job I see myself drawing inwards and becoming more secretive with my beliefs again in a way I maybe don't like so much. Yesterday I removed my religious status from facebook altogether. I don't know. I just don't want to move to a brand new place and have people judge me and dislike me because I'm a flaming atheist. And to a certain extent I don't think it's appropriate for a professor to have their religious beliefs up on facebook.

I've been thinking lately, what am I going to say to people about being Jewish when I move down south? I've been told that when you move down south you get asked a lot if you have found a church yet. How will I answer that? As the truth- no I'm not christian, I was raised jewish but now I'm an atheist who celebrates some jewish and some christian holidays in a not-very religious way, but doesn't attend a church of any kind? That's just TMI!

But then, do I mention anything about being jewish? When I barely identify as jewish? And it kinda seems nice to be able to move to a new place where no one knows my jewish background, and where I can finally not be known as a jewish person. To truly be able to escape my past. But then I feel like if I don't say I'm jewish, it means I'm ashamed of being jewish, and being secretive about my jewishness, and that doensn't bring up good associations either.

It just seems easier to change the subject. But then I'm back to being secretive again! How do you escape your roots without denying your roots? Or is that just impossible?