Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is there a professor in this class?

Well, classes are in full swing, or at least they should be. For one of my classes that is not entirely the case. The first session of Black Women Writers was canceled several weeks ago. We had the second class as planned, but the third class was canceled as well. The professor insisted she was very ill and I gave her the benefit of the doubt (it seems she was rather sick). Two make up classes were scheduled, but the professor didn't show up to the first make up class. Instead she sent Professor Yvette Christ who informed us that our regularly scheduled instructor, Professor Banks, was ill (again). All was not lost however. Professor Christ (pronounced with a short "i" as she has an English accent) was absolutely brilliant. I learned more from her in two hours than I'd learned all semester, and she'd only had an afternoon to prepare to teach the class. She wore a bright orange jacked, green and white striped socks, and a bright bowler hat. She didn't look like the sort of person who would be teaching graduate lever English classes, but believe me she was great.

Yesterday, I received an email from Dr. Banks telling us that she would no longer be our instructor for the class. She said someone would be taking over, but didn't mention by name who this person was. I really hope it is Dr. Christ, but I'm still waiting to hear.

We are 4-5 weeks into the semester and have only discussed one novel. I hope the next few months aren't crammed with make up work because of this setback.

In other news, my job is going to be changing significantly. Lion Brand yarns has decided to open the first Lion Brand Yarn Studio on W 15th St near Union Square. I will be working in the studio, when it opens in late fall, and until then I will be working with the manager to get the studio ready to open. When it does open I will will perform retail functions and I will teach many of the knitting classes that will be offered. This is a salaried position with full benefits which excites me to no end. My big challenge will be balancing school with work, and finding time for a social life (and maybe even some knitting and spinning!).

I've purchased my Thanksgiving plane ticket, and Daniel is coming out for a visit on October 9th. I can't wait! I'm trying the plan things for us to do, but he has to be back in class by the 13th so we only have a few days.

Well, I have to finish This Earth of Mankind for class on Monday. So, once again, off to the library.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

School has started...and I'm coming to Seattle for a visit.

School started last week and I finally have an idea of what life will be like for the next several years. When I registered for classes originally, I signed up for 3 classes, but after securing my job I was curious as to whether many students worked full time and went to school full time so at student orientation I asked about it. I was told that especially for my first semester it was a very bad idea. So, I dropped one of my classes. I am very thankful I did. My usual reading load is about 1 to 2 books a week, but now I'm going to have to double that and I still have to find time to write papers, prepare questions, and give presentations. Three classes would have been impossible while I am working.

Here is what my schedule looks like. I have class Monday from 3:30 to 5:30 and Tuesday from 5:30-7:30, and I work Monday through Friday from 9 until 5:30 or earlier on days that I have to get to class. On days that I have class I leave work early and take Metro North to campus because it is faster than the subway. On days I don't have class I take the subway to campus and study in the library until all hours of the night. Fordham has a community van that takes local students to their apartments around campus after hours. It runs from 10 pm to 5 am, and I've been taking it several times a week so I don't have to walk home alone late from the library.

The classes I'm taking are Modernists/Victorians and 20th Century African-American Literature: Black Women Writers. I just finished reading Wuthering Heights and I am read a novel called The Street by Ann Petry which takes place in Harlem in the '40s.

You might know that Virginia Woolf is pretty much my all time favorite author. And I'm happy to announce that her novel To the Lighthouse is on the reading list for my Modernists/ Victorians class, but I am even happier to have found out that next summer the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham will host the 19th annual Virginia Woolf conference with the theme Woolf in the City. I intend to write a paper and submit an abstract so that I might be able to present it at the conference. But, even if I don't get to present it would be wonderful just to attend, and it's so close.

I'm coming back to Seattle next week for a visit and I have some great plans. My boyfriend, Daniel, is a concierge at Pacific Place and one of the perks of his job is that various restaurants and organizations give him complementary passes and gift certificates to their venues. Well, he got seats to see Teatro Zinzanni. Check out their website at: They are a circus group that performs a show under a circus tent while serving a 5 course meal by Tom Douglas. It is one of the best nights out you could even want to have. I've seen it several times before but the cast changes regularly and because it is live something different always happens.
Other things I plan on doing while in Seattle are: have dinner at Tango (a Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill), see as many people as possible in the few days I am there, and go to stitching circle at Renaissance Yarns. I will be there on Saturday the 20th in the morning and I'm really looking forward to it.

Well, off to the library.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More About Manhattan...and other things

I am in love with Manhattan. I was told a few days ago that anyone who lives in Manhattan for six months ill never leave. I'm not sure I believe it entirely but I can see how it would be true of some people. Everything you could ever want to do is here. There is Broadway, MOMA, Central Park, and plenty of yarn shops, not to mention some of the greatest universities in the world. Let me tell you about a few of the things I have taken advantage of.

First, I had the chance to visit Central Park a few weeks ago. There were a ton of people, and free performances. The most elaborate was a group of men who performed this incredible dance routine. People were relaxing, reading, and playing with their children. I didn't have time to explore the entire park because (of course) it's huge, but I wanted to be sure and see the Fountain of Bethesda. It is a statue of the Angel Bethesda who is supposed to come alive during the second coming and heal all the sick people in the world. That aside, I had seen it in the HBO production of Angels in America by Tony Kushner. It was much larger than I had imagined it would be, and the overall effect was almost intimidating.

Something else I've discovered in Manhattan is an incredible bar called Therapy. So far I've only been there once, but I intent to return often. It is located on 52nd street so it is easy access on the way home from work, and they have a great (read: cheap!) happy hour. Check out their website if you're curious:

Work has gone well so far. I have quite a bit to do, and I am kind of a catch all for anything that anyone needs done which leaves me very exhausted by Friday. Sometimes I rush to the mailboxes etc. store three times a day. Classes start in a week. I am trying to get ahead by reading the recommended (as opposed to required) texts prior to our first meeting. I don't think I will get through all of them. They are very difficult. I have to look up words every few pages it seems, but at least I'm expanding my vocabulary. I have significant motivation to work hard though because the department started something new last year for the MA students. The MA student with the best academic performance gets their second year fully funded. That's a lot of money we're talking about. I won't die if I don't get the funding, but I'm sure going to try.

In addition to getting ahead on the reading for class I also read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I recommed both of them. The first one would interest anyone with an affinity for race, class, gender studies, and the second would interest anyone who ever enjoyed The Addams Family. Seriously. It's weird.

I also bought a easy french reader because by the time I finish my MA I have to be able to read French, Spanich, Italian, Latin, or German, and I chose French. So needless to say I've been reading French at about a second grade level. The stories make me yawn, but I know it will pay off because someday I'll be able to tackle Proust in the original and not have to read it in translation.

That's all for now. I'll let you know how classes are once they start. I hope everyone had an awesome Labor Day!