Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegetarian Cure-All Soup

Lance is the one who first introduced me to homemade miso soup.  Since we always have a tub of miso paste in the fridge (and he's actually currently brewing a batch of miso), we eat miso soup fairly regularly.  When he is not feeling well, he makes a pot of miso to feel better, and I began doing the same.  Miso soup has become my chicken noodle soup--and I think it beats it as a curative, hands down.

I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold a couple of days ago, so Thursday night I made a big pot of miso soup with chard and tofu.  With a little added sriracha and a hunk of homemade bread, this soothing brew has helped me fight off the cold.  The hot broth helps soothe my throat and the sriracha spiciness keeps my sinus passages clear.  I thought I'd share the recipe with you all in case you too are succumbing to late fall/end of semester illnesses.

Spicy Miso Soup with Tofu and Greens
Makes 4 servings

In a saucepan, saute some onion--I used the white bulb from some green onions--in a little olive oil.  Add a couple of handfuls of thinly sliced chard (about two big leaves + stems) or other green.  Cook until the greens begin to wilt, then add 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and add 3-4 tbsp miso paste (to taste) and 1/2 block of chopped tofu.  Season with pepper and nutritional yeast to taste.  (I find the miso salty enough, so I don't add any salt, but if you want more salt, some soy sauce would be good).  Add sriracha (aka "rooster sauce") to taste.  Top with green onion and eat with a chunk of good bread for a healthy and soothing meal.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cranky Redux

1.  "Is Emily Dickinson a lesbian?" was the first question out of his mouth.  To kick off the discussion of one of my favorite poets, we begin with this question?  No. Way.  Dr. M. and A (a grad student) moved it to a discussion about gender ambiguity in her poetry and the role of gender (all worthy topics), but I just slapped my forehead in pain, anguish, and exasperation.  Why are we so willing to read her poetry through biography?  I was in fact so cranky that I wrote my reading journal with a twinge of an attitude (toward the view, not my prof).  I wanted to talk about the visual appeal of the poetry (capitalization and dashes, i.e.) and some other things. Cue: pain and frustration.

2.  There was going to be Rhet/Comp seminar next semester.  Yay, a class in my discipline! Perfect!  But, alas, due to the fracas that took place in October, the class was canceled.  Cue: woe and despair.

3  I seem to be developing a cold, one week before a draft and a research presentation are due. Cue: further woe and further despair.

4.  We counted all the people we should invite, could invite, have to invite.  Then we added up out of the almost absolutely bare minimum we have to invite that will come and it added up to more than our space will hold.  Lance is measuring to see if we can make it work.  Cue: let Lance deal with it for right now...I gotta finish out the semester!

5.  Today, something was said (not to me directly or about me directly) that pushed my anger button.  I don't really want to go into detail in an online space, but it's nothing too juicy and scandalous, and I might tell you if you ask me personally.  Needless to say, it made me cranky. (Cue: crankiness)

6.  I like the Romantics as much as anyone: but to the person in my class who insists that art is created from the outpouring of an effluent spring, the divine speaking through the poet, the lightning strike of inspiration, the drugged dream haze: this is not how it works.  Even the Romantics knew that.  Writing might begin (or contain) little flashes and moments of inspiration, but to make something good, the artist has to think, to have a purpose in creating, and execute with skill.  Otherwise any idiot high on pot could write like Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, or [INSERT AUTHOR HERE].

7.  The same person also said that great art is never written with an intentional political/social purpose.  Puh-lease!  (Note: this person is not an artist: she once wrote one poem in one outpouring of emotion, so she bases this on that one experience.)

The non-cranky:
I'm obviously engaged and opinionated in my studies, so I guess that's a good thing?

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I found out the other day that I get to teach a class next semester, which excites me greatly.

Today, I taught many, many students (one-on-one) about writing.  It made my brain very, very tired.

But...that sense of a job well done...that makes up for the tiredness.  I don't know if they really learn that much from a half-hour or hour session, but they seem grateful when they leave, and I like it when they come back and I can see how their writing changes (and improves, sometimes).

I'm grateful for the chance to work with students in the writing center, and I'm grateful for the chance to teach next semester.

And, now, time for bed.

PS: I've started reading Pegasus in my scraps of stolen free-time, and it's awesome.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In Which Jenn Querulously Writes

I don't know if it's just that time of the semester (where we all need a break) or what, but I'm finding myself becoming crankier.  More cantankerous.  Querulous, even.  So today I shall discuss particular points of complaint.

One: students on campus.  Okay, so I know I work at a university and am a student, so I really shouldn't complain about this.  However, I'm looking specifically at how students move around on campus.  Since I'm on a bike, I'm hyper-aware of my setting (because I want to stay alive to bike another day), but I've noticed that most students don't pay attention to their surroundings.  I've almost run students down because they are too busy texting or looking at their feet to remember that they are surrounded by potential obstacles.  (FYI: they don't even hear my bike bell.) They also can't walk in a straight line, which makes biking around them surprisingly difficult.

But here is my main complaint: I usually ride on the sidewalk for a short bit, then switch to the roads that run through campus.  However, students don't even look before they cross those roads! And I'm not talking about using cross-walks--they just walk.  Wherever.  Everywhere.  And yes, cars do drive on these roads.  Today, I almost ran down three students who just randomly crossed in front of me without even looking up.  Normally, I would just roll my eyes, but today I scolded them loudly.

These kids seem so lost in their own little words (which I'm sure are infinitely fascinating) that they can't even observe the world around them.  This leads me to my next point: individualism is not all it's chalked up to be.  Bear with me a minute as I make the connection:  we as a nation are obsessed with the individual.  Thinking that one is a unique butterfly in a world of unique butterflies leads, in my thinking, to this inability to remember that one exists in spaces with other people.  Be considerate. Look around.  And watch out for angry girls on bikes.

In Feminist Theory, we keep hitting on this idea of the individual, which frustrates me because, yes, while, we are all individuals with individual experiences, we also exist within a social order, a society, a culture(s), structures, and institutions.  We are who we are because of our place in the world, not because of some unique individualism that is inherent to human nature.  We love, share, and communicate because we can understand other people: we have shared experiences, thoughts, ideologies, and perspectives.  Emphasizing individualism is detrimental to society because we all think we're entitled to step on other people to get to where we want to go instead of trying to work together to make the world a better place.  You are not a unique snowflake.  Deal with it, and remember that there are other people in the world besides you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Decision Day

Yep, it's that time of the year again.  I'm going to go vote later (because I'm cool like that), but I thought I'd reflect a little on politics.

In my Feminist Theory class, we've been talking about how a proclamation that one does not have politics is another way of saying that one's political views belong to someone else.  Or, if you aren't interested in politics, then politics is interested in you.  I'm reasonably interested in politics, but both Lance and I have spent the last few months frustrated: frustrated because it seems that people refuse to listen to reason,that people refuse to consider the other side of an issue, that people are too busy worrying about phantoms to realize that big issues are at stake.

I was excited in 2008 because it seemed like there really was potential for change.  It was exciting.  And changes have been made, albeit in a more watered down form.  This year, I've had a hard time getting excited about any of the candidates.  I know who I'm going to vote for (and have good reasons), but it's mostly because I don't like the opposition.

Well, anyway.  I don't have too much to say after all, but I hope you all will go out and vote today.

Monday, November 01, 2010

That Grad School Thing

As everyone expected, I disappeared into a pile of books, notes, and papers as the semester progressed  I have reemerged, albeit likely temporarily.

What have I been up to?  A list, for your ease of understanding:

  • Attended and presented at my first academic conference as a PhD student
  • Began Project Wedding Dress (posts to come, I hope, and pictures)
  • Ordered the most beautiful wedding shoes
  • Drank copious amounts of coffee
  • Gave up drinking copious amounts of coffee
  • Ran a 5k, placed third in my age group, and earned a new PR (26:03!)
  • Read pages and pages and pages
  • Saw two authors of cool books, all within one week
  • Checked out mountains of books from the library for my research papers
  • Subbed for a friend's Comp I classes, which was pretty fun
  • Dressed up like a robot for Halloween
  • Realized that we have three months until the wedding
  • Started a paper on feminists and vampires
  • Bought a plane ticket to Boston for Thanksgiving
  • Tutored lots of students in writing, which was FUN
Anyway, you get the idea.  It has been fun and glorious and I wouldn't give it up for anything.  I'm about to have to abandon my social life for the next month or so to get everything done, but I'll emerge on the other side successfully!