Fourth Wall

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I wrote a longish blog-post this morning with an involved joke involving my addiction to medical blogs, police codes, leash laws, and the 19 year old emo boys ("The Mini Mariachis") living across the hall. We had been having recycling wars with them of late, as we overheard them telling potential subletters, "yeah, we just put extra stuff in theirs. They never do it to us, so it's okay."

Thus ensued a few weeks of me sneaking out to leave presents of tampon boxes, nylon cases, etc. in their recycling bin. Minor victory was achieved when I heard one say to the other,

"Dude, is that yours?"
"Dude, man, that's totally yours."

ANYWAY, earlier this week I went out to put laundry in the wash and discovered that they had, in fact, piled their recycling bins and a broken desk chair ON TOP of ours in order to create space for moving. Never mind the plenty of other possible places to move your recycling bins... like, oh, inside? One of them caught me, in my PJs, starting to take a picture of it for the blog. Celticist Roommate and Italian History roommate both fled the scene and left me to a) scold him and b) die a thousand deaths.

As of about 5:00 this afternoon, however, the post I was writing is no longer applicable for the last boy has moved out and we now have female subletters across the hall. At about the same time of day they were BLASTING "I Would Do Anything For Love" which, while it always reminds me of how Colin & Nora got engaged, is nevertheless quite distressing.

I will have to leave the roommates to update me on the first week with the new neighbors, however, as I am running away to Chicago and will not be back until May 5th.

Too bad the boys moved out, though. Now what am I going to do with my horde of Tampax boxes?

PS: I woke up yesterday and overheard the two roommates discussing a surprise Toronto Transit strike. "Well, thank goodness I don't need to go to the airport anytime soon," I thought to myself. Then, promptly: "Crap. Chicago." But legislature met on Sunday and ordered them back to work, so it should be fine.

PPS: Happy Easter to those of you on the Orthodox calendar!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Are you Doing Today, Dear?

Goals for the day:

1) Have a good breakfast.
2) Hide in a nook in the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies and work with the primary sources for my Devotional Lit paper
3) Finish my annotated translation for Welsh
4) Drink much tea.

Yesterday started out extremely exciting (note sarcasm) with cleaning out the produce bins in the fridge, and ended with me falling asleep reading EB White as Tristan worked at my desk. In the middle it was quite exciting because I learned that I passed the MA exam, and then Tristan took me out for a light dinner and drinks, where I rediscovered my deep love of a Strongbow cider with blackcurrant on a hot day.

I'm quite sure I couldn't have passed without your prayers, thoughts, and crossed fingers (at the very least to prevent me from panicking myself into failure), so-- Thank You.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Theme for the Next Week

One morning a few months ago, during a particularly busy time, when I awoke I didn't dare get dressed: I knew that my only hope of getting an overdue piece written was to stay in bed—which is where I did stay. I told my wife it was a slight sore throat, but it was a simple case of voluntary confinement. It was the first time I had ever taken to bed in the full blush of health simply because I didn't dare face the economic consequences of putting my pants on.

-E.B. White, One Man's Meat

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

End-of-Semester Mad Libs

From Celticist Roommate:
"I wish I had been more [adjective] about [course title] over the course of the semester."

I think the MA exam went alright. I'll know Monday.

We have a mystery smell in our refrigerator eluding the best efforts of Celticist Roommate, Italian Late Medieval History Roommate, and myself.

Our knives have started to disappear. I blame CR's elf, or perhaps her boyfriend.

I almost--ALMOST--kicked Kolya out of my house last night for asserting (in regards to "The Irish Problem") "The problem is that both sides are right. The Irish are right, as the English should be Catholic. But the English are right, as they should be ruling Ireland."

Our large and expanding collection of tupperware-like plastic containers may be plotting our downfall.

Things we have learned from the U(C) blog network this week:
1) Don't lurk. If you actually know someone and you're reading their blog, let them know.
2) Assume that people are lurking.

I have one hour to get up the courage to go see my Social History professor about my final paper. Then I get to spend the afternoon in the library. The only hope of survival is the wearing of cute skirts and heeled shoes for the next week to try to convince myself that I'm doing a real job.

The first passage on the PhD exam was about an Italian fellow getting very worked up and weeping while recounting the Fall of Rome. CR and I are now in the habit of saying in unison, "oh, Rome!" and putting our hands to our foreheads in a woeful manner. Time will only tell how long KB and her boyfriend will put up with this behavior.

How do I spell "colo(u)r" for a paper written for an Iowan professor who has been living in Canada for decades? I'm leaning towards the British/Canadian spelling, to go along with my threat to write the entire literary analysis in the voice of a 1930's Jesus College Celtic Literary Scholar.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh man oh man.

I've been writing posts in my head for about a week, but haven't had the time to really sit down and draft them out for you all. So what is there to say?

Tristan brought me flowers to mark the end of MA Latin class and brighten up our apartment for the days of studying ahead.

Celticist Roommate is looking for a job teaching Latin at a private High School. "Wow," she said last night, looking up from her laptop, "this one really is rural. It's at the corner of 'Walden' and 'Thoreau'"

She also may be the only one who understands me. Last night she looked up from a sock pattern I was working on and said, "Alice, is knitting how you get your math fix?"

Finally, I have my three hour must-pass-by-September-to-get-my-MA Latin exam today. I awoke to this:

The exam is from one to four, EST. Tristan is coming over to make pancakes for me. I don't handle exam stress well and am going to spend the morning trying not to throw up said pancakes.

Friday, April 04, 2008


(I'm not sure what sort of victory exclamation I will have when I finish the shawl.)

Two very, very large (size 13, wide) cabled socks:

Dinner tonight is split pea soup and biscuits, with a side of homework

and Celticist Roommate searching YouTube for the The Rescuers Down Under pea soup scene.

(And KB watching "DinoRiders" on the same.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Domestic Bliss

This side of the door: critical studies of Middle English devotional literature, my favorite mechanical pencil, and knitting in progress.

That side of the door: KB (who wants to remind you all that his given name is Tristan) and the noises of dinner being made.

Wafting under the door: the scent of bacon.

Life is good.


Hurrah, I finished the second sock!

Given that I completed the first in a week in December, it really was about time.

(I call it, "the Grad Student, in her natural environment")

In other knitterly news, my colleague Lady Octavia has a post describing Tuesday's madness in greater detail, and some good pictures.

Ta-ta for now, folks... I have to go summarize articles for my Social History course. One of the articles on mystics/contemplatives is both relevant to my paper on virgin martyrs, and has broken my brain, perhaps permanently.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Sadly, this is a post without pictures because I was kinda spacy yesterday and forgot my camera.

I haven't been writing about knitting of late because everything I have knit has turned stupid and had to be ripped out. I finally got up my courage to go back to the never-ending Clapotis shawl earlier this week, and I can see the end in sight (especially as I've made early-mornings dedicated knitting-for-my-sanity time). This morning I wound the LAST SKEIN into a ball as I brewed coffee. I feel a little like the medieval scribes: "here ends the first book of the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, thanks be to God, thanks be to God". I don't lack love for the knitting of the Clapotis... I just want to wear it before it gets too warm to do so.

Starting up again has gotten me back on track with my other knitting projects, I note, because the long needles for the Clapotis are really not appropriate if you, say, are going to go sit in a crowded theatre on your campus and listen to the Yarn Harlot.

The babies were cute, I talked to people who are NOT MEDIEVALISTS (which I sorely needed), I made some knitting friends, and I made progress on both my own sock and KB's second birthday sock (yes, his birthday was February 26th, shut up-- it's been hibernating ever since I ran out of yarn in a pub at another student's birthday celebration), and her speech on the benefits of knitting for our patience and concentration made me feel entirely validated in the time I take from memorizing Latin verbs and thinking about Celtic saints to make things far more tangible. (And if you think of the number of people who will appreciate really nicely made hand knit socks as opposed to the number of people who will appreciate your ability to, say, put together a presentation on sadistic eroticism in Middle English saints' lives EVEN WHEN that wasn't the point of your paper abstract, I think the first group is significantly higher.)

And I was THIS CLOSE to the Yarn Harlot! I'm glad I didn't say anything to her, though, because that way I didn't spend the rest of the evening wondering if she thought I was annoying. Besides, it might disturb her teenagers to learn that someone this close to their own age thinks their mother is cool.

(I do sympathize with them, however, in the "my-parent-wrote-a-book-I-will-never-be-able-to-explain" category.)

PS: I know that KB is a keeper because he thinks Tricoteuses Sans Frontières is "awesome". I was pretty certain he was a keeper because whenever I get really low and think I can't do anything right, he adds "your knitting" to reasons he thinks I'm smart, but this clinched it.

PPS: Steph, if you ever run into this post, my roommate and I ENTIRELY sympathize with the "mistaking a chocolate sliver for a comma" problem.

PPPS: As much as I want to go cavort with non-medievalist knitters, I need to remember that when I say, "I study medieval religious history, because that's where the money is," not everyone is going to understand that I'm being facetious.

PPPPS: I concluded, while winding the yarn into a ball by hand, that for Christmas/my next birthday mama is getting me a swift, and KB is getting me a ball winder.