I slept fitfully Thursday night (still with the coughing) but was really awake and functional Friday day. Why is my sleep/awake cycle so messed up?
After class Bill Oram asked me kindly, “ Did you get enough sleep?” I’m guessing he was referring to the fact that my body rebelled on Friday and i totally slept through his class, but i was definitely worried that he was referring to the fact that i was visibly falling asleep during class on Wednesday.
In my UMass class my professor mentioned that UMass is based on a tradition of dissent, pointing to the fact that the library is named for W.E.B. DuBois as one example. I so don’t think of UMass as a “dissent” kind of school (there were many times during my last semester’s UMass class that i was reminded of how very much i wasn’t at Smith) but it’s true that my class this semester feels very Smith and the University is in the Pioneer Valley after all.
My parents arrived around 2:30 and we went to the museum and saw the Kyoto exhibit and then Ann gave us a tour of all the offices so my parents got to meet most everybody. Sadly, Stacey was taking a comp day. But they’ll be back for graduation. We also saw the Politics and Protest exhibit. I was really excited to see the piece that was from the Dorius/Spofford fund. (I saw a slide of it at the Homeland Insecurities conference and really liked it -- the one of the 50s clip-art-esque little boy and the text surrounding it saying how this little boy will be persecuted when he grows up because he will grwo up gay.) There was a book of silkscreened protest posters in a glass case and i thought about the irony, how the point of their creation was for people to read them and now they’re just a piece of art to be observed. In the gift shop i was looking at the Sit Up and Take Notice book and one of the artists was from Norwood! I pointed this out to Nan and learned that she actually knows a couple who live in Norwood. Small world (though granted i’m still in the same rather small state).
We had tea at my house and then went to the Shakespeare lecture -- “About Suffering: Shakespearean Tragedy and the Re-Invention of a Theatre of Identity” by James Nohrnberg of UVA. Lots of complex phraseologies and although i could hear all the words he was talking too fast for me to really process the ideas. King Lear & Everyman were the two main texts, and while i know the former i don’t know the latter at all. And it was obvious that Nohrnberg was making scads of other allusions that i just totally wasn’t catching. Basic stuff i gleaned from the lecture: identity in crisis/under pressure, Cordelia and the Fool being the same... He also joked that King Lear could be read as a play about the dangers of retirement. I was sitting behind Doug, so i got to watch him laugh at a lot of the dry jokes. Just about the entire English department was there, though not Pat Skarda, which was unusual.
In his introduction, Bill Oram quoted from Nohrnberg’s book on The Faerie Queene, something about how we learn to trust ourselves as we trust those who care for us. I really like that idea, ties into my insistence on the importance of parents being honest with their children and so on.
I saw Gillian and Rose Ellen at the reception and chatted with them until the food started getting taken away and my family helped them bring food back to their Friedman and then my parents took me out to dinner at Fresh Pasta Bistro.
We had brunch in the Biodome with Meredith and later went on a couple nature walks, after which we stopped by the live-action chess game. They’ve gotten more efficient since we last went 2 years ago -- giving the players a regular chess board and having people have signs on their backs so that the players . The game was slow, though, and the theme not particularly of interest to me, so after a few hellos we left.
My dad and i went to Cold Stone (My mom went to Claytopia, where we met up with her later.) and i wholeheartedly approve. I got Monkey Bites which was good but next time i may have to get Mud Pie Mojo, which is what my dad got, because i had a bit of his and it was SO GOOD. If you tip them a dollar they sing and that happened 3 times while we were there -- variations on Bingo, Build Me Up Buttercup, and The Addams Family.
Liz Carr wanted to meet my parents so we went to the Bodman Lounge post-Mass dinner and i realized that i know almost all the Smith Catholics who go to Mass at HHHC.
Pops was underwhelming (though it was under 2 hours -- 8:40-10:35). The theme was Ladies Sing the Blues, which i don’t think particularly lends itself to Pops. There was definitely some good music selected, but i was indifferent to a lot of it and there was also the constant problem that it’s hard to hear the soloists in acappella group. I remember thinking that Crapapella went on way too long last year and they held no appeal for me this year. The ending was quality, though: two synchronized train lines exiting as the soloist sang “Midnight Train to Georgia,” leaving her singing alone. The Chamber Singers did Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and that was the best performance of the night: I could hear all the words, the instrumentals were subdued except when they came to primary during the silences. The handbell choir did complex stuff (“Birmingham Blues” and a Gershwin medly) which is difficult given the relative unwieldiness of the instruments and the fact that you have to coordinate multiple people all playing different notes at different times to sound like one fluid musical piece; i was impressed. The orchestra did Pirates of the Caribbean and i like the music so i didn’t care about the fact that it didn’t exactly fit the theme. It was the first time i wanted to be in orchestra again -- to get to help make that music.... I’m not a performer/team player, but i do like making music.
The MCs were, per usual, less than stunning, but there was the amusing running commentary on the Sox/Yankees game, beginning with “Yankees scored three runs in the first inning. Sox scored 3 runs in the second inning.”
Went to First Churches with my family, then to Lamont for brunch, then we walked by the pond and went to Rice ‘n’ Easy before my parents left around 2 and i finally started doing homework. Also did laundry, as it was piling up. (One thing i will not miss about Smith is communal laundry rooms.)
I read this week’s UMass book (really unsure how it fits with the class) and finished The Snow Queen and have notes for my paper -- which is due Friday! fuck.
I felt accomplished, but not. I really need to do final grad programs to have a final list and get applications and give forms to my recommenders and write Statements of Purpose and so on. This weekend, come hell or high water, i am definitively deciding on grad programs. I think i can handle grad school, but i’m convinced that my undergrad record says otherwise.
Was going to post Sunday night after all that reading and before going to bed but my computer was being dreadful so i just went to bed.
I totally didn’t realize the Sox were playing Sunday night until i read LJ on Monday. 12 innings! I feel much better about my team now that they didn’t get swept in the series. (Sidenote: My Yankees friends have been remarkably restrained about not gloating through this entire series. I appreciate this greatly.)
At work most everyone said how nice it was to meet my parents. I counted money with Stacey and chatted while she photocopied as i didn’t have any work to do at the time (though i did get work done on my UMass paper).
Again i didn’t realize the Sox were playing until i was writing about the lecture and heard people screaming and checked mlb.com to learn that yes, it had been tied since the 8th inning. At 11:00 exactly i heard prolonged happy screams and figured we must have finally won.