Things I want to do in 2012

Me, next year. Click for source.

Yes, I like to make my new year’s resolutions very early. In fact, one could say that I am in a perpetual state of making new year’s resolutions. Continuous goal-making is a blessing/curse we inherited from our mother. (Grace has the worst case of it, but then again, she’s the most accomplished of us all, so maybe there is something to this mania for making resolutions.)

Things I Want To Do in 2012

  1. Get a dog, which I don’t have to tell you. I already have. Like, a hundred times.
  2. Take a graduate-level English class at UVA.
  3. Take the GRE.
  4. Go hiking more often.
  5. Read 75 books (down from this year’s goal of 100, because I think I’ll be cutting down on my dog reading).
  6. Take a beginner’s ballet class.
  7. Try to take my writing more seriously; publish something, somewhere. (How’s that for ambiguity?)
  8. Improve calligraphy business; hone skills with flexible nib.
  9. Finish reading the remainder of Shakespeare’s plays (I think I have 19 more to go. Eek).
  10. Decide what I’m going to do with my life.

Do you have any goals for next year already? Am I the only one?

Monday Snax

Excellent. Just excellent.
It's time to party.
The sisters
On our best behavior.
Happy birthday...
Mom doesn't look a day over 30.
Dude wants to walk
We ran into Dave and Charlie on the mall, which was a definite highlight.

Weekend no. 3 of house guests: Family Edition, Part III: Family Women Descend. (And Mike, for a night!) We had a raucous and wonderful time with my sisters and mom this weekend, who were here for a humid visit and happy celebration of Mom’s birthday. We got to eat lots of delicious food (including perennial favorites Eppie’s and Himalayan Fusion, which Grace gainfully guided us through), see Nettles in concert at the Tea Bazaar, watch “Parks & Rec” and laugh a ton. I miss them already! Complete set of photos on Flickr.

Snax with perfect summer orzo:

Overeducated, Underemployed: How to Fix Humanities Grad School. OK, fine. Maybe I won’t go to grad school after all. This is depressing. The author exposes how humanities Ph.D.s may actually be more disadvantaged in the job market than people who only have bachelor’s degrees. Burdened with thousands of dollars in debt and no job skills, save the weak consolation of your knowledge of critical theory? Sigh. Maybe I’ll just get a master’s degree. (Slate)

Penguin Modern Book Classic Covers by Charlotte Trounce. I am going to keep posting re-designs of classic books until they stop making them. (The Fox Is Black)

First Roll of Film (In Almost 10 Years). Kristin’s babies are so beautiful. And so are her photographs! (Kristin Moore Photography)

How to Make Old Jeans New Again. Grace is so crafty. She wore that acid-washed vest number here and it looked pretty amazing in person. She also has a new blog! (Como Say What?)

Study: Seriously, Yoga’s Actually Pretty Good for You. I just like the headline. As if we needed more studies to tell us this. I just wish I liked yoga. I really want to. I’m just so terrible at it. (GOOD)

How to Start a Bad Novel. The winning sentence for this year’s Bulwer-Lytton prize. It’s pretty remarkable. I’m kind of shocked that Nelson DeMille didn’t write it. (The Hairpin)

This girl’s. Whose breakfast looks this delicious every morning?! WHOSE?? Cue envy. (Simply Breakfast)

Sneak Attack. I’ve never seen a dog actually hunt a cat before. But don’t worry, cat lovers: It ends well. (Animals Being Di*ks)

Generate Seamless Japanese Patterns. You can make your own origami paper… for your computer! (How About Orange)

Magic in the Water. How does this happen? Why is it so mesmerizing? (The Lighthouse Keeper)

Week 9: Studying for the GRE

In honor of my sister Grace, I am imposing a set of weekly challenges on myself. For 12 weeks, I will attempt a different “challenge” each week–to do one thing every day for seven days, ranging from serious to silly. At the end of each week, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cracking the GRE 2011, Princeton Review

In hindsight, perhaps this was a silly challenge. In the first chapter of my prep book, the authors tell you that it’s somewhat “useless” to try to study for the GRE for a period longer than six months. Seeing as I’m not even signing up to take the test any time soon, I might have wasted a week of challenges.

That said, however, I did learn a lot about this test that I didn’t previously know. For example, I had no idea that the test was computer adaptive (your next question will show up depending on how you answered the previous one). I didn’t know that the tests from August 2011 onward will allow you to use a calculator (yes!). I also didn’t know how surprisingly hard the vocabulary analogies are. No one uses these words. Henry James doesn’t even use them.

All in all, however, this week of “studying” with this prep book made me feel like I could take the GRE at some point and do decently well on it. So, that’s reassuring. What’s not reassuring is the fact that I don’t really know what I’d go to grad school for/think an English MA might not be worth the money. I still need to ponder these things.

Next week, I will be reminding myself that I once knew how to play the guitar!

Happy weekend!

Here at last! I’m excited. We might get to catch a film or two at the Virginia Film Festival that’s happening here this week, and we will get to spend lots of quality time with the Pratts and Granddad.

Back and forth about grad school still. Not too jazzed about it after reading this little piece in McSweeney’s: An Open Letter to my Abandoned MA Degree. The opening paragraph says it all:

Dear Abandoned MA English Degree,

We could’ve been big, MA English Degree. God damn huge! Working together, our forces finally combined with BA English Degree to form that ancient tripartite power of analysis, critical thinking, and original content. We could have taken the world by storm. There was no shortage to where we could have gone: non-paying internships at publishing houses, a PhD program, the list… well, the list kind of peters out there, but man, what we could’ve done in either of those, it would’ve really set the world aflame! But alas, here is where we must part ways. Two semesters into our supposed two year relationship I must take my leave from you.

And then there’s that exchange in “30 Rock”:

LIZ: We might not be the best people…
JACK: … but we’re not the worst:
LIZ, JACK [in unison]: Grad students are the worst!

So, today is a “no grad school” day. Tomorrow will probably be different. But today, I’m thinking, “Hey. I have a job. A pretty real job. It might not be super-fun or challenging, but I have a job. Which is more than most English MA’s can say.”

Also. OMG. This is the reason that I often wish I had straight hair and red hair. Catherine could totally do this; she’s the queen of chignons. Now that I finally found hair pins (not bobby pins, hair pins), I might try it. I’ve also been considering trying to straighten my hair every now and then. I feel like dry-ish winter is a good time to attempt such a daring and risky endeavor.

Until Monday, nerds!