Friday, September 30, 2005

Fashion Police on Campus

I think I must have been a puritan in another life. OK, really, I'm no prude, but the outfits that girls wear around this campus just spell out h-o b-a-g to me. At the very least, they are all very Britney Spears-inspired. What happened to the classic fashion of Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel? How about Banana Republic even? This campus has been taken over by teenage fashion queens who shop at Bebe, 5-7-9, and the juniors' department in Macy's (you know, where they play blaring "Usher" videos and have mannequins with mohawks). Of course, I suppose I should have expected to see this since I'm back to school with a bunch of late teens and early 20-somethings, but I don't remember seeing clothes like this back in 1992. This may be because I went to the school known as J. Crew U., and we were all a bunch of preppy little snobs, and it was also autumn in Ohio (ie: cold!)... so no one could really show skin even if they wanted to. But really, these girls have no sense of class at all --- here are a few examples of typical UofA outfits (I took clandestine photos with my digital camera):

The flared mini-jean skirt is a big favorite. Especially paired with large belt and skin-tight mini tank top. This tank top is actually better than most (many girls have bellies hanging out). This girl also has a good figure, which is not the norm. I just want to tell any woman with touching thighs (most of us) that they really should avoid this look.

Here is the mini-tank and mini-short look. Very popular as well. If you look closely at a larger scale of this photo, you can see the bottom of this girl's butt cheek. Actually, this girl is modest compared to some. I saw half a butt cheek sticking out of some micro-shorts yesterday. Not cool. Or classy.

Here is the babydoll dress. While not quite as popular as the mini flared skirt, it is also a rather common theme on campus. If you look like Heidi Klum, you can wear this. If you do not look like a supermodel (ie: belly and thighs), you should not wear this. Some girls pair this with jeans, but it's also (unfortunately) worn by itself.

Here is another version of the flared jean mini skirt. This one has been paired with a print tee, which are also very popular. She accessorized with a belt (cuts her off and doesn't match the outfit), sling bag, and flip flops. All are requisites to looking cool here. Or not.

Finally, here is the tini-tank paired with skin tight jeans. Fine if you have no belly. Not cool with a belly. (Sidenote: the lady behind this girl is wearing "mom jeans"!!!)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My cute niece Isabella

I have nothing interesting to say this evening (my day was really boring, like the movie Groundhog Day) -- class, swimming, homework. Thrills. So I am posting pictures of my super-cute 3-year old niece, Isabella, which I know my mother will appreciate since I don't think she's seen them yet. I took them when I stopped to visit my brother and his family in Denver in August (en route to Tucson). Isabella got this little Barbie Jeep as a hand-me-down from her cousin but doesn't realize the Jeep is broken. She thinks it's just to sit in to use the fake cell phone and doesn't realize it's supposed to drive around. Ha, kids --- so easy to fool!

Isabella making a very important call.

She looks just like her mom!

She meant business with this thing...

Monday, September 26, 2005

My studio

I've had a few requests for apartment photos, and here are two of the better pictures I have. These images show my living room AND bedroom, as I have to pull that futon out every night to sleep. I took the top photo from my galley kitchen, which has a little bar countertop overlooking the main room. There is also a hallway leading to the back of the apartment, where my closet and bathroom are located. All in all, it's pretty tiny, but it's perfect for grad school...

Just one quick note to say that I got a 90% (yes, an A!) on my Egyptian Arabic test that I was sure I either failed or got a C at best. So I'm really psyched right now! Woooo Hooo! And the best part is that I beat this obnoxious know-it-all in the class who only got an 87%. Hahahaha!

Ta-ta and ma'salaama!!!

My little living room/bedroom combo

Another pic of the other side of the room

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saturday night at the Melting Pot

I spent my Saturday evening at the Melting Pot with girls from my department. Shauna and Lindsey decided to bail on me at the last minute (damn them!) with the excuse of Shauna's pink-eye as a reason for not going. However, I've already bailed on about four things that have been planned for the department, and I was sure that one more "bail" would put me in "persona non grata" status. So I felt obliged. First of all, the fricking Melting Pot is about a 30-minute drive from my apartment (bad start, esp. since I was already late), and what else does getting there late mean? It means that you get the seat that's left at the table... ie: no choice of who you sit near. No more comment lest my website be discovered, but suffice to say it was a long meal with a group of girls I would normally not pay $26 to dine with. Ugggh. I am done with department functions.

So I left soon after dessert (Shauna and Lindsey called me and were laughing out loud at my situation during dinner) and headed over to Lindsey's apartment to see my traitor friends. They were happily watching "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," grrrr. Soon after, we got invited to play poker with the Indians next door so we headed over for a game or two. Guess who left the winner that night? Moi, thank you very much... although it was sheer luck really (I suck at bluffing).

I've spent today painting a wooden screen that I'm making, reading about Islamic law (really really boring), studying for my big Arabic mid-term tomorrow morning, reading about and writing a 5-page paper on medieval Cairo (really interesting, really!), and now taking a mini-break. Shauna and I also went to swim laps this afternoon at the pool.

Till the next time...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I have no resistance to peer pressure

It's official... I really have no resistance to peer pressure. What was that bit about me staying in last night and doing laundry and studying? Yes, well, it didn't happen because an hour after I settled into my pajamas, my evil friends, Shauna & Lindsey, called me from the bar and lured me out. The lure was 80s music night and a Corona waiting for me on the table.

Really, how could I resist? I'm proud to say that I still made it home and to bed by 1:30am (my goal), and it was actually really fun --- I danced like crazy with my girls and had a great time hanging out with our Indian guy friends (esp. dancing to Punjabi MC! --- which Shauna requested for "my birthday" and which the DJ was happy to announce. Yes, apparently I am also 23 now.) So here is the trio of trouble --- Shauna and me with little Lindsey sneaking in the photo. The goofy photos of Shauna and I are an attempt to camouflage her "pink eye" that she currently has. We thought that camera wink would appear playful, but it actually just appears a bit weird. Especially the one where I am about to start winking but haven't gotten there quite yet!!!

As a side note, my 22-year old best friends here had never heard of the song "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s when the DJ played it. I was singing/dancing along, and they were just looking at me like I was crazy. They had never heard of it before. My god, what a surreal moment.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Flat Tire Magnet

What is it with me and flat tires? Some women are man magnets, some women are shoe magnets, but I have the honorific title of flat tire magnet. No matter what car I have or for how long I have it, I will get a flat tire. Guaranteed. I might be at the highest most driving point on Mt. Rainier: flat tire. I might be driving home from visiting my mother in Reston, Virginia: flat tire. I might be driving with friends on a 4-wheel drive road in Big Bend National Park, Texas: flat tire (and totalled car, although that's another story). I might be coming home from a bachelorette party in Canada with a group of women in a large Suburban full of luggage en route to the airport: flat tire. I might be in a Turkish Fiat driving on a winding, two-lane road at midnight along the Mediterranean Sea: flat tire (sidenote - repaired by a very nice Turkish truck driver). But really, no matter where I am -- or who I'm with, I am destined to at least one to two flat tires a year. And today was my lucky day (again).

I won't bore you all with the story of how Lindsey had come to my apartment to record an Arabic dialogue and I was taking her home, but I did notice my car driving with trouble as I left my apartment's parking area. Yes, that is because I was driving on the rim. Well, luckily we didn't get far so I made it back to the parking lot, and with Lindsey's encouragement, I changed the tire myself! Of course, with all the flats I've had over the past years, it is no surprise that I knew how to change one, but I have to say that the temptation to call AAA was very strong. However, Lindsey thought I should do it myself, and I figured it would take AAA at least an hour to get to my place, so I saved time and went to work. My hands were black by the end, sweat was pouring down my front and back (100+ degree day today with no shade in our parking area), and I didn't figure out how to lift the jack easily until AFTER I'd changed the tire, but I did succeed in getting the donut on my old Honda.

I made it over to Discount Tire (which has a lot of guys literally running around... which, BTW, was very impressive b/c I felt like these guys were really hurrying to get our cars finished), where I discovered that my tire treads were actually in good condition (low mileage on my little ol' car), but the rear tires were from 1993! Isn't that comical? The guy looking at them could hardly believe it! Turns out the rubber on the side of the tires was so old that it finally just cracked open in the sun, and the other rear tire was halfway there. Well, thank god it decided to crack open in the parking lot and not on the highway! Anyway, I did get two new rear tires. (Front ones are from 2002, although I have no recollection of getting those...)

So there's today's tire story. Lindsey and Shauna are going dancing at a club with the Indian engineers tonight, but I am just knackered from my crazy week and am opting for a cozy night at home. Plus I want to get up early tomorrow and actually be productive. I'm making a wooden screen for my living room (I've built it but need to paint it) and I have boatloads of reading for my classes.

With no further ado... adieu.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Turk with Digestion Problems

There's a Turkish guy named Hikmet in my graduate department. He's very smart, taught English to university students in Turkey, and he's here on a Fulbright scholarship. He's also a modern guy and fairly attractive (or at least he used to be, until last week's conversation).

Last week, my friend Lindsey and I were studying for an exam when he approached us, clutching his stomach. One of us asked him how he was doing, and he said he had terrible diarrhea for a week. Hmm, interesting conversation starter. Lindsey just stared down at her papers while I tried to acknowledge my understanding of his dilemma by telling him (without a great amount of detail) that I once had a dicey situation at a carpet shop in Turkey and had to be rushed home in a taxi cab. Hikmet took this opening as a chance to tell me that while he was in class, he thought that "it was going to squirt out of my butt." (Think Ali G. as Borat here). At this point, I looked over at Lindsey, who looked like she wanted to disappear under the table. However, she offered that he should take Pepto-Bismol, and I suggested that he should try Immodium or Kaopectate, and he asked us to write these names down, as he had not heard of them before.

We did not hear about the issue again, until yesterday, when my neighbor Shauna walked home from class with him, and he told her all about his diarrhea problems and said it struck him again during class. Poor Shauna, desperate for a subject change, immediately moved on to more pleasant subjects, which apparently for Hikmet involved his girlfriend dumping him after she found his e-mail password and learned through his e-mails to other friends that he had no interest in marrying her. So, Hikmet has diarrhea and a broken heart. And we get to hear about it! Shauna has also noticed that Hikmet often uses the word "cock" in normal conversation, especially after a drink or two. We have all reached the conclusion that there is no English etiquette school in Turkey, and we're afraid of what we might learn about Hikmet next.

I am desperate for the weekend. Just to get a mini-break from school. I am so mad at myself for not dropping Egyptian Arabic when I had the chance. Ugggh. It is killing me. Otherwise, I have nothing interesting to add today. Oh, I watched the premiere of the 2nd season of "Lost" last night, and I have been geeking out on the Lost message boards all day. The coolest thing is Walt's backwards message. I might even be dorky enough to re-watch my videotape of the show to catch all the things that the "serious" chatroom people noticed that I did not.

Do you see what happens to you when your boyfriend is 2,500 miles away and you have no semblance of a life in grad school? Diarrhea stories and sad TV shows. Oh no!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Stories from the pool

I definitely did not do this much work in undergrad. I have very clear memories of my college days at Miami University... when I would ride my bike home from class at 2pm and then spend the rest of my afternoon watching Oprah and Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives with my roommates. This is what I thought my life would be like here in Tucson. But it's not. Damn. Maybe it's because I'm crazy enough to be taking 17 graduate credits. Maybe it's because I have become dumber as I've aged. Or maybe I am not as confident in my ability and actually feel the need to study this time around? Whatever the case may be, I am really busy. I've had major tests the last two days (up till 1:30am studying the Ottoman Tanzimat period and Iranian Tobacco Protests for a history test today) and now I have another damn Arabic test tomorrow. Plus I had to memorize a 3-minute dialogue to record (on video) for my Egyptian class. Agggh! It is never-ending!

I'm trying to come up with something more interesting to write about... hmmm. Well, tonight at the pool I had to share a lap lane with a girl who must have weighed at least 200 lbs. This was an interesting, up-close, underwater visual that I will not recount in detail, but I was impressed she was swimming. She actually swam for a quite a while and didn't stop, which I thought was good. I was at the pool last month when the police showed up. I asked the girls in the lane next to me what was happening, and it turns out that some naked guy was swimming around the "free swim" area. The girl on the other side of me was horrified b/c she had been talking to him for about a minute (he told her she had "red eyes from the chlorine") and never realized he was naked. I was trying to figure out how he got in the water without a bathing suit on, or if he took it off once he was in the water. He looked Arab or Pakistani, and apparently he had a foreign accent, but the police brought him a towel, forced him out of the pool (I did see that he was naked), and then gave him some sort of citation. Public indecency, I suppose. I personally found it pretty hilarious as long as the chlorine was working to kill any germs!

I'm really obsessed with watching my "Sex and the City" DVD collection again. I watched the whole series last year, but I feel like I'm watching it all for the first time again. Very good show with a lot of truths! I can't decide if I'm more like Miranda or more like Carrie. Sort of a mix. Yes, I am busy, but every girl needs a break now and then!

Otherwise my day was very very boring, and full of class and homework. God, I am dull these days.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What a crap day.

Really, my day has stunk. To the point that I'm listening to the Delgado's very depressing "American Trilogy" and thinking that it sounds cheery.

I had the worst insomnia last night, and when I finally got to sleep, I had to wake up and pee. And THEN, the shrub trimmer guy came around my apartment courtyard this morning at exactly 6:15am. What the hell?

I had Arabic class at 0815 so I got up and got ready for class. After class I had to study for my Egyptian Arabic (different class) exam that started at 1pm. My teacher for this class is absolutely insane about Arabic and made us memorize about 400 words (with vowelization, which is really hard by the way). The test was ALL translation and fill-in-the-blank, without a word bank, so you had to really know everything. God, I hate that. Not sure how I did. I'm hoping for a low B.

Then, my friend Lindsey was in a bit of a lather about the test so we chatted for a while before I peeled off to hit the swimming pool for a 30 minute swim (my only moment of peace all day, btw). Then, I had to race with wet hair (after drying off at the gym with the only towel in my bag... a tiny hand towel from my bathroom) to Starbuck's, where I was "hosting" the UofAz's weekly Arabic club meeting. This really means nothing more than that I had to take attendance of who was there. But still I had to commit to this thing from 4-6pm. Luckily there was a really cool guy there named Derek Lucky, who is 32 and very interesting and at my speaking level, so I spent the two hours getting to know him (he is married with a wife and kid if you wondered!).

Now I'm home after a dinner of pasta with pesto and a big bowl of butterscotch pudding (who ever said college enforces good eating habits?). Unfortunately, my idea of a relaxing night has been quashed by the fact that I have a massive test tomorrow at 11am for my Middle Eastern history class (ugggh, I haven't even started studying) and then I have to videotape myself doing a recorded dialogue for my Egyptian class in the afternoon. Oh, and I have a big Arabic 101 exam on Wednesday. Isn't my life fun?

And I left a good-paying job with great benefits and free nights and weekends -- why? I am clearly a masochist! Ah, for the love of learning...

Sorry this is so boring, but I'm feeling positively overwhelmed this evening!

More interesting tid-bits when I'm through with all the crap this week...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

My First Blog!

OK, so here I am with my first ever blog... my very cool neighbor, Shauna, introduced me to the art of online writing, and I figured this would be an easy way to communitcate with everyone I know.

Not sure I'll be able to write every single day, but I thought this would be a fun way to transmit some of the thoughts I've been having as a 31-year old returnee to college. At times, I feel like Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School"!

My what a change from my old life of 9-5 work in a cubicle farm! However, I spoke with my lovely former co-worker, Katy, on the phone yesterday, and I didn't feel bad at all that I left as she expressed the usual frustrations we've always had with our crap managers there. Uggh. I guess it makes my upcoming mid-terms worth it...

So, I've just been getting used to this sort of unscheduled, yet deadline-filled, life. Strange to wake up at 8 am yet continue to read in bed for a couple hours on a Thursday, as I sip coffee and nibble on a bagel before heading to my first class of the day at 11am. Stranger yet is trying to figure out how to use technology in college, which I didn't really have to do in 1992-96 (we were still using Brother word processors!). I'm still figuring out the library's electronic catalog, registering for classes on the internet, and putting money on my "Cat Card" student ID chip. What the hell is all of this complicated stuff?!? I can hardly believe how things have changed in just nine years. I saw a kid text messaging on his cell phone in class the other day and I couldn't believe how far advanced everything is now!

OK, I'm sounding older than I really am, but it's definitely a big change from nine years ago! Well, I am getting pretty tired. I was up till 3am last night learning how to play poker with 8 Indian guys from Bombay... my friend Lindsey lives in an apartment complex with these guys as her next door neighbors. They are all engineering PhD students and pretty funny too (seems unlikely, yes, but they are actually pretty cool!). So we played Texas Hold 'Em for a couple hours over beers and a bottle of wine that I split with Shauna. Wow, I never stayed up till 3 am in my old life! Hmmm, am I regressing or progressing? I am trying to figure this one out...

And on that note, I say good night.