Thursday, January 22, 2009

School, Food, Books, and More!

So much to say! So little space. I'm torn between writing several blog posts all in one effort, or to just pile it all in here. There are some bloggers who will post 10 posts in a day, clogging up the old Google Reader. There are others who will write a novel, making my brain bleed. So where is the happy medium? To be honest, I don't know. So for now, we'll just throw it all out there in a couple itty, bitty morsels of goodness.

Topic No.1: Food, Kashrut, and Weight Watchers
I'm back on the wagon with Weight Watchers online. It was about a year ago that I hopped on the bandwagon, I lost about 20-25 pounds, and I was feeling good about  myself. Now? Well, there's something about this weather that makes me want to lose weight. So I'm on again. The great thing about this, and how it ties into this blog, is that I'm making all efforts to go kosher. Tuvia has managed to pick up a variety of sets of silverware, baking dishes, plates, bowls, you name it. When we eat at his place, we do it kosher. Here in my dorm room, I'm pretty much pareve. I will do fish or veggies, but no meat, so I don't have to worry about much. I'm still actively reading Going Kosher in 30 Days , kindly granted to me by the folks over at the Jewish Learning Group, but I'll just say that it hasn't been 30 days. It's a longer process -- a much longer process. I have oodles of questions for people about dishes and the kitchen, for one. It's so easy here, but it's difficult at Tuvia's (at least, I think it is). So what would you say about the following:

  • How do you keep track of what baking pans/pots/etc. are Meat and what are Dairy/Pareve?
  • Do people have different dishes/silverware/etc. for Pareve? Or just use Dairy?
  • Do you wash them separately in the dishwasher? All together?
  • What's your policy on the oven and cooking dairy and meat at separate times?
  • How do you make the kitchen work like clockwork while trying to make everything not mesh?!

So, it seems like a lot, I know. But I now understand why Jews are keeping the toss-away aluminum baking-pan business and paper plate/plastic silverware businesses in business. I mean, it just makes life easier. This is why I like my vegetarian/pareve way of life. It's just easy. And for me, it's all about ease. Or maybe it's not supposed to be easy? I suppose that could be the Jewish way.

Topic No. 2: Chavi's Academic Life, or A Class Breakdown!
I know my readers just LOVE to hear what's going down in my academic life. So I thought I'd fill you in on the classes I'm taking this semester. 

Class No. 1: I'm once again doing Modern Hebrew, which after one day already has me overwhelmed. I'm going to try my hardest to get to an Ulpan this summer so I can brush up and really be ready for a second year as a master's student. I want to be able to read the texts in their original and to really be able to participate in class. But so far, everything is NOT coming back to me at a quick pace, which has me quite nervous. 
Class No. 2: Probably my most challenging class, Talmudic Historiography and Midrashic Thought is a graduate seminar that will definitely make me think. The amount of reading alone might kill me, but it's very much up the alley of what I want to be doing. Keeping up with the professor and some of the more advanced students, though, might stress me out unnecessarily. Add to this that the course reserves aren't yet on reserve and the books are expensive and the library is slow ... oy. My mind is already ready to explode. This will be another last-minute semester with me trying to figure out which of 20 topics I want to write a term paper on. I can't wait. 
Class No. 3: My third and final course shouldn't be too difficult, but it could prove to be more challenging than I think. It's with an adjunct professor (a new, original face, huzzah!), and it is the Ancient Near East taught using the Tanakh as a frame to analyze the rest of the Near East. I think it'll be interesting, considering it's an undergrad course with about 50 people in it, many who scoffed at the idea of using the Hebrew Bible as a source book. I'll let you know how it goes, but the class relies on a 20-page paper that I will surely rock. I just have to figure out what to write about ... something obscure, perhaps. Maybe looking or focusing more on archeology. I could, of course, just write more about Ba'al and calf figurines ... cross-cultural review? Who knows.

You like how I have things divided up like a nice little paper or outline? Welcome to my world. I have to think of everything as a finely organized outline, and I'm very much NOT an outline kind of person.

As an aside, there's a delicious little book by Joel M. Stein on its way to me (which I hope to review amid all the serious academic books that I'm reading) called "Webstein's Dictionary: The Essential Guide to Yiddishizing Your Life." OyChicago did a nice little write-up on it, and you can actually buy the book over on Pop Judaica. If you want to wait and see what I think, feel free. Either way, it'd probably be a stellar gift or a hilarious coffee-table companion.

At any rate, this is all for now. In the morning, thanks to the suggestion of Tuvia, I should have a d'var Torah on this week's parshah. It's wishful thinking, maybe, but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of looking at the Torah portion each week on Fridays between Hebrew and Ancient Near East. Until then, be well!