Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'll Take the Tanker of Coffee Now, Please

I give you, the tanker truck of coffee, spotted on I-84 near Hartford.

I must apologize to my readers, friends, lurkers, and other blogging types for my lack of presence over the past week, especially when it comes to reading your blogs and responding with appropriately Chaviva-esque comments. What have I been up to? A lot. A whole lot.

Aside from my regular coursework -- which includes (for one class) reading a book or so a week plus various primary sources, in addition to (for a second class) lots of reading and more reading and some more reading of yummy things about the Samaritans and the Ptolemies, and, of course, Hebrew work and general office work of book inventorying -- I've been thrown the setup for our graduate exam, which is in and of itself wretched. Now, being an academic I'm secretly thrilled about the work and reading; I'm merely in shock and distress about the volume of it. Typically, students will receive the corpus of reading in their first semester, not their fourth. So I'm in "holy crap" mode right now. Pardon the ever-present kvetching.

Additionally, Tuvia and I decided it would be a most outstanding idea to invite over a ton of people for a Super Bowl viewing. Last year we had four or five friends over, and it was quiet and cozy and I really didn't pull out all my Jewish mother stops to feed the masses with thirty different types of chips and dips. This year, however, I went all out. After all, we were inviting over upwards of 20 people and expecting at least 14 to 16 to show up. So what did I do? Well, I made a big batch of pasta and threw it into the crock, I made a spicy veggie chili, I made a giant red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting with my new cake pan, I made a delicious batch of Chocolate Cheerio Marshmallow Bites, and then we bought a bunch of dips, sliced a bunch of cheese, put out gobs of veggies and fruit, and filled bowls full of a half-dozen varying types of chips. Yes, it was a ROYAL spread, fit for a Superbowl King. It just took a long time to put together and perfect -- I am, after all, a perfectionist OCD-aholic. I'll admit, it was loads of fun. Having all of our closest friends over to partake in food and a good game was honestly one of the best things we've done in a long time. I really felt like it gave us a chance to pay back the community, in the best way we know how, for the kindness they've shown us with food, lodging, and friendship. We seriously have the best friends on the planet.

Wedding Dresses
Oh, and then there was the pre-kickoff wedding dress viewing that actually ate up most of the first two quarters. I didn't realize we were upstairs that long, and the game truly was flying by. But this was the wedding dress that I purchased online. Yes, I bought a wedding dress ONLINE. I never saw it in person, I didn't know it's dimensions exactly, I had no idea how it would look or feel beyond the photo of the girl on the website, who, by the way, was about 50 sizes smaller than me. But I had an instinct. It was the first gown I found online when I started looking, and after perusing many other gowns, I was still stuck on this first one. I emailed my two best buddies up in the Great White North, and they agreed it was stunning. So I bought it. Then it came, about three days later (talk about quick shipping -- most wedding gown sites make you wait upwards of 20-40 days for the dress), and I had approximately three additional days to figure out whether it was right. Yes, the online wedding dress business is cut-throat, and they keep their claws in you as long as they can. So the Superbowl Sunday party was perfect as far as timing goes. We all crawled up the stairs, I stripped, and the dress was on and zipped in seconds. The reaction? Completely positive. And then? The "tuck this here!" and "tuck that there!" comments came. I am lucky to say that I am blessed, absolutely blessed, with seamstress-minded lady friends. These women, after expressing their love of the dress, were all ready to point me in the direction of a seamstress/tailor and get the job done -- there was no way I was returning this gown. I expressed my concerns to them -- Tzniut? Length? Fit? The answers were that the tzniut was perfectly modest, the length could be fixed (the dress was MADE to be tailored like a charm), and the fit was perfect for my figure.

So it's decided. I, Chaviva Edwards, purchased a wedding gown online, from a store out West where nary a Jew probably lives, and I am keeping it with utter and absolute pleasure. Yes, I am an online dress purchasing success story! You, too, can buy a wedding dress online and be satisfied!

My only beef? I returned a slip that I bought but definitely don't need (for poof's sake), and it cost me a whopping $30+ to ship back. Is that worth it? Probably not. I'll get back, in the end, about $30 for my troubles. My advice? Don't buy a slip online until you absolutely know that you'll need it.

So I'm pleased. I had a million friends over, fed them successfully, decided on a dress that I absolutely love, finished a bunch of editing that leaves me with only two more weeks of such editing, and I just submitted an application for a fellowship assuming I get into NYU or UMD for further studies. It has been a truly, truly productive three days. Oh! I also cleaned out my inbox. Thank heavens. I was about to lose my mind.

I guess, my point, then, is that everything is doable. It takes time management, sleeping about four hours a night, and a passion to have things just how you want them right when you want them. I'll take my little successes when I can get them. I couldn't ask for anything more. And when all else fails, there's always that tanker truck of coffee!

(For what it's worth, that tanker truck actually said "PILOT" on the side. It was a clever ploy by the popular roadside gas station chain! From a distance, it looks like it just says "COFFEE." Upclose, however, it mentioned something about them having the best roadside coffee. Clever!)