In a life that has been…

In a life that has been so much about transparency, speaking out, and attempts at courage, I am finding it more than a little challenging to learn diplomacy and discretion, which seem essential to an academic career (and possibly to life as a grown-up in general). I'm working on it, but it's not so easy.

In other news, I finished my grading last night but managed to leave it at home this morning (duh!) -- thankfully, my students seem to have forgiven me. Other than that, classes are going well. I've decided to ditch a bit of the Lahiri so I can squeeze in some Filipino-American stories from Her Wild American Self or Scent of Apples-- my course was a bit S. Asian-heavy, and when I cut the Bulosan, somehow I didn't realize that left no Filipino-American work on the syllabus. The lack will be remedied.

I do have a question for y'all that maybe you can help me with. Why is it that immediately after sitting down with Kevin and going through our budget, figuring out where we can trim a bit of fat, I immediately go right out and buy unnecessary holiday decorations? I felt absolutely compelled, I tell you. And yes, the pumpkin and the bouquet of bittersweet are delightful (and should last for weeks, so frugal as well in some sense), but the little witch on a broomstick statue was really a bit over the top. So damn cute, but still. I saw it, and all my willpower just disappeared.

Maybe I just need to stay out of stores (and off Amazon) entirely for a while.

13 thoughts on “In a life that has been…”

  1. Re: Lahiri…I read The Namesake and was really unimpressed. Are her short stories better?

    Me, I’m a sucker for seasonal candy. Mellowcreme pumpkins, peanut butter pumpkins, bite-size Kit-Kats. Anything. I get it.

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    I’m a candy corn gal, myself. 🙂

    I was also pretty frustrated with _The Namesake_, but I love a couple of Lahiri’s short stories, and in general, I think they’re much better than the novel. “A Temporary Matter” and “This Blessed House” are both great stories, and I’m also quite fond of “Sexy” — all from _Interpreter of Maladies_. Haven’t read her new collection yet.

  3. I am afraid to even think about budgeting for that very reason. It makes me feel financially claustrophobic, as best as I can figure out, and has precisely that effect on me. I spend much more than I would have otherwise.

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    What I’ve been finding in the past three months (since buying Quicken and starting to actually budget for the first time in my life), is that I initially have a rebound after setting the new, more restrictive budgeting guidelines…but then I adapt to the new plan. So that while I still go over budget every month (sigh), I’m going over budget by a little *less* every month too. Which is something.

    This month’s challenge: keep the grocery shop to $100/week, including food for Ellie.

  5. I find that diplomacy and discretion are the most detestable parts of my job, diplomacy especially. It’s too bad there’s no way to be fully ourselves and still have good work…or is there?

  6. Hi,

    I’m curious about what you didn’t like about the namesake, did you feel the same about the book and the movie?

    I just read Unaccustomed Earth and really enjoyed, what did you think of the latest collection?

  7. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Haven’t read UE yet, though I hear it’s better than IofM, so looking forward to it. With the Namesake, I actually thought the movie was quite good — I though Nair took the best parts of the book for her movie.

    For the book, I loved what Lahiri did with the parents, but the whole second generation didn’t work for me. It felt like she was moving Gogol through a series of relationships in order to make political points. Didn’t feel organic or believable. Frustrating.

  8. I did like both, but understand your point about Gogol’s relationships, I especially didn’t like the portrayal of Mooshumi (forgot sp?)

    I do like her work, but always wondered if other folks thought it was a fair representation of the culture – but then it is so difficult for one to speak for everyone.

    Love to know your thought on UE when you read it.

    BTW, also kicking off a freelance writing career – two whopping sales so far, but I’m thrilled nonetheless. As you said, nice addition to the income. Do you find the Writer’s Market online more valuable than print?

  9. Trying to keep the grocery bill under $100??

    Have you been to a Pete’s Supermarket? I go to the one on Cermac, just west of Western. It is clean and has the most wonderful fresh fruits and veggies at a fraction of the cost of Whole Foods, Jewel Osco, and Dominick’s. Excellent selection too! And they have a huge fresh deli and meat section. I find all of Pete’s items are cheaper than say, Dominick’s and Jewel Osco – and you don’t need a store membership. It is a bit of a drive for you, but I think it could be worth it.

    I also get my bread, dry goods, butter, milk, apple juice, and kids’ diapers/pull ups at Wal-Mart on North. It is worth my drive over there if I get 2 bottles of their apple juice.

  10. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Simone, so far we seem to do okay at Jewel if we just pay attention (and maybe plan one meal a week around rice and lentils and a veggie, rather than meat meat meat. 🙂 But I’ll keep that option in mind…

  11. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Veronica, re WM online — it was just easy, since I was at home and impatient. It also only lists paying markets, which simplifies the process, and has a search engine, also nice.

    WM print was a great resource when I was just starting, though.

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