Tuesday, March 22, 2011

stress, pasta, and bit o' recognition

It's nearly 1 a.m. and I am blogging. It's nearly 1 a.m. on a day when I worked at 6.30 a.m. after only sleeping 3 hours, and I am blogging. I did have a little nap this afternoon, but not much. There's so much work to do and I am really overwhelmed and not doing well at channeling this energy into work, so I'm reverting to one of my favourite tactics: get the fingers moving on the keys, any way I can. Then get back to work.

So here's a blog in 3 parts.

Partie Une: Stress
(Does one say "partie une" or "partie un?" Partie has got to be feminine, right? But 'une' still looks wrong. Francophones, please advise.)

This course I am taking, on British Romantic Lit, is way more stressful than I thought it would be. I've read most of the material before, written papers on most of the material before, and liked most of the material before, but something about this course is not working for me. I don't feel like I'm connecting to the material the way that my professor wants us to. I don't know. I'm just not handling it well. I have to do all this work by Thursday and I need to go to the library tomorrow, which I hate, and beyond the library and the research, I have to reread Frankenstein for Thursday's class and write a final draft of my research proposal, because that's due too, and oh, I basically have to leave directly from class on Thursday to get to the airport because I'm going to San Francisco for the weekend.

The other source of stress is my thesis, aka the book on my trip across Canada. It was my goal for the semester to get a first draft done, but the semester ends with April, and between thesis and the research project, I'm not sure if this is possible. True, there have been times when I haven't worked as hard on my thesis as I should have, but overall, I have been working pretty consistently. And when I've let my thesis sit for a few days in a row, it hasn't been due to slacking off, it's just been to prioritize other deadlines.

Anyway, the present deadline I have is to deliver a chunk of work to my adviser tomorrow. Hence being awake and heavily caffeinated at 1 a.m. I wanted to give her Ontario and Qu├ębec, but I have 17 pages on Ontario and I'm not done yet. It's a big province and I was there for a long time. So I guess it will just be Ontario and I will view the deadline as another failure. Well, half failure.

My problem is that if I stay up all night writing, I'll get Ontario written, but then will I have the energy to go to the library and read Frankenstein and write the proposal and pack for San Fran and get up at 5 a.m. again on Thursday for another early day? If I can make it through class and if I can get to the airport on time, I'll have a long plane ride to catch up on sleep, but that was going to be designated reading time so I had less to worry about in SF, where I wanted to actually enjoy the city. Then again, it's supposed to rain all weekend, so maybe having reading material in SF isn't such a bad idea.

And oddly enough, writing all of this out has made me feel a little less stressed. At least I have organized my stress now, pinpointed the sources, you know. I think that counts for something. But moving on...

Partie Deux: Pasta
I love pasta in restaurants. I always have. One of my first grown-up, not ordered off the kids' menu meals was fettucine alfredo at the Olive Garden. I think I was 5. It was a huge deal. I had to split it with an adult, of course, but it was love at first bite for me and pasta.

So when I moved to Michigan and into my first apartment, it was natural that I should turn to pasta. It's easy to make, and it can be prepared in single serving sizes very easily. I defaulted to the packets of pesto that you mix with olive oil and milk for sauces, but occasionally switched it up with a bottled tomato sauce or the alfredo packets.

When I moved back to Chicago, I went shopping with my mom at Sam's Club to stock up on foods that I could buy in bulk, since I didn't have a car and there wasn't a full grocery store within walking distance of my first apartment in the city. One of the things I bought was a 5 lb. monster bag of pasta. And since that was before I knew about how taking 9 hrs of grad credits was a huge rip-off, I was so painfully broke that year. I ate pasta all. the. time. No matter how much I ate, the amount of spaghetti in the bag never decreased. The pasta stopped tasting good, but I felt like I didn't have a choice. Then one night, it backfired. The pasta actually made me gag and I couldn't force down anymore. And I still had at least 2 lbs of that freaking bag of spaghetti left.

It's been like this for two years, friends. Sure, I still love pasta in an Italian restaurant, but at home, I haven't been able to stomach it. I tried different brands of pasta, different sauces, but everything made me gag. It's been rough.

But this week, I had a breakthrough. I don't know why, but on Monday night, I was wandering aimlessly in the grocery store, and I found myself in the pasta aisle. It had been a while since I'd tried it, so I thought I'd give it another go. I ended up trying a new noodle, one I'd never cooked at home before: ROTINI. Rotini is fun and whimsical and cooks in 3.5 minutes! Win-win-win! I paired it with tomato florentine sauce and I loved it. Now I just have to make sure I don't overdose on rotini. Don't worry, I bought a small box.

Partie Trois: A Bit o' Recognition
The ladies at Ice-Dance.com and I definitely do not keep the site going for recognition. We don't do it for thanks, and we don't get paid for it. We just do it because we love skating, especially ice dance. For me, personally, it is linked to a possible career path that I am exploring, but IDC honestly isn't about furthering my own goals or anything like that. I guess I feel some sort of responsibility to share our coverage with the World Wide Web because I know that we do a good job. I'm floored by the talent and dedication of the dancers that we photograph and write about, and I want to honour them, too. We all have a sense of pride in what we do.

So for friends that aren't as heavily invested in the skating world as I am, the short story is that the World Championships were supposed to be this week, in Tokyo. For obvious reasons, they have were postponed. Last week, there was a ton of press about what the options were, so the IDC Staff decided to weigh in. We all had ideas and the article we wrote was passed between all 4 of us before it finally went online. I didn't do any of the rough draft work because I had the first draft of my proposal due last week, but I spent a couple of hours composting the various drafts, throwing in a few more thoughts, and piecing together the final version. So we published the article and did what we usually do—posted links to the IDC Facebook and Twitter accounts. A couple of people said nice things about it on the thread on FSU (skating's main discussion forum) on the subject of Worlds, but shortly after we published, a delusional Virtue & Moir bandwagoner hijacked the thread. And we moved on. The news kind of slowed over the weekend and we all had various things happening, so I was happy with what we'd put together, but I wasn't really thinking about it on Saturday night when I opened an email from Daphne, the IDC administrator.

It turned out that PJ Kwong, Skate Canada announcer and commentator and author, had read the editorial we'd written, had loved it, and had written a blog about it. Okay...whoa. Not expecting that.

Even though we're all really proud to be associated with IDC and we know that we do quality work, we're still underdogs in the media world. People keep getting their media from the web more and more, but web media is still the last one invited to the table. We're the first to get our credentials cut when we're short on space. I don't know about the other federations, since I've only covered big events in Canada, but Skate Canada prints out articles and clips newspapers and puts things on the wall in the media center at its big competitions. But they only print and clip from newspapers, not websites. Well, one of my photos made it onto the wall at Nationals this year—but it was uncredited, stolen by one of the Victoria newspapers off of the IDC website and printed without my consent. They were even careful enough to crop my name off the edge of the photo. So not quite the same thing.

In conclusion...I don't do this for recognition, but it feels really, really nice to get a bit of recognition on occasion. Thanks, PJ Kwong. You've always seemed like a really nice person.

And not to overexpose myself, but I really am proud of the joint effort that brought about this editorial, so if you'd like to read it, it's here.

And with that, my fingers are clearly moving across the keys with no problem at all, so it's back to Ontario.

1 comment:

  1. "Partie Un" :) Partie is feminin, but because "un" is referring to a number, it stays "un" not "une" :)