Really. Even though it's been one of the longest lulls on my blog. When I'm on the computer, I'm looking for an assistantship or ordering books or reading for a class or trying to find the bus route to somewhere or downloading the latest episode of "Project Runway" (which I have become totally addicted to, and I'm calling it right now: Michael, Jeffrey, and Laura in the final three), and when I'm not doing one of those things, I don't want to be on the computer.
A lot has gone on the past week, so I'm not sure where to start. I guess with thanking everyone for the birthday wishes. It was a lowkey affair---mostly ran errands and unpacked and then went on a small scavenger hunt in the pouring, pouring rain. But at the end of the hunt was a very yummy cake and a gift certificate for goodies from a French bakery, so it was worth it.
Since then, well, wow . . . I've been getting to know Madison, or at least the eastern part of it. I love having a park just two blocks away so I can sit outside on nice days (although I miss having a balcony so I can sit outside at home!), and I've been spending a lot of time at the coffeehouses on State Street (for the Austinites, State is like S. Congress but without the traffic). I'm trying to spend at least a few hours every day outside of the apartment so I don't go completely stir crazy. As a side benefit, all my exploring has been great exercise. I've lost at least five pounds since I've been here. Although I may have gained it all back at Taste of Madison today! This weekend, a bunch of restaurants have set up booths around the Capital Square and are selling samples from their menus for just a few dollars. I had hush puppies, custard with caramel and hot fudge, crab rangoon, pad thai, and coconut shrimp (all but the custard were shared with two other girls---I'm not that piggish!). The festival is just about three blocks from me, so I may go back tomorrow if I can work up the courage to try deep fried cheese curd!
What else is there to say? I've had two interviews for assistantships; one I didn't get, the other I'm still waiting to hear back from but I'm not getting my hopes up. I have a work study set up, though, at a media literacy organization, so I'll at least have some income soon. I thought that my old job was going to throw me some freelance work, but so far they aren't coming through.
I've finally starting meeting some people. This past Tuesday and again this morning, I went to a knitting group. And yesterday, I took an orientation tour of the campus where I met two people from my program, as well as a couple others from various programs. So, yay! It was nice to commiserate with the others in the anthropology program; none of us has funding or an assistantship and we all have more reading than can be humanly done in one semester. We're very jealous of the other programs where the students are getting full funding and stipends and will finish in five to six years instead of six to ten years (and that's only if we take four courses a term, one more than full-time). What have I gotten myself into? And why aren't I in library school?
Another good thing: Rowen and I found a dog park. Actually, we were shown the dog park by a very nice woman who helped me out when Rowen freaked on a hike/bike trail along Lake Monona and decided that she absolutely, positively would not move from the fishing pier. After at least 20 minutes of trying to cajole, trick, and drag her off the pier, the nice woman came along with her dog and we got Rowen to follow the other dog down the trail and to the dog park. Thank goodness. Let me tell ya: Rowen may only be 40 lbs, but when she gets stubborn, she might as well be 40 tons.
The living situation is still less than good. My landlord has gone MIA, which is really frustrating. I don't have a lease with his signature on it---not good in general and really annoying when I need that to get a parking permit, which I would have liked to have done before classes start. And the list of repairs for the apartment is getting longer, although I'm not holding out much hope that any of it will get done. I'm considering repainting one of the rooms myself; it's a horrible seafoam green that looks terrible against my wall decorations. I was thinking of doing a light latte or khaki, something more colorful than the basic apartment beige but still neutral. But if some of the other repairs don't get made and the noise issue doesn't improve, I may be looking to get out of my lease at the end of this term, so . . .
And, yes, the noise is still a big problem. I apparently am living on a block with a lot of undergraduates. The house next to mine is host to myriad parties, as well as some romantic liaisons (or porn viewings, I can't really testify to which and I really don't want to know). The girls directly above me continue to think that the wee hours are the best time to rearrange the furniture, and the girl in the other upstairs apartment has a boyfriend who is fond of showing up at 3 in the morning, drunk and shouting because he smashed up his cell phone after a fight (which I know because after he spent ten minutes shouting for her, the girl came downstairs, let him in, and had a row with him right outside my door, and did I mention that this was all at 3 IN THE MORNING?!). No one seems to be able to shut a door without slamming it or walk on the stairs without stomping. I finally ran into the landlord this morning and asked him to speak with the girls and his answer was for me to call the police. Gee, thanks.
At least if I do have to move again soon, I'm only half unpacked. There are still boxes and piles of stuff everywhere.
So anyway, that's the rambling update from here. I have photos, but I'm too lazy today to post them. I didn't get a ton of sleep last night thanks to the Drama Girl and her boyfriend, and I've been running around all day today---the knitting group and then Taste of Madison.
Only two more days of freedom!