Femme FATale


the moratorium is over.
December 9, 2008, 11:48 pm
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the title of this post should say it all. the moratorium on blogging and other fun and enjoyable things is officially over! monday night, i took my oral preliminary exam and passed! i am now an official ph.d. candidate and considered “all but dissertation” (ABD)! resuming normal life starts now!

blogging is not the only thing that has been put on the backburner in the last few months because of these horrific exams. socializing, laundry, moving generally beyond the 625 sq. ft. of my apartment (or library), are all other examples. seriously, i leave to see my family and friends back east in a week and my apartment has never been messier. life has been on hold far too long because of these things.

i miss being physically around my friends here in minneapolis. i’ve seen folks here and there and i’ve been to others’ houses for dinners and movies and thanksgiving, but no one’s been in my apartment since october. i realize that sounds pathetic, but when things got intense with writing my papers, my whole way of keeping up my apartment just took a nose-dive. i think it’s because it’s the one thing i *can* allow to slip, so it does. alas, i’m preparing to teach my last class of the semester tomorrow and then, for days on end, i will be armed with laundry detergent and pine sol in order to get this place livable again.

in the midst of all this stress and letting my apartment go to hell, i’ve never been closer connected to friends and family. there are folks out there in this world who, no matter what time of day and no matter with what frequency, high or low, allowed me to call them excited and hyper after too much coffee or crying and sniffling over what i assumed would be my academic decline. i owe so many thank you’s to the folks who got me through. allow me a few shout-outs, no?

my post-exam acceptance speech: (ahem!)

* to my parents, who don’t read this, but who i absolutely must acknowledge. i think we’re closer than we’ve been in a while because i called you nearly every day for weeks just to hear the encouragement and support in your voices even when we were talking about banal things like christmas, living wills, and the downstair bathroom renovation. mom, i’m sorry i bugged you so incessantly, but you make me feel better when no one else in the world can. knowing i make you proud is what’s most worth it. dad, i know you’ll never understand that what i’m writing is a dissertation and that it’s a lot different than my undergraduate “thesis,” which is how you repeatedly refer to it. still, the best part of passing monday night was calling you right after, when you were working on the trucking dock, and you yelled and cheered so loud that all the other guys on the platform knew i passed and they beeped the horns of their 18-wheelers and forklifts in congratulations. i will never forget the pride in your voice.

* to kelley, i’m finally getting around to giving you the address to this blog and with perfect timing. now i can say ‘thank you’ without breaking down into tears on the phone. i’ve never doubted the power of our friendship almost 10(!!!) years old now, but you reminded me why you will forever be so important to me. thank you for letting me sing entire songs to you that night i was losing my mind. thank you for telling me silly stories and rehashing all four years of college in order to take my mind off of the present. thank you for nearly getting into a throwdown with your boss monday night when you squealed with delight over my exams during the office holiday dinner party at a fancy pants restaurant. you’re the best surrogate sister a girl could have. family indeed, genius OF MY LIFE. xo.

* to emily, for being supportive and loving two time zones away. thanks for allowing me the occasional freak out phone call, my bombarding questions over gchat, and for not allowing me to wallow or be as self-deprecating as i probably would have liked to have been at times. you’ve always taken such good care of me – from first year to now – and you somehow still manage to do that even all the way over there in san francisco. i miss you way more than i can ever say. thanks for my surprise celebratory dinner. nothing says “you passed!” like pizza luce. you’re truly the best.

* to e, i’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, for all of our drama, you still know me more than most and know how to comfort me truly as a result. thanks for the much needed distraction of your neverending shoe dilemma, the oh-so-helpful and last minute study session over this past weekend and the reassuring phone call right before i went in. you are the only person i texted when i was waiting for the verdict to hear if i passed. that must mean something, no? xoxo.

* to all the other folks, some who read this and some who don’t, but who nonetheless i’m so grateful for: grandma, katie b., jasmine, porter, becky, uncle david & john, ricky, kandace, diane, bevin, and victoria (who sent me the most amazing femme-inspired care package ever!). special thanks also to leo, freedomgirl, kyle, sublime femme, and others for keeping me in your thoughts and leaving comments/sending emails of support and encouragement. love, love, love to all of you.

i worked harder than i’ve ever worked before these last few months and for all the effort i passed an academic milestone and simultaneously was reminded of the epic amounts of love and support i have in family, friends, and community. i am so thankful for all of you.

i’m sure that to some this whole post is going to seem dramatic and maybe it kind of is, but i’m too elated to really care right now. i’m happy and excited and *relaxed* for the first time in weeks. i’m savoring all of this and making it last as long as i can.

…in fact, until further notice, you can all refer to me as ph.d.-elect, hussy red!

xoxo.



stunning.
November 5, 2008, 1:23 pm
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what a beautiful family, our new first family.



why i love my family
September 30, 2008, 9:49 am
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my mother’s family is embroiled in an ugly inheritance-related battle right now. my poor grandmother is alive to have to witness the insane greed of one of her sons and the ways in which it will change her family’s relationships forever. after a really explosive family meeting at my grandmother’s on sunday where my father and my mom’s brother nearly came to physical blows (which, what?!), my parents came home and told me all the gritty details. we sat around the kitchen table quietly for a few seconds and then it started…and by “it”, i mean endless references to the godfather. because in times of crisis, really, what else is an italian-american family supposed to do?

begin scene.

mom: well, i guess we all know what this means…it’s time to go to the mattresses!

dad: yeah, too bad he doesn’t have a horse we could behead and stick in his bed!

me: we could always just send him a wrapped up fish?

mom: what??

me: you know! “it’s a sicilian message. it means luca brazzi sleeps with the fishes!”

dad: cue godfather voice, “my boy! look what they did to my boy!”

mom: “leave the gun! take the cannolis!”

me: whistling the godfather theme song.

end scene.



new jersey = <3
September 25, 2008, 1:30 pm
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i have two homes. i have my minneapolis apt. and then i have my parent’s house in new jersey. i’m 27 and have been living outside of their house since i’m 18, but i still call my parent’s house “home” more than i do anywhere else i live. in a bunch of ways it is, of course, because they’re here, but in more ways jersey is just home.

i’ve spoken about my love for minneapolis on here before and none of that has changed. it’s my favorite city i’ve lived in since leaving for college in 1999; it’s pretty queer friendly, there’s always lots going on, and it’s city-ish, but not metropolis like nyc (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the day and what i’m on a hunt for around town). and i feel comfortable in minneapolis, like i’ve grown to know my way around and feel sentimental about certain aspects of it’s architecture or it’s lakes or it’s just general midwestern charm. i swear that when i imitate the accent i do it lovingly.

but even with my love for minneapolis, it will always come second to the whole northern half of the state of new jersey. from new brunswick to the very tip top town of sussex, everything in between is familiar, but in the weirdest of ways. new jersey has a reputation for being crude and trashy and having really obnoxious drivers. it’s the worst parts of us, but it’s also pretty true. from the second i stepped foot into newark airport yesterday, i felt this total shift in myself. within seconds, i was in line to go to the restroom and it was pure chaos, but in the nicest ways that made me smile from ear-to-ear. some lady behind me was singing old school lauryn hill at the top of her lungs, the mom in front of me was spit-washing the face of her daughter and scolding her saying, “whaddya want your grandmother to think we don’t raise you right?!” and some old woman was cursing out the paper towel dispenser for being empty. swoon.

when i was done primping and fixing my (big, hairsprayed) coif, i went to exit past another group of folks waiting in line. some woman with a 3ft. tall doll was blocking the exit, talking to someone several ppl up on the line about how great her doll was (it was frightening, really) and despite my attempts at “excuse me,” just continued to ignore me and talk about how full the doll’s skirt was and how her eyelashes felt like real hair. the last part did me in. i gave the woman the hardest of looks i could muster and blurted out, “really lady?! are you going to stand here all day and block the door because of your doll?! jesus christ!” needless to say she moved.

readers, i know this makes me sound like a total asshole and maybe i am, but jersey rubs off on me in these ways that makes me remember i don’t have to keep everything nicey nice all the time like we do in the land of hot dishes and 10,000 lakes. for some reason, the romance i have with home allows me to see public swearing as delightful and spitting on the sidewalk as almost awww-inducing. seriously, i’m in love with this place and my heart swells when i’m here. oh, minneapolis, i might not come back this time.



taking space, taking time.
September 21, 2008, 12:32 am
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it’s been a rough week and so i haven’t written much. things have been crazy busy, as i’m preparing to go back east for a week and some to attend nolose and then to visit my family in nj and nyc. my best friend, kelley, is coming to visit my family and i in jersey for a few days, which will no doubt be good for the soul.

as i mentioned in my post a week or so ago, i’ve been having a lot of heaviness on my mind in regards to identity issues, not so much personally as much as how we’re all capable of getting caught up in labeling people based on what we want them to be in this queer community of ours. the range in severity of this can span from a minor offense to something tragic and hurtful, but either way i’m finding it so tiresome lately. more on this later as i develop it. i think i feel, in ways, responsible for some of the above mentioned stuff that i’m seeing in my own life and the lives of those around me and i want to figure out my own place in it before i spew on and on about it.

i’m working on these new methods of really trying to be self-reflexive about the things that bother me, partially spawned by my friendship with e, who maybe will always feel like more than a friend. we both have tempers that are quick to burn, so in the interest of trying to keep our shit on lock this year, we’re being more and more patient with one another and more cognizant about taking time and space when we need it to think our shit through. it’s been working well so far and i feel closer to her than i have in a while which is nice.

i’m finding out more and more lately that one of the most loving things we can do for each other is to know when to take space and sit with what we’re feeling. maybe at the end of a lot of sitting, we’re able to talk things through, process, get things back on track. maybe, we can spend months thinking and come to nothing but what we can say to one another only inside of our own heads. regardless of the outcomes, i can think of far too many times when i should have, or you should have, or we should have, stepped back and thought a little bit deeper about the shit between us, but instead we blurted out a lot of filler without giving things much thought and glossed over the important bits. i’m tired of doing this, so i’m taking space from a few things right now to think more about them. no doubt you faithful readers will get an earful…eyeful?

aside from this heavy stuff, good things: i’ve got a pitter-patter crush sorta thang going on with some handsome butch who lives way too far away but who i appreciate continuing to blow up my phone. i’ve got an achey, but full, heart from spending 2 weeks with my friend emily who has now returned home to san fran. i’m one prelim paper down and the second well on it’s way (i have 3 to complete by november). i just received the most beautiful dress, handmade for me by jane bonbon, which i am far too excited to wear – photos to come, i promise! my students are giving me enough humor/horror to keep me going, i.e. “i thought this was feminist film theory, not race film theory?” “errr…really?” mostly, though, i realized that after quite a few days of not posting, i missed talkin’ to y’all out there. what’s a girl to do without her extended blog family?