Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm so Unique!


This is for the name Thora Shannon

HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
0
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

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I love my name; I think one reason I married Avram was that I loved his last name. And the two together? Beautiful. Avram laughs at me, because I've been so insistent that the name we chose for this baby had to be unusual, and not only unusual now, but unusual always. But I love how my name is a completely traditional name, but has never been common, so it still feels completely mine. And Elisheva definitely fits this requirement (by the way, we're really decided on this name; it's nice to know something about our future, at least).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Took a Quiz!

This is the first quiz I ever put on my blog. Normally I never post quizzes, although I take lots of them from other's blogs, but I just love Jane Austen....and it doesn't hurt that I turned out as Elizabeth Bennett and not Emma. Although I'm definitely not a straight Elizabeth; I answered quite a few from various heroines. The heroine I really want to be is Anne Elliott, because she's so nice, but even the title of her novel, Persuasion, doesn't match me, so it's no surprise I'm not her.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!


Take the Quiz here!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Announcement

Finally, finally, I believe I can announce something that has been in limbo for many months.....

I would like to officially announce that Avram and I have probably found a name for our daughter. If you read this thinking it might be about Graduate schools, hah! Dream on.

I was just going to say it out, but I thought it would be more fun to give clues. It's the name of Aaron's wife in the Old Testament. Also, one of the Bennett sister's name is the English version of this name (having come through Greek first). We're going with the Hebrew pronunciation - the second to last letter is different than the name given in the Bible.

If you know what it is, just email me (my email is available through my profile).

It's not a British name, true, but it's the only name that we've been able to agree on, and feel good about, so that counts for more. Plus I'm planning to do a very British middle name. And Avram is studying Jewish Studies, so it still has an origin in our life here. (Anne is one of the middle names up for thought; I like it, because I love Anne of Green Gables; she's as much a best friend as any other I had in my youth).

I'll say on here what the name is in a couple of days, so that way if you don't feel like figuring it out, you don't have to.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meta-life

I really ought to write a long post about how we were locked out of our own computer for three days last week, and that's why I haven't posted in so long. I ought to talk about the knitting I've been doing, both my successes (I made a scarf for Lydia from a pattern given to me by Sarah, and I've finished one slipper from the same book) and failures (I spent an entire day last week working on baby booties that in the end only existed as a small, sad pile of unraveled wool). I ought to talk about Lydia, who will be two in less than two weeks, and whose vocabulary grows every day, loves to help cook, especially things with flour in them, almost as she loves to help clean; not pick up, clean. As in she'll take any old spray can, in this case our spray cooking oil, and take it around the house with some fabric piece of something, and then proceed to "spray" (thankfully she's not strong enough to actually depress the nozzle), and wipe the whole house down, including myself or Avram, if we are in her path.

Instead I'm just going to briefly talk about applications. Because as great as all of the previous posts would be, I'm not obsessed with them as much as I am with my future. Now, I have no more news than I did at my last posting. I can't tell if this means that both schools that accepted Avram don't want to fund him at all, or if they simply haven't decided yet. For that matter, we haven't actually received an official letter from either school, with official information, offer, etc.

For Wisc we received an email from the department merely saying he was in, and then a follow up physical letter with said letter printed out, along with four pages of outside reading to be done in the next four years (along with four books to read this summer). Including in this reading, they want you to have preferably read the entire Old Testament in Hebrew to get your Doctorate. Now, this is quite a task, but I like it. It makes me feel like the department is rigorous, and I like rigor. Especially since it will be Avram doing the reading. But nada on funding.

For Ohio state we haven't even that; all that's happened is his status on the website has changed to tell him that he's been admitted, and will receive a letter in the mail. That's it. If we weren't such diligent checkers, we wouldn't even know.

So what does this all mean? We found out for both schools early in the admittance process, which would argue good things for Avram's chances of funding, but then not mentioning anything, that doesn't argue such good things. Or do they just not know themselves, yet? Argh, these are all very pointless wonderings, but I keep on going over these questions in my head. So now all my dear readers are as un-enlightened as we are.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More College News

Avram got into The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. We found out from the website, so all we know is that; there wasn't a letter or anything. We also found out yesterday (Wednesday) that he didn't get into Berkeley, but that's okay, because we didn't want to go there anyway. I know that sounds like sour grapes, but we really didn't. As we've been waiting to hear back from schools, we've been wondering why we even applied there, because we really don't want to go there. So it all worked out.

Ohio State is exciting, because we can buy a house there; the houses are really cheap, and we could buy a house in good condition for around $70,000. So that's exciting, but it's also really scary, because then we'd have to, well, actually buy a house. And now my head is spinning with things like getting a loan (my biggest worry. If they took a look at our previous income for the last three years, the loan officers would probably have a good laugh, and then shred our application), or getting a realtor (or not), and how in the world other people have done this, ie graduate students with no down payment, and yet I know that others have. So we could too. I just don't know how, exactly. Of course, we haven't decided to go to Ohio State yet, so I wouldn't have to actually do any work on buying a house unless we decided to, but still. On the other hand, the thought of having our own home, to paint, to plant, to own; I really like that idea.

We found out about the first two schools on Wednesday last week, and then we found out about these two schools on Wednesday this week, so now according to this trend we'll find out about the last two schools on Wednesday next week, and Avram will get into one and not the other. We're waiting on Johns Hopkins University and Yale University.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lydia Spells

Here are two videos of Lydia spelling with her Daddy. She likes to "write," especially names, and so she is writing with Daddy. "D" is her favorite letter, and so she says it here instead of "L."
video video

Madison...in potentia

Since getting in to Wisconsin, besides updating Avram's email approximately every ten seconds to see if any other schools want to let us in, I've been planning and thinking a lot about Wisconsin. Although we don't know any financial information yet, it helps to know that most public schools don't have financial offers as soon as they have academic ones. Besides, Avram found out that he got in only thirteen days after the application deadline, so we're hoping this means that they really, really want him, and want to give him the best University Fellows scholarship they have.

In order to not over stress about this unchangeable situation, I've been constructively planning as much as I can. (Editorial Avram note: It hasn't been that constructive. She spent the last hour looking at potential furniture in Madison on craigslist, leaving me to be stomped on by our daughter Godzilla).

As a summation of this highly productive time (my editorial note: I was looking on craigslist, but it was to get an idea of how much items went for, so I could see how much money to plan out to need to buy furniture once we arrive there, like a bed or dresser....and because I was sucked in by the Internet waste-your-time virus), I shall list off interesting/useful things I've found out about Madison, moving there, and such.

1. To start off, compliments to Avram, Pegasus Game is here, the store which Pegasaurus Games store of Dork Tower fame is based on (John Kovalic lives in Madison). (ARS.- It'll be nice to be near the major conventions, too. Although we'll be closer if I go to OSU, but Madison is plenty close, and, although I think I like Ohio as a state better, I certainly like Madison as a town better than Columbus, not being real keen on big cities. Why did I apply to UC-Berkeley and Johns Hopkins, which is in Baltimore? The world may never know.)

2. Having read the entire Resident's Handbook, I know now far more than I ever needed to about living in Eagle Heights, the online family housing units (part of me wants to live off campus, but it's just cheaper to live on campus). Such as, Eagle Heights is centered in the middle of a nature reserve, next to Lake Mendota that the city of Wisconsin is built around. Or that musical instruments are only allowed to be played for up to two hours a day in apartments. If our neighbor played the French horn, I can understand this rule, but I do feel sorry for poor flautist majors who must always go to campus.

3. For $20 a year I can rent a 25' by 25' garden plot. (ARS.- I wasn't aware that this cost money, but I still think a garden is a good idea.) Because it's in the nature reserve and next to said lake, the community gardens must all be organic, although they do provide manure for our use (I wonder where they get this from?) (ARS.- The Philosophy Department, perhaps?) These community gardens are the oldest in the Nation, founded in 1962. I really want to do this, although I know that I wasn't as dedicated as I could have been with my last garden. But I suppose gardening is a learning process, not just a pass/fail system. And if I can get the same garden year after year, I want to plant raspberry bushes. Yummy!

4. We can move with ABF upack moving for $627 (terminal to door, so from about an hour and a half away from where Avram's from to our apartment in Madison), or for $490 from terminal to terminal (since there is a terminal in Madison, this could be a good option too; we'd just have to rent a day moving truck once in WI). I really like ABF because the thought of having to drive a moving truck for a fourteen hour trip makes me extremely nervous, and would only save us about $50. Plus then we'd need more drivers to come with us, because we'd still have our car to drive out too. (ARS- Also, as most of my wife's readers know, I don't drive so good, and while I am planning on remedying this, still, best to be on the safe side).

5. The Chicago temple is 2 and a half hours away from Madison. (ARS.- Chicago being are closest temple, in case you were confused as to why this is a relevant point).

6. For only $50 I can buy a couch and a love seat off of craigslist in Madison that has only been gently chewed by dogs. Although they tried to fix this with duct tape, so the couches look like they are candidates for the 'ghetto' (meaning my childhood slang term of white-trash). As well one cushion's cover is almost torn off, but they just tuck it in, and no one can ever tell! (Is this supposed to be a selling point?). It's very entertaining what people think things ought to sell for, like these couches, which I wouldn't even take if they paid me money. It provided a good laugh, though. They included pictures, too, which was the best part. (ARS.- This was pretty funny. I mean truly, these couches had been ripped to shreds, and they were asking for money. The other fun one was where the seller was selling a sofa for price X, and said that he had bought if for price Y, and he had the bills to prove it! So you better believe that his price was fair!)

7. Madison has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. (ARS.- Not that we ever eat out, but, if the stars align, and our friends, the Reeds, come to Wisconsin as well... well, there will be good eating enjoyed by all.)

8. After much searching, I have concluded that we cannot afford to buy a house there. Sad, but true. Some day.

9. (ARS.- Incidentally, I know it isn't particularly important, but the program there is pretty good, too. Michael Fox is one of the world's experts on Proverbs, and on Egyptian connections in the Hebrew Bible. Cynthia Miller isn't as well known, but does some interesting stuff in Hebrew linguistics. Just an aside for the actual reason we are thinking of moving to Wisconsin.)

10. Using an assumed Fellowship as a basis, I've figured out our monthly budget for living there. It's very complete and detailed, although completely up in the air, since we haven't heard a peep about finances yet. (ARS.- My wife not only counts her chicken before they're hatched, she also collates, tabulates, and stands them all in a row before they're hatched. I just want to make sure that all of our readers know that we're not necessarily going to Wisconsin, and we certainly don't have any financial offers yet.) Also, I've figured out our moving budget, setting up budget, and everything else connected with money that I can think of. Although Avram would need to get a part time job (about 10 hours a week, which is allowed with a fellowship), if he did get full funding we could live quite well without getting student loans. And Avram would finally get an allowance, something he's always wanted since we've been married, so that he can save up and buy role-playing books at his leisure.

Overall, I really like Madison as a place to live. I liked living in Wisconsin before, when I lived in Beaver Dam for boarding school at Wayland Academy. I even liked the winters, although they are long and cold, but they have a lot of snow, which is compensating for me (if it's cold anyway, it ought to at least be pretty). And even just in potentia I like living there again.