All posts filed under: Philadelphia

My college wiffleball club: I'm the one in the purple jeans (yes purple) playing with my hoodie.

Softball, Voluntarily this Time

I hated softball as a kid. Hated it. But my mom is a big Title IX fan and my dad wanted me to play so I did. Aside from one minor moment of glory (during which I slid head first into home plate thus incurring a small battle scar on my knee, which remains my one and only to this day) I spent the majority of junior high praying for my games to get rained out. I was already doing dance, and Youth Group and 4-H and voice lessons. Can you blame me for feeling a bit over scheduled??? When I finally called it quits though, my dad gave me his blessing. When I was born (and began exhibiting definite left handed tendencies at a very early age) he thought I might become the first woman to play for the major leagues (and, being left handed, that I could play first base for the Mets). Once it became apparent, however, that competitive sports were not my thing, he relented and told me, “I only wanted …

book meme

Writing Wednesday: Confessions of a Library Junkie

After finally finishing Middlesex, which ended just as brilliantly as it began, I decided to check out The Virgin Suicides, also by Jeffrey Euginides, a book I heard about on NPR called The Mysterious Lost Expedition for the City of Z, and finally, for some lighter fare, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. So I hopped on the Free Library of Philadelphia’s website, searched for the branch that’s closest to me now that I have a new house, and started ordering. Unfortunately my order wouldn’t go through. Why? Because somehow or other I’d amassed $39.50 in library fines. $39.50! I didn’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed.  It takes, after all, a sort of skill to wrack up a fine of that magnitude, a certain voracity for great literature (or CDs to add to summer beach playlists… whatever). He, however, was standing in my kitchen at the time and was, to put it bluntly, mildly appalled. “I’ve returned them all,” I assured him. “And that one there, the Marian …

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There’s No Such Thing as Race

As a professor of cultural anthropology, I’ve grown accustomed to my white students blaming their black classmates for their own failure to qualify for financial aid. Along these same lines, it saddens but never surprises me when they refer to the continent of Africa as a country. I’ve finally come to accept that for my students, travel abroad comes only in the form of military service. After all, I teach an intro level course at a community college; most students take my class in order to get out of taking a foreign language. What surprises me, year after year, is the number of students who deny the existence of racism while fully embracing the concept of race. Race is, to put it bluntly, a social construct. There is, in fact, no such thing and even though humans have, since the dawn of time, attempted to categorize their world accordingly, the fact remains that biogenetically distinct races do not exist. If you’ve never taken an anthropology class (and even if you have), this probably comes as …

Flowers

A Surprise Behind the Door

I suppose it’s time to tell you: I came back to my house yesterday—my house, the one with the thrice scrubbed floors that still feel and look and smell of plaster dust, where every chair I own was drug out for the holidays only to be ensconced once again, as soon as the last guests took their leave, beneath their plastic shrouds, lest they too succumb to the scourge of the plaster—to find a bouquet of purple flowers tucked behind my front door (which I have since transferred to a vase on my desk). If I sound melodramatic, it is only because I am reading Middlesex. And because last night’s flowers were not the first. But we’ll get to that later. In the mean time, I am back. I had intended to come back on January 1st, with a spiffy new blog to herald in the new year and all of the resolutions that go with it, but in my infinite wisdom, I purchased a new blog theme that I don’t actually know how to …

This is either where they filmed Adelle's "Rolling in the Deep" or its my living room.  I'll let you decide.

Of Magnets and Parmesan

This time around was easy: I mailed the book I’d borrowed from The European back to his house, pushed the magnets he’d given me to the side of the fridge and called a plumber. Calling a plumber isn’t part of my usual break up procedure, mind you, but now that I’m a homeowner, I’ve been forced to make a few adjustments to the customary wailing and gnashing of teeth. I jest. There was no wailing this time. No gnashing of teeth. There were a few tears, a few curses mumbled under my breath, but the latter were primarily related to the fact that I’d left an entire jar of shredded Parmesan cheese in his fridge and wanted it for my pasta. I will also miss his toothbrush. And his bed. And his shower. And the fact that his house didn’t have plaster falling from the ceiling. And his cat. And him, of course. But he never wanted to connect on Facebook, never left toiletries at my house, never even stayed the night or learned how …

blues

Blues Dancing, or Why I Need Tequila

I never to go to bars by myself and I never do tequila shots but its 10:00pm on Friday night, about 12 hours before I have to leave for the airport and I’m doing both. Why? Well, I’ve agreed to accompany a friend who is visiting from out of town to a blues dance. Blues, as far as I can tell, is a sort of chaotic version of swing dancing in which you can do whatever you want as long as it look vaguely burlesque-like and doesn’t follow any actual rules. Hence my need for tequila. I like rules. Rules can be observed, figured out and eventually mastered, like when your waltzing or dancing salsa or doing the jitterbug. My friend tells me to lean back, bend my knees, and keep some-but-not-too-much tension in my elbow but after a rather ill-fated attempt at the back of the dance floor, he tells me, “You know, you really need to RELAX.” “I know,” I reply, feeling flustered. “I’m sorry. Go find yourself a more worthy partner and …

leap-of-faith

It’s Time to Leap

So I’m in the shower, thinking (it’s where I do my best thinking), when I realize I haven’t heard anything from the editor for the last magazine piece I did. It’s my first time writing for her, I’m contractually obligated to respond to the magazine’s request for revisions by Day X and today is Day X but they haven’t requested anything. This is kind of a problem because 48 hours after Day X, I’m headed out of town. Out of the country, actually, to what the general population would refer to as a third world destination, so I’m not banking on reliable Wi-Fi. I make a mental note to send a quick email but when I sit down to my computer, there’s one already waiting from my editor. It contains the phrase, “I’m moving your piece forward as is” followed by, “I’d love to work with you again and am looking for a few regular writers for the such-and-such column.” Well. Then I get an email from a PR firm in New York following up …

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Every 65 Minutes: To Jacob, with Love

Almost exactly three years ago, I arrived home at my parent’s house to see three scruffy looking men approaching our garage. My first thought was, “Oh great… who have we adopted this time?” The men were riding bicycles and it was clear that they’d been on the road for quite some time. Within a few minutes, however, I’d revised my opinion about this latest crop of house guests. They were activists and they were riding their bikes across the country doing amazing things: helping veterans, playing music, sharing their experiences and educating people about the real Afghanistan, the real situation in Iraq. And they were doing it with such grace and such humor and such wisdom that I was instantly enamored of them. All three of them. (I wrote several blog posts about them, but I was three years younger and three years stupider at the time so if you read them, forgive me: Three Male Houseguests, The Hillbilly Serenade, and My Deepest Date to Date). When they learned of my blog and the “manthropological” …