Monday, February 11, 2008

Strike One

Well, it seems that a doctoral degree in Ethnomusicology is not in my immediate future. Which shouldn't really surprise me. I'm surprised I ever even considered that as an option. I dropped out of every ethnomusicology class I signed up for the last time I was in grad school. I got so annoyed at the academic approach to music that I feel so personally connected to. I was misled. What I really am interested in writing about for five years cannot be approached in the way I would want to approach it through Ethnomusicology. So I am back to that damn question again. I would like to do further graduate study, but where am I to go after two interdisciplinary degrees?

I must admit that I am a little bit disappointed in myself for letting myself be courted and led on by a program that I knew deep down wasn't a fit. Especially after I just went through that this summer on the romantic front. It's just depressing to be rejected by someone or someplace you didn't want to be with in the first place, but were willing to go along with just because there wasn't much else to do...

At least one option has been cleared away. It would have been pretty crazy to move three cats and a hillbilly dog to a big Yankee city, and I'm relieved that I won't be dealing with that as a new adventure!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

On the Mend

After sixteen days of being sick and consequently spending most of my time at home either on the couch or in my bed, I finally succumbed to cabin fever. I got myself out of Kentucky and set off for Mom and Dad's house in hopes that a little parental care might speed my recovery. I don't know if I put this in previous blogs, but my flu/cold dropped a few symptoms and then morphed into a very nasty case of bronchitis. At least, that's what my doctor (who is actually my neighbor here on Judy Branch) told me once I broke down on day 14 and went to the walk-in clinic. Some of you may recall from my recent back injury that I don't go seeking medical treatment until I become convinced that I'm really not going to heal by myself.

I'm not completely back on my feet, but my spontaneous decision to hit the road and head down to Tennessee proved to be just the treatment I needed. I needed a pick-me-up, and running away for a weekend certainly did the trick. Friday night, I called of my old friends to find that his girlfriend who had recently moved out had just moved back in. I was so happy to hear her voice that I made a stop by their house and dinner out with the two the first thing on my "escape from cabin fever" agenda. We had a great dinner, even though we were told by our waitress that we were boring. We all ordered the exact same thing: the Santa Fe Veggie Burger. If you are ever in Knoxville, you should try this out yourself at the Downtown Brew Pub (I don't know the official name, but it's the brewery on Gay Street). They baste a really delicious, thick (homemade?) veggie burger with bbq sauce, grill it and serve it on a Kaiser roll with melted Monteray Jack, jalepenos and guacamole. Delicious!

Even though we were all pretty tired and us gals were both feeling sorta sickly (the guy NEVER gets sick...a total mystery), we had a great dinner out. These are the friends who lived in Poland for a year and inspired my first adventure to that great land a few years back. I was so psyched to hear that they have plans for a trip around the world, hopefully next year. Hell yeah. I am SOOOO glad that are staying together, because they are just so wonderful to be around when they are together.

Over the past few years, several of my good friends, who also happen to be couples and seemed to be really good matches, have split. Almost all of them had kids. As much as I have been happy for each as s/he have pursued new paths in life and romance, a part of me grew even more cynical about the feasibility of love and human companionship in this day and age. I really don't need any further validation/promotion on that line of thinking. So hooray for my pals for realizing just how great they are together!

Saturday, I spent the day hanging out with Dad and my dog, Bella. We sat in the kitchen and talked theology and politics and then took our conversation into the unseasonable sunshine, walking the greenway and then grabbing lunch downtown. I really love talking theology with my dad. He has such a grounded, thoughtful and open-minded perspective, and it's because of him that I never lost touch with the really great spiritual teachings that can be found in Christian texts. We spent the afternoon relaxing in front of the TV watching SEC basketball games, most notably Kentucky beating Alabama (go Wildcats!).

Saturday night, I met up with my friend L. for sushi at this AMAZING place in Knoxville called Nama. Arriving at 6pm, we were told there was an hour and a half wait. So we put our name on the list, gave them L.'s cell phone number and decided to walk a bit. Both of us being Maryville-raised gals, we were noting how this urban revitalization that has hit downtown Knoxville is something neither of us ever imagined possible, commiserating at the Knoxville of our teenage years. We didn't get far until we came across an upscale wine and spirits shop - right downtown on Gay Street! How novel! So we went inside. I bought a bottle of red wine called "Bitch, just because it was called "Bitch" (and b/c it was only $10). We both bought some Polish potato vodka. Then we were called and offered seats at the sushi bar. So much for an hour+ wait! I cannot even begin to adequately describe how wonderful and sensual the Nama experience was. The sushi chefs were really friendly and fun. I immediately loved the working atmosphere among the staff. All the brilliant colors, textures and smells made us feel tipsy before we even had our first sips of apple infused saki, which was AMAZING. We had both always just had "house" saki and not b/c it tasted good. I wanted saki b/c it was warm, but to our delight the apple infused saki was also delicious. Just what my bronchial passages had been calling for, and it was nice to switch up my nightly routine of a moonshine hot toddy before bed. The sushi chefs were true artists, and the rolls we ate were divine on every possible level. All of this and the fact that I really love hanging out with L. made for a great night out. Between talks of my friends' world-wide trek and discovering that L. and I share similar dreams of getting a bunch of land in the mountains and having a commune of sorts (some of you know of my dreams to open a slow food, old time music B&B), and I could feel myself being lifted out of bronchitis and depression and feeling a tinge of inspiration and hope for the future. That is certainly an improvement!

Getting home to Judy Branch this evening, I found an unexpected package hanging in a black garbage bag tied from my mailbox. I love this solution that rural mail carriers have found to leave oversized packages at the row of mailboxes that makr the head of the hollow. Once I got everything unloaded and got my accusatory welcome home from the kitties, I opened the mystery package to find that my old friend E. (old, as in we've known each other since we were like 6) had sent me a get well care package. What a great surprise of wonderful comfort treats, including an assortment of teas a volume of McSweeneys(!), cookies, hot cocoa, coffee, soup (dried) and a fantastic mix CD. I love music mixes from E., because he has such an eclectic taste. Being so immersed in the old time music world, I've lost touch with what all is out there, and thanks to friends like my Seattle sister and E., I do manage to get introduced to some newer (as in post-Civil War), hip tunes. (Thanks E.! I hope this super long blog entry makes up for my lack of consistent blogging...)

In the next week I should find out about whether or not I've been accepted to the PhD program in IVleague/Yankeeland. There's a couple other possibilities up in the air as well that will reveal themselves as well. A lot is up in the air, and I am finally waking up enough to feel the electricity in the air, static anticipation of coming change. What will it be? To quote the Replacements (with the disclaimer that I'm not using this quote in reference to Judy Branch but to my life in general): "Anywhere is better than here."