Friday, August 30, 2013

The Shadow on the Stone (Thomas Hardy)

We had a really wonderful time on the west coast, and I'm excited to post about our trip soon.  In the meantime, I'm feeling rather sad about Seamus Heaney's death.  I've been a fan for his since reading District and Circle as a bit of free reading at Oxford.  I saw him speak at AWP this year, and though it's impossible to know a person from watching them onstage, he seemed in every way to be just what I expected, and I'm so glad I had that opportunity.  This poem isn't by him, of course, but it felt appropriate for the day, somehow.




The Shadow on the Stone (Thomas Hardy)

I went by the Druid stone
   That broods in the garden white and lone,   
And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows   
   That at some moments fall thereon
   From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,   
   And they shaped in my imagining
To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders   
   Threw there when she was gardening.

      I thought her behind my back,
   Yea, her I long had learned to lack,
And I said: ‘I am sure you are standing behind me,   
   Though how do you get into this old track?’   
   And there was no sound but the fall of a leaf   
   As a sad response; and to keep down grief
I would not turn my head to discover
   That there was nothing in my belief.

      Yet I wanted to look and see
   That nobody stood at the back of me;
But I thought once more: ‘Nay, I’ll not unvision   
   A shape which, somehow, there may be.’   
   So I went on softly from the glade,
   And left her behind me throwing her shade,   
As she were indeed an apparition—
   My head unturned lest my dream should fade.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vacation Message

If all went well last night, we're waking up in San Francisco!  It's our very first time visiting (and Roger's first time to the west coast) and we're so excited to begin exploring.  We're planning to visit Big Sur and Sonoma, and on Friday morning, we fly up to Portland, OR for my favorite roommate/best friend from college/all around lovely person Sarah's wedding.  We aren't bringing our computer, but I am experimenting with my father's fancy camera, so hopefully we'll have lots of beautiful photos and updates for you when we return on the 26th.  Have a great week, everyone!


Friday, August 16, 2013

{This Moment}

Roger and I spent two days this week in the Bronx, a borough we pretty much never visit.  The first was a date day to City Island, the Botanical Gardens, and Arthur Avenue last Sunday, and the second was a Yankees game with my parents.  I'll be on vacation without a computer for the next ten or so days (we have a housesitter, would-be burglars!), so it probably won't happen any time soon (yeah, yeah, I know you're still waiting on updates from Boston - sorry guys!), but hopefully when I'm back you'll have a whole lot of new content.  In the meantime, here are some photos from that Yankees game.



 
 {This Moment} 
A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Friday, August 9, 2013

{This Moment}

{This Moment} 
A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MFA Week: The Great Grad School Debate

A few months ago, Online Education wrote to me about featuring The Great Grad School Debate, an infographic they've created to help potential students decide if graduate school is right for them.  I think it's clear from this blog that grad school absolutely was the right choice for me.  I've known since before college that I would eventually go to grad school, and for me, it was more about deciding which type of school would be right for me.

BUT! The decision is not so easy for everyone.  There are so many things to take into consideration, and so many questions to ask yourself before you start requesting transcripts and making lists of your ideal faculty.  Is grad school in your budget?  Will it help you in your career?  Can you handle the workload?  The Great Grad School Debate seeks to help answer those questions, and give you a little education on grad school in the meantime.

Using a choose-your-own-adventure style (and seriously, who didn't love choose-your-own-adventure books?), the graphic leads you through a variety of possibilities, asking you to pause and think about many of the issues that come up with getting a graduate education.  Along the way, it also gives some handy statistics.  For example, did you know that 54% of employers will help with education payments? 

While it certainly won't make the decision for you, I think it could be really helpful for someone who is casually considering grad school.  And, for the record, pretty much no matter what I put down (as long as it was truthful to my situation), I ended up at graduate school.  When the heart knows, it knows.



By the way, Online Colleges is a really interesting site.  They're devoted to being a resource for online education, but reading over their blog, The Open Academic, they also discuss a wider range of topics in education, like student loans and teen mothers.  Definitely worth a look - things are changing quickly in education these days, and whether you think MOOCs are amazing or the end of academia as we know it, it's always good to know more about it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

MFA Week!

You guys all know how insanely busy I was in May.  Between the back trouble and the teaching and the thesis-ing and the working, I sort of don't know how I did it.  But, I did.  And then I proceeding to spend the next two months slowly putting my life back together.  I can proudly say that we've cut back the take-out to once a week, that I'm exercising regularly again, that all my work at work is getting done and on time.  Roger and I are getting used to seeing each other for more than just five hours of sleeping a night, and I think the cat is starting to get used to being fed at a normal hour.  Sometimes she even gets petted.  I'm looking forward to spending the fall getting back into the swing of things with writing, reading, and submitting, but for now, I'm enjoying feeling human again.

Of course, one of the first things to go when the going got tough was blogging and recording my days.  I hope you can tell that I'm picking back up with that a little, but so many important things happened at the end of school, I wanted to remember them and share them.  If you're interested, this week I'm recapping those things over at my website, www.kristinmaffei.com

And, if you're not interested in all the details, and just want a summary, here it is:


Friday, August 2, 2013

{This Moment}

{This Moment}
A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.
 
Our bedroom in the very early morning.

Waiting for Roger outside his office.

My dentist's fancy new office.
 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Last Summer on Earth: Guster, Ben Folds Five & Barenaked Ladies

Roger and I aren't huge concert fans.  While his brother goes to tons and tons, we generally go to one or two free ones a year, mostly in parks near our house.  What can I say?  It's just not really our thing.

Still, way, way back in 2004, when Roger and I weren't even dating, we drove five hours, with five friends, in my parents' mini-van, to Cornell University, for the best concert of our lives featuring Guster, Ben Folds, and Rufus Wainwright, and then drove five hours back home.  ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.  Yes.  We were pretty much the coolest kids ever.

The Coolest Kids Ever. #TBT

Yeah.  We rocked at high school.  Anyway, we got back to Mahopac at around 5am, ate breakfast at the diner, and then went back to school.  It was the very first all-nighter (of three total in my life) I ever pulled, and I was so tired that when I got home from school at 5pm, I just cried hysterically until I passed out.  A quote from my mother while I was crying: "Did you get rejected from a college?  Was it Harvard?"  Like I said, I rocked high school.

Anyway, that concert was epic, and certainly a highlight of my teenager-hood, and definitely contributed to what is now nearly a decade of Roger and me being us.  Aww.  Then, between that concert and probably 2007, we saw Guster and Ben Folds play separately and together probably four more times.  This is partially for nostalgia and partially because they are amazing live.

So, when Shelby asked if we wanted to see them play together with Barenaked Ladies on Tuesday at Prospect Park, we were sold.  We shelled out a small fortune for the tickets, and waited breathlessly for them to arrive via post, just like in the olden days.  When they never arrived, I called and was assured they'd be at will-call.  Sadly, Shelby wasn't able to come to concert at the end, so Roger and I made it into a date night, and I met him at work before we walked over for dinner at Kimchi Grill.  Those tacos are seriously delicious - we had five different types between us, and all of them were amazing - so if you're near the Brooklyn Museum, definitely make a stop there!


Guster!

At around 6:30, we headed down Prospect Park toward the bandshell.  The concert started right at 6:30, but we were told Guster wouldn't start until 7, so we weren't too nervous.  We'd been to shows there before, and always just walked right in.  Alas, that was not to be this time.  As we walked, we saw an enormous line, leading about a quarter of a mile into the bandshell, and already heard Guster playing, even though it was only 6:50.  We breathed a sigh of relief when we realized it wasn't the will-call line, and proceeded on to that line.  Once we reached the front, they told us to wait in the lost-tickets line, which we did.  It moved much more slowly, since Ticketmaster had never sent them the lost tickets, and they were printing them out on demand.  So, after waiting about 15 minutes on the third line, we finally had our tickets and proceeded to the empty gate next to will-call.  Guster was still going strong, now playing my favorite song, so we were really ready to get inside.  Sadly, we were told we now had to wait on the first, quarter-of-a-mile long line.  We were pretty cranky.  We're kind of tired of waiting in line.  But, wait we did, along with every other late-twentysomething early-thirtysomething in Brooklyn, ready to relive their golden years on Brooklyn's front lawn.

We made it inside just in time to hear the last three songs Guster played.  We were disappointed to miss most of the set, but what we did hear was fantastic, so all was not lost.  I'm in constant awe of their drummer.  After a bit, Ben Folds Five came on, and while they started off slow, they really picked up and the set was ultimately really great.  They played "Brick," which I've never heard live, so that was really cool, and had the audience singing along in harmonies, which is one of my favorite parts of seeing them.  Ben Folds was less chatty than in the past when I've seen him, but still gave a great show.  In the break between Ben Folds Five and BNL, Guster came out and gave a mini-set of three acoustic songs, which I didn't hear, but which Roger really enjoyed.  I still have very fond memories of Vertical Horizon coming out to sign autographs when I saw them at West Point in middle school, so I have a soft-spot for bands coming out into the audience in between sets.  It just feels really nice and personable.  I was less excited for BNL, just because I was so excited for Guster and Ben Folds, but they turned out to be incredible performers, and really seemed like they were having a blast.  They brought members of the other bands out for almost every song, were really funny and chatty in between each song, and during "One Week," the lead singer and bassist did some fancy coordinated jumping and bouncing on instruments.  And then, to top it all off, they did a pop-song cover medley for their final song, which was one of the greatest and funniest things I've seen in ages.  I was super-impressed, and really had a great time.

Ben Folds!

We've been to a few concerts of people we used to love in the past, and they're often just a little depressing.  They're older, we're older, and something has gone stale in my love of music.  Concerts just don't have the same magic they had when I was 16.  But this was different.  Sure, there are Guster-babies now, with little Guster-onesies for them to wear at night.  Sure, the youngest person at this concert was accompanying his parents.  And yes, maybe those skinny jeans were a little tight on Robert Sledge.  But overall, it was such a lot of fun that those things didn't matter at all.  They were all sprinkled with just a little bit of teenage-magic-glitter.