Monthly Archives: October 2019


For weeks the student workers where I TA have been talking about their Halloween outfits. What to wear, when to wear it, how to get an unsuspecting boyfriend into a couple costume…all these things I heard. So, come October 31st, aka today, aka Halloween…I decided to join them in going all out.

I wore an Tudor gown with a cloak and high heeled boots and (though not shown below) a crown and veil. 

And then I walked outside and discovered it was snowing. 

No one at the bus stop was wearing a costume but I didn’t think much of it. I was an instant hit and three people asked for my number. (I politely declined to give it out.) 

I then got to campus. No one was wearing a costume!

I went to the house where I TA. And again…nothing! In fact, they’d all forgotten it was Halloween and asked me if I was celebrating the snow or something. 

I went to class; I attended a lecture in a different building; I wandered around campus. I saw maybe half a dozen people dressed up and no one close to my level. I can only surmise that the sight of snow shocked everyone into forgetting which holiday it was. 

But if Thailand taught me one thing it was how to take masses of people staring at you so I quite enjoyed myself despite sticking out like a sore thumb.

FB Friends

“Who is X and why am I friends with him on Facebook?” I ask Bethany.

“I don’t know,” she says. “Law school? Politics? Some politician dude?”

“No, I don’t recognize his face,” I tell her. “But he had a baby. Or his wife did.”

Bethany: “Well, is it a cute baby?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Bethany: “Don’t unfriend him then.”

There you go, folk, why I stay friends on Facebook with people I don’t remember. 


Quadruple Booked

The problem with scheduling every waking moment of your day is that inevitably you forget and book something else for the same time. Or three something elses. 

I triple booked myself Friday. (Meeting-seminar-work.)

I quadruple booked myself today.

First, I have a night class. I have had a night class the last 6 weeks. I have no idea how I forgot it. 

Second, I agreed to chaperone a movie night. I find it hilarious that I am requested to chaperone college kids until I realize I’m 6-8 years older than most of the students anyway. And that makes me feel old. 

Third, the city chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a social event for us Fed Soc students. It included two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices. I got to chat with both of them. Let me tell you how it went: 

Me to Justice 1: “I fangirled so hard when your decision came out. Like, I told everyone about it. It was the best! I really loved it. Your due process argument was so good! I’m such a fan!” 

*Judge 1 looks faintly alarmed and begins to slowly back away* 


Judge 2: “Have we met before?”

Me: “Oh yes, I was president last year.”

Judge 2: “Where are you working now?”

Me: “Still a student.”

Him: “…”

Me: “…”

Him: “…”

Me: “…”

* this goes on for about thirty seconds*

Clearly I made a meaningful impression on both.

Fourth and finally, I agreed to pick up my sister from work. At least, I think I did. Possibly she just announced I was picking her up. At any rate, when I told her I had a busy day ahead of me, she just glanced up briefly from her phone and said:

“Just don’t be late.” 

The Chicken

“The chicken!” exclaims Bethany at 9 pm. 

I look at her in horror, suddenly realizing we left it the oven for over an hour when we only meant to warm it up!

“When did you turn on the oven?” I ask.

“I didn’t!” she says, “didn’t you?”

“No, I thought I asked you to turn on the oven!”

“No, I asked you to!”

We turn to the oven. It remains stone cold. But at this point, neither of us wants to eat. We snacked on hummus and chips while waiting for the chicken to cook. Or really, not cook.

So, no real dinner for us. On the bright side, we didn’t burn the apartment down. 

Craving Spice

People frequently ask me what the best food I ate in Thailand was. I cop out by answering–truthfully–that all food in Thailand is incredibly spicy and that my Anglo-German ancestors gifted me with a very low spice tolerance. 

It takes less explaining than ‘Milk Seafood Ramen.’

But despite my low spice tolerance, I have discovered recently that I miss spicy food. And further, I have no idea where to get it here in Madison. Wal Mart discontinued the closest thing I ate to spicy food pre-Thailand: canned Amy’s Own Spicy Chili. 

I’ve grown eclectic in my attempts to find spicy food. I order sandwiches with jalapenos at the local sandwich cart. Go with sharp cheddar instead of mild when grocery shopping. And sometimes, impulsively buy food clearly targeting the teenage male population, such as “Extra Hot Chili & Lime Pringles.” (You know they are aimed at teenage boys because the packaging comes in neon purple.) 

Alas, none of these things do the trick but they do give me the delightful feeling that I can “handle” spice. 

Home Alone

Bethany went to a concert yesterday and stayed the night with our other sister, leaving me home alone. I planned to surprise her by cleaning. Or surprise myself by doing homework. Or, you know, have a productive Saturday.

Instead I read 4 books, stayed in my PJs all day, and ate canned soup.

It has been an amazing weekend.

Hush Money

As I referenced yesterday, the place I stored my stuff this past summer started billing me again. My lease ended in July. Needless to say, I told them so. They said they had no record of my lease ending. I declared more adamantly it had ended. They then responded with the following e-mail:

Good Afternoon,

We would like to apologize for this inconvenience. We would like to invite you to the office on Friday October 25th to resolve the matter.

Kind Regards, etc.

That, I told Bethany, sounds suspicious. I think I am going to get kidnapped by the mob. As usual, she ignored me.

I went today braced for anything ranging from a kidnapping to the commencement of a lawsuit. (To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a law student, everything looks like small claims court.)

I marshaled my arguments carefully (if not my documents.) I wore business professional clothing. I went full-out with my makeup. (Thereby making me look 14 instead of 12.) And I boldly showed up 5 minutes early. 

Whereupon the smiling young lady behind the desk handed me an envelope full of cash and apologized very politely for the inconvenience. 

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Even though the cash amounted to the amount I was incorrectly billed, I still kind of feel like I just accepted hush-money. 

Record Keeping

“I need,” I tell my sister, Bethany, “a better method of record keeping.”

She does not deign to reply to this, probably because I am currently pulling letters out of my underwear drawer.

I emerge half-triumphant with half of what I’m looking for. “I’ve got the lease from my storage unit from this past spring!” 

Then, frowning, I reach into my box of shoes. “What is this? A parking citation? When did I get a parking citation?!”

Bethany: “Last January.” 

Me: “I have no memory of this.”

Bethany: “You were very angry about it.”

Me: “…nope, got nothing.”

I turn to my bookshelf. “Oh look! Here is my research paper from high school. What dramatic language I used! This would make a good blog post.”

Right next to it I find my pay stub from last week. 

Bethany’s eyes remained glued to her phone so I am basically monologuing at this point. 

I dive under my bed. “Oh! I have a dentist appointment coming up. Good to know. And here is a copy of my transcripts from college.” 

I begin flipping through my assorted coloring books. “I canceled the lease in July. So difficult to know what I would have done with a piece of paper then. It was a transitional period. Is it too optimistic to think I would have taken a picture of it? I don’t even know what phone I had? Where IS my phone?”

I found a missing bookmark, missing statute pack, loads of hand-written letters from Tori, and two more parking citations. (Alas, those I remembered.) 

But no document proving I ended my lease in July. 

And those jerks have started billing me again. 

Arg. I need a better record keeping system.  


Discussion Groups

Let’s recap: I am a TA this semester. I have never been a TA before. I have never had a TA. I do not really know what I am talking about most of the time because I have also not read any of these texts before, or, if I have, not read them academically.

But so far, I’ve been doing okay. Homer I already knew and could talk intelligently about. Herodotus and the PDFs we read about honor culture I could fudge well enough. Aristophanes I previously read for fun so I knew the principle players, so to speak.

But Plato is going to be the death of me. 

I read a passage from The Republic. It makes little sense to me. I show up to class and hear the lecture. Ah! Dimly, enlightenment begins to dawn. I go to the other TA with my big questions. Further clarity. I go to lecture again. 

Then I’m supposed to lead a discussion group where I explain what we read, foreshadow what will come, and answer questions I didn’t even think of. 

What a ride.

My first discussion group gets the brunt of this problem. I am a verbal processor so even if I get it, I need to say it out loud to really get it. 

My second group benefits from this. I speak a little more confidently; I already know what areas I don’t know. 

The third group gets the best version of me. I know what I want them to get. 

The fourth group gets the ‘I’ve been talking all day and now get this so this is all review and I skip the six questions that met with dead silence in the earlier groups but now I’ve got to somehow fill 10 more minutes’ version of me. 

Theoretically, though, I have to say…by the end of the day, I really know the readings inside and out!

Am I Older Now?

I previously blogged about getting the under-12 discount at the U.S.S. Wisconsin. Apparently the universe found my whining funny because yesterday I bought a bottle of wine and didn’t get carded

The guy checking me out swiped the bottle of wine, the machine beeped, he looked up at me…and then waved me through! No request for my I.D. 

In all likelihood he probably assumed I was under-age and thought he would do me a solid. But hey, I don’t know that. Maybe he thought I looked over 40.

I didn’t actually get to drink the bottle of whine, however, because my sister accidentally dropped it on the concrete outside our apartment. On the positive side, it was outside…

On the less positive side, 24 hours later and our entire courtyard still smells like a bar.