Monday, November 23, 2009

Velvet on the Horizon

Velvet will get home Tuesday evening. Most colleges make arrangements for buses to run from the student union to Port Authority at school vacations at a reasonable, affordable fare. He has already asked me to come pick him up at Christmas and take him back in January - which would cost four times as much, but I'll probably do it since I like the idea of having him all to myself in the car. Now that I take Route 17 through the Catskills instead of the crowded, annoying interstate through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it's a lovely drive. Riding in the car with Velvet is especially fun because he sings along with the CD player so enthusiastically that he occasionally howls like a hound dog.

That reminds me: I have to make an appointment for him to get a hair cut while he's here. As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I was wondering how it is that I seem to have more money than I thought I would lately. The explanation is, in a word: Velvet.

As it happened, a number of the folks who were supposed to come to the Gemini Party after their performances on Saturday apparently went home to bed instead. That suited me fine since the idea of jumping up at 11:30pm to play Hostess to a room full of buzzing actors sounded exhausting at about 11:00. Apparently, this sort of thing can be expected now that they are all approaching or have passed the 40 year mark.

We old poops get tired.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to hold off on opening the hemp chips and smokey peach salsa from Trader Joe's until I saw the whites (or reds) of their eyes so that there is now an abundance of snacks for Velvet and his buddies. I haven't decided what to do about Thanksgiving dinner since it's only me and the boy. He's waffling between ham with mac & cheese and turkey with mashed potatoes. One good thing about HQ is the ease of food shopping in the neighborhood. Between Whole Foods and Fairway, we're set. We're in especially good shape since I loaded up at Trader Joe's last weekend.

For the record, Menopausal Stoners prefers Trader Joe's to Whole Foods. Whole Foods does have an excellent selection of "gourmet" kind of stuff - but for that, we'll go to Zabar's or Fairway. I only go to Whole Foods for the salad bar. Nevertheless, it's handy to have Whole Foods across the street. We just always have to remember that Whole Foods ultimately sucks because of the boss, John Mackey. I maintain that there is no point boycotting somewhere that you can't afford to patronize in the first place - but I always bring my Trader Joe's shopping bag to carry my purchases home. I may buy a couple of things at Whole Foods, but I'll be damned if I'm advertising it with one of their paper bags.

While we were drinking punch and listening to Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday, my dear friend Kyle mentioned that an acquaintance was working hard to make the MFA program for creative writing at Hunter College an attractive, affordable degree program to compete with NYU and The New School. It never occurred to me until that very moment that I might need an MFA.

I had been kicking around the idea of going to Teacher's College at Columbia for a PhD ever since Woody and me started talking about Curriculum Theory. Until I started talking to Woody, I never knew there was such a thing as Curriculum Theory since I've been too busy floating ping pong balls in the water table. Once he mentioned it, though, I ran with the idea because of course there are lots of good, theoretical reasons to mess around with ping pong balls.

At the moment, I'm ideally situated to go back for another degree as long as it doesn't wind up costing too much money. Columbia is pricey, but I hear that PhD candidates get all kinds of financial support. The thing is, though, that I'd rather be working on my personal writing projects than piling Early Childhood training higher and deeper with a PhD.

An MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter would be just the ticket. Ergo: I need to get my fifty year old self over there tout de suite to determine if this idea is as good as I think it is. I'm happy to say that as soon as my mother heard that an MFA wouldn't drive me into debt or cost her any money in any way shape or form, she was in total support of the plan.

In addition to popping out of Hunter with a completed manuscript, I'd have the benefit of total hand holding through the publishing process in New York City. I need a lot of hand holding sometimes because I'm a chicken. The prospect of finding a handsome professor for hand holding purposes is an attractive idea, too. Or maybe a charming grad student. There will be straight men at Hunter who are not married and not the fathers of small children. When you teach preschool, finding a Single, Straight Man with No Small Children is virtually impossible.


Comrade Kevin said...

I'm going up to Pennyslvania to have Thanksgiving with my girlfriend's parents for the first time, so I'm a little nervous about that. Her folks are sparing us a little of the expense by picking us up, at which point we have a four to five hour drive in front of us.

If grad school will help you achieve your aims, I wish you success. It amazes me how many people my age with MAs are heading to get their doctorate because the job market is so awful. I hope that having Dr. in front of one's name translates to greater employment opportunity, otherwise there'll soon be an awful lot of unemployed or underemployed people with PhDs, not MAs like the case is right now.

Thanks, by the way, for the contribution. :) I spent it on something foolish called food from the (not Whole Foods) grocery store.

Gail said...


Oh so nice that Velvet will be home. I love the 'ease' of your menu for Thanksgiving - this or that it all sounds yummy. :-)

PhD?? I so admire your courage to forge on.

"Happy Thanksgiving to you"!! And we will be in Brooklyn at Dolan's. He is making 'tur-duck-en', and he is also writing the "Why I am thankful for you" letters that I write every year - but he said since he is hosting he will write. I am SO excited.

Talk soon
Love to you

PENolan said...

Actually, no Dr PENolan yet. I'll be PENolan BA,MAT, MSEd, MFA - I think. Do they use the BA? Who knows.

CK - have fun. As I recall from the first time you met them, her parents are pretty cool.
The great thing about this particular degree, assuming I decide to pursue this idea, is that it would have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

The contribution? My pleasure. Hope you got yourself a treat since it's always a treat to read your blog ;)

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I ran with the idea because of course there are lots of good, theoretical reasons to mess around with ping pong balls.

off the top of my head, I can think of at least a couple of useful conceptual structures involved in ping-pong balls and the water tables that are amenable to interpretation in in the constructivist paradigm and which a good teacher could scaffold from interactions around the watertable...

the conceptual structures: 1) bouyancy/displacement and 2) friction/resistance...

Dusty said...

I so love you woman! Go, get your degree. If my back wasn't trashed and I could sit in the same spot for an hour or two at a time..I would get another one too. One I really want.

but I'll be damned if I'm advertising it with one of their paper bags. Good on ya! Those fuckers at WHole Foods can kiss my hairy ass.

Pheromonally Gifted said...

Great blog, just discovered it. Am a happy follower...keep up the great writing!

intelliwench said...

Happy Thanksgiving, PEN... Enjoy every minute of it, even the road trip!

I'm halfway to my MA in Higher Ed and wishing I'd decided on something funner to study. But tuition's free, a benefit of working at the uni, so maybe when I'm done I'll move on to something I really want to do.

Anonymous said...

I hope you do your MFA - I'll be cheering you on. I've still got aims at doing a master of adult education, or expressive arts therapy or something in between. I'm afraid I get excited over things like curriculum theory too.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving - enjoy your time with your kid!

PENolan said...

Thanks, friends. I wish you all lived closer.

Woody, I get friction/resistance all day from these dang two year olds. It's God's Plan. We're not getting much farther than sink/float and wet/dry with this one, but it's all part of looking closely at stuff and sharing our observations with others. I'm pretty sure that is an integral part of how we humans make meaning of the world. Sounds a bit like what we all do here in blogland.

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