Friday, August 04, 2006

Back from the Chaucer Trenches

I got back from my two-part trip yesterday - New Chaucer Society Conference and visiting MedievalPop and Prissy Girlfriend.

Some observations from the road:

1) I'm never flying out of Detroit again. Never. It took the Dutchman FIVE hours to get to the airport to pick me up yesterday - it's roughly a 2 1/2 hour drive. It took him an hour and a half to get over the US/Canada border because they were searching every single car that went through. Thank god my plane ended up taking off an hour late from MedievalPop's airport b/c the Dutchman and I ended up getting to the airport at exactly the same time. Poor little guy. I bought him a tasty Bob Evans dinner and we smuggled several bottles of cheap(er) wine over the Canadian border on the way back ("Do you have anything to declare?" "Nope"). That made him feel better.

On the way TO the Detroit airport last week, they confiscated our two Fuji apples. It was most distressing.

2) The conference in NYC was lovely - I got to see BF and we went out for an intensely expensive and tasty meal of chi-chi (shi-shi?) Mexican food. Carne asada tacos, fresh guacamole, pomegranate margaritas and sangria. Yum. We got basically fried and then went for blintzes at this Ukranian place. The next evening was a fantastic dinner with former advisor at a yummy Indian restaurant - fresh mango margaritas. As you can probably tell - my life is basically structured around food and drink! Our relationship is now changing more from advisor-student to one between collegues and it's really nice. I'm realizing that I really like her - I always liked her, but now I feel I know her better. She stills terrifies me once in a while - she's so smart and rigorous about her work - but she's genuinely enthusiastic about where my project is going and she has faith in me and my career. From her, this is high praise and it felt good to hear. Thankfully, she's never been one of those profs. who, as BF would put it, "blow sunshine up your skirt." Plus, she paid for the cab to Penn Station! :)

But the conference itself was pretty good - the quality of the papers varied quite a bit, which surprised me. The couple of papers that I needed to "keep an eye on" (i.e., I looked at the schedule and said, "Shit! That sounds exactly like my book chapter!") ended up being not really anything I needed to worry about. They both ended up looking at the texts/issues from very different angles. They were interesting (if a little inchoate - but what work of mine isn't?) and one of the presenters was really lovely and enthusiastic about how our projects were dovetailing. So that was a nice connection to make!

I got to reconnect with some people I hadn't seen in many moons - I successfully avoided certain people (including practically diving under a table loaded with brie and crackers - the alternative would have been worse. Trust me.) - I met some new people (some cool, some crazy). So, it was overall a typical good conference! It was good to kind of see and be seen - with all the name-tag examination (chest first, face second) it was good that people saw my name and that I was able to tell people "where I am" and "what I'm doing".

I also met a very cool curator at the British Museum who told me about this site: Jordanus, a catalogue of medieval scientific manuscripts.

3) Visit with MedievalPop was fine - it was good to see him, but the weather was so hot (heat index of 106 degrees) that we couldn't do anything but go to the mall. We did go into L.L. Bean and he bought the Dutchman a couple of little camping things: a coffee percolator and a wind up flashlight (yep - my life IS this exciting!!)

Prissy girlfriend was the same - she's just as prissy as ever and I got subtlely chided for saying that her grandchildren went to "day care" instead of "child care". They provide care for children, not days. Personally, I couldn't give a "day" or "child"-care .... or a rat's butt.



At 5:41 PM, Blogger Hilaire said...

Eeee! I'm sorry that you now have to deal with the constant cross-border debacle...I'm going over tomorrow...with two fuji apples!!! I'll let you know if mine get confiscated. I find US border officials *incredibly* intimidating.

Also, I love your descriptions of food...I read this while hungry after an afternoon of errands and I was salivating...fresh mango margaritas, please.

Conference sounds perfectly conference-y...It feels as though conferences are always just weird affairs, doesn't it?

At 6:02 PM, Blogger medieval woman said...

Hee, hee! I think the customs woman ate them - I mean - they're fujis! The margaritas were great - both kinds! Fresh, fact, I'm thinking of having carne asada tonight - so hungry!

And you're right - conferences ARE always a little surreal. And exhausting - being "on" for that many days. And then there's the constant replaying of what you said to X and Y and Z...

Have a lovely time in our neighbor to the south! I just had a funny thought of how you could hide two fuji apples on a border crossing. I remember when it was just Kleenex in there!! :)

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Flavia said...

Oh, man--did you got to Rosa Mexicano for those margaritas and fresh guacamole? (Right across from Lincoln Center, with the weird waterfall wall with diving figures on it?) If so, I'm SO JEALOUS. It's expensive as hell, but I've never had guac like it.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger medieval woman said...

Yes! Yes, yes! It was awesome. And the little weird diving figures looked like inverted crucifixes - or maybe I'd just been at a medieval conference for too long...we're making fajitas & fresh guac tonight in a vain attempt to replicate the experience. The cats will be diving off the kitchens cabinets...

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Flavia said...

Now I really AM jealous--I haven't been there in at least a year. I'll have to make a trip there when I'm back in NYC next month.

And it's not just you: I really had a hard time figuring out/getting past the crucifix-like shapes, too!

Hope the homemade stuff was just or nearly as good. . .


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