Friday, December 5, 2008

Impending Examinations + Upcoming Tea-centric Gathering + Potlucks Are Magic

December 5th means:
• Five days until my first two exams. (English Boot Camp and Women’s Studies on the same day, ouch.)
• Two days until my second-Sunday-of-advent tea party. (So much cleaning and baking still to be done!)
• One day after the last day of classes. (Awesome potluck at Cuthbertson House in celebration last night!)

Allow me to relate some details of each of these happenings in turn.

Uno:

I’m not happy about this. But I can’t do anything about it. (Although the university does allow you to switch up your exam-taking arrangements if you have three exams within a 24 hour period, which is nice of them.) Oh well, I guess it’ll at least make every day of the exam period after that seem like tasty tasty cake in comparison. Especially the big chunk of days in the middle where I have nothing to do but make ceremonial jabs at studying for what I anticipate to be my easiest exam, and radically alter the landscape of my head (oh my goodness all my friends are so tired of hearing about the haircut I haven’t gotten yet).

Dos:

I’m having a tea party on Sunday! This isn’t quite the first time I’ve held a party at this apartment, but as the last one was during the summer, only three people besides myself were in attendance (which was just about the right number of people to play surrealist poker, eat lasagna, and share a bottle of wine with optimal but not excessive tipsyfying results). I don’t expect all those invited to show up this time, but I think a lot of them will, and that will be nice.

Here’s the thing: I grew up in the woods. This had many advantages, but persuading townspeople (and/or their parents) that it was worth the effort to make it out to parties I threw was not one of them. It’s quite exciting to me that I now live in a place which, when I describe its location, people nod in recognition, and maybe even note their knowledge of former tenants of the same place, as opposed to furrowing their brows in confusion and asking, “isn’t that just a big gravel pit?” (Yes. It is a big gravel pit. It is a big gravel pit in the woods and my family built a house in it. Now come to my damn birthday.)

Anyhow. So close. So close to tea and cookies and candles with good company and and and and love.

I’m excited.

Tres:

Classes done for the semester! Woohoo!

The celebrations began as I was washing the dishes and heard a knock at my door. I shook off the suds and went to answer what turned out to be my landlady with a tray of sweets for me and my flat-mate. How darling is that? So maritimes.

After washing said dishes (and, okay, eating some of said sweets), I began making date squares. Well, I guess I can’t call them squares, because I made them in a heart-shaped pan, but

[LAUNDRY INTERLUDE!
Mm, delicious hot clean fluffy laundry, at long last.
You don’t want to know how long I’d been putting that off for.
/laundry interlude.]

you get the idea. With non-square-shaped date concoction in hand, I proceeded from my home to the far end of campus, where I entered Cuthbertson House, a.k.a. Eco’House, a.k.a. Sustainable Residence.

Cuthbertson is one of two houses on campus dedicated to a particular purpose (aside from housing Mt.A. students). The other one is Carriage House, a.k.a. Animal House—a new experiment in allowing students to have pets by putting abandoned and rescued animals of various species in their care. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit it since this experiment began, but last year I had several friends living in the house when it was a.k.a Academic House, and was considering applying for residence there at one point. For the most part, places in these houses tend to be occupied by non-frosh, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Of course, you should have a strong interest in the environment/animals if you apply for residence in one of these houses, but there are other things about them that are different from the other residences. Cue the bullet points:
• They’re real houses. Personally, I find this really comforting. It’s also kind of funny to be sitting in what for the most part is like a totally normal living room, except that it has a pay phone and an exit sign in it.
• Unlike other students in residence, those living in Carriage and Cuthbertson are not required to purchase a full meal plan. Instead, they generally get a meal plan which allows them to have a few meals a week at Jennings (the Mt. A. meal hall), and be in charge of their own food otherwise. This is coupled with the fact that these houses (Cuthbertson in particular) have real kitchens. There’s a lot of communal suppering that goes on.
• A party in one of these houses has the capacity to be infinitely classier than your standard “floor crawl”.

Which brings us back to what I was doing at Cuthbertson last night. I was invited to this potluck by the lovely Miss Charlotte: Cuthbertson resident, Tintamarienne and all-around nifty lady. Upon entering the house, I found myself waving hello to an adorable tiny blonde person — yes, this was a party with real kids, accompanied by their real grown-ups! I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but one of the things that sometimes makes my Mt. A. experience a little glum is that I don’t get to hang out with enough people under the age of seventeen. When I’m at home, I often work or volunteer for a children’s theatre. My former sources of employment also include an art camp and a toy store, and a lot of the “big kids” from when I was small are starting to have kids of their own, so just walking around my home town, I’m pretty likely to run into kids and their parents who I know. It’s kind of important to me to feel like a part of an intergenerational community in that way, and while I have had some really sweet kid-encounters in the shire, they were mostly over the summer, when I was only taking one course, and there were more outdoor, all-ages events I could get involved in without too much planning ahead. Point is, it was really nice to go to a potluck with babies and other non-adults climbing all over the place. That was Phase One of the potluck, along with SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. My goodness. I have to confess, in the midst of everything I’ve been trying to get done, there have been some skipped meals. I can safely say I got all caught up on my nutritional needs last night, and then some. Mmmmmmm…

Then, not long after most of the family units said their farewells and went home to early bedtimes, I had joined a predominantly Tintamarien cuddle puddle in the living room when a Cuthbertson resident by the name of Nico came in and sneakily transitioned us into Phase Two: the dance yer face off portion of the evening. I have to admit, I was not expecting this, which was fairly evident from my attire. It was the first time I’d danced in a long skirt for a while, and while it was an interesting difference, I think it’ll be the last time for a while as well. Not to mention I was wearing what was decidedly a winter dress (made of heavy blue corduroy) and even opening the door under the green EXIT sign didn’t let in anything colder than spring. (Have I mentioned it’s spring again? It is, for some crazy reason. I guess we live in Sackville or something.) Still, Nico threw us a haphazard, delightful mix of tunes, and I danced my face off quite merrily except when I went to take a breath and tune into the ongoing kitchen conversation of the non-dancers for a while.

Phase Three was more cuddle-puddling and conversation in another room. When at last people began to think it might be time for bed, we decided the classy thing to do would be for those of us who remained to form a parade, dropping people off at their various dwellings along the way. Not only was this an inherently charming suggestion, but I was pleased to note that the remaining people represented a nice mix of friends I’d been happy to run into at the party and new people I’d been happy to meet. And, having walked me right up to my door, they officially can't say they don't know how to get to my apartment, and therefore have no excuse not to come to my tea party.

Awright. That’s it for relating my experiences this time around. I do however have some important mystery instructions for you, which you will follow if you know what’s good for you:

Come up with things the acronym G.A.T. could/should stand for, and send them to me either via comments or email (elcameron at mta dot ca).

Some Examples:
Ginormous Arctic Trampoline
Grew A Tail
Galloping Antelope Trail
Gain All Trust
Gay As Turing
Girls Are Tricksy
Gape At Trains
Grateful After Tornado
Giants Ate Tina
Give Ants Trapezes
Gibbons Alter Things
Going After Tinkerbell
Gruesome Albino Thugs

JUST FOR EXAMPLE.

This is for reasons which are 100% awesome, I promise.

More Life,
Emmet

P.S. - Apparently Odetta just died. Damn.

She sang my favourite versions of a lot of songs, and this was one of them.
Thanks for being so generous with your talent and so tireless with your activism, Odetta. Also, you had such great hands.

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