27 February 2012

Movie Monday: Oscar Time!

I L-O-V-E love the Academy Awards.  I think I might get more excited for them than I do the Super Bowl.  Scratch that -- I definitely get more excited about the Oscars.  And this year I seemed to be even more into them.  I try to make it a habit to see as many nominated films as I can, but this year it was easy.  They were all movies I had already seen or wanted to see before I knew they were nominated.  All in all, I'd say 2011 was a good year for Hollywood.  There were so many great performances.  I myself was so torn between Viola Davis (The Help) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) for best actress.  You all know that I love me some Meryl.  Mamma Mia Meryl and Out of Africa Meryl.  Bridges of Madison County Meryl and The Devil Wears Prada Meryl.  The woman can literally do no wrong in my book.  But Viola Davis deserved the Oscar too.  Her performance in The Help moved me to tears (well, more tears than usual -- what can I say, I'm a weeper).  Was she snubbed, I don't know.  But both she and Meryl Streep have been so gracious and supporting of one another during the award season and it's so refreshing.  I know that The Help has its critics, but I'll stand by it as a film with mainstream appeal that touched a lot of people.  I mean, we took my grandma to see it.  Speaking of my grandma -- I went to her house to watch the Oscars this year.  We played Oscar Bingo.  It was pretty awesome.  You know what else was pretty awesome?  Uggie the dog from The Artist in a tuxedo on stage when they won best film.  Another deserving win.  I can't wait till next year!

24 February 2012

This photo pretty much sums it all up!  
It's my birthday, y'all!  
I'll be in the car pretty much all day -- so hit me up and keep me company!

22 February 2012

[A Little Long-Winded] Wednesday's Wonderings

1.  Could Barack Obama get any cooler?  I don't think so.  First of all, blues night at the White House.  Now that's a party I want to get invited to.  Second, the man can sing.  My favorite POTUS.  And that's saying something.  Well, hold up -- I've never heard LBJ sing (or play basketball) so I shouldn't rule him out so quickly.

2.  I'm in an immigration history class this semester and the deadline for my semester paper proposal is fast approaching.  What do I want to write about?  I have no clue!  Okay, that's a lie -- there are so many different things!  And trust me, I never thought I would be saying that about immigration history.  Initially, I wanted analyze immigrant memoirs/autobiographies.  More of a literature review kind of thing -- work in how the immigrants themselves talked about things like assimilation, nativism, ethnicity, race, etc.  But part of me thinks it might be time to return to Dirksen and LBJ (I spent probably half of my undergrad career researching them in some way or another).  There might be a story there with the Immigration Act of 1965.  It abolished the quota system that was currently in place.  I'm not sure how Dirksen voted, but he was the son of German immigrant parents, representing an extremely xenophobic constituency.  So there might be a story there.  And then (yes, the mind reels that there could be more), I spent the last week reading Sarah Gualtieri's Between Arab and White.  It focuses on the ways that Syrian immigrants to the United States defended their whiteness.  Pretty interesting stuff -- and it got me thinking about the community in which I grew up.  Peoria, Illinois has an extremely large Lebanese population. Not only that, but Lebanese Americans hold many prominent positions within the city.  The former mayor.  The sheriff.  Our former congressman.  And growing up, I never thought of them as anything but white.  So that's definitely something worth looking into.  So many choices!

3.  Can Friday get here sooner???  I cannot -- repeat, cannot -- wait to head back to Illinois on Friday. Partly because of this.  Warning -- do not click on that link unless you want to get angry.  Seriously, what kind of state am I living in?  I think I need to have a Thin Mint to cool down just thinking about it.  But Friday I get to head home for the birthday weekend extravaganza.  Technically, the festivities begin tomorrow night with my Bloomington basketball birthday.  We're all heading out to the IU women's basketball game vs. Wisconsin and then having drinks at Upland.  Friday morning, I'm hitting the open road to return to my beloved alma mater.  There's no place I would rather spend my birthday than Monmouth College.  Coffee with some history department friends, dinner with more friends, supporting the ladies of Alpha Xi Delta at Xi man -- it doesn't get much better!  Then Saturday it's the family birthday party lunch.  I'm pretty stoked for that pizza and ice cream cake (I don't like birthday cake...weird, I know).  Last, but certainly not least, I'm going out to dinner with my high school crew.  I cannot wait for the gang to be back together again!

21 February 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: Chillin' Like Bob Dylan

I absolutely love the 1960s.  Favorite decade hands down.  I have many loves in this time period.  Lyndon Johnson.  Civil Rights.  Bobby Kennedy.  The Lunar Landing.  Jack Kerouac (and speaking of Kerouac, I cannot wait for the Polish Brothers' new movie Big Sur to come out. It's based on his memoir-ish novel and features Stana Katic as Lenore Kandel). The rise of feminism.  Mary Poppins.  French New Wave.  Johnny Cash.  The demand for individual freedom.  And this guy...Bob Dylan.

I first fell in love with Robert Zimmerman of Minnesota during my sophomore year of undergrad.  Sure, I knew his most well-known songs before then, but in my History of American Music class I fell in love.    That was the year I fell in love with pretty much everything to do with the 1960s.  And Dylan's music is the soundtrack to the decade.  His lyrics were protest.  His words were the words of a generation pushed to the brink.  He was the guiding spirit of the counterculture.  His songs embodied the anti-war and civil rights movement.  Like Woody Guthrie, his songs had an intellectual quality.  They were literature.  They were poetry.  And best of all, they are still relevant today.

20 February 2012

Movie Monday: Black History Month

February is Black History month.  And so this weekend I wanted to watch some films that fell in with this theme.  As an undergraduate, I ended up doing a lot of research on civil rights.  A full years worth when it comes down to it.  Now that I'm in grad school, people have asked me why I chose to study what I study.  To be honest, I'm still not quite sure how to answer that question.  Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a racially diverse area.  At all.  And so I was curious.    Maybe it's because I don't see race first when I look at a person.  Maybe it's because I voted for the first black president.  Or maybe it's because I saw Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and thought, "Wow, this must have been incredible for it's time."  And it definitely was.  1967 -- the height of the civil rights era -- a nation pushed to the edge.  And along came Joey Drayton and John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), the couple who shared the first on screen kiss between an interracial couple.  Oh yeah, the film also starred Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as the young white woman's parents.  It was absolutely groundbreaking.  Interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 states when the film made its debut.  From a historical standpoint, it is an incredible primary source for civil rights.

And then, I wanted to watch The Bodyguard starring the late Whitney Houston and my favorite man ever, Kevin Costner.  This film is not overtly about interracial dating or civil rights.  But the relationship portrayed by Houston and Costner was something special.  It transcended race.  As I listened to Kevin Costner's eulogy at Houston's funeral on Saturday, my respect for him grew.  His producers tried to talk him out of casting Houston for the role.  They told him that he could find a white actress.  But he wanted Houston.  Not because she was black.  But because the color of her skin didn't matter.

But...I couldn't get The Bodyguard on Netflix Instant, so I had to go with another Kevin Costner period piece (because come on, he's pretty great).  So I watched The War.  I remember watching this 1994 film set in the post-Vietnam War South when I was younger.  But this weekend, I was struck by the relationship between Costner's on screen children and the African American children in their small Mississippi town.  Segregation still ruled the town and surely citizens must have looked down at their family for allowing the children to play with blacks.  It made me wonder, what kinds of decisions would I have made if I lived then.  Would I have gone on freedom rides?  Would I have been able to sit at that lunch counter?  Would I have dated a black man?  Or would I have played it safe?  I'd like to think that I would have taken a stand for what I believe in.  I'd like to think that I would have been as brave as Katharine Houghton's character in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.  And this February, I am thankful for those who did take a stand and broke down barriers. Thankful for Martin Luther King, Jr.  Fannie Lou Hamer.  Stokely Carmichael. W.E.B. DuBois.  Medgar Evers.

17 February 2012

fill in the blank friday

1.   I am       a lover of Jesus.  The biggest nerd ever.  A loyal friend. A grad student. Fond of my morning coffee. A reformed tomboy. A letter writer. A hater of socks. Always listening to music. An introvert who occasionally spazzes out with excess extrovertive(?) energy  .

2.  The bravest thing I've ever done was    ummm...I don't normally think of myself as a brave person, but I'm sure that as an RA I had to do something brave.  One time is definitely coming to mind, but I don't feel like I should broadcast it   .

3.  I feel prettiest when        I just finish working out.  Must be the endorphins  .

4.  Something that keeps me awake at night is   the future.  And to-do lists too.  But generally, I don't have much trouble falling asleep.  At all.  I think I could sleep just about anywhere    .

5.  My favorite meal in the entire world is     tacos/burritos/enchiladas  Of any variety from anywhere.  You probably thought I would say breakfast food right?  Gotcha on this one.  While I do have a strong love for pancakes...I think Mexican takes top prize...at least for today  .

6.  The way to my heart is         through spending quality time and having fun...lame answer, I know, but I've got nothing else  .

7.  I would like to        get rid of this sore throat...and have winter go away!   .

16 February 2012

Isn't She a Beauty?

What were you expecting?  A baby?  A dog?  Maybe a car?  Nope.  Try a pizza.  Half a pizza to be exact. I know I've mentioned my cooking adventures before, and how they usually end with the smoke detector going off.  Or how I once stood on the other side of the room while a friend made lemon bars because I was afraid my mere presence would ruin them.  But as of late, I've been doing pretty good in the kitchen.  And I was proud of my fresh mozzarella and oregano pizza I made tonight.  It was the cheese that did it for me.  I think I could spend a significant portion of my paychecks just on cheese.  I don't know if I've ever met a cheese I didn't like.  Or any dairy product for that matter.  Which is making this sore throat/cold I have all the more unbearable.  No milk for this kid!  Here's hoping I get better soon, or I'll be going through withdrawals!

15 February 2012

Wednesday's Wonderings

In the spirit of this week's endless readings on labor history...and that one  time I had a dream where Karl Marx was my uncle and E.P. Thompson was my love interest.  And yes, I sent this to a friend (or should I say comrade) yesterday.

Why is discussing labor history so exhausting?  No seriously.  Why?  And scratch discussing...reading it too.  Dear Herbert Gutman, the fact that E.P. Thompson's approach/theory can be applied to the nineteenth century United States really doesn't do anything for me.  Okay, now that I have that rant out of the way, tonight in my colloq. on race and immigration we were discussing Lizabeth Cohen's Making a New Deal.  It focuses on industrial workers in Chicago in the inter-war period.  It's a pretty iconic work and she makes some pretty interesting arguments about the effect of mass culture on the development the working class and changes in their ethnic identities, but ugh...it's so long.  And our discussion tonight left me feeling totally drained.

But that could be because I feel finding like out if having a tonsillectomy is an elective procedure.  My throat is killing me!  Why do I always seem to get sick around my birthday?  Seriously not cool.  Let's just hope it doesn't turn into whatever I had sophomore year that left me in bed for three days (that I do not have any memory of), actually using my comforter as a blanket (which means something is seriously wrong, but that's a different story), and making my friends sleep on my floor because I was afraid I was going to die.  Here's hoping this Twinings with honey does the trick!

Speaking of birthdays...what should I do for my 23rd?  I've already decided I'm going to make the trek home to celebrate with the traditional party with my family.  I will also be making a stop at the old alma mater.  But I want to do something here in Bloomington too.  So what should we do Thursday night?  Dinner at Upland?  Or the women's basketball game against Wisconsin and maybe out for drinks?  Or have a breakfast food extravaganza?

14 February 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: Give Me Love

In the spirit of that holiday known as Valentine's Day...

I love finding new music.  Almost as much as I love breakfast cereal.  And maybe a little more than I love the word locofoco.  That's saying something.  A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon this incredible track from a 20 year old Brit named Ed Sheeran.  I especially love how he sings the Irish folk song "The Parting Glass" at the end of this song.  Good stuff.  And it's pretty fitting for spending your Valentine's Day at work, in class, and then alone working on homework.  

And many thanks to the LBJ Library and Museum for posting this gem on their Facebook page this afternoon.

That's my man LBJ kissing Sam Rayburn aka the Speaker of the House.  Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

13 February 2012

Movie Monday: Katharine Hepburn

I pretty much own every movie Katharine Hepburn ever made.  And if I don't own it, I've probably seen it.  I don't know what it is about her, but I find her absolutely fascinating.  Maybe it's the characters she plays.  Tess Harding in Woman of the Year.  Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.  Susan in Bringing Up Baby.  And I absolutely adore her opposite Spencer Tracy.  They definitely had a special chemistry.  And then there's Desk Set.  From 1957, it's not one of her more well known work, but it might be my favorite.  Probably because it's about a reference librarian who outsmarts the computer engineer who tries to replace her department with an "electronic brain."  I've seen this movie about a million times, but now I finally own it.  Thanks to my parents for my Valentines gift (And yeah, yeah, I know that I opened it before I was supposed to).  Now that I'm in library school I think I appreciate this film even more.  Yep, nerd alert.

12 February 2012

The Magical Powers of Flight of the Concords, Whitney Houston Breakfast, and Basketball Pilgrimages

Look at that cheesy grin -- like a kid in a candy store!

So what do those three insane things have in common?  They are the ingredients to an awesome weekend. So awesome that I almost forgot I was working on a paper that's worth 35% of my grade.

The Flight of the Concords -- aka Bret and Jemaine have magical powers.  I've known this since freshman year.  They gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "business time."  And gave us endless laughs about the Hiphopopotomus vs. the Rhymenoceros.  So when one of their songs played on my 8tracks yesterday I sent to a text to someone I haven't talked to in months.  I'm not saying that Flight of the Concords healed our friendship, but they definitely sent us on the right path.  So thanks, guys.  And, there ain't no party like my nana's tea party! (Look them up and you'll get the reference...and you'll probably laugh uncontrollably).

Oh, the first annual Whitney Houston Memorial Breakfast.  Upon her death flashing across my newsfeed, a friend and I decided to honor Whitney the only way we knew how...by playing her songs on a continuous loop -- especially I Wanna Dance With Somebody -- and attempting to find a place that serves breakfast 24 hours a day in Bloomington.  I guess I should have mentioned that we wanted to get breakfast at 9 pm...after we had just eaten ice cream.  So after some serious searching (I really put those librarian skills to use), we found that Sonic was just about it.  So we went through the drive-thru for breakfast sandwiches, tots, and coffee.  And then we went home and jammed.  And. it. was. awesome.  P.S.  I Wanna Dance With Somebody is still in my head.  And probably will be until April.

Then this afternoon I made my first trip to Assembly Hall to watch some Indiana basketball.  It was a women's game and I got in for free, but still. I saw those five legendary banners on the wall.  And just being close to the court was incredible.  Bobby Knight, Isiah Thomas.  'Nuff said.

10 February 2012

1.   If money wasn't an issue, the first thing I'd cross of my life list is     go around the world in (probably more) than 80 days.  I can't think of anything I would want to do more.  And my current financial situation is definitely keeping me stateside for the immediate future   .

2.    Salt and vinegar potato chips     is something I like that other people think is weird.

3.  If my life were a movie right now, the title would be     "Grad School Life" or "Eat. Read. Sleep. Repeat."      .

4.  Three things I am looking forward to this month are     going to my first IU basketball game    ,    turning 23   and     hopefully heading home for a weekend   .

5.  My favorite song to sing in the shower is   that probably depends on what I'm listening to in the shower.  Yep, I'm one of those people.  But I generally like something upbeat  .

6.  If I found out that the production of     Dunkin' Donuts French Vanilla Coffee or Double Stuff Oreos -- can you imagine a world without Oreos?  Because I can't.    was ending this month, I'd go out and buy as much as I could tomorrow.

7.  One thing I'll never grow tired of is    doing everything I do for the glory of God  .

Hope your weekend is filled with loveliness!


08 February 2012

Wednesday's Wonderings: Ah, the elusive future.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future.  Probably too much time.  If there's one thing I struggle with, it's worrying.  But here are a few things that have been on my mind as of late.

What am I going to be when I grow up?  One would think that when you go to graduate school that you already have a pretty good idea of what that is.  Wrong.  Especially when you have two possible roads to travel down -- both of which could branch off in many different directions.  Here's what I know.  I do not, repeat, do not want to get a PhD in history.  My two years in graduate school will be enough for me.  I have a feeling that after my two years are up I will take a serious hiatus from academia.  Do I want to be a librarian?  Maybe.  I love helping people with their research -- so reference seems like a pretty good fit to me.  And I love college.  So who knows, maybe I'll end up a reference librarian in at a college somewhere.  Or do I want to be an archivist?  Since my freshman year of undergrad, this has been what I've wanted to do (minus that semester where I thought it would be cool to go to law school).  Through independent studies and internships I held firm.  Now I work in archive and I'm just not 100% sure.  I love politics and all things political.  Word on the street is that senators and members of Congress are starting to hire archivists as part of their staff.  This is definitely something to keep on the radar.  I couldn't think of a better job.  Or maybe I'll write a novel.  Who knows.

Isn't it funny how life never works out the way you planned?  Don't pretend that you didn't come up with a life plan in high school or college.  We all did it.  And let's just say that my life hasn't exactly gone according to plan.  If you would have told high school Hope that she would be in grad school in Indiana right now, she would have laughed.  Hard.  I wanted to be four years and done.  Teaching high school history and coaching basketball in my hometown.  And the funny thing is, that probably could have worked out.  High school Hope wanted to be getting married about now.  That one's definitely a laugh.  With no prospects on the horizon, it looks like I'll be stuck in the single lane for the foreseeable future.  And I'm okay with that.  Grad school takes up all my time any way.  I don't have time to deal with a boy right now.

Where will I end up/settle down?  I lived in the same town my entire life until I went to college.  And even then I was only 90 minutes away.  Somewhere around age 10 (I completely made up that age), I developed an any-where-but-here attitude.  In 4th grade I wanted to live in Alaska.  In high school in was the South.  In college, it was abroad.  It's something I've carried with me my entire life.   I love my home and I love my family, but I have had a chronic case of the wanderlust since I can remember.  Up until a couple days ago.  I was getting ready to head to campus for the day when I had one of those moments.  One of those strange moments of clarity where suddenly you know what you want to do with your life.  I can say with absolute certainty that when I finish grad school I want to move back to central Illinois.  It will always be home.  Don't get me wrong, I could still spend all my money traveling and that would make me the happiest person in the world.  But when I come home, I want it to be in the Land of Lincoln.

07 February 2012

Tuesday Tune-day: It don't mean a thing...

...if it ain't got that swing!
I watch a lot of 1940s movies.  And last night, my favorite TV show did a film noir episode.  I was completely jazzed (yep, pun intended).  There's nothing better than a 40s movie with a hard boiled P.I. and a femme fatale.  And so all day today, I've been listening to big band music.  I went through a huge Glenn Miller phase in high school.  Probably because I played the trombone.  And swing music is some of the most fun (and most difficult) music to play.  I was lucky enough to be in a great pep band where we played Sing, Sing, Sing and In the Mood every night.  The trombone part in this Benny Goodman song is seriously sick.  It took me weeks to get it down.  Now I seriously want to head back to MCHS to jam again!

06 February 2012

No Movie Monday

No movies for me this weekend.  I was sucked into the black hole that is the television show, How I Met Your Mother.  I've seen a rerun here an there over the past 5 years or so, but now that the entire series is on Netflix instant, I am seriously in trouble!  So in between working on library assignments and reading my favorite history book of the young semester, I've been kicking it with Ted, Robin, Lily, Marshall, and  of course, Barney.  And laughing out loud.  A lot.  The premise of the show is genius and different from anything else on TV.  But I have just one question -- can I be Ted's wife instead of the mysterious girl with the yellow umbrella?  Because that would be legend.  Wait for it.  Dary.

03 February 2012

february's first {fill in the blank} friday

1. My favorite place I've ever traveled to is Two Way Tie: Warsaw, Poland. Hands down the most beautiful city I've ever seen. Old meets new. Winding streets. Great food. And St. George's, Grenada is incredible. Breathtaking views, vibrant colors, and beautiful people .

2. Africa is somewhere I'd love to go someday.

3. I pass the time on a plane (or bus, or car ride or train) by listening to the old iPod and playing Fruit Ninja if I'm on a plane or train. If I'm driving, I sing along to the radio. And if I have a traveling companion, road trip conversations are some of the best. .

4. My three must-haves when I travel are my iPod , snacks and plenty of leg room

5. My favorite travel companion is probably my sister since she has the best sense of direction of anyone I know. .

6. The craziest thing that ever happened to me while traveling is my bus hit a car in Berlin once. And in Grenada our tent fell down in the middle of a torrential downpour .

7. The most exotic food I've ever tried while traveling is barracuda in Grenada. And I'm sure I ate a lot of things that I'm better of not knowing what they actually were .

8. If I could live anywhere else, I'd live in the Southern United States or the Caribbean .

9. I have been to 25...26 if you count DC states in the U.S.

02 February 2012

This or That Thursday

A few more This or That questions...

Stripes or polka dots? Stripes. I don't know if I own anything with polka dots. Unless it's socks.

Hot or Cold? That's a tough one. I'd have to say cold. You can always put on more clothes/curl up in a blanket...but there's only so much you can do when it's hot. Although, I do love a good run in the hot summer sun.

Tea or Coffee? These are killing me today! Presently, probably coffee. Historically, tea. Sweet tea, that is. Although, I have been known to go for some English Breakfast on occasion. But my coffee consumption is at an all-time high.

Ice or Fire? Ice. Definitely. I have a crazy fear of fire. I think I've only lit one match in my entire life.

Dog or Cat? Again, killing me. Since I have a cat I should probably say cat, but there's something about dogs. Like the dog on the bus yesterday. So dogs. Final answer.

Chocolate or Vanilla? I might be the only person in the world to say this, but vanilla. I don't like chocolate ice cream. Or cake. Or milk. Pretty much anything chocolate flavored except an actual chocolate bar.

Glass or Plastic? Glass. There's just something about drinking a Coke from a bottle. Or from an actual glass.

Odd or Even? Even. A resounding even! Just ask anyone who's been around me long enough about how I feel about the TV volume. It must be on an increment of 5 or an even number!

Past or Present? What kind of history major would I be if I didn't say past?

Save or Spend? Save. I might be the least fun person to go shopping with. I will talk you out of buying something.

Under or Over? Are we talking toilet paper here? Maybe it's TMI, but over.

01 February 2012

Wednesday's Wonderings!

Happy February, y'all!
*This has absolutely nothing to with this post -- I just liked it! And it's so true. Hegel, you were one smart dude!

Isn't February great? Once you get past the middle of winter blues, course. It's funny how the shortest month in the year can sometimes feel like the longest. But there's plenty of fun things to cheer us up! Example 1) The Super Bowl. I'll admit, I've never been a huge football fan, but I'm pretty excited that the big game is taking place less than hour away from me. Although, I am definitely keeping my distance from Indianapolis this weekend. (I hate crowds!) So we're having a girls' night Super Bowl party at the one person's apartment who actually has TV. Strong work. I've been on Pinterest trying to find some good ideas for snacks. So far the chocolate covered strawberries that look like footballs are in the lead! Example 2) All the cool people were born in February. To name a few: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Michael Jordan, my grandpa, and me. Example 3) Valentines' Day. Whatever your feelings on this day -- corporate scheme or romantic day -- you have to admit that you have some pretty fond memories of making your Valentines box for your class party in elementary school. I still get pretty excited about making Valentines. So keep your eye on the post folks -- mine are ready to go in the mail!

This February is particularly great because it is currently 56 degrees and there isn't a cloud in the sky in Btown. Can anything beat wearing TOMS instead of snowboots in winter? I'm gonna go with a no on that one. It's pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread. Especially since last year at this time we were digging out of a blizzard. I know it won't last, but I'm going to bask in the perfectness that is almost 60 degree weather.

Can I go to the Olympics in London this summer? I've been watching the qualifying matches for women's soccer for the past week or so. They weren't TV, so I had to find them on some website where I'm sure only really hardcore Olympic freaks watch. Yep, now I'm that person. But...USWNT = CONCACAF Champions! They didn't even allow a single goal from their opponents! Pretty awesome, right? I can't wait. The Summer Olympics are great. When else can you watch gymnastics, swimming, and table tennis all in one day? And to top it all off, my sister is going to be London just months before the Games. She better bring me back something from the Olympic Village!