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!