25 May 2012

fill in the blank friday {home style}

1.  The best surprise ever would be,   a surprise trip.  Just think about it.  How awesome would it be to be whisked away for 2 or 3 weeks to destination unknown?  Pretty amazing in my book.  I think I would like a surprise honeymoon.  Are you reading this, future husband (whoever you are)?   .

2.      Scoring my 1000th career point in basketball.  Baseline jumper in the second quarter against Bloomington Central Catholic.  My fourth of what would be 19 points for the game.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  My hair was still curly from Homecoming the night before.  Sharing that fist bump with my coach as I ran down the court.  I don't think I could stop smiling.   is my most favorite memory .

3.  The hardest, but most worthwhile thing I've ever done was     ummm...moving to Indiana and going to graduate school?  There are days that I wake up and seriously question what I'm doing with my life and why I'm there.  But I know that I need to do it.  I needed to step out on my own and move away from everything.  Oh, and I need those degrees too. .

4.  The best part of my day is    currently?  Those 20 minutes where I sit in the library and do the crossword and drink my sweet tea or iced coffee before I go to work.  Love it..

5. Something I like that most people don't is       salt and vinegar potato chips.  And black licorice .

6. Something I am willing to fight for is     my faith, my family, and my friends.  .

7.  Something you might not know about me is   hmmm...I took gymnastics when I was little.  HA!  I'm laughing just thinking about it.  .

Happy weekend!


22 May 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: Why do I like this song?

I heard this song on the local radio station about a week ago as I was driving around town.  And I've been listening to it ever since.  I'm not usually one to go for mainstream Top 40 music...or rap/hip hop or whatever you want to call it...at all.  Although, I did go through a serious gangster rap phase in junior high and the beginning of high school.  What?  I thought I was a baller. Nike headband covering one ear a necklace with my basketball number, vintage Nike kicks with the laces untied and all.  I blame movies like Love & Basketball, Save the Last Dance, and Coach Carter.  Man, how times change.  I'm glad that my music tastes have matured.  And that I grew out of the lucky basketball sweatbands.  Don't get me wrong, I'll always be more comfortable in basketball shorts than anything.   And every once and awhile a hip hop song still gets me.  Especially ones with a good message.  That's what Chris Rene has done with this track.  I can dig it.

P.S.  And in completely unrelated news -- I cannot wait to see this film! Clive Owen as Hemingway and Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn?  Yes please!  You know I'm a sucker for a good period bio-flick. Especially if my man Hemingway is involved. ;-)

21 May 2012

{No Time For A} Movie Monday

This weekend didn't exist.  No really.  In my summer school grad student universe there was no Saturday or Sunday.  I went to class both days.  Working 9-5.  Okay, I apologize -- I had to insert a Dolly Parton movie reference.  But that's as close as I got to some downtime spent watching a movie.  No Redbox trips, just grant-writing.  I'm working on a proposal to start a library program for the homeless -- pretty awesome stuff -- even if it is just pretend.  Honestly, it's been a great class and will help me immensely.  I just feel like today is Wednesday, not Monday.

But on Saturday night, I did find some time to do some back porch sitting with a good friend and her dog.  And funfetti cake (which interestingly is the only kind of cake I will eat).  And huge cans of Rolling Rock.  We are two classy broads, let me tell you!  Nothing beats beer and cake and a good heart to heart.

That reminds me.  I love porches.  I don't know what it is about them, but my future home must have one.  Preferably one that looks like this: 
I love our front porch at home.  And our deck.  There is going to be some serious poolside deck time in my future starting Thursday.  The forecast is calling for temps in the 90s and I am so stoked to hop in the pool for the first time this summer!  Nothing beats a good book, a comfortable chair on the deck, the warm sun on your skin, a cool drink in your hand, and the smell of chlorine in your hair!

20 May 2012

Getting a little nostalgic (and teary-eyed)

If you know me at all, you are probably aware of my flair for the nostalgic.  I mean, come one, I'm an historian and an archivist.  That's a double-whammy of pondering the past.   It's graduation season.  And today, ceremonies were held at both of my beloved alma maters. 

Midwest Central High School -- good ol' MCHS.  Home of the Raiders.  It's crazy to think it's been FIVE years since I graduated.  Our reunion is coming up at the end of the summer and I can't wait!  It's not like I really need to reconnect with my class, I'm still pretty close with my group of friends.  It's pretty easy to stay in touch when you went from kindergarten  through senior year with the same 85 people.  I have literally had the same group of friends since third grade.  And my best friend since pre-school.  Even though we have all gone our separate ways, most of them are still in the area and we all get together when I'm in Illinois.  It seems like just yesterday that we were all sitting in that stifling gym.  Getting embarrassing awards (Oh wait, that was just Randy and me -- 4 years of perfect attendance -- what nerds!).  Walking out in a shower of silly string.  Parties at the Forman Center.  Shopping for our college dorm rooms.  But today, another class is sitting in that hot gymnasium surrounded by literally all of Manito, Green Valley, and Forest City.  Another class is heading out into the world to do incredible things.  I am so proud of you all!

And oh, Monmouth College.  The school I love so well.  I cannot believe it has been a year already.  I remember everything about that day.  I have never been so happy.  Or so sad.  I remember my parents bringing me back to my apartment after taking me to dinner.  While everyone else was moving out and heading back home, my parents dropped me off and said goodbye.  I was so excited that I got to spend another summer in my favorite place.  But when I got into my apartment, I sat down on my couch and cried.  Gosh, I even remember what I was wearing -- probably because I got mascara on my sweatshirt and it took a couple washings to get it out.  But I digress...I don't think that I was sad.  I texted some other friends who were still in town and we sat in Bowers toasting our accomplishments with PBRs as the sun set on the day and our college careers.  Today though, as another class and my dear, dear friends graduate from Monmouth, I feel that same feeling again.  It's nostalgia.  It's that overwhelming feeling when every memory you have flashes in your mind like a slide show on a projector screen.  And I wish more than anything that I could have been there today -- hugging my friends like I was hugged last year, wiping mascara from my eyes, and toasting accomplishments with horrible beer.  I could not be prouder of the Class of 2012!  I love you all!

18 May 2012

fill in the blank friday

1.  Something that is very near and dear to my heart is,   friendship.  Caring about/for other people.  Where would we be without the ability to share our lives with others?    .

2.      Any little old thing   is good cause to celebrate .

3.  The most fun I ever had was     the road trip to Texas during undergrad is definitely up there.  And my trip to DC over spring break.  I don't know if I've ever been so happy in my entire life as I was those days with my wonderful friends who I love and miss so dearly  .

4.  True friends are   the ones who you can tell anything to.  The ones who know something is wrong from the sound of your voice.  The ones who you can always pick up right where you left off no matter how long its been since you've seen them .

5. Something that makes me terribly happy is       laying outside in the sun.  Barefoot.  On a blanket.  With a book. .

6. A good way to spend a sunny day is     hmmmm...see above?  No but seriously...just add a cool drink to that list.  And maybe a pool and you've got it.  I can't wait to swim!  Memorial Day weekend I think I'm going to jump in our pool whether it's warm enough or not!  .

7.  My favorite celebratory food is   tacos.  Definitely tacos.  Or really just Mexican in general.  And maybe some margaritas.  Okay so maybe that's a celebratory meal, but  nothing says celebration like a little fiesta (wow, that was really bad.  it is going to be a very, very interesting Friday) .

Happy weekend!


15 May 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: A Southern Summer?

Perfect song for summer.  And it just sounds like New Orleans to me.  Oh what I would give to be back there right now.  Eating jambalaya...or beignets.  Chillaxing by a courtyard pool.  Talking walks down winding, narrow streets.

That reminds me...I have to complete an internship next summer, and I have been doing some research lately.  I've come to the decision that I want to spend my summer somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon.  I've always been drawn to the South for some reason.  I don't think I actually want to live there forever, but I would like to spend some extended time there.  Maybe in New Orleans at the Amistad Research Center.  Maybe in Austin, Texas at the LBJ Library or the Briscoe Center.  Maybe in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.  Or perhaps I'll head to Florida where I already have some friends who have settled there.  Who knows?!  But what I do know is that I'm going to find a way to make this happen!

P.S.  Wish me luck -- I'm off to the Doc after class this afternoon.  Hopefully I can get these feet fixed up!

14 May 2012

Movie Monday: A Movie for Mother's Day

How did I not blog about Mother's Day yesterday?!  I am a horrible child.  But when I think of a movie for Mother's Day, I think of Steel Magnolias.  It's one of my all-time favorites and Sally Field's performance of a grieving mother is spectacular.  Heart-wrenching and hilarious at the same time.  Now that's something special. 

We watch a lot of movies at our house.  If I had been at home with my mom this weekend we probably would have watched one of our all-time favorites.  Probably Sweet Home Alabama.  Or maybe Runaway Bride.  I can't even count the number of times we've watched those two movies.  I think I know every line to both of them!

13 May 2012

Never Stop Dreaming...

I recently sent graduation cards to all of the residents who lived on my floor in Liedman Hall during their freshman year.  I loved those ladies.  They made my job as an RA so enjoyable.  I loved it when they would stop by just to talk.  I loved it when we would sit in the lounge discussing our plans for the future.  So many of them became RAs.  So many of them studied abroad.  They all have done amazing  things.  Art projects.  Research papers.  Getting accepted to graduate school.  And I am so proud of all of them.  My last words to them are (were?):  "Never stop dreaming!"  That's how I signed all of their cards.  And I mean it.  

It got me thinking back to my own graduation.  It's hard to believe that it has already been a year.  I still consider that to be the most important day of my life thus far.  I don't think I've ever been as happy as I was that afternoon (minus the fact that our ceremony was held inside due to the threat of rain).  It was at this time last year that I stood before my fellow graduates and said these words:

First, let me say thank you to our parents and relatives, our friends, and the faculty and staff who are here today.  We are glad that we could share this milestone with you.

The last time we all sat here together, we were matriculating. Chances are we were more worried about saying goodbye to our parents or what our roommate was going to be like than what anyone up here was saying.  And then we started classes.  At first, we were intimidated, but in time we found our own way.  We freaked out about our first five page English paper.   We’ve come a long way from those days. We crossed our fingers and hoped we had mail – and that there was fried ravioli in the cafeteria.  We pulled all nighters – for academic purposes – or maybe not.  We walked to class in a foot of snow.  We found friendships that will last a lifetime.   Most importantly, we found ourselves here at Monmouth College.

Now the time has come to say farewell. We say goodbye to the friends who waited outside the cafeteria so we didn’t have to go in alone and to the roommates who stayed up all night listening to us when we needed a shoulder to lean on.  We say goodbye to the professor who went out of his/her way to teach you more than academic lessons, but to follow your heart.  We say goodbye to the staff members who never failed to brighten our day.  Lastly, we say goodbye to the College that has become our home.

Let us look back on our time here at Monmouth College with fondness.  But since commencement means beginning, let us also set our eyes toward the future.  We have put in the hours of hard work and we have formed the relationships that shaped us into capable adults.  We are ready to face the obstacles ahead of us and now we have  been given the opportunity to succeed.  Today, as we start the next chapter of our lives, I challenge you to keep dreaming, to follow your heart, and to never give up.  I leave you with the words of the poet, e.e. cummings,

dive for dreams

or a slogan may topple you

(trees are their roots

and wind is wind)

trust your heart

if the seas catch fire

(and live by love

though the stars walk backward)

honour the past

but welcome the future

As I re-read those words today, I remember what I felt when I stood at the podium that afternoon.  Strangely, I wasn't nervous at all.  My heart was overflowing.  I was excited.  I was scared.  I was optimistic.  I was nostalgic.  I had to try my hardest not to cry.  In fact, after the ceremony was over someone told me that they thought I was crying when I started to speak -- that I didn't even sound like myself.  Maybe I didn't.  But I know one thing, I spoke from my heart that day.  Monmouth College became my home.  My classmates, professors, and staff became my family.  I don't want those wonderful women who lived on my floor their freshman year to forget any of that.  I want them to know that Monmouth has prepared them well.  I want them to do good.  I can't wait to see what the next phase of their lives has in store for them.

11 May 2012

fill in the blank friday

This is what I want to be doing right now.

1.   If  I had to use 3 words to describe why I am undoubtedly a  Grebner they would be  stubborn, creative, tradition-loving.  (I think I just used the most stereotypical words to describe Germans.  But I left off argumentative, thrifty, and cold -- which we all are from time to time!)

2.  Something that happened to me in life that initially seemed bad but turned out to be good was  when I decided to quit the basketball team in college.  It had been my life long dream to play college ball.  Then when I got there, it just wasn't fun anymore.  I literally dreaded getting up in the morning. Deciding to quit was the hardest decision I had ever made.  Basketball defined me.  I didn't know who I was without it.  I thought about leaving Monmouth College, since that was the only reason I was there in the first place.  But I decided to stay, and I am so glad that I did!.

3.  Something I inherited from my mom is  my demeanor.  We're both pretty quiet.  We both like things to be neat.  We don't like drama.  My studiousness too.  And my dark eyes.

4.  Something I inherited from my dad is  my crazy hair -- thanks Dad.  My athletic ability.  .

5.  My goal for this summer is   to pass my summer classes and still manage to have fun.  And by have fun I generally mean read books for fun.

6.  The best thing about this week is     that I survived my first summer school class! .

7.  Something I couldn't give up if I tried is  going home as often as I can to see my family.  I know that I probably do it too much already, but when I'm in Indiana I'm constantly thinking about the next time I'll be home again.

10 May 2012

Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day in Bloomington.  Sun shining.  Not too hot.  I ate my lunch outside today before I laid down in the grass on the banks of Clear Creek (or as it is known on campus, the Jordan River).  Using my backpack as a pillow, I just laid there soaking up the sun.  It was a perfect lunch hour on a beautiful day.  And it gave me plenty of  time to reflect on the book I just finished reading.
Talk about an inspiration.  This book had me crying from page one.  A story of courage and hope?  It is so much more than that.  It is a story of miracles.  It is a story of perseverance.  It is the most beautiful love story I have ever read.  I started following the congresswoman's political career when I was studying in Washington, DC.  I visited the Senate office of her good friend Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and I had a classmate who worked in her office.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that he still does.  Part of me has always wanted to be a politician.  Part of me still wants to go into politics.  And I would want to be a leader like Gabrielle Giffords.  She was poised to be something special.  A senator, governor of Arizona.  Maybe even more one day.  But no matter how far her career took her, she never forgot her roots in Tucson.  She took a stand time and time again -- even when her views were not popular in her home state.  

The assassination attempt made on that Saturday at that grocery store in Tucson was a tragedy.  6 dead, a dozen more wounded.  It left her shot in the head, in a coma, without the ability to talk or move the right side of her body.  Most people would have given up.  Most people would have lost all hope.  But if you've seen Gabby Giffords on TV these days, you know that she hasn't at all.  She may have resigned from her Congressional seat, but she'll be back.  I know she will.

Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, tells of Gabby's favorite song, U2's "Beautiful  Day."  How Bono approached him to do a tribute to Gabby.  I watched this video today as I sat in the library.  And I cried.  It really is a beautiful day.  If I have learned anything from reading the biography of this extraordinary woman it is that everyday is a beautiful day.

09 May 2012

This I Believe...

I believe in the power of saying thank you.  I believe in the power of being grateful.  I believe in sending hand-written thank you notes.  I hated writing them as a kid.  But my mama raised me right, so after every birthday or Christmas or graduation out came the stationery.  At the time, I didn't really understand what it meant to be grateful.  I usually asked my mom what I should write and then I would quickly scribble the same thing in all of them.  But along the way, something changed.  I have grown to love writing thank you notes.  I want people to know that I care.  I want them to know that I appreciate them.  I want them to know that I took the time to write a handwritten note.  I love getting mail -- and so I want to share that love with others.  

But importantly, somewhere along the line, I learned to truly be grateful.  I recall a time during my freshman year of college -- I was walking across the beautiful campus of Monmouth College, the autumn leaves changing to deep yellow, and it struck me -- I didn't have to be there.  It wasn't a right, it was a privilege.  A privilege that I should be thankful for.   So during those four years, I became a prolific thank you note writer.  It's a habit that will most definitely continue, and I hope one day I can instill the same sense of thankfulness in my own children.

08 May 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: Jersey Style

My first year of grad school is over!  How did I celebrate?  Heading up north to Chicago to see Jersey Boys con mi hermana y madre.  Actually, we were celebrating my mom's birthday.  We have wanted to see this musical for years.  Literally years.  We have the CD in the stereo at home right now. Jersey Boys is a wonderful musical.  It takes a lot to get me to sing along -- and I definitely was!  And the biographical story line is pretty good too.  I even got a little history nerdy. As you know, I love the 1960s.  And its music.  So all in all, perfect way to celebrate surviving my first year.

Cue the music!

02 May 2012

Wednesday's Word is...

AKA ugh.
I mean what purpose does it really serve?  Other than making things sticky.  Causing posters to fall off the walls.  Making my hair so crazy that it probably frightens people.  Making you sweat as you walk from the IMU to the library.  I'm pretty sure I arrived here looking like I had just run a marathon.  

Okay, I know that there is probably some meteorological reason why we need it. I mean I know we need moisture. But I think Bloomington, Indiana might be the next Amazon.  Today (and last night) just reaffirmed that I would rather be cold than hot any day. Unless I can soak up the A/C and relax by the pool.  Or have nowhere to go.

Whether I'm a fan of humidity or not, summer is officially here!  School is out! Everything is turned in!  Summer school starts on Tuesday...

01 May 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: A Song for Illinois

Have I ever blogged about Dan Fogelberg?  I'd be surprised if I haven't.  He was an incredible singer/songwriter during the 1970s and 80s.  And we're from the same town!  Well, technically he's from Peoria, but close enough.  His father was the band director at Pekin High -- which is where my parents and grandmother went to school.  His song "Leader of the Band" is pretty great too.  But today, I have Illinois on the mind.  I'm heading home on Thursday and I can't wait to see that Peoria skyline again.  I can't wait to cross the bridge and head through Pekin.  I can't wait to be back in Green Acres -- yep, that's where I live.  Joke away.  I can't wait to spend a couple days in Monmouth.  And Saturday in Chicago.  I can't wait to spend Sunday afternoon at my grandparents' looking out over the fields.  The sound of chickens in the background.  No matter where I end up (and these days I'm kind of thinking DC), I'll always call Illinois home.