23 September 2012

Life is good, mates.

 I've been having so much fun this semester that I could almost forget that I'm in graduate school.  Lazy Monday mornings.  Long runs on Tuesday afternoons.  Three dollar burgers on Wednesday nights.  Thursday nights at Atlas with the History Department crew.  That's where I discovered my new calling -- shuffle board.  I make up one half of Team Jope and Change.  We like to channel the 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama and are currently undefeated.  Yep, I'm 80 years old.  And then my weekends have been pretty great too.  Trips to Indianapolis to eat the most delicious soul food of my life.  I literally died and went to sweet tea heaven.  Corn bread, fried green tomatoes, barbeque -- I think I need to make another trip.  WNBA basketball games.  IU Opera performances.  A weekend in Illinois here and there -- and visitors from Illinois too.  Hikes.  And church on Sunday mornings.  Oh, and somewhere in there I suppose I go to class and work and read a lot.  But I couldn't really tell you when.

Okay, brace yourselves.  It's about to get real for a paragraph or so.  I honestly don't know if I've ever been this happy, or content, or whatever word you want to use.  Despite not really liking where I'm living or my classes, I'm loving everything else.  And that's a big departure for me.  My senior year of undergrad was rough.  I like to call it disillusionment or ennui -- it was probably just senioritis.  My first year of grad school (at least the first semester) gave me fits.  But in that time, I grew up.  A lot.  And I learned to be more laid back.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still a neat freak with borderline OCD who is constantly looking at her watch...but I've watched my perfectionism fade.  I still strive for success -- I've just given success a new definition.  My own definition.  Mine.  That's the biggest lesson I've learned at graduate school -- to live my life for myself.  To do what I want to do.  It's an uphill battle.  It's a struggle I deal with everyday.  I'm a people pleaser.  I'm hyper-aware of others.  None of that has really changed...I've just learned how to factor in myself a little more.  And maybe it took falling flat on my face to realize it, but I'm sure glad that it did.

Phew, well I'm glad I got that off my chest.  Now, in completely unrelated news...can I just say that the number one reason I love fall is because I can eat pumpkin everything?? The leaves start changing and it's all I can think about. I picked up the first box of Pumpkin Delights of the season today.  They will probably last me all of 3 days...if I'm lucky.  I had my first pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks last week.  I cannot wait for pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin bread.  Muffins.  Ice cream.  You name it. 

And lastly, if you see me on campus this week...please ignore my left eye and what will certainly look like a nasty rug burn by tomorrow.  Or pretend that I got in a wicked/awesome fight.  You know, the whole "You should see the other guy" thing.  What really happened, you ask (or maybe you're not... I have no way of knowing)?  Let's just say I'm really talented with a hair straightener.  And if you've seen me in the past two days I appreciate that you didn't say anything about it -- because I look ridiculous. 

Happy Autumn!

Much love,

11 September 2012

Tuesday Tune-Day: In a New York Minute

Today is September 11.  A morning when we all realized that everything can change in a New York minute.  At least I know that I did.  I was 12 years old.  Sitting in my 7th grade science class.  And then we were going home.  Classes were cancelled so we could be with our families. Even though we were thousands of miles away. What was happening?  I remember being afraid to go to sleep that night.  The feeling of safety and innocence of our youth was gone.  It was almost as if we lived in a different America.  Even at 12 years old, I knew that something had changed.  And I wanted to remember it.  I collected newspaper and magazine articles.  Read everything I could.  Kept my eyes glued to the television.  Maybe it was nothing more than morbid curiosity.  But I think that in a time of great tragedy and horror, I found my love for history.  By experiencing history...as removed as I was...I gained a sense of how important it was to remember.  To never forget.

And so today, I remember.  We remember.  We remember the men and women in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon, on that plane in Pennsylvania.  The police departments, fire departments, EMTs, and our military.  We will never forget.

10 September 2012

{Better Than a} Movie Monday

Wow, it's been a long time.  When I blog on Mondays, it's usually about a movie that I've seen recently.  Welp, I haven't seen any movies lately -- but I've spent the last two weeks watching something even better.  It's Convention Season!  And I couldn't have been more excited!

I love it!  You tell him, Mr. President!
My boss recently introduced me to someone as a "political junkie."  I laughed at the time, but it's true in every sense of the word.  It truly is an addiction.  The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is scan the headlines on The Hill.  I have a campaign button collection.  I've had a penchant for power suits since I was about 19.  Like I seriously envy Hillary's closet.  I read histories of the Senate and biographies/autobiographies of politicians for fun.  My computer's search history is full of Congressional bill numbers.  H.R. this.  Or S. J. Res. that.  I want to walk down the aisle to the opening titles from the TV show, The West Wing.  You think I'm kidding.  Click on that brilliant piece of music composed by W.G. "Snuffy" Walden and get a taste of what my future wedding will be like.  And lastly, I considered skipping class on Thursday night so I could watch the DNC in its entirety.  I've got it bad.  And lately I've been wondering how I got hooked.  What was my gateway drug?  Part of it is history.  You really can't study it without being somewhat interested in politics and government.  Another larger part of it was living in D.C.  It's almost like it just seeps into your pores or something.  It gets in your blood stream.  Okay, I'm making it sound like horrible disease and it isn't.  But it really is in the air.  It's a city that is charged with something -- power, ambition, intelligence (most of the time), history, legacy, a sense of purpose and importance.  Just being in that environment leaves you wanting more.  And then the last part is working with Congressional papers.  I have had to learn a lot by necessity.  The Congressional Record really is my best friend...and I'm okay with that.  So maybe I'm in need of an intervention, but the conventions definitely fed my addiction over the past couple of weeks.

So what did this junkie think?

Michelle Obama is the epitome style and grace.  Her speech brought me to tears.  And it was just apolitical enough to be politically brilliant.  She stole the show.  And her dresses!  And shoes!  But in all seriousness, I know that we're better off because she has the President's ear.  Clint Eastwood.  I still have no clue what was going on.  That was THE most bizarre political moment I have ever witnessed.  And hopefully ever will.  I love you, Bill Clinton.  You used more math in your speech than I have heard since high school, but I appreciated it.  Your speech went on and on forever -- but it was good.  Imagine what it would have been like if he and Obama actually got along.  I don't know what it is about him -- maybe I associate him with the feeling of safety of my childhood -- but I will continue to defend him as a president. Heck, I even liked Joe Biden.  I won't lie, every time the guy opens his mouth I get nervous.  But if the good Dr. Jill Biden sees something in him, I guess I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.  Gabby Giffords showed so much courage and perseverance as she walked across the stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  It was wonderful to see her -- and I just know she'll make it back to the House some day soon!  Mitt Romney does not know how to relate to ordinary people.  Even when he tries to be spontaneous it seems scripted.  And Paul Ryan, I have no words.  Other than that I hope the only thing we have in common is completing the Washington Semester at American University. President Obama's speech reminded me more of a State of the Union address, but it was effective.  He reminded me why I voted for him four years ago and renewed my faith in him as a man and a leader. 

Wow, that's a lot of blogging for me.  Brace yourself, I'm sure there will be plenty more where that came from before Election Day!

Happy Monday, y'all!