22 January 2013

Hope's Inauguration Hangover

No alcohol needed -- this lethargy has been brought on by too much pure political pageantry.  And I loved every minute of it!  I think I watched close to 12 hours of C-SPAN yesterday.  While having a job where I have a TV in my office just for C-SPAN is one of my (not so) secret dreams, I will admit that I might have gone a little overboard.  Which makes heading back into work today all the more difficult.  But on my breaks, y'all know I'll be glued to Politico or The Hill to see what's happening.  In the mean time, can I just say that 1) Michelle's dress was stunning and 2) I have a serious couple crush on the Obamas.
They know how to have fun!

I'm sad to see the election season come to an end.  Yeah, I said it.  But, I'm excited to see what the next four years has in store for us.  Hopefully, our leaders in Washington can put aside their partisan differences and start to reach across the aisle to accomplish something.  A girl can dream, right?  Oh, and I can't forget -- Hillary 2016!!!

21 January 2013

Inauguration Day Should Be a Holiday

Was there anything else to do today other than watch the Inauguration?  Not for me.  Just like four years ago, I was glued to the TV screen.    Just like four years ago, I had goosebumps.  Just like four years ago, I was crying tears of joy.  And just life four years ago, I was so proud to have exercised my right to vote and to help elect the President of the United States of America.

His speech writers literally knocked it out of the park.  Who wrote this thing?  Sam Seeborn and Toby Ziegler from the West Wing?  I've always been a fan of his oratorical style, but this speech had some seriously great quotes.  Especially, this one:
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall"
With that one line "Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall," Obama linked civil rights with women's rights and gay rights.  Wow.  Not only is it a great alliteration, it is an enormous step forward.  His speech had some of the most inclusive language that I've ever heard from a president.  And what makes it better is that I truly feel that his words are more than rhetoric for him.  That he truly believes what he is saying.  His speech really drew on our unique identity as Americans.  Our national identity is not one that is based on religion, race, or ethnicity.  It is based on a set of ideals that came from the founders of our country -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I especially liked the generational theme he had going.  The founding fathers were one generation.  And we are another, still striving to achieve the goals they had for our country.  So in the words of President Obama, "With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."

Okay, I'll admit it.  I'm a politics addict.  And that's why I literally watched C-SPAN from 11:30 am this morning.  I'm also a sucker for a good parade.  Can you imagine being in one of those high school marching bands?  Wow.  That would probably be too overwhelming for me!  I'm also a sucker for Joe Biden.  His smile just melts me.  And the Obamas might be the most adorable First Family ever.
 Exhibit A.

I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the Inaugural balls.  We all know that FLOTUS is gonna steal the show!

20 January 2013

Like It Was Yesterday...

So I've been watching the TV show Friday Night Lights on Netflix.  Okay, so watching is an understatement.  More like addicted to the story of a high school football team from a small town in Texas.  Part of my love for this show stems from the fact that I think Kyle Chandler is beautiful...but that's besides the point.  Part of it is in its portrayal of middle-America.  The characters are true to life.  Their stories are relatable.  Part of it is probably the fact that my high school was too small to have football, so I find the culture fascinating and so very different.  But part of my love for this show is in the fact that it is the same as when I played sports in high school.  I think I cry at some point in every episode.  Every motivational speech from Coach Taylor.  Every desperation play.  Sports shows and movies get me.  They cut me to the core.  I miss playing sports everyday of my life.  When you're in high school, your coaches tell you that this is the best time of your life.  At the time, you shrug it off.  You don't believe them.  Or if you do, you don't want to.  But this weekend -- especially this weekend since it's Homecoming in my little Illinois basketball town -- I miss it.  I remember it all like it was yesterday.
It's been 6 years to the day...and I still remember every second of that game.  It might be silly, but I still consider scoring my 1000th career point one of my proudest achievements.  And what made it even better was that I got to share it with a teammate who scored her 1000th just one game before me -- that just doesn't happen.  While she got to celebrate hers at home in front the hometown crowd, mine came on the road.  It was a Saturday afternoon at Bloomington Central Catholic.  Our hated rival who always seemed to get the best of us.  So scoring my 1000th point in their gym and taking the ball from their court made it even sweeter.  I had been stressing about eclipsing the mark all season.  It had gotten to my head and affected my play.  It was almost like a curse.  But with a baseline jumper in the first quarter the curse was broken.  On a day like that, you remember it all.  The sound the ball on the hardwood, the swish of the net, the cheers of the crowd.  The congratulatory high five from your coach as you run down the court.  The smile you couldn't wipe off your face.  The PA announcer.  The athletic director handing you that ball as you walked out of the locker room.  The joy that no one could take away from you.

Watching Friday Night Lights (and probably my history class on American Identity) has reminded me just how much playing basketball in a small town has shaped my identity.  It helped make me who I am...and it will always be a part of me. I remember it like it was yesterday -- and I miss it everyday.

14 January 2013

Somehow I Found Time for a Movie Monday

Last week marked my last first day of the spring semester.  It's a crazy feeling.  After 19 years of school, it's all going to come to an end.  And as much as I might complain about how brutal graduate school is and how much I loathe it, we all know I'm going to miss school.  It's the only thing I've ever known.  This semester, however, has the potential to be more brutal than any other.  Nothing like going out with a bang, right?  So with that in mind, let me warn you that my blog posts from now until April will probably be few and far between (who am I kidding?  I'll probably be procrastinating like there's no tomorrow).

Okay, Grebner...get to the movie already.  So this weekend, I hit up the local Redbox in the pouring rain to grab this indie film about a college admissions counselor living in NYC who is still head over heels in love with his undergraduate liberal arts institution in Ohio.  I'll be honest, part of the reason I wanted to see it was the fact that Josh Radnor plays the main character and I love him on How I Met Your Mother.  His character in this film is very similar...and similarly, I found him to be very much like myself. 

At a time when I am questioning what on earth I am doing with my life, wondering if it's all worth it, and struggling to get by this movie helped me to realize that it's all okay.  All of it.  Everything.  I shouldn't wish this time away.  I mean, when else will I have the opportunity to sit around reading books and articles all day and talking to people about them?  It's not too bad of a life.  Even if I do still hate talking in class.  This movie helped me to remember what I loved about being an undergraduate.  And it's that love that spurred me on to continue my studies.  So when times get rough -- and Lord knows they will this semester -- I need to reflect on those things. 

When I slipped this DVD into my computer Saturday night, I was feeling alone.  Homesick.  Like no one understood what I was going through.  2 hours later, I realized I wasn't alone. I love it when movies speak to what you're going through in life.   And appearances by Allison Janney don't hurt either!