Monday, December 31, 2012


 In the spirit of being gracious for another blessed year, I'd like to share some of my favorite moments of 2012:

In February, the Speed Art Museum hosted an Impressionist exhibition. It was lovely. Leslie and I went to see a play at Actor's Theater. 

In March, I was accepted to the M.A. program at UofL and was offered a graduate teaching assistantship that would pay full tuition and a generous stipend.

On April 14, we went to see Titanic, on the 100-year anniversary of its sinking.

 In May, I went to my first Derby party, graduated magna cum laude, spent a day at Churchill Downs betting on horses, went fruit-picking, and started learning to play guitar.

 In June, I played tennis in the park and went to a family reunion.

 In July,  I got my iPhone, went to Forecastle, and visited my family for the 4th.

 In August, I started grad school and my work in the writing center.

 September marked my last visit to the Speed Art Museum, as it closed for a three-year renovation. I also started the GTA Academy with my colleague, Amy. 

 In October I attended my first Halloween party as Daria.

On New Year's Eve (today!) I got to visit with my favorite professor, Dr. Henke and one of my good friends, Leslie, whom I roomed with in London. I also got to meet Leslie's baby, Eli, for the first time! Later tonight, I'll be headed out to my first New Year's Eve party.

I met a lot of my goals from last year, which included eating more vegetarian/vegan, crossing off a few things on my bucket list, etc. I ate vegetarian for about two months over the summer but decided it wasn't ultimately for me. I still tend to eat a lot of vegetarian-oriented meals though. 

I've made so many new friends working at the writing center and starting grad school. It has been quite a whirlwind so far!

In the new year, I'd like to pay off my credit card debt and student loans. I want to read plenty of Woolf and Lawrence and try to adopt an overall more minimal existence. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Anthem For a 17-Year-Old Girl

Okay, so this is a flashback post. I was, oh Lord, 18 in the picture above, snapping photos of myself in the bathroom mirror before bedtime. I've stopped doing this (for the most part).

I was single, loved my best friends, and judged everyone harshly on their tastes in music and books. Like, if you don't know how to pronounce Camus, I will straight up laugh in 'yo face (okay, I still kind of do this; more kindly, mind you).

I was obsessed with Modest Mouse, Rogue Wave, Caribou, The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, Arctic Monkeys, The Breeders, the PIXIES, Beck, Cake, Cream, The Doors, Elliott Smith, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, The Shins, The New Pornographers, Pinback, and XTC. For the most part, this hasn't changed much at all. I've just discovered more music that I love.

I remember going to Borders after school one day and finding The Stranger and In Cold Blood for a buy one, get one half deal. I bought them. A cute boy rang me up and I remember thinking, I hope this is what college is like.
I took my new books to Caribou coffee shop and realized that a lot of weirdos hang out in coffee shops. I wrote religiously in my composition notebook, mainly about how terrible my upper-middle class life was. 

The reason I bring this up is because I frequent the website tumblr. It's a fairly enjoyable waste of time and I recently found a blog that I really liked; the girl seemed a lot like me. She was into Sylvia Plath, but because of her journals and not because of her poetry. I felt the same way. She liked collecting books and ended up getting a Faulkner to 'be more well-rounded.' Very quickly, she started to irritate me. She would talk about the shopping sprees her mother took her on at Anthropologie (a store I can still hardly afford on sale) and her parents bought her a new Macbook Pro among many other things for Christmas. Then she wrote a poem. Oh Lord. After the poem, she wrote a scathing message to stop following her if you weren't going to read her poetry and respond to it. 

Maybe I'm bothered because she's 6 years younger than me and exactly how I was at that age. Everything I write is far more important than you. Give me attention. My life sucks even though my parents buy me everything I want. The music I like is better than yours. I'm going to take pictures of myself in the mirror.

Maybe it's because I've matured, obviously gotten older, and I'd like to think, smarter, yet more humble than I was. I'm in a position where I don't have to prove how excellent I am going to be because it's already happening. Sure, I still have a long way to go and a lot to prove, but for the first time in my life, I see professors looking at me as a person they can invite to their houses for wine, instead of a whiny undergraduate. 

I'm still at home and, to some extent, financially dependent. I do pay for car insurance, maintenance and gas, my phone bill, and by May I plan to have the $3600 or so dollars I need to pay off my undergraduate student loans.

Life changes a lot and it never turns out the way we imagined it would be. Sometimes it's worse and sometimes it's better. If you would have told me I'd be 23 and still living at home, I'd have laughed. What does that mean for me? I'm not quite sure. My plan is to be gone by 24 to New York but we'll just see how that goes.

Anyway, here's to all those 17-year-old girls out there who think life is all about the books you read, the music you listen to, the clothes your parents buy you, and lamenting about how sad it is to have everything paid for and how much better it will be when you move out. I was you, once. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why I Love The Mummy

So, today I was watching The Mummy. My dad said to me, Well that's appropriate to watch two days from Christmas. But, I guess I'm sort of through with Christmas. Is that sad? There comes a point in time when I just want it to be January and normal time. 

Anyway, I realized why I love this movie so much: There's adventure! Wit! Silliness! A little of bit of fear! Egypt! Beautiful people that I wish to emulate!

For example: 

Evelyn (Evie) is a total babe. She can read and write ancient Egyptian and works as a librarian in Cairo. She knows all there is to know about Egypt... but she's rejected by the Bembridge scholars even though she's on the edge of greatness. In some respects, I feel like her. Specializing in a small subject, nearing success, but facing rejection. It's poignant because I feel like we all wish to be on the edge of greatness at one point or another.

Okay, so this is the only movie in which Brendan Fraser is attractive. I don't even know what else to say after that. 

And then there was that crazy naked bitch Anuk-Sunamun. 

So, basically, I've been thinking about Egypt, dressing like Evie, naming my (potential future) daughter Evelyn, and how that N*SYNC song, "It's Gonna Be Me" kind of sounds Egyptian in the beginning. Does anyone feel me? 

I remember being obsessed with Egypt as a kid, reading books, listening to Justin Timberlake belt out, 'It's gonna BAY MAY,' and hoping that I would one day make it to an Egypt free of political tumult. Anyway...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Douchebaggery of Graduate School: How It Happened to Me

It's beginning to look a lot like fall here, don't you think?

A little over a week ago, I was embarrassed for the first time in grad school (and that's a hard thing to do because I practically have no shame). A classmate and I were goofing off and writing notes because the class is pretty much pointless anyway, as the general consensus of the class agrees. The professor suddenly says:

 "Any thoughts from the back corner?"

"Oh, I've got lots of thoughts. They're all just... floating around in my head." 

I realized then that no one was laughing and the professor proceeded to ask us to read our notes aloud to the class. (There wouldn't have been much to read, unless you count a game of Hangman as literature). Somehow we were able to recover, but felt like total douche bags, and eventually apologized.

After crying in the car for 45 minutes, I sent the professor an email that said: We all have our moments of stupidity and I guess this was just one of mine. More importantly, I don't want you to think I'm a jerk...

I felt really immature and ridiculous for awhile. In my undergraduate courses, if I made a serious comment, no one in the class would know how simply hilarious I am in real life and thus think of me as a yuppy idiot. In a class filled with my friends and coworkers, I felt like I could get away with a joke and was immune to punishment or shame. I was wrong. 

My writing center adviser thinks I'm too hard on myself. So I'm trying not to be. I realize how much he values my contributions to the writing center, class, and believes that I'm not only humorous but serious. They always say "there's a time and a place for everything" and I guess that's true to some extent. But what exactly is expected of us in graduate school? Is it just supposed that we know our shit and thus we are just there to circulate and expand on our ideas? Or are we still like undergrads, vying for a chance to prove ourselves worthy? I feel somewhat trapped in-between.

Meagan, Brit, and Daniel

Katelyn and Scott

It may not come as a surprise, but my writing center cohort and I went out to eat. Again. This time to a restaurant I've been dying to try for some time--Dakshin, an Indian place on Bardstown Road, with a menu separating the dishes by regions. (I prefer the North!). It's almost as if the writing center director hand-selected my best friends for me. I don't think I could've found this many great people all at once in my life. 

Meagan is a staunch feminist who will randomly drop curse words in a deep voice, to the dismay of those who normally expect her sweet, country twang. We both adore Modcloth and OutofPrint! She reminds me so much of my best friend, Kelsey.

Brit is an absolutely brilliant author of not one, but TWO books. She's basically an expert in gender/queer theories and I imagine one day her face and name will be recognizable to the household name. Her bluntness is refreshing and hilarious.

Daniel, as Brit put it, is kind of a mirror image of myself. We have similar tastes and senses of humor. We also just don't care what we say or when we say it.

Katelyn kind of helps me to stay on top of my shit. She'll be worried about certain assignments and it reminds me that I should maybe start my own work... she's also helped me be more at ease with some of my writing center clients because of the descriptions she's given me beforehand.

And Scott... well, all I can really say is that he's really cute once he's been drinking. Our interests are bizarrely in sync and I could talk to him for days without tiring.  

Hoping to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Julie, go to a haunted corn maze and/or house with the writing center, and um, finish the paper I've been trying to write for four hours. It's due tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Art Museum Soliloquy & Greek Eats

Last Sunday, the Speed Art Museum finally closed its doors for a three-year renovation. It was really bittersweet to see the place cleaned out and ready for dis-assemblage. 

One of my first memories of the Speed is from fall 2009, when I went with my creative writing class to create an ekphrastic poem. I sat on a bench staring at a large, splattered canvas entitled "Potentially Pat's Living Room." I could see the clouds through the slits of window panes at the top of the building, sun illuminating their shapes, making them almost appear cartoon-ish. I could hear the trickle of a fountain, the smell of oil on canvas, and I was swelling with endorphines. 

I went back for an art history project and spent my day walking around and observing the museum in its entirety. I found a piece on the second floor that I was particularly drawn to, featuring a winding country road alongside a hearty tree, as the sun set in fall. The colors were vividly autumnal and the movement in the brushstrokes made me feel the whistle of the wind on my skin. 

Another class project called for me to find a piece of art from any medium and compare it to another art form of a different medium and explain its implications. Part of the Native American collection had been moved to the spotlight section and I felt myself peculiarly drawn to the ornate pipes and pipe bowls. The pipe bowls reminded me of Ziggurats, semi-pyramidal religious constructions of ancient Mesopotamia. Worshippers would bring sculptures of gods for a priest to place inside; the larger the sculpture, the more favor the god would have on the family. The pipe bowls were also used in religious ceremonies when tribe elders would summon their ancestors. The ornateness of the pipes and bowls would depend on the 'commitment' of the tribe to the god and could also recommend to anthropologists the wealthiness of a given region. 

Aside from various school projects, I visited the Speed many times with others. One time I particularly remember was last winter when the Speed hosted an Impressionist/Post-Impressionist exhibition. The gallery was filled with Renoir, Chagall, Monet, Manet, Degas... I felt like I was back in London, surrounded by so much timeless history. I ended up losing one of my favorite magenta leather gloves. Figuring it would be gone but hoping for the best, I called the museum the next day and someone had turned in my glove! I should've known that the Speed would host compassionate beings. 

I feel deeply saddened by the fact that I won't get to see any exhibits or stop in on a stressful day to just look at a Picasso, Monet, or Cassat. I can't just walk into the medieval wooden room or the tapestry room, alight with stained glass windows to the ceiling. The majesty will be gone for awhile.

~ ~ ~

Scott, Amy, and Michelle

Sam and Meagan

 On a brighter note, I had a lovely evening with my writing center cohort last night. We went downtown for Mediterranean food at Yafa. Honestly, if you're in the Louisville-area, this is probably the best Greek food you're going to find.

We all played "Never Have I Ever" and enjoyed our various dishes. I ended up getting a gyro plate with pita and walnut baklava for dessert. Afterward, we went to Sam's townhouse and I basically became super jealous because his house is so gorgeous and he has the best taste. He told me he'd help me decorate when I finally get my own place--I'm going to hold him to it!

Earlier in the day, Meagan and I laughed at pictures of cats with bad grammar and hunted for Modcloth discount codes on Pinterest--We ended up finding the largest one for 20%! Needless to say, we were ready to order from our favorite online clothing site again.

Life is pretty hectic. But I'm really trying to take it a day at a time. I'm surrounded by so many great people and I feel like I couldn't be any luckier.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life via Instagram

When I came into the consultant's office last Thursday, there was a birthday card signed by everyone in the writing center and this amazing cake that Katelyn made! Red velvet and cream cheese is my favorite! I also got to have lunch with Julie who got me some really awesome jewelry, a Jukebox the Ghost CD, and my own personal slice of red velvet!

This weekend, my parents made fall cupcakes to celebrate Jet's and my birthdays. He was born in September in Missouri just like me!

I was supposed to meet up with my writing center friends Friday but I felt like I was literally developing mono so I opted to stay in and sleep. I slept half of Saturday and then started on homework. Luckily by Sunday I was feeling better and able to go out for sushi. I tried a few more rolls I've never had before. My sushi palette just keeps expanding!

It was rainy today and my windshield wiper decided to fly off my car today so that was fun. I had problems with the technology in Dr. Henke's room, which is my sole responsibility so I felt like a buffoon. Luckily I was wearing the earrings Julie got me for my birthday and I got to play around with Oregon Trail 2 before my 7 o'clock class. Scott and I have decided we are going to instate "Oregon Trail Mondays." There might be wine involved. Or just jugs with 'X' on them.

The thing about grad school is that you're busy 24/7... but it's awesome.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

 Yesterday I busted out my colored jeans, black and white striped peplum top, and my mary-jane ballet flats. Man, I liked this outfit. I felt comfortable and cool all at once. That hardly ever happens. 

Here's the view from one of "my" offices. It's actually my professor's office but I spend quite a bit of my time in here towards the beginning of the week. How could you not love going to work? Look how pretty those books look on the shelves. 

 Today I got to bust out my Office shirt. If you've never seen this episode, please consider yourself deprived and look it up immediately! 

This evening, one of my writing center buddies, Amy, and I attended our first session of the GTA Academy. Basically, the sessions are supposed to provide teaching assistants practical skills to apply in the classroom. They provided dinner which were sandwiches of the most delectable variety, chips, cookies, etc. I ended up having two wraps and taking three with me. (Lunch tomorrow and Thursday!) Gluttony? Nah. College life.

On our break, I had to go outside because I was getting goose-pimpled. I ran back inside for my phone so I could snap a picture to capture this moment in time. The weather was perfect: high 70's, light breeze, bright sun. And the setting just called for a photo op. I'll never forget how I felt this day. 

I finally gathered enough courage to wear socks and oxfords. I like it. Just maybe with a different outfit... 

Anyway, keep it real, treat yo self, and make it through the week, baby.