Monday, December 26, 2005

Smells like Christmas Spirit

CUE: C's nasal-toned voice..."It was Christmas Day."

(Shot of C waking up and looking like shit.)

"Of all the days to wake up with a cold. I couldn't even enjoy opening Santa's stockings with the kids."

(Shot of C with NIECE CARYN hopping around her, but C rubbing head, probably with a cold beer or wine bottle, since it's after 11 am.)

(Pan shot of WALGREEN's.)

"Good thing Walgreen's was there for me."

(SMILEY LADY AT COUNTER smiles at C, who's still rubbing her head with alcohol bottles as she stumbles through the door.)

"I couldn't wait to try Walgreen's new Wal-afed PE!!"

(C purchases WALGREEN'S GENERIC BRAND COLD MEDICINE and pops 3 pills, rather than one, while still in the parking lot and toting her bottle with her.)

"Now I can enjoy Christmas the way it ought to be." (Shot of C stumbling around kitchen, still with bottle-in-hand, chasing NIECE CARYN, with a tiara and Christmas wreath.)

Ahh, family Christmases.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Dear Mr. Simendinger

I wanted to say thank you for having been such a good teacher. Thank you for having been such an inspiration, and for having taught me so much about both art and what I wanted to do with my life. You made me consider pursuing art a career, but supported me anyway when I told you that I wasn't going to be preparing portfolios to apply to art schools, but instead essays for universities. After about an hour of discussion, you supported me in that decision. Your class was the one I looked forward to for those last two periods of the day, and your sense of dry humor was one of the best I knew at the high school. You never took bullshit and you treated the students in your classes like adults. Thank you, I appreciated that so much. You always reached out to the kids who needed reaching out to and you sincerely cared about us.

It's been two years and some months since I last really saw you and spoke with you, but it's weird--your presence really has stuck with me. I loved your class and I talk about it with Nick Ciambro and Carolyn Frederick a lot when I see them. I'll always remember listening to the radio in your class, and how you said the first day we could listen to music--as long as you liked it. You also treated 9/11 with the most respect and the most proper reaction of my teachers. We spent almost the entire two periods watching television and talking, while most teachers were trying to move on through class awkwardly, allowing a few minutes here and there for discussion and continuing on as otherwise noted. I really appreciated that you gave us some time to think and talk those last two periods of the day.

Did you know your wife delivered my family's mail when I was little? I used to leave her flowers in the mailbox with notes. I'm thinking of your little girls, and I remember thinking they were so lucky to have such a cool dad like you. Maybe it was that weird jealousy that made us, your students, start calling you "Uncle Gary." I was thinking of you in my global media class last week. Instead of taking notes and listening to lecture, I was drawing my initlas. You had helped me come up with my design for that project and made me work so hard--and then gave me a B+. Not quite neat enough for an A. That's okay because I learned more about neatness and practicality in Commercial Art than any other class at the high school...and I was even required to take Health!

I think I swore you to hell the night I was up til 5:30 am drawing the architectural plans for my one-bedroom loft cabin and rendering the 3-dimensional design of the bedroom. Then, when I got up at 7 am, skipped my first classes and finished it up, I was so happy with my final product, I took it all back. :) But I think I told you that already, that day I turned it in.I am writing this letter to say goodbye and thank you. It's selfish of me, but I feel guilty I never dropped by to say hi to you at the new high school. I remember seeing you with a student the one time I was there. I didn't want to interrupt--you looked like you were working intensely with this kid, you were full of energy for the job and full of hope for him. That's what we loved about you. So now I want to say thank you, Mr. Simindinger, for having been such a great inspiration to so many Lebanon High School students for so many years. We'll miss you.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Four years later

I had a conversation tonight with a friend about the comparison between 9/11 and Katrina. He pointed out how Katrina has overshadowed significant rememberances for the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I agreed with him that sometimes the freshest blood can be seen the best on media coverage, but doesn't, sometimes, holding up a flag stained with blood and tears become tiresome and cliche rather than a poignant statement? And, in many ways, Americans have become much more jaded as a country. Even George W.'s approval ratings have plummeted over the last two weeks.

What, he pointed out, should George W. have done to have "done more" in the south?

For me, this was W.'s one last-ditch opportunity to prove something positive about his pathetic two-term presidency. Here, he could have changed things--shown what a great addition the "Homeland Security" department was, used that second article power of his as president (not to mention those uninhibited powers granted to him following 9/11 by Congress). But instead, we sat horrified in front of our television sets for a week as bodies floated in water, as snipers shot at patients as they were evacuated from hurriance-torn hospitals, as family members turned to CNN and MSNBC and (even) FoxNews for help finding their loved ones and for information on where to go and what to do--information the government wasn't giving them.

W.'s presidency has been flanked by two disasters--9/11 and Katrina--completely different in nature, but telling of so much that has changed in the last four years. Not only do we recognize the date today and remember and mourn, but we also recognize that the world we live in today is different than that of early September of 2001. In the world we live in, planes flown into buildings and terrorist attacks are possibilities and--because of 9/11, London and several other attacks--realities.

In some ways, Katrina is not fresher blood for the media to scrounge from. Instead, it seems Katrina's flood waters washed away the contrived political jargon of neo-conservatism where patriotism and hostility are nearly one and the same. When the waters recede, somewhere in the wreckage, the ineffectiveness and ineptitude of this presidency will be left behind. And America will be reminded of how much we were promised after 9/11—-and how little we were delivered.


Monday, August 15, 2005

What I'd Say to the Martians--Jack Handey

by Jack Handey

People of Mars, you say we are brutes and savages. But let me tell you one thing: if I could get loose from this cage you have me in, I would tear you guys a new Martian asshole. You say we are violent and barbaric, but has any one of you come up to my cage and extended his hand? Because, if he did, I would jerk it off and eat it right in front of him. "Mmm, that's good Martian," I would say.

You say your civilization is more advanced than ours. But who is realy the more "civilized" one? You, standing there watching this cage? Or me, with my pants down, trying to urinate on you? You criticize our Earth religions, saying they have no relevance to the way we actually live. But think about this: if I could get my hands on that god of yours, I would grab his skinny neck and choke him until his big green head exploded.

We are a warlike species, you claim, and you show me films of Earth battles to prove it. But I have seen all the films about twenty times. Get some new films, or, so help me, if I ever get out of here I will empty my laser pistol into everyone I see, even pets.

Speaking of films, I could show you some films, films that portray a different, gentler side of Earth. And while you're watching the films I'd sort of slip away, because guess what: the projector is actually a thing that shoots out spinning blades! And you fell for it! Well, maybe not now you wouldn't.

You point to your long tradition of living peacefully with Earth. But you know what I point to? Your stupid heads.

You say there is much your civilization could teach ours. But perhaps there is something that I could teach you--namely, how to scream like a parrot when I put your big Martian head in a vise.

You claim there are other intelligent being in the galazy besides earthlings and Martians. Good, then we can attack them together. And after we're through attacking them we'll attack you.

I came here in peace, seeking gold and slaves. But you have treated me like an intruder. May be it is not me who is the intruder but you.

No, not me. You, stupid.

You keep my body imprisoned in this cage. But I am able to transport my mind to a place far away, a happier place, where I use Martian heads for batting practice.

I admit that sometimes I think we are not so different after all. When you see one of your old ones trip and fall down, do you not point and laugh, just as we on Earth do? And I think we can agree that nothing is more admired by the people of Earth and Mars alike than a fine, high-quality cigarette. For fun, we humans like to ski down mountains covered with snow; you like to "milk" bacteria off of scum hills and pack them into your gill slits. Are we so different? Of course we are, and you will be even more different if I ever finish my homemade flamethrower.

You may kill me, either on purpose or by not making sure that all the surfaces in my cage are safe to lick. But you can't kill an idea. And that idea is: me chasing you with a big wooden mallet.

You say you will release me only if I sign a statement saying I will not attack you. And I have agreed, the only condition being that I can sign with a long sharp pen. And still you keep me locked up.

True, you have allowed me reading material--not the "human reproduction" magazines I requested by the works of your greatest philosopher, Zandor or Zanax or whatever his name is. I would like to discuss his ideas with him--just me, him and one of his big, heavy books.
If you will not free me, at least deliver a message to Earth. Send my love to my wife, and also to my girlfriend. And to my children, if I have any anyplace. Ask my wife to please send me a bazooka, which is a flower we have on Earth. If my so-called friend Don asks you where the money I owe him is, please anally probe him. Do that anyway.

If you keep me imprisoned long enough, eventually I will die. Because one thing you Martians do not understand is that we humans cannot live without our freedom. So, if you see me lying lifeless in my cage, come on in, because I'm dead. Really.

Maybe on e day we will not be the enemies you make us out to be. Perhaps one day a little Earth child will sit down to play with a litle Martian child, or larva, or whatever they are. But, after a while, guess what happens: the little Martian tries to eat the Earth child. But guess what the Earth child has? A gun. You weren't expecting that, were you? And now the Martian child is running away, as fast as he can. Run, little Martian baby, run!

I would like to thank everyone for coming to my cage tonight to hear my speech. Donations will be gratefully accepted. (No Mars money, please.)


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Likes: Toasters, porches, lavender honey, and tight hugs

I sleep with my down comforter on, in 90 degree night heat, with no air conditioning in my house.

I raid my mom's closet every break to see if my taste in clothing has changed enough that I can take more of her old clothes. I always do.

I used to dislike the smell of cigarettes. I got used to it in France. I still don't smoke.

There is this sponge that my aunt claimed can clean up any stain. When she demonstrated by writing an obscene word on my grandmother's white purse in a Bic pen, the sponge didn't work. She still gave me one anyway.

I write in four different journals.

I just made that last fact up. I don't feel like counting exactly how many journals I'm writing in right now. We'll say four.

I am going to Evanston tomorrow.

I enjoy getting lost and not knowing where I am going.

When I was little, I caught fireflies and kept count of how many I caught every summer. One night I caught 300. That summer I caught over 5000. In addition, I caught one wasp.

I assume I won't get married until I'm at least 29, and that I'm not having kids until I'm 32. I also assume I might not have kids at all if my career is more important at the time.

I've got more skeletons than you do. Promise.

I hate possum.I also hate things that have lots of scales/holes/visible veins/fleshy particles. God, those things are disgusting. (This includes, but is not limited to, sponges, honeycombs, fish flesh.)

Hell for me would be loneliness.

Today I realized that, for me, college is half-done, and the hometown that I thought would never be the town I came back to from college has been that town. This made me laugh while I was driving and the moment felt pretty cathartic. I don't know why.

I've had more dreams involving Aslan lately since I was eight. These dreams rock and often involve flying.

My cats and I play games that involve chasing each other around the house. I am as entertained as my cats are.

I have to sleep and stop thinking random thoughts, or I'll never be able to drive to Chicago tomorrow.

To sleep.


Tuesday, August 9, 2005

It might sound silly, but...

I cried throughout the entire ABCWorldNews broadcast tonight.

I grew up watching Peter Jennings deliver the news every night in my house. I'm not sure how many people between the ages of 3 and 18 watched the news as much as I did when I was little. In fact, I'm pretty certain I was more well-informed at the age of 12 of worldly matters than I am now.

It's reassuring to have a familiar face enter your home every night by satellite and tell you what's happening in the world. If they're there saying it to you, everything has to be okay to some extent. I learned almost every big news story through Peter Jennings. My first memory of anything particularly newsworthy is of the Berlin Wall coming down, and I remember watching him hold up pieces of the wall. Knowing Peter Jennings has died also makes these events I witnessed through his accounts seem more transient--moments that hung for a moment, suspended by media coverage and then slipped back under the tide of more important, pressing events. It also makes me feel old.

It was like the likes of Peter Jennings that got me saying when I was little that I wanted to be 'on the news.' For me, Jennings was a little bit like my dad, too. His ties and stiff collared shirts reminded me of my dad, who'd often still be wearing his own ties and stiff-collared shirts from the office when we'd all watch the news together.

I am not sure exactly why I wanted to write this down, but it seemed important to me. I didn't realize I'd be so affected by his death.


Sunday, August 7, 2005

A Little Memory

When I was little, I used to do these things I called "Moon Dances."

When there was a full moon in the summer, I'd get dressed up. "Dressed up" usually meant wearing my white slips that were meant to be worn under dresses, which I thought were really sophisticated without dresses over them. I'd also put on make-up, very exciting at the age of six or seven.

Once I was all dressed up, I would have my parents light all the candles on the porch. I'd choose a CD I wanted to dance to and turn the speakers of our living room stereo to face outside. My favorite CD's to play were either Pavarotti's Greatest Hits, Nat King Cole or Ray Charles.

Once it was all ready, I'd dance all night--on the patio, on the porch--and I'd run--up the walkway to the pool, around the pool and into the "back-backyard." I'd jump on my swingset and twist in between the bars and swing. In the moonlight, with my sophisticated white slip, I probably looked much like a streak of white searing across the dark smoky green of the yard.

I think that's nice. I hope that these types of things don't die with age.


Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Back in the US of A

C'est la grande question, la seule, au fond celle que j'ai toujours entendue même lorsqu'elle n'était pas formulée, et quelquefois aussi je l'ai posée--les mots, les yeux--, d'autres fois non ou bien murmurée, juste pour voir, juste pour savoir--mais souvent non, souvent tue, réponse non sue, inventée, suggérée: est-ce que tu m'aimes, est-ce que c'est de l'amour, ce que tu éprouves, ce que tu dis, ce que tu fais, est-ce que c'est de l'amour, est-ce que c'est l'amour?

--Camille Laurens, L'Amour


Saturday, July 23, 2005


The streets are cobbled, stony and narrow. Cars will most likely come within inches every day of your ankles.

You get used to dealing with people, your tolerance goes up and you handle lots of situations because you have to--until another girl in your program moves into your house with your family and drives you nuts to the point where you are hiding on your family's computer, checking livejournal, so you don't have to see her.

But for the most part, you're still tolerant.

You find yourself up, willingly, before 8, making coffee and going to the market to buy cheese, wine, homemade honey, melons and baguettes. You carry all this home in a large bag, because that's the way it's done here.

You do it that way too, because you found out the hard way when you stocked up on Nutella, cookies and Orangina: The Monoprix supermarket doesn't give you bags for your groceries.

When told you're going to a "Beach Party" with your French family and their friends, that actually means you're going to a private party on the Mediterranean where you'll drink wine and champagne with your French parents (aged 32 and 26) and their beautiful friends, before you all have a dance party and jump in the water fully clothed.

Getting up the next morning and sharing a hangover with your family might be awkward.

The bars are open until 2, and unlike half the girls in the group, you're not seeking a French man at them.

You get used to walking through tourist traps and roll your eyes when the next big group of American students, German couples or Asian retirees, stops in front of you to take pictures of whatever buildling is in front of them.

Even the arena has blended in as "just" part of the scenery.

In fact, didn't you know, you're an American student here...not an American tourist.

When you run out books, you raid your hosts' bookcases and start the DaVinci Code in French.

When only one week remains, you meet some of the nicest people in your group who you've never hung out with before.

And when only one week remains, you realize you don't have time anymore, to do all the things you've said you'd do.But the south of France has got her grip on you: Why rush? Life's too short to hurry. Put your feet up, have a petit cafe, have a verre de vin, order yourself what you like, and spend the evening tucked into the warm comfort of the lavender-infused air with your friends in deep convesation across golden-colored tablecloths. As they say, que sera sera.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Some Disconnected Thoughts

1. I haven't mentioned it, but I've had a cough since the second week here. I think I'm allergic to France.

2. I can't believe there was ever a point in time where I ran down Sherman Avenue with a boombox iPod with my friends at 6 am post-Dillo Day for Starbucks in the most perfect impression of a music video for "Amsterdam" that I've ever participated in.

3. I want to reconstruct the sentence structure of number 2, but I'm too tired to do that.

4. I saw a play in French today. It was slightly difficult to understand, but fun to schmooze with the actors afterward nonetheless.

5. I'm still reeling from HP6. I cried in front of a train full of French people today.

6. I could really go for some Graeter's Ice Cream. What will I ever do without the famous Cincinnati ice cream?

7. Immediate plans for August: work. go to Kentucky with Katie, preferably to mammoth cave. use up rest of GameZone points with Grant in Cincy. drive to Evanston for a weekend. work. more.

8. Do I just leave this antispyware scan running on my 27-year-old host dad's computer when I go up to bed?

9. I got my host family addicted to Arrested Development. The seed has been sown in France.

10. I'm lucky that my family is friends with my France-friends' families. We've so far had three dinner parties in the last week, mainly involving spaghetti, bread, lots of cheese and lots of wine... oh and lots of yogurt for dessert. One involved watching a French CSI-like drama that is all the rage here. I know I'M hooked.

11. Spring quarter, at times, involved me slamming my head against a wall.

12. I hate walls.

13. I love France. It cleared my head, or at least helped to.

14. Things I will about France?... Cheap wine... Beautiful skies and views... Roman ruins just being part of everyday life... Some of the girls here... Patisseries... Constant supplies of "oohhlahlahs!" and "mais nooooooooooon" and richly blown flabby lips and looks of exasperation... oh, and speaking French.

15. I probably will nod off during my photography lecture tomorrow...I mean, the development of the portrait is as interesting as the next thing, but still...


Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Things are starting to wind up...or down... here in Arles.

By winding up, I mean that I bought Harry Potter and refuse to do work until I finish it. And that I have a despicable amount of work that my profs decided to spring on me. I am unhappy with my classes, and perhaps that is because I spent 9 hours in them today, as compared to my usual 3 twice a week.

I went to Venice to meet up with Jess.(Insert hearts and romantic music here.)

Venice = Disney World, Italiano style, beautiful, lots of food, lots of glass, no cars, lots of scary men, lots of beautiful fireworks, eating cheese and wine and fruit and chocolate in your hotelroom by fancified tables, buying Harry Potter, gossip and girltalk, being alone one day there, meeting John's twin.

I'm very excited to come home. The most excited I've felt in a long, long time happened the other day in Venice when the image of me sitting, waiting for take-off in Marseille came to mind... going home. What a nice feeling.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More from France

General update of what has happened to me recently:

-experienced the infamous night bus for the first time ever

-decision made that i never will experience the night bus again-saw Barcelona for three days

-saw Barcelona by night (note: different than seeing it by day)

-experienced night bus again, this time less sketchy-arrived home at 6:30 am...home being Arles

-slept for an hour-went to class

-made plans to go to Venice

-attended a party for my host mom's birthday

-host mom's mom insisted I drink more wine...and more wine...and more wine...and...

-bought train tickets to Venice

-went out for dinner with a genuine French gentleman

-finalized Venice plans


I can't believe I'm leaving here again to go somewhere else in Europe. Even Chakan (genuine French gentleman) thinks I'm crazy but doing the right thing... I mean, how often am I across the ocean in Europe? Not that often.

Perhaps one of the things I've learned in Europe and really fascinates me is the way people meet one another here. Everything is so open, with cafes on the streets and people cramming into them's inevitable that you'll meet tons of people. I've met all sorts of individuals on my trip, who perhaps I'll never meet again. Chakan is only one of two whose names I've gotten, and the only one I've made a point of seeing again. The only other name I got was Emmanuel, a Parisian who I met at Notre Dame at night. There have been Australians in Barcelona. There have been Frenchmen who speak no English on trains. There have been French college girls at museums. There have been Aix-en-Provence French students on buses. There have been Marylanders on buses. How many faces will I always remember and connect with places, without knowing their names?...

By the way, I'm crazy about French people. I love them. Specifically Claire, my host mom, and her mom. I love girl-talk in French.

I have to get ready for bed. Or go out with my new French friends. or the other. (This is the way Europe works: Barcelona, Strasbourg or Venice this weekend guys? Meh, we'll see...)


Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Salut, Europe!

Am I studying here?
I think so.

Yesterday was very educational, I think. I mean: I went to two different photography exhibits, a photography music/photo projection thing, a museum about the Avignon theatre festival and an art exhibit. But I also had an amazingly fun dinner with my friends, cracking up completely sober and talking in French, going to a bar and meeting an Arlesian whose birthday is today and then having him introduce me to the ins and outs of breaking into Roman ruins in Arles. The old Roman theatre by night, with only stars and NOOO tourists???

I have a cold though. And a cough. And I hard core miss my friends and family. I called my parents at 3:30 am last night, which was the first phone call I've made since I don't know when.

Jess and I are frantically trying to make plans to get Arles, France and Graz, Austria to become one, somewhere in the middle of the two. It might happen in Venice...or Strasbourg...or Geneva... who knows?

Meanwhile, this weekend, it was just decided I'm either going to Montpellier (really close by, cute city); Barcelona, Spain; Lausanne, Switzerland; or Strasbourg, France.

You know, the usual up-in-the-air weekend plans, uhh, right?

I'm about to have my first auberge experience this weekend too. That shall be interesting...Oh, and apparently I sound like a young French girl who can't quite speak correctly yet and is just learning her own language. Good, even if I can't communicate, at least that's, uh, cute?


Saturday, July 2, 2005

Things of Note, Bullet-Point Form:

-i'm sunburned
-because i spent the weekend in marseille
-on the beach
-and eating gourmet duck and gateau chocolat, prepared by hotsy totsy cooks
-who like to get american girls drunk with rhum avec lime, which we'll take more of... like maybe 13 shot glassfuls over one dinner
-and wandering the streets of marseille
-sitting at bars and watching fist fights and motobike accidents along the boulevard de rive niveau, the main drag in marseille
-to end up at underground discotheques
-...really, a discotheque..
.-...really, underground: in roman arched ruins, with multiple djs in multiple rooms with multiple bars, in the dark, damp and smoky halls of the old fortifications underneath the city
-oh, and the beach again...
-all day...
-and the chateau d'if (hello, eduard dantes)
-and also old german embankments along the coast of the barren, beautiful island, which was only found by me and two other friends
-with more beach, in a cove, and no other tourists
-and good looking men in marseille...a lot of them... who were good dancers, actually

so i spent my weekend on the beach, in the streets, underground, drinking, eating, dancing and exploring. i am only writing this out because i can't quite believe it myself.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I promise, I'm still alive and okay!

I am still alive.

I am not avoiding you by choice, but when your internet access is about 2 hours a week and you have no phone, communication is tough.

France is hot. REALLY hot.

I left Arles and went to Paris in a weekend.

Here are a few of the highlights:

²being woken up at 5:55 am by my friend for our 6;05 am train
²running to the train SOMEHOW in time
²almost getting kicked off train
²not checking into hotel and instead immediately going to lourve
²all toursity things: lourve, notre dame, sacre coeur, musee d'orsay, eiffel tower, les invalides, moulin rouge,

;;;finish this later...tough keyboards, too... But I want you all to know I am alive and that I miss you all a lot.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Now broadcasting from the south of France...

Just to explain a little better where I am: Arles is a small city in the southwest of France, where cultures of France, Italy, Spain and others combine. Arles is in Provence (called Provence because, literally, it was a province of Rome), which is gorgeous countryside where the land is dry at the foothills of the Alps and where flamingos, bulls and small horses wander freely or under the watch of the Camargue (the name of the Provence countryside) cowboys. The skies are extremely blue and it is hot hot hot here. Wild lavender flanks the sides of the tiny roads that connect one small provencal town to another.

There are no suburbs here. Each town is contained by the original batiments, fortresses and walls that protected it. To get to another town usually takes about a half hour or more. Arles is separated in two by the Rhone River. On the side where I am staying, it is older with the original city walls and Roman ruins (an arena, a theatre and a forum). On the other side there is newer housing and one particularly good patisserie that sells pastries (read: culinary works of art). Outside my hotel room I can see both the Rhone and the old Roman bridge that was at some point destroyed. All that remains of it are the large lions on either side of the Rhone, greeting travelers of the Roman roads to Arles since the lion is Arles's symbol.

For those of you who traveled to France with me before, the closest city to Arles is Nimes, where I will be going soon enough for a music festival. The quickest city to get to by train is Avignon, which only takes 20 mins to get to. We visited Avignon yesterday and toured the Papal Palace and then suffered in the heat, drinking lots of water and wilting under the tarped street cafes. Those of you who were in Avignon with me before would be glad to know that the Hotel Bristol is still there and in fine condition, as is Le Forum where we had dinner and the carousel.

Arles is beautiful. I'm sure the people who live here are used to hearing that and don't think much of it when people say that, but it's truly gorgeous. The streets all lead to the old section of town, where there is le Place du Forum and le Place du Republique. Even today, the Place du Republique is the center of governmental things in Arles. There is a large fountain and obelisk there as well. Le Place du Forum is the tourist and social center, and has quickly become where we all eat. In the middle of the forum, something like a dozen cafes have their tables, all covered by huge yellow, orange and green tarps. I discovered an ice cream place there, which is bound to be the end of me
In other news, I only have class Tuesday and Thursday from 9-12. Everything is ridiculously hot here, so after class and eating at a restaurant, I either escape to my air conditioned room or bear the heat to wander the streets some. I was thinking today how funny it is that there's just these incredible Roman ruins hanging out here; no Arlesians think much of them, but they're amazing. The school I take classes in is a collège, or middle school, that is a converted 16th century church. The kids are still in school. When we walk by, they all whisper in French about us. There is a constant hushed whisper that follows us around the school.

Neither of my professors know English, so that can make for interesting times. More at lunch than in the classroom. We eat in restaurants around the city with the entire group, including the professors... So if you think conversations at High Table at Willard or with professors in general can be awkward at times, try adding a massive language barrier. It is pretty fun though, and really informative, eating with the professors. Today I learned about French newspapers and which ones are socialist, communist, etc. from a professor.

There are three large differences here in Arles as compared with either Evanston or Lebanon.
1. Everyone gets up really early. Maybe I am only missing this back home because I have a slight tendency to sleep in, but... EVERYONE here is up by 8, seemingly, out at the patisseries or running errands. It is literally too hot to do those things later in the day. Lots of stores close from 2-4 pm, in fact.
2. Men are forward. I already knew that, but I forgot how forward they are...Not just Will You Have a Drink?, but Will You Have a Drink and if Not I Will Follow You Around in Case You Change Your Mind. I have not been out once, literally not once, where someone hasn't approached me. Fortunately, I haven't had the problems some girls have (like men waiting outside doors for them for many hours).
3; There are dogs everywhere.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Little girls get bigger everyday

Two years ago I went to France with my fellow recently graduated friends and my teacher and/or best adult friend Linn King. We were there not long, but the experience changed me.

I came back, feeling bogged down by everything in Ohio. I was just where I was before I had left--a graduate of LHS, a girl with a boyfriend, an geographical-emotional nomad without a home base, a soon-to-be Wildcat (and what did that mean at the time? Nothing.), just a somebody who felt stuck.

France had opened up my eyes in a short amount of time. I realized how capable I was on my own--without my mom, my dad, my boyfriend, even my friends. Suddenly I was back where I had been before, and everybody expected me to rely on them again...and I couldn't.

For that reason, partially, Northwestern was an amazing escape and new discovery.

I was immediately swooned into the green campus, the gorgeous lakefill, Evanston in its north shore glory, my friends and their amazing talents, my professors who blew me away, and of course, Chicago. Here I was, this individual. Totally on my own. Nobody to rely on, even if I wanted to rely on somebody.

Coming back to Ohio was hell.

I say this with some hesitation, as I have some great friends here...and some particularly wonderful ones who have been nothing short of perfect in the last year or two. ...I think they know who they are.

But, let's set the rest of the bullshit aside. There are some people here in Lebanon who fucking suck. I'm pretty sure Lebanon must be a epicenter for lame-ass, back-stabbing, fair-weather, and generally mediocre and relatively uninteresting individuals. ...I think they know who they are too.

If that's just how it is here, there's nothing I want more than to just get back to this life I have started for myself. Where things were new, just starting, with all sorts of hopes for an amazing future for both me and one shared with my incredible friends. There was, and it goes without saying that there still is, so so SO much to look forward to.

Thus, when I got back to school for my sophomore year and was given one final reason to forget about home, I was more excited than ever to immerse myself in everything Northwestern, Evanston and Chicago. I'm pretty sure judging by this journal, and even moreso the personal changes I see within myself over the last year, I did just that.

I spent more time in the city, more time with new people, more time trying new things, and more time just discovering anything and everything in this past year than I ever have before. Not at any particular moment this year, but somewhere along the way, the realization seeped into me that... I am, in fact, done with home.

And no longer is this idea one that is just 'Home isn't home anymore,' or 'I feel out of place at home;' but rather, it is a full sentence; a complete idea: I am done with home.

It seems appropriate, then, that I should come full circle, leaving for France only days after returning 'home.'

To me, this trip is not just another study abroad, or chance to drink wine at age 20, or opportunity to see another half of the globe. This trip is, in part, an exercise of my newly-found individuality. I'm getting to stretch my limbs and say, 'Here I am,' to nobody but myself and whatever part of France is listening...and understands English.

I'm growing up, and that's kind of weird. But it's these steps along the way, and taking them slowly, that makes the growing all worthwhile.

PS. I'm going to miss you guys. A lot. (And most of you I already do miss a lot and am just itching for September already.)


Monday, June 13, 2005

Baby's First All-Nighter(s)

This is going to take a while, but it's worth noting. Keep in mind, also, some of these are approximations, as my concept of time was greatly skewed.

9:30 am: I wake, shower, screw around the room.
11 am: I go to Unicorn to read.
Noon: I eat lunch with Jess.
1:30 pm: I go to Art Store to buy supplies for my Storytelling children's book project.
2:30 pm: I draw in the Common Room.
5:00 pm: I watch Burnt by the Sun with Jason and Oscar.
7:00 pm: Our Cozy Noodles by delivery arrives.
7:05 pm: I bitch out people who set shit on fire and almost catch a tree on fire, too.
7:10 pm: Hen run for drinks.
7:30 pm: Restart movie.
10:00 pm: Movie ends. Feel hella depressed try to get cheered up.
11:30 pm: Move down to Rat Trap to draw more. End up talking to Jeff for an hour instead.

12:30 am: Actually start drawing. Read and other things, too.
3:00 am: Hen run with Schenks.
3:20 am: Discuss all USSR notes with Schenks.
4:30 am: Return to drawing.
6:00 am: Go onto roof to spend some time NOT working.
7:00 am: Discover that I do not have enough white paper to print off everything for my project. Get white paper from Mike, while in 3DP, I notice Trace sitting on the couch, staring at Grant who is sleeping seemingly naked. Thoroughly weirded out.
7:10 am: Run to CVS. Buy binder.
7:20 am: Bind everything. Project done.
7:30 am: Eat the bagel that Jess and Mike picked up for me. Down two energy drinks and one Frappuccino.
7:45 am: Shatter one Lime Perrier and scream.
8:00 am: Take pictures of myself and Jess being crazy.
8:15 am: Shower.
8:40 am: Call Mom, talk too fast for her to understand me.
9:00 am: USSR final.
9:23 am: Finish USSR final?
10:00 am: Go to Unicorn with Jess.
11:00 am: Put things in storage with Jess and parents.
12:00 pm: Go with parents to study abroad office to drop off project. Now officially academically done.
12:45 pm: Go down to 3DP to say goodbye to Mike.
1:15 pm: Mike leaves.
1:30 pm: Go to Buff Joe's with Jess and some of the guys.
2:15 pm: Help Jess move her stuff outside.2:30 pm: Jess leaves.
2:58 pm: Make very sad lj entry.
3:30 pm: Start getting stuff packed.
4:00 pm: Frappuccino bought at Starbucks. Run to Hen.
5:00 pm: Start making dinner plans.
6:00 pm: Run over to Blom to find Eric and success.
6:45 pm: Meet up with some of dinner crew to go to Joy Yee's.
7:30 pm: Sit down finally for some delicious dinner and smoothees.
9:00 pm: Try to pack more.
9:30 pm: Give in and sleep for a bit.
11:30 pm: Awoken by Jason and Jiwon.

Midnight: Up and moving again. Packing. Realize my luggage is missing. Make plans to go to beach.
1:00 am: Plan to beach canceled with JP's goodbye visit.
2:15 am: Schenks stops by, John stops by, many others follow in Jason's wake.
4:00 am: Jeff stops by. Decision to go to White Hen made.
4:30 am: Hen run.
5:00 am: Climb onto roof one last time.
6:30 am: After deciding to really get to packing, I sit with the hybrid, Jaff Schedinger for an hour and a half talking.
8:00 am: Really get packing.
8:30 am: Shower.
9:00 am: Screw around because sleeping at this point is a bad idea, even though I'm done packing.
11:00 am: Parents come, lots and lots and lots of loading of car to bring things to storage begins.
3:00 pm: Best/worst decision ever. I drive someone else's car to take Brett to drop a chair off in storage. Parking a car has never been so difficult.
11:00 am -- 5:00 pm: Lots of goodbyes and surrealness.
5:00 pm: Final checking out of Willard.
5:15 pm: Last moment standing in lobby, staring at mailroom and thinking about the last two years.
5:20 pm: Dinner with parents at Clarke's.
6:15 pm: Hit the road. Asleep before my parents turn west onto Davis. Literally.
9:45 pm (est): Wake up. Drink water. Fall asleep again.

1:45 am: Arrive in Ohio. Ask my mom, tiredly, "Can we move everything out of the car tomorrow?" My mom replies, "Jesus, CC!" and I think she's mad that I suggested it, but instead she thinks I am nuts for even considering moving things that night.
1:55 am: Already in my own bed. Passed out.
2:45 pm: Wake up. Begin living, kinda. Screw around all day, get dinner at Bravo with parents, get ice cream, screw around until...
7:00 pm: I pass out again.
10:00 pm: I wake up and think to myself, Shit. I might have finally slept TOO much. I watch a thunderstorm, talk with friends online, until...

2:23 am: When I realize, yes, I did sleep too much and I should be asleep by now.


Friday, May 27, 2005


I went to bed last night at 6:30 am.

Not because I was writing papers.
Not because I was reading.
Not because I was studying for an exam.

Just because I wanted to.
Just because I stayed outside Willard to talk to friends.
Just because I climbed up on the roof and watched the sun rise with a friend.
Just because.

An incoming freshman's mother emailed me about Willard because she saw my picture up as being a fireside chair on the website. I emailed her back, two weeks late, with every intent of making a short email explaining that she should email current fireside chairs and just say that Willard is pretty-cool-I-guess.

As I got writing, I found myself writing her an epic of an email, professing my love for a dorm that is full of people with such passion for life and enthusiasm to do the more unusual and most amazing things. I am so lucky, I realized, to be living here. I am lucky that for two years of my college experience, I've gotten to know the people I think are the most amazing people on this campus.

There's something about the culmination of a relatively disappointing last few weeks with finding new amazing people who refresh you when you begin to feel burnt out that is incredible. I have my oldest, newest, closest and best friends here around me, and I feel so lucky.

From running into the lake, to pudding wrestling; from winter quarter dance parties, to spring quarter euchre; from White Hen runs, to wine cleaning parties; from late nights talking in the Mouse Trap, to early mornings watching the sun rise; from throwing things from windows, to sneaking on roofs; from breaking into SAGA, to breaking into attics; from Quad parties, to Franzia/drum corps parties; from sitting by the radiator with honeynut cheerios, to cheesy movies on tiny futons; from knocking on walls to communicate with friends through rooms, to AIM'ing people next door; from extreme billards, to ultimate frisbee; from late night trips to the beach, to romps in the snow; from long ass dorm meetings, to crazy ass central meetings; from the first awkward New Student Week dance party I attended, to the first NSW dance party I helped organize; from the first nerves that exploded in hello, to the ones that blew up in a hug; from smoking cigars outside Willard, to driving with friends with my feet out the window; from the very moment I stepped into this dorm and saw people I knew in line to get their keys with me (Paul Bryan from Preview NU and Grant from Cincy), from the moment I stepped into my tiny ass crotch room freshman year and Jess and I made it work, from the moment I first felt at home and then had to leave it before coming home again, and even right now, thinking that I will be somewhere else next year, I wax nostalgic and feel honored to have shared my first two years of college with these amazing people.

I didn't intend for this to be my "Holy Shit! I'm Almost Half-Way Done With School!" entry, but it might have ended up being that.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Thought From Lake Michigan

The trick is that you take your hands and make a frame through which to see the world. Survey the entire horizon through that frame, slowly. In each crest and fold and dip and wave of life in front of you, there is a place that is yours. All you have to do is step through that frame and claim it.


Friday, May 13, 2005


"I don't want to be a flower," I told my mom as I slid into the station wagon's passenger seat. "I want to be a tree."

My mom smiled and her eyes flashed as she looked at me. "What do you mean?"

That day in my third grade class, Mrs. Perkins had told me I could be a flower.

The specifications of why I could be a flower now escape me. I think it involved something about being pretty or smart or really standing out. Standing out--like a flower? Flowers never struck me as really standing out.

"But I wanna be a tree."

"But flowers are prettier."

I let myself go labeled as a flower, if just briefly, and sat thinking seriously about the foliage matter at hand for the rest of the day. It wasn't until this moment pulling away from Lebanon's Louisa Wright Elementary that I voiced it again.

My mom was quiet and then looked at me as we sat at the stop sign by IGA. She reached her hand around me, running her fingers through my hair. "There's no reason you can't be a tree," she told me.

She was right. There wasn't a reason I couldn't be a tree, if I wanted. Flowers were pretty, sure, but that wasn't for me... to stand around, looking pretty or just doing what everybody else in the grass was doing.
And I guess I never have.


Saturday, May 7, 2005

Hometown Proud

Taken on the surface, small towns are wonderful places.

All is lush green here in Lebanon in May. Lush green spotted with the maroon and white uniforms smudged brown with dirt after a long day of softball. These little maroon and white troops stand in disarray outside the Dairy Queen, flanked by their moms wearing matching two-toned baseball shirts and their dads sporting half-shaven greasy faces that still reek of beer and sweat.

I wonder how I spent 16 years of my life in this one place, doing exactly what these people are doing.

Wearing my maroon and white tennis sweats, standing in line at Dairy Queen, a boyfriend at my side and the keys to my Beetle swinging off my finger.Running about town with John Mayer, Third Eye Blind or Eagle Eye Cherry blasting in the CD player, the sun blinding against the glass-washed windows of the bank and Trish down at the shop on Broadway inquiring after my parents. Swinging on the swingsets down at Harmon Park and going on walks on the golf course late at night.

Did I really do this for 16 years?

The other thing about being home is that there are so few people your age there. You suddenly realize you were unaware of the absence of the 18-23 year-olds in town during the schoolyear. But now that you're back, you notice that they're not around.

The only people around are aged up to 17 or are parents... and that's when it hit me.

Everything is maroon and white here in Lebanon. Everything moves together quietly, even if under the surface there is turbulence, toward some common goal of a town with a purpose. When everyone knows who you are, it's hard not to be part of this community.

Yet, here I am, twenty years old and on my own, essentially. I've been given this opportunity to throw off school colors and punch my fists in the air while breaking free. I don't have to identify with anyone but myself right now, and that's pretty awesome.Somewhere down the line, I might end up in another Lebanon, U.S.A. and I'll port my own child's school colors and stand in line with him at the Dairy Queen. Who knows? But for now, I'm throwing punches at the world and refusing to get tied down in a city where I remain nameless and a campus where, I assume, I remain mostly a mystery.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Textbook Sterotype

I just curled up on my big green couch, alone, with nothing but a space heater, some candles, a fuzzy blanket and Honeynut Cheerios, and sobbed my way through The Notebook for the first time.

It's official. I am a girl.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

fresh starts

Without really requesting it, I've been given the opportunity for a fresh start.

In the last two weeks, my computer crashed with everything on it and I lost my cell phone.

In a sense those two losses mean nothing, but in another, they were loaded (I repeat loaded) with the heaviness of the last two years.

My voicemail alone is a diary in a sense. I delete few messages. Without fail, every time I check my voicemail, I hear Jesse Butler's voice first as he sits in Cassano's Pizzeria with me, calling my phone and yelling, "SSUUUP CAAAAAAAAAIIIIIT LEEEEEEEEN! HOWZIT GOIN!?" I hear my mom's first message to me as she and my dad drive home from dropping me off at Northwestern. I hear Brandon calling to say he misses me in October. I hear Tate calling to sing me a Happy Birthday at 4 am on the day of my birthday. I hear Heather calling me to say she got home okay from the party she abandoned me at where I had protected her from scissors. I hear Matt calling to say to come out to the lakefill to study. I hear Jess calling this summer because we kept playing phonetag rather than talking to one another. I hear Amy calling to go to Kidd Coffee. I hear Brett calling to say he was in Old Navy and thinking of me. I hear Bryan calling to say that he was out driving and listening to Keane and figured I was doing the same. I hear John calling and just screaming my name. I hear JP calling after our connection gets lost and cracking jokes for five minutes. I would hear Julie calling to give warnings about sketchy men, if I could reach my phone. And that would definitely get saved, if I could save it. I'm not even sure what the last message on my phone was recently...maybe something from Amy or Carolyn or my parents about the Chicago roadtrip.

Among other things lost are all phone numbers and saved voicenotes (they were actually important) on my phone.

My laptop is the worst loss of all. I had not only hundreds upon hundreds of photographs from my first years at college on there, but also a 50-page diary (Microsoft Word, size 10 font, single-spaced) that I had been keeping since June of senior year. I looked it over fairly thoroughly recently and I was blown away by how much I had changed without realizing it. That had been my purpose is keeping it, too--to see how much I change. I had done a relatively good job keeping it, writing long entries at least every two weeks, sometimes in spurts of a dozen short entries in a few days. I cannot express enough my disappointment at losing this document. I will never again go without backing up files for more than two weeks.With Carolyn and Amy's visit to Northwestern (simultaneous with discovery of all lost files and losing cell phone), I think that a fresh start is inevitable. Although I already felt pretty free of everything, now that I cannot even reflect on it, I have no choice but to live in the moment. Now the question is what will the moment bring? The end of the quarter brought me to two paths, one that might circle to the same point it always has and another that leads to who knows where. I am pretty excited for this trip, even if I have left my baggage somewhere else.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005



Tuesday, February 8, 2005

So You're Not an Arts and Sciences Major Anymore?

If this brochure (see subject heading) is published anywhere, then someone please pick it up for me.

Did you notice that I just used the proper if-then sentence structure?

That's because I have to do so.

That's because I'm now in Medill.

And that's all I've got for now. :)


Sunday, January 30, 2005

First times

I dropped a class, for the first time ever. I've never felt so morally and academically conflicted. I had fallen way behind in my reading for the class, had not memorized my sonnet for the week, and knew the class was not going to serve me any purpose in my newly (almost, after I turn in the paperwork this week) declared major. Setting aside my closet-workaholic ethics and moral dilemmas, I focused on the above reasonings and pressed "drop" right next to "English Literary Traditions 210-1."

And thus, no Caesar, I am not an English Lit major.Jess and I had a magical evening of romance together last night. We did our date right, on a whim and in search of a hamburger. Our hamburger quest led us to Southport Ave., Cullen's Grille (God love them for their orgasmic onion rings), the Music Box Theatre (for a visually-stimulating French movie event through the film Notre Musique), and Julius Meinl's, a Viennese Kaffeehaus with the most decadent of decadent raspberry-mango-white chocolate tortes my tongue has ever caressed.

We had moving conversations on the El ride home, interesting pick-up lines from 30 year old men at the bars of Southport, and crashed back at our room pre-midnight. Tate came and whisked my lover away from me, and after reconciling my evening to a night of a Porter and Seinfeld alone, I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from JP. After some nice conversation, JP exited and I wandered down the hall to waste a good three hours before finally falling asleep around 4:30 am.

I was awoken this morning by the rude, bitter USPS man who pulled more-or-less the "you're a privileged white girl at Northwestern" bullshit on me and I went back to bed angry to have dreams about singing Backstreet Boys in bed.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Momentous Occasions!

Isn't this momentous? This moment, right now? Shouldn't I be documenting it for safe-keeping, or at least as safe as I can online.

(I apologize. Though I update, I cannot take my blogs seriously and everything comes out tongue-in-cheek. Don't expect me to be the sincere narrator that you may have imagined me to be.)

Tomorrow I declare a major. So what?

I'm twenty years old and I am an undeclared major. Is one-fifth of my life over? Like that? I've spent a fifth of my life undeclared! Quelle horreur!
Well, thank God above and the WCAS Advising office, because tomorrow I will take one step forward in life with a so-called direction and therefore justifiable footing! I travail, I succeed, I fail! Who cares? I can stand up, one legged bent up, propped up on the soapbox in front of me and cry out: So what, World? I've got my major and I've got my skin, and you've got nothing on me.

The funny thing about all this is that I've known all along that I'm okay. But in the grand showcase of Northwestern, it helps to say: I'm majoring in biotechnicalpsychopseudomacrotheologichemical studies!
I have three plans. Three futures. I blow on the dice and let the divine hands of various Northwestern administrative officials determine my fate. May they bless the academic land we all walk upon.

It would be sufficed to say that there is another theme to my life lately. A strange, dreamlike clarity to all that happens to me. I sometimes reach these moments of lucidity where I am all ages of myself at once, with heightened sense and sharp thought. I'm not sure it so much helps me academically, but that's not so much what's important.

If I can feel like I'm six years old, gap-toothed with chocolatey fingers from baking, twenty, blossoming and ready to declare a major, and forty-three, relishing in work and maternity (here I go predicting my future), then I am someplace good, because I am someplace good in all those places.

This theme correlates with another, a sense of coming full-circle. The inhalation and exhalation of one void of air, big enough only to fill a pair of lungs. The strange circuity of seering pain, embered anger, and the lifting smoke where there is release. The sudden collapse of breath when first touched, the heated and heightened breath of ecstasy, the quiet breath of common understanding. One touch can circle a wrist infinitely. The wrist requests what it wants.

A man stands on a rocky beach by a small lake. In his hand, he works a stone over and over in anger. With each skin-rawing revolution of the stone in his palm, he justifies his anger by replaying what happened. But like sand through a sieve, the memories fade as he recalls them. They sift in confusion, falling upon one another grain upon grain, indistinguishable from the rest. Soon he has lost the justification, the reasoning. He is left with only the feelings, or more accurately, the chaffing of the lake-rock between his fingers. He turns the stone faster, almost manically, forcing his energy against its bumpy surface and irrationally imagining the fatty grooves of his fingerpads disappearing. With that last thought, he suddenly lets his hand go limp, the rock dropping blankly back to the rocky beach earth. He stares at the lake that stretches complacently before him. Will the loons come again this afternoon? he wonders. Their soft-spoken laments often please him in a quiet way, drawing pleasure from their common expression of sadness. Maybe they miss something. He looks down by his bare feet where the rock had dropped and realizes that he cannot distinguish his rock from the other dull-faced stones staring up at him. Without thinking, he digs his toes into the stones, thoughtlessly scattering them with a jolt of his foot. Breathing deeply, he turns away from the lake and walks toward the car, his mind a steamy fog lifting to reveal remnants of lost thoughts. The fact that one of those tediously gray stones on the beach was still hot from the friction of his fingers doesn’t occur to him. He absent-mindedly rubs his right hand, raw from he-doesn’t-know-what.

I have lost faith in backspacing.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nyquil is my lover; Dayquil is my muse

This medicated state I'm in is the most wonderful and bizarre thing. I went to bed last night around 12:15 and got up at 9:50. I showered, got ready, and then collapsed in fetal position on my bed.

Needless to say, I decided not to go to my first class of the day.

I have had bizarre dreams too. Two nights ago, the dream I had takes the cake of all bizarre dreams:

I had gone to a circus and/or amusement park-ish place with JP, where we ran into John and Brett, who had been kind enough to save us some seats in the big tent at the circus. Brett suggested we all take a ride on the log chute water-ride and of course, we were all up for it.

However, as we got up to leave the tent, the entire amusement park was besieged by these...critters?... who were attacking us. Kevin "Chops" Brown suddenly appeared, told us he works at the park and he knew the only safe way out was by the log chute. As we ran ahead to catch the log chute and jumped in, Kevin yelled to us: Just so you know, Jenny Tison is at the bottom of the hill dressed up like XZibit!!

And suddenly we were flying down the waterchute and sure enough, there was JT rapping and in the guise of a black man at the bottom. She was there to distract the invaders, apparently. We were all waving to her when suddenly the critter-like things ran out from underneath the waterfall and we were attacked.

I woke up.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

The best thing I've e'er heard:

"I just hit you...with a ton of love!!"


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I'm really happy I interviewed Natalia Singer. I really can't describe just how happy I am. Aside from the kindness of Kim to give me a chance to write something in Play, Natalia was just...amazing...and everything I could hope to emanate. Her vibrant personality, impracticality and uncontrollable enthusiasm gives me hope.


Saturday, January 1, 2005

A New Year

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
--Alan Cohen