Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sure It's Out of Self-Preservation, Brave Nonetheless.

Arlen Specter is switching to the Democratic party, because it's clear the Republican Party is Rush Limbaugh polarized, allowing no room for moderates. 
Oh, and the fact that there's no way he'd win re-election as a Republican due to the 200,000 new voters that registered as Democrats in Pennsylvania.

I think it's going to be interesting to watch the Republican Party re-package itself. 
Because, apparently, it's gotta.

At the end of the day, it's not about small government or big government, but whether or not government can get the job done.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Georgia Why.

Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't.

- Georgia O'Keefe.

Memory: Callahan/Butcher roadtrip through Indiana, we tour the Indianapolis 500 racetrack and follow that experience up with a trip to the art museum were I stand in a room filled with incomparable Georgia O'Keefe pigmented flowers and bleached bones.

Song to go with it: Pete Yorn, Splendid Isolation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Take Me To The End So I Can See The Start.

Right now I am:
Drowning in too much stuff to do. Because I'm committed to ending on a strong note.
Nostalgic. But pushing it to the back of my mind in order to take full advantage of every part of my undergraduate lifestyle.
Phi Beta Kappa. How did that happen?
Officially a Theta alum. How did that happen?
Reading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer.
Listening to Ingrid Michaelson's Die Alone and the entire She & Him album, especially I Was Made For You.

Immediately after graduation:
Home for a teeny tiny bit where I will take full advantage of suburbia swimming pools, homemade mojitos and MY SISTERS!!!

And then:
I move to Washington D.C.
Which was totally freaking me out to the point where I didn't even want to talk about it. Logistics and realities can be overwhelming.
But after finally accepting the google group invite for Center for American Progress - I am so excited! Summer in the city, perfect political timing, creative work I'm interested in and kickball games against the Heritage Foundation...

And then, then:
Who knows? Which is...scary/crazy/cool.

So maybe I still have trouble putting together power points, but here are a few cliched statements I've found to be true about life so far:

Everything worth anything takes time. For me, it takes a lot of time. A lot.

Take classes that you're interested in. That way, school's not as torturous. 

Bloom where you're planted.

Comparison is the thief of all joy.

Don't make someone a priority if they only make you an option.

Don't stress, just do.

When people say they don't have the time to read, watch television, run, etc. what they really mean is they don't make time for it. The way you spend your time should reflect what's important to you.

Where there's a will, there's a way.


And think not you can direct the course of love...
Meaning: any manipulations or efforts on your part to try and win affection or love are worthless and a complete waste of time. It just happens. 

60 percent of life is obligation.

Show up.

It'll be okay.

Kick ass. Take names.
Courtesy of my Dad.

Pictures, resumes, etc. can never truly capture who you are, because you are beauty in motion.
Courtesy of my Mom. Moms are the greatest.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your undivided and attentive time.

Keep things in perspective. Count your blessings.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Italian Swimming Pools.

So last summer in Arezzo, we'd have these long, blissful stretches of unbearably hot afternoon to waste away.

That's why the local swimming pool, aptly titled Piscina Florida, was the best discovery ever.

We'd walk there with stolen convent towels over our shoulders and pay our entry fee to the surly, befuddled elderly couple who ran the place wearing bifocals and pajamas - the most unlikely, unapt job for a guy who literally looked like he'd rather kill himself than let you in.

The place was always packed and we'd spend a good chunk of time locating vacant reclining pool chairs and dragging them into a consecutive line for the pefect people watching vantage point.

Death defying stunt dives off the high board by macho Italian teenagers in Speedos caused us to cover our eyes every single time, always surprised brain and blood weren't splattered across the concrete afterwards. The stuff they did was insane.

And the lifeguard would blow his whistle, sometimes stand up for a second in mock consternation...but he knew as well as everyone there that he had absolutely no authority. It's Italy.

And everyone wearing nothing. The tiniest of swimsuits on every shape, size, sex and age group. Just letting it all hang out without a care in the world. Totally embarrassing. But definitely emphasized how body conscious and prudish Americans are. Something to think hard about.

And we'd get huge slices of watermelon and cold cans of beer and potato chips from the snack bar and eat them while sitting on the side of the pool with our legs dangling in the water. Against the rules. But again, there was nothing to stop us.

And every local we encountered would give us a look of whole hearted perplexity as to why American college students were spending their summer at the public swimming pool in tiny Arezzo.   

We'd trek home after five or six hours in the sun - worn out, burnt, buzzed and completely content. 
Perfectly summer.

Keep It Personal.

(via Cup of Jo)

I love this.

Because I've always hated things like gaudy prom dress sections in department stores, cheesy engagement stories, commercialized holidays, senior portraits, graduation ceremonies, wedding photographers...
Really anything that takes something that's supposed to be special and all your own and turns it into this stuffy, formal, staged affair. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

When in Edmond.

Go to Orange Tree.

One of the things I'm proudest of: staying close with my best friends from high school.
How? Be vulnerable and share life's miserable failures as well as successes, play annoying games of endless phone tag, take trips together to visit one another, have insanely funny memories to look back on, accept the fact the you never know when you'll be all together again, be okay with unsuccessfully going to four bars just to end back where you started and laugh at the fact that Michelle is currently student teaching a kid named, I kid you not, Tarzan.

I'm Up Late Writing a Paper on the Suppressed Sensuality in the Poems of Christina Rossetti.

Yet for all its symmetry, yours was a complex song. When you struck your harp many strings sounded together. Like all instinctives you had a keen sense of the visual beauty of the world. Your poems are full of gold dust and "sweet geraniums' varied brightness"; your eye noted incessantly how rushes are "velvet-headed," and lizards have a "strange metallic mail" -- your eye, indeed, observed with a sensual pre-Raphaelite intensity that must have surprised Christina the Anglo-Catholic. But to her you owed perhaps the fixity and sadness of your muse...No sooner have you feasted on beauty with your eyes than your mind tells you that beauty is vain and beauty passes. Death, oblivion, and rest lap round your songs with their dark wave.

- Virginia Woolf on Christina Rossetti.

Read Rossetti's Goblin Market. Incredible.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


                                                 (Iconic: Bridgett Bardot and Jane Birken)

Tah-dah, a list I made for the "About Me" section of my facebook from when I was a freshmen:

i plan on owning a small bookstore in san francisco.
while wearing a Dior ball gown, Manolo Blahnik heels and a Chanel quilted purse over my shoulder.
while running along the beach in cut off jeans with my big golden retriever named Penny Lane.
and living in a crappy little apartment in the city, right above a really great thai food restaurant.
and driving an eco-friendly bus fueled by potato oil around Carbondale, Colorado.
while becoming a Pulitzer Prize winning author.
and falling in love and spending a whole summer with him visiting baseball parks across the country, camping, tossing pancakes really high and looking up at the stars.
and raising the world's most beautiful children.
and joining the peace corps...seeing the AIDs epidemic end in Africa.
and perfecting the art of cherry pie making and knitting in a house with hard wood floors and fresh flowers, but never driving an SUV or getting the requisite mom short and bobbed haircut.
while dancing at music festivals until i'm 64 and listening to only really good music until i'm deaf.
...all while attempting to become a better person every day.

Have things changed?

Well, my golden retriever will now be named Pete or Jane Eyre. So that's different.
I'm probably not, more like never, going to join the Peace Corps. But I am interested in foreign policy and its effect on developing countries.
There are a lot of things I'd like to spend a lot of money on. A Dior ballgown isn't one of them.
I still really want to write a novel, own a bookstore, raise beautiful kids and spend a summer visiting baseball parks and eating hotdogs...

Maybe it isn't important to get the exact details right (no one has that much control over their destinies or lack of change/growth), but the thoughts behind them: Have a fun, meaningful, interesting life. Pursue what makes you happy. Keep it personal. Give back. Don't lose yourself. Or get bogged down in the day-to-day.

What I'd add today:
Pursue my political passion in DC to figure out if this is a world which I can handle. Or even want to handle.
Live in a foreign country.
Travel with Meg and Casey.
Move to California with Kori.
Move to France with Jenna.
Be proficient in another language.
See: Machu Pichu, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Brazil, Vietnam, South Africa, India, Egypt, Australia, Morocco, Thailand, Bali, Ireland, Norway...all of it.
Milk a cow.
See Bruce Springsteen and Sufjan Stevens in concert.
Restore old chandeliers as "mom hobby."

But, according to the MASH Casey did on me, this will be my life:

Husband: Jackson from Hannah Montana (aka MY ARCH NEMESIS!)
Met: Linkin Park Concert
Career: Sweet & Sassy
Husband's Career: Environmental Law
Salary: Infinity Plus One
Live: Italy
# of Kids: 2
Kids Names: Puss (short for Pussimuss) and Critter
# of Pets: 6,756,234


I Don't Care Who She's Dating.

Camilla Belle's style is jaw-dropping.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keep In Mind.

Quotable things some of my best friends in the world have said in the past that I've been trying to keep at the forefront of my mind lately:

Whitney Caldwell:
"I've just always been really excited about not living a normal life."

Beth Hewitt on her summer goal for working with a youth group in South Carolina:
To treat every single person as worthwhile: worth her time, attention, etc.
The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

It seems like a lot of things from my life are resurfacing.
Like Coldplay's X&Y album.
Which I listened to nonstop the summer before college.
I read the infamous New York Times article, "Case Against Coldplay." And I totally agreed with it. Except that it failed to see the power in Coldplay's simplicity and gracefulness.
Which is why I think X&Y is so emotionally evocative for me. Rarely can I listen to it without tearing up.
Weird that it's found it's way back into my car's CD player (still can't bring myself to buy an iPod adapter) just when college is about to end.

Easter weekend means a friendship reunion that I've missed so much in my life lately. 
Can't wait.

Suddenly I'm not so comfortable with leaving Norman.
Weird to realize you consider a place your home. It snuck up on you, into your heart.

Development economics: Trade over aid.

Diet Dr. Pepper.
Bruce Springsteen's Tunnel of Love and his lyrics to Dancing In the Dark
The Joy Formiddable.
Nico Stai. Especially, You Came Around. SO GOOD.
Casey Jarma's hugs.
Meg in Peru.
Peanut butter on toasted english muffins.
A roadtrip with a Ryan Adams soundtrack.
Fields of sunflowers.

Please warm up Oklahoma. I want to wear my sandals.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Curtis Sittenfeld's novels are the very definition of, Don't judge a book by the cover.
Titles like "Prep," "Man of My Dreams" and "American Wife," along with covers like the one above, scream CHICK LIT!
However, her writing is insanely good, almost brutal, and she's always on The New York Times' Top 10 Books of the Year.
So I'm beginning to like the CHICK LIT mask she continuously opts for despite established critical acclaim and success. Maybe she does it out of spite or it's a commentary on female story lines automatically getting deemed CHICK LIT or it's a private joke. Or, she genuinely likes it.

Anyway, I just finished "American Wife" and found the concept very provoking.
Though the names are changed and she imagined what certain events were like, the novel is based on the life of Laura Bush. Specifically, what it's like to marry someone whose character and beliefs are completely opposite of your own - and when that person becomes president, how you can rectify supporting him.
Sittenfeld expounds on things like the car accident she was involved in that killed her 17-year-old boyfriend, her love of reading, her simply stated pro-choice stance...
The book is not political and very forgiving in a humanistic sense - everyone, even George Bush, is more complex then we can even begin to imagine.
And, even though it's completely fictionalized, I now strongly relate to Laura Bush, especially in the escape she finds through reading.
I think it's a good reality check in a world where we tend to vilify and glorify people into black and white cartoon characters.
It also made me think...how can any leader, Republican or Democrat, with that much power and responsibility, not fall to the floor every day with the guilt and burden of the consequences of their actions? 
It's a lot like "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (another amazing novel) where war-ravaged Hungary wonders why people haven't felt obligated to put their eyes out in the same vein as Oedipus Rex.

As far as portraits of marriage are concerned...
With this novel in mind, as well as countless others..."Revolutionary Road," etc...
I still fiercely believe that I will marry my very best friend, who I'm insanely attracted to, insanely interested in, can proudly support, and can travel/explore the world with. That I'll never end up wearing elastic-waisted pants while waiting in line at Walmart. And that these convictions and feelings would never end, would even last forever.

I think I'll end with this statement: 
I'm loving Michelle Obama in Europe. Especially when she hugged the Queen.

My Life's Work.

Not really.
But at the moment, it sure feels like it.

Work, work, work'n on my Honors Research Thesis...

Architectural Diplomacy: Innovative, Conservative and Controversial Mosque Design