Saturday, December 7, 2013

A love letter, to you all.

The only thing standing between me and my well-deserved Christmas break is my history final.  Classes are done, assignments are turned in, papers are graded, reading is complete.  I'm allowed to take my history final next week any time I please, so long as it's done by the end of the day on Friday.  My week is crazy-scheduled, so I'm planning to take it on Thursday morning.  Easy as pie.

This afternoon we're having a small study-session for the exam at my place, then tonight I'm going to a show at Blackfriars with Marshall and Kendra and Jordan, and after that we're all going out to celebrate Meredith's and Patrick's birthdays, and after that we'll hit the ASC holiday party.  Sunday is much laughter and cocoa drinking and Bard-game playing with some truly excellent folks as we huddle and shelter from the snow/sleet/awful freezing rain.  Monday is MFA show at the Blackfriars followed by gelato and cocoa with most of the first-years.  Tuesday is ASC workshops all afternoon, a lecture in the evening, A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars after that, then drinks with friends.  Wednesday is brunch with the first-years at our professor's gorgeous home, Thursday is history final, ASC workshop planning meeting, and the program Christmas party with my husband!  Friday is more ASC workshopping, then Santaland Diaries in the evening at Blackfriars.  Jam packed, but sure to be full of excellent people and excellent times.  (Also, every time I refer to us as first-years, it makes me think of Harry Potter, which does not suck.)

I am so happy with my life.  I'm 25% done with my first master's degree.  In two weeks I'll be back home in Oregon to see my darling friends and wonderful family.  I'm just a happy girl.

I'm ever so grateful for my amazing husband, Timothy.  He is the kindest, gentlest, sweetest, most decent man I know, and he's incredibly supportive and self-sacrificing.  (Auxesis!)  I'm ever so lucky that he chose me and that he moved here with me.  He's the best part of my day, every day, always.  (Diacope!)

I'm thankful for my darling friend Ellen, who has always believed in me more than I believed in myself, has always pushed me and encouraged me and loved me, and who is one of the smartest, funniest, most delightful people I've ever known.  (Polysyndeton! Isocolon! Epistrophe! Auxesis!) If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here in this program right now, I wouldn't be married, and my life would be much sadder and less joyous.  She's incredible and amazing and delightful.

I'm so proud to know my sweet friend Sara, who is an incredible bad-ass, whip smart, crazy talented, and so open and loving.  (Auxesis!)  She made a cross-country move exciting rather than terrifying, and I feel so lucky to have her just down the road.  When things get silly and I need a rational presence in my life, she's right there.  She is wonderful, and ever so loved.

I'm beyond blessed to be part of such a wonderful class of talented, creative, innovative, smart, funny, kind, sweet people (auxesis!).  Adrienne is so sweet and kind, a master of organization, and terrifically funny.  Aubrey never fails to make me laugh and is always available to reminisce with me about OSF.  Dani always lights up the room.  Deirdra's made it her mission to make sure we all know how great Antony & Cleopatra is.  Fred is incredibly intelligent, highly perceptive, and awfully funny.  Ian is one of the most chipper, energetic, enthusiastic people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing (auxesis!).  Jamie is joyful and charismatic, and works hard to make sure we're all being the best that we can be.  Jordan is sassy and sweet, and sassy again.  Kendra is exceptionally kind-hearted and incredibly smart and has one of the best laughs of all time (polysyndeton!).  Lia is passionate and silly.  Marshall is delightful and hilarious and talented and sassy (polysyndeton!).  Megan is kind and caring and thoughtful (isocolon!).  Meredith is sassy and adorable, and makes amazing squirrel cookies.  Merlyn is witty, wise, and an incredibly talented actress.  Molly is enthusiastic and open-hearted.  Patrick is sassy, full of feelings, has absolutely the BEST laugh in the world, and is delightfully witty.  Susan is absolutely darling and so, so, so kind (epizuexis!).  Ziegs is a veritable font of Shakespeare news, trivia, and knowledge.

There's a lot of sass in our class, a lot of love, a lot of laughter, a lot of intelligence, and a lot of talent.  (Iscolon, anaphora!)  I just can't find the words to express how happy I am to be here and how lucky I am to be surrounded by these amazing people.

Happy merry, y'all.  Happy merry.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remembering How to Make Friends, Part Three

Well, it's nearly the end of the semester.  I have two weeks of classes left before finals, one of my term papers is completely done, the other is nearly done, I'm caught up with my reading, and I have only one large assignment left to do.  I'm four plays away from having read the entire Canon, and I have only sixty pages left to read for my history class.  You guys, I'm about to put my first semester of grad school in the books as an enormous win.

We had a spur-of-the-moment mini-Thanksgiving feast at my apartment last night.  I made turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy, Jamie made stuffing, Sara made bread and cinnamon rolls, and Tim, Kendra, and Lia just brought their smiling faces.  My apartment smelled amazing and was full of love and laughter for four hours.  It was ever so delightful.  I'm thrilled that Tim finally had a chance to spend some time with my friends.  I'm happy the Kendra was finally able to come hang out.  I'm happy that Sara had the time to come over, I'm thankful that Jamie took time away from his papers to come play, and I'm happy that Lia was able to take a break from work and make an appearance.  I am overjoyed with my life right now.  Grad school is still stressful, my workload still seems unmanageable at times, and I still miss my husband every second that I'm not with him, but I feel ever so lucky.

I'm following my bliss.  I'm surrounded with incredibly smart, talented people who all love Shakespeare in the same way I do.  I have lovely, kind, caring, wonderful friends, both here and back home.  I have the world's most supportive husband.  I'm five weeks away from being back in Oregon with my family.  I am so, so, so lucky.  (Epizuexis!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


You guys.

I can't even.

I'm just.

No words.


Staunton is the home I never knew I was homesick for.  I have three whole friends who are wonderful and brilliant and funny and loving, and I have several other friends who aren't friends yet but are about to be.  I spend every day surrounded by people who are passionate about the same things I am, and I'm constantly awed and humbled and intimidated by how knowledgeable these folks are.

Staunton is home to the 2013 Blackfriars Conference this week, which means I have no classes (YAY!), but also no time to do all the work I'd planned to get done for next week (BOO!).  More importantly, I'm spending 10+ hours a day absorbing more Shakespeare than I can possibly take in, and IT IS AWESOME.

I have found my tribe, and though I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, I'm one step closer to getting there.  My only sadness is that none of my amazing new friends will come back to Oregon with me when we're done.

Life is so, so sweet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Minor Miracles

After failing spectacularly on my first grad school assignment (and by "failing," I really mean "got a C") (by which I actually mean I scored 3.6 on an assignment worth a whopping 5 points) (and yes, I absolutely did get way too damn worked up over that), I got a 9 out of 10 on my very first grad school paper.  I wrote three drafts of a two-page paper, so damn right I got a 9 out of 10.  Let's hope this bodes well for the second two-page paper I turned in, where I worked up five drafts.  I've had a really horrendous couple of days here, letting myself get really stressed out, worked up, and overwhelmed about the end-of-semester crunch that's still six weeks away, so this feels like a small win.  I think in grad school, you have to take those where you can find them.  

I'm still trying to adjust to being a student for the first time in six-ish years, and a grad student at that.  I'm heading into my fourth week of classes, and I'm four-for-four in meltdowns per week.  They usually come on Wednesdays (I'm on campus for roughly 9 hours, and thus feel like there's no way I'm ever going to get anything done ever again, and I'm completely behind on all my work, and I'm never going to catch up ever, and why even bother because obviously I'm not smart enough to be here, ad infinitum), but this week's happened on Monday.  Let's hope that I can get through the rest of the week unscathed!

Monday, September 16, 2013

What She Wore: September 2013

Another great dress!  I wore this on my last day of work, just before I left on my cross-country road trip to move to the east coast.

Dress: ModCloth (2013)
Shoes: Maurices (2011)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What She Wore: September 2013

Cardigan: Maurices (2013)
Blouse: Maurices (2011)
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (2013)
Shoes: Payless (2010)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What She Wore: September 2013

How cute is this dress?  I'm a sucker for a great print, and this dress absolutely delivers with its adorable bicycles.

Dress: Unique Vintage (2013)
Shoes: Maurices (2013)

Want to Hear Something Awesome?

Want to hear something awesome?

I only have class three days a week--Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  But for those three days, I have four classes, and since it's grad school, I have anywhere from five hundred to a thousand pages of reading every week, plus occasional writing assignments.  (My class schedule is rad, but that's not the awesome part.)

Even with Tim being here this weekend, I'm on track to finish with ALL the work I need to have done by NEXT Sunday, the 15th, by this evening (that's the awesome part!). I have one play left to read, plus 100 pages of the driest textbook ever written (which will be painful and awful, and will take the most time of every other assignment I've had so far).

Managing my time like a boss!  I'm going to give myself a pass for tomorrow and catch up on cleaning, laundry, Harry Potter, etc, but I'm hopeful that I can give myself a head start on reading for the week of the 16th, and that maybe, just maybe, I can stay afloat and be prepared and get smart.  Hooray!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What She Wore: September 2013

Blazer: Maurices (2012)
Camisole: Maurices (2012)
Pants: Forever 21 (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Remembering How to Make Friends, Part 2

So, classes start tomorrow (for those folks with classes on Monday--I don't have class until Tuesday afternoon), and I'm really looking forward to getting things underway.  I've been working toward this moment for about eighteen months now, and I'm sick and tired of the anticipation.  I'm 85% unpacked and settled in my apartment (waiting on my desk to be delivered next week, and for Tim to get a couple things out of storage so that I can have room to put some things in there), my backpack is packed, my lunchbox is standing ready, my books are organized by class, and I remembered (at just about the last second) to buy notebooks and binders and folders, because I will probably need those things.

I dithered back and forth about going up to spend the weekend with Tim, but in the end decided to pass in favor of staying here and doing laundry (which I totally have not done yet), doing homework (for classes that haven't started yet!), and not having to deal with the stress of negotiating beltway traffic on Labor Day weekend.

So, one of the MFA girls is having shindig at her place tonight, and I believe I'm going to force myself to go.  When I first received the invitation, I was unequivocally not going to go. Firstly, I don't much care to be coming home after dark.  Secondly, I don't much care for hanging out with strangers; I find the pressure to make conversation to be highly stressful.

But, I need to make friends.  I'm already planning on spending very little time in this place, so I feel like I need to take advantage of the opportunities to be social as they arise.  I'm a nice person, I really am, but my determination to put my marriage first can have the unintended side effect of making me appear anti-social, stand-offish, and reclusive, which in turn only serves to isolate me.

So.  Here I go, putting on my big-girl pants, to go forth and try to make friends.  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Here's another red and black school spirit outfit!  My high school's colors were purple and gold (which I absolutely could not stand when I was a teenager), so I was very relieved to have college colors that were already prevalent in my wardrobe.  

Cardigan: Maurices (2006)
Blouse: Maurices (2010)
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Shoes: Payless (2010)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Remembering How to Make Friends, Part 1

Last night, I went to a pre-Orientation BBQ with most of the first-years, and a handful of second- and third-years.  I'd met three (of 17) previously, which made meeting a whole bunch of strangers just a little bit easier, since there were already a couple faces I knew.  It was a little awkward getting it off the ground; I'm not great in social situations to begin with, I really dislike hanging out with strangers, and I find small talk extremely challenging.  So I awkwardly stood in a corner for the first hour, trying to make small talk with whoever was standing near me.  Then the food came out, which gave me something else to do (awkwardly). Then I chanced upon a smaller group of folks in a smaller room, and things picked up.  We had an excellent, meandering conversation about pot, architecture, pianos, blood, violence, whether a sex-dungeon in an attic should be called a dungeon or a loft, yard sales, the nineties, life before the internet, and how great it will be to only have classes three days a week.  There was a LOT of laughter, and very little talk of Shakespeare.  Everybody seems really nice, and most of us fall into the 21-34 age range, with a concentration of just-out-of-undergrad kids, and then a few of us who are older.  I felt very successful about the evening, until I made the mistake of announcing that I was leaving so I could go home and go to bed (at 7:30).  I hope to do better today, when all 17 of us will be together for the first time.

That's all.  Orientation activities begin in an hour, so I'm off to forage for breakfast and clothing, and maybe get another box unpacked before I need to leave.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

You know, I'm not crazy about this outfit.  I think the tights were a mistake.  And I think it needs different shoes.  But I wore this to work on a day I was only going to be there for a couple of hours, so no regrets.

Shirt: Maurices (2013)
Skirt: Maurices (2012)
Tights: ModCloth (2013)
Shoes: Payless (2009)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

I have a confession to make.  I absolutely do own this dress in four different colors, and I absolutely do wear it constantly during the spring and summer.  I think it's just a really flattering cut, the colors are delicious, and it's wildly comfortable, especially when it's too hot for pants.

Dress: Maurices (2013)
Cardigan: Maurices (2012)
Shoes: ModCloth (2013)
Necklace: ModCloth (2012)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Necklace: ModCloth (2012)
Shirt: Maurices (2013)
Shorts: Maurices (2012)
Tights: Ivory Nook and Cranny Tights, ModCloth (2013)
Shoes: ModCloth (2013)

Friday, August 23, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Oh, maxi skirt, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...

Banana cardigan: Maurices (2013)
Tank top: Maurices (2006)
Maxi skirt: Maurices (2012)
Lemon cardigan: Maurices (2013)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Okay, so the mascot of my the university where I earned my undergraduate degree is Boxer.  Boxer is a mythological Chinese creature that's part dog, part dragon, and has another eight or twelve animals thrown in for good measure.  After four years as a student (and an additional six years as a university employee), I got really tired of trying to explain Boxer to people.  So you can imagine my relief when I got into my graduate program and discovered that this college's mascot is a squirrel!  Squirrels are easy, and adorable, if not particularly fearsome.  So, the first thing I did to celebrate my acceptance and imminent cross-country move was buy this adorable tee shirt!

Tee: ModCloth (2013)
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Monday, August 19, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Oh, how much do I adore this top?  So much.  It was a bit more expensive than I usually like to pay for something that is basically a tee, but it was just too soft and adorable.  I had to have it.  I can't wait to wear it again!

Top: ModCloth (2013)
Pants: Forever 21 (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Oh, how I LOVE this dress! It is too, too lovely for words.  The color, the fit, the fabric--everything about it makes me swoon.  Also, the back neckline dips down in a V, which is a little sexy and a lot gorgeous.  I got so many compliments this day!

Dress: Deep Blue Scene Dress, ModCloth (2013)
Tights: My Way or the Ombre Tights in Apricot, ModCloth (2013)
Shoes: Portrait on the Patio Flats, ModCloth (2013)
Necklace: Maurices (2012)
Watch: Vintage (belonged to my mother) 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

 More blue and yellow together!  What can I say, I'm a little obsessed.  Pardon my wet hair...

Cardigan: Maurices (2011) 
Tee: Maurices (2012)
Pants: Forever 21 (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

More blue and yellow together! Oregon wasn't quite having the summer weather when I wore this, but it definitely felt like spring to me.

Necklace: ModCloth (2012)
Shirt: Maurices (2013)
Pants: Forever 21 (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

 Cardigan: Maurices (2010)
Blouse: Maurices (2011)
Pants: Maurices (2012)
Shoes: Payless (2012)
Necklace: ModCloth (2013)

Friday, August 9, 2013

I have arrived.

Well, I'm officially here in Staunton.  The cross-country road trip was long and hot, like I knew it would be, but it was a pretty grand adventure.  We mostly just drove the entire time, but we did stop to see the Grand Canyon (I was just as underwhelmed as last time--I mean, it's basically just a big hole in the ground), and we spent two nights in New Orleans so that we could explore a little.  We also got to spend a night in Chattanooga with our friend Jess, who I haven't seen since she graduated from Pacific in 2007.  Jess is a mom now!  It was super excellent to see her, and I wish we'd been able to spend a little more time with her.

I did most of the driving, which means that Tiffanie took most of the photos, so I don't have too many to share.  But here are a couple!

At the Grand Canyon.  Approximately ten minutes after I took this picture, it started dumping rain on us.  If you got a postcard from me, it probably had this picture on it.  If you didn't get a postcard from me, it's probably because I don't have your address.

Cadillac Ranch, outside Amarillo.  I don't know how to work the zoom on my camera, and we were going about 70 mph, which is why this picture is so terrible.  But Cadillac Ranch is pretty cool.  You should definitely google it.

Tiffanie took this picture on our first night in New Orleans.  We stayed at a hotel in the French Quarter, and when we finally got checked in and settled, we set off in search of food.  Not three blocks from our hotel, we ran into Bourbon Street, which was a complete circus on a Tuesday night.  I can't imagine being there for Mardi Gras!  Also?  The humidity was nightmarish.  On the whole, the town was very cool and I'd like to go back, but at a less humid time of year.  And never again to Bourbon Street.

To try to escape the inhumane humidity, we spent most of our touristy day in NoLa in museums and shops.  The Audubon Society has an Insectarium in New Orleans, which was  incredibly cool.  First of all, it's in some kind of gorgeous, historic government building.  (Side note: the architecture in New Orleans is just breathtaking.  It's all so, so beautiful.)  Second, insects are generally pretty cool, and this place had a lot of them.  Big ones, small ones, scary ones, adorable ones.  This little cayman was hanging out in their bayou exhibit.

For me, the best part of the Insectarium was the butterfly house.  I went to a butterfly garden in Canada a few years ago when we were up there for a swim meet.  I had a great time, but I hung out in there for ages and not one single butterfly wanted to come be friends with me.  Tiffanie had lots of butterfly BFFs right off the bat, and I was super jealous.  But then this little guy decided to come hang out with me, and I couldn't have been more excited!  

Finally, we went off in search of beignets.  My sister-in-lawesome, Sara, was in New Orleans on business a few years ago, and when she came back, all she could talk about were these pastries.  Imagine if I went all the way to New Orleans and didn't eat a beignet! Sara would probably disown me. We had a bit of a trek to get to these, but they were absolutely worth it!

This is SoBou, a restaurant in the French Quarter where we had dinner on our last night in NoLa.  Delicious food, but more importantly, really cool decor.  The entire restaurant was done up like this.  I appreciated it.

Then it was off to Chattanooga to see Jess and her little boy, Porter!  Jess looks great and is great, and it was so good to see her again.  We spent the entire night talking about people we went to college with, discussing our lives and loves, and generally being awesome.  It's how we do.  

When I finally got to Staunton, my first stop was the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Birthplace.  I'm ambivalent about Wilson (his time period is one of the least-interesting in American history, in my opinion), but the museum was pretty fantastic, especially when you consider that they receive no federal funding.  This is Wilson's 1919 Pierce Arrow, which has been lovingly and beautifully restored.  

There was also this very, very cool exhibit on WWI trench warfare in the basement of the building.  I could have hung out down there for hours.

I officially moved into my apartment on Wednesday, and as soon as I got all my boxes and bags loaded in, I went off to get groceries.  There's a Kroger not far from me, and because Kroger owns Fred Meyer, most of the brands were very familiar to me.  This one carries my favorite Seventh Generation cleaning products and the organic, fair-trade soap that Tim uses, so I felt comforted.  But those small successes were NOTHING compared to how I felt when I walked past the specialty cheeses.  I very nearly burst into tears in the middle of the deli section.  I haven't had any homesickness yet, but seeing this cheese made me so unspeakably happy and heartsick for Oregon at the same time.  And yes, I absolutely did spent six dollars on eight ounces of cheese.  Worth it.  If only they had Tillamook ice cream, too!

I bought this awesome pillow as an apartment-warming gift to myself.  No regrets.

Since getting settled (with my one suitcase, air mattress, and camp chair--can't wait until Tim gets here with my real furniture and the rest of my clothes!), I've mostly stayed in and relaxed.  I spent a few hours on campus getting acquainted with the program director and the layout of the buildings, and I've pretty thoroughly explored downtown.  I took my car to the VW dealership here this morning, and I successfully navigated my way back to my apartment without relying on my GPS, which makes me feel very good about myself.  Tomorrow I'm planning to go see the first of many shows at the Blackfriars Playhouse, and on Sunday, my cousin Genevieve is passing through town.  Hooray for having family in this neck of the woods!

Next week I get to start my work study job.  Tim should be here by the 20th, and then it'll be a week of togetherness before my classes start on the 2nd.  I can't believe this is finally happening!  I hope the kids like me, and I hope I can keep up with the work.  I can't wait to get started!

What She Wore: August 2013

Cardigan: Maurices (2013)
Tee: Maurices (2013)
Pants: Maurices (2012)
Boots: ModCloth (2013) (Sold out)

I love blue and yellow together.  It always seems so springy to me!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

These are new shoes, and having them inspired me to be a little retro.  This outfit was for a fun Saturday out with my hubs, getting brunch and running errands.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What She Wore: August 2013

Here's another pretty casual outfit that I definitely wore to work.  I love the Pacific Northwest!  This girl is definitely missing her homeland right about now.

Sweater: Old Navy (2011)
Blouse: Maurices (2011)
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What She Wore: July 2013

This is a pretty casual outfit, but I definitely wore it to work.  That's probably the nicest thing about working on a liberal arts college campus in the Pacific Northwest: this kind of outfit can totally pass for dressed up!

Sweater: American Eagle (2011)
Tee: ModCloth (2013) 
Here in black
Jeans: White House Black Market (2013)
Boots: ModCloth (2013)

Monday, July 29, 2013

What She Wore: July 2013

Y'all.  I am head over heels in love with this dress.  It's a nice, thick material, which makes it just a touch too warm for this time of year, but I wore it to dinner with friends at the beginning of the summer right before it got too terribly hot.  Now it's languishing in my closet, and I'm dying for fall when it's cool enough to wear again!

Dress: ModCloth (2013)
Shoes: ModCloth (2013)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What She Wore: July 2013

I saw an outfit quite similar to this on Pinterest, and I immediately wanted to duplicate it.  I thought it was so cute!  I found this dress on sale, and it's very quickly become my absolute favorite thing to wear this summer.  Maxi dresses are so easy breezy, and they're really nice for staying cool.  I've paired it with a blazer for work, a giant floppy hat for our family Independence Day BBQ, wedges for the beach, and a motorcycle jacket for watching the fireworks at night.  I fully anticipate that this dress will get a lot of mileage on my epic cross-country road trip at the end of the month (pun intended).

Dress: Wet Seal (2013)
Scarf: JC Penney (2013)
Blazer: Maurices (2009)
Similar style here
Booties: Maurices (2011)