Monday, June 18, 2012


Kevin was making some changes to his blog tonight, so I decided I should see what's left of the blogs I once maintained so proudly. This one here is my catch-all blog; old poems, book reviews, observations all seem to have found their way to this place. My other blog is more academic and contains discussions of sources I've read for school (I'm now starting my dissertation...I started this here site around the time I was taking the GRE and considering applying for graduate work at the MA level).

To think of how my life has changed since I started this blog. Or, even more scary, to think of how my life has changed since I started my very first blog, a Xanga, back in 2004. Eight long years ago. Eight short years ago. The dawn of my 20s. To think of how old I felt then, leaving my teenage years behind!

So many blogs and online journals floating around out there on the web. So many neglected, forgotten. Others still diligently updated and read and followed. What's up with our desire, our craving, our need to have others read our words or see our photos or care about the phrases and images floating around in our own heads? Or our desire, our desperate need to chronicle moments so that we can visit them again later and, if we're lucky, bring back the same emotions we felt upon first experiencing those moments?

Sometimes I get downright overwhelmed by how many experiences - from the profound to the ordinary - I want to document on paper. Or on a screen. Or somewhere more permanent or reliable than my own brain. Or somewhere that seems more permanent. I wonder how many others want this same sort of chronicle; this same sort of catalog that we can flip through, years, decades from now, and feel like our past is still visitable, navigable. Enduring. So many mental photographs I want to save forever. So many that have already evaporated. So many that haven't happened yet and even when they do, will never make their way to an archive. I miss them already.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello, 2011.

I'll keep this one short and sweet. I have two fitness-related goals for the new year:

1) Play tennis at least once a week (for at least one hour).
2) Walk/run/bike/elliptical 500 miles by June 1. That's the distance between my house and one of my favorite east coast travel spots (Ocean City, New Jersey). It averages to about 100 miles per month. I can do that, right? I'd rather choose Charleston, but I know I can't make it there in 5 months :p

I also plan to reduce consumption of sweets. I don't want to get all crazy and restrict everything, or count quantities, or anything like that. I feel I have enough common sense to simply reduce my intake and say "no" more often than I say "yes" to sugary temptations.

Would love to hear others' goals for the new year...or for any time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Reading

My summer reading list is a work-in-progress. It usually is. I start out with a rather lengthy list and then two books in, I find something else I want to read and the whole system gets disrupted. In many ways, I'm a list-oriented person (as my spiral planner and dry erase board can attest), but when it comes to reading, I sometimes have trouble following an already demarcated path. So we'll see how far I get in this one, which I've intentionally kept brief:



1. Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The Well and the Mine, by Gin Phillips
4. Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami
5. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

1. Articulating Life's Memory: U.S. Medical Rhetoric About Abortion, by Nathan Stormer
2. Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory, by Stephen Bertman
3. Black Dogs and Blue Words: Depression and Gender in the Age of Self-Care, by Kimberly Emmons

There are several more books related to medical rhetoric that I plan to check out; I'm not sure how in-depth I'll read them (it may be more of a skimming/browsing process). I also plan to browse some composition/rhetoric journals. This is all toward helping me decide what I want to research for my PhD. Sometimes I really miss Beverly Cleary.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I am suspended between excitement and defeat when I think about all there is to learn. Everything interests me and fascinates me and tries to draw me into its web. I want to learn to cook, to knit, to crochet, to speak French fluently, to master more difficult yoga poses. I want to read War and Peace, explore the world of finance, consider new avenues for academic research, publish a book. Engage with art, architecture, music, Christianity. Become more environmentally aware, more health conscious. Develop my mind and body to the fullest potential.

Here I am, one speck on a sprawling celestial canvas. I could spend forever looking outward -- seeking, learning, endeavoring to understand. And I will. Because I don't think I can extract myself from the yearning.

But I could also spend forever looking inward -- reflecting, reevaluating, attempting to become a better friend, daughter, niece, neighbor, girlfriend/wife, citizen of earth. And I will. Because knowledge of oneself cannot be found in a paperback that claims to offer such. It cannot be bought or taught or memorized or rehearsed. There is no step-by-step grammar for self-awareness. It is felt, it is lived, it simply is.

I do not want to move mechanically through each day, checking mirrors for skin blemishes and applying apologies as relationship balms. I am deeper than my complexion, and I love more deeply than words can render. To beautify, I must first look inward. To love those around me, I must first look inward. To interrogate this globally shared existence, I must first, and always, be willing to interrogate my own.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On the Origin of Status Updates

We each have our own style of Facebooking. Huge photo albums. Compulsive wall-posting. Obnoxiously frequent video-postings to others' walls. One log-in per month. Two log-ins per hour. Sparse profile pages. Textually flooded profile pages. Five hundred applications. Minimalist everything. Ceaseless poking (though that one's died out quite a bit).

Regardless, there is one feature that is both used and abused by most users of this depressingly addictive social networking site: the status update.

When it first was introduced, the status update limited users to using the present progressive verb tense.

Mary is studying.
Mary is going to class.
Mary is taking a shower.
Mary is not wanting to wake up early.
Mary is thinking the simple present would be nice.

Some people blissfully ignored the rules of verb formations.

Mary is yayyy Federer won!
Mary is ...hmmm...
Mary is overslept.

Finally, Facebook granted us our independence and removed that tiny little obstruction to our expressive free-for-alls. Now, we can insert "is" at our own will, or we can use any other verb and tense.... or noun or interjection or anything our little hearts desire.

With the advent of "like" and status comments, entire conversations can be built around a single status update. It's not enough to write on someone's wall, now. Instead, we can have focused mini-chats about the cookies someone baked this morning or the 10 inches of snow or the fact that someone feels blah.

I know as I update my status and read others' that I'm wasting far too much time on this site. Tonight I decided to waste even more time by discussing some of the most common styles of status updates that grace my home page on any given day.

This is by no means scientific, nor do I claim that my observations represent the Facebook population at large. I also intend no insult to anyone because I've used a variety of these styles myself. I'm simply interested in analyzing how spontaneously written textual updates cumulatively come to signify an individual.

Actually, no. That's a topic for a more serious investigation. I just want to ramble at the moment.

These come in no particular order other than how I think of them.

Style: good news!
Example: Cindy aced her finals, woooo!!!
This update announces something big and important, usually followed by exclamations or smilie faces. Some reserve the good news! update for really big things (such as engagements, pregnancies, new jobs, and the like). Others will announce an A on a school paper or the acquisition of tickets for a concert. The important thing is that good news! updates relate to the author and no one else; he or she wants personal congratulations, not communal celebration.

Style: communal celebration
Example: Michael Hell yeah, Cavs to the playoffs!!!!!!!!@@
This style is similar to the previous, in that good news is announced. However, it's something shared with others, such as a big sports victory. These updates usually gain lots of "likes" but perhaps not as many individual comments because there's not as much to say on the topic.

Style: bad news
No example needed.
The opposite of good news. Obviously. The updater needs sympathy and commiseration. Generally, bad news updates warrant genuine pity because they include important life events (death of a person, loss of a pet, loss of a job, etc.). They are heavy and truly sad. Others never quite know what to say on them except to express sorrow and extend thoughts and prayers.

Style: my life sucks
Example: Julia UGH I overslept by 30 minutes and missed my first class again. FML.
Whereas the last style invites genuine concern, this one tends to risk becoming a daily complaint bulletin. An occasional "life sucks" moment is fine. But sometimes, they start to become habitual, punctuated occasionally by a good news! but otherwise a steady stream of FMLs. That's when the "hide" feature comes to good use.

Style: (wo)man vs. food
Example: Marcia just consumed the most DELICIOUS steak ever, drizzled in a wine demi-glace and served with garlic mashed potatoes on the side. mmmmm so full.
Every new food item consumed is listed, sometimes in extraordinary detail. No objections here.

Style: overt drunkie-ness
Example: Stephanie is out partyyyin wit my girlieees so druk lollll gnitte all :)))
Typos galore; excessive emphasis on drunkenness; a clear need for attention. I'd much rather hear about steak in a wine demi-glace.

Style: cryptic mystique
Example: Steven... if only.....
They want to make you wonder. They want you to comment with inquiries. They want you to hypothesize as to the cause or the deeper meaning. They might ignore all inquires and simply post another cryptic mystique an hour later (...never again...sigh.). Oh, the suspense is eating me alive!

Style: honest report
Example: Curt has a busy day...class, meeting, dinner, studying, gym, bed.
This is a basic chronicle of one's day. No frills or mystery about it. Usually contains a steady stream of either nouns or action verbs. Simple, direct, to the point.

Style: love report
Example: Michelle loves her husband!
Really? Well, gosh, who'd have thought.
**Disclaimer: I love seeing expressions of love. But these ones always amuse me, especially when they're accompanied by no other remarks.

Style: suggestion grabber
Example: Bob needs an idea for his final paper on the civil war. Help.
Multiple comments and conversation threads ensue. Perhaps some commiseration as well.

Style: tweet imports
Example: Robert @blue_vibes yeah i'm with ya!
Just say no.

Style: grammar murder
Example: Lizzy hahaha you know your a phi mu when its 2am and your running acrost the street waring only a pink bath robe that isnt even your's ...
Like, way to kill the English language. Time and time again. These status updates make me feel like such a snob, but deep down I know I'm justified in physically shaking and clutching my desktop dictionary.

Style: the tangent
No example needed.
This situation is instigated not by the updater but rather with one select commenter. The status could be about the weather, but someone will say "hey sorry i missed ur party last nite!" and then the updater will respond "it's ok, we should hang out, maybe friday?" and then 10 comments later, the person who initially commented with "i know, 80 degree weather rocks!" will discreetly delete his or her remark so as to stop receiving notifications.

Further suggestions are welcome. But it's 3 a.m. now. And I stayed up waayyy too late writing this thing. FML.

Monday, February 15, 2010


You know the professor from Alabama who shot her colleagues dead? Well, according to a panelist on Jane Velez Mitchell, professors have a reputation for being a little wacky. Mitchell agreed with this comment, and if it weren't for a random caller who defended teachers in higher education, these ignorant remarks would've been left unquestioned.

Now, I know professors have been seen as "eccentric" and absent-minded maybe a little "out there," but most of us know that's a general stereotype. It's one thing to joke around about those in academia having eccentricities. I'll admit you have to be a little out-of-the-ordinary in order to devote your life to school. And those of us who spend endless hours at the library have inhaled dangerous amounts of dust from those peculiar-smelling (yet somehow comforting) old books, probably with deleterious effects after accumulated exposure.

And yeah, we'll probably have stress break-downs every now and then, but at least for me, those break-downs involve some tears, some unhealthy eating, some insomnia, and some whining to my boyfriend. None of those things harm others. Well, my boyfriend probably wishes I'd hush up sometimes. But he knows that if he gives me some chocolate and/or wine I'll be just fine within hours.

My friends are all similar. I know countless people pursuing higher education, many of whom wish to become tenured and teach for the rest of their lives. I admire their dedication and intelligence so much.

I hope to complete my doctorate and join the ranks of life-long scholars myself. And I do not appreciate stupid comments made casually on national television connecting "wacky professors" to one clearly mentally disturbed woman who happened to hold a PhD. During the same show, a comment was made regarding this woman's tenure, and how perhaps the acquisition of tenure should have an age limit (I don't know the specifics; I heard about this entire batch of comments second-hand). Hm, let's conveniently ignore the fact that the suspect killed her brother with a shotgun at age 19, yet was let go because police ruled it "an accident." I think that was long before securing tenure.

Get the facts right, people. It's not like you're talking with your neighbor over coffee; you're on CNN. Don't connect an entire profession with a single murderer. A little education about common tact might do you some good.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

love and language

I often feel that "love" is an inadequate word. Sure, I use it all the time. But that's the problem. It's become such an integral part of most people's conversations that it starts to lose its power.

I love chocolate. I love my new phone. I love sleeping in. I love soft blankets. I love kittens. I love seeing the sun rise. I love walking on a beach when no one else is around. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love reading. I love shopping.

Each of these objects (for lack of a better word) of my love holds significance for different reasons. There are different implications attached, some of which are obvious by their context, and others of which are a bit more ambiguous. For instance, what is the difference between my love of sleeping in and my love of blankets? Both "objects" bring me comfort. But not in quite the same way. One is more tactile and the other is more mental/emotional.

Recently in class, one of my professors said that, contrary to popular belief, eskimoes do not have 30-some ways of saying "snow." But that got me thinking about the English language and how some very complicated concepts are condensed to simple and limiting verbal expressions.

I'm curious to know if any other languages have multiple words that express the diversity of "love." I don't mean simply tacking on a modifier: romantic love, friendly love, etc. I mean one lexical unit exists for a specific connotation, another lexical unit exists for another connotation, etc. This could be an interesting research project.

I think too much when I'm home sick.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I had bought it on sale. It was a simple red hoodie with no real emotional value attached to it. I mean, I'd worn it lots of times over the past year, but there wasn't a moment that stood out in my mind where that hoodie was prominent. Now, my red dress from Deb, that's a different story. I wore that silky little thing to two important events, and it has very special memories attached. This hoodie didn't have that type of history in my sentimental mind.

But as my eyes scoured my hotel room before sealing the luggage one last time, I suddenly realized that my hoodie was nowhere to be found. After some intense rewinding through the past few days, I concluded that I must've left it at a certain restaurant the previous day. I called there, but apparently no one had found it.

Feeling sad but not overwhelmingly so, I finished up the last-minute things and left the hotel. Without thinking much would come of it, I decided to stop at the restaurant since there was a bit of extra time. Why not inquire in person just in case?

I walked in and felt rather silly, inquring about a red hoodie. The host said he hadn't seen it, but would look around one more time. A few minutes later, I heard him say, "Is this it?" as he held up a little red garment. I was surprised at how happy I felt when I nodded in affirmation and swiped my lost-now-found possession from his grasp.

I know this will sound a bit absurd. But it was like, for a moment, I was claiming back a part of myself. I suddenly felt oddly attached to that hoodie, which, before then, had only been a nondescript member of my full-to-bursting closet. Just seeing it there, being held by a stranger, having been in some drawer (where "no one would have thought to look for it") since the previous day, made me feel strangely sentimental. I held onto it throughout the journey home and felt comforted by its softness and warmth.

I know you're not supposed to get attached to "things." They are material and superficial and not important in the scheme of things. But really, they are important. They're certainly not more important than love and family and friends, but they're not meaningless, either. And we shouldn't feel guilty for valuing our "possessions." In our fast-paced and fleeting lives, it's okay to have something to hold onto.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Normally, I don't bother to answer such questions as, "if you could have one super-power, what would it be?" I think they're silly and pointless and only make you feel depressed since you know you'll never have that super-power, anyway.

But this time, it's okay because I wasn't asked the question. I just thought of this, randomly, as I'm sitting here reading... as I'm sitting here surrounded by books that I want to read but physically don't have the time to read. It's like food; I can only consume so many delicious favorites before my stomach tells me that one more bite will send my intestines into chaos. I can only physically consume so much text before my eyes start to hurt, or before I realize that it's 3:30 a.m. and I should probably sleep, or before something more urgent gets in the way of my novelistic rendezvous.

So here we go. My super-power.

I want to read as long as I want without having the time subtracted from my day. I want to walk through that wardrobe and enter Narnia, and have the "real" time of my life become suspended. I want to sit and read and read and read and read and read

and read and read until I feel like stopping.

Then I want to go back through the wardrobe and enter my real life again. And no time will have evaporated. And I'll proceed as usual until the next time.

Yeah, I'd probably choose that over flying or shooting lasers from my eyes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


This is just a brief post because I don't have a lot of time. But I just have to mention something I heard on TV a few moments ago that truly incensed me.

My mom was watching a program on EWTN, the Catholic network. Occasionally, there are shows on this station that I like. And I think it's beneficial to offer programming to Catholics of all ages that discuss the faith. However, as far as I can tell, the outreach to young people could use some work. Especially to women.

Some woman (I don't know her name but she's on EWTN a lot) was discussing purity and the importance of it for today's youth. At one point she had the absolute nerve to say, "I can take one look at a girl and tell when she's lost her purity."

Let me count the number of things wrong with this statement. A) She's assuming that you can judge someone by their appearance, B) She's acting like purity is something you can lose once and irrevocably, C) She sounds like a self-righteous idiot.

How much pressure does this put on young women to be "pure" and appear "pure"? Who defines what "pure" means, anyway? And why impose such harsh standards on women who then must live in the fear that someone can look at them and instantly know if they're pure or not? And worst of all... to cloak such beliefs in the idea that God supports it all!

Yes, this is really going to help the youth come to the Catholic church and feel welcomed and loved. Oh yeah. So smart. Keep it up.