Saturday, November 08, 2008

At the end of the day, I personally think these are absolutely a nightmare.

My mother found this list of the top ten most irritating phrases yesterday. We got quite a kick out of it.

1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science

My favorite thing about this list is that one of our local radio personalities--who, by the way, drives me crazy-- uses all of these. Not only does he use them, but he uses them in grammatically and idiomatically incorrect ways. In his honor, I'd like to nominate a few additional annoying phrases:

11. The point being (is)...
12. What that amounts to (is)...
13. I don't know about you, but...
14. I'm just sayin'
15. literally (when something is most emphatically not literal)

Any more nominations for most irritating phrases?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Patrick and I got up "early" (7:30) this morning to go work out at the Y. Generally, the atmosphere is fairly upbeat, and they pump in happy, slightly lame, adult-contemporary music of the "80s, 90s, and Today!" variety. Bearable, fairly quiet, and safe for the whole family.

Well, this morning their radio was possessed by demons. Instead of the usual Coldplay and Sheryl Crow, we were treated to a whole morning of 50 Cent, Akon, and various other purveyors of raunchy rap. Fortunately, the volume was low enough that the majority of the songs were drowned out by the whirring of treadmills and clanking of weights, but enough made it through to make the old man across from me look like he was going to have an attack of some sort.

The highlight of the morning however, by far, was the political commentary to which we were treated between every "song." (Yes, I am calling the musicality of the genre into question. But that's for another time.) The DJs on this particular station let loose the usual digs, suggested that "Those dirty Republicans want to make it so that only gun-toting oil barons feel safe going to the polls" and uttered a few unrepeatable slams on Sarah Palin. Apparently Akon will leave the country if Obama is not elected. Darn. My very favorite comment of the morning, however, was this little gem: "If McCain gets elected, gas prices will be so high, it will be cheaper to take a cab everywhere."

Just let it sink in. Enjoy the feel of deep, considered, intelligent political commentary. Ahhhhhh.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Music, anyone?

I have received a command from my mother. She insists that I blog. Being a dutiful and submissive daughter, I obey with alacrity.

While driving to and from "real" school (I say with a smirk), I have been attempting to educate my ears. I've been taking advantage of our library's music collection, checking out a few different CDs every week, and listening to them in my car where they won't bother anyone else. I've discovered a few good ones so far, and rediscovered some old favorites. (Even done in overblown, bombastic American symphony orchestra style, Brahms Requiem is one of the most amazing pieces of music ever written.)

My mother bought one of the opera CDs I found a while back and I've listened to it enough that I can (1) recognize the pieces and (2) have favorites.

So, sitting on the couch tonight, watching TV, the music of one of the commercials caught my ear. It was a stupid Red Bull commercial, involving a cat preening itself while sitting in an arm chair. Peppy classical music plays.....and the "camera" pans up to an empty bird cage. I started cracking up, confusing my mother. It was a stupid commercial. But the music flitting along was Mozart's "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja", which is sung by a bird-catcher in "The Magic Flute." I was so tickled I had to rewind and rewatch the commercial.

I realize that hardly anyone watching that commercial (let alone paying attention) would "get it", and that the fact that I did and got so excited probably confirms once again that I am a geek, but I loved seeing that someone put some actual effort into choosing the music.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Today is my birthday. I am officially 22 years old.

My last several birthdays have been accompanied by major festivities (dinner for 20-30 at Buca di Beppo) and much excitement. For some reason, I haven't had any of that excitement this year. I didn't want a big party, so we did take-out chinese food and movies at home with just the 6 of us. I haven't been able to make gift suggestions when people (Grandma ;o)) ask for them. I didn't even remember that my birthday was coming until Facebook told me. Facebook.

Not that I haven't had a great day. Church was wonderful, as always. My mother, Patrick, and I went on the West Central Neighborhood home and garden tour. It was the perfect day to walk around outside and any day is a good day to look at old houses. Our dinner was delicious and easy to clean up and there is a cheesecake waiting in the fridge.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Only 258 days left!

It's only Wednesday of the first week of classes and I am already battling some major, unexpected, intense senioritis. It's not that I don't like my classes this semester. In fact, I've been looking forward to them for months. With the exception of the reading and research I'll be doing for my senior seminar, my workload really shouldn't be that bad.

I just want it all to be over with.

So yes, I took time out of studying to figure out exactly how many days are left until graduation. I'll be counting down, starting now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm hanging out at my grandparents' house in Anderson for a few days before heading to Salt Lake City with my mother. We're going to the Melaleuca convention, which I'm pretty excited about. Glenn Beck is the main speaker, which should be entertaining.

I've taken to listening to opera in the last few days (as though I wasn't already weird enough.) I picked up several CDs from the library, one of which proclaimed itself the "Best Opera Album in the World... Ever." While I don't know how valid that claim is, I've certainly been enjoying the music. Also attracted by the title, I checked out the "Opera Babes," which I found enjoyable, if slightly dippy. Just to balance things out, I also grabbed some Killers, Corrs, and Vivaldi.

I'm still completely glued to the Olympics and have come to the realization that I have no life. I've thought before that this might be the case, but my obsessive TV viewing this week has pretty much confirmed it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jason Lezak is my HERO

Oh yeah.

Take that, snobby French relay-team!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

If this doesn't motivate the Belarusian Olympians, I don't know what will.

Of course, the British have a deal of their own. I think I'd like to be British....and an Olympic-caliber athlete.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ahhh, The Games

I'm sitting here, watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics when I should be in bed, but I can't tear myself away. I know that it will just be more of the same-- groups of people wearing marginally interesting costumes with commentary by the everlastingly annoying Bob Costas. (Come on, dude. The Americans were not wearing berets. Those were jaunty little flat caps.)

I have been a big fan of the Olympics for as long as I can remember. And not just a big fan... a slightly obsessive big fan. When I was ten I named one of my Barbies "Lisa Schwong" after Li Xiaoshuang, all-around men's gymnastics gold medalist in the 1996 Olympics. During the 2000 games in Sydney, I kept track of every medal won by every country, noted times for races and scores for gymnasts. I clipped newspaper stories about my favorite athletes (which I still have in a box under my bed.) I could never decide who I adored more:"The Thorpedo" Ian Thorpe or Pieter van den Hoogenband.

In 2004 I watched the Olympics almost every waking hour (ahhh, the advantages of being jobless and homeschooled.) I had the schedule almost memorized and I refused to miss certain events.

I intend to savor every moment of the games this year, although my life may get in the way of those plans. I can't exactly justify skipping work for watch TV, whatever the program.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Just what I always wanted!

My brothers are off gallivanting again. This time they are on vacation in Michigan with our grandparents and cousins Kate and Matt. My father was also in Michigan yesterday on business, leaving us girls to our own devices.

Before bed, my mother helped me put in pin curls. I wanted curly hair so badly when I was little-- we tried hot rollers, foam rollers, braids, and pin curls. Somehow, within minutes my hair would always be flat and painfully straight. At some point, I gave up and stopped trying to make my hair curl, but last night I thought that it was worth another try. My mother gooped my hair up and started pinning. I wrapped my head in a scarf to sleep, wishing oh-so-badly that I had an honest to goodness night cap (with blue ribbons....and a matching night gown.....)

When I took out the curlers this morning, my hair was enormous. It would have been fun to leave it like that, but since I had to work, I figured it might be wise to tame it a little and stuck it back in a clip.

Somehow, miraculously and unexpectedly, the curls stayed all day. When I got off work, it was still curly. After going shopping and trying on several shirts--still curly. After brushing it and putting in a pony tail tonight-- still curly. So what if as soon as it gets wet I'll be stuck with stick straight hair again? Now I know that something works.

Putting in the curlers last night got me started on one of my favorite hair-rants: '40s hair. I want to be able to wear '40s hair styles. As far as I can tell, the styles were universally flattering and incredibly feminine. Will someone please bring those back?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Kitty Issues

My poor girl cat has been acting strangely for the last few days. Sure, she's been sneezing and vomiting, but that's really not all that odd. Things happen, right? The odd part is that she has been very, VERY social and friendly. When I sit down, within minutes she is either in my lap or curled up against me purring. When she goes outside, she stays in the yard and either sleeps or calls for me to join her.

You would have to know my cat to realize just how strange this behavior is. Callie has a definite independent streak and has never been super friendly. In the last few years she has often been downright hostile to almost everyone (though she always finds one person in the family to be nice to.) You don't pet her unless she specifically demands it. To do so is to risk life and limb.

I took her to the vet yesterday, which naturally made her extremely happy. As though the cat carrier and the car ride weren't enough, the vet had the audacity to draw blood from Callie (wait, isn't it supposed to be the other way around?) and do other intrusive and uncomfortable things to her. On the way home, Callie yelled incessantly. The vet didn't know what was wrong with her, but she did some blood tests for "old cat ailments" and said she would call me with the results. I got a message on my phone while I was at work, asking if I would please call them back to "discuss" the results of the tests. I'm not sure what discussion entails, or whether the need for discussion implies. Call me heartless, but if my cat has some serious health problem, I am not going to go broke treating her. She is an animal, after all-- an animal that would probably finish me off and eat me if I were seriously ill.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Feelin' Domesticated

How weird is this? This will be the second cooking/baking post in a row, from a girl who doesn't do much of either.

The plentiful harvest continues. We have oversized zucchini coming out of our ears, necessitating yummy baked goods. This afternoon I made two lovely loaves of zucchini bread--one with raisins added for my mother and one with mini-chocolate chips for myself. Vegetables mixed with obscene amounts of sugar and chocolate...brilliant!

My mother and I cooked a semi-gourmet dinner (her half was fairly gourmet-mine was more "novice gourmet"). She made her first foray into the risky culinary world of risottos. The result was an incredibly rich four-cheese concoction. My contribution was a platter of thin, crispy, zucchini fritters (courtesy of the Pioneer Woman blog.) My mother has photographic proof of this over on her blog.

The very best part of all of this was that I got to wear my beautiful french apron, which just happened to coordinate perfectly with my clothing. Hey, cool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baking 101: Not all dry ingredients are "dry ingredients"

I mixed up some zucchini-cookie dough yesterday (delicious recipe posted on my mother's blog) and I discovered just how little I actually know about baking. I thought I was pretty good. I can make chocolate chip cookies in my sleep and have even been daring enough to play with the consistency of the dough. My cookies have always turned out well.

Unfortunately, the zucchini cookie recipe had NO instructions; there was only a list of ingredients and an oven temperature. I asked my mother what to do, and she told me to sift together the dry ingredients. So I added the flour and sugar.... Apparently, sugar isn't dry. Sugar is wet, like butter and eggs (I don't understand it. Who makes up these rules?) My mother caught my mistake, but only after I had mixed 4 cups of sugar and a cup of flour. Upon figuring out that I had just messed up and potentially wasted a ton of sugar, I did the only reasonable thing: I burst into tears.

After bagging the disastrous sugar-flour mixture (apparently there is a use for it) I started again, this time asking my mother and grandmother about each step.

I ran out of time to bake the cookies yesterday, so the dough was set aside in the fridge until this evening. The actual baking part of the process was much more successful. No silly mistakes. No tears. Just dozens and dozens of really really yummy cookies.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Way to waste time

Tagged by my mother:

What was I doing ten years ago?

Ten years ago, our family had just moved from the Chicago suburbs (for the first time) to Columbus, Indiana. I was attending summer camp at Phantom Ranch in Wisconsin, where the activities included canoing, swimming, horsemanship, leather-work, hiking, rifle range, archery, and altar calls. I injured my knee racing my counselor to chapel after nailing lists of our sins on a cross (fun times) and I still have a nasty scar.

What are 5 things on my to-do list for tomorrow?

1) go to work and make money
2) help straighten the house
3) neaten my room
4) hang out with our visiting relatives
5) work on Latin

Snacks I enjoy:

cheese and crackers, pretzels and cream cheese, Goldfish, fruit

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I'm just going to copy and paste my mother's list, because mine is pretty much identical....
"Buy a condo on the beach in Florida and open it up to our friends and family
Buy a big lake house and open it up to our friends and family
Build a house in the country with a wonderful gourmet kitchen and room for everyone to come over
Rehab houses and sell them with no interest loans
Give lots to charity"
I would also put my brothers and cousins through whatever college they choose, buy a horse or two to go with that country place, and take an unstructured extended trip overseas

Places I have lived:
West Lafayette, Anderson, Columbus, and Fort Wayne, IN; New Berlin, WI; Vernon Hills, Island Lake, and Spring Grove, IL

Jobs I have had:
house-cleaner (for my grandparents)
Library Page/Shelver

Four people who I would like to know more about:

Goofy Brother #2

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Man, do I love technology

First, if you aren't already listening to the resurrected Issues Etc., you should be. Here it is. Go for it.

Second, I normally love listening to Glenn Beck, but I haven't had a chance to catch his program for a few weeks. Classes and my job saw to that. I signed up for the free e-newsletter to make up for it, and today I received this transcript. Scary, but oh-so-funny.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A political message I can get behind

McCain? Obama? __Insert Candidate of Your Choice__?

I'd really love one of these T-shirts.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I had no idea that reading a 67 page legal document could be so much fun. Better than Dostoevsky? Maybe not. More amusing? In this case, definitely. I had no idea that Justice Scalia was so sassy.

I have to admit, my little strict constructionist heart skipped a few beats when I read this gem:

"A constitutional guarantee subject to future

judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional

guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with

the scope they were understood to have when the people

adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes)

even future judges think that scope too broad."

554 U. S. 63 (2008)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What was I thinking?

At the moment, I have a rather large stack of books waiting to be read. I did some browsing at the library last week and picked out a few books that caught my eye. The first one is "London Rising" by Leo Hollis, which is about the impact of men like John Locke and Sir Christopher Wren on modern London. (Well, I think it looks interesting.....) I also grabbed a set of essays on the Gilded Age. I don't feel the need to plow through it like a novel, but some of the sections looked really interesting. My mother also just purchased "Albion's Seed", a book that I have been wanting to read for a few years, but have been too intimidated to try...1000+ pages of Anglo-American cultural history. Nothing like some nice light reading for those summer months, eh?

No, nothing like light reading. The first book on my list, and the one I am working on right now, is "Crime and Punishment." I don't know if "enjoyment" is the correct word for my experience so far, but it is nowhere near as painful as I had been led to believe. I figured that since I loved "The Brothers Karamazov" I might as well try this also.

After finishing these books, I will have temporarily lost the ability to read all but the fluffiest of fluffy chick-lit and will be reduced to sitting out in the sun shine giving my poor overtaxed mind a vacation. Another less impressive pile of library books will replace the current very ambitious pile and I will begin saving up mental energy for another intellectual binge.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Come on, People!

I did something for the first time today. Something I have been tempted to do many times but never actually gotten the guts to do.

I walked out of a class.

Granted, it was during a break in the middle of class, not while the professor was talking, but there was no way I could stand to sit in that class and listen for another hour.

Today's class was on "population ecology" which apparently translates to "population growth." The professor showed graph after graph of population statistics, all of them semi-apocalyptic and predicting the end of the world if people have the nerve to keep reproducing. This was annoying, to say the least. The professor insisted that, at a birthrate of 1 child per couple (let alone the replacement rate of 2.0), the population will continue to grow out of control because, "the old people aren't dying." Now, is it just me, or does the very phrase "replacement rate" imply that the population is merely being replaced? Not increased? Oh, and how about the fact that EVERYONE dies?

As my professor says, "Reality doesn't have to apply exactly directly." Come on. What do you think this is? Science?

That wasn't what made me walk out, though. After learning about explosive, uncontrollable, exponential population growth, he turned to population control. After showing vital stats for a few different countries, he started talking about the necessity of the birth rate falling to match the death rate or the death rate rising to meet the birth rate. Our choice (as explained by Mr. Science) is either that reproduction be stringently controlled or more people die (but he didn't let us in on the secret of HOW this is to be accomplished.) He then proceeded to tell us that it is much better that more humans never be born because otherwise they will have to suffer. When asked to clarify his position--if he was really saying babies should never be born--he sort of smiled, mumbled a little and said, "Yes, that's right."

After we were given a break (and grabbed our backpacks and ran away) I was able to watch my seminarian/philosopher friends go off on the idiocy we had just been subjected to.

Coincidentally, Laura Ingrahm on FoxNews talked about this very issue this evening. She had a proponent of "population stabilization" on to discuss it. He was also unable to explain exactly how this should be brought about. The main problem in, in his mind, seemed to be the growth in the American population. He used it as an example of overpopulation everywhere, which made some sense until he pointed to immigration as the driving factor behind US growth. Now hang on, but can growth via immigration really be factored into global population growth? Did those immigrants not exist before they crossed the border?

Monday, June 16, 2008

You Bet I Like Nature

I have a theory-- it seems that the disgustingness of an insect or spider is directly proportional to the beauty of the flower near which it is living. I noticed this again this evening while tending our roses. Every time I found myself admiring one of our plants, I would also find myself suddenly disgusted by some creepy-crawly that had made itself at home on said plant.

(And no, the dude in the picture there was not in the garden tonight. He is either long dead or still stranded on a very large island on the other side of the world where he passes his time eating large bugs and small children.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This is why I keep a First Aid kit in my car

Our family got a Y Membership last month, and my father and Andrew have been making very good use of it. Andrew has decided that he really enjoys working out on the equipment and would spend all of his time there if he was allowed. I just know that, before too long, my short, silly, scrawny baby brother is going to be tall and (as he puts it) "super buff." I'm scared and disturbed by the thought.

Today I finally made use of my membership. My mother, father, and Andrew met me over there after I got off of work and we went swimming. I hadn't been swimming in ages. I honestly can't remember the last time I was in a real pool. It showed. I tried to do a breaststroke and it looked (and felt) like I was drowning. I only ran into the wall once (...or twice), I whacked my hands on the lane markers hard enough to raise welts three times, I kicked someone twice, and there were a few moments when I thought that I was going to perish with toe-cramps. Did I mention that I don't swim often? My mother and I are planning to make swimming trips part of our "normal" routine, and I can only hope that, with practice, I won't be such a danger to myself and others!

Speaking of dangerous activities, I'm going miniature golfing with the other genealogy shelvers tomorrow afternoon. We did this last summer and had a great time together. It's a slightly different crowd this year and several of the really fun people are gone, but it should still be enjoyable. We're doing Steak'n'Shake for lunch afterwards. This, when I should be at home (A) making my father feel properly appreciated or (B) studying for the two biology tests I have on Tuesday (one class, two tests- go figure!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

This Girl's Brain Needs Some Exercise

For the first time in months, I actually feel like posting on my blog. It's amazing. Even more than feeling like writing something, I feel like having the discipline that comes with writing something every few days. It feels good to be in the habit of putting my thoughts into words (even when those thoughts are woefully uninteresting or just plain silly.) In the weeks since school finished, I feel like my brain is turning to mush and some stimulation is necessary.

Granted, I am taking a six-week biology class and lab at IPFW and that should be inciting some mental activity. Hah. Verbal jousting with my Catholic seminarian lab partners is about as close as I have gotten to real thought in that class. With 2 weeks left in the class, things should be getting more interesting. We'll be dissecting fetal pigs next week, which HAS to be more interesting than looking at dead amoebas under a weak microscope, cultivating jars of some guy's spit, or counting how many wrinkled kernels are on a 40 year-old ear of corn.

I have really enjoyed the chance to do some recreational reading. My last semester was quite book-heavy, so it has been nice to read whatever I want at whatever pace I want. I discovered Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series a few weeks ago and finished them each in a few hours. Good, but they certainly didn't last long enough. I also had my first experience with Henry James this week. I was stranded at work with nothing to read but, (one of the few perks of working at the library) I was able to run downstairs and pick something up. I read The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller, both of which were fairly enjoyable, though I found James' style rather aggravating at first.

I have also been making an effort to really enjoy the warm weather. I have a tendency to get grumpy when I'm too warm, but I keep reminding myself that I waited MONTHS for it to be warm, and I should enjoy it for the very few months that it lasts. And I really do love the feeling of being nice and warm. The sensation of the warm air after being in an air-conditioned building (and vice-versa!) is wonderful, cold water suddenly seems miraculous when you have been outside working in the garden, and I have discovered that I am unable to drive through town with my windows up...they all must be rolled down, and my music must be turned all the way up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Break Pictures

Here's a sample of my trip pictures. I had an AMAZING time, and honestly I still can't believe that the trip is over already.

The rest of my pictures can be found here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Maybe if I offer a reward....

...someone will help me find my erstwhile mind. It's been gone a few days now (ever since I stopped getting enough sleep), and some important functions are starting to fail. Coordination, memory and recall, and abstract thought are all declining.

My bags are packed and DoRena has helped me do a second-check for any forgotten essentials. My family is taking me straight to the airport after church, and the plane will be taking off at 4:00.

I've been so exhausted in the last few days that, for once, traveling doesn't sound like any fun. Usually I get the urge to go somewhere every time I see a plane flying overhead. For tonight, though, I'd rather stay curled up in bed for a while. (Not that I'm having any doubts concerning the trip or wishing that I wasn't going to Europe.... It's just the getting there that's the problem!)

I've been incredibly scatterbrained in the last few days (scatterbrained AND tired...hmm, I wonder if there's a connection!) I'm almost positive I've forgotten to pack something, but as I said, Bean helped me check already. I DID make a major slip yesterday, though. I had a 1,000 word literature midterm due Friday via email. I wrote the paper last weekend and since then it has been sitting on my computer waiting to be sent. Apparently, when I composed the email to send the paper to my professor, the email didn't send. It could have been a problem with my internet connection or my email program.... or (more likely) it could have been me being spacey and forgetting to hit "send." Either way, I realized this afternoon that the paper hadn't been sent. I emailed the professor (with the file attached!) and explained what had happened.... but who knows what he'll do about it.

On a happier, classier note, DoRena and I went to see the Philharmonic tonight, which was very lovely. Our friend Emily was playing with them, and she gave us her pair of complementary tickets. Surprise surprise, I spaced out for about half of the concert, but the part I did hear was quite nice.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The sky is falling!

First this:

Then this:

Then this.

Favre gone, naming rights to Wrigley up for grabs, and Bobby Knight being paid to talk.
The foundations of American sport are shaking! Honestly, I'm not a huge sports fan, but these three hit my midwestern self pretty hard

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Research for Fun

Since I'll be spending a few days there over Spring Break, I've been reading up on the history and culture of Prague. I know very little about it, but my parents gave me a nice travel guide for Christmas, and I picked up a stack of books at the library.

The best one is Prague Pictures by John Banville. It isn't so much a travel guide or a history book as it is the authors reflections on the city, his "handful of recollections, variations on a theme." The writing is beautiful and evocative, giving you a good feel for the atmosphere of the city itself. He throws in some historical tidbits to add depth and color, and gives tips on must-see places as it fits his narrative, but he mostly provides texture and feeling.

For practical purposes, I love my Eyewitness Travel Guide for Prague. I've been trying to figure out a plan for my free time in Prague...which areas of the city look the most interesting, which museums, etc.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marxism, Schmarxism

Yes, this is another Austen-related post, but I'm annoyed, so bear with me. It's also extraordinarily long, so unless you're as nuts about Jane as I am, you'll probably be lost pretty quickly.

I'm taking a class this semester focusing on 19th century British novels. Naturally, the first thing we read was a Jane Austen novel. Emma was what the professor picked as the most appropriate to our overall discussions, so for the last 3 weeks we've been working our way through the book. Wednesday brought us to the end of the book, Jane married Frank, Harriet married her farmer, Emma married Mr. Knightley, and there was much rejoicing.....

....or not. This is where my annoyance comes in. My professor (who admits to being a Marxist critic) finds the end of Emma, "depressing" and "creepy." He feels that, in marrying, Emma completely loses her identity and is "subsumed" by Mr. Knightley. She no longer has the ability to function on her own, her wonderful feminist autonomy is lost, and she becomes, "the good little wife." ('Cuz, you know being a good wife is such a horrifying fate.) On top of this, as he stated, this was a loveless marriage and contracted for purely economic reasons. Mr. Knightley marries Emma to enlarge his estates, and Emma marries Mr. Knightley to secure her place as the queen of the neighborhood.

Now, this morning as I was brooding on the disagreeable sensation of Marxist criticism being perpetrated on Jane Austen, another "proof" against this particular theory came to me. It's actually part of the text that the prof used to prove his own point, but I think it makes much more sense in terms of the way Jane Austen actually seems to have thought and wrote.

The Prof pointed out a line in which Hartfield (Emma's home) is described as, "inconsiderable, being but a sort of notch in the Donwell Abbey estate, to which all the rest of Highbury belonged." The prof took this as meaning that, in allying himself with the Woodhouse family, Mr. Knightley (the wicked wealthy white male....slightly paraphrased for the sake of aliteration....) is completing his "takeover" and enriching himself, while simultaneously overcoming the only person who ever argued with him-- Emma.

So, I'm a silly, slightly flightly, romantic chick, but I take this passage to mean something completely different. Emma, like Hartfield, is independent and not in a bad position. She is happy as a single girl and, believes that her situation, "cannot really change for the better." However, she is also deeply flawed and she has a penchant for messing things up. She needs Knightley's judgment and advice to keep her in check. Like Hartfield, she is not meant to exist on her own.

Donwell, on the other hand, is a great estate, encompassing the entirety of the neighborhood, excepting only Hartfield- the missing "notch." Likewise, Mr. Knightley seems to be doing just fine on his own. He has many friend, business to keep him occupied, and more money than ANYONE could know what to do with. Despite loving his home, however, he is constantly to be found at Hartfield visiting Mr. Woodhouse and Emma. Like Donwell, Mr. Knightley is incomplete. He is also not meant to be alone.

It is only with their marriage that Emma and Mr. Knightley are made whole, no longer missing any pieces or attempting to stand on their own. At the same time, the Hartfield and Donwell properties are rejoined, completing the property. There are so many directions in which this idea could be taken.... Personally, I think all of those potential directions make far more sense than the anachronistic Marxist reading we were given in class.

It should not come as a surprise that we disagree on this. Everytime I speak in this particular class, the professor disagrees with me. NOTHING I say seems to make any sense to him. I get the feeling that I've already exposed myself as a sexist, bourgeois, conservative, pro-marriage type. (Ooops, I think I said in class that being married was preferable to working as a governess. Bad, bad emancipated female.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

I had known for over a year that there were new Jane Austen adaptations in the works, had heard about them from acquaintances who were privileged enough to see them when they premiered in Britain, and I had even written down the US airing dates on a sheet of paper...somewhere. I checked the PBS Masterpiece website a month or so ago, just to make sure I knew exactly what was coming. With all of that anticipation and preparation, I still managed to miss the first two adaptations. Very annoying.

Last night, however, I remembered that "Mansfield Park" was going to be showing. Bean and I had to get some studying done....the sort that can't compete with Jane, so my mother set the TiVo to record it. Rather than doing the responsible thing and watching the State of the Union address tonight, we watched "Mansfield Park." (And drank chocolate tea, of all things.)

I was pleasantly surprised. MP is probably my least favorite of Jane Austen's novels, and I have always had a hard time warming to the main characters (especially Edmund) , but the movie allowed them to be charming and likable. The movie was a little too short and thus a little shallow. There was very little off Jane's original dialogue, which was definitely missed, and I am ambivalent about the casting of Fanny. The actress was a little too awkward and gawky, and the running around (hair wild!) bugged me a little. Someone in my literature class this afternoon had complained that, although the movie was good, Fanny Price was too "pretty." I have to disagree....she was far from being too pretty, either by Regency or modern standards.

Edmund was lovely. Something about the way he was played really charmed me, and I still can't figure out what it was.

Over all, I have to say that I approve. It was by no means a perfect adaptation, but I enjoyed watching it, and I felt like I got a good dose of Austen

Next Sunday evening will bring "Miss Austen Regrets" with the lovely Olivia Williams (who will always be Jane Fairfax to me, although no other casting from that particular version of "Emma" has stayed with me.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A New Way to Waste Time

I have already spent too much time this evening doing this, and I anticipate that it will become a splendid way to avoid doing homework.

From my mother's blog:

1. The first article title on this page is the name of your band.
2. The last four words of the last quotation on this page is the title of your album.
3. The third picture on this page, no matter what it is, will be your cover artwork.
4. Take the artwork, your titles, and use a photo-editing program to paste them together.

Here are some of my albums, although I can't imagine what some of them would sound like.

Better Yet.....

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I finally gave up. My long hair has been causing problems for quite a while and this week I decided to get rid of it. So, today I got a REAL haircut for the first time in 6 years. The stylist, Megan, took over 15 inches off, and now my hair is bouncing and swinging around my shoulders. I think it's pretty darn cute.

I didn't let any of my extended family (uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents) know that I was doing this, and I am anxious to see what they think. I could very easily imagine certain cousins not being very happy with me.
Now, the real question is whether of not anyone will recognize me without the looooong hair. We'll find out tonight at church, and also later at the Sabre ofBoldness ceremony.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

3 Hours Left...

There are only three hours left before the next semester officially begins. Roomie-Bean and I have been throwing a weekend-long pre-class shebang. We bought lots of chocolate, Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper, ice cream, Twizzlers (inspired by Project Runway), and Bean made chocolate chip cookies. We've watched a movie each night (Carrie on Friday night, and the only scary part was the hair.) Our friend Audrey was here Friday and Saturday night, and last night we had "menfolk"
over to share our junk food and play Cranium.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Don't fall over, faint, swoon, gasp in surprise/horror or anything else. Yes, I am posting something.

I've made a discovery that has horrifying implications. The discovery is this: I only blog when my bedroom in clean. What this says about the state of my room most days, I don't even want to consider. To tell the truth, I probably haven't seen my floor since I posted last. Right now, however, it is lovely and organized, thus I am blogging. One thing that became clear as I straightened, organized, and dusted, is that I need another bookshelf. There are books stacked four feet high against one bookshelf, and the other has books stacked two deep one some of the shelves. This seems like a very good problem to have!