Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Week Ahead

This is going to be what I refer to as a hell week.
This Wednesday to the next is the last week of classes.  I have a hum paper, a bio midterm, a Microbes In The News project, a French final, reading, and then studying for the humanities and bio finals.
I won't be around much, and I'm sorry...

A Typical Tuesday Night

Reed evenings are occasionally hard to come to terms with.  After a while, it's hard to really believe that this is how I spend my Tuesday evenings.  Coming out of bio lab at around four-thirty with the lovely Tamara, browsing through my books (which apparently someone in high school underlined), and then going to dinner were fairly usual for me - but still.  I loved coming back to my room and sitting down with Earl Grey (yes, I'm a tea drinker, yes, I know, in the Pacific Northwest that's practically sacrilege) and the Oresteia to write a paper on Cassandra.
The paper didn't happen (or didn't get finished, anyways), but singing Abba with my friends did.  Talking to the lovely Alexandra did.  Starting a tumblr did.  Sitting in my room and talking about Thucydides, folding laundry, remembering the difference between conjugation and declension (conjugation is for verbs, declension is for nouns), trying to explain to my boyfriend how going to South Africa when I was thirteen made me feel - all those things happened.  And as for my French and my microbes project - I've got time tomorrow.  That's what waking up early is for.
I'm off to bed, lovely readers, but I'll see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Me In the Future...

Remember evenings like this one.  Remember long nights of writing essays about Cassandra, long bio labs in which you make root beer and talk about antibiotic resistance, long cups of tea and walks in the cold across the blue bridge to Commons and back.  Remember the forty minutes in between bio lecture and French conversation talking to your friends about the Silmarillion and Supernatural and Canadian tar sands in the Vollum corridor.  Remember lunchtime crosswords and Shostakovich and mild but exhilarating exhaustion.  Remember those, because this is why you came to this school.  To think, and be challenged, and have your mind work in new and interesting ways.
God, I love this school.
(photo from here)

Writers And Their Books

Everyone should go read this article and marvel at their books.
In other news, I would really like Claire Messud's house and piano.
In further news, I had no idea how many famous (or semi-known) authors lived in Cambridge!

Monday, November 28, 2011

School Again

Wow, that four-day weekend flew by!  In between cooking for my friends and Thucydides and buying yarn and knitting, I barely got anything done.
Being away from home for Thanksgiving was hard, harder than I expected.  I called home that day, and talked to everyone getting ready, and just missed home.  I imagined everyone in the kitchen with the woodstove lit, moving around each other and just being together.  That's generally the hardest part of college for me, being away from my family.
In other news, the Christmas season is coming up, so come December first, I'll post a gift guide and Christmas-ey things.  Be warned, however - exams come first, so the beginning of December might be a little light on posting.
Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am ever so thankful...

... but for little things this year.  I am thankful for the rain on my roof, and the potted plants in my bedroom.  I am thankful for Sunday crossword Skype dates with my family, and lunches with Dave, and Tuesday afternoons with Willamae.  I am thankful for breakfast every morning with Emily, and the upright Steinway in the music building where I can sit for hours and play Chopin.
Mostly, though, I am thankful for my family and my friends.
You guys are incredible.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Holiday

Are you excited for Thanksgiving?  I am, a little.  It's the first year that I'm not spending it with my family.  I'll miss the dinner at Anna's house, the butternut squash kibbe that Caleb makes and playing "Winter in America" with my father.  I love my home Thanksgiving, but in no way is it feasible for me to go home to Cambridge from the other side of the country when my vacation starts on Thanksgiving Day.
I thought about going to my uncle's in Seattle, but then my friends started talking about going camping or up to the ski cabin.  It would be nice, I thought to spend Thanksgiving with the people I live with, to give thanks for each other and our lives and think about how very lucky we are to be here, at Reed, learning and living and being happy.  At least, I'm happy.
Given the current weather (rain, more rain) perhaps camping isn't the best idea, but the ski cabin is still definitely a possibility and even if we can't get there, Thanksgiving in the Nog or Chittick would be lovely.
I'm glad to spend Thanksgiving with my friends - I just am worried about missing my family.  Family, I love you, and it will be so empty having the holiday without you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rain on the Roof

Today, at almost seven in the morning in Portland, it is raining.  This isn't new - we've talked about the rain before, and I knew coming here that it was going to rain almost all the time after fall break.  But my ceiling is quite thin (I think it's literally just the bottom of the roof) so there is lovely rain all the time.  When there isn't, the rainy mood website will substitute.
I love the sound of rain.  I love the way it almost sounds like music, crescendoing and then falling back into a diminuendo depending on how much there is.  I love the bruise-coloured sky outside my window (not quite that electric gorgeous wintertime blue of Boston, but greyer somehow, darker).  The cold and wet... I don't quite love it, I must admit, but I do appreciate it, if that makes sense.
I prefer to wake up early and do my work rather than to do it at night and sleep in, so this has been a lovely morning so far, cocooned in my lovely light-filled room, wrapped up in the soft and furry robe I stole from my brother ages ago, transparent curtains guarding against the outside world.
Have a lovely Monday, everyone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Invest In An Umbrella

Today in Portland it is grey, and cold.  The big oak trees outside Bragdon are rust-coloured and losing all their leaves, and it has been drizzling on and off all day today.
I am okay with this.  It is bleak and gorgeous here - staying inside weather, yes, but I can sit in my lovely room (how I love my room!) with tea and Antigone and find myself staring out at the rusty leaves and the grey afternoon sky.  Sometimes I don't want to leave my dorm to go to capoeira or dinner or to visit my boyfriend (all of about 100 yards away) but stat feeling of standing in the wet grass with the drizzle and the hints of wind... it's beautiful.
Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Cappella and Other Concerns

Yesterday in practice we had a lot of trouble.  It's always very frustrating when rehearsal doesn't turn out as well as you'd like it to - when you're trying but just doing it wrong, when no one is blending properly, when the song just doesn't sound right.
On the other hand, I love the feeling when that frustration and that hard work and that exhaustion comes together, when suddenly the sound meshes and you sound beautiful.  I love that feeling in music, and in essays, and in maths problems when you've been working for ages and then you just understand.
So the frustration is worth it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Armistice

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Great War ended.  Almost everyone I know knows that story - how the fighting stopped.  What's focused on next at my school, at least, is Woodrow Wilson and his Fourteen Points, but I had a teacher in seventh grade who insisted that Veterans Day was in fact Armistice Day for the rest of the world.  She explained to me that Armistice Day, the eleventh of November, wasn't a day to have off school but rather a day to remember the war dead.
This is by far a bigger thing in Britain and Europe.  This is a day when one remembers that an awful lot of people were lost in those trenches, people with families and lives, and people are still lost in war.
Happy Armistice Day, everyone.
Poppy from here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Hi guys -
It is one of those weeks for me!  French test, two biology labs, a paper for humanities...
Luckily, I have fun things going on, too.  Tonight my darling boy and I are going to a concert in downtown Portland to hear Jonathan Coulton and They Might Be Giants.  I don't know either of them that well, so I'm super-excited - and it's also nice to just get off campus and do things sometimes, no?
Have a lovely Thursday!
(I just think this is really pretty.  From here)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Getting Sick

Hi guys,
Sorry I wasn't around yesterday.  An attack of something and a grueling biology lab set me back a little, I have to admit.  I'm not entirely better yet, so I'm wondering: what do you do when you're sick?  Do you sleep it off?  Do you persevere?  Do you crawl into bed and watch silly movies?  Let me know!

Monday, November 7, 2011

All honour and glory

The Doyle Owl is an integral part of Reed culture (you can read about it here).  Before Saturday night it had last been seen two years ago, but it appeared once again on the fifth of November, and an Owl Fight ensued.  A campus of approximately 1200 people all going after an owl, trying at first to just touch it, then trying to steal it (timé, or honour, goes to the group who possesses the owl) is hectic and scary and represents the best and worst of Reed.
My dorm, Chittick, now possesses the owl.  Others will tell you that it belongs to an alliance of off-campus houses and the frisbee team, but I will see it as a Chittick victory.  Every so often I think about it - we are a small dorm, and we have the owl - and I smile, ridiculous stupid smiles plastered all over my face.
On the other hand, people got hurt.  Seriously hurt.  I wasn't involved in the acquisition of the owl, but I have friends with cuts and bruises and concussions.  People get hurt in this situation, but they shouldn't have, to the extent they did.
So, while we have the owl (and timé), real timé is when you don't hurt your friends.  Real timé is reserved for the people who pulled me out of the massive throng when I fell down and screamed, the people who kept me from being trampled, and the people who sat off to the side with band-aids and water.  
I am glad that I have seen and experienced the owl.  I'm just not sure that I'm ready to again anytime soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beautiful Thursdays

I should really be writing my final paper on "L'Étranger" for French, but that is interrupted because of the mist rising off of Reed Lake in the canyon.
I was told (or thought) that fall here would be miserable.  I like the rain - I love the rain - but the thought of no beautiful New England autumn full of bright blue skies and trees so red that you want to cry seemed awful.  I was picturing basically no colour change, no blue sky days, just the drop from perfect late summer to a brown and grey semi-winter (semi because there is no snow) in between biology tests and walking to class and lunch in Commons with my boyfriend.
That isn't true.
In the North Parking Lot sapling trees are redder than anything and in the canyon there are perfect maple branches leaning out over the water, and in the morning, when Emily and I walk to breakfast together, the mist curls off the lake and makes everything just a bit more otherworldly, just a bit more incredible.  And yes, it rains and mists and there are few bluer-than-blue days but almost every day we get a little sun and the clouds part and it's ever so beautiful.
It's beautiful in the rain, too, and sitting in my bedroom I can see the grey descending into the campus and hear the drops above my desk and try to concentrate a little more on my French.
The sun just came out, and now I can see across the canyon and the light shining green-golden through the trees.
Have an incredible day, everyone.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Fault In Our Stars

I am a card-carrying nerdfighter (that's not true - I don't have a card) after an ex introduced me to their videos and I was hooked.  Dave is also a nerdfighter, which is nice, but I'm not going to talk about relationships or videos.
One of the brothers behind the videos is John Green, the author.  And he posted a video a little while ago of himself, reading the first chapter of his next book, "The Fault In Our Stars."  Go listen to it.  It's beautiful.
Also, happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Something That Makes Me Smile

My twin-friend's letters on the wall.
I miss you, Alexandra!
(Also included are a Nantucket Nectars bottle cap, a fortune-cookie fortune, and a Paris Métro ticket)

Happy November and Mumford & Sons

Happy November, everyone!
This is one of my favourite months (up there with October) as it's properly fall now (except on the poor East Coast, where it's now winter) and all other sorts of things.  Like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  Are you participating?  In thirty days, you write a 50000 word novel - I'm trying it for the first time this year - and my "winning" or completing my novel is entirely contingent on how much work I have.  Speaking of, I have a bio midterm in less than three hours...
In other news!   Do you know the group Mumford & Sons?  My darling cousin Bryan, who also likes the Punch Brothers (whom we've discussed here and here) recommended their music to me - as I recall, "like the Punch Brothers but English and without the mandolin."  Perhaps not exactly like that, but still super good - I highly recommend checking them out!

(frosty leaves, for those of you in snowy climes.  From here)