Wednesday, October 29, 2008

delicious drama

i'm so excited to be almost done with travel and back in lovely gettysburg! and also quite exciting, coming up next week the owl and nightingale players present west side story at the majestic theatre in downtown gettysburg.

my personal favorite performance at the majestic was, of course, my own. not that i'm biased. but seriously, it was so much fun to collaborate with all of the gettysburg choirs to sing for the reopening of the majestic. if you haven't checked it out, walk into town and ask for a free tour (they actually give them). it makes you feel like you should be wearing elbow-length gloves and a long, slinky red cocktail gown.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

america: time to grow

despite stresses this week which are inevitable while traveling, i had a fantastic day on sunday. first, i arrived saturday evening at the hilton garden inn in williamsburg and unwound for the evening, sinking into blissful sleep. i slept in on sunday until 8:30am (beautiful) and then went and had a free breakfast (compliments of my hilton honors (TM) gold membership), consisting of orange juice, coffee, eggs, bacon, made-to-order french toast with powdered sugar, and strawberries and canteloupe. plus the waitresses were all super-nice; i think everyone is in virginia, but especially in williamsburg, perhaps because of the tourism, they seem to take special care to call you "honey" and ask how your day is.

after showering, of which i will not go into detail, i dressed and drove to the williamsburg visitor's center, parked, and walked across the bridge towards the historic area.

williamsburg is so neat. it's cheesy and obviously only fractionally accurate to eighteenth century life, but still so much fun. you can try on bonnets in the millinery, and tour the house of burgesses, maybe sitting in on a court case, and watch parades of fife and drum corps march down duke of gloucester street. but i say 'fractionally' not because historians haven't done their homework; indeed it's one of the most thoughtfully recreated historic towns that i've heard of--but because it's impossible to recreate the spirit of an era in its entirety because your interpretation is always filtered by the spirit of your own era and experiences.

at the same time, we can learn so much from history by viewing it from a modern lens...what it means for a tourist from 2008 to listen to a black slave talk about his daily life and show you the fields where he labors, and the shack in which he sleeps. or to sit down with a housewife outside her home and chat about the new popularity of coffee and the scarcity of pins. or to hear sounds of gunfire, then hasten over to the magazine to watch militiamen defend their supplies from quartered british soldiers. duh it's all acting. but it makes you think about where we've come from and what's changed today--and what hasn't.

i read today about the white supremacists (incidentally extremely unattractive) who "fighting for what this country stands for" were aborted in their plot to assassinate barack obama and several african-american school children. it reminded me of the plaque cemented to the pavement of that walkway leading from the visitor's center into historic williamsburg. if you stand with your back to the historic area, you read the following:
"democracy: a work in progress"

well, time to progress, america--ghandi was right: be the change that you want to see in the world.

Friday, October 24, 2008

get in touch with your inner eighteenth century

i am totally psyched to go to colonial williamsburg this weekend! i plan on stopping on my way to virginia beach for my last week of fall travel.

here are some of the highlights to experience in colonial williamsburg:
-beautiful fall leaves and eighteenth century autumn decorations on houses
-men in knee breeches and frock coats
-virginia's new government to debate the need for a national bill of rights
-fresh, soft gingerbread! mmm
-the local apothecary, blacksmith, and my favorite of course, the millinery

i don't know why i love colonial williamsburg so much. it's not merely that this blog is named after my senior thesis, which focuses on jane austen and eighteenth century concepts of marriage and social harmony.

i think it's that it was the time for an expansion of thought in every direction-politics, social contract, education, economy, gender relations, race, equality. not that everything was equal and liberal in the 1700s. but it was the age of women's first extensive foray into the trade world, of landed gentry and poor man alike calling the need for representation in government, and of john adams vehemently declaring that the clause condemning slavery in the original declaration of independence must not be striken from it--but alas it was. so was the eighteenth century not perfect.

but still a foundation for thought.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

technology has turned against me!

can't use email. 155 messages await their delivery patiently in my outbox. i guess they'll be waiting a bit longer. bed now, and contemplation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


i feel oddly lighthearted about tuesday. normally tuesday is vaguely disappointing because it's hardly anywhere near friday, but this week, despite feeling indisposed from a cold and sore throat, and improper outerwear for this sudden chill in fairfax, virginia, i find myself smiling up at the rich blue sky and feeling giddy with memories of happy childhood autumns, of pumpkin carving and jumping in huge piles of raked up leaves. can't we rake some leaves up outside the admissions office and jump in them? i would pay good money to see darryl do that, actually.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

in love with trees

ah, autumn. always so lovely. the trees are beginning to turn in gettysburg and this afternoon i took a walk on the battlefield. the air is still warmer here than where i've been traveling (such as minneapolis, chicago and milwaukee), and now the leaves are flooded with orange, red and yellow, while the sky is that rich azure that you only seem to see in october: my recipe, as i have said earlier, for a perfect fall day.

i wonder about the trees.
why do we wish to bear
forever the noise of these
more than another noise
so close to our dwelling place?
we suffer them by the day
till we lose all measure of pace,
and fixity in our joys,
and acquire a listening air.
they are that that talks of going
but never gets away;
and that talks no less for knowing,
as it grows wiser and older,
that now it means to stay.
my feet tug at the floor
and my head sways to my shoulder
sometimes when i watch trees sway,
from the window or the door.
i shall set forth for somewhere,
i shall make the reckless choice
some day when they are in voice
and tossing so as to scare
the white clouds over them on.
i shall have less to say,
but i shall be gone.
(robert lee frost)

Friday, October 10, 2008


good news: saw recently that the small human growing my coworker's tummy is doing splendidly. there were some funky ultrasound photos before so we were a little apprehensive, but now everything looks great!

this makes me feel like life is cool again, since my week has been kind of crazy and stressful and i seem to be having issues communicating clearly with others with the result that many people (aka, high school counselors, students, etc.) are getting frustrated. i don't know what it is--it's like the stars are aligned against proper communication. these are the times when my instincts tell me to go back to bed and not leave it until the winds change. but i must keep traveling.

at least i get to go home tomorrow *knocks on wood* for at least a week, and be in my own bed and drink from my own coffee cups. isn't it silly to miss your coffee cups? but i do.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

through a glass darkly

oh dear i love my life. i am so foolish when i worry about things that are truly inconsequential, when there is so much happiness before me.

i met a homeless man tonight and gave him my leftover dinner, and then felt horrible because it was not even remotely charitable of me since i wouldn't have been able to finish it anyway, but he was so thankful for it. it made me ashamed of my own blindness.

it's so easy to live in a bubble and get caught up in your own cares, but you just don't realize how much you really have.

for now, we see through a glass darkly; but then, face to face...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

traffic and poetry

such a was cold (but warm, according to those who live here) and drizzling, and i saw five schools, had only a couple students come to my visits, but they were overall good visits, aside from the craziness of chicago construction and the weather. but i feel bad for construction workers, as they do very necessary work, without which we'd complain even more bitterly, and so it's quite unfair to get frustrated when there's traffic, when they're only maintaining safety.

i tried to imagine chicago as a sunny place, which is decidedly difficult to do in october, but i did my best. i am sure that, somewhere in the stretches of this mob city, there are lovely autumn days of golden sunlight and vivid splashes of color in the trees, with a rich blue sky overhead. i just haven't chanced on any yet.

the little cares that fretted me
i lost them yesterday
among the fields, above the sea,
among the winds at play,
among the lowing of the herds,
the rustling of the trees,
among the singing of the birds,
the humming of the bees.

the foolish fears of what might happen,
i cast them all away,
among the clover-scented grass,
among the new-mown hay,
among the husking of the corn,
where drowsy poppies nod,
where ill thoughts die and good are born--
out in the fields with God.

Friday, October 3, 2008

on a sadder note

i just found out that the mother of a good friend has extensive lung cancer, of the kind which we can't hope for much good. what do you say to that?

nothing, because every kind of consolation is impossible when you're twenty-three and you know that you're about to lose your mother.

another award-winning moment

i accidentally got into somebody else's car today, thinking that it was my own. to be fair, it was unlocked so it's not my fault if it looked similar to my rental.

that is all.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


today, during my rep visit to the whitfield school, i was struck by a beautiful painting done by a student.

i had come a little early so i had to wait in the front hallway for someone from the college center to come and greet me. as i waited, i noticed the piece hung on the right wall near the front entrance, so i wandered over to observe more closely. once i started to look, i couldn't seem to stop.

when you first perceive a piece of art, your initial reaction is never intellectual, it's emotional. or at least, it's my opinion that if the art truly came from the soul, then that's what you see when you regard it. but it is always so, i think.

this was the sort of painting that you fall into. the brushstrokes are wide and curving outward, the body of the painting a range of deep midnight blue to aquamarine, as if the whole canvas encompasses the world and all of existence-and so this one did, actually.

it was a painting of all the major world religions, in harmony with each other. unfolded upon this blue-mother-sea canvas were six petals, like the peals of an orange, with a depiction of a mosque or temple or church, each in its own holy shrine. the holy places were all connected by a thick stretch of blue beneath them, and by intricate lines that wound around the painting and in between. the tips of each petal blurred alternately from white into yellow, orange and brown, or from white into blue and black: the spectrum of day and night. the whole seemed to express the sacred unity of purpose underlying all faiths, but the experience of beholding it i really only describe feebly. next to the painting the student had written a description and interpretation of her belief that every faith is essentially the same. i couldn't believe that a high school student had done this.

i had to tear my eyes away from looking, because at some point i felt that even though i were legitimately supposed to be entertaining myself, i had somehow sunken into a reverie that would have made it extremely difficult to suddenly spring back into my extroverted side as soon as my guidance counselor walked around the corner.

but i thought about that painting all day today, and about the relative idealism of a teenager; would she practice that wide-spreading love that we feel so freely when we're younger, before we're tested by all of the hypocrisy and cynicism of the world? how will we practice the values that we claim to believe?
i saw eternity the other night
like a great ring of pure and endless light,
all calm, as it was bright,
and round beneath it, time is hours, days, years
driven by the spheres
like a vast shadow mov'd, in which the world
and all her train were hurl'd...

it's not just for the classroom!