Friday, August 28, 2009

When in doubt, Drink Orange Juice

This is a picture from Katie and Mikey's regatta two years ago. It's a favorite picture of mine AND it's a good one of Heidi behaving (i.e. sitting down when told).

Faithful Heidi has been following me around the house. I wish she could come to Kappa and live with me. I'm going to miss her so much, even her incessant barking when she's trying to protect the house from people walking their own dogs and delivery men who walk up the steps to our house.

So it's after two in the afternoon. The kids should be getting home from school soon but I have yet to eat lunch yet. Why? Not hungry enough to make anything. Some may call that lazy, I call it Orange Juice Time! I'm munching on almonds too, so that should give me even more nutrients.

Today I decided to put on my swimsuit and get some sun. It was nice for a while, but then it got boring because it was too bright to read and I'd rather keep myself busy than sit/ lay around. I still got enough to notice a darkening of my Irish complexion, so I'm satisfied. Life's too short to sun-bathe.

Finishing packing. I've decided this is one of the worst processes ever. Packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking. I've almost finished books before I'm going to move onto details, like chargers and headbands and other things you don't think about until they're not at your disposal. Half my clothes are packed up. I'm glad most of my winter stuff is still at school in storage. It's nice not having to think about where to find my hat and mittens this time of year.

I've re-discovered Irish writer Jim Tully, who wrote during the 20s and 30s. Mencken was actually a fan and friend, as I recently found out. He's quite good and has a very strong poetic voice which rings gruff and true. I read too many books at one time, but still I devour them. 

The question of the day is what is your favorite book and why? Mine, for instance, would be 'Vile Bodies' by Evelyn Waugh for his biting satire on the upper-middle class in England before the war, with some of the best dialogue and characters. A close second or tie would be 'The Loved One,' also by Evelyn Waugh, which is a satire on America, religion and love. Again, the dialogue is hilarious and very dry. The best Waugh is 'Brideshead Revisited,' but you've got to read the book before you see the movie--actually, don't see the Focus Films movie at all, it is simply dreadful and completely misses the point of the book as well as misinterprets it. If you're going to watch a good version of Brideshead, I would recommend the BBC version with Jeremy Irons, but be warned that it is very long. Any and all book suggestions welcome as well!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Two"-day is brought to you by the number 2!

Two is the number of days I have left in Cincinnati, the number of bags I need to pack for school, the inches I got cut off my hair, how many cupcakes I ate when my cousin Sarah brought over to the house this afternoon and my newest blisters (one on each heel).

My brother is telling me about the muscles he's building in football and giving me a physical demonstration of leg-ups. He wants me to see a game, but I don't know if I'll be home until Thanksgiving. I'd love to see him play, though. He'll be 12 the next time I see him and a lean, mean football-playing machine! (opposed to playing "futbol" :) the usual Robison sport of choice)

I had dinner tonight at my Uncle Mark and Aunt Tracey's with my cousin Sarah. It was superb. Mark and Tracey live about a half hour away on this plot of land with their animals and in a house modeled after one of the founding fathers in Virginia's house. It's a beautiful house filled with beautiful art work, but it's only the two of them (both their kids are grown up). I have not seen them since Christmas, easily. My aunt is really sick, so I wanted to see her before I left.

I went on a long run yesterday so I took it a little easier today, but I think I need a back massage or something for my lower back. I also should be stretching my hamstrings better, but that's neither here nor there. 

I leave for school on Saturday. I'm off to pack now. Sarah's going to come over later and we'll do something, but for now I am drinking Irish whiskey mixed with orange juice. It's a bad combination, by the way, but I didn't think I should be around the little kids drinking whiskey straight on the rocks and we hardly keep any pop in the house. I probably should have looked around the bar area better but didn't. Now Mom and Muffy are eating drumstick ice cream and Heidi is barking and playing with her bone.

In closing, I think I won one of the snobs over. Last night, Finny let me play with him and today he curled up by my feet while I was reading. Cecily...not so much. He also climbed over me, which I felt was a trusting exercise. Cecily and I do not get along as well. She keeps her distance and I've learned to as well. The rule of thumb with the snobs in general is to let them come to you, which I supposes helps perpetuate their reputations as snobs. Dad just got home from work. Beau was sitting on Mom's car. He always waits for Dad to come home before coming inside for the evening.

Ahh, home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Padfoot, Playground and Pete

Today I am working at Dad's office. By the end of the day, three reviews mostly done will become three reviews all done. Quite excited as I'm very methodical and like having things done one-by-one in order.
I am also having lunch with my friend Erin K. (see right!) from high school. We met in 8th grade standing in line at Ursuline, waiting to get fitted for our uniform skirts. She was wearing a Power of the Pen shirt, which is a competitive writing program in Ohio for 7th & 8th graders. I was on the team at my grade school as well and had gone to state the year before (I made regionals in 8th grade)! So of course my mother pressured me into saying hi and making awkward conversation, which turned into great conversation and a great friend all during high school and beyond.
She's actually transferring to the California Institute of the Arts; she's been in the DAAP program at UC, which is also great, but not as great. It's where Brad Bird from Pixar went too, so she is stoked about that. It'll be terrific to see her and catch up before she's off to the West Coast!
Tomorrow I shall be doing playground duty with my mother at Cardinal Pacelli, my gradeschool. It's not a huge hassle since we live a block away from our church and the school is next to it, only up the hill. Playground duty is for a volunteer opportunity for two parents to help keep more eyes on the kids at recess. It goes in shifts, starting at 11:15 with the 7th & 8th graders. Each shift is 15 minutes long.
The first shift will be the best because I'll be able to catch up with my favorite teacher I've ever had, Mrs. Knight. She was my English and grammar teacher in 7th & 8th grade, and the one who really fostered my love of language, books and writing. It will be wonderful to catch up with her and any other teachers I happen to run into. I tell you, some people never leave!
I'll also get to see Johnny and Meg at recess and spend more time with Mom before going out to lunch with my grandmother. Once I am back at home, I shall help Mom work on my birthday present and I shall pack. Yes, my birthday was in March, but her present to me is a photo album of my first 21 years and she wants me to help her pick out the pictures (she has a lot, to say the least. If I died today, PBS could run a 6 hour special on me.) All in all, it should be a solid day!
Back to "The Protest Singer: An Initimate Portrait of Peter Seeger" by Alec Wilkinson.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summarization of my political views

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."
-Thomas Jefferson

The Ohio Republican party sent me a census to take so, I did, even though I feel like the possible answers to the questions were not sufficient and could be ill-used as a statistic. I got caught on the first question because they wanted to know what type of Republican I am. Now, I am registered as a Republican but I do not believe myself to be one (at least not the type of Republican which propagates itself today) so no, I am not a 'Conservative Republican,' a 'Moderate Republican,' a 'Liberal Republican' (what exactly is this? It seems like an oxymoron), or an 'Independent who votes Republican.' I was unsatisfied with the choices.

What I am politically bothers me because I above all consider myself a Conservative. What shade, though, is the tricky part. My friend Sean calls me a "damn libertarian" but while I share many of the same beliefs with them (my computer even sports a Libertarian Party sticker! compliments of CPAC 2007), I can't bring myself to wholly commit to the party. I do love Rothbard and von Mises, though.

I'll have more thoughts on this later. I'm still deciding my stance on things and I'm a smorgasbord of Conservative - Libertarian - Agrarian (I blame a pure love of Wendell Berry). The one thing I can say definitely: I believe in the United States Constitution as the supreme law of the land. I believe in the Bill of Rights, particularly the 10th amendment. States' rights is the only true way to have a democracy. I love the Federalist papers and my favorite presidents are Grover Cleveland and Calvin Coolidge.

Everything besides that is just details the government shouldn't be minding itself with. They need to pay attention to national security and taxes; the rest should depend on the efforts of the people to better their lives and their situations.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why my siblings are great and make my cloudy day better

My little brother John walked down to the square to get himself a sandwich from Subway and brought me back a chocolate chip cookie because I told him I didn't want anything. When he got back, he told me he didn't want me to be envious of his sandwich (I would not have been; I don't particularly like sandwiches) and "You need something to be happy about and cookies make everyone happy."

Isn't he the sweetest and best 11 going on 12 year old brother?!

Now Marianne is back from the library and she brought me back a movie, "Monsieur Vincent." She thought I would like it. I am excited to watch it! It was filmed in 1947.

John is giving me a history lesson. He is so brilliant. John's lesson of the day: if you want to conquer the world, don't mess with the Jews. Next time: John's thoughts on Noah and the flood. He's moved onto Saddam Hussein now--I can't keep up with this kid!

Cloudy, with a chance of meatballs

I am starting my new book to review. It is called "The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day" and is edited by Robert Ellsberg. It is very thick. This is the quote at the beginning, which I like:

"Today I thought of a title for my book, The Duty of Delight, as a sequel to The Long Loneliness. I was thinking how, as one gets older, we are tempted to sadness, knowing life as it is here on earth, the suffering, the Cross. And how we must overcome it daily, growing in love, and the joy which goes with loving." --Dorothy Day, February 24, 1961

Listening to the Aaron Copland station on Pandora; "Rodeo, Selections From The Ballet" is playing. Quite excellent, indeed!

Dad and Meg at work; Mom on errands; Katie visiting friends; Mike trying out for the Bomb Squad at St. X; Marianne rode her bike to the library to get books on Francis Bacon; John is telling me about how he "made the hit of the day!" in football; Heidi is larding/ defending the house with her bark every time she suspects someone is within 50 yards.

I am reading and reviewing, sending out e-mails for various school things I'm involved with, editing Forum articles that come my way and feeling slightly bummed that it's not sunny out, so I shan't be going to the swim club today. Hanging out with Jeff and Scott tonight. This is my last Saturday at home, how bizarre.

Rachel, this is for you

Home sweet home, roomie! 

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lessons with Heidi

First off, a thought for the day:

"We must understand then, that even though God doesn't always give us what we want, He always gives us what we need for our salvation." -- St. Augustine

Today I am a little sore. I've been getting back into my running schedule with my dog, which is different than a normal running schedule because I am not in complete control of the work-out. For example, if I was in control, I might fartlek from one fire hydrant to the stop sign, steady my pace for a duration, fartlek again, and so forth. Heidi, on the other hand, might see a squirrel and chase it, dragging me along. I don't mind overall, since it gives the run a little extra punch, but I should stretch better and more often.

A fartlek, for those unawares, means "speed play" in Swedish and is a training mechanism which I particularly enjoy because sometimes during a run, I'll get this burst of energy and sprint madly down the sidewalk, feeling the rush, ignoring nearly everything (that's not in my way; no bueno if I would trip) till my heart feels like it's going to burst from my chest and I slow down my pace, but my breathing is still sharp intakes of air for the next block and then I do it all again.

Having Heidi with me is the best part of the run; a companion who doesn't talk. I don't like running with people because 
A) they want to talk and I want to run (we can talk before or after the run, but not during)
B) I get really, really competitive. Or rather, I am really, really competitive. I start to speed up so that I am slightly ahead because I hate following; I always feel like I'm going to step on their shoes or something. Then they speed up. Then I speed up. And so on. You cannot imagine this ends well.

Therefore Heidi is the best running partner because A) she does not speak, B) I do not get super-competitive with her and C) she pushes me and makes me a better runner. She can easily outrun me. I'd like to say that it's because she has four legs and I have two, but it's more likely that she's in better shape than I am. My brother Mikey takes her on runs as well and they easily double our mileage together. She also sleeps all day when she's not barking at passer-byers or eating, so she's always well-rested for a run or two. 

Heidi and I have been spending a lot of time together, as I imagine you have gathered. She stays close by me while I'm working. I enjoy the company. It's comforting having someone there, always there, who will follow you when you go upstairs, eat when you eat. I do not believe Heidi to ever take the place of any of my human relationships, but we certainly hold a special one. She is, for one, extremely loyal, as well as forgiving of scoldings, understanding of silence, grateful for attention and returner of love and affection. 

I've always been blessed with an easy going manner that allows me to make friends easily and, moreover, keep them. My little sister once asked me how I kept track of my 500 best friends. I answered a rolodex, which was more funny to me than her. I certainly do not have that many, but I love coming home to friends from all over wanting to catch up and hang out. This summer changed all of that, mainly because I was, in fact, not home. Most of my friends went away this summer for internships or jobs or more schooling and I kept up with quite a few of them but the fact of the matter is that relationships change. 

It's not necessarily a bad thing, unless you are opposed to change. I had a friend like that; he was a year younger than us and I feel bad because we all had a simply marvelous summer before most of us left for college. That was the turning point in our relationship with him though--we left, he stayed behind. We were in two different phases of our lives. He didn't understand why we were doing what we did and if he had gotten his wish, we would probably continue hanging out for the rest of our lives, doing nothing productive but having a whole mess of fun.

You can imagine it was a hard transition for all of us. There are loyalties, of course, and strong feelings. There are also grating personalities when a person refuses to change and insists on everyone else being the same person we were when we were 18. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this summer, let alone after I finished my freshman year of college.

Perhaps that's the beauty of friendship--the ability to adapt and move on together. Sometimes friendships can't survive the changes, though, and just as the muscle has to tear and break a little bit in order to grow stronger, so does my heart, which I try to keep so protected and nonchalant. Friendship is a facet of love and thus, one gives a little part of one's self whenever you get close to someone. Therefore moving on isn't always easy, but I believe it's always necessary. 

These friends--people I've been close to since our high school days, knowing their parents and siblings, their favorite color and what they wanted to be when they eventually grew up. And what about those friends at college? The ones who "grew up" with you and became so entrenched in your life that you wonder how you ever thought clearly without their pearls of wisdom?

Well, as the Walrus said "The time has come,.../ to talk of many things:/ of shoes--and ships--and sealing wax--/ Of cabbages--and kings--/ Of why the sea is boiling hot--/ And whether pigs have wings." 

The time has come; I know that now. This isn't supposed to come off as if I am casting all my friends aside. Certainly not! but there is still that select few that I am acknowledge are gently drifting away from me, out of my reach, out of my world. My heart aches to bring them in closer and hold them tight to my chest but that's not how you keep friends. You keep friends by letting them go and if/ when they want, they will come back to you.

Relationships, like running, causes suffering to happen. Yet I don't plan on stopping either any time soon. Suffering is good for the heart and soul and even better for the body. Pain gives you a perspective on life that no amount of coddling could even produce. I'd prefer it in the short term, but in the long term--well, I'm basing this theory on my own smallish experiences, as well as hundreds of years worth of history and literature, most of which was so  I could never begin to fathom the amount of self-sacrifice that went into the choices people made.

So, for now, I'll give Heidi a rub behind the ears and she'll gently lick me to let me know she loves me too as I type this out, soon to move on to reviews and reading, writing letters and e-mails to distant friends, planning for the papers and listening to my sisters tell me about their days at school. I love it here but sometimes, I think about what I'd do if I could apparate (see Harry Potter if you don't know what that means); I'd find everyone I really love, who I really care about, and just let them know. I can't control how they'll react, but I would like knowing they knew and that I'd put myself out there just enough to matter.

On a really nerdy note, I got a twitter. My username is juliemrobison. I all ready have a few followers! Mostly friends. I've been blocking sketchy looking people who seem to be looking for a little something-something haha. The Onion is also following me!! I'm actually excited about that, even if it is so random.

Song of the day is "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" by Arcade Fire. I first heard this song at Nick T.'s surprise birthday party my freshman year. It was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed and awesome. Dan M. and Heidi S. did this sweet dance to it and I've loved it ever since. I love it's pulsating beat, smooth overtones and the whole band is having a darn good time rocking out while they perform. 

Today is the feast day of Pope Pius X. He was truly great servant leader, for the Church and the Christian faith.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." - Flannery O'Connor

The little kids started fifth and sixth grade today, Mike started senior year today, Muff is all ready a week into her freshman year, Kato is at the plant, Mom is at the hospital and Dad is at his office. Heidi is snoozing by my chair and I am working at the kitchen table, preparing to finally finish my review, listening to Coldplay, talking to friends on gchat, answering Catholic Society e-mails (I am social chair; the picnic is coming up on Sept. 5th) and other miscellaneous activities.

This morning, I went to morning mass at my parish. I've been meaning to go every day I've been home, but it happens so early I usually sleep instead and wait to go to St. Gertrude's at 11:30 instead. Dad and Heidi woke me up though, so I decided to put aside more sleep for time with the Lord, which I wish I did more often. Unfortunately, one un-motivator for me is that I've been on the opinion for some time now that my parish priest tells some of the worst homilies. I find he makes weak points, preferring to tell stories or crack jokes instead of  talking directly to the parishioners. Now while I am not alone in this opinion, I also know many people (including my mother) who find them satisfying and sufficient.

After freshman year of college, when I truly started to embrace my faith, I started going to daily mass and confession at St. Gertrude's, which is my grandparent's parish about 15-20 minutes away, opposed to walking the block to my childhood parish, Christ the King. Now, as a brief disclaimer, there is nothing wrong with my parish; I just prefer St. Gertrude's, especially as it is run by Dominicans, who are so on fire and such a blessing to the Church.

While I was living in Old Town over the summer, I went to mass at this was a great parish called St. Mary's a few blocks away from the apartment. Before I left school, my advisor told me that Alexandria, VA is one of the most orthodox diocese in the country and how vocations there are growing rapidly. I could definitely see why; it was a fantastic parish: eucharistic adoration, multiple daily masses, community outreach, et al. 

They got a new priest one weekend, and I got to hear his first homily to the parish. He was an Italian from New Jersey and young (late 30s); he told us his story of how he was raised Catholic but fell away during college and for seven years he was a non-practicing Catholic. But his mother prayed for him and he eventually not only came back to the faith but became a priest. It was an amazing testimony to hear. One of the parts that hit close to home with me, though, was when he was discussing priests (this is the Year of the Priests in the Church) and his opinion that there are no bad homilies. Now, my first reaction was to say yes, yes indeed there are. He went on to say though, that every homily you hear, you were meant to hear. God wanted you to hear that particular homily for a reason and if you take nothing away from it, then you are closing your heart to God. Wow, I thought, that's definitely me. 

I've been making a concerted effort to do that, which was easy at St. Mary's and St. Gertrude's, but not so much at Christ the King My first Sunday back we had a guest priest who did a really excellent homily, but last Sunday and today at daily mass, Father just did not hit the nail or the target, but more vaguely pushed around the barrel and his point. I felt much better once we moved on to the Nicene Creed. 

That's when I realized: it really does not matter what Father says, because Christ is speaking to us through the first reading (OT), responsorial psalms, second reading (NT) and Gospel(s), as well as giving Himself to us bodily through the Eucharist. This morning, after receiving the host and drinking the wine (which gave me a slight sting in my throat, but that may have been since it was the first thing I had in my system all morning), I felt a warm movement in my body as if the body and blood permeated my blood stream and were moving throughout my entire body, tingling my senses, making me more aware that I need not get caught up on humanly elements of the mass but to keep my eyes and thoughts upwards towards God. This can be challenging but I think Father's bad homilies are the type of Red Herring the Devil uses to distract people from the Truth that is Christ. It like what Lewis says in 'The Screwtape Letters,' 'Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar type of clarity which Hell affords."

Today it is raining heavily in Cincinnati, so I am glad I am inside working. I was going to go for a run after mass but decided I should eat something so that I would not be running on an empty stomach. I finished my two eggs/ piece of toast/ yogurt now. We have a treadmill upstairs though, so I'm not worried about it. I'm hoping someone will give me a treadmill as a graduation present so that I can have one with me after college, wherever I am. I took Heidi on a late-night run last night, which was one of the things I missed the most over the summer. It certainly is a luxury to be able to run at night and not have the slightest worry that anything bad is going to happen.

Today is also moving day for my friend Andrew, who is going to Chicago to attend Northwestern (not the University of Chicago, which I would have sworn to you days ago he was) for med school. I am very excited for him! Oh, the places he'll go...

Thanks for putting up with my incessant postings, by the way. They will most likely slow down during the school year, but they help me focus my thoughts before getting down to business (i.e. more writing and reading!). I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"I cannot live without books" --Thomas Jefferson

Books are one of my greatest weaknesses. I think I'd rather buy a good book than a new pair of ballet flats or a new dress, and I really do think that is saying something. I started building my library when I was in grade school and soon began spending my free time not only reading the classics, but buying them from a second-hand book store close to my dad's office, where I worked during my summers. By the time I got to college, I had an impressive collection of classics, mostly novels, as well as plays, poetry and even a picture book on the beat generation by Allen Ginsburg, given to me by two high school friends upon graduation. College (and my nearly insatiable appetite to read and learn) has only pushed me past the cool 200 and up, up and beyond. The weak spot in my collection is a the notable lacking in modern literature, but my job reviewing this summer will soon be fixing that.

Tonight I went into a bookstore, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, for the first time in months. When I say months, I mean it easily could have been January since I last stepped foot or toe inside one. I choose not to because it is rather difficult not to buy a book. I always see one I want and it is usually only pecuniary reasons that stop me (a very good reason, in my book!). I went there in the first place because I have a friend seemingly going through a rough time and, when in doubt (and in general), I give people books as presents. It is my favorite type of present.

The trouble with books as presents, though, is that everyone prefers a different type of book and just because I happen to love it certainly does not mean he or she will. For example, my favorite author is Evelyn Waugh. He is utterly fantastic and witty, writing some of the best satire I've ever read, although he is most famous for "Brideshead Revisited," which Miramax made into a horrible film last summer. I recommend the BBC version with Jeremy Irons. It's long but actually true to the book, unlike the former. I think I've given "Brideshead Revisted" more as a present than any other book, even though "Vile Bodies" and "The Loved One" are my favorite Waugh novels. I ended up no buying him anything simply because I could not make up my mind. One must consider if the recipient will actually enjoy the book and I could not think for the life of me of whether he would or not.

Have no fear, I still bought books! I shouldn't have, but I certainly don't regret my purchases:
"The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene*
"The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage" by Paul Elie*
"The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music" by Ted Libbey (as an end of the summer present for my family's enjoyment.)

...and this is why I avoid bookstores, but not completely :) Any books you think I should read, gentle readers? I am always open to recommendations!

*most excited to read!

The Julie of the Night

When I was little, my parents would call me a "Night Owl" because I loved to stay up late. In high school though, I got into the bad habit of not sleeping well since I would roll out of bed between 6 and 7 in order to get to Ursuline (Academy, my alma mater) before 8. My day would be spent in school and then I would study until lacrosse practice, not get home till at least 7, eat dinner, shower, and then start my homework. That would be a good, well-managed, in-season day; this does not count the off-season, when I would have to pick up my sister from rowing/ brother from school/ little kids from soccer/ run any errands Mom needed and still get to my indoor lax game on time. From that perspective, it is not surprising I have such horrible sleep habits, only made worse by college.

Tonight, I am up. Whether I want to be up late or not, I'm up and awake. I was supposed to go out with two good friends of mine, Jimmy and Jeff, for drinks and laughs, but decided I would stay in tonight. I've been working on the same book review all week and I've made tremendous progress, but I've also been needing to do massive organizing for the Forum and for the book review section I'm starting in the school paper. I'm feeling much better about this coming year although I really do need to buy my planner so that I can have it all written down methodically opposed to my looseleaf pages at present.

I started taking guesses today from friends on how many notecards I am going to need for my thesis. The guesses were as low as 300 and as high as 1334. I think I'm going to get the big ones, so maybe 300 or 500 will suffice. 

I made myself a grilled cheese tonight after I got back from taking Heidi for a walk. The family went to bed and I settled into the downstairs to write. I love writing, working in comfy pajamas and eating my grilled cheese. If I've never made you a grilled cheese,  I promise to make you one. I might not be a very advanced cook, but I make a darn good grilled cheese.  

I think I'm going to take a break, get on hulu, watch an episode or two of "Burn Notice" and go to bed. Even owls need to sleep!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's a glamorous day at the Robison house

Okay, so I didn't start out my morning with a mimosa, which would have been pretty terrific, but glamour comes in all shades. Since the little kids were lounging around, I had them help make the beds and put away the books in the library that they had scattered about, while I picked up around the upstairs as well. 

In the meantime, I found my favorite pair of heels on the steps and decided to wear them around the house. (I'm in a jersey knit dress, so I did not look completely ridiculous.) They are silver and pointy; I bought them for the Sigma Chi formal my sophomore year. They were my favorite part of that whole dance, to say the least. Meanwhile, my sister Meg, who just turned 10, came into the family room (where I am working) with a blue margarita glass filled with milk. How chic! It was one of the glasses left over from her mermaid/ tropical birthday party a little over a week ago. We are certainly living large here in the Midwest haha.

Today my friend Hunter had this as his gchat status: "This is America, pick a job and become the person who does it." He tells me it is a line from the show "Mad Men." I've never seen it, being completely out of the t.v./ pop culture loop, but with lines like that, there must be merit! 

Regardless of origin, I love that line. It reminds me of when Emerson said that the great thinkers people read about were too once young students in the library learning. It's exciting to me to think that people I know and work with will be the the minds shaping the future of our great country. Robert Novak died today; why do people take note? Hundreds of other people died today, more will die tomorrow. It matters because of what he accomplished in his lifetime. He wasn't always Robert Novak, to borrow and paraphrase a much more famous line. 

I wonder who will rise and fall in our lifetime. If we really want to make a change in this world, then we need to find our true vocation and do the best we can. If it's what we're meant to do, we'll thrive. We might not find it right away, but that's okay. Life is a journey, not a destination. Even if you're lucky enough to find your calling early in life, it's what you make of it. Plenty of people do what they love but don't capitalize on it. Could one even imagine a world where people fulfilled their potential?

I have ordered my books for senior year. It was very exciting to see my book list and remind myself what awesome classes I am going to be taken. My courses for Fall 2009 will be as follows:
--The American Founding with Birzer 
--Robert Frost with Sundahl and Willson
--honors seminar on the lost art of epistolary communication (i.e. letters through history!) with Wenzel
--CCA I: Abraham Lincoln , Alexis de Tocqueville and America
--CCA II: Modern and Traditional Western Architecture
--Major Figures in Journalism (i.e. reading plenty of Mencken, Buckley and Orwell!) with Simmons
--Art History: Prehistoric to Renaissance with Bushey
--senior thesis (the degradation of the family with the expansion of government in the 20th century) with Carlson

One of my reviewers and I have been going back and forth with her review. She sent me the final paragraph to look over (I had not liked the way she had ended the review in an earlier draft, although the overall review was extremely solid), and I am happy to say that we now have one review ready for the presses! I got a book in the mail last night I shall be giving to a reviewer and contacting another publisher to order a book I saw reviewed in the Financial Times called "Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940" by Chad Heap. I'm going to need to make up the calender of when the reviews are going to be published today so that I can better plan for the coming semester and have time to order the j-pegs from the publishers. They can have their own finicky time tables, which I would rather not have to deal with on top of everything else this semester.

Back to writing my review while listening to Copland's "Appalachian Spring." Heidi just left me to be with John, who is working on his summer reading report. Megan is most likely in her room, reading or writing on her typewriter (her favorite present from this past Christmas). Mike might be reading in his room as well, but more likely has popped out of the house to see friends. Marianne just got home from school. I still can't believe she's a freshman in high school! (I was in the 3rd grade when she was born, if that is any indication at how swiftly time wriggles away.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Home sweet

I've been terribly tardy with home updates, but it's certainly been an adjustment being here. Maybe whirlwind is the better term: I got home Friday night, left for Mary Beth and Joe's wedding in Bowling Green Saturday (3ish hour drive from Cincinnati) and returned with Julia, one of my closest friends at Hillsdale, who spent a few days with the Robisons before returning to the Land of Lincoln and her beloved Cubs. 

Since her departure, I've been up to no good: mostly hanging out at home with the siblings; helping out Mom and Dad; eating our housekeeper's cooking (manna from Heaven I tell you, especially after having to cook for myself all summer); getting back into the running regiment (walking at least 40 minutes a day to and from the metro took all incentive to be on a serious schedule away); working on my book review for the Times (Rach, my hatred for the main character is slightly diminished by now haha); reading books I'll be reviewing for the school paper (currently a book on Pete Seeger); reading books I shan't be reviewing (Dante--Hell, Dorothy Sayer's translation); seeing friends and family; generally loving on Cincinnati.

It's past 1 a.m. but I do not have to report for duty tomorrow till around 11, so I'm up working on the book review. It comes so slowly. I've got pages and pages of notes and I've been leafing through the book again, but I need to focus more specifically into the book and not get too analytical. One of my main quandaries with the book is that the main character's utter disdain for her husband's religion (Judaism) when she herself seeks Truth through literature. I went over to one of my closest friends from home/ high school Sarah's house for dinner last night and her mom played Devil's Advocate with me over things I'm struggling with concerning the novel. It was great and I hope it shows through in the review. I want to send it into the Times by the end of this week because I've got plenty to do before school starts up.

I read "Rome Sweet Home" in one day this past week and it was really, really good. My grandbig Geneva mentioned it was one of her favorite books and I knew we had a copy or two at home so I picked it up and just read. It's written by Scott & Kimberly Hahn about their conversion to Catholicism and one of the best parts of the book was that I got a better idea of the Protestant point of view towards Catholicism. Like, for example, I've always had a hard time seeing why Mary is a difficult concept. Many Protestants see our actions as worship while we see it as veneration. This difference lies in our definitions of worship: Protestants worship by singing and praying, which Catholics do to Mary. Catholics, on the other hand, see worship as the adoration of Christ in the Eucharist. The difference lies in the belief of transubstantiation, I believe. The differences in opinion and outlook--it's all just fascinating to me!

I suppose this comes from my not-so-secret life goal of re-creating a republic of letters, one where people can truly dialogue with each other, discussing issues and topics that truly mean something to them without having the discussion degenerate into a shouting match between morons. I had coffee with an old friend--a grade school friend!--Annie; well, she had coffee, I had something more fruity. She goes to Kenyon and is significantly more left-leaning than myself, but that was one of the best parts! Agreeing to disagree but still open and listening and respecting the other. It was so edifying and enjoyable and she paid me the compliment of telling me I was an "intelligent conservative." She did not mean, of course, to imply that conservatives are inherently unintelligent but rather, like many liberals she even conceded, many people do not take the time to truly know what they are talking about or know what they believe. With the blind following the blind, it is easy to see how politics in Washington get so mangled.

My darling dog, Heidi, the Rottweiler-Shepherd, is currently hanging out with me downstairs. We're listening to "Shine" by David Gray, which may be my favoritest song only because it's so beautiful. I'm also really like "Say Hey" by Michael Franti at the moment, but that's because it's reggae and too much fun to groove and shake your hips to. I'm also loving on "Concrete Schoolyard" by Jurassic 5 but that's because it's got an old-school beat with clever lyrics.

Glad to be home. Glad to be with my family. Senior year is going to rush by like that first wave you try to catch with your hand upon stepping into the ocean as a child. Doncha worry though--I'll certainly be keeping y'all updated! I am looking into having one of my research papers published (it's on Jack Kerouac and humanism). If anyone knows anything about that, let me know. I'm going to talk to one of the profs at school, but if anyone has inside knowledge, I'd surely appreciate it!

Heidi has gotten out of her sprawled position on the floor and is now whining. I shall now spend ten minutes debating whether I should actually let her out this late because the last time I did, a little deer-chasing action happened...oh fudge, we'll just leash it. ciao!

EDITORIAL: Criticized for our principles - Washington Times

I worked with The Washington Times Editorial board this past summer and they are some of the smartest and sharpest people I've ever interacted with; I am excited they are making such big waves in journalism and the country!!

EDITORIAL: Criticized for our principles - Washington Times

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