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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Archive: September 2010

For want of sheep

My bed is directly next to the window in my room, and this morning I woke up a popsicle. Not even October, and already I’ve turned on the heat in our apartment… just enough to get it back to seventy degrees.

The weather is warm enough in the afternoons, but the mornings are brutal, especially if you are like me and tend to mourning the passing of skirt and short season strenuously. I like autumn well enough, but I know fall will soon crystalize into winter, and winters here are cold. And windy. And I can’t ride my bike for fear of slipping on ice and of losing an ear in the artificially-enhanced windchill.

However, autumn is exciting for several reasons.

  • I can bust out my sweater collection again. I do love me my sweaters.
  • I crave lentil soup, vegetable soup, beef and barley soup… All sorts of soup.
  • I crave hot chocolate. Large, steaming, white mugs with double the amount of power one is supposed to add to a single serving, with a bit of chocolate crumbed on the top of the foam. Add milk to cool it to sipping temperature and grab a book. Or, in the case of my approaching physics midterm, a textbook.
  • I want to knit all the time. In the past, I admit I have knit through some of my lectures. That is just not going to fly this semester. I tend to take furious notes throughout all three academic classes I am taking. I would need to sprout a third arm, and that probably won’t happen in the next week or so.

Recap. Winter = misery. Autumn = comfort food and knitwear. I can deal with that.

    This summer, I did knit quite a bit. I made my sister an earring holder for her new, remodeled bedroom; I subsequently realized I like it so much, I needed one as well. This little project was quite easy. I used a lace pattern I found on Ravelry and stuck it in a frame. (Actually, I like the frame my sister has better, but I’m not overly picky.)

    If you remain confused by the title, I should point out that many yarns are made with wool. I’m working a nicely squishy orange aplaca-silk-wool blend (Cascade Yarns Dolce in pumpkin, if you’re curious.)

    Kitchen tour, part II, and some physics

    The kitchen tour continues! I am sorry my last post was so short, but I had to run to a physics study party. Guess what? I HELPED SOMEONE! I, the dance BFA, English lit major, helped someone. Thrilling.

    On to the kitchen… Here you can see the counter with four swivel stools. This way, students do not need to buy a kitchen table or anything. This is a very good thing, since storage is a pain, and tables that won’t collapse and look decent are expensive.

    In this picture, you can also see the toaster and coffeepot, which do not come with the apartment. When you get to be a junior, you will have to buy these yourself. The homework on the counter with the apple and the cell phone is mine and was terribly unfinished when I took the picture.

    Over Labor Day weekend, I had some free time. It was crazy. I decided to seize the opportunity and make cinnamon-sugar bread and cheese bread. I’d folded herbs, cinnamon, and chocolate into bread before, but never cheese. The result? Beautiful.

    That was gone very quickly, let me tell you.

    Kitchen tour, part I

    You might have noticed that I’m obsessed with my first kitchen and my first non-meal plan semester. I’m sure I’ll miss the days of ready-cooked meals when I get really busy with Nutcracker, but for now, it’s great.

    The Apartment Village comes with a fairly large kitchen. Here’s the official tour:

    Awkward angle to photograph

    Here’s the door to the pantry next to the front door. We have a storage cart we use to hold our tea, communal baking/cooking items, vegetables, and my troublesome roommate‘s stand mixer. Then there’s the awesome chair I found at an antique store holding our fruit.

    The heart of the home

    Moving to the right, you can see the refrigerator, microwave, and stove. The teakettle on the stove is a replacement for the red one I bought last year and dropped during move-in. I broke so many things in those few days. So clumsy.

    The kitchen tour will continue…


    I am so lucky to have the roommates I have. They’re packin’ some serious awesome. (Ha, that sounds like something from the Green brothers.) I do have problems with one roommate sometimes. We’re working it out, but I really need to vent right now.

    She force-feeds me cupcakes.

    Homemade almond cupcakes with homemade salted carmel buttercream icing made from homemade carmel! Horrid. Simply, unspeakably horrid.

    *sinister music*

    I know. And I’ve talked to her about how it makes me feel when she bakes all these cupcakes and forces us to be her taste-testers. How would she feel? Really? It only gets worse when she throws strawberry cupcakes, orange-iced chocolate cupcakes, and an airbrushed cake for Talk Like a Pirate Day into the mix.

    I suppose these are just the things I’ll have to deal with now that I’m off a meal plan, living in my own kitchen.

    Like I said, we’re working on it.

    Look at that devious face.

    Explanations and introductions

    You might have noticed our snazzy new interface. You might also have noticed all our old posts are gone. Never fear–they shall return again!

    However, this process might be a while, so please bear with us while we rearrange things. It’s like spring cleaning: The house has to get a lot messier before it looks nice again.

    For those of you who have no idea who I am, my name’s Olivia. I’m currently a junior at Butler University. I’m majoring in Dance Performance and English Literature (though this secondary major might turn into a minor). I love to dance, read, talk, and knit. It’s my birthday today, so I’m going to sign off and eat cake or something.

    Two decades! I can’t believe it.

    How to fix a bike; or, The kindness of Butler fans

    Use a hammer and some pliers and bang on it pathetically until the sprocket evens out enough to slip the chain back on.

    Alternately, one could do the above near a bike rack in the Apartment Village during the Butler football game. (If the Apartment Village were any closer to the Butler Bowl, they’d be playing football in the kitchens.) One student had his family with him, and the father was cooking hot dogs on a portable grill (so cool–I’ll get a George Foreman or something like this one day). He immediately offered to help.

    “Oh, thank you,” I said, “but if you just tell me what to do, I can do it.” I held up my hands: They were covered with grease stains.

    “No, no,” he said. Whereupon he flipped the bike over, told his son to run into the apartment to get paper towels, and stretched his hand out for the hammer. Bless him.

    When we were done straightening the sprocket and coaxing the chain back through all the various loops, I took it for an experimental lap around the Apartment Village. The Butler student, his mother, and his father were eating hot dogs and watching the Butler Bowl action from the grassy area near the bike rack when I returned. I gave a triumphant thumbs-up and thanked the family profusely.

    “No problem,” the father said. “Would you like a hot dog?”

    No, but thank you. Butler bulldogs. They never let  you down.

    How to avoid bicycle collisions

    Ride on the right!

    I am sad to inform you that one Butler student did not get this message. Instead of riding on the right side of the road, and thus cutting a wide curve when turning into a parking lot, she chose to cut straight across into the left lane, where she promptly crashed into me as I rode on my own bicycle. I thanked my lucky stars I’d been wearing tennis shoes. It’s now almost a week past, and I’m pretty well healed.

    I had been minding my own business, pedaling merrily along the right side of the right lane in the Clowes parking lot, about to turn up onto the sidewalk to continue on to my apartment. Suddenly, descending like a particle-like object as its vertical velocity component plunges farther into the negative numbers (physics 14 – Olivia 15), another rider whipped around the parked car that was blocking my right-hand view. Coming down a little hill and from out of nowhere, she made several attempts to avoid me as I did the same. Time slooooowed…

    Then we locked handle-bars, I on the left and she on the right, and WOUMPH–clatter! Thrown to the ground.

    The first thing I did was stand hurriedly. Hands: bleeding but functional. Head: didn’t even hit the ground. Knees: banged up–going to cause my left knee to click and swell for the next few days. Shins: bruised and scratched. Ankles: a little tweak on the left. “Are you okay?” we both explode simultaneously.

    “Yes, yes. Are you okay?”

    “I’m fine.”

    “I’m sorry!”

    “I’m sorry. Are you okay?”

    “No, no, I’m fine; I’m sorry. How’s your bike?”

    “I think it’s fine. I’m sorry!”

    “Are you sure you’re okay?”

    We were in this state of shock for a few minutes, standing our bikes up and looking mournfully at slipped chains and bloody knees. At least, I looked mournfully at my bloodly knees; the other was wearing jeans and seemed to have sustained no injury. “I’m a dance major!” I wanted to say, but by then she was hopping onto her functional bike.

    “I’m sorry. I have to go to class!”

    She rode away, while I wheeled my bike up the hill to the Apartment Village. The sprocket was bent and the chain slipped all over the place, and I wanted nothing more than to wash the mess off my legs and ice my ankle.  It was only when I walked my bike up the hill that I realized, “Hey! That wasn’t my fault.”

    Darn bikers who don’t follow the traffic pattern. Ride on the right!


    Here’s a good–if rather sensationalist–page with some bike safety tips. It’s less “ride with reflectors and a helmet” and more “these are common accidents and how one can avoid them with lane placement.”

    P.S. Isn’t my picture lovely? I was studying in Jordan Hall the Sunday before the bike accident.

    Starstruck: the sequel

    Last year, I went to the Indianapolis City Ballet‘s Gala performance and saw the likes of Joaquin De Luz, Tiler Peck, Sarah Lane, Alicia Amatriain, Jason Reilly, Gennadi Saveliev, Miquel Quinones, Anastasia and Denis Matvienko, David Hallberg, and Julie Kent. This year, we (with the help of the dance fraternity Sigma Rho Delta) did it again!

    The program was impressive, and show even more so, perhaps because I was sitting in the second row, smack-dab in the center of the theater. The one bad part of this year’s gala experience? I could not see any of the dancers’ feet. In a line-up like this, I know the feet would have be gorgeous.

    Line-up: Elisa Carrillo Cabrera (fierce), Marcelo Gomes, Mikhail Kaniskin, Julie Kent (no comment), Vitali Krauchenka, Misa Kuranaga, Natalia Osipova (!!! Yah!!! So beautiful), Miguel Quinones, Daniil Simkin, Damian Smith, Yuan Yuan Tan (ethereal), Ivan Vasiliev (extremely energetic, probably eats his meat raw and still attached to living goats), and Veronika Verterich.

    Because I couldn’t see the feet, I focused on the face and upper body. Normally, I’m a feet-and-leg person. When a dancer walks onstage, I automatically check out the lower-limb line. This time, however, I was close enough to hear Julie Kent breathing, and I was blown away by the artistry in the smallest of gestures. They were all so personable! When the performers walked downstage for their bows, it seemed like they were looking directly at me.

    This was a good thing, since I have officially Fallen In Love. Daniil Simkin has my heart, now and forever. I’m following him on Twitter. When he bowed after his second piece–the charmingly eccentric Les Bourgeious–I should have stood to clap. He would have seen me and fallen instantly in love, and we’d currently be eloping in Argentina. Or in Paris, since that’s where he’s currently performing at the time I’m writing this.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Alas, I stayed in my seat. Nevertheless, we were close enough to see each little smirk as he danced to (and as) Jacques Brel. I could hear him coughing (it’s part of the choreography). I could see him mouthing the words of the song. It was awesome. His first piece, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, was breathtaking. Even more impressive than all his jumps–he must have swallowed some helium before his variation or something–and his articulation of porte de bras was his face. Just before he began a turn (or turns, I should say, since he spun like a top), he would let loose this huge grin as he pliéed, as if he were saying, “Look what I can do, haha!”

    I’m in love.

    Q&A: Butler Catholic Community

    Once again, a senior in high school emailed me with a list of excellent questions. This time, the focus was on the Butler Catholic Community. As I told her, I am so glad she asked because I’ve been meaning to write about the BCC. Here is part of the letter I wrote her:

    First, here’s a bit of my own religious background. I was raised in the Catholic Church, but I’ve always gone to public school. I have nothing against Catholic schools and think they can be quite valuable, but I am very glad I went to public school. It was the right place for me, and I got used to being exposed to a bunch of different and sometimes contradictory ideas. Coming to Butler from my East Coast public school system actually felt like a smaller world demographically and (a bit) ideologically. So we have somewhat different situations.

    That said, I understand your concerns. Nevertheless, I believe faith grows through questioning; what has survived testing is always stronger. College is where many people (free for the first time from parental influence and from the same friends and places they’ve always known) can find out whom they really want to be. If you are committed to your faith, I think you will find like-minded people wherever you go in your life. I know I have.

    How do you join the Catholic Community?

    The BCC is not like a club. Just show up at Mass, volunteer to help during the services, attend retreats and community service projects. You can be as involved as you want to be. We have a table at Block Party (a big event before classes start where every organization has a table on the quad; people can check out and sign up for all sorts of things.). You can sign up on our listserve to get emails about BCC events, and you can also sign up to receive a short prayer every morning. I am part of the leadership team, and we meet regularly to discuss programming and such. This year there is also a newly formed service committee that plans service projects.

    Father Jeff

    What kinds of activities does the BCC sponsor?

    Well, we have Mass every Sunday on campus. I am currently in charge of finding people to help during Mass, so you have the opportunity to be a communion minister, lector, or alter server. A student offers a short witness on the readings before Mass every week. There is also a midweek Mass most weeks.

    We always have a freshmen retreat in September (it’s actually the upcoming Friday, and I’m so excited. It’s one of my favorite events). We’ve had sophomore walking retreats in the mornings, a men’s/women’s retreat, and some other activities at night. There are faith-sharing groups and even a group that meets once a week to discuss spirituality for college students, using the lives of the saints as an outline. A group of students even went to Honduras during the summer!

    The priest, Father Jeff, offers Reconciliation. We have food pantry dates, assorted one-time service projects, tutoring local students, adoration, and prayer services. There’s usually a Mardi Gras dinner, and there are services on campus during days like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Once we even baptized a baby!

    Outside the Blue House

    So you can see that there are lots of options. There’s lots of information on the BCC website.

    If you are not Catholic or are interested in the interfaith opportunities, stop by the Blue House. There are loads of spirituality-type organizations available.

    When and where is Mass held?

    The time sometimes varies, but Sunday Mass is at 1 pm in the large reception room (the Johnson Room) in a building on campus called Robertson Hall. Midweek Mass is at 5 pm this semester in the little room in the Center for Faith and Vocation on campus. (The Center is painted a light shade of blue, so everyone calls it the Blue House.) That Mass lasts only about twenty minutes or so.

    freshmen retreat

    Are there any retreats?

    I already mentioned this in the “activities” question. Usually retreats run from about six pm to midnight on a Friday night. Sometimes we go off campus: We’ve gone to the nearby St. Thomas, and I went to a convent last year with the women’s retreat. I highly recommend the freshmen retreat. I went as a new student and helped last year; I plan to help out again this year.

    service in Honduras

    Remember, if you have any questions you would like me to answer, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! (My turnover time seems to be about a week.)