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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: November 2010

Let’s get crackin’

The Nutcracker has descended! Everyone in Butler’s dance department is in the full flush of performance preparations. I’m waiting for our warm-up class before our first dress rehearsal now, having just finished a run-through in costume in Clowes Memorial Hall. Here’s a brief snapshot of the first half of production week:

Clowes Memorial Hall

Monday. In order of appearance: Help load-in at Clowes (hanging drops, hanging lights, putting down the floor), break, physics class, load-in, lunch, load-in, warm-up class, dinner, spacing rehearsal, finish dinner, do homework.

Tuesday. Errands around campus in the morning (dropping off documents and returning library books and that sort of thing), homework party with a friend, ballet class, get food, run-through in costume, eat food, warm-up class, dress rehearsal. Homework?

Wednesday. Morning off = homework. Physics, warm-up, tech rehearsal in costume, dinner, warm-up, dress rehearsal. Homework.

This is what I am supposed to be doing as far as I know. Production week is always fairly hectic, and schedules change. The trick to a successful production week? Be ready early, carry extra food, and go with the flow.

Turkey Trot

Every Thanksgiving morning, my family volunteers at the local Turkey Trot race at the University of Richmond. The race, sponsored by the Richmond Road Runners club, sees about 1,200 people, though this year they registered 1,500 because they used chips for race times. My dad runs in the (extremely hilly) race, and my mom, two sisters, and I help with the mile marker 2 water stop. This year was no exception.

We fill water cups before the race, hold them out for the runners to grab as they race past, and provide water as everyone finishes the course. While I’m not actually running the race, I at least feel like I’ve partly earned the right to eat my turkey/mashed potato/green bean mountain. It’s a good family tradition.

Where is my white t-shirt, you might ask? Why am I different? Why do I look like a marshmallow before Thanksgiving lunch? I might answer, because I am wearing six shirts because I am always cold. Actually, one jacket, three shirts, a wool sweater, and a hoodie sweatshirt.

Back to Butler tomorrow. I haven’t done nearly as much homework as I should have. Sigh… This coming week is production week for the Nutcracker, with opening night on Thursday, December 2. I might be a bit absent from the blogging world, but you should come and see Butler Ballet!

Thanksgiving without novel-writing

This will be the first Thanksgiving in four years without the nagging sense of an unfinished Word document lurking in the back of my mind. Actually, that is false: This break, while seeing the completion of a whole physics problem (hooray!), has yet to produce an edited Irish literature essay or a dance history paper. So this Thanksgiving, I will in fact retain that lovely feeling that I should be writing. I just do not have NaNoWriMo to look forward to once my family is safely in a turkey-induced comatose state.

(Are you confused? Do you want a quick recap concerning National Novel Writing Month? Might you wonder why fellow-blogger Cathryn and I looked so snazzy and ready to produce 50,000 words of fiction in a month in our matching t-shirts last year? Follow the embedded links, my friend.)

In honor of a NaNo not written, I give you a selection of those NaNos that have gone before, brave lights in a wilderness of inchoate thought, intrepid souls wandering the fearfully embryonic haze of my mental process. (Last sentence = 38 words. Those thirty-eight words might not have made sense, but there they were, about a third of the way to one hundred, which is just under 1/16th of the way to a full day’s writing quota, which is 1/30th of the cumulative total of 50,000 for the month.) (Words in last parentheses = 52. It would have been more had I bothered to type out all the fractions.)

Excerpts follow the bold type. Please don’t judge.

2005: Grimly preoccupied in a strangely satisfying daydream in which he bit Austin’s fingers—which oddly tasted like fresh, crisply ripe apples—off and spat them onto the floor while the two girls giggled and the third girl glowered with the Irish boy, Will’s feet traced the path to the library automatically.


2005: Will stood abruptly.  I will brandish my own eraser! he thought.


2006: Inside was all cracked green linoleum counters and fluorescent lights.  I was enveloped in a hug as dry as the turkey.

“Penelope!” cried Aunt May.

“Aunt May!”  I cried back.  The conversation was the same, every year.

“How are you?  How is school?”

“I’m fine.  I’m glad we have a holiday.  I’m so busy with school now.”

“That’s nice.  And how is the cat?  What’s her name?  Lily?”

“Lilac.  She’s good.  She’s gotten fat.  How is your cat?”

“Good, good.  She’s very happy.”

A pause….  Then, the inevitable—

“Look how you’ve grown!”

I smiled and pulled myself up to my full height: five feet, four inches.  “Last year, the doctor said my growth plates closed.”

Aunt May faltered: the cherished tradition had been broken.  She seemed to sense she just witnessed the birth of an iconoclast.  Her instincts always were uncannily keen.

I pecked her turkey-dry cheek and allowed myself to be pulled into conversation number two with Uncle Zach, who had been plaguing my little sister.  She tossed a cheeky grin at me as we traded relatives.

“Cecilia!”  I heard Aunt May cry as I turned to Uncle Zach.  “How are you?”

The rest of the night proceeded as usual.



Aunt Abigail’s pies were glorious to gaze at, magnificent to inspect.  They outshone any comet during their ephemeral blazes of glory.

The important word in that sentence would be ephemeral.

Aunt Abigail lived only fifteen minutes away, but the ride wrecked havoc on her pies.  Somehow, the drive shook her masterpieces so the delicate balance between crust, filling, and lavish embellishment on top was disturbed.

“Help me with the pies!” she cried, before the door was even fully opened.  Like rescuers carrying survivors out of a smoldering ruin, we formed a chain to pass the pies into the safety of the house.  The pies looked perfect, of course.  They always appeared to be unharmed in the beginning.  But like a mother sensing danger, Aunt Abigail knew that all was not right with her beloved pastries.

We stood crowded in front of the kitchen table, staring at the pies.  Aunt Abigail, her hair frizzed around her pointed face, gave a gasp as Grandpa Ralph pointed.  “The one on the end!”

Sure enough, the magnificent swirl of jelly and peach sunk into the center of the pie, like a slow rendering of a meteor hitting Arizona.  Soon, all the pies were in the process of a slow decay.

“Thar she blows!” Grandpa Ralph cried as one pie emitted a stream of clear, red liquid at least an inch into the air to come spattering back down on Aunt May’s white tablecloth, already spotted with the pies of years past.  Grandma Margaret poked him in the ribs, as she did every year, and he fell to muttering about Henry Melville.

Once the pies had finished collapsing and Aunt Abigail was soothed, Cecy and I exchanged glances.  “Fifteen minutes,” I told her.  “Or I have take you along the next time I go somewhere and you’re stuck at home.”  The betting was not new: the offer of a ride was—I had held my driver’s license for only three months, but I was already intoxicated with freedom.

“Don’t be stupid,” Cecy said.  “It will take her at least forty-five minutes to remember.  Otherwise it won’t be dry enough.”

Exactly sixteen minutes later, Aunt May exclaimed, “The turkey!”

Cecy smirked as she passed me.  “Fifteen minutes isn’t long enough to suck the moisture from a bird.”


2006: “I will come for the girls in two weeks.  They need only their dancing shoes.  Any questions can be forwarded to the Department of Supporting Characters.”


2006: The syntax rushed out to meet them, wringing his browned hands.  Gwen had only seen syntaxes flitting around the edges of a festival the Academy danced at, hurriedly setting up something for the plotline.  The mark of a good plotline was the seeming absence of any of the Administration, though it was the driving force behind the story.  Frantic syntaxes, weighty languages, dangling prepositions (the code name for a character stranded somewhere, usually the result of a fake death), misplace modifiers (characters who were separated from their proper plotlines), and many more things could, in a cursed instant, be visible.


2007: Rhys pulled her aside and began explaining in heavy, rapid Welsh.  Lugh, Fionn, and the Dagda headed uninvited into the house to make some tea.  Boudica shrugged and followed, claiming she had to use the bathroom—an anachronism that no one, not even the author, noticed.  Arthur prudently left Molly and Owen alone.


2007: Molly could hear Aunt Mali talking on the phone.  “Sut mae?  Mae hi’n Mali.  Dw i’n cael newyddion drwg.


2007: “I was here looking for the Pied Piper in case he decided to see if the Scottish exile spell thingy had worn off.  So I was here when Lughnasah rolled around, and I happened to be trapped inside the castle fortifications.  Luckily for you, I had decided to rent a troupe of ninjas to help me.”


2008: “Nofiais i, nofiais ti, nofieodd he, nofieodd e, nofi… something ni, nofioch chi, nofi something nwh. Nwh? Maen nwh?” She conjugated the rest of the way through breakfast, forgetting her mutations, butchering her mental pronunciation, and having a thoroughly enjoyable time. George Sanderly, secret nerd. That was her.


2008: George brushed her teeth and folded her laundry and jotted off some inane answers to the chemistry lab report. Error margin: 105% Was that possible?


2009: Verily sat miserably in her beautiful home on Moscovia. House arrest. Just because she had hired the dancer who killed another of her dancers. That wretched Karina. She was never as turned out as she thought she was, and Verily took grim satisfaction in that fact.

Also miserable was Dave. He had not been granted any part in the novel for about twenty pages, and he was bored and hungry. Bored because all he’d been doing was hopping from ship to ship, selling his stash of digital, contraband watches. Hungry because he had sold his last one a few days ago and had no more money.


2009: Reguis was nice, but he had a hankering for some Latvian galert, and he’d heard there was a nice little country-colony called Riga on the United Holland States.


2009: When the migraine struck Moscovia and Ffionios, it also struck Deep Space Convertor Triple Delta. Rowan felt the full force of it in her left temple. She looked up. Every other traveler was bent over in pain—every other traveler, that is, except for the children. A baby waved its rattle in the stroller. Two toddlers had discovered one another and were tangling hands and bumping nearly bald heads in greeting. A six year old sucked contentedly on her lollipop, eyes intent on her broken ocular screen, her free hand busily waving away the constant stream of steam that was blocking her vision of the picture on the screen.



“What’s your hometown called?” asked Rowan politely.

“Esgairgeiliog,” said Lowri.



2010: N/A. So sad.


If you managed to make it all the way through this monstrously long post… Happy Thanksgiving!

Dorm Room 3.2

My third dorm room at Butler, part two. Dorm Room 3.2. The tour continues.

In the corner next to the bed corner (confused? catch up) (you can just see the edge of my bedside table to the lower left in this picture) is the homework station. The chair, little rolling, two-drawer unit, and the desk all come with the room. I think this set of drawers is listed as a bedside table, but a lot of people put them under their desks. I have my printer on it and my clothes hamper behind it.

I feel incredibly studious this year, using a white board. I don’t normally do homework on it, but I write lists and things on it instead of using scraps of paper, which is what I did last year. This system works much better, unless I have Rubik’s Cube algorithms up there as I try to memorize them.

By the way. I can completely and totally solve the Rubik’s cube now. I am the champion.

To the right of the desk corner is an empty corner (hidden by the open closet door in the above picture) and the closet. The closets at the Village aren’t as large as Schwitzer or ResCo, but I still get everything in there. I got a wire rack to provide some shelves lower down, since I have to pull out my stool even to begin to reach the top shelf in the closet.

I found the best storage system: Bags go on a wire over-the-door hook thing on the outside of the closet door. Shoes go in the shoe organizers on the inside of the closet door. Tights and leotards go in the compartments of the hanging shoe organizer. This is a perfect system. I highly recommend all dancers replicate it. I save a lot of drawer space, and I can see all the leotards I have.

Thus ends this tour of my Apartment Village dorm room.

Rooms near and far

Butler Ballet's The NutcrackerI’m home sweet home, and it’s definitely a weird feeling, since I haven’t been in Virginia or seen my family since August. Also, people cook food for me. Bizarre. I have much more time now to blog, so I thought I’d tackle some less-timely topics before Nutcracker madness decends.

Oh yes. Opening night for The Nutcracker is Thursday, Dec 2 at Clowes Memorial Hall right on the campus. You can’t pass up family holiday tradition, now, can you?

On to the post: My dorm room in the Apartment Village. Butler students are required to live on campus their freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Freshman year I lived in Schwitzer, sophomore year saw me in ResCo, and now I am in the Apartment Village. I really enjoy the Village. We are going to live in the same apartment next year, I believe.

I’ve given you a virtual tour of the kitchen, so here is my bedroom. The room is small, but it is a single, and much as I’ve loved my previous roommates, I definitely enjoy having my own room again.

Here is the entrance to my dorm room. The door leads into the hallway that opens into the living room and kitchen areas. At the end of my bed is the three-drawer unit that comes with the room–it just manages to fit in the space between the end of my bed and the wall by the door! I have a wire rack to hold my pointe shoes, bike seat, balls of yarn, and other things (it’s currently much messier than it was when I took the picture). This is also the home of all my jewelry and some of my clothes.

The bed you see comes with the room, and you can adjust the height of the frame. I have mine middling low, and I still have loads of room for storage.

The bed frame and mattress come with the apartment, but the bedside table is my own, as is the lamp. I stuck an over-the-door hook that wouldn’t fit over the door on the end of the bed and was hanging bags there for a while, but now I’m not sure where it’s gone. Maybe it fell under the bed. Hmmm, a mystery.

My bed is right next to the window, which means it can get a little chilly at night. Each apartment has climate control, so that is easily remedied. In Schwitzer, one gets no say in the temperature. In ResCo, there’s one controller for every three rooms or something like that. (Last year, the thermostat was in our room. Bahaha…) Now each apartment has control over the heating and cooling.

Also, the Village has blinds in every window that look quite nice. The Village was built recently, so everything is still in great condition.

To be continued…

Catching up sans mustard

I am done! It is officially Thanksgiving Break, and I survived last week.

Monday: Irish Lit paper due. Dance history abstract due. Full run-through of The Nutcracker. Butler Catholic Community meeting. Done, done, done, and done. Physics.

Clowes Hall

Tuesday: The Nutcracker run-through. Science lab. Attending a concert at Clowes to see my two jazz-musician friends play = awesome. Sigma Rho Delta meeting (albeit briefly, as the concert ended after the start of Sigma Rho). Physics.

Wednesday: The Nutcracker. (Do you notice a theme here?) Frantic studying for the massive physics test. And–oh yeah– more physics.

Thursday: Physics test. Doomdoomdoom. And The Nutcracker. Frantic reading for my Irish Lit class. Speaking of Irish Lit, I got my paper back and extremely surprised to find that some of the things I thought were awful could, with some refinement, actually fit into my convoluted thesis. Much excitement ensued.

Around 11:15 pm, I enjoyed watched all the students stream off campus to see the Harry Potter movie, though I regretfully remained in order to sleep in order to dance safely the next day. However, I saw fellow-blogger Justin looking quite spiffy in his purple Dumbledore robes and cotton-ball beard.

Physics produced a mixed reaction. I felt like I hit most of the key concepts in the two problems–for any interested: the law of conservation of momentum, the law of conservation of energy, the work-energy theorem, projectile motion, force diagrams, forces like tension and friction, uniform circular motion, and collisions–but I didn’t actually get a concrete answer for the last part of the last problem.

More infuriating than a simply inability to finish was that fact that, by the end of ballet class, the idea that was previously slow to come to me had made its way into my brain: the equation for time down. Duuuuh. Also, I realized that the distance one would travel around the rim of half a circle is in fact pi*r, not 2*pi*r.

Friday: FRIDAY! I had nothing due. The most pressing duty on my list was laundry. I spent my breaks yesterday compiling a Thanksgiving Break playlist for a CD. I ate a pumpkin muffin. I watched my physics professor demonstrate gyroscopic motion by standing on a stool and letting the torques (or something…) from the gyroscope make him rotate around. Best physics class ever. I really wanted to try the gyroscope out on my own. Maybe next time.

This break is off to a fabulous beginning, and I’ll looking forward to the rest of the week! I do have a bunch of homework to do, but, you know, sleeping will occur.

Off to get some more tea…

Another post about breakfast

I have not blogged so much about breakfast this year. Last year, I feel like “breakfast” might actually have shown up on my tag cloud for a little while. I think I have more of a life now and have more to talk about. That’s just a theory, mind you.

However, this post relates both to life and to breakfast! (As if breakfast weren’t life. I love breakfast.) My dancer roommate turned twenty-one this past Sunday, and we celebrated by having brunch at Zest! (I’m not actually excited enough to use two exclamation points in one paragraph–the restaurant is called “Zest!”)

Indianapolis has loads of awesome breakfast places. My current favorite is the Three Sisters’ Cafe, but I also enjoy Taste, Zest!, and Le Peep. I have also heard wonderful reviews of Good Morning Mama’s.

Breakfast was good, but even better were the crayons on the table. We all drew lovely pictures on the tablecloth. Here’s mine:

I’m not sure what this collection of images reveals about me, but I shall explain them in case you cannot figure out what my scribbles are supposed to be.

Tour of the tablecloth:

Starting in the upper left, you see some text that belonged to a rendering of my roommate. Traveling clockwise, the next drawing we encounter is a stick figure typing an Irish Literature paper and being distracted. Then come the fireworks with a few physics equations to go with it–the kinetic energy of a rotating body and the kinematic equation for the velocity of the center of mass. (I hope. I have a physics test coming up.)

Math aside, we have a blue figure that was originally a person but had, for reasons of good taste, to be scribbled out. She/he/it is is holding a bass. Then we see some colorful blocks of squares. Off in the corner is a chef holding a spoon: NOT an ice cream cone, thank you very much. I’m not a great artist, but I’m not that bad. Mostly.

In the middle is a green woman with a curly perm. To the bottom is a tipsy, blonde woman in a huge bustle skirt. The last math-type object is a horrible, horrible recollection of a LaPlace Transform. DO NOT believe anything I ever say about math. L{cosh(theta)} does not equal what I said it does.

L {cosh(alpha*t)} = s / [(s^2) – (alpha^2)]

What does that mean? Apart from the fact that a hyperbolic cosine is oscillating (and doesn’t it normally do that anyway?), I have no idea. I just think it looks neat.

Since I been gone

Looking at my post list, I see it’s been five days since I’ve released a new blog! Sorry about that. This past week has been super busy. Here are some of my excuses:

I saw the Paul Taylor Dance Company quite some time ago, so perhaps it does not quite count as an excuse. I harbored mixed feelings about the program, but I adored “Esplanade,” one of great masterworks of the twentieth century. The video below is from the beginning of the last, crazy section. I also enjoyed seeing the solo the Butler dance department’s modern teacher Susan McGuire originated in “Dust.”
YouTube Preview Image

Dancer Thanksgiving potluck. My roommate and I brought apple-cranberry bread. And when I say “my roommate and I,” I mean I provided some of the ingredients and got out the bread pan. Then I watched my dancer roommate and my troublesome roommate make it together. Moral support, ya know?

Trader Joe's apple bread mix with added, homemade, cranberry sauce

Nutcracker Studio Dress rehearsal on Saturday! Studio Dress is when the department first runs the entire production in order, in costume, in the largest studio. After Studio Dress comes a week of production run-throughs in that same studio (Studio 310). Then comes Thanksgiving Break. Then comes production week in the theater. The performances are fast approaching.

Attending the Jazz Combos performance in the campus Starbucks to see my two jazz-musician friends. One plays the French horn; the other, the bass. Coolness. Would anyone like a post on French horn majors or jazz minors?

Writing the introduction and outline to my dance history paper on Irish dancing
Writing and writing and writing my Irish Lit paper. I finally finished the rough draft last night–before 11 pm! My friend gave me a CD and said I couldn’t listen to it until I was finished with the paper. How’s that for motivation? To be completely honest, I am rather disappointed with the result, since my thesis is pretty convoluted and not incredibly dependent on my readings of Translations. Oh well. It’s done for now, and I can fix it over Thanksgiving Break. I turned the paper in earlier today–all 21.5 pages!

Writing my Irish Lit paper--do you like my stack of sources?

Mastering the art of the Rubik’s cube. I will defeat you! (And I have, just not without the aid of a cheat sheet once I get to the final layer. I confuse the algorithms for reorienting the corners with those for reorienting the sides: R2 B2, R F R’, B2 R F’ R is for corners and R2 U’, F B’, R2, B F’, U’ R2 is for the sides. Maybe if I type it enough times I’ll remember this. This is clearly the top priority right now.)

I have a massive physics test on Thursday. Like, with enough surface area such that one can’t ignore air resistance massive. Everyone studying for the past week massive. A friend’s friend telling me this test made her abandon her dream of becoming an engineer massive. (Said friend is now a sixth grade math teacher.) Now my Irish Lit paper is done for the next few days, I can turn all my attention to studying for this test.

Oh yeah. I have a bunch of reading for Irish Lit, too. Whoops.

Scheduling, part VI

I recently registered for my sixth semester of classes. That’s right. The sixth. I will be a senior before I know it, and that is terrifying.

Registration for spring classes... just when the leaves fall and it gets really cold.

Registration, when you are enrolled as student, goes by credit hour, so I got to enroll at 3:30 pm on the first day of registration. When I was a freshman, I had to register quite late, since enrollment periods open for about two weeks. I’m only a junior, but I had some credit from AP tests I took in high school, and since I’m in the Butler honors college, I get twenty extra “ghost” credit hours added to my registration queuing total as a sort of perk. Anyway. The point being that I am all set for spring semester… which will also be terrifying, since I’m taking three English classes.

I thought for a long time that finishing an English major (the literature track) would be impossible, but I have since met with the head of Butler’s English Department, and I have new hope. I am way behind, however, and this spring is going to be rough. I’m taking twenty-one credit hours (which means I’ll have to pay for the extra credit hour I’m taking, since the limit for students with primary majors in the JCFA is 20 credit hours a semester). Nine of those hours are English classes. One of those English classes will go on my transcript as an internship, since I’m acting as a sort of TA for the department head’s EN 185 class.

(EN 185 is Intro to the Discipline of English. It’s the first class you take towards an English major. I’ll be responsible for all the work the other students do, plus reading literary criticism on the works, offering help with essay writing and revision, writing longer/more in-depth papers, and presenting several research projects to the class.)

I am going to be so busy. Wish me luck!

The classes I’m taking in the spring:

  • Ballet technique
  • Modern technique
  • Pointe technique
  • Pas de deux
  • Variations
  • Butler Ballet (rehearsal period)
  • Dance history 2
  • Choreography 2
  • Literature of the American Renaissance
  • Romanticism
  • Intro to the Discipline of English


This is a montage

The last few weeks of my life at Butler University, in picture form:

Photo Booth proof of my first independently completed Rubik’s cube. Useless talent? I don’t know. It was pretty entertaining, and I think I’ve upped my nerd score a solid A2 points.*

Here we see the promising beginning of cinnamon-raisin bread.

Now you see what happened when I decided it would be a good idea to put raisins on the outside of the loaf as well. Alien bread. A quick swipe of the hand knocked the raisins off–thank goodness since they looked ridiculous and tasted disgusting. (They had burnt in the oven. Burned raisins are not good.)

The end result turned out okay, though.

To the left is a very sparkly piece of green tulle, pictured here in its natural habitat in the Butler Dance Department’s costume shop. Members of Sigma Rho Delta are required to volunteer in the costume shop, and I actually enjoy it. Once you get into the groove of sewing or ripping or ironing (or whatever), it’s sort of peaceful. I gathered a million billion yards of this green tulle, which left sparkles everywhere. Everywhere. I accidently scraped the fabric against the back of a cloth-backed chair and left a smear of sparkles: It looked like the scene of a crime. Sparkle-guts.

We also recently received the news that Butler University president Bobby Fong is leaving at the end of this year to take over the presidency of Ursinus College. We’ll be sad to see him go!

So there are a few random things I’ve done/seen/heard in the last week or two. There are more, I’m sure, but my mind has gone blank and it’s about time to take my laundry out of the washer.


*Still confused about A2?