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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: May 2011

The coffee saga

My cousin at Giant's Causeway

My love affair with tea began at the tip of Northern Ireland, in a restaurant at Giant’s Causeway. My geology-minded cousin wanted to visit the site, so there we were, the four of us–my grandparents, my cousin, and me.

The Irish table--site of my tea testing experience

Once we had clambered among the rocks, it was time for lunch. The table was so small, we had to put the tea pot underneath the table! My grandfather ordered the tea, but when it came, it was hot. He had hoped for iced tea and asked if anyone wanted it; I did not think I liked tea but figured I should try it since, hey, I was in Ireland, land of tea and sheep.

Ireland is green and filled with sheep.

I loved it, and I proceeded to drink my way through Ireland–with tea. I kept a journal, and at the end of our trip, I had had something like twenty-four cups of tea. That’s somewhere around six cups of tea a day!

Of course, when I returned home to Richmond, I could not keep consuming tea at that prodigious rate. Too much caffeine, not enough walking-everywhere-as-a-tourist exhaustion. But my love of tea remained with me for the next three years.

I read books on tea, collected teapots, gave a speech on the benefits of tea-drinking for speech class, bonded with my not-at-that-point boyfriend over mutual coffee dislike, frequented the tea store in Richmond, began every morning with a mug and like as not ended the day with the same.

I still love tea. But I have long wanted to drink decaffeinated coffee after dinner parties. It seems so elegant, the delicate white cups on their saucers, a dessert more refined than a brownie. A few months ago, I began to accept a half-cup of coffee at every catered event I attended. I mixed in milk and mounds of white sugar and sipped at it a few times, disliking the bitter taste but enjoying the sophistication aura of dessert coffee. Silly, I know. I feel the same way about cheesecake; I don’t like it, but it seems so refined!

And then I ordered a decaffeinated coffee from Starbucks. I managed to get about half of it down. Then came the decaffeinated vanilla latte from the Monon Coffee Company. Then the vanilla latte at the airport Caribou Coffee a mere week ago–the first caffeinated coffee drink I’d ever tried. I managed to drink most of the small size, wishing there were a half-cup size I could order.

Now I sit in Hubbard and Cravens, having tried my first mocha. And I want another. This might be the first coffee drink I really enjoyed… and I might have been craving coffee for a few days prior to the event.

Tell me now. Am I treading a dangerous path? Should I nip this coffee craving in the bud before it gets out of hand? I don’t want to have to have coffee in the morning to function. Tea is quite sufficient. And mixed coffee drinks are expensive. And I feel a traitor to tea. But the foam, the foam! Mmmm….

No more promises

Okay, I just don’t feel like detailing the pen-returning adventure. Suffice it to say that there might have been a car chase, a reunion, and the return of inadvertently pilfered property. And ninja moves.

Dylan Thomas

This Sunday marks the end of the first week of BSI. Butler Summer Institute is a nine week program that allows students from all disciplines to conduct an independent study over the summer with a faculty mentor. Butler University provides housing and a stipend; there are also various lunches, informational sessions, and other get-togethers. I think we might get to do practice GREs. Next week is a research ethics module. Ugh. Much more fun will be the volunteering project in the works.

My first week looked a bit like this:

Monday–Move in. All day. BSI dinner in the evening.

Tuesday–Move in during the morning. Research in the afternoon. Discover UT kitchens doe not include microwaves.

Wednesday–Library in the morning. Lunch with the rest of the BSI participants. The library again. Give myself a ballet class. Research for the rest of the day.

Thursday–Research in the morning. Take a ballet class from a DVD with some other Butler dance majors who are on campus. Play the piano. Research for the rest of the day. Walk to a restaurant with my roommate and a friend for dinner. Research.

Friday–Research in the morning. Take a jazz class and give a ballet class with another Butler dance major. Play the piano. Research for the rest of the day.

James Joyce

Saturday–Visit the farmer’s market with my roommate. She has been spoiled by the farmer’s markets abroad but still managed to find some asperagus that wasn’t too expensive. Walk a bit in Broad Ripple. Do research and laundry. Bike to the nearby St. Thomas’ for Mass. Research.

 

Sunday–Breakfast in UT, then bike to Hubbard and Cravens’ coffee shop to research and finish annotating my last primary source! Write a blog post in stilted sentences.

Stilted, stilted. Time to delve into Anglo-Celtic literary tradition! Exclamation point not sarcastic. Quite sincere in my love of Dylan Thomas, even if James Joyce still requires many, many pretzels for moral support.

Still being fulfilled–tornadoes

The promises, I mean. Those pesky promises. The problem with assuring blog readers of future explanation comes with the actually-having-to-write-those-explanations bit. But we forge ahead:

Not driving in a car adventures: Indiana is stormy in the summer. Apparently.

Driving to a ballet rehearsal in Carmel, we were forced to seek shelter as a sudden storm blew in–one moment, the rain; the next, the upended rain barrel of God. Gravity twisted in more than three directions. Visibility was so bad it was hard to discern whether that gap in road was actually a side street into which we could turn.

We took shelter outside a synagogue. The windshield fogged up, and I had to call my dad to look up the number of the ballet studio so I could warn them of my probable tardiness.

So the rain passed and the windshield finally unfogged and after the ballet rehearsal, we tracked down a Japanese restaurant called Sakura which had been recommended to me by the Italian lady on my plane ride a few days previous. Spider rolls = good. Eating a bunch of wasabi plain = tears.

The courtyard at UT

This weather thing that I’ve discovered is normal for a Midwest summer. Yes? I’m not liking it so much. Now, wearing clothes and not absolutely melting in the outside air is lovely, especially after two decades of humid, oppressive Richmond summers. The brisk air as I eat my morning toast in the University Terrace courtyard? Divine.

The tornado sirens and the lightening and the calls warning us to seek shelter late in the night? Not so much a fan.

We are fortunate enough to be living in a basement apartment, so we did not have to go anywhere to seek shelter, except perhaps away from the larger windows in the living room. Nevertheless, I still harbored images of the car directly outside the window by my bed being slammed into the building and crushing me into something out of Flatland.

Despite the reassurances of my Midwestern roommate–who has actually survived a tornado–I might have hidden in an alcove in the living room until the lightning slowed.

Fulfilling the promise

Fulfilling the promise I made in my last post

Moving adventures: So I haven’t checked out of my Apartment Village apartment yet. I have until May 31, and I’m taking my sweet time about cleaning everything up before check out. Meanwhile, I’ve finished moving in University Terrace, minus the cleaning things still in AV.

This means my Butler ID remains keyed for AV. This means I could not open the door to UT on Sunday afternoon when I checked in. This means when I tried to move in Monday morning with a carload full of bookshelves and clothes, the door still refused to open.

So my boyfriend and I (he was helping me move in since I don’t have a car) went to Jimmy John’s in Broad Ripple for lunch. We ended up getting a free soda, because whenever we go out to eat, people give us food. It’s our special talent.

When we returned from lunch, still with a car full of stuff and stuff and stuff, there was nary a soul in sight. Door locked. Despair. We walked a lap around the building. As we prepared to leave, I spied a maintenance worker–who let us into the building.

So I was able to read the number of the UT staff on duty posted inside the lobby. So I called for aid. Apparently my ID, keyed to open AV, won’t work in UT until I’m checked out. So I got a special little gray object to put on my key ring so I can open the UT door. So, after much tribulation, I moved in. (And I kept moving in with my roommate all Tuesday morning as well.)

BSI dinner: Monday evening marked the first official BSI meeting. All participants met for a dinner of Qdoba in the Holcomb Garden‘s Garden House. We did the name thing–over and over. To tell the truth, I’m glad we are spending so much energy learning each other’s names, since I have a very poor memory when it comes to matching names and faces.

Holcomb Gardens: Click for source

Running barefoot through a storm adventures: Halfway through the BSI dinner, the storm began. I had no idea Indiana was so stormy in the summer. Apparently it’s a Midwest thing. Silly Midwest.

Getting back to UT in the rain without getting wet? Impossible. Getting back to UT without completely wrecking my new shoes? Possible. We had to cut through Holcomb Gardens–no pathways. All grass. All rain. All mud.

I took my shoes off and leapt with a yodel over a bed of mulch. I squished my way through the Garden… and sunk in the mire of mud next to the road. Dark gunk spurted up between my toes. I wavered, then decided I might as well enjoy the freedom. “Mud!” I squished my way back home.

Taking my shoes off in the rain made me feel quite rebellious. I suppose that’s my cue to recognize the lack of daring in my life. Well, we arrive places piecemeal. Words of wisdom for the week.

Moving Day(s)

For the past two days, I have been moving. Moving clothes and school things. Moving books and pots and pans. Moving a heavy bookcase.

BSI has officially started! And yes, I’m still not completely finished moving. My Apartment Village lease is still good, so I’m just transporting things piecemeal into our University Terrace apartment that is the provided (aka, free!) housing for Butler Summer Institute participants.

University Terrace

Also, I relearned how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I am definitely looking forward to this summer–and yesterday it was wonderful to be reunited with my roommate who bakes cupcakes. You know, the troublesome one. She was in France last semester, and I get to room with her in UT and hear all about her international escapades.

I’ll post pictures and write more about the moving adventures, BSI dinner, running barefoot through a storm adventures, not driving in a car adventures, and pen-returning adventures later. I have some glass baking pans to move.

The best of the Internet

High school seniors, I know you are still very busy. My own sister will graduate from high school this year, and she’s running all over the place. Last night, we went to her International Thespian Society program! So proud of my little sister.

So yes, you high schoolers are still in the thick of things.

Buuuut, for those of us in college who have been on summer break for a while, here’s my recommended collection of links for your spare-time, lazy-summer, viewing pleasure.

1. Yarn art. Juliana Santacruz Herrera fills Parisian potholes with yarn.

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/39380641@N03/

2. The periodic table of storytelling. Science, English, this has it all! Mary Sues? Check. Lovable Rogues? Check. Chekhov’s gun, Retconning, Fridge Logic, and Technobabble? Cheeeeck and check.

3. More yarn art, this time guerilla-style! “Yarn bombing” is a phrase used to describe guerilla knitting, the placement of knitted or crocheted pieces in a public place.

From http://yarnbombing.com/global-yarn-bombing-round-up

4. The ever-popular wooden cell phone commercial. It’s so oddly mesmerizing…

YouTube Preview Image

5. Gender-neutral book titles. One of the Dalloways.

6. A blog with participative poems, doodle-y programs, games, applications… I can’t really explain it. You’ll just have to go there. I’ll leave you with this one since, if you are like me, you’ll be there for a while.

I fail to climb the tree

Butler’s two libraries–Irwin and the Science Library–kind of pale in comparison to the Central Library in Indianapolis I detailed in my last post. (Though if all my archives weren’t frustratingly lost, I could direct you to the posts I wrote last year about why the science library rocks.)

However, Butler does have an awesome interlibrary loan system. Theoretically, I could get a book from Australia. I haven’t done that, but I’ve received my fair share of books from IU’s library.

Exploring the jungle.

Still, I’ll always have a soft spot for the library near my house–so near that I can walk to it. I have to go through the open spot in the fenced off dead-end of the street, traverse a bamboo forest, hop a drainage ditch, climb a hill of mulch, battle the far-reaching branches from the huge bushes, and dodge, Frogger-style, all the minivans in the parking lot. But I can walk there.

I found a tree!

Sometimes I walk there with friends. Sometimes, that’s how I know summer has really started.

Sometimes, I fail to climb the tree.

Snapshot: Central Library

Here are some as-yet-unshared pictures from my visit to the Central Library in Indianapolis. Aka, the Library of Dreams and Wonder.

I love to read. If my blog archives had not been cruelly ravaged/deleted (still in mourning), I would direct you to the approximately twenty books I reviewed at the end of last summer. This year has hit me particularly hard with reading for classes, so I haven’t had so much time for fun books.

I blame physics class, my long Irish literature paper, and the spring’s twenty-two credits hours and the nine credits of English class included in that count. I blame Emily Dickinson and the Romantic poets and Herman Melville and the giant Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Criticism and Theory I read at night and over breakfasts.

Not that literary theory isn’t fun. I love throwing around words/phrases like “hermeneutical,” “accomplished nihilist,” and “always already.” It just tends to take me a good hour or so of research to understand the basic outline of the concepts used to describe lit theory. I love the wacked-out, odd-ball things text does. I don’t so much love the headache of arriving at that conclusion. (Well, sometimes. If I understand the process, it’s wonderful.)

As I read more and more, the process becomes easier. That is to say, I don’t have to stop and decipher all those “hermeneutical,” “binary opposition,” “signifier,” and “de Manian” references.

Still, I miss quick jaunts in and out of BookWorld à la Fforde (finished One of Our Thursday is Missing–very good, not his best work, but I still read into the night to finish it). During the year, I managed to make time for a visit to Indianapolis’ huge-normous Central Library. Consider proximity to the Library of Dreams and Wonder one of the perks of attending Butler University. Pictures, commence:

The main lobby/atrium

It's HUGE!

Chilling in the sweet chairs in the kids' section.

Snapshot: Still sleeping

Sleeping Beauty! It happened my last full weekend at Butler! I enjoyed myself immensely! Exclamation points!! My parents came to see it–and my grandparents and my boyfriend’s family and an aunt-uncle pair. I’ve never had so many people in the audience, and I am so thankful to all who went out of their way to attend the performances.

For the Honors Ceremony after the Saturday night show, my family all wore white. This was unintentional, but made for a funny picture. White and cream, white and khaki, white and grey. With my heeled shoes, we all became exactly the same height as well.

The Honors Ceremony’s timing is less than perfect: It’s after the night show, which means it starts well after 10 pm. We were finished just before midnight, but it was past pumpkin hour by the time I got back to my dorm room.

The event honors students in the dance department for achievements in performance, work ethic, leadership, spirit, and academic work throughout the year. There are a variety of awards, including many moments of recognizing the graduating class.

There are also little ham sandwiches there, with fresh fruit. I love strawberries.

One of the most beautiful flower arrangements I've received

Tutu!

Snapshot: Architecture

Here’s a snapshot from this past year that I never got around to posting. Snapshot: Architecture, I choose you!

This is from a dancer gathering I attended. Not being much for large crowds, I decided to head to where the real party was cooking… the game of Jenga. Excuse me, “Jumbling Towers,” as the box says.

After the tall tower was well and truly jumbled (by my overly ambitious move), the architectural phase of the evening began. Here is the finished product.

Marvelous, no? As much as I complain about the seemingly endless streams of papers, I do get to have some building-block-related fun at Butler.

Okay, it’s back to my summer fun book for some intense relaxation. I’m finally reading the most recent Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde, One of Our Thursdays is Missing. So good!

Riddle: How does November relate to this in-book map of Fiction Island? Take a gander to find out!