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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: June 2011

Summer at Butler: The Food

University Terrace, where I am staying this summer for Butler Summer Institute, has no microwave. This has not been too much of an issue. I did go upstairs to use a neighbor’s when I had a microwave Palak Paneer for dinner. (Is it still a “neighbor” if I live on a different floor, on the opposite side of the building?)

However, I am currently writing a blog post while my butter slowly comes to room temperature for the banana bread. Today I baked a cake for a potluck, roasted potatos/carrots/onion, and am about to finish banana bread. Since operations have stalled, I shall instead post pictures of food. Because I really, truly love food.

Pancakes– regular, chocolate chip, strawberry, and chocolate batter with banana

Quiche. A magical quiche my best friend made for me. It was quite a successful meal we had. Breakfast for dinner never fails.

The aforementioned quiche

Then I made a cake with my roommate.

We did a double-decker type model with my roommate’s homemade icing between the layers. I put blueberries on top. Then we put a glaze over the powdered sugar–and then it looked like a giant doughnut:

A huge doughnut

It was just a mix, but it certainly tastes good enough!

And then, I ate curry for lunch and dinner and lunch again. I left out the potatoes and chickpeas and added extra carrots, so it’s a lovely orange color.

So many good meals. I wonder if the banana bread’s butter has reached room temperature yet?

BSI: The Summary

So what do I do all day during BSI?

There’s always, always breakfast with a mug of tea, followed by work on BSI. Ballet happens at some point, and cooking adventures occur in the evenings. I attend BSI lunches every Wednesday and other BSI programming every Tuesday, plus other BSI events.

BSI events I’ve attended:

Other things I’ve done:

  • Take a practice GRE
  • Study for the GRE. Relearn special triangles.
  • Skype with my mentor, who is traveling in Australia
  • Discover there is a GRE English Subject Test. Freak out.
  • Make extensive use of Butler’s Interlibrary Loan system.
  • Play card games and Apples to Apples
  • Dinner with friends
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Wii night at the Apartment Village’s Dawghouse
  • Bingo night at the Dawghouse
  • Ballet, ballet
  • Explore Broad Ripple and taste truly excellent avocado eggs

But more than anything, I write, I read, I write some more. I discover that I shouldn’t really be longer than 25 pages and groan, because I’m set to pass that sooner or later. So I sit down and trim the excess wordiness, verbosity, prolixity, pleonasm, and garrulity. Research is what BSI is all about, and if you are good at self-motivation, this is definitely the program for you.

The future looms

Participating in BSI, I am for the first time surrounded by a concentrated group of students on track to do graduate school. Lately the pet topic has been the GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, a test of which I was only vaguely aware a few weeks ago.

It’s odd, since I want to dance after I graduate from college. If I go back to graduate school — which I would love to do, to study English literature — it will be who know how many years in the future. Maybe dancing won’t work out. (It must, it must!) Maybe I won’t want to go back to the academic world after having left it for five years? ten? twenty? Maybe I will be too poor to afford the schooling, or I will have a family or otherwise not want to move. I just don’t know.

YIKES.

I thought moving to college as a first-year student was a big deal. Turns out, the real world outside the classroom is much more uncertain. I’m going to take the new GRE. I’ll try to muddle through the terrifying GRE English Subject test in April. I’ll audition my behind off and hope to get into a company. And I’ll just exhale and let life take me on a ride.

Did I mention, my family is at the beach right now? I'm wishing myself back to this pool, currently located in Florida. (Well, always located in Florida -- currently and in the past.) Summer....

In the end, that’s all one can do, really. I’ll try my best and see what happens. And perhaps review my early British authors, since I think that’s my weakest point. (Except for poetry.) After BSI, I’ve totally got postcolonial Anglo-Celtic authors covered. And American literature from 1850-1855 should be good as well. I never realized just how vast the “canon” (can we even use that term anymore without a skeptical smile?) of English literature is.

Anyone want to hire a shorter female ballerina?

Necessary for college

There are lists and lists of college necessities on the Internet. You find the good and the bad and the just plain ridiculous. So of course I have decided to throw my voice in with the rest.

Bring an external hard drive and a flash drive to college.

Use that flash drive to carry documents, photos, VIPs (very important papers), and other files you might need during the day. I often do not have a chance to return to my apartment in the middle of the day, and I don’t like to carry my computer with me all the time (too heavy, too fragile, too expensive). If you have a paper due, either email it yourself so you can access it from a computer lab (there are loads around campus) or put it on that flash drive and keep it in your pocket.

Use an external hard drive to back up all those VIPs, photos, and extensive music libraries. Frequently. I might have under 10 GB of music (a shockingly low number compared to some of my friends), but I do have a updated tally of 49 separate Word documents relating to my BSI project. Forty-nine. If I lost them, I would do more than cry. I back up my files every day.

So bring those digital safeguards! You never need them until it’s too late… so be proactive.

Or you can just go back to pencil and paper, as I did during my physics adventure (which extended into Nutcracker performances, as you can tell by my outfit)

Family Tree

In general, I do a pretty lousy job of keeping in touch. But today I have to tell rising college freshmen–keep in touch! Stay connected, especially to your family. And what an awesome family I have.

My SISTER GRADUATED from high school after winning at life in general as well as acquiring a bike from the raffle at her school’s graduation party. My other SISTER SURVIVED a foot surgery and is now running around in flip-flops again with her expertly applied mascara and fashionable outfits. My MOM BOUGHT 6 KINDS OF CRACKERS for the graduation party. (Haha, Mom, those crackers were excellent. Also, you taught me how to cook and give me life advice.) And my DAD, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! You are one of the hardest working people I know. Also, you are in better shape than I will ever be.

High school seniors who just graduated, use all your social networking skills for the forces of good. Facebook and Skype are both excellent tools you can use to stay in touch with your families and your high school friends.

UT: Pictorial Tour IV

The final portion of my apartment in University Terrace is the heart of the home: the kitchen!

The kitchen, though quite small, is well stocked with oven, dishwasher, divided sink, and refrigerator. No microwave, so be ready to bring your own or heat up everything on the stovetop and forgo the microwave popcorn.

Bringing a wire rack like the one you see in the above picture? A very good idea. If you had four people in this apartment, I think the kitchen would be over-crowded, and a rack like this outside the kitchen would probably have to hold some pantry items.

Roommate who bakes delicious cake items not included.

Neither is the 6 Minute Moosewood cake with said roommate’s strawberry purée swirled on top into the shape of a heart. You can tell I made this instead of tasty-baking roommate because the batter is dripped all over the side of the pan and the glaze is haphazardly and unevening dumped on top.

The pictorial tour is now at an end. I hope you chose to fly with us again. If you want to review or catch up, here are the links to the rest of this tour through an apartment in University Terrace:

Living room and living room

Restroom

Bedroom

The fun statistics

At this sort-of-one-third-of-the-way-through-point half-way point (yikes!) in Butler Summer Institute, I thought I should share a few fun facts with you:

As of June 14, 2011,

Number of Word documents associated with BSI project: 43

Number of paper drafts: 2

Words written in current paper draft: 3907

Number of sources read in whole or in part: 11

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Anglo-Celtic”: 4

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Welsh”: 35

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Irish”: 46

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Wales”: 23

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Ireland”: 21

Cups of tea consumed: ??

Websites most visited: Butler email, BBC News, RSS reader, Facebook, and Pandora

UT: Pictorial Tour III

Having shown you part of the living room, the restroom, and the bedroom, I continue my picture safari to show you the rest of the large living room. Hold on to your hats!

In one corner, you see our desks, which we painstakingly dragged out of the bedroom. I spend the majority of my waking hours in the apartment seated at my desk. Facing the windows, I have quite good light until the sun starts to set and I have to slant the blinds upward to retain my vision. Because we have a basement apartment, our windows give us a smashing view of the bumpers of the cars in the parking lot.

A veeery large window. You can see our coffee-table turned dining-table, complete with floor pillows on which to sit. And a random wire rack, which holds pillows and occasionally cakes. And my rack of pointe shoes. Moving on.

Facing the big window is our bookshelf, the largest furniture item to come into the apartment and, after the desks, the most-used. As you can see, the two of us have nearly filled two of the three shelves with books for BSI. Proud. Bookish. Happy to have a bookshelf.

We just need some bamboo shots and maybe one of those portable rock gardens. It is both dinner table and Zen corner, and you can see my copy of John Ackerman‘s study on Dylan Thomas next to a deflated chess board.

UT: Pictorial tour II

To continue my graphic representation of Butler’s University Terrace housing option, I give you the bedroom:

This is the view as if you were standing in the bedroom doorway. There were no light fixtures in the room, and generally the housing includes an overhead light in each room. So that’s a bit weird. Also, the slat that holds the mattress onto the bed is the same height as the mattress. We frequently smacked our knees into the wood for the first week until we remembered automatically to lift our legs a bit higher when clambering onto the bed.

To the right of the doorway are the two closets. They are fairly large. And they’re closets. Not much to report. I did hang the jewelry holder I knit on the wall.

Quite proud of this one

To the left of the closets are our beds. I thought it might be odd to go back to sharing a room after living a year in AV (Apartment Village), where I had my own bedroom, but an apartment makes all the difference. In ResCo and Swchitzer, there was only the bedroom and the bathroom, and I’d go stir crazy. In an apartment, there is also a living room and a kitchen, so I am not sleeping and eating and doing schoolwork all in the same place. Much better.

Finally, turn left again and see my bed and the two dressers. The desks, dressers, beds, and desk chairs all come with the apartment. There are no trashcans, so you will want to bring your own. Also, there is no type of table. Check in next time to see what my roommate who likes cookies and I have devised!

BSI, Weekend 2

The second weekend of BSI passed me by rather quickly. After my surprisingly negative reaction to the First Friday trip, the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project was wonderful. A group of the BSI students along with the woman who is in charge of the program, plus another professor, worked with KIB on a community garden south of Indianapolis.

The KIB logo--click through for website

One group went to build a shade shelter. I’m still not entirely clear as to what that is, but I know it involved plywood and concrete, which is fairly intense. I stayed at the first site, with the vegetable garden. We weeded, cut and transported sod (and got very dirty in the process), and built a path (with step-stones and mulch) from a flowers/sitting-bench spot to the vegetable garden.

By the end, we were so grimy from the dirt blowing off the sod we ran into the sprinkler to clean off. Then we ate at a Jewish deli. Then it was home for a shower. I call that morning a success.

Later that night I had a potluck dinner with my roommate and another good friend, and we watched Sex and the City. I had never seen it before. It’s silly, but oh the clothes theclothestheclothes! Dinner was delicious–my friend found the best rosemary crackers. With soy cheese? I ate so many.

Green...

Sunday, I biked to church, saw my boyfriend who just arrived for summer classes, went to a ballet rehearsal, and had some truly excellent pizza. Monday it was back to BSI, and I finished skimming/reading Declan Kiberd’s Irish Classics. This is a massive book. I celebrated (preemptively) with ice cream, which was obtained by biking to the Safeway via the canal path.

I have decided I like Butler in the summer.