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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Firefly.
Robin McKinley.
Captain Wentworth.
Malcolm Reynolds.
BBC mini-series.
Jane Austen.
The West Wing.
Anne Shirley.
Horatio Hornblower.


A small sampling of things that compose my mental stockpile. Things that I forget some people know nothing about. Shows, books, characters, networks. Some of you do know of these things. Some of you know of many these things. Some of you, I bless and curse you, introduced me to several of the items on the list. Whatever the case may be, these things run thick in my psyche and have been begging for recognition. And now they have it.

If any of the names on this list appear foreign to you, might I suggest you introduce yourself as soon as possible. They are all spirited companions and will offer lifetimes of happiness.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

good hair

I just got out of the theater seeing this documentary compiled by Chris Rock. It unveils the depths to which black women go to secure what society defines as "good hair." As a white girl, my complaints usually revolve around a cowlick, not nappy, thick, coarse hair. Once I figured out how to use a round brush and that humidity is not my friend, I really had little to worry about.

Holy expensive beauty habits batman! I knew weaves were expensive and all, but it was ridiculous the amount of money some of these women spent on "their" hair.

The best part of this film, however, was watching it with nearly thirty other people. All black. Mostly women. Did I mention I'm white? And preppy? Even hiding in the back row, I could feel the awkward stares. I loved some of the reactions to this documentary because of my obvious status as a minority. These women were shocked and appalled at what some of their cultural peers were doing, and it made me happy.

"What're they doin' puttin' dat baby in for a perm?"

"One thousin' dolla? And they ain't payin' no rent? Tha' ain't right!"

Not to mention all of the "Mmhmmm"s and the "You got dat right!"s making sporadic appearances.

My favorite was in the parking lot after we all left. A group of women were discussing the film together as they walked out to their car. "I had no idea people would do that to their baby's hair," exclaimed one woman.

"Me neither!" The words were out of my mouth before I realized it. The women all laughed in unison and replied, "I bet you didn't." What would the tall white girl with long blond hair possibly know about hair relaxers? Or weaves? Or hot irons? Or..or..or...

More than they will ever realize, that's for pretty dang sure.

Friday, October 23, 2009

one small step for man...

One ginormous leap for the procrastinator! After being good and bribed by my mum*, I finally got my application printed out! Writing sample? Done. Resume? Done. Statement of Intent That Was Leading to my Early Death? DONE! I haven't finished all of the application, but what remains can be done Monday morning. This feels good, this feels really good.

*My mum offered to take me to IKEA for lingonberry juice, the Big House at the University of Michigan AND the cider mill if I finished my application. Note for future reference, incentive like that seriously works on me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

intro to world cultures 101

This day long course offers a broad introduction to Western Culture. Designed for relatives around the age of sixteen, it begins with an early morning viewing of CBS Sunday Morning featuring segments on Andy Williams and a witty opinion piece on geeks. To set the tone for Sunday, this is followed by Music and the Spoken Word, a weekly television broadcast by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Once properly attired, our students attend services at a local Young Single Adult ward for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unlike normal church congregations, YSA wards are made up solely of individuals spanning ages eighteen to thirty-one. It is a cultural experience in and of itself full of dating drama, lifelong friends, pindrop-silent Sacrament Meetings, and rock solid testimonies.

Such an experience can be overwhelming to a teenage mind. Thus the course is taken to the Sundance Resort in the place of Sunday School. We like to call this portion Sundance School. High in the Wasatch Mountains, Sundance exposes our students to the lifestyle of the rich and western. A lunch of fresh deli sandwiches and glass bottled root beer is eaten on the grass surrounding the ski lift. Once nourished, the students watch resident glass blowers at work followed by a tour of the on-site gallery. A few postcards later, the students are placed in the car to head home.

Though the learning experience would seem to be over, the curriculum extends to the car. Exposure to Sunday Bluegrass on a local radio station and then A Prairie Home Companion on NPR round off the day.

Grading is based off of involvement throughout the day. No prerequisites necessary.

Friday, October 16, 2009

memory lane

How do you compensate for plans falling through every two minutes leaving you with little clue as to where you will sleep that night?

Easy. An entire day with your sixteen year-old cousin, grandmother, and a house that breathes through every memory of your childhood. It helped that this nostalgic reverie was infused with treasure hunting in nooks, corners, closets, attics, and crevices. Then there was the storytelling, the giggling, frolicking, dress-up, creative inspiration, smiles, and all around general bits of happiness.

Plans imploded again after this, but it was totally worth those three hours in the middle of nowhere with nothing but family and memory-making in the works.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

pivot

packing
planning
praying
photos.

papers
professors
planes
pitfalls.

packing.

pilots
ports.

purpose...

pods
purses
people
pretending.

packing.

picking
pruning
perspective.

projects.

planning
plaster
painting
pencils
placating.

praying
permitting.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

get your kicks

I got rather used to my drives from Provo to Southern Utah during my years out there. A quick two and a half hours through the middle of nowhere, driving at mock nine speeds, soaking in the most glorious desert mountain views.

My drive between Columbus and Detroit is absolutely nothing like this. But it definitely has its virtues.

It begins with the drive north along the Olentangy River, heavy laden with views of color morphing trees, rural estates, and the winding water.

The country highway through Central Ohio is a far cry from the middle of nowhereness I'm used to. Namely, there are four lanes, lots of cars, and you're not driving directly in front of Ma and Pa's front door and dodging their cow Bessie. But I do cut through the seas of fields, dotted with red barns and lots of ponds.

One of my favorite aspects of this drive is radio surfing as I get further north. From All Buckeyes, All the Time to Talk of Lima. I know I'm close to home when I can tune into CBC and get the weather report in Celsius again. Hockey reports take precedence over OSU football. Then I get Michigan Radio, the NPR syndicate out of the University of Michigan.When I hear that, I know all is well with the world once more.

This nearly four hour long drive bridges a hundred year-old rivalry, several metropolitan areas, farms, factories, cultures, countries, and a most sacred state line. Not a mountain sojourn, but still a highly desirable trip.

Friday, October 09, 2009

homesick


Dear Europe,

It was two years ago now when you and I first met. It was beautiful. Cobbled streets, Georgian buildings, new friends, new places, and a wonderful culture that felt custom made for me. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and all the experiences we had. Lately I've been longing for you more than usual. I left several dear friends in your care when I left, but a few more have recently returned to you. They send me updates of their experiences in the UK and the Netherlands and I long for a reunion all the more. Take care of my friends. I'm doing my best to return to you soon.

All my love,

engquist

Monday, October 05, 2009

walk don't run

One of my all-time favorite films is Walk Don't Run with Cary Grant. In it, the romantic lead (not Cary Grant, by the way) is in Tokyo for the Olympics. His event is not revealed until he competes.

Walking.

That's right, he was a speed walker. I used to jest over this endlessly until one day it dawned on me that walking could be my ticket to the Olympics someday. Running is most emphatically not my thing, but I do enjoy walking at a brisk pace.

With this in mind, I went for a pseudo-Olympic paced stroll along the Scioto River today. Along the eastern bank there is a park with paths and grassy knolls in abundance. The people watching was pretty great, too. Cars were parked along the path housing countless individuals who wanted nothing to do with the beautiful fall day. A charming late-middle aged woman chowing down on a drive-thru burger. A guy taking a late morning nap in his dingy Ford Taurus. The proper businessman in his flashy Mustang pulled into a spot for a phone call. Good times...

I really love the parks here in Columbus. Nature and city seem to fuse together seamlessly, a feature I am greatly enjoying after living on the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains for who knows how many years. It takes nothing but a left turn in most places here to find yourself in a botanical oasis. It's absolutely wonderful!