Sunday, January 29, 2006
Hey Mr. Postperson
To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. ~Phyllis Theroux

Since reading a post on my friend Bethany's blog and reading an article for my feminist theory class which involved looking at women's letters from the 19th century, I've been thinking of my own dependence and reliance on technology.

Under my girl-hood bed is a plastic storage container that holds a sample of notes from my elementary school days. The notes hold sweet words from Kip, Mark and Joey (who now goes by Joe but I can't make the switch) who ask me to hold hands with them at recess and tell me that they will marry me someday. I have re-read those notes a thousand times--laughing and remembering a 4th or 5th grader who was simple enough to find pleasure in friendship bracelets but complex enough to deny boys kisses on the grounds that "I didn't want to have my FIRST kiss on the playground." I have also re-read the notes and cringed at the memory of first discovering the boys in my class were drawing naked pictures of the girls. I re-read the notes and tear up at the words from Bruce who was killed the summer after I graduated. The notes have gotten so much mileage that the writing is starting to fade at the creases. I know that I will have them forever. Someday if I have a child, I will show her and the contents will prompt lots of stories about my childhood. She will probably laugh at the image of her mother holding hands with a boy who isn't her father or at the realization that I was once her age. She will read letters from my later childhood from my friend Jennifer who I left behind when I moved to MI. We wrote letters well into our high school years. I have a letter which contains information about her date with "Chris" who went on to become her husband.

My daughter can also read my journals from that time--and all the way through college. However, if she wanted written word from my mid 20's, she would have to read In the past 2 years due to life, changing technology and laziness I have stopped writing letters and journaling. Instead, I write e-mails, text messages and blog entries. I have unlimited long distance so I have grown accustomed to immediate gratification. When I want to tell someone something I call them. If I have a simple question (like what my sister did for dinner last night) I text message her. Most of my romantic messages from my college and current significant others are in e-mail form. Luckily Drew did write me many "real" letters last year during our long distance. However, we have many more loving e-mails and texts.

What will happen with the technology we have now is obsolete? What happens when my hotmail account that I started in 1998 is no longer functioning? What happens when blogspot ceases operation? What happens when my daughter asks for a letter from her Aunt Kourtney writing about how she met Uncle X (name to be filled in later)? I pull out a variety of printed papers with GMAIL at the top?! I retrieve printed copies of Delightfully Dogmatic? It just doesn't seem as charming. And even more pragmatically, what happens if I pass away after leading a famous, academic life and there is no record of the correspondence I have had with the most important people in my life?!

Worse yet, what if my daughter never asks to see my writings because she is immune to the power of letters? What if her and her childhood friends don't write letters? My 11 year old sister told me that most mornings before school she writes to her cousin Britteney. I assumed she meant a note that she passes to her in the hall. Instead, she meant that she e-mails her. Every morning my sister e-mails before school. Times have changed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Glamour Girls
Hey Everyone!

Check out the new pictures on shutterfly!
Some great ones from the holiday party, NCA, and McBain for the holidays.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Political Philosophy
I always explain that I am a liberal because I would rather give free riders a lift than punish those that work hard yet can't overcome a system which continuously holds them down. I will support welfare, affirmative action, planned parenthood services, etc because I believe that there are people who need those things. There are people who are not as fortunate as myself. Being surrounded by a lot of rural poor here in Athens (and hearing Drew's stories about his high school students), I am constantly reminded how the system has worked with me and for me rather than against me. The South (and all it’s poverty and discrimination) has made me even more firm in my beliefs. We need social action and justice because there are people who can't do it on their own. There are people who are born with all strikes against them. Today a song came onto my Ipod shuffle that really capsulated some of the things I have been thinking about lately. The past 5 or 6 months I have really gotten into Mike Doughty (thanks Drew!). He sings silly songs about "Busting Up Starbucks" and "Tremendous Brunettes" but also sings serious songs like "Your Misfortune" which really sums up my political philosophy:

When your faith in life is gone
Come and speak to me
When you’re down and all messed up
Seek my sympathy when everybody says no, no, no
Well it’s your misfortune and none of my own
Wrong, wrong, wrong
Well it’s your misfortune that sweetens my song
I can be the friend you want I can be your confidante I can be the right reminder at the right time throwing out the lifeline
When your face is caked with mud
Come and speak to me
When the chill creeps in your blood
Seek my sympathy
I can be the air you drink
Every single thought you think
I can be the right notion in the meantime
Warm you like the sunshine

Stand in the light. Stand in the light. Stand in the light

I especially like the line about "seek my sympathy when everyone says no, no, no"
I wish there were more people who understood that all people's misfortunes are weaved together. It is my misfortune if 65% of the high school students in Athens don't go to college. It is my misfortune if young women don't have access to contraceptives or pre-natal care. Even if these things are not part of my fate, they are part of my community. I should feel responsible. Our elected officials should feel sympathy and a sense of obligation. I have grown weary of the politics game. I am still enamored with political action--we just haven't seen much of that as of late.

Monday, January 16, 2006
God Has Been Busy
As many of you know, I grew up fairly religious. I have always believed in "God" and tried to live a "good" life. However, in recent years I have grown more and more skeptical of organized religion and associating with mainstream denominations. I have grown weary of "typical" Christians who use God as a weapon and as a message of hate rather than love and acceptance. I think of churches a lot like greek organizations--they have potential to do a lot of good (because of their financial resources and community outreach) but more often than not groupthink becomes damaging to their overall goals. However, the biggest problem for Christians today is the number of crazy people out there that loudly spread "god's word." Here are a few of my favorite messages from God:

New Orleans Mayor stated today that God is pretty pissed at all the black people in New Orleans who keep fighting--that's why he keeps sending all those pesky hurricanes (in other news he also promises to return NOLA to a “Chocolate City”)

Are you Gay or Lesbian and don't want to be? Just turn to THIS South Carolinian church

Many people fear that Ralph Reed is putting money before God

It isn't enough to punish African Americans--God is also punishing Ariel Sharon for "dividing his land." His stroke was "divine punishment."

The scariest thing is that there are people out there who BELIEVE this stuff. I know a lot of really intelligent Christians who possess independent thought and clear judgment. However, there are a lot of Christians who aren't so lucky. They probably voted for President Bush in the name of unborn fetuses. Little do they know that the abortion rate is nearing a record high (much higher than when that heathen Clinton was in office). Hmmm....I wonder how God will punish those voters.

What would MLK Jr. Do?
I will never understand why famous people get free merchandise. Call me silly but if someone can afford the stuff anyway, why give it to them for free?! Perhaps the gifts can be given to their assistants, family, or not given at all. In fact, why not put any money that was going to be spent on ridiculous goodies for stars into a bank account that can then be used to cure world hunger or give poor children vaccines...Brilliant!

Let's start with the $47, 405 that is being spent on EACH presenter at tonight's Golden Globes. You read it right, folks--47, 405 DOLLARS in merchandise is being given to EACH Golden Globe presenter. The powers that be did not select presenters from women's clinics, orphanages, or developing nations. No, they chose them from Hollywood's A List. Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Penelope Cruz, Tim Robbins, Paul Walker, Luke Wilson and the cast of “Will and Grace” will all be receiving: a trip for 2 to Antartica and Canada with "winter gear," one pair of diamond encrusted jeans worth over $1,000, a $300 vacuum and much, much more. From what I can tell, there are about 30 presenters for the show tonight. Let's see...30 times 47, 405.....(*carry the two*....*add the remainder*)... 1,422,150. This amount is also known as--A SHIT LOAD OF MONEY.

If you'll excuse me...I have to go call Sally Struthers to see how many children we can sponsor.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Today was a nervous day around Terrell Hall. Not only did the first year students receive our evaluations from the faculty, but we also got our student evaluations back from last semester. There is something about evaluations that put everyone on edge. We've been waiting all week and today was the lucky day. We sort of tip toed around for a while and pretty soon started sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with each other. Since we had heard some pretty horrible things about the faculty letters we’ve been quick to reassure people that the letter experience would be okay. We were all great students, no real problems, etc. But you never really know—until you read the letter.

We all got some negative student evaluations but from what I could tell, the rest of the letters/comments were positive. However, the best part of the day was the support we all gave each other. Everyone hears horror stories about graduate departments that are uber competitive and adversary. It could easily be that way at Georgia. But thankfully I have the greatest, most encouraging classmates EVER. I was so proud of us today! We handled a very stressful day with ease and humor. I'm so glad we felt comfortable sharing the good and the bad (there was no ugly to share!) with each other. We know that Terrell 226 is free of judgment and full of hugs and giggles.

P.S. Sorry for the cheesey post everyone! I couldn't resist!


Because I have obsessive compulsive tendencies, I often become consumed with various things at various times. There is very little in between for me. I either go all out embracing something or I reject it. Cases in point:

Grey's Anatomy
College Basketball

Pop Culture:
Brokeback Mountain
Truman Capote

My Polka Dot pajamas
My brown professor'ish sweater (with elbow patches!)
My first honeymoon/wedding/shower/graduation dresses that I bought from J Crew


I wish I would be consumed with thoughts of spin class or weight lifting. But alas, most of my obsessions are those I can do while sitting on my butt. It is safe to say that if I am not doing homework, I am watching or reading about one of the above things while wearing my pajamas or sweater!

Thursday, January 05, 2006
Fresh Start
::So this is the new year. And i don't feel any different. The clanking of crystal Explosions off in the distance (in the distance). So this is the new year And I have no resolutions For self assigned penance For problems with easy solutions, Death Cab::

A friend was giving me a hard time about setting New Year's goals. He claims he isn't that "motivated" which is probably the same reason he isn't in post, post graduate school. I don't think of myself as an overly motivated person. I procrastinate a lot, have lazy tendencies and waste a lot of time (happily) doing nothing. However, I always enter the New Year with great hope. This is going to be the year that I banish all my vices and live a year of the utmost productivity and joy.

One of Drew's favorite stories to tell was that the New Year of 2004 brought some soul searching for he and his friend Mike. They committed to being a little bit more serious and (maybe) finding a special someone. A month and a half later, I walked into the bar and we reconnected. The rest is history. He said he new 2004 would be a great year as 4 is his lucky number. I love that story because it is a great example of someone who took the New Year as an opportunity to alter his lifestyle slightly. Sure, he had no idea some overly friendly woman would approach him in a bar and start yelling at him for owning an SUV. But we both know that the Drew of 2001 or 2002...even 2003 wouldn't have been ready for the Kristen of 2004. However, January 1st, 2004 brought the Drew of 2004--the man who was fit to become my fiancé. Thank god for setting goals in honor of the New Year!

I am very happy with the Kristen of 2005. I like where I am in my life. Wouldn't change very many things--if any. However, I have taken the past week as an opportunity to start fresh. I've cleaned out my car, cleaned the condo from top to bottom, cleaned out some closets, gave myself a pedicure, deep conditioned my hair, got organized. I like projects. I like setting goals. I like reaching them even more. Kristen of 2006 is basking in the glow of infinite possibilities.

Monday, January 02, 2006
Holiday Randomness
Hello All!

So sorry it has been so long. I finished up the semester and headed immediately to MI. I cannot even tell you have relieved I was to finish up my first semester of PhD work. It was such a good feeling to hit send on my last e-mail of Fall 05. I have enjoyed the past three weeks. I have spent lots of time reading, movie watching and hanging out with friends and family. Here is a list of a few highlights and random thoughts.

1. It is always weird to go back to Northern MI. I hardly ever go home. Even when I am in MI, I am rarely in McBain. So, when I go home people are obviously shocked to see me. This trip was no exception. I had a great time hanging out at a local hot spot. Sang some Journey, drank a fair amount and listened to all the locals talk about how great it was that I am getting married. I think they were relieved to find out I wasn't a lesbian. Of course, no mention of my PhD work. A lot of them didn't even go to college. They would have no idea what to do with the PhD info. I complain about how small Athens is and how I am constantly running into people I know but it is nothing like McBain. We couldn't go anywhere without running into people from high school, church, etc. It is nice though. Makes me proud of where I am in my life.

2. Saw two FANTASTIC movies--Capote and Brokeback Mountain. I highly recommend BOTH. I really can't decide which I liked better. I loved Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote and am now OBSESSED with Truman Capote. I picked up In Cold Blood and reading all sorts of stuff about him and his life. I was enthralled with the storyline and his character. Hoffman (who is a genius) did a great job portraying the manipulative yet vulnerable man that Capote was. I was strangely drawn to yet repulsed by him. Brokeback was a fantastic story of love, loss and sexuality. I enjoyed the portrayal of gay men as strong, masculine and "human." Both movies give way to lots of discussion and thoughts.

3. Read a few good books as well. I would recommend: Million Little Pieces, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, and The Truth (with jokes). Hoping to get through a few more this week as well. In fact, today it is rainey and gross out. I will soon be curled up on my couch with a book.

4. New Year's Eve. Great time. Had dinner at the Speak Easy and then went out dancing at the 40 Watt. Fun evening. Spent it with great people. Lots of positive energy and laughs. I don't really believe in resolutions per say. But I do believe in setting goals for myself. Some fun, some serious. I am continuing one from last year--I want to learn a poker chip trick. I have yet to master one but will keep working. I also want to eat better and work out more (wedding shape up!). I need to utilize my time better. Less vegging! Lastly, I have set up a reading list for myself. I will spare you the boring details. But since starting grad school I have been feeling unread. I need to get on top of some important books. Most will have to wait until summer but I will read them just the same.

5. If grad school doesn't work out for me, I've been considering some other professions. Mainly, I would like to work on a board game. Someone has to decide which words go on a Taboo card, which categories to use for Scatergories, the trivia questions for assorted games. Why can't it be me?!

2005 was a VERY eventful year. I got into school, bought a condo, got engaged, moved (again!) and started a new chapter of my life. I cannot wait to see what 2006 holds. New Year's Day is always a weird time for me. I don't deal well with change--so I am trying to process the past year and get excited for the year to come. I feel nostalgic yet hopeful. I do know that I wouldn't change the status of my life. I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing, surrounded by people I want to be with (except I miss my family!). Woo hooo! Here's to a great year!