Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This is my little piece of America. This is what I will be living out of for the next two years. My suitcases weigh under 80 pounds, combined. I have one carry-on and one personal item. My hairbrush and shampoo will find their way into the smaller suitcase, which is the only one I'll have access to until Christmas.

Freaking out a little.

I know it'll be a wonderful experience, but I'm going to miss everybody. A lot. And I'm sure I'll miss other the oatmeal cream pies and favorite jeans that I wasn't able to pack. Like driving and Starbucks. Or my bed. Or a toilet with a seat on it.

I don't know what my internet situation's going to be like, but I'm sure I'll improve my blog updating record! It'd be hard to get much worse... ;)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

these vagabond shoes are longing to stray

I know, I know. I haven't updated in almost 2 months. But it doesn't seem like that long to me!! So far this summer I've been doing respite care for Lois and Braden, which has been fantastic, and working at Starbucks. I look pretty good in that green apron, not gonna lie.

The fam and I went to NYC last weekend. It was interesting seeing all the kids and how they'd grown! I'm the oldest cousin (on both sides, but this was just my mom's family), which meant that I usually had a few hangers-on all the time. My cousin Elizabeth (the next oldest after me and my brother) has gotten obsessed with Star Wars now that she's in school. Mary (almost 11) is Hannah's favorite cousin, and they hung out all weekend. Maggie turned 35 on Sunday! Just a long-running joke, but now I can't remember how old she actually is! We got a card for a "very special kid who's 3" and wrote a 5 in there.

My activities included: breakfast with Laya (roommate/bunkmate/partner-in-crime/Chinese government agent) and her BOY:

a 3-hour boat tour around Manhattan:

shopping in Soho (I got some fantastic jeans):

and, of course, hanging out at the apartment:

all sandwiched between 2 6-hour train rides!

all in all, it was a good trip, but nice to get back home! (....just in time to open Starbucks at 5 AM Monday morning!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

it's really good to hear your voice saying my name, it sounds so sweet

I'm done. DONE! Done with college.

My family came up last Friday evening. We went to the MOA for dinner, and then checked out LEGOLAND and the American Girl store. Guess who loved that?

Lego dinos!

Chrissa needs some birthday cake!

Bitty Babies!

Post-purchase. Wow!

The next day, they got to meet my good friends the Hall-Holts and the Melbys, both families that I've become close to at school. Dad and I went to the Orchestra concert while Mom and Hannah got to meet some of their online friends. Then, FarmBoy came over with his electric guitar, pedal, and amp. Guess who loved THAT?

You were expecting Hannah, weren't you?

She did have a great time. Just like Murray!
(every time I think the Wiggles obsession is over, it proves me wrong)

John played with effects, making it sound like an alien!

Then he rocked out.

Following the music-making, we went out to dinner with my close friends Dan and Erin. Melting Pot! Despite our lack of nook, it was really nice.

The next day, Sunday, was graduation! We had a lovely Jazz Brunch, then stopped in at the History major reception. I had to go rehearse, and then it was time!

Very hot, sunny, and long. My first graduation ever, and I'm not complaining that there weren't any others! My girlfriend Kelsey M. drove up from Rochester to come, and it was so great to see her! We were roommates at St. Olaf Summer Music Camp way back when, and have seen each other a couple times over the years. She had just graduated a week earlier from Whitworth University. FB's family came as well.

The Fam! (-Chris)

Dinner with FB's clan and Kelsey, then back to the hotel for some swimming and relaxing. Also some Sound of Music reenactments:

The hiiiills are alive!

It wouldn't be Kelsey and Kate without some Super Secret Spies!

FB and myself

Now we're getting ready for our annual beaching with the Morgans! Exciting! After that I have to serious start thinking about another job...I'm hoping for Starbucks, but I wonder if I would ever make money since the drinks are soooo tempting?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So....I'm done. With college. Wow.

Finals went well (as far as I know). Papers got finished, though I did have to sacrifice sleep. A lot of sleep.

I'm scheduled for 27 hours of check-outs this week, so we'll see how that goes.

I went to the MOA today with fb to an adorable outfit for my pre-graduation dinner. I can't believe that I'm finished!! I'm really excited (rezacted?) for Hannah to be here. I know she is too. All my friends can't wait to meet her, because I basically talk about her all the time.

I'm just now realizing how much stuff I have. And this is after giving away a huge trash bag full of clothes. I think I could fill a suitcase with my toiletries alone! Okay, I'm exaggerating, but not by much.
In other news, farmboy and I went to see Keane Friday night. I don't really listen to them, but I knew songs because fb and Scott play them a lot (Scott saw them in France earlier this year). They were absolutely amazing. I don't know what they do to his voice on the CDs, but live it is honestly one of the best voices I've ever heard. They're a British band, so they all have adorable accents. How do I know this? Because I got to meet them!!

That's right. I know my glamorous lifestyle may be overwhelming you right now. But seriously, John and I stood around in the freezing cold (literally. freezing. it hit 31 degrees that night. why?!?) in t-shirts because we hadn't planned on meeting them. Then they came out, and the keyboardist complimented John on his U2 shirt (have I mentioned that farmboy is obsessed with U2? He is.). John gave them all his business cards, so maybe his band will get discovered :).

I have rediscovered my love for Reed's Extra Ginger Brew All Natural Jamaican Style Ginger Beer! Good thing I didn't realize they sold it at Cub before this year, or I would have been even MORE broke all through college!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

touchdown, turnaround, everything is safe and sound

was pretty sweet....they saved their two best-known songs for last. I got some video....

Yeah. My friends, plus boyfriends, went to Culver's beforehand and got delicious custard. We then caught some of the opener (This World Fair)

Also, Star Trak was AWESOMEEEEE (despite getting ditched by farmboy because he decided to go to an earlier showing with his friends at the last moment). I am definitely going to see it again when I have time. Which, let me check, will be....never. Maybe at the beach or something (sooo close!).

I'm half done with my easy paper, and about 1/20 done with my hard one. My presentation on Friday was partner kinda dropped the ball, but the discussion questions at the end were great. My favorite line (not to toot my own horn or anything): [on Jordan's diplomatic relations between both Israel and the Occupied Territories] "Yeah, they're kinda stuck between Iraq and a hard place." Ahahaha.

Farmboy is becoming an ebay entrepreneur. Or, at least, preparing to become one. Did you know that 500,000 Americans make their living solely off ebay? Me neither. The things you learn when you date an ebay entrepreneur....

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

'cause love's such an old-fashioned word

Whoo! Lots of news...

Last weekend was awesome! Saturday was Lutefest (school music festival), so I got a henna tattoo and tie-dyed a shirt. Then some of my friends and I went bowling! We all made up bowler names...I was Kandi.
After that I watched a movie for my Arab World paper, called The Band's Visit. If you ever have to watch it, don't. It was really boring, but easy to write about!

Sunday, I played in the King's Room per usual, but my teacher had left the harp there overnight so I didn't even have to move it! One of my closest friends, Sarah Bosch, came to listen to me play for a little bit. I played my jury piece for her, Debussy's First Arabesque (which I am OWNING, btw). I got tipped by my favorite regular, an elderly lady who comes every Sunday with her husband. I told her about the PC and she said "Oh, now I'll have to pray for you! Lord, please help save my harpist from terrorists!" Too cute.
Then I watched two more movies for my paper, Promises, a documentary about Israeli and Palestinian children, and Paradise Now, which is about suicide bombers. They were both really excellent films.

Concluding my weekend, I wrote my 10-page paper, and my precis for my Arthur paper (how did Merlyn's tutoring prepare Arthur for kingship in T.H. White's The Once and Future King?).

Monday I was on duty, and it was a quiet night. John and I watched Star Trek 8 (we still have to watch 9 and 10 before tomorrow night...uh-oh).

YESTERDAY was Sarah Bosch's 21st birthday! How lucky is that, to have your birthday on Cinco de Mayo instead of...some other...not as fun a national tragedy. We all got ready together, then went down to the Cow (one of the two bars in town). Sarah had a VERY good time! I got her a pink zebra-striped shirt. Also my class was canceled so I worked on school

Today, I got two packages in the mail! I was expecting one, my new BATHING SUITS! I tried them on, and they are very awesome. And only $12 each! Yay clearance! The other package, however, was a mystery....It was from "St. Tropez" in Valencia, CA, which confused me, because I thought St. Tropez was an island....Turns out I won a self-tanning kit from Allure magazine! I looked it up, and it's like $45. I won a John Frieda hair glaze from them back in October as well. I guess I'm just lucky :)

So that made my day a lot better...I have an hour-long presentation on Friday (and my partner just canceled our meeting for tonight...ugh. I'd rather do all the work than let it suck, but it's still annoying), and my thesis paragraph for my 20-25pg paper due tomorrow.

Star Trek: The Movie opens tomorrow at midnight! John and I got shirts from hot topic to wear...NO, I'm not a nerd!

Friday evening is the spring concert here at school. Previous years we've had a
medium-ish band for the Fall Concert, and small and medium-big bands (like, locally famous or indie) bands for Lutefest and the Spring Concert, respectively. Previous bands include Black Eyed Peas and Nickel Creek. This year, we had a medium-ish band for the fall concert, and are having a big-ish band for the Spring concert, but just campus bands for Lutefest. Hellogoodbye are coming! Tickets are free for students! So that's one more thing to look forward to after my presentation is done.

Realized today that there are only 5 more days of class. Ever. EVER. Can I start freaking out now?? After that it's
nothing but work, work, work all the time! Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

not your average paper-writer, either!

I got my paper back....the one that I wrote over Easter break in between episodes of CSI and Heroes ( is my new procrastination enabler....). I always lose track of what I write while I'm writing, ESPECIALLY if I take a break of anything more than, say, 20 minutes. Heroes episodes are 43 minutes long. As a result, I wasn't really sure if the end of my paper actually went with the beginning...or the middle, for that matter. I'm a very confident writer (that's actually code for "I never revise anything") so usually I just sit down and write a whole paper. The fact that I had a 3-day weekend with no boyfriend or friends around coupled with the fact that the paper's deadline had been pushed back to Easter Monday from Maundy Thursday (whew, considering the prof just gave us the topic that Tuesday) actually made me start working on it EARLY. I've never written a paper of less than 10 pages any other time than the night before, mostly because I forget what I'm writing about. And, actually, I've written a few 10-pagers the night before they were due as well.

ANYWAYYYY, I got it back today in class. I was a little apprehensive (did I mention I always forget what I write about?? :P). I resisted the urge to flip straight to the back of the page to the grade, and instead read through my teacher's comments.

Her comment next to my thesis started things on the right foot-- "A bit awkward as a set-up. Someone with your abilities ought to be able to state a thesis more effectively." My abilities? Hmm. I read on-- "Yes!" "Good point." "Well put!" along with a whole bunch of check marks. The closing statement next to my grade was "Kate-- This is wonderful in its interpretive function. It masterfully links materials and questions assumptions. A"

I'm pretty happy =D.

Paper follows. DEFINITELY optional reading.

Familial Narcissism

No one could deny that the typical American family has changed immensely since the postwar era. The sexual revolution of the 1960s gave rise to all sorts of new families; single mothers, gay and lesbian parents, divorced families, and families with two working parents all became new ways of looking at the concept of “the typical American family.” There was no longer a typical American family by the time the 1970s rolled around. The 1960s spawned communes and movements, activities and places where people felt like they belonged to a larger whole working for the same objectives, but in the 1970s the focus turned from belonging to defining the self. As with any cultural phenomenon, the shift in attitudes had many causes and repercussions, but many writers believe there is a strong connection between this change in societal vision and the evolving notion of family, specifically the two new problems in parenting: the domineering mother and the absent father. These subtopics are necessarily intertwined, by nature (and, usually, marriage) but each has its own separate characteristics and effects. While the linkage between cultural narcissism and the new family is widely accepted, both by journalists and psychologists working in the 1970s and by historians today, there are several loose ends and other explanations which must be explored if we are to formulate an opinion on their thesis. By examining the themes of gender and insecurity within the theories of the narcissistic mother and the absent father as causes for the narcissism of the 1970s, I will attempt to, if not disprove these theses, at least question them.

In 1942, Philip Wylie complained of a new trend in mothering: “Momism.” Wylie claimed that overbearing mothers were emasculating their sons, partly as a result of the ongoing World War which required the attentions of American men.1 Here, the beginning seeds of the '70s narcissistic trend appear. Decades after Wylie, during another difficult war, the personality of the mother would supposedly help change the psychology of America. Natasha Zaretsky, in her book No Direction Home, a book linking the changes in seventies society to the family, states that “[n]ow there were not simply narcissistic personalities, but narcissistic generations, decades, and trends.”2 The “Me decade” of the 1970s was, many argued, created and facilitated by narcissistic mothers. Sigmund Freud first defined narcissism in 1914, Wylie applied it to the family in 1942, and Otto Kernberg and Herbert Hendin brought the idea of Momism into the 1970s.3 While it is clear the 1970s were defined by a sense of narcissism, the idea that this malaise was due to the destruction of the traditional family, specifically the newly powerful mother, requires more evidence to believe. Of course mothers deeply influence their children, but a whole generation of mothers passing on their narcissism to a whole generation of children seems improbable.

Zaretsky notes that “[t]he narcissistic mother might appear to be caring, loving, and responsible. But, in fact, she was 'chronically cold,' 'extremely envious,' and 'intensely aggressive' toward her children,”4 and she is basing this statement upon the writings of the aforementioned psychologists. These male psychologists (for women were not yet common in such a learned profession) may have ulterior motives for naming mothers the source of the woes of the decade. A popular joke defines a Freudian slip as “when you say one thing but you mean your mother,” and most of Freud's psychoanalytic diagnoses have been proven false by modern understandings of the brain and behavior. Wylie may be reflecting the uncertainty of the country in the face of the worst evil it had ever known, and the fact that women had an unprecedented control over the family and economy, as they needed to provide an income for their families while their husbands and sons were fighting in Europe or Japan. Kernberg and Hendin, both products of an earlier generation, needed a scapegoat for what they saw as the degradation of American society, and the mother was a prime target as she was again providing for her family during the Vietnam War. In fact, William Graebner suggests that “the continued popularity of behavioral psychology” is a factor in “[t]he crisis of the spirit that hung over the 1970s.”5

When one looks at the traditional gender roles which were being uprooted in the 1970s, and the crisis of confidence experienced by America after Vietnam and Watergate, the male's status as head of household was declining rapidly. This “emasculation” of men, made more urgent by the threat to male heterosexuality expressed in the gay rights movement, required an explanation, one which would not further the emasculation or threat. If (almost exclusively male) psychologists and journalists had theorized that the narcissism inherent to seventies society was the product of the male need to assert his authority over his family and life, the men of America would lose that authority—authority already threatened by the blunders of recent male presidents and by the failure of men to win in Vietnam. With that in mind, let us proceed to the phenomenon of the absent father, which is presented not as a cause of narcissism but as a factor in the ascension of women.

The lack of a strong father figure was present on both the large and small scales in 1970s America. A succession of presidents, beginning with Richard Nixon, had failed the American people and presented themselves as weak leaders. Jimmy Carter's pleas for help from the populace during his infamous “Malasie Speech” in 1979—his warnings about a “fundamental threat to American democracy,” among others—is a prime example of a father struggling to gain control of his rebellious children with no real success.
6 What America needed in the seventies was not an appeal to their hope for the future (while seemingly saying there was no hope for the future), but a strong leader who would whip the country into shape and fix things. American families also needed authoritative fathers to step in and restore the values of his generation to his wayward, self-absorbed children.

Zaretsky combines the demise of male authority in the family with narcissism and lack of work ethic in the younger generation. Rather than acknowledging the need to support one's family, as did their fathers, the narcissistic seventies men desired self-actualization. Indeed, many did not even have families. She claims that “industrial psychologists and social scientists,” to understand the new collapse in the young male workforce, “attributed the young worker's attitude not only to permissive childrearing, but also to the idea that the affluent society itself had eroded parental authority and dulled the acquisitive drive.”7 This assertion presents problems in light of the parallel claim of domineering mothers also asserted by psychologists and social scientists in the same time period. If “permissive childrearing” and “dulled parental authority” were the causes of narcissism among young men, how could powerful, overbearing mothers also be the cause? Women at the time were fighting for their right to work on equal footing with men; the work ethic of America's women was clearly strong.

The refusal of the new generation to accept jobs which did not further their narcissistic goal of self-actualization leads to the necessity of working women. Having voluntarily given up their authority as breadwinners in the name of narcissism, America's men created jobs that needed to be filled and families that needed to be supported. In the mid-to-late 1970s, Zaretsky notes that “from now on, it would take two wage earners to bring home the living wage that had been garnered by the industrial male breadwinner of the 1950s and 1960s.”8 The affluence which had enabled the young workers to grow up with a narcissistic attitude had shattered, requiring both sexes to work to maintain family life.

The feminist movement empowered women and threatened men in the workplace and schools. The sexual revolution urged women to take control of their own sexuality, but gay pride movements endangered the heterosexuality of the straight man. The modern times were working against the status quo set in place after the second World War, one which men viewed as full of possibilities—the opportunity to better himself through hard work, to have children to secure his future, and to live in a powerful, pure, and democratic nation. When women begin pushing for the same rights as men, the possibilities so apparent before seemed to be crumbling, as women start working and refusing to have children and the government displayed its corruption and inadequacy. The narcissism of the seventies grew out of this profound insecurity on both sides—men wondering if the good old days will ever return and women unsure if society and the government would accept their equal rights agenda. When the two marry and have children, both parents are caught up in trying to maintain appearances congruent with the fifties family model: male breadwinners, and wives who cook, clean, and raise lovely children. In reality, the family of the seventies included a husband whose job could not support his family, a wife who may have worked outside the home (but was struggling to make ends meet either way), and children who were rebellious and self-centered.

While the theories of the absent father and domineering mother could be legitimate causes of the narcissism present in the 1970s, the two seem as if they cannot both be true. Psychological hypotheses forwarded by males living in that tumultuous time period are biased against women and weak men. The evolving family, on the other hand, rising out of challenging economic and cultural times, could very well cause enough instability in familial relationships to isolate each member. Since America lacked faith in the future, it is only natural that Americans wanted to return to the past, at least in some ways, such as the traditional family. Appearances mattered more than reality in the seventies, leading to lack of emotional connections within the family. Ultimately, there are too many factors to discover the sole cause of '70s narcissism, but the breakdown of the traditional family by way of insecure parents (in turn caused by evolving cultural and economic situations) is a good place to start.

1Zaretsky, Natasha. No Direction Home: The American Family and the Fear of National Decline. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press, 2007. Pg. 8.

2Ibid. Pg. 185.

3Ibid. Pgs. 187-192.

4Ibid. Pg. 190.

5Graebner, William. “America's Poseidon Advendure.” American in the 70s, Beth Bailey and David Farber, eds. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004. Pg. 175.

6Carter, Jimmy. The “Malaise” Speech, 15 July, 1979. Accessed 4/11/09 at

7Zaretsky. Pg. 113.

8Ibid. Pg. 141.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I had my appointment with the hematologist today. It was fine, they took some more blood and she told me to get iron tablets.

My friend Sarah Bosch took me up there (it was at the U) and after we went to Uptown to walk around a bit, then to a really sweet Turkish restaurant (AWESOME lemonade!) and then to the MOA. I found a dress for Prez Ball ($25!) at Marshall's and some excellent finds at Ragstock, including (but not limited to) a BCBG skirt for $5. Sarah got some ADORABLE sundresses. It was good to spend time with her off campus, she's probably one of the nicest people I know.

Got B's and above on my ridiculous tests! Hooray! I had a paper due yesterday on the narcissism of the 1970s in relation to the family...I basically said that all the theories about the entire culture of the decade being a result of overbearing mothers was a total scapegoat effort by (MALE) psychologists and (MALE) journalists. Hey, no wonder they had to blame women for everything, they were insecure! All these women burning bras (or planning to....but the city wouldn't let them) and having sex, entering the workforce, divorcing their was a trying time for these white non-disabled heterosexual middle-class educated men.

Thank you, thank you. For my next trick, I will prove that high-heeled shoes are a torture device invented by jealous males to break women's legs and keep them at home.

I get my cap and gown tomorrow...SCARY!

Monday, April 06, 2009

I had my harp ensemble concert yesterday! It was really cool, and went really well. I'll post the program when I retrieve it from the music building, but for now here's a video of my FAVORITE song we did, a Puccini medley. I'm the one in the middle with the best part :)

NOW I have to prepare for my 2 tests on Wednesday, and write my paper that's due Thursday (for which I STILL don't have a prompt! I thought I was supposed to be the irresponsible one, not the teacher!)...........

At least the snow's mostly melted.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Pledge! There's a talk tonight on campus with a local Special Olympics coordinator and a few people who work for the school who have disabilities.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring break!

My dad told me the other day that my mom is kicking my butt at blogging. Very true. I told him that I never do anything besides homework and class--whenever I do something, it's usually at home, which means my mom blogs about it! Sigh.

Well, yesterday was an exciting day, and I KNOW she hasn't written about it yet, so here goes.

I got my blood test results back in the morning (the Peace Corps sent me a letter telling me I had low white blood cells and to either submit a normal report or see a hematologist)...They weren't typical, so I'm probably just a weiwdie. But if anyone knows a hematologist close to Northfield, please let me know!

Then, later, I got my graduation pictures taken! In my graduation dress (which many of you have seen on facebook, but here it is again):

I think I need the hat.

Anyway, the girl taking my pictures had only worked there for 2 weeks, but she did a good job. I wish there had been less formal pictures and more fun ones.

She said I should be a model. RIIIGHT. I bet she tells that to all the girls :P

Also, there's a little boy with leukemia at Mayo who isn't from MN...His family is looking for a place somewhat nearby to keep his chocolate lab, so that the boy can see his doggy. If anyone has a backyard and is interested, contact me!

Looking forward to finishing up the year at school....But not as excited for my midterm on Wednesday! Haven't gotten the horrific study guide test back yet......I'm crossing my fingers, since I had the flu that week!

On that note......bye.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Last night was an epic soiree at chez Larson. Guests included (for various amounts of time) myself, Dan, Erin, Hannah Reitz and her boyfriend Ben, Matt and Peter (Dan's brothers), Jon and Pouyan (Matt's friends), Katie and Melanie (my residents), Eric, Luke Varland, Michael, Garrett, and of course Dan's parents. Photos courtesy of Dan.

Despite pictoral evidence to the contrary, I must specifically state that we did NOT hijack a harp from school. Absolutely not. That would be terrible. But eveyone brought their instruments, and we had a great night of games and music.

Hannah: "My mouth isn't big enough!"
Luke: ".....That's what she said! Come on, everyone was thinking it!"

Ben (while reading Balderdash entries): "While in Englandj....England-J...I swear that's what it says!"
Dan: "Um, that's a COMMA."

Ben (still reading entries): "A nickname for Satan's..."
Dan: "Satan....Spelled S-A-N-T-A."

Me: Do you watch The Office?
Jon: No, can't say I do.
Me: Good. Knock knock!
Jon: Who's there?
Me: KGB!
Jon: KGB who---

Mike Rowe: How long have you been working here?
Suki: Eighteen year.
Mike: Wow, you must be exhausted!
Suki: Yes I do.


Great night!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Oh dear....

Direct quote from the teacher of my hardest class:
"The form of the exam will be as follows. You will be given a number of unidentified quotations from the readings. You will be asked to identify the author/source and write a mini-essay relating the content of the quotation to the overall themes of the author's perspective and to larger issues where appropriate. You will be asked to write essays on two or three quotations. There might be some choice of which quotations to write on OR THERE MIGHT NOT BE. Thus it is absolutely essential that you prepare all the material the exam is intended to cover. You might be given more quotations to identify than you are to write on. You might not be given more quotations to identify than you are to write on. It might rain on Wednesday or might not rain. Don't spend time trying to resolve such uncertainties.
Have a good weekend."


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


My friend Sarah loaned me this book called Our Babies, Ourselves by Meredith Small, and I've only gotten to the third chapter, but have come to the conclusion that everyone should read this book.

The author is an anthropologist, and the book is about "ethnopediatrics," or the study of how children are raised in different cultures. It really provides some fascinating insights on how Western birth and childrearing practices are different than those of other cultures and time periods. She goes through the evolution of the pelvis (from four-legged to two-legged motion), which is actually why childbirth is so painful. She also talks about co-sleeping, how the baby synchronizes its heartbeat and breathing with its parents while asleep, which is why the SIDS rate is higher for babies in their own rooms. She's very good at explaining the biological reasons behind everything, which is really neat because it shows the correlations between our culture and, say, that of chimpanzees as they apply to babies.

I've wanted to be a mom since I was about 2 years old, so this book is so cool to me. The thing that has really struck me about it so far is her section on parent-child bonding. Apparently, babies have the same reactions to fathers as to mothers (when the fathers are involved in the child's life), like being able to identify them by smell. She suggests that her (and my parents') generation is an example in what happens when the parent-child bond is interrupted, since the practice back then was to put all the babies in nurseries to prevent infection, and only return them to their mothers for feeding. There isn't a critical period for the bond (like in geese or something), which is why adoptions work, but the sooner the parents interact with the child, the better.

You should go get this book.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


My little sister, Hannah, is amazing. I was going through my pictures, looking for one of me and John (that I think I deleted accidentally...oops) and found this video from Interim break. She cracks me up!

Monday, February 23, 2009


For those of you who aren't familiar with my school, we offer some pretty awesome classes. Here's my schedule for this semester:

Comparing Christian and Islamic Ethics: This course is team-taught by a prof I really enjoyed last semester and my former roommate's favorite professor. It is definitely in the top 5 classes I've ever taken. It's pretty tough--we've read 2 books and are halfway through a third, not to mention 2 long articles-- but the class itself is amazing. Apparently Ed Santurri (my prof) co-taught a class with my first-year religion prof Gary Stansell years ago, and the kid on the front row was Jamie Schillinger (the prof co-teaching with Santurri now)! Pretty crazy. We are going through the ethics of war and peace as they are explored in both Christian and Islamic traditions...I was a little disappointed with the choice of subtopic, since the class I had with Santurri last semester was "The Ethics of War," but since we're currently reading a book I read for the last class, it lightens the workload a bit. I also know nearly half the people in the class, which makes it fun.

King Arthur Through the Ages: Anyone who hung out with me as a kid knows I was OBSESSED with King Arthur and Robin Hood. In this class, we're working our way through the Arthurian legend chronologically, from the real-life Aurelius Ambrosianus to A Connecticut Yankee. My prof for this class is hilarious-- she's from Queens, and is hyper and scattebrained. Our first assignment was to find the best use of Arthurian legend in contemporary culture, and then present it to the class. Examples included Excalibur Cutlery, Excalibur Sires (of Excellence), King Arthur Storage, and my presentation, Heather Dale's Trial of Lancelot CD. I highly recommend you listen to some of the song clips-- they are so terrible it's amazing. May Queen is also awful. We find out today who the winner is...the prize is homemade baked goods!

The Arab World: I'm loading up on the courses is Islam to prepare for my (hopefully) service in Jordan. Arab World is a tough class...Not because of the workload, but because of the fact that it's right after lunch (2-3 MWF), in a warm, dimly lit classroom, and the prof's voice has been compared to (not by me!) a "vocal backrub." He sounds just like Sid the Sloth in Ice Age. So cute! We're going through the post-colonial period right now in the Arab World, so from the end of WWI to about the 70s. It's really interesting, but hard to stay awake! It's my only class in the new Science Center (Soc-Anthro, who would have thought that's a hard science?), so that's pretty fun. They won't have the coffee shop in there until after I graduate, though :(.

America in the 1970s: My 300-level history seminar. It's on Tuesday/Thursday, which means it's 85 and 80 minutes long, respectively. Too long. That's why I only have one class T/Th! I'm not really an American history person....It's too recent and un-exotic. The prof is a tiny lady who reminds me of my cousin Elizabeth. They have the same voice and sense of humour. We just finished our first book (even though there are only 3 books for the course! You know what that means....GIANT research project!), and she brought in clips from the first season of Saturday Night Live. Any prof who owns the complete series of SNL (to date) wins in my book.

Harp: Yes. Harp. Fridays after Arab World. For an hour. Worst schedule ever. I'm managing the Harp Ensemble again this year, and setting up for our concerts on Palm Sunday weekend. As usual, my friend Erin and I will steal the show :). We have two duets-- Bach's Invention No. 8 and Prokofiev's Prelude in C. I'm also playing a duet with my teacher, using my jury piece from last semester, CPE Bach's Solfegietto. It's more of a technique piece than anything--no buzzing, no pedal sounds-- but she found a harmony part to it that we're going to rock. I'm working on Debussy's First Arabesque right now. Some of my music was stolen before Christmas, so I need to replace it asap before I forget all the songs! I play in the fancy dining room on campus, the Kings' Room, for two hours every Sunday, and I need all my music!

That's my life. Have to rush to Ethics now!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Premiere Post

I attend St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota. It's a small, private, liberal-arts college. I'm an RA. I love my school, I really do. But sometimes, when it's unseasonably warm outside and the snow melts into puddles in between the sidewalks, our campus safety patrol goes a little crazy....

The ironic thing about these signs (aside from the fact that they were posted by every single puddle on campus, all of which were no more than 6 inches deep) is that the night Public Safety put them up (after a good week of sign-less puddles), the weather returned to normal and everything froze, leading to strange sights like....
That's my friend Ricky. A few nights later, as my friends and I were heading to dinner, we saw a full-scale hockey game going on. I think the trees may have made it challenging.How could I resist?