18 Days

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Hard to believe, you know?

Just in case you were wondering, here's a quick run down of the next 18 days of my life...

  • One major research paper
  • One literature review for a dissertation proposal
  • Eight airplanes with four Texas layovers
  • Two different trips and 13 total days in Oklahoma
  • One intense class weekend
  • Two visitors to NYC (in the five days I'll be in the city)
  • Probably a Broadway show or two
  • Cupcakes.  Lots of cupcakes.
  • Three bridal showers
  • Four additional wedding-related parties
  • One haircut and highlight appointment
  • A slew of last-minute maid-of-honor duties
  • Seventeen very serious workout sessions
  • One really fancy pretty dress
  • Lots of really great family time
  • Lots and lots of people I haven't seen in a long time.
  • One wedding for my most favorite Baby Sister
Just wow.

Bye Bye Birdie

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Here is something you should know about me...

I am deathly afraid of birds.  All kinds.  All colors.  All birds.

I hate birds.

My family thinks this is hilarious, except for The Chief.  She's not so fond of birds either.  I just really, really do not care for birds or like to be around them.  If I am being totally honest, it's because I'm afraid they will peck at me, fly at me, or just generally attack me in the middle of an otherwise wonderful day.

I blame three things...

First, the movie "The Birds."  Now, I am actually a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock.   I really love "To Catch A Thief," "Rear Window," "Dial M for Murder," and the others.  They are classics.  But "The Birds"...  let's just say I did not have the reaction my dad hoped for the first time we watched it together.  I mean, that's just pretty much the scariest thing that can happen to a person.

Second, I grew up in a Southern Baptist, go to church every time the doors are open kind of family.  And I'm pretty sure somewhere in all those years of Sunday School there was a very graphic description of what happened to Jesus during the crucifixion, and I'm pretty sure there were birds involved in that story.  (Please stop laughing at me.)

Third, I lived for six whole years of my life in Waco, Texas.  Which, in case you were wondering, is probably the town "The Birds" was based on.  You know when you're little and your parents tell you the birds fly south for the winter?  Yeah...  They fly to Waco.  Can't tell you how many times I came out of Target to a dark parking lot where my car was covered with hundreds of birds.  I'm not even kidding people.  It's a miracle I survived that place.

So I promise this whole irrational fear story has a point.  In my very urban, mostly college student apartment building, there are a few older residents who lived in the building before the college took ownership.  Their families have rented the apartments since the 1950s...I'm not even kidding.  I'm pretty sure they pay about $450 in rent for 2,000 or more square feet of Manhattan real estate.  And you can always tell who they are, because there are a handful of 80-year-olds living in the residence hall with a bunch of 20-year-olds.  And there is this one very sweet woman who lives around the 6th or 7th floor who throws bird seed out her front windows, right onto the front step of my building, right where I have to walk every time I come home.  Kind of feels a bit like the lady in Home Alone 2 in Central Park with all the bird-friends.  I mean, it's a life-or-death situation every time I leave my apartment.

Pray for me please.  I might need it.

I do not like birds.

Just In Case You Were Wondering...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sadly, this is really so much more true than I would like to admit.  My family has these visions of my prestigious, Ivy League academic career full of smart words and even smarter thoughts.  They think I'm brilliant, and I let them think that.  My friends still think I am in college and going to fraternity parties and having fun all the time.  Sometimes it is fun, but usually the attempt to make things fun is just exhausting.  Their friends and the strangers I attempt to explain my career to think I babysit...although a lot of the time it feels like it.  The professors I try to work with, study with, or get jobs with thing I run a circus...and sometimes I do.  I am pretty sure I save the world and lead revolutions and inspire generations to be better people, leading lives of service and change and positive influence and hope and all that stuff.

And in reality, most of my days are exhausting, stressful, unproductive, and leave me wondering why I am doing this crazy thing called student affairs.  Yes, there are days that involve mariachi bands and cotton candy machines.  Yes, there are more t-shirts than one person should ever own.  Yes, there are too many middle of the night hours spent in the pediatric emergency room.  But mostly, it's just a bunch of meetings that involve the following words... development, engagement, growth, learning outcomes, expectations, allies, best practices, collaborate, community, intentional, assessment, diversity, millennials, risk management.  And it's a lot of conversations with students where I attempt to help them see the implications of their actions and how they can grow as a person, campus leader, college student, etc.  

And, if I'm being totally honest, it's a lot of approaching ridiculous situations and actions as if they were totally legitimate things the students did, but just maybe how they could do better next time.  Sure, it's fine that you passed out in the middle of Broadway at 3 a.m., but how could you make better choices next time?  Oh, you chose to have a keg party with 100 people in a residence hall room?  Ok, let's talk about ways you could handle that in the future.  I hear you were smoking illegal drugs on campus...what made you choose to do that?  So, you chose to turn in your friend's paper as your own...what do you think the implications of that choice are?  All talk, all the time.  A whole lot of not-so-tough love.  And really, really great stories that are usually in some way confidential and can never be shared.  Welcome to student affairs.

Now, the student affairs conferences?  Don't even get me started on those.  Somehow, for about five days, all six of those pictures come together for one unforgettable, or sometimes hard to remember, week of higher ed professional greatness.  All you student affairs friends know exactly what I mean.  It's like a secret society, complete with a handshake and code words and unwritten rule book for true membership. It's the one week of the year we get to pretend like we are normal people too.  Because those other 51 weeks are full of students and ridiculousness and wondering what exactly we signed up for.

Because most of the time I have no idea...

You Won't Find This

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Here is what they don't sell in New York City...

Velveeta and breakfast sausage.

Suddenly I understand why Oklahoma is the seventh most overweight state in the nation.

I eat ridiculously healthy almost all of the time, work out a lot, and am generally a very health-conscious person.  But sometimes a Southern girl just needs comfort food, you know?  Now don't get me wrong.  I have absolutely no reason to eat either Velveeta processed cheese or fattening breakfast sausage, especially since I live alone.  But just hear me out...

I wanted to make some queso for a Superbowl party.  Obviously, I cared a little more about the party than the game.  And I lived in Texas for a long time, so I have a lot of variations on a queso recipe, all of which require Velveeta to be added to a handful of other ingredients.  I can't help it.  It's how we are raised down there.  Off I go to the grocery store...and then five more grocery stores.  No luck.  No Velveeta.  Who knew?  Oh, Texas, I miss you so...

And then this week I went looking for breakfast sausage.  I can't help it.  All of my healthy-eating willpower was weakened...my cold got the better of me and I just needed comfort food.  I know I shouldn't have done it, but I didn't feel good and I wanted biscuits and sausage.  Judge away.  But nope. No breakfast sausage to be found either.  They have all sorts of weird, kosher, organic, gluten free, chicken apple sausage substitutes, but no Jimmy Dean.

I just assumed that these things were a part of American supermarket life everywhere.  I had no idea that the rest of the country had no idea about Velveeta and breakfast sausage.  I mean, yes, I am much healthier now, but that's no fun.

What's an Okie to do?

Pocket Full of Dreams

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh people, this city is the stuff dreams are made of.  If you are a girl from Oklahoma with big city daydreams, it doesn't get better.  Alicia Keys really did say it best with the whole "concrete jungle where dreams are made" business.  And yes, I love living here.  And yes, Columbia is a bit of a higher ed nerd's dream.  But who grows up thinking, "I really, really hope that one day I will write a dissertation about a topic no one except my family cares about."

And so now I confess my secret dream fantasy life.

So after this on Sunday...

And this on Monday...

...here is what I'm thinking:  Is is too late to ditch the higher ed career and become a Broadway star?

I mean, in order for this to happen, I need vocal abilities I don't have outside of my car, dance skills I never quite mastered, and to lose about 20 pounds.  But every time I go to a Broadway show, I just secretly sit there daydreaming about being the girl on stage, the one who steals the show.  Blame small town theater productions my parents took me to and Baylor's unbeatable All University Sing.

Now, one time it happened.  Well, sort of.  I went to a Broadway show a few years ago that invited the audience on stage during curtain call.  I did not want to see that show.  I was in no way interested.  But I went, because I had heard the rumored reputation of the show's grand finale.  So with about a hundred strangers, I sang and danced my little Okie heart out on that stage.  It was grand.  Bucket list experience, for sure.

But wouldn't be great to sing "Defying Gravity" or another equally show-stopping number on the Great White Way?

Maybe I should just start with making more money to just go to shows.  That would do for now, I suppose.  You know...until I see my name in lights.

'Cause no one is every going to put my dissertation on a marquee.