Monthly Archives: November 2008

Everyone Loves Thanksgiving, Right?

Meet Maddie

Meet Maddie

Hey everyone,

What can one say about Thanksgiving except awesome?  It goes without saying that it’s great to go home and spend time with family and old friends, but let’s talk about the food.  An entire day devoted to feasting made me unable to eat until Friday evening as a result.  Glorious.  Simply glorious.  After a warm, dry fall, we are starting to get some real snowfall which should make way for some powder skiing in the coming weeks.  I can’t wait to really get some burn in the legs and enjoy the beginning of Winter.  On top of turkey and skiing, my parents and I welcomed a new member to our family.  Although she lives with my parents up in Denver, I think I may have to steal her for a day or two and sneak her down to school.  I would love to tell you about her, but I’ll let you see for yourself.  We only have three more weeks until Winter break, so it should be a marathon finish.  Have a good week everyone!

Max

American Thanksgiving

the end of the table where I sat with all the vegetarian goodies

Thanksgiving dinner: the end of the table where I sat with all the vegetarian goodies

The way the school schedule fell out this year, Thanksgiving has been like another block break on the heels of the last! Because it wouldn’t make much sense to fly back to Canada when 1) it’s only for four days and 2) Canadian Thanksgiving is at another time altogether, I chose to go to my friend Jen’s house in Littleton, CO to celebrate. The main activities of the last four days have been relaxing, eating, playing in the snow (it snowed four to six inches, far more than we would ever see in Victoria, B.C.!) and steaming in the hot tub. The day after it snowed, we went down to the hill by their barn with a sled and a bunch of cardboard, and Jen’s sixteen year old brother Zane helped us make ski jumps out of packed snow — which the four dogs staying in Jen’s house promptly destroyed, but not until after we’d achieved some truly impressive air!

Thanksgiving dinner itself was a trip. My whole family back home in Canada is vegetarian, with the exception of my stepfather, so we never have turkey but usually make lots of hearty, cold-weather foods like steamed kale and baked sweet potatoes.  This year, however, I got to experience a true Thanksgiving with the turkey and all the traditional sides, including some special vegetarian stuffing (thanks to Jen’s very accommodating mom). And just in case we hadn’t overdone it with the dinner, dessert arrived in the form of lemon meringue, pecan, and pumpkin pie. We all quickly rolled ourselves to the couch and stayed there until we recovered.

Jen's mother and brother cutting down the Christmas tree

Jen's mother and brother cutting down the Christmas tree

The day after Thanksgiving I got to take part in another tradition — cutting down the Christmas tree! Along with a bunch of family friends, we drove two hours outside of Littleton to the mountains. After great deliberation over which trees were the finest, we finally picked and sawed down two trees, one of which was so big it took four of us to carry it back to the truck. To celebrate, we all ate warm soup, apple crumble, and tea sitting on the backs of the trucks, and stayed for a while chatting with the other families and looking out at the gorgeous scenery. What a great Thanksgiving!

Gotta Love Block Breaks

Enjoying some delicious sushi with my friend Naiara

After finishing a killer block, there is nothing better than block break.  Block break, for those poor souls that have never experienced one, is 4-5 days of summer vacation.  There is no homework, no class, nothing but stress-free fun from noon on Wednesday until 9 a.m. on Monday.

After turning in my final paper at 11:56 on Wednesday, I ran back to my room to pack for Santa Fe.  I quickly gathered my things and headed out with 3 of my friends for a celebratory end-of-the-block lunch downtown.  One of the sushi restaurants has a great lunch special that we’d been wanting to try out.  It didn’t disappoint.  I rushed back to campus to meet the van and we started on the 5 hour drive to Santa Fe.

Lauren playing with the kids at BGC

My friend Kristin and I were leading a BreakOut trip to the Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club.  BreakOut is a student-led organization that develops, organizes, and implements student-led community service projects during college breaks.  Kristin and I had been working all block on organizing this trip, so it was great to finally see our plans materialize.  We chose the Boys and Girls Club because we had been inspired by their mission.  In Santa Fe, there is a huge disparity between the rich and poor. Poverty plagues the city as the cost of living continues to increase.  Santa Fe has one of the highest middle and high school drop out rates in the nation, and gangs are ubiquitous.  BGC is a positive place for kids to go after school, providing them with tools that will help them move forward in life. It supplies dinner for kids that might not otherwise have an opportunity to eat, and it shows them that they don’t need to join a gang in order to be accepted.

The group in downtown Santa Fe

BreakOut is a great way to have a fulfilling block break, giving back to the community without having to spend a lot of money.  We had a fabulous group, consisting of 11 students.  On Thursday and Friday we played with the kids and helped out with tutoring and reading workshops.  On Saturday, we hung out in Santa Fe, enjoying the mercados and art scene downtown.  Driving at a leisurely pace, we got back late Saturday night, so that we could enjoy a good night’s rest in our own beds and have all of Sunday to relax before a hectic block 4.

Check out the links below to learn more about the Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club.

Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club; Reality from the Barrio; Reality from the Barrio Video

Alright everyone, break’s over!

So the last few hours of block break are dwindling to a close and I’m just trying to make them as relaxing as possible… It’s a little difficult when I think of everything I have to do tomorrow. The first day of the block is often the busiest day of the block for me. A lot of the faculty and staff that I work with have the mentality of “It’s the first day, what could you possibly have to do?” – which is a reasonable assumption. Until everyone who thinks that assigns meetings.

The good thing about this year is the wacky schedule of fourth block. Normally, third block break falls on Thanksgiving weekend, making the schedule look like this: three five-day weeks and a three-day week. But the block break fell a week earlier this year, inverting the schedule: a three-day week and then three five-day weeks. “What’s the good part,” you ask. Well, because we have a block break followed by three days of class and then thanksgiving, it’s like having two block breaks in a row. So, I’m not too worried about this coming week being too busy, because I know on Wednesday, I’ll be off on another break.

This weekend, some friends and I took a car trip to Las Vegas. Only one of us is over 21, so we didn’t partake in the sinful festivities. But believe it or not, Vegas can be fun when you’re under age.

The fountains at the Bellagio in front of Paris Hotel and Casino

A view from behind the Bellagio fountains facing the Paris Hotel and Casino.

My friends and I stopped in front of the M&M store to bond with the blue one.

My friends and I stopped in front of the M&M store to bond with the blue one.

Despite the environmental policy major in me crying a little bit from the amount of wasted water and electricity, it is rather exciting at night. We saw Zumanity – a Cirque du Soleil show (which made the drama major in me just ecstatic). The level of skill of the performers was just amazing. Beyond the shows, strolling down the strip is always a delight.

Despite the fact that I slept through most of the 12-hour car ride today, I’m pretty exhausted. I think a shower is due, and then a nice long sleep before class and meetings begin again tomorrow.

Block Break

My friends and I decided to stay at Colorado College for the Block Break, in pursuit of some rest and relaxation. With the Block Break winding to a close, I’m definitely feeling relaxed… but perhaps not so rested. Knowing that there is no school tomorrow is has proven to be the make or break point when deciding whether to watch that next movie at 3:00 AM (and the movie always wins).

Despite some very cold weather, there’s been some really nice sunny days. I can’t help comparing it to Canada, where cold and wet and dark are all married to each other and it feels like the sun only comes out once winter is gone. When I talk to my parents back home they always tell me that #1 it is raining, #2 is is dark and/or cold and #3 I should be very grateful to be in Colorado!

I think the highlight of my Block Break was going to Denver with a group of friends — we took the free shuttle from Colorado College down to the Frex station, and caught the Frex commuter bus for $9. Two hours later, we were in Denver enjoying a delicious lunch at a Parisian creperie (see the picture below). Even though I really like the food at CC (it is a massive improvement on the cafeteria at my old boarding school, where you could have deep fried your hat with the oil wrung out from the “lasagna”), it is nice to have a change every once in a while. I’m glad that there’s a big city nearby to Colorado Springs. After our French lunch, we hit the 16th street mall to do some Christmas shopping, and saw all sorts of interesting buskers plying their trades, including a man doing acrobatics with the sign to his Indian restaurant.

Today is Sunday, and fourth block starts tommorow. I’m very happy that I got into the class I was waitlisted for – Introduction to Macroeconomics – though I’m sure that taking the French course I was signed up for would have been great as well. I’m a bit disappointed my break is over, but I feel good knowing that Thanksgiving is only a few days away! I’m headed to Denver again to stay with my friend Jen, and I can’t wait to experience a true American Thanksgiving. At my house in Canada Thanksgiving has never been a big holiday, especially because we are vegetarian and so never have turkey! I’m not sure if my friend has told her parents I’m vegetarian, but I’m not expecting any problems; after all, my all-time favourite food is mashed potatoes. Three days!

My friend Judy with her delicious looking Crepe

My friend Judy with her delicious looking Crepe

Welcome to the Show…

Hey all,

This is my first post, so I might as well get you up to speed with what’s been happening this year…

I hit the ground running first block with an intensive 200 level history course on Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in the United States.  I had a fabulous teacher and a really great class.  I wasn’t sleeping very much getting used to class (much less a hard one), catching up with everyone, and enjoying the last few days of summer, a tribute to how much fun I have at CC.  On top, I was working 16 hour days for two weeks straight at the DNC until I left for school so let’s just say I wasn’t well rested coming back.  However, first block break came and went and it was nice to catch my breath and spend a few days fly fishing and climbing near Winter Park. 

Second block was a nice breather.  I needed a lab credit so I took an introductory Psychology course with another great professor.  It was nice getting out of the humanities department and meshing with the science gurus for a block.  I loved having a psychology perspective to add to my own observations of how I thought the world and people work.  Second block break was one of my favorite breaks to date.  I went to Montana to stay on my roomate’s ranch with two of our (lacrosse) teammates and some mutual friends.  It was a man’s trip full of fishing, hunting, and ‘broing’ out.  (I’ll definately be back up there in the spring after lacrosse; whether my roomate knows it or not!)   

Third block came and went as quickly as the first two.  I couldn’t believe how well the weather held.  Nothing but sunshine and shorts.  I was particularly interested in my class because it was another history course about Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay since Independence.  Our professor, who has been teaching the class for 40 years, is very much an old-school professor who knows the material, the school, and his students like no one else at CC.  It was a pleasure getting to know him and cementing my understanding of Chile and delving into the rest of South America. 

Now the present.  Block break began on wednesday and I was a little under the weather in the beginning.  But, 75 degrees on wednesday sure helped and I rallied to go to the mountains and get a few days of early skiing under my belt, including opening day at Vail.  It was funny to see Keystone and Breck invaded by CC from the grocery store to the slopes.  It was good to get my legs back in shape for ski season.  I decided to come home for the weekend to see my parents and friends who are starting to get back for Thanksgiving break.  It will be great to catch up on sleep and see everyone.  I am off to the Broncos game tomorrow with my dad and roomate before I head back down for three days and another break.  Could it get any better?  More to come… 

P.S. Check out the link to see opening day at Vail.

I Can Hardly Move

The Incline absolutely destroyed me yet again. The Incline is honestly one of the most intense, painful, and rewarding exercises that exists. The councilman I interviewed for this film, Scott Hente, told me a story about troops from Fort Carson he saw on the Incline.

At the bottom - Looks easy don't it?

At the bottom - Looks easy don't it?!

He said there must have been 50-60 troops on the Incline one early morning while he and his wife were hiking to the top. He could tell that there were some young guys who had never done the Incline (these types of people stick out like a sore thumb when you are up there). Once at the top, Scott and his wife started talking to some of the soldiers waiting for friends to finish. One said, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Scott replied, “Really? I would have thought Iraq would have been harder!” The soldier looked at him and said, “No, this was harder than Iraq.”

The reward for me this time was greater than just making it to the top: it was the fantastic shots I was able to get. I was slightly disappointed though that the camera couldn’t capture the heart stopping views from the top. I reached the top just as the sun set behind Pike’s Peak. I do have shots where the peak appears to be engulfed in an orange, hot flame on the western slope. The shots that just don’t capture the true reality are the ones looking east down the Incline. As the sun crawled behind Pike’s, the lights of Manitou and Colorado Springs began to flicker. The canvas of purple and orange sky behind the flickering lights set the perfect landscape. It’s one of those moments when you can breath (even though it’s not freakin’ easy after a 2,000 ft vertical in a mile) and take in a bit of life in a whole new context.

Now, I’m off to editing the film. I’ll post it here once I’m finished. I hope it can capture the true essence of this thing.

A great view from the top!!

A great view from the top!!

…and life goes on.

My show went up this weekend. I was wondering what would happen after the process was over. You know, as if the entire world stops for you when the main thing controlling your life ends. It turns out, the world keeps going. Weird, huh?

‘Marigolds’ went very well. There was low turnout on Thursday and Friday, most likely due to other events going on around campus. But we had a surprisingly full house on Saturday. It’s strange how actors can surprise you sometimes. We had two blocks of rehearsal and just when I thought everything was set the way it would be for the performances, one of my actors made a brilliant change in the entire way that she did things in one of the scenes. It was amazing and made the scene so much better than it was. Some people just really surprise you sometimes.

Pictures of performances kind of make me laugh sometimes. It’s like catching a glimpse of a person through a store window and trying to make a guess at their whole life. You never understand the relationships as well as when you see the show, and sometimes people just look plain weird. But that’s just how it goes.

My parents came out from New Jersey for the weekend. It was nice to see them. I was one of those people who considered CC so I could be far away from my parents (not as the sole reason, mind you), as if a seven hour plane ride gives you that much more freedom than a two hour car ride. With these fancy new communication technologies out these days, where saying ‘hello’ is just a push of a button, I never thought I would miss my parents, I mean really miss them. There’s something about seeing them in person that makes a difference.

However, the joys of the weekend are over and I’m trying to catch up with my life again. Everything I temporarily pushed out of the way to work on ‘Marigolds’ came flooding back today. I had a two hour meeting about the sound design I’m doing for another show, my credit card bill is due soon, and I’m currently taking a break from stressing over a paper. I can honestly say this is the busiest block that I’ve had so far and it’s definitely going to show up in my grade for this class. There’s only two more days though and chances are good that I’ll make it through alive. I’m just worn out and I have no desire to do anything but sleep.

On a lighter note I’m pretty sure I figured out what I’m going to do for my Drama Thesis. It’s great when things come to you on a whim. (But it’s also scary to think about that already.)

I guess it’s time to turn my attention back to this paper so I can release one more monkey from my back. Good thing it’s block break in a few days…

Sunday Funday

My brother and me with Vince Lombardi outside Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Spending time in Oklahoma, one quickly realizes that there are no professional sports teams.  Consequently, I inherited my parents’ preferences.  I am a third generation die-hard Green Bay Packers fan.  My grandfather and my father both love the Packers and they passed their adoration down to me.  Growing up, my father traveled a lot, but always made it home for Sunday football.  For me, football was a way to spend time with my dad.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the first movie we ever watched together was Rudy.  Over the years, I became a staunch Green Bay supporter, closely following the team and researching Packers history.  I even gave a ten minute speech on why the Green Bay Packers is the best team in the NFL for my speech class in high school.

Reenacting the Lambeau Leap outside Tony's

One of the most frustrating things about coming to college was that I no longer had access to my family’s subscription to Sunday Ticket, meaning that I ended up missing most Green Bay games.  This year, I made friends with a girl from Wisconsin named Chelsea.  Being from Wisconsin, she shared my love for the Packers.  This past Sunday, we decided to go to brunch.  Chelsea proposed that we go to Tony’s, a very classy establishment downtown.  I reluctantly agreed.  However, upon arrival, I realized the brilliance of Chelsea’s suggestion.  The place was a shrine to the Green Bay Packers, full of Packers fans and paraphernalia, and was broadcasting the Packers game in HD.  And to top it all off, Green Bay won in a blowout against Chicago.  I was in heaven!  What more could I ask for on a Sunday afternoon?

My father is currently living in Brazil.  With the five hour time difference, it has been difficult to keep in touch.  In addition, this will be the first year that we won’t spend the holidays together.  Watching Green Bay makes me feel a little closer to him, regardless of how many thousands of miles separate us.

A Day in Guyland and an Intramural Soccer Triumph!

I’ve had a pretty packed week, but it’s also been quite exciting. On Wednesday I was disappointed that I missed a talk by Michael Kimmel on his new book “Guyland”, but then I managed to catch a luncheon held in his honor in Bemis Hall the next day. I always find it fascinating to meet the writers of the books or novels that I read; and I had remembered enjoying reading one of Kimmel’s pieces on masculinity in my Feminism and Gender Studies FYE. Kimmel didn’t disappoint — he was a great speaker. My favorite part was when he was asked about his thoughts on the election. He joked that he’d had “PID”, politically induced depression, for the last eight years, and with Obama he was finally beginning to feel hope again. That got a few laughs from the crowd.

Later in the day I went to go watch the final soccer showdown between the two currently reigning intramural soccer teams — one of which was the UWC team, made up of a lot of my friends. Tons of people were out watching (I don’t think I’ve ever been to a school that loves intramural sports as much as CC), tensions were high… and the UWC team triumphed! Go UWC!!!

Other than that, I’ve spent my weekend doing two things: working on my paper for my Learning and Adaptive Behavior class that, if I was smarter, I would have started a lot sooner (I hope my professor isn’t going to read this, or at least not until after he marks my paper), and going for runs on the great path alongside the creek behind CC. I went for a run tonight with a friend, and he told me that the path extends almost all the way up to the Canadian border… which got me thinking…. could be an interesting and cheap way to get home for the holidays! If I was that fit. Yea, maybe I’ll fly.

UWC team looking very happy and showing off their new shirts.