the wonderful world of veena.

30 September 2011

what a way to finish the week.

This has been a crazy, hectic, up-and-down week, but today made up for all of it.  Former President Bill and current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are in town for the weekend, and we had the opportunity to see both of them today.

This morning, Bill spoke at the opening and dedication of the new pedestrian bridge and wetlands down by the Presidential Center.  And in the afternoon, after getting a picture with the Clinton School students, Hillary gave a lecture to an audience of about 150 people.  Following the lecture, I got to meet Hillary and get a picture with her, which I will post on here as soon as Jacob uploads them.

It was, hands down, the coolest experience of my 28 years.

In other news, today also concludes my 30-posts-in-30-days challenge.  I apologize that some of the posts were a bit dry on those days I was running around doing other things, but I'm pretty proud of myself nonetheless.

Will I do it again?  Possibly.  But most likely not this month - there's enough other stuff going on.  There is a cool thing that good did this month where they challenged people to do a new thing every day, such as send someone a postcard or say hi to 3 strangers on the street.  You know I am a sucker for things like that, but it was already a week into it by the time I found out about it.  I wrote them all down, though, and will do my best to get through them before the end of the semester.  I'll keep you posted on how that turns out for me.

Until then, however, it is back to paper-writing and presentation-making for the rest of the evening.  Wish me luck.

And Woo Pig.

29 September 2011

i honestly don't have anything to say.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I have many things to say.  But most of the things I have to say relate to things I've already written at length about this week, like my IPSP, all of our upcoming assignments, and getting to meet Secretary Clinton tomorrow.

I do have a lot of other things to write about / discuss / post on here, but I just haven't had the time to collect my thoughts.  I left home at 8 this morning and got back at about 9.15 this evening.  And while I know that there are going to be many days like that in the months ahead, I also know that, for the most part, our schedule conflicts and shifting around and whatnot should be done.  Because of Labor Day, our schedules were messed up for the entire month, but I think after this weekend we should be back on track.

And I need to be back on track.  I might be a bit all over the place, but I am a stickler for my schedule, and when it gets disrupted, I get upset.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed that there shouldn't be too many more switcheroos.

So for tonight, I will simply wish all of you a happy Friday and a glorious weekend ahead.  I for one hope it cools down.  A lot.  90 degrees at the end of September does not sit well with me.

Woo pig.

[also.  tomorrow marks the conclusion of my 30-in-30 challenge.  raise your hands if you didn't actually think I would do it.  it's ok.  I won't be offended]

28 September 2011

so this is the life of a grad student.

And here begins the crux of grad school.  The papers.  The presentations.  The midterms.  The meetings.  The projects and evaluations.  All due at. the. same. time.

Here is a peek into my upcoming week:
[and yes, I know that rhymed :)]

Thursday.  APA Style & Plagiarism Workshop from 9-11am.  Practicum meeting with Ashley from 12-12.30pm.  Work from 2.40-6.20pm.  Heifer 100-Mile Meal from 5.30-8.30pm.  and yes, those times overlap.  awesome.

Friday.  Law & Ethics class from 9-11am for which I have about another 35 pages to read.  Clinton Pedestrian Bridge and Wetlands dedication at 11.30am.  Photo-op with Secretary Clinton at 1.30pm.  Secretary Clinton lecture from 2-3pm.  Communications paper due by midnight.

Saturday.  Food Truck Festival downtown.  Arkansas / Texas A&M game at 11am.  Mother and Brother coming to town for the celebration of Clinton's announcement to run for President from 4-6pm.  Clinton Staff Reunion from 6-?pm.

Sunday.  Kickball at some point.  Complete my CITI training and finish up my Leadership presentation.

Monday.  Leadership presentation at 9am.  Class until 12pm.  Panel discussion from 12-1pm.  Communication from 1.30-4.30pm for which I have to read about 100 pages plus a case study.

Tuesday.  Practicum all day.  Need to finish our Work Log and our Press Release and begin work on our Project Description.  David Margolick event and book signing from 6-7pm.

Wednesday.  Decision Analysis midterm.  Student Government meeting from 12-1pm.  Work from 2.40-6pm.  Erin Ganju of Room to Read lecture from 6-7pm.

As you can see, things are going to be a bit full.  And tomorrow, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday include 6.30am workouts.

Remind me again why I'm still up?  Oh yeah, finishing up my survey to send to my classmates.
Woo pig.

27 September 2011

10K tuesday: the first week.

Welcome to my first 10K Tuesday post!  [I'm a sucker for alliteration, what to do]  I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to format this, if I'm going to do specific categories or just wing it each week.  For the first one I'm just going to wing it, and then as we get further into my training, if I see particular things cropping up each time, I might start doing categories.  Or, in reality, I might get distracted in a few weeks and forget to keep up with this.  We'll see.

Well, I have completed the first week of the Couch-to-5K training as well as the first day of the second week.  So far it's not too bad, alternating between jogging and walking for about half an hour.  I've been getting up and heading out of the house around 6.30 in the mornings, which has worked out pretty well so far.  It's a lot cooler in the mornings than in the evenings, and I know that once I get home from school / meetings / events / work, I don't have the energy or the motivation to then complete my workout for the day.

The main hitches I foresee are my arches and shins, both of which have been problems since I was a teenager.  I have completely flat feet, which means that they hurt easily and require a lot of support.  I have orthotics in my shoes - both of which are designed for people with flat feet - but I think I might actually need to get a new pair of running shoes.  I got these when I returned to the States thinking I would walk or maybe do the elliptical a few times a week - nothing too difficult and nothing high-impact.  And then I lost my mind and decided to sign up for a 10K.  So I'm going to go this week and see if I need new shoes.

My shins started giving me trouble my senior year of high school, when I got all 3 kinds of shin splints at the same time.  I always felt like such a poser hanging out in the training room icing down my shins with all the wrestlers and basketball and soccer players who had legit injuries.  So far they've not given me trouble, but I'd really like to avoid that at all cost, so I think I might start icing them down the night before I run, in the hopes that that will prevent anything from going wrong.

I'm getting a bit concerned about my knees, but I think they'll be ok since right now I have every other day off from running.  On the off days I'm getting up and stretching, doing some light weights, and I really need to start doing abs, but those are my least favourite, and I tend to avoid them unless someone is screaming at me to do them.

I also have a bit of a problem getting a dry mouth when I run.  This has been happening since I was in middle school, because I tend to breathe through my mouth when I run.  I know I'm not supposed to, but I've never been good at breathing through my nose.  I am trying to work on it, but it's going to take some time.  It's also getting cooler in the mornings, which I think is also drying out my mouth.  Once I start doing longer jogging times / distances, I'm going to have to carry my water with me and figure out how to juggle everything.

According to my phone, my pace is around 13 minutes / mile, which would be fine by me, except that we're still going in intervals, so I'm still not sure how long I can sustain that.  One of the main things I like about this program is that it builds up your endurance slowly, which is my main issue.  I know my legs can survive 6.2 miles, but I'm not entirely sure the rest of my body can.  I have to keep reminding myself when it's time to jog, "It's a marathon, not a sprint."  I'm not used to long distances, I'm more used to running for a certain amount of time, so it's going to take a bit more getting used to.

I also set myself a few challenges along the way.  Since it's a 9-week program, and a 5K amounts to 3.1 miles, every 3rd week I'm going to run timed distances on one of my in-between days.  So next weekend, I'll run a timed mile; after another 3 weeks it will be 2 miles, and then finally, at the end of the 9-week program, I'll time myself for 3 miles.  And once I finish all that it will be time to start the training program that the Little Rock Marathon gave us.

I don't have any updates as far as my weight is concerned, but I'm also still figuring out my diet, so that I think will take some time.  I'm not so much trying to lose weight as I am just wanting to tone a bit.  Those last few weeks of eating out every day in Bangalore combined with returning to the States and eating out with friends has not been good for me.  I'm also cutting back on how much I drink, which I think ought to help.

So I guess that's all I have for this inaugural post.  I know it's a bit all over the place, but if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you should already expect that from me.

Happy Tuesday!
Woo pig.

26 September 2011

things we girls need to be reminded of every now and then.

Another one I found through friends on Facebook - I haven't read through the entire blog, but I love this post, titled I am woman. I am beautiful.

Because even though we often forget it, it's true.
You are all beautiful.
Woo pig.

25 September 2011

where oh where should i go?

As part of my program, my classmates and I will spend next summer abroad working with various organizations.  We're more than interns, but not quite staff - we help out with project evaluations and needs assessments and resource building and other various things, mostly things that organizations have been wanting / needing to do for a long time but have not had the time or resources to be able to do so.

We don't have to have our International Public Service Projects [IPSPs] confirmed until mid-March of next year, so at this point in the year we are just beginning to research organizations / projects / places that might be of interest to us.

As of now, I have many different issues I'm interested in working on - education, children's and human rights, and sustainable development - and also many places I am interested in going:

London.  I've always wanted to live there for some amount of time, and I figure a 10- to 12-week stint is pretty good.  Plus there are a ton of organizations there working on sustainable development.  And next summer are the Olympics.  In London.  What could be better.

Ladakh.  What an experience it would be to live in the mountains of Kashmir for 3 months and have the opportunity to travel in northern India.

New Zealand.  I've always wanted to go, and with the stipend from the school, I might finally be able to afford to get there.

Greece.  Its been on my list of places to go since I was a child.

Belfast.  This is one that wasn't really on my radar until I spoke to one of my classmates last week who got his Masters in History there, and he mentioned that he has friends in Belfast who do a lot of work in human rights.  I figured it would be worth looking in to.

So now I need to start researching the places and the possible organizations in a bit more detail, but I would love some input about any of the places.  And also suggestions of other places I might have not thought of.

You might be wondering why there are no mentions of Africa in my list.  That is partially for two reasons:

One is that I have always wanted to go to Africa, but I want to do more hands-on work, as opposed to evaluations, so I am saving it for another time in my life.  And two is that a lot of students usually end up somewhere in Africa, and I would like to work somewhere different.

So that's that.  Thoughts / comments / suggestions?
Woo pig.

welcome, fall.

[please note: this was intended to be Saturday's post, but Saturday has run into Sunday...I'm still counting it for Saturday and will have another once I've slept and woken back up]

In case no one noticed, Friday was the official first day of fall.  The weather cooperated nicely and, although slightly warm, had a nice crisp feel in the air.  I celebrated by stopping by Old Navy and picking up a few bits and bobs, including a fleece and two jackets for the fall.  Yes, that's right, I said two jackets.  Normally I am not someone who is obsessed with clothes, but I have never really had a nice jacket for fall before; I've always just relied on fleeces and sweaters.  This year, however, I decided that it might be time to splurge for something a bit more grown up.  I was lucky enough to find two great jackets during the store's buy-one-get-one offer, meaning one of the jackets was 75% off.  That's a deal that just can't be beat.

Other than my new jackets, one of my other favourite things about fall is that I can begin to bust out my shawls.  I managed to pick up some nice ones before I left Bangalore, and I am looking forward to actually being able to use them.

Beyond my latest fashion statements, we have been having beautiful weather the last few days.  Cool mornings and evenings make Veena a very happy girl.  And even though the afternoons have been sunny, they've not been super hot.

Fall is my favourite season for many reasons - the leaves changing colour, the opportunity to break out some nice sweaters and shawls, the weather becoming nicer - but probably the things I love most are the crisp feel to the air and the rivalries in college football heating up.

Happy Fall!
Woo pig.

[also.  apparently I made a slight miscalculation.  yesterday was not the 100th blog post overall, it was the 100th post this year.  meaning the 100th post was, in fact, two days earlier.  oops.  please forgive me - I am a public servant, not a mathematician]

23 September 2011

happy 100!

Today marks my 100th post on here.  When I started this blog towards the end of December, I didn't really have any idea of what direction it was going to go in.  I still don't, if I'm honest.

At the beginning, it was mostly a mix of nerves over grad school applications and studying for and taking the GRE.  I survived all of those happenings and then had to figure out where to go from there.  Once I had my tickets booked and my acceptance letter signed and returned, it became more about my last few months in India - my travels, the Cricket World Cup and IPL, wrapping up work, and attempts at daily picture-taking.  Since returning, it has been a mix of grad school preparation and the subsequent craziness that has ensued since classes began.

Even though I'm not a niche blogger - I get way too easily distracted for all that - I'm pretty happy with how it's all going.  My viewership comes and goes, but it's been staying up this month since I've been posting every day.  Note to self: more people read this thing when I post often, and on varying topics.  Good to know.

So really what I want to say today is thank you.  Thank you to all of you who actually take time out of your day to read my ramblings.  I can't really imagine what is all that entertaining for you, but it has definitely been a great way for me to get back into the practice of writing on a more-or-less daily basis, and it's nice to know that someone, somewhere, is reading it.

Here's to the next 100 posts.  How long do you think it will take me to do it?
Woo pig.

22 September 2011

random rambles.

1. I keep talking about how crazy this week has been, and I am pretty certain it is only going to get crazier as each week progresses.  I fear my nights of managing 7-8 hours of sleep are about to be over.

2. New TV shows started this week, and all I have been able to catch was the last 10 minutes of Parks & Recreation tonight.  It's going to be just like when I was in India, only my streaming will be faster.

3. Mansoor Ali Khan passed away today.  The world lost not only a legendary cricketer, but a great man.

4. I get to see super fun friends Lindso, Steve, Catherine, and Drew this weekend!

5. Next week I want to start discussing my 5K / 10K training on here in a bit more detail.  I know you guys can't wait.

6. We had an IPSP workshop today, and I am starting to trim down my list of places to go next summer. More to come on that in the next few days / weeks.

7. Only a week to go to complete my goal of posting every day this month!  I almost can't believe that I'm going to do it.

8. I know I need to post some pictures on here, but in order for that to happen, I need to actually take pictures.  Maybe I'll take some this weekend at the World Cheese Dip Festival.  Yes, that's a real thing.

9. I can't believe tomorrow is finally Friday.  There were honestly a few moments where I wasn't sure it was coming.

10. Tomorrow we celebrate my 100th post!  I wish I could say I had something special planned, but I don't.  You're just going to have to wait and see what I come up with.

And, as always,
Woo pig.

21 September 2011

hazy crazy days.

So far, we have had 4 events in 3 days at school with another one coming tomorrow night.  My classmate Maggie and I have been writing the blog posts for each of the events, which you can read over on the Clinton School blog.

Tonight Joe Klein of Time Magazine spoke at school, and following the event, I was one of the lucky students who got to go for dinner with him and Lindsey, the photojournalist covering him on his current road trip.  They are both amazing and inspiring individuals, and it was truly humbling to sit at the table with them.  I had to fight the urge to pinch myself through the entire meal.

And by the by, it was a fantastic meal.
Woo pig.

20 September 2011

words of wisdom.

Tonight, Ruby Bridges spoke at school.  She was the African-American girl who integrated New Orleans' school system as a first grader in 1960; she actually finished the year as the only pupil in her class because the white parents refused to send their children to school with her.  Her struggle was depicted in a famous Norman Rockwell painting that was showcased in LOOK Magazine in 1960.

Ruby had many incredible things to say tonight, but I think what might stick with me the longest was something she said toward the end of her speech: "Racism is a grown-up disease; we must stop spreading it to our children."  She then closed with, "We are all part of one race - the human race."

In all the years I have left to live, I don't think I would have found a better way to say it.
Woo pig.

19 September 2011

jamie naughton: zappo's speaker of the house.

Last week Jamie Naughton of Zappo's, the online retailer, spoke at school.  I had the privilege of writing the post about it for the Clinton School blog, which you can read here if your heart so desires.

Woo pig.

18 September 2011

clear sign that I have lost my mind.

Since I apparently don't have enough other things to do in life, I decided it would be a good idea to register for the Little Rock Marathon's 10K run in March.

That's right, I said 10K.

Have I ever run 10 kilometers before?  Never in one go.  Am I out of my mind?  Absolutely.

I mostly did it because I need to start getting back into shape, and I knew spending the money for the registration fee was a surefire way to motivate me.  You know how cheap I am, and that's $35 that I am never getting back, so I might as well get the most out of it.

Also, the Marathon offers free training, including group runs once a week, so that I can see the other people who are also hell-bent on punishing themselves.

I was originally going to sign up for the 5K, but it's on Saturday by itself, whereas the 10K is on Sunday along with the half- and full-marathons, which I know a lot of other students are running, and I just figured that would be more fun.

The official training begins at the end of November, so in order to train for the training, I am beginning the Couch-to-5K program tomorrow morning.

So now, on top of all the other things going on in life, I will now be getting up at 6.30am three days a week to run.

Here goes nothing.
Woo pig.

17 September 2011

happy birthday, peanut!

Today is my little Peanut's 1st birthday!

I am shattered that I cannot be there for her celebration, but I am participating in spirit.

Here's to the cutest, silliest, craziest little moonchild in all of Bangalore.
Woo pig.

16 September 2011

ode to my father.

Today is my father's birthday.  Sixty-nine years ago, he was brought into this world.  He grew up without television, without computers or the Internet, without public transportation systems.  It is nearly impossible for me to fathom, because he has adapted so well to the changes that have occurred over those years.

My father and I are both polar opposites and twin souls.  Where he is quiet, reflective, and somber, I am loud, opinionated, and a bit in-your-face.  Where he prefers the quiet of a small town or the suburbs, I love living in the heart of a bustling, thriving city.  But at the end of the day, we both like to have a bit of peace and quiet to read and think about our days and relax over some steaming chicken tikka masala.  We are also two of the most stubborn people you'll ever meet, which is probably why we argue so much.

While we agree on certain things, we don't see eye-to-eye on most, but there has never been a time in my life where I have doubted my father's love or support.  I know that no matter what, he is proud of me and of the decisions I have made, whether it be deciding to move halfway around the world to serve the children of India or deciding to come back to grad school to work toward making the world a better place.

Much of my commitment to service I learned from my father.  As a pediatrician in a small, struggling town in the Delta, he saw children whose parents' could not afford health care, but he would never refuse care to a child because their parents' were unable to pay for a checkup or for shots.  There were often days he came home in December having seen over 100 patients only to turn around and head to the school for my brother's football or basketball games.

My father also taught me the importance of loyalty, both to family and friends.  He trusts unconditionally, which is something I strive each day to do.  He made it a point while my brother and I were children to take us to India every summer to visit his mother and family.  He speaks to his sisters in India at least once a week.  I sometimes go 4 days without seeing my own housemates.

So today, I am wishing my father the happiest, most amazing birthday in the history of birthdays.  There is no one I know who deserves it more than he does.
Woo pig.

15 September 2011

cards and letters.

How many of you still hand-write cards and letters?

I for one love to send hand-written cards and letters to people.  I often stock up on cards that are blank inside whenever I find good ones and just keep them around for whenever I feel like sending someone some love.

I also love receiving hand-written notes <hint, hint>.  There is something so fun about getting a card or letter in the mail, reading what is written on the inside, and putting it away to discover later.  When I was cleaning out my room in my parents' house a few months ago, I found shoeboxes filled with cards and letters and postcards and notes from my days at Baylor, at Rhodes, and my first trip to Bangalore, and I had so much fun opening them up and re-reading them.  There's something so timeless about it, and it brought back so many random memories.

It was really difficult to keep up with written correspondence while I was in India, partly because I didn't trust the postal system, and partly because I was lazy.  I tried to write postcards whenever I traveled somewhere fun, buying and sending them in bulk, but for the most part my traveling was pretty intermittent, dependent on interns and friends' schedules and available funds, so that made postcards even more intermittent.  [I also tended to lose them.  when I was packing up all of my stuff in June, I came across about 7 blank postcards - I think from Gokarna - that I had purchased and misplaced and never got around to sending.  I had even written in a few.  apologies to those of you who I forgot to send those to]

Now that I am back in the States, I am looking forward to getting back into the habit of hand-writing correspondence to friends rather than relying on email.  I'd like to get something out once a week, but I know realistically that may not happen.  Oh well, here's to nothing!

Now to practice my penmanship.
Woo pig.

14 September 2011

new obsession.

Thanks to a few friends on Facebook, I have recently stumbled upon this blog, and it is hilarious.  My particular favourite is the latest post - "Open Letter to a Delhi Boy".  As someone who once dated a Delhi boy, I can relate.  For anyone who has never dated a Delhi boy, don't say we didn't tell you so.

Woo pig.

13 September 2011


Are you someone who likes libraries?

Even though I have a lifelong obsession with books, I have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with libraries over the years...

While I love the fact that they're free and have such an enormous supply of books available, I have always been someone who loves to own books.  I know I should borrow them from the library, but I just love owning a book, reading it, and then passing it along to someone else so that they can love it, too.  Also, I don't like that there is a time limit on how long you can keep a book; I like reading at my own pace and not feeling as though I have to finish a book quickly just to avoid having a late fee.

Additionally, I have never been a big fan of studying in libraries.  The public libraries in Helena and West Helena were not very conducive to studying [no tables and chairs, to my recollection, other than the one at the College].  Plus I was not independent and therefore had to rely on my parents or friends to shuttle me back and forth.  I never really got much work accomplished at the Baylor library, because I would always get distracted talking to my friends.  Those "study rooms" were rarely used for studying in my day - instead we would sit and gossip for the 2-hour evening study period.  And don't even get me started on the Burrow library at Rhodes - it was like a dungeon, the study carrels didn't provide enough room for me to spread out all my stuff [I like a big workspace], and I always felt like I had to creep around in there, like even my footsteps were too loud for the serious kids.  The Memphis Public Library, while nice, was just too inconvenient - my life was centered around the Rhodes campus, and I couldn't see the value, at the age of 19, of driving 15 minutes to sit quietly in the library and study.

While I was in college, I became a big fan of studying in bookstores.  I would camp out in the cafes of the various Barnes & Nobles around Memphis for hours at a time.  They were perfect for me - the cafe meant that I could snack while I studied [a big no-no in libraries at the time], I could wander around and look at books if I needed a break, and the music and customers provided just enough background noise to keep me focused on my work.

In fact, one of the things about my current living situation that appealed to me the most - beyond my awesome roommates, of course - was the fact that we live within walking distance of a Barnes & Noble. I figured I could utilize their cafe space during my free time to get some good studying done.  And while I have done that a few times, I have actually spent more time downtown at the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System.

That's right, I said the library.

See, this isn't your typical library.  Up here on the 5th floor [where I am currently sitting], there is a cafe, vending machines, and a fountain.  What does that mean?  It means I can bring my snacks along, I have some background noise, and - if I decide to get one of the private study rooms - I have a view of downtown Little Rock.  Plus, the librarians don't give you death looks if you're being too loud.  In fact, they've mostly gotten used to me, and just kind of give me a funny look if they think I need to be reminded to keep it down.  And!  It's right behind our River Market campus, so it is super convenient if I have a few hours to kill but want to stay in the downtown vicinity for anything happening in the evening / night.

So finally, I have become a fan of libraries.
It only took 28 years.
Woo pig.

12 September 2011

tickets are booked!

I realized that my earlier post-that-wasn't-really-a-post was a copout and couldn't properly be counted toward my 30-in-30 blog challenge - to myself - so I therefore decided to be proactive and do something worth mentioning.

And I did.

I booked my tickets to Ann Arbor!

A little background: my good friend Shalini has also moved from Bangalore to the US for graduate school. She is currently enrolled at the University of Michigan's graduate program in Public Policy, and I promised her when we parted in early July that I would visit her in Ann Arbor.

My reasons for wanting to visit her were many-fold:
     1. I miss Bangalore, and any chance to spend with fellow transplanted Bangaloreans [we were both knighted] should never be passed up.
     2. I have never been to a game in the Big House, and before last weekend, Shalini had never been to a college football game, period, so I figured this would be a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
     3. I like to get out of town every now and then; too much time spent cooped up in one place drives me nuts.
     4. There are direct flights from Little Rock to Detroit, and a shuttle from the Detroit campus into Ann Arbor, so it's about as easy of a weekend trip as you can get.
     5. It's Homecoming weekend.  Game is against Purdue.  What could be better.

I know it's a month and a half away, but I'm already getting excited.  And I found out today that one of our former Peace Child interns and a U of Mich alum, Chloe, is also going to be in town that weekend.  The odds of us actually finding each other amongst the hundreds of thousands of people that will be around are pretty much next to none, I realize, but it's good to dream.

And it will give me a reason to wear lots of warm clothing.
Woo pig.

11 September 2011

ten years.

On this day, 10 years ago, I walked back to my townhouse after my 8am class.  It was just like any other Tuesday; I remember craving a nap and hoping that some nice fall weather was on the horizon.

I crossed the street and was almost to the gate for the townhouses when Mike Aggianidis came bustling out and told me that a plane had just flown into one of the twin towers.  He hurriedly told me to go watch the coverage so I could let him know what was going on when he got out of class.

I walked into our townhouse and immediately woke up Shelley and told her something was going on.  At that point I still had no real idea of what was happening or of the potential impact of it.  All I knew was that it was big.

We had each television in our townhouse tuned to a different station and spent the entire day in the house watching the coverage, trying to make sense of the incredible tragedy of it all and trying to figure out what was going to happen next.

Ten years later, this is a day to remember the heroes of September 11, 2001.  Nearly 3,000 people died on that day, and many of them were policemen and firefighters who ran into the burning buildings while ushering others out to safety.  Would I have had the courage to do that?  I honestly don't know.  Am I thankful that they did?  Every day of my life.

What I do know is that in everything that has happened since, and everything that is yet to come, the events of that day will forever be burned into my memory.

We will never forget.
Woo pig.


I know.

I know I missed writing a post yesterday.

Will you give me a chance to explain?

This was my Saturday:
8am - woke up; showered; gathered all of my Razorback paraphernalia; packed up my car.
9.15am - out the door; FedEx to send Nilah's birthday parcel; Colonial to pick up some Jack for the day; out to Maggie's house to pick up the table for tailgating.
10.20am - picked up Dylan Perry; grabbed some Dr Pepper from the convenience store.
10.40am - met Britney, Sydney, and Papy at Rebecca's to distribute stuff and head over to our class' tailgating spot.
11.15am - after half an hour of trudging down Markham and through the golf course laden down with two coolers, 4 tote bags, and a table, we finally found our spot and settled in.
11.15am-7.30pm - ate, drank, and played bean bag toss and flip cup; wandered around the tailgates; spied on our neighbour's television to catch the scores of the other games.
7.30pm - packed up our stuff; tossed everything into Stan and Stephen's cars; trudged back to the car.
8.15pm-8.45pm - waited for food at Taco Bell [apparently they didn't plan for the crowd and only had 3 people working.  smart guys].
9pm - headed over to the AHA house to chill out.
12am - left the AHA house; dropped off Dylan Perry; came home, took off my jewelry, brushed my teeth, fell into bed.
12.30am - passed out.

So now do you think you can forgive me for missing my post?
I promise I will have another one today to make up for it, possibly with the pictures from yesterday.
Woo pig.

09 September 2011

playing tourist in memphis.

My dear friend Matt Haygood came to visit over Labor Day and we decided to head to Memphis since he had not been in about 6 years.

We got in around 5.30 on Friday and decided to hit up Rhodes to check out all the new buildings and generally to have a wander around. It was a nice stroll down memory lane for us.

After that we made our way downtown and had dinner and drinks at Rendezvous followed by a stop at the Redbirds game:

We decided to make it a proper Memphis night and headed to Beale St after the game. Instead of paying cover at any of the places, we just got a drink - gotta love those roadside bars - and wandered, stopping to listen to the street musicians and to check out the various artists showcasing their talents, including this guy, who is a whiz with a can of spraypaint:

From there we called it a night. Saturday brought us breakfast at Waffle House followed by a trip down to the river. While wandering we learned about exciting upcoming projects down at the river:

We also stumbled upon a random gospel festival:

We strolled a bit more and reminisced about MusicFests of yore...

We also went to the Peabody to see the ducks before settling ourselves in at the Fox and Hound to cheer the Razorbacks on to victory.

We had lunch at the Palace with my parents and Lindsey on Sunday before heading back to Little Rock and continuing our game of pretending to be college students again.

Will post the Little Rock details another day as those pictures are on my camera.
Until then,
Woo pig.

08 September 2011

the week of ridiculousness.

This week has zapped me, which is sad for two reasons:
1) Monday was Labor Day, which meant no classes.
2) it's still only Thursday night.

So what has happened in these last 3 days that has been so exhausting?  I'll tell you.

Tuesday was a full day of Practicum, including a group assignment to begin working on our Memorandum of Understanding.  A full day from 9 to 5.  Had to finish purchasing Baby Nilah's birthday present so that I can attempt to get that parcel to Bangalore as close as possible to her actual birthday.  Then Nathanial invited me to the Saucer for Trivia, and because I had ditched a few weeks ago, I wanted to go.  Went for an hour and had to come home to study.

Wednesday was a full day of classes to make up for missing Monday.  Decision Analysis in the morning, a lunch with some of the staff from the Clinton Foundation, and Leadership in the afternoon which included a group project as well.  Another 9 to 5 day.  Followed by the Republican debate, which Angela and I decided to turn into a drinking game.  Who knew they would say "Reagan" so many times?  41 mentions and a bottle of coconut rum later, we were much wiser.

Today [Thursday] was a full-day workshop on conflict mediation.  It was interesting stuff, but there was too much sitting around and not enough activities - particularly after lunch.  At one point I looked around the room and saw at least 12 people struggling to keep their eyes open.  After that from 9 to 5.15, it was over to Sturgis to hear Robert Fogarty of evacuteer and dear world speak.  From there it was on to Gusano's to catch the first half of the Packers / Saints NFL Opener before heading home to sort out my life.  An hour later, I have finally finished going through my emails and figuring out my schedule for the upcoming weeks - our class schedule is going to be messed up for a few more weeks as a repercussion of Labor Day and this workshop.

And tomorrow we have the workshop again from 9 to 12.30 followed by a Practicum group meeting to discuss our project.  After that I have to purchase a grill for my house / our class' Saturday tailgate for the Razorback game before going to visit Mrs Hughes and then eventually on to the Class 6 v Class 7 kickball game.  Which is at 5.  And then a full night of reading for next week.

But for now it's off to finish learning all about the Delta Garden Study.
I'm still [possibly stupidly] hoping for 7 hours of sleep tonight.
Wish me luck.
Woo pig.

07 September 2011

shout-out to christie.

Anyone who knows me knows of my obsession with sports.  I grew up going to all of my brother's sporting events and watching whatever game was on tv during dinner.  My two lifelong obsessions, the Braves and the Razorbacks, were cultivated at a young age.  At any point, if you turned on my television, you would most likely find it tuned to ESPN [or TBS, back when they showed Braves games].

Living in India for the past 4 years made it very difficult to keep track of all my various sports obsessions. was very helpful in attempting to keep up, particularly columns by Bill Simmons and Pat Forde.  Forde's "Forde Yard Dash" was a great way to stay in touch with the college football happenings since it recaps most of the major things that happen over the course of the week - it covers not only scores and recaps of the big games but also various news stories as well.

Last week, Forde's column was a preview of the upcoming season [that I am actually in the country to watch!], and it included a "literary corner" that featured a book review of Gridiron Belles, written by none other than my fellow Rhodent, Christie Mueller!  I am about to purchase my copy, and you should, too.

[you can read this week's Forde Yard Dash column here]
Woo pig.

06 September 2011

reading for pleasure.

I have always been a reader.  Before I could read for myself, my mother would read to me every night, and if she was tired and tried to skip pages, I would know, and I would make her start over from the beginning.  From the time I was about 7 or 8, I've always carried a book with me wherever I go and usually even keep one in my car for those unexpected traffic jams.  I love to spend about 20 or so minutes reading each night before I go to sleep; it's a great way to unwind and clear my head before turning in for the night.

The past 4 years have been great for getting a lot of pleasure reading accomplished - those hour-and-a-half commutes on city buses go by a lot faster with a book.  At one point earlier this year, when we didn't have any interns and I essentially hung out with myself all day, I was breezing through 4 or sometimes 5 books a month, which is fast even for me.

When I first moved back to the States in July, my reading slowed down considerably because I was trying to sort out moving and cleaning out my room and packing and shopping and school reading and catching up with people in Memphis.  I managed to finish a few books right before I moved to Little Rock, and after that I have been stopped cold.

Orientation Week was so busy I barely had time to think, and while the first 2 weeks of school have not been ridiculously busy, I've just been spending a lot of time figuring out my routine and finalizing my work schedule and stuff like that.

All of that means that I have had little to no time for pleasure reading.  I opened Little Bee [Chris Cleve] last night for the first time in nearly a month.  No, I have still not finished it.  It's not that I don't like it, and it is definitely a pretty fast read.  It's more that I haven't prioritized making time for pleasure reading recently, and that kind of upsets me.  I have so much reading for school that I sometimes forget to take that time for myself and read simply because I enjoy it.

So that is something I am going to make a priority from now on: 20 minutes of reading every night before bed.  And if I can do that, then hopefully I can get through at least a book a month.  Although that seems really slow to me, I know it's all I can commit to, and it's better than nothing.

And this way hopefully I can do a few more posts about my favourite books that I know you all love so much.
Woo pig.

05 September 2011

learning to spell.

I have always been anal about spelling, ever since I was a child learning my brother's spelling words along with him.  If I don't know how to spell a word, I get really frustrated.  And if other people misspell something, I get really upset about it.  It's just the way that I am.

Recently [I don't know exactly when], the oatmeal did a post about commonly misspelled words, and it was great.  If you are someone who is always mixing up "your" and "you're", "their", "there", and "they're", or "its" and "it's", then this will go a long way to clearing things up for you.

And in advance, thank you for finally learning the rules of spelling and grammar.
Woo pig.

04 September 2011

woo freaking pig.

College football is back!

Other than 2 games I managed to catch during my brief visit last year, I haven't gotten to watch college football properly since the fall of 2006.

That's right, I said 2006.

So I am over the moon to be back in the States for college football this year.

Tonight was Arkansas' first game, and Haygood and I decided to go to the Fox and Hound in Memphis to watch the game.  When we got there, it looked as though they weren't going to show the game, which was very upsetting, so it was super exciting when we glanced up and saw it was on.

Granted, we were playing Missouri State, but I didn't care; I was just happy to be watching the game.  And 4 quarters and 51 points later, we emerged victorious.  It was awesome.

I can't wait to spend every Saturday doing just this for the rest of the semester.
Woo pig.

p.s.  Even Rick Reilly thinks the Razorbacks are awesome.  Here we go, Hogs!

03 September 2011

biting the bullet.

Over the course of however many years it has been since the creation of Twitter, I have refused to use it.  I find it slightly annoying, I kind of think it's ridiculous, and I'm too wordy to be able to limit myself to 140 characters.  I really just don't see how it would be useful in my life.

And I still don't.

But the other night, I downloaded the app for it on my phone.

Why, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you - I did it for Nikolai.  He is the Director of Public Programs for the Clinton School, and when I was discussing doing the blog posts with him the other night, he mentioned that he has a Twitter account for Public Programs and wants the students who write the blog posts to also "live tweet" during the speakers.

So what does this mean for me?  It means that I am now a pseudo Twitter user.  I still don't have an account of my own, and I most likely never will, but I will be utilizing it to inform the world of interesting things our speakers say during lectures / speeches / presentations / panels.

Be on the lookout for me, attempting to limit myself to 140 characters, one day soon.
Woo pig.

02 September 2011

do you think I can do it?

I get restless sometimes and like to issue myself challenges.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember - back in April, I think - when I decided to take more pictures of my daily life in Bangalore.  While I didn't take a picture every day, I still think I did pretty well taking pictures of things I normally would not have.  I got some pretty great pictures, too.

And now I'm ready for my next challenge.  I want to see if I can post something on here every day for the month of September.  It may be something insightful [wait, who am I kidding?], it may be a book review, it may be grumblings about grad school, it may be links for my posts about speakers at school, it may be an essay on how awesome the Arkansas football team is, it may be only pictures, it may be all about our awesome kickball team, or it may just be something stupid because I need to post something that day.  Whatever the content, there should be something every day, including weekends.

I know of a few days when I am going to be out of town, so for those I might have to write something the day before and set it to post at a certain time, but for the most part I hope to avoid that.

So.  Do you think I can do it?  I do.
Here we go, kids: 30 posts in 30 days.
Woo pig.

01 September 2011

coppy holzman: charitybuzz ceo.

On Tuesday, Coppy Holzman, CEO of charitybuzz, spoke at school about his online charity auction website.  He was a nice guy, with some really great stories, and I have a feeling he's going to have quite a few Clinton School-ers applying for internship positions with his company in the years to come.  For now, you can read my post about his appearance over on the Clinton School blog.

I'm going to be writing the posts for quite a few of the speakers [Maggie and I are going to try to hit up all of them between the two of us], so as they're posted over there, I will link them up over here so that you can all marvel in the magnificence that is my writing.

Hope everyone's week is coming along well!
Happy September, and Happy College Football!
Woo Pig.