Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hurry up, June, I haven’t got all summer…

For a multitude of reasons, chief among them being my need to procrastinate, I am posting a list of all the fun things I am going to do this summer. I realized I plan and chart and schedule all the sucky stuff so why not make a list of all the exciting things, too?
And because I like to keep a little mystery, I’m going to post a picture of ten things WITHOUT a description. I’m excited to hear your best guesses below! Photo credits will be in my next post along with the answers.
state park

Alright. Any guesses? Would you believe me if I told you I don’t even need to leave the state of Ohio (except for picture #7) to have all of these awesome experiences? Eh…you probably would.
What about you? What are YOU doing this summer?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What It Was Like To Be 17 And In Love


Let’s just say that spring makes me nostalgic. And spring nights make me nostalgic for the period in my life in which I was doing the most wonderful, frightening thing I have ever done…falling in love. There’s just something about the way the leaves sound at night, the way the grass feels on your feet, the way everything is so still and dark, the way the ground smells sweet and kind of sad after it rains. If I close my eyes for a second, I am seventeen all over again and I am full of blushing-crimson-heart pounding-achy-secret smiles and I don’t know where to even BEGIN to store all the happiness in my heart. I just remember sitting on the front steps at nine o’clock at night and thinking, No one has ever felt as terrible and wonderful as I feel right now.

Tonight feels like that.



What about you? What reminds you of falling in love?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Help End Sexual Violence in YOUR Community: DEFEND

It’s still April for another week so let’s talk about a THIRD way we can help fight sexual violence where we live and work and play!
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This might seem like an oversimplification. After all, we think, if I actually SAW someone being assaulted or harassed, I would do something about it. Right?
Studies show that this is not always the case. Bystander effect is essentially what happens when a large group of people witnesses someone in trouble and does nothing about it because a) no one else is or b) they assume someone else is.
Most of us, I think, would probably try to say or do something if we saw a woman attacked on the street. Hopefully, that’s a no-brainer. But what about those more ambiguous situations? What about the girl at the party who seems like she’s had a little too much to drink to be leaving with that guy? What about the loud shouting coming from a couple arguing in the parking lot outside of your apartment? And what about that woman at work who looks incredibly uncomfortable when the guys in the next cubicle start loudly comparing personal sexual experiences? Would we do something then? Or would we say, “That’s not my business.” “I shouldn’t get involved.” “If she’s uncomfortable, she’ll say so.”

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And defense isn’t just about defending OTHERS, it’s also about defending ourselves.
Here are some easy ways to defend the vulnerable:
- If dirty jokes or sexually aggressive language is being thrown around the office, say something. Don’t wait for someone else to speak up. If you felt uncomfortable, even for a second, chances are someone else did, too.
- If you’re concerned about someone’s personal safety, do something. If you’re not sure it’s safe to intervene directly, don’t step in yourself. Call security, call 9-1-1, ask another passerby for help. I’ve heard campus police use the expression: “When in doubt, call us out.” Pay attention to your instincts.
- Learn self-defense. Take a class (they’re often offered through community centers, gyms, martial arts studios, and college campuses). The key word, again, is defense. This isn’t about taking on predators in dangerous situations. It’s about knowing how to use your own body (your greatest weapon) to protect yourself and others in peril. Be aware of your surroundings. Lock your car doors. Walk with purpose and confidence.
-Demand that people treat your personal space with respect and care – if someone gets a little too close (ex: at the bus stop, waiting in line, on the sidewalk, or at a party), tell them to give you room. Don’t let the fear of offending someone keep you from feeling safe – a predator will test your boundaries by encroaching on your personal space and a good person won’t be offended if you ask them to give you room.

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As always, thanks for taking the time to read and empower yourselves as men and women to make an impact on YOUR world! Stay tuned for Part 4 of Ending Sexual Violence in Your Community!
Love, Elizabeth

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mad for Madigan: The Fuzzier Side of Easter

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Dear Readers,
Today I’m hosting an Easter post because Mommy is too lazy. I had a very confusing Easter, in case anyone is wondering. The ‘rents woke up at o’dark thirty to discuss the possibility of attending something called “a sunrise service.” I would just like to point out that it was raining bears and elephants outside (if you think cats and dogs don’t get along, you haven't seen bears and elephants together) and no one was going to be able to see the sun do any actual rising. Whatevs. No one asked for the dog’s opinion. Although, hilariously, Dad actually did use me as an excuse to go to the regular service. “Don’t want to leave Madigan alone too long,” he said and rolled over and went back to sleep. Thanks, Daddy-o. I’m feelin’ the love. Anyhoo, here’s the Easter wrap-up.
Mom and Dad dyed eggs. I was not involved. Translate: Scroll down to see more pictures of moi.
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After the church service today and some kind of event having to do with eating (once again, I was not invited), they finally took me for a jaunt.
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Also, I looked awesome thanks to my pimp Easter scarf from Aunt Zoey!
Daddy climbed on the jungle gym and was, in general, suuuuuuper lame.
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Mommy wants me to post a picture of her in her Easter dress. Boooooooorrrrriiiiiiiing…

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Oh, good. Me again.
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So there you have it, folks. Easter was grand. Mommy walked around humming hymns all day and I got to go outside to sniff Dandelions. Life = Swell.

‘Til next time,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Help End Sexual Violence In YOUR Community: DECLARE

It's Sexual Assault Awareness Month and here is the second way YOU can help fight sexual violence in YOUR community.


Declare yourself as an ally for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

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Here are some incredibly easy ways to do that:
- Use empowering language. People who have been harassed, abused, stalked, and/or assaulted are not just victims of a crime. They are survivors because they lived through it. The term survivor shows respect for their strength and their journey of recovery.

- Educate yourself about the statistics. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetimes. 85% of survivors know their attacker. Only 33% of rapes are reported. While anyone can be assaulted, some more vulnerable groups are at a higher risk, statistically. These groups include people with disabilities, the homeless, senior adults, children, and the GLBT community.

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- Be sensitive to humor/language that encourages or excuses sexual violence. The words “rape” and “molestation” get thrown around a lot in some inappropriate contexts –ex:  “I just got raped on my tax refund this year.” Comedians and adult cartoons often make jokes at the expense of marginalized groups. This is not funny or edgy or subversive. It’s gross. I hear this a lot:“It’s just a joke. Don’t be so sensitive.” These comments trivialize the genuine pain that women and men who are assaulted experience.

- Go public. Not all of us speak in front of large groups or command a great deal of attention. But we all have public outlets. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email, even our blogs…Some people like to put bumper stickers on their car. Most of us wear jewelry or t-shirts. Find a way, big or small, to let your public know where you stand on sexual violence.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Help End Sexual Violence in Your Community: DONATE

“May the stars carry your sadness away…”
- Chief Dan George

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in honor of that, I thought I’d share 5 ideas this month for fighting back against sexual violence. Here’s the first one.
There are tons of local and national organizations that desperately need resources to continue doing what they do. These organizations provide 24-hour hotlines, hospital advocacy, counseling and support groups, community/school education and prevention, and much more! Government funding of these programs is constantly being cut and many crisis centers are fighting to keep their doors open and their staff paid. Most centers accept online donations (which are tax-deductible). Donate locally or visit RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to donate to what Worth Magazine deems one of “America’s 100 Best Charities.”
You can also buy great gifts for friends and family that support RAINN by clicking HERE.
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And they don’t just need money! Contact your local domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center to find about donating things like:
  • Old cell phones that can be converted into emergency phones. These phones will only dial 9-1-1 and the survivor or at-risk person will not be charged any fee.
  • Gently-used clothing/bedding – many shelters have beds for survivors of abuse but are running out of things like pillows and blankets.
  • Hygiene products like shampoo, toothpaste, new underwear and socks – in hospital situations, survivors are often asked to give up their clothing as part of evidence collection.
Thanks for reading this! Oh, and just so you know, I’m not paid by any of these organizations, including RAINN so this isn’t an advertisement so much as a hope that you might find a few minutes to visit a website and consider donating to a worthy cause!
Stay tuned for more ideas for ending sexual violence in YOUR world…
Much love,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mad for Madigan

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Dear Readers,
Today I’m talking about a little thing I like to call “quality time.” And lest Mommy think this post another great opportunity to offer her opinion in some kind of adorable metaphor, I am going to warn you. She does that. And I call shenanigans.

So here’s the long and the short of it. If you love someone, you’ll make time for them. For instance, I may feel like snoozing all morning but if Daddy really needs someone to take him out for a walk, well…I’m going to make that happen. Because I love my daddy.

Qual-i-ty time /ˈkwälətē tīm/  Noun. 1. Deliberately enacting a quantifiable unit of togetherness whereby two or more parties feel that they are cared for by one another through the act of sharing a common bond or experience. 2. Belly rubs.

Humans are weird. No question. They poop in the house but get mad if you do. They have no fur to speak of (total ick, by the way). They have really missed out on the art of the polite salutation (hello? my buttocks are RIGHT HERE.) And they have the completely misguided notion that you submit to having your ears scratched or your ball thrown because you need attention. Puh-lease. Any animal worth her salt will tell you…humans need us. They need the stability of expectations and responsibilities. They need to be licked on the nose in the morning. They need us to get into the garbage and chew up their favorite belongings and bark at strangers. It shows them that we care.

So take my advice, pets. Get out there and spend some quality time with your humans. They won’t thank you for it. They’ll sigh when you demand to go out in to the snow to pee. They’ll groan when you gak up half your breakfast in the hallway. But inside they’ll be singing like Cinderella to her mice (who she totally needed to get her to the ball, in case anyone forgot).

‘Til next time, peeps.
- The Madster
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See what I mean? He’d be so lost without me…

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

8 Albums You’ve Never Heard Before

As serendipity would have it, a local radio station chose today to dump ten or so boxes on a table and tape the following sign nearby: FREE CDS HELP YOURSELF.
And so…I did. And there are not words for the waves of delight I experienced, digging through boxes and boxes of obscure college alt. rock and bad garage band demos to find a couple stacks worth toting home. Because I couldn’t actually listen to any of it at the time, all of my judgments were based solely on album artwork, band names, and song titles (the more ridiculous, the more likely it made it into my backpack).
Total bonus: the radio station deejays had compiled their own lists/reviews/notes about each album and taped them to the inside. It was like finding GOLD. And after a very lovely listening party, Kyle and I have chosen eight of the choicest albums for this list. Read on…
Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home
1. Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home by The Geraldine Fibbers
Conclusion: Salty and soulful. Good driving music.
Memphis Is Dead
2. Memphis is Dead by The Lost Sounds
Out of the mouths of deejays: “A small pocket of hell may have opened, spewing forth this punk/synth/garage soundtrack to an apocalypse we have yet to see…like breathing shrapnel.”
Conclusion: These sounds should have stayed lost. Terrible.
Fishermans Woman
3. Fisherman’s Woman by Emiliana Torrini
Try her if you like: Regina Spektor, Dido, Carla Morrison.
Conclusion: Breathy, atmospheric, and satisfying mood music.
Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down (D.L.T.B.G.Y.D.)
4. Don’t Let the Bast**ds Grind You Down by The Toasters
Dedication: Toasters song on playlist is for Sarah. Visit her HERE.
Conclusion: A less-polished Aquabats with slightly over-indulgent saxophone player. Worth a listen for the ska-lover.
Near the Sun
5. Near the Sun by Julie Peel
Conclusion: Next time I’m sad, I’m skipping the calories and heading straight for Julie’s cheerful little declaration, “I don’t get people and they don’t get me and I don’t mind. I am living in a movie.” I would actually pay for this album.
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6. meet miss young and her all boy band by Kristeen Young.
Best promo tag ever: “Is it Goth? Is it 90’s new wave pop? Is it Jazz-Punk-Opera? Does it really matter? It’s the Minnie Pearl of Goth!” This sticker on the cover is seriously THE only reason I brought this one home.
Conclusion: If Alanis Morissette and Amy Lee got drunk and made a record in Minnie Pearl’s bathroom…it would sound better than this.
7. “curtains” by tindersticks
Out of the mouths of deejays: “Deserted, sad, lonely, nice drumbeats but very depressing. [Listen to] #1,3, and 12 (if you can take it.)”
Conclusion: I completely disagree with the deejay on this one. If this album was a flavor, it would be black cherry and walnut. Heavy dark romantic sound, some sad lyrics but overall, a rewarding listen.

8. Tragic Animal Stories by Barry Black
Conclusion: Um, any guy who can write a  sweeping love song about microscopic fish has missed his calling (“The Horrible Truth About Plankton”). Seriously, why is this dude not writing scores for Animal Planet? Pretty much the whole album sounds like Morgan Freeman should be talking about penguins or something.
Honorable mentions: So Serious by The Like Young. Love Is a Dog From Hell  by Maggie Estep.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Working Hard or Hardly Working: a day in the life of a grad student

I haven’t talked much about graduate school on this blog but now that I am in my last quarter as a master’s student (and about to begin my PhD), I thought maybe some of you might like to see a typical day for me on campus.
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This is right across from one of the buildings where I teach.
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The café where I buy my morning Starbucks…
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Obviously the caffeine hasn’t hit me, yet.
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I teach in this building. Obviously, this is the closest I will ever come to actual engineering.
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This is one of my classrooms. One of my students was nice enough to take a picture. And that's a quote from the beginning of Twelfth Night on the board behind me.
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After class, I decided to take the scenic route and show you some of my favorite spots on campus. I don’t always have time to go the pretty way but thankfully, I did on Thursday!
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Pretty old buildings that I never have any reason to visit.
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There were hundreds of pinwheels on one of the South Oval lawns as a part of project to end child abuse. They were beautiful with the sun shining right on them.
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I love this tree. And the eye painted on it.
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My hands-down best-loved spot at the university, Mirror Lake. I sat here and ate my lunch and watched people feed the birds. Obviously, none of them read THIS sign:
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I’m not going to say this is slightly overdramatic signage but…I’m thinking it. And for anyone who doesn’t already know where I go to school, here you go…
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If you’re not familiar, football is kind of the only thing that matters here. Go Bucks. I considered that maybe the bloggingverse shouldn't know where I attend graduate school. But I go to school with 56,000 people. Good luck stalking me.
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My mailbox in the grad corridor…
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And the office where I hold hours…
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The rec center (where people with great tan lines and big muscles like to work out)
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Brutus the mascot dressed as a mime and The Phantom of the Opera.
Don’t laugh, he’s a very multi-faceted nut. 
So this post was mostly pictures…hope you liked them!
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