Thursday, November 24, 2011


Many holidays provide us with time to reflect and appreciate what we have, but Thanksgiving gives us the chance to do so while eating the best meal of the year, with the family and friends we cherish.  To me, this makes it the best of the bunch; as such, allow me, please, the self-indulgent "things I am thankful for" post.

Ultimately, I am thankful for relationships.  I have had the opportunity to evaluate some of mine recently, and feel extraordinarily fortunate.  I was recently asked to be a groomsman in a friend's wedding, and feel truly honored to have been asked. It's incredible to have a manifestation of how close someone actually feels to you; quite honestly, it's nice to have a friendship validated by having someone ask you to stand and represent them at their wedding. It's truly an honor.  And that's just the beginning- those of you reading this probably know me, and fit the mold of being someone incredible whom I cherish. This is especially those of you around the country whom I am still in contact with (and who will email me to correct my grammar- you know who you are).

The same can be said of family. I am lucky to have my family in town, and to be able to spend time with them whenever I can- I'm heading there later for Thanksgiving, where I will get to play with my little cousins. Four generations will be around the same table, which is something to be thankful for in and of itself.

Long story short, if we have a relationship of any sort- if we've crossed paths in school, passed each other on a bus, or if we can count each other among friends- thank you. I appreciate it.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The E-mails We Get...

Dear School,

Please stop sending me absurd emails, like the one below, which is so ridiculous that it makes me wonder if anyone filters the listserv.

Graduate and Law students:

Please join Graduate Student Life for a unique event: Candle Making. We will join together to create handmade beeswax candles infused with essential oils and herbs, as well as, your intentions for the last month and a half of the semester.

Also, you should know that my intentions for the last month and a half of the semester are fire retardant, and would not go well in a candle. Maybe you should consider that it is a unique event because everyone else realized that no one wants to go, so they haven't done it.

With love,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"To Know Every Student by Name and Story"

Today, Dean McLeod of Washington University passed away. The newsletter can be found here; Chancellor Wrighton's letter only begins to do justice to the man who easily had the greatest impact over everyone who stepped foot on to that campus.

As news spread, the reaction was truly incredible. Social media tributes and messages of grief and sadness abounded almost immediately; every single person could easily share a story about how the man took time out of his day to connect to them on some level.

Dean McLeod's mantra was to know every student by name and story. It is easy to say that he tried to. During his speech to first year students my freshman year, he gave out his cell phone number to the crowd, offering each of us to call him if they needed advice, a home cooked meal, or simply wanted to go see a movie. I had that number saved until recently, but never had the courage to actually call it (although, I am curious how many drunk dials he got from students).

Despite my lack of truly personal experience with the Dean, he would always stop to say hello as he passed, and the impact he had was clearly visible. Most students idolize Chancellor Wrighton, who over time has become a legend and a character on campus. But with Dean McLeod it was something different- a personal connection, rather than a feeling of awe-struck celebrity. He embodied the Wash U feeling of community, and campus will truly be emptier because of his passing.

In his speech to my graduating class, four years after he gave us his cell phone number, Dean McLeod asked us each a favor. Unlike the others who spoke and implored us to donate to our alma mater (all in due time, Wustl, I need an income first...) he asked us simply to email him on our birthdays, to give an update on our past year, and just to say hello. I emailed him that summer, and while I failed to do it again, I have thought about it each birthday since.

Simply put, that was who the Dean was. He wanted to keep hearing from you, and he responded to each email he got, truly appreciating that you had shared with him.

May we all go on to have as positive and extensive a career, and more importantly, life, as Dean James McLeod. He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day was this past Sunday, and I must say that I have a great dad. He's everything one could ask for- to the point where when i was dumb enough to lock my keys in my car, in my own garage, he came with my spare keys... at one in the morning.

So, it's easy to see why I look up to my dad. Feel free to assume all the other usual stereotypes about dads, too. He is an Eagle Scout, and is the kind of guy you think knows everything...

Which is what made this past week a wake up call of sorts. We've been dealing with some financial paperwork, and it's odd to have my dad call me to sort out what it all really means. You grow up assuming your parents know everything, and as a young 20-something, continue to call your parents with questions about anything you don't know. For anything from the right oven temperature to oil changes, I treat my parents like Google Lite. It's an odd experience when you realize they do the same for you, for all the knowledge you've picked up over the years they helped support you.

But, I guess that's the whole point; you raise your family to the point where you can depend on them. Guess we, as an age cohort, are making it after all.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Spelling Bee

First off, since this is a post about the National Spelling Bee, I will do my best to actually spell everything correctly.

The spelling bee might be the dorkiest event in the history of the world; these parents deserve public punishment, for things like rewarding their children for reading the dictionary. Yet, I am glued to ESPN*. There are five kids left, and they've gone two straight rounds with no one going down. One of them keeps bantering with the guy who says the word. She's actually quite funny.

On a programming note, this is infinitely better than the Little League World Series. In the LLWS, we still learn things about the kids, like their favorite foods or what they want to be when they grow up. The Spelling Bee (I've taken to capitalizing it, for no apparent reason) also gives that information, but instead of things like 'New York Yankee Third Baseman,' we get things like Physicist. Role Model: Albert Einstein. These kids are the counter-argument to the line of reasoning that claims that sports stars as role models are bad. Good news: some kids out there still just want to be smart.

While there are many ridiculous things about this entire competition, my personal favorite is the questions they ask the announcer. Use it in a sentence. Define it (that one is reasonable, as is language of origin). They stand and pronounce words from languages I've never heard of (papuan? I would have guessed that is a delicious, soft food filled with cheese).

Some girl just spelled zwischenspeil. No idea if I got that right. But that was worth the break in flow. That's impressive, considering I once spelled Bermuda incorrectly, backwards, in an intense game of Cranium.

Long story short, it's amazing that this has not yet been turned in to a drinking game by college students. One every time the kid repeats the word, after that first time. One every time the sentence used makes you laugh. Three if a kid cries if they get it wrong. One every time there is a voice crack. One every time the language of origin is something you never heard of. Everyone drinks if you can spell the word before it comes up on the screen.

Thanks for reading. Expect more this summer.

*These kids are on ESPN. I never will be. This saddens me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

While mid-February means Valentine's Day to most people, to the baseball starved throughout the nation, it means only one three-word phrase: Pitchers and Catchers. While there is nothing inherently exciting about some guys throwing a few bullpen sessions, it is the right of passage in to spring training that means baseball has returned. But this is not a baseball blog (or post) despite what it may seem sometimes; this is really about the return of happiness in to your life.

For me, spring training is that happy moment of the season because it brings something I love back in to my life for an extended period of time. Other things include the return of a family member from abroad, re-discovering that album you love but has been buried somewhere, a really good run, or whatever else may belong in your life.

There are lots of things that go wrong, often. Loved ones pass away, as seems to be happening to so many people our age, school or work makes life routine, or you get buried inside your house for a week because of monster snow storms (suckers). Spring Training is that happy place; if this were Peter Pan, it's that happy thought that makes you fly. It's the counter to the things that get you down, and it's back. And that makes me happy.

Per usual, thanks for reading.


Post script: I know it's been a while, and we'll see if this makes a return.