Tucson sunshine, sunburn, shooting memorial

Thank God I visited Tucson while it was 74 degrees of perfection! Before I delve into the details of my brief trip to the southwest, I’ll take you on a photo tour of the University of Arizona:

UofA campus
Administration Building
Heritage Hill, where I used to hang out in between classes and meet colorful people
University Boulevard

I also visited the Tucson shooting victims’ UMC memorial. I didn’t expect to choke up during the five minute visit, but that’s what ended up happening.

Aside from the memorial, the trip was fairly drama-free. I sat in the sun all day Friday and Saturday. Because my skin had been deprived of daylight and vitamin D for four months, I assumed it would respond well to sunshine, but no. I got sunburned very badly. My chest, arms, and face look like a lobster. Good thing I can bundle up in D.C., no one will ever know the difference. I guess I really was meant to live in Ireland, where my great-great-great grandparents were born.

The sunburn was totally worth the warmth, though. I literally wanted to spend as many hours as possible outside, especially during the early afternoon. I won’t be seeing that kind of daylight for at least another three months, so I chose to take advantage of the opportunity while I still could.

We're a bit too goofy for twenty-somethings, but the rest of the world is too stuffy!

Dinner was fabulous, and I reunited with some of my favorite Daily Wildcat alumni, Luke, Jazmine, and Anna.

You see, Anna and I went shopping Friday at Pitaya, my favorite store on University Boulevard, and I fell in love with this little white dress. Before trying it on, I was well aware that I could not don such a tiny thing in D.C. during winter, but it was far too beautiful for me to pass off as a waste of money (which it probably was, but oh well, I never shop.) So I purchased the white dress, which, if I’m brave enough, I may wear out to the D.C. bar scene sometime in the near future. Who cares about 23 degree weather? I’m one tough cookie.

Much thanks to the lovely Kendra for putting up with me all weekend 🙂 It takes a lot to deal with me for 72 hours straight, but she continues to amaze me with her patience and warmth. As you’ll read below, I’m grateful for all the great people in my life. She’s certainly among them, and I’m lucky to know her.

Most of all, it was fabulous going from THIS:

Wednesday January 26, northern Virginia. YUCK.


Friday January 29, Tucson, Arizona. YAY!

On Saturday, I met up with my former college roommate and longtime UofA friend, Carolyn. She’s coming to visit me in D.C. for St. Patty’s Day, so I look forward to hanging out with her then, too.

Some of my friends were sad I couldn’t spend more time with them, and I definitely felt the same way. Unfortunately my trip was just far too short for too much activity. Plus, I’m not one to linger, as I’ve mentioned before. My father the New Yorker always taught me to move quickly and avoid stalling, so I try to incorporate those orders into my everyday life. Hopefully the next trip will be longer and even more thrilling.

On my flight home, I bumped in the redheaded old man from West Virginia that I mentioned in my previous blog post!

In summary, I became “bff’s for the day” with a West Virginia redheaded grandpa dude on my Thursday flight to Tucson. He sat behind me on the plane and right next to another redhaired lady, so we all speculated that American Airlines conspired to group all redhead passengers together on the plane. I adored this guy, mainly because he reminded me of my dad in pretty much every way possible, so imagine my amusement when I ran into him and his sweet wife on the same returning flight. We soon learned that I was once again placed in the row in front of them, so we proved our theory that the airline segregates redhead customers (I’m being facetious, of course :).

I appreciate familiar faces of any kind, even those I really haven’t seen all that much.

On my flight home, I got seated next to yet another 300-pound person. If you haven’t read my earlier blog post, I sat beside a 300-pound guy on my Dallas-Tucson flight, and the same thing happened on my Tucson-Dallas flight. Like I’ve said before, I find it cruel and pathetic of others to bash overweight individuals, but this was truly uncomfortable. I would never make fun of someone for their weight, but when I’m already uncomfortable and without any room on the plane, the last thing I want is to be pressed up against the disgusting airplane wall and window, both of which have more germs and gross food remnants than I care to count. Thankfully, both of these people were quite lovely and I ended up having a good chat with each of them, but I was definitely feeling a little claustrophobic during those long flights.

On another one of my connecting flights, the man to my left kept staring at me and playing on his GameBoy Color. Not to be overly judgmental, but really, who uses GameBoys anymore? Better yet, what sane 50-year-old man would gain entertainment value from an old school children’s video game? I’m not even sure you can still buy GameBoy batteries or devices anymore. Perhaps that would make a good news piece: Are Gameboys still in production? If not, where can active users purchase batteries? Is eBay stocked up with any of that junk?

All right, I think that should do it for today’s ranting/opining. In a nutshell, I needed to escape D.C. winter for a few days and I succeeded in doing just that. Along the way, I caught up with some awesome college buddies, all of whom reminded me of how lucky I truly am. I’m not perfect, and I’ve certainly encountered some ugly situations, but I have so much to be thankful for. Including this sunlamp, which is going to save my sanity this winter:


Yale Grad Student Slaying

“Rape, like many things, is kind of a class matter. You have to not deserve it for the world to care even a little bit.” -Charles Bowden.

Though likely unrelated to rape, the recent Yale University grad student slaying reminds me of this quote. A young woman is found dead in a university building and the world acts as if this kind of thing is so unusual and shocking. Unfortunately, people are murdered everyday, and these tragedies aren’t publicized in the same manner.

An English professor used to talk about society’s fascination with the tragedies of women, and he mentioned Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven theme that the death of a beautiful woman is the most poetic thing in the world. Across the country, everyone knew when Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, and Natalie Holloway went missing, and now, audiences are mourning the loss of Yale’s Annie Le.


Society can use this unfortunate event to be more cautious. Believe it or not, someone is unfairly killed more than once a year, the news just chooses not to give each case substantial amount of coverage.

How Students Can Ruin a Great Class

Disclaimer: This isn’t a journalistic story. It’s criticism on the classroom environment, so unless you don’t mind reading some of my concerns about a particular academic course, you may not want to read this.

I once had many issues with my Women and Literature course, which focuses on the study of female subordination in all time periods. It’s true that women have endured much from sexist men, myself included, but I chose a long time ago not to hold any resentment for the way women were once treated. There’s no reason to still be upset about the Malleus Maleficarum, the witches treatise which targeted intelligent, free-thinking women in the 15th century.

I used to complain about the course’s one-sided reading assignments, but as I’ve stated before, I love my brilliant professor, and even though I don’t agree with her political views (she told me which 2008 presidential candidate she voted for and said it was time for political change), I respect her greatly and have accepted her curriculum.

The biggest problem is not the arguably liberal slanted required reading list. It’s the actual class of students. Some of my classmates have ruined the classroom atmosphere.

Whenever the professor mentions an old sexist belief of men, students laugh. One particular student laughs every two minutes, and on one occasion, she busted out laughing when the professor stated, “Aristotle said women were equivalent to animals.” Yes, the notion is ridiculous, and some of the BC ideas are laughable now, but it’s inappropriate and inconsiderate to laugh every few minutes just to be obnoxious. The class doesn’t care that one student is appalled by what she hears, and we don’t need her opinion reinforced fifty times in an hour-long class period.

Not only does the motivation behind this laughter bother me, but it’s distracting to have a laugh track in class, and I’m someone who laughs at everything, when it’s appropriate, of course. I have a good sense of humor, but I know when it’s not appropriate to laugh, and I highly doubt these women laugh in all seriousness in class.

Then there’s the moaning and interrupting. This same student constantly interjects when the professor is speaking. Even if the student is excited about class, it’s so disrespectful to cut the teacher off and try to beat her to the punch. We all know you’re well-educated on history and women’s studies, but there’s no need to show off and try to outdo the professor. I can tell the teacher doesn’t think it’s cute anymore.

We studied the bible at the beginning of the semester, and one girl said with a shaking voice, “They have to murder the animals in this passage,” even though the characters did not kill the animals out of malice. They simply had to eat. Everything that men did in the bible seems to be scrutinized by my classmates, and I feel very sorry for the only male in the class. He says nothing, and I’m not shocked. I wouldn’t want to be in a class where everyone constantly bashes my gender.

Today, we read Sojourner Truth’s (née Isabelle Baumfree) Ain’t I a Woman?”, a powerful speech about female and racial equality. She mentions once in her story that she has thirteen children, though this is an irrelevant detail with regards to the speech.

Not to some students.

“Since Sojourner Truth was a slave, were any of her 13 children a product of rape or molestation?” some girl asked, and this had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the text.

Slaves were often raped because of their vulnerability, but this question had nothing to do with the class discussion, and even the professor seemed to hint at this when she explained that none of us can ever know the answer. Another more sensible student finally said that she didn’t think someone as strong as Sojourner Truth would permit rape or sexual violation. If you’ve read the speech, you’ll probably agree.

I spend much of the class period tuning out my classmates’ constant laughter at the sexist ways of males in the past. Sometimes, I wonder why they’re so angry at men. The professor definitely isn’t bitter, but much of the class seems upset about something, and I can see that a few classmates have chips on their shoulders.

At the end of class, one student who usually expresses interest in the material approached the professor and said, “As always, wonderful lecture today. Thank you so much.” It didn’t seem sincere, even though she does love the course. It seemed a little more like sucking up, especially since this girl fell asleep last class period, and even the professor didn’t have an extensive response to such an ingenuous compliment.

I really hope you’ve never had a class that has been destroyed by rowdy, pompous classmates. I thought this was unique to high school, when students act like this because they’re antsy in class, but no one in my course is bored. They’re just trying to put on a show and demonize men while they’re at it.