Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Midwinter Night's Dream

     To go out or stay in, that is the question. Students know that there is actually very little spring in spring semester. With brutal winter weather settling in around us, students prepare to face the last couple of months of cold before spring officially arrives. Some break out skateboards and bikes on their way to class, even in the snow.

Just looking at this makes me feel cold.
A brave soul.

     Many other students, however, don't want to leave their rooms at all. Last weekend I spent much of my time reading for classes. I'm in a fantastic combined English and Gender Studies class this semester, and I love it! But, the reading is tough to keep up with, averaging a novel per week or about 50 pages per day. My reading weekend was not only relaxing and enjoyable, but practical as well. 

Reading Jane Eyre.
     Part of the reason why I think I'm enjoying my cozy room so much is because it wasn't so cozy just a week ago. The radiator in my room hasn't been working properly for much of this winter! If any sort of maintenance issue like this ever comes up in your room, you have to do what I did—go to the center desk of your building and fill out a maintenance request form. Just talking to your residential assistant might not get the problem fixed; you have to actually fill out a maintenance request yourself before someone will come to check out the problem.

Books to read, just for fun...
If I ever have time!

So many empty tea bottles.
     Here is the wisdom that winter seems to have brought me: Bundle, guys! Bundle your hearts out! Also, I am turning into an 80-year-old woman. I'm hooked on tea. I love my books. If only I could keep a cat in my res hall room... Cat or no cat, though, I will be camping out in the warmth of my room for the rest of the semester. If you want to see me, you should come by! Just be sure not to interrupt my episode of "Wheel of Fortune."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lunch with an Old Friend: Bring on the Breakfast

     Perhaps it's our unusual sleep patterns. Or the Saturday-morning, comfort-of-home feeling that breakfast food embodies. Whatever the reason, there's some sort of mystical connection between college students and breakfast food.

Making your mouth water right now, isn't it?
     As you may remember, I blogged about going out to brunch with an old friend a couple of months ago. (See http://tinyurl.com/46woant.) The goal was to hit up a local, off-campus spot for breakfast each week. Given our budgets and schedules, we probably should have realized that this idea was a bit unrealistic from the beginning. We have managed, though, to make it around to several Bloomington breakfast joints. We recently tried out a little place on the west side: Cloverleaf Family Restaurant.

See the clover symbol? See it?
     Cloverleaf's menu is actually similar to Wee Willy's, the breakfast spot we hit up in November. It's an all-day parade of breakfast and other comfort foods. The low-down on the two spots: Willy's hashbrowns beat out the competition, but we preferred the combo options offered at Cloverleaf. Some of the other B-town breakfast spots we've tried and would recommend include the Runcible Spoon, yet another delightful little family-restaurant sort of place called Cozy Table, and the Sunday brunch at either  Bloomingfoods or at the Tudor Room in the IMU. For more info on the Sunday Brunch in the Tudor Room, check out this website: http://tinyurl.com/5u2u5ae.

We love breakfast, yes we do!
We love breakfast, how 'bout you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meet Me in St. Louis

     My res hall, Collins Living-Learning Center, opened its doors to students returning for the new semester on January 5, 2011. (Happy New Year, by the way!) Before the serious work of the semester began, however, I managed to squeeze in a trip to St. Louis on the last weekend of winter break with some friends.

We made it!
     We spent the day at the City Museum in St. Louis, which is truly one of my favorite places in the world. A mecca of creativity, this was the perfect place to blow off steam before the beginning of the semester. To fully understand how great this place is visit www.citymuseum.org.

Looking down into the visual splendor of the museum. 
     We climbed on the sculptural found-art playground in 20-degree weather! We explored the caves! We played with the animals in the aquarium! (Have you ever heard of doctor fish? They're fish who will feed on people's dead skin. And, the City Museum has a tank of them that guests are allowed to stick their hands into! Apparently, if you leave your hands in the tank long enough, the fish will actually start to eat your nails.) We slid down the 10-story slide! We saw the world's biggest pair of underwear!

Playing on the playground in the cold. Fun times!
Exfoliation via doctor fish. Ew.
Did I mention the museum also features a giant hamster wheel to play on?
     I had also just received a polaroid camera for Christmas, and this was a really fun place to try it out!

Bonding with a bird.
We're actually about 50 feet off of the ground here.
Seriously, best playground ever.
With the best ball pit ever!
     Ultimately, the nine hours of driving and the resulting bruises? So completely worth it.