Thank you

Something I am especially thankful for today is communities, especially the communities I have the privilege of being a part of. I think this is always a big theme of Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving is so much about coming together and being with the family. Traveling from Bryn Mawr to my hometown in Utah for Thanksgiving break is sadly not something I can do, but some family friends of mine are living in DC. They are from my hometown, and their daughters are some of my best high school friends. During my teenage years, I kept a toothbrush at their house for convenience because I slept over there so frequently. Their dad is on sabbatical in DC and the girls are doing internships right now. It has been so nice to do Thanksgiving with people from my hometown, and being with them has made me so thankful for the community I was raised in– one that is nurturing and close-knit in such a way that even visiting family friends far, far away from where we all met feels like stepping into a portal back to Utah. In the neighborhood we all grew up in together, taking care of one another was a top common priority and that has reflected in such a wonderful and hospitable way during my visit.

I think something that made Bryn Mawr so attractive to me is that I recognized something about my hometown and family in the campus culture. Over and over, Mawrters told me, “My favorite thing about Bryn Mawr is the community.” I crave being nurtured and having someone to nurture, and it seemed like Bryn Mawr was a place where that could be a part of my life. In my years here, I have been so thankful for that aspect of my experience. Leaving my family, where I was sort of a junior mother to my little siblings and where my parents and big sister took care of me, as well as leaving my hometown where being a good neighbor was an important virtue, has been hard. College is a time of independence, which can be wonderfully liberating but also isolating. I am deeply, deeply grateful that I get to develop this independence in a community that proactively combats that isolation through customs groups, hell families, small classes, and numerous other opportunities for mentorship and community.

Finally, I’m reposting a family recipe that I made today for the first time. It was a big legacy to live up to, but it felt like an important rite of passage:

being a good little housewife, I guess

Wendy’s Basic Roll Dough

4 c. very warm water
3 T. yeast
1 T. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. melted butter
4 eggs
1 c. powdered milk
12-14 c. flour

add: water, salt, sugar, and butter in mixer.  add three cups of flour, yeast, eggs, and powdered milk.  add three more cups of flour, scrap around sides and mix well.  add the remaining flour, being careful not to add too much flour.  the dough should be very sticky.  oil a large bowl and let the dough rise in the bowl ’til double.  divide into four portions and roll into a rectangle on OILED, not floured, counter.  cut with a pizza cutter into triangles.  roll from the widest part up to the tip for crescent rolls.  place rolls on greased roll pan, cover and let rise until doubled.  

bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or just until golden brown.

The First of Many Posts Wherein I Fangirlishly Gush About Art

Last weekend a dear friend of mine was driving to DC and offered to take me with. Some friends I went to high school with are living there for the year, and it was so nice to hang out with people from my hometown– entering their house was like stepping into a portal to Utah.

Something that I’m always excited to see in DC is Helen Frankenthaler’s Mountains and Sea (1952). I really love this painting, especially because studying it was such a formative moment for me in deciding that I wanted to study art history and in particular feminist methodology in art history. It’s a really stunning painting, larger than life and gorgeous in its colors and form. I’ll include a reproduction of it, but no photo can do it justice.

Glorious. And this image doesn't do it justice.

I love Abstract Expressionist paintings because looking at them is such a singular, visceral experience– looking at an Abstract Expressionist painting not just a visually pleasing or intellectually stimulating moment of observing an object of significance. Rather, it’s a process: you walk up to this looming canvas featuring colors and shapes that don’t signify anything you’ve seen before, and you stand as close as the security guard will let you and you have to crane our neck to see the entire painting. It’s intimidating, authoritative, and looking up at it like that you wonder if one of its vast fields of color or constellation of splatters will swallow you right up. You feel tempted to back down, as staring down this enormous beautiful thing is terrifying, but somehow you find the courage to keep looking. When you’ve finally looked at every single beautiful inch of the canvas before you, you step away having had a near death experience, having faced a sublime existential void and having survived.

I guess this is all a very wordy way of saying that my relationship with the work of Frankenthaler and her Abstract Expressionist peers is essentially Stockholm Syndrome.