Archive for April, 2014

That Costume Crew Lyfe

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

This weekend I helped out one of my closest friends on campus in the costume shop for Mill Theatre’s upcoming musical Dames at Sea. She is an incredibly valuable asset for the costume shop, so naturally she brought me, a goofy world-class friend embarrasser with some hand sewing experience, probably to remind everyone how great she is.


Since I was (surprise) an exceedingly weird kid, I used to sew clothes for my stuffed animals. They were truly ghastly frayed garments that have fortunately been lost to the sands of time. Because, of course, I was forced to teach myself how to sew as to shield my eyes from my companions’ furry nakedness. Nonetheless, I was excited that this skill would be put to a non-creepy use.


I was started on helping sew sparkly trim on one of the dresses, which sounds pretty non-excruciating, right? Wrong. I spent three hours on this dress, sewing the trim on the cuffs, bottom hem, and neck. I stabbed myself innumerable times, mumbling some beautifully crafted expletives under my breath.


But all that said, I had a great time. Everyone there is so much fun, not to mention you get slap-happy after a little while, so everything becomes hilarious. I really regret not coming in and helping earlier, because although it is frustrating and very time consuming, there is a certain satisfaction in completing a project and knowing that you’ve done something that matters.


Photographic evidence of slap-happiness.

Photographic evidence of slap-happiness.

So when you go see Dames at Sea, (because, let’s be honest, you will because it’s amazing) I hope you look at those costumes and think of all the great people who spent countless hours putting all of them together.


Visit the Elmhurst College Mill Theatre web page for times and dates!

Just a Minor Problem

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

I began the year adamant that I was going to minor in philosophy. I already had credit from a local community college that I dual enrolled in. I love the subject because I’m a big fan of thinking, I do it almost every day. But my black hole of a heart was aching for history classes.


Disclaimer: I am on track to graduate a year early, so every class counts. I would totally double minor, but that would put me off track. And, let’s be honest, a double minor (or whatever you minor in, actually) doesn’t mean a whole lot in, what I’ve been told is called, the Real World. But I want to spend time studying what I am more interested in, especially since, like I said, every class counts for me.


So I was faced with a dilemma. Much like Bella Swan in the infamously terrible Twilight series, I had to choose between two great loves: philosophy and history. I had to weigh my options and have a long conversation with myself about what I really want to be studying and, in true Kristen fashion, the practicality of each subject in terms of my major. And from that list I made my decision: history. It not only is it my first love, but also it’s super old and probably stands over my bed and watches me sleep, to, I want to say, protect me(?). The point is, I ultimately decided that my passion for history outweighed my passion for philosophy. I feel terrible for leading philosophy on, but one day it might fall in love with the fetus that may at one point develop in my belly and… Okay, this has gone too far, analogy over.


Now  I was left with a minor problem (both in terms of changing my minor and the actual size of the problem). I was easily able to find a history class that fit perfectly into the timeslot of the philosophy class I originally signed up for fall term next year. Then I had to go to Goebel Hall to change my minor. This is honestly one of the easiest processes ever. I walked into the Advising Office and filled out the little white sheet and within a matter of days, it will be officially official!


So just remember that if you have a problem with your minor, odds are it’s a minor problem.



I Heart Chicago

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

As Buddy the Elf would say, “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” But instead of Zooey Deschanel, I’m in love with Chicago. Like I have professed in previous posts, Chicago is my favorite city. I try to explore as much as I can. My internship at the German cultural center’s library allows me to get into the city twice a week. The neighborhood I frequent (or as I like to say half-jokingly, half-dead seriously, my ‘hood), Ravenswood, is the German neighborhood in Chicago. I’m right next to  a great little center called Lincoln Square. It’s filled with restaurants, cute shops, and most importantly, my natural habitat, the German cultural center, the D.A.N.K Haus and its library.


But I also love to explore downtown Chicago. When my mother drove me back to the city after Spring Break, she insisted we visit the FieldMuseum’s exhibit on the 1893 Chicago’s World Fair, which I’m sure was mostly due to her recently rereading Devil in the White City (which I highly recommend). It was incredibly interesting, and I love history, so it was a really great time, and, once again, I highly recommend visiting and checking it out.

worldsfair1                                        worldsfair2


And one day after my internship I ventured out to the Chicago Art Institute, which I have never actually visited before. I absolutely loved it, of course. And it helped that admission fee is reduced for students. I finally got to have my Cameron Frye moment from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, which was beautiful and gratifying in and of itself.



Even if you can’t find anyone to go to the city with, I still suggest exploration (but not at night, for obvious reasons), because, as my friend put it, sometimes you’re your best date.


An Infestation of the Enemy

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

I will finally weigh in on a highly contested issue among the student body: the squirrels. I hate them. So much. They are everywhere, lurking in the bushes, the garbage cans, they scream from the trees. Those screams haunt my nightmares. And let’s be perfectly frank, squirrels are rodents rife with disease. I have looked the enemy in the eyes. Those beady black eyes with nothing behind them.

This squirrel clearly has no shame. It's like showing up to a buffet with your own bib.

This squirrel clearly has no shame. It’s like showing up to a buffet with your own bib.

Have some respect for yourself! Eat some acorns like a normal squirrel.

Have some respect for yourself! Eat some acorns like a normal squirrel.

This is why I suggest a revision on the “no pets” policy in the dorms to allow cats. Back at home in dear old MI, I have cats who I love, partly because they ward away squirrels. Unfortunately, one of them is too fat to do much of anything other than sleep and cuddle, but that is beside the point. The point is population control.


I will never understand others’ infatuation with those furry rats that call themselves squirrels. I just try to enjoy watching the occasional bunny hop around and not try to eat trash.

Library Life

Posted on: April 8th, 2014 by kgravelin 1 Comment

To be entirely honest, about half the reason I picked Elmhurst is because of how close it is to Chicago, one of my favorite cities ever. And I have definitely taken advantage of that proximity.


I took the Honors section of The Great Libraries of Chicago in J-Term and it has led to one of the best experiences of my life, my internship. Our last assignment was to go to a library on our own and make a presentation to the class, and I went to the German cultural center, the D.A.N.K Haus and their library, the Koegel Bibliothek. I walked in the door and my now supervisor asked me if I was interested in an internship. At first I laughed, but then I walked into the library. As corny as it sounds, instantly I knew it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever stepped foot in. I don’t think I can really describe how much I love that library.


Not long after visiting, I knew I wanted to go back. I emailed my now-supervisor and, with the help of the NiebuhrCenter and the head of the English department, Dr. Ann Frank Wake, I soon found myself back at the D.A.N.K Haus, taking the internship as a half credit. My job there is mainly to catalog and sort the books into boxes to be moved into the new room so they can use the space the library is currently in to make another exhibit. I see so many interesting books and, with my limited German comprehension, I can understand some of what the books are about (and the photos and illustrations help too).

So every Tuesday and Thursday I am off-campus and I really couldn’t be happier. 

Me in my natural habitat.

Me in my natural habitat.

Some of my handiwork. (I did this all in one day.)

Some of my handiwork. (I did this all in one day.)The German Classics section.

The German Classics section.