Team Hensley

Team Hensley

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Halloween.

Everyone who reads this blog already knows this story, but it's one of my favorite memories, so I'm going to share it anyway.

In an effort to escape from drunk drivers and from the stress of pulling together a costume, some friends and I decided to spend our Halloween camping at Pace Bend on Lake Travis. We drove out, set up camp, watched JW accidently swing a golf club into the lake (ha!), hiked around, ate our boy scout meat and vegetable pouches (which is tradition for this group), and settled in around the fire with our lonestar. Jason had brought a hat that looked like a skunk, leading Amanda to request a picture of every camper in that hat.

Nate and Shelley had worked together to make sure his photo sesh was last. Being the good girlfriend that I was, I helped out with some flashlight holding to ensure his shot was as epic as possible.

Still on his knee, he took the ring out of his pocket and said, "So, do you want to get married?" I said, "What?! YES!". I was so surprised.

After all this, we called/texted our families and friends who weren't already there and then enjoyed a toast from our friends who were there. When we got home from our trip, I received these beautiful flowers from the West family.

And, although you all know this already, Nate gave me his great-grandmother's beautiful ring. His mom, Candy, cleaned it up and gave it to him to give to me. It is the most precious object I have.

I couldn't imagine a more perfect way for Nate to propose. And now I'm married to my best friend. What more could you ask for?

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

the Branson of the North.

So, a few posts back I mentioned that my parents and I were going to Madison for a few days. Turns out, I was completely mistaken, and we went to the Wisconsin Dells instead. My dad described the Dells as the "Branson of Wisconsin". There are certainly similarities--tons of miniature golf courses, comedy magic shows that are not funny, shops to buy the worst t-shirts ever made, etc. But the Dells also proclaims itself the "Waterpark Capital of the World". And that part was super awesome. Also awesome--we were there during the off season, so we did not endure tons of crowds, lines, or sticky children. Instead, I got three days to relax and hang out with my parents, who really know how to show a girl a good time.

We stayed at a hotel that had five waterparks (three indoor, two outdoor), a zipline, lasertag, two arcades, and a the coolest playpark for kids that was three stories and looked like the most fun a six year old could possibly have. I really want to bring Owen and Isla here when they get a little older. It is basically a child's paradise.

We spent most of our time on the lazy river, in the hot tub, or battling the waves in the wave pool. And, we braved the scariest, craziest water slide I have ever ridden--the Hurricane. dun dun DUN!!! We also ate ice cream, went on a river boat tour, enjoyed many fires that I started myself (with a switch on the wall), ate tons of cheese, searched for fall foliage, shopped for boots, drank hot chocolate, and tried on hats.

Wisconsin really is a beautiful place.

You might be wondering a little bit about the history of the Dells. Well, fair reader, you have come to the right place. In the mid-late 1800's photographer H.H. Bennett made the Dells famous by creating stereoscopic images of the rock formations. Upon seeing his famous images, people would flock to the area to see the beauty for themselves. Bennett also invented the stop action shutter, which allowed him (and all of us) to take pictures instantaneously, making it possible to capture clear pictures of moving objects. To prove the merits of his invention, he photographed his son jumping between two rock formations. This is the famous picture:

And here is a less famous picture taken by me at the very same place. These days they have a german shephard jump across the formation.

That pretty much sums up our lovely trip. If you ever get the chance, I totally recommend a vacation with these two:

Friday, October 22, 2010

We're leaving on a jet plane.

Hey Texas!

We're coming your way. We arrive in San Antonio on December 15 and depart from Dallas on January 1. During that time we will: spend tons of time with family, see lots of friends, finally get to hold Baby Isla (!), eat breakfast tacos, drink a Lonestar (or two), enjoy a delicious vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic, maybe squeeze in a karaoke session, attend an awesome New Year's Eve wedding, and more!

Can't wait to see all of your sweet faces!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


You may have noticed in the previous post that my hair is much shorter. That's cause I got it cut again! Most of my life I have been a long haired girl, so I am still adjusting to life with short hair. And I've only been called "sir" once!


They're here!

Smother and Pops arrived in Chicago today for a little visit. We spent the whole day downtown eating hot dogs (of course) and seeing the sights.

Smother does not like sport peppers:

Dad enjoys his Chicago dog:
After our delicious lunch we headed over to Millennium Park to see the Bean.

We then strolled by the lake and over to see this huge fountain. I'm not sure what it's called, but you might remember it from the opening sequence of Married with Children.

After a short coffee/smoothie/orangina break, we started the trek over to Gino's East, which was well worth the mile and a half walk.

Dad and I stop to pose for a photo (the integrity of the bridge was questionable).

We then ate the best deep dish pizza ever. It was seriously so good.

And the fun has only just begun. Tomorrow, we head to Madison, Wisconsin for a few days. I am very excited about a little vacation and a chance to spend some quality time with my wonderful parents. Poor Nate has to stay home and learn things so he won't be able to join us, but we will try our best to have a good time in his absence.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Devon Ave.

Today started out foggy. It usually hits downtown first, then either dissipates or heads our way. Here is a picture as the fog was starting to give up its fight against the sun:
Today we went to Devon Avenue, which is a street waaayyy far North. It is also the street where you will find Chicago's Little India (as well as Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Russian, and Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods). Here is a picture of a meter maid on Devon Ave.:
The street is full of South Asian restaurants, grocery stores, and clothing shops. You can buy a sari there! Or a burqa! And you can get your nose pierced for $10, and your eyebrows threaded for even cheaper. We went to a restaurant and had dosas. Here is mine:
Randi's was just as big, but all chopped up, so it didn't look as impressive on film.

I was not super excited by Devon Ave., but I have a feeling it's more lively on the weekend than it is at 3pm on a weekday. Maybe we'll give it another chance sometime in the future.

Some days ago we went to a fancy Thai place in Hyde Park to have a fancy cocktail and sit around for awhile. Here's Randi all dolled up:
GQ told me to put on a skinny tie, so I did. It's the only one I have, and I have no idea where it came from. It has a lady bug on it.
Also in this picture is the book I have to have read by this Friday.

Randi has started her Medici job, and has already worked four shifts. I will leave it to her to talk more about it. Maybe she would also like to tell you about the harrowing cat drama we had this morning.
I am trying to push it out of my mind forever.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Navy Pier.

Every Saturday evening, we see mysterious fireworks from our living room window. We finally realized that they were coming from Navy Pier, Chicago's top tourist attraction located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Today, we went to further investigate.

We rode the Metra downtown. After walking through the streets of downtown Chicago, into a very lovely park, and past hundreds of really fancy boats with funny names, we finally arrived at Navy Pier!

Nate visits with Bob Newhart (he says hi, Steve):

Navy Pier has a Carousel, a miniature golf course, tons of restaurants and shops, remote control boats, a swing ride, and an awesome Ferris Wheel.

Despite Nate's fear of heights, we got on the ferris wheel. Here was our view from the top:

Nate was very brave.

More fun at the Pier:

And no Hensley outing can be complete without a delicious, Chicago-style hot dog.

Tuesdays are the days we will be out exploring our fair city because Nate doesn't have class those days. Yippee!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My First Week of School

So my first week of school has come and gone. My schedule looks like this:

M. 4:30-6:20. Perspectives: Social Sciences Analysis
W. 9:30-12:20. South Asia as a Unit of Study
Th. 1-2:50. Perspectives discussion group
F. 12:30-2:50. Historical Methods

I was very intimidated by my classes at first. On the one hand, the professors would often refer to philosophers and academics as if I should already be familiar with them and their ideas. On the other hand, the students themselves, when given a chance to talk, seemed to confirm this familiarity; difficult concepts wrapped in difficult words would come gushing out of their mouths at the drop of a hat. And they all went to fancy schools: UCLA, Berkeley, Columbia, UT, etc. I went to Texas State, and I frequently had no idea what anyone was talking about.
I was in my Perspectives discussion group, and I felt like I might freak out. A student was talking. He had obviously read everything ever written on every subject. He was saying something about...well, I don't really know. But the professor did, and it seemed like the other students did. I started to get short of breath as I realized I was way over my head/fish out of water. But then a miracle happened: the professor suggested that we stop talking about whatever it was that guy wanted to talk about, and get back on the topic of the class. And then everything started to make sense.
I remember how my friend Snehal was giving me a "what to expect in grad school" rundown. He said that the first weeks of school would basically be a pissing contest as every grad student tried to assure every other grad student that he/she was the smartest human being that has ever walked the planet. So when that one student is not making much sense to anyone but the professor and himself, it's because he's trying really really hard to prove just how smart he is to everyone.
And the fact that the classes bring up people and ideas that I'm not very familiar with? That's what grad school's about! I'm here to figure out all of those things! So it really shouldn't freak me out.
Lastly, all the other students (or most of them) are just as worried about not being able to cut it as I am. I guess it's just opening night jitters.

Anyway. Here are some of the books I need for my classes (there are three more coming in the mail):
Most of what I need to read is online in the form of articles or excerpts from books. It looks like I'm going to be doing about 300+ pages of reading a week. Some examples of this week's readings:
  • Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890 - 1940. (excerpts)
  • ‘The sacred bond of unity: Community through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old witch (1683)’, in Power of blood: popular culture and village discourse in early modern Europe
  • 'Orientalist Constructions of India'
The classes are centered around a discussion of the readings more than a lecture from the professor. Participation in those discussions and a few writing assignments make up the bulk of the grade I get for each course.

There is more to say, but I'm getting tired of typing. Any specific questions you need answered? Lemme know.

Here is a random picture from our window of dark clouds with a bright sunset: