Team Hensley

Team Hensley

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nate's School (Winter Edition)

Perhaps you have been wondering about my classes this quarter? I will tell you!

First, here are the books I will be reading for my classes:
My classes are as follows:

1. History and Memory in South Asia. We've only met for this class twice, so it's kind of hard to get a sense of what the professor is really trying to do. Here is a photo of my professor that I stole from the internet:

His name is Dipesh Chakrabarty. He is one of the big names in Subaltern Studies. What is Subaltern Studies? That is a very good question.

2. Many Ramayanas. The Ramayana is an ancient Hindu epic about a man named Rama. Rama is the avatar of the god Vishnu, who has taken human form to defeat the demon Ravana. There are thousands and thousands of different versions of the Ramayana. We are reading four of them in our class. At some point, we will be talking about the uses and abuses of the Ramayana in South Asian society. (For example, a mosque was destroyed by a group of Hindu fundamentalists about 20 years ago in India. They claimed that the mosque had been built on Rama's birthplace. A massacre followed.)

This class is taught by the great Wendy Doniger. She is a big name in Hindu and Sanskrit studies. I like her a lot. She reminds me of the Oracle from the Matrix. She's an old lady who knows everything and is super charming. Here is a picture I didn't take:

3. Academic and Professional Writing. I signed up for this class as sort of a blow-off course. And it basically is. But it's also a super helpful course on how to write so that your readers understand you. So far we've learned about Nominalizations (when you Noun-ify a verb), Core Violations (when the subject and verb are too far apart), and Information Flow (the order in which information is best presented).
I used to think that many of the book and articles I read were over my head. Now I know that the authors of those books and articles are terrible writers. I can't understand them because they make it impossible for me to understand them.

I believe this quarter is going to be easier than the last quarter. I have to do maybe half as much reading, and there will only be one big paper due at the end (as opposed to three last quarter). Huzzah!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Texas Trip: Part Four

Our good friends, Jamie and Rob, got married on New Year's Eve in Dallas. We went up a couple of days early to help with last minute errands.

The wedding was awesome because:

1. NYE, much like Halloween, is one of those holidays where there is a lot of pressure and expectation to be doing something cool. We're not much for crowds or hype, so we're never quite sure what to do with ourselves. But this year, we knew months in advance that we had cool plans!

2. Nate was a groomsman and he looks really, really good in a tux. See?

3. Jamie and Rob are an awesome couple. They are perfect for each other, so it was great to see them so happy and in love. Jamie did a great job of putting together a super fun, creative wedding.

4. Rob and Nate are friends from high school. They are part of a pretty tight-knit group of friends that, unfortunately, don't get to see each other too often. It was really good to see everyone, but there were some folks we missed seeing, too. I imagine it's hard to find a baby-sitter on NYE.

Jamie and Rob had a pretty non-traditional wedding. It took place in this theatre space in downtown Dallas.

Their cake. So fun!

The beautiful bride with her beautiful bridesmaids.

Jamie and her Grandpa. He walked her down the aisle. So sweet!

These two handsome knuckleheads. I really like this picture.

Jamie and the boys.

The Hensleys. Unfortunately, these are the best pictures of the two of us that I have. :(

The wedding went from ceremony to party pretty quickly. It was New Year's Eve, after all.

A fire/belly dancer performed.

There was tons of dancing...


Cake eating...

Midnight smooching...

And celebration and merriment.

Congrats again to the Greshams and thanks for hosting such a fun NYE party for all of us!

Texas Trip: Part Three

Okay, I realize that this is getting ridiculous. Christmas was almost a month ago. So, let's try and get this finished up today. There are other things going on in our lives that I would love to tell you about.

On Christmas Eve afternoon, we headed back to San Antonio to spend Christmas with my family. We were greeted with this:

It's a shrimp tree! My mom made it! It's awesome! As you can see, there were various other treats as well: fudge, cookies, cheese balls, sausage, dips, chili, little smokies and so on.

My family has always opened presents on Christmas Eve. So we tore right in. It ended up being an epic four hour event.

Dad bought Lydia a toilet seat. Lydia bought Trevor a donkey. Yes, our family is strange. Strange, but wonderful.

I was totally jealous of Sydney's new roller skates.

We got my dad Bush's book, but not without sneaking in an Obama bookmark.

After present opening, we all went straight to bed in eager anticipation of Santa's arrival. On Christmas Day, we got up, opened our stockings, and immediately began cooking for our afternoon feast. As usual, it was delicious. Trevor was super excited about dinner.

Lydia, Nate, Trevor, and I are at the kid's table, so you can't see us.

And we can't forgot about our animal family.

Maggie. Pathetic, but lovable.

Belle. She's kind of a diva.

My brother and his girlfriend's two little adorable kitties, Bojangles and Shenanigans. Here's one wearing a festive hat.


And Weezy, my brother's snake. Mom wasn't too thrilled about having it in her house.

We bummed around Schertz for a few days. It was nice to relax. We met Alicia and Dustin in Gruene for dinner.

Nate went on to Shreveport to get rich. I enjoyed my last days of Tex-Mex with my family.

Again, it was very hard to say good-bye. I am used to living an hour away and being able to jump in the car whenever I want to. We saw each other at least once a month, so being so far away is a huge adjustment.

Next, NYE wedding!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Texas Trip: Part Two

Finally, we get to part two of our Texas trip!

After Austin, we traveled to Wichita Falls, Nate's hometown. When we arrived, the first thing we wanted to do was meet this sweet girl:

We made gingerbread houses. Nate's was very fancy, complete with flying buttresses and gargoyles. Here we are working diligently.

Candy with her cute little house.

Nanny Carol's house was an adorable disaster. It was set up on the "wrong side of the tracks" from the other houses. Those "tracks" were made of licorice that Owen ate the next day while we were admiring our gingerbread village. :)

While we were in WF, we were treated to an eye exam and new glasses! Both Nate and I were wearing glasses that were about a decade old, so having new glasses is very exciting. We actually wear them out of the house now.

Look how handsome!

My picture is not handsome, but you can see how awesome my glasses are. Nate was cracking me up, which is a pretty common occurrence.

Even Owen got new glasses! Heehee.

We opened presents. We were all completely spoiled.

Nate, Matt, and Candy all got new computers and printers (which means Rachel and I now don't have to share ours!), I got a lot of new clothes and accessories, including a new coat, which I think is completely classy.

It was fun to watch Owen tear into his presents. He was much more into it this year than last. Aunt Susan will have to teach him how to play his new keyboard.

And here's the whole crew for Christmas dinner. Well, everyone except Steve, who is taking the pictures. And you can't see Isla, but she's over there by her Mama.

We had a really nice time in WF. As usual, we played games with the family (I got stomped playing Crazy Bee Rummy), ate delicious food (and lots of it), and just hung around enjoying each other's company. I have to say (and I know some of you folks out there will agree with me), I think our niece and nephew are pretty special. I really enjoyed hanging out with Owen. He's such a genuinely sweet kid. He spent a lot of time watching Mary Poppins, playing outside with sidewalk chalk, and just being cute and funny and curious. Here he is enjoying a harmonica performance by Uncle Chip-Chip.

How can you not fall in love with this smile? She's smiling at her mama while she tries on her new furry boots.

Uncle Chippy says farewell to a sleeping Isla.

And Candy with her babies.

Living so far away makes it hard to say good-bye.

More Texas coming at ya sometime soon!