What’s Going On

I’m always a little ashamed of these posts, because of course they mean that I haven’t blogged in a long time. They also mean, however, that I’m back with a vengeance. So, hello! I’m back. Cue the traditional theme music:

My second (and final) semester of my history Master’s program has just begun. And guess what? I love it so much that I applied to PhD programs last month. I should be hearing back from schools in the middle of February. I’m trying not to worry about that, though, and am instead focusing on where I’m at now. And where I’m at is getting back into the routine of reading, writing, and talking history after a month of break. I’m also in the brainstorming stage for this semester’s big paper. Since I applied to MA programs, my scholarly focus has shifted from the vague “colonial America and women and maybe Jamestown somehow?” to mid-18th century, the trans-Appalachian frontier, and perceptions of nature. I hardly feel like the same person who first walked — a little breathlessly, and probably with that eager puppy look — into the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress and announced to a reference librarian that I wanted to research James Fort. I still carry a pencil case around, though. So there’s that.

On Saturday I attended the Virginia Consortium of Early Americanists‘ annual meeting in Richmond. I networked! I asked questions! I learned things! I broke out my boss lady purse! And only had to briefly retreat to the bathroom for a breather.


I walked into a meeting today and the two people I was meeting with asked me how I was. “Wonderful!” I replied, exhilarated from my brisk, sunny walk across campus, “It’s so beautiful outside!” They looked at me with such confusion that I actually wondered if I had just left the same outdoors as they. “It’s cold!” they told me. It’s 50 degrees, people. In January. You can take the girl out of Minnesota


The most snow I’ve ever seen in Virginia, from the beginning of January. Naturally, we took to the playground.

I saw a white squirrel on campus today. Is that good luck? Or bad luck, since I have a lifetime loathing of squirrels? I’m particularly sensitive about this right now because Pottermore recently informed me that my patronus is a grey squirrel. Ugh. (Also: Ravenclaw, Thunderbird, cypress/phoenix core/14.5 inches/unyielding. Cool.)

Academy Awards season is officially upon us, and naturally, I’ve been working on my picks for about a month now. Of the major nominees, I’ve seen La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. I liked La La Land (it’s not difficult to get me on board for a musical), but Manchester by the Sea blew me away. And not just because I used up my emotional stores for the year sobbing in the theater. And in the car. And at home. And while my gentleman caller made me tea and then backed away slowly. (Don’t let this deter you, please; it’s a magnificent film. Just know it will hurt to watch.) I’m hoping to also see JackieFences, and Moonlight before the Oscars air.

I had great ambitions to read a lot of fiction over the holidays, but despite lovely book gifts and a stack I bought myself at Garrison Keillor’s shop, I hardly read at all. I think I needed a break. Have you read any of these?


I went to the Women’s March on Washington. And it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done. Even when the crowd was overwhelming and there was someone pressing up against my back and my front and both sides, everyone was smiling and supportive and excited to be there. We marched to the White House, chanting, and lay our signs down. But we didn’t stop there. We still haven’t stopped. I hope you haven’t, either.


I took myself on a self date this evening. It was accidental, to be honest; I was hungry, the cupboards are bare at home, and I couldn’t coerce any friends into grabbing a quick dinner with me. And so, I grabbed a quick dinner by myself. I walked around Merchants Square (which abuts Colonial Williamsburg), resisted spending my life savings in Barnes and Noble and instead purchased a half price Georgia O’Keeffe calendar, went into Williams Sonoma just because, bought a sandwich and THE BEST lemon bar from The Cheese Shop, and found a bench outside for my picnic. But then it grew too cold for a picnic, and my root beer bottle was open, so I did a shady-looking public manuever wherein I poured root beer into my water bottle so I could cart it around. Swell, indeed. On my walk back to the library (self dates have time limits when you’re in grad school), I saw the sunset, which was pink and orange streaks, and I was happy.


What’s going on with you?

2 responses

  1. Holly, I always love when you have a new blog post! I also am in love with your theme music… I laugh so hard every time I watch it. It’s so wonderful that you’re pursuing your doctoral dreams and that the focus for your studies has fallen into place.

    Like you, I’m very excited for the Academy Awards–I haven’t been able to watch it for a few years and can’t wait! There are so many movies nominated that I would like to see, but haven’t had the chance. I know I won’t get to them all, but after hearing you talk about Manchester By the Sea, hope cross that one off the list!

    Also, self dates are the best! I’m glad you had a good time!

    P.S. I also saw a white squirrel the other day! Maybe it’s a sign?

    • Thank you! Let me know if you see Manchester by the Sea; I’d love to hear what you think! And uh oh, the squirrels must be massing.

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