The President, French Weddings, and Spring Blooms

Happy Spring, everyone!

Folks, I’ve done it! I graduated May 5th from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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And what an end to four, long happy years. I graduated alongside nearly 10,000 other PhD’s, Masters, Bachelors, and Associates. We listened attentively to our commencement speaker.

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When I graduated from high school, I threatened to invite the President to my graduation. For my college graduation, I didn’t even have to. He showed up anyway.

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So, it was really cool having the President there. I was particularly interested that the President’s speech writers referenced “cynicism” TWICE in the speech. (My regular readers know how interested I am in the effect of cynicism on my generation.) Cynicism: it’s real.

But we need hope. In what do you put your hope? Politics? Science? Education? Or God?
What is the most timeless? What is everlasting?

Anyway, so that’s my gushy President bit.
Now I’ll regale you with how the day REALLY went. Okay, it actually really STANK to have the President there. First, I was only allowed FOUR tickets to my college graduation. They later changed it to seven, but it was a real problem for my classmates whose families had already bought plane tickets and then they found out they couldn’t come because of President security concerns. Second, my family had to be at the stadium by 7:30 a.m. to go through security. The graduation didn’t start until NOON! I was supposed to be there by 8:30, but I didn’t show up til 9:45 because I didn’t want to pack into sardine-like grad lines in the RPAC for THREE HOURS before we marched into the stadium. Turns out, it didn’t really matter, anyway. When I got there, the line for graduate security stretched THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILE long, from the RPAC all the way to High Street! No joke. And I was still standing in that same line two hours later, at 11:15, which was the deadline for the gym line-up. The university had indicated to us that if we were not in the gym at 11:15, we would not be allowed to walk. However, I think the officials realized that it was no fault of our own that we were not inside yet, and they postponed the march until all the graduates were inside.

Kind of. When I had finally got through security, and I had elbowed my way through several thousand graduates, I realized my line had already left! I bolted toward the gym exit and found out that the 900s were at the door. I was number 1484. I asked around, and I figured out that I was standing between the Arts and Sciences line and a line of Masters students, so I decided that if I followed the line for 500 people, I should find my spot. I barged through the tight lines, demanding line numbers as I went. I found my spot only five minutes before the stadium march. To put it simply, it was a very stressful graduation experience!

It was also very lonely. My family and friend had a great time together, people watching in the stands. But I was alone because I had to arrive at the university at a different time than them. I (enjoyed?) a solo, 30 minute walk from my parking spot to the back of the graduate security line. Then, in the two hour security line, I was squished between a couple of lovebirds and two guys who were making sexually explicit comments about all the women that walked past. Lovely. Then I sat through my graduation craning my neck to watch the scoreboard behind me, because that was the only way to understand or see what was being said on stage at the opposite end zone. And, afterward, I didn’t have any cell phone service because of all the interference, and it was a little difficult to find my family. Soooo, forgive me if I say that graduation was a little anti-climactic.

But. I’m really really happy that it happened.

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And I’ve been celebrating all week!

My friend Charity and I visited the Franklin Park Conservatory, and I got to see my favorite Dale Chihuly installation. We were also able to get in on a glass-blowing demonstration.

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I also introduced Charity to my favorite restaurant (that happens to be French): La Chatelaine. Their omelets, bread, and coffee are to-die-for. This restaurant pays attention to detail in a very special European manner. And local Ohioans will be interested to know that La Chatelaine’s treatment of “the details” is partly what inspired Jeni Britton Bauer to create her very special, very famous, splendid ice creams. Apparently, Jeni worked at La Chatelaine as a young woman, and that experience had a profound effect on her food philosophy.

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If you come visit me, I will introduce you to both!

This week I finally made it to La Chatelaine for dinner. For a graduation gift, two friends of mine treated me to a restaurant of my choice, and (obviously!) I chose LC. It was my first dinner experience there. I decided not to take pictures of my food because that felt a little out of place. After nibbling on French baguettes, we were treated to our choice of salad or soup; I had the French onion. I’m not an onion person, but it was delicious! The soup was a curious black color, with carmelized onions. There was a side of cheese and home-made croutons to add to taste. I also ordered the Beef Cross Ribs Bourguignon which was beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and mashed potatoes in Burgandy wine sauce. I normally don’t order beef (I much prefer chicken), but this was amazing.

The meat with wine sauce almost reminded me of a special wine sauce that was served at the Swiss/French restaurant Mittenza, where I attended a wedding reception several years ago. The wine sauce was featured in a seven course meal (which I DID take pictures of).

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The wedding was in Pfastatt, France, and we crossed the border into Switzerland for the reception. It was SO French! We dined, talked, laughed, and sang… late into the night. You can read about this experience on my old blog.

Since classes are over, I have a little break before the chaos that will be summer. And I’m totally enjoying my favorite time of year: spring blooms.

I’ve been picking flowers like it’s going out of style. First, tulips, and now it’s lilacs. Our house is awash with their scent, with breezes floating in open windows…

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And my papa picked the first batch of mint. It’s steeping on the counter before my mother makes it into concentrate.
Garden tea: summer drink of choice.

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So this, my friends, is spring. A breath of fresh air. School’s out! Time to celebrate! 

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5 thoughts on “The President, French Weddings, and Spring Blooms”

  1. HEY—I have tons of orange mint later….how can make tea out of it….? So happy for your graduation! You are awesome?

    1. Thanks, Debra!
      For a delicious mint tea concentrate: Boil 4 cups of water and 1 ½ cups of sugar for five minutes. Remove from heat, and add 2 cups of packed mint leaves and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Let steep for 5 to 6 hours. Drain from leaves, and you’ll have 1 quart of concentrate. Add 3 quarts of water to make one gallon of refreshing iced mint tea.
      It’s our family’s favorite!

  2. 😦 I’m sorry your graduation wasn’t that fun (but don’t worry- it wasn’t fun for 95,000 other people there as well- that’s just how graduation is I think). either way- it does mean you have properly earned the freedom you now enjoy- (and it does look as if you are enjoying it.) so. congratulations. for graduating. and for making it through your dreadful graduation! 🙂

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