We’ve moved…

http://stiflingtrivialities.com/. Come and see the new blog… I think you’re going to like it.

Old Photos

WI found THE hard drive. You know, THE one. With ALL the things. As in EVERY picture I’ve ever taken, well, there are PLENTY of pictures remaining on my old Dell laptop that’s sitting in the chest of drawers in my old room at home, but they don’t count.

I did however find this picture – which claims to be from the early 2000′s

What in the world? I know, I know. We were in Little Rock for Barry and Charlotte’s wedding. This was a long, long time ago. And a very, very fun trip.

Which leads to a post that has been developing in my head for a while. Let me start with this, which I will come back to in a later post: I had a long training run on Saturday. In what has been an unusually mild winter, we ran 12 miles in the second bad snow storm of the winter. I have NEVER run in a snow storm. Much less miles and miles of hills in a snow storm. Much less packed snow, with runners whizzing past me like it is nothing! Thankfully there were plenty around me trying to figure out how to keep traction on the icy snow. When I finished the run I felt so proud of myself. It was so hard, it took a lot of persistence to do it, a lot of people ran it on a treadmill. I was so proud. Rightfully so. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I was also really proud of myself for being ok being proud of myself. It was a HUGE moment of growth for me. I would normally feel really guilty for that kind of thing. No psychoanalytical understanding of why, just, normally I would.

As I look back through these pictures I realize that there are a lot of things that I am really proud of. One is my resilience. I am the come back queen. This is an incredibly important skill, as another thing that I am very skilled at is making mistakes. Now, I used to really resent this. Actually, hate it. I felt like there were blue-eyed, golden people who sail through life just getting it right. And in ways, there are. In some ways, that is, in fact a very enviable life. However; I have learned as one who makes many mistakes, the beauty of grace and forgiveness.  Not the everyday kind of forgiveness where you gloss over things, but the kind Patty sings about

Open your eyes boy, we made it though the night
Let’s take a walk on the bridge right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing baby, we already confessed
And I raise my voice to the air
And we were blessed
It’s hard to give
It’s hard to get
It’s hard to give
But still I think it’s the best bet
Hard to give
Never gonna forget
But everybody needs a little forgiveness
Everybody needs a little forgiveness

Man, there are days that those words ring so deep in my soul I think I can physically feel them. I am proud of myself for learning to communicate, for not backing down from conflict, for accepting forgiveness and for giving it. I have also learned that an apology offered in sincerity should be offered once. No one should have to beg. Obviously, forgiving doesn’t mean the situation doesn’t still smart… Take some time and space. This is one of the things I feel the most proud of in our marriage. When a sincere apology is on the table, but someone’s emotional water is still murky – we make sure that the edict of forgiveness is declared and a request for space is given. The harder part is that eventually you have to get over it, you’ve forgiven, you’ve got to go back over to that person you love and risk it all over again. I am proud of the ways that I have fought it out in many of my relationships. We haven’t always done it right, but those three women in that picture above remain three of my very best friends. I am really proud of that.

Speaking of that. Mimers. That one on the right. She got married to a guy from Little Rock. We didn’t know that when we were in my Dad’s backyard taking this picture… Nor could we have known that her marriage would lead to my own. I am so proud of the choice I made in life partner. Waiting until your mid-thirties to get married is like social suicide in the south. I had people offering me magic frogs in hopes that there was some long lost line of princessry in my blood. I went on some bad dates. Had some un-reasonable crushes. And one horribly broken heart, that I thought I might never recover from. I went back to that moment of love again and again, believing that maybe that was as good as it gets. And then disguised in an Old Navy Navajo shirt and some 1990 white washed jeans, Justin walked into my life and made me realize every cliche I ever heard was true. Every time AM told me to hold on, every story she told me about feeling the same way before UK was true and she was right. It was worth the wait. I am so proud of myself for not settling just so I didn’t have to be alone, because in the end, I would have ended up alone in a marriage I regretted – trying to make it work.

I am proud of myself for loosing lots and lots of weight and keeping it off. As you all know, I never thought I could run a marathon. AM&UK held my hand and carried me through 6 hard months of training and about 10 pounds of weight loss a month. I finished the first race in about 6 hours and 42 minutes to my dear friends running with me and cheering like crazy! I’ve run a few more races since then, lost about 30 more pounds and kept it off. I am incredibly proud of this. I struggle with maintaining a healthy balance of health sometimes, but the older I get, the less I care about what I look like or weigh and the more I care about being healthy and happy. I am also proud of growing in that way.

I am proud of myself for moving to Germany and I am more proud of myself for moving home. There were a series of incredibly hard decisions that went into both of those things, and consequences that were beyond painful as a result of both, but I can say with total honesty that both times were the more courageous acts I have executed in my life. I am thankful for the unrelenting support of AM&UK to remind me that I am NEVER stuck.

I am proud of my relationship with AM&UK. We were all in Brooklyn recently, telling stories and being our normal, ridiculous selves… Justin asked when my relationship with them really turned around. They shared a series of events, exactly the ones that I had shared with him, which led to the precious deepening of our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, when we tell our funniest stories – there is NO AGREEMENT and CONSTANT ARGUMENT regarding the “facts.” And I love that. We forged our relationship and intimacy together and I am so proud of that.

One last thing. I am incredibly proud of myself for going back to school. I am proud of myself for the hard work I have put into it. I am proud of myself for doing so well. I am proud of myself for all that I have achieved. I am proud of myself for being invited to participate in the program that I did at Vassar. I am proud of myself for being on the Dean’s List, in Phi Theta Kappa, the Commonwealth Honor Society… I am proud of myself for being friends with the students in my classes, single mothers, young kids, international students, locals, recent immigrants. I am proud of myself for having fantastic relationships with my professors and faculty. I am proud of myself for being courageous enough to apply to the schools I am applying to. Even though there’s a chance that I might not get in, I am going to risk it. I am 34 years old, I have incredible life experience, I am a critical thinker, I am a contributor, and I would be an asset to any college or university smart enough to accept me. I am really excited to see which schools decide I am the right fit for them. I will be really sad to leave Community College though, this has been an incredible experience. I have had professors at BHCC that I will treasure forever. Natalie Oliveri, Thomas Hooper,  Khaled Abukhidejeh, Karen Hawthorne, Luke Salisbury…  Seriously. I don’t think they get better. I am so proud to be a student at Bunker Hill, proud of the student that I have become there, proud of the work I have done there and I will be proud to promote the school and the Community College system as a transfer student. Going back to college at 33 is no easy task. As a matter of fact, it has felt impossible at moments, but I have done it well, and I am really, really proud of that.

What are you proud of? I think it’s a really healthy thing to be able to look at our lives and puff up with a healthy pride at the things that we have worked hard for. I have not done the above things perfectly, and many of them I have not even done well, but that doesn’t mean I am not proud of them. In turn, spend a little time telling the people around you what you’re proud of. It never gets old. Ever. The entire world would be a little better off if we did a little less criticizing and a little more encouraging… In my opinion at least! On that note, I am really proud of you for reading all 1600 words of this post! Thanks for hanging in through this braggy pants post.

Dreaming with a Broken Heart – For Dr. King

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ” Martin Luther King Jr.

Top 10 Black Americans Net Worth Education vs.

                                                        Top 10 White Americans Net Worth Education

#1 Oprah   2.7 Bil   BA TN State  Bill Gates  59 Bil Harvard Dropout

#2 Robert Johnson  500 Mil MA Princetion Warren Buffet 39 Bil  Multiple Ivy Degrees

#3 P Diddy 500 Mil None Larry Ellison 33 Bil Urbana and UC dropout

#4 Tiger Woods  500 Mil  Standford Dropout  Charles Koch   25 Bil  MIT (BA, MA)

#5 Michael Jordan 500 Mil UNC  David Koch  25 Bil  MIT (BA,MA)

# 6 Magic Johnson 500 Mil Michigan Dropout Christy Walton 24.5 Bil U of Arkansas

#7 Jay Z 450 Mil Did not finish HS George Soros 22 Bil London School of Econ

#8 Bill Cosby 450 Mil PhD Education Sheldon Adelson 21.5 Bil City College NY

#9 Shelia Johnson (ex #2) 400 Mil  BA U of Illinois Jim Walton 21.1 Bil University of Arkansas

#10 Tyler Perry 350 Mil GED Alice Walton 20.9 Bil Trinity University

How’s that for equality?

On America’s list of wealthiest people – Oprah our wealthiest black person shows up for the first time at number 139.

I would like to add that other than my horror at how many times the University of Arkansas appears on the far right hand column (and in my own home – WPS) when using the ever trustworthy WIKI to find black america’s education history, rarely was there even the alma mater reference that there was on EVERY SINGLE white american’s biography. Infuriating.

Now I can understand if a discrepancy in millionaires and billionaires doesn’t infuriate you. But does it infuriate you that what this message sends to children of color is that to make money in this world if you are of color you need to make it on BET or play sports and to make it in white america you can be anything? It enrages me.

Sheila Johnson (#9) said, “It’s [success in black america] not about education, it’s about entertainment and it’s destroying hope for real progress.” (2008 Interview for her Charity CARE) We tell kids that they can have the American dream, but the truth is that they can’t. We continue to live in segregated societies where we are more interested in peace that equality and if you don’t believe me, take a look at these statistics from the most recent numbers released by Bureau of Labor Statistics:

10.8% of white american families live in poverty

24.7% of black american families live in poverty

the average income of a white american family? $53,356    

What the average black american family makes - $33,255

More disturbingly the BLS reports that during an economic downturn the black underclass is disproportionately hit, they are “the last hired and the first fired.”

Now, most of my readers are white america. Before you go getting all worked up about the unfairness of it all and decide to go “move into the neighborhood” and “make a difference” and “integrate” and things like that… I am not telling you not to. I am not telling you to do anything. I have no business to tell you anything. I am simply offering you some numbers. I can tell you, that after participating in the Exploring Transfer Program this summer at Vassar, I would encourage you to read this article by Marilyn Frye: On Being White BEFORE you do take any action – or maybe even speak – Lord knows I wish I had… It’s not easy reading, but it offers a perspective on Intersectionality that white women don’t often have exposed to them outside of classes like the one I was in. I often thought back to that part of Letters from a Birmingham Jail when Dr. King says,

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

If you’ve never read the full text, though filled with DEEPLY RELIGIOUS themes, I LOVE King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, it is the origin of his famous line, which Robert Kennedy often quoted, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I think another compelling statement about the true state of our culture and the reality of where we are is Bill Cosby’s speech at the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education.

You may be asking yourself – is she really saying that we haven’t really seen progress? I believe we have seen some steps in the right direction. But I believe what we have seen is appeasement. Again, before everyone starts posting long diatribes to my facebook wall about a class you were in in grad school OR runs out and starts advocating and protesting – please read Marilyn Frye’s article. I do not personally believe it is the white man’s job to offer ‘benevolent and kind change to all we have oppressed’ (a la Uncle Tom’s Cabin), it is our job to look hard at ourselves and ask ourselves hard questions about the way we see the world, the way we define “equality”, if we really want equality, and to start with our own lives. (If you’re doing great – then awesome, don’t rant against me, pat yourself on the back and move on.) In case I am not being blunt, people of color have plenty of strength and capacity to fight and solve and form solutions without us running in and offering planning sessions and strategy meetings. I promise. If you don’t believe me, email me and I will send you the link to a recent 172 post chain on the JP community board regarding a ‘racial reconciliation meeting’… It should clear it all up for you.

Lastly I want to address a little paragraph in King’s letter -

“If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

Now the Tea Party (not the Boston Tea Party – that was different and I am almost sure that one involved nudity) would love to contend that King meant this as a return to family values. I would like to remind all of you that are touting Kings name around today like you did our beloved Tim Tebow’s this weekend, that MLK Jr was no Tim Tebow. He was an adulterous lying, terror of a husband. We have tapes of his sexcapades and undeniable proof of his horrific adulterous affairs. Tim Tebow, on the other hand, is one hell of a man. This is unquestionable, he is changing the world he lives in, and lives that he interacts with on a daily basis and he is public about his love for Jesus and he seeks to live a morally pure life. MLK Jr changed the WORLD, he continues to change lives, leave a legacy, impact people for Jesus, and preach from the grave, even to the church, and he lived a morally impure life – even as he wrote this letter and delivered his famous I have a Dream speech.

I am not advocating adultery or immorality, but kindness and graciousness. We love to idolize people we see as perfect and scandalize and burn at the stake people who make mistakes. Get over it, we’re all human. I’ve read Gandhi’s biography, the guy was a total ass to his wife. The point is not that he was perfect, it is that he was an advocate for change, and effective. The lesson? Spend less time asking for perfection from ourselves and others and more time working for change.

OK? Great. Let’s to it.

There’s plenty of work to be done.

Losing to the Patriots does not constitute a trial

I can hear it now. Twitter and Facebook will be afire with the post-game interviews with quotes of Tebow’s incredible humility. That in light of this incredible trial, we should all be deeply inspired by Tim Tebow’s incredible faith. Not me. This is football. He’s been through this before. In high school. At Florida. It’s football. He’s a 2nd year pro player against one of the top quarterbacks and top coaches in the NFL, there was a solid chance he was going down. This was an incredible opportunity, a fantastic learning experience and I would hope as a young boldly Christian player with James Dobson ads running explaining his 3:16 reflectors he would be humble. But this is not a trial. It’s a football game and it’s a loss. And in the infamous words of Matt Chandler to the St. Louis Cardinals, “No matter how much they pay you or how much hype you get, your still just dudes getting paid way too much money to throw a ball – that doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you blessed.” (Patterson – Garbage or Glory – The Village 11/13/11)

I am no Patriots fan. I mean, the Patriots are fine. I am a Jets fan. And I am no Tebow hater, Tebow is fine. He’s a nice kid, raised by Christian parents who “trained up their child in the way he should he go” and he has not departed from it. He loved Jesus in high school when people hated on him for breaking into their school district. He loved Jesus in college when people hated on him for being so good. And he has loved Jesus in the NFL. His family supports him, from what I can see it’s been a generally agreeable life. There is not one thing wrong with this. However, I am not quite sure that this is something that we need to lift up in front of an entire generation of people and say THIS IS INSPIRING. Particularly when the majority of the real world will never know this kind of life. Now, I do have some dear friends who are currently home furloughing and I bet their kids, who live at the ends of the earth would tell you that this is no easy life. And I guarantee you that the children of my pastor in Waco would argue that their life as the children of a couple establishing a growing mega-church was not trial-free. However, I am thinking of one of my heros – one of the girls I admire the most in the while wide world…

She is a real human. She was living a beautiful life, the youngest of three siblings. Beautiful Christian home. Until her mom told her her Dad was not her Dad, but her Dad was a student of her Dad’s that she had an affair with… and that they were leaving… and that her brother and sister were going to stay with their Dad, not her Dad. So they left. They started over. It was actually beautiful. Her Mom and Dad started over, they committed their family to faith and they worked hard at family. They went to their old university for homecoming and my friend’s mom was able to talk to her son and have a beautiful reconciliation. And then the son came and shot my friends Mom and Dad, while she was upstairs hiding in the closet, then he shot himself. The police walked her out of her house with a t-shirt over her head. She came to college at the university where her original Dad taught. She dated a tool. She was more committed to her faith than the tool. Then she started dating another guy… things happened. Let me just say that despite their love for each other, their commitment to each other, their marriage, their kids – their marriage has been no easy task, but they put in the hard work, they chose each other, love, and laughter. Four children and many years later, they have found a beautiful rhythm of faith and love.

That is a trial. That is trial by fire. That is the kind of person that deserves tweets and accolades and sermons and books and stories.

Not someone who grew up with Christian parents, went to college on a scholarship and then signed with the NFL – living the dream. That’s awesome. And I am happy for them. But like Matt Chandler said, that’s doesn’t make you a hero, that makes you blessed.

I wish we lived in a world of Tim Tebow’s where it all went right for everyone. But it doesn’t. It also doesn’t always go as wrong as it did for my friend. Heaven knows if I would be half the woman that she was, or half the man that her husband is. I hope that I would be, but I doubt it.

They are my heros. Not Tim Tebow.

And I wish that we would spend a lot more time encouraging the people like my friend. People who don’t have the cushion of millions of tweets and dollars to soften the blow of the horrific trial of the loss of a post season game…

On Mother’s Day millions of tweets don’t go out about my friend’s amazing strength as a mother, while she aches for her own. On her anniversary no one gets on the nightly news and goes on and on about how her faith could be a part of defying 50% divorce statistics, despite the chaotic picture of marriage that was portrayed for her. And on the darkest day, the anniversary of when it all happened, no one, no one remembers but her family and a handful of friends – and even at that – there is little on this side of heaven that can comfort that kind of horrific tragedy, trauma and loss. No accolades for her. Just runny noses, dirty diapers and bills. There is certainly no time for tweeting.

These are the people that we should allow to inspire us.

This doesn’t mean Tim Tebow is not inspiring, or heartening, or that we shouldn’t hope for such a life for our own children – but he’s not my hero. And tonight’s loss was no trial.

Two Years Ago This Week

I got engaged. I never thought I’d get married.

1) I didn’t want to get married. I wanted to travel. And lay on the beaches of Greece and float like a leaf in the wind.
2) One of Justin’s favorite bragging points is his proficiency with dates. This one came and went without his brain ever recalling it. You can just call me UK. And believe me, I’m not the sentimental one of the two of us.
3) Getting married has made me horrifically sentimental about love. A dear friend is getting married at the end of the month and due to all the health situations currently we simply cannot make the trip. I. Am. So. Bummed. I just love celebrating love. There’s nothing better.
4) There may be no decision in my life that I am more proud of than my choice of life partner. This is a make or break. I could have chosen to settle or chosen to be alone, but allowing myself to love and be loved by this man is one of my greatest moments.
5) Making him commit propose on demand until death do us part is perhaps the thing I’m second most proud of. It was a genius commitment to require and it is the gift that keeps on giving. You may not be able to keep having weddings, but you can get engaged (again) anywhere. The world around you is none the wiser.

Unplugged

So I’ve decided to do a Monday dump. The truth is, we go offline on Sundays, but really, for the most part we are kind of off line on Saturdays as well (other than my campaign for Jady Griffin to have 400 followers for his birthday.)

Needless to say, this unplugging means that a lot of things come up in reading or conversation and I thought this might be a good day to turn them over to you.

So the firs thing, is that if you are on Twitter and you like to be amused, you should follow Jady Griffin. His quotes of his son Tait are hysterical. His wife has a blog called Lark and Bloom that I posted for last mothers day. It’s a Christian blog, that has a lot of real life insight. You should check that one out also.

We didn’t directly celebrate Elvis’ birthday. But it’s widely known that Graceland

is a favorite of AM’s. Though I have to admit, I am not really sure that I know why… I need to follow up on that. Also. A line in the infamous Marc Cohn song, Walking in Memphis. In case you missed the horrific drama this post created. Anyway, peanut butter banana sandwiches for all.

Nope, this weekend we celebrated the release of AL from prison the hospital. We got an update Saturday morning on Justin’s Granddad, the lack of update since then probably means that Justin’s sister was in town. Hopefully we’ll hear something today. At last news he was doing better – breathing on his own. In our opinion no news is good news! We look forward to not frantically checking our phones to make sure that no one has called or texted with bad news. It was awesome to get the news that AL was going home! We offered lots of thankful prayers during prayers of the people last night for AL’s release and what we hope is Granddad’s continued improvement.

We LOVED this article in the Sunday Times. Be It Resolved. Seriously. So, for those of you who don’t know my AM, she has resolve of steel. She does most of these things naturally. When I showed her the calorie tracking app she has used it faithfully and her weight has stayed really consistent. It’s awesome. I, on the other hand, almost never use it consistently and I toy with 7 pounds like Sadie plays with boxes. I am going to be better about it though. I am resolved. Seriously. Anyway, it’s a great article and very pragmatic and scientific. So give it a read.

For humor. We live at the end of a dead end street. It dead ends into a cemetery. So people use our driveway as a turnabout. Once a month people yell at us or threaten to ram our car for waiting patiently while they use our driveway as a turnabout. Last night, after church, two cars were backing in to turn around and there were three cars parked in front of the fire hydrant so they couldn’t go there… There we sit. On the street. With two cars in our drive way. Three cars illegally parked at the end of the street and we backed up to let the cars out of our driveway so that we could get in, the cars, of course FURIOUS, thinking we’re backing up only to do the same thing they’re doing, not to park AT OUR HOME. I thought Justin was going to go postal. Currently there is a poster taped to a trash can in our driveway that says, Private Driveway NO U-TURNS. I think it got hit at least 10 times last night.

Warning – small political rant. I’ve never lived in a state where primary advertising is reachable. It’s something else. Anyway, there’s this ad out. I won’t mention the candidate. However, the indication is that faith=moral and non-christian/non-jewish/non-mormon faith=immoral. As I said earlier, we go to church. Yesterday after church, we were pulling out of our parking spot, a cabbie almost slammed into the left side of our car trying to get around us and the woman behind us tried to cut around us on the right – while on the phone, with the window down, screaming profanity. Clearly, I responded by rolling the window down and responding in kind. Moral? Probably not according to a man who uses the word zany as an insult. History has shown that both the atheist and the zealot’s capacity for morality and immorality are on parr, and the religious man is the very one who should carefully head how he yields his claim of piety. You would never find an atheist behaving in the same manner. I think it’s pretty dangerous to associate morality exclusively with three specific sects of faith, and statistics show that in fact that is EXACTLY what Americans do. Just something to mull around, and ask yourself.

So there you have it. The tree is down. Epiphany, Little Christmas is past, AL is home, Aunt Sue’s Chocolate Cake is almost gone, and the temp outside is finally above 30 so I need to go for a run. Happy Monday everyone. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget…

New Year

2012.

We toasted nightmare 2011 away.

AM&UK were here and we celebrated the passing of the hated 2011, the year of cancer and loss and and and…

Well, 2012 started with AL in some critical care heart floor and Justin’s Granddad in ICU. EEEEEK. WHAT????????? So much for all that toasting.

We went to the Audubon before church Sunday (yeah, we’re attempting re-entry, we’ll see how it goes, all the “It’s been EONS since we’ve seen you” were off-putting, but all the sweet hugs and warm “it was so fun to see you!” emails we got made it bearable) and kind of wrote out our year plan. We can only really plan in semesters. We can REALLY only plan in semesters since this will be my LAST semester at BHCC – WHAT WHAT???? I know. I started applications out, I mean, I started applications to transfer. Sweet. Also. FIRST SEMESTER WITHOUT MATH. Thank you Sweet BABY Jesus.

Anyway, year plan. One day a week unplugged. Yep. Totally. Completely. UNPLUGGED. We did it Monday and we didn’t even twitch. We read and cooked and walked and were fine. New rules about how late we look at our phones (not past ten), when we look at our phones (not with friends or family), and goals of when to just say enough is enough to school and work. We’re taking our lives back! CHARGE! So far, so good.

Also, we’re working on perspective. Hoping for a little more rose colored and a little less cynical. All this cold weather is chilling my blood. As if it needed more ice. So, we’re working on perspective. Remember this is my favorite blog post of all time WARNING – DISCLAIMER – FOUL – CYNICAL – BAD WORDS – NOT FOR CHURCH FOLK. When asked by Justin what would help me be less cynical, kinder, gentler, a little less – you know – snarky (NOT HIS WORDS), I naturally answered, “If all the people would leave me alone.” Needless to say, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Needless to say there is some life coaching involved here. One of my assignments was an address or letter to myself now from 5 years from now self. Sans self-deprecating humor, negativity or any such tone. Um, OK? Anyway. After a week or more of paralysis. I finally just made myself do it today. And where did I end up? Here – Kyle Lake’s last sermon:

“Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.”

The point? Life is now. Not in five years. Not in a semester. Now. Today is what we have. And the best way to see it with roses instead of licorice? Realize today “is-most-definitely-a-Gift.”

Now, don’t start expecting lots of those month long thankfulness posts on Facebook from me or some crap like that. I’m still me. But I am going to work on the taking everything so damn personally. If someone is trying to nail me, or if I THINK they are, I am going to pick up my rosy lenses and chant to myself, “you is kind you is smart you is important.” And I am going to remind myself what Jimmy always says, it’s highly unlikely that that person is trying to personally attack me, they are too busy thinking about themselves.

It is also a personal goal to make sure my husband laughs a lot more. His life is far too serious. He works really hard, and really late. And I am really funny, REALLY funny [you hear me Lorne Michaels? Tina Fey is getting old and has a lot of babies - I am young and baby-free (not to mention kind, smart and important.] I realized that when we’re out, one of his most frequently asked questions is “Do you just laugh at her all the time?” Ummm no, he’s too busy ducking snarky comments or marshmallows. Kidding. I would never waste a marshmallow. But I am serious. What more fun thing in life than to make life fun for the people you love? It’s not altruistic but its cyclical right? Let’s give it a shot. At least for this week.

And don’t forget to check out the Anchor & Key blog. We’re booking. We’ve had our first appointment this year. We’ve got two appointments for February. Two for March. So keep us in mind. We love to take pictures!

Oh and ONE MORE THING. If you didn’t know. I am running the Boston Marathon. In honor of AM’s awesome and valiant battle and conquering of cancer. As well as in honor of a 17 year old named Nikolas who is currently battling Cancer. As I’ve been raising money, I’ve been collecting names. My Aunt Molly who beat breast cancer, Justin’s Grandfather who didn’t, Justin’s great aunt Mary Sue who died of Leukemia at 16, my dear friend Millie Roden, my friend Luci’s Daddy, and Maggie’s mom, and Annie’s victory, my friend Scott’s dad who was just diagnosed, my Uncle Michael who just conquered, my Uncle Brian who is living with… We all have a long list of people we know impacted by cancer don’t we? If you want to be a part, please feel free to send me the name of the person you’d like me to run in honor, memory or POWER of – you can send me a little word of encouragement – or you can even donate to the cause by going to this website and giving. Thanks. I need to go put on my rose colored glasses, and cook Justin dinner. It’s 8:12, I’m 12 minutes past our technology deadline!

Update over at Anchor and Key

I tried to cope and paste the entire post over here, but really, you should just go look at it over there. I am obviously too tired to figure it out!

So, in case you haven’t figured it out.  There’s a lot of action over at Anchor&Key. My new business blog.  Here’s  the link.

Anchor & Key

Anchor & Key

So, I’ve been working on a bit of a business venture.  It’s called Anchor&Key, we’re on Facebook  and Twitter.  It’s new. I’m an amateur.  I’m booking shoots on a sliding scale of what people can afford.  A bottle of wine, or money.  So if you know anyone in my vicinity, please refer me, or refer them.

The blog project is going well.  We’re raising money for the orphan project again.  So I’ve been working on that – which counts for class.  The Anchor&Key project counts, we had a test, which was a two day pass, so needless to say, you’ve seen the gap here.  But I am going to keep it up.

I am going to do relevant Fridays.  The Economist comes out on Fridays, so I am going to try to do a little “blip” or “blurb” on the week.  I know most of you are friends and I know lots of you aren’t that into the news or NPR so I am going to try to deliver what’s relevant in bite size pieces.  I think in an election year, with this kind of economy we should all know what’s up.  We should all also be aware that Hugo Chavez is probably, in fact dying.  That Jessica Simpson is now confirmed pregnant. Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days, I have been married for 425… You know.  Things that are relevant.  I kid.

In other news…

My two new favorite magazines this year have been Anthology, which I discovered by chance and gladly paid the $38 for and treasure my collection of and panic when it doesn’t come because I want to make sure I have the full ‘anthology.’  I am no less neurotic about the gift subscription that Lady A gave me of Garden and Gun.  When we moved we went online.  We called, we wrote. The sweet editor of Anthology emailed me and assured me that all was well, not to panic, the issue was getting mailed later than she hoped, but if for ANY reason, I had one ounce of problem, she would take care of me not to worry about it.  Garden and Gun on the other hand, has required three follow up phone calls to three failed online attempts to change the address.  Then I didn’t get the promised magazine, so I emailed.  They told me they were sold out (anthology ruined) but not to worry, Mr. Keogh (it was a form email) they would extend my subscription by one magazine.  ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Needless to say I emailed them back.  I got another form email.  (All of these emails come late in the night – so weird)  So I called two days ago, yesterday, today.  Finally yesterday I took to Twitter and Facebook.  Finally, today, they responded via Facebook and asked me to call a different number than I have been calling.  I am not impressed.  Friends.  Their magazine is online.  They have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.  I like the magazine, but I cannot recommend them after this experience.  If they are on your wishlist, cross them off and give your money to someone who truly represents something that you want to give your money to.  I could not recommend something more highly than Anthology. I love the magazine, the content and the staff.  They certainly aren’t so proud of themselves that they treat their customers this way.  I will tell you this.  I spent a week with the editor of WWD in NY and she certainly did not act with haughty carelessness that G&G has.  It really is truly unfortunate that they think so much of their product that they do not believe they are in a customer service industry.

I would like to end this blog in this way.  It is unfortunate that we no longer live in a customer service society.  It is sad that we no longer live in a society where people are kind.  My dear friend Jessica posted a really frustrating post on her facebook wall last week.  Fresh home with her son from Africa.  She was trying to assimilate him to this culture, two new siblings, electricity… They were jetlagged… And people were glaring at them at the grocery store as they were working out proper behavior and responses and both were trying not to weep in the store.  She said she wished she had signs explaining the situation. I just read the post and wished people were kind enough to realize they don’t always know  what’s going on and should be hesitant to judge so harshly.

Anyway, I wasn’t free to call Garden & Gun IMMEDIATELY upon receiving their message.  A dear family friend is in town this semester and he’s been doing all these great speaking engagements that I haven’t been able to make it to, but I made it tonight and it was fantastic.  So interesting and engaging and intellectually very very challenging.  I am mulling over some very interesting questions.

How does this economic recession compare to the one that Reagan navigated us through in the 80′s?

One of the reason’s Bush was re-elected even though he was incredibly unpopular is because he was viewed as a very, very strong leader – Obama is not viewed as a strong leader, though I think he is ironically probably a much stronger leader than Bush was – will this perception of weakness cost him this election?

Do we view music in advertising as relevant only to youth – particularly political ad campaigns?

I know, I know.  Bizarre.  But my thoughts at the end of this day.  I’m off to a Steve Jobs documentary, math homework and a dirty dirty dirty martini.  Spread the word about Anchor&Key.  Give me a like, a follow & a tweet.  Also go check out Anthology and Garden & Gun.  Neither will disappoint, and I am sure, that G&G will tell me soon how my experience the last 6 months with them is absolutely the exception… Sigh.  I hope so anyway.

And tomorrow dear readers, a weekly synopsis of all that’s fit for synopsizing.  In my opinion.  Hahahahahahahahahhahaha. Heaven only knows what you’ll get.

Another Monday Another Post

Back to the Series with the Q&A Series.

I am not going to lie, I was thankful for that weekend break.

The blog assignment is a little harder than I thought.  It’s good to remind people that being a writer is not all the romantic excitement we make it out to be…

So today the questions of Aunt Diane! She had some really great ones.

1. Grocery shopping: are you a planner or a spontaneous shopper. List or no list? Menus for the week or winging it day-by-day?

It depends on the situation.  Sometimes I have a plan and the day gets away from me and my plan for dinner gets stolen, so I have to run into the store and wing it.  For the most part I am a planner.  I love cookbooks.  The Levacys gave me the entire Cooks Illustrated anthology for my wedding and I use it religiously.  But I am kind of a cookbook Junkie.  Brigette gave me one that I love, my friend Michelle just recommended one that I cooking from like mad right now with no -knead bread recipes.  Also we are a part of both a CSA and a meat share, so there is not really much shopping to be done… Except for wine.
and marriage (sort of):

2. Tell all about your new house. What’s your favorite thing about it; what’s your least favorite thing?

We love the new apartment.  We live next to a famous old cemetery and we call it the tree house because you literally feel like, when you look out the windows, like you are in a treehouse.  We are at the end of a dead end street and people use our driveway as their personal u-turn spot, that bothers us.  Also, there’s a dude across the street that parks his Texas size commercial truck directly in front of our door on a daily basis.  Grrr to that man. However, you might have noticed that I said driveway, which means off street parking.  HEAVEN.  I think winter is going to be much less filled with anger.

and marriage again (sort of, again):

3. Are you guys really going to use this picture as your Christmas card, because I think that would be awesome; it looks like an album (yes, album, I am old) cover. The picture is on our Christmas card. It has been ordered.  It is awesome.  Here are a couple of pics of the LR, the DR and the kitchen

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