Zumba and Decorating

Today I went to Zumba. I love the Thursday morning class. It’s just a different crew than the night classes. a lot of men with long hair. I have no idea why. But they are there. At the end of the class they, their long hair, and their high socks look giddy from freeing themselves in the intensity of cardio/latindance/shakira fusion. I just shake my head and hope they don’t talk excitedly, I have know idea what the estimates projectile is for sweat from a man’s long hair, but I am not taking any chances.

Also. On Jordan Ferney’s blog I saw a picture of this bedspread:

WHERE CAN I FIND IT??? Does anyone know? I love it. It’s so not the style of our room right now, but I really adore that bedspread… Did I mention how many other things we need that are SO much more important than that? This is the problem with adoration.

We’re having dinner with an old friend from Austin tonight. I have been humbled lately by how many old friends I have actively around in my life. This friend is not one of them, but it’s on theme. Seriously. I am moved by the length and depth of some of my friendships – despite me. Despite my flaws and failures, despite my inability to answer the phone or return calls or keep up in a socially acceptable manner, despite the fact that my well intended notes, cards and treats never get mailed (eeek) my friends are precious and happy to pick up where we left off. What a gift.

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Humid Running

The Boys (this is how I refer to both 1- a family of five boys who were dear friends in Waco 2- a group of three men who were some of my best friends in Berlin) used to think it was so funny when I would say, “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl.” This was generally said when I was pulling on my cowboy boots, and met with laughter. It was also met with respect when I enjoyed a good amount of delicious beer, or made them a really delicious chicken fried steak with gravy. Needless to say, it didn’t take much to impress them. But, I adore them and so to impress them was a thrill.

I have come to believe that I was lying to them. I didn’t think I was lying to them. I really do even now believe that I love Texas. Songs about Texas make me cry. I want to live in Texas. I want to eat the food in Texas. I want to be with my friends in Texas. I want to vote in person in Texas. I want to drive forever through Texas. I want to listen to music in Texas. I want to listen to people talk in Texas. I want to eat ice cream in Texas – Amy’s or Blue Bell will do. I want to watch sports in Texas, instead of Texas in sports. I want to be in Texas all the time. Well, therein lies the fallibility. Tonight I ran a quick five mile run, and it was warm (76) and humid and I wanted to die. Literally. I cannot remember what it’s like to run in that kind of sticky heat. I did not like it. It was gross. I was grossed out. I kept thinking, “GAAAAHHHHHH, it’s so hot. I don’t want to run. It’s too hot. I am hot. I hate this hotness. I am so hot my hair is sticking to my back. I might die from the hot and the sticky and the – ughhhhhhhhhhh HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HATE HOT HOT HOT HATE HATE HATE HATE HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT.” and so on and so forth. For 5 miles. Actually 5.43 long, humid, hot, miles.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAKKKK SCRAAAAAATCHHHHH REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWIIIIIINNNNNNNDD

Did the blond from Austin. Texas just say that 76 is warm??? Did the girl who trained for ENTIRE marathons in Texas just act like 76 and humid was inconvenient??? The girl whose family awakens before the dawn just to hope to run in pre-80degree weather? The Texas is OBVIOUSLY out of the girl. She’s lost her God given mind. I should have been running the river THANKING GOD I wasn’t in a fall heat wave in Texas. That’s what I should have been doing. That’s what I wanted to be doing… But instead this girl who has spent the last 5 years in foreign (Actual foreign and New England foreign) is starting to feel like she’s losing her edge. At one point I literally thought, “What am I doing thinking about running a marathon in Texas in February – it might be hot like this… and humid.” I need to get a grip. How pathetic.

The good new though, is that the heat wave is supposed to break tomorrow and then I can go back to running in peace. 50 degrees, firey leaves and loveliness. God needs to reward us with something for the 7 months of cold we’re about to endure. And therein lies the heart of my lostness – that was spoken like a true New Englander, they say, “There’s nothing to say if you can’t complain about the weather.”

Foodie Wednesday

Let me just say that I am posting this about a time when I used to cook, before I got this coldish thing and before Boo’s knee started it’s revolt. No less, there was a day sometime last week when I still cooked. Before we did take out Chinese, order in Indian or wings at the bar last night while watched the first half of the game.

Did I mention I woke up Monday morning to a pile of kleenex next to me, one between my feet and one in my hand… They say it’s allergies. Yeah? Really? Well then I am allergic to my winter clothes, because I felt fine before we brought those up from the basement. You know what I am not allergic to? The beach. Bathing suits. Warm sunny days in the sand. I’m just saying.

OK, so last week I did a lamb meatball stroganoff, some twice baked sweet potatoes and the quinoa risotto. Here’s what I did.

Lamb – get as much as you’ll use. I generally buy between a quarter and a half of a pound, just enough to justify the egg I put in to keep it stuck together. So here’s what you do (you can combine pork, veal, lamb) take the meat, add the egg, cut up some parsley and thyme, throw in some salt and pepper, some bread crumbs, and then grate some parmesan cheese. Mix them together with your hands. Make little balls, like scoop the meat out with a tablespoon and roll it up and set it on a plate. You can boil them four or five minutes, or you can fry them in a pan four or five minutes each side. If you fry them, save all those extra brown pieces for when you make the cream sauce.

This is easy too. Saute some onion and mushrooms in the pan. Add a tablespoon of sherry. Then a half a cup of water, let it simmer down until the liquid is thick and JUST covering the mushrooms. Then add a tablespoon of dijon and 3/4 cups of whatever creamy liquid you choose – milk, cream, creme fraiche – you choose your fat content and creaminess level.

Throw the egg noodles in a pot and mix all together. Yummy.

OK for the sweet potatoes. This is easy as pie. Cook em for 40 minutes or until soft. Scoop the middle out, set it in a pyrex measuring pourer and mix some cheese in it, just a little. Add some salt and pepper. Stir it up and then stick it back in the skins. Sprinkle cheese on top and bacon bits if you wish. Cook em for another 15 minutes. When you pull them out, throw some greek yogurt on top, and then sprinkle chives. It will be delicious. And VERY healthy. Remember, Bacon makes everything better.

So there you go. A nice HEARTY fall meal and great left-overs.

Happy Foodie Wednesday. I am going to back to sniffing. And a precariously sleeping baby.

Joseph the Multi-colored Fish

He’s gone. It’s true. After three weeks of strange behavior, erratic eating and faded color, I got up this morning to see if he was alive and the day that I knew would eventually come had arrived. He lay lifelessly on the bottom side of the bowl where he had been hanging out/pouting/refusing to eat/taunting me for the last few weeks. But on his side. I took him to the bathroom and sent him to Fish heaven or wherever fish go after they are, ahem, buried. I tried not to think to much about it, because, you know, he’s just a fish. However. In my defense. I love pets. I love having something to take care of and worry about and feed. I would prefer to have something that I could also pet, but apparently Boo hates things that you can pet thinks we shouldn’t have a petable pet right now. Jerk He’s very responsible like that. Also, I am pretty sure that AM&UK are giving him side bribes strong encouragement to resist my begging requests for a dog.

As LA said, “He lived a good life.” I fed him every day except when I was gone and Boo and CoCo told me that they fed him but probably really didn’t. I replaced his water once a week. When he refused the new healthy fish food, I double parked my car on Harvard at rush hour to buy his favorite food. I checked on him morning and night to make sure he was alive, until he was, well, not. WHAT ELSE COULD I HAVE DONE????? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING????

Anyway. This is all to say that Joseph the Multi-colored Fish was our first pet and I we loved him. He felt like some sort of company. Even though he was, you know, a fish. He has a lot of personality, for a fish. And not just when we tried to get him to fight himself in the mirror (that was Mon. P not me, and he’s a priest.) And now he’s gone, and even though he was – a fish – we will miss him and all his quirky little ways.

God bless you little Joseph, may you swim in vast oceans all alone where other more aggressive Betas will not eat you.

Today’s Poverty is Unnecessary Day – Thoughts on Marathons, Orphans and Generosity

Let me start by offering the link this incredible (though long) story in the NYT about people like you and me changing the world. OK, maybe not just like you and me. This is how they open the article:
“Like so many highly trained young women these days, Elizabeth Scharpf has choices. She could be working in a Manhattan office tower with her Harvard Business School classmates…Now 33, Scharpf was interning in the summer of 2005 for the World Bank in Mozambique, helping local entrepreneurs…Back at Harvard, where she was pursuing joint degrees at the business school and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, she began asking friends from Bangladesh, Nicaragua and other countries if they were aware of this problem…”
Mine might read a little more like this:
“CC, a 33 year old re-entering freshman at BHCC could be working at McDonald’s or her Aunt’s Plant-Stand if it was still open for business… She spent the summer of ’95 interning at a media consultation firm, but she wasn’t very good at interning so she went to SDSU where she forgot where some of her classes were located because she was hanging out at the sand volleyball court at the Beta house… Back in Boston where she frequently runs past Harvard and MIT she desperately tries to finish her long runs without dying, ponders the terrible stories of suffering she hears on NPR, in the news and from her world changing friends and she hopes that the smart people at those schools will do something about it and then she hopes that she can make it back to her car.”

OK, OK, that was slightly exaggerated for comedic affect, but how many of you feel that way? Like, wow, there’s so much going on in my neighborhood, my area, my state, the country, the world that I know and care about, but I can’t quite figure out how to help. I am not saying that you have to start an NGO or go to Harvard, but on this day where we acknowledge that we live in a world that suffers quite simply from poor distribution I challenge you to think about where you can begin. I am going to offer three examples and three ranges of ways you might be able to make a difference.

AM&UK hate when I get personal on the blog (for my own protection and safety and in case anyone ever googled me when they interviewed me, but I figure they’d never read through all these posts) but I am going to offer a little personal perspective today. In 1992 I went to live with my youth group leaders, for various reasons, and for a short (probably not to them) amount of time. Now. There were lots of options for me, and plenty of places that I could have gone. My parents wanted me, my family wanted me, this was my deal. And in the end it was best for most of us. Anyway. At the time they were like 23 and 24, and honestly other than loving me and feeding me there was not much they could do for my teenage angst filled heart. But they did it. They were incredible. At 33 with an 18 year old border, who is precious and wonderful, I cannot imagine the task that it was to take me on. I cannot imagine the financial, emotional, personal, or relational sacrifice it was. People thought they were crazy. They were crazy. But you know what? They saw a need, and they met it. They did not keep account of the personal toll it would take, they simply knew that something needed to be done and they acted. This is the #1 key to impacting the world around you. When you see a need, act. It is the tragedy of mankind that we acknowledge and grieve the suffering and poverty of the world around it and do nothing to resolve it. If you know someone is struggling financially skip a meal and leave them a gift card for the amount you would have spent anonymously in their mailbox, you don’t want to give homeless people money, carry a protein bar and a bottle of water and hand it to them when you are stuck at a light, you don’t have to take a teenager in to change the world. You can do it in small ways everyday. Pick up litter, turn off lights, combat over-consumption. What is your tiny conviction? Live it.

I am not an overly talented individual. I grew up with a girl named MP. I always thought she was prettier, smarter and more talented than me. I still secretly think she is. However, when I was younger this friendship was the petri dish for insecurity and comparison in my life. I constantly thought people liked her more, boys liked her more… But you know what? MP and I aren’t that different, the truth is that she worked really hard at what she was/is good at, she has an insane work ethic, BUT ALSO… We just have different strengths. Like when I see her now, after two kids, she looks fantastic. She is totally fit. But she has told me a couple of times, “no matter how fit I am, I could not run a marathon.” She runs like ZERO minute miles, while her kids are sleeping. But she wouldn’t run a marathon. That’s my skill set. That’s right. I can do that. I can run a marathon. I mean, when I weighed 230 pounds I couldn’t. I could run a little while and then I would walk, and then I would run, until I could run a longer while etc. 50 pounds lighter and 6 months after I started I finished my FIRST marathon in 6:42:?? That’s a 15:34 mile. Most people WALK a mile faster than that. But I did it. And later when people asked me how I ran a marathon and lost all that weight, no one wanted to hear the truth. It was hard work, I ran a lot and ate healthier. In the end what I realized that anyone who wanted to, and did not have physical limitations, could run a marathon. To this day and a few marathons and half marathons later, I have never finished a run without at least one person who has never done it before. I think it’s important to find your strength, to not compare yourself to someone who you think is better or is doing it better, and I think it’s also important to bring people along. We’re all here to help each other out. If you are passionate about something, make it a goal this year to find one other person who is passionate about the same thing, but inactive. Help give them the resources to put hands and feet on their passion. This is as generous as anything you will ever do. Speaking of marathons and generosity… Those youth leaders I was talking about earlier – they both finished their first marathon this year. Chicago. With two teenagers still at home. What inspirational people.

Finally. Don’t let generosity have a strict definition. So many of my friends have tiny children at home and there are limits to what they can do. Pour yourself into those little lives and raise socially aware children. Let them see you doing what you can as a family. They will do the same. But do something. Even if it’s working on not saying harsh things about the guy on the corner begging, whose story you do not know. Volunteer. There are Boys and Girls Clubs, homeless shelters, inner-city youth programs, churches, hundreds of places who would be glad to have one hour of your time a quarter, or whatever you have to give. Start where you are and build from there. I didn’t start by running the marathon, I started by putting on my shoes.

Lastly, if you’re so moved. Consider joining me in supporting 30 girls in Kenya. We built them a house last year, we are hoping to build them a school this year. And after that, we are hoping to establish a college fund for every single one of them. We didn’t raise the money for the home with big donors, we raised the money last year $10 and $25 at a time. Please consider giving. You can click here to be a part.

There is enough resource in the world. It is our misuse and mishandling of it that leaves people hungry. You can’t share your electricity with Rwanda, or ship your leftovers to children starving in Ethiopia, but you can follow your own passions and convictions. Changing the world and eradicating poverty is a marathon, not a sprint, and we can’t start by running the marathon. We have to start by putting on your shoes. What can you do today to tie your laces? Then get to it.

Head of the Charles, Nasal Fluidity and The Changing of the Leaves

This weekend was Head of the Charles. This is where a bunch of rowers come to Boston and they compete in this competition along the Charles River. It is really beautiful. The rowers, the weather, the trees.

I was going to upload a picture here but I am too lazy to transfer it from my phone to here. You can google images and see how pretty it was. Or imagine.

So on Friday night we went to this neighborhood French place and celebrated our monthaversarry. Yes. We have been married now for either 5 months or 7 years and 5 months depending on whether you give more authority to the actual date of our wedding or to our marriage certificate.

Then on Saturday morning we slept in. We normally go to Yoga but we were so tired and so we slept until 8:30. I know. It’s an exciting life that we lead. Then because LadyA and ArchitectA FINALLY came home from vacation we headed immediately over to their house for brunch where we learned that in their absence EV had learned to call her father by his given name and to say eggs. She says AA’s name more readily than eggs, but no one is totally sure why. She also learned to “jump.” This is an activity where she kind of snakes her neck in a smooth motion as if she is ducking and then shifts her weight from side to side. It is seriously cute and funny. We also found out she has a texture fetish, as in loves to stick her fingers in vaseline. You can imagine among the four adults in the room the kind of jokes these things lead to… Evidenced publicly in comments on blog posts, and facebook walls.

Justin and I then fought ridiculous and inappropriate Boston traffic to pick up JTHSF. We took her to see the rowers, we made her cook dinner with us and then headed back over to LA and AA’s for dinner. She agreed that EV is one of the cutest kids of all time. We then had a fantastic dinner laughing about times we have encountered celebrities and other more unmentionable dinner time topics.

Sunday we headed out to AL&UM’s for a work day. We helped get the gardens ready for winter and hauled wood. JTHSF was a trooper. Somewhere in there Boo’s knee started swelling and aching and we realized he was in pretty bad shape. So, this morning we made and appt with the orthopedic surgeon. Eeek. Never good when a man who has a knee with 17 metal pins and the bones resemble shattered glass is having swelling and knee pain…

So we came home last night to football (my fantasy team lost to DEG, her QB is Brett Favre – how do you loose to that? They boo’d him off the field… GAAAAH – I am destined to be last in my league) and the Wire. I noticed that my eyes were watering and that my nose had some increased fluidity. I woke up this morning to a pile of kleenex on my bedside table, one between my toes and one in my hand. Wow. It must have been quite a night.

On the topic of women’s mental health – well, I guess I am bringing it up. I have sent messages to some women in my life and asked them to write a letter to the 30/35 year old version of themselves. In the spirit of It Gets Better I think it might be helpful for women to be reminded that they are not alone in their self-critical ways and that in the end it’s probably wasted time. So stay tuned… So far 1, yes, only one has agreed to do it. But she’s a good one and I am going to keep hounding the others.

However, I just want to recount a few things that my Aunt has told me. “People love to be around a positive person.” This is the woman who has somehow mastered wry humor and optimism. I find this to be one of the most brilliant character quality pairings of all time. She also tells me, “Just assumed that everyone loves you and wants your best.” I think this helps in not being self-critical. You can assume the people around you will be patient with you if you believe this, it makes it much easier to be patience with yourself when you feel no pressure. She also has a really famous one, “You can’t make a bad decision, just make a decision. If you don’t like it, you can make another one and change it.” There are no yeah but responses to this. It is simple, practical and true. Stop making life more dramatic than it is, and start making it more simple. You can only benefit.

In Corinthians Paul talks about a simplicity of devotion. Simple devotion. I find this principle to be cross applicable. With Boo, he doesn’t need all these big fancy expressions of my love. Steady, consistent, present love in the every day is far more valuable to him than inconsistency for days or weeks and then a big to do to try to make compensate. It’s the same with all of life. Be where you are, start where you are, do what you can and build on that. If you can’t build on it, and that’s all you can handle, then do that as brilliantly as you can and relish in the quality and simplicity of it. I contend that people love to be around both positive and peaceful people. I am setting my sights on baby steps toward both. Hopefully some letters from those who have gone before us will appear soon.

Juan Williams, Facebook Fights, Zumba and Friday

Dear world. Guess what? There is a severe weather warning on my iPhone app. Rain? Thunder? Hurricane? No. Frost warning. FROST??? I DO NOT WANT SOME FROST. I’ll tell you this frost, you can go right back where you came from. And take your freaking 30 degree mornings too. No one here wants you.

Juan. Poor Juan. For those of you who don’t know, the fight with NPR began “Back in 2009, when Williams described first lady Michelle Obama of evoking the spirit of radical Black Panther Stokely Carmichael” (PBS.com, NPR’s Firing of Juan Williams Reignites Ethics, Public Media Funding Debates, 22 Oct 2010) Juan is not new to controversy, nor was he new to the consequential possibilities. No less, he, in true Juan fashion, made some inflammatory statements on a show that all democrats hate. I will say however, that some NPR listeners were watching. We know this because they called and barraged NPR for the umpteenth time in JW’s career with complaints about what he said. In his defense, later he balanced his statement with some very reasonable statements about not judging people by dress or religion, but that these things stick in our minds after major trauma (he referenced Columbine, OKC bombings.) The bottom line is that currently Juan is singing in the spirit of Evita, “don’t cry for me NPR, the truth is I would have left you, FOX news now pays me, I am so wealthy, I broke my contract, now keep your distance.”

I mention this because yesterday’s tirade was inspired by a fight I got in on Facebook. This guy was all, maybe we shouldn’t care so much about political correctness and we should care about saying what’s right and what’s wrong. I agree. You should live by conviction. However, do I also have to live by YOUR conviction? Should we all have the same conviction. How would that dude feel is some person of a different religious or moral code started imposing their convictions on them? Anyway. I flipped out and wrote my blog. Then today people were all OUTRAGED about Juan William’s and I know NPR is issuing an apology, no less, the dude is on a better path. Wealth, FOX News bankrolling him! They are right wing conservatives, they have more money than God. NPR on the other hand, never stops begging for mine. So, I get it, Juan Williams and Mark McKinnon, “EEEEEHHHHHHHH MUST BE THE MONEY!”

OK, have I told you about the Zumba sub? She’s CRAZY. Seriously. Everyone hates her and they are afraid of her. She flies into class 5 or 10 minutes late (that’s at least 70 calories, which is a glass of Chardonnay *&$%# better watch out), she starts the class with “I hear that you’ve been complaining about me to Sara (program director at the Y.) Does anyone have a problem with me? I am not mad. Just if you have a problem you need to tell me. Also, this is how I am, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come to this class. I am a larger than life personality, if you have a problem with that, then you probably need to leave.” Weird. No one ever says anything, and still, the next class she comes in and says the same thing again because all the scared people complain to Sara again. this is a viscous cycle, I don’t know when it will end. I am going to class in 20 minutes. What will happen?

It’s Friday. Jenniethehighschoolfriend (JTHSF) comes tomorrow for her annual trip. It’s also FROST warning. I may have to give in and get the winter clothes out of the basement. But I think until it’s snowing it’s still summer right? I AM NOT READY FOR WINTER. We’re headed out to the Farm Stand Sunday to help tear the place down. I just found out while I was typing this. LadyA and ArchitectA finally brought baby EV back to me. They also brought me the split from their CSA because the other couple is in Spain??? Guess what I got? Mustard Greens, Radishes, Turnips, Onions, Carrots, Garlic, ummmm dear ladyA… What the hell is this? Freaking Tara the Lean Years CSA – didn’t Scarlett O’Hara pull a turnip from the dry ground, hold it in the air, bitch and moan for a few minutes and end poignantly with “Eye swayer, Eye swayer, I’ll nevah gow hungray agayan.” Well, JTHSF said that we could stay in instead of going to some nice dinner on the town and she’d donate the money from her meal to the orphans. Well JTHSF, you, like the little Kenyan orphans and poor Scarlett O will be eating mustard greens and radishes. I hope you’re excited, and if you’re not, too bad, send the orphans your money. (you can click on this link to assure that the Kenyan girls don’t eat turnips… or something like that)

Also, currently on the news, some lady with spiky short blond hair and outdated maroon suit just tried to talk about an “idear” that she had. Ummm, no thank you. I’ll vote for the guy who doesn’t say “idear.”

Intolerant of Intolerance – An Open and Disappointed Letter to Left Wing Liberals and Right Wing Conservatives.

WARNING. THIS EMAIL WILL BE OFFENSIVE TO PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

Dear LWL & RWC,

Please stop. No, seriously. Everyone knows Obama’s middle name is Hussein, what the eff is your point? No one knows? And people, WE KNOW YOU HATE THIS WAR AND THAT THERE WERE NO WMD’s. However, this is where we are. Say something helpful and stop bitching about Bush, he’s gone.

Can I get an amen? Is anyone else so sick of this crap? I mean seriously.

OK. Here’s the deal. I am a total hypocrite. I mean it, totally. And you know what? So are you? So are we all? And you know what else? We’re not perfect! We do not see clearly, we are flawed! So stop imposing your moral beliefs on our political process in acts of judgement and hatred toward PEOPLE. Take a little advice from my Grandmother oh ye conservative Christians who live on your moral and judgmental and hateful high ground – hate the sin, not the sinner. And while you’re at it. Pull the effing plank out of your own eye. No gay couple (no they are not all coming home from rowdy orgy parties in chain mesh shirts after crazy nights of unprotected sex), or girl who got an abortion after some horrible experience (no, not every woman who seeks an abortion is doing so because she forgot to take her morning after pill and needs to get back to her loose, multi-partner lifestyle) goes our to their thursday night supper club and sits around talking about how you were impatient with your wife, how you were worshipping false idols or didn’t put God first, nor are they persecuting you according to their moral standards. As a matter of fact in general, other than when a gay male couple is talking about your fashion, they are probably frighteningly less judgmental than you. You don’t have to morally believe in gay marriage, and NOBODY (seriously people) likes the thought of a child being aborted, but please don’t spew hatred at the PEOPLE. It’s TOTALLY against everything you say you believe and it makes you look like a bigoted fool.

Liberals. Agreed. Bush was non-ideal. Do you know what. NOT EVERY CONSERVATIVE VOTER WORSHIPPED THE GROUND THAT HE WALKED ON. They voted for him though and they were trying to get behind their vote and trust the political process you claim to be so deeply in love with. Yeah. The one where you cast your vote believe in political process and then live with the decision. They are practically communist in that way. Get over it. No one wants to listen to you keep complaining about an administration that is long gone. We are all still dealing with the consequences of all the presidents before us. Join the effing club. You know what else? Just because someone is Christian, or heaven forbid conservative does not mean they are an uneducated, babbling goon. So stop acting like the fact that someone is morally against abortion or gay marriage, or health care, or for the war they are ignorant or uneducated. They have an opinion. It’s their constitutional right. Again, you act like you are such a purist about it, then back off and let them proceed with their constitutionally protected freedom and stop being so condescending. No one is impressed or amused.

NEWS FLASH. We’re a 50/50 split people. Remember the whole John Kerry/George Bush thing? 50/50. Nothing has changed. But you know what? 10% of you are crazy left and 10% of you are crazy right and you are driving the moderates crazy and making the next generation hate politics. Please stop.

I want you all to believe passionately in what you believe in. I want you to talk about it honestly, and emotionally. I want you to be fully engaged in your political process. I want your state rep and your congressman to know your name. I would LOVE to hear what you believe and why. I would love to disagree with you and be able to have a civil and intelligent conversation that expands both of our knowledge and thinking. But I WILL not sit and listen to you spew twisted facts about the president of the united states, current or previous. I will not listen to you twist facts, attack people, pull things totally out of context and then justify your elementary behavior wit, “They do it!!!!” of “THEY DO IT WORSE!!!” You sound like the kindergartners that I taught last year. Grow up.

No one is asking you to be quiet, no one is asking you to not complain or bemoan the current or past administration, no one is asking you to not FIGHT against what you believe is WRONG, no one is asking you to not be offended at injustice, these are the things that have made this country and this democracy effective. We are simply asking you to not ATTACK PEOPLE. To not spew judgement and hate at people. We are asking you to be civil and respectful and to try to understand there is a FUNDAMENTAL disagreement to the way politics are approached by republicans and democrats. Seriously. So we’re probably not going to ever agree, but WE THE PEOPLE can change the political climate. We can start with ourselves. With our own behavior. If we are treating each other with respect and kindness, then we have a basis from which to demand it of our politicians and news agencies, but if we are spending all our time screaming at people and their positions, we won’t have any energy to change the world with love.

Be kind, we are all fighting a battle. Enter into everyone’s condition. And stop rationalizing your behavior, it doesn’t matter what side you’re on, if your on the far right or the far left you are all acting like a bunch of little kids on the playground, and those of us over here smoking in the Sonic parking lot are sick of listening to you whine about each other. No one likes a tattle tale. Seriously.

Whirlwind Weekend and Etiquette

When I was younger I collected etiquette books. Perhaps I thought that they would somehow transfer their contents to my actions. Take, for instance, the thank you notes from our wedding gifts… It is my current goal to get them out by Thanksgiving weekend. It was my initial goal to get them out immediately. Modified goals… Maybe you can modify a goal once or twice, but once you hit three, I think you can go ahead and admit it was either an impractical or bad goal. Or you failed… I kid. Ish. Anyway, I just turned a paper on classroom etiquette at the request of professor Cambridge. We’ll see how it goes. I think I totally screwed up the in paper citing on interviews, but, it’s hard to know until I get the paper back. I am sure I screwed up the commas too.

Thanks everyone for asking – THE PARTY WAS FANTASTIC! I definitely had a sobbing, heaving chest, red face and eyes break down the day before, but I came back strong-ish from it. We went to the Regal Beagle in Brookline to celebrate AM&UK’s 22nd wedding anniversary and so they could see our absolute favorite neighborhood place in Boston. It was wonderful. We got up the next morning, sat around and had coffee, then made a trip to Jim’s so they could see the way we really live. Jim was incredible and it ended up being my favorite breakfast I’ve ever had there.

We surprised AL&UM at noon with the surprise guest. It was so fun, and then it was time for work. DTB, CoCo, Boo, the Cousin, the cousin’s SO, Stace and I set to work putting together an authentic German event. Complete with wood paneled, slanted ceiling, beer hall. It was so much work and so much fun. My cousin’s (and both K’s) did such an incredible job putting this together for their parents, and their speeches were moving. Cousin said at one point, “You taught us to work hard, and play harder.” I thought it was a precious and perfect insight. This is one of my favorite things about my family, their work ethic is unreal, but their play ethic is obscene. This makes for a very fun life.

Needless to say, I think all of us were pretty wiped out the following couple of days. Though AM and I made ourselves do a long run on Monday morning. She is my favorite running buddy and I have to say that being with her is one of my favorite things in the world. I will not say that I cried when my uncle left, telling myself that it was because his visit was so short… But I did the same thing when she left… I just associate home so much with where they are. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Boo and the other fam here. I remember the loneliness of Berlin. I am so thankful to be in a different season. Missing them there, being alone in the midst of people that I loved… It makes me so deeply grateful for this life that I am living now. And so thankful for my husband. What a perfect and wonderful companion.

OK, so here is the random stuff. My potato salad kicked ass. I attribute this partially to ladyA who cut up TWENTY POUNDS of potatoes with a kid on her hip. That’s right. Global knife on the right hand side EV on the left. EEEK. LadyA is a saint and I could not have done this without her. At one point I had the chaffing dishes on the ground and this 12qt pot between my legs shoveling it into the dishes. Attractive.

I also attribute the success of the potato salad to the five pounds of bacon used in it’s preparation. Also, the highlight of the evening came… Well. Let’s back up. Remember how
AL was all “What sauerkraut recipe are you using?”
Me “Uh, the one where I add bacon to the pre-packaged?” (YES BACON, get over it)
AL “Oh well you should get Helga’s (name changed to protect the innocent but just imagine the most intensely GERMAN name you’ve ever heard) recipe. From what I remember you chop it up and then soak it in the bath tub and drain it for days and days until it comes out just perfectly.”
UHHHHHH – EXCUSE ME??? This is Thursday – party is Saturday. I HAVE ONE BATHROOM – maybe that’s why sauerkraut tastes like it does. Everyone just showers on top of it?????
Me “Really? Well, I have a great recipe (LIE.) But maybe I’ll call her (bigger lie.)”
Needless to say I called Jacob’s Wirth and ordered theirs. Here’s the conversation that occurred at the party:
AL “CC (nickname Boo calls me, used to protect my innocence) this potato salad is JUST DELICIOUS. It is the BEST POTATO SALAD I HAVE EVER EATEN. EVERYONE LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUVVVVVVEEEEESSSSS it. Also, Bob says these plastic plates are nicer than his China, and they match” followed by floating laughter.
Me “Thanks. How’s the kraut.”
AL “Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. I am sure it’s fine.”
That’s all you need to know.

Also, don’t think I have forgotten about the orphans. Go here to give. I am going to keep begging, so get over it.

Thanks to those of you who have been leaving comments (Joel) and talking about me on your blogs (Emily) I am sorry I failed you. I know that it’s the ultimate blog failure to not post for a few days, but what could I do? I was ‘festing.

So, this is actually cooking tips day. Obviously, my first is add bacon to everything. It’s sure to make it better. My second is that you should never over-buy brats because then you have to figure out what the HELL to do with them. Third, buy that 12qt All Clad pan. It is awesome. Fourth. If you are going to cook 5 pounds of bacon get out every quart pan you own and cook it in there, it will keep you from cleaning your stove top off from inches of grease. Other than that, I haven’t really done anything exciting in the kitchen except for quick meals and left-overs. Sorry. I am going to do better…

Also. I am getting really discouraged about the tendency of women in this day and age to function in such self-deprecation and self-loathing. I am not sure how I am going to respond to this, but I feel like I have to. I have gotten a few emails, or had a couple of conversations lately that leave me grieved about the state of a woman’s soul these days. I think this is particularly true with my generation, and perhaps it is our age, but I feel like I need to respond. However, I will leave you with a piece of my current advice for those of you who are your own worst critic… There is a lovely French proverb that says, “We should enter into everyone’s condition.” As women, I think we find when we enter into another’s condition compassion, empathy and understanding well up. When we look at ourselves frustration, disappointment and what we SHOULD or COULD be well up. Instead, look at yourself and ask yourself if you were talking to a friend in your position or situation what would you say? Stay tuned. I am going to find a way to respond.

MIA

No, no. Not the band. Me. Sorry. AM&UK came in Friday night, Saturday we had the Oktoberfest anniversary celebration, Sunday we slept in, hung with AL&UM, swung by Atlantic Seafood and Top of the Hub, crashed at like 5:30, then took UK to the airport. Monday involved an 8.4 mile run, lunch at Panaficio, whiny Aunts at the second hand store (they don’t like needle in a haystack shopping – it’s the only kind I can afford!!!!) and then a great evening with AM. She left this morning, I had the kid, and a paper and now I am running to Zumba to try to pick my little heart up. I miss AM&UK. I think it’s clear why I haven’t been blogging, but I hope you’ll forgive me and wait patiently one more day for me to get my act together and get a post up.

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