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.

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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…

Q&A Series Kendall & Kat: Lil Wayne, South Dakota, Siblings and Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kendall’s questions are first and I am aswering as honestly and vulnerably as I can, especially in regard to Lil’ Wayne. Kendall is one of my most dear friends and one of the most honest and hysterical bloggers I know.  I either weep from laughter or from being moved at her blog – it’s much like being with her.  When she and AML came to Berlin it was one of the highlights of my time there.  Last year she posted the only known tribute blog to me.  I am pretty sure AM will be horrified by it and my Grandmother would faint, but I cried and was so deeply honored, and so when she sent questions you know I was going to answer,  

A.) why do people love the song “walking in Memphis”…even if they have no connection or love at all whatsoever with Memphis?

If I had to guess it has to to with one of two things?  Either the video – which I think, after watching, we can all agree is compelling.  

Or the reference to having seen Elvis. Especially when he says it was down in the Jungle Room.  Cool.  Where is that?  I so want to go there.   

Personally.  I once saw Marc Cohn live in concert and he made a snarky remark about how annoyed he is that everyone expects him to play this song…  Umm – ya think? No one even knows he has other songs.  

Did I mention the concert was in Waco, TX?  In Waco, TX we don’t hear a lot of the Marc Cohn B Sides, I mean I did when I rode in James Mark’s car in ATS, but not much after that until I got an iPod, TEN years later.  So pretty much I only knew THIS song.  

Needless to say I was bored and disappointed that he refused to play the only song I knew and loved of his.  

Later, when I learned the rest of his songs I felt sad that that was the only song that I wanted to hear, especially when Walk Through the World With Me is so incredible. But seriously, I think people just really like this video. Thanks VH1 – are you still on TV?  

 


B.) reflections or commentary on lil waynes interview with Katie couric 

 

 

There is a lot to love about this interview with Lil’ Wayne.  

Most of all it’s the old school Katie Couric that we all really liked.  

Not the current one who is all Anderson Cooper-esque – without the whole Vanderbilt je ne sais quoi.

I would say that Wayne fails when he says, “I don’t take nothin from nobody and I’ll do that until the day I die and the day I can’t do that I’d rather just die.”  I find that rather conflicting with his later assertion of deep Christian faith…

However I did love when Katie said what you see is not what you get, because her interview showed a beautiful and rare glimpse of a man who was given nothing, maybe less than nothing.  Who was born in New Orleans, told someone he was hungry, was handed trash and made gold.  Magic.  

Obama is right, we will not all grow up and be Lil’ Wayne’s and most of us don’t have half of his talent, intelligence or drive, but we can learn a lot from his determination – and I am pretty sure both Justin Timberlake and Katie Couric have a crush on him.

C.) what would make you move to south Dakota? If anything…. 

Well.  the cost of living and the accent would be the first things.  

Also.  I think Aunt sue was born there and I love her chocolate cake. But that’s just between you and me and Anne Marie and the graham crackers that are baked inside the crust.  

Also I think you may have ignored some well known fact about South Dakota, like the fact that it is in fact “Illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota.”  Someone should mention this to Herman Cain.  This should be a part of the 9-9-9 tax plan somehow.  

You might have also overlooked when asking me this question some famous South Dakotans – not only Tom Brokaw, but a circle of his peers – Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

Also, I am sure you know this one, but a prospector in the Black Hills named a promising claim after his neighbor’s daughter, calling it “The Little Allie”. The prospector’s wife got angry because he had never named a claim after her and she demanded that the mine be renamed in her honor. The prospector agreed and renamed the mine “The Holy Terror” which is what it is still called today.  

So yeah – I mean, I am pretty sure most of America is about to head over to the SD.

 

 

 

 

 

D.) what is the one thing that people who you call your best-est friends inhabit

I would say the characteristics of a unicorn. They are magical and difficult to explain. 

They also tend to guard my story fiercely, love my family passionately, believe in me more than I believe in myself and they must be willing to accept sarcasm as one of the “official” five love languages. 

 

From Kat, who was a fellow student at Vassar, is becoming a friend in an unexpected way, she is a passionate writer, a raging academic, a former executive and a proud Naturalista. 

1) what was the catalyst(s) that propelled you back into student life? There are usually a number of events leading up to making these big choices, share.. :-)

The conclusion of my life in Berlin forced me to decide what my next step was.

My family and I knew that I needed to be in either New York or Boston because really, I couldn’t live in Austin without a car and I couldn’t move home in my financial condition and buy a car.

So I came to Boston.  I started subbing at a private school in town and dating Justin and realizing that Boston was not a networking place like the South.  In Boston it’s your family line, not who you know.  I moved back to the states into a totally different economy than the one I left.  I looked at Starbucks, Wholefoods – and I thought about teaching, but I just don’t think that teaching is a good fit for me long term.

I realized that my fear of being poor and failure were keeping me from even trying school.  That and the incredible amount of administrative work it takes to sign up for even community college – which is really hard for me.

Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I was sure Justin would not take a relationship with me seriously if I could not financially contribute at 33…

Instead of letting my fear of the mountain overwhelm me I just did one thing at a time.  I still do one thing at a time.  It is really really hard for me.  Especially the administrative part.  But I am trying.

2) do you have siblings, how big or small is your immediate family?

Just me.

My parents divorced when I was about a year old.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a family that is not only very close but also loosely defined – I have a lot of family that I believe with all of my hear is family and would defend to the death as my family, but may in fact have absolutely no blood or marriage relation to me – this is really just the way my family works.

My Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Cousins, Neighbors, Youth Group Leaders, Friends, Friends Parents, Hole in the Wall Gang, Aunts’ and Uncle’s friends… the Village truly have all raised me and been VERY engaged and involved in my ENTIRE life.

I have had a lifelong,  special, unique and inexplicable relationship with my AM and UK who took me when I was 16 and thankfully, never let me go.  When I married Justin they began holding both of us, and we feel fortunate to have them.

J has two sisters, both younger and his middle sister just had a daughter last month.  We are thrilled!  As an only child the addition of J’s family, and the ability to be an Aunt is a dream come true.  It feels like “the highest” calling in many ways to me.

3) how would your friends describe you?? what’s your personality type?

Personality type  is tricky- I am a deeply, deeply private person, with a loquacious and gregarious facet.  An ironical objective to an introverted personality.  I am in fact an introvert, significant introvert, with excellent people skills.  I blame the South for my personality often incredulously demanded to be extroverted. My husband would ASSURE you that if left to my own I would not talk on the phone, or talk period, I would not answer questions, especially consecutive ones, and I would prefer not to leave the house except to run alone in the cemetery.

My friends would probably say that I am not an easy read, that to know me it is very important to know my story and that I am not very quick to tell my story.  I am relatively “open” about stating facts, but hold my heart close.

I think most of them would also say that I love to laugh when they laugh, I want to grieve when they grieve and that I would rather know debt than to see them in need.  That once I love, I love for life and though I am not great at keeping up daily – weekly or sometimes even yearly, I never, ever put a friend down, if I love someone I love for life.

I think they would also say that I am a communicator, that I am a straight shooter.  That I want to know where I stand and that I don’t mince words.  I may not see clearly, but you know what I see.  I think my friends would say that I would rather be corrected, rebuked, called out or stood down than to continue in the wrong direction toward falsehood, lies, untruth or my own rationalization.  My friend Chris would tell you that I am after truth at all cost no matter how painful it is.

Before I was married I would have liked to believe that many of those things were true.  Marriage has brought a little clarity to my lens.  Vassar, J and a situation some dear friends of ours are going through have been teaching me what I say to myself again and again – WE ALL THINK WE ARE RIGHT.  THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY.

So there it is with the K&K Q&A, I am a little sick, a little emotional, and ready for bed.  Thanks for all the love, the encouragement and the positive feedback over the past few days. I have been blown away and I really appreciate your comments and posts.  I am trying to get the readership up so please keep passing things along as they mean something to you and keep giving me feedback.  I read and think about every single bit of it.

Catching Up

Since I last blogged… That one time from Vassar… When I was going to blog once a week from Vassar… A lot has happened.  I will catch you up quickly so that we may all move on.

I took two classes.  Once was Gender and Race: At the Intersection.  This was a life changing and humbling course.  I was not the class favorite.  I was not the teacher’s pet.  I was not the most popular.  I was gettin’ by on gettin’ by.  I also took Modernism in the City which I did not expect to enjoy, and loved.  My fellow classmates and myself (except for Harlow who was the class favorite and somehow managed to laugh his way peacefully through the program) worked our way through with tears, hard hard hard work and quit a bit of conflict.  I can honestly say that nothing I did in Germany compares with the interpersonal trial or stress I experienced in this program. I was very thankful that my Aunt finished chemo and I finished the program on the same day.  I will treasure talks on my bed with a wise and generous woman named Eddie, a dear counselor named Allison and my new brother from Syria – Hasko.  Whom I would like to keep in my pocket.  There were 29 students who went through this program and we will be forever linked by our experience.  I am grateful for each one of their stories, their accomplishments, their tenacity and their spirits.  Fighters.  What a group.

We drove home to Lady A and Architect A’s going away party.  Bum-mer.  We had a sweet weekend with them laughing and visiting and remembering a year of fantastic memories and laughter and friendship.  We helped them load their U-Haul.  Enter Super-Morgan, another lifesaver from Vassar who generously loaded A&A on and then loaded J&me in.  Saint Morgan.  No man deserved such pain.  You heard me.  I came home Saturday.  Said goodbye to A&A Sunday, started my math class Monday and moved that Thursday into their apartment.  Shoot me.  No seriously.  It was months before I unpacked.  I got my first B in the math class.  Forsook my 4.0.  NEVER. AGAIN.

I have started the fall semester with an Intro to Lit class that makes me giggle.  Thank you Vassar for your generous contribution to my ability to maneuver a “Lit” class.  Some Bio, some Psych, some Calculus.  I am exhausted.

We had a trip planned to Texas, which fell through very unexpectedly at the loss of my Uncle Al.  So we re-routed to Brooklyn and spent 4 days in a fancy Blue hotel room with a see through shower with AM&UK.  I am pretty sure that they did it on purpose so that we would go to Brooklyn Bread everyday while they showered and pick up delicious sandwiches.  “It doesn’t matter where I am, as long as I am with you.”

When we got back I finally took the final for that math class from the summer and got my weekends back, unpacked my house.  Helped my dear friend with some shows while her husband Rico Schenck galavanted the globe making ships quieter. Having some major minor dental surgery and pondering why my CSA has so many effing root vegetables.  Seriously.  Why?

So there you have it.  You’re all caught up.  Now I am back.  I am pissed about that damn post on facebook where the bratty girl is holding up her sign about no debt, no smart phone and no 99% – and taking responsibility for all of her own actions.  I mean kuddos to her for all her hard work and for every single student like her.  However, I am a student, with a smart phone, and a cheap apartment and a couple of jobs busting my $%&, not blaming anyone, but thinking, should it be this hard?  I think I am part of the 99% – does that mean I am not taking responsibility for my finances or blaming people for my financial state?  I don’t think so.  And I am pretty sure that’s not what she meant to say either.  So take the damn post down everybody, the tone is condescending and not helpful.  We’re all poor.  Be nice.

Also. We have started the Breaking Ground campaign so J and I are begging for money for the orphans again.  Or at least we will be.  We are developing a strategy.  In between homework and cooking root vegetables.  Oh and shopvac’ing our apartment.  It’s true.  I shop-vac’ed the apartment tonight.  And people say I am OCD.  Please.  It’s normal.

Things we’ve loved lately:

The lovely world of Spotify

Speaking of music, at the beach AM would always play great peaceful Sunday morning music GM & RS introduced us to Antje Duvekot, whom we enjoy peacefully on Sunday mornings.  I particularly love the song about Judas lately, it makes me cry.

We joined the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, I’ve been twice this month and taken to calling the late Mrs. Gardner, “Izzy”

Speaking of things to enjoy in Boston, trying to enjoy the remnant of our tomato plants with Green Tomato Biscuits .

Not much to say about fashion right this minute, except that today, at TJ I found two of the most beautiful MJ (not even M for MJ) dresses for the most drastically reduced prices.  They fit beautifully and were magical and I felt like a fairy in them, they were more than 90% off their original prices.  I was ashamed at how disappointed I was to not have them.  But J and I just re-centered about what’s important.  And those beautiful dresses are not important. Education is important.  And so we re-focus and get over it.  There are plenty of seasons of lovely dresses to be had once I have a fancy pants job and he stays home and walks the dogs.

I’m including a picture from J&me at a recent free event that Shane hooked us up with.  It was so fun.  He danced like a mad man and we drank whiskey and ate cupcakes and I taught awkward dancing.  Poor Shane for being associated with us.  It’s not our most flattering picture, we obviously don’t really careBushmills        We are SERIOUSLY considering using it for our Christmas card.

Finals Week & A Newly Discovered Love of Math

I spent the morning studying and trying to catch up on administrative details that would not wait for finals to be over. I have twenty minutes before I need to leave to pick the boys up and I am trying to scarf down some potatoes and shift my mind to the next five hours of needing to entertain children. I spend a good portion of my life doing this. In terms of ratios this is what my day looks like:

25% sleep – on a good night
21% school, literally, like at school
21% children
12% preparing food for myself or little mouths
8% driving

That’s right, that leaves 3 waking hours (or 12% of my day) left to study or do something else, like say shower, exercise, reply to email, check messages etc. Needless to say these things don’t happen often. Generally sleeping and eating are the first things sacrificed as the others are less negotiable. Though on days like today I want to give up. I am still really tired from yesterdays final, and it’s rainy and cold. And I think I could sleep for a year and still be tired at this point. This is what every finals week I have ever lived through felt like. Why?

I got a 91 on my Algebra final. If you remember I got a 94 on last semester’s final, so this was a digression, but I consider this work much more difficult, so I am fine with the grade and I keep a high A in the class so I am fine with it. Also, as I started studying for marketing and management this morning I realized I like math better than any other subject. I know. I know. You think someone stole my computer and is typing this for me. Nope. It’s me. This is what is great about math. It’s a sure thing. Nothing in life is a sure thing, but Math is. Seriously. you know it or you don’t. There’s no cramming, there is no studying, you do the work, you get it and then you build on it. You don’t forget it, once you learn it, you learn it and you can do all sorts of things with it. I cannot say the same thing about the communication process. Or the product life cycle. I have studied this crap multiple times this semester and though I clearly remember it (encode, transmit, receive, decode, filter, feedback) (introduction, growth, maturity, decline) it is not the same. There are so many variables. I have a teacher that says he knows that his students understand the information but for some reason it’s not translating on his tests and he seems to be a real depressor on his student’s GPAs. Ummm. Maybe change your test. There is no such variable in math. Problem, show work, correct or incorrect (well, in my current class if the professor doesn’t like ANY part of your process he’ll take points off. Jerk.) What you see is what you get, steady eddy, a sure thing. It’s official. I love Math. I need a bumper sticker. I think it would be good for Arkansas for my car to have both and Arkansas license and an I love Math bumper sticker, perhaps the visitors bureau would pay me for it.

I also want to say that I am married to the most incredible man in the world. I have thought so many times this week that I could not and would not do this without him. He keeps me going, he holds me up, he endures my stress, he feeds me and hugs me and sends me on my way. He makes me smile and laugh at myself and he has been keeping our house clean for the last two weeks. Such a gem. It makes me cry. Honestly.

I may be a shell of the woman that I was when this semester started… I am in desperate need of a healthy diet, some consistent exercise, alone time, and time for reflection and meditation… Also, some sun. But I am still better, stronger, braver, more sure. All of this because of the incredible support of my husband and family, the providential goodness bestowed on my life and a lot of redbull and 5 hour energy.

So When You Have Surgery on Your Nose You Need Soft Food…

Who knew?

So Boo had surgery on his nose. We’re not totally sure what they did, but he no longer breathes like Darth Vader and we have slept in the same bed every night for a week. SUCCESS! However, it never occurred to me that he would need some special food. I found myself cooking gravy, breads and serving up milk shakes. I am pretty sure that Justin thought he had entered food heaven.

I feel bad for him. He was in a lot of pain. He bled a lot and we woke up every few hours for a few days to take pain medications. Let me just say this, that walking back into the recovery room after his surgery the sight of him post surgery brought tears to my eyes. I knew he couldn’t FEEL the pain that he was in, but I could see it. Forgive me. We’ve been married for just less than a year, and this is the first time I have ever felt love like that for someone who I haven’t been related to for egads. Suddenly I recognized what love really means. I can’t even offer words other than to say that I know that you know what I mean. The care you feel for someone you’ve chosen, or who has chosen you. It was my honor to care for him as he recovered. I worried and fussed and got mad when he overexerted. Well, I was like that for two days, by the third day I was really over being a nurse. Ugh. But that didn’t minimize the unconditional love that I felt or the ability to do things that would otherwise be beyond me, it just meant I wasn’t really doing it with the same enthusiasm, I was doing them more like myself. Hahahaha.

I have to say that in the exact same time, another person that I love was experiencing their own loss. I felt far away and helpless, and was once again reminded of what love does. It immediately empathizes from the deepest place. This person was tended to and cared for in a far better manner than I could have, but I wanted to be there cracking jokes, holding hands and offering perspective.

We went to be early on Sunday night. To be honest I go to bed early most nights now. But I have been unusually tired the farther along we get into this semester. Today I took two naps. I am so tired. I slept through the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. As a news junkie this was a big deal to wake up to and I have been glued to the news since. I have such a strange sense of nervousness about this. I have no strong opinion about OBL’s death other than I think that we are probably safer, in the context of there is no longer a person who has both the dreams, the means and the experience to execute terrorism on a large scale. The death of one man has never been able to accomplish the world’s peace. Naturally Christians believe that the death of Jesus accomplished eternal peace for his followers, but it is arguable that much violence resulted from the cross. Cell based jihadist will not lay quiescent. Make no mistake that there will be retribution for this, and there is no possible way to know where or how it will come. I do not feel safer, I feel a little more nervous. Like we just poked a big ant pile and have turned our backs laughing. I will refrain from commenting on the vitriol that has broken out, but I don’t want to. I want to scream.

I will say this. It is easy to love the people that you like, that are like you, that sing your accolades. It is difficult to love when it requires something of you, when it comes at a cost. It is even more difficult to love your enemies. I am not saying anyone needs to weep for the man who is now dead but chanting about him burning in hell and giving God the Glory is not really the message I think you are meaning to send. I also want to say that Bill Clinton gave an incredible amount of energy to hunting down OBL, Bush made it his goal and Obama finished the job. He is not taking full credit for it, he is just the man in office that made some really tough calls and put his life on the line to do it. Bush was resting peacefully in Crawford when Obama was making these calls, and you know what, Bush was glad it was not him making the decisions. Promise. So stop bitching that Obama is getting all the credit. He is just doing what a president does, taking over where the last guy left. With Osama, as well as with the economy. You can’t pick and choose what you want to blame on the man and then keep him from getting credit for. Freely criticize, but do it intelligently and consistently.

All that being said. Just love. In this sick, hurting and broken world try a little tenderness. John Hiatt’s Have a Little Faith in Me has been playing in my head a lot today. Hang in there friends, if we all tow our load, we really can make this world a little better place than we found it.

I will be linking up this week, probably with this post. I will also be guest posting here at my dear friend Liz’s request on a VERY unexpected topic, as well Cankle has nominated me in this post for some sort of award where I need to do some posting. I am doing it because I love her and she’s leaving Texas this week for the Northeast, and as a transplant, I know that any time you are leaving Texas you deserve to get anything you want. So stay tuned. I’ll be a little more chatty than normal this week.

A little of this, a little of that…

Some things that have been on my mind lately…

Lent. J and I were talking about Lent yesterday and he quoted his Grandmother who encouraged them to always, “know why you are giving something up, don’t just give it up.” I love that woman. So I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am giving something up this Lenten season.

My family.

I was invited to apply for a program at Vassar this summer. It’s a five week intensive course. I am thinking about it, but the application is due tomorrow.

Spring break. It’s 5 days away, which feels like an eternity. We’re heading to New York for a couple of days. It’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s not Boston.

Faith. It’s a journey.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Racial Profiling. Both, topics of papers in one of my English classes. It’s incredible to be in the North East talking about the subjects instead of the bible belt. It’s the other side of the argument here, and challenging to the accepted answer in the South. I am learning a lot. About logic and writing.

Privacy. I crave it in the midst of stress and change. I am a bit like a turtle, neck inside until I can get it all sorted out in my head and heart.

Love. I hope it is as healing as I always believed it was.

Hope in the Darkness, Neck Braces and Cosmic Love

I’ve spent the day listening to this song

Enjoying this video, by a Boston based band


And relishing in my first official snow day from school.

The snow last night put us at 60 inches for January, they say there hasn’t been this much snow since the ice storm of ’05. Where it all came at one time and shut the entire state down for two weeks. This is more of a slow death. Currently snow banks are taking the places of yards and parking spaces.

And being my father’s daughter I’ve taken to leaving notes on people’s cars who steal our shoveled and 48 hour reserved space. This has led to some amusing incidents that I will not disclose here, but I realize that my genetic potential means that I need to be aware that my ability to write notes within reason is probably skewed by my genetic make-up. I mean I am the daughter of a man who keeps a dog log, sits in on local dockets to stay abreast, and patrols the park with an air rifle. Crazy runs in my bones. On the other hand, UK and AM seem to be able to run the Condo association with civility and pink flamingos, so one would think I would be able to maintain sanity. We’ll see.

Speaking of seeing. Here’s a picture of the brace

I know. It’s incredibly attractive. Apparently the muscles in my back are revolting in spastic seizures. Something to do with unknown forces, posture, and stress. The stress is probably from people stealing my parking space. Anyway. I am wearing this brace. I am pretty. I know.

I am also really trying to figure out what the *&%$ all this guest blogging crap is. Jrad sent me like 20 links and then some lingo and some instructions and I am working through a medication induced haze to figure out how to write people and tell them I want to sell something on their blog, and that I am a really great mens fashion writer. We’ll see how this goes.

I need to lay down. I am cranky. Feeling a lot like I’ve taken on the personality of my father and the ailments of my mother which leads me to think I am in desperate need of psychiatric treatment. STAT.

Did I mention the car has to go back to the shop? No? Well I meant to.

Goodnight.

Sugar Cookies, Rotten Trees and Cellulite

I read a friends blog today and it was so serious I had to
stop reading. IT’S FRIDAY! Come on friends. Lighten up, laugh a
little, introspective self-aware evaluation is only fun for a
maximum of three posts, and really, even then it’s so people can
read it and think to themselves, “Man, at least I am not as
depressed as that poor sack.” Anyway, all that to say, this blog is
for the sake of laughter. First, I am reading a book called
“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.” It’s so funny. I laugh out
loud a lot. So much so that I take to read while the baby that I
nanny for is sleeping, only I can’t read it because I laugh to
loud. Second. Snow is coming. I am currently walking around the
house with my pet space heater. The only pet Boo will let me have.
Third. My car has
been making this squeaky squeely sound like waka waka weeeeek a
waka. Boo says it’s the fan belt. I say it’s annoying. I’ve already
taken it in once. Today, which I set aside to work on applications,
I am going to take it back. Punk ass fan belt. Stop whining about
the cold, that’s my job. I also need to take my tree down. I am
pretty sure it’s close to rotting. I keep thinking, “Out of sight,
out of mind.” You are probably asking, “If you don’t take it down,
how can it be out of sight?” Ummm, hello. Pretending it’s not there
is practically the same. Fourth. Today as I was eating left over
Taco Salad (I know those who know and love me – GASP) I was
thinking about my life long hatred for Tacos. And to this day I
will not eat tacos in a hard taco shell. There is no reason and I
hate them. There is a reason. Learned Food Aversion. I am always a
little hesitant to post about my family on here, because I usually
hear about it later, but I feel like this one is safe. My mother
cooked 7 meals. I have always claimed this. She also cooked them on
the same night of the week most of the time. I am not sure that
this was intentional, but my mom has a learned aversion to manual
labor so cooking was included. As I have learned with my personal
aversions, structure can help. So as I was trying to recall my
mother’s 7 meals this is what I came up with: salmon croquettes
pork chops (shake and bake) fajitas tacos chicken (shake and bake)
occassionally enchiladas but these were my dad’s recipe so she had
an aversion I do not remember ever eating vegetables For snacks she
loved to eat the following: Pork rinds fillet o fish and the
crispies from Long John Silver (And you guys wonder why mustard
chicken and scallops were so offensive to me when I moved in with
AM&UK) You are probably saying to yourself, ummmm Steph,
that’s only 5 meals. Yeah. I was puzzled as well. But guess what? I
realized that the other two days were left overs. Fajita left overs
on Monday (fajitas were sunday’s meal) and we would use the cut up
veggies/cheese/etc for the leftovers and then the tacos. But to
make sure that I didn’t get sick of tacos… She would mix it up
and make cornbread casserole with the leftover taco meat. If you
cannot understand why I don’t love tacos now then you are a sick
and heartless mench. Even as we prepared the tacos on Wednesday
night my skin felt balmy and I had deep and irrational fears that I
was becoming my mother. However thus far I have not started
drinking Pepsi in the morning, watching Nascar or playing duck hunt
with blinds drawn through the day. So, I am thinking, thus far I am
safe. However. After eating two repeat taco meals, I think that we
are done with tacos for a while. I need another 15 year break. I
also remembered another antidote from my life recently. I don’t
know if I’ve mentioned enough how, ahem, bigger I used to be. I am
not just talking big boned, I am talking bigger. Like Star Jones,
Rosie, Big Bertha kind of big. Anyway, I was still pretty. What? I
was. I was the only over 200 pounder I knew with a fantastic
hourglass figure. An unnamed Aunt once told me that I was pretty
enough to be a plus size model. I think this is actually at least
three rungs below being told you could be a part time model.
I digress. So
I was so pretty that there were four types of men found me
irresistible; Truck Drivers Anybody not born in the United States
or Canada Members of AARP and black men who liked to use the pick
up line, which unfortunately for them did not translate… “Say
baby you know I like thick women.” to which I would respond,
“Calling a girl fat is probably not a very good way to get a date.”
Truck drivers would often give me a little extra toot toot on the
highway, like I was going to MacGyver it and quick like write a
sign, “Meet me at exit 352, my cell number is 555.5555.” Dumb
asses. But the worst was the UPS guy. My friend Laura claimed for
years that the UPS guy had it bad for me and reminded me that he
was in fact, a truck driver. I poopooed her. I did not think he
qualified. Well three years in, he came in my office, asked me to
sign for a package and then offered, “you could add your number if
you want to.” Ummmm excuse me? “You deliver packages for three
years, I don’t know your name and you wear all brown, I think I’ll
keep my number thanks.” The worst was the time that Jasper died, my
beloved, albeit slightly retarded, anorexic lab. I was pretty
bummed. He died prematurely and unnecessarily (I’ll save the Jasper
stories for another time) and I was down. Finally, on about the
fourth day post-loss the aforementioned UPS guy comes in, asks for
just a straight signature and then says, comically, “What’s wrong,
you’ve been walking around like your dog died.” to which I replied,
“He did.” I am pretty sure that’s when UPS dude knew, I wasn’t
going to “let brown do it.” OK. I am going to eat some sugar cookie
dough. I am too lazy to roll the cookies out and actually make
them, so I think a ball of dough will do. I hope that Lance
Armstrong doesn’t have sugar cookie dough entered in MyPlate, if
it’s not listed and I don’t know how many calories it is I like to
pretend like the calories don’t count. Perhaps that’s the cause of
my cellulite collection, or maybe I am just a cellulite hoarder and
refuse to get rid of mine, as I am emotionally attached to all the
hot guys it used to bring me.

College Essays, Mulligatawny and the Sugar Bowl

I come from a long line of longhorns. Well, at least a strong line of longhorns. As in my father refers to the amount of money he gave to the University of Texas at least every third breath, in between complaining about “Catholic high dweebs in their SUV’s with their BOOM BOOM BOOM boxes”, and crime in Arkansas. You can imagine my confusion when I fell in love with an Arkansan. For some reason the two guys I dated before this, both from deep in the Piney Woods (try to google it, you may not find it – it’s practically Louisiana) seemed so metropolitan. I mean, in their own caveman kind of way. Anyway, it’s normally not an issue. Well, unless I cross a line and make too many backwoods Arkansas jokes in public places, or I am with A&A my sister/brother in-law who make die hard fans look wimpy. Other than that, it’s kind of a non-issue. Needless to say, last night when the game was on, I knew we would not be continuing our 30for30 marathon, but instead watching the game. I didn’t even know who UofA was playing. I also didn’t know what a safety was, I think I thought it was a position, but apparently you can also get points for it. I am, however, a big underdog fan and love to cheer for the team that’s looking the least likely to win. I became a big Hog fan last night, even at midnight when Boo is long since asleep and I am catching up on DEG and Anuggs tweets or WWF, we were glued to the TV. Then in the very last of the last minute Arkansas lost the game and we were so bummed. Just what I needed, one more team to Bum me out. As if the other two I cheer for wasn’t enough. This football thing is for the birds, I am going to start watching T-Ball, I am pretty sure they don’t keep score and everyone wins. I have the emotional capacity for that.

Mulligatawny. TPW posted a recipe for easy MGT on her blog and I thought (we’re in a thriftier moment of life) I HAVE ALL THOSE INGREDIENTS. So I sauteed some onions and garlic. Then I threw some Garam Masala, curry powder and flour on them. After that I added an entire box of chicken broth, some Fat Free 1/2&1/2 and finally in the end I through in some chicken cubes (already cooked and spiced with honey and curry) and some sweet potato. I admit, I like my Indian food a bit more on the sweet side, so I added extra honey, but I bet the other solution is to use coconut milk instead of 1/2&1/2. It was absolutely delicious. Trader Joe’s sells a curry naan that we ate the soup with and we were so full and so happy at the end (except for the aforementioned unmentionable.) It’s a great winter soup and really easy, so if you’re a curry fan give it a shot.

College Apps… Shoot me. As you know. I am going to BHCC, and though it is the pinnacle of my academic success (to this point), I am beginning to feel it is not as good as it gets. I know what you’re saying… “WHAT?” “With a cast of characters like hugging troll, loud talker, Joseph, Prof Cambridge, Prof NSYC????” Yes, even though. I love them and they fuel the blog comedy, but let’s be honest. One of my professors may have spoken English as a third language and often called algebraic formulas by the closest well known English word. There could be more out there. So I am trying my luck and throwing my application in. Key word, application. I got a text from my mom last night, explaining that she was working on her Cobra policy and unemployment and that she just really does not like that stuff. It suddenly became clear to me. My aversion is genetic. I never understood because my Dad is basically a paperwork and detail maniac. AM is DEFINITELY a details JUNKIE, she loves them. I swear, I think it might make UK jealous how much she loves the details… Me, not so much. I like the details about as much as I like the smell of rotten fish every step of a long run. I like details as much as Nancy Pelosi likes to watch Sarah Palin’s Alaska with no flask and trapped in a room with Christine Matthews and John Boehner. But now I know, the hatred comes from my mom. For my application I have to write 4 essays and fill out like 3000 pages of information about things I did 15 years ago. Like I remember. I have given myself a deadline. I am pretty sure that I will watch all the DVR’s episodes of Pickers and force myself into an all nighter to finish by my deadline. I can tell this is going to be fun.

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