Anchor & Key

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

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

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

In other news…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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.

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