Dreaming with a Broken Heart – For Dr. King

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

Top 10 Black Americans Net Worth Education vs.

                                                        Top 10 White Americans Net Worth Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that for equality?

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

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

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

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

10.8% of white american families live in poverty

24.7% of black american families live in poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK? Great. Let’s to it.

There’s plenty of work to be done.

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…

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.

Q&A Series – Being a Non-Traditional Student, Occupy WallStreet & Reality TV

Today I am doing Bio labs, studying for a math test at the end of the week and preparing for a short paper comparing three short stories (I often find short stories most difficult.)  I have started this new thing where I try to work for 90 minutes and then take a 15 minute break.  Since I am not doing any real work in the math studying department, just studying and since I am just re-scanning the short stories we read, this far it feels a bit ineffective.  I am rewarding myself with a blog post.  I am turning over a new leaf, and attempting to do so with a Q&A series.  The first set of questions is from Liz @ Lark&Bloom, I guest posted in her Mother’s Day series  – you know being a mother and all… Here are her questions and my answers, God bless her for bringing one of them up.

1. Most people feel that they have to stay committed to the direction they started out going in their mid-twenties. You worked, liived in Germany, moved to Boston, got married and THEN went to college. What fears did you have of starting a ‘new’ direction in your 30s?


Fear is a part of life.  In every stage of life I have been uncertain if the decision I was making was the best one.  As I continue on this journey I realize that it is not nearly as crucial IF I am making the RIGHT decision, but if I am simply making decisions that still scare me.

At 34 school isn’t the same deal it is at 18.  You can’t pick a major and hope it is what you want, pick your major and it’s what you’re probably going to do.  Also, your mind is a bit out of the learning mojo.  It takes a bit to remember how to study, and what you need to learn.  As well, I have never recovered from my fascination with school supplies, and in the years that I’ve been gone from academia they have so improved, how do I know if I am picking the right specialty pen?

Seriously though, I was terrified of putting us in this position financially.  Justin got a scholarship to undergrad, he had an assistantship in grad school, he was able to live very frugally and serve in Americorps when he graduated off the money he saved as a result.  He worked really hard for the position he has and now I am kind of a financial drain on our family and I hate the cold so I still want to go to the beach in February or March… We have REALLY struggled financially, and I feel bad for that – and that is the REALIZATION of my fears.  NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT – they always say, “Oh I was so afraid of such and such but then it all turned out perfectly and we never missed a bill…”  Ummm, NO – not the case.  We have followed the path we felt was right, our biggest fear has come to pass, we were humiliated and I am still in school.  So there you have it.  No one died, no one quit.  My biggest fear happened, it was hard and we all are still making it in the midst of it.  There’s a reality TV show for you.
2. Occupy Wallstreet. Is it successful or not? Why?

2 things.

One – We are guaranteed through the first Amendment the freedom of Speech, and the freedom to assemble. Initially it would be difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of Occupy Wallstreet, though effectively assembled, the message was unclear.  However, the message is being hammered out. As with any young movement they are gaining a voice and leadership… as well as global criticism – which will inevitably sharpen their message.

Their success could be evaluated from a plethora of different angles, but I hope that their voice and the numbers will result in Wall Street being evaluated from a less opaque lens.  Wall Street has clearly experienced LESS of an economic collapse than the rest of us, unfortunately they cannot hide behind the numbers.

This video (certainly propaganda – but compelling propaganda!) may help clarify the frustration of the protestors a bit:

I also want to remind people that the constitution also protects the right to mass assembly – even at the tax payers expense – here’s a loosely translated version of the first amendments guaranty that people may freely assemble:

As Americans we have the right to peaceably assemble. This means we can form into groups
and debate a subject or stand up for something we don't think is right.
We can do so by going on strike or boycotting something, as many people call the activity.

Two – When I was at Vassar I realized that I was taking a professor’s criticism of my writing very personally.

In some ways she was personally criticizing me – or at least the way I was presenting something, but, in another way she was challenging me to fight back and to not let my little feelings get all wrapped up in it.

Not. My. Strength.

I recently saw this posted on a precious friend’s wall in the form of a photo (it’s Facebook viral and it was a re-post by her and applauded by MANY people on her wall),  it took everything I had not to personally respond.

However, having been given the perfect opportunity to, this is my response to why I think Occupy Wallstreet is doing a GREAT job giving people like myself a voice in the face of people who seem to be a bit lost as to why we are so UPSET at the state of the global economy and our PERSONAL economic condition.

The words of the original post are in normal type face, I think it is obvious mine are posted immediately after in italics:

“I am a college senior, about to graduate completely debt free.

Congratulations, this is a huge accomplishment and meritorious on so many levels – it is also more easily understood by your later admission that 90% of your tuition is paid for by scholarships you received due to your grades in HS.  Many of us are not attending college right out of high school for a sundry of reasons.

I pay for all of my living expenses by working 30+ hours a week making barely above minimum wage.

You are lucky that you have a job.  Many people with a college degree, masters and a family are not so lucky.

I chose a moderately priced, in-state public university & started saving money for school at age 17.

It seems that you came from a home where you were generously supported by your family – I moved out when I was 15 and though I was supported by other family members, many people are not so lucky and do not have the luxury of saving up all their money.

I got decent grades in high school & received 2 scholarships which cover 90% of my tuition.

I could make a lot of deductions from this, but I am guessing that you are from a working class home in suburban white America, because the rest of America is not given the opportunity to succeed in such a generous way.  I do not blame this on you, but instead ask you to consider this when you communicate this as if it was an equal opportunity accomplishment.  It was not.  

I currently have a 3.8 GPA.

With 90% of your tuition paid for, a solid academic foundation and a supportive family you were prepped for success.  Many of us were not and are equally proud of our GPA.  I have a 3.87 – I received my first B this summer due to that 30+ hour job a week I know you understand.

I live comfortably in a cheap apt, knowing I can’t have everything I want. I don’t eat out every day, or even once a month. I have no credit card, new car, iPad or smart phone – I am perfectly OK with that.

Good for you.  Please do not impose your ideals on me.  I made a commitment to buy all my clothes and home goods from second hand stores this year – we’re all doing our part – I promise to keep doing mine and you keep doing yours.  I won’t judge you, you don’t judge me.  However, I do WELCOME and APPRECIATE the challenge to KEEP doing more and to live MORE AND MORE SIMPLY! 

If I did have debt, I would not blame Wall St. or the government for my own bad decisions.

I do have debt.  I don’t blame Wall Street either, but I am concerned that if I am working this hard and doing this month and going to THE CHEAPEST school possible and living this simply – and still struggling this badly, that maybe there is something more as a SOCIETY that we can do.  Am I wrong to ask the question, and to gather with others who are asking the same question? And am I wrong to look at those who are turning a blind eye to the struggle and ask them to help us figure out how to keep on being millionaires while everything else is crashing?  I mean – they’ve got some sort of answers right??? To this point I can stomach almost everything you say, but to insinuate that EVERY person who has debt is in debt as a result of bad decisions is an obvious imposition of moral judgement of the most generalized and harsh kind.  May you be be treated with far greater kindness in your own life. 

I live below my means to continue to save for the future.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I WISH I COULD – I AM CRYING AS I TYPE THIS.  YOU JUST DON’T KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS TO BE MARRIED, 34, NO SAVINGS AND MORE SCHOOL TO GO. I HOPE YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT IS TO BE FORCED TO BASE YOUR DECISIONS ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF LIFE, INCLUDING FAMILY, ON YOUR POVERTY INSTEAD OF ON YOUR DREAMS AND DESIRES.

I expect nothing to be handed to me and will continue to work my @$$ off for everything I have.

I am humiliated that we have had to ask for help, and I will work my ass off until EVERY penny is paid back in full.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Thank God for generous people, who are empathetic, compassionate and once were poor.

I am NOT the 99%, and whether or not you are is YOUR decision.

I am.  And proud to associate with those who are struggling to get by or CHOOSING to empathize with those who are

My point is this.  That post was not personal, but it felt personal.  And we need to remember that.  We are all on a journey, with different stories, ideas, perspectives, experiences, backgrounds and ideals.  And WE ALL THINK WE ARE RIGHT.  Therefore, we MUST learn to communicate and disagree in a more healthy manner.  And I MUST LEARN TO NOT TAKE IT ALL SO PERSONALLY.  (Unlikely) Here are three places that I think are doing a great job opening up political dialogue, social discourse and societal tension

No Labels – A politically neutral, but active organization

The Public Conversations Project – Because we have to be able to be on opposite ends of an idea and still have a conversation

The Institute for Cultural Inquiry – Studying Global Tensions and the benefit of those tensions in modern times and today

3. Why does is our generation addicted to reality TV? Honestly, I wonder this all the time.

Because things like #2 are happening – we are desperate for escape and our favorite mode of escape – Parks and Rec is only on Thursday nights.

No, seriously.  Because we are a society who loves to compare ourselves against others.

I love to watch Hoarders and then feel great about how clean my house is, it also leads to an almost OCD compulsion to non-accumulation.

I know that a lot of people watch Jersey Shore and the MTV-esque shows.  I have always been a 60 Minutes, Extreme Makeover Home Edition reality TV kind of girl because I don’t really like fiction.

I think that people love the Bachelor and Toddlers and Tiaras because we are voyeurs and we are desperate to know that we are normal and that the little bit of crazy in us is in everyone.  I think – who knows????

I watched Mob Wives the other day and felt so proud of J’s and my marriage – despite the fact that  I may or may not have thrown a fit the previous night that he ruined one of my favorite kitchen aprons while GENEROUSLY doing the laundry for me – AT LEAST HE WASN’T DOING LIFE!  At least I didn’t find out about his affair when the lady at the hair salon recognized my daughter because his girlfriend used to bring her in when she got her hair done. Right? Right? Anybody with me? (This stuff happens? In real life? Really? I am not so sure…)

Does that make my marriage any healthier – NO!

Did it produce a little needed thankfulness? Yes!

Pros and Cons.

In conclusion –  If anyone says anything bad about Ty Pennington I’ll chop their knees off… So, to the matter of reality television and our generation, I have no idea, but I love it as well.

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.

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.

MLK, Civil Rights and Pots de Creme

I love this day. I know that MLK Jr probably wouldn’t, but it is always good to return to the struggle this nation exists in. Obviously, we are still a nation that battles giving equal treatment to all individuals no matter their color or creed. Years ago Bono was speaking to a man that is HYPER famous in Evangelical circles (I know, it’s an oxymoron of values) and he reminded him that the church is NOTORIOUSLY late showing up on civil rights issues. I will not re-state what the article says, but I will say that gay rights is another place that I think the church will soon realize they have been holding on to biblical interpretation that will later be considered as when they held on to scripture for slavery, or oppression women. I hope. I hope. I hope.

My favorite MLK “thing” is actually not the I have a dream speech, though it makes me cry and it reminiscent to me of Obama’s tribute to the victims of the Tucson shootings. If you’ve never read them, go here. The crux of the letters, to me, is “injustice for one man is injustice against all men…”

UK recently sent me a link to this NYT article. Obviously, this is a very fatherly thing to send, but I think it is wildly apropos to the current times and the current day. We are who makes a difference and the difference starts with us internally and overflows from there. Not with finger pointing and expecting other people to change… Like that’s going to happen. We have little control in this world, but our attitude is one thing that we have all sorts of control over. Like running, it’s hard for me to stay on a steady course of discipline in this area, but if I have any hope for the world that I live in, I know it is important that I treat humanity with respect, that I own up to my flaws, and I speak out boldly for what I believe in my heart is right or wrong no matter what the consequence is to my popularity, even among the ecumenical church that I love.

That being said, some friends of ours got engaged and I am cooking a lovely celebratory dinner for them tonight. I am going to make Pots de Creme. I have never done this, alas I have decided that tonight is the night to get this party started. Why in the world do I demand to try new things when people are coming over? It’s inappropriate and I shouldn’t put people in this position. However, armed with Occhi’s parents wedding gift (Cooks Illustrated) I am going to do it and it’s going to be delicious.

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.

My Dad Always Used to Say, Haterisms and nolabels.org

So. I am done with two classes. English and Math. However, my last two classes, German and Business are proving to be a bear. They both want to fit one last test in before the final. That’s right, last day of class, text. Then. Final. Party.

In better news. I subbed Tuesday, and I am nannying three days this week, two days next week. It hasn’t snapped me out of my no-job depression, but it helps me feel less like a leech and more like a contributing member of my marriage. It also makes me feel stressed out. Instead of letting the stress get to me I am flitting my days away joining no party political organizations and blogging. Next, clean the house.

Lately, I’ve been thankful for my health. CoCo broke her talus bone and has a cast and crutches. I meanwhile, complain when I can’t get a run in, or when it’s too cold and windy outside for me to run. This is not a way to be thankful. I am going to work on it more.

Last night we went Christmas shopping at Lady A’s studio show. Have you been to her website? She makes beautiful ceramic jewelry. Click here to look at it. Now I need to somehow manage to get that stuff I bought packed up and to the post office. I hope people are fine with getting Valentine’s presents, because that’s about when I am hopeful of getting stuff mailed by. that’s bad right. When you get married aren’t you supposed to be better at this stuff? Well I am not.

My Dad… When I was growing up he used to always say, “You know what you’re problem is?” and then he would proceed to explain to me said observation about my character flaws and failures. This was always a good time and normally two to three hours in I would begin to admire my fathers oratory skills and imagine that this was some sort of filibuster, and at the end I was going to get to vote. If said vote happened to be “Do you agree that starting a criticism with ‘You know what your problem is’ is an effective way of getting someone to change?” Then I was looking forward to resolutely voting, “No.” Alas. There was never a vote and I usually fell asleep mid-lecture only to be awakened to my father tapping on my forehead and continuing aforementioned diatribe. Does anyone feel like that’s what’s happening in Washington, a bunch of people standing around telling each other what the other person’s problem is? SPARE ME.

Even in the time that I have written this email my father and I have begun a politically themed email in which he is explaining to me why nolabels.org CANNOT WORK.

Here’s why it can.

Jon Stewart, from the Washington Mall reminded us of what we do everyday on the commute home. He showed a picture of a bunch of cars merging into a single lane to drive into some tunnel in DC. I do this every day at three different points on Storrow Drive. And he’s right, even in the worst city to drive in in the world, Boston, there is an art to this. There is civility. Boo told me the other day that the perfect negotiation is one where both parties leave feeling like they’ve given something up. Yep. That sounds like like and the real world to me. The other day, Natasha from Zumba stopped me crying after class because her unemployment had run out and it meant she couldn’t go home for the holidays and she had no idea where else she could apply. And yet, people are up in arms at Obama for GIVING IN TO THE REPUBLICANS (who I am pretty sure are still referring to him as Barrack Hussein, even though he spared the top 1%) and the democrats are ready to burn him at the stake. According to Boo, this was the perfect negotiation. Anyone else with me? YES! Most of you are. That’s the point. We, here on the ground, not up on the Hill, realize that you have to give and take to make it work. It sucks, no one likes it, but you can’t please everyone. So you try to do the best for the greatest number. Apparently when you do that in DC you are a total pushover with no fight in you.

Needless to say I wanted to move to Iceland after last week politically. I know for sure I would not understand NPR in Icelandic and that there is a good chance tickets to Sigur Ros are cheaper there, you know, home court advantage.

Then, I heard about nolabels.org. Yep. A bunch of people that are saying, not right, not left, just forward. you can call yourself what you want, but you are committing to setting aside the right of that label for the sake of forward motion. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, I thought so to. So I spent some time today reading, watching, listening. And the truth is, it goes back to the democratic process. Democracy is only as strong as the involvement of the population. Our presidents and representatives are not representative of the nation, they are elected by the people who vote. 70% of Americans don’t. So Washington has no idea what most of us are thinking because we don’t tell them.

Most of my friends aren’t involved in the political process because they think everyone is a liar and all they do is yell at each other. They think Republicans all voted for Bristol Palin, and that democrats all own the new Obama chia pet. They know nothing about if Christine Matthews is a witch or not, they don’t remember her from Twilight. However, if they knew they could be engaged and educated on what’s going on in a non-partisan way, I think there might be some hope. It would need to come in 20 second sound bites though. they aren’t going to do what I did today and really dig in. No less, I feel hopeful about what nolabels.org is putting forth.

So, all you righties, you lefties, you refusers to engage in the political process. check it out. tell people about it. Let’s make our voices heard. I am pretty sure that if you can program your DVR to record Dancing with the Stars, or play Words With Friends you can manage to click over to nolabels.org and see what you think.

Now only if we can get these people to stop my Dad and his “You know what your problem is…”

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