Old Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dreaming with a Broken Heart – For Dr. King

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

Top 10 Black Americans Net Worth Education vs.

                                                        Top 10 White Americans Net Worth Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How’s that for equality?

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

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

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

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

10.8% of white american families live in poverty

24.7% of black american families live in poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK? Great. Let’s to it.

There’s plenty of work to be done.

In Response to Marc Cohn

Well, I WAS going to write a post about this story I heard this morning on Israel and Palestine on NPR this morning.  I used my new Dragon Dictation software on my phone.  The title of the post is going to involve me referencing America playing the rich frat boy of global politics.  I hope all the Ivy League schools I am applying to transfer into google me before my interviews next spring (kidding AM – ish) but seriously, that is the the next blog topic.

I am picking the Q&A series back up this weekend.  I have a big math test this Friday and I really need to focus in, and at 34, what I used to be able to accomplish in 2 hours now takes my brain two days (can I get a “what, what” Laurie P????)

Anyway, I answered Kendall’s Q&A yesterday.  Too bad I am not FB friends with Marc Cohn because he would have been amused at Aunt Diane’s explanation of the Jungle Room and all of your “here, here’s” on “LOOOOVE” for Walking in Memphis.  I was mostly thinking about the time that Hart and I decided last minute to drive through the night to Memphis, it was the weekend that OUTKAST released their first album and I am pretty sure that Abbay and I shook it like a polaroid picture as we drove up Beale… So inappropriate.

Speaking of inappropriate.  One time I lived in Germany and I was giving AM & UK a tour of the neighborhood. Next to Angie Merkel’s house is a building that has the worst damage from “the war.”  UK asked, “I or II?” Ugh.  Annoying.  I don’t know.  The war.  One of them  Both of them.  Anyway.  Then I walked them over to Unter den Linden and showed them the building where the Russian Embassy was, obviously the USSR embassy used to occupy the building and clearly they didn’t need all the space now, it is prime political real estate, and I walked by it every day and gave the “tour” on a pretty regular basis – so they asked what the space was used for.  Needless to say I had never really even considered it.  After that Marla took to telling people that I could give you the best tour you’d ever get of Berlin as long as you didn’t really need to know the facts.

I’m a Blue Star Girl. It’s a band.  I do back up vocals.  Without a mic.  I also play tambourine, without all those little silver things.  I mostly dance and do antics.  My bandmates stagename is An.  I am Tic.  Her name in real life is Michelle.  We spend a good portion of our life together.  I’d say we do a majority of family dinners together.  Somewhere in the beginning of our friendship I decided that she did not like chicken.  I told people this.  I would not prepare it for her because I truly believed it in my heart of hearts, she did not like chicken.  I often referenced it in conversation, with her.  She, in fact, currently – nor ever has had a problem with chicken, in fact she eats it quite often.  Remember that we are “in a band.”  We eat MULTIPLE MEALS TOGETHER A WEEK WHERE SHE EATS THE MEAT THAT I DECLARE (PERHAPS AT THE MEAL) THAT SHE DOES NOT LIKE – CHICKEN.

This goes back to my earlier point – WE ALL THINK WE ARE RIGHT – especially me – except that I know there is a pretty good chance that I am not.

Which leads me to the Marc Cohn situation.

Remember yesterday.

When I was telling you about that concert from the late 90s.

Well HE (Marc Cohn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Cohn – feel free to note parts about MULTIPLE GRAMMYS) POSTED A COMMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE POST.

At first I thought it was Kendall being ridiculous, but then I realized Kendall wouldn’t go to all that trouble to actually write a paragraph.

And also, I didn’t think that it really sounded that kidding.

And then I realized that I thought actually it was Marc Cohn and then I was like holy $%&@ effing Marc Cohn just read the *&%$(*& blog where I &$%^#$@ that he didn’t play WIM at that concert Pre-iPod and now he’s mad at me.  JUST WHAT I NEED.

Next thing I know Lil’ Wayne’s going to be posting about how he is a Christian and reference some verse in the bible about how he can do what he wants and that when he can’t do what he wants anymore he’s allowed to die and it’s probably going to be in some translation of the bible that I’ve never read and I’m going to have to apologize to him also.

But sincerely, to Marc Cohn, maybe you DID play the song and I JUST didn’t hear it.  As you can see, I am RARELY wrong.  I am almost ALWAYS right.

I actually do remember you being snarky, I am glad you are not snarky anymore, but I am more glad that I have a public forum to share about the songs that I love of yours and to declare on my most played songs in my iTunes library WIM ranks 17th (how’s that for ironical?) – the #1 is Rest for the Weary.

These words have moved me on so many occasions and played themselves in my mind more than I could express, and I have sung them over women and men as wishes and prayers in South Africa, Poland, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Refugee camps in places I don’t want to name… and to my own soul on dark, dark days

Now my mother stood beside him
She did what she could do
But if you look at some old photograph
She looks tired too
I hope there was some laughter
‘Cause I know there were some tears
Now all I can say is I pray to God
That after all those years
After all those years
That one day

One day
There’s love for the lonely
One day
They walk in the sun
One day
Rest for the weary
Rest for the weary ones

Now I’m just another traveller
On another winding road
I’m trying to walk some kind of line
I’m trying to pull some kind of load
Now sometimes I move real easy
Sometimes I can’t catch my breath
Sometimes I see my father’s footsteps
And man it scares me half to death
But one day

One day
There’s love for the lonely
One day
We walk in the sun
One day
Rest for the weary
Rest for the weary ones

Among my most listened to Marc Cohn songs in iTunes (in the many hundreds – WIM a mere 97 after all that pouting)

Walk on Water, Silver Thunderbird, Walk Through The World (which when I fell in love with my husband began to make me cry), Things We’ve Handed Down and The Rainy Season.

So here’s to you, Marc Cohn, for your beautiful lyrics, for your timeless melodies, for your generosity to play the song that people love to sing-a-long to, and to write songs like, True Companion, that gave me hope that maybe love was something worth hoping for – even when I was 30 and hadn’t yet found it.

And if I have the chance, I will come again to see you, and this time, I will not be sad if you don’t play it.  I promise.

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.

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.

Motherhood Post

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebool, Tumblr or Twitter. I guest posted today. Read and laugh.

http://www.larkandbloom.blogspot.com/

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.

The Birth of Coco

Coco is one of my best friends in the world. She lives a little over a mile away and I haven’t seen her since right around when I picked her up from the airport after Christmas break. I am not even kidding. She’s in her final semester of grad school, she’s been busy falling in love and causing hell with her roommate. I’ve been drowning in the busiest semester of my life. I don’t love her any less, I miss her like crazy and I am so thankful for her.

I met her the first time in a car in Waco, Texas. Later she came to Berlin, where I begged her to move in with me. She did. It was wonderful. Then she moved back to Chicago and applied for grad school. I struggled in Berlin. She got into BC and then I moved to Boston. Life could not have been more generous to me. Coco did all the hard work to find a church, we followed her there. She goes every week, we go when I am not panicked about homework, housework, or just work. She was incredible when I was engaged. She is amazing when I cry. She was resilient hobbling through an unjustly broken foot. She was patient letting me help her around.


(This one is for Maria who is in town, undoubtedly making Coco’s birthday magical)

Courtney is one of the most beautiful friends I have ever had. She is honest. Real. Loyal. Patient. Kind. Funny. Brave. She has been a safe place for me in some of the most dark moments of my life and a beautiful reflection of love in both the dark valleys and high moments. I honestly feel like being able to live in the same city with her three times in my life was more than providence, it was Providential. It was more than what I needed, it was beyond what I could have asked for. I have to say that in moments it felt like it was a lifesaver.

She has conquered grad school and teaching. She has fallen in love with someone that I have never met, but have every confidence in. Her standards are high, mostly for herself and I wish I was more like her in that manner. Today, I celebrate one of the greatest gifts of friendship I have and I pray that as this dreary rain falls heavy on Boston she is feeling loved, cared for, appreciated, enjoyed, warm and ebullient. I have no doubt that Nick and Maria are looking carefully to it.

Also, if you’re in the Boston area and you need an English professor, I know a really great one who is looking for a job…

Shooting Pain, Ordering In and ER

Sunday night Boo and I went to the ER because some back pain I had all day had elevated to a level that was threatening sleep. However, I’m pretty sure if I’d just stayed up until 3:30 when they let us leave the hospital I could have gone to sleep on my own. Monday I stayed in bed all day. Tuesday I went to class. More on that later, definitely some good stuff. Then today I woke up back to a sickening level of pain. So. Back to the Dr for me. Everyone keeps commenting on how “tense” my back is. Um. Yeah. It’s tense. That’s why I’m here. I don’t normally march to the Dr because my back is a little achey. I march to a massage. Anyway. DrC wanted some pictures because it sounded like spinal compression to him… Um no. I reject that. Then he asked about a knot somewhere else. Sent me to a specialist for that. Also sent me upstairs to PT and told me to start first thing in the morning. He said he should know by then if it was a spinal problem. He then prescribed another thing to relax my muscles. Which lead not to my back feeling better but to me sleeping for at least 5 hours. I woke up to eat and work on our taxes and now I’m going to sleep again. I have an appt at 7:30. Then class at 8:30. Eeeek.

OK. There’s your update. Thanks for the texts, calls and messages. It’s nothing serious. Just an inconvenience.

When We Are Old… For Commander Occhiverdi

She waltzed into my life at a wedding. I’d heard of her, but never known her. It was instant. In the kind of way that can never be reproduced. We forged our friendship laying by the pool, her hiding from the sun and studying for a Biology test she would get a 100 on and me trying to hoard vitamin D for the coming Berlin winter. They say that Vitamin D is a good thing to fight depression. You know what else is? A friend whom you’ve known for only one week that books a two week trip to visit you in said city, three short months later. So we celebrated our first New Year’s Eve together. As Berlin light up (as if it was “on fire”) we brought in a New Year and confirmed what we had suspected those three short months earlier. This was a friendship that would last a lifetime.

I moved to Boston under an Eyore style dark cloud, with fleeting hope for spring. In waltzed Occhi bringing, hope, courage, laughter and dancing. She met Boo. She loved him. Which gave me courage to be brave and hope for something good. Even while she was watching her own energy slip through her fingers. We talked, cried and made some brave decisions. She left, and I cried.

She came back though, with her parents and that time… Boo and I were engaged and Occhi brought with her fun, excitement, and a list of delicious restaurants. That’s the way she is. No matter what’s happening with your or with her she is a breath of fresh air. She brings sunshine, and laughter and love and warmth. Seriously. She’s honest and deep and real without being HEAVY. You know what I mean? There are some friends you have who are intense and wonderful, but it’s heavy, OCCHI is NEVER heavy!

She was a dream in my wedding. After our honeymoon and in the first days of her med school career, we met her for burgers and presents. We forsook a day of our trop for the sake of just getting to see her one more time. I cried again saying goodbye. By this point she was used to it.

She had a difficult fall. She lost Ted. She was sick forever. And still. 4.0. She met someone. He’s Darling. Seriously. He’s Darling. She knew that we couldn’t go anywhere, so she came to us, one more time. She brought the Darling with her. And for the second time we rang in the New Year together. She’s like my favorite Barefoot Dreams robe. She is the softest, snuggliest place. She is wonderful. I love her more than she could ever know. In a time of life when I am terrible at keeping up she has been patient and understanding and willing to participate in the best kind of friendship, one that is mutual. Sometimes and some years one friend has to give more, even when they feel like they don’t have it to give, and sometimes the other has to do the same. To be honest Occhi has given more than she’s gotten, but show doesn’t seem to mind…

So here’s to Occhi’s 28th. It was yesterday. She had school. And burgers. And we were far away from her. But she, and the life that she brings to our lives were on our minds all say. And today, the day after, I dedicate this post to her. I hope that when we are old (I am older than her) we travel on busses like these ladies, drinking, cheering and causing a ruckus.

Love you Occhi. The best is yet to come…

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