Friday, December 28, 2007

International Student Hall of Fame.

I just read this article in the Washington Post about Benazir Bhutto.

I will ignore the assassination for a moment to talk about the first few paragraphs of the article. The images of Benazir Bhutto as a young coed are priceless. It brings to mind the stories of so many young international students that come here to study with such tremendous feeling of mission to their country.

While most American college students worry about loans, relationships, and parties, many of our international students are balancing fears of elections abroad, safety of their family, and a sense of duty that is barely understandable the average American teenager.

I've been chatting with friends recently about how that sense of mission is either present in students or it is not... it's not the kind of thing that can be developed. I think some people - international or not - get so distracted by the accumulation of wealth, fame or power, that they miss the step of developing their personal mission - and missing that step can keep them from being their truly integrated self.

I'm not certain that I feel so strongly about anything that I would be willing to barrel myself into a maelstrom that might get me killed, but I do admire those that see no alternative and do exactly that courageously and unapologetically. I know many of the people that I know and love are working very hard to make the world a better place. I hope that I can help them. (And more so than just eulogizing them)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The best laid plans of mice and men...

The holidays are a time of increased activity, intense emotion, and the desire to express to our loved ones just how much we care for them.

I am always humbled by the effort that people put forth on my behalf. People actually listen to me and try to get me what I want, and more often give me exactly what I need...

It's so easy to get derailed though and feel over-extended. In an effort to give, we forget to protect ourselves. In all good attempts to tell people we love them, we end up rushing around, spending too much money and getting frustrated when the material world fails to express the nuance of the emotional world.

Yesterday, on Walnut street, I was walking to get a cup of tea during my break and I saw a man holding a sign. I saw the word "free" written in somewhat sloppy marker. I thought it was a demonstration of someone wrongly imprisoned... like "free Joe Smith"... but on the way back I could see the whole sign. It said, "Free Hugs." So I stopped, got my free hug, wished the man a happy holiday and went back to work.

When I got upstairs to the showroom, I asked if anyone else had gotten their free hug. The consensus of everyone there - a freely hugable and liberally hugging bunch of folks - was that it was weird and suspicious that they were hugging strangers.

Maybe I've watched one too many Dave Matthews videos, but I loved it.

So here I am, freshly hugged, disillusioned by the capitalist machine, to try to convey my love to you all. I know there are so many of the people that I know and love that stop here to check and see what's on my mind. First, thank you for doing so, and thank you for all your kind words about this little experiment. But most importantly - please know that I cherish you all. From my most cherished family members to the people I've only met in passing - you all make my life so rich and wonderful.

Happy Holidays to you all. Sending my love, my free hugs, and my best and warmest wishes for your happiness.

**Special note: I am going to make an extra effort to post more regularly on both blogs. I have a million things that I've wanted to write about, and I finally have some breaks to do it in. So you may get multiple posts in one day and then none for awhile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A single gal and a bowl of borscht

I know that I'm odd. Truly I do.

I know that I am a weird mixture of interests, a strange conglomeration of backgrounds, and perhaps strangest of all - a person of diverse tastes. When I was 18, I was voted "most mature" and now that I'm closer to mature, I spend alot less time worrying and alot more time laughing.

Yesterday, on my birthday-off, I did some of my favorite things: wandered through the city, spent time with friends, and kept little or no schedule.

I lost track of time and realized that it was 1:30 and I'd eaten absolutely nothing all day. So I ducked into a little cafe that I'd tried recently with my aunt, and had a bowl of borscht.

Borscht - n. A traditional soup of Russian, Jewish, and German origins that consists primarily of beets and can be served hot or cold.

Somehow, each time I tell this to someone, they start to laugh. Even the waiter seemed a bit surprised to see me. At one point he went into the kitchen and I heard him say "No, I don't think so, it's a single gal." Odd. What is so unusual about a single gal and a bowl of borscht?

I was telling the story at lunch today, and my friends suggested that be a title for a short story. Watch for that... and I'll follow that up with the major motion picture Hermaphrodites and Hamentashen so you have something to look forward to.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Today's Your Lucky Day!

Walking back from the gym last night, a man came running up to me (scaring me nearly to death) and this is what he said:

TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY! ALL YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN! ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

While still shaken from a large man running up to me on a dark portion of the street, this had an amazing effect... I felt really good. And mostly, I felt grateful to that man, who for just a moment lifted my burdens off of me.

I don't want to project too much onto this... I just want to enjoy it for that moment of peace it provided.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What I want for Christmas.

I love December.

There is so much to look forward to: Snow, my birthday, Christmas, New Year's, Vacation, and getting to see my family and friends.

There is so much that is stressful: My Birthday, Buying presents that will in no way truly express how much you love your family and friends, the pressure to have as much fun as is humanly possible on New Year's eve, and trying not to end the month in the poor house.

I must say that I wish this all could be simpler. Couldn't people celebrate together without so much pressure? I don't need a bunch of fancy things or fancy food, or copious amounts of alcohol to have a good time. I just want a few memorable moments with the people I love.

So even though it's only a few days into the month, I'm going to try to recenter my intentions so the rest goes more smoothly.

I love December... and hopefully this one will truly be one to remember.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stream on Conciousness

I watched Walk the Line this week. I know I'm over a full year behind the rest of the world, but I enjoyed it. More than the film, I enjoyed the director's commentary. While watching the Film, the director talked quite a bit about Johnny Cash's father-in-law - Ezra Carter.

This got me thinking about Ezra Pound, a poet I like quite a lot.

So I went internet searching and found some of my favorite, sweetly simple Ezra Pound poems online.

I also found an interesting fact: Ezra Pound met William Carlos Williams while at Penn. Just down the street from two of my favorite poets met and influenced each other wildly.

It brings to mind all the wonderful people I've met through Penn. And the fact that I would very much like to complete my graduate studies there. Have I already met my William Carlos Williams, or is he there waiting for me to come and study?

As if this post is not full of enough random thoughts strung together in a less-than-meaningful way. I was surprised to find alot of literature about Ezra Pound's anti-semitism - having concentrated on my own associations of his words, not having read much about him or his politics. (Yes, yes, I do live under a rock)

I am keenly interested in anti-semitism from that World War II era. Anyone have any suggestions for further reading. Let's just call it research for an idea that's percolating.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Wisdom comes to those who pay attention"

Coined by Kathryn Evans, Sunday, November 18, 2007

I was thinking about several people who have recently asked me "how did you know that" and while I am always tempted to say "cause I'm old," I just decided that's not it - at least not entirely.

I have always felt that I learn more than some because I pay attention. Particularly as a child, my relative shyness allowed me the opportunity to observe and learn from the mistakes other people were making around me.

I wish I could do more of this. I feel like as we age, our egos take over. It becomes harder to listen. We want to talk. Harder to learn. We want to teach.

But maybe I can change the tides just by being more mindful. Here I am wanting to learn, ready to learn - now I just need to pay attention.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Taxicab Expressions

I was very late this morning. I overslept by over an hour, so I had to do everything quickly... even with my breakneck speed, I missed my "walking to work buddies," I missed the bus, and since I've been late alot and leaving early even more - I needed to get to work on time.

Flush with cash from my recent paycheck, I decided on a tiny luxury: a taxi halfway to work. My good fortune continues - as usual - and I not only got a ride to work, but I got a lesson in philosophy from Claude, cab driver and sage.

Here are his bon mots for the day:

"There are three kinds of crazy people:

Those that are just naturally crazy.

Those that were poor and become rich.

And those that were rich and become poor.

So consider yourself lucky. Being positive will be your best defense against crazy
."

Thanks Claude. You rock.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The End of an Era.



Anyone that ever has lived with me will recognize this towel. It's been a constant presence in my bathrooms since 1991. I am sad to report today was it's last official day of service. It now resides in the trash can.

It was given to me by my first real bosses: Paulette and Teddi Friedman. They owned an upscale retail store in St. Louis and they were the first people ever to hire me. There were a hilarious couple. Paulette was known far and wide for changing her clothes mid-day in the middle of the store... oh, and its noteworthy that Paulette wore neither a bra nor underwear, only pantyhose. It is an unfortunate image that will live with me longer than this towel.

They gave it to me as a departure present. I moved from St. Louis to Alexandria, VA in my Senior year of high school, and they knew how nervous I was. This present was intended to make me excited for college - just one short year away.

Away with me to college it went... I even bought plastic crates in the same color teal as the writing. I was so very coordinated! It's been with me ever since. Countless apartments in several states. It's been there when I lived at home, when I lived alone, and when I lived with roommates.

It's the most enormous towel you've ever seen - a bath sheet really and has kept me modest despite my weight struggles, regardless of the potential viewers for over a decade and a half. It stayed white for a very long time... only recently have I realized it's graying.

Maybe that's why this towel has me nostalgic... it's graying is reminiscent of my own. This object has intimately lived with me through my late teens, through college, through my twenties, to where I am today.

Perhaps I'll get another monogrammed one that will have a similar lifespan. I know that I hold these sentimental objects very close to my heart and I am loathe to replace them. Visit me someday and start asking me questions... nearly every object that surrounds me has a story. Much like the people I love, if I hold you close to my heart, you are truly remarkable - and I will sing your praises to anyone and everyone that will listen.

I'll stop here... I'm sure I lost most people a long while ago. "What's up with the ode to the bath towel?"... is what you all must be saying.

Alright, alright, I'm done.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Zombie




I know I look mean here and in one of my new haircut pictures, but really... it's just those photos... I'm a very happy, jovial zombie... look at the look on the bunny's face... that's the real me.

If I wear a costume next year, it will have to be something happy. It was so hard not to laugh and smile today. In fact, it didn't work. I need to be a clown or a stewardess or something. Something chipper and perky.

My boss wore a "barely there" costume today... just bear paws with her normal business pants suit. It was absolutely hilarious. A one point during a presentation, she reached with both hands (I mean paws) to take a drink and I nearly lost it. It was so funny. Very, very good.

There is something lovely about leaving your identity for a day and trying something new. Both my costumes helped me step outside of myself for awhile and let go. It felt very free and very fun. I've realized that I am quite happy with things right now. There is stress, there is work, and there are untold scary things ahead, but it is also nice to relax into a moment of fun.

More Lessons from Halloween...

If you are a smiley "look on the bright side" kind of person, then dressing as a zombie will prove challenging.

(picture to follow)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My 15 minutes...

I was on tv this morning. It was very exciting.

I barely slept last night, afraid I would sleep through my 5am alarm. But I didn't and I had fun... doing yoga on tv to promote a new yoga studio and a high-end line of yoga wear.

Hope I get to do more! If any of you was watching Fox in Philadelphia this morning and saw the three yoga segments, let me know how I look on tv!

I'll try to upload a picture of my "work" costume tomorrow... Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lessons from Halloween:



Try to avoid eye contact while walking down the street dressed as a bunny.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My new gig...

In an effort to fortify my savings account - which over the last year has collected so much interest that it has miraculously moved from $4.35 to $5.03 - I have gotten a part-time job.

The job sounded perfect: only on the weekends, yoga-related, upscale.

My only issue so far is that I already work more than 40 hours per week, so adding 15-20 hours to that makes for one super-long week. I'm pretty much exhausted. I feel badly because my friends are the ones that are suffering. Listening to me complain about how tired I am is not fun, I'm sure.

It's tough, because as of Nov. 2nd, there will be more money in my savings account then there has been since 2003... just from two little weeks of work. I really want to try to tough it out, hoping my body will just get used to it.

In the meantime, I close my eyes whenever I get the chance. So if you see someone standing at an intersection, swaying a little with their eyes closed, it's probably just me - taking a cat nap. No need to worry - I'll snap out of it momentarily and get back to moving.

And for the first time in a long time, I have real things to work towards, so it feels worth it to try. If I don't get what I want, then I can make some long-term changes that will make life more comfortable, but this is a good interim solution. Or at least I hope it is.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yay! A Debate.

I got this email, from one of my favorite debate partners:

Email Subject: Stephen Hunter is an Idiot
And was an idiot back when he did film reviews for the Baltimore Sun
when we were in college. Alas, his brand of mixed-metaphor writing
("three-hour gym shots" A shot is something small, short and rapid.
Three hours is none of those) has somehow gotten him a page in the Post.
UGH UGH UGH. I could write circles around him on my worst days.

But he does point out where all this objectification has gotten the
average (and he is so very, very average) male: "Show us a woman we
could never have, and whatever you are selling, we will buy it." There's
a bit of intuition, to be sure.

Is there no place in feminism for praise a part (or parts) of a woman
outside of her mind and her accomplishments?
******************************************

Unfortunately, I didn't save my reply, but basically I said that I was not alone in my distaste for this article. Check out Gene Weingarten's chat this week and the deluge of responses from female readers of the Washington Post about this piece.

I must say that I really don't like the word flesh. And this piece was the equivalent of leering. Do I want people to appreciate my body, yes. Do I want them to leer and stalk, no. Is it even better if they respect me and like the way I look, hell yeah.

But this piece wasn't about me. It wasn't about anyone. It was without identity. And that is truly one of my pet peeves: if you hate me, at least hate me personally, not some generic identification of me. It's the reason I hated the movie Traffic. It's the reason I hate this article.

And I can't speak for Feminism. I can only speak for me. (But I do feel better that I am not alone.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fleshing it out...

There is an article in the Washington Post today by Stephen Hunter, idiot.

There are few things that raise my feminist hackles faster that pure objectification. Mr. Hunter has taken the art of objectification to a whole other level with this article.

Usually when I read about hunks of flesh in the street, I imagine it will be sensational coverage of the latest atrocity of war, but this time it was the latest installment in the "Woe is me, I'm a aging man... my virility is waning, so I will assault with my power and my words where I used to assault with my ..."

Okay, well maybe I'm getting away from myself here.

But not for a second did I mistake this article for a prosaic attempt to honor the beauty of the female form. This article is about disembodied parts, not women. This is not about flirtation, attraction, or dialogue,it's about some visceral visual reaction that may not come as easily as it used to.

And I'll just leave it at that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ah-Choo

I've become completely addicted to the Sneeze.

It's so funny. I especially love the "No, Steve, Don't eat it!" feature. It's hilarious. I wish my blog were funny. Heck, I wish I were funny, but too often my attempts fall flat.

Speaking of sneezes though... the new hair product that I bought from the salon that gave me my fancy new style smells remarkable like one of those earth-shattering sneezes. I'm now afraid that when I walk into a room that a friend or loved one will say, "Um, did you just sneeze?"

Just in case you're dying to try it, here's the product. It does great things to curly hair, but it sure does smell funny:
http://www.amazon.com/Bumble-Surf-Spray-oz/dp/B000141RIE

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ch-Ch-Changes...

I got my hair cut last night.

Massively chopped off... it's awesome.

Pictures to follow after work.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Finiteness

Let me be clear about one thing: African Dance is hard. It has the frenetic energy of Jane Fonda on a venti red-eye with an extra shot, featuring staccato movements to a super-fast drum beat. It has been a truly humbling experience. It takes the title of that TV show, "So you think you can dance?" and adds a hefty dose of attitude - one that has left me hanging my head.

No. I can't dance like that. At least not yet.

I am getting a little better every week, but it will take me YEARS to master this entirely impressive style of dance.

The "years" part has me very aware of the finite nature of my life at this point. I am finally realizing that I must set my priorities and focus my intentions.

I am no longer so buoyed by youthful naivete to think that I can master everything all at once. I cannot master African dance AND refresh my Samba skills AND get better at Salsa AND study for the GREs AND learn swahili AND go to yoga twice a week AND do my art AND get my PH.D AND maintain an active social life AND volunteer AND go hiking every week AND go to the gym three times a week AND end world poverty AND lose 20 pounds AND keep my house clean AND spend time with my loved ones AND travel to exotic locales AND save money for my non-existent kids to go to college.

It's depressing. I know I can do some of those things - some of which I already do quite well, but how do I keep learning new things, trying new things, and perfecting new things, when there is already so much on my plate?

I'm willing to admit that African Dance stresses me out. It is so structured and I struggle to grasp the complexity of making my body move in a new way - and at such a fast pace! I'm almost ready to give up. Even typing that makes me feel bad. I AM NOT A QUITTER!

See? See my internal struggle here? There are so many things to be done. I want to be able to set my priorities in a way that empowers me and gives me more energy for the things I love, but I am also nearly paralyzed by the guilt I feel in letting go of things that are not working.

I need a shot of youthful naivete. Anyone got some just hanging around?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Harder than expected...

I've just started studying for the GREs, and I've decided that I need some leisure reading that will challenge my vocabulary a bit. Most of the exercises in my prep book are boring as anything, so I need something more interesting to augment my studying. Any suggestions? I need an author that describes the damsel in distress as pulchritudinous instead of beautiful, describes the 3rd child as the antepenultimate, and isn't afraid of a latin word here and there.

I'm also having trouble keeping up my studying, my movie watching, my working out, and this new promise of more pictures. But... I'll keep trying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Breaking News **

Woman Charged with Multiple Counts of Assault Over "Bad Hair Day"

Philadelphia, PA. Staff Writer

A local woman was arrested mid-day after two bizarre assaults on area businessmen. In the first incident, the woman snuck up behind the man and carefully removed a long ponytail with a pair of office scissors. The man chased after her and when he realized the damage was already done, he called police. "I've been growing that ponytail for years," the man told police.

In the second incident, just a few blocks away, the woman stole a local man's hairpiece, causing several abrasions where it was attached with adhesive. The man declined to comment, but witnesses say the local businessman is regularly harassed about the hairpiece and that applause broke out after the woman snatched it. An anonymous coworker offered,"I feel bad for him, he just wants to look nice, and I don't think he understands how awkward he looks with that thing on his head. She shouldn't have done it though."

The woman was taken to an area hospital for psychiatric evaluation after telling police that she was attempting to help alleviate a "trans-galactic bad hair day." The woman also explained that while she remained "...powerless over my own hair, I have been given special powers that allow me to identify and help those in need."

**um, not really, I did see these two men and imagine being arrested for tampering with their hair issues. And I am having a bad hair day... but besides that, this is totally fake.

I like to imagine this is Starbucks


nataliedee.com

Monday, October 1, 2007

Picture this...

I am going to make a concerted effort to start taking more pictures.

For example, how can I describe the madness of the Phillies freakout yesterday without a picture of the fans at City Hall?

How can I describe the woman with the shortest tennis skirt ever, if I don't document it?

How can I keep you all interested and intrigued by my boring life, if you can only imagine it? Wouldn't you rather see it?

I'm gonna work on it. You'll see. Maybe even tomorrow, there might be photos. Especially if I can get my wireless to actually work at home.

In the meantime, for old time's sake, instead of a photo of how lovely a day it is here in Philadelphia, let me offer this poem:

Children laughing
People passing
Sun is shining
Workers dining

Cell phones ringing
Homeless singing
Traffic stalling
Drivers galling

Couples dreaming
Phillies streaming
Leaves are falling
Lunch is calling

Friday, September 28, 2007

Questions for you?

I've been bombarding people with questions all day. I think people are finding me annoying... so I thought I'd inflict the questions on you:

Do you like bubblegum?
Do you want to go to Paris with me?
Do you like the rain?
What is your favorite season?
Are you in love?
What is a word you use too much?
What is a word you wish you used more?
What keeps you from losing it?
Do you like hamsters?
What is your favorite color?
What are you doing tomorrow?
When was the last time you saw me?
What is your favorite day of the year?
Do you like carrot cake?
When are we gonna hang out next?

Oh, and if you're feeling shy, make up a name and leave a comment anyway. Like: Lil Bo Bleep or Grand Master Slash or maybe even Princess Carolinia of the Boxwood Forest

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mini-Reviews or My Life with my new Laptop.

I narrowly escaped a life of boredom by the arrival of my new laptop. While I still can't get the wireless speed to a level that will allow me to watch TV online, I have been enjoying many a DVD. So here are my mini-reviews of the most recent ones.

M: Filmed in 1931 and used by the Nazi's as a propaganda film against sexual deviancy, this film is extraordinarily sophisticated in subject and execution (pun intended). I wish I were back in college so I could watch this film for class and then have a discussion group about capital punishment. Maybe if I'm ever a college professor, I will. At some point I'll tell you the other things this movie brought up for me... remind me, would you?

The Bicycle Thief: Yes, I got on a historical film kick... this one is post WWII, Italian, and it also is beautiful, thoughtful, and nuanced for this time in film. A young family tries to navigate their economic desperation during the depression that followed the war. Tragic and beautiful.

My Beautiful Laundrette: This is a mid-80's classic. Cheesy, boring, and confusing. Daniel Day Lewis is in it. Netflix told me I would like it. They were wrong. I recommend alot of alcohol and an 80's party theme if you are dying to check this out. I feel really bad about the hour and a half that my friend spent watching this with me. She'll never get that time back.

The Lives of Others: At Oscars time I couldn't believe there was a movie that beat Pan's Labyrinth out for Best Foreign Language Film, but now I understand. Ulrich Muhe, who plays the secret police officer, is brilliant - He could convey so much expression with a nearly expressionless face. Sex, intrigue, writing, and personal integrity are the main themes. The last line of the movie is touching in its double entendre.

I've got Finding Neverland and Central Station at home. I can't wait for both of them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stalker City.

I really hesitate to talk about this online, because I think it might open me up to more unwanted attention, but maybe some other people have some helpful advice... so here it goes...

I have a long history of stalkers. Starting back in 1994, there was a homeless man in Baltimore that would follow me around, sometimes waiting outside my building on campus. He would never talk to me, but he would follow me wherever I was going: grocery store, bagel store, Wawa, etc., and then he would follow me back to the dorms. One day he followed me almost a mile to a shopping center and into Woolworth's and I asked the manager of the store to call the police. That was the end of him following me.

Fast forward to Washington in 1999, when a bus driver became fixated on me in a weird way. Every time he saw me he would stop. If he was driving, he would stop his car, if he was driving the bus, he would stop the bus (even with passengers on it) to say hello. I didn't encourage him, but it kept escalating. Finally, I moved.

Now there is another homeless man who I think is schizophrenic that I think is becoming a problem. At first he would just follow me while I walked to lunch and try to chat. (Although he always starts with "I've seen you around." which makes me nervous that he's really watching me.)

Well in the last few weeks he's started sitting at the table just outside my office. Today he was there before I got to work and as I walked by him the President of the college happened to say hello, and he very excitedly said "Hi Kathryn!" after she did. So now he knows my name.

I told my boss about it. Went to run an errand and had her close the blinds. By the time I got back he was gone. It's got me nervous though. I like living in the city, but I worry about exactly this kind of thing - since the bus driver was the one that prompted my flight to the suburbs the last time.

Maybe this time it won't be a problem. Maybe he's harmless. Maybe I'm over-reacting. But that's alot of maybes.

Hey!!! I just realized that my last post was about me being a stalker to Chiwetel Ejiofor!! Funny. Maybe this is actually all some kind of karmic payback.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kinky Boots

It all started in 2002. I was living in Washington, DC, and one Saturday afternoon I escaped my life through the help of the Georgetown cinema and a little movie called Dirty Pretty Things.

Two hours of a brilliance. Life of the immigrant as a ballet of color. I left the theater and asked the ticket office if they had a poster. The poster, following on the massive acclaim of Amelie, was a picture of Audrey Tatou - annoying as an ad campaign since she's only a minor character in this fabulous film. My eyes scanned quickly looking for the actor, my new love, the man with the eyes that can convey so much. His name: Chiwetel Ojiofor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiwetel_Ejiofor)

Since that moment, I have watched every movie I can find that features him. Sometimes that leads me to some good ones, like Serenity and Inside Man, sometimes I get disappointed... like when that good-for-nothing trollop had him and didn't want him in Love Actually.

Last night, I watched Kinky Boots.

These ad people know their audiences, that's for sure. In the movie poster and on the cover, Chiwetel Ojiofor is in a suit... a wonderfully fitted, handsome suit.

The only problem is that in the movie, he plays a drag queen.

He was a gorgeous drag queen too. And he has an amazing voice. I guarantee he patterned his performance after Naomi Campbell - and it was spot on.

But where does that leave me? I'm open enough to be able to love a drag queen, especially a beautiful one, but do I have to give up my obsession? We'll just have to see about that.

Do I need to amend my stalking ways and settle for mere admiration? I'm up to the challenge. Go ahead, Chiwetel, keep choosing these wonderful roles. Keep testing your range. Give me some time, I may end up loving you even MORE.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are you serious?

I began to emerge from several days of migraine pain this afternoon, so I cleaned a bit around the apartment and set off to mail a bill.

Such a beautiful Saturday... clear, cool, and bright. People were out in force: shopping, playing drums on street corners, chatting with one another, and spending time with their loved ones. I had several interesting interactions: one with a man at the bookstore who is studing micro-biology and one with a woman who does spoken word poetry.

But after I dropped my letter, I spotted out of the corner of my eye a woman with a blind person's cane. She was crossing against the light and having trouble navigating some construction.

She was already under the construction walkway when I caught up to her to ask if she needed any help. Another woman came up behind me and very rudely said "Excuse me, EXCUSE me." I moved aside and she saw the woman's cane.

She stopped, looked at me and said "oh, were you asking her if she needed help?"

"Yes." I said...
(with my don't-you-feel-like-an-idiot-now-and-if-you-don't-you-should look in full effect.)

"Oh, that was so nice of you"

Then she turned around and said "Besides, who knows if she's even blind?"

The blind woman was black. The rude woman was white.

I shot her a dirty look and the woman tried to explain... I shook my head at her and quickened my pace. She kept looking over at me as if she wanted to say more.

No, ma'am... no need to explain. I understand perfectly. You are racist. You are so racist that you see a black person and immediately they are under suspicion. You think that woman was pretending to be blind so she can take your stuff.

Well ma'am... you can have your stuff. You can have all the stuff you want... take mine too. I don't want it, if it means that someday I'll act and think like you. I'm ashamed that you and I are alike in any way. I'm ashamed that you felt you could spew your hatred and that you thought I would agree.

I wish I would have said that to you - you racist bitch.

In a perfect world, a blind woman would have no concept of race. But I bet she does. I bet she is fully aware that she is black - you remind her of it often enough. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be blind, especially in a city like Philadelphia, but I especially cannot imagine how difficult is is to be blind and black, and to have to deal with women like you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

If you can't beat them, Join them.

I'm back on the wagon. That's right... for those of you that don't know, I am struggling with a serious Starbuck's addiction. I can't help myself - no control, none what-so-ever.

Let me paint a picture of yesterday - the day I hit rock bottom.

I had an event at lunch, so I headed out a bit late to grab some sustenance. I got a taco salad, sitting to enjoy it properly at the lunch place. It was inexpensive, so I was feeling good that I had eaten well and not surpassed my lunch budget.

When it was time to go back to work, I walked out of the restaurant.

There in front of me (duunn, duunn, dunnn) was a Starbucks.

"What harm would a little cookie do?" said the voice in my head.

No. I won't do it. I don't need it. I don't even want it.

"Just a little cookie?"

My legs begin to move mechanically towards the door.

"A cookie... it's not too expensive, you don't have to get anything to drink."

Oh, this is a bad idea. I shouldn't go in. And yet here I am, hand on the door.

"Oh, they don't have any cookies. Darn! Well then, maybe a little bit of cake."

Cake is not a cookie... I don't like where this is going. Don't order a drink. You hear me, don't order a drink!

"No, drinks... just a piece of cake."...

It came time for me to order, and I asked for the cake. Even though my mind was screaming "NOOOOOOO, don't order a drink".... those four little words escaped my lips: "Iced venti soy-chai."

That was the moment that I realized, I do NOT have control of this. This IS a problem.

So, I've got a plan. If I cannot go ONE short little week without Starbucks, then I'm going to work there. I will get a job there and let the corporate machine feed my addiction from the inside, so I can save my pennies for things I really want, like a trip to see my aunt in Maine this December, or Microsoft Office for my new computer, or even *gasp!* money in my savings account!

I made it to work today by repeating in my head "Starbucks uses spoiled milk." There's nothing grosser to me than spoiled food, so I'm hoping that will work for awhile.

If not, then I'm just gonna get a job there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bad News.

It's raining here in Philadelphia, the sky is dark and my mood matches it exactly.

I often refrain from reading the news - Whole months pass where I am certain I'll be unable to handle the onslaught of information, needless violence, and atrocities of our modern world. I broke from my usual avoidance today - big mistake.

The first article I read was of an 18 year old college student whose car flipped off the road and who survived 8 days upside down, trapped in his car by drinking water from the stream out of his size 13 high-top sneaker. His disappearance was reported very quickly - he failed to show up at his girlfriend's apartment. He was trapped just off the Baltimore Washington Parkway, less than a mile from his home, and yet he was not found until he managed to climb up an impossibly steep, 30 feet long embankment. A good Samaritan saw him lying on the road trying to signal for help and stopped.

The second article was about an African-American woman who was held and tortured by six adults in a West Virginia home. Six white people assaulted her for over a week. An anonymous tip lead police to investigate and the woman happened to be visible when they stopped by. The list of abuse and torture that the woman endured was awful, hard to read and impossible to understand.

Both articles have me wondering how these things happen. How does a young man go missing, just a few feet off a busy highway, for over a week? How does a woman end up being tortured by six adults - male and female, some members of the same family, some not? At what point does one of them say "This is not right"?

I argued with my friend last weekend about giving of one's self without fear. I was operating under the assumption that goodwill will be returned. Certainly not by everyone, but by most. I still believe that, but reading of these events makes it more difficult.

I'm left to wonder if I should spend more time worrying for my own safety. My friends and loved ones would probably say yes - that I am too cavalier with sharing my energy - that I am not allowed to love and cherish complete strangers.

I say no. I will love strangers. I will be angry for these two people that were forgotten and mistreated. I will give my time and energy to those that need it. More of us need to serve as models - or where will we be?

I know I should be doing even more than I do. I should give more, I should volunteer more, and I should speak up more. I'm going to seriously try to spend more of my time and energy on good works, and less time and money on frivolousness.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Name Change.

Occasionally I get included on "name change" emails. I don't keep that much information on behalf of alums, but some, so I get included.

Recently, I got one that read like this:
Rose Smith, remarried from Jones, originally in system as Johnson, maiden name: Carter.

I'm not judging people for multiple marriages - but at what point do you say "enough is enough" with the name changes?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle has passed.

Before I could read well enough to enjoy her books, I knew of Madeleine L'Engle. As my sister's favorite, our sweet new puppy was named Charles Wallace. I knew that the name suited him: our smart little puppy with the big personality.

When I was much older, I finally read A Wrinkle in Time and I was blown away. Never a fan of children's books that pandered to the reader, nor a fan of super-fantastical science fiction, I felt that Madeleine L'Engle had created a story abstract enough to relate to anyone. I felt loss, I felt uncertain, I felt fear, and thusly I could relate to Meg.

I read some of the others, never a fully dedicated fan like my sister. But my admiration never faltered. Having read several books for young adults recently, I have new appreciation for her complexity. It is a challenge to engage the reader without oversimplifying - she navigated through swift moving plots with loving and honest attention to character development.

I have yet to read her autobiographical works. I must do so, as her life sounds fascinating! You can read more about her in the NYTimes... or any number of papers that will likely have lengthy obituaries for her.

I just wanted to acknowledge her. Many happy moments of my life have been spent in her literary care... and many sweet memories with the namesake of one of her most intriguing characters.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Six Degrees of Flickr

I play a game with myself when I need a break from work. I call it Six Degrees of Flickr. The premise is simple: I visit the Flickr pages of people I know, visit photos with alot of comments and click through six degrees of separation (sometimes more, sometimes less).

The result is that I see all kinds of amazing photography. Some is saccharine sweet, some is simply breathtaking, and some is just downright weird. Along the way you see funny, interesting, and odd. It's really fun and I'm sure it's not unique to me.

Yesterday, while playing Six Degrees of Flickr, I came across a photo from the Sunday Herald in Australia that contains several "letters to the future." I won't link to it here, since I don't know the person and don't know if they want a bunch of extra traffic to their Flickr page, but believe me when I say, they are adorable. They are projections to 2032.

So, here is my letter to the Future:

Hi Sweetheart:
If you're reading this, then it's 2032 and I cannot- simply cannot- believe you are already 24. Congratulations on all you have achieved. I'm sure you've graduated with honors from college by now (stay in school.) I hope I'm still around and that I can still remember back 25 years ago when your mom first told me she was pregnant. She was so excited! Of course as usual, I was worried for her, but excited for her too. And look at you now... all grown up! (I bet you're tall, even though your parents are a touch on the vertically-challenged side!)

I'm hoping that everything I have planned has come true and that we're still working hard at bringing peace and prosperity to the world. I hope you have lots of cousins by now and that they are doing well (Hello, my sweet babies)- hopefully, the last one starts college this Fall. You can expect they'll be calling you for advice. There are simply some things that your children would rather hear from their older cousin, not their parents.

I hope that we're a close family... I hope you visit me and my family in Africa often - staying many months with us for a break. I hope that you have an easy life and that you are comfortable. I hope that all the hard work your parents have done to be well means that you are happy and secure. I hope that I can be your Auntie Mame- and that the issues of the world are more interesting to you when you visit us.

Most of all, I hope you are a leader. I hope that you and your cousins can help forge a new reality for us all. I hope your legacy is one of peace, one of truth, and one of hope. I hope that the world you inhabit is safe and has shifted it's priorities away from the accumulation of material wealth and that there is less damage, less violence, and less poverty.

Never forget that I love you. Thank you for all the joy you have brought to us.
Yours,
Auntie Kathryn

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

No map, but lots of fruit...

This weekend I finally got my long awaited produce fix. It wasn't as easy as a neighborly co-worker or well-intentioned contact dropping a basket of stuff on my desk, but perhaps I valued it more for the work it entailed.

After a hectic day of college politics and a long week of interpersonal drama, I hopped the train to NYC. From there, after some cat feeding, a bumpy cab ride, and a confusing moment at Grand Central, I hopped another train to White Plains. The next installment was a white knuckled train ride with only a minute, literally ONE minute, to spare before the car rental place closed, and we were loaded into our enormous SUV. A slightly harrowing and panic-stricken hour and a half of driving later, we were safely to the B&B.

We finally relaxed a bit after breakfast on Saturday, and found a wonderful farm stand by an orchard. Crisp Macintosh apples were the obvious choice, but the fresh roasted sweet corn turned out to be the glowingly unexpected treat. A few tastes of cider, a few moments in the sun and we were refreshed. And I was feeling like my waiting was over.

We took a hike in the local reserve and rejecting planning and reason proceeded sans aide up a steep trail that supposedly lead to a lake. I feel like the hike up to the picturesque, mountainous lake peeled off some of the tension that has been building in the last six months, maybe even touching some from the last decade. I hadn't realized how much I needed an emotional release. But I'm quite glad that I had one, lovingly guided by my dear friend.

On the way home, we found another farm stand. More expensive, but with a wider range of offerings, this time we got peaches, blackberries and pie. The peach was not-quite-ripe, but still offered "drip-down-the-chin" goodness and the next day was truly made better by the blackberries and the pie.

It wasn't necessarily idyllic, but it was what we both needed: a like-minded soul, a kind ear, a little nudging, a few emotional outbursts, and alot of fruit. I hope we can both push through with our big goals in the next few months, aided by the memories of the calm lake, the unfaltering friendship, and the sweetness of the unexpected.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

When "extra value" is not value enough...

I have a new speciality: I can create delicious mini-meals for almost no money without having to buy in bulk, cook in the heat, or adjust my lifestyle much. Manly men that need to eat super huge amounts will not be satisfied, but for those that like to graze on yummy food...

Here are some of my favorites:

- Bagels are for breakfast. But what's a girl to do when a $7 lox extravaganza is not an option? $1.25 for The Black Onion Bagel and cream cheese at LeBus on 18th.

- When I'm dreaming about the lavish Indian buffet at my friends wedding and I can't even afford the $10 all-you-can-eat buffet, what do I do?
Aloo Samosa, $1.95 (for 2) at Cafe Spice, 2nd Floor Liberty Place Food Court

- When I desperately want a gourmet pizza, but the $20 is just not to be had.
Tomato Foccaccia, $2.49 at DiBruno Brothers, 18th and Chestnut
And if I don't even have two bucks, the pretzel roll is huge and filling for 99 cents or the Olive Roll is only 79 cents. Add a scoop of Gigante Beans for $2.00 and you have a filling vegetarian meal.

- What about when I don't just want one little thing, but I want to feel like I've had a special treat (like on laundry day).
A slice of pizza $2.00 at 15th and Spruce, followed by a kid's cone of custard at Rita's for $2.47, including sprinkles.

-What about when I can't stomach another peanut butter sandwich for lunch?
$2.00 veggie pattie from Mama's Vegetarian, and all the pickled, kosher veggies you can eat for free! (And if you have extra money, the $1.50 french fries are to die for.)

-Dinner for under $3.00? Try No. 1 Chinese place on 7th and South. Order the Vegetable Fried rice! Doctor it up at home if you have stuff to make it more interesting.

- Speaking of Chinese... Try Chinatown. 50 cent buns, Sweets for under $1... the budget lore of that neighborhood is legendary.

- And don't forget Reading Terminal Market. Skip the expensive Amish stands and hit the little guys. Cheap cookies, fresh fruit, free samples. Much beauty for not much money.

Someday I'll convince my equally poor friends to go on my food scavenger hunt with me. We each take a couple dollars and we go out hunting for bargains. We bring back our booty and everyone shares!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Give me your tomatoes.

It's that time of year again, when people far and wide lament having too much produce from their gardens. They make tomato sauce, tomato relish, tomato salads. They give basil away by the truckload, bound with string with small cards attached detailing their favorite pesto recipe. It's a phenomenon.

But not in my life.

Why don't I have gardener friends? Are you all too busy? Where are my tomatoes? Where is my basil? I'm ready, hungry for a fresh salad!

Instead I spent $2.25 yesterday for a single tomato.

Clearly it was a mistake, the cashier must have rung me up for the super-amazing-hot-house-organic-makes-the-salad-for-you tomato, when really it was a slightly bruised but rather delicious little guy. I didn't go back to the market to correct the error, I simply chopped that precious fruit up and threw it in my stir fry.

But I can't afford to be spending such large amounts on such tiny accoutrement - so please, donate your unwanted fruits, vegetables, and herbs to me. I will use them with relish.

hee...hee... with relish.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Movie Review: No End in Sight.

Every couple of months I play a game. My game is going to the movie theatre and choosing the next movie that's starting, regardless of whether or not I know anything about it.

So Saturday, I played the game. And I saw No End in Sight.

The movie is written, produced and directed by Charles Ferguson. The film is his first, but his background is in political science, he's a PH.D and has been a senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. I'm surprised that this is his first film, since it's so well done, very clean and as "easy to watch" as such a devastating subject matter could be.

That being said, it is not, under any circumstances, easy to watch.

The film begins shortly before September 11, 2001, and follows chronologically the path that the U.S. takes first in Afghanistan, but quickly into Iraq.

What makes this movie great, are the open and honest interviews. There is one great sequence where a well-known official is interviewed question by question in contrast with his predecessor, painting an alarmingly accurate picture of both sides.

The candor of the interviews is startling. One feels as if there is serious remorse in some and none in others. Me, the uber-pacifist, left feeling as if I live in a country that has sanctioned a genocide. I've had my Schindler's list moment: I marched, I protested, I wrote, I called, I gave up my car, but I could have done more.

I feel like we'll never be able to come back from this. How could we?

I also feel like this film will be viewed by countless students, or should be, in the coming years, to educate, to spark discussion, and to perhaps shake people out of the apathy that allows these kinds of people to be elected, leading to such catastrophic results.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Losing Faith.

I hesitate to write this post. I seriously hesitate to write this post, but here it goes.

I'm losing faith.

For those of you that don't know, I grew up in an extremely religious family: both my parents are Episcopal priests. I was keenly aware of the human side of religion from a very young age, simply because I think it is impossible to see your religious leader as infallible if that person is your parent.

But now, things are really different.

I've always been highly superstitious, very careful, very interested in other religions, and other ways to engage on a spiritual level. I've tried to explain to people why and how this works, but the best that I've ever come up with is "I believe in everything because I have faith in nothing."

Even saying that phrase over and over again has not prepared me for the point I've reached in my life. I got a message from a friend yesterday that said, in response to my offer of help, "Prayer would help." And my immediate reaction, in my head, was "Really? C'mon, what will prayer do for you?" I'm a bit shocked and appalled that my thinking has evolved to that point, but it's true. What I wanted him to say was "Uh, actually, could you pick up my dry-cleaning?" Or maybe "Thanks, I could really use a friendly ear tonight to work through some things."

I know alot of research has been done on the power of positive thinking, and how prayer activities can actually better your health and your ability to be effective, I just don't have those experiences.

I blame the church, and my parent's involvement in the church, for a variety of 'ills' that have come our way, and frankly, it's affected my willingness to believe. But I feel guilty. I feel as if I'm not giving "faith" and "prayer" a chance to show me it's not just for self-interested, exclusionists.

So then, how do I have faith? Or does one just have it naturally? I don't know the answer. I'll be trying to pray for my friend, because I know that's what he wants, but I'd rather pick up his dry-cleaning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Workout Move...



I didn't feel the effects of my new workout move until after I got to work today. Yesterday I saw this article on msn.com called "Love your Legs." So I clicked on it.

Later, at the gym I did two sets. Here's the move:
Main Move: Cardio Curtsy

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing out. Hold chair with left hand (like a dancer at a barre), right arm at side. Cross right leg behind you, bending both knees (as if you were curtsying). At the same time, sweep right arm up and over, bending gently toward left (A).

Straighten legs and lift right knee to side, bending torso to bring right elbow toward right knee (B). Without pausing, repeat 25 times as quickly as you can while maintaining good form. Switch sides.

To Make it easier

Don't lift knee toward elbow. Instead, keep right toes on floor as you slide foot out to right and bring right elbow to side.

To Make it harder

As you lift knee toward elbow, rise up onto ball of left foot

Now, I'm feeling my quads in a very good way! Way to go MSN... I love that!

Although I don't think I was quite as upbeat as the woman in the picture while doing the moves.

More Lessons from a Rainy Morning.

Another strange walk to work this morning. This is what I learned:

Lesson 1: Cars don't care.
I was splashed numerous times at crowded crosswalks. I saw the cars coming, once I even made eye contact with the driver, but I was splashed anyway.

Lesson 2: People with big umbrellas are dangerous.
I was umbrella-bumped many times, but the funniest part was when a co-worker I was walking with was completely clotheslined by a low-hanging branch. And right after she was bragging about how big her umbrella is and how dry she stays.

Lesson 3: Rain is bad for homeless people.
The saddest thing about my walk to work was seeing the effect the rain had on some of my local homeless people. One man was so upset he was pantomiming indignation at the sky in dramatic fashion. I felt so bad.

A few blocks later I saw another man asking for spare change. The a--hole he asked was saying "Spare change? I don't even know what that means." Just taunting him. Just being mean.

It would be nice if I could open a little coffee shop that served the street community. A warm place to dry out and enjoy a warm beverage.

Lesson 4: The only way to enjoy the rain is from inside.
My office is warmer today. The little birds are playing near my window. The park is quiet and green. I could go fetch a cup of tea at any moment. My life is good. Now, how can I make it so for everyone else?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Head in the Clouds. *Edit*

It was a dark and stormy... morning.

I had a hard time waking up and a hard time motivating to leave the house. Even on my walk to work I was distracted... and oddly obsessed with my skirt fluttering in the wind.

It's chilly around the college today and chilly in my office. I've got a cup of tea, but it's not warming me at all. I'd like a warm blanket, a soft sofa, and a nice friend. Even if the friend were really a book.

I guess instead I'll just try to remain relaxed and try to stay warm and dry. ... And try to get my work done.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Best celebrity run-in story I've ever heard...

A woman I work with told me this story about her friend...

Her friend was visiting a town where Paul Newman is known to have a vacation house. One off-season, weekday afternoon the woman decided to stop for an ice cream cone.

Out of the corner of her eye she sees an older man and thinks "Naw, it can't be him." Upon further glances, she sees it IS Paul Newman and is completely star struck.

She decides against saying anything to him and hurries out of the shop. She realizes her change is in her hand but that she's forgotten her ice cream cone.

She goes back into the shop and her ice cream is not on the cone-holder. The clerk has gone into the back and she's looking around for her cone when she hears Paul Newman's voice say:

"It's in your purse."

Thinking about a breakup? Here's my advice:

I know so many people that are unhappy in their relationships or have recently broken up. After talking to so many people, here is my advice:

1) If you are thinking about breaking things off from a long-term relationship, what are your fantasies about how things will be different? What are the things you will do with your new free time? Who are the people you want to reconnect with?

Now, is there any part of that you can begin BEFORE a breakup? Would having more autonomy help give some clarity to the issues?

2) Do you have a plan? Where will you live? Do you have enough money/savings to make the transition? Who can you ask for help?

Keep in mind, after my last big breakup I did not have a plan. I did not follow my own advice and it was very messy... and took almost 3 years and alot of help for me to recover financially. Learn from my mistakes!

3) Consider outside help.

I think alot of people are willing to consider couples counseling, but less are willing to consider personal counseling. Remember that the issues you have in your relationships are usually linked to your parent/child relationship in many ways. Working through those aspects of your emotional development is YOUR job, not the job of your spouse/partner.

Okay. Enough from me. I'm not qualified to give this advice and you're getting it for free. As my very, super-really, intelligent mother says "You know the problem about free advice, right... you get what you pay for!"

Good luck to all of you that are in a moment of transition. Be patient, be calm. If you can learn from the relationship and the break-up process, you'll be a better person on the other side.

Oh, and since we're on the topic. I've always said that there are 4 things that if I had them, I would never need another partner... they are:
1) A wonderful best friend (for the blow-by-blow, everyday unwinding stuff)
2) A dog (for the I'm so happy you're home part)
3) A vibrator
4) A good massage therapist (because there's nothing like human contact)

Unfortunately, I only have one out of four.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Documentary Review: Rosita

Last night, I went to the International House on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania to watch a film. I even missed my African Dance class to attend. I expect this post to anger some people.

The documentary is called Rosita and it's the true story of an eight year old girl who was raped and became pregnant. Stop reading here if you are an extreme pro-life proponent.

The problem: She lives in Costa Rica and is of Nicaraguan parents.

Maybe I'm wrong, but even extreme pro-life people in the US usually would concede that in the case of an eight-year old girl, abortion should be an option. (Note: I took the clause "who was raped" out of the above sentence, because really... what 8 year old that becomes pregnant is not a victim of rape? I remember being 8 very clearly, sex was not on my mind)

Not in Costa Rica, and only for "therapeutic" abortions in Nicaragua. Therapeutic abortions are granted only in cases where the mother's health is seriously in jeopardy.

The film centered on the battle between the Catholic Church, who offered to adopt the unborn child, and the girl's parents. The parents, partially acting on the indications of their daughter, decided to go through with the pursuing the abortion. The Minister of the Family and the Minister of Health both vehemently opposed the abortion and tried to remove the child from the family. The media attention was extreme.

In the end, after many examinations, one grueling hearing with the accused rapist, and 4 months of fighting, Rosita was granted the abortion.

The accused rapist was never brought to trial.

The update from the filmmaker last night was, unfortunately, not that surprising. Rosita, now 13, has a 19-month old child. Speculation is that the father of the Rosita's child is her stepfather.

Why does it seem that victims of unspeakable crimes in our society continue to be victimized. Rosita was raped at 8, used as a media tool by both sides of a polarizing issue for months, and then raped again.

Perhaps it was because she was marked by the modern scarlet letter "A."

The film is available for purchase through Bullfrog Films.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh, one other!

Okay, so you probably figured out that while I liked the Kite Runner, I found it a bit simplistic and predictable. Not the situation in Afghanistan mind you, but the style and plot.

But, I didn't want to neglect to mention the other book I read that I LOVED! It's called the Piano Tuner. It's about a... well... piano tuner that gets sent to Burma by the British Army. It's wonderful, part Heart of Darkness, part travel journal. I really enjoyed it.

So two thumbs up for the Piano Tuner and History of Love.

Maybe one thumb up for the Kite Runner and The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller.

Wait, that's kind of awful... how can you give someone only one thumb for the story of their life, especially someone that triumphed over so many disabilities? But in my defense, she wrote the book at 22. And frankly, it reads a bit like my summer vacation joke-of-a-post. Very simplistic and overly enthusiastic.

Now I'm bookless. Suggestions? Help me. Help me, please.

What I did on my summer vacation.

By Kathryn Evans

This year, on my summer vacation, I did alot of things. Some of the things I did included: reading, flying, carrying stuff, talking, and breathing. The thing I liked the best was reading.

One book I read was "The Kite Runner" by a famous author. It was very scary. I read it in one day. I read alot of books in one day, but not scary ones. I didn't sleep well after I read it. Like when I eat too much pizza, and wish I hadn't eaten so much pizza.

The book was about boys and I'm a girl. I didn't understand the boys all the time, but I don't understand boys most of the time, so I guess that makes sense. But sometimes I didn't understand why the boys were doing or not doing what they were doing.

Also on my summer vacation I visited my parents. They are very nice. They gave me presents, but not because they had to like on my birthday, because they wanted to. It was very nice. They have made alot of changes to their house and it is very pretty.

Also on my summer vacation I talked to people. I like talking to people because they are nice. The only time I don't like talking to people is when they stink. Sometimes they stink because they need a bath and sometimes they stink because they are just mean.

I had a very nice time and I would like to go on vacation again very soon. School starts very soon, so I do not think I can go, but I would like to.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to the grind tomorrow.

It hasn't been exactly a relaxing break, but hopefully I'll make up for it today. What I have planned for the day: pool, reading, tv watching, and eating.

I may decide not to answer the phone. I may decide not to talk to my fellow sun-bathers. I may very well decide not to do anything even remotely nice. Instead, perhaps I'll stay nicely remote. Or perhaps I'll just spend the day with my nice remote (control that is). Whatever feels most relaxing.

I have one more day to wash away the last month of stress.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Combo Book Review/Movie Review

Book Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Leave it to the friend that, arguably, knows me the best to give me this book to read. I asked her to describe it in three words. She struggled and used many more than 3... now I see why.

Gentle, staggering, sweet, sad, confused and tragic. Those are the words I would use. Although when I texted her last night, I used the word stunning. Truly stunning.

The plot is varied and complex. The language is thoughtful, but not ostentatious. The characters are developed: flawed, caring, and trying the best they can. Truly it is how I think of love: flawed, caring, and trying the best you can.

I know this is a spare review, but I don't want to say too much. I have many favorite moments, but really I'm just thankful to have spent 8 hours of my life with this book. Started on the plane ride back from vacation and finished, after many pauses to keep from crying hysterically in airports, at 12:30 last night. It is similar to the book I want to write with my mother, but lighter.

Now the movie review... can't get much more different: Rush Hour 3
What can I say... it's nearly identical to the others. If you saw them and loved them, then you'll love this one. If you were like I was and missed the second because you'd had enough from the first.. then why a third? Maybe you haven't had enough bikini girls and bathroom jokes in your life? Maybe you long for more ethnic misunderstandings and fight scenes? Maybe you have a crush on Jackie Chan? Wait to the very end... then watch the outtakes... the best moment is seeing Jackie Chan's sweet daughter in one rehearsal scene... such cuteness. Better yet, wait and download it from Netflix... then just watch the outtakes. You won't be missing much.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My New Talent

Apparently, I have a talent of which I was completely unaware: Translating English to English.

Anyone that has friends or family that are still navigating themselves towards fluency with the English language probably has this talent themselves. In my afternoons with Roula, my dear friend's cousin, I did ALOT of this translation.

However, I must try to transcribe a conversation we had.

Roula: I have a new dog.
Me: Oh, wonderful!
Roula: His name is Beubes.
Me: Boobies?
Roula: Yes, Beubes!
Me: Oh, that's great.

Later in the evening, my friend drove me into the city.
Me: Did you hear the name of Roula's new dog?
Friend: Yes! Do you think she knows the English word it sounds like?
Roula: What?
Friend: Your dog's name, it sounds like the slang word for breasts... Boobies.
Roula: Yes, but my beubes is spelled B..E..U..B..E..S.. and your boobies are spelled B..U..B..
Friend: No, my boobies are not spelled that way.
Roula: How are your boobies spelled?
Friend: My boobies are B..O..O..B..I..E..S, except I don't have much.

It was very funny!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tourist by proxy

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all. Believe me, I've missed you all!

After several days of strep throat, I've spent the beginning of my vacation with a couple out of town guests.

The first, my friend-of-friend, Nicole from Germany has actually been in town for 12 days. It's quite amazing how much someone becomes part of your daily routine over the course of 12 days. She leaves this evening and I will miss her.

Yesterday we went to New York, my first official vacation activity. We had a lovely Sunday afternoon Dim Sum in Chinatown and then I wandered about with my sweetest friend and got my nails done. Very relaxing.

Today, it's off to the mall to do a bit of shopping with Roula, my cousin-of-friend, and I'm very excited. She is an extraordinarily gregarious, beautiful Greek woman. While we were in Greece, her name became an adjective... "Those shoes are so Roula!"

So here I go, for another round of tourism and consumerism, before I head down to Georgia to see my parents. While I was really hoping for an exotic locale for my break, I'll instead be spending my break with several exotic people in familiar places.

With so many recent disappointments and stresses, perhaps I'll meet some new exotic people too. I'm keeping my options open... and will be taking notes on how to be more fantastic from Miss Roula this afternoon!

Friday, August 3, 2007

And the worst blogger award goes to...

After I made you all vote for me on that interview site, then I go and disappear.

Sorry, sick.

Doctor says I have strep throat. Hopefully next week while vacationing I'll be able to regale you all with funny stories, book reviews and the like.

This week all I would have written would have been something like this:

"Still cranky. Throat still hurts. Life still sucks"

This is probably making you feel fairly fortunate that I've been away - not typing.

And maybe, if you're good and loyal readers... I'll upload some pictures! Shocking, I know.

Thanks for your patience. Love to you all until next week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Election time!

I love the movie Election. When faced with a simple school election, Reese Witherspoon's fangs come out and all her ambition turns ugly. That's so me.

I've actually only been in one election in my whole life: National Honor Society. I was in the running with Cindy, a much more popular girl. I started a word-of-mouth campaign about how much I wanted to contribute to the school and how dedicated I was to my academics (being sure to leave doubt about Cindy's qualifications clearly in mind, but unspoken.) Wouldn't you know it, I won. Little 'ol chubby, nerdy me!

Then, two weeks later my parents announced we were moving to another state and I abdicated my throne to Cindy anyway.

But now, here I am... given another chance to shine. You can vote for me and my blog at this site: http://bloginterviewer.com/randomness/kathryns-blog-mindful-integration-kathryn-evans

I'm not promising lower taxes. I'm not sure I can do anything to ensure universal healthcare. I don't even think I can hold up on the campaign trail. But I can say that I'll keep typing. I'll try to have more interesting posts and less emotional vomit. But I can promise one thing, if we ever meet again and you say "Hey, I voted for you" then I'll buy you cake.

Yes, that's right, I'll buy your vote with cake.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beep, Beep, Beep - Dump.

Yes, that's the sound of a truck backing up and unloading a pile of stuff onto my head. That's how I've been feeling today. Like several trucks have emptied their emotional contents onto my head.

Let's recap the week:
- Police on my doorstep because of 911 call about a break-in and subsequent unhappy homeless person terrorizing our alleyway after being detained.
- Seriously scary mugging of my friend that lives 2 blocks away the same night.
- Boss came back from her "vacation" with her dementia suffering, ailing mother.
- Huge memorial service coming up for Ms. Ayesha.
- Stage 4 diagnosis for another friend's mom.
- Ongoing breakup saga for friend that is so intense and full of manipulation.
- Another friend needing my help and input on a last minute move to another city.
- There are about 3 other things that are too personal to share, but trust me, they're big.

So with trying to keep the fun things like African dance and my friend's birthday party in my schedule, I am now a complete basket case.

I am ready for my vacation more than ever now. I seriously feel like once I make it through the memorial service, that I'm going to take a day to lay in bed and maybe just moan or cry. I'm not really depressed, I'm just exhausted from trying to keep my emotional steadiness amongst this vast sea of hurt and tragedy. Maybe I'll set a time limit... 2 hours to moan and cry, followed by a light movie and a cupcake.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finally!!! African Dance.

After 3 years and one false posting, I finally went to African Dance class last night!

For any Africans that might be reading this, let me be specific... my teacher is from the Ivory Coast, so it's a West African Dance class. I don't want to be one of those people that lumps a whole continent together.

It was very interesting and very hard. I loved it though. I think I wounded the soles of my feet and I expect to feel certain parts of my body tomorrow that might have not been moved with such freedom and passion in awhile.

The dances themselves were really interesting. They definitely reminded me of Capeoira and Samba. Some of the elements of the footwork are similar, but as my teacher said, "... oh, it's much faster and the movements are much larger." True. Very true.

I think my work will be to 1) Loosen up more 2) Listen for the drumbeats, which dictate the movement 3) Try to get a portion of the harder combinations first... like if the feet are the big part, focus on that... if the arms are the flourish and the footwork is simplier, focus on what the arms are doing.

I was very happy to hear that most of the time the dances are similar, so once I get the elements down, I'll be able to work on the different variations more easily. I was also very happy that everyone was very encouraging and welcoming. What a lovely community.

So watch out! I may get seriously good at shaking my stuff to the beat. If not, then I'll at the very least enjoy myself, get a great workout and interact with a wonderful group of people.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Brake for Blind People.

This is yet another random thing about me that I've mentioned before. I brake for blind people. Wherever I am if I see a blind person struggling a bit, I offer to help. I've helped enough that I know the rules (1) Always offer first 2) Let them take your elbow and push you at their pace 3) Use descriptive words and like "left one step" not vagueness like "a little further, you're okay")

So two blind people entered my world yesterday. The first just an older man that was trying to navigate around the open cellar doors on 20th Street - easy.

The second one, I didn't help... I just stared. It was a young man. Maybe 25years old. VERY handsome.

It caught me a little off guard. I wanted to go up to him and offer to help, but not for the right reasons. I wanted to say "Gosh, you're handsome" but I felt like there would be an unspoken phrase at the end that I didn't intend.

He didn't really need help. He was navigating just fine on his own, but it threw me off. There was something extremely intriguing to me about the idea of dating someone that was very attractive, but that couldn't see me... couldn't see all my flaws.

I'm not actually going to pursue the stranger on the street. But still, it was an interesting moment for me to think about how I view myself. I'm certainly committed to helping people that need help - it makes me feel good. I will continue to help all blind people, not just the young, handsome ones, but more importantly... why was it so interesting to me to think about the possibility of not being seen? Is my body image so self-deprecating? Am I really that obsessed with my perceived flaws?

I have spent alot of my life feeling like I just wasn't "enough" for the people around me: not thin enough, not patient enough, not generous enough - unworthy in some way. It's also interesting to me to see that it doesn't work to just want to change how you feel about yourself - it's more insidious than that. You have to actively work out a different way to think or the old insecurities come creeping back in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I've been tagged...

Craige (the high school friend, not the ex) tagged me on her blog to complete seven random things about myself. My whole life is random, so I don't think this will be a problem.

Here we go... let the randomness begin!
1) I'm obsessed with other religions. I "try-on" other religions all the time. I think it's because both my parents are Episcopal priests, but my mother is half-Jewish, and my great-grandparents died in the holocaust - religion has ruled my life. So at any given moment, in my brain I might be thinking about keeping kosher, chanting a Buddhist heart sutra, or thinking about my chakras. Also, the word "Christian" makes me cringe.

2) I can't bring my lunch. Something happens between when I make it and when I have to sit and eat it... I don't want it anymore. And sometimes I feel like maybe it's spoiled, even though I know it hasn't really spoiled.

3) I'm allergic to Titanium Dioxide. It's in everything from sunscreen to toothpaste. I know within a few minutes if I've used something that has it - I start to feel faint. This makes me a label-scouring person at the drugstore.

4) I have always been afraid I'll be unable to have children. To me not having children, or at least adopting them, would be the biggest tragedy of my life.

5) I can barely afford to eat, but I own several impressive things: a woodcut by renowned modernist Jan Arp and a scarab ring that supposedly is from King Tut's tomb.

6) I fall in love with everyone I sleep with. Hence why I don't sleep around - self deprivation for self preservation.

7) I can create whole fantasy lives for myself based on just one small thing. My fantasy life for myself right now is that I move to Africa, have a baby and adopt two more. Always have a kid tied to me and help women there market their art and traditional crafts for a western market while learning all the Bantu languages and reinforcing my Amharic.

This is the part that I'm supposed to tag other bloggers, but I don't really know any other bloggers besides Craige and a random woman that I used to work with. And if I admit to that other woman that I read her blog, then I have to admit that I've seen pictures of her in some strange situations... and I really don't want to do that... sorry. Oh, but take a look at Craige's blog here: http://www.craigemorsels.com/blog/archives/000650.html

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Long time coming...


Okay. I'm ready, after over a month. Here is my obituary for Jeanne Ayesha Lauenbourg. It's just from my perspective.

As many of you know Ms. Ayesha, my friend Sarah's mom, passed away a few weeks ago. This coming Friday will be the big memorial service in her honor. I wanted to use this opportunity to write about her. I hope it will allow me to be at peace on Friday and not be a big, blubbering mess.

First, let me explain the image... it's Gaston Lachaise's wonderful sculpture, Standing Woman. To me, this is the best picture to describe Ms. Ayesha to you. One can imagine when looking at this sculpture that the woman depicted would be the kind to laugh heartily, the kind to give big hugs, the kind to do nice things and do them with a certain flare. That was how Ms. Ayesha was.

The thing that saddens me the most is that Sarah and her mom were inseparable. They danced together, talked all the time, and figured all the messy parts of life out together. I know Sarah has Chris and little Jonathan now, but I cannot imagine how hard it will be for her to be missing her mom's influence. Even now, the word that I can most remember Ms. Ayesha saying isn't a word at all... it's Sarah's name.

Ms. Ayesha had this way of focusing herself that made the person talking to her feel extremely special. I know she was an interfaith minister and a leader of dances, and everyone that participated in these events must have felt so connected to her. I must admit that I'm nervous about Friday. I cannot imagine how intense it will be! Her burial was gut-wrenching.

I am extremely grateful to her. She came with Sarah to visit during my recovery and asked all the difficult questions. She had known so much illness by that point, she knew instinctively what would be helpful to talk about and what wouldn't be. Then they invited me to join them for Christmas. Ms. Ayesha looked amazing - radiant in a green outfit, her hair short and red, her eyes gleaming. This is how I want to remember her: beautiful, so proud of Sarah, happy, and comfortable to be with her best friends.

It's so hard to believe that less than a year later she is gone. I saw Sarah yesterday and she looks good - radiant herself. I know she's worried about Friday too, but it will all be okay. When things get rough I'm going to close my eyes and imagine one of Ms. Ayesha's big, warm hugs. Or maybe slip into the memory of her and Sarah singing Christmas caroles.

If you're interested, you can visit her website: www.suficaravan.com for more information on the service.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Reading up a storm.

With still no TV, I've been reading like crazy. These are my mini-reviews.

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid. This is a jewel of a book. Small and quick to read, but scathing in it's commentary on privlege, corruption, colonialism, and race. I've never wanted to visit Antigua more, nor have I ever felt so guilty about the impact I have on such a small place. One charm of this book is that it seems to have been stolen from a library and Jamaica Kincaid talks of stealing books from her local library in an effort to educate herself. Be prepared to be appalled.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. This is the story of Paul Farmer's work in Haiti. An infectious disease specialist, Paul Farmer is changing the way that TB is treated in the world and saving lives. His indefatiguable spirit is an inspiration. As someone that regularly thinks of packing up and moving to a third world country, this book has me more grounded in reality, but ready for the chance to lend a helping hand.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Book 1 of his Dark Materials series. I loved the story, which reminded me of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and A Wrinkle in Time, but I was annoyed by the ending. It's making me wonder if I should bother with the last two books in the series or is it more of the stuff I don't like and less of the stuff that I like.

I just started the Life of Pi, so I'll let you know how it goes. I've been reading a little slower because of all the stuff... all that overwhelming stuff that I talked about yesterday.

I think I need to come up with a closing... I hate just ending without saying goodbye. How about "Much love and type to you soon"...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When just enough becomes too much.

I've been thinking all day today about that moment when my very full life becomes too much for me to handle. I can always swing it back around into balance eventually, but for a few hours it feels overwhelming.

Yesterday and today have felt like too much. Too many people who need my attention and too many activities to handle. Nothing bad at all, just too much.

I know everyone would understand if I said "No, I can't today" but I don't want to do that. Most everything is fun and fine... there's just too much of it!

I know there are so many people reading this that understand. We all spend so much of our time just plodding along, dealing with what comes and trying to manage all the stuff. So much of our stress we create ourselves - we fill our days with activities in an attempt to have full and wonderful lives, but day to day the amount we're in the mood to handle changes.

So today I'm in the mood for a heavily air conditioned room (my office is a million degrees), a large icy cup of herbal tea (I'm trying to control my Starbucks addiction), a few moments of uninterrupted time to start calling people I need to call, and a chance to relax after work.

Probably not in the cards for me today. Instead I've been a big, grumpy, sweaty lump of a human being. But I have high hopes for tomorrow or maybe next week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cornel West: The Album

Unless much has changed in the last few years, this post will annoy Kali. Sorry sweetheart. But I happen to be a fan of the always outlandish author Cornel West.

I am so tickled to see that he's finally releasing his album next month! I knew plans for the album were one of the reasons that he left Harvard for Princeton, but I'm so excited to see what it's all about. We can look forward to West's political commentary while other artists contribute... some of my favorites... including: Prince (yay), Andre 3000 (makes sense), Talib Kweli (love him!), Jill Scott (love her even more!), Rhymefest (okay), hip-hop legend KRS-One (the philosopher, yum!), The Roots' Black Thought(I can't believe I actually shook his hand... I love him), Rah Digga (great) and the late Gerald Levert (a posthumous shout out).

It's called "Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations." Which makes me even MORE intrigued... given that I assume Revelations refers to the Biblical Revelations, and I think that's the craziest book ever (many apologies to those of you that live by that book of the Bible, no offense intended.)

If you want to read more about Cornel West, check out this discussion on the Post website yesterday. He's contentious, but mostly on-point and pragmatic. I need to read more of his work, but he's certainly entertaining! Here's the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/07/16/DI2007071601230.html

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Identity removed. Bye little car.

Sunday afternoon I spent a couple of hours preparing my car to be donated to Purple Heart. I'm over dramatizing here, but it felt like preparing a body for burial. I cleaned it, removed my identity from it, and wished it well on its voyage to its new life.

I still have to send my tags to the MVA and send the title to Purple Heart, but the car is being picked up by the tow truck today.

I never really wanted the car. I felt like I needed it for safety back 8 years ago. I always struggled with it... sending it to storage at my parents house when it was too overwhelming. I struggled with the payments for over 4 years, before my parents finally took pity on me and paid it off... just in time for the mechanical problems to start.

I let other people drive it as often as possible. Our last big trip together was when I left my life in DC to parts unknown. I loaded the essentials into my little car and drove off into the sunset - without much warning or fanfare.

I guess I'll miss the very specific freedom that comes with having a car, but I'm completely green now, which makes up for it. I know that I probably will need to concede at some point in the future. There are very few places you can have a family and be a sculptor without a car. But for now, I'm enjoying the walking, and happy to not have the aggressive drivers making obscene gestures when they end up behind me on the highway.

I may be a good citizen, but I'm a bad driver. So you can all thank me for removing myself from the chaos of American roads.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Linkin' Thinkin'

Another of those networking sites has popped into my life. Not to be an advertisement or anything, but all of a sudden I started getting requests on www.linkedin.com

This one has me more confused and anxious because it's strictly work/professionally related. I'm all for connecting and networking, but I get nervous about these sites. The people that I'm connected to know where I work and what my background is, and those that don't... well maybe that's for a reason.

I'm not someone that likes hearing from random people at work, but all this LinkedIn business has me thinking about it. For example, without much searching I found someone I knew fairly well a decade ago: Tito Sierra.

I met Tito one summer while at Harvard. He was studying business and photography at Harvard and I was there taking classes and agreed to be his model one afternoon (fully clothed). He had a girlfriend, so nothing happened romantically between us, but he sent one confusing email to me that ended our associations on any level. He had just seen "Leaving Las Vegas" and he emailed to tell me that he thought it reminded him of us. I went to see the movie expecting to see a fun friendship develop, and instead... well, you all have probably seen the movie. End of friendship, end of story.

But I found him on LinkedIn. Do I still have the proofs of the beautiful photos he took of me: Yes. Do I want to get back in touch with him: Sort of. Do I think that's a wise idea: NO.

So there is the problem. Even professional relationships are sticky. Same field, same age, contacts in common, and yet the history should probably not be reopened. I would love to know if he's still taking photos. If he had a Flickr page, I guarantee I would lurk often. But again, I'm not willing to reopen the door.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Untitled.

For the last two or three days, the title field on my blog has not been working. I posted anyways, clearly, but it was disconcerting.

I've never been good at giving things titles, not my art, not my writing - nothing really. I wonder if I'll have a hard time naming my children. If I can't name a lump of cooked clay, how will I ever be able to assign a name to describe a whole, complex little being.

Maybe part of the issue is that I love book titles so much. I'm often disappointed by stories that don't live up to their titles.

Here are some of my favorite titles... all of them are pretty good stories too:
Something Wicked this Way Comes
Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores
Interpreter of Maladies

On Monday, I was at a bookstore and I saw a book title that I thought was very interesting. I was so disappointed to read the back cover and find the story sounded weird and disjointed. Also that night, I ran across a book called "A Curse on the Reader of these Pages." I didn't pick that one up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A solemn thank you to Thomas for sending me this article: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/10/1413220 about the Jena Six.

What a powerful and outrageous reminder that we still live in a world that is so divided. While I hope that nothing can come between me and my pacifist beliefs, this story reminds me that the world has not changed enough for us to relax.

One of the people quoted in this article, Caseptla Bailey, says about her letter-writing campaign "That's how I fight back, you know, by putting the pen to the paper." Well, here I am Ms. Bailey, fighting with you, putting fingers to keyboard to try to help.

It reminds me of so many stories - of David Duke's reign in Louisiana, of young children beaten on playgrounds, but especially of the untold stories from a generation ago that so many of us try not to think about. But this is not from a generation ago, this is from today. This month. This year.

I have been joking with friends about how to get out of jury duty... knowing that I've never been called because of my nomadic ways. But this makes me realize the solemnity attached to that "duty"... that all of us that want equality are necessary parts of this deeply flawed justice system. Our voices are important. The work is not over.

As sad and disheartening as this is, I know that tears are not helpful. As enraging and galling as this is, my anger must be channeled. I start with this action here: sharing this story with you. When other appropriate actions are clear, we will all need to act.

In the meantime, all I can do is remind everyone reading this of the answer that Rosa Parks gave a few years ago, when asked what should be done now. Her response was for all of us - to confront the more subtle forms of racism when we see it. To not let the comments and the inappropriate behavior go uncorrected. We cannot afford to let this be perpetuated in future generations.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I need a vacation.

Problem no. 1. I can't afford to go anywhere.

Problem no. 2. I don't know who to go with.

Problem no. 3. I don't have any extra energy.

So this is what I need: I need someone to pick me up, drive me somewhere, pay for everything, keep me company, and not expect anything in return.

Any takers?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fourth of July in the Big Apple

Ah, the Big Apple. It was a fourth of July many, many years ago when I first learned that special nickname for New York. My grandfather had purchased some glittery kid-thing that had that printed on it and gave it to me right before we made our way into the city for the fireworks. I was too young to really understand the nickname, but ever since then if you say "The Big Apple" I think of red glitter.

So lots happened: I went to an amazing book exchange (yes, expect many book reviews to come), I watched the fireworks from my friend's roof, and I went to a play. In the meantime, I helped my friend figure out to transition from a "business casual" office to a "business" office - no easy feat, I tell you.

First - the book exchange:
Here's what I brought, Karma and other stories by Rishi Reddi and Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang. Karma and Other stories is very similar to Interpreter of Maladies. Maybe a bit simpler, but I actually enjoyed it more. The short stories have a few common threads and a few repeating characters, which makes it feel more like a novel than a compilation. Love in a Fallen City is an epic collection of short stories that can seem dense, but is also a treasure trove of romantic ideals, modern isolation, and traditional culture all whirling around at a high speed.

Here's what I took: A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid, Confederacy of Dunces, Life of Pi, The Piano Tuner, and one I cannot remember. As soon as I finish Mountains Beyond Mountains, expect the book reviews to begin! I'm very excited.

The Fireworks.
I don't like fireworks. And the rooftop was a bit like a weird frat-party with too many people and not enough window space. But I ran into my friend's sister in law, a young woman I like quite alot. It was so fun to see her. I need to remember to tell her that. I did dance one merengue with a random stranger, but only because he was desperate to get the dancing started. Although the photographer there was going crazy, so I expect my picture will be EVERYWHERE!

The Play.
It was called Deuce and starred Angela Landsbury and Marian Seldes. The actors were amazing and the play itself had several poignant moments and comments on aging, what it's like to be both famous and nearly forgotten - simultaneously, and how difficult it is to watch the world change without you. I went with my friend's father - an expressive Russian man who is like a father to me. He was dying to get me into the MOMA for free, but I had to put him off to my next trip. I love him and his wife, they are so effusive, so worried all the time about everything, but also so joyful and excited to share their lives with me. I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to have wonderful friends that not only let me into their lives, but also that let me into their families!

The Wardrobe Transition.
All I have to say is: May I never have to be in a business attire office. Ugh.