Friday, December 26, 2008

My new Kikoi!

This is actually a birthday gift, but I wore it for the first time on Christmas. It's from Charles' sister and I love it so much.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Two Weeks Off!

Today is my last day in the office until January 5th.

I would like to pretend that Winter Break extends to all portions of my life, so I plan on becoming completely undependable for that time period.

Will I blog? Maybe.

Will I post pictures? Maybe.

You can catch me on Facebook and via email for sure, but all other bets are off, depending on how quickly (or if) boredom sets in.

Love to you all! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving and Motivation.

Thanks to the wonderful help from many great friends and family, I got all my things moved out of my old apartment. Problem is: I have no motivation to unpack or go back to my apartment and clean.

I have 3 more days (not counting today) until my Winter Break. I am super tired. I am ready to relax.

Oh, and I haven't bought a single Christmas present yet. I hope everyone will understand. Post-wedding, post-car shopping, I don't have alot of $$$ - well, when do I ever. And like the rest of America, I am feeling more pressure than ever to live within my means.

There is a Swahili saying: Only scratch where you can reach.

I'm afraid my arms are notoriously short.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A day to remember.

So yesterday was my first birthday as Mrs. Charles Ombam. And it was amazing.

It started with me turning off my alarm, rolling over for an extra hour, and hearing my husband say... Happy Birthday, Mrembo... as he walked in the door with a big present and promises of a day full of surprises.

My sister and brother-in-law came over for a quick visit, so while I am not used to entertaining in my pajamas, I had a wonderful time chatting with my sister in law. After they left, Charles and I had tea and relaxed. He gave me a beautiful card that made me tear up and two presents.

At some point around 11am, Charles asked if I wanted to cook lunch. I really love cooking with him, we wander around the kitchen and I ask him a million questions - and I marvel at his fluency with a kitchen knife. I force him to tell me the Swahili word for everything (for the four-hundred-thousandth time) and we create this beautiful meal together. I adore the whole process.

I have watched him create ugali (also called sembe), the East African staple that I describe as "maize mashed potatoes", at least a dozen times. I know that my learning to create this dish is important. The reverence surrounding sembe is formidable. Ask my husband or his friends to describe sembe and they will start an hour long conversation that is full of laughter and love. To me, it's as if this one dish is evocative of their entire family life back in Kenya. They describe the trials of eating bad sembe, the love and care that one must have in kneading it in your hand, and the dangers of eating too fast, too much, or foolishly trying to run after eating it.

So yesterday I made it.

I had heard that the first batch would be no good. We would have to throw it out. And Charles had teased that we would make a very small amount - so he would not lament the loss of the precious maize flour used to make it.

But I did a decent job. It was edible.

A small hill of ugali... not mine. I'll upload that later.

Video footage was taken. The intensity and anxiety were palpable. I will try to post it later.

We relaxed into a sembe coma. Like a regular food coma, but deeper.

At some point, I started to hover about. It was nearing 3pm. Time for Charles to go to work. Agitation was apparent. But he had arranged for coverage. And he had the whole evening. I relaxed again - allowing the coma to return.

Around 6pm, I asked if we had any plans. "Let's just relax" was the consensus. But a few minutes later, Charles was all like "Well, maybe we could go try out your GPS" - (one of my presents.) I spruced myself up, put on my new sweater from my mom and we headed out the door.

Me: "What should I put in the GPS?"

Charles: "Philadelphia"

Me: "Oh, what street?"

Charles: "Broad"

Still clueless, we got to Philly, parked and started to walk up Broad. Charles tried to throw me off the scent by talking about other things. No need - I had NO idea.

Finally, we walked up to the Kimmel Center and he nodded to the valet.

Charles: "I'm a patron."

Me: "Really?"

Charles: "Tonight at least."

Then it was like my memory opened up, connected all the dots, and did a silent squeal of joy!

Me: (as we are walking into the Kimmel Center) "The Soweto Gospel Choir is playing tonight! I told you about that weeks ago! We're going! We're here!"

We got our tickets, settled into our seats and chatted until the show started. As the performers came out, tears streamed down my face. Seriously, how did I get so lucky to find this wonderful man that knows me so well. And at the same time, he is such a great performer, he could be up on that stage too. It was overwhelming.***

There is video of this too. Soon, my pretty, you'll get it soon.

We met some of the performers from the choir afterwards. They were so sweet and gracious. We drove home singing Christmas songs and talking about how fun it all was.

Charles went off to his overnight job. I stole his big huge t-shirt and wrapped up in it... floating off to sleep feeling safe and warm and content with my life.

I know everyday won't be like this. I know every birthday will not be like this. But I just hope that we always have this innocence about ourselves - that love and joy. All that fun. And I hope I am always this grateful for his energy and input in my life.

***PS: I forgot to mention that the Soweto Gospel Choir is the CD that was purchased at Barnes and Noble the day we met. It was one of the first things we talked about. And also, the performance was amazing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Moving Week.

Big things happening.

Charles and I BOUGHT A CAR.

I am finally giving up my apartment in the city, now that I can actually get to and from the train station.

That means, this week is... duh, duh, duh. MOVING WEEK.

So I'll be going back and forth this week, taking little things and packing stuff up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pain in the neck.

Thanksgiving was a non-stop thrill ride, full of food, fun, and friends.

But I have this problem with my neck, so I haven't slept properly in five days.

I have some great video of the nephew-babies, so I'll try to post them by the end of the week!

In the meantime, I'm heading to the gym for a light workout, dinner with my friend, and then I am seriously going to try to sleep through the night.

Kisses to all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Saint Catherine's Day!

Today is my saint day. Or one of them... the one I celebrate at least. St. Catherine of Alexandria Day. (Which was my nickname at my first job after college, in Alexandria, VA)

But there is no way to live up to a martyr. Many of her attributes are things that I work on. Visit wikipedia, and you'll see that St. Catherine is said to have been highly learned (in philosophy and theology), very beautiful, sexually pure, and to have been brutally murdered for publicly stating her beliefs.

Let's pause for a moment of silence.

Okay, that was just a minute of gratitude that I will not die a painful death as a young virgin. I've missed that calling. (Phew.)

Really, the bit that is most interesting to me is the "publicly stating her beliefs" bit. I try hard to do that. Obviously, here I am.

So what do I say - that needs to be said:
- We need to take better care of one another. Bailouts for corporations are fine, maybe even necessary, but what about the working class people whose annual salaries have not increased significantly in the last DECADE?

- We need to take better care of our little girls. Women are doing better, slowly. But girls all over the world are still undereducated, underfed, and have less opportunities than their male counterparts.

- We need to be more inclusive. Racism, homophobia, ethnic fighting, and classism needs to GO. We're not helping anyone until we're helping everyone.

- We need to be nicer to our planet. We need to drive less, consume less, and downsize. We need to pay attention to our environment and share our resources. We need to reverse climate change. We need to be better.

Strap me to a wheel if you want, but you know I'm right. I am not perfect, but I am dedicated to trying to be a little better everyday. That's all I'm asking from you.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I found this interesting site that talks about the Thanksgiving Myths and the real stories of Thanksgiving.

For example, the harvest day celebration that was the holiday that Thanksgiving is based on was three days long. Wonderful news, since I plan to celebrate from Thursday to Sunday.

Also, contrary to what the center figure in the above painting might indicate, pilgrims did not wear black and white clothing with big buckles. Which is good news, because I expect that this weekend the only people I will see wearing only black and white will be the referees at the college football games.

So I'm guessing I won't post much this week. Sorry folks. But here is what I'm thankful for this year:
- Health and happiness
- Great family, wonderful friends
- A job and some pennies in the bank (30% less pennies, just like everyone, but whatever)
- An amazing husband who also has wonderful friends and an amazing family
- A future that seems brighter and more hopeful than in a long time

Love to you all. Thanks for making my world a wonderful place.

(PS: Happy Birthday Ruth... your ode is coming)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ode to Maria

This blog post is just an excuse to post this amazing picture of my dear friend Maria. I am loving these "odes" because it gives me a chance to tell the world how much I love the people I love.

What are the words that people use to describe Maria: Tall, beautiful, Greek. (I doubt there is anyone that reads this blog that doesn't know her, but if by some chance you don't, she's the tall, beautiful Greek woman in my wedding photos.)

What are the words that I use to describe Maria: Loyal, brilliant, caring. There are a million other wonderful traits about her, but I know she'll read this and get embarrassed.

I love looking at this picture because it has some hidden clues about her. The cross around her neck, for example, is a clear reference to a deeply-held faith that most people have no idea about. With someone that has dedicated themselves so wholly to math, science and all pursuits of intellect, it seems rare to find them have such enormous faith.

That look in her eyes. She knows what is expected of her and she is doing it. Beautifully. She continues to pour herself into her work and her friendships with an intensity that is unparalleled. I have been the beneficiary for so many years, I can speak to it with great confidence. Maria will save your life, allow you to make difficult decisions, and then save it again with no qualms or judgment.

I could go on. And on. And on. But there is too much. She's too accomplished. Too amazing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Ode to Nathan.

I've been thinking about my awesome cousin Nathan ever since our wedding and meaning to write something about him here. I'm just so impressed by him.

He is not my cousin closest in age, but was my cousin closest in geography growing up. We are about 4 or 5 years apart (right, Nathan?) and so I ADORED him as a baby. What else does a mature 6 year old want in life but a tiny, wicked-smart toddler to take care of. I adored him.

He was a quiet teenager, but his intelligence and artistic ability was enough to make me bug him to death at every family function. You know how smart teen boys are, they LOVE their chubby older cousins to grill them about history class or what academic competitions they are in (sarcasm).

My first trip to Philly was actually on an East-Coast college tour with him and my aunt. We had an amazing time. We visited Penn. I never thought I would live down the street, but I did love Penn best and secretly wished he would go there. He didn't.

That's the thing about Nathan. He has this path that is all his own. And it has lead him to be this AMAZING guy. He is an amazing dancer:

(One of my coworkers saw these photos of him dancing and instantly fell in love.)

He is the photographer behind all those wonderful Black and White photos that I posted a few days ago. He didn't use a flash, and instead obviously let the natural light soak into the frames with adjusting the aperture. There are some that are blurred, and I love so much as they capture a movement that evokes the kind of event a wedding is: frenetic.

Love you, Cuz. Hope you're feeling better.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Like many people in this world, I like to capture as many moments of sleep as I can. I get ready very quickly and run out the door. I am rarely late, but I definitely rush most mornings.

This morning, I stopped by my local Starbucks for a cup of tea and a quick breakfast to eat at my desk. My barista saw me come in and prepared my tea quickly.

I grabbed it and walked out.

In my hurry, I abandoned my breakfast sandwich. I didn't remember it until I was already at work sitting at my desk, 20 minutes later. Too late to go and retrieve it.

R.I.P. Reduced Fat Turkey-Bacon, without the Turkey Bacon. R.I.P.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've been having interesting conversations recently about plastic. People have VERY polarized reactions about the safety of today's plastic, particularly when it comes to the microwave.

For example, check out this article from the Daily Green:
In the latest revelation about the chemical industry and its lax federal watchdogs, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found that plastic containers marked "microwave safe" are anything but.

These containers, marketed to parents as being safe for infants, release "toxic doses" of Bisphenol-A when heated, the paper found.

"The amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals," the paper reports. "The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands. The changes to the mammary glands were identical to those observed in women at higher risk for breast cancer."

The investigation also found Bisphenol-A in additional products — not just hard, clear plastics and the lining of cans. BPA "is present in frozen food trays, microwaveable soup containers and plastic baby food packaging" — and not only in plastics marked No. 7, but in Nos. 1, 2 and 5 as well, according to the report.

The report reminds us that "microwave safe" — like so many packaging claims — is pure marketing. The phrase is not regulated by the government, and its use is not subject to any independently verifiable guidelines.

The Journal Sentinel has been leading the effort to understand Bisphenol-A, which was developed as a synthetic estrogen, but which has come to be widely used in consumer products and food packaging. While independent and government scientists have increasingly raised concerns about the chemical, the Food and Drug Administration, in choosing not to regulate its use, has so far side with the chemical industry, which claims the chemical is safe. Canada has declared it unsafe, and is moving to restrict its use in products designed for use by infants.

Read the paper's full account.

7 Steps to Avoid Bisphenol A
Tips from the Journal Sentinel

Do not microwave food or beverages in plastic.
Do not microwave or heat plastic cling wraps.
Do not place plastics in the dishwasher.
If using hard polycarbonate plastics (water bottles, baby bottles or sippy cups), do not use for warm or hot liquids.
Use safe alternatives such as glass.
Avoid canned foods when possible (BPA may be used in can linings).
Look for labels on products that say "BPA-free."

There are some folks in my life that need to change their ways.

My favorite wedding photos.

Two years of prattling on about nothing...

Well, yes my friends. Today is this little blog's two year anniversary!

Woo Hoo!

I spruced up a bit around here for the occasion and may even design a masthead or something in the next couple weeks to mark the next chapter for this little blog.

When I think about the last two years, I'm awe-struck with how much my life has changed. Ever wonder what made me start writing here? Here you go:

Back in October 2006, I had surgery and had a 4 week recovery time at home. I was MISERABLE. The pain meds made me sick and dizzy. I was lonely and isolated, and most of all I felt like I had very few people to turn to. I was maxing out the usual suspects, and my uber-private, insular ways were keeping everyone else away.

In an effort to continue recovery without lapsing into a deep depression, I made a drastic decision: I would take the train to New York and rest there - with myriad options of things to do within the 3-block radius that I could walk.

I went by myself.

Much like the time I drove from Washington DC to Long Island, by myself at 17, in the midst of Hurricane Hugo, this was a bad decision. I wasn't ready. I was still too weak.

I almost made it to my friend's house. Almost. But the subway was too much for me to handle. I was in pain, feeling faint, and barely able to stay vertical. I miraculously got myself onto a subway train. And oddly, right at that moment, I ran into a friend from high school, one I hadn't seen in 10 years. I don't really remember the conversation, but the next day I had her card in my purse, so I emailed her - damage control. I knew I hadn't told her that I was nursing a recent (6 inch) surgical incision, or that I was about to pass out. I know I didn't ask her to help - I waited until it was close to my stop and then asked the man next to me to help me off the train. He was distrustful, but obliged.

She had written on her blog about it. From the post, it was obvious she had no idea what was going on, and was confused and maybe a little offended. But what I really noticed was her beautiful writing. She was (and is) great at writing short reaction pieces. It was the first blog I had ever read, and I was impressed.

And I wanted to start one of my own.

The surgery came at a moment when my organizing efforts on poverty issues were beginning to wane. I thought I could use this space to create what I had always wanted - a place where everything and everyone could mix and mingle. And eventually, this virtual space could become a real space - a place where meeting and organizing could happen, people could talk about issues and come up with solutions, and I could feel like I was doing something important.

So that hasn't quite happened, but this blog has been successful none-the-less. It's a catch-all for everything in my life: my interests, my relationships, my philosophies.

I'm really happy and proud that I've continued it so long. Now, it is time to raise the bar!

Here are my goals for the future:

- Take more photos and post more photos.

- Research more stories on my own and rely less on the Washington Post for content.

- Encourage people to dialogue - less sermon, more discussion.

Anything you all want to see? I'm taking requests.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ready for a rematch.

Charles is an athlete.

I am not.

We have played regular tennis and table tennis. He beats me at both, but I am ready to start my training. Ready to give it another go, and at the very least have some fun!

I need to find a table tennis set-up here in Pennsylvania. Winter is fast approaching, the rain outside could be snow soon, so it's time to find a good place to engage in a little healthy competition.

Maybe someday we can have a setup in our house and have serious competitions... friends, relatives, young people and old people can descend upon our house with promises of chai, table tennis, good conversation, and laughing... lots of laughing.

In the meantime, if you know of a place for me to practice my serve, please let me know!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looking Presidential.

Michelle and Barack Obama had their White House visit yesterday. They looked wonderful.

Check out the link to the photo gallery HERE.

What's in a name?

Sweet Juliet, idealistic and in love. A woman not so unlike myself, trying to transcend the time and place to preserve an innocence and naivete to the love she feels in her heart.

Juliet: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet."

Ah, but so much of our identity is wrapped up in our names. If we don't like the formal tone of our first name, we develop nicknames of our choosing to better reflect our personalities. Our last names place us with our tribe - our people.

Now, the time in my life I have dreamed of has come. The time for me to join another tribe and with it comes a new name. I am the youngest daughter of a man with no sons - the last one to abandon my family name. My mother, father, and grandmother are the only ones who remain.

I never realized how difficult it is to make this transition. Emotionally, I'm ready. THRILLED to be part of this new family. But logistically, the name change process is a mess - I never knew!

Three weeks of waiting for the marriage license to come. It's finally here, so now:
- I have to go to the Social Security Office and register my name change.
- Then I have to make an appointment with Human Resources to change my health and life insurance information
- The IT department then needs to set up an automated response to my old email address to notify and forward it to my new email address
- I have to take or mail my marriage license to: the bank, my credit card companies, my 401K, my rental insurance company, and my savings bank.
- I also have to apply for a new driver's license, a new passport, new checks, and a new work ID badge.

But even with all of that, this rose still smells as sweet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

PS... December Bookclub

If you are reading along, December's book club book is:

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

Book club meeting: Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hustle, Sure. Flow, Maybe. But keep your hands off my sushi!

Celebrity sighting: Terrence Howard and his adorable little son at Bluefin on Germantown Pike.

Best parts: Wonderful sushi, amazing friends, fun new acquaintances, and lively conversation. Even waiting for my husband to pick me up was fun! Awesome night.

Super big Happy Birthday to Nicole. Thanks to Scott for treating us like queens.

As for Terrence, all I got was a head nod, but I hear that he's a Philly guy, so I'll see you around, man.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I am ready for Honeymoon: Part 2 RIGHT NOW.

We only took one day. I would like some more relaxing time right about now. I know it's Friday and I only have to make it through today, but I'm exhausted. Really, really, really tired.

First, I'm mad at California. And Florida and Arizona... and especially Arkansas. I'm disappointed - no outraged - that homophobia in this country is so pervasive and so strongly tied to culture and religion, that even in the light of one of the most progressive campaigns in history, we can set back the rights of same-sex couples by so much - and in so many places.

It's time for people to let this go. YES WE CAN with all the wonderful sentiments that go along with it should be the rally cry for anyone and everyone that feels the sting of difference: African Americans, Immigrants, Communists, Artists, People with Mental Illness, Asians, Disabled, Muslims, AND anyone that would, could, or should fall into the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender community. Your burden, my burden, their burden - they are the same. We must fight for each other.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Ya'll are making me tired. I'm leaving on a jetplane.

(Okay, so I'm not really leaving, but I wish I could. I'm at least going to Media and Plymouth Meeting this weekend. But don't push me, I'll fight you.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The day after: feeling shallow.

I'm about to delete my whole bridal registry. All I want are these:

(Biviel boots, Nordstrom, $245,000, okay maybe there are extra zeros in there.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Luo in the House!

My Husband has a t-shirt that says in his tribal language "Luo in the House" - well, now there really is a Luo in the House - the White House!

Please read this article in the Washington Post today about the Kenyan reaction to Obama's win. It really encapsulates what this win means to those that have been disenfrancised by race, class, and lack of education.

Prime Minister Odinga even declared it a National Holiday tomorrow in honor of the win. One man in this article really says it best: Obama does not belong to the lineage of a political class, and he had no particular wealth to begin with except for his own convictions," said Moses Mubula, 35, a farmer who was watching the returns on the white sheet screen here as the sky began to glow light blue. "So the best part of [his victory] is that it symbolizes the crumbling of racial barriers, age barriers, class barriers and maybe we here in Kenya can break that jinx too.

That's it, right there, the American Dream.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I understand now. Those stories of my parents and grandparents about historic moments in their lives. The stories of where they were when this happened or that happened.

I am here, a newlywed, in my little apartment in Philadelphia, PA, alone and crying, listening to the screams of joy from the streets.

Charles called me to tell me, but my phone had already exploded with the news. When I finally got him back on the phone, we talked of how important this is to us. This could be our son. Our son could be president. To some Americans this might be a common dream - your son becoming president, a cliche, but I had not yet dared to dream.

My faith has been restored in this grand country of ours. I believe that people can see greatness. I believe that Barack Obama could see greatness. Truly, some of the most talented people I know have been behind him from the start.

My dear cousin in Chicago and I spoke of him when he first was elected years ago. I had read an article about him, and Nathan told me how amazing he truly was. Not an easy man to impress, my sweet cousin, but he was, and I was. Over a year ago, I was invited by two of the smartest women I know to a fundraiser that I could not afford, but I was tempted because it meant I would meet this man, Barack Obama. Then I heard of another great friend. A man of unparalled intelligence joining his campaign - and my courage to dream expanded.

Now, I will tell my children that just a few days after I married their father, that Barack Obama - a man just like them - was elected president.


Please vote.

Seriously, please.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Next time I see you I'll show you my cousin Nathan's amazing photos. Wow, what a talent that sweet man is!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feel sorry for me.

I'm having a bad day already.

I'm only 46 minutes into it.

I don't even have the energy to go into all the stuff that has me exhausted, annoyed, and ready to puke. Mostly it's work related. And personal. And I just need to get over it all and keep on moving.

I'm back to Atlanta tomorrow. I hope my family will understand if I spend the day sleeping, not talking to anyone, and generally moping.

I'm sure that will go over REAL well.

So instead, dear internet, I'm just using you to vent a little. To get it out before I have to go upstairs and do someone else's job. Before I have to welcome an alum that I care nothing about. Before I have to interview 10 people and give them feedback on their answers.

...When all I really want to do is go back to bed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dear Internets,

Thanks so much for making me famous.


This Morning: Gratitude.

It's a crisp, autumn day in Philadelphia. Birds are singing. Squirrels are gathering. Life is good. All is wholesome and clean.

In my post-Atlanta preparations-weekend, I took a cab to the park, then had a walk through the park to my local Starbucks to say hi to my barista friends and get my chai.

First, the nice landscaping man stopped his blower while I walked by, then I had an interesting exchange with two young homeless men:

Here is the conversation:

Homeless Man 1 and Homeless Man 2 (in unison): Good Morning, Lady!

Me: Good Morning.

Homeless Man 1: How are you this lovely day?

Me: Fine, How are you? (almost past him)

Homeless Man 1: (calling behind me) I'd be better if I had you! Then I wouldn't be sitting here!

It was sobering. A truly sobering reminder that without our friends and family, we are all a few bad decisions away from that bench.

I am truly grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. All of you contribute to my well-being in such a meaningful way and I am humbled by your input in my life right now - and always.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seven Random Things about ME.

A certain someone that plays the banjo and has a blog asked me, tagged me, to write today about seven random things about myself. So here I go.

1. I faint very easily.

I've had cardiac workups since I was in my early 20's to try to isolate it, but its actually a couple of common things: low heart rate, low blood pressure, and a heart that occasionally skips a beat. Most people don't have all of those things at once, so they don't faint, but I do. My favorite fainting story was when I got up to get a glass of water and "woke up" with my head on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator - a complete gallon of water spilled all over me and the floor.

2. I love to learn new languages.

I speak only English fluently and I am still reasonably decent in French, but I have some working knowledge or have studied to some point: Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, and my current obsession: Swahili and Luo.*

3. My parents are both Episcopal priests.
Which is most interesting to me because my grandfather was Jewish and his parents were killed in the holocaust. Makes for a comparative-religion kind of family. I liken growing up in the church to being like a politician's child - with the same kind of pressure to perform and be as perfect as possible. And the same requirement of sharing your life with people that you may or may not know or care about.

*Now that you know my grandfather was German and Jewish, it will make more sense why I love languages. He tried to teach me Hebrew and German as a child during my vacations at their house, but it didn't stick. He spoke 15 languages.

4. I love to work in clay, but hate the feeling of dried clay on my hands.

So when I'm working on a project, I become even more of an OCD obsessive hand-washer than I normally am.

5. I watch movies over and over again. Even if I only like them a little.
Seriously, I can watch the same movie 3 or 4 times in the same day. I look for little pieces of dialogue that I've missed, and I love to watch the special features and then rewatch the movie with the director's vision in mind.

6. I keep alot of secrets from people. I am obsessed with my privacy.
Probably related to that growing up in front of hoards of well-meaning, but often crazy, parishioners. I don't like to be the center of attention and suffer from extreme stage-fright. I can even be going along just fine in a meeting or at a party and if the focus turns to be on me to suddenly, I freeze and panic.

7. I never forward chain letters.
Which is weird because I am very superstitious, but I don't like to bother people, so I'd rather just absorb the bad luck! Sorry this list is going to end with me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I know, it will save my job, but this is how I really feel:

Ask and ye shall receive

Loyal reader, friend extraordinaire, and dare I say comic book fanatic sent me a link to this shirt. See how much Barack and I have in common. He is my hero... and I would love to throw open my shirt to him throwing open his shirt, it's like when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and then you look in the mirror into infinity.

Should I decide on a night out on the town, I'll be sure to switch into this little number, since that's the way a lady pulls out her superhero powers, by working all day at a thankless job and then transforming into something sparkly to meet and greet the throngs of fans.

Thanks universe, I now feel appropriately outfitted for the fast-approaching day when I get to exercise my right to suffrage.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheaters never win.

While registering at the lab today before getting a blood test, the nurse started telling me how she hadn't finished her homework. Here is a transcript of the conversation:

Nurse: How can I be expected to read like 25 pages of material. I mean it's an article, maybe if he gave us a book, I'd read that.

Me: Oh, yeah.

Nurse: Besides, he leaves the room and everyone cheats anyways.

Me: Really?

Nurse: Yeah, I'll be like "what's he talking about with this one" and someone else will ask about another one that I know.

Me: What's the class?

Nurse: Business Ethics.

Then she totally didn't get why I laughed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama wears my t-shirt.

Oh, did I say that? I meant: OBAMA, Where's my t-shirt?

That's right, I bought several very expensive t-shirts several weeks ago, to support the final days of your campaign and to give as gifts to my new Kenyan crew, but no shirts have arrived.

I know, I won't wear it on election day. I've heard Pennsylvania is strict on passive campaigning. (Although I do have fantasies of throwing open the election curtain and baring my chest to reveal a stylized likeness of your dear face and yelling "Obama, m****f******, Vote OBAMA!)

But I'll control myself.

P.S. Why can't I find the t-shirt pictured above? It's my favorite image and it's hard to find.

Friday, October 10, 2008

America, insular? No... say it ain't so.

Class, please read this wonderful article in the Washington Post today about the new Nobel Prize winner, the dreamy Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio*.

The article accuses American literature and publishers of being insular and of not engaging in translations. Really? You think?

As someone that craves all things from all places outside the boundaries of this tiny little country, I was so excited to read this being so clearly stated by such a widely read publication. -- Admitting you have a problem is the first step in recovery, people.

For example, in a country where approximately 36 million people are of Hispanic descent, have you seen the Spanish Language section of your local bookstore? Probably not, because if there is one, it is usually about 2 shelves, in the back, and is comprised predominately of children's books.

So it's no wonder that lyrical Frenchmen with chiseled jaws find it hard to get their books translated and published in this land of ours. Obviously with the harsh words from the Swedes, maybe some smaller publishers will sit up and take note. As the article says, no one is saying that the US doesn't produce wonderful literature, but what we READ is our own. Which by my way of thinking keeps us safe and warm at night and doesn't challenge us to face the problems out in the world of ours. We wait for things to come knocking on our door, prefiltered and palatable.

*No, I have not read anything by him. I am as isolated and insular as the rest of you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

An Interview with Charles

Many many months ago, Charles and I were talking about this blog. "I mention you, but I don't ever go into specifics." I said.

"When you do, it will be big." was his response.

So here is an interview with Charles, my beloved, conducted on the way back from Atlanta last night.

Me: So Charles, my loyal readers want to know more about you. Tell us a few things that you cannot live without.

Charles: (laughs) Okay. First, sembe [author note: sembe, or ugali in swahili, is an east african food staple. Made from maize flour, when hot it is like maize mashed potatoes and is used to eat stew - like a soft spoon, when cold it is like a cross between corn bread and grits and is delicious with tea.] For the last 8 years, I have been without, but I cannot live without my drum. For the last two years, you. And finally, Family. Family is an asset you cannot live without.

Me: What made you talk to me that day that we met?

Charles: (laughing again) Marasas. [author note: a sheng word for a body part]

Me: Oh! I figured that, because I was straight from the gym

Charles: luminous.

Me: up and I was wearing this sweater but I was wearing tight pants.

Charles: ...yes, luminous tight pants.

Me: Now that you know me better, what keeps you talking to me?

Charles: I love making friends and I don't like losing them. Our friendship has taken us to the next level. So I will talk to you everyday.

Me: So when you think about the future, what do you want? Tell me things that include your career, your personal life and your finances.

Charles: I want to finish my education. That is important to me. I am so in love with sports, and I would like to work as a strength coach or a physical trainer. I would love to bring up a healthy family in the way that I was brought up by my late father and mother. Lastly I would like to start a nonprofit organization for people that are financially unstable and/or an afterschool program to keep kids active and away from stealing and mugging people.

Me: Anything else that the people should know about you?

Charles: Smiling, I am always smiling. I may seem shy, but I love to sing. And philantropy is very important to me.

Me: Thank you, that is wonderful.

Charles: Now, shall we try this crossword puzzle?

Me: Yes, let's go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When I am down or tired, like this morning. I like to check out a few of my favorite internet sites to spark a little laughter or conversation with friends and coworkers.

One of my favorites involves cute puppies and kittens. Yes, I am that person. A girl that is soothed by small cute things and bonus points if they are furry. Things that also help: cute babies, travel websites, and retail shopping outlets.

But on that website linked above there is a thread that I am uncomfortable with. Let's just say it rhymes with hat. I have enough of that keeping me up at night, I don't want my pick-me-up time tainted.

So Chris, if you are listening, please move on to a different thread. I could use a little break. You have forced me to go to my backup plan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time to chill.

Everyone is on edge.

People are tense.

You can feel it in the air.

It's time to relax. We will vote. Half of us will be upset. We will have to move on and make change anyway. Anyhow.

The sky will not fall.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

RIP: Pam the Deck-Whore

I have a theory.

The theory is that some of the subtler parts of our lives are actually as important to us as the big things: the passions, the relationships, the career.

Case in point: Pam the Deck-Whore.

Pam the Deck-Whore is a feral cat. One that lived at the home of a couple that is close friends with one of my coworkers. I have never met this couple, although they sound so fun - I totally want to meet them. And I never met Pam.

Regardless, this was the conversation last night walking home:

Coworker: I have bad news.

Me: What.

Coworker: Pam the Deck Whore was hit by a car.

Me: (Gasp) What! What about the kittens!?!

Coworker: They handed them off to the SPCA last week.

Me: Oh, gosh, maybe she committed suicide. That's so sad.

Coworker: They are upset about it.

And I thought "I am upset about it!" Imagining this poor cat, first losing her kittens and then being hit by a car. My heart went out to the couple who was close to her.

Ridiculous? Probably. But that's just who I am.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

White Privilege

Has everyone seen this wonderful article?

There is no escaping the truths in this article. It may be uncomfortable for those that seem themselves and their judgements in here, but we have to be able to see the truth in this in order to make the world a different place.

Tim Wise, you rule!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting stood up. Oh and xanax.

I love working with students. I love them. They are so appreciative. They are so hard-working. They are so forgetful. This time of year, I pack my schedule with 6 or 7 appointments a day and often times students simply forget.

For this I'm grateful.

Days like today, when I'm tired or emotional or overwhelmed with stuff, I really count on having some extra time to linger on special projects, catch up with stuff, and well... unleash some words and feelings from my brain.

This week I have been stood up by two of my favorite students. Each time I felt conflicted. Happy for the time, sad at not having the time to hear their plans, their goals, and their progress. I get over it quickly when I realize I have time to check email or follow up on a forgotten pile of stuff on my desk.

Now: Xanax.

I had an MRI yesterday. Nothing serious, just checking stuff out... a little internal inventory of sorts.

Problem: I hate them.

Enter Xanax. And a sweet nurse that gave me the best visualization exercise ever and problem solved!!! I didn't hyperventilate. I didn't cry. I didn't die. Instead I mentally built my dream house by the beach and let the "jackhammer" that horrible MRI sound help me add a feeling of reality to the process.

Why does no one talk about that feeling that happens during an MRI - that feeling of things moving on an almost cellular level - the pulling sensation? It's crazy.

Alright, happy weekend to you all. Kisses and more next week...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I'm having book club remorse. I had forgotten how disturbing, tragic and emotional AGE OF IRON is. Sorry folks, but it's still so packed with topics that we need to discuss more in our lives that I won't change my mind, BUT... we may all need to follow-up with my second choice which was the 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear.

So after finishing the first half of Age of Iron again last night, I clicked on a story at my wonderful Washington Post and read a story of a 66 year old Dad that jumped into a sewage tank to save his youngest son. The Dad passed away and the young son, who has Downs syndrome, is in critical condition with double pneumonia. I cannot imagine the grief of the mother and the other six children in the family. Well, I can a little and that's why I'm sitting here crying at my desk.

One of my favorite alums is coming in 15 minutes, so I will try to cheer up!!! Quick, someone tell me a knock-knock joke.

Actually, to end on a happier note, yesterday I had lunch with a 4 year old. There were like 10 other people at the table too, but my rapt attention was on the cutie. He kept tapping me on the arm and saying "Let me tell you something funny..." and then saying something that didn't quite make sense. It was awesome. He is so smart and fun. Okay... I feel better now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On Asking for Help, Campfires, and Books.

First thing, Most people hate to ask for help - I know. Some people hate even small asks like "I want new roller shades and need help finding patterned ones"... well, I hear you...I have had to ask for alot of help lately: first this weekend I got stranded and had to call to get a ride when a stupid, stupid cab company decided that picking people up and getting paid for it was NOT what they wanted to do for a living, instead they decided that they might prefer to tell people to wait for an hour or so and then suggest they walk home... but not use words that have it come across as nicely as I said it. Now I need help to go to a doctor's appointment. I feel very guilty. I never want to feel like work to the people I love. But today I feel like maybe I'm beginning to feel like work to them. I should probably talk to them about this instead of the internet, but you all are such good listeners. Man, it's like therapy except quieter.

Next thing, I am kind of a lazy cook. I can make good things once and awhile, but given the choice between picking up take-out and a preparing a three-course meal, I will always choose take-out. So when I find articles on the internet that describe things like Camp Fire Cream Puffs, I think "um, I want this person who created this amazing thing to come to all my campfires." And "I will never be the person who creates these amazing things."

Now, if someone were to start using Camp Fire Cream Puff as my new nickname, it would totally make sense. ... Soft and sweet and way too fancy for camping... Feel free - use it... I won't even flinch.

Thirdly and most importantly, my sweet and gorgeous friend Gina is back in PA! Welcome back Gina! Not only has she been busy doctoring, but she's found time to have the two of the cutest, most wonderful children ever. AND she wants to start a book club. Well, I LOVE BOOKS! AND CLUBS! AND APPARENTLY CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS! So if there are any lurkers out there that are totally normal, living in the Delaware Valley, and interested in joining us, let me know! The first book is AGE OF IRON by J. M. Coetzee.

Anyone that has already received this book from me as a gift or had me give it to them to read... or even just wants to read it and participate from afar... feel free to chime in virtually in the comments. Or via email. Whatever. I'll save your responses and maybe we'll read them at the club. Sort of like they do on television talk-shows "... this just in from a reader in Connecticut... Dear Kathryn: I think your taste in books sucks and you can bite me..." Okay, be nicer than that, please. But if that is the way you like to talk to people, I think I know a cab company you can work for.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mouse in the House.

I woke up just a few minutes ago... 3:30am to a rustling in my kitchen. Not good.

I live in a VERY small studio apartment, so I can really hear every noise very clearly. And I definitely recognized the sort of rhythmic rustling that means I'm in trouble. After stomping about a bit and turning on the lights, I got the courage up to take a tennis racket and move the recycling...

... GASP...

Oh yes, my friends, that gasp was literal. And audible.

There was the unmistakable shredding and a small hole in the trash bag. Here's where I am concerned... the hole was about 3 inches off the ground. So either the cute little field mouse was wearing some sort of hovercraft device or the cute little mouse is actually a cute little rat. (And by cute, I mean NOT CUTE AND HUGE AND IN MY HOUSE!!!

So I'll take the trash out in a few hours when its a more appropriate hour to take the trash out, check the foodstuffs in the cupboard for "evidence" and then leave my landlord a note.

As of right now, I'm ready to move out. There is NOTHING that freaks me out more than large furry critters.

I am not actually sure I will be able to get back to sleep tonight.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Mental Break from the Political Nastiness:


We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.

Run my dear,
From anything
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.

We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
"O please, O please,
Come out and play."

For we have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,

But to experience ever and ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom and

~ Hafiz ~

This came courtesy of my yoga teacher. Thanks Corina!

I hope you can all take some moments away from the onslaught of right and wrong to remember that in all western languages it is standard to have the left justified.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yet to be confirmed...

This photo had this caption:
Though she has yet to confirm her pregnancy with baby No. 2, there's no denying Naomi Watts's growing belly as she supports brother Ben Watts at the opening of his photography exhibition, sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, Tuesday at Milk Gallery in New York City.

Uh, yeah... no denying.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hamlet 2

Funny or stupid?

I thought both, but so much of one that I enjoyed the other.

Has anyone else seen this movie.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I won't run for office...

I know I have a tenuous grip on current events. I don't listen to the radio. I don't own a television. What I know comes from The Washington Post, the BBC, and People Magazine.

So have you all heard about the fracas in Golden, CO?

Apparently three rival biker gangs have declared a truce in order to protest one collective opponent: The Qatar based newspaper Al-Jazeera.

These things are too complex for me to choose sides. Fine, there is some evidence, or at least suspicion, that Al-Jazeera has terrorist ties. But also the bikers are showing a side of Americans that makes me uneasy - especially when the world is watching so closely. I am not them. I don't even know them. And I suspect that they do not have any interest in knowing me.

But maybe this is a dialogue that needs to happen. We expect that the world will welcome us and our journalists with open arms - even when we are in the process of pillaging their country - but we don't want their journalists here.

Again, I don't want to have to dwell on these things, but if we don't at least take a moment to pause - then we are doing ourselves and the rest of the world a disservice.

Like the last line of the article linked above describes: They only support the First Amendment for people who see things their way." Martinez said something else, but a protester's air horn drowned out the words.

We cannot truly find synthesis, unless we are open to both sides.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Between Gospel and Fathead.

While sitting on my stoop waiting patiently for my beloved, I saw two very different models for modern parenting:

Model 1: Large sedan blasting gospel music. Parents laughing hysterically in front because sweet baby in back is clapping her hands and speaking in tongues. (Oh wait, all babies do that, but you know what I mean... she HAD the holy spirit and she knew what to do with it!)

Model 2: Young woman with a stroller, walking down the street with her adorable baby drinking a Slurpee. You might think that last sentence was a victim of poorly ordered phrasing (Kathryn, c'mon, the woman had the Slurpee, not the baby), well you'd be wrong. Baby = Slurpee. All the young woman had was a tattoo, commonly referred to as a "tramp-stamp" in this approximate location, which read "Fathead."

So if lucky enough to be trusted with a child of my very own someday, I hope to fall somewhere in the middle of these two models. Not so dogmatic that I delight in inflicting decades of guilt on my child, but not so lackadaisical that I ignore their nutritional needs or my own sanity (which is clearly the only reason that anyone would get a "Fathead" tattoo on the small of their back - complete mental breakdown.)

* Note to readers: This post is simply musing about the future. I am not pregnant. Those 15 pounds that are clinging to my midsection are NOT what they appear to be. Hopefully they will be gone soon, along with your speculation.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Old Love

I can't sleep. My mind won't let go of things from the week. Plus I have to work early in the morning at Orientation.

Thoughts float in and out. Some stick and sting. Others comfort and rest comfortably, like Old Love.

I've been thinking about my grandfather tonight. My father's father. The one that was born and raised in Michigan. I've been marveling in the thoughts of how hard his life was, and yet how kind he was, with such enormous capacity to love.

Abandoned and orphaned as a child. His stories of his childhood were hard to hear. They scared me. Think of that severe, mid-western existence that is all gravel, hard-work, and near-starvation... that was what it seemed like.

He found my grandmother when she was only 18. I don't know how they met. Undoubtedly they met at church through some wonderful mutual acquaintance. I can only guess how thrilled she must have been to have this tall, handsome mystery man sweep her off her beautiful feet.

He worked so hard. He built things. He built really strong things like houses, decks, rocking horses, and sheds. But he also built soft, loving things like a wonderful marriage, three kind, compassionate children, and beautiful, life-long friendships. He defied stereotypes. He was everything to us. I think he still is everything to my grandmother, even 15 years after his passing.

We found notes he wrote to her. Love notes with dates. 80+ years old and he was leaving love notes about her beauty. Maybe it was to quell that fiery temper, but I suspect that after all that pain he endured, he opened himself to her - relaxed into her, reinventing their love over and over for nearly 60 years.

So I see these movies like Venus and Love Comes Lately. And I read books like Disgrace. And they portray old love as philandering and lecherous. They leave you feeling that age forgets wisdom. That love does not conquer all.

I refuse to believe it. I have never seen what they profess to be true. Old Love is soft and loose. It is warm and accepting. It is knowledgeable and collaborative. And it is generous.

I think that once the choice is made to love, the choice of how to love is one's own. Life, Aging, and ultimately Dying are hard, I get it. But you have the choice to be gentle with your affections, to ease the path for the ones you love. If you're lucky, somewhere along the way, you loosen the pull of ambition, fame, and fortune and you relax into the bounty of those around you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh wait... just one thing.. *Edit*

Why do young, talented Republicans make me so angry?

Read this:

Okay, now read the transcript: HERE

My question is the first one he answered.

No free refills.

Break from blogging for a couple days.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ode to a photographer...

Oh winner of the photo contest, please do keep clicking.
My eye and my emotions you keep tricking.

Someday maybe I will learn this skill.
And give the viewers equal thrill.

The agony, the ecstasy, and even the chase.
Such exotic locals, such color, such space.

Until I do the work to learn and share.
I can only marvel at how much you seem to care.

Link of the Day...

If I ever decide to stop blogging, I'm going to put up a sign that says "Read the Washington Post Today" and you all will hardly be able to tell the difference.

I say hardly, because there is alot of sifting through death tolls and political stuff to get to stories about Harry Potter.

The story relates the snafu where the release date of the Potter movie was pushed way back, but Entertainment Weekly featured it on its cover, unaware of the change. (Even though they are under the same parent company).

That happens at work ALL THE TIME. We plan stuff and there is SOME BIG THING that no one tells us about and everyone has to scamper around to try to change stuff.

I love the word scamper. Why don't I use it more often? It has such fun connotations, like a little kid running down to have pancakes in the morning after a good night's sleep. Okay, that's it, I'm gonna use it all the time now.

Okay, so while I scamper off to get some paperwork done, why don't you saunter over to the Washington Post... while you're there, mosey on over to the Weekend Section and read this article attempting to satirize OBAMA.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get your laws off my little Aryan swimmers...

I am kind of appalled. Shocked. Confused. Saddened.

It is still so important to rich, white, Americans to have little blond babies that the Washington Post is reporting on this.

The article is about the new restrictions about importing sperm from overseas and the outcry it has caused. Parents wanting Danish, French, and British sperm are no longer able to get it at American sperm banks. One woman has even been flying to Denmark to try to conceive a "full-sibling" using the same sperm donor as her first daughter.

Not only are the wonderful, adorable children that are available here in the US for adoption not good enough for these people, but now even the sperm available here in the US is not good enough. Clearly White in the US is not white enough.

This is the very height of privilege. And its nasty undercurrent is racism. Forget all your arguments of wanting to "preserve your heritage" that's just another way of saying that you want your racial purity and you want it now.

...but I guess you don't want to hear from this mad cow either.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bad Week/Good Week

While being a challenging week for me personally, in terms of meaningful discussions, it has been wonderful.

Check out Deepak Chopra's interesting essay on poverty. My comment is there... you'll recognize it, I'm sure.

What PLANET Are These Women From!!?!!

Walking through the park this morning with my friend:

Man (talking loudly, almost yelling): What PLANET are these women from?

Man: (continuing...) They're gorgeous!

Me: (laughing...) That's not what I was expecting, how 'bout you?

Her: (laughing...) No! What a nice change of pace.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

N.E.R.D., moi?

I had a fantastic time reading this article this morning over at the Root.

Then I submitted a question early in the day to this chat.

I came back from lunch and read this response:

My question: Philadelphia, Pa.: What is it like to teach your students about hip-hop in the late 80's? Do they view it as history and how engaged are they in the dialogue about it? Just curious.

Also, do you feel like the fact that 1988 was an election year (and the end of the Reagan era - finally!) had to do with a serious upsurge in the political nature of the hip-hop scene.

And finally, congratulations on a wonderful article and on all your success. I am so proud that Philadelphia is producing so many wonderful hip-hop and urban scholars.

Nicholas James: Great question! There is an interesting rub when it comes to teaching about Hip Hop culture. Teaching from the late '80s perspective is difficult, but I find that locating the similarities, musically and culturally, gathers engagement. Of course '88 is a fun year to discuss, not only because the music became so broad, but also because of all the social factors that influenced the music - much like social factors are influencing the music of 2008 (think Barack Obama).

I get so excited by this stuff. Like the teacher thinks I'm smart.

Moment of Silence

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Uncle Louie...

My sweet uncle Louie passed away yesterday in his garden.

I won't be able to go to the funeral Wednesday, so instead I going to take some time today to walk in a garden, to have a piece of fresh cobbler somewhere, and to write this tribute to him:

For all of my talk of not feeling that American, my father's family are sweet, wonderful, American folks. Louis was a smiley man with piercing blue eyes. In my mind he was a farmer above all else. Perhaps he had another job in his life, but by the time I came along, he and his sweet wife Del were more interested in their grandchildren and their garden.

Del was tall and thin, Louis was much shorter and more muscular. My favorite part about him, in addition to his unending interest in those around him, was that he kept bees. He would take me out back and light the smoker and explain the way a hive worked. Then we would go inside and have some wonderfully dessert that his wife had made with the spoils.

I used to spend a week or two every summer with my grandparents, and a trip to Louis and Del's was always a big part of the trip. Louis was my grandmother's youngest brother, and she adored him. His ease and friendliness made him a favorite of my grandfather as well - and they all shared interests in gardens, in traveling, and in building something substantial from their lives.

Louis and Del owned an Airstream trailer, and several years ago my grandmother and I visited them at their park in Florida. It was an interesting introduction to that culture. Retirees that want to experience this great country of ours without compromising their hard-saved retirement funds. There were seemingly endless rows of big silver bullets with collapsible patio furniture and clothes lines.

What I will remember most was his ease. His laugh that would crinkle the corners of his eyes, the love he had for his family, and the time he would spend to create comfort where there was little comfort before.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Relax. Don't work so hard.

It's Friday. The weekend stretches out before you. The work week is nearly done.

Time for you to relax.

Yesterday in my yoga class, we were supposed to identify when we felt tension, take a deep breath, then let it go... the breath, the tension, and anything else we are holding onto.

My yoga teacher says that illness is caused by stagnant energy. That if we pay attention to our bodies - in their entirety, then we can live stronger and healthier lives. She had us do a meditation on our internal organs. In the meditation she had us think about our gallbladder, imagine it. What does it look like, what does it do, what does it need to be doing.

I had trouble with this, partially because at the time we were in Supta Virasana

Really all I wanted to do was get back up, straighten my legs and work my way into corpse pose. I eventually relaxed enough that I could try to do what she was saying, but I didn't do a very good job of picturing my gallbladder. In my mind it looked kind of like a limp and shriveled phallus - knowing that its mostly vestigial at this point in evolutionary history, I had a different image of it...

So maybe tomorrow when I'm on my yoga mat I'll try again... imagining a nice healthy zucchini, instead of a withered member of little or no use.

I know, you all are like "Woah, Kathryn, you started off all normal and now you're all yoga-weirdo on us... Don't you have another blog for that nonsense?"

Why yes, yes I do. But I'm going to start using that as a way to track my progress in Operation Wonder Woman (stronger, lighter, faster, richer). It's gonna be boring, but if you have no life or are obsessed with mine, then mosey on over and take a look at what I had for breakfast. If that's what floats your boat!