24 December 2008

A new year's resolution.

"Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters.
They never ask: 'What does his voice sound like?' 'What games does he like best?' 'Does he collect butterflies?'. 

They ask: 'How old is he?' 'How many brothers does he have?' 'How much does he weigh?' 'How much money does his father make?' Only then do they think they know him." 

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"The Little Prince"

Lately, I've felt as though I am much too serious.  When did I lose my childhood abandon?  My  love for simplicity?  My heart for quiet?

Indeed, I love the solitude of reading, the aloneness of running, and the simplicity of writing.  But, when did I become so over-committed that I lose my soul?  At times I feel pulled in so many directions that my breath feels heavy in my chest and my eyes blur.

For the coming year, I am making a single resolution: simplify.

I want to clean out belongings that I no longer use and only clutter my existence.  I hope to rid myself of being the "yes-man".  I yearn for time alone, time with Doug, time with my family, time to just be.

("We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize." Thich Nhat Hanh is a genius.  Why didn't I think of that?)

The last 23 years have gone by so quickly and I have not been fully engaged.  I am often separate from the moment, lost in a world of necessaries.  How can I learn to exist in the now?

This year, I resolve to practice mindfulness, to meditate, to pray, to exist in complete fullness of the moment and love of the present.  I resolve to be fully engaged with my life.

22 December 2008

Last Christmas

I thought it would be appropriate to reminisce about last Christmas, since I am in the process of preparing for this year's celebration.  

(In the mad frenzy to consider, buy, wrap, and give presents, it's important to remember why we're doing all this preparation...)

So, here are photos from last year:



Happiest Christmas, ever.

I still get presents from Santa!

Weirdos from another planet.

More tasty goodness.

(I can't wait for this Christmas!)

19 December 2008

Oh, what can I do, do, do?

I'm taking the GRE this Saturday, which has been looming over my head for several months.  

I knew this test was coming, but did I start studying? No.  
Did I even open the book that I purchased at Barnes and Nobles (a month ago) until last week? No.  
Did I review any math? No.  
Did I memorize vocabulary? No.

Oh, and I have a viral infection which should peak tomorrow.  

But, what can I do?  Nothing. Nothing and nothing and nothing.  But, that's okay.  I'm holding to the philosophy that what is supposed to happen, will.  If my score is too low to get into the colleges that I want, that's okay, right?  I just need to trust that it will all work out.

And, besides, it won't be so bad to enter the working world, right?  Right?

08 October 2008

This guy deserves a swift kick in the...

Go ahead, read this article about how National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) should be changed to "false allegations awareness month".  Oh, and his credo?

"Years ago, media ignored women's gender issues for fear of offending men.  Today, they and virtually all other institutions ignore men's gender issues for fear of offending women!"

Yeah, let's criminalize victims.  Good plan, man.

02 October 2008

Run, run, run, run, run, run, run awaaaay.

Whatever I do, I must not let fear pervade me.  That fear - fear of everything (politics, finances, school, relationships), overwhelms a person until their every breath in screams of injustice and their every breath out demands a truth.  It is that fear that stops a person in her path, causes her to rethink, forces her to become what she never wanted to be.  Let it be, the wise ones said in the 60's.  Let it flow, I say, as I contemplate the fear that has overtaken those in their middle age.  That same fear is beginning to suck the life out of my generation.  I pray that its corruption will avoid the youth.  

And, how do we avoid this?  How do we remain enlightened, above the constant and ever-presence of the present?  How can we detach ourselves from the crisis of the moment and realize - of course - that we must be in the moment?

I forget the moment constantly.  It is easy to do in this world of constant connectiveness that has only disconnected us from the importance of now.  Is it not as important to enjoy the earth as to worry for it?  If we all learn to love the soil, if we learn to love one another, if we learn to love God, will we not also find the truth - the absolution from fear?  In the peace of now, in the quiet oak, in the calm, sweet freshness of fall - are we not at our best?  We cannot save what we do not love.  

And I - I with my frenzied class-to-job-to-homework-to-sleep-to-wake-to-class must also recognize this.  I must breathe when my schedule allows.  I must unplug and connect to the pavement, to the exchanges of my peers, to the feelings and sounds and smells that I have been missing over the years.  I must love the moment, even if I abhor the present at times.  It is, after all, a beautiful moment of existence.

29 September 2008

It's Monday. Boo.

The weekend was nice.  The weather was beautiful.  I even had time to watch squirrels.  I love squirrels.

But, now it's Monday.  Yuck, I hate Monday.  Monday is stupid.

I've already had two rather weird phone calls at work this morning.  One involved crying, and the other - getting chewed out, basically, for no reason.

On a lighter note, I went to Shakespeare this weekend.  While I enjoyed the experience and being there, the play Greater Tuna was not what I was expecting.  The humor just wasn't my style (or Doug's for that matter).  This lady kept cackling in the background and I spilled my wine everywhere.  Okay, just a disclaimer, I'm not a pessimist.  Really.

But, Sunday - Sunday was a nice day!  The weather was lovely, and Doug and I decided to blow off homework for a few hours to spend some quality time together.  It was lovely.  We went shopping, relaxed for a bit, and just enjoyed our afternoon.  Then, Doug had to make a mad scramble to get his homework done.  In a student's life, time is of the essence...and, well, we didn't make the best use of our homework time.  But, oh well...it was worth it. :)

On a side note, I think I might be a libertarian.  I have to look into that.

24 September 2008

It's been awhile...

And so, it's been quite awhile since I have found solace in my little corner of the web.

Things have been rather exciting lately, or at least there is promise of excitement in the near future!

School has been dully hectic and quite strenuous.  I find myself ready to collapse at the end of the day, out of sheer mental exhaustion.  My constant need for perfection is really wearing me down.  I am trying - really - to chill a bit, let things come as they will, and be satisfied with what I am able to get done.  I can't be perfect.

Doug has been very busy as well with his graduate assistantship.  He has really found his niche in research, but I think it may take a bit for the initial drudgery to subside and for him to be able to really be "in his element".  He is doing well in grad school and I'm proud of the dedication that he shows to his studies.

We have the extreme fortune of being able to spend our busy time together.  I am thankful daily that we are both in similar situations in our lives and availability.  A lot of our time together isn't necessarily quality time - but at least we're together.

We recently learned that we will be spending the summer of 2009 in South Korea teaching ESL.  I'm so excited (and nervous) - I'm really looking forward to this adventure!  Doug bought me a book about South Korea and I can't wait to learn about the culture and the people.  We will be able to travel around South East Asia at the end of our trip - we'll be heading to Cambodia, Thailand, possibly Indonesia - and wherever else we have time for!

I'm so excited for the upcoming year - graduation, South Korea, growth in my relationship and growth as a person.

25 June 2008

Be an advocate

Nearly one-third of women in the United States report some kind of abuse by a partner in the last year.  This number is likely extremely low due to the victim mentality that is associated with abusive relationships.  Many victims are too afraid to come forward and expose their abusers due to psychological reasons beyond their control.  In fact, many psychologists relate the mentality of a domestic violence victim to "Stockholm's Syndrome", which occurs when a victim/captive develops a feeling of love or support for their abuser/captor.

Would you be able to recognize a domestic violence situation?  

  • Bruises (sometimes small, finger-shaped bruises) on upper arms, legs, neck, face, etc.
  • Repeated and frequent phone calls from partner
  • Mentions of partner's anger
  • Missed work
  • Personality changes
  • Isolation from friends or family

Stranger or neighbor:
  • Visibly aggressive arguments
  • Cowering or fleeing female
  • Loud yelling or screaming
  • Thuds, screams, or yelling coming from a neighbor's house
  • Isolation of certain family members from the rest of the neighborhood

  • Controlling partner
  • Accusations of infidelity without cause
  • Partner telling you that you are "crazy"
  • Partner controlling the finances
  • Partner blames anger on drugs or alcohol
  • Frequent and repeated phone calls from partner
  • Constantly having to account for whereabouts
  • Hitting, slapping, beating
  • Yelling, screaming, verbally attacking
  • Partner grabbing arms or legs to cause pain
  • Partner threatens suicide or self-inflicts to control you
  • Partner hurts animals, threatens to hurt or kill friends and family if you leave him or her

If someone you know might be in an abusive relationship:
Be aware, document things that you notice, observe the situation.  Even if you are still unsure, try to approach them about it.  Do so when you are alone and free from the embarrassment of disclosure in front of individuals.  If they deny it, continue to "be there" and available - let them know that they can call you anytime, day or night, if they need anything.  Let them know they are not judged.  Give them the national safe number 1.800.799.SAFE

If a stranger or neighbor might be in abusive relationship or domestic confrontation:
DON'T HESITATE - CALL THE POLICE.  They will not know who called, nor should you feel guilty about bringing the police into the situation.  Sometimes all a victim needs is intervention to have the strength to leave.

If you are in an abusive relationship: 
Call the National Safe Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE.  It's anonymous.  They can give you local numbers to seek help.  Get counseling.  When are you are ready, turn to family and friends. They will love you and support you.

...but, really, the most important message is: be an advocate.  Spread the word.  Stop domestic violence.

05 June 2008

I need to do it.

Without being too cliche, this past year has been an emotional roller coaster.  Really, it has.  I have found myself in the most unplanned of circumstances, in the most dreadful of situations, with the most dreadful of persons.  Subsequently, I found myself in the most wonderful of circumstances, in the wonderful of situations, with the most wonderful of persons.  It's been quite a ride.

And, so - I am taking the opportunity to relax for 11 days.  Yes, I actually get to relax.  That is such a foreign thought to me!  I am, in every sense of the word, a hyper-planner.  I plan everything.  I schedule myself for weeks - months - of commitments.  I go to everything I'm invited to and usually get there early to help set up.  I plan the get-togethers, I help people with their birthdays, weddings, design needs, babysitting, etc. etc. etc.  

Don't get me wrong, I love it.  I love being "that person" that people can rely on, I really do.  But, I am also looking forward to no responsibilities, no plans, no agenda, nothing.  Hooray for nothing!  Nothing is wonderful!

So, my trip with consist of leaving my city of trees on July 18th and commencing on what will be my very first time traveling alone.  This is a huge feat for me.  At 22, I have never ridden on a plane alone, found my way in an airport alone, entertained myself on a plane.  I have always had a travel companion.  Always.  And, so, I will make my first trek to Hawaii, Lana'i specifically, all by myself.  Silly, I know, but this is a big deal for me.

I will spend my trip relaxing, having some quality girl-time, and basically being young.  I am taking a step back from the instadulthood that I succumbed to at such a young age.  Hooray for me.  :)

And, now, I have to fight the urge to plan those 11 days.  It's not easy for me...