Sunday, November 10, 2013
So, I saw this video clip with Robyn Lawley, and I felt refreshed after watching the interview.
This isn't the first time in recent weeks that I have found myself thinking about the je ne sais quoi of beauty that we're actually expected to know (and project).
I stumbled upon "A Beautiful Body Project" a few weeks ago. Specifically, I stumbled upon this poem: Milking Millions off Women's Self-Doubt.
I felt a little like I was reading something from the Beat Generation…which, I know, seems melodramatic (or silly at the very least). But to me, the Ginsbergs and Kerouacs of the movement challenged societal norms and asked the question that no one could answer: why?
Not that women's lib was part of the Beat message…but for as many gains that we have made in society from the 1950s, our increased exposure to media and propaganda has created an additional challenge on society: superficial self doubt. It is a nasty disease, and industries thrive on ineffective, short-sighted treatments.
I often ask myself why I think a certain thing is normal, and that really started after I took one of the required women's studies courses at college during my sophomore year: the professor brought up an advertisement for feminine deodorant spray, questioning why we as a culture think that the smell is something that needs to be masked; the room was silent.
I know a handful of women who are extremely confident in everything about their outward appearance, and I am envious because that is not me. I've never cared what other people look like. I was brought up in a family that wasn't visually perfect by societal standards, and I was never made to feel like anything was more important than the presentation of good character. Yet, surrounded by so many airbrushed images and veiled messages, I don't quite measure up. It's a difficult thing to admit, and an even more difficult thing to feel.
"Self-esteem doesn't come in a bottle. You were born beautiful."
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Nick gave me this song a few weeks ago. He heard it on television and found me immediately to share the lyrics (via YouTube).
Every now and then he finds a song that makes him think of me. I have been with Nick nearly seven years now. After all that time, he still works to win my heart. I think that's pretty special.
Nick and I express ourselves differently. He says the first unrefined thing that comes to his mind. I am more reserved; I speak only after I've found the right words. This can cause some conflict.
I sometimes (unfairly and often during moments of frustration) label Nick a poor communicator. I couldn't be more wrong. At times, he responds too impulsively for my comfort, but he knows how I value words. He gives them to me in his way by sharing messages that articulate his feelings.
I could not have found better words to give him than those he gave me just then:
And I am, over-whelmed, by you
Am, over-come with joy
You致e, taken me higher, and shown me what love can do
Where would I go, or be, without you?
I am grateful for Nick this Thanksgiving (and every day)…my husband who continually makes me fall in love with him. He keeps our love fresh.
Nick, you communicate just fine.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
So, I have a marketing degree and I work for American Family Insurance. I am incredibly loyal to the company, and I think that the marketing department is positioning us in a positive way.
We were listening to Phillip Phillips' "Home" in the car last night—the song is used in our latest marketing campaign.
I started asking questions of my husband (I MAY have consumed a margarita beforehand; sources cannot be corroborated)...sort of doing my own market research, you know. "So Nick, does this song inspire you to go get your dream then find an insurance company to protect it?" He didn't respond...verbally.
I let it go considering that I have us insured to the hilt and also the [alleged] tequila in my bloodstream.
Fast forward to today, a few minutes ago. One of the commercials that uses the song came on TV. I was not paying attention, so Nick snapped me out of my reverie to let me know [smirking], "Yeah, I do feel like insuring sh*t all of a sudden."
Way to go AmFam…the message is getting through. We've penetrated the miser-market!
Monday, June 11, 2012
So, we played Yahtzee yesterday…
I love this game…I love that it's based on chance instead of skill. If I deign to game play, I want something that will give my poor, tired brain leave from being teased.
I do not fully understand the reasons why I shy away from games, but something tells me that it has to do with that competitive nature of mine that strains against the leash. I do not like being competitive, but the natural tendency exists. I envision myself in Lennon's Imagine world, where I can happily coexist with everybody else without thought of rank. Of course, this is a dreamworld: this Utopia does not exist. I try to keep my competitiveness subdued, and I am successful most of the time.
MOST of the time.
Sometimes, something happens that is just so wonderful that I have to let the beast run around with his tongue lolling, rolling to his belly and kicking his legs in the air. Sometimes, gloating just feels too darn good to be an adult about it. You know, something like rolling four (FOUR!) Yahtzee rolls in one game. Nick, disbelieving my luck (read: absolute awesomeness), happened to catch my fourth Yahtzee, and the sad little display of arrogance that followed.
I want to be ashamed at my poor sportsmanship, I do. It's just that, well…
(Also: this series of pictures makes me laugh at myself…and I need to do that more.)
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Supposedly, most cats are solitary beings—they are not pack animals like dogs. Animal behaviorists have speculated if a cat has the capacity to bond with a human or if they only depend on humans to satisfy their physical needs. The debates lasts because no one can really answer that but a cat.
I've been around cats nearly all of my life, and before Sophie I would attest to the solitary behavior. They would come around to snuggle with me when they wanted something, otherwise they were content to disappear and ignore me completely. They held grudges, and sometimes they were downright catty. I still loved cats even though they could take me or leave me—and I even kind of understood the mood swings, particularly during those teenage years. I had a dog to love me unconditionally, so I didn't need that kind of devotion from a cat. I didn't need those heart-melting eyes staring at me like I am the best thing in the whole world.
Oh yes, I would have agreed that cats were frigid animals who lowered their standards to let us pet them now and then.
I was quite smitten with Bandit when my aunts adopted their long-haired tabby. Brenda started telling me about a breed of cat who look a lot like Bandit but a whole lot bigger (she was a wisp of a thing): the Maine coon. I started to research the breed…in no time, I was hooked.
They were said to be affectionate, gentle giants with kitten-like playfulness that lasts into adulthood. Sophie is a dog in cat's clothes, just what I was looking for. Nick likes to rub that bit in when I am frustrated up to my eyeballs with the fuzzy thing doing her best to trip me, winding through my legs as soon as I walk through the door. She stands on her back paws with her front paws on my leg to beg me to stop and love her, and i just cannot resist that vulnerable "You're my everything" look she has in her eyes.
So was the case when the picture above was taken. It was one of the first truly beautiful Saturdays of the year, so Nick and I took advantage of Mother Nature's gift with a hike. We came home, showered, redressed, and drove to a friend's house where we spent several hours. When I walked into the living room after, it was a full-on Sophie assault. If she had been a dog, she would have knocked me over in her excitement to have us home.
We found ourselves nodding all the way through the breed characteristics in the video below when we saw it on TV—though when they talk about size, they're only talking about males (females have smaller frames, but still bigger than other breeds). Sophie would probably need help rolling over if she weighed 25 pounds. We find ourselves very lucky to have a dog who poops in a box.
And now: the rest of the story.
(Thank you for letting me borrow your line, Paul.)
Quick recap of the last bit of nonsense:
We get grumpy. We do fun things to not be grumpy. A concert is a fun thing that we did. I don't have fun when I don't sleep. We scheduled vacation for the day after the concert (to sleep for fun). But really, our wasted day off promised loads of un-fun. Nick: "Let's go to Chicago!" Not to get ahead of the story, but that was pretty fun.
It's amazing that I can actually be concise when I try, isn't it?
The first trip I ever took with Nick was to Chicago. There are three very prominent memories from that trip, and sadly they're probably not the ones Nick was hoping we would take away.
Nick told me that Chicago was on me this time. You see, Nick does nearly all the vacation activity planning. He wishes I would take over more, but the thing is that we approach vacation differently. I see it as a time to do nothing. He sees it as a time to do everything that we can't do at home. Vacations exhaust me, and isn't that just the most counterproductive thing you've ever heard? Well anyway, I the weekend in the palm of my had, and I planned exactly two activities and two things only. I immediately slotted Saturday to the Planetarium because we've been wanting to go. And with a little help from Google…
…I discovered that BB King was in town again, and tickets were still available. (I figure that catching his performance was only six years in the making.) BB King is velvet to my ears. His voice sounds like it could have come from an old recording—still as clear and soulful as ever—but it was his personality that I fell in love with. His stage presence felt like a companionable conversation with an old friend, the kind of conversation that keeps the smile plastered on your face long after talking has ceased.
So, I started writing this post two days ago, but my social agenda got in the way—hey, it happens. Since this current bout of insomnia still hasn't let up (in day three), I decided to finish this up instead of staring at the dark ceiling any longer. In reviewing pictures to share here, it seems that most of the photos I took over the weekend are in portrait orientation instead of landscape; it's usually the other way around. I am always enthralled with the ball buildings in Chicago. I'm used to looking up and seeing sky instead of the latticework of masonry and steel…tall photos for tall buildings, I guess!
It seems so simple, but viewing the world as if I am framing a photo makes everything so much more special—just like blogging makes little moments of my life more memorable because I am sensitive to the stories as they unravel. The stress of life simply melts away as Nick and I walk together down the city streets. We watch the parents and children, the lovers and friends, and it's clear that life is pretty wonderful.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Nick and I both have a tendency to bring work worries home. We don't take the stress out on each other per se, but I cannot deny the taciturn coexistence that settles over the evening every now and then. Since work is so heavy during the week, we try to have fun once the weight lifts for the weekend. We schedule a few weekend getaways every year to enjoy life with each other—we went to Chicago last weekend.
We typically visit Chicago every year but missed the trip last year for some reason. (I think the problem was that we stayed in Schaumburg and got all snagged up in IKEA…I don't think we had much of a budget left to hit The Magnificent Mile!) I love going to Chicago for a couple days, but I'm always ready to come home. I can't live with that level of frenzy around the clock!
This year's trip was inspired by Elton John tickets. I think you probably know by now that I am a huge Elton John fan. Levon gives me chills every time I hear "He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas Day…" It holds a certain Cat's in the Cradle-esqueness for me…the reminder to pay attention to the important things before it's too late. Anyway, Nick brought it to my attention as soon as the tour stop in Madison was announced…despite the fact that he's rather indifferent to Sir Elton's music. That's love, folks.
He even took some video with his phone:
Since the concert was a Thursday night and I'm old (read: I need much more sleep to function), I scheduled vacation for the next day. I wanted the day off solely to sleep in, but the rest of the vacation day was going to be a bit of a waste…so why not go to Chicago for the weekend instead? Why not indeed.
Do you think I can link out to much more in this post? I think that's a sign of the ADD taking over, so I'll have to continue this story another day. For now, I can tell you that I absolutely loved seeing Elton John again…and I will go to his concerts as often as I can. I am so awed by his talent. If there was just one thing I would go back and change in my life, it would be that I give more of my young life to learning how to make music. Since I cannot go back, I deeply, deeply appreciate those who can.
Is it ever too late to learn?
Monday, March 26, 2012
What a lovely weekend we had in Chicago…I married such a nice guy. The night has slipped away from me, but I will be back to tell you more.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I am angry with myself.
I am angry, and I'm frustrated that I can't stop doing or thinking things that make me so angry with myself.
My life has felt stressful ever since I accepted my current position at work two years ago. Stress is a relationship like any other: it takes two. Whatever my worries are, they only follow me home because I do not make them stay when I leave the office. I do not want to be this person, the one who allows unimportant things steer her thoughts. It's the ugly face of perfectionism sneering at me again…the cost is great.
My father has been calling for the last week to get help with his computer. I talked to him last Saturday and walked him through his questions. I fought to keep the patience in my voice as I walked him through the same information that I have walked him through countless times before. It's not so much that I mind helping—my theory is that you are good at this, I am good at that, and together we are good at everything—it's more that I feel like he isn't listening to me. I feel like this is a waste of my time. Nonetheless, I agreed to drive out to his house today to take a look when he called again (and again).
I can readily think of at least five reasons why I should be justified in feeling irritated. Disgustingly, they are all variations of the theme that I'm too busy with work…which is really just a roundabout way of saying that I'm too busy for you. It shames me.
I think of the hurt he inspired when I was young and feeling like I was less important than his work. He started his business when I was in sixth grade, and I remember writing a paper claiming him as my hero…and then he slowly became a stranger in my life. I barely saw him. He would come home after a long day and fall asleep on the couch. He let work take over his life. He did what I am doing now.
Things are different today…he's different, and our roles are reversed. He's reached the point in his life where one learns that work isn't everything. He's reached the point where he wants to slow down and take it all in. Childishly, my subconscious response is, "Too late." I suppose it would be more accurate to whine, "But he started it!"
Harry Chapin was singing to me as I pulled into the garage yesterday. I sat in the car until the song ended and tried to swallow the lump that had lodged in my throat. I may not have started it, but I can finish it.
I am angry with myself because I know and understand the impermanence of a life…I'm playing with fire. It's time to fix this.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
When Nick shot this video Friday night, I admit that me and my cousin were embarrassed by the sound of our raucous laughter. Yet, I find myself sharing it here.
To set the stage for you, Michelle came over Friday night to help rice potatoes for a planned lefse day (which didn't work out). Nick asked hopefully if she would be staying for awhile…because then he could coerce the two of us into a board game…namely, Beatles Trivial Pursuit. We actually have a few versions of Trivial Pursuit between the two of us, but I'm afraid that we do not play board games all that often—which is a shame because some of the funniest conversations of my recollection have happened during this sort of play.
When Nick and I started seeing each other, we had a no-TV night every week. During this one sacred night, we participated in technology-free activities such as Yahtzee, Scrabble, and various trivia games. This, as with so many other good habits we used to have, fell by the wayside when I re-enrolled in my B.S. program (pun intended). I could not afford a technology free night when there was always something due—either for work or one of my classes.
Now that the novelty of sitting on the couch with absolutely nothing to do has worn thin, I am trying to make the effort to practice my social skills once more.
But the Beatles, ah. The Beatles. I have spent my life loving The Beatles. I dragged Michelle into the obsession somewhere in the early 90s, and she's been infected ever since. Being that Nick is painfully unappreciative and knowledgeable of THE GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME, his request to play that particular board game seemed all the more desperate. So, we played.
And how we laughed…and laughed, and laughed—mainly at Nick's answers because he seriously got the most difficult questions of the night. I wouldn't have known all that information on Brian Epstein either, but he made best of it and entertained us for hours. We were so amused that we laughed easily and boisterously at just about anything. And with that, I introduce the fuzziest player in our game:
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