Nice to Meet You

My photo
Originally from Texas, I am a reader, writer, pseudo-gardener, baker, record collecting student working on my Ph.D. in the Midwest.

Thursday, March 31

Traffic and Self Worth

So, I have Google Analytics installed on my blog. I don't think that would actually surprise anyone, I mean, I do like keeping track of how many people are coming to visit and where from. It can also tell me how "popular" my blog is in the sense of percentages. It will also share with me how long people stay on a page. And, it tells me where y'all show up from (link on another blog, facebook, etc.) It's handy, definitely.

What's not handy about it is how I start to value those numbers on the analytics homepage.I obsessively check them to see how many people looked at my blog. And I start to wrap my value as a writer, thinker - as a person - into it. And that's not okay. 

It's not okay, because I'm truly not my analytics numbers. I'm more than that. My self-worth and my identity are not tied to how many unique visitors I receive or how many comments or whatever.

Now, I would like to say that it's way easier to write that then to believe it. When I want my corner of the world to be important, I sometimes let those gremlins slip in and tell me that I'm not good enough because I don't have enough traffic. 

But here's the thing, gremlins - the people who are coming, are people who love and care about me. And that's what matter.

Wednesday, March 30

Guess what?

Today went something like this:

Alarm went off at 7am. I hit snooze until 7:14.
The husband and I roll out of bed and make small talk about dreams (I dreamed a good friend of mine bought a house just to burn it down... what does that even mean?)
We made our breakfast and our lunches and then left but 7:40. 
I had class at 9 and then decided to check my campus mailbox. I don't ever get anything, but I still like the idea of checking. 
Here's what I found:

This would be my letter saying I passed comps!!!! Woo hoo!! You remember the ones which I was freaking out about?

So, I told facebook. And as of right now, I have 30 likes and 16 comments. Which, makes me feel unbelievably loved. 

And tonight, we went to dinner to celebrate. We also ate a banana split:

It was about halfway demolished here, but you get the picture.

I also had an amazing card from the husband to come home to (I love cards). It had the most amazing message inside, and had a cherry tree. 

Friends. I am oh so happy right now.

Tuesday, March 29

Not Actually Dr. Pepper

This isn't actually about Dr. Pepper. Even the Diet kind. 

It is about the Spiritual Formation class I have been teaching for the last seven weeks. It's with a group of 7ish women of all ages and it has been amazing for me, and I hope for them as well.

Tonight, we were talking about The Sacramental Life. When I first thought about that chapter, I imagined things like communion, saying a rosary (though, I'm not Catholic) etc. But I was deeply surprised when we got into it.

It was actually more focused on Sabbath and the blurry lines between spirituality and secular-ness.

Where it got interesting was when the authors started discussing the Trinity -- you know, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Because, that's so simple to understand. Anyway, there were two takeaways from this:

In the person of Christ, God became human (incarnation). And by doing this, he affirmed all human activity -- from the religious sacraments to laughter and sorrow and more. Because God lived it (through Jesus) nothing is exempt or "unholy", everything received equal honor and thus is sacred. Our jobs, our sleep, our gardening, our cooking, our praying... everything is sacred.

The next part is the Spirit. You know, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit allows us to move past the material things and to become the hands and the voice and the mind and the arms of God. The Spirit lets us become the person God created us to be and then the world gets to experience God through us.

These ideas, while maybe not awesome in the true definition of awesome or whatever, are still eye-opening to me. I strongly believe in St. Francis' saying: "Always preach Christ; use words when necessary." This makes me think about my life in a more harmonious way -- rather than either faith or work, it become faith and work, all through the St. Francis lens. My job is a calling, even if I'm not in ministry as a pastor or what have you.

I don't know, something feels wonderful about this. I love it. I think it it really important for me on my spiritual journey. I feel like this is the key to something which I was missing.

Monday, March 28

How was your weekend?

Yay Weekend!
  • Snow on Saturday
  • Money to buy groceries with
  • Finding a futon to put in our spare room for our guests
  • A semi-productive afternoon punctuated with talking to friends
  • Selling a chair on Craigslist. I love cold hard cash
  • Fresh flowers!

    Boo Weekend :(
    • Realizing the husband's wallet was gone 
    • Having to use the heaters again
    • The fridge continuing to make that awful noise
    • Seeing how deep the gouges were in the hardwood floors
    • Not getting to work in the garden as promised

    happy monday friends! 

    Friday, March 25

    Little Orphan Annie

    The husband came home and found me sitting on the couch watching the 1999 version of Annie.

    I was enthralled. I loved Annie growing up, though I always watched the 1982 version (clearly).

    It's moments like these, when something classic comes on television that I get really excited. I was singing the songs with the characters, because who doesn't? I grew up with this show -- it was the first musical I ever saw and even though there was a very large and tall person sitting in front of me, I could still sing the songs and know what was happening. Because Annie was my childhood.

    So, today, when the husband came home and said that he has never seen Annie before I felt a little bit sad. And he started wikipedia-ing it. Apparently, the movies were the last things to happen.

    You first had the poem Little Orphant Annie
    And then, we had the comics
    And then the radio show
    Then the musical in 1977
    And finally the movies.

    I love that this has been around so long.

    Wednesday, March 23

    Articles I Currently Like {1}

    All links work as of 03/23/2011

    5 Articles I currently like, mainly because they make me think. 

    Why?: Because these are interesting things. And I appreciate them. My favorite ones are 3 ( If you don’t question what you believe in, you end up making the same mistakes over and over.), 8 (Don’t read blogs written by unhappy, spiteful people.) and 21 (What to say with your "I'm sorry's."). 

    Why?: Because, "C.S. Lewis penned his hope for us in the preface to his The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 'Someday,' he wrote, 'you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.'" 

    Why?: I'm not necessarily a fan of this article, but it is thought provoking. It lays out the reasons why (from a Biblical standpoint) women should change their names when they marry. 

    Why?: Because I hate, despise, even loathe bad presentations. They hurt my eyes and my brain. And I stop paying attention very quickly.

    Why?: This post pissed me off. And then it made me think. And write. And it pissed me off again. But it's still a good read, if only to make you wonder what you're doing. 

    Tuesday, March 22

    Photo Contests and My Life List

    I just entered four of my photos into a photo contest
    I can't believe it.

    Even if I don't win anything, I'm really happy to cross this off my life list. Because, I did it. I submitted some of my photos in a contest.

    And, as I become a better photographer, I think I will do it again. We'll see.

    Monday, March 21

    Home Improvements

    We live in an apartment. 
    It's a beautiful apartment, really, but it's not a house.
    For a long time, I felt that in order to make a home a home it had to be house which I was paying a mortgage on. 
    And then, I changed my mind. Once we got out of the scary, sanitary corporate owned apartments, I really was able to make our home a home. 
    And it doesn't take much, really. 
    A little paint
    And a lot of love. 
    And maybe a trip to Ikea in Frisco.

    Friday, March 18

    Friends who Wed

    At this time last week, I was getting ready to take pictures with Lindsey who is one of my nearest and dearest friends. We've known each other for 10ish years now, and she's one of those people who has just always had my back. She's always just accepted me for whatever I was and am with no questions asked. She has just loved me. And I am forever grateful for that.

    But! On March 11th, she married her best friend Bryce. Basically, I just want to show you pictures and talk about it, because I can.

    Lindsey gifted each of her bridesmaids hair dos from a salon, which was awesome. It meant that we didn't have to do it ourselves, which I totally appreciated. My hair is at an awkward length and I don't know what the heck to do with it, so I was grateful.

    Lindsey did a gorgeous updo with lots of curls and a ponytail thing. Her hair is baby fine thin hair -- it's gorgeous but requires liquid cement and bobby pins to keep it up. But, it stayed which is what matters.
    We had a constant stream of food which was also awesome. However, while I was putting on Lindsey's nails, I wouldn't let her eat. So, the Maid of Honor (Jessica) stepped up and did her duty of feeding the bride. Someone had to do it.

    Lindsey also used Cinderella as a way to hang out and wait while I did Jessica's make-up. We were sequestered to this back room and there wasn't a whole lot to do. But singing mice seems to handle her nerves (which were already pretty non-existent).
    After I finished all of our make up, it was time for Lindsey to put on her gorgeous white dress. There was some whining about cold hands and a hug in the middle, but we got it on. And then I got to put her veil in her hair which was so cool. And she looked gorgeous. 

    Then it was time for the posed professional photos. Lindsey and Bryce opted to not do a First Look, so there was a lot of wheedling to keep them from seeing each other. Thanks to a really, really intense and scary wedding coordinator, there was absolutely no chance of that happening. 

    And then it was 7pm and it was time for Lindsey to marry her love. The night before, I about lost it when I watched her rehearsing. I mean, really. And I was no better when we were standing waiting outside. I saw her dad, who I have always called Mr. Smith, waiting to walk his daughter down the aisle and I thought, "Oh my God.... I don't know if I can not cry during this..."

    And I barely did it. He walked her down the aisle and put her hand in Bryce's and it was beautiful. And I was so, so happy for her.

    The next moment where I was about positive that I would lose it was when they were wrapped in a quilt. See, I made that quilt. And the husband and I did a quilt wrapping in our wedding ceremony. What is that saying, the best form of flattery is copying? Something like that. And that's totally how I felt. 

    Everyone will be pleased to know that I didn't cry. My chin wobbled, but I wasn't that bawling bridesmaid, which is probably good.

    After they got married, there was an awesome dessert reception with ice cream sundaes, delicious juices, fruit and cheese. It was tasty and fun. And then of course there were awesome wedding cakes. Lindsey surprised Bryce with an Xbox 360 Cake and she had a beautiful star cake that a friend made for her. 

    It was all so very beautiful and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. 

    I wish Bryce and Lindsey nothing but all the happiness in the world.

    Wednesday, March 16

    Readers are Hot

    I'm in love with this currently, and after spending the evening with a friend talking about books, I felt like I needed to share it: 

    Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

    Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

    She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

    Buy her another cup of coffee.

    Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

    It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

    She has to give it a shot somehow.

    Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

    Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

    Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

    If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

    You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

    You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

    Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

    Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

    --Rosemary Urquico

    Tuesday, March 15

    Shame Triggers

    Shame triggers are situations, comments, or comparisons that can cause each of us to fall into a spiral of shame – activating our sense of not being good enough and not belonging. These triggers are unique to each person and can come from any number of sources internally, from our family of origin, or from society. 

    I have many shame triggers. One of my triggers is writing. I love writing. I love putting my words on paper (or in a word processor) and emptying my brain. It's really helpful for me. And, I love sharing most of it on this blog.

    My trigger is within grammar and spelling. Also, word choice. I try to be very conscious of how I spell and use grammar, though I recognize that I also have my own special way of saying things. 

    So, this morning, when I looked at facebook and a really good friend of mine wrote, under my link to yesterday's blog, "I'm grateful that I can spell 'gratitude'"..... I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. In my original title, I spelled "gratitude" as "gratiude".

    When my shame is triggered, I don't really get angry or defensive, I get sad. I get deeply embarrassed and deeply sad. And if it happens in the morning, like today, it colors the entirety of my day. It may not be a bad day, but the shame crawls in during strange moments, colors my face red, and makes me feel more than awful. 

    And that was my day. 

    Monday, March 14

    Daily Gratitude

    I have a group of women with whom I share daily gratitudes with. We met in the Dream Lab I took during January and February. They are smart, sassy, funny, and all around lovely. I feel really happy to be sharing the things in my life with them. Each line is like a glimpse into each other's life and that's just really cool. 

    But, today, I also want to share my gratitudes with you. It's nothing deep, just things I'm deeply grateful for on a Monday in Nebraska. 

    • For making it home safely after spending Sunday night 3 1/2 hours from Lincoln due to a freak snowstorm.
    • Cancelling all my student appointments to nap with the husband before seeing clients.
    • Napping with the husband in a chilly room while the sun streams in the bedroom window. 
    • An ice cream sundae after clients made with lots of love from a friend at a local ice cream store. 
    • Advance Reader Copies which the husband brings home from his job. I get to read books before they are published! 

    These are things which I am grateful for today. How about you? 

    Tuesday, March 8

    Modern Analogies

    We are leaving tomorrow morning (5am, yuck) to go to Texas to watch my best friend get married. On Friday. I am so excited.

    And there will be pictures, so you'll know it happened.

    Monday, March 7

    I Could Kiss You, Texas Reps!

    Oh. Hello. 
    I've missed you dearly. 

    Since you last saw me, I have:
    Study my brains out for Comps.
    Took said Comps
    Finished my Photography class
    Read a book for a book club
    Saw The Vagina Monologues
    Partied with a Professor
    Spent 7 hours writing
    Continued being a wife and daughter and friend (kind of)
    Paid bills
    and packed for our trip to watch my best friend get married on Friday.

    But, that's not what I want to talk about today. 

    I want to talk about Texas, and specifically, how bad ass some of the Representatives are.

    There's always a slew of Anti-Choice legislation which comes into play during the legislation season. I mean, it's just part of it. And, Texas was no different. The newest one (which really isn't so new) is that a woman who wants an abortion would have to view a sonogram and then wait one day before having the procedure. Currently, you have to wait at least one day after making an appointment. So, now, let's make you come into the clinic (you know, since they are so convenient for everyone), force you to see the fetus and then send you on your merry way to make sure you want to follow through with this decision. As if making the appointment in the first place wasn't difficult enough. 

    This bill will pass. Without a shadow of a doubt, this bill will pass. But, not without some fight. 

    Three legislators added some fantastic amendments. All have been tabled, but whatever. They are...

    drum roll...
    One that would require the state to pay the child’s college tuition if the woman decides not to have an abortion, one that would require the state to cover the child’s health care till they were 18, and when that failed one that wold require the state to pay for health care till the child was 6. -State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston
     ...require clinics that provide abortions to also provide medically accurate information about contraception. - State Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio
     ...let the pregnant woman force the father to have a vasectomy.- State Representative Marisa Marquez of El Paso
    I could kiss them. Each of them.

    Especially Dutton. He gave a statement that said, 
    “We want to see all these children around, but the state of Texas ends its obligation to that child when it’s born,” he said. “We want it born, but we don’t want to do our duty.”
    And Castro? Well, you know, clinics already do that. That's actually the main function. So, letting that amendment stand would do change nothing. Yet we table it anyway.

    Marquez: Exactly. This is so absurd that we would never consider it. And yet, Anti-Choicers do this. They force their beliefs on my body. 

    Okay, reigning it in. These three people are amazing. Truly. Even though none of this would go through, they are fighting, and I am in love. If you’d like to thank these three legislators you can contact Rep. Dutton here, Rep. Castro here, and Rep. Marquez here

    I know I will.

    first heard about through feministing