Archive | October, 2010

I am not a good feminist

23 Oct

 

 

In fact, most of the time I say that I am just not a feminist. Because, I’m not like these girls, I can’t even begin to imagine what sort of conversation would come after you brashly announce: I only fuck feminist! (Is that even good sex? Or do all the self imposed rules make you feel restricted?)  However, I recently saw this article, Riot grrrl culture is back, but where’s the rage? The author, though apparently too young to have lived through the hard times that were the early nineties, reminisces about how much better it was when girls were super angry at everything and yelled and screamed and wore unflattering clothes. I beg to differ.

I am old enough to have actually lived through that. Been part of that. And I am super thankful that my teen years, really my childhood because back then, I think it was like being a child, took place in the nineties. I got to wear big baggy Jnco jeans and extra large black band t-shirts that hid all my body insecurities and still allowed me to be in style. I watched My-So-Called Life and got to debate about whether having sex in high school would be a good idea instead of having Gossip Girl tell me it would be awesome and glossy or bad and tabloid-y, but who cares because you bounce right back after one episode? I like that Angela was obsessed with the same boy for the entire length of the show and freaked out internally all the time. I’m glad that making zines was cool and that my friends and I wore hand printed t-shirts that declared, “I’m A Freak” and I went to summer art school and screamed and was loud and aggressive at punk rock shows and kicked ass in mosh pits and generally terrorized the establishment. While Kathleen Hannah screamed, Suck my Left One, I screamed, Eat Me Raw bitch! I even made that quote the cover of one of my zines. I like that I watched Doom Generation and had boyfriends with Mohawks and drank Mad Dog 20/20 in parking lots and smoked clove cigarettes and sat around my friend Beth’s house, watching slugs fuck while we talked about how cool Courtney Love was. Yeah, we were angry. Angry at our parents, at our school, at the government (only, not too much because we all really liked Clinton), at everything. But we were angry in the way teenagers were: blindly angry.

This other girl seems to be under the impression that girls my age all knew why we were angry. And I am sure a lot of girls knew why they were angry, the riot grrl scene was really political. And apparently a lot of them were angry at David Lynch and Twin Peaks. (I read the book, The Shape of Things to Come by Greil Marcus and he included a quotation from a riot grrrl zine: “Twin Peaks.” “FUCK TWIN PEAKS,” reads the zine, before excerpting a review: “Laura Palmer is hailed as this year’s breakthrough dead girl. ‘My father killed me,’ she says, but Cooper still gets the last word. With an end like that, there’s really no breakthrough.”) I’m not angry at David Lynch, so maybe, even as a 13 year old girl, I knew I was never going to cut it with the hardcore-feminists. My friends and I listened to Ani Difranco (we loved that she was from Buffalo and felt she really got our “upstate” pain) and yes, I did have friends who listened to Bikini Kill and L7. But  I found myself more in the mopey cheering section, falling head over heels for Robert Smith, Morrissey, and Siouxsie. I still loved to scream and I don’t think I could have gotten through high school if I hadn’t been able to blast the Lunachicks and Hole at my parents, but I am sure that any real riot grrrl would have balked at the fact most of my rage  came from man fronted bands, like the Dead Kennedys. I guess I never lived in a world that could not be shared by men; after all, didn’t men have as much right to be angry at their school, parents, and government as me?

Don’t get me wrong, there are still guys I went to high school with that tremble a little when they hear my name. I could be a straight up bitch that would scream, stab with a spork, or kick you in the nuts without warning. But we were all a little bit more scrappy then. Guys were more like Xavier Red, but now they are more like characters Michael Cera plays.  Who is going to want to yell at Michael Cera? He’s more bumbling and sweet than I was at age 5 and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy to oppress women. So, we don’t really need to show him who’s boss: we already did.

Back when I was a teenager, yeah, we sort of had the internet, but not really. And we didn’t have cell phones. Watching Clueless was fun because there was a whole world that out in the sticks we just didn’t really grasp. MTV was all about indie music, when it simply meant independent, not whiney, emo, sad music specifically. So, there wasn’t an exposure to the hope that we might all have bright shiny futures one day. We were frustrated and angry because we didn’t really know that there were other people like us, that we could move away from our home towns and have new lives with new friends, that we didn’t have to take our SATs and go to college to have a life. We were pissed off because the country was in a recession and suddenly, nothing made any sense. Our parents weren’t used to the sudden poverty, there were no jobs for graduating kids, and all we could afford was that flannel from Kmart and the occasional CD. We made mixtapes because you couldn’t download music, so it had to pass from hand to hand to hand and get overplayed in  your beat up car. We made poverty cool, we made frustration cool, we made hopelessness cool. We thought nothing was ever going to change, so we made nothingness our anthem. We purposefully did nothing, as a symbol of what was going on. We stole our idea from the British punks, although I doubt we knew it; we said fuck you capitalism, if you don’t have room for us, we won’t be productive. And we weren’t. We didn’t know any better, so we made our ignorance and rage a political statement in itself.

So, this little girl in her article, pretending to yearn for some sort of authenticity, asks: why aren’t people as angry today? I think it’s because suddenly people know. They know that things CAN change. Things ARE changing. It’s slow, but it’s happening. And we also now know that people who disagree with us aren’t going to change because you yell at them (well, okay, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t know that, but he takes a lot of pills), but instead, you have to woo people into changing their minds. We all have internal hope, even in the face of a recession and a depleted job market, that things are going to get better. We have the internet to give us instant information, so that we never feel out of touch or uninformed, trapped in our small towns or small offices, desperately alone. Even when I read about terrible things happening, I still have hope that together, we can collectively make a nicer world. I like the idea that the reason people aren’t shaving their heads and screaming into microphones right now isn’t because we have all turned into boring conservatives, but simply because we got tired of yelling and would rather talk it out.

Inspiration, Day Three!

15 Oct

Okay, so this whole inspiration thing is going well for me. I don’t know if other people would agree that I am accomplishing so much, but at the very least I am having fun. And frankly, my eyebrows look better.

Yes, my eyebrows look better. For the last few days I have done the following: repaired my laptop, read a lot of a book about a man with a nose for cheese and adventure, aptly named Edward Trencom’s Nose, while laying in the hot tub, rearranged my room, written some lovely letters to people, made plans for an outing with a friend from far away, made two inspiration boards for above my desk, started a small catering business with my best friend (I’ll let you see our website when I think it looks awesome), nearly finished my awesome Halloween costume, flipped through my old style books, and spent 40 minutes doing my eyebrows. Yes, 40 minutes.

Previous to this little experiment, despite being what my friend Kristina would call “high maintainance” , I rarely spend very much time on anything other than straightening my hair. Which is long and curly and Italian, so when I want it to be straight, it takes some time! But I was sort of looking at my eyebrows after I washed my face last night and thought…they used to look nicer than that! So I whipped out the old Kevin Aucoin books and shaped them until I had eyebrows that would make Grace Kelly jump up and take notice.

So, that may have not been my *most* productive moment ever, but it was certainly the first time in a long time that I saw something that needed to be done, that I *wanted* to do, and I didn’t put it off and put it off for forever.

Oh yeah, I have a first draft of a ridiculously funny Halloween story to post up here soon… :)

Reclaiming Your Music

13 Oct

I   mentioned previously, ahem, how much I love my friend Deborah. Today, she once again made me feel love for her by posting this blog. It’s all about how relationships ruin your favorite music, but how you can reclaim your songs with her simple step by step process. And it’s true, isn’t it? I have music that was ruined by exes simply because every time I hear the artist, I see their face and it makes me sad or angry or a little annoyed with myself that I no longer fit into that stunning orange dress that I used to wear when we went to Burlesque nights out during the Edinburgh Festival…that might have been a tangent. Sorry. I was, erm, inspired?

Anyway.  Read her post.

30 Days of Inspiration

13 Oct

So, I sometimes meander over to Steve Pavlina’s blog because I find him to be an interesting person, even if I don’t always agree with him.  Yesterday, sort of looking for something completely different, I found this article, entitled 30 Days of Inspiration, in which he talks about how he decided that he was going to do only what he felt inspired do: “I’m not scheduling anything at all, unless the inspiration to schedule something hits me.” While he writes about how much fun it is and how productive he feels (in one bit he says how he came up with an idea to sell a consultation on ebay and then, instead of writing it down in his notebook and then filing it away to do later, he just did it right that second, and a few hours later, the bid was up to $1,000 and in almost no time, he was giving that session and collecting a large sum of money. If he had waited, he might have talked himself out of the idea and then denied himself all that money…I can see his point), he then writes about how fearful he is to act on impulse because “some things can’t be undone. By day 30 I’ll have probably done at least a few things that will make it impossible to restore my life to essentially where it was on day one.” And if you are only doing positive things that are bettering your life, like earning $1,000 and adding a new aspect of business to your life, great. If it means cutting old relationships from your life, randomly, quickly, I could see that in awhile, maybe even the next day, you might regret it. Or maybe that’s best for everyone. You don’t know and because you aren’t mulling it over, you just have to accept whatever the consequences. Which, of course, scares me as much as it seems to be scaring him.

I feel that I do live much of my life like this already…Steve has a business, a wife (now ex-wife), a girlfriend, and a child, so a lot of his life has to be mapped out in order to be reliable to himself and others that depend on him, so I think it is a bigger leap for him. For me, I already look at something that interests me and, usually pretty quickly, act on it. Sure, it took me a month to move from Edinburgh to London, and I did wiggle back and forth on whether it was the right thing for me, but ultimately I followed my original inspiration. What Steve is suggesting, or rather, what he did do for 30 days, is that you don’t spend the time rehashing the pros and cons. You just go with your intuition and you learn to trust yourself. Because, what is best for you in the long run might have some nasty short-term effects, but I have to say, maybe it is better to get a big lump of suffering out of the way, rather than prolonging your pain for a long time at a “manageable” level.

But I don’t really want to focus on the negative, because Steve, despite his fears that it will be a big, scary thing, seems to be having mostly positive results, where people are more generous, happier to help, and the universe seems to be smiling on him. Or maybe he, like me, just is hyper-aware of the good things and less aware of the annoying moments in life. He talks about when he gets hungry while shopping and is inspired to get a slice of pizza, then thinks, oh, wouldn’t a whole pizza be nice, but I don’t want to wait the 30 minutes for them to cook it, and BAM, at the counter the guy is bringing out an entire pizza, with the toppings he wants, from the oven. Maybe other people wouldn’t notice that, maybe everyone gets this sort of good luck, but I would notice it and be happy about it.

So…I am interested in giving this a try. I am starting today, but with a few caveats: I already have a really large event coming up that I planned for: a week in California for Halloween with friends. This involves planning out my Halloween costume, planning on going to some parties, planning on seeing certain friends. Of course, one could cheekily argue, I randomly bought the plane ticket on a whim after an invitation to stay with a friend.

Also, in a new spin on my very solitary, very, shall we say, self-centered life, I have a dog now. A really great dog who is loveable and cute and non-demanding dog, but a pet nonetheless that needs to be walked and fed regularly and on a routine. I suppose Steve doesn’t necessarily feel inspired to wake up at 3 am if his son is sick, anymore than I feel inspired to let my dog outside when she licks my face at 6 am, but I think I can cope. After all, when I get inspired to take a three-hour walk in the woods on a sunny day, she’ll have no reservations about joining me.

I actually already started because I felt inspired to write a post about this. And normally, I blog in a little program on my computer, leave it for a few hours at least, but usually much longer, while I think about whether I am happy with posting it. But I am just blogging straight from WordPress today after waking up feeling like this was a good way to start the day. So here we go, Day One. I kind of hope it does irrevocably change my life…

I have a definite feeling that she just had an inspirational moment...

The True Meaning of Teaching

12 Oct

It’s another holiday day around here, so there are a lot of signs up saying “No School Today,” making me think about all the teachers that are  not having to face a classroom this morning. And then it’s making me think about my time spent teaching, in classrooms and out of them, as well as all the teachers I know.

When I was in Greece, a woman came to stay in the bookstore who was a friend of one of the owners. She was a teacher in California and an utterly adorable women overall. We had lunch one day at my favorite restaurant there, a polish place, aptly named Polski, and while we ate pierogis and falafel in pitas (it was still Greece!) and drank Mythos beer, we talked about teaching. We may not have agreed on every point (and I promise, I’m not going to say who thought what because this is one area I don’t want to have a public debate over), but at the end she sat smiling at me and said, “Well, you certainly don’t lack passion. I can’t see why you aren’t still teaching.” When she said this, I thought about all the areas in my life where I do teach, everyday, every moment of the day. And then I put myself up against other “professional”  teachers (not her I want to add, she embodies what I love about a good teacher!).

I thought hard about one particular teacher, we shall call her “Mrs. Pink.” (I really like Reservoir Dogs, okay?). When I first met her, I really respected that she was teaching autistic students in an inner city school. Talk about a double whammy of difficulty. Less money means less resources and with bigger problems than autism facing these kids every day from every angle, I was so impressed that she went into this school every day and really seemed super passionate about her job. She truly cared about these kids and I don’t have any doubt that she is a great classroom teacher. But something else struck me as terribly terribly wrong about her.

Over the weeks we spent together, I noticed that she had a very narrow world view. A world view where the underprivileged are always right, that being a Liberal is the only correct mindset, and that the only people worth teaching were minorities. This became completely clear when she, being 30, decided that she would no longer speak to a 19 year old girl because the 19 year old girl was Republican. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not Republican. So this isn’t a fight on this basis. But this girl, this NINETEEN year old girl, was sweet as pie, incredibly intelligent, a theater major, able to discuss her political thoughts in a rational and non-confrontational way, and was also dating the most Liberal boy I had ever met (also incredibly sweet and intelligent, I might add). This girl also cooked for us, pitched in if anyone needed any help, and was just in general, really nice to have around. She might have come from a wealthy family, but she was also working at least 50 hours a week that summer, not for her family I might add,  saving up money so that she could travel the world because she was desperate to see everything. In what world is it better to be friends with a snarky Democrat that leaves everyone feeling angry after speaking to them than a genuine ray of sunshine? But the altruistic teacher just rolled her eyes at me and said,” At her age, she should know better and it’s not my job to run around teaching everyone on the planet how to be a better person.”

Excuse me?

How do I even begin to answer this. Let’s start with the first part of what she said, “It’s not my job.”

Well, actually, it is. So what you are saying is that if this girl had walked into your classroom two years ago, when she was still in highschool, you would have taken one look at her and said, “Nope, get out! You aren’t the type of person I teach.”  You wouldn’t, you couldn’t, because technically, it IS your job.

But more than that, teaching is not just a job. It can’t be. Honestly. It’s not banking, it doesn’t pay enough for you to just go and do it for the money. But even if it were banking, I know a lot of bankers. And the only ones who make a lot of money at it, are the ones that have a talent for it, a passion for it. Yes, people are passionate about derivatives. They honestly are. And these bankers, well, they want to talk about derivatives to anyone who will listen. They love to share all the knowledge they have, they love to *teach*. I know far more about banking than I ever thought I would because I have so many friends who just prattle on and on about it, but it’s cute, how excited they get. They don’t care who they are talking to, they just want to talk about what they love. And they don’t get angry or frustrated when they explain something to me over and over again, they just smile and use a different analogy so that it can be clear to me.  A good teacher should not be less passionate about teaching than a BANKER. Seriously.

I think a good teacher is one who can see all the differences out there in the world and not look at it as though it is one big annoyance, but instead like a challenge. I did not agree with everything that cute ray of sunshine said, but that girl is still my friend because there is no reason to be cruel or biting to another human being. It is often more important to be kind than right and the best teachers know this.

The best teachers also know that when you approach a kid with kindness and understanding of where they are coming from, they are far more likely to actually learn and listen to you. I used to teach boys with ADD and dyslexia and they would come bounding into the classroom, knocking over chairs and daring me to try to yell at them and make them sit down, just like their usual teachers did. Instead, I eyeballed them with a bored look and started reading a comic book, ignoring them. Let me tell you, those kids might have made noise for about 5 minutes, but then their natural curiosity got the better of them and they wanted to know who I was and what I was reading and then they had questions for me. So when I told them we were going to make comic books if they wanted to, they settled down. By themselves. And then when we wrote these comic books, I took them one at a time and had them tell me stories that I would write down. And I learned, through stories about drunken santa and throwing up monsters, which kids had rough times at home and the best ways to approach them to learn to love reading.

I can’t help but feel that my favorite, who I will call R here, would not have passed Mrs. Pink’s test. This little white kid knew every racially charged swear word to throw out there, but he could also barely spell his own name. He came from a family where these words were no big deal and from a small town where there were no people that were not white. I am sure, in fact, that he could have lived his entire life without ever really meeting anyone that didn’t look exactly like him– there were plenty of people in that town that didn’t even go into the next city over, not even to shop. Not that it really would have mattered, I was in Scotland and it is not a racially diverse place anyway, not even in the big cities. And from what Mrs. Pink was spouting to me, it’s not worth teaching someone like him because…well, she never really gave me a reason to be honest. She wasn’t very good at arguing her point. But I would guess that it was because his family would just undo anything you tried to work on. I am fucking glad that I didn’t know Mrs. Pink when I was with R. I just plowed along, being super sweet and nice, helping him draw pictures and pointing to letters, demanding to the school officials that he be tested for dyslexia (in Scotland they don’t actually test until grade 6 usually, and he was in grade 4), and getting him to see that reading and writing was not only a short term escape route, but a long term escape route. You have to tailor your teaching to the kids, not tailor the kids to your teaching. It made me so happy when my friend and fellow teacher from that school, Andrea, told me this last Christmas that R, who was now in her classroom, was a fairly good reader, and spent all of his time reading to a girl with Downs syndrome. I know that sounds utterly contrived, but it isn’t and Andrea told me how she was trying to convince R that he needed to work extra hard because she thought he had a future as either a social worker or a special needs teacher. She expressed worry and concern to me that his reading was still not quite good enough to take all the tests he would need to do to get such a job. I didn’t know what else to do, so I bought him a box of books and wrote him a very long letter expressing how proud I was of him. As you can guess, he was thrilled. He’s left the elementary school now, so I don’t know how he’s doing, but I’m glad that I didn’t write him off as a violent little racist, because that’s so obviously not what he is, contrary to what those awful drawings of Santa with the knife might have led one to believe… ha.

I don’t know, this got quite long winded, but I think when you treat a person with kindness, they are more likely to listen to you. After all, if my little Republican friend had only met Mrs. Pink, I think she would have walked away feeling validated in thinking all liberals are insane, cranky, self-absorbed pseudo intellectuals. And I wouldn’t have blamed her. I feel that the true meaning of teaching is setting an example of how you think everyone should live their life by living your life exactly that way. There is no difference between the snarky liberal and the snarky republican, just a lot of anger and a bad feeling in your stomach whenever they talk. And I can’t say that I want to listen to anyone that makes me feel sick to my stomach, do you?

Fabulous Fall Cupcakes

11 Oct

So, since my chai latte recipe has proved so popular, I would like to share with everyone my most recent concoction: The Chai Latte Cupcake and it’s sibling recipes, the Vanilla Chai Latte Cupcake, and the Pumpkin Chai Latte Cupcake.  I share these with you on Columbus Day because I know that a lot of you aren’t at work today and maybe you have some extra time on your hands for baking. This recipe makes A LOT of cupcakes, but you can also double it and freeze a bunch of them. Whenever I have parties to go to I double the recipe and split the batch to make two different kinds of cupcakes. All three recipes call for my base yellow cupcake recipe, which I will also, somewhat tentatively, share now with you all. It is the absolute best base for any sort of non-chocolate cupcake you want to make. It’s moist, it’s fluffy, and trust me, it will win rave reviews from anyone.

The Perfect Yellow Cupcake Recipe

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (I soften this up in the microwave first, after cutting this into cubes for easier mashing)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (my secret: I use low fat goat’s milk which tastes like cream)
  • 2 tablespoons of either melted cream cheese or sour cream (really adds a lot of moisture!!!)
  • If this is all you want to do, scoop into your muffin papers/tins and bake at 350 for 20 25 minutes. You can freeze after they cool, if needed.

    Now, onto the fun stuff:

    Chai Latte Cupcakes

    What you will do is bring 1 cup of water to boil and place two black tea bags (does not matter if it is decaffeinated, in fact I often make it without caffeine because I have a lot of friends who don’t like caffeine) in the water. Let it boil for about 2 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it reduces to 1/3 a cup of water. You’ll add HALF of that to your basic batter. Then you will add the following spices:

    * 2 tablespoons Cinnamon

    * 1 teaspoon ground ginger

    * 1 teaspoon nutmeg

    * 1 teaspoon black pepper

    * 1 teaspoon cloves

    I almost always add MORE spices than that, but I am giving you the minimum because I know that people have different tastes than me, so just taste your batter and adjust accordingly.

    The frosting for this should be a buttercream frosting with the addition of 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon.

    Vanilla Chai Latte Cupcakes

    Simply add an extra 1/2 teaspoon to vanilla to the batter and when making the buttercream frosting add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and then sprinkle each cupcake with a little cinnamon.

    Pumpkin Chai Latte Cupcakes

    To the Chai Latte cupcake batter, mix in 1 cup of NON SPICED pumpkin puree. If you have only pre-spiced pumpkin puree, please adjust your spices accordingly.

    Frost these with a cream cheese/butter frosting with 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla mixed in.

    And since it is the season, a generous topping of crunchy orange sugar sprinkles is always super nice! Target has some really nice ones in the dollar section!

    sylvie

    9 Oct

    inter-locking deceptive advice, sneaking off meat to the cats, in between teeth and bone, broken pencils and let’s not call this home. Chew on the fat, chew on the dish, chew on the lies, now chew on this: I want to lay in this bed, burnt hips in my back, girls nails drag across broken feet and we can’t even begin to call it that. Coming apart at the seams, sewn up with blunt objects and despair under the moonless night.

    Let’s get into cars like we used to, long roads and sticky sweet fist pumps on the dashboard, promising anything, all our imperfect lives singing like radios tuned in. little girl, you got me cornered and I stare out at the strips of pictures jammed in door frames and shoe boxes. Boycott love and trade it in for all the pain and its relative to what they say but virgins don’t get backstage, just into the freezer, arms up and legs out, lets head into the western sky. We all sing along because we know all the words, just not how they go.

    Back in the Saddle

    7 Oct

    Today is Thursday, so it should be a clear and simple Things I Love Thursday post, but I also wanted to address that I haven’t really written in a very long time as well. Oh, and also that it is Lightcasting day!

    As most of you know, I started traveling back in April. I didn’t bring my laptop with me because I wanted to travel light and I wanted to know that if I dropped my bag or it got kicked, or worse even, stolen, that I wouldn’t have lost a very expensive piece of equipment. This is probably good, because when I got to Greece, I actually lost my phone… that was a nightmare for about 5 minutes and then suddenly I felt very free. No phone, no personal computer, just me sort of roaming around. Almost all of the travelers I met along the way were busily keeping up with a travel blog, either with words or with photos, and I really envied the way that they had decided that there was no better time then RIGHT THEN to start chronicling their lives out loud. But I’ve never been one to be able to write anything even vaguely interesting in a room full of people, and that is right where most hostels/hotels plunk their open use computers. Which is why the only real updates you got from me along the way were when I was in Budapest and in the quiet darkness of Katie’s computer lab or Germany, when I had private access on a super rainy day. Most of the rest of the time I scribbled in my notebook when I found the time, mostly on trains, sometimes in poppy fields when I sat to take a rest, or on rainy afternoons curled up on a hostel couch when everyone else was out braving the storms or drinking heavily in the lounges.

    When I finally got back to the UK, all I wanted to do was again, be out on the streets of London and Edinburgh, to see my best friends and the places that I loved so dearly. I wanted to sneak into Harvey Nicks again and eat jelly beans. I wanted to go look at pretty paintings in the Victoria Albert Museum. Make pancakes for Becca and Nils. Eat Indian with Nick or Mexican with Jason. I wanted to drink vodka in a Polish vodka bar with all my friends, or just wander the wet streets of Scotland, listening to Frightened Rabbit.

    But now I am back in NY, once again making life plans and sorting things out. I feel like I am constantly having new beginnings and start overs, but I’m happy for that. I’m happy that a lot of the time I get to being brand new, even though I suppose, over the years, it has been stressful. But just being back upstate has, surprisingly, been fun. I got to reconnect with my amazing friend Rhea and her awesome husband and their super sweet dog Riley, make a few new friends, and develop some amazing plans for what’s next. I even got a new dog, something I have been dying for the entire time I lived overseas. You just can’t have a dog when you don’t have a permanent visa, so the first thing I did when I got back to the states was mark my commitment to being here with the adoption of a shelter dog. Her name is Ava and she mostly a pretty good  :)

    So these are all things I love right now. Beautiful, amazing people that I have managed to fill my life with so much that it seems like everything is bursting at the seams, but I think that’s the best bit.

    And best of all, today is Lightcasting Day, and according to Chris, the cutest man on the internet, today I should be focusing on setting boundaries in my life for the nest eighteen months! My god, that is a long time! But he’s totally right. When I was thinking about what today was and what to think about whilst laying in bed, petting Ava’s head, and watching Twin Peaks last night, I was doodling out thoughts about defining what it was I wanted, not just from the outside world, but from myself, and it did all have to do with setting boundaries for how I wanted to be treated. Living on people’s couches, sleeping in friends beds, and oh yes, sharing communal space for two months inside of a bookstore, have all broken down my personal boundaries so much that I think I am due for building up some new ones. Certainly, the walls I am putting up today around myself will not be the towering structures I had around me previously, maybe they will be low, like the sort of fence one has around a herb garden in the back yard, but they will still be there– definite lines drawn in the sand.

    So to recap:

    Lots of love, new experiences, and above all, new cooking recipes, will be showering this blog very soon and with great frequency.

    <3

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