Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tidbit from a Convo. at work today

"You need to learn how to raise a cow on your own before you are worthy of partaking in the bounty that is steak"

Innocence, Truth, and Beauty. I'm Unconventional.

Most people associate innocence with naiveté. Conventional wisdom regards it as belonging to children and fools and rookies who lack the sophistication or experience to know the tough truths about life. But I recognize a different kind of innocence. It's based on an understanding that the world is always changing, and therefore deserves to be seen fresh every day. This alternative brand of innocence is fueled by an aggressive determination to empty one's imagination of all preconceptions. "Ignorance is not knowing anything and being attracted to the good," wrote Clarissa Pinkola-Estes in Women Who Run With the Wolves. "Innocence is knowing everything and still being attracted to the good." I think as a woman, seeing truth and holding beauty in the same thought is a gift that I can offer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The small but the mighty

I got into another grad. school today, converted another into GBE, have been assigned the executive suite for 3 weeks(!) and managed to work out after eating a hamburger. I'd say I'm doing well.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Since I Can't Allow Myself to Sleep at 8pm

It was a great weekend at home, in the snow, and with the family. You can't ask for much more then the baked apple pancakes in the morning, and a small snowman in the front yard. Okay, so I did do a donut around the neighborhood in Mom's Cadalliac, before I went to pick up the milk. Not too shabby.

I think the second half best part of this trip will be the post trip sleep. After getting delayed at O'Hare for 2 hours, and sitting on the tarmack we finally took flight. When I arrived, I had to wait an additional 30 minutes, while my roomate got stuck in traffic. I honestly looked like a little homeless girl, sitting on the floor, against the bench, and my Columbia jacket over my legs. (I know who's cold in I was so tired. I think the rest of the passengers, who were upright, and claiming their baggage thought I was slightly crazy, I prefer unique and have poor circulation at times.

One thing I did learn from this - nothing beats having a good book, some fine chocolate in tow, and water for company. For now, I'll shed my Columbia jackets for my Spring dress and look forward to Cherry Blossoms in DC, of course my silk pajamas come in a close second right about now.

My favorite line so far today:

(between you, me, and the lamp: you were the ONLY one to meet the Friday deadline)

Oh, sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one to follow directions, or is it just the teacher in me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Winter in Crystal Lake

With a blizzard coming down, and snowflakes the size of downy feathers, we awoke to a winter wonderland. It's a much different landscape then Florida, and I have to say I'm enjoying it'

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Growing up, my parents always said, "You will leave this world the same way you came into it: with nothing." It made me realize that the only things we do in this world that count are those things that make the world a better place for those who will come behind us.

- Tyrone B. Hayes
Biologist, herpetologist and National Geographic Explorer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What I've Been Doing

I haven't posted as much lately and that's because I've been up to a few things. Having been accepted at my school of choice in DC, I'm preparing myself for my new chapter in life and thus have been:

- Researching apartments to look at in March (and talking to potential roomate)

- Researching and applying for jobs at AU and around DC

- Talking to my current organization about constructing a position for me in the coming year

- Listening to public radio, Chicago Public Radio short stories (it's my new guilty pleasure while putting away laundry!)

Good news is that things are coming together. It looks like I'll be moving up to DC at the end of May, and working there for a large percent of the summer, even more then in NYC. I think this will help me make a nice transition into DC and help prepare even more for making a life there and attending school. I feel blessed and am grateful! (and on the picture in the post below is from a hike in the Smokey Mountains - beautiful!)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Roosevelt, Beebe, and the Milky Way

One evening at Sagmore Hill, President Theodore Roosevelt’s home in New York, naturalist William Beebe walked outside with his host. Roosevelt searched the star-filled night sky and, finding a small glow below the corner of the constellation Pegasus, he said, “This is the spiral galaxy Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It consists of one hundred billion suns. It is one hundred billion galaxies.” Then Roosevelt looked at Beebe and said, “Now I think we are small enough! Let’s go to bed.”

A certain authority attaches to all leaders, and leadership would be impossible without it…leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Angels have birthdays on valentine's day.

Why I like Valentine's Day: it's my Oma's birthday. That's enough love to last you all year.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hearts in my Hand

A little Valentine's Day package I got...

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Whatever you are, be a good one."

Happy Birthday Ab Lincoln.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Ice Cream Man Encounter

I’m visiting my boyfriend this weekend in Knoxville, TN. It’s great, and the experience getting here was spectatcular. Sitting waiting to board the plane I happened to sit by a man I’ve come to know as the “Ice Cream Man.” Phil first words to me were “can you hold this?” As he motioned and started to hand his diet coke to me. Then he laughed, and so did I. We made small talk, and I asked what it was that he did, he told me that he was the regional Director of the Southeast sales division for Breyer’s Ice Cream, Ben and Jerry’s, and the Popsicle brands. Before I knew it him and his sales team (3 other men) were handing me free coupons redeemable at the grocery store for quarts of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. My life felt made. Free ice cream, good talk, etc.

As our conversation continued, I felt that Phil and I had an innate connection and understanding of one another. He recognized my youngness, but also my potential. And I recognized that he was at the opposite spectrum of life, about to retire in 3 months, he was ready to end the very chapter I was beginning to start. I picked his brain, and asked him questions about the business he was in, how he got there, his family, etc. I told him about my trip to Knoxville, how I had a boyfriend there, and the Masters program I was planning on beginning in the upcoming fall. I also described what I did, and Phil noticed how much I beamed when I spoke of it. That’s when we talked about the “fun job” philosophy. He believed that everyone should have at least 1 job during their life that they find absolutely fun, and do something they really like. At this I asked him what his fun job in life was. He looked at me, and didn’t answer. He had been working as the ice cream for over 23 years now, starting out there almost, and had not really done anything else.

By that time, they were starting to call rows and people were boarding the plan. I pulled out my airplane ticket, and Phil and I shook hands. It was nice to meet him, and I thanked him for the free ice cream and ensured him I would redeem them once I got back to Florida. I assumed he would be sitting first class, and that I would stroll by him as I boarded and he would be reading his James Patterson book – living out a murder mystery in his pseudo world where he solved cases instead of solving the world's problems using ice cream everyday.

But instead, I looked at my ticket and told him 18E. He said, “Well I’ll be,” it ends up he was right next to me in seat 18D. It was meant to be. I liked how life worked out like that sometimes. It made me feel like there were something’s I did not have to try and control, but instead they would just happen. I liked Phil and was happy that I would sit next to him for the plane ride, even if we didn’t talk, I liked the way he smiled, winked, and his gray hair. He was a jolly character. I liked those figures, and I liked well behaved older men, who knew how to treat a woman.

I told Phil I was writing a book, and that there would be a chapter in the book titled “The Ice Cream Man” and that it would be about our very encounter on February 9, 2007 in the Fort Lauderdale airport. He said he’d love to read it one day, and would look forward to it. He asked me what my name was and the last name he should look for. I told him __________. He said, well it may not be _________ then though…and I thought what, and then laughed, smiled, and said okay, maybe I’ll be married. So instead, he handed me his business card, but then I told him that if he’s retiring, this card wouldn’t really be useful to reach him. So he took the card and wrote his home address on the back of the card, this way I could mail him my book one day, and it was our joke that it could help keep him busy during retirement.

I learned about his family, his 4 children, 2 of them girls, who were twins and kindergarten teachers. He said his favorite part of his life is the idea that he would get to be known officially as the “ice cream man” at their school there in North Carolina. He would come to their school and give out ice cream coupons to all the kids. He said he would much rather be remembered by the kids as the ice cream man, instead of the Director of Ucliver. I liked him, he had some parts of life figured out, and I wanted to gobble every bit of knowledge I could from him. And I ate it up in handfuls. Whatever he was willing to share with me, I would gladly partake.

I learned about him and his wife’s routine adventures on Saturday mornings to the fast food restaurant where they would drive through and pick up breakfast, but also pay for the car behind them. He said this usually left the innocent bystander happy, and that perhaps he could make someone’s day, or a whole family’s day just by purchasing them a fast food breakfast. How great is that! I felt like I was having a Tuesday’s with Morrie moment, perhaps living the book’s philosophy out loud. There was more then one Morrie out in the world, and that made me feel happy, hopeful, and relieved.

So that was probably one of the best encounters with a stranger I’ve had in a long time. It even got me thinking about moving to North Carolina, because if Phil was anything like the other people there, I wanted to surround myself in a community of people who practiced random of acts of kindness, gave out free coupons for ice cream, and had comforting southern accents.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A valuable lesson I've learned from making music is to never let anyone intimidate me. Every student, celebrity, CEO and math teacher in the world has experienced love, loneliness, fear, and pain at some point. To understand this is to level an often very lopsided playing field.
Anna Nalick

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A worker bee is just over a centimeter long and weighs only about sixy milligrams; nevertheless, she can fly with a load heavier than herself.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


My friend is getting married! My good friend is getting married! Yesterday I got a phone call, and all she left on the voicemail was "I have to ask you a question." I didn't think much of it, but when I called her back she asked me if I would stand up in her wedding!

This is the first wedding I will have ever stood up in. And I got thinking about when it would be, next March, around my spring break (yes I'll be in school again!) and all the exciting things to happen this next year.

And of course I told her yes, and then I asked her what color the dresses would be. She told me lavender, a nice purple color. I was pleased, as I was wearing that color last week and was just told "you look so pretty in that color shirt." I told her I approved, and that yes I would be there with my lavender dress (perhaps strapless that i can wear now! woo, thanks to superfit girl) and bells on! Awww, I get to be a bridesmaid and be part of helping make my very good friend's wedding day very special. (okay, so I like to dance to Frank Sinatra too and get my hair done) but moreso, make someone else feel beautiful and special, like Elizabeth!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Almost as good as dark chocolate and...

There's something satisfying and completly wonderful about coming home at the end of a day and feeling exhausted. That's where I was tonight. Perhaps it's the working out, my muscles tired from growing so strong. Perhaps it's that I put in a good day's worth of work. Either way, it was almost as good as having someone play with my hair while being fed small copious amounts of dark chocolate by candle light. mmm

Since it's cold here, or at least that's what my internal temperatures were registering when I walked into my beach house, I slipped into my soft green cotton sweatshirt and favorite pair of jogging pants lined with cotton. It took effort to make some dinner, before I finally resorted to my bed and crawled in with my latest love child, "The Secret Life of Bees" by Susan Monk Kidd. I read two chapters before the sweetest slumber rolled over my body and caressed it with light kisses. From my head to my toes, every single inch of me was warm and weighted and oh so relaxed. I drifted off into a sleep, and woke up to a vibrating phone by my bedside and to my delight realized it was only 8:30pm. Another few hours of this satiable slumber.

It's almost better than chocolate and...nah.

p.s. my new favorite quote "you're 32 years old and you've achieved what. Jesus Christ was dead and alive again by 33; you better get crackin' " Courtesy of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

Sweet Oma

When I was younger, I got the nickname Sweet Em. Oma – that’s what we call her – it’s German for Grandmother (not grandma) gave it to me. When I was younger all my cousins and I would sleepover at Oma and Opa’s house. We’d sit around the kitchen counter, and she’d make us pancakes and hot chocolate for breakfast and she’d tell us the story of when we were first born, and the special feature that she picked out about each of her grandchildren; for Matt, his blue eyes, Heidi her lips, and me my sweetness. Every time I see her, she’s says my nickname, Sweet Em and reminds me that I'm the sweetest girl she's ever met. Somehow she has a way of making each grandchild feel like she loves them best; it's amazing. I’ll forever be Sweet Em, it’s on all my birthday cards, books she signed and bought me, letters and now emails. I swear, if you listen to my chest with a stethoscope, what you’d hear is me being called Sweet Em by my Oma.

My Kind of Town'

Outside of the world famous Art Institute, even the lion doned a Chicago Bears helmet. This is why I love Chicago. It's a city, but with a hometown feel. We still love you Bears.

Monday, February 05, 2007

All statistics in the world cannot measure the warmth of a smile.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Overheard on the drive home

Heard on Prairie Home Companion today....

"How many Catholics does it take to change a lightbulb?"

Answer: "Change, what change?"

See if you get it! :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Tint of Red

His beard has a tint of red in it, a color that is almost as unique as his voice. And in the winter his beard takes on an even greater tint against his cream colored skin. Over a year, I've grown quite accustomed to this beard, but even more to the face that lies beneath it.

You can almost always predict when we are about to have a reunion. There are usually butterflies, and dancing feet; signs showing up even hours before we lock eyes. Anyone would think by now, a year into a relationship, that those butterflies would've flown away. But they never did. They remain with me, and so does he despite any time or distance.

Between schedule revisions, case studies, and the occasional schoolgirl laugh (I'll never admit to), there are our Christmas-like visits -mornings filled with the smell of sausage, and lack of whole milk - time spent sitting in an office chair, in his kitchen, doing the dishes together. And laughter, lots of laughter. And the red beard is always there, like my favorite song I can't get enough of. Even though it changes color with the seasons, the face that wears it is still the one that gives me butteflies.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Traveling with a teacup and a wine opener. Compartment 44

I've heard a good analogy once about life being like a ride on a train. The more I revisit that idea, the more it makes sense.

It's a journey, people get on and off the train. Some sit with us for awhile, others may board our train and get off at the next stop. Some people go merrily around, getting off at each and every stop, some have no direction. Others carry elaborate plans with times and hold tickets to where they expect to be.

There's always a guy who's scary sitting 5 rows in front of you, and starring back. Or the woman who talks so loudly that you know of her whole life. These are the people we run into on our journey, colorful characters who make up the blogs we write before we try to empty our minds and sleep at night.

And then there are those passengers, whom we love but they choose to sit in another compartment and we travel onward, but keep a seat open for them. I thought of this person in my life the other day, only because I wanted to share the good news with him, but I don't have a way of getting ahold of him. On my train, this is my father. He's gotten on and off my train from time to time, and right now I think he might be trying out a subway.

But although sometimes we don't understand why some get off at certain places, or move into different cars, I'm happy I'm on the train I am. I have a destination in mind, and places I'd like to see and people I'd like to travel with. And I'm willing to help someone carry their luggage or lend a helping hand if they need it. Oh, and I always travel with a teacup and wine opener, if you'd like to share a drink. You can usually recognize me by my smile.