Category Archives: overshare

And now for something you’ll probs just all mock me for

Sister Simone Campbell being an awesome badass lady at the at the DNC. Lady Pope 2013!

Sister Simone Campbell being an awesome badass lady at the at the DNC. Lady Pope 2013!

There’s a lot for a moderate, mostly lapsed Catholic woman like me to comment on this week.

Pope resigning. (Hooray! I never saw him as the kind of spiritual leader who could help me answer the persistent questions and concerns I have about faith in general, and the church in particular. As far as I’m concerned, Sister Simone Campbell is my Pope.) Ash Wednesday. Lent.

While I don’t attend Mass regularly, I have developed kind of a weird habit of praying the Rosary while running. The repetition of both exercise hypnotizes me in a comforting way.

I live in “sin” with my boyfriend and I don’t think that’s wrong. I use birth control, and think more people should – and should get it for free. I believe, without judgement, that love is love and the heart wants what it wants – no matter what or who that leads a person to. (And no God that I know “hates” anyone.)

Yet, I still believe in the promise of the church and the teachings of acceptance and charity taught in the new testament. Because I believe in those things, this is one of my favorite times of year. It helps me understand what I find to be the most beautiful line of scripture:

A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John, 1:5 

Truth be told, I attend Mass every Christmas Eve just to hear Father Harry (possibly the world’s most wonderful priest) say it. There are so many dark days in life, and whether you believe in God, or Goddess, or science, or nothing at all, it’s nice to understand that darkness – in whatever form you confront it – may be defeated.

So, I like Lent because it’s an opportunity to build on that thought, to contemplate our mortality — our internal darkness — and to make a small sacrifice to try to be better, to not be overcome by it.

This year I’m giving up my biggest vice – dairy. So, back to the “vegan kickstart” only this time it’s 43 days, not 21. Wish me luck, and whether you believe in some of the same things as me, or now think I’m just a zombie-Jesus believing nut job – I wish YOU luck with whatever struggles you’re up against.

Enjoy them, fight through them, learn from them.

The struggle, just before finding a light, is the best part of being human.

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Ask and you shall recieve

A few weeks ago I posted this Real Simple cake article on Pinterest with the caption “someone please give me a reason to bake a cake.”

My little brother Josh obliged. By marrying his beautiful girlfriend last week. It was a quick marriage in Tucson for personal (non-baby related) reasons and in the future they’ll have a wedding where all of our families – who span two countries – can attend and celebrate. In the meantime, we had a nice day with our small family. I don’t think I’ll be switching from team pie to team cake any time soon, but this lemon cake I baked – from scratch! –  felt pretty special. My brother cried (happy tears, I am pretty sure) when he saw it so we’ll chalk it up as a win.

Five days later, I’m still feeling sentimental about seeing my baby brother so grown up. We had the after party where we always have it. At Grammy’s house. Josh’s best friend Rob – an old friend of mine too –  his girlfriend and their son were there too. It was hard not to reflect on the passing of time.

At one point in the night I joked with Rob and my brother about what it feels like to be on the wrong side of 25. Almost 30 even. “How did that happen?” someone wondered. “Weren’t we just kids?”

I’m sarcastic and struggle with demonstrating emotion in person so my answer was something like, “Well the Earth went around the Sun quite a few times and we all got here and we all got older.”

Inside, I was just as baffled. I don’t know how we went from kids, to teenagers, to confused 20-somethings and now, I guess it’s official since Josh is hitched, to adults.

I do know that lemon cake was the perfect food to accompany the feelings of the day. I know I’m beyond happy for Joshua. And, I know that years from now, it will seem hilarious that any of us felt “old” in our 20s or briefly nostalgic for our teens.

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Almost

It’s almost the time of year I love best in Oregon. (Ok, I’m using “almost” liberally in that sentence – it’s still February and Oliver just told me it’s supposed to snow  this week. But, today was sunny and crisp and it really did almost feel like spring.)

My IT band is almost better. I can almost start my full training program for the 50k again. I’m almost through the first quarter at work.

Sometimes, when your hobbies fail you (haven’t had a good idea for a pie in a while either) and the whole world is kind of “blah” outside, “almost” has just enough promise within it to keep me going.

 

 

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Swimming in the deep end

Oh, Washington DC, you make me feel so many feelings.

I lived here for six months in college, which isn’t very long or unique, but it was transformative for me as a barely 21-year-old. It was the first time in my adult life that I took a big risk. As a 27-year-old looking back, it doesn’t seem like I did anything THAT risky — I’ve certainly taken bigger ones since — but at the time taking an entire semester off school, delaying my graduation date and moving to a place that I’d never even visited felt daring.

I learned a lot about being by myself, about the way the real world works and about privilege and access while I was there. I interned some place pretty fancy and when I had my employee badge on, had access to just incredible thinkers (including Wade Davis who I will have a crush on for the rest of my life) and I soaked that atmosphere up. I never would have had access to it without that badge, as this kind of intellectual space just wasn’t common in my day to day life growing up. To this day continue to look for opportunities to put myself in proximity of great thinkers. (Preferably non-stuffy ones since the other thing I learned in DC is that I really, really can’t stand pretentious people, even when they’ve earned the right.)

I love coming back here, because usually when I have the chance to these days its for a conference where I can soak up more greatness from others. Except this time, I was actually invited back as a speaker myself.

Yesterday when I went the opening reception I felt totally overwhelmed and kind of scared. The place was just full of incredible people. What could I possibly have to say to any of them that would be interesting or thought provoking? I was definitely the youngest person there who wasn’t an intern and I felt like I had a giant arrow, like the kind that float over Sims’ heads, pointing to my head saying “out of her depth.”

Right before my panel this morning I was wishing for a natural disaster or a power outage or the earth to open up and swallow me so I wouldn’t have to go sit on a stage wearing a microphone and attempt to add value to a conversation.

Then I remembered that this is what DC has always been about for me — jumping in, trying things and learning.

So, I plunged in. The first question I answered I do think my voice sounded kind of small and scared, but I warmed up.

It went great — people liked what I had to say. I think I realized something important: the smarty pants people I’ve always admired are really not that different than me. They’re just people who are in love, or maybe the word is obsessed, with what they do and can’t wait to tell you about it, get you obsessed with it too. Just like me when I start talking about what I love.

And, they’re all swimming in the deep end out there with me because anyone accomplishing anything is swimming in water slightly too deep for them. That’s where you figure shit out.

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Filed under Life, overshare, travel

I’m baaaack

I’ve decided it’s time to dust this old thing off. It’s been years since I’ve been here and I’m finding that, lately, I have a lot to say. Maybe it’s the age bracket I’ve grown into, but I feel like all the blogs I come across these days are mommy blogs. Don’t get me wrong — some of them are fantastic — but someone’s gotta represent us unmarried (but partnered!), childless, career ladies, right?

The truth is, I’m glad I put this thing on the shelf for a while. After my mom’s accident I went to an understandably dark place that was also completely boring to anyone who wasn’t either me or a close loved one.

After the accident I pretty much folded in on myself. I failed to make friends in my new town. I I stopped enjoying pretty much everything except sleeping.  I dedicated myself 110% to work and became, frankly, completely boring. As a result, this blog became too much of a dirge.

I want things to be different this time, because I want things to be different in my life now.

Over the weekend my boyfriend (who is, I promise, not a jerk) informed me: “You are the most unsatisfied, successful person I know.” Not exactly a compliment, but a true reflection on where my head has been the last two and half years.

When I started this blog, I had just moved from a city I knew really well — too well — to a completely new place that honestly I continue to feel pretty ambivalent about. I still think composting is stupid unless you’re a farmer, and I still think the people here lack an edge that could make things more interesting.At the same time, I don’t exactly yearn for 100-million degree summers or want to ride the crazy train that my home state seems to be on.

In the “about me” section of this blog (which desperately needs to be re-written and which will have to wait until this weekend) 24-year-old me poses a question: did I just ruin my life, or save it?

The answer to both questions is no. I changed my life, but the intervening years have made me less dramatic, so I don’t think I can say I’m either ruined or saved. I’m just here.

But I’ve recently started running painfully long distances which means my brain is frequently completely flooded with endorphins which make me want to be a happier, more satisfied person.If nothing else, I’ll use this space to hold myself accountable to that goal. (Any co-workers reading this know how much I heart accountability…)

Well that and to share my masterful pie making experiences which is seriously worth sticking around for.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about defining moments. Both within the small context of my life and the larger context of my country. The thought I keep coming back to is that they are always moments, not Moments — and they’re never what you think they might be.

When I was younger, I had this idea that one day I would wake up one day and discover meaning. That something would happen and define me.

I always assumed this would be a huge tragedy during which I would rise to the occasion (whatever that occasion might be), or, some other sort of demonstration of greatness. Ego? Yeah. Mine was out of control.

As I watched the final episodes of Paris Hilton BFF (my new favorite television show) it occured to me that I’m not the only one who believes that she is too special to be normal. In fact, I think this is something that every reasonably attractive, moderately intelligent/funny person in my generation believes.

It was amazing to me how clear it was that each of the girls on this show had spent their entire lives practicing talking to a camera in a confessional booth. I have to admit, I actually used to practice this in the mirror myself. I also used to devote a lot of time to giving a good angle to the imaginary cameras following me around.  I still have ongoing conversations in my head where I am saying devastatingly brilliant things to Oprah, or Rosie, or whoever will give me a captive audience.

I blame three things: late 90s “cinema” that exaggerated and romanticized every dull teenage experience (thinking specifically of the movie “Can’t Hardly Wait”  here), the Real World and Coldplay.

We expect our lives to be full of Grand Gestures, Great Loves and Defining Moments.

And I’ve learned that by internalizing these subtle messages, I’ve often really missed the point.

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