Where have I been?
I have been asking myself the very same thing these few weeks.
But really, I’m not sure.
This shit is getting real.
2013 is a huge year for me. I am a college graduate. Like I’ve said before, I never thought I would actually finish college. I always dreamed of it, and made a few attempts, but this time it is real. It is real because of the amazing support I have had from family and friends through each step of the way.
From my husband who is a rock, supportive to the core, although he is worried/cautious about the loans we have taken to finance this adventure, more important to him is my happiness, and how this will benefit both of us in the near future.
My parents who just kept telling me “I knew you could do it.” “You are NOT too old” “We are so proud of you. My dad talking me off the ledge when I felt like I was in over my head, had I made the right decision, was I going to be accepted into the program; all of the could I? should I? and would I?’s of my brain. My mom who kept me focused on the prize, even when I was sure I had failed my first class, or even gotten below a B in anything, she was right…I got a B+.
My husband’s family who helped keet me motivated, donated to my textbook fund, and were there just for a hug when I needed one.
My three younger sisters who constantly supported my decision, encouraged, and were some of my biggest cheerleaders throughout this journey.
Countless friends. Oh man, my friends. I am lucky to have the people in my life that I do. I don’t have hundreds of friends, but the ones I do have are really more like family. I’m Aunt Jenn to their kids, we go on vacations together, they visit from far and wide, we talk, sometimes we don’t talk often enough… we drink coffee, we laugh out loud, we cry, but the support and encouragement from each of them has been a huge motivator for me.
I’ve never heard so many people tell me they are proud of me, and that I have inspired them to do something big, something different. WOW. You guys inspire ME!
To say I am humbled beyond belief from the support and kind words would be a huge understatement.
P.S. I promise to stop the graduation talk...for a bit, before you know it I won't be able to shut up about grad school!!!
What's up you say?
We spent last week at a beautiful home on the sandy shores of Cape Hatteras, NC.
Can I say that again?
We had such a wonderful time. Filled with great friends, good food, relaxing evenings, and pockets of seashells.
We were lucky to take one of our dogs with us. Xavy baby had an awesome week at the beach! Really, it is too bad we couldn't bring both dogs, but Mocha can be a little fearful of new folks, and is riddled with anxiety on a good day, so we asked the folks SHE LOVES the most if they would watch her while we were gone. My in-laws gladly said yes, and took great care of her!
Xav was made for the beach. Absolutely. Just 6 months shy of his 11th birthday, he scamped, bounced, and ran around the beach like an 8 month old pup!
Xav also made a little girlfriend while we were out there. Lexi.
The first day we were on the beach there were lots of folks, but none really close to us, Xavy is a good boy and he was off leash the whole time. He would run in and out of the surf, dig in the sand, stomped a few sandcastles, and the kids tried to bury him more than once. He's patient, but not that patient.
Mid-day Xav noticed a lovely puppy accross the beach playing with her owner. He kept looking at me, looking at the other dog, me, dog, me, dog. He looked at me once more and then started to dash off. A quick STOP! and he did, begrudgingly walking back to me, pouting.
They continued to stare at each other across the sand.
We went home and Xav settled in with the kids all snuggling with him on his dog bed at one point or another.
The next morning we headed out to the sand again, ran right for the surf and did some fishing along the shore. After about an hour the adorable pup showed up. Again, Xavy longingly looked across the beach. I finally gave in. I asked M- to keep Xav on our side while I went to meet the pups parents.
Me: HI. I was wondering if my dog can come meet your dog, I wanted to che... some people ar...
Dog Dad: YES! We were wondering the same thing!
Me: He is dying to come over here! (to XAV) Alright Good boy, come on!
Dog Dad: She is dying to get over THERE!
Me: Oh, My name is Jenn, nice to meet you. That's Xav.
Dog Dad: My name is Pete, nice to meet you, I think we are gonna need to keep an eye on these two! (deep belly laugh followed by pointing toward the dogs) She's Lexi.
Me: Oh Boy, I think you are right!
When I turned around the sniffing pleasantries had ended, and they were barreling at each other, full steam ahead, and rolling around in the surf and sand.
Each day we were out there Lexi and Xavy stared across the beach and froliced in the surf.
Ahhh. Puppy love.
So, what's up you say?
ME: Who is your best friend at school?
PRINCESS CINDERELLA MERMAID JEWELRY (that's what she calls herself): kaylee is my best friend.
ME: Oh that's great, it's so nice to have friends isn't it?
PRINCESS CINDERELLA MERMAID JEWELRY: yeah, but really Aunt Fer-Fer, they are ALL my best friends...
Gotta love the heart on that little lady, she loves everyone, everyone. It is so refreshing, kind, and simple.
If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
To celebrate? A couple of my favorite posts from the past!
What a difference a few years makes, my voice as it is in real life really comes through soooo much better now! When I read entries now, I can actually tell it is ME who wrote them, me who is speaking. Not uncomfortable, nervous, unsure me, but really...ME.
What's up you say?
Here is the before:
I promise to show you the after...whenever I get to the after!!
P.S. My husband INSISTS the bear stays. wha? I might have to drop some paint on him. Any ideas of how this bear could come to an untimely (in M-'s mind) demise?
& I learned a few things:
7 month olds DO fit and LOVE dog beds.
I was repeatedly reminded that was an "Op.Po.Puss." on her arm.
or maybe Carmen Miranda...depends on how you look at it!
Okay, stop the presses...huhhh.? My friend B- Pointed out Betty Grabel! How did I not think of her?
Here is the picture that started all of this maddness! Yes, I am obsessed with fascinators, especially from the royal wedding! This was my favorite, fascinator and overall ensemble.
Miriam Clegg at the royal wedding (picture from I Smell A Hat)
What do you think? Show me your favorite headwear!
Sometimes neighbors are delightful.
M- was cutting an Alianthis tree down the other evening. This tree was located smack-dab in the middle of our backyard and really just a nuisance. He trimmed the lower branches and then made his way up the trunk to remove the rest as well.
After all of the branches were off he chopped the third top of the tree off. It wasn't a very thick tree, but pretty tall so he was just using a hack saw. It took some time but, eventually that part of the trunk fell to the ground like a champ.
M- had started pretty late and it started to get darker and darker so he decided to leave the rest of the trunk for the next morning for safety's sake.
After a long nights rest we were preparing breakfast when all of a sudden we heard a loud ARGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRR! ARGGGGGGGRRRRRRRR! I looked outside and what did I see? My neighbor cutting the rest of the tree down with his chainsaw!
It was hilarious to look out the window and see him there just chopping it down like we had asked gin to help out. I guess he saw all of M-'s tree climbing and decided he could help out. While we looking and laughing, he looked up, waved, grabbed the trunk and walked off into his yard. That was the last of that tree.
Strange AND delightful.
--I'm excited to be replacing that tree with 2 Pear Trees, and a Japanese Maple. LOVE.
While I am PROUD and immensly THANKFUL for the brave, silent, exceptionally skilled heros who did their job with amazing accuracy, I can't be 'excited' about the events. Satisfied, a bit of closure even, but no party in the street for me. Just a hope that we are prepared to remain steadfast, project positivity on everyone we meet, and work towards a brighter future for everyone...everywhere.
Idealist? Maybe, but it can't hurt.
As some of you know I went back to school in September of 2008. I have been working hard and am transferring to UMW this summer. I am studying Studio Art and plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling. On that note, I joined the American Art Therapy Association and the Virginia Art Therapy Association as a student.
Drum roll please… I have been asked to be the Student blogger of the Virginia Art Therapy Association! My first post can be found at the VATA website TODAY!!
I look forward to sharing my personal experiences, being authentic, and open about my journey, struggles, joys, and even the minutia of a student’s life. OH! Also, keep an eye out for an interview or three with other Art Therapy Students from around the country, all in different stages of their education.
Remember that cup of coffee I had with an amazing person the other day?
Well look what just came in the mail, from that day. Four pictures of my little car.
Watch out for those sneeky liitle camera ladden cars that drive around town, they'll getcha! The only good this was, since this was my first infraction there is no fee.
I wonder how many tickets are issued to DOUBLE PARKING Fedex, Beer Distributers, UPS, and misc. delivery trucks that often block the road on either side forcing traffic to weave in and out.
Today was delightful.
Sunny and breezy, 66.
That was all before noon.
This morning after work I met up with a friend.
Well, I say friend, because the first time we met I instantly knew I liked her.
We’ve never gotten together before outside of large friend and family functions.
Finally we decided to meet for coffee.
I am so glad we did.
A new friend.
Sometimes someone is so kind, bright, and full of life it’s contagious.
My friend is someone like that.
I hope one day I can be that person for someone else.
Last weekend was the Best Weekend of the year so far! One of my sisters came to visit and we had an action packed fun time. Shopping at Ikea...dinner...drinks...documentaries...brunch...and last but certainly not least...ROLLER DERBY!
Okay, so Roller Derby came AFTER I slept on the Metro for 40 minutes. Passed out tired...woke up refreshed.
There was a double header featuring the D.C. All-Star team at the Armory Sunday afternoon.
These ladies really kicked some butt. It was so awesome to see them out there working hard, having fun, and moving fast. I have never seen someone fall down on their skates and recover so quickly...like little Jack-In-The-Boxes!
Okay, let me just say that the mascot was quite entertaining. He was rolling around the armory, doing the splits on skates and generally slinking around 70's skating rink style.
I need to find a semi-local...closer than DC...Roller derby league...oh, and remember how to skate! I want to do this. Really.
My doctor told me I HAD to eat better.
I knew he was right.
I started following his STRICT instructions 25 days ago.
Fish and Shellfish, Butcher meats, Green Veggies (no starchy ones), blue and blackberries, cheese, olive oil, butter, spices. All of that in any and all combinations.
I've never had so much water.
The first week and a half was hard.
I was cranky, jittery, and lethargic.
Then, I woke up on the 10th day and felt great.
I've never felt better.
Now on Tuesdays when I get on the scale not only is the number not the same it is going DOWN...and I feel great.
I was jamming out in my car the other day when The Cave came on, by Mumford and Sons…can I just say I LUUUURRRVE them. That voice, the upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar, and the mandolin…oh, the mandolin…what a sound.
I do love a mandolin.
Onward…I scribbled this down in the car at a light. I have been meditating on it in the mornings lately. I've heard it a hundred times, but I really listened to it finally, I love the message and want to remember it when I do stuff each day; how is what I am doing leading me to the life I am meant to live? If my actions aren’t leading me down that path, why bother?
Okay, so there is a theme permeating my life right now, making me think, ask questions and open doors I sometimes keep closed. A theme that is continuing to delight me!
Someone asked me today what I want my "place in history to be?" After lots of thinking and pondering, the best I can come up with, other than being remembered as Queen Of The World, is that my place in history is not relevant unless one day, someone remembers how I made them feel. I live in a small community; surround myself with supportive friends and family. I enjoy the socially conscious, politically charged atmosphere of being near Washington D.C.; that aside, if I can help even one person, I will have made history. That person will remember forever the way I made them feel. Maybe they never tell another soul about their experience with me, that’s not what matters. I believe even one good thing can become a million good things. The chain reaction of one good act doesn’t start and end in one transaction; it is moved ahead, forges through and touches many lives.
I believe my one time of touching someone and making them feel great will have a lasting impact in the future.
P.S. I start my internship at RCASA Friday!!!! Wish me luck!!
Yesterday's post reminded me of a show I recorded the other day 'Primetime: What Would You Do?' I cry every time I watch it. It's basically a hidden camera show where there are actors that portray the ugliest behaviors, racism, sexism, bullying, ageism, you name it. Then it catches people's reactions and how they step in to help, or ignore the situation.
Most of the time someone steps in and helps, this makes me so happy, so relieved that for the most part people care about each other. I know I have no problem saying exactly what I think needs to be said, when someone's behavior is totally inappropriate. Sometimes it isn't done with grace, but by George, sometimes something just needs to be said!
I guess sometimes it isn't "my place" or whatever, but I just know that if I was on the other end of some of the abuse going on out there, I would want someone to stand up for me, with me.
Maya Angelou said “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” I hope you too, can stand up and care for a stranger, a friend, or a loved one when the situation demands it. The rewards will overflow you cup.
Something happened at the Dr.'s office today.
Someone decided that he was entitled to disturb everyone else waiting with his loud complaints about, well, everything in his life.
Complained about his job, or lack thereof, his girlfriend, or lack thereof, and his P.O., which after a minute or two I figured was his probation officer.
He decided he was entitled to make rude comments to and about the administrative staff and others in the waiting room to his two similarly dysfunctional friends.
Then he "psssst." me. Seriously. "psssst."
I decided he needed to learn how to behave in public, or at least what I would tolerate.
I simply looked at him, and each of his friends and said, "Just because you're a miserable human being does not give you the right to treat everyone here, the way you feel. If you need to call somebody names and disturb others, I suggest you carry your ass (yes, I said ass) outside and do it in your rear-view mirror, because the only person out of line in here is you."
He shut up, and remained quiet the rest of my visit.
I got lots of smiles, head nods, and even a thumbs up from the most adorable octogenarian man sitting there.
hurt by your lies
confused by your lies
disappointed because of your lies
dumbfounded because of your lies
baffled by your lies
sad because of your lies
those are all the emotions of today
For someone searching for a way to be in control of their own destiny,
the first rule to remember is
"you'll never find yourself until you face the truth."
Start facing the music.
p.s. GET A JOB while your at it. You're gonna need it.
Bring your 8 year old son in with you when you get a cuppa joe.
When he picks up something that doesn’t belong to him, say nothing.
When he says to me, “I’m keeping this!”, say nothing.
When I say to him “That belongs to someone else, please leave it here.”, say nothing.
When he refuses, say nothing.
When I insist and ask him to place it on the counter, say nothing, but give me glare from hell, like I just broke your kids hopes and dreams of ever becoming a doctor, lawyer, author, NBA star, musician, or anything but the pimple you are raising him to be!
All of this coming from a child free gal, but really, shouldn't parents be the inspiration of what life holds, and how to handle it for their kids?
I read this today...and it delighted me.
“There’s always going to be someone smarter, prettier, nicer. It’s better to appreciate it instead of being threatened by it or defending yourself against it.” -Mary Lousie Parker
make me cry.
Yes, you read that right. Why is it everytime I watch a flash mob, I begin to sob? Okay, not the zombie mob types, but the ones like these. Any one else feel this way?
And one for the season.
I can't put my finger on it, is it the sheer number of people involved, the comradery, the shock the surprise? Something about these makes me laugh and cry at the same time. What do you think about Flash mobs?
Borrow my pen...
Complain about how long your pancakes are taking...
Treat your server like crap...
Treat the nice manager that offers to take care of your meal ( that you ate 7/8th of) and a free dessert even worse...
Try to walk away with my pen...
When asked, return it...BROKEN.
Yesterday M- and I along with a couple hundred thousand of our closest friends went to the National Mall, the long beautiful stretch of green space between the capital and Washington Monument, for The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
We went with the hopes of a beautiful day, a fun event, and maybe, just maybe, something more. The Rally delivered. From the best house band around --The Roots, Ozzy, 4 Troops singing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, The Mythbusters, John Legend, Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett singing 'America the Beautiful', R-2 D-2, Sheryl Crow, Father Guido Sarducci, Anderson Cooper’s Tiny Black T-shirt, and the list goes on, not to mention our hosts Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert.
We weren’t there to say “WE are right, YOU are wrong”. We were there to say, just because we are different doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other. To my right stood a couple in their mid seventies, behind us, a young Muslim couple, and around us everything in between, even a robot, Santa Claus, and Elmo were there. In our little area there were folks from New York, Alaska, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland and Arkansas.
As much as the media would have you believe the Rally was a total Liberal Love-fest, the Rally wasn’t about partisanship; it was about each demonizing the other. Yes we will disagree, no we won’t always see eye to eye, but we are in this together, and we are not each others enemies. It was amazing to be a part of this. I was so proud to be there, to see so many like-minded moderates asking for something often left out of our modern political process—civility, reasonableness, and decency.
One of these today?
Then maybe you were at the Virginia State Fair. We were, it was smelly, dusty, crowded and fun!
Sorry for some of those grainy photos...no flash, low light, shaky hands.
Starting over hasn't been easy, but it's essential. I finally realized the things in my life that needed to change, and that I had control over most of them. I asked myself what good can I be to anyone else if I'm not taking care of myself? I can only control my four walls, and how I react to things outside those walls. That's the decision I made that day. Take care of me, no matter what. Now realize, we are talking mentally, there are plenty of physical ways that I could be taking care of myself better, and those will come in time. For now, sanity. Later, buns of steel.
During my intense therapy I really started to hone in my creativity, something I had put on the back burner. This was one of the best things I could have done. Painting, sketching, taking photographs, and other endeavors have really been cathartic experiences for me.
Next thing I know, I've enrolled in 2 classes for the upcoming semester at the local community college. It's so weird, I don't remember hemming and hawing, just that I sat down, browsed the catalog and picked two classes. Drawing and Principals of Psychology. Done and Done.
I wish I could say everything was honky-dory from then on out, but come on, this is real-life. School was great, and hard, and great, and really, really hard! It took a great deal for me to make it to a 3 hour drawing class after a 14 hour day at work twice a week, it was a struggle to read hundreds of psych. articles and pages of cases, learn new lingo, and once again learn to and socialize with the other students I was in class with/am in class with.
I navigated fairly well that first semester, juggling 60+hour a week work week, classes, and home. I thank my lucky stars my husband is supportive and generous, not once has he complained that the house is a wreck, that I don't spend enough time with him or that I'm not pulling my weight in this family/house/universe.
Okay, time for some math homework and a chat with the MN side of the family. OHHHHHH MINNNNEEEESOOOOOTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
makes me a dull girl!
Let me take a minute and fill you in on where I've been and what I've been up to! This semester has been really full!
Just as I think I am going to fall flat on my face, another assignment comes along! So basically I am being propped up by books that need to be read, articles that need analyzing, paint that is still drying, labs that need testing and MATH, oh my word the math. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to take 2 math classes congruently. Bad idea. Now these aren't crazy maths like real people take, these are maths for liberal arts majors, that's more than enough for me!
When I graduated high school a hundred years ago, all of my friends knew what they were going to do, where they wanted to go and who they wanted to be. Yeah, right, I know NOW, none of that matters now for most of them, but at the time it was such a big deal. I'm sure now that there were other kids like me, who had NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL they were gonna do, I guess they just kept quiet. But it felt really lonely.
So, I did what I thought I should do, enter college. All that got me was a couple of failed classes and a hangover. For me, entering college so unsure of myself made for a pretty miserable combination.
For years I thought, heck, didn't work for me, no biggie. Then I started to get an itch. No! Not that itch, we'll talk about that later. A yearning for something new, bigger than myself and challenging. I'll tell you right now, managing how someone pours milk, or cooks a steak has it's days, but no real complexity or value at the end of my day.
For years I talked myself out of going back to school, until the great breakdown of aught eight. I suddenly couldn't function properly, couldn't get out of bed, work was a disaster and I COULDN'T CONTROL THE CRYING! Oh lordy the crying! I went and checked myself in. I could go home at night, but for weeks the days belonged to a therapist and group. I felt like I only had one other option, and well, that one is the worst for everyone involved, so I chose to start over instead.
Okay, gotta run and get to class--More to come.
The last day of December...time to think back on all the days of 2009. Good days, not so good days and awesome days, we had them all. Over all 2009 was a great year for us!
Thanks for all of the great times, and the support during the not so great times! Happy new year and best wishes in 2010!
Music by George Harrison, "What is Life"
Working on this for my design class. The theme is the Great Depression. We were told to create something, anything to memorialize, remember, tell a story, whatever, around the Great depression. After talking with my grandmother and some other folks, these are the things I took away..
it was a time of great uncertainty, families became disjointed, what was, vanished, But there was still beauty and joy, it was just a little harder to find and everything felt less free, due to monetary restrictions.
This is just a piece of the depression, and obviously doesn't encompass every person's experience, some worse, some better.
Just like our current situation.
Copy of the letter written to Lab rescue, after they accepted, then rescinded their offer to take Mocha into their program with me as the foster dog mom.
Got it. We'll start looking for a home for her. Thanks.
I have tried to work with XXXXXX to place a rescued, abused Labrador Retriever named Mocha.
I realize Mocha has minor issues, but with the accepted faxed release form and the email cited above I expect you as a group to help us find a suitable home for this puppy. I have been honest with everything I have sent you about Mocha, and feel Mocha has been penalized for my honesty. Just because she isn't the 'perfect' dog you are going to deny her a great home? Now that does not sound like RESCUE, it sounds like doggy discrimination.
She is not a vicious dog, is not aggressive, does not bite and would not harm anyone, therefore she deserves a chance. She needs help, she needs rescuing.
It's not that I don't know how to help her, like Silvia insinuated in the previous email, with all of the obvious suggestions, it's that I can not keep her. When I took her in, and spoke with Silvia I told her I would foster the dog for a reasonable amount of time until a great home would be found. I have worked with other rescue leagues such as Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue and never encountered an organization with such a myopic view of a salvageable dog.
This isn't a situation where someone went out and got a dog and it is not 'working out'. I
rescued her from an abusive situation, and now am coming to you for
help. If you were me and saw the abuse, you couldn't have have turned
a blind eye. I didn't.
Portion of the mission statement directly from your web-site: "Lab Rescue of the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization (Non-Profit Tax I.D. 52-1880024) with a two-fold mission: (1) we rescue, foster and place homeless, abused, and/or abandoned Labrador Retrievers (and Golden Retriever-Labrador Retriever mixes) ..."
Together we need to rescue Mocha and provide the best outcome for this dog.
This group of people does not have every dogs best interest, they have their own interest in mind, and whatever is easiest. Since writing this letter I have received no reply, but really what can they say? I would suggest going through a different group before adopting from, or donating time and or money to this group.
Okay so I am in addiction overload. I don't know what it is, the voyeur in me? my own addiction calling for attention? or just curiosity? I have been totally absorbed with Intervention right now, and on the side I am reading Beautiful Boy. After I finish the book I am going to Detox from all of it. I swear.
On another hand I finished another scrapbook page. I'm not really a scrapper but we have a ton of photos, love em, love the way a photo looks, feels, that glossy paper, so I thought I should do something with them, to preserve them a bit. recently I started to put something together. Simple, not as extravagant as some I have seen, although I would love to be that talented! It's definitely been fun though, soooo.....I thought I would post some of my designs. Hope you enjoy them! Someday soon I will get wedding and honey moon pics done too. Maybe.
P.S. My microscope slides arrived! Hurray! I cant wait to get my "boobies" into those!