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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

My heart and mind are full as I ponder events of recent days. I have so much to be grateful for though by the world’s standards, I have very little.

The discovery of my immense gratitude began over the weekend as I lay curled up beside one of my favorite people in the world. He studied for an exam as I read The Bookseller of Kabul, a piece of literature which investigates the sphere of one fairly atypical Afghan family. As the Student held my hand, I contemplated what the consequences of our current actions would be if we lived in Kabul. For me, the results would be catastrophic. For being with a man outside of my immediate family I would be severely beaten, let alone the fact that we were cuddling and holding hands. For these actions I would be labeled as promiscuous and tainted and my family would never be able to find me a husband.

In Afghanistan, I would no longer have any options.

The more I read, the more frustrated and heart broken I became for my female counterparts in the Middle East. The Student would listen to my lamentations and sympathize where he could. In his eyes I could see gratitude for me as a person, for my respect and love of others. For my intellect, opinions, education, wit, and conversation. To him, I am a companion, not just a baby maker.

In the days that followed, I prepared a lesson for a church activity on the founding of the United States of America, my home, in honor of the Fourth of July. Notions of independence and freedom, ideas which had already been running rampant in my mind, took new forms. I discussed with my friends how our country came to be. How a group of traitors of varying opinions came together to compose some of the most profound words the world has ever known. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal...” After great debate, these representatives of thirteen colonies came together and voted that enough was enough. The United States of America would be and were independent of the tyrannical ties of Great Britain.

Because of this group of traitors, I had the opportunity to spend a Saturday afternoon reading curled up beside the Student. I am able to vote, have an opinion, be a mother, run for office, run a marathon. I can wear the shoes of my choosing, do a jig in a park, listen to music, pray whenever I want. I can study, I can go out in public alone.

I am indeed grateful beyond measure for all of the opportunities available to me. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are mine for the taking if I but reach out my hand to them.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tooting my own vuvuzela

It's Tuesday afternoon. I've locked myself in Caribou Coffee for a few hours to catch up on emails, chat with old friends, and just flat out enjoy the fact that I have the entire day off. My belongings are sprawled out over the rustic mission style sofa and my feet rest on the coffee table in front of me. After awhile, the wooden surface induces numbness in my legs so I opt to sit indian style on the sofa. As I pull my feet in, the gentleman sitting next to me suddenly makes a comment.

"What a shame, now I won't be able to look at your arches anymore." I give him a blank stare before he continues. "I manage a shoe store and you have some shapely arches."

I do, in fact, have freakishly high arches but have never before been complimented on their shapeliness. Ever.

I soak in this newly discovered prominent feature while conversing with my friend the Dutch Egyptian. We discuss my vague potential for a life in the ballet with my arches before moving on to World Cup debates. According to her, an octopus has predicted that Germany will beat Argentina. Who am I to argue with a psychic octopus?

Then it happens. The Dutch Egyptian asks me a question.

"Does a yellow card by definition mean exclusion from the next match?"

Feeling mightily important and all-knowing, I inform her, "No, if you had a yellow in a previous match, a yellow will prevent you from playing in the next. If you receive two in the same match, it means expulsion from the current match."

After she pondered my brilliance for a few moments, I ask my exorbitantly pro-European friend, "You do realize how ironic it is that you had to ask your American friend to explain the nuances of football to you, right?"

"Well," she says, "Sometimes you just have to refer to the experts."

And that is when I begin tooting my vuvuzela.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

viva la revolution!

Today is a good day to be an American. Today is the day we showed up. With the dice loaded against us, eleven men took the pitch and played their hearts out in a game the rest of the world thinks we have no right playing. Today is the day we advanced to the round of sixteen after a triumphant draw against England and an ego-shattering result with Slovenia. Today, we beat the Algerians in the ninety-second minute of play. Today Americans wail into their vuvuzelas offering ecstatic declarations of joy in a situation where all seemed lost. Today, we played football.

Friday, June 18, 2010


It's that time of every four years, where the world collides in one epic event. Where the hopes and dreams of nations rest on a ball, ninety minutes, about twenty individuals. It is the same time when I act less and less like an American and relish in my not-so-secret desire to be European.

It's World Cup time.

If I don't return phone calls, emails, show up to work, appointments, or any such thing, it's more than likely because I'm sucked into the tournament. That and I'm trying to send all positive energy to the US team, so still has a small but hopeful chance of advancing to the second round.

Viva FIFA!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

bona fide

artist, that is. Room to Grow was selected for the show I submitted it into!

Am I excited?

What a silly question. That's like asking if the moon is made of cheese.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

creative endeavors

As seen below are my submissions to a local art show, photographed by a friend of mine. Hopefully at least one piece will be selected! I have one more piece in the works right now, but it's being fickle and refusing to come together. Rude. Anyway, my art, such as it is, of the past year.

The Preppy Minimalist, May 2009 24"x36"
paint swatches on mat board

End of Summer, October 2009, 8"x10"
graphite on paper

Room to Grow,April 2010, 24"x36"
mixed media and watercolor