Blog Posts

Can You Please Pass the Frank's?

I am officially eight (!) days into this whole30 business, and it seems that this may be doable after all. The first days were literally a roller coaster of emotions as I/my body began to figure things out. I was hungry a lot, I was tired a lot, I wanted to punch people for their pizza a lot. But as things settle, as I begin to get into more of a routine, I am finding that (so far) I am actually enjoying the challenge to be more mindful about what I eat and the opportunity to cook with new ingredients (yams!).

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

I found that for me, the timeline above was pretty much right on. I had a mild headache for day two and day three. There was a five hour stretch on day four where I was feeling real proud of myself for feeling great, which abruptly ended in the evening. I was exhausted on day six. But as the site says, there are many things in life which are hard. Doing this for 30 days is not hard. It may be inconvenient, it may make bars less fun, but it's not hard. I made it through a football game, a happy hour, a Halloween party, and a confectionaries class. 

At this point, my advice would be meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. If you don't take time to plan your meals, you end up eating a can of tuna with some Frank's Red Hot before derby practice. (Which was surprisingly tasty, and has since made another appearance.) Planning helps to break up the boredom that occurs with many foods (eggs), and reduces my morning prep time (huge for me). Also, at least for me, be prepared to lose a bit in your work outs during the first week. Feeling so tired really hit my motivation to work out. I decided that it was okay, and am getting back on track this week. 

 A huge thanks to the folks who have been so supportive. Whether it's been bringing fruit, not making fun of my giant snack bag, not getting embarrassed when we are eating out, or agreeing to sample all the chocolates in class so I know which recipes to make, I appreciate it. 

The Things You Do For Love

Today I completed Day 1 of the Whole 30. My derby wife talked me into this. Aside from just being rad people, we get along so well because we are both really independent and head strong. (And have an affinity for good IPAs and giant plates of nachos.) So when she said, "You should do this with me", at first I laughed, and then I said "no way". And then I started to give it some serious consideration. 

She broke her hand. And then kept skating. You don't really tell a woman that bad ass, "no". Photo Courtesy Danny Ngan

She broke her hand. And then kept skating. You don't really tell a woman that bad ass, "no". Photo Courtesy Danny Ngan

See, I hate October. It's my worst month. Every year. These 31 days seem to just drag on. Filled with dread, and wonder, and wishing. A simultaneous hope for the month to just end already, while not wanting to admit that when November 1st hits, it means another year has gone by.  A year that leaves me reflecting on what I have learned, how (if?) I have grown, and whether or not she'd be proud.

There's a lot of wisdom out there about your 30's. You're supposed to give yourself and others more grace. Stand up for yourself. Save for retirement. Stop shopping at H&M. And while most of it is kinda dumb, I do think our 30s are a time when we learn that we need to shout love into the universe just a bit more. 

And while the connection may not make sense to most people, in my head it does. (Which is the case more often than not.) Why not take one of your worst times and try something new in hopes of making it a better time. Why not shout a little love to myself and see what happens? So, I'm giving this a try. And to be honest, I'm a little terrified. It's going to be a lot of kale. And meat. And I may even have to eat an avocado. (Gag.) But there is something so great about saying, "No really, I am going to do this. Because I am terrified. Because October. Because I have some great folks who are supporting me. Because I am inspired by strong women who do cool things. And because I believe in myself." 

And a champagne countdown can't hurt either. 

And a champagne countdown can't hurt either. 

Then There Was You, Laura Chen

"Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be. … Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life. Virtually everyone who has ever experienced grief mentions this phenomenon of “waves.”...Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself." - Joan Didion

My definition of word art.

My definition of word art.

Dear Laura,

You left us just over two weeks ago. And for two weeks, I haven't really known what to say. 

See, sometimes I feel like I know grief too well, while also recognizing it's something I don't understand at all. I know that grief makes us assholes. We treat one another poorly, we yell, we cry, we get angry. People say that they are "sorry for your loss", but I think what we really want to hear is "damn that shit is fucked up" -- because let's be real, no matter how hard we try, we can never know the depth of another's loss. Losses are not equal. And they somehow are not greater than or less than either. Our pain is our own. Our love is our own. Our fear is our own.

We feel betrayed because life continues to move on. (Even as I'm writing this I chuckle because you will be between a post about roller derby and the vegan tarts I made last weekend.) We have to go work, pay bills, make dinner -- the everyday things that suddenly feel like monumental tasks. I dread the time I will come across a text message or an email with your name attached, how my breath will catch and my chest will tighten. For truly, it is not grieving the past, or even the loss of the person that is the worst part, it's grieving the future that is no longer there. The moments down the road when we will all collectively look at one another and say, "Laura should be here right now." I don't know where grief will take me, our friends, or your family over the next few months, or over the next many years, so it seems fitting to end with what I do know. 

I mean, obvs she is amazing. #diamondsandfurforver

I mean, obvs she is amazing. #diamondsandfurforver

What I know is that from the first day I met you, I knew I would love working with you. I know you brought light into every room, approached your work with care and dignity, and always brought laughter into the moment. I know you were, and will continue to be an inspiration to your students. I know you never let anything get in your way. I know you got dealt a shitty hand when it came to your health, and you always approached it with grace, spunk, and a No-really-sodium-fee-soy-sauce-is-great-and-I'll-drink-it-with-my-thimble-sized-glass-of-whisky attitude. I know that your memory will make me strive to be a better professional and shout a bit more love into the universe. 

And I know that when I end this with both tender and questionably inappropriate Morgan Freeman quotes, you'll be laughing from wherever you are watching us today. (Which is clearly on a unicorn, riding down a rainbow, with a FULL sized glass of whisky.)

Love, Julie

"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend." - Morgan Freeman as Red in Shawshank Redemption

Saying Goodbye to Anne Smashaway (For Now.)

It was June 2010 when I watched my first roller derby match with a few friends, and found myself saying, "I could totally do that." Almost as if I was dared, I walked over to the merch booth, bought a sticker, and casually said, "Um, so, they said we could get information on how to join over here?" Castro (as I would later come to know her), smiled big and became so excited, that I couldn't help but feel the same way. To be honest, as I walked away from the booth, I wasn't quite sure that I would actually follow through. The start up costs aren't small, I hadn't been on skates since the roller blade craze of 1994, and making the decision to let people hurl themselves at you while on wheels is not a decision one should make lightly. But to be honest, I didn't feel like I had another choice.

I moved to Dallas in December of 2009 for a job. And while I had some awesome friends down there, its fair to say me and Dallas were never going to be BFFs. Don't get me wrong, there are some highlights -- Shiner (in all varieties), tacos, porch drinking, burritos, patio drinking, red dirt country music, drinking while floating the river -- but I knew it would never be home. And when I first moved, I found myself doubting the person I was at the time, wondering how I could change myself to better fit in. Derby changed that.

Contrary to popular opinion, Tim Riggins does not help you move in when arriving in Texas.

I have often said that playing derby made me a stronger woman. Over the past couple of weeks I've come to realize, that playing derby made me realize just how strong of a woman I already was. I fought through injury, self-doubt, haters, and even put my leadership skills to the test. I felt valued, and also felt as if I was giving value. I learned to love my body, and realized how powerful of a machine it can be when I get out of its way. I can rock a pair of booty shorts like no one's business. (Skating in circles for many hours will do that to your ass you.) And when people find out you play derby, it's like instant cool points. Truly. Someone could have totally thought you were worthless five minutes before, and then you mention knocking chicks to the ground, and they're all like "Ermahgerd, you're mah hero!"

Totally knocked her out. I win.

I love the sport of roller derby, I really do. But if I've learned anything during the past 2 1/2 years, it's that it is okay to go against the grain and do things that surprise people. Moving back to Seattle has been amazing. It is so nice to be closer to family, back in a city that I love, and to be excited about all the new things I can go, do, and see. I slowly realized that to take full advantage of these things, derby needed to go. (Folks, talk to your local derby girls, it takes so much work/dedication/time to make these leagues run. It's truly awe inspiring.) I don't think Annie Smash is gone forever. (I don't know that my sanity would stay around without the opportunity to hit folks  once in awhile.) Maybe she'll come back in a year, or three years. Maybe she'll come back wearing zebra stripes. But I do know this, I am still a cool person (my original title for this post was going to be "15 reasons I am still cool even if I don't play roller derby"), I will still rock the glitter booty shorts whenever possible (Ya'll, it's just so much more comfortable than real pants!), and I will be eternally grateful for the experiences, friendship, and love this sport has given me.

My first team. Viva!

The lovely Deadly Kennedys! DK4L!

Quite possibly the best team ever.

Facebook Graph Search and Higher Education (Or Why You Should Care About More than T. Swift and Drake)

Today I readthis post that Liz Gross wrote on the opportunities Facebook Graph Search presents for college campuses. To summarize, Liz shares that many of the social graph results gives colleges and universities the opportunity to gather a more in depth look at their student population. She gives examples searches such as, "People who like UW-Madison and are in high school and live in Milwaukee", and "Music  people who attend Bridgewater State University listen to". To the last one she says,

A campus activities group could plan what bands to invite to campus to ensure a higher turnout. In case you’re curious, the top results are Taylor Swift, Drake, Kenny Chesney, and Eminem.

Now, I am going to pause here to say that I do not disagree with the points Liz is making in her post. Liz works as a social media manager with experience in marketing at a university, so the ideas in her post clearly align with her interests and areas of research. However, my issue is this: if we allow ourselves as higher education/student affairs professionals to view the best use of social network technologies as a way to decide between a Taylor Swift or Drake concert, we will never successfully engage with our students via technology channels.Image

Screen shot 2013-01-24 at 1.31.50 PM

While reading a recent NY Times article on LGBTQIA students, this phrase stuck with me, "she first heard the term “bi-gender” from Kate, who found it on Tumblr." If that doesn't blow your mind, go back and read it again. Let it sink in. Students enrolling on our campuses are using social network technologies to develop and understand their personal identities. Students who are going to come us as advisors, professors, mentors, and figures of authority in the ivory tower, and want to discuss these issues of identity formation and intersecting lines between personal lives, public lives, and digital citizenship (perhaps that is all actually the same thing).

Again and again I read/hear the ninjas, gurus, experts, mavens, folks in higher ed who are above the average on the technology curve talk about "convincing" the "other" folks on campus why they need to "buy in to" and use technology. My thoughts are this, if we as the "experts" continually use technology in ways that do not stretch our limits, if we are providing information that is in other ways self-evident, why should we expect them to care? Technology has revolutionized communication, how can we grab onto this and revolutionize the way we communicate with students?

I think the most important post from Liz's post is actually one she never addresses -- when explaining why she does not use screenshots, she says it's due to the "amount of personal information the searches revealed about people I didn't know". Take a look at this awesome tumblr that popped up the other day.

Image from Actual Facebook Graph Searches

Much like this Diversity Officer from Gallaudet who received wide spread criticism for signing an anti-gay petition, Facebook Graph Searches social network technologies mean (among many other things) that our own identities, conflicting interests, political views, etc. are viewed in a more public arena than ever before. "Personal information about people we don't know" is now the norm. What is not lost on me, is that we have the ability to influence this impact on higher education by being intentional and thoughtful about how we use this information. Do we raise money for Taylor Swift, or do we have open dialogues around ways that traditional gender roles continue to be perpetuated through online media? Do we scramble for ways to submit budget requests for ipads, or are we looking at the ways our campus technology use can actually increase the social class gap among our students?

The Business of Being Brave - #oneword2012 Review

I was on the yearbook staff in high school, and while working on the layout for the water polo team, I came across a photo of me playing goalie with my arms outstretched, and my eyes closed. I was very happy to have the chance to make sure that photo hit the editing floor, as my flailing arms and fear on my face had no business being in print for the rest of my life. Scott+Fox+in+action+for+Thistle

I don't think I ever played goalie again after that practice. I knew I wasn't good, and as young as I was I didn't see it as an opportunity for growth, but instead as an opportunity for ridicule and humiliation. And while it seems everyone gains a bit more confidence with age, there are still moments when I find myself letting doubt and fear take over. I often ask myself "what if this goes wrong?"

This was the motive behind choosing "brave" as my #oneword2012. My intention wasn't to go all Katniss on the world, but rather making myself be vulnerable, and open to learning when things went wrong. I made an effort to honor my feelings more and share them with others, to live by my values even if it meant I voiced the "unpopular" view, and to take the time to do things that make me happy. And while this may seem to have a strong internal focus, I was surprised at how this "inner" focus allowed me to be more open to "outward" experiences.

more than runnning

This year I committed to running a marathon. I once said I would run one before I turned 30, which came and went with nary a road race to be found. In one of those moments of self-rationalization (I'm really good at that), I decided that running a marathon when I still was 30, was the next best thing. I had a couple of great friends also jump on this crazy band wagon, and we all signed up for the Dallas Marathon on December 9th.

While at a networking event this fall, I met another man who was also training for the Dallas Marathon. He asked me who I was training with, and I mentioned that sometimes my friends and I were able to run together, but for the most part, I was doing my training runs solo with some great advice from a faculty member in my department. He was shocked that I was training without the assistance of a running club/group. I tried to explain that this was something I was doing for myself. I wasn't out to find a running group, or to become a part of a running community. I was doing this so I could show myself that it could be done. So that for once I could quiet the voice in my head that always says "what if this goes wrong?"

Everyone looks this good at mile 8.

I cried three times while running that day (and once the day before at packet pick up). I was six minutes slower than my goal pace (sub 5 hours), but as I crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed with appreciation for myself. I had done it. I had completed something that was solely for me. That truly pushed my limits. It was an indescribable experience that I will forever carry deep in my heart.

I never considered myself someone who let "worry" get in the way until I realized just how many things I stopped myself from doing out of fear of looking foolish, or not being the best. Pushing beyond this worry and fear was how I chose to frame my #oneword2012, and will definitely influence my #oneword2013.

How Do You Show Love?

"What way do we show our students that we fall [in] love with the world?" - @AlexandraFro

When I saw this tweet in my feed this morning, I stopped mid scroll and just stared at the screen. Lately, I have been spending a significant amount of time reflecting on what makes me happy. What drives my passion, my love, for what I do on a daily basis? The tweet made me wonder, is part of my frustration as of late due to the fact that I don't give myself enough room to share my passions and interests in the work place? Sure, we need to work to create boundaries, keep up professionalism in the work place, be resources but not friends, etc., but if I believe being a good professional also means being the best version of myself from 9-5, shouldn't I be able to openly discuss those things that bring me joy?

"Truth be told, there is not one day that goes by when I don't fall in love with someone, with something." - Carole Maso

One of the main reasons I signed on to work with AlumniChoose was the fact that financially supporting projects can help students discover power through their passions. I remember that feeling as an undergraduate, and even as a graduate student, when everything seemed to click when I was able to make a difference on campus, create change, and use my educational experience to have some sort of real life impact. It seems a bit silly now, but back then I didn't realize that the organizations I chose to be a part of, the way I spent my free time, the late night conversations I had about world events, hopes and dreams, would become foundational to my own philosophy of higher education. I believe in empowerment, discovery, fairness and equity, integrity, and authenticity. Show yourself through your work, through your legacy, through the lives you touch.

Yes, AlumniChoose is a fundraising website, but to me that the secondary part of our vision. We exist to aid students in making those connections between those ideas and sparks they have now to their great discoveries of the future. When you support a student run organic food collective today, you may be helping to create the next urban grocery store which brings quality produce to poverty stricken areas. Seem like a stretch? I don't think so.

Where can you show your love today?

Cross posted at AlumniChoose

Why You Should Be Up in Arms About Losing Ann

If I were to rank my favorite celebrity females, Ann Curry would fall at number 2, just behind the wonderful Meryl Streep. (Sorry, Ann, but I think you get this one.)  Not only is she an amazing journalist, a strong female professional, but she also has a great fashion sense. (And I mean, how do you not love a woman who reacts to her fans this way?)

I cried today when I watched Ann say her final farewell. Friends and I have been discussing the rumors for the past week, and I kept dismissing the possibility that she may really be in danger of losing her job. She has delivered some of the most poignant journalistic moments of the last 50 years (rough estimate), and I felt certain that NBC could appreciate what role Ann played for strong women every where. I was wrong. Ratings are down, they say her and Matt don't have chemistry, and instead of questioning the $25 million golden boy, it must clearly be time to oust the woman. THE WOMAN WHO USED TWITTER TO REUNITE A LOST AMERICAN WOMAN WITH HER FAMILY POST 2011 Japanese earthquake. Clearly, she must be the problem.

Yes, selfishly I will miss hearing Ann's voice every morning. I am one of the ridiculous people who actually talk back to the Today show cast in the mornings, complimenting Al on his outfit, warning Savannah when she gets a little too close to the guests, and most of all watching Ann be a moving storyteller. But even more, as I watched Ann cry this morning, I felt ache and pain for what this means for women in our society. Ann speaks her mind. She strives to do her best. She does less fluff and more hard hitting journalism. She visits war zones. She looks deeper. She has a strong voice. And today, a room full of (mostly male) executives told her that was wrong. And that it wasn't good enough. Maybe should could have stayed around longer if she learned how to better bake cookies with Paula Deen and stopped showing too much empathy. F#@% that noise.

In a USA Today article released earlier this morning she says, "My father used to say, 'Well, Ann, maybe the best thing you'll ever do, you haven't even thought of yet.' And as I think about this, maybe that time is now." To that I say, Ann, take a moment, listen to the cheers and applause from those who love you and recognize you as the strong, trail blazing, amazing female journalist you are, and know that we will always be standing in your corner waiting to see what you do next.

Just Call Me "Pretty Hipster Girl"

You don't really have to call me that, but when reviewing blog stats, it came up as one of the search terms bringing folks to my blog, and it made me feel special. My second favorite was "dark Disney princess". Ladies and gents, I am a bad ass. I signed on to blog with Reverb Broads again for the month of June, but life has decided regular participation was not in the cards. But, I really want to catch up because 1) The other folks also doing this are awesome, 2) I really like the prompts that have been suggested so far, and 3) There was a thick layer of dust on the blog.

So, because I believe in the power of a perfectly placed one-liner, and nothing beats a good list -- I will now respond to the first 12 prompts of June.

June 1st: With what fictional character do you most identify?

If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have said Kristy from the Baby Sitters Club. Now I would say I love the idea of somehow being a perfect mix of Hermione Granger, Angela Chase, and Punky Brewster.

June 2nd: What gives you nightmares?

Eating really rich foods before bed.

June 3rd: Who are your role models?

Single moms and Meryl Streep.

June 4th: What did people tease you about growing up?

June 5th: Come up with a new constitutional amendment.

All the gays/lesbians/transgender folk/queer folk can get married and because they are awesome higher education is now free. (Gotta get the most bang for your buck.)

June 6th: Share a recipe or a meal that is a summer time favorite.

I make a really good bruschetta. Roma tomatoes, more garlic than you think you need, more capers than you think you need, 2 parts olive oil for every 1 part balsamic vinegar, lots of fresh basil.

June 7th: List 8 reasons it's okay to lie.

1) When my mom asks me how she looks in that one floral print jacket. 2) When I know that if I go to work I may physically harm someone. 3) When Creepy McCreeprsen asks me if I'm seeing anyone. 4) When the doctor asks me if I've had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years. 5) When I am asked to go to an office baby shower. 6) When my friend asks me if I've seen the movie that we were supposed to watch together. 7) When the officer asks if I know how fast I was going. 8) When someone calls while I'm watching Battlestar Galactica on hulu and asks if I have time to talk.

June 8th: What are your favorite decorative items/pieces of furniture?

Two weeks ago I turned this dresser from Ikea into this:

June 9th: What skill have you learned in the past year that you are proud of?

BLAM. I am also reattempting to learn some HTML. Made a table this week. Holla.

June 10th: What was your hardest parenting or partner moment?

I am 30 years old and cannot answer this question. Don't worry, that doesn't raise any sort of self doubt, or questioning of my life experiences at all.

June 11th: If you were to play hooky from work today, what would you do instead?

Take a road trip.

June 12th: What was the best decision you ever made?

There is no way I can narrow this down to just one, so I guess I'll say allowing myself to trust my gut, being willing to move to new (yet sometimes strange) places, and not going on a second date with the guy who wore white slouch socks with his fancy dress shoes.

Anything YouTube Can Do I Can Do Better

Remember Felix's driver side mirror nub? It is a nub no more. (And truthfully, it hasn't been a nub for a couple of months, but I like to think of the elapsed time as in depth quality control analysis. I passed. Woot.) Once I received the mirror in the mail, I decided to take my handy IKEA tool set (every single woman should own one) and put my car back together again. To get started, I did what every self respecting individual does when wanting to learn a new skill, I went to YouTube. I carefully selected my video based on the following criteria: 1) They had more than one video about cars, 2) They had matching polos = official, 3) The intro for the video was only moderately cheesy (and if I remember correctly, tastefully used the engine revving sound). I want to give big props 1A Auto for easy to follow videos. (Here is the video I used.) The only down side? Once I successfully completed the project, I found myself looking through other videos saying things like "hmmm, do I want to lower my car?" and "Sure, I can replace an engine."  Do not be alarmed. I haven't tried either of those (yet).

And now, the adventure in photos:


The Great Burrito-tastrophy

Or "If I Had a Time Machine, I Would Never Relive This Past Weekend". Or "How I Spent $300 in 15 Seconds".

It's no secret that I play roller derby. And I love it. It's been a great source of empowerment for me over the past year and a half. I feel more confident in myself, in my opinions, and I am less scared to speak my mind. Part of the Women's Flat Track movement, is the DIY attitude. As a league, we run our own bout production, recruit our own sponsors, run our own practices, and we are stronger for it. However, that means when you host a kick ass tournament, you do all the work. Even if that means spending 28 hours in one weekend shlepping cases of water and bananas back and forth for visiting teams.

You guessed it. That is exactly how I spent last weekend.

Now, like any self respecting derby girl woman, the idea of waking up at 5:30 am on a Saturday does not excite me. But you know what does excite me? Breakfast burritos. And you know how I can make myself feel better about losing sleep on a weekend? A tasty breakfast burrito from Sonic. (The kind with the tots INSIDE the burrito. It's like the double rainbow of breakfast foods.)

If you are fortunate enough to have a Sonic close to you, you know that they have these super cute drive in stalls which allow you to order through a speaker. Just like the good ol' times. Then the car hop will swiftly bring your order window side, and you can commence your greasy goodness indulgence. I still maintain, that what happened next on that Saturday morning is due to my deep care and concern for others. See, upon pulling into the stall, I decided that I was too close to the speaker, and it might prove difficult for the car hop to deliver my burrito. Figuring the car hop didn't like being up this early anymore than I did, I figured I would reposition my car in order to make their job easier. And then I heard it. A sort of scrape, pull, smash, pop sound. I had ripped Felix's arm off.

On the upside, I learned you can indeed pass a Texas inspection without a driver side mirror (the rear view mirror is sufficient), and you can order mirrors online for $46.51. I am planning to install myself via knowledge I gain from YouTube. (Post to follow.)

36 hours later I dropped my iPhone in a cooler full of ice water. It was an expensive weekend. But at least I was complimented on my banana distribution skills.


Why You Should Pay Attention to SOPA (or the death of LOLcats)

In the past couple days, the media has finally started to give some attention to SOPA and PIPA. Today news broke the Wikipedia, reddit, Mozilla, and several other sites will be going dark for a 24 hour period beginning at 12 am January 18th in order to protest the pending legislation. For those of you who may not have the time to read about SOPA and PIPA, let me give you my opinion. If passed, these laws could be very dangerous to the ways we as a society use the web. I agree content should be protected under copyright, but I also believe that access to the internet, and using it's platforms to promote new ideas and social justice is one of the most powerful tools we have today. There are better ways to protect content and creativity that will not lead to censorship.

Still not convinced? Let me speak in terms that may better resonate with your heart.

If SOPA passed, you could lose your precious LOLcats if the government thought that any of those images or videos were being used without permission.

You could lose the ability to search Youtube for amazing videos like this.

Collaboration and re-purposing of content on the internet can be amazing forms of art. Why take that away?

Finally, I think we all agree, the world needs more cowbell, and not less Walken.


#reverbbroads11 Wrap Up

It was truly my intention to respond to every #reverbbroads11 prompt for the month of December. But then the holidays happened. I traveled home, had spotty internet connections, and spent more time drinking wine and eating chocolate cake with rainbow chip frosting directly out of the pan than I did thinking about blogging. And I'm okay with that -- I find few things to be better than lots of wine and cake. However, when I saw the prompt for December 31st, I wanted to give it one more go before I said good bye to the #reverbbroads crew. Yesterday's prompt was from Amy, and I think it's a great way to begin 2012. "What is your "one word"? One word for this year, one word for next year."

I first heard about the One Word idea at the beginning of 2011, and enjoyed watching a few of my twitter friends refer to their one word during the course of the year. I had already decided that this was something I wanted to do for 2012, and when I saw it was the final prompt, I knew posting my word would be a good way to stay accountable.

My one word for 2012 is brave. (I'm specifically focusing on the "defy, challenge, dare, courage" part of the definition.)

I've mentioned before that I have started to feel more empowered in my life within the last year or so. Maybe it's being older and wiser (shout out to the first week of my 30's), or maybe it's just learning to do more things that make myself happy, but now I want to take the feeling of empowerment, and use it to take a few risks. I want to be brave, and try new things. Be brave, and let go of the things in life that aren't working. Be brave, and get rid of the excuses that keep me from trying things just because success is not guaranteed. Be brave, and share my feelings with others even when it's scary.

I'm not entirely sure how I will track this, or determine my one word success a year from now, but I'm sure I'll share some of the adventures via my blog. (Afterall, now that #reverbbroads is done, I need something to generate content.)

What is your one word for 2012?



#reverbbroads11 Day 20 - Where Do You See Beauty

Today's #reverbbroads11 prompt is: Life is a work of art, or so they say.  What beauty do you regularly appreciate/revere in your life? via Neha This one is going to be short and sweet. Not only because I am a bit blogged out after playing catch up, but also because there is one thing that immediately comes to mind. Nothing makes me appreciate beauty more than rain. Truly.

Maybe it's my Seattle roots, but when the rain starts to come down, I feel at home. It's comforting to me, and there is something so beautiful about watching and listening to rain fall.

Give it a try.

#reverbbroads11 Day 19 - Self-Portrait

The December 19th #reverbbroads11 prompt was: Self-Portrait: Post a picture of you that you like, write about yourself, post a video - what do you want your self-portrait to say about you? via Kristen

I want my self-portrait to show that I am a positive person,

and that I love to laugh,

and that I was once on the Today Show,

and that I love water features (And rain.),

and that I believe I am strong,

and that being a sister is one of my most defining characteristics,

and that, sadly, this is one of the most common faces I make in photos.

Most importantly, I want my self-portrait to show I try to lead my life with love as the driving force.

#reverbbroads11 Day 18 - Who Would You Most Like to Meet?

The #reverbbroads11 prompt for December 18th was: Who would you most like to meet and why? via Dana. There are many people that I would like to meet, both living and dead, political figures and celebrities. I have often said that I hope to some day play poker with Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, and Johnny Depp. (Even thought I don't play poker, I'm still pretty sure it would be an amazing experience.)

But if I could meet anyone right now, and sit down with them to say, "Please, tell me what  you are thinking about at this very moment." it would be James Franco.

This isn't what you think. I don't find him overly attractive. He is low down on my list of best actors. We won't even talk about the train wreck that was his Oscar hosting gig. It really is due to the fact that I find him to be one of the most fascinating people EVER. I mean, the man taught a course about himself. Meaning, there was an actual moment when he said to himself, "yes, I am such a gift to the acting community that I can teach others how to become better actors by talking about myself!"

Two of the faculty members I have the privilege of working with and myself will often tweet our new Franco finds.

(If you are curious, the link is to a funny or die video featuring Franco's younger brother. I was shocked that a younger version existed. My verdict is still out as to who is the better actor.) I'm not really sure how this even got started between the three of us, but it is one of my favorite uses for twitter. Kim and I even created this gem for John when he left last year.

He came with interchangeable degrees and MLA badge. We even created some fun tweets which were posted on the back of the box. But I digress.

Back to why I want to meet Franco. Here are my top three reasons:

1) The man created a Kickstarter account for a museum without art, and IT GOT FUNDED! For three times the amount originally requested.

2) This video: [youtube=]

3) And finally, the latest Franco folly involves an innocent NYU professor who was fired because he gave Franco a "D". Really. I can't make this shit up.

I have a feeling I would not get through more than 5 minutes before I laughed in his face. Pretty uproariously in fact. However, I do hope that this day will come as I would love to know what inspires him to do half of the ridiculous stuff he does. (And, it would make John and Kim mad jealous.)

#reverbbroads11 Day 17 - Your Least Favorite Things

The December 17th #reverbbroads11 prompt was: Instead of a list of your favorite things, write a list of your least favorite things, e.g. Worst book you ever finished, the color you hate, bad songs, bad romances, bad recipes. via Amy Least favorite foods: Sushi, avocado, sweet potatoes (unless in french fry form, and even then not really), and those tapioca balls that you can get in bubble tea.

Least favorite book I read this year: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Least favorite situations: When I try to take a drink of coffee in the morning and a) the mug is already empty, or b) it is only that last, cold, bitter half mouthful. Blech. I also don't like when the dryer in my apartment somehow gets lint all over my clothes instead of in the lint trap.

Least favorite state: Nebraska. (Sorry folks. Drove through once and found it really hard to stay entertained.)

Least favorite Disney princess: Sleeping Beauty. She could have tried a bit harder.

Least favorite word: moist. And chutney.

Least favorite thing about Winter: having to get up when it is still dark.

Photo via

#reverbbroads11 Day 16 - What Are Your Pet Peeves?

(I'm a few posts behind. Look for a flood of greatness over the next couple days.) Today's (December 16) #reverbbroads11 prompt comes from Emily: What are your biggest pet peeves?

I'm going to take a page from Kassie's book today, and address this prompt by recapping a conversation I had about it with my friend Stoney.

Stoney: What is the blog post for today?

Me: Listing your pet peeves. But this is a hard one for me. It's started some self conversation about what are pet peeves, what are things that are annoying, and what are things I just find stupid.

Stoney: Yes, a lot of things are stupid.

Me: I mean, if something is annoying, does that mean it is automatically a pet peeve? Cause pet peeves are annoying. But annoying things may only be annoying in one instance, so that wouldn't be a pet peeve, right? Pet peeves should be annoying all time, yes?

Stoney: Yes. I would think so. So, what is something that is forever annoying?

Me: The first thing that comes to mind is people who can't merge on the freeway. Dallas is awful for that.

Stoney: Yes! How can you not merge?! It should be a zipper. If people go every ---

Me: YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ZIPPER?! This is why we get along. It should always be like a zipper.

Stoney: Yes, every other.

Me: And you should be doing 55 mph by the time you hit the freeway. My grandpa taught me that.

Stoney: Definite pet peeve.

Pappy: (pauses Skyrim playing) You know what I think is a pet peeve? The term pet peeve. I don't like it.

Stoney: It is a strange phrase.

Pappy: And "top off". I don't like that one either. It's so stupid. Can I top you off? Do you need to be topped off? Don't ever ask to top me off.