November 2006 Archives

bday 06=42

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Out with my two favorite people on my birthday. My super, awesome, wonderful husband woke me up in the morning and told me that I better hurry up and get ready.

"for what?"

"the spa".

If there are any men lurking on my blog you can take a few lessons from my husband in the realm of gift giving. He never misses the mark and this b-day was no exception. Last week a big box came via fedex with a brand spankin new easel in it. As if this wasn't enough, he had scheduled a day here for a massage and facial. I came home from that to a bouquet of red roses and a birthday card perched on the dining room table. Then we were off for dinner out on the town. What a perfect day. Thank you my love.

Here is Bryan and Daniel in Bethesda checking out the shops after dinner at Jaleo.

signing off for awhile


Bearing down on work this week (after my unproductivity last week) I am giving into the blitz and need to focus. Oodles of work to prepare for seasonal stuff on the planet which begs the need to sign off for a while. Blogging is my sanity brain dump and my form of "scrapbooking" of life, but it is time to unplug for awhile. Preparations for thanksgiving break, Daniel being home from school along with Bryan being home next week before starting a new job at Laureate as their new "Senior Multimedia Producer", has me wanting to get a boat load of work done before the end of the week. I also need to power-up in order to "be present" for that week. So... time to fly silent for a bit.



an afternoon at the symphony

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We we graciously given tickets (by Celine's mom) to join Daniel and Celine, and her mother Mary Beth to a performance of Night on Bald Mountain, Pastoral, and a new piece that used themes from Hildegard von Bingen at the

We all went out for dinner at this cool place that "the kids" love and go to often. I shot this while Celine was playfully moving Daniel's mouth like a puppet. Alas the shot is with a nasty flash because the room was so dark and I was trying hard not to laugh, so not the best pic but you get the idea. In fact, now I really wish I had got a pic of them at the concert hall. Everyone looked so beautiful all dressed up, a rare occasion for Daniel who would never be caught dead in a pair of dress pants. Celine managed to have him looking pretty gent-like in a velvet long-coat of hers. Go-girl! Although I felt like I had stepped back in time or into an interview with the vampire . Daniel's long hair made him fit into the victorian look very well(Lestat or Louis?). Celine had this sleek black gown with a back that did this sort of criss-cross strap thing that was cool. Topped of with long velvet gloves. Very pretty. We all chatted about the concert and other things over a bizarre menu. XS serves this amazing looking french toast which Celine ordered and I should have. Instead I defaulted to sushi which I should have known any restaurant with such a broad menu would not have good sushi, but oh well, the chai was good.


I have had an emotional rollercoaster of a time adjusting to Daniel being gone, but it is getting better. Watching him with Celine was good for me. They seem pretty good together...

and who would have thought that he would ever find an INFJ?!

A rare breed if I do say so myself!
(if this stuff leaves you in the dust check out the meyers-briggs reference ).

(I think I have been coaxing out my "f" after years of stuffing it in order to function in business acting like a "t". My "f" was so close to the fence that, as a female, I have always regarded myself as a "t" and have a lot of the behaviors to match. That has changed in the last 10 years)

Seeing Daniel with Celine, who is an introvert (I) and especially an IN (intuitive) is the real plus though because I think that is the difference that probably causes the most tension in relationships (extrovert vs introvert). Introverts tend to be misunderstood more easily because let's face it, every aspect of society tends to favor extrovertism. Labels like "shy" as opposed to "outgoing" (the latter being the more favored characteristic) never actually validated the uniqueness of a personality just enhanced a negative stereotype.

There is no such thing as "shy".

Growing up I was never "shy". Quiet, yes. But I wore that label for a while. It took me years (and that MB test) to realize that I wasn't crazy. What a relief to discover that it is a valid personality not some mistake of nature to be introverted. It royally ticks me off now when I see someone extroverted trying to change or "fix" an introvert, especially if it is in a disciplinary way, like an extraverted parent trying to "draw out" an introverted child. Argggh.

I have had a number of people try to "fix" me over the years (including myself) so I know how important it is for Daniel (as an IN) to be understood in this way. It may sound superficially biased but I think it takes an introvert to fully understand one, or at the very least makes it easier. I am so grateful that Bryan is an INTP. When the other person understands what it means to be socially tapped as an introvert, or that you have a social limit, then they don't try to force you to be more "outgoing". That word used to bug me so much because it always seemed to be the label for the popular, or those that were perceived to be successful. Expectations of culture can be pretty crushing for someone who does not understand that they don't need to fit into that mold. For me (until I finally took the test) I just kept trying to be extroverted, only to repeatedly crash and burn and feeling like a failure for doing so.

The test was pivotal to finally understand myself. Of course the knowledge would have been oh-so handy when I was in school when one is faced with so many of those pressures. But the knowledge has been very helpful over the years (I took it at 29) for continued self awareness and for understanding the nuances in relationship. I would recommend taking the test to anyone.

Anyway, it does my heart good to see my son so happy. Ahh... to be young and in love.

spirit wind

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Friday painting went pretty well. Although this was such a departure from the original thin places series that I wasn't sure what to think about it. Exploring another dimension I guess. The thread of ribbon represents spirit and the freedom in which she moves.


tea with musolini

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At the urging of my oh-so-smart older sister I netflixed Tea With Musolini and watched it last night. A great movie with a wonderful cast of women that I all admire, I loved it. But not just for the acting but for scene after scene shot in florence and the surrounding hill towns of tuscany that I fell in love with two summers ago. Throughout the movie I kept saying, "oh look, we stood right there!" Or "Yup, sat on those steps". Amazing feeling watching it. Then Bryan and I watched Michael Tilson Thomas narrate the Right of Spring. This series is making me interested in classical music again.

All work aside for today. Now I am off to spend the friday-artist-date in front of a canvas with a brush in my hand. Woohoo!

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same image further developed.


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photo I shot of a sculpture of mary then photoshopped with a painted canvas background


I feel better. I guess I can't deny my creative side too long or I go insane. Maybe I need to hire a bookkeeper.

is that you, salvador?

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Today I felt like I belonged inside a Dali painting. Despite the fact that I adore Salvador's work, having the sensation of being inside one of his paintings is not pleasant. At least the way I felt today. I think it began with me taking in all things political which seemed appropriate after an election. I even listened to Bush's address. And I checked out a bunch of political blogs and probably overdosed on information (which I won't retain anyway). It is the multiple shifting of gears that has got me feeling like I am losing my mind. Business chores like paperwork and bookkeeping, paying bills and the like being the tasks for the day, just added to the messed up feeling. So I dropped everything and painted for a while. Trying out my new waterbased oils was a great break but it didn't give me any more solid a feeling, in fact shifting gears like that (from being responsible business owner to creative) may have worked against me. Multiple times today I attacked different tasks to shake the feeling but nothing seemed to help. Just grinding gears.

I get this way sometimes. I get so frustrated with myself when I am not uber productive. It is a sort of push-pull self expectation that I have struggled with since I was five and it often preceeds a blitz of super productivity which renders the satisfaction wiping away the feeling that I am having now.

Let's hope so.

I could use an uber moment or two.

The problem is that I have a hard time forgiving myself for unproductivity even if it is fueling the future blitz.

Information overdose is not good for this little introverted artist, and I should have known better. Makes things seem surreal. And let's face it, I hate paperwork.

yea, what he said...

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Some great thoughts on the wielding of "morality" for the sake of politics here.

And continuing the discussion (while home for the weekend) about the "New Atheists", Daniel has a powerful (even mind-numbing) post here.

going on a date

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Can you go on a date if you have been married just shy of twenty years? Hmm...


Saturday morning Bryan and I headed out for just that. What we call playing hookie (from all the domestic chores like yardwork) is essentially going on a date in our new normal of being empty nesters. For some reason Adams Morgan has had an appeal of late so we went down there and checked out some of the cool shops, street vendors, and restaurants.

Here is Bryan checking out the tambre of a drum in this shop that imports goods from all over. Not just trinket stuff but really awesome fabrics, furniture, and clothing. I found a yummy all wool sweater made in Nepal.


Stuff at the Brass Knob, this great little shop that specialized in restoration of old brownstones. Scads of antique hardware.


Here I am at L'enfant coming up from having my head in a bowl of capuccino. Swallowing and trying not to laugh as Bryan snaps this oh-so-flattering picture. No one looks good mid-swallow!


The crepes at L'enfant.


I am worried. I have been worried for many years about something that is often elusive and always confusing.


I am worried that the evolving world will no longer permit it.

First off defining faith is slippery because everyone has it but not everyone is willing to admit it. And everyone's looks different. You can have faith in god, faith in yourself, faith in your car, or faith in gravity. Some of these things don't require much (like gravity) but all come from a sense of conviction, of sureness, of knowing. Everyone on earth has an individual experience and a shared one and the combination of these experiences are the building blocks which create that sense of conviction. It is a feeling of confidence that you know something true.

So what if what you know is "true" comes in direct conflict with someone else's faith?

As the world continues to get more connected and communities that were once closed systems get cracked open these conflicts will increase exponentially. If you live in a closed system where the common experiences fortify a belief structure then you might find it easy to criticize another system and another faith. If that closed system keeps you protected from ever having to come face to face with another person's "faith" it might make you pretty confident in what you know and have known all along and will keep knowing. But most of the world doesn't deal in closed systems. Instead we have the intersection of various evolving ideas that merge together to create new-in-the-moment ideas.

All moves forward.

But I am afraid.

I am afraid that the things that often motivate a person (human nature) will not allow enough patience and tolerance required for everyone to have their flavor of faith. Because it requires everyone to play nice in an increasingly shrinking sand box. In an article in Wired Magazine, called Church of the Non-Believers , a group of scientists portray atheism as the only rational choice and the choice that, by eradicating religion, would bring about world peace. Although these "New Atheists" as they call themselves would never claim that their convictions might just fall under the umbrella of "faith", I can't help but see their conviction as just that, a belief. They are, however making it clear that inside their convictions there is no room for anyone to have an opposing "belief" and that is where the sand in that ever-shrinking sandbox really makes me itch.

A recent South Park episode displayed the end game of this concept in a hysterically brilliant way (as only South Park can). Cartman decided that he would freeze himself because he found it unbearable to wait three whole weeks for the release of an anticipated computer game (Wii). But his plan was foiled when Butters neglected to thaw him and he was instead thawed by people 500 years into the future. All religion in the future was banished and everyone were atheists. But the truly funny part (and this is where the guys that write the South Park scripts are so gifted) was that there was no peace. Instead there were warring factions of atheists. Denominations of atheists if you will.

That cracks me up. In fact, I laughed my head off. Because I think it is absolutely true. Faith is as unique as every person. Yes there are common groups of structured belief systems and rituals but each individual has a different lens in which she sees the world. And so even the loftiest notion of a "pure" faith (even atheism) will not stay put.

But what fascinates me is that the basic teaching (I mean really foundational stuff) found in most "religions", that humanity got from somewhere, actually addresses how to get along and play nice in the sand box.

We just aren't paying attention.

And so I try to abide by those teachings and listen and tolerate other kids in the sand box. By listening it is amazing how similar we all seem to be. Same desires, same needs, pretty much. And those basic teachings seem to show the way of unity and love. It is the deviation from mutual respect and that nasty inclination to push back at someone with a little different view that seems to cause trouble.

One fist-full of sand thrown and it is all over.

And as much as I try, I know I fail. It is hard not to look back to the closed system that once protected my fragile perspective and judge it harshly for doing so. I have wielded many fists of sand at my own faith "traditions". But if I am to help encourage tolerance (not relativism) then pointing out some of the inconsistencies of practice to those from that tradition in order to collectively seek perspective in order to "love thy neighbor" then it is the "how" that seems the most difficult. But when I am truly following those teachings (for me they are christ's recorded words) the "how, what," and even "who" all becomes pretty clear. Christ was radically inclusive. And if I choose to follow those teachings, then my particular lens will allow me to see everyone in the sandbox as a beloved creature of creation.

The hard part is that they might not see me with the same respect. It does not feel good to be judged by anyone. Being the judge of someone is a special kind of racism. If you look down on someone because they are different (in whatever way, faith or otherwise) you are judging them and putting yourself in a higher position. This is ungracious and uniquely ugly. And not one single person can claim to have all the answers so arrogance can actually make one appear stupid. Humility is beautiful.

So I worry about religious persecution on both ends. Being the perpetrator or the victim. Both leads to a kind of death, but I can only strive to control one. Being responsible for my own actions and then giving grace to others is what I hope to continually strive for as I act out the teachings that form my faith in my ever expanding sandbox.

still recruiting


Two days ago the doorbell rang. I opened the door to a marine in full uniform.

He asked if he could see Daniel.

I politely informed him that my son had gone to college. The marine, realizing that his recruiting opportunity was gone made a couple of polite comments and then handed me his business card before turning around to leave. Nice young man, but the whole thing pissed me off.

I know that during Daniel's junior and senior year there were recruiters of all military flavors scouring the halls at his high school. Promises of free education, monetary bonuses, and even free clothing were used to entice the students to sign up to serve. We still get post cards in the mail that paint pictures of prosperous futures and glorious careers in return for serving in combat. I am still a little shaken that the marine actually showed up at our doorstep, looking for Daniel by name, knowing where he lived.

It is so messed up.

Don't get me wrong. I think that anyone who has longed to nobly serve their country in the military has the right to do so. They have a right to that choice. And I am grateful for the brave souls that do. But that choice is not meant for everyone.

And so I hate the recruiting tactics. Especially the ones aimed at those who might feel trapped in an economic structure that may prevent them from going to college any other way. I wonder if our sons and daughters are given all of the information up front, not just the bright shiny enticements.

The brother of one of Daniel's friends was killed in Iraq recently. We had never met the boy but we know the family. The boy was 20. (2- years older than Daniel). He was old enough to vote but not old enough to drink. He was old enough to die but not old enough to get a discount on car insurance. He was old enough to make the choice to go into the service but we might raise an eyebrow if he had chosen to get married (because for some reason our culture thinks that at that age you are hardly mature enough for such a commitment).

Of course there is a sense of pride for his brave service and there are no words to express how grateful we must feel for his sacrifice and all those like him.

But I just can't entertain it personally. When I think of that loss I feel outrage instead of respect. I would never want to demean another's sacrifice because that sacrifice was a choice made by that individual. But when I think of the recruiters in the schools I can't help wonder if so many children are misinformed. It frightens me. There is a picture that I can't get out of my head, I don't know why... some sort of visual metaphor for how I see it...

Baby sea turtles when finally hatched instinctually run like mad towards the sea. The sea equals survival. The sea equals life. The sea equals a future. But the majority of these baby turtles are picked up by predatory birds in the midst of their perilous journey never to live life in the sea.

Whenever I hear news of another one of our sons or daughters being lost in Iraq I picture baby sea turtles. And I am haunted by the thought that we might be needlessly setting them out on an endless stretch of sand only to be picked off by predatory birds. Is it natural selection or the result of arrogance and pride?

Let it not be so.

I would hate to think we are feeding our children to the birds for the sake of our own pride.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2

mac and cheese

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What do you get when you merge great apple advertising with the disparity between being a christian versus a christ follower? Check out these very funny ads on Marko's blog.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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