Saturday, June 28, 2008

Your Soul Mate*

(from a family photo shoot I did yesterday, check out the photo blog!)

*alternate title for this post would be "Your Soul Mate, Who Doesn't Exist, But Whom we Will Use as an Exercise in Creative Writing"

The best thing that I got from reading I Am America, And So Can You, was a letter from my soul mate. Right there, in the book. He was speaking just to me and made it so clear about why I haven't found him yet. I have been doing everything all wrong. But thanks to Stephen, I think I know how to find him. That's right, you heard me, my soul mate--Stephen Colbert style. While my last blog post was a bit on the heavy side, I have decided to lighten things up and talk about soul mates (save your ooohs and aaaahs for paragraph 4!) Colbert writes poetically, but more importantly, he writes truthfully on just what it takes to find your soul mate. He even has a letter written by your very own soul mate, yep, just for you (and me)!

Hey there. I am your soul mate, the one person on this earth who's perfect for you in every way. Yes, I exist, and yes, everyone else you've been with is a pale subsitute. We're meant to be together, but we've never met.

You see, there are 6 billion people in the world and you encounter at most about 1,000 people per day, so statistically our paths would cross only once every 16,500 years. if we're going to beat those odds you need to work harder, because so far you've done a spectacular job of messing this up.

Remember when you bought that pack of gum and the clerk asked if you wanted a bag, but you were in a rush so you said no? If you'd waited that extra three seconds you would have missed the next train, making you late for the play, so they wouldn't have let you in the theater until the first scene was over, and I would have entered the lobby--also late--and we'd have gotten to talking. We probably would have just skipped the play and gotten coffee and then...Pow! Fifty years of golden summers at the lake house.

Another example: Remember when you signed up for yoga class? You should have signed up for pottery class. I was taking a pottery class!! How hard is that to figure out? And don't just sign up for a pottery class next time, because I might have moved on to hip-hop cardio. I can't tell you exactly where I'll be because if you're really my soul mate you'll just know. Please just get it right!

I guess what I am saying is, next time you think about going to the museum today instead of tomorrow when I'll be there, ask yourself: Do you really want to spend the rest of your life alone? Are you going to take the bus or are you going to walk? If you do walk and it's raining, how are you going to see me under my umbrella, unless I don't have one and you share yours, or I share mine and that's how we meet? So remember: Never leave the house without an umbrella...or with one. It's your choice. I think I explained pretty clearly what's at stake.

Are you reading this at a book store? I'm right behind you. Turn around!

Am I still there?

Gosh, you're a slow reader.

Point is, hanging over every decision you make, however small, is the sword of our loneliness. I am out there. Find me. But please hurry. I know we're meant to be together for eternity, but I can't wait forever.

So do you believe in Soul Mates??? (I want at least one yes, please, someone unjaded and unhurt by love find this blog and give me a good story that will restore all my faith in love and heal all the wounds that have been inflicted upon me!!! I am counting on YOU!)

How did you meet your husband or wife.... or soul mate--if they didn't fit into the first two categories? (Please, someone say they offered their umbrella in the rain, in England, and you both locked eyes and then you ended up talking for hours, and then you went and got coffee served to you by a British lady named Tilley!!! I am in a romantic mood, feed my poetic soul! Make it up if you have to...that's right, I said make up your soul mate and make up how you met. ***)

***I claim all rights and privileges to any and all stories posted and if I end up using one in a novel I am writing and I become rich you can in no way take me to court. I have approved this statement with my lawyer.

So, come on---any good stories out there?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Traditional Marriage is Dead (and it's a good thing too)

I have taken the following from a blog that I love called Feminist Mormon Housewives, it's where many liberal LDS women get together and talk about ideas. And while I am currently not practicing any religion but kindness...these words echo thoughts on marriage I have had for a long time. I've never thought the government should have a right to say who can and who cannot marry...I know that in my Christian circle of comrades that makes me a little too far out in left field, but, it's how I feel.

Over and over I read comments about how ‘traditional marriage’ is under attack. How gays and lesbians marrying will ‘destroy marriage.’ How we have to fight to defend ‘traditional marriage’ and the family from variously, the homosexual agenda, the evils of the world, the forces of Satan, etc. etc. etc. But the sad (glad) news is that Traditional marriage is dying or dead in much of the world and has been for a long time. And its demise has nothing to do with gays or lesbians. It was us women who killed it, forced its reinvention and started us down this ’slippery slope’ to where we are today.

What we call marriage in this country is a very recent invention. Throughout the millennia marriage has been, not about two people who love each other and want to share a life together, but rather about power, property and paternity. About male control of women’s work, women’s lives and women’s fertility. The importance of virginity, the stigma of bastardy, the ‘head of the household’ status, coverture, and in some cultures arranged marriages, bride price, dowries, honor killings, and the right of husbands but not wives to divorce at will — all of this was (or shamefully still is) part of the effects of traditional marriage.

These basic underpinnings of traditional marriage cross cultural boundaries. Yes, the monogamous found the polygamous found the polyandrous to be barbaric and uncivilized and just plain wrong. Not too much tolerance there. Nevertheless, things like monogamy vs. polygamy were differences of degree, not type. Traditional marriage began it’s decline the day women became autonomous people. The day our status became human, not property.

So we (our culture and our religion) had to redefine marriage to be relevant to 21st century life. We now talk about love and sharing our lives and being equal partners and mutual respect. Because of this, the world and the church have had to reinvent marriage. Society has reinvented it through laws. Many decry no-fault divorce, but once marriage became a joining of two loving, devoted and equal partners, it’s hard to force one to stay when he or she no longer wants to. Others decry same-sex marriage, but once society redefined marriage from a chattel arrangement to one between equals you need more reasons than unshared religious values or the ‘ick’ factor to prevent them from marrying the one they love.

People today are constantly working to redefine marriage to fit their religions and their lives. The battle now isn’t over whether ‘traditional marriage’ will survive but rather over who gets to have their redefinition accepted by the rest society.

And as a side note, Jim, I love you and I think your 14 year marriage to Christopher is beautiful and breathtaking. The evident love you have for each other has taught me so much, as well as your sense of humor about everything! Thank you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Decade Ago

OK, forget the bad perm (I never permed again!!), forget the ugly, ill-fitting jeans, forget the extra twenty-five pounds (alright, it was probably thirty!) I packed on while living there, forget those terrible white tennis shoes I had to buy on the air base in Ramstein, Germany....forget the fact that I NEVER wore make-up or did my hair much and let's just take a look at where I was a decade ago.

Do you have that one place in the world that no matter where you go or what you see, you just never tire of returning there? For me that place, as cliche as it may sound, is Paris. I don't know if I can explain in words just what the City of Lights means for me. I think it holds a lot of childhood dreams, it's the place of romance, it's the place of possibilities.

Ten years ago I boarded my first plane, yes my very first plane, and I flew to Paris. I was moving there. I was going to live there, I was going to speak the language, I was going to get out of Utah, I was going to explore every nook and cranny of Europe and I was going to do it for a whole year.

I left everything behind...three days after my 20th birthday, I just packed a bag and moved. My parents had never had a kid like me, they weren't sure what to do, but they trusted me and they let me leave the nest and fly....and from that one year, from that one year of making my big dream come true, I knew that no matter what I put my mind to, I could make it happen.

For me Paris was the catalyst to everything great I have since accomplished in my life.

So, I took out the old photo album, all weathered and worn and thought I would give you guys a little peak....

Again, sorry about the jeans, they really are bad! Also, the photos tend to be a bit fuzzy, if you click on them to enlarge a bit, they are better.

The Musee Rodin was one of my most favorite places to go and...well, you guessed it: think.
My best friend Holly came to spend the June month with me, this is us, almost exactly ten years ago to the date. We are over by St. Eustache (near Chatelet les Halles, for those of you who know the city). She now has been married for 9 years and has her fifth child on the way! What a decade can bring...
My first day in Italy, I had heard rumor that these little fountains along the road were safe to drink from, so I did. Right to my left was the place where Caesar was murdered...oh Brutus!!
This is the group of au pairs, Anna and Amber along with the sister of the family I nannied for. We stayed with her in Ramstein. Here we are eating fresh apple strudel after visiting the schloss at Heidelberg.
Anna and myself, along with our major crush, Tim. He was from Italy, his family owned olive groves in Pisa, he spoke fluent Italian, French, English and bits and pieces of other languages. Plus he was a fashionable 28 years old, a grown man to all of us then. He used to hang out with us quite often, I think because all four of us completely adored him....he was one of my very first major crushes! Thank goodness you always got to greet people in France with a kiss on both cheeks.
Holly, myself, Anna, and Amber taking in the view along the Seine. You can see the full 80s Rocker effect of my perm when you compare it to the picture below, which was pre-perm.
Our first midnight ferry to England, you can see the white cliffs of Dover just behind us....well, you can't because it was three o'clock in the morning, but they were there.
Emily and I taking the two boys (Andrew and Zachary) that I nannied to the Chateau Chantilly (as seen in James Bond). Chantilly is also the French word for whip cream, it is very fitting for this frothy, creamy palace. We flew kites quite often and took packed lunches everywhere we went!
How I would usually eat my baguettes! --OK, not really, I put them on a plate and added tomatoes and cheese like a good French girl should. This picture was just for dramatic emphasis on how much I LOVE baguettes!! Those extra pounds were WORTH it.
My forest, the French, they know how to use an apostrophe!!


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Moustache

Ok, serious disclaimer needed, I know. First of all, it's summer. Second, it's the Benincosa Family Reunion, and us group of close cousins like to have a good time. We like to live it up. We like to throw something at our parents and our grandma every year that's maybe just a little different.

This year, it was a set of fake stick on moustaches. Each moustache had it's own name. there was The Hollywood, The Sheriff (the one I am sporting), the Grandpa, the Bruiser, the Toothbrush, the Handlebar (aka, the Hulk Hogan) and a few select others. We also used some of them for eyebrows and unibrows as the evenings wore on.

Honestly, there is really no comment you could make on this post, so I am just putting it out there to rub it in Val Jr's face that he missed the greatest reunion EVER!!

So, if any of you are on the planning committee of your next reunion, you're having a book club meeting soon, or you just want to spice up a regular Monday night dinner with your spouse, I can't recommend these staches highly enough. Just sitting across the table from someone sporting The Hollywood is enough to laugh until milk comes out of your nose.

So much for all my deep posts lately? eh?

Gina looks like she is embracing Fascism here, the power of the stache went to her head rather quickly.

I'm sporting The one would dare shoot such a stache.

Granny was the best sport of them all as we made her wear The Hollywood throughout dinner yesterday.

There was even a red one just for ruby haired Tracey
We forced the younger generations to join us.
Dearest Ashley, the buyer of the staches.
Hollie and Ash...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Best Thing About Family Reunions

Is that I get to snap photos of my beautiful cousins, even if they don't know it. You can see continuous coverage of the next few days at my photo blog.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Seeing With Eyes of Love

How do you see yourself? How do you love yourself? How do you feel about your body? Did you know that the relationship between you and your body can become one of the most beautiful relationships of your life? Our minds can be so cruel to our bodies, can't they? The mind usually says things like, "No, I don't like this part of my body. Look at my nose; I don't like my nose. My ears--they are too large. My legs are too short, or too long, or too whatever. But the secret is, your body is perfect the way it is. We all have some crazy misconceptions about what is right and wrong, what is good or bad, what is beautiful and ugly. They are just concepts, but we believe them, and we judge ourselves by them. We have an image of perfection in our mind and we expect our bodies to somehow try to meet this image and be a certain way...if it is not that way, then we think we are ugly and imperfect.

Look at what you think about your own body, do you love it and accept it, or do you hate it and reject it? If you accept your own body, than I think you can accept almost everyone, almost everything. If you reject your own body, what can people expect from you? Do you inwardly criticize others to make yourself feel better? I think accepting your own body is very important in your relationships with others. If you reject your own body, when you are sharing your love with your partner, you become shy. You think, "Look at my body. how can he love me when I have a body like this?" And in the process, you kind of reject yourself, and you assume that everyone else will reject you too for the same reasons.

To create a relationship that stands happily on solid ground, you have to love your body. You have to respect your body. You have to let your body be free to give, free to receive, without being shy, because shyness is nothing but fear.

You know, there is really no problem with being gorgeous. With thinking that you are the cat's meow. If you walk through a crowd of people (especially a crowd of Italian men in Florence) and they tell you, "Oh, you are beautiful!" and you can say, "Thank you, I know," and keep going- (which sounds really arrogant, but I am thinking more about the thoughts you have in your head when someone compliments you). Their compliments don't really make a difference in how you see yourself. However, it will make a difference if you don't believe that you are special and beautiful and wonderful. If you don't believe that and someone tells you you are beautiful, then you are going to say, "Am I really?" Their opinions can impress you, and draw you to them, and yes, in a street full of Italians, make you easy prey. You feel that you get worth from their words, instead of finding the worth inside yourself. You are going to believe that they are responsible for making you happy, which is a big-BIG relationship no-no.

What is important are not all those opinions from others, but your own opinions. You are beautiful no matter what your mind tells you. That is a fact. You don't have to do anything because you already have the beauty you need. To be beautiful you don't have any obligation to anyone. Others are free to see what they want to see. If others see you and judge you beautiful or not, if you are aware of your own beauty and accept your own beauty, their opinion doesn't affect you at all.

Beauty is really nothing but a concept, nothing but a belief. It can get to the point, which I sadly think that it is in our plastic-beauty-world, where you may base your power on that beauty. Time passes, and you see yourself getting old. Perhaps you are not as beautiful as you were from your point of view, and a younger woman comes along who is now the one who is "beautiful". Time for plastic surgery, to try and keep the power because we believe that our beauty is our power. Our own aging starts to hurt us. "My beauty is going away!! Will my man still love me if I am not as attractive? Now he can see other women who are more attractive than me."

We resist aging; we believe that because someone is old, it means she is not beautiful. This belief is so wrong. If you see a newborn baby, it is beautiful, perfect. An old person is also beautiful, every stage of life is precious and beautiful. The problem is the emotion we have in our eyes to perceive what is and what is not beautiful. We have all these judgments, all these programs that put limits on our own happiness, that push us to self-rejection and to reject other people also. Can you see how we play the drama? How we kind of set ourselves up for failure with all these beliefs?

Aging is something beautiful. Growing up is beautiful. You are what you believe you are. You are beautiful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do We Hoard Our Words?

Wedding season is upon me, I took these engagement pics on Saturday, see my photo blog for full, fun coverage.

I adore you, you're amazing, you delight me, I can't get enough of your company, wow, you are wearing those specs, your smile is radiant, you're hot, I cherish your friendship, I wish we could talk all night long, and most importantly.....I love you.

When was the last time you said these words without expecting anything in return?

When was the first time you told someone you loved them?

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

When you say, "I love you" do you expect something in return? Can you love someone without them loving you back? And without feeling bad about it? (and not in the teenage, unrequited love idea, because you are ALWAYS expecting something day) If you are secure enough in your love for yourself, should you shout it to the world when you love someone? But we don't, at least, I don't. Not at all. I have NEVER told someone who I felt romantic feelings of love for that I "loved" them.....the closest I came was "liked"...and that's lame, because I did love him.

Here's a story:

I want you to imagine that you live on a planet where everyone has a skin disease. For two or three thousand years, the people on your planet have suffered the same disease: Their entire bodies are covered by wounds that are infected, and those wounds really hurt when you touch them. Of course, they believe this is a normal physiology of the skin. Even the medical books describe this disease as a normal condition. When the people are born, their skin is healthy, but around three or four years of age, the first wounds start to appear. By the time they are teenagers, there are wounds all over their bodies.

Can you imagine how these people are going to treat each other? In order to relate with one another, they have to protect their wounds. They hardly ever touch each other's skin because it is too painful. If by accident you touch someone's skin, it is so painful that right away she gets angry and touches your skin, just to get even. Still, the instinct to love is so strong that you pay a high price to have relationships with others.

Well, imagine that a miracle occurs one day. You awake and your skin is completely healed. There are no wounds anymore, and it doesn't hurt to be touched. Healthy skin you can touch feels wonderful because the skin was made for perception. Can you imagine yourself with healthy skin in a world where everyone has a skin disease? You cannot touch others because it hurts them, and no one touches you because they make the assumption that it will hurt you.

If you can imagine this, perhaps you can understand that someone from another planet who came to visit us would have a similar experience with humans. But it isn't our skin that is full of wounds. What the visitor would discover is that the human mind is sick with a disease called fear. Just like the description of the infected skin, the emotional body is full of wounds. The manifestation of the disease of fear is anger, hate, sadness, envy, and hypocrisy.

Humans live in a continuous fear of being hurt. Even saying "I love you" can be frightening. WHY???

Discussion on Love Number One (Steph, I am sorry all my post are about love, it can get icky, I get it!)


With fear we do things because we expect that we have to, and we expect that others are going to do the same. That is why fear hurts and love doesn't hurt. We expect something and if it doesn't happen, we feel hurt--it isn't fair. We blame others for not fulfilling our expectations. When we love, we don't have expectations; we do it because we want to. When we don't expect something to happen, if nothing happens, it's not important. We don't feel hurt, because whatever happens is okay. That is why hardly anything hurts us when we are in love; we aren't expecting that our lover will do something, and we have no obligations.

This is where I have always run into trouble, I think, when I start to fall in love with someone, and they present a certain side to me, I create other things that naturally would go with that person, and I almost create that person a little bit to fit my needs. Then I expect that person to meet the expectations that I have created, when it is not in that person at all to meet those needs.

That's why it is so important to be authentic with people. That's why it is so important to be responsible for your own happiness, your own self-love, and not need to search anywhere else to find it.

However, that being said, it is totally unexpected and delightful and amazing and hot and radiant when you are completely happy on your own, and you aren't needing someone else to fulfill your needs or adore you, but they do anyway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For Gustav

Gustav recently asked all of us if we had a special spot. I promised a picture of mine. Here it is.

"I have always had a sacred spot to sit by myself and relax and let thoughts run off me like water off a waterfall."

New New

I am a new Aunt! To view the entire Father's Day Photo Shoot, please go here.

I Love Camping

I love camping. I need to tell you guys all the stories. Here was a highlight. I spent a good deal of the time seeing the wonders of nature through the eyes of my niece. Here she is so proud to give me a flower she picked.

Teaching her young the importance of a journal.
The family faithful pet and Annie.
My beautiful mother and sister laughing after saving the volleyball game by diving into the lake to get the ball.
The sun shining on our campground.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An Artist of Love

If we are artists, if we are creators, then we can create our life with Love. That's my goal.

I am making it NO secret, I want to be really good at loving others. Whether it's the love of a dear friend, the love you give to a child, the love to a student, the love to someone you are serving, the love to someone who is serving you, the romantic love we all long for, and the love I have as a daughter and a sister and a hopeful, future mother...I want to be good at loving.

But does it ever get you down to see just how unloving we can be as humans? How many breakups have you been through, how many divorces have you seen, how many people being unkind to others, how many times have you been not so good at loving as you thought you should love. Why do relationships, any love relationships go sour? I am devoted to researching, reading, and discussing the subject on this blog this summer. I don't mean to point fingers at those of us who have broken up with a man or a woman for the fifteenth time, those of us who just went through our third divorce, those of us who don't have anyone to call a best friend right now. This is not about pointing fingers, this is about healing, and discovering how we are, and how we can make beautiful lasting connections. I have so much to say about this subject, and realize my entries might get too long to read, so I'll break them up into daily anecdotes and try to generate some good discussion. If loves in your life are working, please let us know your secrets, if you're worried you just might never get it right with someone, please commiserate with me here! And then, let's get excited for some summer lovin'!!

What I am discovering is that the opposite of love is fear. I will name these points for today, but in the upcoming days I will be going more into depth about what I am thinking on each of these subjects.

Some Facts About Love and Fear

~Love has no obligations. Fear is full of obligations.

~Love has no expectations. Fear is full of expectations.

~Love is based on respect. Fear doesn't respect anything, including itself.

~Love is ruthless (wait for the discussion on this one!); it doesn't feel sorry for anyone, but it does have compassion. Fear is full of pity; it feels sorry for everyone.

~Love is completely responsible. Fear avoids responsibility , but this doesn't mean that it's not responsible.

~Love is always kind. Fear is always unkind.

~Anger is nothing but fear with a mask. Sadness is fear with a mask. Jealousy is fear with a mask.

~Love is unconditional. Fear is full of conditions.

The Last 15 Years

This is me, for all y'all who didn't know.

I have been tagged by HappyWifeHappyLife (such a great name! Who can be sad with a name like that?) I was tagged not too long ago and you can read about it here...I don't know if I can top those stories, so I have my journals around, and thought I would take a few quotes from them.

~When I was sixteen years old, I discovered boys and went BoycrAzy!! I just opened up my journal from that year and found a letter I wrote "To My Future Husband" dated July 24, 1994, 9:43 p.m., Sunday (wow, I was super detail oriented, eh?) OK, I just read it and I actually can't bring myself to quote any of it on here, just know that it exists!

~On February 15, 1996 I fell in love for the first time. Journal reads like this: "I am in love!!! Oui, c'est l'amour! I'm smitten with one (name left out to protect the dear fellow and his wife, and probably his 5 children)." I was in love with this guy from February 1996 until October was that apple pie, straight from the tin kind o' love. I still miss him on quiet evenings.

~On September 18, 1997 I moved to Paris. I started out my journal thus: "It is hard to find a perfect and suitable beginning for a journal of this magnitude. I face the challenge of putting a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity into mere words."

~On May 25, 1999 I was in an elevator when I realized my life was full of endless possibilities: "I was in the elevator going to work. I was all alone, in the corner, and I looked around me and there I was, in a small, insignificant box. I was boxed in. That's how my life has felt lately, yet I can choose to change it. By pushing a simple button within myself, I could choose from among many floors, each offering something different, something new. Just push a tiny button and the door will open. I only have to choose."

~May 26, 2002: "They say East is our Future and the West is our past...I have moved east. Today is May 26, 2002. I am a college graduate now. I live in Florida now. I got a full time job. I just traveled the country. And I am feeling love for someone again. I still have all the same things bubbling up inside of, hopes, dreams, adventures."

~In September of 2004 I moved to Harlem, began studies at NYU all because of Eleanor Roosevelt. She said, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."

~On September 14, 2006 I discovered that I wasn't going to have the skin of a 18 year old forever! "My nightly ritual of putting anti-wrinkle cream on my face is the only thing that ever makes me ponder my wrinkles. Is that what you would call Irony?"

~And finally, last week while I was in the mountains I wrote this: June 12, 2008 "The summer has started--cool and crisp and full of possibilities--possibilities for new friendships, new romance, new love, new laughter, new travels, new thoughts, new new.

Life is good. I can't WAIT to see what the next 15 years brings my way!! Whahoooooo!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Woman's Right to Shoes

One of my favorite episodes from Sex and the City is "A Woman's Right to Shoes." It's my favorite for many reasons. First and foremost, the episode contains the most beautiful pair of shoes that I could ever hope to have in real life. Many of you know me, I'm not the materialistic type, but there is something wonderful about shoes that I will just never be able to get enough of...maybe because no matter what you've eaten, you're always the same size in shoes!

My sister and I watched this episode last night, and I got on ebay, just to see what Manolo Blahniks there were on there, and if they even made them in a size ten. To my utter astonishment, someone was selling a pair of the shoes pictured above, in a size ten, and they were only $500.00. That's right, just $500.00...I know for a fact that they were only $485.00 in the episode where Carrie wears them. I looked at them and tried to reason in what situation I could actually justify spending my hard earned money on a pair of shoes like that. I thought, maybe if I win an Oscar? Maybe if I get a Nobel Prize? Maybe as a consolation prize if all my friends get married before me....wait, that's almost already happened....ah ha! Maybe if I win the lottery? But I don't gamble....grrrrr......So you see my dilemma, there was just no feasible way of justifying such a purchase. But these shoes will haunt me until the day I die...(oh yeah, and they were selling them with the 3 inch heels (I can handle) instead of the 4 inch (I fall over)).

The other reason I love this episode is that it brings up a pretty good point about celebrating ourselves. When you are single adult, there is no real party just for you. Studying at BYU, I have gone to more Bridal showers than probably half of the world population, I have given gifts at more weddings, I have been to more baby showers than the stork, I have given gifts repeatedly, celebrated in other people's big events and it's great. I love being a part of the really big moments in the lives of those that I care for, I am not complaining about that!

But the true fact of the matter is that I sorely miss out on getting celebrated myself (as all of us singles do, I think!). I can't throw a shower about the great career I am having. There is no, "Congratulations You Didn't Marry the Wrong Man" reception I could invite people to, there is nothing to really celebrate the single life! To quote:

Carrie: So then... If I don't get married or have a baby, what? I get Bupkiss? Think about it, after graduation there is not one event that is just about you
Charlotte: We get Birthdays
Carrie: No, no, no, we all get birthdays!

And the truth of the matter.....

Carrie: The fact is, sometimes it's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes. That's why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.

(what do you think guys, enough to justify the shoes? they are less than my parents would spend on a wedding for me, that's for sure....)

Weather permitting, I am now off to go camping for the week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

This Blessed Curse!

You know that scene in On The Waterfront, Terry (Brando) and Edie go on their first walk, the chemistry is thick and vaporous. She drops her glove, he picks it up, and he tries to put it on, but it is so small and delicate it doesn't really fit, because she is dainty? Yes, dainty. What every girl in the 1950s was supposed to be (and what I have always longed for, to be 5'5"!!!). Do you want to know how that scene would have played out if I were in Edie's shoes? Brando would have picked up my glove (which took tons of time to even find one big enough for my hand) and he would put it on, and it would be so big, he would look up and say, "Geez, Dame, how tall are you?" and I would look down on small Brando (who was 5'8" in real life) and I would cry and say, "Six feet tall!" --knowing all the while that Brando would back away and make a run for it.

Yes, the blessed curse of being extremely, viking-warrior tall, with Seinfeld-esque "man hands" is something most of you probably haven't given much thought to. Over the years as I have grown, and grown and, yes, grown...I have tried to appear short. I didn't wear heels much, I didn't stand up so straight, I realized I was destined to continue to fall in love with men who are 5'10" with smaller hands than I have, and it was hard, because, well, you just don't feel much like a demure, pretty girl.

However, the past few years I have said to hell with it all and have embraced my height. Sure, I am 6'2"-6'4" when I wear heels of any merit. Sure I hit my head when I walk through old homes in Europe, sure people can't see when they stand behind me at concerts at The Depot...but you know what, being this tall definitely has it's pros.

~Changing the lightbulb is a snap!
~I can basically have a good view at any movie or concert I go to
~I can look intimidating to my students, even in High School
~I stand out in the crowd--especially when I visit Asia!
~I can use all the storage place in my house, even the really high cupboards
~I'm good at basketball
~I've got really long legs.
~I can walk faster than many people
~I can buy normal pants at old navy and wear them as capris
~When I stand up for myself, I usually get what I want

But it has it's cons as well:

~Inevitably it's the man who is 5'6' that you are in love with.
~You can never find jeans long enough
~The airplane seats never have enough leg room
~You can't hide in a crowd, especially in Asia!
~The only way to feel really "dainty" is to date someone 6'5"
~The taller you get, the harder it is to be really graceful
~ You have farther to fall when you iceskate

Being tall, I have realized that I just might have to break the stereotype of the average relationship, where the man tends to be taller. Thus, when couples get together and the girl is taller, I take notice, and I think to they look weird together?

You guys be the judge. What do you think about the girl being taller? How tall are each of you? Does height really matter?

Do these people look like freaks? (ok, loaded question with Tom Cruise, I know!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

All You Need is Love

In keeping the love theme going, I captured this image last week...the couple didn't know, but I am so excited to show them this picture. It makes me smile deeply. I love it most especially because the fingers of each hand are outstretched, and one second after I captured the image, the fingers curled around each other in a comfortable way that familiarity gives. That's one reason I love taking pictures, in some small way, as we snap a camera, we are capturing once in a lifetime moments. And looking back on them, at least for me, helps me appreciate life and feel a deep gratitude for all I have been given...even if it's only tiny moments like this.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

There is Romance in the Air

I am in a romantic mood. And if you go to youtube and type in "best movie kisses ever" and watch people kissing for a good solid twenty minutes, you will be too.

I remember a line from a movie that my family and I mocked mercilessly, but we still say it all the time....with a southern accent as was said in the movie Twins..."Don't cha just love love?"

So, I would love to hear your top movie kisses! I had to limit mine to 10 (I believe I mentioned earlier that it was 5, but that's almost impossible!!), but didn't want to post them all with video:

1. My Bluberry Nights--Table Kiss
2. Amelie--The Small Kisses
3. From Here to Eternity--Beach Kiss
4. Before Sunrise--Sunset Kiss
5. Some Kind of Wonderful--Friend Kiss
6. A Room With a View--Italian Mountain Stolen Kiss accompanied by his Creedo--Beauty, Truth!!!!
7. Love Actually--The goodnight kiss between Sarah (Laura Linney) and Carl
8. The Last of the Mohicans--Daniel Day Lewis at his finest and most tan!
9. The Mirror Has Two Faces--The dancing/kissing scene at the end, complete with Opera!
10. Inventing the Abbotts--Classic couch kissing scene...boy slides closer...gril slides away...until the both reach the end of the couch. ah-yeah!

BEST MOVIE KISS EVER!!!!--My blueberry Nights

I can't think of a better thing to wake me up....I mean kissing that is, not Jude Law....although, I definitely wouldn't turn down a combination of the two.

Best Movie Kiss #2--Amelie

these two embody simple, complete, and utter adoration....

Best Movie Kiss #3--From Here to Eternity

That's right, after watching this movie, going to the beach has never been the same.

Best Movie Kiss #4--Before Sunrise

I've never, never seen better onscreen chemistry than what exists between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy...never.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You Break His Heart, I Break Your Face

Alright folks, it's time to revisit the best movie of the 80s. Yes, you may think that "Pretty in Pink" (hello Duckie!) or "Say Anything" (hello boombox above the head!) should be listed here, and they are definitely in the running...but after careful, late night, painkiller induced ponderings, I have come to the professional conclusion that " Some Kind of Wonderful" takes the cherished trophy.

Don't remember it? Let me refresh your memory....

Keith is a warm hearted teenager from the wrong side of town. His best friend is a tomboy named Watts who is secretly in love with him. Keith is smitten with Amanda Jones. She is the prettiest most popular girl in school, who is also from the wrong side of town. Amanda dates Hardy Jenns, a very popular and very rich teenager who looks like he is 35 and plays on Miami Vice.

The Plot thickens-- Keith asks Amanda out the night she dumps Hardy for cheating on her. Amanda agrees to go out with Keith, but is then told if she goes out with him she will no longer be popular or have friends. (this was so how it was at my high school, man Kaysville is a rough hood.)

The plot thickens more....Hardy (remember, rich 35 year old pretending to be in high school) invites Keith and Amanda to a party at his house on the night they are supposed to have their date. Meanwhile Hardy is planning to beat Keith up at the party and make Amanda beg to be his girlfriend again.

But the jokes on Hardy! Keith takes the high road and let's his tough friends he met in detention beat Hardy up instead. Then he realizes that he doesn't really love Amanda, he loves Watts....his faithful, drum playing tomboy friend.

Thus he runs out of the party, down the street, finds the crying Watts, gives her the diamond earrings he spend all of his college money on (and which he gave to Amanda first, but she gave them back and realized that being an independent girl was a good thing)....and if you aren't lost already....Keith then tells Watts, as she is putting on the earrings, that "you look good wearing my future."

Phew...what a story. And the best part? It has the best on screen kiss ever! I have a top five list for onscreen kisses and this is one of them. Look at Watts work her feminine wiles ( I have so tried this with guy friends, and it has never worked, I think it's because I lack the leather gloves?) AND why Keith doesn't figure out right then and there that they should be together is beyond my understanding.

And....finally....that's right...some good ole movie quotes!!! You love em, you know em, you dig em.

Keith Nelson: You can't tell a book by its cover.
Watts: No, but you can tell how much it's gonna cost you.
Keith Nelson: Wow, I never knew you were so deep.
Watts: You want shallow, call Amanda Jones.

Watts: It must be a drag to be a slave to the male sex drive.
Keith: It's not just sex.
Watts: Oh, you want to start a book club with her?

Keith Nelson: I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was so hard on you.
Watts: Me too.
Keith Nelson: You always hurt the ones you love.
Watts: So when are you going to beat the shit out of Amanda Jones?

Keith: Well, I like art, I work in a gas station, my best friend is a tomboy. These things don't fly too well in the American high school.


Watts: You break his heart, I break your face.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eat Locally! It's Delicious!!

So, I just joined my first CSA= Community Supported Agriculture.

Recently, it’s become clear to me that the closer to home your food comes from, the better off you, your neighbors, and the planet! This is primarily because modern industrial food is highly dependent on fossil fuels, every step of the way. From the fertilizers and pesticides that are used to grow crops–in particular, corn, which both makes up a large part of our processed and fast foods and is used to feed animals in CAFOs, which make up another large part of our processed and fast foods–to the rather large amount of fuel needed to transport food (even organic bananas) from countries or continents away, then to truck them to your supermarket. On top of all this, the food is less nutritious and less tasty because of things like monocropping, hybridizing vegetables to withstand travel, feedlot animals living unhealthy lives because of overcrowding and unhealthy diet, and growing things out of season....phew....doesn't make you very hungry after all those words, eh?

The solution, especially if you live on a small plot of land with no garden space in the middle of a city?

drum roll please.....

Your local CSA! The general idea is that members of a local community buy “shares” of a local farmer’s harvest before the growing season begins. During the growing/harvest season, each CSA member receives a share of whatever’s currently being harvested, thereby getting local, seasonal, and (more often than not) organic produce. I just joined Zoe's Garden (located in my hometown of Fruit Heights, but with drop off points in Sugarhouse! Yipeeee!!)

Find one near you to join here: