Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thoughts for a Wednesday

Grrr...I am so mad at my computer.  I was in the middle of composing my post when inevitably some error occurred that wiped out some of my thoughts!! The apologies if this isn't a very good post - blame it on my pc...

But life must go on I suppose, so without further ado, here are some thoughts for this week's edition of Thoughts for a Wednesday.

1 - April 13th!  That's the date that Deadliest Catch premieres!  I am so excited, though very sad because one of the main captains, Captain Phil Harris, passed away during the filming of this season.  It is one of those rare times that a reality show becomes actually real.  Maybe that is why I love this show so much - its authenticity versus the stories that other "reality" shows can create through careful editing.

2 - While I am talking about TV shows, I have to mention Lost and how I can't believe that there are only 6 episodes left.  That seems so unreal to me.  Will we ever figure out who is good and who is evil?  Will there be any concrete answers given to us, the ones loyal enough to stay with this show through all the mysteries and questions because we knew that an ending would come?  Or are we being set up for a non-ending, something along the lines of Sayid "I don't feel anything...", no more pain or joy or anger at the mysteries of the show, but just numbed to oblivion by all the ones left unanswered?

3 - And also I just want to give a shout out to "Kell on Earth", the reality TV show that just concluded on Bravo based upon Kelly Cutrone and her business, People's Revolution.  I think you either love or hate Kelly.  I happen to be in the camp that really likes her (to be honest, I have to admit that I have loved her ever since her appearance on "The Hills" - she was one of the best things about that show with her no bs attitude).  She really is a remarkable businesswoman, with an amazing combination of both vision and implementation, which has made her very successful.

4 - Speaking of women and business, I just recently finished reading this book called Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids, and Life in a Half-Changed World.  I read it on recommendation from my two best friends, and it really was a mind-bender.  I'll save my review for another post, but suffice to say that it made me think a lot about the life decisions that I face as a woman in my late twenties, approaching thirties.

5 - So in other news, I have started another blog, this one dedicated to all things style and fashion and my thoughts and outfits that I choose to post.   I've just been reading too many of these fashion blogs for my own good, because obviously they have inspired me to start my own.  So come stop by Small Time Style when you get a chance and leave a comment or two or become a follower if you'd like!  Any and all suggestions for posts are more than welcome!

6 - I am Number 4 in my office NCAA tourney pool and the ONLY one to have picked Duke to win the championship.  SO I potentially have a shot at emerging as the winner of the office pool.  It is an admittedly loooonggg shot, but it's as close as I've ever gotten in my office pool (with the exception of winning the first round of picks one year) and would mark the second time in my life that I would win in my pool!  If you hear a loud shout of "WAHOO" come next Monday, my apologies in advance.

7 - It seemed as if I blinked and Easter is already this weekend!  Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and one of the traditions of the Catholic Church is that every Palm Sunday we read the Passion of Christ.  The congregation participates in the actual reading, which is always poignant for me, for it reminds me that I too was one of the crowd yelling "Crucify him!" to Pilate when he wanted to release Jesus.  It happened that I was just finishing the book of Mark at the same time and so read the Passion again the next morning.  This time in reading it, I was struck at how easily Pilate gives in to the crowd.  I know that Jesus's purpose for taking on human form was to bring us salvation, but it struck me that Pilate could have not given in to the demands of the Pharisees and others who wanted to kill Jesus.  Pilate could have stepped in and saved an innocent man - he KNEW that Jesus was innocent - and yet he washes his hands, saying that Jesus's blood is on the Jews.  His indifference to an innocent man's fate and willingness to give in to a crowd just makes me wonder about myself and the world that I live in.  Would I be willing to save an innocent man even if it went against everyone's wishes?

8 - Lots of thoughts this Wednesday!  One more for today - if you've been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you know that from time to time I like to give my thoughts on foreign affairs and various international relations.  The recent wave of suicide bombings in Russia have me concerned and wondering how Russia's reaction to these latest bombings is going to affect the greater world balance and what actions they are going to take to stop "the terrorists".  But this is a case of journalists choosing words - are these suicide bombers terrorists or are they Chechen freedom fighters?  Separatists longing for their own freedom and territory or people bent on inflicting destruction on others for no good reason?  Check out Kevin Sites' video on Chechnya that he filmed while on his "In the Hot Zone" documentary and then form your thoughts.

And that's it folks!  Coming soon, a book review on Flux and maybe a couple other pictures that I snapped last week.  And who knows - maybe I'll have some thoughts on another day than just Wednesday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


So I don't really have a title for this post.  I just wanted to post these two pictures that I took while driving yesterday because they are really pretty to me.  I like to imagine the cloud in this picture above as like the hand of God reaching down to us here on earth.  It's like a shaft of light in the midst of darkness.  The other picture below is a new favorite.  There is nothing more beautiful to me than the twisting starkness of a tree and its naked branches, stripped down to its core, but yet illuminated by light and green (which you can't see in this picture, but were there when it was taken :)).

Oh Colbert

Until just recently, I hadn't realized that there was big controversy going on between Glenn Beck and the organization, Sojourners.  Apparently it's hit such a fever pitch that it's crossed the path of Colbert and his team, and this video is a brilliant send-up of the whole issue.  Hilarious, sad (that something like social justice is an "issue" at all), and poignant all at the same time.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Glenn Beck Attacks Social Justice - James Martin
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts for a Wednesday

1 - I am learning a lot about myself.  I tend to get frustrated very easily.  Stressed a lot.  Annoyed by lots of little things.  Overwhelmed by big projects.  Stuck in an endless cycle of procrastination and un-movement.  Held hostage by what Seth Godin would call my "lizard brain" (see this book for more on the lizard brain: Linchpin:Are You Indispensable?).  And he would be right.  I am stuck by my lizard brain.  But what does it take to get unstuck?  What's the first step? Is it acceptance? Patience? Gentleness?  How do you not become the person you see yourself becoming - how do you stop?  And so I am learning.

2 - For all of my Lost aficionados - Are you in love with Richard Alpert as much as I am?  The Office's own, Rainn Wilson had this to say about last night's episode: "''Tonight's episode was one of TV's greatest of all time. I'm gay for the eternal Richard Alpert. There I said it.'' (thanks for that :))  I heart you Ricardo.  I heart you.

3 - Oh spring, spring, spring, spring!!! Green, green, green, green, green, green. Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, sun. Warmth, warmth, warmth, warmth. Finally, finally, finally, finally.

4 - Do headbands with flowers and bows attached to them connote a desire to be a kid again?  Or are they just a playful adult way to convey whimsy?  Either way, I love them and am incorporating them into my wardrobe this spring.

5 - This is an interesting article on the recent healthcare bill that was passed.  Other than this, I don't have much to say about the bill right now.  I don't think it's evil, but I don't know that I think it's all good either.  Maybe it's my recent interactions with the banality and inanity of local town government, and thus have a hard time seeing how a federal government can make an industry already inherent with banality and inanity better due to its own shortcomings.

6 - This is also an interesting article I ran across through a blog that I once in a while read called The Great Deception.  She is uber-conservative and Catholic and while I don't always agree with what she has to say, every once in while I come across something that is thought-provoking that she's posted. This is such an article.

And that is all for today.  Right now I am carrying on a project over at my other fun blog, Ruminations and Reflections in which I am going to be doing some multiple quote postings each day.  This is really in part due to the fact that I am cleaning my desk in order to prepare for an imminent cubby move, but want a way to capture all this wisdom that I have come across over the years.  So swing on by if you get a chance to check out some wise thoughts from other random people!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thoughts for a Wednesday

1 - I went this past weekend to see the movie Avatar with my father.  Can I just say, ridiculous?  I've watched some bad movies in my life, and unfortunately this ranks right up there.  How it was even considered for a Best Picture Oscar is only testament to it's 3-D technology, visuals, and cinematography and definitely not its acting.  The story was probably ok, and maybe even good, but the actors who played the characters were so awful you couldn't appreciate the story.  But like I said, it was visually stunning, and even though I only got to see it in 2-D, you could guess why it was so interesting to watch in 3-D - and it was all because of the visuals.  So well-deserved and earned Oscars to the visual and cinematography teams of the movie.

2 - Dealing with the local town government of the place where I work is turning me into an anarchist who will be joining the militias in Montana.  It is utterly ridiculous the restrictions, paperwork, meetings, and hoops that must be jumped through in order to put a frickin' sign in front of a business.  And then you can't even put a sign that is big enough in front of your business or in your business's colors.  It is utterly ludicrous, an exercise in inanity, and God help me to find the patience for it.

3 - Yoga is soul-soothing.  The simple act of consciously breathing in and breathing out is restorative in the most profound way.  And it's not about competition - who is the most flexible or who can do the harder poses - it is about listening to and respecting the limits of your own body - challenging them yes, but not to the point of excruciating pain.  It completely turns upside down all that I have been taught by my wonderful, loving, former Marine Corp father, who instilled such maxims into me like "If you throw up, then you know you've left everything you have on the field" and "Do one more for the Marines".  It is about an awareness of your mind and body and what is going on within your body.  I am so in love with it.  If you live in the Warrenton area, I highly recommend that you visit my yoga studio, Transcendent Women at their Open House this Saturday, March 20th.

4 - Only 3 more days until the official start of the vernal equinox - the daffodils are pushing their way up through the ground, the birds chirping their beautiful melodies each morning, the sun shining gloriously in a brilliant blue sky, even a walk in a spring rain becomes refreshing and enjoyable, not annoying and miserable.  Goodbye long, long winter.  Hello long, sunshiney days.

5 - Only 8 more episodes of Lost and the ending to this 6 year metaphysical, spiritual, mysterious show.  I am going to be so sad and I have no idea how it is all going to end at this point.  Right now I feel as if I have more questions than answers or even a clue as to how the series will wrap up.  Will my world be blown to pieces (probably)?

6 - I fully admit to watching the 20/20 special on The Bachelor/Bachelorette series.  Do I feel ashamed? Not a bit.  I love this show for its ability to make me laugh at the antics of these people - it is so amazing.  The series executive producer definitely comes across as sketchy with a capital "S" and "Ketchy", and the behind the scenes look at the casting of these characters was fascinating.  I think I would probably rather claw my eyes out than watch the upcoming season of The Bachelorette with Ali though - I honestly don't know if I can stomach it.  But I know that inevitably I will get sucked in.

7 - Deadliest Catch will you please premiere soon? I miss you.

8 - Last and final thought. I keep reading or hearing things in our culture touting happiness as the ultimate goal in life and basing all decisions upon that goal.  It disheartens me.  I don't think happiness is a worthy goal to build a life around.  I think that there is something more, much more worth living worth, and happiness and her deeper persona, joy, are byproducts and emotions that ebb and flow.  Building a life centered around an emotion just seems to be a castle built in the sand.

Book Review: Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean

Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean by Roz Savage

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book probably deserves 3 1/2, maybe even 4 stars, but I'm giving it 3, because I just can't bring myself to say that it's 4 star worthy. To me a 4 star book is one that is immensely enjoyed, and 3 star is a very good, pleasurable read. This was a very good, pleasurable read.

The heart of the book is about a woman named Roz Savage who decides in mid-life that she is going to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. I first discovered Roz through's "Blogs of Note" program, during her second stage of her solo row across the Pacific Ocean. I was immediately fascinated by this - a woman, blogging from an ocean rowboat, rowing across the Pacific Ocean - that's not something you hear or read about very often! So having become an avid follower of Roz's daily posts and various trials on the open ocean, I was excited to learn that she had written a book about her experience rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

I have to say that Roz is a good writer. She is very engaging and forthcoming about her experience and how she reached the point of setting off in the Atlantic Rowing Race, the first solo woman to do so, and her 103 days on the open ocean. And it was not a sunny or pleasant experience. Suffering from tendinitis in her shoulders, a boil on her bum, 4 broken oars, a broken camp stove, and various and other sundry things like rogue waves tipping the boat precariously on its side were just some of the obstacles that Roz had to overcome during her crossing. Her ingenuity, tenacity, and perseverance are definitely to be admired and inspiring.

And yet - I found the whole reason of her embarking upon this expedition to be kind of shallow. The reason that she states (or that I took away from the book) is that she wanted to prove that she could depend upon herself and herself only to find happiness in life. She constantly refers to a pivotal moment in her life in which she wrote two obituaries for herself - one which she pictured if she stuck in the "life" that she had at the point, or another which was the one that she wanted to have. She admits that her life up to the point of that moment had been spent in pursuing a life goal based upon the altar of materialism - the accumulation of more and more things and working her life away to earn the money to get those things. She states that she found that this did not indeed bring happiness and in fact would lead to an obituary that she did not want. So instead of working for materialism and listening to society's push for "more and more stuff", she decides to take a different path - she instead is going to focus on herself and her "happiness" and what makes her happy.

To me (and this is my opinion) this is just as false and shallow as the pursuit of more things as a means to happiness. She proceeds to enter into an affair, cheats on her husband, but then goes back to him and does try to save her marriage, but ultimately ends up leaving him to pursue "who she really is". And so in this soul-searching quest, she decides to enter the Atlantic rowing race and row across the ocean.

I have to admit that I come at this from a different worldview - one in which happiness is never guaranteed and in fact is very fleeting. My worldview says that life is painful, depressing at times, and hard at all others. There are moments of joy sprinkled throughout that highlight the hope that I live for, but these moments of joy are not the result of living for such an elusive goal as happiness.

I do appreciate the amazing, mind-blowing accomplishment that Roz achieved. It is a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit that can overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable but just taking one day at a time, and living in the present moment - and those are the lessons worthwhile taking away.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thoughts for a Wednesday

I have too many thoughts these days to have one single coherent one, so here it goes:

1 - Spring is right around the corner and my whole being is shaking with joyful anticipation.  Truly, this is my favorite time of the year.  I may have been born a winter baby, but there is nothing like a warm day after a cold, blizzardy winter to lift the spirits to the heights of heaven.  Sandals, dresses, t-shirts, light cardigans, green, green, green, flowers, daffodils, spring cleaning - I love it!!  Too bad there is rain predicted the rest of the week, but oh well - spring is almost here!!

2 - I am obsessed right now with all things fashion.  From Bravo tv shows like "Shear Genius" and "Kell on Earth", to the old standby "Project Runway", to picking up InStyle, Vogue, Elle, and Lucky spring fashion magazines, to finding and discovering this whole world of fashion blogging (which you can find many links to on my blog list), I am in love with all things fashion right now!  I can't help it!  I keep getting inspired and loving everything that I come across.  But I need to start regulating my love to just looking at pictures and getting inspired with all that I already have.

3 - So in watching the Oscars the other night, I noticed to my utter surprise, joy, and amazement, that one of the main dancers during the Best Score montage, was none other than B-Boy Cloud...who I was THREE FEET AWAY FROM AT RED BULL BC ONE!!

4 - Only 9 episodes left of Lost - in some ways I am utterly relieved and in others I am going to be completely devastated when this is all over.  I wonder if I will ever watch network television again.

5 - I am in love with yoga.  It has opened a door to me that I rarely have - that of quiet meditation and yet challenge all at the same time.  It is so awesome and clears my head in a way that I have never experienced with other forms of exercise.  I have learned so much and highly recommend it to everyone :).

6 - This season of ABDC is severely lacking.  In fact the past two seasons of ABDC have been real lackluster.  Maybe all of America's talent was captured in Seasons 1-3 with the likes of Jabbawockeez, Fanny Pak, Kaba Modern, SuperCrew, Beat Freaks, Quest Crew, Strikers All Stars & BreakSk8te.  The only crew that comes close to being as exciting as these past ones is Saltare.  And I miss Shane Sparks.

There are other things floating around, but that is all for now - I can't focus my thoughts enough to have more coherent thoughts other than those! Buona Sera!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review: Half Broke Horses

Half Broke Horses Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There is something to be said for a book with wonderfully brief chapters. Not only does the book fly by, but if especially captivating you find yourself reading more than you intended, because hey, it's just two more pages! But two more pages packed full of life and wonderment. It makes for an immensely enjoyable read.

Such is the case with "Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls, the author of the beautiful memoir "The Glass Castle". This story from her is actually a memoir/biography of her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, a larger-than-life character who jumps off the pages of the book into your heart. You can't help but love this character.

Lily grows up in a different time, but her ideals and attitude is what feminism should be all about. She always stands up for herself, sure of who she is and though she doesn't always know where she's headed, she knows that she'll be able to adapt. She epitomizes that American "can-do" attitude and always finds a solution to the problems that she encounters - and she encounters many, many problems.

The other interesting aspect of the book is that you clearly see Walls' roots and the why behind her parents' attitudes toward life itself. You see its development through Lily's narration and many of the lessons that she imparts to her children end up finding their way into the Walls family as well.

This is a delightful read and another great book from Walls. It makes me want to go back and read "The Glass Castle", as this seems like a prequel for that back. I highly, highly recommend it.

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