Saturday, March 25, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 3.25.17

Can I really continue to call these weekly if I keep missing Saturdays? If you object, please let me know...but Entertainment Bi-weekly just doesn't have the same ring to it!

Reading: Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. A beautifully written and engaging story of two friends in Naples in the 1950s. She evokes the emotion and complexity of female friendship and growing up while painting a vivid backdrop. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Listening: It is try-pod month so I figured I'd pull one of the podcasts to which I subscribe: Dear Sugar Radio. Fantastic advice, very entertaining and heartwarming commentary, and extremely relateable sitatuons. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond are the best.

Watching: I finally watched 13th. It was so so good but obviously heartbreaking. Don't ask me why I though it was a good idea to watch it on the plane following a trauma conference, but I did. I highly recommend it (as did everyone months ago when it was first released) as well as reading The New Jim Crow. Gotta keep educating yourself!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Update: Empowering your neighbors

For those of you following the sign saga here is a quick update.

Mom spoke at the HOA board meeting on Monday about the inconsistent enforcement of the "no signs" rule. The result is that they say they will be enforcing it across the community.

However, it seems that the vice-president has not yet taken down his sign. Clearly this is not a priority for them, unlike signs calling for us to treat our neighbors well.

As frustrating as this is, I'm so proud to be related to people willing to stand up for what is right, for equality, and be willing to be uncomfortable-and make others uncomfortable-in that quest.

Go Mom and Alvan! You can do it!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Backstreet's back!

For the month of March, PVDonuts created a totally '90s inspired menu. They change up flavors on a monthly basis, rotating in specials for holidays as well. When I saw that all the forbidden treats of my childhood were going to be available in much more delicious form, I knew I had to create an opportunity to taste them all. When Dad saw that they had a St. Patrick's Day special called "Luck of the Irish", a brioche style filled with Guinness chocolate mousse, topped with a stout chocolate glaze, and finished with a pipette of Bailey's, he immediately requested I get two-one for sampling and one all for him.

I had some friends over to help in the demolishing of said donuts, but only managed to get pics of the food! We were having too much fun laughing and singing along to the '90s music (ok, maybe the last part was just me). Accompanied by a quick frittata (gotta balance with some protein), chocolate milk-to which I may have added some homemade kahlua, and plenty of coffee, it was the perfect Saturday morning!

We couldn't come to a consensus on the best flavor, but everyone had their favorites. Of course Dad preferred the Luck of the Irish, while Rici and Svenja loved the Hershey's chocolate milk. Georgina picked the Dunkaroos...and I couldn't decide! My top selections included Wildberry Poptart (a filled brioche) and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch monkey bread...but I wouldn't turn down any of them!
Anyone up for another donut trip?!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Empower those around you to act in love.

A big part of my work is empowering people. I work to empower children and teens to speak for themselves, to feel confident in the bodies, beliefs, and actions, and to create the relationships that they want. I work to empower parents to advocate for themselves and their children. I work to empower coworkers to create the most positive and supportive environments possible for the youth.

In recent months we have seen an increase in people being empowered in the wrong way: to act in hate and fear. I almost wrote the wrong people, but that is incorrect-I want all to be empowered, but to act in love and support of others. Words are important, people!

While many continue to fight the good fight, there are far too many people trying to turn back the clock on human rights. It is showing up in big and small ways-one petty way is exemplified in the experience of my mom and stepdad in North Carolina.

They are as liberal and outspoken as I am, and therefore stand out a bit in their condo association. I'm lucky to be largely surrounded by people who feel as I do, so rarely feel that I am taking a risk in speaking out (though that has been the case at times). They are not so lucky.
Mom and Alvan have had this sign up in their yard for a while now, and were recently told they had to take it down as it violated the HOA rules-that signs cannot be displayed in "common areas". Management said they could have it up in the window-where obviously it is significantly less visible.
A neighbor had this sign up and was told to remove it as well. However, other signs, flags, and lawn decorations of neighbors have remained without comment from the HOA. During the election, there were many political signs throughout the neighborhood. These were present from both sides, but unfortunately you can probably guess which way it skewed. No comment was made about these-I'm guessing because it would have been far too obvious to tell only people with signs supporting Hillary that they were not allowed.

While they have moved the sign into the window for now, they have informed the HOA that unless all other signage/flags in "common areas" come down, their sign will be going back up. I can't believe they have to have this fight, but there it is. These small actions-on both sides-add up, and the side of love and equality will overcome.

Please do your part to empower people in the right way and toward actions of equality. This is the only way we will overcome those acting from selfishness, hate, and fear.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy birthday, Triss!

Today is my kitty's birthday! We don't actually know the specific date, as she's a rescue, but we decided on the Ides of March for her litter-15 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long, but hopefully we still have many more years together :)
For those of you who don't know the story of how I got my sweet Trisscuit: when I was in middle school, I went one day with my mom to the dealership where she got her car worked on and we happened to witness a surprise in the parts trailer. One of the employees had found a brand-new litter of kittens! They had no idea what to do with them, so naturally mom and I offered to take them off their hands. The kittens were too young to survive on their own, so we had to bottle feed them while we searched for momma cat. Thankfully we were able to catch her fairly quickly, so she and the babies lived in my bedroom until they were old enough to adopt out. Lucas (my brother) and I were saddened to lose them, but understood that we already had a cat and a dog. However, Easter was coming up and we had no idea that we were about to get the best surprise. When we looked at our baskets that year we were so excited to find collars with tags for our favorite kittens in them.
Mariel, my kitten, eventually did not come home one day when I was away at college. I like to think she just decided to stay with the family with a fireplace, as she would often come home smelling of smoke. Triss was originally Lucas' cat, but after I finished graduate school and was moving into my own place, I asked if I could take her with me. She had stayed at my mom's house while Lucas was away at college and was not a big fan of the dog. Thankfully everyone agreed and Triss has been with me ever since!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ladies' night!

I'm sorry to say I have zero pictures of my recent night out with my girlfriends, but I still had to give a shout out to an awesome evening. A few of my girlfriends and I have been talking for ages about doing a girls night out and it finally came to fruition last weekend. I also successfully managed to make worlds collide-one of my childhood besties with coworkers. We had such fun at Brass Union-and my sleepover at Elly's was pretty great-we got to debrief the hilarity of the evening as we laid about the next morning and got some treats at Union Square Donuts (clockwise starting from the top left: sea salted bourbon caramel, maple bacon, vietnamese coffee, and brown butter hazelnut crunch). 
I suppose this is less about the specific events of the night, and more the general feeling. One thing that has been challenging about both moving and having a significant commute is the difficulty of creating groups of friends. I can build individual friendships pretty effectively with a little effort but curating a group-squad if you will-is surprisingly different. I've had several of these groups throughout my life and am so grateful for them. Back in Ann Arbor I was lucky enough to have a number of friend groups from my different interests and activities, as well as a roommate who was one of my closest friends-and very talented at friend-dating! 

The feeling when I am with my girlfriends, laughing the night away, is a special one. These girls, whether I have known them since first grade or my first day at my new job, have already been there for me in some emotionally challenging times. Knowing that they are there for tears or laughter, listening or laughing, is truly amazing and I am beyond grateful to have people like them in my life. 


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 3.11.17

I missed a week or two...whoops! Don't panic, everyone-I'm alive and back with more commuting entertainment!

Reading: I finally got the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss from Overdrive! My friend Scott recommended them to me before I left Ann Arbor, and while they are not my usual genre (fantasy/scifi but not young adult), they are very engaging. The level of detail in the world created within it really is excellent and the characters make you root for them.

Listening: A song, "I Can Do Better Than That", from the movie recording of The Last Five Years was on Spotify's Discover Weekly and it inspired me to listen to the full original off-Broadway recording from 2013. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed that show-and how much it still moves me. "If I Didn't Believe In You" and "Still Hurting" never fail to make me tear up.

Watching: Dad and I saw Logan last weekend-of course! For those of you who know us this should come as no surprise due to his obsession with superheroes and my habit of watching all superhero movies and TV shows. It was rather gory for my taste, but that is true to the original character. I really appreciated the general character development, and the actress who played Laura, Dafne Keen, was amazing. I'm excited to see where she goes next!