Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vavoom Pinups- Amazing Experience!

Yes, it is expensive, but I have to say that the day of the shoot -- you find out why it's worth every penny. I  wanted to have a pin up shoot for my bachelorette outing with my girls for the following reasons: 1. I LOVE vintage stuff, especially pin up artwork 2. If I thought I could pull it off and not get fired from my corporate job, I would dress that way everyday 3. Hello! It's awesome. Duh.  And, Heather and her staff do not disappoint during the shoot. Every single one of us felt amazing during and after the shoot. I left that day on cloud nine and I left the make up on for our wedding rehearsal dinner-- it was a hit. I didn't want to take it off!

 I do truly love them, and they are a great company-- whose aim is to empower women -- and they do it. If I could work there,  I would.

Seriously- Book a shoot NOW! You WILL NOT be disappointed!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hearts for the Holidays

As the Holiday season approaches (rapidly), all of us are of course feeling the season's giving  spirit, and the heartwarming feeling towards our families and strangers alike. This early December, usually filled with Christmas shopping and planning trips home to spend time with family, has been a bit rougher than usual. I have spent the better half of the last week with my family due to the recent heart attack my father suffered last weekend. He is doing better and is home, undergoing therapy and taking medication. Hopefully, with luck and time he will make a full recovery. I have a full heart this year as we approach the holidays, as I have realized, due to this event, that my parents are no longer the young 30-somethings they were when I was a child. My heart is with them both, and every member of our families this year. May each of us live to our fullest, never take life for granted and be glad each day that we have each other, and we love each other.

This past week has been trying, my final papers for the quarter I am sure have suffered greatly. But, Dad has made a lot of progress. In two weeks when we see him again for Christmas, it is sure to be a much more pleasant and wonderful visit.  Besides, who can resist 3 great danes? (Our two plus my mom's). Should be a good time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The "New Normal"

Dave and I thought that after the wedding (in JULY!) we would settle in to a new normal, life would calm down and we would be happy newlyweds enjoying life. We thought, we'd move downstairs into a larger condo, to accommodate all of our junk, and provide a more suitable guest room for our parents to visit. We thought we would get a new great dane puppy and enjoy the beauty that is puppyhood. We thought new normal would be wonderful.

But things haven't calmed down, we haven't settled in and lately neither one of us has been all that happy. We got into the new condo, which we love-- and now are faced with the fact that our landlord is putting the building up for sale-- which means we can either buy the place or hope no one else will. We got our precious puppy, who is finally doing well after two months of being very ill and stressing us out both emotionally and financially. And, I was sick for over a month with bronchitis that just won't go away-- I'm still suffering from a lingering cough. I started back to school so my weeknights are filled with class, and my weekends are full of homework.

Since we got back from the honeymoon-- life has not adjusted into the new normal we thought we would have. Perhaps the new normal is this-- life constantly surprises you and for every moment of peace you get, there are three moments of stress, arguing and major decisions to be made. So basically, the new normal is the same as the old normal.

Here's to major changes not making a major change after all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Human Look at a Terrible Accident

Those of you who know me, realize I am from Zanesville, Ohio. Today, the news has been plastered with ongoing press conferences, and articles relating to an unfortunate situation regarding the escape of several exotic animals. 


 News Coverage: 

The sheriff who issued a shoot-to-kill order after dozens of exotic animals — including Bengal tigers, mountain lions and bears — escaped from an Ohio farm defended his decision Wednesday, saying "we were not going to have animals running loose." 

Sheriff Matt Lutz said the owner of Muskingum County Animal Farm near Zanesville, Terry Thompson, appeared to have set the animals free and then taken his own life.
  "It is still, still not a completely secure area," he said.

The sheriff told an afternoon press conference that as many as 56 animals on the farm may have been set loose. Authorities tracked down and killed 48 of them: 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzlies, one wolf and one baboon.

The animals were buried on the Thompson's property at the request of his wife, the sheriff said.

Read the full Story Here

Perhaps this is not the time to mention this, but I knew Terry Thompson and his wife Marian personally. And I have always, and will always remember them as good caring people. They are eccentric, yes-- but that made them even more interesting. I loved the time I spent with them, their horses and their animals. It is a cherished memory from my youth, and I believe I have developed my own unconditional love for animals as a partial result of their influence.

Despite the terribly unfortunate accident involving various wild animals last night/today in my hometown, I have to say that he was a good man with a good heart. Yes, he did things that don't make sense to us, but he did it from a place of love for the animals. I assure you he did not set them free as an act of vengeance-- but rather an act of desperation. I agree that that law should not have allowed this to happen in the first place-- a private property owner should not be allowed to have wild animals-- however, in this case, T was trying to help. He saw himself as a caring person who had the space, some knowledge and the resources to care for these animals that would allow them to be saved in the long run, rather than given to the "highest bidder" at an auction where any number of unfortunate outcomes could occur.

The pictures of the dead animals are horrifying. But you can tell they were well fed, healthy animals.

The outcome of this was unfortunate, but I don't want to forget that the Thompson's are people, good caring people who were mixed up in more than they could handle. All of the slander on Facebook from my high school "friends" makes me angry. This was a serious, unfortunate accident involving not only several animals but also a human being. Posting pictures of dead animals, or of trick bears, or of The Lion King superimposed over Zanesville is in bad taste.

This Lion King Photo is particularly bothering me because in the past, when the Thompsons operated a horse farm, and were friends with my family while I took riding lessons there, they acquired their first exotic animal-- a lion cub-- Simba. I met the cub, it was well cared for and at the time the only large cat they had. I thought it was strange, but after seeing the care and understanding the reasoning first hand-- I shrugged it off as T being T-- eccentric, but caring. Obviously, as time has moved forward, I have lost touch with them, and things have escalated to a point of no return-- but I truly believe that he had a good heart, and his reasons for having these animals were grounded in love and respect for all animals.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I think we're dealing with a sociopath

Yesterday in my small office (5 of us were in) someone used the common microwave, burned something awful, created a terrible burned toast smell in the office, attempted to "clean up" with no success and then, LIED about it. We polled the 5 people present and everyone said they had nothing to do with it. Continuing into today, everyone claims they had nothing to do with it, offering long stories of their innocence. Why would you lie about this, unless of course you are a sociopath.

Basic profile of a Sociopath:

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm

  • Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

  • Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."

  • Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

  • Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

  • Incapacity for Love

  • Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

  • Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

  • Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

  • Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily. 

  • In a related note, after reading this profile I am completely convinced that one of my co-workers is dangerously close to the edge of becoming a serial killer.  (though not nearly as intelligent as the famous Hannibal Lecter) Probably the same person who is lying about the microwave.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Maybe it is the same

    You know how people with kids are always arguing that if you don't have children you cannot possibly know what it is like- the joys, the pain, the adventure, and how it changes your life? Yeah, those people are wrong. I am a mother, it's just that my kids have fur and bark.

    Those same people will read this post and immediately determine that I am mocking them, or that I don't understand or that I cannot possibly compare my relationship with my dogs to their relationship with their children. Dogs aren't capable of learning as children are, they don't grow into a fully functioning adult someday, and they cannot interact with me as a child can. Well listen-- you're right, they won't grown into an adult who is obsessed with gaining more in our capitalist society, so preoccupied with doing the right thing to gain the most amount of money, the coolest stuff and the fastest cars, who will do his or her part to destroy the country and the planet we inhabit. You're right, my dog will not grow into the uber-douche your child will be programed to be during their years in school where they are taught that math and science are all that matter and getting into a good college, and becoming an investment banker is the only viable option left despite your insistence that the arts hold value, literature is a gateway to true knowledge and life is about more than money. Spending 18 years trying to mold my offspring into believing something that the rest of the world will renounce at every turn, and will eventually make their adult lives more difficult sounds awfully time consuming and ultimately disappointing. I commend all of you who are doing this, but it's just not for me. I admit that my dog is not like your child in every  way. But, the fundamental relationship I have with them is the same.

    I have three kids (4 if you count Dave the video game playing, fit throwing, adorable lovable husband). My oldest child is 10 years old. I was a single mother in my 20s raising this hellish little being who cried all night, had to be potty trained and slept on my chest for naps. She lived with me in our one bedroom apartment while I tried to figure out what I was doing, who I was and where I wanted to be. She is extremely sheltered, and spoiled. When she was very young she was so cute. Now, as the oldest sister she has turned bratty, obnoxious and loud. She commands her own space in our home, demands respect from both of her younger brothers and generally parades around arguing with me and Dave and fighting with her siblings, determined that she is in fact the head of the household, and we must all obey her. She is Gizmo, my calico cat.

    My second oldest child, is turning 4 in November. This one was a perfect little baby. He slept the whole night through from the first night we brought him home. Potty training was a bit of a chore, and he has not outgrown his sass. He talks back to his parents, whines when he wants something and pouts when he is mad. He is used to being the center of attention, and with the addition of his younger brother he has begun showing signs of jealousy, demanding that we ignore the baby to play with him, or lashing out at his brother. He harasses his older sister, and bullies his brother. His favorite things to do include playing with a football, and watching childrens shows on television. He has grown into a perfect little toddler, who taught us how to love and has changed our lives forever. We can  no longer leave the house for days or several hours unless we bring him along, or get him a sitter. We cannot ignore him while we are home, he is in constant need of our attention. When he was young, he had to have an emergency surgery and we quickly realized how much he means to us both, how much he has impacted our lives and how heartbreaking it was to watch him suffer. He is my great dane, Wellstone.

    And now, the newest member of the Keirn family. Our baby. He is only 2 months old and has been very ill. Any parent who has had to deal with the stress and anxiety of having a sick baby must understand what we have been going through. He was diagnosed with a severe life threatening disease just days after we brought him home and had to be hospitalized for a week. During that week we had no idea if he was going to pull through, and in my worry it was then that I realized I truly am a mother. I will do anything I have to to save my baby. I will pay exceedingly expensive doctor bills, I will take time off work to go to the hospital and I will cry myself to sleep every night until he is better. He has gotten better, but still remains sick, having contracted pneumonia while in the hospital. It has been so sad to look into his weepy eyes and know you are doing everything you can to make him better and it isn't yet enough. He is too weak to walk long distances, so we must carry him outside for potty training, and he coughs relentlessly-- causing us to worry and stress. We believe he will get better and eventually grow up as a perfect match with his older brother, but getting there is difficult. He is my baby, Webster.

    It has been during this difficult time with my baby that I have truly realized it is the same as having children. My maternal instinct is completely wrapped up in these dogs (we count Gizmo as a dog as she mostly behaves as one) If they are sick, I nurse them back to health, wiping their noses, filling their vaporizers, patting their backs and giving them their medication and all the tlc I can. We have taught them how to behave with others, in the house, how to use the bathroom, and apparently how to talk back to their parents. We watch them play with toys, laugh at their reactions to things and notice behaviors all kids share.

    So maybe it IS the same.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Holy Sh*t! It's September Already?

    What happened to our summer? I just realized I haven't posted a blog since JUNE! To be fair, I was rather busy this summer.

    For one, we got married.

    Our wedding, though a mountain of stress, fighting, emotions and financial strain ended up being a perfectly wonderful and glorious (albeit HOT) day in July. Dave and I loved every moment, and both of us cried throughout the entire ceremony which was perfectly personal for us. YAY, LOVE! As soon as I have some, I will share our wedding pictures. Can. Not. Wait.

    Then, we went on a Honeymoon. Finally, some time together. We visited Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice and rounded out our trip with our dear friends wedding in London.

    For more pictures of the places we visited, please visit my other blog Fauxtography.

    Then, we settled into our brand new condo-- by painting and installing molding... among other tasks.

    After all that was said and done, it was time for... relaxation? NO! a Puppy!

    So we drove to Iowa and picked out a brand new great dane puppy. We got him home safe and sound, and two days later he was dreadfully ill-- parvo. He spent a week in the hospital, cost us a small fortune and a lot of worry. He has made it home now, but is still recovering and getting over a cold. Hopefully soon he grows out of his sickness and into a fun, chubby great dane puppy just like his  brother.

    Meet Webster.

    Now, if we can just all be healthy and happy, all will be right with the world...and we can finally calm down and relax... and, go back to school next week!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Bubble Baths & Vacuums

    Perhaps I'm stressed.

    Bubble Baths are a metaphor for my life.

    Putting more and more into the bathtub seems like such a good idea. Filling it up until the bubbles practically overflow is so---fun. Until you realize you need less bubbles to actually bathe, and they are virtually impossible to get rid of.

    I can't get rid of all these bubbles I've created!

    Vacuuming = Time

    I dream of being inside a large ballroom-- vacuuming. It is relaxing. Per my post below, I envy the old woman next door as she vacuums. Clearly I associate vacuuming as a stress-relief action associated with having the time to perform this task. The problem is, our current vacuum is the opposite of stress-relief. It has to be emptied three times for our one small rug, it is missing a filter so we use paper towels/dryer sheets as substitutes and for some unknown reason, it is wet inside. I hate it. Not fun. Not stress relieving.

    Buy us a new one: Our Registry  (oh relax, I'm only half-serious, I realize no one is going to buy us a $400 vacuum-- even though it is the vacuum of my dreams -- literally)

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Brain storm

    Sitting here at work, the early morning before everyone else arrives, I watch the little old lady in the condo next door vacuum and water plants. I envy her. She has time, time to vacuum and water plants at her leisure. I imagine she has time to do other things she enjoys (yes, in my mind she is enjoying the mundane task of vacuuming with her absurdly out of date gigantic vacuum cleaner-- the kind with the separate tank that you have to pull along behind you). She has time, is the point. Time to casually water her plants, tend to her flowers and relax on her balcony. She seems so peaceful and happy-- but really it's just because she has time.

    As I watch her, my envy of her time grows and my mind shifts into brainstorming ideas on how I can achieve more time for myself-- clearly sitting in an office all day working for someone else is not the answer...

    I think of things I enjoy doing that I could potentially start a business in to sustain our lifestyle while giving myself more personal time.

    Cleaning and organizing. I like being at home, and having time to do this. It makes me feel better about our home. But, I dont want to clean and organize someone else's home. So, no.

    Hanging out with the dog. I like hanging out with Wellstone, and often wish I was home during the day to go on walks, to the dog park and beach etc. But, again, I dont want to do this with other dogs, just my own.  So, no again.

    Watering plants. I do enjoy taking care of my little deck plants. But, again, I dont want to do this for others. No again.

    Then, after realizing I don't want to do things I remember the things I do like about things as they are. I like being downtown during the day, I like typing (which i realize is strange) I do get to clean and organize and etc. in my job. Turns out the job isnt all bad. If only I could get my boss to let me bring Wellstone to the office.

    I just think maybe it would be better if things were more balanced. If I had more time at home to enjoy being at home, but still got to come downtown to work -- how do I make this happen? Wait and see I guess. Maybe when I am older this will work out for me, in the meantime-- back to the grindstone.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    A Love/Hate Letter

     Dear Wedding,

    In the beginning, I didn't want you. I didn't think you were necessary, and I pleaded with my groom to be that we either elope or swing by the court house. But then, Wedding, you convinced me with your promises of black and white, quirky and everlasting photos. You taunted me with formal wear, and flowers, and eventually I was caught up in the whole thing.

    At first, I was consumed with finalizing the big picture, the colors, the location the invitations. And, oh Wedding, how you have made everything so much harder than it needed to be, and so much more costly. You have taken up my weekends and any bit of free time I can squeeze out of my stressful work day.  And here we are, a few months away, and you have gotten worse. Now, I spend hours researching vintage charm, and where to buy orchids. I have made myself crazy with worry about if the details will all fit together or if it will appear as though we are insane mismatched hoarders.

    But Wedding, I realized something. You don't have to be what everyone else wants you to be. You only have to be what Dave and I want. So, I have stopped listening to everyone else, their suggestions, and criticisms. If Dave and I love it, that's how we are choosing. Blue shoes may not match anything-- but they make me HAPPY Wedding, and that is why I will wear them. I despise roses, which is why you will not have any any. Dave loves black and white and clean lines, which is why you are designed the way you are.  Wedding, Dave and I are tired of fighting over whether or not you are what you should be-- we are re-claiming you. You will be what we want. 

    And Wedding, we have had enough with your expensive taste. From now on, we will choose the things we love, and can afford, despite what you say. I will refer to you as  Family Reunion in public so I am not charged extra if I have to. You will not bankrupt us Wedding, so just give it up.

    Wedding, we are looking forward to your arrival, and your departure so that we may have our weekends back.  See you in July!

    Andrea & Dave

    p.s. Tell Honeymoon to be patient.

    This was inspired by some of the women featured on this great wedding site  who have written open letters to their weddings. Check them out!

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    There are a lot of things being said in relation to the recent events. I am still very confused on how I am to feel about everything, but for now, here are some quotes I've seen come across FB that I could most agree with until I have more time to contemplate it all.

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Frodo - "Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death."
    Gandalf - "Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

    "I'll gladly accept that people should feel relief when justice is done. For those who are celebrating justice, as you say, then good for them. But many people are ALSO celebrating the death of an enemy; this, at least, is not a response that Jesus would model."

    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? – Ezekiel 18:23
    *The above was taken from this link*

    Saturday, April 30, 2011


    I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes me (and Dave) unique. Of course this line of thinking has been brought about in light of our upcoming nuptials-- why we are perfect for each other and what the perfect, uniquely "us" wedding looks like-- and I realized something, I'm not sure most people (with the exception of Dave) really know me-- my personality and things I like/identify with I mean...

    For example...

    1.  I love OLD things:
    --I love old movies. Singin' in the Rain-- classic I will never get tired of. Roman Holiday-- favorite Audrey Hepburn movie, and Citizen Kane is still number 1 to me.
    --my most recent, most loved personal purchase (non-wedding related): a real 1950's working (adapted) rotary phone.
    -- my favorite piece of furniture: Dave's vintage amp

    2. I love vintage pin ups
    -- Remember when I dressed up as a pin up for Halloween? For weeks afterward I would wear red lipstick and victory rolls to work-- I 'd dress that way every day if it wasn't so much work, and was more socially acceptable
    --pin up artwork is classic, enough said.
    --If I was cool enough, had the right job and the time-- I'd be rockabilly, and I would LOVE it.

    3. I love vintage posters & music posters.
    -- I love those old style large type advertising posters.
    -- I also love music posters and have a collection (that I love more than I can explain) of Derek Hess posters from Cleveland.
    4. I love crazy shoes
    -- when I was a kid I HAD TO HAVE these ridiculous boots-- my parents called them my witch boots-- but I loved them more than anything else I owned.
    -- my all time favorite pair of shoes were bright turquoise, suede sketchers. If I could find another pair of them, I would buy them immediately.
    -- My current favorite shoes are designed by Carlos Santana-- how cool is that? (the ones I wore to Christmas-- and I wear at LEAST once a week!)

    -- I love wearing interesting shoes-- all black outfit and pink shoes-- yes! And, recently, I completely fell in love with a pair of royal blue shoes-- soon to make their appearance *wink wink

    5.  Short Hair
    -- I have had short hair for YEARS-- then around 25 I decided to try it long-- I hated it-- every minute.
    -- I love my short hair, it's more my personality-- plus it's WAAY easier.

    6. Music.
    -- I know, I know, everyone says they like all types of music but I really do. Country, classical, hip hop (some of it), bluegrass (in small doses), indie, punk rock, alternative, rat pack, swing, big band, jazz, 80s, and some popular music- I like it all.

    -- Currently stuck in my head:

    There are of course many more points to my personality, like that I love my great dane, I hate the grocery store and I would be a secret CIA sniper if I could-- but we should save that for another time.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    The Hard Way

    I have never chosen to do anything in life the easy way, the way you are "supposed" to, I never followed the mainstream, "This is how you achieve success" rulebook. And, despite all the years of headaches I have thus given my parents and friends, I feel it is time to explain myself.

    I did it on purpose.

    Now surely, you're thinking..."whaaaa? you got arrested for speeding violations, worked for minimum wage and got in a 4 car accident ON PURPOSE?! I don't think so." Well, in specific terms you would be right, but I did allow certain situations to occur, including these bad ones. As I see it, bad situations happen, regardless of if you always do the "right" thing or not. The thing is, it's the way you handle these bad situations that builds your character. Did I always handle these things correctly-- of course not. But did I learn something about the way life works, how I handle stress and bad situations, and a little about myself/growing up? You bet. And, that's the part I was fully aware of-- and purposefully taking part in.

    I have always done things my own way-- which is precisely the reason I love art, literature and science, but not mathematics. My mind works in the realm of constant possibility. This mind function has led me to several realizations about myself, including:

    1. I refuse to do what people tell me is the "right" way to do things. There are just too many other options, and I want to find my own way.
    2. I need to live in an area where there are boundless opportunities/activities/cultures. A small town where everyone and everything is the same, drives me a little batty eventually. Give me a city.

    There is no "right" way. I did everything the "hard" way and got myself into and out of terrible situations, yet still command a certain level of stable success as a 30-something. You may not envy my life-- but I would ask you to respect it. I didn't get here by any means other than my own self awareness, tough real life experience and ability to accept limitless possibilities while believing in myself. 

    Of course, perhaps you and I have a different idea of what success is.

    To me, success is: Securing a stable career with a practical salary which allows us to live well, within our  means. Participating in a loving relationship in which both partners are fully committed and respectful of each others individual dreams, while sharing a common understanding of life. Living each day of life to the fullest potential, recognizing the multiple possibilities each new day brings. Respecting every culture and every individual. Taking joy in the small aspects of life, and not being caught up in the Capitalist notion of money and consumption. Taking time to allow art into your life, as it feeds the soul. Living your life in a manner that is truly yours, and cannot be defined by a generalized ideology of what success means.

    As a result of my living my life in this manner, and doing things my unique way, I have no regrets. I cannot (will not) blame anyone or anything for the mistakes I have made. I have to accept my choices, and move forward. This has allowed me to gain confidence in myself, my choices, my actions and etc.

    One of these choices was to move to Chicago. I realize that for many this is difficult to understand. I am very proud of my small town roots. As being from a small Ohio town, I learned the values of hard work, loyalty and determination. I learned that people are just people, no matter where you are, and they deserve your respect. But, small towns, however pretty, peaceful and hard working, are not for me. My mind operates in a sphere of possibility, and there aren't as many options in a small town. Small towns do not offer as many cultures to learn from, varieties of foods to sample, multiple art installations to review, etc. Since I can remember, despite my upbringing, I have never felt like I could breathe in a small town. It was as though I was suffocated, unable to take a breath. Cleveland was the first city I lived in where I felt like I could breathe easier. Chicago has relieved the stress, I no longer hold my breath, I can finally breathe. You don't have to envy our life here-- but at least try to respect it.

    We are not all the same. I realize that many of you thrive in your small towns, and that is perfect-- for you. I wouldn't ask it to be any other way. I truly believe, in order to make our lives as happy as possible, you must make decisions uniquely for who you are as a person. Maybe a small town suits you, maybe a city, perhaps the mountains, or even an island. What matters is that you do what is right for YOU. Luckily, Dave and I have found not only each other but a mutual understanding of what each of us needs as individuals to be happy-- and we compromise. I need the activity and possibilities of the city, he needs the feeling of a neighborhood with community-- thus-- we live in Rogers Park (possibly the best secret of Chicago neighborhoods).

    And that's where we are now. We are happy. And, that is why I did everything the hard way. I never have those days where I look back on my life with regret and think," what would I be doing if I had chosen..." because I did choose it. I did explore the possibilities. I did work multiple jobs before finding something that suits me. (Don't believe me? try this: Car salesperson, business to business office supplies sales, drug store assistant manager, retail outlet assistant manager, department store jewelry counter rep, talent/model scout, pre-k teacher, montessori school assistant director, event planning, radio station promotion, investment banking-- to name a few) I did live in multiple places before finding one that fit (Zanesville, Reading, Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago). I did allow those bad situations to build my character-- I give really good advice it turns out-- I have a lot of life experience. And, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011


    When we were young, happiness was pure and simple. The magic of Christmas made us happy, the brand new toy made us cheer, and birthday parties made us hyper and frantically overwhelmed with joy. Riding your bike for the first time down that big hill-- that rush of air-- guarantee you did it with a huge grin on your face. Being truly and purely happy was easy.

    But somewhere along the way you realize happiness is much more complex. Now, you can be overwhelmed with joy in one part of your life, but down trodden in another. As an adult, you find yourself in situations where you are completely unhappy while at the same time overwhelmed with joy. It's a strange feeling-- this happiness thing.

    Asking someone if they are happy is a trick question now. Are you happy?... Where do I begin?

    Am I happy with the Earth? Not really. We (the human race) have systematically destroyed it. We are losing our natural resources and squandering our clean air, water and food supply. I would be happier with the Earth perhaps if people hadn't interfered. Thus, I guess I am unhappy with you-- World People. We have ruined everything and globally we all act like jackasses. No, I am not happy with the World.

    Am I happy with America? No. America disgusts me. Those World People I was unhappy with-- way to to America you are the biggest jackass. Our government is destroying our country, our livelihood for most Americans, and we just clearly do not give a shit about anyone or anything except money. America-- No, I am not happy with you.

    Am I happy with the Mid West? Sometimes. In the summer the Mid West is ok. But these are my roots and Ohio, Illinois, I can't help but love you a little.

    Am I happy with Chicago? YES! I finally feel at home, this city has given me everything it promised. I love you a little more each day (especially when it gets warmer) Chicago. My state of mind has never been so... steady. Chicago I love you and I am certainly happy with you!  My life here has been fantastic and continues improving every day. Chicago-- you're my kind of town!

    Am I happy with my relationships, family and love? Ah, there's a good question. As friendships go, I am happy with those I have, but unhappy with the fact that I don't have many local friends. Hopefully this will change -- its a work in progress. Family-- of course I am happy -- how could I not be? I have a wonderful supportive family and am in the process of joining an inspiring loving second-family. But family is complicated, isn't it? Overall I can be happy, but still on a day to day basis cry myself to sleep because someone is hurt, I've disappointed someone or I can't understand something someone said/done. And love-- I can't even put into words how happy David has made me. It is a strange feeling to realize that you are so connected to another person you literally cannot live without them. And, there's always that love of a good cup of coffee.  *wink wink.

    So, what does this all mean? Am I happy? Fundamentally, yes. I am happy with the things in my life that I have control over, and the things that matter.I am happy with who I am, and where I am and who I will be and where I will be someday.  But, I can't help wanting a little taste of that pure child-like joy. So, World, America, Mid West, Chicago, Friends, Family and Love-- KARMA!-- let's make a deal--

     Let the Blackhawks win (the next 4 games).

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