Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I recently attended a concert where the artist sang the song "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  At one part in the song, the artist sings

"If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around and view it."

 As soon as I heard those lyrics, I thought about this young boy:

I haven't been able to get that phrase out of my head. This world is so broken and sad. This poor child (Omran) is broken and sad, and he is in utter shock.  If you watched the video, you could see him wipe his head, notice the blood on his hand, and then look for a place to wipe the blood off of his hand. He doesn't panic at the sight of blood like a typical 5 year old would do; rather, he almost looks embarrassed by the fact that he is bleeding. He looks for somewhere to wipe his hand. He is as far from Paradise as he will ever be. This is likely one of the first days of the worst year(s) of his life. To simply look around and view Paradise is probably impossible for him at this moment.

While it seems like the world is sprinting down the road to Hell, I have wondered when I will reach the point where I think "THIS. This is as bad as it will ever be. The world cannot get worse than it is at this moment." It seems like each day brings a new, more horrific tragedy, whether on US soil or abroad. The world's current state of affairs is so incredibly sad, and sometimes it is difficult to see any good at all. There isn't even enough time to breathe between tragedies!

Watching the news can put me into a very defeatist attitude. I can't save all those lives, I can't stop wars, I can't do much of anything except sit and watch. That is (I think) why these lyrics stood out to me. I cannot fix the world, but I can view the Paradise around me. I can see the good around me. I can see the physical beauty of the Earth. I can see the good in people, and I can see the opportunity for growth in a difficult situation.....which leads me to my next Wonka quote (or rather, Willy Wonka quoting William Shakespeare #culture):

"So shines a good deed in a {weary} world"

Wonka knew what was up! I am a pretty optimistic person, and I like to think that I can usually see the Paradise around me.  But sometimes it is difficult, especially when it feels callous to be optimistic while the world falls apart. I may not be able to make everything all better, but I can make some things a little better. After stewing on all of this for a few days, I decided to make more of an effort to be optimistic. I want to help someone else get a little glimpse of Paradise when they maybe need help finding it. Optimism may not solve problems, but it certainly does not make them worse.  In this weary world, I think a little optimism goes a long way, and I want to make it go as far as possible. Because there is Paradise around us, and sometimes we just need a little help finding it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Life Happens

My theme this year is: I can do hard things. This is more of a school year theme, but it applies to real life too. Last summer I picked up and took the chance of a lifetime to live in New York City and attend a fabulous school. I knew it would be difficult to leave my family, but I never realized how difficult it would be to create an attachment to my new home. I spent a lot of months in a very unhappy place. I have since learned to love my new home and now that I am soon to leave, I have been having trouble coming to terms with that. Grass is always greener and whatnot.
I was speaking with my mom a couple weeks ago (when I first started this blog post) and I told her my theme for the year. Little did I know my theme would be put to the test. My computer died again. And it was in the middle of everything. Papers, teaching on Sunday, crazy work meetings, etc. I had so much to do over the span of a couple days and I needed a computer for all of it. I called my dad in a panic (I am sure he is getting really sick of my panicked phone calls). I was beyond frustrated and I decided to quit hassling with that computer and invest in a new one that better last me until my 50th birthday or I am going throw a fit.
I called a few of my bffs and we went laptop shopping. Which really means they flanked me while I assaulted the laptop guy with my endless questions. If there is one thing I know how to do, it is research a product. We went to a couple stores, tried every laptop within a 20 mile radius, and eventually found one that had everything I was looking for. Unfortunately, I switched brands so I am a little confused when it comes to working the new laptop.

Things I hate: When technology gives out on me
Other things I hate: How dependent I am on technology.
One last quick thing I hate: The fact that I don't know how to work my new computer. Should've signed up for the classes....

Friday, March 6, 2015

Philadelphia aka Penrose Diner

Quick spoiler for those of you who don't like words: This is a mostly wordy post because of the aforementioned problems with computer/phone. But today I spent a couple hours backing up my computer and phone to an external hard drive. Then I wiped the photos off of my phone so my Photostream can do its job so I shan't be losing anymore photos. Thanks, self. Welcome, self.

At the beginning of December my friend Sydnee had to go to Philly for a few days and invited me to tag along. In a last minute whirlwind I decided to go because when will I have the chance to do that again?
We spent too many hours on a train playing cards and watching Sahara (one of the greatest movies of our time) and finally got to the hotel in the middle of the night.
The next morning we woke late and went to breakfast at Penrose Diner in South Philly (it was the only food joint around). And weirdly small town-esque.  Everybody knew everybody else and they were calling across the diner to each other. We felt like outsiders. I had a giant and absolutely delicious Cajun grilled chicken sandwich.
We public transportation-ed ourselves into the middle of the city where we saw a few of God Bless America's priceless treasures. We did not steal the Declaration of Independence, but that is only because the current threat level was so low that it just would have been embarrassing.

These are the only picture I have of our historical adventures.
We wandered around for a bit longer and went to a few other historical sites. Sydnee then informed me that there is a place called "Jeweler's Row" so of course we had to go. It is a small street where each shop is a fine jewelry store. We went in a couple of them and then decided to actually try on a couple rings. We picked out settings that we liked and then the kind sales associate went to get real diamonds to put into the settings. We died inside and snapped a quick pic. 
I pointed to one ring without a center stone and asked if I could try it on. The sales associate, we'll call him Bobby, told me I had good taste and handed me the ring. I glanced at the price- $25,000. It didn't even have a center stone! In what world is that a thing?! It was, of course, beautiful and I was done looking around. Then Syd started trying on various setttings and another setting caught my eye. I looked at it several times but didn't think much of it. Bobby saw me eye it and pulled it out of the case. I tried it on and that was the end.
 I found the one, guys. This is not a drill. If I get married I must have this ring. And it costs waaaaaay less than $25,000. I almost bought it right then and there.

After our diamond adventures we public transportation-ed ourselves back to South Philly where we went to Penrose again. And again, delicious. We ate phillys. In Philly. I don't think I need to explain that one. 
On Saturday Syd went about her Philly business and I did...homework!!
After Syd was finished with her obligations we met up and went to Penrose Diner where I had a yummy burger. Sensing a theme yet?
And then we went home and watch a very scary movie that was almost too intense. We kept changing the channel to anything else only to go back and watch it again. 
At some point in our evening we decided it would be a fun and great idea to stay up all night long. So somewhere around 2am we were hungry and went back to, where else, Penrose Diner! And- this is the weird part- it was JUST AS BUSY as it had been during the day! This place had been packed every single time we went there and 2am was no different. People still called out to each other. And not like annoying teenagers. These were full grown adults with babysitters at home. We ordered soups (french onion and corn chowder), played cards, and talked until 4. We finally went back to our hotel room and slept for a couple hours until I went back to NYC and she went home to Canada. 

And then we never saw each other again until the end of January. It was tragic.

I know this post looks like it is about a fun adventure between two friends, but it is more than that. It is also a shameless plug for Penrose Diner. Seriously. Go. I'll meet you there in 20.

Friday, February 27, 2015


You may have thought I died. You were wrong.
But my computer died. And in turn, so did my will to live/blog.
But we are better now (don't tell my computer but as soon as I graduate I am throwing him in the ocean. He's the worst).

Melissa, my long time partner-in-crime came to visit me. We did NYC like any good tourist. We saw the sights, ate the food, walked the streets, ate the food, took the pictures, ate the food. There is one thing I make all my guests do when they visit: the 5 pounds in 5 days challenge. And if you think that is a lose weight quick pitch, it's not. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. If you haven't gained 5 pounds during your visit I've done something wrong. So put on your fat pants and get ready to party!

Top of the Rock- One of my fave places!
A brisk walk around the lake in Central Park. I am wearing a HOOD- not the world's ugliest bow earmuffs.
We went to Cafe Lalo aka where Tom Hanks stood up Meg Ryan. We wept into our delicious desserts for Meg.
A bathroom selfie at Cafe Lalo. Because if you are going to bathroom selfie anywhere, it better be in a world-famous bathroom.
We entered the lottery for Wicked tickets and won! Hooray! Front row, very center. I made eye contact with Elphaba and promptly looked away.
Patsy's. I take everyone here.

Roof Chats: a series to be continued when the weather warms up
Not pictured: everything else we did. Apologies. When the computer dies and the phone dies you lose a lot of pictures. And a lot of hope.

The best news: she is coming again in a few short week where we will recreate all of our memories and this time I will back up my photos so as not to fling myself off of the Top of the Rock! That would just be a tragedy for everyone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Visitor #3

SHE CAME TO ME!!!! MY BFF SISTER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD CAME TO SEE ME IN MY HOUSE (not that my other sisters are not my bffs, just that this one came to visit me). Happy tears were shed.

We started our whirlwind romance with a trip to the temple (where all the best romances start):
 Then we went to see my other bff Jimmy Fallon. No pictures were allowed in the actual studio so I will show you our arms, tickets, and faces, respectively.
While we were waiting around for Jimmy we wandered around Rockefellar Center. At one point I saw Questlove (a Root) wandering around. And with all the grace and charm of a princess I pounded Bri's arm until she said, "WHAT!?!" and then I pointed at Questlove as he walked away. I am working on my people skills.

We also did the Staten Island Ferry. I just love that thing so much. Boats, Lady Liberty, fresh air...it is all so wonderful.
 We also went to my fave cathedral. It is massive. And beautiful.
 And this was just one stop on our tour of NYC: Diabetes Version.
We should be ashamed.
Another fun Roots story: While we were walking to the 9/11 Memorial we saw yet another Root walking around. This one was Captain Kirk Douglas (the one with the funky hair). Again, with all my grace and charm I stared at him until we made eye contact. And then I kept staring. Still working on those people skills, still working.

Other things we did that are not pictured: 9/11 Memorial, Magnolia Bakery, Levain Bakery, Patsy's Pizzeria, walking in Central Park, Columbia campus, Umami burger, Appletree deli, Time Square, Rockefellar Center, and (of course) birthday cake. For mah berfday.

Then she had to go home because of "kids" or whatever. Can't wait until she comes back!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Visitors #1 and #2

I had my first visitor. I think I may have been too excited. I opened the door before she finished knocking. Sorrynotsorry.

The first weekend of October brought one of my bffs Lora and cousins! I bounced between the two for the weekend and I think I did everything there is to do in New York City. My feet were tired.

We respected the art at the Met:
 Got a gorgeous view of my city at the Top of the Rock. I am still disappointed that Jimmy didn't come to see me- he is so inconsiderate of my time.
 I thought it would be a simple task to get a picture together. I could not have been more wrong.
 Just know that it was super bright outside and we were both on the verge of going blind.
 After hanging with Lora and her crew for a couple days I switched over to my mom's side of the family. I got to hang out with Shannon and her family! They came for a birthday weekend to celebrate Mykelin! Happy Birthday! We met up in Times Square on what has been the rainiest day thus far.We took our activities indoors including M&M World and the Disney Store.
Shannon was lucky enough to snag ticket to A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and it was so, so great. I really didn't know what I was getting into but I walked out a dedicated fan. I highly recommend it!
 Oh and then we got to meet the cast and I took a picture with this smokin' hot guy- Bryce Pinkham. He plays Monty in the play. Keep him on your radar. In the words of the Fates- it's gonna be big.
 Then I took them on what I have decided is one of my most favorite things about the city- the Staten Island Ferry. It is one of the most simple things but I just love, love, love it.
Oh look! The pirates came for a visit! Those rascals, messing up my Lady Liberty picture.
 Somehow I got a picture of the ladies but not the gentlemen (sorry guys).

It was definitely one of the best weekends- family and friends in my city! Stay tuned for another visitor. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One of my all-time favorite people lives in (or maybe just moved from) Ohio so we decided to get together before she left!
We planned out the details and I bought my train ticket and the next morning I was on my way. The train ride was so beautiful. Pennsylvania countryside is breathtaking. Amish farms and buggies and people everywhere. I loved it. I think I could be Amish.
Due to unforeseen circumstances my friend ended up not being able to come which left me in Pennsylvania for the day. We chose what I thought was a hoppin' little town (Harrisburg) to meet. It was a lie. Harrisburg is so NOT hoppin'. Maybe with a couple people it is fun, but one person wandering without a car is maybe not my best idea.
I got off the train and wandered down to the visitor's center. I passed it three times before I finally found it. It was on the second floor of a law firm (where else would you put a visitor center?). I entered the building which appeared to have been abandoned. I thought nothing of it and took the elevator up to the second floor. I got off the elevator and all the lights were off. In the middle of a weekday. Yup. Abandoned.
I found a light switch, flipped it, and then wandered around the floor until I found the door to the visitor's center. I grabbed the door handle and pulled and it was locked, so that was a major bust.
I wandered back outside and Googled things to do in Harrisburg. It said there was a little island in the river that was easy to walk to and had fun things like mini golf, boat rides, horse-drawn carriages, baseball, everything!

I walked across the bridge and it was just another ghost town. No people, no golf, no horses, nothing. I wandered around there for a bit and walked down to the river bank. But then I was hungry so I Googled yummy places to eat and I found like a million! I was so excited!
And then I took myself on a walking tour of every closed restaurant in Harrisburg. Seriously, guys. I went to 7 or 8 places and every single one was closed. And then I was hangry. But somewhere in my depressing tour I found a vintage jewelry store and bought the cutest earrings in the world.
So I walked into the first place I could find that sold food and bought a sandwich. The nice gentleman asked if I wanted a half or a whole. After I distinctly told him half he gave me a sandwich the length of my arm. Come to find out a "whole" sandwich is the length of an extra long baguette.
I took my sandwich and walked to the state capitol building. I sat on the stairs and ate my sandwich and drank in the lovely weather.
Then I wandered over to the Strawberry Square which is supposed to be some kind of mall.  But it was Dress Barn and fast food. And they closed at 6 whatever that is about.
So right as I was being kicked out of the "mall" I decided to just head back to the train station. The train ride back was great because I stole a seat in the quiet car.
Overall it was a day with great weather, beautiful scenery, and the weirdest experience of my life.
There were churches on almost every corner. I walked past 20 or so churches.