15 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

Now that the sun has started to set before 4pm and holiday music is playing 24/7 in my home and everywhere else (from taxis to the local bookstore), it's finally time to acknowledge that Christmas is truly around the corner.  One of my #Postcircle pals, Scottish crafter and beauty expert Roxie, posted a Christmas Tag and challenged fellow bloggers to fill it out as well.  This reminds me of the ubiquitous chain letter emails that floated around while I was in middle school.  This season always makes me a bit nostalgic, so to get in touch with my inner child, I will give this Tag a go.

And if you're reading this and decide to take it up as well, leave a comment and I'd love to read your answers!

(L) The Lo + Gibson fam in 2013  /  (R) An angel, once upon a time

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
I've found that as time goes on, I watch fewer Christmas movies -- but not for any particular reason.  There are two movies, though, that I always think about and hope to watch: It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone.  The first is such a warm and fuzzy classic that I hope everyone has seen it at some point.  The latter, though, was a movie that my college roommate and I made a tradition of watching every single winter.  It always makes us laugh and cringe, and the Drifters' version of "White Christmas" is perpetually stuck in my mind (and associated with aftershave).

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
What about Christmas afternoon?  Growing up, my family woke up late and always had to take a formal family photo in front of the tree, so we would end up opening our presents sometime in the afternoon or sometimes even in the evening.  (My brother and I learned to be very patient children.)  Nowadays, especially if I am with my nephew and niece, it probably happens more consistently on Christmas morning since the little ones are early risers and can't wait.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
As a child, my ballet school was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, so some of my favorite memories are associated with dancing in the Nutcracker.  Imagine being six years old, wearing a sparkly white angel dress with golden wings and crown, and having the real live adult Sugar Plum Fairy give you a hug backstage!  While waiting in the dressing room for our scene, the other angels and I would play jacks, gossip about our favorite ballerinas, and hope to one day become a party girl or polichinelle -- some of the more coveted roles for girls.  Alas, I never did get to play one of those roles, but I did get to pelt costumed mice with foam cheese as a toy soldier.  Even today, I can listen to the Nutcracker score on repeat (to the chagrin of the Tall Man), with the Balanchine choreography like sugar plums dancing in my head.

4. Favourite festive food?
Peppermint hot chocolate, please!  Once it starts to get a bit chilly, I always love having some to warm me up.  I also have a hard time saying no to pumpkin pie -- who said it's only for Thanksgiving?

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
The Tall Man bought me a DSLR camera for our first Christmas as a married couple, to hone my photography skills on our honeymoon.  Another thing that comes to mind isn't quite a Christmas gift but a Christmas opportunity to visit my brother and sister-in-law while they were living outside London.  Spending the holidays in England, with Christmas crackers, fireworks, and all, was one to remember.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Mulled cider or wine filling the air with apple, cinnamon, clove, star anise, and anything in that combination.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Growing up, we would often decorate the tree on Christmas Eve.  My mom has been collecting all kinds of personalized ornaments since who-knows-when, so many of the ornaments have sentimental value.  Many of them were crafts from childhood or have photos, and she still likes to have one ornament for every year.  Now that holidays are spent alternating between two families, I'm still figuring out the Gibson traditions.  I'll let you know after this Christmas!

8. What tops your tree?
Since the Tall Man and I live in a college dorm, we don't have a tree but a Christmas wreath hanging on the wall with ornaments but nothing perched on top.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for 
but never received?
A horse!  I got horse figurines and books about horses over time, but never the real thing.  I even helpfully mentioned that we lived across the street from a horse farm, so the horse would already have somewhere to live!  My parents never gave in, though.

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Having time during Advent and Christmas to reflect on the miraculous mystery of Christ come to earth.  And sending Christmas cards to friends and family across the country and around the world -- I love writing greetings and getting updates from people I don't get to see very often.  It's like giving and getting a hug from far away :)

Happy Advent and almost Christmas!

10 November 2014

Sometimes you just need to make light

This is a different spin on the Late Night Tracks series.

It's been a bit of a rough few weeks, and sometimes when life gets thick and hairy, you just need a laugh.  To make light.  To find joy in the midst of trying circumstances.  To see yellow in the gray.  And music can be a great source of lightness, especially because it can go on repeat.

Although I'm not a big pop music fan (even though secretly you may find some 90's-to-early-00's boy band music on my Spotify), I somehow really truly like this song by fellow Pennsylvanian Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" from her most recent album 1989.  One of my students mentioned the song to me, and now I watch the music video every once in a while when I need a laugh and something to bob my head to.  (Surfing YouTube will also bring you to some thousands of parodies of this song, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?  Maybe?)

(Edit: That viral 80s aerobics video plus the perfect soundtrack, with some insight into its genesis.  How come our opening ceremonies don't look more like this nowadays?)

I'm also occasionally nostalgic about my ballet days, so watching the dancing is a treat, too - like seeing a baby elephant among, well, ballerinas.  This outtake goes behind the scenes to see how Taylor and the dancers work together on the choreo.  I'm pretty wowed by the fact that she put so much effort into learning - then unlearning - all these different dance types.  The other outtakes are also worth a watch.

And because the album name is an ode to birth years and childhood, as a bonus I'll share a bit of myself from the wonder years:

Guess which one is me?

22 October 2014

Miscellanea, etc. / 22 Oct 2014

miscellanea, n.
Syllabification: mis·cel·la·ne·a
Pronunciation: /ˌmisəˈlānēə /
Miscellaneous items, especially literary compositions, 
that have been collected together.

see miscellaneous, adj.
(Of items or people gathered or considered together) 
of various types or from different sources.

- Origin -
early 17th century: from Latin miscellaneus 
(from miscellus 'mixed', from miscere 'to mix') + -ous
In earlier use the word also described a person as 'having various qualities'.

// From the Oxford English Dictionary

Miscellanea: One of my favorite words, and one that well describes the many open tabs in my browser, the lists of links to check out that accumulate in my Evernote (that virtual trunk of stuff).

I've unearthed some of the interesting bits, so here are 5 links that have caught my eye in the last couple weeks, a mix of serious, random, and fun:

1 million Americans with an illness we don't really understand too well, and why

A family remembers their vibrant daughter Phoebe, who died earlier this term at MIT

On Haiti's former dictator Baby Doc and the legacy he left behind

Competition comes to the kitchen, and we the roaring fans

Why some of us can't help but reach for that nth cup of joe

Don't fall too far down the rabbit hole, though.

13 October 2014

Late night tracks / Gueldy René

Another late night, and another singer-songwriter!  And lest you think my musical tastes run one genre wide, take a listen.  Gueldy René is different.  In his own words, "My guitar is my weapon, and peace is my goal."  He's fighting prejudice, injustice, corruption, and poverty with his music.  Whew -- makes me feel lazy in comparison!

Gueldy is from Bois Neuf on the outskirts of Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest slum.  The place has a violent reputation, but he and others are trying to change that.  I first heard about Gueldy from friends and acquaintances working in Port-au-Prince.  They launched an Indiegogo campaign to help record his first album, and with the help of many backers he's on his way to the studio!

While I've never met Gueldy in person, his charisma in the video above -- a song written in the wake of the 2010 earthquake (with a great little back up singer) -- and in others makes me like him a lot.  But it's his lyrics and the meaning behind his songs that really launch him beyond just "nice" music.

Here there is a clip from his song "Konbit," a Creole word for cooperative communal labor that is the essence of community and working towards a future together.  The lines that struck me the most:

"The winds of change are coming.


Konbit, konbit, to save our nation
Konbit, konbit to save our youth."

The song calls for education, for governmental accountability, for mutual respect, for "democracy free of demagoguery."  Even for clean canals and planted trees.  It seems like a laundry list of impossibilities, but there's progress being made through various communal efforts (like Konbit Soley Leve) and the help of outside organizations to get things rolling.

Back in 2011, I visited Haiti for a research fact-finding trip (or, a "I don't know what I'm getting myself into but here goes!" kind of trip).  The Tall Man (at the time my Tall Boyfriend) and I were too chicken to visit Cite Soleil during most of the week, but we finally threw reservations to the wind when we were given the opportunity to tag along with friends from Haiti Communitere, the NGO we were staying with.

What had I expected?  Maybe something scary?  I had been to various parts of other development countries before, but never in a post-disaster situation and never feeling so out of my element and exposed.  I have written a bit about this before but will write again that what I found was stunning.

One of my favorite photos from the trip

Clean, paved roads.  Planters with trees and saplings along the drainage trenches.  A nascent recycling operation to encourage people to clean out the clogged canals and earn some income.  This was accomplished with the initiative of a then-13 year old who was tired of having his shoes reeking with the stench of sewage and wanted things to be different.

So the neighborhood of La Difference within Trois Bébés in CS transformed over time with tireless work from the community, and more neighborhoods are undergoing change as you're reading.  (There is even a Cite Soleil Peace Prize!)

Change (chanjman in Creole) comes with a soundtrack, and one of those voices is Gueldy's.

Good night for now!

06 October 2014

Unexpected London fog

A "London Fog" brightens up a day in Boston

I find God in the unexpected,
those situations that seemed trivial:
a passing comment,
a line from a movie,
an image on a screen.
Serendipity turns spiritual in unguarded moments
because God chooses to speak to me
through the unexpected.
_ Kwasi Kena, in The Africana Worship Book, Year C

A friend of mine often reminds me to look for and savor the little joys of life.  Lately, though, I've found this harder to do.

After two weeks of being relatively home-bound due to recent health complications, I've gotten fed up with blobbing on the couch while the world seems to speed on by.  Don't get me wrong -- I do still love my Food Network and podcasts, which have been constant sources of entertainment while I haven't been able to do much else.  But this life standstill has also felt like another endless roundabout in an even longer journey to my goals.

Today, though, I was able to do a bit more than in recent days.  The Tall Man and I took advantage of this crisp autumn day -- a relief from recent rains -- and sojourned across the bridge into Boston.  Our destination was one of my favorite cafes, Pavement Coffeehouse.

Although I was exhausted by the time we got there, the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee cleared some of that brain fog.  I knew I wanted tea -- after all, it was technically tea time -- but instead of my usual herbal option, I took a detour when the barista mentioned a drink called the "London Fog."  It's really just a dressed up Earl Grey tea latte (with milk, vanilla, and perhaps a sweetener), but the name and the add-ins made it the perfect treat to crown this excursion.

I had mine made with soy milk, so some might say this rendition was a cross between a Manchester Fog and Winter Fog (according to this list-happy Wiki).  And the drink actually originated in Vancouver, Canada, despite its British-leaning moniker.  Whatever.  I didn't discover these facts until I returned home.  In the moment, I just savored the sweet smells of vanilla and honey, intermixed with the citrus-y freshness of bergamot.

Deep breath.  Ahh ...  (smile)

It was in that moment that my friend's words came to mind.  This little glimmer -- a London Fog moment right here and now -- was there to put some joy in my heart.  I needed it.  Or I needed to be able to see it.

This honest poem by Kwasi Kena, professor at Wesley Seminary (and jazz pianist!), well captures that delight of small discovery, of finding the divine in the mundane.

Head to the Upper Room to read the full poem, included in one of their daily devotionals.  It's worth it!

30 August 2014


Calaloo-eeeee ! *

The Tall Man and I have been getting a box of produce delivered by Boston Organics for the last few months, in the hopes of boosting our veggie intake without the cost of extra Zipcar trips (thanks to car-less urban living).

So far, it's been great -- not just for convenience, but also for the quirky things that pop up in the box simply because they're in season.  Rutabega?  Kohlrabi?  I recognized them from the Food Network, but finally have the chance to tackle them in my own kitchen.  It's like getting a mystery box with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar edible goodness :)

When we opened last week's box, it was filled with a ... bush.  "What is this?!" the Tall Man asked, brandishing bundles of fronds in both hands, each bigger than his head.  The label said calaloo.  Cala-what?  Just the name made me want to try it out!  But first, I had him pose with one of our green treasures.  (Imagine him holding cheese and crackers, and you'll get it.)

When in doubt about a new ingredient, Google it.  Or look it up in a cookbook for odd vegetables.  We discovered that calaloo is a plant related to amaranth (whose seeds are used a wheat alternative) and is common in Caribbean and West African cooking.  Confusingly enough, it's also the name of a dish that uses this or other similar plants.  And really intriguingly, collard greens is the American adaptation of this African dish.  (This last fact really blew my mind.  ! )

While many traditional dishes feature calaloo sauteed or stewed with scotch bonnet peppers, we decided to cook a less spicy dish and adapted this recipe for calaloo pineapple couscous, making it gluten free with quinoa and more savory with the addition of chicken.  

It was so good that I forgot to take a photo.  And how was the calaloo?  It tastes like a loose cross between spinach and watercress, and it has the same funny mouthfeel as spinach due to the oxalate in its leaves (fun fact provided by the husband chemist).

Neither of us measured while making the dish, so the recipe below is quite rough.  Use your own discretion, and let me know if you try it out.  To make it paleo, just remove the quinoa for an equally tasty soup.

* Thanks to the Tall Man for allowing me to post this photo.

- - -

Chicken calaloo and quinoa stew

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, cubed
Dash of coriander seeds (or ground coriander if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bunches calaloo (chopped without tough stems)
Water (or chicken broth if you have it)
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed (any color)

  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot on medium heat.  Once hot, saute onions and garlic until translucent (without caramelizing).
  2. Add chicken, coriander, and seasoning.  Continue to saute to brown chicken.
  3. Add the calaloo, sautéing for two more minutes until wilted.
  4. Deglaze with water or chicken broth, adding enough to cover ingredients.
  5. Gently stir and simmer on low heat for a couple minutes to cook chicken further.
  6. Add quinoa.  Cover with lid and let simmer for about 15 minutes, adding additional water if more liquid is needed.

30 July 2014

Late night tracks / Leyla McCalla

Once again, it's a late night and I'm lazing on the couch, listening to songs on repeat.  And maybe the night has a certain velvety atmosphere to it because just like last time, I find myself serenaded by yet another singer-songwriter.  (Nothing wrong with that!)

Tonight's soundtrack features the talents of Leyla McCalla, a New Orleans-based Haitian-American singer with her hands strumming across an ensemble-full of instruments: cello, banjo, guitar - and probably others that are slipping my mind at this hour.

What I enjoy the most is the simplicity of the instrumentation and yet the richness she is able to achieve with such elements.  Some of her songs are in Haitian Creole (kreyol ayitien), some are in English, some are folk songs or based on Langston Hughes poems, but all are soulful and lilting.  It's like having a living room jam session, Nawlins-style.  And something more.

From her new album released earlier this year, Vari-Colored Songs, one of my favorites is "Mesi Bondye," a folk song sung to the jaunty tenor banjo.  Some lyrics (kreyol and English):

Mesi Bondye, gade kijan la mize fini pou nou. 
Mesi Bondye, gade kisa la nati pote pou nou. 
Lapli tonbe, mayi pouse. 
Tout timoun ki grangou, pwale manje. . . .

Thank you God, look how misery has ended for us. 
Thank you God, look what nature has brought for us. 
Rain has fallen, corn has grown. 
All the hungry children are going to eat. . . .

The conclusion is: let's dance!  That should be the conclusion to many things, right?

I didn't find a great video of this song, though, so included a different kreyol song about the Arbonite region of Haiti, with great instrumentation (plus, just watch the musicians get into the groove!).  And here's another:

I discovered Leyla through the Twittersphere, which is serendipitous and makes me feel indebted to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who happened to hear her music in his friend's car.  (Yes, 140 characters can contain this much information.)  This little episode showcases one of the reasons why I even joined Twitter in the first place: the ability to discover unexpected new things, like bread crumbs in the forest when you weren't even looking for food (or a trail).

28 July 2014

Shifting horizons + sinking suns in Harvey Cedars

I can't believe it's already almost August.  Here's a little way of reliving a June sunset, as seen from the rooftop of the Abbott/Gibson vacation house in Harvey Cedars.  We watched the sunset, snapped photos, laughed down at the "adults" lounging on the deck below, and felt like freedom.

(Plus, this was a bit of Photoshop fun.  I didn't have a tripod when taking the pics, though, so pardon the drastic jumpiness.)

08 July 2014

Midnight Thief released into the wild

I finally have my hands on Midnight Thief, the debut young adult fantasy novel by friend and fellow MIT-er Livia Blackburne.  Whoever thinks scientists are just buttoned-up folks with pocket protectors and taped glasses will think twice after reading her book.  I'm itching to start it, but told myself to finish the novel I'm already reading (Delicious! by Ruth Reichl) and let the Tall Man take a shot first.  Sighs.

Until then, I'll revel in the cool cover art and try not to read too many book reviews (although I've already slipped up on the latter - oh well).  And I'll try to figure out what typefaces are used in the book (always a good challenge).

Oh, and I'll look forward to the book signing event in Boston at the end of the month.  If anyone else is in the area, do come along!  It will be held Thursday July 24th at 7pm at Porter Square Books, one of the city's cozy independent bookstores.

07 July 2014

More to B'more

These last three weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and life happening: first a family reunion with the Tall Man's family at the beach, then his sister's wedding in DC, and then Baltimore this past weekend for 4th of July and another wedding.  Whew!  In between, I've managed to get some thesis done and meet with my adviser before he heads overseas for research.  To say the least, it's been pretty exhausting.  And our apartment is chaos itself.

But I did want to share a couple little slices of Baltimore - also known as B'more or Balimore.  To be honest, it has long been one of those East Coast cities I've never thought to visit.  It's pretty close to the Philly area where I grew up, but we've always bypassed it to go to DC, or stopped short of it to go to the surrounding beaches.

B'more surprised me, in the pleasantest of ways.  The more I learned about it, the more I hunted for more information.  It sort of reminds me of Philly in terms of its pockets of fun coolness alongside industrial sites, with aspects reminiscent of Boston (history, walkability) and Seattle (quirkiness).  While crime is on the forefront of most people's minds when they think of the city, even its less-than-polished parts intrigued me.  (Maybe that's the architect/urban planner or industrial waste enthusiast in me.)  And there were plenty of other parts of the city that charmed me, from quaint Fells Point to cultured Mount Vernon and post-industrial Clippers Mill.

Our "home away from home" and first experience of AirBnB, a rendition of the B'more rowhouse with ample porch (the link has a great runthrough of the various types of rowhouses in the city).  The neighborhood had a bit more local color than your average hotel situation, but I loved the fact that most every hour of the day (except the dead of night), people were hanging out on their porches and kids were running in the streets.  A little slice of reality in a weekend that could otherwise just be filled with touristy activities.

I'm still combing through my photos and processing images and stories from our other trip, so more soon.

26 June 2014

Special delivery tea

Little delights: an herbal tea sampler in the mailbox from one of my fellow Graduate Resident Tutors (GRTs).  Thanks Jen! 

In the year since (largely) eliminating caffeine from my daily life, South African rooibos has been my herbal tea of choice -- but here's a chance to expand my horizons beyond the typical peppermint, chamomile, and ginger lemon.

Sometimes we just need these little pick-me-ups.

25 June 2014

#postcircle / Joys with pen and paper

My first #postcircle letters greeted me after returning from vacation!

There is something really special about the handwritten word: the tangible motion of my hand gripping my pen, pressing into the paper, the texture of the writing surface.  Over the years I've accumulated letters from friends who equally enjoy mailbox surprises, plus postcards from every corner of the world.  I'm not a clinical hoarder, but I do have boxes upon boxes filled to the brim with paper and ink.  (Thanks, Mom, for housing some of those!)

And while email, smartphones, tablets, and apps threaten to move everything to the digital, I'm stubborn and won't let go.  I currently keep up a steady exchange with a dear friend who prefers letters to emails for catching up (hi, I know you might read this!), and recently restarted an on going conversation with another friend.  Who could resist joy in the mailbox?

So when I learned about #postcircle this past spring, I jumped at the opportunity.  I first stumbled upon it when browsing Pinterest, coming across an image tagged with #postcircle.  Google then lead me to the lovely Miss Beatrix (known as Anna in the real world), who started this initiative to keep the wonders of letter-writing alive and thriving.

You can read all about how it works here, but basically she or her assistants (it's grown!) help to create groups of 6 people who become penpals.  That's about it.  By joining a group you're committing to writing whenever a letter arrives at your door (or box).  It's UK-based so I'm the only American in my group, Oyster, but the cost of international postage is a small price to pay for meeting 5 interesting women from Scotland to Cornwall.

It was such a treat to come back from a week away from home to find three #postcircle letters in my mailbox!  I read them in one of my favorite local coffee shops, Voltage, and my soy chai was a suitable accompaniment.

Looks like I will have to get out my pen and paper to catch up and let loose some more post to travel the seas.

11 June 2014

Late night tracks / Blair Bodine

This is one of those nights when the Tall Man goes to sleep before I do, and I'm whiling away the time with a mix of business and miscellany.

If you're like me, you have a gazillion tabs open at once, like a "reading/watching" list that always seems to grow when I'm not looking.  Well, these late nights are good for reducing those tabs and actually paying attention to those links I opened to "save for later" (when "later" sometimes means "never").

Well, if I could choose someone to croon me to sleep, it would be Blair Bodine, a singer-songwriter and non-profit gur current residing in Nashville.  If you listen to the video above from a recent recording session with Kettle Pot Tracks, you'll agree!

I remember meeting Blair my freshman year in college, when she became my suitemate.  We discovered that we had grown up just 10 minutes away from each other.  Her smile and mighty bear-hug laugh could fill any space.  Her room was the "loud" one in our suite, with late night jam sessions spontaneously bursting out in the wee hours and, during the day, the activity of an equally loud other suitemate who liked to knock the rhythms of Christmas carols on the wall between our rooms.  My own roommate ("Anne from Japan") and I ("eLo") were a bit more mellow in comparison and attempted sleep at 10 or 11pm each night.  We mocked for going to bed soo early for college freshmen, but that just meant that we got nearly nightly serenades from Blair.

Take a listen ... and another ... and be both inspired and rocked into a happy, soulful slumber.

04 June 2014

Egg and mojitos

The cool refreshing situation I wish to be in! (stock photo*)

a day like this,
I feel like an egg,
fragile, with wobbly innards.
The Tall Man,
a chemist,
aptly replies,
"encased in calcium carbonate"
am I.

Then I smile.
No one like a scientist to put some perspective on a situation.

- - -

I realized that even on bad health days when I can't do much beyond sitting on the couch and staring at something (the computer, the wall, the sun outside, the inside of my eyelids), I can still type.  Even when I can't think very well, and even when I can't move very well, I can still (usually) type.  Thank you, Mavis Beacon, for ingraining QWERTY into my fingers so that I don't have to use the active part of my brain to bring words to the screen!  Liberation indeed.

* And, a random note on stock photos:

Usually I try to use my own photos on this blog or just in general for design projects.  This time, though, I thought I wanted a photo of an egg and didn't have energy to photograph one from our fridge, so I decided to look up "free stock photos."  The typical sites with watermarks splashed all over the important part of the image came up -- and then I spotted this post on Medium that hit the spot for finding good, unique, and largely free stock photos online.  The author brazenly declares that readers should bookmark his post, but then I started looking at the sites -- and now I agree.

The photo above comes from Picjumbo, a site that isn't completely comprehensive but has some fun images with interesting angles.  Plus, if you look beyond the ads in the sidebar, there's a search field.  Sadly, I didn't find any photos of eggs -- but I did find this one that seemed less dismal and aptly called "Mojito with a laptop."

And wouldn't that brighten anyone's day?

29 May 2014


A poem and the accompanying text I wrote, displayed at the MIT Gospel Choir's Gospel Fest last month as part of their student artwork gallery:

Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. _ John 11:20

How often I resonate with Martha and Mary. On a night when pain kept me from the slumber I so needed, when I similarly wondered why God wasn’t doing something about my present situation, the Father gently reminded me of the story of Lazarus. Of Jesus’s great love for the sisters and their dead brother. Of His great power in breaking the grip of death and turning the tomb – and later, the cross – into life. There was a breath of hope in that night, and that hope was transferred to the pages of my journal and became this poem.

28 May 2014

Heard @ MIT / Energy

// Heard @ MIT:

Long-locks: “Revolving or normal door?”
Sharp-dresser: “Revolving, obviously - it conserves energy.”


Sharp-dresser: “… But of course, energy is always conserved.”

Long-locks laughs, and they both enjoy a very MIT chuckle.

27 January 2014

Normalizing Wonder Woman

A new year, new resolutions, and new reads.  A quote that recently struck me:

"I realized that there was a power in telling these goofy, crazy, messy stories from my life. I started experimenting with that mode of storytelling in the book. It was therapy for me, first of all, to put some of this stuff on paper. But I think it worked, at some level. What I’ve heard from many readers of the book is that it validated some of their own struggles. That has been a good thing for me to hear. It was scary to put some of this stuff out there. But I think what I began to understand when I was writing it, and I’ve definitely understood since the book came out, is that everybody has these stories. Everybody has the breast pump. Everybody has the moments where they are ready to kill their husband and their hair is horrible. They are blowing the presentation because their kid had to poop last night. The more we can get these stories out there without turning this into a massive sobbing event, it just normalizes the image of Wonder Woman, which is a much better place to be than perpetuating this myth of perfection."

Debora Spar, president of Barnard College
Interview by Knowledge@Wharton, "Debora Spar on Women’s (Impossible) Quest for Perfection"

Last summer, I started writing a life update.  Now, I'm still writing it and hopefully will finish soon.  Spar's interview reminded me that we all, do indeed, have these crazy stories from our imperfect lives.  It hasn't been easy for me to write this update, especially since my goal is to somehow express in a coherent, non-sentimental, yet honest way of how my last 2 years have been, especially in struggles related to health.  It's hard to write about this stuff.  It's messy.  I've written so many drafts and not even bothered to proofread my earlier versions because they sounded so not like how I wanted to sound.  But accounts like Spar's and others motivate me.  Writing has been a type of therapy -- getting thoughts down on paper (or screen), figuring out to share them, validating that they are personal and valuable.  Each word written is another step in the right direction.