You’re Beautiful

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I’ve started watching the final season of “Downton Abbey” – I love this show with all my heart, and I’m so sad to say goodbye to it…so I’ve put it off for a few weeks. However, I finally started the first episode last night, and nearly lost my mind with glee – this season is going to be AMAZING!! One of the real standouts for me was watching Mrs Hughes discuss her concerns about marrying Mr Carson with Mrs Patmore…Mrs Hughes doesn’t know if he is going to want a traditional marriage (i.e.: including visits to Pound Town), or if they will live like friendly brother and sister. She is too embarrassed to discuss it with him herself, so the delightful Mrs Patmore embarks on this information quest for her – and much MUCH hilarity ensues! My very favorite part was when Mr Carson says this of Mrs Hughes: “Tell her, Mrs. Patmore, that in my eyes she is beautiful. She asks if I want a full marriage and the answer is yes, I do. I want a real marriage, a true marriage, with everything that that involves.” He then goes on to say that he’s “happy and tickled and bursting with pride” that Mrs Hughes accepted his proposal. Aww…..LOVE. :-) At the end of the episode, she is relieved that he still wants her, and exclaims “Well then, Mr. Carson. If you want me you can have me, to quote Oliver Cromwell, warts and all.” They kiss, and I applauded in my living room. I friggin’ love love, and I love this romance….YAAA!!! :-)

 

 

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Don’t you love it? “In my eyes, she is beautiful” — I could do with hearing that myself. Anyone know any single and available butlers?

xxx

 

PS: The runner up for the best line of the night was from the Dowager Countess…who asked Isobel, “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” Hahahahaha! Dame Maggie Smith is EVERYTHING. :-)

 

Written in the Stars

Good morning – happy 1st day of Love Month! :-) To kick things off, I came across this great article, and couldn’t wait to share it with you. It’s an overview of the astrological signs and their love lives…read mine:

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ARIES (MARCH 21 – APRIL 19)
Dating style: Impulsive

“Aries is hot blooded and loves the thrill of the chase,” says Fox. “They don’t deal well with overly clingy or emotional behavior.” As for romance, Aries loves spontaneity. When it comes to dating “rules”, for you, there aren’t any. You kind of make it up as you go along, which is part of what makes you so attractive to others.

If you’re female, you don’t give a f**k about outdated rules about making the first move or sleeping with someone on what date. On the con side, you tend to lead people on—as you move on quickly, but on the pro side, you’ll probably be one of the best loves of their life.

You probably fall in love quite easily–or at least, develop crushes quite easily–but settling into a routine is always the hard part for you. (You’re not *particularly* known for your follow-through.) But once you find someone who can argue and move on fast, you’ll know you’ve found the one. (As you might have guessed, you love makeup sex, to which you’re probably thinking: duh. )

 

The accuracy of this is almost comical – heehee! If you happen to know me in real life, what do you think? Pretty spot on, eh? Give the article a read, and see if yours applies to you! :-)

xxx

 

True Love

Love Month starts next week – most people (myself included) think of February as Love Month because of Valentine’s Day, when really, we should try to make every month Love Month, and celebrate loving those around us all the time, don’t you think? Anyway, in anticipation of the start of Love Month (I’m really into this, can you tell?), I give you the sweetest story EVER:
How He Keeps The Relationship Alive Every Single Day Will Move You

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While many men and women dream of enjoying a romance like the one found in The Notebook, the truth is that the relationship between Noah and Allie Calhoun is fiction. It’s nothing more than a fantastic storyline thought up by Nicholas Sparks. However, the good news is that relationships like theirs do exist in real life.

Meet Jack Potter and his wife, Phyllis. Their story is every bit as good – and, in fact, greater – than the fictional love story portrayed in Hollywood.

The two met in 1941 at a wartime dance hall and quickly fell in love. “I remember it like it was yesterday the first time I met her – she came up to me and asked me to dance,” Jack told Daily Mail. A mere 16 months later, the couple was married.

Jack then documented every bits of their life, the holidays they took, and even their daily conversations in the diary.

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Jack and Phyllis have been married for more than 70 years and Phyllis now suffers from dementia. In order to keep their relationship alive, Jack visits her in retirement home on a daily basis and reads her excerpts from the diary he’s kept for the past seven decades – just like Noah does in The Notebook. They laugh, reminisce, and even steal a kiss every now and then.

 

And while times haven’t always been easy, their love has flourished as a result of one simple decision: Choosing love every single day. “Phyllis means everything to Jack,” said a manager at the home where she resides. It’s clear that – even though she may not always realize it now – Jack means everything to Phyllis, too.

 

I’m not going to lie to you…this story had me straight up boo-hooing like you would not believe. How amazing is this, eh? I am so touched by the fact that this man kept track of their lives like this in the first place (which is so friggin’ romantic that I’m swoooooooning), but the vision of him cuddling his beloved and reading to her just busts my heart wide open. Love this so much. :-) These two are adorable…and yet, I can’t even get a man to call me on the damn phone. Hmmm…..

 

What’s your favorite love story, my friends? Send me a note about it – I’ll be waiting. Let the swooning begin! :-)

Xxx

 

Everything

I just took part in one of my favorite holiday rituals: I sat on the couch in the dark, only the Christmas tree lights on, drank some prosecco – and watched “Love Actually”, my very favorite holiday movie. It was as brilliant and beautiful as it was the other 87 times I’ve seen it (87 may be an exaggeration, but only a very slight one)….I just love it. It makes me feel all the feels, I laugh and I cry, and it’s just the best. If only the couch beside me wasn’t empty! 😉

Anyway – I just wanted to give you a clip of this scene….because who amongst us hasn’t felt this at one point or other in our lives?

It would not be a lie to tell you that the idea of hearing “to me, you are perfect” is one of the things that gets me up in the mornings. Such a beautiful sentiment.

I love this movie. :-)

xxx

Secret

Life has been far too serious lately, and it has been really getting me down. So….Let’s play a game today, shall we? How about a spirited round of the Proust questionnaire, so named after Marcel Proust…Are you ready? Let’s go! :-)

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What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being with my Wee One in Paris…that was the happiest that I can ever remember being.
What is your greatest fear? Dying before the Wee One has grown up, leaving her to be raised without me.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can be so needy, impatient, and careless with my words.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? People who are judgmental, prone to throwing tantrums (and getting their way when they do), and moodiness. I can’t stand the mood swings.
Which living person do you most admire? Crikey – this is a tough one. I admire a lot of people for a lot of different things. I’m going with my kid – there’s a lot of grace under pressure there. I like that. :-)
What is your greatest extravagance? Dresses – I buy A LOT of dresses.
What is your current state of mind? Tired, hopeful, excited :-)
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Physical beauty – the inside of a person is MUCH more important than the wrapping paper.
On what occasion do you lie? All the damn time…to spare the feelings of others. If I told the truth, the carnage that remained would not be pretty.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? Everything except my face…I think that part is alright.
Which living person do you most despise? How much time have you got? The list is considerable. I need to get over some things, methinks!

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What is the quality you most like in a man? Effort, humor, intelligence, wit, work ethic, sense of fun
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Humor, intelligence, wit, kindness
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? The f*^@ word – but I do love it so!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My Wee One
When and where were you happiest? With my Wee One in Paris…..that felt like the culmination of a lifelong dream. It was worth the struggle that I had to get us there!
Which talent would you most like to have? I wish that I could sing, dance, and be comfortable around groups of people.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be more forthcoming in my personal life – I’ve no problem confronting situations at work, but I avoid that stuff like the plague otherwise. (I’d also make it possible for me to eat as much as I want to eat – which is considerable – and I’d get to have a tiny arse)
What do you consider your greatest achievement? That I keep putting one foot in front of the other, that I keep going – and that I keep getting up every morning. It would be so easy for me to take to my bed and never come out again, my life is so complex…yet, I manage to continue on. Yaa me!
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Shit, being Karl Lagerfeld’s pampered puss Choupette would be nice (apart from the whole ‘having to live with Monsieur LeDoucheSac’, that is). If I can’t be that cat, I want to come back as Kate Winslet – that beauty lives her life with zero apologies…I LOVE that quality in a person!
Where would you most like to live? Paris Paris PARIS!!!
What is your most treasured possession? This is a tough one – I try so hard not to hold on to the materialistic part of life too much. I love pictures of the life that I have led, I have Lambie, my stuffed lamb that my dad gave me the day I was born – and I love her a whole lot. I’m more about people and relationships than I am about things. I think that’s probably a better way to be, don’t you?

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What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing my Dad. It’s been 11 years, and I’ve still not recovered. It appears likely that I never will.
What is your favorite occupation? The Education industry has been good to me, although it has been tough – it’s not the same work that I started out in over 20 years ago. I loved the brief time that I spent in Law – I so badly want to make my way back there…I think we’d be a good fit for each other. Finally, if I could be a writer for my job, I’d never work another day in my life. :-)
What is your most marked characteristic? I think my brain – I wish it was my sparkling personality or my ravishing good looks, but…I know my limitations.
What do you most value in your friends? Their loyalty, sense of humor, patience, and the fact that they are just there. That’s important to me. :-)
Who are your favorite writers? William Shakespeare is my first love, Margaret Laurence, Mandy Stadtmiller, JD Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Stieg Larsson, and W. Somerset Maugham
Who is your hero of fiction? Holden Caulfield and Lisbeth Salander…I love a character with a rebel heart. :-)
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Oddly, Marilyn Monroe…I’m not sure why, but I feel like she was as misunderstood as I feel. Nobody seems to get the real me – it’s probably my fault, since I don’t put enough of myself out there. Grr.
Who are your heroes in real life? My mom’s brother (he is one of the kindest, most beautiful souls that I have ever known), my grandfather (he was a major influence on my life, and a man who could do ANYTHING – he should have worn a cape!), my grandmother (a spitfire from the word go), and my kid (she suffers from illness every day of her life…and keeps a smile on her face. She’s magical!). :-)
What are your favorite names? Alyssa, Marina, Jenna, Lily, Rose, Scarlett, Lola, and Jack

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What is it that you most dislike? People who stay in situations that they are in because they have to, not because they want to. I think that sucks.
What is your greatest regret? That I haven’t lived up to the potential that I had as a younger person, that I’ve squandered so many opportunities that came my way, and that I made far too many bad choices in my life due to my incredible ability to choose the wrong person and screw up relationships. 
How would you like to die? In my sleep, at a very old age, with no warning whatsoever….well, I mean my advanced age would be warning enough for me to have gotten rid of any porn or other things that might potentially embarrass the kid.
What is your motto? Let it be. I love that…. instead of always fighting and struggling against the world, just let it go, and….let it be. I guess my other choice would be To thine own self be true – I love that sentiment as well. :-)

 

 

Fun, right? What answers have you got for me, friends? :-)

xxx

 

Try

Quick! Take a look over this:

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I found this through Lifehacker (which is great) – and I think it is an AWESOME! There are so many great ideas there  to improve the quality of your life, to emphasize the importance of a life-work balance, and to dip your toe into the pool of self-care. I LOVE this – these are all things that I seem to be working on naturally on my own…I’ve just never seen them all stuck together in one super-cute infographic like this before! Yaa! :-)

I’m going to invest in myself today – I’m away from work, jumping in to some professional development for ME (instead of arranging and delivering it for others all fo the time). Yaaa! Which thing from up there are you going to work on, friends? :-)

xxx

 

**DISCLAIMER: While this image comes from mybreast.org , a website about cosmetic surgery, please note that I am in no way endorsing this type of thing – I think you’re awesome as you are! :-) I just love the idea of improving lives and happiness. :-) **

How To Save a Life

How about we start today with some stories that will make you feel good and fuzzy in your heart? Here you go:

1) This article – it tells the story of a bride who survived cancer as a teenager following a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger. The heartstrings get pulled when you see pictures of her – and her donor – dancing together at her wedding. I cried….not that surprising. I’m a ball of mush. This story is awesome. :-)

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about - I just thought she was really cute :-)

This kitten has nothing to do with anything that I am writing about – I just thought she was really cute :-)

2) These questions – they are 36 questions, designed to help determine whether intimacy between two people can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. Basically, can you contrive closeness or does it have to happen organically? Well, the extent of its effects aren’t totally clear yet, but the questions definitely encouraged a deeper connection than conversations of similar length between similar people that we would consider “small talk.”

These 36 questions build on one another, beginning more generally, and growing more specific and personal as you work your way through the list. How intensely or quickly your feelings or your partner’s will change through this process is a mystery. That they’ll grow is something you can count on.

So, rather than waiting for love to find you and then holding on for dear life when it does, why not invite it into your life, accept the results as they appear, and think of a “successful relationship” as one from which you learned something new? If you’re up for it, give these questions a try.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

 

Looks fun, right? I know!! So, if you’ve got someone that you’re thinking you might be compatible with….start asking!!! :-)

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3) These pictures from the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade – the very fact that dog parades are a thing fills me with tremendous amounts of joy. Yaaa! :-) I’ve been to Tompkins Square in the East Village many times- it’s near some of my favorite places in NYC: Manitoba’s Pub, Josie’s, Sushi Lounge, and the Yuca Bar, which isn’t Yuck-a at all! (see what I did right there? Heehee) I love this part of the city, and I can’t even wrap my wee brain around how cute the dog parade must be. Some year I will go!! :-) Woof! :-)

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I hope that I’ve brought a couple of smiles to your day so far…if you need me, I will be plotting costumes for my own dog to wear (not for a dog parade, but just because costumes are fabulous), and working on my answers for the 36 questions up there. You just never know when someone might ask! 😉

xxx

Magic

In May, a graduating senior from my school presented me with a thank you card – with a letter inside. I appreciated the card so much – it’s rare that an 18 year old young man thanks you for the things that you did to help him through his school years. The letter was really something – it detailed his intention to embark on a Ulysses Bucketlist Quest…here are the details (NOTE: My student did not write this; he found it somewhere, and has used it as an inspiration for something that he wants to do):

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When I was 15 years old, I ran away from home because I was pissed off at my parents for a reason I can’t remember. I didn’t have much money, so I decided to hop onto the skytrain(public transport train in British Columbia) and ride it as far as it would go. I reached the end of the line in less than an hour, and decided I wanted to ride it all the way back again, while trying to formulate some kind of plan of how I wanted to live the rest of my life without my parents or anyone. At the last stop, or the first stop depending on your perspective of it, a girl came on and sat in the row right behind me. I didn’t pay much attention to her at first, as I was busy writing my life plan on a napkin. It was a few minutes later that she got up and came sat next to me, curious as to what I was writing. I told her the story, and after a few laughs, we began talking about everything and anything. Her name was Amanda, 17 years old, and absolutely wonderful. She told me she was getting off at the last stop, which was also the first stop, depending on how you look at it. It was also the stop I had gotten on originally, and I told her we would ride to it together. The train ride took less than an hour, and what a wonderful hour indeed.
When the last stop did come, we both knew we probably wouldn’t see each other ever again(this was before the days of cellphones, and I was a shy little kid afraid to make moves). As we got to the end of the sidewalk which split in two different directions, she went right and I went left. Before saying goodbye she turned to me and asked me a question that has become a wonderful part of my life; she asked me, “Tell me something you have done, or want to do, that you think I should do? It can be anything, as challenging as you want it to be, or as easy. As long as you give me the rest of my life to complete it, I promise I will do it..” I was confused as to why, but I thought about it, and told her, “Sing a song acapella in a room full of strangers.” She said perfect and asked me if I would like a challenge as well. I told her I did, and she told me, “read, from start to finish, “Ulysses” by James Joyce.” I had never heard of it at the time, but I agreed, and we said our goodbyes.

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I have a awful memory, and can’t remember most conversations I have with most people. But I remember all of that clearly. You know why? Because of the challenge she gave me. In the 12 years that have past since, I have tried to read that book in over 150 different sittings. Everytime I open my copy of the 780 page monster of a book, I always think of her, and I always think of that day. Ive never been sure if it was her intent or not, but she left her lasting memory on me with that challenge. I soon after learned what she did, was a completely wonderful and amazing thing for me. So I decided to keep it going. I’ve met a lot of strangers in my life; some that have become friends, and some, due to living in different time zones and whatnot, did not. I dont want to just have experiences and then let them go. I want to remember these meetings, and embrace the fact that they happened. So whenever I leave someone who has left an amazing impact of my life, I always make sure to add them to my Ulysses Bucket List. I ask them to give me a challenge, as difficult or as easy as they want it to be, and regardless of the fact that they have done it or not; simply something their heart has had wanted to do.
Some have been easy and fun; I met a man in India 9 years ago who told me to, for a week or a month, cook/buy twice as much food as I intend on eating, and give the other half to a stranger in need. I completed that mission 8 years ago, and thought about that man and the time we had all the way through. I met a girl on a cruise 6 years ago, who told me to jump into a body of water on a slightly cold day, without touching or feeling the temperature of the water first. I did that the very same year. I met a couple at an outdoor music festival a few years ago that told me to wear the most bizarre outfit imaginable and walk through a public place, completely oblivious to the fact that you aren’t looking normal. I did that task the very next day, at the same festival. Some have been difficult, to say the least: three guys I met in Amsterdam and smoked all night with, told me to go to a mall and give 10 strangers 10 presents. That one took a lot of courage, but I did it a year or so after I met them. It was nerve wracking, but at the same time exhilarating leaving my comfort zone. A girl I met on a plane told me to skydive; I’m still in the process of getting that done. A couple I met in Cali on the beach told me to tell the 5 people I hated the most, that I love them and respect them. That one was very difficult because of my stubbornness, but I’ve come close to completing that list many a times(still in the process, 2 more people to go).

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And some things, have had an everlasting impact on my daily life. I met a girl at burning man, who told me that whenever I get mad at someone, walk away, sing my happy song in my head for 5 minutes, go back to the person I’m mad at with a calm heart and mind, and work things out. Ive made this my way of life. I once met a man at a gym in a hotel I was staying at, that told me “whenever your body and brain tells your that you are exhausted and done…use your heart instead and push out 2 more reps.” I’ve made this my motto when working out or working on any kind of strenuous exercise in which my body demands me to quit. I also use it while working on anything, and while studying. One of the best pieces of advice i’ve ever received.
There are many others that each brought joy to my life. There are still many tasks I have yet to accomplish, and every time I think of these tasks, I think of the people that gave them to me. It amazes me how well I remember all these people, while I can’t remember so many aspects of even yesterday. These experiences, not only do I take from them a “mission” or a “challenge”, I also take from them a memory of them that never fails to appear inside of my mind. I opened my Ulysses book for probably the 300th time yesterday, and read a few pages, which prompted me to share this story with you today. I’m in the final 30 pages of the book, also known as the most dreaded of the read(in the last 40 pages or so, James Joyce doesn’t use a single punctuation mark; no periods, no commas, no nothing; a straight 50 page run-on sentence).
I never saw Amanda after that day, nor do I know if she ever did get a chance to sing a song to a room full of strangers. But what I do know, is that she gave me a gift that has never once stopped giving. So wherever you may be, thank you for giving me the Ulysses Bucket List. And I swear I’ll finish it one day. My life advice? Simple: Create your own Ulysses bucket list.

 

Brilliant, right? I love this…and I loved the fact tht this wonderful young man asked most of his teachers for challenges, even though he was graduating, moving away to college far from home, and embarking on the crazy life challenge of starting over and building a new existence – he was asking the people who helped him in high school to help him move into the next phase of his life. Love that.  He received a number of AMAZING challenges – and I was agonizing over what to pick. This is what I came up with:

Do 3 random acts of kindness for complete strangers…and take a picture that represents what you did. Send those pictures to me as you do each act. As I receive your pictures, I will in turn do something kind for a stranger, and I will send you pictures of what I did. :)

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Here are some of the other challenges that he received from our faculty:

Travel across a whole country by train with only a backpack by yourself.
Document your generation and the changes they will bring. Document the difference of today from what will become in our tomorrow.
Do a literary “pub-crawl” across Ireland.
Unless you are ill or it is an emergency, attend every class in college. Don’t skip just to skip.
Continue to pursue your passion of documenting your life through pictures and film. You will love looking at them in years to come; so will family and friends.
Do something genuinely kind for someone you severely dislike. Put thought and effort into it.
Climb Mount Fuji.
Do something nice for someone else at the detriment of your own self. Do it out of kindness.
Go to a foreign country for at least a week with no itinerary. Ask people you meet where to go, what to see and where to eat. Only do those things.
Take a genuinely meaningful photo with your child (or children) on each of their birthdays. Make it one you would want to frame.

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I love the randomness of this list – and I love it even more that the underlying themes are travel and kindnedss. Clearly there are some great peeps working around this place! Anyway – the most exciting thing happened last week – I GOT MY FIRST PICTURE AND LETTER FROM HIM!!! He did his first random act of kindness – here’s what he sent me:

Now that I’m in Boston and settled in to school, I’ve finally had the chance to start working on some of the challenges I’ve been given. I completed part of your challenge today.

In downtown Boston, particularly near my campus there are a fair amount of homeless people, and it’s common to have someone approach you asking for money. This has happened to me a lot in the past month or two and typically I have nothing that I can offer, but today a man asked me for a dollar for food. Even though I had cash I offered to buy him a meal from Dunkin Donuts if he would meet me there at 5:30. He seemed like a really nice and genuine person so I wanted to do something to help. I arrived at the Dunkin Donuts at 5:20 and stayed until 5:45. He never came over, but the whole time I was there I could see him across the street asking for more money and buying cigarettes. I am fairly certain he could see me too, so instead of buying a meal for him I bought a meal for another homeless man who was sitting outside the Dunkin Donuts I was waiting at. I’ve seen him around a lot in the past few weeks and he has never asked for money, but he looked like he could use the help.

I have included in this email a photo of the items listed on the receipt from today. I didn’t include the prices because I don’t think this about the money spent. I hope to work more on your challenge over the next week or two.

Thank you again for giving me a challenge, I hope to make doing nice things at random a recurring part of my life.

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I love this so much, this whole thing just makes my heart so super fuzzy that I can hardly stand it. LOVE!!! :-) I am so pleased that he understood that he got the point, that this wasn’t about the money, and I’m happy that he knows what truly matters: doing nice things for those around us. Now…what shall my first act of kindness be???! :-)I’m open to suggestions! Let’s make kindness a movement, okay? :-)

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I LOVE THIS!!! :-)

xxx

Where the Boys Are

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I don’t actually know where the boys are, but I can sure tell you where they aren’t: around smart women. Did you see this article in the news this week? Here’s an excerpt:
In general, most people like the idea of “dating up.” Isn’t it better to find someone more attractive, more successful and more intelligent than your (already wonderful) self? That depends. For men, the idea of dating someone more intelligent than themselves may actually be a turn-off.

A 2006 study found that men in a speed-dating environment found intelligence appealing unless they perceived their female date to be smarter than they. It’s hard to tell how generalizable these findings are, but it does beg the question: Even if a man says he wants a smart woman, is he actually attracted to one when she’s in front of him?

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, California Lutheran University and the University of Texas at Austin explored this question in their new study. During their preliminary survey, 86 percent of men reported that they would feel comfortable dating someone smarter than they. In a series of six experiments, the researchers put these claims to the test.

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In the first version of the study, the researchers had 105 undergraduate men read a hypothetical scenario about a woman who scored better than them on a test, and then asked them to rate how romantically desirable that woman seemed. In the second, they had 151 undergraduate men take an intelligence test and then asked them if they’d like to meet the woman down the hall, who either scored better or worse than them on the test. Both of these studies found that when men imagined a hypothetical woman who was smarter than they, or only knew of the woman in an abstract sense, they were interested in meeting her and even dating her.

In the next two versions of the study, men interacted with a woman (who was in cahoots with the researchers) who either performed better or worse on an intelligence test than they did. After the participants met the woman, took the test while seated next to her and heard both of their scores read aloud, male participants were asked to move their chair across from the woman’s chair. They were then told to take a survey about their first impressions of the other — specifically, how attractive and desirable they found each other. The researchers looked at the distance between the two chairs as a measure of how attracted the man was to the woman.

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Men who were partnered with a woman who scored higher on the intelligence test felt the need to physically distance themselves from her when moving their chairs. They also tended to rate her as less attractive and desirable to date than men who interacted with a woman who scored worse than they had.

The last two experiments got even more nuanced by looking at the way men rated their own masculinity. In the fifth version, men were either told there was a woman in the room next door, or they were seated face-to-face with a woman (again, in cahoots with the researchers). Participants and the woman shared basic information, like name, relationship status, age and year in school. They then took an intelligence test side-by-side and were told their scores aloud. The men were told that the woman either scored higher or lower than them on the test no matter how well they did. Finally, participants filled out a survey measuring how much they related to various stereotypically masculine qualities and how interested they were in the woman romantically.

The sixth and last version of the study repeated the procedure of the fifth, but the men in the study saw the woman for a few minutes in person at the beginning of the study (though they didn’t interact with her).

The Findings
The last two versions of the study found that men were less interested in dating and interacting with a smarter woman when she was face-to-face with them. However, in the fifth study, when she was “psychologically distant” (supposedly in the next room), there was no difference in men’s desire to date or interact with her no matter how well she scored on the test compared to them. In fact, the men who never saw the woman showed a “marginal tendency” to want to interact with a woman who was hypothetically smarter.

Overall, men were into hanging out with a smarter woman when they had yet to meet her, but they weren’t so excited to hang out with a living, breathing intelligent woman staring them in the face.

Men also felt less masculine when they were faced with a smarter woman sitting next to them than when they never saw said smarter woman.

The Takeaway
This study sheds light on one reason dating is so complicated: We don’t always know what we want, even if we think we do. This just happens to be a particularly depressing example.

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It seems that, even if men say they want a smarter woman, when push comes to shove, they’re not so into women who threaten their own intelligence. As the researchers put it, their findings suggest that there are “conditions under which self-protective concerns may trump qualities of partners that seem desirable at a distance.” Translation: Men who blow off intelligent women might just be protecting their fragile masculine egos.

Of course, these findings don’t mean that all or even most men are threatened by smart women. This study just adds to decades of literature on gender dynamics which suggests that, as a whole, there are a lot of icky complications around confidence and power wrapped up in heterosexual attraction. More research needs to be done until there are any practical implications.

In the meantime, it’s probably not a bad idea for threatened men to do a little soul-searching and think about why they might be intimidated by smart women.

 

Unbe-freakin’-lievable. What is wrong with people – specifically men? I’m sure you’ve seen or experienced this in your life…haven’t we all? I think it is beyond pathetic when a man cannot accept the intelligence of the woman that he is with, and tries to build himself up by making her look small. What he should be doing is marvelling that someone as bright as she is picked his ass to be with – THAT should be the takeaway, not his raging insecurity. Disgusting.

It’s interesting that the men from the study claimed that they wanted a smart woman in their lives….how many times have I heard that line?  Yet, when push comes to shove, that wasn’t what they wanted at all. Why is that? Straight up insecurity? Sad. I love what the article above said, “Men who blow off intelligent women might just be protecting their fragile masculine egos.” Amen.

One final comment: to hell with the fragile masculine ego. Three cheers for smart women!!! :-)

xxx

Still Into You

I’ve always really liked the Paramore song “Still Into You”…it’s a super-cute look at love, the kind that lasts…the kind that makes your insides feel fuzzy and good, and the kind that you know you can lean in to and feel surrounded by love, warmth, and safety – you’re comfortable, because you know that love ain’t goin’ nowhere. (Double negative use was intentional – just FYI)

I should be over all the butterflies
But I’m into you (I’m in to you)
And baby even on our worst nights
I’m into you (I’m into you)
Let ’em wonder how we got this far
‘Cause I don’t really need to wonder at all
Yeah after all this time
I’m still into you

 

This is pretty much what we all want, right? Someone that still gives us ‘the feeling’, even after the initial honeymoon period wears off? I know I always have – that’s why it really friggin’ sucks when you aren’t getting the feeling back, because, well, sometimes people just aren’t into you. That is the worst. I don’t know where I got this inflated ego and sense of entitlement, but it needs to go back to the damn store from whence it came, receipt or not…it’s not doing me a lick of good. I totally hope/believe that people should want to be around me, that they should fancy me, and that I’m a bit of a catch – which is why it shocks me when people don’t feel that way. Huh. I’m an idiot.

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For example, once upon a time, I met a gentleman that I got on with extremely well – I don’t mean that there were just sparks, I mean that the connection was reminiscent of the time my Dad accidentally set off all of the fireworks that were meant for the 20 minute firework show at the Lundar Fair at one time…that kind of spark. Our conversation was quick, witty (you know how I love that), we liked the same things, we were highly compatible in most regards, we shared a demented sense of humor…and, well…I’m not a girl that will kiss and tell, but holy shit there ought to be a movie made about that aspect of things. Epic. We got on like peas and carrots, yet something just wasn’t quite right – and let me tell you what that something was: he wasn’t as into me as I was to him. Which, rationally, I know is fine…it’s his prerogative (though at the time I believed him to be a dumbass) – but I had a really, really hard time accepting that. I was just coocoo for cocoa puffs over this lad, and he was….almost ambivalent about me. It’s funny, even thinking about it now, I can still feel the same emotions that I had back then – and I feel embarrassed for how stupid I was. He was perfectly pleasant – but I had to do all of the work, the effort came from me, and my stupid ass couldn’t figure out why…all I wanted was to be wooed, and made to feel like I was wanted. However, eventually, after much soul searching, I realized that the popular friggin’ book was correct:

he just wasn’t that in to me.

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I know that people are allowed to be ‘not that into me’ – just like I have certainly felt that way about people, things, and situations. However, there have been a few times when I have been so shocked by this, because I felt so strong and positive and thought things were good…and it legit surprised me that it wasn’t a two-way street. I had a job once that I thought was going really, really great – and it turns out that they just thought I was barely alright. Not killing it, like I thought – just alright. Huh. How do I keep getting things wrong and misreading situations?

Let’s look at some quotes from the book to illustrate my point:

A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the
woman he loves.

Don’t spend your time on and give your heart to any guy who makes you wonder about anything related to his feelings for you.

You picked a lemon, throw it away, lemonade is overrated. Freaks should remain at the circus, not in your apartment. You already have one asshole. You don’t need another. Make a space in your life for the glorious things you deserve. Have faith.

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Busy’ is another word for ‘asshole’. ‘Asshole’ is another word for the guy you’re dating.

Life is hard enough as it is without choosing someone difficult to share it with.

Always be classy. Never be crazy.
I’m tired of seeing great women in bullshit relationships.

If a guy truly likes you, but for personal reasons he needs to take things slow, he will let you know that immediately. He won’t keep you guessing, because he’ll want to make sure you don’t get frustrated and go away.

We (men) would rather lose an arm out a city bus window than tell you simply, “You’re not the one.” We are quite sure you will kill us or yourself or both—or even worse, cry and yell at us.

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See? There were no relocation of mountain ranges that I’m aware of, and I always seemed to find myself surrounded by entirely too much lemonade. But, I think that this is what I have needed to hear for most of my life – if things aren’t happening, if the magic is only on my side and not the other, then…they are just not that in to me. Which is fine – I need to stop trying to make things what they aren’t, and just accept them for what they are. This applies to all aspects of my life, and not just the interpersonal parts – if things aren’t working the way I hoped that they would, then I need to cut my losses and move on…regardless of how great I think things are. It has to go both ways.

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In other news, why does life have to be so bloody hard all of the time?

xxx