Sunday, January 16, 2011

AMBIVALENCE: Valencia, Spain

So, I now know the secret. The way to get me to update my blog is to tell me I need to write an assessment report! Brilliant!

I've been thinking alot over the past few days about how many things I love doing, that make me happy and calm and content, that I have not done much of in the past 6 months or of those things, funnily enough, is blogging. Another is singing. Photography. Cooking. Eating. (Well, that one I've been doing pretty well, actually.) 

And I realized that, in the past 6+ months, there've actually been tons of things that I had something to say about...ugh, bad sentence structure, sorry.  Anyway, one of those things is Valencia, Spain, where hubby and I went in late August. 

I think I didn't write about Spain because, overall, the trip was hard.  And that sounds ungrateful, I know. But it really was.  We went in the week right before I began my internship, and I had a lot of time-sensitive dissertation work to do, and was trying to mentally prepare for a huge change in my life, and the start of something I had been working toward for years.  It was also late August, and I learned as we were on our flight there that the worst time to visit Valencia is August. Swell. So, it was extremely hot and made seemingly relaxing things like lying on the beach into exercises in mild torture.  Mild torture, but still. Also, the nicer beach, the one that was less crowded and more spacious, looked like this:

That's rock.  Hard, pointy rock.  So, it was beautiful, and I took lots of great pictures, but you had to wear shoes to keep from cutting your feet, obviously couldn't spread a towel and lay out, and to get into the water, you had to jump into the sea off of a sheer drop off, into the super deep water.  All the while timing it properly so that the incoming waves didn't push you immediately into the jagged rock face you just jumped off of. It was terrifying. And really sad, because I didn't want to be terrified, but the power of the ocean is incredible and we are extremely frail in the face of it, and I was all too aware of that and so was too scared most of the time to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean water.  So, I just took lots of pictures.

The thing that saved me on this trip was that I had a camera glued to my hand/face the entire time.  I borrowed my friend's D90, and without it, I don't know what I would have done.  The trip was business/pleasure for hubby, so there were times when he was busy, the family we were staying with was doing family things, everyone was speaking Spanish, I had no clue what was going on, and no real agency to be able to control what was happening, where I was going, or what I was doing (which, needless to say, was extremely difficult for me), and so I took pictures. I looked, I framed shots, I fiddled with f-stops and shutter speeds, I shot. And that's how I didn't go crazy.  I also think the camera helped me to see the beauty of where I was, though I was feeling so ambivalent about being there.  Valencia is a beautiful place.  I was just there at the wrong time.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, January 15, 2011


So...I very much need to work on a report for work, but even more so, I need to write some things, dear reader, after almost 8 months of silence, I'm back!

Hi :o)

The first thing I think I need to say is that for the past many months, I have been, and this is a severe understatement, extremely restless. I have been anxious, and angry, and sad, and mad, and confused, and nervous, and happy, and annoyed, and excited, and upset, and, even sometimes, content. I have also been doing what I typically do when I feel restless--trying frantically to figure out what needs to change, what needs to be done, so that I only feel the good emotions listed up there, avoid the bad ones, and don't feel restless anymore.  Needless to say, that pursuit has led only to me needing to add "very tired" to that list.

Then, yesterday, as I'm mentally racing around, trying to figure out what pieces to move so that everything can be "fixed" and "right," something shifted. And I asked myself, "What am I doing?" Over and over again, I asked...

A few months ago, thanks to a well-timed seminar at work on mindfulness and meditation and the mind/body connection, I heard about and read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.  Those of you who know me well know that I can exaggerate slightly sometimes :o) but believe me when I say that this book is changing my life.  Yesterday, I flipped through the many, many sections that I've highlighted, and a few really touched me, moved me to tears, and helped me to realize that for a long time now, as I keep trying to figure out what to do next, how to change the state of affairs, the internal state of my self, I have been trying really hard to avoid my fear.

Fear of what? It doesn't even matter, really. As I experience any kind of anxiety or doubt, I try with all my might to dodge out of its path, and become busy with any number of distractions, some beneficial, some not, to keep from feeling fear.

So many of Chodron's words are powerful for me when thinking about this tendency, which we all, understandably, have.  I mean, who wants to feel scared and miserable? Not me! But the thing is, it's unavoidable. It's part of life.  And it's so hard to accept that truth, isn't it? I know it is for me.

But I remembered again yesterday that the irony of it all is that the more we fight against our fear, the less we are actually living our lives and experiencing the present moment. From When Things Fall Apart:

I once asked the Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi how he related with fear, and he said, "I agree. I agree."
This one small sentence slaps me in the face every time (in a good way!). I mean, read it again. "I agree." Wow.

It's so simple, and yet is the most complicated thing for me to grasp, I think.  To just let myself be scared, sad, upset, thrilled, just be those things, if that it is where I am...instead of running, running, running to get away from real life, and the pain that is sometimes a part of being real. Being here.
Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly. The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.
I think the painful truth of this--that nothing lasts, that life is groundless-- is what landed on me yesterday. Again. And it hurt. It was heavy.

And, I agree. Well...I'm trying to, at least.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

OPPOSITE DAY: My hair...

Well, I hate my hair again.  For the past few weeks, I have been yanking and tugging and begging it to look presentable, but all I'm getting is a weirdly shaped helmet-head with fins on the sides.  Not pretty.  So I think I'm gonna cut it.  Which is interesting, since I thought what I wanted was for it to hurry up and grow out of this weird in-between stage it's in, but that takes time, and one thing I am not is patient, so instead of waiting for it to grow out and look normal again, why not just cut into submission?  I say, good idea!

At my friend's graduation ceremony, this woman sitting in front of us had an awesome Rihanna-esque hair cut, so Rihanna has become my inspiration for this next drastic hair change.  What do you think?

I think the pixie cut (2nd and next to last picture) is the "safest", and probably the easiest to make look okay every day, but I'm REALLY loving the "long only on top" look, just not sure if I can actually pull that off.  I mean, Rihanna has a skinny head.  I do not. :o)  So what do you guys think?  What should I try?  Also, how pretty is Rihanna!? OMG.
Comments appreciated!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, May 21, 2010

OPPOSITE DAY: Kelly Bensimon on The Real Housewives of NYC

Any of you who don't watch The Real Housewives of NYC on Bravo, and more specifically, have not seen the most recent episode (from May 20, 2010) will probably not be at all interested in this post, so feel free to ignore it.  You won't hurt my feelings :o)

However, for those of you who did see last night's train wreck--let's dish.

This episode bothered me sooooooo much.  It pretty immediately made me uncomfortable, as it picked up right where Kelly's craziness had left off the week before, with several of the housewives vacationing in USVI and gradually becoming more and more aware that something's seriously wrong with Kelly.  And throughout yesterday's entire episode, she continued to be completely incoherent, had drastic mood swings, was paranoid, aggressive, deluded, engaging in what I can only describe as word salad, and overall behaving like she has some sort of severe mental disorder.  Very disturbing, am I right?

I really think Kelly's reaction in this picture says it all:

Kelly has always been a completely wacky and ridiculous character on the show, I think most notably when she took her afternoon jog on the streets of Manhattan in the midst of rush hour traffic, and when , when told she looked pretty at an event, she replied "I'm always pretty."  Okay, wacky, but still kind of funny, because you're not laughing at a crazy person.  But I think after yesterday's episode, it is crystal clear, at least to this advanced doctoral student in clinical psychology (and I mention that not to toot my own horn, but just to emphasize that I do know from crazy), that it is no longer funny, because people who have going on whatever Kelly has going on are some kinda sick.  There's no two-ways about it, in my opinion.

Over at, Chris Rovzar (a fellow Yalie) and Jessica Pressler recap the Housewives episodes every week, and if you haven't watched the episode but made it this far in this post, I recommend reading their recap--it gives a good flavor of what's going on, but you really have to see it to believe it!!  (Interestingly, in the comments over there, several people are wondering if Kelly's in withdrawal from prescription meds, or is a meth or cocaine addict, and though I haven't seen first hand what meth and coke do to a person, I would not be surprised.  However, I really don't think drugs are involved.  I don't think she's on drugs, I think she's mentally ill).

As I write this, I'm realizing I might be coming across kind of harsh, and that's really not my intention, at least not toward Kelly.  I am feeling a bit judgmental toward Bravo, though, for possibly using this woman's craziness for good TV.  I mean, watching grossly rich women bicker and gossip and behave like fools is one thing, but watching someone having some kind of psychotic break just should not be considered good TV.  And it wasn't.  It was scary TV.  And speaking of scary, Bethenny wrote about the episode on her Bravo blog, and says that the craziness that went down was even more disturbing than what the cameras showed! Ack!!

Also, interviewed Kelly to get her side of the story and, not at all surprisingly, she didn't make any sense, really.  Read Kelly's pretty nonsensical "rationale" here.

Finally, this clip demonstrates perfectly how bizarre and unattached from reality Kelly is.  In it, Kelly has just discovered the personalized gift bag that Bethenny has left for her and each other woman on the trip, and Kelly's response is to get freaked out and start crying.  It is one of the strangest reactions I've ever seen.  Seriously, somebody needs to do a Rorschach on her, stat.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Overheard in NYC...

Long ago, back when I had my other blog, I was a big fan of Overheard in NYC, an occasionally hilarious website that is only a collection of funny things that people hear and overhear as they go about their daily lives in the city.  I'm sure that some of my interest in this website is that I'm jealous of all the people who actually live their daily lives in Manhattan, and therefore want to live vicariously through them, but also, some of the stuff is pretty damn funny.  Take for example, this gem:

Suit on cell: What do you mean I'm being ridiculous? He's a foot doctor... He's not licensed to give rectal exams, Floyd!

--Q Train

Overheard by: EKavet

I mean, come on! Priceless.  Another good one:

Man on cell: Elvis made ten million dollars last year and he's dead. There's no reason I can't make a thousand.

--Park Slope

Way to think positively, likely Brooklyn hipster!

There are many, many more where that came from, so if you're trying desperately to avoid doing anything productive (how do you think I stumbled upon it again? :o) click on through ( and have a laugh.

Happy Thursday!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Alright everyone. Excuse me while I geek the hell out for a moment.

Those of you who see me often/are my facebook friends know that hubby and I recently watched all 7 seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" over the course of about a year, churning through seasons 5-7 in maybe two months, but probably less time, because we were obsessed with it.  So, I figure I have to give Buffy some love, since I adored the show and am still mourning the fact that we've now seen every episode.

For those of you who are thinking, "What the hell? That show sounds super dumb!" I completely understand where you're coming from, because I thought the same thing, back when it was on in the late 90s-early 2000s, and what I still thought when one of our good friends (shout out to Shawn!) suggested that we watch it, courtesy of his DVD sets.  I was....reluctant.  Especially since the first season is pretty bad.  But we hung in there, and by season 2, I was completely enamored by every character, was loving the ones I started out hating (Cordelia) and hating the ones I would later have a huge crush on (i.e. Spike.  *swoon*)  And by the end of the show, I was/am a HUGE fan and want to know everything there is to know about this show, and want to tell everyone to watch it, because it is AMAZING.

It makes sense that I would love Buffy, because it was created by Joss Whedon, who is one of my favorite people on the planet, both because he is the creator of Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (if you haven't watched Dr. Horrible yet, stop reading this and follow that link and watch it right now!), and because he is just awesome.  So it stands to reason that I would love the creation that started it all, and is full of the kind of humor and drama and sarcasm and wit that, in my opinion, makes for damn fine entertainment.

Now that we've finished the series proper, Shawn swears that we have to watch all 5 seasons of Angel now, to get the full experience, but I think that also means that I can't continue the Buffy story (which is now continued in comic book form over at Dark Horse Comics) until we do that, which is pretty annoying, since, so far, I find Angel to be loud and not as good, and kind of stressful.  So, to tide me over until I can get my hands on the comics (wow, I never thought I would say anything close to that sentence ever in my life!) I found this book on, which I am now fanatically enjoying on my Kindle.  (I'll just let you click through to see how obsessed I really am.  Why spoil the surprise? :p)

Below is one of my favorite episodes, from Season 3, called "Doppelgangland".

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Awesome Kindle recommendations...

Everyday at the Kindle Store, Amazon gives recommendations of books I might like, and also, shows me the top selling books for the day.  Yesterday, this was the top-selling book in Romance and Genre Fiction:

This is probably why:
Digital List Price: $3.50  What's this?
Kindle Price: $0.00 & includes wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save:$3.50 (100%) 

Also, this is the tagline: Her sexy letters are his only lifeline in his dangerous world...

I of course downloaded it immediately. I'll let you know how it is! ;)

Stumble Upon Toolbar