Naw-Rúz

MC at Greenlake Baha'i ConferenceI have been reflecting on the events of the last year, since March 21, 2012. It has been an absolute roller coaster. There have been challenges beyond my expectations, heartbreak, joy, travel, a beautiful summer, love, and a lot of laughter. I worked on one of the biggest events I’ve ever coordinated (the Centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the United States), was a MC at a Baha’i conference, attended several other conferences (including a session at Louhelen with Mr. Nakhjavani), attended weddings, celebrated the birth of so many babies I’ve lost count, grieved the loss of family members, facilitated a youth group, began learning how to be a member of a Local Spiritual Assembly, worked on a never-ending Wilmette Baha’i archives project…

I wandered my city in rain, wind, sun, and love. Mostly in love.

At Green Lake

It has been proven to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am surrounded by some of the most amazing family and friends that this earth has to offer.

I have learned that people can be exceptionally cruel and not even understand that what they have done is wrong.

I have been validated in my feelings and told that I am loved.

I know that I need to be in warm, sunny weather to keep my spirits up to my normal state of existence.

I have taken greater risks this year than I ever have before.

I will never, ever let people tell me that my joyful exuberance needs to be reined in. And I will do my best to make sure that my actions allow others to feel no judgement, and to feel welcomed in my circle.

In Monterey, by the aquarium

To everyone in my life, thank you for this beautiful existence that we share.
I love you very much, and I wish you a very happy Naw-Rúz (Baha’i New Year).

Snowstorm

You may be aware that there is a snowstorm in Chicago right now. There was an Ayyam-i-Ha party at the Baha’i National Center this morning, and after lunch everyone was sent home because of the impending storm (which had already started). So a few girlfriends and I had an impromptu hangout at my place, which included conversations, food, nail polish, and television. It was exactly perfect on a night like this. Now they are gone and I fully intend to continue enjoying the evening. The silence of a snowy night is such a peaceful thing.

Thanks ladies. 🙂

What are you doing these days?

My friends have been busy. I’m sure I have forgotten someone, but y’all gotta let me know when you’re starting things. 😉

My supremely talented friend Andrew Johnson has come out with some gorgeous, limited edition prints of a few airport layouts. Buy one. Or two. You won’t regret it.

Dan Jones, over at Doberman Pizza, has relaunched his blog. He has been blogging for nearly two decades and has always been a great resource and friend in the Baha’i blogging world. After over a decade of internet interaction, I finally met him and his lovely wife Quynh in Montreal this summer.

Speaking of great blogs, a fantastic sisterly duo consisting of Bre Vader and Jaleh Darling recently launched a blog called The Superettes. It is fun, creative, and accessible, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

 

I am not going to even go into all of the engagements, pregnancies, graduations, and life changes of everyone…but congratulations if you have something going on that merits celebration!

2 years, dear friend

me and Gavin

“In His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh says that were we able to comprehend the facilities that await us in the world to come, death would lose its sting; nay rather we would welcome it as a gate-way to a realm immeasurably higher and nobler than this home of suffering we call our earth. You should therefore think of their blessings and comfort yourself for your momentary separation. In time all of us will join our departed ones and share their joys.”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 13, 1932)

“The Master has told us that gifts and good deeds done in memory of those who have passed on, are most helpful to the development of their souls in the realms beyond…”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 10, 1952)

 

Last year, remembering. And 2 years ago. Last night, as I drove past the House of Worship on my way home, I was able to share a prayer with a friend on the phone in Gavin’s memory. Thinking of you today, dear one! We love you so much.

1 year ago

On September 14, 2010, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from a friend with a voice full of tears. She told me that our friend Gavin Welch had passed away in a car accident in Houston, Texas that afternoon. Gavin was the first friend in my life that died young. He was 32 years old. We were in college at the same time, and so many of my best memories of my Chicago years include him. His joy for life, honesty, and pure heart were powerful, and we all miss him very much.

Gavin: 1978-2010Tonight his friends and some family will gather at the Baha’i Home in Wilmette to remember him, laugh together, and pray for the progress of his soul in the next world. Bahhaj recorded his version of a song in Gavin’s memory. Below is a video that his friends put together for the first memorial last year.

Gavin Badi Welch Memorial Video from Jennifer Brandel on Vimeo.

And wedding season begins…

I have the blessing of many dear friends and am in my 20s. This equates invitations to 3-5 weddings per year, which is actually fun for me because I love this stuff. The insane wedding industry is not appealing, but the organizational tasks, the brainstorming and list-making are so interesting. I truly love helping my friends as they plan.

Ana put all of this together herself!

Then of course, are the crazy stories surrounding the weddings…the time that the florist forgot to make the bridal bouquet, guests getting lost, DJs forgetting the music (this happened at two weddings I’ve attended). I guess it was funnier to me because I was a mere guest.

centerpieces

I attended 2 weddings last month, 2 weekends in a row (Chicago and D.C.). I am excited for both couples starting their lives together, and seeing how they continue building their lives as a couple. The weddings are fun, but the marriage is the part that matters. Congratulations, dear ones!

this is glamorous

My dear friend Laily has always had an eye for fashion and design, as evidenced by her blog and personal style. A while back she suggested a number of blogs to me, all of which were inspiring and interesting to read. One of those blogs is {this is glamorous}, which Laily recently joined as a contributor.

Check out her first post, where she interviews Chloë Sevigny in person. I am looking forward to her future work!

Goodbye

I am mired in this in-between state, keeping emotions at bay and I can’t seem to process anything right now.  My days are on the edge of frantic, the evenings a collapse into numb mindlessness.  I am scattered, but to stop moving would mean thought, would mean that I would have to think.

I am happy.  There is laughter in my voice, there is a smile when I speak and there are a million things to be grateful for.  Those great tragedies loom, hover, and dissipate.  We cried in horror and we were joyous at the thought of release.  We are angry, we are hurting, we are loved and loved and we love.

I thank God that I have, that my faith is this, that in these moments everything is perfect and jumbled and a beautiful mess.  I thank you.  I am humbled.

For Gavin

O my God! O my God! Verily, Thy servant, humble before the majesty of Thy divine supremacy, lowly at the door of Thy oneness, hath believed in Thee and in Thy verses, hath testified to Thy word, hath been enkindled with the fire of Thy love, hath been immersed in the depths of the ocean of Thy knowledge, hath been attracted by Thy breezes, hath relied upon Thee, hath turned his face unto Thee, hath offered his supplications to Thee, and hath been assured of Thy pardon and forgiveness. He hath abandoned this mortal life and hath flown to the kingdom of immortality, yearning for the favor of meeting Thee.

O Lord, glorify his station, shelter him under the pavilion of Thy supreme mercy, cause him to enter Thy glorious paradise, and perpetuate his existence in Thine exalted rose garden, that he may plunge into the sea of light in the world of mysteries.

Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Powerful, the Forgiver and the Bestower.
—‘Abdu’l-Bahá

May your soul always have the same laughter that you had on this earth. We love you.


You need to know

Occasionally I like to bring web sites to your attention.  I don’t arbitrarily pick sites…these are hand-chosen, finely tempered sites with class and sophistication. 😉  This post’s theme is “art & education”.

First of all, my latest interview (in collaboration with Ramin), with artist Alberto Cerriteño,  is up at Soulpancake.  Go read it.

Progress Gallery is a fantastic business that I’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted with for a number of years now (I even helped them move into their current space several years ago).  I was delighted to hear that they put up a website, opened an Etsy shop where you can buy prints and other things, and Bob Reddy, the owner/artist, did an interview with Soulpancake.  Their gallery is located in Evanston, Illinois, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area.

Speaking of the Reddy family, Shannon Ekundayo Reddy has re-branded as Plot Twist.  You can download his beats, check out his design work, or hire him. 🙂

The Chicago Youth Animators “are a group of professionals from diverse ethnic, professional, and religious backgrounds who are interested in helping adolescents in Chicago schools develop the qualities and skills they will need to achieve their own life goals.” They use the junior youth materials published by Palabra, and combine “reading material, group activities, and community service projects.”

Misha is an artist who uses vibrant colors…whenever I see her art in someone’s home, I immediately know it is hers.  She has an online store where you can see and purchase some of her work.

Andrew Johnson, (andropolis.org), has re-launched his site as a portfolio for his work. Go look.

Discoveries of small importance

1.  Gluten-free sugar cookies dipped in chocolate pudding are heavenly.

2.  Aprons never fit me correctly.  I always have to adjust them, which makes me ignore them altogether.  But I really like the idea of an apron.

3.  Driving a car means fixing it when parts wear out.  Which means that my bank account complains to me of abuse.  It also means that I have to deal with mechanics, which is always a funny experience because I really don’t know anything about cars.

4.  An advantage to living in Chicago: there are always visitors coming through.  It helps alleviate the missing-of-friends that happens when you are part of a community that is always moving across the world.


5.  Really looking forward to the weekend.  Work picnic, family, home.  I desperately needed a 3 day break, and was kidding myself that I am not tired. I’m exhausted.

6.  I had a few friends over the other night to help me finish off a tray of lasagna that I made.  I highly recommend having a lasagna party, and close it out with ice cream or pudding if you can. 🙂

7.  I really missed seeing live music over the last few years.  It had been such a long time.  Going to Summerfest and seeing Stevie Wonder & John Legend in concert was absolutely fantastic, and I need to take advantage of these opportunities.

8.  I’m on my 6th wedding invitation of the year, and we’re only halfway through!  Whew…

There it is.

There it is.  Moments that you can taste, hold in your hands and not let out of your sight.  We sigh in vain after the past, we hold our breath and count the stars.

Tonight my heart broke, mended, and went home as my friend’s voice soared in the rafters (thank you for that, Emily).  I remembered what it felt like to be surrounded by these people, these amazing, world-traveling, soul-embracing people.

We forget to be kind to ourselves, to each other.   We are moving in a million different directions, so many paths, and waiting for what we don’t even know exists.

Here I go!

There is something about traveling…airports, the unknown, the things that my eyes see that are different from everyday life.  And for the life of me, I can’t seem to pack in advance…so I find myself trying to consolidate everything into a suitcase at midnight.  I might have managed, and will have to be content with what I’ve done.

I am going to attend a wedding that I am ecstatic about.  I am going to see friends, both from my service at the Baha’i World Centre and from closer to home.  I am going to stay with my cousin, who is eerily similar to me and who I am very excited to spend time with.  Most of all, I will get out of Chicago for a few days, which is exactly what I need.

The Superbowl? What is that?

Superbowl Sunday in the United States tends to be a day that people have parties, eat lots of junk food, and are glued to their flatscreen televisions to watch American football.

On Saturday night I went to a friend’s house for a lady’s night/sleepover.  It was fantastic, of course, and when we woke up this morning we made ourselves a feast of eggs, hash browns, and pancakes.

After spending a lazy Sunday around their apartment, we finally decided to get out of the apartment and get dinner.   As we drove down the street, Emily, Juliette, Sarah, and I realized that our plan was very different than everyone else’s.  We were going to Whole Foods, dressed quite nicely, and were going to watch “All About Eve”, a classic film.  Our dinner consisted of very healthy items, including fruit.  I know, crazy, right?

I must say that we managed to successfully avoid the testosterone-laden events of the day.  It really was not a planned thing, but I am very happy with the outcome.  Thank you, ladies.

An afternoon in Haifa

One day in February, a few friends decided to take a walk after lunch.   Two young men and three young women took the stairs down the mountain, with no particular goal in mind.  February in Haifa is warm during the day and cooler at night, and this day was an average one.  They wandered down the twisting, cat-infested streets with the aimlessness of an empty afternoon ahead.

Upon finding trees in a park, one of them climbed an olive tree.  The others gathered around.  They all watched some dogs run by, it was such a normal thing on this wonderful little afternoon.  An old man sat on a park bench, as old men have always done and will hopefully always do.

Next to the park was a playground.  Grandmothers encouraged children to play, and watchful mothers gossiped together.  As the young people tested the playground equipment and took pictures, the adults watched, a bit mistrustfully.  Why would such young people with no apparent purpose be up to good?

Some of the streets were ones that they had never traveled, even after months and years in this city.  Some were familiar and had too many memories attached.  And as the sun went down they began to realize how hungry they were.  The consensus was that they should buy meat from the best butcher shop in the city, take it to the apartment with the large balcony, and feast into the evening.  They stopped at the bazaar to buy tomatoes, potatoes, and onions.

Walking up the mountain was harder than walking down…especially since their stomachs were starting to complain.  They arrived at their destination, immediately dividing tasks.  The young men started the grill and began to barbeque while the young women made fries in the wok and chatted in the kitchen.  They gathered around the table, placed the food in the middle, and like a proper, odd sort of family, ate one of the best meals they had ever had.

At the end, there was the important matter of dessert.  Spiced hot chocolate was made and the lights dimmed as they welcomed the evening into their lives.

Things to read, listen to, and look at.

The illustrious Sarah Lonning has a presence on the web. Be impressed.

Navid shares music, often with commentary. Brilliant. I’ve been enjoying it very much.

That odd fellow known as David Precht launched his site a while ago, and it is as lovely and strange as he is.

Genius Dog is now The Doghouse Diaries, so adjust your links. And they’re doing a fantastic job. Keep it up, guys.

There is a carousel at the mall that reminds me of this gorgeous photo by Shahriar. As the children go around, their faces light up and they live completely in that moment. I love that.

Lauren uploaded these photos from her trip to Nepal a while back but I forgot to blog about how much I loved them.

The streets of Chicago are still snow-covered, and we are trying to stay warm. Do me a favor…if you live in a warm climate, please go outside for a moment and enjoy it for me. 🙂 It is horrible to admit that I am getting acclimated…yesterday I traipsed around in the snow in our yard for a while, just because I had snow boots on and I could. And last weekend I went sledding with my sister. I had some bruises and aches afterward, but it was totally worth it.

Recent events

The weekend before last I drove to Kansas City with some friends for the wedding that we now call “Lovefest 2008”, otherwise known as Andrew & Erin’s wedding.  Here are some things that I learned:

– You can’t rent a car without a credit card, and the person with the credit card has to be the main driver.  This was discovered on the morning that we were to leave.  Luckily we were saved by a friend and made it to the wedding.

– It was confirmed that Iowa is still full of corn.  Hasn’t changed since the last time I drove through it.

– We got a lot of attention at a gas station in Missouri.  Apparently the attendents were extremely bored.  We also bought Amish-made goods from a very sweet Amish family.

– Cracker Barrel has nearly nothing for gluten-intolerant or vegetarian individuals.  You should have seen our faces when we looked at the menu.

– My friends are amazing, rare individuals and it is very sad that we all live so far away from each other. 🙁

– Even though I am allergic to cats, and don’t like them very much anyway (more of a dog person), cats LOVE me.  I’m like the cat whisperer.  It is really weird.

– I love, love, love weddings. Having the opportunity to read at this wedding was such a blessing, and I was honored to be a small part of it. They are such a beautiful couple and I’m so happy for them!

This past weekend I had a lot of family in town from my mother’s side, and it was also the Conference of the Association of Friends of Persian Culture. Here are a few tidbits from that time:

– My family is great, and every time I hang out with them I see more of where I come from. It is so strange and wonderful to find out things about myself and my history, and I know these opportunities are rare.

– I actually enjoyed going to most of the sessions, there were some highly academic talks and I really missed being in that atmosphere.

– I got very little sleep, as is normal for a conference, and stayed up late with friends, talking about the good old days and laughing. Much needed.

From Kansas, with love.

There are so many faces
In each room, I turn and my heart fills
with a million histories
(I remember it all)
There are two ways that I see:
I see your smile
and I feel your soul
there is that.

I felt myself laughing and I could not restrain myself from jumping up and down. In the darkness I saw at least 25 faces that I love, 25 souls that I could not believe I missed so much.

Joy, joy!

They are, dears, they are. They are laughing and crying and I can’t explain why my lips quiver and my heart aches and it is all because I am surrounded by such beautiful everyones.

(I make the English language mine.)

Write a few moments of every day on clean paper, or on the back of your hand. Make notes in the margins, and scratch out anything that makes you sad. Sadness has its place but you all have my heart.

I love you, I love you.

Much Ado

This weekend there shall be a convergence upon Kansas City, KS such as it has never seen.  We are flying, driving, busing, and perhaps even walking to THE wedding of the summer.

Too much?  🙂 Nah.

To say that we’re excited about the union of Andrew and Erin would be a bit of an understatement. They are quite loved, and lovely, and then there is the fact that it is also going to be an entire weekend of partying, hanging out with friends that have spread out across the continent over the last few years, and very little sleep.

A road trip with some of my closest friends to reach this wedding, traversing the cornfields of the American Midwest, should yield a number of interesting pictures, which I will post upon my return.

Eilat, or “A musical journey”

This past weekend was a long one, as it was the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, and we had 3 days in a row off of work. A lucky group of 13 (5 guys and 8 girls) took a road trip down to Eilat, which is the southernmost city in Israel and a resort town.

We rode camels

 

Spent a lot of time at the beach/in the sun

 

And drove through the desert

There were 3 cars, and each had their own “style” when it came to music choices and driving. My car changed CDs between ABBA, Elvis, Chicago, Top 40 hits, Indie rock, and musicals. It was, quite frankly, hilarious. Also, my car was in the lead, and managed to get the entire caravan lost in Be’er Sheva for at least a 1/2 hour.  “Stay the course!” was the phrase of the day.  U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was playing while we wandered around the city.

We ate good food and walked up and down the boardwalk, stopping for various amusements.  We played volleyball in the pool at the hotel, slept in, and generally relaxed.  I must say, for such a large group, we were fairly well organized.

So, just a few weeks before I leave Israel, I finally went to Eilat.  🙂

Streams of light

“In this wondrous age, however, praised be God, the commandments of God are not delimited, not restricted to any one group of people, rather have all the friends been commanded to show forth fellowship and love, consideration and generosity and loving-kindness to every community on earth. Now must the lovers of God arise to carry out these instructions of His: let them be kindly fathers to the children of the human race, and compassionate brothers to the youth, and self-denying offspring to those bent with years. The meaning of this is that ye must show forth tenderness and love to every human being, even to your enemies, and welcome them all with unalloyed friendship, good cheer, and loving-kindness. When ye meet with cruelty and persecution at another’s hands, keep faith with him; when malevolence is directed your way, respond with a friendly heart. To the spears and arrows rained upon you, expose your breasts for a target mirror-bright; and in return for curses, taunts and wounding words, show forth abounding love. Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.”

 (Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 20)

To carry out these instructions in practice is our struggle, our daily test.  And it is so easy to fall into the traps of our lower nature, which urge us to fight, to treat others with disrespect, cruelty, and even hatred.  It is an active process, something we must pay attention to and guard our behavior.

I have been so blessed in my life to be surrounded by individuals who manifest the positive qualities listed above.  It saddens me to leave the ones that I have served with at the Baha’i World Centre, but I am so, so happy that I have had the opportunity to meet them, if only for a fleeting moment in eternity.

The perfect recipe

Much like the accidental discoveries of Post-It notes or Superglue, I found that I have the recipe for a perfect evening. Forgive me if the measurements are not exact.

4 lovely women

1 baby

gluten-free pasta salad/Persian rice/vegetable soup

homemade hot chocolate

laughter

I do not, however, recommend putting any of the above ingredients in the oven. 🙂 hmm…I wonder what is the taste of laughter baked on 375 F…I have a feeling it is slightly chewy.

the written word

your words came to me
at exactly the right moment.
I hovered in silence, in pain and confusion,
all earthly attachments.

your words…I had no response.
we are none of us innocent
and yet, and yet…

we are souls, our spirits crave connection
to see the God in each other
to see the prayers realized
is unusual and precious in its rarity.

thank you.

Forever days

The stinging, spicy aftermath of the largest salad she had ever eaten lingered on her lips and tongue. Blank pages stare at her hungrily.

look around.

One in the corner, with a calendar on her lap, the eraser end of her pencil lodged between her teeth and short dark hair swept to the side, dark eyes intent as she shuffles things around.

Slouched sideways, only the top of his hair peeks out over the book he reads, through the noise of the coffee grinder and ambient café music. Occasionally his beard appears from hiding, his hand reaches out and he drinks his frozen mocha, still immersed.

Next in line, her face is lit by the glow of her laptop. “Pictures!” she exclaims, and stares into the depths of the screen, smiling in response to something…or nothing. Her green eyes glow from within.

Across the table, he writes almost as fast as she does, their pens nearly colliding. Dim lights make blond hair only glow, not shine, and when he looks up, he meets the eyes of the girl with the calendar.

They are an awkward and comfortable rectangle with five corners.

Empty water glasses litter the table. They discuss the internet, language, anger, music, communication, and death. The natural rhythm of conversation dips down, climbs up, and plateaus, and all heads bend back down over their projects.

Darker it grows inside and out, the volume of noise rises in the café as the evening shift starts. They are silent. These are the forever days, in which no pictures are taken, but the familiar faces with familiar expressions have knowledge beyond words.

This is life.

Jumping around (literal, figurative)

2 months.  62 days.  1,488 hours.  89,280 minutes.  <– My time remaining in the Holy Land.  That is all there is to say about that, for the moment anyway.  I’m busy working, over 60 hours a week now as things ramp up around here.  I love it. 

For starters, it has been a bit of a crazy week.  I heard about 11 engagements in the course of 1 week…11 couples getting married.  It has been pointed out to me that this is probably because I know a lot of people.  This is true.  However, it is also because it is spring, people are planning summer weddings, and I am 24 years old…all logically leading to a certain percentage of my friends getting married.  I am very excited, although I’m only going to a couple of these weddings.

On to the next thing.  There are a few blogs/sites that I want to bring to your attention.  All of these are on my links page, of course. 

Elemental Change – a collaborative blog by some Baha’i friends of mine on a wide variety of topics: entrepreneurship & finance, design & music, technology & social enterprise, politicking & think tanking.   I am really enjoying it so far, and can’t wait to see more.

2inspire.us – “What the news ought to be.”  I really love the idea behind this.  Why is the majority of our news so negative?  Well, we know why…people are attracted to tragedy.  But our spirits need upliftment too.  Check it out.

Baha’i Perspectives – many of you have heard about this site.  Articles on subjects that affect all of us, written by Baha’i friends around the world.

Artificial Sound & Light – my friend Vahid changed it up a little bit with his new blog.  Totally different from many of the blogs I read.

The Candy Coating – Dangerboy and Orion, two guys with a blog.  Thoughtful, often funny essays on various topics.  They are both Baha’is, but it is really a place for people to share their thoughts and talk to each other. 

Finally, I had a wonderful evening last night.  Taco dinner, Persepolis, and an impromptu Sufjan Stevens dance party in my friend’s living room (yes, it is possible to dance to this kind of music).   I love that my friends and I can still dance around like when we were little kids…with no judgement or shame.  🙂

Tonight, at Bahji…

I walked around the gardens, and picked up a fallen flower to hold close to my heart.

I ran down a path in darkness and silently shouted to the palm trees and sky, a promise and a blessing.

 

 

Tonight, at Bahji, I continued the process of letting go. Of people, of places, of expectations, of the labels and insecurities and confusing thoughts. And I reconstructed, strengthening ties and bonds and the pieces of spirit between all of us that hold us together. Letting go and holding on are not all that different, after all.

Be a true friend. Be loving and mindful of the tests that we are all going through. Be compassionate, firm, and joyful. Seek out justice. Continue to learn patience. Continue to learn everything.

This is a reminder to me, but also to you.

The usual pattern

you let silence take us
you, with your wildly inaccurate dreams, me alone in a busy room…
out we went, our years between somehow left on a dusty shelf in your old apartment
the one that was never, ever clean.
I was your muse and sometimes you were mine, but mostly we were.

We are now.
for the first time in what was forever, I left and you left, in different ways.
I am. Always will be, have never changed, and was honest about that.
You will continue to be one of the most creative people I know.
But I no longer know you.

Gone we are down paths I said we would take, over and over,
“this is where you will go, and this is where I will go.”
and you just shook your head.
(remember, I said “I am always right.”)

Somehow, it just keeps happening.

Functional earrings

I wore these earrings today, which I bought a year ago:

They’re metal and quite heavy. I walked over to a table at lunch where several of my friends were sitting. The guys immediately noticed the earrings and starting discussing what they looked like (gongs, apparently, or palm fronds). The conversation then turned into a list of all of the things that should be made into earrings.

Triangle (ding ding! Dinner’s ready, folks!)
Grandfather clock
measuring tape
pepper spray
dental floss
ear warmers
ears!
hammers/screwdrivers
pez dispensers
tambourines/gongs
mp3 players
digital billboards
spinners
tv screens
satellite dishes

99 days

Today I noticed that we have 99 days until a Very Important Event (I should have noticed 100, but it has been a little busy around here!).

Last night I spent time with people I usually don’t see very often, and it was a breath of fresh air. We had coffee (well, I ate an entire meal, dinner #2) and had some conversation that made my brain happy. By this I mean there were ideas and conversations that were entirely different than my usual interactions, with new stories and amusing anecdotes. Perfect.