The Eighth of September: Professional Edition

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I (think) spring is finally here to stay, and the timing is perfect because I was swell-free until week 35 and now I daily find myself wondering if anyone else has seen where my formerly dainty ankles went? All that to say, I am thankful for flip flops. I'm also thankful that when I play or sing Beyonce, my daughter goes kind of crazy in the womb. So, she is definitely mine. 

Since it has been a lot of "here comes the baby in the baby carriage" around here, it was fun to look through our wedding photos and I realized I'd never gotten around to sharing them on here.

If you feel so compelled to humor me and my stretch marks and enjoy the documentation of our wedding photographers, here are a million photos of a day I really loved.

(And yes, you should listen to this as you do it. Or not. You get it.)
Reading the letter Bryan wrote to me. I read it aloud to everyone (are you supposed to do that?) and we all laughed and cried, and THANK GOD FOR MAKEUP, AM I RIGHT?
Visited a MAC makeup artist at Nordstrom the day before. So glad I decided to not go with the drag queen eyebrows he recommended in the trial. 
The "hold onto your boobs while your mom ties you in tight enough to not breathe, the dress on the shelf shot, my beautiful mom, and my sweet friend and sister saying "So glad you went with your own eyebrows!" respectively.

This was shortly after it finally stopped raining, and the tent was secure in the ground once more. Tornado warnings the night before your outdoor wedding are a great way to keep you on your toes. 
My sister Camille and I (also known as ebony and ivory), some of the best women I know, and Caroline - my sweet flower girl that sang Lion King during the ceremony and that's how I knew we made a great choice. (Lion King is one of my love languages). 
Sweet man politely reading the letter I wrote him quietly to himself. 
My dad walked my sister down the aisle in her wedding chomping on gum. This time we did a mouth check before walking down the aisle and much to his chagrin, I asked him to remove his giant sunglasses ;) Also, THE SKY, YOU GUYS
The golden hour, bridal parties vogueing, and Bryan's serious face are a few of my favorite things. 

My hair beginning to deteriorate, and Bryan whispering indistinguishable words in my ear pretending to tell me a secret but really it was just hot breath making me laugh a lot.

My stepdad is an amazing sculptor. That aluminum tree made my dreams come true. Yeah, that's dramatic. 
Middle two photos: My husband and mother-in-law surprising everyone (including me) with a choreographed medley they came up with like four days before? It was hilarious and awesome and I will be providing video documentation as soon as possible. 
And so begins my favorite types of photos: everyone losing their minds at the reception.

End scene.

A Year Later

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I've been trying to come up with a way to articulate what my life is like now, almost a whole year after leaving Delta. It was a big decision giving it up. It was all Bryan and I had known for our relationship. It was something I worked really hard to achieve, and much of the time -- I really loved it. I know most might be tempted to roll their eyes because it's not like I was a brain surgeon or working with Meryl Streep (yes, I put Meryl Streep and brain surgeons on the same level of brilliance), but it was something I earned and something I was good at and a really significant chapter for me in all of the ways I changed and grew and learned and experienced how big and small the world is.

I remembered something I wrote a long time ago, and realized it sums up how I felt in the transition from flying to life back on the ground. 

I wrote this right before I left for my seven weeks of training in Atlanta. I'd never lived that far from home. I remember being so excited and afraid and sometimes anxious.

(earth and water by langdon graves)

I’ve sat at a desk, hoping that one day I would go somewhere. 

That God would change me into something better than I was sitting in my office chair.

There’s nothing wrong with sitting in an office chair. It was my heart, in the chair, that was wrong.

I just hoped God would turn my heart into something that looked more like His own. Something lovely. 

And for a long time, a little thought crept in. That I would be the same forever. That God didn’t hear me. And that — was a lie. 

But change requires time. Change sometimes requires sadness, and sometimes pain -- but it’s a sometimes. It’s not a forever.

My sister started watching Lost. And I started (again) because I like being around her. (And sometimes Matthew Fox).

Plane crashing and mysterious island monsters aside, there’s a small moment that I noticed. Jack (a doctor…and, Matthew Fox) tells Kate a story (while she’s stitching his open wound with a needle and thread). He was in the middle of surgery and made a grave mistake. 

He allowed himself five seconds to be completely consumed with the fear and panic of what he’d done. 

Five seconds, and then it was over—-and then he had to choose to complete the surgery and save the patient.

Five seconds to validate every emotion swelling in your heart, and then, action.

Some people think they need hours. Some days. Or weeks. Some spend the rest of their life hoping for something different, or wonder what decision wasn’t the right one. 

I anticipated a lot of mourning -- of thinking wistfully of traveling all over and forgetting the long days without much rest and rude people. I expected for it to be hard to adjust to life on the ground every day. And I forgot all about the mercy that comes with obedience and faith. The latter has left me astounded at this past year and its abundant blessings and grace. It hasn't been perfect, but it has been joyful.

I know I made the right decision, even though it was giving up something I loved. I gave up something I loved for what I knew I loved better (my husband), and now -- my baby girl that's still growing inside me and shoving her butt up inside my ribcage whenever I sit down.

And I'd make the same choice every time. 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Listen, I know winter has made just about everyone want to drain their eyeballs, but I've been surprisingly okay with it. The past two winters I was still flying. I was living by weather reports and praying it wouldn't snow so I didn't have to be stuck with angry New Yorkers on the tarmac at LaGuardia for three hours before being forced to go back to the gate. You know -- just praying that passengers wouldn't somehow try to blame me for the weather (which sounds ridiculous, but happened REALLY FREQUENTLY. PLAYA PLEASE). I was never sure if I'd be able to go home and would often end up sleeping on chairs in the airport and wondering when how much time I'd be able to spend with my friends and family before I had to leave again.

All of that to say, I know how much winter can suck and it gave me a really nice perspective on just how good it is to be stuck at home. Coupled with my plumping up like a little pregnant hen, I've actually enjoyed winter this year. 

It wasn't until crossing the threshold into March and realizing we were running out of things that were fun to do inside that I, too, started daydreaming about good old muddy spring. Even with my diaphanous winter skin (just kidding, my skin is this white all day every day), not wearing socks sounds really nice. 

Here's some music to play in anticipation of that first blissful weekend when it's warm enough to open the windows and clean our houses and we can finally move our sandals a little closer to the front of our closets and go take a long walk and come home tired and smelling like the outside world. (Music for cleaning is very important to me).

What jams have you been loving lately? Lucius has been my go to. 

Naming a Person

Friday, February 28, 2014

At the beginning, when my uterus was still pretty small but I made up for it in bloating, Bryan and I went out for burgers. It was an incredible evening in which I was not repulsed by food, so I had to work really hard to not consume all of it in under five minutes. We started talking about baby names, which wasn't unusual because I've basically done it on every date we've gone on since we started goin' steady. It usually ends just as quickly as it began, because we don't agree on any names and then I spiral into despair at the thought of having a nameless human.

That particular evening in a miracle of the Lord, we chose a boy name and a girl name for our tiny fetus. We knew we wanted to find out if said fetus was a girl or a boy, and call them by name as soon as possible. They were names I'd had my heart set on for years and suddenly, Bryan loved them too. I think we were both dumbfounded, because it was so easy and that doesn't seem like something that should be.

We were really excited with our choices.

Our requirements were that they'd be strongly masculine or feminine.We didn't want anything that was too trendy, (because life is confusing being in a classroom with ten other kids with your same first name), but we also didn't want to sway so far in the other direction that our child resented us forever for naming them Bookshelf Dorsey.

Since neither of us are in the habit of keeping exciting things to ourselves regarding this pregnancy, we told our family right away. When we found out it was a little girlfran, we were basically ready to monogram everything.

Imaaaaaagine our surprise when, a little over a month later, Disney (FREAKING DISNEY) released a supremely cute movie just in time for winter called Frozen. That is all fine and well. Disney releases a lot of cute movies. Imaaaaaagine our surprise when one of the princesses in the movie shares the name of our unborn daughter. The name we chose so carefully and loved because every new baby doesn't have it, and it's beautiful and simple and strong.

In most instances, many people might have just chosen a different name and moved on. We definitely still have time to do that. The thing is, as soon as we found out she was a girl, we called her by name and really can't bring ourselves to imagine her as anything else. So we're keeping it. We will persevere through every assumption that we named her after a Disney princess, and I will pray every time we go into a mall that she doesn't lose her ever-loving mind when she walks by the Disney store and sees dolls with her name on them. At least we know what we can get her for Christmas every year until she's like ten, right? Maybe we'll get her little name cards to hand out to people that say, "No, I was not named after the queen of Arendelle. My parents named me before that movie." Maybe it really just won't matter in a few years. Maybe it will be on every monogrammed Pottery Barn Kids catalog from now until the end of time. OH WELL. Maybe I just need to let it go. (<--SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)

We love you, Elsa. I hope your hair is as great as your forever assumed namesake's.

Tell me about your name or your babies' names. Is your name Bookshelf and you really love it? 

A Love Story

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I had the honor and privilege of sharing the story of Bryan and me over on Danielle's blog.. I've loved reading her blog for a long time, so I was kind of beside myself when she asked me to be a part of her series. 

Go visit!

The First Half

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We decided to keep the news of our pregnancy to ourselves and wait a while before we shared the exciting news. We waited about ten minutes.

I understand now why some people (some people that are supernaturally gifted in the realm of self-control) wait until the end of the first trimester to announce the pregnancy. I am not that person, though. I am the one that gets so excited when I buy Bryan a great Christmas gift that I ask him if he wants to have it as soon as I get home from buying it.

Really, though -- it wasn't just compulsion that led us to announcing our pregnancy so early. We knew that we wanted people to pray with us. The thought of bearing the burden alone if something happened wasn't something either of us really wanted. So we told the people we loved, and then basically everyone else because why stop there.

Here's what I've learned so far.

+ Throwing up is scary. I have had up until this point in my life, a completely irrational fear of vomiting. The last time I threw up before pregnancy was my junior year of high school, and before that was fourth grade. I think I just have vivid memories of my mom being sick when I was little and it was just the two of us, and when she was sick it was like the entire universe was falling apart. When I am in the presence of vomit I kind of get like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense when he closes his eyes and yells "stuttering stanley" over and over and kind of rocks back and forth. For a couple of days, I got a migraine and was only allowed to take tylenol, which basically does nothing. I threw up twice in the middle of the night, and woke Bryan up to tell him. I did that whisper yell thing and said, "I THREW UP DON'T YOU THINK I'M BRAVE?" and he kept sleeping because people throw up all the time and it's not a big deal.

Around Thanksgiving, the entire Dorsey family inherited an amazing stomach virus that wreaked havoc on all the land. I was pretty sure Bryan was going to turn inside out. I was so nervous about throwing up that I started to stress google "how to avoid stomach flu" and several websites mentioned drinking apple cider vinegar, because it helps alkalize the acids in your stomach. It sounded like a brilliant idea, what with my being pregnant and nauseous all the time anyway to just go ahead and drink vinegar? About twenty minutes later, I realized that my plan probably wasn't going to work, as I snatched Bryan's bucket and exorcist-vomited like I was getting rid of an evil spirit. Bryan was so delirious and distraught he said "OH NO I GOT YOU SICK -- WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE VINEGAR?" Lesson learned, just take some vitamin C and pray a lot. Or else you will end up with a horrible rash all over your face and neck, and broken blood vessels in your eyeballs. Whatever, I made it count.

+ Pregnancy cravings are real, and make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
I was nauseated every day, all day. When people ask you how you are feeling, if you say "Oh, I am nauseous all day, every day" they usually say, "Have you thrown up?" and if you say no, pay close attention to their facial expressions. You will see them slowly revoking their sympathy with their eyes. I would like to say that nausea without the relief of vomit is still pretty miserable, so be nice to your nauseous friends. All food sounded repulsive. If someone even mentioned an avocado I might bash my face through a window because it sounded that gross. In the very brief moments when certain foods did sound good, I needed it immediately. I had no idea they would be foods that I was never interested in ever at any other point in my life save for elementary school. The prize winners for weirdest cravings were: chicken patties (of the school cafeteria variety), rainbow sherbet, and Skittles.

+ Sometimes it's hard to hear the heartbeat.

Bryan and our doctor shared the ceremonial moment when they heard the tiny fetal heartbeat. I kept hearing my own. Finally, I just was like, "Oh yeah I totally hear it!" but mostly I said that because I was like WHAT A LAME MOM and felt like Rachel in Friends when she can't actually see her baby in the sonogram. (I did hear it at the next appointment, and immediately started crying).

+ Pregnancy dreams really are that weird.

1.  I went to the hospital at eight weeks, by myself. I was not in labor, I just decided once I got to the hospital that I would like to go ahead and have the baby. Bryan was at work. I texted everyone I knew and said, "It's baby day!" thinking everyone would be really excited, but no one responded. I let my doctor know that I decided to have the baby that day because it was the size of an olive and I figured it wouldn't hurt my lady parts to deliver an olive. The doctor unfortunately did not comply with my plan and told me to please go home and let the baby grow. Dejected and pissed that no one cared that I was going to have a baby, I went home.

2.  I slept through the labor and delivery, and when I woke up, I asked Bryan how everything went and what we had. We had a boy. We called my mother-in-law to tell her, and she was so disappointed it was not a girl that she said we could try again next time. We said, "Don't you want to meet him?" And she said, "Nah, I'm good." This is particularly hilarious because my mother-in-law is a total baby-loving nana regardless of grandchild's gender.

3. My favorite. It was time to have the baby and I was having a c-section. At the last minute before they were going to make the incision, they realized there was something wrong with my heart -- so they decided to just open up my chest instead. When they opened up my chest, my heart was missing. In its place was a perfectly fried chicken tender.

+ There's no way I could have waited until pushing the baby out to find out what we were having. For everyone that waits to be surprised, I admire you and am in complete awe and HOW DO YOU DO IT? (P.S. it's a GIRL).

It's a head! Just kidding, it's a foot, apparently!
+ Some people are really bad at reading sonograms.

Fran: Oh, is that her arm waving at us?
Sonographer: No, that's the umbilical cord.

Fran: That's her leg, right?

Bryan: No, that's her hand.

+ Sometimes it's hard to feel the flutters. I didn't feel her moving until 20/21 weeks. Every time I asked someone what it was supposed to feel like, they said "like butterflies," or, "a tiny flutter." And based on how well I heard the heartbeat the first time I thought, "Wow, sounds like I'm totally not going to feel that slash probably ignore it?" But thanks to our awesome sonographer she told me that I have a rude anterior placenta blocking me from feeling the little lady. I can feel her now, and for everyone that thinks they won't feel it, I promise you will and I promise no one will be able to accurately describe to you how it will feel.

+ I will praise the Lord all the days of my life for Tums. 

Pardon me, I have to go read about breastfeeding now and mourn the boobs of my youth.

Hey Baby, Hey Baby, Hey

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I had a lot of baby dolls when I was little. I LOVED Baby All Gone, until like many children before me, I discovered that I wasn't actually replenishing her spoon with cherries or peas from the jar but that the food was built into the spoon (RUDE). I never had Baby Alive (the one that peed) or a Water Baby (the one that you open the plug on its back and fill it with water so it feels like a real human?) but I had Kitty Surprise, and that was all I truly cared about.
When life was about evening gowns, and I was
morally against brushing my hair?
Playing with baby dolls was always very fun, but I don't have particularly vivid memories of pining for motherhood. When I thought of growing up one day, that usually meant growing boobs. Boobs would mean I had accomplished everything necessary in becoming a woman. Praise God, somewhere in there I found I had more meaningful life aspirations and I stopped putting on eyeshadow as lipstick. 

I've always known I wanted to have babies, even though they mostly terrified me. One time a friend of mine said I wasn't overtly maternal. It felt like such an offensive declaration, but really, it was true. I've never really been one to clamor to hold a newborn (because the pass off is horrifying because WHAT IF I DROP IT). I can't really ever tell which parent tiny babies look like, they usually just look like Benjamin Buttons to me at first. I don't really know what to say to babies until they can communicate with me. I just knew that I could do it, though. I had no idea how, but it was something I never felt doubtful about.

On the day before our first anniversary, I felt crazy and sure that I was pregnant. We were going to stay at an awesome hotel for the weekend, and when I should have been packing, I triumphantly brandished a stick that confirmed my suspicion. My eyes filled up with a frenzy of tears and Bryan didn't believe me at first. We cried, kind of panicked for a minute, and then laid on our bed and stared at the ceiling and were quiet and lost in thoughts. 

That night at the hotel we celebrated with an expensive feast free of booze, but full of steak and water and desserts we couldn't pronounce. 

The tiny human that will one day have a favorite movie, dislike certain condiments, and tell stories to make people laugh will make his or her debut in May. 

Unfortunately, I will not be posting photos of me holding fruits or vegetables comparable in size to our growing fetus. Mostly because I have no idea what I will look like at the end of this gestational season, and thanks to my natural Carebear shape, I've looked about three months pregnant on any given day of my life prior to this blessing.

I can't wait to tell you about the gross things I've craved and my otherworldly fear of vomiting. 

I promise to teach this baby about the importance of Whitney Houston, and I'll try to explain why I once played with a stuffed cat with a velcro stomach I eagerly tore open to find kittens in. 

The First Year of Marriage

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Two days before our wedding last year, Bryan and I got married.

Our friend that was officiating on our wedding day wasn't technically licensed to do so. In an effort to cover all bases and make sure the jig was legal, it was recommended that we get married by a justice of the peace beforehand.

My parents live about twenty minutes from a place called Falmouth. It is a little town that has "thrift stores" called TIT FOR TAT, and a hardware store with an ancient pug that roams the aisles like an old wise owl. There's also a little flower shop in which a man named Bob works as a florist and (coincidentally) is also a justice of the peace.

He was a quiet man that preferred to "just get it done in the flower shop before he left for the day," so we did just that. Bryan's parents, my parents, and my little sister Carynn accompanied Bryan and I to the flower shop where we stood in front of a fireplace covered in plastic foliage and smelled of Hallmark potpourri, and we got married. I wasn't wearing makeup, my mom was crying, and my little sister was distracted by something in another room.

After we signed the papers, I took off my ring and gave Bryan a kiss. "I love you. I have to go to my bachelorette party now."

I went out for dinner and drinks with my friends to ceremoniously bid adieu to my singleness, and Bryan celebrated our marriage with my parents in a Mexican restaurant in rural Kentucky.

We refrained from sharing this little story with too many people because, how boring to go to a wedding when you know they're already married? Inevitably, it also raises confusion as to what our actual anniversary is, or the questions of consummation (not until the actual wedding). I say it was the day I wore the white dress, not the day we stood in front of the fireplace. Technically, we have two anniversaries.

Right before we got married I thought, are we supposed to be best friends right this second? It seemed a matrimonial rite of passage to say things like, "I GET TO MARRY MY BEST FRIEND TOMORROW!" I absolutely agreed with the sentiment, but it seemed such a tall order for me. Best friends are a serious thing. Being best friends with a boy was really foreign to me, and I am pretty sure one of my spiritual gifts is over thinking something into oblivion. Just kidding, THAT'S NOT A GIFT.

All of that to say, Bryan and I weren't best friends on our wedding day the way that we are today. When we were dating, I found myself worrying so much about spending forever with someone and running out of the things to say. I would get too caught up on the hypothetical scenarios of the future instead of just enjoying the pursuit.

I was nervous about marriage, because my family is full of divorce on both sides, and I've grown up being told I was a statistic likely to fall prey to my upbringing. I wasn't going into it with rose-colored glasses. I treasured the wisdom of married couples that spoke words of hope and excitement about marriage. What is a great adventure without conflict or growth?

God has been merciful and gracious to us in our first year. I love marriage. While there have been many instances of it being a mirror of the Gospel, there was an evening that was really defining to me. I'd spent a whole day being a menace to society. By society, I mean most people I came in contact with, but mostly Bryan. I complained, whined and was super annoying. If I had been in a contest with that troll from Harry Potter (the one that trapped Hermione in the bathroom and got boogers all over Harry's wand) over who was more of a troll, I would have been the victor.

We were standing in the kitchen listening to The Lumineers and in the midst of whatever wretched thing I was complaining about, Bryan just smiled and hugged me and laughed a little bit and just started dancing with me. And just like the grinch, my heart grew and I started crying.

He treated me with goodness I didn't deserve. He didn't make a fancy show of it but he showed me he loved me in such a loud way without any words at all. In that moment I understood what people meant when they said that he was supposed to love me like Christ loved his bride, and I felt so honored to be a part of that.

Perhaps the better question besides "Is this my best friend?" should be, "Can this person love me when I am a troll?" The latter begets the former, I assure you. That's all I know about marriage so far.

"One who laughs well at her own expense.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I go to the library almost every day. When I lived at my parents' house, visiting it was fun and I could spend hours there. I did do that several times, actually -- because for quite some time my parents still had dial-up internet. It was dial-up without the satisfaction of hearing the screeching AOL sounds, which I think made it worse. It was slow enough that you could type in a web address, go make a sandwich, and by the time you returned the page may have loaded about halfway. It was sanctifying, to say the least.

Now that Bryan and I live in a thriving metropolis, I visit a new library branch. I don't go inside, because it's been under construction for a long time -- and I just don't feel like my library and I have bonded. I request everything online, and then pick it up through the drive-up window. I feel like this cheapens a good library experience, but I like to think that the librarians see my car and think, "Oh, it's the lovely girl that always owes us money in fines." The library gives me the necessary challenge of finishing books quickly because someone else wants to read it, and I feel guilty if I keep it for too long. 

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
Hands down, my favorite fiction of the whole summer. I want to say year, but I am slightly dramatic and I hate people being disappointed by my building something up too much. My nana and I read this at the same time. We'd mentioned it in passing, and then realized we were on the exact same page. NEAT, RIGHT? Anyway, Kate Atkinson is brilliant and the concept she came up with still overwhelms me in its complexity. Ursula Todd is a woman that dies in a million different ways as she grows older. Every time she dies, the story begins again from the snowy night in 1920 when she was born. It sounds macabre like an Edward Gorey book, but it was fascinating, compelling and Atkinson's words were so lovely. 

Favorite Quote: “No point in thinking, you just have to get on with life. We only have one after all, we should try and do our best. We can never get it right, but we must try.”

Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman 
I tried reading this a long time ago and jumped ship. It was interesting, but far from relevant for me and my interests at the time. I listened to the audiobook in the car on the way to and from work, and I enjoyed it. Let it be known that I feel like a fraud saying I read something when I actually listened to it. DOES IT STILL COUNT? Since we visited Paris, and I am less afraid of babies than I have been in the past -- I enjoyed it the second time around. It's still pretty much an anthropological case study for me at this point. I have zero baby cred, so I don't feel like I can make strong claims of what I did or did not agree with -- HOWEVER, I look forward to revisiting it once I am an actual parent. I hope my baby will one day eat asparagus and sleep through the night just like the French babes. Feel free to reference these hopes and dreams when I give my baby mountain dew or something.

For fans of: PARIS, and babies that love baguettes

Favorite Quote: “Yet the French have managed to be involved without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren't at the constant service of their children, and that there's no need to feel guilty about this. "For me, the evenings are for the parents." one Parisian mother tells me. "My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it's adult time.”

Revenge Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger
What would summer be if there weren't at least one "fluff" book. I feel like since Mindy Kaling is an educated and intelligent women that has no shame about her love of chick lit and flicks, it's okay for me to enjoy in moderation. I read the first book so long ago, I don't even remember anything about it -- but I have seen the movie at least a million times, so I felt required/obligated/inspired to read the sequel. It's such a quick read, and fun to picture the cast as I remember them (Meryl!) in the respective roles. I LOVE epilogues, and "where are they nows" so it was fun to catch up. By the end I was just SUPER annoyed by Andrea Sachs and completely over it, but not so annoyed that I wouldn't go see the film adaptation if it ever happened. UNLESS, Meryl doesn't agree to do it, in which case no one cares.

For Fans of: The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep, and Chick Lit

GRACE: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington
I LOVE THIS WOMAN. I knew that I loved her when I watched The September Issue, so my interest was piqued when I saw she'd written about her own life. I can't really resist memoirs. She has had the most fascinating and jam-packed life, and I couldn't put the book down. She's seventy years old and the creative director for Vogue. She doesn't wear makeup, her hair is incredible, and she speaks casually about her friendships with well-known names without ever sounding pretentious. The book is full of her own illustrations (which I loved). She even has an entire chapter about her love for cats, and has a cat psychic on-call to interpret her cat's feelings. Okay, maybe don't think about that part too much. In spite of the cat thing, she's so confident and blunt and no-nonsense and I was surprised by how much I liked the book. Let's all pretend it wasn't just because about the chapter on cats.

For Fans of: The September Issue, The Devil Wears Prada, name-dropping, behind-the-scenes forays of life in fashion

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I'd already read this one, but didn't realize she narrated the audiobook, so I decided it was necessary to listen immediately. I did the same thing with Bossypants and loved it even more the second time just getting to hear Tina Fey's voice. Though Fey and Kaling's books are inevitably compared because they are both hilarious, I'd say I related more to Mindy's experiences by our generational commonalities, whereas Tina Fey seems to be on this untouchable level of comedy. I think the greater question is, AMY POEHLER, WHERE IS YOUR BOOK? I will buy ten copies. It's a quick read anyway, but whatever you do, make sure you listen to it, too. Mindy seems so down-to-earth and not dark and twisty, and I would be best friends with her if I could. 

For Fans of: Bossypants (DUH)

Favorite Quote: “My mom’s a doctor, but because she came from India and then Africa, where childhood obesity was not a problem, she put no premium on having skinny kids. In fact, she and my dad didn’t mind having a chubby daughter. Part of me wonders if it even made them feel a little prosperous, like Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare this is?” 

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
1937, following one Katey Kontent as she navigates the upper echelons of Manhattan's elite (I'm sorry, that makes it sound like an episode of Gossip Girl from long ago). I loved Katey Kontent. (Kon-TENT, not KON-tent). It's easy to remember the pronunciation, because she was always content. She was maddeningly calm, and I loved that about her. I loved it because I experienced so many emotions (read: I am dramatic) and her steadiness made me like the characters more. Sometimes I would be annoyed by her friends, but she was so patient and loving toward them that I had to coach my inner voice on how to not be a jerk. That being said, it was a great story, with a healthy amount of plot twists without ever seeming soapy. 

For fans of: Old New York? I am tired of writing this post.

Favorite Quote: See post title :)

What should I read next? Tell me what you've loved reading recently, and I shall proceed without delay to my local library drive-thru!


To Be a Newlywed

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We are just a month shy of celebrating a whole year of marriage. After September 8, we will no longer be newlyweds, but wise old sages full of marital advice for couples of every season of life.


In any event, I've observed a few things from our first year. Some anthropological vignettes of two newly married twenty-somethings, if you will.

+ Any time you are feeling remotely under the weather, people will automatically assume you are pregnant. Refrain from correcting people by saying things like, "Sometimes it's diarrhea, and not a baby." It does not help if you are naturally carebear-shaped. I had a belly before we were married. My belly is not a baby yet. It's just a belly.

+ You are a newlywed for the entire first year. For some reason, I guess I was under the impression that it was just a "for the first few months" thing. It's not. It's all very exciting and lovely to be congratulated for a whole year. Conversely, there will always be people that say things like, "OH, SO YOU GUYS ARE IN THE HONEYMOON PHASE AND STILL LIKE EACH OTHER." They chuckle, and then you're like, "Thanks for the encouragement and hope for our future?"

Some of your friends will be afraid to come to your house, or call you, or text you, because they just figure you are doing it every hour of the day. In spite of the misconception, I can confirm that we still like to make sandwiches, and go out in public, and have thankfully been able to hold on to our jobs in spite of our demanding sex life.

+ Cooking for two is an exercise of trial and error. It might take a while before you realize that making the whole box of pasta and two pounds of meat sauce all at once could be too much food for you guys. Instead of being overwhelmed, rejoice in the fact that you can eat spaghetti for every meal the rest of the week.

+ The sooner you resign to the fact that farts will always be the most hilarious thing to men, the better.

"Dancing on the beach" or, "Grimacing"

Body Talk, pt. 1

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the fourth grade, my mom and sister and I moved from Connecticut to Ohio. I went to a (very) tiny private Catholic school in Northern Kentucky. It was a leap for me in the sense of what I learned about people and what I learned about myself. Every year prior had been about my friendships had been only about our common interests and having fun. It's no surprise to anyone that a lot of that probably involved pretending to be a cat or something. 

One afternoon in the bathroom at school, my new friends were talking about how much they weighed. I’d never known it to be a topic of discussion before that day. Initially I only thought it to be a playful banter of numbers, but I quickly realized that my number was the highest. I immediately knew that it was not considered a good thing, and I now know it as a turning point for me. It was that moment when I realized I had a body and I looked a certain way, and the world had a lot to try to tell me about how I should be. I had just never been aware of it until that time when we were supposed to just wash our hands and get back to our classrooms.

The interaction left me a little bewildered, but I was able to move on from it pretty quickly and not think much of it until the next year.

There was a sleepover in which most of my friends had attended and that I was not able to. If I had to guess, I probably hadn’t cleaned my room in time and lost fun privileges since most of my childhood my mom was like, “PLEASE, CLEAN YOUR ROOM.” It always took me weeks to do such a simple task because I had perfected the art of distraction. I remember my friend called me the next afternoon and I sat on the front porch, enjoying a pretty day and feeling grown up for having important phone calls to take. In what started out as a seemingly benign recap of the evening and the fun I’d missed, my “friend” turned the conversation into a dramatic retelling of how everyone talked about how fat I was. Our class had just recently had an end of the year pool party, and I’d considered myself brave to try to wear a modest two piece. I didn’t feel like myself, but I wanted to fit in with my friends in spite of my aversion to letting anyone see my stomach. 

My mind was reeling -- trying to figure out if I had said anything to provoke her hurtful words, and trying to remember that my mom had said that only sticks and stones would break my bones. But all I could think about was that this girl's words were killing me. I tried to hold the hot tears in my eyes and not let her hear my voice ready to break. I don’t know why I didn’t hang up the phone. I don’t know why much of the cruelty of middle school ever happens. I just know that she destroyed me. I felt betrayed by my friends and by my body for looking so offensive. I didn’t tell my mom because I knew how protective she was of me and how the other moms would be hearing from her. She loved me fiercely but I felt like I just needed to battle it alone. Only a few weeks later I encountered a mean boy at summer camp that flung derisive words about my body at me in front of his and my friends, and that same “friend” that called me to tell me about the sleepover went to the dance with him that week. 

I decided a few things then. 

I needed to stop crying in front of people, I needed to not be friends with that girl anymore, and I needed to be the only one that got a say in anything that had to do with my body. 

That summer started my war against my body. It started my years of battling with food, of sometimes starving myself or going to whatever lengths necessary to rid my body of anything ingested. It was when I started scanning the room for a pillow to make sure when I sat on someone's couch I had something to cover my midsection with so I could be comfortable. 

It was the beginning of public self-deprecation. If I could make a joke about my weight before anyone could think it themselves, I felt I had control over someone else's perception of me. It was a beginning of a lot of seasons of trying to figure out why food had such power over me and why I believed that it could help me or fulfill me in some way even though I knew it was a lie.

There always seems to be a flurry of excitement when summer approaches, and as much as I enjoy all the season has to offer -- I often dread it. It means a lot of barbecues (read: lots of food), a lot of bathing suits, and generally speaking -- it means everyone is wearing less clothes, and I don't ever have enough courage to follow suit.

Unfortunately, my experience is really common for girls and women. It's been a thorn in my side for most of my life, and it might be for the rest of it.

But I have tremendous hope, and I feel like God has been teaching me a lot about this. There's much to be said in the unlearning of the damaging words of others, and I want to talk about it. It's personal and important to me, and I felt like I would be completely remiss if I didn't share my story with others. Because it's something that my closest loved ones know about me. I hope you'll join the conversation (is this The View? No. Whatever, just go with it). I'll be sharing more soon.

I really love that you take the time to read my words. I've said that before, but I mean it every time.

“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren't all that different.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I feel like these unofficially became my summer reading list, even though it's not summer yet and I read them when winter was dragging us all through the mud. Whatever.

As evidenced by this SLIGHTLY varied selection of books I've read recently, it's clear that I am nothing if not eclectic in taste. 

I am a night owl, and Bryan is fortunate enough to be one of those people that falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. I feel that if I must toss and turn, I'd rather be reading a book to wind down because it seems productive.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
I think the first time I'd heard about it was on Annie's blog, so I finally got it from the library. I nominate this as a summer beach read. It's really well-written, lighthearted, and amusing. It's comprised of letters, emails, and memos among the characters and I found it interesting how she made it all work so well. The characters were endearing in their idiosyncrasies, but mostly funny.

For fans of: Arrested Development (the author was a writer for the show!)

Favorite Quote: Bernadette pulled the car over, took off her seat belt, and turned around. "That's right," she told the girls. "You're bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.” 


Intimate Issues, by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus
When I was in the "what is this all about phase" of christianity, I borrowed a book from a friend that was about Jesus being the lover of your soul (which is true). But without having a history of even understanding what that really meant, I walked away from it thinking, "Um, Jesus is not my boyfriend."  Which, to this day -- I tend to shy away from women's books like that. I just get a little barfy when every women's ministry book has flowers, cursive, butterflies, and coffee mugs. Like, why can't I just read a book with a sandwich on the cover? I'm a woman and I love Jesus. And I love sandwiches. I would just like christian publishing to surprise all of us with their choice of cover graphics. ALL OF THAT TO SAY, my friend recommended this book to me before we got married. I didn't get around to reading it before then, but once I did get to, I really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to single, engaged, or married women. I think there's useful information in there for everyone. Media has plenty to say about sex all the time, so it was a nice respite to learn about it in the way God intended. It is cheesy in some parts (WARNING) but it was a really beautiful and helpful perspective on intimacy. Also, It's broken into three parts: Simmering Questions, Smoldering, and Sizzling. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

For fans of: Sex?


This Is Where I Leave You,  by Jonathan Tropper
Sometimes I think I exist solely in the right side of my brain. I'm a little too scattered and have a lot of brain donor moments, but I have weird things I am very particular about. If a pen is supposed to have a cap and it is missing, I will not use that pen. It's a weird balance thing. Also, if I know the book is being made into a movie, I will make sure I read the book first. Part of me thinks that the fact that it was chosen to be adapted to film means it was great literature, but the Twlight franchise clearly negates that theory. Basically, I just want to be able to know which was better. I also love knowing the cast as it is announced. In this particular case, I didn't know much about the book before hearing about the film adaptation in the works. The cast is AMAZING. It was a quick read, and although it was well-written, I can only handle so many dysfunctional family stories. This one had lots of language, lots of content I'd have been fine without, and sometimes the dark humor was dark long enough that I felt sadder than entertained. I still have high hopes for the movie. I'd enjoy it for the cast alone, but I'd love for it to be lighter fare. Just my preference.

For Fans of: Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs

Favorite Quote: “It would be a terrible mistake to go through life thinking that people are the sum total of what you see.” 


Divergent & Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
My sister Camille spoke emphatically about how great these books were, but I was an immediate skeptic. She read them not too long after we consumed The Hunger Games trilogy, and my initial instinct is to scoff at YA fiction because I feel it is my duty as a no-longer-YA. I think after reading The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars, I know it to be true of myself that I don't dislike all of it and some of it deserves a chance. I'm just never going to be onboard with Teen Paranormal Romance. NO. At a first glance, there are a lot of similarities to The Hunger Games trilogy. There's no way around the comparison. I will be bold in saying that I might have even liked these better than The Hunger Games. I don't know if I really did or if it was because it had been so long since I'd read them and I missed reading about dystopian societies. I read them in like two days and now I have to wait for the third to come out. WHICH, BY THE WAY -- they are already filming the first movie. The cast, once again -- is awesome. Hopefully we are all Shailene Woodley fans, because she is playing the lead in Divergent as well as Hazel in The Fault In Our Stars

For fans of : The Hunger Games trilogy, and the end of the world.

Reshaping It All, by Candace Cameron Bure
Am I ashamed to admit that I checked it out from the library? A little bit, but not enough to not say that I READ THE WHOLE THING. The former member of the Tanner family in me just can't resist DJ "CHUBBY CHEEKS" TANNER. I was actually closer in age to Stephanie Tanner, but I'd have not protested to having DJ as my older sister. ANYWAY. I've had a post drafted for a long time about my struggle with my weight, and I plan to share it at another time. But for now, I will say that with as much fluff as it has, I was surprised by the book. She's very grounded and candid about her struggle with eating, and while I don't know everyone would be able to relate, I definitely did. I've read a lot of books about being healthy without being obsessive and how that relates to faith, but I liked that this one was just a quick read that encouraged healthy weight loss while also emphasizing how much your heart has to do with it. Toward the end I was like, "Okay please stop I just want to stop reading this." But overall, I'd say the first 75% was okay. 99.9% of it was cheesy, but I think we all just assumed that. 

For fans of: FULL HOUSE, and sandwiches

Favorite Quote: No.

Tell me what you've been reading! Especially anything fit for summer. Annnnnd GO!

The End of an Era

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hold on to your butts, this is a long one.

A week ago, I walked into the lounge at LaGuardia and turned in my crew badge and my manual. I shook hands with the supervisors, and effusively thanked them one last time for my best adventure so far.

I walked out of the small office into the room swarming with other flight attendants, like I had so many times before. This time, I was no longer one of them. I marveled at how unfamiliar it was to now be a passenger in the airport instead of an employee.

On my last commuting flight home, I let myself cry a couple of big, slow tears. Two was all I needed. That was good enough for me. I smiled at the marshmallow clouds that have been my office for two years, and I said thank you to God for letting do something so special.

My decision was not impulsive -- it's been something Bryan and I have been praying about for some time. It's something I've sought wisdom about from people I love and trust. It has been a really difficult choice. I've never had a job that I was even remotely sad to leave, and this one had so much of me wrapped up in it. My job isn't who I am, though. It would be a dangerous place to dwell too long if I were to begin to think so, and sometimes it was easy to do since it consumed so much of us.

I've always known I wasn't a lifer. I knew that eventually we'd have small humans to raise and that part of what I've always wanted is to be home with them (side note: I am not pregnant). I know a lot of people that make it work. Some are okay with being gone half the month, and find vitality in it. For us personally, it has not been sustainable. We still wanted to travel and see the world, but decided we'd do it more conventionally. I am relieved. So, so relieved to be home for good.

My job is all Bryan and I have known in our relationship. The first time he called me, I was on a layover in Los Angeles having frozen yogurt with one of my friends from training. The first time we ever met was at the airport. He picked me up at arrivals and we didn't know whether to shake hands or hug. He picked me up after trips. He dropped me off before I had to commute. He flew to Austin to be with me so I didn't have to be alone on Christmas. He is patient, sweet, and supportive. I would choose him every time.

On Tuesday of last week, he picked me up from the airport one last time. He had flowers wrapped in paper, and a vase to keep them fresh, because that is so Bryan. He wrote me a letter, and took me out for sushi and Gatsby. It felt like the best welcome home, and gave me such peace.

I've met amazing people, seen a lot of places, and made lifelong friends. I started this blog. I hope you'll stick with me as the direction changes and our conversations are a little bit different.

Being a flight attendant made the world smaller to me in the best way. By the cultures I experienced through my co-workers, passengers, and places I'd never been, my heart expanded in ways I didn't know possible. I'm a very different person than I was two years ago. There are some seasons of our lives that seem to particularly shape us, and this has been one of my greatest to date. I started out so afraid of everything, and somewhere in the process the world became less intimidating and I think the heels made me walk a little taller.

We're going to live life in a new way now. This won't be the only post on the matter. I hope to share more details later, but for now it feels good to just let it all be known. God has been so gracious and providential in presenting new opportunities for me professionally, and I hope to share details on that soon.

In the mean time, I updated my Travel page and I hope you'll enjoy it. I am really proud of this chapter of my life. It makes me cry joy tears.

You're gems. Thanks for being a part of this with me.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Would you mind putting my purse into the overhead bin?"

 She handed me a heavy Prada bag and I tried to use it to immediately shield her from seeing the crimson in my face. It was Rosemarie Dewitt. I have a small arsenal in my mind of my favorite actresses that I would like to meet, but I NEVER ACTUALLY THOUGHT I WOULD HOLD ONE OF THEIR PURSES.

Of course, I was really excited about being on a five hour flight with her -- and OF COURSE, no one else I was working with had any idea who I was talking about. Basically they just look at me like, "Why are you getting excited about the lady with the brown hair sitting in a seat."

At one point, she was not in her seat and by my incredible deductive reasoning, I decided I would take my time setting up my cart right next to the lavatory so I could be ready to say something profound when she came out.

She walked out and said, "Excuse me."

Then I was silent for a moment, and said "OH I'M SORRY."








Also, did anyone else watch Project Runway the season that Anya won? Because she was on that same flight, too. 

How to Make a Flight Attendant Love You

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My first job was in an ice cream parlor. I worked at Gap for a while and folded more jeans than I'd ever care to for the rest of my life. I worked at a Starbucks in an affluent neighborhood where people asked for two-thirds decaf triple venti sugar-free-vanilla half-breve half-whole milk 1 splenda no-foam extra hot lattes. I eventually transferred to a store with a drive-thru, and then transitioned into a couple of office jobs answering a million phone calls before landing this AIR WAITRESS job.

All of that to say, I know customer service and I know how hard it can be. It's made me sensitive to how I treat the people that serve me. It really matters to let them know you appreciate what they do. I've experienced the broad spectrum of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to customers.

I've had this opportunity for two years now to welcome people onto an airplane, and lift their spirits. I want them to feel safe, and to know that if anything should happen that I would do everything in my power to get them off the plane. At any given moment we have to be rule followers, nurses, therapists, trash collectors, waitresses, hostesses, and airplane evacuators. I'm happy to do it, because I love people and I want it to be a positive experience.

I will be the first to agree that there are plenty of flight attendants that are militant trolls. They are a rare breed. WE ARE NOT ALL LIKE THAT. Please, let me be the bridge between passengers and flight attendants. I AM TRYING TO BE THE BRIDGE.

Sometimes we'll fly up to four flights in a day. We don't get off the plane. Sometimes the day seems to be coming to a close, but crew scheduling re-routes the crew at the last minute and adds another flight to the day (that just happened to me yesterday). We don't get paid until the boarding door is closed, and ANY flight attendant would tell you that the worst part of the whole flight is boarding.

Since I really can't remember what type of passenger I was, I started thinking about the passengers that make my day. I thought it would be fun to ask some of my other friends/co-workers what made their day better.


Without further ado, here's what my co-workers want everyone to know about the passengers they LOVE.

+ COURTESY. The first things my friends told me was how much it meant to them when someone said hello and asked how they were doing. Make eye contact. Take your headphones out and engage with them when they are serving or helping you.

+ OVERHEAD BIN ETIQUETTE. If you can't lift your bag over your head and stow it, check it to your final destination. Flight attendants are not responsible for lifting anyone's bag. That's not something we made up, it's what we're taught in training. Even twisting a bag in the wrong way can wreak havoc on the body. It's aaaactually not in our job description. One of my friends moved someone's bag and then was out on OJI for three months because it did so much damage to her neck. Put your coat on top of your own suitcase, or hold onto it until the end of boarding and ask for one of us to stow it for you. Another passenger boarding after you might not have space for their own bag because the bins look full.

+ HYGIENE. PLEASE DO NOT CLIP YOUR TOENAILS ON THE PLANE, hide a slice of cheese in the safety information card, go into the lavatory barefoot, or take out your teeth and put them on your seat while you leave and go to the bathroom. (All of those things have actually happened). I'm tempted to add that I'd love to not have to walk through people's silently lethal farts, but I understand that beggars can't be choosers.

+ ANNOUNCEMENTS. Listen to them. I know it's hard, because there is a lot going on. I totally get that. They do exist for a reason, though. You'll find out how long the flight is, when you need to turn off your electronics, and other helpful info that ensures a timely departure. I think this is one of the most frustrating for me. It's hard to say the same thing over and over and over and people still completely ignore you.

+ JUST TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. You're right, your iPhone is not going to make the plane crash. We know your iPhone is not going to make the plane crash. I am sure there is much evidence to prove that. I just know that the FAA still considers it a rule and I can be personally fined if I don't say it.  I truly don't care if you want to hide it from me, I just ask that you have the decency to not think me a complete idiot when I walk by and you say it's off while you're playing Temple Run.

THE HOLY GRAIL OF KINDNESS TO A FLIGHT ATTENDANT: If you're finished with a magazine, hand it to her as she walks through collecting trash and say, "I thought you might like this." Seriously, you'll get so many cookies and extra beverages if you do it. TRY IT. Sometimes when I am on the cart and I see someone with a Real Simple, I will look at their seat number and go back and check afterward to see if someone left it. (And by Real Simple I obviously meant People). Recently on a flight from LAX to JFK, I was talking to a woman in first class about the book she was reading, because I've curiously picked it up several times in the book store (this one). She said she loved it, and recommended it. Later in the flight, as she was walking to the restroom and passing me in the galley, she handed it to me and said, "Here, I think you'll enjoy this. I just finished it and you can have it." I was speechless. I almost cried because it was so kind. I thanked her every time I walked by her seat and I am sure she probably regretted it because I acted like I won a pageant or something.

+ BRING TREATS. A few times when I've been working on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or New Year's OR JUST BECAUSE, I've had passengers bring us chocolates or candies. They say, "thank you for taking care of us" and then I almost pass out from the kindness. Can you imagine if we were thoughtful to each other like this on a regular basis? I hope one day I can teach my kids the importance of being brave enough to notice people well.

All sassiness aside, I don't think these suggestions apply only to flight attendants. It's easy to say, "That's their job to do those things," but I love the idea that I could help a person feel a bit lighter on their feet because I helped make their job easier. Even if it was only for a moment.

Please know that if I ever had you as my passenger, I'd be glad to see you and help you in whatever way I am able. I know traveling isn't easy anymore. I know it's hard to go anywhere now and not be a little bit frightened and untrusting of people. If you're not feeling well, I want you to know that I care and I'll get you some ginger ale and pretzels. I want you to know that if you're afraid of turbulence, I will comfort you the best I can -- even though I am sick and I love turbulence. It's my job to make you feel welcome.

What are some ways you've been blessed by customers at your job?

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