7/29/10

Tweet Style

The other morning I woke up and said to Blake:

"You know why I like Twitter?"
"Hm." (His common response when he really doesn't care about the answer)
"Because I think a big part of happiness is piecing together the many little things throughout the day that make you smile, and Twitter helps you remember those."
Blake rolled over and went back to sleep. (In his defense, it was 6:30 AM)

So, in an attempt to catch up on the many things that I didn't tell you about the last week, I'll summarize in "tweet" form.

1. Went for a walk along the West Haven boardwalk one evening, chatted with my husband, and stopped for dinner at Turk's - an old seafood restaurant that Blake's grandfather built.

2. Went for an early run in the humidity one morning and arrived at the office an hour early. Points for productivity pre-8 AM.

3. Conducted a late night meeting on Thursday with cast members and advisors to Wall Street Exodus. Arrived home at 10:30.

4. Had my first experience with Stew Leonard's. Vowed I would never go there again if I only have two things to buy. It is the Ikea of grocery stores.

5. Met with Blake and MIL for lunch one day as a break from work. Enjoyed Crumbs in Westport.

6. Moved out of the West Haven apartment on Friday, into an apartment in New Haven. We'll only be there for 3 weeks, so Blake and I are hesitant to unpack. Instead, we spent the weekend sleeping at my parent's house.

7. Finally got some time by the pool on Saturday and Sunday. My poor skin hadn't seen sun in 3 weeks.

8. Had lunch and went to the town book sale with Blake and Taylor on Saturday. Not as successful as previous years, but that's actually a good thing. My "books to read" list is getting fairly extensive.
9. Made a J.Crew run with Mama. Purchased a new sweater.

10. Celebrated Chris's 26th birthday on Saturday night!

11. B's whole family hand-printed his parents' kitchen walls. Blake said, "Oh, good. Now the kitchen looks even more like a nursery." True story.

12. Went to church with my family. First time back at my childhood church since the wedding.

13. Had lunch with my best friend, Rachel, and her new boyfriend, Chris. I give my stamp of approval.

14. Enjoyed dinner with Blake, Chad (my boss) and his family at their house in Wilton. Their 6 year old gave us a circus show, we were fed numerous marshmallows at a campfire, and we talked past 11.

15. Went for a Model T ride along the beach with the boys.

16. Purchased a "new" car. Blake needed a car for the coming school year, so he sold his old one to his family and found an 06 Volvo S60. Good gas mileage, one previous owner, 5 cylinders, great condition.

You can follow me for real @ "BittyLeigh" on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/BittyLeigh

7/27/10

That's Classy.

We are all imitators by nature.

What (and who) we’d like to model dictates almost everything we do, whether we realize it or not. In a Christian perspective, this is what convicts us to follow Christ – we want to be like Him, so we live as He would want us to live. Keeping in mind that we live in a secular world, everyone - not only Christians - should be mindful of the things/people that become what we imitate.

Of course, secular imitation isn’t always a bad thing. There are positive, replicable qualities in many popular figures. More often than I’d like, however, I find myself modeling someone more than I display myself. It’s the problem of being yourself and being who God has designed you to be in a world of media representations telling you to be lots of other things.

It’s not really the media’s fault. 98% of the time we blame the media, it’s probably not the media’s fault.

What we need is a proper balance of self-to-role-model. Role models shouldn’t be the contrast to what God wants for us. Instead, they should be the visual representation of qualities that God has designed us, individually, to respect.

And I respect classiness.

No, no. This isn’t a roundabout way for me to justify my admiration for Audrey Hepburn or Dorothy Parker. But these are the women I look at as having some level of classiness that I see as attainable… somewhere in the distant future. That’s allowed, right?

I mean, what girl doesn’t want to be as classy as Audrey? It doesn’t mean I’ll go out and buy the pearls, chop my bangs into near non-existence and adopt a British accent (as much as I’d like to have an excuse to request a “spot of tea” or declare that something is “absolute tosh”). It does mean that I think certain women typify what it means to be a woman – which is classy as heck.

The following women are classy (according to me):

Audrey Hepburn.

Reasons Why: was driven, had multiple successful careers, contributed extensively to humanitarian efforts, studied ballet, worked during motherhood, overcame the deaths of two husbands, won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award, was British.












Dorothy Parker.

Reasons Why: had incredible wit, noticed urban idiosyncrasies well before it was socially acceptable, married the same man twice, wrote for The New Yorker, lived in a hotel in New York, bequeathed her estate to the Martin Luther King, Jr. foundation, survived 73 years of being a certifiable nutcase.








Alexis Bledel. (Somewhere, my sister is laughing at me)

Reasons Why: goes by her middle name, represented one of my childhood favorites – Rory Gilmore, didn’t learn English until she began school, overcame shyness and became an actress, dated a co-star, loves Europe, has a great wardrobe.













Katie Couric.

Reasons Why: knew what she wanted, became one of the top dogs in an industry where women weren’t widely accepted, works to keep her husband’s memory alive, is a jack of all trades (marketing, journalism, publicity, acting, etc.), seems to care very little what people think of her, fears nothing.










Nancy Satterwhite.


Reasons Why: is my grandmother, eats pizza with a fork, quilts, has an apartment in Manhattan, owns and plays Wii, watches Glee, wears pearls, has Christmas parties, dresses her dog (sometimes), went on “the bouncy thing” at my graduation party.

7/24/10

"Normal" in New York

So here I am, waking up at 10 AM, only to sit down and write a blog post with a husband still sound asleep. Blissful, no?


We're in the city for the weekend after a tense work week of emergency meetings, early work hours and varied commutes. As we both settle into work schedules, I wonder what will be "normal" for Blake and I in the future. Will it always be like this - rearranging the day to fit in dinner, figuring out train schedules, trying to leave the house in some semblance of order? I love the idea, and always have. A busy but happy life (especially out of New York City) is an ideal. But, as we sleep for 9 hours on a Saturday to make up for it, I can't help but feel that my dreams of life in the city with my time in high demand will have to come second to the man sleeping next to me. Of course, there will be compromises. That's marriage, I'm told. In all of it, I hope he always knows that he comes before work.


That said, my schedule was flexible this week because the business I work for (Wall Street Exodus) is trying to utilize all time available before leaving for Honduras on August 13th. I've been running to meetings, compiling investor information, publicizing, and assisting the company's chief catalyst.

We've met with a number of important media professionals that are willing to give advice and support on the project. On Thursday, Chad (company president) and I travelled into the city for meetings with the author of "Gringo Nightmare", a number of camera people, a former news anchor, a senior producer from WowHouse Pictures, and a senior producer from Fox. Some of these people will be making the trip to Honduras with us, while others are advisors. Though we met in what had to be one of the loudest bars in New York (48 Lounge), we got a lot accomplished.


On the return train ride, we were joined by the producer from Fox, who was able to provide his job description and advice on how I could soon get myself a salary job in the business. Since then, we've spoken on the phone about my role in Wall Street Exodus. He seems to think I fit the role of assistant producer, so we're moving in that direction. God has an interesting sense of humor.

Yesterday I worked from Westport after dropping Blake off at the train station at 9 AM. He had a meeting in the city, so I met him there after work for a quick dinner and "Next to Normal". This show, though incredibly sad, is a must see. The score is incredible, the acting was impeccable, and the idea that it presents is similar to Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" - compelling.

Which brings me to morning; I am assisted by a Starbucks cup of coffee from the corner, the promise of sunshine in the park, the knowledge that I will have an excellent dinner tonight at Sardi's, and the comfort in a Scrubs marathon with Blake's friend Dave post-dinner.

Life is busy. Life is blessed.

7/20/10

Circle-Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

In response to my friend Melissa Overmyer's recent reminder to make lemonade from lemons, I made banana bread from over-ripe bananas.

After almost burning the bread in the oven (I got a little caught up in my new French book, purchased from Westport's library book sale yesterday!) I think it turned out pretty well. I'm feeling rather proud of my homemaking skills at the moment.





Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 to 3 medium)

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened

3 tablespoons milk

2 eggs

Lots of chocolate chips J

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add mashed ripe banana, margarine or butter, and milk. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and remaining flour; beat until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Pour into two greased 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight, for easier slicing. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

Pictures of my summer office...


7/18/10

Sweet, Sweet Success.

Like every other weekend we've had this summer, this one demanded a lot of determination. This time, though, we came through with flying colors. I'm proud to say that we accomplished more this weekend than we expected...

1. On Friday at work, we had 3 important meetings with influential people that will hopefully result in jolts of progress for Wall Street Exodus.

2. I got a much-needed haircut. My split ends were becoming so unruly that I was distracted by self-trims while at work. Thankfully, my wonderful stylist, Shelbie, was able to fix the damage and leave me with slightly shorter hair and side bangs.

3. I went on a terrific run on Saturday morning. I didn't have the chance to run this week, what with the long hours of work through all daylight hours. The endorphins from my early run in already 85 degree heat carried me through the day.

4. Blake and I went for a late night swim at my parent's house. What's better than swimming in lukewarm water under moonlight with your husband?

5. We signed a lease on an apartment in Massachusetts! The area is beautiful - it's on a quaint downtown New England street, less than a mile from the beach and the train station (which can take us into Boston), and within steps of Dunkin' Donuts and church. The apartment itself has granite countertops, tons of storage, a decorative fireplace, hardwood floors and large vinyl windows. It's pretty small, but that will keep the heating bill low!

Bedroom in the new apartment.

Our street in MA.

6. We had a date night at one of our favorite places, Cheesecake Factory. We only have one in CT, and it's about an hour away, so we love stopping at Cheesecake while in Mass. We also spent some time in the mall, using up gift cards at Pottery Barn and Bath & Body Works.

7. We finally made it to church, albeit in the 90 degree heat sans air conditioning.

8. After two weeks, I got to see my family again. They had been on vacation out west, visiting extended family and seeing some of the sights (the "sights" being the Henry Ford Museum, a B&B farm, and the Great Wolf Lodge). My mom returned with a "heritage plate" for Blake and I, with a verse written in Norwegian along the edge. Apparently, I'm Norwegian. This would have been nice to know during all those years of feeling like a genetic failure next to my purist Italian and Swedish friends.


9. On the way home from Massachusetts, Blake and I sang worship songs together for about an hour. Not only was it a stress relief, but I was also appreciative of our time praising God together. I know it sounds cheesy (for lack of a better word), but it brought me a lot of peace in the midst of the chaotic daily grind.

10. We went to Blake's great-grandmother's 90th surprise birthday party this afternoon. Blake has three living great-grandparents, all of whom are still sharp and fairly active. I love these people dearly - they are so fun and incredibly genuine. Great-Grandma Cunningham just lost her husband, but finds joy in his memory and the family that surrounds her. When I see someone as blessed as she, I am encouraged by the prospective joys of the future.

My new brothers... Spencer, (Blake & me), Taylor, Chris, Chase

11. We made a Target run to pick up some groceries and find a new book for me because I FINISHED my seemingly unending 880 pager. Time for something less predictable, preferably American, and easy to get through (as I have school reading, as well) - I found the New York Times Bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love".

Success!

On that note, I'm ready to watch a movie and prepare for the coming week.

7/14/10

Goldendoodles are dandy.

Story time.

When I was growing up, my family never had dogs or cats. The reason for this was not that my parents were cruel pet-haters (as my sister and I would have liked to believe) but that my mother was allergic to both. We begged our parents for a dog - any dog, but preferably a golden lab - they said no. We wrote up petitions. We prayed. As a last resort, we asked Santa. That year, we were forced to learn the truth about our Yuletide friend.

And so, as luck would have it, we were confined to the realm of pet oddities.

No, not that odd. But Blake would LOVE a pet panda.

We did have some odd ones, though. We were the family that had pet rats, rabbits, chickens, hermit crabs, ugly fish, frogs, cockatiels, teddy bear hamsters, and one very personable Eclectus that lived in our dining room. We did every variety of weird activities and experiments with these pets - going down the slide with a chicken, making our rats swim, not feeding our frogs for over 3 months (they lived!) and taking our hermit crabs to school.

If their lives weren't strange enough, we were never surprised by the ways through which our pets met their end. Always abruptly, sometimes devastatingly, never with proper decency. Our chickens were eaten by an obese raccoon. One rat died of a digestive blockage. Our hermit crabs literally ate each other. The Eclectus got an infection in her toe. The fish were over-fed. Most tragically, a chick was stepped on and, to put it out of its misery, had to be drowned in the pool.

There came a time when I didn't really want pets anymore. I'd had enough of their messes, constant needs, and untimely deaths. When I started dating Blake and met his then one, which became two, which became four, which ended up at three Bernese Mountain Dogs, my decision against pets was solidified. They're not bad dogs, but they aren't for me.

As the dogs bark and run out to the car when I pull into the driveway, I can't help but yell at them. I don't appreciate when my friend's dogs sniff, lick, or drool on me. When I'm approached by a dog and his owner on walks, I never ask to pet the animal.

This changed when I discovered Goldendoodles.

Never have I seen something so precious. Blake and I decided that this - when the time comes - will be our breed of choice. We've already chosen a name. We already imagine scenes of life with our dog.

I started doing some research, and subscribed to a number of puppy sites. This prompted the constant influx of offers on Goldendoodle puppies. I'm hooked. I want a dog like never before.

That's all. End of story.





7/12/10

Surreal to Intimidatingly Real

This weekend was a nice dose of surreality.

It started with a trip to New York City, where Blake had a meeting on Friday morning. We took the train in, had lunch at Chipotle, and walked around Times Square. On the way back to the apartment on 87th, we stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar - where I helped myself to a nice dish of Pancakes and Syrup ice cream while Blake made business phone calls. I felt slightly patronized as I sat there at the gummy-bear decorated table with my ice cream, watching my husband make important phone calls. Good thing my self-confidence is so high. ;)




Later, we had tickets to La Cage aux Folles, which was (surprise to me) about transvestites. I was a little worried when the curtain opened on six men doing splits beyond the realm of possibility, but was pleasantly surprised by the generally tasteful humor and clever plotline. Not for kids, but alright if you can get past men in skirts.


The following day, we walked across Central Park to the upper west side, where we did some window shopping and again ate at Chipotle. The weather was perfect, so we returned to the apartment on foot. Hoping to make it back home in time to make dinner, rent a movie from iTunes, and rest our feet, we packed up and headed down to Grand Central.


Unfortunately, the trains had other plans for our evening. Two stops out of the station, we received a notice that the lines in Greenwich were down, stopping all traffic through to New Haven. After a series of backtracking, train hops, and re-routing, we made it back to New Haven 6 hours from our departure time. We took our hungry, tired selves back to the apartment for Chinese take-out and our fall-back option: Scrubs.


Because Friday was a "play day", Sunday became a work day. We still made an attempt to go to church, but were thrown off by a misprint on the church's website, saying that the service started an hour later than in reality. Instead, we walked around the New Haven green and returned home for a few hours of productivity. For the remainder of the afternoon, we swam in my family's pool, washed the car, filled an extremely defeated tire, and had a picnic at the beach with Blake's family. Successful weekend? I think so.

But it was back to work in the office today, facilitated by one hefty cup of coffee on the way to work, followed by a second cup at Starbucks with my boss. Nothing like a caffeine-frenzied work day to stress you out.

To top it off, I did some reading on Honduras.

I've come to a conclusion: I'm going to do the things I fear. Like go on a trip to one of the most dangerous, poor, disease-ridden places in the world. Let me give you some warnings on Honduras from the U.S. Department of State website:

  • "Do not resist a robbery attempt. Most criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths have resulted when victims have resisted."

  • "Assaults in these areas (around the airport) may be based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas, so visitors are strongly urged to exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public."

  • "Travelers should always drive with their doors locked and windows rolled up to avoid potential robberies at traffic lights and other places, such as congested downtown streets. Avoid driving at night."

Scary, right? It brings a whole new perspective on the senseless things I fear every day.

I'm focusing on this verse:

Romans 8:15 "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'"

Now it's time for some pilates...

7/11/10

A Word to Christian Media

Two weeks of research in Christian media reveals trends too obvious to ignore, and a fascia in need of some thoughtful alteration. Clearly, there are many outlets of Christian media that are getting it right – and they should be. With roughly seventy-five percent of Americans ascribing to the Christian faith, the audience is out there.

However, in a similar strand, Christian media (and Christian culture, for that matter) is getting something wrong. The number of “Christians” in America has steadily decreased since 1990, falling more than ten percent in twenty years. [1]Within that same time frame, media communication has advanced technologically and increased audience more than ever before. For a religion whose basic tenets rest on spreading the Good News to all peoples in all nations, it seems as if Christians are missing a valuable opportunity.[2] Maybe they are utilizing television and film, as research suggests, but have generally overlooked the population who needs a clearer view of the Christian message.


Let me first differentiate between American “Christians” and true believers. It’s an ugly distinction, but avoiding it would be ineffectual. While many Americans claim membership to the Christian tradition, only a select few are receptive to (and therefore, practice) Christian doctrine. The need for appropriate Christian media is there for everyone. Unfortunately, in most Christian outlets, only the needs of true believers are being met. Why? I’ll first eliminate the apparent non-issues.

Though a good portion of Christian television fits into the “low-budget” category, sponsorship for some on major networks allows for vast viewership opportunities.[3] Likewise, many Christian films receive financial support from prominent production companies. One Night with the King, which had a substantial budget of $20 million, produced less than $14 million in box office revenue. Availability of budget is not the issue.

Some attribute negative reviews and low profits to acting quality in Christian television and film. While in some cases this may be true, the issue cannot rest definitively at this point. Behind the Mask, a made-for-television film of 1999 boasted the accomplished actors, Matthew Fox and Donald Sutherland. When the DVD was released eight years later, the film created little to no response, and Matthew Fox went on to make his first successful debut in the 2004 ABC series, LOST. Christian movies do not suffer a lack of qualified acting.

If Christian media letdowns are not for lack of acting, perhaps they lack proper directorship? Not according to Rocky Mountain Pictures 2008 film, Billy: The Early Years. Though its director led over 100 sitcom episodes to success and later joined teaching faculty at the esteemed Tisch School of the Arts, the film made less than $350,000 in the box office. Directorship is not the issue.

Though these three things, combined, can contribute to the failure of any production, the common factor among unsuccessful Christian media appears to be perspective. Many films, shows, and series are so far from the acceptance of an audience in need that they might as well be on different planets. The realities of true believers and the secular world are segregated. Terms like “sin”, “redemption”, “sanctification” and “resurrection”, which are inextricably ingrained in the Christian vocabulary, come off as foreign, preachy and elitist to the non-believer (or non-practicer).

In an American culture that is becoming more individualized and less God-focused, preaching has become exclusively effective for “the choir”. As observed by Newsweek’s Jon Meacham, “Judging from the broad shape of American life in the first decade of the 21st century, we value individual freedom and free (or largely free) enterprise, and tend to lean toward libertarianism on issues of personal morality.” Anything (and that means you, Christian media) that comes off as damning based on a Christ-centered code of morality is immediately rejected by non-believers.

So how do we change the face of Christian media? Two ways.

First, with a new perspective. With less preaching and more listening, Christians can have greater impact. We need to be hearing the culture that needs Christ, not attacking them with the Gospel. By not posing as a new brand of church-talk, we can pass on the God-honoring virtues that have led believers to accepting Christ and practicing faith. This is more powerful than sermonizing television and film.

Second, we need higher expectations for Christian productions. We need to be seeking out funds, organizing skilled management, requiring only excellence and anticipating positive reactions. Secular culture is giving America compelling, trendy, high quality entertainment. It’s time for Christians to do the same.

I believe Wall Street Exodus does these things, giving it the power to change Christian television and film.



[1] http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/09/us.religion.less.christian/

[2] Matthew 28:19, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

[3] Three Wishes, ABC

7/7/10

Life as I now know it.

Today, as I settle into the couch with a good (or rather tolerable) book after a day of work and great workout in the pool, I am forced to recognize how life has changed.

The older man we passed on our walk by the beach.

Which, in the same strand, brings to mind the things that haven't changed. Like how unmanageable my hair becomes in the humidity. Or my tendency to over-organize. Or my inability to cook anything even slightly resembling food. This, I've learned from my mother, can be quickly remedied with dining accoutrements - fancy chopsticks, cute barbeque plates, etc.

But, even though I've emerged from my wedding and honeymoon with personality, character and flaws intact, I find my life altered. This isn't a huge shocker. Marriage is supposed to be life-altering. Still, my system is confused. I continue to feel as if Blake and I are playing house. As if we're going through our daily tasks in a partnership, but will wake up someday soon to the reality we've always known.

My new reality is one of setting the coffee maker's timer each night, trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and mailing rent checks. It forces me to get past Blake's own renditions of pop songs, and his dislike for seafood. My morning routine takes twice as long with a boy in the bathroom. The dishes never seem to get put away, and the car needs to be washed. More than any of these trivialities, marriage has set ablaze the small flame of excitement that has been flickering away to this point.

I worry, now, that I may not get to it all. What if I never enter an important media career in New York City? What if I never see France, or England, or Greece? What if I never finish my book list? What if I never learn any new languages? What if I don't have children? What if I can't grow old with my husband? One step at a time, Blake tells me. In years like this one, it's hard to catch a breath. But if I don't, I'll miss it.

So I'll capture every moment of our walks down at the West Haven beach. I'll enjoy baking my best friend breakfast cookies for her birthday that look like something a cat threw up (only Rachel could appreciate them). I'll love the moments when Blake and I get to work together, and appreciate even more our shared blueberry smoothies on a Wednesday night. This is life as I now know it, if only for a little while. This blog is about holding on to every moment.


West Haven boardwalk, which Blake fondly refers to as our "hood" (it's semi-ghetto)

Blueberry smoothie

Our kitchen

Bedroom

Rachel's birthday cookies... oops.

7/5/10

Freedom and Education

Last night, on the eve of the holiday celebrating American independence, my husband and I watched a British film.

This was not an entirely unpatriotic decision. In our defense, we did search Netflix for "John Adams", the mini series that I enjoyed so much 6 months ago. Sadly, John was unavailable, and we turned to the "maybe" movie. You all know it. It's the movie that you pass by in the movie store, on Comcast, etc. and assign to the "maybe" category - a last resort movie.

Now, I am ashamed of my inability to see "An Education" for what it truly was - pure gold. And, at its core, "An Education" plays those American heartstrings with the best of them. Watch this connection...

Yesterday's holiday, as I hope everyone knows, was founded as a celebration of the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, a document created in the sweat and blood of our courageous, revolutionary forefathers, is most famously recognized by its second sentence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."


When the document was passed by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, the meaning of "all men" most closely resembled "all landowners", or "all white males". The Hobbesian concept and Jeffersonian phrase have been used again and again in other historical documents such as the Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" Speech, and the Declaration of Sentiments.

Which brings me to my point. July 4th, as America built on itself, grew to mean more than the celebration of freedom from dictatorship. While this independence from the British Empire was purchased at a high price, one to be appreciated and recognized, the legacy of freedom in America owes itself also to a long list of revolutionaries. These revolutionaries came, and continue to come, in the shapes of soldiers, politicians, teachers, explorers, religious leaders, and countless others. We are a people who are free by sacrifice. And so many of you, like myself, have been lucky enough to enjoy the blessings of these sacrifices without feeling their pain.

"An Education" tells the award-winning story of a young British girl seduced by an older man into giving up her education at Oxford and a "boring" future for a life of pleasure and adventure. Carey Mulligan does a beautiful job portraying the naive teenager who eventually finds that she has been deceived, then admitting that there are no shortcuts to her life. The girl must then reconstruct her life, getting accepted to and attending Oxford. We presume that she goes on to do one of two jobs assigned to women of 1960's England with an education - teaching or working in Civil Service. As the credits began to appear, I think many will react the same way that I did: with a twinge of hope for this factual (Lynn Barber) turned fictional character. We want to see her create the life that she wanted, and glimpsed, in spite of the odds.

More than this, I reflected on my own opportunities. Today, women have more trouble choosing one of hundreds of career paths than accepting the one in which they "fit". In 2009, women comprised 46.8% of the United States labor force. 66 Million women were employed. 74% of these women worked full time jobs. Women accounted for 51% of high-paying professional occupations. Women owe this in part to our independence from a parliamentary monarchy, but more so to revolutionaries in the feminist movement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Declaration of Sentiments, which used Jefferson's phrase of equality to encompass women, was the ringleader for change to female life and opportunity. This document proposed ideas that would slowly determine the future of women even beyond the United States.

As a woman in the United States in the 21st Century, I have the world at my feet. Rather than be stressed by the prospect of choosing between public relations, publishing or journalism, I should feel blessed. And yet, with such opportunity comes great responsibility. Just as we utilize the freedom afforded through sacrifice each day, I plan to take advantage of the educational and occupational possibilities afforded by revolutionary women.

That's cause for celebration.

7/1/10

Oh, the places I'd like to go...

Working from home is great if you have the concentration of Helen Keller. No disrespect intended.

As I have about a million things swimming around in my head at one time, working from home is a rather difficult endeavor. Of course, it saves on gas and allows me to see Blake more than I normally would. It also allows me to determine my own work schedule and go for a run in the middle of the day. It's a fair trade off, really. And it's only for the next week and a day, so I plan to enjoy it. But right now, clearly, I'm distractible...

I'd love to be one of three places right now, all of which include Blake, sun and ice cream.

The first is Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Each summer, Blake and I travel up to this touristy beach town at least once. We live (or lived, rather) in a town similar to Watch Hill, but that fact has never put a damper on the experience. It might even add to the appeal. Normally, we'll go up for a day on the beach with lunch and sunscreen in tow. The water is deliciously salty and always (why don't we ever learn?) cold. This morning, I asked Blake if he wanted to go up this weekend, but he wasn't up to the task. I think he might be travelled out...



The second is King Ferry, New York. My best friend's family (the Hogues) owns a cottage along Cayuga Lake where I spent a blissful week as a child. About thirty minutes away from the cottage lies her grandparent's farm, where we stayed on our 8th grade trip. Nearby is Buttermilk Falls State Park, a gorgeous area with cliffs, paths, and waterfalls. All these wonderful places are made even better by their association with my best friend, who is there often in the summer. Last night, I arranged for Blake and I to travel out to King Ferry in mid July. No doubt, we will have ice cream during our stay.



The third is New York City. I am incredibly "home"sick. For my birthday, my grandmother made me a cute weekend bag with a NYC subway pattern on the side. This instigated what has been for the last few days a gnawing problem. I want to go back to runs in Central Park, shopping in Soho and buying Pinkberry ice cream for lunch. Thankfully, this intense want will also be fulfilled in mid July. Blake and I will be taking a trip to Manhattan to see Next to Normal and Billy Elliot on Broadway, accompanied by dinner at Sardis. We'll make a weekend out of it. I could not be more pleased.



As I compile a report for investors, I think about these places. I love where I'm at - really. Alas, I am just woefully distractible.