essays, my truths, tv, write it out, writing from the heart

On ‘Girls’ American Bitch & having your shoulders rubbed

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Last night, as I do most Monday nights, I crawled into bed, gummy bears in hand, and watched the latest episode of GIRLS. Usually it makes me laugh; sometimes it makes me rage-y (MARNIE IS THE WORST). So I  wasn’t expecting anything too extraordinary. (I mostly watch because I love the recaps and commentary on the Man Repeller.)

But this episode was p h e n o m e n a l. Phenomenal in its timing. Phenomenal in its social commentary. Phenomenal in its telling of millions of women’s stories. Phenomenal in its response to so much of today’s public discourse and victim blaming.

To sum the episode up: A prominent author asks Hannah to come over to talk after she publishes an article about his predatory ways. He plays the victim card over and over again until winning Hannah’s forgiveness. Then he abuses it.

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker of course, puts it a thousand times better than I ever could.

The key to “American Bitch,” Sunday’s scathing and timely episode of “Girls,” is the compliments. “Hannah, you’re clearly very bright,” Chuck Palmer, a novelist celebrated for his confessional work, says. “I could tell that from the first sentence you wrote.” He reads the sentence, as Hannah struggles to hide her pleasure: “ ‘If one more male writer I love reveals himself to be a heinous sleazebag, I’m going to do a bunch of murders, create a new Isle of Lesbos, and never look back.’ ” “You’re funny!,” Palmer says. “That’s a funny sentence.”

This initial intro scene was enough to make me put the gummy bears down and pay closer attention. As the episode progressed, the more I wanted to crawl inside myself and cry, while simultaneously wanting to run outside and scream THIS THIS THIS.

Nussbaum continues:

In certain ways, it’s a classic exchange between an older artist (rich, decadent, in print) and a younger artist (poor, moralistic, online). Chuck scores some points: it’s the women who throw themselves at him, he argues, because they are seeking stories to tell. Who really has the power, he asks: the zitty older virgin—him—or a beautiful young model? Hannah resists those arguments; she scores her points, too. “I’m tired of gray areas,” she tells him in disgust, when he waves off any sense that he’s even powerful. She shares a story about having being groomed by a grade-school teacher, another older man who selected her, making her feel chosen and special (a story that’s one of Lena Dunham’s own real-life stories, which she wrote about in her memoir). Chuck sympathizes. Eventually, he asks Hannah about herself—as, he suggests, a form of ethical payback for the exploitative relationships with his fans: he never really listened to the other young women, but now he’ll listen to her, see her as a person, in order to make up for it.

This scene made me cry.

Because I can count not one, but two teachers (one a professor), and a boss from a restaurant I worked at in high school, who would all rub my shoulders or touch my waist without my consent.

The first time it happened I was in elementary school and didn’t realize how inappropriate this behavior was. I’m lucky in that it never went further, and I was ignorant to know what this meant.

The second time was when I worked at a restaurant and the regional manager came over as I was working on the cash register and placed his hands around my waist. I immediately turned to him and told him to “please don’t touch me,” and I was fired a week later for a random reason. When I was fired I told my manager about what had transpired, and what was no doubt the reason for my being fired, and asked if I could have the contact information to file a sexual harassment suit, he told me “no such thing exists.” Though my parents encouraged me to take it to the corporate offices, I decided to just let it go.

A few years later, in college, a professor came over to my desk while I was working on a story and put his hands on my shoulders and rubbed them. I spun my chair around and told him to not touch me. He laughed it off. I reported it to the Dean. I have no idea if he was ever disciplined. But I’m glad I said something. Both to him and the higher ups.

These weren’t the only occasions this occurred, and I’m sure they won’t be the last (what a tragic reality to admit).

Being a female in today’s world, though we’ve come incredibly far, continues to be a incredibly difficult thing to be. Often I’m asked why I so strongly believe in the women’s movement and why I march. My response could be summarized into one simple sentence:

I march because I never want my nieces or nephews to have their shoulders rubbed predatorily.

Because this one sentence says so much more than the words used. Because this one sentence says everything.

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best of

Favorite posts of past times

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With a little help from friends.
Trying to find your footing.
When nothing goes unsaid.
On blogging & being vulnerable.
The best thing he ever did for you
I’d rather be vulnerable than have regrets.
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essays, february 2017, read it love it, Short Story Love, Uncategorized, words from wise women

Short Story Love: “Challenger Deep” by Marina Keegan

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I just finished Marina Keegan‘s book, The Opposite of Loneliness. It was bold and beautiful and haunting.

Marina is most known for her Yale commencement speech of the same title, which went viral immediately. She was killed in a car accident only five days later. She was only 22. A former professor helped her parents publish various works she wrote during her time at Yale, and published it with Scribner.

I loved every piece I read, but I especially loved on of her non-fiction stories, “Challenger Deep.” I wasn’t sure I would like it as it began, as it was out of the realm of the typical stories I go for, but by the end I was riveted and left wanting more. Below, you can read it in its entirety. I’d love to hear your take on it…

“Challenger Deep”

When the jellyfish came, we woke everyone up. They floated down on the ship like snow and even Lev came into the sail to press his face on the periscope. The glow was dim but we could see our arms and outlines and after a minute we stepped away from the glass to look at each other’s eyes. No one said anything, not even the Captain, and I could hear Ellen breathing hard against the glass. My eyes hurt from seeing but there was a strange hope in the blue light, and the weeks of darkness drew us toward it like moths. The five of us sat on the steel for what must have been an hour before the fluorescent specks drifted out and the submarine returned to its blackness. Eventually, I heard the Captain stand up – but it was a while before he finally cleared his throat and felt his way back to the controls.

We couldn’t see anything. Not even our fingers flexing in front of our faces or the steel walls we ran our hands along as we passed through chambers. We were thirty-six thousand feet under when the ballast tanks broke and the pressure gauge short-circuited the electrics. The power was on but the lights couldn’t be fixed from inside. I wasn’t angry like the others. Lev would pace around and scream things in Russian or slam his fist against a door, but he was young and louder than the rest of us. I preferred the days when no one spoke, or at least not about the surface. There wasn’t a point, I told them once while we were eating dehydrateds, there’s really no point.

I waited by the periscope for the rest of C shift because it was my sleep break anyway and I wanted to see if the currents changed and the jellyfish came back. I sat there for a while but they never came so I pulled out the ripped piece of shirt to tie back around my eyes. It’s easier when you pretend to be blindfolded. I heard this on a cave tour in Arizona but Ellen was the only other crew member who listened. It was a small ship, only an Alvin II, so I could pass whomever I wanted to if I took the right turns. I heard Lev talking to the Captain by the desalination tank, which was easy to find because of its dull hum.

“We’d know if we were rising.” The Captain must have been sitting down.

“Maybe not, sir. Maybe the pressure streams are different in the trench.”

“We’d know,” he repeated. “We’d feel it.”

“Then how do you explain the goddamn fluorescence? You know damn well cnidarians can’t survive in near freezing!” He was pacing now.

“The geysers are heated—”

“The geysers are heated. Poshol na khui, suka!” He kicked the metal and I inhaled.

“Ellen?” The Captain had heard me. I was always accidentally listening in because I couldn’t think of anything to say.

“No, sir. It’s Patrick,” I said. “I was just coming back from the sail. Wanted to make sure we didn’t miss them if they came back.”

“They’re not coming back.” It was Lev’s voice and I heard him lean against the wall. I waited for the Captain to reply but he didn’t.

“I just wanted to make sure.” There was silence and I could hear Hyun clicking the switchboard down the passage. He was Korean and couldn’t really speak English but he was the best technician at Woods Hole lab. We listened to his taps for a while until we fell back into ourselves. The Captain walked over to the air vent so it blew on his face and hair. I knew everyone was zooming out, imagining once again what we looked like from far away.

“It was nice,” Lev finally said from the wall. “I forgot what it was like.”

“I know,” the Captain said. “My hands.”

I pictured the tiny dots floating out like stars. The way it looked like outer space from the periscope windows. For the first time in a long time I thought about my sister and the house I lived in as a child. Lev stood up and walked out to his berth. He didn’t leave at B shift but there wasn’t much we could do about allocations anymore.

* * *

We had no concept of time and soon the darkness made it hard to remember what was real. I’d imagine tables that weren’t there and reach for railings that had never existed. After a while I stopped having visual dreams, shifting in my sheets as my mind recounted sounds and sensations that were all cold or steel or underwater. We talked less about trees and more about nothing, playing endless games to name the elements or species of fish until one of us would hit something or start crying or simply not respond.

Once when we were all together, Lev wondered aloud whether China had a deep-capacity submarine that no one knew about. It was stupid, but we spent the next three days hypothesizing about why and how the international community might be able to procure it and send it down to get us out. Ellen believed it most of all because she was in love with a man named Daniel who lived in London. She told me when we were cleaning the interhull vents and the other three were sleeping. I’m not sure why she decided to tell me – probably because I don’t say much. She was skinny for thirty and wore a blindfold like me. I remembered then that she’d told us this was her first real dive.

“He’s a teacher,” she said softly. “We met online through this website.” I’d heard that this could happen but I didn’t really understand how. I took the solution and ran it on a cloth pipe through the holes. When she sat up, her braid flew up and fell again on her back with a small thud. “We haven’t made real plans but I think we’re going to get married.” Ellen was the only one who still spoke about home in the present tense.

“What does he teach?” I wasn’t sure what to ask.

“Social studies.” She paused. “I did my marine PhD at Cambridge so that’s why we met.” I was trying to get the dust from the vent sheets but I couldn’t see whether or not it was working. Ellen was working too and I liked that about her. She wasn’t a very pretty girl if my memory was right, but she had really long hair and her eyes were a sort of green. “I don’t—” But she broke off.

We worked for a while until it was mostly done and then I asked if she wanted to eat now or later and she said now. We traced our way to the dry box that held our rations and added water to the powdery protein mix. Regulations required six months of meals on all H-certified vessels, and the Alvin II was about eight weeks into what should have been a two-week Experimental. We sat at the small half-counter and ate until Ellen fell quiet and started to shake. For the first time in my life I think I was happy to be alone. I wouldn’t want anyone up there to be shaking for me.

* * *

It wasn’t long before people started whispering. The darkness and circles were getting unbearable and most of us were beginning to crack in our own ways. Lev started advocating for “alternatives” to waiting it out. There wasn’t enough food.

No sub could go deep enough. It was now or six months from now. But the ship required five people to operate it, so everyone had to agree before anything was going to happen. I disagreed at first but the idea had fallen like a seed. I felt it when I lay in my berth, when I tried to sleep, when I had dark dreams, and when I half-woke to eat protein and walk around the same five rooms in the same five patterns until I slept and had the same dark dreams.

Ellen didn’t want to. No one needed to ask anyone else because it was just obvious. Hyun and the Captain were too rational not to agree, and Lev was the first one to really lose it. He started groaning and hitting his head from inside his door. The Captain admitted that he could still see in his dreams. He rushed through his maintenance so he could close and open his eyes. If the lights hadn’t gone when the pressure snapped the ballast tanks I think things might have been different. I think we might have been able to wait until the powder ran out.

“Here!” Lev screamed from the center control. “Here, here, now!” He was shrieking and we could hear banging so we all ran to the control. The Captain sat Lev down until he stopped thrashing. Hyun seemed scared and Ellen was hanging back to the side.

“I can’t do it,” said Lev. We couldn’t see him but we could hear the violent quiver in his voice. “I’m sorry. Look, I can’t do it. I see things in my head. Faces and all the water, it’s… My zdes’ umryom. Vy vse ponimaete, chto my budem zhdat’ i zhdat’, i potom mu vse umryom. There are voices and – the darkness and—” He erupted into a sob and the Captain went over and must have put his hands on his shoulders because he quieted down. Hyun never said much but we heard his quiet voice speak up from Lev’s other side.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. No more do.” I didn’t say anything and neither did the Captain but everyone understood that we couldn’t. We needed to wait. We heard Ellen inhale like she might say something but her lips closed and she shifted her feet. There was a silence and I almost said something about the time or temperature gauges but then Ellen finally spoke.

“I just…” She paused. “I just… there’s no point in not waiting. They might… it’s not impossible.”

“It’s impossible.” Lev spoke the words quietly, straightforwardly. She was hurt. “It’s impossible,” Lev repeated, louder. But Ellen had shifted to move and walked out of the room. I heard the Captain run his hands through his hair.

“She has someone,” I said. “We have to wait for her. We have to wait for her because he’s in England and Ellen…” No one said anything and we waited in that room for a long time until Lev began rocking in his seat again. I started thinking about trees even though I knew it would only make the aching worse.

* * *

Things were different after that. We became suspicious of each other, of all two-person conversations. Ellen didn’t talk to anyone much, but we knew she was listening. I passed her one night standing by the dry box. I wasn’t sure what she was doing with it open but I wondered if maybe she was trying to calculate portions or time. There were five shift jobs and five people so we couldn’t run the ship without all of us. Lev might have been crazy, but he knew this too and he knew we all had to agree. So we waited. We waited two weeks until one day after circuit repairs when I couldn’t hear Ellen in her station.

I thought she might be upset in her berth so I walked by her door. I wanted to tell her that it was okay and that we were going to wait, that there was no rush. We could make it half a year if we wanted to. We could wait. But she wasn’t in there. She wasn’t by the dry box or desalinator and when I screamed her name it rang through the steel of the ship but there was no response. Then I heard Hyun’s tiny voice call back from a passage that we hadn’t used since before it got dark.

The Captain came running and we fumbled for the switch that pushed the door to the launching suits. When it was open, we couldn’t see but I started brushing my arms as fast as I could along the floor where the wires were stored, feeling one, two, three, and then it was missing. There were only four deep-water suits and I think we all realized at once what had happened. We opened the screen vent to the anteroom that opened out to the water and pulled in the cord with the autosimulator. The ocean was black just like the walls so when we heard her body thump into the chamber we couldn’t tell. I ran in and felt the cold on her face and the wet on the suit, but the veins in her neck were still throbbing. She’d cracked the helmet, and her face had ice shards on the sides.

“Ellen!” I screamed, but she didn’t respond. “Ellen! Ellen!” Then I realized what had happened. What the depth had done. I shook her quickly, and she stirred, coughed, choked over to the side. I moved immediately to her ears and felt the warm blood trickling out and into her long black hair. Her eardrums had burst and she was trapped in darkness and silence and a giant iron suit. We moved it off her and her hand reached up to touch my face. It felt strange and I wanted to move away but I let her feel my nose and mouth and eyes until she knew it was me. She’d done it on purpose but she didn’t know we’d find her in time.

“She’s deaf,” the Captain said. Lev was groaning again from the other room. We didn’t know what to do so we carried her into the counter room, heated water, and poured it on her over her clothes. It felt darker than it used to, and I wondered for a minute if that was possible. If we had drifted into a trench of the trench where we would soon hear tectonics crunch into lava and draw us down.

Ellen moaned. I ripped my blindfold cloth in two and balled it up into her ears to stop the bleeding. She lay there like that for a long time until she was quiet. We gave her food and she seemed like she was okay so we moved her into her berth and went back to our stations. I could hear Lev pacing and Hyun clicking and the comfort of the desalinator hum and ventilator air and imagined Ellen alone in the silence of her world – confined entirely to the universe of her thoughts and half-drawn memories of days somewhere in England.

She emerged much later with her arms outstretched, feeling around corners she already knew by heart. We’d squeeze her shoulder when we passed, but that was all we knew how to do. She was lost. And the reality of her attempt had silenced our philosophizing. We were waiting now. We ate and moved and ate and moved.

* * *

I was on Sonar Detect when we picked up the signal from the rover. It had no metal detection and looked like it’d been traveling blind straight through the trench. It was small, robotic, and probably the only thing they could construct to withhold the pressure in limited time. Lev went running and screamed and I guess Ellen could feel the vibrations he made on the floor because I heard her door shut behind her.

“It’s audio,” said the Captain. “There’s an antenna. No one’s coming.” We turned up the sonar controls and heard a short five-minute clip play twice through the wave detectors before it slipped past in its motion and out of sight. They knew our range and they knew we’d have five minutes to hear it on either side. It was expensive, I could tell by the frequency. A million-dollar message.

It was my sister and the Captain’s old lieutenant and Lev’s best friend and Hyun’s mom. The last voice was Daniel’s and it spoke in a shaky whisper: “Ellen, I love you. Ellen, I can’t look at the ocean anymore.” He went on but I was too dazed to remember more. Ellen moaned and walked around, confused. Daniel, I traced on her arm. Slowly, so she could comprehend each letter. A message. She didn’t understand. My hand was shaking, so I did it slower. A message. The ocean. He loves you. But we couldn’t remember any more – our own thoughts scratched with our own words. She jerked away and went wandering back through the ship until we found her later, collapsed and sleeping by the vent.

* * *

The hours blurred as our food box emptied, but I never stopped dreaming black dreams. Sometimes, when the Captain was at the controls or Lev was asleep, I’d climb into the sail and stare through the periscope at the thousands of leagues. I closed my eyes and saw stars but the jellyfish never came.

From the collection The Opposite of Loneliness, via Bookanista.

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bloggers, books, funny women, instagram, read it love it, someday, the future is female

This isn’t a veiled announcement…

… I just love Midwife Clemmie Hooper’s blog, Gas & Air, and new book “How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out.”

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I can’t remember how I found Clemmie, aka Mothers of Daughters on Instagram, but I do remember loving her feed instantly. She has four daughters, two of which are twins, and she keeps it real. (A much-needed breath of fresh air in the world of social media.)

  And how fantastic is her style? And her girls are so flippin’ gorgeous!

As the aunt of 8 little (and not-so little, anymore!) babes, and former au pair and nanny, I have been lucky to have a front row seat to motherhood, a safe distance from the ring, but close enough to have had my fair share of sweat & tears splattered on me. (Is this boxing metaphor ridiculous or what? No regrets.)

 

What I really love is how honest and raw she keeps it, all the while expressing how important motherhood is and how rewarding it can be. And, while I’m not at that stage yet, I do know that when that day comes I’ll definitely use Clemmie’s book as a guide.

I highly suggest you listen to this hilarious, insightful podcast interview with Clemmie on Scummy Mummies, as well as these other pieces, if you’re interested:

Motherland’s, “Expecting the Unexpected”

The Telegraph’s, “Meet Clemmie Hooper, the ‘Insta-midwife’ every millennial mother-to-be wants at their birth”

Alex & Alexa’s, “Family In Focus with Clemmie and Simon Hooper of Gas & Air

And, of course, her husband, Simon aka Father of Daughters, is worth a follow as well — his posts never fail to make me laugh.

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Literary History, love stories, read it love it

Literary Lovers.

94A9C96E-D66B-4528-8BC3-7DE7478740CD-1174-000001286EE93F2D_tmp.pngErnest Hemingway & Martha Gellhorn on their wedding day, 1921

I love this piece from Literary Hub: “Famous Literary Relationships From Best to Worst”

Here are 3 of the most fascinating (at least to me).
2.jpgVirginia Woolf & Leonard Woolf & Vita Sackville-West

Leonard had to propose three times to Virginia; at first she wasn’t sure if she was sexually attracted to him. Actually, at first she was sure she wasn’t; but that ultimately changed. When she finally accepted his offer, she wrote to a friend: “My Violet, I’ve got a confession to make. I’m going to marry Leonard Woolf. He’s a penniless Jew. I’m more happy than anyone ever said was possible—but I insist upon your liking him too. May we both come on Tuesday?” The two began a loving, mutually supportive relationship, both personal and professional—they founded the Hogarth Press together. In 1937, Virginia wrote in her diary, “Love-making—after 25 years can’t bear to be separate… you see it is enormous pleasure being wanted: a wife. And our marriage so complete.”

As far as the famous Vita is concerned, she and Virginia met in 1922 and began an affair (Leonard knew all about this, and so did Vita’s husband, and everyone was fine with it; they were modernists, after all), writing gorgeous love letters to one another, the most accomplished of which, of course, is Woolf’s Orlando, about which Sackville-West’s son later wrote, “The effect of Vita on Virginia is all contained in Orlando, the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of the centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her.” The affair lasted until 1929, and the two remained close until Woolf’s death. But in the end, it was Leonard to whom Virginia addressed her last letter, one that attests to the happiness they shared:

Dearest,

I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.

1.jpgErnest Hemingway & Martha Gellhorn

Like many relationships, things in this famous literary marriage started off great. They fell in love. They gave each other nicknames. Hemingway encouraged Gellhorn’s journalistic writing. They were happy. But then, as Caroline Moorehead, Gellhorn’s biographer, put it:

In so much as ends have beginnings, theirs came in the summer of 1943. Hemingway was drinking heavily and she found his lack of cleanliness, his boundless egotism and his crassness increasingly offensive; he accused her of being a prude and a prima donna. There was little laughter and few jokes.

One night, when he was drunk, she took over the wheel of his much loved Lincoln Continental. He slapped her; she drove it slowly and deliberately into a tree. They fought over money, over work, over his drunken cronies. He bullied, mocked and snarled at her. Then the day came when he told her that he had accepted a commission to cover the Allied invasion for Collier’s—effectively demoting her, since no paper could have more than one reporter at the front. There was little more to be said. Hemingway left for London on a priority flight; Gellhorn crossed the Atlantic on a Norwegian freighter carrying dynamite.

Later, Gellhorn would refuse to talk about Hemingway in any interviews, and reportedly didn’t even like to discuss him with friends. She didn’t want, she said, to become “a footnote in someone else’s life.” She wanted only to do her work.

3.jpgSimone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre

It shouldn’t be surprising that the leading intellectual couple of the 20th century had an unusual relationship—though, actually, it isn’t even that unusual. Just an open relationship, if one that was a little more lurid than Ginsberg and Orlovsky’s. As Louis Menand reports, de Beauvoir and Sartre had a pact: they could sleep with whomever else they wished, so long as they told one another everything. “The comradeship that welded our lives together made a superfluous mockery of any other bond we might have forged for ourselves,” de Beauvoir wrote. “At times this meant that we had to follow diverse paths—though without concealing even the least of our discoveries from one another. When we were together we bent our wills so firmly to the requirements of this common task that even at the moment of parting we still thought as one. That which bound us freed us; and in this freedom we found ourselves bound as closely as possible.” From Menand’s account, the two had a distinctly Cruel Intentions vibe—they indeed told each other everything, which amounted to a lot of voyeuristic shit-talking behind their other lovers’ unsuspecting backs. Apparently, de Beauvoir would even sometimes romance her young female students and then “pass them on” to Sartre, in a move they called the “trio.” She was eventually fired for this, and even lost her license to teach in France.

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february 2017, love stories, quotes, three things

Three things.

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“Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you – will invite you – to add something to the pleasure of others, or to diminish something of their pains.”

– Jeremy Bentham

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I fall in love on the U-Bahn (subway) at least 3 times a month, so these stories really made my heart smile & continue feeling hopeful. 😉

F train, 1970:

“It was the smile that made all the difference. We were both riding the F train from Manhattan to Brooklyn to teach at different schools. I saw her a few times before I got the nerve to say anything. She smiled. What a smile. She gave me her number. Our first date was a Yankees game against the Minnesota Twins. Then, you know, yada, yada, yada. One thing turned into another. Then we got married. Then we had kids. Then we had grandkids. We met in May 1970. We were married on Dec. 18, 1971, so we just had our 45th anniversary last month. She is still the love of my life.”
— Charlie McMillan, 71, Newton, Mass.

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I love the world’s collective crush on Justin Trudeau. I especially love this recap of Angela Merkel meeting with Trudeau.

xx

 

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february 2017, heard it loved it, hope

In my ears & on my mind…

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While visiting Kansas for Christmas back home, my mom introduced me to Joey + Rory. I was hesitant at first, as I’m typically not the biggest country fan, but decided I would watch their new movie with her. (See the trailer here.)

It’s such a beautiful story, though definitely heart wrenching; but inspiring as ever. By the end I was ready to give up the city life and raise my own farm…

Their hope and faith and general outlook on life really touched me; especially in the face of all they have gone through. And, when Patrick passed last month, I laid in bed for hours with the hymns record on repeat. It really brought me comfort in a time in which I was desperately in need of some faith and reassurance.

I absolutely love the two songs below, and recently, when things have been overwhelming or scary or just too much — aka anytime I read the news — I listen to these two songs to calm my soul.

 

Thanks for the intro, mom! I love you!

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