Monday, December 29, 2008

tradition...and arbitrarily starting over

I admit it. I am a sucker for the New Year mentality. I love thinking of having a fresh start. Of course, everyone can start over at any second in their life, but I like that numeric fresh start. I was so ready to be rid of 2006 and 2007...I could start thinking "that was last year, this is now." 2008 has not been a year that I necessarily want to discard from the memory vault but I am even more excited about 2009.

Many people my age dread getting older. Dread being in their 30's. I do not. I am so excited that I will turn 29 in couple weeks. I am very much looking forward to saying goodbye to my twenties. I don't know if there is a particular reason for feeling this way or not. I am just happier about where I am in life than ever before. I am more comfortable and confident than I was in my earlier twenties. I hope that this trend continues as I age. If it does than I will be a person who likes aging quite well.

Each new year I compile a list in my journal and on my blog...a year's best list. Here is this year's edition.

Best book: Extremely loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer...breathtaking
Best movie-drama: Milk
Best movie-comedy: I liked Sex & The City and Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Best performance (onscreen): Sean Penn, Milk
Best play: I will have to vote for a musical... Seussical the Musical. Although I did enjoy Othello here in KC in the park this summer.
Best play I read: Broke-ology- Nathan L. Jackson. Lincoln Center, NYC- 09
Best live musical performance: Missy Higgins at the Record Bar in Kansas City
Best day: Keenan's 27th Birthday in Philly & the election of our upcoming President top my list.
Best gift: My BCBG black wool coat or the Jay Cutler women's cut jersey in white (both courtesy of Keenan).
Best new recipe: pumpkin pancakes for breakfast and ritz chicken for dinner
Best new gadget: my book light...I know these were invented awhile ago, but I have just now fallen in love.
Best thing to watch on TV: LOST or House (still my faves)
Best new show on TV: The Mentalist
Best vacation: Philly (yep Philly tops Vegas...barely)
Best babies: It's a tie...but here they are in birth order: Joshua Garretson, Greyson Rawls, Maxx Riggert, Tiernan was the year of the boy...let's see if 09 brings us some ladies.

Here's a rewind to my last year's ideas...

December 31
fresh start
12/31 is truly my favorite day of the year, every year. Even this year. I really believe in the “fresh start idea” that a new year gives us. Writing 08 on things suddenly gives me a little distance and closure from the mistakes and sadness of a prior year. 08 brings me further away in time from mistakes that I sometimes have a difficult time not fixating on.

Last year began on a fire escape watching fireworks and hoping the lyrics of Adam Duritz’s song “A Long December” were really going to come true this year. For the most part I think they did. 07 was wholly better than 06. Hopefully 08 will hold the same promise, although it won’t come in as fiery as 07 did. In my written journal I usually try to sum up the year in my favorite and worst moments of the year. I thought I’d do something a little less intimate here but still fun.

Best movie I saw in 07- Gone baby gone, (Ben and Casey affleck do work that is not-too-shabby at all)
Best album I’ve listened to in 07- Radiohead “In Rainbows” easily the winner here.
The best book I read in 07- Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak (really it is has the most substance of any book I read this year, otherwise I read plays or I read books for pleasure).
Best play I read this year: Rabbit Hole (it may be a cliché choice since it won the Pulitzer but it was the best choice considering I read both of Nathan Jackson’s plays in 06 and couldn't count them.
The best play I saw in 07—I was a little limited on plays this year…probably because my status as a grad student in a theatre department ended in May. So I’ve only seen about 7 plays this year and most of them were at Little Apple U. I choose William Inge’s Dark at the Top of the Stairs at Little Apple U. I plan on seeing a few more plays in 08—probably a certain TYA production a number of times.

In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love.- Diego Marchi

I’m hoping 08 brings many good things for you all. I am hoping for a nomination and the election of Barack Obama, finally being in the same state as Isaiah, happy and healthy births for Greyson and Maxx, to be able to unpack my suitcases and boxes eventually, last year I completed about 125 scrapbooking layouts (however I didn’t start up again until May) so this year I am hoping to complete 300 layouts and finally get caught up in a bunch of areas, I am of course hoping 08 also brings peace

I did not achieve 300 layouts. I did 191 this year. And sadly peace didn't come for the united states. Hoping that 09 brings an end to the war.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

overheard lately....

As I am flipping channels and see an advertisement for "Bromance" Brody Jenner's new reality show I glibly said: "Who on earth would want to watch that?" To which Keenan, without missing a beat replied "Me, for one." (Serious as a heart attack).

While watching Man vs Wild, Bear Grylls pulls a fish out of a rushing stream and bites into it, still squirming and exclaims he "loves sushi". Keenan, mouth agape says "I wish that guy was my friend." I reply "You wish Bear Grylls was your friend?" He says "Yea, my best friend." (trying not to laugh I ask "why?") "He could get me out of some sticky situations."

Later on remembering the Brody Jenner remark I ask if he wishes that Brody and Bear and he were best friends and he said yes. I asked what they would do together, he said "Cool stuff, like fish, and drink in Cabo." I am pretty sure that would be quite a trio.

Tonight, when another ad for "bromance" came on k said "do you know what you can get me for Christmas?" I asked "What?" He answered "Brody Jenner's friendship."

He also plans on seeing if there is a Bear Grylls fan club, and if there is not...starting one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


we interrupt this usually scheduled music to tell you: the music has changed. in order to motivate myself, i have removed my usual music. the usual music will return shortly. becuase i have a bit of a split personality when it comes to my musical tastes, i have chosen to disable auto-play, that way if you are not a hip-hopper you don't have to be. thank you for your patience. you will now be returned to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

Monday, December 15, 2008

day to day

there is enough daytime in the day, but not enough daylight.

got quite a bit done this weekend on the list. almost all presents are bought. the stockings are hung (and that is the only decoration, oh well). now there needs to be a wrapping-frenzy. maybe that will take place this week. busy week at work, so we will see. we have the center christmas party on thursday and i have procrastinated like crazy, we shall see it it will go off w/o a hitch (or 47). i am secretly hoping the weather waylays it until the new year...gosh i am a humbug.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

good news...

Keenan's audition went quite well yesterday. He was offered a big role for this summer at the Coterie...Yeah for a paycheck and for doing what you love.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the official weekend to-do list...

"There's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last." A Duritz, A long December


The end of this work week has been delicious. Keenan didn't have to work tues, weds, or last night. We got to eat dinner together and lounge around on the couch watching tv: Wonderful!

Tons of movies I want to see: Rachel Getting Married, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, Doubt and Frost/Nixon, and that Brad Pitt one...Benjamin Button? (something to the effect of that). Might hit Rachel Getting Married this weekend alone. Would love to see it w/ Tay, but it won't come to Salina while I'm there and she's not planning on coming here anytime soon. K works all weekend and so does the Nurse...therefore I am loner at the movies.

Okay, must finish up Christmas and Christmas party for work...therefore lots of shopping is in order this weekend. need to organize and wrap the gifts I do have done.

Have to go to Olathe to an open-house of three of my guys at the center. Wasn't planning on going but I brought it up in front of one of them and he said he wanted me to see where he lives. Heartwarming ensued. Thus I will trek south and see his home & do some shopping in the suburbs.

Who I know I have left to buy for:
Something little for Tay
Mom's ornament
Keenan's massage gift certificate
A couple of my friends (who may read this...can't tell what you are getting)
Something little for Brielle
Send G&G G a card and photos from this year of Tay, Matt & I...

Never ended up decorating the apt. for Christmas. I got out the snowflake bathroom towels and Christmas dishtowels and angel throw pillow, everything else is still in the green rubbermaid crate. I doubt I will follow-through, I've never decorated much in the past, besides the one year it felt obligitory (Dec 05).

Also not sending Xmas cards this year...only did this one year too, the obligatory married Christmas cards. Now that I am no longer such, and I have no children, I don't see that you need a Christmas card from me (with the exception of my grandparents), consider it yours and mine contributions toward being "green" for Christmas.

I should probably squeeze in laundry, somewhere in the schedule as well...

have a great weekend yourself.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

post hoc ergo propter hoc

I know this is controversial...and thus that I might be stepping on some toes here...but this is also a field that I have much personal experience in as well as have researched extensively through college, graduate school, and post-masters study for registration. so there is your disclaimer...I am emotional about this topic as well as well-versed....

This rant of sorts all culminated from listening to NPR this morning regarding Jenny McCarthy and her "cure & cause" for her son's autism & regarding the astounding numbers of parents who are choosing not to vaccinate.

I recommend highly to anyone who comes to me w/ a question about Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) to get MORE than one opinion. And these opinions should not come from celebrities.

I have no doubt that Jenny McCarthy and other celebrities w/ children w/ Autism are like any parent w/ a child w/ an ASD...they research. However when you are researching and you are emotional and you are searching for answers what you find may be self-serving & not serving for the whole.

In my disclaimer I wrote that this is a topic I am emotional about...I have a brother on the spectrum. However I have been working w/ individuals on the spectrum and researching the spectrum since long before my brother was diagnosed. And honestly, my brother is so high functioning "curing" him isn't something we are looking for as a family, "understanding" him is, "teaching" him is, and helping him to become the most independent and happy person he can be is our mission.

I know that what I am writing may relate to other special needs and that people w/in the disabilities community often tire of the buzz and attention and funding Autism gets. But I want to speak specifically to this disability because it truly has some issues surrounding it that are subsets to itself entirely. The hottest topic about autism is the origin.

"How did my child get autism"? Science hasn't found a gene or a chromosome abnormality or an environmental certainty to the origin of autism.

When you are told that your child has a chromosomal abnormality it has a finality to it. You have a way to accept it, even if there is a genetic predisposition, you could still can come to the realization that it was just a fluke, a blip on the radar.

Autism is different. You are told that your child has something that no one has any idea why he/she got. There is no genetic marker, there are trends but the trends offer little comfort. The trend is that ASD have become extremely more commonly diagnosed and recognized in the last 20 years and that it is a somewhat overwhelming ratio of 1:4 girls:boys on the spectrum. So the parent (naturally) wants to know "why?"

There isn't much comfort in the trends/statistics. Some families have more than one child on the spectrum, some have only 1 and many other children who aren't affected, some mothers smoke, some families have developmental disabilities in their family history, some don't, some children need the gluten diet, some don't, some have co-morbid conditions such as schizophrenia, add, or adhd, expressive language disorder, ocd and/or mental retardation, others have no co-morbid conditions. When one studies the statistics for long enough it's easy to begin believing that there is no cause, that kids are willy nilly being affected w/ ASD, that suddenly the hand of a higher power points at the child and says "you".

What makes me emotional is when someone comes along and proclaims that they have the cure to Autism, or even have found the cause for that matter. This upsets me so much because it seems cruel to tell such a vulnerable set of our society "there's a cure." I highly recommend Autism's False Prophets. Furthermore, I highly suggest that people are familiar that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that Thimerosal: an agent containing mercury and thought to be tied to Autism in regards to the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine, was stripped from all childhood vaccines in 2001, with the possible exclusion of some influenza vaccines.

Perhaps someday there will be a way to prevent Autism and ASD. Perhaps there will be a definitive study that finds it's cause and it will be backed by other studies. I am praying there will be such a study.

Unlike Andrew Wakefield's (a study linking vaccines to Autism, specifically the MMR shot) study that was ultimately disproved by many other studies.

Isn't it nice that compulsory vaccination has made diseases like polio, smallpox, and neonatal rubella so uncommon that people think the vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases themselves? I'd like to hear what antivaxers would say if they traveled to a country where vaccines aren't available and saw all the children who end up crippled and dead from preventable diseases. I think it's a misrepresentation of the facts to say to viewers of a morning show: "Don't vaccinate your child, they could get Autism." Or Jenny McCarthy exclaiming on Larry King live (transcript below) that she would prefer her son get measles than Autsim.

When a large group of people do not vaccinate history shows us that these preventable diseases will reoccur. In fact last year in Denver there was a huge outbreak of children with whooping cough. And what is irresponsible to not present that these diseases can be FATAL to children. There is no scientific evidence that concurs w/ Jenny. She may not be lying, semantically speaking, but she's wrong and it's dangerous.

But please don't take mine or Jenny's word for it. Look for yourself and keep looking.

Further reading below:

this that refutes Jenny's argument of ether, anti-freeze and mercury in vaccines.

Jenny & guests on Larry King Live

Andrew Wakefield's study details:

ALthough gluten-free diet helps some children who have Autism, it is sadly not the "cure", there isn't a magic bullet so to speak. Sadly when emotions are involved it is hard to rely on anecdotal evidence. If you have a good day w/ a child w/ Autism following the Gluten free diet you may believe it's because of the diet, and if you have a bad day you may think that without the diet it would have been worse. Unfortunately, any first year research student can tell you there are far too many variables. doctor has been presented as of yet that corroborates her claims that her child has "recovered from Autism". Could he be progressing? I believe absolutely, I also pray that he is!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the rest of the story...

rewind to the weekend...

Saturday I acquired the comfy sweats for Keenan (don't worry it will stay a surprise, he finds blogs odd and pretentious, and thus never reads mine or anyone else's). Also acquired was a Santa suit for the work party, and Under armor (not sure on the spelling for that) for Cam and a great basket from the thrift store for me that now houses umbrellas, fabric shopping bags and outerwear by the door of the apartment.

because I was SO tired on Saturday from not sleeping on Friday, I accidentally slept through date night. I know, it's awful and not so good for the boyfriend's ego...I made it through dinner at McCoy's okay, but the 9:30 movie turned out to be awful and my little eyes and brain finally gave up. I woke up 2 hours later to a disappointed Keenan (he hated the movie too and was not so happy to watch it alone). so you don't inflict pain upon yourselves I will not recommend seeing the new Philip Seymour Hoffman film-Synecdoche, New York it was completely pretentious and I will be completely enraged at the academy if they nominate it for anything. Charlie Kaufman (eternal sunshine and being john malkovich) is the director. But this experience merited no sunshine at all, much less the eternal kind.

Sunday I got to watch my Broncos win against the enemy Chiefs and ended up winning the regular season for both my fantasy football leagues. This is worth mentioning because the one league I am in is all men (except me). When I mentioned to my friend McKay that I may win the league, she looked at me with adoration and noted that if I did win "it would be second only to having a female president" (in terms of what this means for womankind). Of course she was being tongue-in-cheek...but it does feel pretty good (although not so good for the eleven men in our league).

My dad and brother spent long Sunday afternoons explaining my many inquiries to the game of football as a preteen. And now I can finally use it for more than just watching the I can really enjoy watching every team (well except the abysmal Detroit Lions).

Of course the playoffs begin this week and it all may be for naught. However I doubt I will forget my mini-victory anytime too soon.

And that my friends, is the rest of the story (as pertaining to my weekend). And now it's almost time to plan the next one...

Monday, December 8, 2008

she only drinks coffee at midnight...

when the moment is not right, & the timing is quite unusual...-train

started the weekend on a buzz, a caffeine buzz. went to a fun dinner w/ meg and tammy at tomfooleries and instead of dessert bought a coffee at scooters at 10pm...i am not a usual caffeine-fiend, thus i didn't finally drop to sleep until 7AM, Saturday morning. ugh.

more pics...Brielle & Tiernan. so sweet.

more about the weekend later. today is a migraine day. boo hiss.

Friday, December 5, 2008

agenda de jour

glad it's friday again. love having this day to look forward to every week. this weekend should be's what i have slated so far...

tonight there is shopping w/ meg and mymy
procuring final gifts on my list

  • comfy sweats for keenan

  • ornament for mama

  • stocking stuffers for k

  • something for matt (?)

  • gift for juanelle & dad
a date w/ my bf. including getting a christmas tree & decorating
scrapping like a madwoman

cooking on sunday
watching the fb games on tv &
hoping my fantasy fb teams win
not thinking about work

however right now, i really should buckle down and do my paperwork so i can get out of here sometime this afternoon. blog break is officially over. seacrest, out.

ETA: My stepbrother Chance and his wife had their baby, healthy & happy: Tiernan David. 7lbs 8oz 19"

Monday, December 1, 2008


today is world aids day. please take just a second and be still & hope, or pray for a cure to this disease.