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The following is a list of all entries from the Deep Waters category.

“There Are Too Many Interesting Women…

…that I have never met because I have been brainwashed.” – Dustin Hoffman, reflecting on his experience with Tootsie.

Dustin Hoffman & Tootsie

This video has left me somewhat emotionless. I’m not sure whether to be saddened by the fact that Dustin is just now realizing this (watch the video to understand what “this” is) or to be thrilled that he finally understands this.

There is another layer to this reality that I won’t try to get to in this post (essentially, how this isn’t just a female issue), but the point in this video clip that hooked me was when asked to be made into a beautiful woman. He knew that this experience was going to be a challenge, but even he understood that being beautiful would make it easier better and even he was struck by a desire need to be attractive beautiful.

How many people are overlooked because they don’t look like we believe they should. How many women have esteem issues (yes, yes, I know it’s called SELF esteem, but that doesn’t make having it any easier) because, try as they might, they don’t look like a model. How many children are written off early in life because they aren’t cute? How many people aren’t heard because the words coming out of their mouths are overshadowed by a physical trait that doesn’t quite cut it?

Sigh… you’re thoughts?


Rebecca

Did you ever want something really badly, but you couldn’t conclusively explain why? I have. Maybe you can relate to my tale, maybe you can’t. Either way, I was amazed at the memories (and emotions) a doll could invoke in a 26-year-old’s psyche. Poetic, I know. This is my tale (and my attempt to conclusively explain)…

When I was little, I desperately wanted an American Girl doll. I read through the magazines and I admired the dolls of my friends. Yes, I had dolls of my own (and a slightly unhealthy admiration for Barbies) but there was something about the American Girl Dolls that I longed for. I didn’t realize it then, but I understand it now: I wanted to be a part of her (their) story.

I remember when Addy was released in 1993. She was my instant favorite. I was 6 years old and completely enamored by her. I poured over her books whenever I could get my hands on them. There was something about her life that seemed epic to a 6 year old (and there was something to the fact that she looked different than my other dolls). I didn’t understand at the time that she was a runaway slave and that she, along with her mother, were in search of freedom and the rest of their family. I just knew that her life was constantly changing and that she part of an adventure that I couldn’t possibly emulate, no matter how much I wanted to.

But Addy wasn’t my only American Girl Doll dream, she was just the only one I remember anticipating. There were other stories that I read that planted themselves in my young and impressionable mind and grew in my imagination.

I remember Felicity (released in 1991), the spunky colonial girl growing up as America is on the brink of the Revolutionary War. Looking back, I understand that I was drawn to her free spirit and tomboyish nature (I had a bit of both myself), but when I was young, I just thought she was wild. She rode horses and, instead of learning to be a proper gentlewoman, she went off on adventures. She was who I wanted to be when I was tired of being “good.”

I remember Samantha (released in 1986). Samantha was a rags to riches story (in my childlike mind). She was an orphan but her grandmother (and guardian) was rich and I couldn’t imagine a better way to grow up when I was young. I also desperately wanted a nickname and Samantha had one… Sam. She lived in the early 1900s. She lived in a world that was constantly changing; she was a part of the change and yet, she knew her place in it. She was the one that I wanted to be when I fantasized about a proper, high-class, urban life.

And to round off my list of favorite American Girl Dolls, there was Kirsten (also released in 1986). When I was little, I called her Kristen because I didn’t know any better, but she was special because she reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the real live person whose life I wanted to emulate (until I caught on that she had to use an outhouse and even then, I might have been persuaded). Every day for Kirsten was a challenge and a surprise because she was from “somewhere else” (that’s how my child’s mind  thought of it… she was from Sweden). She was part of the pioneer fantasy that I equated to discovery, wide open spaces, and freedom.

Every American Girl story was so different and I desperately wanted to be part of them all. Well, really only the ones I just mentioned. The only other one I knew and liked when I was a child was Molly and she reminded me of my sister because she had glasses. That was the only similarity, but I was a kid and didn’t know any better. I would fantasize about their worlds and lives. I would wish and pretend to be there.

Even at that young age, I remember feeling acutely the emotions of Addy’s journey as if I was running to Philadelphia with her and her mother. Their stories left a deep impression on my child mind. But somehow, I suppressed their impact as I grew. I attached myself to the Barbie world and left the history and stories of these dolls behind. It wasn’t until I was much older (almost 20 years older) that I realized how much those dolls had meant to my childhood imagination.

It was when I went the house of a dear friend and saw her American Girl doll sitting in a place of honor on her shelf even though my friend hadn’t played with her in many years (she is my age, after all) that I realized that that longing to be a part of the American Girl story was still there.

Call it silly, but I felt as though I had missed out. I felt as though my imagination had been hampered and that, somehow, this missing part of my childhood had impacted my adult life.

Then a gift came from my dear friend… something I never expected. In a small box, just a bit talled and slightly thinner than a pop can, lay my very own American Girl Doll (Did you know they made mini-American Girl Dolls? I didn’t!), a new one whose story I didn’t yet know. Her name is Rebecca Rubin and she is a 9-year-old girl living on the Lower East Side in 1914 with her Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, siblings and a grandmother known only as Bubbie.

It wasn’t until I took her out of her box and admired her historically accurate clothing and pretty face that I remembered the stories of Addy, Felicity, Samantha, and Kirsten. It wasn’t until I started to read Rebecca’s story that I realized how deeply rooted my memories of those other childhood friends were. And as I began to re-read their stories (thank you Google), the memories of why I love them so much welled back up inside me. It is really only as I write this blog that I have put words to my childhood imagination and even now, it makes my heart simultaneously smile and hurt.

Thank you dear friend, you know who you are, for re-opening a long shut door to my childhood. You didn’t know that’s what you were doing, I’m sure, but that’s what you did and sentimental me feels that you need to know how much that simple act meant to someone still searching for her own story.


Weddings: A lesson in…

Patience, Conviction, Priorities, & Negotiation.

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance, A church filled with family and friends.I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for, He said one that would make me his wife.~Author Unknown

After nearly two years of marriage, the nightmares about the wedding planning are finally decreasing in frequency. I can now walk past a wedding boutique without cringing and feeling tulle crawling on my skin. I can eat cake without imagining if guests will like it. I can enjoy flowers for the prettiness and not for there potential in a bouquet.

Long story short, the therapy is working!

Okay, so I’m being extremely sarcastic. Don’t misunderstand, I Love being married, but the wedding planning… well, let’s just say that if I could do it all over again it would be Vegas-style all the way!

Recently, however, a dear friend asked me if I have any wedding-planning advice. Well dear friend (and anyone else planning a wedding), this blog is for you! Keep in mind, though, these are my opinions, I’m sure there are many that would disagree with me, but each wedding is different. It’s up to you whose advice you take. Also, this blog is long and I’m sorry for that, but I feel that everything in the list is important.

Thought #1: Remember that your wedding day is only one day. Yes, there is that perfect dress that you love and you are contemplating selling your car to pay for it, but it’s not really worth it. Make the day about you and your spouse, but don’t get so carried away that you don’t have any money left at the end of the day or that your parents are suffering because of your wedding choices.

Thought #2: I enjoy doing my own make-up. It relaxes me. I thought that having a professional do my make-up on the big day would make life easier, but it stressed me out. I ended up washing off some of what she did (though it looked fine) and redoing it because it was something I enjoy doing and it helped me relax. Think about the things in your life that relax you and make those a part of your day. Be that your hair or your nails or your make-up.

Thought #3: Be kind to your bridal party. Keep their budget it mind as well. I have been many a wedding and have paid a large sum of money for bridesmaid’s dresses that I haven’t worn again (save one which was a fluke… two brides I stood up for chose the same dress in the same color one year apart… don’t count on this happening to you). My choice for my wedding: I gave the bridesmaids a color and a few perimeters (length, solid color, etc.) and let them choose something they loved. Groomsmen wore stuff that they already had in their closets and we rented their vests instead of asking them to rent tuxes. Though these options might not be what you want to do, still keep budgets in mind and don’t ask them to sell their blood on the black market to pay for a dress that you want.

Thought #4: Don’t get so wrapped up in appearances that you spend tons extra on things that aren’t necessary. For instance, if it’s cheaper for you to get married and have a reception at the same location and you like the look of the place, don’t discount this idea just because others think it’s “lame.” It’s your wedding; don’t loose sight of that (though a caveat with that: there is a find line between “this is our wedding” and “I want everything my way”).

Thought#5: Flowers are pricey (and heavy!). When picking bouquets, think about what is common for the season you are getting married in. Also, don’t ask your bridesmaids to hold large bouquets for the entire ceremony (the large the bouquet, the most costly, also).

Thought #6: Remember who you know. I don’t mean hunt down everyone who owns you a favor and call it in. I mean, you went to your friends wedding two months ago and you loved the votives she used… ask if you can borrow them for your wedding and arrange them differently. Your aunt has a large number of tablecloths in the perfect shade of green? Ask if you can use them on your gifts table, head table, etc. The less you rent, the more you save.

Thought #7: If you choose to do a dinner or finger-foods for your reception, I would recommend having it catered. Yes, it costs more, but peace-of-mind and allowing your friends and family to relax during the reception makes it worth it. Remember, there are no requirements about what you must do for your reception. A 5-course meal isn’t a must, it’s a choice. But you must keep in mind the time of day your reception will fall in. If your reception will fall around dinnertime, be kind to your guests and feed them at least something! If it falls around 3pm, finger-foods will be cheaper (probably). Also, a good rule of thumb to remember about the number of invitations you send versus how many people will attend is: (# of Invitations x 2) x 80% = the number of people you should expect.

Thought #8: Don’t get to fancy with food. Beef wellington is tasty, but it’s pricey. Unless it’s your favorite, why serve it on your big day? This is where a themed reception can be nice, because it can lend itself to food decisions. How so? Here’s an example: We had a carnival themed wedding, which meant that we could have coney dogs and sno-cones! Cheap, tasty, and all stuff we love!

Thought #9: Invitations are pricey and a pain in the butt. If you know a graphic artist (not just someone that can draw, but an actual graphic artist!), see if you can make a deal with them. You can have one-of-a-kind invitations, have them printed at Kinkos, and save yourself money.

Thought #10: Set up a wedding website ASAP. Make sure you choose to set up a site on a website that offers to do RSVPs. This will make your existence much happier. It also allows you to give people/guests information during the planning process.

Thought #11: Register is meant to be fun, don’t let it be a chore or cause fights! Set aside an entire day for this experience. It may not take all day (hopefully for your feet it won’t take that long), but if you plan it this way, you won’t be rushed. Make a date out of it and allow yourselves to dream and have fun picking things. Remember to pick things in a variety of price ranges. Guys can get really bored with this project, so I recommend letting your man hold the gun and scan things. It keeps them a bit more engaged. Also, don’t be selfish on this day; let your man choose things he might want too (tools, electronics, etc.). Oh, check the return policy for places you register. Oh and one more thing on this subject: Bed Bath & Beyond is the most fun place to register!

Thought #12: Pick someone, either a professional wedding coordinator or someone you know and trust, to act as coordinator for the day. I think hiring a wedding coordinator is overkill if you are worrying about a budget (in other words, if money was no object, I would have hired one). I would recommend picking someone you trust who is organized and is comfortable with the gig who isn’t going to try to take over to coordinate the day (i.e. make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time, work with photographer so that you get some “getting ready” shots, makes sure that the reception is ready to go, that the emcee has the proper notes for the reception, etc.).

Thought #13: Speaking of emcees, if you are having dancing at your reception, a DJ isn’t a bad idea (though this can be expensive) because they have experience. However, picking a few hours worth of your favorite music also works. Just make sure you have someone picked to act as emcee for the reception (i.e. introduce the couple and attendant, announce the cutting of the cake, intro the toasts, etc.). Theatre and communication students tend to be good at this task.

Thought #14: Don’t think that everything you need for the wedding must be purchased in a store. For instance, my veil was purchased from Etsy.com. It cost me $15 and was identical to the $85 one at a bridal boutique. Same story can be said for the corset I wore under my dress: $20 online, $65 in stores. The jewelry that I gave my bridesmaids as a thank you, it was all purchased at Etsy.com and was far more unique than anything I could have found in a store for the same price.

Thought #15: Shoes. This can be a tough subject because there are so many cute shoes in the world, but be kind to your feet. You may say, “but I love wearing heels” and that may be true, but if you can avoid it, don’t wear stilettos at your wedding. Wear cute, but comfy shoes, and make sure you break them in before the wedding (can I get an AMEN from other past brides out there?). Also, I’m an advocate for changing shoes for the reception. Don’t go barefoot if you can avoid it; you don’t want to have super messy feet on your wedding day or your wedding night and people can step on your toes (literally) and that hurts. Wear shoes of some kind.

Thought #16: Photography is a BIG deal. You photos are a big deal. If you are going to skimp on cost for your wedding, DON’T DO IT HERE! I’m not saying spend a couple thousand dollars, but don’t ask your Aunt Wanda to take your photos because she has a camera and you want to save money. Ask around, look at samples, see who you like, and then barter with them for the price you want. But don’t skimp on this step just to save a few bucks.

Thought #17: Lots of people in this world do hair, not all of them do it well, but many do it just fine. Find someone you trust to do a good job (do at least one test run!!!!) but don’t feel like you have to go to some fancy boutique to get a good hair-do. It’s not worth it. You’re hair needs to look pretty and stay all day, not cure cancer.

Thought #18: Rent a room SOMEWHERE for you wedding night. Don’t get on a plane that same day and expect it to be darling. Find a nice, quiet hotel somewhere close-ish to the place you got hitched and hunker down there for your wedding night. You will be tired and so will your groom. Don’t set expectations that are too high for this evening. As for the honeymoon, I would recommend taking a few days and going somewhere that will relax you. Save up for a bigger honeymoon on your first anniversary or something like that. Right after the wedding, the most important thing is relaxing and getting used to being with your new spouse. Taking a week in Cancun would be a blast, but it’s pricey and isn’t the most important thing in the world and you shouldn’t go in debt for it. Save your money and take a more exciting trip on your first or second anniversary. By that time, you will know your spouse and things can be a lot more relaxed, fun, and exciting at that point!

Thought #19: Cake is tasty and fun, no questions there. But choose a design and style (and flavor) that you want, don’t give in to what other say you should do. Another option is to forgo cake and do cookies or cupcakes. This can sometimes be cheaper. Ask around, get prices. And remember this, the cake is no longer a HUGE focal point of the wedding, it is just a tradition. Don’t spend tons on this tradition just for traditions sake; allow yourself to think outside the box.

Thought #20: You have the engagement ring, now it’s time to choose the wedding bands. This is what you make of it. My husband and I didn’t spend thousands, but we did select a budget and we stuck to it. We both got something we love! But the key is to decide on a budget and stick to it. Shop around, but make sure you get a warranty of some kind. Rings deal with a lot of wear and tear and damage happens. You don’t want to have to pay tons for your ring repairs because you skimped and didn’t get a warranty.

Thought #21: Becoming a Mrs. is tough work. It takes time and paperwork. Don’t think that changing your name will happen overnight and all will be right in the world, because it won’t. I’ll debunk the Santa Clause myth here to if you like. Gather the paperwork you need and hit the pavement. You need to change your social security card, your bank cards, your license, your mailing address name, etc. Make a list of everything that needs to confirm that you are  now Mrs. [insert your new last name here] and start making calls, seeing what paperwork you need before you go to the office to change it, and don’t get discouraged. This is important, but time consuming.

Thought #22: Thank you notes are a chore, but a necessary chore. People appreciate your thanks. But brides, the gifts weren’t all for you, they were for your husband too! He can help with thank you notes! They aren’t rocket science! These also don’t have to cost a fortune. You can get blank postcards and stamp them and send them as postcards (i.e. without envelopes) and save some money.

Thought #23: This is more of a helpful thought for your receptions, but actually take time to SEE your guests. It flies by and once it’s over, there is no going back. Make the rounds and see the people that have traveled to be part of your day. Don’t let Auntie Velma horde your time and attention.

Thought #24: Bridezilla Syndrome: this is a very real and all-to-common disease that can be avoided if brides realize that their wedding day is ONE day of their life and that things WILL go wrong. It may be little things, but things will go wrong. Prepare yourself to roll with the punches. Don’t get so attached to something that if it doesn’t pan out, you hate life. Remember that at the end of the day, only one thing matters: you said “I Do” and so did he.

And my final thought (at least for now) on weddings is this: A wedding is one day. It’s only ONE day. Don’t let that one day stop you or hinder you in any way from preparing for your actual marriage. Many a good relationship is tarnished during the months of wedding planning. Don’t get so wrapped up in the wedding that you forget that what comes after is FAR more important.


The Devil & God are Raging Inside Me

Yes that’s the title of a Brand New album, but it’s also quite fitting for this feeling so sudden and new in my life and heart. Two things happened (almost) simultaneously this past weekend. First, I received a call from my mom at 11:36 p.m. on Saturday night telling me that my aunt had been life-lined to the hospital after suffering a massive stroke. Second, was the Sunday morning service at my church entitled Real Talk that highlighted just how much God isn’t a little kid with a magnifying glass attempting to singe his ant people.

At first this struck me as an interesting coincidence. Then I was reminded of something I used to say years ago: Coincidence is just a weird quirk of God’s creative nature. 

My first thought when I heard about my beloved aunt was that this wasn’t fair. My family has suffered enough in the last 12 months, we don’t need another devastating blow. I wanted to rage at God for his injustice! My aunt didn’t deserve this! She is a good, God-fearing woman!

Then I attended Sunday morning’s service and was humbled not only by God awesomeness, but also by His timing.

Our pastor spoke from John 9:1-3. It’s a simple passage that says this:

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

The point of the message was the God doesn’t punish his followers for trying, nor does he abuse his people for their efforts that went badly. (Though this wasn’t part of the message, this was the question this message answered for me… Why do bad things happen to good people?) The answer: so “that the works of God might be displayed.”

This message was exactly what I needed to hear on Sunday. I needed reminded that God doesn’t punish people because they “screw up.” Just because this happened to my aunt doesn’t mean that she had done something to deserve it. My pastor had no idea that he was saying exactly what I needed to hear that day. God is funny (Or AWESOME) like that!


Tuning In… Out?

This is the story of a car from my past. Though I no longer drive the car daily, the lesson I learned lives on… (poetic, right?)

When I purchased my car, I was pleased to find that the stereo had been upgraded from the stock radio and that a CD player with an auxiliary option and removable faceplate had been installed. It’s one of my favorite features of the car.

A habit, however, formed soon after I bought the car: when I’m not in the car, neither is the faceplate. I take the faceplate inside in the evening and to the car with me in the morning. After months of owning the car, it’s become part of my morning ritual; grab the coat, keys, coffee, purse and radio faceplate before I leave the house.

One morning a few weeks ago I was running late and I missed a step in my morning routine. I grabbed my coat, keys, coffee and purse and ran off to the car. As soon as I turned on the car and realized what I had forgotten, I knew it was too late for me to run back inside; I was late enough already!

I was certain from the moment I put the car in drive and started toward the office that the lack of music during my the morning commute was going to throw off my entire day. But it didn’t.

As I drove the familiar route to work, I was sure I was going to be annoyed by the silence in the car. But I wasn’t.

Instead, I found myself noticing the beautiful morning sunshine. I rolled down my window and listened to the cars on the road next to me and felt the breeze on my face.

Cliché as this may seem, I was amazed by all the sounds and sights I was missing on a daily basis because I was so caught up in my routine. Beyond that, however, I also found on that unusual morning drive that I was more relaxed when I arrived at work because I had spent the 10-minute drive, not listening to an upbeat song or hearing the morning news, but instead relaxing, preparing and praying for the day ahead.

Don’t misunderstand, most of the time when I’m driving, there is some sort of music playing in the car. But after that peaceful morning commute, I find that I’m not all that upset when I “forget” my radio faceplate.


Choosing to Chill

Recently I was asked how I spend my evenings. The questions was asked out of a concern that this individual was missing out on what 20-somethings do for fun, but it made me ponder my evening itinerary. What DO I do with my evenings?

Here is what I concluded… I do less.

There was a time when I filled my life with anything and everything I could. I was a hobby connoisseur and a multi-job master. I would volunteer for this and offer to do that. I would make dates with friends and I would attend events.

Then I married my wonderful husband and realized that my priorities had to change. I couldn’t keep doing everything I was doing if I wanted our marriage to work. So I started cutting things out of my life. Bit by bit and piece by piece, I started dissecting my life. I put myself on a pretty restricted extracurricular diet.

Now, when I leave work, I go home and do the normal things (cook dinner, clean up the kitchen afterward, clean the bathroom, pay bills, etc) and then I relax. I spend time reading a book or enjoying a crossword puzzle. Yes, I’m still involved with things and I still meet with friends and I still have hobbies, but I am actively choosing to chill and I’m starting to understand what peace is.


Little Lessons

Three-year-olds can be smart. They master lessons that adults don’t seem able to grasp. Whether those lessons stick with them through their adulthood is another story, but when they are 3, those little lessons are a code they live by.

I know a 3-year-old who lives her life by this code: listen, show respect and share. That is how she measures her morality (not that she knows what “morality” means).

What would it be like if the population lived life based upon this code of conduct?

It seems so basic. These things should be common sense, but are they? But when approached by a tough situation, do you remind yourself to listen? Do you make certain you are being respectful? Do you make sure to share you knowledge, experience, possessions?

If not, shouldn’t you be?


Food for Thought

Friendship and French toast. I like both of these things. Therefore, the breakfast that I attended the other morning was most enjoyable.

The theme of the breakfast is Believe – Achieve – Inspire and how fitting those words were. The speaker, Michelle Merritt, vice president of Communications and Member Relations at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, spoke from her heart about what it means to her to inspire.

One of her thoughts that stuck with me the most was…

Own who you are. Own where you are. Then you can own where you’re going.

This line allows you to take account of your life, own it, and move on. It’s a beautiful, simple, and powerful thing.

How could I change my world if I would do this one simple thing?

If I framed this as a question…

Who am I now? Where am I now? Where am I going?

How would I answer if I were to ask these questions now? Would I like what I had to say? I’m not sure I would. That means I must change. OR. I must become comfortable (read: happy or content) with where I am.


The Roof

It’s how I met my dad
That summer on a roof
We didn’t talk before
And then we went up the 13 rungs of a silver ladder

Our gloved hands ripped old torn shingles from their place
Dad taught me—showed me—how to “lay a good line”
Together, we found a rythm, me with a nail gun too big for my hands
Him holding new shingles in place

He told me I was doing a good job, that he was proud of me
A smile hit me in the face

Lunch was eaten on the unfinished ridge
The highest point of the roof
Killing an hour with talk radio and God
Bologna tastes best on a country roof

And then we went down the 13 rungs of a silver ladder
We climb in the Dodge
We head home
At summer’s end, I said goodbye to my dad.


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