Archive for July, 2011

July 29, 2011

What I Love…. The Word Transparency

I keep coming across the word transparency in regards to behavior. Contextually, it was about being honest with ourselves, our family, our friends, our neighbors, our constituents. I sat thinking about transparency and how it effects me in my relationships with others and with the world. I realized how my with-holding and my fear holds me back and keeps me unconnected and out of communication. As I was contemplating, a song came on my slacker radio station: Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said”, as if right on queue. I listened to the lyrics and realized, that the last few words of that song were amazing. He sings: “Fear is such a weak emotion thats why I despise it. We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth. So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you”. He mentions that because we live in fear of telling the truth, we are stuck inside of ourselves.

Sometimes,  we are our own worst enemies, we hide ourselves so people will like us or we use lies to get what we want and manipulate others – the government/political realm is notorious for not saying the truth, but spinning it to gain power, just watch or read the news and you will see it right away.

I watched a movie not long ago called “The Invention of Lying”. What struck me about the fictitious world created in this movie is that everyone told the truth, but the truth was mean, ugly, and fearful. Everyone was miserable. The idea behind inventing lying was that it makes us happy; it makes other people happy. While I loved that movie and it made me laugh, I have to disagree with the premise. I think it’s the fear that makes the truth ugly and why we hide it is because of fear. The truth can be ugly, but it gets even uglier when we pretend it doesn’t exist. It also makes us miserable, because we know we’re lying and being inauthentic. I believe inauthenticity breeds misery, especially when we are denying ourselves our true feelings.

Being transparent is much easier said than done. I should know – I’m a fantastic chameleon and a bad communicator about my emotions. I can pretend to agree with someone when I don’t or pretend to be into things that I don’t really like. I also like to sweep everything difficult under the rug and pretend it’s not there, but every time, it manages to creep out and bite me, right where it hurts the most – my heart. It doesn’t make me happy and it doesn’t make those around me happy if I don’t speak truths or with-hold my real feelings.

My challenge to myself is to be transparent, be authentic, speak the truth first of all to myself, and then to those around me. It’s not easy to be honest and hold ourselves accountable, some people are better at it then others, but all great things that come out of life are not easy. We have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. Lupe Fiasco says in his song “I can’t take back the words I never said,” but I believe it’s never too late to say the things you meant to say.

July 25, 2011

What I Love… Red Wine

A few years ago, I drank way too much red wine and woke up with the world’s worst headache and decided to steer clear of it as much as possible. Experience after experience proved that red wine gave me a raging headache and I decided to stick to white wines and rosés. Lately, I have decided to start drinking more red wines. Perhaps, my headaches were caused more by too much alcohol consumption as opposed to red wine specifically. Though, I do believe these headaches are wine related, not necessarily from reds only, because after my second glass I usually end up with a small headache, whether it’s a white or red wine. This is a shame, because I do love wine, but moderation is a trick I am learning.

I ended up at the Red Slate in SE Portland this past Friday, a small wine bar that does wine tasting classes and special events. It is only open to the public for happy hour on Fridays with a small menu of three wines to choose from. Out of the three – a sparkling, white and red – I opted to only drink the red and I fell in love with it. It was a 2007 Réserve Perrin from Perrin & Fils. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre from southern Rhône in France. While I’m no wine guru and am just now embarking on a new journey of loving wine, I will say it was bold, but smooth, rich and deep, yet light enough for a warm sunny, summer evening. Shockingly, this bottle of wine can be bought for under $10.

I look forward to new adventures in wine tasting. I would love it if you shared what your favorite red wine is!

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July 19, 2011

What I Love… Rapper Kaka Sungra – aka Rabbit

Something I have always wanted to do, but haven’t managed to accomplish yet, is to travel the world. Lately, I keep wondering what is holding me back, besides funding, which I don’t have at the moment. I realize that funding is just a detail and if I put my mind to it, I can make it happen, hopefully sooner than later, I already have a few ideas. While I try to figure that part out, I  have been thinking about all the places I would like to go: Egypt, New Zealand, South Africa, Ethiopia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Italy, France, England, Ireland, and I realize the list just keeps growing. Obviously, I won’t be making an around the world trip anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming. Walking through the Los Angeles airport last week, I stopped at one of the small gift shops/convenient stores while my co-worker purchased a bottle of water. Immediately a magazine caught my eye, AFAR. I had never heard of this travel magazine before, but was intrigued by the magazine title “Travel Deeper – 9 Unusual Destinations”. I grabbed the magazine and took it to the cash register to make my purchase.

I will say that the flight home was one of the shortest two hour flights I had ever experienced. I ended up transfixed on the different articles from the colorful and vibrant Moroccan markets, to the allure of the upcoming Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, to the New England seaport Portland, Maine, a place that I’ve never been, but already have a strange connection with. Although slight and a little silly it may be, there was an image from the coastline that was the same as on a puzzle I received, a random Christmas gift from an old property manager, that I tried to complete not too long ago, but didn’t because puzzles trouble my impatient soul. I took it as a sign that I must visit there someday. I was so lost in the magazine, I was shocked when the captain came over the intercom to announce that we were descending into Portland.

The article that intrigued me the most was written by one of the SNL contributors, a member of the Lonely Island comedy trio – Jorma Taccone. Try getting the song “I’m on a boat” out of your head after listening to it, it’s nearly impossible. I still have it stuck in my head. You can thank Jorma for that! The article was about him traveling across the world to Nairobi to write an article and to make a music video. His article made me want to visit Kenya and even made me laugh- something I’ve been trying to do more of. After  spending a few short hours in Nairobi and asking around for a local artist, he met Kaka Sungra, aka Rabbit, a well known rapper.

Here is the video that Jorma and Rabbit made together: http://www.afar.com/posts/p-for-every-issue-of-afar-we-spin-the-globe-and-send-a-writer-to-a-random-destination?spt=SL&kme=Visits+Short+Link

What I loved most about this article and this rapper, is that the world may be large, but we have this amazing gift, the internet, that makes it possible for us to connect with others on the opposite side of the world and even to listen to a song written by a rapper from Nairobi! To see how others live in such different places under such dire circumstances and realize that they still have the same worries and concerns including gossiping – check out Rabbit’s rap about it on youtube. That they have such different circumstances, astounds me and I am in awe of this world we live in. I am determined to travel more to see these places.

I will also say that I now have a small crush on one of the Lonely Island members, just don’t tell him.

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July 13, 2011

What I Love… The Holstee Manifesto

I found this poster which is fitting for my life right now: http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

Not all of it pertains to me at the moment, but at one point or another it has. Lately, I had this realization that this is my life. I think for the first time in my life, I am living my life for me and no one else. I’m not waiting for anyone else to approve what I’m doing or what I want to do and I LOVE IT. No longer do I wait to see what a friend, family member, or boyfriend are doing before I decide what I want to do. I get to march to my own drum and the beat changes daily. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever had.

July 7, 2011

What I Love… Lilacs

Growing up, we always had a lilac bush in our backyard. Lilacs come and go quickly and their sweet smell doesn’t last that long. Once the blooms turn from purple to brown the bush is no longer beautiful, but I found myself waiting every season for the bush to bloom and to go pick the flowers to smell and put in my room.

I had forgotten how much I absolutely love lilacs until I looked out my window at work and saw a bush across the street fresh with blooms. With so much to do at work, I fought the urge to jump up and walk outside and grab a bloom. I saved that for my coffee break, which I stumbled across the street to look at them, sprained ankle and all. Talk about will and determination. I guess I really do love Lilacs. I used to think that lillies were my favorite flower, but they come in second. Even though they are fleeting flowers that come and go quickly, I love lilacs.

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July 6, 2011

What I Love…. 8tracks.com

What I love right now is 8tracks.com. I have been looking for good music to listen to while at work and this site has gotten me through plenty long days this past week or so. I would say it’s an excellent discovery and since I’m on the lookout for new music,  it’s a great way to find something new while mixing it up, literally.

I was looking for feel good tunes and I found exactly what I was looking for.  The title to the following track made me smile and it is true: How does anger exist when there is music like this? I’m not sure the answer to that question. I do know these tunes will put a smile on your face guaranteed or your money back. Disclaimer: It’s free… http://8tracks.com/gamble/how-does-anger-exist-when-there-is-music-like-this?mix_set_id=16875

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July 1, 2011

What I Love… Slurpees

I’m not sure anything beats having a slurpee on a hot summer day, unless you have a sore throat on a cloudy summer day. It’s been too long since I’ve had a slurpee, but today it was my treat for having survived a busy day and for feeling not well at all. What took me by surprise is that 7-11 now has Fanta flavored slurpees. “Fanta, fanta, don’t you wanna fanta, fanta” is now stuck in my head. Those commercials seem ancient now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGJThbZWPGg&feature=related

My decision was easy. I picked Blueberry and Strawberry and the mixture was heaven. It brought back many wonderful memories of college and going to get slurpees with my roommates as we talked about love, boys, school, and whatever else college girls talk about. I remember we all laughed a lot and we even learned amazing life lessons at the 7-11. As we were buying our slurpees late one night, a couple was in front of us and the girl paid. The attendant asked if they were boyfriend/girlfriend and they responded that they in fact were. After they left, he told us, that he always knew when a couple was together or not. The guy usually paid when they were just dating and the girl usually paid when they were together. This may not always be true, but this theory does hold very true most of the time.

Slurpees also remind me of when I was a kid, how I tried to get my slurpee to be the most perfect and full slurpee out of all my siblings’ slurpees. This takes a lot more effort than you would think. Once you get the bubble lid on, you have to pour more of the slurpee mixture in. But you have to do it slow as not to make it overflow, but get enough in there to fill it to the top. If you stop too soon then you have to re-add and get a funny line in the middle of your slurpee.

I find myself wondering, what is the name for the bubble slurpee lid? There has to be a name for it.