What Does It Mean To Be An Ally?

Yesterday we all woke up reeling to the horrific news about the worst mass shooting in US history. Yesterday I mourned, cursed, and cried. Today I continue to mourn but am also wondering what it means to be an ally.

I haven’t changed my Facebook profile picture. I haven’t posted my feelings about this tragedy. I haven’t publicly offered my sympathy to the victims or their families. No one directly impacted will read my status so who would I be offering those thoughts to? Would it just be to make myself feel better? Would it be a token of solidarity to my LGBTQ friends or would it be another example of someone in a privileged group co-opting a cause? And if I say nothing does that give the impression that I don’t care? Does that impression matter in the grand scheme of things?

As much as I want my LGBTQ friends to know that I understand how horrific and frightening this is what I really want to express is that I *know* this isn’t about me or how *I* feel. I am an ally but that doesn’t just mean that I speak out for the rights of others. It also means, sometimes more importantly, that I listen. I listen to my LGBTQ friends and their families. I listen to the stories of the victims. I listen to leaders in the equality movement and *their* suggestions for what I can do to be a true ally. This group does not need another straight, white, cis woman, who has never questioned which bathroom to use or if it’s safe to hold her partner’s hand in public, to speak on their behalf. There are plenty of people already speaking for themselves if we only listen.

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FedEx, Delayed Gratification, and Building Paradise

A few days ago a FedEx delivery man came to my house with a package. We exchanged pleasantries as he handed it to me and then he turned to leave. As I was closing the door he turned back to me and declared what a beautiful home we have; he seemed especially enamored with the flower beds in front of the house. He actually gushed, asking where we got our pavers, the types of flowers, all the while looking at it all with a bit of wonder. I answered his questions, thanked him and he was on his way but his words, especially the enthusiasm behind them, stuck with me and caused some contemplation. 

When I was a little girl my grandmother had a beautifully landscaped yard with old growth trees in rows, trimmed hedges, and not one but two bench swings. I thought it was paradise. She’s since passed away but I still drive past her house multiple times per week (it’s on my route, I’m not stalking the house!) and I still love that yard. And now I realize, thanks to the gushing of a stranger, that although the details are different (roses instead of hedges, woods instead of trees in rows, etc.) we’ve built our own beautifully landscaped, albeit modest, yard. 

It’s taken a long time, we built this house 14 years ago and it’s only been in the last couple of years that the yard has started to come together.   For a long time after we moved in we didn’t do much, we were tired from the arduous task of building the house ourselves and busy raising kids. Then, as the kids grew older, we started doing small projects. A pergola for the deck, a structure for the wood furnace, a bedroom in the basement. And, slowly but surely, landscaping for the front yard. I’ve often chastised myself for not doing well with delayed gratification; I’m easily frustrated when the rewards aren’t coming quickly enough. But now, thanks to the FedEx man, I know that I can follow through when it really matters to me. When the desire is pure and runs deep. 

We sit here a lot,on the front porch where I’m writing this, to catch up on the day, laugh at the hummingbirds, and just relax but now I’m trying to imagine what my (far in the future) grandchildren will think of it. They won’t know that the bird bath and bench, which look like they’ve always been in the front yard, were actually bought the first year we were married and moved multiple times before they found a home under the hickory tree. They won’t know the years of shoveling mulch year after year until we could finally, FINALLY afford to put rock in the flower beds. They’ll never sit on the uncomfortable chairs bought on clearance that had to do until we saved up for the outdoor furniture we have now. It won’t cross their mind that I once sat here admiring the yard before some future feature, yet to be imagined, even existed.  They won’t understand, like I didn’t swinging in my grandma’s yard, that these things are built over a lifetime. But I do think (hope) it will be a place of wonder like my granmother’s yard was for me. Their idea of paradise. 

Yep, I’m Unfriending People

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted to this blog. Life has been busy. I write but don’t polish so nothing sees the light of day. But I find myself increasingly frustrated with election season and I need an outlet so I’m back. 

The main source of my frustration is Facebook. Too much misinformation and half truths floating around. I could just scroll past it but every time I do have a little voice inside me that challenges me for not speaking up. And when I speak up I’m anxiety ridden because I hate conflict. My business requires I spend some time on social media so walking away completely isn’t really an option either. It’s a no win situation. 

So, here’s the deal. In an effort to maintain my emotional and mental well being I’m unfriending and hiding people (some family members hound my mother when I unfriend them so hiding makes things easier for her). Not everyone. Not for sharing political views that differ from my own. Just those who post vitriol, lies, and/or illogical memes, articles, and rants. If you think that’s a cowards way out, you may be right. But I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do so I’m not walking around constantly feeling anxious. I may miss some posts I’d really like to see of kids, vacations, promotions, etc. but again, I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do. 

And for those who share opinions without shaming, lying, and falling for logical fallacies, thanks. I’ll see you on Facebbok. 

Forty Firsts #6: Bridal Expo

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate as a vendor in a local Prom and Bridal Expo. 



Multiple vendors offering goods and services for weddings and other formal events gathered together to meet (mostly) brides. Each guest had a “passport” that had to be stamped by each vendor for them to be eligible for door prizes which meant each and every bride came to my booth where I was able to talk with them about honeymoon destinations and the advantages of using a travel agent. I’ve never been a vendor before and I’m very introverted so I really appreciated that the organizers of the event set things up this way. 

I was the only travel agent present and, in addition to having a lot of fun, I felt like I made some great contacts. I haven’t actually gotten any new clients yet but that’s okay. It was a fantastic experience and over the course of the day I fine-tuned my message which will be helpful as I move ahead with my business. I was able to let people know that not only are my services free but that they are VALUABLE. 

The more I said this aloud to others the more the idea was reinforced to me. Sometimes I need the reminder that people aren’t doing me a favor by utilizing my services. We are entering into a mutually beneficial relationship as agent and client. I’m only beginning this year of firsts and I can already see that it isn’t just going to be about new experiences but new understandings. I’m ready. 

Forty Firsts: Swadee Thai (plus an overview of ideas for the year)

This week I finally managed to cross a first off my list! A nearby town opened a Thai restaurant that everyone had been raving about but I hadn’t managed to get to yet. So, Thursday when I dropped my daughter off at the coffee shop where she was meeting her friends I headed over for a solo lunch, my first at this restaurant and also my first Thai ever!

Eggplant with chicken sauteed in chili paste. Simply delicious!

Eggplant with chicken sauteed in chili paste. Simply delicious!

It was fantastic and I can hardly wait to go back! Honestly though, I’d have tried this without a challenge so it felt a little like cheating. However, I realize that if I’m truly going to have forty firsts this year I have to count EVERYTHING, largely because I simply can’t afford or don’t have access to a lot of things that I’d love to try for the first time. For example, there’s an artificial snow ski area near us but even renting equipment proves to be expensive especially because I’d still need to buy proper clothing and pay for at least one lesson. Too expensive. Sky diving is also a bit expensive (though I admit that didn’t really look into this one much, lol). I also thought about a belly dancing class which is also kind of expensive but I found a 6 week course that I could have managed with a little bit of effort. But it takes place on one of the evenings I have to work (and my work schedule isn’t flexible).

So, coming up with a list of ideas proved more difficult than I expected but I did manage to put one together. I wanted some diversity so I split the list up into categories to make sure I wasn’t just listing 40 restaurants or places to go; the idea is to create more adventure and if the list isn’t diverse I’m afraid it will feel more mundane than adventurous. I also wanted more than 40 so if some things didn’t work out I’d still have options. And options are all this list is, I imagine (hope) that other opportunities to try new things I haven’t even thought of will present themselves throughout the year. As a somewhat obsessive planner I had to have a guide of some kind though so here goes:

Day Trips

  1. Grant’s Farm
  2. The Muny
  3. Fort Davidson
  4. Taum Sauk
  5. St. Louis Art Museum
  6. Mural Walk in Cuba
  7. Missouri State Penitentiary
  8. Museum of Archaeology, MU Campus
  9. Vacuum Cleaner Museum (there’s a story behind this one I’ll share when we do it)
  10. Busch Stadium Tour
  11. Titanic Museum
  12. Mark Twain Tour of Hannibal
  13. Walt Disney Tour of Marceline (his hometown!!)

Vacations/Weekend Getaways

  1. Washington DC
  2. Visit Funky Bones in Indianapolis
  3. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  4. Mother/Daughter trip with my girlie
  5. Eureka Springs
  6. Le Claire, Iowa (home of Antique Archaeology)
  7. 100 Mile Yard Sale
  8. B&B with R (probably in Hermann)

Restaurants/Local Businesses

  1. The Cave Restaurant
  2. 3 Squirrels Winery
  3. Public House St. James location
  4. Swadee Thai  (YAY!! Crossed one off!)
  5. Mexican place in St. James (preferably on a night they have live music)
  6. German place in JC
  7. Jazz in Columbia (cajun seafood!!)
  8. Lamberts (home of the throwed rolls)
  9. The Landing
  10. Ozark Actors Theater (the SHAME that I’ve never been!!)
  11. Waynesville’s swanky new movie theater with recliners, cocktails, etc.

Skills/Crafts

  1. learn to make pie crust from my mom
  2. learn to use the barbecue grill (again, the SHAME)
  3. create a custom wood painted sign
  4. cut wine bottles into glasses
  5. create a terrarium
  6. grow my own strawberries
  7. make a basket
  8. make jewelry
  9. make soap
  10. make a burlap wreath for my door
  11. use the quilt scraps I’ve gathered from damaged quilts to make ornaments, sachets, wall hangings, etc.

Other

  1. Get my first commission check (WOOT!)
  2. Enter and finish a local 5k (I’ll walk it though, I’m NOT a runner, lol)
  3. Host a backyard movie
  4. Get that stripe of color I’ve always wanted to try in my hair
  5. Do a fun themed manicure
  6. Get a massage
  7. Let R teach me to shoot (this may not happen as he likes it but I don’t- I’m TRYING to use this list to be more open to things he likes that are outside my comfort zone)

So, that’s what I’ve got so far. 50 things (you have to add the lists together, formatting wouldn’t allow me to use automatic numbering consecutively for different lists and I was too lazy to to back and number on my own after I realized it). There’s not really anything too daring on the list which disappointed me at first but the more I thought about it the more I realized that this challenge is about making space for being more of myself and this list is very me. If the money presents itself to try sky diving or if that belly dancing class opens up on another night I might give daring a try. I’m open to whatever the year brings.

Forty Firsts

So, I’ve been contemplating that 2015 is my 40th year. I want to do something special to both acknowledge the milestone and symbolize that this is just the beginning. I thought about a special vacation, a physical challenge, a big party, etc. but none of it felt “right”. And then I came up with an idea that is so ME that I can hardly believe I didn’t think of it before.

I love trying new things more than anything and if there’s one thing I would wish for to add to my pretty fantastic life it would be more adventure. So, this year I’m going to have 40 FIRSTS! Some will be big adventures (my first mother/daughter trip to Disney), some will be small indulgences (my first massage), and some I haven’t thought of yet. But whatever I decide it’s going to be FUN!

I’ve been so sporadic with this blog that I’m not sure if anyone is still following along but I’ll be chronicling my adventures here for my own record of things. If you’re here and if you have ideas- from new foods I should try to new places in the Mid-Missouri area I should visit to new small indulgences I can try at home leave me a comment. I’m ready for your ideas!

Bring on the ADVENTURE!

Bring on the ADVENTURE!

New Blog!

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted- life has been BUSY! Not a great excuse really because everyone is busy- I think I’ve also been hesitant to write for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a lack of focus. And while starting a new blog won’t help me be less busy it will help me be more focused.

“Why a new blog,” I’m sure you all just asked yourselves. Well, this is my personal blog. A place for me to sort and share insights about my life, what’s happening in the world, things I’m passionate about, etc. The new blog is a professional blog for my new job- I’m working as a travel planner!! So, I started a travel blog as a place for me to share my own adventures as well as offer tips and advice for those planning their own.

I thought about simply using this blog for the new job but that would mean I have to be more careful about the personal things I share and that I’d probably have to go back and delete a few things. And even though I don’t update this space as often as I’d like I’m just not ready to give it up.

Those who are interested in joining me on this journey can follow me over to I Can Show You The World. I may occasionally cross post if I’m writing about my own trips but generally these spaces will be separate. I hope to see you there and wish me luck on this new adventure!