We're engaged!!!

Paul asked me the big question this past Friday, and of course I said yes. It is an amazing feeling to know that I'm going to be sharing the rest of my life with the man I love. He has brought so much to my life, and I am so very thankful to be able to continue our relationship.

Now the real fun begins -- wedding planning...


Six months after the 9/11 attacks, I find myself in a state of semi-depression over how little has really changed in this country over the past half year. I'm not going to turn this into a long political diatribe, but I was encouraged to find Peaceful Tomorrows:

"Peaceful Tomorrows is an advocacy organization founded by family members of September Eleventh victims. Its mission is to seek effective nonviolent responses to terrorism, and identify a commonality with all people similarly affected by violence throughout the world. By conscientiously exploring peaceful options in our search for justice, we choose to spare additional innocent families the suffering that we have already experienced—as well as to break the endless cycle of violence and retaliation engendered by war."

So I'm once again contemplating what I want to do with my life. This renewed interest in my future was spurred on by various minor events in my life right now, but reading the latest issue of the Utne Reader caused me to look a little closer this time. An ad for Naropa University caught my eye. Of course, I was immediately discouraged because I assumed this font of knowledge lived nowhere near my abode. Well, it doesn't. But it is in Boulder, Colorado, which is about 25 miles from Denver, where Paul and I plan to move in a couple of years.

How refreshing to not be instantly depressed when looking at job/life/school stuff!


I can't believe I almost missed it!

This morning, as Paul drove me to work (long story involving a sprained ankle), we heard a brief snippet on the radio about today being International Women's Day! I could hardly believe that I've finally become so out of touch with the feminist community that this yearly occasion nearly passed me by without notice.

I've not yet thoroughly celebrated IWD (by joining a protest, etc.), but I sure think it's a great idea. So please take the time to learn a little bit more about why this day and recognition is so important. If you're a woman, revel in your status for today, and think about what being female means in your society and life. If you're a man, think about all the amazing women you know and what they've accomplished.

Happy IWD!


On Sunday afternoon, Paul and I took an impromptu trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory on Chicago's West Side. Shortly before we left, Paul looked up some info and we realized we'd be visiting during the Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass exhibit. It turned out to be just what we needed.

Chicago's been blessed with unseasonably warm weather lately, but somehow I still find myself in a bit of a winter funk. I'd only given brief thought to the whole conservatory idea previously, but an acquaintance of mine mentioned last week just how much she enjoyed her visit to Garfield Park. Once there, Paul and I had a fabulous time exploring the various rooms and just being around vegetation again. It's a beautiful place with plenty of twists and turns and little benches along the way. The perfect place to enjoy a book and a garden on a lazy, otherwise drab, winter afternoon.

That visit got me pondering other nature-happy places to visit across Chicagoland. I think now I'll make it a point to get to the
Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago Botanic Garden, and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.


Things are looking up

Well, I'm finally in a decent mood today. I've been having some major sleeping issues, and last night I finally got in seven hours with only one interruption. Woohoo!

Additionally, I'm cautiously optimistic about the job front. I found a program that trains teachers in Chicago, so I'm thinking about that. I also found three production/editing jobs that I am quite qualified for and will apply for as soon as I get a chance today. I can't wait to make a change!


Something funky is going on here. I'm still a bit of a Blogger newbie, so bear with me. I don't think it was my fault that last entry got cut off, but here's the rest of it:

Eve Ensler, the compiler of the Vagina Monologues, which are exactly what they sound like. V-Day falls on or around Valentines Day and is observed on college campuses and by feminist groups aroudn the world. As I looked at these sites, I immediately felt a sense of calm envelop my spirit. Here were all these other women who had felt the same pain I tapped into, and yet, they were doing something about it. I resolved to look up the events that are taking place in my area and go to one if it isn't too late. I hope, dear reader, that you do the same.


This morning on the El I finished reading the latest issue of Ms. magazine and felt completely overwhelmed. The end of the magazine features a celebratory compilation of letters to the editor and snippets from various articles written over Ms.' 30 years. The one that got me was written by a victim of domestic violence. It was no more extraordinary than the story of any other domestic violence survivor (and I should emphasize that I think all survivors of domestic violence have important stories to share), and yet this story, read in that moment, got to me more than I could have prepared for. Sitting in my single seat in the corner, I had to fight to keep from completely breaking down. The force of this feeling was so strong as it washed over me, it was all I could do to keep from screaming and crying and rocking myself, right there on the train.

Sometimes I have moments where I feel like I'm instantly plugged into the pain and anguish of what millions of women the world over have endured at the hands of men.* It's like I can feel all of their pain and I'm immobilized. Usually this feeling only lasts for a short time -- a few seconds. By the time the train reached my stop, I had pulled myself together and began my familiar cycle of feeling like I should be doing more to change the world and womens' experience in it. I fretted about it for awhile, vascillating between feeling that I should get find a pittance-paying job at a women's shelter and feeling angry that I should have to dedicate my whole life to this problem, when it shouldn't even exist in the first place. I was able to keep these thoughts at the back of my mind for most of my workday.

I had lunch with a kindred spirit who reassured me that I was already doing a lot, but still felt like I should be doing more. Then when I got back to my desk, I remembered V-Day. V-Day is "a global movement to stop violence against women and girls" created by Eve Ensler, the compiler of posted by Jeani at

This ad totally cracked me up and made my day. I'd be tempted to send this person some money if I had any.


This is the first time I've ever had an S.O. on Valentine's Day. In the past, I somehow managed to date periodically, and yet I was always alone on my birthday, Christmas, and Valentine's. Up until last week, I wasn't that into the whole idea of this day. I mean, it really is a Hallmark holiday set up to make lots of $$ for the chocolate and greeting card companies. Then, last Friday, I was contemplating the idea of doing something nice, maybe making a special dinner or something, and suddenly realized that I wasn't going to get to see Paul at all today. I have to work all day, and he has to teach tonight. I leave before he gets up, and he gets home after I've gone to bed. This realization turned me into the saddest, girliest of girls.

I'm not sure how, but our consumer culture of sappiness has gotten to me and now it really bothers me that I won't get to spend time with my sweetie today. All of a sudden, I crave flowers and candy and elaborate candlelight dinners, even though I'm not sure I really want those things. I made him some heart-shaped chocolate-chip pancakes before I left today, and I know we can do something together this weekend, but that's just not the same.