Some Things to Enjoy | The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

I know I’ve been quite off the radar and absent. I’m sorry! It seems every time I turn to the news there is more news that drags me down. I’m already in a tender spot of sad feelings with my dissertation frustrations so I find that I get easily overwhelmed with the state of our administration. This week, in particular, has my head spinning. So it’s good for me to consciously see what’s good. And there’s so much good!

I’m back in Alabama and will spend probably a majority of what remains of summer down here. It’s quiet, on the farm, and aside from morning garden duties, I have minimal distractions. My current focus on finishing the final edits and revisions (again, and again) are my big priority. The next one is – to find a job. That is an interesting experiment in frustration and reflection. In time….

Nashville the Gulch

Here are some things that inspire and uplift me this week.

Whatever you are looking ahead to with your long weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful!

Something I’m Listening to…. Lin-Manuel Miranda – The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

Unless you’ve been underneath a rock or exclusively watch Fox & Friends, you might have seen the #HAM4ALL challenge. Borrowing inspiration from the ALS ice bucket challenge, Miranda is asking participants to upload a video of them singing a selection from Hamilton to social media and make a donation to the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition, then nominate two friends to do the same.

Hello – challenge accepted! And I have terrible stage fright, and cannot carry a tune, whatsoever (I’m so bad).

I hope you participate, too. It’s fantastic cause and electric campaign.

Something I’m Reading…. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

I started a reread of this book last summer then accidentally packed it up and put in storage before finishing. When I was going through some more items to “prune” and get rid of during a yard sale at my folks’ house at the beginning of the month I found it again, dogeared right where I left off. You may remember the delightful movie with Kathy Bates charming us as the mousy middle aged self conscious housewife and Jessica Tandy as Ninny, a quirky resident in a senior assisted living home who inspires Bates’s Evelyn to come into her own.

If you had any enjoyment in the movie, consider visiting your local library and making the book a summer read. It follows three story patterns: present day (1980’s) with Evelyn and Ninny; the fictional newsletter, “The Weems Weekly;” and Ninny’s childhood memories in 1920’s Whistle Stop, Alabama in which the beloved character Idgie will charm you as she did the bees.

If you loved the movie, as I did, I believe you will embrace the novel. There are  themes beautifully and tenderly written in the book that were not translated into the film, particularly the nuance pertaining to Idgie and Ruth’s relationship.

Fried Green Tomatoes

And then you can watch the film again, too! I promise you, before I leave Alabama again, I’ll share with you my recipe for fried green tomatoes. They are truly heavenly and worth the cheat day, and I’m loving having such close access thanks to the abundant garden harvest this summer on the farm.

Something I’m Loving…. 

I drove through Nashville last weekend on my way back to Alabama. Now, Music City… THAT is a fun town! I was quite short on time as I was making the drive from Kansas to Birmingham in a day – a long day. A break in my drive was scheduled so I could spend some time in the Gulch. Don’t be fooled, she’s 100% devil! Oh, Edie….

Nashville the Gulch -

I love planners. For 2017 I had a pretty “millenial pink” planner from Bando, despite not being a millenial – I’m technically not a Gen X, either, having been born in the weird transition years from 1977-1983 that is considered a microgeneration neither fitting in either set. Dawson’s Creek for the win (too young for 21 Jump Street, too old for One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl).

For 2018, I have a jump on my planner, already. I selected this pretty planner from Kate Spade – solely because I love the cover image. If you’re into zodiacs, this is the perfect pick for you.

And, hi, um, can you believe tomorrow is July?! Where has 2017 gone?!

The Gulch in Nashville Mural What Lifts You Up
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Gregg Allman | Remembering Gregg Allman and His Music

I’m the conflicted daughter of a staunch Yankee-minded mother from liberal Massachusetts and an unapologetic, proud, good old boy from deep within central Alabama. My soundtrack of my childhood ranged from Blondie to the entire genre of Southern Rock. Gregg Allman’s voice can resurrect memories of girlhood sticky summer nights chasing fireflies and my itchy, mosquito bitten limbs as quickly as the taste of buttered pecans and peach ice cream.

And, hello, he loved and was married to Cher. Cher!

To fondly remember the raspy drawl and soul filled writings of Gregg Allman, here is a small handful of some of my favorite songs from the Allman Brothers. Now, where are the fireflies?

In Midnight Rider he sang his fugitive alter ego had to run to keep from hiding but oh goodness I love his hook: “But I’m not gonna let them catch me, no; Not gonna let ’em catch the midnight rider.”

 Well, dangit, he goes and does it again…. Inspiring me to not stay heavy and static. I love the rich imagery of his lyrics and the way in which I can imagine and visualize his scenes. 

Shut. Up! It’s simply not possible for me to sit still when this song comes on the speakers. I feel this one all the way down deep in my belly. Whipping Post is one of those songs when I hear it, and I can influence volume control, I play it frigging loud.

Okay, so this is actually a Percy Sledge song – and let’s be honest – Percy OWNS this song. But, if you haven’t heard the cover by Gregg Allman, it’s worth your listen.

Gregg Allman Quote

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Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes galantine's day

“I think a lot about trying to meet the moment as honestly as possible, because I don’t pretend to have any answers. In fact, I have infinitely more questions than answers.” I can generally not get enough Leslie Knope, but on this Galentine’s Day, I’m all about feeling Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Galentine’s Day Spotify playlist he made for us ladies. It’s even better than when I came across an artist’s renderings of Leslie Knope quotes. Talk and dance about this is chock full of fantastic, empowering, and energetic songs from strong and sassy female artists and it’s all girl power.

Today is a day for ladies to celebrate ladies, and while my ladies are north of the border, so there’s no rose sipping and bruschetta noshing. But, thanks to international data plans and What’s App, I still was able to access some of my lady loves’ therapy sessions. I love my poetic land mermaids and rule breaking moths.

I firmly believe one of the reasons I don’t struggle with loneliness, despite an almost constant run of “Singleness,” is because of my epic circle of friends. I date, often, but rarely meet someone worth investing deeper into the sacrifice of my personal time to be with him so I generally choose to be alone. Fact is, there’s not yet been a single person I’ve been with romantically in which I feel like I received a net neutrality or gain compared to the sacrifices I had to make to be in the relationship. That’s not what I want…. I want to be with someone because my life is more colorful, peaceful, enriched because of what I share and experience with him. Not to miss time I could be spending doing other things because of what I’m giving to him. And that’s how I know I’ve never met my “lobster.” But Galentine’s Day is a fun day for celebrating my friendships.

It’s also an excellent day for me to not ponder so hard about a particularly confusing romantic “situation” (see some of above) and just enjoy… Oh, and write… and write, write, write. Always to write. Even though I cry – a lot – about my dissertation challenges, I know… I just know it will feel so good to be done. And it will feel good to give a smiling “fuck you” to my naysayers. There’s a list.

And because I’m having a particularly rough time of rewriting and reanalyzing my research data and I want to quit it all so close to the end, another push for stick to itness and perseverance. Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the I’m a Fraud phase. You go through the I’ll Never Finish phase. And every once in a while you think, What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?”

Pop a bottle of pink tinted wine, crank up your speakers, and enjoy this day – if you want, you can join me in a virtual dance party. Oh, and as a matter of fact, living deep in Mexico is not helping me improve my dance skills any better than sleeping with textbooks under pillows helped my knowledge of calculus in high school.

Centro Cultural San Pablo Oaxaca Mexico

By the way, what do you think of my new hat? I picked it up last week at Mercardo Benito Juarez. Hat hair for days. Which is beneficial being that my dueña can’t get the hot water to stay on in my apartment and hair this thick and long is a miserable washing experience in cold showers (I’ve been going over budget and visiting a salon for washes and blow outs). We’re also working on the pest situation because I found a scorpion in my room the other night operating as my head board.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

XO, Jennifer

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Man Crush Monday | Bob Dylan

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature this past year. While many people responded with shock and awe, and his own reaction appeared to be more ambivalent, I was happy. I love his music and poetry, and even though I’m too young to be considered in his generation, much of his music spoke to me when coming of age as it did our parents. He is the first musician, ever, to receive the award. When Rolling Stone can catalog 100 of an artist’s “greatest” songs, that is a massive contribution to art.

My favorite song is one of his more critically acclaimed, but I love it even if that makes me not as cool. It’s not really a love song. At all. It’s wistful and disappointed. But NOT disappointing.

I also recommend this small sample if you are in need of an introduction:

Blowing in the Wind: made popular by the band Peter, Paul, and Mary, this sweet ballad may be one of his more popular songs. I’m including it because I feel obliged to do so. :o)

Simple Twist of Fate: is really so heart wrenching! If you look at the lyrics he tells the story of a seemingly perfect relationship that ended for reasons neither person can explain. Ugh. All the sad feels. One of the top songs to replay when feeling love worn.

Like a Rolling Stone: Yes. Just… Yes! And, yes, I’m obliged. Happy to do so…

Abandoned Love: super simple…. No chorus. With a lot of “ouch” in his punch. Kind of like how some break ups hit you… you know?

Well, good day and good night. I’m really excited. Not because my edits went well. They went okay. Not to mention the massive change my chair wants me to make – I cried to my mom and then took her directive to go have a glass of wine. I’m such the achiever I had two. But I literally did cry when I saw what he wanted me to change. It’s just part of the process even though the rewrite is massive and I don’t really agree. But — although the PhD dissertation is a massive undertaking and body of work made by me, I learned a while ago it is not at all about me in the eyes of my university and the process is political and bologna, but it’s the price of admission to the “doctor” club. And, I swear, if I hear one more person tell me that a PhD is “not a ‘real’ doctor” I might become physically violent. I’ve actually had men tell me that thinking I would find that endearing and agree to go on a date with them. Seriously, WTF does that???

So, today it’s my dissertation, Dylan, and me.

Who is your #MCM?

XO, Jennifer

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet. Bob Dylan

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Today is the final day of the first month in our new year. How are you checking in with your goals? I could be doing better, myself. But I refuse to let me berate and abuse what hasn’t been done (although my personal gap review is long – that’s the inveterate MBA in me speaking). Fact is, when reviewing my own goals check in this morning (yay for insomnia m while my progress is not as fast or far as I wanted, I’ve covered a lot of ground during these past 30 days. I have wins! And not of the tiger blood variety, either. I feel good enough to be encouraged but not cocky.
~My dissertation, all five chapters, is written. Fina-f*cking-Lutely! It’s a hotter mess than my sweat saturated ponytail after a #parytonabike spin class, but it’s written. I’m not saying I haven’t cried during edits. But it’s written!
~I went out on an limb and displayed great vulnerability at the expense of almost painful emotional discomfort in effort to break a haunting pattern. Twice. Wait… three times. In the moment of one particular ignorer of boundaries, instead of my usual pattern of annoyance > frustration > total devolution into emotional anger, I felt unf*ckwithable and held my boundary. Fact is, while a troll doesn’t deserve your kindness, you don’t deserve the emotional fallout of meeting him (or her) at that same level of petty disrespect.
~I relocated and am settling into my new city with lost in translation embarrassments every day.
~I marched in the Women’s March on Washington in my new home city and stood with other US expats among our Mexican neighbors in solidarity. We expected approximately 300 people to show up and march. Over 2,000 US and Canadian expats residing in Oaxaca along with tourists from other nationalities visiting the city who heard of the march showed up and marched with us. It was beautiful.

And there are more. But these… I’m most proud of and I’m not going to let energy spend dwelling on what wasn’t done. I’ll review and reset my priorities for February.

Because we get to start over every month, day, hour, minute. Every breath – in and or out – is an opportunity for a reset. There’s no rule stating when your revolution must begin. Isn’t that beauty-full?

Jack Keruoac - I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page - goals check inNow, how are you checking in? What are your January wins?

XO, Jennifer

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