Tag Archives: anne lamott


2nd February 2015

Photo on 12-8-14 at 7.28 PM #4

*taps mic*

Is this thing on? I was looking back at this space a little while ago and realized that I hadn’t posted since November! Steven keeps pointing out that I need to do something. Write something, anything, and so here I am. I’m glad that I took a break from being here. I needed to do it to preserve my own sanity, but also because it didn’t feel like a safe space anymore. The less said about that, the better, but I will say that I’ve spent the past few months contemplating life, stressing about things, being utterly excited about things, and working hard to find peace in the chaos. I think I’m getting better at it.

There are a billion little things to write about and I’m not sure where to start. I think sometimes it’s hard to find a perfect way to jump back into something. Thank goodness for “Currently” posts. ♥

Reading: I’ve been savoring Anne Lamott’s book, “Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” for weeks now. I bought Steven a copy as part of his Christmas gift and ended up buying one for myself, because I simply couldn’t resist the thought of having a “read off” with him. I used to do that with my brother when the Harry Potter books were released–we’d each get a copy and hole up in our rooms for hours reading until one of us had finished. The first person to finish was the winner, of course. But with this book, I just couldn’t do that. I think Anne Lamott is a person who was put on this earth to do great things, I really do. She is somehow magical and startlingly real at the same time. I don’t know how she strikes the balance of providing pure wisdom and examples of our bumbling humanity, but she does it so beautifully. I approach each new chapter with a mix of anticipation and dread thinking, Are we going to laugh today, Anne, or are we going to cry? Most of the time it’s both.

Sometimes, when I read the bible, I’m struck by a moment of complete understanding and grace. I can feel it in my heart. I know that what I’ve read is right for me at the time. And then other times, I have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on. I’d like to think that God knows this about me and provides me with other sources to dispense something into my mind, and so he brought me Anne Lamott. Because she’s funny and thoughtful and flawed. So when I needed a good piece of writing/thinking/inspiration to make me consider a big problem in my life, I was given pages and pages of words in “Small Victories” to help. I’d been working (let’s be real, I’m still working) on the idea of forgiveness and letting go and how hard it is to do those things. Then I read this…

1. “A lack of forgiveness is like leprosy of the insides, and left untreated, it can take out tissue, equilibrium, soul, sense of sense. I have sometimes considered writing a book called: All the People I Still Hate: A Christian Perspective, but readers would recoil.” (For the record, I would read that book so hard!)
2. “So you sacrifice the need to be right, because you have been wronged, and you put down the abacus that has always helped you keep track of things. This jiggles you free from clutch and quiver. You can unfurl your fingers, hold out your palm, openhanded.”
3. “Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle, and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer nearly so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.”

And little by little, I started to move on. Thanks, Anne.

Watching: There are two shows that I watch consistently: The Mindy Project and Extra Virgin. I’m not sure which one makes me happier. Maybe Extra Virgin, because it’s about food (food porn) and life and few things are better than that.

Listening: Shakey Graves! Well, one of his songs. I don’t even know what this dude’s real name is, but I guess it’s not important. This duo with Esme Patterson is perfection. As is Esme’s dress/boots combo. Priorities, y’all.

Loving: My daily indulgence: Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. Give me a tiny square on the drive home from work and I am a happy girl.

Thinking: About school and teaching. Always, always, always. Also trying to figure out how to personalize our wedding as much as possible, while still making sure that it’s inclusive enough of other peoples’ tastes and traditions. On the plus side, I’m not thinking about what I’m gonna wear because I bought my dress during winter break (a goal I was so happy to have accomplished) and it’s all sorts of pretty. Booyah! It was a strange moment for me when I realized that I couldn’t Instagram a shot of it for my friends. What’s a social media lovin girl to do?

Working: I’m working on feeling centered as a human being. How much of a hippie do I sound like right now? But seriously. I promised myself at the end of last year that I would work on becoming my best self in 2015. I usually use this blog to write down my goals/resolutions for the year, but I felt like I needed some time to sit with them before writing them down over here. In a few weeks, I’ll be 29 and I thought it was a good time to get my shit together. Or at least some of it. There are a lot of things that are out of my control, but my health has a lot to do with the choices I make.

I set a goal for myself to lose 25 lbs by the time I get married. It’s less about a number on a scale, though, and more about helping to establish healthy habits. I’ve been working out at least 5 times a week and keeping track of what I eat. I’ve been more mindful about what I’m putting into my body and pushing it to do better every single time I exercise. I’ve lost 6 lbs so far and I plan to keep chugging along, not because I have to, but because I want to. I’m excited that my body is beginning to change in small ways. I can feel some confidence oozing in and it just makes everything better. I want to know that when I get married in October, that I feel great about my body. I want to know that I worked really hard for it, too, because then maybe it’ll help keep me on a better path as I get older. I’m doing this because I care about myself and I’m doing this because I care about the life I may have in the future. Because I want to be the kind of person who encourages healthy habits in her children.

I’m glad that right now, the wedding seems to be a huge incentive for the people in my life, too. My parents have been encouraging each other to eat better and will start incorporating more exercise into their lives soon. Steven signed up for a half marathon and I can see how happy it makes him to reach certain running goals, and so it makes me happy too. I will never ever be a skinny girl; I don’t want to be. That’s not what this is about. It’s about cherishing the life that I have, and the body that I have, and actively working to make things a little better.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that my fellow anal retentive folks cherish the thought that our month looks like this. Thank you, February. Thank you.

(Thank you to Dani Hampton of Sometimes Sweet for the continued inspiration behind these Currently posts. They make for a great start.)

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Monday Night Digs: Summer Months

21st August 2012

(Mural from the Children’s Museum of the Arts, in NYC)

Monday Night Digs! Woot! (Full disclosure: My wrist totally gave out in the middle of writing this, so it had to be posted on Tuesday morning. Still counts!) I haven’t posted one of these in months, but I had a few entries saved and posted privately. Fail-tastic, Cristina. Moving on. Here are some things that I’m digging.

Michael Kiwanuka is a wonderful artist from London, England. His voice has a really interesting texture and the songs have a bluesy folk tone to them. A few of his songs remind me of something you might hear from Sam Cooke and then others make me think of someone like Jack Johnson or Ben Harper. The music is soulful and direct. Easy to listen to, but not easily forgotten. In fact, if he sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard his tunes while waiting on line at Starbucks. He’ll be in tour in the States soon and he’s playing in New York City at Webster Hall on September 18th! Sure it’s in the middle of the week, but that’s one of the perks of unemployment.

Here’s one of my favorite songs off his album, Home Again: Bones.

I’ll also post this slightly crappy video of an amazing moment in musical history: The Spice Girls performing at the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I screamed and danced around my room when this happened. And it’s not like we didn’t all know that it was coming, but it was still exciting. I would absolutely pay big bucks to see these ladies in concert again. You would, too. Don’t front.

I don’t know what it is about Canada, man. They gave us Degrassi and Due South and Little Mosque on the Prairie. It’s also the wonderful land where so many of my favorite (and former favorite) shows film: Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Fringe, and of course Queer as Folk. The abundance of shows/Canadian-American productions is probably what led me to my favorite summertime program, Rookie Blue. It’s kind of like Grey’s Anatomy (early Grey’s, not whatever tomfoolery is going down now) with cops. It can be cheesy sometimes and not at all realistic (unlike Southland), but it has dealt with some very serious issues lately. When they get it right, they get it right. It’s easy to fall into the stories and get invested in the characters who, during the first season were all beginning their careers as police officers. Anyone who has ever started a new job knows what it’s like to feel like the bumbling idiot and/or to have waaaaay too much confidence for your own good. When the show first aired, I watched it just to have something to watch, but it’s now a show that I eagerly anticipate every summer.

It’s also tons of fun to play “Spot the Canadian” every episode, picking out the actors I know from the Canadian productions listed above. Fun fact: Callum Keith Rennie was on BSG, Due South, and Rookie Blue! And two of the leads from Rookie Blue, Ben Bass and Noam Jenkins, were on Queer as Folk! Rookie Blue also gets bonus points for having a dope soundtrack and featuring Missy Peregrym, of the most delightful gymnastics movie ever: Stick It.

This trailer is awful, but trust me. TRUST ME. Rookie Blue is worth watching.

As always, I need to update my Goodreads profile to reflect my actual reading list. The first thing listed is The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay. I bought the book after catching an online segment she did with Katie Couric called, “Mistakes Twentysomethings Make. I’m always interested in psychology and development and the idea that our identities are pretty much formed by the time we’re 30. This book reinforces that idea and it applies this theory to Work, Love, The Brain and Body. There are some life lessons and examples from real life cases she has dealt with. I’ll probably read it again soon, since it’s so relevant to my experiences now.

I also re-read Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. I took a Journalism course in college and the lovely Kate Stone Lombardi came in to talk to us about writing. She recommended this book and I finally picked it up when I was completing my student teaching process. Found it on the shelf in my cooperating teacher’s room and absolutely fell in love. Every page is a source of inspiration and it’s a must-read for all of you writers out there. Here’s one of my favorite parts:

You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on your computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind–a scene, a locale, a character, whatever–and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria. There may be a Nurse Ratched-like listing of things that must be done right this moment: foods that must come out of the freezer, appointments that must be canceled or made, hairs that must be tweezed. But you hold an imaginary gun to your head and make yourself stay at the desk. There is a vague pain at the base of your neck. It crosses your mind that you have meningitis. Then the phone rings and you look up at the ceiling with fury, summon every ounce of noblesse oblige, and answer the call politely, with maybe just the merest hint of irritation. The caller asks if you’re working, and you say yeah, because you are.

Yet somehow in the face of all this, you clear a space for the writing voice, hacking away at the others with machetes, and you begin to compose sentences. You being to string words together like beads to tell a story. You are desperate to communicate, to edify or entertain, to preserve moments of grace or joy or transcendence, to make real or imagined events come alive. But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well just go ahead and get started.

Accurate, no? Ugh, Anne Lamott is the coolest.

I also read (and loved and loved and loved) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by the grumpy and magical Anthony Bourdain. I would elaborate, but I think this is getting a bit long.

Humans of New York has become one of my very favorite websites to visit. The Facebook page is the first one to be updated, but the Tumblr updates follow quickly. Humans of New York (HONY) is a project started by Brandon Stanton to encapsulate the essence of New York City and its people (and animal friends, too!) Here’s the official bio on the site:

(Original post here, courtesy of Humans of New York)

The photographic census of NYC. One street portrait at a time.

My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained hundreds of thousands of followers. With over 300,000 collective followers on Facebook and Tumblr, HONY provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.

His work is lovely and it really does reflect all of the things I love about New York. It’s a beautiful place filled with so many interesting creatures who deserve to be celebrated.

Now it’s your turn. What are you digging?