April 30, 2013

More Than We Think

Two weeks ago Dove's latest project, Real Beauty Sketches was launched on Youtube and already has had over 35 million hits. If you haven't yet seen it, I think you might find it interesting. In the experiment women were asked to describe themselves to a forensic artist who drew them without being able to see them. Each woman was then drawn again but this time with a stranger describing them to the artist instead.

The result:

How other people see us is quite often much more favorable then how we see ourselves.

We all spend time being self-conscious about certain things that other people aren't even paying attention to!

For instance, how many times have we all had a zit and thought that it's the only thing people can see when they look at us?

Ahhh, I guess it's just human nature. It's not always all about the media and what is fed to us through big business. I bet way back when, like in the pioneering days for instance, women were still self-conscious when they got a zit.

Anyway, I've been impressed with Dove over the years and the messages they're trying to instill, whilst making a buck at the same time. They always get their share of bad press, as this one did, but on the whole I like where their head is.

If you missed Dove's Evolution of Beauty you can catch it here.

Also if you've already seen Real Beauty Sketches and you're ready for the parody/ guy version, it can be found here :-)

Hope you are having a good week,


April 24, 2013

One Ringy Dingy

Ever since I got an Iphone last year I've been kind of consumed by it. There is hardly ever a dull moment anymore, such as waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for anything. I knew it would be this way and that is why I resisted. But then my camera broke and I was need of a new phone because mine was hanging literally by a thread. And I loved that handy wonderful little camera on the Iphone. Plus I blog and I need a smartphone. Right?

So I bought one.

And that's when all hell broke loose.

Kind of.

Truth be told, I am an information junky. Like so many people, I catch a buzz from the internet. It makes me happy. I like getting my questions answered in lightening speed. Smartphone makes me feel.....smarter.

Plus I am always entertained.

Until I am not.

Our blood pressure goes up every time we hear our phone ring, or hear the ding of an email arriving, or a text. It's like all day long we get these little presents in our phone. But these little presents are often problems that arrive. Emails that need to be addressed. Distractions that rob our time, and our soul, from doing what we really want or need to be doing.

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Sometimes by day's end I just want to throw the little fucker across the room.

It also makes me sad that the first thing people do when they come out of a class or a meeting is check their phone. It's the perfect escape for people who are afraid to be, or don't want to be, together.

Like me sometimes.

And then there is my aging mother who in reality I have PRECIOUS little time to spend with, even though she's just 3 miles from me now. When I am with her my phone exaggerates the tug of war of needing to take care of life's details and spending uninterrupted time with her.

I imagine you know what I mean.

And then there is my friend who found out recently that her twenty-six year old son has brain cancer. And the tumor is right where he has been holding his phone all these years (see video below).

Oh my dear,dear darlin'.

Maybe it's related to cell phones, maybe it isn't, but with all this said, I vow to leave my phone in the car much more often.

We don't need to be accessible 24/7. It's stressful to always be on call.

I also vow to not carry it around with me as many of us always do.

I vow to charge it, not next to my bed as I've been doing at night, but across the room.

Basically I vow to give myself the break,

and the peace of mind,

that I've been sorely missing.

April 17, 2013

Camino Seguro

Antiqua, Guatemala

After six days of having to watch our backs in Guatemala, it was a relief to get off the plane Monday night and be back on safer ground. The first thing we heard about however was the horrific Boston Marathon bombings. Such terribly sad news. It's hard to imagine any of it. It led me to think about the sheer panic many of the runners must have felt, after running almost 26 exhausting miles, to not know if their loved ones waiting at the finish line for them were okay, or not.

The trip down to Guatemala with my older daughter to visit my younger daughter, who has been interning at Safe Passage, was an experience to say the least. I don't think tears have filled my eyes as much as they did there since losing my Dad almost twelve years ago.  They were tears of sadness. Of gratitude. Of admiration, and even of joy. What the teachers, interns, and support staff are doing at Safe Passage is incredibly inspiring.

My girls going to catch the early morning bus to Safe Passage.
Safe Passage was started in 1999 by a 29 year-old-woman from Maine, named Hanley Denning, who went down to Guatemala to study Spanish. While there she saw such a need for help that she sold her car and belongings back home and started the school.

Many of the parents, of the now 500+ impoverished students who attend Safe Passage, work in the huge dump near the school in Guatemala City. They do not have jobs there but rather try to scrape together an existence by recycling and selling ( and eating) what they can scavenge from the dump.

While sipping a decaf on the 2nd day at the school it occurred to me that the cost of what filled my cup was more than the average person makes in a day. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.
Hotel Aurora where we stayed for $85/day including taxes and breakfast :-)

On the flip side, our time in Antigua, where we stayed, was a tapestry of incredible beauty. Antigua was founded in 1543 and the cobblestone roads, ancient architecture, brilliant colors, textures, and amazing handwork were a constant delight to me. I knew that they would be but it all far exceeded my expectations.

Simply put, it was glorious.

And so was spending time with my two daughters. We had never been away alone together, and as I told them, I know it will forever be a highlight of my life.

April 08, 2013

Safe Passage

What day is it?

"Its today," squeaked Piglet.

"The perfect day," said Pooh.

Someone who I worked with at Susan Bristol for fifteen years passed away this week from cancer. For many years her office was next to mine. We were pregnant with our first children together and use to talk about, amongst other things, the trials of being working moms and commuting into Boston. She was also a runner, so we had a lot to discuss. She was warm and welcoming, and I liked her smiling eyes, and her spirit.

Then Susan Bristol closed their doors in '07 and I haven't seen her since. And I don't know if I ever would have, because that's how life is. If we aren't on the same axes as someone else, and don't make a point to be, then paths simply don't cross, unless it's a fluke.

It's interesting what compels us to go to a funerals.  I hemmed and hawed about going but what finally sent me on my way was the thought that if she and I were to accidentally cross paths I  know we both would be delighted to see each other.

I also like the life lessons you sometimes come across at funerals. Funerals are life up-close, and raw, and real.

She was the first peer of mine to die and it has had me rattled.

What exactly with, besides my own mortality, I haven't quite yet put my finger on.

I've been hemming and hawing about another plan for half a year and that is to go to Guatemala to see my youngest daughter who has been volunteering at a school program called Safe Passage during a gap year, before going off to college. This is her to the left with the two children she was able to raise enough money to sponsor for 3 years. I am so so proud of her. Something like this never crossed my mind at age nineteen and even if it had I wouldn't have been brave enough to go.

It seems crazy to go having just been to Portugal. Among other things, we have college bills and retirement looming....but I have always wanted to go to Guatemala AND now she is there to sweeten it.

In my heart it seems right.

My bags aren't packed, and I'm not ready to go, but I do have the tickets :-)

You know all those things you've always wanted to do?

Maybe it's time to do them.

At least one of them.