Her Name is Janet

...Or Smartass, if you were to ever ask my mom. If only she'd had the foresight.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New year's Eve: A Completely Ficticious Hour by hour count down...

8:00 Gracious, this wine is good.
9:00 Noble resolutions
9:30 Wow, these words just flow out my mind, through the keyboard, and onto the page.
9:45 Why bother with a glass? Straight from the bottle now cuts down on dishes later.
100:00 Feeling distinctly....queasy
11:00 I need to drink some water.
11:10 What was I thinking? I'm allergic to red wine, for heaven's sake.
11:11 I'm not known for making the best decisions, and this evening is an0other classic example.
11:12 Seriously, what was I thinking?
11:14 An0other?
11:16 Now seems like a good time to write all my holiday thank you notes.
11:18 oooooooo...pasta helps. something nice and bland to settle the stomach. Could the fact that it's the first food I've eaten today be a factor?
11:19 Reference 11:11 pm.
11:20Note to self: this is why you don't ever drink, Dumb Ass.
11:22 Lying on the floor making cell phone calls to everyone in my contacts list, while the room sways to and fro is equally respectable as going out for the evening. (If you were the recipient of a phonecall/message, please accept my heartfelt apologies).
11:31 Houston, we have a problem.

I'm sorry to all the people who read this who don't drink, because I was completely buzzed while writing. But it's new year's eve, after all.

David, a person for whom I have much respect (and feel fortunate to call a friend), recently asked, quite forcefully, "what do you want for your life, Janet?"

In a nebulous manner, I've been thinking about it for the past two years. Having the question posed so directly though, made me consciously reflect on it.

Most of my adult life I've felt as though I'm a rock in a riverbed, life flowing over me like water. Getting whatever happens to flow by. A few exceptions exist, times when I made concrete decisions and sought to execute them. Mostly though, like a rock in a riverbed.

But David asked me this question. And then I read about the Pakistani man who slit the throats of his daughters last week, three of them, in order to preserve family "honor." The article brought to the surface all the expected angry, sad, and helpless emotions that each of us feel when confronted with such obvious cruelty. We are better than this, as human beings. The trouble is, the magnitude of these kinds of problems is so daunting. And I am so small...just one tiny individual...affecting change seems completely out of reach.

The truth is, I am not helpless to act. I simply choose not to.

I choose it in small ways...not writing an objection letter, or donating spare change, or disagreeing during a political conversation, in order to maintain harmony. I choose it because not acting is effortless, taking action isn't.

But David asked me this question. And upon reflection, it turns out that what I wanted as a child, when my life was full of potential and possibility, is still what I want now. To make a difference. To affect change. The impulse may have been dormant, but hasn't disappeared. Remember my question from "that" post, about being here? About just what's the point of it all? The answer is, being here is more than just about me. More than preserving my own comfort and security. I have enough education, compassion and initiative to work for change. Individually I don't have strength, it's true. But there is strength in numbers. Margaret Mead once said to "never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of making a rash decision or committing to a new ideology in a way that isn't sustainable. But this isn't entirely new; I've been volunteering and blathering away on my soapbox about social injustice since I was 13. I've decided what I want my life to look like, and I will act on it. Clarification is still in order, but the decision's been made.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Grad School Admission Essay, Draft 1

Dear Public Health/Social Work/Language Pathology/Graduate School Admission Board(s):

Why would I like to attend grad school? Because enough fat old rich guys with questionable ethics have reaped the benefit of my hard work and loyalty for 10 long years, and I’ve had enough of that. Also, it is honestly more flattering to be hit on by a homeless man with minimal access to toiletries than by my drunk boss at one more staff Christmas party. Or staff picnic. Or staff golf outing. Or MLK Jr. Day. Or Tuesdays.

So you're wondering whether you should accept me into your program. That answer is a resounding yes. You’d be lucky to have me, if I do say so myself. But I don’t have to…just read my recommendation letters.

I jest with you. The first reason, and come on, be honest, the most important one, is that I can pay your absurdly outrageous tuition.

We should just end this essay right now, huh? Not because you’re offended by that last sentence, oh, no no, but because in the end, it’s the only question that really matters. No further reading needed.

But there are some other, arbitrary reasons to accept me:

1. I know that sometimes “Sally” and “Tony” aren’t capitalized. No kidding!
I also know big words, like rodomontade and small ones, like ab ovo. Not only do I know them, I know how to use them.

2. I know just enough about statistics, human nature, philosophy, politics, and how to appeal to mankind's inherent decency (even the fat old rich ones) to hold my own in any bar room, or boardroom, conversation. (This is helped tremendously by the fact that I'm usually the only sober one in both of these locations.)

3. Is it worth mentioning that I happen to be incredibly passionate about this field? And that that will serve as a driving force in my success? Maybe this too: I might just turn out to be a compassionate, persuasive, revolutionary voice for the marginalized. You never know. Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to educate someone like that? Think about your social responsibility here. Are there enough of these types out there in the world, for you to be rejecting them from graduate programs all willy-nilly? No! You want to accept them, and educate them, and then turn them loose into society so they can empower and equip others. And by them, who I really mean is me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 13, 2005

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting. The soul that rises with us, our life’s star, hath elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar; not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.”

—William Wordsworth

Welcome to the world, Rex. I would wish for you a life of curiosity and love, but there is no need. I know from whom you come, and wishing would prove unnecessary; these things will be, for you, as effortless as breathing.

You are a gift, a reminder that hope is born anew.
I hope you enjoy your stay here, sweet one.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sometimes Cecily Takes A Bath

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Today I wore my current favorite outfit: crisp white Oxford, herringbone skirt and super-sassy knee length black boots. Topped of with awesome double-stranded pearls I got as a thank you gift for standing as a bridesmaid in the wedding from hell. It's the least she could do really, the pearls, considering the screaming, and then the sobbing, going on between the bride and groom 30 minutes before the ceremony. And the fact that I stood in the blazing sun for an hour while bees swarmed my floral-bedecked head.

As a great side note, by the way, those wedding pictures were classic. An outdoor wedding on the hottest day of the year. The dresses clung to our sweat-soaked bodies like wet Saran wrap. Our hair, plasticated (finally! I get to use the word) by layers of shellac and--yes--more sweat, looked FABULOUS. You can actually see beads of perspiration running down our faces in the photos. And the sweat stains under our arms. Can I paint a prettier picture for you?

ANYWAY, the point is, I wore this cute outfit. At 5:00 o'clock I traded the super-sassy's for über-ugly blue shearling lined boots and hiking socks, because dang! it's cold outside. Still wearing the herringbone and pearls. If my 17 year old self could see my 35 year old self, she'd be dying right now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

This is Cecily. Cecily is six.

Sometimes Cecily is good.....

Sometimes she is bad....

And sometimes she gets very very mad....

But never for very long.

She's a very inquisitive girl....

Who loves to find adventure...