Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

My computer suffered a tragic fall, and as a result, it is running incredibly slow, so I must be brief or this will take an hour. Our Christmas season in photos.

We bought a tree, and we named him Giuseppe Martini.
{Let's pause and notice how three of my favorite things are captured in this photo: Les Mis, NPR, and Christmas trees}

We decorated Giuseppe in a style befitting his name.

We went ice skating and to a Batman exhibit, as one does.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Better to Light a Candle Than Curse the Darkness

Each detail that emerges about the tragic shooting in Connecticut is more devastating than the last, but I cannot turn away. I spent the weekend reading story after story, stories about the victims - twenty (twenty!) precious six and seven year olds and their heroic educators - about the perpetrator, about the community, about gun control and about mental illness, and despite this information overload, I still cannot wrap my mind around what has happened. It is unspeakable, and I just don't know what to do. Because - there has to be something to do. Right? We can't just sit here, crying, watching the news and shaking out heads in disbelief. There has to be something more to do. Right?

I wrote to my representatives, I signed the petition, and I'm going to think more in the coming days about what I can personally do to (besides preach to the choir and shake my fist at the TV) to support the fight for strengthened gun control laws. I believe with every fiber of my being that gun control is a moral imperative, and I am hopeful that this latest tragedy will finally spur some action. I'm still too angry to clearly articulate myself on that at the moment, but I will soon. Still, all of the writing to politicians and asking them to do something feels so small and ineffectual.*

I'm about to get super cheesy here, so consider yourself warned. The political aspect of this is so important, and I'll be following it closely, but I think that, for all of us non-policymakers, the most important thing we can do is be the light and the love that Dr. King talked about. In the wake of any tragedy that threatens our faith in humanity, we must go above and beyond to help restore that faith for ourselves and everyone around us. As usual, Mr. Rogers said it best.
{image sources, clockwise from top left: James Keivom/NY Daily News, Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters, Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters, David Goldman/AP, Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters}
We can't all rush to the scene of the disaster to offer aid, but we can be "helpers" by practicing the small, everyday kindnesses that serve to remind us that people really are basically good. We can hold the door or the elevator, we can let people go ahead of us in line or in traffic, we can offer smiles and kind words to strangers. We can choose patience and compassion over frustration and judgment and forgiveness and understanding over resentment and anger. We can decide to assume the best instead of the worst about people's intentions. These are small things and none of them are going to ease the pain of the families who are grieving instead of celebrating this Christmas, but each one is a small flicker of light, a challenge to the darkness, and a reminder of our basic goodness. We cannot allow all of that pain and grief and suffering to be the end of the story.

It is going to take a lot of love and light to overcome the hate and darkness that descended on Newtown on Friday. We had better get started.

*While you're writing stuff - you can also send cards with messages of love and support to PO Box 3700, Newtown, CT, 06470. The Newtown post office set up the P.O. Box in response to hundreds of calls from people around the world who want to "send their thoughts and prayers in the form of letters, cards, care packages and drawings from their children."  A USPS employee said that they are preparing to handle "an enormous amount of love coming through the mail" in the coming days. See? Basic goodness. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Finally Fall and Thanksgiving

Fall snuck up on my this year, but once I realized that it was here, I dove in. Pumpkin scented candles were purchased, zucchini bread was baked, boots were purchased, and cozy sweaters are in full effect.

Among the palm trees, there is proof of fall to be found.

I got a head start on Thanksgiving and headed to Coronado on Tuesday, just in time to see my dad make his official entrance into the Rotary. Baller.

Thanksgiving itself involved lots of my favorite things: time at the beach, champagne, traditions, Christmas decoration peeping, family dinner, board games and lots of and lots of delicious food.

I'm so thankful for this guy. Seriously, he's the best.

And, man oh man, do I love this dog. She's practically levitating she's so happy.

Back when we first started dating, my parents and sisters were still on the East Coast so Tom and I were on own for Thanksgiving. This lovely self-timer shot captures our first Thanksgiving together:
{Hopefully I paid my roommates that $17 I owed...}
Since it doesn't take too long to cook up a few turkey breast roll-ups, we always had plenty of time to fill on Turkey Day so we started going to the Del in the afternoon to check out the Christmas decorations and sip overpriced holiday-themed cocktails on the beach. Pretty sure this was my idea, but Tom is a good sport and we've done it every Thanksgiving for the past six years. So after we wore Lucy out, we headed to the Del.
{This year's theme - A Time to Celebrate}
After the Del, it was back to my parents' for the main event where Mo and Buckley were keeping it old school with full costumes.

 We also started a new Thanksgiving tradition - pre-dinner beer tasting.

Because my mom is the best and she still keeps all of my holiday crafts despite the fact that I am almost 32, the Thanksgiving garland I made last year was in effect again.