Meeting Memphis...adulthood included?

Happy #riga at Shelby farms

Happy #riga at Shelby farms

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in january, i alluded to some pretty terrific occurrences. i didn’t want to spoil the good news if it never actually came to fruition, so i left you guys hanging in the balance. my apologies. 

i’ll let you in on the secret now. here’s what to do: 

  1. open http://www.potterybarn.com/
  2. in the search bar, type the word “Riga” or “hen”
  3. check out MY PRINTS…polished and pretty on the POTTERY BARN WEBSITE! 
  4. Or click these links: http://www.potterybarn.com/m/products/dog-drawing-framed-print/?pkey=cart-prints http://www.potterybarn.com/m/products/hen-drawing-framed-print/?pkey=cart-prints&cm_src=art-prints

and to think, it all started with my stubborn desire to silkscreen my own wedding programs. that program made it into the hands of my friend, KD sister and former co-GOK intern, and then into the hands of her boss. i originally sent her company “Riga” and “Hen” in August 2013. boy, was this a test of my patience. pretty soon, i had given up on hearing good news and mostly forged ahead just because it was fun. and then of course, last night at 10:30 pm when i least expect it, she sends me those links. AMAZING! 

happy friday, world! 

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it all started when i arrived home from a quick sprint of a trip to the NC Triangle area. mr cs and i pulled up and our neighbor stopped us. she said that a SUV carrying a few people had stopped in front of our house this afternoon, got out, walked around, peeked in the windows and knocked. i suggested they were interested in mowing our lawn. she claimed they didn’t have any tools in their car. 

mr cs and i were suspicious, but not enough to do anything. our neighborhood has consistently been safe, albeit odd, but safe. 

that changed around 8:30 pm that same evening. i watched from our couch as the headlights of a small car slowed, then stopped in front of our house. i stood up to get a better view when the driver pointed a flashlight in the window and then drove away. 

more suspicious, right? is this a very lost, very bad pizza-delivery guy (missing his sign)? did our landlord list our house in the newspaper? a text to him confirmed that wasn’t the case.

so we called the non-emergency police line and a patrol car stopped by to check in on us. here’s the highlights of our conversation:

police officer (PO): how long have you been living here?

mr cs: about three years.

PO: and you haven’t installed a security alarm yet? this neighborhood is city-living.

mr cs: we’ve never had any issues.

PO: well, activity in this neighborhood generally picks up after italian fest (side bar: the festival is held in the park across the street from our street and our neighborhood is prime street parking). what sort of firearms do you have in the house?

me: [adamantly] none. 

PO: NONE! [as if i had just told him i didn’t have running water]

this continues for several more minutes. the officers were kindly alerting us to the dangers of city living, yes, but they were also exposing their cultural bias: you must own guns to be safe. 

as you might imagine, mr cs and i have our own cultural bias: absolutely no guns, ever. instead, mr cs started looking into inexpensive and transferable security systems. 

in the meantime, i took this story to my coworkers. they were relieved to find out that we hadn’t been robbed (yet). and then i discovered something i wasn’t expecting. a good chunk of my coworkers had the same reaction as the police officers, several of them proudly revealing that they were gun owners themselves. 

one of them asked me, “well, have you ever shot a gun?” 

and that stopped me in my tracks. it was a pretty simple question, and the answer was no, but it stuck with me. i realized that i didn’t really have a leg to stand on in the gun-rights debate. my cultural bias was just that: extremely biased, and therefore i had nothing new to offer to the conversation. 

i toyed with the idea and brought it to mr cs for consideration. maybe - while we still live in TN - we should seek out some education. take a class. go to a range. develop our own informed opinions. 

now before you think “boy, you two are off your rocker” or “hell yea, go murica,” consider your own biases. have you ever been challenged to consider the other perspective? how far would you go to understand the issue at hand and create your own experiences?

i wanted that. i know that i’ll face all sorts of opinions. i really like supplying a smart response from time to time. taking a class seemed like a genuinely good solution. and mr cs, well, his coworkers mocked his lack of guns, too. and he figured “my wife told me to take us to a shooting range. i should get on that right away.”

and so, on an ordinary tuesday after work, mr cs and i met at a shooting range for a intro to handguns class. 

sitting in this room, with an ammunition shop just on the other side of the wall, i was as skeptical as ever. the instructor - a woman (worth noting because i believe she was the only woman i saw among all of the staff) - invites us to introduce ourselves to the class with a brief description of while we’re here.

oh no, i thought. i’m going to sound like a liberal freak in this crowd. 

but i was relieved to find that my skepticism and desire to learn was shared. not all students had shot a gun before. many were there at the urging of their families, and they were uncomfortable with the idea. some wanted a new hobby. our opinions and reasons for our interest were diverse, and that was comforting. 

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the class was excellent. it emphasized safety. when the instructor digressed into the topic of concealed carry or home defense, she only discussed it for a moment. we learned about gun safety around children…that they are naturally curious, and because of that not much will stop them from firing a gun. she even developed her own youth curriculum to educate middle school-high school aged kids about safety. the basics - how to hold a gun, how to fire - were fascinating, eye-opening and easy to follow. i feel better knowing those things. my own ignorance might have been dangerous to myself or others if i ever found myself in a situation with a weapon. i’ll admit: before this class, i didn’t even know how to check if a gun was loaded. 

"what’s the number one way to protect your home?" she asked. "a pump shotgun." she explained the noise - you know, the distinctive clunk-clunk of an armed shotgun - had a universal meaning. me to mr cs: "so, we should just get a mock-up that makes that exact noise, huh?" 

the class was nearly two hours long, and close to an additional hour was spent with two instructors on a closed range. think about that: no one has to take this class. mr cs and i could have just walked in off the street, rented a handgun and stepped onto the range, no questions asked. (moreover, in TN, you can walk in to a variety of stores and buy a gun and bullets, no questions asked.) but it takes nearly two hours to prepare us the right way. that’s a huge disconnect. 

but we did finally step onto the range. carefully, with thorough step-by-step guidance from the instructors to half the students at a time, we fired three different handguns toward a close paper target. 

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so, i did it. prepared with the right amount of knowledge and safety tools, i felt secure. the whole experience, i’ll admit, was exhilarating. the power, on the other hand, was alarming. that realization alone is enough to cement my feelings on the topic. 

on the drive home, i started thinking about how teenagers get their drivers license. cars - by definition - are not meant to cause harm, but we all know they can be very dangerous. to prepare for that, our teens take courses, complete certified hours and pass a test before they are legally permitted to drive. imagine how scary the roads would be if no one knew what the traffic signs meant. 

i also considered my own experiences growing up in a mid-size city. what if i had grown up on a farm? it’s very likely that my parents would have taught me to driver earlier out of necessity. and how much danger could i really do on hundreds of acres of land? still, in order to leave that property and drive on highways, i’d need to have my license. 

firearms, on the other hand, are meant to cause harm by definition…perhaps not to people, but to some living thing. and in some parts of our country, particularly rural areas, gun ownership is part of life, just like the farm-driving example. it’s their tradition. 

you can probably tell where i’m going with this. and now that i have an informed opinion, i feel more comfortable sharing it. i don’t believe it’s asking too much to ask gun owners, like car owners, to attend a two hour class to reinforce the basics. they might already be perfectly equipped to handle a weapon, just like a teen who grew up driving on the farm would be behind the wheel, but why not take the extra two hours to make that knowledge legally viable? to make sure they know how to properly store and clean their gun? to make sure their children are out of harm’s way? we already expect these concerns will be addressed by a drivers license; why not have the same expectations for ownership of a machine that is actually meant to cause harm? 

i know my opinions place me firmly in what some would call the “liberal freak” crowd. now, after checking my biases and expanding my comfort zone, i truly feel okay with it. 

thanks, tennessee, for all your wildly challenging quirks. i can tell this story is going to be one of our favorites. 

More reading: check out this Gawker opinion piece “ It’s really hard to be a good guy with a gun.”

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NYTimes.com: Rider, in Pain and Alone, Is Surrounded by Cheers

Andrew Talansky crossed the finish on Wednesday more than 32 minutes after the stage winner, Tony Gallopin, to cheers from fans who, like Talansky, decided to stick it out.

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Tonight, yahoo is changing the lives of concert-goers forever via live web cast. And @davematthewsband is the first. I hoped there’d be a way for me to enjoy these historic #dmb2sets despite having no geographic proximity to a concert venue… And yahoo made it possible. #soexcited #concertnumber12

Tonight, yahoo is changing the lives of concert-goers forever via live web cast. And @davematthewsband is the first. I hoped there’d be a way for me to enjoy these historic #dmb2sets despite having no geographic proximity to a concert venue… And yahoo made it possible. #soexcited #concertnumber12

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#Riga loves her puppy daddy. #cuddlecouch #sleepypaws

#Riga loves her puppy daddy. #cuddlecouch #sleepypaws

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until june 21, i hadn’t been in anyone else’s wedding. of course, i was in my own, but i had never been a bridesmaid. not to worry: HQ had equipped me with ample knowledge on the subject. once i happily said yes, i knew [sort of] what to do. i pulled off a bachelorette party and set myself to hair and makeup research. mr cs, the pup and i landed in VA early to spend some time with my family and support the bride. 

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while Riga enjoyed a vacation in hampton, mr cs and i set to work. there’s a lot that goes into a successful wedding party, and i believe there is one golden rule:

be there. 

sound simple, but the execution can be as complex as necessary. of course, be there for events, on time, dressed appropriately, etc, but it also means be in agreement, be present and be flexible. i carried this lesson over from coworkers and my own wedding. but i am by no means an expert.

i am also not an expert in proper sorority-wedding-celebrations, but i am inclined to do something…because, you know…HQ and all. it was not important to the bride one way or another, but if executed, she preferred something simple and understated. perfect.

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after visiting three local groceries, mr cs and i found these great mini-roses at TJs. i rejoiced. they were perfect for a simple homemade corsage or bracelet. 

i was pretty excited for this wedding. not just for my obvious connection to the bride, but for its location. i had never been to a wedding in the wren chapel. sure, i had seen them all the time. in rare cases, i had even witnessed a wedding during campus golf (bad idea). mr cs and i even considered it for a second…as most alumni couples do, i’m sure. but this is WREN! this is historic, timeless, significant and intimate. it was awesome.

here we are snooping around on friday:

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the hair/makeup appointment was the next morning. this was a big moment for me: i had done all the research that led up to the selection of salon vivace.  my expectations were high…perhaps a little bit too high. 

first of all, i should state for the record that i completely lucked out with my bridal hairstylist. she was the result of a google search executed by my mother-in-law. and she was unbelievable. in a 30mph gusty outdoor photo shoot, not one curl fell. she was a magician. 

these stylists were good. everyone looked beautiful and the hairstyles were all different, yet consistent. i was very pleased that my makeup was discounted since i only had my eyes and lips done. and yet, i have to say i was slightly underwhelmed. after the ceremony and the photo shoot, nearly every bridesmaid had undone hair. the soft curls on the bride (shown perfectly below) unraveled throughout the night - not in a bad way - but just not as originally styled. new memo to myself, in future bridesmaids roles, bring hairspray. lots of hairspray.

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and she did actually look this beautiful. i was there.

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we all looked pretty good. and campus..doesn’t campus look good? also, check out how tall everyone is! i don’t mind being the shortest, but i’ve won that title by a mile.

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this picture, props to psdavis, is my favorite. that’s a great way to see the bridge. 

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the diva fam enjoys the photo booth…and the re-purposed bachelorette crown from may. 

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we’ve sure come a long way!

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^circa fall 09. 

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and we managed to have a pretty spectacular evening. 

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npr:

"Tim Howard Emerges As Hero In U.S. World Cup Loss" via Bill Chappell
In Tuesday’s game, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard set a new World Cup record after making 16 saves. Despite the team’s loss, the Web was quick to laud Howard’s efforts by Photoshopping his head on U.S. currency and in a variety of other photos with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.

the culture reacting to Tim Howard’s extreme efforts: reasons i love America. even when we lose, we celebrate. 

npr:

"Tim Howard Emerges As Hero In U.S. World Cup Loss" via Bill Chappell

In Tuesday’s game, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard set a new World Cup record after making 16 saves. Despite the team’s loss, the Web was quick to laud Howard’s efforts by Photoshopping his head on U.S. currency and in a variety of other photos with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.

the culture reacting to Tim Howard’s extreme efforts: reasons i love America. even when we lose, we celebrate. 

Source: npr

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i knew this would be unpleasant. i knew this would be hard. and i was definitely right. 

here’s the quirky part about me & my life at KDHQ: i am committed to it. today, i read through a personality finder that pointed out (clearly, definitively), that i really don’t do things halfway. i commit. and so when it came time to handle my departure, i did what any committed employee would do: alert your team in march and the rest of staff in april. 

there are consequences to executing this kind of plan. for one, i’ve been launched into a 5 month training marathon to get my replacement (and good friend) up to speed. let me be clear: no one else has even had to do this at HQ. and any similar training exercises have been fully compensated by a promotion or new set of responsibilities. me? i just get to train myself out of a job. literally.

second, the good intentions of my coworkers means that i answer questions about my job search every day. and there is not news every day. there’s not even news every month. when i have nothing new to share, its demoralizing. i relive it over and over and over.

third, its KD. when i walk away from HQ, the KD will remain. and so i will always been intimately and awkwardly tied to this experience and i will forever feel the impacts of this organization. this transition will be wild. 

job hunting has never been my forte. and i won’t try to pin it on a lack of confidence or people skills because i don’t believe that’s it. in fact, i really cannot spell out what my issue is: what obstacle stands between me and an offer letter. i still don’t know. what i do know is that i take it way too hard. my self-worth gets bruised in the process and i don’t recover gracefully every time. i internalize the pressure.

last month, i broke out in stress-induced shingles. and its not like i’m unfamiliar with stress. i’ve executed four KD conferences from the staff side, planned a wedding, graduated from w&m, moved to a state where i didn’t know anyone, designed a newsletter with over 5,000 unique combinations and dealt with illness in my family. all of this was felt…but never were there any stress-induced shingles. anyone else see a problem with this picture?

and so here i am, 4 months into a 5 month job-acquiring window with dozens more questions than answers. sure, it is likely that one of the leads i’m pursuing goes somewhere, but i’ve been trekking in this uphill direction for a long time and my feet hurt…so to speak. 

you hear that? that was just my phone vibrating, indicating that i got a new email. i jumped. (finally, is this the one?). darn. just a coupon from WHBM. resume angsty waiting. 

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Click the photos to read the captions.

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