November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday Emilia!

This year, Emilia turns 3 on Thanksgiving. It seems fitting incredibly for my first child to have arrived during a time when I'm prone to reflect happily and with gratitude on the many blessings in my life. I feel truly lucky to watch her bubbly, precocious, delightful personality develop. She is full of enthusiasm and curiosity. She is a fierce negotiator with sound reasoning skills. She can be strong willed and stubborn but she has a very keen sense of empathy and is quite kind. I am biased but I think she's wonderful. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Although this holiday feels a bit less full without Chris's stepfather and without Speck the dog, I am still glad to spend it with many of our extended family members. I reap the very tangible benefits of geographic proximity constantly and am so lucky to live near my parents and siblings and Chris's parents and siblings. I am glad we can be here for Chris's mom during a very difficult time. I am glad to see how close Emilia has bonded with everyone.

I am grateful for my husband, who is a true partner to me and who's intellect and humor and affection continue to captivate me after 12 years of togetherness (5 years of marriage). Our family benefits materially and logistically from his strong work ethic, his handiness, his ambition, and his skills in the kitchen. I feel closer to him than ever as we have shared in so many happy celebrations and milestones but also experienced great loss.

I am grateful for my job and even more so that my job feels like a career. I am really lucky to get to meet optimistic, driven young people full of promise and resilience. I try to help them reach their potential and progress toward their goals. I also try to remember what it was like when I was in their shoes. I hope to honor the fact that every one of them is held dear by someone so I should treat them accordingly. I am grateful also for my colleagues who have been supportive and encouraging as I've progressed toward tenure. The mentoring I've received has been beneficial tremendously and it is a pleasure working with so many intelligent and enjoyable people.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded and how they have helped shape and refine me as well as my view of the world. I am grateful to have lived a life of tremendous stability and security. It is something that can be easy to take for granted but something I need to remember, particularly in the context of what is happening in the world.

I am grateful that the world is full of so many helpers and good people who maintain optimism in the face of very frightening and upsetting conditions. I am grateful for those who fight for fairness and humanity in the face of corruption, injustice, and terror. With the tragedies and atrocities that unfolded over the last year, it can be tempting to take a cynical view or to let fear overtake one's sense of humanity. It is disappointing particularly to witness the political tone and tenor during this election cycle, as it has quite clearly opened up safer spaces for some people to be bigoted and hateful toward anyone they deem "other." It is actually beyond disappointing. It is outright scary. But I still think that reason and decency and kindness and civility will always prevail. I hope that those public figures who are capitalizing on a fearful time to fan the flames of racism will learn that fear mongering and hatred are not effective or sustainable tools for governance in a democracy.

I hope that generosity, kindness, and goodwill will define the coming weeks of the holiday season and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

November 20, 2015

Another goodbye to someone we love

After Chris's dissertation defense, this time in 2013

I didn't make it to the Boden sale. I was presenting at a (locally held but national) conference that day and was eager to spend any extra time I had with family. Chris's stepdad had become very sick and by that point the family decided to bring him home for palliative care. He died that Sunday. It was very sad but we were comforted during three very lovely memorials. And we cried and laughed together as we remembered him. Our big blended family of relatives and step-relatives and in-laws...

He was a great inspiration to many, as an emeritus professor with an extremely productive and impressive academic career. I remember feeling intimidated before meeting him. I knew from roommates and friends that his classes were fascinating and informative. But I still worried because I was new to graduate school and new to academia. I felt insecure and eager to impress him. But he was disarming and warm. He was humble incredibly. And over the years I witnessed the way that he beamed with pride over the accomplishments of his loved ones. He was so proud of his children, stepchildren, and (step)children-in-law. He got to witness many of our milestones and he got to dance at many of our weddings. He saw four of us achieve our own doctoral degrees and follow in his footsteps by forging our own academic careers. And he loved Chris's mom so very much. Their relationship was so strong in the face of a lot of many illnesses and health setbacks over the years.

Many things have occurred these last few weeks that have left us feeling breathless with sadness, both in our personal lives and on a global scale. But as we head into Thanksgiving week and mark Emilia's third birthday, we are trying to focus on the good. That we are together. That we live close enough to lean on each other and try to be as supportive as possible to Chris's mom. That we have many wonderful memories to cherish. Thankfully, the constant presence of a happy toddler helps keep things from feeling impossibly heavy. And I know for certain there are still many reasons to feel thankful.

I just wanted to explain the longer-than-usual blog silence. I will have outfits (a huge backlog, in fact) again soon. Right now just doesn't feel like the right time.

November 04, 2015

This Saturday: Boden Sample Sale in Pittsburgh

Just wanted to let local readers know that the Boden Sample Sale is back in Pittsburgh this Saturday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. I will be downtown for a conference so I am not sure if I will be able to take a break and stop by or not. But if you want to go, you can print a $5 coupon if you resister on the Boden website. You can read one of my previous reviews of the sale here.

Boden also has an online sale right now. Take 25% off with code 4H7Y. Happy Shopping!


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