Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If You Don't Like It- GO HOME.

Before I get into this entry, let me give a disclaimer. I (clearly) do not have any affiliation with the military. I'm not even a fan of war. What I do know, is that for people who are involved in military services, it is so important to them, and I have endless respect for the people who go and fight for our rights and our country. It is with all of that love and respect, no matter your political views, that I write this entry.

Yesterday, I had the rare opportunity and privilege to go see the fabulous Lady Gaga speak at a rally. Politically, I must say my rally days have been pretty minimal, but not nonexistent. I went to the University of Maine at Farmington and was the "token straight girl" among
my friends, which I later just proudly adopted as straight ally. During the No on 1 days, the FIRST time around, I briefly attended a rally, made the front page of the paper, and joked that my activism days were over.
Little did I know.

Since then, things have been mostly healthcare related, and there was Obama fest which was very rally-esque, and was such a rush and a huge shot in the arm to why I do what I do, and that I am actually sort of adopting the title of "activist" even though I was so opposed to it early on.

So, Sunday night, I read on twitter by the Gaga herself, that she was going to be in Portland the following day to speak about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Why Portland? that's random....
It is and it isn't. Our lovely Senators are two of the "moderate Republicans" who are often ones that not so much need to be swayed, but are the ones that could ultimately make a difference in a vote (which, frankly- I think is pretty cool) It is the same reason that Obama came, during the high times of the health reform voting. I think at this rate, they may this up, since it means Maine is finally getting some media love! I'm ok with it.
Since my mom is awesome (and a bit of an old hippie herself) she agreed that we could go to the rally.
And. It was. Amazing. Not just because of the appearance of Lady Gaga, who gave an incredible speech, but because of the entire vibe and atmosphere of so many people just striving for that unreachable, Prime Rib we call Equality. Journey played, we laughed, we sang together, we made friends, we talked about Glee. Just in meeting the people surrounding me in that crowd, and thinking of so many people I love that this could affect it just really hit me hard.

Before Gaga spoke, there were other people who had previously served in the military and were discharged because of their sexuality. It just seems so ridiculous to me. As Lady Gaga said, "Doesn't it seem like we're sending the wrong person home? We're sending home the one who does NOTHING wrong, and keeping the person who has hate in their heart instead of commitment and courage like there is supposed to be." And she has a completely valid point.
But as I thought about it. It's always that way. When a child is teased in school for whatever reason, the reaction of the guidance counselor is, "send them to a private school." WHY? Why does the innocent have to leave the environment!?!?!!? Why can't we have consequences for the people with the hate. Why can't we just build tolerance or even ACCEPTANCE?
It seems backwards to me, and I would support the new law Lady Gaga proposed called, "If you don't like it, Go Home." If you're the person who is distracted by what someone does in their private life, and THAT takes away from your ability to serve your country, then maybe that is the person who should step down.
As I'm watching the debate....(on whether to debate...) in another window, I am so proud of our Senator Susan Collins who got up and spoke on these exact points, and saying how much money is wasted on training and replacing these perfectly capable soldiers that are discharged, and that it is not about certain traits you have pertaining to your personal life but can you do the job. We are focusing on the wrong things, once again.

And as for Lady Gaga, well, yes, she has been a controversial artist to some people, but the fact that she took the time to come and speak about something so important, I think is awesome. Who is to say why someone is passionate about a cause. People listen to celebrities. Be as nonconformist as you want, but it's true, so why can't we let those people carry our causes if they so choose? We complain when people are famous and have endless amount of financial resources and do nothing with it.... and then.... we complain when they do? Come on people...
Gaga wasn't even there as Lady Gaga yesterday, she was there as a US citizen, and a person who believes in a cause? So why not? It wasn't just about her, it was about all of those people who fought, who care, and who just want the right and opportunity to take whatever life path they choose.

So yes, I'll say it again, yesterday, standing in that sunshine, singing journey and cheering til my voice was gone, I was proud to be a holder of Maine values. And I will continue to fight for the prime rib that is equality- ALL TYPES OF EQUALITY.
Because... I am tired, of getting by on chicken nuggets and Boca burgers.

Here is a video I took of the day, and also a video of her entire speech, so you can form your own opinions! Love it or hate it, it was pretty cool to be there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


As I said in my last post, Fall never fails to make me nostalgic. For 16 years of our lives we are victims of the "Back to school" hysteria, with whatever emotions that may bring for you- then.... bam. It's done.
I'm over the stress it used to cause me, but now it's just sort of this void of all the things that used to happen at this time of year. The little things that you take for granted, just the small things that get you through the day during the first few months of classes but when they're gone, it's so different.
And yet, as I read through older fall entries, it feels like it just yesterday.

So to bask in my moment of Fall Nostalgia, and then to send it on it's way and get stuff done in the present. I present a list (cause I love lists....)

Things I miss about college:
  • * Being able to walk to Dunkin' Donuts (usually in my pj's) or the "Latte Landing" (I'm still not over the fact they never had lattes) to do work when I just couldn't be in my room anymore. Heck being able to walk anywhere. the bar, peoples' apartments. Having the whole town at our fingertips and not spending a cent on gas (not that I drove... but I digress)

  • * MEAL POINTS! Scan a card = all you can eat! Caesar Wrap day anybody? Or our late night ventures for curly fries in the snack bar... all with just the swipe of an ID. Delish.
  • * Breaks! Pounding the pavement, nose to the grindstone working so hard to get everything done so you can leave for a few days and see everyone you miss from "home" and then not wanting to go back.... and remembering why I actually are ok with going back when you get there.
    And of course finals week was one of those things that I think actually prepares you for the real world. Grant reviews, presentations, conferences.... there's always that crunch time where you just get a double latte and play "finals week" and I get a satisfying little reminder I still have it in me!

  • * Witty "Beaver Pride" Tshirts. Enough said.

  • * My writers :)
And I think one of the best- every single person I cared about and how we would sit around talking about how much we hated every part of it, and how- here we are almost four years later talking about what we miss, while completely recognizing, we're not the same people we were back then. And you just can't go back. But it's fun to remember.

Here's to the class of 2007, and those I've reconnected with in my new "grown up life!"


Monday, September 06, 2010

"This is a song about weddings....and LL Bean..."
-Joshua Radin

Anyone who knows me well, knows that the end of summer is not something I like to talk about. Or think about, or acknowledge, let alone celebrate. I just quietly switch from shorts to jeans, wear hoodies a little more often, and try to keep my tan as long as possible- all the while acting like nothing really was changing.

For a long time, the end of summer was unspoken because it meant I had to go back to school, which was hard. I had to leave the people that supported me and made me truly feel happy, and go back to a town where I forced myself to fit in, had few people I could really trust, and spent cold nights alone. Granted, the semesters got better and better, but only recently have I reached the pointwhere the smell of a fall evening doesn't give me a tough knot in my stomach.
but here I am. holding my head high as we wave out Summer 2010. I am learning to embrace Memorial Day, and Labor Day, as more than just fake holidays where people don't work, but as the seasonal bookends to that time of year when my heart is happiest.
Memorial Day 2010 was a pretty fantastic kick off, as we had our entire family together, and I got to ring in being 25, and this Labor Day weekend, has been a quieter sort of fantastic as well.

Friday night was spent at a birthday party for one of my "faux little sisters" who used to live next door to us. We're not really related, but I remember the days both she and her sister were born, so may as well be right? There were 12 or so little girls from ages 6-8 and they made pizzas, and played games outside, and watched the birthday girl open presents. I sort of just drifted about in a cloud of nostalgia, realizing I don't even know what the "cool toys" are any more. (Does anybody understand the
zhu zhu pet hype??? ....anybody? I thought we were still on Webkinz!) At the end of the night the "grown ups" had a glass of wine, and I just completely caved as Gracie ran over to show me her newest color of nail polish, and the body glitter one of her friends had given her. I asked to see it, and rolled the scented body glitter all over my shoulders, just as I would've done for a dance in 7th grade. Then to end the night we all picked a pack of silly bands and went on our way. All in all a successful Friday night. And a conclusion that body glitter should probably make a comeback (although- it really only grows up into "dry oil shimmer spray" but please, all girls love to sparkle)
Saturday was the star of the weekend though
We were a little worried for awhile with the impending "hurricane Earl," and like any good over reacting Mainers, my family was stocked up on water, canned goods, and was ready to batten down the hatches. I predicted, that much like every other big weather event we get our hopes up for, it would be anticlimactic, and if anything happened, it would rain enough to ruin our plans, and that would be that.
And although I had secretly prepared myself for a quiet rainy day of putting away a months' worth of laundry and staying in bed to watch my weekend dose of Reality TV, I was quickly excited to see that Saturday morning proved to be absolutely perfect! Sunny, with just the lightest breeze (ok maybe it was a little windy) and the sister and I were off to the madness of the outlets on Labor Day weekend, and to see a free concert of: JOSHUA RADIN!!!!!!!!

Joshua Radin is sort of an unknown name to most. He sneaks in places like the movie Post Grad's soundtrack, or the soundtrack on Grey's Anatomy. Just little places, enough to stomp on your heart, and make you cry tears of joy and hopelessness all at the same time. But for me, I knew more of him.
I first discovered JR the summer after I graduated college, before my life had really taken off, and there were some remnants of the past just hanging on by a summer thread.

It was this song.

I began to find more and more of his stuff, and he took up most of my "sleepy time" playlist. Literally, every night, his voice would calm my ridiculous, overanalytical mind, a
nd I'd drift off. He was with me when I spent the early nights alone in the giant house in Auburn, when I was searching for purpose in Gray, and he always makes an appearance on my ipod when I need to crash on a plane before getting to Who Knows Where.
One of his more upbeat songs, that I'll end with, has also been made into an alarm that frequently wakes me up when I need to wake up on the right side of the bed...

So Maisy and I met up with some friends for lunch at Sam's, snagged some amazing deals at the Abercrombie outlet (don't hate) had a round of pregaming at Starbucks with the necessary girl talk, and finally parked our camp chairs on the LL Bean lawn to wait for the show to begin.

It was a very chill vibe, and with the exception of a few obnoxious teeny bopper girls shrieking, the group was well behaved and downright quiet and peaceful. I sort of couldn't believe we had such an opportunity for free! We sat there under the stars, and listened to him sing, and tell stories about every song (most of which were about ex-girlfriends.... and yet... who would leave THAT!?!?!?!... although- he's a musician, and probably either overemotional, or apathetic...or a Sagittarius.... but I digress) and it was just so perfect. I was reminded of the power of live music, and how there is something about the thump of bass that you can just feel deep in your heart and it makes you feel alive. ....and why I tend to have a thing for musicians....
He sang a few favorites, including Closer, but nothing too emo, and he was actually so freaking funny, he didn't really give us a chance to get into a slump, which was good too. He did some new stuff too, which had never been performed live before, and his new album comes out on October 12 so that went on the Ical.

It was over way too soon, and Mais and I hit Starbucks one more time and wandered the town to unwind before heading back home, and admitting to ourselves that summer really was over. But with that performance, and seeing the man live who has seen me through so much without even knowing it (ew that sounds cheesy right?) It just felt good. It was a good night.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing more shopping, relaxing, and clocking in a few more hours at the pool before it's covered with snow again. It was pretty perfect.

So there you have it. Mal v. 2010, is ready to bid this amazing summer farewell, and ring in the fall.

I'll let Mr. Radin kick it off for us, cause well... I couldn't say it better myself.

Happy Labor Day.