To practice social work you have to have a license. I spent $175 for the "oppurtunity" to take the LCSW licensure exam and I passed! Go me! Now I can get a job and be a real social worker!


Josh Groban Awake Tour 2007

The night started out with me getting really really really angry with someone. That aside, I walked into the suite at the Energy Solutions arena determined to put it from my mind and to really enjoy this concert, months in the making. I got some food and found a place to sit next to one of my sister's "adult" friends, as we were the only two people without an other-half. Luckily she turned out to be a riot (the rest of the people couldn't/didn't sing along at all, they didn't yell ... they acted a bit snooty although the probably aren't at all ... hopefully) and I was able to have a ball with her.
The night began with Angelique Kidjo, a four-time Grammy nominee from Benin, West Africa. The girl's got moves! She's got energy! I felt my anger draining, replaced by good energy. Last night was really a witness the there are two energies in the world and a Josh Groban concert is good energy. Angelique taught Josh to dance. Even though Angelique was amazing and I loved it, after ever song I was ready for Josh to appear.

After waiting for the stage to be cleared and the tension to build, Josh opened with "You are Loved." The concert was being filmed for the Awake Tour DVD so I think they went all out to make the concert great. He had great energy (running all around the stage), an all-time low of pathetic jokes, and really got involved with the audience. He sang most of the songs from the album. For the song "In Her Eyes" he appeared in the audience and came down the stairs and made his way to the stage. He wore a white shirt and descending with people struggling to touch him. It was a little like Book of Mormon scene which was an interesting thought, to say the least. My favorite part was when he sang the song "Weeping" because it's just my favorite -- great message. The song that I'd-heard-often-but-never-really-understood was "Lullaby." I realized that the song is a response to his visit to South Africa and his way of kind of comforting the suffering.
Lucia Micarelli, a violinist touring with Josh for the second time, was the rocking-est part of the show. Last concert she played a intense medley of Queen songs. For this concert, an amazing, indescribable tribute to Led Zepplin's Kashmir. She played so quickly and when it all went electric it was intense lightning-storm-and -bliss combo. Check it out here -- it takes about 2:30 minutes before it really rocks but it is beyond cool.
I am so glad the concert is forever recording on cell phones from youtube and will be available on DVD soon.



Also, I need to get to South Africa at some point. Maybe some other African countries also like Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana. I know what you are thinking. I realize that Morocco and Egypt are in Africa but in those two countries it is totally different than South Africa.

Also, I think I like the name Lucia. Can't decide, however, how I would like to pronounce it. I tried out nicknames with both and I decided nicknames don't work for this name. So, should I say Loo-sha or Loo-chee-ah. Loo-sha is more American but Loo-chee-ah is kinda cooler. She will not go by Lucy or Luce. That's stupid.

Kick the Bucket

I was listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation which was today discussing Life Lists. The impetus for the show was Sunday's New York Times article Ten Things to Do Before This Article is Finished by Alex Williams. NPR's host, Neil Conan, and his guests discussed the personal meaning of making life lists, about what happens when goals aren't achieved, and about the importance of making lists.

They also talked about a new movie starring Jack Nicholson (ehh, not my favorite) and Morgan Freeman called The Bucket List. It is about two terminally ill cancer patients who make a list of things to do before they "kick the bucket." The apparently flee the hospital and are soon found walking the great wall of China, skydiving, and various other shenanigans. Sounds like a really feel good movie with a big cry at the end (someone is going to end up dead).

And it all got me to thinking.

Russel M. Nelson said something to the effect of "If you don't have goals, you are going to be an old fart in a rockin' chair who suddenly realize he has done nothing with his life." I don't think Elder Nelson says words like fart, at least over the pulpit, but you get the idea.

I have a list. Three items: build a hut, install water into said hut, and lobby for a major bill on poverty. But I wanted to add a few things and work through them publicly -- or online.

First new item. Learn French. Why French? Because I want to so don't talk to me about how Spanish is the way to go. Dreams are not about practicality all the time but about what you really want. I got a work book and some tapes at the library so I've already begun this goal. Yeah me!

Adopt. A child, not a pet. Actually I'd really like to adopt multiple children.

After I finish Europe, I'd like to see Morocco and/or Egypt. Mostly Morocco because, hello, Casablanca is an awesome movie.

If you feel inspired by this check out the website 43things.com.

What's on your list?



A woman took her child on the bus.
"Ma'am," said the bus driver, "You cannot take your child on my bus. That child is so ugly he will disturb the other passengers."
"Please," the woman pleaded, "I need to take my child with me."
"Ok," the bus driver consented," but you need to take him to the back."
The woman went to the back of the bus where another passenger remarked to her, "That was really rude. You should go back and demand an apology."
"No, I can't," the woman said.
"Yes, you can," the man countered. "Here," he offered, "I'll even hold your monkey."


Two Ways to Meet Life

We want validation for our existence. I think this is an essential human need. It is existentialism's base concept: the meaning, not just of life, but of my life. Erick Erickson (unfortunate name) said of the senior citizen's of the world, that they look back on life to see if they have made a difference, to know that their lives were worth something, resulting in "integrity," or the acceptance of one's life, or despair. Maslow called it self-acutalization. Freud called it the ego, which (despite misguided ideas that ego is bad) means knowing that you are worthy, good, and able while simultaneously flawed. When one has ego -- the more the better -- one feels worthy to be alive and in control of that life.
Alfred Adler pioneered the famous "inferiority complex." More notable than that, in my opinion, is his "Style of Life" idea. He suggested that we all begin by feeling inferior and that our "style of life" is our mode from moving to some level of superiority -- or self-actualization or ego or integrity or being ok with me or validating my existence. Did you get that? Life is about this journey to superiority, or finding out that one's existence somehow mattered. The answer to obtaining superiority lies in the "style of life." A "mistaken style of life" is a life of self-centeredness and the search for power leading to emptiness and never fulfillment. A "healthy style of life" is optimistic and receives self-worth in helping others.
Perhaps, then, the greatest fear humans have is to one day find out that they are obsolete. We all ask ourselves the question posed in Les Miserables: "Will the world remember you when you fall/ Could it be your life means nothing at all/ Is your life just one more lie?"
So we fight all the day long to prove that we are needed on the planet, that we have meaning in existence. Quite often we gain this knowledge through a "healthy style of life." We listened to a friend, we donated to a good cause, we let someone into our lane, we did what we said we'd do, we let someone see who we really are, we kept promises to ourselves, we sacrificed, we loved. Isn't it interesting how this validation to existence depends in unequal measure on how we treat others and how consistently we live our own values? But this is the riskiest way to validate existence because it relies so much on the actions and reactions of others. And it's a lot harder to do. It does not come naturally but through concerted effort.
But we also sometimes lead a "mistaken style of life." We didn't hold the elevator, we continued to ignore that friend outside the group, we laughed inside ourselves when someone got what he deserved, we told that story which made another friend look stupid, we complained, we let someone else do the dishes, we lied, we didn't trust or confide. It was all our act of self-preservation. We thought that somehow we'd just die if we didn't do what we did. We were too scared to take the risk. Why? We didn't quite know. We thought of ourselves before anyone else. And how do we feel now? Empty, unfulfilled.
It's such a paradox. We want to see ourselves as important and then we do that which results in the exact opposite. We are too afraid to do that which does bring self-respect, self-worth, self-preservation. I'll end with the following thought, badly quoted, from someone much wiser than myself.
"There are two ways to meet life. You can be indifferent and you will be safe, but bored. Or you can care, and care greatly, until life breaks you on it's wheel. "



A little over a week ago, my life changed forever. I partook of that wonderfulness that is Hairspray.
Hairspray is the story of Tracy Turnblad, played by newcomer Nikki Blonksky, an overweight teen in 1962 Baltimore who has some sweet moves. Her dream is to join Baltimore's local after-school dance TV show, the Corny Collin's Show. (No, it's not like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun at all.) Tracy goes on a rollercoast ride of self-discovery leading her to detention where she learns the moves from the "Negros" and subsequently turns detention into the new hotspot. The moves land her a spot on the Corny Collin's Show provoking the vengeful strategizing of the Van Tussles, played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Brittany Snow. The movie teaches good lessons about race and being comfortable with who you are right now, today, as is. I don't think Tracy is with out a big smile the whole movie long!
The supporting cast is awesome with Zac Efron playing the vain and hot love interest Link Larkin and Amanda Bynes as Penny, Tracy's clumsy, sucker-licking pal.
Props must go out to John Travolta's Edna Turnblad. Travolta in drag. It isn't tasteless or awkward but endearing and all the funnier knowing who is under the 30-pound suit. Also making the movie awesome is Queen Latifah and Christopher Walken.
But my favorite may have been Elijah Kelly, who plays Seaweed, who is about the hottest black guy since ever! I mean, we all love Newsies because it's a bunch of hot guys singing, dancing, and fighting for what they believe in. Ummm... that's Seaweed only white. And, I'll be honest, it's better in black. To quote the lyrics of my favorite song Without Love , "From my ivory castle life was just a Hostess snack/ But now I've tasted chocolate and I'm never going back!"
The movie keeps you smiling the whole time. The music is energetic, clever, and catchy. Like a good coaster ride, Hairspray makes you want to turn around and see it again!


A Blah Funk (Sounds French)

I felt a little "blah" this week. You know blah. Nothing was wrong but I was in a funk. Blah and funk are technical terms used by great literary giants, probably Russians and that's why I can't write their names.
I don't know what I am doing. From ages 5 to 18, life was prescribed. Go to school. After that, go to college. Go on a mission. I remember having the distinct and very real fear that I was going to die in some freak accident after I returned from my mission. Why? Because I didn't see my life going past living 18 months in Germany. Since I didn't die, I went to grad school. And now I've finished that. And I don't know what I am doing now. The problem is options. I have about a million options. I have no parameters, except the ones in my mind.
What do I really want to be doing? If I had no fear and a lot of cash I would move abroad, like to some small French village that is still near Paris so I can visit often, and I would visit things and use the train and read. What would I read? I would read classics like, classics that I can't think of right now, and I would find a professor friend to discuss it with. And I would buy clothes that look good and just fit right. Not that I don't look good but some days I leave my home and think, "Heaven help me if Stacey and Clinton see this!" I would eat fruits and great breads and enjoy cafes, outdoor cafes. And I would sit next to some river and watch the boats. It'd look like Mainz, which I realize is in Germany, but I would look over the river and see the city which has a skyline of churches and feels protective when the sun sets. I'd really get into the arts and I'd understand life and I'd read Carl Jung's biography although I have a feeling I wouldn't really like it. And I would rediscover the spiritual side of me and I would care about nature and feel close to God when I am on a walk. I've rarely been able to make that connection but I think a lot of other people can. And I'd write something worth reading. Whatever happened to the great ex-pat stories and movies. Am I the only one who senses a decrease in movies about Americans abroad like Casablanca, Roman Holiday (I guess Audrey's character wasn't really American so think about the part in Sabrina where she goes to France), The Reluctant Debutante, or to Catch a Thief?
So I'm in a funk, feeling blah, and realizing I need revamping. Better move.