too important to leave to politics

you'll have to forgive me for posting this late, as due to the time difference, i only just saw this... but if you're an american with a functioning brain between your ears, please take a minute - or forty - and watch this video. i am so thankful that someone with as much reach as mr. olbermann took the time to talk about our healthcare fiasco not just with reason on his side, but personal experience and real emotion... i know he won't read this, but i just want to say, 'thank you, mr. olbermann, from the bottom of my heart - for taking this as seriously as it needs to be taken and for continuing to talk about the facts and the issues that really matter in this debate.'
this really is too important to leave to politicians who seem to have less than honorable intentions with regards to our national health. i have, personally, spent way more of my life fighting with insurance companies and not getting coverage because i happened to be bitten by a tick that passed lymes disease on to me at age 2 to not get overly impassioned about this issue. i hate the fact that both arkansas senators (where i am registered to vote and where my family farm is) are on the list of people who just seem to care more about getting their next campaign contribution than actually performing their civic duty - a duty we elected them for - to ensure the betterment of their constituents' lives.

in arkansas (and texas), i have been denied coverage for almost every type of treatment because of a preexisting condition i had and have no control over. in arkansas, i had to pay out of pocket for an mri to search for what my doctors thought could be brain cancer because, according to my insurance provider, brain cancer and lymes disease are inextricably linked. in arkansas and all over the states, i have friends who have to choose between buying insurance for themselves and their children and paying rent or making a car payment. i am honestly wondering why senators lincoln and pryor, of arkansas, aren't addressing this problem - in arkansas and the rest of the country - with the seriousness it deserves. i am wondering how our elected officials can sleep at night while those who gave them their votes are going bankrupt, losing their homes, and dying because of a problem they turn a blind eye to.

i hope that hearing these segments from one honest american - whether you agree with him on what exactly needs to be done or not - moves you to contact your representatives. i hope that you have the chance to tell them that if they do not do something real about this very serious set of problems, that they do not deserve the office they hold and that you will be giving your vote to someone who will deserve that honorable position.

i know that i am far removed from this debate - for now. i know that some would think that because i do not currently reside in the u.s. (even though i will be moving back next year), that i should not be entitled to the opinion i am giving here or the right to vote that i so proudly exercise when given the opportunity, even from a distance. but i also know that now that i live in germany, i have full healthcare coverage for the first time in my life... real coverage that actually pays for treatment and prevention. i know that i had to sit in a hospital and recovery center at my father's side last year and listen to stories about how people - my dad included - have to sign over their farms and houses before they can be treated for a heart attack that is currently threatening to take their life just in case their insurance doesn't pay. i know that my family and friends and their families and friends have to deal with the consequences of this every day. i know that i voted for 'change [i] can believe in' and i want that change desperately... not just for me but for everyone in america, because the right to good healthcare and prevention is what i consider to be a basic human right. as american citizens, it is high bloody time we were provided with it.



i have been rather neglectful of ye olde blog here for a while... i just wanted to post a note here to inform anyone who actually still reads this that i will be writing more (actual substance) here very, very soon. real life has kept me somewhat busy of late, but i will be posting pictures of stuttgart (finally), my quick trip to berlin with my friend enrica, and more soapbox-y type stuff than you could ever hope for in the immediate future.



ear worm

this song is haunting me. it's beautiful and sad, yet uplifting, and it's taken up residence in my head. i thought i would share...


i want this on a t-shirt

image via violet voice


i dream of...

i am all aflutter over cb2's new urban mandala bedding set. i am in the strategizing process of redoing my bedroom and i am thinking that these are a definite must for me. they are a little pricier than i am used to, but i am seriously tempted...

images via cb2.


happy fourth!

... an independent spirit at its best.
happy fourth of july.



... it kinda reminds me of being in elementary school playing the 'shhhh... it' game in the library. but i am unapologetically childish like that.



it's freaking brilliant!... and damn funny, too.

at last! a movie that came out earlier in europe than the states! i actually giggled most of the way through this movie and i would recommend rushing to the theater to see this as soon as this little ditty comes to a screen near you.

and now... my favorite clip:

simon is just too precious for words!... poor little dear.
have a laugh-filled day!



many people experience crises of faith. i suppose that i have undergone something similar, but religion has nothing to do with it... in my pursuit to become an architect, i always believed that good design - the foundation of architecture as i know it - had the potential to do great good, to inspire, to educate, and to make societies better for the presence of it. while i still believe this to be true of the theory of architecture, i find the practice of it to be something else entirely.

yes, i am young. yes, i am an idealist. yes, i am most-likely completely and utterly naïve... but i also have very deeply rooted ideals and principles and values that i am extremely committed to. while the last three years that i have spent working as an architect have been invaluable to me, i also find myself increasingly dissatisfied with the work that i am doing. i have met, in my endeavors and travels thus far, some of the most incredible people anyone could possibly hope to meet. i have made life-long and unbelievably fierce friends. while these are all wonderful blessings in my life that i am thankful for every day, i find myself conflicted because i am still working for selfish and self-serving people. i find myself conflicted because i am not doing anyone but my bosses any good.

my parents instilled the will in me to always be a better person and to constantly improve on myself; to feel and love without hesitation; to be loyal even if to a fault; to be thankful for everything and everyone; to have a love for learning; and, more importantly, they instilled in me the desire to put others before myself, to help when i can, to listen when someone needs to vent, and - most importantly - that 'being there' and trying anything and everything for others in need is the greatest privilege that any person can seek.

currently, i am trying to get myself in the mindset to go back to school and get my masters. while i love art and design, i simply cannot justify continuing on the path i am on anymore. this life is for a lot of people, but not for me. not anymore. i need to do something more in tune with my principles with my time here, and stressing myself out over meaningless deadlines and working for people who care for nothing but profit is not worthwhile for me. i do not mean to insult anyone for whom this life is satisfying and/or completely fulfilling... i am just saying that this is not the way that i want to live my life.

my visa to live and work in germany will expire at the end of july. at this time, i plan to head back to the u.s., take a little time to breathe, start emt training, and apply to every school that offers an urban design and sustainable development double-graduate program (columbia is top on my list at the moment). i hope to then enlist with the peace corps and start a life in international crisis and development aid. this work will most likely take me far from my family and my home again, but this work will be done in the service of others who need the time and attention of those of us who have a much easier life than they. i feel that this is my duty and will be my privilege - should i be given the honorable opportunity - as a human being.

i have begun to lose my faith in the inherent goodness of people in the last years... based on things done to me and - much more importantly - things done to those i care about. my father recently told me that in tough times, you will see the worst in people or the best in people. my only selfish aim in this new pursuit is that i will be surrounded by (and thus, inspired by) the best of people in the midst of the worst situations. i hope that my personal strength and my desire to be better and do better for others will only be improved in the service of those who need it the most.

a common question for those who pursue a life in international aid is, 'what are you running away from?' i can say, without question or the shadow of a doubt in my heart or mind, that i will be running to something and not away from anything. if i have the chance, for even one day... one minute... to help someone else, i consider it the greatest honor i could ever achieve. i can only hope to be there for others, the way so many people have unquestioningly been there for me. i can only hope for the chance to do good where good is needed the most.

it is with this goal that i move forward and in a refreshingly new direction.

with hope... always with hope.


dearest, silly, out-of-touch teabaggers

if you are a political teabagger, or are taking part in the effort to 'teabag obama' or to 'teabag the whitehouse' and you are wondering why people at large are laughing at you and not taking you seriously (well, besides the fact that it seems you cannot decide what exactly you are protesting), please have a look at the video below and be enlightened.

and, as my personal contribution to you, here's another handy little resource for you to use before you go naming another national movement: the urban dictionary. maybe it will help you keep from referencing 'taboo' and very non-republican-like sexual activities next time around.

... i hope that this also clears up why people (myself included, because i am totally immature like that) find the fact that dick army is one of the major supporters behind (or in this case, above) the teabagging initiative is so damn funny.

happy teabagging, teabaggers!


spooky love for fever ray

i have developed a complete and utter obsession with this song - if i had a heart by fever ray - and the video is just wonderfully spooky. i can't stop watching it. or humming it, for that matter. her album is also absolutely brilliant, and you can listen to all of the tracks here.

i am also totally enamored of the way karin dreijer andersson has had her face painted for the video (above left) and the album promotion (above right). the concepts are both beautiful and - again - delightfully spooky.

images via fever ray's last.fm profile


dr. edith eger on how to be young and eighty-one

'smile with your eyes and give up the need for approval of others... truly celebrate the ability to find that little girl in you who can love again, and again, and again; and to be able to incorporate the past that you just blossom. every day is a gift...'

i may not be 81 - and can only hope to make it to such an awesome milestone in life - but i think that dr. eger's words are a pretty good model for life in general... especially the part about smiling with your eyes. when you do, it shows that you are truly happy - and that is something everyone should strive for.


paris... unexpectedly

an unexpected layover far from home when all i wanted was to get back to arkansas to see my friends and family, combined with complete disorganization at charles de gaulle airport in paris four days before christmas could have completely ruined my day. however, i took it as getting the chance to see a city that i love and haven't been too since i was 12. it kind of felt like santa came a few days early for me...

after far, far too long, i finally got the chance to go through my photos of my day in paris... and here are just a few of my favorites...

the first view i got as i topped the stairs at the eiffel tower. one day, i will live in one of those incredible apartments in the center of the city. hey, a girl can dream.

little love letters and declarations and mini-graffiti etched all over the tower. it's one of my favorite parts about actually getting to visit the eiffel tower - getting to see so many people's stories while looking out over one of the most beautiful cities on earth... not to mention that i am a total structures-and-history-geek and the eiffel tower just makes me all kinds of nerd-happy.

the avenue des champs-elysees lit up for christmas and beautiful vintage metro signs...

more of the champs-elysees...

i think that the best moment of the day was climbing up the eiffel tower, only to realize that we had arrived just as the sun was starting to set... it was simply breathtaking.

le sigh.

the rest of the set is here.


cheering me up today

i just love flight of the conchords. they make me exceedingly happy, and so does this youtube playlist.


oh, mr. wu... i adore the things you do.

absolutely stunning works of art from jason wu's fall 2009 collection at new york fashion week. just a few of my favorites from the show.

goodness me, these are some really, really beautiful clothes... and that is an understatement if i've ever heard one. 

images via coutorture.

utter genius

i have been somewhat-desperately searching for something inspirational over the last days, so i was elated when i stopped over at swissmiss this morning (as i do every day for a little pick-me-up) to find this TEDtalk by elizabeth gilbert on creative genius. i then decided to have a gander at some of the awe-inspiring talks over at TED.com and stumbled upon this talk (above) and i was absolutely floored. it just blows my mind to think of the things that mankind is capable of when given the chance to explore.

it's in seeing things like this that i am reminded that every day, we have the chance to do something completely worthwhile... no matter how small that thing may be.

color me unbelievably inspired.

whenever these blocks make it onto the market, i will be picking some up for my niece and nephew.... and a set for me (because you are never, ever too old to play or learn).


medicine-induced musings from an american in stuttgart

i have been either completely out of it, in a near-delusional state of fever, completely miserable, doped-up on cough medicine, or all of the above for the past 6 days and it's given me time to think... well, about a lot of things... but i thought i would share a few things i realize that i find amusing about being an american in stuttgart.

the thing i find most amusing is that when people ask me where i am from, they have no idea where i am talking about. the conversation starts out normally enough with a polite, 'and where are you from?,' to which i almost always just respond, 'i am from the states.' the funny part is when people ask 'where specifically' i am from and i respond with 'arkansas.' now, i realize that of the places that people freely identify with in the states, arkansas is not so far up on the list, however the blank-faced stares i get in response to my answer are still pretty funny. i normally tell people that it is the state north and slightly to the east of texas, to which they respond, 'oh! you're from texas! why didn't you say so in the first place?' i am, in point of fact, originally from texas, but the family home-base is in arkansas; regardless, i still find this extremely amusing, given that it has happened to me so many times over the last year-and-a-half here.

on the same theme - there is also the issue with pronouncing 'arkansas.' apparently, most of the people i have met abroad (well, the ones that have actually heard of arkansas or seen it on a map) have learned to call it 'ar-KANSAS,' which is all fine and dandy, except that it is wrong. i have no idea why it bothers me so much that people can't get the 'arkas-SAW' pronunciation right, but it does. most of the time, when i first tell people i am from arkan-SAW they look at me like i am a total nutter, but when i pronounce the state's name incorrectly, as aforementioned, light bulbs go on and people know what i am referring to. at least they know who bill clinton is. ... well, they know about the scandal involving bill and ms. lewinsky's dress, and they somehow remember that he is from arkansas at the very least.

another thing i find, well not amusing, but strangely funny in its shear ability to annoy the living hell out of me, is the assumption that i speak no german and am therefore in constant need of a translator... simply because i am from the states. i know that my german is nowhere near perfect - and i cannot write properly in german to save my life (but am starting to work on it) - but i can speak and understand people with ease now. when i came to germany it was a completely different story but that is neither here nor there. i learned german (as in, attended a class twice a week for 8 months at a truly wonderful language school here called inlingua) so that people wouldn't have to constantly pander to me by translating all the time... only now, it seems they do it more often. i find it funny (read: ironic) that when i desperately needed someone to help me understand the language here i couldn't find hardly a soul to help me (my roommate and friends excluded) but now that i am fairly comfortable with german, i can hardly find opportunity to speak it without someone immediately changing the conversation to english. harumph.

on the other side of the coin, or pond, or what-have-you, when i am in the states and people ask me where i live, i get some pretty funny responses as well. when i tell people that i live in stuttgart (as in, shhhh-tutt-gahrt - the one in germany with a population of about 600,000 people), a surprising number of people think i mean stuttgart (as in st-UTT-gart - the one in arkansas with a population of 9,500 people).

i guess people are just funny that way.



a little peek...
at what i have been up to (read: am still trying to finish) since last week.

i still haven't had a chance to off-load my photos from my christmas break, but as soon as i get my head above water, that is a top priority. in the meantime, i have taken up  semi-permanent residence at my desk in the office and have become very good friends with the office's coffee machine.


stop-animation love... accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack

absolutely stunning. ... and the song by oren lavie is just beautiful.
posted originally at swissmiss.


... at last!!!

is obama president yet?

... at last!

it's really hard to describe the amazing feeling of pride and hope that i have, knowing that a man like barack obama will be the leader of my country for (at least) the next four years. what a wonderful day to be an american... and what a wonderful day in the history of the world!

i have to say it, just (maybe) this one more time: GObama!!!

image via is obama president. original post via swissmiss.


new things...

... are coming soon, i promise. i have a gigantic deadline tonight and am working like a crazy lady. i have lovely pictures of paris at christmas (due to an unexpected layover), my family farm, and funny stories from my holidays to post... so hopefully it will be worth the wait!

cheers and much love from my workspace.