Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finding a Voice

Several months ago, it was conveyed to me that much of what goes on in my head is worth sharing.

This had never occurred to me before.

I've been thinking alot about that over the past few months and finally got around to talking about it with Traci and Julie. I'm still thinking about it.

Here's the scary part: Essentially, I've been telling myself that I don't matter.


The more I think about it, the more I realize how little I use my voice: I don't often offer an opinion in a conversation, even with friends. I rarely call anyone for a chat. I'm resistant to Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc. I simply cannot imagine that anyone could possibly be that interested in what I have to say. Even in discussions (i.e. times when opinions are being tossed around), I just don't think that anything I have to say will contribute very much to what's already being said.

I can't actually think of a time when anyone came right out and told me that what I had to say didn't matter. It's difficult for me to verbalize what I'm thinking sometimes and there have been some awkward moments on my part but still, no one has ever told me to stop talking.

The work I do all day long involves throwing ideas around until a solution is reached. I'm friends with people who love to think. I would like to participate but I just can't seem to get myself unstuck from saying nothing or acting like I don't think.

So if I don't feel like I have anything to say, then why I am writing this? In part, maybe it's that by sharing I'll realize how ridiculous it is and will be able to convince myself that I do have the right to have a voice.

I've been told numerous times that I'm passionate, intelligent, and talented. Assuming that's true, then I'm not living up to my potential by keeping my mouth shut.

My desire is to help people (more on that another time. that's a post of it's own). What I'm realizing is that in order to do that, I need to find my voice. If not ultimately so I can talk about myself all the time, then eventually for the greater good of other people.

As I was looking up a quote from Gandhi (We must be the change we wish to see), I came across this one:

"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within."

Smart guy that Gandhi.

Monday, September 08, 2008

ballet and theatre

I love, love, love ballet and theatre. Yet for some reason, I never go. Here are some shows I'd like to see:
Carolina Ballet

Broadway Series South

Theatre in the Park
A Christmas Carol

Playmakers Repertory Company
The Glass Menagerie

burnt out

I've officially reached burn out.

I've been insanely busy before. I've been pretty tired before. I've juggled more things than should be possible. I've dealt with devastating family issues and still kept going. I did it all and then some and still had plenty of energy to do more.

But the past few months have been pretty rough. I've been beyond tired. I can't remember the last time my head or throat didn't hurt. I've gained weight. I'm disorganized. I don't make my bed every day.

There have been a few times lately that I've truly had a chance to relax. Each time I've thought "This is what I'm missing. This is how everyone else must feel most of the time."

So I'm getting back on track by slowing down, relaxing, and learning to say no.

Monday, September 01, 2008


While we were at the NC Museum of Art this weekend, Bernie overheard a kid say "I could do that."

Which got me to thinking. Why do people always say that about modern art?

[The artist we were looking at is Julie Mehretu and her work is way more detailed than it seems at a distance.]

Admitedly, I've seen some splatters on canvas and probably even some mostly blank canvases displayed. I've seen piles of junk and scribbles. I'm a fairly abstract thinker and I've definitely seen things that I don't get.

What I don't think people realize is that this is how these artists express themselves. It's how they communicate. We all have some way that we communicate who we are and what we're thinking. Artists are just crazy enough to put it on canvas and display it.

It's never as simple as it looks.

I say this, but I think everyone can create their own artwork. You don't have to be able to explain it. Part of the expression is in the doing.

The best part about abstract art is that there aren't any rules. You can do anything you want with any medium you want.

I realize that most people haven't done any kind of art since elementary school. But if you're reading this, then I encourage you to give it a try this week. Find some paint or crayons and go crazy. =)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Anyone who has been around me lately has probably heard me complaining about my job. (sorry.) Which leaves even me wondering why I keep working there.

Back when I decided to go to grad school for architecture, I decided that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to help people, not just design fancy things for fancy clients.

Fast forward a few years to my first year of grad school. A professor invites me to a conference called "Structure for Inclusion." Guess what I learned? People actually do help people with architecture. Amazing!

Since then, I've learned of several organizations and fellowships that exist for this purpose. I've even been to Africa with one such organization.

So clearly it's entirely possible to make this happen. I should remember this and not lose sight of my goal. I know this.

What's stopping me then? Experience for one. Most positions with these organizations require about 5 years of experience (I have 3) and management experience. The two that I'm most interested in are headquartered in San Francisco. I've always lived here so moving that far away would be pretty huge.

Beyond that, I think I just get disillusioned with an average day in the architecture world. It's very driven by developers who have lots of money but very little taste and by bureaucrats who wield power by enforcing rules.

Despite all my complaining, I know there are several things keeping me at my current job which will benefit me if/when I do make the jump to the next step: doing projects for non-profits, participating in AFH competitions, heading up Canstruction, taking 2 weeks off to go on an emi trip, and piles of management experience that I shouldn't have had yet.

Even though this is several years off (and even if I never do large scale architecture do-gooding), I'm trying to make a point to not let all the every day junk get me down. So if you hear me complaining, please remind me that there is a point to all the craziness.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I've lost my sense of balance lately.

Until a little over a year ago, my life was always heavily weighted toward school and school related activities. Even with grad school being so consuming, I still felt more even than I do now.

For the first time in my life, there is no obvious next thing. In school, I knew that the end of a semester would be packed but there would be a break soon. Besides, someone else had planned that for me. Who was I to argue with a few days off?

But now my time is my own. Even my work schedule is more or less up to me. Yet I don't take advantage of it like I should.

Instead, I tend to swing between extremes. One week I'll work too much, not see or talk to people at all, completely forget to visit with God, never make it to the gym and not eat a single meal that isn't a sandwich. The next week will be the total opposite.

The result is that I'm exhausted. I don't even feel human some days.

What I've got to learn to do is balance my life. There are some things that I have to do and a whole bunch more that I want to do.

Some of the things that I "have" to do are all in my head. I get stuck there sometimes and usually need help getting unstuck. That seems to be what's really throwing me off balance.

With balance comes order. I like order. The lack of it is making me crazy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

High School Jeopardy!

you know you're watching high school Jeopardy! when the category title is "Really Old Movies" and the answers are Goonies and ET.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Star Wars

I have to watch Star Wars.

It's been declared as an internship requirement. Apparently people born before 1977 can't believe that there are people who haven't seen them.

I'll need company watching them. Let me know when you want to have a Star Wars marathon.

blog envy

I suffer from blog envy.

I'm evnvious of people who post serious thoughts on their blogs all the time. Or people who have something really interesting to post about.

So maybe I'll give this a try and just post what's in my head.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It turned out to be a really good day

This morning, I did not want to go to work. It's not been a place I've enjoyed very much today. I much rather would have sat at Panera all morning with Julie and Traci.

So I get to work and the other intern finishes something he was doing for me without being asked. Then I get a phone call from a contractor (he talks to me like I know what's going on. good guy.) and have to ask the project manager what to do and he totally lets me just deal with it on my own. There was a cookout at a printing company today and I convinced all four designers to go together. It was the first time any of us have done something together voluntarily. After lunch, my boss sat down with me and helped me find all the bits for my project. Then I met my parents at North Hills and listened to beach music. While we were there, I bumped into my favorite little people. While I was walking Riley tonight, one of my neighbors offered to share flowers with me. Then Derek kissed Meredith on Gray's.

Good day.

Drag Bingo

Pictures are finally up! Sorry that it's taken so long. I went to download the pictures after I got home that night only to find that my computer had died. It's fixed now so here there are:

Bernie, Sam, and Daniel are ready to play some Bingo.

The performances this time were much more entertaining this month. (Ok, except for one that was a little much.) The queens have definitely been practicing their moves.

Who's that in the green shirt? Julianne, did you miss O69?

Bernie and Mary KMart after she gave his brother a birthday wakeup call.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Being Me

I think I'm becoming an introvert.

This is a little weird to me.

Maybe I've been one all along and never knew it.

I've had to learn alot about myself lately. I've learned alot that I'm not ready to talk about yet. But it's been refreshing to find that maybe I'm not weird but maybe I'm just myself. And that's okay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

you won't believe what my mom suggested

speed dating.

yes, really.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I thought I knew. But the more I do it, the more I'm not so sure.

It's not that I don't like being an architect. I really do.

Ok, let's back up a bit. I'm not actually an architect. Yet. I do almost everything a "real" architect does. But legally, I'm not actually one. And I won't be for at least two more years. I still have some internship requirements to meet and a bunch of exams to take.

I've been thinking about this for a while now. And on Monday, Ryan was joking with me and said "But you need to make a decision for when you're a real architect." I said "I don't want to be an architect when I grow up."

Which of course made him ask why.

It's that I don't see the point. I thought there was a point to being a licensed architect. But I've lost what that is right now.

I guess you can work for yourself or maybe get paid more. But those things don't particularly motivate me right now. There's also the fact that my 3 1/2 years of grad school will be pretty much pointless if I don't get licensed.

Architecture is a profession. Something that you practice, not just an ordinary job. Being licensed means getting the respect that comes with being a professional.

Not being a real architect means way less stress, responsibility and thinking. I could pretty much keep doing what I'm doing with less stress for several more years before anyone would take issue with my not being licensed. So why keep doing it? It's better than retail.

I'm just so stressed out. I go to work and I'm just stressed. I don't know why but I am.

I keep thinking that maybe I'll just show up at work, do what needs doing, and not care beyond that.

But can I be okay with that? With merely just punching a clock?

I was told today that I was better than just being a draftsman my whole life.

Maybe I am. But what's the point?

At this point, I have to make a choice. Either continue to be a glorified CAD monkey or take the initiative to become more than that.

I just wish I knew what being a real architect really got me.


I need some more blogging help:
How do I put links in? I think I tried one time a while ago and they never showed up.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I'm a big fan of this question. I don't often come up with many answers though.

This week I've been wondering "Why?" alot.

Why work hard when just getting by is acceptable?

Why do I care?

Why do I have to go to work all day long?

Why do bad things happen and why don't people want to talk about it?

Why don't I let myself be exactly who God wants me to be?

Why is Satan such a jerk?

Why can't I block him out?

Why do I let myself get stressed out?

Why can't I just see what's in front of me?

Why does Riley think he's walking me?

Why can't I make a decsion?

Sunday, March 02, 2008


If you have not Wii-ed, then you must find someone who has one and beg them to let you play. Not only do my arms still hurt from boxing, running, swimming, and hammer throwing, but my abs are in pain from laughing.

If you find my Facebook page and watch the videos Carly posted, then you'll see what I mean.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Tonight we were talking about subtlety. In particular, do men get things we girls do and do we get things they do? Or all we all trying so hard to be subtle that we miss it all? We didn't exactly come to any conclusions.

Somehow this lead to a pretty hilarious conversation on pickup lines. Suggestions ranged from "do you have a pen?" to "You're attractive and I want to have your babies." Danielle and Danielle definitely had very different styles. Julie was working the batting of her eyes.

Somehow in all this I recapped Henry Cloud's book "How to Get a Date Worth Keeping." (As much as I hate dating advice books, this one is pretty good. He goes beyond dating and talks alot about good social skills.)

One of the bits of advice in this book is to just practice talking to people whenever you have a chance. Which got us back to pickup lines.

Not one of our ideas was in the least bit sublte. Hilarious but not sublte.

As we were leaving, Julie says to Andy and Will, "You're both attractive. Which one of you wants to take me to dinner?"

Hilarious. Unsubtle. Brilliant.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


A friend loaned me the first season of Brothers and Sisters on DVD. (Shame on her. All I've done since Sunday is watch TV.) She said she liked the show becasuse it reminds her of her own family.

A few great things about the show are the amazing house and the size of the family (five kids). My favorite thing about the show is how much of a mess each character is. They've all got their own set of issues and unlike many tv shows, they're reasonably realistic issues.

Another friend mentioned how the family just talks about things and gets it out there.

A while back I was talking to someone about how my family never, ever talks about things. Some pretty tragic, serious, scary and messed up stuff has happened in my life and none of it has ever been discussed between me and my parents. There are events, that now even over 10 years later, I'm still not sure what happened.

My question is this: Do families talk to each other like the one in the show? Or is my family just weird because we don't?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

online dating

Let me start by saying that I neither condone nor condemn online dating. I'm by no means knocking it; I'm just saying that I'm not feeling it.

I've known people for whom it's been a positive experience. They've gone on dates, met some interesting people and had some funny stories to tell. One person I know even met her fiance online.

To be clear, I'm content with my singleness.

Lately though, I've had several people start in on me as to what I was doing to meet new people (At least two of those people just want me to be able to hang out with them more, being as they're married and do couple things.) Most recently my mom asked me about it.

In my defense, I was on a four year leave of absence from real life.

It seems that online dating has come up in conversation quite a bit lately. And today I had to explain to my mom why I wasn't participating. She even quoted Dr. Phil. (ugh.)

My understanding of these services is this: you answer multiple guess questions about yourself, a computer runs some matches, and then you pay a fee each month to wink at people in hopes that someone will want to start communicating with you.

I don't know about you, but I am much more complex than a multiple guess question. Besides the fact that I'd much rather meet someone who complimented me rather than meeting someone who was the same as me. And meeting someone based on an online profile seems so one dimensional to me.

I think that instead of paying the fee for this service I could use that money to do activites I enjoy. Seems like more fun that way. It's not all about "meeting someone" that way. That would just be an added bonus. I'd be much more myself than I would be having to meet some stranger for dinner.

I'm holding out for God's best. Not that the online method isn't a way to that. It's just that I think God is more creative than that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Normally, I hate confrontation. Avoid it at all possible costs. Don't even consider it as an option. Brush it under the rug as "it'll get better" or "I'm over-reacting" or "it's not my place" or any number of other excuses.

I'm learning to like it.

I can't believe I just said that.

After a good solid year of repeatedly feeling disrespected by a manager at work, I've decided that I'd had enough.

After another manager convinced me to stand up to him, he got in my face and yelled. We then had the same conversation that we've had about the issue for the past year.

I tried just sucking it up and doing the work and not letting it get to me. The work got done but I was miserable.

I tried making excuses about being humble but I couldn't seem to reconcile what I understand about Jesus with being a doormat.

I realized that I had three choices: 1. let him continue to disrespect me, 2. find a new job, and 3. talk to my boss about it. By not saying anything I felt like I was enabling the situation. By leaving I lose out big time. I like my job alot. There are tons of reasons why I don't want to get a new job. (More on that another time. I'm still a little (ok, alot) blown away by it.)

Leaving option number three.

My boss was totally cool with me talking to him. He even suggested that I talk more with this manager and with the others that also work for him. I felt somewhat like we were ganging up on the guy. But I asked my boss for help in the situation and this is what he suggested.

We made sure to present him with positives and with some concrete actions he could take to help prevent this tension from developing.

Part of my feels really badly for making such a fuss. The rest of me feels darn good that I was able to talk to him without crying or backing down, all while knowing that my boss was totally cool with me talking to this guy.

This isn't to say that I don't take some responsibility for the tension. I do take things he's said a little too personally sometimes. I actually really think this guy is a good guy which is probably why it bothers me so much that I have issues working with him.


I know full well that this is going to happen again. He'll treat me better for a few days, a few weeks, maybe even a few months. And then it's going to happen again. I'd like to be optimistic about it.

It's no longer an isolated incident. We can't get along with everyone all the time. But we're in this cycle. It happens to other people in the office. But it's out there in the open now.

All this to say that I'm actually feeling good about the situation. It was an exhausting afternoon.

Advice from my mentor was this: how I handle this situation is going to set the tone for how I handle my career from here on out. It's also going to set the tone for how much I repsect myself and impact my life beyond work. (darn him. he has a trend toward being right all too often.)

If nothing else, it shows that I'm willing to man up to the tension and attempt to wrestle with it and deal with it.

It seems better just being able to say that I"m not okay with something.

I've previously been a world champion faker. I'm done. Finished.

house pictures (finally)

Welcome to Jones Street! This is my house. It was built around 1920 and is a bungalow style house. Keep scrolling down for more pictures.

the living room. the panel door on the left goes to a bedroom.

The fireplace in the living room.

The bathroom. You can't tell from the picture, but it was paneled around the existing elements.

Dining room. Seriously sagging floors in this room.

Kitchen (an appropriate Go Heels! color) Definitely major demolition scheduled for this room.

That's all. There are 2 bedrooms and a back den area but there's not much to see so I didn't post pictures*. If you ever get bored or frustrated and want to peel some paint or wallpaper, just call.

* Thanks to my picture-posting coach for explaining how to put pictures on this thing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

actually remembering to blog: take 463

So clearly my attempts to keep up with blogging haven't gone so well yet again...

I think it's a little weird to post things that go on in my head on the internets. Maybe it's a nice way to keep people up to date with my life. (of course, then I wonder who on earth is reading this.) The problem is that I can't give a simple play-by-play without going off on tangents. Hence my most recent nickname of "spaghetti girl." I could write for hours. Maybe I should aim for a little bit each night.

Thought for the week (ok, the past couple of weeks): Where's the line between humility and doormat-ity?

** house pictures coming as soon as I find the USB cable.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

new (old) house

Soon you will see pictures of my house! (when I figure out how to get them on here.)

Per a really good suggestion, I'm going to keep track of my crazy house remodeling adventure through this blog thing. (which I have also never quite figured out.)

The house was built around 1920. So there are 87 years of paint/wallpaper/gosh-knows-what to be stripped/resurfaced/otherwise demolished.

Check back later this week and I'll at least have a link to pictures up here.