It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.
I’ve refrained from commenting publicly about last week’s Paris attacks, in large part because I am speechless. The resulting debates about terrorism, gun control and refugees are sickening, to say the least.
Here’s hoping these bring a little comfort and solace to your day.
- Only Love Can Protect Paris: This now-viral video of a little boy and his father will bring happy tears to your eyes. Watch as he tries to process the magnitude of the attacks — and then, comes to the realization that flowers and candles can protect one’s heart.
- How to Process Grief: “Not knowing how to deal with grief is a common problem for humanity,” this article begins. Taken from an elderly man’s perspective, this is absolutely one of the best explanations of the grieving process I’ve seen. If nothing else, it humanizes and normalizes how we all cope with loss.
- USF Wins Big: On the lighter side of things, my alma mater had an incredible win last Saturday, making us bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. Taking down a ranked team and securing our spot in a bowl? I’m not mad about it.
- “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes: I’ve been toe tapping along to this song for quite some time. Mendes’s voice reminds me of a hybrid between Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine… it sounds funky, but trust me, it’s all good. Plus, he’s adorable!
You know it’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work when you have recurring dreams … about work. The only way to combat such nonsense? Let’s start with these four highlights:
- “The Great Gatsby”: Despite touting its soundtrack as the best of 2013, I hadn’t seen the Baz Luhrmann masterpiece until recently. It’s a visual spectacle and takes F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s narrative to explosive, extravagant new heights.
- Aziz Ansari’s Love Advice: I can’t wait to read the undoubtedly hilarious writing debut from Ansari, called “Modern Romance.” Till then, BuzzFeed graciously cooridinated a Q&A sesh that doesn’t disappoint.
- Warriors Win!: I was thrilled to have both of my Bay Areas in the playoffs recently, but sadly the Lightning didn’t pull through against the Blackhawks. Thankfully, the Warriors brought home a trophy for the first time in 40 years — what a sight to see!
- “GDFR” – Flo Rida f. Sage the Gemini & Lookas: This song should be in the dictionary next to “pump-up jam.” Whether you’re hitting the gym or the bar, you just feel like you can take on the world after hearing this one.
The best part of a long weekend? Um, it’s a long weekend.
The worst part of a long weekend? It takes the rest of the week to figure out what day it actually is.
I’m 80% certain it’s Wednesday, so here you go, faithful followers:
- Treasure Island: A few days of sand and surf were more than enough to send me straight to relaxation station. You have to check out this idyllic vacation spot the next time you’re in Florida — I know I will!
- Allison’s Baptism: My niece, AKA the cutest child alive, was baptized this weekend and I’m honored to be her Godmother. Just look at that smile! She’s obviously perfect. And trouble.
- The Fault in Our Stars: This book deserves its own post, because I devoured it in less than 24 hours and felt all the feels. The movie looks interesting, too … even if I don’t like Shailene Whatsherface.
- “Not a Bad Thing” – Justin Timberlake: Well, JT does it again. I’ve learned that an earworm stuck in our heads for days is just his MO. The video is also great, because, you know, Jusssstin.
Thanksgiving Day has come and gone — hopefully your holiday was spent with good food and even better people. Here’s the conclusion of the 30 Days of Thanks series:
- 22. A functional car, as Jimmy has been pushed to his breaking point and I’m rocking Magz’ sweet hatchback Focus while he gets fixed.
- 23. Supermarkets, which accommodated many last-minute stops and continue to provide a platform for charitable donations throughout the season.
- 24. Weekends, for reminding us to take a step back and breathe. Sleeping in doesn’t hurt, either :).
- 25. Laughter, because it makes my world go ‘round. I have a loud, unapologetic laugh, and I adore anyone and anything that brings it out.
- 26. Sportsmanship, which I relied upon after losing nearly every board and card game played this weekend.
- 27. You, for inspiring me to keep going (even when writer’s block sets in). I appreciate each and every person reading this for their support of this creative outlet.
- 28, 29 & 30. Faith, hope and love — the greatest of which is love. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without the simplest gestures of compassion and care.
It’s absolutely a goal of mine in this next year to remember more things like these 30, rather than the things that get me down. Look around — you may be surprised how many blessings surround your life.