Friday, July 30, 2010

Andrew's Blog - because I promised.

Normally I am not one to stick up for those I find do not really have it that hard in life. I mean there are some people that just have it a little easier in some areas of life than the rest of everybody. It's just a proven fact. It is really nothing to be ashamed of if you fall in to that category. It can actually be a huge benefit to you and to others around you if you choose to use it in a compassionate and eyes-wide-open manner. If you recognize that you are privileged in an area (or several in your life) you are more able to embrace that and put it to work for you and others around you.

I am getting off subject already and I haven't even introduced the subject of this blog. His name is Andrew. Andrew is a true blue Northern Minnesotan. He is from Scandinavian decent and white as can be. Andrew belongs to a privileged group of people. He is a white American male with good work ethic from a small town and a small school who has been well educated. Now we could spend a long time delving in to his life and talking about the privileges and benefits or difficulties or get in to a debate about whether or not you think he is actually privileged just because of the aforementioned characteristics. I don't really care. Because the topic of this blog is actually the disadvantage that he faced the other day. We were talking and he was expressing his frustration about a conversation he had had where someone informed him that he could not understand what it was like to be a minority. You may agree with this statement and maybe for the average person in his situation that might be true but Andrew has chosen multiple times in his life to live outside of his comfort zone. He has visited India for several months, Mexico and Colombia.  Now did I mention that Andrew is white? I am going to mention it one more time because Andrew is not just white he is white, seriously, sometimes in the winter we have actually debated whether or not he was glowing and it is hardly any better in the summer (sorry Andrew). In the crowds in foreign countries he sticks out like a sore thumb, his presence screams at passersby to badger him, grab him (literally) and to laugh at him. Now he may be able to walk through an airport and not be stopped or to move from country to country with much more ease than the average, he may even be able to get higher paying jobs or all the things that we know go along with his privilege but Andrew does know something about being minority, the stares, the whispers, the butt grabbing, no, I'm not kidding, just ask him the story sometime, and the constant badgering for money.

I asked him why he had not explained some of these circumstances to the person he was in conversation with and he said something that struck a chord with me, he said "I can't say anything because then I will look like I am defending myself when I am one of the most "privileged" people out there so how would anyone ever believe that I could understand what it felt like to be a minority."

So I sit here once again to give a voice to someone who felt that they had no right to a voice. Everyone has a right to a voice it is what you do with that voice and who you lift with that voice that counts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A girl's best friend

When I was 13 my great grandmother pulled me aside to give me a piece of sage advice. Ok. So it didn't really look like that. My family never does things that way. We are a family (my mom's side) chuck full of loud, bossy, sometimes brassy or crass, animated, emotional women. My great grandma yelled at me to listen to a what she had to say. I was kind of thrilled. This would be the very first piece of advice that my grandma would give me and I was expecting something... well... I'm not really sure but you always read about the advice that people get when their great grandmother calls them aside so being the strange book nerd that I am (I know, hard to believe huh?) I expected something that would be found in the pages of a novel. Instead the conversation went something like this: "Jasmine! Listen here", Me: "What?", Gma: "Do you have a boyfriend?" Me: "No." Gma "That's fine, you just need to remember one thing when you do get one", Me: "What's that?", Gma: "Diamonds are a girls true best friend." End of discussion. Translation: "Men really aren't worth much it's just the stuff they give, especially diamonds." Proven out by that family of women who received everything from diamonds to mink coats to motorcycles... etc. from men all of the time.

Now I may not be quoting my conversation verbatim considering it has been a fair amount of years but that is how I remember the conversation going down.

Day before yesterday SM took me to the jewelry store in the Mall of America, we don't have a Helzberg anywhere near here and that is where our wedding rings were purchased at. We went to renew our ring insurance to the new lifetime coverage that they are switching to as our insurance had run out. My wonderful SM got me an early anniversary present, the second band to my wedding ring. Everyone say "aawww". It really is beautiful. I never thought that I was a diamond girl and still as a general rule I prefer other types of stones or no stone at all in my jewelry but when it came to an engagement/wedding ring I found that my heart had been softened towards that particular type of stone. But what my grandma failed to tell me, or maybe it was that she missed out on it, or let it die in her own life, is that it isn't the stone that are your best friend but the wonderful man that is giving it.

And there you have my sappy, quite early, anniversary blog. I won't burden you with another. Please throw your tissue in the trash by the door as you leave.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just a short addition to the things I've learned...

I have learned Victoria's Secret. Oh I know, I have heard the joke before to that there is "nothing secret about Victoria because it's all out there for everyone to see" but really, I know what the secret is. She has the best bras out there, they are comfortable and cute and the sizer actually gave me my correct size. It is also well worth it to buy some nice underwear and really... she has that covered as well. PJs? So nice. So her secret? Quality underwear. Really.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Life Lessons

I really should be writing this in January a "this is what I have learned over the past year" or at the very least I should be writing this on my birthday just because it seems like the right time to tell people about all the lessons you have learned over the past year. So this is pretty much just coming out of left field here and smack in the middle of the year and not anywhere near my next birthday I am going to bless you all with the profound insights that I have gained over this past portion of my life.

1. Having a child is really nothing like having a pet. People who don't have children like to equate children to pets but it just isn't that case, sorry. One of the biggest reasons being the fact that when you are just having an "off" day you can't just ignore a child like you can a pet and you definitely can't put them in a kennel. So even though some of you may really love your pet is just isn't like having a child. Trust me on this one.

2. Having an array of shoes is a good thing. I really have been shoe resistant. It isn't that I don't like shoes or haven't admired other people's shoes before it is just that I happen to have really wide feet for a woman, apparently anyway because I can hardly ever find shoes that fit right, so in my frustration I pretty much gave up on finding cute shoes. Wrong. I have found that it is worth the extra effort that it takes to find the them when you are strolling around in cute comfortable shoes. By the way, if you happen to have wide feet Miz Mooz shoes are the sweetest shoes ever, don't believe me? You'll have to check out my brown leather Miz Mooz knee-high boots. Amazing.

3. Good makeup, totally worth it. My grandma got me some mineral makeup for my bday this year. Great stuff. I don't know what I was doing all this time changing makeup around searching for the perfect one when all this time it really was in a this wonderful powder. And don't forget to buy some good brushes to apply with! I don't have any idea why I hemmed and hawed for years (seriously) before purchasing a good set of brushes, what a great $19 purchase. Seriously, I was in agony over spending $19! Speaking of which that reminds me of a story... Once upon a time. OK, not really, the other day I went bike riding. I threw on an older set of workout clothes and was complaining to myself about how cheap clothes were because the top was faded and the shorts had practically lost all their elasticity. I was thinking something along the lines of "see, this is why I don't purchase new clothing it is such a waste" I then realized that I had owned this particular pair of workout clothes for 3 years and that I had worn them at least once every 2 weeks, usually more, for those 3 years. Seriously?!

4. Designer jeans. I used to smugly laugh at women who bought designer jeans. Now, I have to say first off that I really can't swallow paying the full amount for jeans so don't think I have become a total convert but hey what is ebay for anyway? Back to the jeans. They are amazing. I have never had jeans fit so well. Those weird gaps? Gone. And I can actually buy jeans that weren't made for teenagers! It is great. I am sold.

Oh so you thought that this was going to be a list of profound life lessons? HA! It is the little things that make life what it is and if you can't appreciate the little lessons there is no way that you will recognize, pay attention to or apply the "big" life lessons. Believe me or not on that one.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paul and Babe

During a long road trip a few days ago my mom and I took the opportunity to fill our resident Texan in on the great history of Northern MN in regards to Paul Bunyan. Now Paul Bunyan somehow is housed in the annals of history as a hero, a folklore hero but a hero none the less. Who was Paul Bunyan you may ask? He was a giant man, he lived in the frigid north, which may actually qualify him as a hero right there, he had a giant blue ox that he rescued (what a heart of gold) from a blizzard, he made flapjacks, or at least he could eat them like crazy. Paul Bunyan was a logger. He logged the north woods of MN. Northern MN used to be forested with giant white pines, amazing giants of trees. Paul Bunyan was the arm of progress providing the ever hungry consumer with the fuel it needed to to keep the engine of progress roaring. Paul Bunyan was not just a man, he was a symbol, he was loggers, he was more than that, he was the logging industry, he was progress, hard work and the name that made the cold, bitter, un-beatable Northlands cower.

One of the strangest things about this large man is that his name graces a state park, bike trails and many things natural here in MN. I have to chuckle as I read the signs boasting the name of the man who almost single handedly brought the mighty white pines crashing to their knees in shuddering surprise. Interesting that the very thing that he destroyed is now protected under his name.

With that bit of history I think I am going to wrap up this blog and go put in my vote to have an oceanic aquarium named after the CEO of BP.