Monday, July 30, 2012

I Loved College!

So, the other night, I saw Asher Roth on a show and in honor of his song, "I Love College", I would like to write about why I loved college. All six years of it. There are definitely lines in his song that I can relate to, but I forego putting my reasons for loving college into a song.

Please note the long hair & earrings. EARRINGS! -DanaK

1. Freedom. Now it's not like I didn't have freedom in high school but you have so much more in college. Come and go as you please. Stay out until all hours. Option to skip class.

2. Fraternity Life. Prior to college I made fun of fraternities. And I do say fraternities and not frat. You don't call your country a get the idea. In fact, I vividly remember driving by my future fraternity when I arrived on campus and mocking them. Anyways, joining the fraternity was one of the best decisions of my life. I made terrific friends, learned to appreciate the views of others, and always had someone to share a beer with. Of course, there were parties and socials but I'll get to that.

3. Parties, socials, and mixers. I was not a partier in high school and, in fact, didn't drink until I got to college. I didn't always drink in college, though, even at some parties, and they were still awesome. As a popular fraternity with many members, we had a large social budget which meant numerous and large parties. We had awesome bands, awesome themes, and an awesome time. Social events with sororities were fun, also.

Long hair, a necklace, and EARRINGS! - DanaK

4. College football games. There is no better way to spend a Saturday. Case closed.

5. Pre-gaming for college football games. There is no better way to spend a Saturday morning before a college football game. It didn't matter how late I was up on Friday night, come 8am Saturday morning I would be up, dressed in the most ridiculous outfit I could find, and drinking screwdrivers while dancing to loud music. It was also fun to watch some of the other guys walk over to sororities buck naked and see the look on the girls' faces when they answered the door.

6. Road Trips. Memorable times with good friends. Trips to Notre Dame, New Orleans, and every city along A1A in Florida including West Palm, Miami, and Key West. Nothing like sleeping in parking lots and bathing in the ocean.

Yes. That's a crab. And a goatee. Shenanigans. -DanaK

7. No responsibility. Ok there was some responsibility to be had but it was nothing compared to what it's like to be a grown-up.

There are plenty more reasons I loved college but this blog has to end at some point. Would I go back to college? Of course, but I don't think it would be as fun. That and I would be that creepy older guy everyone talks about...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Can I Love LGBTs & Chick-Fil-A?

I've been doing some soul searching after reading comments, posts, & rants from friends & acquaintances on both sides of the political issue.

I don't love Dan Cathy and his multi-million dollar support for organizations that actively work to deny civil rights to a minority group in this country. I don't love that Dan Cathy supports organizations that attempt to "turn" gays & lesbians straight.

For what it's worth, whenever someone says "traditional marriage," I immediately think about sister wives, not legally owning property, & not being allowed in public without a male escort. I also think about how "traditional marriages" allowed men to beat their wives if they felt it was necessary. Personally, I don't want anything to do with a traditional marriage but I guess some people are into that lifestyle.

On the flipside, I do like what I have seen firsthand of local Chick-Fil-As supporting community activities, youth programs (secular & religious), local scholarships, etc. I've never known of discriminatory hiring practices (not saying it hasn't happened ever) or of Chick-Fil-A refusing to serve someone because of their sexual orientation.

I also don't participate in boycotts. Chick-Fil-A isn't the first business (or STATE) I've been encouraged to boycott because of beliefs I disagree with. I didn't boycott them, either. Boycotts are not how I engage my time to foment change. Partly because I don't see them as being effective with extremely large corporations and partly because I'm lazy. For example, I'd love to boycott all things Monsanto but I don't feel like researching every single company Monsanto dirties.

When I want to see change, I take action in other ways. Physically. I have traveled to state capitals to protest issues. I have involved myself with letter writing campaigns to representatives. I have spoken out publicly with the news media (in high school even!) and now through social media forums that are readily available to anyone with a computer or a smart phone. I have stomped the pavement with like minded individuals and I never miss an election.

Enough justification

If not participating in a boycott against Chick-Fil-A sullies your opinion of me, I'm sorry. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about civil rights & equality. If this one boycott negates every thing else I do & have done, that says more about you than it does about me. A lot of people know that this isn't the first popular boycott that I haven't participated in and I can guarantee it won't be the last.

As for everyone protesting Dan Cathy & the organizations he supports by participating in this boycott, good luck. I mean that in all sincerity. I truly believe our nation is on the cusp of granting civil rights to all. If this boycott merely helps more people get involved in the discussion of civil rights versus personal religious beliefs, it will be a success on at least one level.

In the meantime, am I going to continue shouting from the rooftops my love for the banana pudding milkshake? No. I'll shut up about that. I'll eat my milkshake in silence. Possibly while wearing a PRIDE shirt.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out of the blue...

I've been "home" in Georgia for about a week. Klaw and I have had a blast enjoying the beaches and visiting with friends. My beautiful Nana turned 90 and had a wonderful celebration at the church.

I was visiting my "bonus" Mama, the mother of my friend, Jessica. She was at the hospital with her own mother who was undergoing a procedure, so I stopped by to see them both.

Later this summer, my bonus Mama is getting married to a wonderful man who has re-entered her life and I haven't seen her this happy in a long time. While we were visiting, we spent a lot if time discussing the upcoming wedding and various things that have been going on in Brunswick.

In walked a tech who was going to start the transfusion to my bonus Nana (not my 90 year old Nana, I know this can get confusing). He was super friendly and chatty and he looked at me then Mama Butts and innocently asked if I was her daughter.

Mama Butts and I both got quiet. I told him that I wasn't her daughter but he had no idea what a compliment he had just given me. While Mama B explained that she lost Jessica many years ago and my friendship with her, the tears just started falling. From me.

It hits me hard sometimes and rarely when I expect it. There is so much joy in my life, in Mama B's life, right now.

So much joy I wish I could share with Jessica.

I visited her tomb on Tuesday after leaving the hospital. I had to. I had to touch something. I needed to physically connect with something that will forever record her life here. I needed grounding.

I do believe in a spiritual life after our corporeal bodies are spent. I do believe that Jessica's spirit, her essence, will be with us at her Mama's wedding.

I just wish I could hug her.

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 International Babywearing Conference

Last week, I saw that one of my friends here in Hampton Roads was making a day trip up to DC for the free public day at the 2012 International Babywearing Conference.

Naturally, I told her we should carpool. Jilliane somehow managed to convince her husband & four kids that they would have more fun at home instead of at a conference in DC and our roadtrip was in motion.

It's rare that I find someone as silly as I am...

Anyone who watches television probably knows that our region got ROCKED by storms over the past few days.  The drive up to & in DC was not as uneventful as we would have liked due to fallen trees & power lines. Jilliane was impressed with my mad driving skills.

this tree was just a few blocks from the conference location
I was pretty excited to finally meet Amy & Tim of NuzzleMe Creations in person. I am a huge fan and own two of their Ultimate Man/Mama Carriers, one standard & one stay-cool carrier. Yep, I sound like a commercial and I don't care. I haven't received anything free or discounted from NuzzleMe Creations, I just like their products. Bonus: TIM is the man behind the Ultimate Man/Mama Carrier. You have to appreciate a guy who can rock a sewing machine like it's his job.

Wait, it is...

Me, Tim, Amy, & Jilliane - NuzzleMe Creations
Jilliane & I were excited to meet Amy & Tim, which should be obvious by our cheesy grins. However, nothing could have prepared me for Jilliane turning into a total fangirl at the Didymos/Birdie's Room table.

Barbara from Birdie's Room is great
 FYI - I want to be like Barbara from Birdie's Room when I grow up. She's so incredibly nice and, dammit, the woman is gorgeous. She's also trying to help me fine the only wrap I ever sold and regretted, Didymos Ellipsen Primavera.

Anna, Jillliane, & Tina of Didymos

Didymos is a wrap company based in Germany. They produce some wonderful quality wraps for babywearing in a variety of patterns, styles, & colors and are well known and well regarded in the babywearing community. Anna & Tina were super nice and it was really neat being able to meet them in person, too. They had three yet to be released wraps available for purchase and a ton of other wraps at discounted prices. I was so tempted but had to remind myself that I hardly ever wear Klaw anymore and I can't really justify it, regardless of how beautiful it is. (Check out the skirt & dress...they are made from Didymos wraps!)

Jilliane & I won a few things in a raffle the conference was hosting (we bought 35 tickets). I won two pairs of Beco baby socks and a Britax carrier . I was going to burn it but they did include a seat extender to make it more ergonomically correct, so I'll probably sell it on ebay or craigslist.

We also attended a Toddlerwearing 101 class that was offered but it was not great. The instructor was not familiar with wrapping toddlers and wasn't able to offer any suggestions. Jilliane ended up teaching different carries to the other parents in the room. I even learned a tip from her that will help me wrap Klaw more quickly.

All in all, it was a great day. It is rare to find someone who can enjoy ~8 hours in the car with me in crappy traffic and still like me when the day is over. I only scared Jilliane a couple of times and Jilliane totally won a dance-off on I-64 with some twenty year olds, so she is completely awesome in my book.

HA! I almost forgot the true highlight of the day - Jilliane & I were mistaken for college students at Catholic University. This doesn't happen very often, so I am going to revel in it for quite some time.

I know some of y'all probably think a babywearing conference is kind of odd. Some of y'all even thought a blogging conference was kind of odd when I went to Blissdom. You'd think some of the other conferences I've attended are even more odd!

Have you ever attended or wanted to attend a niche conference? What was it? Did you enjoy it? If you could create a niche conference, what would you like to see happen?

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