Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Elephant Escapes From Zoo- Coffee Blamed

I've been digging through my archives from my old, now defunct blog- the blog I kept while I was living in Bangladesh.  Some of it's pretty funny, some of it is halfway decent, some of it is worth reposting.  Oh, hey, like this one: 

Did you see this story on NPR?  Yes I just assumed you listen/read/follow NPR, all the cool kids do after all.
Just in case you missed it, I’ll summarize:  Basically a 2.5 ton elephant named Baby escaped from a traveling circus in Ireland and wandered over to a coffee shop. No one was hurt or anything like that. In fact the report says that the circus employees had Baby back ‘within minutes’.

My friend Li drew my attention to the story and the following facebook conversation/commenting occurred:

Li: And that’s why I don’t drink coffee Renee

Me: Baby just wanted a cup of coffee for crying out loud.  Everyone knows the circus has terrible coffee.

Me: Also, No One puts baby in a corner, Especially if Baby weighs 2.5 tons.

Me: And finally, this article made you not want to drink coffee, but you’re still ok with going to Ireland? I’m not sure that makes any sense.  Do what I do and say yes to Coffee AND Ireland, Elephants Be Damned!

Me: Last one I swear, All the coffee I drink means I could probably outrun the elephant, your decaffeinated ass is getting left behind.

Li: Just one question, how many cups of coffee have you had?

Me: I haven’t seen any elephants if that’s what you’re asking.

Li: Just Checking.

I submit this as proof that I am indeed funny in real life.  And by real life, I of course mean Facebook.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ramadan Repost

This post was originally published on the Equals Record in July 2012. 

Ramadan started last week. Around the world, Muslims are fasting, allowing nothing to pass their lips from sunrise to sunset. My husband is one of them.
At seven am the alarm goes off, often my husband is already awake, being one of those people with an annoyingly accurate internal clock.  He’s out the door for work before seven thirty.  He doesn’t have a cup of coffee or a granola bar for breakfast and he doesn’t kiss me goodbye before he leaves.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which means it gradually moves throughout the year. The first year my husband and I were dating, Eid, the celebration at the end of Ramadan, happened right around Thanksgiving.  The fact that holy month moves around the calendar combined with fasting times that are based on sunrise and sunset means fasting in July is different than fasting in November.
By the time my husband comes home at five, the hunger is present, but there’s still three and a half hours to go.  As the clock ticks towards 8:30, my husband starts preparing his meal.  He’s decided to celebrate the season by cooking Kitchari, a rice+lentil combination the color of scrambled eggs.  He’s also made Chicken Curry so spicy the fumes made my eyes water.
I stand in the kitchen, watching the digital readout on the microwave flip numbers as he arranges his plate and glass at the table.  I call out the time. 8:27.  My husband breaks his fast with a sip of water.  The first thing he has tasted all day.  Before he moves on to the spicy food, I lean in for a kiss (or three). Our first kiss of the day.  Finally, he’ll turn to his plate.
I’ve already eaten. Since I’m not fasting, I eat my dinner earlier in the evening.  I’ve never been a big believer in the old absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I think my heart is just as fond no matter the distance. But as I walk into the other room, I can’t help but think about the power of abstaining. It’s like pressing the reset switch.  My kiss at 8:30 in the evening seems to have more meaning, more something because I’ve waited for it.  It is not second nature or ordinary.  It is a treat, something infinitely special. I am reminded to be appreciative and grateful for all the small blessings in my life. The things that seem so ordinary that I’ve taken them for granted.  A nice place to live, food on the table, kisses from my husband.
Ramadan is less than a week old, but I’m already feeling the impact.  I’m going to appreciate the fact that I get to kiss my husband every single day rather than mistake it for ‘everyday’.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Unknown Strength

This week on the Equals Record

There are many different kinds of strength.  There’s the kind of strength that lets you lift barbells.  The strength that leads you to serve or work to protect others.  There’s a kind of strength that makes you a good parent.  There’s strength of character, of conviction.  There’s a kind of strength that lets you open jars of salsa or move really heavy boxes of books. I’m pretty good at those last two.  And then there is the strength that you never knew you had.  That hidden measure that stays wrapped up in a ball, deep down in your soul, and explodes upward and outward when things get dark.
It’s the strength that leads people to face a tough diagnosis with their chins up and their shoulders back.  It turns people into fighters seemingly overnight.  It’s that strength that brings parents and spouses to sit calmly in waiting rooms instead of curling into a ball in the corner.  It’s powerful enough to block the “why me” and replace it with a deeper sense of wisdom.  You can’t flex or tone it, you can’t prepare it. It’s so hidden we don’t even know it exists until it’s required. Then it seems to spring out and flow through every fiber of the being until it’s so natural, such a part of a person’s soul, that no one can remember a time it wasn’t there.
I know that kind of strength exists because I’ve seen it.  I’ve witnessed someone experiencing something that I think would make a mere mortal just fall down and cry.  I’ve seen that person talk about gratitude and joy instead of sickness or pity.  I don’t understand that volume of strength.  And so I’ve thought about it; wondered about it; and now written about it.  And I still don’t understand.  But that’s ok, there are things we aren’t meant to understand.  It’s enough to know it exists, that sometimes, a person can do more than you thought possible, that the people you love can be even more incredible than you knew.  We’re never really alone in the dark; I don’t understand it, but I believe each person has a ball of hidden strength, deep down in their soul.  Maybe you’ll never need to use it, maybe it will just sit there, but just in case, we can know it’s there.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Holy crap internets. I think i might be becoming a grown up.  

I was feeling pretty good about maintaining my youthful don’t-give-a-shit charm even in the face of a milestone birthday. But today.....things changed. 

 It seems someone alerted the press that I turned 30 this summer b/c all the magazines that show up in my mailbox have had these lists of things you should do by certain ages.  

And I was feeling pretty good b/c I don’t have any of that stuff.  And I like it that way.

5 year plan?
Life Insurance?
Skin Care Regimen?

But then....then shit got real.  All of the sudden...out of the blue... on an ordinary Saturday Morning.... I decided my windows needed curtains.



I have blinds already.  So it’s not a privacy thing.  Peeps can’t see in or play their spy games.  Uhuh.  Not in my house.  So there’s no NEED for curtains.

Some creepy domestic instinct must have been lying in wait.  Just biding it’s time until I let down my guard.




So now i’m on the internet looking at valances and curtain rods and cafe curtains etc etc etc.  AND WONDERING WHAT MATCHES MY COUCH.  

It’s madness friends.
Utter and complete madness

I can only hope ordering these draperies of adulthood from amazon with two day prime shipping will calm the domestic beast.  Otherwise things could get nasty.  I could decide we need placemats.  or cloth napkins.  or GASP  a dining table.

And that's seriously going to cut into my wine and shoe budget.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

This week on the Equals Record


In 2010 Marina Ambrovonic had a retrospective show at MoMa, as part of the retrospective she performed a new piece: The Artist is Present.  I don’t know why I was unaware of this show while it was occurring, but I only recently heard about it.  The Artist is Present invited attendees to sit across from Marina in the gallery and share a moment of silence.  Just sitting in silence.  The piece spawned facebook groups and blogs devoted to photos of the participants.  People smiled, people cried, people looked confused.  Marina was serene.  She was present.  It’s amazing and beautiful even to read about.
I wrote my final paper in my Modern Art class on one of Marina’s performance pieces.  I can’t honestly remember which one anymore, it was second semester of my senior year and I was more focused on my thesis than any other papers. But I remember parts of the research; I remember reading about her previous pieces, notably walking across the Great Wall of China to break up with her longtime boyfriend.  Marina and Ulay were/are both artists, they performed and worked together during the 70s and by all accounts were a passionate pair. When the relationship was no longer working, they decided to set off on a journey: they each started at a different end of The Great Wall and started walking.  In the middle the met, hugged, and said goodbye. The second half of the walk was the start of the next Journey.  After that moment in the middle of China, the said goodbye and didn’t make contact with the other again.  Until Marina’s retrospective, when Ulay came to participate in The Artist is Present.

Continue Reading Here


I'm 30 now.  Like Whoa.  Pretty sure that's grown up time.  But I live to bite my thumb at the imaginary rules telling me what I can and can't, or should and shouldn't do.  So there.
I celebrated my birthday in true Renee style:

There was glitter, 

There was Champagne, 

There was more Champagne, 

There was an extravagant gift from my husband.

All in all, it was fabulous. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A letter to my husband

Marriage is about compromise, give and take, and respect for each other.  With that in mind, I would like to offer up this, open letter to my husband:

Dear Man I Married,
     I adore you.  I hope I make that clear on a regular basis.  And I'll support you in anything you do.  But you better have been kidding about getting those Crocs or we.are.OVER. I took you for better or worse, but plastic footwear is a whole other level.  And it was NOT covered in our wedding vows.
     I offer up no complaint for any of your other footwear, I even compromised on the boat shoes...even though I don't expect you to actually BE on a boat anytime soon. And that one time I met those really horrible people who were all wearing matching boat shoes.. But I can get over that.
     I will not get over crocs.  Not.Ever. Unless you are gardening or dealing with bio-hazardous materials you have no reason for plastic footwear.  NONE.  Which is why I'm 99% sure you're kidding.  But then I never expected you to bring me strawberry ice cream either.  That 1% is keeping me awake at night.  (That and that horrible joke you told about spiders the other day.) The minuscule chance that the next time I open the door for the UPS man, he's going to hand me a box stamped with CAUTION: Plastic shoes contained within. CONSULT a marriage counselor at once.
      In closing, I'd like to remind you that a marriage, like any good relationship, is based on respect, and I DO not respect crocs. I'd also like to remind you that I don't root for the Red Sox.
 Yours in wedded bliss