Dataclysm: How Do We Choose Our Relationships?

This post was inspired by Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, where he analyzes online data to find out that people who prefer beer are more likely to have sex on a first date. Join From Left to Write on October 9th as we discuss Dataclysm. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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I will be honest, I haven’t quite finished this book yet, it is pretty fascinating, even for someone who has never used an online dating website. I think one of the themes that stood out is why we choose our partners, and for the sake of this post, and friends?

Do we choose based on looks, first impressions, etc? I think sometimes that we make our decisions based on what we’ve seen during our lifetime. Do you hang out with a group of people who constantly parties? Maybe that is what you are into, but would you naturally make that decision?

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For me, my life growing up wasn’t super structured, there was a lot of uncertainty, and I can see that in the relationships of my former friends and family. I craved the structure, someone who was comfortable with being settled and not having this really fast-paced lifestyle. To me this is not boring, this is real life.

Sure, we do exciting things and have taken fun trips, but I love the fact that Nick and I can sit at home and watch a movie and have fun. My husband is one of the most sensitive and responsible people I know. For a lot of people that translates to boring, but not for me. I grew up in a chaotic lifestyle, and this is exactly the type of life I want to raise my child in.

I also have chosen my friends to be similar, I don’t like having people who are unreliable in my life, if I can help it. It’s taken quite a few of my adult years to cut out the people who aren’t reliable or supportive. This doesn’t mean that my friends have to be in the same situation as me. Some of these friends are single and have yet to had children, and yet I am closer to them than I was with some friends that are married with children. Now, even though the friends circle is a bit smaller, I have a group of friends that I know I can count on 100%, no matter what the situation is.

Did you choose a partner with a childhood similar to yours or completely different? What about friends, do you keep all your old friends around even if your views aren’t the same?

Thrive: What do you want your Eulogy to say?

This post was inspired by Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington who encourages everyone to sleep their way to the top. Join From Left to Write on May 1 we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Thrive-From-Left-to-Write-Book-Club-Banner-2I’ll be honest, I loved the idea of this book and there was tons of great info and tips, but it was also extremely heavy on the data. While I understand it is important, I think it took away from the whole idea of the book, so I did end up skimming some sections, especially data that I had read before.

One of my favorite lines from the book was “Eulogies aren’t resumes”. I think this hit close to him because of what has been going on in our personal lives but it is something that everyone should remember.

When someone passes away, no one talks about the night the closed a big deal with a company, or the time that they stayed up all night working on a huge project. They talk about the love you shared, your friendship and kindness, the times that you made them laugh.

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Not the most attractive photo, but I will always remember this night (even now – almost 9 years later), even if he passed away months after this was taken.

There will always be petty arguments and fights and disagreements, but I think all relationships can make it through those moments if they want to. We also have to be willing to let go of relationships that are long over. Whether it be because you just naturally drifted apart, or because someone did something extremely hurtful.

Then there are those relationships that you need and want to put work into. I am not just talking about marriages. Relationships with family members and with friends.If we are being honest, we will not always agree with our friends, and there might be moments when their words hurt us. Both parties have to be willing to put in the effort to sort through those disagreements and hurt. Often times, coming out on the other side makes the relationship stronger.

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I have dealt with a lot of loss in my life, and I am glad have memories with those people who were full of love and laughter.

I am also grateful that my husband knows that the value of the dollar is important, but that he will never choose his work over his family, and I know that I am very lucky that he is like that.

What do you think? Do you believe your relationships are more important than your work?

 

A Well-tempered Heart: Sibling relationships

I am grateful of the opportunity I have to read some amazing books through my relationship with From Left to Write. If this is your first time stopping by, our book reviews aren’t traditional reviews but more of starting points for a blog post, we take a theme or topic and write about it. This months books were no different, I devoured them both already. The first book was A Well-tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

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I didn’t read the first book in this series, and I do not think you need to in order to read this book. I loved it, but I really disliked the ending, it just felt so abrupt. A theme that really touched me was the relationship between Julia and U Ba.

I have two half sisters that I don’t have a relationship with, much like Julia and her brother. But I have an amazing relationship with my sister Caitlin.

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I think a huge factor on why we are so close is the fact that we are only 13 months apart. We pretty much went through everything together. We were and still are each others best friends. We tell each other everything. (I think this is a major reason as to why it hurts me so much to not be able to give B a sibling close in age) and we don’t judge each other.

We had the same circle of friends growing up, we eventually ended up in colleges in the same city, we worked the same miserable part-time jobs and the same fun part-time jobs. We ended up at the same full-time job post-college, Nick was confused about how we could work together all day and then spend an hour or so on the phone together almost every night. We both quit that job and went to graduate school, she went to New Orleans, and I stayed in Boston. That was the hard part, we’d never been that far apart. Up until then I’d never not been able to call her and say I need you, and she would be here in under an hour.

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From our time in San Francisco

 

No words could ever do justice to relationship we have. It sure has had its downs, but after awhile we figured out our groove. Our relationship is a bond that not many can understand, I feel her pain when she is going through a tough time. She lets me cry on the phone for as long as I need when I go through something difficult. When I was pregnant with B she took one train trip from Philly for what was sure to be his birth, it wasn’t, she went back to Philly for an exam, and then turned around again because I had him.

I understand a sibling relationship where it doesn’t work, you don’t click, you never will, and that sucks. But there is nothing like the love of a sibling, the person who for most of your life has seen your ups and downs, your worst moments and your best. I can’t tell you how many times in high school we would come out of our respective rooms and essentially be wearing the exact same outfit. This still happens.

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I know that some friendships end without cause or reasons and that is hard. I don’t know where or who I’d be without her, and I am sure glad I don’t have to think about it.

Do you have great relationships with your siblings?

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

This post was inspired by Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey written by The Countess of Carnarvon. Learn more about the family who lived in Highclere Castle, where the popular British series Downton Abbey is filmed. Join From Left to Write on December 17 we discuss Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

The winter time is my absolute favorite time to read books. A fire in the fireplace, the lights on the Christmas Tree twinkling, a blanket and a good book. Sounds pretty perfect to me. December’s book for From Left to Write is one that I am sure many of you would love to read, history buff or not.

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I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t seen a single episode or moment of Downton Abbey, I would love to, but honestly I just don’t have time to watch any other shows. I do love history and will jump at any chance to read a book with some sort of historical significance. Since I can’t relate the book and the show I decided to pull from a part of the book I can relate too. Catherine was by no means poor or anti-social, but the changes to her life once she married Porchey were incredible.

I grew up in what I call a very “American” life. My parents backgrounds were pretty normal, spanish, italian and irish. We had a modest house and cars. I grew up in Vermont, but my relatives were all pretty much in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California.

Then I met Nick, who is very Greek with many relatives still in Greece. Many of his family members speak only Greek, and the have many different traditions that I never even knew about.

I am still learning, even after 5+ years of marriage, on etiquette, the different food specialities, and I can barely speak the language, let alone understand it. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

There are some traditions in his family that I love. For Christmas, all the stocking items are from Santa, this includes some small and large items. All the presents under the tree are from friends and family. Santa was something I have struggled with since having B. This is the first year that he really understands what is going on. I want him to believe in the magic, but I also want him to know that Santa isn’t the be all end all magical man who gives you what you ask for no matter what. I also want him to know that family and friends love him and care about him enough to pick out a gift that he will love.

In my family almost all presents were from Santa, and I will say it was confusing when even the gifts at my grandmother’s house were also from Santa.

In my family, two Christmas traditions I love are Christmas Pj’s opened and worn on Christmas eve. And every year we would all get ornaments that were all similar but individualized. I love these special touches, and who doesn’t love new comfy pi’s?

I love the way we have blended our families traditions, and I am sure as B gets older other things will have to be blended and changed, but Nick and I respect each other’s traditions and we will always make it work.

What are your family holiday traditions? How did they change when you got married?

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: The relationship between Father and Son

I know my last Studio Poise post should be up today, but my month doesn’t end until Saturday, so I am saving that post for next week!

In case you didn’t know, in my pre-child life I was a teacher, more specifically I was a history teacher. The areas I loved to teach (and to continue to learn more about) are any War era, the 60’s & 70’s, the Cold War era. When I got the opportunity, via From Left to Write, to read and review The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy, I was ecstatic!

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When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.

 

I haven’t finished the book yet (thank you UPS snafu) but I have read the majority of it. There are many different topics that come to mind when reading this, but the one I want to touch on is the relationship between a father and a son. I didn’t have any brothers, so I didn’t really encounter how this relationship could unfold on a day-to-day basis. I did however see the adult relationship between my dad and grandfather and between my uncles and their fathers.

For the most part these relationships were still “hard” for lack of a better word. The father(era) were stoic and sometimes cold to the son, and it was not even close to a relationship I had with either of my grandfathers. This is something I can see now, with some of the father son relationships that are in my life.

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I do hope this is a trend that is ending. I know that Nick and B have a very relaxed and fart-joke filled relationship. Nick is definitely the fun parent, I am the rule maker and enforcer ha. B has learned to love music and instruments just like his dad, and I am sure their bond will only get stronger as B gets older.

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While all parent-child relationships are important, I think it is okay to let our sons know that men can have healthy relationships with other people, men and women. By having an open and communicative relationship with his father, I only hope that B continues to have wonderful relationships and role models with the men in his life.

What do you think? Do father/son relationships seem cold, do you think that is changing?

Five Years!

Don’t forget my one true shoe love is in stores today. I suggest you hustle to your nearest retailer then have a blissful run home!

I can’t believe it has been 5 years since Nick and I were married. It seriously has felt like it was forever ago and also like it was yesterday. Crazy how that happens. We’ve had an apartment, bought a condo, bought a house, sold our condo and have had an amazing little boy. Life is beautiful and I am so happy to share this journey with Nick. I didn’t have a blog when Nick and I got married so I figured I would share a few pictures of our wonderful day.

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The Groomsmen & Nick

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THe Bridesmaids & I

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My sister, sister-in-law, and good friend. These girls I love to death!

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In the limo on the way to the church, this is one of my favorite photos and those earrings were lent to me from our jeweler, amazing.

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Dad & I. I was so incredibly nervous, not to get married, but to be the center of attention, and my dad was trying to remain composed.

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I love this moment between Nick and his Papou (grandfather).

To give some background, we got married in a Greek Orthodox church. The ceremony consists of two parts which are distinct and separate from each other: The service of the Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage. Everything in the ceremony has a special meaning and significance, especially the repetition of each act three times to symbolize and to invoke the mystical presence of the Holy Trinity.

The highlight during the service of the Betrothal is the exchanging of the rings. The priest blesses the rings. The koumbara (religious sponsor) then exchanges the rings three times. The exchange signifies that in married life, the weakness of one partner will be compensated by the strength of the other, the imperfections of one, by the perfection of the other. By themselves, the newly betrothed are incomplete, but together they are made perfect. The rite of the betrothal ends with the priest praying for betrothal of mutual promise, officially given before the church, may prove in true faith, concord and love.

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The Wedding begins as the white candles are handed to The Bride and The Groom. These candles symbolize their spiritual willingness to receive Christ.

The crowning is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The wedding crowns (stefana) are joined by a ribbon which again symbolizes the unity of the couple and the presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice and integrity. The priest takes the two crowns and blesses The Bride and The Groom. The Koumbara then steps behind The Bride and The Groom and interchanges the crowns three times as a witness to the sealing of the union.

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The common cup, the cup is denoting the mutual sharing of joy and sorrow, the token of a life of harmony. The drinking of wine from the common cup serves to impress upon the couple that from that moment on they will share everything in life, joys, as well as sorrows, and that they are to “bear one another’s burdens.” Their joys will be doubled and their sorrows halved because they will be shared.

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Parents & Grandparents

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The ceremonial walk. The priest then leads The Bride and The Groom in a circle around the table on which are placed the Gospel and the Cross. The Bride and The Groom are taking their first steps as a married couple, and the church, in the person of the priest, leads them in the way they must walk.

You are never announced as man and wife. The bride and groom kiss but this is when you are married. It is obviously different from a traditional Catholic marriage ceremony.

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Coming out of the church

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Nick’s sister was our Koumbara and my maid of honor, and we had a bit of an emotional moment following her speech. They have such a wonderful relationship, I can only hope the same for my children.

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Nick’s best man was ready to give us some laughs! Another wonderful speech.

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My sister and I, love her.

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This photo is amazing and currently hanging in our living room. Bride and Groom, Maid of Honor and Best Man.

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First Greek dance of the night.

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Greek Dancing

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Father/Daughter Dance

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Mother/Son Dance

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Nick and his Dad play a lot of gigs with their Greek band, and they both ended up sitting with our band and played during the wedding.

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My man has moves. Nick is dancing, the money on the floor is a traditional Greek thing, people throw money during special dances etc… some couples take the money, some give it as tips to the band. We chose to do the latter.

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Nick, his sister and I dancing.

I had such an amazing wedding, so happy to be here 5 years later. Here’s to 95 more, I love you.

Have you ever been to a Greek wedding? What was your favorite part?

how do you mourn a lost relationship?

Forgive me today, My mind is all over the place, and therefore my words are too. Typically I don’t read blogs that are all happy all the time. I also don’t like being a downer or complainer, but sometimes our emotions get the best of us. Let me also preface this with saying that friend relationships are completely different than romantic relationships, and this isn’t geared toward that at all