I am very lucky in the friend department and am constantly blown away by this fact. My goal (constant goal) is to be more prolific and consistent in sharing their feats and accomplishments so keep looking here for more of that!
One of my my main sources of inspiration and perspiration (in that her drive and energy helps me get off my butt) is Nicole Lang Key. Editor of three blogs - Tentacles, Food Punk and Dessert of the Month Club among many other activities, she is a huge force to be reckoned with. I am obsessed with her passion for food, love, friends, music and well... her passion for passion! Over the years we have become friends we have shared or dreams and encouraged one another to take risks and be scared and challenge ourselves and each other. I am eternally grateful I met her.
Right now two of the risks and challenges she has taken are in full effect. The first needs your help right now! Among her aforementioned passions is Pimento Cheese. Yes, that pimento cheese. Some of you know it in ball form surrounded by nuts (not my fave application), others know it in a classic Southern sandwich. Well, Nicole loves it in nearly all its forms and she loves it so much she's making a documentary about it call "Pimento Cheese, Please". Right now she's raising funds through Kickstarter to get it made and if you have a few bucks to spare, please throw them her way! This film will be fun, educational and yummy.
Nicole is also a baker supreme. Having recently moved to Richmond, Virginia (known to locals as RVA) she has been baking up a storm for various restaurants and has recently opened her own bake to order business called Dollop. She is a genius with cake flavors and combinations and makes the meanest whoopie pies you've ever tasted. If you happen to be in the area (or nearby I imagine) please hit her up for any of your baking needs!
Tonight we leave for South Africa for our year+ planned trip to Durban and the World Cup. I can't believe this day is actually here. I'm going to actually try to be a travel blogger on this trip, more for my personal record than anything.
Our journey begins on Egypt Air and gives us a layover in Cairo for 12 hours. We're not sure what that time will hold for us. They don't push out this info but I understand that when you have a long layover Egypt Air will either offer you a hotel room or a trip to the pyramids! If it is true we're of course taking the pyramids. We'll sleep horizontally 20 hours later!!
I am going into the office in a few to tie up some last loose ends but am going to take my lunch break at pilates class. I'm totally anxious about sitting for so long and want to try to get some serious stretching in beforehand. I'm trying to over hydrate all day and hopefully while on the plane to try to feel as comfortable as possible. My acupuncturist recommended that whenever I'm not asleep I be up moving. Sounds unlikely but I'll try get up and move around as much as possible.
I've packed my books, my camera, my laptop (will be packed when I'm done typing), my sneakers, bathing suits, mumus, sunscreen (for use after a bit of unscreened exposure to get some vitamin d going), toiletries, beach towels, beach sheet and etc., etc..
South Africa has a fairly unique electrical outlet so I'm going to search for that at the airport there. My friend Candice told me the power blew out her hair iron even with a transformer so I'm thinking I'll just buy some hair stuff there rather than breaking what I have.
We know we have to be careful and alert and that's slightly disconcerting but shit, I've lived in Oakland and had bricks thrown at my moving car and my apartment in Brooklyn was just burgled. You can't control what could happen, we just have to try to be smart.
It's heartbreaking when you hear about anyone having cancer. It's even more heartbreaking when it's a sweet and loving friend you've known for a long time. Last week I learned my friend Natalie Cox who has been diagnosed with a horrible form of cancer called Angiosarcoma was given a bad prognosis. Western medicine has not given her the options she accepts and she is choosing to fight her cancer through alternative treatments and believe in herself and her future. If you have anything to spare and can help her in her fight, please go to her website http://www.teamnataliecox.blogspot.com/ and donate here. If anyone out there has experience with this form of cancer or recommendations for alternative treatments, please email me at molly (at) simplesocialgraces.com. Here are some words from Natalie: I found out last Monday that my cancer (angiosarcoma) has spread to my spleen and my liver. I have an enlarged spleen from the multiple tumours and many in my liver as well. I also have two now on my chest wall. I was told by my surgeons that there was nothing more they can do for me and told me to contact oncology to talk about chemo. They said this is not curable. That's what they say but I have never really believed doctors much. I am not a statistic, I am an individual. Many people have beat the odds and I intend on doing the same. I am still in good health with only a few bits of pains now and again and a bit of tiredness. Chemo will not cure me and it will not necessarily extend my life either (quality of life is more important to me) as this cancer is a weird bugger and not much of what conventional doctors can offer will help me. The plan of action is this. We are flying to San Diego to meet up with The Center for the Study of Natural Oncology Wednesday. Dee and I are having a 5 day intensive program with a specialist to discuss my cancer, make a plan of action, do blood tests, look at my diet, detox, talk about treatment options and get them organised and a whole load of other things. They are a non-profit organisation (though this is not free!) and they really know their stuff. The plan is to stop the tumours blood supply therefore stopping the cancer spreading, then to organise treatments that will support and boost my immune system all without making me sick. They believe they can help me and achieve this. It will be a lot of work and not be too cheap either as it will all be out of pocket for us but hea it's only money. This is my life and I will do what it takes to raise Dillon with my best friend Dee. I have to be there to see Dillon grow up.
I'm constantly blown away and inspired by my friends. In this way and of course in tons of others, I am EXTREMELY fortunate. One of my friends has taken the cake recently in the inspiration department. That's Dr. Eamonn Vitt.
Eamonn recently returned from a mission with Doctors Without Borders in Madi Opei, Uganda. The work this organization is doing is crucial and urgent. The work that Eamonn did in Uganda was equally crucial and urgent. His blog and photos can be found here. They speak for themselves.
Most of us are more familiar with Doctors Without Borders now, thanks to the work they're doing in Haiti. They need our help and support now more than ever. Please donate if you can.
From the National Catholic Reporter: Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian and a mother of modern feminist theology, died Jan. 3 at the age of 81. She was one of the most influential voices of the radical feminist movement through the later 20th century. Daly taught courses in theology, feminist ethics and patriarchy at Boston College for 33 years. Her first book, “The Church and the Second Sex,” published in 1968, got her fired, briefly, from her teaching position there, but as a result of support from the (then all-male) student body and the general public, she was ultimately granted tenure. The full obituary is here.
Some of her sweet quotes here:
"You guard against decay, in general, and stagnation, by moving, by continuing to move."
"There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so.
“Ever since childhood, I have been honing my skills for living the life of a radical feminist pirate and cultivating the courage to win. The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’”
“Women who are pirates in a phallocratic society are involved in a complex operation. First, it is necessary to plunder--that is, righteously rip off gems of knowledge that the patriarchs have stolen from us. Second, we must smuggle back to other women our plundered treasures. In order to invent strategies that will be big and bold enough for the next millennium, it is crucial that women share our experiences: the chances we have taken and the choices that have kept us alive. They are my pirate's battle cry and wake-up call for women who want to hear.”
I love a list and I hate filing. Part of my barrier to filing is there never seem to be the right categories or there are too many empty categories. I caught this list during a rare Today Show viewing the other day. It’s from a book called Start Over, Finish Rich which I don’t like the title of but I’m all for starting fresh and being secure. I’m doing my filing and purging today with the help of this list and thought I’d share this in case anyone else needs a little sorting help too.
Start with a 14 fresh file folders (13 if you don’t have kids). These should be:
1. ‘Tax Returns.’ This hanging folder should contain four file folders, one for each of the last three years plus one for the current year. Mark the year on each folder’s tab and put into it all of that year’s important tax documents, such as W-2 forms, 1099s, receipts to support deductions or credits, and (most important) a copy of all the tax returns you filed for that year. Generally speaking, you don’t need to keep tax records for more than three years, although some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, retirement accounts, and business or rental property — should be kept longer. I keep all my tax documents for at least seven years, but that’s an individual decision.
2. ‘Retirement Accounts.’ All of your retirement account statements go here. You should create a file for each retirement account that you and your partner have. If you have three IRAs and a 401(k) plan, then you should have a separate file for each. The most important documents to file are the quarterly statements. If you have a company retirement account, you should also definitely keep your sign-up package, because it lists the investment options you have — something you should review at least once a year. You don’t need to keep the prospectuses that the mutual-fund companies mail you each quarter.
3. ‘Social Security.’ Keep your most recent Social Security Benefits Statement in this folder. If you haven’t received a statement in the mail in the last 12 months, request one by going online to www.ssa.gov or telephoning the Social Security Administration toll-free at (800) 772–1213.
4. ‘Investment Accounts.’ This folder is for every statement you receive related to any investments you may have (mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.) that are not in a retirement account. Prepare a separate file folder for every brokerage account you maintain.
5. ‘Savings and Checking Accounts.’ Keep your monthly bank statements here, with a separate file folder for each account. Generally speaking, you don’t need to keep bank statements for more than a few months — certainly not more than a year. If you get your statement online, print out a copy and stick it in the file.
6. ‘Household Accounts.’ If you own your own home, this hanging folder should contain the following files: “House Title,” for documents such as title reports and title insurance policies. (If you can’t find this stuff, call your real estate agent or title company.) “Home Improvements,” for all your receipts for any home-improvement work you do. (Since home improvement expenses can be added to the cost basis of your house when you sell it, which means a bigger tax deduction for you, you should keep these receipts for as long as you own your house.) “Home Mortgage,” for all your mortgage statements. (Which you should check regularly, since mortgage companies often don’t credit you properly.) If you’re a renter, this folder should contain your lease, the receipt for your security deposit, and the receipts or canceled checks for your rental payments.
7. ‘Credit Card DEBT.’ Make sure you capitalize the word “DEBT” so it stands out and bothers you every time you see it. I’m not kidding. In my view, credit card debt is the biggest problem facing American consumers today. In Step 3, I will lay out a detailed plan for how you can pay down your debt as responsibly and quickly as possible. Right now simply create the folders — a separate one for each credit account you have — and keep your monthly statements in them.
8. “DOLP™ Worksheet.” DOLP stands for “Dead On Last Payment.” This is the system for paying down debt that I have taught for nearly a decade. I will explain exactly how it works in Step 3. In the meantime, make a copy of the DOLP worksheet on page 44 and put it in this file. (You can also download the worksheet from www.finishrich.com/DOLP.)
9. ‘Credit Scores.’ This folder is for your most recent credit scores, along with the credit reports on which they are based. See Step 4 for details on what these are and how to get copies.
10. ‘Other Liabilities.’ This is where you keep all your records dealing with debts other than your mortgage and your credit card accounts. These would include college loans, car loans, personal loans, etc. Each debt should have its own file folder, which should contain the loan note and your payment records.
11. ‘Insurance.’ Make separate file folders for each of your insurance policies, including health, life, automobile, homeowner’s or renter’s, disability, long-term care, and so on. Each of these folders should contain the appropriate policy and all the related payment records. If you have any employer provided insurance (e.g., medical coverage), include all the brochures and other informational material you’ve received from your company.
12. ‘Family Will or Trust.’ This should hold a copy of your most recent will or living trust, along with the business card of the attorney who drafted it.
13. ‘Children’s Accounts.’ If you have children, create a folder for all statements and other records pertaining to college savings accounts and any other investments you may have made on their behalf.
14. ‘Latte Factor®.’ Here is where you keep your Latte Factor worksheet. For some of you, this may be the most important folder you create.
THINGS YOU CAN PURGE/SHRED: • Outdated warranties • Outdated instruction manuals • Outdated wills or trusts (provided you created a new one) • Canceled insurance policies • Credit card statements for closed tax years • Canceled checks for closed tax years • Old brokerage statements for closed tax years (unless they have cost-basis information you might eventually need) • Old annual reports from stocks and/or mutual funds • Old investment newsletters (some people keep these things for years because they paid for them — let them go) Organize your financial life online