The First 100 Days

Today, Aaron and I have officially been married 100 days. It is said that the efficacy of a president can be measured by what he or she does in the first 100 days of their term. Spending time to reflect on the McKechnie Era, I’m beginning to think we can survive just about anything.

Things Aaron and I have experienced together during our first 100 days of marriage:

  • Living with Parents
  • Moving Twice from Three Different Locations
  • Unemployment
  • Dog Bleeding and Diapering
  • Starting Law School
  • Starting an Internship
  • Combining Finances
  • Dog Surgery and Recovery
  • Surviving a Hurricane
  • Living without Power
  • Living with Parents, Grandpa and Three Dogs, With and Without Power
  • The Largest Stock Market Crash Ever
  • Continued Unemployment

And during it all, all I’ve kept thinking is how lucky and blessed I am and how things can’t continue to be this good. I’ve been waiting for the ball to drop and the whole time the sky has been falling around me. I just never really noticed.

Suffragette City

“And, I think, they find her acceptably “real,” because Palin’s not intimidating, and makes it clear that she’s subordinate to a great man.

That’s the worst thing a woman can be in this world, isn’t it? Intimidating, which appears to be synonymous with competent. It’s the kiss of death, personally and politically.

But shouldn’t a woman who is prepared to be commander in chief be intimidating? Because of the intelligence, experience, talent and drive that got her there? If she isn’t, at least on some level, off-putting, if her presence inspires national commentary on breast-pumping and babysitting rather than health care reform and social security, then something is seriously wrong. If she doesn’t elicit at least some degree of awe, then something is missing.”

-Judith Warner, NYTimes

Neutrogena Related Neurosis

The time I feel most vulnerable each day is the thirty-five seconds or so I rub facewash over my entire face, including my eyelids.

I always imagine this is when things will happen. If someone breaks in and decides to rob me at gunpoint, if furniture topples onto Ruby and impales her while she attempts to break free, if the second coming of Christ begins in my very own apartment, my witnessing it will be delayed by the ten monumentally crucial seconds it takes to wash the soap from my eyelids.

The First Days of Year 23

Too much to cover, must stick to bullet points.

  • Thursday, September 11th, 2008. Three Bravenecs, Two McKechnies, One Fonville, two dachshunds, one ancient Yorkie and two cats are all packed into my parents’ house in Sugar Land.
  • Friday afternoon, nothing is happening. I am bored and depressed that all my grande birthday plans are ruined. My sister gets the brilliant idea to dig out all our leftover fireworks from the 4th of July (hoping to perk me up by appealing to my pyromania) and we visit each house on the cul-di-sac, announcing a Lauren Birthday-Ike Go Away Firework Extravaganza.
  • Bonding ensues.
  • Eventually we run out of fireworks and just talk and hang out until it starts to rain. We all head indoors. My family celebrates my birthday with a cherry pie birthday cake and presents.
  • Friday night around 11 PM we lose power.
  • Three AM. The wind is blowing, the windows are rattling. Scratch that, the whole wall is rattling. A little scary, slightly annoying, very hot and stagnant now that we’ve been four hours or so without A/C.
  • Next morning we survey the damage. A few fallen trees, lots of leaves everywhere, and some downed fences. Not bad.
  • We spend the afternoon cleaning out the fridge, cleaning up the neighborhood, visiting friends and taking pictures.
  • The curfew lifts at 2 PM, Aaron and I drive to our apartment in the Galleria/Tanglewood area to survey. I say mental prayers the whole way there, hoping we have power.
  • No power, no water. But no damage.
  • On the way back to Sugar Land, with no hope of air condition in sight, Aaron calls his family in Austin and plans for us to come stay with them.
  • We start the drive around 6 PM. The roads are clear, surprisingly empty. All the way on I-10 we pass National Guard convoys going the opposite direction. Humvees, oil tankers, trucks with generators on the back, every disaster relief supply truck you can imagine. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever been inspired and awed by what the government can do.
  • I am now in Austin at Aaron’s mom’s house. I’ve learned that part of the roof fell in at MMI so I won’t be going back to my internship Monday (probably longer). So even though I’ve worked a grand total of three days, I am back on vacation. Sort of. I must admit it is strange and unsettling that only three hours away from such hell it is business as normal. While we were all stuck in the mire, they were enjoying the sun. Stores were open, power was on, life continued as normal. I’m amazed at how small and closed off the world can become when you lose power and lose communication. Lose your defenses.
  • I only hope and pray the recovery effort is swift. People are funny. People have already begun to go a little crazy after just 48 hours and it scares me to think what mentality people may resort to when their needs (or at least complaints) are not met.

So Much for Sambuca

I’ve decided not to complain more about the fact that hurricane Ike is ruining my birthday (which he is) and instead take this moment to share a list of others who have had to endure the misfortune of a September 12th birthday.

Jason Statham
Paul Walker
Ben Folds
Benjamin McKenzie (yes from the OC)
Yao Ming
American Idols:
Jennifer Hudson
Carly Smithson
Ruben Studard
Fight on, warriors of the 12th. Maybe one day our special day won’t be overshadowed by horrific American tragedies or natural disasters.

***

While researching my birthday and trying to use Wikipedia to build a case that September 12 and the days surrounding it are somehow cursed, I came across a different yet equally pivotal discovery:

Ben Folds looks a whole lot like my dad. And like Dana Carvey. Oddly, my dad doesn’t really look anything like Carvey. Ben Folds must therefor be the missing link in some sort of nerd-man evolution.


Hope for the Ball and Chain

Things have been too good. I’ve decided this blog would be much more interesting if I started to dish out newlywed drama. This is supposed to be a blog about the treachery and chaos of the first year of all things new and stressful. I personally would like to read about other people’s dirt, and I’m sure people would like to read about mine.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any good morsels of meanness to dispense. The truth is (and I am as surprised by this as anyone) we are really getting along. What little incidents there are between me and my new life-long cellmate are barely worth mentioning. And if they are, I’m sure as hell not gonna dredge it back up after the fact, once it has been resolved. So I guess unless I am actually blogging the incident as it is happening (which who knows, it could happen) you’re probably not gonna hear about it here.
I hope these are famous last words, or else I am going to have to come up with a new theme for my blog. We could all get a little nauseated from love this sweet.

Yes, I Bought This


There are times when I don’t feel like a grown-up at all. Times when I feel like we are still playing house and everything is fun and games. Times when I sit on the couch and watch Aaron stand in front of the open refrigerator door, jumping and squeeling and claiming I am the most awesome person ever.

I love “us”.

And Vince Young, him too.

Four Year Lease on Life

I’m starting to believe you simply can’t rely on one man for everything.

at least not politically anyway.
I don’t pretend to know anything about politics, but I like to spend a lot of time listening to people who do, and people that think they do. (Is there really a difference among them?) And as I listen to their passion rise, their voices tighten and accelerate, I prod them further. I talk them in circles. Agitation is the key to discovery.
I’m beginning to believe the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats is  that Republicans still believe you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and in doing so achieve the American dream. Democrats believe anyone who has undergone hard times in the pursuit should at least deserve equal effort from the government on their behalf.  But is the role of government to ensure the American dream or merely provide an environment for it?
What really IS the American dream?
Should we commit to four years of feel-good communistic ideals or rugged individualistic crusades?
More and more I’ve come to believe that the problems I wish to be addressed most are ones neither McCain nor Obama can personally solve. Speaking specifically on education with my dad, we discussed my grandmother’s experiences over her thirty year teaching career in the Pasadena school district. He talked about how revered her role used to be in the community, how everyone knew Mrs. Bravenec and would stop her in the supermarket to make sure their son or daughter was being good for her in class. By the end of her teaching career, she had such sad cases as this little girl in her fourth grade class that would come to school smelling like smoke because her mom would make her smoke every morning so she wouldn’t be hungry and she wouldn’t have to make her breakfast or lunch. 
This is America today. Where have the values gone? Where is the personal accountability? I want an improved education system and an ideal world where parents are parents who love and support their children, but this is not a red or blue issue. What can the government do to make a mom stand up and be a mom?
We can’t exactly “hire” the Republicans to solve the problem- whitewash over everything with “God said so” and claim the right to an abortion and gay marriage are the undoing of the American family. I want the Democrats to step in and sort out church and state, once and for all. But at the same time, I don’t want them dolling out my potential earnings (if I ever find a job in this *snicker* Bush catastrophe of an economy) to people that utterly refuse to try that bootstrap technique. Throwing government money at the problem should not be our only solution to social problems and cycles of the economy.
How can I decide when I feel like I must throw out some values for the political attainment of others? How can I decide when I don’t know whether to be excited or dismayed over the coming election? I don’t think I am even disappointed in Obama or McCain, I am disappointed in the American people for looking to the government to solve all of the things they were too lazy or overwhelmed to solve themselves.
Ultimately, everyone is going to have to choose how to define that dream and actively pursue it for the next four years.
Because that’s all that really counts. Individuals every day trying to improve themselves, their world, and the lives of others. 
Personal accountability is a bitch, America. Are you ready?