In Case You Haven’t Heard: The Civil Wars.

I don’t know, but I can’t get enough of them lately. This song in particular is beautiful and sad and lovely. I think most of us have felt like this at some point in our lives, about someone we love. So, make some tea, put on some warm socks, and check out The Civil Wars. It’s just that kind of music.

Apple-pickin’ fools.

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We had beautiful weather last weekend, so Andy and I decided to head north, and pick apples. I think it’s worth noting that this activity is much more charming when A) it’s not 80 degrees; B) I’m not wearing black and exposed to direct sunlight. Nonetheless, we got lots of good apples, enjoyed the time together, and supported a farm that employs some of the families served by my agency. All in all, not a bad weekend in New York.

In Case You Haven’t Heard: Melody Gardot.

Now this voice, this is something really special. Melody Gardot’s voice rides a strange line of being coolly detached, yet full f emotion at the same time. She was injured in an accident a number of years ago, and began to use music as therapy during her recovery. Luckily for us, she decided to share that talent with the world. Her album Worrisome Heart, is the perfect soundtrack for Sunday brunch, or for when you’re looking for music that’s not going to compete for your attention with another task. It’s pretty good bathtub music, too. At least I think it would be, if I were the bubble-bath-taking type. Gross. Anyway, maybe you can try it, and let us all know. Enjoy!

In Honor of National Coming Out Day.

I am that dreaded B word. A bisexual. And even as I write that, I cringe, knowing what the connotation of that word means to many people, on either side of the coin. To some, it means I absolve myself of the right to be taken seriously. To others, it means that I must kiss girls in bars for male attention. And to me, it means that I’ve absorbed all of these misconceptions, and somehow internalized them, causing me to take myself less seriously. I won’t even say the word, I find. “Fluid”, “queer”, “no labels”, or “I love everyone”, I say. Just not the B word.
I came out later than most people, at twenty-five. My parents were in denial, not allowing me to acknowledge my relationship with my then-girlfriend in any form. I couldn’t bring her to their home, they wouldn’t come to mine if she was there. And so, living two lives became necessary. It caused me huge amounts of stress, but I refused to let them back me into a corner. So, I gave them time. And while they eventually came around, I will say that the experience changed my relationship with them in an irreversible way. I can only imagine what that must do to a young person, who still lives at home. I had the luxury of independence.
A few years ago, I fell in love with a man, a man that I am still with today. We have a home and a life together, and it’s a good life. I know this relieves my parents, mainly because the phrase “that phase” has been uttered more than once. I have friends who’ve said, “I wish you were still gay,” as if that’s something that can be turned on and off. This angers me, because it makes me feel less significant, as if who I am isn’t valued by the people I love most in my life. Nothing has changed-whether I’m with a man or a woman, I am who I am. And I’m going to be OK with that. I can only hope everyone else is, as well. If not, well…that’s their issue.

So today, I’m coming out again, but this time for myself. As a bisexual. As that B word. And for those of you who have yet to come out as whoever you are…be just that. Who you are. Because that is truth, and truth is beautiful-no matter what it looks like. Happy National Coming Out Day!

Calling All Dysfunctional Domestics!

It hit me yesterday, while I was trying to make something as seemingly simple as apple fritters, yet still ended up getting batter all over Pickle’s head (through no fault of her own, shockingly): I’m bad at this whole being-domestic thing.

Doesn’t it seem like when you were growing up, the women (and in some cases, men) in your lives seemed to make it happen with what seemed like little to no effort? Perfectly pressed clothing, good meals, clean homes, well-kept children/pets, etc-the whole nine yards. Me? Try one-perma wrinkle in everything I iron, burned/bland meals, a home that no matter how frequently vacuumed, still boasts a rogue tumbleweed of dog hair, and an out of control canine. How, in what seems like only one generation, did we go from Martha Stewart, to Jessica Simpson? I try, really I do, but honestly, I suck. And I also don’t like doing those things.

So, here’s what I’m looking for from you, dear readers-your stories. I want to hear what it means to be the anti-domestic, as I call it, and how you manage in a world where it’s not second nature for us to be flawless at home life. I want to hear your stories (funny or otherwise), your experiences, and your ideas on the state of domestic ability in our generation. I’m looking for a series of guest writers to develop posts on the topic, to be published here on my blog. If you’re interested, please email me at: JenniferLHurlburt@gmail.com, or send me a facebook message. Come tell your story of kitchen fires and parental mishaps!

Gracious host.

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I took this picture the night before I left DC, from my hotel balcony. Every time I visit, I’m reminded of what a vibrant, electric place it is, and I never leave disappointed. DC knows how to show you a good time.

DC recap.

I headed down to DC on Sunday, for the OHS leadership institute. Of course, I love DC so much that I’d attend a drying-paint-watching institute, if it meant I also had a few days in the city. As always, it was a lovely (but at moments, trying) few days, both personally and professionally. Some highlights:

1)This institute had over 3000 people in attendance. 3000 people in the same space at the same time is awful, I don’t care how well people try to plan and map out logistics. It got underway at 9am Monday, and by 10am, whilst stuck in a stationary bottleneck of people, I started to rethink my decision to come. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being stuck in line. Oh, and peas. That’s two things. But I digress. And fetching lunch within a one mile radius of the hotel each day? Enough to want to put your head through a glass plate. Nonetheless, we got some great information and networking opportunities.

2)My colleague A and I visited the National Zoo, and it was a beautiful afternoon. We strolled, laughed, stared blankly into most of the exhibits wondering where the hell the animals were, and enjoyed the sunshine. Then we came upon the komodo dragon exhibit. Mind you, I’ve never seen one of these monsters before, but they are pretty much all of my worst nightmares come to life. I peered into his space, and saw a white object lying in the corner, in plain view of onlookers (most of whom were children under ten). We asked the volunteer, who was clearly doing this out of some sort of obligation (probation, community service, whathaveyou), what that was. “It’s a rabbit,” he replied. “Dead, of course.” Of course. I looked at A, knowing we were both thinking the same thing. “Oh God, I can’t watch this,” I said. “You have to, Jenn-it’s the circle of life,” she replied, her eyes fixed on the white mound. That’s when I saw the dragon moving towards its lunch. A little girl looked up at a woman standing nearby, and said, “What is that?” “A dead white rabbit,” the woman said, deadpan. The little girl looked at me with wide eyes. I shrugged. By now, Murphy (as I came to find out was the dragon’s name) was standing over the rabbit, and with one quick snatch and flick, it went down his throat, as the horrified kids watched. This all became too much for me, and now I was laughing, with tears down my face.
Until.
The dragon opened its mouth one last time, to fully swallow the animal, exposing two rabbit feet still visible in the back of its throat. My stomach churned, and felt like it was hurtling towards my throat. “Yahtzee,” I said, turning on my heel. “I’m done.” Forget the circle of life-science is fucking terrifying.

Nasty reptilian heathen.

3)I had the opportunity to listen to Mark Shriver speak on Tuesday morning, while accepting an award in honor of his late father, Sargeant Shriver. Anyone who finds themselves in public service knows full well what huge contributions the Shriver family has made to the world. Anyway, listening to him speak, being in the same space (albeit a massive one) with him, I fully grasped what people mean by “Kennedy charm.” He commanded the attention of everyone in the room, and between the wit and hair and teeth and warm stories about his parents, I thought to myself, “That family was made for politics.” It was unreal. We also had the honor of listening to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton speak who at 93, has dedicated his life to the service of children and families (and still is!). I’ve rarely seen such joy and passion in someone when they speak of their work, and it’s clear that he’s had a fulfilling career and life. He also reminded us that he’s single. Ha!

All in all, a good few days. Met a lot of great people who are doing great work, and it definitely rejuvenated me. And of course, so did the red velvet cupcakes.

In Case You Haven’t Heard: Gin Wigmore.

Gin Wigmore is fun, no two ways around it. She’s this quirky combination of Amy Winehouse (bless her soul), Grace Potter, and Duffy (where’d she go, by the way?). Her album, “Holy Smoke”, is great from beginning to end. It’s especially good for the morning commute if you, like me, need a little something to get you going, and the coffee isn’t quite cutting it.