Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping It Hardcore

In keeping with our marriage motto and our ultra hardcore personalities, Kyle and I got tattoos today to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary (just two weeks away). We’ve talked about getting a tattoo together for years but could never fully commit to one idea. If you’ve read this part of our love story, you know where the saying ‘no doubts.’ comes from and why it’s so significant in my relationship with Kyle. We literally say it probably 10 times a day. In the morning, when we leave for work. In the middle of the day, when we talk on the phone. At night, before we fall asleep. Any time we’re leaving one another. Sometimes we get silly and say it when someone is just taking the dog out for a walk or going to take a shower. It’s pretty gross to be around us, honestly. So when we started talking seriously about getting a tattoo for our anniversary, it seemed obvious that this is what we’d get. The punctuation was really important to me. Kyle wanted an exclamation point (!!!) but I put a kabosh on that because no. See? A period says it all. But I let him choose his own font because I am a non-control freak like that. …..


I guess I’m stuck with the dude now. This is Kyle’s fourth time getting inked (inked. that’s how I talk because I am, as I have already mentioned, extremely hardcore.) but my first.

Outside: I acted pretty tough. No big deal. I get tattoos all the time. Oh, this little needle in my neck? Whatevs. Want to get some lunch after this?

Inside: OMG OMG OMG. ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. OW. OWWWWW…thisisromanticthisisromanticthisisromanticthisisromantic…I’m 25 years old but I’m pretty sure my mom is going to kill me…I love Kyle I love Kyle I love Kyle…owwwwwwwwwwwwww…

I think all of this is entirely in keeping with who we want to be as a couple – people that have adventures and do scary things together. Bonus: I can cross something off my bucket list for 2013.

Are you a tattoo-type person? Would you ever get a tattoo with another person?

love, elizabeth

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Miss Ben

I don’t have much to say about this. I just miss my brother today. I do. I would like him to live closer.


I miss his hugs.
I miss the way his voice gets high when he laughs.
I miss the crinkles he gets in the corners of his eyes when he smiles.
I miss the one raised eyebrow he gets when I say something he thinks is dumb.

I miss his ability to follow my ridiculous jokes that don't make sense to anyone else. Also, our shared love for doing impressions of other people.

I miss his guitar. I miss his skateboard. I miss his crazy boot camp stories.

I miss his fashion sense. For real. The dude knows how to shop.


I miss his doodling and tattoo designs all over everything. I miss his insanely loud music and eclectic taste.


I miss the way he can make my mom laugh. 

I miss him a lot.

Who do you miss today?
love, elizabeth

PS: Benjamin, I stole pictures off your Instagram for this post. Sorry. Not.


Sell yourself in 10 words or less.



(Wait. Those don’t count, right? Right? Don’t count those, okay?)

Ten words….



love, elizabeth


Day 10…Instead of talking about embarrassing moments, of which I have many, I thought today I would talk about the person in my life who lives without embarrassment. Madigan. My dog.

Mad for Madigan

Madigan doesn’t know how to be embarrassed.

“Hey Mom, I got scared and peed on the bed. #notembarassed”

“I like to drink water really fast like maybe all the water on the planet will suddenly run out and because I like to make you feel guilty for forgetting to refill my water bowl but then I drink so fast that I choke and have to hack up a lung for fifteen minutes. #notembarrassed”

“You guys, I totes ate three chicken wing bones out of the garbage and then took a gigantic dump on your living room carpet because YOLO. #notembarrassed”

“Just farted really loud and woke myself up but I am still pretending it was one of you. #notembarrassed.”

“You were ignoring me when we went to bed last night, so I put my giant furry butt on the pillow right next to your face until you acknowledged me. #notembarrassed.”

Case, in point:

This is Madigan laying on top of a heavy box while Kyle is carrying it across the parking lot. All Kyle said was, “Madigan, are you serious right now?” She did not reply.


People, this is what it looks like to live without shame.



love, elizabeth

PS: I should probably introduce Madigan to some dogshaming but I have a feeling she would not care. At all.

A Moment On The Street


The prompt for Day 9 is to blog about a moment in your day with a picture and maybe some words. This is actually a moment from about a month ago. I took this picture on High Street in the Short North of Columbus. The Garden has been around for a long time. It opened in 1920 and has had an interesting life as a theater space for the last century. It was recently renovated and re-opened after lying vacant for years (and being used for drug and prostitution rings). Part of my dissertation research involves exploring some of Ohio’s historical landmark theaters and I’m hoping to include The Garden in that. And I’m just really into this cool sign on the outside of the building. This is the kind of thing that makes love Columbus.

love, elizabeth

How to Give Advice

I am, like a lot of people, really interested in fixing problems. I like solutions, resolutions, and conclusions. I like identifying the problem. I like finding the answer. And I looooooooooove it when people ask for my advice. It makes me feel important and respected and valued. It makes me needed. But I am learning things about giving advice. So here it is in all its ironic glory…my advice on giving advice:


- Sometimes people just need to be heard.

We’ve all heard this before. “Just listen – don’t try to fix it.” It sounds deceptively easy but I am going to challenge you. The next time someone starts telling you about her fight with her boyfriend or his difficulty sleeping, is your first instinct to mentally prepare an answer for them? As they’re speaking, are you already listing off possible solutions to their problem? As hard as it is, try to redirect your focus to hear what they’re really feeling in that moment. Don’t worry about having an answer prepared. Be in the moment of struggle WITH them.

- Listen for what isn’t said.

My tendency is often to rush to answer the question I think I hear. But sometimes that means I miss what is really being asked. Try to hear the silence. Try to hear the real question under all the stuff that comes pouring out.

- Reflect back what you’re hearing.

This is an active listening tool that many of us are familiar with but we forget to use it. It doesn’t have to be fakey and therapist-like if you use it simply: “Okay, what I hear you saying is that this and this are the biggest problems. Is that you’re feeling?”

- The problem-haver is often the best problem-solver.

Yes, I have some awesome ideas that will probably totally fix your issue. They will make your life easier. You will probably spend the rest of your problem-free eternity dancing with puppies inside of rainbow-covered theme parks. But, in my experience, you probably already have the answer that you need. Chances are really good that you might already KNOW that you have the answer you need. Sometimes you just need someone to help you ask the question. Before I offer advice, I try to ask, “So what do you want to do?” or “So what choices do you feel like you have right now?” If I can help you solve your own problem, instead of me just telling you what I think the answer is, you’re much more likely to find a solution that is a) actually helpful and b) one that you will actually use.

- Ask more, offer less.

This goes with the point above but if my friend is still stuck between choices, I might be able to ask: “So if you made this choice that you mentioned before, how do you think that might feel?” or “It sounds like these three things you mentioned are your best options – which one feels like the best (not the perfect) solution for right now?” Keep asking them to talk about how they’re feeling. Most people don’t have safe spaces to reflect with another person. Help make it safe for them to do that by asking open-ended questions.

- Sometimes there isn’t an answer.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked you advice but no matter how many different solutions you suggested, NOTHING seemed to help? They shot down every idea, there was a pitfall in every possibility you offered? Yeah, me too. Sometimes this means what we’ve already discussed here – that they don’t necessarily need you to give them a solution, they need you to hear them. But it might also mean there isn’t an answer. I know. That feels crazy. Maybe the answer exists. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it will be clear later. Maybe there are no good solutions, just temporary fixes or choices that are less horrible than others. Maybe neither of you has the answer. If either one of you has conversations with God, this is a good time for that. Actually, every time is a good time for that. I think sometimes, in the end, it’s okay to say, “Wow, I have no idea how I would handle that situation but I am really feeling for you right now. I’m here to hear you.”

- If you absolutely must straight-up offer advice, try owning it as something from your perspective.

“When I imagine myself dealing with that problem that you are having, I feel like I would do such-and-such a thing and here is why. I don’t know if that helps you. What are you thinking right now?”

- Lastly, don’t give advice unless you’re asked.

That’s just an open invitation to alienate someone you care about. I don’t care how nicely you try to phrase it. “Do you mind if I offer you a piece of advice?” pretty much always feels like judgment. Listen, reflect back, ask questions, hear them. If they ask what you think, own your feelings and advice as your own, not as a universal problem-solver.


So there you have it. Some unsolicited advice on advice. What would you add? Who in your life gives the best advice? What makes their advice helpful? What makes advice NOT helpful?

love, elizabeth

PS: Still working to catch up on blog prompts. Yayyyyy!


No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. 

– C.S. Lewis



I keep trying to write this post and find it hard to type the words. A couple of years ago, I wrote about how death is like taking someone to the airport. That feels truer to me now than ever.

I think about death a lot, actually. Maybe not death as itself, as the thing where someone stops breathing or as the moving from one plane to the next or even as the lack of being in the universe -- I just keep thinking about how death means separation. Separation from your earthly body, separation from the people you love who are here, present in the world.

I think about death a lot. I think it must be hardest on the people who are left, the ones who haven’t left the ground yet. You know that panicky, sick feeling you get when you’re saying goodbye to someone and you know it might be a long time before you see them again and you think, I can’t NOT be with you in the world? That’s what makes me afraid. I keep hearing Heathcliff in my head: “Be with me always…only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God, it is unutterable. I cannot live without my life. I cannot live without my soul.”

I know that death does not have to mean eternal separation. But I can’t imagine anything harder or more frightening than that earthly separation. I am not afraid of death. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of being left behind.

love, elizabeth

PS: I’ve missed a week of blogging for the Blog Every Day in May challenge but I am determined to catch up. My apologies, in advance, to your blog feed.

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