Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I won't pass this along, but I *will* play along . . . .

5 Things You Can’t Do
1. Sing (Dear lord, I wish I could. But I can't, not even a little.)
2. Climb a rope. (I was trying to think of things and a small grade school flashback occurred - I went with it)
3. Type with the right fingers. (I can type like a mad woman, but only with 5 fingers total from both hands)
4. Walk lightly. Impossible. I sound like an elephant no matter how hard I try.
5. Be indifferent.

5 Things You Can Do
1. Paint.
2. Design. I'm brilliant in this every once in a while.
3. Organize. You'd never guess it by the state of my life most days, but when I get the bug, I can make sense out of chaos like few other people.
4. Laugh. I do it a lot. Often til I cry. Which I do a lot too.
5. Sleep. Anywhere, anytime. You'd think it's not worth much, but it comes in awfully handy.

5 Things That Scare You
1. Disappointing someone I love.
2. Getting sick to the point it holds me,and those I love, back.
3. Flying in turbulence.
4. Drowning. No reason, really, I'm a strong swimmer. Just the thought, tho, makes me instantly claustrophobic.
5. Losing a skill I love, that I define myself by, because I ignore it.

5 Things You Love
1. My husband.
2. My friends and family.
3. Kitten paws.
4. Babies in backpacks.
5. Marshmallow, rice krispies, vanilla ice cream, chocolate pudding, peanut butter, hummus (not necessarily in that order)
(This list was incredilbly hard to keep to 5 things. I mean, I want to list the ocean, an open field under a star-filled sky, Kim Possible cartoons, seeing live shows . . . . a million things)

5 Things You Hate
1. Ignorance.
2. Intolerance.
3. Lack of accountability.
4. Being talked down to.
5. Apathy.

5 Random Facts About You
1. I've never skiied. Water or snow.
2. Happy Meals truly really do make me happy.
3. I believe honestly and deeply that one person can make a difference in this world.
4. I have certain shoes I wear because they make me happy. And that's all I need to change my day.
5. If I could do anything I would be a high school art teacher. After that? Personal Chef.

5 Things You Want To Do Before You Die
1. See all 7 continents.
2. Have a painting of mine hung somewhere notable or published.
3. Have my day job be meaningful in that "contributing to society" sort of way
4. Spend a week somewhere remote with all my best friends, where all we have to do is hang out.
5. Stand in the exact spot Van Gogh painted Starry Night.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Oh Captain, Oh me, Oh My

I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday in class. I know the epiphanies should come for the students, through my wise ever so sage educating, but alas - it was yesterday that I got schooled a bit.

We were talking about interviews and I'm running around the class pointing at people saying - "tell me your greatest strength!" and one girl timidly answers "I'm a potential leader."

I stop, dead still right where I am and turn to her desk - I place my hands on the corners of it and say "potential? POTENTIAL!? NO! You ARE a leader!!" And I tell her, look at yourself - look at you, going to school full-time, working full-time - starting a life all by yourself in this city. You ARE a leader, I tell her. (I'm practically sermonizing at this point.) Never be ashamed at what you are, what you're good at! Never under estimate yourself. And then we go around the room to each student and everyone stands up and announces their greatest attribute. With pride.

It was one of those moments. Those moments that happen totally unplanned when I'm teaching where I feel I've made the connection. I've found something they need and am offering it up, and best! - they're taking it. The whole feeling of the room changed in those minutes. They each stood up and after a second or two, found that something to be proud of. Sure, I helped a bit at first . . . I coaxed and prodded. But I felt like, when we were done, they were all sitting a bit straighter. A bit taller.

And, really, when it comes right down to it - it's those moments I show up for. It's what I love about teaching, it's what I don't mind about getting up at 7am on Saturday and Sunday mornings for.

But it's easy to do it for them. To cheer them on, to raise them up. It's second nature to look at them and see so much hope and potential and accomplishment. Not on the horizon, but here: now.

I just can't seem to do that for myself. I cannot stand up and say - "I am good at what I do." And feel the confidence I was demanding my students show this weekend. Not all the time. I've been faltering lately, on all fronts. And it's disappointing. To me, and those that surround me, I'm sure.

But I'm going to practice this week. I'm going to be proud of who I am and take credit for all I've done. Because I did do it. What lies behind me *is* from *my* hard work. And what lies ahead will never be what I want it to be until I CAN stand up and shout, "I'M SO GOOD!" And maybe start believing it to the point where it isn't so easy to make me sit back down.

Friday, February 24, 2006

This is my Happy Thought.

Because small as it is, I desperately need whatever I can find today.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sometimes LIfe Surprises You

I met him after a Phish concert, not entirely in control of all my senses. While I was at the concert, he had moved into my apartment.

That's right. We met AFTER he moved in. Ha. It's a lovely story to tell. He was the fiancé of one of my good friends from college and was to start working at the company I worked for that week. She was still in Boston tying up loose ends, and he needed a place to stay. I had just bought a house, had the room and as I am wont to do - offered up my place as good as any. I believe strongly you do what you can for the people you love and the people they love. Little did I know that small offer would change my life.

He moved in while I was in the throws of being very ill. There were a couple times he found me just sitting on the kitchen floor of our small shared apartment supposedly packing, but really just crying because everything *hurt* so much. You'd think that would be uncomfortable. Meeting someone for the first time while she's sick. Dealing with her random pain, having to pull off the road so she could be sick in a gas station bathroom. But no. Not for him. He welcomed me in, my problems and quirks and weirdnesses into his life as if they were totally normal. Even that first night, me stumbling in "whispering" WELCOME! DID YOU FIND THE TACOS IN THE FRIDGE?!?! never caused him pause. Not that he ever showed at least. :)

He made me chamomile tea and put up with me an amount of hours only now my husband is reaching. Because not only did he have to share space with me (which, after two months expanded from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house, much to our mutual delight); he had to work with me. And not in that crazy just in the same company way, but in that sit-three-feet-from-her-work-on-every-project together way. He made my designs work. He worked magic in my eyes and soon he wasn't just K's fiancé, he was one of my very best friends.

It was he who taught me for the first time that Misty uncensored would still be loved. In a lot of ways those couple years I really found myself, or at least gained the courage to *be* myself. In the safe, unconditional sphere of our friendship I could be who I wanted to be and not be frightened it would go as punished. He seemed to unerringly always understand. And never, ever hesitated to put me in my place when necessary. He rocked. We faced a lot of trouble together, a lot of scary times - but I was never totally scared of them, knowing he was at my side.

And I remember, standing in my doorway two and a half years after that first night, watching his car drive away and feeling my heart break. Thinking of it now still makes my breath catch.

We talk still. Randomly and rarely, but we still talk. Now that we are thousands of miles from where we met, and hundreds of miles from each other. He still refers to me as "kiddo" and I still make him swear to take care of himself and his little family before we hang up. It seems a lifetime ago we shared space and adventures. That I teased him about eatting a bucket o' mashed potatoes as a meal, or when we drove to St. Louis singing to the Rent sountrack at the tops of our lungs.

He's never met Sam, I've never met his son. But I know someday all that will happen. And even though the space between when we do catch up grows exponentially long; I know we will eventually speak and when we do it will be as no time has passed. That's the funny thing, lifetimes and no times pass all at once in our friendship.

And even though we are so far apart nowadays, an email still makes my day. And I still count him as one of my nearest and dearest.

I am so so very lucky.

(Six Years ago. Six!?!?! "Celebrating" our second layoff. We still had one more to go, amazingly enough.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

What my husband does during The Bachelor

I am in love with a man who wears a pillow for a helmet.

Becoming Mrs. Misty Bell Stiers

Changing my name seemed like an endlessly complicated process, and by no means did I consider the paperwork. It was – it seemed – a sign of giving up a part of who I was, relinquishing my past and all it contained to start anew. And while some people may view that as a welcome event, I dreaded it. I fiercely hated the thought of it. Inside, I screamed against it.

I remember, in the Tysen’s house late one night – one of the first nights Sam and I hung out together, I got up to go to the bathroom. On the way back in, Nathan with pure orneriness in his voice asked Sam how he would feel if his wife wouldn’t take his name. I knew Nathan asked to cause a stir. Sam and I were dancing at the time, figuring each other out and Nathan had baited him. Nathan knew well my answer. He was seeing if Sam would have a good defense. And he did. He said he would prefer it, but not insist. I made my stand on never changing my name, ever – and we moved on,

Years later I found myself in a quandary – I was marrying Sam and as much as I knew he would never insist on it, would never even ask, he preferred it. And I did not. I would worry about it, I would wonder about it; about the reaction his family might have if I didn’t do it. If it would somehow seem like I didn’t love him enough, love them enough, like it would put a hole in our relationship somehow. That I had failed to commit in some meaningful way. That, somehow, it would mean I had failed us.

But, then, by changing my name it felt I was failing me. Like I was saying everything I had done as “Misty Bell” was no longer relevant, didn’t matter. I know that’s not true, I knew it then clear as day – but that’s how it felt. That I was somehow tossing aside the little girl who practiced football with her dad in the yard, the young second-grader who dreamed of being a painter, the 18 year old convinced that she could achieve anything she wanted if she just tried hard enough. The girl who went far away to school all on her lonesome and came back to some success. Who bought her own home and cared for it. Who sold that home to move on to bigger, harder, more challenging things – and overcame and thrived in them. It felt like that was being dismissed in some way. I can’t explain it properly; I couldn’t then and I’ll probably never be able to.

But I – who I am, who I saw myself as, was so closely tied to my name, that changing seemed kin to losing an arm. Overly dramatic, I know. But nonetheless. I argued with myself constantly over it, often putting myself in foul moods. I would stomp around the apartment, raging against the unfairness of it all. Mad at Sam that tradition protected his name, his history; that none of my relatives were just dropping his family name, erasing his past accomplishments. He would ask me what was wrong, and I would just sigh and insist it was nothing. And it was – nothing to anyone but me, really. I was fighting my own private equal rights movement in my head.

And then I considered hyphenating, using both names but just a space between, I even for a while thought the perfect solution was for us both to change our names. How perfect, we would suffer together! Sam of course would not even give that a thought. His reoccurring response whenever I brought it up was “You don’t have to do this if you don’t want.” And he wasn’t placating, he meant it. There was only one problem, part of me did want it.

Ha. Some independent dame I was turning out to be, part of me wanted to be Mrs. Sam Stiers. Part of me wanted to feel a true part of his large, kind, wonderful family. I wanted us to be a family, share a life, a name, a place in history in a way where we couldn’t be separated. Not even by the alphabet. I wanted to have the same name as our someday-children. I wanted his name, and all that it had come to mean to me through him.

I just didn’t want to lose me in the process. But one day, I realized that it was more than the arguments I was having in my head – it was more than just his name, his family, his life vs. mine. It was that now, suddenly, no longer a matter of "his life or mine." We were in this together. He would never dismiss my first thirty years, nor would he let anyone else do so. And I certainly wouldn’t allow it. It wouldn’t happen unless I gave permission for it to. And I know it sounds simple, but at the time it was quite the opposite.

This realization, this epiphany of sorts was big for me. I would travel alone, on a plane jumping up and down in the sky amidst crazy turbulence and I would think about how we had so much before us, we had plans, and I felt fear in my heart at a time when I never had before. I would get sick and instead of dismissing it, would want to go get checked, get better – because it wasn’t just my future anymore. I was – for the first time in my life (I am, for that matter) part of something greater than myself. Part of a life that was more than just mine.

I am different because I met this man, in a million ways. And what’s more I am different for being in this new world, sharing in this new life. And suddenly, changing my name to show people that was important to me. Changing my name to show him that was important to me.

Sure, the day I came home after standing in lines and filling out paperwork was just another day. When I opened my new social security card, it really was just another piece of paper. No one sees me differently; no one is affected by this small act. But I was. I am. It was almost as important to me as when I first said yes to him, or when I said my vows.

Yes, I love you. Yes, this is forever. Yes, I am ready to change my life and share it with you. To take who I am and become better, stronger, new. For us. Yes, this is different and scary and frightening, but I think it’s worth it. I want to take the leap. I believe we’ll fly instead of fall. I believe together we can build a better world – a better life than I ever could have alone.

I know it’s crazy and insane and ridiculous. But signing those papers was a truly big deal for me. But I know I made the right choice. I feel good about it. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. In a way it felt like a ritual I needed to go through to mark this passing of time in my life: this milestone.

And while really no one thought it the big deal I did, it felt good that when I told Sam’s dad I had done it he stood up immediately and gave me a big hug. It felt, for a moment, like a big deal. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put words to how special and grateful I was to him in that moment. Or how, in an instant, it took all my fears and worries and wiped them clean. It wasn’t about losing anything, it was about gaining so very much.

Sam’s continually had that affect on my life. It seems since meeting him it’s been one wonderful new experience after another. And standing in his house, surrounded by his family this past weekend it was just one more wonderful moment. Because this time, they were my wonderful family, too. And that felt truly amazing.

Of course, I'm still signing stuff with my old name - but I imagine eventually I'll get used to adding the "Stiers." That eventually I'll give it no thought at all, and I'm looking very much forward to that.

One helluva a week

Sorry it's been so long, real posts to come post haste. I, unfortunately, had the week from hell last week.

(Of course the wedding was lovely, just exhausting. I much prefer the kinds you just show up to. :) But it was fun to be able to help out, and I hope Ben and Ang got the reception they'd been hoping for.)

So, yeah, we leave Houston Tuesday afternoon and don't get home 'til after midnight. Where, when checking my voicemaill and email I learn I'm leaving for Chicago at 5:45 am. Awesome. So, after three hours of sleep I pack (after you know, UNpacking) and head back out. Happy First Married Valentine's Day.

I get to Chicago and stay the night. Two days during which I constantly wonder why, exactly, I needed to be there. I have a lot to say about what transpired on this trip, none of which would be appropriate in a public setting. I can however tell you what DID NOT transpire. Meetings-up. With my wonderful Chicago friends. They have lives and I had work and it all seemed to happen at once. Suck.

So I finally get ready to leave Thursday - only to find out EVERYONE else is booked out of Midway and I am out of O'Hare. I don't even have to finish this part, do I? Yes, that's right - while the rest of them settled into bed after a couple long days of work I was STILL IN CHICAGO. AT THE AIRPORT. I left after 11pm. Got home even later, went to work the next morning.

I am bitter about this trip. I cannot even put words to it.

So, I slept until 5pm Saturday. Yes, that's right. Five in the PM. Then my real life began again, and oh, how I missed it.

And work in Chicago? That's right. Suck it.

And New York and my husband? I'd rather not leave you ever ever again. Thanks.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I have started this 100 times

I keep starting the post I shall write about changing my name and then trashing it because I'm afraid it will sound wrong, or like I didn't want to or whatever. I've now decided worrying that much is ridiculous.

It is coming post-haste. Non-edited. Consider yourself warned. :)

AND, it's probably not coming too soon. As w'eve got a wedding going on and are up to our armpits in it, and work is trying to see how exactly much I can get done in the seven hours left before i'm gone for two days and PS is it possible to be slated full-time on three seperate projects? Seriously, the math is failing me . . .

And PPS - Chicago crew - I shall see you soon! Workign on too many projects at once has ONE benefit. Trips back to the midwest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How do I thank you?

I have a lot of wonderful people in my life. And I'm aware of that every single day. For insatnce, I know that if I just disappeared, someone would notice. It's a comforting thing sometimes in this city. :)

But more than that, I know that when things get hard - I have a cavalry. I have people in my life, that though they are thousands of miles away, would do whatever they could to support, defend, comfort me. And while when things get rough, I don't always make that call, as I should - but knowing in my heart I can, it makes all the difference.

Sometimes you get a small peak into someone else's life and it washes over you like a wave. Your life, the blessings, the rich abundance of what can only be attributed to sheer luck. I do not deserve the many many riches that surround me. The family I have, the friends that have grown to become as much. My heart breaks it is so full of thanks. So full of gratitude. For these people. These beings that have known me, that have seen me for who I am - and, miraculously, have loved me regardless.

It is these times specifically, I feel at a loss as to how I can ever pay them back. In truth, I cannot. I will never be able to properly tell them thank you. But they have shown me, in their ever-abundant kindness how best I can. How I can turn to the one next to me, the one who hasn't necessarily this amazing wealth, and give mine to them.

It is in the sharing that the gratitude is given. In the small attempts of allocating the love I have that the joy is multiplied. Hopefully, you see that. That in so many ways, you have shown me the person I want to be. And as I strive for that; each act, each hopeful step forward is done with gratitude in my heart for you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's Official, Mrs. Stiers

So today I transversed the first series of what will be many buerocratic organizations to change my name. DMV, SS office, Bank. It troubles me somewhat that the hard one was the bank. I mean, it felt like I had to do NOTHING to get a new social security card. The guy was like, "so whinja' get hitched? Congrats." I wanted very much to give a sarcastic answer to all the people today that asked WHY I was changing my name. I kept wondering if they would let me do it no matter WHAT my reason is. I mean, if they have to ask - are there standards?

Anyway - if you're ever in New York and want a true tour of the crazies, head down the street from our apartment to the SS office. Dear LORD. I haven't seen that many disgruntled, dirty people EVER. And, it is notable that I had just left the NEW YORK STATE DMV office.

Anyway - I have lots to say about changing my name. But that's another long long entry. For now, i just wanted to annouce that it's official.

I am now, according to both the state and federal governments: Misty Bell Stiers

And as much as it's going to take a while to get used to, I think I like it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Famous People I have met (meaning I talked to them for some length of time):
Hulk Hogan
Cliff Floyd
Allen Ginsberg
William Burroughs
Lauren Bacall
Eric Idle
Dudley Moore
James Gurney

Famous People I have sat close to:
Paul McCartney
Maya Angelou
Mary Tyler Moore
Ethan Hawk (twice)*
Sean Penn*
Elizabeth (the girl from the stripper movie)*
Paul Rudd (who is a Chiefs fan and watches the games at the same bar as us)*

Famous People I Work Out With, or, At Least - Near:
Alan Cumming

Famous People Sam Sees Everytime He Meets Me at My Work:
Jay Z

Famous People who waved to me so enthusiastically from their Thanksgiving Day Float they obviously are enamored with me:
Clay Aiken

Famous Autographs I had, but Threw Away because I didn't Realize They were Cool:
John Cash

*These are living on NYC experiences which I feel like shouldn't count. I mean we're starting to see Ethan Hawk so often he's becoming more like that crazy guy that hangs out at the Bodega on the corner than some famous guy. And I probably walk by tons of famous people and never know it here. I'm completely oblivious most of the time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I *Want* to be a Responsible Citizen

But I'm not. Well, not like I should.

For example, last night. I gleefully flipped the tv to channel 11, the great WB. The ONE channle that refuses to bend to the presidential whim. God bless them.

I should have watched the State of the Union. I should be informed and up-to-date. I should know the excuses he uses, the politicking he manuvers, the logic he strives to defend.

But I can't. Watching the President in any forum is banned in our house. Why? He makes me mad, there's no other way to put it. I yell at the tv, I yell at my husband; I rage against the machine we live in. My heart rate goes up, I lose sleep. I cry at the hopelessness I feel.

So last night, I curled up on the couch with my husband and watched, enraptured, as the boys from Supernatural solved their case.

I know the only way to know what's right and wrong, the only way to fully form an intelligent decision is to examine and listen with an open mind to both sides. But I can't. Not anymore.

No White Marks! And my holiday season . . .

SO if anyone is wondering what the hell it is I do, or if, really I have done ANYTHING recently:


Go figure. I had a commercial on The Bachelor last week advertising the site. Woot! And girls, they've sold me on the whole no white marks thing. Sign up for a free sample.

THis has been driving me mad since Thanksgiving. At last, it's done. *sigh*