Author Archives: Nancy

Sticks and Stones and Porkchops

The girl I used to nanny for, who isn’t a little girl anymore, posted this incredibly moving video of visual art and haunting poetry. I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind, and it has forced me to think about my own childhood. I have thought about specific people that I had bullied in middle school, where I was the oppressor, and I also thought of specific people that bullied me. They are as fresh in my head as today’s cup of coffee. I am not sure what I want this post to be exactly. Is it a public confession of all the people I have ever teased? Is it an effort to absolve all those times I didn’t treat a person as a human being, worthy of dignity and respect. Is it a confrontation of the people that scarred and hurt me growing up? To be honest, I am not sure. What I am sure about, is this movie clip is absolutely moving, vulnerable, and painfully honest. I am not sure how to apologize for my childhood self. Okay let’s face it, even my adulthood self, but I am sorry. I am sorry for all of my karate chops.

Here is a link to the transcript.


The Paralysis of Self-Doubt

I haven’t been interpreting in the post-secondary setting all semester. For people that know StrengthsQuest, two of my top five are learner and input. As you can see, I was feeling desperate for any kind of stimulating information. I pulled up TED because I know I can always count on them to either inspire me or educate me on a specific topic. This TED talk blew me away. At first, it was very informational. Amy Cuddy explained her findings about body language and how it relates to power dynamics. As her talk continued, the research findings became really fascinating and her personal story emerged as she was explaining why her research resonated with her so strongly.

The themes of vulnerability and imperfection have really become important topics for me this year, and once again I see the beauty of vulnerability in her talk. (Thank you, Brené Brown.) She explains her path into academia and her nagging feeling that she didn’t deserve to be there at all. You will need to watch the talk in order to understand why she had this feeling of inadequacy.

As she was speaking, I had this realization that at some level all people have these feelings of inadequacy or fraudulence; however, we all have them for different reasons. Despite the reasons for our feelings of inadequacy, we have a choice. I am not going to be naive and say if you just follow everything Amy says your feelings of unworthiness, inadequacy, and fraudulence are going to immediately go away, but what I am saying is the most important part of her research is our choice to push aside those feelings even when we believe them and they lurk in the back of our minds. We don’t have to add fuel to the fire by actively participating in our own self-destruction.

Obviously depression and any other mental health issues are not situations where you can will those conditions away; however, this is a situation of self-doubt–that habit to instantly second guess yourself or your abilities. I want my mindset to be how can I make this happen in my life instead of instantly giving all of the reasons why something won’t happen. Trust me, I am really good at coming up with a list of why I can’t do something, and usually all of the reasons involve me and my feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness. If I am honest with myself, giving into those feelings is easier, and I am comfortable there. Who is with me in getting out of this self-doubt paralysis?

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Why We Love May Day

May Day has become a ritual for me, Melissa, and Joby. Every spring we look forward to the symbolism of Spring: new beginnings, fresh starts, life, and the promise of a new year. Even though I am in Boston, I plan on making my way back to Minneapolis to celebrate all of the possibilities of a new year.  If you are wondering why we love May Day so much, let me illustrate.

Friends and Neighbors

Mangos On A Stick


Kids having fun

Costumes and Puppets!




Happy Dogs


It is never too late….

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

– C.S. Lewis

 “The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.”

– Tom Bradley

Melissa had this great idea to make a category called “It is never too late.”  We have had many discussions of people who later in life continue to cultivate themselves.  As we get older, it is really easy to think we missed the boat on certain life experiences.  I admire people who aren’t afraid to make mistakes or a fool out of themselves.  That is where self-discovery all starts: taking risks.  If we don’t ever try, we will never grow and we will never know who or what we could have become.  I was listening to NPR, and I was so inspired by a story done on Anthony Hopkins.  If you want to know what he has discovered about himself in his 70’s, click on the picture, and read the article.  You are certainly in for a surprise and a lot of inspiration.

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running free

I want to be as free as Aimee Mullins when she is running on her metal cheetah legs. I had a realization that the only time I ever ran in junior high or high school was when being punished. I played volleyball and basketball.

If we were late, we ran.

If we missed a serve, we ran.

If we got an attitude, we ran.

If we lost, we ran.

I think you get the picture. I am not sure how to get over the feeling of being punished every time I lace up a pair of running shoes; however, when I saw this picture of Aimee Mullins running I was reminded that running is really the ultimate symbol of being free. I don’t want to imply that you need to physically be able to run in order to experience this freedom. I am well aware of peoples’ different abilities. What I am saying is, I need to try and harness that sense of freedom when I run. For me that means changing my mental picture of running as punishment, to running as a way to be present and grounded. Whenever I run, I immediately start thinking about when the run will end. I instead need to revel in the process in order to appreciate what it means to live. Can you imagine closing your eyes through your entire life only to wake up to the last year? I feel like it’s the same with running. There is something really important about being present through the whole process. I want to start running again, but with passion and freedom in mind. This will require a mental shift, and maybe it looks like this:

If I am feeling grateful, I run.

If I am feeling whole, I run.

If I am feeling creative, I run.

If I am feeling a sense of purpose, I run.

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Tenor Perfection

There is something about a tenor’s ability to hit certain notes that immediately makes me shake my head in disbelief.  Also, there is something uniquely different about the haunting sound of opera.  It resonates in a way no other kind of music does.  I never thought I would like opera music.  I took 8 years of piano, and I always loved classical music; however, I didn’t really understand the beauty of opera until I watched Amadeus.   I was listening to NPR, and I can’t find the original story, but it was about this South African group of tenors that have become really successful.   They are called The Gugulethu Tenors.  Their story is truly inspiring and their voices are unforgettable.

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Colourful Laundry Soap

I was walking around target, getting tempted to buy everything in sight when I forced myself to focus on the task at hand: laundry soap.  I laughed when I saw Cheer, a colourful laundry soap, and its slogan to “stay colourful.”  I immediately texted Melissa the pics, and I don’t know but I think we may be on to something….


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Cake Pop Art

I thought it was pretty hilarious when my three year old nephew told my sister he wanted a cake pop. It was as if his request was as normal as asking for a glass of milk or a piece of cheese.

I said, you know what a cake pop is??

He just looked at me as if I insulted his intelligence. Duh, of course he knew about cake pops. I always thought they were really dumb. I get annoyed when people are in line at starbucks and their order goes a little something like, yeah, I will have a grande, three pump, 4 shot, no foam, extra hot latte and a cake pop.

Why do adults eat them?  They are an overpriced, bird-size portion. Is it that people feel better about themselves because unlike you they didn’t order a cheese danish. Hey loser with your 500 calorie breakfast, don’t you wish you would have ordered a cake pop? I have so much control unlike you, big fatty, fatty, two by four.

All of this cake pop bashing to say, I am now obsessed with cake pops.  My co-worker showed me this woman’s website.  She is the diva of cake pops.  Seriously, they are works of art. I am now a cake pop convert, and if I ever get a chance to eat these cake pops there is no way I am just having one.

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Audio-Visual Candy: Colourful Stop-Motion

Seth found this amazing video.  I had to share!

“The new music video for ‘Against The Grain’ from emerging Melbourne indie-folk artist Hudson sees him collaborate with film maker/animator/VJ Dropbear (aka Jonathan Chong), producing a vibrant and colourful clip based around a mainstay from our humble artistic efforts throughout childhood – coloured pencils.” — Vimeo

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The Art of Vulnerability

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