East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

My E-addiction

On the ride down the Turnpike to my neurologist's office last week, K, who was driving, suddenly turned to me and grabbed my iPhone out my hand. I looked up surprised and asked, "What are you doing?" He looked at me, slightly irritated and asked, "What are *you* doing?" I knew immediately what he meant. After Hurricane Sandy and then an early season Nor'Easter snowstorm, I had spent the majority of that week and the one prior cooped up in our apartment. I had so badly wanted to get out, and now that I was, I was busy reading various blogs as if I had never left.

I realize I have a problem. I find myself doing a check-in on Facebook as I'm taking my seat in a pew at church on Sundays. While reading a good article online, I immediately...

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The Pleasure Principle

 
 I took this in November 2011 at Memorial Park, Linden, NJ.
 


"Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a short time, a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed.

For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people."

-Eleanor Roosevelt




I came across this very awesome quote this morning at Brain Pickings Weekly. I thought of teen me, trying my hardest to map out my life to the fullest. I'd major in Education, be out of college at 21, land a dream job teaching kindergarten, get a...

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Her Story: I Went on a Missions Trip to India



I've known Cecelia Christmas for over a decade. We met when we worked as Teacher's Aides at the childcare center on our college campus. She's always been positive, warm, adventurous and sincere in her faith in God.

So I wasn't too surprised when the 29 year-old Connecticut resident announced on Facebook that she was heading to India for a Missions Trip with her church, Cornerstone Christian Center.

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Relax, Relate, Release

Have trouble relaxing? No, I mean, do you find it stressful to relax? Me neither. But it IS a thing. From The Atlantic:

Christina Luberto is a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She is in D.C. today to present research on a concept called relaxation-induced anxiety (RIA). It is precisely what it sounds like: being relaxed, itself, actually triggers anxiety.

RIA has been mentioned sporadically in medical literature since the 1980s, but never as a diagnosis in itself. Luberto looks at it as a disposition; a maladaptive process. She says about 15 percent of people have experienced it, and it's not outside the realm of benefiting from treatment. So she developed an index to identify exactly what part of...
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School's In

Zora Neale Hurston


Cool story by my friend Rajul Punjabi, who, like me, interned at Vibe, but is actually putting her education to use and writing for real sites like Huff Po. Here, an excerpt:

For homework in my undergraduate Literature course, I asked students to pen a prose piece in response to one of Jamaica Kincaid's works, emulating her format and cadence while creating their own content. For thirty fruitless minutes, I droned on, trying to explain the assignment. Blank faces, more questions, more confusion. I began to doubt myself as an educator and a human being in general. Why didn't they get it?
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Requiescat in pace, Beautiful Baby

On Tuesday, November 20th, my beautiful sister, Joscelyne Denelle Flemming Rita, passed away. She leaves behind her loving husband, Emanuel, son, Justin, and daughter, Sophia.

Please pray for all of us. It's been devastating.

I miss my Baby.

 

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Aren't sonograms amazing?

So I was looking through my pictures and came across these two and was struck how much Zoe in utero at 26 weeks, resembles Zoe at nine months.

Random, but cool.

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Invader Z(oe)


Over the last few months, Z has become... I don't even know how to describe her. From the time her tiny toes hits the floor in the morning, she's on the go, like a hurricane. She opens drawers, pulling out every stitch of clothing. She puts her blocks in her dad's shoes, and Cheerios in the bathtub.

She grunts and claps and screams at me, K and her own reflection. She spills her milk so she can smear it into the carpet (I just learned a few months ago that cow's milk will leave permanent white stains on my beige carpet). She hits when she's angry, and eats like a linebacker.

And she is obsessed with all things computerized. She types gibberish on keyboards, sends texts, and makes video calls to her godmother and to Uncle Joe.

 Z...
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The Greatest Hip Hop Song of all time is...

 Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five



Well according to Rolling Stone:

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s 1982 hit “The Message” is the number 1 song on Rolling Stone′s first-ever list of “The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time.”

The magazine argues that “The Message” earned the top honors because it was “the first song to tell, with hip-hop’s rhythmic and vocal force, the truth about modern inner-city life in America” including “drugs, prostitution, prison and the grim promise of an early death.” Its chilling refrain says it all: “Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge/I’m trying not to lose my head.” The song reached No. 4 on Billboard‘s R&B-singles chart.
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Instascammed



I've had an Instagram account for close to a year now, but I don't have any followers and follow no one. In fact, only I can see my pics since my profile is locked. I've only ever used the app for the filters. That's it. I like stuff on Facebook, and follow on Twitter, and that's been more than enough for me. Now, it looks like I will have to do my photo editing elsewhere, thanks to Instagram's new policy change coming next month. From CNET:

Instagram said today that it has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification, a dramatic policy shift that quickly sparked a public outcry.
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Deep roots.

 My mommy, back in the day.



The results of my mother's DNA test came via a short email with a link. I spent a few minutes trying to recall my password, and finally logged in. A quick wave of anxiety passed over me. I knew it wasn't going to be a revelation. In my brokeness, I only had purchased the most basic test. It would not reveal specifics, so no racial background on her parents. Nothing on ethnicities like the likelihood she has ancestors from Sierra Leone, Syria or Spain.

This test reveals race: European, sub-Saharan African, East Asian, and Indigenous American. There is a statistical breakdown with percentages. It's not exact, but in the ballpark, give or take a few points.

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Waiting for His coming. Or Advent.

 One of these years, I'll finally get a routine down for Advent. Really. Last year I was in the hospital for a third of December, and this year, I've been dealing with Jos' death... so the Advent wreath didn't actually have candles until a week ago and they're not the right colors. I also didn't actually crack open my Advent/Christmas devotional book until last night. And I haven't made it to a single Wednesday Advent service at my church. Sad? Yup, but I'm keeping it a hundred with ya'll.


Despite my shortcomings, I'm really feeling the spirit of the season more than ever. For the non-liturgical, Advent is about preparing for the coming of the Christ child. It's about preparing in our hearts and minds what Christmas is truly...

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Marty over the Mayans.

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No, our one year old daughter does not have sexy eyes.

Last week, K took Zoe to his office holiday party. She held court like a nearly three foot tall queen, posing for pictures, calling everyone and everything "momma", and eating until her little belly was quite full. She received a myriad of compliments: cute, smart, sweet, funny and adorable. One of them, though, startled K. And me, later when he told me. K oversees a bunch of young people, in their late teens and early twenties. One of them, totally enamored of Z, blurted out, "She has sexy eyes." Uh er... Nuh uh. K responded quickly, with a WTH-look on his face, "What did you say?!?" Poor thing was confused by his reaction. Sexy is a good thing, right? Not when you're referring to a toddler. Word choice, people. Word choice.

 

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Why the world didn't end.



Because there's no Zombie apocalypse, duh!

For another reason, check out this video from NASA:

 

 

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A caffeinated toast to the world not ending.


My beautiful friend April updated her Facebook status this morning and mentioned she'd done some meditating at 5AM and enjoyed a cup of joe.

I remember years ago hanging out at Van Gogh's Ear cafe with her after she moved back to Jersey after finishing college in Seattle. We didn't get too many opportunities to do this since she got married shortly after and moved to Florida (and then Cali, and then North Carolina, and then... ha!). So I figured we could have coffee, social network style. So I posted the picture above and tagged her along with the caption, "Coffee cheers!"

As I was sipping the coffee a few minutes later, I noticed I had grabbed that mug. I laughed. Oh the irony of drinking from a mug with the caption, "Just when the...

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Twilight & butterflies.

 Joscelyne and Zoe enjoying the sunshine at the park in October.
 


I awoke this morning amongst thoughts of Joscelyne. I was barely awake, in that twilight stage between wake and sleep. I thought of Jos, and my "butterfly mug," and ends and beginnings.

Back in the day, the two of us loved butterflies, in no small part due to Mariah Carey's "Butterfly" album. We'd sing the title track together... well, I'd warble through it while she sang.

Around the same time, I remember at school one of the lower grades were studying butterflies, and as part of the project, got a caterpillar to observe. I haggled my way into getting one. I was surprised to learn how much of the caterpillar's life was spent in that ugly cocoon. I was most...

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A closer look at the wounds of the Wet Bandits.

I've watched "Home Alone" a quadrillion times since I was a kid, almost always around Christmas. The latest was last weekend. Watching it as a 30 year old is far different than at 9, mainly because I found myself cringing at the many, many injuries inflicted on Harry and Marv, AKA, the Wet Bandits. Falls down steep icy stairs onto concrete? Flames on a scalp? Paint cans as weapons? I would've called it quits after the BB gun shots through the doggy door.

Over at The Week, a doctor diagnoses some of those cuts, falls and first degree burns:

The injury: Iron to the face


The set-up: Thwarted by the BB gun at the back door, Marv runs around to the basement stairwell — which Kevin has deliberately iced. Once he has stumbled his way down...
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Are we in the matrix?



Without having to take any pills, folks, some scientists are claiming they may be able to prove we are in a computer simulation. From the Huffington Post:

Physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation.

How? They made a computer simulation of the universe. And it looks sort of like us.

A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible.

And since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is therefore more likely than not that our world...
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Merry Christmas from Linus (and me).

 

 

 

 

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