Friday Five

1. Can I get a witness? Last Thursday, I had the honor and privilege of being a witness at very special nuptials. Many of you know Kathy from Reinventing the Event Horizon and her partner Sara. Kathy had emailed to let me know that prior to their big move to Cuenca, Ecuador, she and Sara would be in New York City. She wanted to know if I’d be available to come to the clerk’s office and be a witness at their wedding ceremony. Would I be available?!? You betcha!

My co-witness was the fabulously awesome Virginia from Lame Adventures. Check out her post of the event for more details and (in focus) photos. Virginia and I had a lot of important duties, including, but not limited to, signing our names to Serious Paperwork, loudly saying “no” when asked if we knew of any reason why Kathy and Sara should not be married, and holding the ticket with their ceremony number on it. I think we handled them all with aplomb, if I do say so myself.

Kathy and Sara: Newlyweds

Kathy and Sara: Newlyweds

Upon exiting the building, we stopped to have the official wedding portrait taken by a guy on the street corner. (No, it was totally legit!) He took a couple of lovely shots. As we were waiting for the photos to appear magically from the printer in his carry-all bag, we perused his portfolio which consisted of tag board with shots of other happy couples. In an amazing high-five from the universe, someone in our group noticed his name posted: Braulio Cuenca — the name of the city Kathy and Sara are moving to in Ecuador!

Kathy and Braulio Cuenca, photographer

Kathy and Braulio Cuenca, photographer. He was able to get a shot of me with my eyes open! 


We spent the rest of the day eating and laughing. It was fabulous from beginning to end and it felt like I’ve known these blogging buddies forever. Call me an old softy, but this is one of the reasons I started blogging. (The other reasons: A. instant fame and B. fabulous wealth haven’t seemed to materialize yet.)

Kathy and Sara, who’ve been together for seven years, both remarked that they never thought this would be possible. I’m so glad it was and that I was there to witness it.

Have you had the opportunity to meet any bloggers in person? 

P.S. In a pay-it-forward way, Kathy and Sara had attended Tori’s Very Bloggy Wedding last year. (Tori, next time I’m in Nashville, put the coffee on, I’m coming over.)



2. Thank you, Nancy! As if the above didn’t prove that there are more people out there besides my mother who read my posts, blog reader Nancy sent a micro-loan to an organization I support regularly: She used the “friend” link, so Kiva generously kicked in a $25 bonus credit allowing me to make another loan for free.

For those of you not familiar, Kiva is a non-profit that connects lenders and borrowers around the world to help alleviate poverty. Through their site, you can find someone in need of a micro-loan and send a donation to fund their dreams or help them get a fresh start. For a limited time,  if you’re considering trying out Kiva and you use this link, we’ll each get $25 in our baskets to make a loan for free. Or you can visit the bonus page for more info.

I used my $25 bonus credit from Nancy’s micro-loan to help Tho from Cambodia. Tho is 38 years old, married with three children. She lives in in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia, located in the southeastern part of the country. She applied for a $1,000 to build a new house. Tho and her husband are farmers, earning approximately $3 each day. Her loan is now fully funded by lenders from South Bend to Singapore to Sweden.

Thanks again, Nancy! I hope you enjoy your experience with Kiva as much as I do.




3 . What is it? Each week Lenore posts a “what is it” photo, encouraging readers to submit their guesses. So I thought of her when I saw this item out by the curb on garbage pick-up day. It was made of wood and the “fingers” moved as bit as levers. Of course, Lenore knows the items in her photos, but here I have absolutely no idea. So I’m asking you…what is it?

What is it?

What is it?


4. Quack. Gretchen Rubin over at The Happiness Project  had an interesting post about “decoy habits.”

A decoy habit is a habit that a person claims to want to adopt—but really doesn’t intend to do. Often, decoy habits reflect other people’s values or priorities. Decoy habits are harmful, I think, because they allow us to pretend to have certain aims or values that we don’t really have. Maybe we don’t want to admit what we really want to do, or maybe two values are in conflict.

I recognized myself (and a few people I know) immediately. See below for example. There are plenty of times I’ve said, “I want to give up coffee.” I mean, let’s face it, I don’t really want to give up coffee. I probably should—or at the very least cut the i.v. line that runs from the coffee pot to my arm—but I have no intention of doing so. I’d not thought of it as a form of avoidance. I used to think of it as idealism, as in “Ideally I’d like to give up coffee,” but now I see that without setting a real plan, it was always somewhere in the future, a hope to be a better person. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to refill my coffee cup.

Do you have any decoy habits?



5. Serenity Now.  Last year I participated in a meditation challenge. For three weeks, I meditated for 15 minutes each day. While I didn’t realize the major health benefits some studies show — everything from improved blood circulation to  decrease in dependence on anxiety medication — I felt generally calmer and slower to anger when someone, let’s say, wouldn’t step away from the doors on the subway. My hope was that the three weeks would be long enough to develop a good routine to continue meditating on my own without the daily reminders and prompts.

Thaaaat didn’t work out exactly as planned. I don’t know if the habit wasn’t ingrained enough in my day. Maybe some event came along to disrupt the pattern and I never returned to meditating except in fits and starts. I’ve been wanting to dedicate myself to it ever since (see above mention of “decoy habit”) and I found an app for that. The appropriately-named is a site or app that allows you to pick a mediation time of two, 10, or 20 minutes with a variety of beautiful scenes / nature sounds to choose from. I’m partial to the ocean and wave sound myself. (Note to New Yorkers reading this: they do not offer subway sounds to lull you into tranquility.) I’m setting an intention to meditate for two minutes a day so this doesn’t become another decoy habit.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



  1. Oh, Jackie, so sweet to see your post! It was a lovely wedding, and we were honored to have you and V as witnesses! We feel like we’ve now known you forever. Hope you realize just how dear you are!

    Sara the dogs and I have arrived safely in Ecuador, and are already in love with Cuenca. Sara will be sharing photos on her Blipfoto site (link on my blog) and I will be doing a post asap! Have begun looking at places to live.

    Again, thank you for being a part of our wedding. You made it all the more special! \

    Hope you will start planning to come here to visit soon. We would love to have you!

    Hugs to you and Reggie!
    Kathy and Sara


    1. I’m so glad to hear that you all have made it safely to Cuenca. I hope Ralph didn’t have to ride with any baby chicks this time. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

      I hope I’ll be seeing you and Sara again in person real soon! 🙂


  2. So great you went to Kathy’s wedding!! This is what blogging is all about, for sure. (Congrats to you, Kathy!) I’ve met one blogger, Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas and I was nervous as hell. He’s hysterical though, so it all worked out.

    That photo is some piano keys.


  3. Oh what a wonderful coincidence (or synchronicity!) about the name of the city. Almost like a little wink from the Universe – love that. Yes, I have met a couple of bloggers in person recently, but nothing so fun, or dramatic, as attending their wedding. Congratulations to Kathy and Sara!!!

    (I’m guessing the ‘what is it’ thing is part of the guts of a piano.)


    1. Isn’t it marvelous when the universe gives you a great big shout-out like that? Like, yes, you’re on the right track. So cool.

      Would have never thought that was the innards of a piano! Huh. Thanks for resolving the mystery!


  4. I think it was so great that Kathy and Sara invited us to be a part of their very special day. It was such a lot of fun. You got a great shot of Braulio! He was like a continuation of the good vibes we encountered the second we set foot in the City Clerk’s office. Gotta also say, as far as witnesses go, you’re a great co-witness. I’m very happy to have met you, too!

    About that mystery photo, I go with the majority of guesses that it’s the guts of a piano, too, something my colleague referred to as “the hammer shank”. That prompted me to say, “Oh yeah, right, the hammer shank-thing.”


    1. Same here! And I’m looking forward to reading what kind of Lame Adventures you have planned for your birthday!

      The hammer shank sounds like something a professional wrestler would do. 🙂


      1. I will be with my friend, Milton. We’re going to the theater and then out for foodstuffs when he’ll give me my card, something I anticipate that will be decorated with so much glitter the glow will be visible from the space station. He’s subtle that way.


  5. I love happy posts!

    A friend gave $50 to Kiva in our name, and we’ve had such a rewarding experience lending to a couple of families who are working hard to pay it back so we can offer that money to others. It really works!


    1. It’s wonderful to hear that you had a great experience lending through Kiva. I’m always excited to get updates on people from around the world who are trying to make some of their dreams come true.


  6. Jackie … loved the write-up about Kathy and Sara’s wedding … I find it so refreshing when blogging buddies take it to the next level and actually meet in person, especially considering that the Internets has the potential to be a dangerous place. Obviously, once you’ve known someone for ages through their blog, you actually have a good idea of the person you are going to meet (versus meeting up with Joe Schmoe who just started following your blog, who has the potential to be some sort of weird stalker type).

    Oh, wait. I just started following your blog! I’m not a weird stalker type, really. Trust me. 🙂

    Thanks for the link to Kiva … I had heard about this organization once before, and had somehow lost the link and forgotten the name of the organization, so I’m happy to have the link now, (which I’ve bookmarked), and I’m also happy to have donated in your name, thereby spreading around the ability to continue lending a small amount of cash to those in need of a helping hand. It really helps put things in perspective to see the stories featured on Kiva … simple people, with simple needs, and even a little bit of cash, when pooled with others of like mind, can make a difference.

    Nice to meet you … ntexas99 (aka Nancy)


    1. So nice to meet you, Nancy, in an unstalker-ish way! 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experiences with Kiva. It’s wonderful to lend people a helping hand. I’m happy to spread the word and I hope some more folks will take advantage of the link.

      Have a great weekend!


  7. What a wonderful Friday Five, Jackie. Congrats to Kathy and Sara. I am glad you were able to share in their celebration, too. We love happy endings.
    This post was full of great things, Jackie. So nice to read good news – even better that the news surrounds the kindness in and love for others.
    Others have already mentioned the guts of a piano – which is what I was going to say, too.
    And, I had the honor of meeting Leonore ( in Fish Kill, NY last Summer. I hope to meet others in the future.
    Thanks for referencing my What is it Posts – and thank you for playing.
    Have a great weekend!


    1. It was such an honor to be there, Lenore. I had tears in my eyes for sure. I’m excited for them to begin this new adventure in Ecuador as newlyweds. 🙂
      I enjoy your What Is It posts. They remind me of a magazine article from when I was a kid. Maybe I’ve mentioned this before? I think they were in National Geographic. The photos were always real stumpers – just like yours. 🙂


  8. Oh, nice Friday Five! So cool that you got to be a witness at another blogger’s wedding. Haven’t met any other bloggers yet. Maybe one day I’ll meet you in NY. We usually have family stuff to do, so I don’t get into the city very often.
    Definitely looks like the inside of a piano.
    My decoy habit may be meditation. I really want to make it a daily practice, but can’t seem to do it. Three minutes and I’m ready to stop. 🙂


    1. Wouldn’t that be fun? I would take you to a few boutique shops in the Village because I bet you’d take some great photos! It’s always fun to see your neighborhood through the eyes of a visitor.

      I’m with you on that decoy habit! But I’m going to keep trying!


  9. I haven’t met any other bloggers yet and mostly don’t even know what they look like. I’m planning on going to the UK soon, which will be an opportunity to meet some.
    I went on some sort of meditation retreat last year and the effect was so intense, I got a bit shocked and immediately stopped… How weird is that?
    Decoy habits…. Interesting concept. I can’t think of any. Maybe being super tidy?


    1. I’ve heard that some people have very transcendent experiences during meditation. That’s happened to me just one time. I think every time I meditate I try to have that experience again. How great that you were able to go on a retreat. I’d love to do that some time.
      Ha. Cleaning is definitely a decoy habit of mine! 🙂


  10. You defintely have many more fans besides your mother! Haven’t been online much lately, but I plan to read all the posts I’ve missed.

    How lovely that you got to go to Kathy and Sara’s wedding! And thank you for sharing the event with us all.

    Had a laugh about “the i.v. line that runs from the coffee pot to my arm”! Like you, I’ve cut down on coffee, but I’m not even going to pretend to give it up completely.


    1. Kathy and Sara’s wedding was such a wonderful day from beginning to end! I was thrilled to be part of it. A life-affirming experience to say the least!

      I really should just give up all pretenses about the coffee thing. 🙂


  11. ‘Hoochie Mama!’ (Sorry… any/every time I hear ‘Serenity Now’ I do that… it’s become a bad habit and I really should give it up, but… well… you know. 😉 )
    I was thinking piano parts, too… I’m not sure why, because I don’t know the first thing about musical ‘stuff’. 🙂


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