All posts tagged love

Momma Montessori


My parents put me into a Montessori school right off the bat.

I’m pretty sure they couldn’t afford it, honestly, but both of my parents came from backgrounds that emphasized education. College was a must. Intellect was a stated goal when raising children.

When we transplanted to Chicago and out of the “East Coast System” I think that paying for Montessori was partly a selfish parental attempt to prove they weren’t the ones with the dumb country kids amongst a litany of thirty-odd brilliant ivy-league-destined cousins.

The truth though?

It was mostly a belief in a non-traditional way of developing young minds. In 1986, no less.

It shaped me.

Learning to learn in the way that Montessori teaches you to learn had a profound influence on the way my mind works.


I remember learning French before I could read.

I remember my teacher pulling me aside one day and saying it was time to see if I was ready to read a chapter book.


I was the first in class to do this (or my 7 year old self I thought I was)…and I remember being proud. Even prouder when we were done and she bursted out with “you just read a chapter book!”

We took care of animals and learned math with our hands and had to clean up after lunch and snack time. Our days were spent solving puzzles and moving on to harder puzzles at the pace that made sense for each of us.


Montessori people can be spotted.

Their minds explore…and they have a refreshingly calm sense of the way their own mind works.


Mom began teaching. At the Montessori school they sent me to. The one I don’t think they could afford.

Momma dove into educating children The Montessori Way because she was a true believer.  She was setting little humans up to be great humans. She was also making it more affordable to give her son and two daughters the Montessori experience.

She’d have done road construction to make that kind of thing happen for us three.


Momma’s a child-whisperer. Momma turns kids into Rocket Ships of Goodness.

Today she runs the school that started me down my intellectual path. Down my emotional path.

Down the path that made me who I am today.

For two decades she’s given the gift I sit here and appreciate in a deeper way than I could ever articulate to thousands of children.

I know she doesn’t think her heart has room for anyone else when she thinks about me and my two sisters, but she’s wrong.

Her legend is in her capacity to deeply care about every single child that she has ever set eyes on, ever.

Her legend is how she makes her children the luckiest people in the world.

Our mother has the biggest heart.

We win.

My mother should raise the planet, from where I’m standing.


Tell me something about your mom?


Loving Again And Again

We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

I love this, despite wholeheartedly disagreeing with Chuck’s conclusion that there’s a winner here. There’s no control forfeited to your template person, and I’m not even sure the person who shapes your perception of love is all that responsible for anything but their (hopefully) admirable qualities…the rest is time, place, and your internal self.

More than once I’ve tried to articulate something like this to someone who’s either never been in love or thinks that real love is only real if it lasts forever and supersedes any other relationship you have in the future…as if falling in love is only proven by its permanence.

It feels to me like a combination of fears, this perspective. Fear that this idea of love allows for the love you have today (or might have tomorrow) to fall short of forever. Fear that your standards for love should be so high that only one experience should ultimately meet them, and the resulting fear that the only way to recognize and defend the one you want to last is to make (and attempt to live by) a cosmic ultimatum.

There’s nothing unromantic about the idea that you have and will love more than one person in your life. It doesn’t undermine your chances at that forever thing…it doesn’t undermine your forever thing if you have it today. Chewing on this also lets you release your past with people, shedding that lingering ‘maybe‘ about exes in favor of you, today.

It’s also helpful, I think…the battle of love is a tough one, and at times it can seem like one of life’s cruelest illusions.

At times it can seem like a drug you can’t quit.

At times it just works, and seems like the fresh air you’re breathing as you navigate your life…an ether of support and happiness blanketing your world. I think the point is that you can trust the good and the bad…breathe deeply at both ends of the spectrum and know it’s all part of the process that doesn’t have to be black or white, one or none…

The people who shape your perception of love are your heart’s teachers. Letting them go is hard. Seeing how important they were shouldn’t be.


Find Me On Ophelia’s Webb Today

I was flattered to be a part of Ophelia’s Webb’s Pas de Deux Series and my post is up today, if you’re interested in another word vomit about love and whatnot. Seriously, this blog is a teacup full of emo lately. It’s like watching the Bachelor, but only the part where they interview him and he’s like “Gosh, love is so hard!”.

Anyway, a slice of the post:

I’m too much of a romantic or something. Maybe I just don’t like being wrong. I guess no one likes being wrong, but when things fell apart recently I think the hardest part for me was that the goodness didn’t win out.

That goodness is always what draws me in. It’s gotta be really special, you know? Special in a way that it seems crazy not to run at the world together, no matter how improbable that seems on paper. A goodness that seems more important than any hiccups or challenges could be, now or tomorrow.

So you take a dive.

Check it out here, and check out the perspectives on Love here.

A Letter To A Friend

What up buddy.

Wanted to say hello, and glad to hear the named baby is still the sex you thought she was:)  Abigail is going to rule the world, man.

I cannot wait to meet her.

Your wife’s a wonderful blogger. She’s a natural, and I say that with some experience. She’s so engaging and presents herself in a such a genuine way. Most bloggers go through a let down period a few months after they start, because the engagement and community around their writing hasn’t really taken off yet, or seems like a mountain to achieve, because the people who have managed to build a great community around their blog seem so far ahead and don’t always do a great job of explaining how they got there.  How they reached that point at which lots of people are invested in what they say and think and experience.

I’d encourage her to power through. I’m so focused elsewhere right now that my own readers probably feel a bit detached from me and what I’m going through, but I know the people who are sharing their life with huge and wonderful communities, and one of the reasons I give so much of myself to 20 Something Bloggers is because it affords me the opportunity to watch bloggers create magic for their readers, their friends and families, and their desire to write and share.

Most bloggers don’t even blog in order to gather that community, but it’s predominantly why most bloggers end up loving blogging. I think writing about your experiences is courageous, when you do it in public, and when other people…people you don’t even know…offer you their thoughts and perspectives on what you’ve tried to describe, you can’t help but begin to care about them too.

Anyway, I love the insight into your new life I’ve had lately, and I’m so excited to watch you be a father. You’re sense for family was what made you you in every place I saw you; you’re a natural and you’re made of everything it takes to nurture truly lasting relationships.

I can see how much you love your new wife. I can see how you couldn’t see past her.

Abigail is incredibly lucky to have you as her father, which may take her a good twenty years to figure out:) We all know it, though, before she’s even joined us.

I know this is a bit of an odd letter to send an old friend, it being located here and it being so intently focused not on you, but on the two women you’ve brought into your heart, but I think you live for your friends and family, and to see you live for those two warms my heart. For a while there, I think we kind of lived for one another, and our inner circle was nothing short of family.

Your new family is amazing, sir…it’s exciting and inspiring and beautiful.

Tinkering With Love

Danny & Annie on Vimeo on Vimeo

“Being married is like getting a color television set…you never want to go back to black and white.”

This is priceless, so I thought it fit to test out a few new tools I’m trying to get set up to share more via the blog, and I’m hoping to do so without overwhelming you.

Happy holiday weekend, everyone…I hope you’re swimming through great weather, great food, and endless smiles.

The One About My Very Best Girlfriend

I’m not sure if I mentioned that Chalise is getting married.

I wrote this a while back while I was living in Wicker Park and I was running the neighborhood with Chalise (hat tip to Tankboy, who’s kind of the area’s OG).

Chalise is the most wonderful woman I know that I don’t technically share blood with.  The person who’s heart beats at the very same pace as mine.  The girl who set the bar for love in my life, because true love is mostly about friendship.

I watched her life of love firsthand.  I knew most of the men involved, and I saw her ride the roller coaster we all ride as we navigate the labrynth of our heart’s quest for a twin.  I saw the ups and downs.

In every way I always gave Chalise the room she needed to figure out who she wanted to be.  Our friendship was sort of about that…in college years would pass and we’d pick up like it was yesterday.

That was the thing; even when we were teenagers she was different.  She was edgy and confident and averse to anything but her will.  She is probably the reason I have ever felt the confidence to just trust my gut in the face of the most insane things it suggested.  Over and over and over again I’ve heard people say things like “everyone wishes they were Chalise” when what they meant was “everyone wishes they had an intimate relationship with ignoring their inhibition and plunging into life to see what actually happens”.

That kind of life is one wrought with uncertainty and challenges, and especially when it comes to falling in love with someone.  Men had the hardest time trusting their connection to her.  They wanted evidence of it, often, and as such found themselves devoid of the confidence that caught her eye in the first place.

Ironically, I saw men doubting her.  One of the most loyal and genuine people I have ever known in my life.

That may sound as if my best friend made boys of men, but those men took from her the one thing she needed; someone who could let her truly explore the world and her place in it.

Yeah, some decent guys lost a girl they thought they loved.  They probably did love, actually.

But I saw her as a victim too.

She loved hard and fast and she brings more passion to a conversation about nothing than world leaders bring to battle.  Hers was never a mission of exploitation, and she tried harder and harder to reason with the way relationships turned into less than they should have been.  She wanted them to work and she tried and tried and tried.

Until the day her sister got married, and she found him.

I think the day I met him, I knew it was over.

The girl is now everything she was meant to be.  Fully confident to be herself and stupidly in love with someone who knows it.

In love with someone who does his life too.  Someon who walks outside every day and does it his way.

This weekend is the joint bachelor/bachelorette party that Chalise and Ghasson are throwing in the mountains near Denver, Colorado, and if there was one place on Earth I could put myself right now, that’s where it would be.

What Love Taught You About Work

I just dug up this post from my unfinished drafts, nearly a year ago.  I may have posted it; I honestly have no idea.  Either way, I chopped out 500 words, and thought I’d share.

Every day you work, you’re learning to be a better lover.

Every day you love, you’re equipping yourself professionally.

The two are quite common experiences.  It might be useful to consider them in harmony.

Actions and Words

Love is undoubtedly proven through the things that you do, as opposed to the things you might say.

Empty words and broken promises leave an enormous impact on lovers, co-workers, customers and clients.

People will always prioritize their most reliable relationships; we date the most attentive and trustworthy, and we’re loyal to affectionate professional relationships.

Ideas aren’t enough these days.  Execute.

Are you talking about what you’ll do with your life, or are you doing something to make it happen?

The First Date

A first impression portrays possibility.

Trust is a product of transparency, connection, and honesty.  Your quirks, nuances, oddities, and uniqueness fuel the strength of your strongest relationships.  Embrace them with friends and lovers.  Leverage them in your professional life.

At work, you should be repeatedly seeking second dates.  Although, if a relationship is toxic, inappropriate, or simply not going anywhere, it’s time to break up.

Do you treat your pursuit of purpose as if you want a second date?

Time In The Trenches

Falling in love is a product of perseverance and commitment.  Your approach to love changes drastically as you mature.  Your personal relationships mature through a process of learning and patience.

When it comes to love, you never skip the part where you learn your way around someone.

As we work, our ambition can preempt that diligence.

You’re likely surrounded by resources and experience.  Your career will stand on your ability to absorb wisdom, insight and feedback.

Are you in touch with your inexperience?  Do you seek out guidance and expertise?

Community Matters

The community around your love life is vast, and has a significant impact on friendships and romance.

We’ve learned to be hyper-conscious of our social circles.  The rewards it offers are endless; community, support, friendship, and fun.

The perils it can deliver in the face of dishonesty or selfishness are hard-learned, never forgotten.

Your pursuit of purpose involves a similar community.  In many cases, this community is significantly larger than your social circle.

You are being interpreted and assessed by that group nearly constantly these days, so stand tall, take the higher ground, and offer value.  Distribute respect and support.

Lead by example, because people are looking to be lead.

Better Yourself

The strongest relationships are between people who make one another better versions of themselves.  Great relationships value individuality as opposed to over-dependence.

Produce something valuable to your field.  Engage thought leaders.

Take on projects that interest you.  Create.

You don’t have to be at a startup to invent, launch, or develop new and exciting ideas.

Just trying will usually spice up your relationships.

You Don’t Know Everything

Take what you do know, and apply it to what you don’t.

We typically learn about love a lot earlier than we learn about work.

Love is work.

Work is about relationships.

You may not know everything, but between the two you know quite a bit.

You Women Are My Valentines

I’ve spent my whole life surrounded by incredible women.

My mother, bless her, is the epitome of pure love.

She’s a woman who’s conquered every inch of her heart and shows everyone around her what it means to really be human.  She loves harder than anyone I know, and she raised me to do the same.

My darling sisters attack life with wide open eyes and unabashedly caring hearts, the spark in every room they enter.  They radiate the kind of beauty Kings built Empires for, and every day I’m not around them I miss a little piece of myself.

If you only knew the kind of people I got to call family.

I have some thirty odd cousins, maybe more, and an overwhelming majority of them are women.  The kind of women they write books about; women who cut through life with love and rigor and a fierce prowess that demands nothing but goodness and a grounded sense of humor.  They want to know you, everything about you, because they want to know how to love you.  Everyone in sight is family, in our family.

I boast adoring Aunts, quirky and matriarchal, overflowing with wisdom of the heart.  Their undercurrent is fueled by an innate sense of family and homestead; life is life, and it’s nothing without the people you love.

My truly magnanimous grandmother, sharply navigating a long and storied life of deep belief and tradition, left cancer in her wake and walks among the Saints, a maven of Queens, New York.

Might we all live a life as full as hers.

To that I add a circle of girlfriends to slay dragons.

The most beautiful, caring, hilarious and intelligent women this planet’s got skipping around it.  World changers and nurturers, all of them show me on a regular basis how simple life really is.

I believe that the entire history of mankind’s battle between heart and mind is running through every woman alive, and the few that I’m fortunate enough to call friends each in their own way reveal the savviest navigation of that balancing act.  My heart beats for you, misses you dearly, and would stop in its tracks without each of you in my life.

You women shape my world.

You women frame my expectations.  You women shine a light on how we got here, and what tomorrow looks like.

You women are my heart and soul.

You women are my Valentines.

Love Harder

Just before I left to ‘visit’ Canada, I got wind of a little internet awesomeness that was going to happen right around my departure, and I couldn’t resist being a part of it.

Check it out below.  It’s really cool.  I sing, people.


The quandry: We feel terrible. Just horrible. And oh so helpless… if only there was something we could DO for them.

The answer: Ummmm. Did you forget that WE ARE THE INTERNET?!?!!??! And also, Yes We Can!!!

The result: Brandy and your Hot Awesome Dude… this one’s for you. Love, The Internet.


Our Plea

Our friend Brandy is a brilliant writer, a wonderful teacher, and a generous friend.  And she is in love with a man who has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Bloggers are rallying around en effort to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Fund in his name.  For the price of a cinnamon dolce latte, half-caf, hold the whip, you can be part of an effort to cure a disease that affects approximately 750,000 people worldwide.

Every dollar brings us a dollar closer to a cure.  And every donation brings a sliver of hope to a girl who needs all the hope she can get.

What You Can Do

  • Give. Be part of a worldwide effort to cure a disease that affects approximately 750,000 people worldwide.  Every dollar helps.
  • Pass it on. Forward this story to five people.  Share this blog post.  Become a fan on Facebook.
  • Love harder. Life is short, love is unbending, and no one knows what could happen next. Tell someone you love them today.

Where Your Money Goes

  • The American Institute of Philanthropy recently named The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation one of the best organizations to give to in terms of their accountability and use of resources.
  • By working closely with researchers, clinicians and partners in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, the MMRF has helped bring multiple myeloma patients four new treatments that are extending lives around the globe.
  • The MMRF has advanced twenty Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. They need your support to advance these clinical research programs and accelerate the development of better, more effective treatments.
  • The MMRF’s Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative recently became the first to sequence the multiple myeloma whole genome in its entirety.
  • A whopping 98% of your donation to the MMRF will be used immediately to support high-priority multiple myeloma research.
  • With diminishing funding for early stage drug development and the next myeloma treatments not expected to be approved until 2011, the MMRF desperately needs your help.

You can see Brandy’s Story here.  Trust me, it’s not something you’ll want to miss.





The blog community is an amazing one…I’ve said that for years.

For a bunch of people who’ve largely never met to come together in secret to make a video for someone they largely haven’t met, just because it’s the right thing to do, says a lot about everyone involved.  I feel fortunate to have joined up.

Magnificent People You Are

There’s  a cool breeze rolling through Chicago tonight and I sit here thinking about leaving indefinitely.

Whenever I sit and contemplate what it means to relocate I keep coming back to the idea that it’s impossible to know what it’s like until you do it.  Relocating your life is going to be a very different experience depending on the point in your life in which you do it.  Sure, if you moved last year and you’re moving again this year, there may be some continuity between the experiences.

I’ve lived here for roughly seven years now.

Before my five in California I lived here my whole life.

Idling down Damen Avenue, the throughway that’s connected each of the apartments I’ve lived in while here, my eyes hopscotched back and forth across the street in front of me, from one storefront to another, one restaurant to another.

These places are all places I wonder if I’ll miss.  I can’t always tell if my nostalgia at the forefront of departure is inflating my attachment to the places that make this city unique, tasty, and interesting.  Probably a bit.

There’s no question about some.  Mac’s American Pub, our relationship is infinite.

I do know, without question, that all I can think about when I ponder my appreciate, adoration, and love for this city is the people in it.

This place full of places is full of people who really look at you.

People who listen, and smile, and laugh, even when things are tough.

The friends I have here are everything to me.

Every corner of my experience in Chicago is painted with the faces of a hugely long list of wonderful, interesting, supportive, hilarious men and women that I have to leave now.  A group of magnificent human beings that I feel privileged to call friends.

You’re my childhood friends.  My college friends.  My co-workers.  My soccer friends.  My blogger friends.  My twitter friends, craigslist friends, facebook friends, and music scene friends.  My nightlife friends.

My oldest friends, and my newest friends.

I will deeply, deeply miss all of you.