Monday, March 31, 2008


Friday night rolled around, and Emily and I sat in our apartment. The time was 8 p.m., and while we were perfectly content to sit and enjoy each others company, we were also struck with the realization that it was Friday night, and we were sitting at home with each other. Which isn't a bad thing by any means, but after an entire day of sitting at home studying for a take home midterm I was ready to climb the walls and was itching to do something other than stare at my computer (and let's be honest, facebook friends don't really count on a Firday night). While not usually one to bend to social and cultural pressures and norms, Emily was also feeling the need to go be social, but the option of going to a party where she would be possibly meet new and interesting people and definately be subjected to drunken antics by usually intelligent people was not incredibly appealing.

We decided to get dressed up. Oh! I wish I had pictures to post. I, in a baby doll dress with short black leggings, fishnets and heeled black boots. Quite the outfit, and the only way to make it work was by wearing it with a whole lot of confidence. Or under a long thick jacket (it was very cold outside). But it was nothing compared to Emily in a black leather skirt and wide red leather belt. Oh-la-la! She claimed it made her look slutty, but really, is that such a bad thing on a bored Friday night? She looked great.

Now, dressed and ready to go, we decided we really ought to go somewhere. So off to the trains and out to the West Village. Emily had seen a small jazz club hidden in a basement somewhere there, and so we made our way to Small's Jazz club, a delightful little dive that made me feel like I was in a Woody Allen movie (speaking of which, I took one of those love life quizzes and if my love life were a movie it would be Annie Hall. I am pretty sure that is not a good thing.). But before we got into the club, we had to wait in line for a while.

And that is when we met Mitch.

Mitch is the doorman, bouncer, money-collector, jazz expert extrodinaire who sits at the bottom of a very steep set of stairs, tapping his toes to the sweet smooth sounds coming from the club. He wears his hat like a 1940s movie star, at a jaunty angle, except that his is a knit beanie with a shiny button on top. Maybe it was his eyes that gave him that Humphrey Bogart air, big and soulful with eyelids half closed, like the world wasn't going to rush him. What I do know is that his running conversation with everyone and with no one in particular was one peppered with information to fill books on jazz, group theory, and the slang of one smooth alley cat. You should've been there with us, as Emily and I sat on the stairs waiting and trying to not show too much leg, listening to a jazz ballad and Mitch assuring us that in jut moments, when the song is over, the "ballad effect" would take place, which meant that people would be so moved by the beauty of the music that it was almost painful, and would decide to put their jackets and scarves on and make their way out the door. And lo and behold, the ballad effect took place, with a series of couples coming out, brushing past us as they meandered up the stairs, still tapping their toes to the strains of music following them. A regular, an old man with a blue coat and a little wife to make sure he made it up the stairs after one too many drinks, handed Mitch a $5, his usual tip after a good jazz show, and the two exchanged banter on the proficiency of the sax player. People wandered out, and Emily and I wandered it, leaving Mitch at the door to enjoy the music alone, or maybe not alone, talking to the pictures of famous jazz musicians who had once played that very same room.

The jazz show was all that he had promised it would be. the atmosphere, a tiny room, filled to the brim with music and energy from the live performers. And the ballad was so beautiful it hurt.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Elna Baker at The Rejection Show

Oh you make me laugh.

I saw her about 2 weeks ago at the Moth storytelling and she was pretty funny. but this one-- HILARIOUS. I laughed so hard that I whimpered softly (because I was trying not to disturb the people around me). Oh, it is so sad how much of this i identify with!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

oh, you know, just hanging out at the UN.

One day, this will be my seat. seriously.

One of the reasons I've been too busy to post on my little blog was that I spent two weeks at the UN for the Commission on the Status of Women. I got to attend as a representative for the Worldwide Organization for Women (website pending...)
and meet the other women who are members, and they are absolutely beautiful, incredible women with such a passion to do good and recognize the good that women can do in this world. I am such a lucky girl to be part of this!

So, this was the 52nd meeting, with women coming from all over the world to discuss issue pertaining to the status of women, this year focusing on financing for gender equality and empowerment of women. And really, isn't that where the power really is? We can talk all that we want about empowering women through education and health care and government involvement, but the way to make these things happen is to 1) dedicate money to these very important issues and 2) include women in the budgetary process. It was so fascinating to go to these meetings and learn about how this can be done. Ah, the public finance nerd in me coming out! One of the most interesting topics that was addressed in a few panels was the value of unremunerated labor-- the work of unpaid caretakers, or mothers. So much focus is on how to get women involved in the labor market to contribute to the GDP, so that they can be valued "economically". I understand that it is really the easiest way to value labor according to the wage rate, but there is so much unpaid labor that is done that really contributes so much to society. Women are the main contributers, and in some countries (I can't remember which ones were measured right now) if the unpaid labor of women were measures, the GDP would increase by 1/3. That is a huge amount, and a huge labor contribution to society that we can't do without, not just economically. The social value of the work of stay at home parents and volunteer work done is unmeasurable. I met some really wonderful women from a Mother's group in Sweden, who were there to promote the value of women who chose to be stay at home mothers, and the value of mothers in general. It was a really interesting and eye-opening experience for me, and I think I really came to understand some ideas of feminism that I've been thinking about. I love women, and how diverse we are. I love the influence we are for good on all parts of society-- within the home and family, in the workforce, in politics, in our communities, in the world in general. There is value in every women, and the choices that we make deserve to be valued. All the choices. I am such an appreciator of the women who have come before me, who have made it so that I have choices and no one way of life is forced upon me. I love that and appreciate the early feminists-- the bra-burners and the Relief Society presidents. As a feminist, I was reminded that the value of women comes in what we chose to do, and that there is value in being a mother, being a homemaker, being a teacher, being in the PTA, if that is what women chose to do. In fact, those are areas where we can really do so much good. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only way to be a woman-- not at all! I am so excited that there is a woman running for president! And I look forward to years of doing good in my community, in my home, in a career of my choosing, and in any way that I can (playing with orphans, eating local, wearing pretty shoes). The key here, I think, is that as women, we support each other, applaud each other, and make the path a little bit easier for our sisters worldwide to also live in a way that makes them happy.
As a local, I took some of my new friends over to the MoMA and over to Serendipity to feed our souls with some beautiful artwork and then our bellies with delicious sundaes! Yummy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

blog-catching (up)

I miss you. I promise I'll write again soon, k? But first I really, really need to finish my public finance paper and studying for my policy midterm. After that, i promise I'll go with you to a nice quite corner and spend hours alone with you, telling you all about the mermaid theme park and hanging out at the UN and my cute new boots.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Baby sister and the diamond ring

So I got an email the other day from a young man, wondering, hypothetically, how he would go about making sure that a diamond was conflict-free, you know, just in case he was thinking of buying one. This young man happens to be dating my little sister Vilja. And he gave her a diamond ring tonight.

(momentary pause to freak out. I'm freaking out. AHHHH! SO AWESOME! CRAZY!!)

Okay, now that is out of my system. It is kind of surreal, that my little sister is getting married. This is the same girl who I shared a room with and would always convince our mom that she was too little and sleepy to help us clean the mess that she had made, and then, with the door closed, would pop up in bed and say "Clean faster girls!" and laugh at us. This is the same girl who we could always convince to go get stuff for us because she "had the youngest legs"-- as if the rest of us were crippled or something with broken hips! This is the girl who I played barbies with and orphans (yes, we always played orphans, and it was always during wartime) and all sorts of things. This is a girl with giant seal eyes that make you give in to anything for her.

Doesn't she sound like such a little baby and way too young to get married? I suppose that this is also the girl who is an incredible writer and soon to get her BA in English from BYU. And also the same one who just came home from a wonderful mission to Estonia. And a girl completely capable and gifted at everything, including being nice and sarcastic and funny and spiritual and serious at just the right moments. Of course she's getting married. Jordan would've been a fool to let her go, and Vilja has always had such a good head on her shoulders that she wouldn't waste her time with someone who wasn't worth it.

I'm glad Jordan is no fool. I'm sure he has no idea what he is getting into, marrying into our Hynynen clan (bwahahahahaha!). I'm glad that when my baby sister called and told me that she is engaged, she said that she is going to have the best life ever because they have so much fun together. I'm glad she gets to marry her best friend. What a beautiful world.

Now, being the older sister, you may wonder if I am not just slightly jealous, as I sit here alone, well on my way to being an old cat lady. Of course I am, who wants to be alone? But, that feeling doesn't get much attention when I am so thrilled about Vilja's wedding, and realizing how incredibly happy I am in my own amazing existence in this beautiful life.

Congrats, Twiga!