Friday, December 31, 2010

My Most Fascinating People of 2010

My Top Ten Most Fascinating People of 2010

By Brigid Ruberson

10. Kate Middleton

I still have a tear-stained Kleenex in a scrapbook that I cried on while watching Princess Diana’s funeral. I remember sitting in my bedroom making a cassette tape for my friend Darren on his mission, when my sister came in to tell me that the People’s Princess had been in an accident and later died. I was devastated. I come from a line of women grossly intrigued with the royal family and the Kennedys. I was close in age to Prince William when I sat at 2 in the morning watching him follow behind his mother’s casket, and I’ve kept an eye on him ever since. He’s a seemingly good guy (watch Matt Lauer interview him and his brother Prince Harry, you'll soon see what I mean) who has done good things with his life and now he is marrying this fantastic commoner girl. Kate Middleton has, with William, brought being royal back to being a person. They are not going to have servants and they don't put on airs. She is stylish but not glamorous and they both seem very down-to-earth. I like that they are setting the example of being civilized and in a totally ordinary sense though in extraordinary circumstances in an increasingly uncivilized world.

9. Ashton Kutcher

I did not see any of Aston Kutcher’s movies this year, but I did start tweeting for the first time and as everyone on Twitter knows, he’s the Twitter godfather. He is a good-looking, famous guy and could be using that for a number of self-rewarding pursuits, instead he uses it to take care of his family and to bring attention to world issues. He and Demi Moore have raised millions of dollars for causes from Haiti to AIDS and from mosquito nets to the child sex trade. I could see myself easily falling into a hedonistic spiral at the knowledge that 2,000,000+ people were reading what I had to say every day, but the majority of what he shares is to bring awareness to people who are in need and I find that noble.

8. Christina Ruberson

This gorgeous creature is my sister-in-law and she is fantastic. She has dealt with divorce, moving, financial challenges, school challenges, and re-entering the dating world this past year. Whew! What intrigues me about Christina is her humble approach to everyday life. She would be the last person to describe herself as fascinating, but she faces every eventuality in her seemingly everyday life with a sense of class and perseverance. She expects no accolades. I love listening to her plugging along. I wish I could be less sensational in my approach to life and more consistent as she is. She expects a lot of herself, but is not dependent on other people to help her hit that goal. She defines who she is and what is important to her, and no one can touch that. I would love to be that clear on myself.

7. Sandra Bullock

Isn’t it always the way, that as soon as you reach the apex you realize the mountain is made of sand? What a year this woman has had. She was finally recognized with an Oscar for her professional achievements and I was watching her pre-award-show interview with Barbara Walters when she talked about how much she dearly loved her husband. Even in that interview, before her world came down, she was self-effacing and humorous as she always is. After it came out that her husband, whom she’d just spent weeks pouring out gratitude for, had been cheating on her, America was enraged and so was I. Who cheats on Sandra Bullock?! Her story became even more complicated when it was revealed that she had adopted a son. In true Sandy style though, she stepped back into the spotlight with that same sense of humor and a sense of class. She stepped up to be a mom and to be a woman when she had every excuse to let those things go. What a survivalist! May I show such grace when I face such grave trials!

6. William Beckett

The lead singer of The Academy Is…, William Beckett is more to me than a great performer, which he is. The man is a poet and a philosopher and he uses his popularity, mostly with teenagers, to get them to think. He is intelligent and he continues to keep himself informed. He is also a family man. What impresses me about him is how seamlessly he moves from one point in his life to another without lagging at all in his popularity, because he is true to himself and honest about what’s of value to him. His poetry and lyrics are raw and real and beautiful. Everything I suspected about him was confirmed during an AP Podcast interview I listened to this year in which he discussed a lot of his philosophies about life, family, the music business, and individuality. He’s a great human being and I am happy to have had the chance to meet him.

5. Robert Pattinson

Alright, before you roll your eyes and scroll away, give me a shot. The man is funny. I am not a Twi-hard. I have read most of the books and seen the movies, but I have spent a great deal more time watching and reading interviews with this person who is living a truly bizarre life. He wants to act. He thought he had hit his pinnacle after he was in the 4th Harry Potter and then his life exploded. He’s screamed at everywhere and beloved obsessively by many. His life is strange and he recognizes the ridiculousness of it all. He is also quite self-effacing and is actually quite clever. I lent no credibility to Twilight until I heard him say in an interview that you can’t take Edward Cullen too seriously because all the books are being told from a teenage girl’s perspective. He’s intelligent and shy and trying to make interesting choices with his career, which he is. I continue to be fascinated by this seemingly regular guy in the midst of a cultural phenomenon. And he makes me laugh.

4. Thomas S. Monson

This year has been one of the more controversial as late for the Mormon religion and for those of us who subscribe, our eyes are all on the church’s President. I do not envy his position. He is a voice of moderation and morals in a time of excess and trashiness. In addition to his obligations, he took over from a leader, Gordon B. Hinckley, who was beloved and had held his position for quite some time. President Monson never lectures, he shares, and the impression left behind is that you can decide for yourself. He speaks a lot about kindness, “Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the peacefulness in my life is that I always feel he is a haven, a place without judgment where everyone has something worth sharing. He makes me want to be a better person, which I suppose is the point.

3. Russell Brand

An odd follow-up to a religious leader, but I am being honest about the degree to which people have made an impression upon my life this year. I cannot even remember how this person entered into my world, but the more I learn about who Russell Brand has become, the more I believe in humanity and in my own ability to reach my potential. He is a comic genius. He has a seedy past, but he is honest about it and about what he has learned from it. I have just finished his first book and I’ve spend a good deal of time listening to podcasts and interviews. He’s quick, sharp, creative and intelligent. As if all of that were not enough, he cares. The man is as dead-set on making people laugh as he is on making them feel loved and I like that about him. He has had a horrible past and somehow managed to crest all of that and land square in the middle of exactly where he aspired to be. There is truly nobody like him and he resides in that truth with vigor. I have yet to tire of learning more about him and dearly hope to make his acquaintance some day.

2. Ginny Lee

It may seem like pandering being that Ginny is my best girlfriend, but one of the reasons she is one of my favorite people is because there is so much about her that I admire. I cannot begin to fathom all that she’s been witness to the past 12 months. Her family should be a reality show. Yet within the vortex of this chaos resides this beautiful, intelligent, enthusiastic person. For whatever reason, Ginny’s life is disproportionately filled with obstacles to overcome and she overcomes each of them with grace. She doesn’t tend to take things personally and though she has moments of frustration, she generally laughs about any misfortunes that befall her and soldiers on. I so admire that her opinion of herself and her sense of who she is are completely undisturbed and uninfluenced by those around her. People don't get to push Ginny around and I appreciate that she has planted that seed within me as well. She buoys me up by virtue of who she is and reminds me to be unapologetic about who I am.

1. Joshua R. Ruberson

Drum roll please! Josh has had a quite a year. The past twelve months have candidly presented him with a no-frills perspective on his weaknesses and in typical fashion, Josh nods and ponders and then moves forward. I am sure he would not use this same description of himself, but Josh is adaptable. He is always thinking of the next way he wants to better and challenge himself and his list of goals is extensive. How many people do you know who, in their free time, pursue calculus, meteorology, business, international news and history, as well as reading a few literary classics a week. He has incredible insight and is remarkably intelligent. In addition, he has incredible self-discipline. What Josh fails to recognize within himself is a lot, but he continuously affects the world around him and individuals in a positive way. I am so impressed with him as a person. He has attained so much of what I strive to become, in his balance and priorities, that I would be thrilled to count him amongst my friends, much less my family. It continues to be my privilege to be his wife and I am all alight to see what becomes of us in the coming year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Owe Ya One...Apparantly

Tis the season of gifting and praising, decorating and family. So many sources of chaos banding together to the tune of "Sleigh Ride". I watched the Christmas episode of Community this past week, a show I do not usually watch, but the message was that Christmas can be what you want it to be. I liked that.
Jesus and family are the reason for my season and that means major family arrival countdowns as I have a lot of family out-of-state. I like for my friends to know they are on my mind this time of year, so I send out a LOT of Christmas cards and I also will be sending out a few homemade gifts for the ladies most on my mind.
At our house, we started a new tradition last year wherein we open presents from Jesus first, then our presents from Santa. After a moment reflecting on the gifts we receive from our Savior, I am more at ease with the craziness of gifts and the colored paper explosion in my living room.
So all of this being said, my least favorite part of the holidays is the feeling of obligation. If the holiday is what I want it to be, then I don't want to spend time somewhere I don't feel welcome or feel that I have to participate in an activity or tradition that I never sponsored in the first place. Every year I get closer and closer to having the courage to say, "I won't participate in that, cause I would much rather be doing this." Sometimes this is sitting at home watching a movie, and I don't want to have to justify that.
Another frustrating part of Christmas, especially in these economic times, is the feeling that one MUST exchange gifts. I love giving and receiving gifts, but they are a gesture. A gift says, I can and did go beyond the expectations of our friendship because I appreciate you particularly. I don't need a gift from a friend or family member to know I mean something to them. Some of the best gifts end up being the opportunity to see people and experience the holiday with them. I really do not like being roped into gift exchange either. A gesture should be an invitation, not an expectation. As soon as a gift becomes mandatory, it becomes stressful to me.
My point is, whatever you do with your time and your money this season, let it be doing something that enhances what Christmas means to YOU. If that means an orgy of tinsel spread from tree to rooftop, excellent. If that means hours spent in charitable services for others, great! And if that means opting out of a few things to spend some couch time watching "Elf" and "It's a Wonderful Life", more power to you. The reason for the season is joy. May you find joy in every choice you make and moment you spend this holiday!

Friday, December 3, 2010

give up now!

I don't know if my complex stems from being a woman, being Irish, being Mormon, being a mother, or being myself, but I tend to feel like I am always falling short of what I want be. I do believe in my own potential. My ideal for myself is quite clearly outlined in my mind.
Ideally, I would actually keep my house clean all the time and cook and bake at least twice daily. I would participate in all available church activities and read scriptures and pray daily. Everyday I would style my hair and do my makeup and wear well chosen quirky but classic outfits. My ideal self is a great wife who never loses her temper and the nurturing and loving mother who always stays in control of situations with her kids while peppering their childhoods with whimsy and fond memories. In addition to all of this, I would be a journalist and scores of people would love reading my interviews with anyone and everyone from the everyman to the famous people who love to sit down with me, and my latest book would be progressing daily at a clip.
What disturbs me are two things: one, that I wake up expecting to see this person every day and consider myself a failure if I don't and two, that I actually come pretty close to hitting a couple of these things and allot myself zero credit for the accomplishment.
How much leeway should I give myself on hitting my personal ideal? If I accomplish nothing of my priorities, how do I define myself as valuable? What is a realistic expectation? If I don't push myself, then how will I ever move forward? I struggle with these questions and more. It is incredible to me how easily I can draw out the good I see in others, yet how intolerant I am of my own insufficiencies.
Why shouldn't I just give up now?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

better to have loved and lost....

I want to talk about vulnerability.
I am an extremely empathetic person. I once found a DVD, years ago, at the library that was about "The Trait of High Sensitivity". A psychiatrist did a load of research throughout her years of experience and realized a trend amongst some of her patients who fit into a set of common characteristics. These varied from the way the person felt walking into a room to ranking of psychic ability. Just as there are super tasters, there are super feelers. I took the test, and I answered "yes" to almost every question. Now, what I learned from this super scientific exercise in self-discovery was that it's not all in my head.
When I walk into a room, I sense the emotional atmosphere of the room. This involves more than just observing the people, it is an innate sense within me that I cannot turn off. In addition, when I meet a person, I get a very clear intuitive feeling about them. Most people I feel a very general everything-is-ok kind of feeling about, but some people I feel kinetically drawn to and rarely I get such a negative vibe I literally almost vomit. These feelings have been an incredible blessing in some ways. The negative ones have kept me out of some bad situations and the good ones have connected me to some of the people whose energy fuels my life. I do not choose how much information I get though.
Being in big crowds can be overwhelming. I will be inundated with information coming from multiple directions. I find it difficult to focus on just one thing if each thing vying for my attention is at the same volume or intensity. I cannot talk on the phone if the tv is on. I cannot talk to a person if the tv is on. Having children has presented to me unique challenges in paying full attention.
The other challenge I face, is that particularly negative emotions give of much stronger and more affecting vibes than those similar that are positive. I physically react to tension. I can walk into a room, and perhaps you have experienced this too, and sense that someone is arguing or that something wrong is going on. This makes it almost impossible for me to feel anything else when I am around people arguing or even not speaking to each other.
I suppose a person in my position has two choices: learn to block everything out, or make peace with letting everything in. I have chosen the latter. I can easily see multiple sides of a situation and imagine a person's experience or thought process or feelings. I do not hate people. I cannot comprehend hating people, because everyone has reasons for what they do. It can be exhausting and painful for me to get close to people and know what they are suffering or to feel negativity directed at me due to a lack of that same understanding. But instead of being drawn away from people because of those experiences, I find myself all the more fascinated by them and drawn in to better understanding them. For all the information I get being near a person, speaking to them and asking them questions; hearing them respond to those questions with honesty, is the most thrilling and fascinating experience I can imagine.
I get hurt. I get rejected. I get overwhelmed. I get altered. But I would much rather dive in to a person and come out injured, than wait on the sidelines and distract myself.
Before I conclude, I must give credit to my fabulous friend Leah who is now writing a blog and stirring up all kinds of things in my sometimes functioning pregnant brain.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chocolate goes down bitter with political commentary

One of the few reasons I was glad to leave Bountiful back in the day was a chocolate shop in the neighborhood named Mrs. Cavanaugh's. I'm not sure who owns this particular location, but I can tell you about the person. They have opinions. The marquee is usually laden with two messages, one about upcoming sales and purchase suggestions, example: chocolate is a great gift for your Thanksgiving hostess. The other side currently touting a message about how we should save the U.S. from the travesty that is the United Nations.
I suppose if one works hard to purchase a business, it should be their right to say whatever they like on their marquee, but I'll say this much, that I will never visit this store and it may or may not put me entirely off the franchise (a small victory for See's).
Candy, to me, is a whimsical and happy part of life. I LOVE candy and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. I remember my first visit to a supermarket in Germany and seeing the chocolate aisle...oh yes, a whole well as the variety of gummies, marzipan, and other treats. Candy is fun. Kids lives somewhat revolve around it, I know mine did. My sister and I used to load up our change and hike to the local 7-11 to buy as much sugar as we could.
Must this staple of childhood and joy of adulthood be laden with political commentary? Can one not even escape the realities of the world momentarily to buy a caramel? Not at the local Mrs. Cavanaugh's. Thanks anyway. I'll settle for the more crude Snickers to avoid the parade-destroying opinions of this shop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a new blog could be a good thing

well what should you know about me? my name is brigid and i write and go to concerts and raise crazy children, two of them. my husband keeps me sane. i love art. i love baking and cooking. i read a lot of poetry and listen to a lot of npr. in my free time i like to go to museums and galleries, play word twist on facebook, do crossword puzzles and watch project runway and big bang theory. i like to think and i love to spend time getting to know people. i've considered writing biographies or becoming a tv talk show host. i love answering questions too and i'm not shy so ask away!