Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yesterday's Drive up the 5

Yesterday morning the alarm went off at 4:45am. T and I packed the car and were on our way. This is what happened for the next 7 hours:

Guess who was driving?
Orange Trees, #1 and #2 and #3

Some random groves I didn't recognize.

Grapevines, perhaps?

Rolling hills. Lovely.


The hills got bigger as we went further north.



How could anyone mind this drive?


Almost there...

And we arrived. Checked in, and went for a little hike.

T's only response to this sign: "Wild pigs. That can't be good."

I need to get back to listen to this lecture about Exceptional Human Experience (EHEs). As in, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokineses, etc. Very boring, can't you tell? ;)



Thursday, January 29, 2009

Preparations

Today I am making lists, ordering catering, sending emails, closing out travel reports and rerecording my phone's message -

I'm goin outta town!

But, not for fun. For school. Since I'm a "global" student here, I can do most of my work long-distance, so long as I come up to Northern CA for a week at a time twice a year and brave the chilly temperatures, solid-seeming fog and possible mountain lions (which seemed more than possible this time last year as I ducked out, alone, after a night class and had to walk across the deserted presentation center grounds back to my cabin. My hood was up because it was raining, and I couldn't see or hear a thing. That is the moment that you remember "oh, I shouldn't be walking alone, there are mountain lions. I'm the size of a small deer. And if there were a 3' tall cat stalking me right now, I wouldn't be able to hear nor see it. To turn around or not to turn around...crap..."). However, I'm still kicking so my friend the mountain lion(s) did not come out that night.

But I digress. I and T, who I'm dragging along (yay!) will be leaving at 6am in the morning and arriving up by San Jose in the early afternoon. The drive up through CA is amazing; you feel as though you pass through at least 5 entirely different landscapes - cities, countries even, along the way. Feels very European.

So that's where I'm going. And I'll try to post as much as I regularly do but, since you're basically in a bubble while there, there may not be much to write about. Unless y'all wanna hear about some indigenous spirituality stuff, then I'm all over it!

Hmm. Maybe not.

In other news, today there's a conference down the hall. Anyone who's spent time in academia knows that conferences = food, so as I went to make off with a delicious croissant, I chatted with the ladies who work in those offices. Right there at the end, when I had to go back to my office with my buttery and iced coffee cake booty, I just about caught myself saying "thanks, but I have to go take my teeth out before I can eat."

Read teeth to mean "invisalign trays". What started off as a joke has moved into common usage, and now saying that is something I do at least 4 times a day. T and I have gotten some very odd looks at restaurants. The last time it happened I made sure to smile at him, all toothily and stuff, on my walk back to the table where the nosy lady across the aisle could see me. Maybe it's vanity, but I had to prove that at age 25, yes, there are actual teeth in there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

RIP, Uncle Junior

T and I do not agree on multimedia entertainment. Sometimes we'll find a gray area in music, but on movies and TV shows, the things we agree on come along as few and far between.

The issue we have is that his "palette" is just more educated and evolved than mine in that way. He knows about film on a deeper level, so he doesn't like the fluff that I do. He likes things that aren't tied up in pretty bows; where the ending doesn't just mysteriously and nonsensically all come together. In other words, he prefers things that resemble real life more closely.

Not I. Give me a bow any day. If I want to feel the emotional dip and sway of real life, I'll read the newspaper. I watch movies so my mind can play. Passively. (that's also why I don't watch many movies...)

We've reached a middle ground of taking turns. As in, he can pick, then I can too (and I'd like to say right here, sir, that you owe me, like, 3!)

Anyway.

One thing that we don't take turns about is the Sopranos. He really (like, really) loves that show, so I've agreed to watch it. All of it. I'd never seen an episode before I started dating him, and we're now into Season 2. I'm liking the show, although I, along with pretty much everyone I know who watches it, have a much dirtier mouth for a couple hours after an episode than I do at any other time...

Now, to the point of this post. The last episode we watched was roughly a week ago. I did not have the Sopranos on the brain last night for any reason.

Hear what I'm saying? There is no explanation for the following.

Last night I dreamt that I was a Soprano. Not a character that I see on the show, but that I, myself, was related or something. And there was a place out in the middle of nowhere that the family had as a meeting and safe-house, except it was a whole cluster of houses and buildings (kind of like a farm, but there was no farm-type-stuff going on).

There was a meeting happening, or people were hiding from the police, or something. And at one point, I, and other various women in the family, were there alone. Uncle Junior, an actual character on the show, came and was being his usual jerky, egotistical, slightly evil-but-more-pitiful self, who he is on the show. At least, who he is up until the first third of Season 2. If he changes his spots after that, I have no awareness, obviously...

He was doing or saying something stupid, or hateful, and I knew that he was going to be responsible for something even worse (like, a lot of people being murdered or something) soon, and I...

...pulled out a gun and shot him.

In the face.

Right there, in the forehead.

And I didn't feel bad at all! We (the girls) hid the body and all, and it was very awkward when anyone came around looking for him.

There was more to the dream, but that's all I really remember.

I told T about it this morning and he laughed at me, kissed me, told me he loved me, and then said, in the same breath, that I can't make fun of him anymore.

What?!?

My thoughts in the morning were:
#1) Wow, subconsciously I'm a hard-ass.
#2) I mean, I know he's a jerk and all, but how could I not even feel any guilt after putting a hole in this face:

Skeeves me out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crafty

This is the scarf I made.

It's uneven, I made the stitches wrong, and it's kinda, well, ugly.

But I love it, because it's my very first one.

So there.
(the others will be better...I hope)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Knobby

As a result of this past weekend's move, I have inherited a gorgeous and humongous dark wood dresser. T and I are pretty sure it's at least 60 years old (from the manufacturer's stickers inside), and it weighs about 500lbs.

He has given it to me to store some of my clothes in, as my closet isn't big enough (my old room's was bigger). Love him.

Over the years I'm assuming that the knobs fell off because now, where each one should be, and where I bet one was, judging by the ring distressed around the hole through the wood, instead of knobs, there are now disgusting and ugly black braided ropes to pull the drawers in and out with.

Unacceptable.

So, I'm in the market for new knobs.

I'm thinking of some like this.


Thoughts?


Going Beneath

Some reading I was doing this weekend reminded me of this practice, so I've started it up again as of this morning.

I am definitely someone who's guilty of having most of my interactions, and even a lot of my thoughts on any given workday, be "on the surface". As in, the smiley mask goes on my face and the cold polite and friendly lilt goes into my voice, and that's who I "am".

Not that this is a bad thing; my job is to be businesslike and pleasant so I'm sure it's fine as far as that part is concerned.

However, is it really? Don't you waste time that way, fundamental time that later, makes you wonder where the week/month/year(s) went?

So, in the quiet moments as I'm walking from building to building or doing an autopilot task like delivering mail or collating or something similar, I'll be consciously going beneath. To my real thoughts and feelings and ponderings.

It's like letting yourself slowly sink down to the deep end of a swimming pool. Things become quieter, slower, more significant. And then, you can see and interact with and be who you really are.

It's nice.

Just to remember, in the hustle and bustle.

For me, being beneath is noticing the changing seasons and the chill in the air, which'll be gone soon for the entire year. It's actually drinking the water in my mug that sits on my desk and feeling gratitude for its effects on my health and body, rather than letting it sit there for hours until I realize that I'm dehydrated and hurriedly down the whole thing in an effort to stay clear-skinned. It's having a real interaction, even if it's 30 seconds long as I'm signing for a package, rather than a chilly but pleasant professional one.

(hopefully tonight, it'll be enjoying putting my house together after the move rather than seeing all the things that need to be done combine to be a seemingly insurmountable task)

Where's your underneath?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quotes and Murder

Today's quote is:

"Not to know is bad. Not to want to know is worse. Not to hope is unthinkable. Not to care is unforgivable." ~Nigerian Saying


It's a goody.

On another note, my current book-on-cd for the road is:


As I've been listening to it, I've had to wonder if I've ever met a murderer. Or, if I actually know any. In the book everyone thinks the culprit is a little weird anyway, but little do they know, he's a crazy serial murderer guy.

And I work with engineers all day, who are just weird by nature.

But think about it. They're just weird by nature.

Just sayin.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meditation 101

Sit or lie in a way that is comfortable but that doesn’t require much muscle tension. For instance, you can sit without any back support, with your spinal vertebrae stacked like bricks so you’re balancing, not using your muscles to hold you up. Spend a moment making sure that your vertebrae are all balanced, one on top of the other. You may cross your legs or rest your hands on your knees, but you certainly don’t have to. Just make sure that your body is reasonably symmetrical and that no part of you will fall to the ground once your muscles are relaxed, shocking you out of your meditation.

After you are physically settled but while your mind is still busy, set a firm but non-aggressive intention that this will be an easy and effective meditation and that you’ll find no trouble sinking into a meditative state of mind. Hear this intention ring like a gong in your mind. Also set an intention that you will not fall asleep, but remain perfectly awake, although very relaxed.

Bring your attention to your breath. Breathe through your nose and feel the coolness and the gentle brushing sensation of the air in your nostrils. Feel it travel down your throat and into your lungs, filling them from the bottom to the top, as your belly, sides and chest move outward and inward to accommodate the expansion of your lungs.

Start to let the thoughts in your head settle, as muddy water will settle and separate after it is stirred. Feel the clarity of your mind rise to the level of your everyday awareness as the water on top would become clear. Count with your breaths - count to four slowly on the in-breath, pause for a one or two second beat, and do the same for the out-breath - the count and the pause. As you feel the function of your lungs start to improve and your body start to notice its higher-than-normal oxygen level, lengthen the count until you are counting to five, or even eight, on each breath.

Thoughts will flutter and slide through your mind as you’re doing this. Don’t be surprised or dismayed, it is completely normal to have intrusive thoughts throughout all the years that you meditate, but especially (and seemingly endlessly) at first. When a thought occurs to you, gently notice it, do not let it hook you and take you away from what you’re doing but simply notice it, and let it move away, as a lone cloud in the sky would as you are gazing up at it.

Come back to counting your breath.

Relax your body as best you can. Try to get to the point that you feel numb with relaxation. Resist the urge to wiggle your fingers and toes to see where they are - enjoy the floating feeling of your mind once it is freed from the physical sensations of your body.

Feeling your breath and being aware of the relaxation of your body, enjoy the freedom that your mind has. Do not hang on to any of the random thoughts that will present themselves, but let yourself drift from thought to thought without attachment to any.

After a few moments of this, when you feel as if it is time to return, sink back into your body, sit for a moment as you become aware of the sounds in the room and the physical sensations you have (temperature, feel of your clothing, the surface you are seated or lying on), and open your eyes.

Remember to document anything interesting that occurred to you or happened during your meditation. These memories will be priceless once you are a seasoned meditator, especially if you are trying to teach another beginner how.photo from http://www.lamajigme.com/images/yang-meditate.jpg

Big Move

So the boys are moving in this weekend.

That means that this guy will be making delicious meals,


And this guy will be giving me backrubs.


I am very excited.

And not worried about roomate-type things at all. The townhouse is really too big for just my sister and I to rattle around in, and the more the merrier. Maybe now we'll actually use all the rooms, which definitely did not happen in the Pasadena townie. And this way, there'll only be one long drive and not two for when we all want to hang out.

In other news, I have a scratchy throat today. Ergh. I'm guessing it's from the hectic pace of last weekend, along with the weird weather (according to my body. 6 degrees one day, 60 the next, what's going on?....)

So today I will go home and go to bed. Maybe watch yesterday's episode of Lost, then go to bed. And crochet and/or read until I fall asleep. At 6 pm.

Hopefully by Saturday morning I'll be ready to tape boxes and open doors and "supervise" the boys moving furniture...

Just kidding. I'll be carrying stuff too. May even make some cookies.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Carrots on the...Kitchen...Counter?

Last night I met Terry at the door of my house when he came over after work. I was in a pleated blue halter dress with black high heels on. (oh, and dangly earrings. Don't forget those) Dinner was finishing up on the stove (one of my new resolution recipes that I got from a fellow blogger's page a bit back) and it was lovely.

Tonight, we had...

Hot Dogs.

Well, chili dogs.



That were leftovers I copped from work today after a weekly afternoon tea that we have catered.

And we sat on the counter and ate them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Honest Scrap Award


My very first award! That is, I got one I think back when I first started blogging, but I had no idea what that meant, so I'll count this as the first. I do, however, remember that my first ever blogging buddy Amy gave it to me, back in the a-few-months-ago day. Thanks Amy!

This award is from the Polka-Dotted Owl, who is a newer blogger buddy; one of the first people to ever comment on my blog who I hadn't either already known, or blogger-style-stalked and posted a comment first. So, thanks for letting me know that people in the internet abyss actually read my blog. PDO!

These are the rules for the award:

1) Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
2) Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap." Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

Here are my chosen awardees:

1) Amy, of course.
2) GRITS
3) The Bradford Blog
4) SP
5) Elle
6) Katie (although I understand if you take forever to repost; yay for being a new mom!)
7) A Southern Accent

And now, 10 honest things about myself:

1) I have an unhealthy addiction to lip gloss. I think I cried when they discontinued Candy Kisses. Now I'm obsessed with this stuff. Oops, I think I need to re-apply right now...
2) I am at the same time impatient about being finished with school (hello Dr. C in June 2011) and paralyzingly terrified of not being a "student" anymore.
3) I don't look out the window nearly enough.
4) My favorite thing to make is chocolate chip cookies.
5) I sometimes feel guilty when I listen to/read world news because my life is so easy. Even more seldom, I get stuck in a thought loop of figuring out how luck works (more bad than good; like why my life is paradise compared to some, and vice-versa, when nothing was done to deserve it).
6) It makes me more responsible when I have to write things down.
7) I bought a book to record my (supposedly daily) meditations in, in November 2008. I've written 6 entries.
8) Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve T. (are others' relationships like that?)
9) I take some dirty satisfaction in the fact that I'm never really in one place for long. Years ago I asked my friend Amanda if it was hurtful the way I'm always there, then gone, with no warning. She said no, and that I was like Carmen San Diego. I think that started it.
10) I'm a dead-horse-beater. If there's ever anything wrong, I have to talk it. To. Death. (friends of mine who can confirm this, there's no need. :) Ok, you can if you want)

Wedding Weekend Recap

We're definitely into the following week, and I have nearly fully recovered from the craziness that was this weekend. Let me explain.

We flew out Thursday night, after a mixup with the sis (a.k.a. driver to airport) which required us getting an impromptu cab.

I'm not the biggest fan of cab rides. They're always so awkward.

ANYway, after a red eye flight that included plenty of snoring from behind us and uncomfortable positioning, along with clock changes and random layovers -

3 flight delays. I crocheted, T slept on my shoulder in JFK-Kennedy airport. I think a girl across the aisle from us snapped a picture on her phone. What the heck...

-finally, we arrived in Richmond. I picked up my rental car. Oh,

...let me mention. I love California right now. It is freaking cold back East. Brrr.

-I dug out my coat from my checked baggage, hightailed it through the frigid air into the rental car garage, and saw, my rental Buick.

...wait a second...

The last, and only other, time I rented a car I got the little economy one. All weekend (this was coincidentally for another wedding in April '08) I felt like I was driving a matchbox car, and not in a good way.
This time, I decided that, since the economy, compact, and mid-sized cars were all the same price, I figured why not? It'll be nice to ride in, say, a Chrysler Sebring (which was my first love of the automotive variety, and the description on the website for that car type).

And I get a Buick. It was like driving a very smooth, Titanic-sized boat.

But, by Saturday evening, I was used to it. All was fine. And taking a break from my little Saturn to drive a car with seat-warmers was quite nice. Especially when it was in the teens outside.

So, Friday morning, we had breakfast/lunch with the Moms in Richmond. It was lovely. Next, down to the big E to check into the hotel, hurrying to get ready for the rehearsal, then said rehearsal and later, the rehearsal dinner. Which was more like a festival, there were so many people there! I knew, 5 perhaps.

With college friend Kelly and the coolest 6th grader ever:


And with T, of course:Back to the hotel, and to sleep. The next morning, after sleeping in after the bridesmaids' brunch (that was 8am for me!) I snuck out for an hour and visited by beloved Melissa and baby Nicholas, who I thought about stealing. Hey, he could fit in my carry-on! :)

Then, (drumroll please...) the wedding. It was gorgeous. There were about 5,000 people in the wedding party, my little song went just fine I guess, and it was great to see all the folks who I haven't laid eyes on in nearly a decade.

After the vows were said and everyone was on their way to the reception, T and I dodged back to the hotel to grab the camera (which I had awesomely forgotten...dang those little purses) and then followed suit.

How does 6 miles down a country road feel like you've been driving all night? Love it.

T and I at the reception, this pic taken by a bartender (of course):
...and this is where I started to get self-conscious. I had a wine glass in my hand, of course, and when I felt awkward, I took a sip. And when I didn't know what to say, I took a sip. And when, on the wedding video playing on the wall for those who didn't go to the ceremony my face appeared and people noticed it was me, I sipped.

And when my glass was empty I, as auto-pilot as everything else, refilled.


Yikes.

Poor T.

But I think (hope) he's the only one who noticed.

Emporians who're reading this, don't correct me :)
All things considered, especially my amazing boyfriend who attended to me all night and during the following morning's (early) plane ride back to CA although being quite annoyed with me, it was a lovely time.

And not just cause of the ice sculptures at the wedding. And a photo booth (see initial pic). Although those were awesome.

Oh, and the macy's dress (I swear that it only looks like I have a weird pudge):
Happy Inauguration Day!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Product Review


Product name: Prime Time foundation primer, from BareVitamins (a subsidiary of Bare Escentuals)

Product description (from website):
A preservative-free foundation primer developed to combat flaky dryness, fine lines, excess oil, and enlarged pores. This mineral-infused formula glides on with no tacky feel to provide a skin-smoothing complexion prior to applying bareMinerals SPF 15 foundation for a seamlessly flawless face.

Price: $21

My experience: As a result of the staggering amount of weddings I'll be attending this year, I decided that figuring out how to make my skin stay as flawless as possible was a priority. If for pictures, if nothing else.
note: I don't have many complaints about my skin as it is. I am a definite fan of Dr. Laslow's method, which I'll put in a future post. Lets just say that I never had even decent skin (always needed a boatload of concealer every morning), until I tried this. It's simple, effective, and cheap. Now, when I'm doing it as I should (twice a day) I have nary a pimple nor blotch. I have no shame in running all types of errands w/ no makeup, and I even let T see me makeup-free within a week of our dating. (now THAT'S saying somethin...)
I bought this primer two days ago, to test out before my upcoming trip that would have multiple photo ops, I'm sure, and, lo and behold, I love. I would recommend this primer to anyone. I have combination skin, and it keeps me satiny (not matte, which is gross in its own way) all day.
another note: I'm also a proponent of Bare Minerals foundation. I just love mineral foundations. I've tried both Bare Minerals and SheerCover. I found Bare Minerals to have a superior foundation, and SheerCover a superior concealer (that stuff rocks and I don't say that lightly).

Closing yay/nay vote: A big, resounding yay. Try it. If you're not sure, buy from Ulta. You can always return it.

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Tonight I board a plane. Sunday I do it again. Here's the betweening of now and then:

-Work til 4
-Fight traffic home
-Try on various outfits to figure out what to wear to all the wedding stuff that I'll be attending
-Shower (I find that getting ON a plane clean makes you feel less dirty when you're done. Especially because I won't be close to a shower for at least 4 hours post-flying)
-Pack
-Dress (maybe dress before pack, but you know what I mean. Still not sure whether to wear pjish sweats or real clothes to fly the red-eye (awesome movie btw with Rachel McAdams and that creepily hot guy that was also in Batman). I mean, I'll be sleeping the whole time, but in the morning I'll have to go pick up my car and do the late-birthday-breakfast thing with my mom, so maybe I'll want to look presentable....suggestions welcomed!)

~oh, by the way, Happy 50th, Mom! Love you!! ~

-Drive to airport
-Board plane
-Have a layover somewhere eastcoastish
-Arrive in Richmond
-Get bags, pick up rental car
-Take mom out to late bday brunch
-Drive to Emporia
-Check in to hotel
-Finally shower and get all pretty-like
-Go to rehearsal
-Go to rehearsal dinner
-Make merry with bride and groom and family, etc.
-Return to hotel, sleep
-Wake up, get 2nd pretty-like
-Possibly attend bridesmaid's brunch (here's another imput request for you: I was invited to the brunch. I'm not a bridesmaid, but I'm singing in the wedding and have been friends with the bride since pre-puberty, aka, forever. However, I won't really know anyone there...should I go? I don't know...)
-Get 3rd pretty-like (with awesome Macy's dress! See yesterday's post)
-Go to wedding location early, then attend wedding
-Go to reception, eat, drink, dance w/ T (who I'm so excited to show off, btw), try to catch a profile picture of both bride and groom, separately, as I'm making them wedding-day silhouettes
-Return to hotel, sleep
-Awaken, (I think it'll be normal clothes on Sunday's flight; it's daytime) check out of hotel
-Drive back to Richmond
-Catch ultra-early breakfast w/ the Moms
-Return rental car, board plane
-Arrive in LA again
-Sleep.

So that's my weekend. And me, being a dummy, just found out that we have Monday off-yay! Which will mean more recovery time from all the craziness.

Wish me luck! I'll post pics!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Missing Granola

So for lunch today I had 6 chicken Mcnuggets and a snack size parfait. Not the healthiest thing I could've had.

But, in my defense, not the unhealthiest.

As I picked up said lunch, I was on the way back from an ortho appointment where new fun attachments were stuck to my teeth (ugh. At least they're not really visible...unless you're up close. ANYway) and got my next 3 sets of aligners (yay!).

Now, some people reading this won't know the life long saga that is my teeth. Sure in pictures they look normal. But, I assure you, they are not. On my 1st summer of grad school, I was grabbing some D'lites (oh how I miss that delicious frozen yogurt fluffy stuff...healthy too! If you're in Gainesville, go. today. Then write me about it and make me jealous. At least I'll have some vicariously) with Katie and as I bit down on a hunk of cookie dough in mine, I felt a crack.

A big old piece of my #19 molar just broke off. Broke. Off.

We'd just been kayaking down on lake Alice (my very favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings back then. Now, it's...um...sleep. Wow the life of a working girl is glamorous...), and were all giggly and the relaxed that you only are after a nice workout and sunshine fatigue. And, it didn't hurt, so I called home, went to CVS, got some tooth putty, and went and had dinner at Katie's mom's (who was also my advisor . Miss her too!) house.

And that was the beginning.

Since then, I've had 2 root canals (on that tooth. Yes, both. The first time a file broke off in the tooth as they were trying to do it. Believe me, you don't want details), 6 crowns, I don't even remember how many fillings, and an immeasurable amount of tears cried in various dental chairs (and that's saying something for me), usually when no one was looking, sometimes when they were.

So, last summer the dentist I go to said that, to keep my teeth from breaking, braces would help.

Hmm, I'm kind of old for that. So, I weighed getting braces or getting veneers. I figured that if I spent time and money on braces, then those prettily straight teeth just broke anyway, it wouldn't be worth it (duh).

I said something like this to my Mom once over the phone, before I'd made a decision:

"If any dentist would agree to just pull all my teeth and put in implants instead, I'd sign up for it right now. Just as long as they won't break anymore..."

It was traumatic! Various ones (always non-visible. That's an interesting karmic thing I bet) over the next year or two, and they would always make for an afternoon/evening of tears. I know that, all things considered, I have it great in the body department (everything works just fine functionally, and I'm pretty happy with all of it as that stuff goes), but to have any part of you just quit, with no warning, and nothing you can do about it, is horrid.

So, I saw the orthodontist. When he said I was a candidate for invisalign, I was in. And, here I am now, several months later, with 27 more trays to go (which means 54 weeks, mind you).

But, my teeth are kind of sensitive all the time. Not sore persay, but I don't like unexpected crunches.

Which brings me to the parfait. No granola for me.

Oh, the humanity!

I used to eat granola every day in my yogurt. Sigh. I miss it.

But, totally worth it. I think almost anyone would agree, yes?

But still, it's sad to throw it away w/ the empty cup that was my parfait...

OH! And something else, more exciting than anything else in this post. Last night at Macy's I bought a dress for the wedding this weekend that was originally $349 for .........wait for it.............$15. Not. Even. Kidding. It rocks too. I'll post pics after the weekend :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Introducing T

So my buddy B, a vegan chef, has a website and updates his opening video every Friday. It's a weekly thing to bug him, therefore, about what he'll post. Last Thursday I came over to the boys' house and was immediately ushered to the computer and shown this.

Amazing. Note the cameo by T (and my incredibly wobbly camera work), and definitely stay for the credits. You won't regret it.

Hobbies and a Looking Forward Theory

Those are the silhouettes I was talking about in yesterday's post. These are my first try - of course they can be better, but I like them :) I'll make them bigger next time, and do the pretty framing and all. Also, since they're of T and me, I think it'd be cute if they were facing each other, just saying.

I've also taken up crocheting, as of...yesterday. So far, I like it! (my Mom crocheted and my Dad knitted when I was little, so I've tried both, but probably not within the past decade and a half. A little rusty, ya think?)

So, as I got ready for my Monday yesterday morning, rather than crying woe at the long week ahead (I'm an anticipation person, what can I say? I'm happy for the weekend starting Tuesday afternoon...), I was looking forward to starting my fun new project. I couldn't wait to go to the fabric store and get all my hobby fixins to get me started.

I realized then that, it seems to me, if you have one thing each day to be excited about and look forward to, it can drastically change your outlook. If, instead of bemoaning something or the other, you can be happy about what's coming, then enjoy it when it's here (no not tasting the chocolate once it's in your mouth and you're reaching for another allowed!), then that's a step towards a more mindful life.

Today's quote is:

"Your own words are the bricks and mortar of the dreams you want to realize. Your words are the greatest power you have. The words you choose and use establish the life you experience."
~Sonia Choquette


That one not only went on the whiteboard and on a post-it on my desk, it's going in the journal. Wow.

That's what I've got for the day! Today what am I looking forward to? Being able to go home, right after work! And, a new book-on-cd for that long drive :)

What's your exciting thing?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was nice and, as usual, not long enough (never long enough!). On Friday night, T and I put on our "young people" hats and actually went out with some friends in Santa Monica: It was fun and all, but I do remember sitting on my hightop stool, sipping my malibu and pineapple and thinking, yeah, it's loud, and the people who keep brushing by me and nearly knocking me over are annoying, and I can smell cigarette smoke -please God don't let it get into my clothes- ... I think I'd rather be at home.

I know, I'm old.

Saturday, we went down to the beach for a little minus-the-food picnic. We laid out a sheet and read and watched the water and lazed around.
It was so much fun, and I'm hard pressed to think of why we don't do this every weekend...oh yeah, we're lazy. And in the summer there are too many people for it to be fun (note the stockinged-feet-aversion-to-chilly-Pacific-breezes above)

I also made a couple of practice silhouettes, something I picked up from another blogger I love to read, and that I'll be making bigger versions of soon. For some reason I'm having a heck of a time uploading them, so I'll try again later.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Carrots in the Kitchen

That's the name of my new recipe book.

One of my resolutions this year is to find a new recipe each week. So far, so good (well, I only started started this week, as last week was still vacation, and therefore did not count as the actual new year...)

I've been trying to decide what to name it, so I can decorate it all prettily, which will make me more likely to actually put recipes in it rather than just (incorrectly) think I'll be able to remember them all, and that's what I got.

Carrots in the Kitchen.


Let me explain. It's all about name pronunciation. Everyone gets it wrong (in fact, I'd be willing to bet a dollar that everyone who reads this blog and hasn't actually met me thinks my name sounds differently than it does). When I taught at UF (yay for the 2009 nat'l champs!) as part of my master's assistantship, I used to tell my students that I understood if they couldn't remember, but please, please, please (as in, don't get on my bad side or else your semester may not be as nice, just saying. Kidding! I loved all my students...) if you're not sure how to say it, just call me "hey you". Or, "excuse me". Some actually called me "Professor", which made me feel absolutely old.

So, what's the pronunciation? My name is Charis. I have found that most people automatically think the first syllable sounds like share, as in "share and share alike", and that the second sounds like eess, as in "lease".

Wrong.

It's actually pronounced with the first syllable care as in "careful" and the second iss "as in kiss".

So, to make it easy to remember for the little ones that I later taught, I'd say that "it's like 'carrots' without the T."

Kids always got that. Grownups, not as often. So now when I meet someone, the people who I'm with usually say that "it's like 'Paris' with a K." Which isn't true, because it's actually a CH, but let's not get started. And that isn't so much my favorite because we all know of another Paris who I wouldn't necessarily want to remind people of....and once in awhile someone will actually call me Paris.....sigh....

Anyway, so a term of endearment from the kiddies and for me was 'Carrots'. I liked it. I thought it was cute when they'd call me that. And I don't understand little 'un humor - I could make my friend's six-year-old giggle forever by just repeating "Hello, my name is Carrots and I like to eat vegetables."

Do you get it? I don't.

Anyway, so Carrots in the Kitchen is my new recipe book. And now you can say my name. Why you'd want to, I don't know, but when I read in my head I hear it, so I thought it may be useful for my 3 blog readers :)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lines Blurry

Where's the difference between creating the life you want to live and walking the path that's been laid out for you, and is the one that you're supposed to be walking?

This morning I asked to be directed to live my best possible version of today.

I was taught that we all have multiple lives, days, realities we can live in each moment. It's a range, but there is a best one. Or maybe, a couple of best ones.

I was thinking about the thing that is an afternoon. Usually I don't know afternoons; my mornings bleed into noons which merge to afternoons and before I know it, the sky is darkening and I'm driving home.

Not that I mind the traffic these days (good contemplative time. Good people watching, too), but I do wish that I could live the different parts of my day, rather than the same minutes, or at least interchangeable ones, from morning to early evening, under the same fluorescent lights.

Today on my drive in I noticed the sky. I often do, but today I thought that I need to make sure to do that more often. I've been falling off lately.

In high school I remember my friend Brian G laughing at me and saying that I looked at the sky more than any person should. I miss being able to see it.

Then, I remember how nice it is sometimes to live my days this way. How long days can seem when each day is really four or five days, and not long in a good way.

So, finding the difference between the best path and your own choosing of a path? I'm not sure.

But I'm working on it!

2008 Holidays, Part II

I left off at the band performance.

So the Heynas, otherwise known as B, T, and B's brother R, formed a little band and performed a set for family and friends on the 26th. It was good times, aside from the part where I slipped on a patch of ice outside the front door of the barn we were in, going down like a ton of bricks. I still have a bruise on my knee to prove it.

Yeah. Anyway, here are some pics.

Creepily awesome Santa and Mrs. Claus, by an amp:


The boys jammin out (like the lights? B decorated. Love the obviously man-done ribbons...):

T (with his rock star scruff) and I:

Tara (T's sister, love her) and her fiance Dean:


The next couple of days were more low-key, visiting relatives and such, then on th
e 29th we drove down to VA. I got to take T to Maymont in Richmond, my very favorite place although all the gorgeous flora is slumbering during the winter.

There's a gargantuan magnolia tree that we of course had to climb,

T was better at the whole tree climbing business than me (it's because his shoes had better traction, I swear!)

Then we snuck off into the bamboo forest for some quality time.


I love this shot.


After spending a couple of days in my town, we headed back
up to PA for the last day or two.

Dinner with T's fam:


Then, it was back home!

You'd think that T would be used to the mild cold here in SoCal, since were were just in the frigid northeast. However, he complained so much in my living room that I had to papoose him. (I say papoose, he says homeless person):


Ok, I think that's it! Whew! It seemed to go by about as quickly as the time I spent typing this, can't wait to go visit the East again. How I miss this sky-


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

UFC

I had an epic battle this morning.

With a banana.


I won, I think.


This is not to be confused with the epic battle of '04 after which the Gainesville spider the size of my hand played dead as I looked away, so when my adrenaline decreased adequately for me to clean it up, it was gone. Gone like the dead villain in the horror movie, gone. I was scandalized. So I hunted for it and there it was, squeezed into a shadow in the corner, hiding. Let's just say that, after the secon
d battle, even its closest relatives wouldn't've been able to identify the body.

(cue "taps" here)

Oh, and by the way, it was a wolf spider, I later learned:

No, this morning, it was with a banana.

You know when you just have those days? Well, today was one. And all my bruised little heart wanted at 9:20am was to eat my banana, and maybe a couple wheat thins.

The banana was a little green, but still doable, I thought. So, I went to snap the top off, like you do when you peel a banana.

...and? Nothin.

It's okay, I'll just break it in the middle. That's a trick my friend David showed me after one of his exotic vacations a few years back. You can break a banana in the middle. Just face the curve away from you, grasp it in both hands, and firmly break it outward, against the curve. It snaps in two, right in the middle. It's kind of amazing, the first time you do it. I guess it's normal for wherever he lea
rned this for people to share their bananas, so they'd break em in the middle, then hand a half to someone else, keeping one for themselves.

But back to the story. I assume the position, and snap-

-no, wait. Snap-


-ergh. So, I try again-

-at this point, there are several Charis-finger-sized grooves in the sides of the banana. No breakage is occurring.

Steam is starting to pour out of my ears.

So, I clipclop down to the kitchen, grab a knife, and cut that previously stubborn top off.

The banana was not quite ripe (can you tell?) but I ate it anyway, even the slightly softer-than-yummy middle (where I'd crushed the darned thing). Then, at the end where there's only about 2 inches of banana left, and where I always pull it out of the peel and toss the peel, then finish the banana, the bottom broke off.

I think it was the banana's way of flipping me the bird.

I said to it "I'm sick of you banana" (mentally, of course) and threw the peel, and last inch and a half of banana, into the trash.

So there.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Odd Obsession


During my lunch break today I made myself a new bookmark.

I have an unhealthy obsession with leaves.


This new bookmark makes me happy. (I've pressed the leaf for about a month, and just laminated it)


I know that this makes me a dork, and I don't care.

Holiday Recap Part I

This holiday season was busy, to say the least. Let's get started!

On Christmas eve, M and I, being the progressive and modern girls that we are (progressive & modern = impatient and rule-breaking), decided to exchange presents that night, rather than on Christmas Day.

Fun wrapping-paper-taking-off-while-preserving-it-to-make-curly-ribbons-for-future-presents time. (that's all you, M!) It was fun. And I got some awesome presents. TWO copies of a book I've been wanting for years, and though I'm thankful and all, I'm not exactly sure what to do with the extra one now...it's amazing, so I'll probably regift it. That serves as fair warning to the gift-givers, I think. If they read my blog....oh well, doesn't matter :)

Oh, the book is Ingathering by Zenna Henderson. It's odd, but I looove love it. Makes me cry every time.

The next morning, after I did actually open my Mom's present that had arrived a few days prior - a pink GPS! And I'm not a pink person at all, but not gonna lie, I love it. Albeit the fact that I'm an idiot and stood outside in my tank top pj's freezing while I held it out and waited for
it to find satellites...

Note: How odd is that? A little box that, in order for it to work, all you need to do is hold it out so it can see the sky, and forever after, it can always tell where you are and where to go and what time you'll get there and how fast you're currently going and....magic! Just sayin. If
you didn't understand how it worked, it would be....

....then, we used the ready-to-go magic GPS (that has since been named
Clarissa by T, "because she explains it all" hehehe) to get out to M's jumping family's house by Perris, otherwise known as BFE. Just sayin.

Dinner was delicious and included funny stories and amazing food (thanks Pat!), then off to the airport. M dropped me off, eye mask in hand, the flight was delayed 15 minutes which gave u
s just enough time to swing by home and pick up my amazing leather gloves that I was mourning having left behind (at the airport I got a text from M saying "you know that it's your fault the plane was late. The Universe didn't want you to have cold hands"...) and onto the plane I went.

What's up with having to pay for even ONE checked bag these days? Robbery. Anyway...

On the plane I wound down, got comfy, pulled my sleep mask down, and...

...directly behind me, a baby starts to fuss.

Not proper crying, just fussing. The type that's not bratty or spoiled, but that means that the little one is really uncomfortable. (No wonder, I thought later as I saw the size of the kid and the fact that the parents expected her to sleep all night on one of their laps in a chair that barely reclines...)

I pulled the mask up. She stopped. Pulled it down, she started.

Sigh.

This went on for just about the ENTIRE six-hour flight into Newark. About 4.5 hours in, as the other people in my row are writhing in discomfort similar to the baby's at this point and I can hear the parents whispering threats to her, I was THIS CLOSE to turning around in my chair and asking if they would mind if I just take her and walk her up and down the center aisle. Heck, at least ONE of us would be more comfortable if both of us had to be awake anyway...

But I didn't.

Finally, we arrived! T came to pick me up at the airport (did I mention how painful m
y withdrawal had grown at this point? Anything less than several hours a day with him is unacceptable...) and the drive started.

Note #1 here: T is amazing. He had to get up at 4am to come get me. And he w
as smiling.

Note #2: I saw snow for the first time in 5 years! Very, very excited about that. T was less excited about me leaning all the way into his line of vision to get a good picture...

We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (a must-do for this Californian when on the much-missed east coast) and I ate my delicious food, took pictures of the weird old family photographs next to my table,

And of my T, across my table (and annoyed that I was taking yet ANOTHER picture..):

Then, we were on our way back to Hazleton, to see the fam. And for the band performance that night. That's for another blog.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

...and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them...

Happy New Year!!!

Little T, me and big T at 3:30am this morning headed to the airport.


Stand by for updates and pics of the 2008 holidays :)