Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Is it weird that I sort of silently dread New Year's Eve? I don't like it. I think it all started when I was in junior high and the Y2K craze occurred. Everybody was so freaked out that the world would end or computers would blow up or the whole world would flip upside down that I too got scared. Even to this day I feel a bit of that un-certain fear when the clock strikes midnight and the year changes (I have issues, I know... LOL). Part of my dread of a new year is that I hate change. Although it is simply the changing of a date, it is a whole new year and it takes me time to adjust.
Tonight I am ringing in the new year with my roommates and some friends and we are doing it "southern" style at Montana's, a country western bar with line dancing that we love and is so close to our little apartment we could walk! I even learned how to two-step via You Tube for the occasion. :) It will be fun. Tomorrow is the Rose Parade which my Dad faithfully wakes up for bright and early every year to watch the pre-parade show. When I was little I use to wake up with him and watch/sleep on the couch during the pre-show. I will be driving back home tomorrow and will miss the first showing of the parade and our traditional family breakfast, but luckily the parade shows all day and there will be breakfast leftovers in the fridge.
As for New Year's resolutions, I decided a few years ago not to make resolutions for the year. Too much pressure for a perfectionist, achiever, first born. But, I try to ignore the dread of change and focus on the chance to celebrate one more year of life and what a blessing that is. I try to look at each New Year as another year of days to wake up with God's renewed mercy and another gift of a day and to view that day as a chance to seek happiness and life and love and to do so with grace and joy. I fail at this goal daily, hence the no resolutions policy, but still each day is another chance to try.
So, goodbye 2008. Goodbye to the year I began as a new college graduate. The year I got my first full-time, grown up job. The year I bought my first car and paid many bills to my own name. The year I visited New York again. The year I started grad school. The year I can look back on and call my "transition year."
And hello 2009. May it be a year of continued good health for me and my loved ones. A year of stability and deep friendships. A year with less transition and change. A year of thinking positively, and less fearfully. And a year of continuing to view the world through God's eyes and to continue to pursue happiness.
Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas time is here

I am home for the holidays and very happy to be. Sometimes my life is so picturesque, like when we have family dinner, quote movies, sing, cuddle, and meet for lunch in the middle of the day. Other times, we are not so picturesque, but that's what makes us family. And I love it. I love to be home. Love my dog, my family, the Christmas tree, the Christmas lights, breakfast already provided when I wake up, a bathroom that doesn't have mold on the ceiling, and the familiarity of driving around town.
Last night was great. My friends and I got together for a game night and I had a lot of fun! We laughed and caught up and it was really great to see everyone again. It seems like forever since I last saw almost everyone from last night. Uno was the most fun. I love that game! A whole other side of me comes out and it can be hilarious (and sometimes scary!).
Today I woke up singing Christmas carols in bed with my sister and laughed. You know it will be a good day when you wake up laughing! We're having Christmas at the house tomorrow with my Dad's whole side of the family, so today we are cleaning and cooking and wrapping presents. My mom mentioned all this in her blog as well!
Tonight we are going to the Helton's for our traditional "family" Christmas Eve. Ash and I plan to look at the "I Spy" Christmas book tonight before bed and we usually convince my parents to let us open one Christmas gift before bed as well. Ash and I try to open each other's presents on this night. I have one for her but the other one has yet to be delivered...oh well, something to look forward to, right?
I keep thinking about how we wouldn't even celebrate Christmas is it weren't for Jesus' birth. I have to remind myself that that is what this season is truly about. That the Lord sent his son, Jesus, to be born as a baby and live a perfect human life to show us all that we can model the life of Jesus and that He too felt the same pressures we do. God blessed us with Jesus, even though He had to die for our sins as a perfect man, so that we may have eternal life in Heaven if we believe in Him. This is true love. This is why tomorrow is such a special day. (Sorry for the sermon, but with tonight's Christmas Eve service rained out and canceled, I had to give my own self a sermon, and therefore, my blog).
God bless and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Week in review (BIG post)

Rach and I two years ago.

Nikki and I.

Rach and I watching the lights of Friday.

Em and Ilise watching the lights too.

Nikki and I getting ready for prom.
Wow, I have been wanting to post about the last week for…a week! Here is the (almost) daily break down:
Last Saturday (two weeks ago): worked graduation all day. Hung out in between with Kelle, my freshman and sophomore (part of that year) roommate. It was so good to see her and catch up and apologize and reminisce about our time as roommates. Although we almost killed our friendship as roommates, we needed each other, and on Saturday we were able to admit that. Saturday night my roommates threw a Christmas party and we had a lot of fun.
Last Sunday: I had a rough beginning but ended it with a nice dinner at home with my family. It was just an afternoon trip, but SO worth it.
Last Monday: class, which is the love of my life right now. Every week I look forward to class and learning and laughing. It has been great getting to know and learn from some new people! I love them.
Tuesday and Wednesday were uneventful and emotionally difficult, but fine.
Thursday: I was surprised by RACHEL!!! She and Em planned to have her meet Ilise and I at what we thought was going to be just a small, no big deal, sushi meal, but then Rach surprised us at the restaurant! I was SO happy!!! It was a great and total surprise. I kept thinking I was dreaming. She spent the night and we all watched and quoted “You’ve Got Mail” until we had pillow talk and went to sleep.
Friday: Spent the day with Rach. I slept in (sorry, Rach) and then we went to Chipotle because they don’t have those in Texas and Rach was craving it. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon in downtown Pasadena. We stumbled upon the Pasadena Museum of California art and it was great. There was a public terrace on the second story and it overlooked City Hall. It was beautiful and unexpected. It would be a great proposal or wedding reception location. Private and romantic. That night all four roomies went to see Christmas lights at the Griffith Observatory, but on the way we stopped at a shady Starbucks in the middle of LA. It was so random because it was scary looking, but inside it was packed and everyone seemed to know each other. They were this unique mix of all ethnicities and economic classes. It reminded me of what Heaven will look like someday – all of God’s unique creation mingling together in harmony. After the observatory we went to a very late dinner at CPK and then to Montana’s (a country line dance bar). It was fun.
Saturday: spent the morning and late afternoon with Rach and watched four movies by the time I went to bed. Em and I went to Disneyland, only to find out it was a blackout day for us, so we went to Cheesecake factory for nachos and drinks instead.
Sunday (yesterday): Went home for the day and hung out with NIKKI! I was SO excited to see her and have been looking forward to it for weeks. We had a great time. Went to lunch, talked with Amy on the phone about movies, ran some errands and hung out at my house with the fam. I did not want to say goodbye or drive back to my apartment, but I did.
Today: I had a good day at work and then saw Rach again and that was awesome.
I am taking tomorrow off and going home for the next twelve days. I am SO excited! I don’t think I have been this excited to go home in years, which is ironic because I am most content to be up here than I ever have been. I think I am excited because I have so many plans to see friends. It is a nice change because things in my life at my apartment are so empty socially and it is great to know that I am going home to a loving family and a ton of old friends to catch up and laugh with. It’s going to be great!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Won't you be my neighbor

Another neighbor is moving. That is one of the worst parts about apartment complexes, people never stay long and every month change happens. I hate change (as if you haven't already figured this out by now).
I am such a stalker. I feel sad when my neighbors move - and most of the time I've never even talked with them, except maybe the occasional hello. I use to have a favorite neighborhood family. They lived across from us and were outside a lot (so it wasn't exactly stalking, more like daily observing). They were pretty cute. It was a single mom and her three young kids. The kids were so sweet and playful. Two boys and a girl. I was attached. When they moved, all my roommates wondered how I'd take it. Since then, I haven't been getting so attached or obsessive, but I still hate seeing people leave. You just never know who is going to move in next, which can be scary because you just can't escape your neighbors, ya know?
Whenever a neighbor moves I always wonder where they are going and why they are leaving. I wonder if they'll be happier where they move to, or if they are running away from where their at.
I don't know...I just thing too much...about everything...and everyone (like you don't know that by now also).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama's purpose driven life?

Okay, so I know some of you are tired of Obama, and I realize that after my last post complaining about Obama being mentioned so often it seems a bit hypocritical to be writing about him AGAIN, but I like to stay on top of cultural happenings, so here are my political musings for today...
Today it was announced that Obama asked Saddleback pastor Rick Warren to give his invocation at his inauguration. I think this is sort of good news, especially because Obama is defending his decision despite the fact that the GLTB community is criticizing him. This is a good sign for the next four years. This gives me some confidence that my Christian freedom will be upheld and kept intact during Obama's term. I hope.
I hope that in two years I can say what Obama hopes I will say, "two years from now, I want the American people to be able to say, 'Government's not perfect; there are some things Obama does that get on my nerves. But you know what? I feel like the government's working for me. I feel like it's accountable. I feel like it's transparent. I feel that I am well informed about what government actions are being taken. I feel that this is a President and an Administration that admits when it makes mistakes and adapts itself to new information, that believes in making decisions based on facts and on science as opposed to what is politically expedient."
This decision reflects the Obama that I supported at the beginning of his run for the primary. It reflects the man who spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention when I was in awe that a man could be so poetic and smart and motivational and moderate. His 2004 speech was probably the first moment I realized I may become a democrat, or at least think of admitting to being a moderate. That speech made me want to vote for him if he ever ran for President.
So, all that to say, I pray that Obama will be a good and balanced President who not only considers, but respects, and defends (at least some of) the values of the right.
Okay, enough political word vomit for awhile...promise. But hey, posts like this are why I made a blog in the first place.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Article rundown and a case of bad rhymes

Something about the cold makes me want to read. I love to read blogs that recommend fun articles or blog posts they’ve enjoyed lately, so, here is a list of articles that I’ve been interested in lately:
Too much Obama is causing me personal drama,
Enough ASB President, do you have to be Prom King too?
He’s like that popular boy at school,
Or an over played song on the radio.
He’s impressive, but we have to hear his name for the next four years,
Let’s pace our selves Time and Barbara!
At least Time also mentioned Sarah Palin, Dara Torres, and Michael Phelps as impactful people of the year.
The end of the year means remembering those passed.
Heath Ledger, Paul Newman, and Tim Russet
Were known as class acts.
Why is it when one is gone their words seem so profound,
Their lives so full of meaning?
An article about tracking rats in New York made me laugh.
This rat map will come in handy when I go back.
This rhyming was inspired by a great year end poem from The New Yorker.
If you want to erase that picture of the rat from the above article,
Read this hilarious piece of humor from The New Yorker as well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A year ago today

...was the eve of my undergrad graduation. I was with my mom and her family and enjoying my feeling of accomplishment. I also had a job interview lined up with the undergraduate Registrar at APU. That day I had decided not to apply to grad school. I went back into the Registrar and asked for my check and transcript order back and told the woman I had changed my mind and did not need to mail a transcript (to UCI). I threw away my application essays and cried to my favorite professor and then to a friend and to my roommate, Rachel. I cried again when I called my mom to tell her my new plan of “not going to grad school.” And again, later that night, when I told my Dad over the phone in the middle of a Christmas-decorated Crate and Barrel.
Although I cried, it was not out of disappointment. I cried because I didn’t want to let others down and because I don’t do great with change. However, inside, I was relieved and happy and excited for the first time in months. I knew grad school for my English degree or my MFA in Fiction was not the right choice at the time, and when I let it go I was so glad and felt so alive. I hadn’t felt alive or like myself in months at that point of my life.
Flash forward to my life today. I still live in the same apartment and with two of the same roommates, but that is about all that didn’t change. The interview I had lined up a year ago led me to my current job in a separate (but related) department. I am also in grad school, which is still a big surprise to me, in a completely different program. I also rarely write fiction anymore, but read it when I can and dream of storylines here and there. Life is simpler and less filled these days.
I had no idea a year ago that this is where I would be today. God is full of surprises and good plans if you love and trust Him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ode to the Christmas Tree

We live in an apartment for three
And went to buy a Christmas tree.
We went to Home Depot and looked at the Firs,
We bought some Christmas lights from a man we called “sir.”
The tree was seven feet
And another couple thought it was neat.
We strapped it to the car
And held on to the ropes but didn’t have to drive far.
Burritos from Chipotle we ate,
Watched “Love Actually” until really late.
Bought decorations the day after,
Made some inappropriate jokes that caused lots of laughter.
My favorite ornaments were red,
And after we finished we took some pictures, shared some hugs, and went to bed.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Love Disease

You have to read this halarious article about a nine-year-old boy who inspired and wrote a book about love because of his school paper. The advice is so sweet and true and adorable. Read it. You will laugh. Here are the two links:


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A New York state of mind

I have been missing New York this week. I am watching the Rockefeller Center lighting of the tree on NBC right now. When I was in New York people were setting up the center for this exact event. People were moving tables at the Rockefeller Café and freezing the ground for the ice skating rink. When we were there we thought about this TV special and got excited that we were at the exact place we would soon seen on TV, and tonight I am seeing it and remembering that.
I miss the City. I miss the lights. I miss leaving one big building full of people to walk on a street full of people surrounded by big buildings. I miss that wherever you walk there is something to do or some place to go in and when there is not all you have to do is sit on a bench and people-watch for hours. I miss being in a hotel room on a very high floor and watching people in their offices coming and going and wondering about their lives. I miss wearing scarves and avoiding taxi cabs and looking in store windows. I really miss Central Park, how quiet and peaceful and lovely it is and how every type of person – tourists and locals alike – goes there. I miss looking at The Plaza. I miss The Frick. I miss walking everywhere as my main mode of transportation.
Obviously, there are things I don’t miss. I don’t miss how awfully rude New Yorkers are, especially to obvious tourists. I don’t miss empty streets or overcrowded streets. I don’t miss trusting cab drivers. I don’t miss how expensive the City is. But I miss everything else.
I love New York.