Thursday, December 31, 2009

Miss Carrie, in the kitchen, with an artichoke


Tonight I am watching “Julie and Julia,” which I got for Christmas, and which is one of my favorite movies as you have probably already figured out from my previous two blog posts about it (here and here). The thing is, I am just so much like Julie and Julia. They are both insecure, neurotic, self-centered women and I am too. Take today for example (or possibly this whole week). It is New Years Eve and I have been “bitching” (as some have pointed out…including myself…sorry, please excuse my French…) about not having fun New Years plans. Well, I feel I have been complaining about not wanting to hang out with couples on New Years, but it has been interpreted (and rightly so) as complaining about having no plans at all. Technically, I was invited to four events – all of which involve couples and all of which would have been enjoyable – and while I really don’t want to present myself as the “single girl who hates being single and complains about it semi-constantly,” I kind of am…especially when it comes to New Years Eve plans. Now, I am blogging after just finishing a far too big, but very delicious, dinner and contemplating whether or not I should go join my sister and some of my best friends for the rest of the evening (and trying to get over feeling like a horrible friend and party pooper if I don’t).
This is something else you should know about me: I get really weird on holidays. I get very introverted and anti-social and “glass half empty”-ish. There are days, such as New Years Eve, where all I honestly want to do is sit at home by myself and relax. I like it. It energizes me, which is textbook for introverts. Thus, a big part of me is decidedly happy to be writing this entry alone with my lovely, adorable dog, Lucy laying at my feet, and watching a movie (and then will be switching channels between Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest as they bring me into the New Year). My family (and friends and roommates, and now that I am announcing it on a blog, probably the rest of the “world” – or whoever it is who actually reads this) thinks this is a very strange and annoying thing about me, especially because nights like New Years Eve are meant to be spent with others. Thus, I am like Julie and Julia, because I am self-centered and stubborn and cause great confusion, annoyance, and frustration to those who love me the most.

All things considered, I also thought I would say that in the spirit of watching “Julie and Julia” tonight I made artichokes to enjoy as an appetizer. I love artichokes. I think it is one the most wonderful foods in the whole world. I always used to (and still do) love when my mom made them for dinner and I always assumed they were difficult to make, but I was mistaken. They are super easy and I make them in the MICROWAVE, that’s right, the microwave. Here is the “recipe” (if you should even call it that, haha) thanks to my wonderful mom:

One artichoke per person
Trim the artichoke (cut the stem, slice off the top, and cut off the top of the unsliced leaves).
Rinse thoroughly (to get the dirt and possible bugs out).
Find a dish that can sort of snugly hold the artichokes and add about a half a cup or a cup of water (I just put some in to cover the bottom and less than half an inch of the artichoke base/stem).
Add some drops of lemon juice and a couple shakes of garlic salt to the water.
Cover tightly with saran wrap and cook in the microwave for 14-15 minutes.
I eat mine with mayonnaise or melted butter, but if you are really adventurous I recommend eating it with both for more options, fat, and deliciousness. It is simply heaven in your mouth.
(photos from here and here.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The decade I lost life’s training wheels


Many magazine and newspaper writers are saying this decade has not been one of our best. It has been full of high unemployment rates, natural disasters, terrorism and war, and a terrible economy, and while all of this is true, my experience has been quite different.
This decade brought the 9/11, Obama as President, the age of Apple, two wars, an obsession with Orange County, and many gold medals for Michael Phelps. It was the decade of social networking with Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter… and blogs.
On a personal level, this decade has been crucial to my growth and development, which given my age is no surprise, but I am going to write about it anyway, as any time we move into a new decade is impressive and a perfect time for reflecting.
2000-2009 were the years I became an adult. The decade before was full of me growing up and learning skills and social behaviors and establishing a foundation, where as this decade has been about shaking that foundation, learning about myself and experiencing life. It was the decade I lost life’s training wheels.
In this decade I graduated junior high, high school, and college. I made lifelong friends – many of them who I have known and been close to this whole decade. I began my adult life. I figured out more of who I am, what I want, where I’m going, and how to create the life I need. This decade brought me a love education, a passion for women’s rights, a growing and challenging walk with the Lord, a core group of friends, chances to travel, an obsession with books and writing, an understanding about the world we live in, an interest in politics, a lesson in love, and lots of laughter, friendships, and great memories.
(photo from here.)

2009

Wow, 2009 is already over. Where did the time go??? My Grandma always told me time goes faster as you get older and she is totally right. 2009 has been very good to me. Full of new friends, a new job, and new understandings about life. I began the year in a deep rut and depression and empty both emotionally and spiritually, but I am ending it full of life and joy and Jesus. This was one of the best years I’ve had in quite a while.
This year I learned a lot about God. I learned about His grace and mercy, two things I tend to overlook. I learned He is alive and well within me. I learned He is the Great Comforter and that He loves me even when I am terrified to go to Heaven. Speaking of Heaven, my trouble with that led me to the counseling office and I am so glad it did. Counseling has been the MOST beneficial and best part of 2009. I have learned coping skills and gained wisdom and self-esteem and humor and a more balanced a healthy view on life, especially mine. My counselor has been a gift from God and I am so thankful for her. This year also brought me closer to my co-workers. I am surrounded by fun and lovely people all day and have developed some very close ties with some them. This year brought me a permanent job in CAPS, for which I am most grateful this year. 2009 also brought me friends. People I see many times a week and have a fun time with. I am still navigating my way through their group and a lot of bonding still needs to occur, but it is a solid start and I have been needing it for quite a while. I do, however, have two very good friends from 2009. Kristy and Nichol have been my rocks this year and I am so blessed by them. I don’t know where I would be this year without their friendships. This year brought health to my family and also added blessings to my extended family in finding the “lost sister.”
Last year I wrote a blog about 2008 and said this about my hope for 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.
And so it was.
I had a stable year with less transition (except in my living situation). I dealt with my fears and was happier. And I learned a lot about myself through the Lord’s eyes.
So, to 2010, may it be year of graduating with my masters, growing deeper in newly formed friendships, gaining the ability to control and limit my fears without extra help, walking closer with the Lord on a more daily basis, taking more adventures, writing more, fostering deeper bonds with my family, and continuing to pursue happiness.
Happy new year to you and yours. God bless.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twelve days of Christmas

Oh how I love Christmas vacation! Love, love, love it. Twelve days off work, friends come home for the holidays, presents under the tree, sleeping in... all of it. Mostly the missing work thing and being in San Diego for longer than four days (because now that I'm an "adult" this only happens once a year).
I came home today, but break really started last night. I went line dancing with friends and met up with another friend and had a fun time. I am a bit obsessed with line dancing (as if you didn't already know this from reading my blog). Today my mom and sister and I made traditional Icenogle family Christmas cookies (see pictures). Then we had a lovely family dinner when my Dad got home from work. It is such a treat to eat dinner as a family when you don't live at home anymore... at least it is for me. :)
On the agenda for this break is seeing many old friends from high school. I seriously love Christmas break because we all get to see one another again and flash back a few years. I miss those days, so any chance to be together again is wonderful for me. I have the annual Christmas Eve with the Helton's tomorrow and then my family and I will go to my aunt's in Riverside on Christmas day. After that, my week will be full of getting together with friends, sleeping, watching cable, going to North Coast Church (back to the church I love) and relaxing with the family. I'm looking forward to every minute!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Couch potato

So, I just realized this is the last weekend before Christmas. Actually, because it is Sunday afternoon, the last weekend before Christmas has basically passed. I am either really not in the Christmas spirit or I live too much in my day to day activities… or maybe it is a mixture of both. I think living away from home makes me forget about Christmas. I mean, we have a tree in my apartment, but I hardly even notice it. It is not as beautiful or full of great memories as my tree at home. I didn’t even decorate it this year. Plus, no neighbors in my complex have put up lights (our old complex did… including us). I think lights on houses should be mandatory because it really gets me excited for the holiday season. With Christmas being on Friday I also realized this weekend was the weekend for Christmas sermons (aside from a Christmas Eve service), and I really like Christmas sermons… especially at North Coast (my church back home). Hearing a Christmas sermon might make me more motivated to go to church tonight (in San Dimas).
I am so unmotivated. I used to be motivated. I used to be a total achiever and get things done and always be on time with things and sit around and worry about stuff until I completed it. These days, that doesn’t happen as often. Things relating to work are the only things that really prevent me from being able to fall asleep. I mean, at this exact moment, I should be opening my mail, paying bills, cleaning my apartment, or doing some homework, and yet, here I am writing a blog and wishing I could watch some more TV. Is that bad? Part of why I love living by myself and being an adult is the fact that I can do exactly what I am doing right now. My bills will get paid, my apartment will get clean when I can’t stand it anymore, and somehow I still get A’s in school, so maybe it is okay to be completely lazy. I just have a hard time justifying it to those around me… or maybe just to myself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten: Rachel memories


The first time I met Rachel I learned two things that would turn out to be pivotal to our friendship: she prefers to hug and thinks I have good things to say. We were both in Alpha (a freshman orientation leadership program … and much more than that) and I had just said a closing comment on our “body image and sexuality” talk (a female only conversation that day) and was crying (because by the end of that discussion every girl was crying) and Rachel came up to me and pealed her way through the girls around me and said “hi, I’m Rachel, can I give you a hug?” She told me how much she loved what I shared and that she totally agreed and could relate. It was the only time we ever talked that year. That was August of 2005.
Flash forward a year. I arrived at Alpha training for my second year and drove up to Azusa wondering what I was thinking to volunteer again. I didn’t know many people in Alpha that year (yet) and thought it couldn’t possibly be better than the year before and I felt very sad and lonely to be leaving home after the summer. I walked to in check in for training and Rachel saw me in the office and ran up and gave me a giant hug. I didn’t even remember if I knew her name. She then (very excitedly, which would not be a surprise if you knew Rach) offered to walk with me to take my bags up to the dorm room I was staying in for training. I talked to her again periodically that first week, but we became friends during our training time in the Tenderloin of San Fran the second week. That was August of 2006.
In August of 2007 Rachel moved in with me and my roommates, because, after a year of friendship, we were pretty much inseparable and a force to be reckoned with.
Now, we live in two different states living two very different lives and yet we are still super close and talk at least once a week, usually more, and I am going to be in her wedding this June.
Rach is visiting this month and I am SO glad! We have a ton of fun and my life is so much better when she is local. Rach made a joke the other night about the fact that she wasn’t in my last top 10 things I am thankful for, and I told her she would get her own blog entry, so this is it…

Top Ten: favorite Rachel memories

(note: this is not an exhaustive list and also note, like so much of our friendship, most of the memories will not be fully understood by others).
1. Sitting on the floor of the YWAM in San Fran when I told her it was okay to cry and not to listen to her Alpha Counselor about how she should act.
2. Being together so often and having the same brain that our favorite professor, Dr. Noble, laughingly called us “Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum” (there is still a question about who is who).
3. Spending time in Laguna.
4. Spontaneous outings (looking at big houses in Pasadena, going to the Ivy, week night dinners, etc.).
5. Pillow talk.
6. The night Rach came over when a man with a gun was (possibly) on campus and I was freaked out.
7. Singing songs from Wicked in the car.
8. The (almost) all-nighter during finals week with Amy (aka Spo Spo), as we prepared to ace our Literary Criticism final/class (which we did).
9. Montana’s.
10. Laughing… always, always laughing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top Ten: Be thankful instead

Well, I was going to write a post about my rough day today and have a complaining tone (because I do it so well). But, I just got off the phone with my mom and she wisely advised me that every time I want to complain about something I need to name five things I am thankful for instead. She told me this in the context of a very specific prayer and God convo and a want that has been plaguing me of late, but the advice works no matter what.

So, here is a Top Ten list of what I am thankful for today. Thankful for right now.

1. My mom's wise and Godly advice.
2. Remembering my weekend with my family that ended yesterday.
3. That my beloved friends are coming home for Christmas (especially Amy and Nikki).
4. Heating pads and electric blankets.
5. TV on DVD (today, I am specifically thankful for "Sports Night" (especially Dan Rydell, the cute news reporter) and, therefore, the mind of Aaron Sorkin).
6. Anderson Cooper... today because he was the guest host of "Reggis and Kelly." He is so darn adorable and funny.
7. That I am considering writing more than blog entries lately.
8. Comfy sweatshirts.
9. Ugg boots.
10. Butter cookie wafers with marscapone and lemon curd (thanks to Trader Joe's and Nichol).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adentures in Cooking: Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles

I am cooking… a bit. I blame it (in part) on my friend Nichol and her lovely food blog. I “baked” for my work Christmas party last Thursday night. I say “baked” because I actually made No Bake Cookies (my Grandma’s recipe). I went over to Nichol’s house so she could help and inspire me, and so we could spend some time together. I also went over because I love her kitchen and hate mine (but you already know that…haha).
Tonight, I made Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles. Well, sort of. I ate them together anyway! The bindles didn’t work out that well, but everything tasted great! So, in a complete copying mode of Nichol, here is what I did:
I got the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network’s website. I have been having a craving for asparagus and love salmon lox.
First, I roasted the asparagus. I laid it out on a baking sheet. I covered the baking sheet in foil for easy clean up (I am anti-washing dishes). I drizzled it in Olive Oil (maybe too much because it was smoking in the oven and popping up off the baking sheet) and salt and pepper. I roasted it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Then, I let it cool while I got the salmon ready.

Really, I just opened the package and tried to find the thin slices…which is where I ran into my problem. The salmon lox weren’t sliced the way Giada’s picture looked and I tried to wrap one piece…
But then realized I would probably end up cutting the asparagus and eating it in bite size pieces with the lox, so I just did that (which I’m sure Giada wouldn’t do). I paired my meal with white wine, Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck (or as the classy call it, Charles Shaw’s) Pinto Grigio.

It really was yummy and very easy.

Getting ahead of myself

(Photo from here, the stuff I've been dreaming of...inspired by "You've Got Mail").

I am so getting ahead of myself. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. Dreaming about a life I am not able to have…yet. I am dreaming of my own cute small house. A house probably located back home in Oceanside. Decorated with pottery barn-esque furniture and design touches… a red couch, a mural painted wall, pictures of yummy food in the kitchen, pot holders above a stove, a bookshelf of cookbooks, bookshelves galore, a guest room, lavender soap, a fire place, lots of windows, and a quilt on my king size bed (probably made by my wonderful and talented Mom).
I have been dreaming about children. Okay, babies. Always babies. I am a sucker for babies. Seeing them and holding them makes me choke up (this post is scaring off all potential suitors…I know). Speaking of suitors…I am dreaming of a wedding and a marriage.
I know things are getting bad because I have ordered the Pottery Barn catalog, just to look at and get ideas from and dream. And, on Friday, I almost bought a puppy – even worse, a Chihuahua (crazy, I know) – simply because I loved holding something small and warm with a heartbeat in my arms. Gosh, should I be admitting all of this so publicly? I just can’t help being honest, hopefully you can appreciate that… hopefully.
Plus, I have been cooking…so I must be thinking domestically!
Someday…someday…

Friday, November 27, 2009

Deck the halls

Today is “Deck the Halls” day according to my mom. It has been a pretty good one at that! The “morning” (okay, it was noon when I got up) was a bit bumpy because I was grumpy (shocking, I know), BUT I was only grumpy because my sister had me accompany her to the Carlsbad Outlet Stores at midnight last night for a Coach purse on sale for Black Friday! It was hilarious and crazy, and sort of fun. I was exhausted because I had been out late the night before (I was at Montana’s with friends). Anyway, the mall was packed and it looked like a Christmas shopping weekend, but it was midnight. We had to wait in the Coach line for an hour and a half – and that was just to get in the store! The good thing was my sister bought a purse, so it was a successful outing. We got home by 2:30am.
Nana is visiting from Texas for the weekend and Chris (Ashley’s boyfriend) is over. Chris hung up the Christmas lights with my Dad. My mom bought new lights this year that are snowflakes and all white lights that hang down like icicles. Ash and I helped by holding strands and untangling everything. The only minor injury was Ash getting hit in the head with the staple gun while she moved the ladder, but she is fine now. And Lucy really enjoyed the time because she got to wander in the front yard. LOL.
Many of the neighbors were out this afternoon too. I love when that happens! I love my neighborhood. We have lived here for 24 years and actually know our neighbors. When everyone is outside working on their houses (some were also hanging lights) it is so fun to say hi and hear the neighbors talk to one another. It is so safe and happy making. My street is one of the reasons I love coming home.
Up next for tonight is dinner (sort of a Thanksgiving part two with honey baked ham and Dad’s hash brown elegant). Then we will decorate the tree (Dad put it up this morning) and have “White Christmas” on in the background (that’s the best part). We are all warm and happy and safe. What could be better?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Top Ten: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays. I realized this in high school. For years I had loved Christmas the most, because of the lights and the tree and the Christmas music playing in every store and restaurant and because of the spirit of Christmas you can literally feel all around. Not to mention the birth of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. However, I have really come to appreciate Thanksgiving. I think it’s because it is so understated. There are not massive parties on Thanksgiving, no gifts are exchanged, people don’t dress up like Turkeys and ring door bells. The whole holiday is just one day (unless you go to a Thanksgiving Eve service the night before) and it is all centered on being grateful for what you have, not what you want – and, let’s face it, it is a day centered on food, which is also a plus. I also love it because growing up it was the holiday we most often hosted at our home, and despite the craziness it takes to get our home into “hospitality mode,” I love having holidays there.

Here is the Top Ten list of what I am thankful for this year:

1. A permanent job in a new position with co-workers I love, who take care of me and have become good friends (especially Marci).

2. My parents, for knowing when to let me be a grown up and when to comfort me like a kid.

3. My sister, for being a good friend (and for not hating me now that we live together again).

4. My good friend, Nichol, because she is intentional, wonderful, inspiring, and Godly, and we have great talks.

5. New family. Meeting my new aunt, uncle, and cousins has been a huge blessing.

6. I am thankful that I still play phone tag with those far away, including Rachel, Amy, and Nikki.

5. Good health (for me and my family).

6. My friend, Kristy, because she and I have such a great time together and she always lets me know I am missed when we don’t hang out (we hang out at least twice a week and I love it!). She has been a crucial part in making life feel so stable in LA this year. 7. A church to attend in LA, Montana’s to dance at every weekend, and a grad program I completely enjoy.

8. Being able to go home when I need to and be rejuvenated. I still consider San Diego home and love to be reminded of why through being with my parents, sleeping in my bed, seeing Lucy (my dog), going to North Coast Church, bumping into old friends, and smelling the ocean from wherever I go.

9. A growing social life with friends.

10. Understanding, one year later, how much the Lord loves me, even when life is very hard (partly in thanks to my counselor, Carol, who I love). I am living proof that God is faithful and will change your life, because a year ago everything in life - and everything in my spiritual life - was upside down and now things are peaceful and healthy and continuing to improve. The Lord has really made His grace clear to me this year and I rest in that lesson daily.

(photo is Norman Rockwell)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

KC and the soup kitchen

In junior high I served at a soup kitchen around Thanksgiving. I went with my Dad and people from my parents’ small group at church. My friend, Kelle, and I served apple sauce and other food that I can’t remember now. I just remember the apple sauce because we were making smiley faces on plates with it. It all seemed so surreal. I was intimidated by the people I was seeing and was afraid to be left alone. I was also intimidated by the strict order of getting a food line and kitchen prepared to serve so many meals.
The moment it all sunk in was when I looked up to put food on a plate and saw the face of someone I knew. His name was KC and we went to school together. We weren’t great friends and didn’t have a class together, but we were in the same grade and he had a crush on my friend, so we’d talked a handful of times. I was so surprised to see a boy I knew in a soup kitchen that I didn’t know what to say. I hope now that my face wasn’t too shocked. I’m not even sure we said hi, but we definitely made eye contact. It was humbling and a wake up call to see a classmate at a soup kitchen. To realize that someone I knew and went to school with didn’t have enough money to put food on the table. I wondered where he lived and if he really was homeless. Then I wondered how he did his homework. I’ve never forgotten that.
Every year I am grateful for the comfortable life I live in comparison to many, but this year I will have KC in mind.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Catalogs, Stolen Jeans, and a Crappy Kitchen


I ordered the Pottery Barn catalog today. I picked one up a couple months ago and was inspired by all the home designs and pictures. I love the way the pictures of the rooms feel. So cozy and home-y. I’ve written about this before. So today, I ordered a catalog to feel that again. This is also a big step because I never mail things to my apartment. The only things I get in the mail are bills. It is this subconscious thing I have about believing I can only subscribe to magazines and get wedding invitations at a permanent address (San Diego) and I somehow always know that I will never consider this living situation time of my life permanent.
I hate my apartment. Talking with my sister about what we were going to have for dinner and thinking of Thanksgiving dinner next week, I suddenly realized that a big part of the reason I rarely cook a real meal is because I literally hate my kitchen. It is more like a hallway. It has no counter space at all and even fewer cabinets. It’s not conducive to cooking at all, let alone baking! I have to make 30 Christmas cookies for my work Christmas party and I am dreading it because I hate my small kitchen. Okay, my mom is thinking as she reads this that I hate to cook in general, which is true, but I really really hate cooking at my apartment. My brilliant mom also mentioned that having a crappy kitchen didn’t stop Julie Powell or Julia Child from cooking.
My old apartment kitchen was perfect for cooking and baking and we four roommates did that all the time. We even hung out and talked in our kitchen and dining room. We loved it. That is not the case at our new place. Not to mention that our old apartment also had a washer and dryer included and this new place does not, which was my number one requirement for moving and sadly it did not come true. To make matters worse, on Monday someone stole my favorite jeans out of the community laundry room!!! Now I really hate my apartment and I am no longer afraid to admit it. If I lived in Texas I could afford to have my own house. I really want my own house. I want to know that I have roots. That I am settled. Apartments with roommates are a lot of fun, but do not make me feel settled. One day we will all move on. We will get married or get a new job in another city or move to a different country, etc. It will happen one day because it is supposed to happen for twenty-something’s. I get that. I get that apartments and roommates not being permanent is part of life, but I want to feel settled. If I had a house I would be committing to live somewhere for several years. I could paint walls red and yellow and blue. I could put a mural on a wall. I could buy furniture that I knew I wouldn’t have to move in a few months again. I could decorate a guest bedroom and buy new towels and bed spreads. I could even order Christmas pillows (see above picture) and comforters from Pottery Barn just for holiday decorating. I could buy cute dishes and a new dining room set. I’d love to own my own place by the time I’m 30. And when I do, I will hang a sign above the front door that says “Home Sweet Home.”

Texas "New-union"





The family “new-union” was terrific. It went so well. It couldn’t really have gone any better. Having so many family members (19 to be exact) all crowded in one place was so wonderful and fun! My new Aunt Kathy looks so much like my Nana. She just completes the family. It is such a miracle that we found her. It really is. Here’s why… my cousins Natalie and Vanessa were the ones who found out Kathy’s married name and to find that out they had to search by county registry and they decided to search in the county Kathy was born in, because there was hope that people never really leave Cincinnati, OH. Anyway, it worked; Kathy and Kevin got married in that county. But it is a God-thing, because technically, they could have been married in ANY county in the US, in fact, they even moved to Canada for a while, what if they had been married there? We wouldn’t have found her! It is a total God-thing.
Anyway, my new cousins are great. They fit so well and we were all laughing about how glad we were that we are all so “normal,” because none of us knew what to expect. The three of them are funny and sweet and intelligent and beautiful. It was great to make new cousin memories together. It was nice to have new people to talk about feminism and politics and newspapers and Vanity Fair with. I love that we have some common interests. I also got to spend all weekend with my little one-year-old second cousin, Ainsley, who I absolutely adore!!! She is so funny and sweet and a ball of energy. I love her to pieces.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"New-union"

(old picture ofAunt Sue, Vanessa holding Whitney, Natalie, Mom holding me, and Nana)

Please pray for me. Tomorrow I have to fly to Texas, and although I am very excited to get there, I am super nervous about the flight. If you know me well then you know I really HATE to fly. HATE it. I am so afraid it will plummet to the ground and I will die. I get all panic-y and pray, pray, pray. Thank the Lord for His grace with me because I certainly test His patience with all my prayers on days I fly. It is probably even worse this week because it seems everyday people have mentioned heaven, last words, and having a short time left to live. Doesn’t give a girl with small faith and lots of fear much hope now does it? But I will trust the Lord and step in faith.
So, why I am going to Texas? Because I am meeting my new family! Here’s the full story (or at least the version I know…with so many cousins, aunts, and sisters I’m sure I am missing details and have some wrong)… Sixty years ago my Nana and Papa gave up their first child for adoption. A few years later when life was a bit more stable they had three more daughters (my mom being the middle one of those three). Flash forward many years… seven years ago my Papa and Nana told my mom and aunts that they had a biological sister and my mom and aunts have been trying to find her ever since. My mom and her sisters (and even us cousins) knew we would never feel whole until we found her and we all prayed she wanted to be found. Whenever I looked at a picture of the three sisters I imagined the “lost sister” right there with them.
Then, about two months ago we found her! Her My Aunt Karen went to Ohio (where my new aunt was born) and got her birth certificate. My cousins then searched her name on the internet and came upon her married name, so then we had a real chance to find her. At that point my mom googled her and found her husband’s practice’s website and catholic church bulletins with their names on it and found a personal e-mail address. So, my mom and Aunt Sue drafted an e-mail that my mom sent on a Saturday morning and by Saturday evening my new aunt called! Her name is Kathy and she is married with three daughters (which makes nine girl cousins and four aunts…tons of estrogen!).
Now, tomorrow, my mom, sister, and I are going to meet everyone in Texas for a big family “new-union” (as my mom is calling it). We are really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to write and tell you all about it!
But please pray for the flight…

An Education


Go see this movie!!! I absolutely LOVED it. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to own it. I loved it for many reasons, but all you need to know is that it is well made, well acted, and hooks you from the start. I’ve always loved “coming of age” stories and this one takes the cake.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Work families

The workplace is a funny thing. You spend most of your waking hours there. You see your co-workers more than your own family most days – even most of the week. You spend all week with these people counting the days until your weekend when you don’t have to see your co-workers anymore, and then you only get 48 free hours to be with whoever you want and do whatever you want. But what about your co-workers? What do you actually know about them? How much time do you actually spend talking to them? How much time do you spend sitting in a chair while staring at your computer screen? In a slightly less than perfect world (because, lets face it, in a perfect world we wouldn’t work), our co-workers should be like family.
I watch TV shows about co-workers where the characters are one big urban family. They work long hours, talk about their lives, disagree, and spend time together after work, because they don’t have time for outside connections. These shows fascinate me because I love thinking about the workplace/friendship dynamic. This is also why I love my grad program so much, because we talk about this in class sometimes. Do you know there are actual studies that prove every person needs a “work best friend” (aka “Work BFF”) to help motivate someone to come to work and that person becomes more productive and enjoys the job more? I think this theory is really true. I have a work BFF also.
Tonight I was watching a show called “Sports Night” created by Aaron Sorkin, who also created “The West Wing” and is the genius behind “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” I also just “IMBD-ed” him and learned he wrote the script for “The American President” too! His shows are all about the workplace dynamic and all the characters become like family. I swear every time I watch “Studio 60” I wish I worked there. People say I’m crazy when I say that because the characters have no social lives, are workaholics, and never sleep, but I feel like in real life it would be worth it if you legitimately loved your job and loved the people you work with.
I think Aaron Sorkin is right about one thing for sure, that the main reason a person will love their job and stay at it is because they enjoy their co-workers and view them as more than just co-workers. And if you think about it, if you’re spending most of your waking hours at work, don’t you want to like who you work with?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Ten: Answered prayers

This week has been full of realizing and remembered answered prayers. God answers prayers and His timing is always perfect – never early, but always on time. Here are my Top Ten answered prayers that I have been thinking about this week:
1. My Dad is safe while traveling (he is in New York tonight and tomorrow leaves for London…then Dubai).
2. My Mom has a relationship with her new sister and it is a huge blessing after praying and looking for her after seven years.
3. Ashley and I are enjoying living together (and getting along).
4. Emily starts her new job on Monday after being unemployed since May.
5. I have a permanent job and my coworkers have been wonderful.
6. Chrissie is having a girl.
7. I have friends – who I see on a weekly basis… I actually sleep way less and am home a lot less, but it is wonderful. Church friends. Nichol. Kristy. All are blessings.
8. Life is better today than it was a year ago… one year ago my life sort of fell apart (mostly my emotional/mental/spiritual health) and I wasn’t sure what my life would look like one year later… it looks better than I could have imagined, which is a total blessing.
9. My counselor.
10. George is still not married.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friends all over the place

I was supposed to leave for New York City tomorrow. My Dad is going on business and my goal after last October’s trip to NY was to go every year with him (and hopefully with my mom and sister), but he leaves tomorrow and I can’t go. I got a new position at work (which was also a promotion) two weeks ago and really can’t take time off. I think it is a pretty good reason. J The job is going well… it is really overwhelming, but I get to be independent, which I like.
I went home this weekend to see my parents and say good bye to a good friend who leave for the Marines tomorrow. I love going home. It is so beautiful in San Diego. There is this house about five minutes from mine that was for sale about two months ago and my Mom jokingly told me to buy it, and now when either of us drives by it we consider it mine. Haha, we are such dreamers. If I lived there I could see my parents all the time. They could walk Lucy (our dog) to my house. We could go to the grocery store together and the movies together and church. We could still have family dinner after church on Saturday nights. But, I could also have my independence. Do dishes when I feel like it and watch “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” all day. Part of me wishes I lived in that house and in San Diego…home. But, on the other hand, the reason I hardly blog these days is because I finally have a social life here in LA! The Lord has blessed me with friends! The kind who hang out every weekend and throughout the week. It keeps me busy and I love it. They are wonderful and it has been a lot of fun. It’s nice to finally have things come together and be answered prayers after five years of living away from home. I have a long way to go with them, but I am blessed.
Local friends are good, especially when these days my friends are spreading further and further around the globe. My Dad leaves for NY and then London and then Dubai. My good friend, Nikki, is in Afghanistan for three weeks and regularly lives in D.C. My friend, Ian, is leaving for the Marines to go spend six months in Virginia. My good friend, Amy, lives in Chicago. My friend, Alex, just moved to Hawaii. My new family (for explanation read my Mom’s blog) lives in Florida. I am going to my Aunt Sue’s house in November for a “new union” with the FL family, so I’ll be going to Dallas. Everyone is just all over the place. I guess this happens when you grow up, huh?
Speaking of, on Saturday night my family and I got together with family friends to see my Mom’s good friend, Marti, who flew in from Spokane. My Mom, Nancy, and Marti have all been friends for 30 years. It is so much fun to hear their stories. They just laugh and laugh about old times. I love it. There is this picture I like to look at of this whole crew at a cabin in Big Bear where they all used to go before they had kids (and a few time with us kids). I wish I could have known all of them then…been their friend. It would have been fascinating to see what they were all like when they were my age. I wonder if I will have a group of friends to go away with someday… I wonder if I already do (I've wondered this before).
I read a dedication in a book today that said, “…and to those of us who were together when we were young.” I think it fits this post beautifully.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Days

Rainy days.
Sundays.
Date days.
Pay days.
Long days.
Fast days.
Busy days.
Sick days.
Family days.
Vacation days.
Laundry days.
Appointment days.
Mental health days.
Sad days.
Fun days.
Blue days.
“Romantical” days.
Moving days.
Study days.
Holidays.
Birthdays.
Christmas days.
Stay-in-bed days.
Valentines’ days.
Catch up days.
Make up days.
Bright and early days.
Get on a plane days.
Church days.
Mondays.
Camp days.
Party days.
Graduation days.
Thursdays.
Lonely days.
Forgotten days.
Beach days.
Road trip days.
Hospital days.
Wedding days.
Mail days.
Election days.
Dog sit days.
Day care days.
Spa days.
Tea days.
Shopping days.
TV marathon days.
Retreat days.
Couple days.
Fire days.
Snow days.
Tuesdays.
Cloudy days.
Grumpy days.
Saturdays.
Bygone days.
Full days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Updates are hard to write when you're sick.

Well, it has been over a week since I last wrote, and I promised myself (and you) that I would write at least once a week. Even my sister commented on my lack of a recent post (thanks for reading, Ash)! So that means it is time for an update.
I have been pretty sick for the last few days. Even writing this post is taking energy I am not sure I have. I hate being sick. First of all, it reminds me that I live because I have to ask my roommates to take care of me and only ask when I legitimately can’t do it on my own. If I were at home my Mom would be making sure I am okay. I miss that, but I do appreciate her and my Dad’s sympathy on the phone. My sister has been really nice to me though, so again, I am glad we live together. I also hate being sick because I miss out on all social plans, which are the highlights of my week. And, I am missing work, which is really, really stressing me out. It makes me feel like a slacker, which I am not, but I still feel that way.
Speaking of work, I got a new position at work last week. I am officially the Admissions Manager now, which is very exciting. It means I am no longer a temporary employee, which is a big relief. I am also salaried now and get my tuition discount back. It is strange to know that I will for sure be here for at least two more years now that I have a permanent job. But I do love security and now I have it!
In other news, my family is five people bigger now. My mom and sisters found their “lost sister” last weekend (read her entry about it here). She was given up for adoption by my grandparents 60 years ago and she has been searching for years and my mom and her sisters have been searching and last weekend they were all introduced and united through e-mail and Facebook. It is pretty incredible. We are all having a big family reunion in November, which should be pretty cool.
Anyway, other than being home sick, life is good and busy. I hang out with friends a lot these days, which I am so thankful for. It has been a long time waiting for friends and a social life and now that it is here I am taking advantage of every opportunity to hang out and continue getting to know these new people.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I (heart) Nora Ephron


I went and saw “Julie & Julia” for the second time this afternoon. I loved it even more this time. Nora Ephron is a genius. Her movies are some of my favorites and this one is no exception, which I decided after seeing it for the second time. Nora understands women and writing in a way that few do. She gets that women need more in their lives than just work. They need purpose and fulfillment, and they know it is not just found in relationships, even though they want those too.
They believe in the written word. Annie, from “Sleepless in Seattle,” wrote for the newspaper and wrote a “love letter” to Sam. Kathleen, in “You’ve Got Mail,” wrote to Joe by e-mail before ever meeting him. In “Julie & Julia,” Julie wrote a blog. She wrote to “the void,” which is the same term Kathleen uses about cyber space in “You’ve Got Mail.” I write to the “void” through this blog every week. It is comforting and challenging and nerve-racking and wonderful all at the same time. It gives me something to look forward to and a way to connect and be creative. Nora Ephron understands this.
The other thing she understands is that women want to be loved. Julie and Julia are both married to wonderful men in “Julie & Julia.” Julia reminds her husband how sweet he is and how wonderful. Julie calls her husband, Eric, a “saint” (which he hates…this is the glaring difference between men and women). She says she married “a really nice guy.” That is what I need. A man so sweet he can only be called “a really nice guy.” Nora Ephron gets this too. The women in “Julie & Julia” are self-centered and neurotic and insecure and needy – all things that I can be…often. They are emotionally high maintenance, and yet, not unlovable. They are themselves, and the men who love them get this, even when it sucks. Nora Ephron gets women, even though her movies do not depict reality – or rather, men.
Also, Nora Ephron understands the love of food. This is why I love “Julie & Julia.” It is all about writing, relationships, and food. Nora Ephron understands food. Watching “Julie & Julia” reminded me of the joy food can bring to a group of people. The way people bond over sharing a meal. The hospitality and intimacy it brings. It reminded me of a blog post I read recently about the love of food and how life is too short and appearance is too shallow not to enjoy eating. She wrote her post after she saw the movie too.
So again, Nora Ephron brings women together, because she understands them. This is why I (heart) Nora Ephron.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kids are hilarious

I am reading many blogs tonight and came across three videos that crack me up and are so sweet.

My favorite is the adorable little girl who threw the foul baseball her Dad caught at the Phillie's game! The "Today" show interview is pretty cute too. They are a beautiful family.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, and cracked up at this hilarious video of kids trying to resist eating a marshmallow. I was almost in tears it was so funny to me!

And finally, my sweet little nephew cracking up with his Daddy before bedtime.

Happy viewing!

New roommate


As I write this my sister is setting up her new room in my apartment (now our apartment). Her boyfriend, Chris, is over too and kindly and patiently helping her build IKEA furniture. She seems very happy to be here, which makes me glad and relieved. I am excited and nervous to see what this journey will hold for us, especially because we live with another set of sisters too (Em and her sister, Sarah). I'm also excited to see what this new journey will hold for my "empty nest" parents, who only a few hours in, have already seemed to happily adjust! I am just glad to finally be living with someone who has known me for longer than five years! Ash knows me really well - which can be good and bad - but having family around, and the comfort and vulnerability it brings, will be nice.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Family Love


I love my family. Yes, they make me crazy, but they also love me unconditionally, support me, believe in me, and make me laugh. My life would be empty without them.
Tonight I talked to all three of them (I call them nearly everyday). My Dad called to give me some job advice. My mom and I caught up on our days, discussed pop culture, and laughed about Colin Firth. My sister and I (see above picture) talked about her big move to my apartment this weekend (now called “our apartment”) and our love for our dog, Lucy. I hung up the phone with a smile on my face.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ah, weddings

As I often do, I am going to write about love. Blame it partly on the wedding I went to yesterday. Love has been on my mind this week...well, crushes have been on my mind, which are not necessarily love, but it's part of it, maybe the most important part, as it is the beginning.

So, here are some great posts having to do with love:

My dear friend Amy celebrated her one year wedding anniversary this week. I am so happy for her, because she is so happy! It is beautiful to see.

Here is a unexpectedly sweet quote about love.

And here is a letter a father wrote to his daughter on her wedding day. It is a cool idea.

I randomly found many fun quotes about love from Miley Cyrus' tweets! She is adorable, I have to admit.

One of my favorite blogs, Cup of Jo, is on her honeymoon for two weeks, so while she is gone people are posting about the secrets of a happy marriage. It is so fun and wonderful and romantic to read!

Finally, my love has a girlfriend, but my hope is that they will not get married (given his devoted bachelor status), which is good news because my motto has always been "nothing is final until you say 'I do." A girl's gotta dream, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bouquet of newly sharpened pencils


School is starting and all is right in the world!!! Gosh, I love my MAOL (Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership) program! It seriously makes my week. I love it! I love the learning. I love the topics. I love the professors. I love that everything I learn is immediately applicable to my life. And I love my peers! Tonight there was a mandatory meeting so I got to see all of my favorite people, most of whom I haven’t seen since early May, and most of us will no longer have classes together because of where we’re each at in the program, so tonight was a great chance to catch up and smile and give hugs. In the midst of all my transition and lack of close friends, class is where I can show up and feel apart of something. My friends in the program make me feel noticed and appreciated and loved. The professors make me feel competent and intelligent. The material makes me feel empowered and challenged. Ah, I just love it. I can’t wait for my class to start in two weeks. I guess I could really use a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils right about now!
(Photo found here).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Anderson Cooper


As much as I love George Clooney (which, as you know, is a lot), I have quite a soft spot for Anderson Cooper. He is just so handsome and adorable and awkward and intelligent. Part of why I love him is because he is such an honest writer. I have been reading his memoir off and on over the last year and it gets me every time. He is so outwardly strong. He travels to war-torn areas, risks his life for stories, and illuminates the plight of the oppressed. But what really gets me is a vulnerability just under the surface. He is deeply wounded (due mostly to his rough family past). I guess it is the “fixer” in me; I want to make his life better. Weird and girly, I know. Chalk this post up to girlhood fantasies and a large dose of TMI.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A physical reflection of inner change





Yesterday I cut off ten inches of my hair! I donated it to Locks of Love, but really just wanted a change and knew I had enough hair to donate, rather than cutting off just four inches or so. I’ve donated a couple times now. Emily and I keep mentioning how this year seems to be a whole new season in our lives, and she encouraged me to cut my hair as a way to physically reflect that transition, which it has.
Em is right, we are in transition. However, I feel like I’ve been in a constant state of transition since moving north to go to college. It has lasted for five years now, but obviously there are calmer and more dramatic times. This is one of the more dramatic times. I am in job transition, apartment transition, church transition, friend transition (which has been rather difficult), and roommate transition. This week my sister decided she is moving in with Em and I while she attends Cal Poly Pomona. And, as of yesterday, Em’s sister moved in with us as well. September will bring four roommates in our new place and two sets of sisters, which should be fun and interesting.
I’ve never really been a fan of transition, as you well know by now. We shall see what happens. I just cover this time of my life in prayer and I try to be as extroverted and brave as possible, which gets very exhausting. But, one part of transition that has been fun is my new haircut. It has been just over 24 hours and I am really enjoying my drastically shorter hair!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trying not to be needy,

But I am.
Hard to believe it is better this week.
When I am really needy I don’t like to admit it,
That feels needy.
Need:
Intentionality.
To be missed.
Appreciation.
Coffee dates.
Laughter after work
(luckily I laugh a lot at work these days).
Full weekends,
When I am not at home in San Diego.
Security
Emotional stability.
Best friends
Or
Cable TV.
Daily devotions.
Prayer.
A listening ear.
Hearing I am beautiful.
Good conversations.
Deeper friendships with new friends.
The fires around Azusa to stop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fire Week


There is a fire in Azusa. It is hidden behind the foothills, behind APU. The sky at work was full of smoke, but really just above APU with a surrounding blue sky, but by the time I drove home the sky was murky further east (toward my apartment). But I am safe and so is the school. The fire hasn’t come over the foothills…yet, and probably won’t (they say). Can’t believe it is already fire season. Some people have snow days, while Californians have “fire days.”
I remember what I lovingly termed as “fire week” back in October of 2003. All of San Diego seemed to be up in flames, or about to be. But it was one of the best weeks ever. School was cancelled for the week, but everyday it was touch and go. It started on a Sunday night when a few friends and I were studying for a test we had the next day and we called our teacher, Mrs. Gerent, and asked her if she had heard anything about school being cancelled (we all prayed it would be to postpone studying). Only at a small school would you have your teacher’s cell phone number. :) She called us back and said yes, it was cancelled, so we sighed with relief and closed our books to talk and hang out on what had suddenly become an additional Saturday night. It was a great feeling.
School ended up being cancelled for the week. My Dad was in Palm Desert for the week and my mom said that was actually kind of a “God thing” because his asthma would have caused an attack with all the smoke. It was heavy and thick. Outside was so brown it covered the windshields like fog when driving. The cars were covered in ash, which was the closest thing to snow we may ever get in San Diego. The sky was a constant shade of orange and the news showed fires constantly. News anchors even got sick from all the smoke intake while on the job…rookies. My sister and I both had friends stay over most of the week and my Mom told me she worried how she would evacuate four girls, herself, our dog and valuables, without my Dad around, at the drop of the hat. That is the scary part about fire season – anything can change uncontrollably at the turn of the wind.
The week was so great because my friend Nikki stayed at my house for most of the week. I think we convinced our moms to let her spend the night three nights in a row. It was a nearly week-long slumber party…on a school night! LOL. I remember we convinced my mom to let us drive to the grocery store, despite the bad air quality, and get stuff so she and I could make dinner for the family. Now I don’t even remember what we made, but I remember we had a good time buying and making it. I think that was the week Nikki and I laid on top of my bed talking about college decisions and how she wanted to go to Chapman and still had feelings for her ex-boyfriend (now her current boyfriend of five years…funny how life works out sometimes). :) That was also the week I confided in her about who I had feelings for. It was a good week.
Crazy that was six years and how things have – and haven’t – changed.
(Not sure who took the photo, but possibly him).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Details

Dear friends,
Sorry I haven’t written in over a week. I haven’t felt much like writing.
Life has been a bit rough the past couple weeks. It is not so much because of outside factors, it is mostly just me. I was busy wallowing in self-pity, buried in Melancholy and Blue. Those two have been my best friends the last few weeks and I couldn’t seem to shake them. They are the best kind of best friends because they never leave or give up on you. They are always there when you need to vent and be listened to and they always tell you you’re right, except they tell you the lies you are believing are the truth, that you are right that “no one is intentional about making time for you” or “you’re not beautiful enough,” or “you are always alone.”
The problem is, as loyal as Melancholy and Blue are; they are lethal and poisonous to my other friends Optimism and Contentment and Faith. These three friends are also great, but they are not as loyal and they don’t always take my side, but they are the kind of friends that when they come to stay you feel better about life. They make you happy to be alive and force you to see the glass as half full. The trouble comes when Optimism, Contentment, and Faith get kicked out by Melancholy and Blue.
Luckily, I finally got strong enough on Friday night to kick out Melancholy and Blue. I was seeing the negative effects of their visit affect not only me, but my friends and family, so I grabbed Maturity and Humility and forced myself to be strong. Since Friday, life has been better. My attitude has improved and life is looking half-full again. God has been showing Himself in the details, which is one of my favorite things about the way He shows up in my life, because when life seems hard and overwhelming, all you have is the small stuff, the basics, the details.
Thanks for reading and here is to a better outlook on life.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Julie & Julia


Today my mom, sister and I went to see “Julie & Julia.” I loved it, which of course I did because it is a Nora Ephron film and she is a genius, plus it was about food and marriage and finding a purpose and starred the ever amazing Meryl Streep. I also loved it because there was a lot of humor about blogs, which I could totally relate to. My favorite line was “I could have a blog. I have things to say!” It was wonderful movie and a nice escape.
It made me want to be married. Both women are married to such wonderful men. Julie even calls her husband a “saint.” More importantly, the movie made me want to cook. Both the urge to have a husband and to cook can cause me immediate anxiety! Haha.
The whole plot of the movie is Julia Child’s life and a year in the life of Julie Powell, who made a goal to blog about her year long journey of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” That is such a good idea. It made me want to consider making a recipe (not of Julia Child’s, just in general) every Sunday as a personal challenge, because frankly, I am not a fan of anything related to the kitchen. However, there are moments, like when watching the Food Network that I dream of enjoying cooking (and not just dream that Bobby Flay and I are married and he grills for me everyday on our New York patio). However, as much as I’d like to promise to begin this "Sunday cooking adventure," I can not, because I hate being committed to things that I am not passionate about. I don’t like the pressure. I’m already feeling pressure from my other recent goal to read through the Bible in one year. Plus, I have also given myself an assignment to finish reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by the weekend of the 29th when my mom and sister and I plan to see the movie. Anyway, go see “Julie & Julia” and then go to your favorite restaurant and on the way home drop by the grocery store and buy some ingredients to make something delicious.

Friday, August 14, 2009

All American Girl


I was listening to the radio this morning and one of my shows was broadcasting from Boston. The co-anchor said that being in Boston feels like “living in a really big house, because everyone (there) is so hospitable.” I thought that was the coolest and most profound description of a city. I love the picture that is gives. It made me want to go to Boston (I also want to go for those great accents and cute men…thank you “Good Will Hunting”…haha). If I took up Jet Blue’s offer for a $600 one month pass of unlimited flights I could go there…and anywhere else I wanted. I’d have to take off work for a month and just travel, but that causes another bump in the road because I am not very into traveling. This shocks most people. A co-worker mentioned the other day that it really surprises her that I don’t like to travel, which I felt was a compliment because it implies she thinks I am brave and a sort of free-spirit or adventurous or something. The most difficult part about traveling for me is flying, because (as you know) I hate to fly. Once I get where I’m going I usually like it, but maybe I’ve just visited some really great places.

If I did get the Jet Blue pass I would travel all over the US. I am unusual in the sense that I have more places I ache to go that are in the US than overseas. Most people are the opposite, but there is so much of this beautiful country that I want to see and I guess a lot of people would go to Europe first because the US will always be here for them, but how often to they end up taking advantage of that? Not very. Yes, someday I would love to go to London and Paris and Italy and Greece and Amsterdam and Ireland, but, I also really want to visit Nashville and Seattle and Boston and Maine and New Orleans and North Carolina and Chicago and some small towns in between. I guess this goes to prove that I really am an “all American girl.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pottery Barn future


A home.
of handmade quilts,
to cuddle with by a fire,
antique pieces,
a bookshelf of cookbooks in the kitchen,
a big dinning room table,
for dinner parties
and Saturday morning breakfasts,
and family dinner on Sunday nights,
a piano passed down through generations,
a twin bed under a staircase
(not sure what it’s for, but the Pottery Barn catalog inspired me),
a full DVD cabinet,
an entertainment center,
an overstuffed chair,
church on Sundays,
Bible on the nightstand,
fresh flowers,
stacks of books,
an answering machine,
sounds of laughter,
big windows,
white curtains that let in the light,
king size bed,
clocks with times from different cities where loved ones live and where my heart was left
(Texas, New York, Chicago, DC),
pictures of family and friends on the wall,
a mural on the wall of the staircase,
large art pieces,
children’s work on the fridge,
pretty smelling bathroom soap,
a wreath on the front door
that always brings in friends and families,
the home where people go to escape, relax, and be loved.
(photo from Pottery Barn).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Channeling Jordan McDeere

Tomorrow is a big day at work. It is a big day because I have to attend three meetings with new people, some of whom are big wigs, and that is so intimidating. I want to prove myself tomorrow. I want to not be defined by how quiet I may be, or how young I look, or by my appearance, etc. I want them all to see I am confident in my job and my knowledge and my ability to learn. Technically, I will probably just be sitting in the meetings and doing my best to follow the conversation, but still, I want to be seen as competent. This is all because of the possible changes at work that I am headed toward with my position. So, to compensate for my insecurity and intimidation, I am going to think of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s” Jordan McDeere. She is my favorite character and she plays the newly hired president of the NBS network. No one, especially her supervisor, thinks she is qualified. They all think she will run away scared and run her position into the ground before running away her self. She is brave and confident and doesn’t let anyone see her sweat. She rarely falls apart, but when she does she is alone. She stays calm and looks for the positive and can handle any threat or challenge. She also states in an episode that she agreed to do her new job as if she only had a year left to live, and make decisions based on that. She will be my role model tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

An open letter to Jon and Kate


Dear Jon and Kate,

You have the most adorable kids. They are certainly a handful and I don’t know how you deal with the day to day of constant neediness, but regardless, they must crack you up all the time. It has been fun watching the show and seeing them grow up. It would be fascinating to spend a day in your shoes at home.

My heart is breaking for you both during this difficult time in your lives. I’m sure you never imagined getting to this point in your relationship, especially in front of millions of people. Just want you to know I don’t believe everything I read and I don’t buy the covers of you two on US Weekly.

My prayer is that you two can find your way back to one another. At least in some small way. No one else will ever know fully what it is like to raise eight kids. No one understands the way that has bonded you two for life. No one understands how you both felt the day you brought the little kids home. These are things I hope you both remember as you continue to figure out what is next. I love that your kids come first in each of your lives, and my hope is that they will come first for you two as a parental unit. I hope the kids can have both their parents at their birthday parties and on Christmas morning. I hope you can each put aside your anger and hurt and spend a day together in peace, and more than peace, I hope in community and friendship. I hope your kids can see a smile between you two or hear a nice word. It won’t do either of you any good to have joint birthday parties and holidays if the environment is tense and uncomfortable. That is not what will make good memories for your kids. I hope you figure out some way to exist together soon because you two will have to see each other for the rest of your kids’ lives.

Also, I am sad for the kids that they won’t see you both as often. I hope you let them call the other when they are sad and can’t fall asleep because they haven’t said goodnight to one of you. I hope you don’t get jealous when they mention the other parent. I hope you don’t have a rule stating that they can’t mention Mom or Dad. I hope custody arrangements are not so strict that you can’t rearrange the agreement for one of your birthdays or an impromptu snowboarding trip or for one kid to spend some alone time with the parent who does not have all eight that week. I just hope things are flexible and friendly for the sake of those eight little beautiful faces that bring your life so much joy.

Thanks for opening up your life for the world to see. Regardless of the press and the separation, I think you two are wonderful parents who legitimately try their best every morning, and that is all any kid can ask for. Please give your kids a hug for me and my prayers are with you both.

A faithful fan,

Carrie

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh, “The Bachelorette”


I just watched one of the most romantic proposals on "The Bachelorette" that I have seen in the ten-something seasons it has been on. Reid coming back was (or maybe seemed?) so real. It was heart-wrenching and romantic.
The Bachelor and Bachelorette is a fascinating show. I have watched it nearly every season and it never ceases to make me think about if I could ever go on it. I find it an interesting experiment in human relationships, bonding, attraction, and love. Sometimes it reminds me of a modern day “arranged marriage” because the contestants are chosen for you. But that is actually one of the coolest ideas about the show, that a whole team of people are in charge of picking the “perfect” match for you based on your own criteria out of hundreds or thousands of applicants.
Everyone always complains about how lame The Bachelorette and Bachelor are because of the idea that you can fall in love and be engaged within six weeks (or is it eight?). But, I don’t think it is that crazy, especially in that environment. Tonight Reid worded it perfectly, he pointed out that they are all in their own “world” and although it is not the “real world,” it is still real. It is still real people with emotions and opinions and fears and pasts. It is just a unique experience in love. In fact, I typically defend the idea of being on the show, as crazy as many think it is, because I don’t think it is any less crazy than meeting someone online, especially a match making service like eHarmony. It is not even much different than a blind date. Maybe the fact it is a TV show adds a bit of an extra dimension, and of course there is the fact that you get a proposal when all is said and done. I do agree that part is a bit of a stretch.
As I wrote this entry I was watching The Bachelorette, so when I started this entry Reid was proposing, but now the show is over and (spoiler warning) Jillian and Ed are engaged. One of the most convincing moments of tonight that this show is real and “unscripted” is the excitement Jillian showed on her face the moment she saw Ed. She was smiling like a fool! And when he finally got down on his knee she was doing everything she could to contain herself and keep from jumping up and down with joy. It was adorable and precious.
I thought the best line of Jillian and Ed would be after Reid left when Jillian said, “Ed better not (bleeping) disappoint me,” because it was hilariously honest. Then I thought the cutest line was when Ed proposed by saying, "I want you to give me a hard time when we're 80 years old." But the best line was actually after the proposal when Jillian exclaimed, “Do you have any idea how much fun were gonna have?!” She is engaged to her best friend, and that is what she wanted on The Bachelor with Jason, so that in itself is adorable. I love the idea that Jillian thinks marriage with Ed will be a fun and exhilarating adventure.
P.S. I think one of the best parts of being on The Bachelorette would be to get to know Chris Harrison. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Great wedding dance


Everyone has been talking about this wedding video and tonight I finally watched it (thanks to my Mom). It cracked me up! I love it and highly doubt I would courageous enough to pull that off at my wedding, but it is amazing that they did! I'm sure dancing down the aisle is a great start to one's marriage. :)

Not sure how to embed it in this entry, so you can watch it here.

Notes

Getting notes is such a lovely way to show someone you are thinking about them. I save most of the ones I'm given. I even have love notes I received from a boy who liked me in seventh grade! I try to write them instead of just sending an e-mail because I think it means more (I guess I'm old fashioned that way). The fact that I write people notes probably comes as a surprise to most of my family because I am seriously one of the worst "prompt thank you writers" ever, but I like to write notes that mean something to someone.
My friend Amy writes me notes on her blog and each time I read a new one it completely makes my day. So thank you, Amy. I love you.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Missing New York








My mom and I have been missing New York really bad lately. We are hoping to go in October. I am already planning to save money and vacation time in preparation. Mom confessed this week that she dreams of living there someday, even if for only a year, and that has also been one of my dreams since the first time I visited in 2003. It is difficult to explain my connection with NYC, but it is honestly a part of me (as hippie as that sounds). I feel at home when I am there.

Here's one of my favorite quotes about New York from a short-lived TV show called, "The Bedford Diaries":

"New York City.
New York absorbs everything and nothing.
In New York,
time stands still,
yet moves so fast you can barely keep up with it.
In New York,
you're young,
but you're old too.
You're reckless and wise.
You're innocent and you're knowing.
Every time I step outside in this city
I feel the same excitement I did when I first got here.
New York City,
it assumes nothing,
yet demands everything that you can possibly give.
Living in New York,
it's like falling in love."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dance like no one's watching





I wish I was a dancer.
I always have. My sister was a dancer when she was young and I used to be so jealous that she was coordinated and brave enough to go perform on stage. I use to imagine what it would be like to go to a dance class every week and bond with my fellow dancers and pretend to be mad at my dance instructor for the torture she was putting me through. One of my best friends, Nikki, was a dancer and I use to love watching her and going to her recitals. She was amazing to watch.
Now I watch “So You Think You Can Dance” and love every minute of it. I love old musicals. I love lame dance flicks like “Center Stage” and “Step Up.” I love the way people can express themselves through dance. A person can work out their emotions and stress and heartache on the floor. It is beautiful.
These days I am obsessed with going dancing at Montana’s every weekend. It is the closest I can come to “being a dancer.” Ha, whatever that means. Line dancing is the best because the moves are decided for you and you just have to learn the steps. I don’t have to free-style and make my own moves, because that is an area where I lack! LOL. I also love to two-step, but considering that is a partner dance it is a bit more complicated and harder to come by on the weekends, but it is fun. I love going to Montana’s because it is such a great stress reliever. You can’t be mad or stressed or over-think when you’re dancing. It is a great escape, and considering they play country music most of the night it is a slice of heaven on earth!
So anyway, go turn on “So You Think You Can Dance.” It is on as I write this. Tomorrow night Katie Holmes will be dancing on the show. Hope I’m out of class in time to watch it! I love her and I’ve actually seen her on stage, which was awesome, and probably a lot of the reason I like her.

Now go dance! :)