Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fresh laundry

So I am sitting at my home computer writing this entry and by home, I mean my parents’ house, which is where I still consider “home.” Maybe I won’t always, but I do now, and have for 24 years. Even when we moved as a family, a part of the four of us always knew that this home was “home.”
I am sitting in our office surrounded bymiscellaneous papers, a pair of glasses, a head scratcher, a box of Christmas cards, school pictures, and behind me is all of my Mom’s quilting stuff. I just finished watching cable, which I don’t have at my apartment. I have laundry in the dryer. I am drying my bedding and I know that the best part about it will be tomorrow night when I roll into bed and pull the sheets up to cover my mouth and they will smell like my family’s detergent. It’s one of my favorite things. Clean sheets that also smell like home. What could be better?
I drove down today because my Mom and Dad planned a Memorial Day barbeque with some friends. Ashley and Chris came too and I didn’t want to miss out, so I hopped in the car and drove home. I’m glad I did.
As I write this my lovely dog, Lucy, is sitting outside the office door facing the living room and kitchen so she doesn’t miss anything. My sister is in the kitchen in her comfy pants serving herself some ice cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce (our BBQ dessert). My parents and a couple friends are sitting at the dining room table. They are cracking up and chatting up a storm. The sound of it all might be the most comforting sound ever. It is a sound I have heard my entire life.
A sound that reminds me that these two couples have known each other for many years. It reminds me that family is important. Kids are important. Marriage is important. But it is all tough. Nothing about those three things are easy. But, I am learning, and trying to remind myself when all the dysfunction seems to get the better of my anxiety, that it is worth it. It is all worth it. And it is all what makes life matter. Marriage. Kids. Pets. Homes. Family. Reasons worth living.

Monday, May 24, 2010

What do you LOVE to do?


I mean really love to do. Every time.

I love to do nothing.
I love to watch TV.
I love to go to the movies and love to watch the trailers.
I love to lay in bed and read.
I love to stay at hotels. Love it.
I love to eat.
I love to go to restaurants.
I love to go to North Coast Church.
I love to look at the ocean.
I love to smell the ocean.
I love to spend time with my family. Even just riding in the car together to run mundane errands.
I love to sing and dance in the car.
I love to drive by myself.
I love to wash my hair.
I love to write and read blogs.
I love to wear slippers.
I love to put my hair back in a ponytail.
I love to wear jeans and sweatshirts.
I love to go away for the weekend.
I love to sleep in.
I love to laugh.
I love to get coffee with a friend one-on-one.
I love to talk (ask my family).
I love to hold babies. Nothing beats that feeling of happiness and love and security.
I love to go to Barnes and Noble.
I love to go country-line dancing with friends.
I love to wake up in the morning and know that I have nothing to do that day but just be.
(photo: can't remember, but most pictures I love are usually found through this blog).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gleek


OMG, I saw the GLEE Live Tour last night and LOVED it! It brought out not only my inner theater geek, but also my twelve year old girl (hence the use of OMG). I actually squealed when I thought I saw Matthew Morrison (Mr. Shuster). It wasn’t actually him… I don’t think. I went with my co-worker Teri, and in true stalker fashion, we brought binoculars. That’s why I’m not sure I really saw Matthew Morrison. We also really thought we saw Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester), but again, more binoculars and we changed our minds. Plus, she was kind of all over the place and right in front of the stage, yet none of the cast acknowledged her, so I really think it was just some Jane Lynch look alike. But, I did see the guy who plays Jesse in the show. I know it was him, not only because of the binoculars, but also the screaming fans and flashing cameras.
The show was so fun! The opening act was an incredible dance crew, LXD, that one of the guys from GLEE is in. They were awesome and I’m sure they’ll guest star on So You Think You Can Dance this season (totally my own guess). But even before that, as people found their seats, GLEE quotes and pictures from episodes were on the screen. There was a group of boys and girls who were about seven and they knew every single quote. It was hilarious. When the GLEE cast started there was an intro video by Mr. Shue and Sue. Everyone was in character and they wore the same costumes as the numbers in the show. They didn’t talk much, “just” sang and dance. I kept trying to see if it was pre-recorded, but no, with some microphone dysfunction and breathy voices at times from all the dancing, they really are singing. It is all natural talent. The triple threat, which made me love the show even more.
So yes, the cast really is talented and have amazing voices. They also seem to have a lot of fun together and group chemistry. The guy who plays Finn is cuter in person and has a better voice than I expected. Fans love Puck, who is just as cute as on TV. I realized how much I love Artie because every time he sang a solo I yelled and clapped. The silly cheerio, Brittany, is an amazing dancer. Mercedes voice is so smooth and powerful (and she was an American Idol reject). And, finally, my favorite, Rachel Berry (real name: Lea Michele), was INCREDIBLE. Her voice is beyond reason. LOVE it. She sang “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and blew everyone away.
The other cool part about the show was the audience. It was such a mix of people. You really saw all kinds of folks: old, young (literally, seven year olds and seventy year olds), parents, kids, black white, Asian, Mexican, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, wheelchair bound, able-bodied, male, and female. Who knew, GLEE would bring so many people together? And all is the name of music, which is the coolest part, since I love music and support music education in schools. As I left I thought about how cool it would have been for a high school teacher to bring their arts students, just to show that it is important and beautiful.
It was a ton of fun and I wish I could see it every night they are in LA. Yay GLEE!
(Photo from here and cool reviews of last night's show here and here).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life at 24

A student worker, Nicole, in my department recently asked me to be part of a survey about age and I thought her questions were so interesting and thought provoking I decided to share my answers:
Current Age: 24
At your current age, what is most meaningful to you? What do you think about most often, and where are you focusing your time and energy?
Relationships are the most meaningful to me and figuring out my self. I have spent a couple years making sure that I understand who I am and what I am about and how to overcome my struggles to be the best person I can be. I think a lot about my future and how to create my life (meaning my job, future family, what city I want to settle down in). I spend a lot of time focusing on friendships and spending time with my family (my parents and sister). I also am pursuing education and trying to constantly improve and grow in my job.
At your current age, how has what means most to you changed in the last 10 years? How do you feel this might change in the next 10?
Well, in the last ten years I was 14-24, but I would say since about 16 I have focused on my life's meaning. Within the last ten years, I have stopped believing that college always has to equal success. I have learned that experience is also important. I have also learned that not all dreams come true, and that is okay. Life rarely turns out as we expected, but I have learned the value of creating a meaningful life within the daily activities of your life. I guess you could say that in the last ten years I have learned to value taking responsibility for your own actions and growth, which I really didn't understood even in college.
In the next ten years (24-34) I hope family begins to be my next focus of meaning. I hope that in ten years I have kids and a husband, so I'd like to think family would be my top priority and spending time with them my daily goal. I also think I will place more meaning on having a flexible job that allows me to both work and raise my kids.
Up until your current age, what has been your favorite time of life and why?
I loved high school (mainly the second half from 16-18). It was a time in life full of quality friendships, most of whom I still consider my best friends today. It was also a time of excitement, of learning who I was and what I wanted and believing it was all possible. But mostly, I think it was my favorite time of life because I was surrounded by a large support system. I had such a great, loving, and supportive group of friends, family, mentors, and teachers around me and I thrived, learned, grew and laughed a ton. I also was very involved in things, like church (worship team and leading a bible study) and school and had a very busy social life.
Considering your current age and moving forward, what decade of life do you most look forward to? Why?
I really look forward to my thirties. It is not too far away, but I think thirties represent settling or putting down roots. To me, I hope my thirties are a time of having my own family, being in a job that fits my purpose, and settling in a house where I "plan" to live for the next decade or so. I view thirties as a time of stability, security, and family. I also look forward to my sixties when I can look around me and see the fruits of my family.
What are your biggest life dreams and ambitions? Do you feel you have accomplished any or all of them?
This question is constantly changing for me. Actually, I'd say that in the last ten years this question has come to mean everything and nothing to me. My dreams have changed, mostly since graduating undergrad. My ambitions have stayed pretty much the same. My ambitions are to pursue education and do well in my job in a way that leads to more opportunities and stability. I have always had this ambition, and I have accomplished it, or am in the process of doing so. I am almost done with my masters degree and have a permanent job at a place I love with a future I can see. My dreams change by the day. Some days it is to live closer to my parents, some days to be a mom, some days to start an organization that helps women, and some days to teach. Maybe all of those are my dreams. I don't think I have accomplished any of them, but I do think I am on my way.
What is the most enjoyable and fun part of your current age?
Freedom. I love being able to make my own decisions and do what I want whenever I want. I love becoming more independent and sure of myself every day. This all happened once I got to college, but even more once I graduated and started working fulltime. I love the discovery of being in your twenties. Everything is so new and can be stressful, but also full of possibility. At the same time, the twenties are a time of being young enough to go out and have fun whenever. The twenties are a time of learning for me and I love to learn, even though it makes life that much harder and more complicated.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank you to teachers

Today is National Teacher Day. So, here's a thank you to each one of my favorite teachers:
Miss Glover, 1st grade - For being the first woman (aside from my Mom) who I remember wanting to BE when I grew up, because she was kind, shy and single (first grade logic).
Ms. Wunderly, 5th grade - For introducing me to my favorite childhood author (Karen Heese), favorite literary time period (World War II), and for introducing me to the love of school and learning.
Mr. Costello, 6th - 8th grade, math - For welcoming laughter in the classroom, treating his students with respect, and for mentoring us through the awkward junior high years.
Mrs. Andrade, 10th grade science - For showing me you could be a Christian in a way that didn't push people away and still be intelligent, and for being confident in who she was so she could share herself with her students. Also, for being open with me about her faith and how it related to life and science after class.
Mrs. Yucas, 9th - 10th grade English - For teaching me how to write a good thesis statement, a good essay, and read good books. She is one person I would really like to get in touch with to let her know how well she prepared me and planted the seed of my passion for English.
Mrs. Kawano, 9th - 12th grade math - For her patience, humor, honesty, living authentically and for sharing her life with her students. She was the epitome of an informal mentor, someone I watched to see how she acted and responded and I learned a lot from the way she lived her life.
Ms. Le, 11th - 12th grade English – for being a big part of the reason I got a BA in English, for teaching me to love writing and literature, and for seeing my potential. Also, for bringing laughter into the classroom as often as possible.
Ms. Kanawi, 12th grade “philosophy” – For allowing me to express my opinions, even though they were completely opposite of her own, and for teaching me how to best express myself.
Mr. Canaletti, 11th grade drama – For bringing me out of my shell, teaching me to laugh, to take risks, and embrace life.
Mrs. Gerent, 11th - 12th grade, history –For always believing me and going the extra mile to prove it. For teaching me to embrace my passion for women’s rights. For exemplifying how to see people for who they are, rather than what they stand for.
Dr. Kern, English professor – For being my mentor in college, teaching me to think like a writer, and for encouraging me to listen to myself.
Professor Sorensen, Communications professor – For mentoring me professionally and being my friend, for seeing me (and her students) as equals, and for always being approachable.
Dr. Noble, English professor – For seeing me as a feminist, letting me find my voice, and for embracing my silly antics with Rachel.
Dr. Bentz, English professor – For teaching me what good literature is, how to teach it and read it.
Phil Shahbaz, Leadership professor – For helping me find my wings in college and forcing me to be brave.
Professor Wood, MAOL professor – For believing in me as a master’s student, despite my age and inexperience.
Dr. Kaak, MAOL professor – For teaching me about leadership, life purpose and to live authentically.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top Ten: Favorite smells

(listed in no particular order)

1. lemon
2. Thanksgiving dinner cooking
3. babies
4. browning beef
5. lavender (even though when I wear it my mom and sister say I smell like an old lady)
6. books
7. rain
8. roses
9. fresh laundry (especially my Mom’s detergent - note: I do my own laundry, but often do it at my parents' house because it's free)
10. my Pantene Clarifying shampoo
(photo found here. Liked it because it uses lemons and umbrellas. :) )

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You will survive


We are creatures of habit. As much as some of us hate to admit it or refuse to see it, we are. That’s why when something so big or large or monstrous comes along we wonder how on earth we will survive. We momentarily doubt are ability to survive because we are creatures of habit.
When a person is in an accident or the have a major operation, that person has to relearn the basics of survival – of life. They have to relearn how to bend over or walk or use a fork or comb their hair or talk. They have to start again at step one.
When change happens in our lives – even on a smaller level – we have to do the same. We have to calm down, take a seat and a deep breath, and start again. The very basics of self-care are those first few steps:
Be kind to yourself.
Eat.
Sleep.
Call your mom.
Spend time at home.
Let people do things for you.
Let some things go for another day.
And pray. Pray. Pray.
Remain in God.
Remain with God.
Remain.
Sit in the crap anmd get dirty, becayse that’s the only thing that will make you get back up.
Because you will get back up.We always do.