Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Part II

Highlight of the weekend: I cooked the entire Thanksgiving (part 2) meal. So exciting and fun! Didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. My mom supervised and before I knew it, the food was made and quickly devoured by the family.

Here are the pictures to prove it and to reveal what I made:

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Turkey.

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Stuffing.

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(butter, celery, and onion: my Mom’s favorite holiday smell).

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Broccoli casserole:

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Mashed potatoes.

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My sister peeled them all.

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The finished product (before):

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After…

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In addition to the fabulous meal, we “decked (most of) the halls” by putting up both trees. Decorating one (so far).

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Ashley and Chris (her bf) hung the lights.

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It was a great weekend and got the holidays off to the right start.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

(cousins: me, Sarah, Tiffany, Mitch, and Ashley)

It went much better than I thought. Turned on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade first thing.

Today my Dad's side of the family got together at my Aunt Connie's. We do every major holiday together, but this was our first one since Grandma passed away. It was tough at times, but we kept the mood light and happy. We also invited some extended family down to join. Grandma would have been so proud, I miss her. I left first, but my Mom told me that my two aunts and Dad cried when they said goodbye. The reality of Grandma's absence hit them. Grief is such an interesting thing, I said a prayer for the Randant family and the Kennedy family, both of whom lost their Dads this year. It is a little comforting to think all three families (mine included) are dealing with loss. Holidays are tough the first year... or so I've heard and am learning.

Then I drove down to San Diego to stay at my parents' for the weekend. It is so nice to be home!!! Ash and I went to Michael's tonight (Thanksgiving sale). Driving home and around the neighborhood on such a beautiful cold night was perfect. And now Sleepless in Seattle is on! What could be better?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving inspiration


Thankful for...

"It's so much easier to be happy. It's so much easier to choose to love the things that you have, instead of always yearning for what you're missing, or what it is that you're imagining you're missing. It is so much more peaceful."
my sister
mom
dad
good health
family's good health
coworkers who are friends
paychecks
shelter
music
food
mercy
grace
forgiveness
patience
the hibbard's
sarah & amelia
my grad program
grad school friends
a love of learning
my dog, Lucy
high school memories
my family
mentors
technology
those who encourage me
those who love me
my counselor
prayer
a running car
freedom of religion
my church
electric blankets
laughter
the ocean
family vacations
books
learning to be alone
early mornings
late nights
God's many blessings

(quote).

Thanksgiving Eve


Today, all I can think about is turkey!

Someday, I want to make an entire Thanksgiving meal.

The table will have mini-pumpkins and cookies with people's names on them for place settings (thanks, Ina). I keep thinking about what I would serve with the turkey... canned cranberries (don't hate), stuffing (mom's because hers is the best), mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, broccoli casserole or brussell sprouts (they are all the rage on the Food Network this week), gravy, and rolls. Followed by pumpkin pie and chocolate cream pie (which, for the record, I'm not sure I've ever had, but how amazing does that sound right now?!).

Ah, Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for sweatpants.

(photo).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where I'll be...

Buried in my capstone...


I will probably be absent from blogging for the next week and a half. Maybe I should say I'll hopefully be absent, because that will mean I am actually working on my capstone project... or watching reality TV... did I mention I'm hoping?

I am finishing my last semester in grad school and will graduate in December (but my last class actually finishes the end of January). So, until Dec. 2nd when I have my final presentation I will be finishing my capstone project which is a research paper on women in leadership (and a final presentation).

Pray for me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Culture: Pop

1. Bristol Palin is in the DWTS finals!


I am so happy about this. I have a soft spot for Bristol, okay maybe for the Palin's in general, and I also love Mark Ballas (her dancing pro). I can't believe the attention Bristol's success is getting in the media. It is honestly ridiculous. The liberal media wants you to believe that there is a conspiracy theory to keep Bristol on DWTS. This is outrageous for so many reasons, one being DWTS wouldn't do that. The show is insanely successful even without all this hoopla. Also, ABC is a liberal media outlet, so there is no way they would be in cahoots with Sarah Palin. I also don't understand how people can keep asking "how is she still there? Everyone hates her." Newsflash: people don't hate her, or she wouldn't have been voted into the finals.

2. Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are getting divorced.

Seriously? Who would cheat on her or even think about cheating on her? Eva is gorgeous.

3. Ryan Reynolds as People's Sexiest Man

Speaking of good looking. Excellent choice. Handsome, funny, and down to earth = perfect combination.

4. Elizabeth Smart's trial

My heart breaks every time I read more about her traumatic experience. How do you even attempt to recover from something like that? So sad and she must be so strong. I read an article about all the "what if's" of her experience and that was the worst. A person can ask "what if's" until they die. I mean really, you could go all the way back to "what if Elizabeth hadn't been born or her parents had never met?" What if's are pointless and place blame where it shouldn't be placed. Yes, a window was left open, yes her sister waited too long to tell her parents, yes the police officer should have lifted her veil, what does it matter now? What can it matter now? Things happen. Bad things happen to good people and there are a million factors or one. We can never know for sure. All that matters is what did happen. A disturbed man kidnapped a young girl, traumatized her sister, and ruined people's lives, but Elizabeth Smart survived and that was the only "what if" that ever mattered while she was gone.

5. Will and Kate


I am so excited for a royal wedding! After Dianna's death I formed a bit of a crush on Prince William, and by bit, I mean I imagined how we would meet and fall in love and then have to break up because I was the "common American" that his family and country disapproved of (have I mentioned I write fiction?). Can't wait to watch their wedding on TV. Nice to hear a happy story in the news.

(first photo and second photo).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top Ten: 2010 thanksgiving (and a note)

Ugh, I am noticing a theme with several of my last blogs... they are all depressing. They are about how stressed or anxious or sad I am. Who wants to read that? I am so sorry. However, that is exactly how I have been feeling over the last several weeks. I have to be honest when I write, and that is exactly what I like about the bloggers I read as well.

All these sad blog posts mixed with the fact that Thanksgiving is a week from today (and I always write a "Top Ten Thanksgiving" post), made me review all my blog posts of this year. This is what I found: most of them are extremely sad or depressing! This leads me to two realizations:

1. THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING TO READ!!!! I SO appreciate your coming to visit my little blog and read about my life, as non-exciting or annoying or depressing as it may sound at times. I really really really do appreciate you reading. As strange as it sounds, because we are separated by a computer, you mean a lot to me!

2. It has been a rough year. To be honest, this is not a realization at all, just the truth I've been living with. Between the loss of my Grandma, work stress, anxiety issues, finishing school, feeling spread too thin, and dysfunctional moments with family and friends (which during happy times don't seem to rock my boat as much), 2010 has been rough.

However, no matter the circumstances, I try to be thankful. So, here is list of what I have been thankful for this year...

1.You for reading my blog (blogging makes me very happy... as does reading blogs).

2. Meeting Anne Lamott.

3. My NYC trip with my parents.


5. Seeing the Glee cast perform.

6. Spending time in Dana Point with my family.

7. Fun times with my sister (as roommates).

8. Spending time with Rachel while she visited before her wedding.

9. Many weekends spent with friends (especially Nichol, Teri, Sarah, Marci, Erin).

10. My parents. No matter what, they always listen to my crazy, forgive my selfishness, support my endeavors, offer advice when needed, and let me come home.

Thanksgiving according to CAPS


Thanksgiving in CAPS was quite funny today. You might not think so, but if you work in CAPS, it would all make sense.

First, the potluck sign up sheet was not completed until maybe yesterday. No thanks to me, of course, because I don't cook. We had three sign up spaces for dessert, and in true CAPS fashion, we ended up with five. This list also included my friend, Marci's, famous Mac n' Cheese... that other people signed her up to bring! People do that in CAPS, just boss you around when they like what you do. :)

Today, about five people called in sick. At least two of them were supposed to bring stuff. Not to worry, others left work to go get it. We'll do whatever it takes for food in CAPS. Still, others, like my friend Stephanie, drove their food to work despite being out for the day... that's dedication; both to food and to CAPS (the two basically go hand in hand).

My friend, Cindy, specially made a cranberry salad because my coworker Brent thought no Thanksgiving potluck (even when not on actual Thanksgiving day) could be with out a cranberry dish. Cindy had to try a new recipe and went to the store for the items before 8am and had cranberry drip down on to her kitchen floor. What happens today? Brent can't make it. Classic. His excuse was due to a family dog emergency. That is something else CAPS always understands. (He did end up coming, by the way).

Oh, and Marci (with the Mac n' Cheese) was late to work, but no one knew ahead of time, so people began to worry... about the Mac n' Cheese! It's okay though, she's fine. So is the Mac n' Cheese. Actually, the Mac n' Cheese is amazingly delicious. Also, Gordon was  supposed to bring rolls and on the way to work he ate four of them. Luckily, he bought more. 

Our meal was big and delicious and a lot of fun. We laughed and laughed. A slide show of our pictures through the years played on the projector screen. We held hands in a circle to say a prayer before the meal. We made a long table out of desks so we could all sit together. We also shared embarrassing stories and talked about past coworkers and our past retreats. We had a great time.

It really did feel like Thanksgiving for me. When we gathered to pray it occurred to me that in so many ways, this group is my family. They have been my constant supporters throughout the last (nearly) three years. They cheer me on, encourage me, pray for me, pick on me, and make me laugh. They were more there for me after losing Grandma than anyone else in my life (aside from family) and they even water my plant for me so that I don't have to take care of it. 

I am incredibly thankful for my office this year. Yes, work stresses me out and I have felt more overwhelmed over the last couple months than I have in a year. Yes, sometimes I have conflicts at work with people. And yes, sometimes I can so riled up about certain workplace decisions I just cry out of frustration. But, when all is said and done and evens out, (most) these people are so special to me. CAPS has a place in my heart that nothing else can replace and I am thankful for my experiences here and the friends I have made. During a very tough year, they have kept me going strong.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grumpy McGrumperson


I was Grumpy McGrumperson today. I literally woke up grumpy. I mean really grumpy... like scowling. My sister does this growl thing when she makes fun of herself for being grumpy for no reason and it always makes me laugh. Today, I wanted to do that. I was that grumpy!

Didn't want to get up or put on make up or pick out an outfit or blow dry my hair. Then, I got to the parking lot of my office and just sat and stewed in grumpiness. I was grumpy through a meeting and at my desk and every time yet another e-mail showed up asking me to do something. Then, I kind of snapped at my favorite coworker and realized, "wow, I really am grumpy!"

So, I went a chatted with my two "moms" in the office. Love them. They take such good care of me. We laughed.

Laughing is the best medicine. Anne Lamott says "laughter is carbonated happiness" and she would be right.

Then I met a friend for lunch and we complained and compared notes and also laughed. Plus, I ate lunch, which always helps grumpiness.

I am a woman who can admit when I am grumpy. I am also a woman who can bounce back from a mood quickly. I do not stew in my mood all day. So, I got back after lunch, put on a smile, and grabbed a positive attitude. I also apologized to the coworker I snapped at and another one who may have known I was grumpy.

The day got better. I still felt grumpy deep down, but not in the way that rained on every one's parade. Speaking of parades, I wrote to my mom today and apologized for "raining on her parade" and her response was awesome:

Hi, my parade is going strong. :) balloons up and everyone is smiling!

Love my mom.

Improving grumpiness is what I call maturity.

(photo).

Country Music Awards


Just a quick review about the CMA's last night... I loved them! I am so happy Miranda Lambert won. I have all three of her albums and love them. I also loved that Brad Paisley won Entertainer of the Year. His speech was fantastic. Carrie Underwood is always gorgeous. She and Brad did great together. Love me some country music!

(photo from last year's show).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend


Watched TV.
Slept.
Migraine.
Alone time.
Fatigue.
Read.
Laundry.
Qyality time with a friend.
Time change.
Homework.
Sat on the porch.
Gym.
Time with sister.
Watched TV.

(photo: doing homework on the porch.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Turn the quiet up, turn the noise down



I have been craving quiet lately.

Probably because I was under the weather the last couple days and I had a migraine yesterday. Maybe because I work in a cubicle as well. Maybe because I'm stressed or busy or think to much.. blah blah blah.

I woke up at 6:15 this morning and just relaxed in the quiet of the morning. It is so peaceful then, right as the sun is rising and the roommates are asleep. I love that morning moment. 

Then I promptly fell back to sleep.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A day to throw away



Oh, today week. Gosh, this has felt like a long week! In fact, last week did too (which is probably why I did nothing last weekend).

Today I am off on a sick day. I woke up, got in the shower, attempted to blow dry my hair, cried, and then felt guilty for calling in sick to work. That's the way it works for me. I use two tricks to determine a sick day need: do I cry about calling in? Do I have to rest while showering or blow drying my hair? Today, both of those happened.

Yet, I think I feel worse by the guilt of not going to work. I always feel like I have to make excuses or prove my need to be home, to everyone in my life: bosses, parents, roommates, Facebook, the woman at the grocery store. Everyone.

I always think I can't do anything on sick days. No laundry, cleaning, running errands, and certainly no going out with friends in the evening if I feel better. Why is that? I sincerely hope that someday I will get rid of these rules on my life that are all self-imposed. If I have the time, it is my legal right to use it. (Sigh). Someday...

This whole week has sucked.

I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off at work. Complete craziness.

Family dysfunction on the phone last night, which lead to a bad dream about my family, those are often worse than nightmares for me and seem to follow me all day.

Guilt every morning that I can't get more done in my day before work, like read my bible and exercise.

Thinking about exercising is dampening my week in general. Hate thinking about exercise.

Hate guilt.

Not enough time to do stuff after work also, like call friends, blog, make dinner, exercise, hang with my sister/roommates, go to sleep at an earlier hour, work on my capstone project.

There are just not enough hours in my day.

And not enough hugs and laughter - two things that are essential to my well being and health.

Glad tomorrow is Friday. Glad I don't have a busy weekend planned. Glad I have sick time. And, glad I have cable.

(photo).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Babble

(for the 2010 midterms)


Ah elections,
a time when all the American public really wants
is for the politicians to stop calling them at the dinner table
and their opponents to stop the negative commercials interrupting their favorite TV shows.
A time when red and blue don't make purple.
When we suddenly hate our best friend of 13.2 years.
When we come to believe that Democrats or Republicans really are going to hell,
rather than realizing our nation is going to hell in a hand basket.

This election proved
people don't want their drugs legalized...
except the bay area.
Drugs are apparently more appealing when illegal.
Maybe the stoners in the rest of the state were too high to drive to a polling place?
I'm sure they will get their way soon enough, maybe in two years.
that's how long it took CA government to ignore voters and appeal the gay marriage ban.

This election proved Republicans still exist
and are tired of sitting this round out.
But really, it proved Sarah Palin is a super hero.
All commentators could do before elections was blame Sarah Palin for the uproar,
well, hear her roar ladies and gents,
and hear the public roar with her.
Don't mess with a Mama Grizzly.

Maybe all this election proved is that women rocked the vote.
Women were supposed to come out in droves this election,
and judging by the House,
I guess they did.
Maybe women are meant to stay in the House after all.

And now that it's over,
we can go back to reacting to votes that really matter,
like who will win Dancing with the Stars.
We can stop watching ads for politicians
and go back to the Hershey's ad with the chocolate people
whose heads I am always tempted to bite off.
Or the one with ZoĆ« Saldana for Calvin Klein.  

And maybe.
Just maybe.
We can remind ourselves,
that we live in a great country where we get to have a say,
at least on some level.
And that when elections are all said and done,
we really do like each other,
in spite of our "I voted" stickers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When I grow up...

I want to be Ina Garten.


She cooks amazing food. Believes in butter and mayo. Has a husband who adores her. Lives in a gorgeous home. And is round beautiful.

Who wouldn't want to be her? Even Gwyneth Paltrow wanted to hang out with her (see GOOP).

(photo found here).