Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cookies and Potatoes

I spent most of today in the kitchen. I've had the desire to cook/bake this weekend, so today I decided that is what I'd do. Three stores, new bowls, new containers, buying every baking ingredient, and $80 later, I was ready. I set up my laptop in the kitchen to read the recipes and played Christmas music!

I baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip cookies first. They turned out well, but I don't love the taste of them. Apparently, I am not a fan of butterscotch (I put butterscotch chips in because I couldn't find peanut butter ones), either that or I don't like cookies who are too sweet, something about brown sugar maybe? I don't know. I am new to all of this. I also decided I wanted them with more oatmeal. The cookie dough wasn't amazing and that was my first sign that I wasn't wild about the cookies. So, my new philosophy is that if you don't like the cookie dough, you won't like the cookie. 

(movie quote break: "he wants a woman who's not afraid of his dark chocolate layer") 

Next, I made Hasselback Potatoes. It is basically just a fancy looking version of a baked potato. they have been all over Pinterest, so I checked it out. They were pretty good. I used a ton of butter and kosher salt to eat them. I also didn't bake them long enough. I would make these again and be a grown up pair them with some kind of steak or something. 

The good news about both baked/cooked items: they passed the taste test of my sister! It is always a good sign when you're not the only one who likes what you made (because I am biased to my own food... and my worst critic). 

Today was yet another day of attempting things that scare/intimidate me. 

(all recipes originally found on this amazing blog). 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Small steps

People say you should do one thing a day that scares you. For a person with severe anxiety and fear, sometimes just an average day is a day facing fears. Other times, I can do something a little more brave. 

Lately, I feel I've been growing stronger in trying to be brave. There are situations that I have to face head on and be smart about them, by trying something new and breaking my patterns. Patterns are comfortable, but not always helpful or beneficial. 

Small steps toward facing fears or breaking patterns are all that is needed. I don't think progress is made through giant leaps. I believe one foot in front of the other, only looking at the path ahead, is when real progress is made. 

It is starting to get dark early. It is the one draw back to my favorite seasons (Fall and Winter). As soon as it gets dark I tend to think only bad things happen. I suddenly hate going to run errands after work because it's dark, or meeting friends for dinner because it's dark, and I always feel like I have to go to bed earlier because it's dark. None of these things need to be true. Even when it's dark, it's only 7pm. EARLY. 

So, to avoid my pattern of being afraid of the dark, I went to the grocery store at 7:20 tonight. It is only on the next corner (baby steps), but it seemed liked a big deal to me. 

Puppy love

I got some sad news today. My family and I have to put our beloved dog, Lucy, down. Not today or tomorrow, maybe not even soon, but it is our best option for her benefit. I hate it. I've cried about it. I've been mad. I've tried to rationalize it, but it's just sad. But, it has to be done and is probably for the best. Lucy is nearly completely deaf, she has cataracts and will lose her sight completely, but we don't know when, however, she hasn't lost it yet. She has little trembles, which are due to weak back legs, due to losing muscle tone. And, she is 13 years old, which is pretty old for a dog (about 90 human years old). 

Lucy is the sweetest dog in the whole world. Nearly everyone who has ever met her thinks the same thing. It's not just me. I grew up afraid of animals. I was chased by dogs as a kid and never really liked them (or any animal) in the first place. My family always thought about getting a dog but I always vetoed it. But then, one day my mom called our house and left a message (the days before cell phones) for Dad, Ash, and I to come to a grocery store and see some puppies. We went and I dreaded it because I knew I would have to say no again and be the bad guy. We got there, saw some cute puppies, and then... crazily enough... I sat down in the pen and held Lucy. She was so sweet and calm. I said yes. The people we adopted her from said to give her a clothing item that smelled like us and so we gave her my sweatshirt. Lucy drove home in my lap. 

I hid from her for the next six months. It was a process of getting over my fear of dogs. Over the years, I have become less afraid of them.

Lucy has quite possibly been the best gift our family has ever known. She is sweet, good natured, gentle, loyal, and even trained her own self to poo in the hill so we didn't have to pick it up. She is not a huge fan of walks, unless our pet sitter is taking her, and she isn't great at fetch, although she is excellent at tearing apart tennis balls. She loves to do yard work with Dad, eat popcorn and Sunday breakfast and pizza crust. She loves to lay by the fireplace. It takes her a good 24 hours to eat when Dad is gone on a business trip. He is her favorite and she is his favorite. Lucy lays in front of my sister's door every morning when she's home. Lucy sits by Mom when she sews. She lets me kiss her head and tell her I love her several times a day. 

Saying goodbye to Lucy will be very difficult. I am most afraid of how Dad will react. They are pals like I have never seen before and life apart will take some major adjustment. I don't know what to do when my Dad cries, because it rarely happens. Mom, Ash, and I on the other hand cry pretty regularly (okay, I cry the most). I know many people have lost pets and I know several have had to make the difficult decision of putting them down. Your prayers are appreciated. I hate goodbyes and I really hate that Lucy can't talk and tell us she loves us. I am a big believer in hearing "I love you." 

I don't know when we're putting Lucy down, but definitely by the beginning of next year, if not before then. We are thinking we'd like to have her around for Christmas, but we'll see. 

I will miss Lucy more than words can say. 

Post edit: Many were confused by this post... Lucy is still alive, but the decision to put her down is one that we will make over the next few weeks/months. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On teaching

Today I presented my master's capstone project about women in leadership to an undergraduate leadership class. This is the second semester I've had this opportunity. One of my former professors asked me (God bless him). I really appreciate the opportunity and I love talking about a subject I love. 

The experience is always a bit nerve wracking, intimidating, and exhilarating. I am learning to be a bit more comfortable and I've learned that I much prefer answering questions and discussing than just presenting (which is exactly what kind of student I am). Both times I've talks to the class there is always one token guy who agrees with what I am saying and asks real questions and starts a dialogue I would love to continue. There's also a token girl, both times, who looks at me and asks about the idea that women were created by God to be helpers and not leaders. It is an honest question, so I appreciate and respect it. Both times, there are those students who have glazed over eyes and are probably thinking about how ridiculous it is that they are listening to me speak. It is a fascinating dynamic. 

And, I think I love it. 

I love trying to teach these students about something that matters. I love trying to start dialogues. I love that when I leave I feel invested in them and responsible for their growth. I also love talking about women in leadership and gender and organizational ethics. 

I just love academia. There really is no denying that fact. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Young and beautiful

I love old pictures. Love them. Especially ones of my parents and their family and friends. Recently, I dug some up at a friend's BBQ after hearing hilarious stories and dying to see proof that my parents were once young (kidding, Mom, kidding). I showed them to my sister tonight and realized that the pictures below are of the same decade of my parents' lives that I am currently navigating. Makes me wonder about the future and which friends I will still know at that time. 

My mom and Scott.

Nancy and Scott - love this picture. 

My adorable parents.
LOVE this picture of my parents. Just love it. So cute. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York City!

I would have blogged about my lovely trip to NYC sooner, but I took way too many pictures and then had to choose a small number for this blog! 

It was a great trip. I wasn't as sad to leave this time, but still considered moving there. I mostly enjoyed spending time with my parents and loved being able to see other loved ones while visiting! 

Here is some of what I did... 

Survived the flight.

Spent the first day with my cousins Katie and Megan. 

Ate and shopped at Eataly... It was amazing. Definitely the best meal of the whole trip. 

Spent time with my cousin, Julie, at Eataly.

Went to Rockefeller Center and they were having a special USA fire fighter exhibit. 

Visited St. Thomas and St. Patrick's cathedrals. These pictures are from St. Thomas. I took tons. It was beautiful. The statue of Mary and Jesus was amazing and so moving. I loved it. 

Ate at the Central Park Boathouse. Really loved being there. 

Visited my favorite future house. Love this home so much. I see it nearly every time I visit. Don't you love the red door? I try to imagine what it must look like inside. 

Visited Times Square. It really has a magic all its own apart from the City in general. My Dad and I went to the M&M store, which feels more like a small amusement park. It was really cool. 

Looked out the window of our hotel... often. 

Stalked the people in the offices across the street. Imagined what they do and how it would be to live in the City. 

The weather was three of the four seasons while we were there. It was 85 the first two days and then 75 and then rainy and high 60's. This picture is of how bright it was one night because the lights of the tall buildings were reflecting off the clouds and illuminated the night. It was amazing. 

I went to see The Ides of March, which was playing across the street, at the same theater where the premier was held (meaning George Clooney and I have stood in the same place... haha). I gave the movie a 6.5 out of 10, but Ryan Gosling was incredible. He makes the movie. 

Met up for lunch with my friend, Anna. we've been friends since we were in junior high and it was great to get to see one another since we've lived in separate states for about ten years. 

I explored Central Park for a couple hours and took nearly 100 pictures. It is still my favorite place in the whole city. It is beautiful and peaceful and unique. While I was there, I saw joggers, tourists, two little kids racing around, a few people meeting for an art class, and there was a man playing the saxophone. It was a wonderful end to my trip. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New York, NY

Hello from the East Coast! I am in New York City this week and loving it! Today it is damp and cloudy, but half the week was 80 degrees and sunny. I love that in one week I can experience seasons, considering it is about 100 degrees back home.

I've been busy everyday, but taken lovely slow mornings. I've also been able to see my three cousins and a good friend of mine. It's also been nice spending time with my parents. Been eating amazing food and got to see Central Park yesterday, which is still my favorite place in the city! Have not spotted any celebrities yet, but I am keeping my eyes open.

Will update you when I get home and tell you all about my trip. I have plenty of pictures to post too!

Prayers for a safe flight.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Emily's wedding

My good friend and (recently former) roommate, Emily, got married this weekend. It was so surreal. Emily and I have been friends for over 7 years and have been roommates for 4 of those years. She has been my family in LA. We've grown and changed and bonded through personal trials, school, roommates, figuring out setting up utilities, family challenges, and lots of laughter. For many years, Emily was the person I talked to about singleness the most. She is a strong woman of God and has been a great support to me over the years.

Watching her marry George, the love of her life, was nothing short of wonderful. I was so proud to stand up with them. They have set an amazing example of a relationship centered around God, focused on purity, and full of selflessness. I have loved being a part of their love story (I sort of introduced them and supported George in asking Em out).

The wedding was beautiful. They got married at the Point Loma naval base and you could literally hear the ocean waves next to us. I had a great time with the other bridesmaids and loved spending time with Em's niece and baby nephew. It was also great to see good friends I haven't seen in a while.

The whole day was just lovely and low key, much like George and Em.

(top photo "borrowed" from friends on facebook).

Disneyland with family

Two weeks ago I met my Texas family at Disneyland. It was great to finally meet all the babies! You know me and my love of babies.

Biggest bummer of the day was that I missed the Jessica Alba sighting!


Well, I did it, I got my bangs back! Funny how I had them for so long, yet now that they're back I don't recognize myself. Ironically, I didn't recognize myself without them also. I'm glad their back.