Wednesday, December 30, 2009


New Year's is almost year! Er, here. :o)

New Year's Day has to be my favorite holiday . . . ever. Hands-down, there is nothing I get more thrilled about than the promise that comes along with turning over a new leaf and starting fresh. I'm reminded that while New Year's comes once every year (hence the name, I'm sure), every day can be the start of something new, something good, something profound. Maybe it's hard to see, but at each phase of the journey, the best thing we can do is take a glance back, maybe linger over some memories that have truly shaped and defined us, and then turn our faces forward to walk into the future.

Now, before you start chiding me for being so gosh darn Pollyanna-esque, I should come clean and state that I am a chronic critic. It is my most crippling affliction. I resist change, I'm stubborn and obstinate mostly because I poke holes in ideas and feel that sometimes, if things can't be perfect from the get-go, they're not even worth attempting. So I'm sure you can imagine how hard this is to overcome. Every goal I've ever had (college, running a marathon, making my long distance relationships work) has been punctuated and peppered with the excuses I make for not following suit with Nike's mantra and just DOING it.

Back in April, I finished a marathon, which is big. Except, for all of the cheating and slacking I did because I didn't have the faith in myself to actually complete it, the accomplishment feels . . . tainted. It doesn't seem as sweet. It's something that I would think would motivate me to lace up my sneaks as soon as I recovered from the injuries I gained, but it didn't -- because I criticized my own victory. I'm so happy to be happy for others, but for myself? Not for long . . .

So where does this leave me? With some inspiration to actually embrace change. I'm not going to be a happy person (well, happiER person -- I still think in spite of my snap judgments and self-doubt that I'm a pretty happy person), I'm not going to be a runner again and I'm not going to be a more motivated person unless I PRACTICE them.

I'm sure this seems elementary, but at 22 years old, I'm finally getting it . . . just in time for New Year's, my favorite remember? So here we go . . . again. Practicing. Right now, I'm sitting in my workout pants, running socks (because cotton is rotten!), and my shirt from Big Sur (it was the first non-cotton shirt I pulled, but serendipitously enough, the one from my marathon). My Brooks Trance 8's are unlaced, right next to me. I have pulled my unusually well-behaved curls into a messy bun with the feeble hope that they will look just as good when I'm done. (But who are we kidding . . . Lightning really doesn't strike twice, does it?)

And I'm off to practice . . . :o)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A (belated) Merry Christmas!

Christmas was very good this year -- I seemed to make Santa's good list again. :o)

On Christmas Eve, I went over to my parents house where we relaxed and played games. I don't know why, but I seem to have the MOST rotten luck with dominoes. I spent the night on the air mattress in the living room with the new puppy, Chunk, snuggled up with me. He's an under-the-covers snuggler, I was pleased to see. It was veeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyy cold in the living room, in spite of the heater, which I suspect may have contributed to why I'm feeling so awful today (another story).

We woke up and enjoyed some potato pancakes (my brother's request) before opening presents. I left with a mini food processor, a coffee grinder, cookbooks (including "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison -- a library lend that I was so excited about, I put in a request for it for my birthday -- this book is the bible of vegetarian cooking!) and many games.

One of the games I received was The Beatles edition Monopoly, which we played after all of the present merriness was over. I must say, I redeemed myself by dominating the Monopoly board. Granted, this is a game that can go on for a long time, but by the end of things, I owned everything but the utilities and railroads and had hotels/houses on everything I owned. I was pulling in $1200 every time someone landed on Park Place, etc. It was great! Perhaps I should have majored in business?

Anyway . . . I woke up this morning feeling pretty awful. I really didn't want to get out of bed. I slept past noon, rolled over and slept until 2:30 when I realized that I would have to go to the grocery store to get some soup, tea and cough syrup. (BTW, Campbell's minestrone soup is made with chicken stock!?! What the heck?!! Minestrone is supposed to be vegetarian. Thanks for ruining it for me, Campbell's.) I left with two kinds of cough syrup (one daytime, one nighttime) and some little food things that I like when I'm sick -- pepper jack cheese and Triscuit (the cheese doesn't help with the congestion, but it's tasty), some miso soup, and some chocolate cookies, but I don't think I'll be eating those for a while.

One glass of orange pineapple juice later, I have eaten a bowl of rice mixed into red miso soup (delicious, by the way) and have been camped on the couch. Alex shipped my Christmas present to me, but I'm hesitant to open it. I kind of want to wait until I see him next and he can open his. Hmm . . . Oh, the dilemma!

Belated Merry Christmas everyone! I'm going back to bed! :)

Robyn vs. The Library

I have a problem -- a serious, crippling condition and it revolves around library books. I can walk into a library for one book and leave with seven. The problem really hits hard when it comes time for these books to be turned in. I don't know why, but I never seem to be able to finish them in an appropriate amount of time. So I end up renewing them. Again . . . and again . . . and again.

Before I know it, I've maxed-out in the number of times I can renew a book before it's required back at the library. And that's when I feel panicky, sad and resentful.

And so it came to pass that last week, a book that I really, truly have been meaning to read was due. And of course, in true Robyn form, I had renewed it the maximum number of times.

Realizing that I would have to turn the book in the following day or face an accumulation of fines until I did, I got clever. I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and thwart the library.

The San Jose Public Library has close to a dozen branches. You can borrow books from any of them and if your particular branch doesn't have the book you're looking for, it's absolutely possible to request and receive it at your branch from another. Their library website also allows you to search for your book and see which location you can check it out. So, channeling my inner detective, I searched the library for the book I was going to face relinquishing.

And I found it! In the Almaden branch across the city (about 30 minutes from my apartment), there it was! I confirmed this around 2:00, waited anxiously for the clock to hit 5:00 to leave work, and I was off.

I raced traffic from Palo Alto to San Jose and found the library. I parked, pulled up the book info that I'd saved on my phone and set off in search of the shelf containing my book. I walked in, found the shelf . . . and searched.

Scanning numbers, scanning titles, I couldn't find it! I scoured the entire bookcase thinking perhaps it had been tucked away in the wrong spot, but no. After several minutes of feeling like a moron, I finally walked over to the library catalogue computer. Lo and behold, I had JUST missed it -- it had already been checked out! Never one to forget the lesson about lemons and lemonade, I looked around and found a couple of other books to peruse . . .

I looked up the main library page and raced off to the nearest branch that had the book -- a mere five miles away. Thankfully, I made it in time. I had my book! And the following day, I turned in the other copy, smugly smiling at my success in fighting the system.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tops!

1. Being on time! -- I have actually posted this on time. I think that's quite a feat given the last couple of weeks . . . Crazy!

2. Coffee! -- It's been a rough few nights for sleep, which means I'm groggy-hungover the next day and dependent on coffee for energy for the day.

3. Starting over! -- I made a commitment to myself that I was going to cut back on sugar. So this morning I'm drinking a vanilla latte and eating petite vanilla scones. I guess we're starting again tomorrow . . . ;)

4. Hanson! -- I L-O-V-E-D these guys when I was a kid and for whatever reason, I woke up this morning with "Weird" stuck in my head. So I grabbed my copy of "Middle of Nowhere" (their first album) and listened all the way into work. It was nothing less than FABULOUS! I was so happy, smiley and motivated coming into work. I even brought the CD in so I can listen on my headphones while I crank out some news releases. I'm listening and reliving some very happy moments of my youth. :o)

5. Quiet! -- Half of the office is already on vacation, which means it's very quiet around here. Of course, there's enough to do, but it's still . . . which lends to thoughts of "The Shining" and trying to stay motivated to actually work . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

He loves me? Yeah! He LOVES me!!!

Friday, Alex came to visit me. It was already going to be such a sweet visit since we haven't seen each other for a little over a month, so I was looking forward to just being able to curl up on the couch with him and feel his arms around me.

In the midst of our cuddling (and smooching -- I won't lie), he lamented that he wished Tahoe were closer to San Jose (for those unfamiliar with California geography, it's approx. a four-hour drive). I told him, "Well, just so you know . . . I don't want to make a big thing of this and I don't want you to feel like you have to talk about it if you don't want to but . . . things seem to really be going well for us. Great even. If things are still progressing, still great in a year and a half or so, I'd like to talk about relocation. Namely, that I would have the option to move closer to you."

I love my job, don't get me wrong, but I know that it's an opener for something else . . . Whatever that is, I don't really know. I'd like to have my own special event coordination business someday -- something that would allow me to make a comfortable income but also provide an opportunity to work from home if I want to homeschool my kids or even just be at home with them. But obviously, that's something for the future and not even really planned for yet. I digress . . .

I wish I could have taken a picture of the smile on his face when I said that. He seemed so pleased that I would even be willing to make such a large gesture like that for him. I reiterated that it wouldn't be for a while, and that we didn't really have to talk about it if it seemed uncomfortable to him, but he assured me that there was no discomfort about it.

Flash forward some more snuggly-smoochy cuddling and finally I blurted it out . . .

"I love you, Alex."

"I love you, too."

And then . . . in a uniquely Robyn way, all I could think to say was, "Really? Because you don't have to say that if you don't want to . . . if you're not ready to or whatever."

(I know . . . leave it to me to squish a really sweet moment, right?)

He then told me that he was thinking about saying it for a while now, but wasn't quite sure if the sentiment would be reciprocated. I thought it was cute that he used 'reciprocated' in this context.

One day, I think we'll look back on this as the start of something beautiful, but for now it's a cutesy-chuckle-worthy moment in our relationship that blossomed perfectly in the most understatedly wonderful way.

(Have you gagged yet? I'm so sorry . . .)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A marathoner in recovery

I'm a runner, though I'm not a fast one and I certainly don't do it well all the time. I also lack in the motivation department.

Last night, I ran. I ran without music (a real first) and it really wasn't bad. Granted, I barely made it a mile, but I still did it, right?

I'm redefining my goals for life. I'm really looking for some direction, but I'm trying to be patient in knowing that I've entered a season of my life that I can take some respite in. I can be still for a while. Since 2003, I have packed and moved all of my stuff 12 times. T-W-E-L-V-E!!! That's an average of 2 moves a year!! I can honestly say that I've never lived in one place for more than a year in all that time. Yes, I probably shouldn't count moving to and from my college campus, but then again, why shouldn't I? I packed and moved almost everything. I'm resting for a while. I'm staying put.

I look at my life and try to figure out what the next big change will be and it hits me -- I don't need to figure that out yet. I can relax. I can stop nitpicking. I don't have to plan yet. And that's when relief washes over me to know that there's no pressure for movement yet. I know at some points, I'll feel restless. I know I'll hit a level of "gotta get out of here" once in a while. But isn't that what vacation is for?

So I'm raising my glass to staying in one place. I'm toasting that life is good where it is and that I can simply abide. In this resting period, I know I have plenty of work to do on myself in preparation for the next big change (big move, graduate school, promotion, someday marriage -- whatever comes my way!)

I've never really placed much faith in horoscopes -- I typically chalk it up to something for me to pass time with and I've never read one and later thought, "Oh wow! That DID happen!" Today I flipped through our local paper for Capricorn -- my sign. It said: "You can substantially enhance your possibilities for success by relying more on yourself than anybody else. Establish your own goals, means of achievement and timetable." I took this as a confirmation that I'm in a good place right now and that this gear up for what's next is actually where I need to be.

But I've never been a patient person. I've never been one to sit still -- so here I am . . . realizing that I need to do just that. For my own personal growth, I would do well to sit still . . . to rest and rejuvenate for when I'm ready for the big change (whatever that may be). It's just the waiting that's the hardest part . . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday Tops (late again . . .)

My best friend from college, Joanna, has been visiting me here in San Jose. Yesterday was the last full day here, so we went to San Francisco for the day -- hence the delay in Tuesday Tops.

Soooooooo . . . without further adieu, this week's list.

1. San Francisco -- one of my favorite cities ever. Joanna and I hit Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39, the Tenderloin district, went shopping on Market Street, rode a cable car and hiked up the scariest hill I've ever seen. We also drove down Lombard "Crookedest" Street, which was pretty cool. Didn't get a chance to hit some of the other items on our to-do list, but next time . . .

2. Vegetables -- I've been bad about eating them since Joanna's been here. Today and tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'll be on a veggie fast . . . to get as much of 'em as I can.

3. Coffee -- Joanna and I were up until 3 am this morning just chatting. Those are great conversations, but boy if it doesn't leave you tired. (Sleep when you're dead, right?)

And we're done. :o) Short, but whatever.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It tugs at my heartstrings.

I am an emotional creature. I didn't used to be, but I am now. I'm learning that I just need to embrace that I will NEVER be able to watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" without sobbing, that I will ALWAYS get teary when they give Beth the piano in "Little Women," that the magnitude of distance races overcomes me EVERY time (two 1/2 marathons and one full and I cried for all -- sobbed for the marathon), and the 'kindness of strangers' -- to quote Miss Scarlet O'Hara -- will get me every time.

My radio station here in the Bay area, Alice 97.3, decided to do a drive for Toys for Tots this holiday season. Last week, they stationed six hosts at different toy stores all over the Bay area and collected any money people had to give -- a check for whatever amount, rolls of pennies, pocket change. They raised $24,000 (yeah, you read that right) that day. The continued accepting online donations this week leading up to today, their toy shopping extravaganza. Currently, they've spent $10,000 on toys so far and have Marines helping them load up a big truck. They received another ten grand in donations this week, bringing their total spending budget to $34,000.

I cried.

Right there, when they said that, I cried. I'm having a hard time not getting a bit teary now. Because even though there are so many people hurting right now, this kind of generosity hits you. It really, truly hits you.

I'm learning to live with my tender heart and accepting that I will be the one you can always count on to cry at weddings, feel sad for animals who are hurting, will stick up for children's causes and will crusade for the greater good -- because it's just on my heart to do so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I forgot Tuesday Tops!!!

Guys, it's been a busy week. All two of you have probably sat there thinking, "Where's Robyn? Where's Tuesday Tops?" Never fear, I'm tardy but here.

So here's a list - albeit a bit late - things that are rockin' my world right now . . .

1. Joanna's coming to visit this weekend!!! And she's staying almost a whole week!!! On our plans -- San Francisco, a trip to Fresno (yeah, that's not thrilling, but there are people we want to see), the touristy things in Palo Alto/San Jose (like settling the Sprinkles vs. Kara's Cupcakes debate).

2. Pay day = Christmas shopping! Inevitably, it always seems that one paycheck ends up going toward the amalgamation of bills that keep coming in. (What do you mean I can't have my car for free? I'm so nice! I drive it so well! And I have to PAY to live here?! What, are you people on glue???? Why aren't you paying ME to live here?!) Indignation aside, I pay them happily and remind myself that this season of life is preparing me for the inevitable mortgage I will one day have, the college tuition that I will one day start saving for because, heck, my someday-kids will be nerds. There's no fighting it. I am liking, however, that this particular paycheck has paid off almost all of my bills for the month (just a couple that need to be tended to) and there's enough leftover for gas and Christmas presents.

3. Amy's burritos -- a budding vegetarian sometimes doesn't have the time or energy to whip up deliciousness (though I looooooooove cooking), so Amy's is a good standby to have in my freezer. I keep the soup in the cupboard too. De-lish.

4. Salt & vinegar chips. I've always loved them, but lately I've been wanting them soooooooooooooooooo much. I need to quit. Cold tofurkey. If I don't, I will eat them until the acid burns a hole in my tongue.

5. My gym membership -- for now. There's a discussion that hospital employees may lose their access to University facilities. This is awful. I'm really annoyed. I hope they work that out . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Tops

I'd like to start a new tradition: Tuesday Tops. Inspired by one of my favorite blogs and their weekly "Friday Flowers" posts, I decided to do something that comes naturally - lists! I am a list-writing fiend. I list everything and I'm obsessive about it. I color code, rank by importance and scratch it off as I go. It's a sickness. So I've decided to channel this into something positive: lists of good things happening, things I like at the moment, stuff I'm really "into" every Tuesday. Length will vary, I think, but between 5 and 10 should be fine, right? Right. :o)

So here goes nothing . . .

Things I'm Liking:
1. Christmas music
2. The West Wing
3. Eggnog (Mmmmmmm . . . Two glasses tonight - this does not bode well for my waistline.)
4. Brushing my teeth (I've always been pretty good with it, but lately I'm more appreciative.)
5. Blogs (I love them . . . If I could make a career of reading blogs, I would.)
6. The White House (Maybe I've been watching too much West Wing, but if I were called tomorrow and asked to work in the White House, even if it were seemingly unimportant or had a small salary, I'd jump for it.)
7. Busy-ness (I will be in Fresno this weekend, have Joanna visiting next weekend and Alex visiting the following weekend - I'm hoping I can squeeze some Christmas shopping in somewhere.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I have . . . quirks. I'm not sure if that's the best word for them, but yes, that's pretty much what they are. Sometimes they're my Achilles' heel, but most of the time, they just make others chuckle at my own uniqueness.

I got caught yesterday singing and (sort of) dancing in my car. I drive with the windows down and the music up -- at times, regardless of temperature. Last night, I was in a turn lane going home from work and a van was in the turn lane next to me. As I was nodding my head and singing along to my favorite Steve Miller Band song ("Jet Airliner," if you must know), I glance over and notice the guy in the van with his window down, giving me a thumbs up. Apparently I passed muster with the electrician -- my musical tastes are acceptable. Embarrassed, I smiled and gave a little wave. Thankfully, at that moment, the light turned green.

Welcome to my life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The ABC's of Robyn (because I got bored at work)

A is for . . . Alex - my adorable boyfriend. I really wish he were closer. I feel like a bad girlfriend for that, though -- it is quite a selfish wish.
B is for . . . Boobs, because I can't stand mine. How am I supposed to sufficiently strap these down for running? I mean really . . . B could also stand for 'bruises,' which I seem to be covered with at any given moment. (Case in point: a lovely little blueish-hued patch on my shin is forming after said shin collided with my desk.)
C is for . . . Clumsy, which is a pretty accurate description of me and one that goes hand-in-hand with B for bruises.
D is for . . . Dogs. I love them. I never thought I would be a dog person, but I totally am. I miss the babies at my parents' house and contemplate clever ways to kidnap them and take them to my apartment. D could also stand for 'directionally-challenged,' which seems to mark my everyday existence.
E is for . . . Elizabeth, my middle name, which I've never especially loved but feel like I'm slowly growing into.
F is for . . . FAIL, which is a resounding chorus when I attempt a great number of things.
G is for . . . God, who reminds me to slow down, stop trying to take the wheel and be thankful for my many blessings. G is also for Grammy, a human being who also reminds me of many things I think God wants to teach me.
H is for . . . Health -- something I'm striving for in many ways, but am sometimes too lazy to really commit to. I slack off, I cheat, I rationalize my lack of activity with my (somewhat) healthy eating habits. I am working on it, though.
I is for . . . Inspiration, which I struggle to find but nevertheless feel profoundly when it happens.
J is for . . . Jokes, which I seem to make a lot of. J is also for "joe," as in a cup of, without which I couldn't function as a human being.
K is for . . . Kites, which I have never flown.
L is for . . . Long-distance. I seem to love it: long-distance drives, long-distance running, long-distance relationships. I don't know what my draw is to any of these situations, but I have an inexplicable pull towards all of them -- perhaps because the first is pacifying, the second is challenging and the third allows to grow my abilities to pay attention to, make time for, and care about a person other than myself.
M is for . . . Manners, which I am told some are a stickler for. I know I'm not perfect, but would it kill you to return calls or messages? I mean, really, getting married is no excuse . . . I've known people with more to do than work and plan a wedding who are a million times better than you at this. Which makes me wonder . . . If you've got work, school and no wedding to plan, how busy can you be that 30 seconds of a text message or 4 minutes for a phone call is TOO much in a 24-hour day?
N is for . . . Nonsense and the fact that I really try not to put up with it. I call it like I see it (mostly) and do what I can to bring up issues so I don't blow up over them later.
O is for . . . "Oh crap" -- my favorite daily expression. Also stands for "optimistic" -- something I struggle to be on some days, but find no problems with maintaining on others. (Why is that?)
P is for . . . Patience, something that I don’t think I've ever possessed. This particular 'p' word makes me think of my friend Hollyanne and her husband, Simon, and how I could learn oh-so-many lessons from them.
Q is for . . . Quick wit, which I'm told is something I actually have. Hurray for small victories!
R is for . . . Random -- the story of my life. Could also stand for relationships, which also say a lot about my life.
S is for . . . Silence, which at times tells me so much more than words ever could. Often silence is peaceful, but when coming from a phone it can be painfully deafening. S is also for standards and mine are high.
T is for . . . Therapy, which my future children will need much of. 'T' is also for tonsils, which I still have.
U is for . . . Understanding, which I try to be - especially when I'm hearing things that I really don't understand. I hate excuses, cop-outs and lame offerings of apology, but if you really want me to understand something, please explain . . . I'm curious.
V is for . . . Vehicular manslaughter, which is I guess is the appropriate term for what I would do to all of the rude people I encounter every day. Also stands for "vivacious vixen" which is what I envision myself as when I'm actually jiggling all over the treadmill. (See "h" and the note about "working on it.")
W is for . . . Watermelon. I could eat my weight in it, quite literally. It's not officially summer until I've had some.
X is for . . . Xmas, which is the most annoying misspelling I've ever seen. Really, you're too lazy to spell out "Christmas"? Dang . . . I feel sorry for you, son.
Y is for . . . YOU -- who are probably more important to me than you'll ever even realize. Y is also the distinguisher in my name - Robyn. I get the biggest kick out of people spelling it right on the first try without asking.
Z is for . . . Zero - the number of things that I can think of to say at this point, the number of excuses I'm usually willing to accept and the number of times I have been to San Diego, which seems like a travesty.

On a crisp morning . . .

I'm drinking coffee sweetened with a bit of raw sugar. (I know, I know - I gave it up, right? I felt weak this morning . . .)

I have a lunchbox full of goodies -- miso soup, spinach salad, avocado, tomato, and an orange. And kombucha! Can't forget that . . .

I'm listening to Simon & Garfunkel.

I'm supposed to be working on webpages (in a minute . . .).

I am thankful. Life is sweet in this moment - even the stuff that's not so fun or sweet, I can ignore for just a second to embrace that overall, things are good. In a few short moments, I will likely be pulling my hair out or jumping the gun on something, but right now, I'm good.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Results are in!

The dal turned out DELICIOUS! I'm posting a picture below, but I promise it looked prettier! (I put in the dollop of yogurt and realized as I started to stir that I wanted a picture much like Rachel's, where I found the recipe.)

Next time, I'll make the trip to get the jalepeno pepper -- it would have done well to have that additional heat to the dish. Rest assured, though, if you're not a fan of spicy, this is still delicious without it.

It took me a while to make . . . probably close to 35-40 minutes, but it was my first time, so I was a little nervous about a.) having everything, b.) doing it in the correct order and c.) not just 'winging it' as I often do. I'm almost positive I'll be able to cut about 10 minutes off my time the next time I make this.

Happy cooking! :)

P.S. Whole Foods designed an iPhone app that allows you to search recipes based around special diets (gluten free, vegan, etc.). This will make my culinary experiences so much more fun, I think.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vegetarianism: Week 2

I've finalized my challenge details: one new food each week, using it in as many recipes as I can. (And by "as many," I mean "most likely 1-2".)

Will be cooking lentils tonight. I have never cooked lentils before, but this seems interesting. I have the spices needed to make dal, an Indian lentil stew (sort of), but I have no experience. This could be interesting . . .

Things I'm loving today:
- my boyfriend texts me this morning to tell me that he drove from his house to school with his glasses on top of the car (I really did laugh out loud at that point)
- kombucha
- my salad (lettuce, tofu, avocado and chardonnay vinaigrette)
- going home to a (somewhat) clean apartment (Laura came over for dinner last night, so I frantically tidied up proving that I need to have company over more often)
- the prospect of cooking

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cat Stevens (see also: Why I'm in Love.)

I love Cat Stevens. I have a collection of some of his more well-known songs, but I aspire to own every album he's made on vinyl. No joke. Below you'll find me jotting some thoughts about my favorite songs by him:

This song makes me want to dance energetically and joyfully. I can hear this come on in my car and it automatically propels me into a much better mood. Of course, I have never heard it on the radio, which means I'm forced to listen to it on my CD player . . . on repeat of course. ;o)

Father and Son
I think I literally wept hearing this the first time. The discourse between a father and his son (hence the title, Robyn), it really gets to me. At one point, his voice breaks with emotion and you can feel your heart wrenching . . . just a little.

Peace Train
My inner hippie loves this . . . I love the optimism, the camaraderie.

Where Do the Children Play?
This song breaks my heart just a bit with the truth of it. I always picture an inner city neighborhood and try to imagine what it's like to be a kid playing baseball in a not-so-safe park. Though he's not really talking about that, it's what comes to my mind.

The First Cut is the Deepest
I think what gets to me every time about this song is how bright, almost cheery it sounds . . . until you listen to the words. The hurt, the pain is very carefully played upon in an almost tongue-in-cheek way, which I have always thought to be very clever. This is probably his most well-known song, but that doesn't deter me at all.

Anyway . . . Just a few of my (many) favorites. My CD of his music is getting worn out and I've only had it a few years. :o)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The accidental vegetarian

At the end of August, my family put down one of our beloved golden retrievers, Scooter. Throughout the last few years of his life, the words "asshole", "punk", "jerk" and "bully" were bandied about to describe him. He was the kind of dog that wanted to be the alpha dog, but since Rosie (our oldest golden and the REAL alpha dog) put him in his place about it, he settled for stealing toys from Hunter, our middle child and total pushover.

Scooter once swallowed a dishtowel. (Yes, you read that correctly.) After a very expensive operation, he was fine, but before it had blocked him up so bad he couldn't get anything down. (The dog didn't just eat it, he swallowed it whole.) After that, he had some intestinal issues from time to time.

Then, last summer, we noticed that he was having problems with more frequency. In March, we thought we were going to lose him when he couldn't even keep water down. He was severely dehydrated and stayed overnight at the vet hospital because he had been vomiting so much and couldn't even drink water. They said there wasn't a blockage, that it didn't look like a parasite, and were fairly confident that whatever had hit him had passed but they kept him to keep him hooked up to an IV for the night.

Flash forward a few months . . . The vomiting is happening again. At first it was occasional and we figured he had just reacted to eating too quickly. It became more frequent, but the vets we were taking him to couldn't find anything wrong. Labs, ultrasounds and other tests were coming back clean.

Ten years ago, we lost our first golden retriever, Sam, to lymphoma and in the midst of all of Scooter's health problems, the terrifying thought hit us that we were experiencing the same thing all over again. Scooter started to refuse food, partly I think because he knew he couldn't keep anything down. At this point he was on a diet of boiled rice and chicken, which isn't really healthy for dogs but it's easy on their tummies when they're sick.

We finally came to terms with the fact that there wasn't anything we could do for Scooter. He had no quality of life and our snugglebug was suffering. The last Saturday in August, we took him up to Elk Grove (where we have always received excellent vet care) and had him put down. Our vet in San Jose had weighed him the week before and he clocked in at 80 pounds (he was a big boy). Dr. G in Elk Grove weighed him before we put him to sleep and he was 68 pounds.

I don't care what the lab panels say, if he lost 12 pounds in a week (15% of his body weight), there was something eating him from the inside. Dr. G said that we had every reason to believe that he had something serious that would likely only show up when it was too late. We said it probably was too late. The dog was too young for more surgery (he'd had several over five years), was too sick to eat and was suffering.

As hard as it was, we truly believed we were being merciful by putting him to sleep. And even months later, we're still struggling with it. We miss seeing him. I miss the way his eyes would close when you scratched his head in just the right spot. I always laughed at him because he seemed to think he was this petite puppy who could cuddle up to your neck -- perfect snuggle size -- except he was 80 pounds of blonde ambition. I'm chuckling as I write this because I'm picturing Hunter on the floor, chomping away on a Nylabone and Scooter walking up to him and snatching it. No contest from Hunter.

My dog was a great dog and I still wish there were more things we could have done. But the only thing we could do to ease his suffering was put him to sleep. He died with dignity - we couldn't bring ourselves to let him go on and not be able to do normal things (like eating) without major intervention and if we had, he was slowly starving to death already.

Yet so many animals die horrible, ugly deaths needlessly. I don't care if they can't communicate with me like a human being, they still can experience pain, fear and suffering. And it's because I couldn't stop Scooter's suffering that I feel the need to stop the suffering of other animals. I can't change anyone's mind on this (and I'm not sure I'd want to purposely do that), but I can feel peace with myself for not creating a greater demand for meat - one that causes other animals to suffer.

Culturally speaking, I could never imagine eating dog meat. However, I have (up until now) seen no problem with beef. There are parts of the world where this is exactly the opposite and really it's our social, cultural moors that define which animals we feel okay with consuming.

I've dabbled with vegetarianism before, but it's only been recently that I have really thought through my feelings about animals what I feel I can give back to them. And I'm pretty sure choosing not to eat meat is a big start for me. Scooter was a part of our family - a very important part - and there still seems to be a shadow on the house when his name is mentioned. We had him cremated and the box of ashes was on the mantle until it became just too hard for my mom.

I love animals and I don't think I'll be eating them anymore.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fines and fees

I'm so glad the library let me pay my fees online -- I never even had that option in Fresno which meant if I wasn't able to physically go down there and pay my fines, they would acrue even higher until I did.

Of course, I probably should be returning my stuff so as not to incur fees, right?


Better luck next time, kid . . . Of course, two days late gets me $3 in fees for six DVDs, but still, it's the principle of the matter. The nice thing is, they let me renew the DVDs (even though they were overdue - some libraries don't do that with media), so I have a few more days to watch the movies I set out to watch in the first place.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Life, and the need of one.

I really do need a life.

I feel like one of those pathetic girls who goes to work, does what she's told and goes home to wait for her boyfriend to call.

Seriously. That's exactly how my days have been going so far. While I love my job and think my boyfriend is a pretty great guy, I feel an itch to be doing something more. I was kicking around the idea of an evening class at the nearby JC, but obviously, that's not something that can happen right now since we're well past enrollment. Maybe next semester.

In the mean time, I'm dying to climb again. I have no calluses on my hands. No rock climbing muscles . . . I used to love climbing so much. (And from a girl-who-is-trying-to-watch-that-figure's perspective, you'd be amazed at how many calories you torch in an hour of climbing -- upwards of 800. No joke.)

During the summer after graduation, I recommitted to the sport that I'd only engaged in a mild flirtation with -- and I ended up with a broken heart. Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but I did rip open a few of my fingers and sprain my ankle when I fell about 15 feet off the rock wall and I wasn't clipped in. (Yeah, not one of my brighter moments.)

Getting back into climbing after that was tricky. Initially, I'd go back to the gym, clip myself into the auto-belay and try to climb on. I never made it to the top, I'd drop myself down before getting 3/4 of the way up. The first try was the most successful, but I compulsively checked my waist to visually confirm that, yes, I was clipped in, I was secure, I was fine. However, looking at my waist also meant peripherally looking down, which would catch my breath and drain the blood from my face quite literally.

About a week later, I was at the gym trying to get back on the horse (er, wall). I grabbed holds, put my feet on the wall and climbed another two holds. My feet were about five feet from the floor, my head closer to ten, but I couldn't do it. Every time I dared reach higher, nausea hit my stomach and I felt lightheaded, fuzzy and faint.

I've never been an especially skittish person. I've not shied away from many challenges, but those walls were so beyond daunting. It took actually belaying with a friend about a month after the accident to help me feel more secure (I could feel the tension in the rope- ergo, I knew I couldn't fall.)

Yet I miss it.

The Arillaga Sport Center (the most accessible rock wall for me) at Stanford offers membership to Stanford employees for $20. Total. For that bargain price, I get a badge that I swipe at the door and I can climb to my heart's content.

So back to my original point of getting a life . . .

I've also filled out a volunteer application with San Jose Animals. I'd like to volunteer at a shelter, socializing dogs and cats to be adopted. But I also signed up for customer service work as well. Wherever they'll have me, I'll go.

Between the gym and animals, I think I'll have a much more interesting life. Or so I'm hoping . . .

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Persona non grata

Indeed. I feel a bit . . . dejected. As stupid as that sounds, I really am feeling a bit lonely today. I don't want sympathy or whatever, but I'm finding that I really need to do a better job of reaching out. I'd really rather be here right now:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Picture this . . .


Except it's shrill and coming from my mouth . . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby steps . . .

So I didn't wake up at the unholy hour of 5:30 this morning, I settled for 6:30. Or rather, I woke up around 5:30, but kept resetting the alarm and hitting the snooze button until 6:30. To-may-to, to-mah-to, right? Baby steps . . .

Anyway . . . Still feeling pretty awake. Relatively rested despite a marathon phone conversation with A that lasted until 12:30-ish. How are we able to talk sooooooo long about what seems like nothing??? I mean, I learn something new about him with every conversation, which is amazing, but it seems like we cycle through fairly uninteresting questions that always end up turning into long discussions. Clearly, the boy and I will be able to chat for years to come . . . or so it would seem.

He's pretty stinkin' awesome. I'm a lucky girl, indeed. :o)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The challenge . . .

I am hereby undergoing a complete and total revolution . . .

I'm giving up sweets. Cold turkey. None of this "oh, it's been a little while, maybe I should get a cupcake" junk. No more "maybe just one piece of candy." And I am so done with this "well, I had a salad for lunch . . ." crap.

I'm done.

Over it.

No more sweets! (For at least a month.) I figure once Thanksgiving rolls around, I'll reevaluate the plan and see how things are going. However I think this may have a much more long-term effect than I am anticipating.

Simple solutions to deeper needs.

Sometimes, I feel really sad. I mean, really sad. Often because I get frustrated about things I am not able to control.

Today, things that have happened over the last couple of days cropped up in my brain and started percolating. Coupled with the realization that my "I love being a homebody" attitude is becoming something of a hindrance and now I just feel crappy.

So I went to get a cup of coffee.

Nothing fancy, just coffee and some half-and-half, but it really has done wonders to improve my mood. Even though there's coffee here at the office, I think it makes it a bit more special to go and have someone make it for you. It gives me a reason to pause, smile and remind myself that sometimes things are out of my hands for a reason.

And then I smile because I realize I have bigger (read: better) things to care about.

Seems a little cryptic, I know, but I just wanted to say . . . I love coffee moments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sometimes, improvising can be better...

I forget things. Little things, things that are really forgettable up until I really need them. Namely stuff at the grocery store.

Tonight was no exception as I hit up Trader Joe's after work. Knowing that I needed black pepper and chicken broth for the soup I am wanting to make, I shop around and pick up a crusty, delectable loaf of sourdough bread, mango mochi ice cream balls, produce, etc. I kept going right down my list, paid for my loot and went home. In my kitchen, I start cooking the chicken, seasoning it a bit and simultaneously boiling broth. I chop and put in the veggies and noodles.

Then and only then do I realize: I've forgotten the broth (I had some but was sure it wouldn't be enough) and the black pepper.

I made do with the pepper grinder (on normal occasions, I prefer fresh ground pepper but it's not practical for cooking).

The tricky part was the broth... Thankfully, in my cupboard was a box of vegetable broth. Not what I would have liked, but doable. I poured some in and later added some water, but surprisingly enough, it turned out good. Really good!

So sometimes plans don't work out, but tonight showed me that the last-minute, make-do improvisations can be even better...

Robyn's Chicken Soup:
- about 20 oz. chicken broth
- one chicken breast, cubed
- spaghetti noodles (about two servings)
- celery
- carrots
- green onions
- 1 small yellow onion
- oregano, salt and pepper

1. Cook chicken covered in a pan.

I seasoned the chicken with oregano, garlic powder (because I was lazy and didn't feel like mincing garlic), and salt & pepper.

2. While chicken is cooking, chop about two celery branches (sticks?), one medium carrot and the onions
3. In a stock pot, pour in broth and veggies. Bring to a boil, stir in noodles

Lookin' good so far!

4. Season chicken with oregano, garlic powder and salt & pepper.
5. When noodles are soft, stir in chicken. Let simmer for 15 minutes

Okay, that's kind of a haphazard recipe, but it was good... Really good. The vegetable broth I used gave it a nice golden (non-yellow) tone. I had two bowls and there's leftovers for lunch tomorrow.



P.S. Please ignore my cluttered couch . . . I've been organizing paperwork all week. Er, trying . . .

On "why being a grown-up sucks sometimes."

Being a grown-up really sucks.

Don't get me wrong, I love being an adult. I like taking care of myself, I like cooking and cleaning for myself . . . I even like the whole paying bills bit (somewhat) because it reminds me of my freedom -- I am supporting myself, I am making my life as comfortable as I can.

But sometimes, it really stinks. The whole budgeting thing is something I still feel like I'm getting used to . . . and part of the reason why I wish my parents had decided to give us allowance as kids. (They always had the mindset of, "if you need it, we'll find a way to make it happen" . . . as well as trying their best to make sure we had what we wanted as well, to some degree.) I feel like not having been given an allowance, not being allowed to have an after school job in high school has somehow contributed to bad financial habits. But I know I'm not the only one.

Example: A friend of mine grew up not knowing what having an allowance was like, not learning firsthand about spending money wisely and didn't immediately grasp that having a debit card is NOT like having a credit card. Within a few weeks of having the debit card, they had racked up over $250 in bank fees, not to mention what they overdrew by . . . A $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks that now costs $25-30 because of the overdraft charge is a little ludicrous to think about.

Another friend: This friend of mine really aggitates me at times. For working for a tax firm, they have no concept of spending wisely. I lent them some money a couple of years ago . . . which I still haven't seen. But redecorating their house (to the tune of about $700 -- enough to cover what I lent them almost 10 times) is apparently a more worthwhile cause than paying down debts. What if I were a bank? What if I charged interest? Would this have guaranteed payment sooner? Now, I have always struggled with being assertive about the things that I need - especially when it comes to money. It's the most difficult thing in the world for me to say, "Umm, you do remember that I let you borrow money, right? Borrow." It's even more difficult to say that when what I want to say is, "Are you going to pay me back or not?!? Because if you're not, just tell me so I remember to never help you out again."

But that doesn't come across very nicely, does it?

Today was pay day, but because of the timing of my bills, my paycheck shrunk drastically in about 5 minutes -- the length of time it took me to make my car payment online, put some money into my savings account, write a check for my rent and balance my checkbook. The leftover is less than 1/4 of what came in, and even though it's more than enough for groceries and gas for the next two weeks, it still leaves me . . . wanting. Still makes me wish a tiny bit that I could just fill my apartment with things that I like.

Silly I know since I can use that money not just for the necessities, but for greater pleasures like hosting friends for a weekend or driving up to see Alex for a couple of days -- all infinitely more worth being able to buy a couple of bar stools or hit up IKEA for some mixing bowls any sooner.

But the 'wanting' thing is hard sometimes, which is why I'm trying to get a new perspective on things.

I'm learning though . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Idea in the works...

I've been following the Nester off and on this month as she features daily tips/ways to make one's living space even more personal and nest-like. Given my affinity for learning to cook, it challenges me to ask myself: could I commit an entire month to cooking? Could I actually attempt such a large-scale blogging task?

I really think I could...

Details to be determined, but preliminary ideas include:
- a new recipe every day, though not a new recipe for each meal
- no repeats (yeah, you read that right)
- blog daily about recipes, results and (hopefully) include photos with each post

So there you have it. A challenge in the making... Like I said, details are going to be worked out soon, especially since I don't know what my holiday plans will be. I'm already liking the plan though...

Bacon cheddar potato soup

Yesterday, the dreary, Edgar Allan Poe weather began again, which naturally made me so happy and inspired me to attempt potato soup again. This time, I decided to make some modifications and perhaps not follow the recipe quite so rigidly.

Bingo -- about a hundred times better than last time . . .

Potato Soup
- 4-6 strips of bacon cooked and cut into small pieces
- 2 large Russet potatoes, cubed
- 2 14oz. cans of chicken broth
- 3-4 green onions chopped, greens and whites
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- roughly 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- shredded cheddar cheese (I like extra sharp, but to each their own - colby-jack is also a good choice for potato soup)
- salt & pepper

1. Cube potatoes and put them in stock pot. Cover with chicken broth and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and mash at potato pieces with a potato masher or fork (don't do this too much, you just want to break them up a bit more, not into too-tiny pieces)
4. Return to heat and stir in bacon, onions, thyme and milk. Cook for 15 minutes covered.
5. Serve with shredded cheese and salt & pepper to taste.

Soooooooooooooooooooo good and really tasty the second time around.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On eating and eating well.

I live on a block with a Trader Joe's. (Yeah, it's pretty freaking great.) Theoretically, I can walk to get groceries. I haven't yet, but I'm optimistic.

Having the accessibility to good, wholesome food has completely changed my diet . . . for the better. I cook as much vegetation as I can get my hands on and I'm madly in love with goat cheese. I'd give up just about any other kind of cheese (except for extra sharp cheddar) just to be able to keep goat cheese in the mix.

Since I've started cooking my own food, I've noticed better habits developing:
- cooking vegetables . . . for any meal
- lighter salad dressings (some days, I opt for a bit of olive oil and some lemon juice)
- more whole grains (sadly, I didn't have the "love it!" response to whole wheat pasta that I thought I was going to have, but I'm hopeful that it's just an "acquired taste" that I will acquire soon enough)
- eating less junk food

Now, with that last one, it's a bit of an interesting thing to me that since I have started eating better, I just don't crave junk food as much. I have a far more weakened lust for cupcakes (though I won't lie . . . I'm seriously jonesing for one right now . . .), I drink less alcohol and surprisingly enough, I find that I just don't really want it.

Of course, when I do indulge in a trip to Sprinkles, I find that I feel really gross afterwards. @#%$! This healthy living crap just shot cupcakes for me.

Of course, I know it's for the better . . . I mean, most days I need a cupcake like I need a hole in my head, but I really really really really really really love my cupcakes. A lot. But it's nice to see my newer, healthier habits are starting to take over my older, not-so-great ones.

Who knows . . . Maybe I'll start hitting the gym soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My new semi-life.

I have no life.

Really, I don't. I confessed to Alex the other night that I'm partly afraid of finishing the unpacking process because that would mean there's nothing left on the "to-do" list of things in my apartment.

Living with my parents made me so excited to move out because I felt like I would really stretch my wings, get out and socialize more. The only thing I've learned in the last several weeks is that I'm a major homebody . . . and I'm growing to accept this.

I love cooking . . . I like cleaning . . . I dig organizing. If I had the space, you bet your boots I'd be trying to learn how to garden -- the idea of growing my own herbs and vegetables thrills me beyond belief.

Part of me is willing to believe that having long-distance boyfriend also contributes to my desire to stay home, but I don't really think that's the case. Alex and I mutually trust and respect one another, so I know I don't have anything to worry about when I think about going out with girlfriends or whatever. I just like staying home. I like being cozy on my couch and watching some terrifying movie. (I really like the idea of watching some terrifying movie with Alex -- you know, so he can keep me safe and all.) But at the end of the day, I just want to be at home.

Now, this is not to say that I don't enjoy a good girls' night out from time to time. I would like to scratch "pub crawl" off of my lifelong to-do list. But I think it's time to come out of the impeccably-organized closet on this one:

I am a homebody and I am proud of that.

I think this blog is morphing into my homebody life reflections, but I think that was where I wanted it to be all along.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where'd it go?!

My rain is gone. One day of 50+ mph winds and almost ten inches of rain (no joke) and now it's GONE?!!?

I need to move somewhere where there are hurricanes and frequent storms/rains. Seattle is looking ever-so-tantilizing because I know it rains all the time there.

I'm itching. Can I move there? Just live on top of the Space Needle and be happy with the rain? It makes those fleeting sunny days so precious, I think.

Californians are weather wimps. I'm fairly certain of this. We don't have tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards (unless you're in the mountains). Generally speaking, we don't have to worry about thunderstorms and hail. Sand bags are referred to so infrequently that I have a sneaking suspicion most Californians have to remind themselves of what sandbags are for any time they hear mention.

I crave living in a place where the weather is just a little more violent. I want to see lightning light up a sky. I want to play with hail. I want to feel the build of heat and humidity that cracks with an afternoon or evening thunderstorm.

Gosh, thunderstorms are such amazing sleeping weather. My freshman year of college, I lived with a girl who was TERRIFIED of thunder. Having spent the first 10 years of my life on the east coast, this was unheard of to me. I cannot recall a single time in my life where I was afraid of a storm.

Yesterday's storm feels like such a teaser . . . I'm itching for violent weather. I want something intense enough to watch.


Can I tell you a secret? I've always admired the people who take cameras and go chase storms. I feel like I would LOVE that experience . . . Maybe someday I'll take my family on a cross-country storm-chasing trip. Of course, with my luck, I'll end up giving birth to some seriously weather-phobic children . . .

My heart breaks just a little at the thought.

Zen and the art of . . . potato soup?

I don't think I could ever adequately describe how much I am loving learning how to cook. I mean, I've never really practiced. Mom and Dad usually took care of meals for us, but for the brief months I lived in Fresno, I got to try out cooking a bit.

Now, living by myself, I'm looking into recipes 'made for two,' mostly because I can make enough for myself and lunch the next day. I dig the idea because I think it helps me stretch my food options a bit more -- I'm majorly guilty of falling into food ruts when I don't have anything interesting to pique my interest.

Last night, I picked up some onions and broth to combine with stuff I already had and made myself a pot of really good potato soup. It was just so meditative and soothing to go home and spend about a half hour cutting, slicing, simmering and stirring. (Of course, the drinking of the pint of Guinness probably didn't hurt this relaxing process.)

If I had to grade my project, though, I'd probably give it a C+/B- (for now). It was tasty, however I think there are some modifications that could have been made and I'm picky about doing things well in the kitchen. (I have no idea where this has come from -- my family used to tease me about not knowing the recipe for boiled water.) Next time around, we're adding some turkey bacon and sharp cheddar cheese. You know . . . just to try . . .

Other menu options for the week:
* sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and edamame with basmati rice
* whole wheat pasta with homemade basil mushroom marinara
* pizza with spinach and goat cheese (okay, I confess -- this is coming from a box but I still have to manage not to burn it!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Today it is pouring in Palo Alto and San Jose. I will be needing to hit up Target after work for an umbrella, but I'm so excited about the weather. I felt the flick-flick-flick of tiny rain spatter on my face waking up this morning (slept with the window open -- rain was blowing in a little bit).


I love the rain. Alex and I have talked about how cool it would be to live in Portland or Seattle, where it rains a great deal.

Of course, prolonged rain does get depressing after a while, but generally speaking I love it. I have a sixth sense for when it's going to rain. I can feel it, smell it, KNOW that it's going to rain . . . Of course, the grey clouds are a pretty big tip off, but even on overcast days, there's something distinctly different that goes along with the rain.

Tonight, on the way home, I'm picking up broth, green onions and a few other ingredients I'm missing so I can make potato soup.

Will blog about how this turns out . . .

Monday, October 12, 2009

I tried Twizzlers Rainbow Twists just now, thinking the fun new colors and flavors would somehow make me hate licorice less.

Didn’t work. Licorice still tastes like plastic.

What the heck is that?!!?

I am amazed at just how rude some people can be. As in, I am willing to overlook a multitude of transgressions, but I will stand in awe of bad manners.

There seems to be a growing awareness of just how rude our society is becoming and though it was mocked to no end, the interruption that Kanye West gave during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at this year's VMA's was a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about.

Saturday was an in-depth look into rudenss and more over, is rudeness contagious? Growing up I always thought my parents were nuts for not liking ALL of my friends, but the older I get the more I'm finding that maybe they were onto something . . .

I have a friend who has a boyfriend. Her boyfriend is very rude and perhaps a perfect illustration of how rudeness is contagious. When I politely offered to help his girlfriend out so that he could focus on something specific, he criticized me to my face and shot me down. Now, I understand "everyone is entitled to an opinion," but since when did someone's opinionated-ness become superior to good manners? Even if he had still refused my offer to help, there were many ways to do this to not be so . . . rude.

This same friend (the one who has the boyfriend) later left with him early from a very special event in which she was a part. Without going into the gory details, I can say that the event in question was a big deal. The person that the event was focused around is supposedly a best friend of my friend with the boyfriend. So my friend let her rude boyfriend talk her into being even more rude? The excuses given were exactly that: excuses. What blows my mind is that had this person stayed just a few more hours, it would have been over, not a big deal, and there would have been extra hands to help tear down after the party was over with.

But no.

And now, I can't help but wonder if this friend will regret leaving her best friend's big day when she's looking back after she and this jerk boyfriend (inevitably) break up?

This may become my new catchphrase . . . (Steph was onto something!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tricks & treats . . .

I love this time of year.

October for me means dusting off my volume of Edgar Allan Poe and scouring library shelves for books that will make my hair stand up. Pumpkins and cold, rainy days and crisp air . . .

Fall means spooky stories and scary movies. An excuse to get cozy with my handsome guy . . . ;o) Alex doesn't share the same level of enthusiasm for the holiday as I do, but I'll work on him, I'm sure.

I'm still in a place of "settling" into my new apartment . . . If I were pregnant, this would be called "nesting." Actually, I don't think being pregnant is a prerequisite to nest, so we can safely say that I'm nesting . . . So many projects! So many things to take on!

The living room has a blue and brown color scheme going on . . . The bookcase is almost finished being painted a rich brown with blue inside. I'm growing increasingly fond of colored glass as decoration . . . I have red glass in the black/white/red bathroom, I have blue glass in the living room, purple in the kitchen and green in the bedroom.

My bedroom is still evolving . . . I know it's probably better to focus on one room at a time to really enjoy the process and take my time, but I'm having a hard time controlling myself. My suitcases are becoming decoration pieces and there are three clocks on the back wall that tell the time of San Francisco, New York and Paris. (There's kind of a travel theme if you hadn't guessed . . .) I'm having visions of vintage post cards tucked under the glass of my nightstand, framed maps on the wall, newspapers as decoration (though I'm not so sure how . . .).

I itch for projects . . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am full.

I'm so full . . . Beyond full.

Full of excitement . . .
I've moved out of my parents' house and into my first, all-by-myself apartment. I'm paying my own bills, building a savings account and making car payments. (Okay, that's a bill, but it feels like it deserves special distinction.)

Full of infatuation . . .
Alex is my adorable boyfriend. (No, you can't have him.) Having been friends for years, there's something about the way this fits that I don't even know if I have words for. I cherish him. I look forward to hearing from him. I love how he listens, how considerate he is, how truly awesome things are with him around. I know it's early, but things are so good (beyond good) that it's really hard to see anything other than that good stuff. He's not perfect -- he likes candy corn-- but he's pretty close.

Full of promise . . .
Feeling more established in my job, I am able to keep ahead of projects . . . mostly. There's been some minor weight dragging on a certain project that will not be named, but the long and short of it is that it's getting done and once it's over, I can keep charging full steam ahead. I'm finally feeling like there's a niche that I fill. It's good.

Full of food . . .
Literally. Grocery shopping for yourself is such a strange experience for the first time. The few times I did in Fresno, part of my grocery list were things that were communally used. Food situations with my roommates were often fluid -- "Hey, I'm making XXXXX. Want some?" etc. Last night, it was so nice to evaluate what I wanted, plan around work and what kind of food storage options I have right now, etc. I'm also very literally full -- lunch was salad, a pita with some hummus, and just to balance the healthy with not-so-waistline-friendly, I had mac & cheese. The kind with the neon orange sauce. Oh yeah. :o) Delicious.

Life is incredibly sweet right now . . . Will definitely post apartment pictures soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm warning you, we're growing up.

These days we go to waste like wine,
that's turned to turpentine,
till it's six AM and I'm all messed up . . .
I didn't mean to waste your time,
so I'll fall back in line,
but I'm warning you we're growing up . . .

I have much to be thankful for, and the gratitude is only just hitting me . . . I'm expecting a wave pretty soon. That I am thankful, though, is a good thing . . . even if I'm a little slow on the uptake.

Growing up is challenging me . . . it's really molding, forming and in some ways breaking me. I don't mind though. Honest. I feel like somehow I can manage this -- I can keep hold of this, even if it's hard.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Come to think of it, I was never very good at waiting.

I am so bursting with questions and frustrated with things that seem to be stalling that I can barely take my mind off of this little "dream world" of what I'd like the answers to my questions to be. Part of me feels so frantic that the idea of a fortune teller, palm reader, tarot expert or other psychic medium sounds great just to put my mind at ease - yes things are going where I think they are, or no they are not.

Questions about living situations, finances, personal relationships and where I will be in 10 years (literally and metaphorically) are plagueing me and I have no idea what else to do.

For every question I have, I can already anticipate that I will be looking for answers for a long time. In an age of limitless information access, how do I still find myself spending so much time waiting?

Monday, August 31, 2009


Ugh... I'm becoming that girl I'm so terminally vexed by: the one who is so bent on a single plan that the bullshit-radar doesn't seem to be working properly. In situations where this becomes patterned behavior, at what point does this knowledge actually become helpful? Where is the crossover from intention to action.

"Abandon all hope, you who enter here..." (My paraphrase of Dante.)

Today I'm a bit feisty.

I cannot believe I'm so willing to waste my time like this. I have never found myself to have less-than-adequate self esteem but now I have cause to wonder. What the hell am I doing? Why am I even pretending that I have had any significant influence on this? Ugh.

Majorly frustrated with self. Time to start growing up, I guess...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Important things.

I feel like lately I have really lost focus.
I feel like late-night conversations, as wonderful as they can seem at the time, are slooooooooooowly wearing me down for the lack of sleep. (Though I wish I had the guts to say that.)
I feel like I could use some direction, though I kind of already know where I'm going.

But mostly, I feel like I'm once again waiting. Waiting for affirmation, waiting for the writing on the wall, and waiting for a "go ahead."

Prayers for peace of mind are so appreciated.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We're clear for take-off . . .

I'm boxing up books.
I'm condensing my stuff.
I'm looking at truck rentals.
I'm browsing the IKEA catalogue.
I'm leaving messages with Fountain Park asking about availability.
I'm grabbing pay stubs and my job offer letter as proof of employment/salary.

In two weeks, I might just have an apartment lease to my name . . . :o)

Friday, August 21, 2009

I love a fresh dose of rudeness in the morning. Mmmmm . . . Haven't even finished my cup of coffee and BAM! Right between the eyes . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I am realizing that I am slowly creating more misery for myself. I procrastinate, I stall and simmer in things until I give up. I don't always finish what I start.

I was thinking about this while running tonight. I'm gradually embracing the idea that one day, I will run a marathon without stopping to walk. That one day I will run Boston. I know I will. I have to do it.

But one step at a time. :o) I am becoming reacquainted with my good friend, Extra-Strength Tylenol.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A pink sticker, someday.

I carry a special card in my wallet, signed and dated a couple of years ago, that says that in the event of my death, my organs are going to be donated.

After September 11th, there were hundreds (possibly thousands) of human interest pieces showing people doing incredible things in the name of helping others out. Blood drives became flooded with folks who normally wouldn't have considered sitting with a needle in their arm for several minutes who came with every good intention to help their fellow Americans.

It makes my heart swell with warmth and hope in people for doing something so kind, so generous.

Right now, I'm working on a work project that has me thinking a lot about organ donation. Several years ago, I signed a card that I keep in my wallet saying that I am willing to donate my organs to those who might need them. Two years ago, I drove past a bone marrow registration drive and saw pictures of a little boy named Anthony. Anthony was born with a rare blood disorder and would likely need a bone marrow transplant. My heart, so sensitive to causes related to children, overtook me. I dropped off my stuff at my house, told my dad where I was going, the whole time having trouble keeping my voice clear to speak, and fought back tears as I drove back and stood in line to register.

I carry about six different health-related cards in my wallet, none of which are insurance cards. (Don't get me wrong - I have those too, but these aren't them.) CPR and First-Aid certification, blood donor information, bone marrow donor registration cards and one for my organs.

It never ceases to blow my mind at the possibility of life from someone giving up a kidney, giving a heart and lungs or a liver. Obviously, there are so many organs that can be successfully harvested and transplanted, but those are just some that came to mind.

I don't really know who reads this -- I don't broadcast it to many people -- but I encourage anyone reading this to think strongly about checking "yes" the next time you renew your license and the question of whether you'll donate your organs comes up.

I don't think anyone really does it for the recognition or the accolade, but there is something overpoweringly selfless about something like donating a pint of blood, going in for surgery to give someone new life with your bone marrow, or in the event of your death, giving them a permanent gift.

Please, please, please consider it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dear friend,
I wish I could tell you how wonderful it was to see you today. I don't know why I enjoy being around you so much, other than the fact that you're a nice person, but I do. I hope we can hang out more.

P.S. You give really good hugs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Small victories

I'm about five pounds lighter than I was a couple of weeks ago. :o)

I'm celebrating, even if I still have a couple dozen pounds to lose still. Ha ha.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I would really rather be the mouse than the cat. All things considered, I think my focus needs to be elsewhere. Actually, I know my focus needs to be elsewhere.

What am I getting from this?

Monday, August 3, 2009

I swung by Sprinkles on my lunch break. There was a parking space two spaces back, right in front of the store.

Clearly, a sign from God that I needed a cupcake. And really, who argues with the Big Man?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Slowly, I feel like I'm becoming more of an adult. I realize that legally and mentally, I've been there for a bit, but in terms of the things I am taking on? Huge growth in a short(er) amount of time.

New job - big.
Car payments - big.
Car insurance of my own - not quite so big, but still significant.

Individually, each of these is fairly "grown up," but I feel like I'm still moving in a more adult direction. I'm looking at apartments, planning my would-be budget for different living arrangements and looking at the growing cost of being an adult.

It's not cheap (in a financial sense), but it's certainly a rich experience. I feel like I've been in limbo for quite a while and now I've got the green light to floor it into the kind of life I want. It's only freaking me out a little.

That being said, with these newfound responsibilities, I'm finding it more of an imperative to take better care of myself. I ran two miles tonight, then swam for 25 minutes. I wanted to do some weights or exercises on my stability ball, but I called it quits -- just too tuckered out. I had honestly forgotten the kind of resistance swimming gives you -- no wonder Michael Phelps is in such amazing shape, right? He picked a good sport, I say.

Aside from that, I feel thankful for this. I feel deep gratitude for the opportunities -- that maybe by the time I run my next race (October 4th), I'll be in an apartment, paying my own bills again -- I'm really only looking forward to the sense of pride and accomplishment that really go along with taking care of yourself.

It's exciting, promising, challenging and terrifying all at once. But I couldn't be happier to know that it's just waiting for me, on my time, to go and grab it.

Life is good.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I am trusting that this is stress-related.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have so much to be thankful for -- it's difficult to see how many people are truly struggling and humbling at the same time. I ache for friends who are losing jobs, loved ones and faith.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Resignedly, I returned to work this morning after a four-day weekend up at Lake Tahoe and frankly, the stark contrast from the trip to my current work environment honestly makes me feel like crying.

George FINALLY told me that Carol is taking back clinic scheduling. **sigh** Nothing like being informed well in advance, right? Geez.

I know that must sound pathetic and lame, but I just feel so broken here. I really hope things go through for this new job . . . one that I can look forward to being at.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anticipation . . .

A lot has been changing. The last time I wrote, I had gone running to clear my head. Having recently found out that my position within IR would be taking an unfortunate hit from the budget cutbacks. Angry, I ran out some of my stress. It felt good -- I hadn't used running as such a release in a really long time. As my legs moved, it was relieving a load I wasn't aware I was carrying.

Not quite 48 hours later, I get a phone call on my work phone line -- it's Bobby, from my internship two summers ago. He's calling to tell me about a job posting that he'd received and that Julie Strider had thought of me for. It was perfect . . . it had all of my favorite buzz words: communications, organization, media relations, full-time and benefits. So great.

Well, I applied, initially getting a "thank you for your interest" response that said he would contact me the following week. Skeptical at first, I made sure I told my connections back at the barn (the building where I did my internship was an old barn at one point) and told them to cross my fingers. Sure enough, I did hear from Gary (the man hunting for his next employee) the following Tuesday when he asked if I would meet him for coffee the following morning.

I did, thought it went well, and was told he would contact me within a week. Imagine my surprise when he called me that afternoon to ask me if I'd meet with his manager, Shelley, the following morning for coffee. I met Shelley, really felt like she liked me, and received a reply to my thank-you email to her that said Gary would be in touch. The next day, Gary emailed and asked me if I could meet the whole team for coffee the next week. Of course, I said yes.

So after a meeting with the whole team last Wednesday (not even a full two weeks from my first contact with Gary), I got some good feedback from thanking the team -- one woman who even said she thought I'd be a great addition and that she'd be crossing her fingers for me. Gary said he'd be in touch, but didn't give any reference to how soon.

Yesterday (the Monday following our last meeting -- 5 days prior) Gary called me to ask me to apply for the job through the website. I obliged, only to be called by human resources and be told that I hadn't applied correctly. I didn't expect to hear much so soon after correcting my mistake, but I got a call from Gary today confirming that I am "a finalist" for the position -- woohoo! I'm elated. Gary continued to say that he has spoken with human resources, who will be ordering a background check for me.

That's good, I think. No, scratch that -- it's DEFINITELY good! For starters, they're obviously pushing things through pretty quickly. Gary told me that I would know "what happens next" by next week. That's also good right? I mean, it seems like he's anticipating me not to fail my background check (I'm pretty sure I won't) and I should hear in about a week.

Holy crap.

I have been wanting this job since it came across my radar -- a proverbial "sign" if you will. I am desperately hoping and praying that I'm not misreading the signs, that I'm not getting my hopes up and that things really are going in the direction I think they're going.

Heaven help me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Idle hands

Boredom does not suit me.

To say that the above statement is 'putting it mildly' is beyond understatement. As a child, boredom brought out my curiosity and mischievous side. As an adult, it creates an inclination toward self-destructive behavior. While I don't drink out of boredom or do drugs or indulge in other bad habits, I tend to indulge emotional whims. I flirt, I fixate on negative things, I act like an idiot.

Admitting it is the first step, right? Let's see how I can grow from this realization.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back in the saddle.

Tonight was my first run (well, first time exercising even) since my race . . . Gosh, how I lost that fast! It's been a month (shame on me, I know), but I was astonished at how quickly I tuckered out. It was a simple 2.03 mile loop, but I think I ran about 1.5 miles . . . maybe.

Granted, I'm carrying a few more pounds than I'd like to be (I don't know what encouraged me to keep eating the way I was eating when I was training -- it's not like I was doing anything to work off those calories), but I know those will fall off eventually.

I want to run a half marathon this fall and I want to run it sub-2:15. That would put me at a consistent 10:30/mile, which I could be proud of.

Today was a GREAT day, all things considered. Last night, I stayed awake thinking of my old life in Fresno and missing it terribly, trying to figure out a way that I could go back. I have to wonder if I'm supposed to, though. Aside from my friend Alex, I didn't know anyone when I moved to Fresno. I had to make friends quickly, I had to adjust. I didn't look back.

I have to wonder if I'm not supposed to be going forward still now. That maybe somehow I sabotage my own efforts at working towards a solid future by my self doubt and hangups of my own inadequacies. In a bible study I recently did, Beth Moore (one of my favorite Christian writers) asked women what they felt was the hardest part about being a woman. One answered, "That I am too much and not enough all at the same time." I couldn't agree more.

I'm weak, broken and worn, but I draw strength from the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In the meantime, I try not to worry about tomorrow . . . or next week . . . or the one after that. I know it will happen in due time, in God's time. Whatever "it" is, it will happen. I trust that and keeping that in mind today, in spite of less than 2 hours of sleep, I was cheerful, alert, productive and able to make good choices throughout the day (not just in working out again, but in how I dealt with others and how I chose to respond to situations).

I am stronger than I realize, and yet I still don't seem able to believe it.
My mind keeps me awake at night. Lately I've been thinking about my life and where it's going. Tonight, I am haunted by thoughts of moving back to Fresno. Not an if, really, but a when. I have never been someone who lived life looking in the rearview mirror, but what I wouldn't trade to be back working with my kiddos, climbing when I had the chance, and being part of the community I love . . .

It almost hurts to think about how much I miss my life in Fresno. I'm trusting that God's watching out for me right now, especially since things aren't so clear at the moment. But if I knew I would be able to support myself, pay for car insurance and have health insurance benefits with my old job, I'd move in a heartbeat.

Things to think and pray about, for sure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Floundering . . .

I feel a bit like I'm drowning at work . . . I feel like I don't have the ability to get ahead of my workload.

Praying for strength, I'm mentally tallying the list of things I need to get done in the coming days since today is once again a short week.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things I should say to people, but I don't know if I ever will

Ten things, ten different people . . . (Okay, that second part isn't quite true . . . there are a couple for the same person and some that will overlap onto other people I didn't even think of, I'm sure.)

1. As mean as it sounds, I mean well when I say that ending our relationship was probably the best thing I ever could have done.

2. I know you mean well, but your brutal honesty is often more brutal than honest. It saddens me a bit that you don't seem to think that's an issue.

3. Your friendship has meant more to me than any other.

4. I think things are really weird and awkward between us right now, but I'm hopeful they'll sort out. It breaks my heart to think I could lose you.

5. God is watching out for you. Trust Him. You'll be surprised at how He will bless you.

6. I could hug you forever.

7. Secretly, I think you're kind of a jerk . . . but this makes me want to love on you so much more in hopes that one day you'll see how much God loves you too.

8. I love you more than you realize.

9. You are one of the most exquisite human beings I've ever seen. I get a little thrill just standing next to you . . . as if maybe I'll glean some of that radiance by osmosis.

10. I forgive you. I need you to not be afraid of that.

Let the word out, oh I'm feeling better now.

I watch "Cruel Intentions" whenever I'm feeling guilty, shameful or just downright rotten about myself. In my head, I tend to compare myself to people (bad habit, I know), so watching this movie just reminds me that I am not nearly as screwed up as the Valmont kids. It's a greater relief to know that than I could express.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heaven must be like this . . .

I'm enjoying a glass of my favorite type of wine while I'm cozy in bed (the room is cold so I can snuggle under the covers) and I'm curled up with a book.

Pure bliss. :oD

I'm currently working on "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner, which started off a little tricky, but has gotten soooooo good. I'm glad I didn't give up on this. It's easy to read in terms of language, but it is a stream of consciousness book with each chapter being narrated by someone new. It takes a while before you start to piece together how each character is connected as well as be able to make out individual voices and identities.

But oh my oh my . . . ::sigh:: I am in heaven.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A portion of conversation between myself and Dr. F

Me: It's Monday.
Brad: It is, indeed, Monday.
Me: Brad, Mondays suck. Tell me something happy.
Brad: My patient died.
Me: What?! Wow, Brad, you really suck at this game. Are you serious?
Brad: Yeah. He died before his appointment. It's okay. It's better for him. He's in a better place.

Umm, yeah, I'm sure he is Brad. Wow. Stuff like this is why I adore our fellows.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Favorite things of the week

* productivity (I LOVE having stuff to do . . . I LOVE the idea that this brings job security)
* Jackie cardigans from J.Crew (perfect sleeve length, perfect weight)
* Bare Escentuals makeup (I turn into an infomercial for this stuff)
* the colors: coral, Kelly green, cobalt blue, butter yellow, navy (bright, happy colors save for navy, which is still spring-like since it's not black)
* sandal season (here come the toes!)
* spring rain (refreshing)
* crafty stuff (making those flower arrangements made me so happy)
* highlights (summery!)

I'm thinking this will have to be a weekly occurrence if for no other reason than to remind myself to smile sometimes and be grateful for the things in my life that may seem like trivial junk to some, but for whatever reason really make me delighted.