not enough novacaine, how i lied in my last post, and why the olympics are the greatest for bestowing on us the wonders of a tattoo.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This is going to be one of those scatter-brained posts, because there are things I'd like to blog about, but they're not enough to turn it into a legitimate, this-was-worth-my-time-to-read post.

So, obviously, putting it all into one makes it worthy of your time.  I know, it's genius.  Feel free to steal the idea, friends.  I won't even ask for credit.

- First, as some have noticed, blog layout change!  I was insanely sick of the peach and my old header, so I dug around and found this current layout.  I like it for now, but we'll see...it's a busy week, so I'm not going to fiddle around with it.  Juliana did let me know that my page took forever to load (it actually never completely did), and I think it has to do with the amount of images I have, especially since I added social network buttons.  It has loaded for everyone else, so I'm hoping it was only a minor glitch.  Also, big thanks to Stephen for letting me know my comments were acting up again...ugh.  BUT!  I think I have permanently fixed it!  Finally just coded in a scrollbar at the verification part, so hopefully that takes care of it.  Lovely friend Samra, who sucks because she doesn't have a blog for me to link to, has tested it and so far it's good.  If anyone else would like to test, it'd be much appreciated!

- I wonder what life was before the Olympics.  I only vaguely remember things prior to a malfunctioning torch being lit.  You would think I'd be tired of it all by now; hell, I thought I'd be tired of it all by now.  And yet, I'm just finding more sports to be into!  I mean, who knew how fucking awesome biathlon was!?  Not that I endorse giving a gun to someone who's just skied 5 miles at top speed, but it is pretty entertaining.  Wikipedia has been my best friend this Winter Olympics, because it has clarified so many things.  I understand now how curling is scored, the difference between a triple axel and a triple Salchow, why a ski jumper won't be automatically in the shitter for not landing a jump, who Lindsey Vonn ran to after she won her Gold, and so many other things.

Also, the Olympics bestowed this gem on the world:

He's 19, ladies.  It's legal.  Get in line.
(Excluding the fact that this was actually a sad moment when he was DQed out of the race.  But still...)

- I mentioned carpal tunnel in my last post, and some people have been like hold up---22 years old with carpal tunnel?!  So in a brief explanation, I don't actually have carpal tunnel.  I just have 'the beginning stages of what will most likely be carpal tunnel if you don't make a lifestyle change'...or so says a doctor two years ago.  It's not entirely a surprise to me, as I've been using a computer since I was 4 years old.  That was the time of dial-up internet that had to use the phone line, pixelized games were a breakthrough, the wonders of "You've Got Mail!" from AOL.  Definitely before the time of ergonomic keyboards and the realization that hey, keeping your wrist locked in an unnatural position may not be the best for future health!  Factor in designing newspapers and several magazines since I was 15, all high school and college that now requires things to be done online and/or in typed format, being Creative Director of a magazine in college for a year and a half, and a month-long stint of webdesign...honestly, I'm just glad my wrists haven't fallen off.

- I had a dentist appointment today.  For those paying attention, that makes 2 in two weeks, which obviously means: cavities!  Woo! Party! Fun times! I'm drunk! Let's go streaking!  I'm no stranger to the procedure of the cavity; I can tell you the exact way they're going to clean, prep, fill, cure, and set your tooth (perhaps not in the technical dental terms, but definitely in the correct onomatopoeic terms).  What I can't account for, however, are the small slip ups that happened.  Like when the clamp fell off my tooth after they'd put on the first layer of composite so they had to restart from the beginning, effectively ruining about 15 minutes of work.  Or like when they were drilling the second cavity, and all of a sudden-OUCH.  Hey...I felt that.  Ow, and that.  Ok, OW OW I'M FEELING SOMETHING AND THIS IS NOT A DIRTY EUPHEMISM.  And my dentist goes, "Oh...I guess the novacaine is wearing off.  Don't worry, we're almost done."  Uh, hey, no, I have a problem with the continuation of this procedure if I can feel you digging around my teeth!  Oh, my opinion doesn't matter?  Ok then, excuse me as I cry profusely at the intense pain.

- I'm going to hurt my brother's girlfriend.  Except not really, because I love her and she's amazing and I'm pretty sure Brother would kill me, but she got me playing one of those stupid facebook games and I can't handle this.  No it's not FarmVille...but it is Cafe World.  It was only a matter of time I would turn to it after getting a glimpse of Cooking Mama on her Nintendo DS.  But really, my time could be spent so much better than rearranging a cafe and worrying when my fake pot roast will be done because I don't have the counterspace between the chips/guac and shrimp cocktails and strawberry cake.

- I know it's difficult to maintain two blogs, as almost everyone can attest to.  But because I'm a glutton for punishment, a second one is in the works strictly for all things books.  There's this little idea in my head I've been turning and tossing and turning in my head...and as much as I'd like to keep it to one blog, I don't want it attached to my personal life.  I may decide to link it up, but...I really don't know.  As it is, all I've got is the web address, but nothing else has been done so it's hardly even fair to call it "in the works."  It's so far an idea that has put in an offer for real estate...apparently it's still in escrow.  And PS, I have zero idea what that actually means.

Lastly, I would like to share perhaps some of the most creatively adorable designs I've seen in a long time.  Thanks to design*sponge, this is the artist Blanca Gomez.  At her website Cosas minimas, you can see all her illustrations, prints, screens, projects, artwork...and you can be stunned at how simple and beautiful they are.

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One of these things is not like the other...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This week I'm volunteering at a library (before you think "awww you're so benevolent!", please know it is for the Disneyland Give A Day Get A Day program), and even though I'm pretty sure I aggravated my carpal tunnel, I'm quite enjoying it!  I only work 3 hours a day and most of it is cleaning/reshelving (the Large Print section is lookin' mighty fine now, in my opinion...), but I really like being surrounded by books again.  I miss it.  And really, we all know I can't resist a good opportunity to organize.  AND I get to do alphanumeric...

I think I need to stop.  *fans self*

Anyhow.  So, today, I'm minding my own business, spraying some Simple Green onto the shelves for a good ol' rubdown, and this girl comes up to me.  I'd say around 14 or 15 years old, definitely a teenager.  She looked a little confused, so I asked her, "Can I help you with anything?"
"Can you help me find Breaking Dawn?"

I want to go on the record for two things: 1) yes I have read the entire Twilight series, and 2) yes I do hate myself for it.

(and secret #3: i still hate myself for having bought all 4 of them and feeding this ridiculous industry)

(ultra-secret #4: i hate myself more for wanting to get my Twilight book back from a friend who borrowed it four years ago.  is this a lost cause?)

(that's a lot of self-hatred.)

After directing her towards the Teen Fiction section of the library, I reconciled myself by saying she's a teenage girl, she's supposed to be into this stuff.  If anything, she's kind of behind on this whole sparkly vampire rage thing.

About five minutes later, she comes back up to me, Breaking Dawn cradled ever-so-lovingly in her arms (really.).  I smile and say, "Oh good, I'm glad you found it."
"Yes, thank you. And um...where can I find David Sedaris books?"

I about cried.

But here's the thing.  Do I cry because there is no way someone should mix David Sedaris and Stephenie Meyer unless the sentence is, "David Sedaris is infinitely superior to Stephenie Meyer in every single way", and that the end of the world is certainly coming when people mix brilliant literature with horrifying drivel?

Or do I cry that a teenager who can read something as soul-crushing (in the negative way, not in the 'omgz TEAM JACOB 4EVA' way) as Breaking Dawn may have hope in the recognition of David Sedaris as someone to aspire to be, which means all may not be lost in the future generation?

Or maybe I should just go back to cleaning my bookshelf and stop judging...

...naaaaaahh.

(PS. Thanks Amazon for the pictures!)

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Ten on Tuesday! Volume 6

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

 
As always, head over to Roots and Rings to link up with Mr. Linky so others know who participated!

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Mint Chocolate Chip

2. What is your earliest memory?
I have snapshot memories of when I lived in Florida for two years, but I'm never sure if they're things I think I remember because people have told me about it, or because I actually remember it.  My first clear memory that I know is my own is when we moved to Belgium, we drove from the airport into the city we were living, and we saw a hillside filled with Lily of the Valley.  That hillside and those flowers are my first real memory--which is why Lily of the Valley is my favorite flower.

3. What is your earliest memory of a dessert?
Oddly, it wasn't even my dessert...and I'm not sure it counts since it was for a birthday.  At my dancer friend Aaron Deihl's 6th birthday, his mom made a maaaassive chocolate chip cookie as his birthday "cake."  I remember being in such awe at the sheer size of this cookie (like a regular sheet cake), and thinking, "but...this isn't birthday cake!"  And if that doesn't count, my first memory of real dessert is, again, not even my own.  When I lived in Spain for a couple weeks, my family and I stayed at a hotel as Extended Stay.  This hotel had a buffet, and all I remember is my dad eating so much flan because it was his absolute favourite and he said the hotel flan was some of the best he'd ever had.

4. Do you have any recurring dreams?
I do, actually.  I have one person who constantly reappears in my dreams, even if I haven't thought of him in years.  And it's not like he fits into the dreams, he just kind of shows up.  Sometimes he'll be the focal point, other times he's just a person in the crowd, sometimes he says something.  And there is a dream that recurs roughly every 7 years--I'm due for it sometime this year or next--and it terrifies me.  A lot of it is still patchy, but each time I've had it I remember a bit more (so far it's been 3 times).  All I know I start out happy, hanging out with friends and grabbing a bite to eat.  Suddenly, we decide we want to go to the mall and the scene transfers to some shopping.  Oddly, as I go into a department store (always a department store), it transforms that I'm with my family and they're yelling at me to run.  Somehow, I know that someone is after me because I've seen something I'm not supposed to know.  I tear through tons of racks of clothing, my hair always gets in my way, I'm screaming for my family and trying to find out if they're ok.  When I run out the doors of the store, I suddenly find myself in front of a looming white mansion.  I take off running down a long, winding driveway that always curves to the left...and then I wake up.  Always.  I have no idea who is chasing me for what reason and I don't know what happens.

5. Have you ever dreamed about dessert?
I don't think so...I don't remember it, at least.

6. What is one thing (aside from a cell phone or computer) that you cannot go the entire day without?
I guess checking e-mail falls under that computer thing.  It's not something I consciously think "oh no i have to _____", but every day I have to read.  And I don't mean read instructions on something, or read the Guide on my TV, or read the headlines on my parents' computer homepage.  I have to read a book.  At least a page, though it inevitably turns into more.  A day feels incomplete without reading something.

7. What is one dessert you could go your entire life without ever having again?
Donuts.  I hate donuts.  Do those count as a dessert?  If not, how about √©clairs.  Or cinnamon buns.  I hate all of those.

8. If you could go on vacation tomorrow, where would you go? (Assume someone else is footing the bill, but within reason…so “the moon” won’t work)
Back to the UK or to Australia.

9. If you could have any dessert tomorrow, what would you have (assume someone else is buying it for you. Within reason though, no “gold sprinkled ice cream cones.”)
A belgian waffle.  But not just any belgian waffle--in Belgium, a couple streets down from Grand Place, is a p√Ętisserie that has these huge golden brown sugar waffles that have small chunks of sugar baked into them.  Well...really any sugar belgian waffles from Belgium would be good, but I remember that place well.

10.  What was your first impression of your significant other? If you’re single, what was your first impression of your best friend?
I am one of those people that steadfastly believes in having more than one best friend (I can't help it, how I grew up warrants it), so I'm just going to pick and choose some best friends to talk about.  My first impression of bestestest...est friend Brit was that she was increeeedibly shy and quiet.  First impression of best friend and roommate-forever Mischa was that she was graceful and she made me feel like I was so spastic.  First impression of Rachel was that she was REALLY hyper--like, all over the place talk a mile-a-minute hyper.  First impression of Jenise was that she was so cool and calm...I thought there was no way she would ever be friends with someone like me.

11. What is your first impression of dessert pizza? (Personally, I think it’s weird. I love dessert but I don’t want any on my pizza.) 
The idea of dessert pizza grosses me out.  It just looks so so sweet, having all of that together on a "pie."  And it mixes too many dessert items, in my opinion.

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It's all coming back to me now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

(image via weheartit.com)
One of the main reasons I decided to go into journalism (if we can really call me "in" it) is because I love people.  I love everything about humanity: our interactions, our feeling, our secrets, our thoughts, our stories.  There's almost nothing I'd rather do than sit down with someone, anyone in the entire world, and just talk.  There's an exhilaration when you see someone, when you talk to them and find out what has made them who they are and who they think they are.

Since I was 7 years old, I've just wanted to know about everyone.  Yeah, it's a bit nosy, but I just want to find out everything about everyone.  It's utterly amazing how different every single person is.  You can walk right by someone, and never know that he saved a woman's life two years ago.  Or that woman you just bumped into was her high school's prom queen.  Or that the man walking in front of you served four terms in Iraq.  Or that the little child you see in the stroller almost didn't make it.  Or that respectable librarian you just checked out a book from goes home and gets high every night.  Or that the woman holding that little boy's hand is his adoptive mother.  Every little thing in a person's life has altered his or her course somehow, and it's such a thrill to discover these things.

For a long time, I haven't had that desire to know anymore.  I don't know why, but at the end of college, that want for stories faded.  I don't think it was necessarily lost, but it certainly was not there for me.  My love for writing remained, but my spark of intrigue couldn't find its light.  I was really sad for awhile, and there were even a couple months I was desperate to have it back.  I did a lot of things: went out with friends, people watched, sat in a park, viewed films, listened to music--I was searching for anything to relight that fire.  And I never found it.

I went to the laundromat with my mom today.  We have a washer and dryer, but they're not big enough to wash bed comforters (for the last 6 years I haven't had a comforter on my bed.  I currently sleep with a top sheet and five blankets.  Really.) so we had to go find the industrial size ones.

Being in that Coin Laundry today reignited something.  While waiting for three comforters to finish up, I started looking around and focusing on the people around me.  Coin Laundries have never had the best reputation, because people think that if you don't have a washer/dryer unit, you either a) can't afford one, or b) don't live in a place that provides them or offers the service.  Plus, I have to admit, some shady people do hang around them.  But...I know that to be wrong, because here my family is, with our own but one that's not industrial size to hold a Queen comforter.  What about the others?

A family, young parents with a son, probably 7 or 8 years old...I don't remember much of the kid except his lips were really blue because of a lollipop he was eating.  Perhaps a struggling family?  I thought so too until I saw the countless numbers of expensive clothing they were pulling from the machines.  And then they packed it all away into an Escalade with tricked out rims.  Maybe not a struggling family, but one that puts its priorities into...different ones than mine.  Maybe they, like me, have their own machines but they don't work right now.  If so, it must happen a lot because they knew their way around the laundromat and how to work the machines without reading any of the directions or procedures.  Who really knows?

There were two small filipinos, a husband and a wife (if you saw the way they worked together, you would know, too).  They also knew the machines, but I got the distinct feeling they were there because they had just gotten back from a vacation and had so many clothes to wash.  Something about the fact they had seven Ikea bags bulging with clothes, all of which were shorts and tanks.

And the one that struck me most was a very nondescript man who entered with a singular laundry bag.  He was quiet, walked behind most people, quietly loaded his wet clothes into a dryer, and left again.  He wore a plain flannel shirt, plain jeans, nondescript Nikes, a hat over his head.  Older, probably mid-40s or 50s.  And I have to say, I didn't really notice him that much--but what got me was his laundry.  As he'd loaded the dryers directly underneath the ones we were occupying, I started watching his clothes tumble. It was only his, so of course I wondered: is he married?  Is he divorced?  Never married?  Widower?  And then I saw two flannel shirts, two pairs of jeans, a t-shirt.  Where are work clothes?  Are those his work clothes?  What does he do?  Maybe he dry cleans them?  Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to ask this man about his life and find out his story.  Why is he here on a sunday night by himself with only his own clothes--and very few, at that?  I want to know.

I found a little bit of me again today.  And it's so nice to have it back.

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A waterfall down your torso.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

You would think that something as necessary as a bathroom would be kind of...fool-proof.  I mean, everyone has to use them, it's required in all buildings, it's kind of a standard.  I'm not asking for extravagance; I don't need some self-cleaning bowl or high-powered dryer with auto-spritzing or a massive stand filled with spray goodies and pampering whachamacallits.  Give me a toilet to pee in, toilet paper, a sink (preferable with knobs to turn, but I'll deal with the push-button ones), and a dryer (paper towels preferable).  It's simple.  It's easy.  It should be idiot proof.

I do not understand how something so simple can go so wrong.

The girls' bathroom at a certain library near my house has one of the most poorly planned facilities I've ever come across.  There are some good things, like that it does in fact have a toilet bowl as opposed to a hole in the ground or something.  And there was one roll of toilet paper for the two stalls, which we can see as a 'glass half full' if need be.

However.  The doors of the two stalls opened out into each other, so only one could be opened at once.  Which, ok, not that important, we're all intelligent enough to figure out the order to open a stall door (unless you designed this bathroom.  OH SNAP).  Fine.

But then...the sink.

Do you see how it extends over the counter?  You stand a lot farther from the faucet, which is incredibly inconvenient when you are...*ahem*...not-so-vertically-inclined.  Mostly though, I'm not sure if you can see in the photo, but the closer the basin gets to the edge, the shallower it gets.  The spray of water that comes out hits about two inches from the edge, so it splatters EVERYWHERE.  It's basically shooting a spray of water onto a flat surface.  All the droplets splash out of the basin and the entire front of your shirt looks as though you decided to dump a bucket down your torso.  Awesome.  I expected more from you, Kohler.  Not a bold look.

And lastly, the dryer.  It gets demerits for being an automatic air dryer rather than paper towels (and I'm not acknowledging any responses that have the word "eco-friendly" in it), and for not being the timed one but rather the sensored one.  Which of course only sets off when you're one inch from the blower and gets too hot to keep your hand there for too long.  BUT...please view the picture.

Do you see how low that goddamn dryer is?!  It was well below my waist!  And I'm 5'3", my waist isn't that high off the ground to begin with.  For reference, I was holding my phone about chin level -- I tried at eye level, but the stupid dryer didn't even fit into the screen at that point.  If I'm getting a backache just to dry my hands, there's a problem.  And don't tell me it's "kid-friendly," because that sink extends so far that a child who is suitable to use the dryer wouldn't be able to use the sink without help!

I'm inclined to take my urine somewhere else, thankyouverymuch.

And yeah, I was totally in the bathroom, taking pictures because I was so irritated.  Thank God no one walked in and saw me, because that might not have gone over so well.

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I'm kind of lucky like this...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For anyone who has been to Orange County and San Diego, you know the main coastal connector is the 5 Freeway.  In my four years of college, I drove this way at least every other week, some months even every weekend.  During that horrific first summer between first and second year, and the following few beginning months of second year, I often drove home during the week in addition to the weekend trips.  Yeah, I wasted gas, I know--but I wasn't in any mental place to stay away from my home longer than I could stand.

How did that get so depressing?  Wow.  Apologies.

I've always thought I was really lucky to have the drive/almost-commute that I do.  Living in Orange County is pretty enough (too pretty sometimes, since it's all planned community and shit), but I get to drive by the ocean to get home.  People dream about the ocean, wish for it, spend their life-savings just to see the thing I drive by almost daily.  Of course I take it for granted, but I try to remember how lucky I am.  Renewed perspective has been given ever since I moved away, and now every time I visit I feel like I'm seeing so much more of it.

So, on this drive, I always pass this:

View Larger Map

What is that, you ask?  It's a View Point.  I guess the people who constructed the freeway were quite aware the beauty of the scenery, because in the middle of this loooooooong stretch of nothing (it's actually part of the Camp Pendleton Army Base) is this random exit to a view point.  It doesn't really look it, but the road is actually the edge of a cliff, and all the dirt you see below that is a drop into the ocean.

For five years, I've wanted to stop there, but I never did.  Usually I forgot about it and only remember as I blow right by it (I guess going 80 mph does have its downfalls), and I was always sad.  I see so many people there and I just want to know!

Well, mission accomplished!  On my drive back this past weekend from visiting a friend, I saw the sign (Ace of Base FTW!) and figured...it's 4pm, I have nowhere else to be, it's an absolutely gorgeous day out...I'm going!  I don't care that I'm going to hit shithole traffic, that it's Valentine's Day and it will be filled with couples, that I'll inevitably get weird stares for being by myself (for the record, check mark! on all of those).

And it was. so. worth. it.  I'm standing on a cliff, beautiful sunlight, clear skies, crisp air...it doesn't get any better than that.


I tried to take a shot while I was driving, but...y'know...safety and all had to be taken into account.  Regardless, you can kind of see what I drive by!  In the corner (apologies for the window breaking it) you can see the ship that I got in the zoomed in pictures above.

I forget a lot, but...I really do love California.

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Ten on Tuesday! Volume 6

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Head over to Chelsea's page to submit your blog with Mr. Linky so others who do this will be able to check it out!  Also, leave a comment for Chelsea congratulating her for having a new addition to her family on the way!  Check out the way she and her husband told their friends and family the exciting news -- there's no way people this creative and loving wouldn't be amazing parents :).

1. If you could open any type of store/place of business (money is no obstacle), what would you open?
Oooo this is exciting!  I'd have to say either a bookseller or a bakery.  Surrounding myself with books is something I'd love to do any day, and the prospect of running into people who love it as much as I do would be lovely.  As for the bakery, I love love love to bake.  I don't do it often (weight problems + 2 [potentially 3] diabetics in the household = no bueno), but when I get to it's so exciting.  There's so many ways to make cupcakes and cookies and cakes...and no one can possibly eat them without feeling happy.

2. If all jobs paid equally, what occupation would you want? Why?
Editor and/or Creative Director of a magazine.  Preferably something to do with Entertainment/Lifestyle.  It's unexplainable why...it's just something I love to do.  Creating a product that contains graphic design, writing, photography, content...it's a dream.

3. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you pick? Why?
Uhhh...as much as I'd like to say a penguin, I don't think I'd survive those winters.  How about a dolphin?  Life's not too much better for them, but I guess we all have our difficulties. I'll stick with dolphin.

4. If offered one “service” free of charge, which would you choose? (chauffeur, maid, personal shopper, chef, etc.)
Oh damn this is a tough question!  This probably doesn't actually exist (outside of "personal assistant"), but I'd really just like a Grocery Shopper for me.  All the other things I like and/or don't mind doing myself--but I hate grocery shopping.  It's tedious and so many choices and if you're hungry you buy way more than you need but if you're not hungry you convince yourself not to buy certain things only to realize you, in fact, need them later.  I'd like to write my list and hand it off to someone else.

5. What is one habit, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to break?
I have a really bad habit of tapping.  Anything.  Nails, hands, fingers, pencils, notebooks, anything.  And anywhere: car, house, class, standing in line. The major problem is that it happens ALL THE TIME.  If I'm bored, if I'm thinking, when I'm not paying attention...it just happens.  Teachers and my parents and everyone have yelled at me.  I've managed to be a bit better about it, but I still annoy people daily.

6. What is one thing that no matter how many you own, you still love to buy all the time?
Post-its and Sharpies.  I own every single style of post-its, and I still buy more.  And I own all colors of sharpies in almost all forms (fine tip, clickable, mini, etc.) but I will always, always purchase more.

7. Out of all the game shows (past and present), which would you want to be a participant on and play?
The Price is Right!  But only if I get to play Plinko, and only with Bob Barker.

8. If you could play the lead role in any movie that’s already been made, which movie would you pick?
Maria in the Sound of Music.  Except not really because there's no way I'd want that movie without Julie Andrews in it.  I'd love to have played the "Weird Girl" in The Breakfast Club, or the role of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.

9. Name 5 things on your bucket list (things you want to do before you die).
I don't normally share my bucket list, but I guess I'll break that for this.  I've mentioned one on here before: visit all 50 States.  Others include: visit all 4 hemispheres (only Southern left!), ride a horse, complete a novel, and scuba dive.

10.  Which one of your birthdays was the best? What did you do that day?
I don't remember having a "best" birthday.  Normally I just don't celebrate it, because later on in life it's always fallen during finals/tests/spring break.  Earlier years was the generic party (usually bowling), which was nothing extra special.  So for now...it has yet to happen.

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Bullet points are your friend

Monday, February 15, 2010

The current:
- brother is watching the NBA all-star weekend shit he recorded whilst gone on Valentine's Day excursions I detailed here.
- remembering why I hate basketball so much.
- am only happy because the 87% filled DVR will deplete tenfold (I don't actually know what the numerical value of that is...I'm going to use it as though I do though, when all I mean is ~27%), and I will get to record my super awesome How I Met Your Mother/Accidentally On Purpose/Big Bang Theory/Biggest Loser/Iron Chef America/Jeopardy/Project Runway/Ace of Cakes/Bones/30 Rock/Important Things With Demetri Martin/Olympic Goodness
- realizing how much TV I watch in a week.  Considering cutting back.
- realizing how much I love all my tv shows. Hyperventilating at thought of removing them from life.
- made a ridiculously amazing comeback in a Scrabble match against a friend.  Though I will probably lose in the end and there are still 7 tiles left to distribute and an indeterminable amount of turns, I still give myself a hearty pat on the back for coming back from 93 points down in only 2 moves (and currently sit 24 points ahead of her!).   And yes, it is through the Words With Friends app on iPod (iPod Touch for me).  Add me if you'd like (though please tell me through the chat function that you "know" me through my blog!): Ash19.

China Pairs Figure Skating Team Shen/Zhao
(image credit cbc.ca)
The past:
- spent this weekend up in Orange County visiting one of my best friends.  Absolutely splendid time, as she and I haven't seen each other in a few months even though we talk online every day
- she is currently following Ethiopian Lent, which means she cannot eat meat, dairy or products that contain gluten.  She is basically vegan for the next 54 days.  As a small reminder: I AM THE WORLD'S PICKIEST EATER.  I'm not proud of it, but it's a fact to my life and an unfortunate factor to a lot of decisions.  It was a bit of a tedious weekend of eating, as we had to find places that catered to both our needs.
- So much Olympics-watching.  And yet, I STILL WANT SO MUCH MORE.  Personal highlights/thoughts:
  • As much as I love you Apolo even though you beat my beloved Joey on DWTS, you interview super douchey and several - even most - of your medals are by circumstance.  You're a brilliant athlete and I'd never be able to do what you do, but...keep that in mind, woudja?!
  • I will forever be in love with German Pairs male Robin Szolkowy.  Beautiful man, beautiful skating.
  • I am in awe of the Chinese Pairs team.  No one can deny the strength, grace and power of Shen/Zhao.  Their Short was nothing short of inhuman.  I cannot believe they are 32 and 35 years old.
  • Evora/Ladwig (USA Pairs team) won me over solely on their choice in music.
  • I admit to tearing up when Alexandre Bilodeau won Gold in Men's Moguls, making it the first gold medal Canada won while hosting the Olympics (this is their third host).  The tears may have spilled when they pictured him with his brother, who has cerebral palsy.
  • My knees hurt just from watching all the Mogul competitions.  How do those athletes do it?!
There's more thoughts, but I figured I'd spare you all.  Prepare for the onslaught when Men's Figure Skating comes though (Tuesday and Thursday!).
- Dollar theatres are amazing.  I miss them so.  Even if they lie and are actually $2 (except Tuesdays), but I accept this because it is still significantly less than the regular $8 (matinee)/$11 (after 5pm).
- Last Friday, before going to Orange County, I met up for a coffee date with three of my best friends in SD.  It's the first time the four of us have been together since October 30, 2009, and it was so so good to see them.  They've been my best friends since middle school, you would think I would appreciate them more.  Life passes by so quickly, but I hope to remember more often.

aerial view of the Getty Center in LA
The future:
- was supposed to go to the Getty in Malibu with bro's gf, but it is alas closed (Monday).  am very disappointed.
- may end up taking advantage of Museum Month, though.  Would be nice to go to MOPA.
- dentist appointment on Thursday.  First one in roughly 17 months, meaning I am sufficiently terrified.  I have terrible teeth (no, really, I probably have had more cavities than the first three people who comment combined), and am scared of the sound of the dentist drill.  Plus, I still didn't get that tooth I chipped back in December checked on.
- planning blog revamp soon. I'm irritated with this current layout/color scheme/everything.  Please direct me to your favorite blog layout sites!
- this week I have the opportunity to see the following movies, each for $1: Youth In Revolt, Nine, Up in the Air, Precious, and Sherlock Holmes.  no idea which one(s) i will choose...
- as it is 4:05am and this post somehow took just shy of 2 hours to finish, i will shortly be in bed, sleeping.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone has a fantastic day, no matter if you spend it with a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, loved one, friend, stranger, family member, alone.  Celebrate the emotion of love and the capacity we all have to love.  Celebrate the imperfections, the little things, what is really important.

warning: this advert may make you bawl like a baby.

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These Are A Few of My Favourite Things...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the last days of this overbearing love-fest, I realized I'd completely neglected a facet: superficial love!  Not fake love, I mean the love of objects.  Materialism, if you will.  I'm not against it by any means, as long as we acknowledge it and understand that loving things doesn't take the place of loving someone and sharing love.

That said, I thought I'd go around my house and take pictures of things that I love.  You know when you leave your house for awhile (vacation, college, moving out, etc.), and you realize there are items that make your house a home (whatup Dionne Warwick and Luther Vandross!)?  These are some of those items to me; the ones that I can take with me to have a piece of where I belong, or the ones where I can walk into my house, see them, and know that's where I belong.

My DVD collection!  Sorry it's messy and some are missing and things aren't in the correct order--I haven't re-organized it since Christmas, and that means an additional 20+ DVDs have to get shoved in there somewhere.  I'm not a big movie person (despite how it seems), but I love seeing a collection of movies I love and enjoy and know I can pop one in and immediately lose myself in that world.

One of the more random objects in my house: a diskette clock!  We've had it for as long as I can remember, and even though it's not even set on the correct time (I don't know why no one moves it), it's one of those objects that has to be somewhere or it's not complete.

People have called my house "The Museum" because we have a lot of random souvenirs hung around everywhere.  I love all of them, but these stand out to me the most.  My family collects Souvenir Spoons and Shot Glasses, which we display a small selection of in the Italian curio cabinet.  You can also see some of the castanets we bought while in Spain.  The Venetian masks are by far some of my favourite, as I have a small personal collection as well (not pictured, though).  I wanted to have a larger collection, but they're expensive and difficult to ship.  The knotboard (bottom left) is from Spain, something my dad picked up while on a business trip there.  It's a fascinating piece, and even though we've had it for upwards of 15 years, I can still look at it and see new knots I'd never noticed.  The last one are two fans we got while in the Philippines.  They're beautiful and delicate and a nice reminder of the heritage.

These are a bit indulgent, I'll admit to that.  The left is an Asian-art inspired vase I made in 11th grade Advanced Ceramics.  It's a lot bigger than it seems (accidentally the largest panel-built vase made in the history of the ceramics class.  I didn't mean to!), but it's oddly familiar to me.  It just seems to fit in my house, even though there's almost nothing else asian-inspired (aside from the Philippine fans).  The other object is something I love dearly and am very proud to be able to display in the house.  I had to blur most of it since it is a personal item, but it's my dad's Shadowbox, given to him when he retired from the Navy.  The middle has his history of locations and military bases he was stationed in; the left are pins of merit; and the right are his medals and bars and rankings.

All of these (except military ribbon keychain) were gifts to me, and I love them so, so much.  The big A keychain and the Eiffel Tower keychain where given to me by one of my best friends Jenise, and if you can see the oversized ring-keyring (how's that for confusing?) that's holding them all together, that was given to me by my roommate/closest friend Emily.  I love these keychains because they're very defining of who I am.  The slinky was given to me by a friend from my dorm days.  It's an adorable story as to why, but I'll share that at a later date--just know it was meaningful.  And yes, you're seeing the middle correctly: it's a purse modeled after the old-style Composition books!  My brother and his girlfriend gave it to me as a grad gift, and it's so fucking perfect I pretty much die every time I get to use it. 

I'm a nerd, I know, but I can't help it.  Like many others, I find that I have a slight obsession with Post-Its and Sharpies.  I dunno what it is, other than the fact they're colourful and amazing and so practical and useful it's ridiculous.  Ok, maybe having so many isn't necessarily the most economical, but I swear I use all of it!  These are the spares I have in the drawers, there are a bunch more scattered throughout my room.  The organized me (which, face it, is pretty much all of me) falls in love with these.

I know I'm 22-years-old, and I'm "too old for stuffed animals."  But these two are special.  I've had Wheezy the Penguin for a bit, as it was a birthday gift from my brother last year.  If you recognize his name, it's because he's from Toy Story 2!  The Toy Story movies are my absolute favorites (Toy Story 3 out June 18!  I'M SO EXCITED).  He even wheezes when you squeeze him!  Whenever I was upset, my roommate would squeeze him and make him squeak because she knew it would cheer me up.  The other is my most special stuffed animal, and I can't bear (unintentional pun!) to let her go.  Her name is Snowball, and I got her while visiting England when I was younger (probably 7).  I don't know why I became so attached to her, but she's soft and squishy (nowadays her padding has moved and bunched a bit, but she's no less lovable) and I bring her everywhere.  Snowball has been with me in my three ER trips, on the couch recovering from oral surgery, waiting rooms of hospitals as I wait for family/friends, camping, all my Girl Scout trips, through all of college...everywhere.  She even got me an A on one of my journalism papers (a story for another time).

And lastly, my necklace.  I have to wear a necklace or else I feel unbalanced, and 99.8% of the time it will be this one (the other .2% is when I go to bars/clubs because I don't want to risk losing it.  Plus, somehow I don't think wearing a cross will attract the boyz).  Originally two separate necklaces, my mom gave me the heart necklace when I was 18 and my dad gave me the cross necklace when I was 16.  When the chain on one of them broke, it seemed obvious to combine them.  They both put a lot of thought into these, despite how simple they are.  I find a lot of symbolic meaning in them from my parents, and I like knowing I carry something of them with me everywhere.

What are some of your favorite items?

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The Moments We Never Forget

Friday, February 12, 2010

Since I'm feeling loving today, how about a positive story?  It's still about love (have I worn you out yet?), but it's an example of the pure love and care I've been lucky to experience in my life.

If you know me, you know that I'm not really a morning person...nor am I a night owl...I'm more of an 'all-hours' gal.  Meaning, I rarely sleep.  Fact is, I'm writing this at 6am, and I haven't been to bed yet.  I'm not an insomniac because it's not as though I try to sleep and can't--I just don't sleep.  I always feel as though there are things I could be doing.  I've been better about it since returning back home (except for this morning, apparently), but throughout college everyone knew me as someone they could count on to be awake, no matter the time.  One of my closest friends (who later became my roommate) used to joke with me, because she would wake up at 6:45 for her 8am class and see me heading back to my room to think about grabbing some sleep.  She'd tell me "good night," as I would tell her "good morning."  And yeah, I had a class at 9am--and usually made it.  (Usually...)

Onto the story!

****
One night my first year of college, I was in a terrible, horrible mood.  I'd had a shitty day, and all I wanted to do was sleep.  Uncharacteristically, I decided to go to bed around 10pm.  I crawled into bed and shut my eyes, hoping sleep would come to me and take me away from the shit day I'd had.

Knock knock.

I refused to open my eyes, hoping I could fake sleep and whoever it was would go away and not bug me.

"Come in!" called my roommate, Mon.
"Hey!" Her best dorm friend and one of my closest friends Peter stuck his head in.  "Mon, I was--" he cut off abruptly, as I can only assume he saw me.  "Is Ashley sleeping??" He asked in a low voice.
"Yeah, she is."
"But it's so early!  Why??"
"She had a really bad day, I believe," Mon said.
"Oh no," I heard Peter say.

The sound of the door shutting, and I assumed Mon had walked outside with Peter to talk.

Suddenly, I felt my sheets being tugged.  Still faking sleep, I heard Peter murmur, "You poor girl," as he tugged my sheets and comforter up higher around my neck.  He tucked me in, leaned over and kissed my cheek softly.  "Sorry about your bad day, love.  I love you," he whispered.

"Peter, you know she can't hear you," Mon said.
"I know."

****

It's a weird story for me to tell, since things are very different now.  I am no longer friends with Peter; we did not last through the first year of college.  But that moment still remains one of my fondest memories.  I don't think I've ever experienced someone showing me such care and love, without the expectation of immediate gratification or reward.  He entirely reversed the crap day I was having in mere seconds.

I feel very lucky to have been able to experience a moment like this.  Maybe he didn't realize just how powerful and meaningful it was--perhaps he just did it to do it, or he felt like a father taking care of a hurt daughter, or something like that.  Whatever the reason, I knew, for those few brief moments, that someone else in the world cared about me.  That someone else in the world thought I mattered.  That a person thought I was Someone, that someone really, truly and honestly loved me.

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Travel Getaway: Bed & Breakfasts

I've been ridiculously absent from here.  I know I've managed semblances of posts, but it was pretty luck of the draw that Jessy decided to have my guest blog at this time and I'd pre-written the entry to go up.  While I don't feel it matters too much to my readers (I know you all understand <3), I mostly want to apologize for lack of blog comments.  I've never been amazing at them, but I currently have over 200 entries in my Reader to get to.  Meaning...some comments may pop up on older blogs, as soon as I can get around to them.

In all my ranting and ravings about Valentine's Day, I admit two things: 1) I'm glad I don't have to worry about plans, and 2) I'm glad I'm not a boy in a couple who has to make the plans for a girl.  I'm helping my brother out with some [extremely] last minute plans for the weekend with his girlfriend, and it's fucking stressful!  Understandably, this should have been done at least a month in advance, but...that's not how they roll.  And since brother's work schedule is released weekly, it's not as if he can really make plans in advance anyway.  Excuses aside, he's kind of screwed.  Thanks to the ever-so-useful CSU system furlough days, it's a four day weekend for the both of them and they're trying to find a cute little B&B to go to.  Well, aside from the fact their funds are limited to college-student amounts (yeah...) and it's probably one of the busiest weekends for vacations/getaways...it's not going well.  I've spent the last hour researching B&Bs anywhere south of the central valley and all I can say...it looks like it's going to be a cozy four day weekend staying right here at home.

But my love for B&Bs has been rekindled through this search.  We stayed in dozens of them during our cross-continent vacation in Europe and there's absolutely nothing like them.  They're so cozy and you can feel the love and care put into the design of them.  And if any B&B is worth their salt, it's going to have a pretty bomb breakfast.  And yeah, I just said 'bomb.'  Welcome to 2005.  Of course I would dig BnBs though, because they're pretty much everything I'm obsessed with: claw-foot bathtubs, private patios overlooking oceans, french decor, Parisian paintings, georgian columns, english tudor style...

*fans self* whew.  Stopping now.  But only to show you some adorable pictures!


The Mountaineer Room - The Ballard Inn - Ballard, CA/Santa Barbara Wine Country


The Vineyard Room - The Ballard Inn - Ballard, CA/Santa Barbara Wine Country


Abella Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast - Arroyo Grande, CA - Pismo Beach/San Luis Obispo Area



Petit Soleil Bed and Breakfast - San Luis Obispo, CA
Pictures: Queen Rooms Chocolat (1) and Herbes de Provence (2), King Room: Le Jardin


Channel Road Inn - Santa Monica, CA


The Bissell House - South Pasadena, CA


Cardiff by the Sea Lodge - San Diego, CA/Encinitas, CA

(all B&Bs found through Bed & Breakfast Inns Online; all pictures credit to respective lodgings' websites)

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A love-ly guest post for Love Stories at The Giant Typo!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today I'm the guest blogger over at The Giant Typo, a fantabulous blog by the equally-as-fantabulous Jessy!  First of all, her blog is pretty fantastic on it's own.  And she's started doing this amazing Sunday feature called This Thing Called Hip-Hop where she highlights hip-hop that is actually worthy of being made!



Well, as a Valentine's Day theme, she's been posting guest blogs since the beginning of February that all have to do with love.  Today is my day!  So please, please click the link over to her blog and read my post (and check out the rest of her blog).  Unlike my last guest blog (over at Steph's, as a refresher reminder!), this one is a bit more...serious.  It's still not something I talk too much about, but it's one of those stories that changes your life.  That means something to you.  That alters how you see everything around you, and even yourself.  It's a lesson in my life that always remains close to my heart.  I'd be very happy if you read it, because I think it may lend you a little more insight into who I am.

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Ten on Tuesday! Volume 5

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Ten on Tuesday!  I think we know the drill: lovely Chelsea, go there to link up your blog with Mr. Linky!

1. Fill in the blank. Sometimes I wish my life was more ______.
like a musical.  Because what makes you happier than a musical?  I suspect singing and dancing out my problems would make them a bit more manageable.  Or, I could leave it as "my life was more musical."  Because I'd love to get my piano playing back, and sing a bit more, and get better at the guitar (if we can even say what I do as "playing" the guitar).

2. How do you cure the hiccups?
I try to regulate my breathing...and if that doesn't help, I just wait.  Or my brother will scare me in the hopes it goes away because I'm probably annoying him.

3. What are three of your favorite indulgences?
Nutella, the movie Center Stage (STOP JUDGING ME YOU A-HOLES), and writing fiction.

4. Where is the most exotic place you would like to travel to? The most mundane?
Bali, Indonesia.  It's somewhere I've always wanted to go, and it's just so interesting and unknown to me.  My brother's girlfriend is Indonesian and how her and her family describe it is just...it sounds so beautiful.


And the most mundane place I'd like to travel to?  Oh dear...I don't like hearing the word "mundane" because it sounds so harsh.  But I guess I'd have to say Wyoming.  Really random place to choose, right?  It's land locked, and what has ever come out of there?  It's part of my life's goals to go to all 50 US States (15 down!), but in general...I mean, no one wants to go there.  So of course I want to go.  I just want to see what it's all about and see the people that are there.  And really...I dare you to tell me this looks like it doesn't hold something special:

5. Does having your time planned out stress you or relax you?
I'm not sure "relax" is the word, but it definitely...reassures me.  I like seeing order.

6. What are your favourite fabrics to wear?
Am I the only one who doesn't pay attention to this kind of stuff?  I know most of my shirts are cotton.  That's about it.  If it doesn't stick to me or pull funny, I'm good.

7. Do you sleep through the night?
Yes, because I don't fall asleep until I'm utterly exhausted.

8. When you were younger, what did you think you would be doing at this age? How close is that to what you are doing?
Since I was 7 I wanted to be a writer.  I've since expanded and detailed that dream, but it's generally where I'm going.  I do have my degree in journalism, so at least I didn't fail my 7-year-old self too much!  I thought I'd be getting my Master's degree, too...which I'm not now, but still may in the future.  Before that, I wanted to be a ballet dancer.  I danced for 5 years (ballet/jazz) and miss it ever so much still.

9. What has surprised you most about growing up?
I feel like someone young would ask this question (is that rude to say?  Apologies if so!).  I have no idea.  I never had any expectations about growing up.  I had such a weird lifestyle growing up I came to the realization very early that nothing ever goes as I intend--and it's not necessarily a bad thing.  I think the only thing that occasionally catches me off guard is how cynical everyone can seem.  We're all our own harshest critics and I know we all internalize the bad to a much more serious effect, but I hope people see how beautiful and amazing something can be.  I refuse to believe the world is out to get us or is setting us up for failure, as it feels like so many people believe--because then why would we ever try?  There's a purpose, whether we see it or not.

10. Are you good at keeping secrets?
Again, I feel as though only a young person would ask this.  Is that weird?  I'm not sure how many secrets exist the older you get.  The secrets get more and more severe as your age increases--the ones that matter, anyway.  Somehow secrets turn the question from, "Should I tell someone" to "Is it my place to tell someone?"  We'll all eventually understand what needs to be kept, and what shouldn't be kept.  That said...yeah, I'm pretty good at keeping quiet.

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About Me

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I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.

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i'm probably reading

Zoe's bookshelf: read

The Dragon's EyeAngelsThe Lightning ThiefThe Man of My DreamsCity of GlassCity of Ashes

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