Monday, June 30, 2008

Dear Shutterfly,

Thank you for sending me such good offers via email. Your kindness has afforded me the luxury of making this poster for free:

I really think it sucks that it took me two days to upload the pictures in order to make the poster, though. I also think it sucks that I just put the finishing touches on my free photo book, and now you are acting all temperamental again. Please stop giving me shit so that I can order the book before the deadline is up.

Thanks in advance,

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Communing with Nature

Friday night, after a particularly crappy day at work, Roy and I bought this. (It was not an impulse buy, but it made me feel a lot better after the day I'd had.) We took it out for a spin at the Huntington Gardens this afternoon. Here are some of the results:

The camera is a total keeper (even if the fish and turtle shots didn't turn out so well).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

i heart youtube, volume ten

I'm going to stop doing my "i heart youtube" posts for awhile or forever, depending on how I feel, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite GI Joe PSAs. These just never get old for me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Double Exposure #9

I am so glad it's Friday. Not only is the weekend upon me, but I get to pick which blogs to post about.

1) Take a look at Business Guys on Business Trips. Anyone who's worked in an office will be able to relate to this. I love this one in particular:

Sadly, this very thing happens in my office quite often (and I'm sure it happens in every other office as well).

2) Faces in Places never fails to make me smile. Once you see these pictures, you will never be able to look at everyday objects without looking for their faces. (Well, I can't, at least.) With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to....

Duck Pond

Bug Eyes

Shock Rock

I've enjoyed going these regular weekly posts on this blog. It's fun sharing what I've been reading, and I especially love it when people tell me about other cool blogs. I think I will keep this feature around for awhile. I may be getting rid of the i heart youtube feature and replacing it with something else. I haven't decided what to replace it with, though. That's where you come in! What do you find interesting enough to tune in every week for? (Good gawd, that's a horrible sentence, but the alternative sounds just as bad.)

I was considering doing a day in the life post (accompanied by pictures, of course), kind of like they do on flickr, but I honestly don't know if the mundane details of my life are very interesting. Actually, I'm pretty sure they're not, but I suppose it's all in how I present myself, right?

Or I could do a weekly photo collage, or just a weekly post full of photos. Or I can keep the youtube feature. Or I can leave it and do nothing at all. The possibilities are endless!

Let me know what you think, though. You guys are the ones that read this thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Story About Wednesday

Today my friend Kristy and I went to Rubio's for lunch. On our way back our cars, Kristy noticed that an old man had fallen down in the parking lot. We hurried over to where he was; another concerned young woman met up with us on our way over.

I was completely shocked when I saw this little old man lying flat on his back on the concrete, holding onto his dog's leash for dear life. The dog was this really big black Labrador, and for some reason, the man was using his belt as a leash. What was really strange was that the old man's jeans had fallen down, and his button-up shirt was open. For an instant, I really didn't know what to think. I didn't know if he was some kind of pervert or homeless or what. I quickly decided that none of that mattered because of the look of utter anguish and helplessness on his face.

The other girl and I threw down our purses and handed the dog over to Kristy. We tried like hell to help the old man up, but for some reason, he wasn't trying to get up. He was just dead weight. He kept saying, "Let me pull my pants up," but he could never really get them up. And we couldn't lift him, even with three of us trying.

Thankfully, a young guy in an SUV stopped to help and was able to lift the old man up on his own. The old man was clearly shaky and embarrassed. He couldn't really stand up on his own. (I think he can under normal circumstances, but he was obviously shaken up.) He said something like, "The mailman left the gate open," leaving me to surmise that perhaps the dog was about to get out of the yard, and in a pinch, the man decided to use his belt as a leash so the dog wouldn't run away. I'm not sure how the parking lot of Rubio's figured into the equation, though.

We managed to get some information out of the old man. He gave us his daughter's phone number, and we tried to call her. No answer. We found out that his wife was dead and that it was just him and the dog. Also, the man kept saying that his truck was nearby, but he didn't think he could drive. Apparently, his house was very close by as well.

At this point, I had gone to my car for some rope in order to make the dog a proper leash. When I came back, another young guy had stopped to help, and I asked him to tie a good knot so that the dog couldn't get away. We were then able to return the old man's belt to him so that he could keep his pants up. We were also able to scrounge up some bottled water and an aluminum pie plate so that the dog could have a much-needed drink. The dog nearly dragged me into the bushes as he crawled in there to escape the heat.

We managed to flag down some firefighters who were apparently on their lunch break, and they came over and quickly took control of the situation. We determined that the young man who had helped the old man up would give him a ride home and that one of the firefighters would walk the dog to the old man's house. With nothing left to do, I dragged my sweaty ass back to work, the knees of my jeans dirty from kneeling down to hold onto the dog.

I thought about this poor old man and his dog for the rest of the day. I thought about how scared and vulnerable he must have felt. I have always loved old people: they contain so much history and yet some are so much like children in some ways. It's so difficult for me to watch the elderly suffer, knowing that they are fully conscious of that suffering.

I also thought about how a group of strangers were able to come together and help this man and his dog get home. We didn't introduce ourselves; we just did what we could to alleviate the situation, and then we went on our separate ways. I will probably never see any of them again, and yet today they all feel very important to me. And so do the little old man and his dog.

This experience is not something I will soon forget, if ever. At the moment, it feels profound, real, and raw. It just feels like something worth holding onto, no matter how sad I become when I see that poor old man's face in my mind.

I hope he and his dog are safe now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Discoveries

-I saw this awesome license plate on my lunch break.

-I finally figured out what to do about my name change issue. I found out today that the state will definitely not amend our marriage license to reflect Roy's name change, which means that in order to change my name, I will have to go through the courts. This will cost us around $400, but to be perfectly honest, I am happy to pay it if that's what it takes. You'd think I'd be upset about this, but no, I'm just relieved to finally have a definitive answer and to know what to do. I guess it's a good thing that I put off requesting the amendment, being as it wouldn't have done us any good anyway.

I would also like to say something that I will probably never say again, so take note: I am actually grateful that I work in a legal office, because if it wasn't for some of my co-workers doing some digging on this issue, I never would have known for sure what to do. Also, based on this experience, I would also like to say that County employees are generally useless. I don't blame them entirely; it's the bureaucracy that causes all the miscommunication and ignorance.

And lastly, those of you who are getting married and wanting to both change your names, please have your future husband change his name before you pick up your marriage license. Honestly, it would have saved us so much time, money, and sanity had we done it this way. That was our original plan, but someone *coughRoycough* decided to wait until a month before our wedding to file for his name change (and to be fair to my long-suffering husband, the County employee he spoke to did say that everything would be fine if his name change went through after our wedding). Try to give it at least a couple of months for the whole process to be completed, because it takes awhile.

-I often check out the organized collection photo pool, and today this photo in particular made me happy.

-I have finally figured out how to control the temperature in my office. Last week, I was freezing, so I covered up my A/C vent (which is right over my chair) with a piece of cardboard. Yesterday afternoon, though, the heat coming in through my window was sweltering. So today I cut a small rectangle in the cardboard, and now I have controlled A/C. Yay. It's the little things, right?

Monday, June 23, 2008

General Monday Randomness

-I normally can't stand summer, but this year in particular I am very grateful for it. The evenings are long and peaceful instead of rushed like they were during the school year.

-Day 1 of the cleanse is done and went well. The hardest time was lunchtime and the afternoon. I got tempted quite a few times, but I managed to avoid most of it. I did have a bit of peanut butter with my celery when I got home, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. At least I didn't eat the pan dulce in the break room at work.

-This is my new favorite song. It is amazing. I listen to it over and over. The whole album is worth checking out.

-I started reading this book. I'm not one for self-help, but this one called to me last week.

-I meditated tonight. Actually, I have no idea if I did it right. It felt a lot like I took a short nap. Is there a wrong way to meditate?

-I got my grade in my fairy tales class: A-. The perfectionist in me is not happy with this grade, especially because of what happened before. This is my third A- in grad school. I got two last year, but I earned them rightfully. I really should have gotten an A in this class. I busted my ass. Apparently I didn't deliver. I emailed her and inquired. We'll see what she says.

-At least I got an A in my internship.

-Roy and I went for a walk tonight. I haven't really been inspired to take any photos recently, because I've been in kind of a funk. But I decided to bring my camera along on our walk, and here are a few things we came across.

Yes, that's a headstone for a person with Shrimp as his last name. Talk about random.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Eating Consciously

All weekend long I've been preparing myself to jump into a cleansing diet that my friend Jessica told me about. Since I quit smoking over a year ago, I've become quite the emotional eater, and this is probably one of the reasons why I've put on some poundage. So, beginning tomorrow and continuing on for the next two weeks, here is what my diet is going to look like:

1) cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccoli sprouts
2) parsley, cilantro, chard, kale, watercress, mustard greens
3) orange, lemon, lime
4) garlic, onions, eggs, daikon radish
5) artichoke, asparagus, beet, celery
6) carrot, apple, pear, berries
7) two servings (size of the palm of my hand) of protein: lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish
8) 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
9) half my body weight in ounces of purified water

Bascially you pick two things from each group (except for 8&9, obviously), and those things make up your meals and snacks for the day. The idea is to not have any white flour, sugar, caffeine, gum, stabilizers, MSG, or sugar substitutes. Organic, baby!

Roy and I are embarking on this journey together. We are going to modify this diet a bit, adding in some beans, simple salad dressings, and cucumbers. Even so, I'm a little nervous. I've never actually dieted before. But the time has come for me to really pay more attention to what I'm putting into my body and to change the way that I feel and think about food.

Lately I've been looking around and noticing that there are so many overweight people everywhere. I think that most people are like me: we eat things because we want them. They satisfy some emotional craving, or they're just yummy. We also use food as a way to connect with others (think: major holidays or just a lunch get-together with the girls). Perhaps there's nothing wrong with that, but the obesity problem is telling me a different story. We as a culture are obsessed with food. There are books and blogs and TV shows that revolve around food. And honestly, I don't have a problem with that, but I do think that we tend to use food as an emotional crutch as opposed to an actual source of nourishment.

I anticipate that I will probably feel like crap for the next two weeks, and I hope I can have the discipline to carry this out. I plan on writing down what I eat every day and hopefully exercising a lot.

Let the cleansing begin!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

i heart youtube, volume nine

Some more random videos that I (re) discovered this week.

from A Cup of Jo:

from Boing Boing (this one is kind of "gross," but I thought it was very cool):

And lastly, this one is hilarious. It's one that Roy came across and showed me a long time ago.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Double Exposure #8

Well, it's Friday again! Time for cool blog exploration!

1) Design for Mankind. I am not a design person, but I love design blogs, mainly because quite a few of them just seem to feature cool stuff. Design for Mankind sets itself apart by offering realistic advice for those creative types out there who want to escape the 9-5 world and focus on their dreams. Also, this blog offers a free monthly e-zine that is just filled with inspiration. It's definitely worth checking out.

2) Although I've been a faithful follower of i can has cheezburger for quite some time now, it was just this week that I realized there is an actual FAIL blog out there. Oh my, each day this blog makes me laugh so hard that I cry.

Happy weekends to all!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Office Politics

I was pulling out my hair dryer from under my desk this morning when the director of the department (hereinafter referred to as "DD") walked into my office. (Yes, I dry my hair at work. I just can't be bothered to do it at home anymore.) She proceeded to tell me that I am too far away from everyone and that I need to be closer so that they can give me more things to do. She also said that since one of our admins is going to be out for an unknown amount of time, they're going to need me to cover for her.

Fine. That's great. I don't mind helping out at all. But seriously, do I need to move into an entirely new office to do so?

Hell no.

Even so, right after lunch the DD came waltzing into my office to announce that it was time for me to move into my new office. It took me about an hour to move all my stuff, because I had to stop quite a few times to explain to people why I was moving (which resulted in a lot of eye-rolling, I'd like to add).

I'm not sure why I'm now in here, but here I am. This office has one major perk: it's got a window. Experiencing natural light in the middle of the day is a little like what I imagine heaven to be. It's truly wonderful to look out the window and see the trees and the sky and the back of the post office.

The guy who used to sit in this office told me that the view is spectacular during the winter. (I'm guessing that the post office just magically disappears or something.) Actually, my first thought when he told me that was: "If I'm still here in the winter, I'm going to stab my eyes out."

Despite the lovely scenery, having a window does not make up for the fact that the DD's nosy admin is right next door to me. It does not make up for the fact that now my back is to the hallway, which means I can't surf the net much anymore. It does not make up for the fact that people can no longer come see me in my office for something non-work related because said admin might go tell DD. I might have to resort to wearing headphones all day, which I don't really like to do at work because they make me paranoid.

This is hard. Being able to surf the net and talk with people I like are the two things that literally get me through the day. Yes, I probably shouldn't be doing these things at work, but if I were actually kept busy, then I wouldn't rely on them as much as sources of enjoyment.

I really hope that I am actually given more things to work on, because then maybe this move would make sense. (That's a big maybe, though.)

Me, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for another move - right out of this beige hell and into something a little more colorful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Today finds me tipping the scales at 150 pounds.

Most people are very surprised when/if they find out how much I weigh. I have always carried my weight well. It's pretty evenly distributed. Plus, I have a lot of muscle left over from my many years of dance lessons and waiting tables.

But the fact of the matter is - I am 5'3". I have a small frame. I am what most would refer to as a petite person. I have always had narrow hips, small boobs, and a pretty flat stomach.

I still have the narrow hips and small boobs. But my stomach is a whole other story. It's become this whole other entity. I see myself in pictures and I cringe. I look pregnant a lot of the time. And that would be okay - if I was actually pregnant.

I have become so frustrated with my body, with my overindulgence, with my fatness. I don't really think that I am fat, per se, but I think that, like most Americans, I am a huge consumer. I buy things I don't need, eat things that are bad for me, and waste my precious time doing mind-numbing, habitual, meaningless things.

Today finds me tipping the scales at 150 pounds - and searching desperately for change.

I need to change. I am not a terrible person, but I have some really self-destructive habits. I want to be better. I want to be healthy, centered, kind, and positive. I want to be a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, employee, etc. I want to be a good person, the kind of person that people are proud to know.

So I have decided to change some things about my life. Perhaps I will change in the process. Or maybe I don't need to change at all. Maybe it's all about attitude.

The changes have actually already begun. But first, a flashback.

Last quarter, I was consumed with school work, stress, and general feelings of negativity and resentment. At the same time, I was also thriving and learning new things and feeling extremely happy about all of it. It was an odd place to be, full of tension.

I let a lot of things slide. Going to school four nights a week while working full-time forces one into pure survival mode. Our house was dirty, the dishes often left unwashed. Our laundry rarely got put away. Both of us stopped cooking and instead began eating out all the time. I began drinking soda every day, a habit that I worked very hard to beat back in the fall. There were many nights that I didn't sleep well, as insomnia has always been an issue for me. There were many days that I was just generally cranky and negative.

Now school is out, and I have my life back. And it's time to take control of the mess (not just the physical mess, but the emotional/mental messes as well) and clean it all up. It's time to purge.

Here are some of the ways I've begun to purge and cleanse:

1) After almost two years of being a member of the boards on the knot and the nest, I deleted my account. Both of those websites have operated as a safe haven for me to have fun, make friends, and blow off steam. Sometimes blowing off steam takes the shape of pure, unadulterated drama. I have found myself in the midst of a few dramatic episodes. They are usually fun at the time, but after the fact, I begin to feel bad. I am just not a person who can be nasty and not feel badly about it afterwards. At the same time, I often feel justified in being direct about how I feel concerning a person or situation, which can sometimes translate to nastiness.

I got involved in a particularly dirty exchange of words about a month or so ago. To me, it was harmless fun. It didn't mean anything to me. And then it began to get very personal. It didn't hurt my feelings, because I could see straight through my attackers. (The very things they were attacking about me would have been embraced by them if they actually liked me.) But it was a little unnerving to me to be involved in something with people who obviously take themselves very seriously.

I thought the situation over for a couple of days and then came to the conclusion that I should delete my account and stop visiting the boards. I'm not a chicken shit, but even though I hate drama, I am sometimes likely to get involved in it. Deleting my account removes the temptation of getting involved at all. Let's face it, I have too much of a guilt complex to be mean and then not feel badly about it - no matter how much that person may have deserved it.

Also, there's the fact that I have spent the last year or so going back to the boards because it's just a habit. I don't even really have a positive association with most of the regular boards I used to visit. Many of the members annoy the crap out of me, and there are too many cliques. So, why keep going back?

So I deleted my account, and I deleted all my links to all the different boards I used to visit. And frankly, I don't miss any of it. I miss some of the people, but it's easy enough for my friends to get in touch with me.

The act of deleting is very cleansing. I feel good about this decision (but I hope all you knotties and nesties who read my blog will keep reading, because I actually like you guys).

2) Roy and I have spent this week going through all of our stuff in preparation for the yard sale we're having this weekend. Wow, we have a lot of crap. I would love to have the courage to go totally minimalist, but right now, I don't. I was able to part with about 10-15 pairs of shoes and a whole lot of clothes and books, though. My goal is to hopefully not buy any more books for awhile and go to the library instead. Also, this summer I plan on making more space in our apartment, which may mean getting rid of more stuff. At the end of the quarter, I literally could not focus at home. The mess and clutter really got to me.

3) For the past month or so, I've had a standing date to go to the Farmer's Market with Mandy and Paul. Every Saturday morning, we walk there and buy our produce. The produce is delicious and cheap, and buying it there really helps the local economy. Going to the Farmer's Market is a small step towards becoming a more environmentally conscious person and family. I would like to either carpool to work or find a job closer to home so that I could walk or ride my bike. I would like to use cloth diapers for our future children, make our own baby food, and have flower and vegetable gardens. I really just want to give back to the world that has given so much to me. As issues associated with our overconsumption increase, I really feel that this is an issue that we can no longer ignore. (To give myself some credit, I have been a religious recycler for years. I have also talked about global warming to anyone who will listen. Most people don't, sadly.)

4) This week, I stopped consuming fast food, sweets, and soda. I have always been a terrible eater. And yet, up until the past year or so, I have been able to maintain a healthy weight and appearance just by having a high metabolism. Now that I'm married, off the pill, chained to a desk all day, and approaching 30, it's become apparent that I need to be diligent about diet and exercise. Yes, I have said all this before. Yes, it will be hard. But yes, I can do it. Yes, I can stop looking pregnant while not being pregnant. Yes, I can feel better in my own skin. Yes, I can change my habits. It can be done.

So here I am, weighing in at 150 pounds, really wanting to slim down in all areas of my life, except love and happiness and prosperity. I will accept all of those in abundance, naturally.

But before all the rewards comes the work. I know this, and I accept it.

Consider this my real summertime manifesto. I hope that I can meet the challenge.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Celebrating Me

I started this post awhile back and am just now getting around to finishing it. Normally, I'd just let it go, but since it was my birthday weekend (June 6-8), I figured it's worth writing about.

Anyway, my birthday weekend had all the elements I wanted: fun, friends, family, and relaxation. It was also a wonderful way to kick off summer, which hadn't officially started yet, but I was pretending it was.


Work as usual. My friend Jessica bought me a present (some candy, sunscreen, a candle, and a beautiful card) in this lovely blue bag:

Crazy Daisy featured me on her blog in a weekly meme she's doing called Pay It Forward Friday. She had some very nice things to say about me, which made a good pre-birthday gift for me. Thank you, Crazy Daisy!

A group of us went out to lunch at the Gourmet Pizza Shoppe. I took a few pictures with my point and shoot, but they are really bad quality due to the fact that I had to use the flash. I'm too lazy to edit them. So, here you are: really bad pictures of some of my unnameable homies from work.

After lunch, I got some bad news. I found out that the graduate committee had not passed my thesis proposal. Naturally, this did not make me very happy and thus warrants a hopefully short tangent.

Begin tangent.

Hearing the news that my thesis proposal needs revision really kind of blew me away. Yes, I did not put a lot of effort into it this past quarter, but a lot of work went into it in the quarter before. I am very disappointed in myself for not working on it continuously throughout the quarter, because by the time I submitted it to my readers, they only had a short time with it before they had to let me know whether or not it could be sent up to the committee.

However, I am trying to be too hard on myself, because I busted my ass each and every day this quarter in my internship and fairy tales class. It's not like I was just being a lazy mofo. I was giving 150% to other things, which caused me to neglect my proposal. And to be honest, my proposal was good. It really was. From what I understand, the committee wants me to approach my subject in a different way. And well, no amount of good writing can make up for the fact that I'm not a mind reader.

The worst part? Because of this, I will not be able to resubmit my proposal until the fall. (The committee doesn't meet during the summer.) That means that I won't graduate in December. This has been very hard for me to accept. A week and a half later, I am finally beginning to come to terms with it. But I won't lie - it's upsetting.

End tangent.

After work, I went to get a massage. My back, neck, and shoulders had been giving me issues all week, so I called up my massage therapist Reuven and had him fit me in. I hadn't been to see Reuven since the day before my wedding (almost a year ago), so it was good to catch up with him. I am supposed to get monthly massages because I have a mild case of scoliosis, but as insurance does not cover it, sometimes I have to skip them.

As usual, the massage was wonderful, and I drove home feeling all wiggly.

A little later on, Roy walked me to Mandy's for a night of Bunco. Bunco is this really fun dice game, and Mandy is a member of a couple of Bunco groups. She was hosting the get-together for the month of June and needed a replacement. That's where I came in.

The theme of the get-together was "The Honeymoon's Over," pretty appropriate considering Mandy's recent wedding. Mandy served "moldy" wedding cake for dessert and put pimple cream on her face. This photo whore took a lot of detail shots:

But once the game started, I put down the camera and joined the party. I had forgotten how loud and screechy a big group of women can be, but it was screechiness I enjoyed. I had a really great time playing. I even won a prize for being the second highest scorer!

Paul and Mandy walked me home after the game was over. Roy had gone out for the evening but returned soon after me with a bag full of birthday goodies. It was about 11:00 PM, so I was able to rationalize opening my gifts before my actual birthday.

I was absolutely thrilled to see that Roy had bought me a new iPod. My old iPod was a third generation dinosaur that hadn't held a charge on its own in a couple of years. Now I have a brand spanking new 80GB iPod classic that I have named Silver Bullet. Silver Bullet and I are already great friends.

Saturday (my birthday!)

We woke up early (as usual) and went to the Farmer's Market with Mandy and Paul later on that morning.

I found a cool box from 1955 at an antique shop nearby.

After we were done, we went to Mandy and Paul's to see the dog they found.

Our original plans for the day were to spend the afternoon at the Huntington Gardens, but as we had plans for that night, we decided to stay local. I had developed a headache, so I spent the afternoon resting and watching our recent Netflix acquisitions.

Later that night, we all (me, Roy, Mandy, Paul, and Jake) piled into my mother-in-law's van and drove out to Orange County for murder mystery dinner theatre. I have been wanting to go to one of these events for quite awhile. It was loads of fun. On the way there, this was our soundtrack. (Just click it. You won't be sorry.)

We hung out in the bar for awhile before they let us into the dining area.

I noticed this man's very interesting hairdo.

I didn't take many good pictures during the dinner production. I was preoccupied with all that was going on, but here are a few shots (including the best one I got of one of the cast members):

All in all, I really enjoyed the performance and would recommend that others go and enjoy themselves. The dinner was good, too, but they piled all of the food together, which made me kind of lose my appetite. (Food phobias will do that to a person.) It was a really great way to celebrate my birthday, though. We even got to take a picture with the cast members.

I already have forgotten what we did on Sunday, but I seem to recall that it involved my being very, very lazy.

So that was my birthday weekend. It was a really great time - and a wonderful way to ring in the last year of my 20s.