Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 27

Your month in great detail

Or, take sponsor bids from letters looking to up their visibility. Sorry Q and X, maybe next month.
Reading, running, rice krispy treats, rain.

I probably could continue on the R train, but I'ma let you do it for me. Any "R" activities in your life this month?

Happy April folks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 26

Oh my boring. Will try doing things in pictures instead of words.

Your week in great detail

Decided it was time to step outside and run since the Half is only 10 (!?!?) days from now. Ran along the Charles for a few miles.
Watched this cheese fest of a movie in prep for RH: Russell Crowe edition next month. Oh my feathered mullet.
Secured my position as an excellent Pub Trivia team member. Seriously. I know random crap or can deduce down to the right answer. Trivia is one of the reasons I love Boston.

So. Much. Basketball. Seriously, it's always on.
Entertained some old timey BYU friends. Same friends in 2005. 2010 version below.
Pretty much my most favorite favorite favorite part of Sundays:

And, during the day at work, my calendar looks like this for meetings alone. So, you know -- real work just has to slot around it. Blurred to protect my NDA contracts. OHMYGOSH IS APRIL OVER YET?!

Day 25

Ever wonder what I do with my time? Well then have I got a post for you.

Your day in great detail

830am - wake
920am - bus to work
10-3pm - kickoff/discovery meeting for new client, new website redesign project
445pm - early bus home as reward for early start yesterday
5pm - start new book from library (a jack reacher)
530-630pm - nap
7-730 - stationary bike
730-830 - ZUMBA
9pm - dinner + biggest loser + glee + phone with mal pal
1130pm - more reading + a break to eat mint oreo frozen yogurt out of the carton while standing in the kitchen
1230am - where visions of sugarplums danced in my head


Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 24

I'm two days late on Day 24, but I'd like to feel my delay had great purpose.

Whatever tickles your fancy

You see dear readers, I have nothing that tickles my fancy this very second. I'm trying to save up for the "... in great details" in the next few posts. If I spill it now, I'd delay the writer's block I have right now. But back to the matter at hand. April 26th.

Today is the 4-year anniversary of this establishment. This is the 793 post. Too bad I didn't plan a bit better and I could have had 800 posts on my 4th birthday. But that would have involved advanced math. And we all know my charming is better than my math. And if you know me at all, you also know my charming isn't anything to write home about.

I won't wax poetic about stats and figures because A) who cares and B) who cares. But 100,000 page loads the same month as my 800th post the same month I turn four years old? WHAT IF THIS IS AS GOOD AS MY LIFE GETS? I'm probably at the peak right? It can only be downhill here: brittle bones, thinning hair, and robots to vacuum my floor.

This does remind me of a funny exchange Julie and I kept having at my parents house over Easter. She'd been asking about my blog and if I had plans to put the posts into book form. The answer is well yeah, kind of -- but what's the end game here? (Also, my favorite new catchphrase of 2010.) I priced the books out, and for as much and as somewhat consistently as I've written, having books made would cost me about $100 a year. The longer I wait, the pricier it gets overall. Then the big question about formatting and binding and captioning... and right: A) who cares and B) who cares.

Anyway, the thought of those books kept coming up in conversation. Yes they'd be nice to have later in life (but would they?). But what to do with them now? Put them in a cedar chest? In a book shelf in the living room? The mock conversations we came up with involving complicated scenarios on why and how visitors would see and ask about the books popped up in conversation all weekend. End game? Tangible output for hours of laborious input.

End game? I could finally throw away all my scrapbooking equipment. And that would tickle my fancy.

**Also? Don't miss Day 23 below this. It's blitzkrieg all up in this space to catch-up, but that's a funny one you shouldn't miss.

***Also? Jody, I haven't forgotten about you. It's just been wild. I always pay out on my contests, sometimes I'm just not very punctual. Congrats on the 100,000th page load!

Day 23

A few weeks before graduating from BYU, I somehow got roped into sledding down the double black diamond ski runs at Deer Valley in the middle of the night. In all borrowed clothes, I had nothing but moon boots from the 1980's to brake maneuver a very swiftly moving toboggan down an icy hill; under concrete tunnels and around tight curves. It should come as no surprise that I snapped one of the bones in the top of my right foot down the second run of the night--moon boots aren't meant to thwart 35 mph speed. A quick trip to the ER taught me my first $600 insurance-doesn't-cover-everything lesson, and I spent my last few weeks at BYU hobbling around.

That same night I was defying gravity up on the slopes, Krista thought it would be a good idea to have her scooter (the non-motorized kind) pulled behind a car. The first run boosted the confidence of both she and the driver. The second pull hit about the 35 mph speed before the little baby wheels of 2 inch diameter couldn't sustain the combination of the gravely road or Joe's drifty driving. Down she went, and with it a broken elbow and skid marks all over arms, legs, and face.

Two graduates. Two injuries. Two hospital trips. Same night. Imagine the surprising text swapping back and forth.

A few days later, she and I ventured out together for lunch. Me on crutches, her with a cast and sling; face all scraped up. I don't remember the specifics, but getting to our table was a fumbling of napkins and dropped crutches and falling chairs and a ridiculous chain of events that had every eye turned in sympathy to our plight. Surely we looked like we'd been through hell together. We'd actually just been dumb as hell.

A YouTube Video

This video was taken at the ward closing social and gets funnier on the third or fourth view. Please note that no non-graduates were harmed in the filming of this 8 second clip. Also? Krista never had better aim in her whole life.

Day 22

Some of you may know that my office has kitchens crammed with every kind of individually pre-packaged snack food you can imagine. Two years after being here, however, the days of combining lunch from pre-fab food is drawing to a close. A girl can only eat so many cheese crackers or pringles, rice krispy treats or smartfood popcorn, almonds or baked cheetos before you just start to crave real food.

A website

Today's post comes courtesy to you of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing board. An ode to the many shapes and forms of the grilled cheese sandwich:

The photography on this site is beautiful. Or maybe I'm just hungry.

Got a favorite? And now.... who will host a grilled cheese party and invite me?

Day 21

It would be unbelievable for me to pretend I'm not just a day behind any more. Once you've missed one day, another and another and another become just too easy and life marches on. Let's see how many posts I can pound out in one giant catch-up session.

A recipe

Newsflash for all you non-singles. Cooking for one is ridiculous. Especially when you hate leftovers. The cost margins for buying materials to eat-in are nearly the same as eating out. Factor in the time to shop, cook, and clean-up and forget-about-it-I'm-grabbing-something-out-again. That or eating frosted mini-wheats.

But there's one thing I make with some regularity and freeze in individual serving bags to be thawed and devoured in minutes because it's so delicious. My mom got this recipe from her nutritionist a few years ago and it's become a Wms. family staple. Low in calories, high in fiber, it's a hearty staple you should give a try. Basically, you throw it in a pot. WHICH IS PERFECT FOR ME.

Taco Soup

Brown together:
1 lbs ground beef
1 med onions; chopped

Then add:
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans (drain)
1 cans pinto beans
1 cans diced tomatoes with garlic or onions
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can corn
1 can diced chilies (little cans)
2 cups water
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg ranch dressing mix

Can add more water if needed
Simmer 20 minutes

Garnish with sour cream, cheese, scallions, chips, etc.
If you can't find the beans listed above, you really can mix and match with any kind of bean found at the grocery store (pink, black, white, etc.). I've served the soup before with chips and fresh guac/salsa, quesadillas, and any other sort of mini Mexican spread. It's always a hit.

Phew. Aren't you glad I don't write a full-time cooking blog? I'm pretty worthless. You know who puts together gorgeous cooking blogs I always read but never try? Alicia at Cookie Sheets and Cake Pans and Erica over at Erica's Pantry.

Use them for inspiration. I'm just here to keep the economy in motion.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A break in your regularly scheduled programming

Clearly I'm several days behind. (Ack! Work is insane.) I'ma punch out the days I missed this weekend, but I wanted to fill you in on my three favorite parts of today.

#1 - Colleen and I standing in the gas station lot after work, having a fountain drink and playing scratch lotto. (It's easy not to get addicted when you never win.)

#2 - Feeling doubly white trash eating ice cream direct from the carton while watching RW/RR Challenge and enjoying every last minute.

#3 - Buying a plane ticket for Thanksgiving Adventure 2010. Because seeing the Panama Canal was the silent item on my Bucket List.

Annnnnd, a little birdie told me via phone that she hates the 30-day Challenge. Well missy; soon enough this whole crazy factor will be over and you'll never have to hear about me loving my parents again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 20

I'll admit that today's post has given me writer's block. I'm the main character of this story and I feel that this blog is nothing but mostly dedicated to the things I love to do.

A hobby of yours

I'm not sure if my writings have broadcast this bit before, but I'm a bit of an organizer. One of the chief complaints people have historically had about the social scene in Boston is that no one ever does anything. Clearly, a broad, sweeping generalization--but there is definitely a difference here than other places I've lived as a young single adult. I guess I decided some time ago that if I wanted to do (or in turn, get invited to) social things, I'd have to be an organizer and get things rolling.

So, well, um. I organize social events. This is feeling kind of trite to write about (because don't we all do this?), but I've already written two paragraphs and I'm committed.

Here are the steps to setting up an event according to NatA!:
  1. Feel the deep stirrings within yourself to either host or plan or gather people.
  2. Decide upon an event that people a) inherently want to attend because it was on their list already or b) is quirky enough that piques attention.
  3. Research the event and get all the logistical ducks in a row.
  4. Send a well-crafted email with an interesting, funny, or to-the-point hook that's impossible to ignore inviting people to attend. Make sure the email isn't too long for the easily distracted. You want to make sure people don't abandon ship before your salutation. [Optional: Ask participants to weigh in on the when, where, etc. Warning: this creates more work for the organizer in back and forth communication and then those people usually don't attend.]
  5. Make definitive statements. People are sheep looking to be led. Give them options and they'll probably get confused and stay home surfing the same interwebs they surf every day, all day at work.
  6. Commit to yourself to have a great time no matter who does (or doesn't) attend. If you're concerned with attendance, commit a few people to the event before you send the email to make sure you don't end up with homemade salsa and guacamole watching the USA vs. Mexico World Cup qualifier alone.
Got that? It's really not so hard. With the six easy steps above you're well on your way to gathering folks to whatever you're organizing. Soon it too shall be a hobby of yours.

Putting practice into action, today was a prime example. Tickets for Iron Man 2 became available at the IMAX theater. Knowing I wanted to go (Mallory will be in town, bonus!) and would love to have other people attend as well, a general email was sent out. A "hey, isn't Iron Man awesome? It's already on your list of movies to see (2.a above) so why not see it opening weekend in giant, in your face action!" Include the theater, the time, the day, and the link to purchase tickets.

Eight of us girls also attended an amaaaaaaazing come-from-behind Red Sox victory game at Fenway tonight. That kind of event (the exchanging of money for reserved seats) is a bit more complicated to arrange, but with practice can be done by mere babies! Everyone was free to make their own dinner plans, but I simply told people where I'd be, at what time, and an invitation. Surprise, surprise -- most ladies showed and we had a delicious burger pre-game.

So dear readers, go forth and conquer. Be a friend to make a friend. Get back what you put out. Don't count the 'hood out.

The unspoken rule is also to have great snacks. Food goes a looooooong way. Remember what was done with simple rice krispy treats?

What are your go-to rules for planning? What did I miss from the list above?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 19

I should try leaving today's post blank and let each of you comment, but that's when the anonymous comments would start about my being too cheesy, long winded, and PRONE TO TYPING WITH TOO MANY CAPS.

A talent of yours

While the three examples listed above are in fact talents of mine, I could also add a slew of things I do really well. Drink Diet Coke, knee drive, sleep perfectly vertical without night movement, and catch my pinkie toe on doors, chair legs, and corners.... but I don't want to brag.

In all seriousness though, I think a great talent of mine is my ability to go all in.

Quantifiabley, if there's a lot of something to be done--I'm someone you want on your team or committee. (Or my Mom always says.) I work hard to get things done; be it the kitchen full of dishes after a Sunday meal at home, someone who needs moved in a six-floor walk-up, or a project that needs extra attention at work, I jump in quickly and stay til it's done.

Quantitatively, I go all in to my relationships with people. There isn't much I hold back as I try to be a good friend. I invest in people; and I won't lie, it doesn't always end perfectly well (see: romance), but one of my best ones at the wedding reminded me what a awesome quality that is. Going "all in" early on isn't asking to marry someone, it's simply saying "I think you're pretty great and I think we have a solid connection. I'd like to explore this with you, and bonus! you're not going to have to worry about my playing games or being coy. What you see is what you get. Isn't that refreshing?" Anyway, that's what I needed to hear. Thanks L.

When I put my mind to something, I make it happen. Mastering the art of cupcakes. Not highlighting my hair, but dying it full on comic book red. Not just running a 5k, but a 21k. And this that and the other.

Today? I like this part of me. I get stuff done.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 18

Gonna go with a mini brain dump just so I can get some stuff out of my brain. Deal? Hit it.

Whatever tickles your fancy

  • This 30-day challenge is seeming to stretch on forever. Day 18 might as well be Day 45. I'm enjoying the topics, but it's just so interesting to be tied down to something. Does this mean I have commitment issues?
  • We had Stake Conference this weekend, and both the adult evening session and today's Sunday meetings were fabulous. The talks were awesome and I learned to think about a few things in a totally new way. For instance:
  • The Boston Temple President spoke about the true desires of our heart. To figure out what were true desires, he outlined the following questions you must ask yourself:
  1. To whom or what are we willing to submit?
  2. What are we prepared to give up?
  3. How are we prepared to love?
  4. What are we prepared to concentrate our efforts on?
  5. Where are we going to focus our energies, talents and gifts?
  6. Are we willing to become self-disciplined?
  • It's been really interesting to attend Stake Conference here in Boston the last three years. The church out here just isn't very big and hasn't been here very long. (Remember how all those early Saints moved West?) It's really cool to hear some of the stories from the last 10-15 years about the growth and how miracles that came to pass in the building of the temple.
  • I ran 2 miles on Tuesday and limped out of the gym.
  • I ran 2.5 miles on Wednesday and limped out of the gym.
  • Too distressed and unmotivated to try again, I didn't go to the gym Thursday or Friday.
  • Saturday I committed myself to running 6 miles. They were slow and somewhat steady, and I didn't limp out of the gym. Fantastic news. So I'm back on the wagon. Less than three weeks til the big race.
  • In the last two days I've been places where food was in full supply. Why is eating just to eat so easy?
  • Tomorrow is Patriot's Day, aka: Marathon Monday here in Boston. Most of the City shuts down, but I'll be celebrating at work. The GOOD news is that most of my clients will be off, so it should be a quieter than usual Monday. The other good news is that I can drive my car and park at any meter. Since my bus doesn't run on a holiday and meters aren't minded... a proverbial get out of jail free card. Huzzah.
  • I've been setting personalized ring tones for contacts on my new phone. If you had to have one song ring whenever you called someone, what would it be?
  • I chose "The Price is Right" theme song as the default on my phone. It makes me happy whenever it rings.
  • We're down three Project Managers at work, so like last year, I'll spend my spring and into summer months busy at work. It's good to be employed but I wish we were busy in the winter and light in the summer. (But if wishes were fishes, yah?)
  • 75 pages left in that dumb CoMC book. I should just polish it off tonight, but there's always some other way to waste time. This is the first time I've ever drawn a book out this long; I just don't know that I can undertake something this huge again.
  • Long books and long runs and long blog challenges. HOly crap, maybe I am a commitmentphobe.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 16

A note before we get to the goods. At last week's big wedding, I had a conversation with Melissa that feels very fitting for the preface to this post. For one reason or another, we were talking about our crying patterns. I can't say that I'm not much of a cryer--because the same things set me off every time. Stress at work, teaching a church lesson, or reality television arcs of personal inspiration or achievement. (See The Biggest Loser or The Olympics.) Some people well up at movies that move them or shed tears of joy at weddings. Apparently I'm only wired to weep when a major weight milestone is reached or Bob Costas has some insane voice over documentary about the Chinese pairs skaters.

I never said I wasn't complicated. I've been dreading today's post for quite a few days, but I've come up with that resonates for me. Try not to cry, okay?

A song that makes you cry (or nearly)

Scene: Mother's Day, 2000
Four days before I graduated a year early from High School. That last semester of school had been somewhat of a whirlwind; taking Saturday school classes to earn enough credits to graduate a year early, working part-time for work-study credit, and traveling to local, state, and national-level DECA and speech competitions (Wow, so so geeky.).

While traveling, I missed the announcement and practice sessions the Young Men and Young Women of my ward held to ready their Sacrament Meeting singing of that hit Primary classic "Love is Spoken Here" to be sung on Mother's Day. Having sung that song since before the womb, I marched up to the front with my other friends and wardmates and waited for the music to start.

I'm not really sure if I lost it before the first words, or during the first line--but I'm pretty positive I didn't even make it through the first verse before I just stood there and cried. And cried. I probably mouthed the words but no recognizable tune could have escaped my lips had I even tried.

That scene of my story happened ten years ago next month. In hindsight, I can more easily identify the feelings that song provoked in me. On the eve of my full-on launch into adulthood, that song served as one last final reminder that I'd been born of goodly parents and raised in a kind, loving home that all too soon I'd be leaving.

In the past month, I've spent a considerable time one-on-one with my parents. We played for three days in New York City while my dad was there for a conference and then I spent eight days at home in Portland last week. Coming from a family of four daughters, it isn't often we get to play that coveted game of "Only Child." How much fun we had together! Sure we had some visitors while I was in PDX (Julie + Greg for Easter and seven bridesmaids the night before the wedding), my favorite moments were the early morning (!!) moments making boutineers with my mom or driving to work with my dad. We made sure no one ever had to drink alone and spent time figuring out our new state-of-the-art phones. We talked about work, and church work, and yard work. We hiked and ate at Chevy's and found great bagels in NYC. I'm convinced the world would be a peaceful place if everyone had the kind of adult relationship with their parents that I do with mine.

So the me of 10 years ago cried during that song. I'm not altogether convinced I wouldn't cry again given a chance to "sing" it again this year.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 15

To be honest, I had no idea what today's topic was. Enter my bff Google.

A fanfic

–noun Informal . 1. fiction written by fans of a TV series, movie, using existing characters and situations to develop new plots

Oh what a world opened up to me. Clearly, I don't have a favorite to post about, but boy have I found a site for you. Basically, the site gathers all the writings people submit of continued stories, or imagined scenes between characters not explained in movies, on tv, or even Broadway plays. (I'll admit I got sucked into an "In the Heights" post or two.)

Some are good, some are bad -- but I'm loving the cross-over fanfics. Veronica Mars in love with Alex Karev/Mossimo (of Grey's Anatomy)? Vampire Diaries' Damon joins Glee? Saved by the Bell and the kids from Rent attend the same high school? Brilliantly odd.

Anyway. It's pretty hilarious. Who knew this world existed? Go to the Fan Fiction site if you're interested. Is there a particular follow-up story to a favorite movie or sitcom you loved? What's the most ridiculous cross-over you saw? I'm not going to lie, I think this is kind of a gold mine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 14

I do very little reading that isn't easily digested fiction. I blame this on a stressful job and the unwinding I do when I don't have to focus much on literary themes or complicated theories. Ironically, I purchased the following book at Target, thinking it was a fiction novel.

A non-fiction book

I don't recommend "Flags of our Fathers" because it's one of the few non-fiction books I've read. I genuinely recommend it because it's a fascinating look at the fighting that happened in the Pacific during World War II. The book tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, a nearly impenetrable island off the coast of Japan and the Americans charge to capture two air fields. Don't be fooled into thinking the book is all war tactics; true there's some of that, but it's fascinating.

My favorite part are the first few chapters that outline the difference between waging war in Europe as opposed to the East. Most GIs considered assignments to the War in the Pacific as a death warrant; the "rules of war" were still maintained in Europe, but the Japanese fought in ways unfathomable to American minds.

The book reads part history, part art of war, part biography. The book centers on the "photograph that turned the war" -- the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima; and chronicles the lives (both pre and post-war) of those who raised the flag.

Clint Eastwood turned the book into a movie a few years ago, and you know I don't love posting videos, but the trailer is a beautiful look at what the book is about. I honestly can't remember if I saw the movie because the book is just as expressive.

The book, though non-fiction, is an easy read. And it will make you feel smart! And then we can rent the movie and watch it together. Deal?

Are there non-fiction books you'd recommend? If you're an avid NF reader, why? Convince me to become one!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 13

Twenty minutes left in today to write yet another post about a book. Am I allowed to say that I'm wearing thin coming in to this next section of the list? I feel like I blog about books all the time; heck I even have an entire label for nothing but books. But alas, I'm bound by the rules I place upon myself, here goes.

A fiction book

I've pigeonholed myself into answering with one response for each of these 30-day entries. I'm going to respond in the spirit of the challenge but mix things up just a bit -- I'm going to choose a genre of fiction to discuss. Don't worry about pointing out my inability to stick-to-it in deviating from my own rules--no one is more broken up about it than I am.

My dad and I share quite a bit in common--the list is long enough and deserving of its own post (note to self: Father's Day in June), but in the interest of today's topic, we shall discuss books. I'm not quite sure how it got started, but we're avid readers of the paperback thriller. The kind you read once, enjoy, and throw or give away. Six bucks for a couple hundred page escape into a slice-em-dice-em cop series, lawyer battle, or renegade vigilante (Jack Reacher, I'm looking at you); we're not too picky.

Books of this type are perfect for travel; they can be consumed on a cross-country flight and then left on a seat in the terminal and then written off on your taxes as donations. My dad used to travel a lot for work and said his only free reading time was on a plane. I've found myself flying the friendly skies infinitely more in the last few years and I understand the allure of the sit, read, be done. Heavy on plot, thin on literary elements. Now, anytime we're in each other's town books are exchanged and it's not uncommon for us to have already read the offered book. I can rarely go to Target or Costco and find a book whose cover I don't recognize because I've already read the book, but whose plot I can seriously not remember.

I'm the most squeamy, scairdy-cat person in real life. You'd be appalled at the grisly books I read--true, some are more graphic than others, but I so enjoy them all. It's one of the few areas of my life I have a hard time explaining the delta.

So if you're looking for a recommendation for some easy, light (ha!) reading, check out Harlan Coben (our favorite and actually not graphic murder books, just suspense), Lee Child (I promise you'll love ex-MP Jack Reacher and want to read all the books about him), and if you really are feeling grisly, James Patterson.

Now you can be done reading about books. Orange you glad I didn't say Count of Monte Cristo? (100 pages to go! One Harlan Coben, one James Patterson, and "The Help" finished in the meantime.) My other genre of books are those eventually made in to movies--and yes, the book IS generally better than the movie, but sometimes the book isn't all that good to begin with. In case you were wondering. You know.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 12

The world would have you think that a single woman hates attending weddings. Perpetuated by clichéd shots of sad, lonely girls sitting at big, elegantly dressed, empty reception tables watching a dance floor full of couples, there’s a certain stigma associated with being a one at a plus-one event.

Whatever tickles your fancy

I’ve been fairly involved in five major weddings in the last year. Three of my best ladies, one sister, one sister-cousin. (This number would be six had my sister Alaina not eloped.) My experience with the hoopla surrounding the grand event—the dress hunting, the cupcake decorating, the table ornamentation—prior to the last 12 months was limited. Now? I could probably quit my day job and plan epic receptions on pennies to the dollar because I’m good at it, but that’s not my favorite part of the wedding.

Without question, or even pause to think much about it, my favorite part of each wedding I’ve been to is hearing the groom speak about my his lady that he adores. Be it in a dress rehearsal dinner, a family meet-and-greet toast, a formal sit down, or a welcome to the big reception event, I love the candid and honest words these kind men speak from the heart. Rarely are the sentiments rehearsed or rote--instead heightened emotion and the gravity of the situation strips filter and inhibition. There are tears, smiles and laughs. From the groom. From the bride. From the audience. It doesn’t matter what’s said, because in each of the weddings I’ve had privilege to attend, not one person has doubted the validity and honesty of the groom’s words. The look in his eye and the smile on his face give him away.

As someone who so fiercely loves the ladies the groom-of-the-moment is marrying, I can’t help but be moved. And feel relief that she’s found someone who wants so desperately to spend time (to infiiiiinity and beyond!) with her. Who isn’t playing the power game of “who likes who less.” Who isn’t afraid to commit and hitch his wagon to hers. I feel she’s in safe hands.

And you know what? Time and time and time and time and time again, I leave the wedding feeling hopeful. Not lonely and deppressy and when-is-it-my-turn? whiney. On the contrary, I feel a marked sense of peace and elevation. My heart is full of love for a new family beginning, and I’m inspired to hold out for a man who’ll speak the same way at a reception full of people (half no doubt strangers) about and to me. The dating world is a rickety ship and I don’t write much about my voyages of romance but I will say, I’m learning---these weddings are teaching me--what lasting relationships of substance and value are. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

And if you knew me at all, and my merry band of also single girlfriends (diminishing though we may be), you’d also know that we never, ever ever ever, sit still when people are dancing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 11

Well this one is easy. How about a photo of me taken today? More photos of this wedding will for sure for sure be coming, because you're going to DIE when you see the bride's custom dress. And the fact that it was sunny, in Portland, in April. And because the reception was in a barn, the bridesmaids all found suitable green dresses, the dance party was off the hizzook and the first dance between the bride and groom would get a million hits on YouTube if posted in its entirety.

A photo of you taken recently
More to come. Because I have some things to wax on about.

Day 10

I haven't always been so tall you see.

A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Alternate comment: Mixing prints since 1987

Also? My mom and I totally have the same fashion sense 23 years apart.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Day 09

Limited time for an update tonight, I'm embroiled in three days of wedding festivities. Spent last night at the Oregon coast with the sunniest skies I've ever seen with some of the greatest girls you've ever met. This photo taken on the beach this morning after the bride's glasses washed away to sea after she was tackled into the water. Taken on my phone because that's the kind I am now.

A photo you took

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Day 08


A photo that makes you sad or angry

But seriously, doesn't this make you feel weird inside?

Day 07

And so we enter the photo portion of this challenge. Aren't we excited.

Choosing just one for today's assignment hurts my heart. But I'm showing tenacity in keeping things simple. So you know, endure to the end and footprints in the sand, etc.

A photo that makes you happy

My first Thanksgiving on the East Coast, how lucky I was to host my entire family for the big event? Us Wms girls being who we are, we decided to take some photos and without plotting a color palette ended up with a genius spread. Special thanks to sisterly telepathy when packing and for Mother Nature's gift of a 55-degree day in late November. (And probably to the Pilgrims.)

A very large print of this photo hangs on the wall in my bedroom.
Oh you know, just laying here acting natural

Sorry you've already seen this photo a gazillion times, I just love it so much.

On a scale of one to duh times a thousand, what are the odds you would have bet that I'd post a picture of my sisters? TYPICAL.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Day 06

Whatever tickles your fancy

Not too long ago, a friend of mine looked at my phone, looked at me, looked at my phone again and said, "Nat, I really thought you'd have something a bit more techy than that."

Don't misunderstand, I'm not roaming around with a first-gen Razr. But in this crazy tech age, is a first-gen Pearl any better?

Long story short, not due to peer pressure one bit, I've upgraded my phone. I'm now sporting the Google HTC Hero on Sprint, running on the Android 2.0 OS. It syncs my Gail with my Outlook with my Twitter with my F-book with my Blog with YouTube with streaming TV with Pandora with voice search with probably all my banking just for kicks.

In two days I'm sure I will look back at this post and laugh. Because I am very excited about this phone and all that it can do. But right now I am overwhelmed and so so confused.

Is more really always better?

PS--If you love me at all, even a smidge--text me your number and tell me who you are.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Day 05

This is the last of the favorites, and boy howdy am I ready. I've forced myself into choosing just one of the day's category--not even mentioning others in an off-hand way. This has been deliberate and something you probably haven't even recognized my doing. Newsflash: In a (sometimes odd) attempt at self-mastery I do this--force myself to do something I don't want to (like the Half Marathon). Choosing favorites these last five days has felt like I've been painting myself into a corner: but I do it willingly, even if it clams me up inside. Masochist.

Your favorite quote

Without disclaim or apology, I present a quote that started a conversation so 19-year-old thought provoking that details of the initial conversation--and its subsequent reheashings in the last 8 years--are etched so firmly in my memory, and in my relationship with the other half of the conversation.

"Even though the moment passed you by, you still can't turn away." Goo Goo Dolls

If you only know a handful of things about me, you know that I'm a nostalgic person. I recall shared history often and am quick to shoot a two line "remember when?" email or text ot f-book wall post. My room is covered in photos of my favorite people and moments. I can get trapped into watching my screen saver, or reading old journals, or replaying moments in my head over and over again as I fall asleep. I love old timey things or traditional gifts given with purpose--a broach given to my mom as a bridesmaid gift by my aunt, the stained glass floor lamp from my parents that reminds me of home, the stacks and stacks of hand written cards rubber-banded together collected since the day I left home.

There's something so important about memories and the way we return to them. A smell, a phrase, a taste. The way a single photo can elevate every good, kind, and wonderful feeling you have about yourself or others. It's possible that looking back is easier than looking forward--because it's easier to forget the rougher edges in times gone by and concentrate on the good times.

This weekend, I marry off one of my very best friends. The bride is one of those kinds every one wants to be near; so friends from the last decade will gather together in celebration. So many people with a shared history will have plenty of shared memories to tell; I'm excited to get together and remember our shared joy and think back on when life seemed easier and less complicated.

Isn't that also the beauty of looking backward? Absence makes the hard grow easier. Yes, I made that up. But if you want it to be your Day 05 in the future, it's all up to you. Wiiiiiiiiink.

Also: this post will undoubtedly bring in the 100,000 page view. Are you she?

Day 04

I can promise right now, this book is going to get big. Bigger than it is already anyway. Especially on the heels of the young adult series hysteria--because those housemoms are going to need some other jailbait teenagers to lust after now that the Twi/HP actors are old enough to vote.

Your favorite book

I don’t know that I can technically call this my favorite book—because I’m not even done reading it. And actually, I’m not even reading it, I’m listening to it. But this is most definitely “my favorite book I’ve ever listened to while running on the treadmill for such long periods of time the machine shuts down and kicks you off and you have to start it up again.” But that title was too long to write on the 30-day blogging list I presume.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins is A BOOK YOU SHOULD FIND AND READ. I’m practicing intense self discipline in only letting myself listen to the book when I’m on the treadmill—and the motivation to stay on the treadmill to hear more story is incredible.

I didn’t know a thing about this book when I started listening to it, except that every person I’d heard who’d read it loved it. In some ways, it’s kind of fun not having any idea what you’re getting into. So? To carry on that fun tradition, I’m not going to tell you what the book is about. (A quick search of the Google will fill you in on the details if you're so interested.) But I’m hoping this far into our relationship you trust my judgment and will do all you can to borrow, buy, or steal this book.

Get in before the craze gets too huge—the movie is coming out late next year and think how cool it’ll be to act all pretentious and patronizing when you’re standing in line for the midnight showing telling everyone you “knew about the books before they sold out and got all huge.” YOU WILL LOOK SO COOL.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Day 03

Maybe committing to a large blogging project on the cusp of an out-of-town spurt wasn't the wisest of choices (greetings from Portland!), but luck-luck-lucky for me, I've written this post a handful of times already.

Your favorite television program

Friday Night Lights. I've been imploring you to watch the show since 2007. To be honest, I don't know that I can say much more that hasn't already been said. I know a show about football probably isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the show is about so much more than that. I watch this show for pretty much one thing alone, and that's the interplay between Coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami, and how they're raising their family. When the actors playing the Taylors (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton whom I love) agreed to play the Taylors, they made the writers promise that an affair (or even possibility of one) would never be introduced to the show. There's something amazingly comforting in knowing the people you love will never be broken up for ratings.

I've made converts of quite a few of you and have enjoyed discussing it both on and offline. But here's what I tell any newbie getting ready to watch--you must commit to watching at least the first three episodes. The FNL pilot is like all other pilots--the characters overact to set their place in the show. Things get oh so good once you start to feel real attachment to the characters. And believe me, the attachment will come.

I've loved the show since the beginning, and if you'll remember, was selected to host a season 2 FNL gathering--and NBC sent me an overloaded box of goodies to compensate. Funny story about the night the goods game that's never been revealed. I was so, so excited about the box I just picked up from FedEx, that I was distracted while driving. I may have backed out of my parking space and into the building. Oh don't worry, only three people saw.

But CAN YOU BLAME ME? I am an FNL enthusiast and evangelist. Four seasons down, only one to go. Frowny emoticon.

I've got Season One discs. If you're interested, I'll put them in the mail.

Clear eyes, full hearts. Can't lose.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Day 02

I can't remember if I've said it before, but I'm not crazy about "favorites." Something about the word seems so final; and there's a favorite for every type of whatever x you're trying to describe. In short: I can't wait to get to Day 06.

Your favorite movie

Long before it was "The Land Before Time" sequel machine of the 00's, The Cutting Edge was a stand alone movie that I'm guessing 98% of readers have seen. I watched the trailer below (sorry again for the video!) and could hum right along to the soundtrack and was familiar with every scene, quote, and bad early-90's wardrobe choice. I haven't seen this movie in at least 10 years, but I'm surprised by how many quotes I use with some consistency--primarily "Don't quit your day job" and "Yes, Doug can read."

Two funny stories about this movie after the trailer:

1) This movie came out on VHS shortly before our family moved from Arizona to Dallas. The year was 1993 and Alaina and I were in advanced piano lessons--practicing an hour a day as a 5th grader. We'd rented the movie and were watching it on a school night while folding laundry. During a very, very crucial part in the movie (right at the dinner where homegirl tells Doug she can't skate with him in the Olympics[!!!]) Alaina and I somehow got ourselves into trouble. The movie was turned off, and I was sent to practice the piano. I cried the whole time BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE GOING TO GET BACK TOGETHER AND WIN THE GOLD MEDAL. I obviously wasn't old enough to understand those movies all end the same.

2) One of the continued back-and-forth snarkathons between our romantic leads has to do with the word "foreplay." I, being a fifth grader, did not know what this meant. Being the resourceful lass I was, tried to look it up in the dictionary but did not know how to spell it. Being the tenacious little lady that I was, I asked my Dad. Yes.

Does anyone else have any funny Cutting Edge stories to share? Has anyone seen the sequel? Or the III, the IV, the X? Does anyone dislike this movie?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Day 01

Today is the first installment of a 30-day venture I've self-titled "Get to Know Your Neighbor" month. Already I'm overthinking the list, but this is who I am!

Your favorite song

I'ma spare you all from a country song, don't fret. I tried so hard to find a way to link this song without the video because I rarely click on videos and I project my web behaviors on everyone else. (All together now: "This is who I am!")

So this song--and I'm abiding by the rules and only choosing one--is an enigma to me. It's my most played song on my home iTunes. The enigma part comes from the fact that I love it in all situations. Something about this song provokes emotion despite my mood of the moment.

This song just makes me feel; I don't even know how to explain it. Very rarely am I beyond words, but I'm beside myself in figuring out how to explain the power this song holds over me. Yes, it's a break-up song. But for some reason, I listen to it on repeat even when there's no romantic drama in my life. Sara's voice is hauntingly painful, but there's still strength within her. Perhaps that's the lesson to take away and why I love this songs in good times or bad.

But like I said, I don't have the words to explain this song.

Does this song seem familiar to you but you're not sure why? Hollywood has picked up on the fabulousness of this song too. Places you've heard/seen it: "Addiction" dance on SYTYCD choreographed by Mia, Elena and Stefen finally give in on "Vampire Diaries", oh yeah and that juggernaut known as American Idol audition week.

This is the part where I'm pretentious and tell you I loved this song long before it got "popular." Because everyone loves that person. But anyway, my favorite.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!