Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a few things

  • First off, will January never end? I realize tomorrow is the last day but seriously I feel like it should have been gone a week ago. Luckily I now have Guitar Hero to keep me entertained.
  • Has anyone seen the movie Once? It is quite slow moving but I loved the music - which is what the movie is all about. It is tender and sweet and the guy and girl (who don't have names in the film) are just real. They seem like people you would know. If I can get my itunes back up and running (my computer is threatening a melt down right now) I want to see if I can hunt down the soundtrack.
  • At least I finally bought an external harddrive in anticipation of my computer's meltdown.
  • I really should call the Geek Squad again as a preventative measure
  • I also saw Mrs. Henderson Presents over the weekend which I enjoyed. Judi Dench was excellent and very funny as Mrs. Henderson. And it was interesting watching the special feature about the true story the movie was based on - essentially the first burlesque in London.
  • If you haven't read this story over on Pioneer Woman's blog, you really should. I should warn you - it is completely addicting and will suck you in for a good couple of hours!
  • Looks like I got my first anonymous hater comment yesterday. It felt like something momentous - the fact that I was so threatening with my (let me point what should be obvious to frequent readers) sarcastic snobbery about going to Brooklyn that a random passer by decided to stop and call me names. Hooray for stirring the pot! I just didn't think my most controversial post would be about a quirky observation on the routing of a package.
  • One good thing came out of the anonymous commenter, a commenter de-lurked to defend me! Thanks Keith and welcome!
  • I find it ironic that the first mean comment I received was on the same day I read this
  • getting my hair cut later today, nothing new or exciting planned, just the usual
  • check out my cute little niece kicking up a storm - I could hear her exuberance through the phone as I talked to my brother last night while she was in that little bouncer. Can't wait to see her again.
  • I need a vacation - somewhere warm. Anyone with me?
  • the Super Bowl is Sunday and I just realized I don't have any plans yet . . . hopefully I won't be left eating my traditional queso solo!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

does this make sense to you?

1/25/2008 3:20 pm Picked Up by DHL.
8:42 pm Departing origin. Brooklyn, NY
11:46 pm In transit. Allentown Hub, PA
11:46 pm Processed at DHL Location. Allentown Hub, PA
1/26/2008 12:42 am Depart Facility Allentown Hub, PA
10:07 am Arrived at DHL facility. New York, NY
1/28/2008 2:38 pm With delivery courier. New York, NY

As far as I can tell from this tracking information, the Wii I ordered Thursday was picked up by DHL on Friday in Brooklyn and then sent to Pennsylvania before being routed back to me in Manhattan. What the hell?

I realize I rarely manage to visit any of the outer boroughs and when I do I admit I have a tendency to complain about the long subway ride, the transfers to strange subway lines and the distance people tend to live from subway stops in places like Brooklyn. As I am sitting here I cannot remember when the last time I went to Brooklyn was - I think it was last February. But then again, I rarely manage to travel north of 65th street or south of 50th street in Manhattan. I tend to stay within a cozy 30 minute walking distance from my home most of the time.

But even with that, I could have saved myself some needless DHL shipping costs and hopped on a subway to Brooklyn and picked up the Wii myself for a mere $2 charge on my metrocard rendering my wii's little joy ride to Pennsylvania completely unnecessary. Unless of course it stopped off at Hershey to pick up some chocolates for me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

100 Things is BACK!

Stealing from Tiffany again . . . this is what I had to say last year (I read it after I did this list - sorry for the overlaps) and here is today's version:
  1. my new afternoon snack love is greek yogurt with honey
  2. my law school class voted me "most likely to be ally mcbeal" and I still don't know what to think of that
  3. I'm meeting a friend tonight at a restaurant called Taboon and I'm looking forward to the company and the food
  4. I have 3 bottles of wine in my office - one small bottle delivered with my dinner once (free), one bottle from a client at Christmas and another botter from the same client from last Christmas
  5. I can do the splits
  6. I've decided that Tylenol Cold Multi Symptom is actually helping my cold by pushing away my symptoms for a while (I know to retake it when I start sneezing again)
  7. my feet have very high arches and I am often asked if I was a dancer or told I should have been a dancer just for my feet
  8. I took dance lessons at the age of 3 and insisted on quitting and my mom told me I could never take it again if I quit. I still quit and I never took another dance lesson. I determined my dancing fate at the ripe old age of 3. Of course when my tutu arrived (after I insisted on quitting) I wanted back in.
  9. I love plants and have 5 in my office
  10. I found out today I am getting a bigger bonus than I anticipated this year!!
  11. so I bought myself a Nintendo Wii, even though I don't get the bonus until mid-February
  12. I should be reviewing resumes right now
  13. I wish I watched less TV
  14. I have never purchased a gossip magazine such as US Weekly or People - not even in a airport
  15. today is my brother Jason's birthday
  16. one of my best friends might move into my building - we are plotting all kinds of activities together in case she does
  17. I bought rollerblades because of a boy
  18. I learned how to rock climb because of a boy
  19. I learned how to snow board because of a boy
  20. I played indoor soccer (initially) because of a boy
  21. I love camping - but that has nothing to do with a boy, unless you count my dad introducing me to that love
  22. I have an affinity for the number 22 which is directly related to a long-time friend and it being her lucky number
  23. my carrel number in law school was 222 and I deemed that lucky
  24. I wish my blog could attract more readers/commenters
  25. I waffle between accepting my weight for what it is and craving the loss of 10 pounds (or 15 if I'm dreaming big)
  26. I feel weird if I go anywhere without three things: my phone, my blackberry and my ipod
  27. I'm not really a craver of candy, especially hard candy. I can pretty much pass on it 98.7% of the time
  28. I LOVE chocolate!
  29. I really love baking cupcakes - especially getting creative with them
  30. I love it even more when other people love my cupcakes and bring them up long after they have been devoured
  31. I suddenly feel my downloaded and posted photos are loser-ish since the most rigorous editing they go through is getting rid of red eye
  32. I don't own photoshop
  33. if I did I would have no idea how to use it
  34. I want to paint in an accent wall in my living room but I'm too afraid to commit to a color
  35. I am a snob about the music I listen to
  36. I broke my arm when I was 2 after my uncle (who was 4-ish at the time) shoved me out of a box
  37. john stamos has a beard and now he and my brother look shockingly similar - behold (and if you know my brother this is especially true if you cover Stamos' face from the nose down!):
  38. I enjoy discussing politics only with people who don't get crazy and exclusionary about their viewpoint (regardless of whether we agree or not)
  39. I realize I'm not very funny and I wish I was
  40. I have two extremely funny siblings
  41. and one like me - we think we're funny and we have our moments but we know we aren't one of the "funny kids"
  42. Vincent Van Gogh is one of my all time favorite artists and I feel like I have some extra entitlement to that claim because I have been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam twice and I read the book Lust for Life
  43. I always wanted to be a great musician when I was growing up . . . but I never wanted to practice
  44. I think I am good at training dogs but I think the real factor is my dog was just the smartest and easiest to train animal ever born
  45. I am fairly certain I have some sort of social anxiety
  46. I have a "red" personality
  47. I carry a nylon shopping bag that folds into a tiny little pouch with me in my purse
  48. I wrote for the school paper in 9th grade
  49. I want to be the most important person to someone
  50. I like to say "good hell" which I picked up from Emily
  51. I think I might have tried out for cheerleader in 7th grade but I have no real recollection of this and I might be confused with a story my mom told me about when she and her best friend tried out for cheerleader (Ryan, is this what you meant by internalizing my mother?)
  52. I confess that I have watched Miss America Reality Check . . . and I kind of enjoy it
  53. I have always wanted a good nick-name and never really had one
  54. a couple of people called me Big Al in high school after we had a bus driver with that name on a band trip. I was thin so I didn't mind.
  55. Then a roommate called me Al in college - I don't think she used "Big" in front of it
  56. I don't want to be called Big Al now.
  57. I'm considering blogging about lost loves . . .
  58. I eat kit kats slowly - biting off all the chocolate ledges first from the outside, then eating one layer of wafer at a time. It is a slow and delicious process
  59. I was sad when I discovered through a Christmas email/letter update that a friend of mine (one I obviously do not keep in touch with) has been dating someone for a year - then I felt bad and selfish for feeling that way
  60. I love road trips
  61. I have never thrown up on purpose and I'm not sure I could make myself if I wanted to (and I don't)
  62. I have leftover peanutbutter cups in my freezer from my dessert party and I eat about one a week with a bowl of vanilla ice cream - the Bryer's slow churn that actually does not taste like low fat ice cream!
  63. alpacas make me laugh because of an incident in 4th grade involving a picture of one in a dictionary
  64. my AP American history teacher kicked me out of class for my "banshi from hell" laugh and said I was the first AP student she ever kicked out of class
  65. I had to buy my way back in with a case of Diet Coke
  66. I didn't drink carbonation for about ten years with the exception of a few random occasions where there wasn't another option and short interludes where I caved
  67. then I went to law school and discovered caffeine was needed on occasion
  68. then I started working at a law firm and realized caffeine is a daily necessity to make it through the day . . . most lawyers are shocked I don't drink coffee
  69. I would never go back to high school but sometimes I wish I could redo parts of college (and avoid the marriage and divorce in the middle)
  70. I have large hands with very long fingers but my feet are small for my height, kind of freakish, no?
  71. I once lost all the eyelashes on one eye in a freak basketball injury
  72. I also split open that thing that connects your top lip to your gums cliff jumping
  73. my most embarrasing fall was the first week of college my freshman year when I fell off my bike in front of some boys in a neighboring dorm. They were jerks and forever after asked "how's your bike" when they saw me
  74. I have terrible handwriting so I taught myself to type at a very young age (9 or 10 maybe?) and told my mom I didn't need to have good handwriting because I could type
  75. I used to be able to type over 100 words per minute but I have no idea how many I can type now
  76. one of my favorite things is spending girl time with close friends
  77. my family used to camp for a week in Island Park, Idaho near Yellowstone most summers and I miss that
  78. if I could live anywhere in the world I would probably choose Sydney, Australia if it wasn't such a long flight from my parent's home
  79. I wish I could sing . . . and play the guitar
  80. I think winter is useless if there isn't any pretty snow to look at
  81. I am anxious to see my niece again
  82. I need to start going to more concerts
  83. blogging might have turned me into a bad emailer, but I think I can blame my job more
  84. I wish my sister would paint more because I think she is an incredibly talented artist and deserves more attention for her work
  85. I grew up with a German Shephard named Josh who I partially viewed as my older brother
  86. he was put to sleep when I was 10 and he was 12 (I think)
  87. my dog Malcolm lives with my parents and he will be 12 in April . . . so very old for a black lab/great dane mutt
  88. I miss living with Malcolm and going for walks with him and having him read my moods
  89. my bigger bonus news means bathroom renovations for my house!
  90. I prefer hardwood floors with rugs to carpet
  91. I always wanted 4 kids . . . now I'm hoping for two
  92. when I was little I told my younger sister that when women have multiples (more than twins) they grow extra breasts and I convinced her by referencing Picasso's paintings - I doubt I was over 9 or 10 and she 5 or 6 yet we both knew who Picasso was.
  93. I have ideas about how I will raise my kids that I am sure everyone reading this blog would laugh at because reality would not play out as I envision it in my head
  94. when I was a toddler I loved trains
  95. now I love shoes even though I prefer to be barefoot as often as possible
  96. when I got married at 20 I had no plans or ideas or opinions about my wedding, now I have LOTS of plans, ideas and opinions . . .
  97. I think my green eyes are my best feature
  98. I like to dance when I'm all alone and getting ready to go out - it gives me confidence
  99. I am extremely monogomous
  100. I would like to see a Obama/McCain presidential race

Now it is your turn . . . tell me 100 things about yourself!

no one is paying me to say this

But seriously if you have never used Zappos to buy shoes, you really must start. I have been happy in the past but this last order was ridiculous. On Tuesday I decided to look for a pair of shoes I tried on at the outlets on Monday but could not find in my size that I thought would match perfectly with the dress I am wearing to a wedding next week. I found the shoes on Zappos for about the same price as they were at the outlet and in my size. So I placed the order around 8:50 pm. Now the two best selling points for Zappos are that 1) they have FREE overnight shipping; and 2) they have FREE return shipping. Which means I can buy as many shoes as I want. Try them on in the comfort of my own home prancing around with whatever outfit I am hoping they match and if I hate them I can print out a return label and ship them right back. I LOVE this kind of shopping. Last month I bought three pairs of boots. When I was trying one pair on that I was hoping/praying/wishing/willing to fit, it tore. The problem was I have a very high arch and instep which means tall boots without zippers just don't go on easily. Or at all. And the case of these boots they tore as I was tugging. And Zappos took them right back. Amazing! I wasn't out a dime. Love them.
So back to this week's tale. When I arrived at work on Wednesday I had a little email from my doorman that a UPS package had been delivered. I couldn't figure out what it could be since I had ordered my shoes only 12 hours earlier. But last night when I collected my packages (I had an amazon order that had been waiting for me since Friday) there was a Zappos box. The shoes are beautiful. They fit perfectly and match the dress even better. Behold, the shoes:
And the dress:
Can't wait to play dress-up with this little ensemble!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You Asked

From Beck:
1. What are you looking for in a man? What is your dream man like?
Wow, these are two big questions. I will start with dream man and work down to reality from there. Ideally, he would be very tall - I prefer the 6'2" to 6'4" range, have dark features and be fairly rugged (yes, I am a sucker for tall, dark and handsome). He would make me laugh and be my best friend. He would love be my buddy and would love traveling the world with me as much as lounging around the house with me when we felt lazy. He would love that I am often a sports fanatic and enjoy that I like to show my love through baking. My dream man would love me for my ambition and not make assumptions about my choices. He would share my life view and at least be aiming toward the same spiritual plane (whether we are even or not being a lesser detail). And above all else, he would feel lucky to have me and I would feel lucky to have him. . . . As for the reality part, I understand love requires compromise so despite the fact that I would love to marry a man who shares a significant amount of interests and hobbies with me, I feel it is all to be judged on a sliding scale. So maybe he isn't the tallest boy I've ever dated but he sweeps me off my feet, treats me well and causes my pulse to race . . . other things become less important and lists are abandoned so long as he meets the three criteria my wise father outlined for me long ago: 1) be physically attracted to each other (yeah, I'm not marrying anyone without it!); 2) be each other's best friend; and 3) have the same long-term spiritual goals. With those three elements as a foundation, I could be flexible on a lot of other traits.
2. Would you like to stay in New York City?
I love living in New York City. There is an energy and pulse to the City that is unlike anywhere else I have ever lived or visited. That being said, that same energy can wear you out, which is why I often hole up in my sanctuary of an apartment to escape it all (while taking advantage of the unique perk of being able to order any kind of food I can dream up for delivery while doing so) or plan long weekends and vacations to places so very different from here with lots of trees and mountains and nature. At the moment I don't have any plans to leave but my dream of an ideal life includes a husband, kids, a dog and lots of camping (in other words, something similar to my childhood) in addition to the concerts, museums and culture that is offered by New York sooooo I guess I will just have to wait and see what options present themselves. For now, I'm here until further notice.

From Meghan (welcome!!):
What kind of law do you practice? Do you like it or would you rather practice some other aspect of law?
Let's see, I can describe my practice as Creditor's Rights and Bankruptcy (which is the official title of my practice group), Financial Restructuring or Corporate Bankruptcy. Essentially what I do is represent various banks, financial institutions and corporations who are owed money (lots of money) by insolvent companies that have either already filed bankruptcy or are on the verge of filing bankruptcy. As boring as it might sound (and it sounded excruciatingly dull to me in law school), I love it. I started out my career in corporate litigation which is what I thought I wanted but turned out that was the boring stuff and what I do now is exciting to me. . . most of the time. I don't envision myself practicing any other type of law in my career at this point, although the more hours I work the more I daydream about working "in-house" for a corporation with a set time-table and no billable hours.
Even though you don't know me, can I come and crash on your couch sometime? With husband and three kids? (Was that too far?)
If Emily gives you a letter of recommendation and you bring Cafe Rio I might think about it. . . the kids would be extra of course.

From Tiffany:
1. What have you learned in your thirties that you never knew in your twenties?
What? Did you say I'm "in" my thirties?? That sounds much older than I feel . . . I think I have learned to have more patience (shocking since I have very little of it now!) and I have more self-confidence (even though, again I'm still working on this - mostly I feel I would have a LOT more self-confidence if I could just have the body I had at 20 or 25 or even 28). I made a lot of mistakes in judgment when I was younger simply because I didn't realize what I had to offer.
2. What is the best and worst thing about being the oldest child?
Wow, this one is tougher than I thought it would be. I will start with the worst thing - the blame. As a kid everything was my responsibility. I was the oldest, I should know better, blah, blah, blah. Or at least that is how I felt. This sense of responsibility has continued into adulthood. I feel responsible for my siblings, I feel responsible when I plan something that everyone enjoys it and while this can be a positive it can also be exhausting!
The best thing about being the oldest is my relationship with my mother. I don't mean to take anything away from the unique relationships each of my siblings have with her but I think being the oldest child enhances that bond somehow. Oh, and in other cons of being the oldest - my parents were never strict but they definitely had more rules with me than my younger siblings. I was lectured like you wouldn't believe after I put a second hole in one of my ears. But my sister later punched holes up around both ears and got a belly button ring AND pierced her tongue and my parents didn't say a word. . . the oldest has it rough, right? I guess I just wore them out.
3. If you could swap jobs with anybody for a week, who would it be and why?
I don't want to be famous or anything but I think it would be fun to have my own talk show for a week - like Oprah or Tyra. I think the best part would be having my own stylists for a week who would do my hair, makeup and pick out perfect outfits with amazing shoes for me to wear and I wouldn't have to think about it at all. I think I would enjoy having that mic and spewing out all my opinions and asking questions. I would probably want to give away some free stuff while I'm at it. But I don't think I would want to do it for more than a week and I am quite sure neither Oprah nor Tyra would be a fan of keeping my job for even a week.

From Katie:
1. if you had to eat at chain restaurant which would be your choice? I know you hate them. (first off, to my anonymous commenter . . . I will have you know my snobbery is aimed primarily towards franchise restaurants of which Cafe Rio is not . . . yet. But Cafe Rio is the one place I would support with my own money if they would please consider branching out to New York City!!)
And yes, Katie, I am not a fan of franchise food but on occasion logistics require I set aside my snobberies and dig in and I have to say my top choice is usually Wendy's for fast food (I have a spicy chicken sandwich about once a year) and I don't even know what I would choose if I had to eat at one of the TGIFriday's/Applebee's varieties because I don't even have a secret weakness for any of them. I do really like California Pizza Kitchen if that counts -- I love their pear and Gorgonzola pizza!
2. do you live close to Heath Ledger? He died today (yesterday now). Do you live close to any celebrities?
I heard about Heath Ledger - very sad, he was so beautiful and I realized he might have been my celebrity crush when I was reading an article about his death and remembering him in 10 Things I Hate About You and First Knight (I seriously loved that movie!). He lived in SoHo and I live in midtown so I'm not close.
I live on the outer edges of Manhattan and to my knowledge there aren't any celebrities who live close by but as you probably noticed from reading my blog I often see them at movie premiers at a theater I walk past on my way home from work and occasionally at the tv studios that are near my apartment. I probably miss a lot more than I see since I am usually pretty oblivious to other people when I'm walking around town.
3. if you could be with anyone for 24 hours, who would it be and why?
I was going to be snarky about this one but if I really had to choose I think it would be a certain ex-boyfriend who I can't say I have ever managed to get over. I admit that while he doesn't fit all the criteria I explained in my answer to Beck's question above, he was the best fit I have encountered and I would be lying if I didn't say I don't regret letting him go. I think if I could spend 24 hours with him I could either get final closure and put the fantasy thoughts to rest or we could realize we made a mistake breaking up four years ago and . . . who knows (that is the fantasy side thinking).


From Christian (Tiffany's son):
Who are your five favorite Jazz players and why?

Boozer leads the pack for me - I love when he is hot and yanking down rebounds and putting up high numbers.
Williams is a very close second and possibly first at times - he is a strong leader and has the ability to control the tempo of the game either by scoring or assisting. Love him.
Paul Millsap is in my top 5 - with only one year behind him he holds a lot of potential to develop into a huge threat. I like his dedication.
I love Matt Harpring because he is just plain tough. Announcers can never resist mentioning his football playing family because he is just a force.
Number 5 is a tough one to choose. I feel like I should say AK because when he is on he is ON! But I'm not sure I have forgiven him for last year's tantrum and trade demands. He still has some things to prove for me so I will go with Okur instead. But I also love the new guy Korver. He hustles and is amazing on the free throw line.

From Ryan (Tiffany's husband): (yeah for free counseling . . . I think?)
1. How do you feel about your mother? (Just kidding--typical psychologist joke.)
I love her!! She is the best - and I am not kidding!

2. How are you like your mom?

Unfortunately I inherited my mother's insecurities and my dad's arrogance which has resulted in a terrible dichotomy of snobbery and arrogance combined with self-consciousness and vulnerability. UGH!
But otherwise I am lucky enough to look a lot like my mother and to share her love of chocolate, old romantic movies and long conversations (with each other!). While I will on occasion discover I am doing something like my mother (usually related to cooking), I usually have that moment when I am doing something similar to my dad.
3. How have you internalized your mom's views/rules about life and how things should be?

Wow, I'm not even sure I understand this question. Ryan, you should probably give me a referral so I can spend some serious couch time sorting this out. I will say that I remember being afraid to admit I liked watching Night Court when I was young because I knew it annoyed my mom.
4. How have you internalized your mother's views of you?
Umm, there is that "internalized" word again. Not sure what to do with that. My mother thinks I am great so maybe I should internalize a bit more of that to overcome the insecurities I inherited from her . . . but not too much or else I will knock off the balance and become overly conceited and arrogant about how great I am. Wait, can you repeat the question? I'm completely lost here. I guess there is a reason I got a C in Psych 101 (alright, I probably pulled off a B or B+ but I remember feeling I deserved better).

From Michele:
1. who was your favorite new years kiss?
Michele, how could it be anyone but you? And before anyone gets the wrong idea Michele and I have a very long-standing joke about the oh so many New Year's Eves we have shared (and Dan was kind enough to share her on NYE even after they were married a couple of times). Unfortunately I am at a loss for an actual favorite New Year's kiss because to be honest I have had very few . . . at least in recent years.
2. who has been your favorite boy to kiss?
this is a tough one (especially with my mother reading!) but since I may not have ever recovered (see answer to question by Katie) I will have to say Matt. But mostly because we had a lot of goodbye airport kisses (he lived in Denver, I was in SLC) which are always a bit more tragic and therefore more passionate and intense. Everyone else seems a bit blocked out at the moment.
3. what is the secret to a great pie crust?
Hide it under really great pie filling!! Seriously, I think the secret for it looking good is to use shortening or lard but the secret to it tasting good and flaky (my favorite) is to use butter. I use this pate brisee recipe most often and usually refresh my skills with these tips for good measure. I prefer the taste with butter which is why I use it over shortening (never tried lard - it scares me!) even though it is more difficult to roll out and shape in the pan.
4. what is ganache?

Ganache is simply dark baking chocolate melted with hot cream (chop up the chocolate, place in a bowl, heat cream slowly not quite to boiling and add to chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate melts). You add more or less cream depending on how thick you want the ganache - thicker to make truffles and thinner to frost cupcakes. I have found ganache is good for practically everything and I have had fun playing with it despite its intimidatingly pretentious French name. Tiffany and I even made s'mores with some of my leftover ganache that keeps really well in the refrigerator for quite a long time (I don't think I've kept any over a month because I end up using it).

And that rounds out the Q&A for today. This took me a bit longer to answer than I anticipated primarily because I had a lot of work to make up for missing yesterday (home sick - even though I billed 6 hours!) AND then my computer dumped my memo I was working on and I lost 5 of my 7 pages and I had to REPEAT 4 hours worth of work!!! Miserable.

UPDATE FOR Emily's questions:

best kiss?
for the drama: roof top in NYC - at a friend's party, the wind was swirling, I was looking at the view with a friend of a friend, it was chilly . . . yadda, yadda, yadda . . . we went back to the party and never spoke again
for the romance: the promenade on the Mediterranean in Nice, France. A boy (incidentally from NYC) I met at dinner a few hours after getting dumped on the phone by my year-long boyfriend. He offered to take me on a yacht and I was smart enough to say no.
for love: first time Matt kissed me on his first trip to SLC. We were three weeks into a phone relationship and he walked past security, I was anxiously waiting for him hoping I hadn't forgotten what he looked like after not seeing him for a month and he walked straight up to me and gave me the best first kiss ever. I was sunk.
worst kiss?
my first kiss - miserable failure. I felt like I had been mauled by a bear. I'm lucky I was willing to try it again.
the second boy I kissed - also bad. I was chatting. Didn't want him to kiss me and I realize he was puckered up, eyes closed, closing in on my ear. I panicked and let him kiss me. ugh.
biggest regret
. . . tough one, I try not to regret much but . . . marrying the wrong person too fast, breaking up with another at the wrong time, dating boys out of boredom . . . not playing in the marching band at the U, letting myself gain 10 pounds
biggest relief
my dad not dying . . . all of the times he has tried
one thing you wish you had said to someone
I'm always looking back at what I should have said or should not have said so it is hard to pick just one thing. But to pick up on a theme of this post, I wish I had told Matt I wasn't ready to break up when we did.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Open for Questions

Beck, Tiffany and Liz each opened up the comment section for questions last week and it seemed like a fun game so I'm stealing the idea and conceding the floor. I'm home sick today so that should mean I have plenty of time to keep up on this. But sadly I spent most of the morning on a conference call, I have the next hour to prepare for another conference call and my secretary is sending me some work via messenger to my apartment . . . kind of takes the joy out of calling in sick. So bring it on and ask some questions, any question large or small is welcome. And hey, if you are a lurker and you are dying to ask me something feel free. I'll be honest, I would kind of feel bad if I only get one or two questions.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Poconos!

Wasn't it beautiful? I had a great time, even though I didn't spend much time outdoors other than taking this photo but here are a few highlights of the adventure:
  • the GPS thing in our car was not too helpful in assisting us in maneuvering around the aptly named "Hideout" community to locate our cabin but we were happy once we found it
  • it was the second house we were a bit disappointed in . . . what with the old people smell mingled with cat and a touch of septic tank odor that smacked you in the nose the second you opened the door . . . which was where I slept for two nights on a bed that crinkled like packing materials - a few samples of the cat decor (Liz, I know your mom will love this stuff!). There is also a paw imprint with a photo of a cat but I'm too lazy to turn it the right way to post it so just imagine it on your own.
  • stayed up until 4 am Friday night laughing and talking and making new friends . . . I hadn't done that in a very looooong time
  • I realized that my thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes were generally the polar opposite of the group - but I still liked everyone and enjoyed their company and I think they liked me, it was just interesting to confirm how different I am from those with whom I feel I should be more alike due to the shared religion
  • especially when it came to politics - which was a popular weekend topic
  • this particular divergence was emphasized when I was accosted by one boy in the kitchen who demanded I give him three reasons why I liked Obama (as an aside I would love to see an Obama/McCain race as I see them as the best candidates on each party. And if you want to know why, this article sums up a lot of my thoughts on both candidates. I'm an independent and not fully committed but Obama is my current leading choice) - all other conversations stopped and I was immediately surrounded by six or seven anxious Romney fans awaiting my justifications which . . . surprisingly enough (HA!) they did not agree with and the one seeking my answers walked away before I could finish my first point - classy
  • I did find common ground with one guy who has been a friend for many years so it was nice to have a political ally but most people (minus demanding-three-reasons boy) were good sports about it and we had some interesting political conversations
  • I made potato cheese broccoli soup and rolls (from frozen dough) with a touch of spice on top for the crew of 18 people and I believe they all enjoyed it
  • there was a lot of lounging around in pajamas on Saturday and Sunday and very little exploring what with the mostly single digit (I'm guessing from the few times I ventured out to the car) temps outside
  • it was so cold that after we (ok I) accidentally left several cans of Diet Coke on the balcony they started exploding - it took us a while to realize it was the soda and not some bizarre bird with issues that was causing the snow to turn brown . . .
  • no one went in the hot tub because it was at the house we dubbed the "cat house" (for the odor and the numerous cat knick knacks littering the place - sorry for the pun, it was initially unintentional and then I found it funny) and upon lifting the cover someone proclaimed it smelled like a dirty fish tank . . . yeah, no one wanted to try it out after that
  • I learned how to play some fun new games such as this one and this one and brushed up on old favorites such as this one, a rousing game of scum and a fun and revealing variation on I Have Never (of the non-drinking game variety)
  • demanding-three-reasons boy gave me a foot rub which almost made up for him later calling me bitter . . . almost. I really hope he was joking. I had never met him before this weekend but somehow we fell into a sarcastic sparring match that would not quit (I was to blame as well). I still can't decide if he was just joking around or if he just did not like me.
  • oh, and there was that time when I left a boy (who incidentally has the most beautiful and mesmerizing eyes and I would totally have a crush on him if I let myself but seeing as he has zero interest in me I keep myself in check once I manage to break away from spell cast by his piercing gaze) alone with my ipod perusing my photos of Iceland only to have him stumble onto this collection of photos and loudly proclaim "IS THIS YOU!!" upon discovering the lovely slip and bra pic . . . sorry Em, I had completely forgotten it had made its way onto my ipod. I don't embarrass terribly easily but that was a point when I am sure I turned several shades of red
  • and yes, it was the cutest boy in the house who discovered it and he did say he had discovered a different side of me or something to that effect - whatever, I looked good back in the day so I am not ashamed!
  • round robin ping pong was invented, behold:
Posted by Picasa
video
  • we took a short side trip to Scranton to look for Jim and Pam and all we found was this sign
  • we watched a lot of football on Sunday and both teams I picked (Chargers and Green Bay) lost
  • feeling toasty compared to the players at those games I took a walk just before sunset and my companion and I nearly froze and had to run part of the way home so we didn't get frost bite - seeing the half-frozen lake was worth the cold though, it was eerily beautiful
  • performed some dance/karaoke on the wii someone was kind enough to bring - I was shameless but sadly (and predictably) not good. I was very sad no one brought guitar hero so I could strut my stuff
  • played some rousing games of air hockey and pool
  • learned I have very different ideas on dating and relationships than my peers
  • beat Friday night's late night record and didn't go to bed until 5 am Saturday, err, Sunday morning
  • participated in a spooning train where I had the good fortune to be nestled in with the beautiful eyes boy who, incidentally also smelled quite nice
  • ate and ate and ate and ate
  • only picked up my book once and barely read a few pages
  • stopped at some outlet stores on the way home where we were given exactly one hour to explore this sprawling monstrosity - after some aimless wandering I managed to buy a sweater, a pair of shoes, a necklace and some earrings. There was so much time pressure I felt as if I was a contestant on some sort of timed shopping spree show. I also found two different pairs of heels that would have gone perfectly with this dress for the event I am attending in two weeks but neither pair was available in my size!
  • happily arrived home by 6 pm and have spent most of that time enjoying the silence and peace of my own apartment and have ignored unpacking my suitcase on purpose
How was your weekend?

Friday, January 18, 2008

mini-vaca and ramblings

I'm a few hours away from ditching the City for a few days and heading for the Poconos. I am really looking forward to relaxing in pjs by the fire (I'm hoping there is a fire), reacquainting myself with the outdoors, seeing what passes for a ski resort on the East Coast (um, yes I am a snob and no I will not be snowboarding as all my gear resides in Utah where there is vertical and snow), soaking in the hot tub and hopefully making new friends.

What I am not looking forward to is putting a swimming suit on in January in front of anyone - trust me, I tried it on last night in front of the mirror and I was embarrassed to see myself! Dry, pasty skin should remain hidden under sweat shirts and long pants for a reason.

A friend of mine put the trip together and I believe there will be about 18 singles. This slots nicely into my be more social resolutions and should be fun . . . so why am I full of mixed feelings about the whole endeavor?

The last time I went on one of these pile a slew of single Mormons in a house weekends was 4th of July weekend in 2005, the summer I moved back to New York. A friend of mine from Salt Lake had moved to NYC a couple of months earlier and I had just moved back in June and was adjusting to the changes two years can accomplish on the social scene, styles and my neighborhood. I was delighted to be invited on a long weekend in Cape Cod despite the fact that I only knew one person. I figured this was the chance to get out there and meet people and bond and all that.

I was a driver of one of the four cars and we managed to congregate at my apartment at some outrageously early hour of 5 or 6 am.

[As an aside, those of you who do not live in NYC most likely take it for granted that on a whim you can decide to leave for the weekend in your car and all you really need to contemplate is gas and packing. Those of us non-car owner types are not so lucky. Getting out of town can be a collosol endeavor involving renting a car (sometimes in NJ because it is SO much cheaper), picking up said car (which may involve a train ride to Newark airport), finding a place to park the car while loading luggage and people, fighting NYC metro-area traffic, debating whether to buy food in the City before you go or at some unknown location near your destination and if you are not the person with the car (like me today), cramming all of your weekend necessities (which include a set of queen size sheets!) into a bag that is not ridiculously large for a weekend and can be dragged to work with you!]

The drive to Cape Cod went well enough and I chatted easily with my four passengers getting to know them better (only one male - those are the odds I face out here!). At some point after we arrived at the beautiful house we rented on a lake, I began to feel self-conscious and separate. Everyone seemed to know each other fairly well and my perception was they weren't interested in getting to know me . . . at all. There were numerous misunderstandings where people just plain did not communicate with me but expected me to just drive where they decided they wanted to go. The one friend I had going into this event was being reuinted with her two best roommates from whom she had been separated recently after moving from the Upper West Side all the way Downtown. I was trapped in a car full of inside jokes and gave up trying to crack my way in. The lone boy in our car turned out to be the ex-boyfriend of a friend of mine . . . which ended in WWIII according to my friend (I had heard of him but never met him before that time and when we discovered the connection it was awkward!). Other people in the house were nice enough but I ultimately felt like an outsider crashing their cozy weekend getaway.

The breaking point for me was the last day - 4th of July. In the morning I thought we were going to the beach so I was wearing my swimming suit and we ended up at a small town parade - with me dressed for the beach. At one point during the parade I lost track of every person I was with and just walked back to the car to wait for them. I was also not fully informed about our trip to Martha's Vineyard and for whatever reason changed out of my swimming suit for the trip. Once there the crew decided to ride bicycles around the island. This didn't sound too bad except I was only a few short months removed from my knee surgery and I knew my knee couldn't handle a lot. I mentioned this at some point but was ignored . . . or it was lost in the crowd. At some point during the ride some leader determined the beach was our destination. I was not the only one sans swimming suit so the two of us purchased extremely patriotic (read: ugly) suits at a random swim shop. They matched because somehow that was the only respectable suit in the shop.

Our bike ride continued and my knee grew more and more fatigued to the point that I was extremely far behind everyone and had no idea where I was going. The pain grew intense and I was near tears - but more for the emotional pain of being left behind than my knee. I mentioned this to one or two people but I think they just thought I was an out of shape loser and biked on. When I finally reached the beach, the weather had turned slightly chilly and people were ready to pack up and turn around after about 15 minutes. My knee was swollen but no one seemed to care. We biked back and landed at an ice-cream scoop shop after I picked up some ibuprofen for the swelling which was leading to an intense head ache as well. I think one or two people took my ailment a bit more serioulsy at this point but mostly steered clear of me afraid they might catch it after uttering a "why didn't you tell us?" sentiment. Because I was invisble in my gaudy red and white striped blue trimmed suit.

I got my ice-cream with everyone else but needed to sit (yeah, the knee) and the only seat available was a bench facing the street - their table was directly behind me. I felt transported back to junior high as the complete social pariah and wallowed in my self-pity as I ate my ice-cream. Coming out of my reverie I realized I no longer heard voices behind me. I turned around and everyone was gone. Everyone. All 10 or 11 of them had vanished. I hobbled around the cute little streets of Martha's Vineyard and peeked in stores wondering how a group that large could vanish so quickly - I still had my ice-cream! I assumed they were at the dock waiting for the ferry so I hobbled my way down there to find . . . no one. People were queing up for the next fairy but not a single face was familiar. Not knowing what to do I joined the line and listened to families and friends laugh and giggle and inspect their tan lines. By this point my mind had spiraled to the basement of emotions where it took every ounce of strength I had left to keep from crying. I occasionaly wondered if perhaps they were looking for me but knew the truth - no one knew I was gone. And I was right. The crew eventually appeared and came piling onto the ferry as if nothing had gone awry. Their jokes and grins continued to stab my sad little image of myself until I was completely deflated and retreated to the other end of the ferry with my cell phone to call my mom and cry. Someone had announced proudly that they learned our bike ride was over 20 miles. OVER. TWENTY. MILES! This made me feel like slightly less of a loser for being so slow and having my knee react so vehemently against me but I was cruel in my head and chastised myself for falling so far behind. It was miserable. I couldn't wait to go home and retreat to my own solitude away from these people and their exclusionary ways. The drive home was long and late. I think we reached Manhattan around 4 am on July 5th and I went to work the next day.

I was so injured I vowed never to do such a thing again despite the pleasant weekends away where I made deep and abiding connections with wonderful people. The Cape Cod experience ruined it for me and I have not been brave enough to try it again.

Until now.

This weekend is different from the last in many ways but I still have some social fear that I will be the lone girl struggling to keep up on the 20 mile bike ride. I keep reminding myself of the Memorial Weekend I spent in North Carolina in a house of 30+ people where I made friends I still cherish today nearly 5 years later. I can't let one bad trip spoil the experience forever.

Yet, last night as I was packing I somehow let my mind slip into the setting that what-I-wear-will-have-a-direct-impact-on-whether-people-like-me and the correlating setting of these-extra-few-pounds-I-have-bulging-on-my-thighs-and-waist-make-everything-look-bad. I hate those settings. I want them banished - did you hear me? BANISHED!

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about New Year's resolutions. Nearly every blog, newspaper, tv commercial and sign on the street is focused on one thing as a goal this year: losing weight. Whether it is through diet or exercise or starvation the message is everywhere. But with what purpose? There is a sign on a bus stop (albeit a weight watchers ad) I love. It reads somethign to the effect of "Burn the books. Flush the pills. Eat some bread." This has had me thinking. Wouldn't a better (a more productive and feasible) goal be to just learn to accept myself? To love who I am right now instead of who I think I could be or would be or should be or was 10 pounds lighter? Isn't it more important to enjoy life by eating the bread than depriving and worrying about how much our love handles might grow? I am not saying I will quit working out or suddenly allow myself to eat nonstop or anything but what I want to do this year is focus on accepting myself without comparisons to those I think are prettier/thinner/smarter/funnier/cuter than I am.

Why is this so mixed up with my thoughts about going on what should be a fun and relaxing, care-free trip? Because I want to head into it with the right mind set with no pesky insecurities trailing behind me. And like so many times before, once I manage to write them out, the feelings are purged and I can leave them in the dust where they belong. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Tiger Beat 5

I am stealing this idea to lighten the mood around here. The deal is you look back into those oh so embarrasing and awkward years of junior high and try and remember what teen heart-throb posters adorned your walls. Before I get to my list I will explain that my celebrity obsession stint was very short and was primarily isolated to 7th grade during which time I vividly remember begging my mom to buy Tiger Beat or some other teen mag so I could pull out the posters and dream of things I really did not understand.

Since that time my celebrity crushes (and real-life person crushes) are pretty few and far between. I actually remember realizing at some point in high school the futility of dreaming about someone who, for all intents and purposes just was not real so I decided to focus on actual boys I encountered in my life . . . unfortunately those crushes were also few and far between. Mostly because, once again, going back to 7th grade, I confided in a friend about my crush on Ben Kirscher (why do we always remember first and last names?) who made me laugh in history class and she decided to take things into her own hands and marched up to him and aaaaaaallllllllll of his bratty little 12-year old friends at lunch and asked him to "go with me". The request was completely unauthorized and because she wasn't much of a friend she marched back to me and told me before he could say anything his friend had blurted out "Alyssa is a dog!" and they all laughed. Um, yeah she told me that. Junior high is a wretched place. Sure, I wore a sailor hat for some inexplicable reason and I had a near-mullet with a bad perm, braces and red glasses and I COMPLETELY embraced the 80s and loved Molly Ringwald's "style" but I'm pretty sure that I looked fairly similar to all the other 80s loving kids roaming the halls of Bidwell Junior High. So I learned my lesson and generally kept any and all crushes in close check for the remainder of my junior high and high school years and that habit spilled into adulthood to the point that I rarely have crushes. Except on Miguel who makes my salad most days because he has a cute smile and an accent and always seems especially happy to see me and make my lunch. Otherwise I try to squelch (possibly a word) any crush before it crushes me like it did in 7th grade.

But to the task at hand. Thsi is my list of the boys who adorned my bedroom walls circa 1987-1988:
  1. Johnny Depp - of 21 Jump Street fame, he was by far my favorite - something about the dark brooding thing I guess.
  2. River Phoenix - probably due to Stand By Me, a very close second to Johnny Depp
  3. Kirk Cameron - because who didn't watch Growing Pains every day after school and love him?
  4. I'm pretty sure both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman were up there as well although I think I'm embarrased about that and I have no idea whether I liked one more than the other although I would think Feldman won out
  5. hmmm, can't come up with any more so just pretend Feldman is down here

And somehow, by moving away from California after 7th grade I forgot about those magazines and started decorating my walls with sports heros instead. Not because I had crushes on them, I just LOVED sports and embraced my tom boy side a bit more so Karl Malone and John Stockton dominated my walls instead.

I also feel I should mention that even before junior high I had one crush that I guarantee many of you shared with me if you were alive and alert in any way in 1984/1985 and that was Michael Jackson. I had stickers of him on my Trapper Keeper and posters in my room and my brother and I would beg my mom to play the Thriller album . . . as in vinyl . . . and we would do our best imitation of the Thriller moves we had tried our best to memorize while watching it at other kids' homes. Kids who were lucky enough to have MTV in their very own home of course. Nick was really good at the moonwalk and that leg shake thing. I don't believe I was good at anything but bouncing around too much and making the record skip.

So there you go. True confessions of 7th grade celebrity crushes. Now it is your turn to fess up. . . who were your Tiger Beat 5?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

thank you

Yesterday I was reminded that very often my solitude is of my own making. When I reach outside myself, I am richly rewarded. Thank you everyone for your comments, emails, phone calls, text messages, thoughts and prayers. I feel loved and blessed to have amazing people in my life. I was also able to have a lengthy dinner with two wonderful friends who bouyed me up with their friendship, shared laughter, genuine empathy and their listening ears. Nothing has really changed since yesterday. I have the same problems. We don't have any more answers with my dad. But his voice is stronger and he is out of ICU. Having shared my burden, I now feel lighter and more capable of perservering. I have to write this lesson down for myself because honestly the simple act of writing yesterday's post made me feel better and I almost did not post it because it felt so raw and exposed and I thought the purging of emotions into words was enough. But I am so glad I did because sharing my thoughts and fears with others - even those who are so far away - brought them into the light where they just aren't quite as scary.

For as long as I can remember I have turned to writing as a way of coping with difficult emotions. My journals are full of tragic heart ache, loneliness, bitterness and sadness. It was so rare for me to record the moments of sheer happiness and bliss in my purely journal writing days. I know the happy days were far more frequent than the sad (except in 8th grade when nearly every day was black, what a terrible age!), but I know that if I looked back through my journals I would have to search long and hard to find the things I loved, the things that made me laugh, the friends I had. With blogging I am grateful that I have a place where I am motivated to share the positives and record the seemingly insignificant - more for myself than anyone's real entertainment. But I am also grateful that when I hit those dark days, I can still turn to writing but this time receive love and support in return for my confessional.

And that is my testimony of blogging . . . amen.

Monday, January 14, 2008

help

If you read my blog with any regularity you may be surprised to hear that there are some things that are difficult for me to share. . . or ask for. Like help. I have always had what my mother describes as a "fierce independence" which can be a positive - move to NYC all on my own and start a whole new life? twice? no problem! But it can also be a negative - admit I don't know how to [fill in the blank with pretty much anything] and most likely I will just fake it rather than fess up to ignorance. This weekend I should have reached outside myself and asked for help. Instead, I curled up with a million excuses and self-pity on my couch and did not budge. Then felt sorry for myself when no one reached into that formidable shell.

Friday night I arrived home after an exhausting day that ended an exhausting week. I was proud of a particular professional achievement I had accomplished Friday but worn out by the effort. I dragged myself in the front door sometime after 830 and went straight to my computer to order dinner. Confronted with too many tantalizing Malaysian cuisine choices I selected two entrees and an appetizer with the rationale that I would enjoy the leftovers Saturday and possibly Sunday. And I did. Other than breakfast I didn't cook or leave the house for another meal all weekend. In fact the only time I left the house was for church Sunday morning. After which I bee-lined back to my apartment to read and nap.

My hibernation weekend started off with purpose. I wanted to take things easy and fight off the sore throat and cold that was threatening each morning and evening. I thought if I just layed low and drank a lot of fluids I could kick it. I threw in some wheat waffles with walnuts and raspberry syrup for good measure, because I stumbled onto the recipe and could not resist. And they were tasty but not necessarily curative.

But sometime mid-day on Saturday my mom called. I didn't talk to her for very long because I didn't know how to process what she was telling me, especially with the television still silently flashing images of some inane show at me. My dad was back in the hospital. He was admitted Friday night and has been in ICU ever since. There were reassurances but no real answers. He has the symptoms of one thing but tests don't confirm it. He hasn't been feeling well for a couple of weeks and I was glad he went to the hospital but shaken up by this set back. His recovery went so well after his surgery in September and at Christmas he had seemed younger than he had in years. I barely said much to my mom and got off the phone fairly quickly and slipped deeper into my couch.

I talked to my dad a couple of times Saturday and he and my mom repeatedly assured me that everything was fine even though no one knows what is wrong and they kept using words like endocarditis (which his blood cultures claim he does not have), infectious disease team and surgery. I was not reassured and I went to bed fearful. More fearful than I had ever been of death (a hard word to type). I felt very alone.

Sunday morning I went to church and slunk into a pew in the back corner and waited for someone, anyone to come to me. No one did. I had neglected to respond to an email from my home teacher* earlier in the week while I was busy working so I decided to stop him before I left. I wasn't planning on telling him anything. But this particular home teacher used to be my bishop (about 5 or 6 years ago) and I have always had a good personal rapport with him. He has a way of extracting truth instead of small talk. I apologized for neglecting his email and he said no problem and we talked dates for setting up a visit. Then, in his singularly sincere way, he asked how I was doing and it touched a cord (a chord?) in me. Tears fell out as I explained that my dad was in ICU and I was scared. Somehow with just a few words he made me feel better and a bit less burdened.

I called my dad walking home from church and I felt lighter. His voice sounded strong and he was exceptionally chatty. Even when he is in perfect health my dad will bore easily on the phone and will interupt conversations by asking "do you want to talk to your mother?" Not so yesterday. I would raise a topic and then he was off with a lecture, diatribe or sermon. I was not annoyed or impatient, I just listened to his voice for the next 45 minutes. After hopes of being down-graded from ICU and another conversation with my mom and sister I felt all was well and stretched out on my couch with a book basking in the sunshine streaking in my windows and promptly fell asleep with Bach's cello suites accompanying my dreams.

I finished the day with more movies and phone calls to family but without the sun and the assuring words of an outsider, the fear crept back in. With my mom and sister we danced around it and discussed improvements and my dad's text message about a football game comforted me slightly that he was himself and feeling better. But when my brother voiced his concern I knew I was not alone in my fear. I just wanted someone to comfort me instead of forcing strength out for my mom, my dad and siblings.

It is not in times of great joy and excitement that I long for companionship. Sure, when I am trekking around Iceland or enjoying a beautiful beach resort, I would be happy to share that time and experience with a significant other and yes, I often think in those times my enjoyment might be enhanced by experiencing it with someone I love. But I can have fun and fulfillment and happiness alone.

It is in times of struggle, when life is bleak and each day feels treacherous that I long for a loving hand to reassure me. I ache for someone to help carry the unbearable weight, for someone to put their arm around me while I cry. There are times I just do not feel strong enough and wish with all my heart there was someone with whom I could share my daily burdens that feel heavier when I drag them around on my own. Do not underestimate the comfort of a listening ear and open arms. This weekend I wallowed in my loneliness to a point where I couldn't bring myself to reach out to anyone.

I welcomed the opportunity this morning to start the morning off with my trainer and go to work as usual. Around 10 I decided to call my dad's room since he should be up and I wanted to catch him before they moved him out of ICU - which was the plan on Sunday but they didn't have any regular rooms available. I was startled when my mom answered the phone but quickly asked how my dad was. She said he wanted to talk to me. He spoke slowly and sounded very tired and explained that he had a minor stroke this morning which is why his voice was slurred. It was hard to comprehend and I couldn't formulate questions and they did not yet have answers. It was reassuring to hear him and I thought he just sounded tired, not particularly odd like my grandpa did after his stroke. But it was a stroke and that was serious, I was cognizant of that.

I have spent most of the day trying to ignore these things and trying to sort out what I should do. I called my sister because I knew my mom needed her but wouldn't call her. My mother is an amazingly strong woman, she takes my dad's health problems (and every other trial she faces) in stride and rarely appears shaken by it in any way. I understand, I am the same way. I can steel myself to nearly anything when necessary and push through it without a tear until I am alone and can break down in solitude. But that doesn't mean she has to do it alone. She wants to protect her children but doesn't realize we want to do the same for her. My first instinct was to go home but for now I don't think I need to so I'm staying put.

What I struggle with is I know I cannot make it through on my own, yet I don't know how to reach out and tell people this sort of thing. I told a friend in an email today and she organized a dinner for us tonight and told our other friend whose dad had a stroke a few years ago. She called immediately. But by that time I was steeled. Void of emotion. I had just talked with my dad so I echoed his optimistic tone and didn't have to force myself to sound cheery and clinical even though I know tonight, as I climb into bed all the worst case scenarios will start racing through my head again with no one there to soothe them away.

*in my church each family unit (including single people) is assigned a pair of home teachers who are priesthood holders (mine are a father and son) to visit you in your home once a month and to offer assistance and support as needed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Best of 2007

Last January I did a Best of 2006 so I thought I would take a look back at 2007 and give my opinions on what was the best and what was the worst. Let me know what you thought of 2007 as well.

***MOVIES/TV***
Best of Film: Waitress and Juno
Worst of Film: Knocked Up and Because I Said So
Most Overrated Film: Knocked Up
Most Underrated Films: The Lives of Others
Guilty Pleasure: Enchanted and Transformers
Most Entertaining Films: The Bourne Ultimatum
Biggest Disappointments: Spider-Man 3

2007 Top 10 Movies (not in order, difficult to rank)
Waitress
Juno

The Lives of Others
Freedom Writers
The Namesake
After the Wedding
Dan in Real Life
Charlie Wilson's War
Reign Over Me
The Bourne Ultimatum

Honorable Mentions
Broken English
The Simpsons
Gracie
Bridge to Terabithia
La Vie en Rose
Enchanted

2007 Worst Movies (all thankfully viewed on dvd)
Knocked Up
Because I Said So

Music and Lyrics
In the Land of Women
Georgia Rule


Ten 2007 Movies I Would Like To See But Haven't Yet (so I will Netflix or try and catch in the theater before the remaining ones disappear)
Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Savages
Atonement
Becoming Jane
I Am Legend
Lars and the Real Girl
Stardust
Gone Baby Gone
No Reservations
Into the Wild


2007 Best of Netflix (regardless of year it was released)
The Painted Veil
Pieces of April
Children of Heaven
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Vanity Fair
Billy Elliot
Last King of Scotland
The Page Turner
Monsieur Ibrahim
Pride

2007 Best of TV:
The Office
How I Met Your Mother
The OC Final Season (viewed courtesy of Netflix, seriously it almost redeemed itself in the end)

Worst of TV: most of it - very difficult to narrow this one down. . . especially with the writer's strike and way, way too much reality tv
Best Reality TV: Project Runway (still)

***MUSIC***
Best New 2007 Music
Best CDs: Radiohead "In Rainbows"
Jill Scott "Jill Scott Collaborations"
Eddie Vedder "Into the Wild"
The Killers "Sawdust" (even if I discovered them after 2007)

Best New Songs of 2007:
(the ones I have anyway, in no specific order)
Not My Friend, Norah Jones
Sometimes I Wonder
, Jill Scott & Darius Rucker
Tell Me 'Bout It, Joss Stone
Love Song, Sara Bareilles
I Feel It All, Feist
Love, Reign O'er Me, Pearl Jam

Top 10 (okay, 11) Songs I Loved In 2007 (but weren't released in 2007, not in order):
Parachutes, Pearl Jam
Brighter Than Sunshine, Aqualung
Golden, Jill Scott
Just a Ride, Jem
New Round, Beck
Do You Realize, The Flaming Lips
Wait, Get Set Go
Track 4, Sigur Ros
Ruby Blue, Roisin Murphy
Enginn, Didda & Herb Legowitz
The Luckiest, Ben Folds


***BOOKS***
(this is just what I read in 2007, doesn't necessarily mean it was published in 2007)
Best Airport Reading: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Most Compelling Novel: Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith

Other Books I Enjoyed in 2007:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life by J.M. Coetzee
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Rough Guide to Iceland

Books I Started in 2007 But Haven't Finished:
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Snow by Orhan Pamuk

***MISCELLANEOUS***

Best of Theater: I saw Les Miserables with my sister-in-law again but wasn't too impressed, otherwise I don't think I saw anything

Best of Travel: I had an excellent travel year so this is hard to pin down:
Worst of Travel:
  • getting to St. Lucia was really bad and frustrating and probably the worst experience
  • as was my whole baggage ordeal in July
  • but flying home for Christmas gets an honorable mention - 3 hour delay with the threat of getting kicked off! No fun.
  • But if I was really voting for the worst travel experience of 2007 I would award it to Tiffany for her harrowing journey from JFK to my apartment
Best of Sports:
  • Hands down, the Jazz shocking run in the 2007 NBA playoffs and getting to go to the Western Conference Finals with my sister
  • I also enjoyed a couple of Yankees games this last summer, one in my firm's excellent seats
  • snowboarding in Utah
Worst of Sports:
  • stupid Jazz losing to the Knicks at MSG two years in a row!
  • oh, and me falling and hurting my back (that still hurts!) snowboarding
Best Purchase: Dyson vacuum and my house
Worst Purchase: any number of silly things I don't need or end up wearing, difficult to come up with one ultimate worst purchase
Best Decision of 2007: biting my tongue and taking a walk when instead I wanted to scream
Worst Decisions of 2007: perhaps too many to list or recall specifically other than always staying up too late (like right now!)
Most Difficult Day of 2007: the day of my dad's surgery
Happiest Days of 2007: I can't pick a single day but these were good ones
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