Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For all the Foodies out there...


For all of my friends who LOVE to cook and/or eat as much as I do, I found a new website. It's 101cookbooks (click on the title, which will take you to the site). A woman by the name of Heidi started the site because she was fed up with buying cook books and magazines with recipes she would tear out or sticky note only to have them pile up neatly in a draw with good intentions. The website is motivation to actually COOK the recipes. Some of her most recent recipes look AWESOME (e.g. pan fried gnocchi and champagne summer shortcake, YUM). Plus, she's entertaining. You can become a member or just browse her page for ideas. I became a member (cupcake) because there are tons of journals from people bursting with food suggestions. I think you'll like it. Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fire Door

"my brain is disconnected but my heart is wired
I make such a good statistic
Someone should study me now
Somebody's got to be interested in how I feel
Just 'cause I'm here
And I'm real"

- ani difranco

Friday, August 25, 2006

This week in pictures




I'm a huge fan of "this week in pictures" from msnbc. This seemed pertinent.

Hillary for President????




While scouring the bookstore yesterday, I read this article in "TIME." Does anyone have an opinion they care to share?


Next to the small caption about Hillary on the "TIME" website, is this photograph of an Iranian woman:



Maybe you want to practice your freedom of speech after all?

Becoming a student of the Arabic Language

Along with Karate and fire twirling (poi), I have added Arabic to my list of activities I would like to master. With French and Spanish somewhat under my belt, I felt comfortable adding another language. I am always up for a good challenge, and I have a burning desire to be multilingual-in a Jane Bond, woman of the world kind of way. Chinese and Arabic are next on the to accomplish list. I decided to save the Chinese for the Rosetta Stone I am ordering for my birthday. Arabic it is then. I went to the library yesterday to get some beginners books. I have all the confidence in myself that I can at least teach myself to read and write. I checked four books out. Each looked helpful and easy to use. I sat down for my first lesson: the alphabet. Upon studying the characters, I wondered if one could really call it an alphabet because it looked more like a squiggle-bet to me. So much for an ABC sing a long song. This might be a little more difficult than I thought. I'm ok with the reading and writing right to left, but the squiggles with no English equivalents... I might need a little help with this one.

I'm gonna be a supermodel...

I would like to congratulate my sister formally for being chosen to be in the "Face of Glamour" contest in California next month. How awesome it is for her. YAY! (I hope she wins so I can quit my job to become her manager in addition to having my sister on the cover of Glamour.)

On a side note, She is also going to be on the cover of the Phoenix for their fall fashion preview. I'll let you know when it's published so you can check it out.

Good luck, Sunshine :)



www.myspace.com/hazelgemini7

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's called LETTING GO...


It became overwhelmingly apparent to me today I have a few bad habits I need to quit RIGHT NOW. I am not sure how to go about it though. Some of these habits are so ingrained in my psyche, I fear I might not be able to let go. Others, I just need to quit cold turkey and never look back. To name a few impersonal ones:

Bad habit #1: Being Late EVERYWHERE. I know it's in my last name, but it needs to stop. Being at work at 8 does not mean leaving at 8.

Bad habit #2: Attempting to do TOO much. It overwhelms the perfectionist in me and brings out the fierce procrastinator. I don't like it.

Bad habit #3: The candy jar. It gives me a stomach ache, yet I continue to reach deep down into it almost everyday. No more.

I'll keep the remaining four to myself for personal reasons, however, I am going to track my progress here. I guess it's the equivalent of gold stars...

The magic eight squish on my desk reads: "Without a doubt". There is hope for me after all.



"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."
-Henry David Thoreau

First Day Cover Gee's Bend Stamps




I read about these in last month's Oprah. I think they are cool.

Mrs. Robinson times two

My roommate and I don't get out much, which is evident in our most recent dinner conversations: pubescent red headed boys on whom we have crushes. Yes, very disturbing.

Last night at karate, we worked on grab and choke holds. The Sensei took pity on me by giving me a new yuki with whom to work. Most of the time, I have to practice with this 50 year old man I think I could take down without the karate (We are both beginners, therefore, same belt and easy to teach as a duo). But last night I had the opportunity to work with a nice orange belt who happens to be a fifteen year old red headed boy. I couldn't stop laughing the entire time I was practicing my combinations. For this combo, some one tries to grab you from behind. You can imagine this poor boy's dismay when I tried to grab his arms from behind while laughing hysterically. At least he smelt lovely. Meanwhile, I am trying not to hit him in the crotch while practicing on my turns. This would have been HIGHLY entertaining for anyone who knows me outside of class. I was extremely distracted for the first time while in the dojo. Usually, I am very serious and focused, but he just smelt so nice, and I love it when boys smell nice. I could not stop laughing. I am hoping Saturday's class goes better.

My roommate (aloha Erin) has a different story. She happens to be the BOSS of her red headed crush. They have a tendency to give each other a difficult time on the mobile or to occasionally drunk dial each other about work related gossip. I get the impression he is not as innocent as my friend is, however, just as entertaining.

I think we need to get out more...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Meet Mr. Andrew Walter


Meandering throught the streets on Saturday, I walked by a street vendor whose product caught my eye. His art work is awesome. I bought some of the small print cards and requested info about buying a poster size. I wanted to share it with you because he is really talented.

"Small Island" by Andrea Levy

I'll write my thoughts on the book at my librarything.com catalog (My library is cupcake for those interested. Great website. Definitely check it out)

Here are a few quotations I thought intriguing:


"There are some words that once spoken will split your world in two. There would be life before you breathed them and then the altered life after they'd been said. They take a long time to find, words like that. They make you hesitate. Choose with care. Hold onto them unspoken for as long as you can just so your world will stay in tact."


"You ever felt the force of a hurricane?"
"No."
"Would you like to?"

WOW...

Ray Lamontagne & Guster

I have been waiting two months for this concert. On Saturday night, my waiting finally came to an end. My friend Mary Martha and I went to see the final concert of Guster and Ray's tour, which was in their "hometown" (for Mr. Gardener and Ray, anyway). I would love to be able to say I loved the concert and it was everything I ever imagined or wanted it to be. Not the case. MMG and I eagerly arrived at the CCCC an hour before the show started. We marched right down to the front row and planted ourselves among all the high schoolers. I think we were the oldest people in the first ten rows. We were not bothered by this. The show started with some jumping of the event staff over a fence (I missed this because I was teaching MMG some karate moves). But as soon as we heard the crash we stood up to assume our positions at the gate. Rogue Wave started the show. To be honest, I have never heard any of their work before. They did impress me though. Very nice group of boys. They played well and really reacted to the crowd well.

Then the moment we had been waiting for..... Ray Lamontange. Simultaneously, I feel a huge push behind me. I turned around to find three HUGE blonde girls standing behind us, drunk, therefore, annoying. We tried to be civilized with these girls, however, everyone knows you cannot rationalize with a blonde, let alone a drunk one (sorry Bethy, I do love you!). Of course I was not tolerating any of it and stood my ground. I elbowed the girl every time she pushed her huge fatty breast up against us. It reached the point where I turned around and told the girl if she touched me one more time, I would punch her into next week. She just looked at me. All of this is happening while Ray is playing. I am missing the best and only part of the concert I care about. I was livid. It reminded me of the time I saw the Counting Crows at the Wiltern Theater in LA - a gay couple got into a fight in front of me, which made me miss my favorite CC song. But this time I refused to let these heinous girls ruin the show for me. MMG tried to dance in a big fashion so they would move but to no avail. She then used her southern graces, which also did not work. I think she was afraid I was really going to get into a battle. Finally, the people next to us both told the security guard if he didn't stop them, I was going to start a fight. That ended the fiasco and Ray's time onstage...

Not one problem ensued the entire time Guster played. I ended up standing at the gate with a group of boys who went to the same high school I did. Only here in this state could you stand in the front row at a concert and meet someone who knows someone you do. Guster was great. The rest of the show was good. I was happy to be rid of the three headed beasts so I could enjoy Guster, but I was very sad to have missed most of Ray. I am already watching for his next show near me...

Serves me right

Thursday morning...I think I am going to die. Once again, I have no idea what she put in those two drinks, but it will be a miracle if I make it through the day. I started the day off with some greasy hash browns and oj only to have to leave work at noon so I would not get sick at my desk. I took a three hour nap then headed back to the office. Not one person noticed I was gone. I wasn't sure if I should be grateful or a little sad. Lunch consisted of french fries. So much for all the hard work in the dojo. I cannot believe it is possible to feel this disgustingly bad after 16 ounces of liquid. I ended my day at 8:30 p.m. vowing never to let that squishy little bartender make me another drink again...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My night out at Vinny's

Wednesday night, I traveled to a lovely beach town (one of my favorites; god and future husband willing, I hope to have a house there one day). My sole purpose for entertaining a school night out was to be a wing girl for my friend Amanda at a bar called "Vinny's". This local hot spot has a "hip hop" night on Wednesdays for those who would like to join the 21st century. We strolled in at 10ish only to be greeted by her friend. From that point on, the night just got better and better. Turns out Whit did not need a wing girl; she was absolutely fine on auto pilot (and that boy really should reconsider the horrible bartender). Speaking of horrible bartenders, I do not know what she put in our drinks, but I only had two and half and was completely intoxicated. It could be I just don't drink that much, as I cannot remember the last time I was out (Matt's bday??) or she was giving me gins with splashes of tonic. So much for using a two drink maximum to my advantage. Under the influence, I left my post to go dance by myself. Don't ask, I have no idea why I thought that was a good idea. As soon as I hit the dance floor, I was greeted by a Jamaican man named, Wade. Of course I have no idea what he said to me during the two songs we danced with the exception of

"Do you have boyfriend?"
"No."
"Do you want one?"
...Oh dear, I should have lied.

At that point, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, then returned to my post. Eventually, the nice Jamaican man found me to get my number so he could take me to dinner at the "Red Lobster." I did not have the heart to tell him I actually do not eat lobster. It is only one of two things I will not eat. Another being a black substance somewhat resembling a sea urchin, maybe a blow fish, delivered to my table at Chinese restaurants. Both are icky.

Finally, we left the bar but not without being followed by two other males. We got into the car, locked the doors, and then rolled the windows down a little to inquire about what they might want. I have no idea what the first boy said to Whit, but the boy at my window informed me that on Saturday, I would be dancing with him and no one else. I just smiled and told him to have a good night. This is why I stay home. Scary.

Of course we did not drive straight home. We were distracted by the golden arches. Yes, we at a 10 piece chicken nugget meal without any regret. Then we proceeded home..Ah bed...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meet Ale' Romero




I borrowed this picture without permission because I felt his parents would not mind (sorry, Kate & David). He is making his first trip to meet his grand parents and to see his mom's hometown. In this trip, I get to meet him. I cannot wait! Like a proud "aunt," I thought I'd show him off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Time

Do you ever worry there is not enough time to do all the things you want to do? To try all the things you want to try? To see all the places, eat all the food, read all the books...

Sometimes, I worry there is not enough time to do all the lovely things my reeling mind comes up with...

Monday, August 14, 2006

A day in the life of the family

Two questions I receive on a regular basis are "Why don't you have a boyfriend?" and "Why are you here?" The first one is easy: when I am 35 and boys act old enough to date, then sure, I'll think about it. (Thank you Erik for the advice and little Julia, your father is right.) I also have yet to meet anyone who could deal with my absolutely crazy family, which became more evident on Sunday. I spent the entire day with my aunts and uncles. They subjected me to a terrible breakfast (I LOVE breakfast, and I am a breakfast snob. I consider myself an expert on the meal and prefer local no-name diners hidden in spots in town only locals can find) at a chain restaurant. However, the meal was great because my father's older brother is HYSTERICAL. I have to give props to Barbara for marrying him. She's an angel!

For them, this is the city. They don't get out much. Luckily, they only wanted to do minimal shopping (Thank God!), which pertained to furniture and a wholesale club (I don't mind clubs so much because of the book selections). After a brief bout of consumerism, I became the tour guide and showed them all the wonderful spots in my beloved city. We kicked off the tour at the parking garage. I have yet to find a better view of the harbor than the one I accidentally found on the 8th floor of this garage. The view is 360 degrees of the harbor and bay. It's fantastic. The tour almost ended there though because my eldest uncle thinks he's ancient and almost died walking up the stairs. But in the end he claimed it was worth the effort because the view was spectacular.

From there the we went to every beautiful and favorite place I could think of to show them. They saw all the lighthouses, all the beaches, all the best places to eat, drink and be merry. The islands, the eastern prom, everywhere. I showed them everything they wanted to see and then some. It was nice to acquaint them with all the things I see on a daily basis and sometimes take for granted.

However, the highlight of the day came before lunch. My dad's youngest sister and her husband thought it would be funny to start talking about the porno they happened to click past on TV the night before. The conversation became something a niece should not hear but that never stops them. I thought everyone was going to pee in my car before we made it to lunch. I'll spare you the details of the conversation as they were traumatic enough for me to hear. Then they wonder why I do not have a boyfriend. I doubt I'll ever be able to subject anyone to the peculiarities of my wonderful family.

After our adventure, I was sad to see them leave. I love my family very much. After their departure, I realized why I am here: because it is beautiful and my family is wildly entertaining. I would hate to miss out on the Christmas parties, despite the sex toy exchanges. I can't wait until Thanksgiving...

My disdain for American Consumerism

It's no secret that I despise shopping. In fact, I almost break out into hives when I actually have to go buy something, with the exception of grocery shopping, stationery shopping, and gift shopping . I love food, and I love to cook. I would consider myself a grocery store snob, but that is another story all together. I love to write to people. Yes, snail mail is my preferred method of communication. Therefore, buying stationery brings me great joy. I love to buy gifts for people. I find it entertaining and fun, but that is where I draw the line. As far as "retail therapy," well, I'd rather sit through another accounting lecture than go to a mall to spend my hard earned dollars. I absolutely do not think people from opposite genders should shop together EVER. Talk about torture. Boys, I know how you feel. I have only shopped with two males in all my life, and I could probably tolerate only one of them if I had to do it again. I do not plan to go with any future prospects unless it is imperative to his well-being or mine.

There are a number of reasons for my loathing America's favorite past time. I would like to attribute it to the accountant and the economist in me. I think a great deal of our country's problems lie in people's searching for meaning in a bigger tv. I have an entire philosophy on it should anyone care to hear. Another reason could be my being "fashionally challenged," which is evident in my "limited wardrobe" as my ex-boyfriend so graciously told me once. I could think of a score of reasons related to my childhood and Freud. However, I would like to attribute it to my apathy for clothing. I could do without clothes altogether if they were not a formality or a societal necessity.

Well, the reason for the long monologue is that I had to go shopping on Saturday to get clothing for work. What agony. After two hours of searching, fighting for dressing rooms with tourists, trying things on, and waiting a lengthy amount of time in lines, I ended up with a shirt, a sweater, and a skirt. Instead of forging on, I left. The return on my investment just was not there. How on earth is that fun? I think I will remain steadfast in my opinion about shopping.

http://www.economist.com/index.html

Friday, August 11, 2006

Theme Song

For some reason, today, I feel like I need my theme song. I have always resorted to this song when I feel I might cry, throw a punch, feel a little defeated, need motivation or for whatever reason. I can hear the words going through my mind. It just comes to me...

"Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

No I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
... and I won't back down

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
in a world that keeps on pushin me around
but I'll stand my ground
...and I won't back down

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
hey I will stand my ground
(I won't back down)
and I won't back down...

(I won't back down...)
Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(I won't back down)
hey I won't back down
(and I won't back down)
hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down)
hey I will stand my ground
(and I won't back down)
and I won't back down
(I won't back down)
No I won't back down..."

I did not pick this song, it picked me. Strangely enough, I have no idea why but it has been a part of me for so long now, I just cannot imagine not hearing it.

(If I knew how, I'd link the song, but I am still a newbie. Credits go to Tom Petty.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My First Night at Karate

Yes, I finally made the plunge to sign up for Karate. Last night was my first night in the dojo. I wore a gi and bowed to my Sensei. I also learned the eight point blocks, three kinds of kicks, the correct position to hold your hands in a fight, as well as stances and cranes. It was wonderful. I loved every minute of it. I can't wait until the next class. The focus and physical prowess necessary for the martial art are tremendous. Fortunately, I am athletic and surprisingly, my tennis skills come in very handy. Standing on the balls of my feet is not difficult and the blocks are a lot like tennis strokes. My friend, Brad, has agreed to fight with me after a few months of class. I think I might have a chance...

Did I mention I can't walk today?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Syriana

Now that I don't work in the entertainment business, I feel I can enjoy the cinema occasionally. Sunday night, I watched "Syriana." I really liked this movie. Politics were portrayed powerfully but not forcefully. I was moved by the events and the characters, which always makes for better viewing entertainment. Actually, now I'm motivated to learn to speak Arabic. I've added it to my Rosetta Stone list. The actors gave a qualiy performance and for a good cause. It just makes you wonder, when is all of it going to stop? Who will be brave enough to put an end to the obvious as well as the overwhelming misfortune? I admit it, yes I am political and yes, I want to save the world. But sometimes, I feel like the Lion in the "Wizard of Oz" who is always looking for his courage.

Watch this movie. It is eye opening. But you already knew that...

P.S. I am open to movie suggestions. I know I have about six years worth of catching up to do, so any help selecting titles is always welcome.

It's amazing what a bedroom and a closet will do for your morale....

It's official, I am no longer homeless, for the moment. I was beginning to worry my life would be plagued forever by constant uncertainty, which was embellishing my fear of commitment at an alarming rate. (I can commit to people, just nothing else). I've moved from the realm of constant uncertainty to temporary certainty, but everyone who knows me, knows it won't last. Therefore, I will bask in the wonderful comfort of my "bedroom," which is fully equipped with a closet, until things change again. I have not had a closet since 2002 about which I am absolutely and sadly serious. Since June, I've stayed in seven different places. I have mastered the art of changing in a parking garage. I can't decide if that embarrasses me or makes me proud. I was showering at the Hilton and my car started to resemble a closet. I purchased a cooler because I was so uncertain about where I'd be every night that I wanted to at least have options about food (shockingly, eating out every night is not that exciting. Nothing beats a nice bowl of honey nut cheerios with some delicious blueberries and raspberries.) My plight became a game I started to enjoy. It was the only chance I had to be creative during the day. But now that it's over, I have to admit it's nice to have a place to put Mr. Matthews, my hugs & kisses jar, and my "to read" pile.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Meg's Birthday Weekend

Ahhh, Meg's birthday weekend...First, I'd like to thank the other Meg and Caleb for letting us so graciously use their home for a rocking party. Second, what a lovely celebration. My most favorite girl from Indiana turned 26 this past weekend. A group of fantastic people assembled to enjoy two days at the beach, a lobster feast, and a campfire that lasted until 3 a.m. Meg was a champ! Tim and Mary Martha twirled fire (I immediately signed up for lessons. I'm awaiting my poi as we speak!), and everyone provided great entertainment. It was an awesome get together. I can't wait until we meet again. Happy Birthday again Meg!!

P.S. Tim, you make the most unbelievable ice cream cake ever. It was sooo good!

pictures to follow...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Little Inspiration:

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your works is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

-Steve Jobs to Stanford Class of 2005

Vacationland

Yes, I admit it: I have an obsession for magazines. I can't explain why or when it started, but any one who knows me can attest to the fact. They are in my car, they are piled in my storage unit (which is where all of my personal belongings are at the moment. Officially, I am a vagabond who is honestly and completely homeless, but I'm working on that. If only I could figure out where I should go...) and they are piled on my desk at work. I love them. This passion led me to the most recent Travel and Leisure Issue, which to my complete amazement, had a very detailed article about Maine. This is a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. I intend to own a beachside bungalow and a lakeside villa in the state at some point in my life. Check out the article:

www.travelandleisure.com/articles/maine-course

P.S. Duckfat has the best fries in the entire world.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Buy a Net

www.millenniumpromise.org

On a more serious note...

Recently, I watched a foreign film titled "Paradise Now," which is about the Israelis and the Palestinians and their conflict in Gaza. I wanted to watch the movie this spring after seeing the trailer but did not get the chance. In light of current events, I was motivated to seek it out. (A weekend of rain helped as well.) The movie was not what I expected but it motivated me to learn more about the issues at hand and the history of the people involved. I grabbed the most recent "Economist" to see the details from a non-American perspective, and I inquired about Lebanon from my friend Matt who was recently there. I was intrigued by all of my "research," which I plan to continue, but one thing I couldn't stop thinking about had more to do with fate. We have no say what so ever about where we are born. How fortunate of us to be born in this country and how sad it is to see such little support for those who did not get dealt such a great hand. Too many happily blind people sit smugly while others suffer tremendously. I'm not out to find answers or to rally for everyone to "save the world," but where is a sense of humanity?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dreams

I just finished reading "The Time Traveler's Wife" (more on that later). This is the first time I have read a book that has affected my dreams so vividly. The last two nights, I have had the most real and completely unsettling dreams I've ever had. They were so real that when I woke up, I thought for certain the events truly happened. Of course the context of the dreams were based a little on what I was reading, and I'm almost certain the dreams were caused by reading the book, but the events in the dreams pertained to my life. The characters and situtations were pertinent only to me. It was so disturbing and alarming that I feel I might need a small hiatus from reading at the moment. I don't know that I've ever taken a hiatus from reading...that is just as bothersome as the dreams...