Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As promised...







...Roger in the snow.

He got his last round of puppy shots yesterday, and I found out he's now 6.3 pounds! He gained 2 pounds in the last month. Heffer! I've been watching the clock, waiting for yesterday to come because now we can go to dog parks and take obedience classes. Roger's as close as they come to perfect, but he's a puppy, thus making him a perfect devil.

On another note, I feel like I am barely inching towards the finish line of 2009. Come on, new decade!

On another note, I have been eating peppermint bark and chocolate-walnut fudge in alarming quantities this season. Oh, and I'm absolutely and officially addicted to froyo.

On another note, I've also eaten way too many yogurt covered pretzels. Wait, that's probably the same note as above.

On another note, my dad's in Dubai. So jealous.

On my last note, I am gifting etsy galore this Christmas, and all my packages have started tumbling in. I love the original quality of these doodads and trinkets, and I hope the giftees love these one-of-a-kinds as much as me!

On my final note of the day, BIGGEST LOSER TONIGHT! I'm rooting for Danny.





Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow!

I couldn't hardly believe it.




At first, it was sleet.



Then it looked a little fluffier, a little softer. And then it started to float.



It snowed in Houston on Friday! Even more than that, IT STUCK! So cool. What a beautiful treat for us.

Roger + Snow pics to come.


On another note, I am an avid tea drinker. Usually, it's this tea because I spend most of my time at work, and my company supplies us all sorts of yummy drinks for free.








I love, love green tea, but I feel like this is about to become a new winter tradition:

I'm distracted today, but just wanted to post about the momentous occasion! Hope you all had a great weeked!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flyin' By!



The end of the year is coming up quickly! This Thanksgiving was my favorite by far. I have a feeling this Christmas - in Portland, YES! - will be one of my favorites as well. Roger is growing up way too fast and is rip-roaring around the place at dizzying paces!





I am a big New Year's resolutions fan. I know a lot of people aren't, and I judge all of you for that. I gave up Diet Coke for 2009. It's the only resolution I can remember, and therefore probably the only one I kept.




What's the challenge for 2010, you ask? This is my newest sacrifice:




That's right. Chocolate. I definitely didn't think I could do without my precious Coke Zero/Diet Coke for a year, and that turned out to be relatively easy. But chocolate? Just the thought makes me grab a Toblerone and tear into it like there's no tomorrow.

I'm also resolving to run a half marathon in the first half of 2010.

Both of these things are requiring courage in even ATTEMPTING to complete them. But I'm excited and challenged and therefore satisfied.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On this Friday...

...I wish I was snuggled up in one of these:

Laying on one of these:

Watching this:
I really dislike K.H., but my love for G.B. overcomes all odds. With all the work I have to do, it's amazing that I still don't feel like I've plugged into today yet.

Bottle of wine and baby puppy waiting for me at home...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday


1. A busy day that includes getting to deliver and discuss a new business proposal.

2. The opportunity to go home at lunch and kiss my sweet, little dog (and be kissed back!).

3. That Friday comes after Thursday.

4. Eating only chocolate for lunch (which really was only a good idea at the time, but still makes me smile).

5. High heels on hard floors. Such a sexy sound.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Weirdest Things...

The littlest, weirdest things make or break me.

I bought a cool cup this weekend. Make.
I overeat. Break.
Got (lovingly) made fun of for going to bed so early and let it affect me. Break.
Talked in my sleep and again got lovingly made fun of. Make.
Regular Sunday naps. Make.
Knowing that all my old friends are hanging out and growing closer to each other without me. Break.
High altitude running. Make.
Reliving highschool excitement over the MTV VMAs. Make.
Not sleeping well due to worry over sleeping in. Break.
Stressing about how easily I break. Break. Break. Break.

Steamboat Lake is absolutely one of my favorite places on earth! Charlie and I spend a lot of time outside, and have found a park near my dream neighborhood where we play soccer and frisbee every Sunday. This park is pristine: at the feet of the moutains, gorgeous green fields, and the same familes and pets seem to show up every week. It's the backyard of several homes in the neighborhood. Rachel Zoe may die for fabric and heels; I die for scenery like that.

When we're not together though, while Charlie is working on Saturdays for example, my time is usually divided between town, books and food. Recently I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it was literary crack. I am so enchanted by farms and raising animals for reasons other than being pets, and I love the idea that maybe I might someday "live off the land" and "live closer to the earth." It's definitely a new goal of mine to have a garden everywhere I live, and while my first attempt here in Colorado has included only parsley and basil, my diet and soul have both been enriched by a life of planting, pruning, growing, picking and finally eating.

One of the draws of a simpler life - one out in the mountains, one spent weeding in my free time - is there is less energy for breaking. It takes a lot of life to constantly be breaking yourself down, life that could be enjoyed encouraging the seeds of joy and peace, pruning the wild branches of relationships and living off the rich spoils of a life lovingly tended.

A life lovingly tended. Make.

Friday, September 11, 2009

There's no title for this post.

I fell off the bandwagon in a bad, bad way. I haven't kept "plugged in" to anything the past couple months - facebook, personal email, blogging. Sometimes a little distance is a good thing; other times, it's just running away. A new toy (yes, I hold a Blackberry to my ear several times a day now) has switched me back on, though, and hopefully joining the 21st century of technology will keep me accountable to staying in touch with loved ones around the country and world.

Colorado is the centerfold of the United States; it's the golden, basted turkey on the Thanksgiving table. I have loved the past 2-1/2 months here. I have til the end of December and then it's most likely back to Houston with the likes of me.

My time here has been strategically divided between Parachute (where my apartment is), Rifle (where I work), Steamboat Lake (where Charlie works) and my kitchen/couch. I've read scores of great books and watched way too much Bravo. Charlie and I honed our ping pong skills and dabbled in pool and shuffleboard as often as possible. And we cooked. Cooked a lot.

What I haven't done here is grow as much as I wanted. Along with commitment issues, it's becoming increasingly more difficult for me to focus on myself in positive ways. I took stock of my inner dialogue and words said aloud about myself, and it's shameful. I would never talk to anyone the way I do to myself; I'd never neglect anyone the way I do myself. Something's gotta give.

Have you told yourself "I love you?" lately? It's way harder than it should be.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back and Forth...and Back

Our house in San Antonio is being leased, so we are doing a dizzy dance trying to move and shuffle our stuff around. Some into storage, some to Ray and Katie's, other to Houston for good, the rest to Houston temporarily. I'm so sick of I10.

On top of this, I'm getting my annual bout of strep throat. Not a happy camper right here.

Anyways, just wanted to drop in before I got so far behind that I couldn't catch up. My rotation in Houston is rapidly drawing to a close, and good things are in the near future.

Anyways, my brain feels overwhelmed with complaints and discontentment, so I'll let this post go for now.

Optimistic days ahead? I mean...!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

AI

Having not watched a single episode of this season of American Idol, I thought the finale would be a good place to start. Little did I know I was sitting down to the Adam Lambert show. Without a doubt, his voice is outrageously good. I felt my inner diva belting right along with him every time he sang. But also, in my opinion, there’s no question that Kris should have been the winner, and I’m glad the votes agreed with me. Apart from Kris’s voice, looks and talents, the fact that the show was so obviously biased towards Lambert made Kris’s win all the more exciting.

Remind me, please, why I’m not constantly on-my-face-grateful for my life. Some people, like my mom, are not circumstantially happy. She is just happy all the time. She is unaffected by the little things all the time. I’m not there yet, but I’m working towards that kind of contentment and security because it is truly one of the most inspiring, refreshing dispositions I’ve ever known.

Today, I’m happy because of the circumstances. Things are undeniably good this week. Rather than beat myself up for knowing that I wouldn’t be in this great of a mood if the week had gone differently, I’m going to be thankful and spread the love. I got to be Kris Allen this week, the one who walked away with ultimate joy and giddiness, even though sometimes it seems like we’re performing in a show designed for someone else. Maybe it’s using my God-given ability, flashing a smile and staying humble that makes the confetti fall and stars shine in my brief episode of life.

And blaring Queen every once in a while probably couldn't hurt either....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To be Read and Re-Read

When our starting point is a place of gratitude, we have already won before we begin. –Kristen Armstrong

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience. Emerson

Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go. Eliot

Isn’t it great how certain people can elicit our improvement simply by their presence? – KA

One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world. Ann Radcliffe.

Yesterday afternoon and today have been hard. I took a shower after I got home from the gym yesterday, got in bed, and stayed there until I went to sleep. Today has gone pretty quickly, but the weight of missing my best friend is heavier than usual, making my routine feel cumbersome and uninspiring.

Fortunately, God is gracious, and He brought me across these quotes throughout the day. What a treasure trove of words!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

List

Today, I'm a list person.

1. Running 3 miles today. I've been mentally preparing for most of the day. Okay, okay - I realize running 3 miles isn't a big deal. "Real" runners do it all the time. Me, I'm still in the poser runner phase, so the mileage is tracked and re-tracked like a much loved vehicle. My feeble brain hopes that thinking about running 3 miles will transition seamlessly into running 3 miles without so much as a trickle of sweat. Oh, delusion, my closest friend!

2. On the heels of #1 is my new addiction: runnersworld.com. There is one particular columnist, Kristin Armstrong, whose union of running and zen living is better than a whole batch of
chocolate fudge brownies.

3. I want a garden. Correction: I want to build and tend to a vegetable garden. And then I want to eat the fruits of my labor!

4. I'm ready - beyond ready - to move to Colorado. I'm really only in Houston for another 3 weeks, not counting the two weeks I'll be in Thailand.

5. We're growing up, always. "It's not what you do once in a while that makes a difference; it's what you do day in and day out."

6. Tried a new recipe last night from the cookbook Chas gave me. Chicken Piccata! Mmmm.

7. Can't wait to see my girls this weekend. :)

8. It feels so good, so enlivening, to GIVE. Give compliments, give hugs, give a smile, laughter, gifts, food, freedom of expression -- it feels like my innermost spirit, where my precious Jesus lives, to give.

Monday, May 18, 2009

ON!

The trip to Thailand is on! Bought my tickets today. June 11-25. Hopefully the country won't erupt in bloody violence this time!

Thank you, Jesus, for Thailand!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday!

This is a wimpy thing to admit, yet I’m extremely proud: I ran 3 miles straight yesterday! It’s nothing to write home about, but it was a personal victory because I’ve never done that before, and because by the time I was done with mile 2, I felt like there was no way I’d make it to mile 3.

See, I have a problem finishing things. It stems from a fear of commitment; the thought of signing up for something and then following through 100% is an almost impossible task for me. It’s a character flaw, I know, and one of the ways I’m working through it is exercise. Though it may seem like the babiest of baby steps, being able to run through that last mile is an accomplishment worth recording, and it gives me hope for other commitments I want to someday make and then follow through on.

So here comes the new goal: half marathon training. I’m not pledging to actually do a half-marathon (yet), but I’ve got my training schedule all printed out and I plan to follow it. Got some new Asics yesterday for additional motivation.

Another exciting thing is that the trip to Thailand is back on, and unless something goes awry, I’ll be booking my flight/hotel next week! Can’t wait! The end of this rotation is rapidly coming to an end, and then it’s off to Colorado!

Our Verse

1 Peter 2:23-24

When they hurled insults at him,
he did not retaliate;
when he suffered,
he made no threats.

Instead.

He entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness:

by his wounds you have been healed!
Amen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Travel

I'm ready to travel again. That's pretty much it.

I've committed myself to work out every day for the next 30 days. I'm on day 3, already regretting my decision, trying to muscle my way through. It doesn't have to be long or even intensive, but I need to elevate my heart rate at least once a day for at least 30 minutes for 27 more days. Sigh.

I want to be Helen, from the Biggest Loser, minus the old woman skin.

Again, that's pretty much it. I'm reading Outliers - very, very good. I'm also reading Amos, and it's very, very good.

LOST season finale tonight!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nothing new

San Antonio this weekend. This will be my first time back at the house since before Australia (I think). My parents are getting it ready to be leased, so I’m mentally preparing myself for a house that looks muted, generic and pristine – not words I’d use to describe the house I “grew up” in. While still being super clean, our house never felt sterile. There was a richness and depth to every corner in the home. Tonight when I pull up to Lightstone, I feel like I’ll be stepping into a place that already belongs to someone else.

I’m also bummed because Charlie’s not here to explore the weekend with me. Lame.

Books I can’t wait to read:
The Outliers (got it for my birthday, woo!), Malcolm Gladwell
Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton Christensen
None of these are on my “For Fun” reading list, although they will be fun to read, if that makes sense.

Nothing new to report – I’m ready for the mountains. I’m ready for the summer in Colorado, for the winter in Colorado. I’m ready to not be 24, but there’s no regression I hear. I hate that quote – youth is wasted on the young. I’m not even sure that’s how it goes but I’m too lazy to google it right now. I hate the quote because it’s so true.

I can feel myself standing on the edge of a quarter-life crisis. Big time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flurries!

Journaling is empowering. Writing your feelings, seeing your emotions – it’s cathartic. Last night, starting a new journal after almost a year of keeping an electronic (read: MS Word) journal made me a little overly excited and bold. I spoke out. It was a good thing. I spend significant amounts of energy trying to be non-confrontational, but it was important to me on principle that he know he cannot use me, in any way, shape or form. It was scary, I cried, I talked to Charlie and then I wrote like I haven’t written in a while. God, what a beautiful night.

It’s a new day now, and my yellow journal sits with me even at work.

Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. Where has 2009 gone, and how in the world can Ray be turning 26 next month? How is Paul 22 in June (especially since I’m still supposed to be 22)? Ohh I don’t handle aging gracefully at all. Tomorrow I’ll probably cry more than I laugh, but this happens on every birthday, family member’s birthday, major holidays, beautiful days, boring days…I’m a crier. What can I say?

Right now Charlie is way up in the mountains of Colorado, still driving to Steamboat Lake State Park. He says little snow flurries are hitting his windshield; it’s snowing! I couldn’t be happier for that man, and I couldn’t miss him any more. Colorado is...there’s not even a word. It’s magic.

Tonight is the Biggest Loser finale! I don’t care who wins just as long as it’s not Tara….although who’s gonna beat her, really? No one.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer of Love

I’ve been meditating on 1 Cor. 13 lately. It’s the love chapter, and I hadn’t focused on it for the majority of my life because I was scared of realizing I’m not a good lover. Yes, my first line of defense is denial – if I don’t see my weaknesses, they must not be there, right? I don’t mean a lover as in “bow chicka wow wow” lover either; I mean someone who loves and cares for and needs healthy, fulfilling relationships in her life, male or female.

Turns out I was right to never sit down and think about this chapter because it turns out I’m a lousy lover.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
perseveres.

This is only part of the chapter, but it’s the most famous. Honestly, I’m not good at any of these things. Sad, huh? But something beautiful happens when you’re made aware of your imperfections by someone who truly does love you, that is, someone who IS patient, who IS kind, who DOESN’T envy or boast, who IS NOT PROUD.

Makes me misty-eyed to even think about such love, a Mr. Verse 5, if you will.

And now he’s gone to Colorado to grace another part of the world with his love. I hope Steamboat Lake enchants him like it did me, and I hope the sadness of being apart bears fruit within us that protects our hearts, trusts His word, hopes in our best futures and perseveres towards our One True Love.

Until then, ice cream and crying, baby.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Estres

Just when you think you can't get any more stressed, the bottom drops out. It started with a large medical bill I got in the mail recently. Then it was needing contacts and glasses (and having to pay for them myself for the first time in my life). Next was the obscenely expensive, unnecessary speeding ticket. Charlie decides to move to Colorado within the week. Lopping off my own side view mirror with some help from the garage.

And then my car got flooded out by the rain. Awesome.

Enough was enough with the $300+ med bill. The expensive procedure was so invasive, gross and ghastly, by the way, that the doctors should have had to pay ME! But one thing after another keeps falling from the sky...and I'm weak! I'm scared! I'm....annoyed.

Fortunately I'm taking Friday off to be with Charlie, as this will be our last weekend together for quite some time. But hooray that the next time we meet will be in gorgeous, summery Colorado -- and he will be a ranger!

I need to lose some weight. I've said this I-don't-know-how-many-times in my life, but now I mean it because I really do want to lose a little weight. Fortunately I'm hearing that there's nothing to do in Rifle except work out, watch TV and ski, so I'm hoping to regain my high school/early college physique in July. Biggest Loser blows my mind. These people that were morbidly obese 13 weeks ago could drag me all over a running track and then do pulls up off the goalpost with me hanging on to them. Amazing. Frustrating.

My car is in the shop which means I'll be at work til about 5. That's a first (but probably not a last).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Michael J Fox

I've been reading "The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" the past few days. Great book. It's taught me worlds about Parkinson's Disease. Today I read a quote that really touched me, and even though Fox is clear that he does not believe in Jesus or Christianity or religion at all, I want to believe that someday he will re-read his own words and see them in a different light:

"We do so much to protect ourselves from the truth, but what I have learned and drawn strength and comfort from, especially over the last 17 years or so, is that the truth protects us from ourselves. That is, of course, if we can recognize it and trust it."

Love it.

The Day it Flooded in Houston

I guess it's not that unusual for Houston to flood, but today is my first experience with it. Rained all night long...ALL night long. I wear ear plugs at night to block out my parents (no offense; I'm lucky to have parents that love to talk to each other), and even with my noise blockers, the thunder still sounded like someone was taking a sledgehammer to a loose brick wall. Jackie was up most of the night "protecting" us.

I'm working from home today because the roads are under water. Guess who's gone back to bed after a long night of barking? Exactly.

Tonight is The Biggest Loser, one of my favorite shows. I love Jillian.

Hebrews 11. Praying Hebrews 11.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Overwhelmed

I've been overwhelmed in the last few weeks.

Personal life - Charlie's moving to Colorado next week. We've spent a large part of our relationship apart, so I'm not sure why I'm so upset about this transition, but I have been tearing myself up. Truthfully the distance, the obstacles that come with distance and the unity that comes with distance is a refreshing relationship detox, and it's a challenge I need. It's hard for me to keep idols out of my life, especially when it comes to the people I love most. It's hard not to seek them first, ask them first, want their advice first, crave their love first...but these loved ones weren't meant to be first. My Love is supposed to be first. So as I struggle through releasing this crazy grip on Charlie, I'm strengthened knowing that this is all part of God's plan to draw me back home, to his arms, to his love. And we say Thanks and Amen, Jesus.

I've been struggling with anger a lot recently. Anger, impatience, rudeness...a lot of really ugly qualities that I hate and don't want in my heart. I've been quick to anger and harsh with my thoughts and words. Things like this sneak up on me and leave me disliking myself more than anyone I'm directing these terrible emotions toward. No more, please. Let's end it.

I'm almost 24 - can I freak out about this? What have I done with my life that's worthwhile? This is a hard question. What do I WANT to do with my life that's worthwhile? Even harder.

Rain is coming this afternoon. A reflection of the state of my heart, perhaps?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Teabagging

"It's hard to talk when you're teabagging." - Anderson Cooper (CNN)

"It's teabagging day for the right wing and they are going nuts for it." -David Shuster (MSNBC)

Man, I HATE the media. The Tea parties, which was a huge, unpublicized event across our GOD-FEARING (despite what Obama says) nation, were historic and monumental for me. I'm a conservative, not a Republican, and although it was my right-wing Americans that organized and staged this event, I support it 100%.

So the media has to go and completely, unabashedly bash the whole concept, the whole spirit of freedom of speech. In the weeks leading up to April 15, no unbiased-yet-undeniably-liberal media outlet even mentioned the parties in an effort to squelch attendance. It didn't work. Then, when the day did come, not even an ounce of respect was showed for these people's beliefs or efforts. Instead, the anchors and writers made unprofessional, idiotic, childish jokes about teabagging.

The question I always ask myself when things like this happen is what would the media have done if it were liberals throwing these parties? It would have been a zoo, highly promoted for weeks, months in advance. What if a conservative said the things Obama says? Our rock star president gets away with anything he wants, and I'm so worried it's going to be too late before we stand up as an unstoppable force to reclaim all our rights.

I'm not anti-Obama. He's our president, and if he fails, we all fail. But he is the most radical, socialist presence the White House has ever seen, and if you think socialism is a good thing, do your homework. Have you read the Homeland Security assesment that calls the right dangerous and extremists? We're a homeland security threat now for having different beliefs than that of our president?

I try not to get too political, but I'm angry. Tea Parties (Taxed Enough Already Parties, if you didn't know) should be encouraged, not demeaned. Our country was founded on Christian ideals, Mr. President, and the more you denounce our foundation, the more disgusted I get. You can continue to take more and more of my paycheck, and I know you will, but do something about this media that sucks at its job.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter weekend

Thailand is out, or postponed rather, due to the protests and violence that erupted over the weekend. Big, fat bummer, but the rescheduled trip is the last two weeks of June. This is actually a relief because I was going over there to teach SAP, something I know next-to-nothing about. So, relief.

I was really emotional this Easter. A lot of things are happening right now, a lot of hard things, a lot of things that need require strength and silence, two things I’m very bad at. Cryfest April 2009 was spearheaded by reading/finishing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, not quite an easy book as it turns out. Why did no one tell me this? I’m also overwhelmed by Jesus, and there’s nothing deeper to that statement. Why so much love for someone like me? And with the comfort and security of that love, why can’t I return it to the world around me?

I was really, really emotional this Easter.

My work calendar has been freed up, and I’m not excited about this. Busy is the only way to be, and empty is the only way for weekends to be. Colorado gets closer by the day; Charlie applied to work at SLSP again and I pray he gets the job!

Walk/jogged another 10K this weekend. It wasn't even that I needed the exercise, although I did; I just wanted an excuse to be active and outside, and a way to measure the productivity of my outside activity. This sunshine drives me crazy with excitement. It makes me jittery with desire. There’s nothing better than the sun, except a sunny day at the beach. Soon?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This is a long one (that's what she said)...

I saw this on someone’s New Year resolution blog from December. I am addicted to resolutions and wish I had seen this before the beginning of the year, but since I didn’t, I’m declaring April 9, 2009 my official day of being resolute.

I will remember: The Bible always brings peace, my body is not who I am and there’s no point comparing my life’s trajectory to anyone else’s. I will remember that usually NOT saying the thing I most want to say is the best idea, unless it’s 100% positive and uplifting.

One place I will go: Australia, Thailand and Colorado are givens. I will go somewhere on the east coast.

One physical habit I will break: not keeping my skin hydrated.

One physical habit I will cultivate: getting a facial every once in a while.

One mental habit I will break: going to destructive places in my mind when I’m already down. I will not be overwhelmed by all bad things when only one bad thing is happening at a time.

One mental habit I will cultivate: making my initial thoughts and judgments about people, even strangers, ones of acceptance and love.

One relationship I will repair: Jackie.

One home repair I'll finally get around to: not a repair, but I will truly decorate and make my apartment in Colorado a home, even though I’ll only be there 6 months. This includes hanging pictures, getting furniture of my choice and having fresh flowers.

One work habit I will change: i won't continue feeling intimidated by people I’ve never even met.

One thing I'll throw out: not throw out, but give away old art supplies to my mom’s school, and donate all old clothes and shoes to charity.

One thing I'll eat more often: vegetables. I’m getting there.

One thing I'll eat less of: ice cream. (I’m in love with sorbet right now)

One thing I'll drink more: white tea, different types of beer and wheat grass

One thing I'll drink less: already gave up diet coke/coke zero…

One overdue e-mail I'll send, or overdue phone call I'll make: my brothers

One person I'll treat more respectfully: people I’ve spoken about negatively

One thing I'll spend less money on: eating out in general. I love to cook; I need to do it more
.
One change I'll make in my finances: finding a good charity that I can 100% get behind, besides Mars Hill Church– sponsoring a child?

One thing I'll spend less time doing: thinking of relationship-damaging “what ifs” or “I wish”-es. This pertains to all my relationships. Watching TV.

Something I'll spend more time doing: studying history and politics. Reading constructive
books. Reading whatever kind of books I want. Everyone says this: working out. Praying.

One resolution I've made before but will honor this time: be in better contact with my brothers and their girlfriends/fianc├ęs. Limiting stress-eating.

I gained: 2 new continents, a wider horizon and a man who knows me better than anyone ever has.

I lost: wondering what would happen if the past reappeared. I lost college, and am so glad to see it go. I lost the responsibility - burden - of carrying an organization that beat me down in every way. I lost a body that I used to work relentlessly on, and I’ve gained four abdomen scars and a neglected body.

I stopped: being so concerned about having to know if he’s “the one” this instant. I stopped worrying what people thought of us.

I started: eating more vegetables, a new job, wearing heels all the time and cooking as much as possible. I started to realize that people look up to me because I’m not a pup anymore; I’m growing, maybe grown, up.

I was hugely satisfied with: my job and the prospects for the future, the fact that I am paying off my student loans quickly and my living situation. Hugely satisfied with the people I work with.

I was frustrated by: Sigma Phi Lambda. Consumed by frustration with them. I was frustrated by Charlie’s friends….really just that one who was so good at making me feel so bad. By 5 years of college, by the futility of college, by the politics of college. I was frustrated by not being able to find a job, and more than that, not even wanting a job.

I am embarrassed that: 70 girls, of which I only talk to 4 now, can have such a large impact on my relationship with Jesus. I’m embarrassed that Charlie and I have broken up probably 20 times, and reconciled most of the time the same day! I’m embarrassed by cellulite.

Once again, I did: seek out information about a boy who is long gone, only because I really wanted to hurt myself. I did separate myself from people that truly love me because I was scared.

Once again, I did not: speak only good things about everyone. Read my Bible enough.

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is: my hair is longer and my cool, tribal-looking scars.

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is: there’s no wondering or what-ifing associated with bad-news boy anymore. There is curiosity about what it will take in my husband to keep me balanced and challenged. I know I can hack it in new situations, countries and companies. Last April I was itching with discontentment, bitterness and tunnel vision. Today, I’m optimistic. I’m in love with life.

I love spending time: being with my parents and brothers and their significant others, reading, watching and talking about LOST, exercising and musing.

I should have spent more time: with my parents and brothers and their significant others, reading, exercising and musing. I should have spent more time being patient and quiet. Playing soccer and riding bikes with Charlie.
I regret buying: overpriced food and drinks.

I will never regret buying: the cowboy boots I’m about to buy.

I _____ way too much: complain, watch tv, self-destruct, sleep, binge…

I didn't _____ enough: laugh, challenge myself, listen, look, paint…

My _____ drove me crazy: enemies, future…

The most relaxing place I went was: Charlie’s room , my room, Blair’s room, Sara’s room, anywhere with Lauren and/or Courtney, our Port A pad, Lightstone, our roadtrip, Colorado

Why did I go: anywhere where I didn’t want to go?

The best thing I did for someone else was: pray and listen. Encourage. Be patient, accepting and non-judgmental.

The best thing I did for myself was: get out and calm down. Going to Colorado, going on the roadtrip. Meet with Lisa about working for NOV. Giving Charlie a chance to give me a chance before I decided he should write me out of his life.

The best thing someone did for me was: pray and not judge.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tix!

I am going to Thailand next week! I leave Thursday and will get back Friday, May 1. Just in time to turn 24, which happens to be one of my parents’ favorite TV shows. I despise this show, but like to watch it to make fun of it and them.

Work has been busy. My bosses are back after being gone for 3 weeks, which means my work load has been doubled, tripled maybe. This is a good thing; makes the time go faster and means I’m learning and absorbing more than the average bear. Next week I’ll be in how-to-teach-SAP training. I’m so nervous about this, but I need to know it to be as efficient as possible in Thai.

I mostly-walked a 10K this weekend, and got so sore and burnt. I loved it. It was just for fun, just to get out into the gorgeous day. This weather kills me to be inside. Someone found me at work recently with my head through the blinds and my forehead on the window I wanted to be outside so bad. I can’t wait for this long weekend!

Personal life has been good. :) I’m back into reading: This Side of Paradise (Fitzgerald), The Perks of being a Wallflower (Chbosky) and Fates Worse than Death (Vonnegut). I’m loving all three and wish I could take a week to bury my head in them, only coming up for passion fruit sorbet, my other true love at the moment.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Purple

Today is my Friday, and I’m bouncing early. 3 pm. It’s 2:21, so now you know why I’m writing a blog. I’m contemplating going on a clothing shopping hiatus. I’ve been reading the blog of a clothes addict who did the same, and I’m inspired by the challenge. Plus I’m masochistic so the possibility of depriving myself of something I adore sounds bizarrely appealing.

I know myself though, and cutting out clothing would just open up more ways to spend the same amount of money. More food, more accessories, more shoes (Mmm yesss)…Still, the hiatus sounds like a detox I could definitely use.

What am I doing tomorrow, most glorious of vacation days? Getting up early – yes, this is something I truly enjoy doing. Reading, maybe artsing, exercising and watching Food Network, TLC and HGTV.

I would really love to eat at Thai Thai sometime this weekend. Or Grin’s. What San Marcos needs is a Panda Express; Charlie has believed this since he moved there, and now I really want him to open one!

I bought popsicles yesterday at lunch and am keeping a box in the freezer here at work. Something about such a childish delight in the middle of a workday makes me super happy. My lips, teeth and tongue are currently stained purple. Haha!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thai Thai

Today is my office boyfriend’s last day in Houston. He’ll be in China for the next six months managing a trade show. How cool is that? I’ll miss his random, mostly-gross Asian treats he’d drop by. Once he bought me a chocolate milk after I had gone home for the day and left it at my desk overnight, not realizing that it had to be refrigerated. I was so delighted when I came into work the next morning, only to have my excitement crushed once I picked up the warm chocolate milk. He was my favorite NOV friend. Sigh. We’re going to a Mediterranean food place for lunch – yum!

Started reading Romans this morning. Everyone who knows anything about the Bible talks about Romans like it’s a labyrinth of depth and mystery. I agree and welcome the challenge.
My boss will come back on Monday after being gone three weeks, and we’re going to book my tickets to Thailand! I’ll be there for two weeks in the end of this month, training and teaching people. The trip will be fun but daunting seeing as how I’ve only been here three months myself.

Tomorrow is my Friday as I’m taking the real Friday off. I just needed to break up the routine and spend a day reading and cooking. Friday we’re having a cook out. I’m super excited!

My real boyfriend is incredible. That is all.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Photoshop!

The IT guys and I are tight; I love them. I love them even more now that they put Photoshop on my computer!

Monday, March 30, 2009

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks forever.”
Psalm 30:11-12

This was a wonderful weekend...

My dad's birthday dinner was Friday. I love my family sooho much. We are a favorite family at Ming Court; the owner even gave my dad a gift!

Saturday Charlie and I went to a super swanky wedding; I've never had such good champagne. The couple was one of those that you can't help but love because they are so original in their love for each other. Bailey looked incredible, but then again I'm always amazed at how beautiful brides are!

Sunday we went to Hermann park again. This is becoming a Sunday ritual, and I love it. We played soccer, had a picnic lunch, played frisbee and cruised around. Relaxing and lovely. :)

Now, it's the work week again. I'm crazy busy this week, which is great because I'm off on Friday and want this week to fly by!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rainy

Rainy weather makes me so sleepy! The forecast predicts a massive red and green weather thing headed towards Houston; I would love to be headed towards bed right now.

Well, it's official. Everyone in my life, especially the people I thought wouldn't get married til they were senior citizens, everyone is getting married. I'm happy for them, definitely, but it's ironic to me that out of that whole group of people I grew up with, the only two unhitched are my ex-boyfriend and I. We must have really messed each other up! This is why dating before the age of 22 is unproductive and dangerous. My kids are going to hate me once they reach puberty.

I went on a shopping spree yesterday. A curse has been lifted. A curse so scary, so threatening, I feared I might never be healed. For quite some time now, I've gone shopping only to pick out 20 things I love and then leave them in the dressing room and practically run out of the store. It's like I would get a pani-couture attack. Yesterday, I told an intern I was going shopping, I was going to buy something, and that was that. My new tactic: don't look at the price tag. This sounds ridiculous, and I wouldn't condone this sort of activity under normal circumstances, but I needed - like, NEEDED - clothes.

So I could judge things based on how they looked before being like, "Wow, this looks great but it's so freaking expensive I can't stand the sight of it!" I tried on, then peeped at the price tag, then looked again in the mirror and decided. It works!

Also, I've been grocery shopping almost exclusively at Whole Foods. I know I said I wouldn't do this, but I want to be healthier, and because I have the resources to buy organically right now, I am. It's not a lifestyle for me, and I can't stand anything yuppie...at all...but right now I can treat myself a little, so I am.

My grandmother is doing well, extremely well as a matter of fact. The doctors thought she was brain dead after this last heart failure, but she can open her eyes and say "No." Life - the most fragile yet tenacious gift we've been given!

LOST last night was insane. And my friend has been posting super old pictures on fb that are making me crazy-reminiscient. And there's much work to be done.

This weekend is my dad's birthday! I praise Jesus for everyday I have with him. Charlie, my family and I will have dinner with him Friday, and then Charlie and I have a wedding to go to in Houston on Saturday, so we'll do some fun outing this weekend! Hooray! Just have an hour and a half left of today and then tomorrow.......

Monday, March 23, 2009

Old

People, jokes, food, property - everything gets old. My grandmother is sick. She's dying. There's nothing wrong with her, except that she got old. Her organs are failing simply because they're outdated. I have nothing but silence for what's going on.

Rachael Ray used to be relaxing to me. Well, first I hated her, then I loved her, and now - she's old. I'm over her.

Jokes get old. We all know this. We've all been the butt of a joke that's gotten old.

Work today was good, although my work load continues to grow no matter how diligent and focused I am. My mom is in San Antonio tonight; it's just me and fasha here in Houston. And Jackie.

Why do weekends go so quickly?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Freeday!

This is how Fridays are. Every single one. By two o’clock there’s no point even trying to be a little productive. People start trickling out, everyone’s up mingling and you can tell the weekend itch is screaming to be scratched! Today a fellow intern and I have spent several hours plotting an early escape. The route, the excuses, the justifications…well I came in early that day, well I took a short lunch this day…it doesn’t matter; we’d feel guilty no matter what.

I love seeing everyone in their “casual attire.” Business-wear is fine, and I am always interested in seeing what people pull together, but Fridays are fundays in terms of clothing. Payday Fridays are super fun because I can feel not quite as bad about going out and buying whatever pieces I found attractive.

Charlie is headed to the big H tonight! I am so pumped; we never have enough time to do everything I want to do. We’d have to eat 12 times a day just to fit in all the restaurants I want to sample. Museums, bars, galleries, parks…I love Houston. Overlooking the traffic in Houston has been a breeze compared to living in Austin. And I’m tired of the complaints of what a growing monster Houston is – with size comes variety.

Let’s talk about how perfect the weather is today for one moment. I am dying for a barbeque or beach party or a hammock – my cubicle and window will have to suffice for two more long, torturous hours. Then, it’s the freakin weekend, baby, bout to have me some fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vino

As life in Houston grows into more of a routine, and a great routine at that, I'm losing interest in this blog. I won't let this happen! Writing is such a wonderful, organic form of art, and it challenges me in ways that painting does not. If there's one thing I want more of in this life, it's challenge.

I've been in a vindictive, sullen mood this week. It happens. I recognize it as something I'm going through, not as who I am at my core. This is something Charlie has been patient and kind enough to teach me. He's been a true Christ-like example of the teaching that when I accept Jesus, my sinful core is replaced with righteousness, and even when I act wrongly, it's not a true representation of who I am. Praise the Lord!

Tonight I went to a wine bar with three co-workers/fellow interns. What fun! We are all very young, very ambitious and very naive -- it's good to be reminded every so often that I'm not alone. They are all three extremely savvy; I'm super lucky to "have them."

I'm not sure what my plans are for this weekend. I'm thinking of maybe staying in Houston to have a Renaissance weekend: hole up, paint, read, write, cook and sleep. This always sounds like a good idea until I realize being with people is the most fruitful, inspirational part of my life, giving meaning to the arts I produce.

All four of us interns are dating; none of us are looking to get married for quite some time. I'm very excited about this. When I think about the married people I know who are around my age, I cringe and then laugh and then thank the LORD He didn't choose that path for me. Yuck. (I just though of one couple that this doesn't apply to -- other than the Williamsons, thank you Jesus.) I'm also thankful to not have much money, and to probably not be marrying into much money when I do get married. I want poor, inventive, imaginative, raw and not cushioned by the root of all evil. Just enough to take a trip every once in a while...and to grill out a couple times a month.

Things are so good, even though it's been a tough, busy week. I'm so thankful!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day-O, Hooraaaaay-O!

Today has been a great day! It started with an early morning meeting with my new boss, who is 27, female and a rockstar. She was one of the pioneer interns in the program I’m in now, so she understands exactly where I’m at and in what directions I need to go in order to be as successful as she has been. I’m SUPER excited about this shift in responsibilities and tasks. Two words: International travel. YES!

Last night was a good night, too. I was supposed to go to a pilates studio with a co-worker but she got sick, which freed up the night for me to do a little arts n’ craftsing to the new Kelly Clarkson CD.

And really, I don’t want to brag, but I ALSO had a spectacular peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Sigh - does it get better than that? YES IT DOES! NOV is hugely involved in United Way Houston, and there’s an ice cream social in 30 minutes for all donors. Heyoooo! Then I get to go home and go to yoga! Too many exclamation marks!

I’m overly blessed. Overwhelmed by the goodness of God. Evermore thankful and humbled by Him.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. - Deuteronomy 7:9

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kilimanjaro

My computer is sick. It has ebola of the hard-drive, and I’ve somehow managed to get all the IT guys scratching their heads.

“You can climb to the top of Kilimanjaro but whether or not you find it when you get there is an entirely different issue” or something to that effect. It’s a meditation our yoga instructor said at the end of yesterday’s class I can tell will be with me a long time. I really – REALLY – didn’t want to go yesterday. I wanted to stay home and eat pounds of spaghetti and watch 24, even though I think that’s the most ridiculous show. At the end of the class, however, I felt more euphoric than any class I’ve taken yet. Such is life.

The oil biz is not doing well. There haven’t been any layoffs at the corporate level yet (that I know of), but the field is laying off hardcore. As a Supply Chain Intern, I’m bottom of the totem pole in terms of job security…and I live everyday with the reality that today could be my last as an NOV employee.

I’ve been hanging out with some of the NextGens from work – they are really awesome, and SO SMART!

There’s not much to update –

They hired a real Report Analyst Specialist, so my job will be transitioning again, something I’m really excited about. I’ve LOVED learned how to work Excel and Access but I’m also ready for something new.

Houston, I love more every day. There are so, so many non-chain restaurants to test out! I could go to a new place for every meal for a year and never have to repeat myself or feel like Chili’s is the only thing left! I haven’t gotten into shopping exclusively local yet, mostly because that means shopping at Whole Foods, and I’d rather spend my paychecks on shoes than bell peppers. The next time I stay in Houston over the weekend, I’m going to visit the farmer’s market.

As always, LOST – yes.

My mind has been very preoccupied lately with frivolous thoughts. Things and people I don’t need to be thinking about. Not good, not good at all.

Namaste.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Title Today

Glad the week is almost over, especially since it's felt like Friday since...Monday. Those are never fun. I've been hugely busy doing report after report after report; can't say I've loved it with as much intensity as I love spaghetti. I love spaghetti a LOT.

Let me highlight the menu of my week. My love of cooking and cuisine is growing faster than I can say "herb de provence" and food is pretty much my favorite topic these days!

Charlie came to Houston this weekend, and Saturday night we made two pizzas from scratch, a ritual of ours. Well, one wasn't completely from scratch as we used naan bread. But they were both far from Papa John's, although his pizzas aren't half bad either! We also downed an entire tub of Dreyer's girl scout Samoas ice cream in two days! Monday and Tuesday nights were spent with rooms full of sweating yogis, so I didn't eat anything exciting then. Wednesday my mom and I took off work because I had a pretty intense (read: uncomfortable and yuck) doctor's appointment. We had THE BEST Greek food for lunch: Fadi's. Greek potatoes and chicken schwarma -- freakin' yum! Today for lunch I had authentic, real Mexican food, and it was better than any Tex Mex I've ever had. I'm trying to convince my parents to go back with me tonight (it's Thursday night, their Mexican food night).

This is a complete tangent. Come along, if you please. Sometimes I do stuff that I know will make me feel worse when I'm already down. I'm not sure why I do this, but I don't like it and I'm trying to stop. Goes back to that whole "As long as I'm the best Amy Still I can be, what's happening in my periphery does not matter."

Despite my efforts to eliminate TV from my life, except for Lost and the Office and maybe 1 or 2 other shows, I'm becoming more and more fascinated by home renovation shows. I met a boy at NOV today who used to run a construction company, and he has all the equipment I would need to become a carpenter. He shall become my new best friend.

Speaking of the Office, is it just me or is Jim looking bad these days?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hotter than your Average Bear!

With lofty aspirations of cut arms, I paid a hefty chunk of change tonight to the Bikram Yoga College of Houston. After four bikramless years, the prodigal yogi has returned, and it ain’t pretty. I remembered the classes being hot and causing next-day soreness, but to be honest I spent A LOT of time during this first 90 minute sweat-fest sitting on my mat, hoping not to pass out. The heat is oppressive. I love it.

Yoga is so mentally-demanding, something that separates it from running, my other drug of choice. With running, the goal is turn the mind off; with yoga, it’s entirely switched on. At any given moment, you are pushing your hips forward, tightening your glutes, sucking in your stomach, lengthening your spine, contracting your arm muscles, kicking out and stretching up. There’s no time for worrying about life outside the studio, or if there is, I’m not getting my money’s worth, and it’s my own fault.

And it’s different than a gym setting where I usually enforce a 30 foot bubble around myself to keep others’ smells and moistures at bay. This studio makes everyone scoot up close and personal, which is both exciting and challenging. As weird as it sounds, if it wasn’t for the fact that the room is over 100 degrees and we are all sweating gallons, I might mind the proximity more, probably because heat or not, I’m a sweater (I sweat;
I’m not LITERALLY a sweater, kids, come on).

I’m writing a book. It’s always been a goal of mine, and I’m really doing it now.

Speaking of books, I’m reading three books right now, two I’m excited about and one I feel will be a dud. The latter is The Shack. I couldn’t not read this book. Everyone’s talking about it, and the ladies that sit near me are having little office book club meetings about it. I’m maybe two chapters in and can already tell I am going to have fundamental issues with the plot and message. Not sure I will even both finishing it, to be honest.

The other two are Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy and a Suze Orman book…can’t remember the title right now. Both are great and get my recommendation.

I'm going to Galveston tomorrow and I hope I get to see Ben Seals this weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Houma

For no discernable reason, I’ve really enjoyed my time in Houma. The fellas here are so interesting and not very couth or pleasant, but I’ve loved meeting them and entering their world. From my perspective, Houma is synonymous with dust, oil and too-old, two-lane roads. For them, it’s home. Beautiful, comfortable home. It’s where they grew up, fell in love and made a living. I can’t wait to get back to high heels, an office obsessed with cleanliness and food that comes with the option of no fat, no butter, no salt and no cheese; these guys probably couldn’t see the logic or appeal in such a place at all. One’s not better than the other in any way, and I’m thankful and inspired that happiness comes in different forms for every single person on God’s green Earth.

I didn’t give up anything for Lent this year. Sacrificing Diet Coke/Coke Zero has been traumatic enough for my diet. Instead, I’m eating at least one veggie a day, and salad, carrots and potatoes don’t count! This will probably end up being a futile attempt to expand my vege horizons,but I have to at least try because pretty much the only vegetables I’ll eat are lettuce, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and bell peppers.

I met a woman recently who practices Holy Yoga, hatha yoga where you chant and meditate on scriptures and Biblical principles. She’s getting certified and hopes to open a studio – so cool! Her testimony is full of stories and thoughts I can relate to and grow from, so I’m super pumped that we had a random, yet honest, vulnerable, encounter.

LOST. ZOMG. Brain explosion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m driving back to Houston tomorrow. Makes me miss our roadtrip. I can’t wait for the next......................

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday!

It’s Girl Scout cookie week here at NOV. They are like tiny, delicious little demons turning up everywhere! If I haven’t gained 5 pounds, it’s only because I’ve gained 10. I’ve been trying to make myself work out, but taking Jackie on our walks is as far as I’ve gotten. She is ridiculous (stubborn and moody) and definitely needs help from Cesar! In Australia (and I saw it on some weird channel here, too) there’s a show called “It’s Me or the Dog.” Terrible imitation – the kind that only makes you miss the original even more.

Since I’m still in training, but my trainer is in Louisiana, it’s been a super slow week. Not fun. I’ve been working on budgets and personal expense reports today, trying to figure out the best way to pay off my student loans as soon as possible. Excel, baby!!!!! I’m not really that excited about it….

I need to stop drinking white wine before bed.

San Marvelous tonight, probably SA tomorrow! Obviously the gas piece of my pie chart is ENORMOUS, even for such a sexy little fuel efficient car, and my goal is to take it down next month. Other reductions include clothes, fast food, the doctor visits, books and Walgreens (how do I spend so much there?!?).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reveries

This summer, in Colorado, Travis, Nessa and I went to Coldstone Creamery every weekend, and usually I went at least once during the week too. There weren’t chain restaurants up there, except for fast food and Coldstone.

Ice cream has always been my Achilles’ heel, my greatest weakness, and from May to September I completely surrendered to its power. What a glorious defeat!

One night, towards the end of my time there, we were going into Coldstone, and I slammed – crushed – my thumb in the car door. It wasn’t flat against the car, either; it was perpendicular, meaning my nail was being flattened from the back cuticle to the front end, not side to side, if that makes any sense. Painful, just imagine very, very painful.

Travis and Nessa had already gone ahead inside, so I was standing there, trying to yank my squashed thumb out of the door, not realizing for too long that the door was locked. By the time I had unlocked the door, I was in fainting territory.
I hobbled into Coldstone, got some cold water, plopped my throbbing thumb in and tried to stay conscious. It was the worst digit pain I’ve ever felt in my life!

Needless to say the thing turned purple and rather than release the pressure that night, I went to bed as best I could. The next morning, I let someone heat up a needle till it was screaming-hot and puncture my nail bed to release the blood and ooze. One word for the moment of contact: geyser. Yuck!

My point is this: six months later my poor thumb nail is not back to normal. It’s been through all different colors, shapes and sizes, and it’s almost there, but I fear it will never quite be the same. All that ice cream caught up to me and has finally made its permanent mark. Blast you, Coldstone, and your delicious Cheesecake Fantasy temptations!

Final thought: I am always thinking about food. Tonight is my parent's ritualistic Thursday night Mexican food night. Since I'm living with them now, they have to invite me. I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD! Therefore, Thursday night is one of the most anticipated nights of the week for me! Yummmm.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"WE HAVE TO GO BACK!"

I got really freaked out today when I realized my houndstoothish skirt matches my chair! It’s like I’ve been sitting so much my lower half and my throne have become one.

Wednesdays are always and only filled with LOST thoughts. I’m terrible at spoiling things for people but only because knowing what happens in a book/movie/show doesn’t diminish the overall experience for me. I’m DYING to talk about LOST to people, but always, without fail, the only people around are people that aren’t caught up! TIME TRAVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, that’s all I’ll say. I was so pumped about going to Aus because the trip there literally skips a calendar day. When people ask me what super power I’d most like to have, time travel and the ability to read people’s thoughts.

Church last night was great, but you probably already knew that. We talked about claiming our territory, standing firmly on our ground. We defined our “land” with the following “borders:” our relationship with God, our past (the painful parts), our life experiences (the other stuff) and our spiritual gifts. Beth talked a long time about dealing with the pains of our past, and how if we aren’t claiming that ground because we’re scared or wary of it, Satan will. No matter how hard it was, it’s MINE, not his, and it happened to somehow bring God the glory. In faith, with courage, we claim that and retrieve our territory for the Lord. Love it.

I don’t know why, but pay weeks are always more tolerable than not pay weeks. Okay, maybe I do know why…

It’s been super drizzly here in Houston, but since going home during lunch and taking Jackie for a walk is a great way to break up the day, we’ve still been doing our thing! We had an encounter with an opossum yesterday; those things are so other-worldly creepy! Jackie broke her leash trying to get at it. Every time we get back inside the condo, she gets a drink of water then looks up at me, waiting for a treat. Usually, she’s eaten cat poop, disobeyed my every command and then pouted once I’ve directed her back up the stairs to home…yet still she looks as though I’m the jerk for denying her a treat. Devil dog.

Anyways, I’m an hour away from going home and cooking a chicken and mozzarella manicotti dish that Charlie made this weekend. SO DELISH, perfect for 8 pm tonight. LOST!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Up!

Consider yourself updated:

Best Valentine’s Day ever. In every way I could be wowed, I was.

Come to me for all your Excel queries; I am officially a spreadsheet wizard, whether I wanted to be or not.

Only one more doctor to see, but everything feels fine!

Coraline. LOVE the name almost as much as I disliked the movie. I prefer a movie without a moral as opposed to one with a poorly constructed plot centered around a weak message. But the 3Dness was pretty rad.

I will be in Houma, Louisiana next week, Tuesday – Friday. Houma?, you say. Yes, a tiny, dirty, industrial little town in LOUISIANA, no less! But guess what next week is…..

Mardi Gras.

MARDI GRAAAAAAAS!

I’ve never been anywhere near Louisiana during Mardi Gras, and Houma is actually an hour away, but hopefully at least one night we’ll make it down to some of the festivities. I’m not one to get crazy, but from a cultural standpoint, I can’t wait for this experience!

I’m not reading any good books right now, and this greatly depresses me. My masochistic nature sometimes prevents me from doing the one thing I know I love: reading. I’m thinking Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey) for my serious book and maybe In Cold Blood (TC) for fun.

Beth Moore again tonight! No doubt I’ll come back inspired and refreshed.

Lxoxove

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WYSIWYG

This is one of my favorite acronyms. What you see is what you get. So true when it comes to me. If I'm sad, I cry, usually a lot and loudly. If I'm happy, there's probably even more tears and loudness. I don't have best friends because my life is whatever's more transparent than an open book, and I'm much better at disclosing the darkest parts of my life than the not.

And the biggest threat to my own happiness is myself. Get on a roll, things are lookin' good, start to look around at what other people are up to, feel like I'm not quite the stud I thought I was, lose steam...surrender and slunk away. I'll never be like anyone else (repeat 42 times a day while smiling, forced or not); my successes and my failures will not look like anyone else's. Alanis has a song about not realizing one's greatest potential for fear of being ostracized from the masses -- yes. Beth Moore said two weeks ago that she's dealt with fear her whole life and felt God tell her one night, "Fine! You're scared. DO IT SCARED THEN!"

With painstaking slowness, I'm learning that my path is not yours, nor yours, mine. Neither is one timeline better than another, and your tastes/opinions don't nullify my tastes/opinions. My mistep begins when I take my eyes off my one great Love and buy into all these lesser loves. It makes me itchy and restless, which I believe causes this rush into "safe" emotions like bitterness, jealousy and gossip. Yuck. No more please.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Inherit THIS!

Tonight was very, very good. The Inheritance study is about what God promises those who love and live for Jesus. It's not a prosperity gospel thing at all; in fact, Beth is very clear about the fact that yes, in the OT, God promised land, wealth and crop to those who were obedient. But in the new Covenant, He promises the wealth of Jesus and the spiritual fruit that comes from obedience to Him as our reward.

So we've been talking about OUR inheritance as a daughter of the Most High God. We studied Levi and the Levites: God promised them an inheritance beyond their imagination. Something that would out-gift the best present anyone had every been given. Obviously, they were chomping at the bit for their God-given inheritance, but when the day came, God said, "I love you so much, you get nothing...but Me." Confused and feeling more than a little misled, the Levites realized the Lord's message is this: nothing compares to I AM. There is no earthly, tangible thing we could receive that would even slightly, barely, remotely, minutely compare to even one iota of Him.

Tonight, we looked at passages that blew my mind...scriptures that said that we are God's inheritance!

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacod his allotted inheritance.

Deut. 4:20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints...

We (!!!) are his rich, glorious inheritance! Knowing that, it makes me want to live as such.

Like a creeper I wrote down some of the things she said, some quotes that just strike me as "so BETH:"

"Lord, with all my heart I cannot think of anything more I'd ask for but hearts to love You. WE WOULD persevere. WE WOULD love others. WE WOULD...Hallelujah and Amen."

"You think living holy is boring? The kind of boring that speaks and seas are calm? The kind of boring that heals? That touches, and eyes are opened? The kind of boring that raises the dead and rolls away the stone? Being holy brings FREEDOM! We have no idea."

"When everyone else is tired of the length and breadth of your need, when everyone else thinks you should have been OVER "this" issue long ago, God stays with you, tells you of all his undying, incredible love for YOU."

Mmmm. Hallelujah and AMEN!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Office...

...is my favorite (except for LOST, duh). It took me many seasons to actually like this show; I thought the characters were so unbelievable and unrelatable. Now, adoring the show as much as I do, I'm ashamed to have judged so harshly, so incredibly cruelly! Dwight was my least favorite. Dwight is now a golden spectacle of what a real man should be.

My stitches are out, my scabs are healing and now I've got some cool tribal-looking scars on my stomach. I'm not mad about it.

Mark Driscoll is my favorite pastor ever, and I've never even been to his church. He leads at Mars Hill Seattle, but I'm able to hear him speak every week through podcasts. He did a series called The Peasant Princess that focused on the Song of Solomon, and it rocked my world. I love hearing about relationships. I've always been this way; it's not a nosyness but a genuine desire to hear and understand how different people relate to those they do (or don't) love. The series was about relationships for both singles and marrieds. It was great, great, great on both levels.

Anyways, nobody but Driscoll can deliver God's Word with such unapologetic love and fear for the Lord. He speaks with insane conviction, power and desire for everyone to know and love Jesus, and it blows me away every week. For the next 8 months, he's preaching on 1 and 2 Peter - I'm very excited.

I'm reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Now that I'm making a couple bucks I might need to learn about stuff.

My best wishes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Excellent

My life is now Excel. I've learned more in the past 2 days than I ever thought Microsoftly possible, and I'm not unimpressed. Unfortunately I have no idea what the data I'm reporting means, but Excel is a super cool program and is certainly a necessary skill for my repertoire. A former NextGen (another NOV program) is tutoring me, patiently answering my million-a-minute questions all day long.

Houston is cool. I need to make friends here and then I might even love it.

When I was growing up in Katy, my family and I went to Houston First Baptist Church. Unbeknownst to me, a woman named Beth Moore attended the church and would eventually start to lead a small Bible study there. Fifteen years later, the rest is history. Last night, I went to a seminar at HFBC she's doing called "The Inheritance." I could be wrong, but I think she's filming the episodes for an upcoming Bible study (probably called The Inheritance). The whole night was super moving, both the worship and the message. I went by myself (no other option), sat in the upper balcony (sometimes I like to watch the crowds worship) and didn't actually speak a word to anyone (except 'No, that seat's not taken!"). Beth Moore will be at the church every Tuesday til middle of March, and I plan to be there every week!

Since it's a Baptist church, it shouldn't be surprising or unfair to say that worship is a little tamer than I'm used to. As I was surveying the land, I saw some people raising hands and most, clapping. In one particular section, though, a group of women were rocking out, getting down and worshipping like few I've ever seen! This was the deaf section, and it was so powerful to see a whole section of women all signing in unison and with incredible passion. It brought tears to my eyes. I thought, we can't see our words, but when we sing with that much desire for the Lord, our voices must have that same breath-stealing effect in Heaven (as well as Hell).

I'm waiting for someone to tell me I'm healed through and through so I can join this Bikram yoga gym by the condo. I also need to find some artistic outlets because Excel is like negative amounts of creative.

The end for today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

cubi-cool!

God bless the USA. I’m so spoiled, so unapologetically spoiled, by the comforts of this country. I’ll probably hate it after a month, but right now I’m in love with my empty cubicle. First days, I’ve decided, will always be as pointless as the first days of class, which is why I always skipped those. Since there hasn’t been much for me to do today, I’ve been mentally planning how I want to arrange my cubicle. By the time I’m done, nobody will even be able to tell it was once a cubicle, except for the fact that this is cubicle-topia. I’m thinking 8 foot palm trees, a straw canopy and definitely a margarita machine.

Right now I am a report analyst. No idea what that means or if I’ll like it, but my boss – John Paul Lind lookalike – has made it clear that if it’s not my cup of tea, we’ll move me in a new direction. I also found out today there’s a chance I could go back to Australia for my final 6 month rotation. Something to think about, but if it’s possible I could spend the last 6 months in marketing, I would definitely take that opportunity.

One of my favorite parts about working here is the coffee/tea machines which all of us interns fell in love with our first week here. I gave up Diet Coke/Coke Zero/carbonated soft drinks for New Years. It’s been SO, SOO hard, and I did have some Sprite while I was sick, but other than that, I’ve stayed true. This tea machine keeps me up and moving throughout the day more than anything else, and keeps my mind off the tempting, tantalizing bottles and cans of sweet elixir I see all over the place.

If you are in need of busi-cas work clothes, Gap has these incredible pants – the style is “hip slung” – that I’m in love with. Plus, Regina Spektor is my favorite. And I can’t get enough of light chocolate Silk. I made mashed sweet potatoes last night, but they’re not as good as sweet potato fries.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Someday Never Comes

There was a Canadian boy we hung out with a lot in Australia. I never learned his real name, but everyone called him Jiggy. Jiggy was about 5 feet tall, hefty, with bleach blonde hair and what the other Canadians called a "fag tag." This tag was a lock of hair Jiggy had grown out and then wrapped with the most colorful thread he could find.

I don't know how long Jiggy (~ 22 yrs old) had been in Brisbane when we got there, and I don't know how long he plans to stay in Australia, but there's no doubt that he follows the ebb and flow of life with the least resistance of anyone I've ever met. Everywhere he goes, he gets a tattoo, and right before I left, he got a huge tattoo on the underside of his forearm that said "Someday Never Comes." Obviously, I loved it.

Alanis, my sage, is all about travel and personal, spiritual, phsyical growth. Her newest CD - better than Blue Bell on a hot day. The first track is called "Citizen of the Planet," and there are just a few lines I love:

Then I fly back to my nest, I fly back with my nuclear but everything is different. So I wait, my yearn for home is broadened, patriotism expanded by callings from beyond. I pack my things nothing precious all things sacred.

And so, the next few years are blurry, the next decade's a flurry of smells and tastes unknown. Threads sewn straight through this fabric through fields of every color one culture to another.


I already can't wait to travel again. I'm overwhelmed with excitement for the wee one and her trip to California! Viva la vida!

Tomorrow I start in Houston. My parents made me a makeshift bedroom in their tiny condo, so I'm sitting in "my room," listening to them eat dinner and watch The Boss perform at halftime. I'm super glad to be home.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jetlag

One of the most loathed words in my lexicon. I get super stressed out when I can't sleep, mostly because I used to be an insomniac, and the sleeplessness was torture. Your whole body and mind are depleted completely, screaming for release and reparation, but as soon as the lights go out and the eyes shut, brain activity increases to the nth degree. Jetlag reminds me of those days, and I lay awake throughout the entire night praying the disease stays far, far away.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about the past 6 months and have decided they are the most eventful, wonderful, trying times of my life. I graduated, moved to and worked in Utopia (Steamboat Lake State Park, CO), went on the most incredible roadtrip, somehow got a job with a company that inspires me more every day, moved to Australia, got ovary-assaulted and had surgery, and now I'm back home. Whirlwind - a beautiful act of nature and force of God.

The plan as I foresee it (and I'm far-sighted so the immediate details of life often elude me) is to live with my parents in their itty bitty bohemian nomad condo...and I'm starting to very much gel with the idea. Staying in Australia would have helped me save a lot of money, meaning pay off a lot of debt, but living with my parents will hopefully have a comparable effect.

That being said...I can't stop thinking about all the goodies I want to buy now that I'm back, and I am all too easily rationalizing these goods away as "necessary for work." Fortunately, I am the girl who will shop in a store long enough to pick up everything at least once with the intention of buying, only to throw everything in a corner at the last minute and bolt with all money preserved. Said work items include: Blackberry (salivate), new wardrobe courtesy of Banana Republic and J Crew, new glasses and a fridge/pantry full of tantalizing and new foods.

Speaking of food: there are cookies called TimTams in Australia that Hugh Jackman introduced me to. I practically ate an entire box in one sitting, so maybe scratch all the exotic, new foods, as I'm going to be losing TimTam weight for the next 3 years.

Have I mentioned I'm thankful to have air conditioning?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

So long, beautiful Aus! I hope to visit you again someday under better circumstances.

Arrived safely after only 16 hours of crying babies, suspicious food and one very angry man. I accidentally dropped something from an overhead bin onto an Australian cowboy, and no matter how many times I apologized, he would NOT absolve my guilt! Rude. The Australian airline, Qantas, is my favorite method of travel. Even in economy, everything feels luxurious and comfortable, and there are enough movies and TV shows to keep me occupied for the entire 14 hour flight. And their orange juice just seems superior to all other airlines. Good on ya, mate.

Oh, I will miss my land down under. Three weeks isn't a short amount of time, except that I was supposed to be there 5 more months. We spent our last evening at the local university bar with the Canadians. Harry Healy plays every Wednesday night; Valerie and I heard him our first night in Australia while having our first Australian beer. His scratchy, beautiful voice singing "Hallelujah" will always be a favorite memory of mine.

A few things I won't miss -- how everyone smokes in Australia. Yuck. Everyone at the office except for Val, one Canadian boy and me smokes. It seems like every hour there's a 10 minute smoke break.
I won't miss the heat. Our apartment had a great location, an incredible wrap around deck and was a nice size...but it only had one air conditioner (and even the one was more like one-half). Even that was more than what most people live with, which blows my mind. In the midst of my sickness and medicine, I would lay awake at night COMPLETELY soaking from my own sweat. I think my need for air-conditioned-everything is one of my most defining North American attributes.
I won't miss not having internet. There's only one main phone provider in Aus, and it controls the internet too, so this modern amenity I take for granted at home is way, way expensive to have in Australia. There are so many little, quickie things I use the internet for, and not having that privilege was hard to get used to!

It's off to the doctor tomorrow to make sure I'm safe and healthy. Monday begins work in Houston, and I'm very excited about my new boss. I'm also very excited to be back in Texas. I love this state, and I love this country.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

1-28

This is it, folks - my last Australian blog. Let me try to explain a little better about everything that's happened:

Last Wednesday around noon, I started feeling the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It wasn't a typical cramping pain or belly ache; it was a demon I knew wouldn't just go away. I tried to deal with it for about an hour, mostly by laying on any type of cold tile I could find (shout out to Mom), but eventually it got so bad I asked my boss to please, please take me somewhere to get help. They took me to a clinic in a mall nearby, and I was shameless in asking for medicine. Anyone who looked like they knew how to poke me with a needle, I tore at them. The pain was outrageous.

Eventually the clinic had run out of pain killer or something and an ambulance came and took me to the closest, and apparently crappiest hospital in Brisbane. I waited in the ER for someone to do something, still pleading with anyone who would listen to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING about how much I was hurting. Eventually, Narelle, my co-worker/international mum/holy, bless angel took me to the private hospital where she takes her own kids. Praise the Lord forever for Narelle.

There, I was filled with all the morphine my body could handle. A doctor spoke with me, gave me an ultrasound and spoke with me again. Apparently a freakishly large ovarian cyst had formed on my ovary, which isn't that uncommon except this was a Goliath cyst on a fairly young girl. That doctor gave me a bunch of codeine and told me to come back in a month.

I took Thursday off and didn't get out of bed once. Mostly, I hallucinated.

Friday, I went to work but didn't make it past 10 am before I had vommitted more than ever before in my entire life. The world refused to stand still; again - tile floor. I took a cab home, called my parents and took a cab back to the private hospital.

Within 30 mins, 2 doctors, several nurses, an admin assistant and Narelle were telling me I needed immediate, emergency surgery pronto, as the cyst was doing more undoable damage by the minute. I flipped, went into hysterics, because I couldn't get in contact with my parents. Eventually, Narelle talked to my dad, and I was hospital gowned, prepped and getting ready to be on the table at 5 pm (Friday).

I don't remember anything after meeting my anesthetist. I was being wheeled down a corridor, joking about being a Texan and having been in Aus only a week and a half before having surgery, and then I was waiting in post-op. So groggy, such heavy lids! I ended up back in my hospital room somehow, and immediately ate an entire box of chocolates that someone (Narelle) had put beside my bed. Before my nurse could say, "You probably shouldn't eat ye--," every last milk chocolate morsel was gone.

Throughout the night, a nurse named Raj came to check my vitals and my bandages. My belly button was (is) completely bandaged over, the once white coverings black and red from the surgery. I have another set of stitches about 5 inches below my belly button, and 2 out to each side. My stomach looks like a baseball diamond. The swelling has gone down now, but it was enormous that night and the days following. I had to slide out of bed and chairs.

I went home Saturday morning, laid in bed and hallucinated some more. Sweated a lot, talked to my parents a little. At first I didn't want to go home, but as the pain continued and the pain meds started to wear off, I began to realize the gravity of everything that had happened. So, with much trepidation and crazy internal dialogue, I decided to come home and finish my 6 months in Houston. I need a clean bill of health from my own doctor, as doctor-centric as that sounds. I need to recover in familiarity. The reasons are so many, and I've decided they are all legit, good reasons.

So, now I'm sitting for the last time in this internet cafe. I will miss Aus so much -- 3 weeks is hardly enough time to spend here, but it's better than none. I'll continue to keep this blog going, and I'll still be going to Colorado in July. But, that's pretty much it. Thank you SO MUCH for the prayers, support, emails etc. I love y'all. See you in TX!

Monday, January 26, 2009

1-27

Well I have a few blogs written up that I wanted to import, but this internet cafe doesn't have Microsoft Word, and I'm just unfortunate enough to not know how to get the text by other means.

Basically, I got really sick and I'm coming home. A massive ovarian cyst has been growing on my right ovary. It wrapped itself around the ovary three times and was suffocating the life out of it and my fallopian tube. I had emergency surgery down here in Australia, and I'm okay, but the company, my family and I have decided it just makes sense to come here and get better. I have about 10 stitches in my stomach so mobility is limited but getting better.

I struggled with whether or not to return. I'm just starting to love it here, but in the long run, I want kids and I don't want to hurt my chances by not being smart when it counts. I'm so, so sad to leave and am trying to keep all thoughts of being a failure or quitter at bay. I got sick; it happens. They will set me up in Houston with a job at NOV HQ, and I'm flying out any day.

That's the news! Love y'all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1-20-09

So McDonald’s here is called Macca’s. Subway has the 7 dollar foot long, instead of the 5. Burger Kings are called Hungry Jacks, and the curries here are to die for. Val and I went to Subway this evening immediately after work. I got a grilled chicken 6 inch on white bread with avocado, and then I loved myself for making that selection. We laid on the couch for an embarrassingly long time waiting for Friends to come on, and then by the time it was over, it was 7:30, which is almost my bed time.

Biggest Loser Australia starts Feb. 1…I LOVE THIS SHOW! There are some trails alongside the Brisbane River that are seconds from where we live. They take walkers and bikers from Toowong down to Brisbane and back again on the other side of the river. My goal is to be able to run to the city and back, which is only about 6k, by the time I leave. Side note: converting everything (EVERYTHING) from miles to km, inches to cm and Fahrenheit to Celsius sucks!

I’m getting used to work. Right now we are hot ‘n heavy trying to get the office moved to its fabulous new location, so that involves a lot of practical, tangible tasks I can wrap my brain around. Once we are settled, our boss tells us we will spend 3 months in inside sales and 3 months in purchasing. No clue what either of those positions will entail, but I’ve resigned myself to not getting stressed just yet. I’ve also started to accept that although my boss is a lot different than anyone I’ve ever worked for, and that her personal life isn’t what I would choose for myself, and that I’ll probably never get a warm and fuzzy “good job” out of her, she is an INCREDIBLE manager and business woman. It has been rocking my world to watch her in action. I’m certainly learning a lot of professional prowess from her.

This upcoming Monday (Jan 26) is Australia Day, which means we get our first 3 day weekend! I’m not sure what the Canadians have cooked up, but I’ll probably go along this time. These boys are crazy, there’s no other way to describe it, and my goal is just to be up front, honest and steadfast when they cross the line. Which has already been many, many, many times in the 2 times we’ve hung out. They call Val “Miss America” and me “Texas,” and they always refer to us as “miss” even though we are generally close in age. “Why aren’t you drinkin’, Miss?” “Have a good day, Miss?” These guys have such a strong Canadian accent, they sound Irish! It’s weird and hilarious!

Well, I’ve been here one week. Hoorah! Every day is getting better. I still miss everyone so much it makes me nauseous, but I’m able now to have a TIIIINY bit more perspective. A little. Every day, a bit mo’ betta’.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Blogs from the Weekend

Since we don’t have internet at our apartment yet, I’ve been posting blogs in my spare time at work. Today, Friday, I didn’t have any time to post, so I’m going to write over the weekend and do a big post on Monday. Here goes…

1-16-09, Friday
Today was actually a great day. The greatness definitely had everything to do with the fact that it’s FRIDAY, tomorrow’s SATURDAY and then comes SUNDAY! I finally felt like I was in Australia today when I saw kangaroos bouncing around in a field. Yes, kangaroos. They’re like deer back home – they graze in little packs and then bound away when anything startles them. I can’t wait to see/hold my first koala! There’s a koala “sanctuary” about 5 driving minutes from us, so we’re planning to go there as soon as possible.
Work is just different, and different has never been an easy hurdle for me. I wasn’t a business major, mostly because I’m not business-minded. My boss is the general manager of all Australia, so she’s understandably busy and stressed out of her brain. Mostly I feel like my intern roommate and I are more a hindrance than a help to her because we’re so clueless, but there’s no getting around our ignorance unless she teaches us. I don’t like – HATE – feeling in the dark or like I’m incompetent in any way, and that’s all I’ve felt since the beginning of last week. One of my Australian co-workers today raised his eyebrows and said, “So you’re straight out of college, straight into a new job and straight into a new country.” Yes. It’s amazing to be sure, but not yet the party I planned on. That being said…
We ate Thai food tonight and talked about how much we love our Brisbane suburb, Toowong.
So tonight Valerie and I are hanging out with our two younger Canadian co-workers. It’s 7:13pm, and I’m honestly ready to get in bed, have some of our Aussie white wine and finish “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I can’t, though, because that’s weird. Plus, Valerie’s been very patient with me as I’ve gone to bed before 8 every night this week (and she hasn’t complained when I’ve most likely woke her up at 4am every day).
The Aussie pastime is drinking. If you know me, you know that I’m set after one beer, and that I’m usually ready to go home and sleep immediately afterwards. I’m less than perky to go out for a night of drinking, especially when I’m already whipped. The place we’re going is called the Regatta, and it’s a young-person’s bar right on the Brisbane River (about 15 minutes walking distance from us). Valerie walked me through what she’d be wearing tonight…this girl is so methodical in her choices, it blows me away. Earlier today she detailed why and when she chooses which perfume she wears. I was blown away, and indeed further educated.
Usually every morning around 5, we’ve heard these crazy bird squawking noises. Tonight, walking home from the mall (where we get our groceries), we looked up and learned that they’re cockatoos! They flapped around from branch to branch and splayed out their yellow head feathers while we stood across the street amazed. What a wonderful gift that moment was.

1-17-09, Saturday
Last night we ended up going out with a big group of people, mostly Canadians, to the Regatta. The night was long but fun, and I almost, almost, almost felt bad about being the first one to call it an evening. I woke up at 6 am, which is 2 hours later than “normal,” so I’m glad to have been up so late.
I talked to my parents for a long time today – Everyday I love them more. Every day they set the bar a little higher for who I want to be as a parent. There’s nothing in the world like hearing from my mom or dad that I will be okay. I can think it, sing it, shout it, meditate it, but it doesn’t blanket my heart in peace like when I hear it from them.
Valerie went to the Gold Coast with the boys today. I had planned on going until it turned into an overnight gig, and then I excused myself even though I’m dying to see the beaches here. I’m just a girl who needs her alone time. After studying my oil textbook while laying out for a while, I went for a walk around Toowong. I went into the mall to get a book so I’d stay occupied tonight. The Longest Trip Home, by John Grogan (who wrote Marley and Me – great book), has been on my to-read list since it came out. While I was waiting to check out, the BIGGEST spider I’ve EVER seen in my life sauntered right past me, right next to my left foot, right in the middle of the freaking mall! I’m pointing, whimpering, and gagging, and all these Aussies are just cruising right by like it’s nothing, treating ME as though I’M the mutant beast in this situation. My gosh there are some gigantic spiders here, a large number of which live in our backyard.
I had nothing to do tonight, so I bawled to Charlie for a long while and then watched Sisterhood of the Traveling pants. Maybe it’s all the wine I’ve had, but it was so good. Definitely helped nurse my sobfest of an evening. In the spirit of indulgence, I’m going to pour myself another glass or two and just go full force into Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (note: these are Valerie’s movies; she has the cutest taste in films and I love it). I’m hoping to be asleep by 9 just so that I can sleep off the fact that I ate half a box of caramel-toffee cookies I found at the grocery store today. Occasionally it’s nice to be alone, overeat, laze, wail and then put on the ol’ sleep mask and call it a Saturday. Maybe not “healthy,” but nice all the same.

1-18-09, Sunday
News from the fashion front in Toowong: gladiator sandals are everywhere. I wasn’t a huge fan of them back home, but here the variety is so vast, I’ve seen some I’d actually put on my feet.
I went for several long walks today to forget the other half of the box of cookies I ate for breakfast. My parents and I chatted for a long time, and it was definitely soothing to the soul. My dad talked for about an hour about this business and industry, and then towards the end said the one thing that can help right now: You’re going to do fine. Yes, he’s wise, brilliant and knows me like a dad SHOULD know his daughter. I talked to Charlie later about how special it would be to have the responsibility of making your daughter’s self esteem soar and to know that it’s so easily done. Just a few little words, maybe a sentence or two. It’s something I’ll never experience because the ways a mom makes her daughter feel secure are so incredibly different. My mom is an ocean of all things good in this world. It hurts so bad to miss them this much.