Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankfulness


Well that was an interesting exercise!  One month ago, on a whim, I decided to post a “I’m grateful for…” thought on my facebook page as a little pre-Thanksgiving exercise in gratitude.  I was hoping it would help me catch the spirit of Thanksgiving, which has kind of been lost on me since I haven’t actually had Thanksgiving at home for…oh…SIX YEARS!  
 
 The one year during that span of time that I was actually at home on Thanksgiving, I realized to my unpleasant surprised that the family had observed the traditional dinner meal before I arrived. :(   I know, unbelievable.  I’m still a little bitter about that.  And the year before that I was in Australia (where they obviously don’t celebrate this holiday) and I had been camping for days and at our hap-hazard Thanksgiving-ish meal I had a serious case of the runs…TMI…sorry.  Then I went through a phase where I tried to pretend like I didn’t care I was missing out on Thanksgiving because it is just a demonstration of American gluttony!  Pretend is the key word in that sentence.  And in my graduate school years, it has just become a nice time to prepare for my final exams without having any classes scheduled to throw off my study mojo—not exactly the true spirit of Thanksgiving.
 
So what happened as I was posting all of these grateful posts (some serious, some not) I actually found myself waking up to thoughts of “what am I grateful for today/right now/all the time” instead of “what snarky think can I tell the cyber world today?”  And honestly, it made a HUGE difference in how I approached my day.  And corny as it sounds, I’m actually really grateful I chose to incorporate more gratitude in my life.  I have so much to give thanks for and it was really great to be reminded of that, especially at this time of year where my school work really gets crazy, it’s nice to be able to draw my focus a little broader and remember the multitude of blessings in my life.
 
Here is what I came up with:
 
1.    November is a month for thankfulness! My thankful thought as I was getting into bed yesterday was: I'm thankful for memory foam :)
2.    Today, I'm thankful to have parents who pray for me
3.    Today I am grateful to FINALLY know what I wanna be when I grow up :)
4.     SO thankful for Ikea
5.    So thankful for a beautiful, sunny day :)
6.    Thankful for my church family who stands in for my real family that is so far away
7.    I'm grateful for courthouse victories! :D (and I'm not talking about Michael Jackson...) As a side note, I'm also EXTREMELY grateful that women aren't expected to wear ties in court
8.    I'm thankful to live in a time and place where my inter-racial relationship doesn't put me in jail or worse. We've come a long way as a society.
9.    I don't want to offend, but I am very grateful that I never found smoking to be appealing in ANY way
10.So grateful for the hospitality of the Willis family over the last few years- I have been looking forward to homemade spaghetti and meatballs ALL week!!
11.I’m thankful for friends in high places :) ie, the head coach of the local college who gave me a pass to use their athletic facilities- FOR FREE!
12.Yesterday I was grateful that Sarah Stoner only dropped me from about 3 feet above the ground- hahaha! Yay for a great rock climbing buddy!
13.I'm also grateful for the first non-insane weekend in a LONG time! I got to enjoy not only rock climbing, but got in a great work out, made homemade granola bars, roasted squash from the farmer's market, Wegmans(!), and more!
14.I saw a commercial with green bean casserole and it made me feel VERY grateful that my mom doesn't believe in canned vegetables
15.I'm thankful I'm smart enough to not need a smart phone!
16.Although I was not necessarily thinking this at the time, I am grateful I attended (and graduated from!) seminary
17.I cannot emphasize enough just how thankful I am to live in an era abundant in space heaters, electric blankets, and hot running water. SO glad not to be born as an ancient Eskimo, I would have never made it. Those people have a talent that I certainly lack!
18.Oh so thankful for a farmer's market that is STILL going every week! :D
19.Thankful that Kendrick came up to PA early :)
20.Thankful for Mildred at the farmer's market! Seriously guys, making friends with older people has done nothing but GREAT things for me! They are awesome!
21.I'm thankful for Skype :) I got to see my grandparents today in Washington state!! (and my parents + Colin + Fritz the junior wonder dog. Evan was conspicuously M.I.A...)
22.Thank goodness for umbrellas! (and that its Thanksgiving and its still RAINING instead of snowing! YAY!)
23.Thankful for forgiveness
24.Thankful for a day to truly RELAX and enjoy the company of great friends + the virtual company of a super cool family.
25. Grateful to have the chance to obtain higher education and very happy to be nearly finished!
26.Grateful for Globalization. How else would I have enjoyed Egyptian Belly Dancing, yoga, meringue pies, hummus, and my bamboo plant this week??
27.Grateful that even though there may not be peace throughout the world, everyone in the world can make peace in their own hearts.
28.So thankful for all 4 of my awesome grandparents and for all that they have provided for me- emotionally, financially, and spiritually- I owe a lot to them
29.BAM! Thankful for going from 14 credits to 6, just like that! Holla! Hooray for a wrapping-up semester!
30.Thankful to be healthy and happy. It's so fortunate that I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge, even though I haven't had any real income since...like...ever
And by the way, I had a great Thanksgiving and I affirmatively chose to not to ANY homework.  With my fresh perspective, this may actually be my new favorite holiday :)
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grammar!

I'm not sure if this has been posted before, but even if it has, it deserves a re-post.  I plugged my thumb drive in after finding it in a drawer where it had been resting for about 3 years, and I discovered a document entitled "grammar blog."  I wrote it when I was living in Utah and it made me laugh :)  Here it is, in all its glory:


   This is a public service announcement.  I just wanted to inform you all of the proper way to pronounce some key words that are surely in your vocabulary.  Worrying about these things never really meant a lot to me but for some reason they have really started to bother me lately.  I think it may be because in Utah, there are certain accent oddities they have here that REALLY bug and they have got me thinking. 
 
   For example, Utahns cannot physically say an S after an L- it’s just too much and they have to convert them to a T and a Z.  Think Kelsey.  No, no, too hard.  It must be said Keltzy.  Weird.   

    At any rate, I am now ashamed of the time in my life when I laughed at the ridiculous (or at least what I formerly considered to be ridiculous) activities sponsored by a certain AP English teacher at my high school and carried out by students who would go around at night and correct the grammar and spelling errors on large signs and businesses with big, black Sharpies.  Now I honor them, and I wish that they had been around last week when I saw a big sign that said “HUG YARD SALE”…yeah.

It should be:                                                Not:

Annunciate or Pronounce…                        Pronounciate or Pronunciate (not real words)

Across…                                                     Acrost (not a word, sounds very ignorant)

Poem (poe-em)…                                       Pome (the E is not on the end for a reason)

Pillow…                                                     Pellow (just flat-out wrong)

Crayon (think yawn)…                              Cran (it’s not a berry, it’s a medium)

Wolf (there is clearly an L)…                    Woof (that’s the sound a dog makes)

Regardless…                                              Irregardless (not a word)


And there are many, many more.  Often, you just need to look at the real spelling, and the real sounds are right there in front of you- voila!  If you’re still learning the language, that’s one thing, but most of us have spoken English our entire lives and probably don’t even really know any other languages!  We should try to get it right.  Obviously I don’t have perfect spelling, grammar, or pronunciation (there are probably several written errors in this one post!), and obviously this is coming with my West Coast linguistic bias, but I have been trying to be a little more careful and hoping that you will do the same.  Consider yourself publicly served.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hershey Half! :D

Well friends and fam, I did it- I lived!  My first (and probably last) half marathon, and SUB-2 no less! (that's fancy runner lingo for "in less than 2 hours")
Pretty legit photo, right??

Yes, that's right, with my nerdy fuel belt and high visibility shorts, I made my 13.1 mile run in an hour and 55 minutes.  To put the distance into perspective, that's a 5K...plus ten miles.  It's far.  Next time you're on the freeway, examine you odometer and make a note at how long it takes to go 13 miles IN A CAR...and how much road you have left behind in the meanwhile...you get the picture, it's FAR!

So since it was the Hershey Half Marathon --which is cool because it benefits the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Children's Hospital as well as the Children's Miracle Network-- I got not only a medal in the shape of a Hershey kiss, but - you got it- free chocolate!  And some photos with those cute little Hershey Park characters!  So many perks...





Here is the BEFORE photo...a little too eager beaver considering what I'm about to make myself do...

And here is the AFTER with Kendrick, that is, this was after I about fell down several times and when I directly disobeyed orders to NOT take water from that unopened packages (in my head: screw you guys, I just ran a half marathon and IM THIRSTY and you've just been sitting here giving out space blankets!!!)



Yep, that's my medal.


So after my shower and after getting a space blanket of my own (I really don't know why they were giving those out...) I wrapped up in it and pretended to be a Hershey kiss myself!

Dork, I know.  I wasn't operating on full brain capacity at this point, so whatever.


And then for the chocolate tasting!

And of course, it was only a matter of time before the major CRASH!





And I haven't run since.  The End.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farewell to MD

So after saving the youth of Gorgeous Prince George's from police brutality, false imprisonment, and trumped up charges by corrupt officials, I have made my way back north of the Mason Dixon- but not before having lots of good old fashion Maryland FUN!

I played some riveting tennis matches with my roommate as well as the salsa dancer (KO). 
Right after this photo was taken, I won a match 10-1 (we were playing first to 10) and I felt pretty good about myself :)  I even beat an Asian!  Racist, yes.  Still proud?  DOUBLY yes!!  My grandpa is an honorary Vietnamese person at the tennis court near my parent's house, so I will use that as justification for saying what I just said.  And come on, I grew up in Garden Grove- we all have honorary Vietnamese status ;)  {mmmm... Lee's sandwiches... I'm drooling just thinking about it!  Although I try not to brag about my Asian roots because a Korean girl at school keeps trying to pass off her extra kimchi on me!  NO THANKS!}  Holy tangent...

Okay, so I also got to see the Basilica at Catholic University just down the road...

I went to the University of Maryland Observatory and got to look through some HUGE telescopes and learn all about Mission DAWN.

Awesome picnic with KO and with a little help from the farmer's market, Wegmans, and some local ethnic chefs:

Peruvian food!

And I said farewell to all my new BFFs at work.  Here is Brit and me acting like we're working...I mean, working VERY hard:

And here's me being Vanna in front of our in-office mall, which is actually pretty sweet because this gigantic closet is often the only way that our clients can have something that is NOT a bright orange jumpsuit to wear in court.  And most of the the clothes have been donated by staff- very nice.

Bye MD :'(  And please start forwarding my mail, I really need my new textbooks right about now!

P.S. I also saw Lauren from Jerusalem on the DC Metro last week!  SCORE!! :D  And Mom visited, but she is still holding those photos hostage!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome Home Baby Colin!

That's right, my little bro baby Colin is home from the wiles of El Salvador, with not so legal weapons in tow!  But we won't talk about that...

We had a great weekend all together as a family- it has been a LONG time since I've seen all of my brothers at once.  Someone had the brilliant plan to have a secret special op trip to a new sushi restaurant.  And it wasnt just ANY sushi place, it was a...drum roll, please...A REVOLVING SUSHI BAR!!

Yes, as good as it sounds!  You just pick up whatever cute little sushis you want as they travel around the restaurant on a conveyor belt!  Brilliant!
 Me & Mike

 The infamous Baby Colin and Baby Evan


So Colin had the grand idea of getting the baby octopus...and sharing

The texture was a little...off-putting (see below)
But the taste wasn't half bad!  I swear!

LOTS of fun with my brothers, Mike even said it was his favorite part of the weekend :)

The Salsa That Wasn't

One of my Maryland buddies has been graciously imparting some of his culture on me and has been attempting to teach me salsa dancing.  Very brave of him...

So we went to DC after work only to discover that the place we had intended to test drive my pseudo-skills was open every day for salsa dancing except for that particular day...figures.  Then the other nearby place wasn't going to open its dance floor until past my weeknight bedtime.

SOOO, I got a free tour of Dupont Circle from a local!  Almost as good and certainly less frightening than the prospect of making a big white idiot of myself on the dance floor :)



Pretty, right?

Plus National Geographic has, of course, an awesome office building:
 (anime scared face)


And I got to eat some legit empanadas, yum :)

A Capital Independece Day

A little late, but still pretty cool.

Spent the 4th of July this year in DC and it was GREAT!

Started out at the Nationals Game with some of my fellow interns...well, it was supposed to be SOME of my fellow interns, but they all ended up hung over or with parents showing up in town unannounced, so it was just me and good old Charlie who ended up being able to make it- but we lived it up!  It was free hat day, but since a baseball game is apparently was every true American wants to do on Independence Day, there were none left by the time we got there :(  But we had our hopes up and it was very sunny, so we forked over some dollars and bought our own.

It was all patriotism with the national being performed- I swear- 3 times, and sickening country songs about the USA blaring over the loud speakers and soldiers carrying flags around and, to top it all off, my lady liberty sun glasses.

Only for you, America, only for you.

Next I walked to the National Mall, went through security, and told security all about the Nationals victory after the doofus outfielder who had been dropping the ball (literally) stole both 3rd and home for the win.  They asked when they saw my fancy new hat.  I did leave out for them the parts about the super fans sitting behind Charlie and I, shouting out supportive gems such as "Whadda we pay you for ya bum?!  You're a $120 million mistake!"  There he is behind me:

What a peach.

Anyway, back to the National Mall.  So my mother said it best when she called and asked "Do you feel like a patriotic sardine?"  Saving my spot for 3 hours, laying down in the grass only to wake up with people standing above my head...yes, I certainly did feel like a sardine in a sea of red, white, and blue.

 Interestingly enough, the only people NOT wearing their patriotic colors was the French couple sitting right in front of me.  The were visibly annoyed about all the standing and sitting for the patriotic tunes and were the only ones not belting out God Bless America with tears all over the place.  Needless to say, as soon as a couple sprinkles came down they gladly peaced out.
 The concert was cool, enjoyed the show very much, including Steve Martin's grammy-winning bluegrass band (true story)- the French couple REALLY didn't like that!

And then the real show began, the fireworks:
Against the backdrop of the Washington Monument- pretty cool.


A few days later I was back at National's Stadium with the formerly punked out other interns and this time I scored my free hat, so now I have TWO Nationals hats, which I guess makes me also a superfan :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

DC Art Day

Metro-ed down to a couple museums today and it was great.  Here are some photographed favorites...

First I hit up the National Museum for Women in the Arts.  There main deal is that female artists are under-represented in all of the big museums [see the Guerrilla Girls print below], so they exclusively showcase works created by females.  Cool.  The building itself is gorgeous.  This first painting made me laugh.  All of these rich, prissy girls with their nasty little rat dogs in their purses are not trend-setters or creative, this has been being done by the wealthy and weird for a LONG time!
 That is one pathetic little pooch...

This print also made me laugh, they have a very good point though!
(In case you can't read the caption, it says "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are females.")

Although I have never heard of this artist, I really like the brilliantly colored nature-inspired paintings on display by Susan Swartz.

And FREDA!  The lady at the front desk VERY proudly told me that this is the only self-portrait by Freda Kahlo in the entire District of Columbia! :)


And then I spent WAAAAAY too long at the National Gallery of Art.  They even had to kick me out at closing time...


First were the sculptures, and I LOVE sculptures!  I'm going to put a replica of this one into my fancy lawyer office when I grow up.  It's by H├ębert and it's called "Amazon Preparing for Battle/Armed Venus."  So FIERCE!

And I just about died when I realized how many Rodin works they had!  Once I planned a trip on the train to Philly almost exclusively to see their little Rodin Museum only to get all the way there (2+ hours each way) and see that they museum was closed that day :(  Saddest ever!  But today made up for that!  I had never seen this one (below) before, but it was lovely.  It's a mother and baby and I think the best part of it is its former French title...

My French isn't awesome, but I translate that to being "First Impression of Love" and I think this expresses the emotional guidance that a mother can give to her child.

And then was Rodin's Le Pensuer! The Thinker!  Famous!  Smaller than I expected.  Much smaller.

Me in the grand Rotunda-

Tom-

George and the fam-

In the sculpture garden of the National Gallery they have this new gigantic fountain.  I refer to it as "The Great American Foot Bath."  And that's exactly what it is.  Ewww...

Surprisingly enough, this one is by Jackson Pollock- the splatter art guy.

HUUUUGE mobile by Alexander Calder in the modern section of the museum.

Georgia O'Keefe! :D

And one of my favorite guys ever- Mondrian!  Love love love him!

And isn't this the most interesting mural?  I was very drawn to it- really a neat piece.  It was painted by Roy Lichtenstein in 1983 and is called Painting With Statute of Liberty.  Uneventful title, but trust me it was AWESOME!
 Great day.  And I love the Metro.  The end.