Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It’s almost Christmas Eve, I’ve been home for 24 hours and here’s why it’s awesome.
It’s freezing. Like 27 degrees when I landed at 6pm last night. I brought my cute leather jacket cause it’s cute and I don’t get to wear it in Phoenix. I should’ve brought the old huge marshmallow Lands End windproof to -30 degrees coat. It rained today though, so that warmed it up a little.
Mom and I decorated the tree this morning. Haven’t done that in ages. We never really made a big deal of the tree while I was growing up, since we were usually gone to Arizona. But now, we’ve got a real-live, fresh-smelling tree covered in lights and ornaments.
And, now that my parents are empty-nesters, meaning no more kids to ruin the stuff, they’ve got really nice things! I have my share of 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, all newly painted, decorated, and uncluttered. New couches, entertainment system, huge plasma TV, surround sound, two computers, wireless internet, even a new shower head. It kind of rules. Mom and I plugged in the PlayStation tonight and battled on Guitar Hero, too.
I ventured out to the Post Office this afternoon and took a quick drive through town. Some things have changed, but a lot’s the same. My best friend came over for lunch, it felt just like high school when we’d come home and my mom would have something ready for us. Except now I’m here visiting, she came from her law firm, and later will go home to a husband and child, not cheerleading practice.
I’ve already had more than my share of chocolates, chocolate-covered Oreos, fudge, peanut butter balls, etc. I brought freshly made tortillas from the Mexican mart in Phoenix; mom made green chile meat, salsa and tomorrow it’s on to tamales.
I watched The Encounter at the End of the World, focused on the weird things you’ll find in Antarctica, mostly the incredibly odd people who make their way as south as you can go. There’s a reason they congregate together and you’ll see why if you watch it. I also made it halfway through Lawrence of Arabia – it’s 4 hours total. I’ve got a 3-hour Gandhi to go and my movie goals are met.
My dog still loves and remembers me. And she’s funny. After she eats dinner in the laundry room, my parents always give her a rawhide stick for dessert. They’ve taken to hiding it in places in the living room. Today I got to hide it. I parked it on the couch and waited for her to finish eating, and soon I saw her running into the living room, full speed, automatic, nose sniffing everywhere like a machine. She lives for those sticks. It’s funny to watch. Want her to do anything, just say “stick” and she’ll obey.
Yay for Christmas at home!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night.
I’m at peace. It was outstanding. And I wanted to call it a feel-good movie, but it’s really not. It’s gritty and real and I’m amazed that some parts of the world live the way they do. Are we not better than that? This world needs a serious overhaul in many aspects. But that’s another rant.
Even though it was cold and rainy, after the flick I had a craving for, what else, ice cream. I stopped at the store, grabbed my pint and got into the single check-out lane that was open. I watched as the woman in front of me unloaded her very full cart. Almost in slow motion she picked up a 24-pack of Grade A Large Eggs with one hand. Next came the Frisbee move. They went flying. Splat, splat, yellow runny liquid everywhere. The poor cashier tried to mop part of it up with a single piece of paper. We were reassigned to lane 2.
I arrived at work this morning to find a box of the best Tim Tams ever, the double coat variety. Along with a card, stuffed with glitter. It immediately exploded all over me. Blue and gold, in case you’re wondering. Thank you, Australia team, for sending along that goodness!
The work holiday potluck international lunch happened today too. Hallelujah for working in an office where native US residents are outnumbered. Homemade samosas, chicken biryani, tamales, dim sum, dumplings.
Six days til home!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
From an email I wrote to friends afterward:
They take a piece of my heart every time. I will cry when they're finished.
I took a video clip of most of the tracks. I have realized I should update my camera.
I want one of those revolutionary jackets so I can be Coldplay for Halloween next year.
They did all of the new album, got In My Place and Clocks outta the way pretty early on and encore was a tight, quick, rockier version of Yellow. They even did Chinese Sleep Chant (the last half of Yes on the album).
Fix You and the end of Politik (which I underestimated for a long long time), continuing into my newest favorite, Lovers in Japan.
That one got chills from me.
They opened with Life in Technicolor, predictably.
Halfway through they all came together on a small side stage and did some tight excerpts of
God Put a Smile on My Face and Talk.
They also ran through the audience at one point, I thought they were just hi-fiving people, but all of the sudden they pulled out instruments and did The Scientist.
Most talented guy in the band probably goes to Will the drummer. He sang back up on a quiet version of The Hardest Part (a track I don't really care for), but stripped down to just the piano, quite lovely.
Fourth time's the charm. I've seen them on both American coasts, time to see them in Europa
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
From the Nov 15 Issue:
LOSING one's home is a sadly common experience in these dark economic days, but it normally happens at an individual, rather than a national, level. The residents of the Maldives, however, face collective homelessness as a result of rising sea levels, which are expected eventually to engulf the 1,200-island nation, whose highest point is 2.3 metres above sea level. Faced with this alarming prospect, the country's new president, Mohamed Nasheed, has come up with an equally dramatic solution: put aside some of the Maldives' tourism revenues to buy another homeland.
Anyway, they may not want to be absorbed into a larger nation. They might prefer to stay together to maintain their community spirit and traditions of folk-dancing and imprisoning political dissidents. So a solution as radical as Mr Nasheed's may be the only answer.
It's a buyer's market in property these days; and, if the Maldivians are looking for an island, Iceland is said to be going cheap. But they may be spoilt for choice: think of all the tiresome bits of territory that other countries would like to offload. The snooty English, for instance, have long disparaged Wales, which they caricature unfairly as being populated mostly by Methodist preachers and disaffected sheep. It might be a challenge to persuade the Maldivians to swap their palm-fringed paradise for Llandudno pier on a wet Sunday afternoon; still, a bit of adroit marketing, focusing on the height of the hills, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins (both sadly no longer resident) might do the trick.
If they clubbed together, they could get somewhere really nice—Florida, maybe. China could stop making aggressive gestures towards Taiwan and buy Malaysia instead. It's already run by Chinese, so they'd hardly notice the difference. And Barack Obama, committed to uniting America, could defuse the nation's culture wars by purchasing an alternative homeland for those of his countrymen who want more use of the death penalty, less gun control and no gay marriage. A slice of Saudia Arabia's empty quarter would do nicely: there's plenty of space and the new occupants would have lots in common with the locals.
The British are familiar with the notion that, if you're bored at home, you grab somebody else's country; but recent experience suggests that invading places can be expensive and troublesome, so a market solution seems a better way of dealing with national dissatisfaction. The British are, let's face it, fed up with their damp little country. Instead of renting villas in Tuscany, they should buy the place; instead of complaining about the weather, they could complain about Silvio Berlusconi. The Russians suffer from too much crime and too much snow; the Gulf Arabs from too much heat and too little fun. Both should think of buying a temperate, orderly city with decent nightlife, such as London. Wait a minute…
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- New seat installed in my car
- Movie night with the girls (No, it was NOT Twilight)
- Interviewed a high school student who's applying to Georgetown (and actually a fascinating and deep conversation)
- Christmas shopping (but I only got a shirt for myself)
- Grocery shopping, three times cause I kept forgetting stuff. Like onion salt.
- Pie making
- Appetizer making
- Hoity Toity discussion group dinner at Le Grande Orange where I led a discussion on this article from the Economist
- Friend over before church
- Choir practice for the Christmas program
- Thanksgiving pot luck dinner
- Carpool to the Pie Fest in the middle of nowhere, Mesa (really, the place looked like where DHARMA lives on LOST)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Crack The Shutters
Thursday, November 13, 2008
My mom and I used to fight over it when it came in the mail, usually I'd hide it until I had read it cover to cover. Now that I have my own household, I get my own subscription. My grandma subscribes too; I guess it runs in the Kleck family genes. And we all get other each gift subscriptions for Christmas so each of us probably has a few years piled up and we should stop responding to the holiday mail that lets you send 274 free gift subscriptions if you renew your own.
I never thought my love for RD was strange, until I started working in the magazine industry and confessed to my boss that I subscribed. He looked at me like I was joking. I had to convince him over several minutes that yes, I as a mid-20s single woman loved Reader's Digest. I'm apparently very much an outlier in their demographic. Which I came to understand after seeing how the magazines I marketed (fully knowing their target audiences) performed among the RD subscribers. It all makes sense to me now.
Yet I'm still reading, and this article caught my eye.
Hello. It's one of the first words we learn as babies, yet it's one of the last ones we think to use as adults. In our never-ending rush to get something or somewhere, it seems we don't have time anymore for this most basic of gestures. And that's unfortunate, because saying hello is more than just saying hello. It is an acknowledgment of existence. It is a pause, however brief, to affirm another's worth (and have yours affirmed in return). How might the world change -how might we change- if we mastered this word?
How startling the word truly is.
It took a move across the country to realize it. Pulling up to In 'N Out burger, I'm always greeted with a "Hi, how are you?" I'm compelled to answer the question coming from the other side of the speakerbox. My first visit to Jamba Juice after a long time away, I ran in and barked my order, exactly how I'm accustomed to behaving at a quick-food joint in DC. I was interrupted with a "Hello, good morning, what can I get for you?" before I could finish. I had to take a step back and remember that we're all human and this sort of dialogue is completely appropriate and welcomed.
I hate to point fingers at the east coast for falling short on this word, but the difference is noticeable since I moved West. I lived 3 years in the same house, never once said hello to neighbors. Here, I go out running and everyone on the street (when there are people on the street) nods or smiles or says something to you. Grocery store clerks, gym staff, coworkers, security guards, you get it.
One goal I set after moving here was to be a little more open to humanity. Hello will do that to you.
Monday, November 10, 2008
- the radio station at my dentist's office, already playing christmas music. at 8am. on a monday. while i'm getting 25 x-rays taken of my entire mouth.
- my dentist recommending $3k worth of work done on my mouth. she doesn't like my bite.
- having to take my car in this week for an oil change. and a transmission flush. and maybe some new brake pads. and $$$$$....
- being cold (it's barely in the 60s today people. i'm shivering).
- i'm also wearing probably the most boring clothing ever today. blah. even my cute new necklace doesn't seem to spice it up.
- half price lemon bars at fresh and easy
- 7 weeks away from new york and guatemala
- hearing ice ice baby on the radio and singing every word, even staying in the car til it was over
- i might not have to go home for christmas (instead, others will travel to me)
- no more summer rates on the electric bill (finally, in november)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I got a new one today. To replace the original version whose trackball doesn't want to scroll down anymore. It's been a good 19 months.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
2008 - Que vive Espana!! A return to my homeland. Cheap tix to Barcelona from NYC. I was able to return to one of my favorite cities on the planet and also venture south to Valencia.
Monday, October 27, 2008
From Crackle: JES "Imagination" Official Music Video (Kaskade Re...
It was dark, but not really scary and we couldn't really have gotten lost. Isn't that the point? Good times though, worth a visit at least once. I spent the rest of the weekend trying to maintain the motivation for productivity that I felt this week. That included cleaning the kitchen, finally hanging art and photos on my walls, cleaning out my entire closet, donating clothes, recycling magazines, and even taking a lint roller to the shower curtain. That last one might have been taking it too far.....
Friday, October 24, 2008
Miramonte for the weekend and had a glorious time. We hauled RockBand over from Phoenix and played daily (I even got to the Expert level on a few tracks. Impressive, I know). I think this may have to be an annual tradition. Even if not on my birthday, no reason required to have a sunny poolside weekend at a Palm Springs resort. Liz wrote a nice summary, far more detailed than this short post, complete with video evidence.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
But the best part for me is filling up on my once a year Funnel Cake and Indian Fry Bread. Mmmm.....
I tried to break up the food, not cram it all down in one sitting, since I knew I had to try it all. But by the end of the night, I was home popping Pepto like candy, wishing I hadn't eaten so much. My stomach felt like a rock, even when I awoke the next morning. Suddenly I'm craving fresh fruit and veggies.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
People tend to ask, what do you want for your birthday? Or what did you get?
I guess I’m not so much into “things.” I’d much rather have experiences. Memorable ones. With bright sunny days surrounded by friends with music and laughter and stories of past excursions and creating moments worthy of future tales.
My birthday celebrations in recent years (for my own sake, I'm starting to forget these things):
2006 – Bowling at Lucky Strike! And a barbeque on our stoop afterwards, in our tiny little area of green space on our tiny little grill on the steps of our townhouse. Man, I miss that place.
Her immediate alternative (and one of the reasons why she’s brilliant), let’s go to Palm Springs. Perfect, perfect, perfect!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Like LOTS of it.
I mean, enough that it has to be directed to at least 25 different people with my name. This is a constant source of entertainment, and I occasionally like to share on this blog. I’ve previously posted about it here. I almost think I should try and get national recognition and track down all the intended email recipients and bring us together on Oprah or something. That could be my 15 minutes of fame. Just a thought.....
Upon receiving such email in error, I usually respond to the originator politely, like ‘Hey! You’ve reached the wrong person, wanted to let you know!” Most of the time I get nothing in response, sometimes I get an “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry” and on a rare occasion I’ll start a dialogue with strangers on the internet. Right up my alley.
Twice I’d have to make phone calls explaining this (mostly due to library cards and renewal notices).
Some recent emails of amusement:
- She looks beeeautiful! Apparently I helped a youth pastor at Cornerstone Community church redecorate the youth room.
- Bonnie wants to know if I’m becoming a real estate agent
- Whitney sent me 5 pictures of her and her boo from her Picasa account, complete with the backwards cap and dreadlocks
- I’m staying at the Four Seasons, Las Vegas soon! And I ordered a balloon bouquet with a message “Happy Birthday Stud!” and a Pink Pig Staff Animal attached.
- Austin sent me some photos that he took on his first day of work as a newspaper staffer (see below)
- Desiree is a little pissed at me: “I need to submit my other payroll numbers now. I waited to hear from you all day and have been hung up on, or disconnected, and have not got a return call from you so the best I can do now is assume on what you would like. I have also emailed you 3 times.”
- I went to the Ravenscroft school.
- I also went to the University of Georgia
- The Kalamazoo MI public library has my email on file for one of their patrons. I get renewal notices. I had a lovely phone conversation with a woman at the circulation desk when I called. She perfectly understood the situation and was able to get my email address out of their database. Now, when the same thing happened with a DC public library, no disrespect to my former home, but I KNEW I'd have a problem. Sho' 'nuff, when I called, the employee was confused beyond measure and had no idea what on earth she could do to help me cause she can't do nothin' cause I'm not the account holder.
- I signed up for Emerson Ecologics??
- A dude named Buell Fogg from Union College is going to help me with the FAFSA.
- Will thinks I’m an agent – see headshot below. We exchanged a few pleasantries. I told him I sent his headshot and resume to friends. I hope he thought that was funny.
- Charles in DC emailed me the weekend plans for the wine tasting tour. Turns out he lives a couple blocks from my old place – we chatted briefly and he issued a real invitation for the weekend!
- I’m also booked at a resort in Anguilla. Lovely place, lovely place.
- Hello Daughter, The reason I need you to come back, well, let's just say that we (your mother) screwed up. Instead of just putting or keeping you myself and travis on the lease, she also signed tutor and the baby. (that you should have known) But she was still on kisha's lease as well. The management people informed kisha that as of 1/31/08 her rent was now 1,500. a month. You know kisha had a cow, (as she was supposed too). Long story short, a new lease has to be drafted and signed again. Dad
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It only took a year to get together. After a few years of great geographic separation, Erin and I both moved to the southwest around the same time – me to Phoenix, her to San Diego. A year later, I still hadn’t visited. It was high time to visit Erin and the Toddster and the munchkin, baby JAG.
Crystal and sharing a love for Spain and Christopher Guest films.
It was my first real road trip since the Volvo disaster on the way to the Grand Canyon in February. I’d driven all over the East Coast, with friends, alone, and fully explored. But the West seems a whole new ballgame. Especially stopping at two border patrol checkpoints on Interstate 8 amidst the barren wilderness. That’s a new one for me. The six hour drive went by quickly. And I rather enjoyed being alone in the car; after years of not driving, I figure karma will even it out or something like that. With a fully stocked iPod, anything is more than bearable (almost).
As I get older, it takes less and less to entertain me. I’m simply content to converse, catch up, read a book, relax (really, did I just say that? Hmmm). And it was a good weekend for that. I pulled in Friday night, right as JAG was going to sleep. Erin and I caught up over dinner and errands and soon I fell asleep in JAG’s room, on the spare bed.
Erin warned me he’d cry in the morning upon the discovery of a stranger in his room. He did. But I was determined to make him like me before the weekend was over.
Me and babies – not so much a natural interaction. Over the last couple years as I’ve shopped for baby shower gifts, I can’t even bring myself to go near the baby clothing section (I almost had a heart attack writing that word – baby – just now). I usually steer clear of the baby sections of stores and end up purchasing something to pamper the mother-to-be. When I met another friend’s new baby earlier this year, the first thing I could stammer out was, “Congratulations. You reproduced.”
Sounds heartless and awful and my mom says that’ll change when/if I get married but we’ll see……I’m really not cold-hearted towards children, I just don’t know what to DO with them. I grew up watching my little brothers and of course I love them, but the rest of human beings under the height of 3 feet….not really sure what do with them most of the time.
Back to the trip.
Then I gave him back.
We headed to church, had some lunch and then it was time for me to trek back to the Valley of the Sun.
It won’t be a year before I return. Life’s too short to let a 6-hour drive separate me from great friends and possibly the best weather on the planet. But Erin, be assured that I’d still come visit, even if you don’t stay in the perfect weather city.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The whole fam (minus Tanner, who’s in Argentina) came to visit AZ during Labor Day weekend. Mom and Dad made it in time to celebrate their birthdays; Taylor and Courtney (perhaps future sister-in-law? Do I jinx it by saying that in a public forum?) managed to get out of class and work to make the trek down to AZ. I’d been to two continents since the last time I saw my dad.
Mom’s sisters presented her with hilarious birthday gifts, themed around blueberries, since my parents run a blueberry farm in their spare time. But the big kicker, my two aunts claimed, would be the very limited edition gift they put together for my dad. They slaved away over the stove for hours, they claimed. And finally, when the time came to reveal the gift, I almost couldn’t stand it.
I was nervous. Knowing my aunts, they’re quite the characters. You never know quite what they’re going to do.
Tah-dah! He pulled out a tie from a bag. But not just any tie. A tie that had been specially dyed with fresh blueberries. Cooked with blueberry juice. Stained in such a way that could never be reproduced. Apparently this tie didn’t absorb enough color; they spent hours and hours cooking down the blueberries to get it just right.
Who thinks of such things?
The two crazy aunts also put together a ‘Welcome to AZ’ pack for Courtney, complete with a coloring book and scorpion lollypop. Ewh.
We drove up to Sedona for a day, something to pass the time. My mom had been calling for weeks prior, what should we do while we’re there? Uh….same thing we always do. You grew up here. You’re here at least twice a year. You’ve been here 3 times this summer already. What is there to do besides the normal lay by the pool, eat Mexican food and shop?
Taylor and Courtney came to hear me mess up on the organ at church on Sunday, and soon enough the weekend was over and they all went home. I felt that I should leave with them. But no, I live here. I’ve lived here for a year. Does it feel like home? Still not really. But where else in the world should I be?
Cold by Phoenix standards. Sixty-five degrees this morning. When it drops below 90, that’s the trigger to bring out the boots. Which I did today.
Despite my professed hatred for cold and ice and all things winter, I think I just might miss it this year. Shhh....
A year in the extreme heat has thinned my blood, I still freeze in the AC and revel in walking outside into 115 degrees in the summer, yet I find myself longing for some chill and sweater and scarves that will linger a bit longer than December to February. This might be a decent year for an extended winter. I may even willingly go on vacation to a place that’s cold this winter, rather than try and escape further south.
I long to unpack my great white marshmallow coat. I’ve even put away all socks that aren’t in my gym bag.
I reminisced about great fall weather with fellow Georgetown grads last night, a couple of whom just moved to the Valley. We know what we’re missing. Yes, we do.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Not such a good idea when it's still 100 degrees daily in Arizona.
Got into my car after work (even though I park in a covered garage) and noticed brown dots all over the back window. Hmm...
And on the floor. And the seatbelts. And the door handles.
The can was mostly exploded on the opposite side of the car, under the seat. Would've loved to witness that.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Me: Hey hey, what's up?
ACS: Hey! What are you doing calling me in the middle of the day?
Me: Excellent question.....(laughter)....I have a random, very random favor to ask of you.
ACS: (More laughter) Alright....let's hear it....I'm a little worried.
Me: So this favor involves you going to the Embassy of Ecuador, finding Marco and giving him 20 bucks....
Me: Yeah, you heard me. I need you to go to the Embassy of Ecuador tomorrow, find a guy named Marco, and hand him 20 bucks. He takes cash.
In case you're wondering, she did indeed go, walked into the joint, saw a dude, said "Are you Marco?" and he said, "Do you have $20?" and it was settled.
I think that's what I need to get back on track with this blog. Simple. I have a ton of issues of the Economist piling up around me, overloads of work, a Netflix queue 1.46 miles long and novels to read and discuss, so yeah, let's keep it simple.
This week's pick, Kings of Leon, Use Somebody
I can't say I've ever been a big fan, but I have a few tracks and I listen on occasion and more often I watch the video for King of the Rodeo since my good friend has a starring role as the cowboy. Their performance on SNL last week has revived my interest and I think the new album may hold some gems. This is the most recent fav:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I've had the urge to explore my "creative" side again through various means.
Perhaps due to the 2-day class I attended because of work, taught by theater actors and I angered and I improvised and I emoted and I claimed my space.
And I now have a guitar.
And I "play" the organ.
And maybe I should write a little? But reading > writing.
Monday, August 25, 2008
From an email I wrote while I was recently away on a work trip:
This may be the coolest city I've ever visited.
I spent half of the first day on the Peak - the huge hill on HK Island with amazing views of the whole city. Made friends with Indians, Koreans, eastern Europeans. Wandered through HK Park, where (and I have to laugh at this, am I terrible?) I just had to find the Fighting SARS Memorial Architectural Scene. It rained for a good couple hours; I got soaked, as I left my umbrella at home.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
December - The Looming Tower
January - The World is Flat
February - Interpreter of Maladies
March - Short History of Nearly Everything
April - Everything is Illuminated
May - Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
June - The Awakening
Other potentials that could make the list:
La Casa de los Espiritus
The Glass Castle
Water for Elephants
Those Who Save Us
The Kite Runner (again)
Chronicles of Narnia
Or.... I could stock up on cute spring/summer clothes. I hate when I open the J Crew catalog and want everything in it. I've avoided the infamous Mormon Migration at Memorial Day to Duck Beach for 8 years, but somehow this year I'm flying across the country for it, and a girl needs some new beach gear, eh?
More than you ever wanted to know about my trip to the Balkans! You know, in case you want to plan your own Balkan adventure. General Inf...