June 30, 2009

I M A Tool

Heads Or Tails

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is "Tool". As in, you could call me a tool because I am totally posting a meme inside a meme. Or as in, this week, I will be using a meme as a tool to actually post something that may entertain you and will tell you a little bit about me. Because I have 9 articles due tonight (mostly done, but need touching up), and because I have been coughing this awful weird dry cough all day and am afraid I'm getting sick and because I'm starving and want to make dinner. So, here it is.

Kori tagged me for this "Lighten Up" meme, with just about perfect timing. Come, read on, and get to know me a little better!

1. What is your current obsession? Pineapple. I have been totally obsessed with it this spring/summer. Also, So You Think You Can Dance. I looooooove it.

2. What is your weirdest obsession? In the kitchen and bathroom, I hate it when the things that are supposed to be against the walls are pulled away from the wall and not put back after use. I think that's sort of weird, and my husband doesn't get it at all. I also don't think it's too weird, but my obsession with checking e-mails/google reader/facebook on my blackberry? Way out of control.

3. Recall a fond childhood memory? Hmm... I have a lot of good memories from being a kid, so it's hard to just pick one. Let's see... Having The Hobbit read to me and my sister by my stepdad - he has a great reading voice and would read to us at bedtime. Riding in the back of his big orange pick up truck. The Girl Scout meeting where we made butter in mason jars. Visiting my Dad in Denmark the summer he worked there when I was 9 or 10 and eating pizza at the train station.

4. What’s for dinner? All I know is I am about thisclose to ordering some pizza. I gotta talk to my husband first though.

5. What would you eat for your last meal? An entire pepperoni pizza with triple cheese from Marrone's in Ardmore, PA.

6. What’s the last thing you bought? Last night I stopped at the store and bought 12 packs of Cherry Coke Zero, Diet Cherry 7-Up and a bag of M&Ms for my husband.

7. What are you listening to right now? I'm watching the 4th episode of 'Castle' and listening to it.

8. What do you think of the person who tagged you? I think she is totally awesome, and I can't wait to meet her... someday!

9.If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would it be? That is actually a hard question. I think that I'd have to say near my family, and I'd probably stay in Bellingham, but I'd love to live in Fairhaven on the hill in a nice house. Although, I could use this as an opportunity to have a 2nd house somewhere in addition to the one I already have. In which case, I'd probably have it be in England, near London so I could travel in Europe.

10.If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? For an hour, huh? I would go to my friend Violet's house and chat for a little while.

11. Which language do you want to learn? I would like to learn Spanish because I think it would be really useful.

12. What’s your favorite quote (for now)? "Do you know what the chain of command is here? It's the chain I go get and beat you with to show you who's in command." If you know what it's from, then you are awesome.

13.What is your favorite color? Blue. And it doesn't hurt if there are sparkles involved.

14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? Hmmm... I really like these denim pedal pushers I have that have a flower stenciled on the side. I also really like my sweater tank that is sort of a rusty orange with gold threads woven in.

15. What is your dream job? Dream job? Hm. Broadway star.

16.What’s your favorite magazine? Entertainment Weekly. I also have a subscription to The Economist that my Dad gave me, and I used to subscribe to US Weekly, but didn't renew this time b/c of cost.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on? Maybe a new pair of shoes. I haven't bought shoes in sooooo long because I technically don't NEED any more.

18. Describe your personal style? In what way? I guess I'd say laid back, but neat.

19. What are you going to do after this? Finish watching this episode of Castle then go to bed.

20.What are your favorite films? The Day After Tomorrow, Grease, Sliding Doors, Bride & Prejudice, Jurassic Park, Dogma, Once

21. What’s your favorite fruit? Pineapple

22.What inspires you? Hearing stories of people who have faced great adversity and overcome it, people who have survived and thrived, and broken the cycle. Seeing the love it's possible for people to have for one another, and how a community can support and lift up it's members.

23. Your favorite books? The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, the Homecoming series by Orson Scott Card, A Widow for One Year by John Irving, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, anything by Laurel K Hamilton, the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris

24. Do you collect anything? Books and unicorns. I have over 200 unicorns, figurines, books, plates, jewelry, stuffed things, albums, artwork, and even 2 tattoos.

25. Any advice that’s some from bitter experience? I really really try hard not to be bitter or have regrets because it's a waste of your current life. My best life advice? Live for the moment, live for the future, but not for the past you can't change.

26. What makes you follow a blog? Could be different things. Usually if I relate to the person, or if they crack me up. Or if they are an amazing and inspiring personality or writer.

There are rules to this meme, the only one I know from Kori is tag 4 other people. So... I tag Dawn, Michele, Chris & Megan, because I want to hear their answers!

For more Heads or Tails Tuesday posts, click here.
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June 26, 2009

SYTYCD Top 16: Performance & Elimination Recap

Performance Show

I always notice Cat's dress first thing. And guess what? I actually liked it! It was cute and the color looked good on her. Guest judge this week? Toni Basil. Hey Mickey! Interesting.

Karla & Jonathan
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: "By My Side" by Jadakiss feat. Ne-Yo

Karla looked good in rehearsals, but Jonathan looked like he was struggling. "The one thing I think they should work on the most is everything" said Dave. Ha. Watching them dance, I felt like Karla was totally believable, but Jonathan just looked almost like a parody of Hip Hop. He did the moves, but it just didn't work, his angles weren't enough and he was too... soft? Flexible? I don't know. But it wasn't good.

Asuka & Vitolio
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Song: "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benetar

Thrash Rocker Jazz? Upon hearing this, I wonder if I will get it at all. I love Asuka & Vitolio as a couple. I loved seeing how much they support each other. This was the second dance of the evening and there was something about both this one and the Dave Scott Hip Hop where while I was watching them perform it almost seemed slow motion. To me, it made it look like it was something choreographed for beginners, like how it would look if people at a dance camp were performing it. I felt like the moves weren't fast enough for the music or something. It was all right, but I wasn't impressed. Nigel really seemed to like it. But I agreed with Mary, it wasn't really together always.

Ade & Melissa
Style: Rhumba
Choreographer: Tony Meredith
Song: "Emotion" by Destiny's Child

"Melissa and Ade need to work on... everything." Another rehearsal that looked interesting. I didn't like her dress. Oh well. I expected it to be a faster dance. I thought Ade's form was great. I think these two have a connection, I feltl ike they played the roles well. I couldn't really tell if they were technically good or not, which is not an uncommon problem I have when people dance ballroom, so I sort of wait to see what Mary has to say. Nigel agreed with me, saying Ade was "absolutely incredible." Finally something actually impressive!

Jeanette & Brandon
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott
Song: "What a World" by Common

Last week, they were amazing, so let's see how they do this week. Rock and Roll meets Hip Hop sounds pretty good to me. I had high hopes going into it. I loved when Dave Scott said Brandon was learning the moves quickly, and then he was trying to compete by making him do harder moves. Hilarious. LOVED IT! They were awesome! It was entertaining, it was impressive, it was great.

Kupono & Kayla
Style: Viennese Waltz
Choreographer: Jean-Marc
Généreux
Song: "Sweet Dreams for You" by Jewel
Uh-oh. I am totally scared of the Viennese Waltz for the dancers. Ha. I feel like Kayla could be beautiful but I am worried about Kupono. I knew before they started that no matter how the dance went, Kayla would be absolutely gorgeous. And she was. She looked like an angel. Again, it's hard for me to say much about the technique, but I thought it was absolutely beautiful. I don't agree with Nigel that it "wouldn't make anyone stand up and cheer." I think to the average eye, it was wonderful. Mary disagreed with Nigel and put them on the Hot Tamale Train! Great job from this new couple.

Evan & Randi
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Mia Michaels
Song: "Koop Island Blues" by Koop feat. Ane Brun

Randi as an elementary ed teacher? Not at all a surprise! Evan as a gearhead? A little more surprising. A booty dance? Hm... I thought it was pretty good. I didn't like how baggy Evan's costume was because I felt like I couldn't see his movements as well. Nigel said it was beautifully danced, and I thought that was true, but I'm not sure that enough people will get it to keep them safe.

Jason & Kaitlin
Style: Pasa Doble
Choreographer: Jean-Marc
Généreux
Song: "O'Fortuna (from Carmina Burana)" by Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg & Kurt Prestel
I loved Jean-Marc throwing Jason's shoes. So funny. When it started, my first thought? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Carmina Burana. So, that was a good start in my book. Ha. The music and their costumes fit together so well. It's hard for me to tell technically, yes, again. I thought it was good, but I felt like I wanted something a little more, that music is so powerful I sort of almost felt like they didn't quite meet it. Maybe part of what was missing was the chemistry between the two dancers, like Nigel said. Maybe it was that Jason wasn't staying strongly enough in his character, like Mary said.

Philip & Jeanine
Style: Broadway
Choreographer: Tyce Diorio

Song: "Moses" from Singin' in the Rain
I love musicals. Singin' in the Rain is one of my favorites, and this happens to be one of my favorite songs from it, so I was excited when I heard the music. I liked the dance, but I felt like Jeanine was much more believable than Philip. Frankly, at this point I'm not sure that I'm that impressed with him.

Predictions for bottom 3: Karla & Jonathan, Asuka & Vitolio and Evan & Randi

Elimination Show

Opening Choreography by: Tabitha & Napoleon
Song: "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) by Pitbull

HAWT! I really liked it! Wet dancing? Dude, awesome. Cat's outfit? Weird. Halter top pants suit? But somehow I couldn't totally hate it because it kind of looked good on her. Then Nigel talked about Farrah Fawcett & Michael Jackson and I was sad. Talking about Fred Astaire calling Michael Jackson after he first did the moonwalk and telling him how amazing he was? Just another example of how truly amazing he was. I LOVED that they showed the Thriller video as a tribute! Wonderful.

So, the bottom three? Asuka & Vitolio, Karla & Jonathan, and Jason & Kaitlin. So, I got 2 out of 3. The special guests were The Rage Boys Group. CUTE!!! And good! I bet Cat's right, some of them will show up on SYTYCD in a few years.

Asuka danced her solo to "Don't Trust Me" by 3OH!3. I thought she looked great.

Vitolio danced to "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay and was wonderful. He is one of my favorites, and I really hoped that it would not be his last dance.

Karla danced to "15 Step" by Radiohead. It was unique and I felt like she'd put a lot into it. She was very good, and I felt like she really was dancing for her place on the show.

Jonathan danced to "The Hunted" by Kodo. He danced well, but I felt like there were too many tricks in his routine.

Kaitlin danced to "Que Sera Sera" by Jennifer Terran. She danced very well. She's not one of my favorites, but that flip she did at the end? Truly impressive!

Jason danced to "New American Classic" by Taking Back Sunday. I thought it was impressive.

After solos, I was thinking Asuka and Jonathan were going to go. The judges came back, and Asuka was eliminated. I was sad, because I really liked her, but neither of her performances this week were good enough. Sad. On the boys side, Jonathan was sent home.

This means next week, we'll see another new couple with Karla & Vitolio.
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Our King of Pop, Gone

Haiku Friday

After two hours of
driving, listening to news,
I am finally home

I surprise myself
by sitting in my car, as
the tears came, sudden.

I cried in earnest
for someone I didn't know
but felt like such loss

My peers have never
experienced this before
our King of Pop, gone

We were at the zoo, four Moms and seven kids (minus mine), and she suddenly said "I've got news". I looked over at her to see a shocked look on her face as she recited the text message from her husband - Michael Jackson died of a heart attack. I was shocked, we talked a little. When we got in the car to leave, we heard his music on the radio. In the car, my friend and I tried to remember last time the radio stations played a tribute - one song after the other by an artist. The last we could remember was Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995.

It took a while for it to sink in, as I made the drive from Seattle to Bellingham, I listened to CNN - Wolf Blitzer & Anderson Cooper. I was mostly okay, until Jermaine Jackson's statement. I stopped for coffee and by the time I got home, I found myself inexplicably bawling in my car in the driveway. Even as I write this post and listen to people talk about him, I almost can't comprehend it.

I just can't believe he's gone. I wish that I'd had some way to write down some of the things I heard on CNN on my drive. I absolutely mean no disrespect by this, but a thought went through my head comparing this to 9/11. Not because it's the same kind of tragedy at all, but because when I knew what happened I was unable to pull myself away, and all I wanted to know was what? Why did this happen? And it is an event that changes the world for my generation - what other icon can you think of the same age or younger than Michael Jackson that is such an integral part of the music of that generation?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and unfortunately Michael Jackson faced some big struggles with his legal battles. My personal belief is that he did have problems. Who doesn't? But I absolutely don't believe that he harmed any children. I believe that he had mental issues, probably because of his childhood and the dysfunction in his family. I believe that he probably did have inappropriate social relationships with kids, but not in the sense that he molested them or was attracted to them - in the sense that he somehow identified with them and felt comfortable with them. And that he wanted to give love to children because he did not feel loved as a child. It's really very sad, and I think that the lawsuits that were brought against him were probably about money more than anything.

Despite any opinions you might have about his personal life, there is no denying the indescribably impact he had on music and on the musical culture in our world...

"There's really no question if you're going to talk about the most looming, dominant figure in 20th century pop music," pop-music expert and USC associate professor Josh Kun tells E! News, "Michael Jackson is that person. He became synonymous with what pop was, and what it still is today." link

"I can't find the words right now to express how deeply saddened I am by Michael's passing," Justin Timberlake wrote. "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones."

"May God cover you Michael. We all lift your name up in prayer. I pray for the entire JACKSON family particularly Michael's mother, children and all his fans that loved him so much," Usher wrote in a statement released by his rep. "I would not be the artist, performer, and philanthropist I am today without the influence of Michael. I have great admiration and respect for Him and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to meet and perform with such a great entertainer, who in so many ways, transcended the culture. He broke barriers, he changed radio formats! With music, he made it possible for people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama to impact the mainstream world. His legacy is unparalleled. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten."

Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which honored Jackson with 13 Grammys, says, "Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon." link

Beyoncé said: "This is such a tragic loss and a terrible day. The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. He will always be the king of pop! Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about how many moments in life that take your breath away. For anyone who has ever seen, felt, or heard his art, we are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson. I love you Michael.”

Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Tommy Mottola said "It’s the death of an American icon," the mogul tells USA TODAY. "There are three people that stand out in my mind -- Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. That's the triumvirate that sums up American popular culture, iconic people became worldwide figures with worldwide popularity in the music industry … He was "the single most talented person I’ve ever known. There was every aspect of creativity, as a performer -- from the early days with the Jackson Five and being biggest phenomenon in the world -- and as a songwriter, (he wrote) some of the most outstanding and memorable songs you ever will hear. His videos were groundbreaking -- he defined the video age. He was the person who married video and music more than any individual ever did or ever will …He was a rare and beautiful and gifted and extraordinarily talented person. ... I think the pressure of this quote on quote comeback was overwhelming to Michael, because it was being billed and staged as a comeback, and that’s incredible pressure. It's overwhelming."

Beginning in his childhood, and throughout his life, he was an artist that spanned race, culture and generations. His music, his lyrics, his unique style and voice, and his dancing were amazingly huge influences on artists that came after him. His death is being compared to Elvis & John Lennon, and I feel like those are valid comparisons. He was an amazing artist.

He was also a brother, a son, and a father, and for his family, as with any family who loses one of it's members, I am sad. There is a part of me that's confused by my response, and feeling so connected to the loss. After all, I'm not a superfan. I have some CDs, but I don't have them all and I wouldn't necessarily list him on a list of my favorite artists. But I also realize in hearing all the clips on the radio how much of his music I know, and that's somewhat remarkable.

In the end, I really just want to pay tribute to one of the greatest stars out there, someone who struggled in life and still managed to provide so many amazing things for this world and the people in it. Someone who contributed amazingly to everything from music to blending music styles to dance to music videos. Someone who can make you smile. Go ahead, I dare you to listen to this, and not to smile...



For more Haiku Friday posts, click here.
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June 25, 2009

Give a Spirit Jump


I can't remember how I first came across Spirit Jump. It must have been a couple of months ago. In the midst of reading stories of survivors online, I finally found something I felt like I could do.

The best way to tell you about Spirit Jump is to let them speak in their own words. So, from the 'What is Spirit Jump' section on their website:

How It Started:

In February 2007 Meaghan Edelstein, a law student at Shepard Broad Law Center in South Florida , was diagnosed with stage 3B cervical cancer. After being misdiagnosed for over two months the tumor was finally discovered by her doctors. She was told she had little chance of survival but Meaghan decided to fight. She was immediately flown to Boston where she received treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. After receiving internal/external radiation, chemotherapy and numerous surgeries Meaghan was on her way to recovery. While in the hospital many people visited Meaghan, she also received many cards and gifts along the way. Meaghan credits these small touches of love with giving her the extra strength to keep fighting for her life.

Looking for a way to reach out to others Meaghan started a blog called I Kicked Cancers Ass where she wrote openly and honestly about her experience. Many began to find her on her blog and were able to receive answers as well as comfort. Realizing she was helping others began a healing process of her own. Wanting to make more of a difference she thought hard about what else she could do. Finally the answer came. Remembering the cards and gifts she received and how they lifted her spirits during a desperate time, Meaghan decided to match those who wished to give with those who needed support. Thus began SPIRIT JUMP.

Stacy Joins Spirit Jump:

Stacy Billow, a 24 year old Stage IV Melanoma cancer fighter was just one of the many people who had found Meaghan through her blog. After striking up a friendship via many emails and phone calls Meaghan asked Stacy if she would like to help her run Spirit Jump. Stacy was excited about the opportunity and immediately they began their journey together. Through Spirit Jump, Meaghan and Stacy continue to make a difference in the lives of their fellow cancer fighters.

The Spirit Jump Mission:

Spirit Jumps goal is to provide hope and comfort to the many men, women and children battling cancer. To let each and every cancer fighter know that they are not alone in their battle and that there are many of us who care and are rooting them on. When someone is struggling for strength during tough times we hope a little package of love arrives to give them the extra strength they need to get through the day.

The Amazing Part:
.

The amazing thing about Spirit Jump is the fact that both the person giving a gift(Jumper) often has their spirit lifted just as much as the person receiving the gift(Jumpee).


I make homemade greeting cards using photos and craft materials. At least once a month I sit down and write some letters or short notes to friends. Sometimes, just a card or note in the mail from a friend can mean a great deal to people. There are no requirements for being a Spirit Jumper. You don't have to spend a lot of money buying gifts, or a lot of time trying to figure out what to buy or donate. All you really need is a heart full of love and a few minutes to send some of that love out to someone who needs it.

I mostly send out cards, and every once in a while I can send out something more, especially if it will be meaningful. Once, a Spirit Jump request came for a woman in England and her daughter who was requesting it mentioned that she loves Africa. I was able to send her a beautiful woven basket. My Dad travels to Africa for his job several times a year, and it was one of the inexpensive souvenirs he brought back. It was something cool I had, but I hope to her it will mean something more. It just felt so wonderful to send it and know how much it might mean to someone else.

If you have some free time, please consider signing up and getting on the e-mail list as a Spirit Jumper. If you know someone who might benefit from having their Spirit Jumped, please e-mail these girls! They are making a huge difference in people's lives, and it's absolutely wonderful.
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June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Sun

Gardening w/Grandma

Feathery Fascination

Blurry, but beautiful.

My son, he's my sunshine.

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.
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June 23, 2009

Week 20/21 Update: TWENTY!

Current Weight: 244.2
+/- this week: -3.8
+/- total: -23
Short Term Goal: 250 (5/26/09)
Short Term Goal 2: 225
Long Term Goal: 150

After three weeks of basically no movement (I didn't even post an update last week), I FINALLY got back on track and passed the -20 pounds milestone! I am sort of in disbelief, I just can't believe that something is actually working for me finally.

This is my first update posted at Scientific Nature of the Whammy. In the past, I've posted at Unconventional Fear, but I decided to move it all over here. The thing with Weight Watchers and the program is that it really becomes a big part of your life, and this is a huge goal for me right now. At first it seemed like it made sense to keep it separated, but as time has gone on I've felt more and more like I wanted to have everything in one place. From now on, I'll be posting my weekly updates here, usually on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

You can find all my previous entries by clicking on 'Unconventional Fear' just below the header up there. In a nutshell, I have struggled with my weight for years, and no matter what I tried I was never able to lose anything. I finally found a doctor earlier this year who believed me, ran bloodwork and it was discovered that I had several problems including hypothyroidism and PCOS. You can read more about the diagnoses here and my first visit with the endocrinologist here if you're interested.

Today's meeting was a huge milestone for me. Being able to say I've lost 23 pounds is just absolutely amazing. It gives me hope that it might be possible for me to lose the 100+ pounds I set out needing to lose. Only 3 more pounds until I reach a huge goal - losing 10% of my starting weight. I'm starting to feel less like my body is betraying me, and that feels good.

So, what else has changed with 20 lbs? I can comfortably cross my legs again. My pants are looser. I went to Zumba last Thursday after not having gone for 6 weeks and it wasn't as hard as the first time I went - I just had more energy. I can keep up better than I used to, and I do things I would never have considered a year ago, like walking to the store or walking downtown from our house. I eat less, and I eat healthier. I'm not perfect in that area, but I'm on a really good path.

This is about all I can manage for now. Even though it's not even 11, I'm super tired and my stomach isn't feeling well, so I'm gonna call it a night.
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A Summer Memory

This week's theme for Heads or Tails Tuesday is "Summertime Memory". I originally posted this in September of last year, and it brings up really great memories for me, so I'm re-posting it today to share with you!

***

Summer in a Small Town

You see amazing things every day. In small town America I sit in the backyard listening to the music of cicadas in the trees. The first night, their song is surprising, forgotten during the time away from this home, and unexpected. Later, the sound is comfort, lulling me into peaceful, quiet meditation in the backyard twilight as I wait to walk the one block into town.

We walk down Main Street, peering in shop windows of stores as versatile as snowflakes. A coffee shop, a comic book store, the local newsstand, The Shaker Cafe, where they make delicious nachos every Friday with weekly Mexican meals. A bagel shop has just opened up in town, and I had a fresh bagel for breakfast this morning. As we walk past the old Union Hotel restaurant, we begin to hear the music.

Every other Thursday night in this small town in New Jersey, they have Music on Main. A block or two of the street is barricaded off and a stage is set up. The blacktop is spotted with tables dressed in flowing white tablecloths surrounded by folding chairs. The music has already started and the tables are full with people talking, laughing and sharing wine and food.

I'm not from here, but I feel welcome. As I sit at the table with one of the other town moms, her hug welcomes me as if I've been here forever. I don't talk much. Instead, I sit and listen to the cover band play, I watch the local kids and less shy women and men dance on the cleared out area in front of the stage. I have a hard time keeping my eyes off of her in her red sparkling halter top. She has already been pointed out to me as the heavy drinker at these events. Her shirt reminds me of an Olympic gymnastics leotard. Her eyes are partially shut as she weaves back and forth, and she claps and hollers at the end of every song.

She is joined by a woman from a few doors down. She too is drunk, perhaps forgetting the worries of how her husband left her with her children, how she doesn't have a job. Not caring where her children are - I saw her 9 year old daughter riding her scooter around town earlier by herself. Tonight she has no idea that in a few days, CPS will be called on her for leaving her daughter home alone overnight. She is dancing, oblivious. I've been here for only a week, but I've already heard these stories. Later, as the two women dance together, the one in the red shirt stumbles drunkenly and bowls over a group of pre-teen girls.

Halfway through the night it begins to rain, but it's a warm rain, something I rarely experience at home in Washington. I expect people to leave, but most of us just sit at our tables as the drops gently fall from the sky and cascade down our bare arms and legs. In minutes, it is over and the warmth of the night dries our skin. The show goes on.

Only a few songs left, I am lost in my own world, my own thoughts. The music eliminates the need to talk and I sit, observing, enjoying, breathing it all in. I notice a man on the sidewalk in a t-shirt and white backpack. He plays a harmonica along with the band, and the way he dances is childlike. Something is off, and I wonder what his story is. Does he think like a child, or an adult? Who takes care of him? As I watch, a young looking twenty-something breaks from the dancefloor to approach him with her male friend. They talk to him and invite him to dance. He declines, and they persist. After he says no again, they fade back into the dance, but my eyes tickle with tears at this act of kindness. It is a beautiful night.

***

To read more Heads or Tails Summer Memories, click here.
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June 22, 2009

The Rules (no, not those rules. better ones)

I saw a post I thought was pretty cool, by Avitable. It was a Rules for Life post. Then I saw another one, at Shamelessly Sassy. I decided that I should write down a few of my own rules. Obviously, everyone's rules are different, since we are all different. These are just the ones that I live by and believe in!

So, here goes...

  1. Respect. Respect yourself, and respect others. If you give respect, you're more than likely to get it back.
  2. Regret is a waste of time. In Jonathan Larson's words "There's only us, There's only this, Forget regret, Or life is yours to miss, No other road, No other way, No day but today".
  3. Sometimes musicals speak the truth.
  4. Never lose a friendship if you don't have to, but recognize that sometimes you have to.
  5. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. People are more generous than we give them credit for.
  6. If you have to stare at yourself in the dressing room mirror for more than 3 minutes trying to decide, you shouldn't buy it. You'll never wear it.
  7. Pay attention to what goes into your body. We ingest so many chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients, sometimes organic feels so much better.
  8. If you can learn to forgive, it will free you as much or more as it's freeing the person you're forgiving.
  9. There is almost nothing in life that isn't worth forgiving for someone you love (romantically or otherwise).
  10. Friendships ebb and flow. You don't have to be in constant contact with someone to call them one of your best friends, or an important part of your life.
  11. Happiness trumps money every time. I'd rather be poor than miserable.
  12. There is no shame in taking medication if your body can't balance itself.
  13. Animals and children are way smarter and more perceptive than we give them credit for.
  14. God is always with us, but a lot of the time we will not understand why things happen when they happen. Faith has the power to get us through things we couldn't otherwise endure.
  15. You can meet friends in the most unlikely places. Be open to it when it happens!
I'm sure there are more, maybe I'll add them when I think of them. But for now, those are some of my rules.

And, I'll steal Amanda's ending: You should do one of these. Either in the comments or on your own blog, either way, send me the link. I love reading the rules that people apply in life.

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Calling All Angels

I stole this title from Dawn. I've been meaning to write an update to my prayer request list, and after reading her post today, I knew it was time.

If you are the praying type, these are some people out there who could use prayers. If you're not, send good vibes, virtual hugs, and peaceful thoughts. Anything helps, and whatever you offer truly does make a difference.

Today's requests:

- Please pray for Jamie, for Dawn, and for the rest of our family. Dawn writes at Growing a Pair, and today she wrote about Jamie. Only 11 years old, Jamie was born with a heart defect. She managed for years, but last Friday, Jamie had open heart surgery. What a scary thing to go through, as a child or as a parent. Things were going well after the surgery until Jamie's blood pressure wouldn't normalize. Please pray for strength for her family, and for her heart to heal and get stronger so she can wake up and go home.

- I don't know what her religious beliefs are, but Tracy from Sweetney is starting a really hard journey. Please just offer her your support, I can't imagine going through what she is and basically it just sucks. She is an awesome person, so let's try to lift her up.

- My friend Xotchil and her family. Her Aunt Christy, who was a wonderful woman, lost her year long battle with ovarian cancer in early June. Please pray for their peace.

As usual, my full list of prayer requests can be found by clicking here, or through the link in my sidebar. And of course, as always, please add your prayer requests to the comments.
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June 19, 2009

Welcome You Fabulous SITSers!

Welcome SITStas!

I was SO EXCITED when I got the e-mail from The SITS Girls telling me that my turn was coming up to be the featured blogger over at The Secret is in the Sauce! If you've never been there, you need to go. It is an absolutely amazing place to help support other bloggers and to discover new amazing reads. It's where I discovered Mom to Bee, Newly Wed, Newly Bred, Dandelion Wishes, Welcome to the Nuthouse and Ravings of a Mad Housewife, and a few others in my reader.

To anyone here from SITS, thanks for stopping by! Pull up a laptop or a desktop and stay a while! It was really hard to pick just 3 posts to have highlighted at SITS because there are so many different sides to what I write here, and it's hard to represent myself in three. Here are the ones I chose:

Center of My World


A Moment

My Future, My Hope

If you liked them and want more, here are a few more of my favorite posts to check out:

I Believe

Not Easy

The Way It Was, The Way It Is, The Way It Will Be

A Moment of Failure

I Am Haunted

And one last thing - when you comment, use your e-mail address! I love replying to comments, but if you don't leave an e-mail I won't be able to!
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June 18, 2009

SYTCD Top 18: Performance & Elimination Recap

I missed blogging about the auditions and top 20 show, but if you think that makes me any less obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance, then you are a crazy person. Last night? The top 18 performed. And Cat Deely wore an ugly dress, but what else is new? I mean, seriously? WTF was up with that humongous ruffle?

Randi & Evan
Style: Jive
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: "Shake a Tail Feather" by Ray Charles


I just think that Evan is adorable. I'm interested to see how he does in the rest of the competition, like when he has to do hip hop. I liked what this choreographer did last week, and I think he's new to the show this season. Loved her dress! LOVED the shimmies, and his jump over her? Impressive! I thought they were very good! Their synchronization was pretty on too. They seem to be a good fit as a couple.

Melissa & Ade
Style: Jazz
Choreographer: Sonya Tayeh
Song: "24 Hours (Ashton Shuffle A-Bomb Remix)" by Terry Poison

Jazz. My challenge. I am trying to "get it", but am not there yet. Somehow those tights made her legs look enormous and muscular. I guess it's no surprise that I didn't really care for the routine. I didn't hate it or think it was bad, I just didn't really care about it. I guess it was good since the judges liked it, but I wonder how many people out there won't get it like me.

Caitlin & Jason
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Shane Sparks
Song: "Missin You" by Trey Songz

Holy crap. 4 year old Jason doing Michael Jackson?! SO CUTE! And? He is still just so DARN CUTE. I really like Shane Sparks so I was happy he choreographed 2 routines last night. I thought he was definitely more believable as a hip hop dancer than she was. He had that sort of jerky movement, there were parts where I felt like she was a little too smooth.

Janette & Brandon
Style: Disco
Choreographer: Doriana Sanchez
Song: "Loving Is Really My Game" by Brainstorm

You know what always hits me about Disco? It's FREAKING FAST. I would literally have a heart attack and die. I thought they were pretty great and their lifts and tricks were awesome. Wow.

Asuka & Vitolio
Style: Waltz
Choreographer: Louis Van Amstel
Song: "Dreams are More Precious" by Enya

For a long time I thought her name was Oscar and I was confused. Just saying. But, they are two of my favorites. I agree with Louis that Vitolio's story is incredibly compelling. I'm not always a huge waltz fan, and I really wanted to connect with this one knowing that Louis wanted it to be painful/heartbreaking and I just didn't feel it. Mary did. I guess maybe it was a case of not seeing the full beauty of it because I wasn't there. I'm not versed in ballroom, and I don't see those little things always. I thought Asuka looked gorgeous.

Kayla & Max
Style: Pop Jazz
Choreographer: Brian Friedman
Song: "Hot Like Wow" by Nadia Oh

When I heard the story, I was excited to see the routine. Loved teh music. And her costume? Really cool. I feel like throwing the pop element in with the jazz makes a huge difference for me personally. I really liked this routine and I thought they played their characters really well.

Karla & Jonathan
Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Song: "Falling Slowly" by The Frames

Okay, first things first. The Frames? Are absolutely amazing. And if you haven't seen the movie "Once", you need to see it because it is absolutely gorgeous. That lift where she curled up in his arms? Was beautiful. I thought they were beautiful. that part where she was hanging from his shoulders as he hugged her? Lifting her chin with his hand? It was just absolutely gorgeous.

Jeanine & Phillip
Style: Tango
Choreographer: Tony Meredith
Song: "Violento (Up Mix)" by Bailango!

Well, this should be interesting. That's what I thought during the rehearsal clips. I thought they had really good chemistry. Sometimes I felt like her movements were a little hesitant. I liked that lift where she sort of sat on his leg. I thought that overall they did fairly well for never having done it before, but I'm not sure that's enough to keep them out of the bottom 3.

Ashley & Kupono
Style: Hip Hop
Choreographer: Shane Sparks
Song: "Imma Be" by the Black Eyed Peas

100 miles per hour with confidence, skill and doing it in unison? Tough. I love Kupono's lists. I loved the concept. I thought they did pretty well, but I'm not sure it was hard hitting enough. So I listened to what Li'l C had to say! Not great.

Predictions for bottom 3: Melissa & Ade, Jeanine & Phillip, Ashley & Kupono

I was right about Ashley & Kupono. Not about the others though, the other 2 couples in the bottom were Jason & Caitlin and Max & Kayla. Ashley and Max ended up getting cut, which means next week we'll have a new couple with Kayla & Kupono.
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June 17, 2009

Wednursday Thirteen

I haven't had any time to sit down and write this week, and I can't start something now because I'm home with Sam and I don't know if I'll be able to complete it. Lucky for me, tomorrow I am getting a wonderful day off courtesy of my awesome Mom. In the meantime, my poor neglected blog is sitting here getting annoyed at me. Well, blog, there are always lists. Yes, I realize that it's not Thursday yet. But I am not going to be home this evening (see below) and this is just the perfect post for me to do today. So, I'm just going to pretend that Thursday starts at 3:30 PM on Wed. What are you going to do about it? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Thirteen Random Thoughts This Thursday
  1. Last night I tried to install a new template, and couldn't make it work. Grrrrr. I found one that I like, but it needs a couple of changes. Most of my problems stem from the whole installing a new blogger template without deleting all my widgets thing. It is super annoying. That's what was tripping me up. Also, there is one change I want to make to the design (and by me I mean my husband will do it), which is that it only shows partial posts with a "read more" button at the end, and I'd rather it display the full post. So, look for something new... soon.
  2. Another thing about the blog. That BlogHer ads thing over there? I don't know what to do about it. I am never going to make any money from it, but that's not why I signed up. I signed up for it because of that little "more from BlogHer" section at the bottom. But I wonder if it's worth it. I do like BlogHer and their whole existence, but I don't know if I'm getting any traffic from that thing. To be honest, I rarely click on it unless a title is really grabby. How about you?
  3. I have this other blog. It's called Unconventional Fear. It's about weight loss etc. I am thinking about integrating it here, because it's a big part of my life and I feel like more people would see the posts if they were a part of this blog. So, what do you think? I would still give them all a label so that I could have a button on the side. My second dilemna is that my husband made me an awesome header for that blog, which I love. Any ideas on how to incorporate it somehow if I merge the blogs? Then I would only have ONE blog to worry about. What a concept.
  4. We went and saw "The Taking of Pelham 123" last night. I thought it was pretty good. I thought John Travolta was good in it, and I am always a fan of Denzel Washington. It was sort of a weird movie because of the ending, but I was entertained.
  5. We took Sam to see "Up" at the theater the other night. He did pretty well. I managed not to cry since I was concentrating on trying to teach Sam to whisper and holding his chair down since he's not heavy enough to hold it down by just sitting in it. My favorite part of the whole movie was the dogs. I've also found that lately when I see animated movies, there is something that catches my eye and I can't stop being amazed by how awesome it looks. In Coraline, it was her blue hair. In this one, it was Kevin the bird. Sooooo preeeety.
  6. We got a condolence card in the mail from the vet yesterday, and it made us teary. I still feel like it's not real that Piper's gone. Our other cat, Phoenix, has been sleeping on the couch a lot. I don't know what he thinks.
  7. I am FINALLY going to Seattle tonight to visit my BFF, who I have not seen or really spoken to in 2.5 weeks. Seriously unusual and WAY too long - we have tons to talk about. Tomorrow I am going to go see a friend down there who has been an important person in my life. Unfortunately we have been out of touch and it sounds like she is in pretty grave condition medically. She has been battling different medical problems for several years, and I don't know exactly what's going on right now, but it makes me thankful that I suddenly got the urge to go see her.
  8. Today, I finally finished the laundry. I think that total there were like 8 loads. I think that we own too many clothes, we should NOT be able to pile up so much dirty laundry! It never ends. And I always vow that I'll start doing it every day or something and don't follow through.
  9. I got an e-mail from SITS that my turn is coming up to be the featured blogger. If I could express in words how exciting that is to me, then I would. But I can't. So... that's that I guess. SQUEEEE!
  10. I am totally bummed that I can't go to BlogHer OR the SITScation this year. I just don't have the money. Anyone out there want to sponsor me? Ha. Maybe next year.
  11. I have lost almost 20 pounds in the last 20 weeks on Weight Watchers. I am hovering at 19 pounds b/c I've gotten off track with my exercise and eating enough veggies & fruits the last few weeks. Too much fast food & sitting around. I'm getting back on track this week, and hope to hit that 20. You can read more about the whole journey on Unconventional Fear.
  12. I completed my training to be an advocate for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services. I am super excited. It's going to be challenging, but so, so rewarding. I also want to open up to anyone out there who might possibly find my blog and need someone to talk to. My e-mail is rachael1013@gmail.com. I'm sure I'll be writing more about the training and the experience soon, I just haven't had time to get my thoughts down yet.
  13. My son is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Playhouse Disney website right now. Sometimes, the internet is awesome.
So, what random stuff has been going on in your life?

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June 15, 2009

Because your feed reader is definitely not full enough

So, I was going to write a post for today. But last week was seriously busy and emotional and crazy, and I am helping my husband with working on some things and I fell asleep on the couch last night with my 3 year old draped over me like a blanket at like 7:30 pm and then he kept waking up. So basically, I am not able to be coherent.

But, fear not. I have something to share. Instead of reading here today, go over and visit Megan at Newly Wed, Newly Bred. Here's why.
  1. She has the giantest baby ever and he is totally cute.
  2. She is always making me laugh.
  3. I totally agree with almost everything she says.
  4. She is a cloth diapering powerhouse, which is totally awesome (and green!).
  5. She rocks.
Go read the post she wrote this weekend about how shitty customer service is. If you're lucky, maybe by the time you get there she'll have a Not Me, Monday post up - some of my favorites on her site are in that category!

Now go check her out. You can thank me later.
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June 12, 2009

Goodbye, too soon

We'd been a couple for less than 6 months when we decided to add another member to our family. He was only a few months old, with black hair and big eyes. We had to involve our Mom in our plot, to pick him up since we weren't technically allowed where we lived.

He was the perfect kitty from the start. There was another kitty in the shelter named Piper, and we stole it's name because we liked it so much. A small ball of curious black and white with huge paws, he loved to be petted and held, but wasn't too needy.

In his whole life he only went to the bathroom outside his litter box three times. Once when he was a kitty and Justin was cleaning his litter box in front of him. Once because he was locked in a bathroom - and he went in the tub. And once last week after I upset him by forcing the pills down his throat.

For both my husband and I, he was our first pet since we'd left home. We were both only 19 years old when we got him. He was always a pretty cat, even when he got up to 18 pounds. We loved his giant-ness. He had six toes on his front claws, and it gave him a weird kind of human quality.
When Sam was born, Piper weighed twice as much as he did. We would watch them lying near each other on the couch and laugh. Sam was curious about Piper, and he was the most patient cat ever. He hissed at Sam a few times, and once batted at him, but without his claws. He taught Sam what he didn't like without ever biting, scratching, or scaring him. He would act annoyed, but moments later we would catch him swishing his tail, teasing Sam into playing with him.

A few months ago we started to notice that Piper was losing weight. At first we thought maybe it was healthy, but it got to the point where it obviously wasn't. Justin heard him coughing a few times. We finally took him in to get some bloodwork done, and that night at home we noticed how labored his breathing was. We called the vet the next morning and Justin took him in for X- Rays.
It wasn't good news. I never got to see the X-Ray, but Justin did. In the large spaces of his lungs that should have been dark, instead there were hundreds of spots. Fuzzy, white, and invasive. Something was seriously wrong. They did a biopsy. When he came home, he had a patch the size of a business card shaved from the fur in his side. The prognosis wasn't good. Piper either had lung cancer, or an advanced fungal infection. We started him on anti-fungals and anti-biotics.

Without spending hundreds of dollars for testing, there was no way to know which it was for sure. All we knew was that if it was fungus and it was still treatable, he'd improve within a couple of weeks. Pills, the only bite he ever gave one of us, forced feedings and watching him struggle to breathe came after that. He still wasn't eating on his own. We didn't want to lose him. But both Justin and I have had instances of asthma in the past, and watching him struggle to breathe, we knew that he was suffering. If the pills were going to work, there should have been improvement by now. Instead, he was dehydrated.

"I don't want to make this call" is what Justin told me this morning. But he did it. We went in. We weighed him and he'd lost another pound. IN TWO WEEKS. 10% of his weight, gone.

He was too young. He turned 9 last week. It was too soon. I hadn't let myself feel it up until today. I thought that I might as well wait until it was real. When I told the vet that he'd stopped coming to sit in my lap or lie on my chest every time I was relaxing on the couch, it was real. When Justin and Sam left the room, it was real.

I held him after the first shot, as his body became still. I petted him. My tears fell on his fur. I whispered that we loved him. I told him how good he was, and how sorry I was. I wished I could tell them to stop. Despite his state, I swear I heard him softly purr as I stroked his fur, almost inaudibly. The second shot came and he was gone. I let my weight fall back into the chair as they took him away to put him in a box.

Sam is too young to understand, we told him that Piper is gone, and he seemed to understand. But I still wonder if he'll ever ask about him. I imagined that Piper would be the first pet he'd remember, one of his two very early childhood pets. Now I wonder if he will even remember him at all.Afterwards, I carried him to the car. Somehow he seemed heavier. Waiting for Justin to get something from the house, I opened the box and stroked his fur. Still so soft, still our friend, our little guy. Still so hard to say goodbye.

We drove out to Justin's Dad's property and walked through the woods and found a spot for him. Under some trees, in a spot where we can visit later if we want to, Justin dug through the wet chunky dirt, and we laid our friend to rest. Moss and daisies cover him now. I still can't imagine that he'll never beg for food again, he'll never rub his head against mine, he'll never cuddle up
between us in bed at night. I can't imagine that he's really gone.

Click any picture to view full size. More photos here.
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TGIF

Haiku Friday

This week? Really hard.
Bedtime troubles, busy jobs,
and intense trainings.

Then yesterday, and
early morning followed by
a sad, sudden bye.

Good things existed,
a wonderful piece of mail,
and our love, family.

All in all? No doubt
I'm glad this week is done, now
let's start the next one.

For more Friday Haiku, click here.
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June 10, 2009

Week 19 Update: I'm a Winner, Not a Loser!

Current Weight: 248.4
+/- this week: +0.0
+/- total: -18.8
Short Term Goal: 250 (5/26/09)
Short Term Goal 2: 225
Long Term Goal: 150

Hey, look. Nothing happened this week. ARGH. So, I didn't eat the best this week. I'm off track with my workouts and my healthy eating. Should I be proud it's my first plateau? I dunno. All I know is if I could just lose 1.4 !@*$%ing pounds, I would hit 20 lost!

I haven't been eating healthy enough. I haven't been going over points, but I also haven't been eating filling foods. This week could be known as the most busiest week ever. I have 40 hours of training for a new volunteer position. Plus 9 articles to submit (3 down, 6 to go). I haven't been exercising as much because of the heat.

So... goals? Starting next Monday, we have a pretty blank schedule. I'm going to sit down over the weekend or on Monday and make a meal plan. Plan out our dinners for at least 2 weeks, use some of the recipes in my Weight Watchers Cookbook. I'm also implementing breakfast rules again. For a while, I was eating good healthy breakfasts every day including a fruit every morning. I need to start that again. We'll also resume the 'every dinner includes a veggie' rule.

I am also going to talk to one of my fellow mommas to see if someone can watch Sam for 1.5 hours at least twice a week so I can go to the gym. If it's not too hot, I can still go for walks outside, but I need to have SCHEDULED times to go and work out. I will also try to resume going to Zumba class on Thursday evenings and put that on the calendar. If I can do Zumba and go to the gym twice a week, then fit in walks and Wii fit when it's not too hot out, that should get me back on track.

I did get SOME good news today! We just finished our Spring Fever Challenge at my WW meetings. We had to fill out a sheet every day - we got points for exercising, tracking, commenting on our leader's blog, and eating filling foods. Plus there were weekly trivia questions at the meetings. In any case, I WON for my meeting! I got a prize - a 30 minute reflexology foot massage and a copy of the newest WW mag to read while I relax. WOOT! I am very excited and can't wait to have a professional pamper my tootsies!

In other news, I have an appointment with the endocrinologist on Thursday and forgot to go get my blood drawn. Grr. So I need to call and see if I can reschedule the appointment because I really want to have my bloodwork back before I go in so we can discuss the results.

I wore a shirt today and I swear it was tighter last time I wore it. So, that's something, right?!
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The Call

In the twilight, I stop outside the front door. I focus in on the flowers, purple clusters cloaked in dusk. I try to quiet my thoughts, let the petals remind me that the world is full of beauty.

For 19 hours this week I've sat in a room with 25 other people. We listen. We watch. We learn. We speak. After reading stories of unspeakable things, we cry. We admit how much it hurts to imagine that people can do such things. I choke up explaining that my heart hurts because it affects the survivors, but also creates a world in which women are frightened.

Our group is a ragtag bunch of college students, males, females, a probation officer, people big and small, mothers and daughters. Different as can be, but united by one single attribute - hearts too big for our chests. Urges and desires to reach out, to support those who cannot support themselves.

In the car on the way home after hearing about domestic violence for three hours, I think 'people are fucking fucks'. It's not a change in my views. Just how I am feeling at the moment. I live, I believe, that people are inherently good. I choose not to be afraid, not to worry about the worst of things, because what would be the point to life then?

I am overcome by the feeling of not knowing. How is it possible that people could treat one another this way? How is it possible that in our "progressive" society, a woman is battered every 12 seconds? How is it possible that in this world where women have supposedly come so far, 7 of of us die every day at the hands of someone we trust?

I cannot comprehend it. Then I realize that I don't need to. I will hold my head high. I will be there for you. For you who need me. One at a time, in the moment, providing what I can to help healing begin.

I feel weird saying I feel called to do this. I have never felt this way before about anything in my life. In the past, I've been the kind who would get that tinge of 'that's weird' upon hearing someone talk about a calling. Perhaps until you hear that call, you cannot understand it. I am nervous, but not afraid. I know that this is somewhere I am supposed to be. I hope that one day it might lead to an actual job beyond volunteer work.

I am sure.

Next week, I will be an advocate for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services.
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June 8, 2009

Hometown Swap!

I had read about swaps for a while, and FINALLY got to try one a couple of months ago. I LOVE THEM! So when I read about Shannon's Hometown Swap? I was so excited! I especially liked this one because I didn't know who or where I was getting a package from... until today! When it arrived! YAY!

For the Hometown Swap, we each picked an area of the country we'd never been to or were interested in. My 2 choices were New England & The South. Today the mailwoman delivered my package - all the way from Tennessee! My package came from Melissa, who blogs at Campbell Chatter. Here's the loot:

A Tennessee Titans T-Shirt and a beautiful country style decoration for my house! Plus of course a really nice card from Melissa! To tell you the truth, I am not always one for country style decorations. But I really like this one! It's really cute, and I really love stars. And, the willow tree is my favorite tree! So, I promptly hung it up in my kitchen...

The 'Love' magnet at the bottom is actually separate, but I liked how it looked stuck to the vase, so I left it! It's a little crooked, but I didn't have the patience to fix it right now, because I wanted to come show you all what I got!

I don't watch football much, so from now on I will just root for the Titans, ok? After all, I have the gear!

To see what I sent out from my home town, good old Bellingham, head over to Kat's place at Sunshine & Lemonade!

To see the other awesome things people sent (I can't wait to see!) head over to Shannon at Welcome to the Nuthouse!

On a completely unrelated note, my living room? Totally the transportation hub of Washington.

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A Blog Entry by Sam, Age 3

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June 5, 2009

Haiku Randomosity

Haiku Friday

Did you say bedtime?
I run screaming in terror,
for it is awful.

I have no answers
only questions. And last night?
"Only" took two hours!

Yeah... so bedtime has sucked a little bit lately. Oh wait, did I say a LITTLE bit? I meant a LOT! I am sort of at the end of my rope. It's the one MAJOR struggle we have with Sam. He's such a good kid, this is the one area where we're a little lost at what to do. Nothing seems to be working, so we're devising a plan. More about this next week - it needs a full post!

I was on my stoop,
I hope it makes you proud to
yell at a toddler

I heard what you said
Motherly rage reared up - I
swear, I'll pound you, bitch!

So today Sam was being a total jerk about bedtime and throwing a giant fit, so Justin took him in the bedroom and he was screaming and I was starving and at the end of my rope, so I grabbed one of the only things in the fridge - a wine cooler - and sat out on the front stoop. I could hear people in the next yard over talking. Suddenly I heard this: "...hear... through the window, DAMNIT!". I fully admit that I did not hear the whole sentence, and that it could have been referring to something else. But I got the feeling that the woman next door was YELLING AT MY TODDLER. Or at us. About how she could hear him screaming through the window.

There is a tiny bit of background, our neighbors are a little strange, and I've only ever talked to the husband, and even that is very sparingly. The wife has this vibe, she never smiles at us, never says hi, and I always feel this aura of dislike around her. I really don't think she likes us for whatever reason. So, I immediately convinced myself that she was talking about us. In which case...

WTF?! Do you think we LIKE it when he cries like that? What are we supposed to do about it, let him run wild and have no discipline and become a total asshole when he grows up? BTW, as far as I know this woman has no children, they are probably in their 30s (he might be in his 40s) and they've never had any kids around their house. I was SO mad that I came in the house and told Justin to go eat while I tried putting Sam to bed b/c I was so mad I couldn't even eat my dinner.

Trepidation, fear,
nervousness, but most of all
excitement and hope.

Tomorrow is my
first day of training, a new
volunteering job

I'll become support,
an advocate,an ear to
hear stories, hold strong

Another link in
a bridge of hope, of change for
people who need it

I am very excited, tomorrow I start training to be a volunteer for a nonprofit Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services organization in town. It's something I've felt called to do for a while now, and that I finally managed to get an application in for and interview for last month. After I go through training, there are several options for the kinds of volunteer work I can do - answering the hotline, acting as an advocate to people involved in court cases, acting as an advocate for people at the hospital etc. I know it's not going to be easy. I know that this is a really heavy thing to do for volunteer work. I just feel drawn to do it, and I hope that I'll do well in training and be good at this.

Holy crap, it's hot.
My house is like a sauna
and it's barely June!

So... we have a little house. It's probably around 700 square feet. We have a big bay window in the front of the house, and in the morning the sun comes in and heats up the whole living room/dining room. The front door comes into a tiny hallway at an angle from the window. The two windows in the living room and one in the dining room don't open. The bedrooms are off on the side and there is virtually no way to create a draft through the house. It's effing hot in here. Putting Sam to bed last night sucked because I was SO HOT and of course he wants to still cuddle and be touching. At least this year we have a hand-me-down air conditioner in our bedroom window!

I admit I love
TV more than is likely
healthy... but who cares?

Finale alley
is done, did you see House or
SVU? SO GOOD!

Summer brings a few
exciting premiers, what will
you be watching now?

Just watched the Law & Order: SVU season finale last night, and it was so good! I totally didn't expect that guy to go bad. The House season finale was also great, I am looking forward to the start of next season and seeing where it goes. Grey's Anatomy? Total and utter craziness. My theory? Izzy lives, George dies. I definitely think one of them is really dead. After the show was over, I went on YouTube and watched the last 5 minutes of the episode about 5 more times. Once I knew it was George, I totally could tell, but I did not guess it during the episode.

I got to watch the last few episodes of Eli Stone that never aired (they showed on SciFi in the UK), and I liked the last episode. I thought it was excellent, and of course I'm still disappointed that it got cancelled.

As for summer shows? My very favorite summer show, So You Think You Can Dance? IT'S BACK! I have only watched the first episode so far, and I totally almost cried when Brandon came back and danced and Mary was sobbing. He was absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to see him on the show. Of course I am really looking forward to season 2 of True Blood. We also like Burn Notice, Eureka, Monk, Psych, Weeds, and I'm going to try out the new show Nurse Jackie and see how that is.

Yesterday I shipped
two special packages, one
to England, one... not!

The first a special
gift, a Spirit jump for a
woman needing love.

The second a prize,
the best from my home town, to
share why I love here!

I am very excited about these packages. The first one was a Spirit Jump for a woman in England. I'm going to post about Spirit Jump soon, but I also have a button over in the sidebar. It's basically a way for anyone who has time and motivation to send gifts/cards/well wishes to people who are fighting cancer. It's a very cool program. When I heard about this woman, and that she loves Africa, I knew that I had the perfect thing. My Dad travels to Africa several times a year for his job, and I have a few African baskets that are so pretty to have around, so I sent one. I hope that it brings a little bit of sunshine to her life.

The second package was for Shannon's Hometown Swap. It should arrive in Georgia by Monday - do you know who you are?! I can't wait to get my package and see where and who it came from!
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June 4, 2009

Week 18 Update: Nothin'

Current Weight: 248.4
+/- this week: +0.2
+/- total: -18.8
Short Term Goal: 250 (5/26/09)
Short Term Goal 2: 225
Long Term Goal: 150

So basically, nothing. I was super tired when I went to meeting this week because I accidentally fell asleep because our house is so hot and then got woken up 3 min before meeting time and rushed over there and wasn't all the way awake. In any case, it was just sort of blah. I didn't lose weight this week, but I don't count this as a gain either. 0.2? That's like, oops, I took too many bites of bagel this morning. I didn't exercise enough last week, so I'm trying to get back on track. For a while Sam and I were going on good walks but the last few days it has been so freaking hot. Today it was like 83 and I went for a walk with him, but I couldn't manage to push it up into moderate intensity for more than 20 minutes because it was so sunny and hot. Hopefully it will cool down a little so I can get more walks in. Or I can find somewhere shady to go. Or start going to the gym more. I haven't been to Zumba in a while, but I think I might try to get there tomorrow.

On another note. I have been wondering whether I should continue having a separate blog for my weight loss or if I should integrate it into my main blog, Scientific Nature of the Whammy. I would still have a label for all these posts and make them easy to find, but this whole thing is just such a normal and big part of my life now I'm wondering if I should talk about it over there. Any opinions?
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June 3, 2009

What's Bugging You?

You know those things out there that just get on your NERVES? The things that you can't help being annoyed or even angered by, those things that are the life equivalent of the noise of fingernails on a blackboard? Yeah, you know what I mean. Let's talk about those for a while...


Thirteen Random Things That Annoy Me/Piss Me Off
  1. Dreadlocks on white people. This is annoying and a little gross to me. That is not cool. Black people's hair is different than yours. When you have dreadlocks, you have MATS in your hair. Like a dog who got too dirty and couldn't get clean. The annoyance turns to being pissed off and disgusted when I see you with your dirty dreadlocks with your THREE little girls, all with hair past their shoulders full of tangles, mats and dreads. Why not just cut it off? Ew.
  2. These words: sack, soiled, chutney, scrapbooking, pus, boil, dipstick... I know there are more, but of course I can't think of them now that I'm making a list. I think that's some kind of universal law.
  3. Sunburn. Yeah, it happens every year. I let it happen. Why? I don't know. I know it's bad for me, and I own sunscreen. It hurts and makes me even hotter - speaking of which, 83 degrees on June 3? REALLY? Sigh... Add the sunburn to the fact that my house has no circulation and I am roasting. And I know that once it stops hurting it's probably just going to itch, so I have that to look forward to.
  4. People who use text language out loud. Really? There is a reason that text and instant messaging use abbreviations. Because when you read OMFG, you already know what it means. It saves keystrokes. Do you know what happens when you SAY OMFG out loud? You save ONE SYLLABLE. Is it worth it? Because you sound dumb.
  5. Parents who take their children to completely inappropriate movies. We went to the movies last night, and the movies showing at the theater were: Dance Movie, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Terminator, and Drag Me to Hell. As we walked in at 7:40, the only possible movies they could have been going to were Drag Me To Hell or Dance Flick. We saw some people with a little girl, couldn't have been more than 2, heading into one of these movies. Not only does it annoy me because of inappropriateness, but also because really? Isn't that going to be hella boring for your kid? How are they even going to be able to understand anything? My kid would be a total pain in my ass at any of those movies.
  6. My son's bedtime antics. Tonight, Sam finally went to sleep at 11:00. Most nights, he falls asleep between 10 and 10:45. No matter when we start bedtime, he is awake and talking, messing around, flopping and flipping and whatever until then. We have tried bedtime routines, baths, books, etc. Nothing works. If we put him in his bed and leave he gets up. If we put him into the crib, he cries. For a long time. It sucks. I don't know if we just need to go back to the crib and let him cry it out even if it takes a couple of hours, and it will get better or what. It's frustrating. For a long time, he was going to bed between 8 and 8:30 and that was great. I actually had time in the evenings to talk with Justin, I wasn't likely to fall asleep in Sam's bed with him like I do half the time now. Now he stays up until 10 or 10:30 pretty much every night, then wakes at 8:30 or 9 and doesn't nap. How does he get the energy?!
  7. Laundry. It never ends. I can't keep up. Enough said.
  8. People who like to judge other people without the facts. I'm not going to say a ton about it now, because there's another whole post here, but seriously? Anyone who stands outside an abortion clinic with a terrible sign and yells at people who are going in to have the WORST DAY OF THEIR LIFE because they have to do a third term termination because their baby (who they already love) has zero chance of survival? ASSHOLES.
  9. My laptop's temperature. Because my house isn't hot enough already (it's like 85 degrees in here) and my sunburn isn't making me hotter, I can't enjoy my great bloggy reading without getting even hotter.
  10. When decisions I made come up and I can't remember why I made them. I called the endocrinologist today to find out when my appointment is because I knew it was coming up in the next 2 weeks. It's on the 11th. At 8:15 AM. WTF?! Why would I make an appointment for myself at 8:15 am? Most days, we're not even UP at that time. What was I thinking?!
  11. The fact that I never get to sleep in. Ever. Even on weekends, Justin is usually up late and if he's not all the way awake, Sam will just make me get up. And even if Justin is awake, a lot of the time (almost every night) Sam ends up in bed with me at some point, so when he gets up, I get up. No choice. I would like to sleep in one day. Just until like 11. Pleeeeease...?
  12. Pants with words on the butt. Especially on little girls. Gross.
  13. The holes in my brain. I know that I totally had other things that annoyed me in my head about an hour ago, when I was trapped in Sam's bed trying to get him to go to sleep. I think of brilliant things, then when I finally get to sit down in front of the laptop, they have fled. How freaking annoying is that? Ugh.
So, what got on your nerves this week? Or on a regular basis? Or whenever? Tell me what pisses you off!

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