Picture 31: Second Career

I was never really introduced to sign twirlers until I moved to California. But these people are talented. Do you know that these people get certified? I just think that is crazy. But I can believe it. Some of these people have amazing moves.

Take this guy outside of Subway today - he clearly has amazing moves (I really should have taken a movie for you!) and he's dressed like the statue of liberty!

I think if I decide to peruse a second career - sign twirling might be my thing!


Picture 30: Neighbors

Got to love the neighbors who keep the front yard all neat and tidy but use their backyard as a garage. Sometimes I think they forget that they have other neighbors that can see it.

I really hope that I don't end up being this type of hoarder. Junk is.....junk, and keeping it all in the backyard in case you might use it later won't make it any better. But what really keeps me up at night is trying to figure out what might be in those trash bags.


Picture 29: Athanasius

The truth? I didn't take a picture today. It was a pretty boring day. The morning started out great - coffee with my girls. This is always the best part of my week. But the rest of the day was just errands, errands, errands, errands. So, I guess I could have taken a picture of target, the bank, or the carwash - but I just didn't think that was that exciting.

So, instead, I decided to cheat and give you a picture of my adorable nephew: Athanasius. Athan is the cutest kid EVER. He has the greatest little personality. He makes the best sound effects ever. He will never do anything that he doesn't want to do which is frustrating on one hand because you can't make him play or cuddle with you if he doesn't want to - but on the other hand it is WONDERFUL because you know that if he runs and JUMPS into your arms, it is because he loves you and really wants to be there. He really likes to shoot nurf guns, vacuum, talk on the phone and play musical instruments. And my brothers are doing a good job of teaching him how to play video games.

I wish I lived closer to my family so I could see them more often.


Picture 28: the track


so many ambitions.
so many lost dreams and opportunities.

turns that lead to dead ends.
promises that were never kept.

i never meant it to end up this way.
i thought i'd just try something new for a while.

hope long gone.
a fear to hope again.


darkness and light
reality and denial

...one day
...one day
...one day
...one day i'll stop saying one day.


Picture 27: sea world and flat tires

You are getting two pictures again - becuase I COULDN'T DECIDE!! My life is just too darn exciting!

Today was a great day at work because it was the Health Benefits Fair! That may not sound exciting to you but then you would be wrong because it is awesome. You get to go around to all of these different tables and get free stuff (or SWAG as Michael Scott would say). I got this great compact mirror, a mug, eyeglass cleaner, a pedometer, a pen WITH stickie notes IN IT, and so much more I would brag about but I can already tell you are feeling pretty bad about yourself so I'll stop.

The point of telling you all of this is that Sea World was at our benefits fair. They were letting us know about there ridiculously low rates since we are employees of Fuller. And on our way out of the fair we saw their CAR! How did we know it was theirs? You tell me who else this could have belonged to. If I ever quite my job at Fuller - I am going to work at Sea World - and I will demand a company car!

The second photo is only because I am proud that my procrastination that has lasted for longer than I am willing to admit here ------ CAME TO AN END TODAY. I was really enjoying riding my bike to work everyday until I got a flat tire. And since I drive quite a tiny car I was not able to fit the entire bike into the back seat to bring it in and get the tire fixed. My co-worker said he would help me out if I just brought the tire into work. Well....it has taken me all this time to finally coordinate my schedule with my wonderful roommate Ipp so he could teach me how to take my tire off. I THINK i was paying attention. And by that I mean, he is definitely going to have to put it back on for me and then remove it again if it ever goes flat---cause I still have no idea how to do it. But at least I am one step closer to riding my bike to work again! Yea!


Picture 26: rearranging

I have decided to redecorate my "office". This is difficult since I work in a cubical. AND, that cubical is at a front receptionist-type desk. This means that I have about two walls that I can decorate.

BUT, today I removed the wide, awkward table that was there before and I decided that I would bring in this thin little table and try to spruce things up a bit. I need a table running to make it look a little nicer since it has seen better days (the boys HATE this purple thing I have going on) - it is a start.

I figure that I can put all my little nick-nacks on there, photographs, candles, make it look like a little homey part of my work station. There is also a place underneath that we can put all of the books that our graduates have published.

I realize that it looks terrible right now - but I just don't think I was born with the creative decorating gene, and I need some help. If any of you have some great ideas, let me know!

But just so YOU know......Edward Norton stays. That's the only piece of this puzzle that isn't going anywhere. Frankly, I think he brings the whole thing together nicely. Maybe I should be making the whole thing a shrine to him anyway ;-)


Picture 25: LAURA MARLING (and other musicians)

today's picture(s) is musicians.
in my old age. the retirement of school. my leisure years. i have taken up a love of music and concerts. hopefully more pictures this year will be of sweet sweet music, but you and i will both have to just be patient.

tonight.......iron & wine had a concert at the wiltern. singing with rosie thomas and marketa irglova (magnificent!) and laura marling opened.

i have to be honest. i bought the tickets for laura. she's brilliant. i've said it before and i'll say it again, her voice could cure diseases - or at least make a bad day better. she alone was worth the ticket. too bad i couldn't figure out how to take a good picture on my camera phone while she was up there so this will have to do. sorry (mostly to laura!)

next up was iron & wine. i'll be honest. i've never really been on the iron & wine bandwagon. i've always appreciated their sound and enjoyed their music, i've just never really invested or gotten into it. and tonight was really no different. they are talented, no argument there, but there was nothing that really stirred me or called me out from the middle of my tired week to say "awake! listen! rejuvenate!" it was good music - i am glad i went - but i don't think i'd go see them live again. and, frankly, i wanted to hear more of rosie and marketa!
(for your enjoyment i have chosen to upload an artistic photo i took displaying the unique view i had all evening. please note both how far away the stage was as well as the ENORMOUS head of the really really really tall man that was directly in front of me....as least big heads don't block sound!)

okay. speaking of that middle of the week thing...i am TIRED. so i am going to go to bed. i don't know how my hip friends do this all the time. i'll probably have to recuperate from this late night for like three weeks now!


Picture 24: LA affection

people say that LA is a cold city - non affectionate and hostile. coming from the midwest i can understand what they are saying. in the midwest we all actually say hello to each other - cook hotdish - ask for directions - and go hunting (haah!). but really, i just think it is because in the midwest we need each other a lot more. there is snow so we need our neighbor to help dig us out. we live further away in the country so we need our neighbor to bring us dinner when we can't drive the 30 miles to the grocery store.

and a whole lot of other stuff that i guess i am just too tired to get into. or perhaps i am not in a sentimental mood so i don't want to reminisce on the midwest and what it was like to have a huge yard to run in - or miles or corn to play hide and seek in - or the simplicity of a bonfire at the farm down the street or a dance party in someone's driveway or laying in the hammock next to the lake or taking a slow tractor ride just....because. those were in some ways simpler and slower times. and in some ways much more constraining times.

but i think LA has a lot of love too. we just show it in different ways. we are more fast-paced, sure. and we assume that if you are here you are pretty much taking care of yourself, sure. but we are a pretty welcoming city of all different kids of people (which, unfortunately, means many bad types of people along with the wonderful people). we work hard and we pursue our dreams. our lives look very different than our midwestern counterparts - we don't get married as early, we don't vote the same, we don't settle into careers as easily - but we are the same good people. we just want to do what is right - to love, to pursue our passions and to make our life count for something. (also, we like to be warm!)

and although we have a harder time saying out loud "hey there, how you doin'?" - we show our love in less obvious ways. for example:

a little kiss on the bumper. just to say. hey....i really enjoyed parking behind you. have a great day! ;-)


Picture 23: visitors

tonight i headed to old town to have a little visit with some old college friends.  we decided to hit up intelligencia so we could sit, have some tea and chat. but all we ended up doing was LAUGHING! it was mostly really fun and i only felt like i was going to die about three times with mark's driving.

mark lynn. mark is....hilarious. there are few people in my life that make me laugh more. tragically, mark and i have never really gotten to spend a whole lot of time together throughout the years - being in different classes, moving in different circles, living in different locations - but he's always been someone i have loved keeping up with. he is one of those people that you automatically feel like you can be real with, you can share what you really think and who you really are. I like that about him.

jordy lindh. jordy is a bit hard to write about. he will always hold one of the most special places in my heart. he is the best man i know and i am honored to call him friend. i don't know what i would do without him in my life...and i wish i saw him more.

what a fun night.


Picture 22: Outreach

Today’s picture was actually taken last night – but it was at about 11ish so I figured that I could smudge it over. It is not a very clear picture, but that is on purpose because it was taken out on the track.

Last night’s prostitute outreach was amazing. We were able to have so many great conversations with some of the women out on the track. One was a little...different.

We ran into (I will call her “sky” for this story). She was really really drunk. When we first approached her she had a hard time making sentences. She wasn’t quite sure that she even really wanted to talk to us. Once we figure out what her name (maybe) was we introduced ourselves and began to talk to her about why she was out on the street. She began telling us that she knew who God was and all about the Bible (I think she just assumed that we were going to try and evangelize her). I eventually asked her what the problem was. Because she clearly knew all about God but was still drunk off her ass and as she was talking to us had began to form tears in her eyes.

Once I asked her that question she immediately became angry. She felt that I was judging her and trying to tell her things that it was not my place to tell her. I’ll admit that most of what she was saying to me I did not really understand because she was so drunk she was slurring her words and did not do a great job of completing her sentences. At one point when I was trying to apologize for whatever I had said that offended her so deeply she said “don’t you judge me JUDAS!” Judas? Um….my name is Julia. I am not sure how she confused those two. But she was definitely taking out her aggression about the betrayal of our Lord Jesus Christ on me.  We tried to wrap up the conversation pretty quickly after that, but it was pretty interesting/entertaining.

The next woman we ran into (I will call her “sea” for the sake of this blog) was just a wreck. You could tell she was at the end of her rope. Two of our other team members were the ones that actually started the conversation with her that lead to her decided that she wanted to get out of the game. She asked us to call a rehabilitation center and see if they would take her in. This is one of the most thrilling things I have been apart of. She was broken. She was at the end of what she knew she could handle – and we had run into her at the right time.

We got a rehab center on the line and asked if they would be able to take her since she was eager to get help and get off the street. After talking to her for a while and doing a bit of an intake, they decided that they could take her.

But here is the deal. She couldn’t go right away. She had a daughter that was in prison and she had promised that she would visit her the next day. I can understand that conflict and the desire not to disappoint your child. So she asked if the facility that we had arranged for her would take her on Saturday. We agreed, the rehab center agreed, and we all made plans to talk again on Saturday at 4:00p once she was done with her visitation hours.

It is now 7:00p and I have been calling her every half hours since 4:00p. Her phone goes straight to voicemail. I am praying that I am able to get through to her soon. I am praying that she remembers the decision she made last night. And I am praying she has the strength and courage to get out of the game.

Pray with me.


Picture 21: Jones

one of my least favorite parts of my job is also, ironically, one of my favorite parts of my job. i am in charge of restocking office supplies. THRILLING, I KNOW! this requires me every so often to have to travel to office max, smart and final, the apple store, and all those other fun places one must go to stock up on things people need to do office-y thing.

today, i had to go to the apple store. i needed an adaptor thing so my computer could have TWO monitors. i feel like i am well on my way to world domination. maybe my picture one day will be of this awesome set-up i have going on so you can feel jealous.

anyway, on to my picture of the day.

one of the perks of having to stock up on office supplies is that you can go out of your way and take stops that are not necessary, but since you are out....why not?? today's stop: jones coffee. since i already had to go to the apple store and pick up tea at smart and final i decided that i would pick myself up a cup of coffee at jones. much to my delight JOSH was working! and they had some great music going on. it was a great little stop that made me really really not want to go back to work.

but i did.

i am the model employee.


Picture 20: burgers

I love hamburgers.

There has been a debate I have heard about for a while that I never joined in on because I didn't understand both sides: Fatburger vs. In-n-Out.

I can now say, after today's lunch, I am going to stay on the side of In-n-Out. Fatburger is not a bad burger, but it is no In-n-Out.

Speaking of burgers, the Huffpost did a great blog on the top 25 best burgers in Southern California. I think it is going to become my goal this year to try all of the burgers on this list (I might draw the line on the burger sushi....I can't really wrap my hand around that, but at least the other 24!) So if anyone near me wants to try a great burger, let me know. I'll be happy to have you join me!


Picture 19: the doctor

i kind of hate going to the doctor. i have one of the greatest doctors ever, and i really like her. but there is just something about going to the doctor's office that freaks me out every time. first of all, it takes a lot to get me to actually go because i have to let things go pretty far before i actually make an appointment which means i am probably feeling pretty crummy. second of all, everyone there is SICK! today, for instance, there was this woman that was just hacking up a lung in the waiting room. i was trying not to stare and trying not to sanitize my hands in an obvious way - but it really felt like germs were shooting through the air trying to attack me.

i have this weird rash thing on my arm. i have had it for two months with no improvement when i've tried various creams and things on it. so i finally went and saw my doctor. she is completely perplexed by it. good news: she's not worried about it at all. the bad news: she thinks this huge blob on my arm is never going to go away. she thinks that it is not actually a rash and just some weird pigment deformation thing.

oh good.


Picture 18: hammock

so, maybe the hammock is not that interesting. maybe the view is not all that spectacular. but the point is - it is january 18th and i am laying out on the hammock in my backyard in a short sleeved top, flip flops, with my jeans rolled up. life is good (and I can finally feel my feet again after four days in Minnesota!!)


Picture 17: deboarding

So....what if, hypothetically, this was the only picture I took on my phone for the day because I kind of forgot to take any other ones. Oops!

But, it is honestly my least favorite part of traveling. Deboarding the plane. You are ALMOST to your destination. So close. You can feel the cold coming on to the plane if you've just landed in Minnesota or Illinois. Or you can feel the heat finally flooding the plane and beginning to thaw out your poor little feet if you've just landed in home sweet home California.

But for some unknown reason, it takes forever for everyone to pile off the plane. You know that the person next to you is just as eager to get off - so why is it always this long process?

I guess it could be worse. You know, like those times you have to sit on the tarmac for hours before you can get to a gate. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? Did they forget they had a plane coming in? Did too many people call in sick for the day? Or my personal favorite - when the person next to you is just content sitting and waiting for the whole plane to unload before getting off. I mean, that's really nice for them, but if they'd kindly let your impatient self pass then you wouldn't mind so much! :)

Sorry the picture is terrible. I was taking it but then realized that my flash was on so I moved the camera before it was actually done capturing the photo - cause I felt like a stalker. Also, there was the cutest woman on my plane that had pretty much never flown before and had ALL these questions as we were going through security and getting ready to fly "they are going to make me take my SHOES off???" "I have an unopened bottle of denture cream in there - they won't take that will they? it ain't never been opened!"

I love new flyers.


Picture 16: only in minnesota

I couldn't narrow down which picture I wanted to use from today - so you are getting two. But I figured that my friend Jennifer cheats every day so I can too, right?

First: car door.

This picture was taken at church this morning. Specca and I visited Woodlandhills church. Well, she goes there all the time, but I visited with her. When we arrived (about 20 minutes late....but girls need their coffee, right?) We pulled in and the car next to us had their door WIDE OPEN. No one in sight. The car was off. Someone arrived at church in such a hurry that they got out of the car to run inside and FORGOT to close their door. What?? Only in Minnesota would they be so trusting they would leave their car doors open. So we made sure the door was unlocked and closed it for them. That was our good Samaritan act for the day.

Second: RATS!

This picture was taken back at home this evening when we decided that going out of the house again was not an option due to the cold. So we picked up some food and cooked a delicious meal of fajitas. For dessert we decided that we would cook up some cookie dough. Only problem...when we went to grab the cookie dough mix out of the pantry - it was clear that MICE had gotten into it. EW!!! That hole that you see in the bag was not cut by us. It was chewed by mice. But did that stop us?? NO. We are girls who want something sweet, so we poured the contents ever so gently and carefully into a bowl checking with the finest detail whether there was poop or poison or disease in it. Unless it was microscopic, I think we caught it. So we decided it would be okay to cook it up and eat it anyway. Judge us all you want.....we're enjoying delicious cookies right now. (Hey, at least we cooked them and didn't just eat the dough...that had to have gotten rid of some of the disease, right?)


Picture 15: Specca

This has been the greatest weekend. I am now staying with my bestest friend Specca. What a perfect end to a very cold weekend.

Specca and I met our freshman year of college. We were randomly paired up as roommates in Getsch. I could not imagine Bethel Housing doing a better job pairing up roommates. Becca and I got along wonderfully.
We would stay up late at night researching Richard Speck and how he was NOT related to me.
We would wrestle on the floor of our room to get in our mandatory 20 minutes of exercise for our Heath and Wellness class.
We would writes notes on our bedroom window to the boys across the way.
We would try to go to lots of free concerts since her dad worked for KTIS and could get us into shows with musicians like MICHAEL CARD!
We would take care of each other when we did not feel well - especially during that time of the month (I won't really get more specific than that).
We would hang out with "Fred and Ethel"
We would try to keep our room clean
She would try to keep quiet when I went to bed at 9p
I would yell at her when she pressed snooze 4 times in the morning
We would share roommate dinners in the DC
We would share awkward lunches with Speccablomberg (is that right?)

There are too many memories to recount.
I consider it an honor that she is a lifelong friend. I have been able to go and visit her in Mexico twice during times she has lived down there working for various organizations. The first time working with drug addicted youth and the second time enjoying a little language immersion.
She has come out to California several times to visit me: as I was first getting used to the transition and when I bribed her with a U2 concert.
And we've met up in Minnesota a couple of times to hang out - while I was on my way back from trekking in Nepal or just for fun.
I love that we make it a point to see each other no matter where were we are in life.

This visit was a special one....the last time I was in Mexico I was able to meet Javier. At that time he was her boyfriend, but now he is her fiance. They will be getting married in May and I am so thrilled for them. They just got engaged at the end of December so I had to come out to celebrate. Javier is an amazing man. He is kind and generous and thoughtful and hilarious. I am so thankful (and only a little jealous) that my friend found such an amazing man to marry.

The photo above is us toasting to her new engagement. You can see the ring on the hand....and Javier on the cell phone laying next to us on the table. What a joyous night getting to connect with them and celebrate the exciting future they have ahead of them!!


Picture 14: SCOTTY BROWN!

I have been really really brave - and traveled to the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Let's recap people....it is supposed to be high 70's low 80's in Pasadena all this weekend and I thought it would be a good idea to go to Minnesota. Next time I have this idea someone be a friend and remind me that I want to travel here in the FALL! not winter.

I arrived here at 2:00p today and it was snowing. Grrrrreat.

But it is all fine. Because I get to be with Scotty. Scotty Brown is tough to sum up in one single blog post. He has been in my life since.....forever. Really, I have a hard time remembering parts of my life before he was in it. To say that he is a really good friend is simply insignificant, he is a part of my family. He is definitely in my top three favorite brothers I have and I couldn't not imagine my life without him. He's given me so much guidance, advice, wisdom and direction throughout my life.

Scott was the first one to take me to Nepal which was where I first found and developed my love, passion and conviction to work for the sexually oppressed and vulnerable. He helped me learn to deal with the varied emotions I was facing in the face of this unjustice.

His love for the people of Nepal, the outdoors, youth, Russian tea, trekking, reading, history, relationships, connection and just about everything he commits himself to inspires me.

I love Scott. And I love that I get to spend some time with him this weekend (and his dog Max!)


Picture 13: warmth


Today was glorious. I took a walk during lunch and I never wanted to go back. Everyone was in short sleeves, the sun was shining, warmth was everywhere, it was California at its best! The palm trees. The mountains. The sun. The ....everything.

I try to take a walk during walk as much as I can spare it. Sometimes during winter the walks are less - but as soon as the sun decides to grace us with its presence, I'm out and about again.

Let me also take this moment to share the sick irony that this weekend Pasadena is supposed to be 79 degrees and I decided it would be a great time to visit my brother and best friend in Minnesota where the HIGHEST degree it is going to hit is 16!!!!!!!!! I MIGHT DIE!!!!!!!!!!


Picture 12: modern family

Modern Family might be the most brilliant show on television. It is so hilarious. I love it. It might be the ONLY show that I absolutely have to make time for every week. I decided quite a while ago that I would not let television come in the way of people [I had to make a decision like that because I don't own one of those fancy DVR things], but I think Modern Family can be one of those exceptions. I am allowed to neglect human beings in order to be home, at a television, at 9:00p on Wednesday nights.

Thankfully, I have a standing date with Harris and Jen to watch the show - so I don't end up having to be that much of a pathetic loser. Harris and Jen are two of the most wonderful people you will ever meet and I am eternally grateful to have them in my life. Jen can always make me laugh, no matter what - and I don't even mind that she's such a picky eater she always gets to choose where we go to lunch! I cherish these Wednesday evenings not JUST because Modern Family is on the television, but because I get to spend an evening laughing, chatting and relaxing with these two wonderful people. [And, perhaps, becuase I brought a six pack of Red Stripe over to their house about 8 months ago and there was STILL one in the cupboard for me waiting this evening when I needed one after my long day].

We ALSO are in the habit of catching Cougar Town when it comes on right after Modern Family. Trust me, people - it has gotten a lot better. Give it a try! Courtney Cox's character can be a little annoying - but, then again, so can all of you at different points during the day. So it is probably a little realistic!

Modern Family got signed on for a third season. Here's to hoping there are at least 7 more to come!


This video is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. I strongly suggest that you do not watch it. But please sign the petition.  Violence against women is not art, it is not entertainment and it is not anything to be celebrated or enjoyed. We can't let MTV and Universal Music think that they can do whatever they want to do just because they think it will sell a record. And if THIS sells....we have a lot more work to do by way of advocacy for women. Join me in signing this petition.


Picture 11: flowers and candles

I love flowers. Fresh flowers. There are few things I can think of that I love getting or giving or having or smelling or looking at more. Flowers are just so HAPPY! I honestly don't think I can choose a favorite flower. Because I love them all. If you are a flower and you are pretty and ESPECIALLY if you smell good - I love you and welcome you into my home.

I also love candles. When is there an occasion you DON'T need candles? I can't think of even one. I love them. The smells the glow the warmth - candles to me are a symbol of home (especially since I don't have a fireplace).

If you come over to my home there are two things you will most certainly find no matter what time it is: fresh flowers and candles. I love love love them. I just think that candles lit all over the house and well placed fresh flowers makes it smell super fresh and feel very homey. 

So come on over - I'll light the candles, cook a nice meal and pour some wine. We can smell my flowers and talk about life.


Picture 10: donuts

i work for fuller's doctor of ministry program. THE MOST BRILLIANT PROGRAM IN THE WORLD. but, whatever, i'm not biased. our program is all distance learning so our students come in for one or two week intensive classes. on the first monday of each of those classes we bring in donuts for the students. we offer an average of 20-25 classes a year. soooooooo, that's a lot of donuts. i think offices are just the worst place to try and stay healthy.

by the way - that one donut in the middle that looks half eaten. that's me. i have to sit right by the donuts all day so i find that if i don't take a whole one but slowly chip away at one the whole morning i tend to eat less. GENIUS!


Picture 9: church

church and i have had a somewhat on-again off-again relationship for the last couple of years. sometimes i have difficulty articulating why exactly i've felt the need to withdraw a bit. seminary raised a lot of questions and challenges for me. i also think being a pastor's kid had its difficulties by showing you the political side of the church that is not as appealing. working at fuller has helped a lot. i have a great boss that has a ridiculous passionate faith in the church and what it can be. he has helped to encourage and inspire me  to never give up. i am a captive of hope - and part of that hope is in the church and what she is meant to be. no matter how many questions i have, i won't ever give up on being apart of some faith community, because i know that that's what Christ called us to - community. practicing our faith together.

just in this last year i have visited All Saints Church a few times and really love it. their community is so vibrant and welcoming of all people no matter where they find themselves in life. the traditional structure makes me feel safe and comfortable. while i appreciate all that the emergent church is doing to reach out to people - i think i need a more traditional structure. i am inspired by their commitment to social justice and care for the community.

i'm 2/2 in 2011 - and i'm hoping to keep it up!


Picture 8: the girls

i have some of the best friends in the world. i am so thankful for this community that i know i could turn to for anything. they keep me level headed - they encourage me - and they make me laugh until my stomach hurts. i love these beautiful women with all my heart and our saturday coffee times are the highlight of my week.


Picture 7: conspiracy theories

Sometimes, at the end of a long week, we need something interesting to get us through Friday. My colleagues and I decided that every couple of hours we would take 5-10 minutes to look into some conspiracy theories (CTF = Conspiracy Theory Friday). We weren't sure whether we would in the end prove or disprove them, but we were excited to research them with an open mind.

Here are the theories that we researched:
Men walking on the mood
Terrorists and War
All the dying fish/birds/penguins/manatee/crabs

Basically, we found that ALL of them were related. It was all something to do with compartmentalization and global governance and the new world order and the fact that the goverment is actually testing all these chemicals and weapons on us without telling us and eventually going to kill us all. So....I hope you can't sleep tonight cause none of us are safe!!!

Happy Friday.

PS....here was my favorite/most informative video on why all the birds are dying. I wanted to leave you with at least a LITTLE information


Picture 6: weight watchers

I think of myself as a fairly confident person. I am happy with my life; both in what I have been able to achieve and the way that I look. But sometimes, the WORLD makes it really hard to continue to love and appreciate yourself. It seems that all society, the media and EVERYONE wants to do is point out to you what's wrong with your current situation. I mean, I have two Master's degrees....but shouldn't I have a Doctorate? I have a great office job with some of the most wonderful people I am privileged to know, but shouldn't I be doing something more in my field that I feel changes the world in a more obvious way? And I have been pretty much the same weight for the last 5 or 6 years but....

Today, at lunch, I was heating up a deluxe healthy choice frozen lunch (I know, I'm pretty gourmet). As I pulled the frozen deliciousness out of the box a coupon for WEIGHT WATCHERS fell out onto the floor. Really? Weight Watchers? I mean, okay, I guess that if someone is eating this type of frozen lunch that is only a small amount of calories for lunch then maybe they are a weight/health conscious person. But, COME ON.

We get hit by it from every direction. First you have to try the South Beach Diet then Atkins then the Master Cleanse (please, don't try to convince me that you are actually doing this to CLEANSE yourself), then everything you see on television is about the "secret to celebrities keeping thin!" Sometimes, it just gets exhausting. Can some of us just be happy with the way we are? Maybe some of our bodies were just made to be the size we are and won't ever be happy (or able) dropping to 100lbs.

I mean, I really enjoy all of the billboards along the side of the street that encourage me to think about how fat I might be. But, they could give America a little break.

Okay, I'm going to go work out - count my calories and then maybe get a little liposuction.

PS....a close second for today's photo was my colleague David. He brought in one of his Christmas gifts, a guitar t-shirt, And you can actually play it. It comes with a pick and has a little amp thing you can clip on to your pocket. It was so cool. But I couldn't really think of that much commentary to write with it other than IT'S ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Picture 5: post office

Here's the truth, I kinda hate the post office. I mean, I LOVE mail. So, I guess I am hypocritical. And I LOVE postal people workers. They are always so friendly. At least the guy that comes to my house. He has the best smile and is so kind. I just hate the building.

So today, or Tuesday, rather, but its repercussions were played out today, someone sent me a package in the mail (WHICH I LOVE!!) but made me SIGN for it?!?!? People. Why do we still make each other sign for packages? Unless I am sending a package to Edward Norton I am not going to be asking for a signature. And the one reason I ask for a signature when sending a package to Edward Norton is because I want his autograph - NOT to ensure its delivery.

We need to be trusting each other more (did you get the package? yes? no? great!) And we need to just stinking trust our neighbors. Just leave that ish on my porch. None of my neighbors are going to touch that. Mainly because the good looking ripped man that doesn't own a shirt won't fit the shoes that I compulsively buy and has no need for my taste in jewelry.

Also, I live in a back house - and never, not once, has a post office person, FedEx, Stork, or any other delivery person been able to find my front door - so even if I am home they will think I am not home and make me drive all the way to the post office to pick something up.

My point is: I took this picture because I was at the post office - cause I had to pick up a package that I had to sign for. And I hate doing that. But this man was delightful and now I have a lovely ring that I forgot I had bought. Have I mentioned that I love/hate online shopping??


Picture 4: coffee

I am pretty confident this is not the last time you are going to see that title: coffee!! I am a little addicted to it. I love it. Just for fun - let's recount what I had to drink today:
Venti Vanilla Misto from Starbucks to kick off the day
A cup of fresh brewed office coffee (but the crapy kind before this photo took place....I'll explain soon)
A cup of delicious hazelnut coffee a la Tammi
A tall decaf americano to top off a terrific evening of sporadic and stimulating conversation and good food.

Now to the photo:

At my job we brew coffee for all of the classes (seminars) that come in. Depending on the size of the class we are brewing anywhere from 1/2 to 1 1/2 gallons of coffee twice a day. These coffee pots see a lot of use - but the worst part is that they sit on a HOT warmer all day to keep the coffee heated. This makes all sorts of great deliciousness stick to the bottom of the pots (especially when SOME people forget to them them off overnight.....or over a weekend! Oops!). At any rate, we need to clean them far more often than we do. What can I say? We're no Starbucks. But we're not planning on selling this coffee to our students anytime soon so I think it's okay. The health department can't come fine me...right?

Today was the day that we decided we didn't want to deal with the metal burnt coffee taste anymore. So Josh and Dave spent some time cleaning out each coffee pot and filter with the super duper special cleaning powder (that's its technical name).

I have not actually tasted the result yet, but I am positive it will be glorious. I can't wait to try a cup in the morning!


Picture 3: toilet


I bet you were really afraid I was actually going to show you MY toilet...or something equally embarrassing that I can't bring myself to type right now. But I didn't. I'm not going to lie - I really suck at this taking pictures thing, but I don't want to give up already, it is only the 3rd day for crying out loud! Here's my problem, when I am doing something really fun and photo worthy (like community dinner with my roommates, the lovely Lizzy, my landladies and the Gavinator) I just FORGET to ever break out my camera because I am having such a great time. We're talking and laughing and eating and joking and telling stories and I don't really THINK to stop and take a photo. Therefore........you get this photo of a toilet.

Now let me explain the toilet. This has been in my backyard since before I moved in. It belonged to some of the boys before me. I believe someone brought it over as a prank and put it in our yard. The first time I came over (because I knew the boys before I ended up moving into the house) they actually told me that was the toilet for the girls to use..RUDE.

As you can see we are a very "green" household. We've started a little community shrubbery in the pot. Pretty excited to see where it's going to go. Probably to Dahlstrom's yard in the middle of the night one night :) Cause I am kind of tired of starring at a toilet when I am laying out on my hammock.

I think that soccer ball belongs to the kids across the fence - I should toss it back over to them. Maybe I'll tie a note that says "you're not getting this back next time if you keep playing your music so loud! Spread the word!"


Picture 2: last day of vacation

Well, all good things must come to an end - including my vacation. I really like working at a school, because you get a loooooooooong vacation for Christmas. It is glorious, really. I got to go back to Illinois for a while week - and meet my niece Jael for the first time!!

But all of that is coming swiftly to a close. Work starts again tomorrow - at 8am! So on my last day I am sitting all cozy on my couch, candles lit, coffee in hand, with the Packer/Bear football game on in the background. Doing some projects I want to catch up on - checking facebook - writing emails. These times of solitude with nothing TRULY pressing are rare and I am going to take advantage of this one.

There is a light rain falling outside which makes staying inside cuddled up on the couch even more appealing. The rest of the day I plan to cuddle with my blanket, nap, drink more coffee, eat some more of that chocolate-pecan pie bar I made yesterday and maybe even read a book.

I am sure we'd get bored if vacations lasted forever - but on days like these I really wish they would.


Picture 1: food

So, I like it when people do the 365 days of pictures challenge (or whatever you call it). So, I thought I would do that. Only because, it would help me to blog more. I will take at least one picture a day (with my smartphone, just to be a bit most specific so no one gets really high expectations) and that'll give me something to write about. Here's to hoping not TOO many days will be "welp, here's my desk chair again" or "this is how many cups of coffee I drank TODAY." Let the creativity flow.

To kick us off I am going to talk about FOOD (shocker!). I had my lovely ladies over for a relaxing "Modern Family" marathon today. And I cooked up some chicken wings (delicious!) and then made....................

Chocolate-Pecan Pie Bars from my Kraft Foods magazine

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (divided)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
8 squares Baker's semi-sweet chocolate (divided)
4 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Beat butter, flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt with mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto bottom of 15 x 10 x 1 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 20 min. (at 350) or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, microwave corn syrup and 6 chocolate squares in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 2.5 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1.5 minutes; stir until completely melted. Add remaining sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour over warm crust; spread to evenly cover crust.
Bake 35 minutes (at 350) or until filling is firm around edges but still slightly soft in center. Cool completely. Melt remaining chocolate squares as directed on package; drizzle over cooled bars. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

I wasn't extremely happy about how they turned out - I think it is because I did not have the proper size pan so I just ended up using a 9x13. But everyone that came over LOVED them and said they were delicious. And USUALLY they don't lie to me :)

Happy 2011. I hope you enjoy my pictures and where this crazy journey of life takes me these next 365 days. And if you don't....just stop reading my blog!