Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cereal Bar

My little sister loves cereal, and when she was little that was all that she really ate. She would eat it 5 times a day if our mom had let her.

As a joke, I asked the caterer at her wedding to let me set up a cereal bar the the end of her food table. This is my cousin Hil enjoying the very fancy and refined bowl of Lucky Charms at my sister's wedding.

Credit or Debit?

Is it wrong of me to like going to the mall this time of year?

I like to go and sit and watch the quiet desperation of the other frantic shoppers as they cruise the mall.

Last minute shoppers come in many shapes and sizes and the Jane Goodal in me finds a slight thrill in observing them in their natural habitat.

The first breed of procrastinator is the most common. It is named the ambler. The ambler slowly goes from store to store in search of something that will suffice. No gift is very important, merely a formality to which the ambler must conform. It sees something, slowly checks the price, tilts the head roughly 7-9 degrees to the right. A small shrug follows and the entire experience is wrapped up. The ambler goes out to its car, takes forever to get in and pull away. On the way home ambler wonders what the point of the whole thing is anyway. It really doesn't make much sense to the ambler.

The ambler is the bane of the next breed's existence. This breed is so intense it usually dominates the entire season. It is very territorial and can make it's target from half the mall away. The Maelstrom. While the ambler slowly weaves from side to side, the Maelstrom can often be found snaking close to the walls where there is least mall traffic congestion. The Maelstrom can size up a store in a second and make a killer bee-line for the gift in question. The Maelstrom comes to the mall with a list, a map of the mall layout, and battle plans A-E. If plan A is foiled, say by an ambler blocking the path to the goal, the Maelstrom can seamlessly transition to plan B. The Maelstrom will have done research to determine the optimal time and place to achieve each objective. Professions most prone to becoming Maelstroms: Green berets, CPA's, Army Generals, Soccer Moms.

The ambler has a vacant, confused look in their eyes while at the mall. Conversely, the Maelstrom is emotionless and cold. The third type of last minute shopper has a derailed, hopeless and slightly strained look to their countenace. They seem to be lost in oblivion, wandering from store to store. A quiet desperation fills every action of the seeker. The seeker comes with a mental list of their loved ones and no ideas about what to buy to demonstrate its love. It is looking for that perfect gift that, on Christmas morning, will produce the same feeling in someone else that it had the morning it received that bike/puppy/dollhouse, or slot car track. It wants to see tear filled eyes look up from the joyously ripped away paper and suddenly know that the recipient understands its love. It will go to every store, search high and low with no goal in mind. Then, suddenly, it will enter a store and all light save one glowing pillar falling gently on THE gift will appear. Heavenly hosts will be singing hallelujah as this downtrodden soul will be lifted, exalted, and fufilled. While the gift is perhaps twice the price the seeker had budgeted, it doesn't matter to the seeker because nirvana has been met.

I like watching people and categorizing their searching styles.

It gives me a little boost to see their plight and know that I am done with my shopping. Perhaps a little sick...but is it really that wrong?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Holy awesome weekend!

This weekend I went to two of the best parties I have ever been to....ever.

I'm not really a fan of the big, impersonal party where I don't know anyone and things are crazy. I prefer getting together with people I know and having smallish get together where everyone is involved in the same conversation and you end up laughing all night long.

Friday night I went to my friend Helena's graduation party. Her boyfriend's mother was throwing it for her. I figured that I wouldn't know hardly anyone at the party, and the guest list would be mostly comprised of family members. This situation can be a bit uncomfortable, but I went anyway.

And boy am I glad I did.

The moment the ear doctor (yes, my real live boyfriend) and I walked into the door we were greeted by the most warm, inviting, friendly woman I have met in a really long time. Genuine love just seeped from this woman's every pore. Immediately we were set at ease. The whole night I ended up speaking with the most interesting people who were honestly interested in me and what I was doing. It felt like they were my family. The food was great, the conversation quick and funny, but the most impressive thing about the whole event was that at the end of the night I gave the hostess a big, hearty, sincere hug. She invited the ear doctor and I down to her house any time, and I really believe she honestly wanted us to come back.

Last night my friends Amy and Brett hosted their annual Christmas party/dinner. This year there were 6 couples. 3 of them were celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, the host and hostess have been married a just over a year, one couple just got engaged and the ear doctor and I. We've all been friends for almost 3 years now, so the group was the very best of friends. Over dinner of delicious soup and bread bowls we laughed about the process of wedding gift registry. After dinner we sat around and laughed about trips we've all taken together. Over some piping hot wassil we laughed at the white elephant gifts we brought, and afterward we laughed over dishes and putting together the host's house. For one moment I sat in the high backed dining room chair in front of the roaring fire and looked at each face in our circle. I was overwhelmed with appreciation for each person there. I was floored by how lucky I am to have such great friends. I was enamored with the man sitting to my right. I was truly happy in that Halmark, peace on earth, goodwill to men kind of way.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Line

I know a lot of people don't like the line at weddings, but, lets be honest, it really is an efficient way for the bride and groom to welcome everyone to their party.

This pic was taken from the deck above the line, and I'm actually kind of proud of how it turned out. Kinda artsy.

Warning: ANOTHER post about how great the ear doctor is

I know this blog sometimes gets a little on the effusive side about how great my boyfriend is, but he's just so awesome that he deserves a little recognition.

Last night we went on the perfect holiday date.

First, he had called around and tried to get us tickets to see a Christmas Carol in Denver, but the show was sold out. Plan B, he called around and got all the details about the Christmas lights at the Denver Botanical Gardens.

On my way home from work he called and filled me in.

We decided that the Gardens were for us. Because the garden is in Denver, and he lives between my house and Denver, we decided that it really would make more sense if I drove to his house and then we took off from there. Then he said, "I really want to make sure this is a date and I want to come pick you up." So cute, but in the end impractical. (Even though I really wanted him to come get me too)

Last night was bitter cold and I figured that if we were going to be strolling around outside that I'd really need to bundle up. As I squeezed my arm through the sleeve of my new Eskimo coat I seriously thought about taking one of the 5 shirts off that I was wearing under my sweater, but I'm glad I didn't because it was COLD!

When we arrived at the garden we decided to get the holospek glasses for an extra dollar. Boy, am I glad we did. These glasses were awesome because when you put them on all of the little twinkle lights became shaped like little 6 pointed snowflakes. It was really breathtaking. As we walked around the light filled gardens, I was just plain happy. All along the path they had arched abors covered in icesickle lights dangling down. At the top of each arch there were huge balls of mistletoe. We took advantage of each and every one.

In the middle of the garden they had set up a heated tent where a bell chorus was performing. It was really really beautiful and awesome to watch these people really into their music. One lady looked like the nicest grandma who was obviously a retired kindergarten teacher. When she got really excited by the music she would smile, dance and stick her little tongue out a bit. It was really great to see her that happy.

After the performance we went up and talked to the conductor of the group. With the ear doctor's knowledge of sound and my knowledge of bell making and vibrations/acoustics/physics we had quite an interesting conversation. I love talking to members of interesting little subcultures. They get so excited when someone outside of their circle of acquaintances gets interested in their passion.

After a totally romantic, festive, fun activity, the ear doctor and I tried this new restaurant in Denver. It was amazing. They seated us right by the crackling fire and brough us the most amazing food. I had a fairly simple dish of penne pasta, chicken, carrots and green beans in a lemon cream sauce. The vegetables were so fresh and almost shockingly flavorful. Really, amazing. The ear doctor had the best pork chop I've ever tasted sprinkled with gorganzola cheese (which I found a bit to mold tasting, but he loved it).

On the way home we listened to Christmas carols in the car. Despite my best efforts and raucous singing, I got warm and tired and fell right to sleep mid Joy to the World.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Holy long-time-without-a-post Batman!

Finals are officially over and I am 1/4 of the way done with my Masters degree. How awesome is that! This semester has been a roller coaster, but I've learned a lot doing it.

1) Prioritizing. There comes a point when I meet my limits and at that point I have to decide what will be sacrificed. Keeping priorities set right guarantees that I will be happy down the road with the choices I make.

2) Having a boyfriend that is willing to be supportive and leave me alone when I need it is crucial. I wasn't sure about how going to school would affect our relationship, but in the end everything turned out great.

3) Realizing that getting an A in a class isn't as important as learning the material. Usually one indicates the other, but sometimes it doesn't, and that's alright too.

4) Serving others keeps my head on straight. I'm so happy I have the chance to serve people through my church position. It is so important for me to remember the needs of others when I am feeling like my world is getting a little too difficult.

5) Staying positive about things really does wonders. Mid way through the semester I didn't think I was doing what I wanted to be doing. I just kept getting more and more negative about school and work. Good thing I got a swift kick in the rear because now I realize I wouldn't rather do anything else.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Eskimos are very smart people

Here in the beautiful state of Colorado we are in the middle of our first really cold spell of winter.

Becuase I have been working in a cubical all day long for the last two years I haven't really paid as much attention to my inventory of coats as I should have.

All I had was a wool pea coat and two ski jackets.

Yesterday I acquired this beauty:

I always thought this type of coat was reserved for rich, yuppy, snobby people who had a house in Aspen that they only used 2 weekends of the year.

Boy was I wrong.

The fur lined hood provides a wind barrier and catches all the little falling snoflakes, holding them far away from my little cold face.

I love this coat and may never take it off.

The fact that it only cost me $42 from Banana Republic doesn't hurt either.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Raging Competitive Beast

or RCB for short.

Saturday night my friends threw a birthday party.

One of the games we played was this candy bar game that is kind of like a white elephant gift exchange. There is a huge pile of candy in the center of a circle of people. You pass a pair of dice around and when you roll doubles you can either take a candy bar from the middle or steal one from someone else. The catch is that if you want to steal you have to remember who had the specific candy and ask for it by name. This twist usually means that as soon as people acquire a little nugget of chocolate goodness they hide it away so no one knows who has what.

Now, it doesn't really matter what the game is, there is a little switch inside my brain that pops up like a turkey timer whenever I'm involved. I've tried to quell it, hide it, deride it, be snide to it, but it just won't go away. I know it is unattractive and not very much fun to be playing against, but it is part of me.

Anyway, throughout the game I kept pointing my finger at other people, lying, and just generally being secretly rotten. In the end, everyone was shocked to see that I had a nice little stock-pile of 7 candy bars to take home with me.

The bad thing is that when I have candy, I don't really eat it.

I store it. I hide it away in the corners of my room. I just like HAVING candy....not really eating it.

Normally, this is just a cute little endearing trait of mine, but recently we have discovered that we have a little mouse problem at my house. They have decided to move right in and become the annoying non-rent paying roommates.

My roommate made the comment, "well, they should pretty much stick to the kitchen because we don't really have any food back in our rooms."

All the sudden the color drained from my face because I, in fact, have copious amounts of sugary confection tucked away all over the place. Places so deep and dark that I have forgotten them and now make very attractive little dens of squalor for these furry little brown tyrants.
This one is a pretty standard shot of the two of them outside the temple. I think they are one good lookin couple.