Thursday, December 31, 2009

How small we really are.

So amazing.

November Baking, Posting in December

My friend and I decided to have a baking day in celebration of all things holiday related. The themes of the season which included cranberries, pumpkin, and, of course, chocolate, could not be denied.

Cara's contribution:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies (from the back of the oatmeal container!)

My contribution:
Cranberry Orange Bread with Walnuts (made muffins)

The Best Snickerdoodles Ever

Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake

We also had the fun occurrence of a freak hail storm!

But it is all part of living in the Northwest.

December 31st, 2009......

Aries Horoscope for week of December 31, 2009 via Free Will Astrology

Aries (March 21-April 19)
One of my favorite landscape painters makes a livable wage from selling her art. She has had many gallery showings and has garnered much critical acclaim. That's the good news. The bad news is that she feels obligated to keep churning out more landscape paintings -- even when her muse nudges her to take a detour into, say, abstract expressionism or surrealistic portraits. Galleries don't want anything from her except the stuff that has made her semi-famous. "Sometimes I fantasize about creating a series of 'Sock Puppet Monkeys Playing Poker,'" she told me. If she were an Aries, I'd advise her to do what I think you should do in 2010: Listen to what your version of the sock puppet monkeys are urging you to do.

All the end of the year posts are making me think that I should actually make one. Well, hot damn, I will make one.

This weekend I am hitting up the Portland Art Museum and the Portland Chinese Gardens. For so long, I had a partner to go eat dinner with and drag to random things so it has been a difficult adjustment to go back to the single life in Portland. I hope to make the transition much better in the next few months though. I want to take some classes at PCC for Photoshop or maybe a cooking class or calligraphy course. I have a few more bucks left on my Americorps education award so I thought it could come in handy right now.

The job search was on hold while I dealt with the grad school stuff but my employment agency is now working overtime to get people into positions. I really need something to come through because money is getting low. I am going to throw myself into finding temp positions and see what comes up.

Over the last few months, I did the whole "look within yourself" thing that I do pretty much every year. I am always striving to make myself better in some way. I am not sure if everyone does this but I am constantly mulling around thoughts and ideas in my head about why I am messed up, how to get out of the cycle, and what I want my future to be. Deep, huh? One of the greatest and most ridiculous revelations I had was the true reason why I am where I am at my life: I LACK FOLLOW THROUGH. It was an amazing discovery! I had thought over and over and over again about things in my life that did not go the way that I had hoped and then as I began the grad school process, I noticed an ugly trend in my thinking. I noticed that I was like "ugh, this is hard." Seriously, lame thinking on my part. I had to constantly remind myself that I need to keep pushing and trying. I had no idea that I needed such encouragement from myself and that this was really the core of my issues. I can relate it to my most recent college expedition all the way back to Americorps. I feel stupid and silly for having that be the revelation that came to me at the later age of 28 but now that I see what is going on, I hope that I can move on from it.

I thought about where I was ten years ago and think that there isn't much of a difference except that I am have completed my undergraduate rather than just starting it. Ten years ago was the beginning of my depression and I relate a lot of what has veered me off course with what happened around that time. It's pretty sad to think that I view the last 10 years as the "off course" rather than always trying to make the best of it. I am grateful for the experiences but never felt like I was where I was suppose to be. Perhaps I will never be where I am suppose to be but who cares!?! Who knows where any of us are even going? My goodness, I feel the pressure of knowing what is going to happen and thinking 80 miles in front of me at all times that it is frustrating.

For now, I know that I have completed my graduate school applications and if four of them fall through then I have a local option that will still help me in my future goals (if they let me in). I know that I need to be healthier and be active in the pursuit of a healthier mind, body, and soul. I need to be who I am without apologies. I need to surround myself with positivity. I need to surround myself with people that I have faith in.
That quote from PostSecret... completely true in regards to myself. I have seen people come and go and while the going hurts me, I have to be myself since I am the one who has to live with me.

May the new year bring honesty, adventure, and breaths of fresh air to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Prof vs. Student

Sadly, I look upon former and current emails and see too many similarities. I wonder if professors just laugh at us?
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

On Friday, my mom and I went to see Avatar 3D at Cinetopia, very fancy. It was a unique experience being that my mother hasn't been to a movie in over a decade and it was both of our first 3D movies. I had previously had no interest in seeing it but it turned out to be a good option.

Saturday was my family's technical Christmas Day. My brother, his girlfriend and her son came over for dinner. The food was yum (I have a great love of pork products) and then we opened presents. My brother's girlfriend is a bit older and so her son is four years younger than me and very much the preppy Portland guy but nice nonetheless. He always brings a regular bottle of wine while my mother prefers the Arbor Mist wines. I needed to relax so I enjoyed quite a bit of both over the night. I was thoroughly spoiled this season (perhaps out of pity) and received great craft and paint supplies as well as two very cozy blankets. It was a successful day and I even got my family to play Cranium with me instead of our usual watching a movie/napping after dinner. I say it was a very nice night.

I am excited that 2010 is just around the corner, I should say, or over the hump. I don't typically make new year's "resolutions" because I believe that setting goals for yourself should never be because society deems it a time of renewal but I have some major goals I want to achieve earlier this year and so it comes at the right time. I can go back to my no chocolate rule and hopefully get a job now that another temp position fell through. There are lots of little goals I am setting as well so even if I have a bad week, at least I will have achieved something on my list.

Hope everyone is excited for the new year upon us! I know many who have some very significant things happening this year so it should bring lots of joys and adventures.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free Will Astrology

Aries Horoscope for week of December 24, 2009

Aries (March 21-April 19)
What influences do you really, really need to say goodbye to? The next six months will provide you with ample motivation and opportunity to finally bid those farewells. What long-term cycle really, really needs to be drawn to a close, no more hemming and hawing, all loose ends tied up and all mixed signals clarified? Again, the time between now and the middle of June will bring you the necessary inspiration to make it happen. But it'll take deep thought and sustained work and an expanded sense of humor, so get started soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I broke down on my "no chocolate" agreement and had plain M&Ms late last week.
Yesterday, my mom bought some holiday peanut M&Ms which I had also planned to buy for Christmas. Second splurge since September. I believe that I will take a brief chocolate intermission during this week with Christmas being on Friday. I am making a cappucino cheesecake for the main dessert as well as chewy gingerbread cookies and perhaps another cookie or bar of some sort.

After Christmas, I will resume my "no chocolate" agreement until further notice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


As I have been researching for and applying at graduate schools, I have had interesting perspectives on myself and what makes me "tick."

When I was researching, I looked at the composition of the programs as well as the location of the schools. I saw some amazing options in other states but noticed that I placed a high priority on locations near water, whether that be a river, lake, or ocean. I had no idea that this would be a preference but apparently it is! I liked a few programs in the Midwest but it was in the middle of nowhere and by nowhere I mean not near water. Really, I found this just such an odd preference of mine.

Just in case you didn't know, applying for graduate school is incredibly labor intensive. Anyone that says it isn't is lying! There are forum websites that have provided tremendous help ( as well as additional stress. I am not shooting for the stars but I am searching for a unique opportunity that fits my personality and future goals. I have been really stressed, to say the least. When I am stressed out, I need to have the little things that comfort me, and here comes the next revelation of my own preferences.

I usually watch television while working on things but due to my current living situation, it is easier to set up my work area in my "room." There is no t.v. in there but I have been able to watch reruns on the WB website. Thank goodness! I haven't been able to watch Gilmore Girls because I cannot possibly remember where I packed the DVDs so the WB has been my savior. GG provides me a sense of calm because I can put it on in the background and focus on my work. Perhaps backwards? Something is so soothing about the familiar characters, the great story lines and the fact that I have seen every episode at least a handful of times so I don't actually need to watch the screen. I also have a great, great love for pretty much any 90's sitcom. Those were the days of a good sitcom and there aren't many like them today but the CBS Tuesday night and ABC's Wednesday night lineups are coming close.

Another comfort is the food. Not maybe the greatest thing to find comfort in but at least I am eating fulfilling, healthy, and nutritious options. Especially with the weather outside, comfort food is what this season is all about. I enjoy chai tea, fresh baked bread, oatmeal, and turkey chili. Nothing terribly exciting but the fact that I sit down, slowly enjoy my foods or sip my teas and take a breath or two in between applications and revising my personal statement is what makes all the difference. I have become quite the connoisseur of tea lately. I read several blogs about healthy gals that run (like, marathons and 10 mile in the morning, what?) and eat great things like chia seeds, almond butter, and tempeh. If I had my own kitchen, I would be busting out their ideas but, alas, I am low on funds and my own little gadgets are in boxes. One thing that I did pick up that is all the rage is Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Herbal Tea. Seriously, I have seen it everywhere! I tried it last night and it has some great spice and an amazing smell. It would be perfect paired with some cookies of any kind.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Will Astrology

Aries (March 21-April 19)

"Indignation is one of the most rewarding of emotions," writes Theodore Dalrymple, "as well as one that automatically gives meaning to life . . . There is nothing like irritation to get the juices circulating and the mind working." Of all the ideas that have made me irritable and indignant in recent weeks, this one steams me the most. I disagree so completely that I am practically beside myself with paralyzing rage. And as I plunge my attention further and further into his ridiculous proposal, I feel the tension coursing through my body. I sense my mind becoming swampy, my perceptions distorted. There's a good chance that I am inducing in myself a state of stressed-out stupidity. Please don't follow my example, Aries. It's possible that sour fury could be useful to you at other times, but right now you should avoid it. If you want your intelligence to work at peak efficiency in the coming days, you'll need long stretches of tender, lucid calm.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Makin' and Bakin' (Created Mid-November)

The strangely cold weather got me in the mood to get back into my baking groove (no, that was not suppose to rhyme!). I haven't really been cooking or baking as much as I used to and besides Thanksgiving dinner, I think it was time that changed. It is truly a source of stress relief and makes me feel more like myself.

I didn't technically go to sleep last night. Instead, my brain was squishing and whirling over things to think about for the future and I truly am the most productive in the wee hours of the morning/night. After some lovely sugar-free Oregon Chai and reading over a few blogs in between researching masters programs, I thought about a wonderful hearty breakfast I could make.

Since my food stamps have yet to come in this week, I am trying to be resourceful and eat only what I have in the house. For Thanksgiving dinner, I bought some Pumpkin Beer (mostly for the cute pumpkins on the bottle) and it just wasn't all that exciting. I didn't want it to go to waste so after some google action, I found this recipe for Beer Bread from Foodie Farm Girl. Awesome blog, by the way.

Basic Beer Bread Mix:

All-purpose flour 3 cups / 750 ml / 15-1/8 oz / 430 g
Granulated sugar 1 tbsp / 15 ml / 5/8 oz / 16 g
Salt 1 tsp / 5 ml / 1/4 oz / 6 g
Baking powder 1 tbsp / 15 ml / 5/8 oz / 16 g

Beer 1½ cups / 355 ml / 12 oz / 338 g

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 tsp (10 ml) water, beaten

Heat oven to 375°F/190°C. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8-inch (20cm) loaf pan, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep for 1 to 2 days stored in a plastic bag or airtight container. May be frozen.
I added in shredded cheddar cheese, diced scallions, rubbed sage, and dried thyme. I sprinkled the top with pepper and shoved it into the oven. Oh the plans I have for this little loaf! At my old place, I had a lot of frozen veggies including spinach and peppers which would I would put into everything and they would definitely come in handy right now. I plan on slicing up the bread and covering it with some eggs sunny side up! Mmm....runny yolks and fresh bread. Could anything be more divine?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Movies

It really astounds me when a movie or television show can bring about such strong emotions. Whether they be laughter or sadness, these entertainment arenas really bring people together and show them what human life is about. It can be raw and upsetting or can rekindle your love of people and the world. It can make you realize that maybe the world isn't so bad. It can also make you forget about your own life and bring you into a world of characters that have amazing adventures or can defy the laws of our universe.

As I am going through "transition" phase right now, I often splurge on going to movies. Sometimes it is a not so guilty pleasure as I try and take in as many movies at the $2-4 theaters but there is something quite satisfying about seeing a new movie in an almost empty theater on a weekday. I have once been lucky enough to have an entire theater to myself for the viewing of "Zombieland" (Excellent movie, by the way). I tell myself that spending $6.50-8 is okay because it makes me feel ten times better when I leave. So far I have had some excellent options to choose from as well:

(NOTE: All images from


Twilight: New Moon


The September Issue

Coming up, I just might have to see these:
Coco Before Chanel


Fantastic Mr. Fox


Did you hear about the Morgans?

Sherlock Holmes

Everybody's Fine

The Lovely Bones

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Plus there is always the possibility of repeats at the cheap theaters.