Sunday, January 31, 2010

Anxiety Attack in the Making

When we are children, we fight sleepiness like no other. We throw hissy-fits, we hide, and we cry out loud until eventually succumbing to the dreaded sleep monster. I feel like one of those kids right now. Instead of fighting sleep I am fighting the anxiety that comes with starting a new job.

In my last position, there were days that I was "phoning it in." Days where I was giving the pleasant smile but had no energy or interest in giving more, which is sad. I loved my last job and I was spoiled with the great staff that I worked with. I literally fell in to that position though and had no time to be nervous or have a proper orientation. I get orientation all day tomorrow and am thrown right in to the mix on Tuesday. I do well with being thrown in, oddly enough. I can handle that.

I can't handle the lead up, the anticipation, the countdown OF starting something new. I am one weird person sometimes. I have a very fine line of when things work for me and where they don't. I don't do well with someone over my shoulder but I need to have someone that I can go to if something comes up. If I decide to do something, I need to do it quickly otherwise I talk myself out of it. I daydream A LOT but when I come back down to earth, that daydream seems light years away. I enjoy being independent but when the times comes that I need someone, I always feel bad because that means that I am inconveniencing someone else and I have also failed in some way. I really wonder where my issues comes from. I doubt they are hereditary considering no one in my family does very much more than expected (sometimes much less than expected, actually).

Fine balance, I tell yeah.

Poster Art for "Sunshine Cleaning."Poster art for "Management."
P.S. Watched "Sunshine Cleaning" and "Management" and both are pretty great movies featuring pretty lead actresses (Emily Blunt, Jen Aniston, Amy Adams) and Steve Zahn. He is lovely.
Oh, and Obama really liked the movie "Away We Go" which gives him extra points in my book. That movie makes me warm inside.
Steve Zahn at the 13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards.Poster art for "Away We Go."

Saturday, January 30, 2010


One of my best days since moving up to Vancouver thus far. Since I actually have a job (ie. money coming in) I allowed myself to go get some basics before I start. I have a horrid (yet hot)shoe collection that is 65% awesome heels, 15% random sandals and 20% sneakers. I also am lacking in the feminine support garments and a proper purse that is large enough to carry my lunch and a book but not so big that it could be confused with a diaper bag.

Here is my haul from the day:
--Dark Chocolate M&Ms (yep, chocolate)
--Small sugar bowl (clearance, $1.49)
--Ivory Cardigan (lost mine about three years ago, devastating, really, $4.98)
--Matching Ivory Shell (never to be warn together for fear of looking too squeaky, $3.24)
--Women's "support garments" (same style and brand, one from Target, one from Ross, $16.99 & $4.99, respectively)
--Walking Cradles flats (possibly old lady wear but cute and comfy beyond belief, $4.99)
--Clarks grey slip-on sneakers (link is similar to these but in brown, huge splurge but so comfy and NW-style, $24.99
--Silver and ivory ring (big and simple, $4.99)
--Black pants (slightly shorter to wear with flats and nice butt contour, $9.99)
--Aforementioned Bongo Purse (black with tan stitching,other significant splurge, $14.99)

I say that, all in all, a very successful day of shopping. I wanted to include
prices to show people what my kind of shopping is like. I scrounge every clearance and sale rack and look through everything just in case there is a deal hidden somewhere. I like that I get more excited over a $1.49 sugar bowl than I would over a $50 anything anyday. The only reason I even allowed myself to go shopping is that my snazzy Oregon refund would just about cover my spending for today.

I also talked to one of my favorite people in the world today after a long hiatus (my fault, of course). I realized that I probably painted a fairly pathetic picture of
my life right now. I started thinking about my "position" in the world right and that I am in the "holding pattern." After comparisons to mold, bacteria and stagnant water were made, I also talked about opportunities in the future that I just need to wait for (sunshine!). I finally have a job that is not only with a great organization but I am also earning money for school and adding to my background of education and outreach. I am waiting to hear back from grad schools but if those happen to fall through, I have plan C which is actually a pretty awesome opportunity in itself.

I think I see myself as the "vicitim" sometimes in relation to my current life status. As I described to my friend, I was on one path and then I was pushed off course and so something I had been planning on was now no where in sight. I had to regroup and think about how to get back to a place where I could be happy. Ah, the elusive happiness.

So now that I do have a job, I have some sort of structure that I can count on. I see the next few months as road signs pointing me where to go.I like to think that there is some sort of higher power that helps guide us where we should be. If only it were that easy and if only I could believe my own beliefs! I have to have faith that there is something much greater out there for me so as long as I am consistently moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, I am doing my part.

To recap:

Wonderful shopping and purchases (AND rarely any annoying or rude people)
Great chat with dear friend
My cheery-poppy CD playing in the car all day
Leftover pizza from last night's celebratory Pizza Hut delivery
Snacking on M&Ms while watching Project Runway soon to come

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What You Love

"You are what you love and not what loves you back." ~ Jenny Lewis

Simple yet wonderful thought to remind yourself of.

Happiness, to me at least, seems to be this HUGE illusive thing that everyone is constantly striving for. Some find it in tiny things and for others, they have found their niche and in that, their happiness.

I have been wanting to make a picture list of things that make me happy--not all inclusive but the little things in life that bring me joy, stomach flutters even!

(all images have links to original sources)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Non Haiku to Television

The entire series of The Office.
Made my way back through the good times of
Sex and the City and Gilmore Girls.
Slightly ashamed of the fact that I made it through
a season of The Hills in one night.
Slowly reminiscing about the days of Grey's Anatomy
and if I had my way, I would include
Private Practice and The Ghost Whisperer.

I have made quite the mighty stride in
my television watching with being thrown in the
crazy whirlpool that is my life.
The spin cycle isn't changing much; just
the same clothes that keep spinning
not much to tell.

Playing the waiting game and making slow revelations.
How funny that television and movies
can make you reconsider your way of thinking
and believing in faith.

Faith, such a HUGE word. Huge.
It doesn't mean religion or judgment or
prejudice. It is the faith that we have
in something bigger than ourselves.
Some people don't have the ability to look
outside of themselves and see the world
from another point of view.
Faith can help sometimes, it can help us see
the little things that are truly important.
I have such envy of people who have faith in something.
I know that there is something bigger out there.
Whether that be God, Buddha, a karmic quartet or
just the weather, there has to be something
larger than just us.

It gives us a reason to keep trying when
even our own hopes are dashed.
It gives us some belief that good things
will happen, even if we may not deserve them.

These television shows have writers who create drama
and know how to solve it.
They are not perfect packages as to best
resemble life. There is always
a thread of a storyline that we can relate to.
The crappy ex or the major life changes.
The inability to make a decision or bad storms.
As always, bad fashions and good drinks.

Maybe television isn't so bad after all
if it provides relief from our mundane, monotonous,
beige problems and puts things into perspective.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Big Bang Theory

Shall this show forever remain with us....

Raj: The only thing I've learned in the last two hours is that American men love drinking beer, pee too often, and have trouble getting erections.
Leonard: Focus on the game, not the commercials, Raj.
Raj: I'm just saying, maybe if you people cut back on the beer, you could get out of the bathroom and satisfy your women without pharmaceutical help.

Wolowitz: So, what are we watching? Sex in the City, yikes!
Penny: Hey, I happen to love this movie.
Wolowitz: Fine, let's watch it. Maybe all our periods will synchronize

Wolowitz: They're called tattoo sleeves. I bought them online. Raj got a set too. Put them on, have sex with some freaky girl with her business pierced and I can take them off and still be buried in a Jewish cemetery

Raj: I don't like bugs, okay? They freak me out.
Sheldon: Interesting. You're afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.

Raj: We'd just see what's what.
Sheldon: That's a semantically null sentence.

Leonard: When we watch Frosty the Snowman, he roots for the sun.
Sheldon: Excuse me, but the sun is essential for all life on earth. Frosty is merely a bit of frozen, supernatural ephemera in a stolen hat. A crime, by the way, for which he is never brought to account.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Food Excitement

Now that I have been reading so many healthy blogs and am able to (knock on wood) have my Oregon Trail Card for grocery shopping, I have been expanding my horizons when I am at the supermarket. This has caused some problems as I am usually so overwhelmed at the grocery store that I can no longer be sure of what I want to buy or even should be buying. I roam the aisles, looking fairly lost, and eventually catch the eye of a store employee. If I were to be videotaped while shopping, there would be a lot of "stand still and stare" kind of shots. I usually head to Fred Meyer for the groceries since it is reasonably priced and close by but after my crappy, nerve-shaking day earlier this week that allowed me to wander the aisles of New Seasons, I went back there with a new sense of determination. They have all sorts of crazy and exciting products so I absolutely had to go back.

I mainly focused on items that I could incorporate into other things that would make them not only more nutritious but also just tasty and fancy.

First up, Bob's Red Mill. A local business that is decently priced and has a HUGE selection of goodies. I was looking for the Museli but went with the Natural Granola mix instead. There is no added sugar and all the ingredients are good for you. I am hoping to oat up my greek yogurts in the morning with this.

I had no idea peanut butter had such variety. I usually get Skippy's Reduced Fat Super Chunk. It is so...chunky. But many of the people I follow use MaraNatha and other nut butters like almond or cashew. I thought that there wasn't much difference in what I normally get and this but I looked at the ingredients and was slightly horrified:
Roasted Peanuts, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Soy Protein, Salt, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Cottonseed, Soybean and Rapeseed) to Prevent Separation, Mono and Diglycerides, Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Copper Sulfate), Vitamins (Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid).

Yikes. Compared to this:
100% Organic Dry Roasted Valencia Peanuts and Sea

Admittedly, I felt silly for not knowing just how many other ingredients and chemicals are in peanut butter in the first place. It feels nice to have foods that are as close to their original forms as possible. I tried peanut butter in my oatmeal the other day and it was heav-en-ly.

The organic coconut is something I have been wanting to try but at over 10g of fat for a small serving, I figured it wasn't worth it for someone trying to lose the fatness. Enter in this nifty product! It is reduced fat, inexpensive and incredibly flavorful. I added some to my ice cream last night and cannot wait to put it in my pineapple yogurt to get that pina colada taste.

Upon arriving at New Seasons, I saw these apple chips and after one tiny taste, had to grab the bag. They are crispy, low sugar and very addictive. I am confused on how you are to get SIX servings out of the bag but I was too busy eating them to figure that part out.

The damned agave syrup. I have seen it all over lately; on television, in cookbooks, friends who are using it and so I had to pick some up. I usually drink tea unsweetened because A) I hate to add granulated sugar to tea and B) I am trying to learn to love the taste of just tea on it's own. Sometimes I swipe some Splenda from a restaurant and use that but it's a rarity these days. I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake since I believe it is what drives me bonkers (besides the other million things) so hopefully this will be a nice alternative. I also cannot wait to bake with it since it is highly recommended in some of the baking done in "Veganomicon."

In addition to these fine products, I also picked up brussel sprouts, mini acorn & butternut squash, and a few Chobani. I bought a carton of coffee flavored Pearl Soy Milk a while back but finally opened it this week and, damn, that stuff is heavenly. It provides an enormous amount of calcium (which my diet lacks) and is a treat in the morning.

Answering Questions

It may be the antidepressants talking, but I'm feeling somewhat optimistic about 2010
I was inspired by a posting on another blog and rather than having resolutions for the new year, she put questions that she wants to have the answers to this year. How creative! I never thought about thinking goals in terms of the "after."

Since I have some big expectations of myself this year, here are some questions that I will have answered by end of 2010. Some are big (intimidating me) and some are small and enjoyable.

1. What grad school are you attending?
2. What classes did you sign up for?
3. How is your job going?
4. How much weight did you lose?
5. How many paintings/postcards/cards did you sell?
6. How big is your apartment?
7. What is your new address?
8. How was your first 5k?
9. Where did you get that amazing pair of boots that are not only gorgeous but also water proof, slip proof and go with everything in your closet?
10. Where did you learn to do calligraphy?

See, fun AND random!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Committed" and Marriage

Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, has released her next book Committed and recently did an interview with Powell's Books. As I read through a piece of her interview, she made a declaration about marriage and the statistics that go along with it.

"Q: Why do you think U.S. divorce rates are so high? What statistical findings did you encounter that people might consider before tying the knot"

A: First of all, it's important to know that the famous "50 percent divorce rate" that we hear about so much these days is a little bit misleading. Across the board, there is a 50 percent divorce rate, true, but those numbers really change based on the age of the couple at the time of marriage. Young couples divorce at astronomically high rates, which blows the curve for everyone else. The fundamental conclusion we can draw from all the data is this: Marriage is not a game for the young. Wait as long as you humanly can to get married and your odds of staying with one partner forever will increase dramatically. If you wait until you are, say, 35 years old to get married, your odds of success are pretty terrific. The other question is one of expectation. Modern Americans bring to their marriages the most over-stuffed bundle of expectations the institution has ever seen. We expect that our partner will not merely be a decent person, but will also be our soul mate, our best friend, our intellectual companion, our greatest sexual partner, and our life's complete inspiration. Nobody in human history has ever asked this much of a companion. It's a lot to ask of one mere mortal, and the inevitable disappointments that follow such giant expectations can cripple marriages."
You can read the rest of the Q&A at

I have heard this before, possibly in a movie of all things, but that we are putting so much on another person to make our lives complete. I believe in the idea that people can come together and change and grow as they get older but in some ways I feel that this idea is highly romanticized and makes it okay for couples to stay together in hopes that the other person will eventually evolve in the same way that their partner wants.

When I described my idea of marriage to a friend, I tried to explain to him what I thought marriage should be. It's not anything fancy or grandiose or pretty; it is simply the fact that you will have a partner in this life who you can depend on when you need them and helps you celebrate the good times. You will create a family (whether that be just the two of you or the addition of a pet or child) and a life together which is what you both want it to be. It is someone you collaborate with and then venture out with a new set of values and passions and goals. I think the reason that people who marry older are typically more successful in relationships is because they have been through (and given) all the B.S., they know themselves and have achieved things thus far. This person who they commit their lives to is a wonderful addition to their life, not necessarily someone they need to complete it.

As young girls, we watch so many movies where the guy saves the girl and then life, as we know it, is bliss. It makes me a bit resentful towards these kinds of movies because it gives some of us the false sense of hope that every one's life will lead to marriage and then family and then we as people are complete. It is not attractive to show the time when we eat ice cream on the couch in our ratty, dirty pajamas instead of searching out that "amazing" guy because screw them, it makes us happier. We are less often shown the time in when a guy/girl kicks out the "just okay" people because they refuse to "settle for anything less than butterflies" (thank you, SATC). If they DO show that scenario, there is usually the "perfect" partner just around the corner so that no, they will not end up single and loser-like.

My philosophy on life (although I may not always remember) is that do what makes you happy. Never an easy goal nor one that many people get to experience but isn't it worth it to try? As long as you aren't hurting anyone else or yourself, this motto seems like win-win situation: You get what you want and never have to ask yourself "What if?" When you are telling your children about your life when you get older or you are at the end of your days, what do you want to share stories about? What do you want those stories to be?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Portland Art Museum

After a chat, a bagel with lox, and a terrific cup of Stumptown coffee, I headed over to the Portland Art Museum. Every first weekend of each month, Bank of America card holders are able to get in for FREE. Thank goodness for free activities in Portland. I perused the China exhibit, the sterling silver collection and the contemporary art. It was amazing to walk around and take my time looking at things. By far my favorite kind of paintings are the ones where you can see each brushstroke. I imagine the artist in their studios deciding how each stroke created warmth and depth in their painting. I am not a huge fan of the portraits but I do love me a nice landscape.

My three favorites were:

Brett Reichman's "And the spell was broken somewhere over the rainbow"
This is close to what the painting looks like except there are three clocks in three panels of different colors.

Joseph Raffael's "Wind on Water"
This picture is the closest thing I could find to the painting that I saw but it will give you the same effect. He has now inspired me for my next painting.

William Trost Richards' "Marine, 1884"
This is much more impressive in person and in color. I must have stared at this one for at least five minutes. I kept hoping to see the ship in the back bobbing with the motion of the waves.

There was also this huge plate, probably eight feet high, that was made of tiny silver octagons all pieced together. The effect was half kaleidoscope, half fun house mirror. So awesome!

I took an illegal picture of one light installation (it made me giggle) and some of the lanterns hanging between the two buildings.

It turned out to be a gorgeous day out, sun shining and even a glimpse of blue sky. I hope the same weather for tomorrow's outing!