He Has Raisin, Indeed.

March 31, 2010

Just another photo from our India travels…

If you think about it, the grammar really does make logical sense. “Raisen” could be the past-tense of “raise,” like “eaten” is the past-tense of “eat.” English just doesn’t always make sense.

All that aside, this makes me giggle out loud, every. stinkin’. time.

Let’s rejoice: He has raisin.

HAPPY EASTER!

She’s Moving In.

March 28, 2010

During my nap, I dreamt that I had a new roommate named Bickey McTastic.

The Week’s Worthies…

March 28, 2010

One of my goals for 2010 has been to balance my life more than I have in the past. This includes getting some financial stuff under control with a strategic plan, as well simply reforming from my work-a-holic ways in order to spend more time appreciating and doing the things I love.

I am the kind of girl who gets hooked on things she likes and knows will satisfy. You might call me an Addict of Quality Stuff. I don’t think I realized this addiction to specific products until I went to India the first time. It was the hottest time of the year — at the end of April and beginning of May last year — and we were sweating like marathon runners all the time. It was amazing how comforting it was to just have my small bottles of familiar shampoo and lotion that smelled like home. Don’t get me wrong — I love India. Sometimes. But when one is in such an unfamiliar place for the first time, trying to process through the newness of it all, it really helps to have something that reminds you of home. When my Indian friends visit the U.S. and then return to India after a long journey, I’m sure they feel the same sense of relief to return to the places that are home to them and have the things and rituals that are familiar.

I’ve spent some time reflecting today on a few things this past week that have felt like home to me… things that have resonated either through an emotional connection with a song or a TV show or a book, or through a practical breakthrough like finding a product that really works. And I want to share them in hopes that others might find the same sense of satisfaction in the simple things. So, here’s my list:

Pandora

If you haven’t started an account yet, do. It’s a website of free radio that you can tailor to your own tastes. You type in a song or artist, and Pandora will play music like your request. You can give the songs thumbs ups or thumbs downs to tailor the station even more specifically to your taste. You’re only allowed 40 hours of free music time per month, which can get kind of challenging at my office, because we constantly play music, but who can complain about 40 hours of free music? If you want, you can pay $0.99 to get unlimited listening in the course of a month, but I don’t find that necessary. Having to take a little break from Pandora for a little while makes me appreciate it more when a new month starts, and I have 40 free hours of new music to explore.

Today, this song, which played in my Rufus Wainwright radio station, resonated in my heart. It has been a weekend of reconnecting with old friends, many who have walked with me through this journey of moving so far away from my family, with so many hopes and equally as many uncertainties. They stuck with me through the breakup  and restored my joy. And that’s been amazing. I can’t even tell you. I have tears running down my cheeks right now. I was thinking of all of them and all my fantastic new friends in my Monday night accountability group and Wednesday night church and my roommates and my family… truly, they are Quality Stuff, and I need them. Also, this song in particular by Mat Kearney, and especially these lyrics:

the walls are shaking, I hear them sound the alarm
glass is breaking, so don’t let go of my arm
grab your bags and a picture of where we met
all that we’ll leave behind and all that’s left
if everything we got is blowing away
we’ve got a rock, and a rock til our dying day
i’m holding onto you, holding onto me,
maybe it’s all we got, but it’s all I need
you’re all I need

Orange Blossoms

The courtyard in front of my house is fragrant with them right now. It makes walking out to the garage to do my laundry absolutely heavenly. I can’t wait to step outside and switch the loads over. Maybe I will pull the ironing board outside as well and chat with the neighbors over the fence in this wonderland that is today in Southern California.

She Got Up Off the Couch

by Haven Kimmel…. this book is a sequel to one of my favorite books, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small In Mooreland, Indiana. Kimmel writes beautifully and hilariously about her childhood in a town of 300 people. It reminds me so much of my roots in Southern Minnesota, and of the wonder of being a kid. Yesterday I went to visit a dear friend who has an almost-two-year-old daughter. The daughter was thrilled to help her mama open the mail. I was that kid twenty-five years ago. I miss the time when getting brightly colored junk mail was thrilling and every envelope held a surprise.

Chuck

If you haven’t watched it yet, you’re missing out, particularly Season 3, Episode 9, which aired on NBC two weeks ago and was directed by lead actor Zachary Levi. The episode’s themes of friendship were so beautiful they made me tear up. Also, I wrote a fan letter to Zachary Levi to tell him how inspiring it is that he is a committed Christian working in Hollywood and appears to have a large, accepting, and loving heart.

You can partake in the deliciousness of Chuck here, though I recommend watching the previous seasons before viewing this episode. It’s family-friendly, quality, and hilarious. Also, Zachary Levi said this in reference to preparing for his role in Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel: “There really is no way of preparing to work with talking chipmunks. You can’t find chipmunks at pet stores. How many domesticated chipmunks are there? You have to be inventive. I just went into the woods in the buff, living off nature, eating nothing but twigs and nuts and various berries that I could find. I became one with the animal kingdom and of course, chipmunks — none of whom ever talked to me.” Who can resist a funny guy?

Last night friend Julie said that another friend of hers has a saying: “A fat funny guy is a funny guy.” In other words, if a guy is fat but he’s funny, smart girls look past the physical discrepancies and even forget them. I also would add, “A bald funny guy is a funny guy.” Zachary Levi is neither fat nor bald — he’s very attractive — but as we all know, youth and looks fade. The above quote and his alleged quotes about faith, God, and loving others make me a fan. A super fan, even.

Also, I want him to be the mother of my children, though I didn’t say that in the letter. There is a third-date minimum, MINIMUM, for that kind of talk. I will just wait for him to come find me. However long it takes. I will stand out in the courtyard and smell the orange blossoms spring after spring, singing to neighbors of my love unrequited, as I iron the sheets and wait for his telegram, my hair gently coifed and lips blossoming with youth.



I give him the Ann Clipperton Stamp of Approval.

Bare Minerals Moisturizer

If you’re a girl like me and have sensitive skin, facial products can be a tragedy. They start out doing very well, bathing your skin in a beautiful, fresh glow. Then, five applications later, your skin is feeling oily, gross, and completely unladylike. Bare Minerals is the first makeup I’ve ever found that continues to keep my skin healthy, and I’ve been using it for almost three years. Recently I discovered their face wash and moisturizer, and the moisturizer, especially, has been revolutionary for me. I crave putting it on at the end of the day. It’s a little expensive, but I justify its expense because whenever I purchase a cheap lotion, I use a few squirts of it then end up casting it aside because it doesn’t work well with my skin in the long-run. It’s better to buy a bottle of more expensive lotion when I know I will use the whole thing and even crack it open and scrape the inside walls when the bottle is empty. By the way, this is a great money-saving trick for lotions and makeup. When the pump stops working or the bottle stops squirting, cut that sucker open and extract the rest with your finger. You’ll have at least three more applications that would have been thrown away. You can see some other reviews and purchase it here.

Now it’s time for some pasta and a nap. Also, it just occurred to me that I ate sushi and edamame twice yesterday. TWICE! California roll and edamame for lunch. Caterpillar roll and edamame for dinner, or, as we call it in Minnesota, supper. Except we don’t really eat sushi in Minnesota. Sadly.

6:34 a.m.

March 26, 2010

I dreamt a few moments ago that I was asleep on his couch when he got home.

He dropped his keys on a brown plastic tray right by my head and emptied the change from his pockets. I kept my eyes shut, and he didn’t see me, or acted like he didn’t. Later, friends came, and one girl sat in the corner with her back to us, crying in front of the television, as if she had discovered a secret place in a room full of people. She had lost someone, but she would not tell us who, even though we all knew. She pretended to sleep too.

I arose, and he barely looked at me. I spilled hot, red wax on the carpet from a candle that had gone out, and mixed in shards of a broken vase, like I had cut open the floor, and it bled.

I said, “I’m sorry I spilled the wax.”

He finally spoke: “You can spill anything in this house.”


Y’all.

Have you ever opened one of those books or clicked on a website that advertises scads of cheap and creative dating ideas?

I’m not trying to offend anyone by this post, but… What is up with that? Please consider the following, which are supposed to be both cheap and creative:

1. Donate blood together.
2. Look up an interesting museum on the internet.
3. Go to a beach and pack a picnic lunch.
4. Read children’s books to each other at the library.

I’m sorry, but I think there’s a drought in the cornfield of creativity, if you know what I mean. That soil couldn’t even grow a dandelion. These ideas belong in a book entitled, How to be a Cheap Date: A Woman’s Guide to Cliché Romance.

These dating ideas remind me of the covers of all the Christian romance novels I read as a teenager, you know those covers, featuring soft couples glowing with chastity?

I’m not at all making fun of Christian romance novels. Okay, maybe a little, but we all have our mind-candy habits, and mine may or may not include the original Beverly Hills 90210 or Lifetime made-for-TV movies. And I am certainly not making fun of chastity. But, the above dating ideas do remind me of Christian romance novels because they are 1. Cliché, and 2. Sweet little snapshots of a perfect world.

I think we all know that we don’t live in that world, and I think I can speak for the majority of the dudes by saying that these dating ideas? Not so guy-friendly.

SO…. I have taken it upon myself to compose a series of creative and inexpensive dating ideas. As advertised, they will be both innovative AND frugal.

Why should you listen to me? Because, when I was a child, I performed CPR on a plastic baby doll.

It was a result of that small-town Minnesota childhood, where my brother, my cousins, and I had to create fun. It was either that or pick up rocks in cornfields. You think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding.

So, we played a lot of made-up games, and one we invented was called Bomb Squad, which was the fruit of watching too many episodes of The A-Team, Get Smart, and MacGyver. I performed CPR on the baby doll after my brother and cousins successfully disarmed a live lego explosive only seconds before it projected a blast so powerful it would have ruptured the earth’s core and resurrected J. Robert Oppenheimer from the dead only to kill him again. Yes, you heard me right. He would have died twice.

After the bomb was detonated, I had to perform CPR on this poor, dying baby doll. It is unclear to me why she required CPR, but that doesn’t matter. The point is, she lived long enough for us to sell her at a garage sale give her to a loving family seven years later.

In the same vein, here is the first of many of my creative and frugal dating ideas:

CUPID’S SLINGSHOT

STEP ONE: Contrary to popular belief, it is quite inexpensive to make a sling-shot. One only needs a Y-shaped, thick stick (bark optional), two large trash can rubber bands (WikiHow calls them the “firing mechanism”), and a small bit of rubber from a deflated inner tube in which to nestle the projectile you wish to discharge (suggestions: small pebbles or walnuts). Create two slingshots, one for you and one for your date.

STEP TWO: Study the natural habitats of squirrels, and through your observations, locate an area in which one unlucky squirrel has hidden his secret “stash.” If it makes you feel better, observe a fat squirrel, so you will feel less guilt when you confiscate his little hoard. The walnuts fly better if their outer green coating is black and rotten. They also provide a small cushion upon impact. The importance of this cushion will be discussed below. You and your date might consider a special prize for the first one who pursues and gets close enough to the squirrel to make it turn and hiss at you. This suggestion is purely optional and bears no weight on the goal of the outing. Steal several walnuts from the squirrel’s stash.

STEP THREE: Gather some apples, either from the grocery store or off the ground of nearby trees.

STEP FOUR: Take turns shooting apples off one another’s heads.

STEP FIVE: Administer first aid.

STEP SIX: When you are finished and bloodied, take turns washing the blood off one another’s foreheads and using lye soap to scrub the rotten walnut smell from one another’s hands. This step encourages physical contact and will undoubtedly push your relationship to a more intimate level. Repeat as needed.

Baggage

March 23, 2010

A while back he returned to me a bag of items I had once given him.

I had put the bag in the backseat of my car and left it there, knowing that I wasn’t ready to look through it. I only glanced in the bag, certain it would hold tangible items to force the remembrance of things we strove to forget.

It’s easier to remember the hurt, blame, and accusations than it is to recall a joy turned sour. The hurt, blame, and accusations remain within, festering. They offer little surprise anymore. But the joy? After it’s gone, it returns unexpectedly, like tears.

I took one peek into the bag, and there was a book inside that triggered a good thing I had forgotten. I closed the bag and put it back in my car. Maybe I need to drive around with it a while longer.

I didn’t realize it was standard break-up procedure to return gifts. I thought one was only supposed to return borrowed items, but I could be wrong. It doesn’t seem like the topic to write Dear Abby about. Still, I had packed his gifts up in a box and hid them somewhere or asked a dear friend to take them away, not wanting to hurt him by giving them back. As if they meant nothing. When we both know that, at one time, they meant everything.

Quaking

March 23, 2010

I think a lot about earthquakes lately.

We had one here last week.  I awoke from a dream in which I sat on the steps of a spooky Victorian house with a boy I once liked but haven’t spoken with in over a year.  I told him I wouldn’t be afraid to explore the dark, gaping upstairs of the house if he would go with me, because I knew he would never let anything bad happen to me. I awoke to my  cozy bedroom. Seconds later the room started to shake.  I gripped onto the edges of my bed, thinking of Chile and Haiti, praying the most genuine prayer I know: “Oh, Lord, oh, Lord, oh, Lord…”  Then the shaking stopped.  Thirty minutes later I fell back to sleep.

It was the third earthquake I have felt since moving to California two years ago.  Some natives talk about the “Big One” ominously — the alleged giant earthquake that could possibly drop California into the Pacific. Many rejoice that these small ones are vibrating through our lives, because they supposedly “release pressure.”  The other day I was thinking about earthquakes (like I said, I do that a lot lately), and I realized that my most riveting fear actually would have the possibility of coming true here in California: the fear of being buried alive.

The prospect of being buried alive is an even bigger cause for alarm than my fear of immaculate conception, which I have referenced on this blog previously many times.

Oh, boy.