Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear 2010,

You were bitter and sweet and not quite what I expected in both disappointing and awe-inspiring ways. You took Grandma with you but gave us Dylan and a miracle for Liz and Dan.
We are so thankful for the blessings that unfolded during our time with you. We will remember you forever.

Love,
Christina

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ready or Not

The answer is always Not, as in not ready. The New Year is almost here, and as usual, I wish I was a bit more prepared for it. As in, I wish my house was clean. I wish my laundry was put away. I wish my 2010 projects were neatly tied up and my 2011 projects were all ready to start.

But tonight I painted my nails myself for the first time in a million years. Very sloppy job, by the way. I can't believe how good I was at painting my nails when I was 12. The color is dark purple with glitter, and I kind of love how not me it is. Ever notice how something that seems so un-you can totally be you if you try it.

Anyway, ready or not, me and my nails are going to sparkle in 2011.  

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rituals for the New Year

This year, I'm going to try Christine Kane's Word of the Year ritual for the New Year. I'm going to pick one word to guide me through 2011. I even have a word in mind.

I'm also writing another Mondo Beyondo list. You really can't have too many lists like these, and I've been writing them since reading this post in 2004.

Do you have a New Year's ritual? I'd love to hear about it.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tiny Steps Count

"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet." ~Author Unknown

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Slow News Day

Me: "I don't know what to blog."
Him: "Why do your problems become my problems?"

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Resolutions

The new year is almost here, and it's not too early to dream about its possibilities.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Good News

We are the shepherds.
We are keeping watch over our flock the best we can.
And the angel of the Lord says to us:
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord."

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Believe

If your Christmas always seems a bit chaotic, keep this in mind:
Mary and Joseph weren't ready for Christ's birth either.
Even if a million things have yet to be done, you can be merry anyway.
I promise.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Eve of Christmas Eve

I'm exhausted, and the fun hasn't even started.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Signs of Love

"Detach, detach, detach," I repeat again and again in my mind. "Circumstances do not define you."
(It was kind of a weird day. And even on normal days, I need a lot of self talk.)
Then in the mailbox, a treasure. A woman I know (but not very well) sent along with her family's Christmas card, a prayer card she had blessed for me in Medjugorje.
I can't even explain how touched I am to be thought of in this way.
The card has on it a picture of Mary and the words, "If you knew how much I love you, you'd cry of joy."
Now I have a new six-word meditation: "Detach, detach, detach. Cling, cling. cling."

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Digital Merry Christmas



This has been all over Facebook, but I hadn't watched it until today. It's a very cute way to spend 3 minutes.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Sick Day

Sore Throat, meet your new best friend, Hot Toddy.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bring It On

OK. I'm going to resolve to be ready for fun at a moment's notice. In fact, I don't even want notice. Just surprise me with the fun. Yes, I'll need to adjust. But it will be worth it.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

As it turns out, I am not a spur-of-the-moment kind of girl. I know this because I burst into tears (not the happy kind) when my husband told me we were going out for a fancy dinner and then spending the night at a swank hotel. My plans were to stay in. Seems I need to mentally prepare myself for fun. Thankfully, he told me earlier this afternoon, so I'm ready now. (Yes, I'm aware I have issues, and I know I married a good and patient man.)

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

"If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something."   ~Steven Wright

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Big Step, Little Girl

Michelle stood brave but nervous waiting to make her first confession yesterday. She is 7.
She told her mom to go first, and then she moved anxiously in place at the front of the line.
From a distance, I watched John give her a quick word of encouragement. When it was Michelle's turn, her mom flashed her a smile and a thumbs up.
From where I stood, I could see Michelle sitting in the adult-size chair, her feet not touching the floor, as she spoke to the priest.
It was a brief encounter, but I'm sure it felt like forever to her.
Once it was over, she practically flew into her mom's arms. Her face lit up with pride and relief.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nine

Number of years I've loved John.
That is as long as you count love at first sight.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Better Watch Out

My dad was acting slightly out of the ordinary -- emptying trash cans without being asked, clearing other people's plates, behaving in an all-around helpful manner.
Then he proudly announced, "I hope Santa is watching."

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Finally

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Traditionally, I don't feel Christmas until after the fourth Sunday of Advent. Which, coincidentally, is also when I feel complete panic. So I'm actually ahead of schedule this year. Cheers!

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Compliments

The loveliest word used to describe our home: Warm.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Carol of the Bells

John was rocking the Corolla sound system today.
He loves Christmas music.
And I love to see him happy.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Father Knows Best

Me: "Daddy, what should I do about my anxiety?"
Him: "Well, sex. Wake John up (when you can't sleep)."

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Insomnia

3 a.m. is an unkind hour. I would say it's the worst hour of the day. Yesterday has slipped away and dawn is out of reach.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Believe

"... for nothing will be impossible for God."

Every year, these are the only words I hear when celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sugar Plums

Please dance in my head. 

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Neighborhood Bar

Hot bar, salad bar, sushi bar, trail mix bar, coffee bar.
Now, Whole Foods, if you included an actual bar, you'd be the hottest date destination in town.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Cheer

We went to my grandpa's house today.
There were quite a few of us. My parents, my siblings, my aunt and uncle and cousins, and, of course, Dylan.
We trimmed the tree, set up the nativity and found a place for Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
"I didn't think I would ever see that tree again," my grandpa said.
I could tell the tree was very happy to see him, too.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Found in Boxes

Handwritten notes from people I love
Comics torn from the newspaper, almost always from my dad
Printed out emails
Old school papers
Tax returns dating back to the early 90s

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Patience

The Truth will set you free. But it might be little by little.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rocks

Silly chunks of gray Earth
sleeping deep in the ground.
Dirty bellies
sunken by the weight of their own worry.

~Circa 1999, college writing class

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

31

I kind of want to skip December and go straight to the New Year. But then I would miss Christmas, and that would be a shame.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning Curve

My grandpa is taking a 2 1/2-hour computer class three times a week at the senior center. I wonder if he can tutor me.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Flash Mob



Dear Santa,
I want to be part of a Flash Mob. But I can't sing or dance, so I'll need a miracle.
Love,
Christina

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rated: Happy

It doesn't matter what a TV show, movie or play is about. If it doesn't end happy, my dad doesn't want to see it. (Same goes for me, too.)

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Artists

Tonight, I sat at a table with several actors.

They all knew each other. But none of them knew me, and I didn't know them.
One asked, "Are you an actor?"
I said, "No. I'm more of a writer."
"What do you write?"
"A sentence a day. Sometimes more," I replied. 
Because these were people with day jobs and families but a passion for acting nonetheless, my answers didn't even seem odd. 

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Friday, November 26, 2010

New Traditions

It's 5:30 a.m. We've already hit Kohl's, which was such a madhouse, my mom and I left without buying a thing. Now, we're standing in the mall parking lot outside of Sears. We have seven hours of shopping ahead of us. My dad stayed in the car for the first stop. Before heading inside, he innocently asks, "What are we going to do in there?"
I was afraid to tell him the truth. But he was a trooper.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dylan's First Thanksgiving

When your grandfather is 91 years old, it's hard to be sure how sharp his mind is.
So when I first heard my grandpa call Dylan by his middle name, Luc, I thought he was confused.
When I heard him make the mistake a second time, I whispered to my sister, "Grandpa thinks Dylan's name is Luc."
"Oh, Grandpa, Luc is Dylan's middle name," my sister sweetly corrected.
"Well, Luc is good for me," my grandpa said proudly. "I wouldn't be surprised if he is called Luc in school. It's a good name, easy to say."
Later, Cliff mentioned he wished he had taken advantage of his cool middle name, Warren.
"Well, see you later, Warren," my grandpa said.
Nothing to worry about here. His wit is quick and his mind is sharp.
Have I mentioned Luc is short for Lucarotti, which is mine and my sister's maiden name, my grandfather's family name? No wonder he is fond it.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Be Grateful

"Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold." ~Maurice Seitter

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes

I wish I knew who created this recipe. It ran in the Redding newspaper about 5 years ago (but a website search turned up zilch). Anyway, I love that these potatoes can be made the night before Thanksgiving. I also make Herta's Sweet Potatoes the night before, which makes Thanksgiving Day all that much more enjoyable.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:
5 pounds baking potatoes
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
salt

First peel potatoes, then cut them. Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain water. Mash potatoes and blend in other ingredients. Put mashed potatoes into a buttered casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On Thanksgiving Day, let potatoes sit at room temperature for a couple of hours before heating. Heat at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Dab with butter and chopped parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Adjectives

I prefer 'eccentric' to 'crazy.' It's almost the same thing but nicer.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dive Deep



"Let it always be known that I was who I am." ~Laura Marling, Rambling Man

After watching this video, I whispered to my brother, "Jimmy, what was in the suitcase?"
"I think it is his soul," he replied.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Six Years Ago ...

He said, "Will you marry me?"
And I said, "What took you so long."
(OK. Not really.)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Calm Before The ...

This weekend relax. Sleep. Cuddle. Take deep breathes, and write out your to-do list. The next six weeks will be a furious race to the New Year. It's up to you to make them fun.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mamika Rocks

Frederika will brighten your day, and maybe even make you feel like a Superhero. I promise.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crab(by) Season

John made sure to tell my dad crab season officially opened.
"You should keep the ladies away from San Francisco," John said. "Otherwise, they might be mistaken."
"They could get caught up in the nets," my dad added.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Death to Perfectionism

You will never win if perfect is your goal. But if you can accept your best as good enough, peace will be yours.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Avoidance

I try to let problems come up with their own solutions. It rarely works.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time

If you aren't stressed about the holidays, you are way behind.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pop Culture

I was feeling a bit out of touch with society at large, so I stopped flipping through the channels when I came across an episode of Jerseylicious today. I thought I would finally familiarize myself with the Snooki I hear so much about on the radio news. My mistake. Apparently, Snooki was on another show highlighting the good people of New Jersey. It's really hard to keep up.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Siblings

I have one sister and two brothers. We've shared friends, food, fights, drinks, laughs, cries, clothes, rooms, sorrows, joys, cars, toys, memories and a million other things siblings share in the way only siblings can. It occurred to me tonight (while staring at beautiful baby Dylan) that we also shared space. Not at the same time of course, but the four of us all got our start in this wild world in our mother's womb. While I don't think this is what defines siblings (or families), it certainly creates a crazy, unique shared history.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yummy

My cousin tried Persian food for the first time at Reyhan Restaurant in San Jose. Her reaction?
First bite: "This is really flavorful."
Second bite: "This is good."
Third bite: "This is hella good."

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Quote or Two

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." ~Robert Frost

"The road to happiness is always under construction." ~Dan Millman

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Mind

Sometimes I have too many thoughts. But lots of times I have none at all.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

A Recommendation

If you are wanting to read something beautiful and honest (and you don't mind crying a bit), I recommend Nella's birth story. My dear friend sent me the link today. It's the kind of story that makes you grateful love exists.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Funny Valentine

He said: "If you weren't in my life, I wouldn't be able to enjoy your laugh."
I said: "If you weren't in my life, I wouldn't laugh nearly as much."
He said: "Yea, you would. You're kind of an easy laugh."

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Squeezing

I don't know about you, but I've never squeezed so much out of every second in an "extra" hour. I vote making 25-hour days a daily occurrence.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Clarity

I'm starting to think all of life is like dating. As I recall, dating is as much about knowing what you want as it is knowing what you don't want.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pushing

Some feelings you can't hide from. So the question is how uncomfortable are you willing to be? Are you willing to push your own limits?

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Better than Botox

Hanging out with my parents may be as close as I get to a fountain of youth. It might be more of a compliment to them than me, but people shave a solid 10 years off my age when I'm with my folks.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holy Souls

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen."

Like last year, I'm happy to place the names of your loved ones on the altar at church to be remembered and prayed for during the month of November.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Opposites

He says I should play opposites. If I feel discouraged, act encouraged.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dressing Up

Today, I wore a tiara with my blue jeans. Sometimes, at home, I wear my tiara with pajamas. Honestly, I'm not sure why I waited for Halloween to take this look out and about. If I had my way, I would look like a princess or a cowgirl every day of the week.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little by Little

Sometimes progress is so slight it cannot be perceived.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Focus

I'm trying to figure out how to be more like Erin's friend and less like my usual unfocused self without the motivation of tragedy. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

For Dominic

While my family has been in full-swing celebration, another family is living a nightmare. I cannot imagine their pain. Please pray for 4-year-old Dominic and the Segerblom family. Dominic has battled health issues since before he was born. He underwent gallbladder surgery earlier this week, and now he is fighting a serious blood infection that may have spread to his brain. Please pray for Dominic's miraculous healing.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baby Love

I stare at Dylan. I stare at Nicole. I cannot believe he lived inside of her. It's not like I've never met a baby before. But the miracle and mystery of it all hits you in a different way when the baby belongs to your sister.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Dylan Luc


He sure made his mama work for it. But after 64 hours and 25 minutes of labor, my beautiful sister Nicole gave birth to the beautiful Dylan Luc. He was born today at 5:04 p.m., weighs 7 lbs 2 oz and is 19 1/2 inches long. The doula said he has musician fingers, which is not at all surprising considering the incredibly talented parents he has. Welcome to the world and to our family, sweet Dylan Luc. You are loved, loved, loved.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

An Update

We are anxious and waiting, but still no baby.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Timeline

3:08 a.m. Phone rings. I know it is my sister calling, and I'm so excited I drop the phone. She tells me her water broke a couple of hours ago (at 12:39 a.m. to be exact) and she and Cliff are on their way to the hospital.

5:12 a.m. Text from Cliff: @ hospital, waiting for room. Very early, will call when we get a room. All is good, mamma napping. Go Team Dylan!

5:27 a.m. My mom calls. She and my dad are showered and ready to head to the hospital as soon as we are given the word.

7:37 a.m. Text from Cliff: Real slow right now, have a room. Not missing anything. The moment it picks up we'll get you guys here. She's doin great, nurses impressed with her calm.

10:40 a.m. Text from Cliff: Still going, no big changes, resting now.

1:08 p.m. Text from Nicole: Waiting, and waiting for Dylan to do something. Think good thoughts :)

5:25 p.m. My mom, dad, brother Jimmy, John and I arrive at the hospital, and our cars are packed for the duration. We have a cookie tray for the nurses, goodie bags for visitors, a birthday cake for the baby, and champagne for the mama. Good family friend, Matt, has been at the hospital since noon and is saving us space in the waiting room.

5:30 p.m. I rearrange the waiting room furniture. In a matter of minutes, it looks like we live there.

6:15 p.m. I see my sister, and we spend 45 minutes walking the hospital halls and doing the stairs. Despite having been awake for more than 36 hours, Nicole looks amazing. She is calm and strong and handling each contraction like a champ.

10 p.m. Jimmy and Matt return from a food run with two large pizzas, enough for everyone (not just our crew) in the waiting room.

10:30 p.m. We have transformed the waiting room into a living room and dining room and now we are hunkering down and preparing for it to be our bedroom. My mom has changed into her "lounging pants" (aka pj's), our shoes are off and we have blankets ready. We are also getting sillier by the minute due to sleep deprivation, and everything is making us giggle.

11:04 p.m. Text from Cliff: We've been in active labor, almost transition. This girl is workn!

11:59 p.m. Still no baby, but lots of optimism and excitement. Go Team Dylan!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Geek Squad Grief

After requiring assistance from half the store's staff, I told the guy at Best Buy I hoped, for his sake, we were his most annoying customer of the day and that it would be all uphill from here. My dad was excited at the prospect. "We would be proud to be your most annoying customer," he said with enthusiasm.  

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Save Your Drama

I am not dramatic. Just don't ask my dad to confirm this information.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trust is Hard

I have to remind myself that God has a plan and his is better than mine.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ashleigh is Brilliant

"My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot."
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Journey

This road has both shortcuts and detours.
You won't get to choose your path.
But don't worry.
It only matters that you keep moving, preferably forward.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Mama Knows Best

I got a sweet voicemail from my mom today. It went like this:
"Hello. This is your Mommy. Please tell me that you really didn't put up Noel candles and angels. Try and put up at least Halloween or fall stuff first. OK. Give me a call when you have a chance. Love you."

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Sunday

It rained today. I got to see some of my beautiful friends. We ate butternut lasagna and pumpkin soup, not to mention pie. And the overcast sky made me feel slightly less crazy for decorating the top of my bookshelf with "Noel" candle holders and a couple of angels. Need I say more?

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Deck the Halls

Seriously considering decorating for Christmas now. This would allow me to clean off the guest bed.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Furniture

Sometimes life needs rearranging.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friendship is My Therapy

My best friend has been on a mini-vacation. In her absence, I have diagnosed myself with not one but two psychological disorders.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Second That

"I live in half real life, half fantasy land, and in both worlds I am paranoid." ~ Erin Kelley

Unfortunately, John and I relate.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Name Everything

Mom: "Is Daisy still sick?"
Me: "No. Daisy is in the car. Sunshine is still sick."
Mom: "Daisy is the car?"
Me: "No. Claudia is the car. Daisy is the GPS. Sunshine is my computer."

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Monday, October 11, 2010

10/10/10 Revisited

My dad christened a power strip with a glass of red wine. My brother told me not one but two tales highlighting bowel movements. And by the end of the night, my dad suggested I run for office.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mmmm ...

After convincing me to try a Trader Joe's freeze-dried banana slice, my brother says, "It tastes like banana-flavored chalk. Is that not gross? Hey, Johnny, want to try one?"

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Testing ... Testing ... Testing

"Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't."
~Richard Bach

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Spicy

Once I start going through the cupboards, it becomes clear the lack of cooking done in our kitchen. I cleaned out our spice drawer yesterday and found an unopened jar of cinnamon sticks dated September 25, 2004. We last moved in June 2006, which means I packed and unpacked cinnamon sticks two years past their expiration date. Who does that?

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Laundry

The situation is out of control. Today, I wore socks adorned with tiny Christmas trees. Thank goodness I own a lot of underwear. Otherwise, I'd be in real trouble.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Sister

I think Nicole is the most beautiful mama-to-be. Just try to tell me you disagree.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beyond Impossible

Sometimes I like to think of all the people in the history of the world who were ever told their idea or dream or passion or goal was impossible. Turns out, a lot of people have been wrong.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Inspiration

I have a deep desire to be a domestic goddess. Achieving this would require learning to cook, clean, sew and make all things ridiculously pretty. This might take awhile. In the meantime, I'm looking for inspiration.

Found some here: New Dress A Day.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Note to Self

Chocolate cake is chocolate cake. Just because it comes from Whole Foods doesn't make it healthy.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Kind of Celebrity

The priest told me he works for the Vatican. He's lucky I didn't ask for his autograph.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Hello, October

I survived September, but my computer didn't. Poor Sunshine has seen brighter days. I'm not even going to think about the fact that she won't boot up. Denial will help me sleep tonight. Panic will not. 


Speaking of panic, October is the beginning of the end of 2010. I feel as though I haven't harnessed the magic this year was meant to be. Thirteen more weeks to change that. 

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life Rules

I keep thinking about some old advice from the God of College Journalism Advisors, otherwise known as Mack:
1. Don't fall in love with your own words.
2. Don't become addicted to deadline.
I've always been OK at the first, bad at the second.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eternity

We sat with our friend and talked about heaven and imagined all the people we will meet and things we will do once we get there. We decided John's heaven might be quiet, but mine includes lots of talking.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hot

I add red Chile pepper to everything I make, including scrambled eggs. Maybe I'm secretly a culinary genius.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Pep Talk

Today, Sheila and I made some big decisions about our lives. We've decided it is time for us to worry less, way less. I don't know how we are going to do this. But I think it's worth a grand attempt.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Focus

When you can't do everything at once, try one thing at a time.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Keep In Mind

One of the most important things to remember is that most things are not in our control.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Not True

John: "Can I help you?"
Me (waiting for a hug): "Yes!"
John: "You have two modes -- love or bother. I have no idea which is which. Your face is the same for both."

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Microwave Showdown

Have you heard about the Hideous Microwave Contest! (& Giveaway)? Send Erin a picture of your crazy, hideous, ridiculous microwave and you could win $10 gift card to Starbucks. Awesome, right?

Video below is Erin and her beloved microwave.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Old Habits Die Hard

Remember how I ran away to Mexico and came back with clarity? Well, that didn't last long. But the memory of it keeps me moving forward.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meltdown

Exhaustion makes me a bit dramatic. Best I ignore myself until I can get some sleep.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Worth the Risk

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."    ~ C.S. Lewis

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Deadline Queen

It's amazing what can be accomplished when people work together under the pressure of an unmovable deadline.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Woman with Many 'Children'

"A new idea is like a child. It's easier to conceive than to deliver."
~Ted Koysis

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Buying Bulk

My dad will be at Costco first thing in the morning to pick up some Jack Daniel's pulled chicken and pork, which he had the pleasure of taste-testing this afternoon. He informed my mom to make room in the freezer.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Signing Off

I haven't read mimi smartypants in a long time. But my favorite part of her posts is always her sign off. She'll write something clever, like:

-- mimi smartypants is open to suggestions.
-- mimi smartypants is having a moderately good time.
-- mimi smartypants looks terrible in orange.

Anyway, I might need to start writing in third person.
~ Christina is dangerously close to losing her mind.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Growing Old

The other day my friend watched an elderly couple walk through downtown Los Gatos. The wife stopped in front of Steamer's Restaurant to read the menu. She was about 10 feet from her husband when he said, "Come on, Aidelle. You're no where near me." I like that even in their 80s, this husband hadn't tired of being close to his wife.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Advice from Hugo

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."
~Victor Hugo

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Missing

John tells me tonight he wants to hire a private detective to find Thanksgiving. Once again, it's missing from the retail lineup.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Escapism

The trouble with running away is eventually reality requires your return.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Carmel Blessings

We were eating lunch at Sushi Heaven and our wedding song came on the radio. We’ve never once heard our song being played somewhere. But today we heard Louis Armstrong’s, “La vie en Rose,” and John asked the waitress to turn it up.

Later, we went to the Mission and met the kindest priest. His name is Fr. John and he radiates the kind of love that instantly makes me cry. John and I asked him for a blessing. He told us to kneel and held both our hands. He prayed over us and then pressed his hand against my face and kissed my forehead and then kissed John’s forehead.

Those were just two of this weekend’s many blessings.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Five

Could it be we are as strong as a tree? As strong as a boat made from a tree. As strong as a boat made from a tree always destined for safe harbors.

Happy Anniversary to the Love of My Life!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Transported

We ran away to celebrate 5 years of marriage and ended up at the enchanted Mundaka in Carmel. Owner Gabe Georis made us want to try everything on his menu. But we savored just a few: the ravioli, rusa, padrones and pizzetta, plus clara and kalimotxo to drink. Now we're hoping our next destination is Spain (right after our dream trip to Italy).

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Better than Magic

Twice this year already I have written that I don't believe in coincidences. I'm expanding on this little mantra. I don't believe in coincidences. But I do believe in miracles. When I look at life through these two beliefs, anything is possible.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Be Fearless

Sometimes facing your fears means staring at spreadsheets.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Out of County

I'm spending some time offline this weekend and next. Be back soon.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Little Lion Man



John and I are kind of in love with this song right now. But I warn you, it's not for children. Unless, of course, your kids are allowed to say swear words.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Without Obligation

My best friend has had this button on her blog for awhile now. But I thought it was related to homeschooling, so I never clicked on it. Ha! B.W.O. is for you and me. Actually, I think the concept of "without obligation" has its place in life beyond the blog, too.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lately ...

The day is a blur of frantic energy. And even though much was done and said and observed, by the time I get myself in front of the empty white screen of my computer, my mind is blank. I'm sure this phase of having nothing to say at the end of the day won't last forever. So I'll stick it out. In the meantime, my apologies for boring you.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Like Money

Laughter is more than a blessing. It makes you feel rich.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Night

I keep writing sentences and deleting them. I would much rather write sentences and post them. But writing is harder than it looks, and it is only good if the writer is telling the truth. So here it is: It's late and I'm going to bed.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Transition

Everything is up in the air. The pieces are moving, changing. I have to be patient. My life is still finding shape and form.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Party Throwing 101

Me: "That's the part we don't know how to do. We always end up with so much food."
My mom: "We do know how to do it. This is how we do it."

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Pure Adrenaline

I don't care what people say, panic is the most motivating motivator. Once I panic, things get done. At the last minute, of course.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Traditions

I feel like I say this again and again, but I think Stephanie Nielson is magic. I really enjoyed this post about her family's back-to-school feast. Makes me want to create some traditions of my own.

PS: Tell me if you have any favorites I could borrow.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just A Number

She said she had a daughter my age. So I asked how old her daughter is, and she said 26. I'm really OK with being 33, but I don't mind being mistaken for 26.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tell Yours

I knew he was telling the truth when he said, "The art form of today is story."

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Blame the Headache

I scoured my brain for blog-worthy thoughts, but all I found is swear words.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Insomnia

My to-do list is waking me up in the middle of the night, which is such an annoying time of day to be motivated because hardly anything can actually get done.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Power of Facebook

Today we went to a 40th birthday party for a friend John hadn't seen in more than 22 years.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh, Oscar

You say, "Some cause happiness wherever they go."
I say I want to be one of the some.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank you!

Thank you, Erin, for showing me this site. Thank you, Leah, for being so clever and sincere in your gratitude for life.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thinking of You

Dear Lizzie,

You know how some days are just not good days? I’m talking about the days when I know in my heart I would be of more service to the world if I stayed inside, under covers, away from the general population for at least 24 hours. Today was one of those days, and I thought of you because I knew you would understand.

xo,
Christina

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That Whooshing Sound

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I adore deadlines. And by adore I mean despise.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Two Desires

I am almost constantly conflicted by two desires. One is to bury my head in my pillow and my body in my bed. The other is to stay up all night getting things done. Sleep usually wins.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Queen of Heaven

You stand on the moon. You wear the sun and the stars. Queen of Heaven, be queen of my heart and queen of my home.

~ Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

How To Be Alone



I can't say I spend much time alone, but this reminded me why I should try.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Waiting Game

"Have you ever noticed that time moves so slow when you want something?" she asked.
"Yes," I said, sincerely knowing what she meant. "What do you want?"
"Coffee," she replied.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Move Forward

The long road you’ve been looking at for a long time doesn’t get any shorter by staring at it.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Mazatlan

(My hipstamtic prints from Ashley & Rob's "Trash the Dress" shoot in Mazatlan. So much fun! You can see some of John's photos here.)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Text Support

Sheila wrote: “Do what Eminem says, ‘Be not afraid.’”
I replied: “Pretty sure Jesus said that, too.”
She explained: “Yeah but thinking of Eminem saying it gives me butterflies …”

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Pure Barre

The warm-up made me feel nauseated and the actual workout made me feel faint. I’m fine now, but I fear tomorrow and the day after even more. That’s when the soreness from my butt kicking workout will indeed kick my butt.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Global Warming

My dad says every human on the planet should spend at least 4 hours a day naked. He read that it would improve the environment. From now on, I suggest calling before stopping by my parents' house.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Questions & Answers

The missionary priest from Haiti said we should ask one question, “Lord Jesus, what is it you want from me?” He suspected we would hear one answer, “See my face in every person you meet.”

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Child’s Play

You know you’re in the club when the 3-year-old wants to show you her pajamas, sleeping bag, toothbrush and toothpaste.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

About Me

I am super good at ideas, not-at-all great with following through.
But I keep trying.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(My hipstamtic prints from Ashley & Rob's Mazatlan wedding. Check out John's photos here.)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great Things

Everett Bogue might be a genius, and discovering his free e-book made my day. I highly recommend it. And I would like to know what you highly recommend. What cool, amazing, inspiring things are out there that others should be taking in?

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Motivation

If someone is going to be disappointed in your life, it shouldn’t be you.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Faith

I hate goodbyes, which I’ve mentioned before. But sometimes one thing absolutely must come to an end before the next wonderful, exciting adventure can begin.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recovery

I have yet to find anything more therapeutic than an evening with friends.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Hallelujah for the Weekend

This week, I spontaneously thought of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. Lucky for me, Friday did not include a crucifixion.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Escapism

(Friendly locals at the El Cid Marina Resort in Mazatlan)

You can't run away to Mexico every time you want to escape.
But you can remember the truths you learned there.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(Reflections from the Capital Club in San Jose)

Let’s swing from the chandelier hanging from the sky.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PS

I'm taking this brave enough to ask stuff seriously. I started writing out invitations last night. As in, "Dear (fill in the blank), you are cordially invited into my life."

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Monday, July 26, 2010

System Error

My hotmail account is down. My hipstamatic app is running really slow. Kind of sums up how I feel: run dwn and slow. Time for a reboot.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Brave in Asking

The idea of inviting certain experiences into our lives seems equally wonderful and impossible.

Can we really have what we want by asking for it? I’ve struggled with this question for a long time, and I don’t know the answer.

The skeptic in me, the one busy shooting down wild ideas because she is too afraid to push past her own boundaries, can think of dozens of examples where this doesn’t work.

But my dreamer self has collected too many stories to ignore in which asking and daring meant the difference between life as we know it and a brand new reality.

The problem is as soon as I think I might be brave enough to test this theory for myself, I chicken out.

This morning before church I could hear my heart wanting to invite certain things into our life. But the skeptic shut it down.

And off to church I went.

At church, the priest read the gospel about asking and receiving, knocking and doors being opened.

I don't believe in coincidences.

I'm not saying we'll get everything we want because we ask. Lots of people don't even get everything they need. But it seems there might be some lesson to learn from being brave enough to ask.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Running Away

I would love to know where you go (in the Bay Area) to get away from it all. I'm conducting serious research.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Today's Truth

Something I know: Every person has a creative soul.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Balancing Act

When does busy become too busy?
I say when someone asks you in July when your next free weekend is and your answer is October.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Twinkle lights are dreamy.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today’s Motto

Other people are having a worse day than you.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Reminding Myself


Open enough windows and happiness will find a way in.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Disasters

“I think we’ve been ransacked,” John said as we walked through the door.
“No. I’m pretty sure that’s how we left it,” I replied.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hidden Strength

(Reshmi on her wedding day)

DaVinci's words are tattooed in Latin and written backwards down the inside of her right arm. They are a permanent reminder that "obstacles cannot crush me." 

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Friday, July 16, 2010

That Feeling Has A Name


The UP Experience from Brené Brown on Vimeo.

Honestly, I don't think I realized that the feeling BrenĂ© Brown describes has a name. I certainly wouldn't have called it Shame. I probably wouldn't have called it anything because, as she so wisely points out, these are the sorts of feelings we don't talk about. But maybe we should. John and I watched this video last night, and I've been thinking about it all day. If you take the time to watch it, I'd love to know what you think.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dandelions Not Required


Go ahead. Make a wish.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Picture + Video Wednesday

(An after-sunset ocean view in Mazatlan)

Picture: It was our last night in Mazatlan, and the sun had already set. John always takes end-of-day wedding photos, and this is kind of like my end-of-vacation photo. The low light created the grainy feel, and the photo instantly became one of my favorites when John said it looked like a painting.

Video: I feel incredibly lucky to know so many amazing families. The video below (which I found today) is especially for all the awesome, rad, dedicated dads out there. You rock!

Dad Life from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Skipping It

(bulletin board above my desk)

I’m working on crossing things off my calendar. Canceling as many responsibilities as possible. But as soon as I remove one thing, something new pops up. Then I remember life will give me an endless amount of distractions. The trick is learning to focus.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

(A peaceful tree to combat catch-up feelings)

You know what probably doesn’t work? The mental game of Catch-Up. As in, “Oh, she’s older than me. Thank God! That gives me 5 years to write three books and have two kids.”

Yup. I’m pretty sure that game doesn’t work. In fact, that game might be the singular cause of adult acne and digestive disorders. Just an observation.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sisters

(Melinda & Melina)

I barely have any memories from age 7 to 14 that don't include Melinda and Melina. They are the same ages as me and my sister, and we grew up across the street from each other. The word inseparable comes to mind. While it's been many years since our lives were so tightly intertwined, it's a gift to see the face of someone who can remember who you were even before you really knew yourself.  

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

When No One is Watching ...

(Gnomes in my sister's garden)

"It is better to play than do nothing." ~Confucius

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Dream Chasing

(Mondo Beyondo love note on my bookshelf)

Not all or nothing. Tiny steps. In the right direction.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

While I Was Sleeping

(One of my favorite bricks at Holy Spirit Church)

Last night, I dreamt about my to-do list. I dreamt I was getting things done. Yes, waking up was disappointing. But the purpose of life is not to look busy.  

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grow Beauty

(Plants in my sister's garden)

What are we becoming if not more ourselves?

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

(Window display at Francesca's Collections in Los Gatos)

I need to figure out how I can take a two-week vacation for every one week of work. My mind was much more inspired seven days ago before I got back into the swing of my actual life. Although, I can't imagine I would find being homeless very inspiring, and I'm pretty sure that is what I would be if I only worked a third of the year.

PS: John pointed out that this photo does not go with this post. I disagree. I found this window display inspiring, hence the words and picture are related. Not that they have to be, and not that I am making that a requirement for future word + picture combinations. xo!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Help We All Need

(St. Nicholas Church in Los Altos)

"Extend your mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping."   ~St. Vincent De Paul

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cause for Celebration

(Pretty flowers because I don't have a picture of fireworks.)

I have no idea how many babies were born today. But one of those tiny miracles belongs to my dear friend. Which means there's a whole new reason to celebrate the Fourth of July.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

This Is A Happy Day

(A flower arrangement at Chris & Mandy's wedding)

I like to hear what priests have to say at weddings. Being a bride is so much different than being a wife, and I benefit from the wisdom more now.

Today, a charming priest named Fr. Larry shared that every day of his childhood his mother said the same thing: "This is a happy day."

Can you imagine what our lives would like if we embraced each day with those five words? I would like to find out.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Another Half-Year Thing

(My "running" shoes, which have never actually been used for running.)

As much as I love absurd, preposterous, laughable optimism and extreme, counter-cultural trust, I don't want just a change of perspective.

I want actual change. In other words, I have a lot of ground to cover between now and December 31.

As Erin says, here's to Getting It Done.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Make It Sweet

(Cupcakes at Icing on the Cake, one of the sweetest spots in Los Gatos)

It's tradition around here to celebrate the half year. As in Happy Half New Year! I made two resolutions for 2010: Practice Ridiculous Optimism and Radical Trust. I dedicated the entire month of February to becoming hopeful to the point of deserving ridicule and so extremely confident in God that my life is absent fear. It's time to start again, and lucky for me, I've already written my own cheat sheet.

1. Mind your thinking.
2. Change your mood with music or movies or books.
3. Clear a path, and give or throw away anything in your way.
4. Be generous.
5. Be grateful.
6. Be silent.
7. Be brave.
8. Take action, big and small.
9. Start again when you fail and fall.
10. Do everything with enthusiasm.

Whatever you are dreaming of for the rest of 2010, don't forget to make it sweet.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

(My beautiful sister, Nicole, 5 1/2 months pregnant & her "baby" Brewer)

This was today's Dream Lab challenge. I'm making a list of who to ding-dong ditch. Dare you to join me.



Also, my parents are back from Vegas. My dad did not get his first choice in entertainment. Instead, he and my mom saw Donny & Marie. My mom loved it.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Feel What You Feel

(Mexican Feather Grass growing in Los Gatos)

“What reason on earth would you have to be sad?” the Voice of Judgment asks the Vulnerable Heart.

Poor, Heart. This line of questioning makes her feel selfish and small.

But no one ever asks her to justify her happiness (and she is happy most of the time).

So she decides it is OK to feel what she feels and to let some questions go unanswered.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Dangers of Vacation


(Sculpted stone wall at the Basilica de la Immaculada Concepcion Central Cathedral in Mazatlan)

You finally go on vacation. You get some sleep and a break. You start to see your life a bit clearer. Which is good and scary.

You realize all your busyness all the time is a blessing and a buffer. You love your life packed full and spilling over with work and friends and things to do. But it keeps you from sitting still and from moving forward.

Between the beach and the sun and the sleeping in, certain things float to the top. Certain desires that are probably screaming all the time to be heard can finally be heard because everything else is quiet. Really quiet. And it makes you uncomfortable and grateful.

When it’s time to come home, you’re ready. Your life is waiting. Not the one you left behind, but the one that has been quietly begging for your attention.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Supper

It doesn't matter how simple a dish is. If I cook, the kitchen ends up destroyed. But yummy is worth messy.

Pasta Salad made with Salad:
  • Barilla Plus angel hair pasta, cooked
  • Cibo Naturals artichoke lemon bruschetta
  • Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Red bell pepper, chopped
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Salt, pepper and red Chile pepper
*All ingredients to taste. Mix and serve.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sweet Home


As it turns out, I love adventure, but my favorite part is coming home. More about Mazatlan soon. xo, Christina 

PS: Self-portrait taken for Kylie at the San Jose Airport with my favorite new iPhone application, Hipstamtic. I used the John S. lens and Ina's 1969 film.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Destination: Mazatlan

The Napa and camping trips were just practice (and a lot of fun). But now we're putting our travel skills to the test and heading south of the border to Mazatlan, Mexico. Our trip is a combination of work followed by play, play, play.

Wish us luck and safety and pretty photos. 

Be back before the end of June.

Love, Christina

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Monday, June 14, 2010

91

My grandpa is 91 today. It is his first birthday in 64 years without his wife. I can't even imagine what that must feel like. Please send him a happy thought filled with birthday love and cheer.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy Camper

I have to tell you, a lot was at stake with this trip. An unfortunate Fourth of July incident in 2004 wrongly convinced John that Nature and I don't get along. It only took me six years (SIX YEARS) to change his mind. Not that I'm going to be backpacking miles away from a toilet anytime soon, but car camping with no cell service is definitely something I can do and now John knows it, too.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Into the Woods

We are headed out for our wilderness adventure straight after work tomorrow. Lucky for us, the cutest 3-1/2-year-old camper has volunteered to help set up our borrowed tent.

Be back Sunday.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Short Prayers in Times of Stress

No need to go on and on. God knows my troubles, which is one reason why I favor simple, to-the-point prayers. This one seems to be coming up a lot lately, “Lord, I put it in your hands. You decide.”

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adventures

I must be on some kind of self-inflicted mission to prove there is always enough time to have fun. It is the only explanation I can think of for the two-night camping trip I planned right before we leave for Mazatlan. The thing is we don’t even own a tent (or any gear) and neither one of us has been camping for at least 12 years.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Travel Tips

If you’ve got them, I want them, especially if your advice pertains to packing light. For all my love of minimalism, I leave the house with two bags (a purse and a tote) every day. So you can imagine what I look like packing for an actual vacation. Part of my problem is a tendency to pack for the unexpected, a skill I developed as a nanny, cops reporter and photographer’s assistant. Before all that, I swear I was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. Oh, who am I kidding?

PS: If anyone has experience successfully using the Travelpro Maxlite 22” Expandable Rollaboard suitcase as a carry-on, please let me know. I find height and weight requirements utterly confusing. Thanks a million!

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Circles

Remember this tiny bit of wonderful? She was baptized today to the joy of her family and friends. A baptism the day after a funeral seemed like the perfect way to bring this week full circle.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goodbyes

At the cemetery, my grandpa said, “Goodbye, Marcella. Goodbye, Honey. Goodbye, Sweetie. Goodbye, Sweetheart.”
This was followed by a rush for tissues from handbags.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Sadness & Celebrations

Today was my grandmother’s vigil service. It was also my 33rd birthday. I typically prefer to keep all sadness out of my celebrations. That said, praying, crying and laughing with family and friends as you celebrate the life of someone you love isn’t the worst way to spend a birthday.

As a bonus, it was also National Donut Day. My grandma loved donuts, so we headed to her favorite spot after the rosary.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Business Trip

Remember how last week I said I was bracing for June? Well, part of this month's busyness was a business trip to Napa. In light of this week's events, I almost cancelled. I am glad I didn't. Napa is one of the most beautiful places in the world, a perfect hideout for adult runaways. I will be returning to life tomorrow.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today

Today, John and I worked on the Prayers of the Faithful for my grandmother's funeral Mass. Not making the cut was, "For all the Tic-Tac popping, Crunch-bar eating, bingo-playing former secretaries of this church, we pray to the Lord."

Today, I told more than one complete stranger that my grandmother died yesterday. Not because I want sympathy, but because I want people to know something is missing in my world and it is her.

Today, I shared with someone I barely know how my grandma taught me to pray to St. Anthony. Actually, this is important information everyone should know. If you lose something and need help, pray, "Dear St. Anthony, I hate to bother you. I know you are very busy looking for lost souls, and I pray that you find them. But if you have a spare moment, please help me find ___ (fill in the blank). Thank you. Amen." If that didn't work, she resorted to bribery.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grandma Marcella

I’m pretty sure I’ve never gotten good news before 6 a.m. So when my phone rang at 5:44 this morning, I wasn’t surprised to hear Grandma had gone to that Big Bingo Hall in the Sky.

This last week had been especially hard, but she was surrounded with love and her favorite things.

Today’s psalm reads, “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong.” She was 84. May she rest in peace and know everlasting joy.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer School

The summer before my freshman year of high school, I attended summer school. Not just any summer school, the most awesome summer school my 14-year-old self could have imagined. Four weeks. Ten classes. All performing arts.

Funny, I don't really think of myself as a performing arts kinda girl. (I can't sing or dance and public speaking gives me the hives.) But 14-year-olds are more daring than most adults. And that daring spirit allowed me to have an amazing experience. Plus, Sheila and I took every class together, which automatically increased the fun factor.

I think summer is a perfect time for nourishing our creativity and trying something new. To that end, two e-courses have caught my attention:

BWS tips button

And, the Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab.

Anyone up for joining me in summer school?

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Teetering

Being in my grandmother’s presence, watching her teeter on the edge of death, reminds me what an opportunity it is to be alive. Yet even if we are breathing and eating and walking and talking, we have to choose to really live. We have to choose to allow ourselves to experience this life. And we have to choose how authentic our experience will be. I feel myself wanting to make deeper, truer choices.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rollercoaster

This week: crazy, wild, happy, sad, scary, funny, up and down.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Be Confident

John pointed out that in today’s Gospel reading (Mark 11: 11-26), Jesus was so cranky hungry he cursed a fig tree and it withered. This image of Christ made me laugh, but my favorite part was this:

Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.”

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Moon & Stars

Driving home late tonight from visiting my grandma, I felt grateful for the moon and stars. Thank you, Lord, for lighting up the darkness.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dream Beautiful

My friend Nicole has a new tradition in her house. It is a delicious daily practice to dream beautiful. Read this and be inspired.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Downward

We’ve been enjoying a mild upswing in my grandmother’s health. And by upswing, I mean she hadn’t been getting dramatically worse. But today was worse. So we wait and see. And whisper “I love you” while she sleeps, just to make sure she knows. Even though we know she knows.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Bracing Myself

Last night I dreamt about scheduling conflicts.
Let’s just say June might possibly be the busiest month of my life.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fresh TV

Him: "My idea for a TV show -- 'In Plain Yogurt.'"
Me: "What would that be? A show about mix-ins."

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Passport Required

My brother was our tour guide today as my mom, John and I explored the wonders of three local markets: The Milk Pail Market, Lion Supermarket and Mitsuwa Marketplace. The first and the third were my favorites, but the second was definitely an experience. Grocery stores ~ the cheapest, quickest way to travel the world.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend

What am I going to do with you?
The possibilities are endless, although, they all involve laundry.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Go, Jessica!



This video is everywhere. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It was shot in December 2001, so I’m hoping for an update. Hey, Jessica, where are you now?

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not Last Night

Not last night but the night before, I tried to strangle John in my sleep. I have no memory of this. No memory of a violent dream. No idea why or how this would happen. John says he woke up and swatted my hand away from his throat, which I was gripping. I don’t remember. But I’m totally disturbed by this. Last night, I kept waking up to make sure I was keeping my hands to myself.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kitchen Challenge

Last night, I started a sentence and John finished it. It went like this:
Me: “So, one of the things I want to do with this cookbook is”
He: “actually make something from it.”

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Words that Comfort

In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” ~John 16:33

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Warning

Due to its addictive qualities, you may want to ban sweetened condensed milk from your home. Or, if you feel like living dangerously, you may want to try pouring it in your coffee, over berries, or mixed with plain yogurt. A friend told me today she makes cream of wheat with the stuff, and I can only imagine it tastes ridiculously good.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Exhausted

If you are so beyond your limits that the slightest provocation causes you to (a) burst into tears (b) snap off someone’s head or (c) do both, my best friend and I would say you have lost your ability to maintain. This highly unpleasant and often contagious condition is typically curable with sleep and isolation.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Unpredictable

I don’t know why my grandma loves game shows. I’ve been wondering if it is their unpredictability she enjoys. Today, with the help of a physical therapist, she sat up, dangled her feet over the side of her bed and did arm exercises. Of all the ways this week was going to end, not one of her doctors predicted that. She is still very sick, her future unclear. But I’m proud of the fighter that she is.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Maybe In Awhile

The doctors are surprised my grandmother is alive. And so are we, happily. Not that her prognosis has changed much. It still could be days, maybe weeks. No one knows, which is fine. We want to keep this matter in God’s hands and trust his perfect timing.

But I do wonder how much my grandma instinctively knows about this situation. No one has told her she is dying, but she must know that she is sicker than she has ever been before.

Today my aunt said, “Mom, you are really tired. Would you like to go to sleep and visit with your brother and sisters now?”

Grandma replied, “Maybe in awhile. Get a game show on.”

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In The Hospital ...

It’s really hard to say how things are going, but these things, I don’t want to forget:

I said, “Grandma, I’m sorry, there are no game shows on TV. I’ll have to put on a talk show.” She replied, “I’m bored.”

Later, when we were leaving, she overheard me ask my grandfather where his cane was. When she realized he had misplaced it, she insisted (repeatedly) that we show it to her before heading home. “Don’t leave without showing me the cane,” she said.

At one point, she was awake enough to have a real visit with my grandfather. I’m glad I wasn’t in the room because the thought of it breaks my heart. John said my grandpa would say, “Honey, remember when we bought the house? Remember how exciting that was?” She squeezed his hand, and he said, “Oh, I love it when you do that.” And she did it again.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hard Day

Even though she is mostly asleep, my grandmother asks for game shows on TV. She wakes briefly and immediately wants to know my grandfather's latest blood reading. She is hard to understand, but it is clear she wants three pillows under her head and her glasses to see. She is comfortable, not in any pain. But the doctor told us today it is only a matter of days. Please keep us in your prayers. 

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Monday, May 10, 2010

One of My Many Post-It Reminders

This life is not for resting. It is for working and playing and finding joy. It is for making the most of every dream and doing our best to birth them into reality.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Answered Prayers

A little girl at our church suffered a severe head injury the week after Easter. It was unclear if she would survive, and you could feel the heartbreak of the entire parish when our priests asked us to pray. Everyone prayed and prayed and prayed. Today that little girl, released from the hospital this week, attended Mass with her family on Mother's Day. The joy was indescribable.    

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Changing My Mind

My little Beauty Experiment hasn’t been a total failure, but it hasn’t been a huge success. So I’m changing my mind and revamping my project. Details to follow.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Kindness Matters

“Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.” ~Henry James

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Teeth & Truth

My friend’s son recently lost his first tooth. Instead of excitement, the experience terrified him.

He kept saying, “There’s no more truth in the world. Nothing is true anymore.”

His dad wasn’t sure what he meant. But his mom said, “Isn’t it obvious? If his teeth are falling out of his head, what can he count on? What is true anymore?”

I saw that little boy tonight. It's been a month or so since he lost his tooth, and he is no longer afraid.

"Do you see my missing tooth?" he asked with a wide smile.

Sometimes the scariest experiences can become, over time, a cause for joy.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost

I misplaced my inspiration. Let me know if you find it. 

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Unpredictable

Oh, Life, you are exhilarating and exhausting. Sometimes at the same time.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday

It's not your fault, but your mornings get here way too fast.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Like a Hoover

 Last week, one of the characters on a TV show we watch said his day “sucked like a Hoover.”

John referenced the joke later in casual conversation, saying “that would suck like a Hoover.”

Confused, I asked, “Why were they making fun of people from Indiana?”

“Hoo-ver,” John said in slow motion. “Like the vacuum cleaner. Not Hoover, Indiana.”

I was thinking of Hoosiers.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

May is for Mothers

May is one of the loveliest months of the year. It is the month for mothers, which means it is also the month for grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins and friends.

Every May, I am reminded of the beautiful, charming, funny, smart, talented women in my life. I think about my mom. But I also think about all the ways the women in my life mother each other.

The ways we go out of our way for each other. The ways we encourage and nurture each other.

For most of April, my beauty experiment felt stuck and stalled. I’m starting May by asking how can I be a better “mother” to myself.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday

I don’t want to make the other days jealous, but I’m crazy about you.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Naturopathic Remedies

The first thing my dad did to fight his wicked cough was send my brother in search of Fernet Branca. This 80-proof Italian liqueur is known for its medicinal qualities. My mom believes the liqueur’s extreme bitter taste makes you forget whatever it is you suffer. Though my dad would never say it didn’t work, after several nights of sipping on spiked tea, he bought a bottle of over-the-counter cough syrup.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Never Too Late

I find it so endearing that my grandfather, who will turn 91 in June, just bought the book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reminding Myself

When the choice is between giving up or digging deeper, maybe things aren’t falling apart but falling into place.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Father-Daughter Love

My dad looks puzzled when he sees me in front of a lighted, magnifying mirror with tweezers in my hand.
“This is how I make myself beautiful,” I explain.
Ever clever, he quickly suggests, “A mask would also help.”

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dreams & Friends

These video readings by Kelly Corrigan made my heart swell. How lucky am I to have both dreams and friends.





If you are totally hooked (like me), find more Kelly Corrigan here.
(Thanks to Kelly Rae Roberts for sharing this not-to-be-missed good stuff.)

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Run 4 It

We didn’t really do any running. But last weekend my mom, sister and I became Mermaids at the all-women 5k event in Mountain View.

My favorite part was walking and talking with my sister (my mom totally ditched us), and my second favorite part was cheering on the athletes – the ones actually running.

In high school, my sister was a real cheerleader, and I like to think I’m one at heart.

As women ran by us, giving it their absolute all, we would shout and clap and yell, “Great job! Keep it up! Looking strong! Way to go!”

I wish we had pom-poms. It was so much fun.

As an added bonus, even though we went as slow as snails, we got a super-cute T-shirt, tote bag and a finisher’s necklace.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

In the Middle

Sometimes I wish life was all about enthusiastic beginnings and sweet, happy endings. The middle can be tiring.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

In the Kitchen

I finally made one of Nigella’s recipes on Sunday. It was her mother-in-law’s Madeira cake, the first recipe in her cookbook, “How to Be a Domestic Goddess.” I underbaked it. But that hasn’t stopped me from eating a slice for breakfast every day this week.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Hands

I have this vague memory of learning a little church song when I was 4 or 5 years old about God holding us in the palm of his hands. I must have been in preschool. Like most children’s songs, it included hand motions, and I can almost see my tiny hands cupped in front of me to show how God holds the world.

JJ Heller’s song, “Your Hands,” is like a beautiful grown-up version of that little nursery rhyme. I heard it for the first time this weekend. And since I don’t believe in coincidences, I wasn’t at all surprised when I happen to read this yesterday:

“No one can take them out of my hand. … And no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.” ~John 10: 28-29

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Need of a New Remedy

Me: “My eyes are swollen from allergies.”
Him: “You need to take something for that.”
Me: “I did take something. Herbs from Pharmica.”
Him: “Love, that hippie stuff isn’t going to help you. You need to man up and take some real drugs.”

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Monday

Here’s to crushing it, killing it, hitting it out of the ballpark. This is going to be a good week. I can feel it.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

On the Shore

“They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore.” ~John 21: 3-4

We all have days and nights of catching nothing. Not a fish. Not a break. But Jesus waits for us on the shore no matter the outcome of our adventures.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Regarding my Beauty Experiment, this week was a bust.

My magic questions – Am I hungry? Am I full? – did not do the trick, and I found myself often eating when I wasn’t hungry. The scale, which has been slowing creeping in my favor, started to move in the wrong direction.

Part of me wants to just give up. But because I have declared this an experiment, part of me really wants to ask more questions and figure this out.

In the several weeks before this week, I felt mostly calm about eating whatever I want when I was hungry and stopping when I was full.

Some kind of unfavorable internal shift took place because I did not feel calm this week. I felt anxious and worried. If you are an emotional eater (which I am), anxiety and worry are not your friends.

In fact, if you are an emotional eater, any feeling could send you straight to the fridge. But feelings are a part life, and if they are causing me to eat when I shouldn’t, what I need is a new coping mechanism.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Let Go

If you have trouble remembering control is an illusion, don’t worry. Life will remind you.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Birds

Him to Me: "I'm sorry you got crapped on today, my love. That sucks."

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Small Request

If you are saying prayers today, please say one for baby Christianna.
Thanks!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Case of the Cookbook

My brother kept insisting I had his copy of Nigella Lawson’s, “How to be a Domestic Goddess.”
I kept insisting I did not.
Finally, I thought I would be super clever and actually look for the book.
I found it hiding among all my other neglected cookbooks. It’s probably been there for three years.
Tragically, I’ve never even made a single one of Nigella’s recipes.
My brother says he’ll make me photocopies of anything I want to try, but I have to return the book.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Mind is a Mystery

Me to John: "Last night I think I dreamt we were fighting the devil. Tina Fey was there. She was on our side."

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy

We are flawed and broken and burdened.
You are not.
You are perfect and whole and generous.
Your love is limitless.
Your mercy knows no bounds.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Parties & Social Gatherings

In the last seven days, I’ve had six social events to attend.

If I was on a traditional diet, I would have not lasted through the week. I would have given in to the temptation of delicious home-cooked food enjoyed in the company of family and friends. I would have cheated on my diet and then I would have quit.

But before any of that, I would have amped myself up with anxiety about each of these events. What should I eat? What should I not eat? How much should I eat? Would there be enough vegetable sticks to keep me from devouring a whole cake? (You get the picture.)

Thankfully, I am not on a traditional diet. I am on an anti-diet. As a result, I get to skip all the drama and boring questions.

Instead, I ask myself only two questions: Am I hungry? Am I full?
When the answer to the first question is yes, I eat whatever I want until the answer to the second question is yes.

It really is so much fun. I hope you try it.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Live Easter

I wasn’t kidding about the importance of joy. It’s the sixth day of Easter. For heaven’s sake, get happy.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Like a Bridge

As Simon & Garfunkel sang on the TV tonight, my dad was surprisingly sentimental. My sister and I spent our teenage years listening to the folk music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It just never occurred to me that the records we were playing belonged to him.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hunger

How do you feed your soul if beauty is what you crave?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A New Season

Lent is 40 days long. Easter is 50 days long.
Joy outranks suffering.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Tied

I’m not sure which was better. My mom’s Easter feast, which she spent 48 hours preparing, or my dad trying to teach my 90-year-old grandfather self-defense using his cane.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrected

Jesus, you turn night into light, and our hearts sing Alleluia.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

About Exercise

I have a goal (completely separate from weight loss) to be moderately fit. I don't plan to be a triathlete, but I would like to climb the hill near my house without being sore for a week. In the past, I have approached this goal with strict and strenuous workout schedules requiring me to wake up before the sun. If my body doesn't ache than my head does for lack of sleep. My efforts last 7 to 10 days, and then I come down with a cold.

Since that has never, ever worked for me, my approach this time is different. My new approach is gentle, to say the least. I walk on the treadmill, and I don't judge myself for my snail's pace. I don't have goals for how many miles I must complete or how long I must workout. When I feel like working harder, I do. When I need to take it slower, I do.

I listen to mood-boosting music, and I sing along with Taylor Swift or I pump my arms and dance. (I can do this without public humiliation because I have a treadmill at home.) By the end of 20 or 30 minutes, I feel good, happy, optimistic. I feel like exercising is something I would want to do again because I have removed all of the punishment from it. And if I can keep exercise from being punishing, I might be able to reach my goal.

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