Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday

Happiness is fresh powder on the slopes, lying in a hot tub, and a good hefeweizen.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Need A Puppy

I have officially decided that I need a puppy. I will gladly accept a dog as well, but I would like to cash in on the immensely adorable cute fluffy stage that many baby animals go through; human babies are also cute as well, but they are not fluffy and, and therefore can't compete. I need a puppy, dog, or canine companion for two, well three reasons.

1. I am a dog person.

2. I need someone to listen lovingly to all the crazy, ridiculous, stupid, immature, thoughtful, asinine things in my head that I choose to verbalize. I could maybe decide to go to the grown up store and buy a verbal filter instead, but those are a bit over-priced I hear. Also, a puppy will lovingly cuddle with you after you have sounded like a complete and total idiot racing through an endorphin or sugar high, and let's be serious. No other being or creature is going to do that for me.

3. Who wouldn't want a puppy? It's a puppy, people. Think of the adorableness.

That is about all the content that actually can be comprised into this note. Anything more I type will be too nonsensical to comprehend, and if I come back to edit it, I'm going to face-palm and then want to mentally slap myself. Lastly, why does Chrome's built-in spell checker not recognize "endorphin"? It is a word, and I am spelling it correctly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rye, Rambles and Repetition

I have not decided if I should be overjoyed that something to write about came upon me so quickly after the holiday, or start to question my seamlessly never-ending "sweet tooth" for alcohol--namely, red wine, whiskey, and dark beers. I just finished proclaiming my love of whiskey on a previous post (ignore the dates, I actually typed out that one on Wednesday the 29th, but blogger tracks the dates by the original first type). This post is similar slightly to me new implementation of reviews and tastings, except that is not a review of merely a drink. Oh no my friends, this is about so much more. This is me raving about a beer float.

A beer float? What is a beer float, you may be asking. A beer float is exactly what you might think it is. The alcoholic version of a rootbeer float, take a good solid beer and add one, or several depending on your sweet tooth and care about calories, scoops of ice cream. In this instance, I was at the main lodge in Sunriver, and for desert on Monday had a beer float made with the Deschutes Brewery's Obsidian Stout mixed with butter pecan ice cream. In short,



I am not going to go into extensive detail about the stout, although I do recommend it and other Deschute's beers after having their porter as my first legal drink in Portland. East Coast friends, I hope we can find it somewhere, otherwise I'm sorry that you are missing out. In general, I highly suggest friends who enjoy darker, dense beers to go out, find a good stout and embellish it with ice cream. If you don't believe me, see the above image.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have I Been Missing Something?: How Far Removed Marketing Can Be

I tend to browse the internet a good deal, and a large portion of that stems from reading articles on various websites associated with Gawker (mainly Kotaku, Jezebel, and Gizmodo). Browsing around Jezebel in particular gives me some good laughs throughout the day, indulges my lust of designer fashions, and gives me something to talk about with my boss since she is a frequent reader as well. It also allows me to ask, "wtf?" at many commercials, since even though I have a tv with my roommate, and we do have cable this year, I generally get up and do something or make tea during commercials. If I didn't get my necessary dose of advertised consumption driving capitalism in, then I just wouldn't be a good little American, now would I?

One particular commercial struck me recently.

Jack Daniel's seems to be trying something new: actively marketing their product to the female half of the population. In the past, most marketing has been pushed towards promoting whiskey as the elixer of manhood, dudeness, and all things testosterone filled. Therefore, it is a bit refreshing, personally at least, to get some action for the ladies.

With that being said, cookies? I enjoy baking. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy whiskey. With that in mind, just because I'm female does not mean that my only use for whiskey is in the kitchen. I can not hate too much on the advertisement, because it does go on to show images of women enjoying whiskey based drinks in the rest of the commercial, however, spiking cookies is still the first image presented. Many a marketing person will tell you, first impressions make a ton of difference. With the image of women using Jack for baking cookies as the opener, I ask why can't there just be an ad campaign of women enjoying Jack for Jack's sake?

A while ago, I thought I was a little odd for enjoying whiskey as my go-to alcohol, awesome but still a bit odd. Vodka is normally second or third battling with gin, but I really enjoy whiskey. I'm not really sure where this love affair started, maybe from one too many sips of my Dad's nightcaps of whiskey in an old-fashioned glass over a few ice cubs, but this love will never die. Most girls don't drink whiskey. Apparently we "can't handle it". The girls who do like it, receive some odd intangible "hotness +5" medal for being "man-enough" to drink it. Over the years though, I have met a few female friends who share my tastes. We all seem to wear this medal together, and it still perplexes me. No one gets attention for loving vodka, gin, or rum, however there is a bit of attention attached to tequila (personal opinion here: not a tequila person so I guess certain kinds of crazy can't understand each other). Apparently these drinks aren't as "manly" as whiskey, which just seems silly. I am aware that the association has existed for a long time, but why exactly does a love of whiskey = respectable testosterone?

I love Jack Daniel's and Jim Bean, I enjoy Wild Turkey, Jameson and I go back and forth, and there is a special place reserved for Maker's Mark in my heart. Especially with Maker's, what's not to love about the smoothness, warm caramel tones and the rich taste? My preferred palate combined with an apparently larger than average tolerance for a girl, has given me somewhat of a reputation over the years. I have a good guy friend who has said that I can drink people under the table, and why I do enjoy this compliment, I still can't but wonder if this would be the same if I was known for liking rum.

Women have been enjoying and drinking whiskey for quite some time, so it is a bit disappointing that advertising is just now recognizing this. It is both an accomplishment, and a let down. My Mom drinks just about as much as my Dad, and very similar drinks as well. I have a female friend who I can always count on for getting shots of Jack at a bar. There's even the lovable character of Robin Scherbatsky from one of my favorite shows, "How I Met Your Mother" who enjoys whiskey and scotch just as much as Barney. While my personal sample size is not a good basis, statistically speaking, for a generalization, it is personally a bit of a "meh" feeling with sprinklings of disappointment towards the Jack Daniel's ad and facebook page. In addition, I just have to wonder how cookies were the best thing that the marketing team could come up with to spike. Cookies have nothing on my best friend's grandmother's desert of bourbon balls.

References because I feel like it:
Women Urged to get in the Kitchen and Have a Whiskey [Jezebel]
Women and Whiskey: Why Not? [Newsweek]
Spike the Cookies [Facebook]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

God Bless Us, Everyone

Originally, I partially promised that I would write ten paragraphs or some generally long ridiculous length about Christmas. What better day to tackle that feat than Christmas day right? Well, after consideration that feat seems a bit too much to handle after large amounts of chocolates, rib roast, cabernet sauvignon, and my buche de noel, so instead I decided upon a different task. Many years ago, at the conclusion of my senior year at Jesuit, I wrote a little facebook note titled "Wrap Up?". For those of you who are friends of mine online, if you are really curious, you can read the note here. The main crux of the note was a list of things, in a fairly positive light, that I had learned that academic year.

While I am only halfway through the 2010-2011 academic year, we are nearing the end of the calendar year for 2010. Even though it is not the actual end, today is Christmas, and I am choosing to go all Catholic on you all, and say that the birth of Jesus Christ marks a new beginning. With this new beginning, I first choose to reflect upon the old. 2010 has been a turbulent year, only comparable to my senior year at Jesuit for the bad, yet comparable to childhood bliss for the good. There have been ups and downs for me. Relationships have come and gone, perspectives changed, and some friends lost, but many more gained. Through this list, my actions and my smiles, I never want to stop emphasizing how much happiness, gratitude, and love I have towards my friends both old and new.

So here, goes, without much revision, with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart, my lessons gained in 2010 (in no particular order whatsoever because that's who I am):
-Water Polo means I can once again eat as many carbs as I like and still have a small waistline
-Stress kills all appetite
-Even when you are crying, you should listen to your friends and eat some curry
-Emotions scar
-Physical scars are signs of badass adventures, silly clumsiness, and life never to be forgotten
-Pain is necessary, however, it makes the joy so much more golden
-I still rely on spell checkers to spell "necessary" correctly for me
-Some memories can never be erased
-People love me
-I have some of the most caring amazing friends
-Coffee is still my main legal addiction
-Boys can be, and are, silly
-Dance in the sunshine, in the rain, and in the snow
-Sometimes just being there is all someone needs
-Friends with benefits has a time and place
-Honesty is the best policy
-Talk to your siblings
-Long distance friendships can still remain, and may be some of the strongest you will ever know
-Never stop doing what you love, your own creativity and gifts may surprise you
-I learned to stop mistyping "surprise"
-Whiskey is my best friend and worst enemy
-Little moments filled with laughs and whispers are the best kept secrets in your heart
-I am horrible at betting in poker
-Never care what others say, but always be proud of the actions and choices you make--if you cannot live with yourself, then it matters not if others can
-Do not kick trees or houses in tear-driven rage
-Some of the best support comes where you least expect it
-No one ever gives me white wine, except for white zinfandels
-Hug those you appreciate
-Vodka and tequila should not be mixed quickly together
-I still don't like I.P.A.s
-A good cup of tea can help wipe away the worst tears, scars and fears
-I have one of the best roommates anyone could ever ask for
-Anyone can get better at bowling with enough practice
-Wear your best just for yourself
-Brush your teeth before bed
-When you start being sad or getting sick, just start being AWESOME instead
-Smile
-Laugh
-Love
-Live

There are most likely many more lessons I have learned this year, however, these stand as the most important standouts in my life. I hope whoever you are, wherever you are reading these, have a smile brought to your face and maybe a chuckle from my accidental wisdom. I apologize to those I have hurt, both on purpose and accidentally, and to those who I have hurt through hurting myself. I thank those who I have met, who have a brought a smile to my face, and who I have been lucky, silly and witty enough to to bring a smile to their face. Life is a journey, life is cliche, but never forget those who bring love into your life.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, happy generic average day, and may God bless us, everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hello Old Friend

Just when all hope was lost, I turned to the title of my lovely little blog for a starting point: an old fashioned. Now some of you, who having drinking tendencies unlike an old man, may be wondering, what exactly is an old fashioned? I happened upon this delightful cocktail last Thursday, the first day I was back in Ptown, with my good friend Alex at the McMeniman's Ringler's Annex on Burnside. Being a porter and a few glasses of wine in for the night, I simply happened to pick this drink due to it having sugar in the description. Yes, that might not be the best selection criteria, but let's face it, I'm still four years old in many respects.


Having selected an amaretto old fashioned, and taking my first initial sips, I found I was very much pleased with the beverage. First off, while not my liquor of choice, amaretto is delicious for both its taste and the fact that it reminds me of my good friend and roommate, Sandy. Later though, I learned that a classic old fashioned is traditionally made with a bourbon, scotch or rye whiskey. What's not to like from those three choices?

An old fashioned is possibly the first drink to be called a cocktail. The earliest recipe for this drink, according to Wikipedia at least is:
The apparently earliest written recipe, from 1895, specifies the following: "Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger [1.5 ounces or 44 mL] whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass."[6]

My experience was actually quite similar to this, but with a bit more cherry flavor, which complimented the amaretto taste, and a hefty lump of sugar. Although, I do suspect there might have been a dash of curaƧao in the mix as well to highlight and bring out the orange flavor. Overall, this drink really appealed to my senses: part sugar driven, part hard alcohol enthusiast. I do need to return to the Annex to copy down the exact recipe. Thank goodness I'll be in Portland for over three more weeks.

The Unthinkable

The unthinkable has happened. I am actually starting to run out of ideas, or just general things to talk about regarding Christmas and the season. Probably for the best so I can stop annoying you all and scaring people off...or perhaps I will simply end up writing over ten paragraphs about it on Saturday after jumping in the unwrapped wrapping paper.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

Yes, I do know it is Thursday, and so it is incorrect for me to be posting a Wish List Wednesday entry, however I was attempting to keep up with commercial consumerism. While the consumerism was not able to make its way to the written word, it was acted out yesterday with my Mom and I Christmas shopping for six hours. Actions speak louder than words, and six hours is a long time. That's one fourth of the day, two full finals at RPI, between two and four full length feature films, three (non-engineering) classes at RPI, and in general a decent chunk of time.

In order to continue the Wish List Wednesday trend of branching off my Christmas list, in this fourth week of Advent, I was originally going to post goggles, and silicon swim caps. Maybe even a uniquely printed swim suit! In reality though, I know a very small portion of my readers actually care about the intricacies of aquatic apparel. With that in mind, I chose to give you this:



And just for those boys and girls who have been extra special good this year:


You should all know by now, that while I do love cats, I am always going to be a dog person at heart. Bonus points to figure out my favorite breed of puppy. <3

A Gift God Wrapped in Green



For all my East Coast friends, acquaintances and readers, please listen to the above song, "Christmas in the Northwest". While I am not the biggest fan of the song, it does embody a bit of Portland: corny, about five years behind the trends stuck in a time warp, full of love, and green. The green is everywhere with the bounty of trees and agriculture we have in the Northwest, broken up only by the gray that never seems to end covering the sun, possibilities of snow, and carrying a constant drizzle.

The slides and images accompanying that song are a fluke. In December 2008 we had a freak snow storm that covered the Northwest. It was beautiful, a winter wonderland to behold, bringing joy to children's faces and many rants about the inefficient city structure for dealing with inclement weather. Since Portland does not get snow often, or in any predictable manner, we are often close to a state of shutting down with snowfall. The obvious downsides include stranded travelers, a disgruntled populous, and countable economic losses from lack of business. The not-so-obvious benefits include a city wide snowball fight from the Arlene Schnitzer Hall to NW 25th Street.

Despite all the downfalls, I want some snowfall.

Going to college in the Northeast is possibly spoiling me, or rather, the four year old inside of me who scares people with so much winter joy and twinkle. My thoughts on snow have been voiced, and especially coming from Southern California to Portland, Oregon to upstate New York, I am dreaming of a white Christmas. It is truly a Christmas miracle for Portland to get snow this year, but at Christmas, you tell the truth, and all I want for Christmas is snow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Egad!

It's been a week since I have blogged, and that fact is a leech upon my brain. In addition, I have not sketched in a week. The artistic creative juices are pounding against the pressure cooker lid that is my busy holiday schedule. My metaphors are lacking the zing that can only be compared to apple cider without proper cinnamon. The only thing comparable in my mind, is when I do not work out for a few days and start to be annoyed at myself.

Be wary of an explosion of expression in the near future.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rule #32

It is almost 9:00 pm on Monday, December 13th. I am still at work. I am tired, don't know where my sleep schedule lies after a weekend consumed by an amazing party and a less than amazing ski trip. While it is not the best idea to host a party lasting until 3 am and then to wake up at 5:30 am for a ski trip, the sleep cycle damage is at least, if not more, made up for through emotional reward and merriment. Despite my good weekend though, it is Monday. I am tired, sore, and desperately need caffeine. I have a graduate final to complete, a shift at work to attend, a phone interview to sort through, job applications to fill out, cleaning, packing, and a pile of laundry rivaling Whistler in height all before Wednesday at noon when I leave for the airport to fly home. I am aware that compared to some of my comrades this finals season, I have it easy. I am still entitled to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Despite this load of labor, it is snowing outside. On my break at work, I wandered outside to the door by WRPI in the DCC and saw frosty flakes falling from the sky, and a little twinkle appeared in my eye as a smile crept across my face. Enjoy the little things.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Poppin Bottles in the Ice

Every once and a while this holiday season, I do plan on composing posts which are seperate and have nothing to do with Christmas spirit. This post is one of them. The only relatable thing is the lyric "like a blizzard", since snow is often associated with winter and Christmas as a winter holiday. That's all I've got. The conception of this post came about because of the fact that my brain is apparently very suceptible to getting the song "Like a G6" by the Far East Movement stuck in my head.

For those of you who haven't heard the aforementioned song, I present it to you below.



I have now discussed this song with several people, and have had a few outstanding discussions on the word "slizzard". Urban Dictionary offers several definitions including, but not limited too, a high state of intoxication, a slutty lizard, or becoming so intoxicated that one thinks they are a lizard. The placement of "slizzard" in the song goes,
Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard

While some might applaud individuality and creativity, all I can really think is, could you not find a word to rhyme with blizzard? Despite the stretching and distortions inflicted upon the English language, I do enjoy this song, but mainly because it's catchy, easy to dance to, and for some reason it is a popular dance number at Water Polo practices. I do dance to this song, and it is often stuck in my head, however, while I'm bobbing my head I'm also shaking it in literary confusion and disappointment.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

We are now in the second week of the Advent season and onto the second installment of my Christmas List themed Wish List Wednesday postings. Last week's items were a mix of nerdiness and domesticity. This week marks a departure from both of those areas, unless awesome technical nerd knowledge is employed in super-charging some of the items below. This week's featured item from my Christmas list keeps going off and on the list. Please feel free to let me know if I should make it a permanent fixture or not.

The item in questionable standing on my list is the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS gun. My eyes first laid upon this glorious wonder over Thanksgiving Break as Nick and I were wandering around NYC and landed in F.A.O. Schwartz. While the Nerf gun serves no practical purpose, besides demolishing my housemates, you simply cannot deny the awesomeness. This automatic baby boasts a firing rate of three darts per second.



Continuing with items that are not on my list, but have related associations, I selected two other toy listings which have little practical purpose, but just make any nerdy child smile. Next time I have $250 to drop for no reason, I'll look to this Star Wars Republic Dropship with AT-OT Walker Lego Set. Who doesn't love Legos?



Lastly, I have to admit I still have stuffed animals with me at college. The ones here are small in number and significant in my life. That being said, I am still a sucker for cute fluffiness, and I always enjoy visiting the penguins at the Oregon Zoo no matter how smelly the area is. Who can't resist a stuffed penguin?



In conclusion, I appreciate that a part of me will always be a spunky seven-year-old. Happy Holidays and to my college companions, I hope we all make it through finals and exams!

Comfy Pants

Growing up, I have acquired and stored a lot of peculiar memories that I do not quite appreciate or seem to understand until later points in life. My Dad normally dresses in regular business attire with the occasional break into business casual. When he arrives home from work, he says hello to everyone, goes and looks at the mail, makes idle chit chat with my Mother, and then normally goes upstairs to the bedroom. When my Dad returns shortly after, he is still wearing whatever tailored shirt he had on that morning, but his tie is off, his birkenstocks are on, and he is wearing some pair of sweatpants.

For many years I did not really understand why my Dad had to change his pants to come back down, read the Wall Street Journal, watch t.v. and eat dinner. Between strict dress codes, fashion trends, and my Mother's shopping influences I did not own a pair of sweatpants myself until a pair for Jesuit's swim in my junior year of high school. Even today, I have three pairs in my possession: a pair of RPI sweatpants purchased freshman year, a pair from swim team senior year of high school, and a loving pair of Victoria's Secret pants that I keep meaning to give back to Chelsea. I sadly lost that pair from junior year during my first year at RPI.

Tonight after a long day of errands, cleaning, studying, work and water polo practice it clicked. While I have been wearing sweatpants much more frequently in college, it is normally on the way to the gym or to bed. If you ever see me wear sweatpants to class or on campus, it's a pretty good indicator that some combination of my mental, academic or social well-being is in chaos. Jesuit's dress code is still ingrained in me a bit to this day. Despite my outer standards, I do enjoy sweatpants in my own home. I have changed into sweatpants before in the evening, but it finally clicked tonight as I changed into my senior year pair. Comfy pants are a hidden comfort in life.


I have known others who practice the comfy pant phenomenon. A good companion always changed into a pair of comfy Adidas soccer shorts. My Dad has a gray pair and a dark blue pair that he also sometimes wears when coaching soccer practices. My ultimate comfy pair is the one I am currently wearing. The sweats from senior year swim team, I somehow mistakenly ordered a size medium, which wouldn't be such an issue, if it wasn't for the fact that my waist is fairly small, and that it's a men's medium. Despite the fitting flaws, they are the comfiest things alive. Thick, gray, and possessing pockets, pairing these sweatpants with the same shirt I wore during the day with jeans makes my legs a bit happier. Also my stomach for that matter. I just got out of water polo and my abs could use a rest.

While I know that not many people comment on my posts, I do know that people read them. So what say you folks? Do you have a pair of comfy pants? If so, what are they?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Today in Troy, the students and residents were sprinkled with light snow. While snow, is a fairly regular occerance in Troy, and most of upstate New York for that matter, snow always marks the coming of winter and cold. It is officially cold in Troy. For some though, it is colder than others. I remember back to freshman year at RPI. I was young, naive, and full of doe-eyed wonder and romantics about snow and the cold that accompanies it. Regular snowfall was like chestnuts for me: mythical, something only possible in storybooks. While I am now older, I am still filled with childlike jubilee at the sight of snow, however, something has changed. I am wiser.

Unfortunately, I have to honestly admit that I was one of those kids from the West Coast who froze their silly little heads off freshman year. It took a while, almost all winter, to realize how to layer in order to survive. I purchased my first pair of snow boots on my own and was introduced to "double panting" or the donning of a layer of long underwear under one's jeans. A friend from Texas, Los Angeles and myself learned the hard way that snow is not necessarily that cold, but the winds and Northeast temperatures that accompany it are.

Sophomore year I graduated to the level of winter dress knowledge where I could layer and not over-layer to the point of sweat induced exhaustion. Junior year, I purchased a new wool peacoat and gained tall, tan leather boots as a gift from my Mother. As a senior now, I am proud to say that I can dress for the cold, be stylish to boot, and not even be over-layered. While this might seem like a silly trifle for some, I'm pretty proud to be cutely prancing in the snow and smiling into the bitter winter wind.

Just remember, you can't go wrong with wool and gloves and hats are your best friends.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Beginning to Sound A Lot Like Christmas

Hark! Hear the sounds of Christmas cheer, sung aloud for all to hear! It is December fourth, the day before the second Sunday of Advent. Tis the season to be jolly! Flurries of snow danced upon the wind yesterday afternoon as I walked back from Nonlinear Programming, and while listening to Pink Martini's version of "Santa Baby" I started to sing along. I have previously mentioned that I do sing to my self out loud when walking places, but carols seem to be especially prone to escaping from my lips.

There is something about Christmas carols that seems to differentiate them from other well known songs and tunes. Whenever one person starts to hum or sing a Christmas carol, you can bet that others nearby or in the room will soon join in. That happened in my apartment on Thursday night and ended in three part harmony. There's a warmth in your heart with Christmas carols. A good friend of mine who is Jewish even knows certain tunes and gets a smile from them. It's not neccessarily the words, or the tunes, but rather a good deal of feeling and attitude that people emulate while caroling that really hooks people.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart


Flash a smile, say a prayer, limber up your vocal chords and make the most of the season. It's one of the few times of the year when everyone else is forced to tolerate my horrible singing, so I might as well make the most of it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Season's Greetings!

Yesterday twas the first of December today. While I consider it acceptable to start celebration and preparation for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, with the coming chaos of "Black Friday", I know many feel that it's not quite the season until December starts. This season, as previously mentioned in my post about Thanksgiving, brings me so much joy. It is a shot of seratonin to my brain, a warm embrace to my soul, a comforting blanket of love wrapped around my heart. As my roommate and housemates know, I decorated on Sunday, and my levels of holiday cheer and happiness almost approached scary levels, however, it did give fruition to such joy in my apartment.



I have a decorated Christmas tree, which while unfortunately fake, stands around six and a half feet tall full of merriment.



In addition, a good deal of my apartment looks like this and is covered in lights. Despite all of my insanity and unbridled and uninhibited joy, irregardless of all the negative in my past and personal issues, there are a few simple reasons why I enjoy Christmas so much. One of the principle reasons for celebration is a closeness that the holiday season brings. Goodwill towards your neighbor becomes commonplace. Smiles are painted on more people's faces, and everyone seems a bit more willing to chat in line at the department store to a stranger. Mankind, despite its endless failings, shows true beauty in treatment of others at this time of year.

This semester has been either too slow or too fast for me between social events, new friendships and bonds, classes, my employment on campus and research work. In the past, two of my best girlfriends Erin and Sarah, and I have enjoyed a much greater frequency of each other's company through Wednesday Girls' Lunch and the occasional movie and wine night. I see Erin much more than Sarah due to our Monday trips to the Pub, but it really is not the same without Sarah. Last night I decided to skip the gym and text Erin to see what she was up to. Sarah, Erin and I ended up at my place, glasses of wine in hand, nestled under the Christmas lights enjoying each other's company and watching It's A Wonderful Life. Was it just a simple coincidence that all three of us were free for once this semester? Probably, but I'm still going to say a little bit of it was Christmas magic bringing people together.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

For the next few weeks, I have decided upon a theme for the Wish List Wednesday posts I publish. Although I am 21 years old and a senior in college, my mother still requests that I make and send her a Christmas List each year. I do understand, after so many years, it becomes hard to guess what someone might like, especially if they are away from home for ten months out of the year. Thus, for the Wish List Wednesday posts, I will list one item on my Christmas list and then two things that could accompany it. As I age, my lists seem to get smaller, so I will not be skipping out on many items by only doing this format for four weeks. I also really like that I will have four posts to correllate with the four Sundays of Advent.

The first item is actually on my Christmas list. I first saw them in a magazine and couldn't believe that such a thing actually existed. These Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma are awesome.


There really shouldn't be much more to say than these are awesome, and that it is obvious why I desire them.

Secondly, this item continues more along the lines of my enjoyment and love of Star Wars than my passion for baking. Williams Sonoma really appears to be doing something right this holiday season in all kinds of awesome with this apron.



Lastly, the third related item is based upon my overall passion for cooking and baking. I cannot wait to get a job, move into my first "adult" apartment, and receive my grandmother's mixer with all the crazy pasta attachments. If I do not get it, or my mom does not want to wade through the storage bin, then I would really love a KitchenAid mixer.



The candy apple red color just adds to my materialistic lusting.

With the completion of my first Christmas list themed Wish List Wednesday, wow that sounds like a materialistic mouthfull, have a good day all and may cheery warmth fill your hearts!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spandex, A Warm Hat and the Proper Playlist

I have never been much of a runner. Even at my best, I would like to call myself a runner, but I am nowhere near the die-hards. Nonetheless, I do run. I joined my high school's track team my freshman year, but as a thrower for the javelin; it was not until sophomore year, when I switched to the sprinter's group did I really start running. The itinerary consisted of numerous drills, sprints, exercises, and runs up hills at Washington Park. Sticking with sprinting the remaining three years of high school helped launch me into the first emergence when I truly was a runner for a brief summer. I still do not quite call myself a runner, since now as in all my life, I diversify. In high school, I was a three sport athlete. In addition, swimming and anything water related has always been, and always will, be my first love.

Junior year in high school I began running even when it wasn't track season. Initially it was as a break from swimming and the desire to be active for pre-season of track. The season came and passed in the spring, yet I kept going. That summer, I ran five to six days a week generally in the mornings. To this day, I'm not sure how I managed to have that much motivation to wake up early and run during the summer, normally before 7 am. I guess it was better than roasting. I ran between three and six miles every day. While there can normally be an bit of an initial struggle with new exercise routines, I do not remember any such hurdle. All I remember is a sense of being free. There is tranquility for me in swimming, but there is freedom in running.

May it be the morning wind rushing to greet you, the view from looking back after a hard hill, or just the air tingling against your skin, there is a freedom in running. I generally run during the Thanksgiving break because I am away from a pool, however, it's normally a little jaunt around my uncle's neighborhood. This morning, I joined my aunt and several of her friends at a large park at the base of a hill, called "Mountain Park". It was blustery, it was around 31 degrees and I couldn't be happier. Staying with them for the first lap around a local football field, I broke off after to run the large figure eight and off trail runs. There was me, the sky, the ground below me, and that biting bitter wind.

I oscillate between swimming shape and running shape. The two never seem to want to coincide, but remain like oil and vinegar, so while I am sure this is no great feat for some of my runner friends, I was pretty damn proud to run four miles and then rejoin to walk with my aunt's company for the total of an hour.I have not run four miles straight in a while. I have done it before, but it is primarily an challenge of willpower, not of physical stamina. Breaking free of personal limitations, running is empowering. Running is beating yourself, beating a friend, and telling the wind to blow off because you've got your gloves and warm hat on. With the proper playlist and spandex protection, you are invincible. Swimming is tranquility; running is freedom.

EDIT: I normally don't do this, adding topics, notes or editing my blog posts in general, but well the coffee I had at 7 am has definitely worn off. I would like to run more at school, I really would, but my body no longer can stand waking up before 8. This leaves me running after work, around 10 pm, but while I can battle the cold, I cannot battle the neighborhood lack of safety in Troy, thus leaving me to settle for a treadmill at the gym. Last time I ran outside after 9 pm in the winter was when I needed a release or social holocaust would ensue. The time before that, well a good friend tries to prohibit me from running late unless I somehow acquire a Batman quality utility belt full of mace, a light, probably a small knife, and general anti-abducting anti-rape supplies.

Anyone want to help me make a utility belt?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Notable Mention

There are few things in life which can bring about the same kind of satisfaction as a good hamburger.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!....Not Quite

Apparently today is Wednesday. Normally the progression of Wednesday into Thursday makes sense, however, since tomorrow's Thursday is Thanksgiving, my mind has been a bit more preoccupied in the business of not thinking. How can one be preoccupied by not thinking? This phenomenon is not the same as "spacing out", but rather a symptom induced by public transportation during the holidays. When I travel for the holidays, normally flying between the coasts, I get in a zone of "get there, get on, get done". I am an experienced traveler, having been flying regularly since I was three. I'm a veteran, a pro, a jaded old man in a sea of inexperienced travelers, which is perhaps why I tend to become irritated quickly with ignorance and rudeness traveling. Adding the peppermint topping to my holiday cake of annoyance is the fact that it's the holiday season; have some courtesy and goodwill towards your fellow man already people.

The modified Wish List Wednesday is thus: a few simple tricks and tips to making yourself courteous during travel in the holidays.

1. Your personal bubble applies to all senses. While no one is a fan of others approaching uncomfortable closeness (hogging the arm rest at the movies, breathing down your neck in line, crowded parties), it bears mentioning that your personal bubble, or personal space, applies to more than just physical touching. If you insist on listening to the newest Rhianna tune, or cannot live without hearing the metallic clash of a sword playing on your Nintendo DS, that's fine. Just remember that not everyone shares your taste or interests, and kindly plug in some headphones.


2. You are not the king of the castle. When waiting for your mode of transportation, be it bus, train or airplane, you will most likely be carrying some form of baggage. Let's face it, checked baggage fees are worthy of blood pressure spikes, however, that does not give you the right to sprawl your belongings everywhere. If you are carrying extra bags, do not rest them on both seats to the sides of you in a waiting area. Chances are, there is someone out there who is also tired, weary and could use a chance to sit down. They are most likely to be too tired to bother asking you to move your belongings as well, so please, keep your belongings close to you and not in the space of others.

3. Be prepared. This last tip of note mainly applies to the airline experience, since that is my most common method of getting to a destination during the holidays. Unless you have been living under a rock in America for the past ten years, you should be well informed by now of the toiletries under 3.4 ounces in a plastic bag and shoe-less rules of going through airport security. With that knowledge in mind, be aware, be prepared and act accordingly. Do not decide to follow the rules at the last minute and unpack the entire contents of your carry-on at the table at security. Airports are stressful enough as it is, so get in, get out, and try not to aggravate your fellow weary traveler.

Having arrived at my destination of scenic New Jersey by train for the Thanksgiving holiday break and having a good laugh at all the travelers in Penn Station, I wish you all safe travels this holiday season and a happy Thanksgiving.
<3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to Live Up to its Name

For my few readers out there, you might be aware of the title, or name of my blog, "Daisies, Ink and Whiskey". Originally chosen to represent all my random and thought out musings, the three items were chosen as the flagship because they are the items that get me through the good and the bad of life: the stouts and the I.P.A.'s, the bourbon and the tequila, you get the idea. I meant to start an undertaking a while ago when I published in the summer asking for a call of something new to drink. While many a liquid has tempted my palate and landed on my tongue, and sometimes in the sink, I do not claim to be an expert in alcohol. I would like to think I know wine better than some friends, but I do not feel that I can make the same claim for beer or hard liquor. Thus, I am going to attempt to document certain spirits that leave me with a feeling of something more than your average Sam Adams. Be it beer, wine or whiskey, if I try something and really like it, you'll probably hear about it here.

Not to backtrack, but the first two liquids actually came from my 21st birthday. Starting at the bottom and building up, we have something new from a brewery I've known. Widmer Brother's Brewing Company concocts one of my favorite hefeweizens, and with this fondness I decided to take a leap of faith and try something new: the limited release Barrel-Aged Brrrbon.

This craft beer was my birthday present from my roommate Sandra. It was not wrapped, did not come with a bow, but rather came from us wandering around Hoosick Beverage as she bought the beer for my birthday party since I was not 21 yet, but being a good friend, I waited till my birthday party to drink it. It was the first drink of many I had the night of my birthday party, and I am glad that I remember it fully.

The simplest way to describe the Barrel-Aged Brrrbon is that it truly tastes like a combination of beer, specifically Widmer Brother's seasonal Brrr beer and a whiskey. The Barrel-Aged Brrrbon is their traditional Brrr aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, which helps explain it being at 9.4% APV. The lingering taste on my lips from this craft was the smooth caramel tones. Due to a vanilla note, the caramel was light and not overpowering. Not having a kick, the beer did leave the taster with a little bit of a step back at first though. The Barrel-Aged Brrrbon truly was my kind of beer. Then again though, I'm a whiskey kind of girl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh There's No Place like Home for the Holidays

There are four days until Thanksgiving. While I love Thanksgiving, good food, warmth and family, it's completely separate from Christmas. I'm not diminishing the importance and joy of Thanksgiving, but it's got nothing on Christmas. There are four days till Thanksgiving and 24 days until I fly home to Portland. I love my friends at RPI, and I normally feel a little sad about departing for breaks, but hell, I need a trip home.

Christmas is a time of joy, giving, love and family. While Thanksgiving is also a gathering of loved ones, the holiday has been a bit undervalued for me since I do not go home. I love my family and enjoy the holiday with my aunt and uncle, but one of the reasons I go to Jersey for Thanksgiving is because I do not enjoy holiday traffic and spending around $500 for three days. With this absence of my immediate family, there may have been added weight and importance to my voyage home for winter break, even though there is possibly already an overinflated attachment to it.

I love my friends here at school, but I believe that I love going home so much for the holidays for a similar reason that I love the East Coast. There is an oldness associated with both things. The East Coast exudes a past, an aging, a history. In Portland there is my immediate family and friends that I have known for many years. While not the closest of companions for the entire time, I have known my best friend Patrick for seven years now, and my oldest dearest friend Angelina for 15 years. There is a different set of jokes, values, and sense of things with friends of old. There is a comfort of familiarity that I cannot fully explain. It is a warmth in my heart much like the snuggling against a favorite blanket, or leaning on your father's shoulder watching television together.

My Dad and I have not always had the best relationship due to a complicated intertwining of being too similar and too different at the same time. I am much more outgoing, he is much more business, and we are both too proud and stubborn for our own goods. Despite our disputes, there are certain things in my life that I hold dear because they always can transport me back to being a little girl loving my dad with unwavering adoration as he assembles my doll house for Christmas. My Dad loves Christmas. If he doesn't and I've just been wandering around with a veil over my eyes for the last 21 years, then he's doing a pretty good job of fooling me and I still love him for that.

That is family. Family is the little traditions like going Christmas shopping for Mom downtown. Family is putting up with stubborn stupidity. Family is there whether you like it or not, to be yelling in your face when you need it, to make the world a better place, and to listen even when you are crying your eyes out but they still think it isn't worth it. Family is the warmth you feel sharing the throw on the couch as you watch It's A Wonderful Life together every year. Family is love. In a nutshell, that is the core of why I become such a Christmas freak. I enjoy ever single precious moment of joy in life, and there is nothing greater that the love felt during the holidays. Spread a little love, share a little warmth, and join in if you hear me singing carols to myself as I walk around campus.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Am

Friday was such a good day for so many--still--unexplained reasons. Everything just clicked and it led to this. I actually wrote a similar passage in print in a journal of mine as well as two initial sketchings resulted. It was that great. Mainly though, the token of the greatness and glory led to a seemingly obvious revelation.

I am awesome.

I set out initially to write this post on Friday, full of gusto, filled with the ripe enthusiasm dripping with pride and satisfaction, however, upon reflection, composing it after the fact on what is now Tuesday gives me a greater understanding of it. On Friday I was on a high. The day was great, my friends were and always are awesome and everything clicked. The flip-side to the greatness is that I was enjoying it too much and hence didn't compose an entry that could have possibly been too overzealous. Reflection is a powerful tool in life. While somethings may diminish with time, reflection strengthens and transforms experiences into something even more beautiful than they could have been alone.

This past year for me has been full of ups and downs. Spring had many more downs than ups, summer allowed me some time to myself, and fall has been generally ups. I had one of the best birthday weekends I ever had for my 21st birthday full of fun, friends and sweet sentiment. I am generally an optimistic, open, happy person which suits me but can have some pitfalls that leave me open. I am open because I am me. I am uninhibited, free, open and myself.

Being me includes great joy, but much like this year, some downsides. I have always harbored insecurities in some part of my life. Many of my insecurities I view as faults, flaws that knock me down, or reasons why someone wouldn't want to be around me. A lot of negatives can and did get reflected back at myself without considering that it could be the other person or even circumstantial, and no one's fault. I have hurt greatly in the past, I have hurt others, and for the first time, experienced the pain of seeing your heart shattered right before your eyes. Everything in these situations was my fault. Not to be a drama queen, but everything was about me. This focus is neccessary sometimes, but I realized recently that I never applied my mantra of moderation and balance in life to my own emotions.

In the words of my good friend and roommate, "You're Katie f***ing Lawler".

Yes, yes I am. I'm Katie Lawler and I am awesome.

Self confidence is a trait I've been told I emulate in the past, but I think in the past I did a good job of wearing the mask of confidence. It is nice to know that self confidence is glowing within me even when the mask is off.

I like myself and I am hella awesome.

What is the Magic Recipe?

A lot of people look forward to Friday for many reasons. It marks the beginning of the weekend which is a much sought after time of relief, excitement, relaxation, joy and celebration. Friday marks the end of the work week for most individuals, putting a close on the dreary dull monotomy of the daily grind. The day is like an open point on our continuous cycle of life to me, the limit approaches it from both sides but never seems to be fully reached, hence being represented as an open point. Friday in the morning can be dull, in the end amazing, but what about the midday? For some reason, for me Friday is a good day. Not purely because it is Friday, but today is simply a good day.

Today is a good day, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because I have not had a Nonlinear Programming homework assignment in a bit, but it's a good day. Generally my Tuesdays and Fridays are fairly relaxed academically only having one class from 2-4 pm. This schedule allows for a good deal of freedom in enjoying Thursday evenings after water polo practice and a way to ease into Fridays. Generally I still wake up early and am productive, but today I woke up around 11. Maybe it was my bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds cereal. That stuff is delicious and almost deserves a post of its own.

Perhaps I'm having a good day because I slept in. Even though I fell asleep between 2:30 and 3 am after a fun trip to the Ruck with friends, I not even hit the snooze button, but instead to change my wake up time all together. Eight hours of sleep really does do a body good. From the lips of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music:
Strength doesn't lie in numbers, Strength doesn't lie in wealth, Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber

Restful nights of sleep do wonders for one's disposition, health and soul, that and I enjoy lounging around in my pajamas for extended periods of time.

Maybe I've had such a good day due to being able to mentally check out in my graduate course, Nonlinear Programming. We are currently focusing on algorithms, and the professor almost gave permission to not pay attention for those who had already taken Computational Optimization, which I took in the spring of my sophomore year. Maybe the stars just aligned. Maybe red wine, a hefeweizen, and two Jack and Coke's combined perfectly for once?

Perhaps I had a good day due to my workout. Since I've joined Water Polo this semester, more of my workouts are either practices or getting back into swimming. While this is all fine and dandy, I have not run as often as I would like, however, there's only so much time in the day, and only so many times I can resist chocolate and comfy pj's. It could be a possibility then that the adrenalin and endorphins from my workout could have triggered a shot into the goodness of the day.

Maybe I'm having a good day for none of the above reasons at all. Perhaps the serotonin levels in my brain just achieved the ideal optimal amount. I have been happy and content all day for seeming no reason at all. Things are just good. These days are not necessarily rare, but every time they do happen I can't resist smiling to myself, walking with a bit more skip in my step, and yes I do sing to myself in public. I apologize a bit to those chance to hear it, because while I do have rhythm and enthusiasm, I am aware I don't have the best tone.

Today was and is a good day. No matter what the reason, good days just always seem to be sprinkled with a sort of magic. While young, childlike and naive, hoping for a bit of magic makes me smile just that much more. Who couldn't use more magic in their lives?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

It is that time of the week again for another Wish List Wednesday. I recently realized that there are four and a half weeks of classes left in my Fall semester at R.P.I and my current feeling about it can best represented as thus:


This emotional sentiment comes from the compounding of the overall funk that I've been under recently combined with the fact that today was just one of those days where I woke up and really just wanted to hit the snooze button for the seventh time and not actually get up.

Under the latter pretense, the focus of this week's Wish List Wednesday is for pajamas. Along with being cuddly comfort that covers your body, pajamas may grace my wish list for Christmas. Below are three items which make me really want to just lounge around my apartment with a mug of hot chocolate with Bailey's and over-sized marshmallows. First off, despite being sometimes overpriced and having silly poses, I do enjoy Victoria's Secret merchandise, so it should be no surprise that this first set is on the list.



Secondly, while this isn't actually the classic pajama set, it's still part of the cozy ideal. Also, I have a thing for rubber duckies and it's cozy so who can argue the cuteness?



Lastly, it's cute and bright and I love plaid. That and I am getting a bit tired composing this post.




All aboard the Bedtime Express! Sleep sleep!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Murphy's Law

Not to draw too much importance or overly inflated sense of self-worth to myself, but I did enjoy the sequence of my postings with relation to certain events in my life. Namely, I lost my ski cap. I tried to go to the mall on Sunday to buy a new beanie. Plans to go to the mall fell through. On Monday it rained, sleeted, hailed and big moist fluffy snowflakes fell all through Troy.

If I was someone who believed in superstitions, the sequence would be nerve-wracking, however, as someone who laughs at herself on a daily basis, this is pretty damn funny.

I'm hopefully going to make it to the mall this weekend, assuming my friend who's driving me there isn't bogged down with work. Hopefully then, my head will achieve a needed degree of warmth and coziness. If not, well then I guess Troy will see snow again next Monday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Am a Deranged Four Year Old

Thank you God and Mother Nature! Thank the forces that be and everything encompassed in precipitation and climate.

It is currently snowing outside.

I am going a bit insane.

Although I am currently sitting in my Geology I class, every fiber of my being is yearning to be outside. As stated in the title of this post, I am a deranged four year-old. Every year when snow starts to fall, whether it be the first flakes of the season, a Christmas miracle, or even a few additional snowflakes on a blanket of white in Troy, I get a little crazy. Growing up in Southern California and then Portland, Oregon, we don't get snow. I'm not used to it. Every new occurrence is a new discovery full of childlike wonder, awe and amazement.

The first time that I remember seeing snow was on a trip with my family to Colorado to see my Uncle Mikey get married. We had sometime, and that was also the first time I learned and started to ski. Snow was and is foreign. It's white magic. It is fluffy joy. I love snow. My endless bliss for snow is probably rooted to the fact that it is rare for my native lands. Every year I have friends from the Northeast who moan and dread the onset of winter's magic, and every year they look at me as if to ask what the heck I'm smoking.

I'm joyous and crazy and am currently like a little girl who is seeing snow for the first time. It is glorious, joyous, blissful happiness.

I love snow.

I am going to go dance around at some point on campus and catch a snowflake on my tongue.

Is class over yet?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Do You Remember?



While many things in life and history are subject to unnecessary and overdone romanticizing, there are a few things where loving nostalgia and idealization of the past is deserved. Childhood is one of those select subjects on many accounts from the small daily activities, places that hold fondness in our hearts, and the subject here, of relations with others and morality. In youth, black and white seemed to be all that there was. In saying youth, I am referring to before middle school, before drama, before puberty and adolescence and the gray areas. Before complications and awkward situations, there were three categories of people my own age: friends, people I didn't know, and meanie-heads.

That kind of social dynamic and world view allows for everything to be black and white. While some might find that simple, I see no problem in the simplicity. There are fewer occasions for feelings to get hurt, and if they did, well you could generally expect to see it coming or weren't surprised by the source. Things were good, or things were bad. In general I do not recall a good deal of wishy-washy-ness apart from maybe being distraught I couldn't see a friend that day.

The source of this posting and reflection isn't simply from a longing nostalgic sense for simpler times and less drama. Although it was not inspired from a large dramatic event either, but rather it sprouted from the general feel and build up of several evenings, last night and a social engagement I am attending tonight. People talk. People always have talked and always will. People change. The same applies to people. I have personally changed a slight deal since my freshman year at college. I am still the same heart, the same smile, the same demeanor that seeks to make everyone around me happy at my own expense occasionally. I still have a large heart, still have trust issues, and still am a bit of a mess and always will be, however, I'm a bit more hesitant, a bit more comfortable with myself, and most importantly a bit wiser.

Last night I found myself plunging into turbulence and tempest social seas. There are many people I like, many who I still find to be a meanie-head, but the lines between those who I am not sure of and maliciousness are blurred. Motives are involved, trust is questioned and too much doubt arises. I dislike doubt. Floating between a friend exuberant to see me and hang out, mutual acquaintances, a friend with a rocky past and someone who I have never felt comfortable around, I found myself talking to all of them. I normally believe the best in people until proven otherwise. Just last night was so confusing. I truly cannot think of another way to describe it but confusing.

When did things get so complicated? When did people stop being either good or bad? While I do not like stepping down from my proud platform of being a big girl, the hurt little girl inside of me really does want to jump down and run back to the sunshine valleys imagined on my walls in my imagination. This reflection is really as muddy as a playground puddle. Life is just confusing sometimes, and it's not even frustrating, it just is what it is: a murky mess. Doubt and I don't get along, unless it's No Doubt.

It might be a bit regressive to desire black and white morality and interaction again, but it's sure easier to paint in black and white than to create varying shades of gray.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

November is officially here and although it is freaking me out a bit that we only have five weeks left in the semester, it is perhaps a good thing for many aspects of my life. The leaves have turned, fallen, and are transforming into a mushy slippery goo that threatens to kill me every time I walk back to my apartment. The cold has dipped down to temperatures in the 40s that feel like the 30s. My hands are cold, but thankfully my hair is not to the freezing point yet.

In that respect though, the cold is coming. Water Polo practices lasting until 11 pm will leave my head as an icy mess. Sadly, my favorite ski beanie has decided that our long, loving relationship must come to an end. After a camping trip, he left me and is either laughing at me from some corner of my apartment, blowing along the Aiderondack's or is on a mountain somewhere in Boulder, Colorado. Nevertheless, I have had my mourning period and now must move on before my hair does freeze.

The initial internet wanderings have led me to the following candidates.

This pom pom style hat makes its way to the list because of the bright colors. My last beanie of many years was a gray knit with red and orange circles, and what can I say? Old flames die hard.

Secondly, knits are always a favorite over fleece.

The second knit is also here due to color choice. I tend to wear a lot of black when I ski, so I like to break it up a bit.

Lastly, all I really have to say about this hat is that it's fun to toe the line between the light and the dark side.


Hopefully a suitable cap will find its way into my heart and onto my head in the near future. I really do not enjoy icicles for hair.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pierogie Pleasure

For various reasons, this past week has not been kind to me, so initially I was unsure and hesitant on seeking the counsel of my good friend Erin. Thankfully though, she is awesome, but also the shared comfort came in the form of food preparation. Throughout high school and when I am home, if I am happy I bake or cook. If I am stressed, I bake and cook. If I am depressed beyond believe and a crying wreck encased in my favorite fleece blanket with two kittens and a puppy on it, I will still find the life in me to wander down into the kitchen and bake and cook. For some reason, this process has been absent recently from my college years despite my sinusoidal, binomial, volatile moods and life.

Cooking always brings me comfort. I started to learn how to cook at the age of seven. My Mom and I were blessed with the best neighbor anyone could have, my next door neighbor, Gayle. Gayle was older than my mother, with her children past college and gone from the house. She was never quite a babysitter, never a nanny, never a grandmotherly type, but always an older friend dear to my heart. In second grade I would go over to Gayle's house after getting off the school bus before I began elementary school homework and dinner time. We would read, play games, and with Gayle I really learned how to cook. I also attribute a good deal of my development in finally learning how to tie my shoes, but that's another story.

Cooking from her own resources and my American Girls Samantha's cookbook, I attempted things that many people would consider more advanced than the level of a six or seven year old. A spiced carrot bisque, blueberry cobbler, pies, apple brown betty, how to sautee vegetables, there was never any doubt that I couldn't try a recipe. Everything was possible, and to be honest, a few things didn't turn out as pretty as the picture, but no matter the end result, everything was prepared with thought and love. While a good deal of my attachment to cooking comes from my own personal reflection and the tranquility that arises, I still attribute a good deal of my foundational love of cooking to Gayle. For that I still hold Gayle dear to my heart today.

On Saturday, Erin and I went to the Troy Farmers' Market and then made pierogies. For those of you who have never had a pierogie, you need to fix that. Now. Right now. Go out and buy some frozen Mrs. T's for Pete's sake. Pierogies are warm delicious happiness encased in dough, and who doesn't love dough? Maybe it's the calories, maybe it's the carbohydrates, but there is something warming and fulfilling to the soul found in dough. While I am still a bit shaky at times, more so than normal, dough helps.

Dough is also tasty as hell in any form.

Thank you Erin.
<3

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes

I always try to be a big girl. Big girls don't cry. Big girls are brave, strong, confident and whole. Big girls don't cry.

Big girls don't cry under the sheets clutching their teddy bears for hope.

Sometimes it's just too much work to be a big girl.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wish List Wednesday!

Today is October 27th! There are four days until the official date of Halloween, however, festivities for me start this year on Friday the 29th. Certain things are better in three's and apparently Halloween celebrations also fall under that category. In the spirit of Halloween, this week's Wish List Wednesday is devoted to costumes that truly go above and beyond the call of duty.

First up, we have the costume that could have been. A friend of mine is being a very realistic Link from the Legend of Zelda series, and thus I was really really tempted to be Sheik.

This costume was the basis for what I would have constructed. Hopefully I'll have a job next year and more time and money to attempt this.

Secondly, perusing the internet I found our next amazing costume. Many Transformers costumes have been attempted, carried out and done, however, I do enjoy giving credit where credit is due.


The last costume of awesomeness comes from pop culture. I enjoy Lady Gaga, partially due to her music and partially because of her crazy costumes, so I applaud the individual below.

While it initially does not look that hard to construct, props for the creation of the red lace hat.

That concludes this week's Wish List Wednesday! What are you being for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gagging on Bubble Gum

Pink and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. Apparently when I was under four feet tall, my childhood saw a lot of pink. The bags that have departed to GoodWill tell of leggings and t-shirts galore swashed in the vibrant rosey color. Around third grade, I decided that the color and I were not to be allowed in the same room together, and remained on those terms until my junior prom dress.
Said dress at a New Year's Eve Party two years ago.

Pink and I are generally getting along these days, with sample visits here and there in the form of the dress, a v-neck t-shirt and underwear. We have our boundaries, and the relationship seems to work for both parties, however, there are certain instances where representatives of Pink make me want to vomit. Enter Exhibit A:


Although Urban Outfitters can be known to committ some collsal blunders, the dress above just makes me question who they have in charge of selecting certain items for retail. Excuse me while I go and gag now; I believe there is nothing more to be said here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'Tis the Season...Not Quite

Today is October 24th. It is still October. The leaves are changing, some have started to fall, but some still linger. Halloween is in another week, and we have 31 days until Thanksgiving. It is still Autumn, or Fall as some would have it. Now I am aware that every year, Christmas retail spirit attempts to befall the stores earlier and earlier. Most years, commercials and Christmas advertising begin a week or two before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is still in November. We are still in October. WHY IS THERE CHRISTMAS ADVERTISING ALREADY?

I should note that I am a Christmas freak. I have a tree up at college right after Thanksgiving, I put up lights, stockings for all my house-mates are hung, Christmas cookies are warmed in the oven, mistletoe, carols, the whole shebang and nine yards are decked out in my apartment. I love Christmas. When the Christmas freak says it's too early, then it's bloody too early.

I'm a bit too lazy tonight to bother doing intensive research to the spread of this early festivity virus, but seriously people? Seriously.

Yesterday I went to Macy's to get some necessary items and kill some time with retail therapy. Christmas balls and flatware were to be found on the second floor at Crossgates. Just now, perusing the internet my eyes laid upon the "holiday lingerie shop" at Victoria's Secret. Really? Isn't it a bit early to be purchasing the seasonal fine china and jingling some balls?

I'm too lazy tonight to bother investigating the spread of this onslaught of early festivity sales, but seriously people? Seriously?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Water Polo, Bruises, and Carbs

If it is not already evident by the title of this post, the focus of this publication is weight, self-image and self-esteem. On Sunday, I turned 21. I have been on this Earth for 21 years, two days and 22 hours. While not the greatest time in the world, or even in a lifetime, that is still a large amount of time. It took 21 years for a girl to be okay with how she looks on the inside, outside, with her face, features and body. If that doesn't depress you, then you either have been living under a rock and are immune to the harsh pressures of society, or you like eathing puppies.

My main hesitance in writing this post is, that while I find it a personal accomplishment that I mean every single word of self-worth, "body-image" topics are a touchy subject and sometimes people are unsure of how to handle them. I am not asking for pity. I am not asking for a pat on the back. On the same side, I am not asking for commentary, or even thoughts, of condescention on "silly" girls for not being able to tough up and bear it in society.

Today people are donning the color purple in protest largely against the bullying that occured causing individuals to chose suicide. To this day, I do not understand bullying. While one might be insecure, I personally collapse inward with my insecurities, so the idea of lashing out in the opposite direction perplexes me. I have also been bullied so yes, I am a bit biased.

Growing up, I was not grossly overweight, but from about third grade until sophomore year of high school, I had a lot of extra weight on me. I was chuncky and the combination of being overweight and rounded bangs didn't really help me out in the physical beauty department. While I have judged based upon physical appearance, I do not let that alter my behavior towards individuals. I can't say the same for the rest of the world. Being bullied at school for several counts, physical appearance included, societal expectations, and some very hurtful comments at home led me to have a horrible impression of myself. For many years I did not like what I saw in the mirror.

Six months ago I did not like what I saw in the mirror.

Age, puberty and the normal growth process elongated my face, so I no longer look like the exact image of myself at four years old, although it is still a very very close resemblance. Losing weight though was more difficult. I have always played soccer and enjoyed playing outside, however, with my sweet tooth, love of food, and metabolism, that level of physical activity quickly proved to not be adequate. By freshman year of high school, I was sick of bullying, off-hand comments and, at my worst, being a size 13. That year I started cutting out junk food and soda and joined the track team at my high school throwing javelin. While not as cardio intense as the sprinters' group, it was certaintly more than sitting reading all day.

Sophomore year was when things started to really take root. I was still playing soccer, but switched to running sprints for the track team and finally joined the swim team. I have always loved swimming; water is both my depressant and stimulant, thus there could be no better fit for me and exercise. The main thing that really sticks in my mind though from that year is that was when I started counting calories. I would keep a running total in my head every day throught the school day for every gram, every number. If it entered my digestive system, a complex series of counting mechanisms and weighted system would have run three times before it entered my mouth. Initally it wasn't too bad. Initially.

Junior year was really when I should have been slapped silly. A heavy course load, my first boyfriend and my own mental pressures started getting to me. After losing about 15 pounds over sophomore year, and being in a pool for five hours every day doing my Christian Service project, being thin was the new norm for me. In addition, a constant rate of weight loss became the norm for me. In sophomore year I counted calories giving myself a daily maximum of 1600-1800 calories, which for a girl of my height, is a decent point to aim for. In Junior year, and the summer that followed, my restriction was set down to 1200. The summer after Junior year I ran or swam between five to seven days out of the week, but never really counted how much I was doing. Looking back on it, I was overexherting myself. Being a bit of a perfectionist can be a double edged sword with weight loss. Calorie counting becomes a day, a competition to strive to achieve the best every day, every second, everything that entered my body. On my "worst" day, I remember being proud running for 45 minutes, swimming for 2 hours and consuming 800 calories.

Numbers are a tricky thing. If we go by the numbers, I was never really anorexic or bulemic, or whatever you want to call it. At my lowest, I weighted 115-120 pounds. For some girls, that's normal. For some that's overweight. For me, on a 5'7" frame with athletics and my build, that means I lose a lot of bulkier muscle, am a size 0 and pardon my bluntness, but don't have much in terms of the womanly junk. My parents never really said much, but that summer at the shore on our family trip, I remmeber recieving a lot of looks and comments from my uncles. The first comment when we arrived in the door was that I needed to eat something.

Eating disorders are always a touchy thing to discuss. Knowing what certain friends know about me, the opinion ranges from that I was mildly anorexic to just taking normal activites a bit too far, however, sometimes no matter what opinion you are hearing, it just isn't enough. This brings me to college years. The mentality that I wasn't good enough every time I looked in the mirror persisted until just recently. I know I spent too much time looking into the mirror, varying angles, asking my ex-boyfriend if I didn't look fat.

I still look into the mirror now, still suck my stomach in a bit, but it no longer is a measurable competition how thin I can attempt to make myself look. I like to say I'm a size four since I fit into some 2's and some 6's. For my male readership, a four in jeans is a 27" waist. Yes I am aware that womens' sizing makes no sense. The main hurdle that I credit to my body acceptance is finding the balance with my body and my activity level in college. I am about 140 pounds and I'm happy with that. I like my muscle. It's hard to find a specific turning point, but personally, once the idea that muscle weighs more than fat sets in, an athletic contentness can take hold. Some women love their curves. I love my muscle. I love my stocky thighs because of their leverage in wrestling with friends, because I can climb and scramble in easier directions. I love my muscles because they are me, and well I happen to actually like myself.

While this posting seems to jump from trials and struggles to a happy outcome, I feel that this is an extension for how personal acceptance can occur. I do not claim to speak for all situations--every one is different and impossible to be comperable--but I offer up my own situation for personal fulfillment and reader understanding. With any disorder and disatisfaction, where do we point to as the leading cause? The individual themselves or the environment surrounding them? Personally it was a combination that drove me towards a desire to lose weight, to be the "best" (or more socially acceptable definition of "beautiful") me, although my own mental processes were the more difficult hurdle to overcome.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that beholder should only be the individual themselves. In relation to bullying, it'd be nice if we could all back off a little and let kids be. They'll figure things out. Every awkward child is a gem, every shy girl is to be treasured, and every girl's body is her own to hopefully decide what she wants to look like in her own way. Attractive is not dolled up in a skirt, dress, makeup and size two frame. Attractive is whatever the individual wants it to be, and for me, attractive is my muscles in a double layered swimsuit with my mascara running and laughing my ass off at my own awkwardness during water polo practice.

<3

Wish List Wednesday!

Wish List Wednesday will occur this week! Huzzah! However, the post will go up for publication when I am at work today since there is maintenance being performed on Blogger, and I have already had a bit of difficulty in posting. Image overload might be a bad idea.

More excitement for your Wednesday nights!

Refreshing Reconsideration

As some of you may know, and as I have come to see through the drop off in readership through my weekly hit counter, I have not posted for 15 days. That is over two weeks. The maintenance of regular postings, two to three times a week, that I had hoped to be consistent with from the summer is harder than I thought. It is not for lack of interesting, random, sugar-high and caffeine-buzz, or educated thougts occurring in my head. On the contrary, being around a larger number of friends and peers as well as being back into a technical, academic setting, the volume is overflowing.

I'm just lazy sometimes.

I am a bit behind in my application process for employment. My graduate class is harder than I expected. Ordinary Differential Equations kicked my ass for a bit. I had some personal questioning in the relationship department. My romantic life blossomed into a million roses that make me smile with every step I take in the dull mud of Troy's streets in the fall.

I turned 21 on Sunday. No revelation or magical excitement occurred, save for the fact that I can actually go out with friends to drink and have more options than my normal nightcaps. In my recent writing, my greatest challenge, apart from consistency in frequency, appears to be thought and order. This posts perfectly orchestrates that idea since my soul really does reflect a bit much.

I am 21. I feel old. I was very tempted to resign, give up, and shut down this blog due to difficulty in maintaining my literary love child, however, I recently read through the comments of my last post. One was a drunk posting by a friend with a decent deal of thought behind it, and the other was a thoughtful post by my youngest sister Lizzy. My baby sister Lizzy can form educated arguements about the conditions of discrimination in today's society. My baby sister.

Now I feel old.

Condescention is an annoying trait in anyone, and unfortunately I am guilty of it through my protectionism and love for my sisters. For those who know me personally, you maybe already aware that I tolerate almost no level of moves, come-ons, hitting on, jokes, or any form of sexual line about my sisters. I am an overprotective sister. I am aware I smother. I love them. Through my own hardships, they are the world to me. There is nothing that I would not do for either of them. The hinderance of my love is that it is very easy to idolize a younger, more innocent, version of them to protect. Both of them are sometimes frozen in a moment of elementary school in my mind, back when the three of us were all at the same school. I could lead by good example, I could protect from snots in their class and on the bus, and I could be there to swap fruit snacks.

I can't do that anymore. I can lead by example still, and it is rewarding that all three of us have a sisterly relationship with a greater friendship feel instead of hierarchy, but the knight in shining armor is dead. The knight had to put a dress back on again and relocate to tea parties. I want to be there to ward off boys, high school drama, bad college study habits and just be there in every sense.

I am both proud and saddened by the aging of my sisters. My youngest is in her final year of high school. She is beautiful, intelligent, amazing, and still a thorn in my side occassionally. I love her and our middle sister with the intensity of a thousand suns, and for once, there is not any sarcasm painted onto that phrase. Regular posting as well as the growth and maturity of my darling little sisters are just things that I'm going to have to get used to. Both rewarding and disheartening at the same time, time goes on.

In the words of my mom and many other people wiser than myself, getting old's a bitch.