Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 25: Your day in great detail

Not so interested in doing this days are not very interesting right now...
So here are just some bullet points
--I get up (earlier than I'd like to, like 5:30 am)
--Eat breakfast (oatmeal or cereal, black coffee with sugar) while watching BBC World News and MSNBC
--Shower & get dressed
--Put on make-up if I'm going out (foundation, powder, shadow, mascara--very quick & simple)
--Some days I drive my mom to work (if I want to use the car & get off the island that day)
--But on other days I stay home and sleep in until 8 or 9
--If I stay out all day, I go shopping (Wal-Mart, Target, bookstores), have 2 or 3 Starbucks drinks, eat terrible but delicious fast food, and if I'm lucky, I might hang out with a friend (Mallory, Rachael, Carly, Mr. Johnson...)
--If I stay home all day, I watch crappy daytime TV with Cookie on my lap (Gilmore Girls reruns, MSNBC), eat marginally healthier food (salads, naan pizzas), and do a little housework (laundry & dishes). Also do some of my new hobbies (gardening & scrapbooking).
--In the evenings, I like to watch some more junk TV (Extreme Makeover Home Edition reruns, America's Got Talent, Losing it with Gillian Michaels)
--When I go to bed, I read for a bit (currently re-reading Harry Potter series, like I do every summer, and am finishing book 4 tonight). Cookie hates this and rubs her head against my hands while I try to hold the book up, or she'll deliberately lie down right in between the book and my face. I shove her to the side, and she stays--but I resent having to go through this every night.

That's about it...Not very exciting. My life will be exciting again in about 5 more days, when Richard gets here :) I'll post pictures & stories about our adventures as I show him around!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 23: A YouTube Video

Hilarious! Trigger Happy TV just kills me...Check out their other videos, too!

Day 24: Tickling Fancy Day

The Bridal Wave: A Survival Guide to the Everyone-I-Know-is-Getting-Married Years

This brilliant book has really helped me sort things out. I was browsing around the self-help section in the library one day, thinking how stupid, shallow and anti-feminist it is that most of the titles are about "finding The One" or "How to make him love you"--and then I found this. It was like the authors knew what I was thinking. A guide to avoiding the pressure to get married.

My favorite chapter is about the timeline--the "I always thought I'd be married by now" thoughts. Despite all the fun I've had, all the cool places I've been to, all the exotic & interesting guys I've met--the younger me (back in high school) always thought I'd be settled down by this point. If not with a high school sweetheart, then with a college boyfriend. If not college, then grad school--but now I've got a Master's degree and there still aren't any marriage plans in the works. But this book reminded me that you can't (and shouldn't) live your life according to a timeline you set for yourself when you were a kid.

Another favorite is the competition idea. You've known these girls for ages, and always been at about the same place in your life--driving, graduating high school & college, etc. all at roughly the same time. But now they're getting engaged, getting married, having kids--and you're not. Even worse is when you see girls you've always hated--how did she find somebody before me? This book really puts into words the thoughts I've had for the past couple of years. It's not a competition--we don't know what their relationship is like behind-closed doors, and even if it's great, well...I don't have to get up for 2 am feedings and they do. I'm free to jet off to Europe and do a PhD, and they're not.

When I was detained at the UK border and questioned about my relationship with Richard, the immigration officer asked about our future plans. I answered it well, saying that we had discussed it and we are both interested in a long-term relationship. Then she asked if I was planning to settle down in the UK, as part of this plan, and I said I didn't know where we would settle down. While I answered these questions calmly and just wanted to get out of the detaining hall, on the inside I was fuming. I resented the fact that I was having "the talk" with an immigration official before I'd had it with my boyfriend. Why was I being asked these personal questions in a room with 2-way mirrors and a bolted-down chair, instead of at a candlelit dinner or scenic viewpoint with my boyfriend? More importantly, how do you field questions from strangers about your relationship--"when are you guys going to make it official", "I'll bet you're going to be next!", etc.?

This book has silenced all those stupid questions and worries, and helped me to just enjoy my life & relationship, without worrying about the timeline or competition, or the opinions of strangers & border officials.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 22: A website

Sporcle is full of great trivia games and all kinds of weird quizzes...Mr. Johnson showed it to me and I've really gotten addicted to it! Another great time-waster!

Day 21: A recipe

Jamie Oliver's Tiramisu Veloce recipe
(image from his cookbook)

I've altered this one from "Jamie's Italy." I'm crazy about that cookbook, and I love how Jamie describes methods...they just make sense to me. The differences between mine & the original: mine's a 1/2 recipe, and it serves 4 (he says the full recipe serves 4...I love Tiramisu, but come on!), I substitute a dash of vanilla extract for vanilla beans (criminal, I know, but it's cheaper and I always have it in the cabinet), and I use marsala wine if I don't have sherry or vino santo on hand. I have my version memorized ;)

• About 8 ladyfingers or trifle sponges (however many it takes to line the bottom of your dish)
• 1/2 cup good strong coffee, freshly brewed (or espresso, if you want to be more authentic)
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• about 10 oz mascarpone (just alter the recipe for the size of tub you can find)
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup vin santo or sweet sherry (or marsala wine)
• 1/4 bar of good dark chocolate (or use milk chocolate and eat the other 3/4 bar)
(I completely leave out the orange zest, 'cause I'm not into it...ewww)

Directions (edited to reflect my changes...)
Get yourself a medium deep bowl or dish about 8-10 inches in diameter and arrange your ladyfingers snugly in layers on top of each other. (Jamie sweetens the coffee with 1/2 the sugar, but I don't because the trifle sponges are covered in sugar...but ladyfingers aren't very sweet, so add sugar if you're using them). Pour the coffee over the ladyfingers, making sure the top layer is completely covered -you'll see the coffee being sucked up by the ladyfinger. While that's soaking, put your mascarpone into a bowl and whisk it up with the rest of the sugar.

Continue whisking and as you do so, drizzle in the vin santo/sherry/marsala and vanilla extract. You want to get the mixture to a loose, shiny consistency.
Smear the mascarpone over the ladyfingers and either grate all the chocolate over it or make shavings using a knife or a peeler. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 20: a Hobby

I don't really have any hobbies...
I've tried piano and guitar, painting and drawing, dance and running...and I've pretty much sucked at all of them. I don't have any musical/artistic talent and I'm uncoordinated. Sad.
This summer, though, I've had so much free time and tons of archiving to do, so now my hobby is scrapbooking (sort of...). I've been gardening a bit, too, and I'm starting to enjoy it.
But now I sound old--my hobbies are scrapbooking and gardening...very sad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 19: A Talent of Yours

All throughout K-12, my teachers said I was a gifted writer and they'd have me proofread my classmates' papers. I'm good at it--mistakes just jump out at me--and I actually truly enjoy doing it. As my AP English teacher Mrs. Dartnall put it, I love "making the paper bleed" with all my comments and corrections in red ink. I get very serious & intense when I'm editing, especially if it's my own writing that I'm critiquing.
Richard had me proofread his CV once--he said he'd "never seen that side" of me before.

I'm also surprisingly good with a MagnaDoodle

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 18: Whatever tickles your fancy

I'm currently in the process of liquidating my stuff, and it's made me realize some really profound things, so I thought I'd put them in today's post.
1) Giving away or selling my Bob Dylan collection doesn't make me any less of a fan.
If anything, I'm a superfan, because I'm passing it on and sharing my love of him with others. Same goes with a favorite book or movie--you're not losing anything by getting rid of it. Rather, you're offering the joy that it gave you to others who will enjoy it.
2) Heirlooms, photos and mementos don't belong in a pile of crap.
They should be in albums or display cases where they will be seen, not in a box on a closet shelf, or in the garage where they're forgotten and susceptible to damage.
3) If something isn't useful to you now or in the near future, get rid of it.
I have a pair of heels that I wore at my sister's wedding almost 9 years ago. I think I wore them one other time, to a Homecoming dance seven or eight years ago. I tried them on today, and while they are cute, they also don't fit well and I have several other pairs of heels that are cuter and more versatile. Getting rid of them doesn't mean I don't love the memory of my sister's wedding (see profound thought # 1), it just means they're going to be worn and appreciated by somebody with smaller feet.

For more insight into the joys of minimalism, see one of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 17: Art

I took an art history class at UW on the Northern Renaissance & fell in love with Rubens and Vermeer.

Renoir is an obvious choice--I've always loved this one. I like how it's featured in "Amelie", too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 16: A song that makes you cry or get choked up

Kenny Chesney's "There Goes My Life" always gets me

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I don't read fanfic. I've tried reading some Harry Potter fanfic, and it's pretty lame. There's no way these preteen kids posting their "work" online are going to come anywhere near J.K. Rowling. Jane Austen fanfic mostly ticks me off, too--and it's actually been published by real publishing houses, not fan sites. There's only one exception that I've found...

Pamela Aidan is a librarian & Jane Austen fan, and her trilogy is actually pretty good. Obviously not Jane Austen level of good, but she doesn't try too hard to sound like Austen and I really appreciate that. The thing I hate most about Austen fanfic is that the writers try too hard and end up sounding pompous and wordy. These 3 books are simply a re-telling of Pride & Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's point of view. No prequel or sequel--it just begins and ends at the same times as the real deal. The 2nd book tries, a little too ambitiously, to create something for Darcy to do in the gap period of Pride & Prejudice when Mr Darcy is away and we only see what happens with the Bennets. It gets weird, but it's still a good read. The third book is the best, and really explains Mr. Darcy's transformation better than the original book can (blasphemous, I know, but it's true).

Day 14: a non-fiction book

This is one of those books I had to read at UW that has really stuck with me. It's a profile of the members of the German Reserve Police Battalion 101, and how these ordinary men became Hitler's tools. Definitely not a cheery read, but it makes you think. It makes you examine human nature, how group mentality can change your values and perceptions of right and wrong. It offers some examples of officers who didn't follow orders, who held on to their humanity and refused to kill--which I'd never heard about anywhere else. It's not apologetic or revisionist, it just paints a more complete & complex picture of the people who carried out (willingly or not) Hitler's "final solution."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A fiction book

I'm currently reading Liz Tuccillo's "How to be single," which I found at a thrift store yesterday for $2.99. She co-wrote the life-changing self-help book "He's Just Not That Into You", and her writing style in this novel is just as funny and brilliant as it was there. I'm a few chapters in, and it's good. Not the best thing I've ever read--not Hemingway or Austen, but pretty darn original and entertaining.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 12: Whatever tickles your fancy

In keeping with last week's theme of time-wasting websites, I'll write about YouTube.

I like it, and I've wasted plenty of time on it, but I'm not that into it. Never felt compelled to post anything on there, or make a "fanvid" (ugh!) or anything like that. I don't watch fanvids, the mostly crappy videos that consist of a song and still-frames from movies/TV shows...well, except for one with Richard Armitage scenes set to "Womanizer". Terrible guilty pleasure...

Richard uses YouTube like a music player--he'll play the music video of a song instead of downloading it. Great for when you've got a song stuck in your head :) The collection is really impressive--I've found songs on YouTube that aren't even available for download. Like this adorable Bob Wills Christmas one that I haven't been able to find anywhere else.

I watch some illicit copyrighted materials on there (can Austen movies ever really be illicit?!), but my other use is their huge number of how-to & exercise videos. One night, I needed to tie a necktie for a costume party, so I just googled how to tie a tie and got a video guide for it instantly--and it worked! One morning I really didn't feel like going outside for a walk, so I looked up a beginners pilates playlist and did that workout instead.

YouTube's not an addiction, like Facebook, but it's definitely up there on my list of time-wasting websites

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 11: Recent picture of you

Probably one of the most recent ones...This was taken in Laconner--Mallory & I like driving up there, and we found this cool old building along the riverfront. I haven't taken a picture of myself since the haircut & color--need to get on that!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 9: a picture you took

I've always liked this one--it's taken from the rambling path that cuts through a hillside farm, with a lovely view of Bath. I love how these cows live in such close proximity to this gorgeous, refined Georgian spa town...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 8: A photo that makes you sad

Whenever I see soldiers returning home to their loved ones, I get teary. I don't consider myself terribly patriotic (although I'm more patriotic now that I've been abroad), but there's something so touching & sad about soldiers coming home. It makes you think about the impact on their families, on themselves, on the 'enemy' and their families, and really think about why they've been gone in the first place. It all seems so unfair.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 7: A photo that makes you happy

This picture just says "I have arrived." I'm living the dream, traveling solo in Europe, speaking Italian, my hair looks good, I'm going sleeveless in public (which is a huge thing for me, and shows how much more confident I am now), and I'm just thrilled to be in Florence. It's a long way from the fat, shy girl in baggy t-shirts & jeans at Stanwood Middle School.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 6: Whatever Tickles Your Fancy


It's an addiction, yes, but it's also a great way to send out group messages, share funny articles or youtube videos, and keep somewhat in touch with people I only sort of care about...

Who are these people and why are they on my Facebook? They fall into 3 general categories:

1) Old school
We went to elementary/middle/high school/college together. Can't delete them, because we've known each other so long...Yet I haven't seen them in years. I've never met their spouse and/or kids, but I've looked at so many pictures that it feels like I have. Some of their kids are funny-looking, and it's only because we're not "real life" friends that I can admit that. (I'd never say that about a close friend's kids, even if it were true!)

2) Entertainment
Some people are just hilarious, and even if we're not actually keeping up with each other, I keep them on my Facebook just because they post great stuff. Sometimes they're trying to be funny (i.e. posting a great YouTube video, a quote from a movie, an article from The Onion, etc.), but sometimes I'm just laughing at them. Case in point: a girl from high school who I wasn't really friends with--she requested to add me and the only reason I keep her around is because her posts are unbelievably stupid.

3) Good intentions
There are people in my friends list who I keep meaning to message & catch up with--classmates from study abroad, former co-workers, former teachers, etc. I never really do it, but I wouldn't want to delete them--that would be admitting defeat and resigning to the fact that we're not really friends anymore.

And who do I actually delete? People who post Glenn Beck talking points as updates. That's what it takes to get removed from my friends list ;)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 5: Favorite Quote

"A leader is a dealer in hope"--Napoleon Bonaparte

Like all the best quotes, this one says a great deal in a concise little statement. I love the concept of hope, especially hope beyond reason (aka faith) like Napoleon had.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I really haven't had much to update about since I've been back on the Island. Kelly & her fellow blogging friends have been passing this around...after mocking it at first, I think I'll do it, just to have something to blog about :)

30 Days of Me! (which is a silly concept, because these blogs are always about me...)

Day 1: Your Favorite Song
Day 2: Your Favorite Movie
Day 3: Your Favorite TV Show
Day 4: Your Favorite Book
Day 5: Your Favorite Quote
Day 6: What ever tickles your fancy...
Day 7: A photo that makes you happy
Day 8: A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 9: A photo that you took
Day 10: A photo of you taken over 10 years ago
Day 11: A photo of you taken recently
Day 12: Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13: A fictional book
Day 14: A non fiction book
Day 15: A Fanfic
Day 16: A song that makes you cry (or get choked up)
Day 17: An art piece
Day 18: Tickling Fancy Day
Day 19:Your Day in Great Detail
Day 20: A Hobby of Yours
Day 21: A recipe
Day 22: A Website
Day 23: A Youtube Video
Day 24: Tickling Fancy Day
Day 25: Your Day in Great Detail
Day 26: Your Week in Great Detail
Day 27: Your Month in Great Detail
Day 28: Your Year in Great Detail
Day 29: Hopes, Dreams, and Plans for the next year.
Day 30: Final Tickling Fancy Day...

I'm going to back-date it a bit and do 4 today, because I want to have it all done in June.

1. Favorite Song: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" seriously does put me in a better mood no matter what. It's optimistic and bright and just classic. Wish it hadn't had that recent Glee-inspired comeback, though...that made it cheap.
According to my iTunes, my most-listened-to track is Brendan Benson's "What I'm Looking For"'s more my typical style, singer-songwritery stuff.

2. Favorite Movie: "Love Actually". Yes, it's a Christmas movie, but I watch it year-round. First saw it in French, and liked it even then, when I didn't understand the dialogue.

3. Favorite TV Show: "The Daily Show" is definitely my favorite--the one filming I'd want to see if I were in NYC, and the one show I'd want to get interviewed on (for any reason).

4. Favorite Book: Really tough, this one. I used to always say "The Catcher in the Rye", and yes, it is great, but my tastes have changed over the years. Now it seems too depressive and juvenile, just like another old favorite, "The Bell Jar."
I've always loved the classics, like Austen & the Brontes--my favorites of theirs are "Persuasion" and "Wuthering Heights", respectively. For an entirely different mood, I love Hemingway & Steinbeck, too. (This is why I have so many books...)