Friday, February 29, 2008

Extra Day

Once every four years there is an extra day on the calendar. What is the only thing that could make an extra day better? An extra day OFF! Well, since that is not my reality, I figured I would at least take a few minutes to daydream about what I would do with an extra day off if I had one. (And besides that, I had to post today because one only has a chance to blog on leap day once every four years and I couldn't pass that up.)

1. Sleep as late as possible, and stay in my pajamas until at least noon
2. Go for a long walk on the beach
3. Use my annual pass to the zoo
4. Get a jump start on the weekend and go away somewhere
5. Boost the sluggish economy by going shopping!
6. Clean out my closets (I know this isn't exactly exciting, but it would be so satisfying to get it done!)
7. Scrapbook or make cards
8. Cook something fabulous for dinner
9. Visit my grandma
10. Absolutely nothing... with a side of Starbucks.

What would you do?

P.S. Happy Birthday Chris!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Best Friend

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'd ordered the GMAT study guide so I could begin preparing for the test this spring. What I didn't fully appreciate until I held my very own copy of the book was how BIG it is. The book is nearly 8.5 by 11 inches and a whopping 832 pages. I think the only other books of that size in my library are my trusty Webster's dictionary and a few Bible reference books.
So, I think that the study guide and I are going to become good friends, the kind that spend a lot of quality time together. Alone. With caffeine. Suddenly, I'm remembering with fondness all those quiet study evenings on the 5th floor of the Calvin library. Although, if I recall correctly, coffee may not have been allowed in the library, and if it was, it was definitely not Starbucks. Beth, are you available to drag my procrastinating self to the library?
But what's nagging at me right now is that I am having a hard time getting started. I'm still struggling to actually take steps towards what I want. I'm second-guessing my chosen future path, and I don't think it's because it's the wrong thing. I think it's because I'm freaked out and scared I won't succeed. I hate that about myself. Why can't I be one of those self-confident people for whom fear never even slows them down when they decide to put 110% into going after what they want?

OK, so despite my current lack of forward motion, I will be attending an information session at San Diego State on Saturday morning, and surely that is a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, the only thing competing for my attention this evening is the newest episode of Survivor, so I should be able to spend some quality time with the GMAT book.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cute Shoes

So it's been a quiet couple of weeks, not much new going on, really. I could write about spending my Saturday cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, but WAKE UP! I'll be sparing you that boring monologue. Yeah, so nothing really exciting going on.
I am wearing really cute shoes today, though. Not that this is profound, but you know how it is some days when you get dressed and you just feel like a million bucks? Any guys who might be reading this and are falling asleep - sorry, it's kind of a girl thing, feel free to tune out. So these shoes make me feel like a million bucks. It almost doesn't matter what I'm wearing with them. Last week it was favorite jeans, today it's office dress. Which reminds me that since my job makes me crazy, at least I can look good doing it. Not that anyone notices. Sigh. I need to take these shoes out for happy hour. Mental note: call sister-in-law to schedule that girl night we've been plotting!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Saint who?

St. Valentine's Day is not a day where your average single girl is predisposed to being thankful. Normally, single women everywhere bemoan the lack of a significant other in their lives to send (overpriced) flowers, take them out to dinner (at a crowded restaurant) and buy them a sparkly gift (if they are VERY lucky) on this so-called "holiday."

This attitude conveniently ignores the fact that good shares of men only remember Valentine's Day at the prompting of their significant other (subtle or by two-by-four) and never know what to buy anyway. This explains romantic gifts like blenders and dustbusters. (Men: the answer to your gift dilemma is SPARKLY. One can rarely go wrong if the gift arrives in a small velvet box!)

OK, so I'm choosing to remember a few of the reasons why I enjoy being single:

- no explanation of any kind required if I buy a new pair of shoes (even if they are black and almost like that other pair....)
- no agonizing over the perfect gift for someone else
- having the whole box of chocolates to myself (especially if it's dark chocolate!)
- almost guaranteed to be a good chick flick on TV tonight
- which I can enjoy while wearing my favorite flannel PJ's and hoodie sweatshirt (I can already smell the popcorn... Mmmmm.)

Don't get me wrong, I would welcome the day I'm swept off my feet... (Prince Charming, my schedule is open tomorrow or next Tuesday) but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the fun benefits of being a single girl!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who IS that girl?

Funny thing about change... you wake up one day and look in the mirror, and wonder "who IS that? Is that... ME? Really?"

Well yes, actually, it is me.

I blogged last month about making some changes in 2008, and I've just completed the first item on my checklist: placing a book order on amazondotcom. Yes, I hope you're suitably impressed. "Your big new goal is to do more online shopping?" Maybe it will clear things up if I tell you what I ordered: a GMAT study guide.

A what?

It's like this: I've decided to go back to school, and I have to pass the GMAT test to complete my application. The test runs a whopping $250, so the $30 I just forked over for a study guide seems a prudent investment. At that test price, I'd prefer to pass on my first attempt. This could be entertaining as it's been a few years since I was an active participant in any studying or test-taking.

Taking the test is the tip of the iceberg, however. Assuming I pass the GMAT and am accepted to graduate school at San Diego State, I may start classes as soon as September. Six months sounds like a long time, but before I can start classes I will need to both find a new job and relocate. So that's a lot of change, and honestly, it’s got me a little freaked out. But more than that, I’m really excited. I’ve always wanted to go back to school, it’s making my day whenever I complete something that is helping me make this dream a reality.

This post dedicated to one Sharp guy who boldly made a change this week. Here's to you!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Book: Plainsong

This was a great read! It focuses on several characters in the same town, and the small ways their lives intersect. I will be looking for more books by this author, especially the book that follows this one including some of the same characters. Definitely recommended.

by Kent Haruf

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking this week about Lent, which started Wednesday. In college, Ash Wednesday was observed with a service that included imposition of ashes, which I had never heard of before. During those years and several after, I regularly attended Ash Wednesday services, but have fallen out of the habit for lack of convenience. I could just find myself a local episcopal or catholic church I suppose... but haven't. My church will observe Lent on the next six Sundays but did not hold an Ash Wednesday service.

My recent involvement with planning worship has been the primary motivator for my thoughts being on this season. What it means. How to meaningfully observe the season of Lent while remembering that it is always followed by Easter. One could spend 6 weeks focusing only on sin and one's need for grace, but that thought just makes me sad and leaves me feeling hopeless. In fact, I don't think I could bear to consider my human, and therefore sinful, state without knowledge of redemption.

Today, I'm thankful for a faith that is defined primarily by God's gift of salvation, which we remember on Easter. Without question, it is important to acknowledge my need for that salvation. Doing so, knowing that I am redeemed, fills my heart with overwhelming gratitude.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The bottled water dilemma

Over the last few years, bottled drinking water has become extremely common. We buy it at gas stations, out of soda vending machines and even drink it at home. I used to keep a case of it in my car so I would always be prepared if I got thirsty. Then last year, after reading an article about bottled water, I abruptly quit. I just couldn't do it anymore.

An important side note: if you drink bottled water for any reason, I don't mind. I'm not going to tell you that you should stop. But if you ask me why I gave it up... I'm going to tell you. And quite honestly, you probably didn't ask, so feel free to overlook reading my post today. If you decide to keep reading, and you are doing so over your afternoon Evian or San Pellegrino, please know that I respect your choice to do that.

Here's a few of the statistics from the article that just got me thinking:
* In the U.S. alone, it takes over 37,000 18-wheelers to deliver the 1 billion bottles per week that consumers demand.
* More than half of the people who live in Fiji do not have safe drinking water, but the Fiji Water bottling factory fills one million bottles per day of today's hippest luxury water brand to ship around the world.
* While bottled water is no doubt a healthier choice than soda, beer or coffee, it really isn't any healthier than tap water. Throughout the U.S., municipal water must meet EPA standards and is regularly tested. Yes, I saw Erin Brockovich, and the article points out that there are a few rare exceptions to safe drinking water in the U.S. It also points out that roughly a quarter of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is actually... bottled tap water.
* Americans spend $15 billion per year on bottled water and send 38 billion plastic bottles into landfills. Only a fraction of plastic bottles are recycled.

So, that's why I gave up bottled water. When faced with the facts, I decided it was a luxury I could afford to do without.

Fishman, Charles, "Message in a Bottle." Fast Company, Issue 117 (July/August 2007), Page 110.
Click here to read the full article.